Friday, March 28, 2008
Lots of people were at South by Southwest [when the Spitzer story broke] and didn't have time to check e-mail every five minutes," says Amber Rhea, organizer of the upcoming Sex 2.0 conference in Atlanta. "It didn't matter. They used Twitter, text messaging -- they did interviews with hardly any advance notice.
Was it really only a year ago I resisted joining Twitter because I thought it was useless?
"It's not as much fun when we don't have anyone to fight. Maybe next time they can get the GPB people here", I replied.
Thursday night's Atlanta Press Club panel on Ethics and New Media was so full of peace and love it was surprising people weren't twining flowers in each other's hair.
Some among the gathered bloggerati remain cynical but considering merely nine months ago in a similar setting we were called "entertainers" the positive attitude of the panel springs hope. Only time will tell if it remain eternal.
An AJC manager explaining how new media is about the conversation! A corporate blogger talking about communities setting standards! A GSU professor acting like a free license radical! Talk of trust and credibility from the Equifax guy!
A sure sign of the changing times was the table of new media "renegades" frequently nodding in agreement instead of growling with displeasure. Of course there were the moments where the jeans and t-shirt clad began to respond to people directly without aid of the proffered microphone. Sometimes we just can't help our instincts. The desire to be heard is just too overwhelming.
Later at Manuel's one the panelist told me he walked over to talk to us after the event but he felt like the guy in the suit trying to fit in. He said we were a tough group.
I admitted we were. But once you to know us we aren't nearly that scary.
Pass the posies. God knows, kumbaya might be next.
Rite Aid pharmacy rolls out over-the-counter paternity tests at its 4,300 stores in 30 states. The paternity test costs $29 and comes with a $119 lab processing fee. Any male suspect should be legally required to submit to testing.The difference between a company rolling out an innovative product and the government using innovation willy-nilly? The Fourth Amendment.
Who’d have thought it? France is expected to announce that it will double, to 1,000, its commitment of troops to Afghanistan. “We cannot afford to lose Afghanistan,” President Nicholas Sarkozy told the British Parliament. “Whatever the cost, whatever the expense, we cannot afford it.” I could warm to this guy. Of course, he could have included Iraq, too.Of course he didn't say Iraq because unlike Afghanistan France has never had troops there. Basic math says doubling zero still results in zero. Of course this positive news does harken to the halcyon days where something like 90% of the world (including Iran!) supported our cause. Good times.
The U.S. Supreme Court got it right in telling Texas it could ignore President Bush and an international court. Both tried to instruct Texas to grant a new hearing for a Mexican now on death row for killing two teenagers 15 years ago. Local police prevented Jose Ernesto Medellin from consulting with Mexican diplomats. Under the Constitution the president executes laws but can’t make them, wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.I'm going to let Sara handle this one. "What, you thought the Court was going to actually tell him he had to stop unconstitutionally spying on Americans without a warrant, issuing signing statements that negate the laws he passes, or holding in Gitmo in perpetuity thousands of people who happened to be in Afghanistan at the wrong time? Silly wabbit. This is the Roberts Court, and it will only smack down Bush when he does truly stupid out of character sh*t like try to help a guy on death row. In Texas."
The Consumer Federation of America gets reams of free publicity for its Big Oil is Bad message by predicting gas will be 75 cents a gallon higher before Memorial Day. The group could just as accurately predict where the stock market will be by Memorial Day.For those playing Jim Non-Sequiter Bingo, B-42!
Let’s see. Should I believe today in global warming or, as the headline declares, that “Morale at CDC shows healthy improvement.” Hmmm. Global warming. It’s more likely.And in the very next paragraph Copy Editor Jim! Wait, I'm not sure this one makes any sense either. O-32!
That's enough for today. I've got to spin something up on the APC panel. Those who go to bed at a decent hour already beat me.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Any reader knows here in the Grift we occasionally divert on to side roads of music, weather and even science. But primarily the focus is on Georgia politics. Well, because of the video you see above, we are all going to head on to the scientific off ramp a bit more frequently in the future.
No, I'm not turning this into a science blog. There are many, mostly scientists, who do that deal much better.
But with Ben Stein's latest adventure, all who understand science and particularly evolution are required to speak up.
I was talking with an Emory chemistry professor last night and I posited that Kitzmiller vs Dover had effectively hamstrung the intelligent design movement. He responded, "but ironically they always find a way to evolve."
Expelled is indeed an adaptation of an earlier tool in the creationist array - appealing to a public who has little knowledge of the way science works and why the understanding of evolution is so vital. It is a tactic which tragically creates a vicious cycle of maintaining that ignorance by continually using their own "knowledge" to re-inforce that ignorance. We Americans continue our spiral into the sea of stupidity while nations as small as South Korea rise to new heights.
While it is true Edwards vs Aguillard a generation ago and Kitzmiller in this new century put to rest many large questions regarding creationism in our public schools, brushfires such as the one in Florida continue.
Stein and his ilk propose to fan these fires to re-ignite the conflagaration -which means the virtual bucket brigade has to be formed again. Scientists and layman together must grab a pail and dip some water.
UPDATE: MTheory clarifes his position at his blog. And just so there's no misunderstanding I agree with him. We just muddied the details a bit.
Let us join arms brothers and sisters and once again step into the maw of the lion.
The Atlanta Press Club is hosting a panel on blog ethics.
Ethics and New Media: How the Blogosphere is Affecting Journalism and Business
MODERATOR Dr. John Knapp, Director of GSU Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility
Thursday, March 27, 2008
5:30 – 6:30 PM – Reception with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar
6:30 – 7:30PM – Panel Discussion
The Commerce Club
34 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
You can register online here.
Kidding aside the APC panel organizers have always been gracious and their events have always been entertaining. Come on down and join hoo hah.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Last June The Georgia Gang's Dick Williams and Phil Kent participated in a bizarre exchange regarding AJC music critic Sonia Murray.
Dick wondered aloud about the AJC having a critic "dedicated solely to rap". Which led Phil to opine "some say she can't write".
Well, boys. I do try to be helpful. You should have good hoot and holler this sunday with Sonia's latest piece on the evil rap music.
Don't say I never gave you anything.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
State Rep. Ron Sailor Jr. (D-Decatur) has the second-best excuse ever for missing 91 percent of recorded votes in this year’s legislative session. First best: “I was dead.” Second best: “I was engaged in a federal effort to catch other corrupt officials.”
Even I have to admit that's pretty funny.
How does a conservative or Republican know he/she is on the wrong track? The wrong people love what you’re doing... “This is something good, something we’ve been advocating.” NCLB is toast anyway if Democrats control Congress and the White House next year.Which judging by the opinions of most education professionals and the tepid response of even, gasp, Republicans at this year's State of the Union is a good thing.
Actress Halle Berry and male model Gabriel Aubry have a daughter, her first child. The two don’t plan to marry, but she wants you to know that they feel fully committed to each other. Semi-fully, anyway. Playing a mother in her latest movie helped convince her to be one.Ah, the essence of the "conservative" dichotomy - Hollywood is irrelevant to mainstream America except when conservatives choose to believe the actions of a few prima donnas might cause the pure hearts in NormanRockwellLand to strip clothes and make like hedonists on mushrooms.
Headline: “Migrants fear changes in Georgia.” Would that be legal immigrants or illegal? —- ‘cause they’re different.Copy editor Jim is back! It's migrants because that is what they are. Is it possible an editor at the AJC doesn't have a Webster's on his shelf?
Relocating the Georgia Department of Corrections to the old Tift College campus on I-75 in Forsyth is a smart move... A state department could save or grow lots of cities. No need, really, for them to be here.Everybody grab hold of something. I agree.
DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones picked up serious primary opposition this week: former state Rep. Jim Martin of Atlanta. Good guy, but he starts off sounding just like national Democrats: “I believe we should respect our troops by using them more effectively and taking better care of them when they come home.” Democrats have decided a version of that line is the safe way to frame their opposition on Iraq.Perhaps Democrats have consulted that most revered of political oracles - national opinion. Probably a smart move since somewhere north of 70% agree with the position. I'm convinced the other 30% occupy a ranch in Crawfordville and a particular office in the AJC building.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
We anxiously await comments from Rep. Jack Kingston's office on this shocking turn of events.
Millielou is the nome de Internet of Mayor Shirley Franklin. Her latest message opened with a paragraph that smacked of weariness — followed by a torrent of frustration and familial outrage.Mayor Millielou goes on to tear Creative Loafing a new one over coverage of her daughter's recent plea deal with the Feds. Personally, there have been times when CL's rhetoric made me wince. The alternative weekly's response should be interesting.
UPDATE: I just wanted to add that the lead in that entry is one of the best I've seen in a long time.
Every now and again, we receive an e-mail from Millielou, who is short, wears a huge blossom on her chest, and runs the city of Atlanta.
Don't know if that was Bob or Jim but that's a good one boys.
At least Martin wasn’t interviewing an attractive starlet. He tends to salivate openly in the presence of female hotness.
Now that's a kindred spirit!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Following myriad pleas, cajoles and threats, my family finally agreed to not use certain epithets in my presence. After long arguments and subtle persuasions both sides realized the gulf of understanding was too deep to bridge and instead chose that very southern solution - polite silence.
My mother would occasionally slip and seeing me nearby would apologize. It was one of those stomach flipping moments where all realized the child now led the way and the parent would forever follow.
My brothers and sisters continued to follow the truce until our mother left us. With her passing we were placed in the position of the top rung of the family. Families, like the packs of predators which are their heritage, require leaders and perhaps it was that struggle for supremacy which led my siblings back to the hidden truth - they desired to again casually use certain words in my presence.
At first there were gentle corrections then as things turned ugly not-so gentle accusations. Soon, as four people splintered, sides were taken and I was inexorably pulled towards the brother who was most like myself - except he was 13 years older, a product of the turbulent sixties with its bussing and violence and although no one would ever say it was dominant in his life, bigoted.
He used certain explosive words as thoughtlessly as a man might use the word Coca-cola to describe what he was drinking. He flatly stated if his daughters brought home a black man he would remove them from his life. When told that Barack Obama may win the Presidency, he rolled his eyes and muttered, "what is the world coming to?"
The polite silence was irrevocably shattered when one of my nieces finally crossed that ultimate line of race. For the dating habits of a 19-year old girl, I was sent flying on a 400 mile trip to attempt to heal a broken family.
After many tears, the family did not heal completely but remained together. They reached their own uneasy truce. The father would not interfere but the daughter would not "put it in his face". My brother frankly told me that he knew we were different and there were things I took as the way of the world which he could never accept.
We as a society have moved so far in this particular struggle but it is close by where we struggle so hard. I could no more remove my brother from my life than I could cut off my right hand because it offends. But events of this week have shown that we must all work harder. We must be willing to tell those we hold most dear, "brother, I love you but when I'm around there are things you can't do".
And change will come. Perhaps all the ones we love will not change but with each passing of that love change will be inevitable.
Many months after the "boyfriend incident" as my brother sat rolling his eyes at the possibility of a black man being President, my niece standing just behind her father sotto voce told me, "I think he'll be a good President".
When W.E.B. Dubois introduced the concept of double consciousness, on the eve of the 20th Century, he was talking about the dilemma of African-Americans in his own time, of “measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”
Furthermore, misguided is the outside observer who assumes a pastor to be wholly representative of any individual member of that pastor’s congregation. From my own history, I can cite several examples of ministers who successfully led my home church while simultaneously maintaining opinions contrary not only to my own, but to several others in our congregation.
There’s a lot of Old South in my blood, which often is simultaneously a point of pride and shame. Just as it’s not adequate to condemn the South as racist and backwards without trying to tell the rest of the story, I also feel that way about my grandfather. There was a lot more good in him than there was bad. A lot more.
One can disagree with some of Obama's policy prescriptions in a perfect legitimate manner, but to deny the reality of what he was talking about is to plug your fingers in your ears, cover your eyes and pretend that America is something else. The truth is, it isn't.
My sister is my political barometer. She's a SC democrat, but she doesn't drink quite as much Koolaide as I do. So, I listen to her, in part, to figure out how "normal" people are reacting to whatever is going on in the political world. She supported Edwards and now supports Obama, but last week, on one of my particularly busy days, she called me and said, "You better tell Obama to 'do something' about that pastor because I've got to tell you, I can't vote for him if that's who's going to be advising him when he's sitting in the Oval office, making decisions about war and peace."
My own shortly.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
As someone who grew up in tornado country bad weather usually doesn't rattle me, but a spinner ripping through the high rises of downtown Atlanta shakes even the hard core weather junkie.
Grayson shot the above video of the aftermath outside the Georgia Dome. Fans were just leavin the SEC Men's Basketball Tourney.
Update: Rusty has a great roundup of local impressions.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The Georgia Senate passed a resolution to name the I-95/I-16 interchange near Savannah in honor of Justice Clarence Thomas. Insufficient. Name the state’s judicial building for him. Or Thomas County.Here's a conservative idea.
How about we don't rename anything that already has a name.
How about we don't waste the taxpayer's money buying lovely little green signs displaying a person's name to add to the lovely red, white and blue signs which seem to adequately direct people around the outskirts of Savannah.
How about we leave the simple, sublime word "Justice" on the facade of our highest court alone instead of adding some bronze plaque, new carving or whatever godawful doo-dad our noticeably taste challenged legislature would design.
How about we leave a name which has served a county well for the past 183 years be. How about we avoid the financial and administrative nightmare of changing every sign, document, letterhead, envelope and poobah's nameplate in said county.
How about we conserve a little of the taxpayer's well earned money instead of spending it on some ill-conceived flight of ego. How about that, Jim?
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Witness the follwing exchange in the debate on HB 1299 which would allow the state to swoop in and take control of Grady Hospital is the board is not converted to non-profit in a timely manner.
Rep Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur): Would you please specify how your safety net protects the citizens of my district that are funding $40-80 million of this funding.
Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Cobb County): Well, Rep. Oliver apparently that is not enough and it doesn't meet what citizens from your district and your county actually...there are more patients that go and the cost is more to Grady than
what your county pays.
Rep. Cooper's argument regarding Dekalb may be true, but what is absolutely true is her county along with Clayton and Gwinnett racked up $16 million in bills at Grady in 2006 without paying one damned dime.
Public officials like Spitzer who cultivate a particular political image — whether that is as a change agent or a holier-than-thou crusader — fall quickly when their personal conduct fails to measure up. For Barack Obama, the stakes just went up in the Chicago trial of Tony Rezko, who is accused of bribing public officials and taking kickbacks. Obama has donated some $150,000 to charity, the allegedly illegal campaign contributions Rezko directed to his 2004 Senate campaign.So in Jim-land, a disgraced politician caught performing some personal economic stimulus indicates potential problems for a candidate he doesn't even support? The whine you hear is the vibrating tenuousness of the through-line in Wooten's tortured logic.
What is it about the fellating of politicians which causes Republicans to read the bones as doom until the end of days for Democrats?
On Monday afternoon, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie will kick off his reelection campaign on his hometown’s courthouse square.I need to check on things at the southern compound anyway.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
And I have been for a while. I've spit out a few pieces over the past months but nothing to cause pride.
A good friend, a writer, once told me that writer's get blocked because they are fighting something and the block will continue until the struggle ceases.
I think I've figured out what I'm ramming my head against. Maybe tomorrow the struggle within will cease. But not today.
Of all days, not today.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Hanging chads, hanging mailman, here we come. Republicans really should not get too down about their prospects in November.Wooten would have us believe people mailing a ballot would lead to a three ring circus, however during the debate on Voter ID in Georgia he was curiously silent on absentee ballot reform. On the other hand he was always eager to explain how not requiring grannies to show drivers license at the ballot box could lead to the ruination of the republic.
It's a time of renewal and time to get this bad boy cranking again. I don't know everything that will unfold this week but I guarantee it's gonna be FIERCE!