Author: Lawton Sack

We’re Taking the Fork With Charlie

At the noon hour on WGST, Charlie will be making an announcement about a project that ultimately led him to leave Peach Pundit. You can listen online or via radio waves at 640 AM in the appropriate listening area.

Prior to his announcement, we would like to share that the undersigned have also chosen to leave Peach Pundit as contributors to begin work on Monday with Charlie’s new project.

This was not an easy decision for any of us, as Peach Pundit has been a part of our lives for a long time. For some of us, a decade or more. We cherish the opportunity that Peach Pundit has provided to us. We are thankful for each of y’all for reading what we have wrote, contributing to the discussion, and putting up with us, especially Ed.

We sincerely wish nothing but the best for Peach Pundit going forward.

We have a lot of marbles to stack between now and Monday.

#byefelicia

Anthony M Kreis
Ed
Edward Lindsey
George Chidi
Jessica S.
Jon Richards
Katelyn Ledford
Lawton Sack
Nathan Smith
Obi’s Sister
Stefan Turkheimer
Teri Anulewicz

SoLongThanksForFish

Statesboro Native Killed in Afghan Attack

Several news outlets, including the Statesboro Herald, have confirmed that Statesboro native Chester “CJ” McBride Jr. was one of the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Monday.

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a December 21st press release:

“It is with deep regret that I learned today that six U.S. service members died in Afghanistan Monday. We are still learning all of the details, but two other service members and a U.S. contractor were also injured. They died after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on their patrol outside Bagram Air Base. It serves as a painful reminder of the dangers our troops face every day in Afghanistan.”

 
Jan Moore, Mayor of Statesboro:

“We are so proud of this young man for his service to our nation and we send our heartfelt prayers and condolences to his family as they mourn the loss of their brave son.”

 
GA-12 Congressman Rick Allen:

“Six U.S. service members were killed yesterday in an attack in Afghanistan. One of the victims was Chester McBride, a graduate of Statesboro High School and Savannah State University. Please remember to say a special prayer for McBride’s family as well as the other families who lost their loved ones so close to the Christmas and holiday season. Those who have followed the call to fight for and defend our country both here and abroad make many sacrifices and the least we can do is lift them up in prayer and remembrance.”

Emory University Does Not Need To Ban Yik Yak

Adam Carlson of the AJC reported on Friday about the possibility of Emory University banning Yik Yak on its campus due to student demands. Yik Yak is a social media app for smartphones that allows for anonymous messages to be sent to others that are using the app within a 5-mile radius of the sender.

Recently, a list of demands was submitted to Emory University by the “Black Students of Emory University” to “demand an active change in University policy directed towards Black students.” The list included a demand to block Yik Yak from the campus area (paragraph spacing has been added for clarity of reading):

Acknowledging foremost that all kinds of speech are not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” Emory University shall not protect the privilege of students to vocalize hate speech.

The social app Yik Yak has been utilized on Emory’s campus to post messages similar in sentiment to the following posts: “So Black people can complain about their f**king microaggressions and whatever but if I as a white person feel unsafe or uncomfortable for any reason, I’m ignorant. F**k that”, “I’m about to jack off to ebony porn to help race relations”, and “Let’s be real. Black lives matter is a sham. It’s not because you’re black. It’s because you’re selling crack and ran from a police officer.” This is hate speech, which is defined by the American Bar Association as “speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.”

Whereas, this fits the description of the aforementioned posts as it did to the Swastika painted on the fraternity house of Alpha Epsilon Pi (which was swiftly removed by the authorities), it is illogical for Emory to remain impartial in the matter at hand. On October 11th 2015, Emily Sacamoto was arrested on Emory’s Oxford campus for posting “I’m shooting up the school. Tomorrow. Stay in your rooms. The ones on the quad are the ones who will go first.”

Though the federal Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. § 2701) prevents Yik Yak from disclosing the account information of a user without an official request from law enforcement, it is impermissible to allow racist students to terrorize Black people on any form of media and the anonymity that Yik Yak provides is a breeding ground for behavior of that sort.

Hence, we demand that Emory University Information Technology Services formally request that Yik Yak, Inc. install a geofence covering the zip code 30322 in order to protect our students from subjection to intolerable and psychologically detrimental material.

Emory University responded to the demands on December 2 and updated its response on December 4. They responded to the Yik Yak demand with the following:

Through a partnership between Information Technology Services and the University Senate, a task force will be created to examine the feasibility of a geofence covering the zip codes for Emory University, including Oxford College.

Read more

Gov. Deal Announces Jindal Films Americas Creating 240 Jobs In Troup County

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal made an announcement today that Jindal Films Americas, LLC (JFA) is relocating its United States Research and Development Center and national headquarters to Troup County. It was also announced that they would be expanding its existing manufacturing facility in LaGrange. The plan would create 240 jobs and invest $180 million into the community.

Gov. Deal:

“The relocation of JFA to Georgia demonstrates the strength and vitality of our manufacturing and technology sector. Manufacturing is a key element in maintaining Georgia as the No. 1 state in which to do business. This demonstrates our continued commitment to companies already located in Georgia and those ready for expansion to a business-friendly environment.”

 

Scott Van Winter, JFA CEO:

“This investment reinforces JFA’s commitment to providing next generation solutions for our customers. said JFA CEO Scott Van Winter. “We have a positive outlook on future demand for specialty BOPP films in the Americas. This is the first step in a significant growth plan that will bring new technology and expanded capabilities to our customers and partners well into the future.”

 

About JFA:

Jindal Films Americas LLC (JFA), part of the BC Jindal Group, is one of the world’s largest biaxial oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) producers, and includes Jindal Films Europe and Jindal Poly Films India. Jindal Films is a leader in the development of specialty oriented polypropylene (BOPP) films, including multilayer white opaque films, metalized films, and coated films, for flexible packaging and labeling applications.

JFA and Jindal Polyfilms operate six manufacturing facilities in five countries, as well as two research and development technology centers. The company currently employs 500 personnel in the U.S., including 200 employees in Georgia. This relocation will create high-paying salaries in manufacturing, research and development, and management positions.

SOS Kemp Releases SEC Primary Presidential Candidates

From a press release by the Secretary of State’s office, SOS Brian Kemp has announced the official list of presidential candidates for the March 1, 2016 “SEC” Primary candidates. Georgia will join Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia for the March 1 primary. It will be the largest collaboration of southern states in a presidential primary since 1992’s Super Tuesday.

If you want to know where to place the blame for certain candidates appearing (such as Donald “What Will He Say Next” Trump) or not appearing (do we really need more?), Georgia law provides political parties the ability to approve which candidates will be placed on their presidential preference primary ballots.

It should be noted that the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Georgia Republican Party submitted their lists of candidates to the Secretary of State’s office last week, so Donald Trump’s most recent comments were not a deciding factor by the GAGOP Executive Committee. One could definitely argue that his previous remarks could have been enough to keep him off the ballot, though.

Independent candidates and certified write-in candidates still have several months before they are required to register with the office.

“I am excited to announce these candidates for the upcoming SEC Primary,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “Nearly all of them have already visited Georgia this election cycle to hear from our voters, and I expect we will see much more of them in the coming weeks.”

The Democratic Party of Georgia selected four candidates:

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Martin O’Malley
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Michael Steinberg

The Georgia Republican Party selected thirteen candidates:

  • Jeb Bush
  • Ben Carson
  • Chris Christie
  • Ted Cruz
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Lindsey Graham
  • Mike Huckabee
  • John Kasich
  • George Pataki
  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
  • Rick Santorum
  • Donald Trump

“Because of the SEC Primary, candidates are drawn here much earlier to learn about issues important to our state and Georgia citizens, such as our agricultural industry, ports, military installations, and thriving technology and manufacturing industries,” said Kemp. “It’s important we make sure every Georgian knows about the SEC Primary on March 1, 2016. The larger the voter turnout, the greater the impact Georgia will have in future presidential primaries.”

GA Tax Revenues Up 9.1% In Fiscal Year 2016

An announcement was made today by Gov. Deal stating that Georgia’s net tax collections for November, 2015 totaled over $1.64 billion, an increase of about $109.7 million (7.5%) from November, 2014. This brings the final net tax revenue collections to $8.4 billion for the 2016 fiscal year, which is up $699.5 million (9.1%) from last year.

In addition, $76.7 million was generated for transportation in November due to changes implemented by House Bill 170.

The following is a breakdown of the November, 2015 revenues in comparison to November, 2014:

Description Amount Collected Change From Nov., 2014 Percentage Increase
Individual income taxes $831.4 million $83.7 million 11.2%
Gross Sales & Use Tax $847.3 million $1.9 million 0.2%
Net Sales & Use Tax $432 million -$5.8 million -1.3%
Corporate income taxes $7.6 million $5.06 million 200.9%

 

A copy of the November, 2015 financial report can be seen after the break. Read more

Recount Affirms Van Ness Election in Senate District 43

From a press release by Tonya P. Anderson, Janice Frey Van Ness is the victor over Anderson after a re-count in Senate District 43. Republican Van Ness won the run-off election by 84 votes over the Democratic Anderson.

The press release states:

Today’s recount of votes from the December 1 special election in Senate District 43 did not change the outcome of the race, but Democratic candidate Tonya Anderson said she is satisfied there are now answers to questions about one polling place not showing any in-person voting on election day.”While the outcome of the election did not change, I am satisfied that questions about polling place results were answered. I believe it is important to maintain the integrity of our election system and be certain that every vote is counted,” said Anderson.

Anderson’s campaign asked for the recount because there were complaints that a voting precinct on Panola Road in DeKalb County showed no in-person voting on election, even though citizens said they cast their votes there. Only 87 votes separated the two candidates.

“Our recount request was not about my opponent or myself, this was about ensuring a fair and open process that protects every vote. We should always err on the side of transparency when it comes to counting votes,” Anderson said.

A DeKalb Elections Board staff person described the discrepancy at the Panola Road voting precinct as a “glitch.”

Anderson thanked the voters in SD43 for their support, saying she would continue to fight for Democratic values and representation continues.

“I have served parts of this District for nearly 10 years and will continue serving, even outside of office,” said Anderson.

Sen. Isakson: Obamacare’s “Promise of Lower Cost Health Care and Better Benefits was Exactly Wrong”

From a press release:

“U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., called on the Senate to pass the Restoring Americans’ Health Care Freedom Reconciliation Act, which would repeal the president’s disastrous health care law known informally as Obamacare. During remarks on the Senate floor, Isakson highlighted the plight of Georgia families facing higher premiums, higher deductibles and reduced health care coverage because of Obamacare.”

Sen. Isakson:

“Six years ago, the administration was promising lower premiums, better benefits and that Obamacare was going to be a solution for the problems of American families. I have gotten letters from people who are having higher premiums, bigger deductibles and less benefits.Let me give you an example: A family in Roswell, Georgia, wrote me, a family of five. They were notified their premium is going from $849 a month to $1,075 a month, with a deductible of $11,900, and an increase of $6,900 in their deductible. The mother, who had a family history of breast cancer, was denied coverage for her regular mammograms, and the young daughter, who had a precancerous mole removed, was refused reimbursement for that removal. This family experienced increase in premium, reduction in benefits and an increase in deductible. It just doesn’t make any sense, but it’s all because of the mandates of the Obamacare law.

Secondly, I had a young couple in Smyrna, Georgia, who wanted to plan for their retirement, start saving in their early years of productivity. They recently received notice from their insurance company their premium is going from $670 a month to $1,379 a month, over a 100 percent increase. Where is that money coming from? They are having to reduce their savings for retirement just to pay the Obamacare premium and get less of a benefit because their deductible is going from $2,000 to $4,000.

The promise of lower cost health care and better benefits was exactly wrong. What the American people were promised was wrong.

I’m proud that Senator Enzi, Senator Alexander and others have led this reconciliation vote to repeal Obamacare. It’s time the American people got the truth — better coverage, but lower cost — the good old-fashioned way with a private competitive system.”

The video of his remarks can be seen after the break.

Read more

Rep. Westmoreland: U.S. More Capable To Respond Now Than Benghazi

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi and the Chairman of the Subcommittee of the NSA and Cybersecurity on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recently traveled by commercial coach for a series of briefings, meetings, and working lunches in Germany and Italy.

Westmoreland:

“Talking to our military men and women on the ground, asking them questions, and getting a firsthand look at how our crisis response assets are equipped, readied and deployed is a critical part of completing our investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks. We learned new information that we simply couldn’t get from bureaucrats in Washington, and witnessed the greater emphasis placed on monitoring social media overseas and the dedicated aircraft that now belong to crisis response units at AFRICOM and EUCOM, which are two improvements initiated after Benghazi. It’s good to see our military is learning from that tragedy, and these valuable insights will help inform the rest of the Select Committee’s inquiries and our final report.”

Westmoreland stated in a press release that “it was unfortunate that Select Committee Democrats chose not to participate in this fact-finding mission and gather the same information for themselves.”

In a related AP article, Westmoreland stated that he learned “that the military is much better prepared now than what they were in 2012 to go in and prepare a mission and possibly go in and rescue Americans.” He saw this a “a positive development but said it also showed ‘deficiencies’ in U.S. capabilities during the Benghazi attacks three years ago.”

Enhanced Security Measures At Falcons Game Sunday

The Atlanta Falcons have announced via Facebook, its website, and email that they are enhancing safety measure for the game this Sunday against the Colts. They recommend arriving at the game no later than 45 minutes prior to kickoff.

From their website:

“In response to recent world events, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority is implementing enhanced security measures, including increased law enforcement, for our game on Sunday. You may notice these changes as you arrive or depart from the game.

The enhanced security measures are not the result of any targeted threats; rather, they are prudent measures under the circumstances and were made in coordination with NFL security recommendations. Your safety is extremely important to us, and we appreciate your understanding.

We look forward to returning from our bye week and seeing you at the Georgia Dome.”

October Tax Collections Up Slightly In GA From October 2014

An announcement was made today by Gov. Deal stating that Georgia’s net tax collections for October, 2015 totaled almost $1.63 billion, an increase of about $4.6 million (0.3%) from October, 2014. This brings the final net tax revenue collections to $6.76 billion for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which is up $513.1 million (8.2%) from last year.

In addition, $69.8 million was generated for transportation in October due to changes implemented by House Bill 170.

The following is a breakdown of the October, 2015 revenues in comparison to October, 2014:

Description Amount Collected Change From Oct., 2014 Percentage Increase
Individual income taxes $839.7 million $5.2 million 0.6%
Gross Sales & Use Tax $865.5 million $6.3 million 0.7%
Net Sales & Use Tax $446.2 million -$4.7 million -1.1%
Corporate income taxes -$13.6 million -$13.7 million -24,473.7%

 

A copy of the October, 2015 financial report can be seen after the break. Read more

Aspen Aerogels To Create 100 Jobs In Statesboro

Governor Deal’s office announced today that my hometown and current residence of Statesboro will have 100 new jobs created and $70 million invested in it by Aspen Aerogels opening its second manufacturing facility. Aspen Aerogels is a manufacturer of “energy infrastructure insulation used in refineries, petrochemical plants, LNG facilities, power plants and related operations.”

Governor Deal:

“Aspen Aerogels is a major addition to Georgia’s thriving technology industry. The company’s Statesboro location offers close proximity to our top-notch transportation infrastructure and some of our first-class academic institutions. I am confident that our highly-skilled workforce and competitive resources will be uniquely beneficial for Aspen’s growth in Georgia.”

 

Don Young, President and CEO of Aspen Aerogels:

“The factors we considered to choose Bulloch County as the site for our second manufacturing facility were compelling. The 43-acre Statesboro site is served by rail and provides excellent access to the Port of Savannah. The City of Statesboro and the surrounding region is served by a well-developed technical education system featuring Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College and East Georgia State College. In addition, the region is home to a strong, available workforce and will provide Aspen with secure and low-cost utilities and good access to critical raw materials. We also received great support from the State of Georgia, Bulloch County and the City of Statesboro. We are excited to become an active member of the local community.”

Perdue & Isakson Respond To Obama’s Keystone Rejection

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue released the following statements today after President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline:

Isakson:

“President Obama has made the wrong decision for America by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s action means that we will be missing the opportunity to be an energy-independent nation. The American people are still struggling in today’s economy, and they expect and deserve Washington to cut red tape to unleash America’s energy resources. This project would create American jobs, ensure America’s energy security and reinforce relations with our largest trading partner. Building the Keystone XL pipeline is an important step toward meeting these goals.”

 

Perdue:

“Let’s be honest, President Obama was never serious about working with Congress to unleash our energy resources. For years, it’s been clear the Keystone Pipeline would have jumpstarted the economy, helped lower energy costs for families, and created good paying jobs. President Obama’s politically motivated decisions put special interest groups and his liberal climate agenda ahead of working middle class families, and today’s decision to reject Keystone is no different. I will continue to fight to grow our economy and unlock our nation’s full energy potential.”

Rep. Hank Johnson: Veterans Job Fair Thursday In Tucker

Rep. Hank Johnson has shared some details about an upcoming job fair for veterans next Thursday, November 12, in Tucker, GA:

As we prepare to honor all our veterans, military personnel and their families next week for Veterans Day 2015, I want to highlight an important event in our community that is helping veterans find jobs.

The Tucker Civic Association is holding its Veterans Job Fair at Rehoboth Baptist Church; 2997 Lawrenceville Hwy, Tucker, GA 30084 on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fair will feature information on veterans’ services as well as complementary résumé critiques and on-site printing.

My office will have a table at the fair highlighting the services we provide veterans but more importantly there will be a host of employers attending, such as Goodwill of North Georgia, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Labor and big-name companies such as Delta Air Lines and institutions of higher learning like Emory University and Georgia Perimeter College.

For more information, including a list of confirmed exhibitors, please visit Tucker Civic Associations’s website.