Moving on up

Story Written by Joshua Michael

March 5, 2016

CARROLLTON, GA – Mentally exhausted and physically exerted, Alicia Michael walked through the airport looking for her family. She had just returned from her 11 day work-visit in India. Alicia had just completed her first week on the job as Director of RFHA.

RFHA, Rotarians for Family Health & Aids Prevention, held the pilot program of their Rotary Family Health Days in India last week, spearheaded by its new director. RFHA is classified as an independent actor within Rotary International’s organization that combats the HIV/AIDS virus.

The signature project promoted by RFHA focuses on familial health. This undertaking is actualized in the way of impromptu camps staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses who volunteer their services to local populations. Since its conception in 2011, the program has established 402 camp sites across South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria. It is estimated that through 2015 the sites served 343,622 individuals.

Last week, the program expanded to the cities of Indore and Delhi, located in central and northern India respectively. Operating in over 30 new sites, RFHA estimated that they impacted over 10,000 lives by providing free health check-ups and medicine to those previously without access to basic healthcare. Not only was this RFHA’s first appearance in India, but it was also Michael’s first showing in the field.

Prior to becoming Director of RFHA, Michael was the owner of Carrollton Collision Center, a local auto repair shop. Beginning in 1998 as the office secretary, Alicia worked under Jerry Cash until she became his business partner in 2002. In 2004, she became full owner of the business following Cash’s death.

“I had no idea what to do, ya know?” I had never owned a business before and he just left it to me in his will,” said Michael. “But it was my job and people depended on me to keep it going. So I did.”

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In 2005, Alicia began construction on a new facility and within a year, she had doubled her business’ production. Within another two years, Carrollton Collision Center was the only auto repair shop in the South East to be recommended by All State, State Farm and Farm Bureau.

Michael’s personal accolades far outnumber her professional accomplishments. Within three years of joining her local Rotary Club chapter, the Carrollton Dawn Breakers, she was elected President. In the four following years she went on to become the youngest female Assistant District Governor and District Governor elected in her district’s history. Her district, number 6900, is the third largest in the world with over 4,500 members.

Following her term as District Governor last year, Michael was approached by Marion Bunch, the founder of RFHA, about becoming director. Within six months, Michael sold her business and started her new training.

After a successful first program, Michael has already set in motion plans to expand the program beyond Africa and India. RFHA’s next program is scheduled for April 6th in South Africa.

For information about RFHA and their goals, please visit:  http://www.rffa.org/index.php

 

 

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Showdown in Ward 2

Written by Joshua Michael

March 4th, 2016

CARROLLTON, GA – A run-off has been scheduled after voting to fill the vacant seat of Ward 2 of the Carrollton City Council occurred Tuesday as part of a special election process.

The special election was held as a result of Mike Patterson’s resignation after he was elected as Mayor of Carrollton.

A run-off between Mike Phillips and Rory Wojcik has been scheduled for March 29 after both participants failed to capture 50 percent of the vote.

Phillips, a local body shop owner, received 40.6 percent of the vote and Wojcik, assistant director of Event Production at the University of West Georgia, received 20.1 percent of the vote.

Early voting held February 8 through February 26 witnessed low turnout, causing uncertainty regarding predictions as to who would win.

The run-off also implicates major votes to be held by the City Council. Until the seat for Ward 2 is filled, no votes can be held due to the even number of board members.

Chris Christie’s wordless screaming

Story credited to

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I believe that Donald Trump was talking, tonight, and that he, in fact, held an entire press conference. But it was impossible to hear him over Chris Christie’s eyes.

Chris Christie spent the entire speech screaming wordlessly. I have never seen someone scream so loudly without using his mouth before. It would have been remarkable if it had not been so terrifying.

Sometimes, at night, do you still hear them, Clarice? The screaming of the Christies?

His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.

It was not a thousand-yard stare. That would understate the vast and impenetrable distance it encompassed.

He looked as if he had seen a ghost and the ghost had made him watch Mufasa die again.

He had the eyes of a man who has looked into the heart of light, the silence. A man who had seen the moment of his greatness flicker, and seen the eternal footman hold his coat, and snicker.

And, in short, he looked afraid.

He had the face of a man who has used his third wish and realized too late that “may my family never starve” could be twisted to mean that the genie should murder his entire family.

He had the face of a man who has just realized his own mortality.

Look into those eyes and try to deny that Chris Christie has seen something.

Someone just told Chris Christie that there is no God. Or Chris Christie has just discovered that God does exist but She is an enormous snake who hates or is indifferent to mankind. Or Chris Christie has just discovered that there is no God but that Hell is real.

“When are they coming to airlift me out?” Chris Christie’s eyes are pleading. “Please tell me that they are coming and that it is soon.” But then his expression hardens. Chris Christie knows that they are not coming back for him.

This is his life now.

Soon he must return to the plane onto which Trump humiliatingly sent him before. Soon he must return to the small cupboard under the stairs where he is kept and occasionally thrown small slivers of metaphorical raw meat. When he asked to be part of Trump’s cabinet he never thought to specify “presidential cabinet, of course, not a literal cabinet underground where the ventilation is poor and there is no light.” It just did not occur to him. Why would it?

And now it is too late.

Nobody is coming for you, Chris Christie. Nobody is coming to save you.

Chris Christie has seen things. Things you wouldn’t believe. Things that would make your hair fall out and turn grey all at once. But he cannot speak of them. He can only stand there. Chris Christie is the bearer of a hideous knowledge that hangs on him like a horrible weight. But he has no way to say it.

He is embroidering this hideous truth very slowly onto a handkerchief, but it will not be ready in time.

Chris Christie must stand and watch as his city is overrun with Imperial troops and his friends are frozen in carbonite.

Chris Christie has the glazed and terrified look of someone who has traded his inheritance for no pottage at all, who has watched his credibility dry up and is about to be led back to his basement cage, having lost Winterfell for good.

Chris Christie is realizing that the steak he gets to eat inside the Matrix is not worth this.

Chris Christie has made a huge mistake.

Donald Trump won at least seven states on Super Tuesday. His path to the nomination is clear.

Chris Christie has no mouth, but he must scream.

More related to this story can be found at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2016/03/02/chris-christies-wordless-screaming/

John Oliver slams Trump for 22 minutes, creates new hashtag for him

Story credited to Chris Matyszczyk from CNet.

In a lengthy excoriation, Oliver shows how Trump’s campaign can’t be self-funded because he has “Donate” buttons on his website. And there’s so much more.

We’ve come to the point at which there is no American remaining who is neutral about Donald Trump.

The Republican candidate’s bombast and slightly bulbous blowhardiness have captivated many and captured the media as few before.

There is a stage, though, when truly controversial entities come up against the committed researchers and quaint British midlands accent of John Oliver.

Remember how it went for cable companies when Oliver compared them to drug cartels? On Sunday, Trump received similar treatment. Twenty-two minutes of it.

Oliver decided to examine each pillar of Trump’s self-professed greatness, the greatness that will soon be transferred to America.

He found some of Trump’s claims a touch exaggerated or even, to his mind, utter nonsense.

For example, Trump’s recurring claim that his campaign is self-funded, preventing him from being controlled by donors or special interests, seems not so accurate, given that on the Republican candidate’s website home page there are two “Donate” buttons.

Oliver, who isn’t the first to point out the inaccuracy, estimates that Trump himself has actually given around $250,000 to his campaign (he’s loaned the rest). However, donations amount to more than $7 million.

Trump’s tweeting was examined for its apparent self-contradiction. And as for all his business ventures, well, they didn’t always go according to plan.

Oliver’s exhaustive and exhausting excoriation ended with the revelation that the Trump family wasn’t always called Trump. Once upon a time it was Drumpf. This name might be seen, he said, as “much less magical.” Is he not proud of his heritage, Oliver wondered.

Inevitably, this led to the creation of a new hashtag: #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. It’s already enjoying quite some activity. Oliver’s show has also bought the URL DonaldJDrumpf.com. There, you can buy red hats not dissimilar to the ones Trump himself wears, but with slightly different words on them.

All this might seem mere satire. It has though, as Oliver surely knows, a greater purpose.

When elections come along, certain sections of the population talk a lot but don’t turn out to vote. Often, young people — one of Oliver’s prime constituencies — are guilty of this.

Overnight, the YouTube video of Oliver’s passionate plea to Make Donald Drumpf Again has already been watched by hundreds of thousands. Oliver clearly wants them to care enough to vote.

The real question is whether Trump will turn out the vote with his passionate appeal to, oh, whatever it is.

Or will there be enough people might who want to, as fellow Republican candidate Marco Rubio is suddenly encouraging them to do: “Defeat The Con-Artist“?

One politician calling another a con artist offers a truth of our current times: very thin in the line these days between satire and politics.

Full video of John Oliver’s segment on Donald Trump can be found at the following address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGc2nN9OguQ

For more related to this story, visit: http://www.cnet.com/news/john-oliver-slams-trump-for-22-minutes-creates-new-hashtag-for-him/

 

Clinton cruises to wins across South

Story is credited to Rick Hampton, a national reporter for USA Today.

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(Photo Credit to: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

Propelled by strong support among African-American voters, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton stormed across the South on Super Tuesday, grabbing six easy victories in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and — the big prize — Texas.

She also won in comparatively liberal Massachusetts and lost to her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, in Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota and his home state of Vermont.

Many of Clinton’s wins were called by the Associated Press and major networks shortly after polls closed. In states such as Virginia, Alabama and Georgia, Clinton reversed her losses to Barack Obama in 2008.

Clinton was also poised to significantly extend her lead in pledged delegates which, coupled with her already overwhelming edge with superdelegates, puts her well on the path to the Democratic nomination.

A hoarse Clinton greeted jubilant supporters in Miami. She struck populist themes, tipped her hat to Sanders and implicitly blasted the contentious Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness,” she said.

Sanders spoke to supporters early in the evening in Essex Junction, Vt., evoking loud cheers with a familiar refrain: “This is not just about electing a president. It’s about making a political revolution!”

He said that given Democratic primary rules, which provide for proportional allocation of delegates rather than winner-take-all, “by the end of tonight, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates.” That sparked frenzied chants of “Bernie! Bernie!”

Front-runner looking ahead

Clinton seemed confident that a series of primary victories would cripple Sanders’ nomination hopes, and on the campaign trail Tuesday, she increasingly focused on her likely opponent in November — Trump.

In her victory speech, she rejected Trump’s promise to make America great again: “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole — fill in what’s been hollowed out.”

Trump and the other Republican candidates “are now running their campaigns based on insults,” she said earlier in the day. “It’s turned into a kind of one-upmanship on insulting, and I don’t think that’s appropriate in a presidential campaign.’’ She faulted the GOP candidates for “a lot of … bigotry and bullying.’’

Her greatest challenge Tuesday might not have been to beat Sanders as much as to avoid alienating his many enthusiastic, young supporters.

And so on Tuesday night Clinton congratulated Sanders on “his strong showing.” Earlier in the day, Brian Fallon, Clinton’s spokesman, said: “Senator Sanders has done a great job of extending the Democratic brand.’’

Even as the Clinton camp extended the olive branch to Sanders, it braced for blows from Trump, who stressed in an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America that he had not yet begun to fight: “I haven’t even focused on Hillary Clinton. … I can tell you the one person that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to run against is me.”

But a new CNN/ORC poll found that Trump was the only major GOP contender Clinton would beat if the election were held now. And Sanders, despite lagging in the Democratic race, beat them all.

Unlike some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, Clinton did not say Trump was disqualified for the presidency by his recent comments about support from former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. She said the statement should be “repudiated upon hearing it. .. We can’t let organizations and individuals who hold deplorable views about what it means to be an American to be given any credence at all.”

In Virginia, Clinton had people like Roberto and Baljn Narneta, who voted at a Newport News community center, to thank for her victory. “I came to America during Clinton time and the economy was good,” said Baljn, 44. “I know that she’s not her husband, but their views are kinda the same, and I kinda feel that … it will be like having two presidents there.”

And though the couple said they liked Sanders’ policies, she described them as unrealistic — “kinda good, but kinda imaginary,” she said. “I can dream like that too, but what he’s proposing is not a clear cut plan. … It’s impossible, and he’s repeating too many times. It’s annoying me, actually.”

Clinton looks to build formidable lead

Clinton hoped the year’s biggest single-day delegate haul — 865 of the 2,383 needed to nominate — would put her on a path to becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee. In addition to her state victories, Clinton won in American Samoa, picking up four of six delegates.

If Clinton ultimately captured 500 delegates across the 11 Super Tuesday states, Sanders would need to win 53% of the delegates in the remaining contests just to tie Clinton, according to Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman.

Clinton had won three of the previous four early voting contests, including South Carolina on Saturday. She owed her victory there over Sanders to overwhelming support from black voters — which also was key to her success across the South on Tuesday.

Across the South, black voters gave Clinton a huge advantage. Clinton got more than 8 in 10 black votes in every Southern state except Oklahoma, where three-quarters of blacks backed her. Blacks made up more than a quarter of the overall Southern electorate Tuesday, ranging from nearly half in Alabama and Georgia to about 15% in Oklahoma and Texas.

The candidates found support even in each other’s strongholds.

Cami Thibodeau, voting on Town Meeting Day in Shelburne, Vt., said she supported Clinton “to the max’’ over her state’s junior U.S. senator: “I do not believe that Bernie can change the world as he says he’s going to. I just trust Hillary.’’

And in Eureka Springs, Ark. — a state where Clinton was once first lady — Tom Swenson walked out of a polling place on Passion Play Road and said he’d voted for Sanders.

“He seems to have a character, meaning it would be easy to write a eulogy for him,” Swenson explained. “You could write a résumé for Hillary or Trump, or any of the others, but you couldn’t write a eulogy.”

Sanders had the money to stay in the race until the bitter end. His campaign announced it raised more than $41 million in February. “This is a campaign that is going to the Philadelphia convention in July,” he said when he voted Tuesday monring.

The transplanted Brooklyn native was upbeat. “If there is a large voter turnout today across this country, we are going to do well,” Sanders said after voting in Burlington, where he was once mayor. He made a joke: “After a lot of deliberation, I know that Bernie Sanders, here in Vermont, got at least one vote. I was working on my wife, so I probably got two.”

Larry David couldn’t have put it better.

More related to this story can be found at:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/01/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-super-tuesday/81168088/

GOP reaches a crossroads

Story is credited to MJ Lee, Politics Reporter at CNN.

Updated 7:19 AM ET, Wed March 2, 2016

(CNN)-Donald Trump dominated Super Tuesday, notching seven victories — four more than his closest competitor — in states from Georgia to Massachusetts on a day that marked a turning point in his quest for the White House.

On the morning after, one thing is clear: the Republican Party is at a crossroads.

Many party leaders and establishment Republicans see two paths ahead. One is to accept what appears to be the increasingly likely outcome in the 2016 race — that Trump will soon clinch the GOP nomination — and offer the New York businessman their blessing. The second is a path of a historic rebellion: rejecting the GOP front-runner and the values and principles he stands for, and pledging to oppose Trump — even if he emerges as the party’s nominee.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who ran for president in 2012, described this moment as an “inflection point” in the 2016 race and for the Republican Party.

“The party is fractured, which isn’t unusual for political parties and they almost always come back together. But this could test the outer limits of that tradition,” Pawlenty, who endorsed Marco Rubio, told CNN. “If the Republican Party were an airplane and you’re looking out the window, you’d see some pieces of the surface flying off. And you’d be wondering whether the engine or a wing is next.”

6 takeaways from Super Tuesday

With Trump adding delegates to his quickly growing stash Tuesday, political veterans suspect the GOP presidential race could reach a moment of unambiguous clarity in the next two weeks. That point could come on March 15 when Florida and Ohio vote. If Rubio, the Florida senator, and John Kasich, the Ohio governor, lose their home states, their campaigns would be doomed.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott put it this way: By March 15, Republicans will know whether it is time to “throw up our hands in despair and panic.”

“We’ve now backed ourselves into a corner here — and it’s not very pretty,” said Lott, who is supporting Kasich. Super Tuesday, Lott added, “is not the final blow, but we will know in the next two weeks whether this is a done deal or not.”

Flurry of discussions

In recent days, there has been a flurry of discussions among top Republican strategists and insiders about how to distance the party from Trump. His heated rhetoric about minority groups and immigrants is deeply troubling to party leaders who have spent years trying to make inroads with Latino and other minority constituencies. Also of grave concern are the down-ballot candidates who would face tough elections in November with Trump at the top of the ticket.

Disaffected Republicans are discussing everything from skipping the Republican National Convention in July to running a conservative candidate as an independent or third-party candidate — with the ultimate goal of denying Trump the presidency. One of the names frequently mentioned in this hypothetical is Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, even though he has shown no desire to run another campaign but has shown a zest for attacking Trump.

Trump’s dominance on Super Tuesday caps the GOP front-runner’s remarkable rise as a first-time presidential candidate. His initial surge in the polls months ago was widely dismissed as a short-lived phenomenon. His divisive and inflammatory rhetoric on everything from immigration to women drew fierce scorn from fellow Republicans and Democrats alike.

But Trump’s candidacy has proven shockingly durable, and his supporters exceptionally loyal.

His dominant night comes just days after another development shocked the party to its core: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bombshell endorsement of the billionaire last week. Christie ended his own presidential bid last month, and the unexpected decision from the former chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association to back Trump — the ultimate anti-establishment candidate — added a critical sense of credibility to the businessman’s candidacy.

Christie’s endorsement was quickly followed by the backing of Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who has no plans to endorse a candidate in the GOP primary, said he was “shocked” by Christie’s decision, and that the slew of new endorsements have irreversibly changed perceptions of Trump’s candidacy.

‘Very unique coalition’

“Trump is putting together a very unique coalition that’s rattled a lot of people who have made a living out of trying to win within a Republican structure which is now increasingly obsolete,” Gingrich said. “A lot of people smugly said when we get down to reality, he is not going to be the nominee because in the end people aren’t going to vote for him. Well, guess what — he’s almost certainly going to be the nominee.”

As Trump has started to pick up endorsements from serious conservative leaders including a handful of members of Congress, a fierce anti-Trump movement has started to pick up steam.

Republican operatives, party leaders and conservative thinkers are increasingly warning that Trump is not a true conservative, and that his penchant for offensive language proves that he’s an entertainer who should have no role shaping the future of the Republican Party. These rumblings turned into a movement on social media marked with the hashtag “#NeverTrump” — a vow to never back Trump, even if he becomes the nominee.

But these last-minute strategy sessions underscore the fundamental lack of a coordinated effort in the party to derail Trump’s campaign. Many are simply resigned to accepting that this far along in the election, and considering the delegate math, no amount of money or anti-Trump messaging can slow the front-runner’s momentum.

Over the weekend, Trump only fueled the anger directed at his campaign when he failed to denounce white supremacist groups.

Van Jones rips Donald Trump and the KKK

“I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK?” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked whether he would disavow the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, who is supporting Trump’s campaign. Pressed several times, Trump insisted he didn’t know anything about white supremacists.

Backlash

The interview unleashed fierce backlash.

On Sunday evening, GOP Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse became the first member of Congress to join the #NeverTrump movement. If Trump wins the GOP nomination, Sasse said he would look for a third-party alternative.

“I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, and given what we know about Donald Trump, I can’t vote for that guy either,” the first-term senator said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took Trump to task on Monday, saying Republicans must unequivocally reject racism.

But the anti-Trump campaign is also angering some party elders. They say rejecting the GOP nominee is tantamount to handing the election to the eventual Democratic nominee, widely expected to be Hillary Clinton, who had a strong night on Super Tuesday.

Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, who supported Jeb Bush’s failed White House bid, told CNN that these rebelling Republicans may as well be casting their votes for Clinton. He also expressed deep frustration at the party for failing to rally around a single alternative to Trump, like Bush or Kasich, early enough in the election.

“Just go ahead and support Hillary and forget it!” said Simpson. “They may not like Trump — they didn’t like Bush. What the hell was wrong with Bush? What the hell is wrong with Kasich?”

Gingrich, who pledged to back the party’s eventual nominee, predicted that many of his fellow Republicans who now say they could never support Trump will eventually change their minds.

“The absence of voting for the Republican nominee is functionally a vote for Hillary,” Gingrich said. “It’s a crossroads for the Republican Party and it’s a crossroads for America.”

More related to this story can be found at:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/02/politics/donald-trump-super-tuesday-republican-party/index.html