Kennesaw State University

On one side Georgia voter registration probe a big deal, on the other not so much

Name of Publication: 
Athens Banner-Herald
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ATLANTA | Beyond the headlines and campaign rhetoric, the state’s investigation into possible irregularities by a Democratic-leaning group’s efforts to register blacks, Asians and Hispanics to vote has many facets, and not all are yet known.

The investigation into the New Georgia Project began in early May, when local registrars started reporting to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division that voters had complained of intimidation and that documents turned in by the group appeared suspicious. In all, officials in 13 counties so far — from Effingham and Toombs in the southeast to Coweta and Gwinnett in the northwest — have submitted suspicious documents to state investigators.

Since Secretary of State Brian Kemp is a Republican, Democrats and officials of the New Georgia Project have alleged in the media that the investigation is a GOP attempt at minority voter suppression. But many of the complaints that triggered the probe originated in Democrat-controlled counties like Muscogee, DeKalb and Fulton. ...

Because one of New Georgia’s leaders is state Rep. Stacey Abrams, an advisor to Michelle Nunn’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and the state House Democratic leader, at least one GOP operative has said repeatedly that Nunn is tied to the scandal.

“Michelle Nunn’s direct ties to the state voter registration fraud investigation run deep,” said Leslie Shedd, spokeswoman for the Georgia Republican Party’s Georgia Victory initiative.

But no direct evidence of Nunn’s involvement has surfaced other than her association with Abrams. Nunn’s campaign has its own voter-registration effort in conjunction with the Democratic Party of Georgia and Jason Carter’s campaign for governor.

Neither side is not above political gamesmanship, according to Kerwin Swint, a former political operative who is now a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.

“Both parties are trying to position themselves to win the turnout game,” he said.

Kemp, like other Republicans, is trying to counter registration gains Democrats have made in recent years, Swint said.

“Stacey Abrams claims her efforts are nonpartisan, though they are clearly partisan. They are trying to register as many Democrats as possible,” he said. “Brian Kemp claims he is simply trying to uphold the law, yet there is no doubt his efforts also have a partisan intent.” ...


Carter has a point on uncollected taxes, but context missing

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Posted: 3:19 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

By Nancy Badertscher and April Hunt 

Education eats up the largest share of the state budget, so it only makes sense that it’s consuming much of the debate in the neck-and-neck governor’s race.

Nathan Deal, the Republican incumbent, says his efforts to grow jobs and the economy have paid off for schools. His education track record also includes work for passage of a 2012 charter school amendment and a bipartisan deal to shore up the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship and pre-k programs.

His challenger, Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter of Atlanta, contends that Deal has shortchanged Georgia’s children. He’s most critical of $1 billion-a-year-plus austerity cuts to education recommended by Deal in the first three of his four state budgets.

Carter, who voted for those three budgets, is promising that, if he’s elected, he will increase education spending through a three-pronged approach that involves growing the economy, cutting government waste and going after tax cheats. ...

Georgia made probably its biggest push to go after tax cheats when Sonny Perdue was governor and Bart Graham was revenue commissioner.

“This is a messier process than (Carter) is suggesting,” said Barbara Neuby, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University who specializes in public budgeting and finance. “There is no automatic money that comes in once letters go out.”

That’s because collection would be handled through regulatory enforcement. The same laws that give state agencies broad powers to enforce taxation give people the right to appeal, Neuby said.

KSU’s Papp invites all to Year of Arabian Peninsula

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
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by Jon Gillooly
September 21, 2014 04:00 AM | 1779 views | 3 3 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KENNESAW — Every year, Kennesaw State University picks a country or region to study and this year KSU President Dan Papp invites the public to attend a yearlong series of events about the Arabian Peninsula. 

Papp said the “Year of” program, now in its 31st year, began under former KSU President Betty Siegel. 

“She was — still is — someone who thinks that if you are educated, you need to know about things beyond the American shore, so that’s why she started it up,” Papp said. 

The Year of the Arabian Peninsula studies seven countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

Students and teachers gathered Thursday to hear Gabriel Said, professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, lecture on the origins of Islam. 

Mary Scannavino of Kennesaw, a Sprayberry High School graduate majoring in world history at KSU, said she enjoyed the talk. 

“What was most interesting to me was the different debates on how the Quran was written and what it really means,” she said. “I think that it’s the same with every text — that everyone reads it differently.”

Last year, KSU studied Japan and the year before, Ghana. Scannavino said she was pleased this year’s selection was the Arabian Peninsula. ...


Truth Test: Donations to Deal campaign by appointees

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Note: View the first of a political fact-checking series called "Truth Test" with CBS46 Anchor Scott Light and featuring students in the Kennesaw State University "Political Fact Checking" class with Andrew Peiper, associate professor of political science. The second "segment of "Truth Test" airs Thursday, Sept 25, during the 11 p.m. newscast.  It will take on statements that President Barack Obama has abused his exective power.

Culture Fest

arabian Peninsula 2.jpg

Year of the Arabian Peninsula festival celebrates regional arts and cuisine

The line never diminished in front the table where Saloua Lahlousat sat for three straight hours creating ornately beautiful henna paintings on hands and wrists; nor did her smile and the obvious joy she derives from making people happy with her art.  

Consular Connect

German Consul General Christoph Sander

German diplomat’s visit kicks off new outreach to Atlanta-based foreign consulates

German Consul General Christoph Sander spoke to a group of Kennesaw State Ph.D. students Sept. 17 about his country’s role in Europe’s economic and political future. The event was the first of several planned visits to the campus by members of the Atlanta consular corps under the University’s new “Consular Connect” program.

Testing Truth

CBS46 News anchor Scott Light, right, tapes first "Truth Test" with T.J.Wilkes , Lauren Parkinson and Andy Pieper.

Special topics course teams with CBS46 News to check veracity of political claims

Is an official for Gov. Nathan Deal’s re-election campaign telling the truth when he asserts that the Governor’s record of appointing his campaign donors to important state boards is consistent with the historical trend of previous Georgia governors?

What does it all mean? Scholars study ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Name of Publication: 
The Kansas City Star
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08/22/2014 3:25 PM 

 08/24/2014 7:37 PM

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Here’s an ice-breaker to throw out at your next party: Was “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum a parable on Populism?

Either people’s eyes will glaze over or your guests will dive right in, as scholars have been doing for years.

Baum’s 1900 book, which inspired the Judy Garland movie of 1939, has been dissected cover to cover. Scholarly papers, book-length studies and biographies have all searched for its meanings.

Even noted American author Gore Vidal was intrigued and wrote a series of lengthy essays in 1977 about the books in the New York Review of Books.

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Is it social satire? Political allegory? Or fairy tale? Maybe, maybe and definitely yes.

“We can read between L. Frank Baum’s lines and see various images of the United States at the turn of the century,” one of those scholars, David B. Parker, wrote in the Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians.

Parker, assistant chairman of the department of history and philosophy at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, likens “Oz” to another influential book.

“The Bible is very rich with events and people, and people can find anything they want in the Bible. You can make it prove anything you want,” he says. “And I think that’s one of the real accomplishments of the (‘Oz’) book.” ...

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Journalists on the government's blacklist

Name of Publication: 
San Francisco Chronicle
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David Sirota

Published 8:21 pm, Thursday, August 21, 2014

As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don't like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing "serious limitations on access to records" that they say have impeded their oversight work.

The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years byKennesaw State University Professor Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that four in 10 public information officers say "there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past."

"That horrified us that so many would do that," Carlson told the Columbia Journalism Review, which reported on her presentation at the July conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Carlson has conducted surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out of five reported that "their interviews must be approved" by government information officers, and "more than half of the reporters said they had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees at least some of the time by public information officers."...

PolitiFact: Mayor on target with claim about campaign promises

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
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Posted: 2:37 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

By April Hunt - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Everyone knows those folks who want to get elected will make promises they later shrug them off with the same speed as they hand off squirming toddlers.

So imagine the cynical overload when the AJC’s Truth-O-Meter read this absolute in a recent press release from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed:

“He’s kept every promise he made as a candidate, including re-opening the city’s recreation centers, reforming the city’s pension plan, standing up a force of 2,000 police officers and not raising property taxes,” the release claimed. ...

We could nitpick since Atlanta had just 1,971 officers on the force this week, as it struggles with the same churn other local law enforcement agencies face.

But PolitiFact Georgia wants to be more skeptical than cynical. So we dug into press coverage during Reed’s 2009 campaign and found smaller promises that need some explaining: ...

So, would accepting those explanations mean giving Reed too much leeway to keep his promises?

Not necessarily. Politicians tend to keep promises more than you might think, said Kerwin Swint, the chairman of the political science department at Kennesaw State University.

Blame — sigh — the media for implying candidates don’t at least try, according to Thomas Patterson’s 1993 book, “Out of Order,” Swint said. It cites four studies of seven presidential campaigns and found that once elected, presidents keep the promises they made as candidates.

“In general, politicians try to keep their promises because it’s in their best interest to do so,” Swint said. “From their point of view, they can’t wave a magic wand and make things happen. There is a process, and that can seem like foot-dragging to critics.” ...


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