Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Those Darned Liberals!

Always promoting their left-wing agenda!
That decision, in Ricci v. DeStefano, was eminently reasonable. You don’t change the score after the game is over.

Just want this benchmark for the next time some ninny starts screaming about crazy, communist Cynthia Tucker..

Monday, June 29, 2009


I'm doing some housekeeping around the joint so don't get frightened if things get weird.

One item that I've needed to address for a while was the Georgia Voices feed over to your right. It's not only working again but it's updated to include some new joints you may have missed. Be sure to scan the latest headlines and show them some love.

As usual, if you've got a joint that I've missed and you think it should be listed, shoot me an email or leave a comment.

UPDATE: I know you're seeing some weird margin things. I've discovered a bug in AdSense and am having a helluva time sorting it out. I don't really care about AdSense but once I start gnawing a bone, I have a hard time letting go.

Tip Of The Spear, Part II

Parking deck at Georgia Tech's Centergy Center collapses.

Also follow on Twitter.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Talking And Not Listening

Last Friday, Urbanreporter kindly invited me to yet another 'journalists discussing how do we do new media' bull session.

Gathered in the studios of Public Broadcasting of Atlanta were the usual suspects.

I've been asked a couple of times if there would be a recap. My instincts were to write "sad and infuriating" and nothing more.

Sad to hear such talented writers talk of leaving their industry to survive. Infuriating for reasons which will shortly become clear.

But a few more words are needed. There were a few points which I believe crystalize the problem.

After 20 minutes of the same laments heard over and over for the past year, a new voice piped up. The one poor, lone ad man to attend any of these meetings, spoke. One of the journalists cried "this is the guy we should be listening to!"

In the room were a successful entrepeneur, one of the guys behind CNN's wildly successful iReport and a certain gentleman with 9 years in the IT business who has been writing online for over three years.

Yet, the ad guy was who they believed could provide them with the key to their dreams.

One other new thing emerged.

A casual comment from a few days before made me aware of "Like The Dew". Haven't heard of it? I can't imagine why.

Like The Dew was described as a labor of love. Well, it better be a labor of love if nobody knows about it.

There are many things we could discuss about that web site, but I'd like you to focus on just one. Look at their "Southern Links" section. Now look at my "Georgia Voices" section to your left. Compare and contrast.

We are past the "they're just not getting it" stage. We are into willful ignorance.

And one more thing. When that entrepeneur started listing off resources which could help the journalists understand this online world (i.e. Social Media Club), they desperately inquired how do they find such wonders.

People who spent decades tracking down corrupt scoundrels, poring over mind-numbing public records and digging through dozens of leads were stumped when it came to signing up on twitter and finding and following smcatl.

How do you help that?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Stupids

In the village of the stupids, everyone is the idiot.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Here we go. And we've got some real doozies today.
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor resigns from an exclusive all-women’s club after some grumpy men raised questions about whether the membership’s appropriate for a Supreme Court justice. Her explanation, once commonplace among members of clubs that excluded minorities, was that to her knowledge no man had applied. And had any man meeting qualifications been at the club’s mobile admissions office in Hahira, Ga., at 2:16 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2006, when it was accepting applications from males, he would surely have been allowed in.
What was also commonplace of members of clubs that excluded minorities was when confronted, they'd roll on the floor, red-faced, screaming about rights of association, government interfering in private entities and tradition - until they faced the political reality that they would lose and then wiped their snot covered faces and muttered, 'okay'. Bottom line is it is just twisting the Jims of the world into knots that the Sotomayor nomination is going to breeze through confirmation with barely a blip.
Voting, ACORN and Georgia graveyard style, in Iran: The number of votes in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligibles by 3 million. And while Fulton County is notorious for being unable to count ballots in a timely fashion, Iran counted 40 million paper ballots and report results within two hours of polls closing. By the way, President Barack Obama’s still searching for just the right soothing words to convince the Iranian regime to stop being mean. So far, no success — a real surprise.
Will there be a point where ACORN jokes become stale and tired? Can we arrive there sooner rather than later? If certain 'so called conservatives' continue to spin myths of ACORN spawning massive election fraud, then I will relegate them to the same niche as loon liberals who tell me they know where the stolen ballot boxes from the 2004 election are kept - meaning the only attention they deserve is a pat on their soft head.
After the collapse of the financial and banking industry, brought about by gimmicks like no-doc mortgages (no income or asset verification), red flags now go up when reading sentences such as these: “MARTA staff found the money to keep the last hour of rail service and the three bus sets by making an accounting change with the money they set aside for retirees’ medical benefits. By putting the money in a restricted account, [CEO Beverly] Scott said, MARTA can put aside less money without affecting money that eventually goes to the retirees.” If it ain’t real money, it ain’t real money — no matter which column you put numbers in.
I find it funny that certain people who have done nothing but craft words all their life will decry certain politician's lack of real world experience and then take their own ham-fists to the voodoo that is modern accounting. Then again - my humor threshold is pretty low.
What Were They Thinking? Contest: Winner, Mark Sanford. First runner-up, the mama and wife of a Cobb man accused of taking a 12-year-old to a motel for sex, a statutory rape offense, are arrested for allegedly intervening with the victim on his behalf.
I propose an honorable mention for What Were They Thinking: Jim Wooten for his knee-jerk defense of Mark Sanford and excoriation of his own colleagues. Strange that we hear not a peep from Jim on how his thesis fell apart in less then 24 hours. Jason Pye, who I also mentioned in that edition of My Morning Wooten, showed the grace of true accountability by publicly admitting he had been fooled. Wooten on the other hand seems to follow the "so called conservative" mantra of "I'm right no matter what".
Crowds headed to a Braves game and a soccer match between Mexico and Venezuela at the Georgia Dome clogged the always-trouble Downtown Connector for miles up I-75, I-85 and Ga. 400. Fix it. Find a private-sector company to double-deck the Downtown Connector. Make both toll roads.
When a co-worker (usually from sales) makes an absurd proposal, my typical response is "sorry, my magic wand is broken today". Putting aside for the moment that Jim's only solution for transportation issues is more pavement, note how the private sector magic wand is used. Somehow, the pixie dust of no government involvement will allow a 27 mile long, multi-lane, double-decker highway, through a major downtown corridor to be built so quickly and efficiently, the population will hardly notice. And once the monster is complete, we will be so overwhelmed with gratitude, we will gladly lay hosannahs at every toll booth along the way.

And people think I'm stoned.

Good lord. Let's just move on to the weekend as quickly as possible.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Continuing The Conversation

Friday approaches and I seem to be focused on the traditional/new media convergence.

Leonard Pitts (without a doubt one of the best columnists in the country) of the Miami Herald tackles the new media phenomenon in Iran and nails the realistic view.
This is not to say that social-networking media have not been guilty of dumbing down the discourse. But it is to admit the obvious lesson of recent days: They can facilitate higher purposes as well. For this reality, the cause of human freedom can be grateful.
Take the time to read the whole article. It is well worth it.

On the local front, JMac has an interesting coda to my previous story on appropriate credit for new media writers.
Lee Becker conducted an informal study of how Oconee County residents gather their information, and he noted that seven percent of them mentioned alternative online sources (i.e. blogs). He put a lot of work into it, and it's an interesting read that I recommend
I'm pretty proud that my Becker piece generated such a lively and shockingly productive debate. If you skipped the comments the first time, go back and re-read them. Even ABH Editor Jim Thompson stopped by to drop a few pearls of wisdom.

The conversation continues. Next stop, tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Ah, the smell test. It is an esoteric but popular tool to sniff out the rotten among the pure. Bottom line, if something don't smell right, it probably ain't.

Instead of the usual fisking today, I'll summarize Jim's thesis as "Governor Sanford's disappearance is not really a story and those that want it to be a story have an agenda". It's a familiar refrain. Friend Pye tends to agree with Jim although he leaves out the "agenda" part and it should be noted Jason doesn't normally dive into the mud with the media conspiracy kooks.

For those not enamored with the deep end of the political sludge, here's your handy recap: S.C. Governor Mark Sanford disappeared. Completely. For five days. The Lt. Governor didn't know his whereabouts. His security detail was mum. For God's sakes, the mother of his children had no answer. He simply vamoosed. On Father's day weekend. Without so much as a note.

A few days later, his staff declared he wanted to unwind and was taking a stroll on the Appalachian Trail.

If the story ended right there, I probably would agree with Pye and maybe even our old friend Jim.

But it didn't.

Turns out Sanford was not taking a bucolic stroll through the mountains. He completely left the country! Skipped town to head to the land of topless beaches and the tango without even leaving a note for his wife. Then again, what husband would leave that note?

We often hear, particularly from the elephantine side of the aisle, that the boss of the politician is the people. So, Jim may be right. It may not be a crisis, but what would your boss do if you skipped out for five days without telling a soul. Merely having to answer questions would be your best scenario. Surely, the people of South Carolina, you know, Sanford's boss, deserve a few straight answers for the rather bizarre situation. What they do with those answers and the consequences for Sanford will come later.

But back to Friend Pye's question - is this really newsworthy?

A governor who made national headlines for attempting to refuse federal bailouts, has been whispered as a Presidential candidate for 2012, suddenly disappears without a trace, is discovered in South America and his best explanation is he had to clear his head?

Well, in my book, where there's a smell, there's a story and there's a heap of stink around this one.

As for Jim. Too often laypeople confuse how papers are run. Ask the average Jack or Jill on the street who runs the paper and they will respond with a name from the editorial page. Perhaps even one Jim Wooten.

Now, if this were true and Jim did decide what was worthy of coverage, none of Sanford's story would have ever appeared. In Jim's mind, it's not germane to the political conversation of the day.

Let that roll around in your head for a few minutes.

Just don't let it stink up the joint.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tip Of The Spear

Blogs are Id. I suppose if you continue the analogy, staff reports are the Ego and features/columns/
investigatives are the SuperEgo ~griftdrift in a conversation with a traditional journalist

Developing a philosophy on media in our rapidly changing world is evolutionary, but a revolution may have shown us the way.

All discussions of media in a world of blogs, twitter, facebook and whatever comes next center on the question of "how do we make this work?"

For the moment, let's put aside the issue of how do we make money. No one has the answer and it only muddies the waters.

As we continued to navel gaze on the slow death of newspapers, the eventual death of the 6:00 news and the impact of both on our democracy, events in Iran accelerated the conversation far past our current mutterings and hand wringing.

Although many have framed the Iranian unrest as another "Twitter grows up" moment (they are coming with more regularity aren't they?), the side story of how CNN was apparently caught flat-footed is more interesting from an evolving media perspective.

In the opening days of the protests, CNN, who famously made its bones breaking huge international stories, was noticeably absent. Filling the void were the blogs of Andrew Sullivan, Nico Pitney and Juan Cole. Sullivan's place became a practical stream of conscience of every raw tidbit the maelstrom ejected.

As Twitter became the tool of choice for protesters, information which had been a trickle became a torrent.

Of course, both were rife with exactly the type of content traditional media decries as the downfall of new media - items were impossible to confirm and possibly blatantly false. The great weakness of new media is the possibility of manipulation by an unseen hand. As Iran devolved into a full blown cyberwar, it became nigh impossible to tell the truth from the truth spinners. The old internet adage of believing everything is false until proven otherwise certainly applied.

Sullivan and his cohorts were very clear that information passed along was unverified and should be taken as such.

Finally, into the breach stepped CNN. As the second week of unrest progressed, CNN with all its resources created an "Iran desk" with reporters interpreting images and speeches from a far, calling contacts in Iran and their greatest resource in these situations, Foreign Editor Christiane Amanpour, on air constantly (notably asking one of the most pointed questions at an Ahmedenijad press conference).

What had been a vast field of clutter was brought under the aegis of a massive media machine and began to resemble structure.

Oddly, the progression of media events in those two weeks mirror a common occurrence in the world of software - the merger of a smaller start-up with a traditional, heavily bureaucratized legacy. The only way these types of mergers work is if the agility of the start-up and the institutional knowledge of the legacy are both leveraged without either losing its identity. Failure occurs when either side insists on lockstep adaptation of a "preferred" culture.

Too often in the past, both sides of the media discussion have opted for the second methodology instead of the first. We recognize that we are not the same but we fail to recognize there is strength in that lack of sameness.

So, it is admission time and I am willing to go first.

We cannot do your job. There will be times when we perform parts of your job and I believe it has been shown in the past three years that we can do it with a level of professionalism and standards that should be acknowledged. But we can't cover a beat as well as you do, at this point we can't conduct investigative pieces as well as you do and we sure as hell can't cover an international conflagration with the level of detail and confirmation needed. We need you and it is far past time we admit this fact.

However, in a world where it grows more likely that a person's first contact with a story is a blog or facebook or twitter, you need us too.

We are the tip of the spear but you are the haft - both needed, one for first contact and one for weight and direction, to enable the whole to reach its target.

The Conversation Continues

The never ending conversation of what the hell is going to happen to media continues this Friday at Public Broadcasting of Atlanta.

Details at Amani's place.

I'll be there. Expect the usual report early next week.

Ruthless Is Not An Insult

The first city in the nation to build "projects" is now the first city in the nation to tear them all down. And the New York Times has noticed.

I've written previously about my experiences in the welfare and public housing systems. That particular essay should rightly be viewed as the genesis of this blog.

As you can imagine, I'm a fan of Renee Glover.
“We’ve realized that concentrating families in poverty is very destructive,” said RenĂ©e L. Glover, the executive director of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “It’s destructive to the families, the neighborhoods and the city.”
There is simple wisdom in those words. Words that echo the thoughts of that manager so long ago who shared his belief that we were engaging in apartheid.

But of course there will always be doubters and detractors.
“Until you have alternative housing that is affordable, available and appropriate, you have no business going into these communities and destroying them,” said Anita Beaty, the executive director of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. “To disperse these people without giving them alternatives is wrong.”
Except they do. The Atlanta Housing Authority has relocated thousands and what Ms. Beaty does not tell you is her own "industry" has not seen a significant increase in business.
“What were they clapping about?” asked Shirley Hightower, a former president of the tenants’ association who picketed the demolition. “Clapping for a demolition? You’ve had generations behind generations behind generations living in this public housing. This is not a time for celebration.”
I've worked at Bowen Homes and I'd clap. Ms. Hightower derails her own protest by pointing out there have been generations after generations living in Bowen and Techwood and Perry and Capitol. Three generations condemned to a walled off, disconnected slum but the next generation will live a future outside those walls of hopelessness. It is most certainly time for celebration.
Ms. Glover...hailed as visionary by supporters and condemned as ruthless by critics.
For someone willing to grasp a Gordian's knot created by decades of govenment morass and incompetence , ruthless is not an insult - it's a job requirement.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gators Are Interfering With My Drinkin!

The day after I discuss a rafting trip with my gang of degenerate drunks, there's another gator in the Hooch!

Of course this made me nostalgic for the Great 2007 Gator Incident.

Photo courtesy of DNR

My Morning Wooten

As we travel towards the end, I have shirked in my Wooten duties. Reasonable Jim showed up today and I nearly shirked past once again. But there are a couple of morsels today too tasty to resist.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorses, in principle, a Palestinian state next door — on the condition that it is demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist. Fat chance. Wake me when other states in the region accept, without some poision-pill condition, Israel’s right to exist unmolested.
Jim was apparently asleep in 1978 (Egypt) and 1994 (Jordan). Of course, given who was in power at the time of those two peace treaties, is it any wonder Jim's memory is a little fuzzy?
Ever notice how seldom somebody identified as “activist” has a real job, especially a real job in the private sector?
Off the top of my head, I can name a dozen "activists" I know personally who have jobs in the private sector - including two small business owners.

Once upon a time, thoughts of the Atlanta Constitution turned to Henry Grady's "New South" and Ralph McGill's snapping Gene's suspenders. I'm not here to conflate a single sentence blurb in a column of random thoughts with the downfall of a legendary newspaper. But, it is important to remember that there was a time when great men walked those halls and those great men recognized the power of their position and they grasped with fierce determination the unsheathed pen and used the magic of that instrument to promote the betterment of the city and the people they so loved.

It's only a single sentence, but there is more myth spun out of that single sentence than ever emerged from Joel Chandler Harris' house down in West End. Worse, it is a myth designed not to raise up our city - our people - our new south. Instead, it is a mealy mouthed myth of marginalization - of exclusion - of disdain.

You're better that this, Jim. And what's worse is you know it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Couple Of Oldies But Goodies

I can be harsh with my written word. I don't apologize for this vanity. If I did, my mentor from beyond the grave would surely rise up to threaten me with grievous bodily harm

But I've always believed in keeping the conversation going.

My recent screed about swgalibertarian's behavior and Daniel N. Adams response cause me to reflect on some of my early ramblings about libertarianism.

So, here they are back from the dead for your perusal.

The Sensible Libertarian

The Outsiders

Although I don't consider myself truly a libertarian anymore, with the recent disaffection of many Republicans, there are many interesting goings on in the little party that could. Feel free to navel gaze at your pleasure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome To The Weird, Bubba

Everyone knows the Libertarian Party has its kooky elements. But there are those surprising moments when someone you think is reasonable flies completely off the rails.

The recent tweets of one swgalibertarian:
I'm sporting blue in protest of the #iranelection hysteria, since the US is no better and we need to concentrate on our own home first

@griftdrift the only proof you offered was the two parter about mullahs and blood, but I showed that mullahs == Party Chairmen
So. Our south Georgia friend's thesis is the chair's of our political parties are the equivalent of theocratic dictators and our elections are no better than those held in an Islamic theocracy.

For a moment, let's put aside how that plays and simply compare two contested elections - 2000 in the U.S. and 2009 in Iran

2009 Iran - Elections (like all elections) are verified by a religious leader who proclaims it is the will of God.
2000 U.S. - Disputed results in Florida are ultimately ajudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court and then validated by the U.S. Electoral College

2009 Iran - People are killed
2000 U.S. - People in various states of dress scream a lot at each other and some faint from the Florida heat

2009 Iran - The military is a visible presence in the streets.
2000 U.S. - The only military involvement is a dispute over the counting of absentee ballots from overseas bases.

2009 Iran - Paramilitary organizations invade dorm rooms and terrorize students
2000 U.S. - Student activists invade party offices and generally make asses of themselves

Yep. Exactly the same.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Your Weirdness For The Day

The strange saga of Rep. Tim Bearden and the city of Carrolton has simmered all day.

The quick summary is the hyperlocal CarroltonGeorgia.com sniffed out payments from the city to the local legislator for undefined services.

As is sometimes the case, the blog hit a stone wall with city officials unwilling to go on the record. Enter Creative Loafing, who talked to the city manager and was rewarded with this bit of weirdness.
He said Bearden often leads programs and initiatives and assists with some matters “you can’t talk about.” Coleman elaborated on the statement about Carroll County black ops missions, saying many of those efforts, for legal reasons, are not open to public records.
Black ops missions? Are they conducting Psy-Ops against Anniston in preparation for our invasion of Alabama?

Good to see Georgia politics getting back to the backwoods bizarre that is the norm.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Linking! Oh! The Linking!

I would never quote a blogger. ~GPB's Susanne Capaluto - June 7, 2007

...without the mainstream media, what are bloggers going to link to? ~ATLMalcontent (handle for a local print journalist) -March 15, 2009

Earlier this afternoon, the AJC linked directly to a TMZ story about Chastity Bono's transition from woman to man.

Tonight, the original link is gone, replaced by a link to AJC sister site Access Atlanta's story on the subject. Actually it's a link to the Access Atlanta story which is a copy of the Associated Press story.*


Gonna have to think for a while about those in the traditional media who judge my ethics.


Okay. Done.

*Yes, I know the AJC pays for access to AP stories. Please don't think I need that explained for the 100th time

Why I'm Not A Liberal

Weed is my favorite theoretical example for defining the differences between modern conservatives and modern liberals.

Conservatives says weed is bad therefore we must ban it. Liberals says weed is no worse than alcohol so we should legalize it - but then tax the bejeezus out of it.

I think you can see the parallels to my weed hypothetical and these comments by Dustin at UGA Liberal.
I must agree with them that, in this point of time in democracy, access to the information on the internet is vital to everyone. It should be a basic human right...That is not to say that it should not be regulated.
I hope this is a case of sarcasm not translating well over the internet, but I suspect it's not.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ambassador Adelman?

Galloway as usual has the scoop.
We understand that representatives of the U.S. State Department have been in the Capitol, asking background questions about state Sen. David Adelman (D-Decatur). Republican and Democratic colleagues have been interviewed, we’re told.
Adelman's gain would be Georgia's loss. He is one of the few sane ones under the Gold Dome.

A piece I wrote about him in 2007.

Friday, June 05, 2009

My Afternoon Jay

Would we all wade so deep in the minutiae if it were something about which we did not care so deeply?

Now, Jay Bookman is taking Karen Handel to task over those pesky voter database searches.
So, casting the state’s policy in the best possible light, Handel’s approach may have found as many as 30 illegal voters. But that is far outweighed by the invalidation of hundreds of legal votes cast by U.S. citizens, and by the fact that thousands of additional citizens were effectively discouraged from voting by additional obstacles put in their way.


You know I expect this kind of stuff from Cynthia Tucker, but despite CB's howling, I expect a little more sense from Jay.

One of the problems with the left's arguments about these purges is even when they're right (which technically Jay is), they end up making people shrug.

Jay has a valid point that ultimately the database search produced somewhere between 30-300 potential voter fraud cases. As has been said before, Handel is using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

But in explaining how he arrived at that number, Jay presents the breakdown of how many voters were actually affected by these database queries.

About 4700.

Out of 4 million around 600,000.

That's .1% .5%

But that's not all. What was required of those 4700?

They had to go down to the registrar's office before the election and show proof of citizenship.

Wow. That sounds tough. So tough, that 2000 actually passed through the struggle and accomplished the task.

So what happened to the other 2700? Well, 600 showed up and were required to complete a challenge ballot. They were also required to show citizenship within 48 hours. Amazingly, 370 were able to accomplish this monumental task.

So what is the final tally? About 2300 people out of 4 million were arguably disenfranchised from their right to vote.

But too often this is the way of things with liberals - if ain't perfect, we gotta pursue it with a thunderous righteous fury. And I guarantee you, sometime in the next week, when I am arguing with one on this very subject, even if I agree that there is some injustice, when I point out it is a fight they will never win because people will see those numbers as absurd, they will still angrily disagree and search for another windmill to stab.

CORRECTION: As Sara pointed out in the comments my numbers were off because I was doing vote totals from the last election instead of new registrants during the last cycle. The numbers above reflect this change. But as I indicated in the comments, it does not change the figures so drastically that my perspective or point has changed.

My Morning Wooten

As we near the end things just get plain weird.
When Atlanta traffic cameras produce 49,322 citations in one year at one intersection Freedom Parkway and Boulevard), you’ve got to wonder whether the real problem’s motorists, designers or a quick camera. Second-most citations (19,101) are issued at Cobb Parkway and Windy Hill Road in Marietta. All intersections with traffic cameras should have a timed count-down warning to approaching motorists. While that law’s being drafted, a section should be added to prohibit the use of mobile radar cameras, which have triggered road rage in other states.
Uh, Jim. We already have a "count down warning". It's called a yellow light. Unfortunately for us all, somewhere in the recesses of time, a peculiar gene was bred into Atlantans causing them to speed up when they see yellow. Thus, the ridiculous amount of citations.
First lady Michelle Obama, following in the footsteps of predecessors who took up causes, appears to have settled on improving D.C.’s schools. A better idea: Promote marriage.
How? By getting married again? Improving a school system isn't good enough because it's not Jim's pet project. Welcome to bizarro-land.
The great mystery of the subprime mortgage debacle is how reform, however structured, can both protect people from themselves and make loans “affordable” to people — whatever their income — who have been irresponsible with money and credit. The left’s solution is to force lenders to write-down debt and to force responsible borrowers to subsidize the irresponsible. AJC reporters Carrie Teegardin and John Perry nail it with this observation in Sunday’s analysis : “Subprime borrowers and investors bet heavily on rapidly rising home prices and cast aside the basic rule of lending: making sure the borrower could afford to repay.”
A classic Jimism - say something is spot on then ignore the parts that don't jibe with your pet theories. Let me repeat the salient passage with the assistance of the cap lock key: "Subprime borrowers and INVESTORS bet heavily on rapidly rising home prices". In Jimworld not only did the left force lenders to give to unqualified borrowers but they also forced them to gamble in unstable markets. The power of the left. It never ceases to amaze.
New cars may be losing their allure, as some urban-dwellers suggest. But it’ll probably take more than one San Franciscan selling her 2006 Toyota Corolla and using a car-sharing company to make the argument convincing. Much of what passes for prognostication is people wishing-in their agenda.
I'm a fairly voracious consumer of news and I have no idea what this is about. Sure would be nice to have one of those link things.
I don’t know which new chain stores coming to Atlanta to go ga-ga over. AJWright opened its first three stores here and nobody gushed breathlessly at the prospect of cheaper clothing, as they’d done for Ikea’s cheaper furniture and Trader Joe’s cheaper wine.
I have no idea what the point is here. That people like booze and beds better than clothes? Told you this was a weird one.
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council Vice President Toby Moore, formerly of Wadley, is among those speakers of native Georgian “distressed to the point of insanity” about those who mangle the pronunciations of our beloved towns, cities and counties, especially those in the metro area. His guide to newcomers: “McDonough is pronounced MAC-DON-uh. It is not MIC-DUN-uh or mic-DUN-uh. … Coweta County is a matter of inflection: COW-EAT-a. It’s not cuh-WEET-a.”
Don't forget luh-FAY-ette, KAY-roe, BURR-lin, VIE-inna and all the other weird Georgia town pronunciations. At first, I thought to myself, this is a pretty weird bullet and even weirder that it was coverted into the headline. Then, I decided given the strange tone of the whole day, it fits just right.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Transparency Shield

In Decatur, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution continued scaling back local operations, hyperlocals such as DecaturMetro and inDecatur began filling the gaps left behind. Inevitably, the nascent exploration of areas long held by the media giant led to conflict. Discussions of what constituted journalism and appropriate credit spawned spirited discussions across the town square of the new media community.

70 miles away, Dr. Lee Becker, a professor of journalism and proprietor of the online site Oconee County Observations, inadvertently provided a perfect case study of the clash between traditional and new media.

His piece"Oconee Officials Met Secretly To Discuss Assembly Session" set out to expose possible shenanigans by his hometown politicians, but what followed was an easily traceable timeline of a typical old/new media convergence and then divergence.

On 5-23, Becker published his story about potential open meetings violations by the Oconee County Commission. Given his background and the thoroughness of the research and sourcing, there can be little doubt the piece should be considered journalism. However, what happened next raised familiar ethical and philosophical questions.

The next day, Athens Banner Herald staff writer Adam Thompson picked up Becker's story and published it on his ABH blog. To his credit, Thompson attributed the origin of the story to Becker's site.

One week later, on June 1, the ABH published a Thompson article on the subject in both its online and print editions. Neither Becker nor his site are mentioned.

The following day, the ABH published an editorial which referred only to the previous day's Thompson article. Athough the editorial board did not specifically claim the paper broke the story, viewed in the vacuum of the print and online editions, the implication cannot be denied.

There is little doubt the genesis of Thompson's story and the editorial follow-up was the piece published by Dr. Becker. As the story passed further from its origin and deeper into the traditional editorial process, the opaqueness of the original source grew.

Amid the assaults on the newspaper industry, one powerful shield which frequently remains unused is transparency. People simply do not understand how newspapers work and this lack of knowledge creates an atmosphere where readers are easy prey for those who peddle in myths of bias and lack of credibility.

When, where and how Becker should have been credited should be debated. However, it is clear the Athens Banner Herald missed an opportunity to use the transparency shield as a tool to give its readers a complete vision of this particular story and glimpse at how all stories emerge. A beneficial by-product would have been appropriate credit for Dr. Becker and possibly a strengthening of the perception of the new media warrior and the traditional media guardian sharing the role of protectors of democracy.

Instead, we are left with the continued friction and our separate pursuits of the solutions we all crave.

Tell Us How You Really Feel

Tell us how you really feel, JMac.
We can leave aside the comedic value of a guy who last served in elected office in the 1990s running as the 'candidate for the future'...
Roy Barnes entry into the Governor's race is already firing the blood of people on all sides. Good lord, this is going to be fun.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Oh Well

So much for writing about any other candidate today.

Barnes is in.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Competency Constituency

Rarely has a state candidate so polarized the two wings of our major political parties. And certainly never on issues rarely considered outside the realm of lawyers and inside baseballers.

To the Republican base, Secretary of State Karen Handel is a stalwart defender of the most sacred rite of voting - a beacon of purity scouring the darkness of fraud which must exist.

To the Democratic base, Secretary Handel is a cold, calculating political assassin intent on disenfranchising the poor and minorities through callous law enforcement and illegal tactics.

Of course - they're both wrong.

Even though laws requiring identification at polling places and proof of citizenship at registration are sensible, voter fraud in the state of Georgia is as rare as a Republican turning down a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Handel's support and rigid enforcement of certain laws have always been answers in search of a problem. To pretend these actions are safeguards against hordes of fraudulent voters intent on mad rushing poll workers instead of red meat to fire up her party base is laughable.

More sad than laughable is the Democrat's efforts to paint sketchy database purges and grannies who have to drive across town to get a free picture id as the equivalent of poll taxes, literacy tests and Jim Crow.

More than usual, independents may decide Handel's fate. Whether elephant leaning or donkey leaning or just plain ornery, the uncommitted generally ignore the hoots and hollers of the loons in order to seek competence over ideology.

Fairly or not, Handel is perceived to have been an effective administrator as the Chair of the Fulton County Commission. Despite the howls of Democratic activists and the occasional sidestep such as the Jim Powell mess, she is also seen as an effective Secretary of State.

But those who pay no attention to the howls of the absurd will not remain silent forever. They will seek an answer for Powell being removed from the ballot the day before the election, sending polling places into chaos. They will demand to know why a voter database triggered a political fight (and possibly another costly court room battle) with the Feds.

They will not be placated by press releases with catchy phrases from cheerleader movies or clever videos of bovines yanked by brass rings.

While others quake earth and pulsate veins, the competency constituency will seek to answer the only question in their practical calculus - is this a leader who is trustworthy to grasp the reins of state?

The Sotomayor Project: An Update

Guns are complicated. I've always known 2nd Amendment issues are far more complicated than the inflammatory rhetoric spewed forth by the gun nuts and gun control nuts.

But everything proceeded according to plan. Then, the 7th Circuit got involved.


The project will proceed but as is my manner, I refuse to show only half my ass. So, I'm currently discussing the finer points of incorporation, supremacy and stare decisis with one of my trusted Constitutional scholars.

The result will come - maybe tomorrow or the next day.

Hey. If the Senate can take a couple of months to pore through this crap, I think should get a couple of days.

An Interesting Twist?

Tom Houck via Twitter reports:
Retiring Ga Chief Justice Sears tells me at the ATL Press luncheon she won't clsoe the door on a run for Gov in 2010.
First impression - Although she would be painted as a "liberal activist" by the opposition, Justice Sears speaks conservatively enough on family issues to guard that flank pretty well.

Also, she gives a helluva speech.

She could be the fly in many ointments.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Confusion Rules On Justice Dept. Ruling

The AP did no one any favor with its report of the U.S. Justice Department's smackdown of Secretary of State Karen Handel's "voter verification" processes.

The news service reported

The Justice Department has rejected Georgia's attempt to require prospective voters in the state to provide proof of citizenship...Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the bill last month making Georgia the second state in the nation to require newly registering voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before casting a ballot. Under the Voting Rights Act, the state was required to get preclearance for the measure from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The accurate part of these two paragraphs is that the Governor signed a bill - it was Senate Bill 86 which requires a person to present proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Then, Aaron Gould Shienin of the AJC reports:

Handel and her aides created the system in 2007 under the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act. The law requires states to verify a voter’s identity at the time of registration, but not necessarily to verify citizenship. In creating the system, Handel’s office extended the verification process to include citizenship; something the Justice Department said was “discretionary on the state’s part.”
This paragraph is referring to Secretary Handel's controversial scanning of the voter database in search of anomalies resulting in many registered voters being purged. It does not refer to SB 86 which was just enacted.

Or maybe it does. Neither article clearly defines if the Justice Department was talking about the previous practice, the new law or both.

Given the glacial pace of the federal government, it's doubtful they acted so quickly on a law which won't affect an election for 15 months. It's very likely they finally moved on a policy executed in the last cycle. In other words, it is a good bet the local boys and girls got it right and the wire service got wrong.

Either way, someone needs to answer for shoddy work.

Triumph and Jack Kingston

How did I miss this?