Saturday, June 30, 2007
At Politics and Lunch on Friday, we had all but one of the candidates for a forum. Travis Fain from the Telegraph and Brandon Long from 41-WMGT asked the questions, and honestly, they did a great job. Reichert did a particularly good job at this forum, offering both passion and accurate information. Randall also did a good job, offering lots of detail as he discussed budget and questions about the landfill and the levy. He also made a promise-not to leave the state of Georgia for the first year of his term. That might play well in a community disgusted with our current Mayor's frequent trips abroad, sometimes at taxpayer expense.
I have not endorsed in this race, but will make a prediction about the outcome-always dangerous. Look for that prognostication on this page the day before the primary.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
And....a belated Happy Birthday to Mary Long!
Monday, June 25, 2007
The forum was held at Studio 32 in Macon, in the heart of East Macon. Just to paint a picture for you, this is the Club that is home the Cotton Street Mofia's annual holiday party, and it is easily 'home turf' for Rep. Lucas. He came in and asked to be included in the forum, and was denied that opportunity by Ms. Mary Modena, the wife of the sheriff and the President of the Democratic Women. Actually, she sort of let the crowd vote, and there was not a whole lot of support for including him in the forum. It was the political equivilent to telling dad that, no, he cannot, in fact, sit in his favorite recliner in his own livingroom.
Mary did give him the microphone at the end, and invited him to address the crowd . He took the opportunity to declare his candidacy and slam the Telegraph and Jami Gaudet for trying to make this election "about a hotel" when there are much more critical issues facing the city-solvency and the landfill to name a couple. Lucas said he didn't want to run, and he thought that Sen. Robert Brown was going to run. Brown got sick and Macon is in a mess that requires his attention, so, he's running.
David Lucas is a Democrat to the core, but this is a partisan election, and he has chosen to run as an Independent. Is he still a Democrat? Or, has he become Macon's own Joe Lieberman? Why didn't he just run in the Democratic Primary? Like EVERYONE else? I suspect that the answer lies in the question. By running as an Independent, he bypasses the primary and gets a ticket straight to the general election. Not a bad move, except that it does not appear that the Party faithful are entertained by him refusing to play by the "rules." Imagine that, David Lucas not playing by the rules. Who knew?
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
What is the rightful role of faith in politics, and why, over the last three decades, have Democrats allowed Republicans to promulgate the myth that GOP stands for "God's Only Party"?
Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist evangelist has said that Christians should decide which candidate to vote for based five "non-negotiable" issues: abortion, euthanasia, stem cell harvesting, gay marriage and human cloning. Those seems like awfully easy choices for him, and in fact, for most people. He will never be pregnant, so he will never face a personal decision about an abortion. Most people do not face personal decisions about stem cell harvesting or human cloning. And, since gays are a minority, most people will never face the pain of not being allowed to marry their partner in life. Humility and sacrifice are core themes of the gospel, but they have no place in the prosperity-laced teaching of the religious right. Just check those five boxes, and you're all good. Easy.
I don't see it that way. We are a diverse nation, one where the founders ensured our religious liberty by prohibiting the establishment of any religion by the government. My faith does impact my political views, and the values that stem from that faith are the reason I am politically active. But, I don't believe that there is any evidence in the Gospels that Christians are called to a life of ease or of judgement. Instead, we are required to "do justice" and expected to sacrifice in order to help "the least of these." So, my litmus test issues end up being very different from Warren's. Poverty, healthcare, the environment and education top that list, and to address those issues adequately requires sacrifice.
Over the last three decades, the religious right has assisted the wealthiest and most powerful segment of our society by crafting a belief system that makes greed good and justifies ignoring those who suffer, because, after all, they brought it on themselves. The truth is that in the stories of the Old and the New Testament, some who suffer are sinners, some who suffer are saints, and one who suffers is a savior. That complicates things a bit, doesn't it?
Daryl and I had lunch today at The City Market, at the corner of Cherry and Third, in Macon where The Cherry Corner used to be. The Market has just opened, and let me just say, this place is going to do very well. The new owners have recently moved to Macon from Las Vegas. With family roots in Georgia, they were looking for a historic southern town and decided Macon was home. We will all be glad they did. The menu-large, fresh salads, innovative sandwiches, fresh made pizza, pasta and more-offers well prepared food, at reasonable prices. For lunch, Daryl had a meatball sub that was bigger than his plate, homemade potato chips and tea. He liked it. I could tell by the fact that he was not talking. I had a Chinese Chicken Salad that was large, fresh, and very tasty and a soft drink. Our bill was about $16.00.
They open at 7 am for breakfast, and beginning soon will also offer a dinner menu. Local celebrities can be spotted at the bar. (They serve wine and beer.) That's where I saw the dynamic duo, Russell Boston and Commissioner Joe Allen, this morning. When I interrupted their plotting and planning, Joe was enjoying his plate of grits, eggs, bacon and toast, and assured me that despite coming from Vegas, the new owners definitely know how to make grits. (He also let us know that he intends to vote against the county budget. See what you can learn here?)
These are nice folks, a great location and a good addition to downtown dining options. Go there.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
It seems that when the neo-cons executed the takeover of the SBC in the 1980's, they failed to consider the consequences of changing the demographics of this once blue collar denomination. The influx of wealthy, better educated members has lowered the birthrate among Southern Baptists to less that two children per female 20-44 (1.96 to be exact). Moore, and other Southern Baptists fear the death of the denomination if the congregants don't get busy and start birthing brand new Baptists. Moore moaned that the Baptist birthrate was, "just barely above the Episcopalians and well below the notoriously liberal United Church of Christ." Mormon families had the highest fertility rate (2.69).
As Allen points out, this is hardly one rogue Southern Baptist theologian, but instead, this ridiculous view is reflected among other SBC leaders. Perhaps the need to ensure the next generation of Southern Baptists through procreation explains the need for the new seminary degree in "Christian Homemaking" that includes a seven hour lab in clothing construction. To further this particular effort they may wish to make that "clothing deconstruction."
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Yes: Youmas, Lucas, Timley, Ross, Ponder, Chambliss, Jones, Mullis, Thomason
That's all I have for now. This would mean that Hutto, Cranford, White, Paris, Ficklin, and DeFore all either voted no or abstained. I will try to get the full result.
This issue has been the subject of bitter public debate in Macon, and in some instances has unfortunately become very personal. Public will is not on the side of building a hotel on the parking lot of the Coliseum, so this vote will be fodder for debate in the upcoming election. You will note that one candidate for Mayor, Anita Ponder, voted "yes", while another candidate for Mayor, Ficklin, voted, "no." Lance Randall was part of the development team for the across the street project, so it's safe to say that he's not in favor of the parking lot deal. In council races, you have Brenda Youmas, who voted yes, facing Rick Hutto, who voted no, and Keith Moffett who has voiced his opposition to the parking lot deal at a press conference. Chambliss and Paris are opposinng one another and are on opposite sides of this issue, as well. Should be interesting.
Monday, June 18, 2007
By going this route, Lucas avoids the Democratic primary and moves directly to the general election. This should make life more interesting in Macon.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
On the one hand, Genarlow Wilson sits in jail for a crime that would, under today's law, be a misdemeanor, and, on the other hand, Gov. Perdue has replaced Dee Simms, preferring to instead to appoint someone who pledges to work within the system to advocate for our children. What Simms courageously and accurately pointed out, and what Genarlow Wilson exemplifies, is that sometimes, it is the system itself that is broken, and in those instances, courage of conscious, sometimes at great personal risk, is required to right the wrong so that there really can be "liberty and justice for all."
By the way, I think Dee Simms ought to run for office, and while the legislature might be a good place to start, I think that this former prosecutor and advocate for Georgia's children would make one heck of an Attorney General. (My personal musings only.)
Friday, June 15, 2007
Hold the train. I agree with Judge Self to an extent. I believe that all judicial elections should be nonpartisan. It is, however, ironic, that some of the same people who are advocating for local nonpartisan races are supporting legislative changes that would make judges' elections partisan at the state level. That makes no sense to me. Beyond judges races, though, I disagree with Self and the others who claim Party has no place in local elections. Some say, "I can't think of a single partisan issue that is decided on a local level." What they are really saying is that hot button issues like abortion and gay rights are not decided on a local level, so to accept that premise means accepting that these are the issues that define the parties. I don't accept that at all.
There really are some basic differences in how Democrats and Republicans approach problems that impacts us on the local level. Actually, Dale Cardwell said it well. The difference is that Democrats favor the Golden Rule, and Republicans favor "survival of the fittest." That's too broad a brush stroke to be sure, but there is truth in the statement. On scores of issues from taxes to whether or not city workers are allowed to organize to how we support our public schools, public transportation and public recreation, Democrats and Republicans are likely to differ.
Plus, I hear this illogical argument: "Party doesn't matter at a local level. I must run as a Republican/Democrat in my district in order to get elected." Party apparently matters to someone-the voters, for instance. Oh, and Party matters so little that currently in Georgia, the Republicans who are in charge of such decisions require that even in "nonpartisan races" (like the special election in the Georgia 10th), candidates must claim a party and that identification appears on the ballot. This practice does not render the race "nonpartisan," it just ties the hands of voters, preventing them from choosing one candidate from their Party to participate in a general election.
Perhaps what the Parties should hear in all this is also reflected in the polling trends that show voters increasingly identifying as neither Democrats or Republicans. What we need to learn is that 1) voters don't trust partisans much; 2) they don't think they are effective or have their interest at heart; and 3) they will increasingly vote "for the candidate not the Party." If we want to make the Party relevant, then we have work to do.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
This morning, I was listening to the radio and caught a bit of Paul Harvey. He did a story claiming that the United States military has admitted working on, and then discarding, technology to create a "Gay Bomb." He said that the idea was to drop a non-lethal bomb that would contain high levels of hormones and aphrodisiacs rendering troops so interested in having sex with each other, they would be unable to fight. Don't even get me started about the implications of this mindset for our gay men and women who are currently serving in our own military.
Initially, I thought it was just absolute homophobic crap, but a quick Google search has me asking another question. Turns out, this story was reported by the BBC in 2005, and it was also reported on FOX in 2005. If this story broke in 2005, then why are Harvey (click here and then scroll down and click on Wednesday AM to listen) and other American news outlets reporting this today as news? The answer is easy: it's nothing other than blatant, fear-mongering propaganda.
Neither is it an accident that in 2006 none other than Sen. Fred Thompson (as in, I'm sort of running for President Fred Thompson) signed on as Paul Harvey's substitute. Those of us old enough to remember will recall that before he ran for President, Ronald Regan also spent a good deal of time on the radio. I can recall my father listen to the radio as he got ready for work in the mornings, blood pressure rising as Regan talked. This is, as that was, a calculated, strategic use of "mainstream media."
It is crystal clear that fear of and bigotry regarding gays will be a weapon in the arsenal of the GOP during the upcoming battle for the Presidency. From the attacks on Sen. Edwards to the support of "don't ask, don't tell" in the military, the radical right wing of the Republican party appears to have been given free reign to wage this campaign of hate.
Now, does someone out there want to argue with me about the "objectivity" of mainstream media?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Congratulations, Mary. We love you.
Want to know who in Macon gave to Obama and how much they gave? With just a couple of clicks, you will have the answer. The FEC has launched a new map feature on their website, a clickable, easy to use map, that allows visitors to view from where, and from whom various Presidential candidate got their cash. The map is up to date as of the last reporting period (the end of March), and they promise to have it updated within two days of the next report, due on June 30. Below is an article about how the service was developed:
Deseret Morning News, Tuesday, June 12, 2007
New Web site shows campaign donors' ZIPs
By Suzanne Struglinski
Deseret Morning News
WASHINGTON — If someone wants to know who in Salt Lake City — or anywhere else in the country — is giving money to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., or Mitt Romney or any of the presidential candidates, the Federal Election Commission will unveil a user-friendly option today.
The commission's Web site, www.fec.gov, will now feature a clickable map that breaks down campaign contributions by ZIP code so the public can see from what areas of the country candidates are getting support.
FEC spokesman Bob Biersack said the commission staff had been thinking for some time about how to make the volumes of data it collects from the candidates more presentable — especially for the citizens to access it and understand it.
The software to make the map cost $12,000, and it took up to 12 people about six weeks to put it all together.
The map data are current through the latest presidential campaign filings that were due in April, and it will be updated less than 24 hours after the next round of campaign-contribution reports need to be filed on July 15, Biersack said.
In Utah, campaign donors have given almost $3 million to the presidential candidates, with about $2.9 million going to Republican candidates and $78,000 going to Democratic candidates, based on data in the new database.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who headed Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Olympics and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has received the most money from Utahns so far — roughly $2.7 million. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has received $113,249 with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at $80,350.
Democrats have received $78,515 from Utahns with Obama receiving the most at $28,415 and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. at $20,150. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., has received $13,150.
Those accessing the map will be able to see donations given to each candidate by ZIP code, and that can be broken down further to see the individual donor's name and city.
© 2007 Deseret News Publishing Company
H/T to Steve Leeds for this information.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
A couple of musings:
- I find it interesting that during qualifying week, the Bibb Republican Party required candidates to make an appointment in order to qualify, while the Bibb Democratic Party staffed the table pretty much full time for a week. That decision on the part of the Bibb GOP may have had something to do with the number of Republicans who qualified: two in the Mayor's race and two for City Council posts. That's right- four people. On the Democratic side, five people qualified for Mayor and twenty-five signed up to run for a spot on City Council . Still, the whole "make an appointment" thing doesn't seem right. During qualifying, shouldn't a candidate be able to walk in and qualify whenever?
- No wonder the local GOP is pushing so hard for municipal elections to be non-partisan. The qualifying fees in partisan races go to the Party, so changing these races to non-partisan would literally take money out of the coffers of the Bibb Democratic Party. And, other than doing away with primaries, what difference would it make? Even in nonpartisan races (to fill a seat, for example) the candidate still must declare a party, and that affiliation appears on the ballot.
Friday, June 8, 2007
1. Brenda Youmas
2. Keith Moffett
3. Rick Hutto
1. Lonnie Miley
1. Victor Hunt
2. Elaine Lucas
1. James Timley
1. Mike Cranford
2. Al Tillman
1. Ed Defore
2. David Booker
1. Larry Schlesinger
2. Cartese Dillard
1. Alveno Ross
1. Tom Ellington
2. Marshall Burkett
3. DeArious Rhodes
1. Willetta Hill Chambliss
2. Regina Davis
3. Miriam Paris
1. Charles Jones
1. Virgil Watkins
2. Gerald Harvey
3. Harold Franklin
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Shock of shocks, the GOP is using Hillary as a fundraising tool, inviting their fearful following to go to www.GOP.com/NoToHillary and contribute. Oh, they mention Obama and Edwards in passing, but it's Hillary who is front and center with a photo. This strategy is not exactly front page news, but this email (text below) is the most blatant attempt I have seen to date. How they picked me is a mystery. I have never ever voted in a Republican primary. I am on the executive committee for the DPG. I contribute only to Democrats, and yet, this was in my email.
"Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies." Hillary Clinton, May 29, 2007
Do you think Hillary Clinton knows how to spend your money better than you do?
Are you willing to trust her to be "fair" with the "right government policies?"
Clearly, the 'government knows best crowd' is back and bolder than ever!
Hillary Clinton is mocking President Bush's goal of building an 'ownership society,' in which you have greater choices on how you manage your home, family, health care and retirement. And what's Hillary's prescription? More government rules and regulations, and higher taxes on everybody. There is nothing "fair" about it.
Amy, don't let Hillary get hold of your life savings. Support President Bush and the Republican Party's pro-growth policies by making a special online contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50, or $25 to the RNC today.
President Bush and our Party firmly believe that the money you earn is your own -- and that you can make better decisions on how to use it than the government.
The President's policies promote responsibility and opportunity: tax cuts have put more money in your pocket, Health Saving Accounts are providing better access to health care for more individuals, and Association Health Plans would help small business owners obtain affordable health care for themselves and their employees.
And thanks to President Bush's leadership, home ownership in America is near an all-time high, the economy has experienced over five years of uninterrupted growth, the unemployment rate is at 4.5%, inflation is low and wages are rising.
But everything we have accomplished together will be overturned if a liberal Democrat like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards is elected president in 2008. We need your help to stop the left-wing's agenda for our country.
Your secure online contribution will help the RNC spread the word about the Democrats' plans for bigger government and higher taxes. Please respond today. Thank you.
Sincerely,Robert M. "Mike" Duncan Chairman, Republican National Committee
P.S. Amy - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards want to raise your taxes to pay for their big government programs. Say "NO" to more taxes and support our President and Party by making a secure online contribution to the RNC right now. With your support, we will stop Democrats' drive to push our country to the left. Click here www.GOP.com/NoToHillary to do your part today. Thank you.
To Forward This Email To Your Friends And Family, Please Click Here
Republican National Committee 310 First Street, SE Washington, D.C. 20003p: 202.863.8500 f: 202.863.8820 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paid for by the Republican National Committee
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee - www.gop.com
Copyright 2007 Republican National Committee
With campaign stops in both Savannah and Macon yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards again demonstrated that she and Sen. John Edwards are committed to campaigning in all of Georgia-and well they should. John Edwards' message resonates in Georgia like none other. As Elizabeth quickly points out, John Edwards is the only candidate in the race to put forward an agenda for rural America. And, in a Georgia where one in five children live in poverty, he is the only candidate in the race who is really talking about that issue.
First, I want you to know that everything you have heard about this women is true. She is smart, compassionate, and fully engaged in this campaign, but most of all- she is real. There is not an ounce of pretension anywhere in Elizabeth Edwards. My favorite moment, of many good moments, was when she dropped to her knee to hug a volunteer, Julie Simon, who had found a seat on the floor of the crowded house.
Yesterday, as the time neared for Elizabeth Edwards to leave for Macon, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch and lightning was popping all around the Macon airport. When she arrived after being grounded in Savannah for about an hour, she was greeted by a large and diverse group of Democrats. To her credit, as she arrived, she took the time to make her way through the crowded house, speaking-really listening-to nearly everyone there.
At the beginning of the event, David Cusson (the host) was notably absent. Elizabeth told us that he was coaching his child's Little League Championship game. When David and his son, Carter, came in toward the end of the event, they received a loud round of applause. Elizabeth said, "he's been where any Democrat in this room would've been-at their child's game." Now, that's family values in action.
The house was packed, not only with party stalwarts like Marie Barnes, Rep. Dubose Porter, Lt. Gov. Taylor and Sen. Valencia Seay, but also with young Democrats and locals who have previously not been so politically active. A number of the YD's made the trip from Atlanta or Savannah to meet Elizabeth, and she was clearly thrilled to see them. During the question and answer period (yes, she actually took uncensored, unscripted questions from anyone who wanted to ask), she gave detailed answers to questions about Iraq and healthcare and then, as her staff kept trying to tell her it was time to go, she waved them off saying, "sometimes you just have to ignore them," and made time to answer a question from a teenager who wanted to know what Sen. Edwards intended to do about the environment. She answered carefully and completely, and then ended with this:
"This is not about us," she said. "If this were about us, we would go home, enjoy our children, be pampered or travel the world. But it's not about us or some title John wants to hold. It is about something much bigger. It's about all of us." Elizabeth Edwards' petite but powerful presence, in Middle Georgia on a Tuesday night, spoke louder than her words. What a wonderful First Lady she would make.
Thanks to Tina for all the pictures, including the one posted here!
This is cross-posted at Tondees Tavern.
Monday, June 4, 2007
And, in further evidence that Edwards hit a sore spot, this morning, Sen. Clinton is responding to Edwards. I got not one but two emails from Sen. Clinton's campaign. She offers video footage of the debate that will demonstrate her ability to lead. Being among the first to vote on the war funding bill rather than among the last might've been a better way to demonstrate the courage of leadership.
It does not take political courage to be among the last to vote. It is not leadership to discover where your supporters are on an issue and then vote. The morning papers have characterized Edwards' move as courageous, but what's new? Since the inception of this campaign, Sen. Edwards has been the first to speak on the tough issues. He was the first to declare that we need to bring our troops home and the only candidate to admit his mistake and apologize for his vote on the war. He was the first to propose a detailed universal healthcare plan. And, when the Supreme Court recently failed to protect choice, he was the first to say that a women's right to choose should be made law. That's the sort of leadership I can respect.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Fain says that this is a pair of blogs, one about politics and one is more personal. On Monday morning, you can find him here.
Friday, June 1, 2007
To find out just what you will miss if you miss Elizabeth on Tuesday, read "Encountering Elizabeth" from Kos.
Lots of people are asking for directions to the event, so here you go. See you in Macon.
The rumor mill-and that's all it is-says that Brown and Reichert have struck some sort of deal. If that's the case, and Brown ends up supporting Reichert, that could do more to heal the racial divide in this community than any other single act I can imagine.