Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

Lucy Visits Capital on Final day of Session.


 

Crazy Cat Terrorizes Connecticut Town


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Residents of the neighborhood of Sunset Circle say they have been terrorized by a crazy cat named Lewis. Lewis for his part has been uniquely cited, personally issued a restraining order by the town's animal control officer.
"He looks like Felix the Cat and has six toes on each foot, each with a long claw," Janet Kettman, a neighbor said Monday. "They are formidable weapons."
The neighbors said those weapons, along with catlike stealth, have allowed Lewis to attack at least a half dozen people and ambush the Avon lady as she was getting out of her car.
Some of those who were bitten and scratched ended up seeking treatment at area hospitals.
Animal Control Officer Rachel Solveira placed a restraining order on him. It was the first time such an action was taken against a cat in Fairfield.
In effect, Lewis is under house arrest, forbidden to leave his home.
Solveira also arrested the cat's owner, Ruth Cisero, charging her with failing to comply with the restraining order and reckless endangerment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

Governor gets illegals bill

Lucy upset that illegal immigrants do not abide by the leash law


By JIM THARPE, CARLOS CAMPOS
The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 03/29/06

The Georgia General Assembly's attempt to confront illegal immigration won final legislative approval Tuesday. But anyone expecting quick results will be disappointed.
Even the author of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act has stressed that his bill will not solve most Georgians' complaints about people who are in the country illegally.

"It took 30 years to get here, and we're not going to solve it overnight," said state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), who wrote the 13-page bill. "This is a multiyear process."
The measure, Senate Bill 529, won final approval Tuesday in the Georgia House
119-49 in an anticlimactic, procedural vote. Gov. Sonny Perdue is expected to sign the bill into law but has not indicated when.
Many of the things the bill does address will not be dealt with for more than a year at the earliest. And some key provisions will not kick in until near the end of the decade.
The bill requires government agencies to verify the legal status of any adult applying for taxpayer-provided benefits. But the bill exempts things like prenatal care and treatment for communicable diseases.
And the bill did not even attempt to deal with what are estimated to be the largest costs: emergency medical care for illegal immigrants or the ability of their children to attend public schools. Those taxpayer-supported services have been guaranteed by the federal courts.
'This is the art of politics'
Major provisions of the bill are aimed at employers who hire illegal immigrants. The measure attempts to guarantee that employees of companies that hold public contracts hire only workers who are legally in the country, beginning July 1, 2007, for large companies. The provision for the smallest employers would not be triggered until July 1, 2009.
A centerpiece of the legislation, a provision that would attempt to make private employers hire only legal workers, would not kick in until the 2008 tax year. That means enforcement would not come until 2009.
Rogers said he wanted an earlier trigger date, but powerful farming and business interests weighed in with legislators in their districts. The message was clear: Activate this part of the proposal too soon and it won't pass.
"I would have lobbied for a much earlier date," Rogers said. "But this is the art of politics, and I'd rather have something rather than nothing."
The bill is expected to have little if any impact on the massive cash economy in which many illegal immigrants work. A landscaper who pays illegal immigrants in cash and does not attempt to claim their wages as a business expense on his state taxes would not be affected.
"I don't know how to solve that part of the problem," Rogers said as the bill neared final passage. The bill also does little to address the massive problem of bogus documents, which many illegal immigrants buy to make them appear legal. Rogers has bemoaned the lack of any viable solution to that problem, but said it has to be addressed to get a real handle on illegal immigration.
Earlier this week, lawmakers deleted a section of the bill that would have imposed a 5 percent fee for illegal immigrants wiring money out of the country, because they feared it could not withstand legal scrutiny.
Proponents say the legislation is needed because the federal government has failed to secure the borders, allowing waves of illegal immigrants to flood Georgia — estimates range from 250,000 to 800,000. Supporters of a crackdown say they have overburdened the state's taxpayer-supported services while paying few taxes.
Critics say those undocumented workers underpin many industries and take jobs Americans refuse to do. They view Rogers' bill as a misguided effort that has created fear and confusion in the immigrant community.
"It's unfortunate that the state thinks that they need to weigh in on immigration, particularly when it's a federal issue and the U.S. Senate is poised to act on this issue," said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved a bill that would create a foreign guest worker program and put millions of illegal immigrants on track toward permanent residency and U.S. citizenship.
Georgia officials say they are acting because the federal government has failed to address the issue over the past decade. Polls show that more than 80 percent of Georgians want state lawmakers to deal with the issue, a powerful motivator in an election year when all 236 legislative seats are up for grabs.
"I'm not going to sit around here and wait for Congress or the Supreme Court or anyone else," House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) said following Tuesday's vote. "We've taken the lead on this issue."
Similar measures in U.S.
Georgia is not alone. The National Conference on State Legislatures reported last month that legislators in 42 states had introduced more than 360 bills related to immigration.
"I am very relieved that the Georgia Legislature has listened to the 82 percent of Georgians who demanded that something be done here to begin to address the illegal immigration crisis," said D.A. King, an illegal immigration opponent from Cobb County. "Many people will now see the true determination of the illegal alien lobby who will spend a lot of money challenging this in federal court."
Tisha Tallman, regional counsel for the Atlanta office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said SB 529 is potentially unconstitutional because it pre-empts federal law. MALDEF, which has challenged similar measures in other states, is considering a lawsuit if SB 529 is signed into law, she said.
Staff writer Ann Hardie and Knight Ridder Newspapers contributed to this article.

 

"arrogance across the aisle"


By James Salzer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/28/06 12:43 PM
In a show reminiscent of some of the old battles of Democratic leaders, Republican House Speaker Glenn Richardson and GOP counterpart and Senate President Pro-tem Eric Johnson took turns publicly denouncing each other over a budget impasse that has the two chambers snarling at each other.
Lawmakers are set to adjourn the 2006 session on Thursday, and as of this morning, budget negotiators had made no headway toward agreeing to an $18.6 billion spending plan that must be approved before they go home.
A quick-tempered Richardson (R-Hiram), took to the well this morning and accused Johnson of trying to trade an agreement on the budget for Senate consideration of a House leadership-sponsored bill that would make it easier for Atlanta Gas Light to build a pipeline and charge ratepayers.
“I told him, hell no,” said Richardson. “I am not going to continue playing games with the budget. We are not going to trade bills for votes.”
Richardson said Senators want to insert language in the budget telling the judiciary how to spend money, a violation of judicial independence, he argued.
“This dispute is about a power play and about putting power over politics,” he said.
However, by telling House members about the AGL offer, Richardson broke legislative taboo against relaying private conversations.
Johnson (R-Savannah), reacted angrily, although he didn’t dispute Richardson’s characterization of the offer. He criticized the speaker for saying it was a mistake to allow the Senate to have its own budget office that, sometimes, works against the wishes of the House.
Johnson said, “There is an arrogance across the aisle in thinking the Senate should not have a seat at the (budget) table.
“We are down to hours of maybe getting out of here without a budget.”
Such threats, and arguments, are common over the budget. However, a few things make it different this time.
First, this is the first time the Republican leaders have publicly gone into the well to personally chastise each other. While Richardson and Johnson have had disagreements, they’ve generally aired them privately.
Also, this debate isn’t really about big items in the budget. Both sides agree to 7 percent raises for prison guards and patrolmen, 4 percent for teachers and most state employees, record education spending and $1 billion to build schools and roads.
And thirdly, it’s extremely late to not have started work on the differences between the two bodies over the budget. Budgets generally take a few weeks of negotiating. When House and Senate negotiators got together shortly before noon, they had 60 hours left to get their work done before the end of the session.
As of early this afternoon, leaders of the two chambers were considering proposals to break the impasse, and finally meeting in public.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Ralph Reed Hurting Sonny Perdue's bid for Governor


From the Peach Pundit

GEORGIA. The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Governor Sonny Perdue (R) is rapidly losing his numerical advantage. Last month, Perdue held leads of 20-points over either Secretary of State Cathy Cox (D) or Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor (D). The new numbers: Perdue-49%, Cox-41% … and Perdue-51%, Taylor-41%. Political pundits are already attributing Perdue’s decline to the steady stream of news articles in recent weeks that closely link GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate and former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed with corrupt DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff. “The Democrats, radical left, and dominant media have made numerous unfair personal attacks against Ralph,” claims Reed’s campaign. Professor Marvin Olasky — the close associate of President Bush who conceived the “compassionate conservative” concept — said Reed “has damaged Christian political work by confirming for some the stereotype that evangelicals are easily manipulated and that evangelical leaders use moral issues to line their own pockets.” Some Republican activists worry Reed’s continued presence on the statewide GOP ticket could potentially doom Perdue to an upset loss. Race rating: GOP Favored (but on the verge of slipping into the “Leans GOP” category).

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Cagle leads on property rights



Senate passes strong eminent domain measure

Atlanta, GA (Mar. 24) - Senator and Lt. Governor Candidate Casey Cagle took to the Senate floor today to continue leading the fight for passage of "The Landowner's Bill of Rights and Private Property Protection Act." Cagle also succeeded in winning support from the Senate to pass additional provisions he introduced strengthening the bill. This legislation -- a top priority of the Republican Senate majority-- represents one of the strongest statutes restricting the use of eminent domain and protecting the rights of private property owners in the entire nation. The Senate also authorized a Constitutional Amendment which would further limit the use of eminent domain if approved by the voters.Among other things, the new law would: Ban the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes. Prevent local governments from seizing private property without an open vote by the top governing authority. Limit government seizure of blighted property to only those cases where an immediate threat to public safety is posed. Give citizens much greater opportunity to be made aware of and voice their opinions on exercise of eminent domain. Improve the ability of owners to get a fair price for their property. "The U.S. Supreme Court may have fired the first shot in this battle with its disastrous decision in the Kelo case, but today's vote by our Republican Senate majority ensures it won't be the last. This legislation puts Georgia at the forefront of the entire country in protecting the rights of property owners. Strong private property rights are the core bedrock of our economic system, and we cannot do too much to protect them," said Cagle. Cagle also pledged to continue fighting to protect property rights, saying "As long as government has the power to exercise eminent domain, we need to continue working to ensure that power remains limited and property owners have a fair voice in the process. This is yet another step in what has been a long battle. We must remain vigilant in the future, and ratifying the Constitutional Amendment we also passed today is absolutely essential to that goal."

 

Scoop Jackson reports "Ralph Rides On"

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla announced today that the two-year statute of limitations governing Texas' lobby laws bars him from pursuing allegations that Ralph Reed violated Texas lobby disclosure laws four years ago. Recent probes of crooked federal lobbyist Jack Abramoff have produced evidence that Abramoff may have paid Reed in 2002 to lobby Texas officials on behalf of gambling interests and the in-school television network Channel One.Below is a link to a statement from Travis County Attorney Escamilla and a statement from TPJ Director Craig McDonald (TPJ, Texas Common Cause and Public Citizen Texas filed the Reed complaint with Escamilla in December 2005). To read that complaint: here. Statement of Craig McDonald:"The available evidence suggests that Jack Abramoff paid Ralph Reed millions of dollars in gambling money to lobby in Texas. Although this would rank among the largest lobby contracts ever to come to light in Texas, Mr. Reed failed to register as a lobbyist. Given the prosecutor's conclusion that the statute of limitations for such a crime grants Mr. Reed a walk, we reluctantly leave final judgment in this matter to higher powers."

 

Tucker Cagle attacks Ric Mayfield of Reed Camp











By Lucy

March 23, 2006
Ric Mayfield
TreasurerReed for Lt. Governor

Dear Ric,

My name is Tucker. I don’t like it when you make up stories about Casey Cagle. Casey is my owner. He feeds me, and walks me, and scratches that spot I can’t reach behind my ears. Casey and his family are my best friends.
When you say Casey is dishonest, I know that you know it isn’t true and you’re just carrying Ralph’s water for him. But I still don’t appreciate it. It’s wrong to say bad things that aren’t true about good people, and you know it. C’mon, Ric, I’m just a dog and I know that.
I have never bitten anyone, but I’ve got to say … if you and Ralph and his buddy Jack ever came to visit, I just might have to try it out. You have been a bad human, Ric. Go to your kennel!

Sincerely,
Tucker CagleDog

P.S. I don’t want to go to Ralph Reed’s house. Everyone who goes near him gets subpoenaed, and I don’t have enough doggie biscuits to pay for a lawyer (and I sure don’t want to go to the pound, even if it is a minimum security country club pound!).

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