Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year: Trucker Style!

Keep it between the ditches!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back To The Real World

National Drunk Blogging Day was fun but it's time to mosey back into the real world. Time to head south to help move some hay. No. I am not kidding. Back tomorrow with more rants.

NaDruBloDa: Goodnight and Thanks For All The Fish

NaDruBloDa: The Waitresses

Stacey: I loved the way you shaved your head like a checkerboard. I also loved the way I felt that I should carry a weapon to bed every time we had sex.

Maryelise: You were beautiful, young and stupid but good lord you had a great body. It was a fun two weeks.

Melissa: When I am 70, I will remember our nights at the Clermont. You and I dancing and Alan falling into tables. Thank god the floor in my apartment was carpeted.

Dharol: You were the last. And the best. Always.

Friday, December 29, 2006

NaDruBloDa: Radical Georgia Moderate R.I.P.

Rusty just killed his blog. It's very sad. But it had to happen.

NaDruBloDa: The Whale

Drinking is a serious thing. And some times you get reminded that there is a line you just don't cross.

On a Saturday afternoon, we encountered The Whale. We're not sure why we branded him with that moniker other than he was quite large and tended to squeak when he talked. Moe Beers, my partner in crime, and myself settled down for our usual Saturday soiree at Moes and Joes when this character showed up.

It's not like we aren't accustomed to strange people just appearing in our life. But The Whale was something else.

Early afternoon and we could smell him from ten feet away. Even professional drunkards like us know the stench. It's the rotten smell of sour grapes of the true alcoholic.

It was pretty obvious he had been drinking all night. It's not like we could say much, we had been there before. Wallowing in the doom of the new dawn. But we know that dawn does not mean one more bottle of three dollar wine. We instead opt for The Majestic. We are after all. Professionals.

The Whale sauntered next to us, began squeaking and drinking from the jug of wine he thought he had so carefully hidden in the brown paper sack. Even Moe was rendered speechless.

Soon the staff of Moes and Joes could no longer tolerate the smell and the illegal alcohol. The Whale was kicked to the curb. He wandered down the sidewalk and sat next to a planter. Continuing to pull from his paper bag.

He sat there most of the afternoon. Moe and I would occasionally raise our glasses and in the distance we could hear a squeak.

NaDruBloDa: Memories

Not from tonight but it seems appropriate.

NaDruBloDa: Five Down, Plenty To Go

I got nothing. But the drinking is going well. Yeehaw!

NaDruBloDa: Saddam To Be Hanged, Me To Be Drunk

Yes friends, it is assured that Saddam Hussein will swing at 10pm tonight. By that time I should be half hammered. I am strangely void of feeling about Hussein's impending doom. It's like watching a movie where you haven't seen it but you already know how it ends.

Dictators swingin' in Baghdad. Rednecks drunk in Atlanta. It's a wild, weird world, bubba.

NaDruBloDa: Into The Breach My Friends

The beer gun has sounded! Beer number one is a refreshing bottle of Budweiser. I'm getting the jump on the local Atlanta bloggerati by starting a pre-meet buzz. I feel this is necessary as my past exploits have caused me to grow a second liver and the amount of alcohol needed to reach levels of foolishness is immense.

Drunk blogging is nothing new. We've all done it. Personally, I've tried to keep mine to a minimum. Strong drink and broadband connections are not necessarily compatible. Mostly mine have been late night posting of sappy shoe gazers staring longlingly while crooning about some lost girl.

It's weird experiment, bubba. Drinking and blogging with a group of people at the same time. Will we suddenly in the middle of a conversation scream, "I NEED TO BLOG THAT!"? Will the conversation halt while some muddled mind tries to distinguish between the shift key and the tab key? Will we all stare at each other's site meters?

So many questions. Answers will only come with the continued application of party juice. Into the unknown we travel my companions. Let us all pray the tubes do not get clogged.

John Cornetta: The Blog Interview Part I

John Cornetta, owner of The Love Shack, reads the blogs. He also emails certain blog writers. Mr. Cornetta took exception with my description of him as a "skeevy looking dude". I apologized for going for the sensational description and he told me that an apology wasn't necessary. What followed was a pleasant email exchange that resulted in him agreeing to an interview. The only pre-condition was that I would publish his responses unedited. Mr. Cornetta has a contempt hearing in Fulton County court on Tuesday. I hope incarceration will not hinder the conclusion of this exclusive exchange.

griftdrift: Why did you move from Boca Raton to Atlanta?

John Cornetta: Actually my path was a little different than that. I was born and raised in Piermont New York on the Hudson river just outside the city. Hunt this down but I saw some where that Mike Bodker (gd: mayor of Johns Creek) was born in Suffern N.Y. in 1965, that would make him one year younger then me and we would both have been born not only in the same county in New York, but at the same hospital in Nyack New York. Funny how the world is hey? Anyway, I moved back and forth between Boca Raton and NY from age 13 to about 20 or so, then stayed in South Florida until February 1990 at which time I moved to Atlanta. I came here to visit a sister who lived here with her boyfriend ( now husband of 13 years or so ). We had just sold a bar we operated in South Florida, we had a friend who put on lingerie fashion shows at our place two or three times a week. He made a lot of money, hung out with beautiful women..... It was a no brainer what I would do next. I was a trained professional chef. Worked with the best in the world. I turned down three full scholarship to the culinary art institute of my choice... I had had enough of food and beverage... So anyway, back here to Atlanta. No one was doing the shows, so I said, hey I'll move up here and try it. I had about $700 to my name, 100 pieces of lingerie and a car that would be taken back by the bank two months later. I was broke. I rented a town home in Dunwoody and started my business out of the town home. Called it Simply Irresistible Lingerie. Within in weeks I had competition, yet I managed to put them out of business and build that from 1990 to 1993 to doing more then 125 shows per WEEK and had about 25 models working for me. I am making this out to seem easy but if I had the time, these three years are enough for five movies. I slept on the floor, lost cars and the town home, took showers or a bath maybe once a week during portions of this period. I had high highs and some very low lows.

But oh what a life for a young man. Money started flowing in, beautiful women and I started meeting all the heavy weights in Atlanta. In fact they started to become my friends. Life long friends. We're talking guys in their late 50's and 60's befriending me and taking me under their wings. Guys like Johnny Espizito from Johnny's Hideaway. Bill Davidson from The Derby's. Ron Lombardi from Rascals, Ron Holcomb who owned Spinners and many others. But these guys, and Ron Holcomb and Bill Davidson may they, R.I.P., mentored me and took me in. Especially Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Davidson. They took me around. They helped pave my way in to a tight little circle of friends that ran all the watering holes back then. So that's how I came to and stayed in Atlanta...

griftdrift: How did you get started in the adult "novelty" business?

John Cornetta: Well, later I started doing shows in Charlotte N.C. and there I had little more money so I put some of the lingerie on display in a little store front. Next thing you know your adding a pair of dice, then a board game for adults. Then someone asks you can you get this and that. The rest is history really. But, the details, well some of them are that in 1993 a friend of mine from down in Florida, Bob Newman and I get together and he tells me he has started this magazine called Florida Xcitement and that I should do one in Atlanta. So I paid him some money and I started Atlanta Xcitement which I still own to this day. I sold the lingerie company about two years ago, I had that for about 14 years. Xcitement Magazine today prints and distributes free about 30,000 copies per month in adult clubs stores etc. See if you want more information. Then through that I made a lot more friends and mentors etc, and I met a guy named Tom Gardner who owned a store in Gwinnett on Jimmy Carter, actually the only adult store in Gwinnett at the time. He called it Illusions. He wanted to sell, I bought it, changed the name to Love Shack and that became the first one.

To Be Continued

Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Just Stop It

First, Georgia Republicans want to remove Cynthia McKinney's name from Memorial Drive. Now, Rich Golick wants to remove her father's name from a stretch of I-285.

I am no fan of the McKinney's. In my book they deserve no honors. However, this does not allay the fact that these bozos in the legislature name another 10 yard stretch of highway after someone every time a bug crawl's up their ass or another power broker wafts a little mammon under their noses.

Hey boys and girls up on the hill. How about this? How about we all concern ourselves a little less with useless signs which no one even notices and a little more with a transportation situation so abhorrent that people have to wear surgical masks every summer to avoid asphyxiation from the smog.

Edwards Announces

Right now on CNN. A couple of thoughts. He's wearing jeans. Could he be the first to ever announce a candidacy in jeans? He's in New Orleans. Standing next to a house he worked on yesterday. Clever. Very clever. Showing a hands-on populism while reminding everyone of one of Bush's grandest mistakes. The sun is rising and it's catching his profile perfectly.

The level of competence of this campaign this early in the game is scary. The test of any campaign is how it handles adversity and eventually adversity will come. But for now, Edward's team is about as good as it gets.

When Comic Books Go Bad

Remember how despite being a gun owner, I am no fan of the N.R.A.? Well, just when you think they can't get any crazier, they go and publish a graphic novel. It appears to be wonderfully drawn. The artwork of the crazy minority gang members, scary Hillary Clinton and buffoonish Michael Moore is striking. My personal favorite is the anonymous hairy-legged hippie animal rights activist. Okay, actually my favorite is the owl carrying dynamite. No, no, no, my favorite has to be the menacing lobster.

Add this to the list of reasons they've gone completely around the bend.

UPDATE: You can see the whole thing HERE!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Voice From The Grave

Just finished watching "Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride". In one segment John Cusak was relating the first time he visited the Owl Farm. As he voiced the questions Hunter S. Thompson asked, I found myself answering sotto voce.
Do you drink? yes

Do you shoot guns? yes

Do you golf? yes

Well, let's go.

Yep. That's about right.

National Drunk Blogging Day Countdown

It's here! National Drunk Blogging Day! Have you signed up yet?
The local degenerates are meeting up at The Highlander around 6:30. There is a possibility of a trip to the Clermont afterwards. If you are in the ATL, come on by!

I'm Back

Back in the ATL groove.

Let's get this baby cranked up again.

What the hell I miss?

Songs In My Head

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Road!

I'm off to the wilds of rural Georgia. Until next week, keep on pornin!

Porn Hunt 2006: End Of The Night

I suppose I should mention as a coda that Cornetta was cited for two zoning violations but was allowed to stay open.

I doubt anything will happen tomorrow but if there is some sort of injunction pending, I will delay my own Christmas celebration to be back at the Lurv Shack! At least I know where it is now.

Also, Viet-Justice has some additional thoughts as well as some more pictures of porn Santa.

I will say good night with the words of Chattahoochee senior Anna Frye.

"It's not all inappropriate," Frye said. "We're having fun with it. If people don't want to come here, then don't."

Amen, sister. Amen.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Porn Hunt 2006: The Irony Meter Breaks

Top: The rather innocuous front of The Love Shack

Bottom: The large adult beverage store next door with standard Johns Creek transport in front. Folks kept stopping by for updates. Alas there were none. The dildoes were all safely esconced in the panel truck.

Porn Hunt 2006: Old Media Gaggle

It's sad that only Channel 46 showed up to cover the "event". It's much, much sadder that the lowest rated news program in Atlanta is forced to monitor their broadcast with a circa 1982 portable t.v. I used it to watch my "stories".

Porn Hunt 2006: The Police Arrive

Porn Hunt 2006: Santa Loves Porn

The other side of the sign reads "Prancer Wants Porn 4 Xmas"

Porn Hunt 2006: Paradise Lost

I did something very rare. I got utterly lost. To the point I had to call a friend who became a living GPS device. The conversation went like this:

griftdrift: G*DD*MMIT! Why don't these people actually put the state highway numbers on street signs!

friend: Dude, that's just how they do it in Gwinnett County. But you are okay. Just keep driving straight (followed by a string of directions).

griftdrift: Okay. I'm going to trust you. But it's getting dark and this place scares me.

friend: It'll be okay. If we don't hear from you in a couple of hours, we'll send out a search party.

I eventually found the Love Shack by scanning for TV satellite trucks. Apparently, I am not the only one who had trouble finding the porn palace. The Fulton County Police arrived fifteen minutes after I did!

There was a small crowd gathered in the parking lot and I asked a grinning fellow if anything was happening. He responded, "Nope. It's like everybody put their gloves on and then didn't show up for a fight".

Love Shack owner John Cornetta, a rather skeevy looking dude, paced in and out, alternately staring at the news cameras and yelling at his workers to get back to work. Every few minutes, one of said workers trundled out a box to the lurid panel truck pictured above. Where were the police I wondered? The porn is getting away!

Finally a single Fulton County police car circled the parking lot like a lost shark. Eventually he was joined by another along with an unmarked car and a fellow driviing a Fulton County truck. The news camera guys all scurried about trying to find the best location to shoot the confrontation.

The police never said anything although one in a suit showed a piece of paper to Mr. Cornetta who opened the door and yelled "welcome to the Love Shack!" The crowd, reporters, cameramen, cops, degenerate bloggers, all trundled into the store via the "Smoke Shop". Yes, the place also houses a head shop. It was amusing to see uniformed policemen casually pass by the various bongs and hookas and head straight for the porn jams and jellies.

Inside the store everyone just began wandering around looking at things. I believe the legal definition of "adult only" mentioned in the court order is defined as dildos, strap ons, vibrators and other penetrating objects. It has to be because lord knows in my book a "Penis Cake Pan" certainly qualifies as adult. The store has the appearance of a blockbuster run by Ron Jeremy. As the cops began scanning the porn, I witnessed several store employees opening more boxes. It appears Cornetta is trying to get below the court mandated 25% cap on adult-only products by stocking up on a million bottles of lube.

I soon became bored and walked back outside. Standing nearby were members of the Johns Creek community. They were just as puzzled as the rest of us as to how the cops were going to determine what constitutes 25%. Thoughts ranged from inventory to sales receipts to one fellow mumbling something about volume. A kid asked why they didn't just go in the obviously dildo crammed panel truck. Why indeed, young man, why indeed.

At one point a cameraman came rushing out of the store. Everyone tensed in anticipation but he was just getting a new battery. I asked him if anything was going on in there and he replied, " Nope, they are just walking around".

At this point, it was apparent nothing was going to happen in the near future and with rain pelting my head, I gave up and drove home.

A final thought. Many may have the thought in their head that the store is some lurid place screaming with large neon versions of naked women. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I already described, it's difficult to find. You cannot see it from the main road. Once you actually make it to the parking lot, it is a plain brick building with only a small banner on which is printed the stores web address. If you didn't know it was there, you would think it was one of any other small office buildings that cover the suburbs like warts on a toad.

Also, as you see in the forthcoming pictures, the Johns Creek people apparently have no problem with the massive liquor store right next door.

Porn Huntin!

I'm endeavoring to enlist my sidekick for this afternoon's porn hunt. We'll be back later...if we ain't arrested.

Porn. We Need More Porn.

So here what really puzzles me. These days they actually announce when they are going to bust criminals? Well sort of I suppose.

Apparently, the Love Shack (a local distributor of dildos and vibrators ) is being shut down by the Fulton County police at 3:00 this afternoon. Since I have some last minute christmas shopping needs, I think I'll swing by and see if I can get some pictures of the boys and girls in blue toting some foot longs.

h/t: Grabbingsand

UPDATE: It took exactly two seconds for me to get hit by a search bot with someone keywording porn. And you people deny the internets are made of tubes!

UPDATE II: Google Maps hates conservative suburb newbie cities. I tried to get directions to the Lurv Shack and got the following response: We could not understand the location johns creek, ga. HAH! You people aren't cool enough for a porn shop! I will not be deterred!

Songs In My Head

A Song For You

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Evolution Lives In Cobb County

The Cobb County school board has settled, i.e. capitulated, the law suit over putting anti-evolution stickers in biology books. Moreso, they agreed to not undermine evolution in any manner. The last part is fairly stunning. It pretty much douses any future ambitions to screw with children's science education. And if you want to see just how badly we need better science education in this country, read the comments on the AJC's post.

Vernon Is Running....Maybe

Dekalb County CEO Vernon Jones is exploring running for U.S. Senate in 2008.

And I'm just not sure how the hell I feel about it. Back in 2003 as I drove over a pot-hole filled road I told a friend, "if that S.O.B Vernon doesn't get this damned road fixed I sure as hell won't vote for him again." A couple of months later the road was fixed.

Jones is an ego walking around in a suit. His has a prediliction for the rock star life, rules with an iron fist and enjoys picking fights with local media. But he has fixed the roads, improved the parks and generally kept the county on the rails. He's a bit Nixonian in his dichotomy.

Not long ago, Mel and Catherine of BfD asked me what I thought about the possibility of Vernon running. I responded, "In Dekalb we like our politicians a bit crazy, but..." and I couldn't finish the sentence. Well now I can.

In Dekalb we like our politicians a bit crazy. Just like any good southern family has a crazy aunt or uncle we all love. We just don't necessarily want them to wander outside so the neighbors can see just how crazy they are.
Photo courtesy of the AJC

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This Is What Drinking and Druggin Gits Ya!

What happens when 18,000 people get drunk?

Mardi Gras you say? No.

St Patrick's Day in Savannah? No.

A Hank Williams Jr. Concert? Nooooooooo.

An 18,000 vote undercount in a Florida congressional district? Yes!

At least that's the thought process of the State of Florida who has asked the court to have voters in the Florida 13th answer the following question.

Did you consume any alcoholic beverages or take any drugs (prescribed or not) or medications within 12 hours before the time you voted in the November 2006 general election. If so, state the type and amount of alcoholic beverages, drugs (prescribed or not), or medication which were consumed, and where you consumed them.

Given that about 45% of Sarasota's population is over the age of 45 (22% over 65!), I think it's safe to say most everybody is on booze or pills or more likely both.

We Have Entered Bizzaro-Land

Just when you think things can't get any weirder.

Bush might be pondering a tax increase.

Sanity Leaks

The "surge" is all anyone wants to talk about. Should we surge the troop levels in Iraq? According to most rumors, President Bush is favoring a surge of 30-40,000 troops*.

Not so fast.

The Joint Cheifs Of Staff have grown a collective pair and demanded a mission statement prior to any more troop commitments. This is about three years too late but anyway...

Here's my suggestion for a mission statement. Tactical withdrawal to Kirkuk and the Kurdish north. Utilize special ops embeds in the Baghdad to assist with security. Get the hell out by early 2008.

I suspect instead the mission statement we will receive will be some flavor of securing Baghdad. Which leads me to an image I cannot get of my head. Desperate people boarding helicopters on the roof of an American embassy.

*Can someone in the military tell me just where the hell we are going to get three more divisions?

Behind The Barn

The story.

An American security contractor is hired by an Iraqi firm. When he notices his employer stockpiling a large cache of arms, he contacts the F.B.I. Eventually, feeling his life is in danger, the contractor contacts the American embassy in Baghdad and is rescued by an assault team. That night he sleeps comfortably in an embassy room. It will be his last peaceful night for months. The following morning...

just before dawn, they were awakened, handcuffed with zip ties and made to wear goggles with lenses covered by duct tape. Put into a Humvee, Mr. Vance said he
asked for a vest and helmet, and was refused.

For the next three months, American Donald Vance was detained by the American military. He was subjected to sleep deprivation and interrogation. He was given no legal counsel. For two weeks he was not allowed any contact with the outside world. His fiance thought he had been killed. Eventually his fate was determined by one of those military tribunals we have heard so much of.

Their legal rights, laid out in a letter from Lt. Col. Bradley J. Huestis of the Army, the president of the status board, allowed them to attend the hearing and testify. However, under Rule 3, the letter said, “You do not have the right to legal counsel...

Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel were permitted at their hearings only because they were Americans, Lieutenant Fracasso said. The cases of all other detainees are reviewed without the detainees present, she said. In both types of cases, defense lawyers are not allowed to attend because the hearings are not criminal proceedings, she said....

At the hearings, a woman and two men wearing Army uniforms but no name tags or rank designations sat a table with two stacks of documents. One was about an inch thick, and the men were allowed to see some papers from that stack. The other pile was much thicker, but they were told that this pile was evidence only the board could see....

Eventually Mr. Vance was released. The reasons for his detention or even his release may never be known. Thus is the method and the madness of military tribunals.

The Times story is all over the blogs. Normally, I don't post news where I feel you may already have ample access, but frankly, this story is that important and it is getting no traction in the mainstream media. So it's time for a blog storm. Make them see the story. Make them report the story. It is time for this nation to wake up.

If this story does not make you mad, what will? This is not some vague ideological game theory. This is not foreigners. This is not a pile of naked Muslims with whom you may feel no connection. This is an American citizen. Not only doing his job, but attempting to assist in the security of his country. This is an American citizen.

If that isn't enough for you to wipe the sleep from your eyes, maybe this will.
...currently there were three Americans in military custody in Iraq. The military does not identify detainees.

Why do we even pretend this is justice? Why don't we just take them behind the barn and shoot them?

Romney Buzz A Little Louder

He has a blog in Georgia.

h/t: Buzz

Songs In My Head

O Holy Night

Inspired by Alyssa

Monday, December 18, 2006

John Edwards Hearts YouTube

Mel at Blog for Democracy found this gem. John Edwards gets YouTube. This is very encouraging.

When Automation Goes Off The Rails

I have been a Netflix customer for over a year. It's a wonderful service. Its automated tracking system has completely shifted the entire rental business. Not only in movies. You can now rent every thing from jewelries to clothes based on the keep it as long as you like system.

For some time everything has been hunky dorey.

Until now.

It is a truism in software that if an automated system goes off the rails, it's hell to get the train back on the track.

I originally signed up for the standard package. Three movies per month. It suited me at the time as I had just purchased a new tv and spent a great deal of time just watching movies.

Back in November, I believed I had my usual three movies. Two of them were out in the open on my desk. The third had gone missing. It was one I had already watched so I assumed that I placed it in my ridiculous to do list pile. I knew that I would eventually have to ferret it out but since Netflix policy is keep as long as you want, I procrastinated.

Then one day, something odd happened. A new movie came. Well, I thought, I must have mailed the missing movie back and just forgot. No biggie. Everything should be straight now. Until I went to the Netflix web site. The missing movie was still listed as "at home". The new movie I just received was still in my queue. Okay, I thought. Easy fix. I used the very effecient customer service site to tell Netflix the missing movie had been sent to them. I got a very nice email essentially saying these things happen but with a stern warning that if it became a common event I could get in trouble.

Then another movie came.

Apparently the automated software recorded an "at home" movie returned and spit out another one. So, now, I have four movies. When I am only supposed to have three.

Just to add another sliver of murphy's law into the soup, I decided at the time to reduce my subscription to one movie per month. When you change subscriptions, Netfix simply stops sending you movies until you get below your new limit. Super! This should fix everything!

So I dutifully watched all four movies. Then sent all four movies back on the same day with the expectation I would receive one movie back.

Two days later, I received my email notifications of my return. Two had been received. The third was still listed in my queue as "at home". The fourth, which I now don't even remember the title, is completely off the grid.

The next day, even though the queue is still showing me as having a movie at home, I receive my next movie envelope. This is insane but as long as I am receiving my one movie at a time, big deal. Except the envelope is empty. With a note from my postal worker that the envelope was received without contents.

So in summary, Netflix thinks I have a movie that I don't have, I don't have a movie that they don't think I have and I will not be surprised if there's another little red envelope in my mailbox today. I could report the third movie as having been sent and not received but that will just move this next movie, the empty envelope movie, to the top of my queue which I will then have to report not arriving. All which I am positive will put me on the Netflix black-list of DVD stealing scum.

I have entered software automation bizarro-land and I'm not sure I will ever return.


35 billion. That's with a "b". The most recent estimate of the annual value of the U.S. marijuana crop. More than corn. More than wheat. More than anything by a long shot. Reminds me of that Bloom County where a politician is pressing the flesh with a farmer and asks, "Whatcha growin, corn?" The farmer, chewing a piece of wheat, responds, "Pot."

Liberals? Imagine the tax revenues!

Republicans? Imagine being able to smoke what we all know you smoke but legally!

Centrism In Florida

It's getting noticed.

House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt last week gave Democrats unprecedented access — at least on paper — to power in both chambers, showing the GOP is ready to share after a decade in command of the Legislature.

Much of the attention this past election season focused on Montana and Virginia. Florida, other than boy buggery and the ghost of Katherine Harris haunting her old district, barely registered a blip.

It's unfortunate since Florida could be the new model for centrist politics. Newly elected Governor Charlie Crist not only managed to brush off right wing whisper campaigns on his sexual orientation, completely ignore the Florida Family Council but also managed to steal 14% of registered Democrats from his opponent Jim Davis.

Uniqueness makes Florida difficult to compare to other states. It is neither wholly red nor blue nor even mauve. It is wide swaths of all three. Unlike other states, Georgia in particular, the regionalization of these trends are not isolated into conclaves of urban and rural and don't always follow the rules.

Major population centers such as Miami do trend "blue" but on particular issues are fiercely "red" due to the influence of the Cuban and other communities. Rural areas are hard "red" but Tallahassee is not just a "blue" dot surrounded by crackers and shrimp boat captains. In the last election some of that "blue" seeped into the surrounding counties. And just to confound further, the "liberal" Tallahassee Democrat endorsed the Republican candidate.

The generalized conclusion about the last election is Florida voters care less about party and more about effectiveness. National politicians would be wise to take note . Florida politicans already do.

Ding! Dong!

It is officially Don Rumsfeld's last day.

PR / Marketing Trends of 2006

End of the year brings times of reflection.

Dan Greenfield, corporate communications for Eartlink, on his blog Bernaise Source asks, "What was (were) the most notable PR/marketing social media trend(s) or event(s) in 2006 and why?"

My vote would be the emergence of corporate / media "blogs".

I always use quotation marks when discussing these examples of the corporate world dipping a toe in the web 2.0 water because so often they just don't get it.

As Dan notes, large companies (and media behemoths) are more frequently bypassing traditional media sources and using "new media" outlets to promote, spin and attack. My glass is half full side sees this as a positive trend as it allows business people to fire off instant feedback without the usual layers of varnish.

My glass is half empty side knows that last statement is pure, unadulterated b.s.

Corporate / media blogs are often the realm of the glorified press releases, online versions of full articles and inane "hot buttons". In other words they don't understand the "rules.

Blogs are supposed to be the thoughts of the individual or the small collective. Not the carefully crafted blurbs of the Verizon "Poli Blog". More important to regular bloggers, Verizon violated two key commandments, sock puppetry and theft. Early posts were filled with comments from obvious Verizon employees lavishing praise on the new venture. The name it self was a straight copy of Dr. Steven Taylor's four year old PoliBlog. Sockpuppetry is bad enough but these guys don't even have the time and courtesy to google the name?

Blogs are supposed to be original thought. Full length articles are of course original thought. But a journalist simply dumping a fully crafted print article onto a "blog" is not blogging. Local media dude Jim Wooten dips into this sin several times a week. Jim has to be credited as one of the few mainstream journalist who at least tries. In fact, his "Thinking Right" column each friday might have been labelled blogging when blogging wasn't cool. But he still exhibits a need of all old media journalists to be perfect. Blogging is sometimes dirty, sometimes sloppy and almost always in the heat of the moment, not the cool logic that follows reflection and the input of editorial staff. It's supposed to be your hottest one night stand. Not thirty years of comfortable marriage.

It's not all bad. It is easy to slam papers like the AJC but it should be complimented for attaching a "blog" to many of it's online stories. These quick blurbs allow instant reader feedback. A hopeful trend that could lead the the old media dinosaurs out of the tar pits of declining readership.

For an even quicker adapter look no further than the St. Pete Times "Buzz Blog". It's an actual blog and became the center of the Foley firestorm.

Corporations and media giants are rarely early adapters. The desire to control an environment instead of flowing with the waves is not in the nature of the beast. You cannot control the environment of blogs. It is anathema to the concept and until the "corporates" understand this maxim, their "blogs" will continue to be the subject of ridicule by little "nobodies" like me.

UPDATE: Oh and another thing the corporate/media "blogs" don't get. Linking as a courtesy. Grayson and Rusty now have their thoughts up on the question of the day. Read them here and here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Unintentional Small Town Humor

The city of Berlin, Ga is getting a bullet-proof vest. Yes, a single vest. It's not really funny and it might one day save an officer's life but my immediate thought was Barney's one bullet.
A couple of other things. Berlin is pronounced BURR-lin not burr-LIN. And nearby there is a town named, you guessed it, Barney.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Stupids

Pull my finger

We Are Bloggers. Fear Us.

An update on Verizon's Poliblog fiasco.

Nevertheless, in an effort to amicably resolve your concerns and in conjunction with the redesign of Verizon's public policy and technology blog website scheduled for January 2007, Verizon has decided to change the name of its blog to "Policy Blog".

Corporate behemoths. Just more road kill for the fast cars of the new media highway. heh.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Return Of Carp Circles

Tonight from 8pm-11pm an annual tradition continues.

Carp Circles Radio Presents "A Dirty Carp Christmas!"

Tune into Carp Circles Radio for three hours of dirty Christmas carols, stories of Moe and Jimmy's childhood and god knows what else.

Yahoo users can watch the shenanigans on the live webcam by contacting user griftdrift.

Stop by and give us a listen!
UPDATE: Tremendous technical difficulties to start the show. We appreciate your patience but we are back on the air now.

Ahmet Ertegun

I can't remember any time when I didn't love music. Ertegun was responsible for bringing forth a great part of that love. You can almost hear the angels singing, can't you?

David vs Goliath

Dr. Steven Taylor is a Poly-Sci professor in Alabama.

Verizon is a multinational telecommunications giant.

Poliblog is Dr. Taylor's political blog that has existed for over three years.

Poliblog is now also Verizon's new "blog" that has existed since November 2006.

Let’s put it this way: companies like Verizon are starting to understand that there is something to this whole blogging business and they wish to exploit it for their own ends. That is all well and good, and I have no problem with it–indeed, I welcome the continued mainstreaming of blogging. However, if companies like Verizon wish to take advantage of what we individual bloggers have help build, then the least they could do is use Google to make sure that they aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes. ~Dr. Taylor on the original Poliblog

Damn skippy!

Yay! JibJab!

JibJab's Year In Review.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vote For The Impolitic

The Impolitic is up for a Weblog Award.

Libby and I don't always agree but she's a good egg. Go vote for her.

Holy Cows and Death

I've been pondering death a great deal this year. It's something you don't think about until it hits you in the face. Pondering one's own end can feel beyond morbid. But it is important for everyone to make sure their wishes for any post-life festiivities be clearly known. As a funeral director once told me, once the soul leaves your body, your immediate family can do damn near anything they want with your remains.

After witnessing my grandfather's funeral where a pentacostal preacher spent 20 minutes sermonizing on "The DaVinci Code" I immediately called a friend and explained to him that I was writing explicit instructions for my burial and if he didn't follow them to the letter, I would return from the other side and haunt him for the rest of his life.

Which leads me to Billy Graham. One of my earliest memories was watching his "crusades" with my grandmother. I was fascinated by the pagentry, the ritual and the music. Especially the big baritone guy who always sang "Just As I Am" during the altar call.

Billy is now 88 years old and approaching the end of life in this world. His son Franklin is busy making plans to honor his father.

The building, designed in part by consultants who used to work for the Walt Disney Co., is not a library, she says, but a large barn and silo -- a reminder of Billy Graham's early childhood on a dairy farm near Charlotte. Once it's completed in the spring, visitors will pass through a 40-foot-high glass entry cut in the shape of a cross and be greeted by a mechanical talking cow. They will follow a path of straw through rooms full of multimedia exhibits. At the end of the tour, they will be pointed toward a stone walk, also in the shape of a cross, that leads to a garden where the bodies of Billy and Ruth Graham could lie.

What an end for a great man. Lying a few feet from some damned Disney-fied animatronic bovine.

Death is never an easy conversation but it's one you and your relatives should have. Otherwise, you might end up as a taxidermy experiment sitting in cousin Edna's parlor.

Maverick McCain and My Comments Section

McCain wants to protect the chilluns and rights of artists from the mean, nasty bloggers.

– Commercial websites and personal blogs “would be required to report illegal
images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000.”
– Internet service providers (ISPs) are already required to issue such reports,
but under McCain’s legislation, bloggers with comment sections may face “even
stiffer penalties” than ISPs.

Considering the majority of blogs are like mine, run by individuals who don't have a spare 300k sitting around., the real world impact is I would likely have to shut off my comments section. So much for furthering the discourse.

And exactly who would enforce these new laws? Most likely it would be some segment of the Justice Department. Are you seriously going to tell me that we are going to take manpower and resources away from the section of government responsible for ferreting out real threats to surf the web for trolls?

Welcome to wonderland, Alice.

Gasper Is Not Doing Well

Gasper, one of the Georgia Aquariums five Beluga Whales, is not doing well. He's been sick for some time with an auto-immune disease.

The Carp Circles gang visited the aquarium yesterday and took the above picture of one of Gasper's companions. We asked about the sick whale's health and the volunteer used her hand to make the universal signal for "so-so", but her face registered something much more dire.

The Belugas are truly fascinating. It would be easy to sit for hours watching their ghostly gyrations. So let's all pull for Gasper as we would for any sick friend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yes, You Can Believe In Santa Claus

He's been there all along. We just had to catch up. Relativity helps.

Based on his advanced knowledge of the theory of relativity, Santa recognizes that time can be stretched like a rubber band, that space can be squeezed like an orange and that light can be bent. Silverberg says. Relativity clouds are controllable domains, “ rips in time“, that allow him months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth. The presents are truly delivered in a wink of an eye.

As children we knew these secrets of the universe. Perhaps age clouds our reason..

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings,
then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim,
'ere he drove out of sight

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Now This Is A Helluva Lead

From Cracker Squire:

In the days of ancient Greece, the Greek city-state Sparta, upon defeating another city-state, would reward those who had supported Sparta, exile those who had opposed it, and execute those who had remained neutral.

Sid Cottingham stating he will vote for Mike Berlon for Chair of the Democrat Party of Georgia.

The Outsiders

Ever since Kos posted his screed on Libertarian-Democrats an idea has been burbling beneath the surface of the political ocean. Why do the Republicans seem to have a lock hold on the libertarian vote? Placed side by side, libertarians disagree with Republican positions at least as much as Democrat positions. In some opinions, mine included, more so.

Previously, I wrote that libertarians fall into three camps. Time has caused a modification. Although I stand by my original thoughts on an ideological level, I believe in real world politics Libertarians fall in to two categories: The Financials and The Socials. Every libertarian believes in the core philosophy of smaller government in all areas is beneficial. The only difference in the two camps is focus.

The Financials focus on tax cuts, reducing regulations and free market at all levels of life. They are for privatizing social security, against any form of government health care, against the minimum wage and usually are flat taxers although there is a new breed of fair taxers. These philosophies line up perfectly with not only libertarain ideology but the public face of the Republican Party. Compared to some of the social positions of libertarianism, it's an easy sell.
Of course we all now know the Republicans were selling snake oil on financial restraint and their complete surrender to the social nannies is about as far from the libertarian ideal as you can get. The financials woke up one day and realized their sacrifice of the social to further the financial eventually left them with neither. In November, these libertarians made their displeasure known at the ballot box.

For years, as if a single hemisphere of the brain is completely absorbed, other than gun control, the Financials chose to downplay or completely ignore social libertarianism. However, they are not the only ones with brains half-sparking.

The Socials focus on pro-choice, privacy rights, and drugs. They tend to accept some government interference in business but are usually absolutists when "the man" tries to interfere with individual lives. Even to the point of pinning what many call the albatross of the libertarian party around their necks; legalization of all drugs.
Strangely, the Socials rarely associate with the Democrats the way the Financials aligned in the past with the Republicans. Although they agree with progressives on practically every social issue, gun control once again being the notable exception, the Socials perceive the Democrat agenda to be just intrusive as the Republican. For every nodding of the head on sodomy laws there would be an equal shaking of the head on every spawning of a new tax or social program. However, somewhat like the Financials, Socials suppress their pro-business instincts when individual rights are on the line. A Social might vote for an ardent supporter of the Fourth Amendment even if they know the candidate wants to require every business in America to provide workers with daycare, paid vacation and lollipops on mandatory breaks.

The issues of course go much deeper and can never be so easily distilled. I would never support lollipops for everyone and few Financials would stomach an absolute ban on abortion. Like any other polticial movement libertarians have many different shades and most have value. In the real world, a good example of a Financial would be Jason Pye. I present myself as an example of a Social.

Unlike outsiders in the Republican and Democrat parties for the last 30 years, we both are accepted in the ranks of Libertarians. There is room for all and we accept that our differences are not disloyalty but rather continue to advance the discussion.

Given the results of November, the voters are tired of talkers who do not listen. Libertarian electoral gains both locally and nationally indicate the masses are willing to listen to the outsiders. Even the ones with some "wacky ideas. Possibly because at least the outsiders listen back.

UDPATE: An emailer pointed out that the actions of the libertarian party are not always ones of acceptance and tolerance. It's a fair point, but I would note that if you look at any political movement close enough, you will find warts. But the warts of the Libertarians are rough spots compared to the explosive buboes of the parties in power.

UPDATE II: I've had some really good feedback on this post and I appreciate it. From another perspective, a North Georgia Democrat offers the point of view when a libertarian official converts to the Republicans for percived political advantage.

Vegetarians Are Sissies!

I think I'll have a steak for lunch. According to Jim Rutz at WingNutDaily soy products cause homosexuality.

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.

There's going to be a lot of shocked South Georgia farmers when they discover they have been part of the homosexual agenda for decades.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jimmy Carter, Ken Stein and Israel

I've been pondering over the last few days how to write about the latest Jimmy Carter flap. Part of me wants to shout at him that he isn't helping anymore. Part of me wants to yell accolades for someone who continues to ask the difficult questions no matter the consequences. Throw in an instinctive urge to defend another South Georgia boy and you get a slippery eel of a mess with a handle that seems too tough to find. However the lack of comment from a blog of my nature seems dishonest.

I recently remarked to some fine folks that I believe Jimmy Carter could have been the greatest Secretary of State this country has ever seen. As President, he was lacking. He was not the absolute disaster some on the right would believe but I am not so delusional to ignore the severe problems brought on by his at least perceived lack of leadership. In my biased mind, I like to believe he was a good man beaten down by a crap ass job in a crap ass town.

I haven't read Jimmy Carter's latest book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid", but I have heard him interviewed on both NPR and Meet The Press. I came away from both with the feeling that he was right. The rhetoric was not inflammatory. Colored by my belief that President Carter is as knowledgeable about the Middle East as anyone, I took his points to heart.

It did not take long for the right wing in this country to pounce on Carter's stance as anti-Israel. Fuel to the fire was added when Carter Center fellow Ken Stein resigned his "position" at the Carter Center. Stein was the Carter Center's first Executive Director but President Carter states he has not been affiliated with the Center in 13 years.

A prominent fellow, even one who inhabits a basically emeritus position, resigning over Carter's stance is certainly newsworthy. It gave me pause. As I am wont to do when I struggle with a particular issue, I wait for the chaff to begin to clear. Rush to judgments are not in my nature.

John Sugg sweeps away some of that chaff by providing a context on Ken Stein and his possible motivations. His current position is with Emory University's Institute for the Study of Modern Israel. Alledgedly a think tank funded by staunch pro-Israeli supporters. A fact that is conveniently ignored both by the local media and right wing blogs.

But all this is sideshow, isn't it? The real question is Israel. I'm weirdly reminded of a discussion I once had with a friend about the American Civil War. He asked me if the Civil War were fought today would I take up arms to defend Georgia. I paused. He was astonished I would even hesitate. I explained that although I know Georgia would be wrong, to not defend your home would be difficult.

It is not an easy thing to criticize a people who have given so much to defend their homeland and I will not do it now. But the question is open in my mind. I will endeavor to learn more and if I find criticism is needed, it will be given. Until then, I will continue wrestling the eel.

A Withering Quote

Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein on John McCain:

A profile in courage can become a profile in unrestrained ambition," says former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein, who was one of the few G.O.P. establishment figures to support McCain's 2000 presidential campaign. "He has to remember who his friends are and not spend his integrity on one-night stands with those who will never fully trust him.

An interesting perspective from a staffer of a President who brought such "one-night stands" as the Christian Coalition into the Republican party, paid them lip service for eight years and pretty much ignored them in practicality.

Other than that, he's spot on. McCain may have gone too far in toadying to the worst elements of the right to come back to the side of light. Time will tell.

We Really Need Some Good News

And it just doesn't seem like we get any.

The Taliban is setting up a mini-state in Northern Pakistan.

Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say.

And this is exactly how they got started in Afghanistan in the early 90s. If this development isn't bad enough, please remember this region is right next door to Kashmir.

It's as if an ill wind stirs a cauldron of horror.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Funny

If a dead snake fell on me, I'd soil my britches.

The Baker Report: One More Thought

Criticism of the Iraq Study Group report is blazing from all sides. It ranges from "its too pie in the sky" to "it retreads the same old policy" to "its just face saving for a failed administration". There is some validity to all of these points. David Gergen on the other hand is one of the few persons to view the report as unabashedly positive.

To paraphrase his key statement, imagine how many lives would have been saved if a report like this had been published in 1968.

Isn't that really the bottom line?

F.U.E.L. Update

Remember my quasi-interview with one of the founders of F.U.E.L.?

Well, things are definitely moving along down near Camilla. Ground will be broken after the first of the year and the $170 million plant is not only innovative in its primary purpose.

The project did not receive any tax abatements.

Almost unheard of in this day and age of municipalities cravenly crumbling to pressure from industry to sweeten the slop in the trough or the pigs will go elsewhere. Good for F.U.E.L and good for Mitchell County.

Songs In My Head

Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Shootin!

Go get em gals!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hide The Chilluns! It's Friday!

Batons for everyone!

Bling! Bang!

Go read part one of Mara Shalhoup's story on the Black Mafia Family. NOW!

If only another local notorious publication still cared about this type of in depth reporting. Kudos to the Loaf for understanding there is still a need for good old fashioned journalism.

Presidential Rumblings In Florida

While the rest of the country seems to view Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a curiousity, an opportunity to discuss Mormonism and American's religious tolerance, he has picked up some very heavy Republican support in Florida.

Verrrrrry interesting. Remember what I said earlier. Watch Florida.

Songs In My Head


Joni Mitchell

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm In Love!

Grayson done found me not one, but TWO perfect women!

Be still my heart. I done got the vapors!

UPDATE: AH MAH GAWD! They have a theme song! Evil beta Blogger won't let me post video's any more so follow this link. I think it's destiny that I move to Utah, join one of the crazy Mormon communes and marry em both!

Jay Bookman, ISG and Me

Jay Bookman is currently holding a live Q&A session on

I submitted the following:

Jay, one recommendation that is not getting much play in the press is number 16 which requires Israel to cede the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a secure peace agreement. In a document full of hail mary’s this seems to me to the longest ball. What do you think of the chances of Israel agreeing to this recommendation?

Jay's response:

To Griftdrift: Actually, if that occurred in the context of a larger peace agreement, as the ISG report envisions, I think Israel would indeed go along with returning the Golan to Syria sovereignty, if not to Syrian military control. Israel would have to be guaranteed that the strategically critical Golan Heights would not be militarized by Syria. In the ISG report, as I recall, they put conditions on the return, such as stationing of international or even US troops in the Golan as a guarantee for Israel. It’s still a longshot, but so is every hope for peace in that region. - Jay

Which leads me to my real point. How the hell does Jim Wooten have a so called "blog" and Jay doesn't?

Press Conferences and Linda McCartney

Watching Tony Blair and President Bush speak on the same dais, I am reminded of the infamous Linda McCartney tape. You know the one. Where the board operator pulled down all the channels so you mostly heard Linda's off-key warbling on "Hey Jude".

Most giggled and so did I. But I was also struck by the fact you could still faintly hear Paul singing. It drove home the point that you don't really appreciate a good singer until they are put side by side with a bad singer.

So about Tony and George speaking side by side...

A Question For English Only Proponents

Now that a Georgia county, yes county, has made English its official language and a state legislator has proposed law to require all state documents printed only in English, I am reminded of an exchange I had years ago with a co-worker.

Co-worker: Why can't these people just learn the damned language.

griftdrift: So I take it that in the year 2080 when Hispanics become the majority you will be okay with Spanish being the official language and you being forced to learn it?

Co-worker: *silence*

Kos Is Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier enjoyed running up the score. Simply winning was never enough. He felt the need to crush his opponent until there was no doubt that his way was the right way.

In politics moving the argument to your side is generally considered a victory. It may only be by a touchdown but usually that is enough. A desire to run up the score is usually seen for what it is. Hubris amounting to nothing positive.

Kos is Steve Spurrier.

I can't stand Steve Spurrier.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Baker Report: To The Left, So What?

The reaction of the left to the ISG report is a bit baffling. Many see it as face saving for a failed administration. Many more see it as too little too late. Many just see through a prism that is found more frequently on the left these days. If it doesn't cover everything we determine is important, it's just not good enough.

A few items in the report where the left should agree.
  • Iraq is a disaster
  • The primary cause is sectarian violence, not al-Qaida
  • Current policy is not working and should be changed
  • Troops should be withdrawn
  • Resources should be redirected to Afghanistan

Given there are so many points of view advocated by the left explicity stated in this report, its a bit shocking to see it roundly denegrated.

It is true many of the findings of the report have been known for years. Some of them espoused on this very blog. Frustration that no one listens until a blue ribbon commission comes along to give blessing is understandable. But instead of pooh-poohing the politics of the situation, the left should be celebrating the fact that it was likely the continued pressure for realistic assessments that led us to this point.

It is tragic every time a soldier dies. 10 more died in Iraq today. But the fact is any tactician will tell you withdrawal in the face of enemy forces is the most dangerous maneuver. It is delicate and it is time consuming. Immediate and absolute withdrawal might prevent deaths in the present but possibly would defer those deaths to the future as one of any horrific scenarios comes to fruition in the rapid vacuum we would leave. We had our chance at rapid withdrawal years ago and for not taking that opportunity the Bush administration should be held accountable. In the present, however, its simply no longer a reasonable option.

The troops are coming home. Not as fast as some of you may like, but they are coming home.

If it takes the blessing of some "grand old men" (and one woman) to get our boys and girls home as soon as possible, so what?

The Baker Report: To The Right, So What?

As expected, much is being made in right wing circles on the ISG recommending negotiations with Syria and Iran. Convenient cherry picking is the sport of the day. While quick to point out that Iran hates our guts and Syria hates practically everything it touches, many right voices ignore the reports recommendations for serious concessions from both nations.

In order to get the Golan Heights back Syria not only has to follow a complete hands off policy towards Lebanon but must also take a pro-active role in recognition of Israel throughout the region.

Yes, Iran gets to keep its nuclear program but must submit to stringent international oversight via the U.N.

As Jim Baker has pointed out over and over again, for over 40 years we still continued to talk to the Soviet Union even as they preened on their hollow horse screaming threats of crushing the west. Even your hero Reagan did.

What else do you offer? Another flavor of the same disastrous policy you advocated? A policy which has brought us to this point?

If talking to our worst enemies is required to fix this horrific mess, so what?

The Baker Report: The Reaction

Reaction in the blogosphere is interesting.

The left doesn't like it because there's no outright criticism of Bush and no ponies.

The right doesn't like it because it suggests we talk to the evils.

Hmmmmm. Both sides hate it. Usually a hopeful sign.

Georgia Political Podcast Ep. 8

For all those interested in Georgia Politics, you should definitely take a listen.

Download the Georgia Political Podcast.

I was actually sitting in the background watching the action, swilling beer and making faces. Georgia Gang ain't got nothing on these guys.

The Baker Report: Tough Pill To Swallow

As I continue to read the report, I am continually struck by its freshness and frankness. However, on occasion I cross a section that gives pause and makes me wonder if this is possible.

Much will be made of the reports recommendation to engage Iran and Syria. So far the focus has been on Iran and eventually the pundits will pounce on the recommendation for the U.N. to continue as the point in negotiations regarding Iran's Nuclear program. Lost in the chatter may be the report's recommendation regarding the Golan Heights.

Recommendation 15 lists concessions required by Syria.
  • Adherence to U.N. resolutions regarding territory sovereign to Lebanon
  • Cooperate with investigations into political assassinations in the region
  • Cessation of aid to Hezbollah
  • Influence Hezbollah and Hamas to return Israeli prisoners
  • Cessation of undermining the elected goverment of Lebanon
  • Cessation of arms shipments through Syria to Hamas
  • Assist in influencing Hamas to recognize Israel
A difficult hill to climb, but with real diplomacy between Washington and Damascus, not impossible.

As I read Syria's required concessions, I wondered what Israel would be required to concede.

Recommendation 16:
  • In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israeli's should return the Golan Heights, with U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.
Uh oh. Here lies the item that may vex the whole deal.

In the current geo-political world, the West Bank and Gaza dominate Israeli security issues. In a traditional military sense, the Golan Heights are more important.

The Heights dominate the Galilee region of the Jordan Valley. Prior to the 1967 war, Syria used the geographical advantage to lob artillery and rockets into Israeli positions. An army that controls the Heights controls the region.

The Golan is a maze of ridges and boulder strewn hills. It provides a natural fortress for any occupying force. In the 67 war, a significant portion of the Israeli casualties occured in the bloody battles of the Golan.

It is worthy to note that in the following 40 years while the other territories acquired by Israel in the Six Day War, the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza, were all reoccupied by Arab nations, the Golan Heights have never been seriously discussed.

For the Israeli military and body politic to give up such a vital region to such a bitter enemy may be the toughest pill to swallow.

The Baker Report: Quote Of The Day

The report addresses one area of the chaos that has largely been ignored by the Western press. Criminals. Many "insurgents" are active criminal enterprises taking advantage of the lawlessness.

As one knowledgeable American official put it, "If there were foreign forces were in New Jersey, Tony Soprano would be an insurgency leader."

More evidence that we are now and for some time have been involved in a police action. The melange of enemies in Iraq have created a situation that no longer involves counter-terrorism but security. Although our combat forces are incredibly skilled, we do not use them to root out the mob. It's simply not what they are designed to do.

The Baker Report: The Whole Thing

You can download the entire report here.

Guess I will be doing a little more than watching the UEFA Champions League this afternoon.

The Baker Report: Three Main Recommendations

Lee Hamilton and James Baker on CNN state the group has three primary recommendations. (Note:These are not exact quotes but as close as I could transcribe)

1. Change in primary mission of US forces that will enable the US to move forces out of Iraq responsibly..should evolve to support of Iraqi army which would take over combat operations. U.S. combat forces could then begin to move out. All combat brigades out by first quarter 2008.

2. Prompt action by Iraqi govt to achieve milestones partifuclarly on national reconciliation..if the Iraqi government fails to make progress towards milestones, the U.S. should begin removing political, economic and military support.

3. New, enhanced diplomatic efforts in Iraq and the region..the US should work with the government of Iraq to create an international support group which should include Iran, Syria, the Gulf States, Egypt and the U.N. perm five Security Council members.

There's little here that has not already been leaked but I am struck by the reach of the recommendations and the strength of the language. Both Baker and Hamilton give the impression they are throwing a lifeline to a drowning man. The question is will Bush grab the rope?

The Baker Report: A Prediction

The full report is scheduled to be released at any time. Details are already leaking out.

Here is a sentence I predict will be latched onto by the administration and right wing outlets.

Violence is increasing in scope and lethality. It is fed by a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shiite militias, death squads, al-Qaida and widespread criminality.

Here is the sentence immediately following that I predict those entities will ignore.

Sectarian conflict is the principal challenge to stability.

Not al-Qaida. Yes, they are there. No one doubts this fact. But only the delusional believe they are the primary cause of the death spiral in Iraq. Here's hope that my prediction is wrong. But we all know it won't be.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We're Gonna Need A Tote Board

NY George Pataki is "visiting" Iowa and New Hampshire.

I've completely lost count of how many people are exploring an 08 run. Hell, there's four just from New York!

It's going to be completely insane but a lot of fun.

Revisionist History

I really hate it when jackasses start effing with history to suit a political agenda.

U.S. forces, under the United Nations flag, fought gallantly to beat back a Communist Chinese invasion of South Korea. But the U.S. stopped short of invading North Korea and accepted the standoff at the 38th parallel that still divides the two countries to this day. Acceptance of the Communist tyranny in North Korea set up the situation that exists today...

Conveniently excluded from Joseph Farah's whine is the fact that the U.S. did invade north of the 38th parallel all the way to the Yalu River. At that point about a million Chinese crossed the border pushing the U.N. forces back the 38th parallel. Stalemate not unlike WWI's western front ensued.

But in Farah's mind, if we had just tried a little harder, all would be better in the world.

It's important to remember when certain people rattle the saber and question the will of the American people they also usually ignore critical facts regarding the tactical situation. This same type of thinking poured our men and women into a desert nation without adequate re-inforcements, adequate gear and an adequate objective. Instead they were given fantasies of being greeted with roses and hosannas.

Yet, these people also have the gall to call people who question this insanity as unpatriotic.

Songs In My Head

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Sign Me Up Baby

NASA plans a moon camp.

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quote Of The Day

Doug Monroe on the demise of Buckhead.

Previously, it was a nightclub district where people could get drunk and killed.

So they are tearing down the nightclubs and putting up yet another "mixed use" development? And the rest of ITP-land sighs a quiet meh. Buckhead was lost years ago and frankly for those of who have topped 30 the loss was akin to shedding yet another layer of dead skin.

I only half kid. For years there has been a quiet war involving the city, the bars and the residents. It escalated to the point where the city Liquor Licensing Board began using it's near unfettered power to strong arm bars into behaving. Given, as Doug points out, that Buckhead had become a liquor laced O.K. Corral, the move by the city might have been warranted. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the LLB and City Council, apparently drunk with power, began using the same tactics on Virginia Highlands, Little Five Points and some notable gay bars.

The war in Buckhead bled into other entertainment districts who had no connection to the high dollar mayhem just to the north. It created a distinctly unfriendly environment for tavern owners in the city; ultimately causing some to vow to never to open another business in the city limits.

So they are going to raze Buckhead and put up a billion Bed, Bath and Beyonds? If that gets the city off the backs of the less murderously inclined venues, then selah.

P.S. Soda fountains, Doug? Dude.

Panda Caption

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Feel free to provide your own.

John Lewis Apologizes

On one of my recent sojourns in South Georgia where lack of cable or satellite compels me to turn to PBS, I watched Eyes On The Prize. It was followed by an interview with Lewis. The most compelling stories are one's own and few hold a dim candle to Lewis'.

He has always been my hero. He is one of Atlanta's great men. In a city that continually struggles to redefine itself, he is a treasure that remains constant.

But he is still a man. And he made a mistake. And he is now making amends.

Time to move on to better things.

h/t: Doug

More Blogrolling

New local adds.

Peach Pulpit
Loren Collins
West End Thespian

New GBU.

Off The Grid

Good stuff. Check em out.

A True Border War

The inner workings of lobbying firms is not really my cup of tea, but the St. Pete Times has a this fairly fascinating article on the civil war which ripped apart one of the most powerful lobbying firms in Georgia and Florida.

Florida lobbying powerhouse Southern Strategy Group filed suit recently against its former lobbying partners in Georgia, accusing them of stealing a client list worth $600,000 a year in fees and seeking more than $50-million in damages.

Money, politics and unfettered hubris. So who inhabits a lower circle of hell? Insurance agents or lobbyists?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What A Bunch Of Crap

Florida whines its way into the BCS Championship game.

Playoffs now.

UPDATE: There is still hope that evil does not rule the entire world. The demon reptiles lost in Tallahassee tonight.

I have one thought on this result.


It's Wide Open, Baby!

As many political hacks and weirdos tend to do these days, I've been wool-gathering on potential candidates in 2008. It's a question I'm asked frequently. Who do you think will run and who do you think can win?

These ponderings led me to an improbable tangential question.

Can you name the last election where neither and incumbent nor a Vice President ran?

It was 1928. Hoover vs. Al Smith.

It probably means nothing but it's just another thing in this upcoming cycle that's damned odd.

Songs In My Head


Gina Villalobos

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Stupids

No more politics today. Only stupids.

Quote Of The Week

Cue The Sopranos theme song.

"The Park is an oasis. It's a great place for jogging. We just need to figure out how to keep people from dumping bodies in it." ~Essex County, N.J. Sheriff Armando Fontoura in Newsweek.

Songs In My Head

When You Come Back Down

Nickel Creek

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pimping The Podcamp

When the dogwoods bloom and the metrobillies shed their overalls some will grab their digital recorders and descend on the campus of Emory University.

Fair warning. Certain drunk rednecks are known to inhabit the nearby streets swilling beer and boiling peanuts.

You can learn more at the Podcamp Atlanta Wiki. More details as we approach the spring. Stay tuned.

The Ignorance of Sean Hannity

Back in the 1800s did Sean Hannity's family corner the market on certain varieties of roughage? It's the only reason I can find for his ongoing wastrel ways building so many men of straw.

Would you allow them to choose Mein Kampf? The Nazi bible? Where does it stop? ~Video at Crooks and Liars

The contempt Sean Hannity holds for the American people has never been more obvious. The Nazi "bible"? He actually compares the ravings of a meglomaniacal mass murderer to the holiest book in Christianity? And certain Christians actually think this loon is on their side? It astounds.

But Hannity's contempt does not end with ignorance of history and comparitive religion. He thinks you are just downright stupid.

It's a common tactic of blathering radio hosts to toss out an outrageous statement and pretend that it happens in some sort of vacuum world with no consequences.

Let's imagine that a politician does whip out Hitler's little paper crap fest to take his oath. One of two things must have happened. Either the politician was elected by the first majority skinhead district in the history of the U.S. or he deceived the voters on his beliefs. If it's the first, we would all be disgusted but is there really that much we could do? If it's the second, is there any doubt the politician's constituents would have a little something to say about it? The old term "ride out of town on a rail" comes to mind.

Not in Hannity's world however. In Hannity's world, deceptive politicians who rub consitituents noses in the dirt simply laugh their way down the halls of power while back home cow eyed voters drool and mutter.

It's worth remembering the next time you hear an acquaintance reconstructing one of Hannity's houses of straw. Remind them what the so called "great American" really thinks about the good men and women of this land.