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Cracker Squire


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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What a difference a prime minister makes.

From The Wall Street Journal Online:

The attitudinal split between the British and American publics over Iraq, the urgency of global warming and some global counterterrorism policies that steadily grew in recent years helped undermine voter support for Tony Blair, who refused throughout his later years at 10 Downing Street to back away from the close public relationship he held with President Bush. Observers looking for evidence of a colder shoulder from newly installed Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Camp David yesterday weren't disappointed. To the Telegraph, for example, Mr. Brown tried to "redefine" London-Washington relations and "demolished" suggestions at their joint news conference that Britain might delay withdrawing troops from Iraq to ease pressure from Congress on Mr. Bush. Mr. Brown, whose own popularity is rising at home and who may soon call new elections, contradicted Mr. Bush's claim that Iraq is the "central front" against terrorism, instead describing Afghanistan as "the front line," the Washington Post points out. And while Mr. Bush reiterated his view of counterterrorism as an ideological fight against "evil," Mr. Brown spoke of terror as a "crime."

Breaking News: Cheney Disputes Libby Verdict, Voices Support for Gonzales

From The Washington Post:

Vice President Cheney said yesterday that he disagreed with the jury's verdict in the trial of his former chief of staff, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the investigation into the Bush administration's leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer.

Cheney also defended embattled Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, saying that Gonzales "has testified truthfully" before Congress and has performed well as head of the Justice Department.

Given the current crisis at Grady, and the reaction of the hospital authority, we may need a special session of the legislature.

As noted in a post yesterday, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has warned DeKalb County and Fulton County officials that if the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority doesn't take action, he will press the state Legislature to change the way Grady is managed.

The response of the hospital authority: According to today's AJC:

[They] are doing a good job of running the hospital and can chart it through its financial crisis.

The board announced that it has hired the Atlanta law firm of Troutman Sanders to analyze the [Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce task force] plan to change the governance of the hospital. The law firm will look at the legal moves necessary and any potential risks, reporting to the board in about two months.

Analyzing the chamber plan and looking at the legal moves necessary is not a job requiring two months by a major Atlanta law firm. Many, many hospital authorities in Georgia have restructured for various reasons, including protecting hospital management from political influence.

If this is a delaying tactic, and given the current crisis at Grady, I would not be opposed to calling the legislature into a special session for a couple of days to get the restructuring ball rolling.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Since new Georgia law went into effect on July 1, Cobb County has started deportation proceedings against 42 illegal immigrants.

From the AJC:

Maria Rivera sits in the Cobb County Jail, facing deportation after a traffic stop.

If the Mableton mother of three, who is here illegally from Mexico, had been pulled over in any other county in Georgia, she likely would have bailed out and gone on with her life.

But Cobb County's jail is at the forefront of local enforcement of immigration laws, going a step further than many states and further than a new Georgia law requires.

Cobb has trained some sheriff's deputies to determine the legal status of all foreign born inmates at the jail, no matter how minor the charge. Cobb jailers now can start deportation proceedings under what's known as a "287-G" agreement with federal immigration authorities.

In Cobb, jailers have been trained by federal immigration officials on how to inspect immigration documents.

"They can initiate the removal proceedings themselves," said Richard Rocha, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, known as ICE. "Any time we can share resources with local law enforcement, it's a plus for public safety," Rocha said.

Rivera was flagged because she had been deported before, in March 2006, after crossing the Mexican border illegally, Rocha said.

According to the Savannah Morning News:

The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, which took effect July 1, requires law enforcement officers to investigate the citizenship status of anyone jailed for a felony crime or driving under the influence. It also directs Georgia's Department of Public Safety to select and train Georgia state patrol officers to enforce federal immigration law while carrying out regular duties.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Political fundraising involves planning and hustle by candidates, key supporters and political pros.

Larry Peterson has penned a masterpiece on political fundraising in The Savannah Morning News. And as he notes:

And don't think for a minute that fundraising is optional. Except for the smallest towns, the days when you could reach enough voters by knocking on doors are long gone.

Lt. Gov. Cagle presses Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority to restructure.

The AJC reports that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle wrote DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves about the need for Grady Memorial Hospital to restructure, saying that if it didn't, the state may have to intervene. Eaves said he supports a change in Grady's governance. Jones responds that he has other ideas that he will soon present.

The AJC provides the following summary of events to date:


March: Losing $3 million a month, Grady begins offering buyouts to senior employees aimed at eliminating 150 to 200 positions. More than 400 employees accept.

May 28: Consultants Alvarez & Marsal warn the hospital will go under without a major overhaul, starting with governance, and project Grady will be $78 million in the red at the end of 2007.

July 2: Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson appoints a committee to look for ways to help the ailing hospital.

July 3: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (right) says the state must play a role in keeping Grady in business.

July 13: A task force of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce says Grady won't get the millions of dollars it needs unless its board of political appointees cedes power to a private nonprofit group.

Wednesday: Grady officials present a plan to pull together $74 million to operate through this year and request $20 million more from Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Friday: Lt. Gov. Cagle says if Grady doesn't cede control to a nonprofit board, the Legislature should step in.

Runoff will determine racial majority of Macon City Council

Matt Barnwell writes in The Macon Telegraph:

Macon may enter the next political term with more than just a white mayor. For the first time since 1995, the city could find itself with a majority white City Council as well.

The tipping point comes Aug. 14, when the outcome of a single runoff election will determine the council's racial majority. In that race, Tom Ellington, a white Wesleyan College professor, is competing for a Ward III seat against Marshall Burkett, a black retiree.

If Ellington, who won the most votes in this month's three-way primary election, is victorious, it would tilt the council's racial composition away from the actual makeup of the community.

Some 60 percent of the city's active voters are black, while about 37 percent are white. That breakdown is similar to the actual population of Macon and mirrors the council's current black-to-white makeup of nine to six.

A Burkett victory would result in eight black council members and seven white members. But an Ellington win would fill council seats with eight white members and seven black members, a departure from a political course that a dozen years ago many might not have predicted.

Reichert won every precinct on the Democratic side of the mayor's race.

Reichert, on average, won 43 percent of the vote in Macon's black precincts.

Today my hat is off to Martin Raxton, the new Douglas County Democratic Party chairman -- Best wishes Martin.

From the Douglas County Sentinel:

“Are you a member of an organized political party?” a reporter once asked 1930s humorist Will Rogers.

“No,” Rogers replied, “I’m a Democrat.”

Organization has become a major goal for Georgia Democrats. The state in recent years has become increasingly Republican despite Democratic gains in other parts of the country.

Martin W. Raxton, the new Douglas County Democratic Party chairman, hopes to use his organizing skills to bring the county back into the “blue” column in upcoming elections.“I think we can do positive things here in Douglas County,” Raxton said. “I’m optimistic that 2008’s going to be a good year for Democrats, both national and local. Americans are positioned for change.”

The party’s . . . Web site is http://www.douglascountydemocraticassociation.com/.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Last week four gorillas were slaughtered in Congo. With hunting on the rise, our most majestic animals are facing a new extinction crisis.

A disturbing article about hunting in West and Central Africa and in Southeast Asia is this week's cover story in Newsweek.

As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work

From The New York Times:

Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The United States often promotes the number of rebuilding projects, like power plants and hospitals, that have been completed in Iraq, citing them as signs of progress in a nation otherwise fraught with violence and political stalemate. But closer examination by the inspector general’s office, headed by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., has found that a number of individual projects are crumbling, abandoned or otherwise inoperative only months after the United States declared that they had been successfully completed.

“To build something and not have these issues resolved from top to bottom is unfathomable,” said William L. Nash, a retired general who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Middle East reconstruction. “The management of the reconstruction program for Iraq has been a near-total disaster from the beginning.”

Friday, July 27, 2007

U.S. Officials Voice Frustrations With Saudis’ Role in Iraq

From The New York Times:

Officials in Washington have long resisted blaming Saudi Arabia for the chaos and sectarian strife in Iraq, choosing instead to pin blame on Iran and Syria. Even now, military officials rarely talk publicly about the role of Saudi fighters among the insurgents in Iraq.

The American officials in Iraq also say that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi. Officials said that while most of the foreign fighters came to Iraq to become suicide bombers, others arrived as bomb makers, snipers, logisticians and financiers.

The Bush administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has deteriorated steadily since the United States invasion of Iraq, culminating in April when, bitingly, King Abdullah, during a speech before Arab heads of state in Riyadh, condemned the American invasion of Iraq as “an illegal foreign occupation.”

Saudi officials have not been too happy with President Bush, . . . and the plummeting of America’s image in the Muslim world has led King Abdullah to strive to set a more independent course.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where is Sam Nunn now that we really need him?

On Tuesday morning while working my mind was reflecting on the Democratic debate from the night before. The thought crossed my mine: "What the country ready needs now is for Sam Nunn to be running for President. His election would be a slam dunk."

In a 12-17-07 post I quoted Bill Shipp who was writing about how the November gubernatorial election in Georgia. He noted that on the national level in 2008 it was imperative that Democrats embrace a towering candidate capable of pleasing all segments of citizens instead of satisfying a handful of bosses determined to control the Democratic nomination even if they lose the election. And who might that be he asked? According to Mr. Shipp:

At the moment it's hard to imagine such a candidate except perhaps former Sen. Sam Nunn.

In a 1-7-07 post I quoted from an AP article as follows:

[Sam Nunn] hasn't ruled out another round in politics, although he says he has no inclination to run for office.

Nunn was widely viewed as the Senate's foremost authority on foreign and military affairs at the end of his 24-year career, in which he served as an influential chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He remains active in international affairs and is among a select group of former lawmakers who many current leaders look to for guidance.

He was asked but declined to serve on the Iraq Study Group led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.

Nunn has sharp words for the Bush Administration's planning of the Iraq war.

"We've lost a lot of prestige and credibility in the world," he said. "I definitely think we made a real mistake going to war without the consensus of other countries . . . we can't occupy a country successfully without cooperation from neighbors and countries around the globe.

"I think we're paying a very severe price for that right now," he added. "It was the worst strategic error I've seen in modern times by the United States."

"Our friends in a lot of places in the world are alarmed by the deterioration of our position in the world," he said. "We can restore it ... but to lead we have to listen, and we have to be perceived as listening.

"I don't think it's intentional, but we've come across as basically very arrogant in the last several years."

Nunn said he believes voters sent Bush - and the world - an important signal by ousting the president's party from power in November's elections.

Today Matt Towery reports in InsiderAdvantage Georgia that Nunn has been approached by several individuals about his interest as a candidate in a third-party effort in 'o8 as an independent.

Mr. Towery also writes:

Of equal or greater importance is the additional report, confirmed by sources, that Nunn has been approached "by one of the frontunners in the Democratic race for president" for "preliminary discussions" concerning a potential vice presidential role in the event of the candidate's eventual nomination.

Following Towery's article is a column written by my friend Larry Walker, former House majority leader (and the subject of a 1-24-05 post entitled "'It just won't be the same without you Larry.' -- Larry Walker, private citizen, great Georgian & great Democrat."), in which Mr. Walker writes:

I’m a moderate, middle of the road American citizen, and politically, the national candidates pay no attention to me. The Democrats, who used to be the conservatives (at least in the South), are controlled by the wing nuts - left wing nuts. The Republicans, who used to be socially moderate and fiscally conservative, are apparently now neither. Nationally, their right wing drives the Republicans’ social agendas.

Democratic Presidential candidates have to be so liberal to win the primary that they have great difficulty in winning the general election. Republican candidates cater to the right lest they fail the abortion or immigration tests. Wise, thoughtful, visionary leaders, have little chance of success under the current two-party system of electing our President.

Be honest. It’s about a year and a half before we elect our next President, and you are already disillusioned with the candidates and the process.

As I put forth this subject of Nunn’s being interested in an independent candidacy involving the Presidency, can I say that he has confirmed interest? The answer is “no”. But, do I think he has interest? The answer is “yes”.

Could it be done? Yes. Would it work? Definitely. Will it be done? Probably not.

In a 3-23-05 post entitled "Larry Walker & I have a great candidate to be the Democratic nominee for president in '08. -- Whatever Happened to Sam Nunn?", I quoted from an article Mr. Walker had written in James Magazine (Feb. 15 to March 15 issue):

Sam Nunn. A great U.S. senator in the Richard Russell mold. That’s a mighty big mold, but I believe Sam Nunn could’ve done more. I understand the dilemma he faced of getting the Democratic nomination in 1992 and then being able to win the election. Too conservative for the nomination, and if he did what he would’ve needed to do to get it, he would have been seen as too liberal to be elected.

My recent and short introduction of Sen. Nunn [for a Chamber of Commerce address] contained these words: “He could have been president and he should have been president.” It’s not too late, but . . . [he better] do so soon if we are going to pull this one out. Otherwise, they will say, “He would’ve made a great president, and by the way, whatever happened to Sam Nunn?”

In that same 3-23-05 post I wrote:

When I first started this blog in early August [2004] the layout of the blog was as follows:

Cracker Squire, THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT, [just as it is now], and then after [a quote from AJC staff writer Ben Smith about my being] a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, appeared the following:

Conventional wisdom is that in order to win, a Republican must veer right during the primary, and then veer left toward the center for the general election. Is the reverse now true for the Democratic Party?

I started this post sharing my thoughts that Sam Nunn would be an excellent person to head the Democratic ticket in 2008. This does not just reflect, in the words of Larry Walker, my being "disillusioned with the candidates and the process," but rather a deep feeling that Sam Nunn is just what America needs at this particular time.

This feeling would obviously extend to Sen. Nunn being on the ticket in another capacity. Maybe we will get it, and if perchance we do, I feel certain it will be on the blue ticket.

This is a hell of a way to conduct the State of Georgia's business -- Funding feud squeezes agencies.

From the AJC:

State agencies, from the university system to the Department of Corrections, are being asked to pick sides in a nasty budget battle between Gov. Sonny Perdue and state lawmakers.

And no matter which side they choose, they may wind up losing money.

House and Senate leaders [all Republicans] sent state agencies a memo late Tuesday telling them to ignore Perdue's order to redirect spending that lawmakers specified when they passed the budget in April. They warned that if agencies follow the governor's instructions, they could see their funding cut when the General Assembly meets again in January.

Perdue responded Wednesday by letting legislative leaders know that he's told agencies to heed his wishes.

The [current] battle between the Republican governor and Republican legislative leaders began May 30, when Perdue slashed $130 million in proposed spending from this year's budget.

He vetoed some projects, as many lawmakers expected. But he also took the unusual step of directing agencies to ignore lawmakers' instructions for spending on other projects and spend the money as he specified.

Some agency officials contacted Wednesday said they were still pondering the legislative letter. However, the dueling instructions put them in a tough position. The Legislature and the governor both play a role in deciding how much funding agencies get each year.

See also an earlier article in the AJC's Political Insider.

Farm Subsidies Seem Immune to an Overhaul

From The New York Times:

For the many critics of farm subsidies, including President Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this seemed like the ideal year for Congress to tackle the federal payments long criticized as enriching big farm interests, violating trade agreements and neglecting small family farms.

Many crop prices are at or near record highs. Concern over the country’s dependence on foreign oil has sent demand for corn-based ethanol soaring. European wheat fields have been battered by too much rain. And market analysts are projecting continued boom years for American farmers into the foreseeable future.

But as the latest farm bill heads to the House floor on Thursday, farm-state lawmakers seem likely to prevail in keeping the old subsidies largely in place, drawing a veto threat on Wednesday from the White House.

Faced with fierce opposition from the House Agriculture Committee, Ms. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders lowered their sights and are now backing the committee’s bill, in part to protect freshman lawmakers from rural areas who may be vulnerable in the 2008 elections.

Critics in Congress include fiscal conservatives who deride the payments as wasteful government spending and liberals who call them corporate welfare for agribusiness. All say the measure will simply perpetuate the overly generous subsidy system, at a point when American farmers are well-positioned to weather changes.

“When farm prosperity is as good as it is right now, this is the time to reform,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the dissident group. “If we can’t reform these farm programs at this moment in our history, we will never be able to do it.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thanks a lot Bill Shipp for ruining my day . . . .

Today Bill Shipp floats the idea that Gov. Sonny Perdue could use his recently established political action committee with more than $750,000 from his re-election campaign contributions to begin a campaign to succeed Sen. Johnny Isakson if Sen. Isakson decides to run for governor in 2010.

Post-Mortem on the South Carolina Debate -- Tom Baxter Reports with Matt Towery

Matt Towery's webcast on InsiderAdvantage Georgia is free (you don't have to be a subscriber to InsiderAdvantage Georgia to listen to the webcast) and I highly recommend this one on the Monday night Democratic debate in Charleston.

I promise you would not know that Matt was a Republican from his and Tom's most insightful analysis and discussion of the format and winners and losers in the debate.

Hispanic kid count in Georgia soars

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

[A] report issued today by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation . . . found a 58 percent increase in the population of Hispanic children in Georgia between 2000 and 2005 . . . .

Disfavor for Bush Hits Rare Heights -- In Modern Era, Only Nixon Scored Worse

From The Washington Post:

The latest Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's job performance, matching his all-time low. In polls conducted by The Post or Gallup going back to 1938, only once has a president exceeded that level of public animosity -- and that was Richard M. Nixon, who hit 66 percent four days before he resigned.

With his immigration overhaul proposal dead, Bush's principal legislative hopes are to save his No Child Left Behind education program and to fend off attempts to force him to change course in Iraq. The emerging strategy is to play off a Congress that is also deeply unpopular and to look strong by vetoing spending bills.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

TIME not kind to my top two Democratic candidates Edwards and Richardson.

TIME weighs in on Monday's debate:

John Edwards:

Started out blazing, with passionate answers railing against banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies and special interests of all stripes. But CNN seemed to validate the CW that Edwards has dropped from the first tier by forcing him to go long stretches without talking, leaving the candidate looking aggravated and with nothing to do but tap his fingers in the cutaways. His submitted video* took on the infamous $400 haircut with cutting humor — but in a fashion that might have been too slick for some. Fumbled the story of a female American pilot and Iraq vet who was sitting with Elizabeth Edwards in the audience, and inexplicably told Hillary Clinton he didn't like her jacket** in an effort to offer an amusing response to a wacky question*** which had candidates saying something they liked and disliked about the person to their left. Passionate anecdote from his recent poverty tour showed him at his best near the end, but the slump in the middle (and the odd sartorial insult) cost him big.

* I don't think the $400 haircut video will achieve it desired purpose. In fact, during the debate Edwards appeared to need a $400 haircut. From the angle shown on television with his head turned, around his neck it looked as if he was wearing a wig.

** I didn't like her jacket either, if that what you can call it. I can't believe her handlers would dress her in something so unbecoming. But still, what was he thinking when he said as much.

*** It was, like many others of the evening, a wacky question.

Bill Richardson:

Didn't get to talk for the first 20 minutes — and it was downhill from there. When he did speak, Richardson's boisterous, engaging off-camera personality was nowhere to be found, and his staff should be sued for malpractice for allowing him to appear with make-up that made him look more like The Thing from The Fantastic Four than any candidate for president should. Had his best answer of all the debates with a stirring pitch for America to play a moral role in Darfur and elsewhere, although he got a bit caught in the weeds even then.

The pundits said Richardson needed to hit a home run during the debate. Regardless of why, he was scoreless for the evening. I especially could not believe he used the question about guns to discuss fighting poverty.

Wyc Orr, an impassioned Democrat and a great party spokesman, passes on the 2008 U.S. Senate race.

I appreciated Wyc Orr calling me yesterday to let me know that he had decided against making a run for the U.S. Senate next year.

His decision not to run is the subject of a post today in the AJC's Political Insider.

Wyc and I became friends when we were in summer camp together in the Army at Fort Bragg one long, hot summer in 1969, the summer the Eagle landed on the moon. And we continued our friendship afterwards.

Wyc is as solid as the U.S. dollar and the Rock of Gibraltar. His word is his bond. His integrity beyond question and never in doubt. And he is smart, very smart. He was the first in his class at the University of Tennessee Law School, which puts him in the elite among the elite.

Just two weeks ago Tom Crawford of Capitol Impact wrote:

Wyc Orr, who’s spent more than three decades practicing law in Gainesville and doing some politics on the side, . . . has become a popular figure in Democratic circles because of stirring speeches he’s made to groups of party activists in recent months. He shuns the defeatist attitude that comes from losing control of the governor’s office and the state legislature, and contends that Democrats should take credit for a lot of the progress Georgia has made in recent decades.

“When Democrats are reminded of their great heritage and what it has done to build modern Georgia and modern America, they take great pride in it,” he says. “They’re thrilled by it . . . . Modern Georgia is a testament, in many ways, to wise, progressive Democratic leadership.”

Orr’s positive take on Democratic politics has energized young party activists who are pressing him to get into the 2008 Senate race against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. A website has been created to draft Orr for a Senate campaign and petitions are being circulated across the state to drum up support.

Like the late Hubert Humphrey, Orr is a happy warrior who loves the game of politics and inspires that same zest in the people with whom he comes in contact. While he hasn’t said yes to those who want him to run for the U.S. Senate, he is not counting out the possibility either. “I intend to watch this with interest over the next year and see how things develop,” he said. “Who knows what the political landscape will look like in six months, let alone a year?”

Wyc is passing on the upcoming Senate race, but I know he will remain the same impassioned Democrat and great party spokeman he has always been. Wyc, we appreciate you and what you have done and will continue to do for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poll Shows Clinton With Solid Lead Among Democrats

From The Washington Post:

By a wide margin, Democrats view Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) as the party's candidate best positioned to win the general election, and she holds a double-digit lead over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the race for the nomination, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Clinton is a polarizing figure, which has raised questions about whether she could win a general election. But Democrats appear to dismiss that argument. Asked which Democratic candidate has the best chance of winning the general election in November 2008, 54 percent said Clinton, more than twice the percentage saying Obama (22 percent). Nine percent think former senator John Edwards (N.C.) would be most likely to win. Among Democratic-leaning independents, 44 percent said Clinton, 25 percent Obama and 11 percent Edwards.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson registers at 3 percent in this national poll, but he has gained strength in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to recent public polls of those states.

If 2000 Democratic candidate Al Gore were in the race, 14 percent would support him. Clinton and Obama would remain atop the field, with Clinton leading by double digits.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Colorado Democrats Vote to Advance ’08 Caucuses to February

From The New York Times:

Colorado Democrats voted Saturday to move up their presidential caucuses to February, a month earlier than planned, in hopes of gaining sway with presidential candidates.

The state’s Democratic Party leader . . . said the move would win attention for Colorado’s nine electoral votes, which candidates might otherwise ignore.

Does this Country Need a $10 Cigar Tax?

I was aware that the vast majority of the revenue to fund the Senate Finance Committee's proposal to spend an additional $35 billion over five years on the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- PeachCare's parent program -- was to come from a higher tax on cigarettes, amounting to $1 a pack, up from the current 39 cents.

I didn't know until I read this weekend in the Wall Street Journal that the Senate proposal also would increase the federal tax on cigars, now less than five cents each, to 53% of a manufacturer's price to the distributor. That is a large jump, considering cigars can easily cost several dollars -- if not considerably more -- although the proposal would cap the tax at no more than $10 a cigar.

The proposal aims, in general, to increase taxes on various tobacco products by proportionate amounts. An exception to that is "little cigars" -- products that weigh less than large cigars, and are wrapped in a mix of paper and tobacco, not just tobacco leaves. These would see a big increase and be taxed at the regular cigarette rate, which is $50 a thousand.

Antitobacco groups and 40 state attorneys general have charged the little cigars are being used by manufacturers to attract smokers, while avoiding taxes and regulations that hit regular cigarettes.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tom Crawford, we hate to admit it, but we know you are right.

Tom Crawford writes in Georgia Trend:

Drinking, fighting, misbehaving . . . why, they’re acting just like a bunch of Democrats. Clearly, these are people who have put the “party” in Republican Party.

What this all shows, of course, is that no political party has a monopoly on morality or mainstream values. It doesn’t matter if you have an “R” or a “D” after your name, we’re all prey to the weaknesses of the flesh.

You could call it politics. Or you could call it human nature.

A nice touch by Robert Reichert, Macon's Democratic nominee for mayor.

I was in Macon today, and saw that on all of Robert Reichert's campaign signs was a large sticker appropriately reading, "Thank you."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Keith Olbermann says the choice to scapegoat Sen. Clinton is unfathomable — go fight your war yourself, Mr. President.

I saw this last night. It is worth watching. Go to:


PeachCare and our two U.S. Senators

As noted in several recent posts, there is an ongoing battle over increasing the budgets of Georgia's PeachCare and similar programs around the country that provide health insurance to poor children. It involves the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP, PeachCare's parent program.

The AJC notes:

Georgia's two Republican senators — Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss — don't rule out a more modest increase in SCHIP funding that would help expand PeachCare, which already covers 270,000 children. But both strongly oppose increasing any tax to finance an expansion of government. They also want to ensure that the program is refined to bar adults and middle class families from enrolling in the program.

Women Supportive but Skeptical of Clinton, Poll Says

From The New York Times:

Women view Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton more favorably than men do, but she still faces skepticism among some women, especially those who are older and those who are married, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

A majority of those polled [— both women and men —] said they thought she would win the White House if she captured the Democratic nomination.

Forty percent of voters view her unfavorably, more than for any of the other major candidates for president . . . .

The vast majority of all voters — more than 80 percent — think it very likely or somewhat likely that Mrs. Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. More than 60 percent think she is likely to win the presidency.

The support for Mrs. Clinton is most pronounced among unmarried and less affluent Democratic women.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bush: No Deal On Children's Health Plan -- President Says He Objects On Philosophical Grounds

From The Washington Post:

President Bush yesterday rejected entreaties by his Republican allies that he compromise with Democrats on legislation to renew a popular program that provides health coverage to poor children, saying that expanding the program would enlarge the role of the federal government at the expense of private insurance.

"I support the initial intent of the program," Bush said . . . . "My concern is that when you expand eligibility . . . you're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government."

The 10-year-old program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30, costs the federal government $5 billion a year and helps provide health coverage to 6.6 million low-income children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance on their own.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the House Democratic Caucus chairman, said he is "bewildered" that Bush is fighting the expanded funding for a program supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. "This is the chance for him to finally be a uniter and not a divider," Emanuel said. "You have consensus across party and ideology, and a unity on the most important domestic issue, health care -- except for one person."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

While Georgia blogging often focuses on Atlanta, this is important news in the Other Georgia: Reichert wins big, avoids Democratic runoff for mayor.

Travis Fain, blogging at Lucid Idiocy (Politics), writes in The Macon Telegraph:

Robert Reichert blew away the competition Tuesday, winning Macon's Democratic mayoral primary without a runoff. He won every precinct and took 63 percent of the vote.

Reichert still faces a November challenge from Republican upstart David Cousino, but the sheer mountain of victory he put up Tuesday and the city's decidedly Democratic majority give Reichert a huge boost heading into the general election.

Repeating a June 24, 2007 post entitled: "The 10th Congressional District Candidates' Message to Democrats."

A 6-24-07 post read:

Below italicized material from the AJC's Political Insider:

From the Whitehead corner:

“This [election] was absolutely, without a question, a rejection of the new Democratic House and Senate,” said [John] Stone, [Jim Whitehead advisor], in words that might have come from his old boss, Norwood.

And from the Broun corner:

Broun’s campaign was rolling out the welcome mat for Democratic voters after Tuesday’s election.“If Democrats want to stick their finger in the eye of the Republican establishment, sending Paul Broun to Congress would be one way to do that,” said Tim Echols, Broun’s treasurer . . . .

And from a current AJC's Political Insider:

Paul Broun. . . credits an alliance of Christian conservatives, “disenfranchised Republicans” and Democrats for [his] upset victory in the 10th District congressional race. “I got a lot of help out of the African-American community,” he said.

In the race for the White House, Georgia could be turning purple

From the AJC's Political Insider:

Matt Towery’s InsiderAdvantage has a poll out today that may turn a few heads.

In a July 12-14 poll of more than 1,000 registered voters, respondents were asked whether they were more likely to vote in a Republican or Democratic presidential primary next year.

Thirty-nine percent said they’d be voting in the Democratic primary. Thirty-seven percent said they’d choose a Republican ballot. Count the remainder, 24 percent, as undecided.

“This means that independent voters, who have for the past few election cycles trended towards the GOP, are less decided as to which party they prefer,” Towery said.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Populist John Edwards needs to recall Bill Clinton's emphasis on "the forgotten middle class."

From The Washington Post:

[After the 1992 campaign when] Bill Clinton directed much of his attention to what he termed "the forgotten middle class," the party has largely avoided making explicit political appeals to the poor.

Middle-class voters may care about poverty, but they list education, health care and the economy as their most important priorities.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Surprising News: Richardson Collected $7 Million in 2nd Quarter; This is Close to the $9 Million Raised by Edwards.

From The Washington Post:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) raised $7 million from April through June for his presidential campaign and had an equal amount in the bank at the end of the second quarter, according to detailed financial reports filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

The money raised is far short of the amounts amassed by Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it pushes Richardson well ahead of rivals such as Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.).

It also places Richardson within sight of John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential nominee. Edwards has not filed his full second-quarter report, though his campaign has said that he raised $9 million during the period.

Little-Known Group Claims a Win on Immigration

From The New York Times:

When a comprehensive immigration bill collapsed last month on the Senate floor, it was a victory for a small group that had been lobbying Congress for a decade to reduce the number of immigrants — legal and illegal — in the United States.

The group, Numbers USA, tracked every twist and turn of the bill. Its members flooded the Senate with more than a million faxes, sent through the organization’s Web site. It supplied arguments and information to senators opposing the bill.

“It was a David-and-Goliath struggle,” said Roy H. Beck, the president of Numbers USA, who had been preparing for this moment since 1996, when he wrote a book titled “The Case Against Immigration.”

Supporters of the bill included President Bush, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the high-tech industry, the Roman Catholic Church, many Hispanic organizations, farmers, restaurants, hotels and the construction industry.

“The bill had support from the opinion elite in this country,” Mr. Beck said. “But we built a grass-roots army, consumed with passion for a cause, and used the power of the Internet to go around the elites and defeat a disastrous amnesty bill.”

Numbers USA had fewer than 50,000 members at the end of 2004, but now counts more than 447,000, with an increase of 83 percent since January alone.

Turning to the next phase of the debate, those members will push for enforcement of existing laws and new measures to curb the employment of illegal immigrants.

Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance

From The New York Times:

The White House said on Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program . . . .

The vow puts Mr. Bush at odds with the Democratic majority in Congress, with a substantial number of Republican lawmakers and with many governors of both parties, who want to expand the popular program to cover some of the nation’s eight million uninsured children.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Surprising news. I am shocked!! -- White House Isn't Backing Iraq Study Group Follow-Up.

From The Washington Post:

Despite an overwhelming House vote last month to revive the Iraq Study Group [the vote was 355 to 69], the White House has blocked reconvening the bipartisan panel to provide a second independent assessment of the military and political situation in Iraq, said several sources involved in the panel's December 2006 report.

Co-Chairman Lee H. Hamilton, several panel members and the U.S. Institute of Peace, which ran the study group, were willing to participate, according to Hamilton and the congressionally funded think tank. But the White House did not give the green light for co-chairman and former secretary of state James A. Baker III to participate, and Baker is unwilling to lead a second review without President Bush's approval, according to members of the original panel and sources close to Baker.

Congressional sponsors called the White House's reluctance a missed opportunity. "The ISG provides an opportunity to bring the country together. . . . If you had a serious illness, you would want a second opinion. We are at war. You want to have the best minds looking at a problem," said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who proposed the ISG and co-sponsored the bill to reconvene it. "Having another independent, bipartisan assessment will take out the venom in the debate."

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), another co-sponsor, warned that the White House's move would cost further support among Republicans.

"It's really shortsighted," he said. "It's going to further isolate the president. . . ."

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Battle Over Expansion of Children’s Insurance

From The New York Times:

The fight over a popular health insurance program for children is intensifying, with President Bush now leading efforts to block a major expansion of the program, which is a top priority for Congressional Democrats.

The seemingly uncontroversial goal of insuring more children has become the focus of an ideological battle between the White House and Congress. The fight epitomizes fundamental disagreements over the future of the nation’s health care system and the role of government.

Democrats have proposed a major expansion of the program, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, to cover more youngsters with a substantial increase in federal spending.

Democrats said the insurance program, created 10 years ago with bipartisan support, had improved access to care for millions of children and sharply reduced the number who were uninsured.

To return the children’s insurance program to what he calls “its original intent,” Mr. Bush has asked Congress to reduce federal payments to the states for coverage of children in families with incomes of more than twice the poverty level. (A family of four is considered poor if its annual income is less than $20,650.) At least 18 states cover children with family incomes more than twice the poverty level.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fasten your seatbelt. 2008 will be another interesting legislative session -- Richardson says ending property taxes is his top priority next year.

From The Savannah Morning News:

Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson says eliminating property taxes will be his top legislative priority next year.

"I believe we can put Georgia on the map," Richardson said. "It will be the biggest decision Georgia ever made, and the nation will follow. There is a rising call all over the country from people tired of property taxes."

To make up lost revenue, the Hiram Republican would increase the reach of the sales tax to include groceries and services - now exempt.

Any such measure, he noted, would have to be placed on the state ballot.

Democrats say his proposal would hurt the middle class and the poor.

[C]ar taxes [is] a property levy that would be wiped out under his proposal, Richardson said.

Under his plan, money would flow in from thousands of illegal immigrants who now pay no taxes on groceries and services.

Bert Brantley, Gov. Sonny Perdue's press secretary, said Perdue has no position on Richardson's idea but welcomes a discussion about it and other tax reform proposals.

Virginia May Spurn GOP in '08 -- Independents Leaning Democratic for President

From The Washington Post:

Virginia, usually a reliably Republican state in presidential elections, may become a key battleground in the 2008 election as broadly negative views among independents of President Bush and the war in Iraq have altered the presidential race.

Mirroring the national mood, Virginians' approval of Bush and support for U.S. policies in Iraq have eroded as the war has dragged on. Bush is the worst of the past nine presidents, say Virginia's independent voters, who helped him win in 2004 but now say they are more likely to prefer that a Democrat rather than a Republican be the next president.

Virginia has not supported a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964, when voters chose Lyndon B. Johnson over Barry Goldwater, who won only six states.

Like independents nationally, independents in Virginia are held together by a rejection of partisan labels, not an overriding shared ideology.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Savvy public neither racist nor hysterical in wanting border closed now. It's the only comprehensive solution to present mess of illegal immigration.

From RealClearPolitics:

After the utter collapse in the Senate last week of a comprehensive immigration bill, Washington insiders are blaming everyone and everything.

Supposedly, talk-radio hysteria killed the bill. Or was it the purported racism of yokels? Or did most of us fail to appreciate the hidden benefits of open borders so clear only to those in Washington?

In reality, the 1,000-page bill failed because millions of Americans opposed it, believing, among other things, that it provided virtual amnesty to illegal aliens. Through the "Z visa," the bill offered illegal aliens legal worker status - along with a ticket to eventual citizenship - after only a precursory background check.

More importantly, people were skeptical, to say the least, of hundreds of pages of more regulations when the last "comprehensive" immigration legislation, in 1986, either made things worse or was largely unenforced. That's why various polls reveal that most Americans were against the new bill, with, according to a June Rasmussen poll, less than 25 percent in favor of the Senate version.

What causes this grassroots furor, and where will it lead?

The public thinks anti-terrorism efforts are futile when hundreds of miles on our southern border are, for mysterious reasons, left wide open.

Then there is the American sense of fair play: Thousands of would-be legal immigrants wait in line from all over the world to come to this country. So why the special considerations that seem designed to address the concerns of just one group - especially when Mexico already supplies the largest number by far of our legal immigrants?

Americans were brought up on lectures about the sanctity of the law. We were supposed to revere the Social Security system. Yet when the government discusses millions of phony Social Security numbers used by illegal aliens, it is usually in the cynical sense of whether that con enriches or bankrupts the system - not whether such rampant fraud is legally and morally wrong.

Most citizens fret if they leave the house without their driver's license. They get nervous when their car registration or proof of insurance is lost - and so grow irate that millions of others on the road don't or can't share their concern.

Another public irritant was that the present state-sponsored bilingual documents and ballots along with government interpreters were all never legislated. According to a Susquehanna Polling & Research poll, in February 2007, nearly 70 percent of Americans supported an ordinance in a town in Pennsylvania that included making English the sole official language.

Illegal immigration and the efforts to accommodate it have come about from either bureaucratic prerogative - under pressure from employers and ethnic lobbyists - or court decisions. In contrast, polls, referenda and legislative action all reflect a public desire to reduce illegal immigration and close the borders now. In fact, in a June Rassmussen poll, 70 percent of the public supported an immigration bill that does that - and only that.

If the American public wants the border closed first, and discussion of everything else later, is that really such a bad thing?

Were the government to enforce laws already passed - fine employers for hiring illegal aliens, actually build the approved fences, beef up the border patrol, issue verifiable identification - we would then soon be dealing with a static population of illegal aliens. And that pool would insidiously shrink, not annually grow.

Some of the 12 million here illegally would willingly return home. Some with criminal records could be deported. Some would marry U.S. citizens. Some could be given work visas. Some could apply for earned citizenship.

The point is that our formidable powers of assimilation would finally catch up and have time to work on a population that would be at last fixed, quantifiable and identifiable. As aliens were more readily integrated with the general citizen population, Spanish would evolve into a helpful second, not a single alternate, language. Wages would rise for workers already here - many of them soon to be Mexican-American citizens - without competition from a perpetual influx of illegal aliens who work more cheaply.

Mexico would be forced to deal with rather than export its own problems. Billions in earnings would stay in the United States to help our own entry-level and legal immigrants from Mexico, not be sent back as remittances to relatives.

In short, a savvy public is neither racist nor hysterical in wanting the border closed now. It's the only comprehensive solution to the present mess of illegal immigration.

Surge Seen in Applications for Citizenship

From The New York Times:

The number of legal immigrants seeking to become United States citizens is surging, officials say, prompted by imminent increases in fees to process naturalization applications, citizenship drives across the country and new feelings of insecurity among immigrants.

The numbers of new naturalized citizens have steadily grown, to 702,589 last year from 463,204 in 2003. A big jump occurred this year, with the number of applications increasing every month, to 115,175 in May compared with 65,782 last December.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Speaker Glenn Richardson: The mad rush by politicians in both parties to embrace bloggers is about over. And he’s just about written them off.

Dick Pettys writes in InsiderAdvantage Georgia about comments that Speaker of the Georgia House made during a press conference earlier this week:

Ask newspaper editors and they’ll tell you that blogging is the future. Ask Glenn Richardson, and he’ll tell you that if it’s the future, it’s got a short shelf life. The Speaker of the Georgia House thinks the mad rush by politicians in both parties to embrace bloggers is about over. And it sounds like he’s just about written them off.

“Those dadgum blog sites. You know what I predict is going to happen? I predict somebody’s going to sue one of those site domains for slander, and somebody’s going to get hit with a big suit because there’s no accountability, and they say and do things about people that are blatantly false.

“If y’all did, you’d get sued in a New York minute ... Somebody’s going to sue ‘em and hit ‘em with enough money ... and somebody is going to say, ‘We’d better be careful with this.’

“We’re brazen now because people will say things ‘cause they know there’s no accountability. There’s no reason for it. It bugs me a little. I see ‘em do it about people who’re private citizens. I accept my role as a public official. They can say I’m bad, dumb and ugly, and truth is a defense.

“I know everybody thinks that’s going to last a while. I don’t believe it’ll last too much longer.”

Richardson said no one has sued bloggers yet because there are no deep pockets behind them. “The reason they sue a newspaper is that they’ve got money.”

But, he said, “sooner or later somebody is going to, because it’s clearly slander in many cases.”

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment -- Bush & Cheney Should Resign. This is pretty heavy stuff.

It is about 10 minutes long, but definitely worth watching. This my friends, is a strong message indeed from Olbermann.

Here's the link:


Lt. Gov. Cagle's statement about developing a plan for Grady before committing to increased state funding is logical.

From the AJC:

"I think certainly the state has a role to play in this," Cagle said. "I think everyone recognizes the importance of Grady to the metro area and the state. What is important is that we are assured there is a sustainable financial model moving forward.

"Does the state have a partnership role to play with Grady? Absolutely yes."

Hillary fears coming in second in Iowa

From The Washington Post:

Clinton officials fear they are in danger of finishing in third place in Iowa, behind Obama and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who has placed an all-or-nothing bet on winning the state, where he has been a front-runner.

Although the caucus is six months away, both the Clinton and Obama campaigns recognize that the Iowa contest could provide powerful momentum heading into the subsequent New Hampshire primary in January -- and the states that follow.

Bill Clinton did not compete in Iowa in 1992, when Sen. Tom Harkin had a home-state advantage, and so his wife has no built-in advantage here. Clinton has also gotten a slower start organizing in the state than her main rivals, and she recently reorganized her top staff.

She is hoping her husband's appearance will draw positive attention to her candidacy but, perhaps more important, will energize the activists needed to win a caucus. Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, who has become an enthusiastic supporter of Clinton since ending his own presidential candidacy early in the year, said the New York senator has much work left to do in the state.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I find myself struggling in my attempt to get excited about John Edwards' candidacy

In 2004 I was a big John Edwards fan. I referred to him in numerous posts as "my man Edwards." I still am at a loss in trying to understand how he lost the Georgia primary to Kerry.

In a 9-20-04 post entitled "At least one Senator realizes that the goal of a Presidential campaign is to win -- Thanks Senator Edwards," I wrote:

In basketball you take it to the hoop.

In politics, you try to win.

Because of the direction -- make that lack thereof -- of Kerry's disatrous campaign to date, what Sen. Edwards has said is apparently what the bastards want to hear. I say lay it on 'em.

"Let me just say this in the simplest possible terms," Mr. Edwards said. "When John Kerry is president of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people."

Thanks Senator Edwards.

(N.Y Times.)

Mort Kondracke is the Executive Editor of Roll Call, "the" newspaper of Capitol Hill. In a very recent Roll Call article entitled "Democrats Hold Edge in 2008 Elections ... If They Don't Blow It," he wrote the following:

[F]ormer President Bill Clinton's one-time pollster, Doug Schoen, writes in his new book, "The Power of the Vote," "to win, candidates have to be where the voters are. Unfortunately, many Democrats are still too far to the left. History could not be clearer on the point: Democrats who win at the national level are the ones who are tough on security, fiscally conservative and responsive to people of faith."

Schoen thinks Democrats will lose in 2008 if they nominate a candidate who favors a "cut and run" policy in Iraq and former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 style of populism because conservatives still outnumber liberals in America, 30 percent to 20 percent.

The bottom line -- at least for now -- is that voters want something different from the divisiveness of the Bush era. Democrats have a glorious opportunity to return to power -- if they don't offer up divisiveness as an alternative.

My present concern with Edwards is that he is running too much as a populist. Although whatever he is doing seems to be working in Iowa (as noted in the preceding post of today), I don't think this strategy will end up carrying the day.

My bottom line: I want to end my struggle. I want to get excited about John Edwards. I want him to once again be my man. I think a lot of disgruntled and fed up voters out there, Southerners and otherwise, want the same thing.

In Iowa, Clinton Relies Heavily on Husband's Star Power

From The Washington Post:

The former president came to offer validation for his wife, and his appearance underscored the campaign's determination to deal with what has become a nagging problem in a state that could be crucial in determining who wins the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton leads in national polls, but she has been struggling in the state with the first caucuses of the nomination process.

Clinton's decision to bring her husband to the state reflected the reality that he is still far more popular than her with Iowa's Democratic activists.

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) generally has held the top spot in Iowa, as a result of his strong second-place finish here in 2004 and his diligence in returning to the state time after time over the past three years. But Obama, with his enormous reservoir of cash, is equally a threat.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Speaker on Grady: “This is not something you’d expect me to do.” No, most definitely not, but I say thank you, & to all, let's give the devil his due.

This weekend Bill Shipp wrote:

If Grady closed its doors, look what our state would lose:

-- A hospital that handles more than 900,000 patients a year, many of them indigent and unable to find care elsewhere. Without Grady, other hospitals would be crushed by throngs of new patients and added costs.

-- The only Level I trauma unit between Macon and Chattanooga.

-- A world-class burn-treatment unit.

-- A training facility for more than 25 percent of Georgia's doctors.

Today James Salzer reports in the AJC:

The state is finally getting involved in the funding crisis at Grady Hospital, but it's not Gov. Sonny Perdue who is leading the charge.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) announced this afternoon that he had appointed a special committee to study ways to keep Grady viable in the future.

"If you, like me, have been in a car crash, you will be taken to Grady," Richardson said. "If you are burned, you will be taken to Grady. If you live in the metro area, you'll be taken to Grady.

"Most of Georgia's medical residents train at Grady Hospital. Unfortunately, Grady itself is now on life support," he added. "It would be highly irresponsible for us to let this hospital continue operating as it is currently.

Regardless of your reason Mr. Speaker, I am glad you are stepping up to the plate. Who would have figured?

Telltale quotes on how the immigration bill would end.

These telltale quotes from Georgians appeared in a 6-19-07 post:

“It’s all window dressing. We don’t believe the government has the will to enforce any of these promises. Everybody can see the folly of it, everybody but the politicians.”

“Maybe it is possible to secure the border. Maybe it is possible to establish an employee identification system. But I don’t have any confidence that it will be done.”

“It really upsets me to find out that my government says, ‘Yes, we can secure the border, we can detain illegal aliens, we can take all sorts of actions to enforce the law, but we will do so only if Congress provides legal status to those who are here illegally,’ ”

“Congress and the president are completely out of touch with how people here feel about illegal immigration.”

Senator David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican who helped lead opposition to the bill, said: “The message is crystal clear. The American people want us to start with enforcement at the border and at the workplace and don’t want promises. They want action. They want results. They want proof, because they’ve heard all the promises before.” (from The New York Times)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Small-Town Resistance Helped to Seal Defeat of Immigration Bill

From The Washington Post:

Analysts say the unprecedented passion over immigration is largely the result of the seismic shift in settlement patterns since the mid-1990s -- when the expanding economy prompted a surge of immigrants to bypass longtime gateway states such as California, New York and Texas, in favor of suburban and rural regions of the South and Midwest. Within a decade, the foreign-born population of 25 states doubled. In six other states with almost no prior experience of Latino immigration, including Georgia, the Latino population more than tripled.