According to LeftLaneNews.com, it may be.

The Internet automotive journal says Aston Martin is considering a factory in the United States to build its first crossover vehicle.

The Financial Times says the company is also looking at sites in the UK.

The British automaker is reportedly being courted by Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, which already are home to Mercedes-Benz, Kia, BMW and Volkswagen plants.

The publication says some states have already offered large land and tax breaks to woo the automaker.

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About That Sign

April 22, 2015 14:10 pm

by Will Kremer · 7 comments

The Georgia Republican Party Convention is approaching like a freight train. Republicans statewide will gather in Athens to choose our leaders for the 2016 presidential election. We’ve been afforded two choices: John Padgett and Alex Johnson. A sign urging Republicans to vote for new leadership was recently erected in Athens to be seen by thousands. In case you’re curious, Advance the GOP is Alex Johnson’s campaign.

The sign from Improve the Georgia GOP   H/T Political Insider

The sign from Improve the Georgia GOP
H/T AJC Political Insider

Chairman Padgett is tested. He navigated Georgia’s Republican Party through the midterm election. He oversaw the creation of several new county parties. Granted, Republicans have some serious complaints about his staff and his leadership style, but these issues will not jeopardize the GAGOP’s electoral success. On the other hand, we have Alex Johnson. He promises new leadership that will hold elected officials accountable for their votes. He has zero experience, no clear fundraising strategy, and lacks respect from seasoned activists.

Alex Johnson reignited a debate within Republican circles over the GOP’s job in “punishing” elected officials for voting against the party platform. Here’s the cold, hard truth: The Georgia GOP’s priority is to elect Republicans, not destroy them. The voters choose their favorite “flavor” during the primary. Alex Johnson represents a faction of the Republican Party that seeks to purify. Republicans who do not perfectly fit their libertarian-leaning–or “conservative” as they call it–values are simply not Republicans anymore. Instead of running candidates they deem acceptable, they are attempting to use the party structure to crush anyone they oppose. I should clarify that not every Johnson supporter shares the aforementioned mentality, but it’s the mentality I expect him to bring if elected.

What I hope to see in May besides detailed fundraising and 2016 strategies is what each candidate did to promote Republican candidates in 2014. What did Alex Johnson do to beat Nunn and Carter? Did he canvass? Did he make phone calls? Did he donate money? Did he place yard signs? Did he encourage grassroots to rally behind Perdue?

These are the questions delegates in Athens should ask Johnson before they cast their votes for Chairman.

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Yesterday, The Hill ran a brief article on the House Armed Services Committee’s rejection of a new round of base closures, better known as BRAC (the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, not this guy). At this news, many throughout the state prepared for a mass exhalation.

Georgians on the House Armed Services Committee include Representatives Austin Scott (R-8) and Hank Johnson (D-4). Scott’s district is home to Robins Air Force Base, but the sighs of relief won’t be limited to middle Georgia, as currently there are nine military bases in Georgia (here’s a handy map). In metro Atlanta, Dobbins Air Reserve Base is a vital part of Cobb County, and along with their counterparts elsewhere in Georgia, city and county officials in Cobb have braced and prepared themselves for another round of potential BRAC negotiations and repercussions with the Dobbins ARB Joint Land Use Study.

In 2005, Georgia lost several military installations, including Forts Gillem and McPherson in Atlanta, and the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens. The Pentagon is still paying for implementation of the 2005 BRAC closures, which appears to be a primary motivator for the House Armed Services Committee’s reluctance to commence a new round of closures. (Related: the City of Atlanta is still figuring out how to sell Fort McPherson.)

 

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Next Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether same sex marriage should be permitted nationwide. If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, Georgia’s present constitutional definition of marriage being between a man and a woman would be struck down. In a question and answer session this morning at the Atlanta Press Club, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens discussed the upcoming decision and his office’s possible reaction as part of wide-ranging series of questions.

Olens stressed that he saw his role in the issue as one of following the law, not interpreting it. When several gay couples filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s definition of marriage a year ago, Olens maintained he would defend the state’s constitution. He confirmed that position this morning, noting that he has no discretion in following the law, and stating that he disagrees 100% with other state attorneys general that decided to act as the judicial branch rather than the executive branch. He noted that with a ruling by the Supreme Court at the end of June, there will be a definitive answer, and the state of Georgia will follow the law.

Addressing the policy of his office with regards to the same sex marriage case, Olens said,

In the case of same sex marriage, I think our office has tried to do as best we can to show compassion, and to limit the discussion to what’s solely legal.

The court will rule at the end of June. If the court rules Georgia’s constitution is legal, the press release from my office will be “The Supreme Court has spoken, and Georgia will follow the law.” If the Supreme Court at the end of June says constitutional amendments like Georgia’s are unconstitutional, the press release from my office will be “The Supreme Court has spoken, and Georgia will follow the law.”

When the Supreme Court rules on an issue, we’re going to follow the law.

A recent court order in Alabama to allow same sex marriages was defied by some county officials, who refused to perform gay weddings. When asked about the possibility of the same thing happening in the Peach State, Olens pointed out that his office is not responsible for setting policy, but that his office would encourage those agencies responsible for policy to follow the law. “I cringe just as much when an attorney general seeks to defy the law as much as anyone else,” Olens said. “When the United States Supreme Court rules, it’s not time for criticism. It’s not time for banter.”

The Supreme Court’s decision is expected by the end of June.

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The following is a guest post from Cobb County GOP First Vice Chairman Justin Tomczak:

Last Saturday, I gathered with my fellow 11th District Republicans at our convention. We conducted party business, heard speeches from our elected officials and had an all-around great time. Decisions were made in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order and were voted on by the delegates who were elected at the county conventions in March.

Our convention started at 10:00 a.m., and we began voting for district officers by secret ballot at some point around lunchtime. After our new chairman was elected (congratulations to Brad Carver), I made a motion that all future ballots be voted upon by a standing vote. The individual secret ballot for chair took about 45 minutes to conduct, and we had numerous other ballots following. At the pace we were going, the convention would have lasted well into the night.

Several people rose to speak against my motion. Some accused me of “union thug tactics,” voter intimidation, and undermining the constitutionally established role of the secret ballot in our electoral system. The pushback was loud, and the motion failed. Due in part to this vote (and a later vote against a similar motion), the convention lasted until 4:00 p.m.

As the hours dragged on, people slowly trickled out due to family and other commitments. The argument over secret v. public ballots is not unique to the 11th District, and I’m sure it will be a topic of discussion at our state convention next month. In anticipation of this debate, I would like to submit a point for consideration:

Convention votes are made by delegates. According to Dictionary.com, a delegate is

“a person designated to act for or represent another or others; deputy; representative, as in a political convention.”

When we vote at conventions, we are not voting as individual voters at the ballot box. We are voting on behalf of those we represent. Our votes as delegates should be public because the people who sent us to represent them have a right to know how we voted, just as we all have a right to know how publicly elected officials vote on our behalf. Would any among us support our elected officials doing away with public votes in favor of a secret ballot?

In my humble opinion, the argument for secret ballots at conventions confuses the rights of an individual with the responsibilities of a delegate/representative, whose duty is to vote on behalf of those individuals who sent them.

I am interested to hear your perspectives.

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Over at FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman and Allison McCann take a look at the different ways each state gets its tax revenue, whether from income taxes, property taxes, or other sources. It’s useful to compare Georgia to the national average, which you can see in this chart:

tax-revenue

Compared to the nationwide average, Georgia relies far more on individual income taxes than other states, and depends less on general sales taxes (the 4% applied to almost any purchase except food and certain other categories) and selective sales taxes (taxes applied to certain products, such as the motor fuel excise tax, liquor taxes, etc.). The state collects slightly less than the national average on license taxes, and slightly more on property taxes. The numbers are taken from fiscal 2014 revenues.

Specific dollar figures are less important than percentages when considering state revenues, except when it comes to per-capita revenues. There the Peach State is second lowest, tied with Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee with $1,800 in tax per person. New Hampshire is the lowest, with $1,700 in per person tax revenue. Neighboring state North Carolina is higher with $2,400 per person, just under the $2,700 average. The state with the highest revenue per person is North Dakota, with $8,300 in taxes per person, although that’s a bit misleading since much of that money is from oil and gas revenue, not personal taxes.

If you’re really interested and want to play with the numbers, you can head over to the U.S. Census site where all the data came from.

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Morning Reads for April 22

April 22, 2015 5:29 am

by Ed · 15 comments

I turn a year older and somehow these Morning Reads get better than ever.

“Up From the South” by The Budos Band. 

  1. Hank Johnson stands by his controversial statements. 
  2. ‘Bama, Auburn, girding their loins for 2020, 2021 respectively. That’s when the GSU gridiron juggernaut will pay a courtesy visit to those two teams. 
  3. It’s a bit old but… here’s a serious attempt at proving racism is what was behind the APS cheating scandal prosecution. 
  4. Brookhaven mayor: “We are a fun city.”
  5. You are in fact, quite a terrifying city. 
  6. CBS News profiles Atlanta atheist. 
  7. New York Times likes Decatur (where it is greater).

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We have learned that Georgia Veterans Affairs Commissioner Pete Wheeler has passed away at age 92 from a post on Governor Nathan Deal’s Facebook page. Commissioner Wheeler, a veteran of World War II, served as commissioner since 1954 and served under Governors Herman Talmadge through Nathan Deal according to the AJC. Flags will be flown at half-staff on Monday to honor Georgia’s longest-serving agency head. US Senator Johnny Isakson’s office has released this statement on the Commissioner’s passing:

“Commissioner Pete Wheeler dedicated a lifetime of service to our state and nation and his fellow veterans. He made tremendous strides in modernizing and advancing services to benefit Georgia’s veterans and their families. He will be deeply missed by all Georgians and the millions of veterans across the country who have benefitted from his immeasurable contribution and courageous leadership.”

Please keep the Commissioner’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

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The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has set a special election for June 16, 2015 to fill the vacancy for District 55 in the GA House of Representatives. The seat was previously held by Tyrone Brooks, who recently resigned. If a run-off election becomes necessary, it will be held on July 14, 2015.

Citizens not registered to vote must register by the the close of business on May 18, 2015 in order to vote in this election.

Qualifying Information:

Location: Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

Times:

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 30, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. to 12 o’clock noon.

Qualifying Fee: $400.00

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I heard a rumor a few weeks back that Georgia House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts was going to be appointed as Georgia DOT Planning Director, perhaps as a reward for successfully guiding the Transportation Funding Act to passage this year. No one has confirmed it, although several others with connections at the Gold Dome have heard the rumor as well.

If true, that might explain why Roberts’s name wasn’t mentioned as a possible replacement for Majority Leader Larry O’Neil.

Anyone else out there hear anything?

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Rosie Ruiz, considered the godmother of modern commuting, was stripped of her win in the 1980 Boston Marathon on this day in 1980.

  • The Pursuit of Beauty: Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery (New Yorker)
  • Can civilisation reboot without fossil fuels? It took a lot of fossil fuels to forge our industrial world. Now they’re almost gone. Could we do it again without them? (Aeon)
  • The $5 Billion Race to Build a Better Battery (Bloomberg)
  • Build Your Own Cloud! Hard Drives Get a Second Life (WSJ)
  • Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron on journalism’s transition from print to digital (Washington Post)
  • What the NBA gets that the other big sports leagues don’t (WonkBlog)
  • Baseball is struggling to hook kids — and risks losing fans to other sports (Washington Post)
  • How to Find Your Bliss: Joseph Campbell on What It Takes to Have a Fulfilling Life (Brain Pickings)
  • The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison (NY Times)
  • A record 125 people were exonerated of crimes in 2014. Here are 6 of their stories. (Vox)
    Say Cheese! Cheese is the chameleon of the food world, as well as one of its greatest delights. Fresh and light or funky and earthy, creamy and melty or crystalline and crumbly—no other food offers such a variety of flavors and textures. (Gastropod)

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Georgia College and State University’s Department of Government and Sociology recently conducted a second edition of their State of the State Poll. This poll attempts to get a better understanding of Georgians’ attitudes and positions on a broad range of issues.

Among the key findings of the poll, the following stand out:

  • Most respondents said they trusted the federal, county and city governments more than the state government.
  • A significant majority of Hispanics (72.9%) claimed that state budget cuts impacted their households while 30.5% of African Americans and 27.5% of whites claimed the same. On the other hand, an overwhelming majority of Asian Americans (89.2%) claimed that the budget cuts had no impact on their households.
  • While more than half (54.9%) of the participants claimed some level of dissatisfaction with the public education system, 54.8% of all participants indicated willingness to pay more taxes for better public education opportunities.
  • On the question of the creation of charter schools, 55.5% of all participants were in favor with only 10.5% strongly opposed.
  • On the Common Core State Standards Initiative, more than half (53.4%) of all participants were in favor, with 25.2% strongly opposed.
  • When asked about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, 46.7% of all participants said they were strongly opposed while 27.1% of all participants said they were strongly in favor. While a majority of African Americans (58.4%) were in strong favor of the Affordable Care Act, a significant majority of Hispanics (68.7%) and whites (63.7%) were strongly opposed to the same.
  • Just under half (46.3%) of all respondents favor the legalization of Medical Marijuana with 22.1% of them strongly opposing the same. 53.4% of Hispanics and 45.9% of south Georgians strongly oppose legalizing medical marijuana.
  • 54.6% of all respondents said they opposed President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration with 35.2% in favor of the same.
  • 46.5% of all respondents indicated support for the Safe Carry Protection Act, sometimes known as the ‘Guns Everywhere Bill’ with 37.4% expressing opposition.
  • On the issue of same sex marriage, 48.8% of all respondents expressed opposition with 42.4% expressing support.
  • 62.8% of participants indicated support for SB 365, which removed barriers for employment, housing and education for rehabilitating offenders to successfully re-enter society.

According to Georgia College and State University, this poll was conducted by a random telephone survey of 500 Georgians between Feb. 9 and 16, 2015. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.4 percent. Moreover, all participants interviewed were 18 years of age or older.

You can further analyze the findings of this poll here. Additionally, you can also contrast the findings of the 2015 poll with that of the 2014 poll here.

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RIP: Former Rep. Jay Shaw

April 20, 2015 12:00 pm

by Buzz Brockway

Former State Representative Jay Shaw passed away this morning. I have the pleasure of serving with his son Rep. Jason Shaw, who was elected to his father’s seat when the elder Shaw retired from the Legislature in 2010. After his retirement, Jay Shaw served on the Georgia Department of Transportation Board and was re-elected to that position earlier this year.

According to the Valdosta Times:

Shaw served as the Mayor of Lakeland for many years as well as the state representative of District 176 from 1994-2010.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shaw family.

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Georgia Republicans held their Congressional District conventions on Saturday, with the purpose of electing leadership for the next two years, passing party rules, and considering resolutions of support or opposition to various public policies. In the Seventh District, which covers portions of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, three resolutions were introduced dealing in some form with the issue of illegal immigration.

The first resolution supports banning the issuance of driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. Its goal mirrors that of Senate Bill 6, pre-filed before the start of the 2015 session by Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus. McKoon authored the legislation in anticipation of President Obama’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to cover a much broader range of undocumented immigrants. Current law allows immigrants accepted into the DACA program to obtain the licenses; McKoon’s measure would end that option.

Senate Bill 6 was assigned to the Public Safety Committee, where it never got a hearing. As the 40 day session drew to a close, Senator McKoon attempted to attach his bill to a separate measure also dealing with drivers licenses. His motion failed. The failure of the Senate to approve his motion was the subject of an inflammatory article on the Breitbart Big Government website. That was the reason for the second resolution, which would require all Senate votes to be recorded by the chamber’s voting machine. McKoon’s amendment, like most that are offered in the Senate, was voted on by a show of hands.

The third resolution urges the General Assembly to approve a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the state of Georgia. A bill to do just that was introduced during the 2014 session by then-Senator Don Balfour. Senate Resolution 1031 would require virtually all state business–including the issuance of driver’s licenses–to be conducted in English.

The three resolutions were approved by the GOP delegates in the Seventh, which is the most diverse congressional district in the eastern United States. Similar resolutions were introduced and passed in other districts as well. Their passage positions the Republican Party as nativists, a position that can’t help but hurt the party and the state of Georgia’s prospects in the long run. [click to continue…]

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Farewell To Miss Ann

April 20, 2015 10:00 am

by Charlie · 7 comments

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Annie Bell Price died Saturday evening a few days after her 72nd birthday. To most in Atlanta who knew her she was simply “Miss Ann” – the Miss Ann who for the last 43 years operated the Atlanta institution known as “Ann’s Snack Bar”.

Miss Ann will not pose for pictures, but will reluctantly allow themMiss Ann would probably have been the first to scoff at the word “institution”. Her restaurant was quite simple, in reality. It consisted of one counter for service and exactly eight stools for diners. Only once in all my visits did I ever see Miss Ann acquiesce to serving nine diners at a time. “Eight stools and eight rules” was the semi-official motto of her establishment. Miss Ann was known to run a tight ship.

The rules were legendary to outsiders who frequented the restaurant as a warning and perhaps a bit of a game. To those that ate there frequently the rules were merely a sign that inside the Snack Bar was a very different environment than the area that surrounded her establishment. When dining with Miss Ann there was order. There were manners. And there was respect that had been earned.

Miss Ann worked hard her entire life, serving customers eight at a time for four decades. Most of that time was without accolade beyond a base of recurring customers. Her restaurant was not in a fashionable part of town and she understood that, naming her signature entrée the ghetto burger.

A burger as good as she prepared could not remain a secret for long and eventually folks from beyond her neighborhood including more than a few adventurous foodies took notice. Several years ago the hype around her restaurant peaked when the Wall Street Journal credited her with serving “The Best Hamburger in America”. [click to continue…]

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