Morning Reads for Thursday, February 28th

February 28, 2013 8:13 am

by Bridget Cantrell · 51 comments

Scottsdale, Arizona – It’s early out here.  Good morning, sunshine.




xdog February 28, 2013 at 8:28 am

Braves move last ‘free’ games to cable. It doesn’t change my viewing habits, but 45 games have been moved from Turner’s Peachtree TV to Fox Sports South and SportSouth. Actually, this may be the year I depend more on radio coverage for my Braves fix.

Andre February 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

Let’s talk about the Voting Rights Act.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, majority black counties like Clayton and Hancock have to get permission from the feds before they can change their election procedures. This is because, according to the feds, Clayton and Hancock counties have a history of discrimination at the ballot box. In other words, the black folks in the two counties I named are presumed guilty before proving their innocence. Now tell me, what history do the blacks in Clayton and Hancock county have of discriminating against voters?

Charlie February 28, 2013 at 9:15 am

We’ve got two threads coming today about the voting rights act and the redistricting process. Let’s save the conversation a few hours until they hit their scheduled post.

greencracker February 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

Looking forward to it! #Fight

Charlie February 28, 2013 at 10:15 am

Eric has started the discussion with his post linking ethics, term limits, and the redistricting process.

I’ll follow up with my column at 11:00 to discuss an alternative redistricting method that could replace much of section V. I’ll try to join in the discussion later this afternoon if time permits.

greencracker February 28, 2013 at 9:13 am

The VRA speaks to abridgment of voting rights on the basis of “race,” not “black,” “white” or majority or minority of population in a jurisdiction.

Hancock County has probably been majority black since it was created … but I guarantee you minority whites installed literacy tests & the like back then.

In Richmond County now, blacks are a majority, but the DOJ just busted Augusta-Richmond on its GOP-driven maneuver to move local elections from November to July.

If a community is found by DOJ to have its rights abridged, it doesn’t matter if that community is numerous or tiny under VRA.

And yes, it does presume guilt.

John Vestal February 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

278 corporations also file amicus curiae with SCOTUS in Hollingsworth v. Perry

(.pdf of brief here)

Self_Made February 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

Something needs to be done about Section 5. You still have the original set of circumstances that prompted Shelby County, AL to switch to an “at large” commission structure – which violated a community’s right to fair representation. But at the same time, it has become the southern GOP’s best friend…allowing them to create and sustain Republican majority statehouses and congressional delegations. Repeal or reform…but upholding it in its current form helps nobody.

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

Last I checked, President Obama is not responsible for millions of deaths. The truth hurts sometimes.

Mike Hassinger February 28, 2013 at 9:24 am

What a drone you can be.

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

Until drones develop Skynet capabilities, the comparison remains asinine.

Mike Hassinger February 28, 2013 at 9:39 am
griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

No thanks. I already did that assignment back when they still taught “Americanism vs Communism” in high school. It was taught by a football coach. It was enlightening in more ways than they thought.

Mike Hassinger February 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

Heh. So, did you pass, or are you a commie? I WANT TO SEE YOUR TRANSCRIPTS!

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 9:49 am

They’re in the safety deposit box. With my birth certificate.

David C February 28, 2013 at 9:28 am

Yeah. The person who needs to do homework is that teacher, in Russian history.

Ellynn February 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

What, the Romanoff Tsars were not capitalists? Who knew!!!

debbie0040 February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

Abramoff will be writing an editorial about the Ralston Ethics bill that passed the House.

The Ralston ethics bill is so full of holes, if it were a ship, it would sink..

Bob Loblaw February 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

Hilarious that you’re helping him hawk a book. Dude couldn’t be any more of a crook. Couldn’t get a lobbyist badge in GA for at least 10 years. There’s a guy that should teach us about “ethics”.

debbie0040 February 28, 2013 at 10:10 am

You of all people need to read his book. You don’t like that fact he steps on lobbyist toes. Who is better equiped to understand how the system can be gamed than by someone that was successful at doing it?

Bridget Cantrell February 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

His “success” is debateable….when the book was written from a jail cell. I’m just sayin’.

Bob Loblaw February 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

He doesn’t step on lobbyists’ toes as much as he admits what felonies he carried out with bad actors in Congress willing to take illegal things. When you have a story involving a STATE lobbyist in Georgia that commits felonies with cooperating elected officials where both receive prison sentences and the subject matter of the lawsuits relate to lobbyist gifts addressed under the current laws, I will pay attention to your attempts to connect DC with GA.

Not only did I read his book, but I got it autographed. It’s entertainment. And its the only way he can make money and support his family. Its great that the TEA Party and Common Cause is helping out this poor, downtrodden felon with this endeavor.

Baker February 28, 2013 at 10:30 am

One of Abramoff’s points is that everything he was doing was a bribe, not just what he went to jail for…plenty of it was legal, but they were still bribes.

I’m leaning towards bribe when I consider $17,000 trip to Europe.

debbie0040 February 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

@Baker +100

Bob Loblaw March 1, 2013 at 8:38 am

Bribes have a definition under GA law. Expenditures made to the benefit of a public officer have another definition. One lands you in prison. The other lands you on a state government report.

Playing fast and loose with these terms is dangerous.

Baker March 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

Bob, I think you misunderstood me. I know “Bribes have a definition under GA law”, they also have a definition under Federal law. Both of these definitions are utterly insufficient and allows for legalized bribery. That’s the point.

Bob Loblaw March 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

There is no such thing as “legalized” bribery, as bribes are inherently felonious activity. If you can connect a public officer’s acceptance of a lawful expenditure with an act that would be in direct response to the receipt of the expenditure, then you may have acts by both parties that are indeed part and parcel of a bribe.

That’s what you misunderstand and why it is so important to understand the definitions of the words you’re playing around with. If you think a 12 oz. can of coca-cola can bribe someone, then the whole Capitol, from janitors to lobbyists to secretaries and yes, the elected officials are all taking bribes. Did any of these people accept that sugary water in exchange for something? No. Additionally, state statues address the lawful behavior that is filling the fridges with cokes. But you call it a bribe when 50 states and as you note, the federal government have statues that define bribery to mean that one has to act or fail to act in a manner where a benefit enures to whomever decided to place the coke in the fridge.

All I’m saying is that there’s a difference between a gift and a bribe. Besides engagement rings, givers of gifts receive nothing in return under law and once transfer is made of the gift, the giver loses all rights. A bribe is completed when something is due to the person who gave something of value.

Baker March 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

We are living in two different worlds.

I’m not “playing around”. I dang well know I am saying “bribe”. If you give me a European vacation, or a can of coke, human nature endears me to you. Now when something sometime somewhere comes down the pike and might have your name on it, or a friends name on it, perhaps, although it was never stated that you wanted me to do this, perhaps I would think, I like that Loblaw guy. He’s a good dude. Let’s take a closer look at what he has to offer here…..

There is a report coming out soon that indicates a direct correlation between increase in lobbying spending and the waste in government. That lobbying spending is clearly currently not illegal. But it ain’t good and we need to find a way to curtail this junk.

Being a politician is not supposed to be a playground filled with goodies and Oscars gift-bags. It should be a citizen sacrifice.

Bob Loblaw March 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

We are living in two different worlds. I don’t cast a vote for someone and then say “you know what? This guy/gal can’t be trusted after someone gives them something valued at about 79 cents. You do.

Talk to any lobbyist who makes expenditures as a matter of routine and ask them how many public officers have eaten on their dime and voted against them at the next opportunity. There’s a reason the word “Pigeon” is common in Georgia to describe a lobbyist. There’s a certain passive-aggressive manner that public officers sometimes take toward lobbyists who have spent money on them, contributed to campaigns or found clients to contribute. There’s almost a push-back from the public officers to remind the lobbyists who holds that voting card.

There are plenty of folks working on “curtailing this junk” as you call it. And the ridiculous part is that there’s not a Oscar gift bag problem at the Capitol. Laypersons tend to look at the word “gift” and see as one Representative described as “presents” in touting their position against gifts. See the explanation of “gift,” above.

I’d sit here and continue to educate you on the difference, but you don’t care, aren’t paying and I have to be in court for a paying client shortly. Carry on with your own version of “lobbyist Disneyland” where a friggin’ coke flips some switch in human nature that requires one to blindly follow the guy that stacked the fridge. I’m so thankful I am not the cynic that you are.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

Bob Loblaw, March 1, 2013 at 10:40 am-

Blow all the smoke you want, but there’s been a heckuva lot more than just a few items “valued at about 79 cents” changing hands in the Capitol and you know it.

Baker March 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

Bob: Have you looked at the state of politics in America and Ga lately?

Things are not hunky-dory.

debbie0040 February 28, 2013 at 10:33 am

Bob, excuse me but until you stop being a coward hiding behind a monicker, your thoughts mean nothing. Who can take a coward seriously, really.

Bridget, he was quite successful for a number of years.

saltycracker February 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

So we have a bad boy lobbyist making money outing Georgia as a lobbyist Disneyland and a lobbyist milking Representative saying the new law is a good one.
Which one do you believe ? Not the one still in the game.

debbie0040 February 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

@Saltycracker, Abramoff did not make money out of coming to Georgia. His expenses were paid ..

saltycracker February 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I’m concerned with Our Representatives, having more to gain, will pass a bill with more holes than Swiss cheese.

Baker March 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

Salty: That’s exactly what is happening. You have every right to be concerned.

Bob Loblaw March 1, 2013 at 8:36 am

I thought you weren’t talking to me? Also, why am I the only person using a moniker that you continually call a coward?

Ed February 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

“‘Obama socialism’ homework angers students at Cobb County high school. The truth hurts sometimes.”

Good lord, really?

Noway February 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

Anybody else a little concerned about Bob Woodward’s accusation about being threatened by the Administration for his speaking out against Obama and the sequester mess?

Also, an Alabama city or county is wanting to be able to disarm the public in an emergency. Yeah, I see that working. Poor Ol’ Cletus will be splattered all over his patrol car id he were stupid enough to try that.

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

No. Because if you consider this a threat, you may need to check if you’re allowed out in daylight

From Politico.

“I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim….. I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.”

If that’s a threat, it’s the most passive aggressive threat I’ve ever seen.

Mike Hassinger February 28, 2013 at 9:53 am

Yeah, I’ve seen threats that are much worse than that. Like threats of firing teachers, ending the WIC program, shutting down air traffic control towers, releasing illegal immigrants… You know, real threats.

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

Tangent Express. Next exit.

D_in_ATL February 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

All this really goes to show what an incredibly talented journalist Bob Woodward is. To cover the story of the sequester, which involves billions of taxpayer dollars and touches almost everyones life in some way, and then make it all about yourself….amazing.

Harry February 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Yes, Obama’s managed to make it all about himself.

griftdrift February 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Never change, Harry.

Ed February 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Things both gd and I say!

Bob Loblaw February 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

Love the straightforward thoughts of Austin Scott. Without South Georgia and North Georgia, Price might have a tough time. Though I remember a Guy that said South Georgia wasn’t worth visiting in 1994 that won a 5- person primary in 1996 after kicking off his campaign in? Vidalia! #liveandlearn

Baker February 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

Not that he’s been bad, but what exactly has Nathan Deal done that all these people are so enamored with? Pretty much everything has been status quo. No real leadership on anything it doesn’t seem like. Kicking the can on lots of things and claiming reform in other areas when you barely touched it. Not exactly transformational.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 1, 2013 at 8:50 am

“Not that he’s been bad, but what exactly has Nathan Deal done that all these people are so enamored with?”

…It’s simple, he hasn’t been Sonny Perdue. Pretty low bar, but hey…

John Vestal February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

Wait, this can’t be the same ACLU I keep hearing about from the über-right, can it? I mean, they don’t actually take up cases for anyone whose rights/freedoms are under attack, do they? I thought that was only groups like ACLJ & ADF.

< /sarcasm >

Harry February 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

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