Sally Yates, former Deputy AG, currently and forever DGD

When Sally Yates was selected by President Obama for her position in the Department of Justice she required Senate confirmation. She was questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions.

In it she is asked, and encouraged, if she will stand up to the White House when they propose to do something unlawful. Senator David Perdue implored her to do the same during his questioning. And what did she say? “My duty is to the law and to the Constitution.”

And she has done exactly what they asked her to do. And she was fired because of it.

Yesterday, in her position as Acting Attorney General (because Jeff Sessions has not yet been confirmed), Sally Yates defied the Trump administration and declared that under her watch, the Department of Justice would not defend Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration in court:

“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts,” she said in a letter. “In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

And that has made her a hero to everyone who feels that President Trump’s Executive Order does not reflect the values of this country. Which, it turns out, is a tremendous number of people. Speculation in Democratic circles here in Georgia immediately turned toward the possibility of Yates as a gubernatorial or senatorial candidate.

Yates’ litany of doting letters from Georgia’s top Republicans is well earned (Isakson+Chambliss, Deal). Matched with a decade of prosecuting corrupt politicians in Atlanta, it’s hard to understate her appeal to the elusive 3-5% of moderate, OTP white votes Democrats have been aimlessly chasing since “Boot Barnes” was a main stay on bumpers down in Perdue Country.

Could this Damn Good Dawg be the key to a Democrat winning statewide?

 

 

Another Dem enters race for Price’s seat

And this one is bringing friends.

Jonathan Ossoff announced his candidacy for the 6th Congressional district race that will occur once Tom Price’s nomination is confirmed for HHS Secretary.

Not only does Ossoff claim 250k in initial commitments, he has the backing of Representatives Hank Johnson and John Lewis. He’s a former Johnson staffer who has spent his time since leaving the hill as a documentarian, producing pieces for the BBC and others. Check out his press release below, and welcome him to the party.

Endorsed by U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, Ossoff’s campaign has lined up more than $250,000 in financial commitments from supporters

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Democrat Jon Ossoff announced today that he will seek election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the expected Sixth Congressional District Special Election this spring.

Ossoff has been endorsed by U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson and has lined up more than $250,000 in financial commitments from supporters.

A Georgia native who grew up in the Sixth District, Ossoff served Georgia as a national security staffer in Congress for five years before leaving government for the private sector.

Since 2013, he has been the managing partner and CEO of a small business that produces investigations targeting corrupt officials and organized crime for international news organizations.

Ossoff has been active in Georgia politics since his youth and has managed or advised six winning Congressional campaigns in Georgia since 2006. His mother, Heather Fenton, is co-founder of NewPower PAC, an organization that works to elect women to local office across Georgia.

Over more than five years as a Congressional aide, Ossoff drafted and managed legislative initiatives that passed the House and Senate and helped to craft major defense and consumer protection legislation.

Ossoff participated six times in the Congressional appropriations process, helping deliver millions of dollars of education and transportation resources to Georgia, and he conducted Congressional oversight of the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2015, after entering the private sector, Ossoff led a team that secretly filmed and exposed more than 30 corrupt judges taking bribes in Ghana. This year, producing a documentary for the BBC, he led a team that exposed atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq.

“I have known and worked with Jon for many years. Jon is committed to progress and justice and he knows how to fight the good fight,” said Congressman Lewis. “We should unite behind him and send a clear message that Donald Trump doesn’t represent our values.”

“Jon is tireless and effective. When he was on my staff he delivered millions in education and transportation funding for Georgia, investigated malfeasance in government contracting, and worked on highly classified national security policy. He has the skills and experience to win this election and hold Trump to account,” said Congressman Johnson.

“Donald Trump is an embarrassment and a threat to prosperity and health, justice, and security in the Sixth District,” said Ossoff. “I’m running to stop him and to fight for our community in Congress.”

Ossoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics.

The campaign’s web site is ElectJon.com.

Voting, Selfies, and Better Stickers

Jeremy Berry has a piece up on Saporta Report decrying current Georgia law regarding the criminalizing of selfies, and suggesting some improvements to the sticker quality.

Note, if the stickers are improved, that’s only going to increase selfies, so these should go hand in hand.

Voted… #vote #nyc #election2016 #creditsista

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Berry points out that Louisiana has used a local artist’s portrait of a dog, and while not all Louisiana electoral practices are worth copying, this might be one. Can we get a Penley to wear?

 

Louisiana, where even our voting stickers are jazzy. #rodrigue #bluedog #earlyvoting #louisiana

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The race to replace Price gets its first contestant!

And it’s Judson Hill!

The Senator from Marietta becomes the first candidate to announce in the race, but will surely not be the last. Should he qualify for the race (a special election to replace Congressman Tom Price is expected to be held early next year) he would need to resign from the Senate, thus creating another special election to fill his seat. It would also leave Senator Greg Kirk without a challenger for “best hair” in the upper chamber.

Senator Hill’s initial statement appears to align himself with President-Elect Trump, despite his poor showing in the district earlier this month: “The people of our great country voted in November to chart a new course to restore America’s leadership role in the world,” said Hill. “America’s best days are ahead of us if elected leaders will simply return to our founding principles and seize the opportunity to fundamentally reform Washington, D.C.”

Attempts to Divide and Exclude must be met with Unity

Representative Jason Spencer dropped a bill this week that would outlaw traditional Muslim religious garb for women. Jon did a neutral write of the bill this morning. Here’s a less neutral one.

This bill is anti-American, divisive, unconstitutional, and just plain stupid. It is exactly the type of idea we need to call out as soon the hate becomes ink. But other than Josh McKoon, no Republican has.

We are not like other nations. We value religious expression, we hold it sacred against government interference up until it clashes with the rights of others. This law, of course, straight up bans religious expression. Conversely, the First Amendment protects freedom of religious expression. The Supreme Court has ruled that for a law to be upheld that curtails religious freedom, there must be a compelling state interest at issue, and the law in question must bear a direct correlation to that interest. If a plaintiff can show that a law or governmental practice burdens the free exercise of religious beliefs, the burden shifts to the government to prove that the law or practice is important to the accomplishment of some important or “compelling” secular objective and that it is the least restrictive means for attaining that objective.

What’s the compelling interest here? Spencer’s statement to the AJC said his legislation was intended to apply to women who are driving on public roads. Not a mention of what problem (compelling state interest) it was trying to solve. So, until he explains why scarves are dangerous to Georgia, we’ll call that likely to be found unconstitutional.

Criminal Behavior

Of course, scarves aren’t dangerous. He just wants to ostracize and otherize people that are different, and push back on the now unveiled threat of multiculturalism. That’s a compelling government interest, just not of American government, but if you look around the world you can find many examples of this type of legislated cultural protection.

You know what is dangerous? Not wearing a helmet while riding a

Criminal Behavior
Criminal Behavior

motorcycle. But guess what, this would make wearing a helmet a crime (unless you can somehow construe riding a motorcycle to work as a sporting activity).

Probably sunglasses, too.

The ID part of it doesn’t matter, because it’s already against the DDS rules.

If there was ever an idea we should all be against, this is it. It does nothing except pit people against each other, it’s unconstitutional and anti-American.

 

 

 

Doug Collins Elected to #5 post in House Leadership

Per the AJC, Doug Collins defeated Bill Flores for the Conference Vice Chair position. this is a big deal and signals how well-though of the Gainesville Republican is among his peers. Lynn Jenkins previously held the position but was left without a chair when, after Boehner resigned, she attempted to take the Conference Chair position of Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.

This will also raise his status nationwide, and put him front and center in the internal politics of committee assignments and standing. And it may even be enough to get him bumped ahead of former Bulls coach Doug Collins in the google results. Here’s hoping.

UPDATE 2: Doug Collins has released the following statement on his election:

“My colleagues’ vote is humbling, and I look forward to working on behalf of my fellow Republican House members as Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference. As the blue wall crumbled, it reminded everyone that support for conservative principles is deep and wide. Together, we will show the American people that ours is the party of compassion, freedom, and fairness. Now, Republicans have a mandate to make room for hope and opportunity for all Americans, and it’s my honor to share in that responsibility.” Continue reading “Doug Collins Elected to #5 post in House Leadership”

The Night for Georgia Democrats

Putting aside the grim electoral college results of the night, there were a lot of positives for Georgia Democrats last night.

Let’s start with the performance of Hillary Clinton in Cobb County (details at Teri’s post) and Gwinnett County.

clinton-cobb-results

Ruminate on that for a second. Neither Barack Obama (2012) nor Michelle Nunn broke 43% here.

clinton-gwinnet-results

This is Hillary Clinton winning a majority of the vote in Gwinnett County.

Part of that victory belongs to the campaign of Sam Park, who defeated Valerie Clark in a race that few thought was winnable for Democrats at the outset. Rep-elect Park ran a fantastic campaign, concentrating on voters others have long ignored. He and his team deserves accolades, and they are emblematic of the changes in Gwinnett.

park-results

In Democratic circles we’ve long spoken of the charmed electoral life of Mike Cheokas, and how if anyone could put together a campaign down there, he’d be sent packing. Well, someone did. Continue reading “The Night for Georgia Democrats”

On OSD, “colored people”, and the offer to debate – the NAACP responds

In response to Governor Deal’s statements, this is a guest editorial by Francys Johnson, the State President of the Georgia NAACP. Johnson has served in ordained ministry for eighteen years. He is the Senior Minister at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke, Georgia and the Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church in Statesboro, Georgia. Johnson is in private practice with The Johnson Firm P.C. Attorneys and Counselors of Law in Statesboro, Georgia.

As President of the Georgia NAACP, the State’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, I take serious issue with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s use of the racially charged phrase “colored” in a speech to educators in Savannah in defense of Constitutional Amendment 1 as a racial dog whistle.  This is the sort of tactic employed by Donald Trump.  However, I am more concerned with defeating the Governor’s planned take over of local schools labeled chronically failing and the creation a new state charter system known as the so-called Opportunity School District (OSD).  OSD is bad policy that will not improve public education for all children including the ‘colored’ ones like my boys Thurgood and Langston!

Governor Deal is not interested in a real dialogue on improving schools with the Georgia NAACP.  If so, he would not have turned down every request we made to discuss this matter and other policies advanced during his administration.  It is clear the Governor is losing at the polls and has resorted to attacking his opponents.  If the Governor wants a real debate on his so-called Opportunity School District; I will debate him anytime and anywhere. Continue reading “On OSD, “colored people”, and the offer to debate – the NAACP responds”

City’s Study Pours Cold Water on Fayetteville’s Canal Dreams

And yet, it lives.

This is Downtown Fayetteville. And I know what you are thinking, “why would I go there? That looks like solid ground!” Well, the City Council of Fayetteville is posing a question: “What if it weren’t?”

Because they want to put a canal downtown, even though a study commissioned by the City suggests that it wouldn’t be cost-effective, which is code for “this is a bad idea.”

And if you ignore the logistics and the costs, and focus on the paddle boats, well, it gets a whole lot rosier.

“I think it would spur new businesses to come downtown and increase property values,” he said.
Conceptual artwork, pictured at left, show a lively scene of thriving businesses and tranquil waters.
Small towns, especially those within the reach of Atlanta, need to innovate to remain current lest they be engulfed. The streams of commerce that flow through these hamlets must be cultivated and irrigated with new ideas, so they can prosper and bloom.
Here’s hoping Fayetteville can land upon a solution that meets its needs.