Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thurbert Baker on Genarlow Wilson and Oaky Woods

The questions here are paraphrases. The answers include both "direct quotes" and paraphrases. Interview conducted Saturday at FVSU.

L.I.: Will Genarlow Wilson's case be a reason that people who would otherwise vote for you won't?
BAKER: "I think everything's going to be an issue in this campaign. ... I think what you do in all of these cases is you're straight forward. You tell people" why you took a position. As governor you don't have the luxury of focusing on just one issue. "I'm concerned about every issue."
Why not investigate the whole Oaky Woods / Florida land deal thing? That seemed like it would be on a platter for a Democratic attorney general.
"We don't make a decision to investigate a matter based on political party affiliation." We look for state violations, not federal. "I'm not commenting that we've had an investigation. I'm just commenting that any matter that comes before us receives the same analysis."
My bad on the second question. I blew it by bringing in the parties.

Perdue: Not looking to be UGA's prez ... now

You have to have to go through a few publications to get down to the core rumor this one's based on, but I asked Gov. Sonny Perdue Saturday if he wants to replace Michael Adams as president at his alma mater and mine, the University of Georgia.

Said Perdue: "I'm honored to be in that league, but I have not had any conversations with anybody about that. ... I'm going to be liberated Citizen Sonny (after I leave the governor's mansion). ... I don't know what's in store. ... I'm not campaigning for any job."

As he walked away, Gov. Perdue gave me a friendly shuck on the shoulder and said, "But it would be a cool job, wouldn't it?"

The twinkle in his eyes as he left aside, I'd say the governor pretty much shot this one down ... for now. It's worth noting that when I spoke to President Adams last week he said his timetable for retirement is in 4-6 years.

From Mr. Wheatley in the comments: Fictitious sources tell me Perdue might go to Truett-McConnell for a couple of years and then transfer.

Roy Barnes is sucking the oxygen out of the room

Yesterday was my first opportunity to see all the Democratic candidates for governor in the same room together.

They met at Fort Valley State University and did a little Q&A session with about 150 people. And during that session, and the milling about afterward, former Gov. Roy Barnes just dominated the place.

He walks around like a man who's already got the nomination. People want to talk to him, and he's damn glad to see them and remembers how he helped them out the last time they saw each other, you know, when he was governor.

I'll give you an example from the Q&A session. While all the candidates were promising (LIBERAL!) government solutions to most of the state's ills, someone stood up and said he couldn't get any state contracts, and he wants minority participation requirements enforced.

All the candidates agreed that was important. But Barnes just said you have a guy in your office who does that, and his guy was Irwin Mitchell (I'm unsure of the spelling). He said you'd be surprised how quickly department heads take care of something if they know the governor's interested in it.

"I would not sign a bond issue unless there was a minority participant," he said in closing.

I don't know how another Democratic candidate competes with answers like that.

Clockwise: Atty. Gen. Thurbert Baker, former Gov. Roy Barnes, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter. Duh.

I asked Rep. Porter that very question: "People know that ... when the Democrats lost the majority, that I stayed and rebuilt the caucus," he said.

The Tea Party folks should be against Georgia's Republican leaders, he said. He talked about the fight to keep cutting HTRG in the state budget, saying: "I was the one leading the fight to protect (property tax breaks)."

Meanwhile: I have this microphone and I'm making sense, but ...

(Please note: not a real quote.)

Retired Gen. David Poythress

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When a gun goes off at school

A handgun went off at Bloomfield Middle School here in Bibb County earlier this week. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But the school system has not been very forthcoming on the details of how this happened. Telegraph Executive Editor Sherrie Marshall:
"We simply believe that when a gun goes off in a classroom with students and a teacher that the system ought to be more forthcoming with details.”
If people can't see that, I just don't know what they're looking at.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A friendly and uniting and endearing spirit

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert has a little statue of Jesse Mercer, namesake of Mercer University, in his office. It's adorned with several quotes, including this one:
"Amongst many of you a friendly and uniting and endearing spirit is too little cultivated."
I don't know that I've ever seen Macon politics so well summarized.

Job well done for WR boys, but they fall short in Little League World Series

In case you missed it last night, California beat Georgia's Little League team in the bottom of the 6th. They're heading home. From Joe Kovac at The Telegraph:
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The California kids came hoofing in from the West. Big hombres sporting cool-blue jerseys and pants as gray as the overcast Pennsylvania evening, clubs in tow, striding across the long grass toward the batting cages where their foes from down South were warming up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I don't know, but I wish they'd been closer together

Does it say anything, you think, that the Nuwaubians, who call jailed child molester Malachi York their Supreme Grand Master and may believe he is from another planet, and the Tea Party folks drew roughly the same number of people to separate protests, held at roughly the same time, in downtown Macon yesterday?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tommy Benton v. Marijuana: The best story in Georgia politics right now?

Blake Aued: State Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, wants to cane potheads:
"That is what they do in Singapore and they don’t have a drug problem," (Benton wrote).

He went on to threaten to turn the e-mailer in to the authorities:

“You don’t want to legalize weed because of your conservative values. Pardon my French but that is a big old pile of bull crap. You and your cronies want it legalized so you can get a hit anytime without having to worry about getting arrested. I have forwarded your email to the Lowndes County sheriffs office so that they can be on the lookout for you. Consider this my last correspondence on the the subject to you or anyone else who shares your similar “conservative views’.”
Blake's follow: Tommy Benton is not happy, and NORML is threatening him.

That's a story with serious potential. Not to bring about a serious debate on drugs, of course, but with potential get more interesting before it gets less.

Lucid Idiocy poll: Which of these ideas would probably work in America, but also probably won't be considered reasonable by most people in your lifetime:

a. Legalizing and taxing marijuana.
b. Caning people for drug usage.
c. Both.

Singapore, by the way, had the highest execution rate in the world in 2004, according to CNN.

Ethics complaint filed against Deal

Last week's AJC story about U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal's (shady) salvaged vehicle inspection deal with the state has led to a formal ethics complaint.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, has put out a strongly worded press release using phrases like "violating House rules and federal law by intervening with Georgia political leaders" and "may have committed a federal crime by using his position and congressional resources to engage in self-dealing."

That's not likely to help Congressman Deal's gubernatorial campaign.

UPDATE: The AJC has a response from Deal. He didn't do nothing wrong and welcomes this opportunity to defend himself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Scott: Georgia is beautiful

Gubernatorial hopeful Austin Scott is scheduled to finish his 1,000 mile walk through much of Georgia Saturday at the Georgia State Capitol.

He should slow down so he doesn't have to share media with the governor's fish fry in Perry on the same day.

Selections from his Twitter feed below. He started his walk June 27:

It's a beautiful day in Georgia. I am looking forward to listening to the needs of Georgians, visit God Bless!

I am walking through Cairo, GA this morning. Birthplace of Jackie Robinson. My fellow rep. Gene Maddox is going to take us around today.

Walking through Thomasville. I am enjoying all of the beautiful buildings, but most of all I am enjoying the shade.

I started this morning at Jekyll Island, beautiful place, walked across the 2 mile bridge between Jekyll and Brunswick. Georgia is beautiful.

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

(This appears to be a Calvin Coolidge quote. But we're giving Rep. Scott a pass. It's more fun to mess with John Oxendine, anyway. For the record "- Calvin Coolidge" would have fit by my count.)

Heading into Augusta, rain or shine

How many other gubernatorial candidates are out listening to voters at six a.m. on a Saturday?

These folks driving past me walking in the pouring rain in Wilkes County won't forget me once they find out why I'm here.

Walking through Washington, GA this cloudy morning...what a beautiful place this is.

Up into the hills of north Georgia in the hot summer's like three-a-days.

I just left the radio interview on WGKA's "Money Talks", now heading back out to walk. I'll finish at the Capitol this Saturday at 10am!
7:46 AM Aug 23rd

If any of you are up at Lake Burton, I'm walking down Burton Dam Road toward Batesville, come walk with me!
1:17 PM Aug 23rd
Images: Toni James for Scott for Georgia.

It would be somewhat difficult to count the number of street signs Rep. Scott poses with, media interviews he mentions and people he mentions between the campaign site and his Twitter feed.

I'm not sure walking through the Georgia in the summer heat is going to help anyone actually become governor. But the more I think about it, it might actually help someone be governor.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Monday Morning: Did SB 168 smack State Ethics?

State ethics item at bottom.

You know you're rocking it when someone writes this about you:
The 11- and 12-year-old Georgia boys will play the final game of pool play against the Northwest today at 4 p.m. But regardless of the outcome, Robins will advance as the No. 1 seed because of tie-breaker edges on the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic teams.
Joe Kovac, The Telegraph.

From The Chattanooga Times. You can almost figure out the answer just by seeing the question:
Student researchers have been collecting discarded cigarette butts from around Chattanooga and the UTC campus and letting them sit in bottles of water to see what elements leak out.
Run downs on legislative lobbying expenses. Always worth a look. From Creative Loafing and Atlanta Unfiltered..

Maconite Nancy Grace was in Macon this weekend. Pictured here is the line.

Image: Grant Blankenship, The Telegraph.

This is ****ing crafty. Dick Pettys reporting:
SB 168, the measure which requires the state revenue commissioner to report the names of tax-delinquent legislators to their respective ethics committees... tucked inside the measure was an amendment restricting the ethics commission’s ability to make new rules.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Perdue: No political plans in 2011, economy likely bottoming

As we waited for the championship Warner Robins girls softball team to return from the World Series last night at Hartsfield-Jackson, I spoke to Gov. Sonny Perdue about his game plan once his second term is up.

He said he has no plans to seek political office. He said term limits are "for a purpose," but stopped short of saying he wouldn't run for governor again if he could.

"I'm going to be citizen Sonny," he said.

He said you leave office and live under the laws passed while you served.

"So you won't be speeding," I said.

"I won't be "super speeding," he replied.

The governor also expressed some limited optimism about state revenues. Basically, the line of descent is shallowing, as I think we can see in the economy in general.

"It's too early to predict a turn around, but it does appear that we're bottoming," Perdue said.

I know none of this is particularly hard-hitting journalism, but it didn't seem right to pepper the governor with questions while we were waiting for 12-year-old girls who just won the coolest thing in their lives to get off a plane.

By the way, the governor's annual fish fry is next weekend in Perry. You have to figure that will be ground zero for the day in Georgia politics and the 2010 governor's race.

The governor and softball

Gov. Sonny Perdue showed up at the Atlanta airport this evening to welcome his hometown, world champion, Warner Robins softball team back to Georgia.

Sonny Perdue: No one keeps it realer.
Image: Beau Cabell, The Telegraph.
UPDATE, caption of the week: Oh my God, Sonny is a terrorist!

A few things:

1. When you're governor and you need to go to the airport, but you're not actually flying anywhere, they let you just drive onto the tarmac and park next to the plane you're meeting. That's got to be sweet.

2. The governor had the state DOT change some of its traffic condition signs along I-75 southbound so they gave the girls a welcome home message. I watched him make that phone call from the airport. Also sweet.

3. I'm thinking of running for governor.

4. Karen Handel is missing a massive opportunity on this girls softball thing. There were at least 300 people waiting for the team to make it back to Warner Robins at almost 11 p.m. If I'm a female candidate for statewide office, I'm there with a check. And it's at least $1 more than the one Roy Barnes gave the boys.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

That is a massive catfish

Remember all that stuff legislators said about counties over-stating the taxable value of property in this economy? That's what makes this ironic. From WMAZ in Macon:
Laurens County has thrown out its 2009 tax revaluation because the state believes its values are too low, according to the chairman of the county commission.
Holy cow, 103 pounds is a really big catfish. I imagine that picture will get e-mailed around a lot.

It was caught in the Ocmulgee River, near Warner Robins.

Tomorrow a new credit card law goes into effect requiring more notice from your credit card company before they raise the interest rate, which you can refuse. Details from The Wall Street Journal.

The Warner Robins girls softball team has won the World Series, beating Crawford, Texas, 14-2. The Telegraph used the word "crushed" in the first sentence:
Warner Robins American crushed Crawford, Texas in the Little League Softball World Series championship game Wednesday night, 14-2.

WRALL had 10 hits. Carson Carriker was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.
Awesome. Full coverage of the just ended game available later at

Image: Chris Ryan for The Telegraph.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WR baseball: Awesome

8:30 Wednesday update: The Warner Robins girls softball team has won the World Series, they are world champions.
From Joe Kovac this past Saturday:
The half-century-old Warner Robins league now boasts World Series teams in softball and baseball. Little League officials say they don’t know of a time that has happened.

It is the baseball squad’s second run to Williamsport royalty since 2007, when, on the wings of a game-winning homer in extra innings broadcast live on network TV, the young sportsmen from the Peach State captured the respect of even casual observers with their aw-shucks composure and genuine compassion for the heartbroken Japanese boys they’d just outlasted.

New guy riding herd on stimulus in Georgia

For the record, it's Sid Johnson replacing Celeste Osborn, who is retiring at the end of August.

From the governor's office:
Johnson most recently served on the faculty of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. At the Carl Vinson Institute, he was involved in the management and delivery of leadership development programs for state government managers.

From 2004 through 2008, Johnson served as the Director of Implementation for the Commission for a New Georgia. As the Director of Implementation, Johnson and his staff worked with the executive branch and legislators to ensure that recommendations from the Commission for a New Georgia were implemented throughout state government. The Commission for a New Georgia is a program that was created in 2003 by Governor Perdue to promote a management overhaul in state agencies to create an effective, more efficient government.

Johnson’s other work experience includes working as Partner at The Leadership Center and serving in various state agencies including the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. He also worked in investment banking for SunTrust. He graduated with a business degree from the University of Tennessee and a government administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania. ...

Others that will continue to play a key role in the state’s accountability efforts are: Debbie Dlugolenski, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget; Susan Ridley, Director of the GA State Financing and Investment Commission; Russell Hinton, State Auditor; Greg Griffin, State Accounting Officer; and Liz Archer, Inspector General.

Simple and smart: Barnes supports local region champ little leaguers

Anybody running for governor could have shown up in Warner Robins today with a $2,500 check to help the local Little League team pay for its trip to the Little League World Series.

But Roy Barnes was the one who did it.

The only downside: The kids weren't there for the pictures. They left for the series straight from the regionals in West Virginia.

By the way, Warner Robins has a girls softball team in the Softball World Series right now, too.

Live from the Georgia Chamber luncheon

Not a lot of earth shattering news at the moment. We do have about 75 protesters here, most of whom have come from the south Georgia portion of Cong. Sanford Bishop's district to make their thoughts known on health care.

I counted about 75 folks, most of them with poster-board signs, and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson shook most of their hands.

"We're standing firm," against the president's health care reforms, Isakson said.

Later Isakson told fellow Telegraph reporter Thomas Day that he didn't think bipartisan compromise efforts would move through Congress, partly because the Democratic leadership won't allow Republican-sponsored bills out of committee.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is also here, and he looks well. He said his recovery from back surgery has gone "extremely well."

UPDATE: They just introduced the four congressmen (John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Lynn Westmoreland and Nathan Deal) who will serve as an issue discussion panel. I would describe the applause as tepid.

UPDATE: The panelists discussed their positions on health care reform, cap and trade, the union/card check bill, Atlanta's water needs and immigration reform. Nothing you haven't heard before if you're paying attention, I don't think.

Keich, guns and money

Former Telegraph reporter and Lucid Idiocy contributor Keich Whicker recently returned from Turkey. I believe he was studying to be a paid assassin for America's freedom, through a program with the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

The plan is to publish some of his thoughts on the 6-week trip later this week. A picture of him with a mustache appears below.

I can almost guarantee Keich likes headlines with the word "Boondoggle" in them, even in The NY Times: One’s Boondoggle, Another’s Necessity

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual congressional luncheon in Perry is today. I should have words and pictures before noon.

Finally, without commenting on the wisdom of allowing automatic weapons at large events and outside buildings where the president is appearing, let me say this: If you at all want to overcome the image of a dangerous gun toting nut, carrying a rifle to see the president is probably not the way to do it.

All the jokes I have are inappropriate for this blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Like a complete unknown

I wonder if the president is about to invite Bob Dylan and a couple of New Jersey cops to the White House for a beer?

In other news, I took a last-minute trip to the beach late last week, but I'm back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

July Revenue figures down

You might note the year-to-date numbers look a little better than last month (when we were down 10.5 percent year to date). But that's because a new fiscal year started July 1.

From the governor's office:
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that net revenue collections for the month of July 2009 (FY10) totaled $1,096,238,000 compared to $1,213,291,000 for July 2008 (FY09), a decrease of $117,053,000 or 9.6 percent.

The percentage decrease year-to-date for FY10 compared to FY09 is 9.6 percent.

The problem with the halls of fame

Macon's legislative delegation, or at least most of it, held a press conference today to say they'll work together on a new funding deal for the sports and music halls of fame, which are state run museums in Macon that have hit hard by budget cuts.

Perhaps they will get a deal done when the new General Assembly session opens next year, which they were unable to do earlier this year. Perhaps those who want to see the halls move from Macon to Atlanta will drop those efforts.

But there seems to be at least one bedrock issue that's pretty hard to correct at the halls of fame, and certainly won't be addressed by throwing a couple hundred thousand dollars a year at them: We built two 43,000 square foot museums dedicated to the sports and music heroes of one (admittedly awesome) state.

From The Telegraph's archives:
The Telegraph contacted officials in seven Southern states to see whether they had halls of fame. Most of the halls contacted are "halls" in name only. Mostly, they either don't have a building or they piggyback on another museum or arena. Tennessee's sports hall, for example, is a series of plaques in a Nashville coliseum that honors inductees. North Carolina's is part of a state history museum.

None of the organizations contacted received as much of their budget from public sources as Georgia's halls of fame. And none of the states researched by The Telegraph had a state hall of fame on the scale of Georgia's, where both museums are about 43,000 square feet full of memorabilia. Tennessee has a Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville more than twice the size of Georgia's music hall, but it's dedicated to country music from all around, not just Tennessee.

That museum also is located in the country music capital of the world and drew nearly 438,000 visitors last year. That's more than Georgia's music hall has drawn in the past eight years combined.

Alabama's halls may offer the best comparison. The music hall in Tuscumbia is 15,000 square feet. The sports hall in Birmingham is 33,000 square feet. Both receive sizeable subsidies from the state and, in the sports hall's case, from local government.

"I don't know that we could ever be entirely self-sufficient without some help," said Bill Legg, Alabama sports hall's executive director.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The $1,500 stimulus signs

This was mentioned briefly on Peach Pundit the other day. It does indeed appear that the government will spend roughly $3,000 per stimulus transportation project to put up signs saying they are stimulus projects.

From David Spear at the Georgia DOT:
The cost isn’t really definitive on a national basis as some states are making their own while others, like us, include them as a deliverable line item in our bid packages. Ours are averaging more like $1,500 to $1,700 per sign. We are not required, but are strongly encouraged, by FHWA to erect two of them on all stimulus projects which we are doing. As to a number, it would be fair to say that since we have 97 projects that have been awarded that there are 194 signs either built or being fabricated. I know the signs are being criticized but they really are no different than many communities do for SPLOST projects. The goal is to be able to show the public exactly what they are getting for their stimulus investment.
He's right about the SPLOST signs. And this is the Obama administration's position on the signs:
On March 3, 2009 President Obama made the commitment that all projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will bear a recovery emblem to make it easier for Americans to see which projects are funded by the ARRA. To meet this commitment, FHWA strongly encourages agencies to use the economic recovery signs on all projects funded by the ARRA.

Image: The Federal Government.

House transport vetting Perdue appointment

TUESDAY UPDATE: In a unanimous vote, the subcommittee recommended Mr. Long's approval to the full committee, which will begin its own hearings Aug. 19. From the House Communications Office:
“I was very pleased with today’s meeting. Mr. Long impressed me with his understanding of our transportation needs and seems prepared to be Georgia’s first Director of Planning at GDOT,” said Rep. Ed Rynders (R-Albany), Chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Approval of the Director of Planning. “The historical significance of the House’s role in Mr. Long’s approval should not be overlooked.”
The sub-committee that will help decide whether Gov. Sonny Perdue gets his first choice in as DOT planning director (that's the new position that basically gets to set spending priorities for the department) meets tomorrow morning in Atlanta.

I'd say there's a chance for some inside baseball fireworks. When Gov. Perdue announced Todd Long as his choice for the position the speaker's office was quick to point out that the governor's choice had to be confirmed by the House Transportation Committee.

The governor's news release on the appointment failed to mention that. It's possible that this has been ironed out in the interim and a deal has already been cut to confirm Mr. Long as the planning director.

The opposite is also possible. I understand state Rep. Ed Rynders, who will chair the subcommittee meeting, is "a real bulldog" who can make things tough on interviewees if he wants to.

Either way, the sub committee meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Real time video of the meeting should be available on the Internet here.

Other subcommittee members, according to the House Communications Office:
State Rep. Jon Burns, state Rep. Jay Roberts (House Transportation Committee Chairman), state Rep. Donna Sheldon, state Rep. Barry Loudermilk, state Rep. Jeff May, state Rep. Steve Davis, state Rep. Glenn Baker, state Rep. Bob Bryant and state Rep. David Lucas.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Roy Barnes in Macon today (UPDATED)

The campaign is keeping it quiet (for example, the local Democratic Party chairman said he didn't know about it), but former Gov. Roy Barnes is expected in Macon today about noon.

He's meeting with some local politicos at this law firm.


Images: Woody Marshall, The Telegraph.

I spoke to Gov. Barnes for several minutes after what appeared to be a very well attended, and rather exclusive, barbecue lunch with local democrats. It was your basic meet-and-greet scheduled in part, he said, because Barnes had to be in court here in Bibb County today on a civil case.

As for news, we talked about water policy. He said the state should focus on conservation and make state funding available to help municipalities fix leaky pipes.

He also said he'd "absolutely" support a mandate to install low-flow toilets and other water-saving measures in "all new construction," as well as incentives to retrofit existing buildings.

By the way, the pink bracelet he's wearing says "Brianna" on it. He said a woman in his law office has a granddaughter with a neuroblastoma, which is a type of cancer.

The folks in his office are wearing the bracelets until she gets better.

Walker to Board of Regents

Former Houston County state Rep. Larry Walker, who surprised many by resigning from the State Transportation Board in June, will join the Georgia Board of Regents instead, he said this morning.

Walker, who has been replaced on the DOT board by Ocilla road builder Sidney Ross, said Gov. Sonny Perdue asked him some time ago if he'd prefer to be a regent as opposed to a DOT board member. He said yes.

"It's as simple as that," Walker said.

The 18 member board oversees the state university system. Though it must deal with slumping revenues in a down economy, the regents aren't affected by the same controversies surrounding the DOT board, where audits have shown financial mismanagement and the governor and other state leaders have moved to strip the board of power.

Asked for his initial priorities for the new job, the long-time former legislator said he'd start by listening.

"I've got a lot to learn," he said.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Special House elections set for Nov. 3

Same day as municipal elections across the state. From the governor's office:
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue today issued writs of special election for State House Districts 58, 129 and 141.

The vacancies are due to the resignations of Rep. Robin Shipp, Rep. Vance Smith, Jr. and Rep. Bobby Parham.

The special elections to fill the vacancies will be held Tuesday, November 3 in conjunction with municipal elections. Qualifying dates will be set by the Secretary of State’s office.
UPDATE: Qualifying has been set. From the Secretary of State's Office:
Monday, August 31 through Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Qualifying on Monday will run from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; on Tuesday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.; and on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Candidates will qualify in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 1104 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1505. The qualifying fee is $400.

Air Force One kills the wabbit

Remember back in April, when the federal government sent the president's plane in low over New York for a photo op?

Like a lot of media organizations, I filed a Freedom of Information request for the pictures taken during the flight. The Department of Defense filled that request this week, and I put most of the 146 images they sent me into a video, set to Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.

For those who don't get the Bugs Bunny reference: Fudd.
Video hosted by The Macon Telegraph.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Michael Moore's on the short list for U.S. attorney in Middle Georgia

And it may be a very short list. His is the only name I've heard. More details on the main site:
Houston County attorney and former state Sen. Michael Moore is apparently on the short list to become Middle Georgia’s next U.S. Attorney.

Moore would not confirm his candidacy Tuesday, and neither would a White House spokesman. But an FBI agent has contacted local politicos, apparently as part of a standard background check on Moore, a Democrat who served in the Georgia Senate in 2002 and 2003.
Michael Moore... that takes me back. You want to talk about a guy you had to watch during campaign season.

This is from a piece I wrote in January 2002, when he was running for a state senate seat:
State Senate candidate Michael Moore mailed political fliers that misquote The Macon Telegraph.

The fliers — which were mailed to minority voters and deal with Moore and opponent Jay Walker's stances on hate crime legislation — contain the sentence: "Say no to Republican Jay Walker." Directly below that statement, which does not appear in quotation marks on the flier, is a citation for The Telegraph's Jan. 4 edition. Both the statement and the citation appear twice on the flier.

That statement — "Say no to Republican Jay Walker" — has never appeared in The Telegraph, not in an editorial, not in an opinion column, not in a news article. In fact, The Telegraph's editorial board, which operates separately from the news department, endorsed Walker in the District 18 Senate race. Walker and Moore meet in a runoff for that race Tuesday.

Moore conceded Saturday that the statement in his flier did not appear in The Telegraph. He said the flier does not imply that it did, and that the only words in the flier that came from the Telegraph were "Republican" and "Jay Walker."

Walker is a long-time Democrat, but has said many times he'd "probably" switch to the Republican Party. He was paraphrased to that effect in a news article in The Telegraph Jan. 4.

Moore said he didn't think "a reasonable person" reading the flier would conclude that The Telegraph had opposed Walker in the election.
Stay classy, counselor.

Mr. Moore won that primary against Jay Walker, by the way. But he lost in the general election to Ross Tolleson, the current state senator from that area.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Middle Georgia U.S. Atty Max Wood running for Atty General

A longer story should be up on the main site shortly:
Max Wood, until recently the U.S. attorney for the Middle Georgia area, will run for state attorney general, he said Monday.

Wood, a Republican, filed paperwork to seek the office Monday, just a few days after leaving the attorney general’s office. A Bush appointee to the Macon-based office in 2001, Wood resigned to make way for Pres. Obama to appoint his own U.S. attorney in the area, as is customary.

Wood joins a relatively crowded field for the state’s top attorney job, which current Attorney General Thurbert Baker is leaving to seek the governorship. Fellow Republican Sam Olens, current chairman of the Cobb County Commission in metro Atlanta, is already in the race. So are Democrats Rob Teilhet, a state representative in metro Atlanta, and Ken Hodges, a former Dougherty County District Attorney.
Also in this race, Teilhet announced an endorsement from the legislative black caucus chair today.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Atl. Unfiltered: Where the money went at DOT

Good stuff from Atlanta Unfiltered:
In the audit’s back pages, drawing little media attention, auditors asked the question: “Where did the cash go?”‘

Their answer: C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc, Archer-Western Contractors Ltd. and E.R. Snell Contractor Inc.

In fiscal year 2002, the three companies earned a total of $21.4 million from Georgia DOT contracts. Six years later, in FY 2008, the three contractors collected $907 million — 42 times the 2002 total.