Tom Baxter

Georgia paints itself into a corner on Obamacare, while others look for wiggle room

How do you spell Obamacare sideways? Maybe Insure Tennessee, the name of the new program announced Monday by Gov. Bill Haslam, the third Republican governor to accept the Medicaid expansion since the midterm elections, and one of the most creative in figuring out what to call it.

Haslem has worked for more than a year to forge a deal both the feds and his Republican legislature could accept.
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In Louisiana, the last Democratic royalty leave the bayou

The first time I saw Mary Landrieu, I was in New Orleans working on a story about then-Gov. Edwin Edwards. The silver-haired daddy-o of Louisiana politics, as I described him then, was leaving a banquet in a Canal Street hotel with a gaggle of aides and reporters in tow when he ran into Landrieu, a New Orleans legislator running for state treasurer.

The moment sticks in my mind because Edwards stopped and kissed Landrieu’s hand, an act of Cajun gallantry that also had the air of a potentate acknowledging the scion of another principality. Continue reading

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Four decades after oil embargo, a future framed in Blu-ray

It’s been a little more than 40 years since Americans sat in hours-long gas lines and learned, to their chagrin, what the letters OPEC stood for. This country’s modern-day energy policy was forged in the aftershocks of the OPEC oil embargo, conditions very different from those which prevail today.

When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last week failed to agree on a plan to prop up oil prices by limiting production, it was interpreted by some as an act of economic warfare on the United States.
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In Cosby’s downfall, a glimpse of Google’s awesome power

New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.
James Russell Lowell

I’d never read this poem before I heard Andrew Young quote the first line, applied to a passing story of the day years ago, and I wouldn’t be able to recall the complete couplet or its author if it weren’t for Google. Therein lies a new wrinkle in our upward and onward struggle that I’ll bet would have set Lowell’s pen flying.
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Farewell, Honey Boo Boo: Reality television’s troubles hit close to home

Reality has hit a rough patch. We’re not speaking here of political or economic reality, where the news is seldom good, but something on which our state and city have made an indelible mark: reality entertainment.

Real people may be cheaper than film stars, but they can come with some nasty surprises, as demonstrated by the catastrophic (for the network, the family and most likely the whole town of McIntyre) collapse of the “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” franchise.
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GOP’s dominance of state legislatures one of decade’s big political shifts

Amid all the other gloomy results for Democrats higher up on the ballot, the erosion of a couple more seats in the state House might not seem like the worst disaster. But it’s symptomatic of a national trend which may be their party’s most troubling problem.

While they were gaining control of the U.S. Senate last week, Republicans also picked up control of 11 state legislative chambers, making significant gains elsewhere, including Florida, where they reached a supermajority in the state Senate.
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Little consolation for Democrats in election drubbing

Hedging their bets somewhat last week, some Democrats were advancing the idea that simply by making this a competitive election, they were ahead of schedule in Georgia. And there might have been some truth to that.

But in the cold light of the day after Election Day, with less to show for their efforts, overall, than in the midterm elections four years ago, the reverse of that argument also has to be considered.
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Zig Zag Zell points to end of an era

In this legacy year of Georgia politics, we have a Carter, a Nunn and a Perdue on the ballot. But the voice from the past we’ll remember from this election — if only because we’ve heard it so often — is likely to be that of Zell Miller.

Is there another politician in the country who would be asked to cut a spot for a Republican candidate for governor and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and is there another politician with the gall to accept both offers?
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Senate endgame: ‘A mother’s perspective’ vs. ‘hard right-hand turn’

Within a few minutes of each other during Sunday night’s Loudermilk-Young Atlanta Press Club debate, Michelle Nunn and David Perdue gave a clear indication which voters they think they need to win this very close U.S. Senate race.

For Michelle Nunn the moment came when the Libertarian candidate, Amanda Swafford, challenged her over a flier urging black voters in Georgia to avoid “another Ferguson in your future.”
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As problems grip Turner and ASO, Atlanta’s image, and its sound, fade

Between buyouts and lockouts, the visionaries who dreamed big about Atlanta’s future have to be a little dismayed right now.

Turner Broadcasting and CNN, like the Atlanta Symphony and chorus, were built on the upstart idea that a media operation based in a provincial city could compete on a global scale. The fates of all these organizations are now in the hands of much larger forces, and what happens to them will have a lot to do with the image Atlanta projects to the world.
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