Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trouble for Taylor? From the Tip Line...

From the tip line: Sonny's not dumb. This Sunday, Sonny will be speaking at one of the largest African American churches in Middle Georgia. He will be the guest of Rev. Watson, pastor of Beulahland Baptist Church in Macon, hosting Teacher Appreciation Day. I understand that this event, complete with gifts for teachers, was announced over the intercoms in some of our public schools in Bibb County today. (That seems just a bit like Sonny using school resources-again-to politic.) Talk about taking aim at Taylor's base. This is not good news for Dems.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mental health care may take hit in Middle Georgia

Mental health care may take hit in Middle Georgia
See article by reporter Matt Barnwell of the Macon Telegraph.
Go to and click on Houston-Peach to read thearticle.
Don't delay too long to read this article while it is still on line.
DHR reps say that funds to publicmental health care haven't been cut,
just sort of rearranged, but consumers, families, and public mental
health agencies are feeling the rearrangements.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Perdue's Dirty Little Secret

So, we're at 46th instead of 49th in SAT scores, and I'm supposed to throw a party. Test scores in the math and verbal sections actually dropped three points, and Sonny's proud. I have a Governor who thinks that a decline in SAT scores is something to celebrate. I have a Governor who apparently aspires to be 46th in the nation. Somebody pinch me. Wake me up. This has to be a nightmare. It gets worse. Perdue didn't fix the test, but he "fixed" who takes the test. Keep reading.

Sonny's dirty little secret is that the % of students taking the test declined from 75% to 70%, largely because some students (presumably those who tended not to do so well on the test) are no longer required to take it. Now there's a political solution to an education problem: if you don't like the test scores, just change who's taking the test. In some communities the drop in test-takers was dramatic. For example, only 15 students in Twiggs County and 30 students in Wilkinson County took the test. That's right, to meet the needs of politicians who don't want to face their own failure, some students don't even have the opportunity to fail: they're not even in the game anymore.

Sonny Perdue and his Team have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for public education. He brazenly cut billions from education during a term when he knew that he had to face re-election. Sure, with a surplus in the bank, he has tossed education a bone in an election year, but friend of public schools? I think not!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Check Out This Host List! Wow!

Below is an invitation to a Macon fundraiser for Lauren Benedict, candidate for Georgia HD 140. Lauren is working hard to take back this seat, currently held by a freshman Republican who won by only 80 votes. She is definitely a candidate we can all get behind. Check out the host list for this party, and then save the date and come on down to Macon for a great time with a great candidate! Your contribution can be made online by clicking here.


Aurelia Adams
Hon. Joe Allen
R. Lars Anderson
Hon. Roy Barnes
Hon. Tommy Barnes
Dr. Catherine Bomberger & Duke Groover
Hon. Tom Bordeaux
Wendy & Russell Boston
Hon. Dianne Brannen
Dr. Palmira Braswell
Hon. Robert Brown
Melanie & Chuck Byrd
Hon. Willette Hill-Chambliss
Tiffany and David Cusson
Tracey L. Dellacona
Hon. Earl Dennard
Zack Dozier
Peggy DuBose & Bob Rush
Melita Easters
Mike Gardner
Hon. Sam Hart
Mercedes & Dr. Carlos Giron
Melanie Goux
Rev. Camille Hegg
Yolanda & Terrill Hill
Hon. Ike Liston
Terry Holland & Jeff Logan
Mary Long
Hon. David Lucas
Hon. Elaine Lucas
Charlotte McMullan
Hon. Filomena Mullis

Mary & Hon. Jerry Modena
Amy & Daryl Morton
Rudolph Patterson
Hon. Betty Phillips
Hon. Anita Ponder
Hon. DuBose Porter
Katie & Jeff Powers
Hon. Nikki Randall
Carmel Sanders
Gene Shinholster
Nancy Terrill & Camp Bacon
Shelly Tice
Hon. Mary Wilder
Joni Woolf
Hon. Brenda Youmas

List In Formation

Please join us for a
reception to elect

Lauren Benedict

to the

Georgia House of Representatives

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
6:00-8:00 p.m.

At the Home of Duke Groover and Dr. Catherine Bomberger
2417 Clayton Street 31204
Macon, GA 31201

$100 suggested minimum contribution

RSVP to Amy Morton at (478) 741-1138
or by emailing

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting "Real" With Max Cleland

If you have HBO, you know what time of year it is. "Real Time" with Bill Maher is back, and last night our very own former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland was one of his guests. Max made it a point to say that one of his fellow war heroes, Jack Murtha, is coming under a "Swift Boat" sort of attack in Penn. Max is helping to organize a demonstration on his behalf, vowing not to let "them" do to Jack what was done to him, and done to John Kerry. There's a special place in hell for those who intentionally and falsely tarnish a soldier's record to gain power for themselves. And it's gettin' crowded....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Reports of Her Demise are Greatly Exaggerated...

Last night, Georgia's WIN List supporters and candidates heard from two of the classiest women in Georgia politics: Cathy Cox and Shirley Franklin. While Cathy was unable to attend the event, she sent a letter to be read as Georgia's WIN List hosted our endorsed candidates and supporters at the home of Melita Easters. Her words were encouraging and forward focused, especially to all of us who are committed to electing Democrats, and in particular Democratic women, in Georgia. It was great to hear from her.

This was just one of the highlights of a fabulous evening. Several of our endorsed candidates who have already won their elections were there and provided the inspiration we needed to keep raising the "dough" to help our three statewide candidates and our remaining senate and house candidates WIN in November. Nothing is quite as inspiring as success!

On that note, Stacey Godfrey, chair of our candidate committee, announced that fifteen of the twenty women we endorsed, who had competition in the primary, won their races. That is an astounding success rate of 75%. Mayor Franklin's remarks to the group of a hundred or more inspired us all to do what we need to do to get these great women elected! As always, she made us all proud. It was such a pleasure to have her there. What a class act.

To learn more about Georgia's WIN List, click here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bipartisan health forum will feature candidates from HD 136,145,146 in Warner Robins Sept. 18

CONTACT:A. James Rockefeller 478-953-6955
Warner Robins, GA – A healthcare forum will be held on MONDAY, September 18 from
6:30-8:15 p.m. at Middle Georgia Technical College, 80 Cohen Walker Drive, Warner Robins. All six (6) candidates for Georgia State House of Representative for Districts 136, 145, and 146 will be present or have representatives from their campaigns. They will discuss political solutions to general health care issues -- including rising health care costs and the continuing viability of community hospitals -- and mental health & substance abuse -- especially the rise in methamphetamine addiction and Georgia’s structure of community-based mental health treatment. The initial phases of the forum will be moderated, with questions posed to all six (6) candidates directly by the event moderator; the second portion will include questions posed by audience members. The general public and media are invited.

The event is sponsored by the following agencies:
Houston County Drug and Alcohol Council (HODAC)
National Association of Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Families Against Methamphetamine Abuse, Inc. (FAMA)

Preventing 800,000 Abortions a Year

That's what the research says can happen as a result of today's decision by the FDA to allow OTC access to Emergency Contraception (EC). This is long past due and a decision to celebrate. In addition to preventing as many as 1.5 million unplanned pregnancies a year, some estimate that this move will prevent as many as 800,000 abortions.

When Georgia ranks 41st in the nation in rate of teen (15-17) pregnancies, and almost half a million of Georgia's children live in poverty, it is clear that unplanned pregnancy is a public health crisis. This is one step toward prevention. The next step is making sure that those teens have access to this important form of birth control.

Now maybe we'll hear something on the HPV vaccine....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Women Trending Democratic, But Not Toward Taylor

Based on the results of two recent polls, it appears that while 60% of Southern women are prepared to support a Democrat for Congress, Georgia women favor Perdue over Taylor by eleven points (Perdue 47%, Taylor 36%).

Two recent polls, one conducted by Insider Advantage and the other conducted by AP-Ipsos, together paint a very discouraging picture for Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. The Ap-Ipsos poll found that in a generic house race, Republicans are behind Democrats in all regions of the country, even in the South where in 2004, among women, Bush got 54% of the vote. (The South was the only region where Bush won among women.) It appears that the Republican advantage among Southern women has now evaporated, with 60% of female registered voters now saying that they would vote for the Democrat in their congressional district, and 61% of Southern women saying that they disapprove of Bush's job performance.

The Insider Advantage poll shows Perdue still hovering below the 50% mark but leading Taylor overall 49% to 32% with 19% undecided. Certainly, a lot can change between now and November, but Perdue leading among female voters and pulling 19% of Democrats with 21% undecided is not good news.

I have said this before: it is not enough to talk about what women or Democrats who supported Cathy Cox "ought" to do. This election will come down to what they actually choose to do. It's the result that matters, not who's fault it is if Taylor loses. Here's what Matt Towery had to say:

"These numbers mean Taylor must do two things in the coming weeks, build himself up and tear Perdue down. But there are lingering issues from the brutal primary battle that still haven't been put to rest. For one thing, the Taylor campaign's lawyer still is suing the Cox press spokesman over an issue that flared in the final weeks of that campaign. Whoever has that lawsuit still going should be drawn and quartered because if they think they're going to win this race without Cathy Cox, they're insane. This poll screams that."

In the past when the issue of this lawsuit continuing has been raised, folks have been quick to point out that it is not Taylor who is doing the suing here. True, but the reality is that the lawsuit was born in the heat of the primary and the plaintiff is represented by the Taylor campaign's attorney. The fact that the issue continues to be discussed, privately and publicly, is an indicator that this is a problem for Taylor. In my conversations with women, it is among the top two or three reasons they give for why they are wavering in their support for him. Will this issue make or break the election? I don't know, but it has the potential to become an albatross around the neck of the Lt. Governor who is going to be scrambling for every vote he can get in November.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Georgia GOP Hall of Shame

You know all that money Sonny spent in his unsuccessful attempt to attract the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Atlanta? Based on a story in today's AJC, perhaps we can put those plans to work creating The Georgia GOP Hall of Shame. I co-nominate Sonny Perdue and Mike Bowers to be the first inductees. I have never seen a political party so adept at choosing their worst violator to be the spokesperson on a particular issue.

Sonny, "the most ethically challenged governor in Georgia's history" (Mike Jablonski), and the first sitting governor to found guilty of campaign disclosure law violations, ordered to repay more than $18,000.00 and fined $1,900.00, chooses none other than Mike Bowers, himself fined $3,600 by the Ethics Commission in 1997 for disclosure violations, to call for "quick action" on the ethics charges against Taylor. Look, if Taylor took money he was not supposed to, then he needs to pay the money back, pay his fine and take responsibility. But Perdue and Bowers might want to find someone with clean hands to express their righteous indignation.

This idea, of having the person with the least moral authority embrace an issue, is a Rove tactic, and an effective one at that. Using it does require a profound lack of self-awareness, or maybe just some good old fashioned sociopathy. Nationally, the DSCC has an online version of a national GOP Hall of Shame. It includes the likes of Georgia Allen, Dick Cheney, Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Karl Rove.

So, I think that I will begin a Georgia GOP Hall of Shame over at Georgia Women Vote!. I will take nominations, complete with a short explanation of why your nominee is particularly worthy and provide this link back here. Feel free to post nominations here. Hypocrites will get priority listings!

Helping WIN Women WIN!

This Thursday, at the home of Meltia Easters, Georgia's WIN List will host a very important debut. We will spotlight our endorsed candidates who have won their primary elections and, with your help, are going to WIN in November. WIN List, a political action committee committed to helping elect qualified, pro-choice Democratic women, is a great place to invest your political dollars. Already this cycle, three new women, Margaret Kaiser, Stacey Abrams and Robbin Shipp, all endorsed by WIN, have won seats in the General Assembly.

Why give to WIN? Because WIN List carefully recruits, trains and screens our endorsed candidates before we invest your money in their races. It's no accident that WIN List women, WIN! In 2004, when the Georgia sun did not shine so brightly on Democrats, 83% (20 of 26) WIN-endorsed candidates won their races! Whether you are a longtime supporter of WIN or have never attended a WIN event, I hope that you will come this Thursday to honor the following candidates. You can learn more about each of them and even directly donate to their campaigns, just by clicking on their name:

Statewide Office Secretary of State Gail Buckner *
School SuperintendentDenise Majette*
Public Service CommissionDawn Randolph*

State Senate
SD 2 Regina D. Thomas (I)
SD 32 RuthE Levy*SD 34 Valencia Seay (I)
SD 36 Nan Orrock *SD 38 Horacena Tate (I)SD 44 Gail DavenportSD 46 Jane Kidd*SD 55 Gloria Butler (I)

State House
HD 2 Sadie Morgan*
HD 39 Alisha Thomas Morgan (I)
HD 44 Sheila Jones (I)
HD 46 Melanie Eyre*
HD 48 Jan Hackney*
HD 55 "Able" Mable Thomas
HD 56 Kathy Ashe (I)
HD 57 Pat Gardner (I)
HD 58 Robbin Shipp
HD 59 Margaret Kaiser
HD 60 Georganna Sinkfield (I)
HD 68 Carol Rozier*
HD 74 Roberta Abdul-Salaam (I)
HD 75 Celeste Johnson
HD 83 Mary Margaret Oliver (I)
HD 84 Stacey Abrams
HD 85 Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (I)
HD 86 Karla Drenner (I)
HD 87 Michele Henson (I)
HD 92 Pam Stephenson (I)
HD 113 Becky Vaughn*
HD 130 Debbie G. Buckner (I)
HD 133 Carolyn Hugley (I)
HD 136 Beth Perera*
HD 138 Nikki T. Randall (I)
HD 140 Lauren Benedict*
HD 144 Dee Yearty*
HD 151 Freddie Sims (I)
HD 169 Danita Knowles*
HD Jaki Johnson*

I = Incumbent; * Faces opposition in November general election

Here are the details:

Let's Take Back the Gold Dome


Helping WIN Women Win!

Join us on Thursday, August 24, 2006 at the home of Melita Easters, 3215 Glen Arden Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30305 when Georgia's WIN List presents our Endorsed Candidates for the 2006 General Election. To reserve your place, use the form below. For more information or to reserve by phone, call Leslie at 770-489-6689. You may also reserve by e-mail at

Minimum donation is $50 per attendee.

Voting Accuracy and Voter Apathy

POLITICS AND LUNCH: Ga. Sec. of State's Office on Elections

Politics and Lunch Presents: Allison Bracewell McCullick


Accuracy and Engagement in the 2006 Election

Wonder why fewer than 30% of eligible voters cast ballots in the primary this July, and the numbers in the runoff election in August were even more dismal? Want to know what can we do to engage voters and assure them that their vote is accurately counted? To get the inside scoop on how to motivate voters for your favorite candidate, come to Politics and Lunch this Friday, August 25th at noon at Nashville Station, 1015 Riverside Dr., Macon, Georgia 31201.

Allison Bracewell McCullick, Special Projects Coordinator for Georgia's Secretary of State, Cathy Cox, will be our keynote speaker for this Friday's Politics and Lunch. Ms. McCullick will have voting machines with her and will be prepared to answer your questions about voting accuracy, voter id, voter registration and other topics related to elections in Georgia. I hope that you will all be able to come.

Politics and Lunch is a monthly luncheon series that focuses on how politics and politicians create policies that impact the quality of life in our community. We focus on education and empowerment and engagement. The series is not sponsored by either political party, and there is nothing to join. The only cost is for your lunch, $8.00 plus tax, tip and beverage. Reservations are requested but not mandatory and can be made by contacting Amy Morton at

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Church Lady and Cialis

The perfect metaphor, above the stunned image of recently fired Sunday School teacher Mary Lambert, an ad for Cialis flashed today. At least we have our priorities straight. Somehow, I don't think that Ms. Lambert, who was removed from her position as a Sunday School teacher at the First Baptist Church of Watertown, NY for the undeniable offense of being female, ever anticipated that she would be selling Cialis.

See, the pastor, Rev. Timothy LaBouf, who also happens to serve on the Watertown City Council, decided that a "literal" interpretation of scripture prohibited women from "teaching or having authority over a man" and that she "must be silent." I wonder whether the Good Rev. has read the Gospel of Luke? He must have missed the part where Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the Mother of James returned from the tomb after seeing the risen Christ and told the apostles what they had seen. That's right, three women were the first to proclaim the gospel. And guess what? The apostles didn't believe the women. Some things haven't changed much.

I should disclose here that I happen to be an ordained minister, seminary trained, in the Southern Baptist tradition. Hold your condolences. The Baptist church was a great tradition, actually the first denomination to advocate for true religious freedom, not just religious tolerance, in the New World. Things have changed just a bit...but still my faith is important to me, and that's why I don't like it when folks like Rev. LaBouf do things like firing poor Ms. Lambert. Shame on him. I hope Rev. LaBouf saw the article, but somehow I doubt he made it past the Cialis ad...

Here Are the Results!

Here are the results of the poll we posted on what characteristics are needed in a DPG Chair. It is interesting, but not surprising that "Mr. Grassroots/Field Organizing" was the winning answer with 40% of the vote. "Mr. Moneybags" finished in second place with 28% of the vote. Perhaps we need a runoff!

Often, money and grassroots are seen as competing, mutually exclusive options, but they are not. The Party needs both to re-bound. During this discussion, Mel from over at Blog for Democracy raised the point that it is not only the position of chair that is important, but also the position of Executive Director. Where do we go from here?

What Does the DPG Most Need?

The next DPG chair needs to be:

Answer 2 Mr. or Ms. Grassroots (field organizing)
Answer 1 Mr. or Ms. Money Bags (fundraising)
Answer 3 Mr. or Ms. Charisma (team building)
Answer 4 Mr. or Ms. Kingmaker (candidate support)
total votes: 25
Create your own
free website poll

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Middle Georgia Democratic Women had big crowd at International Tasting Party in warner Robins, Aug 19

The Middle Georgia Democratic Women's Club almost turned into a standing-room-only event last night in Warner Robins. About 110 people came to sample the culinary offerings at the International Tasting Party fundraiser held at the Warner Robins Recreation Department.
See pictures and more details at:

Friday, August 18, 2006

How Can the DPG Win?

Let's face it. Georgia Democrats have seen better days. We've had a good bit of discussion about who should become chair in January, but let's change the focus a bit. Instead of who, let's talk about what characteristics we need in a new chair. What type of person will wake the Party up and build a machine that helps good candidates win?

The poll below is a fun way to begin the discussion. I know that all the catagories are important, and other attributes not listed are important as well. It's a way to begin a discussion. We can all take an active roll in deciding what sort of state and local party we want. What do you want in a new state chair?

What Does the DPG Most Need?
The next DPG chair needs to be:
Answer 1 Mr. or Ms. Money Bags (fundraising)
Answer 2 Mr. or Ms. Grassroots (field organizing)
Answer 3 Mr. or Ms. Charisma (team building)
Answer 4 Mr. or Ms. Kingmaker (candidate support)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shyam's Ready

If anyone had a question about whether Shyam Reddy was ready to be Party Chair, those doubts were blown away tonight at the Red Clay Unity Event. Shyam emceed the event and did a fabulous job! Let's go, Shyam, January's not far away!!

Vote for Georgia Republicans If You Think...

  • ...developers should have more rights that the average citizen.
  • ...dropping from 39th to 44th in child well being is a sign of progress.
  • ...that government should operate in a cloak of secrecy.
  • ...that cutting 1.25 billion is a sign of support for public schools.
  • is wise to put state employee's health in the hands of the low bidder.
  • makes sense to sellout our poorest families to a manage care company.
  • ...if you think that end of life and beginning of life questions belong with politicians instead of with families.

As a matter of fact, if you think at all, how can you support Georgia Republicans?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Not hearing or reading much about Majette

As a retired educator who continues to be vitally interested in our schools, I would surely like to hear more from Denise Majette's campaign.
One prominent educator I know (who just happens to be a Democrat) describes the incumbent as having "a death grip" on the position of School Superintendent. I have heard criticism of financial cuts to education in Georgia, but not much in the way of dissatisfaction with the current superintendent. Another Democrat I know says she plans to vote for the Republican incumbent based on having met her and been impressed with her knowledge on education issues and current events.
I signed up for Majette's email list but have not received any emails from her campaign. I would be happy to post promotional material for her on my blog but I haven't received any.
The general election is just around the corner. Democrats like me (and educators and other voters) need some reassurance that she is doing some homework in areas like curriculum, school finance, standardized tests and other key areas in the complex business of running a state school system. I'm a Democrat and she's a Democrat and I surely would like to give her my vote. I know a lot of teachers and would like to have some talking points with which to promote her candidacy....but so far her campaign hasn't given me anything to say.

Elves at Georgia Women VOTE!

Attention hackers and poll stuffers: you leave finger prints.

Over at the Georgia Women Vote! main site, elves have been stuffing the polling box and attempting to hack the site. I thought it was odd that a website, dormant for months, would get over 700 hits and 299 polling "votes" on the first day. It was especially odd that all my Democratic women viewers seemed to be toeing the Republican party line in the polls.

Allen Freeman, the Republican in the race I was polling, was so excited that he sent out a press release from his e-mail address at at about 10 PM on Monday evening. Seems he was watching closely. (By the way, isn't a little odd that a Republican legislator is trolling on Georgia Women VOTE!?) Anyway, I checked my logs and discovered that all those pageloads and all those votes were cast by only fifteen different computers. 164 of the pageloads were from someone at, and somebody with a Mac was apparenly trying to hack the site. Whether they were successful or not, I will know soon.

So, we've tightened security and are in the process of securing the polling module. Freeman thought that I was took the poll down because he was winning. Actually, it was those darn Elves!

Booth space for Dem candidates at GA National Fair

Thanks to a contribution by the GADCC, Houston County Democrats will be able to provide booth space to Democratic candidates at the Georgia National Fair (Perry) in October . Earlier we thought we would have to charge to cover expenses of the booth. Now we can offer to share our booth space FREE. We will have morning, afternoon, and evening slots to fill and they are going fast. Candidates, please get in touch with Kathy Bird Kathy Bird at
This is a great opportunity for regional and state-wide candidates to meet & greet many of the thousands of Georgians who visit the fair. A calendar has been prepared and we are already filling in the time slots. WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS TO TAKE A TURN AT THE BOOTH.
If you plan a visit to the fair, why not donate some time to helping at the Democratic booth? Volunteers contact Kathy Bird at

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Complete With Sonny Trolls

In the last couple of days, I have re-launched the main Georgia Women Vote! site, and it appears to have come complete with Sonny Trolls. Who else thinks that, despite the dismal Kid's Count data that drops us from 39th to 44th in overall child and family well being, Georgia is doing just fine by our children and families?

There is a poll on the issue on the site, on the left near the bottom. Check these results, and if you agree, so be it, if you disagree, click over and let the Sonny Trolls know the facts. Here are the results, so far:

You're the teacher. Grade the 2006 Georgia legislature on how well they protected families and children.
A - Excellent (114 Votes) [ 64.0%]
B- Good (8 Votes) [ 4.5%]
C- Average (5 Votes) [ 2.8%]
F- Failing (51 Votes) [ 28.7%]

"I'll Give Up My Choice When....

...John Roberts Gets Pregnant." I saw this bumper sticker this morning. Fairly direct message, don't you think?

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Truthiness" and Class Size Reduction

At what point do we expect our elected and our candidates to lead? At what point do we expect them to tell us the truth, what we need to hear, as opposed to sticking to the safe soundbites polls tell them we want to hear? More and more, policy is poll-driven, not research-driven. In no area is that more true than education, the proverbial political football.

Here's a great example. "We need to reduce class size so that our teachers can teach and our children can learn." This has a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Actually, a ring of "truthiness" is a bit more like it. The truth is that the research indicates that simply reducing class size will not alone improve student achievement, and when arbitrarily imposed, may actually be a step backwards.

According to The Telegraph, such is the case in Bibb County, where, to comply with Perdue's "Truth in Class Size" law, seventeen new classrooms, complete with teachers, books and supplies had to be created within the first two weeks of school in order to meet class size limits. While the State will pick up some of the cost, as much as $500,000.00 will come from local funds. And that's not the worst part. Because of the shortage of certified teachers, many of these students will be moved from a classroom where they have a highly qualified teacher, to a class with a sub. You tell me. Would you rather have your third grader with twenty-two other kids and a highly qualified teacher, or with twelve kids and a sub? I'd take the qualified teacher over the sub any day of the week.

Class size reduction is an issue that Republicans and Democrats alike have seized upon. Why? Because the data supports it? Nope. Because the polls support it. Voters love the idea of reducing class size because it feels like the right thing to do. They also love it because politicians keep telling them it's the right thing to do. See the self-perpetuating cycle? It is the kind of issue that consultants tell politicians they would be crazy to oppose but that makes little practical sense. Just like the sex offender legislation. (That's another post.) How I wish that the "fix" for education was a simple as reducing class size.

I think that people are thirsty for real leadership. Real statesmanship. Consider this. When Martin began his race, I wager that no where in his polling did the concept of decency pop up. I bet it would now. Martin took voters where they needed to go. We could use some of that leadership when it comes to the playing politics with our children's schools. Here's a portion of the Telegraph article:

"I'm concerned about taking children away from certified instructors and putting them in rooms that don't have certified teachers," said board member Bob Nickels. "If you don't have a teacher available you have to take a sub, who's not qualified."
Student transfers under No Child Left Behind have also not occurred yet, which could cause the number of new classrooms to increase, she said.
In April, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law the Truth in Class Size Act, lowering class sizes for grades K-8 to improve learning.
Beginning in fall 2006, kindergarten classes were to have no more than 18 students. For grades 1-3, classes were limited to 21 students and in grades 4-8, 28 students, according to the law.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Let's Draft Shyam Reddy

For DPG Chair. That would certainly be a fresh, exciting start, wouldn't it? I'm not suggesting that those who have already offered themselves are not good choices, but at a point in our history when we need to rebuild, I think that it would be great to have a young vibrant chair like Shyam. Why him? He's smart, well-connected, can raise $$, has some statewide recognition (especially among dems), and was part of team that launched Red Clay, a successful Democratic organization. I think that he would also have the impact of attracting more young people to the Party. And he knows first hand about the need for the party to nurture and direct candidates so that we don't end up with several quality candidates in one race.

Of course, no one's asked Shyam whether he would like a fulltime job that pays no salary....but maybe that needs to change as well. Are you in?

Photos from the GADCC

See lots of photos from the Aug. 12 GADCC banquet in Macon

Friday, August 11, 2006

Byrd Speaks Out

Women often must be asked to run, that's the case made in the USA TODAY article that highlighted Lauren Benedict. (The article also appeared here on AOL, along with her photograph.) Today, one of those who asked Benedict to consider running spoke out. Chuck Byrd, a middle Georgia attorney who describes himself as “a conservative, pro-life Democrat" said, “I was looking for good, well qualified people to represent the working families of Georgia, and Lauren Benedict fits that bill. My wife, Melanie, and I are proud to support Lauren and urge others to do the same." You can find out more about how to support Lauren Benedict here.

Georgia House Candidate Gains National Spotlight

Lauren Benedict (D), candidate for HD 140, down in the Heart of Georgia, is in the national spotlight today. Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Charisse Jones chose Benedict as one of the candidates to highlight in a USA Today article on how women win. Lauren is in a very competitive district. The seat currently held by a vulnerable freshman Republican who won in 2004 by only 80 votes. For months, Benedict is has been running a smart grassroots campaign, working hard to make sure that, this year, a Democrat who will put the needs of the people in the district first, will win. Here's a portion of the USA Today article:

Women often need to be asked to run, Fischer says. Such was the case with Lauren Benedict, a Democrat who is challenging Republican incumbent Allen Freeman for a seat in the Georgia House.

An attorney, Benedict, 34, has taken community and church leadership roles but didn't think of pursuing political office until colleagues and friends suggested it.

"I think I was moving toward that step and perhaps not realizing it until someone asked," she says.

In her community and her church, Benedict had been involved as a volunteer for many years. Advocating for hard working families is also the focus of her professional practice where she specializes in Social Security disability and Worker's Compensation. She views elected office as public service, a natural extension of her life and her professional practice.

Benedict is an outstanding candidate, and this seat is one that Georgia Democrats can definitely take back this year. You can learn more about Lauren, and volunteer or contribute by clicking here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just Say "No" Joe

Last night, both Stewart and Colbert were all over Lieberman's case for his intent to run as an independent. Stewart nailed him on his analogy of this being halftime of a game with the opponent ahead. Game's over, you lost, was Stewart's suggestion. It's hard to see any good coming from Lieberman's plan to continue to run. And great potential for splitting at the local party level.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Helping Women Win

Based on a simple count, it's easy to see that women face special challenges in the political arena. Currently, less than 18% of those who serve in the General Assembly are women, but last night, that ratio improved at bit. Two women, both newcomers to state politics, won their races and will have the opportunity to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives. Congratulations to both Robin Shipp and Margaret Kaiser! Both will be great additions to the General Assembly.

We need more highly qualified Democratic women in the Georgia Assembly. Women do not have access to the proverbial "Good 'Ol Boy" network that helps men get elected. In recent years, groups like WIN List and EMILY's List have formed and are creating powerful scaffolding for women who attempt to the long climb to elected office. While, training, money and technical assistance are critical elements of these programs, what really makes the difference is less tangible. Having someone a phone call or e-mail away who has political expertise but no financial interest in the campaign and whose only goal is helping a candidate get elected is a valuable asset these groups routinely provide. Being able to ask someone who has consulted on hundreds of campaigns about the details of a media buy is valuable. Having someone to call who knows who's who in a particular community can help candidates avoid lots of problems. That's the kind of help these groups can provide and more. If you would like to see more great, qualified Democratic women elected, check out WIN List and EMILY's List!

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Saving the Soul of the Georgia Democratic Party

There's hope. It's a good evening when the candidate branded as "a decent man" wins overwhelmingly. That's exactly what happened tonight when Jim Martin won the Democratic primary. Clearly, if negative campaigns always win, Jim would not be the nominee. Other candidates should take note. Jim, for whom community service is a family value, will be a great Lt. Governor. Congratulations, Jim.

Martin Has Early Lead

With about 42% of the precincts reporting, Martin is well ahead, as is Buckner. Many large metro precincts are not yet in, but Martin is winning Bibb, a county where Greg won big in the primary.

Wal-Martizing the War: Unbelievable Story

Did you know that non-existent Wal-Marts are saving soldiers lives in Iraq?

If not, it's probably because you don't listen to enough conservative talk radio. I don't listen to it much either, but yesterday morning, on my way back from Crisp County, I tuned into AM 940 hoping to catch the news. Instead (yes, I said instead), I caught Paul Harvey, who must be 150 years old because I can remember listening to him as a child. Anyway, you know how he weaves commercials into his script, almost as if it is a news item? Well, he did such a commercial for Wal-Mart.

Paul, with great passion, told the story of a group of marines going house to house in Iraq on an extremely hot day, digging out those insurgents. As several of the marines staggered back toward their post, one was so hot and dehydrated that he was desperate for water and near death. Paul says that this young marine credited something that was not even there that day with saving his life. Yes, it was a vision of a (nonexistent) Wal-Mart on a distant hill that gave him the courage to keep on going. Wal-Mart saved his life. Unbelievable!!

I would say that Wal-Mart should be ashamed of itself, but I doubt their capacity for self-examination. I am stunned by the stark commercialization of the sacrifices soldiers make to serve. We ought to object, and loudly, and, in particular with our pocketbooks.

This commercial, and it's placement is a lesson for Democrats. For three decades, the Republican message machine has successfully married patriotism, piety and profit. This neo-conservative threesome has patriots and people of faith stuffing money in the pockets of the old Republican establishment. When we wonder about why Democrats have trouble winning, it would be wise to remember that millions of listeners every day get a steady diet of this garbage.

Monday, August 7, 2006

It's None of My Business, But....

Or, maybe it is, since it's my district. Tomorrow, voters who live in HD 137 will choose between Allen Peake and Stebin Horne, both Republicans. There is no Democrat in the race, so I will not have the chance to cast a ballot. This was a crowded, four candidate, primary field, and in the primary, Peake bested Horne by a substantial margin. Some, including Horne, were a little surprised by this, but my husband called this race early when he was canvassing our precinct for Cathy and saw all the Peake signs in yards. (It took about fifteen minutes to canvass my precinct for Cathy. Lots of Republicans around here!)

I am not thrilled with either of these candidates. They both espouse ideology that is fundamentally different, in some very important ways, than what I believe. But, as I listened to ads on morning drive time radio in Macon today, I came to the conclusion that I hope Horne pulls this one out of the fire. (I do not expect a thank you note for my endorsement. It will probably help his opponent more than him.)

Horne is conservative and has all the Republican family values who-ha on his website, but I think that Peake is a neo-con cut from the same cloth as Staton. What a pair they would make in Atlanta. Plus, Peake keeps talking about running the state like a business. I get that government should careful guard taxpayer dollars, but government is about public service, not about making money. That's a key and important difference. In fact, wasn't it FDR who said that some things are more important than making a profit? Government ought to be about blending sound business principles with serving the people of this state.

Finally, both candidates toe the line on abortion. (Can you be a Republican in Georgia and support choice? I don't think so.)Horne favors the "three exceptions" rule, while Peake goes to the radical extreme of allowing for abortion only if the life of the mother is at stake. That's right, victims of rape, incest and child rape are SOL. I would love to have a conversation with him about who determines that the mother's life is at stake and what repercussions a physician might face if someone disagreed with their assessment. Don't think that it wouldn't happen. Our legislators have amazing expert capacity. They are experts on education, healthcare, economic development, law and social policy. Why not medicine as well? Perhaps we will end up with an abortion court, where mostly men will review evidence and determine whether or not a women can have an abortion.

Of course, a women's right to choose is an argument that has little relevance to the people in my neighborhood. I'm not suggesting they don't care about the issue. I'm surely not suggesting that no one here ever has to make that difficult choice. It's just that they generally have enough money to insure that the choice, to have an abortion where it is legal, can be made by their family, not by the Georgia legislature. Send Peake to the State House and, if he has his way, abortion will not be legal in Georgia for very long.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

What are the Hecht Elves up to?

A friend of mine, an older women, here in Macon got an odd call yesterday. The female caller claimed that she was from the Martin campaign and wanted to be sure that my friend knew that "Martin is the pro-choice candidate" in this race, and then asked if she still planned to support him. My friend told her "yes" that she still planned to vote for Jim Martin. The caller seemed surprised and said, "you do?" and then hung up. Odd call, my friend thought, to be coming into Middle Georgia, and an odd way for the call to end.

Today, I checked with the Martin Campaign, and while they were doing some phone banking yesterday, they were not phonebanking this particular message. Shadows of Orlando Jones?

Another friend said that her voice mail was full of robocalls from Hecht. One was a Steen Miles call touting Hecht as "the little guy with the big heart." Where was his heart when he dropped the rape mailer?

The same friend said that her pastor said that the bishop had called asking that the pastors promote Hecht. Humm...seems a bit problematic to me, and perhaps a problem for Martin if this did happen.

And then there's the Hecht ad that aired last night on network here. The message is that Hecht is the candidate who best helps Taylor. I don't know about that! It seems to me that Hecht and Taylor bring the same players to the table. If Martin in the nominee, then he opens the door to a broader, more diverse group of supporters.

The Telegraph did pull their endorsement of Hecht, drawing a line in the sand. Here's part of what they had to say:

The race now comes down to Hecht and Jim Martin in the runoff. Jim Martin has an excellent record of public service as a legislator and as head of the state Department of Human Resources. However, we thought Hecht, also a former legislator, combined a unique blend of experience, new ideas and exuberance.

Before the July 18 primary, however, the race turned dark, and Hecht's campaign sent two mailings that discredit him and his effort to become lieutenant governor. The first was in poor taste, but the second was down right rotten. It took Martin's comments dealing with a bill he proposed as a means to increase rape convictions out of context and turned them around to attack him. It was a move that Hecht admits was "too harsh" and "over the top." We think so, too. Until this episode, voters could not have gone wrong with either candidate, but desperation brings out the best and worse in people. In a sea of dirty tricks, it's important to draw the line somewhere. We draw the line here. We endorse Jim Martin.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Photographs From Macon Canvass

Martin Earns Rare Marshall Endorsement

Congressman Jim Marshall has joined scores of other leaders in endorsing Jim Martin in the the primary runoff for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor. Here, Marshall joins other leaders in lending his support to Jim. Congressman Marshall typically "stays in his own race", so in the instance, Jim has earned rare public support from the Congressman.

Macon Telegraph to Endorse Martin

Jim Martin is in Macon this afternoon, canvassing neighborhoods with supporters including the likes of Congressman Jim Marshall, City Councilman Mike Cranford, City Councilman Rick Hutto and former commission chair, Tommy Olmstead. A large, diverse and enthusiastic group of supporters met Jim at 4 PM, and they are knocking on doors as we speak.

The group is distributing a flyer that details many of Jim's Middle Georgia endorsements and including among them is The Macon Telegraph. This is quite a surprise and a major coup for Jim. The paper originally endorsed Hecht in the Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor, but, apparently, tomorrow, the Telegraph, which has the third largest circulation in the State, will endorse Jim Martin in the runoff. I have lived in Macon for over 20 years, and it is rare for this newspaper to do an about-face on endorsements. Clearly, the Martin momentum in the mid-state continues to grow!

Friday, August 4, 2006

Can Mark Taylor Make Lemonade?

Based on the Rasmussen poll released today, here are a few of the things Sonny Perdue brings to the table:

1) Rasmussen has him ahead by 14 points, a number that sounds a lot like the margin (15) by which Bush beat Kerry in Georgia. For Mark Taylor to win in November, a fair number of Georgians who voted for Bush will need to vote for Taylor. Not a terribly easy get.

2) Perdue has, for months, bragged about his grassroots organization. He has published the names of his county chairs, and there is one for every Georgia county.(We don't even have county parties in every county, so we have ground to make up quickly on the grassroots front.)

3) As of June 30, Perdue reports about 9 million cash on hand to Taylor's million. This is almost the converse of the position Perdue was in in 2002, when he won. Now, he has the cash and the grassroots network.

4) Rasmussen says that the issues most on the mind of voters is the economy and jobs, followed by immigration. Taylor and Perdue are tied (good news) among the economy votes, but Perdue is way ahead with the Lou Dobbs fan club. Do Democrats have a clear platform on immigration?

5) Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow is that the voters rather like Perdue. 34% have a "very favorable" view of him as compared to 15% who have a "very favorable" view of Taylor. Only 9% have a "very unfavorable" view of Perdue, compared to 16% for Taylor.

Perdue is not an easy mark for Taylor, yet Taylor seems to savor a fight, and he's a tough politician. It would be a mistake to count him out, but you've got to admit, there's a big mountain to climb here! The question is, can Taylor take lemons and make lemonade? We shall see. The Rasmussen piece is below.

August 4, 2006

Republican Governor Sonny Perdue
Lt. Governor Mark
Taylor (D) spent the first half of 2006 winning the right to be challenge
Governor Sonny Perdue (R) in this November's election. The second half of the
year may be a bit tougher.
Perdue has a 53% to 39% advantage over Taylor in the latest Rasmussen Reports election poll in Georgia (see crosstabs).
That's not much different that our last poll before Taylor's primary victory. As if a 14-point lead wasn't enough, Perdue began the general election campaign with $9 million in his campaign war chest while Taylor had just over $1 million.
Thirty-five percent (35%) of Georgians consider the economy to be the most
important voting issue this November. Immigration was named most important by 17% followed by National Security and the War in Iraq at 13% each. The candidates are even among those who see the economy as number one but Perdue has a big lead among those who see immigration as most important. Seventy percent (70%) of Georgia voters believe that election ballots should be printed in English only while 27% believe they should be printed in English and Spanish. Thirty-four percent (34%) of voters have a very favorable opinion of Perdue while just 9% have a very unfavorable view. For Taylor, the numbers are 15% very favorable and 16% very unfavorable.
Crosstabs are available to Premium
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge
Premium Service for Election 2006 offers the most comprehensive public opinion
coverage ever provided for a mid-term election. We update the President's Job Approval Ratings daily and are polling every Senate and Governor's race at least once a month in 2006. Rasmussen Reports was the nation's most accurate polling firm during the Presidential election and the only one to project both Bush and
Kerry's vote total within half a percentage point of the actual outcome.
During Election 2004, was also the top-ranked public
opinion research site on the web. We had twice as many visitors as our nearest
competitor and nearly as many as all competitors combined.
Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

Keeping it in the Family?

When I was growing up, my mother was particular about us girls not airing the family's dirty laundry in public. (Not that there was any such laundry. See, I still hear my mother's voice.) "Keep it in the family" was a common phrase and meant that whatever disagreements we had, the neighbors did not need to know. As I got older and professionally trained as a family therapist, I learned that there is line between healthy privacy and dysfunctional secrecy: secrecy designed to hide things like abuse or addiction.

Why am I talking about this? Because, a political party is a little bit like a family and subject to similar problems. When does sunshine cleanse and heal, and when does it cause problems? Sometimes I think that if some of our dirty little secrets saw the light of day things would change. But that choice is not without cost. For example, at a local county meeting a member asked that adequate and public notice be given regarding all meetings. The chair replied, "Are you still planning to run for office?" A not-so-veiled threat. The currency of politics-favors, access, status, money-perpetuate a system where many are "in it" for what they can get out of it. That does not tend to promote an open process and makes it tough to grow local parties. So, at what point, is it appropriate to shine the spotlight on those who run closed, dysfunctional systems?

Martin's Mid-State Strategy

What a difference three weeks makes! On July 18th, Bibb County voters bucked the statewide trend and handed Greg Hecht a substantial victory over Jim Martin. Both candidates are slated to be in Macon this weekend. Hecht's campaign sent out a notice that Greg will be at First Friday tonight and Martin will be in Macon tomorrow to canvass and for a press conference with local elected leaders who have endorsed him. Martin will meet supporters (you are invited) at 315 College Street at 4 PM, and then head out to canvass.

That Martin is coming to Macon at all at this point in the campaign, an area he lost overwhelmingly in the primary, is a testament to the strength of his campaign. Translate: he must think that he is doing very well in metro if he's coming down to Macon to stump for votes the weekend before the election!

On the contrary, this week has been a rough for for Hecht who suffered through the withdrawal of the Creative Loafing endorsement. Some say, "big deal." I say, go ahead and put a brave face on it. The Loafing switch in and of itself is not a huge problem for Greg, but I suspect that it reflects the climate of an electorate who became disenchanted with Hecht in the final week before the primary. If that disenchantment holds, his voters are at risk to (1) switch or (2) simply stay at home.

Middle Georgia could be crucial territory for both of these candidates. The backlash against Hecht that hit Atlanta just before the primary has just in the last week begun to be common knowledge down here in these parts. It will be very interesting to see whether Hecht weathers the storm and again leads Martin in this area of the state.

Martin's list of mid-state endorsements has grown considerably since the primary and includes the likes of Congressman Jim Marshall, City Councilman Mike Cranford, Rep. David Lucas, Tommy Olmstead and Councilman Rick Hutto. Some of the folks on this list, I didn't think ever agreed about anything, but on this they do agree: Jim Martin, a man of integrity, is the best choice for Democrats on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

GWV Poll Results: Hecht and Martin

Based on the results of the online poll posted day before yesterday, it appears that Martin's momentum may be continuing. With 50 votes cast, Martin received 34 votes (68%), Hecht received 15 votes (30%) and 1 person was "undecided." I expect that Jim would take those results on Tuesday! Let's just hope that vote count does not reflect the number who will vote in the real runoff!

Four Wonderful Women: Four Chances for Change

Currently, fewer than 18% of Georgia legislators are women, yet women are typically 55% of the voters. On Tuesday, we have a chance to improve those numbers! Four candidates, endorsed by Georgia's WIN List, face runoffs next Tuesday. Gail Buckner, who wants to be your next Secretary of State, recently earned the endorsement of the AJC. Gail is an experienced, veteran legislator. In HD 58, Robin Shipp, an attorney who I first knew here in Macon and who is now counsel for Grady Hospital, is facing Allen Thornell. Robin was the top vote-getter in the primary and no doubt would be a stellar legislator. In HD 59, Margaret Kaiser, a business owner and community volunteer, took on incumbent Doug Dean. Margaret was within about 150 votes of Dean in the primary, and is working hard to win on Tuesday. Her drive, determination and history of investing in the community are great reasons to support Margaret. Finally, Bobbie Sanford, who has a long history of service to the community, is in a runoff in SD 43.

I'm not in favor of voting for a women just because she's a women, but when well-qualified women like these offer themselves for service, change is a very good thing indeed! Don't forget to vote!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

How (NOT) to Woo a Cox Supporter

In order to win the general election, Mark Taylor needs most of the 211, 978 people who voted for Cathy Cox to vote for him. In response to all those who've asked, yes, I'm "on board." Whatever that means. Yes, we need to be together as we move forward, and as Tom Bourdeaux said, Cathy was my first choice, but Sonny is my last choice, as in "last person on earth" to be our Governor. That said, those who have been Taylor supporters all along, should consider that when reaching out to the rest of us, some approaches are more effective than others, and some methods just might drive some to do the unthinkable: vote for Perdue. Consider this:

1) Mark Taylor got it right. Follow his example. On Saturday, Taylor shook my hand and said, "I would appreciate your support going forward." I said, "Thank you." Odd reply? After two weeks of Taylor supporters doing some of the things below, I was grateful that the candidate had the good sense to simply say the right thing. Take a page from that book.

2) The "Bash Cathy" approach will not win friends. Don't call to ask for support for Taylor and take the opportunity to criticize Cathy. It will be a short conversation.

3) Don't be arrogant. It's a turn off. A "bend over and take your licks" attitude may make you feel powerful, but will it get Taylor elected? I don't think so.

4) Don't ask lifelong Democrats if they are "on board." Do you really think I would vote for Perdue? Please.

5) Don't be manipulative. For example, don't tell us that Taylor can win the general, and if he fails to win, the loss will be the fault of those who failed to "get on board", or Cathy's fault because she chose to run at all. Give me a break. Tough primarys have produced many a Georgia Governor.

6) Don't blame Cathy for Sonny's tactics. Don't call and tell me that Cathy cooperated with Sonny and endorsed him sending out the letter to her supporters. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Cathy's been on a much needed vacation, and her donor list is available on the State Ethics Commission's website. Even Sonny's smart enough to figure that out. The tactic is classic Republican politics. In fact, Calder Clay sent a similar letter to Chuck Byrd supporters when Jim Marshall won that primary. Didn't work then, won't work now.

7) Ditch the full court press. Don't call our friends and tell them what we should do, or that you are going to find out "what kind of Democrat" we are. This is both offensive and manipulative, and while it doesn't make me want to vote for Sonny, it doesn't make me want to roll my sleeves up either.

Someone on this blog opined that the Lt. Governor doesn't need to do anything to reach out to Cox supporters; he won the primary and that's all he needs to do. I don't agree. Cox voters are the easiest pond for Taylor to fish. He needs those votes, and it would be a mistake to assume that all the fish will just jump in the boat. Whether they "ought" to is an irrelevant discussion. We have to deal with the realities of human nature. The Lt. Gov. knows how to ask. I suggest that others follow his example.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

All Our Eggs in One Basket?

I've heard some rumblings among our Democratic leaders in Georgia. Some are of the opinion that we need to put the bulk of our money and our energy into the Governor's race, working on the theory that we must elect Mark Taylor, and hopefully make some gains in the House and Senate, but that re-building a majority in the legislature is something that we can focus on in 2008. While I agree that the Governor's race is important, focusing on it to the exclusion of some of these winnable and defendable legislative seeks is awfully risky. We need to at least maintain the margins we currently hold in the legislature, margins that have at times allowed us to keep objectionable constitutional amendments off the ballot. (I said "at times.")

I am interested in your thoughts. Is it wise to put all our eggs in one basket? Do you think that Taylor will win and help others do the same?