Sunday, April 30, 2006

Truthiness At The Correspondent Dinner

A confession first. I don't particularly like The Colbert Report. In fact, I don't like The Office either. I'm more of a My Name Is Earl fan. I guess I am just not erudite enough to enjoy subtle ironic comedy. On this point, I suppose President Bush and I have something in common.

Stephen Colbert was the featured speaker last night at the White House Correspondent Dinner. His performance was the to be expected dry, irony laced commentary. Although I haven't seen it myself, most reports are that it didn't go to well with the audience.

The right of course have wasted no time calling the performance a bomb and not in the good way the kids are all using.

The left are pretty solid in the opinion that Colbert has balls.

Of course the left are really just happy that Colber stuck it to the evil Bush. While, the right believes that since no one laughed and Colbert is someone who appears on TV (just not on right-winged approved TV) that it was another mean-spirited liberal screed.

They're probably both wrong. But if no one really laughed, in this case, the right is probably less wrong.

Joe Gandelman was actually there and has his take. As well as a larger circle of opinions.

Katherine Harris And The Higher Calling

It's almost as if she knows I am in her state. God is telling Katherine Harris to run for Senate.

"Harris has hinted at that, but former top political adviser Ed Rollins says it straight out, quoting Harris as telling him: "God wants me to be senator.""

Mysterious ways indeed.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Florida State Senate Freak Show

I'm spending a few days in the Sunshine State, so I glanced at the St. Pete Times blog today.

What a potential freak show.

I do love local politics.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sad News

It's sort of funny that I set out to do a political blog and the first two blogs that ever linked to me were movie blogs.

I followed a link to Matt Seitz' blog that led me to Eddie Copeland's blog where there was a poll for worst Best Picture of all time. I participated and linked to the two blogs. It wasn't long until they both linked back to me. My first two outside contacts in the blogosphere. You just never can tell how this little petri dish called the internet will grow.

Matt has suffered a terrible family tragedy.

I don't know Matt. We've never even corresponded. But as some one that recently lost someone, it feels appropriate to express my sympathy here.

The thoughts of Drifting Through The Grift are with him and his family.

The Road Goes On Forever

And the party never ends.

griftdrift will be on the road AGAIN today. As I go to fill up my car all I can think is, DAMN YOU BIG OIL!

There. I had my socialist moment for the day.

Expect some blogging from the road this weekend although I am not sure how much. Keep checking in though. You never know how weird things might get.

Elvis Is Everywhere

Remember all the discussions of how the press used to turn a blind eye to certain politician's picadillos?

More confirmation that era is long, long gone.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative
Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline,
after holding a new conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday,
April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other
members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to
their official cars to drive back the few block back to the U.S. Capitol.


Memo to politicians. In the new world, no gaffe will go unpunished.

h/t: Crooks and Liars

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Georgia Political Podcast

Is podcasting the next big thang in Web 2.0 land?

I think the jury is still out. But then again, two years ago, I thought blogging was just a bunch of hoo hah that would blow over. Have I mentioned I run an internet radio station?

Anyway, check out the new Georgia Podcast Network. Georgia Politics Podcast is good local political commentary by local political bloggers.

When Comics Get It Right

PTSD in returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is not discussed nearly enough.

If you aren't reading Doonebury, you should be.

Midday Quiz

Are you a talent, a lifer or a mandarin?

Don't be shy. Post results in comments. I was in painful tears on the Books, Music or Beer question.

griftdrift is a MANDARIN.

"You're an intellectual, and you've worked hard to get where you are now. You're a strong believer in education, and you think many of the world's problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. You have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates you when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power. You believe that people can make a difference in the world, and you're determined to try. "

Wikigate Claims Cox Campaign Manager

It has already been reported here, here, here, here and here, but I have a few final comments.

It's a good sign for the Cox campaign that this was quickly nipped in the bud. This type of "scandal" is the perfect blog fodder. A quick reaction to squelch this type of misstep speaks to a well organized campaign machine.

The sad fact is that I believe this latest Wikismear is only the tip of the iceberg. As one of my commentors pointed out, Wikipedia has already been forced to shut off all editing from Capitol Hill domains. Now, it is apparent this hideous tactic is filtering down to the state level.

It should be stopped. If political operatives manage to ruin the reputation of an internet resource the stature of Wikipedia, how does anyone deny what most of the public already believes? That politics is poison.

Wherefore Art Thou FEMA?

In 1994, Georgia experienced its worst natural disaster in recorded history. Tropical storm Alberto sat for days over the headwaters of the Flint and Ocmulgee rivers dumping two feet of water in less than 24 hours. Macon and Albany were inundated with frothing, raging flood water. In Albany, the river flowed over the banks for miles in all directions wreaking untold havoc on the poorest sections of the city.

Sound familiar?

I was working for the state of Georgia at the time and was part of a second wave of disaster relief crews sent from Atlanta. I will never forget the words of my director as I sat in a room, overnight bags packed, keys in hand. He told us that the disaster center in Albany was "covered like flies" and needed help. We were to immediately leave the room and drive south. Do not stop. Do not detour. Get there as fast as humanly possible, report to the center coordinator and work until they told you to stop. And that's exactly what we did.

Four weeks later, as I left Albany, the flood waters had receded, businesses were beginning to operate and people were going back to work. In short, a city that seemed on the brink of death was breathing on its own.

As I watched the tragedy of Katrina unfold, I could not help but let me mind wander back to 1994. I understand that the tragedy of Albany would never compare to the biblical scale of New Orleans. Still, I could not fathom that no one seemed to be in charge. No one was telling relief workers to get to the sites by any means necessary.

In Albany, I remember that GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency), FEMA and the Red Cross seemed to be everywhere. There was the expected chaos but when desperate people needed desperate answers, someone was there to answer.

Now, I read that the U.S. Senate has determined that FEMA should be abolished and replaced.

As a person with an inherent distrust for large federal agencies, I have always looked at departments like FEMA with a skeptical eye. However, 1994 made me realize that there are some instances where the scope of the problem can only be wrangled by the massive resources of the federal governement. It should never be a crutch, but when nature uses Revelations for a playbook it should be there.

How did this happen? How in 12 short years did this agency turn rotten to the core? Logic would dictate that after 9/11 FEMA would have been made stronger. Instead, it seems to have been gutted.

That's not only sad. It's terribly worrisome.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Caption Contest

At Shakespeares Sister.

They are lefties and awfully naughty, but they don't bite. Much.

More Wikipedia Madness?

First we have an attempted Wikipedia smear in the Georgia Governor's race.

Has it now happened in the Florida Governor's race?

In the thread Politics of Flash Dancing commentor Sara points out there are some interesting passages in candidate Charlie Crist's Wikipedia entry.

If you search the history portion of the entry, you have this little nugget being added on April 16th:

"While the Florida media has reported on the existence of unsubstantiated but loud rumors regarding the divorced Crist's sexual preference, he has now stated repeatedly that he is heterosexual."

Echoes of Rove's push polling against McCain in 2000 South Carolina primaries?

Any way you slice it, unsubstantiated rumors do not belong any Wikipedia. If childish politics end up ruining one of the greatest web resources ever, we should all grab our pitchforks, torches and toss all the scoundrels out.

Tommy Franks In Florida?

Latest polling plays potential trouble for Katherine Harris in the Florida Senate race.

Potential candidate General Tommy Franks (ret.) polls 4 points higher than Harris.

Say it ain't so Katherine! I'm still waiting for my one on one!

The Politics Of Flash Dancing

Charlie Crist, Florida Attorney General, is in a tight race with Tom Gallagher, Florida CFO, for the Republican nomination for Governor. The tighter the race, the greater the potential for wackiness.

Check this out.

Jib Jab should probably call their attorneys.

The Florida gubernatorial race has been flying a little under the radar. Nice to see it heating up and you can expect more posts on the fun by the grifter.

h/t: St. Petersburg Times Buzz

Tony Snow Announced

Just watched it on CNN. It was all very bland and back slapping. Except for one thing. When Snow took the podium you could see the glimmer in his shark eyes that he was comfortable in the water. Unlike McLellan, who frequently looked like Albert Brooks on Broadcast News.

Some have stated over the past day that Tony Snow is a different kind of conservative. That even on his radio program he does not fall back on viciousness ala Hannity. That may be true. To be honest, the only time Tony Snow is on in Atlanta is the weekends. I've heard him maybe half a dozen times.

Still, I stand by my previous opinion.

You shake hands with the devil and you carry that mark with you forever.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New Rule For All Politicians


h/t: Peach Pundit

Home Grown Torture

Sweet Jesus!

Warning: If you listen to the audio, it is extremely graphic.

I'm going to avoid discussing how this could be linked to the current political attitude that some forms of torture are okay. I think we can all agree what is on this audio is wrong. But it does make you question how the stain of torture is affecting our current national conscience.

Size Matters

First, Katherine Harris questions her opponents, ummmm, size:

"They don't talk about men's balding or their weight, or their diminutive

Now the Mexicans are getting into it:

A radio ad for ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon, ranked second in polls, says the conservative is the one who could spur job creation because "he's got balls".

Freud's corpse just lit a cigar.

Tiramisu Republicans vs Varsity Democrats

When I first heard that the Georgia General Assembly had ditched the traditional last day working dinner of Varsity for a buffet including tiramisu I was outraged. Is nothing sacred, I thought? Now, after a few weeks of reflection, I think the Republicans controlling the legislature made a mistake. A mistake that the now woefully out of power Democrats can exploit.

Let's get past the fact that the Varsity serves delicious food and is an Atlanta, nay, a Georgia institution. At my company, when we have a working lunch, we are served a box containing a sandwich, a bag of chips, an apple and if we are lucky, a Little Debbie. I doubt there are many Georgians that have working lunches involving a catered buffet served by waiters in suits.

Bucking a tradition? Insulting a venerable institution? Fancy, expensive tiramisu instead of God Bless America frugal hot dogs?

This sounds like the perfect opportunity for some good old fashioned populism! Remember when the Democratic party was about populism?

Think this is a little contrived? Especially, when so many important issues lurk? Maybe it is, but it's a symbol and symbols win elections. Give me a symbol over an issue every day of the week and twice on election day.

Here is the exchange I would love to hear between a Republican spinmeister and a Democrat spinmeister:

Republican spinmeister - "While the Democrats are making an issue over what
politicians eat, Republicans are making sure the needs of Georgia citizens are

Democrat spinmeister - "With all due respect to my Republican opponent, I
believe the people of Georgia understand quite well the difference between
continuing to work while eating a good old-fashioned hot dog from the
Varsity rather than abandoning your post to eat some fancy,
imported meal paid for by a bunch of lobbyists."


More Thoughts On Tony Snow

It's all but confirmed, Fox anchor and talk radio host Tony Snow will be the next White House spokesman.

TMV may be correct that Snow has a "solid journalism background". But as TMV also points out, he is stepping from the realm of talk radio into politics. The reverse is usually true.

In my opinion, once a person steps into the realm of talk radio, any journalistic credibility is done. Finished. Stick a fork in it.

The problem with all of talk radio is the utter absence of accountability. While the shrill "new media" shills deride the mainstream press for even the smallest misstep, I have yet to hear a single instance of a Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and cohorts state, "I'm sorry I got that wrong". These people wouldn't be able to find the word retraction in a dictionary only containing the letter R.

The minute Tony Snow stepped into the realm of zero sourcing, zero fact-checking and zero editorial control, he left behind any raimant of journalism.

Then again, White House secretary must be able to spin the truth, never admit a wrong and never apologize. So, Tony may actually be over-qualified.

The Long Road Home

Hitting the road again this morning. In the meantime, why don't you roll through my blogroll. I've added a few and of course the old reliables are still there. I'll be back ranting by mid-afternoon.

Tony Snow In As White House Spokesman

Tony Snow will be announced as the new White House spokesman this morning. I don't have CNN where I am located so I won't be able to watch the announcement.

At a time that the President is trying to mend fences with the press, is it a good idea to name such a blatantly partisan, overtly combative spokesman?

In my opinion, no.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Long Day

Finally, my day has ended.

What has been learned today?

Dealing with goverment procedures can be onerous and a pain in the butt. It can be irritating but the hard fact is it hardly gets above that level. It is usually not the labrynthine nightmare some would have you believe.

With a little hard work sacrifice and patience, an individual can accomplish what is needed. What is needed, not what is wanted. If every person made a little more effort, everyone would probably get a lot more done.


Government = irritating but not so bad.

Individual effort = needed and ultimately rewarding.

Like family, we need government even when it's irritating. But, in the end, the only person who will ever truly have control is yourself.

Maybe that's the middle we need to find.

Qualifying Open Thread

I'll be busy in court this morning. I'm planning a long essay on death and taxes.

In the meantime, today is qualifying for Georgia primaries. If any news, comment here.

I'll be around soon.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

griftdrift Motors On!

Once again I will be on the road for the next 24 hours.

I will be heading south with the Drive-By Truckers latest CD A Blessing and A Curse blasting so loud that cows will stop giving milk.

I might get in a little road blogging but hopefully I will also get a chance to see how the political winds of Georgia are blowing in the rural areas.

Until then, try to keep it between the ditches!

Another Georgia Democrat Switches

Although I live in the ATL, I still attempt to keep up with the local politics from my homeland in south Georgia.

For the past year, the worst kept secret in Georgia is that Richard Royal (D-Camilla) was going to switch to an R by his name. The only real question was if he would jump before qualifying in May or run as a Democrat and switch when the legislature convenes. Well, let the speculation end as Royal made the announcement at Friday's meeting of the Camilla Rotary Club.

"Being in the minority has severely restrained my ability to represent my

I'll give him points for honesty. Being out of power is no fun. With the Republicans set to establish a stranglehold on both houses this fall, the Democrats will claw for the scraps of bacon left over. Politics is appropriations. Appropriations are the skins that buy elections. Royal realizes that there is no longer a point being a Democrat in a 65% Republican district and have no chance to gorge on the pork buffet will be inevitable.

The Georgia Democrats have a lot of soul-searching in the next year. Do they continue to fight for their former power base in south Georgia? Do they instead try to take over the state population core within 50 miles of Atlanta?

No matter what happens, next January, Democrats will feel the true loss of power like never before. From that, a very different Georgia Democrat Party could emerge.

Decaturguy at Altanta Public Affairs has his take. Worthwhile reading.

Sunday Morning Reading

There are disturbing events in Nepal that will not get much coverage over here because of everything else going on. Swaraaj Chauhan at the Moderate Voice puts the situation in perspective.

Global warming is a complex issue and one day I will probably jump into the fray. But for now amba at Donklephant paints a frightening scenario involving trapped methane. Think Permian Extinction.

Is dissent during war-time patriotic? John Kerry thinks so and so does Michael Stickings at The Reaction.

I have my opinion of this cartoon at RedState. What's yours?

Charlie Sheen alledgely likes hookers, violence and drugs. Who knew?

And finally...ever had that bulletproof moment just before closing time? (Warning: Adult language)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

Get outside and enjoy it.

I am.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Katherine Harris Knows How To Treat The Press!

I was really afraid we would go a complete week without a Harris sighting.

God bless her. Pictured is Harris cozying up to University of Florida student reporter Stephen Elliott. Read the full story at Majority Report Radio.

Ms. Harris, any time you want to give griftdrift an exclusive, I am at your beck and call.

h/t: atrios

New Election Idea

For reasons that are not important, a friend and I were looking at past electoral maps. As I looked at 2000, I once again became annoyed that stupid Al Gore couldn't even carry his home state.

So here's the deal. We no longer all vote on the same day. The week before the national election only the home states of the candidates get to vote. If a candidate doesn't carry their home state, they are finished. Done. Out of the race.

If the people that have known you your whole life don't trust you, why the heck should I?

The Strangeness of Brothers

Random non-political thread.

For reasons I won't go into, my two brothers and I are selling a family truck. The problem is the thing was sticking in low gear. In order to sell it, we needed to have the transmission serviced. This morning, oldest brother decided to drive it to the local transmission shop to take care of business. It's only a few miles away, so he would have no problem driving around 40mph the whole way.

As he approached an intersection, suddenly the transmission switched gears and he was flying wide open towards a stop sign. Fortunately, he was able to stomp on the brake and come to a stop before causing one horrific accident. But the truck would not come out of high gear and the throttle was stuck wide open. Somehow, he nursed it to the shop by standing on the brake the whole way.

My somewhat eccentric brother is now convinced the truck was trying to get away. He called to tell me that he knows it doesn't want to be sold and sent away. So, he is now going to buy my other brother and myself out and keep the thing.

You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your...well, you know the rest.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why I Have Been Quiet

Over the last few days, I've been limited to a few machine gun style posts. No, I have not contracted some super strain of ADHD. Someone turned me onto an absolutely addictive online comic-strip. I've been perusing the archives for hours. Check it out.

BIG WARNING: It is very much an adult strip with adult themes and language. Okay, so it's so twisted that some people's eyes will fall out of their heads from just one glance. You have been warned!

Something Positive

Comment Moderation On

I'm being spammed by anonymous commenters linking to the Malkin personal information. For this reason I am temporarily turning on comment moderation. So if you comment, you may not see it immediately. Hopefully I can turn this off soon. Keep comments clean, reasonable and no links to personal information. As anyone who has lived on a message board that I have moderated will tell you, I will feel exactly zero guilt for gutting your little "pearls of wisdom".

What Politicians Really Think

Joanne Emerson, representative from Missouri, is not shy about expressing her feelings.

Letter to a constituent. (PDF)

Scroll all the way to the bottom.

hat tip once again to my personal Lois Lane, Imalittledespot at Reality Sucks

Majette Out Of The 4th

Yeah, now I'm really bored with this. I want my own personal line to God.

Atlanta Public Affairs reports.

Welcome Home Georgia 48th

Curtis Compton / AJC

Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade returns home.

We're proud of you and glad that you're back.

Cyber Wars Never End Pretty

It is tempting to talk about chickens coming home to roost, but I won't.

What Michelle Malkin did was wrong.

What is now alledgedly being done to Michelle Malkin is also very wrong.

Cyber Wars never end pretty.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Immigration Debate May Have Taken A Nasty Turn

Last night, three buses owned by Royal Bus Lines were burned. By all indications, the fires were deliberately set. Arson was also suspected in a fire that consumed a bus last year. So, while it is potentially just a coincidence, the fact that owner Carlos Ochoa allowed his buses to be used to ferry protestors to recent immigration rallies raises some frightening thoughts.

We do not need racial violence in this city. If that's what this was, let it end now before the violence escalates.

What's In A Submarine?

I must be having an ADD attack today with all these short posts. But suddenly, I went from having nothing to talk about to having lots of tiny gems.

A friend IMed me this snippet.

"The Virginias were intended as a cheaper alternative to the $2 billion Seawolf subs,
whose production run was stopped after just three vessels. To reduce costs, the
Virginias use many "off-the-shelf" components, especially in their computers and
data networks."

That's from the the Wikipedia article on the Virginia class submarine. Which was reached by reading an article at that warns of a dangerously degrading attack submarine force.

I think I've got a few TRS-80s and Commodore 64s laying around if they need some spares.

Giuliani Pulls A McCain

Rudy Comes To Shill For Ralph

Rusty at Radical Georgia Moderate pretty much crystalizes my feelings on this.

UPDATE: Rudy is also campaigning for Santorum in Pennsylvania. (h/t: The Moderate Voice)

Something about all of this strikes me as odd. An obvious sop towards the right of the Republican party or is there more?

McKinney's Fist

Okay, even I am getting bored with this.

McKinney Used A Closed Fist

Do we really think she's Laila Ali? At least Research In Motion, i.e. Blackberry, gets to breathe a sigh of relief.

Scott McLellan Steps Down

White House Press Secretary Scott just announced his resignation.

Surely his replacement won't be Tony Snow? Torie Clark would make infinitely more sense.

But why not Rumsfeld?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

First "Attack" Ad In Ga. Governor Campaign

You can watch it here or here.

My one word review is meh. This is an attack ad? Scourging a man for filing his taxes late? I would expect a little more out of the state that produced Gene's "rastus" and that crazy little old lady from Americus that wanted to "put Wyche Fowler out".

Democrat hopefuls Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor have predictably said, don't blame us.

I'd say the same thing. I'd be too worried that people might become sympathetic to Perdue as a modern-day Robin Hood giving his finger to the tax man.

When The War Comes Home

Final Salute

Read it.

For the story, Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

For the heart wrenching photos, Todd Heisler won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

h/t: my journalist gal pal Imalittledespot at Reality Sucks.

Welfare to Work: Ten Years Later

griftdrift note: This was originally posted in 2005 during a discussion of Hurricane Katrina at another site. Now that the tenth anniversary of TANF is here and congress is beginning to debate where we go next, I thought it was appropriate to repost. Also, I performed some very general edits for contextual clarity.

An Insider's Look At Welfare To Work

From 1997 to 2000, I was the manager of a Welfare to Work team in a major metropolitan area. During that time, we placed around 4000 people in jobs with many finding permanent employment and leaving the welfare rolls for years if not forever. The following are my thoughts as someone who spent time in the trenches during the eye of the storm.

If you research actual monthly welfare payments, you might be surprised. I have found in my experience that people are rather shocked at how minimal welfare payments are. Most have images of welfare queens driving Cadillacs. While I am not so pollyannish to say that this type of abuse does not happen, to think that the majority of people are doing this on $300-$400 a month while supporting a family of four is absurd.

And please, both left and right, do not bring to the table that when combined with food stamps, medicare and other aid, a welfare recipient actually can live more comfortably than a person working for a living. Here's the fact. When TANF (Transitional Assistance for Needy Families) was established, we had to produce charts to convince welfare recipients that working a job somewhere between minimum and living wage combined with the benefits most employers provide would actually give them a higher income! Which leads to the real problem.

The problem with AFDC was not rampant abuse of welfare queens pumping out litters of children to get more checks to fund drug problems, pimps, more Caddies or whatever. The real problem with AFDC was that it had become not what it was intended. It was no longer a safety net but a culture of dependancy. Sometimes going back three and even four generations. One of the saddest things I ever heard was when one of my specialist asked a little boy what he wanted to do when he grew up and he responded, go to the post office to pick up a check.

There is also an element of this truth in public housing. If you live in an urban area, visit a project sometime. I wish I could take you back ten years and have you visit one then. The fact is that poor people were massed together, then walled off from the rest of society creating a kind of American apartheid. Those aren't my words. They are the words of an African American manager on another W-to-W team. He wondered aloud how anyone could have hope of advancing themselves when they had to live in such a closed off world with little hope.
The problem is not that government programs hurt more than they help. The problem is that governments rarely follow things through to the end.

Look back at pictures of Appalachia in the early 20th century and it's hard to say that a public school systems, the TVA, the CCC were not beneficial. Not only did these New Deal programs aid individual families but they elevated entire regions. As late as the 70's, when I was kid, I knew families who did not have indoor plumbing. Do we really want to go back to barefoot kids in overalls who get just enough "learning" to be able to print their name?

Equally, the Great Society and the War on Poverty were also needed. Look back at the urban areas of the 40s and 50s and you will find similar conditions with a slightly different flavor to my Appalachia analogy. There should be no place in America for a child to go to bed hungry.
So the Great Society programs met the basic needs immediately. They put a roof over the head (public housing), put food on the table (food stamps) and give a little money to provide for other basic needs (welfare). Then, for the next thirty years, the government didn't take the obvious next step in the process. Instead of working to move these families into mixed income settings and towards ownership, they were left to rot in their publicly built ghettos where they had little access to real jobs, little access to society at large and perhaps most importantly little need to seek anything beyond the basic necessities.

The Great Society failed not because it was ideologocially unsound or unwarranted. It failed because government did what it almost always does. Just enough and not much else.
Fortunately, in the mid-90s this began to slowly turn around. TANF was implemented. Limits were set on welfare and TANF became a safey net instead of a way of life. This combined with a Marshall plan like jobs program and a move to tear down the projects and rebuild as mixed income began to make a difference almost immediately. Welfare rolls dropped dramatically. And although recidivism was heavy at first that began to tail off as well. Much to the chagrin of some on the left, the homeless shelters did not fill up. There were some that didn't make it and private charities absorbed them. Exactly the way things are supposed to work.

It took a long time but the government eventually started to get it right. Finally, three decades later, the second step of assisting our most abject poor to true independence began.

Michelle Malkin Unhinged

Some goofballs at UC Santa Cruz protested military recruiters. This upset Michelle Malkin. Santa Cruz goofballs then issue press release which idiotically includes their home phone numbers. Upset Michelle Malkin links to this press release. Upset Michelle Malkin fans begin calling Santa Cruz goofballs promising to do all sorts of nasty things.

Caught up? Good. Because this is where the fun really begins.

I've had some experience with cyberstalkers. And as I've said , I have also had some experience with cyber-ethics.

If you want to grab the full story, then head over to Joe Gandleman's place and follow the links to the links to the links of all the sordid details including all the commentary. Some reasonable. Some expectedly nasty.

Here's the deal.

There is nothing wrong with posting a link to an item that has been published in public view. I've always believed that if you put something on the internet, even something personal, you have to expect that it is in the public domain and there will be a response. However, if someone accidentally sets their hair on fire and then ask for a little water, you don't hand them gasoline.

There was nothing wrong with Malkin linking the first time. I wouldn't do it, but my moral code in internet land is different.

But once the idiot kids realized their mistake and removed the phone numbers, Ms. Malkin should have let the dog lie and moved on to other things.

Linking to a cached page that still contained the numbers was probably over the line.

Linking to pages with cut and paste copies of the phone numbers, because the idiot kids figured out how to purge the cached pages, crosses over into creepy.

It's just wrong. Ms. Malkin is aware of the blog storm that this has created. She is also aware that her many "fans" have called the phone numbers and promised all sorts of heinous actions. In all fairness, she has posted a karmic band-aid disclaimer that she doesn't support death threats.

In the blog world, links are currency. Ms. Malkin's blog is very popular. She understands as well as anyone that it is a potential link gateway for the crazy, batty and even dangerous. A degree of responsibile caution would be adult.

So what was Ms. Malkin's response? To post copies of emails she received from lunatics and trolls. I'll tell you something anyone who has been on these internets for any length of time already knows. The day everyone starts receiving phone calls every 30 seconds promising the latest penis enhancing / financial growth / easy mortgage pill is the day we can compare publishing someone's home phone number to revealing selected screeds sent to a publicly available email address.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter or Whatever

Another apolitical day. I'm going to eat dim sum, watch Thank You For Smoking and then head south again.

Iran has not yet been nuked. Cynthia McKinney still has no official opponent. And Katherine Harris has raised a crap load of money but is unnervingly quiet.

Enjoy the day. Tomorrow back into the fray.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's A Beautiful Day. Go Outside!

Stop reading blogs and go outside. It's beautiful here despite the pollen. I am off to see the Thrashers and then the Braves.

Do something fun today. It'll be good for you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy

No, not Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, you Atlanta freaks! Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy.

I met a couple of these young ladies at Manuel's Tuesday. I may or may not go to their show tonight but I thought I would do my good deed of the week and give them a plug.


Let us show you what's so fun about being female! That's right, Atlanta's
only all-female comedy troupe is bringing you their own brand of irreverent

Boy meets girl show with Diversionary Tactics

Date: Friday, April 14 Time: 8 p.m.

Admission: $10

Location: Manuel's Tavern

This show is general admission

Tehran Amped Up

Good lord. What if the fundamentalists are right? What if we are living in the gosh darned end times?

From the AP:

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad
said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist
regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

I remember growing up in the 70s and actually living in fear that at any moment we would all die in a horrific fireball. An entire generation has now lived without that fear. Will they once again?

h/t: Michael Stickings at The-Reaction

Top Ten Best Picture Winners of All Time

Have you voted yet?

Why not!

It's so simple. Just email your top ten picture picks ranked from 10 to1 to

Your picks must come from the list of best picture winners. Follow the link to Eddie's place for the official list.

Now on to my picks which I have just emailed! I am leaving out one very obvious pick because I have never seen it. Jaws would hit the floor if I told. Can you guess? FYI, it was not the close but no cigar GWTW. I am from Atlanta you know! But I may get thrown out of town for not putting it in the top ten.

10. Kramer vs. Kramer - I might catch some hell for this one but it was the first movie that made me cry. Dustin Hoffman's interaction with Justin Henry is brutally heart-wrenching.

9. Return Of The King - Really a lifetime achievement award. Fellowship was the better movie. But as a boy I imagined of Ride of The Rohirrim. Peter Jackson took it beyond imagination to reality.

8. Annie Hall - I am not a Woody Allen fan but you cannot deny the greatness of this movie.

7. The Sting - You think a guy with grift in his name is not going to have The Sting in his top ten? As clever as they come. I could watch it over and over again.

6. Unforgiven - Possibly the greatest western of all. Although Clint Eastwood's acting is overrated, his transformation at the end of this movie is startling. When he walks through the saloon door it is as a demon from hell. Not raging with fire. But cold and deadly.

5. Gandhi - A movie that has the potential to change the world. So many depictions of great men come off as cartoonish. Ben Kingsley makes it heroic.

4. Schlinder's List - Rare is it that I am moved deep to the core. I love black and white and Spielberg made it horrifyingly beautiful. It recalls Yeats "terrible beauty".

3. The Godfather II - A dark sequel. Literally dark. I was a lighting designer in school and like Gordon Willis, I was known as the Prince of darkness. I love the moodiness of this film. I think it suffers slightly with changing between young Vito and Michael. Both stories are brilliant. Toggling back and forth between the two keeps this from the top two.

2. Lawrence of Arabia - I am guilty of loving big epic movies about big epic characters. It doesn't get much bigger than David Lean's classic. Combine Peter O'Toole's subtle, tortured portrayal with a supreme supporting ensemble, put them in glorious settings and toss in a war and you have created legend.

1. The Godfather - Yep, I like the original better than the sequel. It seems you can't have a discussion of one without the other. But the first film was just tighter. Coppola painted a big impressionist landscape where every shade is represented and everything is fuzzy and clear at the same time. For the rest of time this movie will represent the original ancestor of complex family relationships. Both " family" and family.

There's my list! Feel free to comment.

Delta Is Not Doomed...For Now

So it was just all posturing?

Ah, the possibility of humans being reasonable is so annoying to bloggers who want to scream the sky is falling.

Mea culpa.

And Another General....

The hits just keep on coming.

At what point does our CEO President realize that loyalty and agreement with policy do not matter when a key subordinate no longer has the credibility necessary to perform his job well?

Georgia Democrats Go Boom!

Yesterday, Democratic Party of Georgia chairman Bobby Kahn stopped to make some comments at Blog for Democracy. Don't these people watch West Wing?

It is no great secret that the DPG is reeling from the double blow of Sonny Perdue's unexpected victory in 2002 and the thrashing of Denise Majette the 2004 U.S Senate race. Perhaps the most damaging blow was losing control of both legislative sides of the state house for the first time since the civil war.

From Mr. Kahn's comments and the responses by the Blog For Democracy members, it is apparent that a disconnect exist between the state headquarters on Spring Street and the grassroots organizations in the counties. Even the metro Atlanta party members sound disenchanted. You would think that the party could at least keep people within 30 miles of HQ excited. If this can't be accomplished, how do they ever expect to win back the Republican bastion rural south Georgia?

Many on the blog blame Mr. Kahn, Chief of Staff for 2002 loser Roy Barnes. Maybe that is fair. He is the head and on the head the crown uneasily sits. However, I believe the problem is much broader and more serious.

While King Roy and the democrats sat on complacency built by a century of electoral wins, I travelled the roads of south Georgia and noticed that "flagger" signs were popping up like mushrooms after rain. In pre-2002 Georgia, it was a given that a Democrat would always win the big ticket races. The "flaggers" were perceived to be just a slightly loony minority. How wrong they were.

Now, the Democratic party holds none of the glamour positions in state government. The Republican hold on the state house has resulted in lavish pork with the reciprocal campaign donations. State and local offices appear to be incommunicaido.

After ten generations of the assumption that voters would just pull red all the way down, the Democrats in Georgia actually have to build a political infrastructure. Hopefully for them, what we are seeing are just normal growing pains. I'm sure the Republicans hope that it continues to look like a goat rodeo.

In 2002, Mr. Kahn and the party ignored the "flaggers" to their dismay. It would be a potentially painful error to do the same with internet socieities in 2006. Mr. Kahn is bothered by the anonymity of some of his critics. It's not a hopeful note that the chairman of the state party is behind the curve on something as pervasive as internet communities.

Internet handles have been around for ten years. Yes, many use this cloak of darkness to fire invective with scatter gun effect and accuracy. But many use this convention as a costume that allows them to display a part of their personality that might not be easily expressed in the real world. If the message is reasonable and rational, the identity of the individual should not be important.

Faceless flaggers or anonymous bloggers. You may agree or disagree with a groups positions or their methods. Not understanding them however is potentially political suicide.

P.S. Mr. Kahn, you are welcome to call me griftdrift. No need for Mr. griftdrift. Of course after this, you probably will just call me GD.

Breaking News: Explosion In India

CNN is reporting an explosion near the primary mosque in New Dehli.

This follows the blast in Karachi two days ago that killed 57 people.

Disturbing news. A sign that new cycle of worldwide terrorist violence has begun?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spaz Is Offensive?

Who knew?

Tiger Woods' remarks about his play after the final round at the Masters
has caused an international uproar.

"I putted atrociously today," Woods said after tying for third. "Once I
got on the green I was a spaz. This is the most three-putts I've ever had

Newspapers in Britain spent two days admonishing Woods for his use of
the word "spaz," to describe his putting.

The Daily Telegraph called it "extraordinarily insensitive" and
compared his "gaffe" to Fuzzy Zoeller's 1997 comments after Woods won his first
Masters. Zoeller said Woods would probably be serving "chicken and collard
greens" at the next year's champions dinner.

Ummmm, okay. I hate stories like this. How about this my British cousins. How about untwisting your knickers a bit? Methinks the blood supply is pooling dangerously in your arse.

It's Majette In The 4th

Atlanta Public Affairs has posted that the big name set to run against McKinney in the 4th is none other than former 4th Representative Denise Majette.

Ms. Majette beat McKinney in 2002 by a handy margin. To be frank, the victory was more about her being the anti-McKinney than anything else. Then to the utter shock of practically every democrat in Georgia, Majette abandoned the 4th for a quixotic campaign for U.S. Senate in 2004.

After a sound thrashing by Johnny Isakson, Majette has wandered the political wilderness for the past two years, hinting at running for about a half dozen different state offices.

Will the 4th voters forgive her for the abandonment of 04? Will the new Rockdale portion of the district be the difference? Will McKinney play the strategy of pointing out Majette's wishy washy ways?

I am both horrified and fascinated.

UPDATE: Just want to remind everyone that I am still willing to throw my hat in the ring.

Those Wacky College Kids

While we have now uncovered a rat's nest of dope smoking, hippie, commie engineers at Georgia Tech, the kids over at UGA are having fun dressing up as ninjas to the delight of local federal agents looking for their daily beatdown.

It just makes you salivate for football season doesn't it?

Rumsfeld's Underwear Etal

Hilarious and frightening at the same time.

"Donald Rumsfeld needs to wear iced underwear because of some medical condition,
and he has his secret service detail hold his spares. "

Take with a large grain of salt obviously. Just don't choke on the salt as you laugh yourself silly.

Who Is Mike Gravel?

First to announce a candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

That's who!

Three things I note from his Wikipedia entry.

He's old (born in 1930)

He's from Alaska (A sure sign of trouble)

He believes there should be national ballot initiatives similar to state initiatives. (Oh the wackiness that can ensue if you have the cash to qualify for a federal campaign)

Liberal Bias At Tech?

I'm still pondering this one.

Just because your speech isn't considered tolerant doesn't mean it
shouldn't be free, says a Georgia Tech student who has filed suit against
administrators at the school.

I want to think more on this and also do a little research on the issue but here are some thoughts at first blush.

I've never thought of Georgia Tech as a "liberal" institution. Is it even possible for an engineering school to be liberal?

The whole thing smells faintly of self-nominated martyrdom.

Universities do have a tendency to write overly broad verbal harassment guidelines and that bothers me.

David Horowitz is a kook.

Quiet Morning

General Zini is on CNN but it's the same old same old...Katherine Harris has taken a break from campaigning and is probably riding horses at her Sarasota ranch...Iran hasn't been bombed yet...Cynthia McKinney has completely turtled up.

What to do? What to do? How about some morning reading to perk up the brain?

Well, we'll keep it local for the moment. The Georgia G.O.P. has some questions for Democrats Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor. Andre at Georgia Politics Unfiltered has some thoughtful answers. Meanwhile, Rusty at Radical Georgia Moderate points out the rather infantile nature of the G.O.P.s queries and poses some interesting questions of his own at Georgia Political Digest.

The weather is heating up and so are the local races. Good stuff on those links. Go read them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Yet Another General Calls For Rumsfeld's Head

The leak in the dike grows wider and wider with each passing day.

"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who
understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does
it without intimidation," -Maj. General John Batiste, former commander of the
1st Infantry Division.

Source: The Washington Post

And to get an idea of the intimidation General Batiste references as well as current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Pace's defense of Rumsfeld, check out this article at Monsters and Critics.

Katherine Harris And The Pesky Process Pests

A day without Katherine Harris is like a day without butter. Sad and wanting.

According to the St. Petersburg Times blog Rep. Harris appeared on the Kathy Fountain show. Even though I spend half my time in the Tampa area, I have no idea who Kathy Fountain is or that she has a show. Anywho, naughty talking heads like Ms. Fountain just keep harping on those pesky process stories. Like how Harris fired all her staff and changed all the office locks. Or that she's threatening to sell everything she owns to keep campaigning.

Asked if she believed news organizations doctored photos in 2000, Harris responded,

Harris: "I haven't worn blue eye shadow since 7th grade and some of those
photographs had me in blue eye shadow.''

Fountain: "But you don't really think the newspapers doctored your

Harris: "I just question why there was blue eye shadow. But it doesn't
matter. Why are we talking about this? Kathy, that's so silly. Because people
care about the issues. If the media wants to talk about appearances that's
different, but I'm not going to talk about it. That's demeaning to women...They
don't talk about men's balding or their weight, or their diminutive size."

Diminutive size! Does that mean what I think it means?

Harris has a slight point here. The media and bloggers (Wonkette, I'm looking at you) do seem to be obsessed with Harris looks. And it is true that male politicians do seem to get a pass on appearance. So I do have a little sympathy.

So I will take a pledge. No matter how weird it becomes, I will not make fun of Katherine Harris' appearance. However, that will not refrain me from talking about the fact that she is coo-coo for cocoa puffs!

Previous Katherine Harris Posts:

Katherine Harris Yard Sale Coming!
Jeb Is Not Happy With Katherine Harris
Katherine Harris Hires A New Team
Katherine Harris Meltdown Watch

McKinney Opponent Update

Atlanta Public Affairs has clarified its position on the McKinney opponent rumor. It is not Vernon Jones. It is a woman who has run for office before.

First thought is it must be former Dekalb CEO Liane Levetan or former Atlanta City Council chair Cathy Woolard. Both ran for the 4th in 2004. Both have been politically quiet since. At this point, your guess is as good as mine. In fact, if you have a guess drop it in the comment or drop me an email.

Previous McKinney related posts:

More Rumors of a McKinney Opponent
McKinney, It Ain't Over Til It's Over!
Day 7: The McKinney Siege Ends?
Indictments a comin!
Manchurian Candidate McKinney
Day 6: McKinney Siege Continues
4th Georgia. What Next.
Oh Cynthia, My Cynthia
Cynthia McKinney-My Representative

Say What?

Saddam Hussein and the gecko.

"If you were not protected by God, you would be afraid of a gecko". -Saddam at his trial

Yeah, I kind of get what he's saying but man does it look weird in print.

No Chatting In The Crosswalks!

I live in a city not known for its kindness to pedestrians.

New rule. When crossing a busy street no chatting, cell phone talking or general lolly gagging. Get your butt across the road before some Atlanta crazy mows us all down!

Yes, I nearly got "runned over" at lunch.

Overheard At Manuel's

I stopped into a favorite watering hole, Manuel's, last night. Ostensibly to drink a beer and unwind. Actually looking to run into Vernon Jones and interrogate him on this whole running for congress rumor. Manuel's is a great spot for run-ins with local pols.

Sadly, no Vernon. But I did hear a great story that I would like to share. Names are changed to protect the not so innocent.

A gentleman related that he and his ex-wife had been living together for several years. They had been married but after divorce and brief separation they re-coupled. However, they never legally remarried. The wife came up with the idea that for legal reasons such as health care they should probably get married again. The husband agreed and they drove to visit the local magistrate.

Now, unless you are gay, getting hitched in Georgia is ridiculously easy. It takes about 10 minutes and it's usually in the same place you obtain a gun permit. I kid you not.

The couple in question, after filing the appropriate paperwork, were shepherded into a court room with several other expectant about to be newly weds. As the man at Manuel's described the process, the judge calls out the names of the intended, they rise from their spot, some legal mumbo jumbo and voila! Married.

So the judge went around the room calling out Alan Williams and Jill Smith, Fred Jones and Ethel Rogers, Derrick Murphy and Elizabeth Jordan and so on and so on.

Then he got to the couple of the story.

The judge called out, "John Campbell and Betty Campbell".

He peered up over his spectacles and inquired of the couple, "Brother and sister?"

There was much laughter in the courtroom. There was much laughter at the bar last night. Great thing about bars. Even if you go in looking for one thing, you usually come out with another.

And Another General Speaks Out On Rumsfeld

First, Gen. Anthony Zini spoke out. Then, Lt. General Gregory Newbold spoke out. Now, Gen. George Joulwan speaks out.

The consistent message in all is that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld micromanages his department, ignores decades of military advice and removes any dissent. The frustration of the general officers is palpable.

Agree or disagree with the war, but the political reality is that George Bush must sacrifice someone to at least give the appearance of reforming the war leadership. Is there any doubt that sacrifice must be Rumsfeld?

Video courtesy of Crooks and Liars.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More Rumors Of A McKinney Opponent

Last week, I noted Georgia Politics Unfiltered had received a tip that Dekalb County C.E.O. Vernon Jones may qualify to run against Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

Now Atlanta Public Affairs is reporting that a "major name" is set to enter the race and it will be "explosive".

It has to be Vernon Jones. Has to be. Mr. Jones is yet another outspoken politician who represents yours truly. Am I the luckiest guy in the world or what? If it is Vernon, you can count on griftdrift having many things to say. Until then...

Katherine Harris Yard Sale Coming Soon!

Before leaving for the night's event in Lakeland, she finally gave in and answered a local reporter's question about where she's getting the $10 million she's pledged to her campaign."I'm selling everything I have," she said. "But again, that's all process. I don't want to talk about process."

Story courtesy of the Lakeland Ledger.

There are so many gems in here. Make sure you check the picture of our favorite candidate with Sen. John McCain. So much crazy. So little time.

h/t: Wonkette (who caught this first because my bloglines isn't working. grrr)

Midday Open Thread

Can You Pass A U.S. Citizenship Test?

Take the test.

Be brave and post your results in comments!

I scored 9 out of 10.

A Reminder To Vote For Best Picture Of All Time

Voting at Eddie On Film for Best Picture Winner of all time continues until April 29th.

Go here for rules and how to vote.

I know several film buffs read here and I know you have some righteous opinions. Get over there and vote. It's as easy as sending an email. I will post my top ten later this week. If you read my profile, you can probably guess the top two.

A Billion Dollars!

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that tax revenues in the state of Georgia are on an upswing and could create a $1 billion surplus by the end of the year.

This of course means two things: more spending and more electioning.

When the legislature meets next January, the pocketbook will be bulging. Expect the pork to explode out of the state house like a tornado hitting a barbecue pit.

Although by no means a guarantee, this certainly boosts Governor Sonny Perdue's re-relection chances. With the specter of high gas prices and reneging on a promise to change the state flag back to its Confederate roots, Perdue could receive a stiff challenge from the eventual Demoratic primary winner. The election could now turn on what it usually does. It's the economy, stupid. When the economy is soaring, voters usually do not vote for change.

AJC: Georgia Headed for Surplus

Presidential Phreaking?

I have long maintained that a weakness of blogging is the temptation to jump the gun. There are times that a story needs to simmer and completely cook before a judgement is made. This is one of those stories. I'm going to hold my horses until more details emerge.

White House Linked In New Hampshire Phone Jamming Case

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bush Stumbles On Contractor Question

Bush In Philidelphia.


Just play the video. Oy.

h/t: Atrios

The Gospel Of Judas Is Truly Bizarre

And I love it.

Jesus is from a place called Barbelo.
He is not the son of God but a living avatar of Adam's third son, Seth.
There are multiple gods in Barbelo including a celestial mother.
Jesus laughs. A lot.

Many try to define religion in the purest black and white. I have always believed that giving into the various shades of gray makes it inifinitely more fascinating. I believe most people assume that the current Bible sort of sprang forth fully formed. Not so. The first two centuries of Christianity were a hodgepodge of gnostics, heretics and ascetics. Eventually, at times brutally, the Roman church melded everything into something resembling what we know as Christianity today.

Like the Gospel of Mary several years ago, it appears the Gospel of Judas is going to cause some more soul searching about that "old-time religion".

Full story at The New Yorker

It definitely has jumped to the top of my reading list.

Iran Next: The Nuclear Scenario

Last week, I discussed some of the tactical difficulties with using military force to subdue Iran. One option I didn't write about, because I considered it inconceivable, was the nuclear option. It is now apparent that every discussion of foreign policy must be approached as if we are through the looking glass.

Sy Hersh of The New Yorker, through anonymous sources, has uncovered that the administration refuses to take the nuclear option off the table in discussing military strikes aganst Iran.

"One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White
House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical
nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."

As frightening as that quote is, this one from a former defense official may be more frightening.

"a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious
leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He
added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they

Can this really happen again? Where are the lessons from Iraq? Do we have an administration with such narrow blinders that it will use nuclear weapons for only the second time in history on what amounts to a foreign policy roll of the dice?

It is time to be frightened. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independant. If you are not concerned then you are crazy or dead.

Complete roundup at: The Moderate Voice

Another General Speaks Out On Iraq

Last week, General Anthony Zini spoke out on the mismanagement of Iraq.

Now, the former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs, Lt. General Gregory Newbold is talking.

"My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done
with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have
never had to execute these missions--or bury the results."


Saturday, April 08, 2006

On The Road Again Part II

After an overnight stop at my South Georgia outpost, I'm hitting the road again.

Unfortunately, with my limited technology I can't find any details on the potential Harris/McKinney love fest in Sarasota. I hope to just head south and catch tips as I go. If any of you grifters out there find out anything, let me know!

UPDATE: CURSES! FOILED AGAIN! Apparently the McKinney protest has been cancelled (see comments). Well, I'm still going to be in Florida for 24 hours, so anything can happen. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Wonkette I Love YOU!

I'm going to be in Florida this weekend and would be happy to be your blog slave covering the Harris / McKinney debacle in Sarasota! I promise sassy photos and glib commentary and any carnal favors you require.

*kissy kissy smooches booches*

McKinney plans to protest Harris

On The Road Again

I'm headed to Florida. I have some personal business to attend but I hope in my time there I can get some local impressions of the Harris campaign. Please Katherine, don't quit while I'm on the road!

In the meantime, you can catch up on previous incidents of Harris nuttiness:

Katherine Harris Meltdown Watch
Katherine Harris Hires A New Team
Jeb Is Not Happy With Katherine Harris

Or you can go visit the loonies at Reality Sucks or Carp Circles.

Also don't forget to stop in and give a listen to Carp Circles Radio.

It's like an activity day! Have fun and I will see you later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Jeb Is Not Happy With Katherine Harris

Jeb Bush in the Washington Post:

""I am the party leader. I've got concerns," the governor said in response to a reporter's question"

Well no kidding!

The day just isn't complete without some nutty rising up from Florida.

Remember, kids! The qualifying deadline for the Florida Republican Primary is May 12th! We must all put our collective thoughts together and mind meld Harris the strength to continue until that fateful date!

I may have to install a countdown clock. The dramatic tension would be so delicious!

Iran Next?

griftdrift is very sad that he wasn't here during the run up to the Iraq War. Oh the opinions would have flowed like the Tigris and Euphrates. But by gum, I ain't gonna miss the next one!

So far the saber has only rattled quietly. Let's hope it stays that way until all options are exhausted.

Let's start with the undisputable fact that sets Iran apart from Iraq. Iran is deadly dangerous in the present. Not in some theoretical future. Right this minute, Iran has the capability to to cause chaos in the Strait of Hormuz. For those of you too young to remember the "Tanker Wars" of the early 80s, the Strait of Hormuz is the choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. On one side of the strait are all the oil distribution points. On the other side is the rest of the world. Both Iraq and Iran played shoot the fish in the barrel with tanker ships of all persuasions until the Soviet Union and the U.S. allowed neutral tankers to fly their national flags. An attack on one of those tankers would constitute a direct assault on either the U.S.S.R. or the U.S. Despite some frightening skirmishes, the strategy worked and the oil kept flowing. Of course at the time we supported the Iraq regime in the war while also secretly selling arms to Iran. Twisted eh?

The point of the history lesson is that Iran sits squarely on the narrowest part of the Straits of Hormuz and they have a penchant for showing off sparkly new weapon systems. Like this week's test of a new torpedo. I think the intention for the new toy is pretty obvious. Just a trial run of the new system sent oil up $2 a barrel.

Just because Iran is dangerous does not mean we shouldn't address it. The thought of Iran having a nuclear weapon of any kind should send a case of the willies across the flesh of even a pacifist. The question is how.

Hans Blix, the U.N weapon inspector, states that Iran is at least five years away from developing a weapon. In his mind, plenty of time for achieving a peaceful settlement. According to Chris Nelson, Israel also wants to pursue options other than a hot war. These are not appeasers. Israel has never been shy about using its military as the spear of the diplomatic spear. Even if you don't believe Hans Blix, you must believe the Israelis. Why would they advise prudence on a scenario where they are the most likely casualty? (This also begs the question of where in the middle of the massive intelligence failure prior to the Iraq war was Israel? Surely if Saddam had been that dangerous, the Israelis would have known. But that's another subject for another day.)

But let's look at this strictly from a tactical point of view.

Anyone with any sense agrees that attempting to contain the chaos in Iraq has overextended our ground and support forces . I can conceive of no scenario where we would be able to pivot our forces to attack our northern flank. Any attack into Iran would place Iraq to our rear. We already have difficulty transporting supplies from green zone to green zone within Iraq. Imagine if we had to supply an army across the breadth of the country. A basic rule of war is before any engagement you must secure your rear.

Also, Iran is not Iraq. Iraq is mostly desert. Iran is mostly mountains. A problem with the geographically challenged American consciousness is we visualize the entire middle east as one vast flat desert. Not so in Iran. The most populous regions actually lay in basins between imposing mountain ranges. If invasion moved forward, there would be no dash to Tehran as there was to Baghdad. The likely scenario would be months if not years of slogging slowly towards the population centers.

We would also face a fighting force of a quarter million-front line troops. The quality of the Iranian army units is disputable. They may fold like the infamous Iraqi Republican guard. However, over 20 million Iranian men are of military age. The thought of battling conscript militias through rocky terrain should frighten even the most ardent hawk.

Describing what might result from a ground invasion as a quagmire might be kind. In order to generate the manpower needed for this kind of war, the draft would have to reinstituted. That will not happen. Ground invasion is out of the question.

If we can't invade, we could always opt for the very American strategy of air strikes. First of all, it must be understood that we would receive no help from the Israelis. When they knocked out Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981 the sites were within ranges of their airbases. To attack Iran, not only would the I.A.F. have to cross hostile airspace but they would have to refuel on the way. The Israeli's have already stated this scenario would not be possible.

However, we probably do not need the Israeli's assistance.Our air power is still unmatched and at the moment practically unused. The strategic and tactical strike groups have not had much to do since Iraq spiraled into guerilla warfare. F/A-18s are not really needed for house to house fighting.

The problem is Iran is not Serbia. Air war worked in Serbia because the targets were ground troops intent on civilian slaughter. Targets were easily recognizable and out in the open. The aforementioned Hornet could fly in at safe altitude, bomb a Serbian death battalion to the depths of Hades and return to its ship unscathed. In Iran, the targets are buildings not people and they are probably hidden underground. According to most intelligence, way underground.
If we are fortunate enough to have accurate intelligence (insert pre-Iraq intelligence joke here) and the Iranians were kind enough to leave the facilities in the open, we can possibly do damage ala Israel / Iraq 1981. Realistically, the Iranian facilities are hidden, disguised and even if found, protected so well that none of our current weapons could cause damage. If they were easy to hit would the military be testing conventional weapons with the ability to produce nuclear type holes in the earth?

So we can't invade. We can't bomb them back to the stone age. We are left with diplomacy and economic pressure. So far this seems to be the tactic the Bush adminstration is pursuing. Let's hope that it works and the power of the Tehran mullahs is dulled by the will of the millions of moderate Persians in the country.

Let us keep our hand on the saber, but not rattle too loudly just yet.

As Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal Constitution puts it,

"it can sometimes be useful to have other people think you're crazy.But it is
never useful to actually BE crazy."

Contributing to this post: Wikipedia and Military Factory.

Inspiration for this post came from articles by Steven C. Clemons and Jay Bookman. I highly encourage you to read both.The AJC requires subscription but go ahead and sign up. They won't spam you and it's worth it.

Also h/t to Andrew Sullivan where I first encountered the Clemons article.

McKinney! It Ain't Over Til It's Over!

God bless you, Rep. McKinney! I've completely come around. You are the best thing since sliced bread. So much chaos is so little time. That's talent. I mean that's some mad skillz!

Let's start with Georgia Unfiltered having an UNCONFIRMED tip that Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones is going to throw his hat in the ring for the 4th. Possibly as a Republican! Now that's an election I want to see! Jones is a known publicity hound so this could be a joke or a trial ballon. But we can only hope. Run Vernon run!

Enough of that. Let's get to the REALLY good stuff!

Peach Pundit posted about an hour ago that a credible tipster heard that not only had Rep. McKinney hired a local deputy as a bodyguard but the deputy had already shoved someone! Turns out not only is it true but WSB-TV has video!

Deputy: "I'm gonna put your ass in jail the next time you push me!"

A picture's worth a thousand words!

Seriously. You can't make this stuff up!

Day 7: The McKinney Siege Ends?

Rep. McKinney has apologized on the floor of the House.

It sounds sincere. I will now open book on how long before the Cap Police drop the charges.

Is this the end? Can it be? While the constituents of 4th Georgia can smile now that sunshine has broken through the clouds, bloggers everywhere are in despair over the end of the feast and frenzy.

UPDATE: Right leaning blogger Joe Weedon has an interesting opinion on how this entire idiocy hurts both side.

Evolutionary Geek Moment

I'm putting on my evolution nerd hat for a minute. Paleontologists have discovered a so-called "missing link" in the transition from fish to land tetrapods. Past finds have hinted and teased that the lobe finned fishies eventually adapted their fins to legs and began crawling out of Devonian era rivers. Well, Tiktaalik roseae is a transitional wet dream.

Finding the skull, neck and limbs were the key. The skull and neck show far greater flexibility than a fish yet the limbs are obviously "fins". However these fins have what can only be described as precursors to digits found in tetrapods. The thing has fingers just not completely built out yet!

So the next time some rabid creationist starts babbling about there being no transitionals, just throw this bad boy in their face.

Read a complete description of the find and methodology at Pharyngula.

h/t: Panda's Thumb

Slow Morning

Between the insanely high pollen count, real work and being distracted by my new iPod, I haven't had much to say this morning.

Hopefully one of my new girlfriends Cynthia or Katherine will throw a loop-d-loop and I will have time for a new ramble.

In the meantime, go read THIS.

Bushy! You got some splainin to do!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Indictment a comin!

Just heard on WSB radio that the federal prosecutor is indeed presenting evidence on the McKinney case to a grand jury. They don't usually do that for a misdemeanor. Felony obstruction? This just whets the appetite for details.

A legal friend mentioned they may have a problem piercing congressional immunity. We'll see!

More Movie Fun

Eddie on Film had so much fun tallying the votes for the Worst Best Picture Winner ever that he has gone the next step to determine the Best Best Picture Winner ever.

Rules are pretty much the same as before.

Complete list of movies and rules here.

I'm going to ponder my list for a while before I publish but why do I think the #1 spot here is going to be an offer no one can refuse?

Go email your votes! It's fun! Like you got anything better to do!

Manchurian Candidate McKinney

You must see the video of Rep. McKinney from this morning on CNN. Soledad O'Brien grills her like there's no tomorrow. It gets truly bizarre when McKinney refuses to answer and sits staring into the camera. Suddenly a hollow sounding voice comes from the right. It's her attorney who is off camera and not miked. Mercifully, the camera eventually pulls back to show the attorney and someone finally turns on his mic.

CNN Article. Video is about halfway down the page.

We have entered bizarro world.

Props to Imalittledespot at Reality Sucks for the heads up.

Ports or Borders?

This is why if someone starts scaremongering about terrorists penetrating our "soft underbelly" via the Mexican Border, you should either roll your eyes or smile, nod and quietly back out of the room.

"Twenty-two Chinese nationals were in custody Wednesday after they
apparently let themselves out of a 40-foot cargo container that had been used to
smuggle them from China, officials said."

Original Story at CNN.

Day 6: McKinney Siege Continues

Previous post on Representative Cynthia McKinney:

Cynthia McKinney, My Representative
Oh Cynthia, My Cynthia
4th Georgia, What Next?

Day 6 of Hairgate and suddenly the woods are still and quiet. Time for bloggers to step up to the plate and continue the thrashing!

Dignan of Red State wants to throw his hat in the ring for the 4th Georgia.

As noted by a commentor, I am of legal age and reside in the 4th district, why don't I run? Good point! We can't just have a red blogger in the race! We need a blue blogger too! Okay, okay, I'm actually a wandering shade of purple but that's just details. The devil's in those you know.

Dignan has all sorts of fancy campaign themes. I'm going to stick with the simple.


I mean, we don't need to completely remove the crazy from Georgia. We have a fine heritage of crazy in our fair state. We just got too much crazy right now. We need to moderate the crazy.

So if you want just a little crazy in your life, I'm your man.

Unlike Dignan, I will not ask for contributions to support my run. Instead I encourage you to join me at Manuel's Tavern on thursday around 7:00pm for a Draft Griftdrift Party.

After all, anyone who knows me knows after four beers I never say no.

It's Perverts Week!

On the heels of my hometown being the number one stop and hop for child molesters comes the news of a deputy at Homeland Security (man, they just cannot get a break) being arrested for soliciting kids for sex.

My only comment: ick!

Catch up on the details at other places. I just can't take this type of story any more!

The Moderate Voice


That'll get you started. As with most salacious stories, it's everywhere.

Delta Is Doomed?

How's that for an outrageous headline?

Delta pilots have authorized a strike. It's not time to panic. Yet. Authorization of a strike in a nasty labor negotiation is a common tactic by a union to show they mean business.

Here is the depressing part. I spoke to a local union friend last night. He's not in the airline industry but he is pretty wired into the local labor scene. This is not a pessimistic man. Most of our discussions revolve around how he is working to fix issues and how the outcome is positive. That was not the case last night.

I asked if he had heard the union had voted to strike. His face lit up at the thought of wonderful solidarity. It fell when I mentioned I had been in Atlanta during the Eastern Airlines fiasco of the late 80s. I said that the two sides in Delta had to work to a resolution. My friend soberly responded that he believed there was no way the two sides could meet each other's demands. I said again, they have to work something out. He just shook his head and said no more.

When Eastern finally shut down in 91, it was a crushing blow to an Atlanta economy suffering from the malaise of a national recession. What was worse were the stories my friends at employment services told of workers accustomed to making 40 to 50 grand a year not being able to find $8.00 an hour jobs because their skill set was too specialized.

The old joke that Delta stands for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport may soon be all too real.

Katherine Harris Hires A New Team

Not exactly the A-Team, eh?

I also get the sense from some of these new hires that Ms. Harris is about to tack hard to the right. Becoming a single issue (traditional values) candidate may be the only thing that can save her campaign for the moment. Unfortunately, in the "gray boom state" of Florida most people care about Medicare, Social Security and Retirement. Issues like prayer in school and abortion may result in a collective "meh". She may be taking the long gamble by placing all her chips on one number. With those plays the almost certain winner is always the house.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Securing Our Borders


It's a simple question without any simple answer. At least no answer that I have heard.

Securing the borders is phrase often heard in the ongoing immigration debate. It seems that most, left, right and middle, agree that no immigration reform can be achieved without first stemming the constant tide of illegals. But I can't recall anyone saying how it will be done.

And notice I said borders, not border. This issue is not just about Mexico. Recall that before 9-11, Y2K bomber Ahmed Ressam came across the Canadian border. Scaremongers would have us worry about terrorists walking across miles of desert instead of trekking through the northern woods or more conceivably smuggling themselves in through one of the thousands of uninspected shipping crates.

So how do we do it?

How about the military? The most likely scenario is using the National Guard. At least the parts of the Guard that are not already in Iraq. The problem here is training. The Guard is in no way shape or form trained for such a policing action. Immediate deployment to the border would lead to the inevitable tragedy of someone being needlessly killed. The subsequent navel-gazing and investigations would neuter the effort before it had a chance to be effective.

So we train them? Not a bad idea, but it will take money and time. I know the current government is not too worried about fiscal restraint but we are talking millions if not billions of dollars of redirected funds. Also, months if not years of complete reorganization before an effective unit could be deployed. Can we wait?

How about a fence! I'm going to cut some slack on this one and talk only about the southern border. That would be a fence rougly 700 miles long. I hate to break it to you, but Home Depot now has stores south of the border. Even the poorest immigrant can scrape together the pesos needed to buy a pair of wire cutters. In my part of the world, we have a hard enough time maintaining a couple of miles of fence to keep out wild hogs and they don't have the resourcefulness of a father desperate to find work to feed his family.

Those are the two most common shoot from the hip solutions I hear in punditry these days. To me, neither is plausible.

So prove me wrong. If someone out there has a plan that's practical I want to hear it. Link them folks and let's discuss.

4th Georgia What Next

Ask and yea shall receive they say.

WSB is reporting that Rep. Cynthia McKinney flew Shaft / Chef Isaac Hayes to D.C. to dedicate her new office.

If I say what's next again will more craziness ensue? Let's find out. Good god, what's next?

Ye Gods! We're The Bangkok of the South!

From ten blocks away, I can hear the retching. I imagine many of the eternally smiley faces at the ACVB have donned their little-used frowny faces.

Atlanta is the #1 underage sex center in the country!

There are many foul, foul things in this article. We are known for our entertainment, especially the adult kind, but no one and I mean no one from the Bible thumpers to the strip club owners want this kind of reputation. In fact, I would bet you that the strip club owners are more horrified than the preachers. With good reason.

H/T: Shakespeare's Sister