Deal Creates Ebola Response Team

October 19, 2014 17:45 pm

by Charlie · 8 comments

Per press release:

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he will sign an executive order to create an Ebola response team, which will assess current state health and emergency management procedures and produce necessary recommendations to minimize any potential impact of the disease in Georgia.

“Rest assured, Georgia is taking the threat of the Ebola virus seriously,” Deal said. “The creation of this team is an additional step in the state’s response to this disease and will further our efforts to ensure the safety and quality of life for our citizens. By combining the expertise of the health and research communities with our state agencies, Georgia will be uniquely positioned to combat the risks of Ebola should the need arise. Those that have been chosen to serve on the panel are leaders in their respective fields – specifically Emory University Hospital, which has remained at the forefront of our nation’s response to this infectious disease. We are taking every necessary precaution to alleviate fear within our communities and make certain Georgia stands prepared.” [click to continue…]

{ 8 comments }

The Atlanta Press Club debate series continues tonight with the candidates for Secretary of State, Lt. Governor and Governor. Here’s the schedule:

6 p.m.: Secretary of State
Doreen Carter, Democrat
Brian Kemp, Republican (incumbent)

6:30 p.m.: Lt. Governor
Casey Cagle, Republican (incumbent)
Connie Stokes, Democrat

7 p.m.: Governor
Jason Carter, Democrat
Nathan Deal, Republican (incumbent)
Andrew Hunt, Libertarian

The gubernatorial debate won’t have the huge crowd seen at the first debate in Perry. Those in the audience at the GPB studio in Midtown Atlanta are instructed not to applaud or make any noise eat all. That admonition, of course, won’t affect what will be a number of people live tweeting their reactions and comments during the debate.

You can watch the debate on your local GPTV station, or on the GPB website. If you can’t watch the debates as they occur, they will be archived on the Atlanta Press Club website.

{ 6 comments }

The University of Georgia has cancelled a speech by FrontPageAfrica Newsroom Editor Wade C. L. Williams after several people, including parents, expressed concerns that the speaker could expose the campus to the Ebola virus.

UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication had invited Williams to speak on Oct. 22 for the prestigious McGill Lecture.

FrontPageAfrica reports that Williams, a Liberian journalist, met the news with mixed feelings:

“Despite my disappointment, I’m not angry with the University of Georgia. They felt they could not wear the barrage of criticism that would be directed at them if they allowed a Liberian journalist who covers Ebola on their campus and on a U.S.soil.” She partly blamed the level of misinformation in the U.S. press that led to the University administration being paranoid and canceling what could have been a very educative lecture.

“But the hysteria in the U.S. media about the virus and the possibility of it spreading is counterproductive and must stop,” [s]he said. “I worry that my fellow Liberians and Africans traveling abroad will be treated like pariahs and unfairly discriminated against as the region and word tries to battle this deadly virus.”

Williams is not alone in her criticism of the media-driven hysteria over Ebola. Just this week, Syracuse University rescinded an invitation to participate in a journalism workshop from Michel du Cille, a photojournalist from the Washington Post, because he had been in Liberia over three weeks ago.

But du Cille, unlike Williams, didn’t mince words:

“It’s a disappointment to me,” du Cille said. “I’m pissed off and embarrassed and completely weirded out that a journalism institution that should be seeking out facts and details is basically pandering to hysteria.”

{ 7 comments }

We already knew Billionaire and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is trying to decide what our children learn. That’s because he’s the secret mastermind behind the Common Core educational standards. It’s all a plot to make him even more money that what he has now.

But that may not be the worse of his offenses. It appears Gates may be trying to take over the production of Georgia’s Vidalia onion crop.

We learned about this via The Produce News – Motto: “Covering Fresh Produce From Around the World Since 1897.” Their story about this nefarious scheme was written by one Chip Carter. We are wondering if this Chip Carter is the son of Jimmy Carter and the father of this guy. Yup, James Earl Carter the Fourth, who spilled the beans on Mitt Romney and doomed him to a loss against Barack Obama.

But, I digress.

Down in Delvis Dutton territory, they’re worried about some recent purchases of farms in the area.

Already, two entities — Coggins Farms in Lake Park, GA, and more recently Stanley Farms and its subsidiaries in Lyons, GA — have been sold and, while the trail is murky, documents and interviews with other Vidalia-area growers link the purchases to Kirkland and seemingly to Gates.

Inquiries by the press and area residents have apparently been ignored, both by the farms involved, and the Gates cartel. Yet, some residents are willing to speak out.

“I’ve actually met with them,” said one well-placed grower who asked to remain anonymous.

Gates’ agricultural interests are well-known. He has been an active and ongoing crusader in developing countries, helping provide locals with means of improving subsistence farming operations.

What everyone in Vidalia would like to know is why Gates seemingly wants to be in the sweet onion business — and why he apparently does not want that fact widely known if that is indeed the case.

Many are worried about factory farms replacing traditional family farms. Right now, the concern is mostly centered on farms producing livestock rather than fruits and vegetables. (Sidebar: Is cotton a fruit or a vegetable?) Is that concern applicable for farms that produce cotton, soybeans, or even a variety of Allium Granex?

{ 16 comments }

Is the David Perdue campaign in for some rough times over the next few weeks as it works to win the Senate from Michelle Nunn? FiveThirtyEight believes it just might be. The following is from their recent article:

Something funny happened in FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast over the last two days. The overall odds haven’t moved much — Republicans have a 61 percent chance of winning a Senate majority — but the second-most competitive race is now in a state that hasn’t been paramount in the minds of most political analysts: Georgia.

The model now gives Republican David Perdue a 66 percent chance of winning in the Peach State and a tiny 1.4 point lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn. We project Perdue to fall just short of a majority in November, which would trigger a runoff in January.

The article cites the recent SurveyUSA Poll that puts Michelle Nunn three points ahead of David Perdue. FiveThirtyEight was founded by ballgame statistician turned political forecaster Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the outcome in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during the 2012 Presidential election, and 36 of the 37 states during the 2010 Gubernatorial elections.

But why the sudden drop in Perdue’s polling numbers? Conservative radio show host and Peach Pundit Editor Emeritus Erick Erickson believes that Michelle Nunn’s recently acquired lead on David Perdue can be attributed to the Nunn campaign outspending the Perdue campaign in the Atlanta media market. On Erickson’s October 16th show, he asserts that Nunn’s paid media attacks on Perdue’s outsourcing record is only hurting Perdue more by causing “protectionist conservatives” to switch sides from Perdue to Nunn.

Erickson also predicts that while Perdue would not be strong enough to avoid a runoff, he would still win it, given the Georgia Republican Party’s consistent record of performing well in runoff elections in the recent past. But the way things stand right now, it should be safe to assume that the likelihood of the Senate race going into a runoff gets stronger day by day.

{ 23 comments }

In case anyone wants a late laugh as a coda to the madness of the last week, I’ve finally managed to upload the 19-minute video that Tom Owens offered in court this week as evidence of criminal stalking.

This is the unedited video his videographer gave my attorney Tom Clyde at the hearing. It’s also what was shown to Judge Becker, and probably the reason she threw the whole thing out as summarily as she did. As I said, it’s unreal that they believed this would support their claims.

Joe Newton is literally in my face agitating on the video, and then sat on the stand and accused me of behaving aggressively and threateningly, mere minutes after the judge watched it in HD.

Owens claimed in court, under oath, that I never identified myself as a journalist. Both he and his campaign manager Wayne Witter swore that I said “I will destroy you” with the first words out of my mouth when I met him. (Witter is curiously absent from those first shots, given his claim of hearing such a thing.) Owens testified that I leaned in and whispered “I’ll kill you and I’ll enjoy doing it,” in this first conversation.

And he testified to that after the video had been shownand after he had watched it with the judgeWatch the first 30 seconds and make your own judgments.

A few highlights. Owens spent at least eight minutes talking with me outside after these supposed threats. He walked away without telling me not to contact him. At 8:43, at the Dunwoody forum, the cameraman goes outside and Owens instructs him to shadow me, hoping for some kind of … something, I don’t know.

At 11:30, after the forum, I attempt to ask questions and Joe Newton gets in my face and starts agitating … and I don’t deck him.

At 14:30, Newton tells me to “go home, fool,” and then Wayne Witter accuses me of lying about my military service record as I ask Owens about rejecting a $150,000 offer to sell his home … for a $500,000 demand. A moment later, Newton calls me “just another violent muslim.”

And at 18:00, I give a monologue to Owens’ cameraman about what I’ve got and why I’m asking questions. It’s hilarious.

{ 7 comments }

Deal Hits Carter In New Ad

October 17, 2014 14:10 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 30 comments

Governor Deal’s campaign stepped up it’s criticism of Sen. Jason Carter in a new TV ad.

Accompaning the press release was a series of items supporting the ad and refuting claims made by Carter’s campaign.

Here are the facts on Gov. Deal’s former business:
– Gov. Deal was never on the verge of insolvency and always had a positive net worth.
– Gov. Deal and his business partner built a successful venture from scratch. Unlike what Carter and President Obama might believe, they DID build that.
– The business sold for almost exactly what Gov. Deal said it was worth during the 2010 campaign.
– Upon being elected, Deal placed his financial assets in a blind trust. A blind trust is a mechanism by which day-to-day management and decisions are made by an independent trustee.
– Gov. Deal didn’t “get rich” in office. His personal financial worth went from a tangible business asset to a liquid asset.
– Gov. Deal has said repeatedly that Copart will pay every cent that it owes and has advocated that the case be determined by a court to remove any appearance of conflict of interest.

The full list of supporting items can be found below the fold. [click to continue…]

{ 30 comments }

There’s an opening for U.S. Deputy Attorney General, and the federal government’s attorney for the Northern District of Georgia could fill the vacancy.

A report in the Reuters News Agency cites a source familiar with the discussion who says Sally Yates and Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch are the two candidates to replace John Cole.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was stepping down from his post as well. Yates had been rumored to be a longshot nominee to replace Holder. 

{ 0 comments }

Those were some the adjectives that state Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-DeKalb) used on Thursday, reacting to the news that a disgraced former DeKalb commissioner will receive her full – that’s right, full – pension.

On Newsradio 106.7, Holcomb said “it’s just plain wrong” that Elaine Boyer will receive her full county pension after she’s pled guilty to several felonies involving fraud and misuse of taxpayer funds.

“There aren’t many things we agree on in election season, but when an elected official, who claims to be a fiscal conservative, misuses taxpayer money for personal gain and then receives her full pension … We can all agree that’s just ridiculous.”

The AJC reports says Georgia law reduces pensions when a public official or employee is convicted of a crime. But DeKalb pension officials have reportedly found a loophole that allows Boyer to collect her full pension.

Holcomb said he’d be happy to introduce or co-sponsor a bill in next year’s General Assembly to close such loopholes.

{ 5 comments }

With less than three weeks remaining until Georgia’s high-stakes Election Day, Jason Carter’s gubernatorial campaign has released a new ad, this one attacking the manner in which his campaign says Gov. Nathan Deal “got rich.”

{ 9 comments }

In the latest chapter of a more than month-long battle over voter registrations, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp says that the 48,000 or so voter registration applications the New Georgia Project says are missing have been accounted for.

According to the AJC, SOS Kemp held a press conference Thursday to respond to the lawsuit filed last Friday by NGP and other groups against his office and several counties.

Kemp said his office has now confirmed nearly 40,000 of those voters are active and on the rolls. He said almost 10,000 more are on a “pending” voter registration list kept by individual counties, meaning those potential voters have been asked to provide more information to confirm their identities.

In both cases, Kemp urged any voter with questions about his or her registration status to contact a local registrar or check online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. He also launched a new email address to accept voter registration queries — [email protected] — and said voters could call his office at 404-656-2871.

Secretary Kemp claims an additional 6,000 forms that were submitted are now cancelled because of an inability to obtain needed information, or because the individual was not eligible to vote.

{ 1 comment }

George Chidi penned a very detailed piece about DeKalb County Commission candidate Tom Owens while I was away. If you haven’t read it, you should to get an understanding of the guy. It’s a very well-written by my colleague. Bravo, sir.

George’s piece, unfortunately, has brought Mr. Owens’ unpleasantness to him. Owens accused him of stalking and got a temporary restraining order against George. Thankfully, the restraining order has been cleared (and apparently the hearing was quite….interesting).

Comes now the organization “Refugee Relocation Relief”, which Owens has been associated with before, sending out an email urging folks to oppose candidates who refuse to oppose refugee relocation due to public health concerns:

We have been particularly vocal about Senator Fran Millar from Dunwoody who has sought and received special financial assistance which requires refugees to live in Dekalb County. We conducted a state-wide campaign against Nancy Jester, a former candidate for State School Superintendent and current candidate for DeKalb Commission who, while serving on the Dekalb School Board, ignored the RR problem and then later claimed it was someone else’s problem. DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE WHO REFUSES TO OPPOSE THE RR, ASYLUM, AND DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAMS—ALL 3 PROGRAMS. MAKE THESE PEOPLE TAKE A STAND FOR PUBLIC HEALTH IN THIS STATE AND COUNTRY.

As a result misinformation and ignorance, we are now faced with a national health crisis called Ebola, which is the most contagious disease ever to reach our shore. Refugee contractors and other do-gooders have energetically worked with these foreign countries and refugee camps urging immigrants to come to America where “everything is free and life is good”. Predictably, this has lead to other contagious diseases being spread throughout this country. It is eminent that Ebola will soon be tracked to refugees as well (the first U.S. Ebola victim in TX was located in a densely populated refugee community) coming to us by and through the RR program.

I will note that the organization has promoted Mr. Owens as someone who would oppose refugee relocation, and has specifically named Nancy Jester as someone they opposed when running for state school superintendent. Ms. Jester is also running for the vacant commission seat in DeKalb as well…against Mr. Owens.

Mr. Owens and his associates have had run-ins with other folks at various political events. It sounds like they have certainly boarded the Crazy Train and have set its destination towards DeKalb County.

Republicans and conservatives have for years allowed themselves to be defined by those on the farthest right side of the political spectrum. People like these could define the conservative movement right off the edge.

{ 5 comments }

Republican Governors Association Chair (and New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie was is Roswell last night to support Nathan Deal.  Mayor Jere Wood gave the first lady a ride to downtown Roswell.  Photo: Jon Richards

Republican Governors Association Chair (and New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie was is Roswell last night to support Nathan Deal. Mayor Jere Wood gave the first lady a ride to downtown Roswell.
Walter Jones with Morris news has the deets on Christie’s visit. Photo: Jon Richards

Find the rest of the Morning Reads below the fold.
[click to continue…]

{ 18 comments }

Thanks For Sticking With Me.

October 16, 2014 21:24 pm

by George Chidi · 41 comments

Well. That was interesting.

As the inestimable Eugene Volokh, Bill Torpy and others have now noted, I am a free man, unburdened by the legal menace of Tom Owens and his execrable temporary protective order barring me from within a football field’s length of him. I am now at liberty to stay away from him simply because I want to. God bless America.

My story about court is rapidly growing into another chapter in the book, though this time I think I’ll spare you the full dose. Suffice it to say that the closer I look at the sheer bloody-minded stupidity and perjury committed by Owens and his crew yesterday, the more I think there’s something fundamentally broken with the lot of them.

It’s not that they simply lied in court — and no, I don’t lay that accusation lightly — but that I’m legitimately wondering if they were capable of perceiving reality as most people do, or wish to do.

Tom Owens, his campaign manager Wayne Witter and the genuinely terrible human being Joe Newton walked into court yesterday prepared to testify that I had physically and verbally threatened Owens. In their hands, they carried a digital video recording that showed almost exactly the opposite — me, asking questions, while Newton hurled insults at me about a foot from my face.

It’s one thing when someone misremembers an event. Eye witness testimony is notoriously fraught. But it’s another thing when you have immediate access to a video recording of an event and still get the details radically wrong.

The video made a complete mockery of their case. The word pitiful might be appropriate, were they not such raging mattress stains and the kind of stupid that requires watering twice daily. To the typical observer, three minutes of me explaining why it’s important to ask questions of a political candidate while Newton calls me a violent Muslim and a fool would be quite enough to convince them who is on the right side of the question. A magistrate summarily spanked them yesterday with this approach. We have the video. I’ll post it soon.

Faced with that failure on Tuesday … they took exactly the same approach again yesterday.

They used the same video, only more of it, which made it worse. They made variations and elaborations on their testimony, which caused their statements to deviate even more from their own damned video evidence. They leveled accusations that were directly contravened five flipping minutes later on video.

I didn’t even have to testify.

So … what were they thinking would happen? That a new judge would magically decide to ignore the video evidence that they themselves brought and believe them when they said I was physically threatening? That they had video of my encounters with Owens and the phrase “I will destroy you” just by happenstance is absent?

Their own weird wiring appears to have led them to radically interpret what they saw on the tapes as beneficial to their case. But even during Owens’ ham-handed pro se “questioning” of witnesses — an entirely comic experience I’ll write about at length later — they insisted on describing their experiences in entirely subjective terms, trying every way possible to express their feelings as legally valid submissions of fact.

There’s a deeply troubling psychology at play here, a kind of confirmation bias reinforced by groupthink. The fact that they reinforce each other makes their biases harder to penetrate — even for themselves.

The Peach Pundit community has been unbelievably wonderful throughout this mess. I am in your debt. The outpouring of support from both liberal and conservative readers has bolstered my belief in the essential goodness of people involved in politics. Someone will, of course, disabuse me of that feeling quite soon.

Also, in an entirely unrelated note, I’ve ceased to pretend Harry doesn’t exist.

I sincerely hope, when all of this is over, that it renews interest in the vital discourse that fuels democracy … and that the Georgia First Amendment Foundation outraises Owens for the quarter.

{ 41 comments }

Ever since Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient, was flown in from Africa over a month ago, the country has slowly been waking up to the possibility of a real health epidemic. Because it is the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia is on the front lines, with yet another Ebola patient arriving at Emory for treatment Wednesday.

The growing concern about the ability of the American health system to treat what could become an epidemic has caused politicians to start to offer their suggestions for containing the crisis. First in line was Democrat David Scott, who represents the 13th district on the west side of Atlanta. Quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal Wednesday, Scott told the Smyrna Rotary Club that he supported a ban on travel from Africa.

I have a difference on this with my president. I can’t for the life of me understand why we don’t have a ban on flights to that part of Africa. You’ve got an example already of someone who came into this country with the virus. How many more? That has to stop. We don’t need to ban the flights permanently, just until we get our arms around the situation.

We have to ban those flights. There’s no question about it. We’ve got to protect the American people from this disease. It’s not here — or it was not here — and the president said a week or two ago ‘We don’t know of any case’ where it would be here. And now it’s here, and it’s already killed somebody.

This morning, First District Rep. Jack Kingston called for an Ebola Czar to manage the situation in a Washington Examiner Op-Ed.

The alphabet soup of agencies responding to this crisis has a tangled and confusing reporting structure. Africom reports to the Department of Defense while CDC, NIH, and BARDA report to the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, USAID is under the jurisdiction of the State Department and CPB reports to Department of Homeland Security.

While America’s response has many of the right ingredients, it lacks a singular leader to outline strategy, marshal resources, and track the effectiveness of the response. Then there’s the rest of the world.

Responses from other Georgia congressmen continue below the fold.
[click to continue…]

{ 40 comments }