Friday, July 31, 2009

RedState and Sean Penn, hand in hand

I imagine it's based on my own (LIBERAL!) cookies more than anything else, but there's something perfect about seeing Sean Penn's face, as Harvey Milk no less, above RedState's masthead.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sidney Ross wins seat on DOT Board

The retired Ocilla road builder, and the choice of House Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Roberts, will represent Middle Georgia, and the rest of the 8th Congressional District, on the State Transportation Board.

No details just yet, the vote was just taken in Atlanta and reported back to me in Macon by a spokeswoman for the department.

A bit of background on Ross, and the vote, from yesterday's coverage.

UPDATE: Full story from after the vote.

Sen. Chambliss to vote against Sotomayor

Thomas Day, the new guy here at The Telegraph, has the story.

UPDATE: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says he will, too.

Barack Obama: A Bud Light man?

I thought the president was supposed to be cool.

From The Chicago Tribune, reporting on today's Beer Summit: The president will drink Bud Light, Prof. Gates Red Stripe and Officer Crowley Blue Moon.

UPDATE: Uh-oh, looks like we had a late change on the beer selection. From The AP:
The White House meeting drew such media interest that press secretary Robert Gibbs said he looked forward to facing no more questions about what beers each man would drink. For the record, it was Bud Light for Obama, Sam Adams Light for Gates, Blue Moon for Crowley, and nonalcoholic Buckler for Biden.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Smart money's on Sidney Ross joining DOT Board

That's because he's state Rep. Jay Roberts' apparent choice, and Rep. Roberts is the new House transportation chairman. But you never know with these DOT Board elections.

Soon to be posted on the main site:
Middle Georgia will get a new representative this week on the State Transportation Board, the body that helps set policy and spend billions at the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Legislators from Georgia’s 8th Congressional District, which runs from metro Atlanta down to South Georgia, will meet in Atlanta Thursday to replace outgoing member Larry Walker, whose resignation came as a surprise to officials last month.

Several candidates are in the running, including former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins and former Bibb County Commissioner Calder Clay. Former state Rep. David Graves, who represented the Macon area in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1996 to 2006, has also thrown his name into the hat. Former state Rep. Allen Freeman, also of Bibb County, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

But the man to beat may be Sidney Ross, a retired road builder from Ocilla, which is in Irwin County. He apparently has the backing of state Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla, who also happens to be the new transportation committee chairman for the House of Representatives.

“This looks good,” Roberts said. “But you won’t know until Thursday.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inspector General comes down on Earl Mahfuz

And I mean like they basically accuse him of a crime. You can get the Georgia OIG's full report into the Georgia DOT's recent financial shenanigans from their Web site. This is from the executive summary:
Based on the collective testimony of those interviewed, we find that former GDOT Treasurer Earl Mahfuz abused his authority when he instructed his staff to stop entering contracts into PeopleSoft in June 2008. As GDOT Treasurer he should have known the ramifications of giving such a directive and the impact it would have in the subsequent fiscal year. We find that the timing of his request, the fact that it was contrary to established procedures, and that he was placed on notice to inform the auditors of additional matters that could impact the deficit, suggests a purposeful intent to hide the true state of GDOT’s finances.
I've reached out to Mr. Mahfuz, who remains assistant treasurer at the DOT, through the department's communications staff. I'll update with any comments.

City Councils must get stoned

We've got this guy in Macon named Larry Schlesinger. He's a rabbi and a city councilman and a musician.

He played this weekend at Bragg Jam, which is an annual music festival here in Macon. He changed a few lyrics, but here's Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35, more commonly known as "Everybody must get stoned."


But we would not feel so alone, City Councils must get stoned.

The Rabbi's band here is made up of members from Magnificent Bastard, with Councilwoman Nancy White on the tambourine.

Walker Robins

Well, I'm back. I see that the president said something about a Boston cop and Zell Miller said something about the president while I was gone.

And teachers got a three-day furlough. Hey, I hate it for you, but welcome to the club.

Right before I left I wrote a story about Warner Robins Mayor Donald Walker, who is running for his 5th term. He's one of the great stories in Georgia politics.

Some folks think his time is up. Me, I think I wouldn't want to cross him. From macon.com:
WARNER ROBINS — Mayor Donald Walker says he has a way to save city taxpayers millions of dollars as it builds a new police department.

The city already has $5 million in sales tax revenue earmarked for the project. But Walker knows the complex is going to cost more, maybe $10 million. And he says he can get the money without going to city taxpayers.

But you’d better vote for him, he said, if you want to know how.

You see, Walker’s grandmother made the best pudding in the family. And when she made it, no one was allowed in the kitchen to watch. Walker developed this approach into a political strategy, one he calls the “banana pudding theory.”

“When she died, the banana pudding died,” Walker said last week. “Well, I’m gonna take it with me” if I don’t win.

“I’m not gonna tell anybody that,” he said. “That’s why I’m mayor.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Me and the Speaker, partying at The Masters? Sweet.

I'm leaving town for two weeks, and some kind of post has to sit here at the top the whole time. Was there really any question who it would be about?

Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson runs a PAC called the MMV Alliance Fund.

MMV is the Roman numeral for 2005, the year state Rep. Richardson led the Republican takeover of the House. Former Richardson Chief of Staff Jay Walker serves as treasurer for the PAC and Matt Metcalf, from House Rules Chairman Earl Earhart's office, is the fund's current chairman.

It's not as big as the speaker's personal campaign committee at the moment, but some pretty serious money rolls through it.

One of MMV's expenses from the last six months is a $9,000 outlay to an Augusta real estate broker of some kind. The reason is listed as "lodging expenses" and the payment date is March 24.

Why would a well-connected Georgian need lodging in Augusta shortly after March 24? Possibly because The Masters was April 6-12. There are some significant "event expenses" listed around this time, too, but it's hard to say whether they're related.

On April 8 there was a payout to Fulcher Hagler, an Augusta law firm, for $7,500 in "legal services." My sincere hope is that Speaker Richardson hosted a massive bacchanalia at a rented house in Augusta which required some serious post-party lawyering.

But that seems pretty... well, not unlikely, but unlikely to have been kept a secret. Former state Rep. Barry Fleming works in the speaker's office, and Fulcher Hagler is his firm. Chances are good the payout was for legal services during the legislative session, which ended in early April.

In fact, that's exactly what Richardson Spokesman / Conspiracy Theory Killjoy Marshall Guest says the money was for: "legal services provided during the session."

As for the "lodging expenses," Marshall would only confirm that the speaker "hosted an event in Augusta."

That's not much more information than you can get from the documents, but then they're not required to give any more. This isn't taxpayer money, it comes from political donors. And those donors have every opportunity to review the documents and question how their money was spent.

But, me, I'll just go on assuming that was one awesome party, and hope I get invited next year. Because I'd like to hang out in a big house during The Masters, too.

June revenues: The slide continues

But, for the second month in a row, it didn't get steeper. From the governor's office:
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that net revenue collections for the month of June 2009 (FY09) totaled $1,364,350,000 compared to $1,618,879,000 for June 2008 (FY08), a decrease of $254,529,000 or 15.7 percent.

The percentage decrease year-to-date for FY09 compared to FY08 is 10.5 percent.
Last month we were down 10 percent year-to-date. The month before, 9.5 percent. The month before that, 8 percent.

UPDATE: Obviously this closes out the fiscal year for the state. Aaron over at The AJC says we'll have about $460 million left in reserve funds when the books are closed on FY '09. But a bunch of that is already budgeted, meaning we already planned to spend it in FY 2010, which started July 1.

Bottom line: Expect more state budget cuts, because there ain't much cushion in the piggy bank.

Wash. Post: F-22s no work so good

The Georgia based program takes some serious body blows in this one:
The United States' top fighter jet, the Lockheed Martin F-22, has recently required more than 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the skies, pushing its hourly cost of flying to more than $44,000, a far higher figure than for the warplane it replaces, confidential Pentagon test results show.

The aircraft's radar-absorbing metallic skin is the principal cause of its maintenance troubles, with unexpected shortcomings -- such as vulnerability to rain and other abrasion -- challenging Air Force and contractor technicians since the mid-1990s, according to Pentagon officials, internal documents and a former engineer.
The rain thing is easy to solve - just pour some whiskey on it. Because, as I learned during the 2000 Georgia Southern game, whiskey makes you waterproof... though it doesn't protect Boss Bailey's ACL.

Come to think of it, have we considered diverting F-22 funding to the creation of more Bailey Brothers? They've proven to be pretty awesome.

Hat tip to CL's Fresh Loaf for the link.

Georgia: Good at not giving food stamps to the wrong people

So says this press release from the governor's office:
ATLANTA– Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that the state of Georgia will receive a High Performance Bonus of $4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its management of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program.

“Georgia has made great strides in providing better administration of SNAP,” said Governor Perdue. “I want to commend Commissioner B.J. Walker and all the employees at the Department of Human Services for providing efficient service to some of Georgia’s neediest citizens. In difficult economic times, we will continue to strive to deliver core services to Georgians and serve as a model for the nation.”

The average national payment error rate for FY 2008 was 5.01 percent. Georgia’s average, 2.5 percent, was less than half of the national average. Georgia was also the most improved in the country. In FY 2007, Georgia’s payment error rate was 8.13 percent.

In addition, Georgia also outperformed the nation in the negative error rate which measures whether a state correctly determines eligibility. Georgia’s negative error rate was 4.13 percent, while the national average was 10.88 percent.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

On second thought, Doug MacGinnitie may have a slim chance at secretary of state

Due to exceptional press releasing from secretary of state hopeful Brian Kemp, I may have mistakenly called the 2010 Georgia Secretary of State's race in July of 2009.

Whoops.

Kemp put up a good fundraising number, raising $267,170 in six months. And he's got a ton of endorsements. But Sandy Springs City Councilman Doug MacGinnitie raised $207,127. Throw in another $50,000 from a loan and he's got $223,674 in cash on hand to Kemp's $255,660.

Not exactly a landslide. So I called Mr. MacGinnitie:
Me: Let's see what I wrote about Brian Kemp. "Brian Kemp to crush all mere mortals in Georgia Secretary of State race."

MacGinnitie: Guess I need to be more than a mere mortal then.
Look, buddy, I handle the witty retorts around here.

MacGinnitie said he's been on the Sandy Springs City Council for about two years. He's a businessman and used to be a corporate lawyer, so he's dealt with the Secretary of State's Office quite a bit.
"It's kind of pathetic," he said, "but Ive always been interested in what the secretary of state does and it is my belief... that we need to do everything we can to make it easy for people to start up and grow a business, especially a small business in this state. And the secretary of state doesn't hold all the keys to that equation, but they hold a few of them. ... That's where all the jobs get created out of this kind of recession, is at the small business level."
What does he think about voter I.D.?
"I don't have any problem with it. I think that as long as it's easy to get an I.D. that it passes, kind of the common-sense test. You need an I.D. to buy beer. You need an I.D. to sign up your kid to go play soccer at the church."
Let the record also show that Peachtree City Democrat Gary George Horlacher is also in this race. He raised $169,625 the last six months, though $150,000 of it came from a loan, and he donated another $12,200 to the campaign himself.

A pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania wants Nathan Deal to be Governor in Georgia

You have to wonder: Why would out-of-state companies in the health industry be interested in the Georgia gubernatorial race?

Possibly because U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Health subcommittee. And I believe there's some sort of health care debate going on in Washington.

The following donors, all out of state, and all in the health care industry, are listed on Cong. Deal's filing with the State Ethics Commission:

Watson Laboratories in California: $5,000
U.S. Oncology in Texas: $1,000
Power Mobility Coalition of Texas: $500
... which is lists as a donor the The Scooter Store in Texas: $2,000
Teva Pharmaceutical in Pennsylvania: $6,100
Taro Pharmaceutical in New York: $250
Sandoz in New Jersey: $5,000
The NCPA in Virginia: $5,000
Pride Mobility in Pennsylvania: $5,000

And one in Georgia: United Health Services gave $15,000. UHS can see the future - they not only maxed out by giving $6,100 for the primary and general election, they gave $2,800 for an anticipated primary runoff.

All that adds up to $38,850, or about 4 percent of the $980,290 Deal raised from donors the last six months.

Harris Blackwood, spokesman for the deal campaign, had this to say about the spending: "They certainly have made an investment in our campaign for governor and these are people who support our candidacy."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two more guardsmen killed in Afghanistan

From the Georgia National Guard:
Killed in action were Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr., 25, of Statesboro assigned to Americus' Company D, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry; and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr., 24, of Columbus assigned to Rome's Troop A, 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron. Both died July 6 of wounds sustained from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) near Kunduz, Afghanistan.
Said Georgia Adjutant General William T. Nesbitt, in the same statement:
"Sergeant Chavers and Specialist Johnson, both members of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, were special Soldiers, not only to their own families, but to our Guard family. Their courage and exemplary service reflect the professionalism to which every Soldier aspires."
The news was released about 8 p.m. I don't see any profiles online yet. I'll link them when I do. If you find one, please link it in the comments.

Thurbert Baker: popular with Missouri lawyers, students

Attorney General Thurbert Baker's gubernatorial campaign disclosure: It raises eyebrows.

Ninety-eight of his 437 donors are from out of state. That's about 22 percent. When you look at the amount of money raised out of state it's about 37 percent. As past president of the National Association of Attorneys General, Mr. Baker has presumably made a lot of contacts around the country.

Fifty of Baker's donors maxed out, at least for the primary, by donating $6,100. That's $305,000, or about 43 percent of the $704,331 Mr. Baker has raised.

As Jim Galloway notes, albeit with a slightly different methodology, 115 of Mr. Baker's donations are dated after the June 30 fundraising period ended. Those post-deadline donations amount to about $274,305, or 39 percent.

Which brings us to the Hershewe family of Joplin, Missouri. Alison and Edward Hershewe are both attorneys at The Hershewe Law Firm in Joplin. Open Secrets lists the couple as significant Democratic donors on the national level. They maxed out for both the primary and general election, giving the Baker campaign $12,200 apiece.

Their children, Anne and Mary Hershewe, are listed as students on Baker campaign documents. Both also gave the Baker campaign the maximum: $12,200 apiece. I'm assuming they have high-paying internships, or wildly successful lemonade stands.

All told, the Hershewe family of Joplin, Missouri, has donated $48,800 to Thurbert Baker's gubernatorial campaign.

I left a message for Ed and Alison Hershewe at their law firm this morning, in case they want to comment. Rick Thompson, who heads the Georgia State Ethics Commission, said there's no rule against giving your children money, which they can then donate to a political campaign.

The key is choice: All donations must be made of the donor's own free will, he said.

Baker campaign manager Jeff DiSantis said Baker and Ed Hershewe met through mutual friends. He didn't know Anne and Mary's ages, but said both have reached the "age of majority."

"If they're adults and they want to contribute they're allowed to contribute," DiSantis said. "And the guy's got means and wanted to help. ... We were told that it was their money and they wanted to contribute."

One other example: Out in California Stacey Siebel, homemaker, also maxed out for Mr. Baker, donating $12,200. There's another $12,200 listed as coming from the Siebel Living Trust.

Mrs. Siebel appears to be the wife of Thomas Siebel, whom DiSantis said Baker met through a mutual interest in fighting methamphetamine. I'm not sure how the trust fits in, but Thompson said trusts are often legally separate entities, and thus able to donate as such.

On the national level, Open Secrets shows Mrs. Siebel to favoring Republican candidates with her donations, including U.S. Sen. John McCain. I was unable to find a good telephone number to reach her for comment.

UPDATE: Clever comment from the peanut gallery: They say Georgia elections are won north of I-20. Joplin is north of I-20.

Macon politics: A study in wasting time

I've been here 9 years. This is about par for the course. From Matt Barnwell here at The Telegraph:
Police were summoned to Macon City Hall Tuesday night after City Council President Pro Tem James Timley said one of City Council President Miriam Paris’ sons threatened him.
And that's how Tuesday evening and most of Wednesday died in uselessness. That, and not enough council members showed up Tuesday to pass an open container variance for a music festival coming up later this month.

Council President Paris, by the way, was due in court Monday over this:
Macon police cited City Council President Miriam Paris with two misdemeanors this weekend: failure to restrain a dog and resisting or interfering with an officer. ...

In his report, (Officer) Wantz said he then offered copies of the law to Paris but she said she already had them. At that point, the officer said he asked Paris if she was part of City Council.

“Aaah ... I think I’m the president,” he said she told him. Wantz then asked Paris for identification. She initially refused, saying that she had just gotten off the phone with Chief Mike Burns, and that he told her not to show the officer her ID, according to Wantz.
The case was continued Monday. So we'll all get to waste time on that silliness for a good while longer.

Fundraising totals in the gov's race

There are 16 too many people running for governor.

Totals are given as: (cash raised from Jan. 1 - June 30, 2009, not including loans) / (cash on hand). All information taken from the State Ethics Commission Web site.

DEMOCRATS
Thurbert Baker: $704,331 / $591,220
David Poythress: $156,462 / $264,099
DuBose Porter: $229,400 / $225,068
Carl Camon: No report filed.
Roy Barnes: $0 (Hasn't formally begun campaign, simply does good campaign impression.)

REPUBLICANS
Nathan Deal: $980,290 / $1,149,847
John Oxendine: $416,580 / $1,006,869
Eric Johnson: $962,773 / $913,483
Karen Handel: $431,178 / $325,013
Austin Scott: $171,395 / $85,578
Ray McBerry: $18,596 / $3,424

LIBERTARIAN
John Monds: $3,657 / $2,675
He ran for public service commissioner last year. His bio.

PEOPLE I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF:
Robert Ingham: Listed as running, and he filed a disclosure tallying $104 in spending back in January, but he hasn't filed anything this month. Apparently Mr. Ingham is from Hepzibah, Georgia.
Daniel Emanuel Alvin: Also listed, but hasn't filed anything. He apparently lives in Savannah. Watch out, Eric Johnson!
Matthew Jamison: He registered to run back in January 2008, but didn't file anything this time out.
Berry LaSalle Perkins: Of Atlanta. He's got a campaign committee, but didn't file anything this time out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Following gubernatorial fundraising today

I'm on the road today. But Aaron Gould Sheinen at The AJC has promised to update throughout the day as gubernatorial candidates file their campaign finance documents.

The State Ethics Commission site is also providing a running feed of reports as they are filed. If you look at the feed instead of looking up individual names you hit on things you might not otherwise notice.

For example, Don Leeburn III dropped $34,000 on four candidates in the last six months.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Team Cut and Paste

My man Mike Donila is calling out Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine's gubernatorial campaign for some pretty shoddy plagiarism.

At issue is the same July 3 email blast that Amy Morton, Peach Pundit and SWGA Politics called out for apparent inaccuracies the day Team Oxendine sent it out.

You can read the "written by Team Oxendine" message here, on his campaign Web site. But Mike's right, it's clearly taken from other Internet sources, though a few words have been changed. All you have to do is google a line or two from Commissioner Oxendine's message:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors. These were tortured before they died. Twelve signers had their homes ransacked and burned. Two signers lost sons serving in the Revolutionary Army. Yet another signer had two sons captured. Finally, nine of the 56 signers fought and subsequently died from wounds or hardships received during the Revolutionary War. Indeed, as the last line of the Declaration states, the entire contingent pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
As Mike put it, "You can find that thing, that nearly exact wording, anywhere on the Internet."

When Oxendine's campaign sent this thing out, I didn't really expect it to be an original work. It looks exactly like what it is: A lazy bit of unsourced history taken from the Internet. Not exactly a heartfelt message of patriotism.

But if you're going to specifically write "written by Team Oxendine" on top of something, shouldn't it be? I've emailed the campaign requesting comment. Perhaps they will reply with this.


Chances are also good that Team Oxendine did not paint that picture.

UPDATE: The Oxendine campaign has declined to comment.

Glenn Richardson has all the money, and is backing Nathan Deal

A few interesting things from Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson's just filed campaign finance report:
  • It looks like the speaker has picked a horse in the 2010 governor's race: His campaign gave $6,100 to U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal's campaign. It's the only gubernatorial donation listed. The same goes for House Majority Leader Jerry Keen.
  • All is forgiven for state Rep. Tom Graves, who is running for Deal's seat in Congress. The speaker gave Graves' campaign $1,000 in early June. Graves is running, remember, against Mike Evans (among others), who didn't vote the speaker's way back when Gena Abraham (now Gena Evans) was named DOT commissioner.
  • Just because you don't really have a re-election campaign to worry about doesn't mean the fundraising and strategery trains stop running. Over the last six months the speaker's campaign committee raised about $88,000. There are payouts from the committee totaling more than $11,000 for fundraising services and $25,500 to MMV Consulting (run by former chief of staff Jay Walker) for political consulting. It costs about $1,000 a month in bookkeeping fees alone just to keep track of the cash running through The Committee to Elect Glenn Richardson, Inc.
  • The speaker makes generous donations to McKenna Farms Therapy, which is apparently a group that helps people with special needs. In February his campaign committee donated $17,000 and in April $7,500.

Brian Kemp to crush all mere mortals in Georgia Secretary of State's race

Former State Sen. Brian Kemp, who's running for secretary of state, has just put out a fundraising press release. He's really got the full-court press on, and called personally to make sure we got it.

The release says he's raised an impressive figure this early: $267,170 from 425 different donors. It also lists more than 140 different endorsements that basically reads like he could have just said "every important Republican who can feel free to do endorsements" and just saved some time.

Not only that, but his "Kemp Means Business" teams are dotted with big-time names. The Tarbuttons, Leeburns and Reynolds of our world.

I haven't followed this race very closely, but Sandy Springs City Councilman Doug MacGinnitie is also seeking the GOP nomination. I wish him good luck with that.

UPDATE: Whoa! Let the record show that Doug MacGinnitie don't play, and has raised more than $257,000 in the last six months, with only $50,000 coming from a loan.

As campaign disclosures come in...

The Georgia State Ethics Commission has a new (at least to me) function that allows you to see the last 50 campaign finance reports filed. This is the direct link.

If you keep up with it, it will keep you from having to type in the names of the 74 million people running for governor. But it moves fast. Three more reports have hit since I first looked at the log about 30 minutes ago.

The grace period for filing reports runs out Friday.
----
CORRECTION: As Blake Aued notes, the grace period ends Tuesday night. I misread the ethics commission's calendar.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin has lost her Alaskan mind

Up and quitting your job as governor is pretty crazy, assuming you want to have a future in politics. But Gov. Sarah Palin's press statement is absolutely inexplicable. Read the whole thing, if you can. These are just excerpts.
Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow”.

Nah, only dead fish "go with the flow".

No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time to build up. ...

Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports basketball. I use it because you’re na├»ve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory. ...

In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life - my children (where the count was unanimous... well, in response to asking: "Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children's future from outside the Governor's office?" It was four "yes's" and one "hell yeah!" The "hell yeah" sealed it - and someday I'll talk about the details of that. ...

In the words of General MacArthur said, “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
So, what you're saying is that not quitting is the quitter's way out, and basketball is involved.

In the words of Sam Malone said, let me see if I can put this in a nutshell: What?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Southern Company and cap n' trade lobbying

Environmental super lobbyist Neill Herring called my attention to this piece by The Center for Public Integrity breaking down lobbying efforts on last week's climate change legislation:
With 63 lobbyists, the Atlanta-based energy giant had nearly twice as many climate lobbyists as any other company or organization, according to registration statements filed with the Senate Office of Public Records for the first quarter of 2009. (The second quarter filings won’t be available for a few weeks.) Eleven of Southern’s climate representatives were in-house, while the rest came from a dozen different lobbying shops.

Freemasons and racism

When admitting a black member leads to a court battle, that is not a good sign. And, if you're a member of an organization that requires you to refer to another person as "Worshipful Master," it might be time to re-assess your organization-joining decision making process.

Insider Advantage has a piece with Roy Barnes' and David Poythress' thoughts on the matter. They're both Freemasons and they're both running for governor.
Poythress, a Mason for more than a decade, told Insider Advantage Wednesday afternoon he spoke to the Grand Master after the charges hit the media. “He authorized me to say that he is preparing a public statement that will definitively eliminate the question about whether a person of any race can be a member of Masonry – they can.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

I recommend Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:
You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.

To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags -- that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it. I was from Connecticut, whose Constitution declares "that all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such a manner as they may think expedient."

Under that gospel, the citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth's political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor. That he may be the only one who thinks he sees this decay, does not excuse him; it is his duty to agitate anyway, and it is the duty of the others to vote him down if they do not see the matter as he does.

Macon's Dillard makes short list for Supreme Court

Maybe he's not the biggest name on the list, but he's ours. From the governor's office:
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) has submitted recommendations to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Georgia. The vacancy on the court was created by the resignation of Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. ...

The JNC submitted the following recommendations to fill the vacancy (listed in alphabetical order):

· Stephen Louis A. Dillard – Of Counsel, James, Bates, Pope & Spivey; Macon
· James P. Kelly III – Managing partner of Kelly Law Firm; Atlanta
· David E. Nahmias – U.S. Attorney; Northern District of Georgia
· Samuel D. Ozburn –Superior Court Judge; Alcovy Judicial Circuit
· William M. Ray II – Superior Court Judge; Gwinnett County
· Craig L. Schwall Sr. – Superior Court Judge; Fulton County
· Mary E. Staley – Superior Court Judge; Cobb County
· Benjamin W. Studdard III – State Court Chief Judge; Henry County
· Rocco E. Testani – Partner, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; Atlanta
At 39, Dillard is the youngest of the nominees. He's also the only one from south of Henry County.

Ain't we got no other good lawyers in South and Middle Georgia?