Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace Be With You


Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools ~Martin Luther King's "A Christmas Sermon On Peace"


I believe I've stirred the pot enough this week. In the words of the immortal Charlie Gearhart, "peace be with you".

Your regular snarkmaster will return next week with the Top Ten Blog Stories of the Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Evolution Of How They See Us

"I'm not a journalist". It is the karmic shield Erick Erickson uses to defend his continued spew of rumor and innuendo. Rumor? Good enough if it matches the agenda. Verification? Why bother. Consequences? What's that.

And why should he bother? His methods seem to work in his favor.

Time to update the timeline:

February 2007 - Georgia Public Broadcasting's Susanne Capaluto states she would never quote a blogger.

June 2007 - Athens Banner Herald editor Jim Thompson declares mainstream's use of real names creates credibility

December 2007 - Athens Banner Herald's Blake Aued says "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 2008 - Creative Loafing Editor Ken Edelstein questions how anyone can trust an anonymous blogger

April 2009 - Athens Banner Herald editor Jim Thompson says "In the end, then, whatever the media platform, what it means to be a journalist today is what it always has meant...It's not a matter of training...It's a matter of trust"

May 2009 - For the first time, the Atlanta Journal Constitution links to a non-professional non-political local blog - DecaturMetro

June 2009 - The AJC links without attribution to...TMZ

July 2009 - Jim Galloway comes to the stunning conclusion that Peach Pundit is not a journalistic outfit. Also, the first time "Erick Erickson does not consider himself a journalist" appears in print.

August 2009 - That stunning revelation does not prevent Galloway from linking to a Peach Pundit story about a "Draft Jane Kiddman" website. Despite the author's notoriety as a hyperbolic troublemaker and Jim's own recent discovery that Peach Pundit was not 'journalistic", the top political reporter in the state says the story should be "taken seriously".

December 2009 - With little possibility of verification, Erick publishes lurid details of an alleged affair involving the Lt. Governor of the state of Georgia. No sources. No evidence. Just what he's heard.

Less than two weeks later - Peach Pundit is called a must read by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a local TV reporter. Blake Aued tells readers to go to Peach Pundit for coverage of the Capitol chaos.

A question for my journalist readers - are you proud we've reached this point?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Stupids


Ho Ho Ho

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Morning Wooten

We've got a whopper today.
Linking Ga. 400 north of Atlanta to I-675 on the south by tunneling, and making it a toll road, is a cracker-jack idea. It’s one of the top toll projects the state Department of Transportation is pitching to private investors and road-construction companies. But watch how quickly opponents will inject race, a staple of Atlanta policy-making. Already, it’s cast that way because the tunnel would go under old, established neighborhoods and then surface south of I-20 “where demographic data show the population is less wealthy and less white.” Ah, Atlanta. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?
A cracker jack idea. I'm sure it is for those intent on shaving 15 minutes off their ride to the airport but don't give two damns about anything inside the perimeter unless they are chattering over a performance at Chastain or visiting Grady following another horrific wrapping of a too fast car around a tree by their precious teenager.

But that' not what really stands out is it? Jim's final question squats there like a three day dead frog ready to explode in a shower of rotten innards.

To find an answer let us time travel to 40 years ago.

It was a time when Atlanta's population was just creeping past one million, the current location of Gwinnett Place Mall was a cow pasture and the region was on the verge of creating a world class public transit system. Instead, due to fears of a "bad element" reaching their suburban enclaves, the counties of Gwinnett, Clayton and Jim's favorite, Cobb, opted to not join the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Today, instead of a robust adult public transportation system on par with other major cities, we are left with the equivalent of a lobotomized teenager drooling in the corner.

So, yes. Let's ponder that question deep and long. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Into The Ethical Woods - The Final Word


If these things don't happen, I'll have egg on my face and I'll probably deserve it ~griftdrift, 12-7-009

On the day I wrote the Cagle story, my number of visitors nearly tripled. The following day, even though I did not write a word, I still received nearly double my normal visitors.

This is a conundrum.

Erick Erickson reported the story as fact, providing lurid details that I did not. Yet, he still receives information from insiders and is linked to by the major dailies who proclaim Peach Pundit as a "must read" .

This is also a conundrum.

We deal in a world of devils. Political operatives use us. Many of us use them right back. It is an elegant dance of give and take based on the belief that everyone can win. As long as everyone follows the appropriate steps, no one cares who leads, for everyone believes they lead.

To understand the nature of the dance, one has to understand the motivation of the dancers. Some wish to get their message published. Some wish to destroy their enemies. Some seek influence. Some seek prestige. Some seek cold hard cash.

All I have ever sought was the story. And this time I didn't get it.

It won't happen again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Shocking Number

When I left the Georgia Department of Labor, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (the big pot of money from which unemployment claims are paid) was approaching $2 billion. Georgia's fund was consistently rated one of the best managed and its size even allowed Commissioner Michael Thurmond and the legislature to pass one of the largest tax cuts in Georgia history. For years, many employers did not pay one red cent of UI tax.

Today, the trust fund is $25 million.

That's million with an M instead of billion with a B. The DOL has paid out $1.6 billion in claims this year, forcing Commissioner Thurmond to request a loan from the Feds.

We may be numb to month after month of declining revenue numbers, but dropping the word billion for the word million - that should wake anyone up.

Predictions Surely To Be Wrong

My batting average is usually more Ted Simmons than Ted Williams, but I have been on a bit of a hot streak lately.

Predictions Surely To Be Wrong:

Larry O'Neal will be the next Speaker of the House - Despite the chirping of the bloggeratti, the status quo usually wins and O'Neal is as status quo as status quo can get.

Nathan Deal will drop out of the Governor race - Let's see, what happens when you combine no name recognition with anemic fundraising and a brewing ethics complaint? Oh yeah. You duck and cover as fast as you can. What this means for Tom Graves campaign in the 9th, no one knows.

And John Oxendine won't be far behind - Numbers stalled. And now this. He'll bow up and fight for a while but eventually all these ethics body blows will take the wind out of him.

Eric Johnson will survive for now - He always survives and he'll slip through the current crap storm relatively stain free. However, when the rubber hits the road or rather the grease hits the palm, Johnson won't have enough of the green Crisco to fry the bacon. Which leaves...

Karen Handel will be the Republican nominee - It's a good time to be a constitutional officer not named Oxendine. Handel isn't even in the same neighborhood as the current Republican mess. Welcome to the Democrat's worst nightmare. Because although they won't admit it in public, they all know their history. And history shows that all Madame Secretary has ever done is win.

#1 On My Top Ten Blog Stories Of The Year won't be hard to guess - Number 1 was pretty clear until about three weeks ago. Look for the list to start dribbling out of my brain over the next week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travesty



Today the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame were announced and once again the greatest cultural influence Canada has ever produced was ignored.

Until Rush is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all else is travesty.

Politics returns shortly.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Into The Ethical Woods - The Challenge

Last night, a voice from on high, issued a challenge and placed an unexpected burden on me. It boiled down to "do better".

A moment of anger passed into the realization the voice (combined with the advice of another more personal voice) was right. It is not enough to admit your standards slipped - action is required.

You don't need me to provide you the latest update on the hijinks at the Gold Dome Delta Chi House. There are plenty of places to rock your jollies on the latest rumor and innuendo.

Instead, unless there is a breaking news where I am compelled to respond, I'll leave that mess to others. Instead, I'll focus my writing on the ethical issues new (and old) media face in this turbulent period.

First up will be the "temptation of easy traffic". Look for it soon.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Into The Ethical Woods - Griftdrift Edition


I've been bothered all day.

On the personal side, you may have noticed, I've been stepping further away from politics lately. A combination of shifting priorities and the sheer ugliness is driving me away from my favorite past time. It has been a quiet relinquishment - a slow break up.

But like a moth to the flame the Richardson story followed now by the possible Cagle story sucked me back in. What today has taught me is I do not like these stories. I wish I could rend the flesh of my prey the way my idol did back in the day, but I just don't have it in me. These are real people - not pieces on a political chess board as some would have. The universe has balance and I believe it does not take kindly to those who attempt to rise by climbing a pile of bodies.

As a writer, I've entered murky territory. In the past, I have prided myself that I've only published stories that I believed would stand up to scrutiny by the professional reporting class. Now, I find myself publishing a story no one on that side of the fence appears eager to touch (at least not yet). I know they've got it. I know they have everything I have and probably more.

Here's the fact which cannot be casually passed - even though I argue that a non-professional can report a story accurately and with relevance, there is a difference between a blog seen by a few hundred people daily and a media outlet that is seen by tens of thousands if not millions. I have the power to be an annoyance. They have the power to bring down a government. You have to respect this reality.

Dozens of times today, I've questioned if I should have published. My conclusion is although I may have dipped below my usual standards and certainly the standards of the professional class, there is fire beneath that smoke.

Bottom line - I stand by what I wrote.

To those in places of power who I know are regular readers, if you think I'm wrong, I'll be glad to hear it (off the record of course). You know how to reach me.

If you, my other readers, do not think this is correct or moral or professional, you have the same choices which have always been available - chastise me publicly, chastise me privately, continue reading but think less of me or stop reading all together. It is the risk I take every time I apply word to virtual paper and one which will not daunt me from facing the heat and light future stories may bring.

The Casey Cagle Rumors


In the past, I have chastised Erick Erickson for his predilection to rumor monger - particularly on matters involving Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. Today, I will not.

An alleged dalliance by Cagle has rumbled around the state for nine months, but Erick deserved previous vilification because there was little chance of confirmation of the story and I believed his motive was political. One of these reasons may remain true, the other likely will not.

Here's why.

On March 20, 2009, I received a tip from a trusted source that a rumor was circulating the Gold Dome about a staff member interrupting Lt. Governor Cagle while engaged in a certain activity with a female staffer. Knowing I had little possibility of confirming this story myself, I sent a note to a veteran political journalist. After some investigating, he replied "the rumor is afoot" but neither of us could get much further.

As the summer passed into fall, the rumor persisted but no one could get confirmation. Then more details leaked out. Still no one would go on record and no one could find the primary source. However, the fact that I heard additional details (including names) from multiple sources and these details never varied was all but verification.

Recently, another trusted source indicated that the local media finally had the story and for reasons unexplained spiked it at the last minute. However, this person clearly thought it was going to out. Probably this week.

So there it is. I won't go into further details (I believe the regular media will soon enough anyway) without additional confirmation. Erick and I have different standards and I believe our readers judge us accordingly.

However, no longer will there be chastisement on this particular issue - for I believe the story Erick tells is essentially true.

CORRECTION: Small change. I said intern when I meant staff. This was simply a case of mind working faster than keyboard. But it was already affecting discussions in the comment section and I regret the error.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Saturday Stupids


Come down to the Carp Circles reading room

Friday, December 04, 2009

My Morning Wooten



Steaming.
Barack Obama is a text-message president. His speeches have no particular foundation in anything that precedes or follows. In his West Point address, for example, he accused the former administration of denying or ignoring requests for more troops. “Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the re-emergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive,” he speechified. Responded former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “Such a bald misstatement, at least as it pertains to the period I served as secretary of defense, deserves a response. I am not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006.”
Is there no sense of outrage left on Marietta St? How about just plain honesty? Is the new policy that Jim Wooten gets to print anything he wants without accuracy or context? Does anyone even give a damn any more?

To understand why I am so furious watch the video. Not only was Shinsheki's request not granted but he was canned.

(And I understand his request was Iraq and not Afghanistan, but if you try to make that argument, understand that I will consider you just as dishonest in your reasoning as the revered Jim Wooten. Once upon a time we were told to not support a President in time of war was un-american. Things never change - except when they do)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Who Benefits?

We know the ones who are trembling like possums in a room full of cats. But will anyone benefit from the Capitol cluster conflagration?

There's one who might.

From the Barrow Journal reporting on Karen Handel talk with county Republicans:
In 2003, Handel was elected chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners... “At my first meeting, I faced a $100 million budget deficit, a proposed three mil tax increase and a democratic majority,” she said...Despite these obstacles, Handel avoided increasing taxes, balanced the budget and implemented stringent ethics laws. (emphasis mine)
The 2003 Fulton Chair race may now be the "Rosetta Stone" for the 2010 Republican Primary.

The Politics Of Rue


To make a proper roux, you need two things - lots of stirring and lots of heat. Much care must be given to this frantic combination lest you get burned by the spatter.

The slow simmer for Georgia Republicans began three weeks ago with the suicide attempt of Speaker Glenn Richardson. All seemed to reset as political types of all stripe gracefully uttered words of sympathy and understanding. Richardson emerged from the dark cloud and even began making public appearances. To the political junkies, the episode surely appeared odd but without much legs.

Then along came Susan.

The Speaker's ex-wife kept her silence for three years. Then, for reasons not fully explained, she clinically laid out to WAGA's Dale Russell her perspective of years of bullying, manipulation and infidelity. And she had a paper trail. The former Mrs. Richardson possessed text messages where the Speaker threatened to bring down johnny law on her head and emails detailing a torrid of an affair with a former employee of Atlanta Gas & Light.

We all hear rumors and tales of rutting and ruination from the gold dome. They blister out of those hallowed halls like a cold sore outbreak at the prom. They make great fodder for booze soaked conversations between insiders but as a wizened beat reporter once said, "it's there but we ain't never gonna nail it down".

The explosive nature of the Richardson affair with its witness willing to discuss the madness while showering the media with physical evidence has everyone wondering if a game change is afoot. Rumors of unique methods of adjusting certain pieces of apparel and of the one that lives over in that part of town and the one that is kept a couple of hundred miles out of town are now mentioned openly.

As the heat continues to rise, the ones watching the pot are stirring as fast as they can. And the ones who fear the boil and burn are frantically dodging and ducking the stick of the spit and spatter of the rue.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Strangest Day Ever?

12-1-09. Next time you think things can't get any weirder, remember that date.

Atlanta elected a new mayor and it wasn't even close to the top story. Not even locally. Why?

Republicans scurried behind close doors to determine the fate of politically wounded leader Glenn Richardson. Two news outlets reported his resignation was imminent. In typical Richardson manner, his people immediately fired back with a "nu uh". Yet, still this morning Republican insiders are saying it's going to happen. (And I ain't even going to get into that "other shoe about to drop" Erick mentioned)

President Obama gave a speech about sending more troops to Afghanistan which resulted in Democrats whining about a "war President" (when this is exactly what Obama told them over a year ago he would do) and Republicans plumbed new depths of cognitive dissonance by calling it isolationism. And you thought the partisanship in the Atlanta Mayor's race was screwy.

Speaking of affairs, the most famous man in the world has been caught not only in one affair, but now two (maybe three, maybe infinity) and even better than Richardson's ex, this one has tape! If you haven't heard the voice mail, let's just say it is devestating.

Oh.

And Atlanta elected a mayor. Maybe. Maybe not.

It's like the entire world took a big huff of glue yesterday.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Day That Had To Come



Like all things in life, knew it had to come. Wish it didn't but it did. Watch the clip. That was Doak back in the day before it became about "the run". Open ended with "high school" stands on either end. My seats were in the north end zone. 1976 was his first year. 1977 was mine.

Dadgummit, Bobby. Can't say it without tears.

The Speaker And Those Emails


On the most recent episode of the Georgia Politics Podcast, I said, "we'll have a big emotional first day and the Speaker will be re-elected". Politics is fluid and I've never been shy to say I was wrong. The winds are whispering in my ear that I misread this one.

What I did not anticipate was Speaker Richardson's ex-wife providing a blistering tell-all interview to the media. An aside here. I do not blame Susan Richardson. She kept her silence for nearly three years and now a whisper campaign is being born that would cast her in the role of villain. In the politics of the personal, the best defense is a good offense.

But the salacious details of her revelation are not the smoking gun here. If that stack of emails Dale Russell now holds contains what we all think they contain, the Speaker is toast.

UPDATE: Erick is a rumormonger and there's only so far I trust him. But when it comes to knowing the state GOP, he usually isn't far off. He says the text messages (i.e. the ones where the Speaker allegedly threatened his then wife) are real.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Atlanta Mayor's Race - The Morning Line

The final morning line!

How weird can it get, bubba? This weird. The candidate who was a delegate to a Republican convention is being called a progressive and the candidate who has the backing of the Democratic Party of Georgia is being called a Republican. Nobody knows what the GBLT community will do. And everybody's stealing yard signs.

Hang on, Mable! The final twist might be a doozy!

Your final line. Things tighten up a bit as Norwood has finally started to make some noise. All eyes will be focused on turnout in the Post 6 Commission race. But don't let anyone fool you into believing they know what the hell they are talking about. (A reminder. This is a football line, therefore the favorite has the negative number)

Kasim Reed: -1.0
Mary Norwood: +1.0

Over/Under on turnout: 32,000

Wager wisely and if your are breathing citizen inside the city limits of the ATL, please vote.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winging On Kyle

Global warming. Again. Kyle is in a froth over the stolen CRU emails currently causing the "we don't need no stinking global warming" crowd to spasm in orgasmic glee.

Instead of going point by point over Kyle's rehashing of tired arguments (we're cooling, Al Gore exaggerates, blah blah blah), I would point out that his frame of reference for a good summary is Powerline. Enough said.

But I will take a moment to point out a comment which shows why I think global warming "skeptics" should pause about whose company they keep.
It’s good to see someone at the AJC paying attention to this. AGW, as John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel put it, is the “greatest scam in history.” (Personally I believe that title belongs to Darwinian Evolution, but that’s just me.)
If it walks like a creationist and talks like a creationist...it's hard to avoid the reality that the tactics of people like Lord Christopher Monckton (also lauded by Kyle) mirrors those used for the past 40 years by creationists.

And I have to take a friend to task.
As someone who remembers “dangerous global cooling” that was forced on my elementary school class in the late 70’s – and for the same reason that global warming was pushed in the 90’s – and global “change” is pushed today – I very much doubt the arguments from the left on this topic.
My dear friend, Icarus. It's been covered thousands of times including several on this blog but the only way to defeat this zombiefied myth is to keep beating it back into its grave.

There was no global cooling threat. The entire myth is based on an article in a mainstream magazine. The magazine based their screed on a single paper that was explaining the cooling period in the 40s. When they saw the popular version of their research, the paper's authors were horrified and quick to point out that in no way were the predicting an imminent ice age.

Global warming on the other hand is backed by reams of peer reviewed work and the consensus of 10,000+ climatologist.

Big difference. So until the next time this little nasty pops up its head...

Virtual Mayor's Forum

The Committee For A Better Atlanta is hosting a virtual forum today with the the mayoral candidates as well as others in next Tuesday's runoff.

The event is from 4:30pm to 7:00pm.

Drop by here for more information.

Originally I had not planned to attend but it appears I'll be able to make it. Wonder what I'll ask...

Here's the approximate schedule of candidate appearances:

4:30 pm Kasim Reed
4:45 pm Amir Faroki
5:00 pm Clair Muller
5:15 pm Ceasar Mitchell
5:30 pm Mary Norwood
5:45 pm Liz Coyle
6:00 pm Alex Wan
6:15 pm Aaron Watson

If you have any questions you would like asked, feel free to leave them in the comments.

UPDATE: Due to my work proxy I can't get into the chat to ask a question so you're on your own. But it's a pretty cool deal. Maria Saporta is asking the questions and you definitely should check it out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Georgia Politics Podcast Episode 23

The podcast is back!

Jason, Catherine, Rusty, Joseph and myself revive the Georgia Politics Podcast with an episode ranging from the Atlanta Mayoral race to the saga of Glenn Richardson.

Listen here.

It's a good one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saxby's Georgia: Atlanta, The Mountains and Moultrie


Oh jeez. National Geographic asked Senators to submit a hand drawn map of their home state and Saxby Chambliss (R-My Hometown) pulled out a sharpie and a napkin or something for an easel.

I suppose I should be happy our mutual hometown is so dear to his heart.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Behind The Scenes In the APN/ Reed Battle

As we approach the final lap of the 2009 Atlanta Mayoral Race, tempers travel where they wont and usually arrive in the land of hyperbolic outrage.

It is no secret Atlanta Progressive News has targeted the campaign of the Kasim Reed. In the past week, APN's Matthew Cardinale published stories accusing Reed campaign workers of stealing yard signs and running whisper campaigns against Norwood supporters. APN also endorsed Reed's opponent Mary Norwood.

In return, he has drawn fire from members of Atlanta's blog community and from Creative Loafing's Scott Henry. Not one to shy away from conflict, Cardinale fired back accusing Henry of "waxing right wing".

Last Friday, Cardinale sent an email to a high ranking member of Reed's campaign, copying supporters on the Norwood side, with accusations of theivery, false witness and a general lack of integrity. Cardinale confirmed he authored the email stating, " If I had known you would help publicize, I would've copied you sooner".

The missive does not start lightly.
The fact is you have no credibility anymore. And when I asked you about those yardsigns, you knew EXACTLY whose car it was. That means you're a liar, xxxxx. And you said you'd fire the person, but he still works at the campaign. How does it make you feel to be a liar? How can you even look at yourself in the mirror? Look at what you've become.
After recounting some of the previous accusations, Mr. Cardinale seems to express disappointment.
I actually thought you were a good person. I actually thought you had some integrity.
He concludes with the ultimate political gig - selling that which should not be sold.
You should be ashamed of yourself xxxxx. Maybe you'll land a PR job with a big bank or the insurance industry next--you're just what they're looking for--someone willing to say anything, no matter who they're hurting, no matter what the truth is. You've sold your soul- I hope it was a good price.
Politics is local and many times personal. Often players in the game, stoked by the fury of the moment, allow passions to consume reason and issues. And some appear to have no inclination to back down. In fact, it might be said some relish the immersion into the flames.

(Editor's note: The name of the recipient of the email has been redacted as they have been contacted but have not provided a response at this time. If a response is forthcoming it will be reported ~gd)

A Point Of View But Fair


A point of view but fair. It could be the organically evolved creed of this three year exploration of citizen journalism.

Long have I held the view that media as a whole is shackled by the unattainable goal of "objective reporting". (Having said that, before the furies of old world media descend, there is still a need for objective journalism, but it is part of the equation, not the whole.) The concept is now warped by 24-hour news cycles with powers-that-be seeking the modern day version of a live apartment fire. Readers and viewers, with some arrogance, spout the endless mantra of "just report the facts and let us decide" then scurry as quickly as possible to the latest report of a blonde girl snatched up by a crazed fanatics who force acts of debasement found only in the deepest recesses of the psychotic soul. We bathe ourselves in filth, then complain the news givers never provide cleansing water.

Objective reporting has its place but so does non-objective reporting and how we deal with the consequences of injecting the first person will determine if the form can be elevated or is relegated to an eternal mud wrestle with the Nancy Graces.

In my own world of first person reporting, I certainly do not hide my perspective but in order to maintain fairness, I've stood by three basic rules:

1. Research
2. Quote accurately
3. Give the other side a chance to respond

To the professional journalist, these are as familiar as shoes and socks. In our world, we still have a ways to go.

Monday, the admittedly biased Atlanta Progressive News released a "story" with "community reaction" to its previous story which reported mayoral candidate Kasim Reed's work as an attorney with Holland & Knight defending Cracker Barrel in a wage dispute case. APN noted Cracker Barrel's previous history of involvement in racial discrimination cases and noted the NAACP filed an amicus brief in the wage case. The tenuous connections of race to a non-racial issue caused lawyer blogger Going Through The Motions to brutally dissect APN's research and assertions.

APN's Matthew Cardinale defends his piece claiming that "we made it very clear that the Cracker Barrel case had to do with a wage dispute". He also noted the article clearly points to a separate race discrimination case. Although, he never clearly states it, Cardinale clearly claims the article was fair.

But was it? Let's apply my three rules.

1. Research - Shoddy at best. Obfuscating at worse. After giving great detail in the wage case, including the arguably irrelevant facts of Cracker Barrel's history of involvement in racial discrimination cases and the involvement of the NAACP, Cardinale points to a single case of alledged racial discrimination against a real estate firm. No details on the allegations or the conclusion. In the follow up article, once again quotes regarding Cracker Barrel are extensive, but no specifics about the second case. Perhaps, because there were no specifics.

2. Quote accurately - The whole of the quotes are in the follow up community reaction piece. We assume they are accurate since no one disputes them. Which leads us to...

3. When confronted with the lack of response from the Reed camp, Cardinale stated, "I've been doing this (APN) now for 4 years and usually have a good idea of when a PR department is going to respond, and when they aren't. So, I just didn't want to waste my time, nor my readers' time." Zero effort was made at giving the other side an opportunity to respond.

You might give a pass on the first - although it can certainly be viewed as selective research used to color the sky a particular shade of blue. There isn't much problem with the second. But the third - that sin is so dire it should never pass. A commenter claiming to be a journalist laid out the real world consequences of such a transgression, "I'd more than likely be fired. Maybe if I'm lucky I'd just be docked a week's pay".

I'm not bold enough to say my rules should apply to all. To each their own and let the readers decide what to believe and what is fair.

But if you can't follow these basic rules, then you should never get close to using the "j" word. And you're really quite a peacock if you attach some hopped up, unearned title like "News Editor" to your name.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Morning Line - Atlanta Mayor's Race

We're down to the two candidates and this means the Morning Line changes it's methodology. Instead of a Horse Race parimutuel set of odds, we now shift to football game style "line". For those not familiar with the concept, a minus means the team is favored, a plus means the team is an underdog. The line will be set at what I believe to be the eventual margin of victory at the polls. Wager wisely.

Kasim Reed (-1.5) : Reed's late momentum in the "primary" appears to continue as according to the WXIA poll he is now in a statistical dead heat with Norwood. Combined with his recent endorsements by former foe Lisa Borders and the unions, Reed is the clear favorite.

Mary Norwood (+1.5): Where, oh where is Mary? Norwood desperately need to regain momentum and having odd press conferences is not going to saddle the horse. She needs a big splash or we could see the spread grow.

Finally, I don't do "endorsements" for races where I cannot vote, but I will say these thoughts reflect my own.
Kasim Reed holds a unique position in this pivotal point in time. He has the respect of two distinct and distant constituencies who are both integral to the future growth and success of the City. Worst case scenario, it is four more years of status quo while the forces for change are able to recruit a better candidate. But if Kasim is to live up to his challenge, he is the person best suited to bring all parties to the table, and set a course for Atlanta to work with the surrounding region and not against it.
Place your bets.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Franklin Ready For A Fight


It's been a while since we've ventured into the fetid swamp that is the mind of Rep. Bobby Franklin's (R-The Other Side Of Mars).

Jeff at SWGa Politics captured the above facebook posting where bombastic Bobby appears to advocate armed insurrection right here in the grand ol' state of Georgia.

Many years ago, when I signed on as a state employee, I was required to take an oath avowing that I was not a communist and had no desire to overthrow the government. It was a quaint, archaic ritual which meant little to a south Georgia boy desperate for a job.

I'm not sure if state employees are still forced through the same weird process, but wouldn't it be an odd world where an hourly file clerk has to swear to all that's holy he won't storm the Capitol steps but a man who squats in its innards 40 days a year can call for spilt blood?

Crist And Jeb?

Daniel Larison of the American Conservative asks a reasonable question.
In policy, Crist is hard to distinguish from the tradition of former Gov. Jeb Bush, who angered a lot of conservatives with his liberalizing views on immigration but who has otherwise been widely respected and admired by many rank-and-file conservatives. Obviously, I am far removed from both Bush and Crist, so this does not recommend Crist to me, but what makes Crist the unacceptable “moderate” in the minds of movement activists that does not similarly tar Jeb Bush?
It's quite simple. When conducting a witch hunt, it is important to ignore the plank in order to spike the speck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Compare and contrast.

A conservative writes a thoughtful essay about not rushing to judgment on the Ft. Hood shootings and its larger implications.

A "so-called" conservative writes an essay filled with leaps of logic and heaps of talk radio screech.

In the deranged world of Jim Wooten, President Obama calling our service men and women "valiant" shows a "disconnect" and exposes his lack of understanding about true "valor". His own brothers and sisters in the press reporting what they are being told by sources and witnesses on the ground (you know, the actual job of the press) is just more evidence of the press colluding with a liberal, anti-war agenda.

In Jim-land, those like his fellow witch burners Erick Erickson who boldly proclaim minutes after the fact and with no real knowledge of the event that we had suffered a terrorist attack are the truth-tellers and worthy of admiration. The President and those he toiled with in the news trenches for decades? Not so much.

AJC - why don't you just reprint the garbage spewed on WorldNetDaily or the Hannity show. It would be more honest. Probably cost effective too.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Perspective

Take five minutes today and read this.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Git The Stimulus Tar And Feathers!



Fresh off their "victory" in NY-23 the Club For Growth is venturing down to Florida.

Their problem with centrist Charlie Crist? He was fer the stimulus. Well, you see that just won't do, cuz any good libertarian was agin the stimulus.

Charlie's sin gives these "conservative" leaders no choice but to tacitly endorse "liberty" loving lovable theocrat Marco Rubio.

Remember this lesson well, chilluns. When it comes to the gummint spending money, you must be ideologically pure. Even if it means you just git all plain squishy on things like personal freedom, science and all those other "side issues".

Money matters. The rest of the things government does to screw us? Not so much.

Video via Jason Pye

The Evolving Blog

Andrew Sullivan nails it.
It's a clearing house for views and ideas and videos and art and argument and anecdote and reporting that create a community of discourse. It's as much your blog now as mine. The posts from readers are just as informative and often more enlightening than my own. Yes, I'm still writing or editing or approving almost every post, but the flow of conversation increasingly leads me, rather than my directing it. As I've noted before, I'm more of a DJ now than a traditional writer. The Dish is always sampling, re-mixing and generating its own music in the interaction with others.
This evolution is why I think, although they are no longer the kingpins of social meda, blogs will never go away.

It also reminds me that despite all my new found commitments, I need to get bloggy with it. I'm working on a couple of pieces about the mayor's race and hopefully will have them up before I flee for the country tomorrow.

Lisa Borders Supported Micro-loans?

Who knew Lisa Borders supported micro-loans? Well, Kasim Reed did and according to the Political Insider, he used it this morning on V-103 as a not-so-subtle come hither attempt at Border's endorsement.
She talked about making small loans – certainly to women-owned businesses, and small businesses, to really get them [on] their feet. They don’t need $100,000 to start a business. They may need $10,000 and $15,000 or $20,000 to start that small business.
If you've read the Drift for any length of time, you know that I am a big fan of micro-loans. And I think I can safely say I paid attention more than the average bear to the recent race. And this is absolutely the first I've heard about this.

How much would have Borders blunted the "too developer friendly" tag if she had shot back with a "let me tell you how I'm going to help small business"?

More evidence to support Scott Henry's thesis that one of the reasons Lisa Borders failed so spectacularly is no one knew exactly what the hell she represented.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fearless Predictions Sure To Be Wrong!

Mary Norwood will not get a majority and will face Kasim Reed in a runoff.

Hoffman will easily win NY-23.

Erick Erickson will be a pompous ass today.

Actually, I'm pretty damned sure 2 of those 3 will play out. I leave you to figure which ones.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I Want The Truth


Flush with victory over the evil DeDe Scozzafava, The Witches Hammer opines in Politico on how NRCC Chair Pete Sessions and RNC Chair Michael Steele have strayed from the one true way.
Their “level of disingenuousness ... is disgusting,” Erickson said.
With the NY-23 sideshow out of the way, the big event is about to happen - the Florida Senate race between establishment candidate Charlie Crist and tea party darling Marco Rubio.

Erick pining for Republican truth to power on the eve of the big show brings up old questions.

In May, Erick asked his question.
Will we go with tanned, telegenic tax hikers with dubious personal issues, or young, telegenic conservative reformers who are not afraid to speak up for freedom?
Then, I asked my question.
Exactly what are these "personal issues", Erick? Is he corrupt? Perhaps, he takes kickbacks? Stuffed some ballot boxes? Kills kittens in his spare time?
We both know the answer, but Erick steadfastly refuses to say it aloud.

It makes one wonder how someone can label others "disingenous" when he himself finds talking straight most difficult.

Atlanta Mayor's Race - The Morning Line

Is this the final morning line? Will we have a runoff? With Mary Norwood showing solidly in the 40s in every poll, the likelihood of a runoff decreases, lengthening the odds to even. Given this strange last minute shift of the winds, The Morning Line returns to the meta question of who will be the next mayor.

Mary Norwood (4-5): Norwood gets out and out attacked by the DPG and is attacked under the covers by a mysterious "GOP" robo-call. Good politics if it swings the numbers towards Reed and generates a runoff. Bad politics if it stirs up a hornet's nest including firing up one of the fiercest progressives in the state.

Kasim Reed (2-1): Kasim attacked Mary in the weekend TV wars and positioned himself as the only "Democrat" in the race. Will it be enough? The "machine" needs a last lurching lunge.

Lisa Borders (7-1): Fading fast. Only hope is to sneak into the runoff then play the low turnout numbers.

Jesse Spikes (75-1): Everybody loves Jesse but it never shows up in the polls. Here's hoping he doesn't give up, because he certainly intrigues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Democrats On The Mayors Race


It started with a spilled box of legos. The audience tittered; some probably thinking they had seen an unfortunate omen, some a symbol of the last year, some both. ~griftdrift, 2007

It took them a while, but they've started acting like Democrats.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spock Beard Day



The episode introduces the alternate reality "
Mirror Universe" concept in Star Trek for the first time. The episode has a transporter mishap swapping Captain Kirk and his companions with their evil counterparts in a parallel universe. In the so-called Mirror Universe, the Enterprise is a ship of the Terran Empire rather than the United Federation of Planets, promotions are earned by assassination, and Mr. Spock has a goatee. ~Wikipedia Entry for "Mirror, Mirror"


Yesterday, I called Jim Wooten reasonable.

Icarus recommended everyone read Jay Bookman.

Today, Erick Erickson advocated rail.

Welcome to the mirror universe.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Reasonable Jim returns and I'm glad for it. Doesn't mean we're going to sip lemonade on the porch and speak only kind words.

Instead of cribbing his essay as usual, I will summarize that Jim argues the so-called "commuter tax" bandied about at the last Mayor debate would have a deleterious effect on the city of Atlanta.

And he may be right. He might also be wrong. Any tax has the potential for well intended consequences leading straight to hell. It's an issue that deserves scrutiny.

But where Jim misses is the lack of advocacy for any solution. He poo-poos Atlanta's constant begging for revenue without acknowledging the city has no choice.

MARTA needs to shift funds to operating expenses and the legislature gives them a flat out "hell no". A 100 year old sewer system needs repair and the cost will be equivalent to 1/5 of the entire state budget, yet the 400,000 odd citizens of the city core are expected to float it alone. Grady, mercifully, finally got meager assistance from the state house but only after the sane stared down the possibility of Georgia having fewer trauma centers than Mississippi.

No doubt, some of these wounds are self-inflicted. As I wrote two years ago, the arrogance of the Fulton County Commission and the Atlanta City Council has not helped and the part played in spawning the chimeras known as Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton managed to make things worse.

However, donut politicians like Rep. Earl Ehrhart play a part in this scab picking by screaming "incompetence" while refusing to acknowledge the greater good Atlanta has provided.

It is time for all to acknowledge that we are Atlanta. Without Atlanta, there is no Suntrust building, no 191 Peachtree, no Bank of America tower, no High Museum, no Turner Field. Without the stretch of the soaring skyline down to the tree-lined neighborhoods, we have no identity.

Vision changed an isolated railhead into a town, an old airfield into Mayor Hartsfield's dream of an international hub, a regional city into a destination for Fortune 500 headquarters. We are the realization of Henry Grady's "New South" and we must cling to this vision lest it be cast on to the dross heap of petty politcs and nihilistic nabobbery. We must do this because we are all "Atlanta".

The Divining Witches Hammer

The Witches Hammer has added fortunetelling to his repertoire.
Just a day after the Augusta Chronicle noted the racial dynamics at play and at stake in the Atlanta Mayoral election,Shirley Franklin comes out to attack the cracker.
When I noted Franklin never mentions race and Peach Pundit front pager Icarus noted Franklin seems to judge Norwood on the content of her character, not the color of her skin, Erick responds -
Just wait.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. ~Deuteronomy 18 (10-13)

The Hammer treads dangerous spiritual ground.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Morning Line - Atlanta Mayor's Race

Runoff Edition! The Morning Line will hand out odds of the candidates making it to the inevitable runoff. Are we guaranteed a runoff you ask? The Morning Line sets the odds of a runoff occurring at 1 to 4. Wager wisely. Now on to the field!

Mary Norwood - 3 to2: Mary's poll numbers have remained solid and there was even a goofy mystery poll which claimed she could win without a runoff. Don't bet on it.

Kasim Reed - 2 to 1: Reed's odds get shorter based on the latest WSB poll which has him creeping ahead of borders and the majority of the city workers (AFSCME) endorsing his campaign. The last item has been a bellweather in previous campaigns.

Lisa Borders - 3 to1: Borders is slipping. She missed the AFSCME endorsement and instead got the smaller PACE endorsement. This is not a good sign for the "establishment" candidate.

Jesse Spikes - 50 to1: No improvement in his numbers for months. Bye Jesse.

Kyle Keyser - OFF: Nice guy. Has as much chance of winning as I do. (And I don't even qualify)

Millelou Speaks!

Mayor Millielou has been coy about supporting any of the mayoral candidates.

But one thing's for sure - she ain't gonna support Norwood.

Perhaps it's time to update the Morning Line.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lisa Borders Wants Your Property

I don't have a vote in the City of Atlanta election but if I did, Lisa Borders just lost it.
Atlanta mayoral candidate Lisa Borders says she'll use eminent domain powers to take land from owners who poorly maintain their property..."We need to take it from them," said Borders, the City Council president.
Many a politician will hem and haw when it comes to eminent domain, then when no one is looking they'll sign off on stealing grandma's shack in order to throw up the latest prefab condo/mixed use/Starbucks hostel.

I suppose give Borders credit for blunt honesty, but advocating the government deciding who has blighted property and who is all lilies and roses is shocking. Hell, it's frightening.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pundit Flip

David Frum answers an interesting thought experiment - what if certain conservative pundits were offered oodles of money, longevity and fame to harp the exact opposite of their current "views".

I think he's pretty spot on.

But it is Andrew Sullivan who provides the closer and I believe inadvertently provides illumination into one of our own.
I can't grapple with Coulter either. I assume it's an act. But it could be an act that has become so internalized it has become her. Poor, lost soul.
Substitute "Erick Erickson/him" for "Coulter/her" and I believe you would still be accurate.

Millar On Marta

Rep. Fran Millar (R-Land of Reasonable Republicans) has a fantastic AJC opinion piece laying out the reasoning for a state takeover of MARTA.
This is our one chance to get away from a department of highways and have a meaningful department of transportation. With this new MARTA financial data, any reasonable person must conclude that Fulton and DeKalb can no longer carry this burden alone. I would hope Fulton and DeKalb representatives and senators would agree with me and insist that MARTA be folded into any comprehensive transit solution.
Talk of the state taking over the beleaguered transportation system always makes Fulton and Dekalb nervous. Much like last years "Grady Wars", it is easy to feel resentment from shouldering the burden for decades only to have the Legislature ride in and say "we'll show you how it's done" (looking your way Rep. Ehrhart).

But as Dick Williams noted on Sunday's Georgia Gang (and in a certain way proved my point from last week), Dekalb has a distinct disadvantage in securing federal road dollars by having 1 cent of the sales tax mandated to Marta. Cobb, Gwinnet and others, not hobbled in such a manner, gleefully slop lane after lane of blacktop from the Fed trough.

We are far past time for a regional solution and it is time to put aside old grudges and petty arrogance. If this is the first step towards solving the vexing problem, and as long as grown-ups like Millar are leading, it should be pursued.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Funny



I once asked Spacey how she could call everyone in Atlanta media freaks and bastards and still get invited to all their fancy parties. She muttered something about them all being masochists.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Jim is on a mostly fiscal conservative rant this morning and as is usual I find myself not necessarily agreeing but not disagreeing vehemently.

But there's one item which tickles my commentary bone.
It will be an outrage if National Football League owners reject a group’s bid to buy the St. Louis Rams football team because commentator Rush Limbaugh is among those making the offer. “I, myself, couldn’t even consider voting for him,” said Baltimore Colts owner Jim Irsay. “When there are comments that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive … it’s something that we don’t need.” As with political endorsements, that declaration tells us more about Irsay’s politics than about Limbaugh.
Let's talk about the free market Jim so adores. In any market there are two critical factors - product and brand. The NFL arguably has the most successful product in sports. This product is supported by branding which is guarded with the zeal of a lioness tending her most beautiful cub. Pull a sharpie out and sign a ball after scoring a touchdown? Penalized. Wear your socks too low? Fined. Get caught acting the fool in a strip club? Suspended.

So, this exclusive club of billionaire elitists not wanting a jackass whose job requires him to stir the pot daily is due to politics? This is the cognitive dissonance of Jim's "so-called common sense conservatism".

And Jim, before we go trotting out the implication that anyone who dares criticize the Oxycotin Oz must mean they are a Democrat, it is wise to remember things are never usually the way they seem. Quietly ask a few Georgia Republicans what they really think about our own resident jackass. The one with the initials E.E.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Odd Silence

Screams of "PRIMARY" ring across the land when poor Saxby Chambliss votes for a single farm subsidy. Yet, when a fellow Georgia Republican congressman does this:
They called on the sergeant at arms to investigate whether, as Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) put it, a group that "is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices."
Nary a word is heard.

An odd silence indeed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Witches Hammer's New Job

Erick "The Witches Hammer" Erickson has a new moniker - salt salesman.
I’m going to ship this 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.
As Outside The Beltway points out, there's more than just a few problems with this plan.

But let's get to the bottom line - a bottom line we in Georgia already know too well. Erick is not about moving the conversation. Erick is not about saving the Grand Ol' Party. Erick is about making money. Erick is about raising his personal profile.

Keep pushing "Hammer". I'm sure that job as Rush's replacement moves closer with every goofy, do nothing stunt emerging from that fanatical, fevered head.

A Question For Chairman Ehrhart

Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Land of Nodding Know-nothingness) is piping up on Peach Pundit again, proudly bragging about the latest twist of the screws to MARTA.

I have a question for you Chair Ehrhart.

How do you justify spending my tax money laying down an infinite number of lanes on I-75 at Windy Hill, but spending Cobb Countian's tax money on a transit system that they use daily to commute, attend Falcons games, etc. etc. etc. is not justified?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How Things Work

Want to know how shoe leather journalism works in TV land?

Live Apartment Fire is always a good resource, but this week Doug Richards hits it out of the park with his behind the scenes description of how he got the Judge Oxendine story. Read the whole thing. Do it now.

Paying attention news directors? I guarantee you peeks behind the curtain like this fascinates your viewers - even the non-wild eyed, bloggy, news junkie ones.

Winging On Kyle

Finally, Wingfield gives me something to work with!

Of course, it would be a denial of global warming.
The latest sign that the “consensus” about global warming is falling apart: The BBC is finally reporting that global temperatures have leveled off since 1998, and that there maybe, possibly, perhaps, conceivably, theoretically, hypothetically, probably-not-but-you-never-know, could be explanations for changes in temperature that don’t involve mankind and carbon dioxide.
Welcome to the right's favorite stalking horse. The tactic goes a little like this - you can't trust the press/science because they have an agenda, therefore you must trust us, because unlike them, we only care about the truth.

It works so well with the press because arguably the press does have an agenda (that agenda, however, does not match the conservative mythos, but let's set that aside for the moment). But when it's applied to science, it becomes a little nutty. These "conservatives" would have you believe that the overwhelming majority of scientists are jury rigging (thereby essentially destroying) their life's work in order to implement some sinister world-wide socio-economic plan.

The consensus is nowhere near falling apart. Yes, there has been some data recently which indicates we could be in for a decade or two long cooling period. Just as we were from the late 40s to the early 70s. Does that mean we were wrong about anthropogenic global warming? Absolutely not.

Let me provide you with a part of the article, Kyle would like you to ignore.

In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling...What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

Global warming (and indeed science itself) is not based on individual pieces of evidence. It is always based on the story all the evidence tells. Scientists look at everything and they usually look at it over a long time. Pundits, on the other hand cherry pick what is convenient, spin up a tale of fancy, then move on to the next target.

If we're picking between pundits and scientists on truth-telling, I believe I'll stick with the boys and girls in the pocket protected white lab coats.

Over The Line

We've had a previous discussion about Tom Crawford. One of my regular readers quite correctly chastised me for not calling him out on his latest wild ravings.

Well that stops now.
I am confident that Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Dachau), who considers Obama to be too "uppity" for his taste, had a similar reaction.
Dachau? Really?

We all love to slap witty, hyperbolic appellations on our political targets, but there is nothing witty about this and it makes hyperbole blush in embarrassment.

Crass, Tom. And certainly not what I would expect from a writer of your skill.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Right Question

I really want to lay into Galloway for continuing to ignore hard working, honest voices in the Georgia political blogosphere while continuing to link, thereby passing along legitimacy, to the voice that called a sitting Supreme Court Justice a goat f*cking child molester and the voice who is a known non-discloser and peddler of falsehood, but then he shows why he is one of the best political writers in the bidness and my plan falls apart.

Following up on Nathan Deal's explanation that his use of the term "ghetto grandmothers" was being viewed out of context, Jim asks -

We called the Deal campaign and asked spokesman Harris Blackwood if he could explain under what circumstances a reference to “ghetto grandmothers” could be considered proper and in the correct context...Blackwood declined comment.

That was exactly the right question.

My Morning Wooten

I know everyone is currently distracted by the story that makes me wonder if I've stumbled into some Fringe-like alternate universe, but tear your eyes away from Sweden for a moment to ponder this jewel.
One wonders how it is possible at this late date for anybody not to know how AIDS is transmitted despite the extensive public awareness campaigns of recent decades. And then we read that Lawrenceville Mayor Rex Millsaps had no idea that voting to give city business to a company that employed him was wrong. It’s only been wrong since the beginning of time.
You might think Millsaps runs some public relations firm promoting AIDS awareness. You would be wrong. He runs an architectural firm.

Seriously. What the hell?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

DecaurMetro Hosting City Commission Debate

DecaturMetro is hosting a forum for Decatur City Commission candidates. Visit the site for full details.
In what is surely a first in Decatur, if not metro Atlanta, Decatur Metro will host an online debate/forum on this site between the four city commission candidates on wednesday, October 21st from 8p-9:30p.... DM will use the same live-blog “Cover it Live” program that was employed during the Decatur Book Festival to host an interactive live debate between candidates Fred Boykin, Patti Garrett, James Radford, Kyle Williams and the community

Creative Loafing's Critic's Choice for Best Local Blog continues to lead the way.

The Favorites

They march down the tiled halls of power, boldly into the very heart of Democracy and drag their shockingly docile victims into side rooms for the figurative beat down. ~griftdrift

My ten favorites from over the years.

Thugs

The In Between

The Response

Clouds And Clods In Perry

The First "In Which I Hate On Everyone"

The Porn Wars: The Love Shack Gets Little Love

Choices

A Life Shattered

An Accessory

The Baseball Series

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wren's Nest In Atlanta Magazine

Yeah. I'm still around. Not much to inspire lately. I've even thought about converting from politics to some sort of southern life theme. Maybe I'll get Grayson to contribute opinings about sweet tea or something.

Anyway, not converting yet, but here is a good ol' fashioned southern story, layered with darkness and love and money. Three essential ingredients to southern mythos whether you're William Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor (or even Joel Chandler Harris).

Atlanta Magazine's Elizabeth Westby has a nice piece about our friends Lain and Amelia over at The Wren's Nest.

Make sure you check it out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Congrats Local Blogs

The Loafies are out and as Dave at inDecatur points out, Decatur in general won big.

Dave's competitor/cohort in covering the Decatur happenings DecaturMetro won the coveted Local Blog of the Year. To my brother in semi-anonymity, I say, well done, sir, but now with great power comes great responsibility.

Also around town, friend of the Grift, Drive A Faster Car won reader's choice for Best Local Blog/Blogger as well as Best Georgia Based Music Blog .

And foodie Jennifer Zyman won Best Local Blogger for The Blissful Glutton.

There's so much quality out there, I imagine it's getting hard to pick.

I'm happy and proud for my friends. But this time of year always reminds me that I've been a slack-ass. Lately, a burst of activity in my professional and my personal life has led to even greater slackedness. I'm not going to promise this will change, but I don't doubt things will start popping again soon. After all, it's only 3 months until the scoundrels in the Gold Dome once again appear.

But while I'm being lazy, make sure you check out these folks and those over to your right. Good people all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome To The Flood My Friends

All flood, all the time.

This is reminding me too much of Alberto.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deets On The Eagle Raid Rally Tomorrow

They be a rallyin' at city hall tomorrow. Here's the details:

Date:
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Time:
12:00pm - 3:00pm
Location:
City Hall Downtown
Street:
68 Mitchell Street
City/Town:
Atlanta, GA

Our intent is to show the City of Atlanta and the APD the vast number of community members who are concerned about what happened & that we want answers to valid questions:

-Is typical protocol for these type of charges normally a citation and not arrest?
-Was this high number of APD officers the best use to address such minimal charges with Atlanta crime concerns skyrocketing?
-Why was intervention by City Council candidates necessary for the release of the staff after 19 hours in jail on no bond?
-Why does APD have an LGBT liaison if that position is not utilized?
-Who is to be held accountable for the formal filed complaints of mistreatment?
-Where has Mayor Franklin been and why hasn't she made a statement?


APD LGBT liaison Officer Dani Harris will be present Saturday and will be speaking to the community. Please keep in mind, she cannot address any specifics regarding the case as it is an on-going investigation. Her position IS to serve as a bridge directly between the LGBT community and the APD.


I'll be there. Lookin' for a story.

My Morning Wooten

We're going to have some fun today. The plate is full.
No, it’s true that President Obama is not “ignoring calls for tort reform and changes in medical malpractice laws.” Trial lawyers are a key constituency of the Democratic Party, which largely explains why party leaders have chosen to ignore this potential cost savings.
Free market conservatives are for the free market except when they're not. Free market conservatives are against regulation except when they're not. Bottom line is tort reform is regulation. Free market pretenders are a key constituency of right wing pundits, which largely explains why Jim has chosen to ignore this cognitive dissonance
Anybody seen ACORN? The organization may be off to Afghanistan, where the main headline reports “Karzai’s vote lead clouded.” A smaller headline explains: “Fraud suspected in more than a quarter of all Afghan votes.”
ACORN has never been convicted of voter fraud. The accusations were limited to voter registration fraud. There used to be a time when facts mattered - even in an opinion column. It would seem like a good issue for the Public Editor, but why bother. And just to prove my point...
This is a group that helped elect Barack Obama, is widely accused of voter-registration fraud, and would have grown richer and more powerful off public money in this administration. It would have had a prominent role in the 2010 census before exposes caused the feds to sever the relationship.
There it is. At least he got it right this time. Here is how myths are made - take a grain of truth, cover it with manure then claim it was a boulder all along.
Maybe it’s just for a single day, but rejoice that the Standard Language of the South is back! This was the ajc.com headline over a story about an advocacy group’s push to impose a tax of one-cent per ounce on what the wire service reporter referred to as “sodas and other sweetened beverages”: “Group pushes tax on soft drinks.” Yes!
Copy Editor Jim returns. I bet I know one group who is happy he no longers roams the newsroom.
In Houston County, the District Attorney is filing charges against parents from other counties who enroll their children in Houston schools. Don’t put me on this jury. The money should follow the child and parents should be able to enroll their children in schools near where they work, near a caregiver or near any other more convenient place.
A supposed "law and order" conservative argues for jury nullification. This is "common sense conservatism".
You’re old Atlanta if you remember when the city’s mayoral race was the talk of metro Atlanta and even of Georgia. Now Dunwoody’s suburban neighbor prepares to pick a successor to Mayor Shirley Franklin and the candidates are almost as anonymous as those who vie to run the cities on the perimeter.
Jim lives somewhere in middle Georgia now, right? Apparently the AJC's decision to cut back on delivery to certain areas has unintended consequences. Their poor former Associate Editor doesn't realize the Mayor's race has been this town's top political story for the past two weeks.
The Joe Wilson flap, taken nuclear by former President Jimmy Carter and others on the left, is a reminder that liberals really do believe that they and their policy positions are morally superior. By demonizing opponents as racists, they claim quite sanctimoniously that those who oppose them have no legitimate basis for their arguments...The race card is the liberals’ Saturday night special – a cheap weapon to pop off into a crowd they don’t like.
And we end with this. I would like to explain how words are being twisted. I would like to explain how the statements of the few are being twisted to cast shadow on the many. I'd like to go on a long rant about the Republican's perfecting the process of myth-making.

But I can't.

Because last night I was told that my previous statement - "I know the Republican party isn't racist" - doesn't make any sense.

So, on this one, Jim may be more right that I care to admit.

Selah.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Buzzman Calls Me Out

Peach Pundit's Buzz Brockway called me out. Let the second round of the spin war begin.

I've been trying to put my finger on something for a while now. My gut has been telling me there is something different about what is happening with Obama and what happened with George Bush in his later years.

Then I read this yesterday and the mist began to clear.
"The heaviest hitters in the Republican party, and in the conservative media have loudly and proudly called for Obama's failure. Liberals who even softly criticized Bush were roundly shamed and called terrorist-loving-America-haters"
The entire piece is a little heavy handed but it is worth the read.

But why is it different? Is it because we are led by a black man? I am willing to admit I am not sure. Certainly not as sure as President Carter (although his statement is being conflated to ridiculous levels). And certainly not so sure that I would make asinine statements as my own Congressman has (also note who in the Atlanta press called him on it). But what I am sure of is there is a wave of irrationality. As to how large that wave is, I do not think we know.

And here is where I think I finally start putting my finger on the issue.

Even though we don't know how pervasive the irrational fear is, leaders (and there is little denying some of the people I am about to name have been embraced as leaders) on the right have trumpeted it as a "movement" and "patriotic" and as "mainstream". We've reached the existential moment where fear of the unknown or ignorance of the known is not only seen as rational political thought but a reason to proudly thump one's chest and declare patriotism.

The difference is even though the left has loons (if you want to know what I think about these people ask me some time about "cause junkies"), they don't usually prop them up as the "mainstream" as much of the right does with Malkin, Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin. There are certainly exceptions, such as Dreher's spot on description of what Limbaugh is doing as "wicked", and they should be celebrated. There should be more.

The difference is here in Georgia the main Democratic blog, Blog For Democracy, certainly has its share of nutty commenters but they don't promote them to front page posting priviledges. Peach Pundit, the main Republican blog, on the other hand, promotes a person whose sole purpose in life appears to be calling any black Georgia politician who dares open their mouth a "race pimp".

I know the Republican party is not racist. I also know that those whining now that just because they disagree they are being called racist are disingenous. I also know that we are seeing things in the early days of the first black President that I'm not sure we've ever seen before. But, I'll save race for another time. Despite the desire of people to boil it down to a placard argument, it is complex and deserves unwavering attention. Also, I'm still not sure I've put my finger on it.

What I have put my finger on is the belief that although there are some Democrats speaking stupidly, there are far fewer Republicans speaking reasonably. Both should do better.

APD Releases Complaints Filed In Eagle Raid

The APD has released the complaints filed against officers involved in the Eagle raid. Southern Voice has excerpts.

Here's the one that jumped out at me.
An employee who lives in an apartment over the Eagle, who said he was not working that night, said someone started pounding on his door. He opened the door to two cops who asked if anyone was having sex there. They asked why there was a bed and he said it was because he lives there. He was made to come downstairs and was arrested with the other employees.
There seems to be many details missing here (apartment attached to a nightclub?), but if true, how will you answer the next time the cops knock on your door and ask if anyone is having sex and why do you have a bed?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

City Council Meeting Brings More Questions

Creative Loafing's Thomas Wheatley attended yesterday's City Council meeting and as expected, supporters of The Eagle were present.

The meeting may have answered some questions but may have raised more.

If the sole source for the raid were two anonymous complaints and undercover work which alleged illegal public sexual activity (and nothing more), why did the APD commit such a large force (reports of three "paddy wagons" and 21 officers) ?

APD Deputy Chief Carlos Blando stated The Eagle was not singled out and pointed to six other bars and clubs which had received similar "raids. Which leads to the questions, did those raids involve a similar level of resources and was the amount of "evidence" of infraction similar to that which spurred the Eagle Raid? An additional question, exactly what was the evidence which caused these other "raids"?

At this point, the APD's policy of "raiding" businesses seems either random or based on the flimsiest premises. The only way to quell these assumptions is transparency.

Finally, the question which remains unanswered and may cause the most tension - why was Atlanta LGBT Liason Officer Danni Lynn Harris not notified and consulted prior to the raid? Whispers of "window dressing" are already emerging.

The APD, the City Council, Chief Pennington and Mayor Franklin are sitting on a burbling volcano of frustration. Blanket apologies and generic responses are no longer working. Actual answers are needed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Creative Loafing Asks Questions About The Eagle

Creative Loafing attended the Atlanta Police Department's presser on the Eagle raid and left unfulfilled. He has additional questions and they are good ones.

I would add one that was posed by someone else.

If this was about public sex and not drugs (of which none were found), then why was the Red Dog Squad involved?

I've been wrong on many of political predictions but on this one I have confidence I am right. This incident, blowing up in the middle of a hotly contested Mayoral race, will not go away.

One of the reasons it will linger is Kyle Keyser.

As noted before, his is an issues candidacy. His own staff admits he cannot win, but here is a gay man, an activist, a crusader who has spent the past nine months campaigning for better law enforcement resources and better management of those resources, who shockingly raised the qualifying fee in two days after posting his intents on facebook and just a few days after that stunning achievement, the police foolishly waste resources raiding a gay bar. Fate is an interesting mistress.

He's also the odd duck in a field of mealy-mouthed politicians and this makes him the darling of both the traditional media and the new media word jockeys like myself.

No. I don't believe this incident will fade. I believe there's one man who won't let it.

My Morning Wooten

Just a brief note today.

Jim actually argues his own profession shouldn't do its job.
The conflicting interpretations about whether illegals could gain coverage and about whether federal funds would be spent to cover abortions, are examples of why news organizations and supposedly non-partisan public interest groups should avoid the temptation to declare political assetions to be “fact or fiction.”
Once upon a time, they were considered the truth-tellers.