Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 22, 2012

General Charles Lee of the Continental Army told Congress that Georgia’s value to the young nation required more forces to defend against the British on August 24, 1776.

The Kimball Opera House, serving as the Georgia State Capitol, was sold to the state on August 23, 1870.

The sale of Coca-Cola Company from the Candlers was announced in the Atlanta Constitution on August 22, 1919.

N/S Savannah, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, visited the Port of Savannah on August 22, 1962. Savannah was named after S.S. Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. N/S Savannah is moored at the Port of Baltimore and designated a national historic landmark.

More than 3000 demonstrators disrupted the Democratic National Convention on August 22, 1968.

Nolan Ryan recorded his 5000th career strikeout against Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s on August 22, 1989.

Set your radios for 88.5 FM today at 3 PM

I’ll be back on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind,” hosted by Bill Nigut. Click here for stations outside Metro Atlanta.

Judge found dead of apparent suicide

Judge James Cline of the Superior Court for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide. The Ocmulgee Circuit comprises Baldwin, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Jones, Morgan, Putnam, and Wilkinson Counties.

Senate Debate

Republican David Perdue and Democrat Sam Nunn met yesterday in a debate forum organized by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia News Network, and Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Walter Jones of Morris News brings us an account, via Savannah Morning News:

While Perdue’s opening listed the national debt, burdensome regulations and Washington stalemates as problems, Nunn zeroed right in on him personally. She listed the same problems but accused him of supporting partisan confrontations that create gridlock.

“That sounds to me like Washington as usual,” she said.

She hammered him for centering his campaign on attacking her rather than focusing on “the hopes, aspirations and dreams of the people of Georgia.” And she suggested he is a hothead who can’t work with others, mentioning his own description of walking out of a meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when he sought the organization’s endorsement.

Perdue was less aggressive Thursday, aiming most of his barbs at an unpopular Democratic president and at Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid for refusing to consider proposals from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. It wasn’t until his closing that he lobbed even a single stone her way.

Here’s the real money quote from Walter

On transportation and defense, Nunn and Perdue weren’t far apart. The two agreed to do what they could to protect the state’s military bases from closure by working with local leaders. And they used the same dodge to a question about funding highway improvements by saying they oppose an increase in the gas tax and prefer to use savings from eliminating government waste instead. It was a copout because both surely know such massive spending reductions are less likely than a tax.

Politico.com described Nunn’s performance as “whacking” Perdue:

Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn debated like the underdog in Georgia Thursday.

After slipping behind in polls following last month’s runoff, she came out swinging at Republican David Perdue during a 45-minute forum at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Congressional luncheon in Macon.

Nunn also tried to distance herself from Barack Obama. She said the president should not issue any executive orders on immigration, chided him for wanting to cut military spending and brought up — in her opening statement — that a picture appearing in Republican ads of her standing with Obama is cropped to remove former President George H.W. Bush.

Perdue largely ignored Nunn. He discussed losing his own health insurance plan because of Obamacare and focused on the federal debt in nearly every answer.

While [Perdue] mostly ignored Nunn in his answers to a moderator’s questions, he took a parting shot in his closing statement.

“If you like what’s going on in Washington, then vote for my opponent, because she knows she’ll be nothing more than a proxy for Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” he said. “Nothing will change.”

The debate also highlighted differences between the candidates on Obamacare. From the Associated Press by Christina Cassidy,

Both said there were problems with the federal health care law, but differed on what to do about them.

Perdue argued in favor of repeal, noting his own health plan was canceled under the law and his new one features higher rates and coverage he and his wife don’t need. He said he favors replacing the law with a Republican proposal he says would create more of a free-market system designed to reduce rates and increase access.

Nunn said she favored keeping the elements that work, including allowing children to stay on parents’ plans longer, and wants to work on helping small businesses struggling to provide health care to employees.

Nunn named several tweaks to Obamacare that she said she would support. From the Macon Telegraph:

Questioned on health care, Nunn said the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, needs to be amended — but basically left in place.

Another tier for low-income people needs to be added, along with a tax credit for small businesses and help for Georgia’s rural hospitals, but five years of partisan refusal to accept its existence doesn’t need to continue for years more, she said. Instead, all concerned need to make sure it works in providing insurance to more Americans, Nunn said.

“I do not think that we need to go backward,” she said.

Perdue said his personal insurance policy was canceled, and now coverage is more expensive, which he blamed on the ACA.

“I absolutely think it’s unfixable,” he said. The ACA should be repealed and replaced, Perdue said, touting a 2013 bill from U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., which is mired in a House committee.

Price’s bill would repeal the ACA, give tax credits and deductions for insurance purchases, and allow formation of individual and small-business associations to buy insurance. It includes neither a mandate for coverage nor a requirement for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, according to the bill summary.

Gluttons for punishment politics can watch the forum in its entirety on C-SPAN. For candidate answers to specific questions, WMAZ has posted excerpts from the forum.

Newsbites

Georgia State Representative Terry England was awarded the Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award for his support of the organization – GrowingGeorgia.com.

The Georgia Republican Party has filed its response to a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in employment and denies all the allegations of discriminatory behavior – Gainesville Times.

The response says the party “den(ies) that they engaged in any conduct that would subject them to liability or which entitles Plaintiffs to any remedies or relief of any kind.”

The response also denies that the party “committed any unlawful or wrongful acts.”

The party admits to some of the facts set forth in the suit, such as the date Keith began work with the party and the name of her supervisor, but denies every allegation of discriminatory treatment or the use of racial slurs.

The catwalk goes to the dogs on September 6th, as the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals holds a fashion show for dogs as its major fundraiser of the year – Gwinnett Daily Post.

Cobb County may have to repay FEMA more than half-a-million dollars in grant funds received in 2009 – MyAJC.com.

Athens Mayor Nancy Denson cited concerns that new residents could overwhelm public services in asking for relief from refugee resettlement – MyAJC.com.

“Serving refugees will add a burden to local charitable and other public resources, including safety net services,” Denson wrote Monday to Michael Singleton, Georgia’s state refugee coordinator. “Refugee students may also place an inordinate service burden on the school district due to limited English proficiency by the students and their parents.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation Board elected Don Grantham as Chair of the State Transportation Board, Emily Dunn of Blue Ridge as Vice Chair, and Robert L. Brown, Jr. as Secretary for one-year terms – AccessNorthGa.com.

On Monday, the Georgia State Board of Education will hold a public hearing on Common Core in Columbus at 7 p.m., in the Northside High School auditorium, 2002 American Way, Columbus, GA 31909 – Ledger-Enquirer.

Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bill Rumer trades in his black robe for black-and-white stripes as an High School Football Side Judge – Ledger-Enquirer.

Common Core

Two New York educators wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post arguing that Common Core standards do a disservice to students.

Why would policymakers create tests that are designed to mark as failures two out of every three children?  For the second year in a row, that is the question that New York parents are asking. The 2014 New York State Common Core test scores were recently released, and there was minimal improvement in student performance. Proficiency or “passing” rates went up 0.1 in English Language Arts (ELA) and 4.6 percentage points in math, despite the rollout of the $28 million, taxpayer funded curriculum modules, and greater familiarity with the tests. Proficiency rates continued to be horrendous for students who are English Language Learners—only 11 percent “passed” math, and 3 percent “passed” the English Language Arts tests. Results were equally dismal for special education students, whose “passing” rates were 9 percent in math and 5 percent in ELA.

The release of 50 percent of the questions provides further insight into why the tests produce such poor results.

Let’s start with the third-grade passage, Science Friction. It includes phrases based on unfamiliar puns such as “Spore score and seven weeks ago…” and required knowledge of terms such as acidic, decomposition, and inhibition. It comes as no surprise that when it was published, this text was considered appropriate for Grades 4-7 by one reviewer, and for Grades 5-7 by another. Fourth graders were tested on a passage from Lawn Boy, by Gary Paulsen, a text generally read in Grade 6.

In addition to passage difficulty, the questions themselves required skills out of the reach for many young children. Consider this fourth-grade question on the test based on a passage from Pecos Bill Captures the Pacing White Mustang by Leigh Peck.

Why is Pecos Bill’s conversation with the cowboys important to the story?

A) It predicts the action in paragraph 4

B) It predicts the action in paragraph 5

C) It predicts the choice in paragraph 10

D) It predicts the choice in paragraph 11

Visualize the steps required to answer this question. First, 9-year-olds must flip back to the conversation and re-read it. Next, they must go back to the question and then flip back to paragraph 4. Complete this step 3 more times, each time remembering the original question. In addition to remembering the content of each paragraph, they must also be mindful that choices A and B refer to the action in the related paragraph, while choices C and D refer to a choice. Similar questions were on the third-grade test. Questions such as these are better suited to assess one’s ability to put together a chair from Ikea than they are to assess student’s understanding of what they read.

A recent poll shows that a majority of New Yorkers now opposes the Common Core. Three of the four New York candidates for governor have publicly stated that they would suspend it. Only Andrew Cuomo, the current governor who is seeking re-election, supports it.

Here’s some more information on that poll that shows waning support for Common Core.

The results of an annual poll by Gallup and the Phi Delta Kappa educators’ organization provide more evidence that support for the Common Core State Standards, originally adopted by 46 states and the District, has faded in recent years. The survey showed that those who opposed the standards thought that the Common Core will hurt teachers’ ability to craft lessons that they think will be best for students. The latest survey results echo findings from other polls on Common Core support.

“It’s pretty apparent that the Common Core has become a polarizing term,” said Terry Holliday, the education commissioner of Kentucky, which was among the first states to adopt the standards in 2010.

The wide-ranging survey also showed that trust in the nation’s public school system has evaporated, as a consistent majority of Americans approve of charter schools that operate independently of state regulations. Overall, more than 70 percent of Americans give President Obama a C, D or F grade in his support to public schools, the lowest rating he has received on the poll since he took office in 2009.

Last year, more than two-thirds of respondents in the poll had never heard of the Common Core. This year, more than 80 percent of Americans had heard of the standards, mostly from prominent coverage by newspapers, television and radio. A total of 60 percent of respondents said they opposed the Common Core.

It’s not just parents and conservatives who oppose Common Core – support among educators for the standards also is dropping.

Anybody watching the escalating battle across the country over the Common Core State Standards and aligned standardized testing will hardly be surprised by a new national poll which reveals a significant loss of support over the last year — especially among teachers, whose approval rating dropped from 76 percent in 2013 to only 46 percent in 2014. Overall support for the Core dropped from 65 percent last year to 53 percent in 2014, with most of the defection among Republicans.

Along with the 30-percentage point drop in approval by teachers, there was a huge jump in opposition, from 12 percent to 40 percent.

State GOP denies race allegations | Gainesville Times

The response says the party “den(ies) that they engaged in any conduct that would subject them to liability or which entitles Plaintiffs to any remedies or relief of any kind.”

The response also denies that the party “committed any unlawful or wrongful acts.”

The party admits to some of the facts set forth in the suit, such as the date Keith began work with the party and the name of her supervisor, but denies every allegation of discriminatory treatment or the use of racial slurs.

via State GOP denies race allegations.

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for August 22, 2014

Chewy

Chewy is an eight-year old female who was surrendered to the animal shelter by her former owners and has quickly become an absolute favorite of the volunteers for her cheerful, affectionate disposition.

She is as playful as a pup, very interactive and enthusiastic. She did well with 2 other dogs, was very gentle with a small child, and sometimes plays ball. She only pulls a little on a leash. This dog has such a gentle, sweet, old wise soul. More than $200 has been pledged for her vetting to a rescue that saves her, but she needs a foster or adoptive home.

Chewy is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.

Barrow Black Lab

Number 94 is a sweet female Black Lab puppy, about 6months old and 22 pounds, who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.

Barrow Pom

Number 138 is a small adult Pomeranian who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, Ga.

Gwinnett 41330

Number 41330 is a young male adult Chocolate Lab, who is friendly and available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Jacob

Jacob is a senior Yellow Lab whose owner works actively in dog rescue, specializing in Labs. Jacob has recently required knee surgery, and complications kept him in the hospital for several days. He needs financial support to help pay his vet bills. People who help rescue dogs often do so at significant personal cost, and helping us pay for Jacob’s surgery is a way to payback the service they give, and help them save more dogs.

Click here to make an online donation toward Jacob’s more than $3000 in vet bills.

Gov. Nathan Deal: I Will Protect State-Chartered Schools

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Deal: I will protect state-chartered schools

Governor offers second term education proposal to end local obstruction

After speaking today to students and educators at Clayton County’s Utopian Academy for the Arts, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that he’ll work in his second term to protect state-approved charter schools from obstruction by local officials, which temporarily delayed the opening of this school.

“The series of obstacles placed before Utopian are exactly why Georgians voted overwhelmingly for the charter school amendment, and I will work to advance legislation in my next term that will protect the will of the people, the spirit of our constitution and the hopes and dreams of determined parents who want the best for their children,” said Deal. “I envision this will become bipartisan legislation, and I’m happy to work with Democratic members from the Clayton delegation who share my concerns about protecting the rights of these schools and their students.

“No county in Georgia passed the charter school amendment with a higher margin than Clayton, (more…)

10 Downing Street: 5 Things to Remember About the UK and Scottish Independence

Your International Desk

From 10 Downing Street 

 

On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.

The UK Government is making a positive case for Scotland to stay in the UK – Scotland is stronger in the UK, and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it.

Get more information on GOV.UK.

With less than a month to go until the independence referendum, here are 5 things to remember about the UK, Scotland and independence. (more…)

NFIB – Sen. Bruce Thompson Earns 100% Voting Record on Small Business Issues

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Bruce Thompson

 

Sen. Bruce Thompson Earns 100% Voting Record on Small Business Issues

Sen. Bruce Thompson was recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for his pro-business voting record during the 2013-14 legislative sessions. NFIB awarded Sen. Thompson with a 100% rating due to his strong support of small business issues. NFIB is Georgia’s leading small-business association with over 7,500 dues-paying members representing a cross section of the state’s economy.

“As a business owner, I came to the Capitol with a mission to represent small business,” said Sen. Thompson. “Receiving such an honor only strengthens my resolve to be a voice for small businesses in my district and in Georgia.”

“Sen. Thompson clearly understands what small business means to Georgia’s economy,” said Kyle Jackson, State Director, NFIB Georgia. (more…)

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for August 21, 2014

Benny

Benny is a 9-year-old male Beagle who was rescued from a high-kill shelter. He loves to play and gets along well with other dogs and cats. Benny is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA

Tommy

Tommy is a goofy playful pup, about 9 months old and 35 pounds. His mom is named Liberty. He loves to cuddle in bed but still has puppy habits of tasting your pillow or blanket every now and then. He is great with kids and gets along with other dogs and cats. Tommy is available for adoption from Heart of Georgia Humane Society in Macon, GA.

Lindy

Lindy is a young female Beagle who loves playing with children and other dogs. She is available for adoption from You Lucky Dog Rescue in Alpharetta, GA.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 21, 2014

James Oglethorpe and the Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Coweta Town, delineating geographic areas open to British settlement, on August 21, 1739.

On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner led the largest slave rebellion in American history; Turner was later hanged in Jerusalem, VA.

The first of the Lincoln-Douglass series of seven debates was held in Ottawa, Illinois, on August 21, 1858, pitting Democrat Stephen Douglass against Republican Abraham for the United States Senate seat held by Douglass. Expansion of slavery in the United States was the topic for the debates.

On August 21, 1907, Georgia Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation to place a Constitutional Amendment designed to disenfranchise African-Americans by requiring passage of a literacy test to vote. A number of exceptions allowed local officials to exempt white voters whom they wished to allow to vote; one exemption was for anyone descended from a U.S. or Confederate wartime veteran – the so-called “grandfather clause.”

On the same day, Gov. Smith also signed legislation prohibiting fishing on Sunday, subject to misdemeanor prosecution.

On August 21, 1935, Benny Goodman and his orchestra began a seven-night stand at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, beginning the Swing Era.

Happy 55th birthday to Hawaii, which became the 50th State on August 21, 1959; they’ve undoubtedly been receiving AARP literature in the mail for ten years.

The 1968 Democratic National Convention began in Chicago on August 21, 1968.

The name of Julian Bond of Georgia, then-27 and too young to serve, was placed in nomination for Vice President during the 1968 DNC.

State Rep. candidate Michael Brown died

Republican candidate Michael Brown, who won the Primary nomination by a 60-40 margin, died Monday, leaving the ballot empty for House District 98, formerly held by State Rep. Josh Clark. (more…)