The blog.


Brandon Phillips named Georgia State Director for Donald J. Trump campaign

Trump Atlanta 2

Today Donald J. Trump is announcing the expansion of his campaign team to include state directors in Georgia, Ohio and Oklahoma. Brandon Phillips will serve as Trump campaign state director in Georgia, Rob Scott will serve as Trump campaign state director in Ohio, and Stephanie Milligan will serve as Trump campaign state director in Oklahoma.

Mr. Trump stated, “While other candidates are being forced to scale back on their staffs or consider dropping out of the race, we are assembling an extensive campaign team to harness the tremendous enthusiasm we are receiving from proud Americans across the country. I will secure our border, take care of our veterans, and bring jobs back from overseas. We will continue to grow our incredible team and share my vision to Make America Great Again!”Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 2, 2015

Number 2015-10-179 is a friendly 1-year old, 37-pound Retriever/Basset Hound mix male who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.
Brown Hound
Number 2010-10-159 is a chocolate-colored 2-year old, 32-pound Hound mix who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.
Jerry is a playful 1-2 year old Hound mix who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.

Raven is a 1-2 year old female Lab mix who weighs 48 pounds and is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Control in Winder, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 2, 2015

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

On November 1, 1732, the Georgia Trustees met in London and chose the name and location of a new colony to be called Savannah.

Georgia and the Creeks Indians signed a treaty on November 1, 1783 giving Georgia control of all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers.

The United States Congress admitted Nevada as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Kind of fitting, in a way.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

The carving on Mount Rushmore was completed on October 31, 1941.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to help his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her race for United States Senate from New York on October 31, 2000. On October 31, 2014, Bill Clinton came to Atlanta to campaign for Michelle Nunn for United States Senate.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

Former United States Senator Fred Thompson has died at the age of 73. In January 2012, Thompson visited the Georgia State Capitol to endorse Newt Gingrich for President.

Fred Thompson Endorses Newt Gingrich Georgia

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The election to fill the State Senate District 20 seat vacated by former Sen. Ross Tolleson will be held December 1, 2015.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 30, 2015

In the second video from my interview of former Speaker Newt Gingrich, I asked about his characterizations of Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Next is the third installment of the video from my talk with former Speaker Newt Gingrich earlier this week. We discussed his new book, Duplicity: A Novel, Callista Gingrich’s new book, Christmas in America (Ellis the Elephant), and how they’re using fiction to teach about politics and American History.

political_rewind_logo header

Today at 3 PM, I’ll join host Bill Nigut on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” with my fellow guests Jim Galloway, Eric Tannenblatt and Cathy Woolard, who is running for Mayor of Atlanta in 2017.

Please tune in on 88.5 FM in Atlanta or on GPB’s statewide radio network.

Georgia and American History

King Henry VII of England was crowned on October 30, 1485.

King Charles I of England granted a charter for a new colony called Carolana that included much of present-day Georgia, along with the current states of North and South Carolina, on October 30, 1629.

Stephen Douglas of Illinois campaigned in Atlanta for President of the United States on October 30, 1860. Douglas had defeated Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate in 1858, giving rise to the Lincoln-Douglas style of debate.

On October 30, 1871, Republican Benjamin Conley became acting Governor of Georgia after Republican Governor Rufus Bullock resigned; Conley served as President of the state Senate before taking office as Governor.

Conley took the oath of office on Oct. 30, 1871. Two days later, the new General Assembly convened and elected a new Democratic president of the Senate, but Conley refused to give up the office. The General Assembly then passed a law over Conley’s veto to hold a special election for governor on the third Tuesday in December. In that election, Democratic House speaker James M. Smith defeated Conley and assumed office Jan. 12, 1872.

On October 30, 1938, a science fiction drama called War of the Worlds was broadcast nationwide in the form of a series of simulated radio broadcasts.

Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 30, 1945, becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the major leagues.

On October 30, 1970, a fastball from Nolan Ryan was timed at 100.9 miles per hour, putting him in the record books. On the same day, Jim Morrison of the Doors was sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for allegedly exposing himself during a Miami concert. Morrision died before the case was heard on appeal.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal announced three appointments to new seats on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Amanda H. Mercier currently serves as a superior court judge within the Appalachian Judicial Circuit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. She and her husband, Joseph, have one child and reside in Blue Ridge.
Nels S.D. Peterson currently serves as vice chancellor for legal affairs and secretary to the Board of Regents. He previously worked at the Georgia Department of Law and established Georgia’s first Solicitor General Office where he served as solicitor general. He was also the deputy executive counsel and executive counsel for Gov. Sonny Perdue. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Kennesaw State University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children and reside in Marietta.
Brian M. Rickman currently serves as district attorney of the Mountain Judicial Circuit, where he was previously an assistant district attorney. He is an adjunct professor and serves on the board of trustees at Piedmont College. Rickman earned a bachelor’s degree from Piedmont College and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He and his wife, Maggie, have two children and reside in Tiger.
So, we’re also likely to see special elections in the coming months for the Superior Court seat on the Appalachian Judicial Circuit that is being vacated by Judge Mercier, and the District Attorney for the Mountain Judicial Circuit position being vacated by Mr. Rickman.
“It is unusual. Usually you might have two or three but this year every race is contested. I think that’s a first in a long time that I can remember…. I think voters are in the mood for change, not just in the Mayor’s race, but in all the district races, and you’re seeing that reflected in the number of candidates. The last time I can remember voters feeling this way was about 25 years ago when the Ricky Jivens crime syndicate was running the streets and the murder rate was off the charts and Johnny Rousakis was the Mayor…. that year he fumbled the crime issue and you had an outsider to Savannah by the name of Susan Weiner and she won, and this year, I kind of see like almost a repeat of that …. I think you’re going to see some changes based on crime.”

Erick Erickson opines in the Macon Telegraph on the upcoming E-SPLOST vote.

Until I read about it in the newspaper recently, I did not even know there was a tax increase on the ballot. It may be meritorious. But the fact that our school system has worked overtime to keep everyone’s mouth shut about it suggests to me that this is not a meritorious tax increase.

Remember the Macon City Council? I was on that City Council. It was a routine clown car show of embarrassment. Every week the council caused more scandalous and silly headlines. It was an embarrassment to Middle Georgia. Consolidation and the abolition of the city was a net positive for Middle Georgia. The Warner Robins City Council got to become the dysfunctional city council for a while and now the Forsyth City Council and the Monroe County Commission are our regional embarrassment and indictment waiting to happen.

But rising above them all is the Bibb County school board. It keeps trying to change its ways, but I keep being reminded of the Persian fable often attributed to Aesop about the scorpion and the frog. The frog hesitates to carry the scorpion on its back across a river. The scorpion assures the frog that both would die if he stung the frog. Reassured, the frog agreed and carries the scorpion. Half way across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. Both would surely die. The frog asked the scorpion “why?” “It is my nature,” said the doomed scorpion.

The Bibb County school board is our collective scorpion. It has repeatedly cut off its nose to spite the entire school system’s face. This Dallemand situation bears serious watching and may cause serious trouble. As The Telegraph noted, the school system’s insurance company has told the school board that it is on its own in this. That means that we are on our own for possibly millions of dollars depending on how the case goes.

Truth be told, perhaps my words would not be so biting except for one thing. There is a tax increase on the ballot and our school system has done absolutely everything possible to make sure you know nothing about it.

Kyle Wingfield of the AJC follows-up on a notion I first heard earlier this week from Newt Gingrich – that the GOP might end up with a brokered convention and Presidential nominee in 2016.

“If you think you can get 5 or 6 or 7 percent of the delegates, you can come to the convention with some muscle, and you end up with a brokered convention,” he said, describing that scenario as “chaos” and “wild” but also, “as an observer … very cool.”

Very cool chaos could happen if low-polling candidates stick around and prevail in winner-take-all states. “(Ohio Gov. John) Kasich will probably carry Ohio. (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie will probably carry New Jersey,” Gingrich said. “They’re asking themselves, ‘Why would I drop out?’ ”

“Under the current rules, there is a 1 in 3 chance we’ll have a brokered convention,” offered Randy Evans, one of Georgia’s Republican National Committee members. That’s a significantly better chance than in past contests, even if it’s way too soon to push the panic button.

Can you imagine the voter outrage should, for example, Donald Trump win a 40 percent plurality but not end up with the nomination because all the other delegates ganged up on him? Or if Jeb Bush were to slog his way to third place, only to wind up atop the ticket?

2016 Georgia General Assembly

The issue of breweries selling beer as part of tours continues to bubble up. Perhaps foam is the better word.

Georgia breweries are foaming after the Georgia Department of Revenue quietly released a bulletin last month with its interpretation of the recently passed State Bill 63, also known as the Beer Jobs Bill, which updated the state’s post-prohibition-era beer laws.

The original bill, which went into effect July 1, allowed breweries to charge for tours and classified beer brewed on site as a souvenir, meaning you could get up to 72 ounces, the equivalent of a six pack or two 32-ounce growlers, of your favorite ale to go — as long as you had taken a physical tour of the facility.

But now, new tightened regulations state that the volume of alcohol can’t dictate the price of the tour, so the price of the tour must be the same regardless of whether a patron wants a to-go souvenir.

In July, Carly Wiggins, marketing director and co-founder of Savannah’s Southbound Brewing Co., said the changes were welcome and the brewery was already making plans to spend thousands for new equipment, staff and other modifications to benefit their customers, but now with the tightened regulations Wiggins just hopes to break even.

“The law was interpreted completely different than intended. One of the most concerning things was that we actually had to submit proposed tour and tasting menus to show how we would be operating after the (July) law changed. These were approved and breweries in the state were operating ‘legally’ as the law and DoR regulated,” Wiggins said.

“Then, boom, a notice comes out with a completely new interpretation stripping us of everything we worked so hard to get passed.”

I would be surprised if changes to the “Beer Jobs Bill” are not on the menu in the 2016 Session.

A Georgia Supreme Court ruling that has had surprising effects on DUI prosecutions may also lead to legislative action when the legislature convenes in January 2016. From WSB-TV’s Jodie Fleischer,

A Georgia Supreme Court ruling earlier this year has created a legal trick by which drunk drivers are getting key evidence against them thrown out, by arguing they were too drunk.

Drivers are convincing judges that they were not thinking clearly when they agreed to take the voluntary breath, blood, or urine tests, due to intoxication.

“It certainly is a ruling that’s going to impact every DUI case,” said defense attorney Mike Hawkins, who doesn’t see it as a trick, but a sound constitutional argument.

If it sounds ridiculous for a defense attorney to argue that their client was so intoxicated they were unable to make a sound legal decision about consenting to a DUI test, it’s equally strange to hear a prosecutor argue that the driver wasn’t that drunk.

“You would think that that’s absurd, right?” said Gwinnett County Solicitor Rosanna Szabo, who’s office has been the most impacted, mainly due to [Gwinnett State Court Judge Joseph] Iannazzone’s interpretation of the Williams ruling.

Szabo says she will not dismiss any cases just because her best evidence got suppressed.

In fact, she’s already decided to appeal 6 of Iannazzone’s rulings, which could leave the cases pending for some time.

“Oh it is frustrating,” said Szabo, “I think anybody who values the truth is frustrated to not be able to reveal the truth.”


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 30, 2015

47266 Chihuahua

Number 47266 is a very friendly and playful 4-year old male Chihuahua who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA. The shelter volunteers have posted a video that shows how friendly he is.

47636 Doxie

Number 47636 is a 1-year old male Dachshund who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

47770 Pom

Number 47770 is an 8-year old female Pomeranian who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2015

Sir Walter Raleigh, founder of the first permanent English settlement in America, was beheaded on October 29, 1618 for conspiring against King James I.

Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, arrived at Savannah on October 29, 1754.

John Hancock resigned as President of the Continental Congress on October 29, 1777.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia on October 29, 1971.

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, 1929, beginning the spiral to the Great Depression.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store on October 29, 1945.

On October 29, 1998, at 77 years of age, John Glenn became the oldest human to travel in space, on the shuttle Discovery.

Former State Representative Paul Jennings died earlier this week from leukemia. Services will be held on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at noon, at Clairmont Presbyterian Church at Clairmont and North Druid Hills. Visitation begins at 10:30 AM before the service.

Rep. Jennings served part of North DeKalb County in the State House from 1998-2002, losing his reelection in 2002 after he was gerrymandered by then-Governor Roy Barnes into a multi-member State House District designed to preserve Democratic incumbents. In 2204, he was  elected again from a single-member district and retired after that term.  Jennings served in the United States Navy and earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

PolitiFact tackled the tough issue of whether Steven Smith is actually a Congressman from Georgia’s 15th District. Of course, there is no 15th Congressional District in the Peach State.

Georgia’s real Republican Congressman all voted against the “bipartisan” budget deal.

Rep. Rob Woodall sent along the following statement:

“When House conservatives were successful in implementing the Budget Control Act in 2011, the goal was not simply to limit federal spending, but also to repair and restore important programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and veterans services,” said Rep. Woodall. “The emergence of H.R. 1314 is proof that the plan – mandatory reforms in exchange for sequester cap relief – is working. Unfortunately, H.R. 1314 lifts spending caps without introducing timely spending and programmatic reforms.”

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in reducing federal discretionary spending over the last four years, but the truth remains we have much more work to do – and until we address our mandatory spending programs, we are ignoring the real problem. I’m eager to continue the work of crafting meaningful, long-term solutions to our fiscal problems, but I believe we can do better than this budget agreement.”

Senator David Perdue issued a press release that called the budget deal a “backroom deal Congressional leaders made with President Obama to abandon the Republican budget plan, suspend the debt ceiling, and use budget gimmicks to spend more taxpayer money.”

“This bad backroom deal puts unsustainable spending on autopilot and lets Washington politicians simply delay tough decisions for two more years. Congress should be working with a sense of urgency to solve our nation’s debt crisis right now. America can’t afford to wait for a more convenient time for elected leaders to do their job.

“Not only does this deal increase the debt from $18 trillion to $20 trillion, but it also violates the responsible budget principles I have been fighting for every day.  In typical Washington fashion, the insiders get to spend today in exchange for empty promises of savings tomorrow.  Why would we trust a system that has proven to be untrustworthy?

“Earlier this year, Republicans passed a budget that cut President Obama’s proposed spending by $7 trillion over the next decade and finally balanced, but this deal completely abandons that effort.  Our long-term plan was traded for short-term gimmicks, trust fund raids, and even more spending.  This deal isn’t compromise; it’s surrender.”

Jim Galloway has another great column this week, about the divide that appears to be opening between social conservatives – a very important constituency for the SEC Primary and Georgia – and Donald Trump.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 29, 2015

Robert Lee Dog

Happy, Junior is a 5-year old, 34-pound Labrador Retriever mix – a mini Lab, if you will. He’s super-urgent and is scheduled to be euthanized on Monday if he can’t find an adoptive or foster home. Email me if you think you can save this sweet boy, and I’ll put you in touch with the folks who are helping him find a new home. He is current on his shots.

Happy JR Outside

Elvis 658

Elvis is a 5-6 year old male Yellow Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Forsyth County Animal Shelter.


Ninna is a sweet 4-year old Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Forsyth County Animal Shelter.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 28, 2015


Elsie is a female Chihuahua/Terrier mix puppy whose mother is an eight-pound Terrier, so she won’t get much bigger.

Elsie is a very busy pup, and always looking for things to get into, although that might change as she grows up. Elsie takes a few minutes to warm up to new people, but once she does she will start to invite cuddling and play. Like most small breed pups her age,she has no discretion when it comes to using his needle sharp teeth and claws. She will use them on anything as a teething object, even human skin and furniture.

Elsie has been highly socialized with all sizes of humans, other dogs and cats from the dawn of her existence. She will still choose to approach humans last if given the choice between other dogs or toys, or a place to race around. Elsie is independent but is NOT good at being alone at ALL!! She loves to play both interactively with other pups in her litter, or alone with toys appropriately sized.

Elsie will be available for adoption beginning November 14 from Hickory Level Hound Rescue in Carrollton, GA.


Angelina is one of Elsie’s sisters, a female Chihuahua/Terrier mix puppy whose mother is an eight-pound Terrier, so she won’t get much bigger.

Angelina is pretty outgoing and fairly active, although new situations and loud noises scare her at first. She warms up fast though, if humans are patient with her.

Angelina will be available for adoption beginning November 14 from Hickory Level Hound Rescue in Carrollton, GA.


Perla is also one of Elsie’s sisters, a female Chihuahua/Terrier mix puppy whose mother is an eight-pound Terrier, so she won’t get much bigger.

Perla is extremely timid and reserved, and new situations and loud noises scare her. She already has the “chihuahua shakes” and will need a lot of socialization to prevent her from becoming fear aggressive. Perla’s ideal home would not include very small children.

Perla will be available for adoption beginning November 14 from Hickory Level Hound Rescue in Carrollton, GA.

If you’re interested in adopting a Chihuahua today, please consider going to Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, where they currently have a large number of adoptable Chihuahuas and urgently need to get them into homes.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 28, 2015

Christopher Columbus “discovered” Cuba on October 28, 1492.

The Battle of Wauhatchie, one of a handful of night battles in the Civil War, began along the Georgia-Tennessee border on October 28, 1863.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886; the first ticker tape parade followed.

The United States Senate overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on October 28, 1962 as Kruschev agreed to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba if the United States would respect Cuban sovereignty.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter debated Republican Ronald Reagan in Cleveland, Ohio on October 28, 1980.


The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 to win the World Series on October 28, 1995.

Newt Gingrich on the Speaker’s Race and 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Todd Rehm Newt Gingrich2

Yesterday, I went to see former Speaker Newt Gingrich speak to the Fulton County Republican Party. The program began with Fulton GOP Chairman Trey Kelly and State Representative Trey Kelley both giving remarks, and then Bob Shaw, who is both a former Fulton GOP Chair and former Georgia Republican Party Chair introduced Newt Gingrich. Shaw talked about the early days of the Republican Party in Georgia, when Gingrich was a college professor from West Georgia with “this big head of hair and a little Volkswagen putt-putt.”Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 27, 2015

Teddy Boston Terrier

Teddy is a male Boston Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Teddy Lab

Teddy is a young adult male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Athenspets in Athens, GA.

Teddy Hound

Teddy is a young adult male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the City of Lyons Animal Shelter in Lyons, GA. Shelter staff say, “Teddy is a sweet boy–affectionate and smart.”