Atheists give book 'credit' to Nathan Deal, Sam Olens

If “as rare as an atheist with a sense of humor” isn’t a maxim, then it should be.

However, they are taking Deal up on his suggestion that, like the Gideons, atheists put their own tomes in the rooms. The non-believers plan a Friday delivery to Black Rock Mountain State Park near Clayton, Ga.

From the press release, quoting American Atheists president David Silverman:

“We’ve made sure to label every book we’re donating as coming from us, of course. But each label also properly credits Governor Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens.”

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Stephen Colbert made his Late Show debut last night and immediately delved into politics, naturally. Here's how he began the below segment:

"Even though I have Jeb Bush on the show later tonight, I promise you, just like the rest of the media, I will be covering all the presidential candidates who are Donald Trump."

Watch here:

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Over the weekend, Emory University stalwarts Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster presented a paper on “negative partisanship” at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco. They opened with this:

Using data from the American National Election Studies, we show that as partisan identities have become more closely aligned with social, cultural and ideological divisions in American society, party supporters including leaning independents have developed increasingly negative feelings about the opposing party and its candidates. This has led to dramatic increases in party loyalty and straight-ticket voting, a steep decline in the advantage of incumbency and growing consistency between the results of presidential elections and the results of House, Senate and even state legislative elections.

But their PowerPoint presentation had this easy-too-grasp definition of “negative partisanship” for non-readers in the audience, too:

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Georgia budget-watchers can expect Gov. Nathan Deal to keep stashing more money into the state "rainy day" fund in case of tough economic times.

The fund had a balance of about $1.5 billion, or enough money to run the state for 30 days, in July 2007. But the Great Recession shellacked Georgia's economy and forced the state to slowly draw down the account to balance the state budgets between 2008 and 2010. The fund dwindled to just over $100 million by the end of fiscal year 2009.

Deal has made replenishing the fund a priority since his 2010 election, and a recovering economy hasn't hurt. The fund grew to about $860 million by June 2014, Deal told business leaders Tuesday, and now stands at around $1.3 billion.

He has a new target in mind: "My goal is to get the rainy day fund from $1.3 billion to $2 billion before I leave office. And our bond rating agencies say they want us to do that so they can have stability. We are using your money wisely and we are budgeting wisely."

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From the strange quotes file, we have this from Falcons owner Arthur Blank calling Chris Carr, Georgia's economic development commissioner, "the younger Nathan Deal.”

We also have Deal citing a more obscure Atlanta ranking: "We are now the nerdiest city in the country. And you know what they say - 'Nerds become bosses.’

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Republican activist, radio talk show host and lawyer Ashley Bell is behind this litigation. From the Associated Press:

Citing a sliver of civil rights-era legislation more commonly used as protection against discriminatory landlords, a black couple is suing their former neighbor and a north Georgia city they say failed to stop him from harassing them.

Gregory and Sophia Bonds say the slurs and threats began the day they moved into the brick ranch rental home in a well-kept neighborhood in Gainesville, northeast of Atlanta, back in February 2012.

Roy Turner Jr., the white neighbor who worked for the city's solid waste department, verbally assaulted them whenever he saw them outside, including sometimes while he was working, the couple contends. He also sometimes walked and made sounds like an ape when he saw them, the Bonds family asserts in a lawsuit filed last month against Turner and the city.

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Over at Townhall.com, former Georgia congressman Bob Barr says conservatives should be wary of making a hero out of Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis. A piece:

Imagine waking up to the news that a Quaker county sheriff is denying concealed carry permits to citizens because of his religious objection to violence; or, a Muslim DMV supervisor in Dearborn, Michigan has ordered his staff to refuse to issue driver’s licenses to women out of a religious objection to women behind the wheel. These are among the realities that await should we make Kim Davis, the embattled County Clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, an archetype for “religious freedom” in America…

To permit a public official to pick and choose the laws they decide to honor based on their personal religious views – regardless of whether we agree with those views -- would open the floodgates for any government official, from local police chief or tax assessor, to the President of the United States, to make access to essential government services or basic civil rights contingent not on the Constitution, but subservient to an unwritten code of personal beliefs. One need only look to the Obama Administration to see how such a government would operate, when laws and the Constitution are subject to the personal whims of whoever is wielding the levers of power at any particular time.

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Suddenly, we're not No. 1 -- at least according to Slate.com:

Los Angeles County has sentenced 33 people to death row since 2010, which is more than any other county in America. Sure, Los Angeles County has 10 million residents, but if you combine the death sentences of five Southern states with an aggregate population of 40 million people—Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia—Los Angeles still has more death sentences over the same time period.

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Over at myajc.com and the dead-tree edition, we have a full accounting of why Georgia's leadership doesn't want the number of refugees resettling in Georgia to increase.

A snippet from our story:

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, Deal urged a cautious approach to the desperate refugee crisis unfolding across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. The governor repeated his assertion - disputed by some advocates - that Georgia takes in more than its fair share of refugees.

Georgia – the eight largest state with a population of 10 million – accepted the ninth largest number of refugees among states last fiscal year at 2,694. In all, nearly 70,000 refugees were resettled in the U.S. that year. Deal’s administration confirmed Tuesday it has asked the State Department to keep the number of refugees resettling in the Peach State “static” going into the next fiscal year.

“We will be welcoming,” Deal told the AJC. “But we want to make sure we’re not taking a disproportionately large share of them compared to other parts of the country.”

Here's one instant reaction from Republican state Rep. Buzz Brockway of Lawrenceville.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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