At 8:30, you can watch several old white people compete for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Tune in to hear that, though Republicans were mocked for calling the Democrats Socialists just a year or so ago, there’s now a Democratic Socialist in strong contention – and why that’s not the same as saying Democrats are Socialists, even though the words are. exactly. the. same.

Tune in to hear Hillary Clinton not answer questions she could have answered a year ago by saying these questions have been asked and answered.  Bonus: watch to see if her campaign team tries to rope off the moderators in an attempt to keep them from asking her questions other than “queso or guacamole?”

Tune in to see if Mayor Carcetti announces Season 6 of The Wire.

Tune in to determine if the Lincoln Motor Company or Lincoln Chaffee better represents your memories of the seventies.

And, for fun, enjoy candidates that accidentally acknowledge Jim Webb call him a Republican (Jim Webb for Speaker?).

OK, whatevs.  My partisan sleights are rusty.  Fill in your own observations below.  OPEN THREAD:


Lawton already told you about the 4.6% increase in state tax revenues last month. The press release from Governor Deal’s office stated that:

House Bill 170, which introduced an array of tax reforms and new tax legislation beginning on July 1, generated transportation revenue of $74.3 million in September.

Where did that number come from, and does it really represent a $74 million tax increase, which annualizes out to about $892 million? My analysis says not really.

Looking at the spreadsheet provided with the press release, we can see how the $74 million was arrived at. $689,000 came from highway impact fees — the fees for heavy or electric vehicles that were mandated by HB 170. Another $13,297,000 came from the $5 per room per night hotel motel tax. The final $60,344,000 came from increased motor fuel tax revenues. Let’s break that down a bit more.

In order to be completely accurate in my analysis, I would need to know the number of gallons of gasoline, diesel fuel, and other fuel types sold in both September 2014 and September 2015. That’s because the tax rates on the different types of fuels vary, and the differing rates will skew the numbers slightly. For my analysis, I assume that all fuel consumed was gasoline. While that affects the number of gallons of fuel purchased, I don’t believe it affects the end result too much. [click to continue…]


Vivian Childs has announced her candidacy to fill the remaining term of retiring Senator Ross Tolleson in Senate District 20. She joins fellow Republicans Larry Walker, III and Michael Reece in the race.

The District covers most of Houston County, plus all of Bleckley, Laurens, and Pulaski counties. Dates have not been set for the special election or qualifying for the race.

Vivian Childs

Vivian is a youth minister, author, and GOP activist (former GAGOP District Chair, GA-8). She previously ran for the U.S. House in GA-2. Childs shared:

“We are the people. This office doesn’t belong to an individual, it belongs to the people.”

Michael Reece

Michael Reece owns a HVAC company, a flight training school, and a small car lot. He is a newcomer to politics. Reece shared:

“I’m not doing it for the money; there’s no money to be made in it.”

Larry Walker, III

Larry Walker, III owns Walker Insurance Agency and previously ran for the GA House this year in District 146. He received 43.05% of the vote in the August 11, 2015 runoff. Walker shared:

“I have been encouraged to run for this seat by people all over the district because they believe I am the right leader to effectively represent this district.”


Full disclosure:  I served with Vivian Childs as a District Chair and donated to her GA-2 race. I also like cats.

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An announcement was made today by Gov. Deal stating that Georgia’s net tax collections for September, 2015 totaled almost $1.97 billion, an increase of about $83.4 million (4.6%) from September, 2014. This brings the final net tax revenue collections to $5.13 billion for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which is up $438.7 million (9.4%) from last year.

In addition, $74.3 million was generated for transportation due to changes implemented by House Bill 170.

The following is a breakdown of the September, 2015 revenues in comparison to September, 2014:

Description Amount Collected Change From Sept., 2014 Percentage Increase
Individual income taxes $1.01 billion $62.3 million 6.6%
Gross Sales & Use Tax $865.2 million $7.8 million 0.9%
Net Sales & Use Tax $444.1 million -$1.5 million -0.3%
Corporate income taxes $187.1 million $2.5 million 1.4%


A copy of the September, 2015 financial report can be seen after the break. [click to continue…]


Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr says the recent report and investigation into alleged corruption into DeKalb County government should be taken seriously and not dismissed out of hand.

“Rather than be dismissed out-of-hand as [interim DeKalb CEO Lee] May has done, the report should serve as the foundation for a far more extensive and detailed investigation by appropriate officials at the state and perhaps the federal level as well,” Barr said in a statement being reported by Brookhaven Patch.

Barr’s comments are the latest development in a series of crises and controversies surrounding DeKalb’s government since an investigation, conducted by former state Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde, was released three weeks ago. It cited widespread corruption and improper spending from many elected and appointed county officials, including local commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader, both of whom have responded to the report’s allegations.

The report also called on May to resign.



Georgia Tech was founded on this day in 1885. Remember to hug a nerd today.

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It’s just after midnight, and I’ve returned home after an afternoon run to Athens to talk to the Athens Clark County GOP.

On the way over, many of my thoughts were on two non-firings.  One, of Speaker John Boehner (who actually resigned, yet remains on the job).  The other, UGA’s head football coach Mark Richt. He, I think is in no danger of being fired, but yet is subject to the same type of folks who must express a strong opinion when they experience something that displeases them and demand someone, somewhere do something.  In today’s social media driven world, it appears someone should always be offered in tribute when the world isn’t found to be perfect.

I’d like to hope that in these days of too many adults acting like unaccountable children that demand someone else must be held accountable when they’re angry, we’re near a cultural bottom and that we’re near a rebound.  Then I read stories like this one, that tells me that the stereotype of the coddled and entitled millennial may actually be capturing some of their better attributes.  Maybe I should just be proud that society functions as well as it does, and appreciate it while it lasts.

We had a good meeting in Athens, with some good frank discussion, a lot of puffed up pontification from me and Jon Richards, a good meal and good fellowship afterwards spanning 3 generations, and the drive home.

On the way home, I was alerted that the Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, has decided to retire, effective immediately.  There will be many in Athens happy to see him go.  He’s had our number, and he has never been shy about letting us know it.  He taught our school how to really hate losing.  Hell, he taught us how to anticipate losing.  That, frankly, should be unforgivable.   [click to continue…]


This week’s Courier Herald column:

A little more than two weeks ago, the people who proclaim to be the “true conservatives” and “the base” of the Republican party got their wish. John Boehner got “fired”. He actually agreed to resign, upon the naming of his successor. No matter. From those demanding his head, and those more than willing to pour gas on that fire, victory was declared.

Last week those same folks claimed victory again. Those whose entire plan for the U.S. House stopped at “fire Boehner” are now claiming success in that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will also not be Speaker. This time, however, the group of roughly 40 Congressmen most willing to appease the naysayers settled on a plan: They wanted Daniel Webster of Florida.

Never mind that Florida is undergoing court ordered redistricting and according to NPR’s Jessica Taylor, Webster’s seat is proposed to go from a +4 Republican advantage to a +18 Democratic advantage. The House Freedom Caucus isn’t known for setting up long term strategy, so asking them not to set up a Democratic defeat of a sitting Speaker would apparently be too much to ask.

Long-term strategy isn’t important to those who have hijacked the “conservative” label. These are the people that see no irony in calling themselves “the base” yet threaten to sit out every election. What is important to these folks – or at least to those that prey upon them – is the ability to keep them angry. Angry people are usually willing to put aside pesky details like strategy or even truth so long as their anger is fed. And there are plenty willing to feed this anger – for a price. [click to continue…]


The Clyde Strickland Entrepreneurship Center at Gwinnett's Discovery High School.  Photo:  Entrepreneur Center Twitter Page

The Clyde Strickland Entrepreneurship Center at Gwinnett’s Discovery High School.
Photo: Entrepreneurship Center Twitter Page

In Gwinnett County, students are being exposed to a new way of learning. Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest system in Georgia, is starting to implement an academy learning model in seven of its high schools. Students choose the academy they want to join, and take courses designed around the academy’s focus. At the system’s new Discovery High School, which opened in August, there are four academies: Business and Entrepreneurship, Fine Arts and Communication, Health and Human Services, and STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Of all the academies, the Entrepreneur program is perhaps the most unique.

The Entrepreneurship academy is based in the school’s Clyde Strickland Entrepreneurship Center. Almost a school within a school, the center features a large open area for group instruction, plus several classrooms separated by garage doors which can be opened or closed in order to fit just about any need. Instead of traditional desks and chairs, students work at tables that are designed to be written on. To encourage impromptu brainstorming, most of the walls in the center can serve as whiteboards. In an effort to foster collaboration, several restaurant style booths line one wall, where students can go to talk about their ideas. [click to continue…]


The following is a guest column by State Representative LaDawn Jones:

The idea to place a monument at the top of Stone Mountain in response to the call for boycotts against confederate symbols on State property is progress in Georgia.  Georgia was in serious threat of becoming the last state to acknowledge that the rest of America was moving past the Civil War.  This move does not propel Georgia to the front of the line but at least keeps us ahead of Mississippi.  Recently, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association announced that they were placing a monument at the top of Stone Mountain in honor of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and other monuments in honor of blacks who fought in the civil war.   However the confederate flags will remain flying next to the American flag as if the confederacy was victorious in the war.

Depending on where you sit on the issue the Stone Mountain Memorial Association should be acknowledged for responding to the calls for change or criticized for needing a call for a boycott of the park before they acted.  An idea for an inclusive and historically accurate monument in lieu of removing the flag was heavily discussed over the last few months.  While evaluating if this plan goes far enough, one has to acknowledge the responses from Georgians spanned from support, to concern, to apathy about the flag.  My personal opinions aside, the State Representative in me says that the solution must be tempered by the urgency of the movement and the people involved.  In 2015, the urgency of Georgians was not enough to remove the flags nor was the support for keeping the flag strong enough to prevent the monument proposal. [click to continue…]


Morning Reads — Oct 12, 2015

October 12, 2015 8:15 am

by Will Kremer · 5 comments

Good morning, Georgia! It’s Columbus Day, so claim someone else’s land as your own.





If you missed Friday’s edition of Peach Pundit radio on 640AM WGST, we’ve got it right here, at this link, waiting for you.

In this week’s episode we’ve got me discussing the GOP’s False Prophets for Profit industry, Buzz Brockway detailing Chick Fil A’s efforts to revitalize Atlanta’s west side, Stefan Turkheimer talks about Democratic plans for the upcoming US Senate race (and the idea that maybe the Dems will primary more of their own), and then some group discussion on the general (lousy) state of politics.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a nationwide stay of the “Waters of the United States” rule that opponents say would have given the Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction over small irrigation ponds, drainage ditches, and other waters that wouldn’t be considered navigable. The rule was opposed by many Georgia elected officials, including Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, and the entire Georgia House delegation.

Georgia was one of the states that appealed to the Sixth Circuit for relief. In a statement issued Friday, Attorney General Sam Olens praised the ruling.

I am pleased that the Sixth Circuit has granted a nationwide stay of the burdensome Waters of the United States rule. Under this illegal rule, Georgia families, farmers, and businesses would be subject to excessive and intrusive federal regulation. As the federal government continues to issue massive and unconstitutional executive directives at an alarming rate, I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect and defend the interests of Georgians,” said Olens.

As the Sixth Circuit said it its ruling, “A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing. A stay honors the policy of cooperative federalism that informs the Clean Water Act and must attend the shared responsibility for safeguarding the nation’s waters.

According to National Hog Farmer, the ruling comes a month after a North Dakota District Court issued an injunction against the rule’s enforcement. That injunction applied to 13 states.

But, said the Court of Appeals, “In light of the disparate rulings … issued by district courts around the country – enforcement of the rule having been preliminarily enjoined in 13 states – a stay will, consistent with Congress’s stated purpose of establishing a national policy, restore uniformity of regulation under the familiar, if imperfect, pre-rule regime, pending judicial review.”

In reaching its decision, the court found that there’s a substantial likelihood that the EPA’s WOTUS rule fails to comply with the Supreme Court’s instructions in previous Clean Water Act cases and that the agency’s actions in the rulemaking process, to which the NPPC objected at the outset, are “facially suspect.”

The stay iasued by the Sixth Circuit will remain in effect until further notice.


It’s Friday, and that means radio. And have I been saving a rant for you.

Today I’m going to ask the question if Republicans have backed themselves into a position where they cannot and will not be satisfied. We have a party that demands perfection, but cannot define that in any tangible way. We’ll use the US House Speaker’s race to illustrate, but it’s a symptom of the problem, not necessarily the problem itself.

Buzz Brockway will join us to discuss public and private efforts to revitalize Vine City and Atlanta’s west side. Have we found a recipe for success, and does it taste like chicken?

Not to let Republicans out intrafight them, Stefan will join us to talk about Stacy Abrams plan to have Democrats challenge more…Democrats?

That will get us started and we’ll see where it goes from there. Tune in at noon on 640AM WGST, or right here at this link.


We’ve told you before about the ongoing political battle over where to locate a training center for State Department foreign service personnel. Members of the Georgia delegation believe the best and least expensive option would be to locate the training facility at Brunswick’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which could be modified to serve the State Department needs for around $272 million. The other option would be to build a new facility in Virginia for around $413 million, and despite the higher cost, the Obama administration appears to favor the latter option.

In his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, Senator David Perdue conducted a hearing on Thursday to examine the competing proposals, and the results of a General Accounting Office report that recommended the Virginia site.

In his opening statement, Senator Perdue maintained that the issue wasn’t so much the location of the facility, but whether taxpayer money was being spent wisely.

Before we go any further. If this hearing doesn’t do anything else, it confirms that God has sense of humor. The two facilities we are now looking at as the final options are in Virginia, and our ranking member Tim Kaine represents Virginia, and in Georgia, and I represent Georgia along with my senior Senator Johnny Isakson here.

But I want to assure for the record, and everyone here, that we are all about the same objective, and that is this: we want to ensure that our personal are adequately trained to meet the challenges and dangers abroad. That is the objective function.

And, the second thing that we are here to do, as part of our oversight of the State Department, is to make sure that we spend taxpayer money appropriately. That’s it, there’s nothing parochial going on here and I applaud Senator Kaine for the way he has handled this and Senator Isakson in the past as well.

The review today though is part of a bigger process about how we spend money at the State Department, and it’s not just on training.”

As a business guy looking at this, and I know Senator Kaine with his background has looked at these things as well, overruns happen when scopes change, we all understand that, but when you see a continuous pattern it does heighten the need for oversight.

First District Congressman Buddy Carter, who represents the Brunswick training center, provided a statement to Perdue’s committee that summarized the results of a House committee investigation into the matter that alleged that State Department officials interfered with a GAO report in a way that boosted the Virginia site. In his statement, Carter said, “The bureaucrats at the State Department need to end their blockade and begin working in earnest to get this training up and running at FLETC.”

You can view Senator Perdue’s opening statement below the fold. [click to continue…]

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