Friday, August 31, 2007
In a letter sent Thursday to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, Chris Adams said the council should "tell the truth" to the courts about the lack of resources and halt all capital proceedings until there are enough resources for the office's lawyers to do their jobs.
And before some right wing screed master starts chirping about throwing away good money on bad people, we should all take another look at the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Don't like it? Too bad. It's the law.
For those with an insatiable curiousity for case law, you may also want to check out Powell v. Alabama and Hamilton v Alabama. Both cases in Alabama. Hmmmmm. Wonder why.
“Let’s just shoot it, and if they want it, I’m sure they’ll pay us for it. If not, let’s put it on YouTube,” Mario said.I think all us new media types just found our rallying cry.
Mario also just stepped in the blog world. Drop by and give him a shout.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Huffington Post has acquired the services of Spacey Gracey (with assistance from the Shelbinator) to produce videos which gather local perspective on the '08 election for their new Off The Bus section.
For her first piece, Grayson chose Manuels Tavern and its usual gaggle of left leaning political hipsters. Although I don't consider myself a "liberal" or a "progressive"(and there were probably a couple of newspapermen there that would also object to that tag), I tagged along because there would be beer and opportunities to pick on Tom Houck. The question of the day was how would Sen. Hillary Clinton play in Georgia.
For the record, my full quote was 'She's an unusual candidate for the fact that at this point usually most people are undecided where Hillary has very high positives and very high negatives but very few people undecided. But there's far more positive than negative at this point even in the south. So I think she's gonna play just fine."
To put it more bluntly, despite appearances, I ain't no Hillary fan. But I do think she will beat expectations in Georgia.
Tucker has no objection to the bill on its merits. She actually agrees with me that Grady should be run by a nonpolitical, nonprofit board. Her objection to my interest in Grady is the fact I am white, male, conservative and Republican.
Are we really going to continue to play out the same passion plays we've seen for the past couple of generations?
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
AJC Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker pulls few punches in her column this morning.
If conservative white politicians insist on issuing threats or engaging in racially charged innuendo, black members of the governing authority will only grow more defensive. The negotiations will further bog down in racial gamesmanship and name-calling, delaying the changes that must be made at Grady and guaranteeing the hospital's demise.
Ms. Tucker is writing in reference to a proposal by Sen. David Shafer to have the state intervene in the Grady situation.
It's not as if Shafer really has Grady's best interests at heart. He has made it clear that he's not pushing for more state funding for the hospital. Instead, he's just using it to endear him to his conservative white constituents, many of whom believe Grady is just an icon of the discredited "welfare state," a drain on the resources of productive working folk.
Well, Ms. Tucker must have different sources than everyone else. Although I agree Shafer's "coming down from the mountain to impart wisdom" approach must certainly be irritating to those who have been solely responsible for Grady for decades, we've seen nothing to indicate he's only playing politics to placate idiots who do not recognize Grady's worth.
There's currently rare air in Georgia. Everyone is actually agreeing on a critical issue. From conservative talk show host Martha Zoller to Fulton Commision Chair John Eaves.
Everyone agree Grady is in trouble. Everyone agrees the management structure has to change. Everyone agrees it is no longer fair to solely rely on the taxpayers of Dekalb and Fulton to fund an asset which benefits the entire state. Everyone agrees we've got a problem, it has to be fixed and everyone has to pitch in. Let that sink in for a minute. Everyone agrees. How often do you hear those words in Georgia?
So, let's everybody calm down a minute and concentrate on the matter at hand.
Ms. Tucker is right. We certainly do not need "ham fisted" legislators bulling through the dish store. But neither do we need prominent media voices stirring pots that don't need to stew.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The Bradys vs the DiMara's? Nope. The ongoing saga of Grady Hospital.
Its a story known to the taxpayers of Dekalb and Fulton counties for decades. Although Grady supports trauma care for the entire 28 counties of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area and to some degree the entire state, it has been the home owners of these two counties who have footed the bill since the first brick was layed.
Now that Grady is so awash in debt it may have to close its doors in September, the rest of the state is suddenly very aware Georgia may face its most serious healthcare crisis ever. And everyone is finally stepping up to the plate.
The good news is everyone understands the stakes and comprehends something has to be done. Even "small government conservatives" such as Glenn Richardson, Casey Cagle and Sen. David Shafer admit it is finally time for the state to begin assisting the beleagured institution. Although, there offer and its attached strings have raised some eyebrows from those who have spent careers trying to get the guys and gals just up Piedmont Road to notice.
The bad news is all the ugliness and ill feelings will now erupt in the open. The bad management practices, the alledged two faced actions of Emory, the double edged sword of Medicade / Medicare funding, all the seemy sordid mess of trying to run a major metropolitan hospital relying almost completely on public funds.
And the "friday cliffhanger" of this story is not even in sight yet.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
A sheriff who can’t spell “assassination” orders one. Any of us could be killed by an ignorant, penny-ante street thug. DeKalb Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown was. The only difference is that Sidney Dorsey had been given a public office. He should die still imprisoned — unless, of course, fuzzy-memory witnesses come forward in 20 years to recant.
For the first 3/4 of my reading, I thought I wouldn't have a bone to chew today. But Jim never fails! Of course Sidney Dorsey is a thug who deserves to rot in a hole until he gasps his last breath. And just what does that have to do with Troy Davis? Absolutely nothing except an opportunity to continue the right wing myth that somehow the justice system is so broken that murderers simply waltz out the gates of prison on a trail of pixie dust.
Leona Helmsley is alleged to have said “we don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” She may never have said it, but the observation does help to explain the folly of Democrats professed desire to tax “the rich.” They sweep up a world of little people in higher taxes before they ever touch “the rich.” Helmsley died this week at 87.
Huh? Only Jim could somehow tie the "Queen Of Mean" to Democratic fiscal policy. How about this. How about taking to task both sides of the aisle for creating a ridiculously complex tax code where only those who can keep an accountant on retainer benefit? Jim, if you can show me how the Democrats are solely responsible for the manure spewing beast that is the federal tax code then the first round at Manuels is on me. Oh wait. You probably prefer City Grill.
It’s OK to erect 45-foot wind turbines in residential neighborhoods in Atlanta, but not big houses on lots that once held smaller ones. One is about “energy independence,” and the other is about putting the rich in their places. Come to Far North Vinings. Big houses are welcomed next to my starter move-up.
What part of 3500 ft sq house does not compute? Some would have you believe the Atlanta's City Council recent limit on McMansions would limit everyone living inside the perimeter to 2 bedroom bungalows. Conveniently ignored is the fact the new zoning was crafted with the aid of the homebuilders associations and realtors. A nest of socialist land grabbers for sure.
Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin wishes to ban exposed underwear in public places. Don’t dismiss him. Work with him. He’s one of the lone voices concerned about the culture’s influence on children. “Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it’s the in thing,” said Martin. “I don’t want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future.” Come to think of it, I’ve never seen the attire in any place where people are successful.
Sigh. Why do I get the feeling that as a child Jim was denied a slinky because it was believed to be the Devil's tool.
Meme killing. A dirty business but it has to be done. Time for a shower.
My first thought?
Where the hell is Nicholson, Ga?
I ain't the smartest guy but I usually feel I have a passing familiarity with my homestate. Then one day, I will be driving down the interstate with a visiting friend and see a license plate for an unfamiliar one of our 159 counties. The friend will usually ask, "Where's that?" And I will respond with my standard answer, "Hell, I don't know. Probably out I-20 somewhere."
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Exposed boxer shorts and thongs would be illegal in any public place in Atlanta if the City Council approves a proposed amendment to the city's indecency laws.
Let's ignore for a moment it will never pass a constitutional test. Let's ignore for a moment the overtaxed police force is currently trying to prevent the city from returning to its O.K. Corral ways of the past.
Think of the the effect on the economy! What would happen to those places frequented by the working man. Places where gentlemen who no longer have the assets to provide support to the rear of their Wrangler's calmly sip their beverages in the comfort of a non-judgemental public viewing of partial nudity. Places where butt-crack is expected, nay required!
My God! Lenny's might have to shut its doors!
Can someone please think of the plumbers? For God's sake will anyone think of the plumbers?
h/t: Cracker Squire
I don't expect some of the smaller newspapers in our state to be the most sophisticated newspapers. I do expect them to hold the line on a couple of pretty basic concepts in journalism, like balance and fact-checking. If you are not going to include an opposing viewpoint, the latter concept becomes even more important to protect the truth.
I could write something here like I expect big time blogs to look at the whole of a paper's work instead of cherry picking one article to blast the rubes down south for their "aw shuckin'" ways but would that really be necessary?
Having said that, Tondee's Tavern has a point. The article is a string of Goddard quotes with little journalistic context flesh out the piece. As I have said before, reporter Lori Glenn is usually very good and this particular article is a little surprising in its structure. Lazy reporting? Editorial butchery? An honest effort that just wasn't a home run? At this point, we do not really know but I have contacted another Moultrie boy, Observer editor Dwain Walden, for clarification.
Heck, maybe what this situation needs is an country boy stuck in the city to mediate before we have another horrible bush war between the "two Georgias".
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
It's pretty interesting stuff and I give credit where credit is due. I do not like this proposal but we do need radical reformation of the tax code. So, Speaker Glenn gets a nod from me for getting the conversation started.
But, he just can't resist taking a swipe at the elder statesman of Georgia journalists Bill Shipp. God, Speaker. Can you make it through a single interview without sounding like the meanest man in Georgia?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The Burnside Bridge. This would have been the view of Union soldiers as they attempted to cross the creek. You can see the imposing heights just beyond.
As the battle passed south through the afternoon, General Ambrose Burnside was ordered to take a bridge over the creek. He delayed however due to his observation that the opposite bank rose in a steep rise bristling with Confederates. Eventually after much prodding by his superior General George McClellan, Burnside moved his troops forward. They immediately came under a hail of fire from the heights including a brigade of Georgians under the command of Georgia's General Robert Toombs. Repulsed several times with staggering losses, the Union forces eventually gained the far bank and reinforcements began to push towards the town. At this critical moment, the division of A.P. Hill after a 17 mile forced march arrived from Harpers Ferry and pushed the Union forces back across the creek.
As dusk fell the battle staggered to an end with both forces back in nearly the same position as dawn that morning. No tactical gain had been achieved, but the following evening Lee retreated into Virginia and with the failure of the southern forces to penetrate northern soil, the respite gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to present the Emancipation Proclamation.
Fighting in the cornfield led General Robert E. Lee to strip his southern lines to re-inforce Jackson. This adjustment left his center woefully undermanned. Circumstance and the fog of war led the division of Union General French squarely into the line of Confederate General D.H. Hill. Hill's men were entrenched on a sunken farm road which forever after would be known as "Bloody Lane".
After several bloody repulses, partially delivered by the 6th Alabama led by future Georgia Governor John B. Gordon, the Union soldiers eventually took the position. However, General Hill rallied his troops on a ridge at the outskirts of town, delivered a counter attack which gave the Union commanders pause and the battle passed further south.
From dawn until mid-morning, General Stonewall Jackson's corps fought three separate Union corps. The solidiers attacked and counter-attacked repeatedly in the area of the Dunker Church, the West Woods and the Miller Cornfield. The rain of bullets was so heavy some soldiers described the view of the cornfield as if a giant scythe had cut the stalks. At the end of the day both sides remained essentially where they began, only less the thousands of dead and wounded who now lay among the rows and around the church.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today was a good drive despite the weather. For the first time I encountered rain. I stuck mostly to the interstates through Pennsylvania. In Maryland I took some time to visit Antietam Battlefield National Park.
It was a nice bookend for the Gettysburg visit on the way up. It's a great park. Even though due to time constraints I only had a couple of hours, I liked it better than Gettysburg. It's not nearly as crowded and it is beautiful. Rollings hills and fields with the creek meandering down the middle. If you ever visit, make sure you leave enough time to walk around the Burnside Bridge area. Putting aside the history for a moment, it is one of the prettiest spots I have seen in any park anywhere.
Pictures are coming but not until the morning. I left the camera in the car and I ain't going back out in the rain.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Hopefully tomorrow I will have some time do a quick wrap up of my impressions of Gettysburg. Suffice it to say it was a moving experience and next time I plan to make sure I have a full day to take it all in.
The Angle. The Confederates briefly broke the Union line at this point.
The Pennsylvania Monument. For the only time of the war the Pennsylvanians fought to defend their own land. It could be argued this extra measure of incentive invigorated the previously demoralized Army of the Potomac. Noted commanders George Meade and Winfield Scott Hancock were both from Pennsylvania.
The assault broke as rapidly as it peaked with Confederate soldiers streaming back across the field. Pickett's division suffered almost 80% loss and every regimental commander was either wounded or killed. It was so completely ruined, it would participate in no major action for 18 months.
With the shattering of the attack, any chance of Lee achieving victory also dissolved. Following a quiet 4th of July interrupted only by a cannon salute by the Federals, Lee withdrew his damaged army and returned to Virginia. It would be the last time a Confederate force of any size set foot in a Northern state.
The view from the Confederate lines prior to the charge. Cemetary Ridge is almost 1.5 miles in the distance.
As Lee's attack on the second day moved north, Anderson's Division encountered elements of Dan Sickles corps in the Wheat Field and the Peach Orchard. After a fierce fight which included the critical wounding of Sickles, the Federals were routed from both, leaving nothing protecting Cemetary Ridge.
Noting the situation, General Winfield Scott Hancock observed the only reserve on hand, the 1st Minnesota. Seeing an entire brigade of Confederates charging up the hill towards the gap, Hancock ordered the regimental commander to "take those colors". Although they knew the sacrifice asked, the Minnesotans charged down the hill temporarily staunching the oncoming tide and allowing a full division to be maneuvered in the gap. Of the 262 men who charged down the ridge only 47 returned.
With Confederate activity in the area, Warren on his own and without orders extended the Federal line to include the Little Round Top. On the far left of the extension rested the brigade of Col. Strong Vincent. At the end of the brigade line among the trees of the southeast slope spread the 20th Maine. The absolute end of the Federal line, Col. Joshua Chamberlain, a professor from Bowdoin College with only text book knowledge of tactics, and his men were ordered to hold at all cost.
Following a circuitous route over the Big Round Top, the men of Evander Law's 15th Alabama charged up the Little Round Top to face the Maine men. The fate of the battle and arguably the entire war rested in the bloody struggle between a few hundred farm boys from Alabama and a few hundred lumberjacks and fishermen from Maine.
After withstanding three assaults, Col. Chamberlain ordered a charge and the 20th Maine swept the Alabamians from the hill. The left of the Federal line held.
The close quarters of the Devils Den. In these nooks and crannies the soldiers fought a bloody, hand to hand battle.
On July 2nd, 1863, the two armies faced each other across an open field; the Federals occupying the higher Cemetary Ridge just southeast of the town and the Confederates on Seminary Ridge just southwest of the town.
Despite the Federal's formidable position, Lee decided to attack. With knowledge the Federals left flank was "in the air", Lee sent General James Longstreet on a roundabout march with two divisions of his First Corps to attempt to turn this end of the federal line.
In the intervening period, Federal Major General Dan Sickles, noting his position just right of the Round Tops was significantly lower than the ground in front of him, moved his corps forward in a salient covering the Devil's Den, a wheat field and a peach orchard. The wisdom of this move is still debated today.
The attack began en echelon from south to north beginning with McLaws division then to Hood's division. Encountering the Federals where they expected empty space, McLaws struck at the Round Tops and Hood became entangled in a knot of rocks called The Devil's Den. All order was lost and Hood later described the encounter as "indian fighting" meaning it was every man for himself.
Oak Ridge lies just north of McPherson's Ridge and was occupied by elements of the Federal XXI Corps and Army of Northern Virginia 2nd Corps.
From this hill elements of the 2nd Corps Army of Northern Virginia assaulted elements of the Federal XIth Corps. Already under attack from a superior position the Federal corps was suddenly assaulted on its right flank at Barlow's Knob by the 3rd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The line crumbled completely and the Federal forces were routed through the streets of Gettysburg. They were rallied Generals O.O Howard and Winfield Hancock on the crest of Cemetary. This ended the first day of the battle and General Lee, now convinced he could destroy the federal army on this ground, moved his headquarters to the edge of town next to the Seminary.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Now watch the video.
There are many insincere moments on television. We are so numbed by the reality shows and the celebrity confessions that at times we no longer feel when we pass through the veil of pretend. But occasionally even celebrities slip up and show their real face. They exhibit honest hurt and pain. You tell me if Jon Stewart's confrontation of Stephen Hayes is one of these moments.
It travels from the foothills in the southern valley through the broadest part of the main valley and back into the foothills at the northern valley. Along the way, you can almost imagine what Virginia must have been like 150 years ago. Houses, barns and churches appear frozen in time. Enormous hayfields and pastures filled with cows and horses. If you ever take a trip north and have some time to kill, I highly recommend taking this route between Clifton Forge and Columba Furnace.
So now Gettysburg. The bad news is the brew pub I thought I found last night is closed. The good news is there seems to be several other options in the area. I'm headed out to explore. Tomorrow will be a visit to the battlefield before the trip continues.