Who needs Guantanamo, we’ve got Gwinnettamo
Please take a moment to watch that video. It’s shocking that in America in 2013, the legislative and judicial branches in Gwinnett County, Georgia are willing to routinely strap down suspected drunk drivers and forcibly take their blood with a warrant. According to one American citizen who was held, strapped, and bled,
“What country is this? What country is this?,” one suspect, Michael Chororsky, yells while being strapped down, raising his head from the gurney.
“We are all American citizens and you’ve got me strapped to a table like I’m in Guantanamo f***ing Bay,” Chororsky said later in the report. He has not yet gone to court and claims to be not guilty.
“I understand that police have a job to do, but what happened to me in that room is unnecessary,” he said.
I’m sure that someone will tell me how important all this is, but if they’re doing this today in America, who’s next? What if the IRS started executing warrants for blood from identified Tea Party conservatives or Second Amendment proponents?
And then there were two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate
Former broadcaster and Democratic state senator Steen Miles is apparently running for United States Senate. At the very least, she isn’t correcting people who post on her Facebook page that she’s running.
Americans for Prosperity oppose solar set-asides
Virginia Galloway, State Director for Americans for Prosperity and one of the founders of the Tea Party movement, sent an email today calling on members to email the Georgia Public Service Commission to oppose renewable portfolio standards that would mandate additional solar power in Georgia’s energy mix. Here’s an excerpt from the email.
The PSC is set to vote on a little known renewable energy solar mandate, the so-called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), at their meeting on July 11 and they need to hear from AFP GA activists around the State in a clear call to “VOTE NO!” and keep the lights on in Georgia! The proposed Standards will cause electricity bills on Georgia families to skyrocket while dramatically reducing the reliability of the energy you use in your home.
The mandates will require that all energy providers in Georgia purchase a given minimum amount of energy from a monopoly “community solar provider” at rates set by the Public Service Commission. Energy providers in Georgia already supplement their output with alternative energy sources like solar, at a responsible pace; however, the intermittent reliability of solar energy, relative to cheap, reliable, 24/7 available resources like coal, natural gas and nuclear, means these mandates will cause the cost of energy in Georgia to climb very high. According to the Institute for Energy Research, utility bills are 40% higher, on average, in states with a renewable energy standard than in states without one. It’s a hidden tax because it drives up the cost of living for every Georgia family! And states like California have reported widespread brownouts and blackouts from an electricity grid that struggles to keep up with the new government-imposed solar mandates.
Please take a couple minutes and TAKE ACTION NOW by sending an email to your Georgia Public Service Commissioners and urging them to VOTE NO on solar energy mandates and Renewable Portfolio Standards and help keep the lights on in Georgia!
Democrats back off on racial quotas for party office
When folks had the temerity to question how a Georgia Democratic Party rule that would have prevented anyone but a white male from being elected Chairman of the Democratic Party contributed to actual diversity, the state Democratic party
stood behind its principles decided the rules don’t apply in special elections for party office. From an email by GDP Interim Chair Nikema Williams, via Peanut Politics:
After extensive consultation, I have decided to open this election to any Democrat who chooses to run for the position. I believe that an open election is more consistent with our fundamental belief of full participation in the political process.
Our state charter and bylaws were created to implement this very process, at a time when women and people of color had been systematically excluded from full participation. It is that open process that I want to honor.
Our Counsel agrees and has advised me that the provisions of our charter and bylaws that address racial and gender composition of party officers can be interpreted as a goal that is intelligible when all offices are open for election, but do not explicitly apply in a special election for a single position.
I will be directing our Charter and By-Laws Committee to draft appropriate amendments that will clarify the goals of inclusion and establish uniform procedures for filling vacancies in any office at state, county, congressional district, or other level.
So, when principles become inconvenient, apparently they are no longer principles for Georgia Democrats.
Correction: Macon-Bibb Elections to be held in September
After initial calls for November elections for the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government, the Bibb County Board of Elections scheduled the vote for September 17, 2013. Qualifying will be held at the Board office at 2445 Pio Nono Avenue, Macon, Ga on August 5th and Aug. 6th and until noon Aug. 7th.
Augusta may try once again to move its city elections to July after the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
A “clean-up” bill supported by Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta, sought to consider all consolidated Georgia governments as counties required to hold elections in July. It was roundly rejected in December by the Justice Department as a veiled effort to dilute minority strength.
Since 2006, the Justice Department has objected to only six changes filed by Georgia jurisdictions – local activities in Randolph, Lowndes, Greene and Long counties; the 2009 statewide voter verification program; and last year’s effort to include Augusta-Richmond among governments subject to July elections.
The Supreme Court decision likely lightens the Richmond County Board of Elections’ burden of filing preclearance notices for even the most innocuous activity, such as a referendum on Sunday alcohol sales.
But it also creates uncertainty about the legality of changes rejected by the department since the act’s last extension, such as Sims’ clean-up bill.
“The Legislature passed it and the governor signed it,” former Augusta Mayor Bob Young said. “I don’t agree with the Legislature setting the dates, but it seems to me that that’s the law.”
The state’s top elections official, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said in a statement that he is “assessing the overall impact” of the decision on preclearance denials.
Bryan Tyson on Election Law post-Section Four
Over at InsiderAdvantage.com, the editorial by Atlanta lawyer Bryan Tyson on the impact of Section Four of the Voting Rights Act being struck down is now open for anyone to read. Here’s the money quote:
The time and cost savings for governments will be significant without the duties of preclearance. Local and state officials will no longer have to spend time and money making requests to the federal government for approval for things as simple as moving a polling place from one side of the street to the other. No more effort will have to be made responding to the requests for more information from federal bureaucrats. That’s a gain in efficiency for all involved.
Other provisions of the Voting Rights Act remain permanent and provide incentives for litigants to bring meritorious cases because a successful vote dilution case reimburses the plaintiff for their attorneys’ fees and expert costs if they are successful. Constitutional challenges, like those brought against Georgia’s photo identification for voting statute, remain available and also provide for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees if a challenger is successful.
Fulton County Chairman John Eaves is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to challenge a redistricting plan for Fulton County Commission districts that the Georgia General Assembly passed, claiming vote dilution.
In a letter to Holder sent earlier this week, Commission Chairman John Eaves urged the attorney general to take action against a redistricting plan Democrats say illegally dilutes the power of minority voters. The plan’s backers say it gives north Fulton residents the representation they deserve.
The move is Fulton County’s first legal salvo since Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Legal experts say the ruling will allow the new commission districts to take effect immediately.
Celebrating Independence Day
When you’re running the Peachtree Road Race on Thursday, the first church you’ll pass is Peachtree Road United Methodist, my home church. Below the giant flag, on our front lawn, you’ll see the “Prayers for Peace” display with colored ribbons for the American military and others who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first time I ever spent any time with the display I was surprised by the sound the thousands of ribbons make when the wind blows. It’s a moving reminder of the cost of protecting our freedom.
Also on Wednesday, beginning at 5:30 PM, the Savannah Area Young Republicans will celebrate at Churchill’s Pub on W. Bay Street.
“Lady Liberty Belle and The Liberty Freedom Fighters vs. the Zombies of Tyranny.”
Lady Liberty Belle is a time-traveling fierce defender of liberty-minded Americans who loves the Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed to all of us under this document. She has traveled to 2013 to assist our groups’ fight against the Zombies of Tyranny – the IRS, the NSA, the CIA, many threatening alphabet agencies, and other illegal and unconstitutional expansion of federal government intrusions into the lives of law-abiding and liberty-loving Americans!
Our “Zombie Outbreak Response Team” Hummer will be our rallying point for this mission! It is an eye catching ensemble.
In Cobb County, Republican Solicitor General Barry Morgan will march in the parade beginning at 10 AM at Roswell Street Baptist Church.
From 11:30 AM to 3 PM, the Cobb County Republican Party will hold its 4th of July Barbecue at Jim Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road SW, Marietta, Ga.
Bob Barr still loves the camera, now hates Common Core, Government Spying
They once said that that the most dangerous place in Washington, DC was between then-Congressman Bob Barr and a camera. Apparently Barr still loves the camera, as shown by his domination of the Marietta Daily Journal last week.
One of Barr’s strengths is that almost anything he does becomes newsworthy. At the Cobb County Board of Education meeting, Barr spoke during the public comment period to oppose Common Core, and voila, it makes the paper.
Barr, who is running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), said those who advocate for Common Core claim it’s not really controlled by the federal government or that it’s not really driven by federal monies or that it’s going to protect the privacy of Cobb students.
“The fact of the matter is it is a federal program,” Barr said. “It is a program that ultimately is driven by money coming in, the lure of that money is something that the federal government is very good at, luring entities in order to perpetuate the other ‘C’ in Common Core and that is ‘control.’ So I would simply urge all of you this evening being as concerned I know as all of us in the room are with obtaining the very, very best education for our students to consider extremely carefully the nature of this program not just directly but indirectly and what at its core it really is, and that is increasing federal control and consequently reducing your and our control over the education of our students.”
Barr, a former U.S. congressman from Georgia and a constitutional lawyer, spoke to a crowd of 25 members and guests at the Rib Ranch off Canton Road in Marietta about the recent leak that the federal government is collecting cellphone and Internet data.
Barr said the National Security Agency’s surveillance operation is a clear invasion of privacy with no attempt at transparency.
“(The NSA) is currently operating in violation of the law,” Barr said.
Barr said the USA Patriot Act was explicit about the need for the intelligence community to gather information to protect the country, but not “by any means necessary.”
Barr said the Obama Administration and the federal court system has allowed for the act to be applied too broadly and without enough oversight.
Ends & Pieces
The Augusta Chronicle notes that of 251 gubernatorial appointments, only 1 is from Augusta.
Rafters putting in at the new point, a few hundred yards south of the North Highland Dam, will get an extra treat, thanks to 600 cubic yards of rocks mined from the river and used to create a new rapid right at the beginning of the run.
The structure, more or less a small dam, serves a dual purpose: To give rafters another set of rapids on a relatively tame stretch of the course, and to create a wider pool behind it for rafters and kayakers to launch into.
“We thought it was important to have something on that stretch of the river, to have something for people to get excited about right at the beginning,” Bishop said.
Others who have rafted the new rapid — dubbed “Ambush” — say it’s a welcome addition.
“It’s very important,” said John Turner, the W.C. Bradley executive who has been the project’s champion since its conceptual stage. “I don’t mind the flatwater section of the river, but from a customer perspective, it’s important that right away, you see you’re on a real river.”
Norfolk Southern Honors Veterans
The Norfolk Southern Veterans locomotive passed through Atlanta in the early morning hours one day last week.
Speaking of railroads, the Acworth City Council wants to silence the horns on all trains through the city limits because it’s inconvenient for people dining outside in a restaurant.
“We’ve got three crossings next to one another,” Mayor Tommy Allegood said. “Those train horns will blow continuously sometimes for 25 to 30 seconds.”
City leaders are looking to make Acworth the first city in the Southeast to have a completely “silent” community by making all five of the city’s railroad crossings quiet zones by CSX railroad, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Railway Administration. The five crossings are at School Street, Lemon Street, Smith Street, Acworth Industrial Avenue and New McEver Road.
“We would love it,” said Mike Fusco, co-owner and general manager of Fusco’s Via Roma, an Italian restaurant that faces the crossing on School Street.
“Any service on our front patio basically stops until the trains go by. It’s literally impossible to have a conversation out there when they are hitting the whistles,” Fusco said. “I’ve gone partially deaf by being out there when they go by. It’s such an idyllic little area with people walking the streets and enjoying everything, and all of a sudden the trains come blasting through. If it catches you by surprise, you’ll jump out of your skin. Just to add to the ambiance of downtown Acworth it would be great not to have that noise.”