Dizzy Gillespie was born on this day in 1917. Here’s Dizzy doing “Salt Peanuts”. Thomas Edison invented a workable electric light in 1879, which led directly to Georgia Power forcing you to prepay for their nuclear plants, so temper your excitement. Morning Reads after the jump…
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Georgians will not just be voting for political candidates this November. In fact, the people of Georgia will also have a say in three significant questions on the ballot. Two of these three ballot questions are constitutional measures, and one is a referendum involving a tax exemption. All three measures require a simple majority of voters voting YES to successfully pass.

State Senator Buddy Carter of Pooler, the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, recently sent out a newsletter with the three questions and brief descriptions of what passage would mean:

- A -

To prohibit an increase in the state income tax rate in effect January 1, 2015 (Senate Resolution 415). Act No. 592

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?”
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The Importance Of The Undercard

October 20, 2014 10:00 am

by Charlie · 37 comments

This week’s Courier Herald column:

The vast majority of airtime and newsprint dedicated to the 2014 election has been dedicated to the race for Governor and U.S. Senate. Ironically, these races that have received the most attention are also the most likely to go beyond next Tuesday and give us negative ads and direct mail into and possibly through the holidays. Yea us.

Looking a bit further down the ballot, however, may well give us a clue as to what the near future of Georgia elections will be like. Casey Cagle is the clear front runner for re-election to Lt. Governor. A recent 11Alive Survey USA poll showed Cagle 7 points ahead of challenger Connie Stokes – the strongest lead of any statewide candidate polled.

Cagle will become the de facto front-runner for the Georgia GOP nomination for Governor regardless how the current Governor’s race ends up. Governor Deal is of course term limited. In the event there is a Governor Carter, it will be Cagle along with House Speaker David Ralston that will be the face of Republican rule.

The future of David Ralston was largely decided by a May 20th primary. Not only did he win re-lection by the voters of his home district, but his team faced down primary challenges across the board. Cagle, however, currently runs statewide. And presumably, will be again in four years, though likely for a different position. As such, the tea leaves from this election will likely tell us a lot about the GOP agenda from the Senate will look in the immediate future – as well as a potential body of work to be presented in four years. [click to continue…]


A front page story in Sunday’s New York Times quoted a memo from former Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher predicting that Democrats would suffer “crushing losses” unless they were able to drive turnout of African-American voters this year. The memo claimed that half of black voters don’t know when the midterm election is.

Georgia is one of four states where black voter turnout could decide which party controls the Senate in January.

Mr. Belcher declined to discuss for whom he had written the memo, saying it was private, but the document was circulated by the Democratic National Committee. In the memo, he also argued that the turnout gap, more than any Republican Tea Party wave, was responsible for Democrats’ 2010 defeats. So the challenge for Democrats is to get midterm voters to the polls at presidential election-year rates.

“If you tell me in Georgia that, on the closing of the polls, the electorate is 32 percent African-American, I’m going to tell you we have probably elected a Democratic senator,” he said. “That’s not theory. It’s basic math.”

Democratic efforts to boost black turnout have been stymied by the fact that the one person who could do the most to motivate African-American voters — President Obama — is also the one person many Democratic candidates don’t want to appear to be associated with.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week noted that while voter enthusiasm nationwide is lower than normal, it’s higher in the states with competitive Senate races. 54% of voters in those states are enthusiastic about the election, while only 44% nationally are.

Are Georgia’s minority voters fired up and ready to cast their votes? There have been rumors that Democratic voters aren’t overly enthusiastic about Michelle Nunn beacause she hasn’t made statements of support for progressive goals, and hasn’t been vocal enough in backing President Obama.

That may be wishful thinking on behalf of Republicans. What we do have is this tweet from former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.


Georgia Political Debate Videos

October 20, 2014 7:00 am

by Lawton Sack · 1 comment

As a courtesy to our readers, we are sharing a collection of links for some of the debates held for Georgia’s statewide offices and the GA-12 congressional race. We have also included the times for the upcoming GPB/Atlanta Press Club debates to be held next Sunday.

If there are additional links to other pertinent debates not listed or if you come across any technical issues with the links, please feel free to share them in the comments.

As always, discussion is encouraged.

The links can be found after the break.

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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.



Deal Creates Ebola Response Team

October 19, 2014 17:45 pm

by Charlie · 28 comments

Per press release:

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he will sign an executive order to create an Ebola response team, which will assess current state health and emergency management procedures and produce necessary recommendations to minimize any potential impact of the disease in Georgia.

“Rest assured, Georgia is taking the threat of the Ebola virus seriously,” Deal said. “The creation of this team is an additional step in the state’s response to this disease and will further our efforts to ensure the safety and quality of life for our citizens. By combining the expertise of the health and research communities with our state agencies, Georgia will be uniquely positioned to combat the risks of Ebola should the need arise. Those that have been chosen to serve on the panel are leaders in their respective fields – specifically Emory University Hospital, which has remained at the forefront of our nation’s response to this infectious disease. We are taking every necessary precaution to alleviate fear within our communities and make certain Georgia stands prepared.” [click to continue…]


The Atlanta Press Club debate series continues tonight with the candidates for Secretary of State, Lt. Governor and Governor. Here’s the schedule:

6 p.m.: Secretary of State
Doreen Carter, Democrat
Brian Kemp, Republican (incumbent)

6:30 p.m.: Lt. Governor
Casey Cagle, Republican (incumbent)
Connie Stokes, Democrat

7 p.m.: Governor
Jason Carter, Democrat
Nathan Deal, Republican (incumbent)
Andrew Hunt, Libertarian

The gubernatorial debate won’t have the huge crowd seen at the first debate in Perry. Those in the audience at the GPB studio in Midtown Atlanta are instructed not to applaud or make any noise eat all. That admonition, of course, won’t affect what will be a number of people live tweeting their reactions and comments during the debate.

You can watch the debate on your local GPTV station, or on the GPB website. If you can’t watch the debates as they occur, they will be archived on the Atlanta Press Club website.


The University of Georgia has cancelled a speech by FrontPageAfrica Newsroom Editor Wade C. L. Williams after several people, including parents, expressed concerns that the speaker could expose the campus to the Ebola virus.

UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication had invited Williams to speak on Oct. 22 for the prestigious McGill Lecture.

FrontPageAfrica reports that Williams, a Liberian journalist, met the news with mixed feelings:

“Despite my disappointment, I’m not angry with the University of Georgia. They felt they could not wear the barrage of criticism that would be directed at them if they allowed a Liberian journalist who covers Ebola on their campus and on a U.S.soil.” She partly blamed the level of misinformation in the U.S. press that led to the University administration being paranoid and canceling what could have been a very educative lecture.

“But the hysteria in the U.S. media about the virus and the possibility of it spreading is counterproductive and must stop,” [s]he said. “I worry that my fellow Liberians and Africans traveling abroad will be treated like pariahs and unfairly discriminated against as the region and word tries to battle this deadly virus.”

Williams is not alone in her criticism of the media-driven hysteria over Ebola. Just this week, Syracuse University rescinded an invitation to participate in a journalism workshop from Michel du Cille, a photojournalist from the Washington Post, because he had been in Liberia over three weeks ago.

But du Cille, unlike Williams, didn’t mince words:

“It’s a disappointment to me,” du Cille said. “I’m pissed off and embarrassed and completely weirded out that a journalism institution that should be seeking out facts and details is basically pandering to hysteria.”


We already knew Billionaire and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is trying to decide what our children learn. That’s because he’s the secret mastermind behind the Common Core educational standards. It’s all a plot to make him even more money that what he has now.

But that may not be the worse of his offenses. It appears Gates may be trying to take over the production of Georgia’s Vidalia onion crop.

We learned about this via The Produce News – Motto: “Covering Fresh Produce From Around the World Since 1897.” Their story about this nefarious scheme was written by one Chip Carter. We are wondering if this Chip Carter is the son of Jimmy Carter and the father of this guy. Yup, James Earl Carter the Fourth, who spilled the beans on Mitt Romney and doomed him to a loss against Barack Obama.

But, I digress.

Down in Delvis Dutton territory, they’re worried about some recent purchases of farms in the area.

Already, two entities — Coggins Farms in Lake Park, GA, and more recently Stanley Farms and its subsidiaries in Lyons, GA — have been sold and, while the trail is murky, documents and interviews with other Vidalia-area growers link the purchases to Kirkland and seemingly to Gates.

Inquiries by the press and area residents have apparently been ignored, both by the farms involved, and the Gates cartel. Yet, some residents are willing to speak out.

“I’ve actually met with them,” said one well-placed grower who asked to remain anonymous.

Gates’ agricultural interests are well-known. He has been an active and ongoing crusader in developing countries, helping provide locals with means of improving subsistence farming operations.

What everyone in Vidalia would like to know is why Gates seemingly wants to be in the sweet onion business — and why he apparently does not want that fact widely known if that is indeed the case.

Many are worried about factory farms replacing traditional family farms. Right now, the concern is mostly centered on farms producing livestock rather than fruits and vegetables. (Sidebar: Is cotton a fruit or a vegetable?) Is that concern applicable for farms that produce cotton, soybeans, or even a variety of Allium Granex?


Is the David Perdue campaign in for some rough times over the next few weeks as it works to win the Senate from Michelle Nunn? FiveThirtyEight believes it just might be. The following is from their recent article:

Something funny happened in FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast over the last two days. The overall odds haven’t moved much — Republicans have a 61 percent chance of winning a Senate majority — but the second-most competitive race is now in a state that hasn’t been paramount in the minds of most political analysts: Georgia.

The model now gives Republican David Perdue a 66 percent chance of winning in the Peach State and a tiny 1.4 point lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn. We project Perdue to fall just short of a majority in November, which would trigger a runoff in January.

The article cites the recent SurveyUSA Poll that puts Michelle Nunn three points ahead of David Perdue. FiveThirtyEight was founded by ballgame statistician turned political forecaster Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the outcome in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during the 2012 Presidential election, and 36 of the 37 states during the 2010 Gubernatorial elections.

But why the sudden drop in Perdue’s polling numbers? Conservative radio show host and Peach Pundit Editor Emeritus Erick Erickson believes that Michelle Nunn’s recently acquired lead on David Perdue can be attributed to the Nunn campaign outspending the Perdue campaign in the Atlanta media market. On Erickson’s October 16th show, he asserts that Nunn’s paid media attacks on Perdue’s outsourcing record is only hurting Perdue more by causing “protectionist conservatives” to switch sides from Perdue to Nunn.

Erickson also predicts that while Perdue would not be strong enough to avoid a runoff, he would still win it, given the Georgia Republican Party’s consistent record of performing well in runoff elections in the recent past. But the way things stand right now, it should be safe to assume that the likelihood of the Senate race going into a runoff gets stronger day by day.


In case anyone wants a late laugh as a coda to the madness of the last week, I’ve finally managed to upload the 19-minute video that Tom Owens offered in court this week as evidence of criminal stalking.

This is the unedited video his videographer gave my attorney Tom Clyde at the hearing. It’s also what was shown to Judge Becker, and probably the reason she threw the whole thing out as summarily as she did. As I said, it’s unreal that they believed this would support their claims.

Joe Newton is literally in my face agitating on the video, and then sat on the stand and accused me of behaving aggressively and threateningly, mere minutes after the judge watched it in HD.

Owens claimed in court, under oath, that I never identified myself as a journalist. Both he and his campaign manager Wayne Witter swore that I said “I will destroy you” with the first words out of my mouth when I met him. (Witter is curiously absent from those first shots, given his claim of hearing such a thing.) Owens testified that I leaned in and whispered “I’ll kill you and I’ll enjoy doing it,” in this first conversation.

And he testified to that after the video had been shownand after he had watched it with the judgeWatch the first 30 seconds and make your own judgments.

A few highlights. Owens spent at least eight minutes talking with me outside after these supposed threats. He walked away without telling me not to contact him. At 8:43, at the Dunwoody forum, the cameraman goes outside and Owens instructs him to shadow me, hoping for some kind of … something, I don’t know.

At 11:30, after the forum, I attempt to ask questions and Joe Newton gets in my face and starts agitating … and I don’t deck him.

At 14:30, Newton tells me to “go home, fool,” and then Wayne Witter accuses me of lying about my military service record as I ask Owens about rejecting a $150,000 offer to sell his home … for a $500,000 demand. A moment later, Newton calls me “just another violent muslim.”

And at 18:00, I give a monologue to Owens’ cameraman about what I’ve got and why I’m asking questions. It’s hilarious.


Deal Hits Carter In New Ad

October 17, 2014 14:10 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 30 comments

Governor Deal’s campaign stepped up it’s criticism of Sen. Jason Carter in a new TV ad.

Accompaning the press release was a series of items supporting the ad and refuting claims made by Carter’s campaign.

Here are the facts on Gov. Deal’s former business:
– Gov. Deal was never on the verge of insolvency and always had a positive net worth.
– Gov. Deal and his business partner built a successful venture from scratch. Unlike what Carter and President Obama might believe, they DID build that.
– The business sold for almost exactly what Gov. Deal said it was worth during the 2010 campaign.
– Upon being elected, Deal placed his financial assets in a blind trust. A blind trust is a mechanism by which day-to-day management and decisions are made by an independent trustee.
– Gov. Deal didn’t “get rich” in office. His personal financial worth went from a tangible business asset to a liquid asset.
– Gov. Deal has said repeatedly that Copart will pay every cent that it owes and has advocated that the case be determined by a court to remove any appearance of conflict of interest.

The full list of supporting items can be found below the fold. [click to continue…]


There’s an opening for U.S. Deputy Attorney General, and the federal government’s attorney for the Northern District of Georgia could fill the vacancy.

A report in the Reuters News Agency cites a source familiar with the discussion who says Sally Yates and Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch are the two candidates to replace John Cole.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was stepping down from his post as well. Yates had been rumored to be a longshot nominee to replace Holder. 


Those were some the adjectives that state Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-DeKalb) used on Thursday, reacting to the news that a disgraced former DeKalb commissioner will receive her full – that’s right, full – pension.

On Newsradio 106.7, Holcomb said “it’s just plain wrong” that Elaine Boyer will receive her full county pension after she’s pled guilty to several felonies involving fraud and misuse of taxpayer funds.

“There aren’t many things we agree on in election season, but when an elected official, who claims to be a fiscal conservative, misuses taxpayer money for personal gain and then receives her full pension … We can all agree that’s just ridiculous.”

The AJC reports says Georgia law reduces pensions when a public official or employee is convicted of a crime. But DeKalb pension officials have reportedly found a loophole that allows Boyer to collect her full pension.

Holcomb said he’d be happy to introduce or co-sponsor a bill in next year’s General Assembly to close such loopholes.