Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 8

Day 8

* End of the week. We'll get recaps. We'll get Tom Crawford. We'll get to make fun of his wardrobe.

* First piece of legislation passed. Senate bill to allow us to use hands free devices in our cars. Yes, it was illegal. Yes, no one knew this. But someone actually got busted for it! It would be fascinating to delve into the history of this nonsense.

* Vincent Fort! He's always fun. He's full of piss and vinegar at my old school - Emory University. He blames them for the closing of the Grady Dialysis Center.

* No more hawks. House passed a resolution to get rid of the super delegates. And the reporters are welcomed back onto the House floor. Much rejoicing among the pen and ink set.

* Shot of the scowling House clerks. Won't somebody get them a Red Bull?

* Minority Leader Porter wants other things looked at but he's generally happy with the new processes.

* Rep. Debbie Buckner wants people to stop picking on Atlanta over our water hogging. She's from Junction City. That's down near Columbus dontcha know. She wants a state-wide watering ban during daylight hours. That ain't going to be popular.

* Valerie from Hogwarts.

* She's reporting on the tax cut plan by Rep. Graves and Sen. Rogers. Strangely it's very similar to the plan outlined by President Obama in the State of Union. The speech that our own Erick Erickson called "an assault on the free market". Isn't it interesting how one makes good economic sense while the other is a communist takeover. That's politics, I suppose.

* Had a little anchor whiplash there. Nwandi and Susan weren't sure who was supposed to be talking.

* Old folks screaming on the Capitol steps. Always entertaining. They don't want Meals of Wheels cut.

* Keocia!

* "Be There For Seniors!" Picadilly's should adopt that for their early bird special.

* Some legislator is droning about job creation. If there wasn't sound coming from his mouth, I'd think he was dead. Someone get him a Red Bull too. It's Senator Golden. drone. water. drone. transportation. drone.

* He wants Hwy 133 four laned from Albany to Valdosta. That would be a tremendous boost for my hometown of Moultrie. Getting to Valdosta is a pain on that winding two laner.

* Tom Crawford time!

* Well he took my advice...sort of. A nice striped shirt and a nice red tie. He's moved up from mortician to local haberdasher.

* Tom chuckles at the media being allowed back on the floor. Tom needs a Red Bull too. Was there a gas leak in Capitol last thursday?

* Resolutions to encourage schools to protect kids from aggressive military recruitment. Stephanie Benefield Stuckey introduces this. Not surprising. She's liberal enough to make Howard Zinn blush.

* Mayor Reed in the House! He's cracking jokes about Ralston's time in the wilderness under Richardson.

* Lawmakers flashback! 1973! A new year! Debate over drivers education. Now, this is sausage making. Speaker Smith again. When are we gonna see a cigar chomping Tom Murphy? The House clerks were scowling even back then.

* The French ambassador visited to present the Legion of Honor to some WWII vets. That's pretty cool.

* Ricky Bevington gets a feature. She's talking to Gene Lambert who was at Omaha Beach. Nice piece.

* Ricky isn't in the studio so we get Prep Sports John Nelson. Unemployment is bad out in the rural areas. It's so bad even Sea Island Company, they own The Cloister, is in debt and laying off. That's really bad.

* Lawmakere will return next week. That's a wrap!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 7

Day 7

* Not much has happened so far, but today we should start to see some floor action.

* There's the orange juicer. And there's Susan and Nwandi. Let the show begin.

* Kill the hawks! Kill the hawks! Also a change in the way the House rules committee operates. They can't re-write bills anymore. All of this passed out of the aforementioned rules committee. It's all about the rules and the rules committee.

* Minority leader Dubose Porter (D-Home Of The Redneck Games) approves the changes.

* Water wars time! Activate the Chattahoochee Navy!

* There's Valerie at Hogwarts. Shots of Lake Lanier with overlays of "Factoids".

* Hurl cam!

* Bottom line here, if we don't get an agreement by 2012, we won't have to worry about the Mayan calendar because we're all gonna die of thirst.

* We rank 39th in Medicaid funding! Finally, something where we're not in the bottom five with Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina!

* First lobbyist of the season! Some health care dude. Susan can't help herself, she loves to interrupt. Perhaps, she should try out for "tough questions" Channel 46.

* The immediate goal is to "stave off reductions" in Medicaid. Once again. We have no money. Chamber of Commerce dude has the duh answer of the night - it's the recession.

* There are 1.7 million Georgians on Medicaid? That can't be right. That's about 15% of the population! Maybe they are including PeachCare? Either way, that's crazy.

* Lobbyist man wants to tax something called a CMO or something. They don't really explain what that is but apparently we would get matching funds from the Feds, but that would still only cover half the shortfall.

* Suggestion to tax tobacco at $1.00 a pack. Ask Florida how that's going.

* 7 diseases are responsible for 70% of health care. Fascinating. I wish they had said what they are. I bet I could guess.

* WHOOPSIE! The cursed tape machine ate a clip about mental health services. Good recovery by Nwandi.

* Floor action!

* HB 977. If you furlough teachers, administrators can't get raises. Sounds good to me.

* Speaker Ralston appeared in the Senate chamber.

* Annnnnnnd Susan is having to cover because the evil tape machine is apparently still not working. She's filling nicely but the anchors can't do this for the whole show.

* Nwandi is leading into the mental heatlh package again and she's stretchhhhhhhing. You can almost hear the infernal machine rewinding.

* We have to increase funding to certain areas of mental health to keep the Feds from coming down on our head. This may be one of the few areas we aren't cutting due to the severe consequences. The Milledgeville Hospital was almost completely shut down due to ongoing problems. They've already stopped taking new admissions, so eventually the storied, weird place will close.

* Back to the tape of Ralston in the Senate. And he's being hazed of course. The Senate loves hazing. And they say they've removed all the frat house activities. Thank you sir, may I have another!

* Ralston didn't know he was going to be asked to speak at the rostrum. Apparently that hasn't happened in some time. Ralston is the session rock star.

* The dirty 7 are back. And now 2 of them say they oppose the furloughs. The rest are fessing up and admitting their mistake. So now we're down to the dirty duo.

* Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Land Of Sweet Onions) is explaining the meager salary of Georgia Legislators and taking a few pot shots at the fat cat commie legislators in Massachussets.

* Lawmakers Flashback! More from 1971 of course! Fireant eradication! How exciting! And we're going to hear something about the Ancient One i.e. Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin. Oh my goodness gracious, it's Rep. Dorsey Matthews! I believe I recall my mama once saying he was a "loud mouth sumbitch". The tape tells no lie. He's screaming that the state will be "completely ruint!"

* Guns. Butter must be close behind. Rep. Tim Bearden again talking about his bill to allow concealed firearms in public gatherings. The majority of other states allow this. - including those hippies in Oregon!

* The President of Gwinnett Georgia College is actually arguing that passionate college romances may lead to hormonally charged co-eds throwing down iron!

* The texting bills are in committee. "This bill will save lives". So will wrapping everyone in styrofoam. But only the styrofoam lobby supports that measure.

* The obvious question is asked. How the hell you enforce this nonsense? The authors of the bill have no answer. This thing is headed for a study committee.

* State news with Ricky Bevington. Will it be all gloom and doom? Bibb County superintendent is under scrutiny for not reporting scandalous principals. Macon is such a weird town. A battery maker has opened a research lab in Milton. Milton? The richest suburb in Atlanta? That's damned odd.

* Democratic Caucus chair interview tomorrow. And more Tom Crawford. Can't wait to see what he's wearing. But for now - that's a wrap!

A Tale Of Two Tax Cuts

First up - Rep. Tom Graves and Sen. Chip Rogers propose a good ol' fashioned "conservative" approach to creating jobs.
$2,400 Tax Credit for the Hiring of the Most Difficult to Employ: Any Georgia company which hires a person who is difficult to employ and is currently receiving unemployment benefits...A Triggered 50 Percent Reduction of the Capital Gains Tax for all Georgia Taxpayers.
What a wonderful free market approach to the economy!

Next up - a portion of President Obama's State Of The Union.
I am also proposing a new small business tax credit – one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we’re at it, let’s also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment; and provide a tax incentive for all businesses, large and small, to invest in new plants and equipment
According to Georgia's own Erick Erickson, the speech was an "assault on the free market system".

Yet, I'm sure we'll continue to see plenty of a very earnest Erick spewing his tripe on the 'liberal' media.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 6

Day 6

* I just realized the new logo looks one of those old fashioned juicers. You know the kind. Where you push the orange down over some protuberance? I have a funny story about that particular kitchen device and an antique store but that's for another day.

* "Optional" furloughs for legislators. 7 Democrats already found out how "optional" they are. Bad press followed the dirty 7 after they didn't "volunteer" last year.

* Seems to have bi-partisan support this time. Imagine that!

* Under current law it can't be mandatory. There's a law moving through the halls to close this loophole.

* Casey Time!

* DuBose Porter, he's running for Governor, dontcha know, is bringing back his move to allow counties to use different methods to collect sales tax (including privatization!). Yes, a Democrat talking about privatization. Hold your pearls, Ethel. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill doesn't think there's data to support the number DuBose is throwing around.

* I have been quite critical of Susan Hoffman over the past few days but I have to compliment her questioning - it's aggressive and she knows the issues. She ain't letting Hill wiggle off the hook.

* First live shot is of course - Valerie. How do budget cuts affect specific departments? In this case Juvenile Justice. More quickly panning camera! It's the hurl cam!

* Juvenile Justice has cut 108 positions. So the next time some know-it-all spews forth they've never heard of government laying off workers, tell them to stick that number in their pipe and smoke it.

* 18 more admin positions recommended cut in Sonny's 2010 budget. Nah. They never layoff government workers. Oh, and the lucky ones who keep their job? Furlough days.

* Now on to cuts in education. Won't someone think of the children?!

* State Superintendent Kathy Cox says there are systems "teetering on the edge". 30 schools have received waivers on class sizes.

* Hawks gotta go! Rules committee will attempt to shoot the powerful birds tomorrow morning. (The hawks are essentially super-legislators who can sit on any committee and vote)

* He's also going to let the press back in the House. Speaker Richardson famously threw the press out a couple of years ago.

* Sen. Renee Unterman is talking about child exploitation again. It's her personal project. But her bills did get passed last year, so I'm not sure what this is about.

* Vicent Fort (D-Land Of Many Protests) is back with his pet project - predatory lending. His bill wasn't quite as lucky as Unterman's.

* Governor debate at the Georgia Municipal Association yesterday. Another question from Susan! She's quite the busy beaver.

* Question about transportation. Oxendine is quite animated as he points out the obvious. We're screwed if we keep dumping every person in the state into Atlanta.

* Barnes wants a metro-wide transit including rail.

* Interesting. Those are the only two they showed. Lawmakers considers them the front runners. I guess technically they are.

* Senate bill to prevent racial profiling in traffic stops. It's sponsored by a Democrat so let's all guess the chance of passage.

* Just noticed Nan Orrock in the background of the profiling presser. She does know how to find a camera.

* There are currently no Republican legislators signed on to co-sponsor the bill. There's your shocking fact of the day.

*Lawmakers Flashback! Will it be from 1971 again? Why yes it is! What the hell is it about 1971? I figured it out! That was the first year Lawmakers was on, wasn't it? So the entire series will be 1971? That seems a waste. Wouldn't it be better to show their progress through the years instead of endless black and white clips of cigarette smoking white dudes?

* I just saw Ricky Bevington's hand flash behind Nwandi! State news must be coming up.

* Sen. Emanuel Jones wants to relax zero tolerance laws on weapons in school. Weapons like a Tweety Bird key chain. Goodness gracious. Could we be seeing an outbreak of common sense under the Gold Dome?

* Legislators are consulting economists about the budget woes. We're so screwed.

* Economists are like a weird chimera of a preacher and a snake-oil salesman.

* First throw to a kid. It's Lara Fawaz. She's covering one of the many pressers that happen in the rotunda. This time it's a coalition against domestic violence. They aren't happy that funding is decreasing. Is anyone? I mean besides the Libertarians.

* Oh lord. We got another rendition of happy birthday in the Senate. John Douglas is going to sing. God help us all. They turned off all the mics. Another cool, calculated decision from Casey.

* Ricky Bevington with the state news. Furloughs all around! Home Depot is closing an outlet! Environmental violations in Dekalb! Tomorrow night, she's just going to read from Revelations.

* Susan's telling us about tomorrow. That must mean it's a wrap!

It All Seems So Familiar

To my knowledge, prior to January 2009, no Georgia blogger had written extensively about the GPB show "Lawmakers". Then, something strange happened.

January 13, 2009 - The first entry of "Gonzo Lawmakers" appears on Drifting Through The Grift

January 28, 2009 - Peach Pundit's "Pete Randall" posts the first ever "Lawmakers Drinking Game"

Probably just a coincidence.

January 25, 2010 - After a delayed start, "Gonzo Lawmakers" re-appears for its second "season".

January 27, 2010 - "Pete" starts another "Lawmakers" open thread. It regurgitates many of the items noted in the first few entries of Gonzo Lawmakers. Including a notation for the first time that the "reporters" are actually interns.

So. Where is the line between coincidence and creative theft?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mary Margaret Oliver Is An Idiot

Despite the obvious desire for beer and the sunglasses, I don't think I'm too frightening. A little shady perhaps, but frightening? Apparently Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver thinks so.
Have you read the blogs? There’s a negativity and a hate-mongering that’s frightening to me.
It takes a whole heap of stupidity to get me to agree with Peach Pundit's resident clown.

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 5

Day 5

* Gonna be all about money today

* Guv Perdue is calling for 9% cuts but not across the board this time. This is on the heels of two straight years of cuts. It's going to be interesting to see where the cuts will come.

* Education will be cut less than 3% whereas the rest of the agencies get 9% cuts. Remind me sometime to write about how as a former state worker I always roll my eyes when the teachers start whining.

* Some economics dweeb is talking about hard decisions on priorities. I don't know who he is because Lawmakers failed to tell me. Their first technical snafu of the year. And they were on such a roll.

* Just noticed we have a new set up at Hogwarts. Much lighter and less gothic. Matches the new 70s gold lame effects motif.

* Lottery funded programs are passing lottery revenues for the first time. This is going to be tricky.

* Either Rep. Ben Harbin needs a shave or he's growing a goatee. Grow the goatee, Ben. Embrace the dark side.

* No tax increases. Shocking.

* Lots of talk about new tax credits. Appropriations Chair Jack Hill notes that these usually lag growth and are hard to measure. I think that's the first time I've ever heard a Republican admit this fact.

* Harbin pretty much says the HOPE (i.e. lottery) money fight will be delayed until next year. Political maxim - don't screw with the lottery or HOPE during an election year.

* Are we going to have an entire episode without mentioning transportation? That has to break a streak.

* Sen. Gail Buckner has seen text books that still use the country name "Yugoslavia". No word if the flaggers approve this retro-fitting as it might eventually lead to textbooks with appropriate labels circa 1861.

* Lawmakers Flashback! It's from 71 again. They've all been from 71. Do they have no other film? Was there some tape disaster in the mid 70s? Some really old dude is explaining "unlock the machine". Of all the weird utterances spewed in the state house, it's a personal favorite. People smoking on the house floor! Ah, the good old days.

* Ethics reform. Which means, we get more of the Ralston interview. Is this Lawmakers or a Susan Hoffman audition reel?

* Ralston is asking members to exercise their own restraint until the laws are changed. HAH! Just do what your mama would have you do here. HAH!

* Chip Rogers got a camoflage hat as a gift. It was just sitting on his desk. He wonders how that would be reported. That's his reason to make sure the process is throrough (i.e. takes a long time to create). We have our first nominee for silliest anecdote of the year!)

* Throw to Keocia at Hogwarts! Our first live throw! How exciting! Hogwarts is dark again. The kids don't get the good lighting.

* There's a Univision microphone on the table at this committee meeting. Do they have a spanish version of Lawmakers? Perhaps I should broaden my base.

* Smooth report, Keocia. Two in a row. We may have a star in the making.

* Rep. Rob Tela...Telee....that dude running for Attorney General wants to take DNA at the time of arrests. Strange that a candidate for the top lawyer post in Georgia doesn't understand the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And he has a crying mother who lost her daughter to a repeat offender by his side. Never let it be said the Democrats don't know how to pander.

* Mayor of Cumming was honored. Make your own joke.

* State news with Ricky Bevington and Nwandi asks her if she's "been to Cumming lately". Blushes all around. Awkward!

* Ricky is having a bit of a time getting it back together.

* Throwback to Nwandi - still awkward. Wish I could see what happens after the wrap. Which is happening right now. Back tomorrow!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 4

No Day 3 as it was the State of The State and nobody wants to read a recap of that snoozer.

* Transportation up first. Guv wants to spend 300 million for ten years. Backed by bonds with the debt paid from the general fund. That's not going to be easy to swallow.

* It took him long enough but this actually makes sense. He's saying in essence that he wishes he had done this at the beginning of his term. Too bad he didn't.

* Sonny doesn't look or soundl well. Wonder if he has the flu.

* Ralston time. He appears to be taking the Casey time slot from last year. He is the fresh face. So to speak.

* Valerie is at Hogwarts covering the MLK holiday ceremony. Ralston is getting some "aw yeahs!" during his speech. He's hitting all the right notes. How long will it last?

* They are interviewing members of the Atlanta Boys Choir and it's just precious.

* No texty on the cell phone while driving bill. I predict this will be a hot distraction during this session.

* Rep. Lee Anderson, the bill's sponsor, keeps saying "texing". I love it when old people talk about the new fangled stuff. He also wants to ban talking on cell phones while driving. He was almost run off the road this morning. Must have been traveling down Courtland.

* Labor Commissioner Thurmond, my former boss, asking for bipartisan support to find jobs. Why this man doesn't run for higher office is a mystery.

* Time for Tom Crawford! I wondered if he would be back considering he has let loose at Blog For Democracy. Always amazes me that such a mild man can fling the napalm. Mostly a recap of the Richardson saga and the new Ralston administration. Tom. You need a little flair in your outfit. You're looking a bit like a mortician from a small town.

* Lawmaker flashback! And it's the speaker before Tom Murphy again. This is like watching newsreels from WWII. GPB used to be called ETV. Fun fact: in South Carolina it's still called ETV. Georgia wins again!

* I think Susan is doing whip-its between pieces.

* More Ralston time!

* I suddenly miss wacky Glenn Richardson. Ralston is far too calm. We can only hope he gets a mild infection of gavel madness.

* Whereas Glenn Richardson always looked like "bad, dirty Sunday School teacher", Ralston looks like everyone's favorite deacon.

* Wow. These are some hard hitting questions. Is it fair that in an election year you want Republicans to retain control? Tough. Right down to the bone deep.

* Ralston names former speakers, call's them "giants". There's one name he doesn't mention!

* A new kid! Keocia Jackson! Solid first time report. Good job.

* Sportsman day and we have another new kid! Lara Fawaz. There's animals running loose in the lobby and they aren't the usual suit wearing ones. Better watch the lobbyists though. They might try to sneak a shoe worthy gator out the door.

* Around the state with Ricky Bevington. Russia has banned American chicken exports. I say we retaliate by banning Russian mail order brides.

* Lawmakers will be off for a week, which is why I'm able to get caught up.

* For now, that's a wrap.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 2

Day 2

*Will the kids return?

* Susan and Nwandi are both in black. I hope nobody died!

*Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues. That means lots of speeches. I hope they have the see through lectern again!

* We have see through! They really must get rid of this thing. One day, a pol is going to do what comes natural and scratch a place no one needs to know about.

* Lots of applause Perdue saying teachers should be the same as football coaches. Say that again in the fall and see what happens.

* Shockingly, the teachers union ain't happy. It's about merit pay but it's funny that it came right after the Guv said he wants to pay them more.

* The see through podium disturbs me to no end. I like to pretend politicians are just torsos and heads.

* Healthcare reform bad. Ooga ooga

* Oh lord, as if the see through podium wasn't bad enough, now they've put the Speaker and the Lite Guv in high chairs. Or maybe those are bar stools. Ralston looks awfully comfortable on his. Casey - not so much.

* Good lord Ralston is a BIG MAN.

* Casey on the other hand looks like a school boy caught doing something bad. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

* More Healthcare reform. Ooga ooga.

*The Eggs and Issues curse continues. The tape machine just burped.

* Sonny needs a haircut. Hippie.

* Perdue says he's going speak on transportation then doesn't. The more things change...

* Second time tonight a pol has used the word "punt". This does not bode well.

* Perdue says he's willing to call a special session to ratify a water agreement with Alabama and Florida. How about a special session to declare war on those bastards! Activate the Chattahoochee Navy! Many the inner tubes!

* Casey says we need to look to the future. Whitney Houston tells me that means the children.

* Lawmaker flashback! Inauguration of JImmy Carter! In color! But not living color. I believe this was still in the days when NBC trademarked living color and everyone else was relegated to dead color. Sadly, for the Lawmaker gang, they were still stuck with black and white and were forced to rely on the kindness of strangers (the flacks over at the Cox Plantation) to produce the piece.

* And there's crazy dwarf Lester Maddox! He couldn't run for Governor again so he ran for Lt. Governor and won.

* There's some committee meeting but the audio is so bad I can't tell if they are talking about debit cards or debutante balls.

* Actual bills are being introduced today. More guns! It's all about guns this session.

* The cannibalistic tape machine is back. Mitch Seabaugh almost got eaten as he was telling us about the places we can and can't tote hot lead.

* One of the kids appears! It's Alan Freedman. He's apparently on the tax beat as we are talking about tax reform. Particularly property taxes and assessments. I need to research my archives. I think Alan was the kid who almost had a "BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE"moment last year.

* Oh good lord. Tommie Williams (R-Land of Wilson Smith) is leading the Senate chamber in a rendition of happy birthday for Casey Cagle.

* News from around the state with Ricky Bevington. There's a child porn sweep going on. What? no weather report today? Radio people never know what to do with their hands when they are on the TV.

* Tomorrow is the State of State. Georgia Outdoors is next. Oh I wish I had recorded it. I miss Dave. But for now, that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 1

Here we go. I'm off to a late start, but I am full of "special medicine", guaranteed to cause flames to shoot from my fingertips.

*We've got a fancy new opening. And no Dave! Where is the dulcet tones of Dave? Is he too wrapped in covering the Vienna Pig Jig for Georgia Outdoors? Instead we have veteran Nwandi and Susan Hoffman. Is she the person that does that awful interview show on Sundays?

*This is like going in the way back machine since I'm so behind. Top story is David Ralston being elected Speaker.

* Ralston is all about working together with the Democrats. It's always kisses and hugs before the knives come out.

* Ralston is like a throwback to ol' time pols. He sounds like he's from the 70s.

* Democrat Smyre calls from an end to the hawks. For those not familiar they were sort of super delegates the downfallen letch Glenn Richardson used to swoop into committee meetings and change the outcomes of votes.

* History lesson! It's the Glenn Richardson saga. This is what they in the bidness call "fill".

* Ahhh the glory days. New speaker Richardson. A younger Nwandi. A visibly uncomfortable Mrs. Richardson. Richardson eatin eggs, then spitting on his enemies. I already miss him so.

* Oh Jesus! They are using a single camera to pan across the text of Richardson's statement. I'm gonna hurl!

* The new graphics surrounding the anchors reminds me of the curtains we had back in the 70s. Everything is very retro this year.

* The way they are using company emblems to explain the members of the "budget taskforce" looks like it might have been cribbed from the "sponsers", er forgive me, "underwriters" splash at the end of the show.

* Our first cutaway to Valerie Edwards. She's at Hogwarts of course. And talking about transportation of course.

* There's our familiar shot of the downtown connector full of cars! Thank god it survived the budget cuts!

* The transportation map with all the new bypasses looks like it was drawn by a legistlator's three year-old.

* 40th season of Lawmakers. They're doing flashbacks. How awesome! They are showing clips back when things were in black and white! That legendary time when PBS got ratings because it only competed with three other channels!

* Hey! There was a speaker before Tom Murphy! They have videographic evidence!

* Black and white clips mean we get to see a chamber full of white. But not a lot black. Including the crazy dwarf Lester Maddox.

* Back to today's business and the somber chamber of the Senate.

* Casey introduces his wife. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

* Donzella James finally found an election she can win. New Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's old seat.

* No cut away to the "kids" yet. Did they not survive the budgets cuts? That would make me profoundly sad.

* Boring speeches in the House. But that means lots of shots of the scowling house clerk.

* Ralston says the state house is not a frat house. The poor guy has enough flop sweat to drown a cow. Having to clean up the sty would make me sweat too.

* Oh lord! It's Mo Thrash! He's nuts! Anybody named Mo is a bit of a wild man.

* Gun bill! We're already into the awesome! Rep. Timothy Bearden wants us to be able to tote into the churches, schools and what not. Of course this brings out the Army of Georgia Carry. Lots of button wielding gun nuts in the committee room.

* Can I say for the first time but probably not the last time, Nwandi's hair rocks.

* More about Richardson's resignation. This epic would make Shakespeare tired.

* Ricky Bevington is there from GPB Radio to let us know the blizzard is coming! We know how that turned out. But I'm enjoying our first ever weather report. Can Sports be far behind?

* Ricky is also talking about the shutting down of the state hospital in Milledgeville. Maybe with the Gold Dome full, the hospital is empty.

* They are talking about what's coming up later this week, which means it must be time to wrap up the show. They're off to a fast and clean start. For now, that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - The Primer

Lawmakers is the nightly recap of the days General Assembly activities by the crack staff of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Gonzo Lawmakers is the nearly nightly stream of conscious ravings of a wild-eyed blogger.

Lawmakers refers to it's on air talent as anchors and reporters. The Capitol is sometimes lovingly called the "Gold Dome".

Gonzo Lawmakers refers to the young intern reporters as "the kids" and mockingly refers to the dimly lit halls of the Capitol as "Hogwarts".

Lawmakers is the best way to keep up with the affairs of the state.

Gonzo Lawmakers is the best way to keep up with the mind of the fevered.

Let's get started.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winging On Kyle

More evidence of the "Party of No"
"...the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, working with the Secretary of the Treasury and other agency heads, to evaluate practices of contracting officers and debarring officials in response to contractors’ certifications of serious tax delinquencies and to provide me, within 90 days, recommendations on process improvements to ensure these contractors are not awarded new contracts, including a plan to make contractor certifications available in a Government-wide database, as is already being done with other information on contractors"

The problem is that the Cabinet members got the benefit of the doubt (well, these four did — Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer weren’t so lucky; two out of six ain’t bad?) whereas ordinary citizens and companies don’t always benefit from such IRS understanding.
President Obama institutes a policy of more accountability from the people who spend our tax dollars and the response from the conservative voice of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is it is an illegitimate action!

Do we need more evidence that the only stance of the core of the Republican Party is "HELL NO"?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Pyhrric Victory

I'm still here and I've still got things to say.

Andrew Sullivan crystallizes my own feelings on the Brown victory in Massachusetts:
Those of us who want Obama to succeed in tackling this country's deepest problems are bummed enough. But healthcare reform was never my reason for supporting him. I was much more invested in getting past the cynicism and laziness of the red-blue divide, restoring the rule of law and the constitutional balance, ending the unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stopping torture, and so on. But for those progressives who have fought for wider access to health insurance for their entire lives, this must be an excruciating, devastating moment.
I publicly stated yesterday that if I lived in Massachusetts, I would have voted for Brown. If you peruse my stances over the years and Brown's, you understand why. (Feel free to couple this with the fact that no one ever asks me how I feel about HCR, although many of you probably know the answer).

But I recoil at the unadulterated glee exhibited by some in the Republican party.

Yesterday, I heard the Health Care Reform bill being described as "radical". This position must be from an alternate universe as the measure almost exactly matches Bob Dole's 96 reform bill and is arguably more conservative than Richard Nixon's 71 version. Those instances were the last time Republicans attempted any form of health care reform. The current Republicans? Nada. Zip. Nothing. And even though the current bill contains provisions Republicans have long supported, they lockstepped their caucus to save us all from the "radicals".

Today is the anniversary of President Obama's inauguration. One of the much bally-hooed tea party organizations called for people to stay home from work and for businesses to close in order to deny the government money. It's not about policy or ideology. It is about throwing tantrums towards a President they do not consider legitimate.

If you believe Fox News, the Hannity's, the Erickson's, not only do they represent the soul of the Republican Party, they represent the soul of America. Right now, these alledged keepers of the soul rely on one philosophy and wrap it in a false layer of "good governance". Their only position is exactly as Sullivan describes it - "tough shit".

In a recent conversation with a young Republican, I imparted a piece of advice. Some times you have to lay ideology aside, look around and see who stands with you on your side of the river.

This morning, although I would have voted in a manner that would make many a Republican proud, I begin to wonder if it's time to put on the swimming trunks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Morning Wooten

Math is fun.
The post-partisan president has the country divided 50-50. No end in sight. Gotta tell you. I’m coming to hate politics as exemplified by the deal with U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) to exempt that state forever from the higher taxes imposed by the new health care legislation now being hashed out in Congress. The Georgia Department of Community Health estimates that Georgians would be forced to pay up to $200 million in higher taxes for an expanded Medicaid program starting in 2013 and increasing to $500 million per year over the following six years. We pay for Georgia, plus Nebraska. That’s bound to be unconstitutional.
In 2004, Mississippians received $1.82 in federal funds for every $1.00 they paid in federal income tax. Californians received $0.78 in federal funds for every $1.00 they paid in federal income tax.

Why do righteous Mississippians continue to live off the tax dollars of pagan Californians?

Why do dishonest columnists continue to peddle the myth that Barack Obama invented "vote buying"?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Rest Of The Top Ten

I have no time for this anymore. Here is the rest of my top ten blog stories of 2009. If I get to them, I get to them.

1. The Flood
2. Republicans Implode
3. John Henderson, ATAC and Crime
4. The Mayors Race
5. More Media Turmoil (AJC Shrinks, Ben Eason out at CL, SoVo closes)
6. The Governor's Race
7. The Town Halls
8. The Eagle Raid

Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

Friday, January 08, 2010

My Morning Wooten

There is a lot of insanity today, including Jim's favorite piece of surrealism - the damned East Atlanta tunnel, but one item pushes the bound of reality so far, it has to be questioned whether he lives in a world where the sky is yellow and the sun is blue.

Residents of DeKalb and Fulton object to a possible 1-cent sales tax increase in 10 metro Atlanta counties for transportation, including MARTA. They want the 1-cent MARTA sales tax to constitute their share. Fact is, they made the choice to spend a cent for MARTA while other counties spent a cent for roads. Residents in the eight other counties should oppose any proposal that shifts the MARTA burden to those who aren’t served by it. (bold mine)
I DEMAND the Atlanta Journal Constitution send a person, probably an intern but it should be a damn editor, to the Doraville MARTA station to count every car with a Gwinnett license plate.

Once this task is complete, I DEMAND the Public Editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution finally call out this purveyor of perfidy.

"Covers Dixie Like The Dew", my hindquarters. More like "Covers Dixie With Projectiles Thrown From The Rear Of A Colicky Horse".

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It's Different

Bill Waller, described by the proprietors of SWGAPolitics as the resident neo-con, although given his stances and reading list, paleo-con may be more apt, at least calls the recent effigy of President Obama found in Plains,Ga insenstive, but then goes on to spin a wild hypothetical of a Obama supporter planting the heinous item in order to "silence the good and decent people that have also exercised their political free speech rights with signs and tea bags". It really is all Obama's fault.

Fellow SWGAPolitics writer Tom follows with the usual whine about any criticism of Obama being labelled racism, then follows with a rather incomplete history lesson.
I guess it never dawned on you, with your Phd. in history, that effigies are an age old tool of political criticism. They were hung for many American Presidents. Not just the black ones. No, they were hung and often burned for all kinds of reasons. So why is it now that it’s suddenly racist?
Oh, I don't know Tom. Maybe because suddenly we have a black President? It's this little thing called context. Tom points out one side of history - true, effigies have always been political tools of the small minded - but conveniently ignores the other half - that this particular effigy was of a black man in an area of the country with a history of hanging black men for no better reason than looking at a person the wrong way.

Finally, the cherry is placed on the "just doesn't get it" sundae by the Americus Times-Recorder who proposes it may have been done by foreigners.

Is it to much to expect people of intelligence to understand why the image of hanging the first black President showing up in a small southern time might have a message that reaches deeper than the surface? We can work on them actually acknowledging it later.

Winging On Kyle

Kyle Wingfield had such a promising start.

Oh well.
One aspect of the climate-change debate which we ignore too often is the potential benefits — and whether they might outweigh the potential consequences.
The benefit here is the potential economic development of Greenland. What Kyle ignores in his "weighing" is Greenland has a population of 57,600, whereas Bangladesh, already the victim of massive flooding during the monsoon season, has a population of 162 milllion.

How long before Kyle turns into a silver haired know nothing who petulantly spouts half truths every friday?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Blog Stories Of 2009: #9 - Senate Bill 31

It is as insider baseball as it gets, but any bill which unites the Republicans of Peach Pundit, the libertarians of Jason Pye and SWGApolitics, the Democrats of Left On Lanier and Blog For Democracy and Clark Howard is worth noting.

The notorious bill allowed Georgia Power to bill current customers for the construction of future power plants.

SB31 was complex but the breakdown of hate was pretty simple: Republicans didn't like it because the math didn't add up, Libertarians hated it because it re-enforced a government sponsored monopoly, Democrats hated it because it exempted big business and Clark hated it because it screwed the consumer. This type of convergence is rarer than a blue moon in February.

And normally it would have sailed through committee and floor votes with little noise or commotion. This is just the way of complex bills supported by armies of lobbyist and the largest utility in the state work.

But not this time. Although ultimately SB 31 passed, the furor brought by the top blogs in the state generated a fierce public debate and ultimately forced the suits under the gold dome to answer some very difficult questions.

In previous years, a SB31 would have never made it off page 5 of the local section. Due to the diligence and passion of the Georgia blogs, it rightly emerged as a front page story.

Blog Stories Of 2009: #10 - Invasion of The Professionals

2008 saw the firing of Ken Edelstein as Editor of Creative Loafing. In 2009, the irascible scribe (aided by the seemingly tireless Jeanne Bonner) led a wave of professional journalists into the Georgia Blogosphere.

Along with Ken's Atlanta Unsheltered, former AJCer Jim Wallis began his lonely toil of wading though public records at Atlanta Unfiltered, the demise of GONSO led Lyle V. Harris to Maria Saporta's site and the newly emerged Like The Dew seems intent on scooping up every available writer in the southeast.

They struggled mightily at times - leading to the usual eyerolls from non-professional veterans - and viability is still an unanswered question, but given Jim has already broken several major stories and the others continue to publish mounds of content, hopes are certainly high.

Top Ten Blog Stories Of 2009

Before we ramp up to the hootenanny down on Capitol Avenue, let's first reflect on the strange goings-on of 2009. It was a weird one, bubba.

It is a tradition here at the Drift to discuss what I believe were the top ten Georgia blog stories (primarily political or media) in the the previous year. Number 10 will be up shortly. And stick around because number 1 is probably going to be a surprise.