Scott Walker heads to Atlanta, questioning a Boy Scout decision on gay leaders

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will make his first public appearance as an announced Republican presidential candidate in Georgia today, with a quick gathering in Buckhead this evening.

Walker may be a touch bleary-eyed. Tuesday night's impressive line of thunderstorms forced Walker to change his flight plans. His first appearance in Georgia as a presidential candidate was actually at 2:30 a.m. today at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – with an 8 a.m. appearance in Charleston, S.C. on his calendar.

At his debut in his home state, Walker gave only brief nods to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision and increased GOP calls for “religious liberty” legislation. But on Tuesday, the Wisconson governor may have signaled his willingness to wade deeper into the topic, criticizing the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow local sponsors to permit gay men to serve as Scout leaders.

Explore From the Washington Post:

When asked about this comment following a campaign event at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon, Walker said: "I'm an Eagle Scout. My kids were in Scouts. My mom was a den mother. I think their previous policy was personally fine."

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Newspapers in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have banded together with C-SPAN to pre-empt Fox News' plan to air the first gathering of GOP presidential candidates. From The Hill newspaper:

Publishers at the New Hampshire Union Leader, South Carolina Post and Courier, and Iowa Gazette say the forum was prompted in part by Fox News Channel's controversial decision to cap the number of candidates in their Aug. 6 debate at 10.

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Andy Miller of Georgia Health News has a first reading on who's signing up for medical marijuana permits in the state:

State Department of Public Health officials said cancer was the second-leading diagnosis for registrants.

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The NAACP's suggestion that Confederate faces be sandblasted off Stone Mountain has inspired  several musings, serious and otherwise. In the latter category, you can include a MoveOn peitition initiated by artist and provocateur Mack Williams:

I believe that Daddy Fat Sacks and Three Stacks should be carved riding in a Cadillac (as is their wont). This will help the new carving blend nicely with the Confederates who are on horseback.

Outkast are two of the greatest Georgians in the history of our state. It's about time the Empire State of the South paid proper tribute to them, while also improving a great monument and tourist attraction.

Then we have longtime lobbyist and amateur historian Neill Herring, who tells us there actually was a successful effort to erase work on the giant memorial. He says it was done by the mountain's first artist, Gutzon Borglum, who started the carvings before simmering tensions with his financial backers led him to bolt. Writes Herring:

I remember visiting Stone Mountain before they started back to work, and you could climb a giant pile of rubble from the Borglum and Lukeman work, the waste pile, and get fairly high.  I remember looking up at the bottom of a scabbard hanging from one of the heroes.

Borglum was quite a showman, and held a dinner party on the shoulder of Gen. Lee during the period before his artistic sensibility was disturbed and he had to use dynamite to set things aright.

Finally, at the Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore, a former Georgia Democratic operative, includes this tidbit of history as he ponders Stone Mountain's place in Southern society:

But after the war Longstreet supported voting rights for ex-slaves and backed (and even played a role in) military reconstruction in the South. Thus he became the object of a vociferous campaign of slander by unreconstructed ex- and neo-Confederates, who elevated Jackson into Longstreet's place alongside Lee in the South's popular imagination.

Among other interesting traits, Jackson favored a policy of executing Union prisoners of war, based on his reading of Old Testament precedents. That's the man up there with Davis and Lee on Stone Mountain.

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U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., added a piece to a Senate bill rewriting No Child Left Behind to give parents more information about testing requirements. An Isakson-led amendment passed, 97-0, on Tuesday to add the following to the bill:

"At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall notify the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the parents may request, and the agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy, procedure, or parental right regarding student participation in any mandated assessments for that school year, in addition to information regarding the professional qualifications of the student's classroom teachers"

In Georgia a movement for parents to "opt out" of the tests gained steam last year, though the Georgia Department of Education said it could not tell us precisely how many kids declined the tests.

The Senate is set to wrap up the full bill this week. A deeper look at the House and Senate education law rewrites can be found on the premium site here.

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U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, is set to speak about entitlement reform at the "center-right" American Action Forum think tank at noon today (livestream here).

The House Budget Committee chairman put out a blueprint for tackling these challenges -- a favorite topic of Price's -- on Tuesday, but it is not big on specifics. Witness how it deals with the third rail of Social Security:

"Policymakers and thought leaders should explore the impact of Social Security's regressive taxes on the labor market. They should consider a broader collection of policy options that encourage personal savings and private investment to reduce the current fiscal and demographic pressures. Meeting Social Security's challenges requires innovative, positive solutions to ensure retirement security."