John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.
After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him.
On September 23, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was speaking at a dinner with the Teamsters union and addressed attacks that had been made by Republicans, including the allegation that after leaving his dog, Fala, behind in the Aleutian Islands, he sent a Navy destroyer to fetch the dog. This would become known as the “Fala speech.”
These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.
The idea for the joke was given to FDR by Orson Welles. The political lesson here is that any time you get an audience laughing at your opponent, you are winning.
A statue of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on September 23, 1949, the 65th anniversary of Talmadge’s birth near Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.
On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard M. Nixon was under fire for allegedly accepting $18,000 and using it for personal expenses. To salvage his place as the Vice Presidential candidate on Eisenhower’s Republican ticket, Nixon took to the airwaves in the first nationally-televised address and delivered what came to be known as the “Checkers Speech. From The Atlantic:”
[A] 1999 poll of leading communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century — close behind the soaring addresses of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The “Checkers” speech wins this high rank for one stand-out reason: It marked the beginning of the television age in American politics. It also salvaged Nixon’s career, plucking a last-second success from the jaws of abject humiliation, and profoundly shaped Nixon’s personal and professional outlook, convincing him that television was a way to do an end-run around the press and the political “establishment.”
The last game played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium took place on September 23, 1996.
The Augusta Chronicle looks back at a 1960 campaign event in Augusta with Barry Goldwater.
A month before the 1960 presidential election, Sen. Barry Goldwater came to Augusta to rally Republican votes.
Four years before Goldwater would be the GOP White House candidate, he was in sharp form Oct. 1 during a dinner speech at Bell Auditorium. Instead of going after Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy, however, he went after Kennedy’s running mate, Lyndon Johnson, calling him a “counterfeit Confederate” and suggesting he wouldn’t be true to his Southern roots.
Goldwater, who had a reputation for being one of the most forceful conservative speakers in politics, spent 20 minutes of his 35-minute address assailing Johnson, a Texan whose family had originally come from Georgia.
Republicans agreed with the message. “Bootsie” Calhoun, who would one day become the first woman Richmond County sent to the state Legislature, said she thought Goldwater’s message would not only add votes to the GOP side but also bring over some undecided Democrats.
Perhaps Goldwater’s comments and Augusta campaign stop worked. When Election Day returns were counted a month later, a good majority of Richmond County voters supported the GOP 12,356 votes to 10,201.
Four years later as the Republican presidential candidate, Goldwater carried Richmond County handily, 13,893 to 9,606, although Johnson, now the president with Kennedy’s assassination, easily won the national vote.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
A federal district court judge will hear arguments on Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” today, according to the Associated Press.
The law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. It allows for limited exceptions.
Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a constitutional challenge. They asked the judge to stop the law from becoming enforceable while litigation is pending.
Lawyers for the state have argued that the law is constitutional and should be allowed to take effect as planned on Jan. 1.
The ACLU argued in a June complaint that the law violates a woman’s constitutional right of access to abortion until about 24 weeks of pregnancy, as established in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
The ACLU has argued that “politicians should not be second-guessing women’s health care decisions.”
In its response, the state said Georgia’s new anti-abortion law is “constitutional and justified” and asked Jones to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the measure.
“Defendants deny all allegations in the complaint that killing a living unborn child constitutes ‘medical care’ or ‘health care,’” attorneys wrote.
Governor Brian Kemp has declared Clean Energy Week in Georgia, according to the Albany Herald.
In the proclamation, Kemp notes that Georgia is a “national leader in biomass production, and communities across our state depend on many forms of clean energy, including nuclear production at four state plants, natural gas, and commercial and residential solar power installations.”
Georgia is now one of 19 states in the country to formally recognize National Clean Energy Week. In 2018, a total of 29 governors, both Republican and Democratic, issued state proclamations declaring National Clean Energy Week in their states.
“WHEREAS: Clean and abundant forms of energy are beginning to power more homes and businesses in the state of Georgia than ever before; and
“WHEREAS: Georgia is a national leader in biomass production, and communities across our state depend on many forms of clean energy, including nuclear production at four state plants, natural gas, and commercial and residential solar power installations; and
“WHEREAS: Georgia leads the nation in wood pellet exports, which account for more than one-third of total American production; and
“WHEREAS: Clean energy jobs are inherently local as construction, installation and maintenance are all carried out on-site; and
“WHEREAS: During Clean Energy Week, Georgians are encouraged to learn more about our state’s energy needs and to implement clean, low-emitting energy technologies when available; and
“WHEREAS: Collaboration among Georgia’s entrepreneurs, small businesses, municipalities, and state and local entities is necessary to promote America’s energy dependence in the global marketplace and to assure that low-cost, reliable energy is available here at home; now
“THEREFORE: I, Brian P. Kemp, governor of the state of Georgia, do hereby proclaim September 23-27, 2019 as CLEAN ENERGY WEEK in Georgia.
Governor Kemp toured a solar cell facility in Dalton, according to WDEF.
Governor Brian Kemp made a stop in Dalton as a part of his “Georgia Made” tour ….
He spoke at the grand opening of Q CELLS, the new solar panel manufacturing facility.
“We have roots all over the world, but the United States is our largest market, and this factory is dedicated to serving it with the most advanced products that we make anywhere on earth,” said Charles Kim, Q CELLS CEO.
“We just did a tour earlier, and it’s pretty magnificent when you see it from the outside, but certainly it’s even better than that when you go inside,” said Governor Brian Kemp.
“Investments are coming in from not only around the country, but as today’s grand opening so clearly demonstrates, our international partner’s certainly have Georgia on their mind as well,” said Kemp.
“Georgia is in fact the fourth leading state in the country for solar installations this year, the south is the leading region for solar installations for each of the next five years, so this is the place where we can be closest to our customers,” said Scott Moskowitz, Director of Strategy and Market Intelligence at Q CELLS.
Georgia Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw has an Op-Ed on energy policy in the Valdosta Daily Times.
As we celebrate Clean Energy Week, we should also celebrate the strides Georgia is making in improving the lives of Georgians through a more diversified energy portfolio and the expansion of clean and renewable energy.
Much of the credit goes to Public Service Commission Chairman Bubba McDonald, Vice-Chairman Tim Echols and Commissioner Chuck Eaton. They set the table several years ago by expanding solar in Georgia.
Their leadership in expanding clean energy supply has led to lower rates for consumers, and the cost of solar has plummeted from around 17 cents per kilowatt to around three cents per kilowatt.
As rural Georgia is recovering from the impact of two natural disasters and economic uncertainty, renewable energy can be a source of financial relief. It has recently been reported in several areas that solar farms have saved family farms in Georgia by signing long-term contracts, some as long as 35 years.
I am very proud we voted to include biomass energy in the IRP for the first time. Renewable biomass energy has become an economic engine and is homegrown in my district. Our abundance of agricultural byproduct has translated into a booming biofuel industry. Companies like Georgia Biomass have made us the largest exporter of biomass energy in the world with Europe being our primary market.
Clean and renewable energy has become important to our economy and our quality of life. Georgia is the number one renewable energy state in the country without renewable portfolio standards. We have done it through our tremendous utility partners, policy advocates and the tireless work of the Georgia Public Service Commission staff.
The Georgia House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality is drawing criticism, according to the Union-Recorder.
The House Study Committee on maternal mortality met for the first time and committee members peppered presenters with questions on how the mortality data was collected. Lawmakers questioned the validity of the data and the collection process which shows extreme rates of maternal mortality in Georgia.
In response, House Rep. Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta, called a press conference that hosted women’s rights advocates, organizations and lobbyists expressing their disappointment in the committee meeting.
“We were a little frustrated with how we saw it going in terms of emphasis on data,” Thomas said, “rather than the fact that what we want to deal with, is we know that the issue of women period — and black women specifically — are dying, we know it can be prevented. And there has to be a lot more concern around it.”
“We knew that we had to get the African-American women’s voice, in that hearing,” she said. “The fact that people came to the state Capitol because they wanted to give testimony, they wanted to have the authentic voices heard and the way the agenda was set up it did not allow that.”
The Georgia Senate Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders Study Committee is studying whether some offenders should regain their right to vote, according to the AJC.
State Sen. Randy Robertson, the chairman of a committee studying the issue, said it’s important for the Senate to evaluate whether felons should be able to vote.
“I would hope I’m not wasting my time today on something that’s fruitless,” Robertson, a Republican from Cataula and a former sheriff’s deputy, said after the committee’s meeting at Columbus State University. “Victims are going to have their voices heard, too. … Just starting the conversation is a big step forward.”
Senators and criminal justice groups appeared to agree that those convicted of drug possession charges should be able to vote when they’re freed from prison. It’s unclear whether other offenses, such as drug distribution, shoplifting and burglary, would qualify.
All felons in Georgia are allowed to re-register to vote after they’ve finished all the conditions of their sentences, but that can take many years.
Probation sentences in Georgia last an average of 6.3 years, nearly double the national average, Ruppersburg said.
The Georgia Constitution says those who have been convicted of a “felony involving moral turpitude” can’t be registered to vote until their sentences are completed. But the state hasn’t defined which felonies involve “moral turpitude,” and election officials interpret the Constitution to mean that all felonies limit voting rights.
House District 71 candidate Philip Singleton denies having previously considered a run as a Democrat, according to the AJC.
Long before Republican Philip Singleton launched a campaign as a conservative candidate for an open Georgia House seat, he walked into a Democratic Party meeting to court more liberal voters.
What exactly he said during the Coweta County Democratic Party meeting in August 2017 to promote his long-shot U.S. House campaign is not clear. Singleton says he didn’t try to identify as a Democrat or an independent candidate, but two attendees said he didn’t exactly align himself with the Republican Party either.
Those remarks matter more now as Singleton faces an Oct. 1 runoff against fellow Republican Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison for the Newnan-based seat vacated by Republican state Rep. David Stover.
Singleton was the top finisher in the Sept. 3 election, securing about 37% of the vote. Sakrison received about 34%. Since neither won a majority of the ballots cast, a runoff is required.
“Republicans deserve a real conservative, not a member of the ‘opportunist party,’ ” Sakrison said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Jimmy Glenn, who served as the Coweta County Democratic Party’s first vice chairman at the time, remembered Singleton’s visit differently. Glenn said Singleton introduced himself as the Democratic candidate in the congressional race.
House District 152 is seeing a spirited campaign for the November special election, according to the Albany Herald.
With the special election to fill a House District 152 seat fast approaching, four candidates seeking to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Ed Rynders were in full swing this week after qualifying ended Wednesday.
[Democrat] Mary Egler was hitting the road, putting out campaign signs and picking up a granddaughter from school when she was contacted Friday.
The winner of the Nov. 5 nonpartisan special election will complete the year remaining in Rynders’ term. Rynders announced recently his plans to step down from the seat he’s held for the past 17 years after moving with his wife to St. Simons Island.
Tyler Johnson, one of the three Republicans in the race, said he wants to be a conservative voice in the legislature.
Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn, who was elected to the Leesburg City Council in 1995 and has served as mayor for 11 years, said he has experience dealing with county and state leaders that would make him a good fit for the position.
The third Republican in the race, Bill Yearta, also was a mayor in Sylvester, but had to step down from the position he held for 17 years when he qualified to run for the House seat.
Coweta County local elected officials discussed a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) on the November ballot, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.
If approved, the 1 percent tax is expected to bring in around $125 million over five years. Coweta County would get $82 million of that, with the rest divided amongst the cities and towns.
The money will go to a designated list of projects that were put together by a committee that spent nearly a year working on the list.
Adding the TSPLOST would bring the sales tax rate in Coweta County to 8 percent.
As of last November, roughly half of Georgia’s counties have some form of TSPLOST, whether a single-county, as proposed in Coweta, or a regional TSPLOST, according to the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
Candidates for Gwinnett municipal elections will meet the public tonight, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
State Rep. Donna McLeod and the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Gwinnett African-American Caucus will host “Engage Gwinnett” in the auditorium at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.
A meet and greet will take place at 6:30 p.m., and a discussion and questionand answer session will last from 7 until 9 p.m. A Facebook posting by McLeod listed Lawrenceville City Councilwoman Victoria Jones, Lawrenceville City Council candidate Austin Thompson, Peachtree Corners City Council Post 5 candidate Cherlon Mathias-Day and Grayson City Council Post 2 candidate Donald Fairnot as participating panelists.
Five candidates qualified for a Special Election for Habersham County Commission District 5, according to AccessWDUN.
Qualifying for the Habersham County Commission District 5 Special Election on Nov. 5 wrapped up Friday.
Those who qualified include George Locke Arnold, Michael D. Gosnell, Darrin Johnston, Tim Stamey and Barry Trotter, said Habersham County Elections Superintendent Laurel Ellison.
The Special Election for the District 5 seat will be held in conjunction with the Nov. 5 countywide jail bond referendum and will fill the balance of Nichols’ term, roughly one year, one month and 13 days, Ellison said.
Advance voting at the Ruby Fulbright Aquatic Center in Clarkesville and First Baptist Church of Cornelia will begin Oct. 28 and continue until Nov. 1, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Four local elected officials in Chattooga County have switched to the Republican Party, according to the AJC.
“The party has changed so much now, it’s really hard to tell where the lines are some days,” [Chattooga County Magistrate Judge Tracy Maddux] said in an interview in his office. “But that Facebook controversy put me over the top. Sometimes you just have to make a stand — and you’ve got to own your decision.”
The four defections shook up politics in a rural northwest Georgia county where Democrats held surprising sway in local matters, even as Republicans dominate in state and federal elections. In a front-page article, The Summerville News said the exodus “shattered” the Democrats’ century-long grip on county affairs.
Jason Winters, the sole county commissioner in Chattooga, doesn’t disagree with that assessment. He won two terms as a Democrat before he was ousted from the local party in 2014. His crime: He was photographed putting up signs for Republican state Sen. Jeff Mullis and then-Gov. Nathan Deal.
“I happily became a Republican, and I’ll run again in 2020 as a Republican,” he said, laughing now about the controversy, before conversation shifted to more recent developments.
“The weekend ushered along a decision I’d been pondering for a long time,” said [Chattooga County Sheriff Mark] Schrader, who left the Democratic Party days later. “There’s a lot of hate spewed out there. Words don’t typically bother me, but when you start threatening my employees and their families — I can’t handle that.”
Augusta Commissioners have set a new record for spending on gas, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
The Augusta Commission has bought enough gas this year to drive around Earth nearly five times.
With a monthly gas allowance set at 125 gallons in 1965, when fuel economy was at most 14.5 miles per gallon, eight Augusta commissioners and the mayor have guzzled 5,286.8 gallons of gas this year. It’s enough with modern fuel economy to drive more than 116,300 miles.
This year’s gas purchases exceed $13,000, a record since The Augusta Chronicle has been obtaining the data and far higher than two years ago, when only five commissioners spent $5,484 with the cards during all of 2017.
Rome City Council will consider adopting speed cameras, according to the Rome News Tribune.
An ordinance allowing speed-detection cameras in school zones is expected to be adopted at the Rome City Commission meeting Monday.
The first speed-detection camera is slated for Veterans Memorial Highway in front of Rome High School.
A contract with provider RedSpeed USA and approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation will likely take about three months to finalize. Signs must be posted when the cameras are in operation.
The Georgia General Assembly approved the use of automated school-zone cameras this year, with more restrictions than the ill-fated red light camera law from a decade ago.
A ticket won’t be generated unless a driver is going more than 10 miles over the speed limit and there will be a 30-day grace period where violators will get warnings instead of citations.
The ordinance sets a fine of $75 for a first violation and $125 for any subsequent violation. A processing fee of up to $25 also may be assessed.
New rules for golf carts take effect October 18 in Glynn County, according to The Brunswick News.
After Oct. 18, Glynn County Police Department officers will begin enforcing the new rules, which can be found at tinyurl.com/golfcartlawdetails.
Golf carts are separated into two categories by Georgia’s state law: a personal transportation vehicle, or PTV, has a top speed of 19 mph or less and can transport no more than eight people, while a low-speed vehicle, or LSV, has a top speed between 20 and 25 mph.
LSVs are regulated by the state, and the county’s ordinances will mirror the state’s when the law goes into effect. Georgia gives counties the authority to regulate PTVs on public streets.
If someone owns a golf cart and only uses it on their own property, the regulations don’t apply. County police will only enforce the rules on public roads and property.
LSVs are required to have a tag and title, according to state law.
“We have always done low-speed vehicles,” said Jeff Chapman, tax commissioner. “If it is electric, we can title and tag their cart.”
Comparatively, getting the necessary certificate to drive a PTV is simple. To drive on a public street, the cart must have a decal from the county’s Community Development Department affixed to the windshield. Decals cost $15, are good for five years and are non-transferrable.