If you want to engage in a little cultural schadenfreude this morning, cast your eyes toward New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised a review of public monuments that one critic is already calling “McCarthyism of a reverse sort.” From today’s New York Times:
Ulysses S. Grant — commemorated in at least two statues in Brooklyn and a monumental tomb in Upper Manhattan — issued an order to expel Jews from three states during the Civil War. Horatio Seymour — a New York politician whose portrait is displayed in City Hall — ran as the Democratic presidential candidate against Grant in 1868, heading up a racially-charged campaign in which some of his supporters used the slogan, “This is a White Man’s Country; Let White Men Rule.” The Duke of York, namesake of New York City, was involved in the slave trade.
On Monday, the mayor found himself defending Christopher Columbus, saying he would march in the Columbus Day Parade as a proud Italian-American. But days earlier his political ally, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, condemned the explorer for atrocities visited on Native Americans, saying she has never marched in the parade and will not this year.
It almost makes you wonder when people in Atlanta are going to figure out that the Spanish fellow for whom Ponce de Leon Avenue is named, though he died 340 years before the Civil War, was something of a slaver.
Georgia Power told state regulators this morning that it should keep building new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, despite delays expected to nearly double their ultimate price tag, the AJC’s Russell Grantham reports. One sign of the political sensitivity of such a decision: Within minutes, Gov. Nathan Deal immediately seconded the motion via press release. Said Deal: “These new units will provide clean and affordable energy to Georgians for more than 60 years while creating 6,000 jobs during project construction and 800 well-paying, permanent ones after.”
Former U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young has joined James Baker III, the former Reagan cabinet member, in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that condemns both national parties for engaging in identity politics. A taste:
The country faces a stark choice. Its citizens can continue screaming at each other, sometimes over largely symbolic issues. Or they can again do what the citizens of this country have done best in the past—work together on the real problems that confront everyone.
Let Georgia’s new happy hour begin: For the first time since Prohibition, local craft breweries and distilleries, beginning Friday, will be legally allowed to sell limited amounts of their beer and spirits directly to customers. The AJC’s Kristina Torres has the details here.
Before Hurricane Harvey, Republicans in Congress had planned a vote next week on a spending bill that would have shifted $876 million away from FEMA disaster relief, according to WSB Radio’s Jamie DuPree. The idea was to use that cash to cover about half of a new border wall with Mexico. That’s changed, of course.
But speaking of Dupree: He’s speaking. At least a little. For the last 18 months or so, his voice has abandoned him — a tough blow for a man who makes his living on radio. But Dupree showed up at WSB studios in Atlanta this morning. Here’s what came next:
The Pew Research Center has come out with data this week that’s likely to figure into any debate over U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s proposal to cut legal immigration by half.
Immigrant women boosted the annual number of births nationwide and in all but two U.S. states – California and Rhode Island – between 1990 and 2015, according to the research center:
Nationally, the annual number of births declined 4% from 1990 to 2015 – the result of a 10% decline in total births attributable to U.S.-born women. This was partially offset by a 6% increase in total births attributable to immigrant women. In other words, without these births to foreign-born women, the total decline in annual U.S. births would have been more than twice as large.
Had it not been for immigrant women, Georgia’s population would have flat-lined between 1990 and 2015. Instead, it grew by 17 percent. That’s an important consideration for baby boomers in need of a growing population to feed the Social Security machine.
We’re picking up word that two Democrats are eyeing a run for the newly-vacated Fulton County commission chair: State Rep. Keisha Waites and state Sen. Horacena Tate, both of Atlanta. Former Fulton Commissioner Robb Pitts is also in the race, as is Gabriel Sterling, a Republican and Sandy Springs councilman.
Another candidate has jumped in the race to succeed Republican state Sen. Hunter Hill of Atlanta, who resigned this week to focus on a run for governor. Atlanta businessman Charlie Fiveash is running as a Republican and “political outsider” to represent one of the most competitive districts in Georgia. He is putting a pledge to attack traffic congestion and increase mobility at the heart of his campaign.
Three Democrats and two other Republicans have already filed paperwork to represent the district, which spans parts of north Atlanta and east Cobb. Democrats are salivating at the chance to flip the district: Hillary Clinton carried the territory in November, and Hill narrowly staved off a challenger.
This got a little lost in the late summer doldrums, but the House Ethics Committee announced earlier this week that it is reviewing allegations against New York GOP Congressman Chris Collins. What exactly does that have to do with #gapol world, you ask?
The Trump ally was a not insignificant presence during the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Tom Price as the Roswell Republican was being vetted to become health secretary.
Collins, you may remember, was dinged for his involvement with the Australian pharma firm Innate Immunotherapeutics. He participated in the company’s initial public offering, and he allegedly touted the company to other members of Congress — including Price, who reportedly then purchased shares of stock at a special early bird rate. That came as Congress was advancing a medical research bill.
A 2012 law bans lawmakers from buying or selling stocks based on non-public information. What Price knew and when dominated his two Senate confirmation hearings back in January.
Both Collins and Price have denied any wrongdoing.
The House Ethics Committee doesn’t have jurisdiction over Price now that he’s no longer in Congress, but their probe into Collins shows investigators think they may have enough to suggest wrongdoing. The Ethics panel can also defer matters to the Justice Department, which does have oversight of Cabinet officials like Price.
The White House held a “Conversation on Infrastructure” on Wednesday that brought about a dozen Georgia officials to Washington. Among them: DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester, state Sens. Burt Jones and Tyler Harper, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and House Speaker David Ralston.