The blog.

24
Dec

GOP now holds “Solid South” | Jamie Dupree – AJC

[T]he Deep South has now gone to the GOP – the “Solid South” of the Democrats has been transformed into a “Sold South” for the Republicans.

In 2015, only two states in the South will have a Democratic Senator – Virginia, where Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) barely won re-election, and in Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) holds a seat.

That’s it.

Just as Republicans have dropped off the map in many areas of New England, so too have Democrats in the South.

Even more dramatic is what has happened at the state level, as Republicans in January will hold the Governor’s seat in almost every southern and border state, as the GOP also controls almost every southern state legislative body as well.

When I got my current job 26 years ago, the Georgia Congressional delegation in the U.S. House had 10 members – nine were Democrats and one Republican (Newt Gingrich). Both Senators were Democrats.

Georgia had a Democratic Governor. A Democratic state legislature.

Now in 2015, Republicans control the Georgia state government. Both Senators are from the GOP. The U.S. House delegation is 10-4 in favor of Republicans.

It’s the type of switch that has happened all over the south – especially the Deep South.

via GOP now holds “Solid South” | Jamie Dupree – AJC.

24
Dec

Democrats looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem | WTVR.com

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) — The 2014 elections seemed like the final reckoning for Southern Democrats, the culmination of a political metamorphosis that began in the Civil Rights era and concluded under the nation’s first black President.

Wiped out in governors’ races, clobbered in Senate contests, irrelevant in many House districts and boxed out of state legislatures, Democrats in the South today look like a rump party consigned to a lifetime of indignity.

“I can’t remember it being any gloomier for Democrats in the South than it is today,” said Curtis Wilkie, the longtime journalist and observer of Southern life who lectures at the University of Mississippi. “The party has been demonized by Republicans. It’s very bleak. I just don’t see anything good for them on the horizon.”

Democrats are looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem. They hope population changes will make states such as Georgia and North Carolina more hospitable. They want more financial help from the national party. Some are even clinging to the dim hope that Hillary Clinton might help make inroads with white working class voters in Arkansas in 2016.

Success here is crucial for the party. There’s virtually no way for Democrats to win back a majority in the Senate — much less the House — without finding a way to compete more effectively in the South. But the truth is there are no easy answers for a party so deep in the hole.

via Democrats looking everywhere for solutions to their Southern problem | WTVR.com.

24
Dec

1250 AM WTMA – GOP moves early to court conservative Christians [From CNN News]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The first votes of the 2016 campaign won’t be cast for another year but there’s already a race well underway: The Christian primary.

Republicans are actively courting white evangelical and born again Christian voters, knowing they will be crucial in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is urging people to join him next month in Baton Rouge for a day of fasting, repentance and prayer focused on the future of the United States.

On the same day, another gathering will take place in Des Moines, where at least five potential GOP presidential candidates will address Iowa voters on “core principles” that include “social conservatism.”

In August, Marco Rubio spoke at South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan’s “Faith and Freedom” fundraiser. Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee addressed the Iowa Family Leader Summit in that same month. And in November, Ben Carson was the keynote speaker at the Family Leader’s annual fundraising dinner.

“It looks like we are going to have more social conservative candidates than we did the last time,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “It is going to be very competitive.”

That’s great for social conservatives who are yearning for Republican presidential candidates to speak openly and forcefully about the issues they care about: abortion, religious liberty, and same sex marriage, among others. But a competitive primary could wind up hurting their cause if they aren’t able to unite behind one or two candidates.

The splintering of white evangelical and born again Christians may provide an opening for a more centrist candidate to win the Republican nomination — leaving social conservatives, once again, frustrated that a candidate of their political stripe failed to win.

via 1250 AM WTMA – GOP moves early to court conservative Christians [From CNN News].

24
Dec

Republicans hatch plan that could make Alabama a player in Presidential elections – Yellowhammer News

Political leaders in Alabama and other Southern states have grown frustrated with their states’ lack of influence in the presidential primaries and have hatched a plan that could have profound implications for the 2016 elections — especially for Republicans.

The plan, which would set up what has been dubbed the “SEC Primary,” has garnered early support from top Republicans across the region, including here in Alabama.

“If it’s limited to six or eight states, I think it would bring candidates to the Southern part of the United States,” said Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

This is not the first time Republicans have tried to maneuver Alabama into a place of relevance in the nominating process.

In most presidential election years through the 2004 cycle, Alabama held its presidential primaries in June, often long after voters in other states had essentially decided the outcome of the races. So lawmakers passed a bill that moved Alabama’s presidential primaries up to the first Tuesday in February.

But in an effort to condense the primary campaign calendar, both national party committees passed a rule cutting in half the number of delegates a state could send to the party convention if they held their primary before the first Tuesday in March.

So in 2011, the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature passed a bill moving the presidential-year primaries to the second Tuesday in March alongside Mississippi. As a result, several candidates visited the state and the ALGOP was able to host a presidential forum featuring Rick Santorum — who eventually won the Alabama primary — and Newt Gingrich. However, the frontrunner, Mitt Romney, only dropped into the state to hold a high-dollar fundraiser and didn’t actively campaign, ceding Alabama to more conservative candidates without much concern because of its limited importance.

The SEC Primary plan would likely make Alabama and other Southern states much more influential in picking the party’s nominee.

via Republicans hatch plan that could make Alabama a player in Presidential elections – Yellowhammer News.

24
Dec

The Marietta Daily Journal – Obama nominates Georgia prosecutor for deputy AG

MARIETTA — President Barack Obama announced he plans to nominate one of the U.S. attorneys representing Georgia to be the next deputy attorney general.

The White House released a statement Monday declaring Sally Quillian Yates, the U.S. attorney for Georgia’s northern district, would be Obama’s choice to replace James Cole as the second highest ranking official in the Justice Department.

Yates has been the U.S. attorney for Georgia’s northern district since 2010 after serving in various other positions in the DOJ, including nine years as the chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, according to the news release.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) released a joint statement Monday applauding Yates’ nomination.

“Sally Yates is an exceptionally skilled attorney with a strong record of public service and a well-qualified nominee to be deputy attorney general, the statement said. She has served with distinction as U.S. attorney for Georgia’s Northern District and throughout her career has demonstrated her abilities as a talented prosecutor in a wide array of challenging cases. Her 22 years of experience in the U.S. attorney’s office and her role as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee make her well-suited for the responsibilities of this job, and we congratulate her on her selection for such an important position.”

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Smyrna) also praised the decision in a Facebook post Monday.

“Congratulations to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates on her well-deserved promotion to Deputy AG. I knew when I hired her back in 1989 she would truly excel,” he wrote.

via The Marietta Daily Journal – Obama nominates Georgia prosecutor for deputy AG.

24
Dec

The Marietta Daily Journal – U S Sen Chambliss Only so much Republicans can do without White House

MARIETTA — Retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) said Monday the members of the Republican majority in the upcoming Congress should temper their expectations of what they can accomplish.

Chambliss, during an interview with the MDJ’s editorial board, likened the current Congressional situation to the one he experienced in 1994, when Republicans were given a majority in both chambers.

Here’s a sampling of Chambliss’s thoughts on his career, U.S.-Cuba relations and North Korea.

Q: What do you make of President Barack Obama’s move to defang the embargo with Cuba?

A: Well, No. 1, the embargo is congressionally imposed. The only way you’re going to lift that embargo is for Congress to do it. The president can’t do it. The president, as he has done so many other times before, over an 18-month period apparently engaged in discussions and negotiations with the Castro-Cuban government and struck this deal without consulting Congress. No member on either side of the aisle was consulted. This is a major change in policy, and you just don’t do that without consulting with Congress. So that’s why you’re hearing this huge backlash coming out of both sides of the aisle over this deal.

Long term, should we re-engage with Cuba? You bet. I mean, they’re 90 miles away. We had a good relationship with them pre-Castro and we’ll have a good relationship with them post-Castro. But as long as the Castro brothers are there running that government, you cannot trust them. We got nothing out of this deal — nothing whatsoever — except the release, obviously, of the prisoners, but they got a better deal on that than we did. … Those that are engaged with the state department on a regular basis should have been consulted on this, and they weren’t. That’s going to prove to be a big mistake for (Obama).

Q: Given the embargo hasn’t resulted in the Castro dictatorship’s fall from power, what steps can be taken to fix the problem?

A: The only way you’re going to fix it is for the Cuban people to fix it. And we don’t do very well when we inject ourselves into the politics of other countries. … I don’t think striking a deal with (the Castros) long-term benefits U.S.-Cuban relations. There are too many people, too many Cuban-Americans who now still remember what it’s like to live under Castro. And there’s no indication whatsoever that life in Cuba’s ever changed. I mean, they’re still driving 1957 Chevrolets down there. Their economy, in spite of the Russians and others trying to benefit them, is still struggling. The only way it’s ever going to improve is for U.S.-Cuba relations to become better and there be an open trade relationship between our two countries. Under the Castros, I just don’t think you’re going to see that ever happen.

via The Marietta Daily Journal – U S Sen Chambliss Only so much Republicans can do without White House.

24
Dec

Bill Clinton needs some social media help. So we asked an expert. – The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton might be a mile ahead of the competition, but reminding people of some of the more adult goings-on last time the Clintons lived in the White House isn’t going to do her much good. Should Clinton not pose near décolletage? Should he not attend events where cameras are allowed?

To help develop some guidelines, we spoke with social media consultant Julie DeNeen by phone. DeNeen has been consulting on social media for about two years — not super long if you’re a consultant on, say, geology, but comprising a decent chunk of the existence of tools like Instagram and Snapchat.

Tip 1: You can’t undo it.

“I think the thing that is most important to remember is that once it’s there, it’s there forever,” DeNeen said of posts to social media. “Even if it’s deleted, it’s there forever.”

Tip 2: Use your family as a moral compass, but use common sense.

Here’s DeNeen’s advice in general. “Don’t put anything on the Internet that you don’t want your kids to see,” she said. Don’t have kids? “Don’t put anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want your boss or your parents to see.”

Tip 3: But, be authentic.

“The culture values authenticity, so in some ways it can help celebrities when they don’t always pose in perfectly manicured photos of themselves,” DeNeen said.

via Bill Clinton needs some social media help. So we asked an expert. – The Washington Post.

24
Dec

Fulton County Changes Polling Location For House District 50 Election | Johns Creek, GA Patch

Due to “unforeseen circumstances,” the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections has to change one polling location for the 2015 special election to fill the vacancy for State House District 50 in Johns Creek.

Voters who regularly utilize Taylor Road Middle School at 5150 Taylor Road will now have to cast ballots at Chattahoochee High School, which is at 5320 Taylor Road.

Early voting in the race is currently underway. Residents will be able to cast ballots from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Johns Creek Environmental Campus at 8100 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell.

Saturday voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 27. Early voting locations will be closed for holidays on Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1, 2015.

via Fulton County Changes Polling Location For House District 50 Election | Johns Creek, GA Patch.

24
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 24, 2014

On December 25, 1776, Continental forces under General George Washington began crossing the Delaware River and the next day launched a suprise attack on Hessian soldiers at Trenton, New Jersey.

800px-Emanuel_Leutze-_Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware_-_Google_Art_Project

The War of 1812 ended on December 24, 1814 with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, Belgium by British and American representatives.

Happy Birthday to Columbus, Georgia, founded on December 24, 1827 when Gov. John Forsyth signed legislation incorporating the new town.

On December 25, 1868, President Andrew Johnson issued an unconditional pardon of all Confederates.

President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree on the White House grounds on December 24, 1923.

U.S.S. Atlanta was commissioned on December 24, 1941 at the New York Navy Yard as the lead ship of a new class of Light Cruisers. USS Atlanta (CL-51) was sponsored by Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind.

Margaret_Mitchell_1941_on_USS_Atlanta_(CL-51)

Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as President of the USSR on December 25, 1991, signalling the end of the Godless Communist regime.

Georgia Politics

Last night, Toccoa saw the return of her Georgia Army National Guard Engineer Unit last night from Afghanistan,

The 110 members of Toccoa’s Georgia Army National Guard Engineer Unit weren’t dreaming at all Tuesday night as they returned home after serving several months in Afghanistan.

The unit, the 876th Vertical EN Company, returned to a welcome home ceremony at the Stephens County High School on Tuesday.

The vehicles carrying the soldiers were escorted into the county and to the high school by Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley.

Commanded by Capt. Tyler Cook and 1st Sgt. Danny Williamson, the unit conducted demolition, repair and construction operations to include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and concrete work for facilities in their assigned area of operations in Afghnaistan.

Major Will Cox of the Georgia National Guard said this marks the first time in thirteen years that no Georgia National Guard units are deployed.

One way to support our fellow Georgians in uniform and their families is to make an online donation to The Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation.

In the City of Demorest, Georgia, members of the City Council and Mayor Rick Austin have been working to find a way to staff the Fire Department 24 hours in response to requests from the community.

The Demorest City Council approved its 2015 during a called meeting Tuesday night.

The budget includes funding to staff the city’s fire department 24 hours a day – something city residents have asked for over the past four to five weeks of the budgeting process.

Following the meeting, Mayor Rick Austin explained.

“Tonight we were presented with an amended budget,” Austin said. “Per the council’s vote last week to find the funds to fully staff the City of Demorest Fire Department, those funds were rearranged from other line items in the budget that are going to come in under budget.”

Austin is pleased with the outcome of the budget vote.

“It comes down to priority,” Austin said. “I was very pleased last week that the council made it a priority to fully staff 24 hours a day the City of Demorest Fire Department.”

But the Demorest firefighters had another idea. From Rick Austin on Facebook:

As a Christmas present to the citizens of Demorest and surrounding residents, the Demorest Fire Department has chosen to begin staffing our department 24 hours a day, without pay, starting tonight. I am very pleased that they will be fully funded starting in January. Their voluntary coverage through the holidays exemplifies their selflessness as they serve our town under the leadership of Chief Ranalli. I am proud to call them my firemen. They honor us by their sacrificial service. Merry Christmas!

A friend and I both had the idea that it would be nice to provide a meal for the firefighters in recognition of both their day-to-day sacrifices, and this act in particular. Mayor Austin had a better idea:

Our FD is small and there will only be two on during the day and one on during the night shift. What they really want is a Keurig coffee machine to handle their caffeine/coffee needs in single dose amounts. I’ll kick in as well, but if you and Sam want to help, it would be greatly appreciated throughout the year! Don’t feel like you have or need to do this, but do know that they are extremely appreciative. Merry Christmas!

So this is being delivered to the Demorest Fire Department.

Keurig for Firefighters

But, they’ll need coffee, so I’ve arranged a way you can buy a Demorest Fire Department member a cup of coffee.

Firefighter Coffee

Click that button or click here and you’ll be taken to an Amazon.com wishlist with several kinds of coffee that works with that coffee maker and a few other related little things.

If you purchase something through the Amazon wish list, I won’t make any money or get anything at all other than the satisfaction of helping you show some firefighters that they are appreciated. Your gift will be delivered to Mayor Austin, whom I am confident won’t mind taking it over to the fire house.

24
Dec

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for December 24, 2014

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is closed today and tomorrow but will be open again beginning Friday, December 26th.

Baby Pittie

This little baby Pibble (Pit Bull) mix was surrendered by his owners to the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter where he is available for adoption.

188p1

43311 (male, above) and 43312 (female, below) are baby Lab mix puppies who were found stray together and are now at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

188p2

Cash

Cash, (above) is a male Border Collie mix who was surrendered by his owners just before Christmas and he is now waiting for a new home at Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Vizsla

43242 above is a Vizsla mix who showed a little aggression and so is only available for owner reclaim or to a rescue group. It’s not uncommon for a dog to show some aggression in a shelter situation, which is loud, disorienting and scary, but settle down when they get into a home that is equipped to help them. If you’re an experienced dog owner and want to help this guy, you could contact the shelter and ask them to match you up with a rescue group so you can foster, or you could contact some rescues yourself.

Roxy in Front Yard 07242014

The last dog of the day is named Roxy, and she’s not available for any price. She belongs to me and Mrs. GaPundit. In some ways this dog rescue thing started fourteen years ago today, when this skinny little dog darted across the street in front of my car. I pulled over and she hopped in the car. We looked for her home for a while and decided to keep her. Today, she’s blind and a little bit slow. Vet trips are a little more regular and she eats a special diet of chicken and rice that we cook for her. But we wouldn’t trade her for anything and today we celebrate her “birthday.”