Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Stupids

An abbreviated version today as there is business to attend to this evening.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Last Radio Show Ever

Sometimes a man knows when it's time to stop cuttin bait and even stop fishin.

Please join us for the Last Radio Show Ever!

One more Friday night with the boys!

Tonight from 8-11 on Carp Circles Radio!

I've already told Moe it's no holds barred so get there early because late might be too late. Definitely tune in early for the pre-show and don't fear to stay late for the possible after show dance party!

Live web cam on Yahoo Messenger on username griftdrift.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Once when I lay whining, my friend told me it was all about choices. I continued to whine about the unfairness of it all and he simply responded I was still making a choice. Even if it was one I considered unpleasant.

On January 31, 2004, Genarlow Wilson chose to enter a hotel room filled with teenage friends, alcohol and possibly drugs. What followed could have been just another mythical teenage party, details relayed in whispers and giggles as the high school students continued towards graduation and life afterwards. But in this modern age of fascination with capturing every moment of life, they brought along a video camera.

If not for the camera sitting in the corner of the room, the entire sordid scene possibly would have been written off as another episode of teenage extravagance and experimentation. Foolish but hardly criminal.

However, forever etched in video were the acts of that night including a 15 year old girl performing oral sex on a line of young men; a procession which included 17 year old Genarlow Wilson.

Georgia Code at the time of the act stated aggravated child molestation included sodomy, i.e. oral touching, with any person under the age of 16. Court transcripts reveal the Wilson jury struggled with the restrictive law but in the end were compelled to convict on the charge. Unknown to the jury and most of the public, due to mandatory sentencing, Wilson would be sent to jail for 10 years.

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.

Hometown News

We need to expand The Blotter.
A man who was found sleeping at the end of a movie in the Moultrie Stadium Cinemas asked to see the parts of the movie he missed. ~The Moultrie Observer

Well, why wouldn't he?

The Usual Blather

Dana Blankenhorn's latest link screed on Georgia.

At this point I honestly don't know whether to be complimented or insulted. Maybe both?

Maybe this will make more sense in the morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Since Genarlow Wilson is back in the news today I thought I would refresh some memories on a particularly grotesque political aspect of the case. I recently received an email referencing a previous Op-Ed piece written by Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson. In the screed, Johnson states the following:
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.

Genarlow Wilson Bail Hearing Denied

A Douglas Superior Court Judge has cancelled the bail hearing for Genarlow Wilson.
"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

Internet Radio Day Of Silence

As a young man I had dreams of owning a radio station. My fondest desire was to sit behind the microphone late in the evening playing whatever I fancied. Forget program directors. Forget the pressure of format. If I wanted to play the entire "Tales From Topographic Oceans" by God I would.

On January 23, 2001, a small part of that dream came true. Technology finally progressed to where boyhood dreams were available at the touch of an FTP client.

In 2003, the rest of my dream was realized when I began broadcasting live. Along with my partner in crime Hollywood, Carp Circles Live was born.

For over six years my little corner of the radio universe played an eclectic mix of rock, country, hip-hop and soul non-stop 24 hours a day. The music never stopped.

Until now.

Since the beginning, the record labels in conjunction with big corporate radio such as Clear Channel fought hard against the new competition. Now they have wielded the mighty power of mammon to convince the Copyright Royalty Board to pass royalty rates which would force internet radio stations to pay royalties far beyond those which have applied to "regular radio" for generations.

The change will go into effect on July 15 and will be retroactive to January 1st. Unless action is taken, it will doom practically all internet radio.

So if you are non-VIP listener and tune into my little joint today you will hear PSAs and testimonials from other broadcasters. The music will return tomorrow. As for how long the music will continue to play? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The following is the letter I just sent to Representative Hank Johnson. Please feel free to use it as a template as you contact your own representatives.

Rep. Johnson, thank you for your time.

I am resident of the 4th and I am also an internet radio broadcaster. You may not be aware of the issue but the Copyright Royalty Board has enacted new regulations regarding internet radio. On July 15th, a royalty increase of 300% on all internet broadcast will take effect. The new rates will be retroactive to January 1, 2007 and will devestate all internet radio.

Rep. Johnson, we the internet radio community are not asking for special treatment but simply a level playing field. Large corporate radio broadcasters have used their influence to protect a monopoly they have enjoyed for generations. Any assistance you can provide on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

For more information please see

And once again thank you for your time.


Oconee Goat Rodeo

Just when you think the Democrats are the dysfunctional children and the Republicans are the good little children all lined up in the church pew along comes the Oconee County Republican Party.

Yesterday JMac reports that for reasons unknown the Oconee Repubs are endorsing Jim Whitehead over Paul Broun in the July 17th runoff. Not odd if you are a betting man and want to lay some skin on the serious favorite. Very odd if you note Oconee County carried water to the tune of 50% for Broun in the special election.

I blame the heat. There is much weirdness in the air, bubba. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More On Immigration

I was immigration before immigration was cool. I guess I am just a little full of myself today.

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.

Gutierrez On Immigration

I'm starting to get a little tired of the immigration debate. It is rapidly becoming the purview of demagogues and cause junkies. Instead of firing off another metaphor laced screed, I'm going to take the lazy bloggy way out and refer instead to what has already been said. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) on yesterday's Meet The Press eloquently summed up my own beliefs on this topic.
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.

Me! Me! Me!

I'm not much for self-promotion. A fault which at times leads me to roll pennies for beer money. But Creative Loafing is taking votes for its annual Best Of issue. So what the hell.


No back to your regularly scheduled snark.

10th District Wrap Up

Some final thoughts on the recent 10 district special election.

Three yards and a cloud of dust is not the most exciting offense, but it did allow the Sooner teams of the 80s to regularly beat opponents by 70 points.

Much was made of the Democrats not mustering 30% and Paul Broun's "surprise" second place finish. Meta issues such as immigration and Iraq were thrown around like garments at a swingers convention. All the while, the bobbleheads mostly ignored the historical trend that voters are hard-wired to vote for those they know.

It's how you win a county commission race. It's how you win a mayor's race. Heck, it's how you get elected dog catcher if that mythical position still exist in some Thorton Wilder bubble of reality. In other words, it was always about the ground game.

On reflection, it's pretty easy to understand how Whitehead beat his closest opponent by 25 points. Of course, he was always the prohibitive favorite but while the bobbleheads talked about the impact of of Charlie Norwood's widow's endorsement, most ignored the fact that she also gave him the keys to the machine. A machine which Rep. Norwood solidified and added to through six congressional terms. In 2006, despite the ugly electoral mood of "throw all the bastards out", Norwood won the 10th by 36 points.

Broun on the other hand seemed to have everything against him. He's not the best speaker in the world. He has a history of losing elections and nobody likes a loser. Most importantly, he faced oppposition from a well financed Democrat (Marlow) and an Iraq war veteran with an endorsement from the Athens Banner-Herald (Pulliam). So how did he do it?

His daddy. But not how you probably think. Many in the pundit class like to snicker and insinuate the voters confused Broun, Jr. with his daddy Broun, Sr., one of the most powerful Democratic State Senators of all time. But that's the easy way out and not at all fair to the voters of such Broun strongholds as Oconee County. Sure, they knew his daddy and that means a lot. But it also means that Paul Broun, Jr. already had home field advantage in an important swing area. Why would people walk the hot streets of Watkinsville for a stranger when a familiar face stood right before them?

So all is right in the world. Republicans pulled 70% in a 70% Republican district. Old school politics and old school names still matter. Most of us, yours truly included, tended to focus on issues too large while ignoring the fact voters tend to not care what we think. And Dan Marino never did find a ground game and the Dolphins never won a Super Bowl in the 80s.

A post script. It would be easy to attack Jane Kidd and the new regime in the DPG for another disastrous loss, but it's too early for that. The new team is still getting its feet wet and lord knows the poor things were hampered by their own bylaws which prevented supporting a single candidate over other Democrats. Bless their hearts, those Dems truly do believe in loving all.

So, when the Republican bobbleheads start gloating about Democrats still being out of touch and Democrat bobbleheads start demanding change (again), take time to pause and remember only time will tell if Jane Kidd is Moses leading the children out of the desert or Pizarro leading would be conquerers deeper into the fetid swamps of the Amazon seeking mythical cities of gold.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Headin South

There ain't much going on up here now that Jacobs has shown his true colors and the Democrats got spanked again. Besides, there's land matters to attend to at the old homestead.

Of course this means I will have to drive through what I now refer to as the Steve Davis Memorial Abomination aka the Hudson Bridge interchange. It's a wonder of happiness to residents of Henry County. For this rest of us on I-75? Doom and apocalypse.

I'm considering starting driving tours through the infernal labryinth for the pave over everything crowd.

More Hometown News

I promise my hometown really isn't so weird. Okay, it's a small southern town, so it is pretty weird.

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.

Happy Belated Blogiversary

Happy belated blogiversary to State of Sunshine.

I've been buried in Georgia politics lately but it's still a daily read. Bang up job guys!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quote Of The Day: Jacobs Edition

Democratic Party of Georgia Communications Director Martin Matheny on challenging newly minted Republican Mike Jacobs in the house 80th:
"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.

Will Hinton Interviews Mike Jacobs

You can download it here.
"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

DPG Responds To Jacobs Switch

From Democratic Party of Georgia Communications Director Martin Matheny:
"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.

Democrats Begin To Respond To The Jacobs Switch

The activists blogs are already chumming the waters.

Now, Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-40) jumps into the fray.

The following is an unedited copy of an email sent from Teihet to Jacobs.


Dear Mike,

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.

Good luck.


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.

Jacobs Switches

Despite yesterday's bizarre leaked press conference notice, Mike Jacobs decided to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag on his own blog.

Will Hinton has the details.

Hometown News

A pause before the storm.

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.

Two things.

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

Let The Games Begin!

Political Insider is reporting Mike Jacobs, (D-80), is switching to the Repubs.

My previous thoughts on Jacobs here.

The "betrayed" are already sharpening their knives.

Who says summer is a slow news season?

Possum Burns Down Bar

Despite the coincidental factors of possums, Florida and the apparent handiwork of God, Katherine Harris not involved.
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.
Actually, I just wanted to post the possum picture again. A summer without Katherine is just like a fair without cotton candy. Sigh.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bangs Head Against Wall

There are those who get it and those who don't. And then there are those who bring up images of Custer.

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.

Athens Banner Herald Picks On A Commenter

Athens Banner Herald Editorial Page Editor Jim Thompson devotes an entire column to calling out a commenter at Peach Pundit.

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.

Or not.

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.

h/t: Erick

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

Saturday Stupids

Goin to the chapel
and we're gonna get stupid

Friday, June 15, 2007

Telling You Twice

"Don't make me tell you twice" ~griftdrift's mother

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

Catching Up With Wilson

I've fallen woefully behind on listening to my downloaded Wilson Smith interviews.

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.

Songs In My Head

Willie and Norah sing Waylon

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Carp Circles Press Release: That Damned Gator!


As one half of the unofficial/official ITP redneck duo known at times as Carp Circles, I feel the need to issue a statement regarding a certain beast known to have taken residence in the 'Hooch.

As CEO/Head Cheese/Grand Poobah of Griftdrift Enterprises and COO/Web Monkey/Taxi Operator of Carp Circles Inc, I wish to issue the firmest non-denail/denial possible regarding a certain feral swamp lizard which is now inhabiting our beloved Chattahoochee River.

We ain't did it!

Despite our prediliction to float down said river, occasionally do things stupid, associate with fanciful creatures and generally display our need to show off, it is a well known fact I am a member of a tribe of vicious gator killers.

Given our well known need to brag, it is obvious our lateness to this hoo-haa displays none of the usual signs of redneck high and mightyness.

Despite our claim of having no knowledge of the origin of this animal, we would like to show ourselves good citizens of this fair city. Due to our expert handling of drink and high powered rifles, we offer ourselves for whatever duty Mayor Franklin may require. We will even provide the necessary firearms, rafts and coolers.

No matter who is responsible for this menace, and once again we ain't saying we is, it must be eliminated toot sweet! Clean up the 'Hooch so city 'necks can get back on the hooch!

For further information please contact

Photo courtesy of WSB-TV

What Number Will He Drive?

For you uneducated out there, the car owner not the driver controls the numbers. So will DEI allow Junior to take 8 with him? Doubtful. So what will he drive. Probably the 5. And before you absolutely lose your mind, it's happened before. Once upon a time his dad drove the 2.

Norton Dies

The second of the original Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium has died.

Um, it's rare I side with the Animal Rights loonies but maybe they do have a point about keeping whale sharks in captivity?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

10th District Debate: Feeding The Chickens

No gaffes. No bombshells. No Whitehead.

With the 10th District campaign drawing to a close, candidates at the Atlanta Press Club's debate resolutely stayed on message and some stayed on the noticeably absent front-runner.

As he has in previous debates, assumed front runner Jim Whitehead (R) chose not to attend. Based on its policy the Atlanta Press Club provided an empty podium representing the missing State Senator. A gesture noticeably more reserved than the alledged bobblehead which took Whitehead's place at the Athens Banner Herald debate.

Whitehead's perceived prime competition, James Marlow (D) and Bill Greene (R), shot straight for the empty spot on stage with Greene asking but receiving no answer to the question of why Whitehead would attend no debates. After a few titters from the audience, moderator Nwandi Lawson of the GPB, clarified the debate would not spend the mandated response time in silence.

Marlow's question to the absent Whitehead was a bit more pointed. Referring to the infamous Whitehead quote on the Iraq War not being "a big deal in the district", Mr. Marlow noted the Republican candidate was as silent as always on the issue.

Interestingly, three of the first four Republicans to participate in the direct question segment addressed their questions directly to Marlow. Marlow in perhaps an acknowledgment of the recognition as a legitimate contender responded he was "glad to be getting all the questions tonight". Greene, although he was also one of the first Republicans to speak chose to address the non-existent Whitehead instead of the Democratic front runner.

The other candidates made for an interesting sideshow with talk of Iraq, immigration and the proposed I-3, and recently Athens Banner Herald endorsed candidate did take several opportunities to point out his military service, but in the end, two candidates acted like front runners. Only the polls on June 19th will tell if on this day they led the pack or were just as non-existent as Whitehead.

You can watch the debate tonight at 7:00pm on your local GPB station.

Also Jim Galloway, who sat two rows in front of me, has posted his impressions on Political Insider. He caught some pretty cool stuff that I didn't.

For the straight dope on who was in the chicken suit, go here. First time I've ever asked a chicken to comment on the record.

Atlanta Press Club: 10th District Debate

I'm headed to the taping of the Atlanta Press Club's 10th district debate. It will be broadcast tonight at 7:00pm on your local Georgia Public Broadcasting station.

Look for my personal report later.

Were Ethics Violated In The Genarlow Wilson Case?

The Rules of the Georga Bar regarding the Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor state the following:

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

Sex, Lies and Videotape

They are at it again.

Of all the controversy embroiling the Genarlow Wilson conviction, the one undeniable fact is without the videotape there would have never been a case. The young party-goers videotaped their indiscretions and it is on this tape Genarlow Wilson is found receiving oral sex from a 15 year old girl.

The only time the public has been given any indication of the contents of the tape was during a screening for CNN in the Douglas County District Attorney's office. However, Senator Eric Johnson has admitted on the Neal Boortz show that he has seen the tape. It was this viewing of the tape that sent Sen. Johnson on his falsehood littered tirade on the floor of the General Assembly.

Since that time, I have heard about a half a dozen different versions of "if you saw the tape you would think differently".

Today's reduction of Wilson's sentence by a Monroe County Judge has caused Rep. Steve Davis to use the comments section of Jason Pye's blog to revive the old yarn.

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.
Instead of going over step by step once again on how everything being said is false, I want to ask a different question.

Just how many of you out there have seen this tape? I want a show of hands of the people who have watched a tape of teens having sex. Which leads to a second question. Just how does a teen sex tape so quickly fly through a particular political segment like some kind of underground porn?

I'm very curious. I'm sure I'm not the only one. So why don't some of you brave souls who want to continue to make the "you've got to see the tape argument" step forward and answer?

UPDATE: And Senator Johnson steps back into the fray. He actually has the gall to act like Republican action over the last year has somehow been heroic.

This has turned into one of those skin crawling moments I mentioned once.

New Media Covers Democrats Rally For The People

"2007 will be the year of new media in Georgia" ~griftdrift to a companion last fall.

Georgia Democrats had by all accounts a successful rally in Gainesville on Sunday.

Since I wasn't there to report it, I'll let those who were speak instead.

Grayson streamed the entire event live on ustream. You can watch the archived video here.

Ataru of Blog For Democracy live blogged the event here.

Nope. No journalism to be found here. Feel free to scurry back to your rat holes.

Genarlow Wilson Released

CNN just reported the judge in Monroe County has ordered Genarlow Wilson released. Details to come.

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

An interesting map over at Strange Maps. It labels the states as a country with a similar GDP.

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

Saturday Stupids

Y'all come!

Meet The DPG: Executive Director Matt Weyandt

"So, is the 10th the priority?"

It was an unexpected question from an unexpected source. Newly hired Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Weyandt had just spent the previous five minutes sitting at a table in Manuel's Tavern providing his background to local activists. It is doubtful he anticipated this whiplash query from a local blogger. It is interesting to note his first reaction was complete honesty.

"I'm really not up to speed yet. I don't officially start the job until Monday", Weyandt replied, but then quickly pirouetted into political operative mode, "But obviously the 10th is a priority and we are very optimistic."

If recently elected Chair Jane Kidd is the face of the Democratic Party of Georgia, Weyandt will be the legs. His charge is to rebuild the infrastructure of a party which despite the national changing of the tides last November was thorougly whitewashed in its own state.

Despite his youth, only 28, Weyandt brings a wealth of political experience to the position. A native Georgian, graduate of Grady High School and Emory University, he cut his teeth on Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin's first campaign then joining her staff after graduating from college. In 2003, Weyandt ventured to California to work the hotly contested San Francisco mayoral race between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Green Party Candidate Matt Gonzalez. In the race, Newsom narrowly defeated Gonzalez only after a rare interceding by the national party in a local race.

Following this defeat and a vacation in Europe, Weyandt returned to Georgia and assisted in building Jim Martin's 2006 campaign for Lieutenant Governor from the ground up. Starting in Martin's basement, Weyandt and others created a state-wide campaign which raised nearly $3 million and despite defeat garnered more votes than top of the ticket candidate Mark Taylor.

Weyandt will be sorely tested straight out of the gate. The first Rubicon to cross for the new regime in the DPG headquarters is the special election on June 19th. Although the party bylaws prevent the state party from endorsing a particular candidate, Democrat James Marlow is perceived to be running a successful insurgent campaign in the overwhelmingly conservative 10th district. DPG Communications Director Martin Matheny indicates canvassing and phone banking shows a surprising interest among likely Democrat voters. Conventional wisdom is if Marlow can force a runoff, national attention will focus squarely on northeast Georgia and then it is "katie bar the door".

Weyandt understands the difficulties he faces in Georgia stating he doesn't think "every Democrat has to have the same beliefs, but they have to be Democrats". But he believes the old party can be resurrected to former glory and optimistically sees an "opportunity for change".


Sometimes, you just gotta fling.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Meeting The DPG ED

I'm headed to Manuels for a meet and greet with new Democratic Party Of Georgia Executive Director Matt Weyandt. Interesting the choice of time was at 4:00pm on a workday. Do they think new media folks don't have jobs? But that's really just picking at a slight nit.

Mr. Weyandt faces arguably the most critical year in the history of the DPG and it will be very interesting to hear his views on new media. Tune back in later for a full report.

A Question For The Traditional Journalists

I answered a few. Now it's your turn. This is the whole audience talking back to you thing.

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.

B. This.

C. Both

If you selected A or B exclusively, please feel free to explain why.

A Blogger Answers A Few Questions

At tonight's Atlanta Press Club event, many questions were asked and due to the format some I feel remained unanswered. I'm not being critical of the format because it was excellent. But as Grayson told me later, we could have been there for hours if the parking garage had not closed at 9:00.

So, I think I will take some time to answer a few of those questions. These are my personal answers and in no way apply to others. I feel certain some will come along to agree with some things and disagree with some things. But that interaction is what we want and expect so have at it.

So, my fellow bloggers? Please pardon my meta.

Why do you blog?

I think this is the issue which puzzles most in the traditional media. For most in print and TV, I'm sure it is a labor of love but as Annie Savoy in Bull Durham pontificates, it's also a job. For me it is not a job, although I wouldn't object to it being a job.

I blog for three reasons: a passion for writing, awareness of the world and interaction with other viewpoints. I've always written but blogging allows me to pour forth whatever enters my mind. Writing daily also develops discipline. The format allows what any writer craves; instant feedback. As a political commentator, I also hear different viewpoints and have on occasion had my mind completely changed.

How do you make money?

Well, unless your name is Erick Erickson or Kos, you probably don't. It doesn't mean you won't eventually. But despite the technology existing for almost ten years, this is still a relatively new field. People will find a way to make money. I have always believed if you provide compelling content you will attract readers/viewers and the money will follow. But I do not do this for money. I do it because I love to write.

Not that I'm against making money. If anyone wants to sling a little cash this way, please contact me. Toot sweet!

Who is your editor?

In the day to day operations I am. I decide what I want to write about and what angle I will take. I wouldn't mind having a copy editor though. I hate proofreading and see it as a necessary evil.

But the better answer is you are. A blogger's editor is the blog's community and the larger blogosphere. If you get something wrong, you will hear the screams of indignation immediately. It's a self correcting system. The days of someone presenting utter lies and fabrication are mostly in the past. In plain language, if we screw up, there are hundreds of other predators in the internet sea who will gleefully rend at our flesh.

A lot of people talk about credibility. Well, let me tell you, publish one false story and see just how fast credibility that took months and years to build flies out the window.

Is citizen journalism possible?

Yes. But like most anything, it is easy to do but very difficult to do well. Journalism is a craft and those trained in the craft must do it well every single time. Bloggers, excluding journalist bloggers of course, are not usually trained in that craft. But that does not mean they cannot report compelling content and report it well.

I'm not saying it's common. It's actually pretty rare. But when it does happen, it's a sight to see. And despite the beliefs of some, it is not always just "eyewitnessing".

Look, I'm not a journalist. I'm just a monkey with a typewriter. But if those who would poo-poo the idea that an ordinary joe cannot report an event with accuracy will pardon a little personal chest thumping, I challenge you to browse this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Oh and this one might really knot your knickers.

Enough personal chest thumping. There is other original reporting out there. It ain't hard to find if you are willing to look.

End meta.

That's about all I got for the moment. I hope it clears up a few things about my perspective. No matter. The comment section is open so let the free for all begin.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Facing The Beast

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. ~Hunter S. Thompson

"Did you guys sit up here so you can throw things", I quipped to Amani, Amber and Rusty who sat on the front row of the Brown Room in the Commerce Club.

By nature, bloggers are a rough and tumble bunch. We are not insulated by brick, mortar, cubicle walls and layers and layers of editors and legal teams. Every day, we throw our stuff out to the world and expect to get some thrown back. Living in the harsh evolutionary world of online communities, we also instinctually give back as good as we get.

So, of course we sat on the front row.

We had gathered for the Atlanta Press Club's discussion on "New Media: The Changing Landscape". The panel consisted of Mark Bauer of WSB-TV, Lea Donosky of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Lila King of CNN Interactive and John Patton of ThePort network. Given this particular make-up, I placed the over-under of those sitting behind name cards understanding our world at 1. I really do not like losing. Good thing there wasn't a bookie around because I would have lost a bundle.

It didn't take long for the fireworks to start. The second question of the evening questioned the credibility of blogs. A hilarious sidenote. I discovered later the person who posed the question was not even a member of the press. According to friend standing nearby, she was a woman who just wandered in off the street because she was bored.

But no matter the source, there it was. The dreaded "c" word. The discussion became heated at times with such phrases as "gatekeepers" and "guardians of democracy" tossed around like poor hapless cows caught in a tornado. At one point, a person even painted bloggers as "entertainment". Hadn't heard that one before.

Then something interesting happened. The panelists interceded. Mark Bauer told a story of working at CNN in the early days when the network was not even allowed in the pool at the White House. Lea Donosky pointed out the first "citizen journalist" in this country was Thomas Paine. She even called out her fellow press members, including some of her co-workers, on certain pre-conceived notions.

It was difficult to say if minds were changed. Certainly, some of the stalwart defenders of the old ways were not swayed. It was hard to not be frustrated when someone who claims to be a "guardian of the truth" continued to repeat urban myths about the quality of new media. But, if the panel and the people who approached us afterward were evidence, the voices of disbelief and wariness continue to fall by the wayside.

And the conversation will continue. We in the new media will continue to challenge those in the traditional media. We will continue to agitate. We will continue to defend. We will continue to demonstrate we are more than entertainment. And we won't be hard to find.

We will most likely be the ones sitting on the front row.

You can hear a podcast of the panel discssion here.

Into The Belly Of The Beast

Tonight I will be attending the Atlanta Press Club "New Media Discussion".

I fear it will be similar to the hotel bar scene in "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas".

Look here tomorrow for a full report.

A Headline That Caught My Attention

A headline at Georgia Political Digest caught my attention this morning.

If that isn't in my wheelhouse I don't know what is.

Dwain Walden of The Moultrie Observer is one of the great unrecognized writers in Georgia. He should get more attention and it's about time I gave him a little credit.

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.
If you read the rest of the article, you will witness much wailing and gnashing of teeth by many South Georgia legislators, including Sen. Jim Bulloch of Ochlocknee. Of course, Senator Jim and the rest barely muttered a peep when Sen. Tommie Williams of Lyons struck Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Sally Bethea from the DNR board.

Enviromentalist wackos. Anti-capitalist socialists. Yeah, it's fun to sling mud.

Until there's no water left to run the pivot in Coolidge because certain jackasses do not have the vision to see beyond their two year terms to understand when Atlanta runs out of water because the 'Hooch is filled with crap, Alabama and Florida are suing our asses over water rights and the last damned developer in the state can no longer find a runoff ditch that big brother to the north with millions of people might come calling.

Let me hit a few of you right in the face with the clue frying pan. Instead of whining about how metro Atlanta has all the votes, how about South Georgia showing a little common sense and leadership.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Olympic Vomit

And you thought that guy was bad?

Perhaps, we can finally put our decade long citywide/international nightmare behind us.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jim Maddox Is On My List

Atlanta City Councilman Jim Maddox has proposed a new city ordinance to allow organizers of any event to corral those with opposing views in "Free Speech Zones".

Why do well intentioned people not understand the First Amendment? What in their little do-gooder brains prevents them from comprehending two simple things?

1, Speech, like water or air, finds a way to be free. No doubt, there are already activists out there looking this thing over for loopholes and ways to dance a thousand angels on a pinhead.

2. The Supreme Court has pretty steadfastly supported the concept that speech is only restricted when there is "imminent danger". Not imagined danger.

Mr. Maddox, I don't believe your are one fo the usual nuts who argue free speech should be limited. But I do believe you are a fine example of the road to hell.

Two New Journalist Blogs

Journalist blogs are popping up like mushrooms after a good rain!

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

Phil Kent Lets Loose A Stinker

For some reason this morning, Dick Williams, host of the Georgia Gang, chose to harp on Sonia Murray's recent review of R. Kelly's new CD. He then went on to say how he is amazed the AJC "has a critic dedicated solely to "rap"". Alexis Scott and Jeff Dickerson tried to unaddle Dick's mind by pointing out Sonia reviews way more than rap. Let me try to help the doddering old fool a little more.

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.

Playing In The Dirt

There's nothing quite like watching a grown man play in the dirt.

h/t: Jason

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Saturday Stupids

Due to the Highlands Fest, today's meeting will held inside.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Dodging Feces

Oh to hell with this whole internet fruforal. I'm shootin the Hooch.

Griftdrift Is Goin' On

My May 30th interview with Wilson Smith host of What Is Goin' On is now up. You can download it HERE.

We discuss the 10th district, the 2008 Senate race and immigration.

Take a listen!