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National Govt & Politics
After health care bill failure, Trump has few legislative victories on the horizon in Congress
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After health care bill failure, Trump has few legislative victories on the horizon in Congress

After health care bill failure, Trump has few legislative victories on the horizon in Congress
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

After health care bill failure, Trump has few legislative victories on the horizon in Congress

After a Republican push in Congress on a GOP health care overhaul bill melted down last Friday, there are not many opportunities for President Donald Trump to turn things around on Capitol Hill right now, as with little of his agenda in the pipeline, it is possible that the President may have to waits months for a significant legislative achievement to make it through the Congress.

Here is where things stand on Capitol Hill for the Trump Administration.

1. Lots of campaign promises, but little ready for action. With the GOP health care bill seemingly now off the agenda in the Congress, where does President Trump go for a much-needed legislative victory? The answer reminds me of what I said about health care and Republicans for the last six years - they have lots of ideas, but there is no GOP consensus on what to do, or how to get it through the House and Senate. That description could apply to a number of big issues, like tax reform, budget cuts, entitlement reform, balancing the budget, building new roads and bridges, and many other issues. For a variety of reasons, there are no bills ready for action on anything major at this point on the Trump Agenda, as Mr. Trump is definitely behind where things stood eight years ago legislatively.

2. The one bright spot for Trump - Neil Gorsuch. Let's not ignore the one possible victory in the short term for the President, his choice for U.S. Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch was untouched in last week's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his final approval is not a slam dunk, as Democrats are threatening to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination. Still, it's not clear that all Democrats will go along with that, and Gorsuch may get approved after an Easter break on Capitol Hill. That would certainly be a big victory for Mr. Trump and Republicans - but it may be about the only major item they will celebrate on any time soon in the halls of Congress.

3. Tax reform unlikely to produce a quick victory for Trump. While the President has made clear he wants to move on from the GOP health care debacle to tax reform, that is not an item that will fly through Congress. If you think health care reform is tricky, just wait until you get every corporate lobbyist imaginable in Washington, D.C. involved in a major tax reform effort. The last time the Congress approved a tax reform bill, it took a little over a year to get it through the House and Senate and to the President's desk - that was the Tax Reform Act of 1986. There is a reason they call the lobby outside of the House Ways and Means Committee, "Gucci Gulch" - it will be packed with very well paid lobbyists of all stripes.

4. A U.S.-Mexican border wall is no slam dunk. President Trump has asked the Congress to approve $3.1 billion so his administration can jump start work on a wall along the Mexican border, but that's no gimme on Capitol Hill. Mr. Trump wants some of that money approved as part of budget plan for the rest of the current fiscal year; a temporary budget runs out on April 28. While that is just over a month from now, the Congress will soon be gone on a two week Easter break, and there are some fears a mini-budget showdown next month could even lead to a government shutdown. One thing that may rile up some Republicans is the need to use eminent domain to get the land along the border to build the wall. Trump likes eminent domain - many in the GOP do not.

5. What about the Trump Infrastructure plan? Through the campaign, there was a lot of talk by the President about a $1 trillion package for infrastructure spending - not all from the government, but a public-private partnership to deliver construction jobs on news roads, bridges and more. But over two months into his administration, the White House has not yet delivered a plan, and Congress is not ready with any bill as of yet. The odd part of this issue is obvious, as Republicans spent the last eight years resisting much smaller infrastructure plans offered by President Obama, mainly on the grounds of the cost. This is another major issue that's not ready for a vote in either the House or Senate.

6. Trump budget likely to bring even more Capitol Hill intrigue. If you enjoyed the ebb and flow of the internal Republican troubles over health care, just wait until we get to the budget presented by President Trump. That plan is asking for $54 billion more in defense spending next year, offset by $54 billion in budget cuts from non-defense programs. Just as the GOP was divided into different camps on health care, the same is true on the budget. Some Republican lawmakers are aghast at the lack of effort by the White House to deal with the budget deficit. Others want much more in defense spending. There are many ready to resist various cuts put forward by the White House as well. Some of the specific Trump cuts that would be felt in local communities are already drawing fire, with little push back from the White House. Here's a perfect example of budget concern coming from a red state:

7. GOP finger pointing won't help produce legislative wins. President Trump on Sunday used Twitter to lash out at conservative Republicans in Congress and outside conservative groups that were opposed to the health care reform bill that ran aground last week, as he singled out the Freedom Caucus for criticism. "Mark Meadows betrayed Trump and America and supported Pelosi and Democrats to protect Obamacare," said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), again going after the head of the House Freedom Caucus. Not only is the country divided politically, but so too is the Republican Party in Congress, and that was very obvious in the last week. If the majority party isn't united in Washington, that makes life difficult when it comes to legislating. This tweet shows you some Republicans aren't scared of crossing the President one bit.

8. It's not just the Freedom Caucus that Trump is mad at. As more stories leak out about the President's lobbying efforts on health care, it's becoming apparent that he gave an earful to some Republican moderates as well. On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) acknowledged that he had been on the receiving end of one Trump jab, as the President reportedly told Dent that he and other opponents of the health care bill were "destroying America," as the New York Times reported that Trump told Dent his position would endanger future efforts in Congress at tax reform. One had Trump wondering aloud, "Why am I even talking to you?" when Dent said he would be a "No" vote.

9. Whither the Freedom Caucus? Whether they've been called the Freedom Caucus or Tea Party Republicans, those more conservative Republicans elected in the GOP since the 2010 elections have been very straightforward in the amount of change that they want to see in Congress and in the federal government - a lot. But the problem is, they've done little more than just be the block of votes that says, "No" - they have not been a group that's bubbling over with legislative ideas, they have not been on the floor leading the charge on budget cuts and other government reform proposals. This latest battle over health care prompted one Republican to quit the Freedom Caucus on Sunday - Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) made clear that he wants to see legislative achievements in the future.

10. So, where does that leave Trump? Don't buy into the stories that say everything is collapsing for President Trump. But don't go whistling by the graveyard either. I wrote five weeks ago that the GOP Congress had nothing really in the legislative pipeline for Trump to sign, other than some bills that repealed individual rules from the Obama Administration. While those certainly fit into what Trump promised during the campaign, most of that is not tip-of-the-tongue kind of stuff for politicians back home. But it's all that Republicans have right now in terms of action in Congress. Trump seemed to understand that, as he made it part of his pitch to reluctant Republicans on health care. And for now, there seem to be few opportunities for legislative success in the near term for Mr. Trump. Momentum is important in sports. And it is important in politics as well.

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Local News

  • How rare is Earth? And is there another one? “Good science begins with good questions,” said Roger Hunter, NASA Small Spacecraft Technology program manager and associate director of the NASA Ames Research Center. Hunter spoke about how his work helps answer those questions during the 2019 Charter Lecture, “NASA’s Kepler Mission and Small Spacecraft Technologies: Today and Beyond,” held March 20 at the Chapel. “For NASA, there are three fundamental questions: Are we alone? How did we get here? And how does the universe work?” said Hunter, who received his Bachelor of Science in mathematics from UGA in 1978. Hunter and his team seek answers by identifying and supporting the development of new subsystem technologies to expand the capabilities of small spacecrafts for NASA. One such task was serving as program manager for NASA’s Kepler Mission, which sought to discover and locate Earth-like planets in habitable zones (where the temperature is right for water to pool on the surface) in the Milky Way galaxy. Kepler completed two missions. After four years, two gyroscopes on the spacecraft failed, but NASA engineers were able to come with a way to still point the spacecraft accurately enough to find planets by using the remaining gyroscopes and the solar wind. “They kept the mission alive, which allowed us to do even more interesting astrophysics and detect more planets,” he said. According to Hunter, during its more than nine years in space, Kepler provided a definitive answer to whether or not there are more habitable planets like Earth. “The results have been astonishing,” he said. “We found planets galore.” Thousands of planets and stars The spacecraft was 94 million miles away. It confirmed 2,662 planets and observed 530,506 stars. According to Hunter, one out of every five stars has an Earth-size habitable zone planet — and that’s the conservative estimate. “So, Captain Kirk is going to have a lot of M-Class planets to go explore now because of Kepler,” he said with a laugh. NASA’s work also can help scientists and researchers understand what’s happening on this planet. For example, satellites were used to take images of the Carr and Camp fires in California last year. Now, NASA is working on the next generation of space telescopes after Hubble. In order to use one of the future telescopes to look at a planet that is 50 light years away and take images of it, we have to think bigger, Hunter said. Some of the telescopes can have a 40- to 50-meter aperture. In other ways, the future is also smaller. Hunter mentors students in the UGA Small Satellite Research Laboratory who are preparing to launch satellites the size of a tissue box with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Before looking to the future, Hunter also wants these students to understand the past. He spoke about the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, where Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to reach and orbit the moon. They had a lasting impact on him, saying that in all of the bad that happened that year, those astronauts stood out as something good. “We had something we could aspire to,” he said. “Now, we need you more than ever. You’re part of the solution. We want you to realize your dreams, and we want you to make this world a better place. There’s no telling how far your dreams might take you.” Hunter reminded the audience that the future for NASA looks a little different than it did in 1968. For example, there are now 80 spacefaring nations. The NASA budget is expected to go from almost $350 billion in 2018 (not counting classified budgets) to $2.7 trillion in the next decades. More missions to come “I want to offer you a challenge,” Hunter said to the students in the audience. “Kepler’s orbit takes it around the sun at a slightly slower pace than Earth. On Sept. 25, 2060, Earth is going to go right by Kepler. You need to go up and get it. Bring it back, and put it in a museum, because it is, like many of our other missions, a tribute to human ingenuity.” The UGA Small Satellite Research Laboratory isn’t the university’s only connection to the stars above. In 2013, Hunter helped make UGA the world’s first university to have a planetary system named after it — UGA-1785. “If you [students in the UGA Small Satellite Research Laboratory] are able to make these missions work, I’m sure there will be following missions to come behind them,” Hunter said. “There will be other Space Dawgs to follow in your footsteps.” The Charter Lecture is sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and is part of the university’s Signature Lecture Series.
  • You'll want to be aware about an increasing storm threat for this afternoon and evening.  We'll start the day dry and warm but will finish with the chance for strong storms.  The main risks later today will be strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain. The tornado risk is very low with this system. A cold front moves through tonight into tomorrow with cooler air to follow. We'll lose the mid-70s we had Sunday in the metro.  
  • From the Clarke Co Sheriff’s Office... The Georgia Supreme Court has held OCGA § 42-1-14(e) as unconstitutional, in that the law requires a person who is classified as a sexually dangerous predator – but who is no longer in State custody or on probation or parole – wear and pay for a GPS monitoring device that allows the State to monitor that individual’s location.    The Court noted an individual who is still serving a criminal sentence, either on probation or parole may have a reduced expectation of privacy. However, the same is not true of an individual who has completed the entirety of his or her criminal sentence, including his or her parole and/or probation requirements. The Court determined, individuals who have completed their sentences do not have a reduced expectation of privacy that would render their wearing a GPS monitoring device reasonable. The Court concluded, OCGA § 42-1-14 (e) is unconstitutional on its face to the extent that individuals, like Park, who are no longer serving any part of their sentences.    Given the court’s ruling, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office removed the ankle monitor of Deon Williams, a registered sex offender in Athens-Clarke County. Williams is listed as a sexually dangerous predator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender Registry.
  • Each week the Athens Community Council on Aging and its 200 volunteers deliver over 1,300 meals to homebound adults in Clarke and Barrow counties through the Meals on Wheels program. Some of the 300-plus clients are older adults who have difficulty getting out, while others suffer from disabilities that prevent them from leaving home. This service not only provides individuals with meals but serves as a safety check. Many of ACCA’s Meals on Wheels clients are at an increased risk for medical emergencies, falls and other accidents, and it is often difficult for them to get to doctor appointments. Dr. Don Scott was quick to recognize this growing problem after he began volunteering with the ACCA. Scott, one of the few practicing geriatric physicians in the Athens area, is an Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership faculty member. He reached out to Eve Anthony, chief executive officer of the ACCA, to see how he could help. “He immediately recognized the challenges we face as an organization for those clients who are experiencing health and wellness issues, and the numerous Meals on Wheels clients who may not have a primary care provider,” said Anthony. Recognizing a need As the campus director of geriatrics and palliative care, Scott oversees the AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program’s geriatrics rotation in partnership with St. Mary’s Health Care System. In 2016, the residency program collaborated with the ACCA to make home visits to the Athens-area Meals on Wheels clients part of their geriatrics rotation. “My goal for the residents visiting the homebound clients is to understand what it means to be a frail, homebound older adult with unique needs,” said Scott. “Whether that need is primary care, or simply to adjust their walker, we want to help out any way we can. Most clients have a regular physician, but they often miss appointments due to their decreased physical function or transportation barriers.” The ACCA recommends clients to Scott’s team based on the highest level of need. So far, the internal medicine residents and Scott have visited over 30 homebound individuals in the Athens area, totaling more than $5,000 of free care. Those numbers are continuing to grow. From adjusting their blood pressure medication to organizing their prescription drugs to providing home safety visits for those with mental health issues, Scott and his team see a variety of issues. One of Scott’s favorite stories is about a woman who needed the brakes repaired on her rollator. He made ACCA aware of the situation and they worked with a local bike shop to make that repair. Another visit led to helping a woman get her dog to a veterinarian. Scott is currently working with the ACCA to assist in restoring water to a patient who has no functioning plumbing. “Having Dr. Scott and the residents in the client’s home doing in-depth assessments gives us access to information on that particular client’s needs that we may not have,” Anthony said. The clients are very appreciative of Scott and the residents. Jacqueline Moses said, “I love having Dr. Scott visit. It is more personalized than a standard doctor’s appointment and he can help me understand the physician’s orders.” Teaching empathy The residents benefit from the program as well by gaining an increased awareness of the day-to-day challenges these patients face. Going into homes, rather than seeing patients only in an office or hospital, gives residents a new perspective and allows them to develop better patient care plans. This rotation also allows the residents to observe how their treatment plans impact patients. Second-year resident Rida Younus said, “It helps us truly access the patient as a whole, to not only address their medical needs but their living conditions, which may sometimes make it hard for them to follow through with plans discussed in the office.” Anthony agreed. “Through this partnership we are teaching a new group of physicians a greater understanding of the issues facing older adults.” Public recognition In recognition of his hard work, Scott and the AU/UGA Internal Medicine Residency Program were awarded the 2018 ACCA’s Community Partner of the Year award. As an agency, the ACCA acknowledges it cannot meet the Athens community’s needs alone and recognizes they can do more when aligning their mission with others who share those same goals. “Dr. Scott has gone above and beyond to make himself a resource for our clients,” Anthony said. “His willingness to work with individuals through unusual circumstances allows ACCA to better serve their clients. He is a truly great ally to have in our corner.”   
  • A committee that is overseeing work on projects that are being funded by the transportation sales tax approved by Athens-Clarke County voters in 2017 meets today: it’s a 5:30 session at City Hall in downtown Athens.  Madison County Commissioners meet tonight: it’s a 6 o’clock session at the Government Complex in Danielsville.  The Bowman City Council will welcome Pete Gibbons back to the mayor’s podium Monday during the council’s regular meeting. The council meeting begins at 7 at Bowman City Hall Today marks the start of the second week of early voting in the third election to fill the District 28 seat in the Georgia House: two previous elections were tossed out because of problems with voters casting ballots in the wrong district. Former Banks County School Superintendent Chris Erwin won both those elections, defeating Republican incumbent Dan Gasaway. The early voting ends April 5; election day itself is April 9. Voters are casting ballots in parts of Banks, Stephens, and Habersham counties.  Habersham County government offices that were closed last Friday are reopening this morning in new headquarters off Toccoa Highway in Clarkesville. Habersham County Commissioners will hold the first meetings in the new facility today: they’re holding budget sessions with the heads of various Habersham County government agencies. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Two Georgia football players were charged with disorderly conduct after a “chaotic scene” erupted at a downtown Athens bar in the early Sunday morning hours, according to a statement released by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. The investigation is ongoing as the department continues to work to learn who was involved in the incident. Georgia senior receiver Tyler Simmons was charged along with freshman Tyrique Stevenson as a result of an incident that originated inside the Cloud Bar on Sunday morning. Simmons and Stevenson were identified as “subjects allegedly fighting with bar employees,” according to the statement.   RELATED: Georgia 5-star freshman charged after Sunday morning incident An off-duty Athens-Clarke County Police officer who was working at the bar called for assistance after being alerted a 12:50 a.m. that a fight was taking place inside. Multiple officers responded to the scene, as numerous bar patrons spilled out onto the sidewalk and street, per the statement. The Cloud Bar did not press charges against Simmons and Stevenson. After restoring order, the Athens-Clark County Police Department charged Simmons and Stevens with disorderly conduct and took them to the jail. Stevens was booked and released after posting bond. Simmons, however, was not booked because he had complained of an injury upon arriving at the jail, which required him to be taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has yet to issue a statement on the incident. The Bulldogs held their third spring practice on Saturday, donning pads for the first time this offseason. Smart, a University of Georgia graduate entering his fourth season as head coach, had expressed concerns with leadership earlier in the week. “I’ve never felt great about leadership at this point in time,  I didn’t feel great two years ago, I didn’t feel great last year,” Smart said last Tuesday. “I think you can’t find true leadership, and you can’t manipulate it. You can’t make it happen.” Bulldogs reserve linebacker Jaden Hunter was booked last Wednesday by UGA police  for illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle and driving with a suspended/revoked license. Backup defensive back Latavious Brini was charged a fter allegedly slapping a man outside of an Athens bar on Feb 28. Brini has continued to practice with the team. “This type of behavior is extremely disappointing and not representative of the standards for our football student-athletes,” Smart said after Brini’s incident. “His discipline will be handled internally and hopefully good lessons will be learned that will lead to better choices moving forward.” Smart, who is not scheduled to meet with the media again until Tuesday, did not issue a statement on Hunter Athens-Clarke County Statement     The post Two Georgia football players allegedly involved in ‘chaotic’ downtown Athens bar incident appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Solomon Kindley and Andrew Thomas have played next to each other on Georgia’s offensive line most of the last two seasons. That’s where the similarities end. Thomas, Georgia’s All-American left tackle, is quiet-spoken to the point of being introverted. Kindley, who started every game last season next to Thomas, is chatty and loquacious. He can talk about changing a lightbulb and make it into an entertaining anecdote. Kindley says those contrasting personalities are evident even during the heat of battle. “On the field, I’ll be like, ‘Andrew, we’ve got D-C-P!'” Kindley says, mimicking the act of making a line call during a game. “He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ After that we’ll run a play and I’ll be like, ‘good play!’ He’ll be like, ‘Yeah.'” Kindley is comfortable enough in his own skin to put on clown makeup and and ham it up on a visit to a children’s hospital last December in New Orleans. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) That written recounting doesn’t do justice to Kindley’s hilarious reenactment, replete with deadpan tones and facial expressions. But neither does any description when it comes to this gargantuan human being, with the style and personality to match. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound rising junior from Jacksonville has an effervescent disposition that belies the nature of his job, which is to dominate and physically overwhelm his opponent snap after offensive snap. Fresh off the field following another grueling spring practice, Kindley takes a look at the small gathering of reporters that has encircled him to hear his comments, and he grins widely. “Just another day in paradise and Georgia football,” he proclaimed happily. Don’t let Kindley’s whistling-through-life persona fool you. This is a man who has a very serious and physically-challenging job to do for the Bulldogs and approaches it accordingly. He has managed to do it well enough to start 21 games and play in all 29 his last two seasons, and that’s while Georgia continues bring blue-chip linemen to Athens by the busload. The beauty of it is Kindley does not share the same recruiting pedigree with most of his fellow guards. He came to UGA from Jacksonville as a consensus 3-star prospect who ESPN ranked as the 40th-ranked offensive guard in the nation and the 99th best prospect in the state Florida. Yet, after an initial redshirt year to get his weight and conditioning under control, Kindley has been a go-to player for line coach Sam Pittman. He started seven games at right guard next to then-right-tackle Thomas during Georgia’s run to the national championship game in 2017. Then he followed Thomas over to the left side, starting all 14 games last year as the Bulldogs led the SEC rushing on the way to an 11-3 season. It’s there, at left guard next to Thomas, that Kindley opened this spring practice with Georgia’s No. 1 offense. But he knows just because that’s where he’s starting the 2019 season, it’s where he’ll end it. Solomon Kindley (66) and Andrew Thomas (71) have proven a formidable team on the left side of Georgia’s offensive line. (AJC) “I’m never complacent with anything I do,” Kindley said following the second practice of the 15-practice spring session this past Thursday. “So, yes, I started the last 15 games or whatever it was last year; I’m trying to start every game this year. That’s the competitiveness we’ve got as an offensive line. We’ve got pushers from the first team to the fourth team. So everybody comes out to practice every day with a chip on their shoulder. If you don’t, Coach Pittman is the type of coach who will replace you no matter who you are or what you did.” Pittman certainly finds himself with a lot of options. In addition to fellow junior Ben Cleveland, with whom Kindley battled for playing time the entire 2017 seasons, the Bulldogs have continued to bring in highly-rated guards. Last year signaled the arrival of Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer, both of them 5-star prospects. Clay Webb, a 5-star recruit out of Alabama, joined the competition this spring. Trey Hill, a 4-star recruit out of Warner Robins, also came in with that group and ended up playing a bigger role than any of them. Hill filled in for an injured Lamont Gaillard at center when Gaillard went down early in the first half of a pivotal SEC East road matchup against Kentucky. Later, after both Cleveland and Mays were lost to injuries, Hill started the last four games of the season at right guard. Hill has entered spring camp as the No. 1 center, leaving Mays, Salyer, Cleveland, Webb, Justin Shaffer and others to compete for reps at left and right guard. “Coach Pittman gets everybody ready and he’s going to put somebody there,” Kindley said, referring to center specifically. “He might put me there; you never know. Whoever he puts there is going to be a great player because that’s just the way our room is built. When your name is called and it’s time for you to be in there, you’re going to perform.” For reasons known only to him, Pittman seems to have a particular affinity for Kindley and Thomas playing next to each other on the left side. It’s hard to argue with that reasoning after Georgia established school records last season for rushing yards (3,876) and rushing touchdowns (42). The early word is that the Bulldogs may be throwing the ball around a good bit more now James Coley calling the plays as offensive coordinator. Kindley’s not about to take a guess on that. But his goals and aspirations for 2019 suggest he expects that. To start with, he’s trimmer, or at least as svelte as somebody who weighs 340 pounds can be. Kindley said he weighs the same as he did last season, but is stronger and better conditioned. His hope is that will translate to the job is trying to do on the field. “Everybody’s got improvement to do no matter good you are,” Kindley said. “The biggest thing for me getting more dominant and stronger in my pass protection, getting my hands set, little stuff like that.” In the meantime, Kindley is happy to be paired again — at least for the moment — with Thomas on Georgia’s left flank. He said though they have markedly different personalities, he and Thomas remain best of friends, attending movies together on occasion and just hanging out whenever time permits. “He’s cool people,” Kindley said with a laugh. What would be really cool, Kindley said, would be for the Bulldogs to play this season the way he they believe they’re capable of. “However good your offensive line is is however good your team is going to be,” Kindley said, almost preaching it. “So if our offensive and defensive lines are very good, then the sky’s the limit for us. That’s just the motto in our room; that’s the chip on our shoulder. If we’re good, we’re going to the national championship. We’re going to beat everybody and anybody who lines up against us. That’s just how we see things. We’re the best on the field and nobody can hang with us.” We’re left to assume that Kindley’s probably speaking on behalf of Thomas, and the rest of Georgia’s O-line as well. The post Solomon Kindley speaks for Georgia’s offensive line: ‘I want to dominate and win a national championship appeared first on DawgNation.
  • “The game speaks to you. If you’re paying attention to it, the game will be telling you what to do.” — Two-time Olympic softball gold medalist Michele Smith ATHENS — Georgia softball has arguably the best hitter in the nation in Alyssa DiCarlo, but as the saying goes, there’s a reason they call it fast “pitch.” The No. 12-ranked Bulldogs (25-9, 1-5 SEC) either lack the pitching or aren’t using it correctly at this stage of the season. The result has been a five-game losing streak — UGA’s longest in two years — and a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 6 LSU (28-6, 7-2). The Tigers used four pitchers in a 7-4 win over the Bulldogs at Jack Turner Stadium on Sunday, spoiling Georgia’s ESPN debut this season. The nation looked on along with a puzzled capacity crowd of 1,751 as the Bulldogs’ coaching staff  left junior Alley Cutting in the circle for seven innings to absorb all nine hits and five runs. It was surprising because the Tigers had seen 4 2/3 innings of Cutting, a transfer from Kennesaw State, in Saturday’s loss to LSU. Teams hit better against pitchers the more they see them. DiCarlo, meanwhile, has proven capable of hitting any pitcher, any time. DiCarlo, one of seven returning starters from last season’s Women’s College World Series team, drove her nation-leading 18th home run out of the park in tying the Georgia career RBI record (236). LSU had wisely walked DiCarlo her first two at-bats before she drove a two-strike pitch over the wall to pull the Bulldogs to within 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Georgia put another rally together in the sixth inning, a solo home run by Justice Milz and a two-run shot from Ciara Bryan cut the deficit to 5-4. But with a runner on first LSU wisely walked DiCarlo, and two batters later, Mahlena O’Neal lined out to right field with the bases loaded to end the inning. LSU responded by adding two insurance runs off Cutting in the 7th, driving hard shots outside the foul lines when it wasn’t putting the ball into play. Georgia associate head coach Tony Baldwin, who now speaks on behalf of head coach Lu Harris-Champer on a regular basis, didn’t offer much of an explanation for how the pitching staff was managed. Instead he said LSU is a good hitting team — just like Georgia and many of the other SEC teams, with nine ranked in the most recent ESPN Top 25. “We have a good offensive team, we have good hitters, and we have to be in there prepared to get into the fight better,” Baldwin said, referring to UGA surrendering three runs in the first inning. “We lost a few too many moments early.” It has been the story of the season for Georgia. The Bulldogs have been unable to put it all together, the coaches struggling to find the proper batting order. Georgia stranded 11 runners in the first game of the series against LSU, 8 in the second, and 9 in Sunday’s defeat. DiCarlo said the team will continue to compete. “I’m excited about the fight that we’ve shown,” said DiCarlo, who was flawless at shortstop with four assists on Sunday. “We learned a lot from this weekend. “I think we’ll come out stronger and win more moments.” It will be up to Harris-Champer, in her 19th year as head coach, to figure out the bullpen and the batting lineup if Georgia is to avoid a sixth straight loss on Wednesday night against Georgia Southern (6 p.m.). Georgia softball star Alyssa DiCarlo Georgia softball assistant coach Tony Baldwin The post Georgia softball power goes to waste, LSU sweeps fading Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia freshman cornerback Tyrique Stevenson was arrested early Sunday morning on charges of disorderly conduct, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail booking recap. The Athens Clark County police department arrested Stevenson at 2:42 a.m. Sunday morning on the misdemeanor charge and he was released at 3:26 a.m. after posting a $1,000 bond. Stevenson is a 5-star recruit from Homestead, Fla., who attended Miami Southridge High School before enrolling in January at the University of Georgia. Stevenson is the third Georgia football player who has been arrested in the last month Smart said last Tuesday he had concerns about the leadership on his team. “I’ve never felt great about leadership at this point in time,  I didn’t feel great two years ago, I didn’t feel great last year,” Smart said. “I think you can’t find true leadership, and you can’t manipulate it. You can’t make it happen.” All three players arrested in the last month play on defense, where UGA has a new coordinator in 32-year-old Dan Lanning. Bulldogs reserve linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested last Wednesday by UGA police  for illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle and driving with a suspended/revoked license. Latavious Brini was arrested and charged with simple battery — a misdemeanor level charge — a fter allegedly slapping a man outside of an Athens bar on Feb 28. Brini has continued to practice with the team. “This type of behavior is extremely disappointing and not representative of the standards for our football student-athletes,” Smart said after Brini’s arrest. “His discipline will be handled internally and hopefully good lessons will be learned that will lead to better choices moving forward.” Smart has yet to issue a statement on Stevenson.   The post Georgia 5-star freshman DB arrested on disorderly conduct charge appeared first on DawgNation.