Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category


Coalitions win elections.  After primary battles, the party that gets itself together fastest will likely be victorious.  I am still upset that Ralph Nader pulled enough voters from Al Gore to help George Bush win in 2000.  Like Hillary Clinton, Gore won the popular vote but you must have strategy where it matters.

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.   Remember, at this point in 2016, I was telling everyone who would listen that Donald Trump could win the election by playing opossum (playing dead) as we say in the country.  We let our guard down.

I am getting over my feelings about Bernie Sanders Progressives who didn’t vote for Hillary (…if you had it to do over, grasshopper….).  Yes,  those voters could have been the margin of victory in pivotal states.  I want to take a brief look at coalitions on the Republican and Democrat sides relative to 2012 and 2020.

First of all, the Republican base will obviously vote for whomever their party nominates in any election.  They have been so brainwashed about Democrats until they trust the Russians more than us.  To get to 50%, they motivate some rural people with faith and gun issues.  But, most of the Black folks at my church are veterans who own peacekeeping steel also.  Go figure?

So, will working class Whites stay with the Trump division of the GOP?  Will the Dem Team develop and market a package to entice those voters back?  You can’t win a statewide election in the South without a certain percentage of those voters.  It starts with quality schools, jobs and affordable healthcare.  The awkwardness of the Trump administration from day one has tarnished the Republican brand.  They have some decisions to make.

On the Democrat side in the South, we must understand that Blacks for now are the backbone of the party.  To some, the party feels like a plantation with Whites running everything while Blacks do the heavy lifting.  The strategy for me involves a coalition of everyone….city progressives, moderate rural Blacks and some working class Whites who are about to learn that far Right budget cuts know no color.

Know this: there is a difference between a political party and a movement.  Black Lives Matter, The Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Trump’s Make America Great Again and Sander’s Progressives are movements and not subject to political parties.

We need to know now if movements are going to “act right” if parties give them a national stage. Really, they shouldn’t as activist but just say so from jump street.

We are looking at candidates for governor in Georgia for 2018 and even president in 2020.  My friends don’t agree but I believe in asking candidates how they feel about candidates and officeholders on other levels of government.  You don’t get my vote if you thought Obama was a bad guy and Trump is wonderful….no way.  Actually, the 2018 election will be a referendum on Trump… local, state and federal.

The margin of victory for Democrats in 2018 is narrowed if candidates put a fire in the belly of infrequent voters.


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The holidays time is a season of giving and it is better to give than to receive.  I have seen many political bloggers break their necks pushing candidates, parties and policy positions out of the kindness of their hearts and/or because it is the right thing to do—giving, giving, giving. However, those same candidates and parties fork over tons of cash to others.

I have a kind heart but it’s not that kind: hit the tip jar or donation tab on political blogs (starting with this one) to say thanks for the past and thanks in advance for the future.  Time is money and knowledge is golden.  I can’t  believe that the guys who pour tons of money into rough radio and T.V. ads would toss a few bones (a fraction of those ad buys) to their favorite bloggers and grassroots advocates.  It’s like the advice your aunt gave your cousins: if you don’t take care of home, someone else will.  My fellow bloggers need to also remember auntie’s advice about free milk and a cow. 

Bloggers provided much political energy in the past few years and a lump of coal in the Christmas stocking isn’t a renewable energy source.  Donate.

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With Rep. Bishop

Albany, Georgia City Commissioner Jon Howard is my classmate from college and one of the most dedicated public servants you will ever meet.  He put together a candidates forum this morning and I found myself talking with Bishop, Everson, Monds and Dukes. 

That list of names isn’t a law firm but speakers at the forum who represent the whole political spectrum.  Sanford Bishop is a sitting Democrat congressman and my old boss.  I had three congressmen bosses on Capitol Hill and they all took pride in listening to and serving everyone in their districts—the people who voted for them as well as the loyal opposition.  During this election season, I have heard that the Democrats don’t listen to people.  I take that personally because I know for a fact that we had hell to pay if we didn’t give full consideration to every citizen from our area. 

(Follow me because this is about to get complex.) 

When a candidate says “everyone I talk with wants the D.C. crowd gone,” that candidate is being sincere and isn’t lying.  That candidate simply has been receiving a constant diet of information from a select or limited group of voters-come to my side of town.  Albany State University is playing a college football classic game against Savannah State in Waycross, Georgia, today.  Waycross is represented by GOP Rep. Jack Kingston, who prides himself on going to political forums in every area…alone.  Jack knows he isn’t going to get any votes on that side of town but wants to stand like a man by his legislative decisions.  

Knowing the political makeup of Kingston’s district, I would not move there and badger him for not being a moderate like me.  By my logic, the same mindset applies in Bishop’s district.  However, Democrats have a tendency to take some elections off or not fully appreciate the work of elected officials like President Obama.  So, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the other side is very loud. 

Democrats are too nice to each others.  If  you support this president, you should vote now because this election to those of the far Right is a referendum on the White House and the Democrat-controlled congress.  The vote this November is actually as important as the vote in November 2008 because Obama wasn’t going to win Georgia but we have a lot to lose this year. 

Melvin Everson was a GOP candidate for State Labor Commissioner and also a graduate of Albany State University.  I told him earlier this summer that I looked forward to voting for a fellow Golden Ram but his party’s primary voters picked someone else.  At the forum this morning, he was surprisingly classy to supported other GOPers because I am still tickled about his defeat and the defeat of GOP congressional candidate Dr. Deborah Honeycutt in the Atlanta area.  I better leave that alone but…..you know what’s up. 

Winfred Dukes is a local contractor and long-time state representative.  I never met him before today but admired his fight during the last legislative session.  Some young members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity were sitting in front of me and clearly there to support their brother Dukes.  

With Libertarian Party Governor candidate John Monds

Before John Monds spoke as governor candidate from the Libertarian Party, I told the young men that Monds was also a member of their organization.  Speaking with Monds today was interesting because he could be the kingmaker in the governor race.  Monds, whose wife is a professor at Albany State, could get more support from the ASU family and the Omega family than his political party.  The GOP could be cruising to victory in the governor race because a woman, Karen Handel, lost in their party to former Rep. Nathan Deal.   What party wouldn’t welcome the chance to pull a sizable amount of the women voters from the other side?   Monds could get enough of the vote to force the Democrat and Republican into a runoff.  So, Roy Barnes’ campaign better not take my community for granted.  Monds and the LP have a message that some people are starting to dig.  

In politics and policy, you circle the wagon and this president isn’t the horrible leader some would have you think.  However, it’s up to us to have real talk about real issues.  I was there in 1994 when Gingrich, Kingston and company took over congress in Bill Clinton’s first mid-term.  This year is different because Newt had vision (back then) while the Tea Party Movement, which has taken over the Right, has something else in their eyes.  

In addition to Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, the other bigwig in the 1994 revolution was Dick Armey and Armey is very good at what he does.  Where is Armey today?  He created Freedomworks—the foundation of the Tea Party Movement. 

Back in the day, the Right demonized Bill and Hillary Clinton but quietly many on the Right were surprised when they got a better look at her during her presidential bid.  Did she change?  No, they just got to see the real her rather than believing the rhetoric from the media.  

President Clinton recently said that President Obama should nationalized the mid-term election, admit that the recovery is taking longer than planned and ask for two more years to get things done.  

I am for that because I am patience and respect elected leaders. When Vice President Cheney said that the war in Iraq would be funded by money from the Iraqi oil fields if we could get to them before they set them on fire, I trusted him.  I never voted for Bush/Cheney but I respected the will of the people.  Did President Obama ever get a second of similar trust and respect?  

Georgia Democrats shouldn’t be mad at the GOP and/or the Tea Party Movement.  We should be mad at each other for not using an equal amount of energy to rally real people we help with policy.  (They must dial back that spending because I can’t stand owing China.)   

President Obama had an issue discussion in someone’s backyard this week and I love it.  We should follow his lead and take to the backyards to fire-up the grills and the voters.  If we can argue and fuss about football teams, we can do the same about these important elections.   Enough with the zillion T.V. ads for the governor race; that money could fund some serious Obama style backyard talks.  So, my fancy friends in D.C. need to stop calling me about the elections in our state and send down some Johnsonville brats and  Matchlight coals.  We will take care of the rest.

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President Obama said, “They talk about me like a dog.”  But, who are they?  I am tired of hearing rough talk about this White House from Democrats eager to toss whomever under the bus to win reelection.  Of course, some political observers think this plan was cooked up in the House Speaker’s office, the DNC or maybe the White House itself. 

In Georgia, Rep. Jim Marshall and Governor candidate Roy Barnes aren’t mincing words about their disdain for the healthcare reform law.  No Bush or Clinton would take this from inside their party; Hillary would be on their blanks.  If the Democrats continue offending the base, they are toast.  Recent polls indicate that losing one or both Houses of Congress is a forgone conclusion so let’s have the losing ones be those who don’t understand loyalty. And if some Republicans must be elected, we should hope they aren’t the crazy ones who are hell-bent on fear and division. 

I thought a dog was man’s best friend but some of these Blue Dogs are biting the hands that feed them.  In my community, we might need to take a better look at that Que dog, Morehouse Man  and Libertarian running for governor, John Monds.  A dog can’t stop an attacking elephant or donkey but one can make them think twice and you must admire Monds’ dedication to what he believes.  

The people Democrats are trying to help are the same people who took three hours to see the movie Takers this week but they can’t take 10 minutes to early vote.  Al Gore learned this the hard way and President Obama doesn’t deserve this from his party. In my corner of Georgia, the congressional Blue Dog has earned our support.  Can you say the same about yours?


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The field for the general election is in place and our community needs to check and double-check every aspect of our situation relative to political realities.  The candidates’ records, actions and potential must be checked along with their staffing histories and efforts regarding whole community representation.

When we watch the news reports, we always look to see if the crowd behind the candidate looks like Georgia—you know what I mean.  Candidates were pulled or naturally gravitated to the far end of their parties during the primary but can they seriously think about winning without a functional relationship with the center or our community. 

I am putting fresh batteries in my remote control next month so I can flip the channel during the coming onslaught to T.V. political ads with candidates wearing denim shirts, playing with children, sitting on tailgates and walking with dogs.  That stuff is nice but some of that ad buy money could be checks for real events with real people so they can get a real ear full and create a real bond.

The political establishment smirked when two candidates I know personally went on walks to meet the people but those guys learned a lot from a range of Georgians.  As a community, we should fairly give everyone a listen and ask tough questions because the future of his nation is on the table and it is no time for grandstanding or playing political fear factor.  The Democrats are about to rollout the mother of all GOTV efforts and some folks are going to have a very merry Christmas from those fat checks but please ask the candidates and their supporters what’s the plan for creating jobs, fighting crime, improving education, and supporting our troops…oh yeah, and do it on budget.

The Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania made a good point on T.V. yesterday. Pat Toomey said that the GOP “check” of the Clinton White House after the min-term elections actually helped Clinton’s presidency.  But it must be serious Republicans with genuine policy experience rather than those who live off fear and ugliness.  “Checkout” Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels as an example of Harry Truman-like leadership. 

Sadly, we must check the laundry list of Black GOP candidates in Georgia who didn’t make it to the general election.  It might be time to check into a more open election process so this Democrat could vote for Black conservatives with taking the GOP primary ballot.  Is it time to check if they want you arround becasuse some quality candidates didn’t stand a chance.

We need to check with the White House about the Democrats who keep running from President Obama.  In my neighborhood, we don’t play that while we are fighting to protect the seats of good Democrats.  If you check, President Obama has more Republicans in his cabinet than Congressional Black Caucus members and the southwest Georgia congressman was the only CBC member seriously considered for a top spot.  Obama might need to check under his tree in December to see if we groomed a sensible congressional GOP freshmen or two.      

If this blog post seems like Czech to your campaign, write me a check or hit Palpay and I will help you understand.  If I get enough checks, I can checkout my old friends in the Czech Republic after the election. Prague is lovely that time of year.

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The NAACP Scholarship Banquet in Tifton, Georgia, “advanced” me profoundly last night but then again, they say the hardheaded never learned.  In college, we were too radical to be involved with this organization.  It was all about Public Enemy’s lyrics like “Mandela..cell dweller…Thatcher, you should tell her.”  In retrospect, the grassroots chapters of the NAACP have brought us from a mighty long way.

Rodney King was at my table.  Not that Rodney King but a 20-year-old fellow who won’t hesitate to tell you about the good works of his church.  Both Rodney Kings spent a lot of time in the hospital but this R.K. is employed a Tift Regional Hospital.  When I told him that my mother was there last year for several weeks and that he was luck because that camp is “full,” he looked at me as if too say “I am protected my check rather than being concerned with that stuff on the job.”

Young people from King’s church served the food at the banquet while other young people sang and praised dance.  Two young students from the community received scholarships and words of wisdom from Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham.   Justice Benham told the audience that they were in the wrong place if they wanted to hear negative information about the community because he would be speaking about positive experiences.  While he spoke, a slide show of Black history flashed images from the March on Washington to Little Rock to Medgar Evers to Obama speaking to the NAACP.  Justice Benham remained us that the NAACP has been fighting the good fight for years.  In his official capacity, he has ruled for and against the organization’s positions but he appreciated their efforts. 

Justice Benham was introduced by a long-time friend of his who isn’t Black and several of the honorees weren’t Black.  I remembered that Whites have always been involved in the NAACP.  I also remember that like any organization the NAACP has local chapters that are as different as leaves on a tree (that is what Helen Blocker Adams says about the Augusta Tea Party events.)   President Rev. L. Chris Solomon and the Tifton NAACP chapter seems to emphasis community improvement and encouraging the youth. 

Since I am often alone, I thought I mastered taking cellphone pictures of myself—I had to get one with the anti-lynching slide.  When I when to take a photo with Justice Benham, who told me he married an Albany State University grad, a women asked me why would I take a picture of myself when she could have the professional photographer do it.  Again, the hardheaded never learn that some things require the help of others; it’s called community. 

One of the honorees was a county commissioner with a long history of cleaning up the community street by street.  I met her a dozen years ago and told her husband and her congrats on their civil efforts.   Morehouse student Ambrose King help organize a fine program.  With old friends at NAACP events and the other contributor on this blog speaking at Tea Parties, community involvement is happening while I am sitting at his keyboard….blogging.  

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Lincoln and Booth

This drama about the Tea Party movement and the NAACP has me thinking.  Are racists at Tea Parties?  Yes.  Are racists at NAACP rallies?  Of course.  If you get a big group of people together, heaven only knows who is in the crowd.  Anyone who says Blacks can’t be racists is delusional.  Is that racism justifiable?  Is the thug mentality more detrimental to our community than racism?  I better leave that alone.     

PBS’s brilliant documentary about the assassination of President Lincoln includes a photo with John Wilkes Booth in the crowd at the second inaugural.  The last paragraph of that great speech reads:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 

As a congressional staffer who lived blocks from the Capitol, I found myself stopping by any rally on the National Mall on Saturdays because I was compensated to serve as a conduit of information between all the people and my congressional bosses.  From pro-gun to gun control, pro-choice to pro-life, treehuggers to drill in the tundra, I listened just so I could say I listened.  The fetus pictures at the pro-life rallies were as rough as the concentration camp pictures at the Holocaust Museum. 

The Million Man March was a historic event but without doubt there were some people in the crowd who had considered taking the fight to another level; that’s what zealots on both sides do. I like to think that positive messages from that event introduced peaceful options to them. 

All of my African American friends who are conservative have attended and/or have spoken at Tea Parties.  When they looked into the crowd, they were hoping that no signage when overboard.  Like President Obama, I understand and respect their concerns with the size and role of government.  Of course, I also have moderate African American friends who wonder if leaders of the traditional civic rights organizations are battling for equality or seeking to stay paid.  That’s the thing: organizers of groups on the right, left and center often have their personal income in mind before anything– this blogger needs to get paid also.  A ruckus is good for donations and the NRA guy and the Handgun Control lady could be dining together in a D.C. tony eatery…. private dining room of course.

As I say weekly, our community should be supportive of a few sensible conservatives or those really nutty folks will be running things.

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The 13th District congressional race in Georgia is interesting because Dr. Deborah Honeycutt is again facing Democrat Rep. David Scott.  Former Honeycutt campaign manager Michael Murphy is also in the race but as a Democrat.

When Murphy decided to move from the GOP to the Democrats, I was surprised and disappointed that a comfortable place did not exist for someone like him in that party.  As a Democrat with many conservative friends, I like options and choices for southern voters and don’t get me started about putting all of our eggs in one basket. 

Some observers think that the move farther Right signaled moderates and centrists toward the GOP exit door—let’s hope not.  But, my conversations with Murphy in the past have centered on a lack of an urban agenda in the GOP; which is sad because the party of Jack Kemp shouldn’t be that way.

Dr. Honeycutt has always seems like a positive person and should she enter congress I don’t see her standing idly as ugly rhetoric becomes the foundation of the GOP agenda.  In that regard, I think all voters should keep a hopeful eye on GOP candidates who are about constructive policy-making and yes, there are several out there. 

In a recent T.V. news story, Scott, Murphy and Honeycutt pounding the pavement as the primary election approaches.  Like Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a health competition keeps all involved sharp and keen.   


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My favorite church sermons are on my mind because I must make some major life decisions soon.  While I am no stranger to sin, the pastors get the same attention I gave the professors in school.  Like I tell the kids on my block, you might as well learn something if you are going to be at church or school anyway.  Have you seen the alarming dropout rates for schools…..and church.   

At the funeral of our political science professor, the pastor said that our grave markers will likely have the day we were born and the day we died with a dash in between the two dates.  The dash….it’s all about that dash.  Everything we do on earth is in that dash.  Someone else once said that life is God’s gift to you and what you do with that life is your gift back to him. 

The lady pastor at my Methodist church once said that she hears some many people praying and pleading  “God they need you over here…Father they need you over there.”  She said she imagines God is thinking, “Why do you think I put you down there…go see about it then come back and tell me what you did to fix it.”

The former pastor at the First African Baptist Church hit me with this pearl of wisdom.  He said people find justifications for worldly actions and dress up their activities but when he was in the “world” he knew he was in the world doing wrong.  I like that.

As a former altar boy, the communion service is in my memory.  The Call to Communion begins, “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God…”  I talk vows, oaths and pledges seriously if not literally so I often skipped going down for communion if I had some fun or partying planned.  Our current pastor says “intend” means intends so there is some flex there. 

During communion, a prayer states that we are sorry for “our misgivings that we have commended against your divine majesty in thoughts, words and deeds.”  Since beliefs from church should reflect in our daily actions, the “thoughts, words and deeds” part has always fascinated me.  People in politics can think or say something but what did you do; what were your deeds because actions speak louder than words.  On the other hand, people can conveniently interpret the Bible to account for everything from slavery to ugly political attacks.  

One favorite faith message wasn’t a sermon but the Shug Avery song in the movie Color Purple.  God is trying to tell you something and you might not want to hear it.  Someone once said that God answers pray but sometimes the answer is no…however it’s in your best interest.  Garth Brooks had a song called “Unanswered Prays” and it’s a rural classic.  People are always joking about sinners in church and pastors needing to get those messages on the streets and corners but we all have our crosses to bear.  

I had the best time sitting under a 100-year-old oak tree and listening to my cousins in Ty Ty, Georgia today.  While I left before the barbeque was served, I got fed with that knowledge and wisdom from family.  

Unanswered Prayers (cover)


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I went to the courthouse today to vote and not for actual court—which is a good thing.  The Democratic primary found me voting for the incumbent congressman and was uneventful except for two races.  In the U.S. Senate race, R.J. Hadley got my vote at a political forum this weekend because the guy has worked hard in this Georgia heat that is hotter than fish grease.  In a minor race, I ghost voted because I didn’t know much about any of the candidates.

Michael Thurmond and Johnny Isakson are giants in Georgia politics but Hadley has a bright future in public service.  On facebook, a picture of Hadley at the Democratic National Convention seemed encouraging to me.  He had an optimistic look on his face as the party selected Barrack Obama and he continued that hope for better communications between all Georgians by speaking and taking questions at conservative events—that’s bold.  On the voting machine, Hadley’s first name was Rakiem and old school hip hop fans know the best M.C. ever is Rakim of Eric and Rakim fame—which I took as a sign.  Hadley is a leader in introducing moderate and conservative elements in the kitchen table issues debate in the Democrat Party so a nice showing in this primary is an investment in the political future.  Hey, I saw the Oliver Stone movie “W” last night and Bush (like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama) didn’t win a congressional bid but you know about later.   

 The Alvin Greene situation in South Carolina and Bush v. Gore in Florida tells us to take every vote seriously.  The Ghost Vote technique was employed in one minor race when I wasn’t crazy about any of the candidates.  Skipping that race is better than pulling an Alvin Greene.  “I thought I was voting for Al Greene and ‘Let’s Stay Together’ is the number one smooth jam of all time.’”

Let’s Stay Together my foot—you can’t keep a major political party together when some candidates are allowed to play it safe by skipping major votes and major national events.  R.J. Hadley is an Ivy League educated moderate Democrat who when to the DNC Convention with pride…I wish I had the coin to be there myself.  Georgia has a current Democrat member of congress who is also Ivy League educated and skipped one of the most important events in history to my community.  

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The Washington Post has a database of congressional votes and I decided to look at votes for Speaker of the House. There have been times when moderates and/or centrists couldn’t bring themselves to vote for certain candidates for Speaker.

I remember my first congressional boss saying that he liked Democrat Gene Taylor of Mississippi because he was a smart guy and stood by his convictions.  After legislative business for the day, Taylor would join others in floor speeches about waste, fraud, and spending.

Taylor voted “present” for speaker in the 104th Congress and Newt Gingrich became Georgia’s third Speaker of the House (Howell Cobb and Charles Crisp being the others.)  In the 105th Congress, Gingrich won again but three other Republicans received votes and Rep. Connie Morella joined four other GOPers in voting present.  Mrs. Morella was a Maryland moderate from suburban D.C. who was often at odds with the Far Right in her party. 

In the 108th Congress, Taylor voted for defense hawk John Murtha for speaker while Texas conservative John Stenholm voted present with two others.  He did the same in the 109th Congress and Dennis Hastert again won the speakership.  In the 110th and 111th Congresses, Taylor voted for Speaker Pelosi but you get the feeling that he respectfully couldn’t vote for a fellow Democrat he didn’t want to be speaker.

In the 108th Congress, Republican Ginny Brown-Waite voted for Pelosi but Hastert of her party won. 

Since the speaker controls the House, that second vote of every congress is the most important vote for two years.  The speaker vote is public record but a members’ record in presidential voting isn’t.  The strongest indication of a House members’ views might be who he or she backs for speaker, the person who will control the committees and the legislation that reaches the House floor. 

Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia has voted for speaker four times and voted Mrs. Pelosi each time.  He could have voted present, voted for a conservative Democrat like Murtha or even a Republican but he voted for the gentlelady from San Francisco.  Her leadership helped support the election of President Obama and her ultra liberal district’s opinions don’t dominate her speakership as some might think. 

At the same time, Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama or John Edwards never got Marshall’s public support during the  presidential race.  He didn’t support McCain, who won Marshall’s congressional district, or any of the GOP presidential candidates.  His support would have been welcomed in rural Georgia.  So, he voted for Pelsoi but can’t tell us whom he picked for the White House.  I wished he said he was with the Democrat team and fighting daily to pull them away from the Left, which I think is the case, but this mystery stuff is inexplicable.


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The term alienation of affection appears in divorce documents but it could apply in politics.  People grow apart or the person you thought you married doesn’t actually exist.  You wedded the image or façade created by that person.  Since we should avoid the victim role in America, it is your fault for not being a better judge of character or turning a blind eye to the obvious. 

“He is just not that into you” describe the divorce-like conditions between some incumbents and voters this year.  If you tell someone to do something and that person ignores you, the cat should be in the wind….out of here like last year…I am not saying you go to go home but…

Of course, the other party might argue that the relationship should continue because while not perfect he or she is the best available in the area.   In my community, we say it is better to be alone than in the company of fools.

If the Tea Party is busy divorcing candidates on the Right who go against their wishes, we should have similar discussions and action in the Center.  This idea could be the focus of proposed the Coffee Party or just Ghost Vote incumbents who assume they have us and hang with the Right too much.  Hey, uncles and aunts will tell you that you must take care of home or someone else will.

In politics and in life, you must “rehumanize yourself” if the machine or “the man” sees you as a statistic; remind those fancy people that the masses across the political spectrum are restless and why should the Tea Party get to have all the radical fun.

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Some voters are very informed this year and that is a good thing.  With the economy, foreign wars and the oil disaster, regular folks and the media are watching the White House and Congress.  The GOP has a well-earned reputation for keeping their members in line on key issues but the Democrats are starting to flex their big muscles also.  Well, alright now.

House leadership member South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s recent trip to Augusta, Georgia, is being analyzed. Members of congress often travel outside their districts.  For example, a member of the Ag Committee looks at farm production and research all over the nation.  Usually, they follow congressional courtesy by informing their “dear colleague” who generally joins them. 

Of course, ballers like Clyburn go everywhere as part of their duties and visiting a neighboring state is not rare.  If the spent nuclear fuel rods at the Savannah River Site go wrong, that radiation is not stopping at the GA-SC line.

One could speculate that Clyburn coming to the Augusta area without doing a fundraiser or supporting for Barrow is a sign (like a brush back pitch in baseball) that the congressman shouldn’t get too far away from his Dem roots—after that healthcare reform and several other votes.  Wild speculation could be that House leadership is openly dissing Barrow in a sly effort to help him by distancing themselves from him.   

The Augusta area real Democrats and Obama supporters have issues with Barrow’s no votes on some key national issues. Barrow might flirt with the Right but Rep. Jim Marshall is in love.  The Marshall camp must hope that voters who are more Obamacrats than Democrats don’t get “too much information.”  In the piney woods of Georgia, we say, “you got to dance with the one who brought you.”  

When I worked at the university in Albany, Georgia, I saw Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois eating at a downtown bistro.  He was in his hometown for his father’s funeral and said that the local congressman was gracious in offering his district office if needed during this difficult time.  That’s how you do it.  Rush was a member of the Black Panthers back in the day and spoke to the Black staff organization when I was on the Hill.  He told us that power is like the might elephant and that a baby elephant is trained to walk in circles at the circus by driving a metal rod into the ground and attaching a chain.

After the elephant grows to full size, circus workers push the rod into the ground by hand because the trained elephant doesn’t realize it’s power to break free…. sometimes no chain is needed.  Regular folks don’t have the information that we are free and that political leaders work for us.  Bobby Rush is a smart guy and he was the last person to defeat Barrack Obama in an election.  If the college students who supported Obama start using social networking to sweat certain AWOL Democrats, it would be on and popping like Rush in his revolutionary youth and the Tea Party now.

Sting: Too Much Information


This post continues my little series with the Police album “Ghost in the Machine” as background.  I know that the video is from Sting without the Police and that for some strange reason dude is wearing a dress but the sista sing background is nice.  Again, Ghost Vote candidates who don’t listen.  ” Too Much Information” was the jam with my college friends.

Clyburn news story:


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The dictionary defines scope as the range of one’s perceptions, thoughts or actions.  A second definition is “the area covered by a given activity or subject.”  President Obama outlined his vision for a better America in his book the Audacity of Hope.  However, the hard part is implementing ideas into policy in a partisan nation where many of those who need improving don’t or won’t know it.

In the South, we need leaders with wider worldviews who can appreciate the salient points from the loyal opposition.  We need members of congress with scope.  The Republicans came to power in 1994 and the Democrats responded by accepting the moderate Blue Dogs subdivision in their party.  After the recent success of the Democrats, a similar subdivision on the Right seemed obvious.  Instead, we see a narrowing in the scope of southern Republicans and a national purification process in their ranks. 

The global economy is in flux and the South is competing with everyone for new job growth.  Companies might be reluctant to locate in what seems like a hostile environment.  Of course, people should stand firm in their believes but understand that in a democratic society other opinions should be respected. 

As a good southerner and proud American, I will discuss issues and solutions with a range of people and final actions could reflect a cross-section of views.  The “winner take all” mentality is sophomoric and reckless.  In military or political wars, you pray that you are strong and keen while also praying that diplomacy and common sense will avoid the need for conflict.  Some in the arena cherish conflict because division and fear are vital to their personal prosperity.  They should be ashamed of their ill-gotten gains. 

My friends on both sides want their political opposition to fail but will always discuss their rationale with others in hope that their views will improve.  We want other’s scope to widen.  In a more direct statement, the Right should seek counsel with the center in a manner similar to the Blue Dogs.  Most indications are that this won’t be happening.  We can call that the Audacity of Nope and it is unhealthy because leaders must dialog with a range of people to address problems and improve situations. 

My favorite politicians have always been those who constantly sought debate with everyone.  The better elements of the Right’s arguments rarely reach the correct ears—they are preaching to the choir.  When those elements are presented in wider circles, they come from the Blue Dogs who understand the diversity of our South.

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In elementary school, my classmates who attended the Kingdom Hall made me proud when they stood by their faith by not standing and pledging alliance to the flag.  I love the flag and the republic “for which it stands” but I also learned tolerance, diversity and understanding from watching and appreciating others.  At the Methodist church, we studied Moses and his brother Aaron, the goldsmith who fashioned the golden calf while Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol…”

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.”

“Take care not to make covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going.”

Covenants, oaths, and pledges have always created fuzzy areas.  In college, some students were uncomfortable bowing and pledging their loyalty to fraternal organizations in ceremonies that seems religious or sacrilegious because they were based on ancient cultures.  Others saw swearing membership as joining the most noble knights or groups that defended the Christian faith like the Crusaders and the Knights Templar who secured the holy relics—I watch too much History Channel.

Ray Boyd, a candidate for Georgia Governor, recently declined taking a short loyal oath to the Republican Party–Democrats don’t have a similar oath.  The discussion with my friends quickly turned to what is higher in a person’s commitment: God, family, state, nation, political party, race, gender, Georgia Bulldogs.  Don’t answer that. 

On matters of governance, GOP members puts party higher that the less-ridged Dems.  The Red Team is always leery of anyone who hasn’t taken a blood oath in the basement of their meeting hall or a purity test.  These tests are good news for the political middle because people push or prodded out are welcomed in the center and bring a fiscal fitness element to every discussion.    

In the South, one of the most famous personal allegiance battles was General Robert E. Lee decision to turndown the command of the Army of the Potomac and side with his beloved Virginia.  As a kid, I wondered how Black Vietnam vets must have felt when they returned to hometowns where their mothers could not drink from certain public water fountains and their kids could not swim in public pools.  “My country tis of thee…Sweet land of liberty.”  In my community, we favor the federal government over the state government for obvious historic reasons and angry talks of states’ right is naturally unsettling. 

How far does one take a political party oath?  If the members of the other party have valid legislative initiates, do you fight each and every provision for party sake or be fair for country sake? 

In Israel earlier this year, it was clear that their faith was priority one and the same could be said for members of their faith living around the world.  With Jewish history, that is understandable.  How do people in America reconcile the mandates of their faith with the broader views of our nation?  When followers of Islam attempt to create Muslim-based theocracy in the Middle East, we in the West get nervous but what happens when members of my faith attempt to do the same thing here.  Those founding fathers could have made life easier by declaring a national religion.

And if you join a new political party, there will be a 12 month waiting period to ensure that you are not a mole, plant or spy.  When I worked on Capitol Hill, we did not view Republicans as those who should be converted to our party.  We respected their points of view because they represented a segment of our state.  On the other hand, many on the Right govern by ignoring every other standpoint.  That’s not cool or healthy.

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I am the first to dub the coming Senate race in Georgia the “Mike and Ike” election.  State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond  and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson come from an era in Georgia politics where the first inclination was dialog and cooperation.  That period is history and these two nice guys are generals in a rough political battle.  Hot Tamales, Red Hots, Atomic Fire Balls, Jaw Busters, and Lemonheads are candies that better describe the current political climate. 

“Now or Laters” seem to be Thurmond’s favorite candy because he has a reputation of make wise, calculated political decisions.  At times, a leader must take one for the team and Georgia Democrats couldn’t let a newcomer face Isakson.  I told the Senator he should get a pass for being one of the best Republicans in congress—Jon Stewart would say that is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.  As a moderate Democrat, I wanted to leave Isakson’s reasonable temperament and sizeable warchest out of the mix.  One can speculate that an economic turnaround would be need for the Dems to do well this year and the Labor Commissioner taking about job creation and training helps the Dem ticket overall.   

To me, the biggest problem with Isakson is his inability to convince other members of his party to embrace his logical, less bitter brand conservatism.  We remember the Georgia GOP giving Isakson and Chambliss flack for simply negotiating with Democrat colleagues.  Will the angry fringe of the southern GOP pull Isakson into their bitterness or will he introduce them to coolness.  They better bring the coolness because Thurmond, Thurbert Baker and Sanford Bishop wrote the book on staying cool under fire—never let them see you sweat.  I think both Isakson and Thurmond put Georgia’s best interest above party bickering.    

My conservative African-American friends (all both of them) think Democrats should be afraid of Palin in 2012. Rep. Paul Ryan, Senator Johnny Isakson and Mario Rubio are the policy-based conservatives who if cloned would be the real concern.  Could we please turn our attention back to Palin.  For Dems, it is fortunate that the GOP  often emulates the wrong folks.

For reading this long babble, you should treat yourself to some old school “candy” music. Is Cameo’s Candy better than LL Cool J’s?  Real candy, like political campaigns, isn’t good for you, has little nutritional value and lacks the substance of policymaking –stick with Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables.


Cameo- It’s Like Candy


LL Cool J- Candy at 5:10 from live show


Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy


How could I leave out 10,000 Maniacs’ “Candy Everyonebody Wants.”   Some of these races will be decided by 10K Maniacs. 


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Mike Murphy is a centrist running for congress in Georgia’s 13th District.  Watching the Democratic primary will be interesting because Rep. David Scott has been strong in the past.  Options for the voters are always healthy for the process. 


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I had the honor of submitting a Guest Column that ran in today’s Augusta Chronicle.

We can all embrace limited government and personal responsibility

Guest Columnist

Why is there so much resistance among a large number of African-Americans to the idea of limited government?

Is it because of its association with a party they are disproportionately not affiliated with? From a pragmatic point of view, if businesses were able to operate in the most efficient manner with as little government intervention as possible so they can grow and become more profitable, that would be reasonable.

Personal responsibility is another term that conjures negative images among many African-Americans, with its association to one political party. How and when did this happen?

I grew up in a household where we had to make up our beds before we came to the table for breakfast. The notion of lounging around the house with our pajamas on, on a Saturday, was not going to happen. Each of us (I have three siblings) had responsibilities and chores, and there was no discussion about that.

There is something liberating to me about personal responsibility. I remember having a baby-sitting job in my early years so I could have my own money. I also recall applying for and receiving scholarships and grants for college so my parents would have to fork out as little money as possible to help me, which allowed my siblings at home to have more. As long as I am able, I am going to do my part. I believe most people think the same way. But somewhere over the years, I believe too many of our elected officials have gotten in the way.

THIS COLUMN was not written to debate the argument of having government-funded social programs or the need for them. I believe we are all aware of those conversations and have heard them ad nauseam . But with all of the divisiveness and in-fighting among our national political leaders and political parties, I don’t see many of the social issues decreasing, do you?

Here are some statistics plaguing the African-American community.

– Black males lead the nation in incarceration. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, about 60 percent of Georgia black male high school students don’t graduate.

– In 2009, Richmond County had 26 murders; 15 of the victims (57 percent) were black men. In that same year, of those murders, 17 of the victims (65 percent) were black. Eighty-two percent of those arrested for these murders were black men.

– The largest number of people contracting HIV/AIDS is African-American women.

– In 2009, 77 percent of the known people having abortions in Richmond County were African-American women.

– Georgia has the eighth-highest teen birth rate in the nation.

l Richmond County has two ZIP codes in the top 10 with the highest number of incarcerated prisoners — 30906 and 30901.

There is simply not enough progress in resolving these social ills. It seems to be getting worse. With these statistics, ask yourself: Do you think they are going to get better if we maintain the same type of thinking or if we continue doing the same thing we have been doing? I think not.

This Thursday, April 15, there will be an event at Augusta Common — the Augusta Tea Party. Thousands of people will attend, and you probably also will be able to count on four hands the number of African-Americans present. What’s wrong with that picture?

Are there some overzealous individuals who may say and do things that are offensive and a little extreme? Maybe. Will there be talk against President Obama and Democrats? I would think so. There also will be discontented people who will have a lot to say about most of our congressmen — no matter their political affiliation.

But will the primary message of the Augusta Tea Party on Thursday be limited government and personal responsibility? I think so. Why? Because those are two cornerstones of the conservative ideology. And, yes, there are more conservatives associated with Tea Parties than anyone else. But why does it have to be that way?

LET’S LOOK BEYOND the negative images the national media project about Tea Parties. Let’s look beyond party affiliations and put our affiliation blinders on. What if we did something different? What if we embraced and implemented this train of thought of limited government and personal responsibility for, say, 30 days? Statistics have shown that when one does something for 30 days, it can become a habit.

What do you think would happen? Would the mind-set of an individual change a little? What would be the harm in taking personal responsibility and taking safer precautions with sex? Or encouraging kids that getting an education is really cool? Or finding a better way of dealing with anger and jealousy, and turning the other cheek?

What do we have to lose by trying and doing something a little different so we can better address the concerns that plague African-Americans?

Look at the big picture. Listen to the message of limited government and personal responsibility. I don’t believe these concepts should be a political or divisive issue because they affect all of us. Ask yourself: Is there a way I can wrap my arms around these concepts, along with what I already believe?

I am asking you to step out of your comfort zone and expand your thinking to embrace concepts you’ve never considered before.

I’m not talking about changing your political party, because frankly I believe it’s political parties, in part, that have gotten us in the mess we’re in now. I believe they have helped cloud our ability to engage in a civic dialogue too. It’s time to start bridging divides.

But I do want you to think about the statistics I’ve shared. Consider the questions I’ve raised, and try the 30-day exercise I’ve described. What do we have to lose?

(The writer is an Augusta entrepreneur and the host of a local radio talk show.)


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I watched NCAA basketball, Ken Burns’ Civil War and the healthcare reform debate on T.V. yesterday.  Options and strategy came to mind involving all three. 

At Gettysburg, General Robert Lee called for Pickett’s Charge when everyone could see that a second plan of action or inaction was needed.  An officer in the field must assess the situation and make wise decisions.   On the second day at Gettysburg, Union General Joshua Chamberlain had his Maine’s 20th Infantry troops pivoted like a barn door on the hill known to history as Little Round Top.  This flanking maneuver stopped the 15th Alabama Infantry.    

In basketball, the “Dropstep” is a classic pivot move for a big player with his or her back to the rim.  The player must decide if he should do a sky-hook, turn and face the defender, drive to the basket or (if the double team comes) pass the ball out to an open teammate for a three-point shot.  The Dropstep move to the rim is a classic because the first step makes defending or blocking the shot difficult. 

With votes against healthcare reform, many Democrat members of congress made their first big step toward this year’s elections.  However, cumbersome southern GOP is likely not flexible enough to assess their options and execute a move to score.  That assessment involves analysis of their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their opponents.  Is he out of position? 

Great generals and ball players also notice and exploit problems and confusion with the other side like General Washington crossing the Delaware River when his opponents were celebrating the holidays.  Democrats who voted against the healthcare reform legislation had genuine concerns with cost and the size of government.  They knew the November elections would be fine because their GOP opponent would be someone angry and off-putting to moderate voters.  If the GOP has smarter coaches, they would give the voters approachable options since some view those Democrats as Benedict Arnolds.

The GOP has a big man with his back to the goal that is shadowed by a tough defender.  The move would be kick the ball out to a three-point shooter if you have some of them on their team.

The Drop Step


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Oprah got robbed at the Oscars back in the day and Margaret Avery, the woman who played Shug Avery, got robbed also.  The rapper Jadakiss rapped about why Hallie Berry had to let (look it up) to win an Oscar and why Denzel had to be crooked before he took it.  While Monique earned her award for Precious, I am afraid she did such a fine job that I can’t see the movie.  Rough movie situations get to me and I just getting over watching Jennifer Hudson get beat down in the Secret Life of Bees.

Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny and that is cool because she started her acting career at the fictitious black college on TV’s A Different World but the role was a little thin.  The political candidate message from this blog post is “get while the getting is good” because timing is every thing—ask President Obama.  If you want to run for congress or run from congress, gut feelings should be your guide.  If you have a shot like Monique and Oprah, take it because the opportunity might never come again.   You can’t run for congress in rural Georgia if you can quote the Bible and the Color Purple. 

Oprah got robbed but things turned out fine for her anyway.  Margaret Avery is a classic example of real beauty and have you seen how well she is aging. 

“You told Harpo to beat me.”

“Sat in that jail…sat in that jail ‘til I near ‘bout done rot to death.”

“I knowed there is a God.”



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