Morning Reads For Monday October 15, 2012.

Early voting begins today across Georgia. Contact your local elections office for times and locations. Click here to see a sample ballot for your precinct.

Local Items Of Interest
– The Georgia Tea Party supports the charter school amendment. A poll conducted for the AJC shows a slim majority supporting the amendment.
– Clayton County Schools are on the verge of losing their accreditation for the second time in four years. Yeah Local Control!
An earthquake stuck McCaysville!
Georgia Gwinnett College makes the 2013 US News College Rankings.
– Some troops come home to Fort Benning.

Georgia Election Items
– Senate District 30 candidates talk about agriculture.
– Incumbent Bubber Epps and challenger Mary Ann Whipple-Lue appeared at a forum for the HD144 race.
– Howard Johnson says he is a constitutional conservative with progressive views. Johnson is challenging incumbent John Meadows in HD5.
– Incumbent Sanford Bishop faces challenger John House in CD2.
– A forum featuring incumbents and challengers in the 4th and 7th Congressional districts is tonight, 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Gwinnett Tech.
– CD6: Incumbent Tom Price is worried about a fiscal cliff. Price faces challenger Jeff Kazanow.
– CD9: Collins v. Cooley.
– CD12 Incumbent John Barrow talks with the Augusta Chronicle. Barrow faces challenger Lee Anderson.

National Election Items
Shots fired at a Obama HQ in Colorado.
Brit Hume says Biden looked like a “cranky old man” but Beau Biden defended his Dad’s debate performance. Minute by minute search interest for the VP Debate.
– Tuesday’s debate is time for the President to “step up.”
– Romney has pulled close in electoral college projections.
– RCP National Average: Romney 47.3, Obama 46.0.
– RCP State Averages: Arizona: Romney +5.3. Florida: Romney +3.2. Georgia: Romney +12.3. North Carolina: Romney +3.3. Michigan: Obama +4.4. Nevada: Obama +1.6. Ohio: Obama +1.7. Pennsylvania: Obama +4.5. Virginia: Obama +0.4. Wisconsin: Obama +2.3.
– Jamie Dupree looks at recent swing State polling.

Other Items
– Matt Bryant kicked a 55 yard field goal and the Falcons are 6-0.
– At least Tech and UGA didn’t lose this weekend. I’m sure Ed knows already but GA State pounded Rhode Island for their first win of the season.
– A skydiver jumped 24 miles and may have broken the sound barrier.
– The fall of Lance Armstrong is complete. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
– RIP: Arlen Spector.


  1. Ed says:

    URI are no easybeats. Panthers hold your heads up high.

    Also, second straight weekend where UGA doesn’t win… The wheels are coming off the bus…

        • Calypso says:

          Ed, is it true that since Rhode Island is such a small and low-populated state that URI is actually a consolidation of the one high school in the state and the one university in the state? Are the three females from the URI gymnastics team still their starting linebackers?

          Hey Lawton, I know of a school your little buzzers need to add to their schedule, preferably before this season ends..

          Yeah, I know, Duke got spanked Saturday.

          • Ed says:

            This actually couldn’t be further from the truth.

            URI are considered the real powerhouse of the geographically small states. In fact, they have a hard time finding opponents because so many schools fear putting them on their schedule, what with their stellar reputation and all.

            • Calypso says:

              Well then, you guys are giant-killers! I guess the Panthers were just saving up all their whoop-azz for the URI Proctologists, or whatever their mascot is.

              • Stefan says:

                Which reminds of the student section chant when URI played Wake Forest back when I was there: “you can’t spell urine without URI”. Stay classy.

                • Calypso says:

                  And you can’t spell Wake Forest without WTF (though not necessarily in that order).

                  Yeah, well, it was funnier in my head before I actually typed it out… 🙁

  2. Because Clayton can’t govern their schools very well, Gwinnett voters are supposed to vote for a Constitutional amendment that takes away their ability to when they’ve seemingly been doing a pretty good job of it for 30+ years?

    A Republican somewhere did something bad – Buzz are you ready to renounce your membership in the Republican party?

    • It’s not just Clayton Chris.

      We’re 48th in graduation rate. Thousands of students with high school diplomas need remedial classes when they get to college. The Governor just removed an entire school board in south Georgia and could remove another. DeKalb and APS have been warned by SACS. There was a cheating scandal that made national news. I could go on and on.

      The amendment doesn’t prevent GCPS from doing anything they currently do and it helps students all across Georgia by giving their parents options in education.

      • Buzz come on. Currently Gwinnett County can turn down a charter school that would spend GCPS money if they don’t approve of the charter. After the amendment passes, they will no longer be able to do that.

        That’s not “ANYTHING”.

        Be honest at least.

      • Rambler14 says:

        “We’re 48th in graduation rate. Thousands of students with high school diplomas need remedial classes when they get to college. The Governor just removed an entire school board in south Georgia and could remove another. DeKalb and APS have been warned by SACS. There was a cheating scandal that made national news. ”

        How will Amendment 1 solve or prevent any of these problems?

        • It provides students and parents who are dissatisfied with the education they are receiving the option of attending a charter school if one is available, or, working with other parents, teachers etc.., the ability to start one themselves.

          • Rambler14 says:

            How will moving a child to a charter school or starting one themselves increase the state’s graduation rate?

            How will moving a child to a charter school or starting one themselves prevent any of the accreditation issues we’ve seen at DeKalb/APS/Clayton?

            • Calypso says:

              Excellent questions. It seems that the legislature is only concerned with the folks that would move to a charter school. It does not address the issues the local public non-charter school is left with. In fact, when the cream is skimmed from the top, I believe this will exacerbate the problems for them.

              Buzz says that some plans are in the works, but I say that if this amendment passes it will be the last we hear from the legislature regarding bettering public education for some time.

              • The notion that charter schools “skim the cream” from traditional public schools isn’t accurate. Charter schools appeal most to dissatisfied parents who feel their students are not being served well currently. Students who are performing well in traditional public schools have no reason to leave as their parents are satisfied with their child’s education.

                The amendment is needed because many local school systems are not willing to approve charter schools that target general population students who are struggling in traditional public schools. Charter applicants need an appeals process to make sure they are treated fairly.

                • Calypso says:

                  You bolstered my critique with your response. Those parents who seek a charter school are precisely the ones involved with their kids education. They question, intervene, help. Their kids are the ones who will get into a charter school.

                  It is the kids of parents who are uninvolved in the education of their kids that will remain in the poorly performing regular school. These will become the new ‘forgotten kids’.

                  That’s the skimming of the cream to the charters while the regular school is left with the curds.

                  Deny it, if it makes you feel better about your crappy amendment, but you and I both know it is the truth. The kids whose parents already are disengaged with their education will suffer all the more if it passes.

                  • What you’re saying is we should leave kids in poor performing schools or have them wait while their local community tries to elect a new school board or the Government comes up with some nifty program. Then they should wait and hope those reforms will save their schools. We’ve got to do something different that will have an immediate impact on the students in school now. Charter schools are a tool we can use to do that. We need an appeals process so charters are treated fairly.

                    The same “skimming the cream” accusations are made about private schools by those who want to shut down private schools and ban homeschooling. Despite the existence of private schools we have good public schools out there performing at a high level – how in he world is that possible? Private schools and homeschooling hasn’t destroyed traditional public schools and neither will public charter schools authorized by the State Charter School Commission.

                    You obviously know nothing about Ivy Prep or KIPP Academy or any number of other charter schools in this state which are filled with students who qualify for the Federal government’s free or reduced lunch program.
                    Those parents want what’s best for their students but the don’t have the money to pay for private school and home schooling isn’t an option when both parents work. Those folks are left with the option of attending the school they are told to attend by the government or attending a charter school if one is available. They weren’t the best students in their schools, by in large they were kids struggling to keep up, now they are performing better in the different environment provided by the charter school.

                    We also have data from 41 other states, 32 of whom allow alternate authorizers, to contradicts your assumption. Students satisfied with their traditional public school stay while those unhappy, mostly poor and minorities, try to get in the charter school.

                    • Calypso says:

                      The legislature’s nod to “school improvement” with this charter amendment will affect/better a minute population of the public school children in Georgia. Am I saying that this proportionally small number of kids who make it into a charter school will not benefit? No, I’m not.

                      What I am saying is that if this amendment passes, you guys under the gold dome will feel smug and satisfied that you did what needed to be done for education in this state and that there will be nothing of substance to improve the vast lot of the rest of the population to come from the legislature in the forseeable future. A miniscule number of children benefit and the rest will be ignored.

                    • Calypso says:

                      I reiterate: “It is the kids of parents who are uninvolved in the education of their kids that will remain in the poorly performing regular school. These will become the new ‘forgotten kids’.”

            • Better educated kids are more likely to graduate.

              I don’t think passing this amendment will prevent accreditation issues but at least the students in those systems will have the opportunity to move to a better school, an opportunity many of them don’t have presently.

    • Jackster says:

      I take issue with the 30+ years – sure there are some good schools in GCPS, but the fiscal management under wilbanks and the current BoE is lacking. You just didn’t notice it when the tax digest was up.

      Also, for me, local control means that the tax dollars are controlled by the level of government that levied the tax. So, as long as the GCPS controls their part of the millage rate, you haven’t actually broken local control.

  3. Also just like to point out…AJC poll of Georgia among all Registered Voters…Romney 49, Obama 45. Including leaners…51-47. That’s registered voters of course.

      • No – just that among the Registered Voters in this state the philosophy that scores 49% is governed with at a rate of about 100% and the philosophy that scores 45% is governed at 0%. Romney winning Georgia doesn’t automatically mean this is a rock solid Republican state where no Democratic ideas should be considered.

        • Jackster says:

          I would agree with this statement, and extend it further: not all ideas are crappy ideas, nor the best thing ever. That goes for R’s and D’s.

          I take exception with the platform idea, which says that you must take the whole package. I think that’s why most people don’t really trust the other party, as the platform tends to drive the donor base.

          Perhaps if partisans were able to stand on issues separately, then there might be some healing.

  4. Jackster says:

    So a crazy ass Austrian dude GOES INTO SPACE on a balloon. (Yes, they still make those).

    THEN – he jumps out of said balloon… he was far enough up to see the curvature of the earth, which means it didn’t just go on and on.

    THEN – he pulls himself out of spin, BREAKS THE FREAKING SOUND BARRIER WITHOUT A PLANE…. with out a plane!!!!

    And a few minutes later… LANDS ON HIS FEET!

    Here’s the point – it would not have happened without the space program. I’m pretty sure if there were independent voters, boobs, free samples, or oil on Mars, we would be there tomorrow.

    • saltycracker says:

      Space program ? Wasn’t it one of those sponsored extreme sports stunts ?
      A group that keeps aeronautical records was there and the space program or military probably has interests in how his body handled it. Red Bull didn’t say how much it cost them but they got extraordinary attention on you tune and Facebook.

      Why be concerned ?

  5. wicker says:

    @Chris Huttman:

    Republicans should pay as much attention to Democratic ideas now as Democrats did to Republican ideas when the Dems were in charge. Sound fair to you?

    I don’t have a problem with politicians adhering to their own philosophy and that of the voters who elected them. My problem is when politicians try to impose their views and agendas on people who didn’t (as is the case with the GOP and MARTOC).

    • Well two things I’d add…I remember back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s talking to many Republican legislators who constantly complained that the Democrats would re-introduce their bills and take all the credit – so at least it appeared back then that the Democrats were listening to Republican ideas if not giving them the credit.

      2 – it worked well for the Democrats, didn’t it?

      • wicker says:


        First off, it can be said that the GOP is coming around to Democratic ideas on solar power. Second, charter schools were originally a DLC idea, a “third way” to provide school choice without vouchers in the 1990s. Now that vouchers appear to be no longer a threat (oddly enough that movement is in a standstill despite a US Supreme Court ruling declaring them constitutional) the left is now opposing the same idea that they opposed in the 90s (just as the right is doing with Obamacare, which they supported when Newt Gingrich, the Cato Institute and Mitt Romney proposed it). Third, the GOP endorsed what was basically a Democratic approach to transportation with the T-SPLOST, and more and more GOPers are becoming interested in rail projects (especially since the Savannah port thing will basically require it unless you want even more semis in the suburbs). In case you haven’t noticed, the GOP that has actually governed since taking power in the late 90s is nothing like the far-right saber rattling wedge politics one that built the majority in the early and mid-90s. Instead, the Tim Lees have replaced guys like Bob Irvin, Mitch Skandalakis and Bill Byrne, and they have actually worked with people like Shirley Franklin, Kasim Reed and Stacey Abrams on important matters. If the GOP wasn’t listening to Abrams in particular, you would have had a VERY regressive “tax reform” package passed, not to mention a version of Hope lottery reform that would have slashed the healthcare and early childhood educations funded by Hope to the bone in favor of maximizing the free college educations that the wealthy suburbanites get. As a matter of fact, part of the reason why T-SPLOST failed is that a lot of the suburban voters are upset that the state GOP isn’t acting like the Bill Byrne/Mitch Skandalakis/Jill Chambers type people that they thought they were voting for all these years, and are livid that these folks are actually cooperating with Atlanta where appropriate instead of doing everything legal (and not quite legal) to run it into the ground. Which provides even more examples: Perdue and Deal worked with Democrats to find the best possible resolution to the school board messes in Clayton County and APS. The Republicans COULD have prevented Clayton County graduates from being allowed to enter state universities with their diplomas. They COULD have either refused to get involved (in which case Clayton would still be unaccredited) or have stacked the Clayton board of education with right wing conservatives who would have proposed turning the county into a charter district run by some GOP contributor’s company. And they COULD have allowed the APS issue to spiral out of control to maximize the embarrassment to the city and the mayor. Perdue, Deal and the legislature didn’t, but instead put in a lot of work (most of it behind the scenes) with Democrats in order to minimize the damage.

        So, plenty of Democratic ideas are being enacted and pursued. What you want is the place at the table that Democrats never gave the GOP when Tom Murphy, Zell Miller etc. were in power and ruled with an iron fist. Sure, back then, the Democrats were willing to steal GOP ideas, but none that really threatened Democratic ideology, priorities or electoral prospects. Why should the GOP do any different?

        Sorry, Chris, that dog won’t hunt. If you guys want to get the ability to enact your ideology and priorities back, you need to start winning elections.

    • TheEiger says:

      Brit Hume isn’t Vice President of the United States running for re-election. A politician looking like a cranky old man isn’t a good thing.

      • Max Power says:

        Why not? They have the right to be cranky as much as anyone else. If our politicians started acting like real people maybe they could actually solve some of our problems.

        • TheEiger says:

          I’m not saying politicians cannot be cranky. I’m just saying folks have a hard time voting for a cranky old politician. John McCain and John Kerry come to mind. And being cranky doesn’t mean you are getting things done. Harry Reid is as cranky and old as they come and it amazes me he is able to even put his shoes on in the morning. He certainly isn’t getting anything done in the Senate.

          • Max Power says:

            I’m saying if they were more genuine, they’d get more things done and get replaced more often. Politicians are by their nature duplicitous only their agenda isn’t a mystery it’s always more power for me or my team.

  6. saltycracker says:

    Falcons won a close one. 6-0. Made one of my rare trips to participate in a tailgate party and go to the game.

    It is an expensive day for your average fan, a working guy out for some great entertainment. An interesting sight contradicting the TV reports was the number of empty seats through the stands – many around us on club level – lots more higher up – The fans that were there were having a blast but there were a lot of no shows for an undefeated team.

    Getting in and out by car was no problem – parking in the gulch – $20. Club level seats -season deal – [email protected], [email protected] The talk was next year the Falcons will ask for upfront money to get to buy season tickets and most around us responded they would drop out.

    I have no idea how they run the numbers for a new stadium but I’d leave it for the investors and keep the taxpayers out of it.

      • saltycracker says:

        Or more – The tailgating was the event but why go to the stadium ?
        Football is perfect for TV and portable wi-fi tchnology will change our experience – we can set up a big screen in someone’s yard, barn or some local park…….tailgate there…..

        Another threat would be to end the business tax deduction for sports events…..and look out !

    • Charlie says:

      Was also at the game yesterday. My sister (the one who holds the season tickets) volunteered that she won’t be renewing when seat licenses are required. I didn’t bring it up, it was an unsolicited opinion. She basically said it changes her value proposition, and that money can be better used elsewhere.

  7. wicker says:

    @Charlie, saltycracker, and others:

    PSLs are generally purchased by wealthy and corporate buyers, not by average fans (including even upper class ones). That is why the new stadiums are so valuable – they guarantee the best seats to the 1% and are still able to make plenty of money on the other seats from everyone else, including fans from other cities that are willing to buy the tickets that locals aren’t – and why Blank wants to build one. Without being able to make as much money as the other owners – despite having the same expenses AND playing in a lucrative market with virtually no competition for football dollars as the nearest teams are in Nashville, Charlotte and Jacksonville and no in state competition (which isn’t the case for teams in Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, and basically the entire northeast) – Blank will flip the team to a sucker who simply wants to own a team and doesn’t know or care how to do business in the NFL. Or who is willing to put up with the team not generating the profits that it should until he is able to relocate the team to a city where he can. So, goodbye engaged, effective owner like Blank, hello Atlanta Spirit Group (or Liberty Media) type situations.

    Sorry, but the NFL has changed, and if Blank can’t change with it, he is going to decide that NFL ownership isn’t worth his time and money.

    This is capitalism, folks. Owning an NFL team isn’t done for charity, or for the public good.

  8. saltycracker says:


    No problem with capitalism and to keep it pure, let’s not involve the public putting up money for Blank’s profit projections. Rather the Govt focus on what they can do to get out of his way.

    The crowds at the dome do not represent the 1% – the boxes probably did. Why should the suits (my Republican buddies) get a business expense tax break the unwashed and tatooed can’t ? And we want to heap another tax on them ?

    • wicker says:


      It is fitting that you addressed me as “W”, because he was the poster boy of crony capitalism, er, public-private partnerships, as was his father, long before the GOP suddenly discovered what an outrage it was with Solyndra.

      In any event, “pure capitalism” has never existed in this country. You might not want to forget that what started the suburban Atlanta boom to begin with was all the defense contractor money that Sam Nunn and Newt Gingrich used to bring home. On a larger scale, much of our modern industrial, communications, electronics, energy, automobile, computer etc. sectors came about thanks in large part to federally funded research for DOE, DOD, NASA etc. (Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, but the government most certainly did, and for most intents and purposes the computer too.)

      And how do you suppose a large portion of this country first got electricity and phone service? Hint: it wasn’t by way of lowering taxes, reducing regulations, getting government out of the way and letting private enterprise take over. Private enterprise never would have done so because they would have never made a profit investing all that infrastructure into poor, sparsely populated areas. (Which is why a significant swath of the country to this day doesn’t have broadband Internet service, not for consumers or businesses. There is no money in providing it.)

      So if private industry had to pay for everything itself, most of the things in our daily modern lives wouldn’t exist. That is something that modern neo-cons raised on a steady diet of Ludwig Von Mises and Ayn Rand won’t acknowledge, despite it being a huge part of our American history. (For example, that is why it is called “Hoover Dam” – even if it was actually authorized by Coolidge and built by Roosevelt – and not Rockefeller Dam, Westinghouse Dam, Ford Dam or Sears and Roebuck Dam.)

      The city helps Blank’s business make money, and Blank’s business makes the city money in return. It is the American way and always has been. The only ones who have a problem with it are socialists (who object to the private part of public-private, not the public part) and those who have ideological or other objections to certain industries (whether alternative energy, or professional sports).

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