It’s Friday so let’s focus on the big issues: congressmen cuddling with puppies.

Thursday was apparently ASPCA day on the Hill and I’m sure our congresscritters were pawing each other out of the way to get in on the action. Rep. Lewis was one of them.

It was good to spend a little time with the wonderful puppies that the ASPCA brought to Capitol Hill.

Posted by John Lewis on Thursday, July 30, 2015

 

With that in mind: OPEN THREAD!

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“Damn,””hell” and “b*#%h” are the most popular swear words in the South.

“Douche,” not so much.

This, according to a new survey from Jack Grieve, a lecturer in forensic linguistics at the United Kingdom’s Aston University.  He has created a detailed set of maps of the US showing strong regional patterns of swearing preferences.

Some of the other …more “colorful” findings:

“Bastard” is beloved in Maine and New Hampshire, and those states – together with southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – are also fond of “m—–f—er.”

“Crap” is more popular among inland coasts, while “f–k” is common along the coasts.

Peach Pundit would run out of characters on our keyboard if we delved any further into the data, so check out the rest of the findings for yourself.

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It’s common knowledge the Tea Party is fed up. If you missed their agonizing screams during session, you might have seen their disgruntled social media presence. Regardless, the Tea Party is taking unorthodox action to gain power.

At a meeting of the North Georgia Tea Party Alliance, first reported by zPolitics, a 50-slide PowerPoint detailing their path to power caused a disturbance in the force. The PowerPoint acknowledged their lack of political power in Georgia, their lack of money, and their lack of outreach. Their past remedies included challenging incumbents with more conservative candidates; however, it has by and large failed.

Their new path to power in the Republican Party is to join the Democratic Party.

For a group dedicated to principle, this development is radically different from their founding doctrine. In 2009, they wanted to restore the Constitution and limit government. It seems their 2015 doctrine is to elect big-government Democrats and raise money. Sounds very establishment if you ask me.

Here’s their plan:

  1. Continue to primary sitting Republicans
  2. Unite the various Tea Party groups
  3. Find candidates to run as Independents to pull votes from both Democrats and Republicans
  4. Identify swing districts and support the Democratic candidate
  5. Inflict pain on Republican leadership
  6. Start a PAC

In theory, their support of Democrats will take the Republican Party back into the minority. After a term in the minority, the Tea Party will back conservative Republican candidates to replace the Democrats they had just elected and return the Republican Party back to the majority.

This, my friends, is their pathway to power. Check out their battle plan in full.

Download (PPTX, 5.95MB)

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The following is a guest post by Jason Anavitarte:

Summer is the hungriest time of year for many kids from low-income families in Georgia. When schools close, school meals disappear and summers can turn into a time of hunger and anxiety.

The national summer meals program was created to help kids get the nutrition they need during the summer months. When this program works, it’s a lifeline for kids in need. Unfortunately, this program doesn’t work effectively throughout much of Georgia and it’s only helping a fraction of kids who need it.

While many of us do not directly relate to this problem, many communities in Georgia lead the nation in the number of kids who do not have access to regular meals during the summer.  As a state, we have the fifth highest percentage of children without access to summer meals, at 28.2%.

That’s more than one in four Georgia kids.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Congress is currently taking a look at the law that governs our summer meals programs through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process. This provides the opportunity to enact policies that would feed kids in Georgia more effectively and efficiently, especially on the local level. The bill is in the Senate Agriculture Committee and could be “marked up” in the next week. The current law is set to expire September 30, 2015.

Childhood hunger is a solvable problem; with good leadership, we can build a stronger, more productive Georgia, but we must start by feeding our kids. I hope you’ll support efforts to improve the summer meals program by calling Senator Perdue, Senator Isakson and your Congressman and ask them to support this worthy program. Let’s not fail our children in Georgia.

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It’s Friday again already.  And why are we going all TGIF?  Because at noon today you get another hour of Peach Pundit Radio on WGST!

Joining Sully for the first hour of his show (noon to 2pm, Monday – Friday on 640AM) will be Stefan Turkheimer, Mike Hassinger, Jon Richards, and me.

What are we talking about?  Like we know.  But let’s just guess:

  • T-SPLOST is three years dead as of today.  Long live T-SPLOST!
  • Sale Tax Holiday!  Rush to stores now to save pennies on the dollar!  But is this good policy?
  • Casinos?  At Tara?  It could happen.
  • A major Atlanta hospital declared bankruptcy today, but the news is still talking about Confederate flags.  What’s the bigger issue for Clayton County voters?

Tune in on 640 AM at noon, or you can listen live here.  Come for the free punditry.  Stay for Cooking with Paula Deen.

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DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James is facing two complaints about his campaign finances -though technically, it’s one complaint filed with the DeKalb County Ethics Board and then again with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (fka the State Ethics Commission).

The complainant complains that DA James failed to file Personal Financial Disclosures in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, failed to file affidavits required of a public officer in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and underreported his campaign debt to the tune of $23,000.

Them’s the facts. Read the complaints for yourselves here, and here, to see if you draw some conclusions similar to these. Comment below the break. [click to continue…]

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Back in February, we told you about the ongoing problems at Clayton County’s only hospital, Southern Regional Medical Center. Now, the hospital has gone into bankruptcy, as reported by Georgia Health News.

A media release announcing the filing emphasized that Clayton County’s lone hospital will remain open and operating while Southern Regional Health System officials consider a proposed sale of the medical center to a California-based nonprofit.

Southern Regional said it will fulfill its obligations to its employees and vendors, and continue to deliver high-quality medical care. The organization also said it has obtained a commitment for post-bankruptcy financing.

Last week, Prime Healthcare Foundation signed a letter of intent to acquire the 331-bed Riverdale hospital.

The hospital has become unprofitable due to the large amount of uncompensated care it provides. According to the story 30% of patients had no health insurance. If the sale goes through, Prime Healthcare has agreed to keep the hospital open and offer emergency services for at least five years.

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Happy Birthday Jessica

July 31, 2015 7:45 am

by Charlie · 7 comments

It’s Jessica’s birthday today.  Don’t worry, she’s still quite young.  In age and in spirit.

Jessica first caught our and others in #gapol attention with her own political blog that no one of our intellect can pronounce.  Heck, we even pronounce her last name “Smith”.  Yet she had and has a fresh outlook and fighting spirit so we keep her around.

Well, we keep her around virtually.  After growing up and living in the North Metro Atlanta area for most of her life, she’s decided to become one of our South Georgia contributors.  She’s documenting that journey on another new project, found here.

Y’all wish Jessica the happiest of birthdays below.  Meanwhile, someone check and make sure Bulloch County allows backyard chickens.  We don’t want things down there to get started off on the wrong foot.

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Georgia joined the United Nations 23 years ago. Not our Georgia, of course.

Riddle: A man lives on the 14th floor of a building. Everyday, he walks down to the elevator, hits the ‘lobby’ button, and rides it to the bottom and then goes to work. When he comes back from work, he only takes the elevator up to the 7th floor and walks the rest of the way on the stairs. Why doesn’t he take the elevator all the way to the top

Georgia

The Yonder

Important

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Early this year, the Georgia Board of Dentistry filed a ‘motion to dismiss’ on a challenge to a Georgia law that only permits licensed dentists to offer teeth-whitening services, but after Tuesday, it appears the challenge to the law will go forward in U.S. District Court.

Currently, Georgia law prohibits persons other than dentists from providing these services, even if the whitening service is just a product sold over the counter and done at home. Violating this law is a $500 fine with 5 years in jail PER CUSTOMER.

Back in August of last year, an entrepreneur by the name of Christina Collins was operating a teeth-whitening company where a product was sold out of her office where customers applied the product themselves when the board ordered her to close down her business. She filed a suit in December and it has been pending since.

Judge Leigh Martin May of the Northern District of Georgia U.S. District Court ruled Tuesday that the case will move forward.

Collins attorney, Paul Sherman, said in a statement,

“This law has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with protecting licensed dentists from competition. The right to earn a living is one of the most important rights protected by our Constitution, and today’s ruling means that Christina Collins will have her day in court to show that that Dental Board is violating that right.”

I have to side with Collins on this one. We’re talking about teeth whitening, not root canals – a practice that just about any fool could handle. These products are already available in supermarkets and drug stores and if consumers want to assume the risk and over-whiten like Ross from Friends or damage their teeth, they too should have the right to do so.

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Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law. They were the crowning achievements to LBJ’s Great Society programs designed to eliminate poverty, improve education, and ameliorate racial injustice. House Budget Committee Chair and Georgia’s Sixth District Congressman Tom Price wrote an op-ed published today in IJ Review addressing their viability and the need to preserve them moving forward. Some excerpts:

For about as long as there has been a Medicare or Medicaid program, there has been a vocal opposition to anything approaching a solution that might improve the programs or make them financially sustainable. It is counterintuitive, but favoring the status quo – which is unsustainable and harmful to beneficiaries – is actually considered politically safer than trying to save and strengthen these programs. Then again, common sense has never been particularly popular in Washington.

After all, federal spending on health care – Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare – consumes nearly $1 trillion each year right now. In the years to come, it is projected to approach $2 trillion annually. By 2040, auto-pilot spending on the nation’s health, retirement and economic security programs will account for 76 percent of total expenditures. In other words, Congress will have little to no control over three quarters of the government’s budget – which is phenomenally disconcerting in its own right.

Medicare and Medicaid are fifty years old today. If they were American workers, by the time they’d reach retirement age, Medicare would be insolvent.

Many of my conservative friends complain about the country’s $18 trillion national debt, and the estimated $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities. They encourage Congress to do something–cut spending, audit government programs, eliminate foreign aid, and whatnot. Most millennials I talk to don’t believe Medicaid or Social Security will be around when they need them.

Since the GOP took over the House in 2010, discretionary spending has been cut. Conservatives should be proud of that, but should also realize that without fixing entitlements, the spending and debt problem isn’t going to get solved. Yet, there’s no real support for reform from the grassroots of either party. When Paul Ryan proposed changes to Medicare funding, those on the left responded with this, and the Republican base offered no pushback.

At a time when Americans go ballistic over a dead lion, maybe it’s time to consider taking some of that energy to support reforms that can get the country out of the financial bind these entitlements have caused.

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Last Friday, Democrats in the US House and Senate, including Georgia Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, filed the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015. This legislation amends the Voting Rights Act and modernizes the formula that determines which states must submit changes to their voting laws for preclearance by the Department of Justice. The previous formula, contained in Section 4 of the voting rights act, was ruled unconstitutional in the 5-4 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision in 2013. Since that ruling, many states that were previously covered by preclearance have instituted more restrictive voting laws. Notably, North Carolina dramatically changed their voting rights law after the decision, instituting strict voter ID requirements, slashing early voting, and eliminating same-day voter registration.

The formula established by the Voting Rights Advancement Act would not just impact southern states – states and counties would be subject to preclearance if they met a certain threshold of voting rights violations in the past 25 years. At present this would cover 13 states: 10 former Confederate states (including Georgia) as well as Arizona, California, and New York. While the Voting Rights Act was renewed unanimously in the Senate and with only 33 “no” votes from House Republicans in 2006 (including GA GOP Reps. Nathan Deal, Phil Gingrey, John Linder, Charles Norwood, Tom Price, and Lynn Westmoreland) this year’s bill has only Democratic and independent cosponsors. [click to continue…]

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After an investigative report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards couldn’t account for $80,000 allegedly missing from his campaign account in 2010, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission announced it will conduct its own inquiry into the matter. A story by David Wickert and AJC Intern Ciara Bri’d Frisbie in this morning’s paper says the Ethics Commission found several possible violations of campaign law, including improper accounting and improper expenditures. For his part, Edwards claims innocence, saying he had hired an auditor to determine errors, and can explain the discrepancies to the commission.

A student journalist at The Georgia News Lab noticed Edwards’ campaign finances didn’t add up while reviewing public records for a class in investigative reporting. Public agencies responsible for policing political campaigns apparently never noticed the discrepancy.

The campaign reports showed Edwards had nearly $196,000 in cash on hand in June 2010. In September he reported having only about $117,000 on hand — nearly $80,000 less. But he reported spending only about $1,500 between June and September, and the missing money is not accounted for in subsequent reports.

While the story details issues with the longtime commissioner’s campaign finances–he left office last December after serving for 14 years–it also illustrates how discrepancies in disclosure reports can easily escape scrutiny by the Ethics Commission. That, according to Ethics Commission Executive Director Stefan Ritter, is something the Commission is working to address:

Other Georgia politicians may ultimately find themselves subject to similar scrutiny. Ritter said the commission may develop a computerized audit system that will automatically search campaign reports for such accounting discrepancies.

One critic of the agency likes the idea of automatic checks. The system would catch discrepancies and save staff time and taxpayer money, said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. He thinks there are plenty of other politicians who could be investigated.

“I imagine a thorough audit of all reports would uncover a lot of missing information and discrepancies from campaigns and public officials,” Perry said.

Edwards has 30 days to respond to the Commission’s inquiries. Based on his response, the case could be dropped or sent to a formal hearing.

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property-assessment-picture-ConvertImage

They’re Back! Like a horror film sequel, Georgia property owners this year are seeing a return of spiraling property tax reassessments leading to staggering back door tax increases by local governments. It is time to put an end to this practice once and for all by limiting annual increases to no more than 3% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

We attempted to pass this reasonable limitation in the General Assembly in 2009 but fell short of the required 2/3 majority needed for a constitutional amendment to put it into place permanently. The legislature then enacted a temporary freeze to protect property owners in the depths of the recession but that temporary protection has now expired.

Often, proponents of the use of property taxes to fund local governments describe this form of taxation as a “good tax” because it is a “predictable” source of revenue for government. If true, this predictability should be a two way street. This proposed constitutional amendment will allow Georgia property owners to plan and budget their future tax obligations without the threat of rapidly increasing reassessments literally taxing their property out from underneath them. [click to continue…]

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On this date in 1956, the phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto

Peaches 

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

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