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'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


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.