Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cathy Cox suggests "regional approach" to transportation

Cox has released another plan setting out her vision for Georgia, this time in the area of transportation. She unveiled talked about this new plan last night at the "Brain Train" forum held in Lawrenceville. The forum was well attended by candidates who support a rail system that would connect several of Georgia's top universities from Atlanta to Athens as well as other rail projects.

I find the "Brain Train" of particular importance. There is a significant portion of Georgia's overall population that lives just outside of the metro Atlanta area. Yet because of work schedules, time constraints, traffic considerations, and costs, many of these people find it a hardship to commute from places like Gwinnett Co. to the University of Georgia in Athens or Georgia State University in Atlanta to work towards post graduate degrees. Fortunately, many local universities now have satellite campuses and some offer online degrees. But these mostly cater to people who are seeking degrees in business programs. The "Brain Train" would make it feasible and economical for people throughout the metro area and just beyond to further their education at one of several of the state's top universities.

Cox also announced her support for the Atlanta to Lovejoy rail line that would eventually extend to Macon in central Georgia, as well as the Atlanta Street Car Project. All of these plans are designed to reduce the amount of car traffic on the streets of Atlanta and highways surrounding it. Not only does this have a potential impact for education and the economy, it also can have lasting positive effects on our environment.

Cox also wants to fast track the state's plans to finish 4-laning Hwy's 27 and 441 that run north to south. Projections say that this could have a great impact on reducing traffic through downtown Atlanta as well as creating economic opportunities for other parts of Georgia as people make their way through our state.

To read Cox's entire transportation plan, this is the Cox article with a link to the plan itself. And the lower link is to the AJC article covering the "Brain Train" forum last night.

Monday, June 26, 2006

40 miles of Republicans

I drove to Canton from Duluth the other day. Wishing to avoid the interstates, I took the long drive down Hwy 20 and Hwy 140 into Cherokee Co. Political signs dotted people's yards as well as any corner that featured a bare spot or a stop sign. The discouraging thing about it is that out of the several hundred signs that I saw, NOT EVEN ONE was for a Democrat. Now I knew that Cherokee and Forsyth Counties would be heavily Republican areas. But, sheesh!!

Larry King's interview with the Nine Democratic Women of the Senate

I was travelling last week. So I didn't get to blog about this sooner. But the other night, Larry King had a fascinating interview with all of the female Democratic members of the Senate. They shared their thoughts on a lot of topics froma electing a woman president, to Al Gore, to their response to the Republican agenda. And they talked about other subjects that we talk about here in Georgia as well. For anyone wishing to read the entire transcript or watch the show, click on the link below.

Here are some comments that I found interesting.

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Lousiana on Republicans underfunding the V.A.

LANDRIEU: I'd like to just follow with Patty. Every time Patty makes that argument, which is very powerful and accurate, they say but we're spending more this year than we did last year, with veterans. That's not the answer to the question. The question is are you spending enough based on the increased number of veterans coming back? We're having record numbers of veterans return. With record number of wounded, with mental health issues. So it's not just spending more money. It's spending it wisely and well. Using all the new technologies that we have.

Sen. Maria Cantwell on making college more affordable and accessible:

CANTWELL: Well, I went to school on a Pell Grant, Larry. And I have to tell you, I'm not sure I'd be in the United States Senate or have been a successful executive at a software company if I hadn't had access to affordable college education, made through help and support of somebody who needed financial assistance.

And right now, with the cuts in the Pell Grant program not keeping pace with the rate of inflation, the cost of education for families has gotten more expensive. Family income's only gone up a few percent. So what we want is we want to pass legislation to increase Pell Grants, make the college tax deduction permanent, and make an investment, even give G.I.'s more opportunity in making the G.I. Bill permanent for life, so that they can continue their education opportunities as well.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas on healthcare:

LINCOLN: Right. Well, Larry, 46 million Americans are uninsured right now. And the majority of those are in small businesses. We have an incredible example. Over 40 years the federal government has figured out that if they take all eight million of their federal employees and they pool them, they can give them greater choice at a lower cost. So we're the recipients of a very good healthcare program. There's no reason why we can't use that model that's been tested for 40 years and offer that same kind of choice at a lower price to small businesses.

KING: Is healthcare a right?

LINCOLN: Healthcare is essential. It's essential for the quality of life for Americans. It's essential to our economy. Workers do better when they're healthy. The fact is, is when you've got small businesses where their employees are uninsured, what happens when they become Medicare age? They're more costly to the government because they haven't been getting healthcare. The key is, is to make sure that we're looking practically at how we can offer better choice at a lower cost to as many Americans as we possibly can. And through small businesses, we reach a tremendous amount. If we pool them together, we give them the same benefit we have and there's no reason they shouldn't get it.

This ties in with Cathy Cox's healthcare proposal for Georgia which includes purchasing pools for small business owners. From Cox's proposal:

Cathy Cox will create a Small Business Purchasing Pool to allow small businesses and the self-employed to band together to negotiate and purchase affordable health insurance. Cox will ensure quality coverage by requiring a minimum level of benefits, emphasizing coverage for preventive care and the same premium levels regardless of age or condition. Everyone will have the choice of at least two plans, and no one will be excluded from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Cox will enable the bargaining power of the state to lower drug costs for a range of beneficiaries including state workers, small business employees and the self-employed and seniors falling through the cracks of Medicare.

Cox will improve accessibility to PeachCare by reducing premiums, taking away the harsh penalties imposed for late payments, and expanding education and outreach through schools and workplaces.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's comments on Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth:"

KING: Let me get in one more e-mail. This is from Carol in Vancouver, British Columbia. And she asks, which of the senators present have seen the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," and what's their response to it? Who's seen it? Hillary?

CLINTON: I thought it was terrific. And you know, Al for years has been sounding the alarm on global climate change. And no one can sit through that movie and not be convinced that time is running out for us to take the action we need to control the emissions of carbon dioxide into the air. And that goes right along with what we're trying to do in energy. It goes hand in hand. So I think he's done a great service, not just to our country, but the world.

Sen. Clinton on alternative fuels and making the U.S. fuel independent:

KING: Senator Clinton, your area on the checklist was making America energy independent. Is that feasible?

CLINTON: Absolutely, it's feasible.

KING: Really?

CLINTON: Yes, it is, Larry. There are so many examples around the world where other countries have made a commitment to a clean energy, independent future. And we haven't done that.

KING: But we're a guzzling nation.

CLINTON: Well, that's right. But, we also don't have a federal legal framework that encourages people to make the right decisions and to get more effective transportation, more effective electricity generation and distribution. What I proposed today was a strategic energy fund where we really try to treat it like we did with the Apollo project, sending somebody to the moon. Make it a national priority. Make the investments to do the research. It is absolutely feasible. But we don't hear that from our leadership in the White House or the Congress. And I think that's a great mistake because we need to be energy independent in order to enhance our national security and our, take care of our environment.

Yet another important issue for which Cathy Cox has issued a proposal:

“Our agricultural industry and our state economy are perfectly matched to make Georgia the farm-grown fuels capital of the world,” said Cox. “We can reduce our dependence on unstable, foreign sources of oil and create new jobs if the state steps up to the plate and makes the necessary investments in research and infrastructure.”

Within the first month of her term as Governor, Cathy Cox will create the Governor’s Farm-Grown Fuels Commission with the mandate to develop within one year a statewide renewable energy strategy for making farm-grown fuels 25 percent of Georgia’s total fuel consumption by 2025. The commission will be lead by Cox and composed of private and public sector appointees.

To fast track bio-fuel research, Cox will allocate $10 million from the OneGeorgia Authority to Georgia research institutions pursuing alternative methods for producing farm-grown fuels. Using Agricultural Processing Enterprise Zones, Cathy Cox will provide the appropriate mixture of tax incentives and economic development funding so that private industry, not state government, can create the pipeline for clean, renewable bio-fuels.

This is just a sampling of the issues that the ladies discussed with King. It was a distinguished group to say the least. But it's missing something: some non-white members. Not only is it time for more female leadership, but it would be great to see some African American, Hispanic, etc. female elected to the U.S. Senate too.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tennis champ Andre Agassi to retire

When Andre Agassi burst onto the tennis scene in 1987, the tennis world was still a largely conservative atmosphere whose clubs and upper ups tended to frown on anything and anyone different. While I respect the reverence of tradition, the tennis establishment waited way too long to reach out to the masses. In the style of Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi did just that.

I can't say that I was a big fan of Andre's. Once the money started rolling in, he became insolated from the real world by coaches, agents, and family and friends that told him how great he was every day, even when frankly he wasn't. Who will ever forget his tv ads for Cannon cameras, "Image is Everything?" And for too long, Andre didn't work very hard on building upon his given talent. It took him several years before he would fulfill his potential and become a regular grand slam champion. In short, he took the money and ran. But I love stories of redemption. And Andre's story is definitely one of those.

One thing to remember about Andre is that he's human too. Like the rest of us, he's had to go through several stages in his life. The difference for him is he had to do it publicly. And that's never an easy thing to do.

But to his credit, Andre worked hard, got fit, and re-energized his career and the game of tennis by becoming a solid rival for Pete Sampras in the mid 1990's. Not only that, but he also established a foundation for children's charities in his hometown of Las Vegas. Andre the "image" turned into Andre, champion and citizen of the world. Along with his wife, Steffi Graf, the guy is doing his part.

Andre has been battling injuries in his 30's - a time when tennis players become dinosaurs and give way to younger, stronger, faster players. However, Andre remains competitive and a fan favorite wherever he goes. But he has announced that he will be playing his final Wimbledon this summer. And he will retire following the US Open in September. If I had one wish for Andre, it would be one more glorious run on a world stage. He deserves to take a bow and allow us to show him our gratitude.

Yet TWO more objective sources call Taylor's ads false

For those of us who have followed Georgia politics in the last 20 years, we're familiar with how dirty things can get. It's an important yet disruptive cog to Georgia politics that Cathy Cox wants to change. As we've come to expect, Mark Taylor is right in the middle of the dirt bombs.

It's really not surprising that Mark Taylor would 1) lie and distort Cathy Cox's record in an attempt to deceive the "little guys", who he hopes will simply accept what he spoon feeds us. And 2) refuse to take down the ad when numerous people step forward to say that his ad is NOT true, including the AJC, a national independent fact checking organizing on truth in advertising, and a Pullitzer Prize winning journalist.

Amy from Georgia Women Vote has a video clip of Randall Savage's observations of the Taylor ad:

And Mel from Blog for Democracy provides a link on her blog to This is a national organization that serves as a watchdog group that watches out for the so called "little guys" when the "big guys" lie to us.

Themes are always a part of campaigns. And the theme in this race seems to be the fact that Georgians deserve better than Mark Taylor-esque politics.

But a little piece of unsolicited advice for the Cox campaign: get back on message. Defend yourself. But remind the voters of Georgia that YOU are the candidate of substance. YOU are the candidate with plans for the Georgia's future. And YOU are only person in this race that's capable of making significant change's that will better the lives of "the little guys."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kick the oil habit!

Here's an interesting website with an action alert to tell the oil companies that we intend to "kick the oil habit." This website is part of a campaign by a non profit group that I've been reading regularly, Center for American Progress Action Fund.

This ties in with one of Cathy Cox's policy plans. Her farm-grown fuels proposal is solid stuff that could help Georgians in so many ways. Economically and environmentally, farm-grown fuels could make Georgia a global leader in alternative fuel sources. In this day and age, this is the kind of vision that we need from our leaders.

It the effects of growing such an industry in Georgia has far-reaching effects. It would provide economic opportunity to farmers and other potential workers in rural Georgia. Infrustructure would be built for increased crop production as well as for processing and refining the supply. Money would be infused in parts of the state that can use a boost. Local tax revenues would increase social services, education budgets, and relieve other burdened areas. Better education opportunities is a huge step toward making Georgia a more progressive state.

Georgia is in the top 10 in population. Cox has said that means that Georgia should also be in the top 10 in every major statistical category. Growing crops for fuel is about more than the obvious. It's about growing our state. Georgia will not be able to step forward until the rest of our state is attended to as well as the metro Atlanta area has been.

Check our her plan. And see if this is the kind of vision that you want from your next governor.

Disaster 911 - Animal version

Natural disasters suck. But maybe they suck even worse for animals. Because all too often, they get left behind when people evacuate their homes. Sometimes that's not by the owners choice. And sometimes the owner stays behind to protect his/her pet(s) and endanger themselves in doing so. I imagine that we all think of such scenerios and ask ourselves just what we do in that situation. For many of who recognize and cherish the bond of friendship between humanity and the animal world, we just can't bear to walk out on a friend who wouldn't walk out on us.

Williams pointed out that in 1994, when the first Tropical Storm Alberto stalled over South Georgia dumping torrential rains and causing flooding in 40 counties, some of the 36 people who died in that storm did so because they failed to evacuate because they didn’t want to leave their animals.

In fact, we've all seen and heard of many instances where animals have risked their lives while trying to save or protect their loved ones. Even in situations where imminent danger isn't present, pets often save human lives. They provide much needed friendship and comfort to many who need it. Which is one reason why I support PALS (Pets Are Loving Support).

So this is why I was so pleased to see an article in the Tifton Gazette saying that state officials are keeping our animal friends in mind when faced with a disaster. Maybe in the future, people will not have to risk their lives to save their pets.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Julie Banderas gives a bible lesson to the face of evil

I was amazed when I saw sovo praising Fox News. But Julie Banderas does a great job of using the bible on the leader of the anti-gay church that protests the funerals of deceased U.S. soldiers. All I have to say is AMEN Julie!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Fathers Day!

I hope everyone takes a moment today to share a moment with or reflect on their father or a special father figure. Dad's aren't perfect. They often do or say things that we don't like. Sometimes they're just being human. And often they're doing what's best for us even if we don't see it that way.

My dad passed away after a long illness almost nine years ago. In a situation like that, you always think you're prepared. But how can you possibly be? Death is a natural progression in life. But you always miss those special people that go on before you. And I definitely miss my dad today.

On the morning that he died, he called for me around 4 am. I got up and gave him some water. I wiped his brow with a damp cloth. I gathered up his meds and offered to make him some breakfast. I had seen this from him so many times before. It was almost routine at this point.

I didn't go with my mother to take him to the hospital. Instead, I got ready for work and figured I would call around 8 am from the office and see how things were. I forgot for just one moment that that day just might be THE day. And on Oct. 9, 1997 it was that day.

"Reality Bites" for Mark Taylor

Add the AJC to a growing list of major state newspapers that are calling Mark Taylor's bluff. His new tv ad claims that Cathy Cox voted against HOPE when she wasn't even a member of the House of Representatives when it came up for a vote. Plus, they totally ignore Cox's positive voting record on subsequent HOPE funding bills. Whatever gets you elected, right?

To their credit, the AJC takes a look at Taylor's ad and then gives Mark Taylor a dose of reality:

Reality check: A look at campaign ads Taylor claims role in creating HOPE scholarship

FROM STAFF REPORTSPublished on: 06/18/06


The television ad opens with Mark Taylor, leads to a teacher overlooking a child and notes that Taylor was endorsed "by Georgia's teachers because he's a real innovator." It touts his backing of the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten classes, saying he sponsored the law creating HOPE. It then says that his Democratic opponent, Cathy Cox, "opposed the law creating HOPE scholarships." It says Cox admitted voting against the lottery, which funds HOPE scholarships, and includes a shot of a 13-year-old newspaper article in the Miller County Liberal that quotes her on the issue. "Rep. Cox stated that although she did not vote for the lottery, she would be watching how the $139 million anticipated to come in the first year would be spent." It ends with another shot of Taylor and the phrase, "On education, only Mark Taylor has always been there."

Mark Taylor for governor campaign


Taylor has been endorsed by the Georgia Association of Educators and the Georgia Federation of Teachers. While Taylor pushed the bill that created the lottery as an assistant floor leader for Gov. Zell Miller in the Senate, the proposed lottery amendment that passed the General Assembly was sponsored by the House, not Taylor and the Senate. Cox was not a legislator at the time.

Cox said Saturday that she voted for the lottery at the polls in 1992 and that Taylor's claim is false. Her campaign provided a statement from Terry Toole, author of the article cited in the ad. In the statement Toole, who is editor and publish of the Miller County Liberal, said the Taylor campaign took the quote out of context.

He said Cox, who was speaking to the Lions Club as a freshman legislator, was referring to the fact that she didn't vote for HOPE in the Legislature because she wasn't a lawmaker when it passed. Toole could not be reached for comment Saturday.

"The facts here are crystal clear: This is a big lie from the 'big guy,' " Cox said.
Rick Dent, Taylor's spokesman, said he believes the ad is accurate. "She joined [Gov.] Sonny Perdue in trying to kill the education lottery," he said.

Perdue initially opposed the lottery, but he has funded HOPE and pre-kindergarten as governor and, while serving in the Senate, voted for budgets that funded the programs.

Check out Taylor's claims:

I don't think anyone has a problem with Mark Taylor citing his role in establishing HOPE. The problem is that he jumps over quite a few people that deserve more credit than he, most especially Zell Miller, to claim that it took "the big guy" for HOPE becoming a reality. Newsflash Mark: YOUR BILL DIDN'T EVEN PASS THE SENATE. That's so dishonest. And unfortunately, one of several lies he's tried to tell the voters of Georgia.

His own source, Terry Toole, corrects him on the context of the article that he wrote in 1993. Yet Taylor's campaign spokesperson, Rick Dent, says the Taylor ad is "accurate." Oh, so now, Terry Toole, who wrote your cited article and attended Cathy's speech in 1993, isn't as accurate as your ad? You've called Cathy a liar. Is Terry Toole a liar too?

Is that the new Taylor campaign tactic? Just call every man, woman, and child in the state of Georgia if necessary to get Mark Taylor elected? You have to ask yourself, what kind of man inspires this kind of insanity?

Want to know the facts about Cathy's record of support for HOPE? Check out Amy at Georgia Women Vote. She blogged about this and produced the goods:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006The Facts: Cox, School Funding and HOPE

Despite the rumbling from the Taylor campaign and the republican blogs, when Cathy Cox was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, she voted to increase school funding and to expand the HOPE scholarship. Not only did she vote for the first and second round of funding for HOPE, but she also voted to remove the eligibility cap on family income and to enact safeguards to protect the scholarship. She also toured South Georgia in support of the program.

If you doubt any of that, here's the record:Cathy Cox voted for budgets increasing education funding.HB 202, 1995, HB 1375, 1994, HB 259, 1993Cathy Cox's 1993 budget vote funded the first HOPE scholarships.HB 202, 1993Her 1995 budget vote removed the income cap on HOPE scholarships.HB 202, 1995In 1994, Cathy voted for SB 710, which mandated that no program started with funding from the lottery would be continued with general funds and for SB 711 which created a lottery reserve fund.

In 1995, Cathy was one of five state legislators that toured South Georgia touting the Democrat’s record on HOPE. The Democratic presentations were focused on the technical details of Gov. Zell Miller's proposals to fund pre-kindergarten programs and the HOPE scholarship program.

posted by Amy Morton @
11:55 PM

Friday, June 16, 2006

Had enough of "the big guys?"

Looks like Mark Taylor's "big guy" schtick has gotten on more than a few peoples' nerves. The Savannah Morning News slammed Taylor for shunning voters in their area twice in two months. And earlier this week the Augusta Chronicle point blank told Mark Taylor that "the little guys" have had enough of the "the big guy" trying to pose as Georgia's cure-all. And now Cathy reminds him that he's gotten just a little too big for his britches.

Savannah Morning News blasts "the big guy"

This now makes TWO (see Augusta Chronicle) of the state's largest newspapers to tell Mark Taylor exactly what they think of him. Ducking the debate with Sec. of State Cathy Cox last night was a huge mistake and reveals a weakness of "the big guy."

From today's Savannah Morning News:

Taylor runs and cuts
Opinion Editorial

Friday, June 16, 2006 at 12:30 am

MARK TAYLOR should pay more attention to the public and less attention to the pollsters if he wants to be Georgia's next governor.

The lieutenant governor was a prominent no-show at Thursday morning's scheduled debate with Secretary of State Cathy Cox at the Georgia Press Association's annual convention, held this year at the Westin Hotel in Savannah.

But his high-profile vanishing act - the second in two months, counting last month's no-show at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce gathering on the coast - is more than tedious or irritating. It raises questions about his abilities and confidence.

His campaign issued no official explanation for ditching the GPA, whose members include 144 newspapers that reach millions of readers across Georgia. The conventional wisdom is that Mr. Taylor is ahead in the polls in the four-way race for the Democratic nomination, and that he has more to lose than gain by appearing in debates with Ms. Cox, the other leading contender, before the July 18 primary.

But here's the rub: By seemingly playing it safe, the Big Guy cuts himself down.
He appears he's not interested in sharing his thoughts and ideas with the public - a perception that's poisonous.

Someone who's running for the state's top job must engage the public and stand his ground in any forum, not run and cut when he feels like it.

Strong words and true words from the editorial staff. Georgia's voters are owed such appearances by our candidates - especially when they are agreed to and confirmed two weeks earlier as the Georgia Press Assoc. says the Taylor campaign did. True to form, the Taylor camp says they didn't. So now we're into telling lies to suit ourselves too? Shame on you Mark Taylor! You're this state's Lt. Gov. and you're asking us to make you our Governor. We expect more of you than this.

Gov. Perdue looks lost in the fog

So Gov. Perdue thinks he's done a great job and deserves to be re-elected?

Ever since Sonny elevated himself to the governor's mansion, he's been stuck in a fog. Being surrounded by rejoicing Republicans celebrating their first Republican governor in Georgia since reconstruction, has obviously distorted his view of our state. Hellbent on trying to get revenge on Democrats, he first revelled in the Republican controlled senate's stripping of Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor's power as president of the senate. And then, the day after Secretary of State Cathy Cox turned down an invitation to join the Republican party, Sonny sends her an eviction notice in an attempt to move her office from the capitol building.

Since then, he's served shamelessly as one of the country's biggest Bush lap dogs. Sonny might be an old dog, but he learned a lot of new tricks, with rolling over, begging, and fetching upon command being just a few examples. But don't worry, he and Georgia were rewarded for his good and loyal service to the worst president of my lifetime. The Golden Coast was awarded the G-8 summit after all.

But Cathy Cox points out a few more points to add to the legacy of Sonny's first term: such as our state "hemorrhaging jobs" and "struggling schools." Naturally, Sonny disagrees. He says we're "creating thousands of jobs" and our schools are "improving."

First of all Governor, replacing high paying jobs with minimum wage an hour or slightly better jobs doesn't say much for your ability to keep Georgians working and keeping a roof over their heads. And neither does an election year ploy that involved spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per job in incentives to bring a Kia plant to Georgia. That is, if the deal goes through. Since Kia officials are being investigated in South Korea for taking bribes and other unentitled gifts, the future of the west GA plant isn't altogether safe.

Second, 51 rural school systems filed a lawsuit vs. the state of Georgia in Nov. of 2004 for underfunding their schools and not providing them with the same opportunities that other school systems are receiving. Since then, Sonny has heaped various unfunded mandates on Georgia's school systems making those problems even worse. A year and a half later, the 51 school systems have seen no improvement and haven't dropped their suit. Their funding is smaller while their dropout and failure rates are higher. And just the other day, the state hired big gun lawyers to fight them in court. And he thinks we're making progress? Must be that fog again.

It's pure irony that "the man from Bonaire" would be the presiding governor when these 51 school systems filed their lawsuit. It looks like Sonny definitely forget where he came from. The man that was going to bridge the two Georgias has created an even further divide.

No, Sonny. You don't deserve another term. Georgia can't afford it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cox highlights 4 key policy proposals to move Georgia forward

A letter from Cathy, with my thoughts below it in red.

Our Vision for Georgia

This campaign is about the challenges and opportunities that will face Georgia's families in the years to come. I would like to share with you my plan to create change that works for everybody, by tackling these issues head-on with some big ideas.

Here are four of the key policy proposals that I believe will move Georgia forward:

We're offering a New Covenant to the people of Georgia, based on opportunity for all and responsibility and accountability in state government. Our vision leads Georgia forward by improving education, increasing access to affordable healthcare, and making Georgia competitive in the global economy of the 21st century. Please read more about my New Covenant here.

We must reform the way business is done under the Gold Dome, so that government works for all Georgians, not just the insiders and the special interests. By creating a tough code of ethics that prevents legislative conflicts of interest, overhauling the way state contracting is done, and creating an independent, non-political commission to enforce ethics laws already on the books, we will ensure that our state government works hard for every Georgian. Please read more about my Government Reform Plan here.

I am determined to build safe and drug-free communities from corner to corner of our great state. As governor, I will put more state troopers and GBI back on the streets, and I will recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers by adding career steps, such as a master agent position, and other incentives to keep them working in Georgia. Please read more about my Safe Communities Plan here.

Thanks to Georgia's rich natural resources, we are in a unique position to lead the country's transition from expensive, foreign oil to clean, inexpensive farm-grown fuels. By planning for the future and developing cutting-edge energy technologies, we will reduce Georgia's dependence on unstable, foreign sources of oil and create a whole new sector of secure, high-paying jobs for Georgians. In my first month as Governor, I will create a new commission with a mandate to develop a statewide renewable energy strategy that makes farm-grown fuels 25 percent of Georgia's total fuel consumption by 2025. Please read more about my Farm-Grown Fuels Proposal here.

As I've been traveling around the state and talking with thousands and thousands of Georgians, there's one common refrain: keep those big ideas coming. In the last four years, Sonny Perdue has sat idly by as our schools continue to decline, the cost of health care steadily rises, and everyday families struggle to make ends meet. Instead of setting a forward-looking agenda for Georgia that will bring the change we need, he is satisfied just tweaking around the edges and proposing election-year gimmicks that don't move us forward.

My opponent in this primary as well has failed to outline a real vision for where he wants to lead this state. That's the real contrast in this election. I know where I want to lead Georgia and I know that means bringing people together to make government work for everyone. On the other hand, both of my opponents are mired in yesterday's brand of politics where sound bites have taken the place of sound policy ideas and real leadership.

Please take the time to read more about my vision for Georgia. We need a governor who has the vision to lead us forward, and the policy initiatives I've introduced during this campaign are only the beginning.

Well done Cathy! And well said!

This campaign is about ideas and who the better candidate is, not the better politician. Both of your opponents feed at the trough of partisan rancor and gridlock. It's more than a hobby for them. It's how they make their living. Gov. Perdue has already had 4 years to change how business is done in Georgia. And he failed miserably. Lt. Gov. Taylor has spent his two terms perpetuating the kind atmosphere that lends itself more to partisan mudslinging and bickering than to growth and progress for our state. No, Mark Taylor, "cry me a river" as you once told your political opponents won't get the job done.

After reading Cox's policy proposals, is there any wonder why she is the opponent that the Republicans do not want to face in the general election? That's what their polls have been telling them. And that's why they asked her to switch parties. And is it any wonder why Taylor, "the big guy," would duck tonight's debate? He can't afford to get into policy discussions with Cox, because he has no facility for it.

We're closing in on one month remaining until the primary election. It's time for us to decide what we want for the future of Georgia: no vision and no plan to move Georgia forward, or a chance at improving education, providing healthcare to everyone, creation of an entire new job market while pushing Georgia forward as a leader in a growing industry. Do we want to remain in the bottom 10 of most every major measuring stick of a progressive state? Or do we stake our claim in the top 10?

Time to celebrate Atlanta's mayor, the Hon. Shirley Franklin

With former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell's sentencing this week after being convicted on three counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 30 months in prison, Atlanta finally gets to go back to work on the business at hand. Well, that's what Atlanta's current mayor, Shirley Franklin, has been doing anyway.

This woman with a passionate heart, thoughtful mind, and steely determination to do the right thing is THE future of the Democratic party in Georgia. It's hard not to like her, even if you're a Republican. She's fair and honest. And she stands by her convictions on tough issues. And to top it off, she's one of TIME magazine's 5 best big city mayors.,8599,1050348,00.html

So while we put the past to rest, let's celebrate today and the future. Shirley Franklin is someone who makes us all very proud!

Run Mark Taylor, Run!!

Apparently Mark Taylor's momma told him to run from big bad Cathy Cox. Because he will be a no show at a scheduled debate with her in Savannah.

The AJC's Political Insider has the story.........

Taylor a no-show in Savannah

Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 07:31 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Savannah — The Georgia Press Association is assembling here this Wednesday evening, and word is spreading that Mark Taylor, the Democratic candidate for governor, has nixed his scheduled debate with primary rival Cathy Cox.

It was supposed to happen Thursday. The reviews are not pretty. “We’ve been snubbed by better candidates,” fumed one publisher.

They shouldn’t feel singled out. Taylor was a no-show at last month’s gathering of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, also on the coast.

We haven’t talked to the Taylor’s camp. But allow us to hazard a few guesses on why they passed:

— Taylor feels like he’s got a comfortable lead in the polls. No need to give Cox a forum to attack him. — Cox is a journalism school graduate of the University of Georgia. This group already has an affinity for her. Why waste time?

— Here’s the cruelest interpretation: Like the Chamber, the press association is part of Georgia’s establishment. And the Georgia’s Democratic party is no longer an establishment party. The GPA, which is dominated by the state’s smaller weekly and dailies, most in rural areas, no longer reaches the voters who decide the Democratic primary.

Now, for Republicans, it’s another matter. Ralph Reed and Casey Cagle are set to tango at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

I don't agree with their reasoning. I think that people expect their candidates for office to debate. And it's always been my feeling that while Taylor can make a stump speech to a target audience, he's a little too loose with facts and too short on ideas to handle Cox in a debate.

I sure hope he changes his mind. Because even if he won the primary, this makes him look very, very bad. There's too much machismo in Georgia to support a man who runs from a fight.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Caring for others: It's just what we do in the South

So says this study completed by the Univ. of Florida and commissioned by Georgia Southwestern State University, the alma mater of former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

Nearly 17 percent of Southerners said in survey that they provide regular care to a friend or family member 60 or older who has a long-term illness or disability, according to University of Florida researchers.

Caregiving prevalence was about 15 percent in the Midwest, Northeast and Rocky Mountain states, about 14 percent in New England and the Southwest, and just 13 percent in the Pacific states.

At the age of 19, I became a caregiver to my father who was very sick the last few years of his life. And my mother has been a caregiver for different family members for 20 years now. So this is a subject that I deeply care about.

Mrs. Carter, an advocate for caregivers, says, "I have a colleague who says there are four categories of caregivers - those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregiving," she said. "It's going to affect everybody at one time."

That's so true. And it's something for us all to think about..............

Monday, June 12, 2006

Is dodging the heat what it's really all about, Mr. President? had an interesting article, "Brown: E-mail shows Bush glad FEMA took Katrina Flak." The article focuses on an email sent from an unknown sender (sender redacted) from the exective office of the president to Michael Brown, head of FEMA at the time of the Hurricane Katrina crisis last year. A pdf file of the email is available at the link below. But this is the key passage apparently reflecting Bush's gratititude that FEMA was bearing the brunt of public outrage over our failure in the gulf coast:

"The September 2005 e-mail reads: "I did hear of one reference to you, at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I wasn't there, but I heard someone commented that the press was sure beating up on Mike Brown, to which the president replied, 'I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff.' " (Copy of e-mail [PDF])

The sender adds, "Congratulations on doing a great job of diverting hostile fire away from the leader.""

If this is really the feeling of President Bush, then I can completely understand why the government botched its role in rescuing, protecting, and finding decent sanctuary for the citizens of the gulf coast. It also explains their sluggish reaction in helping those left behind after the storm had passed. If it's all about avoiding blame, then I'm not surprised that so little got done.............

Way to go Mr. President! Thanks for reminding Americans of how stupid we were to elect you, not once, but twice.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Augusta Chronicle says, "No Thanks" to the Big Guy

In today's Augusta Chronicle, there was a scathing editorial about Mark Taylor's healthcare proposal and the perceived attitude of his campaign towards Georgia voters.

Are Georgians a bunch of children, incapable of taking care of themselves, and in need of a big daddy to look after them? According to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Taylor, they are - at least if one believes the TV ads he's running.

If you watch television at all, you must have seen it. There have been several variations dealing with different issues, but they all stress the same general theme - that Georgia needs the Big Guy, Mark Taylor, to take care of the little guy, namely everybody else.

The ad couldn't be more condescending or insulting to the Peach State citizenry.
The clear implication is ordinary folks are little guys who can't take care of themselves, but that the Big Guy can. So vote for the Big Guy, and all your worries will go away.

Hogwash. Most Georgians can get along just fine without the Big Guy, or any other manifestation of Big Government taking care of them. Yet Taylor's patronizing ad campaign does provide insight into how most Democratic leaders regard voters - as childlike creatures who look to government to meet their every need, not just their essential public needs.
This is a destructive political philosophy that makes promises it neither can nor should deliver on. Even worse, it undermines personal responsibility.

Helpful political leaders should champion programs that promote more personal responsibility, not less. Good government is not about taking care of people - it's about helping people to take better care of themselves.

From the Sunday, June 11, 2006 edition of the Augusta Chronicle


Friday, June 09, 2006

Gay friendly candidates and officials supporting Cox fundraiser

Dyana Bagby at Sovo is reporting that several "gay-friendly" big names plan to attend a womens fundraiser for Cathy Cox on June 15th. However that doesn't mean that some of them haven't expressed their personal disappointment to Cox on her position on gay marriage and civil unions. Karla Drenner, Georgia's first openly gay elected office holder, does have more questions for Cox. So apparently, she has some fence mending to do with Drenner.

However, the article does mention Peter Jackson, Cox spokesman, reaffirming Cox's support of gay rights:

Cox does support legal protections for gays such as allowing employers to offer domestic partner benefits as well as inheritance rights and medical visitation for gay couples, he said.

The article also includes quotes from gay-friendly state rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D):

Benfield, a vocal opponent of the amendment in 2004, said she also would continue to support Cox and plans to attend the June 15 fundraiser.“She is the most gay-friendly candidate,” said Benfield, who supports civil unions. “She is very open-minded. She’s had some stumbles along the way, but we need to look at the big picture. I still think she’s the best bet.”

And state rep. Kathy Ashe (D):

Ashe, who faces a gay challenger in the Democratic primary this year, has also been a long-standing supporter of gay rights but said she will continue to support Cathy Cox as “the most progressive on these issues.”
“I will attend the fundraiser and support her. And I hope that evening she addresses this entire issue,” Ashe said.

The fundraiser will also be attended and supported by Decatur city commissioner, Kecia Cunningham, the state's first openly gay African American elected to public office. Also, Luz Borrero, deputy chief operating officer for the city of Atlanta, and openly gay. Other gay-friendly officials attending are: state rep. Nan Orrock (D), running for the state senate, state rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D), and state rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D).

Thanks to Dyana and Sovo for covering this story. People in the LGBT community are looking to see how their leaders are reacting on this. And it's good to see that most are keeping a cool head while seeking answers.

For Cathy Cox and gays, we reap what we sow

Ever heard the expression, "We reap what we sow?" Well, a lot of folks would say that Cathy Cox is reaping what she has sown by doing an apparent flip flop on the gay marriage amendment. In 2004, gay rights activists were encouraged when she called the proposed amendment for that election year "unecessary" and "hateful." Of course, the state went on to vote on the marriage ban in the Nov. general election that year. And with almost 80% of the electorate voting, Georgians approved the ban with nearly 80% of the vote. It was not a great moment for our state. And gays had to be wondering, who will champion us?

Since then, Cox enjoyed tremendous support amongst the GLBT community. Many donated their money and their time to making sure that Cox had a chance of being our next governor. All was fine and well as long as gays weren't a campaign issue. But that all changed in May of 2006 when a judge overturned the gay marriage ban by stating that the amendment dealt with more than one issue, which is prohibited by law. This felt like a tremendous victory for gay rights supporters. But it wasn't meant to be....................

Naturally, the Republicans leapt onto this like a jackal on a carcass. They knew they could get some serious retread out of this wedge issue. Despite the fact that gays in Georgia aren't exactly overwhelming county offices with marriage license requests, Republicans knew they could use this issue to stir up their conservative base. Naturally, they took the lemon the judge handed them and made lemonade. They decided to have Gov. Perdue call for a special session to deal with this imminent danger (rolling my eyes) to Georgia and get an amendment on the ballot that wouldn't be overturned by a technicality.

Mark Taylor, who supported the gay marriage ban, probably danced a jig of joy, knowing that Cox would be put in a serious dilemma. Does she remain true to her gay allies and fight the special session, giving Taylor an opportunity to use this wedge issue amongst Democratic and Independent conservatives? Or does she do the politically expedient thing and craft a position that puts her in line with 80% of Georgians?

We all know what happened next. The Cox campaign bungled statement after statement trying to explain her pragmatic move to say that she believed that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and that she supported the special session. She says she supports the special session to do some damage control. It's bad enough to have to have this issue hung around the necks of GA Dems this year, so let's ensure it won't remain an issue until 2008.

I don't agree with Cox's position. In fact, I think she's missed an opportunity for history to record that she was on the right side of this issue. But her reasoning makes sense. And being realistic about this, we'd better prepare ourselves for more bad news. We all know what's going to happen. We don't have the votes - neither in the legislature, nor amongst GA voters to win. Knowing how 80% of the state feels, a new amendment will be overwhelming approved in special session. And the state will, once again, vote for it in big numbers, maybe this time with only 70 or 73%. Of course, we'll try our best to stop all of this.

The reaction of the gay community has been somewhat understandable. I, too, had to deal with complex emotions about the position that Cox has taken. Personally, the right to marry doesn't mean an awful lot to me. Though, I do know many gays and lesbians who do want that right. I'm more concerned with civil unions and establishment and preservation of rights as partners to those we choose to spend our lives with. Either way, we all need to get on the same page.

But after a month, the anger hasn't subsided. Gays have defected from the Cox camp in droves. They've asked for their money back. And a few gay bloggers who previously found fault with Taylor are not allowing their blogs to be used to flog Cox . But if we insist on going forward with this anti-Cox campaign, against a woman who is still the closest thing that we've ever had to a statewide ally to the LBGT community in the history of this state, we have to look at the consequences of our actions.

We're empowering two men, Perdue and Taylor, who are not friends to gay people and who delight in what's happened this past month, to continue to use the word "liberal" against us. Oh sure, Perdue cozies up to the Log Cabins and Taylor will say he likes gay people just fine, just as long as they don't publicly support his campaign. But make no mistake about it, they'll both fight tooth and nail to make sure that we remain second class citizens. For another four years, we'll have no reasonable chance of improving the lives and securing the rights of those in the GLBT community. With Cox, who supports domestic partner benefits for gays, medical visitation rights, and inheritance rights, at least there would be some hope.

But what may be even more worrisome is our relations with future statewide candidates for office. They'll be privy to the 80% in GA who voted for the gay marriage ban too. And I fear that after witnessing what's happening to Cox, they might be too afraid to befriend us. It'll just be easier to go against us from the start. In other words, in the near future, look for more Perdues and Taylors to either ignore us or work against us, and fewer Cathy Coxes that will at least give us the time of day.

Yes, we'll reap what we sow too...................

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Before Venus and Serena, there was Zingin' Zina!

I love reading biographies of people that I find interesting. And one that I just finished reading is Zina Garrison's autobiography, Zina: My Life in Women's Tennis. Zina was a top 10 tennis player throught most of her career that lasted from the early 80's into the mid 90's. A product of the Houston public park system, she's one of the unsung heroes of African American women and African American athletes in general.

Following in the footsteps of the late greats Althea Gibson, tennis star of the 50's, and Arthur Ashe, champion in the 70's and AIDS activist in the early 90's, Zina maintained a high profile for African Americans in the mostly white sport. She was quiet, and sometimes aloof. But mostly because she and her fellow Houstonian tennis player, Lori McNeil, often were made to feel out of place on tour. She did, however, enjoy the friendship of many of the other top players, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, etc. But on the cusp of her great upset of world #1 Steffi Graf at Wimbledon 1990, she remained the only top ten player to have no major endorsements.

Many less accomplished players ranked below her had long term endorsement contracts. But they also happened to be white, thus making them more "marketable" in the eyes of the big corporations. Arthur Ashe was quoted in Zina's book as saying, "Then we have the example of Zina Garrison. Garrison was once the only player in the top 10 in the world who could not find a corporate sponsor. In her case, she was penalized not for bad behavior or bad publicity, but for "bad" skin. She is black."

Zina also suffered from personal problems. In her first few years on tour, her mother got sick with cancer and died. And all too often, she suffered from a negative body image. She was short and prone to show her weight, though she was a hard worker and extremely fit. This lead to a bout with bulimia.

But Zina did overcome. She defeated almost all of the top players that she faced in her career at least once. And she would win 14 singles titles, almost 5 million in prize money, and was a runner up at Wimbledon. After her upset of Graf, she did start to attract companies like Reebok and Yonex. But more importantly, she won her battle with bulimia and is now the United States Fed Cup captain and a mentor for the more famous Venus and Serena.

If there's any justice in the world..........

U. S. Senator James Inhofe shamed his home state of Oklahoma and his family today when he made his speech in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

He loudly pronounced he and his wife have been married for 45 years and was "happy" to say that none of his 20 kids or grand kids are gay. Think Progress has a vid of his speech and some great commentary on the subject.

This reminds me of a good friend that I had towards the end of my high school days. His dad was a guy's guy and made it clear that he didn't like gay folks. After meeting me for the first time, he asked my friend privately why he would hang out with a "fag like him." Fortunately, I was able to sustain that friendship anyway and continue it today with both he and his family - including dear old dad.

But perhaps the path to friendship was smoothed when the family learned that their youngest son was also gay.

If there' s any justice in the world, Mr. Inhofe will be touched by a gay person. Although, being as proud of his bigotry as he is, I could understand if it would be rather hard to come out to him. But perhaps then he'll see us as human beings - just like anyone else.

Fortunately, FMA failed..............

Monday, June 05, 2006

Republicans are dropping us hints. Are we listening?

This is from today's AJC Political Insider blog. The Republicans are pandering to the religious conservative vote by calling Cox "soft on gays." This is the paragraph that speaks to what Republican polling reveals:

"First, by jumping into the primary fray, Republicans could be letting Democrats know that they have a general election argument that plays to one of their greatest strengths. In essence, they want to push Democratic voters into the arms of Mark Taylor, whom their polling says would be easier to beat."

The Republicans have been telling us this themselves for a long, long time now. This info. is consistent with what virtually every other poll that examined this has said, Republicans fear Cox more than Taylor.

When Cox supporters have made this assertion, it hasn't been for the sake of politically attacking Taylor. It's only been a matter of listening to what voters are telling us. If our base (40% of the vote) stays true to us, we need a general election candidate that can attract an extra 5% or so of the vote to win the general election. Cox has the potential to do that, especially with women who voted for Perdue 4 years ago. Outside of his conservative Democratic base, Taylor just doesn't have that kind of appeal.

Again, it's not an attack. It's just the truth.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas Dies

Sen. Lloyd Bentsen passed away at age 85. Democrats and Republicans alike will remember him as a distinguished and honorable man that was also Mike Dukakis' running mate in 1988. He was also a success in business and a success in life. He was someone that people on both sides of the aisle sought for advice and help.

Sen. Bentsen was perhaps the lone bright spot of the Dukakis campaign that ultimately lost in a landslide. He totally outclassed his opponent, Dan Quayle, in the vice presidential debate. The youthful Quayle repeatedly compared himself to Jack Kennedy (JFK). After hearing about that several times, Sen. Bentsen had had enough. And he turned to Quayle and said, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Bush and Quayle may have won the election. But even they understood what a figure in politics that Sen. Bentsen was. And they, like everyone else, respected him.

R.I.P. Senator...........

Cox and Taylor on Healthcare

Walter C. Jones of Morris News Service has a good article talking about the differences in the Cox and Taylor approaches to healthcare. As Jones says, this is one of top priority issues of this year's (or any year's really) campaign. It's an area where we fall short as a society. And with more and more people reaching a point in their lives where healthcare is essential, this one area where a good candidate will have a plan.

As the article says, the Taylor proposal came out in January. But it doesn't mention that at a speech before the Georgia Chamber of Commerce that same month, it was met with mixed reviews at best. His plan would make healthcare available for everyone regardless of income. Many expressed concerens about the cost and it's chances of becoming a reality. On the outside looking in, it does look like it would come with an astronomical price tag.

Still, I like the fact that he's willing to make the issue a top priority.

Cox's plan seems to be more manageable. It's a good example of her ability to apply common sense approaches. It's all about helping those that can't afford coverage or prescription medicines. And, I love her idea of purchasing pools for small businesses.

Hopefully, this will be an issue that the Democratic nominee can take into the general election and put it to the Republicans. The goal is the same for both Cox and Taylor: make sure every American has access to healthcare.
An Inconvenient Truth - Trailer

Folks, this could ruin your day. But it's our responsibility to heed the warnings, and then do something about it. "An Inconvenient Truth" starts at the Tara Regal on June 9th.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Latest poll a "validation" for the Taylor campaign?

This Walter C. Jones article in the Augusta Chronicle reports on this story with a few comments from me interspersed:

Poll gives early nod to Taylor
By Walter C. Jones Morris News Service
Saturday, June 03, 2006

ATLANTA - Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor is ahead of Secretary of State Cathy Cox in the latest survey of Democratic primary voters released Friday by a political newsletter.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox, shown, and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor have until July 18 to win over voters.

A poll conducted for the Southern Political Report by InsiderAdvantage shows 34 percent of those questioned favor Mr. Taylor compared to 27 percent who favor Ms. Cox. It also shows the race is far from over, because 39 percent haven't made up their minds.

The bad news for the Cox campaign is that she's consistently had leads in prior polls from 5 to 10% and with a smaller percent of undecideds. So this poll reflects the fact that there have been bumps in the road since earlier this spring.

The good news for Cox is that there was a higher percentage of undecideds in this poll than there was a percentage of those likely to vote for Taylor. This speaks to a likeability issue that Taylor has amongst the electorate. Too many folks remember his infamous, "Cry me a river" speech as president of the senate when the Dems had control.

"It validates everything that we know and feel right now, that we've taken the lead because voters understand that Mark looks after the little guy," Taylor spokesman Rick Dent said. "You can feel it in the crowds."

Hmmmm, just less than a month ago, the Taylor campaign commissioned a poll that said that Taylor had taken a commanding 51% to 30% lead over Cox. This was sold to us as a credible poll that showed the race's true standing in the wide favor of the Lt. Gov. So now, this poll "validates" what for the Taylor campaign? In the context of their own poll, this isn't exactly a step forward. And it makes them look like they're willing to say anything to win.

I thought that their poll was suspicious considering it was the only poll that I've seen so far to not release the questions asked. When they released that poll with those results, it put a vast amount of pressure on the Taylor campaign to make a similar impression in the next independent poll. They didn't. And it hurts their credibility.

Ms. Cox's spokesman, Peter Jackson, said early polls are not perfect measures because most voters will make a decision in the days just before they vote.

"What we're hearing and seeing out when Cathy's on the road is people still want to hear the big ideas of the candidates," he said.

Another bit of good news for the Cox campaign. She's been putting a lot of ideas out there on a lot of topics. And she's released detailed plans for public education reform, healthcare, ethics reform, bio fuels research and use, and a public safety agenda.

Meanwhile, the Taylor campaign has focused on his past accomplishments. There's nothing wrong with that. Every politician worth his/her salt should be able to do those kinds of things. But voters are concerned about the problems of today and the future problems for their children. Taylor has shown a shocking lack of understanding of this. And it invites people to assume that he has no vision.

With 45 days until the July 18 primary, the lead could change again, as it has in recent weeks.
Surveys earlier this year showed Ms. Cox with a significant lead. Most political observers attributed that to her higher name recognition at the time.

InsiderAdvantage Chief Executive Matt Towery said Mr. Taylor's ads have effectively drawn black voters, probably the dominant group in the Democratic primary, while Ms. Cox's spots haven't been as effective in building on her connection with women.

African American women may decide this race. Which is fitting considering that this is probably the most overlooked segment of our society. This is a time for them to stand up and say, "If you want my vote, you're going to focus in on the issues that I care about." And I think that would be a very good thing.

The telephone survey of 450 Georgians who said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a 5 percent margin of error.

Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 or

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Georgia tag to support preservation of history

This Columbus article talks about Georgia's latest new auto plate. The additional fee for the tag is the usual $25. Of which, over $20 will go to Georgia's Heritage Grant program.

If you're a history buff or if you're considering a new tag, take a look at the new tag when it comes out. Hopefully, it will look nice and reflect the pride of history preservation in Georgia.

Many of our small towns around the state have participated in the Main Street program that has preserved and revitalized many of Georgia's historical sites and buildings. This tag should go a long way in helping to keep that trend alive.

The 9th Annual East Point Possums Show!

Could it be that time of year again? East Point's annual benefit for Pets Are Loving Support (PALS) will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2006. Thanks to the good folks at East Point who have been supportive of a lot of benefits that I've been involved in here in Atlanta. That's how I met one of my favorite public servants, East Point city councilman, Lance Rhodes.

For those of you who are not aware of it, PALS is an excellent non-profit organization that assists those that are disabled or too critically ill to care for their loving aminal companions. I discovered this great organization through another great organization, the Georgia Gay Rodeo Association (GGRA).

Some of you might be familiar with PALS' themed bingo nights. My friends and I have had a blast with other supporters of PALS on such nights as "Redneck bingo" and "Gospel bingo" where none other than Mrs. Tammy Faye Bakker Messner joined us a few years ago.

If you're looking for a cause to support, PALS is a very worthy one. You can find out more at

Could Georgia become the country's leader in alternative fuel sources?

Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for Governor, Cathy Cox, has released details for an alternative fuels program here in Georgia. It's been disappointing to see this AP story get relatively little attention this week. But this opportunity is wide open for Georgia farmers to make a difference.

Over the weekend, Sec. Cox revealed her plan saying, "Our agricultural industry and our state are perfectly matched to make Georgia the farm-grow fuels capital of the world."

Details of the plan are included in the link..........

Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, earlier expressed support for research on alternative fuel sources. Unfortunately, he admits to having no plan on this. He only offered this weak attack:

The Taylor campaign did not address the fuels initiative but said in a statement that Cox "announces her new energy policy and then takes her campaign on the road in a gas guzzling SUV with volunteers in a large gas guzzling RV registered in Florida. You can't trust anything she says or does."

So does Taylor drive around in a solar powered car? That's got to be one of worst responses to an important issue I've ever heard. I'm glad that Mr. Taylor is open to alternative fuel sources. But we need to hear some ideas from him on how to go about it. Add alternative fuel sources to ethics reform, saving public education, economic stimulus, and public safety as an issue that he's allowed Cox to get out in front of him on.

Drew, from So Far, So Left offers a good commentary on this issue and the contrast of Cox's approach to the Republicans' gas tax suspension.........

Well said Drew!

Allen Thornell for State House Rep. District 58

The former director of Georgia Equality is running for a seat in the House. Allen Thornell has a good record of public service and will make an excellent ally for Karla Drenner, Kecia Cunningham, and other gay friendly officials. Check out his website for his platform that includes: schools, healthy families, good jobs, and transportation.

I am particularly excited about Allen's wishes for high speed rail, alternative fuel sources, and more parks, bike paths, etc. He's obviously very conscious of the environment, which I always prize in a candidate. It looks like to me he wants to take common sense approaches to these issues to ensure that living in Atlanta will continue to be a great thing.

If these issues are important to you too, you might want to give him a shout.....................

"Love and light"

For those of us who have had the priviledge to deal with Georgia State Rep. from the 86th District, Karla Drenner, we're used to her heartfelt closing salutation, "love and light." As Georgia's first openly gay holder of elected office, she's been the lifeboat that the LGBT community has clung to. When issues like the gay marriage ban amendment come up, it's Karla who's always at the eye of the storm.

Let's not forget that Karla, who has done so much for so many people in her Dekalb Co. district, has competition this year in the Democratic primary. She's not just a gay rights advocate. She's deeply committed to envirnomental issues as well as child welfare issues. Karla's made her mark in many, many different areas. Evidently, her opponent feels that she can better represent the 86th district. I beg to differ. Karla's earned our love and support. So I would urge you to please support her campaign with your money and /or your time. Even if you don't live in the 86th district, think of what she means to the state of Georgia. Lets return the favor to Karla Drenner, and send the message to her foes that she's here to stay!

Love and light Karla!

"........we went from being the most patriotic girls in America to Saddam's Angels"

On May 31st, the Dixie Chicks made an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live." Of course, everyone remembers a few years ago when the band, from Pres. Bush's home state of Texas, spoke out against the Bush adminstration's war on Iraq. The firestorm of backlash against those comments has somewhat subsided. But the band is still largely viewed as un-American.

But what did the Dixie Chicks do to deserve such a rebuke? They excercised their right to speak out in dissent against our wayward president and his false pretenses for war against a sovereign nation (albeit with a rogue government) that was of no real threat to us. The Chicks didn't burn a flag or denounce U.S. soldiers or their families. They simply let the world know that not all Americans support this administration. That doesn't sound "un-American" too me. Quite the contrary...........

Since 9/11, many Americans have been concerned with the loss of rights because of the Patriot Act. But considering the reaction to the Dixie Chicks' dissent, it shouldn't be surprising. Too many people wanted to take away their right to speak out and be heard. And now we're giving up so many of our rights too.

For a transcript of the Chicks appearance on Larry King's show..............