Friday, November 30, 2007

New Orleans: Day 1 - Deep Into The Night

Event 6

Buy-in - $300
Entrants - 280
Finish - 13th

Given my earlier disaster, I entered this one much more relaxed. I became even more relaxed when I sat down next to a gentleman from Texas intent on having a good time. He began bouncing his chips into a cup holder. One after another in an endless stream. Despite him being in his 60s, I told him I would never play quarters against him.

Good thing I had that moment of levity too, because as I looked around the table, I immediately realized it was one of the toughest I had ever faced. I spotted what appeared to be at least four seasoned tournament veterans and only one real fish. My read was pretty correct as early on one of the younger guys put a beatiful check-raise play on me and drove me out of the pot. It was a beautiful play. But I got him back a little later.

A critical hand happened about 1 hour in. Once again, I had A-Q. It seemed to be my hand of the day and as you will see later, it was not finished. But in this hand, I was sitting on about the same chips I had started with. Since I was in early position I just limped in. A guy all the way at the other end of the table made a standard raise and I was the only one to call. The flop came down Q-8-6 rainbow. I decided to make a play. I checked. He made a raise which was about half my stack. I paused for a second and then pushed everything in. He went into the tank. Finally, he said, "I'm showing you a lot of respect" and folded a pair of Kings face up.

I pulled my chips and and the table chatter became frantic. Everyone debated whether I had hit three of a kind on the flop or if I was full of crap. As I stacked, I glanced up and noticed one of the seasoned players saying nothing, just staring at me. I couldn't help myself. I gave him a wink.

The tournament developed its normal rhythm of ups and downs and soon I was moved to a new table. It was an odd mix of experienced and inexperienced.

In every long tournament, especially one where you are not running very well, a player will reach the nadir point. It is a crossroads where due to bad luck, tiredness or just plan fed-upedness a player will do something foolish. Deep in the brain, the primal instinct starts whispering that things will be better if you just finish the misery no matter what. The result of the nadir point is usually elimination but sometimes it launches the player on a new run which will carry him deep into the tournament. Guess what hand was my nadir point.

Despite my earlier success, I was still grinding around the average chip stack. It had been a frustrating day and I just couldn't get any traction. Once again I looked down at A-Q. I made a substantial pre-flop raise and it folded all the way around the table to one young kid. He pushed all in and I let out a sigh. He had me covered. I didn't think I could take another substantial hit to my stack and face the slow climb back out of the hole. I muttered, "Okay let's get it over" and called. He flipped over kings. I hit the Ace on the flop and took it down. The kid was devastated and I suddenly could see the other side of the hill.

Over the next several hours, I continued to build my stack to more and more respectability. I doubled up again by playing pocket Aces perfectly against a guy who had pocket Kings. I finessed a slow play of a set of cowboys against four players to eliminate one player and drag a huge pot. Suddenly, I was on the edge of the money.

Considering my stack was now way above the tournament average, I walked into the money. Now down to 18 I was moved to a new table with a new set of factors. Of the nine players, six I had not seen all day.

I was sitting on about 40k in chips and the tournament average was about 23k. Only one person had a larger chip stack. As is usually the case in the late stages, the short stacks were eliminated one by one until all that was left were people with decent stacks and decent games.

Late in a tournament, you have to gamble. You must play hands that you know will be close and you have to win. This is where luck starts to factor. To win any tournament, you have to win at least a few of these situations. At about 11:30pm, I put on a clinic on how to lose half your stack. It began when my A-J doubled up an all in player who had K-10 and only got worse from there. Over the next hour I dropped half my stack.

The end came with me holding, you guessed it, A-Q. The other player flipped up A-K and I never improved. Out in 13th place with enough money to cover both buy-ins for the day.

So 13 hours later I was dead even. But it was my second cash in three tournaments and this feels good.

Today, I am not going to play any heavy poker. Maybe just a few single tables. And God help me, if I look down at A-Q, I honestly won't know what the hell to do.

New Orleans: Day 1 - The Long Day Begins

A pattern is being established. If you click on the poker tag at the bottom, you will see I seem to always do fairly poorly in my first event and fairly well in subsequent events.

Event 5
Buy-In: $500
Entrants - 180
Finish - Somewhere around 120

Winning early is a bad sign. Generally, I like to take a few hands to get a feel for the table. But in this one I looked down at A-Q suited on the very first hand. After a pre-flop raise and a call, then a post-flop raise and a fold, I took down a fairly nice first pot. It would be the last chips I would drag in the tournament.

What would follow would be over two hours of frozen cards and every time something materialized, several other players would follow me in and catch. The worst was a hand where I made a set on the flop and another player caught a flush on the turn. That cost me 1/3 of my stack.

The final moment rang with the theme of the day. After seeing not one face card for almost an hour, I looked down at A-Q again. With a stack only 5 times the big blind, I pushed. Immediately one of the large stacks called. Then the other large stack also called. All I could think was "oh lord I am doomed". After the flop, they both pushed all in and I just let out a sigh of dejection. Turning over the cards, one had Q-Q and the other had a flush draw. With my Ace I still had a chance. But the flush caught on the river and it was all over.

At 2.5 hours it was my shortest outing yet. I drank a beer and considering the karma thought about giving up on the rest of the day. But there was a second event at 3:00 and I decided to give it a try.

Lesson learned? No matter how good, never play the first hand.

New Orleans: Disaster And Recovery

Punched out of the first event early. Frozen cards and couldn't catch. That about says it all.

Finished 13th out of 280 in the second event. Broke me even for the day.

And that's all I got for now. More in the morning.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Orleans: Day 1

Day 1 at the World Series of Poker New Orleans. Today I'll play in Event 5 - a $500 buy in. Despite the confidence of others, I now know how the deal works. Although I have more confidence after cashing in Tunica, I know the chances of cashing again remains low. So time to play my game and let the cards fall where they may.

Sara is also here and playing in her first big time tourney. Make sure you check out her impressions. So far they have been a severe need for drink and sedatives.

My Morning Wooten: Post Debate Edition

Along with the rest of the political junkies, Jim watched the Republican YouTube debate last night. In a column littered with good time fun stuff, one howler in particular sticks out.

It still had some cheesy aspects to it. One, for example, was the invitation to the retired Army Reserve officer from California brought in make the case that the military should jettison its “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy.
Cheesy? At one point I must have blacked out and missed the segment where the officer ripped off his suit, sprinkled glitter on his face, pulled out a puppet and start squealing like Wayland and Madam.

Isn't it fascinating this is the seminal non-sequiter moment of the debate for Jim instead of the nihilistic yahoo from Texas who wanted to know what the candidates thought of the Confederate stars and bars.

Editor's note: Turns out the gay General is definitely a Hillary supporter and depending on your conspiracy theory flavor of the day, may or may not have been a plant.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Given the state of transportation in Atlanta and all the talk of multi-use development, I thought this was pretty cool.


Try your house. Then try various neighborhoods. Say what you will about Atlantic Station but so far it has the highest score of anything I've found in the ATL.

Hat tip to my absent friend Don who is currently wandering around Oz.

Welcome to New Orleans!

Not a bad drive today. Nearly 500 miles in a few minutes over seven hours. My room is small but charming. But this is not about comfort. It's about cold hard cash. More on that later. Instead of a long rambling post, here are some of my observations from the road.

  • The Welcome Center just over the Alabama line has a parking lot that is an insane distance from the bathrooms. It seems much longer when you gotta go.
  • Alabama is a strange state. There are ghosts of the past everywhere. Like the monument at the Rest Area which said "We Dare Defend Our Rights". I later learned this is the state motto.
  • Speaking of ghosts, entering Montgomery you are confronted with a large sign designating the stretch of the interstate as Martin Luther King, Jr. Highway. That's not unusal but the addendum at the bottom stating established by the legislature in 1976 is. Not sure what that means.
  • I-65 south to Mobile is comparable to I-16 in Georgia or the future I-22 in Mississippi. I think there's a requirement that every state have a major highway pass through the most desolate part of the state.
  • I-10 between Mobile and New Orleans has lots of bridges. Lots.
  • My first indication things are different was construction on the new I-10 bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. Based on the height of the pilings, I would estimate this one could withstand a 30 foor storm surge.

That's all for now. More later as the adventure continues.

Headin To New Orleans

No scenic byways this time. Just a flat out interstate burn to the crescent city. There's poker to be played.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Headline Of The Day

From the Political Insider:
Because when Georgia Democrats party, there’s no substitute for an Applebee’s

Heh. But to be completely fair, I seem to recall a recent local Republican get-together somewhere in Northeast Georgia meeting at a Waffle House.

The Roar Of The Greasepaint...

Oh what lovely political theater.

Crowded rooms, critical votes and to top it off, a hallway scuffle which resulted in the detention of a state Senator.

Since no correspondent from the Drift was present, let's go to the screed masters in the local press to see if we can dope out what happened.

First the AJC:

Tensions flared when coalition members, led by state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), were barred from the small Grady board room before the meeting and were offered instead seats in the lobby with audio from the meeting. But Fort refused to give ground and was handcuffed by security for a short time. There was a scuffle between security guards and several public observers before the meeting was moved to a larger auditorium across the street.
And from Atlanta Progressive News:

Atlanta Police officers physically wrangled with State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, and two other activists, during a confrontation with protesters shortly before the 10-member Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority unanimously approved a resolution to privatize Grady Hospital.
They report, you can decide. But to provide a little context, APN is the outlet who described the ridiculous incident involving Andrew Meyer as "police at the University of Florida tackled, then Tasered -- or shocked with high-voltage electricity -- a journalism student last week, renewing a vigorous debate in the United States and abroad on police abuses of power and the struggle to preserve free speech." (emphasis added)

After the opening round of Commedia dell'arte, the Grady board got down to the serious meat of the performance. The members unanimously voted to move to a 501(3)c non-profit structure, but with a few conditions.

The new board would be appointed by the current board and would contain at least four current members. The new board would then appoint the subsequent board thus providing a transition phase. However, by leaving in place artifacts from the previous administration, the board has already received criticism of not really changing anything.

The board also demanded written guarantees of funding from both the business community and the state government. Naturally, the politicians, who fear promises in writing like moles fear daylight, cried blackmail.

So where does this leave us?

Despite the hue and cry, Grady continues to lurch incrementally towards both restructuring and state funding. Whether publicly stated or not, most agree both will happen. It's just a matter of everyone having their say in the final act.

In the flashbangs, smudge pots and fog machines, many may have missed the most critical soliloquy in yesterday's performance. Like a barker announcing to the audience the next act will start in 15, Pete Correll illuminated the real deal.

...the Grady board has taken a "courageous first step," he anticipates further negotiations between Grady and some of the parties".

In other words, we ain't done yet.

Picture Of The Day

Storytelling at The Wren's Nest

I know I've been pumping the Wren's Nest a lot lately, but dammit, you need to get your butts down there.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Banana Republic Of Dekalb

Decaturguy already hit on the upcoming legislative battle over the Dekalb CEO but I want to take a dip in those fetid waters myself.

But let's clear some things up first.

Please feel no need to send me emails explaining how the county government works or to expound on how previous CEOs also received harsh criticism. I've been a Dekalb resident for over 20 years and although I only recently researched the nitty gritty, I've always had a pretty good understanding of the system of government.

As far as criticism of the "unique" position of CEO, it has been there since the first day Manuel Maloof sat in the chair. Anytime you have a government run by a "benevolent dictator" there will be carping. Perhaps, instead of emailing me, you should consult your elders about the raucous early days of the Maloof administration.

Also, I live in Rep. Kevin Levitas district. I have admiration for the guys and gals on both sides of the aisle who represent the northern area of the county - even to the point of flying in the face of friends to defend Mike Jacobs.

I've always stated with pride that Dekalb is home of the moderates. From Republican Dan Weber to Democrat David Adelman, many times this bipartisan coalition is the only sanity saving us from the true bull fruit looniness under the Gold Dome.

But on this one they are wrong.

Not because the Dekalb system is a perfect form of government. It is not. Not because they do not think they are doing their constituents right. I'm sure they believe this to be true.

They are wrong because they have now joined a growing wave of State-led strong arm tacticians and because the alternative is worse.

It's always funny to hear someone from Georgia preach the beauty of small government. It is true we have far fewer regulations than most. There are practically no protections for employees. Developers have run wild and despite the lunacy which sometimes comes from those in power lax growth regulation has certainly contributed to the current water crisis.

But big government is not always so obvious. One needs only to look at the recent acrimonious creation of the city of Johns Creek. Once the dust settled, the business of creating a city was at hand. And what was required of the potentates of this new city? They had to go to the state legislature for permission.

Any form of local government must be approved by the state legislature - probably not a bad form of oversight in a general sense. But the Johns Creekers also had to ask the Gold Dome poobahs for permission to form a parks and recreation department. That's right. A local municipality cannot hire a few guys to pick up trash in the local picnic area without the stamp of approval by the full Georgia legislature.

This fact makes the current argument against the CEO position having too much power ring a little hollow. The pools of power never go away. Only the lifeguards change.

But it cannot be avoided the structure of Dekalb's government is the purview of the legislature. So let's instead look at the alternative. We don't have to go far.

Dekalb is the second largest county in the state. Fulton is the first.

Fulton has a much more traditional form of county government. One which certainly could be the model for the legislation now proposed by Levitas and Jacobs. Power is dispersed among the various commissioners with a board appointed county manager running day to day operations.

The result of such distributed power over a huge infrastucture is instead of a single strongman, Fulton has individual fiefdoms. lorded over by their elected representative. And you want discontent? The Fulton system has worked so well the voters have for all practical purposes voted the entire county out of existence. It's no shock the "let's form our own city" push began with north Fulton's Sandy Springs and then metastisized to Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills.

There has always been an uneasy truce between Dekalb and its various towns but compared to the neighbors to the west, the tension has been no worse than the typical family Thanksgiving dinner - lots of sniping with everyone warily glancing about, but no one leaves the table until the pecan pie is served.

And all of this hullabaloo is over the hours of operations of the local speakeasies.

Oh, they will deny it with flowery talk of reining in meglomaniacal leaders and responding to the outcry of residents but even a blind pig can see Jones recent veto of the rolling back of closing times is the flash which caused the fire.

But even that misses the more important questions.

Every time a local government acts in a way which chaps a few behinds, do we really want the state legislature to ride in and play fruit basket turn over? Isn't that really just trading one strong arm for another?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

January Preview

The Insiders have a nice little piece previewing the upcoming session including an interesting take on the apparent rise in power of the minority party.

Money quote:
[House Minority Leader Dubose] Porter told of sitting down recently with a top business executive just back from overseas. The message offered was that Richardson’s plan to end all property taxes by shifting and expanding a statewide sales tax hasn’t gone down well with service-oriented companies eyeing expansion into Georgia.

Christmas for Georgia political junkies may come a little late this season. But oh the presents we will unwrap in January.

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

We've got two today.

Dick Williams:
Our friend at Peach Pundit, Erick? What's Erick's last name? He criticized the gang or some of his people did, because we don't talk enough about local politics and we're not specific enough. And you know he closed up his shop Tuesday for Thanksgiving and we're here talking politics. I want him to know that.
Well, even though Erick is King Daddy over at Peach Pundit, he ain't the be all and end all. There are several front page contributors and if Dick, self-admittedly technologically challenged, actuallly read the site, he would see there were several posts during the Thanksgiving holiday.

And for comparing a blog which produces content daily to a once a week, 20 minute talking bobblehead television show, Dick, you get a gift basket of apples and oranges.

And the Phil Kent streak continues...
And my loser again still is last week's loser, Sonia Murray. I still couldn't figure out her column in the Access's just unitelligible.
You know. The obsession with Sonia Murray is bordering on creepy.

The Wren's Nest

We have a disturbing tendency in this town to not appreciate our important cultural landmarks until they are on the very cliff of doom. Fox anyone?

Which is why you should take a listen to the Georgia Podcast Network's Mostly ITP episode with Wren's Nest Executive Director Lain Shakespeare. Also check out Wren's Nest Online.

In no small part due to the controversial Disney film Song Of The South, Joel Chandler Harris' monumental contribution to American culture may be the most misunderstood in our nation's relatively brief history. And I doubt most Atlantans realize the key to unraveling the knot of myth is easily discovered right over in the West End. To twist one of Lain's analogies, why would you rely solely on the atrocious Ben Affleck Pearl Harbor movie when you can go to the Arizona memorial?

Drop by and give Lain and the folks a visit. You just might learn sumpin.

Georgia Blog Carnival

The carnival is back in town! Go over to Facing the Sharks to enjoy some of Georgia's best.

Also, the carnival will be stopping by these parts on December 7th, given the significance of the day, I expect some fascinating submissions.

You can submit entries using the Georgia Blog Carnival form or email them directly to me or to

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Intermittent Griftdrift

I'm on the road for the next several days. Don't pee on the furniture.

Kathryn Johnston

Jason points to an article by Radley Balko remembering the anniversary of the death of Kathryn Johnston.
Ms. Johnston didn't actually wound any of the officers. They were wounded by fragments of ricochet from their own storm of bullets. And there was no marijuana. Once they realized their mistake, the officers handcuffed Ms. Johnston and left her to bleed and die on the floor of her own home while they planted marijuana in her basement.

As I said in the comments, I can't think about this tragedy without becoming incredibly sad.

There is no law, order or justice in "no-knock warrants". None.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dover and Darwin

We seem to be all over the place today but this is just too good to pass.

In 2004, the tiny town of Dover, Pa. became the latest battleground in the evolution wars. The result of the school board's decision to require science teachers to read a statement including the specious "evolution is just a theory" argument along with a recommendation for students to read the Intelligent Design screed "Of Pandas and People" was a monumental estasblishment case in Federal Court.

PBS Nova has produced a documentary which not only tells the better than fiction tale of the case but gives one of the best lay explanations of both evolution and science I have ever seen.

It's two hours long but it is worth every precious second. Watch it. Make your friends watch it. Make your children watch it.

Many might see Dover as the highwater mark of the ID movement, but it all it takes for the scurrilous beast to rise again is ignorance.

A Southern Firewall?

Southern Political Report's Tom Baxter poses an interesting question.

What happens if Edwards or Obama upsets Clinton in Iowa, possibly critically wounding the front-runners campaign.

It may all come down to Florida.
Obama has put a lot of effort into building a grassroots organization in South Carolina, but he’s still a distance from overtaking Clinton in the polls. If the race takes this course, be assured we’ll see former President Clinton in South Carolina a lot. If she falters in South Carolina, Florida, where Clinton has polled huge leads, would be her ultimate, and pretty desperate, firewall.

Still think the DNC won't count those Florida delegates?

Alternate History Weirdness

Alternate history is a weird sub-culture. There's a whole segment of the population who ponder the what-ifs of our past. Usually the pondering involves something called a POD or point of divergence. A point of divergence is a critical moment in time where the result is the opposite of what actually happened.

Not surprisingly, here in the good ol' USA, most alternate history involves the Civil War. The conflict provides many potential PODs: Order 191 is not lost, Lee wins Gettysburg, Grant is cashiered following Shiloh, etc.

The above map is interesting in its divergence is in 1787.

In 1787, a fire in the Philadelphia State House kills George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and other members of the Constitutional Convention. This leads to a radically different constitution, and a fundamentally weaker Union.
It reminds me of a book I read in the 80s called The Nine Nations of North America. I don't know if any of this means dilly, but I can't help being fascinated.

Read the full alternate history timeline at Strange Maps.

Shipp On "Romeo" Richardson

He's the Dean of political reporting. The grandaddy of Georgia punditry. The scourge of the practicers of pruriency, placation and power peddling. Lately, however, Bill Shipp seems more the lion in winter - sleepily lolling about, only occasionally issuing forth a low growl of relevancy.

But even old cats still have claws - aged weapons which on a moment's notice can still slip their sheaths to maul the unwary.
See what the gift of defeat would give Glenn: a golden key to the governor's office. No more dull old Sonny Perdue. The curtain would rise on Fun Time with Romeo in the Gold Dome. The ghost of Huey Long would wander the halls. Glenn's guys would bring on the dancing girls and get a bigger shredder for the ethics complaints.

Winter may be setting in but it appears there's time for one more hunt.

What Is Goin' On: Jason Pye

Jason and Wilson delve into the tortuous details of Speaker Richardson's GREAT plan.

Take a listen here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

I was desperately afraid we would not have a howler this week. The first 27 minutes of the Gang was all peace, love and hippies. But of course, Phil Kent and Dick Williams saved the day.

Phil decided to slam the AJC's music (not rap, Dick) beat writer AGAIN. At the end Dick let loose this puzzler.
The AJC is now all rap and all pander.

It might be considered offensive if it actually made any sense.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Stupids


Songs In My Head

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Morning Wooten

Back in the grind:
Headline: “Who killed Mark Allen MacPhail?” The jury’s already told us who killed police officer MacPhail. That’d be Troy Davis. We know, too, who killed children in Atlanta and DeKalb. That’d be Wayne Williams. A genuine question is “Who snatched Mary Shotwell Little?”

Jim Wooten for ombudsmen! Angela Tuck better watch out! We could speak of the rarity of local front page features by Jim's employer, but instead let's talk about good ol' juris prudence. The difference between Wayne Williams, Mary Shotwell Little and Troy Davis? In the first two there has been no new evidence. In the latter, every witness except the dude who all the witnesses now implicate have recanted. No matter. Jury spoke. Game, set, match. Want a "small government conservative" approach to reducing waste? Eliminate the appeals courts. Who needs 'em anyway.
Let’s see. On the one hand, as a Cobb resident, I have a sheriff, Neal Warren, who is checking the immigration status of those booked into his jail. On the other, the man who did little or nothing with law enforcement or job creation to deter his citizens from entering this country illegally, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, visits Cobb for a $500-a-plate fund-raiser, considers Warren’s actions to be “really going too far.”...Warren or Fox? In my county, it’s Warren by a landslide.

Well, maybe so. But I'm pretty sure Fox wouldn't meet eligibility requirements. And I thought job creation was the perview of the private sector, not the government. Time to add another line item in the ever growing definition of "small government conservative".
Billionaire Warren Buffett tells Congress to keep the death tax — now set to expire in 2010. Unless Congress makes existing law permanent, though, it roars back in 2011 on estates of more than $1 million. “I think we need to … take a little more out of the hides of guys like me,” he told the Senate Finance Committee. Buffett is giving 85 percent of his fortune, estimated last year to be $44 billion, to five foundations not subject to death taxes. Tax policies targeting “the rich” have unintended consequences. The alternative minimum tax that Congress passed in 1969 to chase down 155 individuals who avoided income tax now hits up to 25 million middle-income taxpayers, costing them as much as $2,000 in additional taxes.

Three things here. The estate tax should be adjusted for inflation, specifically to account for bubbles from speculative real estate markets. Warren Buffet and the other super rich want to pay it anyway, so let them. And the tsunami that is the AMT has been foreseen for over a decade. During which time the great Republican congress of the 90s did absolutely nothing. Nothing.
The silly U.S. House of Representatives. The silly, silly House. For about the 40th time, Democrats bring up an Iraqi withdrawal bill — this one attached to $50 billion to fund troops for about four months. It has no chance of making it into law. The silly, silly House of Pelosi. All Georgia Republicans voted no, as did Democrats John Barrow of Savannah and Jim Marshall of Macon. Both are in competitive districts. Atlanta’s John Lewis voted present.

Silly indeed. This whole representing the people's wishes is such a bother. Better to play lip service about carrying the people's will on such enlightened venues as talk radio (and certain editorial columns) while the silly people do the slow frog boil on issues no one ever talks about. Like the Alternative Minimum Tax.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


John Sugg asked Speaker Glenn Richardson about possible factors in the current drought:
My question: “Do you think development has contributed to the water problems?”

Richardson rose from his seat. He’s a pretty animated conversationalist to begin with. But he became even more so, raising his hands as he proclaimed: “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”

God bless you, Mr. Speaker. With you, the blogs practically write themselves.

Today's Must Read

Make sure you check Travis' write up on Tuesday's jam session of the American Constitution Society.

I had conflicts on Tuesday and couldn't make the hootenanny. Glad Travis did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Something Travis reported sparked a question in my mind.
Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson, who is in Macon today to talk about his tax plan, had to cancel a similar presentation in Bainbridge this morning. He was flying there, and there was too much fog to land.

Exactly whose plane is the Speaker scooting around in to gin up support for his tax hoo-hah?

Penitent Sonny

You know, the Insider has a point. Yesterday, Sonny did basically admit it's our fault the water supply is so screwed up.
We acknowledge our wastefulness. We acknowledge that we haven’t done the things we need to do. Father, forgive us and lead us to honor you as you honor us with the showers of blessing.

If it takes dragging his stubborn rear to an altar call to get him to stop talking about shellfish and start talking about real solutions, so be it.

A Lightning Strike

From of all places New Zealand, I find the picture. The moment I tried to describe in a few brief sentences. And the bastard Kiwis didn't even credit the photographer so I still don't know the poor lens-slinger's name.

Anyway, this is the shot I was talking about earlier. I could have written a whole story about the brief interaction between this photojournalist and his anonymous subject, but he was working and I didn't feel I could interfere.

Not that I could ever improve on the moment. He got it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weirdness and Clarity At The Capitol

Scene from the backbench at the rain dance

Bowed heads during the many prayer breaks easily denoted the heathens (and most of the media) from the true believers at Governor Perdue's pray for rain "hoot n holler" down at the Capitol today.

It was a diverse crowd of around 200 who came to hear the praying of preachers and the pontificating of politicians. Many beseechers raised their hands throughout the service towards a mockingly cloudless sky.

Like the proverbial moths, the media warrior camera jockeys working the edges of the crowd were invariably drawn to the weird. For those without a front row seat, this meant either the two pretty girls with a pink umbrella or one particular Frankenfreak-tall fanatic.

Practically bubbling, the umbrella girls would only confirm they were both state workers who brought the useless parasol to show their faith. However, most of their time was spent with their backs to the prayers, yearningly looking towards the row of local camera trucks - faith in brief fame being a surer bet than Jesus loving pink.

Down the way, possibly to the chagrin of the pretties in pink, cameras flocked to the broad back of one true-believer. He towered over the crowd, holding his hands towards his eternal home. Anyone who growed up in a small southern church would instantly recognize the creature - corrective shoes, short-sleeved dress shirt, a whiff of stale sweat and a look of vague zombie-like fanaticism which would scare all but the most degenerate gutter-drunk straight into the detox.

Most photogs quietly snuck up behind their prey, snapped away and quickly vamoosed fearing the giant might suddenly turn to lay the heat of holy rapture on their forehead. But one brave photojournalist insistently tapped him on the shoulder and eventually breaking the reverie received a whispered exchange from the devotee. The incessant whir of the news choppers and the verse spewing of the amplified preachers masked their conversation, burying it in the endless annals of mystical mutterings. Or a soon-to-be-seen AP caption in your nearest dead tree media.

Governor Perdue concluded the service with a brief prayer directed towards the heavens. Slowly, overhead a peregrine falcon circled, a church bell rang in the distance and probably somewhere a dog howled.

But sadly for all the fanatics, thumpers and quiet zombies shivering in ecstasy below, only the clear blue eye of the great Sky Daddy stared back. Not even a mist of weepiness in sight.

Lessons Learned

Hard lesson. Always check the camera batteries before going to a hoot n holler. Fortunately, I managed to snap the above before the little digital judas completely crapped out.

Wishing to remain anonymous because he "was afraid of exposure", the gentleman above was not actually a geologist but he has good friends who are geologists. When asked what his solution to the current crisis, instead of the hoped diatribe, he simply responded, "careful, well-managed development".

Goin' To A Prayer Meeting

And it's not even Wednesday!

But how could I miss Sonny's "hoot n holler" for rain?

If only the Santeria freaks would show up with a goat and a butcher knife.

More later.

Poll Dancing

Rasmussen has a new poll on the strange meandering thoughts of the beast known as the Georgia voter.

Many will obsess on the big presidential hoo-hah. Not many surprises there. Republicans leading everywhere.

Instead, good friend, let us look at the bones a little further down the page. Let us look at the upcoming Senate race.

What immediately jumps out is the three Democratic contenders (Lanier was not polled apparently because he is still in explorer mode) hover in the low to mid 30s. That's a rather substantial leap from the Strategic Vision poll of two weeks ago which had all three somewhere between 26-28. The only explanation is either arcane statistical voodoo that only the geeks understand, mass acid dosing in the water supply or the numbers are starting to move. Given the state of water deprivation in the state, only the devil knows.

Then there's Vernon. The Dekalb CEO has a combined unfavorable rating of 54%! 31% rate Jones as very unfavorable. He is dangerously close to entering territory normally held by whore-mongering preachers caught in hotel rooms with their pants down.

What does it all mean? Only one thing. Politics is such a weird profession that there exist a whole subset of tradesmen who peer relentlessly at every smidge of data.

Oh, and there is another thing. It means the election is still a year away. Anything can happen.

Monday, November 12, 2007


My main blog reader is horribly broken, thus I am having a hard time concentrating on anything. So. I'm taking the day off. Enjoy the Georgia Voices over to the right.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

Georgia Gang Howler Of The Week

The easy target would be Dick's strange shout out to Peach Pundit and Athens Online. But in the it went by so fast you may have missed it category, I give you the strange ramblings of Phil Kent.
Well, it was an interesting trend, you had three elections nationwide and you had two Republicans in Louisiana and Mississippi get elected governor and you had a Republican lose in Kentucky for Governor. So, it's two to one, the Republicans aren't doing as bad as the liberals want.

So let me get this straight. A Republican victory in a state held by Republicans and a Republican victory in a state where the Democratic Party is such a corrupt embarassment the sitting Governor didn't even run trumps a Democratic victory in the oh-so-liberal state of Kentucky to show the "vast liberal conspiracy" is failing? Phil, exactly what flavor is your kool-aid?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Stupids

60th Anniversary of Moes and Joes today. Barbecue, cheap beer and bad craziness. Y'all come!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Porkbusters On WSB

This is pretty cool. Jason and the Porkbusters going old school media on the 6:00 news.

Georgia Blog Carnival

Time for the carnival again.

Check out the ever flowering Georgia Blogosphere over at My Mind Is On Georgia.

And don't be too surprised if the rides drift into these parts in the near future. Caramel apples, rigged ring toss and dirty carnies for everyone!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Carville/Matalin In Macon

Travis is on fire.

Now, he has scored interviews with political power couple Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Watch the videos here.

Most telling to griftdrift? The ponderous pregnant pause by Carville after he is asked if any Georgia politician can make an impact on future presidential elections. His eventual answer is Republican Johnny Isakson.

Not So Tortuous Answers

This morning, I received a dispatch from our absent Blogfather. It seems even in the great white north he still manages to occasionally lean against a telegraph post and receive hums from along the wire. Today, he passes along a gem from his former UPI cohort Joe Galloway, veteran combat journalist and co-author of "We Were Solidiers Once".

Here's what Mr. Galloway has to say about the practice of ""water boarding".

When you hog-tie a human being, tilt him head down, stuff a rag in his mouth and over his nostrils and pour water onto the rag slowly and steadily to the point where his lungs fill with water and he's suffocating and drowning, that is torture.

Well, that seems pretty clear cut.

Now, let's take a look at how three of the four Democratic candidates for Saxby Chambliss' Senate seat responded at Tondee's Tavern to the question, "Where do you stand on torture?"

Rand Knight

Torture of any kind, for any purpose, is completely unacceptable, irreproachable and must be eliminated. Furthermore, beyond the blatant inhumanity and illegality of torture, such horrific practices only embolden and strengthen our enemies and diminish our standing in the world. Torture must be stopped.

Dale Cardwell

I am against it, for the same reasons stated in question 4. We cannot protect our society by violating its most basic principles.

Josh Lanier

It's wrong, mostly ineffective, and I'm opposed to it.

And what does our distinguished senior Senator Saxby Chambliss have to say about torture?

Well, not much. But in May, in a closed door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee, two Democrats offered an amendment to ban interrogation techniques which go beyond what is allowed by the Army Field Manual.

Senator Chambliss voted no on the amendent.

And that pretty much says it all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day Of Reckoning

Never doubt the bones. Two of three Doraville city councileweirdoes indeed met their doom in yesterday's misfit election.

Potentially good news for the tiny city. Bad news for local bloggers. We shall now all have to struggle to find the crazy in Dekalb County.

Anyone seen Vernon lately?

GREAT Plan Non-Exemptions

Boy Wonder Macon reporter Travis Fain has acquired a list of items which will no longer be exempt from Sales Tax under Speaker Richardson's GREAT plan to eliminate ad valorem taxes.

To review the full list, see here.

A few that caught my attention with my comments in parenthesis.

sale of lottery tickets (Wonder how that will sit with Republican friend Wooten)
sales of sod grass (I can think of another grass which would generate beau coup revenue if ever legalized)
sales of certain equipment used by diabetics (That's going to be popular)
fees for service rendered by repair professionals (And you thought your plumber was ripping you off now)
gross revenue from coin operated amusement machines (I predict a devastating recession in the claw game industry)

It's a fascinating list and it's good we are finally getting some details. Given the breadth and depth of the effects I can only reach one conclusion. January is going to be a banner month for the lobbyist profession.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What Is Goin' On: Griftdrift On Water and Other Potent Potables

Wilson and I have our usual demonstration of South Georgia elocution and also discuss the water issue, the Presidential race and the upcoming Senate race.

I think even Flack might be okay with my comments. For the most part. Okay, okay, he's not going to be real happy with my Marshall comments.

Take a listen here.


Yes, yes. There are elections today. And no, I don't have any idea who is running for what. Off year elections are like 50's sitcom sex. Everyone is vaguely aware it must happen, for God's sake something produced all these horrid little Stepford tow headed chlidren, but no one is exactly sure of the timing or the method.

I am so personally glazed over from another cool dry winter that yesterday I told the radio squire of Vidalia that absolutely nothing worth worrying about was going to happen at the polls.

Partly right but partly wrong. There is one race to watch.

Down the road, the strange, weird town of Doraville, a burg so devoid of recognition I once believed it solely consisted of an aging automobile plant, is electing a mayor and new city council. Why should we care? Because a few months ago, several city councilweirdos decided to play banana republic, hold secret meetings and fire their Iraqi War veteran Chief of Police. Today may be their day of reckoning and doom.

I doubt tanks will roll in the street (although the local johnny law apparently does have in its possession an armored assault vehicle!) but with everyone currently in a stupor from a bad case of the drought crazies, we can never be sure.

The only sane choice is to monitor Dorablog, for they shall certainly be first when the riots begin.


Time for the break to end. I had four wonderful days at my water-laden compound in South Georgia, a full day of rest back in the chilly bosom of Atlanta and now it's time to jump back in the saddle.

I partly blame the lack of news in Georgia (other than this God-forsaken drought. Big Daddy once promised never to destroy us by water again, but by fire. Lord knows, none of realized he had such a sense of humor that he would choose to bake us to death.) and now but mostly I blame that bastard Hunter S. Thompson. As you may have sussed, I'm a big fan. For reasons I'm sure I will explain later, I started re-reading "Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail".
Anything that gets the adrenalin moving like a 440 volt blast in a copper bathtub is good for the reflexes and keeps the veins free of cholesterol... but too many adrenaline rushes in any given time span has the same effect on the nervous system as too many electro-shock treatments are said to have on the brain: after a while you start burning out the circuits. When a jackrabbit gets addicted to road-running, its only a matter of time before he gets smashed — and when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand.

How the hell are you supposed to compete with that? Thank God the old boy blew his brains out. Otherwise, in some weird transcendental state we can't begin to fathom, what's left of his soul might register the mewling of nascent writers creeping around his crypt hoping some creative vapors seep out.

Enough of that. I have not showered in days, the only drink in the house is what may be the last case of sugar water ever produced before the rationing hits and I'm not feeling the brooking of fools.

It's a terrible thing but it has to be done. We must delve back into the horrid swamp. We must once again talk about politics.

Friday, November 02, 2007

More Water Reports

More from the South Georgia hinterlands.

Spoke to a farmer friend this morning and even though this part of the state is still not as bad as the Atlanta region, it's still bad. Six months ago, while certain politicians under the Gold Dome were fiddling while Atlanta parched, the farmers of South Georgia were planting cotton and peanuts in dry fields, rolling the dice that rain would come. Fortunately for them, it did. Just enough for survival and not much else.

My friend told stories of folks extending their deep wells further because the aquifer is going lower and lower. That would be the Floridan Aquifer which is supposed to be practically indestructible. The problem is it is recharged by rainfall, both here and in the uplands of North Georgia, and ain't nobody getting any right now.

Bottom line is the opinion down here seems to be, don't come calling Atlanta, cause we ain't got none either.