Sunday, March 30, 2008

News & Opinion Roundup

More Obama Lies the Media Will Ignore
Update: Video of Obama's Selma Speech
When Mitt Romney stated that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., there was wall to wall media coverage reporting how he had to start backpeddaling. Even after witnesses came forward claiming they had seen his father march with him, the media story of Mitt fabricating the story still persists.

Democrats face summer of bitter infighting
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Supporters of Barack Obama backed away on Sunday from calls for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the presidential race as Democrats faced a long summer of bitter fighting to win the party's White House nomination.

Will Against The Liberal World on 'This Week'
Have a look at the screencap from today's This Week, then please answer this serious question: has ABC no shame? How does the network justify a round-table consisting of four liberals against one conservative?

Israel tells Rice will ease some West Bank restrictions
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel announced plans on Sunday to ease some restrictions on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, responding to calls by visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take steps to bolster peace talks.

Fierce financial oversight debate on tap
WASHINGTON - In proposing the broadest overhaul of financial oversight since the Great Depression, the Bush administration has kicked off a fierce debate. It pits those eager to revamp an antiquated system against an industry opposed to excessive regulation.

Obama Backs-Off From His Own Buzzwords
Barack Obama got caught.
It wasn’t a flip-flop on the order of John Kerry’s “I voted for the war before I voted against it” moment. But Obama did, for an instant, back away from his own buzz words and “hate speech“ (I‘ll explain the “hate speech“ below), and contradicted himself. This begs an important question: how far will the buzz words and hate speech propel him in a general election cycle?

Phantoms of Democratic campaign saga
WASHINGTON - Behold the phantoms of the political opera. They flit in the rafters of the presidential campaign, making mischief, undead. There is Judas, the archetype of betrayal. Kenneth Starr, dark lord of the inquisition. Joseph McCarthy and David Duke. Herbert Hoover.

Cheney road trip: Pack the green duffel
WASHINGTON - He travels with a green duffel bag stuffed with nonfiction books about military campaigns and political affairs. He has an iPod and noise-canceling earphones to listen to oldies and some country-western.

Hillary’s “Sniper Fire” + Obama’s Pastor Disaster = McCain Looking McFine
Hillary tried to garner some Fifty Cent-like street credit last week by lying to us all that a sniper tried to bust a cap in her while she was chillin’ in Bosnia back in the day. Fo’ shizzle, Hillarizzle.
What the heck was Hillary thinking? Is this woman becoming so unwound that she resorts to making up easily disproved stories that are complete and utter horse dookie? LMAO folks . . . this is getting good!

Uncertain economy awaits next president
WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain have diagnosed the swooning U.S. economy and have come up with rival plans to revive it. If the downturn lasts as long as some economists predict, one of the three will get a chance to try to sell his or her proposal to Congress as president

Fierce Debate Expected Over Administration Plan to Revamp Financial Regulation
WASHINGTON — In proposing the broadest overhaul of financial oversight since the Great Depression, the Bush administration has kicked off a fierce debate. It pits those eager to revamp an antiquated system against an industry opposed to excessive regulation.,2933,343331,00.html

Howard Dean Slams McCain As 'Blatant Opportunist' on Vietnam
At his blog Political Punch, ABC reporter Jake Tapper noted the latest thing outraging Republicans. As the McCain campaign prepared to release an ad highlighting McCain's military service, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean sent out an obnoxious reply: "While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years."

Bush facing resistance to NATO expansion
WASHINGTON - President Bush has told NATO members he wants to expand the alliance to include three Balkan countries and put Ukraine and Georgia on track for membership.

Oliver Stone to Begin Filming Movie About Bush; Brolin, Banks Expected to Star
NEW YORK — Like a bill being rapidly pushed through legislation, Oliver Stone's film about President George W. Bush is expected to begin shooting within a month with a goal toward being released before the president leaves office next January.,2933,343115,00.html

The Al Gore caucus?
In a campaign year full of Lazarus moments, one rebirth that American voters will not see is the second coming of Al Gore. Not as the reluctant candidate on a white horse, saving the day at the Democrats' convention in August. Probably not as a peace-maker between the two candidates beforehand, despite his Nobel Peace Prize.

Another Unconservative Moment from John McCain
John McCain's unconservativism was on display this past Wednesday in Los Angeles. Perhaps not in all ways, but in one telling way. Before a gathering of the World Affairs Council, the Arizona senator outlined his thinking on national security and foreign policy. The speech's larger elements have received plenty of coverage. One element did not.

The Fine Italian Nose
Arise Sons and Daughters of Italy! We are mocked, insulted, and challenged to respond.
We have much of which to be proud. We are of a people who have been disproportionately in the vanguard of Western Civilization. There is scarcely an artist, musician, politician, lawyer, or architect who can walk a day in his or her profession without hearing the footsteps of an Italian who has preceded them. But let us be candid. There is one thing above all others of which we are proud. We, quite simply, as a people, have the most noble and esthetically pleasing noses ever to grace the human face.

With Final NATO Summit and Meeting With Putin, Bush Begins Farewell Tour
WASHINGTON — Winding down his presidency, George W. Bush is beginning his farewell tour on the world stage trailed by questions about how much clout he still wields.
Unpopular abroad, as he is at home, Bush nevertheless has been a commanding presence among world leaders for the past seven years. Now, with fewer than 300 days left in his term, other presidents and prime ministers are looking beyond Bush to see who will occupy his chair a year from now.,2933,343129,00.html

Whites Can't Make Blacks Happy
One of the creepy things about our "need to have a conversation about race" is the assumption that whites can somehow make blacks feel better, or be happier, or be more self-accepting. Nobody has the power to do that, except what individuals do for themselves, one person at a time.

The Disgrace of Liberalism
2008 marks the end of liberalism as a governing force in the same way that 1968 marked the end of liberalism as a political doctrine. American liberals spent the '60s seeing their programs and policies collapse one after the other. The War on Crime, the War on Poverty, civil rights legislation, Vietnam, all were either unmitigated disasters or textbook examples of the law of unintended consequences. The Democrats went into the 1968 presidential election as crippled as any political party in American history, choked with failure, bereft of ideas, and facing a general uprising from their own younger elements.

Teflon John? Democrat Attacks Fall Short
If a salacious political firestorm is the media equivalent of Christmas morning, the events of the past few weeks have packed American punditry's stockings to the brim. From the appalling videos of Jeremiah Wright, to Barack Obama's cynical evasion of his pastor problem, to Hillary Clinton's Bosnia fables, the nation's televisions, radios and blogs are abuzz with the energy of scandal. Lost in the shouting, analysis and breathless reporting is an important political development: The Democrats have offered a few recent glimpses at their initial plan of attack against John McCain, and the clumsy, off-the-mark contents of their general election playbook should be encouraging to Republicans.

The Letter “A,” Spitzer, and the Misrepresentation of Puritanism
As predictable as a college freshman telling me that the “A” sewn on Hester Prynne’s dress symbolizes Puritanical hypocrisy were the commentaries about the Puritanical hypocrisy of the prosecution of men (like Eliot Spitzer) for engaging the services of a prostitute.,%e2%80%9d_spitzer,_and_the_misrepresentation_of_puritanism

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Real Agenda of Black Liberation Theology
Now, suddenly, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood. Suddenly, so-called black liberation theology is misunderstood.
Wright's successor at Trinity United Church of Christ, the Reverend Otis Moss III, won't bow to the wishes of "they" to shut up. It begs the question: "Who are they?" The larger white cultural? Or liberals and Democrats who see all this unfavorable publicity hurting the election chances of Barack Obama?
The sad truth is that neither the Reverend Wright nor black liberation theology is being misunderstood.

2008 GOP down ballots - The year of limited opportunities
Politics in America right now is all about the race for the presidency, with the lens focused on who will be the Democrats’ nominee.
Beyond that view of daily political drama (and forgotten presumptive Republican nominee John McCain) are the races to control Congress

Is Obama Trying to Bamboozle Us with His Wright Denials
"Some of my fellow clergy don't appreciate what we're about. They feel we're too radical." Jeremiah Wright to Barack Obama (Very first face-to-face meeting -- Chicago, mid 1980's*)
I thought I might have entered one of those political twilight-zone moments when I read this statement made by Obama Saturday, in response to reports on his pastor of twenty years:

McCain’s Involvement In Financial Scandal Taught Him Life Lessson
by Associated Press
Sen. John McCain’s ethics entanglement with a wealthy banker ultimately convicted of swindling investors was such a disturbing, formative experience in his political career that he compares the scandal in some ways to the five years he was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Hillary's Irish Peace Fantasy
"I was deeply involved in the Irish peace process"
Those words were uttered by Hillary Clinton — with a straight face!

Spitzer Nemesis Sent Letter to FBI Alleging His Use of Call Girls
A lawyer for Republican political operative Roger Stone sent a letter to the FBI alleging former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer used a high priced call girls while in Florida, the Miami Herald reported.
''The governor has paid literally tens of thousands of dollars for these services. It is Mr. Stone's understanding that the governor paid not with credit cards or cash but through some pre-arranged transfer,'' the Nov. 19 letter read.,2933,340739,00.html

Wright Replacement Calls NPR 'National Publican Radio'
It would be enough to make Rev. Jeremiah Wright's accusation that the government created AIDS for purposes of perpetrating a black genocide sound almost rational. OK, scratch that. Nothing will render reasonable that morsel of moonbattery. But has the Rev. Wright's replacement suggested that NPR is . . . a Republican front operation?

Newsweek Editor Hints at Democrat Party Split if Clintons Steal Nomination
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham hinted that if the Clintons were to execute a "corrupt bargain" which gave Hillary the nomination, it could lead to a split in the Democrat Party akin to what happened in 1824.

Obama Eyes Active Role in Oil Markets
Democrat Barack Obama would take an active role in U.S. oil markets as president, tackling concerns about the dominance of large oil companies and eyeing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a potential weapon to combat high prices, his top energy adviser said.

The New Jimmy Carter
Thirty two years ago a Democrat politician with very little experience "transcended" politics as usual and was lifted on waves of good will to the White House. It seems to be happening again. Jimmy Carter is unknown to most young Americans. Most Americans do not remember how Carter magically seemed to appear on the American political scene. Perhaps a history lesson is in order.

In Easter Sermon, New Obama Pastor Charges Rev. Wright Victim of ‘Lynching’
by Judson Berger
CHICAGO — The new pastor of Barack Obama’s church delivered a defiant defense of its retiring reverend Sunday, comparing media coverage of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. to a modern-day lynching that resembles Jesus’ death at the hands of the Romans.

Jeremiah’s Jeremiads – Pulpit Demagoguery
By David R. Stokes
Though Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s diatribes have been widely condemned, some have sought to dismiss them as episodic rather than chronic; a few isolated statements wrested out of context by those looking for anti-Obama ammunition. Others have tried to defend the Illinois pastor by suggesting that too many Americans don’t understand the black church.

William Jefferson Obama
I now have reason to suspect that Barack Obama has a skill of proven value to a U.S. President: the ability to look straight into the camera and not tell the truth, without lying.

ABC's Claire Shipman Blames Republicans for Current Financial Crisis
As media continue to report current economic conditions as being almost Depression-like, they conveniently forget which political party has controlled both chambers of Congress since January 2007 as well as who was in the White House when key financial services deregulation was enacted.

Hillary Calls for $30 Billion Housing Fund
ANDERSON, Indiana - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called on Thursday for a second stimulus package, including a $30 billion emergency housing fund, to help boost the ailing U.S. economy. Saying "the housing and credit crisis is the biggest threat to the health of our economy," the New York senator said the emergency fund would help states buy foreclosed properties and provide mortgage restructuring.

Obama speech opens up race dialogue
Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. John F. Kennedy's Houston Ministerial Association address. And… Barack Obama's race speech?
Several students of political rhetoric suggest Senator Obama's moving speech in Philadelphia Tuesday could stand with some of the great speeches in American history.

In Case You Missed It: American Taxpayers Beware (The Washington Times)
House Republicans have taken a stand against wasteful Washington spending by calling for a complete freeze on all "earmarks" and pork-barrel projects. While our challenge has largely fallen on deaf ears -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, could shut down the earmark process tomorrow if she wanted to -- our cause has a strong ally in Sen. John McCain.

In Case You Missed It: Democrats Are Still Weak On Security (Wall Street Journal)
[F]or a party whose presidential candidates pledge they'll remove U.S. troops from Iraq immediately upon taking office -- without regard to conditions on the ground or the consequences to America's security -- a late February Gallup Poll was bad news. The Obama/Clinton vow to pull out of Iraq immediately appears to be the position of less than one-fifth of the voters.

In Case You Missed It: Fox News On Barack Obama's Inconsistencies On Iraq War
Fox News' James Rosen: "To hear Senator Obama tell it in Fayetteville, the home of Fort Bragg, he has never wavered in his opposition to the Iraq war.
It's true that Obama, speaking in Chicago on October 2002, opposed the invasion of Iraq. But in public statements thereafter, the Illinois senator has occasionally cast himself as a supporter of President Bush's conduct of the war and has also been at times, far off the mark in his forecasts of how specific adjustments in tactics would affect the military situation on the ground.

Media Wrong Again: Poll Finds Most People Didn't Like Obama's Speech
One of the constants espoused by conservative media analysts is that the views of most mainstream press members are not shared by the majority of Americans.

News Round Up

Republicans Face Limited Opportunities To Win Open Seats
It may appear that House Republicans are running for the exits in outsized numbers this election year rather than seek re-election. But it only seems that way because so few Democrats are heading into retirement.

Obama's Problem with White Voters
The racial dimension of Barack Obama's electability problem is now apparent, but no prominent Democrat dares discuss it openly. Similarly expect no discussion of the subject in the major media.

It's Time to Call the Democrats on Race Demagogy
"For wicked men are found among my people;they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap; they catch men.... their houses are full of treachery" Jeremiah, 5:26
Donna Brazil, Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager, has been quoted deploring the Hillary-Obama race: "There's so much blood. Women want the White House. Blacks want the White House ... They don't know how it will end. It's so toxic."

Dems’ Senate Campaign Unit Leaped Further Ahead in February
The fundraising efforts of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which assists its party’s candidates in U.S. Senate races, has been a notable success story since the 2006 campaign cycle that produced a six-seat gain and a Senate majority for the Democrats. And that trend continued in February, when the DSCC outraised its partisan counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), by $4.8 million to $3.9 million, according to the campaign units’ latest reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Dems Score a State Senator for Competitive Alabama House Race
State Sen. Parker Griffith announced Friday that he will run for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District seat, left open by nine-term Democratic Rep. Robert E. “Bud” Cramer ’s surprise retirement announcement last week. Griffith’s decision was met with excitement from state Democratic leaders who expect the state lawmaker to be a competitive contender. That is something their party needs as it prepares to defend a northern Alabama district that was dominated by conservative-leaning Democrat Cramer, but has developed a Republican lean in presidential and other statewide races.

GOP Fundraising Muscle Resides in Its National Committee
The Republican National Committee (RNC) continues to outperform its partisan counterpart, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in fundraising early in the 2008 election year. The party is thus better poised to assist in the push keep the White House in Republican hands than are its Senate and House campaign committees — which trail their Democratic counterparts — in aiding the efforts of the GOP’s congressional minorities in this year’s campaigns.

Scoring Points by Demonizing Falwell
How does a conservative columnist remain in good standing at The Washington Post? Taking a cheap shot at Jerry Falwell might do the trick. That's what Michael Gerson did on March 19 in an otherwise excellent column taking apart Sen. Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech on race in America.

Poll: Divisive Dem Contest Could Boost McCain
( - The lengthy Democratic primary contest bodes well for Republican chances of holding the White House, a new poll suggests. As Democratic Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York slug it out for the nomination, many of their supporters -- at least in Pennsylvania, site of the next major primary -- aren't committed to the party's ticket in November, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Those Sophisticated Europeans
Hardly had the sheets cooled on the bed momentarily occupied by former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer and his call girl tootsie than people took sides. Many people expressed shock and disapproval. Quite a few others claimed to be amazed that in these sexually permissive times anyone gave a hoot how New York's highest elected official conducted his private affairs (double entendre intended).

Frustrated Anti-War Leader Pleads for Congress to Impeach
( - One of the organizers of this week's anti-war protests in Washington, D.C., is pleading with House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D.-Mich.) to make good on his repeated threats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

Clinton Papers Suggest 'Co-Presidency,' Conservative Says
( - The 11,046 pages of former first lady Hillary Clinton's calendars and schedules that are now available to the public indicate, among other things, that she was a "co-president," according to a conservative analyst and, to a degree, according to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Washington Post 'In Bed' with Bush, Code Pink Says
( - At a 1,000-plus person anti- war protest in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, an activist for the liberal feminist anti-war group Code Pink told Cybercast News Service that one of the reasons for its participation in the protest was to tell Americans that the media and especially The Washington Post are "in bed" with the Bush administration.

Hate Preach: Brite Divinity School To Honor Wright
On March 29, 2008, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright is scheduled to receive Brite Divinity School's Black Church Leader Award. Brite and Texas Christian University share a Fort Worth campus, but are independent schools. This week, TCU is probably wishing they were even more independent.

Judge to Hear Criminal Charges against Planned Parenthood
( - Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is facing 107 criminal charges, including 23 felony counts of falsifying medical documents related to late-term abortions. The felony charges will be examined at preliminary hearings set for April 7 and 8 in Johnson County District Court in Olathe, Kan.

Judiciary Chair 'Struggling' With Decision to Impeach Bush
( - At a gathering of liberal activists in Washington on Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was asked if he would commit to holding the Bush administration accountable once a Democrat is in the White House and illegal acts have been pinned on President Bush.

How to Pay for the Dem Convention: Survivor, the Nomination
The Honorable John W. Hickenlooper
Mayor's OfficeDenver, Colorado
Dear Mayor Hickenlooper:
I read that your efforts to raise funds for the 2008 Democratic National Convention are falling far short of your needs, that you will need to raise $40.6 million by June 16 in order to pay the expenses occasioned by the August 25-28 convention in your city.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

President's Radio Address

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend, families across America are coming together to celebrate Easter. This is the most important holiday in the Christian faith. And during this special and holy time each year, millions of Americans pause to remember a sacrifice that transcended the grave and redeemed the world.

Easter is a holiday that beckons us homeward. This weekend is an occasion to reflect on the things that matter most in life: the love of family, the laughter of friends, and the peace that comes from being in the place you call home. Through good times and bad, these quiet mercies are sources of hope.

On Easter, we hold in our hearts those who will be spending this holiday far from home -- our troops on the front lines. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families are making. America is blessed with the world's greatest military, made up of men and women who fulfill their responsibilities with dignity, humility, and honor. Their dedication is an inspiration to our country and a cause for gratitude this Easter season.

On Easter, we remember especially those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom. These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And our Nation's fallen heroes live on in the memory of the Nation they helped defend.

On Easter, we also honor Americans who give of themselves here at home. Each year, millions of Americans take time to feed the hungry and clothe the needy and care for the widow and the orphan. Many of them are moved to action by their faith in a loving God who gave His son so that sin would be forgiven. And in this season of renewal, millions across the world remember the gift that took away death's sting and opened the door to eternal life. Laura and I wish you all a happy Easter.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

News & Blog Roundup

Huckabee — yes, Huckabee — comes to Obama’s and Wright’s defense
The Carpetbagger Report - USA
I didn’t really expect Mike Huckabee to go on MSNBC this morning to defend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama, but once in a while, a person will ...

Huckabee on Rev. Wright: “Cut Him Some Slack”
KCRG - Cedar Rapids,IA,USA
Mike Huckabee weighed in on the recent speech by Sen. Barack Obama over comments made by his recently retired church leader, acknowledging the sordid ...

Different Standards for Black and White Preachers
Huffington Post - New York,NY,USA
Rudy Giuliani's priest has been accused in grand jury proceedings of molesting several children and covering up the molestation of others. ...

SC bill would ban recorded calls
Charlotte Observer - Charlotte,NC,USA...
Common Sense Issues said it made a million phone calls to South Carolina homes to disparage the opponents of GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. ...

Constitution Party pronounces the GOP dead
Third Party Watch - USA
In recent elections, the faith vote sided with the Republican candidate… This year… however, the faith vote cannot be taken for granted. ...

Giuliani, After Campaign, Returns to Private Sector
Wall Street Journal - USA
By ASHBY JONES Nearly two months after ending his campaign for the presidency, Rudy Giuliani is back to work, dividing his time between his consulting firm, ...

Only US Republican candidate supports illegal Israeli take-over of ...
Palestine News Network - Palestinian Territories
Ramallah / PNN – Republican candidate for the United States presidency, John McCain is openly supporting the Israeli annexation and confiscation of ...

Marking the five year anniversary of Iraq war
By seeingredaz
Former Presidential candidate, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R - CA) writing for Human Events, states the threat clearly: Consider that in 2005 alone, 155000 foreign citizens from countries other than Mexico were apprehended attempting to ...
Seeing Red AZ -

Obama's Straight Talk
On Faith - Washington,DC,USA
I saw Hillary do this in Iowa and I listened to Mitt Romney's speech on faith in December. In both, the seasoned politicians acknowledged that their faith ...

Campaign to Counter Statements of Jeremiah Wright

Prominent Black Minister Launches Campaign to Counter the Statements of Jeremiah Wright and Express Concern that Media are Smearing Black Preachers and Churches with the Implication that Wright's Distorted Views Represent Black Christianity

CHESAPEAKE, Virg., March 20 /Standard Newswire/ -- Black minister and graduate of Harvard Law School, Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., has begun a campaign to make clear that Jeremiah Wright does not represent black preachers or what is being taught in black churches across America.

Says Bishop Jackson, "This kind of virulent Anti-American bigotry is anathema to the black church experience where we focus on love, forgiveness, personal responsibility and a healthy dose of patriotism and prayer for our country."

Bishop Jackson also objects to the Anti-Israel bias which Jeremiah Wright expresses. "We include prayer and support for the nation of Israel in our mission statement," says Bishop Jackson. "It is a Biblical mandate for any Bible believing Christian."

Jackson spoke to his congregation and indicated that Obama cannot credibly claim that he did not know or agree with Wright's remarks or separate himself from a mentor or spiritual guide who admires and honors Louis Farrakhan. "I believe we are finally learning about the real Barak Obama, and it is sad. We cannot help but wonder if this is the influence which caused Obama to decline to wear the American flag on his lapel," said the Bishop.

According to Bishop Jackson, a pastor and spiritual leader of several congregations for the last 25 years who also studied at Harvard Divinity School, Rev. Wright represents a radical liberation theology which in many ways is heretical.

"That is not classic, Biblical Christianity", says Bishop Jackson. "It is quite something else, and easier to understand when seen as an aberration from Christian teaching. I am speaking everywhere I can to get that message out."

Bishop Jackson was formerly a high level official in the Christian Coalition and was instrumental in raising funds for churches victimized by arson in the late 1990's. He left the Coalition to start a church in Chesapeake, Virginia and continue his work independently. His Church does not endorse candidates or parties.

"My job", says Bishop Jackson, "is to help Christians view life - which includes politics and public policy - from a Biblical worldview and to discern the truth. They can draw their own conclusions about how to vote."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where Does the Money Go?

RNS Note: Haven't read this, but did pop over to the website and look at the Publican Agenda info. Looks interesting, we thought you might want to take a look. The following is a release regarding a book by the editors of the site:

The New York Times:
“If you are going to buy just one book in this presidential election year, you might want to consider “WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?”

The new book from editors Jean Johnson and Scott Bittle has been on the top of the public policy book lists, and is already on its fourth printing in less than a month since its release. Here’s why reviewers are saying this book is so important:

The New York Times
A Proposed Diet for the U.S. Budget
By Harry Hurt III

If you are going to buy just one book in this presidential election year, you might want to consider “Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis” by Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson (Collins, $16.95 in paperback). This is a book that manages to be entertaining and irreverent while serving as an informative primer on a subject that is crucial to the future of all Americans.

Here is the very pressing issue the book addresses: “The United States is seemingly addicted to spending more than it takes in,” the authors assert. With a staggering national debt, and expenses that will only grow as more baby boomers retire, they warn, “today’s problems will seem like a fender bender compared to the economic train wreck the country will face if we don’t get the nation’s finances under control.”




These words are neither politically partisan nor alarmist. Mr. Bittle, the executive editor of the Web site Public Agenda Online, and Ms. Johnson, executive vice president and a founder of the site, fault both Democrats and Republicans as racking up huge annual deficits and even more substantial long-term national debt. They provide easily understandable charts and statistics to support their overall case.

And they enliven their narrative with references to the Rolling Stones, the Barenaked Ladies, “Seinfeld” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” placing them alongside more expected quotations from the likes of Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, and Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary.

Here are some of the most pertinent facts, as set out by Mr. Bittle and Ms. Johnson: In 31 of the last 35 years, the federal government has spent more money than it has taken in. (The exceptions were the budget surplus years 1998 to 2001.) Along the way, the government has amassed a debt that now exceeds $9 trillion. Over $2 trillion of that is owed to foreign banks and other international investors, with China holding $420 billion and the oil-exporting countries $113 billion, using figures from the 2006 budget.

“Right now, these foreign investors consider U.S. government bonds one of the safest places in the world to put their money, but they could decide at some point that Europe or China or some other place is a better bet,” the authors observe. “This would be the global equivalent of a store clerk seizing your credit card and cutting it up.”

Alas, the asset side of the federal balance sheet is rather paltry, compared with the liability side. On paper, the government’s total assets, including facilities and inventory, are valued by the authors at about $1.4 trillion. If the government had to submit a standard financial statement of the type required of the average home buyer, it would show a negative net worth of $7.6 trillion.

Mr. Bittle and Ms. Johnson predict that even with continued foreign investment and financial forbearance, the nation may soon find it impossible to fulfill its existing and future commitments to its own citizens in the form of Social Security and Medicare payments. In 2006, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid consumed 39.7 percent of the federal budget of $2.6 trillion, compared with 19.7 percent for defense.

In the future, the cost of entitlement programs will balloon as 78 million baby boomers age. In 2006, there were fewer than 50 million Social Security recipients; 12 years from now, there will be nearly 70 million. With health care costs rising faster than inflation, the part of Medicare that covers hospital costs for the elderly is already paying out more than it takes in from payroll taxes.

“Unless something changes, we could see a time (around 2040, if nothing is done) when nearly every tax dollar collected will be needed to pay for retirement and health care for the elderly and interest on the debt,” the authors warn. “There will be almost no money for anything else, except maybe a basic national defense.”

Mr. Bittle and Ms. Johnson give the lie to notions that the budget can be balanced merely by cutting out “pork barrel” spending and scientific, cultural and social extravagances. In 2006, projects that Congressional watchdogs broadly define as “pork” accounted for only $29 billion out of a total deficit of $248 billion. Expenditures on science, space and technology; arts and the humanities; foreign aid and international relations; and the programs formerly known as welfare — all favorite targets of so-called budget hawks — accounted for only about 4 percent of total government expenditures.




The leading presidential contenders take traditional Republican and Democratic positions on important budget issues. Senator John McCain opposes universal health care and supports partial privatization of Social Security. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama support universal health care and oppose the privatization of Social Security. But none of the candidates have offered a detailed plan for balancing the budget or reducing the debt.

Mr. Bittle and Ms. Johnson do not offer a coherent plan for resolving the fiscal problems of the United States, but they propose several initiatives that they say would steer us in the right direction. These include raising to 70 the age at which people receive retirement benefits; making people pay more in Social Security taxes, as well as privatizing Social Security (“but very slowly”); rethinking the prescription drug program, is expected to add $518 billion in costs by 2013; redesigning Medicare so that people can shop around for the most effective coverage; and passing a national value-added tax to help pay for Social Security and Medicare.

For the time being, the globally respected “faith and credit” of our federal government are keeping the United States afloat financially. But if we are unwilling to swallow the kind of bitter medicine that Mr. Bittle and Ms. Johnson prescribe, our country may one day be unable to make even the interest payments on our $9 trillion debt, payments that are now $226.6 billion a year — and we would be forced to declare ourselves a bankrupt nation.

To find out more about the book, including where to purchase it, please visit:
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Monday, March 17, 2008

CONNECTED to Public Policy

Note: The following is from CONNECTED to Public Policy. They send a regular update that we thought you might be interested in. We've included links at the end of the update.

Legislators have completed 31 of 40 legislative days. Last Tuesday was Crossover day, the 30th and last day to pass legislation in the originating chamber. Bills that did not pass their originating chamber are dead unless they find new life by being attached to bills that were passed.

The most notable event of Crossover day was the passage of a revised version of Speaker Glenn Richardson’s tax plan. The House overwhelming voted to pass HR 1246 and HB 1158 that will allow Georgians to vote on a plan to eliminate car tag taxes and freeze property tax assessments. Gov. Sonny Perdue had just announced that revenue estimates for FY08 will be reduced by $65 million and by $245 million for FY09. If passed by the Senate and agreed to by Georgia voters, the tax cuts in HR 1246 will remove $423.7 million from the FY09 budget and $772.8 million when fully implemented in FY10.

The amended FY08 budget remains in conference committee but negotiations began again after Perdue announced the reduced revenue estimate. The major source of debate between the House and Senate negotiators had been education funding, and it now appears that there will no money for technology upgrades or new school buses, so the point is moot. As for the FY09 budget, House and Senate budget writers have had to begin again with new numbers. Perdue recommended cuts to his original budget for FY09, but House leaders quickly disagreed with some of these proposed cuts:

Department of Education
§ Reduce funding recommended for three new Performance Learning Centers for Communities in Schools ($750,000)
§ Reduce funding recommended for training and experience for graduation coaches ($4.2 million)
§ Reduce funding recommended for Very Important Parent Recruiter for at-risk schools ($5.5 million)
Department of Human Resources
§ Reduce additional funding recommended for general Grant-In-Aid in Public Health ($7.16 million)
Department of Juvenile Justice
§ Reduce funding recommended for System of Care pilot to coordinate delivery of community-based services for children with severe emotional disorders ($2 million)
Note: All these cuts are to funding for new or expanded services recommended for FY09.

Healthy Children
HB 279 (Rep. Doug Collins, 27th) would define medically necessary services under Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Program (EPSDT) to mean services that are deemed necessary by a physician or other health-care provider, whether or not such services are covered under the state plan. This definition tracks the federal definition and also would require the Department of Community Health (DCH) to provide notice to Medicaid recipients when services are denied. Status: Passed the House in 2007 and was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but did not reach the Senate floor for a vote. Reassigned to and passed Senate Health & Human Services on March 5, 2008 and is in Senate Rules.

HB 924 (Rep. Melvin Everson, 106th), the Billy Foulke Teenage Seatbelt Safety Act, passed House Judiciary Non-Civil, however, it did not pass the House on Crossover day.

SB 507 (Sen. Dan Moody, 56th) requires DCH and Managed Care Organizations (CMOs) to simplify procedures for prior approvals of children’s therapy services. This is a revised version of legislation passed in 2007 that by Perdue vetoed. Status: Passed the Senate and assigned to House Health and Human Services.

HB 1234 (Rep. Mickey Channell, 116th), the Medicaid Care Management Organizations Act, places new requirements on CMOs. Status: Passed the House and assigned to Senate Committee on Government Oversight.

In the past weeks we have kept you updated on a number of bills that were introduced that would have an impact on health insurance coverage for individuals and families. Attempts by advocates to work with bill sponsors to include language that protects health-care services such as mammograms, pap smears, after-childbirth hospital stays, newborn coverage, immunizations, and other preventive health care have been short-circuited by House and Senate leaders.

HB 1087 (Rep. Mickey Channell, 116th), dealing with high deductible health plans, was added to HB 977 (Rep. Tom Knox, 24th), another bill giving tax preferences to such health insurance policies. Status: Passed the House and assigned to Senate Finance Committee.

SB 404 (Sen. Tommie Williams, 19th) permits the sale of high-deductible health plans that do not cover a 48-hour hospitalization after newborn delivery, well- child visits, or contraceptives (among other things). It authorizes taxpayer money to promote such plans alongside more comprehensive, high-value traditional coverage and PeachCare for Kids on a state-run Web site. Status: Passed the Senate and assigned to House Insurance.

School Success
SB 461 (Sen. Chip Rogers, 21st) requires local boards of education to adopt a bullying policy that defines age appropriate consequences. Status: Passed Senate and assigned to House Education.

HB 905 (Rep. Fran Millar, 79th), the BRIDGE (Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia’s Economy) Act, was passed by House and is assigned to Senate Education & Youth.

Stable, Self-Sufficient Families
SR 1020 (Sen. Renee Unterman, 45th) to create a Senate Study Committee on the Sexual Exploitation of Minors was passed by Senate Health and Human Services and assigned to Senate Rules. SR 445 (also by Unterman) to create a Joint House-Senate Study Committee on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors was introduced and passed the Senate in 2007. SR 445 will be heard in House Judiciary Non-Civil on March 19, 2008.

SB 54 (Sen. Preston Smith, 52nd) would modify the incest statute to make it gender neutral and to include sodomy in the definition of incest. This bill was introduced and passed the Senate in 2007 and is scheduled to be heard in House Judiciary Non-Civil on March 19.

Strong Communities
HB 901 (Rep. Roger Bruce, 64th), the Parent Protection Act, was discussed in Subcommittee but no vote was ever taken. The bill is dead.

HR 413 (Rep. Tim Bearden, 68th), the proposed “English only” constitutional amendment that passed the House, failed to pass the Senate on Crossover Day. It was on the calendar but the Senate adjourned without discussing or voting on the legislation.

Advocates had been concerned about the impact of the bill, which sought to prohibit forms, notices, or tests such as the Georgia driver’s license exam from being offered in any language other than English. Georgia law already states that English is the official language of Georgia’s government.

Connected toPublic Policy Hot Line
Georgia Family Connection Partnership invites you to join its weekly conference call Tuesdays, 11-11:30 a.m., to discuss key policy and legislative issues with Mary Frances Williams, legislative and policy consultant.
To join the discussion on ReadyTalk, call 866-740-1260.
Access code: 4207411#

· Legislators are off today, but return tomorrow for Day 32 and will be in session Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

· Last week Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that state revenues for February were less than anticipated. As a result, the amounts to be spent in the amended FY08 and FY09 budgets have been reduced and cuts have been recommended.

· Legislators have revised their calendar and now expect to be in session at least through the first week of April. The new calendar has not been set beyond Thursday, March 27.

Legislative Policy Resources

To tune in to live broadcasts or watch highlights of the legislative session, or for research on bills, visit:
Georgia General Assembly
Georgia Public Broadcasting Lawmakers
Georgia Public Broadcasting Blogspot

For an in-depth analysis of HR 1246 and HB 1158 visit: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

For more information on legislative priorities from our partner organizations, visit:
Association of County Commissioners
Barton Law Clinic
Georgia Parent Teacher Association

Voices for Georgia’s Children:
Children’s Policy Watch

Fayette Front Page
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Saturday, March 15, 2008

News Roundup

Rolling Stone Changes Headline From Obama's 'Radical Roots' to 'Destiny's Child'
Back on Feb. 22nd, Rolling Stone published their in depth story (6-pages on the net) about Barack Obama's "charisma" under the title, "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama." However, the story has lately been retitled "Destiny's Child." One might wonder why Rolling Stone made the sudden change avoiding the word "radical"... unless, that is, one were living under a rock and isn't aware of the trouble Barack is lately having with the anti-American and racist ranting of his "spiritual mentor," the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Many hard questions arise over Rolling Stone's self-censorship

N.Y. gov's journey toward resignation
NEW YORK - Eliot Spitzer finally had to tell someone his secret. It was last Sunday morning, and he had just spent five hours driving through a fierce storm to his family and his Fifth Avenue apartment. Until then, the law-and-order New York governor had not dropped a hint of the bombshell that was about to force him from office, not a strained word during public appearances Friday in Manhattan or glad-handing the media at a Saturday dinner in Washington.

Polarities persist in Democratic race
WASHINGTON - Something happened to the feel-good, way-cool Democratic presidential contest in the months since a woman and a black man began their path-breaking race for the White House. By the millions, black voters voted for the black candidate and women voted for the woman. White men seemed torn, by the millions.

Deconstructing Obama's lawyerly evasions on Wright
Barack Obama desperately needs to distance himself from his spiritual mentor and pastor of two decades, Jeremiah Wright, Jr. But the man who wants America to believe his promise of unspecified change adopts the carefully-parsed language of a Harvard-trained lawyer. There is a fundamental discordance in spirit between a canny, evasive lawyer inserting loopholes, and the smiling vision of unity and change you can believe in.

Is Media Biased to the Right With McCain/Hagee vs. Obama/Wright Stories?
As you should know by now, Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has a Wright problem. That would be a Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. problem. It turns out that Barack Obama's "spiritual mentor" has a long, long history of hatred against whites and the history of the U.S.A. But, late last week, news began to surface that one of John McCain's religious supporters, John Hagee, has made many harsh anti-Catholic statements in the past.

The AP Style Guide on Defending Barack Obama
The Associated Press editors tasked in-house "writer" Phillip Elliott to write an article that dispels the "rumors and outright lies" concerning Barack Obama and the perception that Mr. Obama's support of Israel is questionable. The product of that task is what you'd expect from any number of left leaning story tellers in the mainstream media who write about Obama as opposed to journalists, reporters and political observers that actually take the time to research, study and honestly discuss that which they have found.

Have the Networks Reported McCain's Anti-Catholic Endorser?
If you have liberal friends who try to rebut you and say that the same networks that had largely ignored Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright also ignored John McCain being embraced by harshly anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee, you can first say that there’s a huge difference between someone’s selected pastor of two decades and a new endorser. A search through network transcripts shows that ABC has not reported on Hagee, although they broke the Wright flap. But CBS has done two stories and NBC, half a one.

Psst! Mr. Bigamist! Wanna Make a Quick Buck?
(Disclaimer: If you are under the age of 18 or stupid, stop reading right now. This is dark satire, so please don’t write or sue. I don’t have any money anyway.) Hey there, Mr. Middle Eastern bigamist. Feeling bummed? Disrespected by the infidels? Tired of having to work for a living? Well, does the government of Great Britain have a deal for you!

Franken Denies Joking About Rove and Libby Being Executed for Plame Affair
On October 22, 2005, my colleague Brent Baker reported Al Franken's disturbing joke to "Late Show" host David Letterman concerning Scooter Libby and Karl Rove being executed for their involvement in the Valerie Plame Wilson affair. Almost two and a half years later, during an interview on CNN's "American Morning" Friday, Kiran Chetry asked the comedian turned Democrat senate candidate about this exchange.

The Belushi Syndrome
Let's analyze this Eliot Spitzer situation without emotion because there are lessons to be learned here. First of all, Spitzer is obviously a smart guy, having graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School, so his conduct is perplexing in its stupidity.

Check this site out:

The Importance of Fallon's Fall
The abrupt resignation of Adm. William Fallon as the head of Central Command almost got lost amid the breaking news of Barack Obama's victory in the Mississippi primary and Eliot Spitzer's resignation as governor of New York. But it's a much more consequential development -- in the foreign and military policy of the Bush administration in its final year in office and in the relations between civilian commanders and military officers in the long run of American history.

Governor Bloomberg?
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The disgraced Eliot Spitzer had hardly resigned as governor of New York when Republican strategists began calculating a return to power in Albany via New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Lt. Gov. David Paterson, Spitzer's successor as governor, is considered a weak prospect for the 2010 election and might not even be the Democratic nominee. Bloomberg, finishing two successful terms as mayor in 2009, might find life as a private citizen boring enough to try for governor. Bloomberg, who changed his affiliation from Republican to independent, could obtain the Independence Party nomination for governor, and then be endorsed by the GOP.

Obama Attempts Damage Control, Fallout Over Pastor’s Sermons Unclear
The presidential contenders have all had their share of supporters whose insensitive remarks forced the campaigns to issue disavowals. This week, it was Barack Obama’s turn.After a series of recorded sermons by Obama’s longtime pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. sparked controversy over Wright’s fiery views on race, America and the Sept. 11 attacks, Obama responded Friday by firmly repudiating Wrights’ views in lengthy written statement and a round of cable news interviews.

Lots of Talk, No Resolution on Michigan Revote
Negotiations among Michigan Democrats led to little more than broad principles Friday as all the players worked toward a plan that would allow Michigan to seat its delegation to the Democratic National Convention in August. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) had stripped Michigan of its delegates for violating party rules.

Retirement Surprise Turns Alabama House Race Into Tossup
The retirement announcement Thursday by nine-term Democratic Rep. Robert E. “Bud” Cramer caught Alabama’s political establishment by surprise. But both parties are already hustling to prepare for a hotly competitive and unexpected open-seat race in the state’s 5th Congressional District.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Governor Perdue Signs Bill Into Law

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the following legislation has been signed into law. For more information on this legislation, please visit
HB 297

Senate Approves Chambliss Legislation to Restore Critical Law Enforcement Funding

The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution that would provide $906 million in federal funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program which helps pay for drug task forces, courts and treatment programs, police salaries, innovative technologies and gang prevention strategies. The program, which members of Georgia’s law enforcement and judicial communities have said is critical to their efforts, was severely cut last year in the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act.

“Our sheriffs, prosecutors, drug court professionals, and many of the other public servants in the law enforcement community rely on these grants to fight gangs, crime and drugs in their jurisdictions, and they’re making their communities safer because of these grants,” said Chambliss, who has led the bipartisan effort to restore the funding since arriving in the Senate. “This program has produced tangible results in Georgia and across the nation. Lives are being saved, more drugs are being confiscated, more bad guys who are manufacturing and distributing drugs are being locked up and put away because of this program. I’m pleased my colleagues in the Senate joined me in supporting this critical legislation on behalf of our law enforcement community who put themselves in harm’s way each day to make sure our communities are safe.”

In Georgia, the Byrne/JAG program has been credited with the following successes:

multi-jurisdictional task forces were able to make 5,600 drug arrests and seize almost $50 million in drugs;

2,500 law enforcement officers were trained in more than 100 different classes offered by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center through its Drug Enforcement Training Program;

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Drug Task Force led a cooperative investigation resulting with an inter-state drug enforcement effort with Alabama that received national recognition;

The Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center is Georgia’s Homeland Security state-level fusion intelligence center. The Center expanded its “Southern Shield” initiative and widened the focus for intelligence integration in the region by coordinating with 12 other states within the southeast on intelligence collection and dissemination.

Nine drug court programs were supported as was a Mental Health Court Diversion Program.
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Isakson, Chambliss Vote Against Budget Resolution

Expressing dismay over the Senate’s plan to increase spending and raise taxes, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., last night voted against final passage of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution, which passed by a vote of 51 to 41.

This year’s Budget Resolution, which serves as a nonbinding blueprint for Congress when it decides how to appropriate federal dollars later in the year, was drafted by Senate Democrats who packed it with heavy spending and a $1.2 trillion tax increase, which is the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

“We must take large and immediate steps to end the reckless spending that is threatening the future of our nation. Congress must become better stewards of the taxpayers’ money," Isakson said. “We also simply cannot raise taxes on America’s families and businesses. We must alleviate the tax burden placed on our citizens, not increase it.”

“Here we are again for the second year in a row, raising taxes on hard-working Americans,” said Chambliss. “Family budgets are already stretched thin and this tax and spend approach will add further strain in the long run. This is simply wrong. This budget in no way demonstrates any type of fiscal responsibility; it does nothing to reduce the deficit, and does not extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The people of Georgia and all taxpayers expect their dollars to be used wisely, and they expect Congress to be more efficient and more productive”
The Budget Resolution increases non-defense discretionary spending by almost $211 billion over the next five years and adds $2 trillion to the gross national debt. It also contains no provisions for reducing entitlement spending, instead allowing it to grow by $488 billion over five years.

The Senate also rejected a number of amendments to extend existing tax relief past 2010. Isakson and Chambliss voted in favor of those amendments, including a vote to permanently repeal the estate tax and a vote to extend the tax cuts passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003.

“The tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 lowered tax rates for individuals, businesses, dividends and capital gains, eliminated the marriage penalty and scaled back the alternative minimum tax and the death tax,” Isakson said. “Letting American taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money pays far better dividends than sending that money to Congress to spend on another government solution.”
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Isakson Votes for One-Year Moratorium on Earmarks

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., voted last night for an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution that would have imposed a year-long moratorium on congressional earmarks.

“One of the problems we have in Congress with spending is spending money on projects that shouldn’t be funded with tax dollars. We must take the time to establish transparency and disclosure in the appropriations process,” Isakson said.

The amendment failed by a 29 to 71 vote.

In January, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appointed Isakson to a Fiscal Reform Working Group. The group is chaired by Senator Dick Lugar, R-Ind., and also includes Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The working group has had several in-depth discussions on how to reform the earmark process for appropriations bills and may recommend additional means for the Senate to bring greater transparency and fiscal responsibility to government spending.

Chambliss Votes in Favor of One-Year Moratorium on Earmarks

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., made the following statement after voting in favor of an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution that would place a one-year moratorium on congressional earmarks:

“We need to find a way to improve and provide greater transparency in the earmark process. If we do not get a handle on federal spending, we will pass this burden on to our children and grandchildren. I believe we need to hold the line on fiscal responsibility, and this amendment was a step in the right direction towards meaningful earmark reform.”

The amendment, offered by Senator Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, failed by a vote of 29 to 71.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

News Update

The Man Without A Party
Ronald Reagan often said “I did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.”
For floundering and foundering New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- a twist on the Gipper’s words. Spitzer didn’t leave the Democratic Party: the Media just didn’t see the need to mention the fact that Spitzer was -- at least until noon Wednesday -- one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation.
On Monday afternoon, the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) and the Associated Press led the charge of the wall-to-wall coverage of the breaking news that Spitzer was involved with an interstate prostitution ring. And with near unanimity they failed to mention that Spitzer is a Democrat.

House to close its doors for spying bill
WASHINGTON - House doors were locked Thursday night as lawmakers prepared for their first closed session in 25 years to debate surveillance legislation.

Senate bulls kill proposed earmark moratorium
The old bulls of the Senate have prevailed over presidential politics and conservative reformers, killing an attempt to temporarily ban practice of earmarking federal funds for home state projects.

Senate blocks moratorium on earmarks
WASHINGTON - Even with the backing of all three presidential candidates, Senate old-timers in both parties decisively killed a proposed one-year ban on lawmakers' home-state pet projects.

Ward embezzled from Hensarling PAC
Christopher J. Ward, the former National Republican Congressional Committee treasurer under investigation for allegedly diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRCC and other committees, paid himself $4,208 from the leadership PAC of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) in December and then returned the money in February, according to a Federal Election Commission filing and a GOP insider.

Whose Conduct Was More Reprehensible: Clinton’s or Spitzer’s?
First, limit the question to what is known beyond reasonable doubt: Eliot Spitzer’s serial assignations with call girls and Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky combined with his perjury about that affair.
Set aside Spitzer’s bullying prosecutions and his abuse of his office as governor. Try and forget the allegations against Bill Clinton from other women. Stick just to what is widely understood to be undeniable facts.
So, whose conduct is worse?

Will Media Hold Obama To Repudiate His Pastor's Hateful Remarks?
Update: Don't expect Obama to repudiate these remarks. He still hasn't addressed his friendship with the terrorists of the Weather Underground.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been Obama's pastor for 20 years. Obama named his book, "Audacity of Hope" after a sermon of his, and he and his wife were married by the pastor. He is even a part of Obama's campaign.
Now video has surfaced of Rev. Wright preaching a very radical message where he accuses the government of creating drugs and giving them to the poor, creating AIDS to destroy blacks, and blaming America for 9/11.

Dem budget wins House, but Senate looms
Democrats won House approval of their five-year budget plan Thursday but faced tougher sledding in the Senate, where Republicans forced a series of close votes on tax cuts — designed with an eye toward November's elections.

Congress endorses post-Bush tax hikes
WASHINGTON - Both houses of Congress endorsed the idea of tax increases for millions of Americans Thursday as Democrats pressed ahead with budget plans that would allow some or all of President Bush's reductions to die after he leaves office.

Dems say Congress must approve U.S. troop commitments
Reps. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) announced legislation Thursday to prohibit the use of federal funds to implement a long-term diplomatic and security agreement the Bush administration plans to strike with the government of Iraq.

Legal cloud lingers over Spitzer
NEW YORK - As Gov. Eliot Spitzer prepares to leave office, the disgraced politician faces a tangled battle with prosecutors that will send lawyers into murky legal territory.

Preliminary Audit Shows House Republicans Extent of Substantial NRCC Shortfalls
House Republicans are working to rebuild confidence after an internal investigation found that their campaign committee ended 2006 with $990,000 less than its balance sheet showed and ended 2007 with $740,000 less.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is cooperating with an FBI investigation of former treasurer Christopher J. Ward, who was fired Jan. 28 amid allegations of false accounting and possible fraud. Officials described hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized wire transfers to committees and accounts that Ward controlled.

Bush: I'll Hand White House Keys to McCain
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Wednesday that he intends to finish his presidency with his ''head held high'' and expects to hand the keys to the White House to John McCain, the GOP nominee-in-waiting.
''I'm optimistic about this year because I know John McCain. I've know him for many years. I've seen his character and leadership up close,'' Bush said at a fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee. ''I've campaigned with him and I've campaigned against him and I can tell you this: He's a tough competitor.''

French Foreign Minister: 'Magic is Over' for U.S.
PARIS — Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France, said Tuesday that whoever succeeds President Bush in the White House will have to restore the United States' battered image and standing overseas, the International Herald Tribune reported.
Speaking at the launch of a Forum for New Diplomacy in Paris, Kouchner said the United States will never be the country it was before the Bush presidency and will have to work to repair its reputation, especially since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.,2933,337410,00.html

Chambliss Disappointed with Senate Failure to Reform Death Tax

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today expressed disappointment with the Senate’s failure to approve an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution that would have reformed the Death Tax. Specifically, the amendment would have protected small businesses, family ranches and farms from the Death Tax by providing a $5 million exemption, a low rate for smaller estates and a maximum rate no higher than 35%.

“The death tax is a burdensome taxation on American families, small businesses, and family farmers, and I think it is simply wrong that the federal government seeks to tax individuals and their possessions at the time of their death,” said Chambliss. “People work hard in hopes of passing their family business or farm on to their children and grandchildren, and I’m disappointed that my colleagues in the Senate seek to continue this unnecessary tax.”

Chambliss has been a strong supporter of repealing the federal death tax during his 14 years in Congress.
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Governor Perdue Announces Executive Appointments

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the following executive appointments:

Board of Public Safety

Jack K. McElfish, 63, Sandy Springs, Firefighter Representative - McElfish has served as a fire chief since 1981 and is now the Fire Chief for the city of Sandy Springs. He serves on the International Association of Fire Chiefs as the treasurer and a member of the board of directors. He also serves on the board of directors of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation. McElfish has been designated as “Chief Fire Officer” of the Commission on Professional Credentialing from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is a member of the Georgia Fire Chiefs, Georgia State Firefighters Association and the Metro Atlanta Fire Chiefs Association. McElfish earned an associate’s degree from Montgomery College and a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from the University of New Haven. He and his wife, Joyce, have one grown daughter.

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

W. H. “Dink” NeSmith, Jr., 59, Athens, 10th Congressional District Representative-

NeSmith is co-owner and president of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc. He serves on the board of directors of Athens First Bank and Trust Company, Southern Mutual Insurance Company and Pattillo Construction Company. NeSmith also serves on the Commission for a New Georgia and is chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation. He is past president of the Georgia Press Association, the University of Georgia Alumni Association, and Leadership Georgia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. NeSmith and his wife, Pam, have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Georgia Council for the Arts

Martha N. Bush, 64, Colquitt, Second Congressional District Representative-

Bush owns and operates Newberry Angus Farms, Inc. She serves as director of the board of trustees and on the executive board of the Bainbridge College Foundation. She is a member of the Colquitt/Miller Arts Council and the Flint River Arts Council and was a participant of the J.W. Fanning Institute’s “Leadership Baker” program. Bush earned an associate’s degree from Gulf Park College and dual bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University. She and her husband, Leron, have two grown children and one grandchild.

Sheryl L. Threlkeld, 57, Vidalia, Twelfth Congressional District Representative-

Threlkeld is a member of the board of directors and former president of Ohoopee Regional Council for the Arts. She is a City of Vidalia representative on the board of trustees of the Ohoopee Regional Library. Threlkeld served as an instructor and an assistant professor of theatre at Brewton Parker College. Threlkeld earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. She and her husband, Reid, have two children.

Georgia Film, Video, & Music Commission

Richard T. Warner, 51, Dunwoody - Warner is the founder and chief executive officer of What’s Up Interactive, a web marketing and technology firm. He is the host and managing editor of the weekly series “Georgia’s Business” for GPTV and contributes a monthly column to “Business to Business” magazine. He is a board member of the Safe America Foundation and served as president of the American Marketing Association’s Atlanta chapter. Warner earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Malenka, have two children.

Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority

Susan M. Green, 53, Macon - Green is a municipal marketing representative for Advanced Disposal Services. She served as a county commissioner for the Jones County Board of Commissioners from 1997-2000. She is a member of the executive board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Baldwin and Jones Counties, Inc., a member of the Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce, and vice chairman of the Jones County Republican Party. She was a member of the Coverdell Leadership Institute Class of 2007. Green earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. She has three children.

William B. “Brad” Turner, Jr., 56, Columbus - Turner is president and vice chairman of the board for W.C. Bradley Co. He serves as a director for Synovus Financial Corporation and Columbus Bank and Trust Company. He serves on the advisory board for the University of Georgia‘s Terry College of Business. He is a trustee of both the Bradley Turner Foundation, Inc. and the Columbus State University Foundation, Inc. Turner is a member of the Community Foundation of Chattahoochee Valley. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Sally, have four children and one grandchild.

Professional Standards Commission

Albert “Al” A. George II, 36, Atlanta - George is the director of education for Georgia Aquarium Inc. and the co-founder and managing partner of Building Block Group & Associates, L.P. He served as director of the Packard Scholar Program at Morehouse College and as a research associate and marine educator for the Center for Marine, Environmental Science, & Biotechnology. He is a member of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership and 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. George earned a bachelor’s degree from Savannah State University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Leslie, have one child.

Penny L. Benton, 59, Woodstock - Benton is a sixth grade Earth Science teacher at Holly Springs Elementary School. She has 24 years of teaching experience and has received gifted endorsement. She was a presenter at the Cherokee County Schools of Excellence Conference. Benton earned a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University and a master’s degree from Brenau University. She and her husband, Martin, have three children and three grandchildren.

State Construction Industry Licensing Board

Paul H. Maushardt, 61, Stockbridge, Plumbing Inspector - Maushardt is assistant chief plumbing inspector for DeKalb County. He is a member of Georgia State Inspectors, Inc., Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 72, and the Metro Atlanta Inspectors Association. He enjoys volunteering for Relay for Life in Henry County. He and his wife, Anna, have six grown children and 13 grandchildren

Isakson, Chambliss Vote to Protect English in the Workplace

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today voted for an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution that would stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from suing organizations for requiring English in the workplace.

“While I respect the rich heritage that immigrants bring to our nation, the citizens of the United States value English as our common language,” Isakson said. “It is inconceivable to me that American businesses are being punished because they require the use of English in their place of business. Using English in the workplace is just common sense.”

“As Americans, the English language is part of our national identity,” said Chambliss. “Our businesses should not be penalized because employees have not learned the language of the land. People who come to this country ought to be able to speak English -- period.”

Specifically, the amendment would provide $670,000 to the Department of Education’s English Literacy and Civics Education Program to promote the teaching of English and civics to immigrants. The funds would come from allocations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that are now being used to prosecute businesses who require their employees to speak English on the job.

The amendment passed by a vote of 54 to 44.

English-only charges filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have nearly quadrupled in the last 10 years. In Fiscal Year 1996, 32 English-only charges were filed compared to 125 such charges in Fiscal Year 2006.

In March 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two of the organization’s employees in a Boston-area thrift store by requiring them to speak English even though the English requirement was clearly posted and the employees were given a year to learn the language.
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Westmoreland: Budget a plan for bigger government

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland today voted against the Democrats’ budget for next year, citing the plan’s $683 billion tax hike and massive increase in spending. The Democrats’ record-breaking budget passed on a tight party-line vote.

“You have to give the people who wrote this budget some credit for managing to pack in so many things that are offensive to Georgia taxpayers,” Westmoreland said. “No bill is perfect but this budget may be perfectly bad.

“Remember the Bill Clinton tax hikes of 1993 that outraged Americans and led to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994? Well, this tax hike is three times bigger than that. It calls for tax rate increases for every American worker.”

The budget calls for a $683 billion tax hike over five years. Instead of using the money to close the budget deficit, but instead will fuel wasteful new spending – the plan will increase discretionary spending by 8.8 percent. Further, it raises marginal rates for all workers; eliminates 10-percent bracket for low-income earners; reduces the child tax credit; reimposes the marriage penalty and death tax; and eliminates incentives for investment in U.S. businesses.

“My colleagues on the other side love to talk about the economic slowdown in the country,” Westmoreland said, “but for the life of me, I can’t understand how they think that the biggest tax hike in American history is going to help kick-start the economy. With a shrinking job market and widespread foreclosures, we need to work to make sure that Americans keep as much of their own money as possible.”

Westmoreland voted for the Republican alternative budget. The GOP proposal would balance the budget within five years without raising taxes; it implements a moratorium on earmark spending, and dedicates the savings to tax cuts and deficit reduction. Lastly, it takes significant steps to rein in entitlement spending to preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for future generations.
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone