Friday, August 29, 2008

Dan Quayle Was More Qualified

Sarah who? That seemed to be Kay Bailey Hutchinson's reaction to McCain's pick to be a heartbeat away from that 3 a.m. phone call.

With this choice, McCain stuck a pacifier in the mouth of his party's most radical factions and demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of what female voters value.

Women I have spoken to in Denver, many who were Clintonites, have said McCain's choice is flatly insulting to women. It's the first thing out of their mouth. The second thing they say is what poor judgment McCain has shown with this pick.

In her speech, Palin was giving her resume, highlighting her run for city council and Mayor of a city of 8500. So, that's like Gray or Forsyth. Actually, this a good argument for keeping partisan local elections in Macon-otherwise, the next Republican nominee might get addled and choose Lauren Benedict.

What the hell is McCain thinking? As a Democrat, I'm thrilled. As an American, I'm horrified.

If Palin's his choice for VP, then we can assume that Karen Handel will be Secretary of State. Or, perhaps Attorney General based on her vast legal experience.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama!

Obama Speaks at Invesco

Major correction to last post and Maj. Gen. Peyer

Leesburg folk, the altitude is getting to me!  I meant Polly Miller!  Polly Paddock, if you became a general, you sure have been keeping it a big secret!

Oh well, like I said last night, no way to correct posts from my blackberry!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Not quite enough women for me, but we sure are making progress!

We just saw 20 to 25 generals and admirals take the podium in support of Barack Obama.  It was wonderful to see so many military leaders out there to tell us what we already know - that Barack Obama is ready to be our next Commander in Chief.

Seeing how few women were there did bring me up a little short.  That's why I want to give a big shout out to Middle Georgia's newest commander, Major General Polly Peyer (you Leesburg, Fl people will know her as Polly Paddock), the new Commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.

Major General Peyer - a two star general - is the first woman to hold that command.  Yet at the change of command ceremony just a few weeks ago, neither she nor anyone else emphasized that fact.  I think that's because thankfully it is becoming less unremarkable for women to be at the head of command, at the top of the ticket and the CEO.


Lauren Logan Benedict

My kingdom for a Lemonade

 We have been at Invesco for several hours waiting on Obama's speech.  The sun has been constantly present.  Staying hydrated to avoid a host of horrible outcomes has been repeatedly emphasized to me.  So when one of my fellow attendees wanted a lemonade, I volunteered for the quest.  The line for the lemonade was an ordeal.  A diminutive woman prepared the lemonade alone.  The process included manually squeezing the lemons, adding the liquid, adding the ice, and taking the money.  It took a long time, but I could not be mad at the person doing the best job she could.  I also met some great Democrats in the line. Fortunately, I returned in time to save my comrade from a fate worse than death.

Guest posted by one of Georgia Women Votes favorite men, Daryl Morton

ps - Guess who wanted the lemonade.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Dean Gives a Shout Out to Macon

In his address at Invesco, Howard Dean gave a shout out to Macon, mentioning his recent trip there to host a voter registration drive. He highlighted the story of one Maconite who had registered hundreds of voters despite personal adversity. I'm working on a name for you-

Like thousands of ants marching their way to a giant picnic

We boarded the bus at 2 and by 4, Daryl Morton and I have made it through security to our seats a mile high in Mile High Stadium. 

It's a little toasty, but we have sunscreen, a seat and finally got a little lunch.  Basically we are happy as clams and that seems to be the general consensus of everyone around us.  As we have had the Presentation of Colors by the Disabled Veterans of America, Pledge of Allegiance led by Olympic champion, Shawn Johnson and National Anthem sung by Jennifer Hudson, we are anxiously awaiting, Congressman John Lewis, Governor Bill Richardson and of course the main man, Barack Obama. 

In the meantime, we can see out of the stadium as lines of thousands continue to snake their way towards the stadium like ants towards a picnic. 
Lauren Logan Benedict

Waiting

Overall the DNCC has really done a tremendous job of organizing this grand event.  With significant security concerns, record crowds and a change in venue part way through, it really is mind blowing how any organization can coordinate such an event. 

That's not to say there haven't been hiccups experienced along the way.  Logistics have been a little fluid - how could they not be - and the delegation has had less guest passes than we would like.  However, we learned real early if we would be patient and wait, often the details would work out.  In fact I heard an AJC reporter who has attended numerous conventions say his only complaint was the number of taxi cabs in Denver.

We've spent a good part of today waiting to make sure credentials were in hand, but now we're on the shuttle to the stadium.  More to come!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Those of you that tell me nothing has changed, I want you to walk a mile in my shoes

That's what Congressman John Lewis said as he addressed - no, preached to - the Georgia and Alabama delegations at this morning's meeting.  On the 45th Anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech, we were honored to have a son of the civil rights movement.  Of the 10 who spoke on that day 45 years ago, Congressman Lewis is the only one still living.

Congressman Lewis talked about the distance Georgia and Alabama have "come down in laying down the burden of race."  As we were treated to a little bit of that Lewis style when he said that last night we made a "down payment on the fulfillment of a dream...We must march again... On the ballot box and elect Barack Obama...we must do it for not just ourselves but for the generations yet unborn." 

The atmosphere in the room - even at this early hour after several late nights - was charged and ready for the excitement this evening is sure to bring.

Lauren Logan Benedict

Lewis Calls for March on the Ballot Box

Today, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and on the day Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech, embracing the nomination for President, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis addressed the Georgia and Alabama delegations in Denver.

Of those who spoke to the crowd on mall in Washington forty-five years ago, John Lewis is the only one still living.

With a rousing, passionate speech, Lewis pointed to the historic nature of this moment and called on Democrats, black and white to march once again, this time, on the ballot box. "If someone had told me that I would live to see what we saw last night, I would've said you were crazy." " To those who believe that change cannot happen, I invite them to walk in my shoes."

The nomination of Barack Obama, Lewis said, is "a down payment on the dream" King helped birth forty-five years ago. And, "history," Lewis said, "would not be kind to us if we fail to elect him."

Lewis will speak tonight at Invesco Field, and I have a feeling that forty-five years from now, school children will be reading about what happens tonight in Denver.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

John McCain should finish the debate with himself!

That was just one of the many zingers delivered by Sen. John Kerry tonight as he talked about how Candidate McCain directly contradicts Sen. McCain over and over.

Sen. Kerry, who has been criticized for being boring or lacking charisma, had the crowd on its feet over and over. His impassioned and dynamic speech again confirms the enthusiasm and excitement behind Barack Obama.
Lauren Logan Benedict

"I'm here first to support Barack Obama...

And second to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden."  That's what President Clinton told us after his lengthy standing ovation.

The house was rocking and throughout his speech and he was interrupted numerous times by the  cheering crowd.  If there was any doubt about Clinton family support for Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton's speech last night, that doubt is wiped away as President Clinton made it clear that he supports Barack Obama 100%.

President Clinton concluded saying "Barack Obama will lead us back to unity and hope," and the band played "it's a Beautiful Day." That it is!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Sir, what the hell are we doing over here?

That's what retired officer and Congressman Patrick Murphy from Pennsylvania was asked by his gunner while on patrol in Iraq.

On the podium with 25 young veterans he criticized George Bush for abandonning injured soldiers at Walter Reed, failing to provide enough body armor and offering photo opps instead of leadership. 

I'd say that the six to one ratio of contributions from active military demonstrates the Congressman Murphy spoke for many of our servicemen and women when he said it is "time for a president who leads, who serves our troops as they serve us."

We've also heard from Command Sgt Major, Michelle Jones who said "he is the best most qualified to serve as Commander in Chief." She is supporting Barack Obama because he will provide "the equipment, training and resources to address their needs to fully complete their mission." Senator Obama has the "courage to serve, the gift to lead and the ability to get things done."

They both made me think of my cousin, Christopher, who served high risk missions as a Marine in both Bosnia and Iraq.  He's out of the Marines now and trying to get his college degree.  But his service cost him more - a missed  final while he was in the hospital for a stomach ulcer.  Just like all who have seen combat, I'm sure his service has cost him far more than any of us know.

Lauren Logan Benedict

Shout out to the family in South Dakota

Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota is at the podium so I wanted to give a nod to the Logan's, Lammers', Sulentic's and all of the rest of the clan!

By the way, Sen Daschle was great!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Melissa Etheridge serenades the crowd!

We were just treated to a medley of God Bless America, The Times They Are A Changin', Give Peace A Chance and Born In The USA.

Spectacular!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Excuse the typos!

I have been and will continue to be blog straight from my blackberry - no computer.  That means if a typo slips by, I cannot go back and fix it while I'm here at the Pepsi Center.  So if you see some flubs, give me a pass!
Lauren Logan Benedict

The Change We Need!

Democratic women of the House of Representatives led by Speaker, Nancy Pelosi have taken the podium just like the women of the Senate did yesterday to share their priorities of women across the country.  What a proud moment to see those powerful women together on the stage.  Of course I would be just a bit prouder if we had a woman from Georgia up there with them.

The Speaker said that for the first time, the majority of delegates to the convention are women.  About women, she said, "This is our convention, this is our party, and Barack Obama is our candidate to deliver the change we need!" 

Lauren Logan Benedict

Rednecks4Obama

On my way through perimeter security today amid all the protesters and well wishers, we found a group that most Georgians can identify with - Rednecks4Obama.  We stopped for photos and bumper stickers which Daryl and I will distribute to our favorite red necks upon return.  Chuck Byrd, your name is already on one of them! 

While it was great to have some quick fellowship with some guys with a southern drawl, it was even better to hear their slogan - "Workin' for the man who'll do more for the workin' man." I know that's why I'm a Democrat and why I support Barack Obama.  I hope my fellow Georgia red necks will be proud to do the same!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From Middle Class to Poverty

Throughout the Convention we have heard from everyday people about why they are supporting Barack Obama. My ears perked up when I heard a heavy southern drawl coming from the podium. It was the voice of Gloria Craven from North Carolina who, along with eight thousand others, lost her mill job of 30 years with no notice from the company. She remembers being advised by George Bush that those who lost their jobs should just go to college. Well that was pretty tough for a workforce who had foregone high school diplomas to go to work to take care of their families. The crowd celebrated with Gloria as she shared that she had gone back to school to get that high school diploma in 2006 and that she was proud of her husband who was now doing the same. Despite this fact, a women who had always identified herself as middle class is now barely scraping by at the poverty level.

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano agrees with John McCain...

At least in his admission that he "does not understand the economy the way he should." However that's where the agreement with John McCain ended.  Gov. Napolitano and others have done an excellent job today drawing the contrast between the two presidential candidates.  While Barack Obama wants to make sure that we have good jobs, quality health care, educational resources for all, John McCain wants more of the same failed policies of the last eight years.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Men of quality don't fear women who want equality

That's what we heard from President Carter today at the Celebrating Democratic Women Luncheon.  Back when I was not paying quite as much attention to politics, President Carter issued Proclamation 4515 on August 26, 1977, creating Women's Equality Day.  President Carter started his speech today saying he was "shocked that women were NOT dominant" when he got to Washington after being dominated by his wife, mother and daughter.  He discovered there were over 3000 laws and directives on the books that were directly discriminatory to women.  He took action and issued an executive order eliminating every previous order that was discriminatory, he directed his cabinet members to do the same and charged his Attorney General, Georgia's own Griffin Bell, to work to eliminate discriminatory laws through legislative action.

President Carter said he learned early that "men of quality don't fear women who want equality."  I recognize that quality in many men in both my personal and professional life.  Unfortunately, there seem to be many more who fear equality.  So, just like I want my niece, Ava to know no limits due to gender, I want my nephews, Grady and Cole to become men who believe what President Carter said is true.  Knowing my brothers, my Dad, and of course the "dominant" women in their lives including their pushy Aunt La, I think there is a pretty good chance my wish will come true!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Celebrating Democratic Women

I mentioned below that I had the honor of attending a luncheon celebrating Women's Equality Day recognizing First Ladies, Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Clinton.  Before I can tell you about the great event, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the fabulous democratic women in my life, my grandmother, Charleen Locke.  Now I won't tell you Mimi's age, but I will tell you she was born after the passage of the XIX Amendment giving women the right to vote. 

About the luncheon, there is so much to say about this event that it will take more than one post to tell you about it so stay tuned! 
Lauren Logan Benedict

To Do List that MUST be done!

Everyone knows that organized and effective women often get things done using a "to do list" to keep us on track when distractions come our way.  Well  Senators Barbara Mikulski, Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lambert Lincoln, Debbie Stabenow, Maria Cantwell, Claire McCaskill, and Amy Klobuchar, just took the floor one at a time to give us their list.

1. Equal Pay For Equal Work
2. Protect Our Environment
3. Prepare For Future Disasters
4. Make Health Care Affordable
5. Keep Jobs In America
6. Make America Energy Independent
7. Enforce Fiscal Accountability
8. Protect The Family Checkbook.

This list looks spot on to me.  I'm counting on those gals in the Senate, with the help of the good guys there too and with the new Administration to check the items on that list off one by one!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Barack Obama does and John Mccain does not!

That was the clear message from Cecila Richards - daughter of Texas Gov. Ann Richards and head of Planned Parenthood - about the candidates record working for the benefit of women's health care.  To me, making sure that women and their children have access to quality care is a basic and core issue.  I'm glad my candidate "does" too!
Lauren Logan Benedict

Wake Up America!

The crowd (including the group from Ohio sitting next to me) just went wild for one of our most well known rebels, Dennis Kucinich.  I feel like I'm in an old southern revival as he brought nearly everyone to their feet with his cry, "Wake up America!"

While Rep. Kucinich is often criticized as a radical who is too far to the left, I appreciate his unrelenting efforts to expose those who put profit ahead of people.  Sometimes we need a rebel voice to wake us up.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Exciting day so far

Today has been to busy to grab a second to blog until now.  Today is Women's Equality Day and that theme will play out in todays agenda on the Convention floor.  There was also a luncheon celebrating democratic women and honoring First Ladies Rosalyn Carter and Hillary Clinton.  More on that and the rest of the days events as the afternoon and evening progresses.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Monday, August 25, 2008

The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream live on!

I couldn't help feel that a torch has been officially passed as Senator Teddy Kennedy ended his speech with those words.  His speech was powerful and a call to us to focus on "renewal for our nation." I hope that those watching on tv could get a sense of his passion and commitment for the country.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Standing ovation for President and Mrs. Carter

Of course my friends in South Georgia (Joni Woolf) just know him as Mr. Jimmy.  Well Mr. Jimmy and Rosalyn have done Georgia and the whole country proud from their work with Habitat for Humanity, medical aid to Africa, Katrina relief, mental health advocacy - the list goes on and on.  I was proud to stand for them they way they stand for all of us and those who cannot stand for themselves.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Roll models for Ava and Isabelle

Tonight we have already heard from Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and Minnesota Senator Amy Clochbuchar and will soon hear from Michelle Obama. I can't help but thinkof my niece, Ava and my God daughter, Isabelle because, partisanship aside, hopefully they will never know a time where women are not serving in the highest levels of their professions or government.

The generations of women who came before me made it easier for me to become a lawyer and to run for office. I look forward for more barriers crumbling so that by the time Ava and Isabelle are ready there will be no limit to their dreams. Of course I'm hoping those dreams will contain donkeys, but I'll support them no matter what!

In the Hall!

Well Amy and I have both made it to our seats in the Pepsi Center.  We are anxiously awaiting tonights key note speaker, Michelle Obama.  My peeps from Florida have a front row seat in front of the band and were rocking out just a few minutes ago.  Check back often because more updates to come as the night goes progresses.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Wind is the Talk in Denver

A large blade from a windmill was added to a sculpture garden in Denver, underscoring the convention's emphasis on "green" energy.

Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting!

That was one message we got from the Democratic Governors Association Media Roundtable where we heard from Gov. Joe Manchin (WV), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT) and Gov. Martin O'Malley (MD) .  The water issues going on in the West make our little skirmish with Florida and Alabama look like child's play.  In a time where "going green" has become a necessity, it was good to hear from Gov. Schweitzer some specifics of Senator Obama's plan was water restoration in the West. 


Lauren Logan Benedict

If you want to debate, go to Congress...

The governors didn't limit their conversation to water.  Also important to those of us who live in more conservative states was their discussion of how they were elected and now are effective in red or red leaning states.  All three said that dealing with basic, kitchen table issues was key not only to their elections, but their ability to effectively govern. 

Gov. Manchin said "you can't be successful governing from right or left.  People want solutions.  If you want to debate, go to Congress.  If you want to lead, be a governor." 

Out in Montana, Gov. Schweitzer is the first democrat elected governor of Montana in 20 years.  He chose a republican state senator to choose as his lieutenant governor.

Gov. O'Malley, he hit a home run when he said government "can and should work for the people".  He talked about strengthening the middle class and specifically mentioned family businesses.  I know it was a family business that put me and my brothers through school and helped us get where we are today. 

It seems to me that in keeping with their basic beliefs of working for the common good, these governors have had success in actually leading and not politicing.  Maybe those of us in Georgia and elsewhere need to be listening. 
Lauren Logan Benedict

Georgia and Alabama Delegations hear from Congressman Heath Shuler


This morning at the Georgia Delegation breakfast and meeting, the delegates combined sessions with Alabama to hear from Congressman Heath Shuler. The Chair of the Alabama delegation said it was a little strange to have a Tennessee quarterback from North Carolina address Georgia and Alabama.

However, I don't think its strange, instead it is a beacon of hope for those of us in the deep (and red) south. Congressman Shuler represents exactly what those of us in Georgia and all across the south believe in - taking care of our neighbors. He said he gets asked all the time why he is a democrat and his response was exactly the one I give frequently - "why wouldn't I be a democrat!"

He had many good things to share with us, but Dad, Congressman Shuler didn't have a thing good to say about those Gators.

Big Day for Delegate Maxine Goldstein from Milledgeville


The delegation sang Happy Birthday this morning to the "dean" of the Women's Delegation, Maxine Goldstein. Maxine is attending her 11th Convention and is also celebrating her 82nd birthday. Pictures to come, but I think that number is off by about 20 years, she doesn't look a day over 60!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Everybody better mind their P's and Q's!!!

While we have found Denver to be welcoming, the presence of law enforcement is clear, overwhelming and strangely comforting.

The moment we stepped into the non secure part of the airport, we saw armed law enforcement K9 units. Then, as we drove through downtown Denver there were "troops" of officers on nearly every corner. We even saw several of these troops hanging off of SUV's.

As someone involved in local government, it is mind blowing to think about the coordination necessary just to make sure that the security concerns here at the Convention are adequately addressed. Again, Denver, the DNC and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies seem to be ahead of the game.

All I can say is that everyone might better mind those P's and Q's!

Gold star to the DNC and Denver


We've made it to Denver following a pleasant and uneventful flight. All day long Amy and I have both been amazed at the ease we have been able to navigate the city to pick up credentials in two different locations and get our bearings for the rest of the week. The DNC seems to have their organizational act together - no small feat for a party that is often infamous for disorganization. As for Denver, the city is beautiful and everyone we have encountered has been welcoming, friendly and helpful. They are clearly glad we are here.

Now, we are taking a few minutes to blog (after all that's why we are here) and rest before we try to meet up with members of the Georgia delegation for tonight's activities. During our short trek downtown, we saw a few protesters, got a bite to eat and then stumbled upon the MSNBC set where Keith Olberman, Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough and the rest of the team will be reporting all week. Their slogan is The Place for Politics however, the entire City seems to fit that bill.

While we were there, Gus was able to meet Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and take this great picture.


I'm pretty sure that if Chuck Byrd were in Denver, we could find him hanging out there each morning to catch those two and his favorite news program, Morning Joe.

Taking Off!

Lauren Benedict, Rep. Nikki Randall, Gus (who goes to Springdale not Carter), and I made it to the airport safe and sound. The plane completely full of Georgia Democrats who are heading to Denver. Check here and Tondee's for posts today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The bags are packed...

And I sure hope the one I am checking does not weigh over 50 pounds! Tomorrow morning at dawn thirty, Amy and I are headed to Denver. We are not sure what to expect, but we both packed our walking shoes. I am looking forward to sharing details all week so don't forget to check here often to see what trouble we've found in Denver.

We also have a small stow away - Gus the Bear. Gus is in the First grade at Springdale ElementarySchool in Macon. You can check out his big adventure at his very own blog.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Details on Denver

On Sunday, I'll get on a plane and head to the DNCC in Denver. I'll be blogging for Georgia's State Blogger Corp member, Tondee's Tavern . Just one blog per state was chosen for this honor, and Tondee's will literally have a front row seat to all the action in Denver. With press credentials, a floor pass and a seat with the Georgia Delegation, Tondee's will have an excellent opportunity to cover the activities of the Georgia Delegation in Denver. In all, the DNCC credentialed more than 120 blogs, an unprecedented number and another indication that Obama has and will run a "bottom up" campaign.

Lauren Benedict will also get on an airplane Sunday, and she will be blogging at the DNCC for Georgia Women Vote! So, check here for her posts.

You'll notice the Zannel application in the sidebar. We'll be able to use that to post photographs, video and short text updates from Denver, so that will be a good place to look for breaking news-like the name of the VP nominee!

We're excited and can't wait to give you a front row seat to history, so tune in!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cuts Could Cost Bibb 70 Teachers

That's right. If Sonny Perdue gets his way, Bibb County could lose as many as 70 classroom teachers. Already, the tightest budget year on record has forced the Bibb School Board to cut 22 teaching positions, dip into the reserve and raise property taxes 1 mill. Now, Perdue, who for political reasons has refused to call a special session, has frozen the property tax grants to local governments. If Bibb doesn't get that money-more than 4 million dollars counted on during budgeting-as many as 70 teachers could get pink slips. Or, local property owners could get the bill. Neither option is a good one.

We are in a severe economic downturn, and some factors are outside government control, but this administration has grown government to unprecedented levels, failed to save and doled out special interest tax cuts. Now, Perdue is scapegoating local governments in a fashion usually reserved for Glenn Richardson while refusing to call a special session to address this crisis.

I guess teachers and home owners just don't merit a special session.

Powell Wins

How many judges will have to tell Karen Handel that Jim Powell belongs on the ballot? And how many more of your tax dollars will she spend waging this partisan fight? Today, Jim Powell had his day in court-and he won. Today, in the Athens Banner Herald, Handel was forced to defend herself against a growing chorus of allegations that she is using her office for partisan gain. She repeatedly argued that she was just (helplessly and innocently) following the law. Yet, now, despite two judges telling her that Powell belongs on the ballot, Handel says that she may appeal. I guess she's got to check her WWKHD (What Would Katherine Harris Do) bracelet for inspiration. Need to cut the budget, Sonny? I suggest we start with cutting out the frivolous litigation from the SOS office.

Here's Powell's press release:

Great News!! A judge has ruled against Karen Handel and the Secretary of State's office and has declared that Jim Powell will remain on the ballot in November! From the Fort Mill Times:
Judge Wendy Shoob's ruling Thursday reversed the decision by Georgia's top elections official to disqualify Powell from the election. Secretary of State Karen Handel's office said it "strongly disagreed" with the decision and that it may appeal.
Over the past week, we all helped call in to support Jim Powell against the partisan attempts of Karen Handel. Luckily, now a second judge has ruled against her. However, Handel continues to keep her political threats to derail Jim's campaign on the table.

Jim just won yet another victory, but he still needs our help right now!

Whether you join his email list, sign up to volunteer, or contribute to his campaign, our joined support now will send a clear signal to Karen Handel and the Republican Party!


We have the chance to put an experienced leader on the Public Service Commission and we hope everyone will continue to support Jim as he attempts to gear up and run an effective campaign in just about 75 days!

Fw: Jim Powell Headed to Court Today

I'm sitting at Joshua Cup in Macon with Jim Powell. He's down here campaigning today and just learned that his case will be heard in Fulton County Superior Court this afternoon in front Judge Shoob. Jim's going to stay in Macon, doing what good candidates do-talking to voters. Interesting that this came up today. It was originally scheduled for the 5th of Sept. Don't imagine it has anything to do with the Shipp article?

Jim Powell Headed to Court Today

I'm sitting at Joshua Cup in Macon with Jim Powell. He's down here campaigning today and just learned that his case will be heard in Fulton County Superior Court this afternoon in front Judge Shoob. Jim's going to stay in Macon, doing what good candidates do-talking to voters. Interesting that this came up today. It was originally scheduled for the 5th of Sept. Don't imagine it has anything to do with the Shipp article?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama Links Reed to McCain

I'll say this for Obama, he's not doing a Kerry on the negatives. He's pushing back. Thank God.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Local action to fund Halls of Fame

Tonight Macon City Council  passed a resolution urging the local legislative delegation to propose legislation during the next Session to increase Hotel-Motel Excise Tax from 5% to 6% with the extra funding to be split between The Georgia Music and Sports Halls of Fame.  It is important to note that the slight increase would bring the tax rate in line with the other large cities in the State.

This action by Council to help find local funds for our Halls of Fame is a positive step toward making sure these valuable entities stay right here in Macon where they belong.  I urge the local delegation to review the resolution and move forward on the matter.
Lauren Logan Benedict

Monday, August 18, 2008

By the Company We Keep

John McCain can't have it both ways-either he's the "original maverick" who "fought corruption in both parties" or he's Ralph Reed's cut-buddy. My mother frequently admonished me to be careful about who my friends were. "We are all," she said, "judged by the company we keep." I can't say that bit of wisdom always fell on welcoming teenage ears, but with time and maturity, I see that she was right. It begs the question-what is John McCain thinking, coming to Georgia to dine at a table set by none other than Ralph Reed?

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Year Ago, In Iowa With the Edwards'

What a difference a year makes. A year ago this weekend, I got on a plane with a couple of others from Georgia, and headed to Iowa to be part of John Edwards' Fighting for One America Iowa Bus Tour. John Edwards, who had never really stopped running for President since 2004, who never really left Iowa, was ahead in the polls there as we departed. Despite recent revelations, the trip remains one of the single coolest political things I have ever done, in part because of the people I met, from all over the country, who were committed not simply to John and Elizabeth, but to the populist message they carried, a message I hope will not fall victim to the mistakes of the messenger.

We trailed the campaign bus, attended events-large and small, on courthouse lawns, in union halls and at the State Fair. We also heard the other candidates in joint forums, including one of the early debates at Drake University. I met Chris Dodd in the bar of the Hotel Fort Des Moines one night and Hillary Clinton in the lobby the next morning. It was a very cool trip, but the memories now are bittersweet and have an entirely new frame.





At dinner, on the first night of the trip, Elizabeth read to us an excerpt from the new chapter of her book, Saving Graces. (The autographed copy of the paperback she gave us that night is still sitting on my foyer table.) John was there, too. He listened intently, never breaking eye contact with her as she read. She chose to read the section describing that when she was in the hospital, getting the news that there was a recurrence of the cancer, John proposed to her again right there in the hospital room-a real proposal. As a result, a real wedding, a reaffirmation of their vows, happened at their home earlier that summer. There was not a dry eye in the room when she finished reading, and it was then I decided that she must be made of steel. Even so, I had no idea of the pain she was actually carrying, and no idea the context and import of John's proposal-and her response. Now I know she's made of steel, but like all of us, has feet of clay.

I tell that story because the hardest part of this situation for me, and for many others I have spoken to, is reconciling Elizabeth's role. Many of us, not so secretly, like her more than him, supported him because she did and believed in him because she did. I don't know why she supported the campaign continuing, but I suspect it was because she believed in the issues they were putting forward. I do know that none of us can know what it was like to be in her shoes. The bottom line is that Elizabeth Edwards is still who she always was-strong, smart, determined and battle-tested, and we need her voice on the issues she cares so deeply about.

As much as I disagree with their decisions-her's, too-to run and continue to run for President, relying on this story never breaking, and never telling any of us who were the front line foot soldiers in their campaign, I completely get, and respect, Elizabeth's decision to try to heal her marriage, keep her family together and work toward forgiving her husband. I also think that absent the presidential campaign, her choice is none of our business. I work with couples every single day who are surviving affairs. Most people who are having an affair never thought they would do such a thing. So, if you're one of the folks tsking your tongue and pointing a finger, remember-you are not immune.

It's easy, in this 24-7 news, reality television world, to think of people in black and white terms-all good or all bad. The truth is, we're all a mixed bag, and really fine people-really talented, sincere, good people-sometimes make the most awful, tragic decisions, and everyone pays a price. As Edwards' friend Mudcat Saunders said, "He's a good boy. He just made a hell of a mistake." I suspect that's about right. Sometimes, the wounded are the best healers, and Elizabeth Edwards is a powerful messenger, especially regarding health care. Here's hoping that her voice is not a causality of his mistake. We need her in the public square.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Guardians of the Broken Status Quo"

Now there's a phrase, turned by WSJ writers Jason Furman and Austan Goolsbee, in their commentary, The Obama Tax Plan. The offer a good outline of Obama's plan and favorably compare it to McCain's plan. During a week when the the swiftboaters returned, it's nice to have a little truth-telling from the nation's financial paper of record. Every Democrat should print and memorize this article. Here are a couple of key quotes:

Even as Barack Obama proposes fiscally responsible tax reform to strengthen our economy and restore the balance that has been lost in recent years, we hear the familiar protests and distortions from the guardians of the broken status quo.

Both candidates for president have proposed tax plans. But they are starkly different in their approaches and their economic impact. Sen. Obama is focused on cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses, and investing in key areas like health, innovation and education. He would do this while cutting unnecessary spending, paying for his proposals and bringing down the budget deficit. In contrast, John McCain offers what would essentially be a third Bush term...

I've Been Busy

Sorry for the silence, folks, work has kept me really busy this week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Loading the Gun Committee

What a joke. Tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., the Firearms Law Study Committee will have a "hearing" at the Capitol. How predictable that the committee is loaded with members (every single one) who voted for the "Take Your Gun to the Playground" bill of the 2008 session, and how typical that while the committee members have lined up the anti-common sense gun lobby to testify, its just not quite clear just who's going to show up for "the law enforcement response." I'd be shocked if any real effort had been made to make sure law enforcement is represented at this hearing. After all, law enforcement officers might just have a different view than "Georgia Carry." To give you an idea of that group's agenda, according to their website, just today, they wrote TSA asking that they reject the Atlanta airport's request to amend the security plan to include a ban on guns throughout the airport property. Because we all want lots of guns at Hartsfield-Jackson, don't we?

Anyway, below is the "hearing" agenda. Should be a blast.


MEETING AGENDA

August 12, 2008

TO: Members of the Firearms Law Study Committee

Senator Chip Rogers, 21st
Senator Don Balfour, 9th
Senator George Hooks, 14th
Senator Preston Smith, 52nd

FROM: Senator Mitch Seabaugh, Chairman, 28th

DATE: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
TIME: 10:00 am
PLACE: 450 State Capitol

AGENDA

10:00 – 10:15 Introductory Remarks

10:15 – 10:45 Discussion of House Bill 89 and U.S. Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller

10:45 – 11:45 Presentation by Ed Stone of Georgia Carry, followed by questions from committee members

11:45 – 12:15 Law Enforcement Response

12:15 – 1:00 Discussion by Committee Members of Issues and Topics for Future Meetings

Cc: Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
Bob Ewing, Secretary of the Senate
Taryn Kirbo & Bill Perdue, Senate Research
Jeremy Arieh, Senate Press
Jimmy McDonald, Legislative Counsel

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bill Mauldin: Promoted from the Comments

Bill Mauldin, a Democrat (who blogs at Georgia Back Roads) running for the Georiga House in district 126 against Rep. David Knight, a first term Republican, commented so on my post "Sonny Needs a "Don't List". His response deserves the front page, so here goes:

The day all homeowners dread may have arrived. To face the looming budget shortfall, Gov. Perdue cut back education funds yet again by 2%. The rebuttal being offered is that this 2% was above last years budget anyhow, therefore education will actually be the same as the year before. Now help me with my math here. Last years budget = poor performing schools, massive student failure rate, Georgia scraping the bottom of US education statistics (and US isn't ranked to hot to begin with among other developed nations). Now; This years budget + 2% funding - 2% funding = better performance overall. I don't see the prioritizing that education is due.What I do see, however,as a homeowner and business owner, is the fact that local governments will be faced with the prospect of making up that shortfall by raising property taxes. Not a pretty scenario for homeowners who are preparing to pay fuel costs for winter, and some of which are already struggling with mortgage payments, to be faced with a nice increase in their monthly payments because our State cannot plan ahead with budgeting. And its really not fair to the municipal and county governments who have begun implementing school budgets (which started this week for many) and now have the State saying that it won't pony up its share. These governments and officials will take the necessary steps to continue trying to improve their education, yet will face the public hostility and voter reactions as a result. And mark my words, the words "school vouchers" will be the golden word that many will try and sell to voters as the cure all for our education ills. State Sen. Eric Johnson has publicly stated that this is the right path and if implemented will be fully funded, "no exceptions!". How can we take this for face value when the same statements were made after the majority of students in some districts couldn't pass state exams last year. "Fully funded, no exceptions!"? I take exception to that.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Coming on board

Thanks for inviting me to participate in your blog, Amy. I've read it consistently, and am always interested in the viewpoints expressed--both those I agree with and those with which I do not. Democracy is best served when dialog is informed and straightforward. I look forward to being a part of the conversation, and hope it never ends. You are a brave woman to put your opinions out there for all the world to see. Hope I can support you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Disappopinted

There's a lot I could say about John Edwards' admission that he has had an affair. There's no excuse and it's beyond imagination that he thought he could pursue the nomination knowing that this happened and could become public. Lots of us worked hard for John and Elizabeth, and we're all disappointed, but whatever we feel is nothing compared to what this is like for the Edwards' family. As Hillary Clinton said, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sonny Needs a "Don't List"

Governor Perdue needs a "don't list" and this goes at the top:

"Don't go to China for the Olympics when your state is facing a 1-2 billion dollar shortfall and schools systems across the state are scrambling to raise property taxes-if they can-to make ends meet in light of your most recent cuts."

And, yet, off he goes. Nero's got nothing on Sonny Perdue.

When they meet tomorrow, expect the Bibb County Board of Education to vote to raise the millage rate. They have no choice. Sonny's most recent cuts to education will cost Bibb County over 2 million dollars. And, we're the lucky ones. Some school systems, like Richmond County, are maxed out and can't raise the millage rate. One source said that some systems have hired business people to look at their budgets and answer the question: "How can we do what the law requires with the money we have available to us?" The answer? Typically, "close schools." Parents, of course, love that idea. Not.

Let's be clear. This crisis did not happen overnight. It was entirely preventable. Sure, the recent economic downturn has exacerbated the problem, but it is the Republican mismanagement of the finances of this state over the last six years, and the consistent effort to starve public education out of existence, that is to blame for this mess. And, Gov. Perdue, who with his fish fries and all has a 60+% approval rating-for doing what I can't tell you, slinks off to China instead of having the political kahunas to stay here and deal with the problem. What a COWARD. The only thing worse would've been passage of Richardson's "GREAT" plan-then school boards would've had to call for a referendum to ask for sales taxes to be raised. In the meantime, I suppose they could've given teachers IOU's.

Note to Jim Galloway: Here's a prediction for you. With school systems scrambling, and parents screaming, Sonny's going to come back from China and miraculously save the state by dipping into the reserves. He will do this because the last thing he wants to do before the November election is to call a special session. He will then put on his white hat, grab a fishing pole and hold a prayer service, hoping, probably correctly, that no one notices that he's responsible for this mess in the first place. Graduation coaches my ass. I think we would've been better off to hire governance coaches.

And, note to Erick Erickson: I know you're going for ratings on the radio, but when you, an elected official, somehow become omniscient and decide to use your airtime to declare that the Bibb school board members have their heads in the sand, think all is wonderful with our schools and that all the parents who send their kids to private school are racists-you're recklessly stereotyping other community leaders and painting an inflammatory, inaccurate picture of their position on the many, many challenges of a school system where more than 70% of the children qualify for free or reduced price lunch. No one on that board thinks things are great, and I suspect that if you had attended a few school board meetings, you'd know that. I think it's wonderful that you plan to send your child to a public elementary school. Why don't you go ahead NOW and volunteer some of your time to help make OUR public schools a better place for OUR children? There's plenty to do. By the way, did you know that when it comes to allocation of state resources for schools, Bibb is considered a high wealth county, while Houston is considered low wealth? Yes, you read that right. That means that part of the money designated for "rich" counties like Bibb is re-routed to "poor" counties like Houston. Sound a little "fishy" to you? Me, too. Oh, and the formula is based on what the tax digest "should be"-not what it is in a place like Bibb where we've not been able to get the valuation it right for the last two years, but what the state thinks it should be. So, between 1.6 billion in cuts and the bad revaluation, Bibb schools are between a rock and a hard place. I challenge you to get out your crowbar.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brand New Front Page Poster: Joni Woolf

Please welcome Macon's own Joni Woolf to the front page of Georgia Women Vote. I could not be more excited! Joni is a writer, editor and has blazed more trails for women than the rest of us combined. For years, Macon was Joni's home, but recently, she moved back to her beautifully renovated farm house in Schley County. I was privileged to spend July the 4th on the farm with Joni and some of her friends and family. The day included children, teenagers, bbq ribs, dogs and rooster and croquet. During her tenure in Macon, Joni served was one of the founders of Macon Magazine, served on planning and zoning, worked tirelessly for the Tubman Museum and back before women were allowed to be members of the Chamber of Commerce started a separate organization just for women business owners.

This year, Joni Woolf had been chosen to introduce Sen. Edwards at the JJ Dinner-before he suspended his campaign. She wrote the most eloquent introduction, and I have posted a portion of it below, just to give you a hint of what's in store from Ms. Woolf.

The first time I ever heard John Edwards speak—several years ago in Macon—he talked about growing up poor, and the hardships that his family endured as they struggled to put bread on the table, pay the rent, clothe the children. And I thought, “He’s one of us. He has been poor, and he knows how that feels to a child.” Like John, I grew up poor in rural South Georgia, where there was never quite enough of anything. But we were rich in promise: our parents assured us that life would be better for us, and they worked night and day to be sure that happened.

And it did. Their struggles, their sacrifices, their long days of sweat—and sometimes tears—guaranteed my generation a better life. And so we assumed, as our lives got slowly better, that OUR children would enjoy the prosperity that the United States was experiencing. It has not happened. Ever since the Reagan years, when greed became something to be proud of, the middle class has been in decline. My children—and YOURS—are struggling much as my parents’ generation did, just to keep food on the table. They are desperate for something, SOMEONE, to inspire hope in the future—not just their own—but the future of our beloved country which is becoming a country of the very rich, with a rapidly declining middle class—a country without a moral compass, without a president who has the integrity to face the harsh realities of our time....


Welcome, Joni! We look forward to your view from South Georgia!

Young Professionals for WIN

Whether you are young, or simply young at heart....

Please join us for an event to benefit
Georgia's WIN List

Don't miss this opportunity to...
Mix and mingle amongGeorgia Elected Officials and Fellow Young Professionals
Hear from Senator Nan Orrock
Listen to live music fromDoria Roberts
Trois1180 Peachtree StreetAtlanta, Georgia 30309
Tuesday August 12, 20086:30-9:30 p.m.

Suggested donation $40 per person.Payable by check or credit card at the door, online or by phone.Reserve your place by e-mail at info@georgiawinlist.com or by calling Leslie at 770-489-6689.If you prefer to pay online, go to www.georgiawinlist.com.

Hosts: Rep. Stacey Abrams; Robbie Ashe; Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield; Jaci Bertrand; Mijha Butcher; Matt Edwards; Stacey Godfrey Evans; Amir Farokhi; Candice Franklin; Howard Franklin; Page Gleason; Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler; Rep. Margaret Kaiser; Councilman Ceasar Mitchell; Jennifer Owens; Cynthia Pearson; Rep. Nikki Randall; Sen. Kasim Reed; Rashad Taylor; True Blue Friends; Michelle Adams; Lee Biola; Marci Bozeman; Cynthia Zeldin & Doug Busk; Stacey Chavis; Michelle Falconer; Sybil Freeman; Rebecca Godbey; Jessica Harper; Jennifer Hill; Theron & DeDe Jones; Leslie Lewis; Shyam Reddy; Paul Shailendra; Sachin Shailendra(list in formation)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Congratulations to Jim Martin

Good job, Jim. Now, let's get Saxby.

Ussery Endorses Sam Hart

Today, Theron Ussery, who ran for Bibb Commission Chair against Charlie Bishop in the Republican primary, endorsed Democrat, Sam Hart. At the 9 a.m. press conference, Ussery said, among other things, that we need a whole lot more cooperation and a whole lot less ego on the Commission. Amen.

This is a great boost to the Hart campaign, and must give Bishop pause as he considers his chances in November.

Don't Forget to VOTE - TODAY!!!

Today is the runoff election for the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate and other races statewide. Turnout for the primary on July 15 was low and it is expected to be even lower today. In Bibb County, the only race on the ballot is the U.S. Senate race which is bound to make the turnout even lower. If you’ve ever wondered whether your vote can really make a difference, this is your chance as the election will likely be decided on just a handful of votes.

*You can vote in the runoff even if you didn’t vote in the July 15 election.* If you didn’t vote on July 15, you can vote in the Democratic runoff today. The only people who cannot vote are those who voted in the Republican primary on July 15.

Go out and cast your ballot in this all important primary runoff!

p.s. Wondering who to vote for? Be sure to check out the candidates in all races, but for those of us here in Bibb County, remember, both The Telegraph and The Atlanta Journal Constitution have endorsed Jim Martin in the Senate race.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Sam Hart Set to Make Major Campaign Announcement

Sam Hart, the Democratic nominee for County Commission Chair will make a major campaign announcement tomorrow morning, August 5th at 9 a.m. at the campaign headquarters located at 486 Poplar Street in Macon. You are invited to attend. For more information call Gisele Harris at 478-254-2899.

I can't tell you what it is , but it's big. Really big. Stay tuned!

I Don't Whine

I don't. Not usually. But, I think I'll take a minute here. Have you ever had a couple of days where you wonder what it is you did to mess up the balance? I think everything would be much simpler if there were like groups of bad people and good people, both with clear labels, and if bad things really didn't happen to good people. And, especially if really good people didn't make really, really bad decisions. But, that's not the way it works. A design flaw?

More Macon Endorsements for Martin

More of those key grassroots endorsements from Middle Georgia:




Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summing Up the U.S. Senate Race

Jim Martin was in Macon today for a good old fashioned fish fry. (By the way, if you ever have a chance to eat hushpuppies that Henry Gallimore made, you should.) Martin picked some key grassroots endorsements that I think accurately reflect the mood of voters. As far as I'm concerned, this one pretty much sums up the race:

Friday, August 1, 2008

There's a New Blogger in Town

Welcome, Macon City Councilwomen, Lauren Benedict, the newest contributor to GWV! We're looking forward to hearing more from her about city business.

Hello to Georgia Women Vote

I am glad to be added to the list of contributors for Georgia Women Vote. As a member of Macon City Council, I look forward to the opportunity to post information about the City. Look for my upcoming posts as I travel with Amy & Daryl to Denver for the Convention at the end of August.