Monday, June 30, 2008

Francisco Responds to Freeman Comment

A while back, a comment from "Angela" was posted on this blog on the post "Speaking of Allen Freeman." The poster claimed to be Angela Freeman, Rep. Allen Freeman's wife. Of course, because of the vagaries of blog world, there is no easy way for me to know whether or not it was actually Angela Freeman who posted the comment. You can read the original post and the comment here. In the comment, some pretty specific allegations were made about Bubber Epps, Freeman's primary opponent. Regardless of the exactly identity of the poster, Elizabeth Francisco, who was the Twiggs County attorney at the time of the alleged events, took exception to the content of that comment and called me last week. Francisco said the allegations in the comment were inaccurate and asked for an opportunity to respond. Here's her response exactly as it was provided to me:

I read the allegations of Angela Freeman on GEORIGA WOMEN VOTE concerning James "Bubber" Epps' actions while Chairman of the Twiggs County Commission. I was the Twiggs County Attorney for a period of about 13 years both preceding, during and after Mr. Epps's service on the board. One of the major functions of the Commissioners of "Roads and Revenues" of Twiggs County during the entire period of my tenure was the maintenance of dirt roads in the county and attempts to get as much of the road system as possible paved. It was the major concern that citizens would bring to the Commission meetings, and the major function of each and every Commissioner during my tenure. Contracts for paving were handled by sealed bids, opened in public meetings, with contracts granted to the lowest bidder. Based on my memory, Mr. Epps never participated in the determination of the contractor on any project in which a company with which he was associated had presented a sealed bid or was involved. Monies received from any Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) were spent in accordance with the intended purposes set out in the referendum authorizing the tax, and were audited every year by independent auditors in accordance with Georgia law. I understand and appreciate that Ms. Freeman supports her husband. However, the insinuation in Ms. Freeman's letter, unsupported by specifics, that Mr. Epps did something shady while a Twiggs County Commissioner is precisely the type of negative campaign rhetoric that voters, particularly women voters, have become sick and tired of . Let the conversation be about what knowledge, experience, skills, and proposals for the future each of the candidates for an office brings to the table, not more of this nonsense.

Elizabeth R. Francisco

He Did NOT Say That!

"I like to touch people because they don't forget me when I touch them." That's what Vernon Jones said as he came over to shake my hand at a political forum in Macon tonight. That sound you heard was my jaw hitting the floor.

I kid you not. If there's anyone out there who does not get why this statement was a shocker, refer you to the AJC's endorsement in this race.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Georgia Representative's Letters to the Editor Banned

According to the Telegraph, until further notice, letters from Rep. Allen Freeman (R), Macon, are not welcome on the "Viewpoints" page. Why? Because he misled the newspaper and the public by claiming as his own work a canned letter prepared by Calypso Communications, a public relations firm representing a biofuel company, Green Earth Fuels of Houston, Texas-an industry Freeman, as chair of a study committee on biofuels, is supposed to be objectively evaluating-not shilling for. By the way, according to information on the company website, in October of 2007, Green Earth hired Calypso to help package and position the company for a public offering in the next twelve months. These "media kits" and contacts with elected officials are part of that marketing strategy. Why Freeman allowed himself to be used this way is a great question and one that deserves more attention. You have to ask yourself why a Georgia politician was willing to front for this Texas company.

FYI, Freeman's letter actually ran twelve days ago, and I suspected that it was copied as soon as I read it. Anyone who read it would've suspected the same thing. Fifteen minutes of googling confirmed by suspicions. I wrote about it here and provided the Telegraph a copy of my research on that same day. Phil Dodson responded to me by saying that the paper had taken steps to make sure that it did not happen again. I guess now we know what those steps were.

Here's a Crowd Pic From the Epps Event

Huge Crowd for Epps!

There's a huge crowd at the kick-off event for Bubber Epps, who is running against Allen Freeman in HD140. There are at least 350 people crowded into the Epps' large pavilion. I'd put a lot of the folks in that critical "swing voter" category. Based on this turnout, Freeman, who is apparently on restriction from the Telegraph's editorial page for submitting a canned letter as his own, is in big trouble in this race.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Isn't it Worth it?

If you had to dip into your savings to make sure your child was able to get the best start possible-the best chance to live the American Dream-you'd do it, right? Of course you would. I would. But, according to The Southern Education Foundation, the State of Georgia won't.

While the Georgia Lottery Reserve Fund sat at $879.1 million, ($309.5 restricted, $569.6 unrestricted) and our rainy day fund reached an historic one billion dollars in 2007, half of Georgia's four year olds were shut out of "universal" Pre-K. We once led the nation in creating "universal" Pre-K, but over the last ten years, enrollment in Georgia has basically flat-lined and spending has declined by about $400 per student, this according to a report titled, "Time to Lead Again: The Promise of Georgia Pre-K," and published by The Southern Education Foundation. And, they're just counting the children whose parents want them to attend Pre-K. There are, no doubt, invisible children whose parents never added their name to a waiting list.

In Bibb County, only 49.1% of children who entered 5K were enrolled in a Georgia Pre-K program. More than half of children who attend 4K in Bibb County are considered "at risk."

In 1993, Georgia's leaders demonstrated great vision by declaring that every child in Georgia would have access to Pre-K, but over the years, we have lost our vision and our will. Now, we spend a whopping 1.6% of the state's annual budget on Pre-K, even though we know that every $1 invested in Pre-K returns $5.12 to the state's economy. In fact, if we committed today to make space available for 80% of Georgia's four year olds, the program would pay for itself by 2026.

How? Students who participate in quality Pre-K are more likely to succeed in school and in life. Children who participated in a Georgia Pre-K program are much less likely be retained in 5K (2.8%) than those who attend a private Pre-K (4.4%) or those who attended no Pre-K (5.9%). And, as adults, children who attend a high-quality Pre-K are more likely to own their own home and more likely to earn more than $2,000 per month. Perhaps, most impressive, 41% of children who attend a high-quality Pre-K will never be on welfare as adults.

The bottom line is that we can do better, and we already have the resources we need to improve. It's time for Georgia's leaders to again embrace the vision that every single child should have access to excellent Pre-K education. It's not just the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense.*

*All of the statistical information in this post is from "Time to Lead Again: The Promise of Georgia Pre-K," published by The Southern Education Foundation. And, about that, I have good news and bad news. I got a copy of the report at a presentation in Atlanta tonight, but I don't think that it is posted on the net yet. That's the bad news. The good news is that the SEF is taking the presentation on the road in an effort to build public will to insist that every child whose parents want it should have access to quality Pre-K. They'll be coming to Macon soon, and to a city near you!

Lewis Gets AJC Nod

Congressman John Lewis earned the endorsement of the AJC. This seems like a total no-brainer to me. Opposing Lewis for Congress is a little like opposing Santa for Christmas-they just go together. And yet, there are people who have managed to do both. Tucker, writing for the AJC, says, in part:

But a standout in those roiling partisan waters is John Lewis, a liberal Democrat whom even ultraconservative Republicans don't like to cross. Lewis may not be a living saint — though Time magazine described him that way back in 1986 — but he is hardworking, principled and conscientious. That's reason enough to send him back to Congress.

Absolutely! It is truly amazing that we have a national treasure serving Georgia in Congress, and we appreciate it so much that he has primary opposition. Truly amazing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Martin Up on Air Tomorrow

I hear that Jim Martin will go up on air tomorrow. Check back here tomorrow to see the spot.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Georgia, Meet Sen. Kay Hagan

If you haven't heard about North Carolina's Kay Hagan, then you've missed the story of the great grassroots candidate who has an excellent chance of sending Liddy Dole back to Kansas. In fact, Hagan's been hosting Ruby Slipper decorating parties around North Carolina and is determined to give Dole a pair. I say, let's help her.
Kay Hagan is a five-term North Carolina State senator, and polls show her well within striking distance of Dole. Hagan, who is endorsed by EMILY's List, has a track record of common sense support for education, children's health insurance, renewable energy and an orderly withdrawal and political end to the war in Iraq.
And, I hear she's been busy raising money. She raised a million and a half and blew her opponent, Jim Neal, out of the water in the primary. Pundits looking at her polling and her fundraising see Kay as the Jim Webb of 2008.

So, since we don't have a women running for U.S. Senate in Georgia, what do you say? Let's help Kay give Liddy Dole that pair of Ruby slippers?

Monday's Caption Contest

Have at it:

Caption Contest Winner: Tina

There were lots of good entries, but the winning caption for this picture is from TINA!
"They migrate every year about this time."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Martin: "A Credit to His Party and His State"

Jim Martin has earned the endorsement of the AJC. Bookman's editorial is right on the money, both in his assessment of Martin's strengths and his assessment of the vulnerabilities of the other Democrats in the race. Here's a a bit:

Five candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate and the right to challenge Saxby Chambliss, the Republican incumbent, in the fall. But only one —- former state Rep. Jim Martin —- has the experience, the character and the intellect demanded for the role.Rand Knight, an environmental engineer and software salesman, has the intellect and character but has never held or sought public office. A seat in the U.S. Senate would be too big a step, too soon. Dale Cardwell, a former TV reporter, touts himself as an alternative to "business as usual" but has done nothing to establish himself as more than a protest candidate. Camping out on a tower in the dead of winter may draw publicity, but it is not the act of a potential U.S. senator. Josh Lanier, a retired businessman and consultant, is not running an aggressive
campaign. The remaining candidate, DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, is a special case. He is a man of large talents and large flaws, but those flaws of temperament, character and judgment are so large as to disqualify him from consideration for higher office.

Obama Ad Hits All the Right Notes

I don't know what I'm happier about: that Obama is investing money-staff and TV-in Georgia, or that the ad hits all the right notes. I think that it was Westenized:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Caption Contest

I snapped this photo at the Hirshhorn Museum last week. The medium here, if you cannot tell is paper covered coat hangers. One proposed caption is below the picture. Submit your own. The best will make the front page at the end of the day.

"Lauren Finally Organizes Her Closet"

Cox, Perdue: Duck and Cover

Maybe all the schools in Georgia should be private. At least, then, the incompetent CEO, Kathy Cox, would be fired. Seriously, can you imagine parents at a private school allowing an administrator to remain who failed to align curriculum with the ( not standardized, per Tina) test required for advancement to the next grade? Me neither. But, in this case, Cox thinks that she should face no scrutiny what-so-ever, and says that those who think otherwise are just being partisan.

I work with children every day. Many of them are attending summer school because of Cox's failure. These families cross the political and demographic spectrum-and they are all fighting mad, as they should be. Are they angry that their child is being held accountable? No. They're angry that their children were short-changed and that taxpayers are being forced to fund the solution.

The reality is that our schools are not private (though that is, in truth, the goal of these Atlanta republicans) and our state school superintendent is elected not employed. So, in two years, it's going to be the voter's job to fire her and the rest of the republican team that thinks leadership in education includes the fluff while neglecting the basics. From teacher gift cards to "parental involvement coaches," Perdue and company have systematically funded the icing on a cardboard cake. And, when they're asked to account for their actions-or in Cox's case, her silence, her failure to advocate for children and her preference for political sound-bite over actual reform-they cry foul. They are happy to hold teachers, parents and children accountable, but accountability stops at the door to the gold dome. It's up to the voters to say otherwise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Collection of Russert Tribute Cartoons

A friend sent along this link to a group of excellent Tribute Cartoons for Tim Russert. And, can I just say that the interview with his son, Luke, was profound, both in terms of the composure that young man managed and what he had to say.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Freeman Op-Ed Raises Credibility Question

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, plagiarize is defined as follows:

pla·gia·rize: transitive verb : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source; intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

Rep. Allen Freeman has a letter to the editor in the Telegraph today. He addressed the issue of biofuels. I have no particular issue with biofuels, but it appears that Rep. Freeman took substantial portions of his letter verbatim from industry-based publications without citing the sources or acknowledging that the words are not his own. Even if he used it with the permission of these industry-based publications, he still should've acknowledged the source because he presents the words as if they are his own. That's a credibility issue.

Last year Freeman sponsored a piece of legislation to create a study committee on biofuels. On 12/5/2007, Freeman received a $1,000 contribution from Alterra Bioenergy, a Macon-based company that manufactures and distributes biofuels.

Let me be clear. My issue here is not with biofuels-it's with Rep. Freeman's use of the words of others without attribution.

You can read a entire copy of his letter here. Below, I have pulled out the sentences that contain large portions from at least two other publications and have color coded the phrases and posted the source quotes below. So far, these are the phrases that I have found that appear in other publications (that he did not author):

1. With legislative concerns about America's energy future and food resources, some leaders in Washington are rethinking America's commitment to alternative fuels.

2. Biofuels have become a convenient scapegoat in the media, but fortunately not all biofuels are the same and it is possible for our country to have food and fuel and meet objectives to mitigate global warming.

3. Georgia can provide viable feedstocks and the one biofuel that shows exceeding promise for long-term sustainability is biodiesel.

4. The 500 million gallons of biodiesel produced in the U.S. in 2007 displaced 20 million barrels of petroleum and reduced greenhouse gas emissions at an equivalent of removing 700,000 passenger vehicles from America's roadways.


1. Not All Biofuels are the Same, May 29, 2008 - by Jeffrey Trucksess, Executive Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs for Green Earth Fuels, a Houston, Texas-based biodiesel company.

Here is a link to the full article. These are the portions that appear, unattributed, in Rep. Freeman's letter to the editor:

· Due to a confluence of legislative concerns about America’s energy future and an international food shortage, some leaders in Washington are rethinking America’s commitment to alternative fuels, especially biofuels.

· biodiesel’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions equaled the removal of 700,000 passenger vehicles from America’s roadways.

· It is time for all to take note: not all biofuels are the same and we can have food and fuel at the same time.

· the one biofuel that shows exceeding promise for long-term sustainability is biodiesel

Also, many of these same words and phrases appear in Trucksess' testimony before the a U.S. House committee last week.

2. And, a portion of Freeman's letter appears in this article from

President Bush Calls for Farmers to Keep Growing Energy
Weather and energy costs play greatest role in higher food prices
National Biodiesel Board

...Meanwhile, the U. S. biodiesel industry is helping increase the nation's refining capacity by building plants that produce an American-made, cleaner burning fuel. The 500 million gallons of biodiesel produced in the U.S. in 2007 displaced 20 million barrels of petroleum. Biodiesel is an extremely efficient fuel that creates 3.5 units of energy for every unit of fuel that is required to produce the fuel.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dear "Stupid Delegate"

I should probably leave this alone, but, frankly, I've had about enough. Dear "Stupid Delegate" (that's not a spelling error) was how an email began that was received today by a delegate-friend and supporter of Sen. Obama. That's just a mild taste of the kinds of emails "super" or "automatic" delegates have been getting. Never mind Clinton's gracious concession last Saturday, the site that makes it easy to mass email all delegates, is up and running strong. One of my friends is keeping copies of all the email she gets-she is certain that no one will believe how nasty people were unless she has the proof.

And, Clinton supporters are not alone in the bomb-throwing.

Earlier this week, I was on the receiving end of a mass email with the following subject line: "Your Whiteness is Showing: An Open Letter to Certain White Women." That email was directed to "white" women who were threatening to withhold support from Sen. Obama. Needless to say, it was not generated by the Obama campaign. Never mind that I've endorsed Obama, given to Obama, ran to be a delegate for Obama etc. I still had the pleasure of receiving that email.

Look, there are a lot of feelings floating around about the primary, and folks need to vent. I get that, but this is not the way to do it, and I've begun to respond directly to people who send me this garbage. I'm hoping that they will begin to understand that when they send out mass emails, real people, who have feelings, read it. Actually, it's worked pretty well, and I had fairly productive email exchanges with both of the women who sent the referenced emails. I hope that you will do the same. Instead of just pressing the delete key, send back a note that challenges this kind of behavior. While it might be easier to just ignore it, it's important that folks get the message that this is no way to treat each other.

I think it's pretty darn easy to vent anger at a group of relatively unknown faces who are "super" or "automatic" delegates. It's hard to remember that actual, living, breathing human beings with families and feelings are on the receiving end of these awful emails. We need to speak up. There a way to express opinions without using each other as punching bags.

It Isn't Going to Happen, but the Math is Fun

Edwards as VP would boost Obama in key states.

2008 WIN List Endorsed Candidates

On Tuesday, the first candidate Georgia's WIN List endorsed this cycle, Dee Dawkins Haigler, won the run-off, and is now the elected representative for HD93. Way to go Dee! In total, WIN List endorsed 28 fantastic Democratic women this year. With your support, all of these great women can be serving under the Gold Dome come January. Here's the list. Pick your favorite and SEND THEM A CHECK!

SD 12 Freddie Powell Sims (I)†
SD 34 Valencia Seay (I)†
SD 36 Nan Orrock (I)†
SD 38 Horacena Tate (I)†
SD 44 Gail Davenport (I)‡
SD 55 Gloria Butler (I)†

HD 38 Pat Dooley‡
HD 39 Alisha Thomas Morgan (I)‡
HD 56 Kathy Ashe (I)*
HD 57 Pat Gardner (I)*
HD 58 Robbin Shipp (I)*
HD 59 Margaret Kaiser (I)†
HD 60 Georganna Sinkfield (I)*
HD 61 Edith Ladipo†
HD 65 LeWanna Heard†
HD 74 Roberta Abdul-Salaam (I)*
HD 83 Mary Margaret Oliver (I)*
HD 84 Stacey Abrams (I)*
HD 85 Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (I)‡
HD 86 Karla Drenner (I)*
HD 87 Michele Henson (I)*
HD 91 Rita Robinzine†
HD 92 Pam Stephenson (I)†
HD 93 Dee Dawkins-Haigler (I)†
HD 130 Debbie Buckner (I)*
HD 133 Carolyn Hugley (I)*
HD 138 Nikki Randall (I)*
HD 177 Jaki Johnson‡

(I) Incumbent; *Denotes no opposition; †Primary opposition: ‡General opposition

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kick Mike Out of the House!

Mike Jacobs abandoned us; now, it's our chance to KICK MIKE OUT OF THE HOUSE:

Democrat Keith Gross State House - District 80
Please join us for a fund raising reception
Keith Gross
Democratic candidate for House District 80
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
from 6 to 8 p.m.
Manuel's Tavern
602 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307
Host Committee
Rep. DuBose Porter, House Democratic Leader, Rep. Calvin Smyre, House Democratic Caucus Chair, Rep. Carolyn Hugley, House Democratic Whip, Rep. Nikki Randall, House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair, Rep. Kathy Ashe, House Democratic Caucus Secretary, Rep. Don Wix, House Democratic Caucus Treasurer, Rep. Rob Teilhet, House Democratic Caucus Chief Deputy Whip, Rep. Stacey Abrams, Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Rep. Karla Drenner, Rep. Michele Henson, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Rep. Howard Mosby, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, Rep. Robbin Shipp, Rep. Pam Stephenson, Rep. Stan Watson, Rep. Earnest "Coach" Williams
Visit Keith's web site - Click here!

We Will Know Less

Because of Tim Russert's death.

I'm Back-Open Thread

I've been in D.C. this week and have MUCH to report, but I was so busy that there was no time to post. My in-box is full. Here are my briefs:

  • Cutting the mental health budget just after learning that patients are dying in our mental hospitals is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

  • You will be shocked to learn that Bibb County is considered a "high wealth county" by the state. As a result, 5 mils of our state funds for public schools are redistributed to poor counties like, say, Houston. Shocked? Well, you'll be even more shocked to learn that our failure to complete our property revals doesn't stop the state from deciding our property is worth more than what's on our books. The result? We are actually having to contribute about 7 mils. The impact? We just cut more than 20 teaching positions in a county with summer school classes overflowing as a result of CRCT failure. What a (word I will not use here.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Off to Washington

Tomorrow, I'll be heading off to Washington, D.C. to meet with directors of other organizations like WIN List. I'm hoping to learn a few things and see a few monuments. I hear they have monuments in D.C. Who knew?

On Thursday, from 6-8, in Atlanta at Park Tavern, WIN List is hosting a reception to honor our 2008 endorsed candidates. The reception is a fundraiser, but it's open to the public. I hope you'll come. Find more info here.

Monday Funny. Not That Funny...

H/T to M.E.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why if Must be Martin

The Georgia race for U.S. Senate is not just a Georgia race anymore. The race has national implications, and the stakes are high as we choose our nominee. The GOP hopes that Saxby will be their southern firewall, but if Saxby falls-and he may-democrats are likely to occupy sixty seats in the U.S. Senate. Why does that matter? According to Walter C. Jones:

By holding at least 41, the GOP would prevent the majority party from the 60 votes required to end filibusters and to push an unpopular bill to a vote on the floor through the cloture procedure."With 41 votes in the U.S. Senate, you can (1) block bad legislation, and (2) you can make the majority respect the minority's rights. And you can help craft good legislation," Ensign said. "If the Democrats were able to get to 60 votes - literally even if they get to 57-58 votes because they always seem to pick off a couple or three Republicans on a lot of votes - and if they win the White House ... they will be able to do pretty much whatever they want."

It will surprise no one when I say that Jim Martin is far and away the best-I would argue the only-candidate who has a chance to unseat Saxby. I've made the case before. And, it's not because he has the most money, though there is no doubt that it will take a significant investment to cut through the roar of the republican attack machine. It's because he is simply the best candidate. Certainly, he got into the race late, and that explains why he's needed time to ramp up the campaign. But, his experience running a statewide race will help him. Frankly, I think that what he's accomplished in a few weeks is impressive. He's put together a campaign team, raised a sizable amount of money, and has begun communicating with voters. During the month of June, I've heard that he has hundreds of events scheduled all over Georgia. Hundreds.

I respect Jim's lifetime of public service and his willingness to swim against the tide to do what's right. It's hard to describe Jim's life's work without using the word "service." He is anything BUT an "establishment" candidate. What, exactly, is the definition of an "establishment" candidate? Is it his resume' or his supporters? The truth is, attaching this label to someone like Jim Martin is just politics as usual in Georgia. (Some will argue that raising the money necessary to communicate with voters in a statewide race is "politics as usual," but unless you have a way for him to sit in several million living rooms over the next few months, he has to raise the money.)

In fact, the record reflects something quite different than allegiance to the status quo. Jim has spent his time in public service swimming against the tide. He was a leader in the fight to create PeachCare. That might seem idea like the "establishment" position now, but at the time, it was an upstream swim. He's been an advocate for women, for children and, in general, for those who had no voice. During his eighteen years of service in the Georgia House, Jim authored and passed more than 60 major pieces of reform legislation in the areas of health care, family law, civil and criminal justice, education, probate, business law, environmental law, labor law and tax policy. Whether fighting his way through polio as a child, fighting for his country in Vietnam or fighting for the least and the last in the legislature, Jim has displayed his characteristic courage, humility, strength of character and determination to do the right thing, especially when it's not the easy thing. As an attorney, Jim spent his career fighting for the rights of everyone-including criminal defendants-to have access to the justice system. Does that really sound like the resume' of an "establishment" candidate?

Since it can't be his record that makes him an "establishment" candidate, it must be his supporters. I'd be careful with that judgement, though. Many Martin supporters are also Obama supporters, and I don't think Obama is the "establishment" candidate. Or, maybe it's just because he was able to raise a lot of money in a short period of time. But, then, Obama didn't make it to the nomination on a wing and prayer. And, if you take a look at other seats democrats have taken back, their campaigns were well-funded. Take a look at the Mississippi, Louisiana and Illinois races-winning takes a full-on campaign. Grassroots, yes, but grassroots isn't free. And, if you think that the national money needed in this race will show up post-primary regardless of the candidate, think again. Martin is the only candidate in the race who has a chance of convincing democrats around the country to invest in a filibuster-proof senate.

One last word. Policy statements are great, and the lack of those statements on Martin's website is a legitimate beef. I am sure we'll hear more on platform from Martin, but all I have to do to know what Jim Martin believes is to look at how he has lived his life. Words are easy. As far as I'm concerned, a lifetime of service is the most credible policy statement.

If Obama is headed to Georgia, as Galloway and Company predict, it's for good reason. Thanks to Obama, Georgia has moved to the bubble in the presidential race and scores of down ballot candidates, including our senate candidate, will benefit. We can beat Saxby. We can take the 60th seat, but we need Martin to do it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

McCain "Not Running Away from Bush"

So says USA Today.

So many jokes, so little time....but, good to know.

And, McCain finds nothing illegal about the Bush administration's wiretapping, so says the New York Times. So, in a McCain administration, law abiding citizens can expect to have their international phone calls and email monitored by the federal government without notice and without a warrant.
And, you're thinking of voting for John McCain? Better think again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vote for Pat Today!

Pat Dooley, who is running against Steve "Thunder" Tumlin in Cobb County, is in the running to be one of Tondee's "Finest." Such a designation brings with it some perks for the candidates and considerable cred in the blogosphere. So, please take a minute, and go here to vote for Pat. (The poll is on the right hand side of the page.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WIN Endorsed Candidate Event

On June12th from 6-8, at Park Tavern in Atlanta, WIN List will host a reception for our (outstanding) endorsed candidates. Mayor Franklin is our guest of honor. See Blog for Democracy for details.

Martin in Macon

Nancy Terrill, Daryl and Amy Morton, Waldo Floyd and Katherine McArthur, Atul and Minni Khurana, Howard and Dee Simms and Eleanor Lane (more to come)

Ask for your support in electing

Jim Martin

Democratic Candidate for the United States Senate

Thursday, June 12th
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The home of Waldo Floyd and Kathy McArthur
127 Heritage Court
Macon, GA 31210

Host Committee: $1,000
Suggested Contribution: $250

Corporate contributions are not accepted. Federal law requires Martin for Senate to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. Contributions are not tax deductible.

Paid for and authorized by Martin for Senate

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Repeat After Me...

President Obama
President Obama
President Obama

CNN has called it. What a moment!

The Race is On!

It looks very much like Sen. Obama is about to wrap up the Democratic nomination for President. The AP has called the race, and other networks have him within a handful of delegates. It seems like years ago when John Edwards headed to New Orleans instead of Atlanta, and announced that he was suspending his campaign so that "history could blaze it's path." And, blaze it has. This has been a very long road, but it did not begin, as some have suggested, 18 months ago. It began decades ago.

I grew up in the 1960's. One of my earliest memories is JFK's assignation. Then Martin. Then Bobby. Scenes of the civil rights and anti-war marches filled the evening news and were imprinted in my memory. Fire hoses, dogs, burning bras, students shot dead. Our best selves and our worst selves, exposed. Progress was messy, dangerous and required tremendous courage. It still is, and it still does.

Both Clinton and Obama are products of that struggle. But, this is not the pinnacle; the struggle is not over. Just as before, when progress toward equality is made, a light is also shown on our lesser selves. And, there is no question that this race has and will continue to bring into focus not only our progress with regard to civil rights for both women and minorities, but our prejudices and our failings.

My day started with a political call where the issue of "race" in a race was discussed, and my day ended with a political call where the issue of "race" in a race was discussed. Sunday, I attended a dinner where the first speaker promised not to talk as long as "Hillary Clinton" and another person, a strong Democrat, looked at me with a pained expression and said, "What are we going to do about the presidential race?" She went on to opine that many of her local leaders are "black" and "incompetent." Never mind Harvard Law Review. Somehow, the merely the color of his skin made Obama the same as some ineffective or corrupt local official. And, Clinton, obviously, like most women, talks too much. So, we have a hill to climb. We can write those people off as disgusting or bigoted, but, they will vote in November. These stereotypes are woven into the fabric of our culture, and whether we acknowledge it or not, in this election, we are about to do battle with our own prejudices and those of others as we face this test of our progress.

But, for today, let's just enjoy this historic moment.

Calling All Candidates

Dear Candidates,

The Democratic Party of Georgia would like to thank you for your decision to participate in this year's upcoming elections. We are looking forward to working closely with you over the coming six months, as we work to restore mature, steady leadership to our government. In order to assist you, we will be hosting a Candidate Training Session (CTS) on June 7, 2008 at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta, GA. This is an event you don't want to miss, because the purpose of the CTS is to equip your campaign team with the necessary information to help you win this November.This is the first of several candidate training sessions that we will hold between now and November. Due to our desire to make sure all of our candidates have the best experience possible, this session is only open to candidates who do not have Democratic primary opposition, and to candidates running in open seats. The CTS will focus on the topics that are important to you and your campaign: fundraising, field organizing, direct mail, and campaign management. We will also introduce you to our state-of-the-art voter file and targeting system, VoteBuilder, as well as our winning messages for 2008. Training on these topics will be provided by some of the most experienced persons in their fields. We encourage you to bring one person from your campaign team to accompany you to the training session so that they can also benefit from the campaigning strategies that will be discussed.The training session will last from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition to the various topics that will be discussed, lunch will be provided. In order to make certain that everyone benefits from the CTS, the session will be FREE!!!In order to participate, it is mandatory that you contact us by email at by Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Again, this event is free, it is open to you, the qualified candidate, and one other person, and it will be on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at the Loudermilk Center. RSVP immediately and we will contact you to confirm your reservation.

Thank You,

Matt Weyandt
Executive Director

Democratic Party of Georgia
(678) 278-2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cats, Dogs, Nude Dancing, and Alcohol

According to Macon City Councilwomen Benedict, despite the outcry in support of privatization on the editorial page of the Telegraph, and the known opposition of many members of City Council to the Mayor's proposal, exactly no one, that would be nada, none, zero from the public appeared at today's requisite public hearing on the budget. Members of the Appropriations Committee had to fill the minimum required time to leave the public hearing open (15 minutes) with chatter and comments on the virtues of the proposed privatization of solid waste so as to make the broadcast on Channel 14 more interesting. Ms. Lucas pointed out that unless you're talking about cats, dogs, nude dancing or alcohol, the public will not attend. While that brought a chuckle from the handful of council members and media present, this is a sad but true reflection of our tendency to get riled up about the things that matter the least* while ignoring the solid waste in the room.

*For the record, because I know it's going to come up, I love cats and dogs, rarely drink alcohol and am ambivilent about nude dancing. Councilwomen Benedict did not express her opinion on any of the above, but I hear she has two cats.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Barnes Draws a Map for School Success

I'm not sure whether it's myth, legend or the truth, but the story goes that soon after Barnes was elected Governor, he was at a meeting with Governors from other states. They were asked how many major initiatives they hoped to achieve during their first term. Most indicated one or maybe two. Barnes was more ambitious, hoping to take on several new initiatives with education reform at the top of the list. He was cautioned not to try to do too much, or he could be a one term Governor. Well, we already know the end of that story, and judging from Perdue's ability to maintain high approval ratings despite doing little other than building boat ramps, I'd guess that there was political wisdom in the caution. People say they want change, but, when it comes down to it, change is a hard sell.

Today, Barnes and Perdue have dueling editorials in the AJC. Barnes offers clear, common sense solutions for our schools, suggesting that even if we have to scape the gold off the dome to improve our schools, it would be well worth the investment. He is exactly right and offers a clear road map for success. It's ironic that teachers, more than flaggers, defeated Barnes. That, in my opinion had much more to do with the "how" of his education reform than the "what" of the now infamous HB1187.

Perdue, on the other hand, blusters about partisanship and yet spends most of the op-ed damning Democrats. And, despite the recent test scores we've all heard so much about, he actually seems to be defending the status quo. Imagine, defending Georgia's SAT scores! I believe that we are holding steady at 46th in the county. Now, there's something to crow about. Here's what the AJC reported in 2007:

A year after Gov. Sonny Perdue crowed about Georgia's climb from the bottom of the SAT barrel, the state's overall scores fell five points to 1472.The good news for Georgia's ranking? Everybody else in the nation did worse, too. Nationally, average math, reading and writing SAT scores fell seven points to 1511, according to the College Board."While we never like to gain ground by allowing our scores to go down, Georgia was again able to close the gap with the national average, continuing a positive trend for the sixth year in a row," the governor said in a statement.

And, here's what Gov. Perdue had to say today:

We have also funded programs that better prepare our students for the SAT, and since 2003, the gap between Georgia and the national average on the verbal and math sections has shrunk by 14 points. From 2003-2007, Georgia's verbal and math scores have increased by 5 points while the average across the country has dropped by 9 points.
If you're dizzy from the spin, join the crowd. We need leadership that actually values public education. If you don't believe me, ask the parents of all the 8th graders who are headed for summer school.