Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Karen Handel, Georgia's Secretary of State

Here's an update on my Open Records Act request to Karen Handel.

I emailed the request on July 17, 2008.

Today I have the response letter.

Nine business days.

Not bad. Hall County responded twice in three days. The second in writing or by snail mail.

The response letter doesn't provide any of the information requested but it does say I can make an appointment to come see the documents that I requested.

Nine normal business days and fifteen calender days to say, "Schedule an appointment?"

Does it strain the credibility of government just a little bit to say, our letter took 6 normal business days to travel in the U.S. mail from Atlanta to Flowery Branch? Just say the check is in the mail ...

Sure, I want to schedule an appointment. Why the flappen H didn't you email or call me?

How long does it take to call me and say, 'Mr. Parker, we have no problem meeting your request. Karen Handel as Secretary of State has no secrets. When would you like to review the records that you need? We have can make you as many copies as you want. Or, we can make a copy of each document for 25 cents a page. We have 100 pages and that will be $25. '

Was that so tough to type in an email?

The longer a government office delays in meeting an open record request, the more likely someone will yell Conspiracy or Cover UP!

Someone call the post office. Seven days for a letter from Atlanta to Flowery Branch. I don't believe it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The GOP has left the building

In state after state, voters have turned away from Republican candidates. Why?

Voters aren't turning away from the Party. The Party has lost touch with America.

No matter what Nathan Deal might say in public, the private conversation of Republican to Republican outline the GOP's ideal future.

For example just read the blog maintained by the Hall County Republican Party's Chair at www.epaulstanley.com.

Mr. Stanley, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, rants like a street thug against ... rights, human rights.

How about Nathan Deal's little speech to the 9th District GOP Convention,on April 21, 2008. He praises China and wants the GOP to be like China in a keynote speech to the 9th District GOP Convention,on April 21, 2008, "We must do as the Chinese are planning to do for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics."

That sounds pretty harmless except I can't help but worry about why Nathan Deal mentions Communist China at all in a speech directed to the core leadership of the GOP. Does the core leadership plan on suppressing human rights. Well, Deal slams 'rights' later in the speech.

But, if Deal wants to use a war metaphor, and he does, why not pick a success story like our own troops? Not proud of our troops? Doesn't want the GOP to be as brave and steadfast as our own soldiers?

Just wants to put on a show for the public while hiding the ugliness behind the brutality of police lines and prisons?

The Nathan Deal and the GOP core leadership doesn't think you have a Right to buy a house, "or a Right to go to college, or a Right to healthcare."

Nathan Deal says, "Obviously, during our 220 years of Constitutional rule, we have elected to have government provide and pay for many of these things, espcially for our poorest citizens, but it has always been based on our humanitarian concerns, not because they were mandated by the rights of citizens."

"Therefore, not everything that is desirable or advantageous is a Right ... [and] ...If we continue to expand these statutorily created Rights there will be no end to it."

Has the government been giving away homeownership? Deal didn't say, low rent housing, subsidized rent ... He said "own."

Are the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid all free or funded from a specific tax and fees paid into a trust fund? Did we start the payroll taxes for the trust funds as a way to avoid government give aways and the shame of putting our citizens on the 'dole?'

Wasn't even the Hope Scholarship in Georgia put into action by a public vote? Students must earn the money by having more than just average grades in high school and by maintaining those grades in college. And, isn't all the money for the Hope paid voluntarily into the scholarship by buying Lottery Tickets? Doesn't sound like the government forcing anyone to buy tickets to fund a scholarship. I guess Nathan Deal wants to stop this program before people get too uppity about scholarships and educating kids.

Nathan Deals is saying it's time for the GOP to adopt oppression and war like methods to win elections.

Get the GOP out of our house.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Open letter to Paul Stanley, Hall County Republican Party Chair

Paul,

You've judged the Hall County School Superintendent very clearly on your public blog. All he did wrong was miss his budget by a couple million.

Today, it's official. Bush has missed his budget by half a trillion dollars.

When are you going to fire Bush?

From your blog on the Hall County budget shortage: :People who commit malfeasance or misfeasance in public office often convince themselves they are in the right ... the only job that is good enough is a flawless job ..."

If missing your local budget by a couple million is malfeasance or misfeasance, what does a proper Republican and gatekeeper to the Pure Altar of Republicanism call it when the government is $480 billion dollars short?

Share your thoughts with us, Oh Grand Poobah?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What has Obama done?

Republicans of all kinds want to know.

What has Obama done?

That's a good question and Republicans are demanding an answer.

Obama has defeated a Clinton in an election, a whole string of elections.

And, Obama has defeated the Clinton Political Machine on the national stage.

That's two things no Republican has ever done.

Carl Rogers, 26th District, Georgia House of Representatives

Happy Blue Skies, Carl Rogers.

So Carl Rogers is a good Republican, eh, Paul Stanley.

Did you have Tommy Sandoval research that for you? Maybe you don't want to buy your way into an office by out spending all your opponents? Just asking, how much does Tommy Sandoval charge for digging up dirt on the opposition? Is $12 grand a ball park figure?

This is for free and keeps us on the topic of how Republicans do not follow the rules. Call it a personality inventory. In my opinion, to be a Republican by the Hall County Standards, one has to break a few good rules.

Carl Rogers ... ever file any reports late?

Well, how about when you were a bank director? As a bank director you were required to notify the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whenever you made an insider deal on bank stock. You didn't always do that in a timely manner.

Did you fail to inform the SEC properly that you sort of had another little conflict of interest as a State Legislator in your federal filings? Yeah, I think you did. The federal government and the bank stock holders just might want to know if your insider deals were absolutely clean or absolutely dirty. Just say, insider stock trades in the banking industry in the same sentence with Enron, mortgage foreclosures, and federal government bailouts. Do you get the point of transparency in government and business yet?

Still stonewalling like Richard Nixon, are you? Or, should I say, still stonewalling like a Hall County Republican?

How about the time you tried to vote ... and did vote ... for SB 510 ... without a legal reason to cast a ballot? Do you remember, Mr. Rogers?

You were scheduled to attend the March 16th, 2006 meeting of the Insurance committee. However, you went to the wrong meeting? You went to a meeting for Environmental Quality. How well prepared were you for the discussion on the environment on the day you should have attended the Insurance committee meeting? Did you have any notes on SB510 before voting for it? Or, did you mean to vote against it before you voted for it?

Didn't you notice anything unusual about the meeting? Tom McCall has a very distinctive voice and accent. Has he ever chaired an Insurance committee meeting when you did attend?

Maybe you meant to attend the Appropriations committee meeting and thought, gee, we always talk about the environment and money at the same time. Did the environmental discussion sound like money to you, Carl Rogers?

Maybe we should ask a very good friend of yours, a Mr. Hulsey, who operates a sludge farm in White County, the only one in the state protected by HB54. But, that's an entirely different issue than voting in the wrong room, on the wrong issue, for the wrong reason.

But, did your friendship with the owner of Hulsey Environmental move you to a little, itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeney, mistake that looks like a strong conflict of interest?

Republican voters will never know, will they?

Tommy Sandoval doesn't have a client running against you.

Dirty politics and voter turnoff, brought to you by the party under a tent.

Friday, July 25, 2008

James Mills, Carl Rogers, and Nathan Deal

Link

Like Paul Stanley said on his blog, "I guess the old addage that absolute power corrupts absolutely is at play in our small town."

He might have been talking about the State as well, Karen Handel, Secretary of State in this case.

Karen Handel disqualified a state candidate just days before an election. Sound like a familiar GOP theme these days?

To disqualify her candidate, she overruled a administrative court judge, and a body of law that includes a State Supreme Court ruling.

When disqualifying the candidate, Handel ordered signs put up in all the polling places through out the state. When the court ordered those signs taken down?

Well, not all the anti-Democratic Candidate signs came down.

"People who commit malfeasance or misfeasance in public office often convince themselves they are in the right ... [but] the only job that is good enough is a flawless job that follows all the proper procedures ..." Paul Stanley.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

What does that have to do with James Mills, Carl Rogers, and Nathan Deal?

It only takes five qualified Republican electors to start an investigation into all this stuff.

Don't we have five qualified Republican voters in Hall County who care about corruption?

What about James Mills? Carl Rogers? Nathan Deal?

Are you guys not qualified as Republican electors? If you are, what are you waiting for? For the evidence to be swept under a rug?

Like Paul Stanley says on his blog, "As a former prosecutor I KNOW that the longer the evidence is open to manipulation, the harder it is to prosecute. In fact, this kind of delay has been used to manipulate the judicial process before."

Rogers, Mills, and Deal. The Hall County Republican version of ... Don't ask. Don't tell.

More to come on Nathan Deal and his ideas for how to run the party under the big tent. That would be the big tent where every one is welcome provided you pay the cover charges and order off the menu. No a la carte or special orders.

I promise you, Nathan Deal backs harsh tactics for the GOP.

Ask him, "What country do you want the GOP to emulate?"

Big Hint!

It ain't the U S of A!

Just say, "totalitarian regime."

Or, "You're with me or against me."

Saxby Chambliss, the World Oil Shortage and Gas Prices

Is there a world oil shortage causing gas prices to rise?

If there is, look at Iraq. Before the war, it produced over 3 million barrels of oil per day. Now, it sometimes produces 2 million barrels per day.

Before the war, all the oil belonged to Iraq. Or, Saddam, pick your poison. But to stay on the correct point, NO foreign company or foreign nation controlled Iraq's oil. Except of course the UN through sanctions.

Now, Iraq will contract for foreign companies to explore and pump out the crude oil. And, Iraq will get a 12.5 percent royalty for the oil.

I'm wondering. Just wondering out loud. When our government gives away the oil under our country, do we get a 12.5 royalty?

If not, how about a tax on oil company profits ... we could call it the underpaid royalty tax.

Or, the Windfall Profit Tax.

That won't get by Saxby Chambliss, friend to the oil man ...

Saxby recently took $5,000 from Occidental Petroleum in campaign contributions through the company's PAC.

He also has taken $3,500 from 'small businesses' known as Petroleum marketers.

He's taken 15 different donations from Atlanta Gas Light Resources PAC. Those are the direct donations he's taken. The PAC, AGL RESOURCES INC. - PAC, gives money to ... another PAC called, the 12st Century Majority Fund.

Saxby took $15,000 from that fund in one calender year.

There might be a world shortage of oil causing gas prices to rise. But, there's no shortage of oil money for Republican Saxby Chambliss!

HOLY OIL, Batman! It's Saxby Chambliss blaming Democrats for high gas prices!

Shame on you, Saxby.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hall County Republican Party

The greatest danger facing the Republican Party today is RINOs!

In the exact words of Paul Stanley, Chair of the Hall County Republican Party, "Republicans In Name Only (”RINOs”) are the biggest threat to our party today. "

Paul, it's the economy, stupid! Dah!

Paul and his caball interfered in a lawful election recently. The Executive Board by unanimous vote, labeled a Republican candidate for court clerk as not Republican enough.

After welcoming the candidate to the party, taking some dues money, and a chunk of change at legal qualifying day.

Now, as the public begins to question this, a Board member has to confess he worked for another candidate in the clerks race. That Board member may have gotten as much as $12,000 for his services and expenses. We don't know the whole amount.

I've been blogging about this at the Gainesville Times. Link to the general page for the blogs.

The story broke on July the 9th at this link.

Paul Stanley admitted on his personal blog that the by laws do not block RINOs from the ballot. That's his word, RINO. It means, Republican in Name Only.

So among my many thoughts, thanks to Joey. Joey commented at the Gainesville Times about all this. And, pondered, in a manner of speaking.

Is John McCain Republican enough?

The Party under the big tent is drinking the Kool-Aid in Hall County, stirred up by the HCRP Chair and Executive Board.

Hmmm, good!

Karen Handel, Georgia's Secretary of State

Three business days have passed since I requested some documents from Karen Handel under Georgia's Open Record Act. She is now in violation of the law.

I also requested some documents at the same time in the same manner from another government agency involved with certifying the primary vote.

That office whipped out a response within three days. Actually, two responses. One that was within hours and a second that arrived on the third business day.

This is the text of my request.



Michael W. Parker
6728 Willowbrook Trail
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

Secretary of State
Elections Division
1104 West Tower
#2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, GA 30334-1530


Dear Elections Division:


Pursuant to the Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect and obtain a copy of the following materials:


- A copy of any emails exchange between the State Elections Board and Hall County Elections concerning SEB Case No. 2008-000020 Hall County.
- A list of materials reviewed in the investigation of SEB Case No. 2008-000020 Hall County.
- A copy of any report on SEB Case No. 2008-000020 Hall County whether prepared by the State or prepared by Hall County.
- A copy of the training manual for Poll Workers and managers.
- Any emails or communications from the Secretary of State Karen Handel concerning SEB Case No. No. 2008-000020 Hall County.
- Any additional training materials or notices from the State on the topic of photo ID.
- - Any records or transcripts of the meeting on June 17, 2008 pertaining to SEB Case No. 2008-000020 Hall County.


The Open Records Act requires that all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer-based or computer-generated information, or similar material maintained, prepared, or received by you, your staff or your department in the course of your operations shall be open for personal inspection by any citizen of the state at a reasonable time and place.



It is my belief that none of the materials I am requesting are currently exempted from release under the Open Records Act. If you disagree with this assessment, then please provide a detailed written description of the authority, including Code Section, subsection and paragraph, that you claim exempts the records from disclosure. Pursuant to the 1999 amendments to the Open Records Act, you have 3 business days to provide copies of the records or to provide the specific authority for claiming that the records are exempted from disclosure. Pursuant to the Open Records Act, failure to comply with the requirements of the Act can result in civil and/or criminal penalties.


The Open Records Act guarantees the right of citizens to reproduce records, subject to a payment of costs based upon the most economical means available for providing copies of records. Please advise me of any costs that you will assess and state the basis for computing the charges utilizing the method specified in O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71. If any of the above requested information is available electronically, please email to michaelwparker@gmail.com


Thank you for your immediate attention to this request. I hope to receive notification of the availability of these records within three business days, as required by law.


If you have any questions, you may contact me via e-mail, or by telephone at 678-200-3048. Thank you for your help.





Sincerely,



Michael W. Parker

Monday, July 21, 2008

Karen Handel, Georgia's Secretary of State

Karen Handel, Georgia's Secretary of State, potential candidate for Georgia's Governor race in 2010, Republican mouthpiece, shameless self promoter...

Photo ID hassle puts one mom's vote on ice (AJC)

By Ed Neubaum
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/21/08

Until I read her opinion column, I didn't know Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel was looking for a voter harmed by the photo ID requirement (" 'Partisan bullying' unfounded in state photo ID requirement," @issue, July 28).

My 73-year-old mother is one.

After moving to Georgia from Florida, we attempted to obtain a Georgia ID. Based on the then-published requirements on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site, we gathered proof of her new address (bank statement), birth certificate and valid Florida driver's license. At the DMV, we where told that as of May, the secretary of state required her marriage certificate because the name on her birth certificate did not match her driver's license. They would accept a passport with her married name, something she has never applied for.

The harm:

Tracking down and paying $40 for a copy of her marriage certificate.

Two trips to the DMV, time and gas.

Missing the July 15 primary.

Fortunately, Mom was savvy enough to track down the marriage certificate and had an extra $40. It is interesting to consider that the requirements for obtaining a U.S. passport are not as stringent for married women as the Georgia requirements for a photo ID.

So, based on Handel's column in the AJC, I know she will want to mitigate the harm done to my mother and me. Why doesn't she drop a check in the mail for the cost of the marriage certificate (the process really does seem to discriminate against married women) and the time and gas I spent for the extra trip to the DMV.

I think $75 should cover everything.

Thanks so much. Apologies accepted.

> Ed Neubaum lives in Marietta.

Ed,

In February, I filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections concerning enforcement of the state's voter ID law. The law is being unevenly enforced on election day by poll workers at least in Hall County's 9th precinct. (I'm not exactly sure of the precinct. It should be Roberts, 9th precinct. But, I'm going by the signs posted at the polling place.)

Poll workers allowed at least 10 voters to cast ballots without apparently showing a valid photo ID from the state mandated list.


Handel chaired the hearing where the internal investigator confirmed this "human error."

Yet, she continues to tell the world of how well the law works and how no one has ever been harmed by the law.

I wish I could call her a lying bitch in my blog but I don't dare. Not yet.

I served her office with a Open Records Act request on Thursday. Under the Open Records Act, her office has three days to respond.

I don't expect to hear from her unless I confront her office with the media present.

My best wishes to your mom.

Mike

Friday, July 18, 2008

Culture of Corruption comes to Hall County Republican Party

Paul Stanley wrote a pretty letter to the Times about his lifetime of learning, and his partisan goal of protecting the human race from the evils of government, and his lofty principles. I am very impressed with his lofty statement of principles, his smooth Madison Avenue delivery, He can deliver the rhetoric partisan candidates use to win elections. Rhetoric wins elections especially when filled with lofty, altruistic principles. A statement of principles or just rhetoric does not build great societies. Ancient societies like Rome was built with actions, brick by brick, not word by word. How do I judge the words of Paul Stanley? By his actions of course.

Paul Stanley, Chairman of the Hall County Republican party allowed an executive board member, Tommy Sandoval to vote on at least one issue in which Tommy had a vest interest. Tommy was paid over $12,000 for services to Jennifer Gibbs in Tuesday’s primary election for Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court race featured three candidates, all legally qualified, who paid dues and fees to the Hall County Republican Party. The Party, led by Sandoval, disqualified one candidate as “not being Republican enough” days before the election.

Despite this vested interest in the unanimous vote by the Board and Paul Stanley, no one recused themselves.

I’ve asked, in a public forum, if this action violated the ethical code for an executive board. Paul Stanley shared no words with me.

I’ve asked in a public forum if these actions violated the charter and by-laws of the county party as set up by the State Party. Paul Stanley shared no pretty words with me.

Paul Stanley had no pretty words for the Gainesville Times when asked directly about the conflicts of interests and the corruption on the Board.

So far, the actions or lack of action by Paul Stanley demonstrate a level of corporation in the Hall County Republican Party equal to the Stanley’s alleged corruptions in government.

Isn’t it wonderful? A lifetime of learning resulting in a college degree and a law degree and Paul can’t run a meeting or back up his lofty principles with action.

How can a voter trust a Hall County Republican now?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nathan Deal, Georgia's 9th District Congressman

Ever feel like you know more than your government?

Here's a small sample to reinforce that feeling. From the official webpages of Nathan Deal. Direct Link to the page being reproduced here.

Rep. Deal Floor Statement on Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this resolution, and I readily admit that I don't know for sure what the best policy is in this fight against radical Islamic groups. With all due respect, I don't think any other Member of this body does either. Much of what we have heard this week are words based on emotions, and not facts.

In the midst of such uncertainty, I do believe there are certain opinions that are factually sound. Number one, the greatest weapon our enemy has is the loss of resolve on the part of the American people. Two, what this Congress does significantly affects that resolve of the American people. Three, this resolution is a major signal that America has lost its resolve.

If we succumb to an attitude of defeat, then defeat is what will occur. I will simply ask, if we don't want to engage radical Islam in Iraq, then where? If we don't want to engage radical Islam now, then when?

If we cannot answer these questions, be assured that our enemy will provide us with the answers. I am not willing to vote for a resolution that I believe does just that. It is true that the Iraqis must truly step forward and want to govern themselves. President Bush has set out markers by which they will be measured. We should hold them to these reasonable standards.

Tonight I stand with our troops, and I thank them and their families for their service.

Let's ask some serious questions about this "statement" made on the floor of the Congress.

What day was it made? We don't know based on the prideful publisher. It's not dated.

Which resolution is Mr. Deal speaking against? We don't know as again, Mr. Deal's webpages do not give that information.

Is Nathan Deal saying that the troops in Iraq were sent there to fight a religious war? Well, look at what he actually says into this cyber space vacuum he created.

"I simply ask, if we don't want to engage radical Islam in Iraq, then where? If we don't want to engage radical Islam now, then when?"
Clearly, as Deal said early on in his floor statement, he doesn't know much about policy. He doesn't seem to know much about the Presidents rational for sending 150,000 troops into Iraq five years ago.

There wasn't a religious government in Iraq prior to our invasion. Prior to the invasion, Iraq had a despotic dictator with strong ties to the Reagan Administration. Reagan established normal diplomatic relations with Saddam using Donald Rumsfield as Personal Presidential Envoy. Envoy Rumsfeld's video shaking hands with Saddam can be downloaded from the National Security Archives through this link. The link and the video show Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand 15 months after Saddam slaughtered his own citizens in Du'jail, Iraq. The new Iraqi government sentenced Saddam to death for that atrocity. Press Release

So does anyone on Nathan Deal's staff know what the Congressman from Georgia was talking about? If not, ask the great man. When all that gets figured out, let the 9th District know exactly what our Congressman is doing, will you?

And, ask Congressman Deal if he remembers voting for Public Law, 107-243, Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq? Full text of the resolution at this link.

Or is he one of those I voted for it before I voted against it kind of guys? The kind that wouldn't fight rather than switch.

My apologies to cigarette smokers who'd rather fight than switch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gitmo video



Just a short follow up on the underlying issues of the Gitmo video.

The opening image is from a set of exhibits in the case. It's simply text from page 86 of 389 pages. Many of the pages in the exhibits have been ... redacted.

Redacted means taking a black magic marker and striking out information. The information on many pages is redacted into a black hole.

With many apologies to the family of Chris Speer who died on the day in question, the United States government on May 16, 2008 acknowledges in this paragraph as imaged, that it does not know how Chris Speer died, if from the action of militants or unlawful combatants, or from friendly fire, as did Pat Tillman.

The defense requested information on the death of SFC Speer, medical records, treatment reports, autopsy reports. The defense noted that several 500 pound bombs had been dropped on the mud hut in the center of the battle. Helicopters had fired into the mud hut. And, at the time Speer was fatally wounded, friendly forces were still throwing grenades into the mud hut.

Speer allegedly was killed when the 15 year old boy threw a grenade. The boy was found trapped in rubble or on his knees in an 'alley,' not in the mud hut, as described in some conflicting accounts.

Here is a link to the full document in pdf format, released 5/16/2008, entitled, Appellate Exhibits 103 thru 112.

I would include some of the emails, especially the emails documenting private conversation concerning ... "hiding" any evidence that might prove the 15 year old innocent.

I think those emails should be read entirely within the context of the larger document. See page 70 for the most harmful accusations.

Video from Gitmo



Video of this 16 year old being interrogated at our military base at Gitmo.

Captured at 15 and nearly dead. A Canadian citizen. The youngest ever held by the US and labeled a child soldier. The teen was accused of killing a US soldier with a grenade. Eye witnesses including the soldier who shot the teenager in the back, clearly stated that the teen was not seen with weapons or taking part in the long battle. "When the dust cleared, OC-1 saw Khadr crouched on his knees facing away from the action and wounded by shrapnel that had just permanently blinded his left eye, and shot him twice in the back"

In February 2008, the Pentagon accidentally released documents that revealed that although Khadr was present during the firefight, there was no other evidence that he had thrown the grenade. In fact, military officials had originally reported that another of the surviving militants had thrown the grenade just before being killed.

The military commander’s official report the day after the raid originally said the assailant who threw the grenade was killed, which would rule out Khadr as the suspect, unless Khadr returned from the dead. Link

The video was made public under Canadian court orders, and released by Alberta-based lawyers Nathan Whitling and Dennis Edney a week after intelligence reports made public last week showed Khadr was abused in detention at the U.S. naval base-turned-prison on the tip of Cuba.

A Department of Foreign Affairs report said Canadian official Jim Gould visited Khadr in 2004 and was told by the American military that the detainee was moved every three hours to different cells to deprive him of sleep and familiar cell mates.

The report also says Khadr was placed in isolation for up to three weeks and then interviewed again.




Tommy Sandoval and the Gainesville Times

The great political advisor has resigned from the Hall County Republican Party?

Yes and no.

Tommy Sandoval resigns

The party should have booted him completely out.

He doesn't live in his district or does he? He abuses his power as a member of the Executive Board, voting on issues with a vested personal interest.

The political consultant who conducted an investigation of his client’s GOP primary opponent for the Hall County Republican Party said Monday that he had stepped down, at least temporarily, from his seat on the executive committee of the Hall County GOP.

But Tommy Sandoval said he did not step down as parliamentarian of the county party.

Sandoval, who has represented District 4 of the party, said he would be moving to District 2. That post was left vacant by the resignation of Chris Masters, who is challenging Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell in today’s Republican primary.

Shame on the GOP. The name, Culture of Corruption is well deserved.

"Sandoval has worked for other candidates, including state Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville. His most recent work for Hawkins was in June, according to the candidate’s disclosure reports."

Hawkins and any other honest candidate should renounce the self serving Sandoval and fire him.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rebuilding Iraq

continued ... an imaginary discussion with Stuart Bowen ... based on public information, quarterly reports to Congress, and Congressional testimony...

So, Stuart, how is the rebuilding of infrastructure going in Iraq?

We've restored electricity to most of the country, most of the time.

But 40 percent of the time, Iraq has no electricity, is that correct?

That's not exactly accurate. Some parts of Iraq have electricity only 6 hours a day. For example, Erbil province has 1.8 million people and has spent over 70 percent of its rebuilding funds, and is without electricity 18 hours a day. Sulaymaniyah province has 2.1 million people without electricity 13 hours a day. So almost one in five Kurdish Iraqis live without electricity. But, Baghdad with 6.3 million people is without electricity only 10 hours a day.

So we haven't restored power to pre-War levels?

We have not. Baghdad for example had at least 14 hours of electricity each day and Saddam provided the electric service virtually for free. The power under Saddam was dependable and consistent in comparison to the intermittent service today. [ It's estimated that Iraq generated 9,000 megawatts of electricity in 1991. Currently production varies between 3600 and 4000 megawatts, less than half of national capacity. (Christian Science Monitor)

Stuart, in your April 2008 report to Congress, Iraq has had access to more than $112 billion dollars for reconstruction. Does reconstruction mean spending all that money, charging for monthly power, and supplying less power than total plant capacity?

In April 2003, the U.S. expected Iraq to assume complete sovereignty within 12 to 18 months, to include full responsibility for relief and reconstruction efforts, funded primarily by Iraqi oil revenues. The Perini Corporation was to construct electrical distribution and transmission lines in southern Iraq.

How did Perini do, given that 40 percent of the time, the lights are out and no one is home at the power plants?

An audit found that, of the Perini contract's 10 task orders, only five were ever completed. These five were "significantly" scaled down. And the other five tasks were terminated.

Was Perini paid?

Yes. The U.S. government paid Perini $123 million dollars plus another $8 million in ... fees.

So, the U.S. government allocated $500 million dollars to completing 10 tasks. Paid more that $131 million to Perini, and you can't tell us what was done?

That is not true. In the Anbar Distribution project, 4 out of 15 jobs were completed. In Basrah, 5 out of 8 jobs were done. Babylon, 7 out of 12 jobs were finished. Thi-Qar, 3 out of 3 were done. Najaf, 3 out of 4 jobs are finished.

And, the official explanation is?

Tasks were terminated for the convenience of the government prior to starting construction. (“Outcome, Cost, and Oversight of Electricity-Sector Reconstruction Contract with Perini Corporation,” April 29, 2008.)

Could Perini have done the work in 2003, 2004, 2005?

Yes.

But, it was more convenient for our government for Perini to stop working on rebuilding Iraq?

Yes, indirect costs were too high.

Did your audits determine the exact nature of the indirect costs?

No. (Iraq Reconstruction: Lessons in Contracting and Procurement, Jul. 2006.) Former PCO officials cited Perini’s high indirect cost estimates as a major contributing factor to
its high cost estimates. The high indirect costs also created difficulties for the government and
Perini in coming to agreement and definitizing the five partially completed task orders.
Modification 5 to the contract was issued in April 2005 to require Perini to provide a detailed
indirect-cost report, but most tasks were terminated the reports were completed.

What about the ... fees paid to Perini?

We paid Perini 70 percent of the total award fees as if Perini completed 70 percent of all 10 original on time, under costs, and in an exemplary manner. However, the actual award fee earned by the contractor is determined by the Government's assessment of the contractor's performance. Criteria for contract performance are included in the contract, and the contractor is then judged on how well it performs in relation to those criteria. While the contractor can comment on the Government's evaluation, it cannot dispute the score and the resulting fee. The contractor can earn any amount of award fee, from all of the award fee pool to none of it. A contractor will not be paid any award fee or base fee for less than satisfactory overall performance.

So, we paid Perini $8 million dollars as a reward for a job well done.

Correct.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rebuilding Iraq

"We're Rebuilding Iraq"

If Dave Letterman says it, it gets a huge laugh. And, the context doesn't matter.

Let some half wit blog commenter say it, and oh my, it's a fact. Iraq has been rebuilt better than it ever was. Ever.

The General Accountability Office said about 4 percent of the Iraqi funds had been spent and could be traced.

Iraq's government has had trouble spending its own reconstruction budget. Iraq spent only 23% of its $6.2 billion capital budget in 2006 and had similar problems last year, Bowen's report says. Just how much was spent is in doubt; a White House report on progress in Iraq said 24% of the capital budget had been spent by last fall, while the Treasury Department put the figure at 14%, and the GAO said it was only 4.4%. (USATODAY, February 6, 2008.)
In an outside audit under UN resolution 1483, paragraphs 12 and 20, KPMG, the independent auditor said of the defacto Iraqi Treasurer, George Wolfe:
...was unable to acknowledge the fair presentation of the statement of
cash receipts and payments, the completeness of significant contracts
entered into by the
DFI and responsibilities for the implementation and
operations of accounting and internal control systems, designed to
prevent and detect fraud and error.

Our efforts to rebuild Iraq did not use a double entry bookkeeping system. Instead, it used what that auditors called a single entry, cash-based, transaction list — $ 20 billion of petty cash.

Of that $20 billion, GOP cronies in Iraq disbursed $ 6 billion in $ 100 bills without attempting to "balance their checkbook," or do a simple cash reconciliation. They spent $6 billion and didn't even know how much they had spent or how much was left.

How is Iraq's government spending money today? The Prime Minister walks around giving away cash.

From the AP, July 12, 2008

BAGHDAD - It is a politician's dream: Handing out cold, hard cash to people on the street as they plead for help. Iraq's prime minister has been doing just that in recent weeks, doling out Iraqi dinars as an aide trails behind, keeping a tally.

The handouts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a handful of other top officials are authorized — as long as each goes no higher than about $8,000, and the same people don't get them twice. Aides say they are meant merely to ease the pain a bit, and are motivated by a belief that better conditions will lead to more security.

Hmm, if we did such a great job of rebuilding Iraq, why are the Saddam replacements walking around giving out as much as $8,000 per person in the streets? And, what exactly happened to the Americanized democracy that was being formed. A democracy which would be an example to all the Middle East. A Middle East that would be stabilized and pacified by a new wave of Americanized democracy. What happened? We're buying votes with cash, as much as $8,000 cash per person. With no person getting money twice.

There's a bureaucratic nightmare!

And, what has our heroic Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction been doing and saying? That man would be Stuart Bowen, the only man to have ever held the job since its creation on November 6, 2003.

The success of any post-conflict reconstruction effort depends in
great part upon effectively employing the U.S. government’s capacity
to deploy effi ciently and rapidly the means of relief and reconstruction:
services, materials, and their supporting systems. This requires
extant governmental contracting and procurement processes that are
well structured and optimized for use in contingency situations. As
this report reveals, the U.S. government was not systemically well-
poised to provide the kind of contracting and procurement support
needed at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Pre-war relief and reconstruction planning for the Iraq endeavor
focused chiefly on preparing for humanitarian assistance and the
restoration of essential services. The contracting and procurement
efforts during that phase reflected this focus. After combat operations
ceased in April 2003 and the Iraqi government collapsed, the
shape of these efforts began to shift. The U.S. discovered that Iraq’s
infrastructure was in far worse condition than some pre-war assessments
had indicated. With that recognition came the realization
that reconstruction requirements in Iraq would be far greater than
originally anticipated.
Way to cover your backside, Stuart.

In February 2003, the Secretary of the Army directed USACE to
serve as the executive agent for the Iraqi oil restoration mission.
USACE then created Task Force Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) to manage
and operate this mission, with the contracting offi cer for USACE’s
Southwestern Division as the “contractor’s source of definitive
guidance.”

In late February 2003, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for
Acquisitions, Logistics, and Technology (ASA-ALT) approved
USACE’s justification for a sole-source, emergency response contract
for Iraq’s oil sector. On March 8, 2003, USACE awarded this contract
to KBR for “an interim period as a bridge to a competitive contract,”
after receiving approval from the Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy.22 See supra p. 15. It justified issuing the IDIQ contract on a
sole-source basis because KBR was “the only company [that] could
immediately satisfy the requirements of the oil sector plan, considering
the imminence of potential hostilities.”23 USACE relied on
section 6.302.1 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR),24 which
allows sole-source awards whenever there is “only one responsible
source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.”
Yes, Stuart, we all now know that KBR was Dick Cheney's baby, Halliburton, under a different name and corporate structure. Where did the money go and how was it spent to rebuild Iraq's oil fields?

Iraq's oil infrastructure was damaged when ... took over. The ... effected selected repairs. But the IAMB found that .... had chosen not to repair the meters on the pipelines. The IAMB told the ... that they were concerned that the lack of metering made auditing Iraq's oil exports unreliable – making it impossible to detect fraud, deception or smuggling. The minutes of the IAMB meeting make clear that ... had assured the IAMB that they were in the process of repairing the meters – in bad faith. The .... authority came to an end with the meters unrepaired. Estimates of how much oil revenue was siphoned off during ... [that one year] ... go as high as $ 4 billion – comparable to the amount Saddam Hussein is suspected of stealing during the entire duration of the oil-for-food program.
Well, $4 billion here. $4 billion there. Sooner or later it might add up to real money.

But, how are things going now?

to be continued

Hall County Republicans

In today's Gainesville Times there's a wonderful letter for Democrats to read.

Link

It's from a Bobby Hulsey, former Republican.

Republican Party in Hall is lower than the pot

Many people believe the Republican Party has gone down the pot. I believe it's much lower than that. When I read what they did to Bob Vass, I just had to write. I have voted Republican probably 80 percent of the time. But no more.

Some people say Rep. Nathan Deal is a good congressman. I know the Hall County commission has been the finest, most proactive in recent history under Tom Oliver, who was also a Democrat.

I know from personal experience it's impossible to get representation from our state delegation. In this next election, look at what the incumbents have done on the state level and what committees they are on. Check to see how much PAC money they're getting from people they are supposed to be regulating. Are they bought and paid for?

This is from a Republican no longer.

Bobby Hulsey
Gainesville

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mr. Forward's comments

Ah, new cannon fodder for the blog.

Another anonymous commenter, Mr. Forward, thinks we should have left Saddam alone ... Did anyone suggest that? I wonder why Mr. Forward would even suggest such a thing.

Were we leaving Saddam alone at any time since 1992? Nope.

Why o why does Mr. Forward want to bring back Saddam and coddle him now? No one has a clue.

Maybe Mr. Forward meant his comments as sarcasm. Well, he needs to work on that. And, on his usage of editorials as facts.

Mr. Forward,

Just because you've found an editorial writer who panders to your point of view ... doesn't mean that your point of view has been validated.

The facts stand. No one is drilling for oil in Iraq. The United States is not spending and has not spent the allocated funds to rebuild infrastructure.

And, Iraq's oil belongs to Iraq. That's kind of rough for you and your kind to accept.

Iraq has no vested interest in depressing crude oil prices by increasing production. If indeed Iraq is selling $70 billion a year in crude oil, then Iraq is making twice as much now as it has at anytime in the past.

Why should Iraq kill the goose that lays the golden egg?

The proper role of the Iraqi government is to secure as much money for it's limited resources as possible over the longest period of time as possible.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Did we invade Iraq for the oil?

We might never know the answer to this question but let's try.

We imported 485,000 barrels of oil per day from Iraq in 2007. In 2001, before the Great Invasion, we imported 795,000 barrels of oil per day.

In the three year period of 1999-2001, Iraq's average daily production of oil was 2,503,663 barrels per day.

That's 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day.

The current five year average is just 1,865,380 barrels of oil per day.

That's 1.8 million barrels per day.

And a drop of 638,000 barrels per day. And, 232,000,000 barrels per year.

So, our invasion of Iraq cost the world 232 million barrels of oil per year for five years.

What would you be paying for gasoline today if that billion barrels of oil had reached the world markets?

Still think China and India are causing the record gasoline prices in America?

Still think the "War on Terrorism" has stabilized Iraq or the Middle East?

Did we invade to reduce production and raise prices?

If we restored 300,000 barrels of oil per day in crude oil to our country, would that eliminate the pressure to have the government fund deep water drilling? Would it drop gas prices?

If we invaded to provide stability, we've failed unless stability means a huge reduction in the major national product, oil. If we invaded to control oil supplies, we failed unless control means reducing supply. If we invaded to capture bin Laden, or WMD, or to deny al Qaeda and terrorists a base of operations, we failed.

So, the answer to "Did we invade Iraq for the oil?" remains unknown. Because there haven't been any positive results in Iraq's GDP, world oil prices, or regional stability.

Drilling

Are we drilling enough oil wells in the United States? Well, we drill over 30,000 new wells each year. In 2005, 3,000 dry wells were drilled out of 38,000 new wells. We have over 500,000 producing oil wells. The average well produces ... about 10 barrels of crude oil per day.

Those numbers can be confirmed online at: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/finance/advance/btab19.html , a service of the Energy Information Administration.

So, will doubling or tripling the number of wells drop gasoline prices.

Tell me, "What do you think?"

As a bit of a hint, Iraq has about 350 producing wells, Iran 500, Saudi Arabia 900, Kuwait 800, and Libya 900.

For just a little more of a hint, the US has problably drilled more than a million holes in the ground looking for black gold.

So, How much do you want to increase your taxes by subsidizing another million holes in the ground on the possible chance that gasoline prices might someday decline?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gainesville Times blog

Link to the story on Vass 'does not qualify as Republican.'

Link to my blog comments at the Gainesville Times on the unethical conduct of Tommy Sandoval.

By the way, does the Hall County Republican Party know how to spell Tommy's last name?

Is it Sandoval like in the Times or more middle eastern like Sandaval on the HCRP website?

Tommy Sandoval and the Gainesville Times

My good friend Tommy Sandoval made the Gainesville Times front page, at least online. In the online edition today, Tommy claims a GOP candidate isn't Republican enough!

The Hall County Republican Party flip flopped like a dying mackerel on the "
law-and-order former sheriff," Bob Vass. Vass paid his dues in the form of a filing fee but now isn't welcome by Tommy Sandoval and the local GOP Executive Board.

Now, I've pillared Mr. Sandoval several times on this blog and in the Gainesville Times for his ignorance of taxes, his refusal to use good sources, and his blind obedience to George Bush. Just like George Bush who had political litmus tests for Justice Department attorneys, Tommy Sandoval has, just one week before the Republican primary, rejected a GOP candidate for not being partisan enough.

Partisan issues to the side for the moment, did I mention Mr. Tommy Sandoval is working against Mr. Vass in the election? Yes, Tommy Sandoval works as a paid consultant for a candidate opposing the law-and-order former sheriff, Bob Vass.

Mr. Tommy Sandoval, with such a clear conflict of interest, did not disqualify himself from the Executive Committee vote. He voted against Vass. He made the motion to take the vote. He led the investigation andthe smear campaign by the Executive Committee.

Now isn't that a wonderful flip flop? The GOP doesn't want a law-and-order former sheriff to win political office. Law-and-order isn't a GOP value it seems. But, winning at any costs seems to be a huge value. Perhaps, the only value to the GOP. Even in a primary.

If Tommy Sandoval wants to hand pick his candidates, let him start his own party.

Tommy Sandoval should be removed from the GOP Executive Committee for voting despite his conflict of interest in this matter.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gainesville Times and Troy R. Millikan

This is the first blog entry for me at the Gainesville Times. It is a response to a letter to the Editor which I'm reprinting here.

TV personality Lou Dobbs says it best: "Don't we deserve a government that works?"

We do, but we will not have one as long as we elect people who continue to favor a short-term fix instead of a long-range solution. Our oil policy, water policy and foreign policy have failed because when the problem surfaces, we apply a cheap Band-Aid to absorb the bleeding rather than a surgery to prevent future problems.

Supply and demand is an absolute correct principle which is easy to apply to the oil and water disasters. The correct way to fix gas prices is to supply more oil by drilling for more crude oil and increasing the number of refineries to produce gas.

Instead of giving taxpayers a tax rebate, we should have used the $120 billion to produce the largest oil drilling program in the history of the world. We could have used low-interest loans to be repaid by the oil companies, or charge them a fee to lease offshore and Alaska sites for drilling and producing more oil.

Not many know that only a small part of Alaska, comparable to the one half the size of Lake Lanier, could be used to produce oil. There are 2.3 trillion barrels of untapped oil reserves in the U.S., enough to replace all foreign oil imports for 22 years. Quit talking and drill, drill, drill.

As for the water, bills have been passed, but you have not and will not see photos of groundbreaking for reservoir construction. Instead, politicians now only decide how to split the meager supply we have. Quit talking and build, build, build.

As for our foreign policy, we have spread our troops too thin. We must choose to win in Afghanistan or Iraq, one or the other, or we will lose both. Unfortunately, while we are treading water in both those countries, Iran is enjoying being left alone and observing the toll both wars are having on our resources and the people's support for the wars.

It's supply and demand again; too many demands and too few troops. Quit talking and chose the proper battleground where we can win. Choose, don't lose.

Troy R. Millikan
Gainesville



In my more public blog, I was very careful to pick on Mr. Millikan's ignorance of economics. Here, at my home blog, I don't have to be so kind.

So, Mr. Millikan, you want more government! What do you want from this working government? First you want the government to force oil companies to drill for oil and build new oil refineries.

Cool! How are you going to pay for the government and how will your government force oil companies to drill in the Artic Circle and in the deep waters of the gulf?

I'm willing to wait until Hell Freezes Over to hear you say, INCREASE MY TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!

While we all wait for Mr. Millikan to face his inner child, what about drilling in the Gulf?

Well, it seems each new drilling platform will cost a billion dollars. Ho ... hum ....

Ops! I was wrong. A billion would be cheap according to this quote .... from the AP.

Three-dimensional mapping of the ocean floor, which must happen before any drilling, could take up to two years, Strive said. If a promising site is found, engineers must drill up to three milesbelow the ocean surface to extract the oil or natural gas.

And it will take years before the company begins producing anything at the site — andthere is no guarantee of success. A company can have as much as $4 billion invested and a wait of up to five years before seeing any return on the investment, Strive said.
Who is this Strive fellow and why does he think it costs for much to make money pumping oil?

Well, Stuart Strive is Vice President of Exploration for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and he is in charge of ... finding and producing oil from ... the deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

This little petroleum company sees 5 million shares of its stock trade hands on the NYSE every day at a price around $70. Mr. Millikan wants to force this company to drill for oil. Or, rather, Mr. Millikan wants to pay more taxes so his government will force this company to drill for oil.

At $4 billion dollars per well.

That ought to drop the cost of gasoline back to 29.9 cents per gallon Dayum Quick!

So if Millikan got his wish, how many oil wells would he buy with your new taxes? Hmmmmm?

And, don't get me started on his hair brained idea to invade Iran ... if that is what he suggests. I can't really tell. He says our troops are spread too thin but he also thinks we are leaving Iran alone?

Well, does he want us to leave Iraq and Afghanistan to invade Iran? Or, does this man know what he really wants?

Maybe he should follow his own advice, "It's supply and demand again; too many demands ... Quit talking and chose the proper battleground where we can win. Choose, don't lose."

So, Mr. Millikan, choose.

Spend your tax dollars in the Gulf of Mexico or in a Persian Gulf country?

Just tell me how much more to tax you, how to get more troops, tanks, Hummers, and battle armor, and exactly which of your pet projects you really want done...

Please?

Gainesville Times

I've been blogging as North Georgia Democrats for over a year. During that year, an average of 9 people a day read my ranting, raving, and misguided posts.

After deep reflection, I've made the right decision. I'm going to start a second blog to reach more people!

I pity the online readers of the Gainesville Times.

http://community.gainesvilletimes.com/blogs/

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Korean Brainwashing

North Georgia's Democrats have sharp minds and good memories, unlike Republicans, even John McCain, former prisoner of war.

During and after the Korean War, America was shocked by the treatment of American POWs. This treatment, designed to make prisoners sign false confessions, became known as brainwashing.

Brainwashing, such an interesting term in the context of memory and sharp minds. Some of the militarys sharpest minds weren't sharp enough to remember Korea and brainwashing.

In North Korea, and maybe in China, our captured troops were psychologically tortured until their minds were cleaned of patriotism, a sense of duty to their fellow prisoners, and that sense of personal honor.

Rightfully, we honored all the POWs who returned home with full military benefits and analysis of how such brave men could be forced into signing false confessions of germ warfare, murder of civilians, and atrocities.

It is an atrocity to learn how our military has directly adopted the Chinese and North Korean methods. Those methods were designed to break a mans mind and reprogram that mind into a willing tool of Communist Propaganda.

Have we, in the 50 years since the Korean War become Communist butchers, torturers, and brainwashers?

The military has been teaching the Chinese brainwashing techniques as revealed in Congressional Testimony. In that testimony, the military claimed it was not using torture on detainees in the great War on Terror. Terror detainees were subjected to techniques outline in a chart. That chart was copied from a 1957 article entitled, “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War.” The article was written by Alfred D. Biderman, a sociologist hired by the U.S. military!

The military wanted to know what kind of torture was used by the North Koreans and the Chinese to change our men, to brainwash their minds, and to harm those men. Men, like Biderman, were hired to write detailed reports on the very effective tortured used in brainwashing.

Now, that very brainwashing, torture is being used as standard military operating procedure.

Godless Communism has won the war after all.

Story in the NYT.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Right to Kill Youself, the 2nd Amendment

(My book is on hold.)

The current Supreme Court visited the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd has been avoided by the Court for over 200 years. This year, the Court blundered into murky waters. In those murky waters lurk many unknowns. We don't know if fully automatic rifles will be slung over the backs of special citizens with special gun licenses already issued by federal, state, and local governments.

But, all government buildings still ban any citizen from carrying a gun.

The gun ban is over for my workplace. Any co-worker with a grudge can now walk into my working environment, glare at me, and pat his holster. His "I'll see you in the parking lot" now sounds a lot like a scene from a western like "High Noon." And, just like "High Noon," I have to walk to my car alone.

Bring alone should be on the minds of the pro and con advocates in the 2nd Amendment debate. The 2nd Amendment doesn't say we have the right to kill ourselves but half of all gunshot wounds are self-inflicted suicides. Will we soon replace suicide as the number one use of guns with work place shootings while law makers have their special protections at work?

I doubt it will be 200 years before the issue comes before the Supreme Court.

Related Story at Yahoo News. Related story in the AJC, a builder kills his drywall contractor with a hand gun.

Surprising Face: Half of gun deaths are suicides

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical WriterMon Jun 30, 9:18 PM ET

The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was nothing unique about that year — gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40 percent of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2 percent included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

Studies have also shown that homes in which a suicide occurred were three to five times more likely to have a gun present than households that did not experience a suicide, even after accounting for other risk factors.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court on Thursday struck down a handgun ban enacted in the District of Columbia in 1976 and rejected requirements that firearms have trigger locks or be kept disassembled. The ruling left intact the district's licensing restrictions for gun owners.

One public-health study found that suicide and homicide rates in the district dropped after the ban was adopted. The district has allowed shotguns and rifles to be kept in homes if they are registered, kept unloaded and taken apart or equipped with trigger locks.

The American Public Health Association, the American Association of Suicidology and two other groups filed a legal brief supporting the district's ban. The brief challenged arguments that if a gun is not available, suicidal people will just kill themselves using other means.

More than 90 percent of suicide attempts using guns are successful, while the success rate for jumping from high places was 34 percent. The success rate for drug overdose was 2 percent, the brief said, citing studies.

"Other methods are not as lethal," said Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore.

The high court's majority opinion made no mention of suicide. But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer used the word 14 times in voicing concern about the impact of striking down the handgun ban.

"If a resident has a handgun in the home that he can use for self-defense, then he has a handgun in the home that he can use to commit suicide or engage in acts of domestic violence," Breyer wrote.

Researchers in other fields have raised questions about the public-health findings on guns.

Gary Kleck, a researcher at Florida State University's College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, estimates there are more than 1 million incidents each year in which firearms are used to prevent an actual or threatened criminal attack.

Public-health experts have said the telephone survey methodology Kleck used likely resulted in an overestimate.

Both sides agree there has been a significant decline in the last decade in public-health research into gun violence.

The CDC traditionally was a primary funder of research on guns and gun-related injuries, allocating more than $2.1 million a year to such projects in the mid-1990s.

But the agency cut back research on the subject after Congress in 1996 ordered that none of the CDC's appropriations be used to promote gun control.

Vernick said the Supreme Court decision underscores the need for further study into what will happen to suicide and homicide rates in the district when the handgun ban is lifted.

Today, the CDC budgets less than $900,000 for firearm-related projects, and most of it is spent to track statistics. The agency no longer funds gun-related policy analysis.

___

On the Net:

CDC gun injury statistics: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc