U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston says goodbye to Glynn County after 22 years in office and confers Purple Heart on soldier | jacksonville.com

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | In his last visit before leaving office at year’s end, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., went out in a blaze of someone else’s glory.

That appeared to be the way he likes it.

First, Kingston found himself in an unfamiliar place, a seat in the audience at the Brunswick Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce annual Grits and Issues breakfast at Epworth by the Sea. Kingston smiled as others answered questions about their legislative agendas, including the man who will replace him, Pooler Republican Buddy Carter, and David Perdue, the Sea Island Republican who beat Kingston in a primary runoff for the Republican spot on the ballot in the U.S. Senate race and then Democrat Michelle Nunn in the general election.

Kingston left bearing a gift, a photo of the marsh taken by the late artist Mildred Huie, and was thanked repeatedly for his service.

After the breakfast broke up, it was time for Kingston to thank someone else for his service, Army Staff Sgt. Jaime Perez. As he has done numerous times, Kingston pinned a medal on Perez, in this case a Purple Heart awarded to Perez for his injuries suffered in Iraq when his convoy was hit Feb. 23, 2007, by rocket propelled grenades.

Kingston thanked Perez for the honor of letting him pin the medal on him.

“After another 22 years, I’m out of work,’’ Kingston told Perez. “To end my career doing this is one of the greatest honors you can give me.”

via U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston says goodbye to Glynn County after 22 years in office and confers Purple Heart on soldier | jacksonville.com.

Poll: GOP gets a bounce from midterm wins – The Washington Post

Republican victories in the midterm elections have translated into an immediate boost in the party’s image, putting the GOP at its highest point in eight years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The spike in the party’s standing comes after Republicans picked up nine seats to take control of the Senate, raised their numbers in the House to the highest level in more than half a century and added new governorships to its already clear majority.

In the new poll, 47 percent say they have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, compared with 33 percent in the month before the midterm elections. An equal percentage have an unfavorable view, which marks the first time in six years that fewer than half of Americans said they saw Republicans negatively.

The improved standing reverses a lengthy period in which the public had given Republicans declining and, ultimately, historically low ratings. Successful elections often give political parties or candidates a boost, though sometimes those improved ratings prove to be a bounce rather than a sustained change.

via Poll: GOP gets a bounce from midterm wins – The Washington Post.

Fla Insider Poll: Those who know them best say Marco Rubio can’t compete w Jeb Bush | Tampa Bay Times

Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed for the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll said Rubio would be unable to raise enough money to mount a competitive campaign if Jeb Bush was also running. Only a quarter of them predict Rubio will actually run now that Bush is poised to do so.

“Jeb still has the heart and soul of grassroots Republicans in Florida. There’s no room for two or three Florida candidates. Marco knows that,” one Republican said.

The Insider Poll of political consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers, political scientists and a few recovering political reporters is an unscientific and, almost by definition, biased exercise. Why? Because any list of top Republican political talent in Florida is guaranteed to be packed with former Bush staffers and money-raisers.

“Jeb has proven he’s ready for prime time time and time again. Marco I believe will learn from one of the criticisms of Pres. Obama not having executive experience and will run for Governor,” another Republican said.

via Fla Insider Poll: Those who know them best say Marco Rubio can’t compete w Jeb Bush | Tampa Bay Times.

Hunter AAF-based guardsmen return in time for the holidays | savannahnow.com

Moments after stepping off a large charter bus in the parking lot of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Hunter Army Airfield hangar Thursday, Sgt. 1st Class James Tucker wrapped his wife in a huge embrace.

Ten months after leaving the Savannah Army post, the National Guardsman was home, just in time for Christmas.

“I’m ecstatic,” Tucker said, holding hands with Tanya, his wife. “There’s really no other words.”

Tucker, of Richmond Hill, was one of about 40 soldiers with B Company, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion to return after the deployment that included nearly three months of training at Fort Hood, Texas, and seven months in Afghanistan conducting combat operation support and retrograde missions during the final months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

via Hunter AAF-based guardsmen return in time for the holidays | savannahnow.com.

PortSide: Container growth continues at GPA | BiS | Business in Savannah News

“We are taking the steps necessary to expand capacity to 6.5 million TEUs by increasing our fleet of ship-to-shore cranes to 26, adding a major new truck gate and maximizing the use of our container yard space,” Foltz said.

At last month’s meeting, the authority board approved an expenditure of $10.2 million for construction of Gate 8, which will serve as a third major truck interchange at Garden City Terminal. At an earlier meeting, the board approved expenditures of more than $8 million to relocate some gate activity and expand storage capacity in the area.=

“We have prepared Savannah’s landside infrastructure to handle the influxes of cargo delivered by super post-Panamax vessels,” said GPA board chairman James Walters. “And now we have entered the construction phase of the harbor expansion, which will deepen the river to 47 feet, allowing today’s larger, more efficient ships to transit the channel with heavier loads and greater scheduling flexibility.”

via PortSide: Container growth continues at GPA | BiS | Business in Savannah News.

Good news for supporters of medical marijuana in Georgia | www.myajc.com

McLaughlin & Associates, whose clients include nearly ever statewide-elected Republican in Georgia, conducted the poll Nov. 23-24. It asked 400 likely voters a variety of questions about legalization of medical marijuana. Among the key findings:

•  80 percent of Georgians support legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, even if the drug includes higher levels of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.

•  27 percent support full legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

•  17 percent oppose any legalization of marijuana.

•  85 percent support legalization of marijuana if the medication “would not get a person high.”

The poll was paid for by Surterra Holdings, an Atlanta investment firm interested in the business possibilities of medical marijuana.

Surterra CEO Jake Bergmann and chief operating officer Wes Van Dyk have met with Peake and a host of other state lawmakers to encourage the General Assembly to tap the economic potential of legalization. If the bill passes, Bergmann sees the potential of $200 million a year in new state revenue as companies are created to grow, cultivate, process and sell the new medications.

Even they were surprised by the poll results.

“We knew it would poll over 50 percent,” Bergmann said. “We were shocked. Our pollster was shocked.”

Bergman and Van Dyk, who have hired the high-powered lobbyist firm McGuire Woods, said the poll shows support for medical marijuana extends beyond what Peake proposed this past legislative session. That bill, which died in the session’s final days, would have only legalized an oil derived from marijuana to treat certain seizure disorders.

This time, however, the pair is advocating for a broader bill that would also allow the use of medical marijuana to help patients with cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain and other conditions.

Peake has pre-filed his bill for 2015, but it’s merely a shell at this point, with few details. Peake, who led a legislative study committee on the subject over the summer, has not yet said how broad his final bill will be. But he appeared to endorse most of Bergman and Van Dyk’s proposals at the study committee’s final meeting earlier this month.

via Good news for supporters of medical marijuana in Georgia | www.myajc.com.

Republicans Are Only Sometimes the Party of Uber – NYTimes.com

In the case of Uber, the cities with the most to gain from innovation tend to be large and dense, and often Democratic. So at the local level, the leaders in welcoming Uber are often Democrats. Conservatives like to mock California as anti-business, but the state is one of just two to have enacted a comprehensive, statewide regulatory framework that is friendly to ride sharing. The other is Colorado, also run by Democrats.

But it’s not just about Uber and taxis. Consider state laws that prohibit auto manufacturers like Tesla from selling directly to consumers. Car dealers favor these laws, which interfere with Tesla’s direct sales model. Of 22 states that permit direct sales, 14 voted for President Obama. New York, California and Illinois all have freer markets in auto retailing than Texas. Did I mention that car dealers are a strongly Republican constituency? In 2009, the statistician Nate Silver found that 88 percent of car dealers’ political donations went to Republicans.

When it comes to business regulation, “I don’t know that there’s an ideological breakdown,” said Clark Neily, a litigator at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm that opposes many kinds of business licensing. He pointed to Florida, one of just three states requiring a license to practice interior design. Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in 2011 to deregulate the profession, along with others like auctioneering where the need for a government license was unclear.

But under pressure from licensed interior designers, the State Senate, also held by Republicans, killed the deregulation bill on a 32-to-6 vote. Despite more than a decade of solid Republican rule, you still need a license to decorate other people’s homes in Florida, or braid their hair, or auction their property, or run a ballroom dance studio.

If Republicans want to own the issue of freeing businesses from anticompetitive regulation, they’re going to have to have some intraparty fights at the state and local levels.

via Republicans Are Only Sometimes the Party of Uber – NYTimes.com.

Are Republicans actually behind the Tesla sales bans?

Tesla supporters have been wondering: Are state auto-dealer lobbyists working with Republican legislators to push laws banning direct sales of Teslas to retail buyers It’s a valid question, but is it true?

The New York Times published an article last month that included data that helps assess the situation.

While the article actually focused on Republican support for Uber—which was far from universal, it turns out—it alludes to the issues between Tesla and state dealer groups.

via Are Republicans actually behind the Tesla sales bans?.

Bibb school board mulls change in its numbers | Education | Macon.com

The Bibb County school board Thursday discussed changing its makeup of eight members to an unspecified odd number but took no formal action.

Board members Jason Downey and Lester Miller wanted to trim the number of board seats, but board member Wanda West said she would like to see a nine-member school board, which would mirror the size of the Macon-Bibb County Commission.

Downey, however, said state law prevents school boards from having more than seven members. The Bibb County Board of Education was grandfathered in to allow eight members.

Downey made a motion to take action on the item but withdrew his motion late in the meeting, and no vote was taken. Board member Ella Carter was absent for medical reasons.

via Bibb school board mulls change in its numbers | Education | Macon.com.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 19, 2014

Boston4

Boston, the three-legged Boxer who was found abandoned and injured still needs a foster home for the holidays. Email me if you’re interested, or you can contribute to his medical expenses online.

Norwood Puppies

This mother and her male puppy were found in the Augusta area and appear to have been abandoned by their owner. They have been taken in temporarily by a family that is helping them try to find a home, but they’re unable to stay permanently. Email me if you’d like to be put in touch with the kind folks who found this mother-and-child pair.

Shiloh

Shiloh is a friendly and playful Black Lab mix male, about 1.5 years old and weighing 54 pounds. He was found abandoned and tied up behind a business and is seeking a forever home. Shiloh is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, Georgia.