Happy Labor Day. Enjoy the cookout/lake/however you are celebrating.

SEC

Texas A&M vs. South Carolina, 52-28
Boise State vs. Ole Miss, 13-35
Temple vs. Vanderbilt, 37-7
Idaho vs. Florida, Canceled
UT Martin vs. Kentucky, 14-59
South Dakota State vs. Mizzou, 18-38
West Virginia vs. Alabama, 23-33
Arkansas vs.  Auburn, 21-45
Clemson vs. Georgia, 21-45
Southern Miss vs. Miss State, 0-49
Wisconsin vs. LSU, 24-28
Utah State vs. Tennessee,

{ 8 comments }

Heading into the final two months of an election season where Republicans have a not-unreasonable chance of controlling the Senate, Democrats are trying to motivate African-Americans in the hope they will vote in numbers more typically seen in a presidential year, rather than in a midterm.

In a front page story in Sunday’s New York Times titled At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks, Jonathan Martin highlights the efforts of two prominent Atlantans to get out the vote.

In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, along with conservative calls to impeach Mr. Obama, as they urge black voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is typically lower.

“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”

[I]n an interview on Friday, Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta said whites — or, as he put it, “the majority community” — did not fully appreciate the fury among African-Americans and their desire to register their discontent.

Invoking the mother of Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teenager killed in 2012, and her plea for people to “use my broken heart,” Mr. Reed said he was telling black voters something similar: “The most important tribute you can make to individuals who you believe were treated unfairly is to exercise your franchise.”

Here in Georgia, a recent WSB poll by Landmark Communications showed Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter winning the Senate and Governor’s races–the opposite of other polling that shows Republicans with comfortable leads. Mark Rountree of Landmark insists that’s because his poll is more accurately measuring likely minority turnout.

If African Americans show up at the polls at a greater rate than in a normal off year election, it wouldn’t be the first time, as Nate Cohn of the Times points out:

Things have changed since 1998. Landmark’s poll predicts the black share of the Georgia vote this November will be 29%.

{ 28 comments }

Mustard or Gold? *Open Thread*

August 29, 2014 15:30 pm

by Lawton Sack · 0 comments

KSUni2

In the shadow of the SEC showdown between South Carolina and Texas A&M, the Kennesaw State University football program  revealed their new uniforms yesterday.  The release was done just over a year prior to their inaugural kickoff against East Tennesse State University on September 3, 2015.  While the uniforms are reportedly variations of a gold, white, and black color scheme, it definitely looks like the color of mustard to me.

Use this *Open Thread* to discuss fashion, BBQ sauce (mustard vs. vinegar), sports, or even politics.

{ 0 comments }

It may be Labor Day weekend, but with the general election just over two months away, the political analysts are still at work. Over at the Cook Political Report (subscription required), today gives us rating revisions for governor’s races in six states, including Georgia. The race between Nathan Deal and Jason Carter is now listed as a toss-up.

The new rating appears to have taken into consideration the recent Landmark / WSB poll, which showed Deal behind. Also cited are the continuing drumbeat of ethics complaints and other scandals.

Here’s the meat of the ratings change:

[T]his is not a state where one would expect a competitive gubernatorial race, but Democrats seem to be in a position to make it one…. National Democrats plan to put a lot of resources in the state on behalf of Senate nominee Michelle Nunn, and some of those efforts will also benefit Carter. Polling over the summer showed the race closing to within single digits. As a result, the race is now in the Toss Up column.

We’ve talked about how early polling doesn’t always affect what will happen in November. Beginning in September, non-political people traditionally start to pay attention. For the Deal campaign, it’s time to put up or shut up.

{ 16 comments }

As per a blog post on her website, Nancy Jester, former GOP candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent, has announced that she is considering a run for the DeKalb County Commission District 1 seat.  Jester placed fifth out of a crowded field of nine in the GOP Superintendent’s primary on May 20.

The seat was previously held by Elaine Boyer, who resigned her position on Monday of this week and is facing federal charges for improper financial actions while serving as Commissioner.  Qualifying will begin on Monday, September 8 and run through noon on Wednesday, September 10.

{ 5 comments }

Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue visited the Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon on Thursday to talk about the farm bill and immigration, and how, as Senators, they would approach agricultural issues. The Macon Telegraph reports that Nunn supported the farm bill passed in Congress earlier this year, while Perdue opposed it.

“We know that it was not a good thing for us to languish two years without the certainty of the bill, and that it actually was the kind of bipartisan compromise that Washington does too rarely,” [Nunn] said. “I think that the bipartisan bill was not perfect, but what it did was ensure that we continue to create a safety net of nutritional supplement, support for families that need it, many of whom are seniors and elderly or disabled.

“At the same time, it provided the critical crop insurance support that farmers want and said is important, invested in research and innovation, and by the way, cut the deficit by a significant margin,” she said.

Perdue said he opposed the measure because it could have done far more, particularly for the Peach State.

“First of all, on the farm side, I don’t think it went far enough to protect the interests of our farmers in Georgia,” he said. “Second, on the nutrition side, I felt like it needed to be bifurcated, that the problems and the abuses on the nutrition side needed to be dealt with separately.

As this year’s bill was being considered in the U.S. House, an effort was made to separate the two main parts of the bill, one part covering agriculture and the other part covering nutrition, notably food stamps. That effort ultimately failed.

Both Perdue and Nunn have indicated they would like to be on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

{ 9 comments }

The Asian American Legal Advocacy Center (AALAC)  will host a press conference in its Atlanta office at 11 am today to launch the 10,000 Korean-American Voter Drive. The Center plans on launching this ambitious project by revealing the drive’s logo, ads and decals at the event.

As an Asian American myself, this news thrills me as there is so much more that needs to be done to engage Asian Americans in the political process. Hats off to AALAC for attempting to do just that. Nevertheless, as a Republican I have to wonder what kind of effect this would have on the General Elections this November in Georgia. I personally believe that Asian Americans have a lot in common with the Republican Party, especially when it comes to fiscal / economic issues as small business owners and entrepreneurs constitute a good chunk of the Asian American community in Georgia. However, there is still a lot more that the Georgia Republican Party can do to engage more Asian Americans with its candidates and platforms. Nevertheless, I digress (for now) as that is another post for another time.

I am however interested in hearing what thoughts y’all have on this voter drive. Do you think it’s realistic? What kind of an impact do you think it would have on the voter turnout and result outcome this November? Please discuss.

The following is from the AALAC’s official Press Release earlier this morning.
[click to continue…]

{ 6 comments }

Sometimes-on-the-chopping-block Congressman John Barrow recently released his lengthy list of key endorsements from across the district, and true to form, he’s touting on social media that the list is comprehensive of folks from ‘both sides of the aisle’.

In his complete 19 county list, Barrow names both Republican and Democrat county commissioners, mayors, and Farm Bureau presidents. Barrow’s heavier endorsements naturally come from the Augusta area – Columbia and Richmond counties- but he alludes that he has strong support on the municipal level in Bulloch County and also in the often-forgotten-southern-but-completely-necessary Appling and Coffee counties. Just as noteworthy is that while parading influential elected officials, Barrow also makes mention of his well-known community activist supporters like Tattnall county Dairy Queen owner, Zuber Malik.

Also on his impressive list are  Sheriffs from Burke, Candler, Coffee , Jenkins, Laurens, Richmond, and Wheeler counties -all democrats- though all highly influential in their respective communities. It doesn’t appear at this time that Barrow is losing any steam.

A quick glance at businessman Rick Allen’s website shows a small backing for community leaders and ‘key endorsements’ with a stronger emphasis on D.C. polling and Barrow’s voting record, only furthering the notion that while Barrow is busy schmoozing in the district, his opponents are busy grasping at straws -year after year, cycle after cycle.

{ 2 comments }

PSA: Traffic trifecta headache ahead! DragonCon, the College Kick Off, a Braves game and I’m sure many other events around town. Plan ahead. Look at that; you made a strategy. It’s not that hard, is it?

PSA II: Order in the galaxy has been restored. College football is back!

Here:
- It’s for The Golf, stupid.
- Home values in GA creeping up slowly.
- The next Uber? Home grown app for local Atlanta deliveries expanding to Athens.
- South Cobb is getting its own brand?
- Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg. Remembering Dan McGill and Cecelia Seiler.

There:
- Pro-Ebola? Campaign mud-slinging reaches new low.
- Pakistan gets it’s own ISIL. Marvy.
- The War on Bacon continues.
- When did this happen? The back nine?
- When bailouts are really pay-offs.

Random Everywhere:
- Gnomegate.
- DoubleDawgs get pushed to the back of the ticket line.
- Now that’s funny (sing along).

Open Thread:

{ 10 comments }

Congressman Jack Kingston’s office sent out a presser reminding high school juniors who are aspiring to go to one of our nation’s service academies to apply for a congressional nomination by October 1st:

Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) reminds students interested in receiving a congressional nomination to one of the U.S. Military Academies that they must submit their completed applications to his office no later than October 1. Each year Congressman Kingston nominates deserving young men and women to the Service Academies.

“The First District has a rich military heritage. We have many qualified students who can carry on that tradition,” said Kingston. “We have the privilege of interviewing and nominating the finest young men and women to the Academies each year. These are the future leaders that will serve with honor and skill in the United States Armed Forces.”

The application periods for the Academies generally begin in April, and now is the time to start working towards admission into these top institutions.

High school juniors interested in attending the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, or the United States Naval Academy should apply directly with the Academy as soon as possible.

Those students should contact Congressman Kingston’s office for a Congressional Nomination Application. More information and the nomination application can be found on Kingston’s website at http://kingston.house.gov or by calling Brooke Childers in his Savannah Office at 912-352-0101.

{ 0 comments }

We’re starting to get a sense of how Jason Carter might fund his education program.

He wants to go after tax cheats.

“There’s $2.5 billion that is uncollected out there from people who are cheating on their taxes, and against whom we aren’t enforcing the law. That’s $2.5 billion dollars of money that’s gone uncollected by our state government for years now.”

That’s all well and good but it might not be enough.

People familiar with the state budgeting process tell me that that $2.5 billion figure is very ambitious and it will be very difficult to collect that much. In addition to the  problems the AJC lists, it is unclear how much of that theoretically-collectible amount of money is fees and interest. Any of the old taxes that were caught up in bankruptcy are absolutely not collectible and could violate federal law if pursued. Some of the tax is just too old to collect, too.

So it’s a good first start, but he’s still probably nine figures away from fully funding his initiatives.

{ 23 comments }

Sen. Johnny Isakson agrees with me. 

He said in order for Michelle Nunn to replace Saxby Chambliss as our Senator, she’s going to have to be more articulate in explaining what she believes. And by “going to have to be” I mean “start.”

On Wednesday, Isakson was quoted by Walter Jones as saying: “The oldest rule in politics … is you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, ‘I might,’ and say, ‘I might not,’ and expect the people of Georgia to believe it one way or another. You’ve got to ultimately declare what you’re going to do.”

Isakson was responding to Nunn’s non-statement statement  how she doesn’t know if she would vote for Harry Reid as Democratic Senate Leader.

{ 6 comments }

Uber Launches In Athens

August 28, 2014 13:39 pm

by Will Kremer · 6 comments

The rumble you are feeling is not an earthquake; it is the entire student body of the University of Georgia cheering.

Uber announced today that it is launching its service in 24 new cities–mostly college towns. Despite tremendous pressure from state governments to increase regulation on ridesharing companies such as Uber, the company continues to grow and exceed its own goals.

Today we are one step closer to our vision of UberEverywhere — a bold idea that no matter where you are, a reliable ride with Uber is just 5 minutes away. With today’s launch of 24 new markets, the Uber network is now available in 205 cities across 45 countries and 6 continents worldwide (bring it, Antarctica!) — more than double our #Uber100 milestone reached just four months ago. With more than 100 cities in the U.S. (now covering 55% of the U.S. population), 10 cities in India, 6 cities in China and 43 cities launched in August alone, those numbers are growing every day.

It is worth noting that some House members proposed a measure targeting Uber and Lyft during the most recent legislative session, but after a public outcry the measure never made it to the floor for a vote. However, rideshare services are to be studied this fall by House members.

{ 6 comments }

The Atlanta Regional Commission is in the process of finalizing a massive rewrite of its bylaws. Some citizens groups are not happy with the proposed changes because they believe the Commission should be more accountable to local residents. Many attended a meeting of the ARC Board on Wednesday to express their frustration.

David Pendered with the Saporta Report has the story:

At least nine organizations sent representatives to voice opposition to proposed revisions to the ARC’s bylaws. They want the bylaws to prohibit the ARC from seating on its board developers and others who have an interest in development. The proposal does not do that.

“I have a problem with a person or employer who could benefit” from actions taken by the ARC board serving on the ARC board, said Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown.

Brown’s concerns about the citizen members of the board go beyond whether they should be representatives of the development community. In April, he issued a press release after writing a memo to the ARC Bylaws Committee with his concerns:

One problem Brown cites is the division between the mayors and commission chairmen which, in turn, allows the citizen members to have a controlling influence. Some of the citizen members have been on the ARC Board for decades. “I worry when the ARC Chairman, a very powerful and influential position, is controlled by a citizen member whom the citizens cannot touch,” said Brown.

“I believe the situation is worsened when that citizen chairman is on the board of a community improvement district, which should exclude them from being a citizen member of the ARC board. Both the previous chairman and the current chairman are CID board members and are employed in the lucrative real estate development industry, which means ARC votes related to infrastructure can
influence their profitability.”

The makeup of the ARC Board, however, is determined by its enabling legislation. Changes to the board’s composition would require legislative intervention. And while both the current and proposed revisions to the ARC bylaws prohibit members at large from holding public office, courts have ruled that Community Improvement Districts and their Boards of Directors do not qualify under that limitation.

Representatives from the citizens groups, including Common Cause of Georgia, the Transportation Leadership Coalition, and several Tea Party groups, are wary of regionalism because they fear a decision affecting an entire region could force their county to participate in something it opposes. They see the proposed bylaws changes as strengthening the power of unelected individuals to mandate regional solutions. Their concerns about regional government stem from the failed 2012 TSPLOST, which Brown also opposed.

The ARC Board is expected to vote on the proposed bylaws changes at its September meeting.

{ 0 comments }

Sen. Jack Hill (R-4, Appropriations Chair) recently penned some of his views on a few of the transportation issues in Georgia, with a particular focus upon the 4th Senatorial District that he serves.  He also provides some potential options for handling the growing transportation problems.  As usual, he is forthright with his comments and lays out the facts plainly.  Sen. Hill’s District covers all of Effingham, Bulloch, Candler, and Evans counties and parts of Tattnall and Emanuel counties.

WHERE ARE GEORGIA’S TRANSPORTATION NEEDS?

Georgia is the 4th largest state, with nearly 10 million people and growing.  As concentrated as part of the state is around Atlanta and as spread out as the rest of the state is, it is little wonder that there is a long list of transportation needs that grows larger as the state grows and the projects become more expensive as inflation increases the costs year after year.

In the Fourth District, two counties with pressing transportation needs are Effingham and Bulloch Counties.

Effingham, as a rapidly growing county of over 50,000, has major transportation problems with commuting between Effingham and Chatham counties on a congested Ga. 21, a four lane GRIP highway, that has a choke point at the intersection of 21 and I-95.  A secondary route in and out of the county is badly needed and a route is well along in the planning stage.  But it is an expensive project that may languish unless new sources of funding, local and state are found.

Bulloch County has Ga. 67 connecting to I-16 (which is the main corridor for Statesboro and Georgia Southern University traffic) going to and from Savannah.  This highway is a two lane highway in the plans to four lane, but funding is the issue.

In other Fourth District Counties, a number of new roads need to be paved, but those remaining counties are all collecting and spending the additional 1 cent TSPOST funds that are in place for ten years.  Those counties will come close to meeting their transportation needs.

GA DOT has a long list of expensive state projects including the Northwest Corridor ($598 million), I-75 South Express Lanes ($176 million), I-285/SR400 ($950 million) and the Jimmy DeLoach Connector ($73 million) now under construction to the port in Savannah.  The GDOT’s Major Strategic Plan, which are all aimed at the traffic in and around Atlanta and out of state from there, totals in excess of $12 billion.  Lists exist that approach $100 billion.  

[click to continue…]

{ 12 comments }