By Eric The Younger

Morning Reads: 20 October 2014

11 days till Halloween, 12 days until  half off Halloween candy, 15 days until election day. Here’s what happened over the weekend.


#Moarmoney in the Senate race.
A ‘non partison” guide to the Governor’s race.
Speaking of the Governor’s race, which candidate supports Gurley more?
Healthcare is a big deal, the under discussed issue is the plight of rural healthcare delivery.
There are still some bugs, but overall the variable speed limits on 285 are a good thing.


Furman vs. South Carolina, 10-41
Texas A&M vs. Alabama, 0-59
UGA vs. Arkansas, 45-32
Tennessee vs. Old Miss, 3-34
Mizzou vs. Florida, 42-13
Kentucky vs. LSU, 3-41


CDC issues Ebola guidelines for healthcare workers.
Student protests because… because why not?
The economy, more important to voters than a fan at the debate.
Central Asia and the Ubeki stan stan branding.
The protests in Hong Kong aren’t as polite anymore.


Morning Reads: 13 October 2014

23 days until election day and early voting starts today. Go out and vote, vote early, and hopefully we will not have to deal with a runoff. No one wants that. Here’s what else happened over the weekend.

::UPDATE:: I had the same  link twice, it has been fixed. ::UPDATE::


First transgender student elected to homecoming court, brings light to policy that needs to be created.
Governor Deal  went up to Cobb to talk about Ebola, Immigration, and Common Core.
Jimmy’s back on the campaign trail.
There’s now a lawsuit over those voter registration delays, oh and the story has made it out of Georgia.
Everything you need to know to vote early.


UL Monroe vs. Kentucky, 14-48
UGA vs. Mizzou, 34-0
Auburn vs. Miss St., 23-38
Chattanooga vs. Tennessee, 10-45
Alabama vs. Arkansas, 14-13
LSU vs. Florida, 30-27
Charleston Southern vs. Vandy, 20-21
Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M, 35-20

National International

#MoarEbola in the US.
Well that’s a detail of the Boston Bomber that hasn’t been talked about much.
Chicago airspace will be getting back to normal soon.
This decision should help combat terrorism at their wallet.
You know, those Kurds just want autonomy and they don’t really put up well with anyone trying to take that away.

Morning Reads: 6 October 2014

Holy Upsets Batman! What a weekend. Besides eight of the top ten losing, get ready for the UGA folks to start gloating, here’s what else happened this weekend.


The Dems are hoping for an upset.
Athens is ready for Ebola.
Let’s fund some transportation!
Wahoo! We can drive faster on 285.
One step closer to cleaning up a superfund site.


Florida vs. Tennessee, 10-9
Texas A&M vs. Miss. State, 31-48
Alabama vs. Ole Miss, 17-23
Vanderbilt vs. Georgia, 17-44
LSU vs. Auburn, 7-41
South Carolina vs. Kentucky, 38-45


Ebola Update: Texas, Nebraska.
One step forward towards transparency at Git-Mo.
The Washington Post’s recap of the Sunday talking heads.
Brazil is a presidential election to watch.
Hong Kong and its protests.

Morning Reads: 29 September 2014

More shake up in the SEC East. Who knows how this will turn up in the end. Georgia barely beat Tennessee, Mizzou barely beat South Carolina, and in the west somehow both Mississippi SEC teams are in the top 15. Here’s what else happened over the weekend.


Turns out Georgia is a pretty awesome place for women owned business as well.
The arguments against the tuition tax-credit scholarship don’t work.
Sometimes I think this stuff is done just to elicit a reaction.
Looking for the Soul of Georgia.
Nunn is having none of Purdue’s terrorism ad.


UT vs. UGA, 32-35
Vanderbilt vs. UK, 7-17
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, 28-35
LA Tech vs. Auburn, 12-45
Mizzou vs. S Carolina, 21-20
Memphis vs. Ole Miss, 3-24
NM State vs. LSU, 7-63

National International

I hope Chicago was not part of your plans this weekend or in the near future.
Where is the line between security and public space?
The other side of an oil boom.
Hong Kong is not looking to pretty at the moment.
Ground troops to defeat ISIS? Boehner thinks maybe.

1332: Time to Start Planning

There’s been some talk about the ACA this cycle. Some folks have even decided that the ACA is the issue to run on or against for candidates. The ACA has been the subject of some 40ish repeal attempts in the House and countless hours of wasted dialogue. Quite frankly it is here to stay because of simple political math. We aren’t going to see a House and Senate with enough votes to overturn the President’s veto anytime soon. And why would a sitting president sign a law ending his program.

In Georgia we passed HB 707/943 this past session which severely limited the implementation of the ACA in Georgia. I worked for several legislators that were authors and cosigners of HB 707 and did some of the research to determine which programs were affected by the ACA, including reading a good bit of the ACA. We even have a cosigner of the bill now on Peach Pundit.

Even though I did work for several individuals that were very keen on this bill passing, it wasn’t something I was really in favor of. I have benefitted from several provisions of the ACA, and my girlfriend with type 1 diabetes is now able to get health insurance at a cost that is not a mortgage payment. Oh and she doesn’t get a subsidy either.

This all being said, there are some serious problems with the ACA and we should address them. One unique approach that is happening in Arkansas is to take advantage of the innovation waiver provision.

From Governing Magazine:

“But the additional waiver, known as the section 1332 or state innovation waiver, would allow Arkansas and other states starting in 2017 to drop major portions of the law, including the individual mandate or the insurance exchange requirement, if they have a viable plan that maintains at least the same level of coverage at the same cost to the federal government. As long as states can do that, which is no small feat, they can take the federal money they would have received and use it how they see fit.”

Given the already rampant distaste for the ACA amongst Georgia politicos (talking heads, bureaucrats, elected officials, and party leaders) it may behoove us as a state to look into this option. Some states will likely go with a more blue option, others more red meat.

Taking advantage of the 1332 provision, Georgia would be able to remake many provisions of the ACA. We’d presumably be able to get rid of various mandates as long as we met certain federal requirements. We’d also, presumably, be able to coerce more price transparency between providers and insurance companies. There’s a whole laundry list of options that Georgia could utilize to reform the ACA, and 1332 is the route to take.

The ACA is the law of the land regardless of your opinion on it. We had HB 707/943 last session which was a great red meat politics kind of bill, but it doesn’t do much to make Georgia better off than it was before. We’ve still got a couple years before this provision would be able to be fully utilized by Georgia, but we should start looking into it this coming session so we can be ready to lead and show what sort of innovation a state can have.

Morning Reads : 22 September 2014

Another great weekend for football. Hopefully, everyone that was in Atlanta this weekend made it out frustration free. Between Music Midtown, a couple of Braves games, a few Garth Brooks Concerts, and a host of other events in tow, it was a busy weekend in Atlanta. Here’s what else happened over the weekend.


Hooray, we’re still an interesting Governor’s race!
Need some more perspectives on a Recovery School District? Here’s Michael O’Sullivan‘s and Scarlet Hawk‘s.
Speaking of education, teachers are more inexperienced, and likelier to leave.
Things are getting interesting in Augusta.
Cobb development authority rethinking it’s plans on tax incentives.


Auburn vs. Kansas State, 20-14
Troy vs. UGA, 0-66
Texas A&M vs. SMU, 58-6
Florida vs. Alabama, 21-42
Indiana vs. Mizzou, 31-27
N. Illinois vs. Arkansas, 14-52
Mississippi State vs. LSU, 34-29
South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt, 48-34


37% of Americans want a less free press.
Conservatives are starting to like Canada a lot.
There was some sort of march about the weather in NYC.
What happens after a failed independence referendum.
Finally a unity decision in Afghanistan.

Everything Else

Car tech that the government won’t let us have.

Governor Deal and the Recovery School District

Joash mentioned this in a post last week when Bobby Jindal came to down to stump for the governor, but I think this needs a little bit more discussion. I was kind of surprised that it hadn’t come up in any of the comments either. Greg Bluestein and Maureen Downey covered it a bit more in depth.

The fact that the governor is talking about a Recovery School District is a big deal. We already knew that education was going to be the issue de jour for this cycle after the budget came out. Follow that with all of Jason Carter’s assertions on education, which Kyle Wingfield has enjoyed (here and here), and that’s the substantive issue to talk about. It’s also a whole lot easier to care about education than ethics. Kids are much cuter.

So what is a recovery school district anyway? Essentially it’s when the state sets up a new state wide school district to govern the worst performing schools. Generally the number that is thrown around is the bottom five percent. This is related to Race to the Top’s requirements for failing schools. However, it should not be seen as RTTT having an effect on an RSD, both of the best examples were in place well before RTTT. Rather, the causal effect is likely the other direction.

Speaking of the best examples, we see those in Louisiana and Tennessee. Louisiana’s was put in place just before Katrina, but the storm provided the needed impetus to really take advantage of what an RSD could do. Tennessee started a few years later but has enjoyed the benefits of seeing what works and what needs to be done differently.

In both states, the failing schools have been converted to charter schools, with charters being given through the RSD (Tennessee calls theirs an Achievement School District). This is done because clearly the previous leadership was not doing what it was supposed to do.

In Louisiana they have yet to renew a charter of a school that is not reaching goals related to attendance and achievement. They also have not renewed a charter of a for profit company, so any charge of profiteering off of children’s education is bologna. In the NOLA environment, the community nonprofits are the only ones that have been able to show success, and to be good stewards of the people’s tax money.

NSNO1What kind of success has the RSD seen? Here’s ten years in New Orleans courtesy of New Schools New Orleans. What you can see is impressive growth in the RSD as opposed to normal schools state wide in Louisiana. NOLA is actually on track to have some of the best performing schools in the entire state.

What does this mean for Georgia? Well there are a lot of places that really need some help when it comes to school achievement. Likely Clayton, Fulton, and DeKalb counties are coming to mind in addition to the City of Atlanta. Though there are some schools in the Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah areas that need some help to.

Could this lead to better schools in Georgia? Absolutely. But we’d have to do it right, and we’d have to be committed to real change for the long haul. New Orleans didn’t see things change over night. Memphis took a managed growth approach, on account they didn’t have 117 schools close due to a hurricane. The lessons learned from Memphis and New Orleans should be applied.

You have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Other states have some experience and we’re seeing good data once the commitment to a long term solution has been made. Lets start with five schools year one, raise that to ten schools for year two, maybe twenty year three. Growth in the RSD needs to be managed so that the whole reform doesn’t trip and fall on it’s face. If it isn’t managed, then there will be shortages of qualified teachers, school leaders, charter school governing boards, charter incubators, etc.

Georgia could definitely do this.

Morning Reads: 15 September 2014

Boy was it a good weekend for football, and a great weekend to be a Gamecock. Between USC v UGA, Kentucky v Florida, and Notre Dame v Purdue, there were plenty of good games to watch. Here’s what else happened.


Georgia’s Democrats are catching some attention for their voter recruitment.
The case for more charter schools.
That’s a lot of fraud.
Savannah schools, doing more with less.
It’s probably a good idea to keep recess then.


UCF vs. Mizzou, 10-38
Massachusetts vs. Vanderbilt, 31-34
Arkansas vs. Texas Tech, 49-28
Georgia vs. South Carolina, 35-38
UL-Lafayette vs. Ole Miss, 15-56
Mississippi St vs. South Alabama, 35-3
Southern Miss vs. Alabama, 12-52
UL-Monroe vs. LSU, 0-31
Kentucky vs. Florida, 30-36
Tennessee vs. Oklahoma. 10-34
Rice vs. Texas A&M, 10-38


A Bernie Sanders presidential bid?
Film tax credits, loosing popularity.
John Kerry’s trying to find solid commitments against ISIS.
The Scottish independence vote is getting closer, as in it’s this week. Here’s one take on it.
Somalia is a success?

Everything Else

There was a password leak from Gmail. Go check if you are affected.

Morning Reads: 8 September 2014


In DeKalb, you’ll be able to vote on a Sunday.
If you didn’t see Lawton’s post this weekend, the Atlanta Hawks are having their own Sterling moment.
Education funding and the Governor’s race.
Georgia Tech’s probation is going to last a little bit longer.
Both outsider candidates show their limited understanding of foreign policy.


Arkansas St. vs, Tennessee, 19-34
FAU vs. Alabama, 
Missouri vs. Toledo, 49-24
UAB vs. Mississippi St., 34-47
Ohio vs. Kentucky, 3-20
E. Michigan vs. Florida,  0-65
Nicholls St. vs. Arkansas, 7-73
Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt, 41-3
East Carolina vs, South Carolina, 23-33
San Jose St. vs. Auburn, 13-59
Sam Houston St. vs. LSU, 0-56
Lamar vs. Texas A&M, 3-73

National International

No one should be surprised by this.
Most vulnerable seats in the House, aka not John Barrow.
Henry Kissinger
‘s thoughts on ISIS, Ukraine, and the basic state of things.
A different twist on the Ice Bucket Challenge. (And no, that is not an Appeal to Heaven flag in the background)
Scottish independence vote is getting closer, and getting interesting.

Everything Else

A handy legal primer for everyone.
Solving Jack the Ripper with Science.

SB 141: It Might be Coming Back

Some of you may remember SB141 from the 2013 legislative session. Jon wrote a great piece explaining all of its puppeteers and this was after we had dueling posts on the matter on the front page (pro version, opposing version). Well it looks like the issue may be coming back next session according to the Columbia County News-Times. Maybe this time the puppeteers will realize how not to attack every possible coalition that would support the bill.

I’m sure everyone remembers the arguments in favor offering significant cost savings, and the numbers they have cited in the past are quite impressive. At the same time the other side often cited the right to a trial by jury as enshrined in our constitution, both state and federal.

Surely there could be some savings involved by switching to a workman’s comp type situation, especially if you could keep the standard of proof at negligence. Presumably this could also help some “victims” (I can’t come up with a better word) who do not have a case with inherent sexiness like a wrongful death with gross negligence. You know the patient whose doctor nicked a tendon in their wrist and it’s no longer as functional.

I typically describe myself as an establishment type with some liberty tendencies. And because of that, I am wary of a system that chips away at some constitutional guarantees, like a trial by jury. However we have seen some success with this in the area of workman’s comp. Will it completely do away with a constitutional right? No. Will it do enough to catch my attention and worry about spillover effects? Yes.

One thing that seems to have been absent from most healthcare cost related discussions recently though is how each of us approaches healthcare. It would appear to me that some of the problem could be related to the fact that most folks don’t utilize preventive measures and rather treat health care as “I’m broke please fix me care.”

Sure the incentive of the ACA was to provide more Americans with insurance so they will have access to care, but the fundamental approach to care is still the same. Some preventive things are covered under the ACA but there isn’t a really hard push to incentivize healthier lifestyle changes across larger populations. Some here and there, but not enough.

Type two diabetes and heart disease are largely preventable chronic conditions. Eat a few more vegetables, eat a few less Whoppers, replace a coke with a water, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Over time each of these practices helps to prevent two increasingly common and increasingly expensive chronic conditions.

We each perform preventative maintenance on our cars, why not our bodies?

Cars and Disruptive Technologies

Disruptive technologies are, well, disruptive. We’ve seen this throughout history with the written word followed by the printing press and then the internet.  Jeff Jarvis even wrote a long essay, turned Kindle single, about the disruptive nature of the printing press. Switch to automobiles and fast forward a few hundred years from Guttenberg to Elon Musk and we are seeing similar reactions.

Tesla Motors uses a different way to sell their cars. Instead of dealerships, it’s more like going to the Apple Store. And this is what the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association is taking issue with. From Auto News

In its petition, the Georgia dealers association is asking state regulators to prohibit Tesla from selling its vehicles, revoke the company’s existing dealer license and deny any attempt by Tesla to renew or reapply for a license.

The association suggests that Tesla improperly obtained the license by claiming that it qualified for a statutory exception allowing direct sales for makers of custom vehicles selling less than 150 a year.

Tesla does not qualify for the exception, the association argues, because it does not manufacture to custom design specifications and it is already selling more than 150 vehicles in Georgia a year.

Georgia is one of the fastest growing and largest markets for electric vehicles and Tesla has shaken the status quo by using direct sales.

Should Georgia law change and this really is just a buggy-whip argument or does the Auto Dealer’s Association have a point?


Morning Reads: 1 September 2014

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


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,

Morning Reads: 25 August 2014

Oh boy was the weekend a scorcher. The good news is that College Football starts this week. The first SEC game will be South Carolina vs Texas A&M. As an alum who bleeds Garnet and Black, all I have to say on the matter is Go Cocks. Hopefully that other South Carolina school will be embarrassed in Athens on Saturday.

Here’s what else happened over the weekend.


The Dems are ahead according to Landmark.
The DNC had a productive meeting here in Atlanta.
There was a pretty big GOP shindig in Rome over the weekend.
A Dem and Rep running against each other both attack Obama instead of each other?
Even with the drought conditions, we should still have a good peanut crop.


The big meeting in Jackson Hole that only the wonks pay attention to, Yellen is confident and hesitant at the same time.
New birth control rules are coming.
What will Hillary do?
Iran claims to have shot down an Israeli drone.
China has been watching Top Gun recently.

Everything Else

The Doctor is back. Please pass the fish sticks and custard.
Pre Season SEC power rankings. Alabama predicted to be the Conference Champ.

Morning Reads: 18 August 2014

10 days until football season.


Now that the primary runoff is over, the Georgia Senate Race is now at the bottom of the list.
That’s a lot of self funded money for GA-12.
I doubt that Richland County is really going to need a vehicle that can traverse land mines.
Well that’s an interesting wrinkle in the Braves deal. (MyAJC link)
Why the Atlanta testing scandal matters.


Eight SEC teams in the AP 25.
Need to know how the weekend scrimmages went?
Meanwhile every UGA fan is thrilled Muschamp is still there.


The potentially unconstitutional things happening in Missouri.
Rand Paul, not really a Tea Party guy.
Rick Perry responds to his indictment.
With Malaki out, will Abadi be able to pull things together?
Your weekly Ebola update.

Everything Else

Paul Ryan doesn’t like House of Cards (spoilers).
Offered without comment.

Victory for Utopian

You may remember from last week that Utopian Academy in Clayton County was denied the ability to open and teach its 200 students because of a lack of a fire inspection from the City of Riverdale.

This should not be surprising given the bumps in the road for this one charter school to open. Three denials from Clayton County Schools only to be finally approved after a Constitutional Amendment that would allow the State to authorize charter schools.

Today there was victory for Utopian. A State Superior Court judge ruled that the city of Riverdale should do the inspection so the school can open. In his own words, courtesy of the AJC, “The city needs a trigger to get the inspection done. I’ll be the trigger. Get the inspections done.”

This was the last thing that anti charter folks could do in Clayton to keep this charter school from opening. And it took a state judge to order officials in Riverdale to perform the inspection.

As I said in my last post on the matter, this is shameful. The people of Clayton County want more charter schools. The 72% vote in favor of the Charter School amendment showed that. It’s about time for some of the politicians in Clayton county to be more responsive to the wants and needs of their constituents.