Political Insider

Ethics complaint targets Georgia tea party leader 

Ethics complaint targets Georgia tea party leader 

A Republican attorney filed an ethics complaint Friday claiming a prominent Georgia tea party leader failed to register as a lobbyist and disclose most of her political advocacy work. The complaint targets Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots who has attracted national attention for her advocacy for alternative energy initiatives.  The ethics charge, filed by Bryan...
The Jolt: Donald Trump and the other thing that happened in August 2015

The Jolt: Donald Trump and the other thing that happened in August 2015

Late this summer, federal prosecutors in New York promulgated a 22-page list of Michael Cohen’s sins against the U.S. legal code. The charges against President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer included this paragraph: On Wednesday, in a non-prosecution agreement, the feds revealed Corporation-1 to be National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc., which admitted making a $150...
Ossoff strikes populist tone as he mulls Senate bid 

Ossoff strikes populist tone as he mulls Senate bid 

Cornelia – Jon Ossoff’s bid for Georgia’s 6th District brought him to all corners of Atlanta suburbs, but late Thursday he arrived at a new setting: A crowded library meeting hall in deeply-conservative Habersham County.  The investigative journalist raised $30 million in last year’s special election for the U.S. House seat, which he lost to Republican Karen Handel...
How to turn teens into enthusiastic readers

How to turn teens into enthusiastic readers

Shervette Miller-Payton leads secondary English language arts curriculum development and cross-curricular literacy training for the Griffin-Spalding County School System. She wrote this column about four ways to encourage reading for the National Council of Teachers of English. When the school district communications director sent me the column for possible publication here on the blog, I thought...
Opinion: For 2020, Democrats must look forward, not reach back

Opinion: For 2020, Democrats must look forward, not reach back

John Kerry has been a superb public servant, beginning with his heroic service in Vietnam and extending through a 28-year career in the Senate and a productive four-year stint as secretary of state. He is as qualified as anyone in U.S. history to serve as president of the United States. Yet, John Kerry should not run for president in 2020. Joe Biden is a wise and decent soul, someone sincerely committed...
The Jolt: A different ‘religious liberty’ approach from Georgia’s newest Fortune 500 firm 

The Jolt: A different ‘religious liberty’ approach from Georgia’s newest Fortune 500 firm 

When General Electric announced two years ago it picked Atlanta as the home of its new digital division, the corporate giant’s top tech executive was unequivocal: Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a “religious liberty” measure paved the way for the move. Now in his final month as governor, Deal on Wednesday celebrated another Fortune 500 firm’s decision to plant roots in Atlanta...
When will Georgia schools wake up to benefits of later starting times? 

When will Georgia schools wake up to benefits of later starting times? 

First bell in a new Gwinnett high school sounds at 7 a.m., which requires some teens board the bus before 6 in the morning. Is that too early? Science and probably a few parents would say it is.  One parent told me she was surprised Gwinnett County’s newest high school, Paul Duke Stem in Norcross, ignored the science showing teens fare better with later school starting times.  First...
The Jolt: Abrams is back on TV, this time with a healthcare message

The Jolt: Abrams is back on TV, this time with a healthcare message

Since losing the race for governor Stacey Abrams has filed a lawsuit challenging the electoral system, waded into national voting rights debates and dropped hints that she’s preparing for another bid for office.  Now she’s made another move that telegraphs “I’m running for something.” Her group, Fair Fight Action, is airing TV ads to remind Georgians about the...
How Atlanta landed Norfolk Southern’s new HQ 

How Atlanta landed Norfolk Southern’s new HQ 

The alliance between the Gold Dome and Atlanta City Hall that helped forge a publicly-financed plan to build a mini-city atop downtown’s long-neglected Gulch also laid the tracks to snag a Fortune 500 company. Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are set to formally announce on Wednesday the decision by railroad giant Norfolk Southern to leave its Virginia headquarters...
Whom do teachers trust? 

Whom do teachers trust? 

In a new survey on issues affecting k-12 education, public school teachers voiced more concerns about testing than parents and expressed more confidence in their principals and students than in union leaders or government agencies. The 2018 Schooling in America Survey sponsored by EdChoice found: Public school teachers as a group appear to have reservations about their jobs and the profession...
David Ralston: On finding cash for rural broadband, ‘religious liberty’ and teacher pay raises

David Ralston: On finding cash for rural broadband, ‘religious liberty’ and teacher pay raises

Athens -- When the Legislature convenes in January, the state will have a new governor, and a new lieutenant governor – who will preside over the Senate. Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, will be the Capitol veteran, entering his ninth year as leader of the House. On Tuesday, at the close of a three-day, biennial gathering held here expressly for newly elected state lawmakers, Gov.-elect...
Opinion: On board the USS Trumptanic

Opinion: On board the USS Trumptanic

Donald Trump and his allies turned the 2018 midterms into a de facto referendum on his anti-immigrant “caravan” paranoia and his obsession with a border wall. He and his fellow Republicans then proceeded to get their butts kicked on that agenda, dropping 40 House seats and losing the congressional popular vote by nine percentage points. The latest CNN poll drives that point home, with...
The Jolt: A preview of what a voting machine overhaul could look like

The Jolt: A preview of what a voting machine overhaul could look like

The group appointed by Brian Kemp to recommend a new voting system will meet Wednesday for the first time since the election. And a series of recommendations from a panelist obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sets some goal posts for what they could address. The report from Wenke Lee, a Georgia Tech professor who serves as the panel’s cybersecurity expert, outlines the potential threats...
Expect a softer tone from Kemp at first major speech 

Expect a softer tone from Kemp at first major speech 

Athens - If Gov.-elect Brian Kemp wants to distance himself from the incendiary political attacks he unleashed during his campaign, his first major speech since his victory offers him a chance to do so.   The Republican is set to address lawmakers Tuesday at the legislative biennial in Athens, and he’s likely to strike a vastly different tone than he did during the divisive race...
Digital textbooks reduce costs, but do they also reduce learning?

Digital textbooks reduce costs, but do they also reduce learning?

Rick Diguette is a frequent Get School contributor on higher ed issues. He is a local writer who retired from college teaching last year. In this essay, he examines whether the cost savings offered by digital college textbooks – electronic or e-books -- outweigh the potential drawbacks.  Diguette cites the research showing students just don’t learn as well from screens as they do...
Opinion: Just think about this ....

Opinion: Just think about this ....

Over and over again in the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump denied any contacts whatsoever with Russia or Russians. "They said, 'maybe Donald Trump is involved with projects with the Russians'," Trump told voters at a rally in October 2016, at the height of the campaign. "The answer is no! No!" Trump denied it during the primaries; he denied it into the general election. He denied it...
The Jolt: By coming home, Nick Ayers cuts through a web of loyalties

The Jolt: By coming home, Nick Ayers cuts through a web of loyalties

As Donald Trump goes back to the drawing board in his search for a new top aide, Georgia operative Nick Ayers is preparing to head home – and launch his next venture. Ayers had been the president’s top choice for chief of staff -- the New York Times reported a press release announcing his hire was even primed to go -- but the two men couldn’t come to terms over how long...
Opinion: Georgia must do better educating children in foster care

Opinion: Georgia must do better educating children in foster care

Richard L. Jackson is chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. A former foster child, he is chairman of the board of FaithBridge Foster Care. In this guest column, Jackson discusses the academic underperformance of children in foster care and the need for the state to address how to help these kids overcome the odds. By Richard L. Jackson Georgia’s graduation rate has steadily...
Georgia House election do-over separated by just two votes

Georgia House election do-over separated by just two votes

A Republican incumbent appears to have lost a rare repeat election for a Georgia House seat by just two votes, but he has yet to concede the race and is considering his legal options. After about a dozen outstanding provisional and absentee ballots were tallied, Chris Erwin’s lead over state Rep. Dan Gasaway narrowed from three votes to two votes.  The repeat election was ordered...
The arrival of apartment-based politics in north metro Atlanta

The arrival of apartment-based politics in north metro Atlanta

Since the drubbing that Republicans suffered in metro Atlanta’s northern suburbs last month, something that Fran Millar said had nagged at me. A state senator from Dunwoody, Millar was one of several GOP state lawmakers who saw their seats washed away by a blue wave on Election Day. Twenty-four hours after his loss, Millar was quick to acknowledge the backlash to President Donald Trump as the...
The Jolt: A call to ‘revolutionize’ state regulation of hospitals, and tax satellite TV

The Jolt: A call to ‘revolutionize’ state regulation of hospitals, and tax satellite TV

The House Rural Development Council on Thursday dropped its wish-list for the 2019 session of the Legislature, calling for lawmakers to “revolutionize” the current state system that regulates hospitals, and a lower but expanded sales tax that would cover satellite TV and digital purchases. Given that we just finished a gubernatorial campaign in which rural portions of the state accounted...
New leadership for MARTA Board in era of expansion

New leadership for MARTA Board in era of expansion

The MARTA Board of Directors Thursday elected new leadership as the agency prepares for a new era of possible expansion. Chairman Robbie Ashe stepped aside after five years of leading the board. The board elected Freda B. Hardage, who represents north Fulton County, to be the new chair.  William F. Floyd will serve as vice chairman, with Ashe sliding into the treasurer’s post. Roberta Abdul-Salaam...
Some Democrats plan to boycott ‘hateful’ Kemp’s first major speech 

Some Democrats plan to boycott ‘hateful’ Kemp’s first major speech 

A Democratic state legislator plans to boycott Gov.-elect’s first major speech and is encouraging other colleagues to forgo the event, previewing what could be a rocky reception from progressives still fuming over his victory last month.  State Rep. Renitta Shannon invoked Kemp’s handling of elections and his selfie with an anti-Muslim extremist in her decision to boycott...
Opinion: Saudi students and cash flow to our campuses. But we can’t ignore repression.

Opinion: Saudi students and cash flow to our campuses. But we can’t ignore repression.

Margareta Larsson teaches English as a second language at Georgia State University. In this essay, she delves into teaching the principle of free speech to international students from a country where it is not allowed. Larsson discusses Saudi Arabia, which has been in the news since the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Many Saudi students attend American universities, including...
Opinion: Finally, some real-life election fraud

Opinion: Finally, some real-life election fraud

For years, Republicans have warned about widespread voting-fraud allegedly swaying election outcomes. The claim has become a conservative obsession, with President Trump even alleging that up to five million illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 elections, just enough to account for his loss in the popular vote. “People get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles...
The Jolt: A brewing January fight could pit ballot access against voter security

The Jolt: A brewing January fight could pit ballot access against voter security

In his victory declaration on Wednesday, Secretary of State-elect Brad Raffensperger vowed to defend the broad voter registration purges and strict requirements for absentee balloting, which were implemented by his Republican predecessor and fueled Democratic accusations of disenfranchisement in fall campaigns. From our AJC colleague Mark Niesse: Raffensperger’s decision to continue...
Inside Stacey Abrams’ $42M campaign for governor 

Inside Stacey Abrams’ $42M campaign for governor 

In the tense days before the May primary, poll after poll showed Stacey Abrams with a steady, if not overwhelming, lead over Stacey Evans. At Abrams’ Kirkwood headquarters, though, her aides weren’t sweating it.  Their own massive field operation kept signaling the same thing: A blowout victory.  So when she captured nearly three-quarters of her party’s vote to...
Three student deaths devastate the Georgia Tech community

Three student deaths devastate the Georgia Tech community

Georgia Tech is reeling from the suicides of two students in the last week and the accidental death of another. In the wake of this news, I have been hearing from students concerned Tech has not provided sufficient mental health services even after the tragic shooting death of student Scout Schultz on Sept. 16 of last year. After calling 911 to report a suspicious person on campus possibly armed with...
UGA changes honor rules to include more students with disabilities

UGA changes honor rules to include more students with disabilities

As fathers of children who suffered traumatic brain injuries, Scott Dougan and Chris Byrne know how hard their daughters work to keep up with their studies at the University of Georgia and continue the therapies vital to their recoveries. A UGA cellular biology professor, Dougan said his daughter, who has still not regained full use of her legs and uses a wheelchair after a devastating car accident...
Kemp extends an olive branch to Atlanta City Hall 

Kemp extends an olive branch to Atlanta City Hall 

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp took a step toward thawing his icy relationship with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms when he walked on Wednesday to City Hall for a sit-down with the Democrat.   The Republican said the two discussed economic development initiatives and that he would continue “working with the mayor to keep Georgia moving forward.” And aides to Bottoms characterized it...
The Jolt: Georgia GOP’s runoff luck holds, but the margin for error shrinks

The Jolt: Georgia GOP’s runoff luck holds, but the margin for error shrinks

Georgia Republicans can breathe easier this morning. Their lock on statewide constitutional offices remains in place. Some absentee and other ballots have yet to be tallied, but in the race for secretary of state, state Rep. Brad Raffensperger appears to have beaten former Georgia congressman John Barrow, 51.97 to 48.03 percent. In the much-watched race for a seat on the state Public Service...
A suburban blue wave dries up in Georgia runoffs 

A suburban blue wave dries up in Georgia runoffs 

The suburban wave that nearly swept Democrat Stacey Abrams to Georgia’s highest office last month all but evaporated in Tuesday’s runoff for secretary of state and Public Service Commission.  Democrats only narrowly held Gwinnett County after winning it by about 15 percentage points in November’s general election. And Cobb County, the long-time Republican stronghold...
George Bush stressed being kinder, gentler. So should our schools.

George Bush stressed being kinder, gentler. So should our schools.

In this essay, the leader of an Atlanta private school discusses the legacy of George H.W. Bush and its import to America today. Nishant N. Mehta is the head of the Children’s School, an independent age 3 through grade 8 school in Midtown Atlanta. He blogs about issues of leadership, organizational culture, and change management at stilldayone.org. You can also find Mehta on Twitter at...
It's time to solve the Mystery of the 100,000 Missing Votes

It's time to solve the Mystery of the 100,000 Missing Votes

The 2018 election season has finally ended. It’s over. Finis. Which means that the time is now ripe to take a cold-eyed, dispassionate and non-partisan look at the Mystery of the Missing 100,000 Votes. This is not about Georgia’s race for governor, but about the lieutenant governor’s contest. And the puzzle isn’t hidden, but sits on the secretary of state’s...
The Jolt: David Perdue says Democrats out to ‘steal’ race for secretary of state

The Jolt: David Perdue says Democrats out to ‘steal’ race for secretary of state

Welcome to Runoff Day, which is something like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Festivus rolled into a single, united celebration of peace and harmony. For this is the day the robocalls stop. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., sent out his recorded message last night, at 10:30 p.m. or so, on behalf of Brad Raffensperger, the state House member running against former congressman John Barrow, the Democrat...
Opinion: A man of honor

Opinion: A man of honor

This week, we bury a man of honor. And by honor, I don’t mean the type of honor that accrues to a person just by virtue of rising to the presidency, because not all who achieve that post are people of honor. Nor do I mean any kind of honor conferred by others through popularity, fame or high ratings. I mean instead an old-fashioned form of honor that is earned by living as much as possible by...
Bipartisan group blasts Ga. lawmaker who opposed hurricane relief bill 

Bipartisan group blasts Ga. lawmaker who opposed hurricane relief bill 

The lone House lawmaker to oppose Gov. Nathan Deal’s nearly $500 million plan to help rebuild southwest Georgia after Hurricane Michael is under fire from a bipartisan coalition who calls his stance “short-sighted and foolhardy.” State Rep. Matt Gurtler, a Tiger Republican, said the spending plan was “not in line with conservative principles” after he voted against the...
The Jolt: Abrams hints at another run in first speech since gov defeat 

The Jolt: Abrams hints at another run in first speech since gov defeat 

In her first public speech since losing the race for governor, Stacey Abrams dropped a strong suggestion she’s either taking aim for David Perdue in two years or Brian Kemp in four.  At what was billed as a surprise Friday appearance at the TedWomen 2018 talk in Palm Springs, Calif., Abrams urged the crowd to ask themselves three questions about their goals: What do I want, why...
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