Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Back South

More business to deal with down on the farm. Don't trash the place in my absence.

Water From The Stone

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. ~Proverbs 10:11

28, 26, 25, 24.

These are numbers that have haunted me for the past day. Normally, the only numbers I count are the ones I discuss with my favorite degenerate gambler friend on Thursday night as we wait, like two dogs slobbering over a bone, for the kickoff of the first college game. Do you take the over on the game and sweat through the first quarter when both offenses look like feeble junior varsity teams, do you dare call at half time to take the teaser second half line or do you just throw all you money at the nearest stumbling drunk and scream at him to call out random keno numbers?

At least football makes some sense. Unlike politics.

Politics is a loser. It will suck you in, drag you along and then crush you like the strange twisted ways of an 8th grade bra clasp. The man who tells you he knows the ways of politics is the worst kind of charlatan. He should not only be ridden out on of town on a rail but should also be shaved bare and left naked at the edge of a bee farm.

But bets have to be made and numbers have to be called. And only those who cannot resist the tug are awake when decent people are asleep, mumbling incoherently about the spread that they should have seen and the junk of the hard facts intruding on the voodoo behind their picks.

The worst bastard in the world is the one who crows at the bar about how he called the sure lock of the century while poor hopheads who spent their last rent check on some horrible deceit like South Florida start chewing at the brass bar fittings.

Politics. God help us all. At least the bookies win on the games. Hell, nobody wins at this awful thing that is politics. We chew around the edges hoping to nibble off just enough to sustain the vig.

The only safe bet is football. At least on those treacherous fields, the only ones who get hurt are the next generation. Lord knows, you read the bones wrong on this thing called politics and we might all be awash in gap-toothed carnies until the wheel circles again and bathes us all in the fires of Megiddo.

Songs In My Head

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Is Goin' On: Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center

They discuss how water affects the entire state, even those strange places far to the south of Atlanta and its beleaguered lake.

Go give it a listen.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Am The God Of Hellfire!

Apparently, some think a few glib remarks by moi could cause despair and destruction to the entire Democratic Party of Georgia.

Oh, if only it were so.

For the record, what I said about certain Democrats remaining on the sideline was opinion not fact. In came from the terribly greedy part of my soul which whispers "if you were in the same position given the circumstances, getting the hell out and taking care of numero uno would certainly be priority number one".

But that's just me. And I speak for no one but myself.

Now, back to my lair, where I will plan my next earth-shattering, paradigm shifting, swoon inducing, fainting couch inspiring utterance.

UPDATE: And another thing. It may not be an "informed opinion" but in my experience when politcians hang 'em up for good, in many cases it is because they are tired of the sludge wars and want to move on to something a little more rewarding.

And you know my opinion, informed or uninformed, you decide, of that? Good for them!

Georgia Politics Podcast Episode 14

After a few months, the gang is back together.

Check out the latest Georgia Politics Podcast, live on tape, actually digital, from Manuel's Tavern.

We discuss the drought, Genarlow, Presidential politics and the sad state of affairs on the Democratic side of the upcoming Senate race.

CORRECTION: In the podcast, I said Wilson's sentene was vacated and I've now been informed that is incorrect. Mea culpa. Lawyer stuff is confusing.

CORRECTION II: Now I'm told I was right sort of. Vacated was the wrong term but the sentence was set aside. Lawyers. Bottom line, dude's free as he should be.

Go Fish

Remember that whole fishing tourney economic development thingie?
Two “Go Fish” tournaments on Lake Lanier were canceled last week due to a lack of water

That just about says it all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

But not for the reason you might think.

First, let me say the "Gang" showed remarkable restraint on the Genarlow Wilson decision. Even ardent conservative Phil Kent couched it as a philosophical question of one governmental branch versus the other. Nary one use of the "liberal" or "activist" slurs.

But wait, friend. It gets much, much stranger.
Phil Kent: I've come to the conclusion that we are going to have to start limiting some of this growth...and I'm not so sure if we were all county commissioners we'd want to put some building moratoriums on.

That sound you heard is pigs falling from the sky as their wings failed them.

Did someone put something in Kent's coffee?


It would be easy to say ignorance abounds, but that would be laying the light switch on the peckerwoods when they deserve the full strop.

Shall we begin with Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson?

He, who when responding to a CNN inquiry regarding Genarlow Wilson's acquittal on a particular charge responded, "it was rape in my mind".

When legislation was presented to take fair unanimous correction in a heinously unjust law back through the throes of time to include the very soul who inspired such urgency for reformation, how did Senator Johnson respond?

With a tut-tut, he queried, how could the legistature in good conscience rewrite law to undo the good faith process of the judiciary? Had not the judiciary spoken in the matter of Genarlow Wilson?

Senator Johnson repeatedly asked us, the good people of Georgia, to trust the judicial process, for it was that holy institution which had convicted Genarlow Wilson and who were we, the people and the representatives of the people, to second guess the will of the Wilson jury in their wisdom?

But apparently the will of the judicial system only matters when it is convenient.

Following yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia that Wilson's sentence constituted "cruel and unusual punishment", Senator Johnson issued the following statement.

By a single vote, the Supreme Court has opened the door for the release of hundreds of sexual predators. But equally disturbing is the fact that this activist court is once again clearly defying legislative intent. This case has never really been about Genarlow Wilson. It has been about the rule of law. The General Assembly did change the law related to minors having oral sex, but it expressly declined to make this law retroactive to those sentenced under previous laws. By ignoring this part of the legislature's wishes, this court has deliberately chosen to disregard the General Assembly's Constitutional authority. This is troubling to me and it should be to all Georgians.

What should be troubling to all Georgians is the the second most powerful man in the Senate implored us to ignore the sentence of a jury because we should trust what is "rape in his mind", then told us we should not change the law because we should trust the decision of the jury but when mule finally comes home to kick now tells us we shouldn't trust "activist judges" who seek to rewrite the "good" law so heavily weighed by our trustworthy legislators.

It is so terribly hard to keep count on who we should trust.

But here is an easy score to mark. When the Genarlow Wilson decision came down, on that clear day of justice and rectitude, certain leaders in the Republican Party and their personal harpies in the media chose not quiet restraint but instead opted for fakery and obfuscation.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Life Renewed

A long, tortuous jouney reaches completion. Genarlow Wilson is a free man.

This morning the Georgia Supreme court ruled Wilson's sentence invalid under the Constitution of Georgia's "cruel and unusual" clause - bringing to a conclusion the four year odyssey which Georgians may wish to forget. However, a young man sacrificed nearly four years of his life and for this fact alone there are many things we should never forget.

It should have ended with the legislature. Seeing the insanity of the previous law, in the spring of 2005, that esteemed body moved quickly to adjust the law which snared Wilson. But as law making bodies can be wont to do, the leaders of Georgia only completed half the task. They did not include a retroactive clause to seek justice for Genarlow Wilson. The residents of the Hill must not forget that they are elected by the people to complete all the work before them. Not simply what is convenient.

It should also be remembered the task of the legislature was made more difficult by a lack of leadership from those in charge. Instead of quiet leadership to correct a grievous error, some chose the moment to grandstand and spray scurrilous tales to inflame the passions of the 'good people' of Georgia. With these acts, these leaders dishonored themselves and dishonored their duty. They must not forget when the oath of office is taken, it is a reflection of the three words on the Great Seal of Georgia; Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.

And lest we forget the original act, the young people of this state should remember that all actions have consquences. At times, as in Genarlow Wilson's case, the consequences do not reflect the circumstance but consquences will be applied nonetheless. Foolish acts bring repercussions. A few moments of immaturity and recklessness can ruin a life. No one should have to suffer as Wilson did but neither should anyone enter into circumstances where the possible outcome is tragic.

Unlike Genarlow, many are never saved. Many never have a chance for a life renewed.

To read the many strange twists of the Genarlow Wilson tale, please go here.

Georgia Blog Carnival

The Carnival is in town! Go visit Rusty's place to enjoy the best of the Georgia blogosphere.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crist On The Water Wars

Another dispatch from Florida. This time in the form of a letter to President Bush from ridiculously popular Republican Governor Charlie Crist.

Reacting to the concerns of an upstream State to suspend environmental laws unilaterally at the expense of a downstream State’s ecology and economy cannot be justified in any circumstance.

Political Insider has the full letter.

It seems that Governor Perdue is intent on channeling the ghost of ancient firebrand Joe Brown to show a willingness to antagonize even his own borders in a fruitless bluster.

At least we can thank the stars Governors these days choose to fire off written missives instead of mustering the state militias for action.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Grady Roundup

Since the strange tale of Dr. James Murtagh, the fires of the Grady crisis have somewhat cooled. It is as if the city, region and state took a collective deep breath before the struggle which is sure to commence in January.

This does not mean activity has not been floating around just under the public's radar. Here are some items of interest.

Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth), who has played a critical role in tempering the rift between state and local, takes the AJC to task for two recent editorials criticizing State officials who are asking for accountability before providing funding.

But it is ridiculous for him to suggest that contract and culture reform are “sideshows” to Grady’s “revivial.” They are central to saving the hospital. Just like you cannot fix a leaky bucket by refilling it with water, you cannot save Grady with money alone. It takes governance, contract and culture reform, and those cannot “wait.”
Sen. Shafer also provides an explanation of DSH or "DiSH" and how it is possibly hindering Grady.

Yes, Grady has been hurt by the redirection of DSH funds. But as I told James Salzer of the AJC, Grady’s problems are bigger than this one program, and those problems cannot be solved with money alone. Saving Grady will require a combination of governance, contract and culture reform, and all three must be vigorously pursued.
Meanwhile, one of the current participants in Grady funding Dekalb County has its own politician wading into the fray. Republican commissioner Elaine Boyer has presented a rather strongly worded resolution regarding the relationship between Grady and the largest employer in Dekalb County, Emory Hospital.

1. Emory would forebear inadequately documented bills, eliminating debt from Grady’s balance sheet and giving the troubled hospital much needed breathing room.

2. Grady and Emory would implement audit recommendations requiring full documentation of all future bills. Grady’s auditors say that new documentation procedures would not only help Grady financially but improve the quality of patient care. Full documentation would also end the discriminatory treatment of Morehouse which is inexplicably required to provide six times as much documentaion for its doctors than Emory.

3. Emory would assume liability for its own malpractice. Not only would this save Grady millions of dollars each year defending and settling lawsuits against Emory employees, it would bring the Emory-Grady contract in line with best practices and likely improve the quality
of patient care.

4. A new Emory-Grady contract would be negotiated recognizing Grady’s in-kind value to Emory as both a tool to attract tuition-paying students and a source of patient and research revenue.

Positions are being taken. Maneuvering is being done. All agree the a solution has to be met. The only questions remaining are will the chicken (funding) or the egg (reform) come first and of course, the all important, who will get the credit. Stay tuned.

Water Tour Continues

Sitting in central Florida with the rain steadly pouring from above, one suddenly feels akin to the primitive humans who looked to the heavens and silently wondered, how the hell does this happen?

To travel from a land so parched to one so lush in just a few days reminds of one truth. Weather has a mind of its own.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Water Wars

Not 100 feet into the Moultrie City limits, a local radio talk show host was heard to say the following.
"Get ready for the water wars, folks. And Atlanta is the enemy."

It's a story as old as reckoning and I have a feeling it's about to get worse.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday Stupids

Almost Halloween. Ooooooo scary.

Friday, October 19, 2007

No Worries South Georgia

House Speaker Glenn Richardson says despite the fact we are drinking dirt in North Georgia, my South Georgia farm has nothing to worry about.
South Georgia has nothing to worry about when it comes to North Georgia’s search for water, said Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson.

As with anything coming out of Speaker Richardson's mouth, my first impression is to wait and see.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Way Things Work

Pardon my meta. Don't like it? I don't give a damn. Go somewhere else. There's a few things that need to be cleared up around these parts and I am about to do the clearing.

Let's be perfectly clear about one thing. I am not a journalist. There are many fine people trained in that profession and you will see me frequently refer to their work. They live by certain codes and certain rules. These codes and ethics protect them and at the same time protect those with whom they interact.

I am bound by none of these.

But, I still follow my own code to the best of my ability. Still, I have people who have never so much been in the same room as me question my ethics. I have those who are in the profession look down on me because of the medium I use. I have genuinely good people question why I am at a certain event when it's not a "blogger" thing. The thought that I might be after a story, just like them, never enters their thoughts.

But still I follow certain rules. Not because I am afraid of libel. Not because my corporate overlords require it. I follow them because it is the way I am.

Unlike many bloggers, I do not report rumors. I do not throw every piece of crap I receive against the wall to see what sticks. Oh, how easy it would be to just publish every salacious tidbit and never worry about the consequences.

If I am working on an original piece and someone tells me something on background that is where it stays. It is used as a lead to pursue a story and it is used to confirm things on the record. It is sacrosanct.

If it is on the record, it's fair game.

If I witness it myself, it's fair game.

That's the black and white part of the dance we dance.

Now here is the ugly part. Where the sausage is made.

We all use each other. Political groups use the media, and I mean all media, to get their story out. Media use their connections within political groups to get the real story. It's a relationship of mutual use for the benefit of both. It is tacitly acknowledged and as long as both sides feel the use is fair and is not misuse everyone remains happy and the game continues as it has for centuries.

The problem comes when one side feels the chafe of the use. It happens if a media outlet burns a source. There's a reason reporters go to jail when a judge orders them to reveal a source. It also happens the other way. Like when a campaign uses a a media outlet to beat the drum, to stir up certain passions, to manuever the story without the reciprocity of the opportunity to get the full story.

So there's a new rule I am going to follow more strictly and there are three words certain people in the game need to learn quickly.

Off the record.

In the past, knowing it could lead to future useful information, I've assumed many casual conversations to be off the record. It's just another part of the game. Even when someone tells you something you could report because they have not said it is off the record, you don't. Because the cold, hard fact is if you report that tidbit, a larger story down the road never happens because that source dries up.

But if you break the rules, the game changes. If a media outlet feels used, some of the casual assumptions may just be thrown out the window. You feel a lot less guilt about burning someone if they've held the torch to you first.

So, from now on, the record is the record. And if it's off the record, you damned well better say it.

And if this keeps me from being invited to certain soirees. So be it. I'll just have to work a little harder. I've been too damned lazy anyway.

Speaking Of Shellfish

Scientists may have found evidence of the first oyster dinner, pushing the notion of "culture" a few thousand years earlier than previously thought.

Josh Lanier

A little over 30 years ago I was in the third grade.

I'd never heard of Hunter S. Thompson but I did know Jimmy Carter.

After LBJ "lost the South for a generation" to have a relatively unknown one term governor from Georgia win the Presidency seemed inconceivable. But it happened.

Two years, earlier, Carter, at the time the Governor of Georgia, gave an address on Law Day at the University of Georgia.

When I was about 12 years old, I liked to read, and I had a school principal, named Miss Julia Coleman, Judge Marshall knows her. She forced me pretty much to read, read, read, classical books. She would give me a gold star when I read 10 and a silver star when I read 5.

One day, she called me in and she said, "Jimmy, I think it's time for you to read 'War and Peace.'" I was completely relieved because I thought it was a book about cowboys and Indians. Well, I went to the library and
checked it out, and it was 1,415 pages thick, I think, written by Tolstoy, as you know, about Napoleon's entry into Russia in the 1812-15 era. He had never been defeated, and he was sure he could win, but he underestimated the severity of the Russian winter and the peasants' love for their land.

To make a long story short, the next spring he retreated in defeat. The course of history was changed; it probably affected our own lives.

The point of the book is, and what Tolstoy points out in the epilogue is, that he didn't write the book about Napoleon or the Czar of Russia or even the generals, except in a rare occasion. He wrote it about the students and the housewives and the barbers and the farmers and the privates in the army. And the point of the book is that the course of human events, even the greatest historical events, are not determined by the leaders of a nation or a state, like Presidents or governors or senators. They are controlled by the combined wisdom and courage and commitment and discernment and unselfishness and compassion and love and idealism of the common ordinary people.

If that was true in the case of Russia where they had a czar or France where they had an emperor, how much more true is it in our own case where the Constitution charges us with a direct responsibility for determining what our government is and ought to be.

I will tell you this. I've shook the hands of men who have mended my fence. I've shook the hand of the man who tossed five 50 pound bags of 15-15-15 in the back of my truck. I've shook the hands of men who sign notes to save farms in the morning and go to help gather hay in the afternoon. I have shook the hands of men who have never seen a hard day of labor.

I've never shook Josh Lanier's hand but I have talked to the man. I can't tell you most of what passed because it was personal. I can't tell you because in some places that still matters.

We will see what comes next, but maybe it's time to pay attention to the things that still matter.

Songs In My Head

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Waters Woes

Way down upon the Appalachicola, river that is, not seaside hamlet, there sits three species of endangered freshwater mussels. If you listen only to right wing outlets, you would believe the demon spawn Army Corps of Engineers are intent on making our current drought worse by continued release of water to save these cuddly molluscs. Well, they're are right. At least as Obi-wan Kenobi once said, from a certain perspective.

Here are the perspectives they are leaving out. Without a certain level of fresh water flow into the Gulf, the oysters of the Apalachee Bay also die. The difference between these molluscs and their freshwater cousins is the salt water branch of the family creates a $1 billion dollar industry for Florida's panhandle region.

But even if we stop the flow of water and let all the little Floridian slime balls die (for the moment, we'll ignore the interstate commerce lawsuit we will surely lose) where does that leave us? Solves the problem right? Not quite. Most estimates say that without some drastic action to address the water problem, the continued astronomical growth of the Atlanta region will exhaust the available supply within the next 50 years. Some say as low as 30 years.

But it will always be easier to pick on a few worthless shellfish than to pick on multi-million dollar development projects even if they pour endless streams of goop into our drinking water.

So in this case, the liberals must have it right! Not quite.

Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson are currently attempting to pass an exception to the Endangered Species Act in order to force the Army Corps of Engineers to stop saving above said shellfish.

There are some who would use our moment of crisis to advocate the destruction of the act. Here's the problem with that position. Yes, at first glance a freshwater mussel might appear to be useless but not so much if one considers how biospheres work. Maybe that mussel is the primary food of a certain heron. And maybe that heron is a food source of a certain species of fox. And maybe that fox is also responsible for keeping the squirrel population at a manageable level. And maybe those squirrels have the potential to carry bubonic-plague laced fleas.

It's a lot of maybes but that's the way things work in nature. Species do not operate in isolation. The elimination of one might provide short term relief but trip the domino effect which leads to devastation for our grandchildren. We should never view extinctions in such small slivers of perspective. With nature, one must always take the long view.

However the other side of the biological equation is things die. And many times there is nothing we can do about it. In fact, many times things should die. After all, how did we get here? Certain niches opened in the ecosystem and mammals rose to prominence. If not, dinosaur-men might be filling technorati with new blogs and we mice-men might be scurrying somewhere underground looking for worms.

It cannot be ignored that approiximately 10,000 years ago, our ancestors eliminated 99% of the mega-fauna in North America, probably causing temporary paroxyms in the biosphere, yet we not only survived, we flourished.

We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to save things. It is literally part of our nature. There is compelling evidence that our need to preserve caused our ancient mothers to stop cavalierly dropping babies on the plains of Africa to wander away towards the next shiny object while the next generation wailed in abandonment. This new instinct led to families, tribes and eventually civilization as we know it.

However, the cruel side of the evolutionary equation is an advantage can soon turn to a disadvantage. Self-sacrifice got us here and it could take us out. Most species eventually fail and probably should. Yet, we continue to try to save every last one. We just don't like to watch things die. One day, mother nature might turn the joke around on us and decide we've reached our own twilight.

This is not to say we should worry about a sudden attack of the sea turtles, but it is to say there are times where we should understand we are masters of our niche and that niche needs to be defended. A good time to bow up and get a little protective of our turf might be when our water sources are turning to mud. Even if it's our own fault.

It's enough to make the water deprived head spin. We cannot save the mussels without hurting ourselves. We also can't solve our problems by killing the poor, helpless, immobile blobs of goo. We certainly cannot return to eating nuts and berries in mud huts. But neither can we afford to believe throwing up a million more condos on the 'Hooch has no greater consequence.

These are complicated times and many are offering simple salves. And although mother's kiss certainly helps a boo-boo, it still needs bactine and band-aids. And the most severe water crisis of our generation needs solutions; comprehensive solutions which address every part of the hurt. Not just those that are politically convenient for our own political niche.

Monday, October 15, 2007

George Will On The Gore Win

George Will agrees with me. Sort of. Some of his explanations are simplistic and subject to debate, however, his general thesis that the scientist do the work and Gore draws the attention to that work is correct. It just seems to stick in some people's craw to give Gore credit for creating such a monstrous rise in awareness.

More evidence that the debate has moved beyond is it happening to what will be the effect?

H/T: The Moderate Voice

New Blog

It's no big secret I'm a history buff.

Over the weekend, I found a great new blog about The Wren's Nest, the home of Joel Chandler Harris. I've also added it to the Georgia feeds over to the right so you can check it out daily.

Atlanta neighborhoods are littered with historical treasures and it's always good to find a new source of information. If there are others out there, let me know.

Hillary In Atlanta

Sen. Clinton whirlwinded through Atlanta Friday taking a few moments to visit Paschals and receive a critical endorsement from 5th District Representative and living legend John Lewis.

Watch Grayson's video of the event above.

Also, you can listen to Democrat and Blog For Democracy contributor Melanie Goux's enthusiatic recap on the Democratic podcast of Kudzu Vine.

Overrated But Moderate

JimV thinks I'm overrated but moderate. Well, given some of the things I've been called, I'll take overrated as a midway compliment. However, I'm right proud of being called a moderate. I feel like half the time I'm trying to explain to one side I'm not a liberal egg head and to the other side I'm not a heartless free market absolutist.

But more importantly, Jim unravels the mystery behind the now infamous British case on Al Gore's little climate change movie. It seems the plaintiff is something called the New Party. They are the very definition of fringe and also, unlike me, are proudly free market absolutist. So take that little bit of context into your next climate change knife fight.

As far as my response to the meme floating around, let me provide a little of my own context. Hey, I may be overrated but at least I let my readers reply directly.

When I saw the British Court meme repeated at Jason's place, I knew it for what it was. I've seen it a million times before. Kent Hovind is a creationist and he is also, even in creationist's circles, a joke. His method is to throw as many talking points at a person in as short a time as possible creating a situation where it is impossible to respond. His crap against the wall lists are filled with items which are patently false or given so little context they might as well be false. Sound familiar?

This exact tactic is what I mean by the Kent Hovind effect.

The problem with Gore's little film and what can make it dangerous is what I call slide show science. As I've said before, in these crusades you must be pure as the driven snow. The lunatics, aka the Hovinds, will pick the slightest nit and attempt to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Gore puts on a great show and the science is there, but even the slightest misstep, like the Katrina argument, gives trolls like these New Party people a potential AHA! moment and allows them to use this "evidence" to influence those not so well versed in the arguments.

Bottom line, I like Gore's film and I recognize its great service in broadening awareness of climate change. However, it ain't science. The science in it is pretty good but it still ain't science. Watch An Inconvenient Truth at home with your family and follow it up with a good discussion. In the classroom, we would be better served by leaving out the slick presentations and sticking with the real meat and potatoes of climate study.

Like maybe the work of the people with whom Gore shared the prize. You know, the actual scientists at the IPCC. Strangely, they are hardly ever mentioned in these little hit pieces.

UPDATE: Jason has his own response to Mr. V's little rant.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

A new feature.

Dick Williams: One of the Democrats problem nationally is their hard core left wing...[discussion of the primary challenges of Jim Marshall]...It's a problem in the Democratic party.

Phil Kent: It shows how crazy and extreme that left wing is.

This in the same week the biggest story in national politics is James Dobson and his band of crazies threatening to go all Ralph Nader and cost the Republican Party a presidency.

But only the crazy, communist, hippie Democrats are beholden to extremists.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Stupids

Could get ugly

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Crippler

No DSL. So I'm going to take the day off and wander around. Tonight, I will be attending Barcamp. Like Rusty, I didn't really know what I was getting into when I signed up. But by the looks of it a geekfest is in store. I left the software industry 18 months ago and I'm not too excited about dipping my toe in that pool. I hope I haven't wasted one of Jeff's spots.

But before I leave you for the day, an abbreviated My Morning Wooten.

Jim? About your opinion that anyone who doesn't toe your John Wayne fantasyland version of patriotism is a worthless "leftist"?

Just two words.

Screw you.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Morning Wooten

Somedays, they almost write themself.
A Bill Clinton appointee to the federal court bench in San Franscisco, Charles Breyer, who happens to be the brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, has blocked the Bush Administration from requiring employers to clear up or discharge employees with questionable Social Security numbers.

Money is not the root of all evil. Bill Clinton is. It is always Bill Clinton's fault. Always.

The injunction by Breyer prevents an administration program from giving U.S. employers 90 days to clear up the legal status of employees with questionable social security numbers. According to the suit, the plan would have involved 140,000 U.S. workers.

The low end estimate of illegal workers in this country is 12 million. For you math whizzes out there, if every single one of those notices nets an unauthorized employee, we would nab 11% of the problem. That's quite a success rate.

But Jim may argue the numbers don't matter. It's the symbolism which is important. But even if you can accept this point of view, you are still missing the bottom line.

"Conservatives" who on the one hand argue government is so incompetent it cannot handle education, health care and any number of other services, completely and utterly trust the same government to tap our phones, detain the correct people without habeas access and use what amounts as a national identity database to force private industry to fire U.S. workers.

Consistency is not a strong suit. Then again. It is politics.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

They're Baaaaaaaack!

In case, you forgot their last visit. A reminder.

Strange True Tales

Joeff Davis' impression of a local blogger. Creepilicious!

Creative Loafing photographer Joeff Davis will shortly exhibit his work at Composition Gallery in Candler Park. The opening reception is this Saturday at 7:00pm.

Joeff is a talented artist and a hoot to talk to once you get him going. Stop by and check it out.

Maybe He Was In Vegas?

If you aren't subscribed, you are missing the height of weird. The Lakeland Ledger, a Florida paper, for reasons unknown to yours truly, publish some of the weirdest stories off the AP wire. Many have absolutely nothing to do with Florida. Like this one.
The mayor of [Atlantic City] has resigned after being missing from office for two weeks, his lawyer said today.

Maybe he was in Vegas? But really, I want to know. Why the hell was this in a central Florida newspaper?

Dear Abby?

American Icon "Dear Abby" has come out in support of gay marriage.
I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em

Via Political Insider

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Grady Update

Friday, I reported on a group of legislators including Sen. David Shafer who had filed a motion to unseal the records in the case of Murtagh vs. Fulton Dekalb Hospital Authority.

That afternoon, much to my surprise, I received an email that State Court Judge Wendy Shoob had moved very quickly and granted the motion.

Today, as the dust begins to settle from this lastest round of sparring, at least one side's view of the shenanigans involving the Murtagh case and the seal have emerged. Senator Shafer explains:

Everyone knows that Grady has problems. How can the trustees be expected to solve them if doctors or former doctors of the hospital can be jailed for talking with them? Who exactly is ”Grady” if not the trustees appointed to run it? Why on earth would “Grady” enter into a settlement that makes it a jailable offense for a doctor or former doctor to communicate with its trustees — without the trustees apparently even knowing about it? And why, with all of its problems, would
“Grady” be spending legal fees trying to jail a former doctor for allegedly talking to one of its own trustees?
I've always maintained the solution to the Grady crisis involves both money and restructuring. It's just a question of in what order. I still believe this is the case. However, with each new discovery, it becomes more apparent, the onion of mismanagement has to be peeled first. This is not the state being paternalistic, overbearing or unreasonable. It is simply good stewardship. The ball is now in Grady's court to show otherwise.

My Morning Wooten: Pigs Fly Edition

I actually agree with practically everything Jim writes this morning. Well, I would like to discuss the school choice section a little but I'm at least willing to listen to the arguments.

I feel faint. Someone please tell me why I'm wrong.

Vanishing Georgia

While conducting some research, I ran across this most excellent website.

It's a digital collection of over 18,000 images from the State Archives.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday Stupids

Deliverance style

Friday, October 05, 2007

Grady Advisory Panel Named

From the ABC:

Pete Correll, chairman emeritus of Georgia-Pacific Corp.

Michael B. Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell & Co
Tom Bell, chairman, president and CEO of Cousins Properties Inc.
The Rev. Dr. William E. Flippin, senior pastor of Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church.
Carolyn Jernigan Glenn, publisher of The Champion newspaper.
Josh Belinfante, deputy executive counsel for Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Lisa M. Hamilton, president of the United Parcel Service Foundation.
The Rev. Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, pastor emeritus of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The Rev. Darrell D. Elligan, with the Concerned Black Clergy.
The Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery.
The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
Unnamed designees from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, and The Coca-Cola Foundation

Make of it what you will.

Burma Vigil In Decatur

From the tipline, there will be a vigil for the oppressed in Burma tomorrow morning on the Decatur Square. Details to follow shortly.

Update: Details via CL.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., there will be a vigil in downtown Decatur to express public support for the brave Burmese men and women risking their lives to bring democracy to their country.

The vigil takes place at the intersection of Clairemont and East Ponce de Leon avenues. Members of Atlanta’s Burmese refugee community will be among the participants

Democratic Playbook: Healthcare

An occasional series by one guy who thinks he might know how the Democrats can win back Georgia.

Much hoo-hah lately over the President's veto of S-CHIP funding. Especially here in Georgia where conservative Democrat Jim Marshall voted against funding and looks like he will not switch to override the veto.

Short and sweet entry in the playbook.

If you want to convince a fiscal conservative the government should be involved in providing healthcare, do not talk to me about it being any sort of right. Talk to me about how we already have government healthcare, but do it badly, i.e. using emergency rooms as primary providers, but there is a way to make it work. I might put ideology aside and begin listening.

The Face Of Non-Violence

I ruffled the feathers of a few friends with my defense of University of Florida security in their dealings with one young Andrew Meyer.

Events in the world now allow me to explain what may have seemed like an overly passionate response.

It all started with a comment by a single person about how horribly this "non-violent" protestor was treated. At that point, the die was cast. Anger replaced reason.

When I think of non-violent protests, I think of the horror of endless lines of Indians marching forward into a line of British soldiers, fully aware the only result would be the end of a rifle butt. I also think of John Lewis, long ago on that bridge in Alabama, with a baton smashed into is forehead. I now also will think of calm, shorn, holy women marching out of their refuges of peace towards certain death.

In the last week, Buddhist nuns, who in Burma are called Keepers of Virtue, amongst other honored titles, shyly left their shelters and joined with Buddhist monks to protest Senior General Than Schwe’s policies that have purposely bankrupted Burma so he could float in diamonds and rubies while the people drowned in poverty...My correspondent relays that there is nary a nun to be seen anywhere. The fears are high that something very bad has taken place and is being hidden by Than Schwe.
To walk towards death. Surely it requires a reserve of will which few ever tap.

To in any way, in any manner, compare these actions to the antics of an attention seeking jackass who was able to sleep in his own bed less than 24 hours later is an insult so great, it simply will not abide.

Will not abide.

There are still some things that matter in this world.

Legal Question Of The Day

Erick at Peach Pundit passed along a report from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that six Georgia legislators have filed a motion to remove the seal in the case of James J. Murtagh vs. The Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority etal.

I can confirm the pols involved because I was fortunate enough to see the motion about the same time it was filed yesterday.

I know there are several lawyers who peruse these parts so let's get some opinions flowing. Unofficial of course. Those with conflicts of interest feel free to step out of the room for a moment.

A quick summary.

Murtagh was a physician / professor employed by Emory University who worked at Grady Hospital.

He sued after receiving a poor peer review claiming retribution for pointing out potential malfeasance in the Emory / Grady agreement. In the end, the parties settled and agreed to have the case sealed.

Enter, the current Grady fiscal crisis brouhaha.

The position of the legislators is since public funds were possibly involved, such a case by statute cannot be sealed and even if it could be sealed, there is a compelling interest to get to the bottom of the allegations of corruption.

Although I haven't seen the response yet, I imagine the hospital and an army of attorney's response will be a seal is a seal and if we start piercing them willy nilly Lord know what will be next. Like, maybe some salacious previously sealed settlements involving high-profile politicians.

Whew boy, do we have the possibility of a particularly vile witches brew.


What Is Goin' On: Casey Cagle Interview

Listen to a fascinating interview with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle on What Is Goin' On.

Lt. Governor Cagle addresses the state water plan (possibly the most important issue you've never heard about) and the Glenn Tax (you know that little thing everyone is talking about).

I'm going to spend some time researching Cagle's numbers on the amount of water the state receives. Never heard these before and I'm curious. You know the old saying about statistics.

My Morning Wooten

It's a full day today, children. So I hope you've had your Cheerios.
Libertarians and some conservatives worry about the potential for Big Brother snooping with national photo IDs and with allowing intelligence agencies to intercept calls into this country from suspected terrorists abroad. My Big Brother fear is the Neighborhood Water-Watch Gestapo mobilized during droughts to track down and punish offenders for some minor perceived rule-breaking offense. Get a life.
Okay. Let's see here. A ticket for being a jackass and not following reasonable restrictions in the middle of a drought vs. ripping up the U.S. Constitution like its just so many sheaves of toilet paper. I know which side I'm on. You pick which is the "conservative" position.
Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins offers just the right touch on the drought hysteria sweeping metro Atlanta. “Many of you have called or e-mailed about the new water restrictions,” she wrote constituents. So they don’t try to rat out neighbors for something that’s not a violation, she presented the rules. And added: “If you still feel the need to tattletale on your neighbor, you may call the City of Atlanta Water Department [which provides Sandy Springs water] and wait on hold for 10 minutes to report a violation. You can expect the City of Atlanta Water to promptly do nothing about your complaint. If you do actually get someone on the line, could you please have them fix the water gusher that has been coming out of the ground at Wycombe and Drummen for 2 weeks.” Later she told me: “We would have water in Lake Lanier if they just fixed the gushers in Sandy Springs.”
I really want to write something deep about the complexity of water rights and the effect of overdevelopment on the entire watershed, but really I just want to point out once again that the independent city of Sandy Springs still relies on the City of Atlanta Water Department. You give some people exactly what they want and still...
You know the service is bad when the real home-run king, Hank Aaron, calls the newspaper in desperation, hoping to shame the city of Atlanta into fixing a neighborhood bridge he considers dangerous and an eyesore. It’s on the list. …
Maybe the Hammer should have called the City Of Sandy Springs Street Repair Division. Oh wait a minute...
Twiggs County school officials failed to notify parents that their elementary school had failed academically — thus triggering school choice and tutoring options. An oversight, said school officials. Parents everywhere should be vigilant. School officials hate these provisions of the No Child Left Behind law. They’ll notify parents of the options just as soon as the lawyer who writes the fine print on credit card agreements becomes available — and send it out on election day, or some other where the attention of parents is directed elsewhere. Parents should always protest to the state — and to the feds.
School officials. Liars all. It's a wonder we ever got out of the frontier days with the vast public education conspiracy holding us down.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama grandly refused to vote on a Senate resolution condemning for its “General Betray Us” ad in the New York Times. Too frivolous, he claimed from the high road. But not too frivolous was a resolution condemning talk show host Rush Limbaugh for an opinion. In that case, he’s for taking up the Senate’s business with a resolution condemning Limbaugh.
I'll make a deal with you, Jim. Let's both call for the end to all useless resolutions. Then you and I can never write about this kind of idiocy again.
Professors lament that they age and their students don’t — with the consequence that a huge gap develops in their common knowledge. “You have to remind yourself” said one, “that they won’t know who George H.W. Bush was, or they’ll have vaguely heard of Reagan. Vietnam is a passing reference that people make.” All of which is offered here to explain why Wayne Willams continues to get hearings on his search for the real killer of Atlanta’s missing and murdered. Williams was convicted 25 years ago, after which the killings stopped.
For those of you playing Jim Wooten Non-Sequitur Bingo. I-24!
Headline: “Should smokers pick up tab for children’s health care?” No. The 39-cent per pack tax would go to $1 to partially finance a huge expansion of the federal program that largely funds PeachCare, which the president properly vetoed. The cigarette tax is an effort to drive a legitimate business out of existence — though, in the meantime, the tax burden will fall most heavily on the poor, since they’re the smokers. As with the Georgia Lottery, the poor will be asked to support something that will heavily benefit the middle class.
Jim, can you explain to me in the middle of all this fairness and graciousness to the poor (you know, those people who smoke and probably also drink the whiskey and do whatever things the poor people do), how this philosophy applies to a tax plan which removes the tax burden from a $10 million piece of property and replaces it buy jacking up the price on a pack of smokes. Not to mention food, diapers, laundry detergent, etc. etc. etc.

My goodness. That rollercoaster was so much fun, it ought to be at Six Flags!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Morning Wooten

Just a quick hit.

Jim thinks 59% of Americans are Democrats.
One is that questions like whether Republican voters prefer a candidate similar or dissimilar to Bush, while entertaining, mean nothing to me. Most of the Republicans I know find fault with Bush — but it’s mostly because they think he’s failed to check spending or has failed in some meaningful way to confront Democrats. They grumble but, as with the Democrats’ Iraq withdrawal agenda, will stand with him if it matters.

One of the latest polls on American's opinion on withdrawal from Iraq.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A New Name In The Georgia Senate Race

He's not a career politician but he knows politics.

Josh Lanier, 55, is a native of Statesboro although his career took him to Virginia over 30 years ago. A Vietnam Veteran, Lanier worked on the personal staff of Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge assisting the front line aides on the hottest issues of the day including Watergate and Vietnam. He returned to his native state one year ago and his name keeps popping up in interesting places.

Recently, it began surfacing in the already muddled race for the seat currently held by Senator Saxby Chambliss. Democratic Party of Georgia officials confirm that Lanier contacted the Atlanta headquarters expressing an interest in the contest but would comment no further, stating it was one of many calls speculating on candidates.

Lanier says he's not a person looking for a career in politics but is willing to step up if there is a need.

" I talked to [a party official] because I heard he had been asking questions", Lanier stated via telephone, "All my conversations have been what is the status of the race and what is the real need here".

Lanier is not rushing anything but admits to the possibility of a campaign,

"I have not made a decision to run yet, but I am kicking it around."

Lanier's name recognition may be low at this time, but just two years ago few people knew Jim Webb in Virginia. The potential of a knowledgeable neophyte running may make a Senate race considered by many to be a foregone conclusion, at the very least, a lot more fascinating.

My Morning Wooten

I swear the fishwrapper is going to make me lose my mind.
While we’re in the business or renaming roads, schools, airports and other real estate, my recommendation to the Georgia General Assembly is that Thomas County in Southwest Georgia be renamed for the reknown pioneer Georgian, Clarence Thomas. It’s far too complicated to rename his birthplace, Chatham County. Deeds, contracts, records, etc.

Let's forget for a moment that Thomas County is already named for someone. For God's sake! It's not like they just pulled a name out of the air. No, let's instead let's try to wrap our brains around this pretzel logic.

A supposed small government conservative wants the General Assembly to waste the people's time for symbolism's sake by renaming something has had a name for over 175 years!

Maybe there's something in the water. Oh hell, I'm going to blame those idiots building snow on Stone Mountain. We're all going drought crazy.

Hello? Is There Anybody In There?

You have got to be kidding me.
We have two vacancies for Henry County community bloggers. We'd like our bloggers to be residents of the area and to provide us with a new blog entry at least once a week. The blog would focus on topics of interest to the community — but you would decide what those interesting. subjects are.

Hmmmmm. Henry County bloggers who report on local events like community meetings and such? In a word, DUH.

Next the AJC will be searching for the ever elusive Doraville blog.


I met a very nice gentleman from Bloglanta tonight, I didn't recognize him, but I'm pretty sure I've had them here the whole time so my guilt is minimal.

But I have been bad. And there's something later which might can help me with that.

There are a few blogs who I have added to my little thing (the thing is that little list over to your right which actually is not just my thing but a thing me and a friend thought of and you can have if you want just email us and by us I mean me) but I forgot to add them to the main blogroll. And we are so drunk slack in the QA department, I'm not sure if my links have been picked up by all the powers that be technorati.

I Saw It On Ponce. I also love Egg McMuffins.

Rowland's Office. If you love the Braves and you don't read it, see Cable and Tweed.

Cable and Tweed. If love music and you don't read it, you're an idiot.

Gloria's Oversexed Mind. She's about to help me.

So that's it. I think I have everything covered. But if not, I'll get to it as soon as Gloria lets me up.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

That Poythress Thing

Full disclosure: I worked for the Georgia Dept. Of Labor during Commissioner Poythress tenure.

So, cat's out of the bag. Insider Advantage is reporting the rumors about people attempting to recruit Georgia's current Adjutant General David Poythress were true. It's also reporting the other rumors that Poythress was instead considering an offer in the private industry were also true.

I heard the first one about two months ago. I heard the second one three weeks ago. Both were from reliable sources (the second one a very reliable source), but both were given off the record. Being unable to confirm either on the record, I chose to not publish. That's not an indictment on other blogs methodology (as Rusty says over and over again, its a blog not a democracy), just a little clarification on the goings on around these parts.

Having said that, I believe Lt. General Poythress will not run. He's a good guy and has been a good public servant. Time for him to do what I did. Get out of government and make some real money.

I would tell you more, but off the record is off the record. Anyone wants to change that status knows how to contact me. In the meantime, I will give you one tease. This won't be the last surprise in the upcoming Senate race.


The new South is enamored of her new work. Her soul is stirred with the breath of a new life. The light of a grander day is falling fair on her face. She is thrilling, sir, with the consciousness of growing power, and prosperity. ~Henry Grady

With 159 scattered here and yon, it can be hard to keep them all straight, much less remember the origins of such odd names as Tattnall and Treutlan. But one has a name which resonates through time. A name which seems to know no boundaries, even as the corporeal bearer moved on a century prior.

Most travelers miss it, travelling the larger routes in Thomas County to the east. A few pass through a small sliver near the unincorporated crossroads of Beachton; a flicker on the way to Tallahassee. Only those travelling US-84 to such exotic places as Dothan, Alabama actually pass through the county seat of Cairo. One of two incorporated areas in the rural county named Grady.

A border county, as far south as possible from his beloved Atlanta, an agrarian backwater more beholden to the vision of his opponent Thomas Watson, Grady County seems a world away from its namesake, legendary Atlanta Constitution editor and "New South" advocate Henry W. Grady.

However, odd connections pepper the life of one of Georgia's proudest sons. Although, he is best remembered for his passionate speeches of advocacy for his home, in locations only a generation removed from being considered enemy territory, a deeper look into Georgia history reveals a man of complexity and vision.

Grady will be forever joined with the so-called Atlanta Ring. A coalition of journalists, politicians and businessmen formed with the singular goal of growing Atlanta beyond a tainted history as a nexus of the Confederate States of America. Included in the group were Governor Jospeh E. Brown, the firebrand leader of Georgia who so ardently believed in the right of secession he once threatened to lead his state out of the C.S.A., and future Governor John B. Gordon, a former Confederate General who though beloved was also alledgedly the head of the Georgia Ku Klux Klan. Strange bedfellows for a newspaper man who once spoke regarding the fate of recently freed slaves was to be held by "conscience and common sense".

Cynics would note most of these men stood to garner tremendous personal gain from the ideas being promoted. Brown and Gordon certainly prospered from the massive growth of railroads and industry which swirled into the Atlanta area. Yet, the soul of the group, Grady remained. His continued advocacy for his home, some would say naive in its ignorance of continuing racial fractures, resulted in the establishment of Georgia Tech and the hosting of the Cotton States Exposition. And in 1892, two years following his death, the hospital which would bear his name opened.

For over 100 years, Grady Memorial Hospital served the needs of Atlanta. From the "Grady babies" to numerous trauma cases to the ongoing care of the poor, the doors of the hospital never closed. Now, in its most troubled time, a new coalition of business leaders, politicians and journalists strive to keep it alive. Hampered by accusations of corruption, political maneuvering and of course, racial motivations, the question remains will the center hold? Will the Atlanta of today discover its own Henry W. Grady, a leader capable of binding with the force of a soul seemingly not of this earth those with more prurient interests in order to grant a better future to all?

In much smaller news, last April, Grady County announced an expansion of its industrial park including groundbreaking of a new plant which would employ 50 of its residents. It was a small victory but one with great meaning to a county where poverty weighs on a 1/5 of its citizens. Instead of millions of dollars for a major hospital, the Cairo City Council recently dealt with the ability to purchase a new firetruck.

Vastly different in location with vastly different priorities, the two namesakes of Henry Grady seem to travel paths far apart. Yet, both struggle for survival and both hold the vision of the man who melded the past and the present to help create a future where all are served by the brightness of a new day.

The New Georgia Encylopedia contibuted to this piece.

Monday, October 01, 2007


After an entire day in the sun, battling an infernal little white ball, the last thing I want to do is wade into a story about how abortion politics is threatening to pollute the save Grady movement.

So regular rants return tomorrow.