Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 22, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 22, 2014

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”


On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

800px-Cannon_Row Chickamauga

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

On September 20, 1992, Atlanta Braves David Justice, Brian Hunter, Ron Gant, and Mark Lemke hit home runs in the 6th inning of a 16-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Michelle Nunn, Deceptive Democrat Dinged on Truthiness

Michelle Nunn, whose makeover from nonprofit maven to Senate candidate is the most drastic we’ve ever seen, apparently went so far as to alter the story of her life, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politifact.

The invitation to the Usher event invoked a small middle Georgia town to tell Nunn’s story.

“Daughter of Sam and Colleen Nunn,” the bio section read, “Michelle was born in 1966 in Macon, near her grandparents’ farm in Perry, Ga., where she spent most of her childhood.”

An alert reader pointed out the “most of her childhood” claim, certain Nunn herself had acknowledged her family moved away when her father was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. She was 6 at the time….

In several AJC stories, including a 1992 Father’s Day piece, Nunn says she grew up in the Washington, D.C. area.

A January, 2014 New York Times story describes her as quipping that she moved “against my will,” when she was 6 and her family relocated to Maryland.

The same article notes Nunn lived in the Capital region during high school, when she played basketball at the all-girls National Cathedral School.

Those reports are accurate, said Nunn spokesman Nathan Click.

Leslie Shedd, spokeswoman for the division of the Georgia GOP known as Georgia Victory, said the issue is not where Nunn grew up but why any biography would counter already-published facts.

“To me, it’s not an issue that she didn’t spend her entire life in Georgia,” Shedd said. “Why does she feel the need to essentially lie about it?”

We rate the invitation’s claim Mostly False.

Nerdfight: unemployment rate at odds with other numbers

After the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Georgia #50 for our unemployment rate, Democrat Jason Carter criticized Governor Deal, while the adults in the room Deal and Labor Commissioner Mark Butler questioned the unemployment rate’s accuracy.

The governor set out to question how federal labor officials crunched the numbers. Initial applications for unemployment dropped by 27 percent in August and 25,000 new jobs were added that month, according to the report.

“I don’t know how you reconcile that. We are seeing job growth,” said Deal, adding: “The data has been historically faulty. These are surveys and estimates that the Labor Department is putting out, and every year since I was governor they’ve had to come back and adjust it downwards. They’ve always been high, and I believe they are again this year.”

Echoing Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Deal said federal officials eventually lowered unemployment figures from July and August of last year after crunching more data. He added that the jobless rate is still down two percentage points from when he took office, and cited federal data that showed about 540,000 jobs were created in his tenure.

Princeton University economist Alan Krueger has questioned the statistical basis for the unemployment numbers, zeroing in on, you guessed it, weighting.

To calculate the unemployment rate, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics takes samples of nearly 60,000 households. They are surveyed monthly for four consecutive months, left alone for eight months and then surveyed again monthly for the next four months.

That means that in each month, there are eight “rotation groups,” each of them intended to be representative of the population. The government then weights the groups to come up with an official unemployment rate.

So that weighting has a large effect on the result.

Krueger and his collaborators found that during the first half of 2014, the unemployment rate among people in the first month of being interviewed was 7.5 percent. However, for those in the final month of being interviewed, it was only 6.1 percent.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics weighted the first interview more heavily, so the official unemployment rate for this period was 6.5 percent.

Readers of GaPundit know that understanding the weighting applied is critical to assessing the accuracy of any poll. And the BLS unemployment rates are based on a poll, called the Current Population Survey.

Moreover, as with any other poll, sampling error is an issue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics admits on its website that the sample size can make the data prone to error.

The CPS sample is not large enough to provide reliable data for all areas (in fact, many areas contain no sample), nor is the reliability consistent among the areas published. These CPS estimates are the only current source of information on demographic and detailed economic characteristics for these areas.

National data come from all 60,000 household in the Current Population Survey. The survey sample size is not large enough at the local, or even state, level to provide the same level of detail in the estimates.

In the most recent reporting period, the reported difference in unemployment rate was from 7.7% to 8.1% – a difference of 4/10ths of a percentage point. Based on a monthly sample size of 52,500 respondents nationally, we would estimate that between 1050 and 3000 Georgians are interviewed monthly.

My handy Margin of Error calculator tells me that we can expect a Margin of Error betweent +/- 1.8 points and 3 points. Within this confidence interval, a calculated difference of 4/10ths of a point is more likely to be a result of sampling error than to be an actual difference. It’s like trying to measure 1/4 inch increments with an unmarked yardstick.

In addition to the fact that montly State-by-State estimates are unreliable by the BLS own admission, other evidence points to faulty projections of the unemployment rate, as noted in a separate AJC story.

“A rising unemployment rate does fly in the fact of common sense,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “There is no doubt that Georgia’s economy is improving.”

As evidence, he noted the sight of construction crews and the sound of hammers. Backing that up is the feds’ survey of payrolls that shows the state added 88,700 jobs in the past year — 42,600 since April.

Something is surely amiss, agreed economist Gary Burtless at the Brookings Institution. “It appears to me that the two [surveys] have gone badly off track,” he said. “This doesn’t make sense.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics often warns against putting too much weight on thin statistics. That is, relatively small amounts of data. So as the smaller survey, the unemployment rate is suspect — especially when it’s just for one state — said Barry Hirsch, a labor economist at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

“Calculating the unemployment rate is more of an art than a science,” he said.

Georgia tallied 4,134,100 total jobs last month, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Right before the recession hit, in December 2007, the state counted 4,171,900 jobs.

Meanwhile, the state has added nearly 450,000 people during that time.

The lesson I would take from this is the same that I preach with respect to political polls – don’t just look at one set of numbers to tell you what’s going on. Averaged data, like the Real Clear Politics average is a better indicator than a single survey. In the case of Georgia’s economy, the overwhelming evidence is that we’re full-speed ahead.

Headlines across Georgia

Coweta County reported several questionable voter registration forms turned in by the Democratic- and Michelle Nunn-campaign connected New Georgia Project – by Sarah Fay Campbell at the Newnan Times-Herald.

Coweta Chief Voter Registrar Joan Hamilton said Friday that her office received a group of applications from the New Georgia Project in late August that contained some questionable applications. A second batch of applications received earlier this week was fine.

Hamilton estimated that, out of 41 voter registration forms submitted by the New Georgia Project, 11 were rejected.

The ones that were rejected had problems that were very obvious, according to Hamilton. “There was no way they could be accepted.”

One application had an address for the city of “Fulton” and a Sharpsburg zip code.

There were also instances where separate applications “might have different names but all the other information was the same,” Hamilton said, such as birth dates and Social Security numbers.

“Those are the type of issues,” Hamilton said. They were “very, very obvious problems.”

Republicans have been quick to point out Abrams’ ties with Democratic Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn. “It’s not just Stacey Abrams gives her money” or worked with Nunn at Hands On Atlanta, said Leslie Shedd of Georgia Victory, a division of the Georgia Republican Party. “Abrams is one of Nunn’s top policy advisors,” Shedd said.

Congressman Rob Woodall (R-7th) received a “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Business – Gwinnett Daily Post.

A proposed ordinance in Augusta would ban tethering of dogs outside and make spay/neuter mandatory as part of trying to reduce dogfighting – Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia’s Department of Human Services estimates it will cost $7.7 million to put photos on food stamp cards as part of fighting fraud – Augusta Chronicle.

The budget request also covers the cost of new technology, educating recipients and food retailers about the changes and a future study, according to DHS spokeswoman Ravae Graham.

“I guarantee you we’ll see more than that in savings,” [state Senator Don] Balfour said. “The people looking to use these to get money are using the cash for something other than food. That’s not the purpose.”

Dr. Kyle Marrero will take over as President of the University of West Georgia – Times-Georgian.

Planners of a November 8 Veterans Day celebration are attempting to contact all veterans in Carroll County – Times-Georgian.

The City of Temple overcharged a local business nearly $84,000 in water and sewer fees beginning in 2006 – Times-Georgian.

Voter registration drives continue in Carroll County headed toward the November election – Times-Georgian.

A 16-year old girl who suffers from intractable seizures will move with her mother to Colorado to seek medicinal cannabis treatment – Times-Herald.

The Callaways are able to realize the possibility of a move to obtain treatment for their daughter because of State Representative Allen Peake. Peake’s “Journey of Hope” is a charitable fund providing transportation and living expenses for six months to Georgia residents seeking to benefit from medical cannabis in a legalized state.

For Beth Callaway, this is a groundbreaking journey for her family. Her husband, Kevin, and daughter at Mercer University, Katie, are staying put in Georgia until it is known how the medical cannabis will affect Maggie and if the treatment will be beneficial. Leaving home will be difficult for Beth, but for her daughter, it will be more than worth it.

Callaway says her daughter looks like a 16-year-old, but mentally, is more like a 3-year-old. She’s had more than 1,600 seizures in her lifetime that have damaged her development. She attends Newnan High School when she can, but, most often, Maggie is unable to stay more than two hours before suffering a seizure.

To donate to Maggie Callaway’s GoFundMe account, click here.

Proclamations from the City of Newnan and Coweta County were presented on POW/MIA Day. Aubrey Burnette of Newnan spoke of his experience as a POW during WWII – both stories from the Newnan Times-Herald.

The Newnan native enlisted in the Army in 1942 and was captured by the Germans. During the yearly local observance of POW/MIA Day, Burnett received a framed certificate from American Legion Post 57 and spoke about his wartime experiences.

Burnette got on a bus on Jefferson Street in 1942 to go to Atlanta to enlist with nine other young men. The others joined the Navy, but he joined the Army.

On his 18th mission, “we succeeded in dropping our bombs,” he remembered. On the way back – flying over Hanover – the plane was hit by machine gun fire from German planes.

“I don’t know how many there were. I remember nothing of the attack.”

The Newnan man was injured – either by a shell or perhaps when a door was ripped off the plane. When he parachuted to the ground, he was in an area overrun with German soldiers.

“I was immediately taken prisoner.”

It’s a good story, worth reading in its entirety.

Augusta City Commission has received three applications to fill the remaining term of District 7 commissioner Donnie Smith, who resigned after public allegations of double-dipping – Augusta Chronicle.

Egbert Perry and his Integral Group LLC will close on the purchase of the GM plant site in Doraville in order to develop it with Houston-based Consolidated Asset Management Services – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Integral recently overcame the last stumbling block to the long-anticipated deal. It reached an agreement to enter the GM site into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield program. The designation removes environmental liability from the site’s future buyers.

Perry said the redevelopment is important not only for Doraville, but also for Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Norcross and Sandy Springs. “This site,” Perry said, “can help to unify the region in a way no other site does.”

Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, agreed.

“The GM site at Doraville is at a nexus point for the region with MARTA rail and the interstate,” Hooker said. “It represents an opportunity for people to really think about the region without the boundaries of Gwinnett and DeKalb and Doraville.”

Few sites have more transportation access for the region’s auto or train commuters — something corporations want. The plant stands alongside Interstate 285 and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. MARTA’s Doraville Station is also next door. DeKalb Peachtree Airport is about two miles away.

“This is an opportunity for DeKalb to grab on to a major effort that requires a whole lot of collaboration,” Perry said. The project could help DeKalb leadership “rebrand the county,” he added.

The redevelopment is also a huge turning point for Doraville. When the plant shut down six years ago, the city lost 10 percent of its tax revenue and 36 percent of its total employment.

Georgia Department of Transportation has learned that privatization doesn’t always save money, and cancelled plans to privatize maintenance at rest areas and welcome centers – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Ownership squabbles within the family that owns Smyrna-based Glock sound like a soap opera at best, a telenovella at worst – Bloomberg Businessweek.

Helga [Glock] is locked in bitter litigation against her ex-husband [Gaston Glock]. She accuses him of hiding hundreds of millions of dollars of the family’s money outside Austria and cheating her out of a substantial ownership share in Glock GmbH, the company they built together. At stake, apart from an awful lot of money, is the future of one of the best-known brands in the world.

Gaston Sr. began traveling more often to the U.S. Sometimes the family accompanied him to the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade show in Las Vegas. The Austrian company sponsored the most lavish after-hours SHOT show party. Gaston Sr. assembled his wife and children on a receiving line every guest had to traverse. The family members say they knew nothing at the time about another marketing venue: Atlanta’s premier strip joint, the Gold Club, where Glock executives spiced their pitches to police procurement officers with adult entertainment and expensive alcohol.

Once known for thrift, Gaston Sr. indulged his material dreams, Helga recounts. He bought a yacht, a private plane, a helicopter, and a luxurious villa on a lake in Carinthia, near where they’d first met. Helga fondly recalls an excursion to Hong Kong in 1997, when she and her then-husband bought a shipping container’s worth of furniture for the lakeside mansion.

From the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, an attorney named Paul Jannuzzo served as the most senior executive of Glock Inc., the company’s U.S. subsidiary and main revenue generator. From his insider’s vantage point, Jannuzzo says, he saw that Helga and the children all played meaningful supporting roles: “Mrs. Glock was the old man’s eyes and ears in Deutsch-Wagram. Whenever there was any crisis, he wanted her in the office because he trusted her more than anyone else.” Brigitte “ran human resources worldwide with an iron fist,” Jannuzzo adds. Gaston Jr. “was a quiet type and did all of the IT, an incredibly hard worker.” Robert, in contrast, was a bon vivant and a talented frontman who traveled the world attending trade shows.

Jannuzzo left the company in 2003 after a vicious falling out with Gaston Sr. According to Jannuzzo, the dispute stemmed from rivalry for the affections of a female company employee who’s now Jannuzzo’s wife. Glock had a different explanation. Several years later, at the company’s behest, a local prosecutor in Cobb County, Ga., filed embezzlement and theft charges against Jannuzzo. He denied wrongdoing but was convicted and imprisoned for 42 months. Last year a state appellate court threw out the conviction, finding that the Georgia prosecutor had waited too long to bring charges. Now living with his Glock-alumna spouse in Savannah, Ga., Jannuzzo says he was the victim of an unlawful vendetta—an allegation Gaston Sr.’s lawyers have denied.

Glock family life took its first truly bizarre turn in 1999. During a business trip to Luxembourg that year, Gaston Sr. was attacked in an underground parking garage by a former French Legionnaire-turned-professional wrestler. Then 70, Gaston Sr. fought off his assailant, who wielded a rubber mallet. Apparently the plan was to make the assault seem like a fall down a flight of stairs. Gaston Sr. survived, and a police investigation identified his top financial adviser as having hired the incompetent hit man. The adviser allegedly had embezzled from the Glock companies and was afraid of getting caught. Both adviser and would-be assassin were convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to long prison terms.

Gaston Sr. has denied all the accusations against him.


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