Walking through your airport with an AR-15 and 100 rounds of ammo

So we have the case of Jim Cooley, presumably a resident of Barrow County, who recently struck a blow for the Second Amendment by parading through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with an AR-15 and a 100-round drum magazine of ammunition. From the Channel 2 Action News website:

Cooley claims that, during his airport sojourn, he was harassed by Atlanta police – in that they approached and spoke to him. He has video to document his case:

And here:

Terrible, terrible stuff. You would think cops at a crowded airport would have something to do other than monitor unidentified, heavily armed good guys to make sure they aren’t heavily armed bad guys.

Many will applaud Cooley’s display, but it requires an upgrade. To further test the spaciousness of the Second Amendment, which applies regardless of race, creed or color, we suggest that on his next airport visit, he wear a turban.

***

Georgia's mysterious fight with a Texas-based car auction firm with ties to Gov. Nathan Deal is nearing its fourth year.

Copart reported in its latest regulatory filing last week that it is still feuding with the state's tax department over nearly $74 million in back taxes. A ruling against Copart, it told investors, could have "material adverse effect" on its bottom line.

That's the same warning the company has issued since September 2011, when a state audit found that Copart may have failed to send sales tax receipt to the states.

As the legal fight raged behind closed doors -- state tax officials refuse to discuss details of the case -- Copart in 2013 snapped up a lucrative salvage yard owned by Deal and a business partner.

The governor said he has placed his assets in a blind trust and knew nothing of Copart's tax problems, and he's repeatedly called for the dispute to be resolved by an independent judge rather than the tax agency he oversees.

But critics see a problem with that. The governor not only appointed Lynne Riley, a former GOP lawmaker, to lead the revenue department. He also recently tapped another staunch supporter, ex-House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, to head the state Tax Tribunal.

Better Georgia, the left-leaning pressure group that frequently targets Deal, on Tuesday urged the two to prove that Copart "is not immune to the law."

***

Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis has formally stepped down from office to run for the seat left vacant by state Rep. Mike Jacobs.

The race is fraught with history. Davis' father, Max Davis, represented a similar district for more than two decades in the House. His son tried to follow in his footsteps in 2004 but was narrowly defeated by Jacobs, who was then a Democrat. Confusing, isn't it?

Other candidates for the seat include Taylor Bennett, a Democrat and former Georgia Tech quarterback; Catherine Bernard, a Republican lawyer who fought Brookhaven’s redevelopment powers effort, and challenged Jacobs in last year's primary; and Loren Collins, a Republican attorney and former write-in candidate for Congress

***

Florida and Georgia took their water wars fight to Washington on Tuesday for the first open court hearing of the Supreme Court case. From our dead tree/premium version:

It was the first chance for attorneys and the public to get a sense of special master Ralph Lancaster, as previous meetings on the case had been conducted by phone. The bespectacled, 85-year-old Maine-based attorney, sporting a red bow tie, was polite but direct in his questioning of the attorneys.

As he has in court papers and on conference calls, Lancaster gave a forceful pitch that he should not be the one to decide the case.

“Whatever the result is … we are talking a lot of money and a result you may not like,” Lancaster said. “Again and again and again I’m going to urge you to discuss a settlement seriously.”

 The courtroom -- in a federal courthouse down Constitution Avenue from the columned home of SCOTUS -- was full of eager observers, including Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. We did not spot his counterpart, Pam Bondi of Florida.

As he urged the settlement, Lancaster added: "I assume there are media here, so I won't get into details," as we tried to look inconspicuous with our reporter's notebook.

Lancaster had previously imposed a gag order on the case, citing a "relentless and ruthless media."

***

"Do you believe the Republican Party should continue to embrace social issues or are these too divisive when it comes to winning elections?"

That's one of the questions in a survey sent out by the Republican National Committee to a friend of the blog, who sent the piece of mail our way. It asks recipients about social, economic and foreign policy issues of all kinds, while also requesting a few bucks for the RNC.

One curious aspect: The survey is for residents of John Lewis' deep blue Fifth Congressional District, and no registered Republicans live in the household of our tipster.

***

Some food for thought in the New York Times' "Upshot" for the all-male Georgia congressional delegation:

Although women in both parties have increased their numbers in Congress during the past 25 years, the share of Democratic women — now nearly 33 percent — has continued to climb, while the Republican female share has leveled off since hitting 10 percent during the mid-2000s. And political polarization seems to be a major reason.

Moderate Republican women — think of Olympia Snowe, the former Maine senator, or Connie Morella, the former Maryland congresswoman — were once common in the party, according to research by Danielle Thomsen, a political scientist at Duke. But moderate Republicans of both genders are nearly gone from Congress today. Some conservative women, like Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, have been elected, but there are relatively few of them in a traditional pipeline to Congress: state legislatures. In other words, the gap is likely to persist for some time.

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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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