On this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at a civil rights rally in Washington, D.C . to a crowd of more than 200,000 people.
Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

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Earlier this week, the Georgia Republican Party made a donation of thousands of dollars to the Bowen Story Fund. The Bowen Story Fund is a non-profit organization that focuses on enhancing the lives of the families of pediatric cancer patients by providing help, care and support during emergency hospitalizations and long-term stays. The following is from the Georgia Republican Party’s press from earlier this week.

(Atlanta, Georgia) – The Georgia Republican Party Committee Service Committee led by GAGOP 1st Vice-Chairman Michael McNeely donated thousands of dollars to the Bowen Story Fund this weekend after a multi-month fundraising drive.

GOP“Service to others is one of the highest callings any person can have,” said McNeely. “When we give of our time, talent, and treasury to help those in need, we make our country a better place to live.  We must consistently show people we care and not only tell them.  The Community Service Committee is proud to support the Bowen Story Fund and look forward to working with many more organizations across the state of Georgia.”

With the help from 14 county parties and the DeKalb Young Republicans, the Community Service Committee raised $7,217.00 in gift cards to benefit the Bowen Story Fund, which provides food, shelter, and transportation to families who travel more than 50 miles from home to receive treatment at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. Many families are drained financially because of their child’s diagnosis and the gift cards donated by Georgia Republicans will alleviate the financial burden they face during their hardship.

Participating counties include: Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Jackson, Greene, Upson, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Henry, Muscogee, Lowndes, Clayton, and Douglas.  The Cobb County, Jackson County, and Henry County Republican Parties will be honored at the GAGOP Victory Dinner this fall for their exceptional fundraising efforts.

The GAGOP Community Service Committee is now working with the Georgia Federation for Republican Women to donate pocket-sized constitutions to 5th grade students in honor of Constitution Day. The Committee will also volunteer to serve meals with the Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia.

Kudos to the Georgia Republican Party for pro-actively advocating for and contributing towards good, charitable causes. Do you think such GOP efforts are sufficient enough to dispel myths / beliefs (depending on your perspective) that Republicans are cruel, heartless bigots who hate everyone? No seriously, discuss.

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The Brookhaven Post has released a story that a special election will be held on November 4th to fill the District 1 position formerly held by Elaine Boyer on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.  If a runoff is necessary, it would be held on December 2, 2014.  Qualifying will begin on Monday, September 8 and run through noon on Wednesday, September 10.  The official posting by the DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections can be found here.

Boyer resigned her position on Monday of this week and is facing federal charges for improper financial actions while serving as Commissioner.

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I wrote a post this morning that illustrated how the same event could be interpreted in different ways, depending on who was telling the story. Here’s another, perhaps better case.

On Monday, FetchYourNews.com published the story of how Nydia Tisdale was arrested after she was asked to stop filming a Republican campaign event at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County. The story (complete with video of the occurrence) painted Tisdale as a citizen journalist who was badly mistreated, and whose arrest should embarrass anyone who values the first amendment.

The FYN story and video was relayed by the AJC’s Political Insider, and drew a press release denouncing Governor Deal from the Jason Carter gubernatorial campaign.

Watching this, and a similar sympathetic reaction on social media, I posted on Facebook, “Nydia Tisdale is becoming a martyr. That’s exactly what she wanted to be, and it’s a shame.”

Now comes DawsonNews.com with perhaps a more honest telling of what happened Saturday afternoon. The story quotes Johnny Burt, the farm’s owner as saying,

“I told [Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten], ‘Have her cut the recorder off.’ He went up to her and she refused,” Burt said. “Then I told him to get her out. He asked to her leave politely, very politely, and she refused to leave. So he had no choice but to forcefully remove her.

“She tried to hit Tony with the camera and he had to remove the camera from her hand and she slapped him in the face and I saw that. Tony only done what he was asked to do by the property owner and that was me.”

Had she cooperated with the request to stop recording, Burt said she could have stayed.

“If she had in the least cooperated, just cut her camera off, and sat there through the meeting and asked all the questions she wanted to at the end, it would have perfectly fine. But she misrepresented herself to start with,” he said.

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with many political trackers. Every time we would ask one to turn off his or her camera, it was turned off. And I’ll say that I fully support Tisdale’s right to record a public meeting.

Did Tisdale have the right to film the event, given it was billed as open to the public? In the DawsonNews story, Sheriff Billy Carlisle clarified the property owner has the right to eject a guest, even at a public event.

One way to avoid situations like this is to set ground rules for media coverage well before the event starts. And, that’s what the Forsyth County Republican Party has done. In an ironic bit of timing, the party published its new media policy on Tuesday. It’s very well done, defining how meetings are defined to be open to the press, defining what constitutes the press, and specifying how to obtain media credentials to cover an open event. It can serve as a model for other party organizations to adopt.

Even better, the party announced it would be making its own videos of events and posting them on YouTube. That will provide transparency, and eliminate the possibility of doctored or heavily edited video being the only record of an event.

And, I bet Nydia Tisdale would not have received media credentials under the party’s new policy.

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The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority announced three Georgia reservoirs will receive low-interest state loans that amount to approximately $26 million. Increased water demands from the region spurred the loans.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Dave Williams has the details:

The 305-acre Richland Creek Reservoir in Paulding County and the 643-acre Indian Creek Reservoir in Carroll County will get $6 million and $10 million, respectively, representing the next installment in multi-year funding for the two projects. The Etowah Water & Sewer Authority will receive the other $10 million loan for the 137-acre Russell Creek Reservoir in Dawson County, that project’s first funding through the state program.

Gov. Nathan Deal created the water supply program in 2011 to finance a planned network of reservoirs in the northern third of Georgia to help meet the growing region’s increasing water demands. He committed $300 million in grants and loans to the four-year initiative. [click to continue…]

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The veterans administration has seen its share of recent challenges. From the egregious wait times to the coverup of the egregious wait times, it hasn’t been the best of times for either the administration or the veterans they serve. With the cloud of malfeasance comes Congressional attention. Towards that end Representative Doug Collins and Senator Johnny Isakson visited the Augusta VA recently. Collins was once active duty military and is still in the reserves, as such the issues of veterans are close to his heart. The ongoing theme in the coverage of the VA shortcomings has been that the administration itself has caused the problems while the actual front line caregivers are working to solve them. Certainly polls from May showed that Veteran’s rated the care that got from the VA very highly. Though the problem seems to be not with the veterans who did receive care but for those that did not.

That group appears to be a bit grouchy, or at least the VA thinks so. Their guide to dealing with veterans at town halls depicts them as Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. While using PBS imagery is a good recycling of government resources, in many areas the VA could improve on its efficiency. Part of the problem is that the VA’s mission seems to be out of step with its administration. Maybe that’s due to funding, but a lack of focus on serving veterans may also be to blame. Visiting Augusta was an important step, and Collins hopes to visit all of Georgia’s VA hospitals by the end of the year. Given his continued service and dedication to the task, perhaps he can use his position to bridge the gap between bureaucrat and soldier. Here’s hoping.

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GAE Endorses Carter

August 27, 2014 11:55 am

by Ed · 6 comments

The Georgia Association of Educators endorsed Jason Carter today. That’s not totally surprising as GAE almost always endorses Democrats–when they endorse candidates.

In a press release announcing their support, GAE President Dr. Sid Chapman said:

“The trend the current governor has overseen of a demoralizing and dismantling of our public education system in Georgia, needs to be reversed or there will be irreparable damage done to one of the great foundations of our state – public education.  We believe the next leader of our state government needs to see public education for what it means for our children as well as what it means for the health and welfare of our state and society.

This is the second endorsement of the year for GAE. Earlier, Valarie Wilson, the Democratic nominee for state School Superintendent picked up the professional organization’s support. She faces Richard Woods in November.

As with any GAE story it is worth jumping the gun and reminding people they are not a union.

You can read the full text of their press release below the fold (I know the right button to click now, too so it will be there.)

[click to continue…]

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Governor Nathan Deal was the speaker at Tuesday evening’s meeting of the University of Georgia College Republicans in Athens. A crowd of over 100 listened to him as he gave a version of his stump speech, touching on education, jobs and business recruitment, and sentencing reform. It was all pretty standard stuff, until Carver Goodhue stood up and asked Deal why undocumented students cannot attend the University of Georgia. And that’s when things got interesting.

Carver Goodhue, second from left, addresses Governor Deal, along with Kevin Ruiz, Preethi Raja and Lizbeth Miranda.

Carver Goodhue, second from left, addresses Governor Deal, along with Kevin Ruiz, Preethi Raja and Lizbeth Miranda. According to Flagpole, all are UGA students. (Photo: Jon Richards)

What happened has been written up in at least five different publications. I was in attendance as well.

Goodhue, who appears to be a 2013 Star Student graduate of Clarke Central High School, is a member of UGA’s Undocumented Student Alliance, which “engages in service and advocacy to promote equality and inclusiveness within our community despite a person’s legal status,” according to its Facebook Page. The group would like the Board of Regents to eliminate a four year old policy that prevents illegal immigrants from attending Georgia’s selective universities.

According to the Athens Banner Herald, this was the Governor’s response to Goodhue’s question:

“It can only really effectively be dealt with by the federal government at the congressional level in dealing with the DREAM Act children, which I presume maybe you are,” Deal said. “The policy of requiring that you be a legal state resident is one that’s been in place for a very long time, and I think that you would find that it would be a policy if it were overturned it would be a huge concern for the residents of our state. And that’s why I think the Board of Regents has continued to require that.”

Goodhue pressed on, and Ruiz chimed in with his own points, to which the governor asked, “Let me ask you this, can you give a Social Security Number?”

Maybe not, Ruiz said, but he and other detractors of the Board of Regents policy argue academically qualified students who have been lifelong Georgia residents should have the same rights to an education as their United States-born counterparts.

Flagpole continues the story:

During his response, Deal said, “I presume that you are” undocumented.

“I don’t know why you thought I was undocumented. Is it because I look Hispanic?” one of the students, Lizbeth Miranda, told him, prompting boos from the audience at a UGA College Republicans meeting.

“I apologize if I offended you,” Deal said.

Governor Deal continued to insist that the issue of undocumented immigrants wanting to become college students should be dealt with at the federal level. And, the ex-Congressman complained that whenever a proposal to reform the immigration process comes up in Washington, it is denounced as amnesty, and the proposal goes nowhere. That drew a standing ovation from those in attendance that ended the discussion about undocumented students.
[click to continue…]

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The federal government is cracking down on cities around the country when considering retirement benefits, mandating that local governments must consider same-sex couples the same as married couples despite the fact that Georgia doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. The City of Marietta says they are in the process of reworking the definition of ‘spouse’ in order to comply with new regulations in light of the Supreme Court decision, United States v. Windsor.  The ruling essentially says that if a couple was married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, retirement benefits must be offered, regardless of the state of employment. Previously, if an employee was setting aside money for retirement from a city salary, they were unable to leave the allocated money to a same-sex partner should they pass. Mayor Tumlin of Marietta says the city is not complying by choice, but simply as a ‘matter of legalese’ and revised benefits apply strictly to retirement- not any other category of benefits.

This comes weeks after the City of Smyrna, along with a few others around the state, voluntarily considered offering employee benefits to same-sex couples, though most have yet to issue a final decision.

Wind up the Liberty Drum…It will be interesting to see whether or not municipalities and counties eventually challenge the ruling -or the states do so on their behalf asserting sovereignty- or if this becomes the norm.

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America has dealt admirably with two major demons. But that comes to an end tonight. First, inter-collegiate gridiron varsity football at the FBS level resumes action. Your savior? Georgia State University.

For 683 days the nation has mourned. But that ends when your beloved Panthers secure their first win of the season and first since October 13, 2012 Yes, that’s right, GSU will crush Abilene Christian University, restoring all decency to the universe!

Don’t forget to sign up for the college football pick ‘em. 

“Be True to Your School” by The Beach Boys. 

  1. Georgia 16th-most stable state with gubernatorial elections. 
  2. 55% of Georgians were born here; we get one of the highest numbers of New York transplants. 
  3. Atlanta police rarely convicted when using force. 
  4. Buttplugs. Marxist takeovers. All that and more (much more) is in Common Core standards.
  5. That’s not just true, it’s a fact. 
  6. SC, NC offer Georgia a lesson in fixing erroneous borders. 
  7. Dennis Lockhart, Atlanta Fed Prez, sez mid-2015 is when interest rates will go up. 
  8. WXIA reporter has a reporter’s notebook from Ferguson. 
  9. History being destroyed in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia.
  10. If there’s one thing we do really well here, it’s get rid of neat buildings.
  11. I pity the judge overseeing the APS trial. 
  12. Now that Frank Blake is retiring, what happens to his Bobblehead?
  13. #TheToughQuestions
  14. Delta says things are flying high for the Atlanta-based airline. 
  15. UPS, pilots’ union, “took actions prejudicial” to crash investigation. Both barred from probe.
  16. First Ponce City Market restaurant to open between Nov. 15 and Jan. 15. 
  17. So there’s a, uh, slight height difference between Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri. 

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Panthers Add Vols to Schedule

August 26, 2014 20:10 pm

by Ed · 6 comments

That sound you heard was a gasp of fear in Knoxville, Tenn.

On Tuesday, the Georgia State University Athletic Department announced that Panthers will play a game of football against the University of Tennessee in 2019.

It will be the second trip to Knoxville for the Panthers. In 2012, the Vols won a nail-biter of a duel.

I say all that to say this: SIGN UP FOR THE PEACH PUNDIT COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK ‘EM TOURNAMENT! 

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This is a file obtained through an Open Records request from DeKalb County today. It contains a list of all invoices paid from Elaine Boyer’s account from 2009 to 2011 — the amount, the recipient and the purpose.

The federal filing today describes an unnamed “advisor” taking more than $78,000 from the county for consulting services that were never rendered, kicking back three-quarters of the cash to Boyer. Several consultants are listed in this document.  It’s conceivable that a single party billed under multiple names to add up to $78,000. But only one appears to have taken more than $78,000 individually over the time period described: M Rooks Boynton.

I’m not sure who Boynton is yet, and I can’t be sure Boynton is actually the person at issue. The address listed in procurement filings is a post office box which is also associated with Rooks Boynton Ministries of Clarkston. Marion Rooks Boynton is listed as an officer of Rooks Boynton Ministries, Inc. of Clarkston. A Rooks Boynton is listed in a fraternity newsletter as an athlete at UGA in 1962.

I’ve called phone numbers associated with his name and address, and run into disconnections. I will update this as data becomes available.

Download (XLS, 126KB)

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In the second round of balloting, David Clark, brother of current House District 98 Rep. Josh Clark, was selected by the Georgia Republican Party Executive Committee to be on the November ballot. Clark was chosen over David Hancock by a vote of 20-6.

Clark and Hancock survived the first round of balloting by the Executive Committee. Vote totals were:

David Clark – 9
David Hancock – 8
James Sanford – 4
Clint Dixon – 3
Tommy Hughes – 3

Three of the finalists were selected by a subcommittee headed by Seventh District Chairman Jason Thompson. The subcommittee narrowed the original nine applicants to three: David Hancock, Tommy Hughes and Clint Dixon, with Hancock being the first choice of the committee, supported by all five members.

In addition to the three candidates nominated by the subcommittee, James Sanford was nominated by Georgia GOP Second Vice-Chair Ron Johnson and David Clark was nominated by GOP National Committeewoman Linda Herren.

In part, the subcommittee screened the applicants for basic political and civic knowledge, for example asking who the district’s state senator and school board representative were, or the applicant’s position on the second amendment.

The committee also examined each candidate’s voting history. One of the candidates faced scrutiny because he had crossed over to the Democratic ticket in 2008 to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, following the advice of Rush Limbaugh and Operation Chaos.

Each of the five was given two minutes to address the full Executive Committee.

Clark replaces Michael Brown, who won the Republican primary against Hancock in May. Brown passed away August 19th of natural causes. Because Gwinnett’s ballots were already being printed, the replacement candidate had to be chosen quickly.

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Olens and Tisdale, courtesy of the AJC

Two days after Attorney General Olens made news for defending videographer/activist Nydia Tisdale, Judge Robert Adamson ruled in his favor on her behalf. In the heady days of 2012, Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt ordered Ms. Tisdale to stop filming a meeting of the Cumming City Council. As is fast becoming her trademark, she refused, a right protected by Georgia’s Open Meeting Act. From the AG’s Office: [click to continue…]

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Unemployment and Job Growth

August 26, 2014 12:15 pm

by Jon Richards · 15 comments

The Huffington Post picked up on remarks made at Saturday’s GOP rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm by Senate candidate David Perdue and Labor Secretary Mark Butler with respect to Georgia’s unemployment rate and the number of jobs that have been added in the Peach State.

“We’re working. I agree with whoever said…don’t worry about that unemployment number,” said Perdue. “Worry about the number of jobs created. The raw number. That’s what’s important.”

Perdue was agreeing with a comment by Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler, who had spoken prior to him at the event. Butler said the truly important metric of how the economy was doing was the number of private sector jobs created.

“The reason why we’ve had it [higher unemployment] is there’s been 45,000 less government jobs in the last three months,” said Butler. “The private sector has put up 42,000 jobs in the last three months. Which one do you think is more important? The private sector or government? The private sector.”

Last week, the Labor Department announced the unemployment rate in Georgia rose to 8.0% in July, up six tenths of a point from June.

Butler made a similar claim when he spoke to attendees at a rally in Rome earlier in the day. When he was asked later about where the government job losses came from, he said that they were largely due seasonal cutbacks in education, including things like school bus drivers and cafeteria workers. Now that school has started and classes have begun on college campuses, most all of those workers will be returning to their jobs.

In a hotly contested governor’s race, the incumbent will naturally talk about the number of new jobs created during his watch. The challenger will focus on the unemployment rate, which is the second highest in the country. If Labor Secretary Butler is correct, the unemployment rate will decline as we get closer to the November election.

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