Monday, June 30, 2008

Statesboro Senate Debate Confirmed

The previously mentioned potential debate in Statesboro is now confirmed.

Democratic candidate Senate debate sponsored by the Statesboro Herald.

July 8th
Ogeechee Technical College
Joe Kennedy Building Auditorium

Confirmed to attend are Dale Cardwell, Josh Lanier and Rand Knight.

Jim Martin and Vernon Jones have yet to confirm.

Florida Crude

Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel does a good job of presenting both sides in the debate regarding off shore drilling on the Florida gulf coast. Reasonable people who are tired of hearing all the crazy talk would be well served to check it out.

My two favorite "myths" each side rolls out:

Oil rigs in the Gulf will disrupt the pristine view from the beach - The rigs are at least 50 miles out. On a good day you can only see 20 miles to the horizon. No snowbird basking on the sugar sand will ever know they are there.

There's plenty of oil in the gulf - According to the article one estimate has the entire east Gulf reserve containing a whopping half year supply based on current consumption rates. Those in certain talk radio circles would have you believe all that is required is sticking a straw through the silt to slake our thirst. But on two things everyone with sense agrees - we don't really know how much is out there and it will take a minimum of five years, more likely ten, to reach production. Consider these factors the next time you hear some loon ranting that drilling in the gulf will cause the price of gas to magically drop.

At the end of the day, it is a complex issue where both sides tend to roll out their pet myths. The only defense against the vapors of fear is education. Use it.

Strange Rumblings In Democrat Land

Unfortunately, I missed the Fox 5 Democratic Senate Debate yesterday. Spain and Germany were playing in a little game across the pond and somehow it seemed more important.

I am now very sad because Vernon Jones finally showed up to something.

You can catch a recap by checking the live blogging at Tondee's Tavern.

Gay marriage, always fun for a roll in the mud, came up and according to those who did watch, Jim Martin opposes it. Decaturguy, in comments at Blog For Democracy, asks an important question. What was the context? Having not seen it, I can't say.

But it certainly is interesting the day after this declaration, members of the local LGBT community are holding a fundraiser for Martin. Methinks Jim might have some tough questions to answer. Or is this a case of certain Democratic thought process I've noticed over the years - we don't care as long as we win except when we do care. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when a candidate gets a pass and when they don't.

In other Senate news, the Democratic candidate with seemingly the most steam is young Rand Knight. As noted here and elsewhere, he recently received endorsements from two organized labor heavyweights. According to sources, this is a pure case of "froggy went a courtin'" but considering the closeness of these allies to the DPG this has to somewhat irk the powers that be. Knight also got a mention by Martha Zoller on this week's "The Georgia Gang". She labeled him as "interesting".

Where does this all go? Nobody knows. All eyes are still on Martin and Jones, but this is a strange year, bubba. Anything might happen.

Finally, down in the house races, the state's two most prominent progressive website, Tondee's Tavern and Blog For Democracy, are in a tizzy over the Augusta Chronicle's report on current 10th District congressman Paul Broun's "sordid" (actually not that atypical) past. My first thought is, didn't we hear all this before? Except it came from Republicans in the last primary.

The bar brawler in me enjoys seeing somewhat placid Democrats pull out the brass knuckles but I do wonder if this is really a path they are ready to tread?

15 days until the primary. It's only going to get weirder, my fellow travelers.

A Couple of Updates: Jen clarifies in the comments that the gay marriage question was a simple no.

Decaturguy on his blog clarifies why he thinks this is a little more nuanced than first blush. But also points out Martin should clarify his position pretty fast.

And Jason has video of the whole thing. So you can see for yourself!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

Vernon Jones first television ad.

It appeared three times on this morning's Georgia Gang.

Jim Martin's first ad may be boring as hell, but at least it doesn't look like a cheap infomercial.
"Why is food so high?"

"Why does everything keep going up but my paycheck?"

"It's because of gasoline prices!"

It all begs the question. Besides billboards and cheap tv spots, on what is all that campaign war chest being spent?

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Morning Wooten

Guns and butter edition.
Imagine that. The Second Amendment is real. We can keep and bear arms. Now let’s agree that when a gun is used to commit a crime, the problem is with the shooter and not with the weapon.
Have some straw with your man, Jim. Or are you actually insane enough to advocate removing stricter sentences for crimes perpetrated with a gun? What exactly does the N.R.A. have on you?
Before Barack Obama tries his skills of persuasion on a bad guy who threatens us —- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, no preconditions —- he should test them on a seriously bad guy who doesn’t —- Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. Today’s runoff election there is an international joke. Fearing for his life, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn. The U.S. can sputter in outrage, but our obligation is to deal with the bad guys whose existence threatens us.
Like Saddam Hussein?
Two state senators of substance, one D, one R, opt out of the Gold Dome Games. Michael S. Meyer von Bremen (D-Albany) —- a former minority leader and one of two Democrats whom Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle allowed to chair committees —- qualified this week to run for a vacancy on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
This surprises and saddens me greatly. Rep. Meyer von Bremen was one of the few fresh voices under the Gold Dome.
Headline: “Former president willing to help Obama campaign.” The former president is Bill Clinton. Help? Make Hillary the food taster.
Whooo! That's a real knee slapper, Jim. I can't decided which is funnier - the implication someone may try to poison Senator Obama or that we would all be better off if Senator Clinton were dead. High comedy there.
Jim Durrett, executive director of the Liveable Communities Coalition, writing in support of the Beltline rail project, reflects the ancient view that those of us who live beyond I-285 are all trying to get to Atlanta’s downtown. Writes he: “We’ve spent the past 40 years building suburbs that are beginning to look unsustainable at $4 a gallon.” We of the “suburbs” are neighbors, not dependents, and when the state devises a transportation plan that moves us where we need to go, instead of just to Atlanta’s downtown, or in a circle around it, we’ll sustain ourselves just fine. Boss, we ain’t your young’uns.
And we of the "city" are your neighbors, not your suckling teat. So you won't mind if we ask you to pay to park at places like Doraville and Chamblee MARTA station will you, Jim? All those Gwinnett cars must jam into the Marta lots just so their occupants can catch a cab back outside the perimeter.
The Justice Department’s inspector general says recruiters improperly used “political or ideological” considerations to find and hire conservative interns. Ideology can be considered in recruiting political appointees, but not otherwise. Justice officials should get more sophisticated in screening to hire conservatives. Anybody doubt that colleges and employers look for the codes in applications and essays to achieve diversity? Ideological diversity is important, too
The report concludes that quality standards were sacrificed solely for the sake of ideological purposes. In other words, what conservatives have for decades bleated against regarding affirmitive action. The difference this time it is their people seeking favor for the sake of "diversity". How quaint.

Oh and Jim, the Inspector General didn't just find it "improper". In two cases, the report concluded the action was possibly illegal.


Thursday, June 26, 2008


The word regulate appears exactly three times in the U.S. Constitution - twice in reference to commerce and once in regard to an armed citizenry.

Despite the First Amendment explicitly stating "Congress shall make no law", we accept restrictions on speech every day, however, mention restricting the ownership of guns and some suggest we cross a rubicon of government intrustion on the individual. It is a confusion which abounds, shockingly has never been addressed by our highest court and ultimate clarity rests on the strange construction of our most discussed federal law.

The Second Amendment may be the most tortuous clause in an aged document laced with dated verbage and 18th century mannerisms. Filled with commas and awkward phrases, it seems to simultaneously grant the government the ability to regulate arms for the purpose of defense yet absolutely states the right of the people shall not be infringed.

With the ever escalating heat of the gun debate, most on both sides ignore this critical nuance. With backs arched, the absolutists either claim all regulation is unconstitutional or claim regulation all the way to prohibition is perfectly reasonable.

Both are wrong and despite the political spin you will hear over the next few days, Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority in Heller brilliantly explains why.

...the most natural reading of ‘keep Arms’ in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons...The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity...Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation...Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose.

The majority ultimately decides that indeed government regulation is allowed in order to maintain security (the underlying purpose of the first portion) but cannot result in an absolute prohibition of individual ownership of firearms (the underlying principle of the second portion).

The District of Columbia with its absolute prohibition of handguns, as Justice Scalia referencing Miller states, weapons "in common use at the time", obviously uses the first clause of the amendment to attempt the utter destruction of the second clause.

Guns will continue to be regulated. However, regulation cannot overwhelm the ultimate right to bear arms. In the majority's view, even though it strongly avers the individual right, both must live in harmony.

It is in those harmonic moments where we discover the brilliance of the founders - radicals all but absolutists none. Whether "strict constructionist" or advocate of a "living document, all must understand the underlying principle of our greatest document is idealism tempered by reason.

Through this philosophical filter, Justice Scalia shows the Second is not so discordant after all. In fact, it sings.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Senate Debate Organizing In Statesboro

In the past three months, Democratic candidates aiming to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss attended debates in Athens, Atlanta and even Cumming. The lack of attention to middle and south Georgia has not passed unnoticed.

The Statesboro Herald is attempting to coax the pols to parts south of Hartsfield-Jackson.

The publication confirmed it is in the beginning stages of organizing a debate tentively scheduled for July 8th. Herald reporter Phil Boyum states Josh Lanier, Dale Cardwell and Rand Knight have agreed to appear. Jim Martin has not guaranteed attendance but expressed a desire to participate. Dekalb CEO Vernon Jones, not surprisingly, has offered no response.

Details will be published as they are released.

Senate Roundup

Only three weeks until the Senate Primary. Let's see what's going on.

As you can see above, Jim Martin has his first TV ad. If you are having a strange sense of deja vu, you must have been here for the 2006 Lt. Governor's race.

Rand Knight caught another (non)union endorsement. Piled on top of the recent AFL-CIO support, Knight's gathering the GAE to the fold leaves some scratching their heads. JMac attempts to explain. However he got them, Knight's transformation from a guy who seemed to drink too many Red Bulls to legitimate contender is startling. Someone on that campaign must be doing something right.

The AJC caught up with the three amigos. That story seems awfully familiar. But I doubt the boys care as they sop up press like a field full of cotton.

Josh has not returned my call yet. He's possibly running around south Georgia gathering his collections from his "Donate To Me" coffee cans placed at various convenience stores.

I don't know how the hell to get in touch with Cardwell for comment. Hey Dale! Help a brother out! Given your previous comments on unions, I'm sure you have something to say about fellow amigo Knight's recent coups.

As far a Three Way. As noted by your humble scribe and recently by the Georgia Gang, he still has a lot of signs in south Georgia and not a lot of noise elsewhere. Probably best that way.


Tail Wagging

And the poisonous seep begun with Sandy Springs continues to spread. With each day it becomes more difficult to contain the hate.

Dunwoody votes on cityhood next month and now some yammering suit in Buckhead pictures himself standing alongside radicals Sam Adams and John Hancock.

No one is happy with the final gasps of Mayor Millilou's term. Whether your personal gripe is strange accounting practices, increased water bills due to the drought or the recent rise in crime, when Creative Loafing and Dick Williams agree, the water is starting to boil.

But those who feel the hot zephyrs of passion should be careful which tack they take. Victory in the creation of Buckhead City could be short lived as most doubt the central Atlanta core can survive any more shavings of the tax fat.

The aforementioned yammering suit Glenn Delk wishes to call forth stirring images of our founding revolution. He would be wise to heed another symbol from that time, the separated snake which must hang together or hang separately, or his new found Buckhead City could become the tail which twitches lifelike after the loss of the head until it also falls still.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't Vote

Every day I wish I could produce a teardrop of satire equal to the firehose which was George Carlin. I'd wish him Godspeed but I'm afraid his spirit would punch me in the face.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Strangeness

Heard about this yesterday. Just watch.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Stupids

A stupiding we will go

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Morning Wooten

We're gonna have some fun today.
Oh, yeah, Shirley, sure. Cut the check. Atlanta taxpayers and utility customers are at the limit of their tolerance on taxes, and therefore the feds should cut a check. People want to know, she told a U.S. Senate committee, “why didn’t the federal government help us more?” The Atlanta mayor also thinks Georgia should raise the gas tax to help. Don’t tax me; tax thee to help me. Spend.
Hey Jim, I'm a spending-hawk too. So, instead of carping the same old line about "tax, tax, tax", tell me your list of spending cuts and let's get to work. Maybe we can start with Chastain which Atlanta subsidizes and is enjoyed greatly by many a freeloading suburbanite. I bet we can come up with a whole list of cuts composed only of services cherished by many a Cobbite and Gwinettian.
Oh, goodness. Barack Obama’s in trouble with the lefties. He smokes. Cigarettes. He can’t be president. Hillary declared the White House a smoke-free zone in 1993.
Next - the political perils of toe-picking.
Wall Street Journal reporters generally know what they’re hearing when conducting interviews about taxes, business and the economy. The outlook Barack Obama offers “appears like a return to an older-style big-government Democratic platform skeptical of market forces,” news reporters write. Change. To yesterday. But then those who have listened to him already know that.
Darn that liberal media! They've even managed to brainwash some fine conservatives into the belief that this election is too important for the old scare mongering. Wait a minute...
Raul Castro, in what is being called his “boldest break yet from socialism,” directs state companies to develop a salary structure that pays hard workers more than slackards. Pay for performance. What a novel idea. One day even the teachers unions in this country will take the bold break from socialism. The view of the National Education Association is that merit pay “undermines the collegial relationship among teachers.” It will in Cuba, too, when the loafers discover that the performers have bigger paychecks. They’ll either work harder or organize.
We always knew those shepherds of our children were really communists! Organized labor has always been a front for infilitrators of the Red Menace! Send the company men to the coal mine to root out those troublemakers!

Seriously though. If you haven't noticed the right's predilection for rolling out the golden oldie called the "red scare" this election cycle, you aren't paying very close attention.
Hmmm. Would we prefer to have the third term of George W. Bush, as Obama refers to the McCain candidacy, or the second term of Jimmy Carter, as McCain describes an Obama presidency? Easy call.
Actually, most of us prefer living in 2008 with all its possibilities. Most. Not all, but most.
But it’s true. The effort by Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia to restore voting rights to felons is an effort to kick up the Democratic vote. Except for former state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko and former state Rep. Robin Williams, both Augusta-area Republicans, all the people in jail are Democrats, wrongly convicted, too. I’m sure of it.
Yes, yes. Nothing but Democrats packed into the hoosegows. Enron. Duke Cunningham. Scooter Libby. Jack Abramoff. Etc., etc., etc. Lord, how the Democratic Party will swell when felons are allowed to vote!
Pike Family Nurseries has to be kid-friendly. Its former CEO is one.
Huh? An ironically childish riposte regarding the former executive's arrest for sexual battery (must be a Democrat!)? Well, at least we get a little criticism of a local company by the AJC - more than we ever hear about a certain sugar water slinger.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Atlanta Street View!

Google Maps has FINALLY added Atlanta to Street View.

As you can see from the above, the usual pigeons were not on the patio the day the cameras came by. But those plastic adirondacks? Yeah, we put 'em there.

I also checked out my house and my car was in the driveway. Kinda creepy!

My Morning Wooten

We're going to focus on one salient point this morning, gentle readers.
The problem is that much of the country seems to be unaware of the 60s and 70s, while many of those who are still cling to the era. The old-timers of the flower-children generation want one last Woodstock on the White House grounds before they go...But the question, really, is to identify something in Obama’s promise of “change” that represents actual change.
You may be right, Jim. You may be crazy. But you definitely ignore the point that most Americans understand exactly what happened in the past eight years.

An unneeded war. Foreign policy which wrecked the only remaining superpower's standing in the world. Attempts at suspending habeas corpus for U.S. citizens. Torture.

We could go on but instead let us roll that last word around the consciousness for a moment.

There are a great number of people in this country who understand exactly what change means.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fever Dreams

Ahhh the joys of pain killers.

With Obama wrapping up the nomination, my current state of mind caused me to recall this.
The first, despite the furious mental masturbation of all the political junkies, never happens. The last brokered convention was the Democrats in 1952. The refinement of the primary process carefully shepherded by the new class of profressional political rustlers has pushed the possibility of some open political brawl into the realm of fever dreams of the deluded.
I haven't been right about many things lately but I sure nailed that one. Now I will reward myself with another Ben-Gay pain patch.


Yesterday, I twisted my shoulder pretty badly. It's the same shoulder I twisted just last month. Nothing so serious to require a doctor visit but annoying as hell. So now I have a BenGay patch on my back and am gobbling OTC ibuprofen like they are skittles.

Later this afternoon, when the bats arrive, I'll begin fearless predictions and faithless ramblings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Obama opens Florida campaign headquarters in Ybor City.

Playing In Georgia

It's the question rolling around the addled minds of all political junkies - is Georgia in play?

A month ago I painted a scenario where Virginia plays the Florida/Ohio role in 2008. I'm sticking by that prediction but in the past year I also predicted Hillary Clinton would easily win the nomination and James Marlow would make the runoff in the 10th. So you have been warned.

But let's look at Georgia for a moment. Can Barack Obama flip a state which voted overwhelmingly for George Bush in 2004?

For your consideration, four factors which could be difference makers.

Vice President

Pro - It's only a pro for Obama if it is former Sen. Sam Nunn. Otherwise, Georgians probably won't care.

Con - South of Cordele most Georgians receive a mix of Georgia and Florida media. If John McCain selects popular Florida governor Charlie Crist as a running mate, a large portion of the state will see a face on the ticket which may be more familiar than their own Governor.

Bob Barr

Pro - Barr is the biggest name the Libertarian Party has ever nabbed. A native Georgian, he is polling somewhere between 3% and 5%. Some fevered Democrats have actually predicted he could pull 8%.

Con - No Libertarian has received higher than 1.6% of the vote in the last 20 years. Enough said.


Pro - Despite a hotly contested Republican race, almost 100,000 more people pulled Democratic ballots in February.

Con - February is not November. A brutal campaign, disaffected Clinton supporters plus the possibility of an October surprise in the form of a Willie Horton style ad campaign gives McCain plenty of ground to gain.

African Americans

Pro - Almost 500,000 African Americans voted in the February primary and almost 90% voted for Obama.

Con - Only about 550,000 African Americans voted in the 2004 general election. It is a huge question whether the primary turnout can be maintained - particularly if Jim Martin knocks Vernon Jones in the July primary.

The first two factors are fairly clear but turnout is the more difficult beast to wrestle. Obama's ability to get so many new voters to the polls blows up most traditional political equations.

So is Georgia in play? Definitely. Maybe. I don't know. But the strange swirl of syncronicity certainly makes it intriguing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ramp Meters

The ramp meters are coming! The ramp meters are coming!
Ramp meters are traffic lights that are intended to control the number of vehicles entering and exiting the highway. They are to reduce traffic congestion on the ramps.
Between the Downtown Connector re-paving project and the recent destruction of the venerable 14th Street bridge, Atlanta seems to be swirling in an orgy of transportation experimentation. Now, the already addled speed demons of the autobahns will be forced to pay attention to "stop lights" on interstate on-ramps.

When these silent guardians popped up on my side of the perimeter, I pondered the madness which lay just over the horizon.

I remain cautiously optimistic. Previously, I was skeptical about roundabouts but having seen the effectiveness of the Lullwater/N. Decatur intersection, I am now their advocate. We can all only hope the ramp meters will also exceed expectations.

If not, at least we will have some fun with the new demolition derby mashup.


I've been tagged.

Normally, I'm the crusty old bastard who doesn't join in blogger games, but I'll make an exception here. But I won't tag anyone else so the madness can finally stop.

Seven Songs That I Currently Do Not Skip When They Play On My iPod.

1. Let It Loose - The Rolling Stones
2. Oh! Sweet Nuthin - The Velvet Underground
3. Many Rivers To Cross - Jimmy Cliff
4. Goodbye - Steve Earle
5. Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine
6. Outshined - Soundgarden
7. She - Gram Parsons

End tag.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Stupids

Return of the stupids.

A short detour to the Creative Loafing Beer Fest then back to the lodge hall.

What The Hell Is That Thing?

Rusty and Amber explore east Georgia.

Birds, water towers and lubrication. What more could you want?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pascoe-Perez Joins Lanier Campaign

Recently resigned Democratic Party of Georgia Vice Chair for Constituent Services Virgilio Pascoe-Perez has joined the campaign of Senate Candidate Josh Lanier as Chairman.

The candidate responded to inquiry on the "hire" with the usual wit.

Virgilio and I started a conversation when I first formed the exploratory committee in October '07 and it continues to this day. We've become great friends and talk daily about the issues, the future of America and this campaign. I trust and respect his judgement. I asked him to be Chairman so that he'd feel obligated to keep taking my calls.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Words For The Day

"Some people will say that words like "scum" and "rotten" are wrong for objective journalism which is true but they miss the point."