Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Following the Wilson conviction, public outrage quickly formed reaching such lofty institutions as ESPN and the New York Times. A poorly written law had snared Genarlow Wilson, amplifying his inital bad choice into consequences which would follow him for the rest of his life. The people of Georgia demanded correction to such an obvious injustice.
On March 30, 2006, Senator Eric Johnson made a choice.
He joined the near unanimous majority in the Georgia legislature in amending the Georgia statutes for aggravated child molestation to include an exception for minors engaged in consensual oral sex. (HB-1059). As amended, if the law had been in effect at the time of Wilson's arrest he would have faced at most a misdemeanor. However, the legislature left one piece of business on the table. The change was not retroactive. Genarlow Wilson would not be freed without further action.
In the Spring of 2007, Eric Johnson faced another choice.
The Republican Party recently swept into power in the Georgia Senate and Johnson was named President Pro Tem; a powerful position which would allow Johnson to shape the session to his caucus's will.
There can be little doubt Senator Johnson was aware of a bill filed by Senator Emmanuel Jones attempting to amend the aggravated child molestation statute once again. The bill proffered would allow any person convicted under the previous law to petition the original presiding judge to overturn the current sentence.
Senator Johnson could have worked behind the scenes tailoring the bill as narrowly as possible to prevent waves of legal manuevers from actual child predators while insuring Wilson received a fair chance at release. It would have certainly made sense as most Georgian's believed the young man's imprisonment unjust.
If Johnson had reservations about the legal technicalities of retroactively unraveling legislation, he could have used this reasoning to defeat the bill in committee or on the floor. Some concerns were legitimate. It certanly would chafe against the bedrock principles of our legislative system to begin forming laws for individuals instead of the whole. But if the law were overly broad, the judicial system could face a nightmare of legal challenges on countless previous convictions.
Sitting on the crux of the choice, Senator Johnson chose a third way.
On February 20, 2007, Senator Johnson rose from his desk to speak on Senator Jones bill. What followed was an excoriation of Wilson and the activities of that long ago New Year's Eve; a rant filled with fabrication and fancy. He painted Wilson as a predator who used a drug filled, alcohol soaked orgy to willifully take advantage of children. He even indicated Wilson had sex with an unconcious minor; an allegation which even the prosecutor disputes. When confronted by a CNN reporter, despite the Wilson jury's acquittal on rape charges, Johnson responded, "It's a rape in my mind".
Eric Johnson certainly faced choices in the last legislative session, arguably none more controversial than Wilson's plight. Instead of choosing the route of quiet leadership, instead of advocacy for legislative restraint, Johnson chose demagoguery.
In the span of one year, Senator Johnson converted from a supporter of justice for those who would suffer Genarlow Wilson's fate to fiery apostle delivering a message of deserved punishment against a boy he now viewed as a monstrous evil waiting to once again be released upon the children of Georgia.
All choices are backed by reason. Of the choices surrounding the Genarlow Wilson affair, we know the reasoning for all except one.
What caused Senator Eric Johnson to appeal to our most base human instincts, the fear of the overpowering sexual monster, in an effort to keep a young man who is no apparent threat to society imprisoned?
It is a question which deserves to be answered.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
A young girl charged them with rape. The police arrested them. A district attorney chose to prosecute them. A grand jury decided to indict them. And a jury convicted them.
Lie. Genarlow Wilson was acquitted of rape. He was convicted on a tragically poorly written statute which painted the jury into a corner. A law so heinous in its injustice it was almost immediately changed by Senator Johnson and the rest of the Georgia General Assembly.
Myths become ingrained in our consciousness because they appeal to some primordial need to interpret reality in ways we can comprehend. For this reason they are incredibly difficult to defeat. But by God as long as there is space to write, the fight against the continued husbanding of this one will continue.
For a more detailed explanation of the laws involved you can read here.
"As the court has no authority to grant an appeal bond in this case, there is no need for an evidentiary hearing on the defendant's eligibility for a bond," Emerson wrote in his three-page order. "The motion for bond is dismissed. "The hearing scheduled for July 5, 2007, is therefore cancelled."
Okay legal eagles, why does the superior court in the original sentencing jurisdiction not have the authority to grant bond? The sad fact is the entire legal profession in Georgia is developing a black eye from the continued use of legal arcana to keep a young man who is clearly no threat to society in jail.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
But given it is, as Dick Williams put it, "the issue that sucks all the oxygen out of the room", I decided to do a little dumpster diving in my archives. So here are some old chestnuts you might enjoy cracking.
Immigration. The Next Welfare Reform?
Illegals Don't Pay Taxes, Right?
Oh, And What About That Wall?
Deport Them! Or Not.
It isn’t amnesty. What it is is a pathway to legalization. We have an immigration system that is broken, that’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for American citizens. We saw the specialist missing in Iraq, Jimenez, from Massachusetts. His wife is being deported. That’s how broken our system is, that those that are on the front line, defending us in the war against terrorism and in Iraq are having their wives deported from the United States of America...Look, it’s a broken system, but I think what we say is, “What are you going to do with the 12 million people?” If you listen to Pat this morning, we have had the most aggressive enforcement in the last 30 years in our interior enforcement, 160,000 people deported this past year. At that rate, it would take us 65 years to rid this nation of all the undocumented workers. It’s not realistic, it’s not humane. It isn’t practical to our national security, or does it secure our economy. The fact is we create, in the United States, this vibrant economy, 400,000 low skill jobs a year, but there’re only 5,000 visas. We eed new workers to keep our economy vibrant and strong.
On yesterday's Georgia Gang, Dick Williams and Phil Kent poo-pooed Stephanie Ramage's assertion that those who would scream "amnesty" are for deportation as a strawman. It certainly had a whiff of hay, but only because the anti-amnesty brigades steadfastly refuse to offer any concrete idea of how they would deal with the 12 million people already here.
We need solutions, not rhetoric and scaremongering. Some people, including President Bush, are attempting to find a way. Others only believe in walls.
VOTE FOR ME! ME! ME!
No back to your regularly scheduled snark.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Police recently tasered a man in the Wal-Mart. Note the address.
A Moultrie man was apprehended Monday afternoon after he was allegedly seen knocking items off shelves at Wal-Mart then was uncooperative with officers...Johnny Lee Collins Jr., 33, of 180 Trailer Park Road, was charged Monday with obstruction and disorderly conduct.
Feel free to hum the banjo tune from "Deliverance" with just a hint of Caribbean backbeat while reading the story.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
"We should be able to put a Democrat in that seat for the first time in four years."
Better to break clean than let things linger. I'm not sure there's any linger left between Jacobs and the DPG.
"I will respond to direct questions with direct answers".
Hey Mike. Nothing against Will, but I am neither a friend nor a constituent, but I'm pretty sure I would give you a fair shake. So how about it? There are still questions unanswered and I've got a list. You game?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
"Frankly, I’m glad we don’t have to apologize for this guy anymore. Mike Jacobs has consistently voted with Republicans to slash children’s health care and protect the predatory lenders that have bankrupted countless Georgia families. He’s never fought for Georgia’s families and we’re glad to see him go."
A succint summary of the Teilhet email. It appears this is a divorce which will never be termed amicable. 2008 in the 80th should be quite a hoot.
Now, Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-40) jumps into the fray.
The following is an unedited copy of an email sent from Teihet to Jacobs.
It is with great interest that I read your blog postthis morning, announcing your decision to become amember of the Republican Party. It is of course, a disappointment.
I am reminded of the time last summer in the days before the primary election when you sought to switch your support from Cathy Cox to Mark Taylor. I remember thinking then, as I find myself thinking again today, of how awful it must be to be someone whose only core value is expediency and whose thoughts are only of the very next political calculation that may advance their self-interest.
I am afraid your statement omitted some important points, so I thought I might remind you so that you can make your constituents aware of them.
You've made no mention of your support for cuts to Georgia's Peachcare for Kids program, which helps provide health insurance coverage to children of working families. Your vote for HB 340 would have allowed thousands of children to be denied health insurance coverage arbitrarily by an unaccountable bureaucrat, and to have their dental and vision coverage removed altogether.
You've also not mentioned your support for this year's ghoulish and predatory payday lending legislation. You voted this year, by supporting HB 163, to allow payday lenders to charge up to 395 percent interest rates and to provide de facto amnesty for those loan sharks that broke the law for the better part of the last century by offering these loans despite the fact that they were clearly illegal under Georgia law.
You also omitted from your message to constituents your support in the Judiciary Committee for several measures that would limit the applicability of the Open Records Act and make public documents more difficult to obtain. Most heinous was your support for requiring open records requests to be made inwriting. You supported this despite uncontested testimony in committee that the bill would have allowed government to require a citizen to identify themselves and state the reason they wanted certain records in writing before having their request for public information processed. Public documents belong to the public, and should be made available without requiring a citizen to be subjected to aggravation or even political retribution for requesting them. Feigning a commitment to open government while you seek to undermine it through your work in the legislature, is one of the oldest and worst parlor tricks in politics. Such duplicity creates fertile ground for the cynicism that makes good public service more difficult.
Further eroding any credentials you may think you have as an advocate for open government and individual liberty has been your unabashed support for Glenn Richardson as Speaker. Mr. Richardson has, each and every year that he has been Speaker, sought to limit public debate in the House by gutting the ability of legislators to offer amendments to bills both on the floor and in committee. Mr. Richardson has also sought to limit the Open Records Act to allow secret government negotiations affecting millions in taxpayer dollars with private business.
Mr. Richardson has also used his power, won with the aid and support of legislators like yourself, to pursue new limits on women's reproductive freedom each year and repeatedly stifled ethics legislation that would eliminate or at least reduce the lavishing of expensive gifts on legislators by registered lobbyists.
Your support for Mr. Richardson as Speaker has also enabled the blockage of any meaningful legislation dealing with transportation and traffic congestion. Your constituents will have plenty of time to contemplate the many faces of Mike Jacobs as they continue to sit in ever worsening traffic without any meaningful plan for relief.
Your message also suggests support for Mr. Richarson's tax plan, which depending on which version you support would increase current sales taxes by more than 25% and levy billions in new sales taxes on needed everyday goods and services such as groceries and doctors visits. Your statement of a belief in fiscal restraint, when combined with your willingness to support a plan to tax everything that moves, raises additional questions about your basic credibility.
One of the things about public service that can be most disheartening is watching the effect that politics can have on individuals who are not anchored in principle. Such individuals become, over time, unmoored and willing to sell anything for the right price.
It is a sad but important reminder to all public officials that you must always remember why you ran for office in the first place, and stay connected to values larger than your own gratification and self-interest.
I am requesting a return of my past contributions to your campaign efforts, which were funded overwhelmingly by Democrats who hoped for the best from you. They got something less, and we all deserve a refund.
I look forward to your unvarnished answer and direct response to my refund request.
Strong words. But I would advise Rep. Teilhet to not expect answers any time soon. Mr. Jacobs has not returned my queries regarding the timing of his announcement. Despite an attempt to splash all over the potential good news for Democrats in the 10th race with his very public switch, Mr. Jacobs has suddenly gone very quiet.
From the Moultrie Observer.
A Moultrie police officer on patrol at 9:08 Saturday saw a man, later identified as Xxxxxxxxxx, allegedly driving a Snapper lawn mower on North Main Street. The officer spotted a possible alcoholic beverage in the driver’s hand, so he pulled the tractor over, police reports said.
I'm still in Atlanta.
The only given reason for pulling the suspect over was spotting him with an alcoholic beverage in his hand, not because he was driving a lawn mower down main street.
Monday, June 18, 2007
A bar on the rise is temporarily out of business after a fire damaged the building Monday, possibly because an opossum chewed on electrical wires, the bar's owner said.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Guess which one Andrew Keen, author of "The Cult of the Amatuer: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture", is. Listen to his NPR interview here.
I am trying to not wander too far down this rabbit hole of new media vs. old media, but I think Jim Thompson's piece is going to cause much discussion over the next week.
Thanks Ray for pointing me to this link.
Without piling onto SevenHillsDem, I do find it interesting when a MSM outlet steps into the online fray, they almost always choose to pick on what they believe to be the most egregious problem with the whole blogosphere; anonymity and handles. Conveniently, they ignore not only the 15 year internet convention of "handles" but also all the people who do attach their actual name to their work. Wouldn't you? I mean why acknowledge all the good when you can find a few loons to continue the myth that we are all sitting in our parents basements pecking away by the light of the monitor, spewing forth every wild accusation which comes into our Red Bull addled minds?
So you can probably guess what comes right at the very end.
That's the way we do things in the ol' MSM (again for the uninitiated, that's mainstream media, bane of the blogosphere). We use our real names, too. It's called accountability.
Ah yes. We are all just nitwits hiding behind a shield of anonymonity to lob bombs. They are the righteous guardians of democracy and freedom.
Mr. Thompson, yes, it is a horrid pain in the butt that you are not only required to have your name but also your lovely picture accompany your writing. Much easier for little old me to hide behind sunglasses and a "fake name". I wave the white flag, sir. Your searing logic has conquered what has never been conquered before. Let me be the first in the blogosphere to admit the MSM got me. It's a wonder I could hide behind such delusion for so long.
Sincerely with internet handle love,
P.S. As much as I also love Safe As Houses, Jmac ain't a real name either. Hugs and kisses.
UPDATE: The aforementioned Jmac's take on things. I have to say we are pretty much in agreeance on things. So much blog love! It must be because it's Sunday. Tomorrow the knives will probably be back out.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
A non-political topic, but then again maybe if it were applied to politics the deal would be less loathsome.
If a person tells you once you are being rude, it is perfectly acceptable to pass it off as differing sensibilities. If they tell you twice, I would expect you to begin questioning your actions. If they tell you repeatedly for weeks on end, either you are dealing with a maniac or your lack of adjustment in your behavior has moved you into the arena of the asshats.
I will tell you from experience that 99% of human beings are not maniacs. A good clue a person is not a maniac is if eventually they just walk away. Leaving you with your pride of "showing them", when really all you showed is you are more comfortable in the company of the asshats.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Currently, I'm listening to Erick Erickson discuss immigration and Fred Thompson.
Next will be Democratic Party Chair Jane Kidd.
Check out Wilson's archives from May and June to pick your poision. It's quite a buffet.
UPDATE: Ummmmm Jane? Vernon is CEO of Dekalb not Fulton. Not that we Dekalbites really like to point that out too much.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(g) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused
The following is an exchange regarding the Genarlow Wilson sex tape which took place between myself and Sen. Eric Johnson at Peach Pundit on May 4th:
griftdrift // Mar 4, 2007 at 9:28 am
I’m not sure Senator Johnson. As far as I know the CNN reporter viewed it in the prosecutors office. On b I was unclear. I meant how did you obtain a copy.
Senator Eric Johnson// Mar 4,
2007 at 10:12 am
It was hand delivered to me by the DA.
Now, this is certainly not a cut and dry ethics violation, but it once again begs a question. Why was a D.A. giving evidence to a state legislator who would almost certainly participate in debate on amending a law which would affect one of said D.A.'s high profile convictions?
Monday, June 11, 2007
What the story does not say is that both girls were drugged and the 17 old was unconscious. I can not believe that all of you are being fooled into believing this is an innocent little prom date that went a little to far.
UPDATE: Live press conference. Everyone is very emotional at the press conference. Wilson's attorney is begging Attorney General Baker to not file an appeal. If an appeal is filed Wilson stays in jail.
Apparently the judge's ruling is based partly on what happened with Marcus Dixon. There are two state legislators at the press conference. One is Emanuel Jones. I don't recognize the other one.
Wilson's mother: "I feel like a miracle happened"
From the ruling, "the petitioner's previous sentence is void." It also states he is sentenced to time served. This is a habeas petition so this is just about getting him out, the conviction will still stand so it appears he will continue to be on the sex offenders list.
More from the ruling, it seems the judge may have ruled the sentence should have been approached as a misdemeanor. Under misdemeanor law, Wilson would not have had to register. So it's still unclear if he will remain registered.
UPDATE II: The AJC now reports the judge did amend the conviction to a misdemeanor. This means Wilson will not have to remain registered as a sex offender.
UPDATE III: Defense press conference ongoing. Georgia Attorney General is filing an appeal. This probably means Wilson will remain incarcerated. But they are going to ask for bond. Wilson attorney B.J. Bernstein: "It's extremely, extremely disturbing that the Attorney General would take this action now".
UPDATE IV: Attorney General Baker responds here. He may have a point. Earlier I wondered if a judge in a habeas petition had the power to reduce a sentence. It appears Baker is arguing he does not. Also, Channel 5 earlier reported the new plea deal Baker mentions. If all the factors are true with the plea deal, maybe it's time to consider that route.
Previous entries on Genarlow Wilson:
Senator Johnson Steps In The Poo-Poo
Genarlow Wilson: The Spin Continues
Sen. Johnson On Boortz
Be Very Careful Sen. Johnson
Genarlow Wilson Amendment
The Lifeline Of Hope
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Georgia is Switzerland. I like the comparison. Switzerland is pretty. Also interesting to note on this scale Georgia is the 9th largest state.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Without calling anyone out, there was an audience member at last night's Atlanta Press Club event who continued to question if anything in the new media constitutes journalism.
So let's look at a real life example.
Which of the following are examples of journalism?
A. A 15 second cut-in twice an hour on news radio.
If you selected A or B exclusively, please feel free to explain why.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The next session of the General Assembly may well see the eye of the storm called “water wars.” At least that was an indication at a legislative breakfast in Moultrie Wednesday.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Two new ones to follow.
The Macon Telegraph Travis Fain's Lucid Idiocy.
The Athens Banner-Herald Blake Aued's In The Loop.
Looking good boys! Just one quibble. Blake? Get the tech folk to fix your feed. No feed = no love in blogland.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Dick, once I actually read one of Ms. Murray's pieces where she reviewed, pull out the fainting couch, country.
And if this brief foray into the bizarre wasn't bad enough. Fellow conservative bobblehead, Phil Kent pipes in to say,
Some say she can't write.
It never fails to amuse me how the white boys always turn to Jeff and Alexis any time they want to talk about African American culture. As if they need validation from someone who is a member of the club.
But as far as Phil Kent? I suppose after sitting next to him on occasion at Manuels I could use this opportunity to report some say he can't tip.
But I'm just not in Kent's class.