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.


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


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.