Harris County Sheriff Puts Up a Politically Incorrect Sign

In Harris County, Sheriff Mike Jolley has caused a stir by posting a controversial sign in front of the sheriff department’s headquarters. Below a standard welcome to the county sign, he adds a second one, which says,

WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you… LEAVE!

The six term sheriff paid $553 out of his own pocket for the sign. The sign has become the talk of social media, with comments such as these:


What do you think about the sign? Take our poll:

Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence Has Died

Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence lost his battle with cancer Tuesday night, as reported by the Savannah Morning News:

St Lawrence was elected sheriff in 1992. He had said this would be his last term.

The sheriff’s office released a statement around 8:30 a.m. today expressing its “profound sadness that the family and this Office announce the passing of our beloved Sheriff, Al St Lawrence to cancer on November 24, 2015.”

St Lawrence, a five-year veteran of the United States Air Force, was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield and decided to make Savannah his home. He began a career in law enforcement in 1959 with the Chatham County Police Department. In 1971, he was appoint chief, a position he held for 21 years unit his retirement in April 1992 to pursue the office of sheriff, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

During his career in law enforcement, St Lawrence was appointed twice to the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (1985 and 1989). St Lawrence is the only law enforcement officer in the State of Georgia to be named both Georgia Chiefs of Police Association Outstanding Chief of the Year (1990) and twice named Georgia Sheriffs Association Sheriff of the Year (1995 and 2015).

Congressman Buddy Carter said the following this morning regarding St Lawrence:

“Al was a model public servant, having served the people of Chatham County with distinction for 56 years and serving his country in the Air Force before that. His 23 years as Sheriff transformed the Department into a modern crime fighting force. Through it all he maintained a servant’s heart, giving back to our community and to those across our state through the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes which he supported vigorously. Amy and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pat and the entire St Lawrence family as well as the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department as we all mourn this loss.”

We extend condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Sheriff St Lawrence, as well as the law enforcement community of Chatham County.

Pre-Thanksgiving MRs

Who else is already in line for Black Friday??!?!

“Muscle’n Flo” by Menomena.

After you watch GSU beat the University of Old Mississippi tonight, stay tuned to watch the Erislandy Lara bout.

  1. Washington Post: Former GSU coach Lefty Driesell “absolutely belongs in Hall of Fame.”
  2. BBC: Our own Clarkston is the “most diverse square mile” in the U.S. 
  3. The Bern and Killer Mike walk into Busy Bee Cafe…
  4. Marketplace looks at the fight in Atlanta betwixt Uber and cabs. TL;DR–cabbies whine “but we were here first!” 
  5. Atlanta has three of the country’s worst bottlenecks. Shocking, I know. 
  6. The latest, pie-in-the-sky expansion plan for MARTA. (All this could be yours for the new, low-low price of $8 billion!)
  7. Did you know there is a website to track Atlanta’s bond package? 
  8. Gang numbers in Atlanta spike. And they’re found in the safe, bland utopia of OTP. 
  9. Savannah’s the Grey wins (another) national award; Atlanta’s award winners aren’t too shabby. 

Is Georgia Withholding State Aid from those that need it most?

The Georgia Department of Community Health is responsible for administering the Georgia Pediatric Program (GaPP) that is supposed to assist medically fragile children in this state in getting their healthcare needs met.

According to parents of those children it isn’t doing so. Judges who have heard their Americans with Disabilities Act complaints agree, and the Commissioner of the Department wants it all to go away. Or so it seems, he won’t answer the questions of Matt Pearl of 11Alive who broke the story.

11Alive requested an interview with commissioner Clyde Reese. The department refused.

We then requested an interview with anyone who could speak about the program. The department refused; its communications director, despite having received little background on the story, sent the following statement [unresponsive statement probably cut and pasted from a pamphlet removed].

We, in return, sent specific questions in writing, like “Why reduce nursing care for children whose conditions have not changed?”

The department refused to comment further.

The kids’ stories are heart-rending and failing to provide the legally required assistance (mostly nursing care) is an unlawful attempt to shift the burden onto the parents. I’m assuming everything in the legal decisions and parents.

(embedded video after the jump, autoplay)

Read more

Senator Perdue Talks About Potential Solutions for America’s Debt Crisis

Senator David Perdue talked about the relationship between national security and the national debt at the Atlanta Press Club.
Senator David Perdue talked about the relationship between national security and the national debt at the Atlanta Press Club.
Georgia Senator David Perdue addressed many of the same concerns he voiced in last week’s Senate speech during a Monday morning appearance at the Atlanta Press Club. Saying that the country was in a full blown crisis, Senator Perdue maintained that Washington was focused on the wrong priorities, partially because of a desire in Congress to demonstrate activity instead of results, and partially because the self interest of many in Congress takes precedence over the national interest. After almost a year as the Peach State’s junior Senator, Perdue remains optimistic that it is possible for the House and Senate to do the right thing in a non-partisan way.

Repeating the theme of his Senate floor speech, Perdue railed against the $18 trillion national debt and almost $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities the country will need to address at some point. Finding a solution will require a combination of changes in process, along with changes in policy in five areas: changing the way federal dollars are allocated and spent, growing the economy, finding a fix to Social Security and Medicare entitlements, cutting the cost of health care, and cutting other spending. Read more

Stacey Evans Wants You To Protect Your Personal Information (And Maybe Keep Her In Mind)

State Representative Stacey Evans (D-Symrna) sent out a newsletter to her constituents encouraging them to contact the three credit bureaus to set up an initial fraud alert.  This PSA comes in the wake of the Secretary of State’s office accidental release of personal information on voter database extracts.  Also in her PSA, she makes the note that now isn’t the time to play politics with the matter:

While I believe Secretary Kemp should be held responsible, now is not the time for politics. Right now, we need to make sure that the personal information of voters his office failed to keep safe has not been used in a nefarious manner.

Today isn’t the time to play politics with this accidental release, but it will be a target on the 2018 campaign trail.  It might be reading too much in to the email, but it makes you wonder if Rep. Evans is looking at a run for Secretary of State on the Democratic ticket in 2018.

Morning Reads – Tuesday, November 24

It’s Thanksgiving Eve Eve! Do you know what you’re cooking? Here are some ideas:

  • Cornbread dressing: Scott Peacock’s version is the one that comes closest to my Mississippi grandmother’s recipe. Don’t hold back with the turkey stock, and for the love of all things holy, don’t make it with Jiffy cornbread mix.
  • Oyster dressing: Because double the dressing, double the fun! I prefer the version with French bread, because that’s what my Louisiana grandmother made.
  • Talkin’ turkey: Those crazy Yankees at America’s Test Kitchen will never, ever steer you wrong. (Except maybe now that Chris Kimball has left the building, Anonymous will pull off some kind of catastrophic Thanksgiving Day hack and we’ll all be left flailing in puddles of savory turkey brine.)
  • Even the military likes NPR’s Susan Stamberg’s mother-in-law’s cranberry relish.
  • Rely on Miss Manners when your drunk uncle (Drunkle!) starts talking about Trump.

Now, as Thomas Jefferson so sagely said, can we get back to politics? (Please? – James Madison)

Today in Hamilton, we visit the Schuyler sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy. Listen closely so it will make sense when your three cousins start arguing about which one of them is the Peggy. Work!

GSU Offers Two Proposals for Turner Field Redevelopment

Should Turner Field become a football stadium or mixed-use development?

That will be the question if Georgia State University purchases the site.

11Alive reports that GSU’s RFP that was submitted to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority has two plans for a football stadium. 

One option would be to convert the 20-year old Turner Field building into the framework for a mixed-use development, with housing and retail. That option would include construction of a new football stadium, and a new baseball stadium, north of Turner Field.

Another option pitched by GSU was one originally revealed to 11Alive News in April 2014 — which would retrofit Turner Field into a college football stadium, and construct a baseball stadium on the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium site.

Both options submitted Friday by GSU include the new baseball stadium. The variable now is the location of the football stadium GSU wants, which would extend the university’s campus across I-20.

RFPs were due Friday and an unknown number were submitted.

A decision on which proposal is selected could in “the coming months.”

Kasich SuperPAC Goes After Donald Trump in a New Video

The SuperPAC that has been supporting the candidacy of John Kasich is turning its sights on GOP presidential poll leader Donald Trump. New Day for America has purchased commercial time in Ohio and New Hampshire for a video called “Trump’s Greatest Hits.” Trump will make an appearance in Columbus tonight, and Kasich is governor of Ohio, From a press release:

As usual, I’m sure tonight will be really entertaining, but as Mr. Trump prepares for his latest nonsensical rant, Brussels is on lockdown, Paris remains under a state of emergency and cities across America are implementing measures to prevent a terrorist attack on U.S. soil,” said Connie Wehrkamp, New Day For America spokesperson. “The times are far too serious to entrust America’s ‘entertainer in chief’ with the grave responsibilities that come with the title of commander in chief. We can’t trust Donald Trump and New Day For America is committed to reminding voters of that between now and the primaries.”

The video is below.

In Murray County, the Appalachian Port Is Opposed by Some, Supported by Others

Some Murray County residents aren’t convinced that the Appalachian Regional Port expected to open in 2018 won’t harm the north Georgia area more than it will help it, and a recent meeting with representatives of the Georgia Ports Authority and the CSX Railroad did little to allay their concerns, according to a report in the Dalton Daily Citizen:

During a recent meeting with residents of northern Murray County, officials with the Georgia Ports Authority vowed to work with them to ease any concerns they have about an inland port planned for the Crandall area, and to take steps to reduce its impact on that area.

“But we aren’t going to move it (the port) somewhere else,” said project manager John Trent. “I’m sorry. That just isn’t going to happen.”

About a half dozen citizens opposed to the port met at the Murray County courthouse annex with officials from the ports authority, CSX Transportation and Murray County Sole Commissioner Brittany Pittman.

Objections to the site of the port were raised back in September, with opponents citing concerns about the environment and noise pollution.

Meanwhile some citizens in Murray County have started a change.org petition in support of the port. Among the reasons cited to support the port in the petition are the possibility of increasing industry in the county, making goods, including carpet and tires, more competitive in the global market, and increasing the county’s tax base.

Afternoon Reads for Monday, November 23rd

I promised to fill in for Tim for the next couple of weeks, and I remembered that this morning while I was at the store gathering items for Thanksgiving.  Here are today’s morning afternoon reads.


National & World:


More School Money Recommended

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Two weeks ago this column outlined the various steps to reforming Georgia’s education system that have occurred over the past decade. This includes the adoption of a tougher K-12 curriculum and statewide performance standards for students. We have expanded school choice via local charter schools, state charter schools, and limited vouchers from of Student Scholarship Organizations. Unprecedented flexibility has also been given to boards of education to maximize local control.

Along the way, virtually all money from the state’s tax coffers not used to cover population growth and inflation in existing programs has been allocated to K-12 education to replace the cuts made during the recent economic collapse. With the Governor’s appointed Education Reform Commission finishing its work and making recommendations, the state is preparing to add additional money into the public school system.

The recommendations on funding will replace the state’s “Quality Basic Education” formula with a system that is based on student needs, not on programs offered by each local system. QBE was implemented in 1986 but was never fully funded. It certainly doesn’t take into account changes in Georgia’s population nor technology that has changed over the last three decades. An update is overdue. Read more

At a School for Troubled Students, Educators Work Hard to Promote Success

The middle school student sat quietly, holding his head down, obviously scared and afraid to look at the counselor who was conducting the student orientation at his new school. The counselor walked over to him, and asked what was wrong. “I don’t want to go to jail,” he muttered. The counselor replied that he was going to be fine, and despite the fact that county correctional institution was literally across the street, that wasn’t his destination.

I spent a day recently at Gwinnett County Public Schools Give Center East, one of the three alternative schools run by the state’s largest school system. Most of the 200 or so middle and high school students attending Give Center East were referred there following a disciplinary hearing as a result of improper behavior at their home school. Such was the case with the middle schooler I saw. Other students attend Give East voluntarily, wanting to earn their diplomas after dropping out. And some want to stay to earn their diploma, even after being told they could return to their home school.

Students are required to follow rules that are more restrictive than in other Gwinnett schools. The two most important are a ban on cell phones and a strict dress code. Students are permitted to wear solid, logo-free black or white collared shirts which must be kept tucked in, khaki pants, solid black shoes, and a black or brown belt. Students can also wear T shirts with the school’s logo. Makeup is out, along with any jewelry other than a watch or stud earrings.

When they arrive in the morning, students go through security screening, similar to what happens at an airport. Shoes and belts go into gray tubs, along with anything the student brings with them. Teachers examine the contents, looking for contraband cell phones and other items not permitted on campus, as the students go through the metal detector. After going through the security line, each student gets a free breakfast.

Give East is the only one of the 136 schools in the Gwinnett County school system to have security cameras in each classroom, in addition to the hallways.

If all of this sounds pretty grim, the teaching and learning itself is similar to what you would find at any Gwinnett middle or high school, although usually with smaller class sizes. A language arts teacher inspires her students to imagine the life of someone long dead, and write an epitaph for him or her. A math class learns how to reduce algebraic expressions. Students draw patterns freehand in an art class. High school students participate in a program called GEAR, which features online learning for some classwork, getting help from teachers as needed. Read more

On Tonight’s Kudzu Vine…

I’ll be chatting with some of my left of center friends this evening on the Kudzu vine and perhaps convincing some of them of their evil ways.  Or at least, I’ll try to translate the perfectly normal actions of conservatives to folks that aren’t usually wired to think the way we do.  And then they’ll likely bring up Trump and I’ll have no perfectly normal explanation.  For bonus points, I “may” be medicated.  Surely you can find some reason in all of that to tune in.

The program runs from 7-8pm and it available later as a podcast for those of you that aren’t free for the next hour.

Mayor Reed’s Statement On Threat To Philips Arena

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has issued the following statement regarding a potential threat to Philips Arena:

Out of an abundance of caution, I directed Chief Operating Officer Dan Gordon and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner to open the Joint Operations Center (JOC) today in response to the reported threats against Philips Arena and to support enhanced security for tonight’s public events in the City of Atlanta.  Although the FBI has not found any credible threats relating to any events in the city, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) is actively monitoring the situation and is coordinating closely with our federal and state partners.

Over the past week, the City of Atlanta has increased security for all operations, including at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Atlanta Streetcar and for major public events. As always, APD stands ready to act in the case of an emergency.

There are several events in our city tonight, including the WWE Survivor Series, the Atlanta Falcons game, and the Macy’s Great Tree Lighting. If you see or hear something suspicious, please call 911 immediately.

In this holiday season and at all times, I encourage our residents and visitors to enjoy our city and not let fear guide you. Public safety remains my number one priority, and I am confident in our law enforcement agencies’ ability to keep us safe.

One of the things about how terrorists work is that they can get a great residual value from each successful mission.  They win when we change our behavior. Let’s not let them win.  Be alert, but carry on. That’s how we win.