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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    A day after a scorching attack on the news media and Republicans in the Senate, President Trump used a speech to an American Legion convention to call for unity in America, arguing there is “no division too deep for us to heal,” as the President signed into law the latest bipartisan bill from Congress to reform work at the VA. “We are not defined by the color of our skin, the figure on our paycheck, or the party of our politics,” Mr. Trump said in Reno, Nevada. Unlike his campaign rally on Tuesday night in Phoenix, the President stuck to his script, repeatedly urging Americans to come together on a variety of issues. “We are one people, with one home, and one great flag,” Mr. Trump said. Pres. Trump: 'It is time to heal the wounds that divide us…we are one people, with one home, and one great flag.' https://t.co/c8WxE0BwjS pic.twitter.com/xztrew1eD8 — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 23, 2017 The President made no mention of the controversy over his remarks after recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which he devoted extensive time to address at his Tuesday rally in Arizona; the closest he came was a mention that seemingly referred to questions about Confederate monuments. “You teach young Americans to have pride in our history, so they will have confidence in our future,” Mr. Trump said. “History and culture are so important.” After his remarks, the President signed the latest bipartisan bill from Congress into law that seeks to make new reforms at the Veterans Affairs Department – this bill changes the appeals process for vets, to make sure they aren’t left waiting on benefits decisions for months on end. Mr. Trump said it’s all part of his effort to make sure the VA treats veterans with respect. “We’ll look at them and say, ‘You’re fired,’” Pres. Trump says of VA employees who don’t do their jobs appropriately https://t.co/JIPfT6JLvE — NBC News (@NBCNews) August 23, 2017
  • At a raucous campaign rally in Arizona, President Donald Trump demanded that Congress fund his request for money to build a wall along the border with Mexico, saying that if lawmakers won’t go along with his plan, then it could mean a federal government shutdown showdown with Congress this fall, as Mr. Trump . “Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down the government, we’re building that wall,” Mr. Trump said to loud cheers in a Phoenix rally. No direct votes have been held in either the House or Senate on funding for the wall, as GOP leaders have been worried the plan to fund an initial $1.6 billion in extra border wall money might not be able to gather a majority in either the House or Senate. “Believe me, one way or the other, we’re going to get that wall,” the President added, making clear his desire to gain approval for the money. President Trump at #PhoenixRally: 'Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we are building that wall' https://t.co/Vvoj6x3y4A — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 23, 2017 Unlike a year ago during the campaign for President, Mr. Trump made no mention of his familiar vow to make Mexico pay for the border wall, instead focusing his ire on Democrats in the Congress. “Democrats in Congress who oppose a border wall and stay in the way of border security – you are putting all of America’s safety at risk, you’re doing that,” the President said.
  • Going against his own gut feeling that he should pull military forces out of Afghanistan, President Donald Trump on Monday night vowed to intensify American actions against terrorists based in the region, though he gave few details on how U.S. policy would change or on how many more soldiers would be sent in, as the American presence in Afghanistan seems likely to continue, almost 16 years since the September 11 attacks that led to a lengthy U.S. intervention. “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” the President acknowledged in a speech from Fort Myer, located just across the Potomac River from the White House. “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists – including ISIS and Al Qaeda – would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th,” Mr Trump added. The President gave no details in his speech on his decision to reportedly send more troops to Afghanistan, though it would be nowhere near the levels the U.S. had in the immediate aftermath of the Nine Eleven attacks. Here is the President’s speech.
  • As Republicans talk about the need to act on major tax reform, the preparation for that mammoth undertaking pales in comparison to the last effort during the Reagan Administration, an exercise that took time to first develop legislative proposals, and then to wind their way through the House and Senate, as the bill experienced several near-death experiences before finally achieving victory in the fall of 1986. Here are some thoughts on the differences between 1986 and 2017. 1. Reagan vs Trump – 489 pages vs 1. The White House efforts on tax reform were much different when you look at President Ronald Reagan, who called for tax reform in his 1984 State of the Union Address. By November of 1984, the Treasury Department had finished a comprehensive study of different ideas on tax reform, and presented that to Mr. Reagan. In late May of 1985, the President spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, as he sent Congress a 489 page document, “The President’s Tax Proposals to the Congress for Fairness, Growth and Simplicity.” While President Trump mentioned tax reform in his first speech to a joint session of Congress back in February, the only thing produced so far by the Trump Administration is one page of bullet points on what he hopes to achieve with tax reform. Read through the Reagan document linked above – it is filled with excessive amounts of detail on what the President’s proposal would change, and the impact. None of that is available on even the limited goals of the Trump tax reform plan. 2. Treasury 1986 vs Treasury 2017. President Reagan had two main figures serve as Treasury Secretary during the development and passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. One was Don Regan, who left Treasury to take the job as White House Chief of Staff, trading positions with James Baker, as Baker took over the Treasury post for the drive to enact tax reform into law. Baker was a political operative who had worked for Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, while Regan was a Wall Street chieftain brought on by Reagan to serve in his administration. While you could maybe equate Regan to Trump Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin – because of their Wall Street backgrounds – Mnuchin has yet to prove that he belongs in the same sentence as Regan, who went on to become White House Chief of Staff to Reagan. Mnuchin predicted earlier this year that tax reform would be done by August. Reporters in the Capitol chuckled at the legislative innocence of that prediction. Flashback to Feb. 23: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thought tax reform could happen by the August break. https://t.co/8Ftu8caqxG https://t.co/cAYkqSmXjZ — Chris Clayton (@ChrisClaytonDTN) July 31, 2017 3. Congress 1986 vs Congress 2017. Just as we can compare the players in the administration, we can look at the rosters in Congress to see what might happen on tax reform. There were some big names involved in 1986 – Rostenkowski, Packwood, Tip, and Dole. Those are four major players in the modern history of Congress. Of the 2017 roster of Brady, Hatch, Ryan and McConnell, maybe only Mitch McConnell would be considered an equal of those 1986 lawmakers. When Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady emerges from H-208 in the Capitol, he is a jovial fellow, but he isn’t the old bull that Dan Rostenkowski was at the time of the 1986 tax bill. Maybe in 20 years, Speaker Paul Ryan will be an equal of former Speaker Tip O’Neill. This battle over taxes could go a long way to establishing reputations of these key GOP lawmakers. would love to see a metric on Ways & Means chairs and their power in respective congresses. Brady seems way weaker than say, Rostenkowski. — S Redding (@sreddi_515) March 24, 2017 4. Much more bipartisanship in 1986 than in 2017. One thing that is certainly hampering tax reform efforts this time around is how things have changed politically in the Congress. Back in 1986, tax reform was done with a big bipartisan effort. The final bill received 292 votes in the House and 74 in the Senate. That seems highly unlikely this time around, as it simply wouldn’t be acceptable to large blocks of voters in either party to have a bipartisan bill (even though it should be the goal). I talked with the son of a former big name GOP Congressman the other day, who lamented the vice that politicians are in nowadays, as he argued they don’t have the political leeway back home to make a bipartisan tax deal work. I’m not sure I agree with that. I still think experience is a big deal, and most Republicans have never been in this position on a major issue like tax reform. We just saw the difficulties that the GOP encountered with health care. Stay tuned. . 5. This is far bigger than the fight over health care. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, we had some well-heeled lobbyists involved in the health care fight. But it will go to another level when we get on to tax reform. 1100 Longworth and H-208 are room numbers that mean something very important in the context of the House of Representatives, and those rooms will be two very powerful destinations for lobbyists who want to impact the course of tax reform in coming months. Back in 1986, they called it “Gucci Gulch,” and reporter Jeff Birnbaum wrote a book about it, which is still important reading today. Interested in how tax reform occurred in 1986 & can be a model for 2017? I implore you to read this book. https://t.co/a17tli0tzZ — Jeffrey Margolin (@JeffreyMargolin) April 7, 2017 So, when you hear Republicans talk about tax reform, focus on one thing for now – when will see a real bill? Once that happens, then we can talk about actually passing legislation through the House and Senate, and getting that to the President’s desk. Before the first vote can be taken, Republicans also to figure out if they are doing tax reform via budget reconciliation (no filibuster in the Senate) or by the regular legislative process, where a filibuster is possible. A lot of work remains to be done – it seems unlikely that will happen before the end of 2017, but stay tuned.
  • President Donald Trump on Friday again warned North Korea not to attack American interests or allies, as Mr. Trump tweeted out photos of U.S. military forces on the Pacific island of Guam, aiming his remarks directly at the leader of the Pyongyang regime, and stating clearly that the Pentagon is “locked and loaded.” “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” the President tweeted. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path,” Mr. Trump added on Friday morning, a day after the President once more bluntly warned the North Koreans not to test U.S. military resolve, after threats by Kim to attack Guam. “Let’s see what he does with Guam,” the President told reporters on Thursday, making clear that the U.S. would swifly respond. “If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before — what will happen in North Korea,” Mr. Trump added. Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017 As for the U.S. military, the Pentagon was quietly making it clear that if force is needed, then it will be available to take on North Korea. #USAF B-1B Lancer #bombers on Guam stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so https://t.co/O3oVeFrNrG pic.twitter.com/IAm2qLwcWY — U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) August 11, 2017 Asked about 'human toll' of possible nuclear confrontation, Defense Secretary Mattis says 'it would be catastrophic' https://t.co/rqbwDrrWQi pic.twitter.com/zQOqcwij63 — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 11, 2017 On Capitol Hill, Democrats were raising red flags about a possible nuclear showdown with North Korea, with some asking House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring lawmakers back from their summer break, in order to debate issues of using nuclear weapons. “It is critical that the Trump Administration exhaust all diplomatic options before resorting to military force,” argued Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). If President @realDonaldTrump won't take nuclear war off the table, Congress must. My letter to @SpeakerRyan today. pic.twitter.com/GOBPM6SqcZ — David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) August 11, 2017 “The president’s escalating rhetoric won’t calm tensions or facilitate diplomacy with North Korea,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “He needs to step back from the brink.” As for Republicans, there was no evidence that they were deserting the President, or at all spooked over his tough talk against Pyongyang. “It is entirely unacceptable to allow a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching our western shores into the hands of Dictator Kim Jong Un,” said Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI).
  • President Donald Trump raised a lot of eyebrows on Capitol Hill this week by repeatedly going after Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, demanding that the top Republican do more to push ahead with plans to overhaul the Obama health law, and also to spur action on other top Trump priorities, like bills on tax reform, and new money for roads and bridges. Let’s imagine for a moment that President Trump could wave a magic wand and get rid of McConnell – would anything really change in the Senate? 1. If McConnell disappears, the music stays the same. Sure, get rid of McConnell. For the sake of argument, let’s say that somehow he is replaced by a more conservative Republican, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Or even his fellow Bluegrass State Republican, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). They might emphasize different arguments, and maybe try to schedule some different types of bills and votes. But they aren’t going to be able to suddenly create 60 votes for Republican priorities – or even 50 votes in some cases. This argument reminds me a lot of the big push to get rid of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. It sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t change much. Remember – even if you have 52 Republican Senators who are fully on board with Donald Trump, fully on board with the Tea Party and other conservative groups, you still don’t have 60 votes in the Senate, and you might not have the votes to pass tax reform or infrastructure legislation either. Pretend Ted Cruz or Rand Paul could get elected Majority Leader. How would they get bills passed? I love those guys but I don't get it. — Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) August 10, 2017 2. There’s no evidence of a Senate GOP rebellion. In all of the interviews of recent weeks that reporters have done with Senators on the Republican health care debacle, there were lots of questions asked about the leadership of Mitch McConnell, and nowhere did I pick up on any signs that McConnell’s job was in trouble. If anything, fellow GOP Senators felt like he was in a no-win situation on health care, and did better than anyone could expect to get 49 votes on a GOP “skinny” bill that barely did anything to change the Obama health law. Would there be some Republicans ready to push him off the second floor Capitol balcony? Sure. But there doesn’t seem to be a broader uprising against the Senate Majority Leader. GOP'er who understands Senate emphasizes: 'Problem for Trump is that there is nobody who is going to challenge McConnell in the conference.' — David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) August 10, 2017 3. McConnell hears words of support from fellow Republicans. While Senators are spread around the country on their summer break, some jumped on social media to express their support for McConnell – and by extension – pushed back against the President’s public rebuke. “I fully support him,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who said McConnell was “the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges.” Meanwhile, from Iowa, there were words of praise on the radio about McConnell’s leadership from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). And there have not been any rumblings from McConnell critics, who have been outnumbered for some time in the Senate. McConnell “is the single biggest reason why Neil Gorsuch is now a SCOTUS justice,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). And for now, McConnell doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. If Trump ever commits actually trying to oust McConnell, it will be a senstitive test of the Senate GOPs loyalty. Prediction: Trump won't. https://t.co/Z6f0uMoIbz — Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) August 10, 2017 @SenateMajLdr will continue to lead our caucus & bring us closer together to keep the promises we made to the American people. (3/4) — Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) August 11, 2017 4. A reminder of broader GOP dysfunction. There’s no law that says the President shouldn’t complain about his party’s leaders in the Congress. It’s obvious that lots of Republican voters love that the President is giving McConnell a hard time. But it is also a reminder – yet again – to GOP Senators, that Mr. Trump may not have their best interests at hand. A number of Republican Senators were horrified at the treatment by the President of their former colleague, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was put on the public barbecue in similar fashion as McConnell. That action by the President did not instill fear in the hearts of GOP Senators – instead it was disappointment, and it galvanized a number of Republicans to stand together against the President. In the past few weeks, I did not sense the seeds of any revolt against McConnell because of the health care failure. After Labor Day, the President is going to need every GOP vote he can find. Let @hillhulse explain why Trump’s Twitter fury at McConnell may backfire https://t.co/YDVrysiDAi — Michael Tackett (@tackettdc) August 11, 2017 5. The truth in Trump’s complaint on health care. One thing that no one could really dispute about President Trump’s jabs at the Senate Majority Leader were over how the GOP has dealt with the issue of the Obama health law. As I have reported on for the last seven years, Republicans have pressed to repeal the health law from the outset, but they were never really ready with a full replacement. Last year, I got a lot of nastygrams on Twitter and Facebook when I would tell people that there was no GOP agreement on how best to replace Obamacare (‘you are biased!’ was a common refrain). Except the last six months have proven that assessment correct. The GOP really didn’t have a plan that was ready to come off the shelf when the President took the oath of office. Trump may not have his own plan, but his party didn’t really have one either. Trump on McConnell stepping down: If he doesn't get repeal & replace, tax reform or infrastructure done, 'then you can ask that question.' — Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 10, 2017
  • Not backing off one bit from his threat earlier this week to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea, President Donald Trump on Thursday again warned the Pyongyang regime against any direct threats to American interests or allies, saying the U.S. will not stand for any North Korean aggression. “North Korea better get their act together, or they’re going to be in trouble, like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world,” the President told reporters outside of his New Jersey golf retreat. Mr. Trump said North Korean leaders should be “very, very nervous,” saying that “things will happen to them like they never thought possible,” as the President said he had no second thoughts about his tough talk against Kim Jong Un. President Trump: If North Korea thinks about attacking the U.S. or its allies, 'they should be very, very nervous.' https://t.co/2xJnLKULL1 — NBC News (@NBCNews) August 10, 2017 “I talk,” the President said of his warnings to North Korea. “Somebody has to do it.” With Vice President Pence at his side, Mr. Trump panned diplomatic efforts to rein in Pyongyang by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, saying it hasn’t done any good. “What they’ve been doing and what they’ve been getting away with is a tragedy,” the President said of North Korea. “And it can’t be allowed. Trump: 'North Korea better get their act together or they're gonna be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.' pic.twitter.com/2jAZa090AV — NBC News (@NBCNews) August 10, 2017
  • For a second straight day, President Donald Trump expressed his public frustration with the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, chiding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the failure to get a bill approved that would overhaul the Obama health law, as the White House reinforced Mr. Trump’s displeasure. “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!” the President said, acknowledging the important position of McConnell, as a key leader of the Trump agenda in the Congress. At the President’s golf retreat in Bedminster, New Jersey, officials made clear that Mr. Trump wants to see action on health care, and more. “You can see the president’s tweets,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the Twitter messages for Sen. McConnell. “Obviously there’s some frustration. I don’t have anything more to add.” Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017 Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017 Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2017 The White House also confirmed earlier press reports that the President and McConnell had spoken by telephone on Wednesday before Mr. Trump first tweeted his displeasure with the Senate Majority Leader. “I’m not aware of how long,” Sanders said of the call. “Health care was certainly discussed.” Mr. Trump’s unusual criticism of his own party’s leader in the Senate certainly pointed out something that was true – that Republicans have been talking for over seven years about repealing the Obama health law, but even when given the opportunity after President Trump’s win in November, they did not have a plan that was ready for a vote in the Congress.
  • There were conflicting explanations offered Wednesday to news organizations by the Trump Administration on why President Donald Trump had threatened a vigorous military attack against North Korea, when he vowed Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on the Pyongyang regime. In a series of leaks to major news organizations, top White House officials portrayed the statement as one that was off the cuff by the President. Politico quoted one White House official who called the Trump remarks, “impromptu,” while the New York Times said the warning “was entirely improvised, according to several people with direct knowledge of what unfolded.” Other White House officials told the Washington Post, Reuters and other news organizations that the Trump threats were “spontaneous.” Trump's 'fire and fury' North Korea remark surprised aides: officials. https://t.co/s3EXLXoRQi pic.twitter.com/5nA1N7l6Vx — Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 9, 2017 But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders rebuffed those accounts, telling reporters that the President had planned his statement with new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. “General Kelly and others on the NSC team were well aware of the tone of the statement of the president prior to delivery,” Sanders said to reporters in New Jersey. “The words were his own. The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand.” And at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis echoed some of the tough talk from the President about the Pyongyang regime. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mattis said of the North Korean government in a written statement. Meanwhile, the North Koreans were making more noise on Wednesday about a possible attack on U.S. military bases on the island of Guam, some 2300 miles away from North Korea, taunting Mr. Trump from afar by labeling the President’s remarks a “load of nonsense.” BREAKING: North Korea says it will complete plan to attack waters near Guam by mid-August then wait for commander in chief's order. — The Associated Press (@AP) August 9, 2017 That came hours after Mr. Trump had said on Twitter that the U.S. nuclear arsenal was stronger than ever, seemingly backing up his threat to use overwhelming force against Pyongyang if needed. For a second straight day in Congress, reaction was the same, as many Republicans remained silent on the President’s bellicose warning to Pyongyang, while most Democrats assailed Mr. Trump. “Over the past couple days, President Trump has taken one of this world’s gravest threats – nuclear conflict – and treated it in a way that is both reckless and needless,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). “The President’s most recent comments are recklessly belligerent and demonstrate a grave lack of appreciation for the severity of the North Korean nuclear situation,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. But not all Democrats were critical of the President. “We either do nothing, go to war or negotiate a stand down,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), “and so far we’ve seen no sign that they’re willing to negotiate.”
  • A day after threatening to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” on North Korea for that nation’s threats to attack U.S. targets, President Donald Trump kept up the public pressure on the Pyongyang Regime on Wednesday, expressing confidence in the power and capability of the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons arsenal. “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal,” the President said on Twitter. “It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” Mr. Trump added, seemingly sending a message for a second straight day to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017 …Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017 But while the President was talking tough, his Secretary of State was trying to downplay the situation, as he visited the region. “I think Americans should sleep well at night, I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during a stop in Guam, the U.S. island territory, which was directly threatened with attack by North Korea in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ remarks. “I do not believe there is any imminent threat,” Tillerson told reporters. BREAKING: Tillerson says exchange of threats on North Korea doesn't mean US is moving closer to military option. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) August 9, 2017
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

    Follow Jamie on Google+

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Local News

  • The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public in identifying the man seen in store surveillance video. Investigators say he might be linked to a retail theft case.  From the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page... If you can identify this individual, please contact Investigator Smith directly at ssmith@oconeesheriff.org or 706-769-3945.
  • Billy Payne ruled more with an open mind than an iron fist. As the sixth chairman of Augusta National Golf Club — and the first with no direct link to co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts — he held fast to the heritage and traditions of the club, while looking beyond Magnolia Lane at how the Masters could wield influence around the world for more than one week of the year. Women joined Augusta National for the first time. Juniors were allowed to attend the Masters for free with an adult. Amateurs from the Asia Pacific region and throughout Latin America could dream about competing for a green jacket. Payne announced Wednesday that he is retiring after 11 years of change that made the Augusta National logo more powerful than ever. 'There are two people that matter here — Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones,' Payne said. 'The rest of us are custodians. We do our best to first embrace, and thereafter hopefully to advance their philosophies for this club and for the game of golf — their obsession for detail, their passion to be the best. And I've done that now for a considerable number of years.' He officially retires on Oct. 16 when the club, which is closed during the summer, opens for a new season. Payne will be succeeded by Fred Ridley, a former U.S. Amateur champion and USGA president who is chairman of the Masters competition committee. Ridley will be the seventh chairman, and the first to have played in the Masters. Payne stays on as chairman emeritus. Augusta National speaks with one voice, and in that respect, Payne was no different from the other chairmen. With his Southern, homespun style, the 69-year-old Georgia native was more about collaboration than calling all the shots. Payne ends a remarkable career marked by two sporting events in which he had little previous experience. He had never been to the Olympics when Payne, a little-known real estate lawyer, led a long-shot bid to bring the Summer Games to Atlanta in 1996. He relied heavily on corporate support, and he showed early signs of his commitment to diversity and inclusion. He chose two women among the first five volunteers he selected for the Atlanta organizing committee. Payne did not take up golf until his adult years. He was invited to join Augusta National in 1997, a year after he concluded his work with the Atlanta Games. Nine years later, Hootie Johnson selected him as his successor as chairman. 'I committed my entire life to both at those respective times,' he said of his work on the Olympics and at Augusta National. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore became the first women to join Augusta National in 2012, no doubt an influence when the Royal & Ancient at St. Andrews, and later Muirfield and Royal Troon, added women to its membership rolls. That was but a small part of Payne's influence over the club and the Masters. Wanting to expand the reach of golf, he worked with the R&A to start the Asia-Pacific Amateur, awarding the winner a spot in the Masters with hopes it would create heroes in an emerging market. The second winner was Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who now is No. 2 in the world. The USGA and R&A then joined with Augusta National's next venture, the Latin America Amateur. Payne also brought in the USGA and PGA of America to start the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, which attracts children all over the country to compete in golf skills, with the finals held at Augusta National on the Sunday before the Masters. 'Forget about the fringe things,' former USGA executive director David Fay said. 'He took the opportunity to make sure that Augusta National was not just one of the four majors, but that it had a role at the table in decision-making for the game of golf.' Payne also invested heavily at the club by scooping up land around the perimeter to enhance the tournament. That includes free parking for the spectators, and the opening of Berckmans Place, a state-of-the-art hospitality area just beyond the fifth fairway. Payne loves to tell the story of how his father would always ask him, 'Did you do your best?' Payne says he never felt he could answer affirmatively, which drove him to a relentless work ethic in bringing the Olympics to Atlanta and in his role as Augusta National chairman. 'Yes, there's a striving for perfection,' Payne said. 'Striving for perfection is truly an obsession here, in the context of the Masters. We want to be able to provide for our patrons, our fans around the world, the absolute best sporting experience they have ever encountered. And we go to extremes to try to do that. 'We never get it quite right,' he said. 'But man, we try hard.' Ridley first met Roberts when he played the Masters in 1976 as the U.S. Amateur champion. Like Payne, his background is in real estate law. Payne recalls that when he began his tenure as chairman, his predecessor told him the most important job he faced was finding his own successor. Payne says health was not the reason behind his retirement. He had triple-bypass surgery when he was 34, and another triple bypass in 1993 while working on the Atlanta Games. He was more concerned about his back, which has kept him from playing golf as much as he would like. 'This honor ... is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time,' Payne said. 'I retire knowing it is simply the right thing to do — and at the right moment — to open the door and invite someone new to be called upon to lead.
  • A Walton County School bus driver faces a DUI charge: Catherine Etheridge was allegedly drunk behind the wheel of a bus that was loaded with school children. She’s facing 16 counts of child endangerment. Walton County School officials have not said where the bus was headed at the time of Etheridge’s arrest, which happened earlier this week.  They do say Etheridge has been fired from her job as a Walton County school bus driver.  “The Walton County School District does not tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes the safety of our students,” district spokeswoman Callen Moore said in a statement. “We appreciate the swift action of our Transportation Department and local law enforcement officers to ensure the safety of our students.” 
  • The National Institutes of Health has awarded $2.6 million to University of Georgia researchers to develop new drugs to treat human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as African sleeping sickness. African Trypanosomiasis, commonly known as HAT, is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trypanosoma brucei, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of a blood-sucking insect called a tsetse fly. Following a bite, the parasite multiplies in subcutaneous tissues and eventually crosses the blood-brain barrier to infect the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior, confusion, poor coordination and sleep disturbances. Without adequate treatment, the infection is almost invariably fatal. Rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa that depend on agriculture, fishing, hunting and animal husbandry are most likely to be exposed to the tsetse fly bites, according to the World Health Organization, which has led sustained control efforts to reduce the number of new cases. 'There are immense challenges in understanding trypanosome biology because a significant number of their genes are not found in humans or yeasts, which are more intensely studied,' said Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, professor in the department of cellular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences whose team was awarded the NIH grant. 'Using chemical biology tools to identify disease-relevant genes in the parasite, we discovered a small-molecule that prevents duplication of the nucleus in a trypanosome, and arrests proliferation of the parasite.' 'Our goal is to translate this basic science finding into the design of drugs to treat HAT,' he said. Using an animal model for the disease, the UGA-led team administered a drug that cured HAT in mice. 'HAT is a disease of poverty, so there is little incentive, understandably, for large pharmaceutical industries to be heavily invested. Two compounds are currently in clinical trial, but the pipeline for new anti-trypanosome drugs needs to be bolstered,' said Mensa-Wilmot, who leads a UGA Chemical Biology Group and is a member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. Collaborators in the UGA-led consortium are Andrei Purmal of Cleveland BioLabs Inc. and Michael Pollastri, department of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University.
  • After a year of intensive planning and design work, the University of Georgia will begin construction next month within the Lake Herrick watershed to enhance water quality and reopen the lake to the public for recreation in fall 2018.'This is an exciting moment for our university community and the broader Athens area,' said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. 'This project will not only improve and protect one of the most beautiful natural areas on this campus but also create new opportunities for recreation, research and experiential learning.' Initial construction will involve two phases with a completion target of summer 2018. The first phase will focus on improving water quality within the watershed by revitalizing the upper pond, which acts as a stilling basin to prevent sediments and pollutants from passing downstream to Lake Herrick and the North Oconee River. This phase will include removing more than 50 years of accumulated sediment, replacing invasive plant materials with native flora and installing multiple stormwater control measures, among other improvements.The second phase will expand recreational opportunities at Lake Herrick by improving conditions around the pavilion area. A lakeside lawn for passive recreation and events will be developed, and a stepped dock will be constructed for launching canoes and kayaks in the lake. A lakeside walking and running trail also will be installed in the second phase.This project, announced by Morehead during his 2016 State of the University Address, has developed through broad collaboration across UGA. An interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff and students helped to define the project timeline, identify related research and experiential learning opportunities and secure private funding.'Renewed use of Lake Herrick will provide unique outdoor learning and recreation opportunities to students and community members,' according to Kevin Kirsche, UGA's director of sustainability, 'hopefully inspiring healthy activity, an enhanced sense of place and a growing appreciation for the natural treasures right here on our own campus.'Private support is playing a critical role in advancing the watershed cleanup and lakefront renovation. The Georgia Power Company—one of UGA's key corporate partners—has donated $300,000 to support the project, and the Riverview Foundation also has contributed funds. The Office of the President-as the lead campus partner on the project—has allocated $250,000 in private resources toward the effort.'Georgia Power has a longstanding history of working with UGA, and we are proud to partner with them on the restoration of Lake Herrick's watershed,' said Chris Cummiskey, Georgia Power's executive vice president of external affairs. 'Our commitment to this project, and others like it, reinforces our philosophy to be ‘A Citizen Wherever We Serve' and provide a sustainable environment to be enjoyed by the community today and into the future.'The Lake Herrick restoration project is one of several strategic initiatives launched in recent years to advance campus sustainability. In 2015, UGA replaced an aging coal-fired boiler with a more cost-effective and energy-efficient electrode boiler. In 2016, UGA partnered with Georgia Power to install a solar tracking and demonstration project to offset a portion of campus energy use through on-site renewable sources and to create solar energy research and learning opportunities for faculty and students. In addition, UGA is in the process of converting one-third of its buses to electric vehicles, reducing fuel use, operating costs and tailpipe emissions in the nation's largest campus transit system.

Bulldog News

  • Billy Payne ruled more with an open mind than an iron fist. As the sixth chairman of Augusta National Golf Club — and the first with no direct link to co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts — he held fast to the heritage and traditions of the club, while looking beyond Magnolia Lane at how the Masters could wield influence around the world for more than one week of the year. Women joined Augusta National for the first time. Juniors were allowed to attend the Masters for free with an adult. Amateurs from the Asia Pacific region and throughout Latin America could dream about competing for a green jacket. Payne announced Wednesday that he is retiring after 11 years of change that made the Augusta National logo more powerful than ever. 'There are two people that matter here — Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones,' Payne said. 'The rest of us are custodians. We do our best to first embrace, and thereafter hopefully to advance their philosophies for this club and for the game of golf — their obsession for detail, their passion to be the best. And I've done that now for a considerable number of years.' He officially retires on Oct. 16 when the club, which is closed during the summer, opens for a new season. Payne will be succeeded by Fred Ridley, a former U.S. Amateur champion and USGA president who is chairman of the Masters competition committee. Ridley will be the seventh chairman, and the first to have played in the Masters. Payne stays on as chairman emeritus. Augusta National speaks with one voice, and in that respect, Payne was no different from the other chairmen. With his Southern, homespun style, the 69-year-old Georgia native was more about collaboration than calling all the shots. Payne ends a remarkable career marked by two sporting events in which he had little previous experience. He had never been to the Olympics when Payne, a little-known real estate lawyer, led a long-shot bid to bring the Summer Games to Atlanta in 1996. He relied heavily on corporate support, and he showed early signs of his commitment to diversity and inclusion. He chose two women among the first five volunteers he selected for the Atlanta organizing committee. Payne did not take up golf until his adult years. He was invited to join Augusta National in 1997, a year after he concluded his work with the Atlanta Games. Nine years later, Hootie Johnson selected him as his successor as chairman. 'I committed my entire life to both at those respective times,' he said of his work on the Olympics and at Augusta National. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore became the first women to join Augusta National in 2012, no doubt an influence when the Royal & Ancient at St. Andrews, and later Muirfield and Royal Troon, added women to its membership rolls. That was but a small part of Payne's influence over the club and the Masters. Wanting to expand the reach of golf, he worked with the R&A to start the Asia-Pacific Amateur, awarding the winner a spot in the Masters with hopes it would create heroes in an emerging market. The second winner was Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who now is No. 2 in the world. The USGA and R&A then joined with Augusta National's next venture, the Latin America Amateur. Payne also brought in the USGA and PGA of America to start the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, which attracts children all over the country to compete in golf skills, with the finals held at Augusta National on the Sunday before the Masters. 'Forget about the fringe things,' former USGA executive director David Fay said. 'He took the opportunity to make sure that Augusta National was not just one of the four majors, but that it had a role at the table in decision-making for the game of golf.' Payne also invested heavily at the club by scooping up land around the perimeter to enhance the tournament. That includes free parking for the spectators, and the opening of Berckmans Place, a state-of-the-art hospitality area just beyond the fifth fairway. Payne loves to tell the story of how his father would always ask him, 'Did you do your best?' Payne says he never felt he could answer affirmatively, which drove him to a relentless work ethic in bringing the Olympics to Atlanta and in his role as Augusta National chairman. 'Yes, there's a striving for perfection,' Payne said. 'Striving for perfection is truly an obsession here, in the context of the Masters. We want to be able to provide for our patrons, our fans around the world, the absolute best sporting experience they have ever encountered. And we go to extremes to try to do that. 'We never get it quite right,' he said. 'But man, we try hard.' Ridley first met Roberts when he played the Masters in 1976 as the U.S. Amateur champion. Like Payne, his background is in real estate law. Payne recalls that when he began his tenure as chairman, his predecessor told him the most important job he faced was finding his own successor. Payne says health was not the reason behind his retirement. He had triple-bypass surgery when he was 34, and another triple bypass in 1993 while working on the Atlanta Games. He was more concerned about his back, which has kept him from playing golf as much as he would like. 'This honor ... is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time,' Payne said. 'I retire knowing it is simply the right thing to do — and at the right moment — to open the door and invite someone new to be called upon to lead.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs are the 15th ranked team in the preseason AP college football poll: Alabama is number one, followed by Ohio State, Florida State, Southern Cal, and Clemson. The Dogs open the season in 11 days at home against Appalachian State.  Kickoff on September 2 is set for 6:30. Alabama (52) Ohio State (3) Florida State (4) USC (2) Clemson  Penn State  Oklahoma Washington  Wisconsin  Oklahoma State  Michigan  Auburn  LSU  Stanford  Georgia  Louisville  Florida  Miami  South Florida Kansas State  Virginia Tech  West Virginia  Texas  Washington State Tennessee  Others receiving votes: TCU (98), Utah (85), Notre Dame (65), Boise State (37), NC State (26), Northwestern (25), Pittsburgh (23), Oregon (21), Houston (19), Colorado (18), UCLA (9), San Diego State (9), BYU (5), Appalachian State (4), Nebraska (4), Tulsa (4), Kentucky (3), Texas A&M (3), Michigan State (1).
  • ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia soccer defeated High Point, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon for the Bulldogs’ first win of the 2017 season.   In the 71st minute, Maddie Burdick passed to Caroline Chipman, who played the ball into the box, allowing Katie MacGinnitie to kick it into the back of the net, putting the Bulldogs up 1-0.   “We’re happy to come away with the win,” Georgia head coach Billy Lesesne said. “I think our effort was there, just as it was Friday night against Wake Forest, but today we ended up grinding it out and getting a hard-worked goal. It was not a thing of beauty but the players kept it alive until Katie was able to put it away. It was a really nice finish and a determined effort at the end of the field.”   Georgia (1-1) controlled the ball offensively throughout the first half of the game, taking nine shots to High Point’s (1-1) one, but the score remained 0-0 after the first 45 minutes of play.    The Bulldogs came out determined in the second half, continuing to control possession.    High Point’s best chance for the equalizer came seven minutes after Georgia took the 1-0 lead with a penalty kick that hit the left goal post and went wide.   Georgia hits the road for the first time this season when the team travels to take on Charlotte on Friday, August 25 at 7 p.m. before continuing onto Blacksburg, Virginia to play the Virginia Tech Hokies on Sunday, August 27 at 2 p.m.   Fans now have the opportunity to enjoy Georgia soccer games with a UGA soccer seatback. The seatbacks are thick and comfortable, and can be purchased at the Fan Info table located in the plaza of the Turner Soccer Complex for $5 per game. You can also save $15 by purchasing a soccer seatback for all nine home matches of the season for a total of $30.
  • ATHENS, Ga.--- Three members of the Georgia soccer team have been named to the Southeastern Conference Soccer Preseason Watch List announced Wednesday by the conference office. Since 2011, the SEC has named a watch list in lieu of selecting preseason all-conference teams.     Seniors Louise Hogrell and Mariel Gutierrez, as well as freshman Katie Higgins joined players from each of the other 13 member institutions on the list. Hogrell receives the honor for the third consecutive season, while this marks the second consecutive season Gutierrez was named to the list.    Hogrell returns in goal for Georgia after playing all but 15 minutes during the 2016 season. She led the SEC in saves (94) and ranked second in saves per game (5.22). The Asa, Sweden native ranks near the top in several UGA career records following her junior season, including fifth in career shutouts (14), fifth in saves (262), and fifth in wins (21).    Gutierrez is back for her senior season as Georgia’s leading returner in assists with four in 2016. The Mexico City, Mexico native started all 18 games at midfield for the Bulldogs last season and scored four goals.     Higgins kicks off her collegiate career after leading PDA O’Reilly to an ECNL U-18 Northeast Conference championship and a quarterfinals finish in the national playoffs. The Andreas, Pennsylvania native was an early enrollee who contributed in the spring in preparation for the 2017 season. She started in the exhibition game against Auburn and took one shot.   Georgia will officially kick off the 2017 season at the Turner Soccer Complex against Wake Forest on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs cap off opening weekend in Athens against High Point on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. Admission is free.