Thursday, August 31, 2006

Griftdrift In New Republic!

The article was finally published and I am quoted!

Go here. NOW! (Yes, registration is required but it's free)

And for all you stalkers, you now have my real name. But you also know I own guns and know how to use them.

Interesting Poll Numbers In Florida

Complete rundown can be found here.

But here are the ones I found interesting.

If the election for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2006 were held today between Congressman Jim Davis and State Senator Rod Smith, whom would you vote for?

(Democrats only) Jim Davis 43% Rod Smith 37% Undecided 20%

That's a huge number of undecideds. Also it appears Smith is closing the gap. Has his flurry of media in the past few weeks had an effect?

If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Jim Davis, the Democrat, whom would you support?

Charlie Crist 49% Jim Davis 41% Undecided 10%

If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Rod Smith, the Democrat, whom would you support?

Charlie Crist 48% Rod Smith 43% Undecided 9%

Interesting here that the numbers are almost identical. Perhaps that is the answer to the riddle of why so many undecideds in the Democrat primary?

The Incredible Reach Of Tropical Storms

Despite all that has happened in the past year, I still don't think people understand just how incredible the reach and power of a tropical storm can be.

Right now I am listening to thunder from a storm that has been generated by Ernesto. Even though he is a depression. Even though he is some 600 miles to the south.

Before Andrew, the last Category 5 storm to hit the U.S. was Camille. She came ashore near Biloxi, MS.

Who can guess that state suffered the most storm related deaths from Camille?

Hint: I passed the road side marker marking the event during my travels back in June. (and yes, I wish I had stopped to take a picture)

Late Night Chest Thumping

Won a freeroll tourney tonight.

Yeah baby.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Never Voted For Bill Clinton

Not a long essay but a random thought.

I didn't vote for Bush or Dole or that weird gnome from Texas either, so you figure it out.

It's twisting my soul but I am starting to regret not voting for Mr. Bill. At the time, I was much more ideologically inclined and couldn't bring myself to vote for such a political animal. The final straw was when he made it well known he would not commute the death penalty of a mentally retarded man. It was cold, calculated political move. Not a moral one and it turned my stomach.

Now, I look back at welfare reform, NAFTA and many other issues of his watch and realize more and more I agree with his moves during those eight years.

As I look back at events of the past 6 years, particularly Katrina, I keep asking myself, WWBD? What would Bill do?

Sure, a lot of what he would have done would have been through the prism of cold political calculus. But given today's climate, I think I could forgive even the most political beast.

Cross posted at Radical Georgia Moderate

Bush vs Bush

Both enlightening and funny. Another reason The Daily Show is the best damned show on TV.

via GTL

Wasted Money, Wasted Time

Tax supported anti-drug ad on same page as GAO report of the failure of government anti-drug campaigns.

"Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more and I have to keep flying" ~Yossarian

Angels Bowling

There's a thunderstorm approaching my house. It must be a bad 'un cause it woke me up. I once slept through an earthquake.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Unpatriotic. Appeasement. What Next?

"Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists
can be appeased?" -Donald Rumsfeld speaking to a group of veterans.

Three years ago, if you dared disagree with this administrations strategies, you would be called unpatriotic. Now, if you dare disagree with these failed strategies, you are for appeasement. What false analogy will be used next in frantic defense of failed geo-political and military strategies? Treason?

Can someone please find me any respected voice of opposition that is for appeasement? Anyone who has stated we should negotiate with al-Qaeda? Anyone?

There is much hue and cry when the Michael Moores or Al Frankens utters some nonsense. Immediate caterwauling that no one condemns them. Condemnations all around that they are politicizing national security matters.

The difference? They are not the Secretary of Defense of the United States.

Spin it anyway you want, the bald fact is this adminstration has chosen to brand anyone with the temerity to state the President might be wrong with a "scarlet letter". Yet, those so branded are the ones labeled as un-American.

Republicans, your silence on the matter will be noted.

Internet Fruforal Watch: Local Edition

At Peach Pundit

I even couldn't help but jump in a couple of times.

Congratulations Columbus!

I should have had this first today.

Congratulations to Columbus, Ga on winning the Little League World Series!

Good job, boys!

Weird News Of The Day: Xenu Calling

Extremist evangelical state senator Nancy Schaefer appears at an event sponsored by the Church of Scientology i.e. those that follow the space alien Xenu?

I guess "I am the Lord they God and thou shalt have no others before me" doesn't apply if you want to meet and greet with groups that agree with your whacko agenda.

Can't Possibly Be True

Saddam forced to watch South Park movie.

Monday, August 28, 2006

John Barrow Walks The Line

John Barrow (D-Ga) is in a tough race. He represents a swing district with quite a few military fold. Which makes this statement very interesting.

"There have been incredible mistakes, but I think our focus needs to be on
getting the Iraqis in a position where they can take care of themselves."

Subtlly attacking Bush while saying we should not withdraw. Good answer. Did a political consultant earn a bonus today? Probably should have.

Via Cracker Squire

P.S. I also just noticed that while playing with my page today I inadvertently copied Cracker Squires template. I think I will leave it as us South Georgia boys have to stick together.

New Poll: Crist Whomping Gallagher

In Florida, Attorney General Charlie Crist has opened an 18 point lead among likely Republican votes over Christian Coalition darling Tom Gallagher.

This on the heels of an endorsement from WingNutDaily. Just one thing to say. Sorry, Joseph. You're losing the war. People are running away from extremists of all spectrums.

Katrina Blogstorm

At Shakespeare's Sister.

Voices Of Katrina

Instead of trying to think of something clever to write to commemorate Katrina, I have decided to publish snippets of online conversations of an internet community from one year ago. These are the thoughts of people both in the storm and watching it unfold on television. Reading them again gave me a bit of an eerie feeling. Those in bold are multiple residents of Louisiana just north of the city of New Orleans.

August 28th

11:11am - We got yet another pass on this one and yet as I'm watching this thing play out on CNN I'm all narly in the stomach for the folks in Naw'lins

11:12am - Why do proclamations have to be so formal? Why can't they just say "Hey, we've got a freakin' disaster on the way, get the hell outta Dodge. NOW!

3:18pm - We have gusts now about 20 mph and the first rain bands are moving in. I'll keep ya'll updated until we lose electricity. It's cloudy and getting kinda rumbly over here

4:09pm - F*ck even Cantore is bugging out. Landfall predicted somewhere near the mouth of the big muddy. This is shaping up to be the nightmare scenario where the right side of the storm funnels water straight into Pontchartrain.

4:33pm - Weather Channel is predicting 20+ foot storm surge in New Orleans. That will be high enough to breach the levees. Be prepared for pictures of Bourbon St under water.

4:38pm - The mayor said people who opted to go to the Superdome should take enough food and supplies to last three to five days. He said police and firefighters would fan out throughout the city telling residents to get out and that police would have the authority to commandeer any vehicle or building that could be used for evacuation or shelter

6:44pm - Beer is the most important thing though!!!!!!!!!!!! i bought 4 cases....Ya'll think that's enough???? Hmm...Is it enough? i'm going to the store folks

6:51pm - She's coming

7:52pm - Gas prices just jumped to $70 a barrel due to the storm

8:34pm - will be my 3rd to ride out...The others were not too bad..the worst being Andrew in 1992 which was a Cat 3. This one is a bitch

8:53pm - I've not had to ride out a big one since Camille.. did Betsy and Carla as a child, and countless other small ones.. that was enough, and I, like every New Orleanian (no matter if you move away or not, it's always home) always said "Oh, the next one will be the big one" and we slogged on. This one may be it...

9:17pm - I'm ok...a rain band just passed so I didn't get online for a little bit. It's calm now but will be getting uglier as the night goes on.

10:25pm - we are a bit out of NO so we didn't evacuate. It's a coonass stubburdness that makes most stay. It's out home and we will ride it. That is not saying it's not stupid, but that just a coonass.

August 29th

12:02am - It's wierd...We have big blasts of wind then they are gone...rain comes and is gone. It's all quiet now, except for the wind. It goes away then comes back...dies down and comes a little bit longer..right now it sounds like a wolf howling

1:04am - Weather is getting sh*ttier by the minute. Winds are picking up and I can feel the rain doing the little circular motion around me..It's whipping in a clockwise motion. I'm going to be scared when it's counterclockwise. F*ck that...I'm scared now

1:33am - The whole thing in the City will be a mess, with the sewers, the pumps overtime, and all those bodies.. generations of remains are in those tombs.I know the stubborness.. we used to refuse to leave, too.. the Aunt left only after being forced, and she's still not out of harms way. It's eerie to see the films of the City.. complete quiet. Like I said, when Bourbon Street is boarded up, things are bad...

2:09am - Hey guys!! Still here with electricity thank baby jebus!!!! Weather has done gone to hell in a handbasket and tomorrow is to be the worst

7:29am - Katrina just made landfall, was in the middle of an eyewall replacement, which is good because it brought her just under category 5 with 150 mph winds. The track appears to be slightly east of New Orleans, more towards Gulfport, so that might be good for the city if it means the bulk of the rain won't fall in NO itself

7:29am - The superbowl has 25k people using it for shelter, and they lost their power, they have emergency lights only and no AC

9:35am - Sheperd Smith in the French Quarter says street flooding is up to the curb. There are reports that the pumps are off line and will not be back until this afternoon.Eyewall is passing to the east which is good. But winds are going from north to south across Pontchartrain which is not good

10:04am - Just got a call from her, she says they are in the eye right now. It lost a lot of punch when the eye made landfall.She lost power around 5:30 this morning and has weak signal on her cell. So far they are in good shape. Winds are steady at 55-65 mph. Siding blown off in her neighborhood, 3 elderly died sitting in a bus in traffic trying to get out but no one has been lost from debris or surge. They managed to take an hour nap last night.So far the water is only up around a foot from last night by her but they expect it to get bad and crest in the next 24 hours. The back side of the storm is still coming around. She'll call again when she can

10:44am - Weather Channel is reporting one levee has been breached, sending 3-8 ft of water into New Orleans' 9th ward

11:04am - Levee's seem to be breaking.. water in some areas rising at 1 foot an hour.. and with the storm moving up into Mississippi, much of my family that took in family from New Orleans are all now in the path of this weakening, but, still very large, powerful storm, even bigger than Andrew

11:36am - eye has passed them and the backside of the storm is starting to hit. Hopefully by 3pm the worst will be over. One of the levee's did break and this is causing much of the water to head south towards New Orleans, thankfully she is north of the city.

2:22pm - BAD RAIN.... static, WIND........, static..............we ok.

3:23pm - the bands have reached here, and it's cloudy and may rain. Not a bad day so far. I had a great time walking peoples pets and feeding them. Our shelter opened for pets from New Orleans if you had a crate or cage, many of the hotels are refusing animals, as do the shelters. Met so many sweet little fuzzy friends today, it's a good thing they kept an eye on me or I'd have stolen a few of them.I am in the Northwest corner of Louisiana,{shreveport} have been safe all the time

3:50pm - There are lots of reports now of people on rooftops and in attic windows because their houses are underwater. And another levee burst. And the power company is saying be prepared to be without power for a month or more due to a catastrophic failure

4:10pm - It's all over. Sassy and her area lucked out. Trees down but minimal flooding so far. They are running the generator periodically and overall doing fine. No one hurt just looking over the damage, she lost a few screen and a few roof shingles but the house is intact

4:44pm - First thunderstorms have hit me. They'll come like a train all night. But we're used to it. Nothing like the hell on earth that's happening a couple of hundred miles west

5:31pm - It's funny because American Airlines says the flights are still scheduled for Thursday. Hmm, can they land in a lake

6:15pm - From the reports I'm getting, the entire area my Aunt and two cousins live in is underwater, and no idea when they'll be out, as they live on the East side of the Lake... no word yet on those who hunkered down in Ponchatoula.. Mississippi clan are without power, and have had torrential rain, but, far from the coast, so, no coastal water flooding.. Looking at those people wading just brought back memories..

8:51pm - She cranked up the generator, took a shower and feels "human" again, went to the store and got more beer *happy dance* and is getting ready to cook up dinner on the grill. They are estimating getting the power back on in a week or so, but shes hoping for sooner obviously

August 30th

1:10am - Estimated 40,000 homes under water (a twenty square mile area) in New Orleans alone. Still possibly the most expensive and deadliest natural disaster to strike America in the past 100 years

10:26am - I saw some heartbreaking footage last night of a man, clearly in shock, telling an on-the-street reporter that his house had split in two. He tried to hold on to his wife but couldn't and she was swept away. Before she disappeared she told him to take care of the kids. The man's last words to the reporter were something like, "I'm lost. I've lost everything"

11:34am - many people just did not receive enough warning, and/or thought they were safe from the onslaught. The American Red Cross is working to shore up the blood supplies in that area

12:05pm - just tried to raise any one of my family on any of the numbers I have.. cell, landline.. something...All I get, no matter the time of day, is a busy.. so, I have to presume the cell towers are down, too. I have no idea how anyone is, if they made it unscathed, what condition homes are in.. If I don't hear by tomorrow, I'll register with the Red Cross, I imagine, and have them go check it out.. I'm starting to grow concerned.. with levee's breaking, flooding.. sure, we missed the hardest part, still.. the City is below sealevel to begin with.. and this water has no place to go
7:42pm - It's so sad up here, the people were given the word the Parishes where they live are now closed, and they cannot go back for at least a week. No water there, food, or electricity. Plus the water main broke in New Orleans, and they will have to wait for the water to drain, or be pumped out {once the electricity gets back on, which may be 2-3 weeks}, then the water system will have to be flushed and sterilized

10:40pm - I love seeing people stealing Huggies, TP, and plastic bags. Is that so wrong?

8:30pm - in Louisiana, when we elect an honest official, we vote him back out again.. too boring. If your last name is Long, you are guaranteed a job in the government..

August 31st

2:36am - CNN did a short piece about all the alligators and snakes that were in that lake which is now flooding NO. Ew.

9:32am - - what a mess. I wonder if they can even rebuild after this? (The better question is does it make any sense to?)

1:30pm - It really is Survival down there. You can't drink the water until it's boiled. How are you supposed to boil it?

2:01pm - I saw Slidell on MSNBC this morning.. and there was one cousin's house in the background... well, what was left of it. No way to tell her, as they are out of any kind of contact. The thing is, with the rebuilding (which we've done before).. this time, there is no place to go while you rebuild. Slidell has over 65% of the homes and businesses severly damaged, and 90% of them flooded out with up to 16 feet of water. Where do you go? Gulfport is 90% gone... where do you stay when you rebuild, because rebuild they will

7:39pm - The slowness of everything now is really creepy. A whole major city just sitting there underwater, with people that haven't managed to get out still. Access still blocked to ports, cities still empty

You can read the entire conversation including the anger and frustration of the aftermath here.

FEMA Redux

Thought I would dredge up an old piece for the anniversary of Katrina's landfall.

Wherefore Art Thou Fema?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Welfare To Work: Ten Years Later...Again

Previously, I recounted my experiences on the front line of the Welfare to Work movement of the 90s.

In today's AJC, current Commissioner of Labor Michael Thurmond is interviewed about his role in the leading the Department of Human Services.

Welfare reform is a process, not a one-time event. The generational
problems, which welfare was, requires generational solutions. You're talking
about 60 years of policy. There's no way you can correct the pathologies and
problems in 10 years or even 20 years.


Careful With Words That Can Haunt

I just finished watching the 60 Minutes interview of Ray Nagin.

As Nagin and Byron Pitts examined the new levees, Pitts asked did Nagin believe the new levees would withstand a category 3 or 4, Nagin responded:

"Look at these man. Where are the gonna go".

Everything I have heard states that although the new levees are much improved, there is no way the incomplete work could protect the city.

I sincerely pray Ray Nagin's word do not come back to haunt him.

With Ernesto churning in the Gulf and the anniversary of Katrina, expect waves of hurricane related stories over the next few days.

A Little Poker News

Sunday, sunday, it's such a fun day.

No politics. Just a little poker.

Remember Jamie Gold? The 12 million dollar WSOP champion? Well, he hasn't collected his money yet. A lawsuit has been filed in Clark County alledging that Gold made a verbal agreement with Bruce Leyser to split any winnings. At this point, the facts appear to support Keyser and a judge has agreed to an injunction. Meanwhile, 12 million in cold, hard cash collects dust in the Harrah's vault.

In other poker world nastiness, pro Daniel Negreanu blogs about the WPT lawsuit. He makes a valid point that the whole affair could have been handled better. By everyone. I think it really comes down to everyone understanding that they are called professional for a reason. It's how they should be acting.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Groovy Saturday

Going to be a busy day out and about so groove baby, groove.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Something Ugly In Alabama

Button has been following the shenanigans of the Alabama Democrat primary and their efforts to disenfranchise a candidate of a certain persusaion. Wander on over to Liberal Lucidity for the sordid details.

Once again, Georgians get to say, "well, we will always have Alabama".

Katherine Harris and the Divine Right Of Kings

There she goes again. Apparently, Katherine Harris not only believes in the concept of the divine right of kings but thinks it should apply to American politics. Think I'm exaggerating? Perhaps a bit of blogger hysteria? Okay, then how would you interpret this quote?

Separating religion and politics is "so wrong because God is the
one who chooses our rulers
," Harris said. "And if we are the ones not
actively involved in electing those godly men and women," then "we’re going to
have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and
that’s (sic) certainly isn’t what God intended."

A Voltaire quote comes to mind.

"God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Invest 97L - Now TD 5 - Now Ernesto

Something is brewing in the Windwards. This could be trouble. Or it could fizzle like every other storm this year.

From the National Hurricane Center:


Update: Invest 97L is now Tropical Depression 5. It could very well become tropical storm Ernesto in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.

Update II: Yep, his name is now Ernesto and although he's getting sheared a bit right off the Cuban coast, he looks to be a bad 'un. The scary part is almost all the models agree he will enter the gulf and hit somewhere on the Florida coast. The REALLY scary part is I just checked the temperatures in the Gulf and it's hot right now. Damned hot. Let's hope the mountains of Cuba shred the thing because if it get's in the loop current, things could get really frightening really fast.

Art or Furniture?

Furniture by Dutch artist Mario Philippona

Ummmmm. Okay.

A Little Common Courtesy

Okay I am new to this whole blog thing so maybe I am a bit off base here.

But apparently my last post titled The Contract was picked up by a libertarian "aggregator" i.e. scraper.

Normally that would be a time for joyous celebration.

Here's the problem.

The front page clip of my post gave me no attribute.

More seriously, it gave me no direct link.

I wanted to attempt to discuss this but unfortunately this site has no contact or email on the front page. So I decided to leave a comment but they are weirdly "closed".

So I am left with no choice but to bitch about it here.

Look. There is a link to my original post if you click through on the headline but the whole idea of no credit or direct link on the front page, simply scraping my site, rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I'm just being touchy here but this doesn't feel right.

I didn't link to the site because by god if they aren't going to link to me, I am not going to link directly them.

Hey, I appreciate anyone thinking my rantings should be more exposed but if you are just some lame ass scraper that won't properly attribute something?

Go away.

The Contract

I just finished watching "When The Levees Broke".

I have thought about this a lot. Ideology and human compassion war all over each other when watching something like this.

It crystallized for me when a women stepped up to the microphone at a town hall.

She said, "I'm a homeowner. I've lived in the 9th ward for 35 years. I've paid my taxes".

She was not asking for a handout. She had paid her price. She was asking for a fair deal on the contract between citizen and government. And what did she get?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Defend that my libertarian brethren.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Football Open Thread

It's a boring afternoon but the fixtures are only an hour away.

I've attracted a few football fans so I thought I would give them an open thread near the top to taunt each other.

I've spent the past hour reading the sordid history of a friend's beloved Leeds United.

Now I await the Blackburn - Everton match.

Of course Fox Soccer Channel is showing Chelsea - Middlebrough. They always show Chelsea. Bah!

Breaking News: Northwest Jet Forced To Land In Amsterdam

A Northwest jet from India to the U.S. was forced to land in Amsterdam. The crew reported suspicious behavior and requested a fighter escort. Although Dutch authorities say no one has been arrested, unconfirmed reports state that 12 have been detained.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: CNN has confirmed that 12 passengers have been arrested.

You know, I am not an alarmist. But I have a friend flying to France today and I admit to being somewhat concerned.

UPDATE II: I doubt you will see much follow up on this so I'm going to make sure I close it out.

Dutch police released the suspects as there was no evidence. The lesson learned here? Don't act goofy on planes. We could all do with a little less goofiness on planes.

Estadio Chivas

Since I'm sitting here with little to do other than wait for the evening fixtures, I thought I would put up a cool picture.

That's the future home of Chivas Guadalajara. The architects describe it as a cloud over a volcano.

Dog Days

There just ain't much going on is there?

Anybody got anything?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Honest Mistake or More?

With this administration I have to say I have my doubts.

Evolutionary Biology left off list of subjects eligible for federal grants.

A Politician Gets Hands Dirty, Episode II

I like it when mayors take real-life action.

Athens mayor Heidi Davison is not only picking up the garbage, she's providing refreshments!

Sure, these types of things can be cheap political stunts but any time a politician actually gets down in the dirt in the real world instead of the metaphorical world, it's worth at least a small cheer.

So mayors? Who wants to step up next?

When The Levees Broke

I won't say too much other than it was excellent. I encourage you to read Edward Copeland's review for details.

For those of us weather nuts that followed every nuance of the storm, there wasn't much new. But there were a few nuggets that were very interesting. My main takeaway was that New Orleans was rotten to the core. Infrastructure, politics, years of racial suspicion, everything. The city and its people never had a chance. Given that it was less than 5 years after 9/11 only magnifies the anger, frustration and tragedy.

If you missed it last night, I encourage you to watch tonight or if you don't have HBO definitely grab it when it arrives on DVD.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Damned Political Quiz

But this one is a little different. It starts off with the typical boiler plate stuff but towards the end asks you to attempt to get inside the mind of other people. Take it. It's interesting.

Instead of linking directly to the quiz, I ask you to go through this link to The Moderate Voice. The clever among you will figure out why.

187 Of Meth In Buford

Police sieze 187 pounds of crystal meth in Buford, Ga.

I am a proponent of the legalization of drugs, however, having seen the effects of this particularly nasty drug, I have little crisis of conscience that it is off the street.

French Diplomacy

While many are taking another opportunity to beat up on the French. Matt Yglesias has another take.

I'm not sure I agree but it is food for thought.

Rod Smith Has Moxie

He probably has no chance at beating fellow Democrat Jim Davis for the party's nomination for Florida Governor, but you have to admire his blunt campaign style.

First, he runs TV commercials going directly at the stem-cell veto.

Now, he actually completed the Christian Coalition questionnaire even though he disagrees with the group on every issue!

Like I said, I would probably vote for Davis but Smith has gone up a couple of notches in my book.

Another Harris Staffer Quits

Ho hum.

What's the over/under on staffers quitting this week?

History Of Outkast

It is rare that you will find a compliment for the AJC here. But even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

Nick Marino's slideshow / audio presentation of the history of Outkast is exactly the type of forward thinking content that I wish I would see more often.

Even if you aren't a fan of Outkast, you might enjoy it. And afterwards, you may just find yourself leaning towards fandom

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I'm watching Tiger take down the PGA Championship for his 12th professional major and was disturbed to hear what sounded like a child's voice scream "YOU DA MAN! TIGER!'

First of all, people who scream this at any tournament should have their tongues cut out.

Secondly, anyone who ingrains such idiocy in their children should be publicly flogged and then have their tongues cut out.

Checking The CQ

Just checked the CQ map.

Last time I checked it was 224 (R), 202 (D), 9 No Clear Favorite

Now it is 220 (R), 202 (D), 13 No Clear Favorite.

Four races shifted. Expect things to continue to tighten as we approach November.

Idiot Of The Day


The Question

In the wake of the Judge Taylor decision on NSA domestic spying, many would agree decision has merit although the opinion is written pretty poorly.

The question that still is not being asked is why is 72 hours retroactive for a warrant is not good enough?

Through FISA Congress practically pretzled itself bending over backwards to insure the executive branch had the tools to address security. It includes a provision that would actually allow warrants to be obtained after searches had been conducted.

Not once has the Bush admistrations answered why this is not good enough. The silence leads only to the conclusion that searches are being conducted where warrants would not be granted.

Exactly the types of searches the founders guarded against with a little thing called the Fourth Amendment.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Let's Play Some Football!

Premiership starts today.

Go Rovers!

UPDATE: Oh crap. They got killed 3-0 by Portsmouth.

2006: Year Of The Woman

Okay I made light of this last night.

But that was only because I was in "drunk, neanderthal, grab women by the hair" mode.

It happens.

Still, the fact that attitudes towards women have progressed so far in less than 100 years is pretty bitchin. Oops! Did I say bitchin?

My women friend bloggers are so going to hurt me.

Saturday Weirdness

Oh my!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It Was Only A Matter Of Time

There's a poker movie.

It has a decent cast and director so there is hope.



It's a weird day.

I don't feel particularly inspired.

I'm in the middle of a fantasy draft in the most nebulous NFL preseason ever.

I'm still tired from last night.

Let's all go get a drink.

The Closest Game Ever


I worked in the yard all day, drove 200 miles and then played poker for four hours. Including the most intense hour of heads up I have ever played. What could have been the final hand had us both all in and the chip stacks were so close I thought we were dead even. My opponent ended up having one chip. A chip and a chair.

He then doubled up 7 or 8 times, I forget, and took the lead. Three hands later he put me out and it was over.

For that reason, I may be a little late catching up on the news in this morning.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Don't Give A Macaca

I will not post anything on the George Allen things for two reasons.

1. I already knew George Allen was an ass.

2. Ass's say stupid things and stupid things shouldn't be repeated. *hint hint lefty bloggers*

That is all.

Iraq as Vietnam

I seem to remember ages ago warning that eventually the "right" would turn the Vietnam / Iraq comparison on its ear and begin to build a similar myth for Iraq that developed for Vietnam in the 70s. The myth is basically the following: if we had only had the stomach and will power to (or had not been held back by the press / anti-war movement / weenie politicians) take the gloves off we could have won.

Well, it's starting to happen.

You can read my thoughts in the comments. Please add your own over at Justin's place.

Observations On Florida TV Ads

If you spend any time in south Georgia, you will soon realize that it is the season where TV ads consist of two items: Car ads and political ads.

I've seen a plethora of ads for the Florida primaries aired on the Tallahassee TV station. A few interesting things I noticed.

*No negatives. Maybe I've missed them but I just haven't seen any. After the slug fest that was the Georgia Gov, Lt Gov and 4th races, this was a welcome relief.

*Democrats are playing anti-Bush. Both Jim Davis and Rod Smith have made mention of Bush not helping Floridians. Davis going for the rather safe ploy of accusing Bush of gutting Social Security. Smith going much riskier by attacking the stem cell veto head on.

*I've seen Charlie Crist ads but no Tom Gallagher. I think the Republican race is really about to be a one man show.

*Not one mention of family values. Lots of populist themes including Republican Crist sticking it to price gougers and insurance companies, but no gay marriage, abortion or even Schiavo. It seems Florida pols really get it. People want to hear about issues that actually affect most people.

It's definitely in overdrive down here. You can't make it through any prime time show without at least two or three ads. We'll see if they are just holding back on the negative, but for now I very impressed with all candidates on both sides.

UPDATE: Ah, I love the speed of the internet. Apparently Gallagher has just rolled out a new attack ad against Crist. Hopefully I will catch it tonight.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Hinterlands

I'm off to the south for at least a couple of days. Which of course means library blogging!

Check the blogroll until the morning.

Katherine "Kitty" Harris Plugs In

In a sock puppet blogwar?

Who knows but god I hope it's true. The sad fact is that it's actually concievable.

Enough Of That

No more long post for a while.

The Duties Of The President - Part III - The Logical Conclusion

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of theUnited
States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual
service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the
principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating
to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant
reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and
he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall
appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme
Court,and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not
herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but
theCongressmay by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they
think proper,in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the
heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happenduring the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire atthe end of their next session.

Vietnam loomed over the end of the American century. Americans do not like to lose and the failure in Southeast Asia haunted both military and political leaders.

It gave birth to the military dictum now known as the Powell Doctrine. Military commanders raised in the Vietnam era believed future wars should be fought with overwhelming force. At its more basic level, the Powell Doctrine advocated fighting wars where the question of victory was nearly without question.

In 2002, the Powell Doctrine met the PNAC doctrine.

A perfect storm of political theory was coalescing around events in southwest Asia. September 11th provided Bush and his lieutenants, the architects of PNAC, an opportunity to take bold action at a new enemy. Terrorism became the new superpower. It became the threat to American dominance. Under PNAC doctrine, military action was required in the face of the rise of another superpower.

Bush had estabished the threat of the axis of evil: Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

Although, no one would doubt the threat of North Korea, there was absolutely no known connection to Islamic terrorism, the rogue country actually had nuclear weapons and any aggressive would assuredly result in their use.

Iran certainly had strong connections to terroism. Not simple proproganda such as small cash payments to families of individual suicide bombers but actual arms and training to active terror groups. Iran however was a country of 70 million people living in modern cities nestled in the rugged mountains and valleys. Any type of invasion under the Powell Doctrine would require manpower at such levels that the draft would be inevitable. Once again, the clouds of Vietnam rumbled with thunder.

All that remained was Iraq.

Iraq's military infrastructure remained in tatters from the first Gulf War. What had been rebuilt was then destroyed again in 1998's Operation Desert Fox. American military assets were already staged in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudia Arabia. It was a plum ready to be picked. The new foreign policy of pre-emptive war now had its target. All that was needed was an excuse.

Saddam Hussein provided one.

Like a desperate poker player, Saddam adopted an all or nothing strategy. His military soundly thrashed and his political clout in the region non-existent, he played the only card he could fathom. Weapons of mass destruction. Saddam relied on the half century strategy of mutually assured destruction. His threat was simple. If you harm me, I will bring greater harm on you. The results of the future would show this threat to be hollow.

Saddam played cat and mouse games with U.N. weapons inspectors. Knowingly or not, his bluff was playing directly into the trap laid by his enemy. Slowly but surely, the eye of the administration turned towards Baghdad. Only the insinuation that Saddam could provide terrorists with horrific weapons was needed to cause collective fear in the American conscience.

The stage was set.

It could be argued that the administration truly believed WMDs would be discovered. It could also be argued that they deemed Saddam Hussein a true threat. However, the results of the invasion showed neither were true. The Iraqi forces were utterly destroyed by the American forces. No weapons of mass destruction. No tanglible threat. No connection to terrorism.

Having won the war but failed to reach the appropriate justification, the administration pivoted to the actual reason for the invasion. Establishing a democracy in the Middle East would result in a stable presence that would inspire, possibly intimidate, other repressive regimes to fall in line. It was the reverse of the domino doctrine of Communist takeovers in the late 60s. Vietnam had come full circle.

Three years later, some would argue that democracy has been established in Iraq. Certainly elections have been held and a government installed. However, outside certain safe areas, sectarian militias rule and citizens hide at night. American troops remain as an occupying force with no withdrawal in sight. All signs indicate that the nascent democracy is only so much window dressing.

As for the region, despite some initial successes such as Libya disarming, flash fires of instability have erupted everywhere. An emboldened Iran elected a more strident leader and Hizbollah began lobbing rockets into Israel.

In 2000, George Bush told the American people that we would not be the world's policemen. In 2002, he told us that we could no longer wait to be attacked. Everything changed on September 11th. That cannot be argued.

Was the invasion of Iraq an inevitable next step in the war on terror? Was it the real world execution of PNAC's theories? Was it because of an actual threat? Is pre-emptive war an acceptable response to a new era? These issues may be debated by historians for years, if not decades.

Two undeniable facts remain. Bush as commander in chief chose to open a second front and Bush as the executor of foreign policy chose the route of pre-emptive war to face the new threat of terrorism. It can no longer be said that the jury is out on these choices. The second front robbed critical assets from securing the Afghan front. Pre-emptive war did not result in regional stability but in fact led to the opposite.

The duties of the President require bold, yet clear vision. No one can argue Bush's aptitude in this portion of the arena. But the duties of the President also require the ability to adapt to the pressures of reality. Bush's vision for a new world was both bold and clear, yet his failure to adapt in the face of reality has led to the inevitable. Duty unfulfilled.

Evolution Of The Desktop

Evolution of the desktop.

My first that I actually owned? Win 3.1 on a 486 box circa 1994. What about you?

It's rather shocking that they haven't evolved more. I've always wondered what the next paradigm will be. Guess we will still be waiting for a while.

P.S. I said owned because I've been using computers since the Apple II / TRS-80 / Commodore 64 days. But back then because believe it or not, they were expensive (shocking!), I actually had to rely on the kindness of friends and school labs. And soon after the 486, I moved up to a Pentium 90 hertz and felt like I was hot as a snot rocket.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weather Geek Moment

As a weather geek, I occasionally read about things that you have never heard.

Today's term is: Hot Tower

Which would also be a kick ass name for an old school R&B band with a horn section.

4000 Holes

Every four years the World Cup comes around. Every four years I vow to get serious about watching football. I find it endlessly fascinating. But usually, like a three year old wandering in the park, I find something new and shiney to distract me.

Not this year.

I've decided to simply pick a team in the Premiership and root for them. Unfortunately, I have no ties to any particular city or side. So in my own very American way, I am going to pick a club based on things that are very important to me but to my English brethren would probably appear quite daft.

The criteria.

It can't be Chelsea, Man United or Arsenal. This would be akin to rooting for the Yankees and that just won't do.

It can't be a London club. I'm just a small town boy at heart. This eliminates one hefty chunk of clubs.

Finally, the really daft part. They have to have a cool name. And if can't figure out my choice, check my club's name against the blog name. Get my drift?

So, say hello to the official EPL club of Drifting Through The Grift.

The Blackburn Rovers.

And to be really daft, yes, The Beatles song was probablly the clincher.

First match? Saturday against Portsmouth.

Enough Seriousness For The Moment

I've become a right wordy S.O.B. lately. It was never my intention to write 10000 words on Bush's Presidency but apparently that is the road I have taken.

Enough of that for now, it is time for some silliness.

Tucker Carlson is going to be on Season 3 of Dancing With The Stars.

Do we need any more evidence this show is an abhorrence of nature? Like most abhorrences, I can only hope that eventually nature will spin out predator that will consume this monstrosity.

The Duties Of The President - Part II - Execution of Foreign Policy

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the
United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the
actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing,
ofthe principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject
relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power
togrant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except
incases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,to
make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall
nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court,
and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein
otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but theCongress
may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper,
in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen
during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at
the end of their next session.

A President's duty as commander in chief are quite clear. His duties in the realm of foreign policy, not so much. It is as if the founders demanded the chief executive delegate his authority in these matters. However, it is clear through history and precedent that the President provides the nation's vision of foreign policy.

In 2001, President Bush faced perhaps the most daunting task of any American leader since Lincoln. How do you confront an enemy that wears no uniform, holds no country as home and knows no surrender? The initial reaction was the most human instinct of fight or flee. Bush chose appropriately to fight. The American response to destroy the infrastructure of al-Qaeda was swift and effective.

Bush now faced the more difficult problem of how to prevent the hydra from growing another head.

What followed was the most radical shift in American foreign policy since the expansionist era of Theodore Roosevelt.

It was not done lightly. It was not done without preparation. It was not done without forethought.

In 1992, on the heels of the collapse of America's greatest enemy, the Soviet Union, several prominent conservatives formed the Project for a New American Century. It's primary purpose became saping American policy to prevent another superpower from emerging. The tool for the task would be the American military.

In 2000, this same group advocated an American military presence in vital areas of the world in order to express American influence. This presence would allow the U.S. to act instead of react. It was the formula that would birth the new policy of pre-emptive war. American would not wait to be attacked again.

As fear of future attacks still resonated in the minds of Americans, President Bush used the 2002 State of the Union to announce a new "axis of evil". Included were Iran, North Korea and Iraq. The message was clear. These states were actively pursuing courses that were contrary to American security.

North Korea certainly had a nuclear program although ties to terrorist organizations were sketchy. Iran wanted to have a nuclear program and no single country had done more to foster terror in the past 25 years.

But Iraq?

The Gulf War of 1991 followed by the establishment of no-fly zones and Operation Desert Fox had effectively neutered Iraq. Flareups continued as Iraqi military would target allied planes resulting in their elimination from the face of the earth in a rain of fire. However, Saddam Hussein was trapped in a swath of land a few hundred miles wide in central Iraq. Buffered from harming his neighbors and left to issue vague threats that are the last resort of the desperate.

Also, Iraq was arguably the most secular state in the region. Although muslim, Saddam and his cronies lavished in western decadence. Extremist views, particularly towards women and the majority Shia, certainly existed but they paled compared to daily oppressions in neighboring Saudia Arabia and Syria. It could be argued that Iraq is a muslim state more by tradition and political expediency than by adherence to a fundamentalist viewpoint.

Iraq had little known ties to terror outside its borders. Much has been made of Saddam Hussein's contribution to Palistinian suicide bombers. However, it would be a great challenge to find any other connection to terror organizations. By all accounts, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden hated each other. One was a true believer who wanted nothing more than to turn the Middle East into an extremist hegemony. The other was a toothless Caligula who cared less about spreading a vision of Islam and more about his next palace. It's conceivable that Saddam Hussein was not far down Osama's list of people to remove.

Nothing about Iraq added up. Or did it?

Pre-emptive war is the logical conclusion of PNAC's tip of the sword as foreign policy strategy. What was needed was a laboratory.

Next: Part III - The Logical Conclusion

Fall's Coming

I just saw a squirrel toting some material to line his nest for colder weather.

I know it feels like we are all sitting in a frying pan but fall is coming.

Forget weathermen. Always trust animals.

Islamofascist, Pt II

Clarity and confusion. So much for framing my perspective.

I should have known better than to ask an academic.

Actually, it was very enlightening and led to a discussion of fascism ranging from its birth in the cauldron of late 19th century industrialism to South Africa's aparthied system.

The key information that I discovered is that fascism requires a strong sense of identity. The first impulse would be to associate this with nationalism such as Mussolini's state. But it can also mean an identity that goes beyond borders such as Hitler's Germany which associated identity with Germanness whether those Germans resided in Bonn or Czechoslovakia.

The issue can become confusing because also in many cases the identity is defined by what it is not. It is a barbarian's at the gate philosophy. The state must protect its inherent identity by rejecting all those that do not belong. At its most radical, this form of the fascist state led to the madness of the Holocaust.

So what about Hizbollah, the Sunni insurgency, Iran and all the other bad guys we have chosen to lump into the term "Islamofascist"? Without a doubt it's a brilliant political ploy. President Bush has successfully related our current struggle to the last known "noble" cause, WWII. He has also given a face to an amorphous enemy. Every time you hear that term, you will instantly think of the insane evil of Nazi Germany.

But is it accurate? In a general sense, you could certainly argue that adherents of radical Islam have an identity. All wish to follow some flavor of the most oppressive elements of the religion. All see the West, Israel and the U.S., as a version of the barbarians at the gate.

Yet, once you begin to look at the individual groups it begins to fall apart. There are Sunnis, Shia and Wahabist. Some have the goal of destroying Israel. Some have the goal of destroying the U.S. Some have the goal of becoming a regional super power. Their causes are as varied as the grains of sand in the desert.

When I asked my friend for a brief definition of fascism, he laughed and joked that entire books are written on the subject. So, I am certainly not going to tackle the subject in a single blog post. But I do no feel comfortable with the term and it's not one I will use. However, I fully understand why the Bush administration does.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


There's been a lot of guff lately about this term.

Today I may meet with a history grad student that is actually researching the history of fascism. I'm hoping that a discussion with him will frame my perspective on this new term. If coherent, I'll write about it later.

But for now I am off!

Pogue Saturday

It's a rainy day. I'm feeling pogueish.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I think I blew my rethorical wad for the day with that last one, so why not a little dark humor?

A graduate student from the University of Central Florida is missing after
he was pulled underwater by a large sea turtle, according to Local 6 News.

I really try to not laugh at tragedy but come on!

As always I find the latest twisted news at Reality Sucks. (Warning. Humor at that site is both adult and childish at the same time.)

The Duties Of The President - Part I - Commander-In-Chief

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2.

The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the
United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the
actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of
the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject
relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to
grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in
cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he
shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall
appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme
Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not
herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the
Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they
think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen
during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at
the end of their next session.

Through our history, these powers have been interpreted to mean the President is responsible for the direction of the military and the execution of foreign policy. Many times, but not always, the two powers walked hand in hand. President Bush has staked his claim in history on a dictum that the two not just hold hands but grasp together in a full embrace.

How has Bush's radical interpretation of Presidential powers fared?

Following the attack of 2001, President Bush used America's new moral high ground to assemble a world-wide coalition to attack terrorism where it lived. A Taliban governed Afghanistan had become a breeding vat of repressive religious fanaticism that harbored the most dangerous criminals in the world. A swift response using special forces and airborne elements allied with the Northern Alliance resulted in the Taliban being swept out of power and the leadership of al-Qaeda literally running for the hills.

Then, we looked elsewhere.

At the moment U.S. forces had their boots on the throat of the most viable threat to our national security, President Bush chose to open a second front. With al-Qaeda scattered among loyalist in mountain hideouts those trained to deal with counter-insurgency and small unit tactics were removed from the theater and sent elsewhere. Preparation for any major invasion requires special forces and recon units to pave the way. At the time when these anti-terror specialists were vital in the fight against our most feared enemy, they were removed from the picture. This was a military decision. Military decisions fall on the head of the top of the chain of command.

At this critical point of our first battle in the war on terror, President Bush made a deadly strategic blunder. One that is taught in every basic military tactics class the world over. He chose to open a second front before the first was stabilized.

Compounding the initial mistake, although the invasion of Iraq was well executed, complete strategic plans for this second front were completely absent. There was never any doubt that the Iraqi military infrastructure would fold like a paper lion once the might of the American military was unleashed. Years of sanctions, no fly zones and an over-the-horizon American military presence resulted in a neutered Iraq. The question that required an answer was what would happen after the tanks stopped rolling?

Many pundits are wont to compare our current war in Iraq to World War II. Although most analogies are specious, unfortunately one holds true. As Germany's defeat became apparent, President Truman's administration realized that a post-war plan would be necessary to prevent Europe from spiraling into a morass of destroyed infrastructure, disaffected citizens and factionalism. The exact recipe of chaos following the first world war that led to the rise of nationalistic madmen like Hitler and Mussolini.

Truman learned from his predecessors mistakes and proactively worked to avoid them. Tasked with this enormous responsibility, General George Marshall implemented his historic plan to rebuild Europe. The practical vision for detail that formented the successes of North Africa, Sicily and D-Day transformed countries scarred by plains of desolate rubble into the economic and political powers that are now our allies.

Where was the Marshall Plan for Iraq? Where were the policies to prevent the newly paroled Iraqi soldiers from joining sectarian militias? Why was the borders not secured to prevent foreign insurgents from entering? Where were the army of engineers to restore power to pre-war levels? Where were the soldiers that were needed to protect those engineers?

In the months following the victory in Baghdad, the absence of a comprehensive occupation plan were readily apparent. Three years later, absence of any pan is presented daily in a country where factional militias rule, infrastructure remains destroyed and American soldiers are placed in harm's way with no clear mission and no end in sight.

As Commander-in-Chief President Bush has a responsbililty to respond to the attacks on this country. He also has a greater responsbility to execute that response in a manner that defeats our enemy and make our country more secure.

His choices to abandon Afghanistan and not fully realize the consequences of Iraq have done neither.

Next: Execution of Foreign Policy

Before The Politics Begin

Before I let loose on the rant that has been fermenting in my mind for the past day, I thought I would comment on something of else of interest.

The World Series of Poker ended late last night and I won't bore you with my personal tale of woe involving Comcast.

There's something rotten in the state of the WSOP.

Their controls to keep players from buying in and substituting chips into later
events are almost non-existent, as are their controls concerning the players'
chips at the end of each night. There are 2.41 million chips at the
final table above the number you would expect
from 8,773 players
starting with 10,000 apiece.

Over 2 million chips represents over 2% of the chips in play. That's not bad. That's unthinkable. This needs to be publicized because this needs to be fixed. The general public already views big poker askance. It's seedy past still plays in the minds of many. If Harrah's won't step up, the name players should be bold enough to speak out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gallagher Staff Pulling A Harris

It's the latest fashion rage! Are you a staffer for a floundering Republican campaigner in Florida? Flee! Flee for your lives!

Tom Gallagher's top staff quits.

The difference between Katherine Harris and Tom Gallagher? Gallagher probably knows when to give up the ghost.

Florida elections are not getting much national press but I'm telling you that some interesting political winds are blowing down there.

Daisy, Daisy

First, Tony Snow intimates that the voters of Connecticut have chosen a course that could lead to more al-Qaeda attacks.

Then, Vice President Cheney hints that the people of Connecticut by actually having the temerity to vote in a certain way are showing al-Qaeda that Americans are weak-willed.

Hey big boys. If you're going to go down that road at least have the balls to say what you actually mean. Come right out and say that if individuals vote Democrat in the fall, people will die. Actually say that blood will be shed if people pull the voting lever a certain way. You spineless bastards.

Or maybe you can explain a foreign policy that leads to the U.S. having zero influence in the rest of the world, al-Qaeda still on the loose, an inability to do anything about spreading violence across the Mid-East, an emboldened Iran and an endless stream of coffin carrying flights into Dover?

Where is the party of accountability?

Where is the party of responsibility?

Really. We are all patiently waiting.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tom Gallagher Not Quitting....Yet

In the Florida Republican primary for Governor, Tom Gallagher denies he will quit.

It's almost football season. So fans, what does it mean when a rising junior or senior absolutely denies he is about to jump to the NFL?


On another note. The Florida primaries aren't until September 5th. Who thought up this insanity? On a positive note that means another month of Katherine Harris. As we all know. She's just flat out blogger gold.

And We're Off....

Casey Cagle announces John McCain is coming to town.

Looking To The Fall

If nothing else, I have a strong desire for cool weather. You know it's bad when a south Georgia boy thinks it's too hot. As you will shortly see, it may have made me crazy.

But fall also brings elections.

Okay, maybe the air won't be all that cool and clear.

Time to take a look at the slate in Georgia. Welcome my friends. Welcome to the split ticket. Also known as rants from a guy who can't make up his mind.

Governor: Mark Taylor (D), Sonny Perdue (R), Garrett Hayes (L). It would be easy to go with my incumbent rule. Sadly, Sonny has a few problems. Namely some rather unhealthy budgetary shenanigans in education. Perdue has a bit of that fiddling while Atlanta burns feel. Mark Taylor, I just don't like personally. Politically, I am unsure. Which means unless one of these two top ticket boys impress me, I will be voting for Garrett Hayes. I do not particuraly like where he stands on vouchers or support of the fair tax but at least I know exactly where he stands and I agree with a chunk of it. Taylor still has a chance in my book but he needs to show me something.

Lt. Governor: Jim Martin (D), Casey Cagle (R), Allen Buckley (L). I am completely undecided. A couple of hints. Casey? It would not be wise to get too cozy with the religious nuts. Jim? We already pay plenty of taxes in Georgia. Allen? I find your education plan interesting but I need a little time to think about it.

Secretary of State: Gail Buckley (D), Karen Handel (R), Kevin Madsen (L). I have never been impressed with Gail Buckley. I have been impressed with Handel. Kevin, I know nothing about you so you better get a website going. At this point, I lean to Handel, so Buckley and Madsen? Time to make yourselves known.

School Superintendant: Please just abolish this position or make it an appointment.

Ag Commissioner: Tommy Irvin (D), Gary Black (R), Jack Cashin (L). I was born in 1968. Tommy Irvin was elected Ag Commissioner in 1969. Growing up in the most agricultural county in the state, I can honestly say I have known Tommy most of my life. Jack, I like you and voted for you in 1998 but I just can't find it in my heart to vote against an old friend.

Georgia 4th: I have supported Hank Johnson from the beginning and I see no reason to change now.

So there are the initial thoughts of one, possibly crazed by heat stroke, man sitting on his porch. Two Democrats, one libertarian, one Republican, one undecided and one potential constitutional crisis.

I still believe that Georgians care less about party and more about results. It's the Janet Jackson political philosophy. What have you done for me lately?

Let the campaigning begin. Let the issues rule.

Cross posted at Radical Georgia Moderate.

All That Ends

Does not end well.

McKinney supporters scuffle with local news reporters.


Time to move on.


So, Hank.

I have one question.

Will you run again in 2008?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Welcome To The 4th. Welcome To Deadwood!

4th Runoff. Rumor edition.

Georgia Politics Unfiltered is reporting rumors of harassment and incorrect ballot distribution.

Dignan is driving around south Dekalb looking for signs of life and hearing more rumors of harassment.

McKinney's campaign site is, of course, reporting irregularities.

Pull out your tin foil hats!

Me? I'm headed to the Gem for a drink. Good lord.

A Loving Moment From Florida


That's Hillsborough County (Tampa area for you non-Florida folks) commissioner candidate Joe Gedner getting a chair thrown at his head during a TV debate!

As the wise Mister Senor Love Daddy said, "My people, my people, what can I say, say what I can. I saw it but didn't believe it, I didn't believe what I saw. Are we gonna live together, together are we gonna live?"

Poll Report

When I voted in the primary, I was the only car in the parking lot. Imagine my surprise as I pulled up to Evansdale (Chamble-Tucker area) and saw cars lining the road. It was a mirage. Inside the polling place there was only myself and one other voter. The hidden factor is Dekalb school registration begins tomorrow. All the school employees were also present.

I asked a poll worker if they had been busy. She replied, "Steady".

I also drove by Idlewood (Tucker). Same case with the cars so I make no judgment there but I did see several people going in and out indicating that there may once again be a "steady" stream.

Swinging over to Indian Creek (central Dekalb), I couldn't tell if there was activity at the polls but one thing was noticeably absent. This area was full of McKinney sign wavers during the primary. Didn't spot a one.

Now I don't know what any of these tea leaves really mean. I do think turnout in the fourth will probably be high for a runoff. I also still think it's going to be a squeaker.

UPDATE: Dignan is doing some live blogging and is currently cruising south Dekalb to see what the situation is like. There are weird rumors of harassment and intimidation from all over the district. It's like I live in Deadwood! YEEHAW!

It's A Big Day!

I have an appointment to get a hair cut!

Oh and there's this little primary runoff in Georgia.

Once again, I will be pulling a Democrat ballot. And to those that accuse griftdrift of being a stealth Democrat, let me remind you once again why every two years in the primary I pull the big D.

I live in the 4th Georgia.

Lt. Governor: I will be voting for Jim Martin. The sad thing is I think I like Greg Hecht. I think he could be a solid campaigner and articulates some interesting ideas. I do not mind a hard fought campaign but his was over the line. I just can't press the button for him without my stomach turning.

Secretary of State: I will be voting for Darryl Hicks. It took me a long time to make up my mind here. Gail Buckner did get Scott Holcomb's endorsement and that means something. But, the fact is I have heard nothing from either campaign to change my mind since the pre-primary debate.

Georgia 4th: As the immortal Harold Melvin crooned, if you don't know me by now.... having said that, I think this will be a squeaker. Runoffs are about get out the vote and although McKinney's political machine is gasping it ain't dead yet. I'll have a report later today about activities at a couple of polling places near my house.

Of course, I will be casting an eye towards that small state in New England. And if there is a big surprise, remember, you heard the rumblings here first.

Pancho and Lefty

Willie Nelson

Bob Dylan

Townes van Zandt

Now that's a lullaby.

Monday, August 07, 2006

An Interesting Choice, WSB Radio

So I'm driving home tonight, listening to WSB radio host Chris Krok and receive a shock when I hear that Cynthia McKinney may be arrested for assault. My first thought was of course, how could she possibly do something crazy on the eve of her runoff? Then I heard talk about how they were waiting for the House to adjourn. Now wait a minute. The House adjourned last week! How is this possible?

It was a rerun of the show that played in March when McKinney had her run-in with the Capitol Hill police. Of course tuning into the show a few minutes late, I didn't hear the disclaimer that the show was a repeat.

But let's put that aside for a moment. Why would WSB choose to run this particular show tonight? I suppose you could argue the content is relevant given the heated nature of that race. No. I can't agree with that. In my mind nothing justifies playing such an inflammatory repeat.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but this kind of crap gives birth to those types of thoughts. Nutty conspiracy theories and casting blame at nefarious forces will never die if major media organizations make complicit editorial choices.

Bad form, WSB Radio. Very bad form.

Fear And Loathing In Katherine Harris Land

Steve in comments pointed me to this enlightening article.

Aides offer peek in Harris campaign

The summary is that it's all about being pretty, guzzling hot Starbucks and occasionally screaming and throwing crap at people.

Don't worry Katherine. Next campaign, I will be your first volunteer. I can be the sub to your dom in a pinch!

My Tubes Are Clogged

My internet is down. Hope the world doesnt blow up.

UPDATE: Through means I dare not discuss I have temporarily unclogged the internet tubes. I can't stay long. Heck, it's all the quiet before the primary / runoff storm anyway.

Cease Fire Plan Within The Hour

Looks like we have an agreement. CNN is reporting Bush will outline the plan within the hour.

Note to right wing sphere, the French apparently have been key in hammering out this agreement. Yes, the dreader French. Oooooooooo. Light up those conspiracy theories if you have 'em!

Some Big Brewing In The Atlantic?

From the National Hurricane Center:


The storm is approaching the Intertropical Convergence Zone, so the next 24 hours should reveal if we should be worried.

Follow all the tropical happenings at the wonderful Crown Weather.

Katherine Harris: A Retrospective

I know we have a few new readers (thanks Joe!), so given the reason you were lured here, I thought you might be interested in a Katherine Harris retrospective. I know I pick on her a lot. But it's just so darned easy! Here they are from oldest to newest:

April 06

Katherine Harris Meltdown Watch
Katherine Harris Hires A New Team
Jeb Is Not Happy With Katherine Harris
Katherine Harris Yard Sale Comin' Soon!
Katherine Harris And The Pesky Process Pests
Katherine Harris Knows How To Treat The Press!
Tommy Franks In Florida?
Katherine Harris And The Higher Calling

May 06

Florida GOP Needs To Stop!
Bense Ready In Florida?
Katherine Harris To File Today
Harris And The Bushes
A Day Without Katherine...
Breaking News: Bense Won't Run
Where Did All These People Come From?
Katherine Harris and Charlie Crist

June 06

Be Still My Heart
Katherine Harris Goes To The Dogs
Katherine Harris Loses Another One
Shoeless Katherine
Quit Picking On Katy!
Katherine Harris Kool-Aid Moment
Non-Support of Katherine Harris Strange?

July 06

More Harris Staff Leaving
Katherine Harris and Joe Scarborough
Harris Speechwriter Quits In Style!
Harris and The Dropout Plan
Katherine Harris Must Have Her Starbucks!
Katherine Harris! Blogger Gold!

August 06

Florida Pols Melt In The Heat
Hits Keep Coming For Harris

Okay, so maybe I do go a bit overboard for Katherine Harrris. But she's gold I tell ya! 100% pure blog gold!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cleland In Connecticut

This is interesting.

Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland is in Connecticut campaigning for Lieberman.

Georgia Unfiltered's Andre thinks that Lieberman is a Georgia type Democrat.

Maybe there's something to that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Crunk Saturday

Saturday. It's a fun day!

Friday, August 04, 2006


You've all been very naughty.

But's not really your fault.

"Once a person is perverted it's practically impossible for that person to
adjust to normal attitudes in regards to sex".

Pervision for Profit.

Watch and learn. hee

This Damned Air Quality

I'm sitting here on my back porch, nursing my wounds from last night's poker game, reading the usual 140 blogs and sniffling my ass off.

Mea culpa. I'm a smoker so some of it is I get what I deserve. I understand that.

So far, every day in August, we have had at least a Moderate air quality status. The near record heat combined with our insatiable lust for driving automobiles has lead to the air feeling like tepid beef stew.

It's a sad fact that when I travel from my little place in south Georgia back to Atlanta, I feel like I hit a wall somewhere about McDonough.

A reasonable regional transportation plan is needed. NOW. Not pouring more asphalt. We need some better ideas.

I am for limited government but I believe that transportation is a role where the government plays. And by god, we should require them to do it right.

Beware DOT. Some of us are getting sick of your "if we build it they will drive" attitude.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pull Out The Fainting Couch

Pat Robertson admits global warming might be for real.

h/t: Shakes

Non-Political Entertainment Moment

Politics have been hot and heavy this week, so let's take a brief break.

The folks over at The House Next Door do some of the best TV and movie writing around.

This line about Gerald McRaney made me snot all over myself.

Where did this transition from "Hey, it's the one with the mustache from
Simon & Simon" to "Holy cow, that was so good I need to launder everything
I'm wearing" come from?

That's pure writing gold. Check out the full article here.

Hits Keep Coming For Harris

Katherine Harris latest campaign manager has been accused of petition fraud in Massachusetts.

Katherine may grant the wishes of Florida Republicans by default. At some point, her campaign may have to shut down because she's the only one left!

Florida Pols Melt In The Heat

Some Florida news. Tom Gallagher is bragging about supporters everyone already knew he had. Poor, pitiful Katherine Harris didn't just do the crazy this time, she may have actually done the illegal in not disclosing a subpoena she received. This of course led to ANOTHER exodus of campaign workers. That campaign turns over workers faster than strip club during a political convention.

Catch a full round up of Florida politics at FlaPolitics.

Sirota and Me: Final Thoughts

Once again a good time was had by all. I would like to throw some appreciation to Blog For Democracy and Georgia For Democracy for throwing a bang up event.

Most of the evening was a recap of the book, Hostile Takeover. So instead of another summary, I highly encourage you to check out the podcast from Georgia Podcast Network.

Instead I want to talk about the flat tax.

I'm a marginal flat taxer. In reality, I think the entire tax system needs to be worked over from top to bottom. A flat tax may not be the ultimate answer but it's a step in the right direction. Which leads me to my question for David Sirota.

I stepped up, took one of the little index cards and submitted a question for the Q&A session.

My question was "would you consider a flat tax is it was across the board. Income, estate, corporate, everything".

What came out was "I'm sure you are aware in Georgia that we have a couple of flat tax guys, a couple of people ask what do you think of that". (Ahem, Catherine)

First of all, I would lay a large amount of money that I was the only "flat tax guy" in that room. Second, as the question was read I swear I could smell the tar cooking. I looked around for the feathers.

Give Sirota credit though. He admitted that progressive versus flat tax as concepts is a much tougher issue. And that is really the point for me. I am not so radical or absolute that I do not understand there are issues of practicallity with such a radical change in the structure of the tax system. However, I do believe that change is needed. In my opinion, the progressive tax system is inherently unfair. There has to be a way to level out the fairness without unduly hurting the most desperate. We should at least have that conversation. I think even Sirota would agree.

Sirota and Me: Part II - A 40% Victory

I would love to talk to you about economics, but politics do call...

Tonight at the event, David Sirota made what I thought was a helluva an admission.

I haven't talked much about the Lieberman-Lamont race here because I pretty much don't care. It ain't my state. I ain't into national Democrat politics.


Tonight, when asked about the Lamont-Lieberman race, Mr. Sirota responded that if Lamont got 40% of the primary vote it would be a victory. It would let other Democrats know they did not own their seats. It's the people's seat.


Not a win. Not even a close loss. 60-40.

Now I don't know about where you are from, but where I am from a 60-40 victory is a whitewashing. Either someone is playing the expectations game or they know something the rest of us don't.

Either way. 40% is not a victory in anyone's book.

UPDATED: So this morning I listened to the podcast of the event and got the exact quote.

"I think as long as Ned Lamont gets above 40% the battle has been
won in a certain extent"

It's a really odd statement given the importance that some have placed on this race. Browsing the "netroots" sites this morning makes it even odder. Most are crowing that the latest polling numbers have Lamont crushing Lieberman. Like I said last night, I think someone is playing the expectations game (to a ridiculous degree) but still, it's all very odd. If Lamont gets unexpectedly crushed in the primary, well, we will probably hear the thud all the way down here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sirota and Me: Part I - Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics

I hate disccussing economic policy.

Yeah, I said it.

Social policy is easy. I'm not particularly religious therefore I am not beholden to some weird 2000 year old code written by shepherds. I go by the rather simple theory that if you are adults and you aren't hurting anyone else, then it's probably okay. Of course people want to argue around the edges about the definition of hurt. But that's not why I am here.

I'm here to talk about economics, dammit. Ugh.

Might as well start with a bombshell.

I don't believe in the minimum wage.

That alone may be enough to get me tarred and feathered at Georgia For Democracy's David Sirota book signing tonight.

But back to economics for a moment. Economic policy in America is a glacier. Since the radical reforms of the early 20th century (including that minimum wage I mentioned), particulary the speculation reforms following the 29 crash, the American economic behemoth has lurched about, occasionally tilting towards falling over, but never in any real danger of the bottoming out.

I say that despite living in the stagflation days of the late 70s and actually working on the front line of unemployment policy during the recession of the 90s. Sure, things have been occasionally bad, but I am reminded of something I recently heard from a Civil War historian: "The good and the bad is no matter how bad people think things are, we know once they were far worse".

So are we just arguing around the fringes of economic policy that has been relatively stable? Or does that just lead to more incremental barnacles on the ship that will eventually cause it to sink? Do we need radical change? Or a holistic solution?

Which leads me back to David Sirota. As I read this book, I found myself twitching. Warring within my soul were a myriad of thoughts. I believe the underlying principle of economics should be fairness. But what is fair? According to Sirota, it is the social responsibility of corporations to their workers and their communities? My conservative friends would argue that fairness is letting the market decide the winners and the losers. My libertarian friends would say there is no such thing as fairness.

Is it fair, as Sirota argues, to tax profits above a certain level? Is it fair for lax regulation to allow an Enron to scar an entire community? Should there be fair at all?

This is why I don't really like economics. Everyone if wrong. Everyone is right. No one is even sure if it any of it matters. It's one big steaming pile of vague goo.

I believe what ultimately bothers me is that I don't like to hurt people. But the rational part of my mind keep screaming that sound economic policy sometimes results in people being hurt. That's just the fact, jack.

I doubt that attitude will play well tonight. I will go with the knowledge that I agree with Sirota on some solutions (particularly corporate tax policy). I will go with an open mind. Maybe he will even convince me that the minimum wage should be raised. (I doubt that and in the future when I am feeling less waffly, maybe I will tell you why I think it should be abolished.)

But if I see tar and feathers, fairness will dictate I get the hell out of there.

David Sirota speaks tonight at 7:30 tonight at Manuel's Tavern. If you can't make it look for a podcast from Georgia Podcast Network in the near future.

Good Morning

Sorry for the late start. I was up late celebrating Kansas regular cycle of returning from the Stone Age.

More later today on tonight's David Sirota event.

Tom Waits - A One Sentence Review

When we gather in hell, Tom Waits will play to give us a brief breath of heaven.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tom Waits

Going to see Tom Waits. This is one of those shows you have to see in case you never get a chance again.

See you tomorrow, unless I stumble home to find the AJC, Cynthia or Katherine have all run off to a nekkid hippie commune to work out their issues.

AJC Backs Down!

Dammit! I knew I should have snapped a screenshot of that thread!

If you check the insider now, the original entry has been edited with more "couching" language admitting that McKinney's claim was not the whole truth.

Also, McKinney's lawyer's cease and desist comment has been deleted!

BOO AJC! Wusses!

I really wish I had TiVOed the debate. I honestly don't remember whether McKinney qualified her statement by saying it was her legislative ranking or not but who cares? It was disingenuous. And although technically the AJC's new blog entry is probably more accurate, it still smacks of folding rather quickly.

Fortunately in this day and age of the internet tubes, there are enough people watching the shenanigans that it is rarely hidden. The original blog entry did exist. So did the ridiculous cease and desist in the comments. Plenty of people saw all the craziness and that's a good thing.

UPDATE: As several people have pointed out, the original thread is still there. The AJC added a few things and deleted the Cease and Desist comment (yes a c and d in a comment). So sample both and chew what you can.

A Cease And Desist A Day

Does not keep the crazy away.

Yesterday, it was lawsuits for the McKinney camp.

Today it's ceast and desist letters.

Posted in the comments of a blog.

I kid you not.

Check the first comment on the Insider blog thread reported earlier.

Yep, that is indeed the lawyer for Cynthia McKinney informing AJC bloggers Tom Baxter and Jim Galloway that they must stop posting how McKinney might have fibbed about her report card.

Mr. Raffauf, I an only say one thing. We here at Drifting Through The Grift welcome your comments any time. Briefs, writs, torts, ramblings, money from Vegas. Whatever you want to contribute, my door is always open.

h/t: The griftdrift bail fund (Lazermike and Sarawaraclara)