The blog.

24
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 24, 2016

Georgia History

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.

On August 24, 1931, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution appointing a committee to work with the Governor in planning a bicentennial celebration to be held in 1933.

On August 24, 1945, the United States Postal Service held a first day of issue ceremony in Warm Springs, Georgia for the release of a stamp bearing the images of Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Little White House.

FDR Warm Springs

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce held its annual Congressional Luncheon in Macon. The Keynote was delivered by political analysts Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg.Continue Reading..

24
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 24, 2016

Fritz Fulton

Fritz is a young male mixed-breed dog who is available for adoption from Fulton Animal Services.

Fritz has a smile that will light up the room. He is a curious boy that enjoys leash walks and sniffing around. He is a little underweight, but will be stunning once taken proper care of. He is ready to be your new best friend.

Roxy Fulton

Roxy is an adult female Basset Hound (and Coonhound?) mix who is available for adoption from Fulton Animal Services.

It doesn’t get much cuter than little Roxy. She is a long and lean loving machine. Little Roxy is ready for her forever home and can’t wait to meet you.

Goober Dekalb

Goober is a 2.5-year old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb Animal Services.

Goober can’t wait to be your newest addition! This big, lanky boy is eager to please – especially if treats are involved! He has a goofy smile and a love for all humans. He gives the best hugs and can even rest his paws on some people’s shoulders. Goober gets along great with other dogs and may enjoy having a canine companion in his forever home. His adoption includes his neuter, microchip, vaccinations, and more!

23
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 23, 2016

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash is a young male Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Southern Crescent Canine Rescue in Milner, GA.

Mabel

Mabel is a young female Redbone Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Morgan County in Madison, GA.

Mabel and her sister Marin were found as strays wondering the streets. They are now with us and awaiting their individual homes. Mabel loves other dogs but can be a little dominant at times. She would do best in a family ready to guide and train her to be a well behaved adult dog. We are not sure what she is mixed with but chances are she will be a larger dog. She just might be that smart girl you are ready to take hunting, camping and fishing. She may also be the best family dog you could ever imagine. Apply to adopt her today or come on by the shelter to meet her yourself.

Marin

Marin is a young female Redbone Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Morgan County in Madison, GA.

23
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 23, 2016

On August 23, 1784, four counties is western North Carolina declared themselves the State of Franklin, setting up its own Constitution and treaties with local Indian tribes. In 1788, they rejoined North Carolina but would eventually become part of a new state, Tennessee.

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

On August 23, 1961, four African-American citizens attempted to play tennis at Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Atlanta, which was informally “whites only.” The Tennis Center was hastily closed rather than allow them to play, but it was the first volley leading to the eventual desegregation of Atlanta’s public recreation facilities.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here’s your morning awesome if you haven’t already seen the young man with Down Syndrome opening his acceptance letter from UGA.

A federal judge in Texas ruled against the Obama administration’s directive that schools must provide students with a choice of restroom that matches the student’s gender identity.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas ordered a temporary injunction on Sunday of the federal government’s guidelines announced in May. The guidelines included a warning that states could lose federal funding if they did not adhere to the policy. Georgia and 12 other states, including Texas, filed a lawsuit in late May against the federal guidelines, arguing the threat to withhold federal funds for states that didn’t comply was unconstitutional.

“We are pleased that the federal court agrees that the guidance letter is yet another example of the President’s unconstitutional overreach,” [Georgia Attorney General Sam] Olens said in a statement. “The Constitution gives only Congress the power to write and rewrite laws. Threatening to withhold taxpayer dollars from schools if they don’t comply with this mandate is unconstitutional. I will continue to defend the Constitution on behalf of Georgians.”

Another day in Georgia, another drive-by media hit suggesting that Hillary Clinton can win in Georgia this November.

Here’s how the Democratic argument for the state works: Georgia, like its neighbors North Carolina and Virginia, is becoming younger and more diverse. In 2000, for example, African American voters made up 23 percent of the electorate; in 2012, that figure was up to 30 percent. The state also has a growing Hispanic population.

Democrats say their floor in the state hovers these days around 44 or 45 percent. If Clinton can reach Obama-level turnout among minority voters, that could get her another percentage point or two on Election Day—and coupled with the potential for modest gains among white, educated, moderate Republicans who are turned off by Trump, a narrow victory is not out of the question.

“There’s not really any growth potential for [Trump] with the white working class voters because they’ve already been aligned with Republicans,” said Jeff DeSantis, a veteran Democratic operative in the state who ran Michelle Nunn’s 2014 Senate campaign.

The problem for Democrats is that the state’s white voters, more so than in states with similar demographics, like North Carolina or Virginia, vote heavily for Republicans. In other words, Clinton couldn’t depend just on turning out the growing numbers of African American and Hispanic voters; she would also have to win a significantly higher percentage of the white vote there than Mr. Obama did in either of his campaigns.

In a normal presidential cycle, these suburban moderate Republicans would be rank-and-file Republican voters; Democrats’ success depends on a rejection of Trump that’s so overwhelming that it drives substantial numbers of these moderates toward the other options. Otherwise, a statewide victory for Clinton will be difficult.

“Anything is in the realm of possibility—I mean, in 1992 Bill Clinton won Georgia because of [independent candidate] Ross Perot,” said Eric Tannenblatt, a veteran Republican consultant who worked with Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. “But that being said, every other presidential election going back the last 30 years, with the exception of that one in 1992, the Republican has won—even in 1996 when Bill Clinton was running for re-election.”

Emory University historian Joseph Crespino weighs-in with his perspective on how Georgia might be in play this year.

[T]his story has less to do with the future than the past, and both parties run a risk in misreading it. Mr. Trump’s racially charged hard-right campaign reveals a fault line in Republican politics that dates from the very beginning of G.O.P. ascendancy in the South.

The Republican’s Southern Strategy is one of the most familiar stories in modern American history: Beginning in the 1960s, the party courted white racist voters who fled the Democratic Party because of its support for civil rights.

But things were never quite so simple. Yes, racial reaction fed G.O.P. gains in the 1960s and ’70s. And yes, Barry Goldwater called it “hunting where the ducks are.”

What did that mean? Goldwater’s detractors understood it to mean that he was going after Dixiecrats, the Southern Democrats who had abandoned the party in 1948 over civil rights. Goldwater, however, maintained that he was going after college-educated white collar professionals who were building the modern Southern economy.

That was the vision he described in his speech at the Georgia Republican Convention in May 1964. G.O.P. success in the South, he argued, stemmed from “the growth in business, the increase in per capita income and the rising confidence of the South in its own ability to expand industrially and commercially.” Southern Republicanism, he said, was based on “truly progressive elements.”

Goldwater had a point. It was Southern businessmen who grew the party in the 1950s. Democrats, they said, were the party of corruption and cronyism. These Republicans even worked together with black Republicans, who since the 19th century had been the Southern G.O.P.’s most loyal constituency.

That was the vision he described in his speech at the Georgia Republican Convention in May 1964. G.O.P. success in the South, he argued, stemmed from “the growth in business, the increase in per capita income and the rising confidence of the South in its own ability to expand industrially and commercially.” Southern Republicanism, he said, was based on “truly progressive elements.”

Yet this year that mixture may not work. Mr. Trump’s extreme language and divisive policies are alienating moderate Republicans in places like the Atlanta exurbs — where Mrs. Clinton is running nearly even with Mr. Trump. And across the state, polls show a significantly low number of Republicans saying they’ll support their party’s candidate.

It’s an excellent piece that I highly recommend reading in its entirety.

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) spoke to the AJC about misgivings he has over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Every time he says something that makes me cringe, or something that appears to be indecent, it makes me wonder how in the world can I vote for this guy,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, a Macon Republican. “I keep having to come back to the Supreme Court nominations. But, boy, it scares the bejeebies out of me — the thought that he could actually be the president.”

Trump’s decision to hire Stephen K. Bannon, the anti-establishment chief of Breitbart News, didn’t reassure supporters hoping for a pivot away from his firebrand ways. Nor did his rare expression of regret for his rhetoric, or the resignation of campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whose previous job consulting for the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine had become a distraction.

“It makes me worry more because it appears they are doubling down on letting Trump be Trump,” Peake said.

An yesterday, Peake doubled-down, sending out his manifesto.

The reality is that Donald Trump as our nominee makes me incredibly fearful for the future of our party. We have alienated Hispanics and African-Americans, both groups who would support us if we stuck to an agenda focused on jobs and the economy. We have made ourselves enemies of the gay community. And from discussions with my gay brother, many would support us, because many are moderate on social issues but fiscally conservative.

And millennials have written us off because of our stances on issues like medical marijuana and gay marriage. So, as a party, we are basically working ourselves toward extinction. And if we don’t do some soul searching and make efforts to reach out to these groups, that’s where we end up.

Senator David Perdue told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Trump will bring a new perspective to Washington.

The first-term senator has become an ardent supporter of the New York businessman since Trump clinched the GOP’s nomination.

For Republicans who have been eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the prospect of having someone from their own party in the White House is a glimmer of hope that they may finally achieve their goal.

“I believe that if we keep the majority in the Senate, we’ll repeal Obamacare early next year like we did this year,” Perdue said. “The difference will be that President Trump wouldn’t veto it, so Obamacare is gone. That will happen.”

Although there have several reports in recent weeks about polls that peg Trump as trailing Hillary Clinton in several places, including Georgia, Perdue is confident the Republican nominee will prove the pollsters wrong come November.

He pointed to his own experience running against Michelle Nunn to replace Saxby Chambliss in the Senate as an example. Nearly every poll in the weeks leading up to the General Election that year had Perdue and Nunn neck and neck with margins of two to four points, according to records kept by RealClearPolitics.com.

Perdue won by about eight points.

“I don’t accept the premise that he’s lagging to the degree that the national polls say,” Perdue said of Trump. “What’s going on around the country is exactly what went on in Georgia in my race … There was a significant error in our race and it was because the polls were inaccurate.”

Whether you agree or disagree with Sen. Perdue on Donald Trump’s candidacy, it’s worth reading the entire interview, which covers a broad range of national issues.

WABE looks at how rural healtcare is faring after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Georgia health officials painted a dire pictures of the state’s rural hospital network for state lawmakers Monday, with more cuts predicted as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, continues to roll out.

About 40 percent of the state’s hospitals lost money in 2014, according to the Georgia Hospital Association’s most recent figures.

James told lawmakers that a host of coming cuts at the federal level could reduce payments to Georgia’s hospitals by $1.5 billion annually by 2025.

The head of the Senate committee, Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman, reiterated her stance that expanding Medicaid coverage is something lawmakers should consider next session.

“I believe it is a tool in the tool box, and we are facing the perfect tsunami, just like every other state in the nation, with a crisis in health care. And I think it’s our fiduciary responsibility to leave that tool box open,” Unterman said. “When you’re in a tsunami, when you’re in a crisis … you don’t say no to anything.”

Georgia Senate Rules Committee Chair Jeff Mullis (R-Upper Left-Hand Corner) will take on additional responsibilities chairing study committees.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle selected Sen. Jeff Mullis (R- Chickamauga) to serve as Co-Chair of three Joint Study Committees and as Chair of two Senate Study Committees. Sen. Mullis will act as Co-Chair of the State Commission on Narcotic Treatment Programs, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure and Vehicle Joint Study Committee and the Music Economic Development Joint Study Committee. In addition, Sen. Mullis will serve as Chair of the Senate Legislative Process Study Committee and the Senate Sexual Offender Registry Study Committee.

“I look forward to addressing and thoroughly reviewing each of these important issues with my colleagues,” said Sen. Mullis. “Our number one priority is the wellbeing, success and growth of all of our citizens. We will work hard the next few months to bring the best legislative recommendations to the table for each of these issues and ensure that the best interest of our citizens are represented. It is an honor to be appointed to these study committees.”

“Sen. Jeff Mullis has a proven track record in addressing the needs of our citizens and will be an invaluable resource as Co-Chair of three Joint Study Committees and as Chair of two Senate Study Committees,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “I’m confident he will examine the issues at hand and provide new legislative recommendations to the General Assembly as we prepare for the 2017 Legislative Session.”

The Albany Herald reports that independent (Democratic) House District 151 candidate Kenneth Zachary Jr. has a disorderly conduct charge from 2004.

Zachary, 46, the pastor of three small Southwest Georgia churches and a former Arlington City Council member, announced his independent candidacy for the state House seat after Democrat James Williams, a former Albany police officer, was disqualified from running for the seat held for 33 years by Cuthbert Republican Gerald Greene.

“Southwest Georgia’s enthusiasm for my campaign is both humbling and inspiring,” Zachary said after his candidacy was confirmed. “I know the people of this community are ready for a leader who will fight to bring health care and jobs to thousands of our residents by working to expand Medicaid.

“Voters deserve a choice at the ballot box, and I plan on winning their support with a platform of strong Democratic values.”

But court documents obtained by The Herald show that Zachary, at age 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in 2004. He was indicted by a Dougherty County Grand Jury in May 2004 on a charge of terroristic threats in connection to an incident in which he was accused of throwing eggs at a car, acting “in disregard of the risk of causing such terror and inconvenience” in the incident that involved a woman and two small children, ages 4 and 6. The charge was reduced to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Amber Patterson will take the bench as a Judge in Cobb County Juvenile Court.

For the past five years, Patterson has represented children as a guardian ad litem attorney — for custody cases — in the Cobb Juvenile Court. She also has experience in the Cobb County Family Dependency Court.

Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Stephen Schuster said Patterson’s experience in those courts gives her the necessary practical experience and knowledge for the position.

“Her background, combined with her passion for children, will make her an exemplary juvenile court judge,” Schuster said.

File this under Obamacare: Blue Cross Blue Shield may raise rates on Georgia consumers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia says it is reassessing the premium increases it has previously proposed for the state health insurance exchange, with an eye to revising them upward.

This comes in the wake of Aetna’s pullout from the exchange here.

Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurer, reiterated its stance that it will remain in Georgia’s exchange next year. But it won’t have much time to readjust its rate proposal.

Blue Cross’ proposed increases currently average from 9.1 percent to 14.8 percent.

Blue Cross is the only statewide insurer in the exchange, and figures to pick up many of the estimated 70,000 to 90,000 Georgia Aetna members who will have to choose new plans during the fall open enrollment. Aetna had exchange health plans across almost all of the state.

The Aetna pullout from Georgia and 10 other exchanges, announced this week, has rattled supporters of the Affordable Care Act. That comes after UnitedHealthcare’s exit here and elsewhere.

22
Aug

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for August 22, 2016

All month long, you can adopt any dog over 25 pounds or any cat from Lifeline Animal Project’s DeKalb County or Fulton County shelters.

Tail End Summer

Savannah Puprie

Savannah Puprie is a 4-year old female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services. She is practicing her happy wiggle for when she meets her new family. This cutie is short, squatty, and full of love and affection for everyone she meets. Her adoption includes her spay, microchip, vaccinations, and more! Come meet her at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services or email [email protected] for more information.

Copa

Copa is a two-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

The second Copa meets you he turns into a wiggly ball of mush. This sensitive guy came to us after being seized from a cruelty situation, but it is all up from here. He can’t wait to find his forever home. He loves all people and greets everyone he meets with a whole body wag and kisses. His adoption fee has been waived. His adoption includes his neuter, vaccinations, microchip, and more! Meet Copa at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services!
Scooby
Scooby is a 4-year old, 60-pound male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services. Scooby is one smart boy. He appears to be housebroken and knows some basic commands. His favorite activity is receiving belly rubs. He loves attention and wants to be right beside you.
22
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 22, 2016

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.

In 1972, it was the Republicans’ turn, as demonstrators struck outside the Republican National Convention.

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Over the weekend, the Associated Press wrote that the Presidential race may have an impact on Senator Johnny Isakson’s reelection.Continue Reading..

19
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 19, 2016

Hunter

Hunter (above, male, 24 pounds) and Holly (below, female, 28 pounds) are 5-year olds Beagles who are available for adoption from Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw, GA.

The brother and sister lived with their owner until the owner became ill and was no longer able to care for them. They’re a bonded pair, and Holly looks to Hunter for leadership, so they’d be best together. They’re both gentle, sweet, and like people and other dogs.

Holly

Jack

Jack is a 2-year old, 60-pound Anatolian Shepherd with a beautiful brindle coat, and is available for adoption from Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw, GA. He’s sweet and friendly with kids and other dogs. As the owner of a brindle dog, I can tell you that you’ll hear constant compliments for this big boy.

19
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 19, 2016

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 20, 1781, General George Washington sent Continental troops from New York toward Yorktown, Virginia to engage British troops under Gen. Cornwallis.

USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” in battle against the British ship Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 19, 1812. Launched in 1797, Constitution is today the oldest commissioned vessel in the United States Navy. Live oak from St. Simons Island were cut and milled for timber used in the constructions of Constitution. From a 1977 New York Times article:

The Constitution won her way into Americans’ hearts in 1812, when she defeated the British Guerriere off Nova Scotia in an exchange of broadsides. The spirit of the Constitution crew was noted by the Guerriere’s commander, James Dacres, who boarded the Constitution to present his sword in surrender.

”I will not take your sword, Sir,” the captain of the Constitution, Isaac Hull, replied. ”But I will trouble you for your hat.”

In the battle, a sailor — whether British or American is disputed by historians — is said to have cried out, ”Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!” as he watched an English cannonball bounce off the side of the Constitution. It was the birth of her nickname.

Part of the ship’s secret lay in the wood used in the design by Joshua Humphreys. He picked live oak, from St. Simons Island, Ga. The wood has proved so strong and resistant to rot that the original hull is intact, said Anne Grimes Rand, curator of the Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass.

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 20, 1906, Gov. Joseph Terrell signed legislation to build a statue of Georgia founding father James Oglethorpe in Savannah and a bill to build a statue of former Confederate General and Georgia Governor John B. Gordon at the State Capitol.

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.

The Georgia Department of Insurance was created on August 19, 1912 when Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation regulating companies selling policies in the states.

Governor Nathaniel Harris signed the first state law requiring school attendance for children 8-14 years of age on August 19, 1916; on the same day, Harris also signed legislation authorizing women to practice law in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Archives and History was created by legislation signed by Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey on August 20, 1918.

On August 20, 1920, the American Professional Football Association, which would later be renamed the National Football League, was formed in Akron, Ohio. Today, the Professional Football Hall of Fame is about an hour away in Canton, Ohio.

“Georgia” was designated the official state song on August 19, 1922 with Gov. Thomas Hardwick’s signature on a joint resolution passed by the General Assembly; in 1979, “Georgia On My Mind,” replaced it.

On August 20, 1923, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation requiring state schools teach the United States and Georgia Constitutions and students pass an exam on the documents before being allowed to graduate.

Adolf Hitler became President of Germany on August 19, 1934.

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.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency supported a coup in Iran that restored the Shah of Iran on August 19, 1953.

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.

On August 20, 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was released in the UK.

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.

On August 20, 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President of the United States.

On August 19, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Ford received 1,157 (52.6%) delegates to 1,087 for Ronald Reagan (47.4%). Georgia’s 48 delegates voted for Reagan on the first ballot.

On August 19, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On the same day, Dr. Betty Siegel became the first female President of a state college or university in Georgia when she was named President of Kennesaw College on August 19, 1981; under her leadership, it became Kennesaw State University in 1996. Siegel served until 2006. Kennesaw State was recently named the 4th best college for food in the nation.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia DOT had its 100th Birthday Party and was serenaded by an all-star political choir that included former Governors Sonny Perdue and Roy Barnes.

Georgia’s transportation chief is optimistic about Cobb County’s coming I-75 toll lanes and SunTrust Park traffic conditions. Russell McMurry, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, weighed in on the topics during a 100th anniversary celebration for GDOT held at Vinings Bank on Thursday.

The $834 million, 30-mile toll lanes will be transformational in relieving traffic congestion, McMurry said, by giving drivers the option of using the lanes during the busiest times of the day. Express bus service will also be able to use the lanes, another benefit of the project.

“With the planning that’s been done — coordination with Cobb County, coordination with GDOT — there’s a lot more entry points. It’s a different dynamic, a different experience than (what) is experienced today at Turner Field. So it’s a little bit of a different approach to how they manage traffic,” he said.

While the I-75 toll lanes won’t be ready for opening pitch, he said they will provide a good alternative in the most congested times once they open in 2018.

“And the other projects that are underway … the turn lanes, intersection improvements, Spring Road, all these other improvements provide a benefit … around the Cumberland area to be better all the time not just at Braves games,” he said.

Speaking of GDOT, they’ll be closing some lanes on I-85 and I-985 near Buford beginning at 9 PM tonight through 5 AM Saturday.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Congressional Luncheon on Tuesday, August 23d at the Macon Marriott City Center, 200 Coliseum Drive, Macon, Georgia 31217, beginning at 10:30 AM. This year’s luncheon will feature U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and veteran political analysts Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg, who will discuss all aspects of the 2016 primary and general election, including what they’re seeing on the Presidential and U.S. Senate races around the country.

Fulton County Sheriff Candidate Ben Cowart is taking flak for a video he posted on Facebook that cuts together scenes of John Wayne firing a pistol and cyclists falling off bikes. Someone ran to 11Alive to air their grievance with Cowart.

Cowart released the following statement in response to questions about his Facebook post:

“I apologize if anyone was offended by the Satiric video featuring John Wayne that was posted on my personal Facebook page.  Although the video is clearly a satire and meant to be humorous, in no way do I advocate any kind of violence towards anyone, whether they be on foot, bicycle, car, or any other mechanized mode of transportation.  We’ve removed the item and look forward to returning our focus on the major issues facing the people of Fulton County including the rising crime rate in South Fulton, low employee morale, and the thousands of warrants yet to be served that keep bad guys on the streets,” said Cowart.

Cowart is up against incumbent candidate Sheriff Theodore “Ted” Jackson, who is campaigning for a third re-election to the office.

I continue to be surprised that (1) people can’t take a joke, and if it’s by their political opponent, they accuse the other person of advocating for whatever was joked about; and (2) that others take such petty grievances seriously. From a campaign perspective, it still would have been preferable to avoid this altogether.

The Columbus area is setting the groundwork to take advantage of the $2 Billion that the film and TV industry spent in Georgia last year.

The forefront of the state’s strategy is fostering the education and training of people for the movie industry in Georgia and setting up as much infrastructure as possible. Some of the progress was on display this week, with Columbus State University students providing assistance with the shooting of a film in Harris County, near Pine Mountain, Ga., as part of the completion of their 18-hour on-set film production certificate.

“We’re looking at bringing another film here in the spring to train additional students who had the first course,” [CSU’s College of Arts Dean Richard] Baxter said.

He explained that there are plans to eventually have a sound stage in Columbus with equipment that can be used by filmmakers. If all works well, investment capital will materialize that will attract productions not only to Georgia, but in Columbus and the surrounding area. Down the road, an associate’s degree in film could be offered at CSU, he said.

“The goal of our program is, by this time next year, to have 50 to 100 certified, trained production workers so that anyone who wants to come to Columbus and film, they’re going to have a workforce already here instead of having to bring people from outside Columbus to work on those movies,” Baxter said. “You won’t have to bring somebody from New York or California or Atlanta here to work on a film.”

Doraville politicians and taxpayers will be helping finance construction at the former GM plant through a tax abatement.

After the site’s owners couldn’t convince the school board to throw its support behind their project, the Doraville Downtown Development Authority voted unanimously Tuesday night to award incentives worth 35 percent of the site’s annual property tax bill for the next 30 years.

The amount of the tax breaks could exceed $82 million if developers succeed in their effort to increase the property’s value to more than $1.5 billion over the next three decades, according to calculations by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Doraville leaders initially wanted to help finance the project through a tax allocation district, which would have preserved the site’s existing tax base and dedicated future increases in tax revenue on infrastructure improvements. But school system officials, whose approval is required, have said they’re reluctant to commit educational resources to a business prospect.

The tax breaks approved Tuesday cut into both the school system’s current and future tax revenue. Development authorities throughout Georgia have the power to grant property tax abatements for business growth.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed may have dropped a hint that City Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms is considering entering the 2017 Mayoral race.

“Scott Taylor for mayor,” Reed said laughing. “…After the next election. I don’t want to upset Ceasar and Keisha.”

By “Ceasar” he meant City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell — who was sitting in the front row and who has officially declared he is running for mayor having already raised more than a half-million dollars.

By Keisha, he meant Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was also riding high Thursday as the head of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority who helped broker the Turner Field deal.

She was sitting on stage with the mayor.

A gas pipeline across South Georgia received federal approval, though some locals still oppose construction. Meanwhile, Governor Deal made appointments to the Joint State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines.

Colonial Group Vice President Ryan Chandler and Conservancy President Robert Ramsay are part of the final five appointments to the 13-member committee: Eastman resident Wade Hall, president and CEO of Stuckey Timberland, Inc.; Brian Nipper, the mayor of Odum and president of Nipper Construction Company, Inc.; and Atlanta resident Mike Clanton, vice president of the land department for Georgia Power.

Savannah is considering creating a Municipal Court split from the Chatham County Recorder’s Court.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach said most of the cities around Savannah have a municipal court and he didn’t think the joint operation was necessarily the best method for Savannah.

“I think it can be more efficient,” DeLoach said.

Savannah City Council joined the hipster food truck movement, adopting an ordinance to allow them to operate on private property.

The Georgia Board of Education voted to revoke the charter of Macon Charter Academy effective August 31st.

18
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 18, 2016

A neuroscientist from Emory says that dogs may prefer praise from their owners over food.

“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it’s mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University and lead author of the research. “Out of the 13 dogs that completed the study, we found that most of them either preferred praise from their owners over food, or they appeared to like both equally. Only two of the dogs were real chowhounds, showing a strong preference for the food.”

Dogs were at the center of the most famous experiments of classical conditioning, conducted by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s. Pavlov showed that if dogs are trained to associate a particular stimulus with food, the animals salivate in the mere presence of the stimulus, in anticipation of the food.

“One theory about dogs is that they are primarily Pavlovian machines: They just want food and their owners are simply the means to get it,” Berns says. “Another, more current, view of their behavior is that dogs value human contact in and of itself.”

The experiments lay the groundwork for asking more complicated questions about the canine experience of the world. The Berns’ lab is currently exploring the ability of dogs to process and understand human language.

“Dogs are hypersocial with humans,” Berns says, “and their integration into human ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding.”

To reach that conclusion, I can only assume that no Golden Retrievers were included in the study.

Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare is taking in an unusually high number of dogs and cats this year and is asking for volunteers from the community to help, according to the Macon Telegraph.

the Animal Welfare Department is in need for more volunteers to help take care of some of the daily routines — walking dogs, laundry, cleaning and answering phones — so shelter employees can focus more on adoptions and working with rescue groups.

The warmer months usually mean more animals are brought into the shelter. But this year more puppies and kittens than normal have come in, possibly in part due to a milder winter, said Bill Fickling, chairman of the Macon-Bibb animal welfare task force.

“We have volunteers down there daily and have had for many years, but for whatever reason there has been a bigger problem (this year) than we normally have,” he said. “Even if you have a couple extra hours during the day to volunteer, it would be helpful. It’s a case where if you share the workload it’s a lot easier to manage the shelter. Quite frankly (the employees) have been overworked because of the larger volume and so the volunteers have been overworked as well.”

A former Gwinnett County Jail inmate credits his participation in the Jail Dogs program with changing his life for the better, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

On Monday, he shook off nervousness to stand at a podium in front of more than a dozen inmates in a room at the jail. Fine spoke live on camera.

“This program changed my life,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to take a moment and get out of head and heal; to focus on other things.”

He got depressed and reached the lowest point in his life before signing up for the Jail Dogs program. It boosted his spirits while he took time to forgive himself, and his canine companion stuck with him 24/7.

“The dogs had been ravaged and without any type of love,” Fine said. “But they still show you love.”

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia started the program in 2010. Since then, more than 200 dogs have been rescued, trained and taken in by new families.

Female inmates began to work with cats in a separate housing unit in 2013.

Kasidy

Kasidy is a 5-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Gretchen

Gretchen is a 4-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Josie

Josie is a 4-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

18
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 18, 2016

On August 18, 1591,the English settlement at Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina was found deserted.

On August 18, 1795, President George Washington signed a treaty with Great Britain called the Jay Treaty, after Supreme Court Justice John Jay who negotiated it. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led opposition to the treaty.

On August 18, 1862, Confederate Major General of Cavalry J.E.B. Stuart was nearly captured, losing his distinctive hat and cloak and written copies of Lee’s orders near Verdiersville, Virginia.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution urging the creation of a federal Health Department on August 18, 1908.

On August 18, 1916, the Cherokee Rose was designated the official state flower of Georgia by a joint resolution of the State House and Senate.

The practice of tipping service employees was outlawed by legislation signed on August 18, 1918.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation regulating the practice of architecture and licensing practitioners on August 18, 1919.

The Georgia Board of Public Welfare was also created on August 18, 1919 when Gov. Dorsey signed legislation establishing that body and a companion bill that created the Community Service Commission.

On August 18, 1924 Gov. Clifford Walker signed legislation that would allow a referendum on a Constitutional Amendment to allow Atlanta, Savannah, or Macon to consolidate their respective municipal governments with their county governments. Macon-Bibb County merged in 2014 after voters passed a referendum in July 2012.

The Beatles played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on August 18, 1965. AtlantaTimeMachine.com has a couple images from the night.

On August 18, 1991, hardline Commies in the Soviet Union arrested Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev as part of a coup against Gorbachev’s reforms.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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