Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thin Skin

So in my discussions on internet ethics eventually someone will ask, "why so thin skinned?"

Well, by God, here's why.

Feb. 19, 2007: AJC Editor tells us all her paper is going to show us how it should be done in the online world.

March 18, 2007: Creative Loafing's Murray Grievous states collaboration between new and traditional media may never be possible.

June 7, 2007: GPB's Susanne Capaluto at an APC event calls bloggers "entertainers".

June 17, 2007: Athens Banner Herald editor Jim Thompson uses a commentor as an example of why the mainstream media's use of real names gives it credibility.

Dec. 17, 2007: UGA journalism professor David Hazinski says "citizen journalisism" has the strong probability of fraud and abuse.

Dec. 21, 2007: Athens Banner-Herald writer Blake Aued tells bloggers "When y’all start doing your own reporting, rather than rely on rumors, press releases and the dreaded MSM, then you can call yourselves journalists".

July 29, 2008: Macon Telegraph's Travis Fain snidely referring to BloggerGuy09.

July 30, 2008: Creative Loafing Editor Ken Edelstein wondering how we can trust any anonymous blogger.

So the next time you think something written about bloggers is clever or original, it probably isn't. And the next time you ask us why our skin is so thin, we may respond, "why because of all the gentle pats on the back you've given us!"

Spitting Tacks

I'm not sure which pisses me off more.

Andre's not-so-contrite disclosure.

Or Creative Loafing Ken Edelstein's clinging to the "anonymous=less credibility" canard - with an anonymous commenter defending Ken just to complete the irony.

Actually I do know what causes my spleen to lurch with the most violence. Exactly as I feared Andre's shenanigans have given opportunity for those in the traditional media to shout "told you so!" His half ass explanations and not so apologetic apologies are only making matters worse.

And it would have been so simple. Come out with some mea culpa. For God's sake, most of us gave him a pass on his half-ass retraction of the false GAE-DPG story. But not this time. This time, we receive nothing but unrepenant sneering, So at least on this blog, it will be met with no mercy. None at all.

UPDATE: JESUS GOD! How many times do I have to explain my view of anonymity and the internet? For those who still don't get it please read HERE.

My Morning Wooten

It's gonna be short today because my spleen is venting in a different direction.

Jim trying to argue that an increase in enforcement is the cause for the drop in illegal immigration:
The population of illegals has declined 11 percent in the past year, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million...The economy certainly has something to do with it.
No kidding.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Into The Ethical Woods

I'm not going to pile on. Really I'm not. Although given the past arrogance of Georgia Politics Unfiltered owner Andre Walker (eagerly chastising his fellow bloggers, not crediting those who get a story first, not so humbly bragging about his traffic in comparison to others and perhaps tellingly not supporting his fellow bloggers unless they are associates), it would be easy to do. Wait, maybe I just parenthetically did.

But there is a bigger issue at play here.

Atlanta Progressive News outing of Andre as a stooge for the David Scott campaign exposes every person who writes about politics through the veil of a blog to criticisms we've all heard too often. Only this time, the nabobs can roll out an actual incident as proof. The already steep hill which we travel just had a Sisyphus stone added.

Ken Edelstein, Editor of Creative Loafing:

For that matter, how can the average reader even tell who bloggers actually are when they use pen names like Rogue109 (another Peach Pundit poster) and decaturguy? It’s a principle of the blogosphere that people get to be anonymous. That may be an unavoidable part of the nature of the medium. But if influential bloggers are anonymous, how can you where there bread is buttered?
I've already covered anonymity. It is a fact of life of online existence and it would behoove us all to understand it. To not and continue using it as a rhetorical baseball bat instead of scalpel would be as fair as me using the term journalists so generally as to cover both Seymour Hersh and Jayson Blair. It is neither fair nor accurate. Terms I'm sure Edelstein and his fellow print jockeys treasure.

But it is fair game. And due to Andre's sin, all the careful work of the past years trying to bridge this gap of understanding may unravel. Andre credits few but now his actions have tarred many.

And of course the act of one stray in the herd leads others to the trough of self-loathing.

Juliana Illiari of Blog For Democracy:

"I don't think anyone who blogs believes there are standards and practices right now. You'd have a hard time finding anyone who could agree. It's basically, use at your own risk this information, by virtue of its very nature. Anyone can get them, they're free. You read it and you have to consider what the opinion is"
Love ya, Jules, but that isn't quite right. True, the blogosphere is the free market of ideas gone wild and you will never see me shy away from telling people to obey caveat emptor. However, there are some rules that anyone who dares use the word "publish" with their work should follow. They are plain common sense and we all know them.

Two words for all bloggers: Source and disclose.

Sourcing is the murkiest of waters for bloggers. By the very open nature of the online world, bloggers receive information as clear as press releases and as opaque as anonymous tips. It is up to each blog to determine its standards for publication. However, the further one goes down the dark hall of anonymity, the greater the risk becomes. Andre experienced this less than deadly sin earlier this year by publishing a story based purely on anonymous sources. The poorly sourced house of cards quickly fell apart and Andre issued to my knowledge the first open retraction in the history of the Georgia blogosphere.

Disclosure is much easier. If you wear a sock puppet don't pretend your arm magically turned into a talking creature. If you take money tell your readers. Sock puppetry is one of the deadly sins of the online world. Few recover crossing this hard line.

Given his rather public penance, Andre may have survived the first sin, but given the severity of the second, his credibility may never recover.

And thanks to his latest "contribution" to the our little world, we will all be required to work a little harder.

My own disclosure: I've never taken one penny of money from a campaign or anyone else. The closest money has ever come to my little world was a brief period where I consulted for Insider Advantage on strategies to approach bloggers. Something which I fully disclosed at the time.


Wait a second? They have a beer podcast!

Tony, Thomas, Garrett, Seth, Rusty and I dive into the difference between Bud Light and Miller Light.

Yes, children. There is a difference.

Listen to the Sub-Optimal Beer Episode Here.

There has to be an absolute Zima.

Taped at the recent star of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives. The Highlander.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Senate Debate Live Blogging

In case you haven't heard (and you probably haven't) there's a debate tonight between Democratic Senate candidates Vernon Jones and Jim Martin.

Fellow traveler in the weird underbelly of Atlanta, Thomas Wheatley will live blog it for the Loaf.

Scribe from the hinterlands and occasional foil, Blake Aued will live blog it for the Athens Banner Herald.

As for me? I can no longer stand the grunts of those seeking access to the trough. I'll be drinking cheap beer and listening to Toby Keith.

More Hate

Reason number 10,256 why liberals lose.

Huffington Post's Max Blumenthal's screed on Toby Keith's song "Beer For My Horses":
While Keith belted out "Beer For My Horses," Colbert's studio audience clapped to the beat, blithely unaware that they were swaying to a racially tinged, explicitly pro-lynching anthem that calls for the vigilante-style hanging...
Anyone who has listened to the song in THE PAST SIX YEARS understands that Keith's rather campy ode owes more to Clint Eastwood than Leo Frank.

But for liberal's just now discovering this literary treatise, it is confirmation of the long held suspicion that country music is filled with subtexts of hate and violence.

And they wonder why the NASCAR crowd generally hates them.

P.S. Note to HuffPo people. You might want to soliticit the opinion of that famous dope smoking right winger Willie Nelson who appeared in the video. Of course its understandable why you didn't know old cousin Willie was hanging out with the horrible Toby. I mean who would want to soil their precious hands by ever changing the channel to CMT?

My Morning Wooten

Lord help me, Jim is actually making sense this morning. His description of the Atlanta pension mess and how similar missteps is the bane of local government is spot on. He even deflects some of the usual Atlanta hate by noting other systems including the infamous state of Georgia "golden parachute" system cause all politicians headaches. So instead, I'm going to focus on one sentence to focus on a very different point.
AJC reporter Cameron McWhirter captured the essence of it in noting that Mayor Shirley Franklin and City Council “made key decisions to sweeten pensions for city workers that have put Atlanta in a budgetary bind that will take years to escape.”
From on, Jim, before you roll out your favorite canard about the liberal media (including your own employer) always providing cover for liberal politicians, you are required to repeat the above sentence five times. Truth hurts. Both for politicians and pundits.


More Media Navel Gazing

It's becoming a tradition for those in the traditional media to confess, self-analyze and sometimes self-immolate.

Travis Fain of the Macon Telegraph and the blog Lucid Idiocy is the latest to dip into the murky waters of the apparent downward spiral of print journalism.

I will grant Travis one thing. Even though he can't resist a poke (Bloggerguy09?Really?), he also asks some hard questions of his own industry and their disappearing readers.

Check it out and give him thoughts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Powell Hearing Scheduled

Creative Loafing has the details.
Jim Powell’s appeal has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m. in Fulton County Superior Court.
No word if the hearing will be open. If memory serves they are but usually no one shows up because no one cares. This time might be a little different.

For background on the PSC story check here, here and here.

My Morning Wooten

The isn't-ironic-I-work-in-the-very-medium-in-which-I-scourge edition.
For the next month or so, try this experiment with television or radio newscasts: Tune in at random at any time of the day for a minute or an hour. What public figure is being discussed? And is the coverage favorable? On what scale: Fawning, adoring, determined to convince you that he’s best qualified to be president, or simply reflecting what the reporter or commentator believes to be the common view?
I encourage you to try my experiment as well. Read media reports on a certain shift in foreign policy that occured in the beginning of 2002 and apply Jim's standards. I wonder what you will find.

Senate Debate On Kudzu

Sparks fly when Democratic Senate candidates Vernon Jones and Jim Martin appear on the Democratic talk show Kudzu Vine.

Listen here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

You Put Your Weed In It

Just watch

My Morning Wooten

We're gonna have some fun this morning!
Nobody will let me have my first choice as vice president on the John McCain ticket. That’d be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Bush obsession continues. Keep typing, Jim. Maybe one day you will succeed in convincing history to view the last eight years as ponies and rainbows.
Little-noticed changes that matter a great deal build the Sonny Perdue legacy. A prime example is the Georgia Technology Authority’s plan to contract with private-sector vendors to operate computer systems for 11 agencies. About 500 state workers will move to the private sector and about 200 jobs will be eliminated. Technology changes too quickly for government procurement. And, too, why hire the excess help needed for emergencies when the private sector can provide three or 300 when needed? Great move.
It's a fantastic move! A legacy builder for any Governor! In fact it's such a fantabulous policy move, the transition towards privatization including the creation of the GTA out of the Department of Administrative Services and its first major act of privatizing the massive state telecom infrastructure began under Governor Roy Barnes.
Don’t retire the odd-even watering police just yet. China deals with its Olympics-related traffic problems by ordering odd-even driving days. Why add road capacity when you can simply order drivers off the road?
We don't have the Russkies anymore so I guess we'll have to settle with the Chi-Coms. Anyone else notice how we seem to hear that old 50's term more and more these days? And everyone knows the alternate transportation hippies are only a thin sliver from full bore, Little Red Book Maoists. Unlike our good God fearing, "free market", pavement-solves-all-woes road builders.
When a public official, tasked with responsibility to reduce payroll by 2.5 percent, announces that 53 police and 27 fire vacancies won’t be filled, as Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin did, you gotta believe it’s a game.
On the other hand, when a Republican tasked with difficult budget choices makes difficult cuts, it is fiscal restraint in hard times.
A nation cannot be safe from terrorism if its people think asking them a security-related question is an outrage, or worse, a reason to sue. This is what passes for a major revelation in today’s politically correct, touchy-feely world: From The Associated Press, this first paragraph: “The Justice Department’s former top criminal prosecutor says the government’s terror watch list has caused thousands of innocent Americans to be questioned, searched or otherwise hassled.” Goodness gracious. Can this nation survive in a world where people really are trying to kill us?
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

It's a wonder we ever survived the first 200 years following that politically correct, touchy-feely thing called the Constitution.
We really are becoming a nation where the elite in academia and the media are guerrillas determined to destroy corporations they don’t like —- tobacco, insurance, “predatory” lenders and oil, for example. An example is a report from Harvard researchers purporting to show that tobacco companies have “manipulated” menthol levels in cigarettes to keep customers. Imagine the crime of that.
Given that the CEO's of every major cigarette manufacturer testified there is no manipulation in their product we don't have to imagine far. It's called fraud.
Blaming Southern foods and “metro Atlanta’s car-crazy culture” for obesity is the same as blaming guns for crime. The CDC finds the South to be the nation’s fattest region. People make choices. They are responsible. Not the fried chicken, gravy, fried pies or biscuits. How long will it be before some do-gooder suggests shutting down all-you-can-eat buffets?
I'm betting the day some "do-gooder" actually succeeds in a loony idea like shutting down the feed troughs will be the same day certain dailies start requiring certain editorial writers fact check their pieces before publication.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Is Goin' On: Griftdrift On The Primary

Wilson and I have some fun talking about the primaries and the presidential election. Wilson's been cynical lately so I try to give him some hope. Note this took place before I found my hate home again. Good thing for certain "so-called conservatives" the interview was yesterday and not today.

More Hate

Habitat for Humanity is trying something new.
The Atlanta-based nonprofit, which builds homes for people in need, is expected to announce Thursday the launch of a microloan program in partnership with the Maryland-based Calvert Foundation. It will allowindividuals to invest in — rather than simply donate to — Habitat's philanthropic mission.
We have a private foundation which aids the working poor without government assistance and it is now trying an innovation which has been so successful in other countries it won a guy the Nobel Peace Prize.

It is so dead in the black of libertarian philosophy it makes one weep.

You would think "so called conservatives" would also praise such success with private rather than government intervention. And surely some do.

But not all.
Wonderful. Here’s more on the plan. This program really does a good job keeping people living in economically un-viable areas. Just the ticket for feel good liberals.
Remember the rules chickens: Government trying to help anyone is doomed to failure because it is incompetent and evil. Non-governmental agencies trying help someone is still doomed because it will be run by lie-bur-als and they are inherently idiots.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fear and Loathing In Griftdriftville

People keep wanting to call me a Democrat. It's true I mostly hang with the Ds because unlike the Rs, they actually invite me to their reindeer games - where I start talking about guns, the NEA or dissolving the Department of Education to see the look on their faces.


I'm a democrat. A South Park democrat. I hate liberals but I really f*cking hate conservatives.

To be the hate one most know the hate. To know the hate one must examine the hate.

Let's take a look at what I consider the two of the harshest comments on the Georgia blogs in the last few days.

First from the left - a commenter at Blog For Democracy speaking of Senate candidate Vernon Jones:

you can get far, even if you are an ultraright douchebag running in a supposedly Democratic primary like vernon jones.
A touch juvenile with just a hint of screaming mimi. But it is the internet. What exactly do you expect?

Now let's look to the right and the state's paragon of righteous rightness Erick Erickson.

Why? Because the media has become the self-appointed propaganda master for Barack Obama’s campaign. The media has become Leni Riefenstahl.
If Mr. Godwin isn't in the house, he's peeking through the door.

This is the latest metastization of the Republican equation which states if the media doesn't report things the way I like them (in other words in a way that fits my agenda alone) it must be biased. Erickson simply adds an additional factor to the math. But comparing the network news to a nazi propagandist partially responsible for the rise of Hitler is a leap of herculean proportions.

And yet, many on the right will stare straight into your face with cherubic eyes and claim they don't understand why people hate them.

So for now, mark me down with a small d. For today at least, I don't want to be anywhere near the big R scum scrapers.

Mistaken Headlines

Martin impresses as United see off Orlando Pirates

For a second I thought a Georgia candidate had declared war on Florida. Given the water situation...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dinosaur Hunting

Local gonzologer John Sugg writes of the demise of print journalism in the Columbia Journalism Review. His analysis of the local bird cage liner is scathing.
I live in Atlanta, where the Journal-Constitution has turned itself into a joke. As with most major dailies, it has become timid—afraid even to hire a metro columnist over anxiety that that person would have an independent base. Its coverage of the Bush administration and the Iraq war has been pathetic. It has withheld news that might offend Georgia’s white racists (as chronicled in the recent book Buried in Bitter Waters, by, incredibly, a Cox Washington reporter, Elliott Jaspin), and it gives many incompetent and corrupt black politicians a free pass because it’s afraid it will be called racist.
I tend to vacillate between hope and despair for print journalism . A deep dark secret is I like newspapers and I mean real, honest-to-god, slabs of dead tree dailies. I'm one of those guys who picks up the paper every day - actually refuses to get a subscription because I like the feel of plopping down a couple of quarters on the newstand and talking to the clerk about the headline.

But after reading John's piece, pondering the recent AJC layoffs and remembering how a CNN Online editor once explained how he could run his entire operation (news only, not IT) with five staff, the downhill slide into the fossilizing tar pits seems inevitable.

The Third Way

Sometimes, I think Jmac and I might have been separated at birth.
Now, listen to me carefully here, I'm not the kind of guy who's going to sit here and tell you that we shouldn't be drilling up in Alaska so we can save ar[c]tic animals or off our coasts because we'll pollute our oceans. While those issues do factor in my mind, it's also quite clear we have technology that can enable us to explore for oil in targeted areas in an environmentally responsible way...The problem, though, isn't totally over environmental or aesthetic concerns, but feasibility ones. There is sparse evidence to suggest there is ample supplies buried beneath the continental shelf to make an impact, and what is there would provide minimal, if any, immediate impact on $4-plus gallon gas ...
I'm a little more open to off-shore drilling if it would affect the speculator market but otherwise this is exactly my point of view.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Morning.....Er Late Monday Wooten

Guess I'm a little late.

Let's see what Jim's up to. Maybe some talking points?

Democrats, divided for months over whether to offer the first black or the first woman for president, have a solution to their dilemma. The Green Party has chosen Cynthia McKinney.
Yes, yes. The Democratic Party has as much to do with the Greens as the Republican Party has to do with the Birchers. (I could have been far more tasteless here but the hate wasn't in my heart today)
Dang. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki turns out to be a Nancy Pelosi Democrat. The clue is in the headline: “Iraq handing out cash to citizens on the streets.” She’s proposing another round of “stimulus” rebates to add to the deficit since the first one worked so well.
Ahhhhhh, remember those halcyon days of yore, filled with purple fingers, when Maliki was "our guy"? Then he had to go start agreeing with Obama. Tut-tut.

The ball’s in your court, Congress. Both the president and Congress have to act to lift the ban on expanded offshore exploration. Bush did. Thanks. And it may or may not be a coincidence that the price of oil dropped $6.44 a barrel the next day. When buyers —- or speculators, as Democrats prefer to call them —- think we’re serious about doing something, they’ll react in anticipation. It’s now up to Congress to follow suit.
Might be a coincidence because it is. Shall we apply the razor? Could it be the oil speculation bubble finally hit its peak and bursts or because the least liked President since, well, forever, says he wants to drill in a place where we don't know exactly how much oil exists, we don't currently have the rigs to find it and even if that falls into place, it would not affect supply for at least ten years. I'll let you make the call.

Comparing the Gwinnett straw poll today on MARTA to the referendum nearly 40 years ago is meaningless. Different county, different people. Once again in unison: Dirt’s permanent, people aren’t. Which is why it’s foolish to assign personality traits or values to place. I hate it when those in neighboring counties to the south speak of my county, Cobb, based on the stereotypes of yesteryear. Same with Gwinnett.
Well, if you stop doing silly things like putting ridiculous creationist's stickers in Biology books ( which happened only three years ago, not forty), we promise to stop pointing them out!

Good thing for Jim I took the weekend off. With no hate in my heart, I may have let him up easy.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Morning Wooten

Barack Obama is a guy who picks up words and phrases from Category A and Category B briefing papers so that he sounds knowledgeable but says nothing.
Kind of like editorial columnists who lazily repeat right wing radio talking points instead of cogitating an original thought?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gonzo Primary

Reporting plausibly live from Manuel's Tavern. No notebook. It would be a dead giveaway, the room is full of Democrats and they are feeling bloody. Random notes on the fly. Anonymity is the only protection for the faded and jaded. But onward we must go.

*"I don't know anyone in that room" "You have to wait until the polls close, all the young uns are still out working the field"

*"I think we were talking about smacking Matt around when his business partner Chuck walked by"

*"Steve Davis will trounce his opponent" "It's 51-49" Silence

*"After watching many elections I've learned there are few surprises" "What about Paul Broun and Roy Barnes?" "I'll give you Paul Broun"

*Sen. Nan Orrock seen chatting with former 10th District Candidate James Marlow asking what his next move is and upon seeing a shady blogger nearby hurrying off to a dark corner.

*" Don't worry, it's only Satan. The son of Satan isn't with him."

*"You tipped her too much. You think she's cute!"

*Allen Buckley supporters bumrush the 11Alive live set and get on the 11:00pm newscast. Unfamiliarity with the seven second delay causes much shuffling and frustration. Democrats strangely amused.

*Rev. Lowery is still a sweetheart but its difficult watching legends grow old.

*No fights. No orgies. No dice.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Signs? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Signs!

There are various reports of poll signs still saying PSC candidate Jim Powell is still disqualified despite a judges stay.
Public Service Commission candidate Jim Powell says voters from all over the state are telling him signs noting he was disqualified and votes for him would not be counted were still hanging at the polls as late as 1 p.m. today — almost a full day after a judge told Secretary of State Karen Handel she could not boot him off the ballot.

Just to make the already perverse step a little further on the wild side there are also reports of polling places with absolutely disqualified state Sen. District 36 candidate Eric Underwood on the ballot but with no clarifying signs.

When I endorsed Sec. Handel in 2006, the prime reason was my belief in her administrative abilities. Despite my "defense" of Handel in the Powell affair, I believe this chaos caused by the Secretary's last minute decision to disqualify several candidates requires explanation. Otherwise, all those recent whispers of higher office may wisp away on lost zephyrs.

About As Low As You Can Get

St. Cloud, Fl. businessman Mike Meehan just wants to help Republicans.

To be fair local Republicans have repudiated the billboard and it is the work of one lone douchebag. But still...

Let's Get A Few Things Straight

Karen Handel Is Not Katherine Harris - And this is not 2000. And the PSC sure as hell is not the President Of The US. It would be simple to say Harris is an idiot and leave it at that. But Kitty is also a meglomaniacal, crazy idiot who clearly placed party above policy in such blatant fashion that even hard-core Republicans blanched and in later years left her to wander in the wilderness. Handel, although arguably just as partisan, is far more clever.

Also, despite the wailing, what Handel did was clearly legal. Harris, the Florida Supreme Court and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court actions in 2000 were, to be kind, dead in the gray.

And just to repeat, the PSC is not the President. If you want to make the argument that this is another example of a Republican trodding on long standing traditions of the roles of Constitutional arguments then you've got a winner. If you get overwrought with outlandish rhetoric to the point it turns people off then it will lose steam. Just some friendly advice.

Of Course It Is Partisan - I've only said it three times on my own blog and on several other blogs. Even called it dirty. Some are building a case that it is the latest in a series of partisan moves by Handel and that appears to be a strong argument. That's good! That is absolutely a fair issue and should be used against any future Handel candidacy. Blatant partisanship is pure red meat to independents like myself.

But continuing to ignore where I acknowledge this fact because you perceive I should be more upset is like a cold shower to an independent. The more you compare Handel's move to [insert dictator here], the more likely am I to dismiss your entire argument as the lunacy of the unbalanced.

Powell and the Law - I wrote that piece for two reasons - I have some experience with that system and it is a byzantine area where I believed some clarity for all would be helpful. For that, I was called a "shill for Handel". Thanks. Now, I have another answer when someone ask me why I'm not a Democrat.

UPDATE: And since this is now popping up on the other side's corrals, let me add, saying that there is no possibility of political motivation in Handel's decision is just as stupid as comparing the Secretary of State's office to Iran. You guys are probably going to win and everybody likes a winner. But nobody likes a gloater. A mistake Republicans frequently make.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Powell and the Law

The frenizied howling over Secretary of State Karen Handel's rejection of Democratic PSC candidate Jim Powell continues.

For some of the firebreathers, the rhetoric has moved beyond comparisons to infamous Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to an affinity with third world dictators.

Fueling some of the anger is the apparent weirdness of the situation. So, let's take a layman's look at what the law says and if it answers three of the more popular inquiries.

Why would Handel submit the case to an Administrative Law Judge if she was just going to reject the decision?

Simply put, because the law requires it. O.C.G.A. 21-2-5 states "Upon his or her own motion or upon a challenge being filed, the Secretary of State shall notify the candidate in writing that his or her qualifications are being challenged and the reasons therefor and shall advise the candidate that he or she is requesting a hearing on the matter before an administrative law judge of the Office of State Administrative Hearings pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 50 and shall inform the candidate of the date, time, and place of the hearing when such information becomes available. The administrative law judge shall report his or her findings to the Secretary of State."

Now here is where it gets weird. The law also allows the Secretary to modify or completely reject the Administrative Law Judge's finding. O.C.G.A. 50-13-41(e)(1) states "A reviewing agency shall have a period of 30 days following the entry of the decision of the administrative law judge in which to reject or modify such decision." In this case the "reviewing agency" is the Secretary herself. As strange as it sounds, she doesn't have to abide by anything the ALJ says.

So why have the Administrative hearing at all?

Because that particular hearing is the last place where evidence can be entered into the record. An ALJ has the power to subpoena, call and question witnesses. The hearing is the record of all evidence in the case. Following the hearing, that record is only item reviewed. No further evidence can be entered.

So what's next?

As we saw today, Powell exercised his right to petition the court for a stay. Once again, we return to O.C.G.A. 21-2-5: "The elector filing the challenge or the candidate challenged shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Secretary of State by filing a petition in the Superior Court of Fulton County within ten days after the entry of the final decision by the Secretary of State." Powell was granted the stay and now has the right to a review. There is no jury. There is no one present unless the judge wants them. The judge only reviews the record from the hearing. Critically for Powell, the judge is not allowed to contradict the Secretary of State's determination of the weight of the evidence. In fact, the judge is only allowed to either affirm the decision or remand for further review unless there has been a pretty drastic violation. A reversal is allowed only if the "substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions of the Secretary of State are: In violation of the Constitution or laws of this state; In excess of the statutory authority of the Secretary of State; Made upon unlawful procedures; Affected by other error of law; Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by an abuse of discretion or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion."

Clearly tests 1-4 are not applicable. Test 5 (erroneous view of evidence) is where the Powell case lies and that's going to be a tough row to hoe.

So, the bottom line is what Secretary Handel did could be labelled partisan, even dirty, but based on the evidence so far it certainly was within procedure. And given the fairly high standard for reversal, Powell's chances of remaining on the ballot seem to be slim.

More Primary Stuff

The Atlanta Press Club has video of all the debate held over the weekend.

Check them out here: Atlanta Press Club Debates
Also Democratic PSC candidate Jim Powell whose residency had been challenged has been disqualified by Secretary of State Karen Handel. What makes the Powell case so unusual was an Administrative Law Judged had ruled Powell a legitimate resident of the PSC 4th.

Naturally, Democrats are far from happy about this twist.

The crux of the conflict is in the bowels off residency law OCGA 21-2-27:

Section 14 states: "The specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person's residence address".

But then Section 15 states: "For voter registration purposes, the board of registrars and, for candidacy residency purposes, the Secretary of State, election superintendent, or hearing officer may consider evidence of where the person receives significant mail such as personal bills and any other evidence that indicates where the person resides".

Powell currently has homestead in Cobb County but receives mail and spends a considerable amount of time in his future home of Towns County.

A reading of the Administrative Law Judge's decision shows he deemed the considerable evidence of Powell's time in Towns to overpower the requirement of section 14.

Handel in her overrule stood squarely on section 14 stating Powell could have easily transferred homestead earlier in order to meet the 12 month residency requirement.

Although this particular decision is rare, its kind is not. The bottom line is Handel's decision was probably flavored by partisanship but it is based on an interpretation of the law which is arguably correct. For a politician, being able to snooker opponents while the law stands firmly as a backstop is the ultimate gotcha. It is the way things work in the real world and both sides do it.

Already some are floating comparisons of Katherine Harris. Honestly, some horses need holding here. Handel may be partisan. But she ain't crazy and she ain't incompetent. And the PSC, no matter how dear, sure as hell isn't the President of the United States.

UPDATE: According to comments at Tondee's, a Fulton Superior Court judge has issued a stay and placed Powell back on the ballot. The betting window is now open! Step right up Democrats! I'm even willin to offer odds that Powell will eventually be disqualified.

Loaf has confirmation.

The Endorsements

A reminder of how things work. If it receives an endorsement it means I would vote in that manner. Issues and candidates are viewed through a prism of moderate sensabilities with a bent towards libertarian ideology. Most importantly, the Mule Rule will be generously employed.

Since it's a partisan primary with so few administrative positions or incumbents, the hitching post will likely be spared.

Now, let the blood flow.

Democratic Senate Primary - Vote Josh Lanier. Once the realization you are voting for a sacrificial lamb sinks in, the only rational process is to vote your conscience, your gut or just throw some random limb in the air and see which way it flops. So, let's see what we got. Three way. Cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Underseasoned arrogance. Sweet but dull. And Kinky Friedman. Weird is as weird does. Kinky gets my lever pull.

Dekalb CEO Democratic Primary - Vote Burrell Ellis. There's no Republican opposition so this one's for the whole ball of wax. The bad news is Burrell (it just rolls off the tongue) will likely let the bar hours rollback happen. The good news is he actually shows up to things and he's not Vernon Jones. Stan Watson is an interesting candidate but given the importance of this race and the lack of enthusiasm among the electorate, his penchant for not showing up to the debates is disturbing. Stan, we hardly knew ye. Ann Kimbrough is Vernon Jones Chief of Staff and has the keys to his political machine. Enough said. Ellis despite our differences on the critical issue of the late night drink knows the commission, knows the commissioners and knows how the county runs. Oh well, I guess the Mule Rule is kind of in effect.

10th District Republican Primary - Vote Paul Broun. Jesus. All Jesus, all the time. How Republican is the 10th? The two candidates actually debated over who loved Jesus more. Sources say Jesus was busy elsewhere. Paul Broun is a weird dude. On the one hand he votes for medical marijuana and with the other tries to get Playboy banned on military bases. Well, at least with the Maui Wowey vote he shows a whimper of supporting the individual. Unlike his opponent. So, pull for the strange Doctor from Oconee. Noseplugs will be handed out at the door.

5th District Democratic Primary - Vote John Lewis. If you don't, you are insane.

12th District Democratic Primary - Vote John Barrow. Once I inquired to an insider Democrat on the primary challenges to Barrow and Marsall. The response was "we just want to push him a little". I warned "be careful you don't push him right over to an R". The clincher in this race was a comment at Blog For Democracy stating John Barrow "is one of the most extreme right members of the Congress (in a moderate district)". Okaaaaaaaay. Actually, John Barrow is a moderately conservative Democrat in a moderately conservative district who still votes with his party the vast majority of the time. This vote should favor reality. Always a positive in these parts.

House District 80 Democratic Primary - Vote Keith Gross. Oh wait. Nevermind.

House District 81 Democratic Primary - Vote Chris Huttman. Republican Jill Chambers, even with her district trending Democrat, even with fellow Republicans boiling about her opposition to Dunwoody, will not be beat. However, Huttman gives them a puncher's chance. Besides, anytime some yammering blogger (possibly under the effects of chemicals) begins ranting about this and that, Huttman usually stops by to provide a comfortable straight jacket of facts. We got to support our own, right?

City of Dunwoody - Vote for incorporation. Yes, yes, I know. I've been one of the screaming in the winds prophets against the continued breaking of the Atlanta hegemony. And yes, I understand that the "citizens" of Dunwoody are so caught up in the euphoria of citifying, they don't really understand the risks and the costs of this venture. But the bottom line is Dunwoody, unlike the Frankenstein chimeras of Johns Creek and Milton, actually acts like a city. It has a paper (granted a certain bow-tied Napolean editor will probably profit from newly required legal notices). It argubly has a city core. It has an identity. So, let them have their new set of tinker toys. Later when one gets jammed up a nostril, we can all laugh at the crying.

Did I forget any? There are a shocking number of important elections tomorrow, yet sadly only 30% will vote. Don't be part of the ignorant 70%.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yugoslavia In Forsyth

Now that's funny.

And for the record, I absolutely adore townships. And the fact that a county the size of Forsyth elects commissioners county wide is nothing short of insane.

And this will probably get me accused of being a Democrat again. (Even though many Republicans also support townships)

h/t: Jmac

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things I Missed

Things I missed while snorkling in the the Gulf of Mexico.

Rand Knight pays almost as much for his haircuts as I do.

Keith Gross hangs on but the grim reaper is near. And the crowd goes...on snoozing.

Despite the departure of Three Way, Dekalb refuses exclusion from the weird with the Chris Huttman/Cecilia Hailey hatefest. Thanks to Hailey, I now have an image of Chris in a red dress stuck in my head.

And not wanting to be left out, the Republicans started their own fray.

Local TV news is still the best entertainment in town. In a can't stop watching a train wreck kinda way.

And finally, as I lazed in the warm Gulf waters, worried harpoons might start flying at my pale white belly, I realized I completely forgot about the Statesboro Herald Senate Debate. Well, none of you went either so pbffttttt! (Flack did watch it on the intertubes though)

Now, y'all come back Monday for the 100% guaranteed (we just ain't sayin' what we guantee) griftdrift endorsements.

Until then, there's stupiding to do.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Goin' South

Scallops are in season and I'm heading down 75. See you when I get back...maybe.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My Morning Wooten

Game over, man.

Jim argues for another term of an actual Bush. Not the philosophical extra term flogged by Obama. An additional term by someone named Bush with similar policies as the current Bush.

Is there anything left to write?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday Stupids

Brother can you spare a stupid?

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Solemn Moment

232 years later, the solemnity of that one crucial moment, the birth of something completely new, echoes still.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Disappearing In The Night

A little over one week ago, upstart Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Rand Knight received the endorsement from the Georgia Association of Educators. Given Knight's relative underdog status, the blessing of one of the Democratic Party's cornerstone constiuencies surprised many.

Two days ago, a prominent Georgia blog reported a story claiming Democratic Party of Georgia officials subsequently pressured members of the GAE selection committee to retract the endorsement. The story claimed the information was provided by anonymous sources and gave no additional confirmation. It was then cross-posted on a prominent Republican leaning blog.

The following day, the story was picked up by a prominent Democratic blog but the entry was later updated to include an alledged denial by once again anonymous sources within the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Sometime between Wednesday night and the wee hours of the morning of July 3rd, without any explanation, all traces of the original stories disappeared.

UPDATES: DPG official Martin Matheny states any allegations of the party attempting to influence the GAE to retract an endorsement are false. He also states he does not know the reason the stories were removed but suspects the authors realized it was important to only print the truth.

Also, Georgia Politics Unfiltered, the blog which published the original story, has printed a full retraction and apology.

My Hometown Headlines

Not dead, just intoxicated

A Moultrie woman called police on Tuesday, thinking there might be a dead body in her yard. As it turned out, it was her intoxicated grandson who was charged by police after he refused to cooperate with them.

Full story here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rep. Hank Johnson Interview

Videos abound!

Our friend and fellow "Conscientious Objector in the Culture War" Will Hinton interviewed 4th District Congressman Hank Johnson.

Above is Part I. Mark sure you follow the link and check out the rest.

Huge Registration Numbers

Republicans can't be happy about this.
The number of Georgia voters has increased by 300,000 since the first of the year, with more than 4.7 million people on the active rolls for the July 15 primary, according to data released Tuesday.
Could conditions number 3 and 4 actually happen?

Not according to Rasmussen. But still...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dekalb CEO Debate

There's an important race on July 15 and it's not for U.S. Senate.

In the past 24 years, Dekalb County has had exactly three Chief Executive Officers. An extremely powerful but controversial position, many talk of altering or even eliminating the position in favor of a more traditional county chair. Yet, it is difficult to argue with that kind of stability. Once a CEO is elected, they tend to stay.

Since there is no Republican opposition in this race, the Democratic Primary will determine the County's next poobah. And no one seems to care.

Rusty of Georgia Podcast Network attended the recent CEO debate between candidates Burrell Ellis, Ann Kimbrough, Joe Bembry and Steen Miles (Stan Watson did not attend) and provides video of the entire event.

Above is the segment on the critical issue of the police funding. You can find the rest at Georgia Podcast Network. Watch. Learn. Choose wisely.

Songs In My Head