Posts Tagged ‘albany’

In the local elections this fall, I know and respect all of the candidates.  But, competition is actually healthy; competition like Obama vs. Hillary that elevated both of their games.  I can’t help but think that better competition might  have compel Rep. Sanford Bishop to have been hungrier legislatively and could have lead him into the U.S. Senate or a presidential cabinet postition.



Barrack Obama was defeated in a U.S. House race by Bobby Rush, who is from Albany, Georgia.  Heaven only knows who would be president today if Obama got bogged down in the morass of the House.



Local and state elected positions are building blocks for federal positions.  Actually, there are members of the state legislature who never wanted to be in the Congress.  Being a part-time lawmaker is cool but being a full-time congressman would be a pay cut for a person balling in the private sector. i.e. state Rep. Calin Smyre of Columbus.  By building blocks I mean that congressional candidates look to members of the state house and state senate for support.  Candidates for the state houses in turn look to local officials.  Of course, presidential candidates look to elected officials on all levels.



To make it plain, Hillary Clinton 2016 starts with local elections this year.



I am ticked off by the ultra conservatives who ran moderates out of the Republican Party and who are designing laws and procedures in the state capitol to limited Americans from voting.  They seem to be functioning under the Jean-Paul Sartre/Malcolm X phrase “By any means necessary.”



Gerrymandering of state legislature and U.S. Congress lines have left large sections of the South with one party leadership. In other words, candidates can win elections with little input and support from anyone who doesn’t look like them or thinking totally like them.  My friends in the conservative movement will dare elected officials to listening to and explaining matters to the other side.  I thought that was their jobs.  To give credit where credit is due, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Jack Kingston love to talk issues with anyone in their service areas—hats off to them for that.



I want paraphrase Jesus to those whom might come up short in the coming election: Let not your heart be troubled…in my father’s house are many mansions.”  The houses I have in mind are the state house and state senate.  These are the legislative bodies where laws like “stand your ground” were passed. The place where state officials and lawmakers think it is cute to make it hard for regular people of any color to vote.



Look, I didn’t like former Democrat Congressman Jim Marshall and I gladly voted for reasonable Republican candidate Austin Scott because Marshall slamming Dems was too much.  With the same strategy in mind, I hope that some of the candidates who fall short in the local elections will consider running for the state houses next year—from either major political party.   I am sure that there are enough southern moderates to sway some primaries next year.



The most important matter is massive voter turnout.  You can vote for Dora the Explorer for all I care but vote because someone is trying to reverse your rights.  “Oh, after Obama is off the ballot…those people will go back to not voting again….right?”   Wrong.



In the future, we will have some Republican sistas in the Georgia congressional delegation.  These conservative ladies will keep legislative debate civic and tell my community what wise people already know—that the government isn’t your bank.


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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 should listen to the jam band Cameo during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.  Of course, he must hit the Black Dog Tavern and cop a t-shirt and cap.  An old friend sent me a Black Dog hat and people in south Georgia wonder if the “Black Dog” is an African-American sub-group inside the Blue Dog Coalition.

It should be because people can’t understand how some Democrats who benefited from President Clinton and President Obama conveniently sidestep the Dem team at times.  Cameo is coming to Albany, Georgia, next month and I hope they do the slow jam “Don’t Be Lonely” in honor of President Obama since the lyrics summarize how some Dems are running from him or how the Democrat base might feel about some candidates—“Hey, long time no see.” “Don’t be lonely…you’re not the only one who feels the way you do.”  “What would you do if you were in my shoes..you insist on trying to find a way back into my heart..I was never one to take two steps back and I will never start.”  It sounds like Larry Blackmon was singing about slick candidates.

The dictionary’s definitions of “cameo” include “a brief but dramatic appearance of a prominent actor in a single scene.”  In politics, the cameo appearance of candidates in our community will be central to swaying swing elections this fall—come correct.

At black college football games, Cameo’s “Talking Out the Side of Your Neck” is another standard.  With important issues on the table, more voters are well-informed these days and candidates can’t say one thing to one group and something else to another.  Conservative Georgians in both parties have concerns about the healthcare reform law while other Georgians will back those who supported President Obama’s historic efforts. Mr. President, you shouldn’t be lonely- enjoy your vacation and come back ready. 

One day, I am going into the Black Dog Tavern and buy my own t-shirt.  If you see a brother in ATL, MIA, NYC or DC with the Black Dog logo, it is a sign of success.  I really shouldn’t rock that hat while my wealth is shorter than a midget on his knees (Ice Cube lyric.)  At the same time, candidates shouldn’t rock “Democrat” on the ballot if they can stand up for the sitting President as GOPers stood up for President George W. Bush. 

Albany State University Show Band

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While listening to Marketplace on National Public Radio this week, I was surprised to learn that the guy from the Free Credit Report T.V. ad campaign is French Canadian.  He sounds nothing like the All-American voice of the person who actually singing in the ads.

That situation got me thinking about the “grassroots” of political debates in this country.  People are bad as hell and rightfully so because the diet of information in their ears would lead anyone to certain conclusions and opinions.

But, not so fast.  We must consider the agendas ($$$) of those who would prod and push this great nation toward another civil war.  My life-long friends are basically good people but when they hear something over and over again it must be true because they heard it over and over again.  I am personally concerned with our mounting debt with China and to learn that a Chinese company now owns Volvo.  I have had five Volvos and wanted to one day purchase a new one but with “no money it’s still a wish” as Rakim rapped. 

Real people with real concerns is a real problem for officeholders.  But, what is really real is that the Machiavellian brains behind movements on both ends of the political spectrum are at it again.  They are about job creation and job protection—theirs.  To achieve their goals, they will stop at nothing.  Thomas Jefferson said the institution of slavery was like having a tiger by the tail—you don’t want to hold on but you can’t let go. 

To me the current congress is in a similar situation.  The Democrats know spending is out of control but the interest groups who support them want their goodies.  The Republicans have the powerful Tea Party Movement in their corner but those guys are not along for the ride; they want to drive.  If the TPM doesn’t drive, the GOP can get ran over. 

So the Free Credit Report guy Eric Violette actually sounds like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and my friends who live on misinformation are sounding like Che Guevara.  It’s going to be an interesting summer and eventful fall.  They should listen to NPR more before they explode in anger.  Doesn’t healthcare reform cover that and how much is the co-pay.  Okay, I must admit that I thought “why can’t more Americans be cool like that band on the credit report ad.” 


Albany Herald columnist Carlton Fletcher wrote a great piece on a related subject in yesterday’s paper.


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Carlton Fletcher wrote a must read column in the Albany Herald today.  If you are from rural Georgia, you know the term “Busleft” and you know about crazy family.  I can talk about my family but you can’t.  You know, family could include our church family, our state, our South, our community, our political party, our college, our nation and our race.  It’s all about a family tree and sometimes we wish we could prune some rotten branches.  Yes, I have so much to say about the design of our new church and haven’t bought a brick or nail yet.  “See what had happen is the market is killing my pocket—not the Nasdaq…the supermarket and the job market.”   

In a strange twist, I almost always understand Fletcher’s point of view but rarely get Black columnist Thomas Sowell.  You know Zora  Neale Hurston said “Just because we skin folks, don’t mean we kin folks.”  On the other hand, when Black leaders get slam relentlessly we circle the wagons—even when Blacks folks are doing the slamming.  “Say one more thing about Condoleezza and it is on.”  So, Sowell is still family and let the brother speak.  I am turning into a walking contradiction.

On Meet the Press today, it was reported that 85% of Republicans will likely vote next November but only 50% of Democrats.  With all the pressing issues on the national plate, Dems not voting would be odd and Blacks not voting would be crazy.  To be on the safe side, we need to look at a few Black GOP congressional candidates.  Hey, we got to hedge our bets.  I could go on about “get on the bus” and tie in “Busleft” but the Falcons playing in a few.

Carlton Fletcher’s column


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I opened the Albany Heard newspaper this morning and saw four brothers from my old high school on the front page in military uniforms. A couple of them played varsity basketball since they are tall as Georgia pines. The brothers’ mother has noticed the maturity her sons have developed in the service but they were already well-mannered and respectful gentlemen. They were in school with a young Marine from my church who is heading to Afghanistan soon.

The Armed Forces have long been a great option or opportunity for Black southerners who sought travel, training and career stability.  To serve under this commander-in-chief is particularly sweet for some but let’s hope the two major theaters of war don’t become quagmires.

To the lady at the Town Hall meeting on T.V. who angrily said she wants “her” country back, I would remind her that people who look like me provided free labor that built the South after this contiunte was stolen from the Native Americans.  Secondly, brown, red and black troops have served honorably in high numbers in front line/combat units for decades.  So, think before you speak (shout) because “this land is your land…. this land is my land….this land is made for you and me.”

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I personally like two components in downtown redevelopment in Georgia: funky and mixed use.  The main street programs in Tifton, Moultrie, Americus, Madison and Athens are so cool to me.  Eccentric shops, coffee houses, sports bars, and bookstores might provide an after hour balance to the lunch spots for governmental workers in Albany.  When Albany State plays FVSU in Columbus, we make an annual stop at a place called the Cannon Brew Pub on Broad Street; that area could be the model for downtown Albany with the hip college kids and people who find the mall area lacking in character.  I have not been there but I hear good things about the Broad area of Augusta. 

Yes, it was a rough day when Bo Henry headed west because the second floor of his place had that vibe.  The old Broad Street Bistro had a chef from a local country club who took hook up a peanut entrusted pan-seared trout that was brilliant and all within minutes of my old office.

So let’s operate backwards for a second: while some people are wary of downtown Albany after dark, who are the possible brave souls who might help turn the area around.  I might be wrong but I still like students from the three colleges and obviously brave Marines.  I wish downtown jumped when I was in the dorm at ASU because walking across the bridge to an entertainment zone could have been too cool.  Remember Morehouse College and Spelman College, and pre-Olympics Georgia Tech (Techwood Homes) are/were in some rough areas that make downtown Albany seem like nothing to fear.  It is my understanding that Yale and the University of South California are in rough areas and I know every college student must be careful anywhere in D.C.

With all the concerns, different clienteles are packing them in at the Albany Theater.  If I were a young person, I could get into living in the building that had the crosses on top during Christmas if it was converted into apartments and lofts with ASU upperclassmen in mind.  But what am I thinking, the new dorms at ASU are great.  I am having a hard time thinking of an HBCU that is closer to a hip area and I would like seeing college students living in a town where a car is not a necessity—don’t forget about the Darton and Albany Tech students as well as young working people.  What about college hours at the First Tee? 

Another model for downtown Albany is the cool NoDa area of Charlotte, North Carolina.  They have a bar for people with dogs.  I am tired of people saying that the Albany area is fine in many ways but let’s run to Atlanta every other weekend.  




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To Jeff Sexton at SWGA Politics blog


Jeff: Did I just come home from church to see that Carlton Fletcher gave you and your blog mad love in his Sunday column in the Albany Herald?  Wait just a cotton-picking minute; your meteoric blog just stepped in the game and already Fletcher is commenting on you. 


Fletcher…Albany State Grad Fletcher…we when to the same college Fletcher…never read ProjectLogicGa.com produced by ASU grad me Fletcher.  I tip the Panama hat I worn to church today (actually I got it in Ecuador) to you and SWGA Politics for the nod Fletcher gave you guys.   And Carlton Fletcher was right about having a deep detailed newspaper in one’s hand—I still can’t believe that the AJC is not available in south Georgia anymore.  When he wrote that he was not going to bank on the depth of reporting from anyone whose job description includes “getting your makeup right,” was he talking about you or the TV news reporters he mentioned.  Lewis Grizzard is smiling on the other side about that line. 


Fletcher’s article about “Bright Flight or White Flight” from Albany into Leesburg is an instant classic.  In Worth County, we welcome those working in east Albany who seek a quieter community.  Whom am I fooling; those kids (Black, White and Brown) with the booming car stereos are about to drive me into the rural area of Worth County. 


If Fletcher reads this, he should tell Candace the Herald’s circulation department that I am again sorry for fussing about my paper not being in the box this morning; the thoughtful delivery person tossed it in the garage because someone who likely doesn’t read has been stealing my paper lately.  The communities of Isabella,  Acre and Ty Ty are starting to look pretty good these days.  


I am no where near anybody’s journalist…I am just a guy venting and waiting for Sawgrass and the NBA to come on the tube.




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While reading the Albany Herald today, I recognize the picture of Teacher of the Year candidate Jordan Cambron of Alice Coachman Elementary in Albany as a young man with in-laws in my neighborhood in Sylvester, Georgia.  It might be a stretch but we are claiming him just like the assorted PHDs, grad degrees, military honors and major college graduates from my street.  

To play Six Degrees of Separation, Cambron teaches at Alice Coachman; Coachman was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal; Wiley Brown of the 1980 NCAA National Champion Louisville Cardinals (who grew up across the street from me and honed his basketball skills on my backyard dirt whole court) would have been an Olympian if President Carter did not boycott the Moscow Games.

 What shocked me about the article on Cambron is that he is the only male teacher at this urban school.  Readers of this blog know that I think diversity and exposure are good things.  So, I was trouble to hear of young boys and girls, many from single-parent households, who only encounter one male teacher in the whole school.  Chuck D of Public Enemy say, “when a man is in the house; the bull _______  stop.”  That statement is not always the case because I know some really successful people who grew up with no father at home and I know some families where the father ruin the household vibe.  It is always better for kids to see positive men and women at home, at church, at school and in the community. 

 Cambron came into teaching after being a policeman; he chose to address problems with young people in a positive and encouraging way early before negative behavior developed. 

In the down economy, people need to desperately cling to their sources of income that puts bread on the table.  However, many so-called teachers are going through the motions to “stay paid” and make retirement.  If you have a community filled with teachers who are the opposite of Cambron and the other teacher of the year candidates, you will have in time a community of unemployable young adults who wonder why the public school system failed to reach them. 

I like nice things which cost money (overseas trips, dinners with an engaging lady, E-Class Benzes) but I seldom considered teaching school when I was/am “between opportunities” because factories and plants are the important but teaching and training the next generation is essential and should not be taken nonchalantly.  When an industry considers a community, the dog and pony show from the Chamber of Commerce helps but industrial managers want to see the school records—do you have a developed labor force that can do these jobs?

Knuckleheads in the community will always run up to public officials and staffers to complain, “Why you all don’t bring no good high payin’ jobs down here?  I can’t fed no five kids with no minimum wage.”  Of course, the officials want to ask what this citizen has done in preparation for work and did the complainer consider the budgetary information covered in high school econ class when planning a large family.  I should stop now before I say something…….

Hats off to Cambron, my brother Andrew and the other men strong enough to deal with those “challenging” lower grade children.  I might get broke but I can’t get broke enough to face that Herculean task—what money I did make would likely go to legal defense for going off on those little monsters.  Okay, I am kidding because most kids want to learn but that worst 10% will frail your nerves.

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Former Newt Gingrich staffer Matt Towery, who heads the political firm Insider Advantage, has the “right” idea about what’s next for the Republicans.  Notice I did not say “conservatives” because some mild conservatives might find a comfortable home inside the Democrat Party if the Blue Dogs continue to growth.  If the White House initiatives actually start to kick-in, the Blue Dog conservative Democrats numbers could counterbalance some of the liberal weight and produce a near center party.  That nightmare scenario could be real trouble for the GOP.

Why Fox or CNN hasn’t put a pile of money in front of Towery is a mystery because the guy makes good old common sense.  In a recent column, Towery wrote of the need for new blood in the GOP.  I personally don’t think the Republican party is on life support quite yet, but they could use some new style points to get their swagger back. 

(Here comes a classic ramble)

So I am watching ABC Private Practice last night because that show is almost as thought-provoking as Grey’s Anatomy (recorded CSI and NBC’s Southland—I need a life).  The guy who saved the lady president on Fox’s 24 is starting a cutting edge medical facility and trying to woo the attractive sister over to his operation.  The lady with the cool southern accent who runs the regular hospital wants the job but the guy from 24 said no and by the way, you are fired because you don’t have a heart.  Ouch.

My point is that you must have a heart to go with your mind or the people will notice and react.  Love him or hate him, Obama has a heart and cares about moving America forward.  The same statement can be said about Newt Gingrich, Obama’s obvious opponent in 2012. 

On the subject of heart, contributor to this blog Helen Blocker Adams of Augusta is celebrating her birthday today so I assume the local schools are closed for the holiday or for flu prevention.  Helen is an asset to the region because she has a kind heart and the area elected officials must be hearing the footsteps of her approaching stylish pumps—watch out. 

Republican Ray McKinney of Savannah brought new blood to the 12th District congressional race last year but the blue bloods wanted a D.C. insider.    The return of the GOP starts with new blood from existing sources. 


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Former Georgia 12th congressional district candidate John Stone recently announced that he is taking a position back in Washington and will not be a candidate for that seat in 2010.  His decision is a good idea because that district (and the 2nd and 8th) is for a moderate GOP candidate—those don’t exist…yet.  The correct GOP candidate for these three districts would be a Republican version of the Democrat’s Blue Dogs—someone ideologically near center.


If Democrat voters have learn to live with Bishop, Marshall, Scott and Barrow being near center, then Republicans need to do the same with certain candidates in certain races.  But, arrogance prevails and they want all GOP candidates to be far right 100% of the time—you can’t win like that.  Secondly, arrogance is present when any party or group won’t honestly admit when their team could have done things better.  I give John Stone credit for truthfully analysis policy problems from the right and left during his congressional campaign.  Stone must have realized that winning that seat would have required him becoming a political chameleon and in his heart that was something he could not do.


During the Obama inauguration, my mind went to his battle with Senator Hilary Clinton.  Basically, Clinton and Obama helped define yet other like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I don’t think voters would have consider him “tested” enough without that challenge from Clinton and later McCain.


Potential Georgia congressional candidates should spent 2010 listening to the people and finding their voice.  Of course, hopefuls might learn that there are not right for the race in their area.  A candidacy could be positioning for future races after redistricting. (It is hard to explain that to your spouse.)


In the 2nd congressional district, we were caught off guard by the possibility of Congressman Sanford Bishop leaving for the U.S.D.A.  Who is the 2nd district heir apparent?  Could we grow an Albany-Valdosta area person to replace Bishop when President Obama makes him a cabinet member in the future?  Tifton, Albany and Valdosta should be in one congressional district and Bishop deserves to have a Columbus-based district.  Yes, Congressman Westmoreland is right about modifying the Voting Rights Act because (to me) Moultrie and Covington have no business in the same district and the same is true for Columbus and Valdosta. 




Competitive contests keep incumbents on their toes and groom the next generation of leaders.  The Albany Herald newspaper reports that the GOP 2nd District Convention will be April 18 and the GOP State Convention will start on May 15.  By mid-April, moderate GOP contenders for Scott, Bishop, Barrow and Marshall emerge should—think Obama, Palin types.  These candidates might not win in 2010 but the redistricting committee will have something to consider.


Moderate GOP candidates in heavy African American districts should be reasonable conservatives who will sit at the table with the new administration and push conservative elements into the new agenda.  (Like Newt improving the Clinton agenda on budget and welfare reform.)


This morning former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough (currently of MSNBC) told Congressman Artur Davis that many congressional Democrats also endorsed the Bush policies.  This great point opens the door for critical analysis of the rubberstamping Democrats by new-style GOP and Dem candidates.  “President Obama is rebuilding from Democrat miscues also.”


Oh boy, President Obama is about to open up with both barrels regarding personal responsibility and “ask not what this country can do for you..”  Is that from JFK or Newt?  So, the next logical question is why didn’t the Democrats start this discussion in the past.  In fairness, Bishop and the Blue Dogs have tried on some level, but Havard Law grad Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama is one of the leaders of the new school with Obama.  Where does that leave the old school?


Political diversity for our community is an objective of this blog and we believe a smiling, positive conservative with a rich civic resume could move the GOP forward and received new support from across the racial and political spectrum.   Steal a play from the Dems playbook; stop living in the past.  To me, getting positive southern Republicans is what’s next for the South.

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The news of Cooper Tire Plant closing in Albany has made for a solemn holiday season in southwest Georgia. I can’t go to the post office without having a gloomy conversation or two about the families involved—cousins, classmates, friends. If you read the past post on this blog, my writing implored south Georgia voters to declare Saxby Chambliss and Sanford Bishop our guys so they could focus on getting Cooper off the cropping block like Georgia members of Congress have kept our military bases safe. It turns out the fix could have been in from the start.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board wrote today (article found below) that Cooper Tires might have been “playing” south Georgia. They speculated that Cooper knew the Albany plant would close and they used the study period to entice sweeter deals from the other three plant cities—good business or dirty pool?


I am reading The Last Lecture by the late Randy Pausch—positive man who departed this life to soon. In his chapter “Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder,” Dr. Pausch wrote,” Too many people go though life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”

The Cooper employees are being dignified about their situation at this point but if they get to feeling down they can remember that Randy Pausch and many others would love to be in their shoes—this too shall pass.

Was closing inevitable?
Based on the information that has come out, it may have been the right decision for Cooper, though it is a devastating blow to a region that is already the ninth-poorest congressional district in the United States. Metro Albany’s unemployment is above the state average, and it’s guaranteed to trend upward as the layoffs progress in the shutdown process that will be completed by the end of December 2009. Southwest Georgia and its retail core of metro Albany are already struggling with the stagnant economy that is gripping the nation. Losing the half-billion dollars a year that Cooper meant to the regional economy will make the hole deeper and harder to climb out of.
What makes the already bad situation even worse for many is the suspicion that the decision was made long before the study was conducted.
In mid-November, The Albany Herald received anonymous correspondence from a source that purported to be Cooper employees at Findlay, Ohio. The letter bore a Findlay postmark. Verifying the contents of the letter was problematic, but in retrospect the contents proved to be remarkably prescient. “It is with a great degree of certainty that we know Cooper plans to close the Albany plant,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, the facility study is a ploy to fleece the other states out of any financial assistance they can offer.”
If that was the strategy, it worked ideally for Cooper. In Findlay, Ohio, union workers at the Cooper plant voted to accept a pay cut. In Texarkana, the union voted to kill its contract and pass another one in which workers’ salaries were frozen and other concessions were made. Mississippi is giving Cooper $30 million in incentives to keep its non-unionized plant in Tupelo open. As soon as the last piece — the Texarkana plant vote last week — fell into place, Cooper’s board met and the decision to put Southwest Georgians out of work was made.
If the decision to close the plant was made completely on the merits, then, painful as it is, you have to accept it for what it is — a reasoned business decision. But if Albany’s workers never had a chance and were merely held out as human bargaining chips so Cooper officials could wrestle better deals at their other plants, that is contemptible.
And given the timing, the letter and the chain of events, there unfortunately is some reason to be suspicious.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board

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You know I hate when family fights in public but I had to write a letter to the Editor of the Albany Herald regarding a fellow member of the Albany State University Pol Sci family and one Governor Sarah Palin.  For background, my letter responded to Dr. Konde’s op-eds stating that who you are as a person or leader is measure by your level of education and the prestige of your colleges.


My letter:    


Konde’s comments counterproductive

I voted for Obama/Biden yesterday because I real want positive change for our nation. Then, Sanford and Saxby got votes because their work in agriculture is vital to Georgia’s economy. As an ASU double grad in political science, my thoughts turned to Hollis, Rhodes, Mobley, Joshi and the elegance of Tucker when reading the on-going battle between Professor Konde and Palin supporters. Dr. Konde, your well-intended jousting regarding academic degrees is driving Clinton-type voters to the polls for Palin. You are playing into their plans. Rep. Jim Marshall is Ivy League like the Obamas, but he would never put Princeton in his ads — only old pickup trucks. Dr. Konde should reread the Art of War or read the notes on our black moderate blog Project Logic GA. Sun Tzu wrote, “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.”

Team Obama and reasonable people stopped attacking Gov. Palin and switched focus to actual issues. There is an old story about Congressman Bishop’s father, who was college president during the Iranian hostage crisis. When the Iranian students started to protest America on campus, President Bishop promptly sent them home. The late Dr. Lois Hollis and the late President Bishop would recommend caution during these delicate days — don’t fan the flames.

 T. S. Sylvester Georgia


Dr. Konde’s Op Ed

Palin’s supporters promote mediocrity

In “Is Palin ready for office?” (SundayViews, Sept. 7), I argued that Gov. Sarah Palin is ill-qualified for the office of vice president and explained why. I was unambiguous and lucid. Some people were taken aback by my contention and felt compelled to question my pedigree: “How dare him?” Given that my detractors could not answer my fundamental argument with equal zeal and clarity, they naturally found recourse to tangential issues not even remotely related to the argument.

One respondent accused me of plagiarism (Sept. 8), a second noted that I was writing from a position of hysteria (Sept. 8), a third thought I was unfair (Sept. 10), while another directed my attention to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Sept. 10). And then there was The SquawkBox (Sept. 10) where some people berated me as the “pompous professor,” teaching hate, and more. These attempts at derogation notwithstanding, none of my detractors rose to present a cogent rebuttal. I am truly the disappointed man.

The litany of invective has been dragged on into week two, with David Morey’s “Elitism ‘inspires’ mediocrity” (Sept. 17). I wonder what was so elitist about my candid perspective, or so mediocre about my contention! I will not characterize Morey’s person as elitist; but mediocre, his ideas are. Note the distinction I make between the person and his ideas. It is not normal for one with a first degree to present himself as an intellectual counterweight to me. No, Mr. Morey, I will not cower to platitudes. You come across as one with the mentality of people of by-gone years, and operate on the assumption that it is your prerogative to tell me when to inhale, exhale and when not to.

I reject your stance because I stand on a pedestal constructed by valiant men and women who came before me. I will not relent in the face of your insult packaged as erudition. You are mistaken to think that your first degree in engineering is better than a graduate degree earned from Albany State University.

I do not subscribe to the outdated notions which seem to pervade the world you inhabit — a world that time has gleefully left behind. That an engineer with a four-year degree from Mercer University would muster the audacity to challenge a historian in the realm of ideas is quite astounding.

And, yes! I know because I think. I know the contours and trajectory of your histrionics; and, I adamantly refuse to surrender an iota of intellectual ground!

The facts: Gov. Palin’s language is sophomoric. She earned a bachelor’s degree in six years attending five different institutions. If the majority of Americans were prone to that kind of erratic schooling, I would be compelled to tender my apology. But such is not the case. Gov. Palin is unique in this regard. Read: Hawaii Pacific University (one semester), North Idaho College (two semesters), University of Idaho (two semesters), Matanuska-Susitna College (one semester), and back to the University of Idaho (three semesters, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism).

Palin appears not to have made her mark on the college newspaper or campus television station at the University of Idaho. Upon returning to Alaska, however, she worked briefly as a sportscaster for KTUU in Anchorage, and thereafter began her meteoric rise to power as could be possible only in Alaska. And now some ill-advised ideologues want to foist her on America as the best the Republican Party could find? My detractors should take a deep breath and think things over. Adieu!

Emmanuel Konde is an associate professor of history at Albany State University.


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