Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vernon's done it again!

Imagine my lack of surprise when I opened my mailbox today and found that Vernon Jones had again used a photograph of Obama in a mailer. This time Jones, who has no shame, upped the ante by also using pictures of Senators Edward Brooke, III, of Massachusetts and Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois. Jones also invited voters to make it "2-for-1!" on August 5, suggesting that Obama is on the same ballot as him by putting his name beside Obama's with red checks beside both. Voters may be disappointed to learn they cannot vote for Obama on August 5.

It takes a huge amount of hubris and a frank disrespect for Senator Obama, our party's nominee for President, to again appropriate his image for political gain despite a clear lack of permission from Obama. I would say that Vernon Jones should be ashamed, but I see no evidence that he has that capacity.

I will upload a copy of the mailer later this evening.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Martin Hits the Democratic Political Trifecta

Women, labor and civil rights leaders: in anybody's book, that's the trifecta of democratic politics in Georgia, and today, Jim Martin trounced rival Vernon Jones in all three categories. First, Jim won the endorsement of an impressive group of ministers and civil rights leaders, including the ringing praise of the Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of Sen. Barack Obama's top Georgia leaders. At that same event, Richard Ray, the President of the AFL-CIO of Georgia, appeared at Martin's side, and this weekend, labor leaders are hosting an old fashioned Democratic fish fry for Martin in Macon. Finally, I was at Rep. Kathy Ashe's lovely home this evening for the Women for Jim Martin event, and it was PACKED with prominent leaders in the women's community. I would estimate that there were at least a hundred women there at any given time. There were so many elected officials present, that the host had to keep going back to add names as she worked her way through the introductions. Add to those, the women there who are leaders in the nonprofit and business community, and toss in a few key men, like Sen. Kasim Reed, and I'd call that event a resounding success!

There is no doubt that these are the groups the winning candidate will need to bring to the table on Tuesday. It looks like this Jim is in a very good position to do just that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sonny Fishes While Schools Struggle

If you're wondering why that fish's mouth is hanging open, it's because it can't believe the gall of our Governor. Today, Gov. Perdue, the same person who made sure "Go Fish Georgia" was funded while public education endured cuts of more than 1.6 billion dollars, sent me an invitation to his 5th annual Fish Fry. (That microtargeting the Republicans brag about isn't all it's cracked up to be, now is it?) How painfully ironic that the "Fish Fry" is taking place on the weekend before schools open in Middle Georgia-if we keep these folks in power, about the only job our children will be qualified for when they graduate will involve a fryer.

Forgive me if I decline your invitation, Governor. I don't see much to celebrate.

The truth is, while Sonny's been fishing, local school systems have been struggling to figure out how to make ends meet. In Bibb County alone, more than twenty teachers were let go in an effort to make the budget balance, and still, it didn't. Tonight, the Bibb County School Board adopted a 186.6 million dollar budget for the coming year, but they only expect revenues of 178.2 million. Taxes won't be raised, but the system will drain more than 8 million dollars from the reserve, just in an effort to get by. Thanks to Sonny, the republican-led gutting of public education, schools all across Georgia will open without enough teachers and with classrooms that are too crowded. According to the Telegraph, Superintendent Patterson said succinctly:"This is the most difficult financial condition the state and school system has been in."
No joke.

So, here's to Sonny Perdue, the man who literally fished while our schools crumbled, and to his handmaiden, Kathy Cox, who remains silent and loyal, to her Party and her ambition, but not to our children. This annual event speaks volumes about your misplaced priorities.

Women for Jim: An Impressive List

I have an invitation to a women's event for Jim Martin, and I have to say, the list of women who added their names to the invitation is quite impressive. At the end of the list, there's a note that "the list is ever growing," so if you'd like to add your name to the list of great women supporting Jim, drop me an email at Jim Martin has always stood up for Georgia women, and now, we all have the chance to stand up for Jim. Here's the list from the invitation:

Sharon Adams ▪ Elaine B. Alexander ▪ Saundra Altekruse ▪ Shirlene Anderson ▪ Beatrice Andrews Kathy Ashe ▪ Alice Ball ▪ Marie Barnes ▪ Jane Berman ▪ Paula Lawton Bevington ▪ Kay Beynart, Nancy Boxill ▪ Cindy Brazell ▪ Marva Brooks ▪ Mijha Butcher ▪ Jan Prisby Bryson ▪ Jane Carney, Robin Chalmers ▪ Judy Chancey ▪ Jannell Charles ▪ Kim Chesney ▪ Julie Childs ▪ Ruth Claiborne Carolyn Clark ▪ Margaret Clarkson ▪ Wendi Clifton ▪ Kathy Colbenson ▪ Mary Carole Cooney, Delores Crockett ▪ Ann Curry ▪ Carrell Dammann ▪ Stephanie Davis ▪ Heidi Davison ▪ Laura DeMars Charlotte Dixson ▪ Hattie Dorsey ▪ Karla Drenner ▪ Diane Durgin ▪ Melita Easters ▪ Betsy Edelman, Julie Edelson ▪ Laurel Emery ▪ Anne Emanuel ▪ Stacey Godfrey Evans ▪ Anne Fauver ▪ Toni Favors Margaret Foreman ▪ Peggy Gallagher ▪ Pat Gardner ▪ Mary Anne Gaunt ▪ Sharon Gay ▪ Melanie Goux Frannie Graves ▪ Subie Green ▪ Jan Hackney ▪ Martha Porter Hall ▪ Sue Saleska Hamilton, Jane Harmon ▪ Anne Harper ▪ Michele Henson ▪ Lila Hertz ▪ Mary Margaret Hill ▪ Sharon Hill, Anna Hirsch ▪ Sandra Hoffman ▪ May B Hollis ▪ Leah Horton ▪ Gue Hudson ▪ Jocelyn J. Hunter, Sue Hunter ▪ Jean Ellen Jones ▪ Susan Kidd ▪ Harriet King ▪ Linda Klein ▪ Dorothy Kirkley, Mary Caroline Lindsay ▪ Mary Long ▪ Linda Smith Lowe ▪ Joan Martin ▪ Larrie Del Martin, Linda Massengill ▪ Leigh May ▪ Susan May ▪ Louise McBee ▪ Linda McCord ▪ Sally McDaniel, Teresa McFarlane ▪ Marilon McGinnis ▪ Megan Middleton ▪ Sarah Mills ▪ Caroline Moise, Anne Morgan ▪ Carol Morgan ▪ Amy Morris ▪ Amy Morton ▪ Clair Muller ▪ Barbara Miller-Murphy Betsey Neely ▪ Kimberly Nikles ▪ Mary Margaret Oliver ▪ Amanda Brown Olmstead ▪ Nan Orrock, Elon Osby ▪ Kathy Palumbo ▪ Nancy Paris ▪ Lynn Pattillo ▪ Penn Payne ▪ Katie Phelps ▪ Erica Pines Carol Porter ▪ Nikki Randall ▪ Janet Rechtman ▪ Ann Rhodes ▪ Clare Richardson ▪ Jill Riemer, Mary Lou Romaine-Weymer ▪ Ann Rose ▪ Beth Schapiro ▪ Kay Scott ▪ Suzann Settle, Geneva Hall-Shelton ▪ Polly Simpson ▪ Gloria Smith ▪ Ann Stallard ▪ Barbara Stalzer ▪ Cathey Steinberg ▪ Amanda Styles ▪ Midge Sweet ▪ Judy Tabb ▪ Pam Tatum Elaine Taylor-Klaus ▪ Judith Taylor, Lisa Canon Taylor ▪ Virginia Taylor ▪ Dr. Melanie Thompson ▪ Henri Treadwell, Christine Tryba-Cofrin ▪ Marsha Weber ▪ Karen Weyandt ▪ Peggy Whitaker ▪ Mary Frances Williams Janet Womack ▪ Lanie Wong ▪ Carolyn Wood ▪ Sally Wood ▪ Catherine Woodling ▪ Ruth Woodling

Monday, July 28, 2008

Martin Finds His Grassroots in Macon

Much has been written and even more muttered about the Martin campaign neglecting the grassroots and instead focusing on funding television advertising. Well, it looks like Martin is finding his grassroots in Macon, again, just like he did in the run-off for the Lt. Gov. nomination. (For those of you who do not remember the history, Martin defeated Greg Hecht in the run-off for Lt. Gov. in 2006. Bibb County went for Hecht in the primary but for Martin in the run-off.)
With the union endorsement now in his pocket, my good friends Terrell Hill and Henry Gallimore are helping to put together an old fashioned "bring the family" fish fry for Jim in Macon this Saturday. Let me just say that their involvement in this event is very significant. It's NOT a fundraiser; it's good old fashioned grassroots campaigning, and I am now betting Jim carries Bibb in the run-off.

Here are the details.

Come Meet Jim Martin
Democrat for U.S. Senate
Family Fish Fry
Saturday, August 2nd
4-7 p.m.
Central City Park
off Walnut Street
Macon, Georgia

Sunday, July 27, 2008

From Jim Powell: What's Handel Afraid Of?

This dropped in my email box this evening, and I have to say, I agree with Jim Powell, more and more Karen Handel acts like the Secretary of the Republican Party, not the Secretary of State. Even the AJC is chronicling her partisan acts, and over at Tondee's Tavern, there are reports of monkey business with refusal to provide absentee ballots to democrats. While there are numerous examples of her partisan acts, her behavior in Jim Powell's race was egregious. Ineffective (he won easily), but egregious none the less. Below is Powell's email. She is forcing him to fight a legal battle to stay in the race for Public Service Commissioner. Her action appears designed to make his race more costly, to eliminate our strongest candidate from the race and to prevent Powell from focusing on the general election. In short, he needs cash. So, how about a few bucks for the race no one-except the big utility companies-ever thinks about? There may be no office that more directly impacts your pocketbook.

Dear Friends and Family

What is Karen Handel afraid of?

This past Friday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a feature editorial about the partisan political actions on the part of Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. As you know, Ms. Handel has been working overtime to try to remove me as a candidate for the Public Service Commission.

The editorial addresses Ms. Handel’s repeated efforts to “clear the ballot to bolster the chances of [Republican Lauren] McDonald, who is seeking to reclaim the PSC seat that he lost to reform candidate Angela Speir in 2002”. It is obvious that Ms. Handel is not concerned about the voices and votes of the citizens of Georgia, but instead the political gain of her party’s candidates. What she should be concerned about is making sure that Georgia has fair and efficient elections where the candidates can debate the issues and be elected on their own merits. She has proven that, given an opportunity, she will stop at nothing to put a candidate from her party on the Commission that is beholden to the utilities and their lobbyists.

I have never run for public office before and I am amazed what some veteran politicians such as Ms. Handel will do promote their partisan agenda. However, I am encouraged that many Georgia citizens, including 85% of Democratic primary voters, continue to stand by me as I fight for my campaign in the Fulton County Superior Court. My legal expenses are mounting and I need your help to continue this legal fight and to advance my campaign. Please consider a donation. Even a $100, $75, $50 or a $25 donation will go along way to advance the cause. You can
contribute on my website or mail a check to:

Jim Powell for GA PSC
P. O. Box 273
Hiawassee, GA 30546

Thank you for your support. Jim.

Checkout the AJC editorial here.

Checkout Handel’s response here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

DPG Election Results

New DNC Reps:

Page Gleason
Sally Rosser
Richard Ray
David Worley

New Vice Chair:

We're still voting. Second ballot.

Congratulations to all!

Treasurer's Report:

490, 065.05 on hand
4,937 contributors in 2008

The Doctor is in the House

At DPG State Committee meeting in Macon, DNC chair, Dr. Howard Dean was in the house and addressed the crowd. To say that his reception was enthusiastic is an understatement. Dean focused on outreach to evangelicals and faith groups, pointing out that independent polling shows that the three top issues for evangelicals are: 1) Poverty; 2) the Environment and 3) Darfur-and on those issues we are on the same page. It is clear, he said, that we need to run on our values because our values are mainstream values.

Dean's now in the parking lot of the Coliseum doing voter registration. He challenged Georgia democrats to register half a million voters before November-to change the face of politics in our state.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Independent Expenditure

I'm for Glenn Richardson for Speaker, just as all good Democrats should be. He is the BFF of Georgia Democrats. No one does more to make us look good. So, let's get behind him, help him out. What would we DO without him?

He even plans to revive the tax plan we skewered him with last session. What more could we ask?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vernon Jones Gave to the Georgia Republican Party

7:15 p.m. Update: per "Scriptwriter," these checks were for tickets to George W. Bush's inaugural ball. So, what? Is that supposed to make Democrats feel better about Jones? The checks were still to the Georgia GOP. And, apparently, according to this poster, not only did Mr. Jones vote for George W. Bush, twice, he was apparently so thrilled by his election that he went to D.C. to party with Bush when he took office in 2001. I know I feel better now. How about you?

You're not the only one who can search the FEC website, Vernon. This falls under the heading, "be careful what mud you sling." Vernon Jones not only brags about voting for George Bush, twice, according to the FEC, he gave money to the Georgia Republican Party in 2001, twice, and not a little bit, either. See below:



Let me point out, that's not a contribution to a particular candidate that Jones had some affection for, or a "wartime president" and was made well before Kerry didn't come to Georgia. So, all of those excuses are simply crap. This is a contribution to the GOP, and everything the GOP stands for, and a vote for Jones is an endorsement of the leadership of Bush, Perdue, and, oh, yes, Saxby. It's time we called Jones what he is: a REPUBLICAN.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain and Obama: Both Focused on Obama

I am more convinced every day that McCain simply does not have what it takes, in terms of plan, campaign or resources to compete with Obama.

Take a look at John McCain's website. In a glance, tells the story of just how much trouble McCain is in and how off-key his campaign has become. Who's front and center? Obama, not McCain. And, Obama's picture is in a juvenile, 3rd-grader-could've done it-pasted together YouTube in which McCain whines about the positive media coverage of Obama and invites you to choose a theme song. That's what they have front and center: Obama. I'm not kidding. It's not like it's on a blog or on some extra-campaign website. This is how McCain is spending his own campaign cash, the face he wants for his campaign is Obama's. It is as if McCain has nothing to talk about except for Obama. Well, maybe that's not too far from the truth. The watch words are "him" and "you."

Not so on the Obama site. In fact the words, "John McCain" appear no where on the home page. He refers to "our opponents." Obama is focused on his own platform, Clinton's support of him and substantive policy issues. There are links to more information about his international tour. No John McCain. The watch words are "we" and "our."

Let's just day that I am cautiously optimistic about November. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jones Would "Bind Obama Badly"

On Sunday, Cynthia Tucker told Chris Matthews something he didn’t know. From the transcript:

MATTHEWS: OK. Cynthia?

Ms. TUCKER: In Georgia, there's a local Democratic...(unintelligible)...that Obama wants nowhere near him, who's trying to claim an Obama endorsement. He's running for the US Senate. If he ends up on the ticket, it could be big problems for Obama because this guy is a very polarizing figure. His name is Vernon Jones.

And, here, in her article entitled, Vernon Tie-In Would Bind Obama Badly, Tucker makes her point again.

It's as simple as this: I support Barack Obama, so I cannot and will not support Vernon Jones.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dean in Macon This Saturday

I can't remember the last time the chair of the DNC came to Macon. Howard Dean's scheduled visit on Saturday is further indication that Obama is playing for keeps in Georgia this year. Dean will first be in Savannah, then come to Macon and then on to Atlanta. In addition to the fundraiser the Telegraph mentioned this morning, Dean will be participating in voter registration drives and addressing the DPG state committee on Saturday afternoon. He'll be aboard the "Register for Change" bus. I'm expecting to see an Obama office open in Macon any day now. McCain? Not so much.

There is a fundraising luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in Macon this Saturday, and Dean will attend. Tickets are $250 and all proceeds go to Obama Victory Fund. If you'd like more info, drop me an email at I'll be sending out info as I have it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This Pretty Much Sums it Up

H/T to Tina.

Elmo Richardson: Expert on "White Democrats"

What, exactly, did Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson mean by this comment in the Telegraph yesterday?

But Elmo Richardson, who aside from Bishop is the only other Republican on the Bibb commission, said it's still early to accurately predict how county races might play out in the coming months. He said many Republicans crossed over Tuesday to vote in the sheriff's race, which may partly explain the high number of voters on the Democratic side. More people voted in that race than any other local contest. And in November, Bishop might be positioned to attract white Democrats who won't vote for Obama and will turn instead to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. (Emphasis mine) "I think Bishop will probably pick up a lot there," Richardson said.

While it's good to know that there is a local expert on the behavior of "white Democrats," if I were Elmo, I wouldn't be holding my breath.

For starters, my skin might be white, but that doesn't make me stupid. The housing market is collapsing around us, people are standing in lines hoping to get their money from failing banks, GM is scrambling to keep the doors open, airlines can't keep planes in the sky, and I'm pumping $4.50 a gallon gas. Seriously, please look back over the terms of Bush I and Bush II and tell me why we should ever again trust Republican economic policy. Not only will "white Democrats" vote for Obama, lots of Republicans will, too. He could be green with purple spots, and it wouldn't matter.

Second, has it occurred to Elmo that lots of "white Democrats" have already voted for Obama? Has Richardson ever been to Iowa? You know, the 97% white state that gave Obama his first victory of the election season? Perhaps Richardson thinks that only Southern "white Democrats" vote based on race, but then he would have to find a reason for Obama's margin of victory in Georgia. Sure, the African American turnout was high here, but Obama dominated his opponents, winning more than 66% of the vote to Clinton's 31%. Looks to me like a significant number white Democrats in Georgia have already voted for Obama, and it would be a mistake to assume that those who voted for Clinton did so because of the color of the candidate's skin.

Finally, if I were Elmo, I wouldn't assume that everyone who votes for McCain will also vote for Bishop. They have little in common other than the "R" behind their name. Most folks I talk with are far less concerned about the Chair's party than about his ability to work well with others, particularly with the City of Macon. On that, Bishop, who on those grounds failed to earn the endorsement of the Telegraph, faces an uphill fight to convince voters that he has changed. And, then there are the numbers. As Matt Barnwell points out, Sam Hart, the Democrat running unopposed in the primary got 8,734 votes to Bishop's 2,620. Bishop's opponent, Theron Ussery has a very strong showing with 1995 votes. Over all, Barnwell points out, "Hart outpaced the entire Republican field in that race nearly two to one." Did it occur to Elmo that no one who crossed over to vote in the sheriff's race had to go on down the ballot and put a mark beside Sam Hart's name in an uncontested race? Plus, if I were Charlie, I wouldn't be relying on the votes of all those Ussery supporters.

Where does this leave us? Charlie Bishop's hopes for re-election are fading faster than a pair of blue jeans dunked in Clorox.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Martin Ready for Runoff

Here's Jim Martin with Kyle Bailey. Looks like a runoff with Vernon-and Jim's ready!

Martin in Atlanta

The one on the left is taken! We're at the Martin event in Atlanta. Wish you were here!

Election Day Nonsense

It's time Karen Handel realized that she's Secretary of State, not Secretary of the GOP.

I was pretty happy to be sleeping at about seven o'clock this morning, but then the phone rang. Daryl had been to vote and wanted to know why there was a sign at our precinct saying Jim Powell had been found ineligible and that votes for him would not count. Hadn't he gotten a stay?

I called Martin Matheny at the DPG-to whom I give credit for being more awake than me-and asked. Yes, he said, there was a stay, and the signs were in error. Then, I called the Bibb County Board of elections and spoke to Elaine Carr, who had been out making sure all precincts were open. She was unaware of the change but looked at her email and found the notice from Handel. Elaine said she would send out her guys to take down the signs. Bibb County's big, I thought, that'll take some time. Meanwhile voters will be confused and misinformed-something we know Handel is very much opposed to(unless it benefits republicans, of course.).

Sure enough, when I went to vote at 9 am, the sign was still there. I asked one of the poll workers about it, and she said, "he was disqualified." I said,"no, he got a stay and the sign should be removed. Can someone call the board of election to check?" She said, "He is on the ballot." I said, "Yes, I know, but the sign needs to be removed. Can someone call Elaine?" She indicated that someone would call.

I don't know what happened. All I know is that an hour and a half after I called the Board of Elections, the sign was still up. If Handel had to put everyone on the phones to prevent this fiasco, that's what she should've done. There's no excuse for this nonsense.

What a Day!

We're heading to Atlanta to hang out with Jim Martin and others. With reports that turnout is very low, if you were ever going to go vote, now's the time. You vote really will matter.

In the meantime, let me send out good wishes to Rashad Taylor-who was standing on a corner waving signs with Sen. Fort and Mary Long last I checked, and to Chris Huttman-the far superior candidate in that race. And, let's not forget all the WIN List endorsees. Good luck, ladies! Finally, good wishes to John Lewis who deserves another term.

Can't wait to see the totals.

Monday, July 14, 2008

McCain: Blogs Can Ricochet All Around...

I know three year olds who know how to get on the Internet, but, according to Think Progress, one man who would be our next President, doesn't even know how to do Email. Hint: he did NOT make the cover of the New Yorker today.

I'm guessing John McCain didn't buy a new I-Phone, either, and I'm thinking he didn't get a Big Tent pass.

But he does appreciate the impact of blogs:

But I do – could I just say, really – I understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns. I understand that. And I understand that something appears on one blog, can ricochet all around and get into the evening news, the front page of The New York Times. So, I do pay attention to the blogs.

Those darn ricocheting blogs. He must've learned that when he was "watching" "a google."

Vote for Martin Tomorrow

Please go to the polls and vote for Jim Martin tomorrow. I've made no secret of either my support for Jim or my fervent hope that Vernon Jones will not become the Democratic nominee for senate. I also think that Matt Towery is right-anything could happen in the senate race tomorrow, and a lot of the variables favor Jones'. If the turnout if low and driven by local races, there's the possibility that Vernon Jones will emerge as the nominee-without a runoff.

That's my nightmare scenario.

Why? When conservative voters are faced with the choice between Republican and Republican-light, they choose Republican every time. Jones' two Bush votes will not merit him the votes of Georgia Republicans. And, if Saxby is willing to use his millions to make a war hero out to be unpatriotic, then what do you think he will do to Jones, a man who has generated enough controversy during his tenure in office to fill many a mail piece? Can you imagine the content of the negative commercials? And, to Jones' assertion that Obama "needs" him on the ticket, I could not disagree more. I think Jones' negatives will be so high by the time Saxby finishes with him, that it will be right-wing 527's, not Jones, photoshopping Obama and Jones together.

Look, we just can't let this happen. We have another choice. In fact we have several other choices, but Jim is the one who has the depth of experience and the ability to bring to the table the resources necessary to defeat Chambliss. Martin can be senator #60. That's huge. Please, go vote for Martin tomorrow!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ussery Scores Telegraph Endorsement

It's something when the primary challenger beats out the incumbent for the endorsement of the local newspaper. That's exactly what happened today when the Telegraph gave the nod to Republican Theron Ussery in the Bibb Commission Chair race. Theron hasn't raised a lot of money in his effort to oust Bibb Commission Chair Charlie Bishop. If he had raised enough money to effectively communicate with voters, I think Bishop would really be sweating Tuesday's primary. Bishop's inability to work well with others was apparently what swayed the editorial board.

Ussery is certainly the better candidate, but he did not run the stronger campaign, so I suspect that Bishop will prevail on Tuesday. Regardless, Sam Hart has an excellent opportunity to win in November. Everyone I talk with is ready for leadership that puts the well being of this community ahead of ego.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Phone

Yes, the robocalls have started, and I have to say that so far none have been nasty. First up this morning was Dale Cardwell, and as robocalls go, this one was pretty well done. He started with a women talking, introducing him, saying that he was going to talk about something he had been working on for years as an investigative reporter. I thought, here we go, he's going to smack Vernon. No such luck, he hit the PAC thing, left out his opponents names and stayed clean. Good call.

Then, I heard for the second time from Bill Lucas, and while there was some push back at the incumbent sheriff, it was not too bad.

We have had actual live calls from Steve Leeds and Tony Center, state committee members who are running for DNC posts.

I suspect that there will be more calls over the next few days.

Oh, Thank God

No fried food? Organic? 50% of the plate must be fruits and veggies? And include three of the following five colors: purple, red, white, yellow and green? Had the DNCC finally gone over the left edge? Were they really writing off the South? I was worried. Honestly, when I read these "rules" for convention food vendors-made famous by none other than The New York Times, my first thought was that the DNC might as well go ahead and set up a booth offering $400 haircuts. (Sorry, John. You know I love ya'.) The idea that these were the requirements for any food served at the convention reeked of, oh, I don't know, elitism, Big Brother, Nanny State, all things out of touch-all things laughable. If we had done this, I'm pretty sure the RNCC would've had a fish fry at a shooting range to celebrate. Fortunately, this week , the DNCC host committee finally put the kibosh on the rumor, dubbing it a "frivolous food fight."

What's the truth? The DNCC is allowing vendors to voluntarily serve designated "Lean N' Green meal options. To be so designated, the food item must meet the above listed requirements. So, rest easy. We will have no trouble keeping our cholesterol levels up while in Denver.

Friday, July 11, 2008

DPG Has Standing to Challenge Voter ID Law

Today, the Democratic Party of Georgia was found to have standing to bring the Voter ID lawsuit, and Judge Campbell also found that the Plaintiff's petition was not subject to dismissal for failure to provide verification. While the press may be focused on the fact that Judge Campbell declined to grant the requested TRO for the primary, it is the finding on the issue of standing that should give hope to all those in Georgia who want to protect the fundamental right to vote. Past suits on this matter in Georgia have ultimately failed because the plaintiff(s)were found not to have standing. You can read the decision here.

Martin Matheny, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia, said:

"We are pleased that the issue of standing is now settled. The ruling on the request for the temporary restraining order is disappointing but not totally unexpected. We knew this was a short time frame to bring this action. We look forward to the court's full consideration of this matter as the lawsuit moves forward. The Democratic Party of Georgia will continue to fight to protect the Georgia Constitution and to make sure that every Georgia voter has the a chance to vote in November."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Can We Talk?

Should the Democratic Party of Georgia be involved in candidate recruitment efforts, or not? There has been a lot of buzz on the blogs, on the ground and among donors about the need for the DPG to do a better job of candidate recruitment. (I agree, by the way, that the effort needs to be better organized and ongoing.) There has also been a lot of complaining about the perception that the DPG actively recruited a candidate into the senate race, and the Party was left in the position of defending allegations-that proved to be false-about their advocacy for a particular candidate in that contested primary. I'm not trying to re-ignite that fight, but this opens up a serious question.

If the Party actively recruits candidates, how do we do that and then say, "well, sorry, if you have primary opposition, you are on your own?" It's not a piece of cake to run for office, and in case no one noticed, there is not a long line of qualified candidates banging down the doors. How do we get folks to run and then abandon them when someone else qualifies?

The question is, how does the Party balance the need to recruit with the need to remain neutral in primaries? Is that even possible?

Talk among yourselves...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

McCain Jumps the Track

This man could be our next President:


Ouch. According to the AJC, here's Obama's personal response to Vernon Jones appropriating his image without permission:

"I do not endorse him; I have not endorsed him," Obama said Tuesday in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He put my picture on his literature, without asking me. Now I will tell you in the southside of Chicago,
and I'm assuming here in Georgia, those kinds of things aren't uncommon. It's a
little less common to do when you're a U.S. Senate candidate when presumably the scrutiny is a little higher."Obama, who was in metro Atlanta for two fund-raisers and a town hall meeting in Powder Springs said he thinks he met Jones at a previous campaign event."I think he may have to come to an event of ours a while back," Obama said. "The reason I think I may have met him is I know somebody told me as I was shaking his hand that he had taken pride in voting for George Bush twice."

I think that's a very presidential way of saying, "Jones did not have permission to use my picture. No I have not endorsed him and do not endorse him. This is small time political trick, and a U.S. Senate candidate should know better. By the way, did ya'll know Vernon voted for Bush twice?"

Monday, July 7, 2008

America's Convention: DNCC Press Call

I just hung up the phone from the press call regarding the decision to move the 4th day of the DNCC to INVESCO to allow more than 75,000 people to participate. DNC chairman, Gov. Howard Dean said, "Obama does not view this as his convention; it's America's convention." Dean said that opening up the last day of the convention to as many people as possible was consistent with the message and vision of the Obama campaign and with Dean's own philosophy. Dean stressed that this is an historic event, something that has never been done before, and in keeping with the historic nature of this convention.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius also joined the call and stressed that nothing better symbolizes the new face of the Democratic Party than hosting this convention in the Mountain West-a place that was once a Republican stronghold that is now becoming more Democratic. Gov. Sebelius also pointed out that people are enthusiastic about the convention and about Obama's nomination. For example, instead of the 10,000 volunteers the committee sought to recruit, more than 22,000 people have responded to the call for volunteers.

If you read the NYT article today, then you know that there are concern about paying for this change. Because of the long primary season, fundraising for the convention has been a bit late getting started. Gov. Dean and the Obama campaign representative, Anita Dunn brushed aside those concerns, saying that the DNCC is within budget and that the Obama campaign will assist the committee with raising the needed funds for the convention.

In a moment of levity, a reporter asked Gov. Dean whether Republicans and Independent voters would be included in the 75K ticketed guests who would witness Obama's acceptance speech. Dean quipped that there would be "good videos" and then stammered through a response about priority being given to people, especially those in western states, who have worked long and hard for Obama. Gov. Sebelius cut in (thankfully) and said that many Republicans and Independent voters are now Democrats as a result of this historic primary, and that they would certainly be among those witnessing Obama accepting the nomination.

Obama Throws Open the Doors!

This is very, very cool. Obama is moving the last night of the convention to INVESCO Mile High Stadium where he will accept the nomination in front of more than 75K people. Top that, John McCain. Here's the press release:

Final Day of Convention Program to Move to Denver's INVESCO Field at Mile HighDENVER - Breaking the mold of traditional political Conventions, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today announced that Senator Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States at Denver's INVESCO Field at Mile High. INVESCO Field can accommodate more than 75,000 people and will be the site of the 2008 Democratic Convention's final day of programming on Thursday, August 28, 2008."The Democratic Party is nominating a true change candidate this August, and it is only fitting that we make some big changes in how we put on the Convention," said Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "Senator Obama's candidacy has generated an enormous amount of excitement and interest, not only in the Democratic Party but also in the 2008 Convention. By bringing the last night of the Convention out to the people, we will be able to showcase Barack Obama's positive, people-centered vision for our country in a big way.""Barack Obama's campaign for change has inspired millions of Americans and brought people into the political process who might never have been involved," said Convention Co-Chair Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius! . "This change in the Convention program will allow thousands of first -time participants a chance to take part. I can't think of a better Convention finale for our nominee who has made reaching out to voters a hallmark of his campaign.""When we said we wanted to 'bring down the walls,' open up this Convention like never before and truly speak to the American people, we meant it," said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. "On August 28, we will offer grassroots Democrats, who have turned out in record numbers this year, the opportunity to witness history shoulder to shoulder with thousands of Americans standing up for the change our country desperately needs." "Senator Obama and the DNCC have truly brought the community into the Convention," said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. "This decision will enable thousands of residents from Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West and across the nation to witness history first hand. What a way to fire up our grassroots activists as we head into the fall campaign."Primetime ! Convention activities Monday, August 25 through Wednesday, August 27 will continue to be held at the Pepsi Center. The final day of the Convention on Thursday, August 28, including the nomination acceptance speech of Senator Barack Obama, will be held at INVESCO Field at Mile High, also located in downtown Denver. Daytime Convention events, including meetings of the Democratic caucuses and councils will continue to be held at the Colorado Convention Center.The DNCC announced today that a special block of "Community" credentials will be reserved for Colorado residents for Thursday night's program at INVESCO Field. Details about how to sign up and receive a "Community Credential" for the last night of the Convention will be released in the coming weeks."This is the type of Convention people will want to experience together with family, friends and neighbors, and we hope this move enables thousands of Americans to come together, experience history and put Senator Obama on the path to victory in November," Daughtry added.


About the DNCC: The 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee is the official arm of the Democratic National Committee responsible for planning and organizing the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. To unsubscribe from our mailing list or to refer additional e-mail addresses, please direct all inquiries to .Paid for by 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bush's Birthday Bash

That's right, today is President Bush's 62nd birthday, and all he wants for his last (thank God) birthday while in office, is for you to send $62.00 to the RNC. I don't think so.

Instead, I'm celebrate by sending a $62 contribution to the DNC, and I am encouraging YOU to donate as well -- $62, or $6.20, or even $620 -- to the DNC, the DCCC, the DSCC -- or even to the Democratic Party of Georgia.

According to Mooncat over at Left in Alabama, this is a bargain-a gift now helps make sure that next year this time John McCain is not celebrating his 73 birthday in the White House.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Guest Blog from Georgia Congressional Candidate

I am glad to post guest blogs from candidates, so if you are running for office, and would like to post here, send your post to me at I will post it as you send it. Please welcome to the conversation Doug Heckman, who is running for Congress in Georgia's 7th district:

My name is Doug Heckman, and I am running for U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 7th District. My district includes Gwinnett, Walton, and Barrow Counties, as well as small parts of Newton and Forsyth Counties. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Amy Morton for permitting me to appear on her blog.

Allow me to briefly introduce myself. My wife Pat and I have lived in Gwinnett County for 17 years with our three children. Our family is active at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. I am a Colonel in the US Army Reserves and a Green Beret; I served in Afghanistan from 2001-2002 and in Iraq from 2006-2007. Additionally, I have an MBA from Duke and have worked in the financial services industry for 20 years. My proven track record of success with my family, military, and business endeavors shows how effective I will be as your Congressman.

Today, I will discuss two issues: the No Child Left Behind Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I will begin with No Child Left Behind.

Education is the silver bullet for so many of our nation’s problems. Our efforts to build a “land of opportunity” can succeed only if our public schools give every child the chance to realize his or her potential. Furthermore, our country’s status as an economic and military power rests on our students’ ability to keep pace with students from every other country. Therefore, our national government must make it the highest priority to help states improve public education.

Our national government must help state governments fully fund our public schools, but the NCLB Act has never been adequately funded. This year’s federal budget for NCLB is $24.5 billion—which sounds impressive until you consider that the Gwinnett County Public Schools alone operate on nearly $2 billion each year. The law requires schools to set benchmarks for improvement like never before, but schools are given no additional funds to help make this happen. Only the very poorest schools receive any federal money at all through “Title I” funds. This situation fails students, hurts teachers’ and administrators’ morale, and makes unreasonably difficult each school’s task of achieving its required “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP).

Many groups of professional educators have submitted plans to improve the NCLB Act, including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Aspen Institute, and the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. Congress needs to pay attention to what large groups of experts say about education legislation. For instance, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) says it “has long championed the principles underlying the No Child Left Behind Act” but criticizes the Act for sticking to a flawed AYP formula and failing to support educators. The AFT says that the $70.9 billion “short-changed” to the Act since 2002 would help solve many of the Act’s problems. Other organizations offer different criticisms and solutions, but here is the bottom line: Congress must fully fund whatever reforms it passes, or the promise of opportunity will remain un-kept for many students.

On to the next topic: FISA. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) became law in 1978, our legislators knew they were exploring territory well beyond our Founding Fathers’ imaginations. The challenge, our legislators knew, would be to safeguard our country in a new age of electronic communications while guaranteeing the civil liberties we had come to cherish over the past two centuries. Legal experts now agree that President George W. Bush crossed the line in 2005 when he authorized surveillance not allowed either by FISA or by Congress’s post-September 11 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF). This year, Congress is considering the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill designed to prevent this sort of executive overreach from happening in the future.

I believe Congress should pass this bill for several reasons. This bill clarifies what kinds of surveillance are legal and what court procedures must be followed for the National Security Agency to obtain warrants for surveillance. This bill ensures—as Senator Obama said recently—that “somebody's watching the watchers.” At the same time, it ensures that the NSA can efficiently obtain surveillance and keep America secure.

I also support provisions in this bill which would grant legal immunity to telecommunications companies that unwittingly broke the law when they cooperated with the President’s surveillance programs. These companies should have been more careful in their compliance, but it is now clear that they may not have been reasonably expected to know the President’s programs were probably against the law (as evaluated by most legal scholars, but not all). Our Congress should focus on preventing future mistakes, not punishing past ones committed under questionable circumstances. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 upholds that focus.

I would like to reiterate my thanks to Amy Morton for hosting me and to her subscribers for reading my blog entry. I also invite you all to help me prepare for the task of serving as your Congressman. It is critically important for a Congressman to represent the interests of his constituents; therefore, I hope you will visit my website (, learn about me, and contact me with your ideas and concerns ( Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Party's Throwing a Party

And you thought politics was about blog chatter....actually, it's about this:

From Bibb County Party Chair, Steve Allen

The Bibb County Democratic Party, in cooperation with the Democratic Party of Georgia, is opening a headquarters at 428 Second Street in downtown Macon. That's near Cherry Street and directly across from the SunTrust Bank. Everyone is invited to attend the open house on the evening of July 4 (which is also First Friday in Macon) between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. We will be inviting local candidates and will serve refreshments.The telephone number for the Party is 478/747-1000.

I'm there: Party with the Party on the 4th. An aside-it's pretty cool to read the words "Bibb County Democratic Party," "Democratic Party of Georgia" and "cooperation" in the same sentence.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"State-Directed" Schools

Kathy Cox is acting like Georgia just won a prize. We most assuredly did not. Georgia is one of six states selected by the U.S. Department of Education to pilot a program allowing "differentiated accountability" under the No Child Left Behind Act. Touted and "freedom" and "flexibility," the devil is, as always in the details.

1. Not one dime. Local school systems have been told that this grand prize comes with not one extra dollar. Never mind that most local boards just signed off on their budgets for next year, and that no one has yet determined whether this program will cost districts additional money-how can it not-and if so, how much.

2. Not on our time table. When Cox (who, as we know from the CRCT mess, just loves to spring surprises on local school districts) applied for this program in May of 2008, she told the U.S. DOE that the earliest Georgia could implement the program would be the 2009-2010 school year. Now, because a condition of being a pilot project was implementation this year (2008-2009), school districts across the state learned just today that they will be expected to make changes most do not yet understand. Never mind that most school districts have very few 12 month staff positions. When you're saddled with 1.6 billion in cuts, you can't afford many 12 month positions. Who, exactly, is going to stop putting out the daily fires to sort this out? Implementation is going to be chaotic, at best.

3. Just say "no" to local control. Talk about loss of local control, Cox's plan includes the creation of "State-Directed Schools." Here's the exact language from Cox's proposal as submitted to the DOE:

State-Directed Status (NI-5 or higher)
All schools in Needs Improvement year 5 or higher will receive a State-Directed status label which involves an immediate loss of local governance and other additional consequences as determined by the GaDOE in each school’s required state directed contract.

I don't know about you, but Cox seems to be having substantial trouble with the tasks currently on her plate. I'm not sure she needs to be taking over local schools and removing authority from locally elected boards of education and locally hired superintendents. I laughed when I read the AJC explanation that this was not really taking over local schools since local boards would still get to make all non-academic decisions. Read: Local boards will get to figure out how to pay for what the State requires them to do. And, that's change, how?
4. Delay, Delay. Because of Cox's rush to accept this "prize," Cox has made it nearly impossible for local schools systems to begin their school years as planned. Cox does not plan to inform local school systems which schools will be "State-Directed" until July 21-25, just a couple of weeks before most school systems are slated to start. Expect Cox to use this as an excuse to further her argument that schools should start later this year (to give her time to clean up her CRCT mess.)
5. The Holy Grail of Charter Schools. Read the report, or at least the comparison of how things are now, and how they will be under this plan. Cox has taken this opportunity to embed becoming a Charter School as one of a few limited options schools that need improvement are forced to choose between.
So, though I am no fan of NCLB, I am also no fan of trying to turn a battleship on a dime in rough waters. Cox was right in her first submission to the U.S. DOE-we needed a year to implement these changes successfully, not the mere weeks we now have. And, you can't fix broken schools by sending a monitor down from Atlanta or by having the state take over the school. Only leadership that is out of touch with the realities of local school districts could think such a plan is a good idea.