Friday, July 31, 2009

Getting The Hell Out Of Dodge

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason. ~Hunter S. Thompson

I'm sure if the good Doctor were still around he would include the hideous world of the raving blogosphere.

The RedStaters are in town for a local circle jerk and Erick decided it was wise to show his ass before drinks were even served.

Time to leave the craziness behind. Head south. Regroup.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wingfield Continues To Befuddle

I'll say it.

I disagree with nothing in Kyle Wingfield's latest piece. I think I've been clear over the years that I'm against minimum wage hikes. And to be honest, the ongoing "health care reform" debate makes me nervous as hell. I wish I could adopt Rusty's attitude of adopting the Chamber of Commerce mantra to "just fix it" but I confess I can't. I can't make myself trust government to fix something so complex and massive.

Tell me why I'm wrong, Democrats.


This is a great lede for a commentary piece.
When Washington mulls economic policies like raising the minimum wage or requiring small businesses to provide employee health insurance, the debate tends to have a theoretical, academic, even surreal feel to it.
He's really starting to annoy me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Morning Line - Atlanta Mayor's Race

By request - the Atlanta Mayor's race. Friday was the first occasion where I discussed the Mayor's race with parts of the intelligentsia. That discussion combined with the fundraising numbers from the 2nd quarter provides enough information to open the book on the first race of the season.

Good odds on everyone as this is a tight race.

Mary Norwood (5-1):

Positives: Has the most cash and shockingly broad appeal

Negatives: Will Atlanta elect the first white mayor in almost 40 years?

Kasim Reed (7-1):

Positives: Most money raised in the last quarter. The machine lives

Negatives: Not the best campaigner

Lisa Borders (8-1):

Positives: Would be the establishment candidate, except...

Negatives: Doing the electoral hokey pokey cost her the confidence of some and the money of a lot

Jesse Spikes (12-1):

Positives: Expectations are low and he's already exceeding them

Negatives: I've already laid money out and it was all against Jesse

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meh Morning Wooten

Meh. Feels phoned in.
Drop Sonny a note and thank him for managing the small cuts that keep Georgia from being California, where budget “solutions” are mostly just gimmicks that hide the problem and roll it over into another year. Thank goodness for a constitutional prohibition on deficit spending - and for a governor who started managing the nickels early in the downturn. The gimmee crowd - the teachers’ union, for example - really should shut up. It could be far worse.
Following your constitutionally mandated role makes you a hero? Pretty low threshold for the "so called conservatives" these days. Having said that, as a former state worker who suffered through furloughs and frozen pay while the teachers were never furloughed and received regular pay increases, I'm having a hard time getting worked up over their "plight".
Fifteen Georgia counties have unemployment rates above 13 percent. State financial incentives for businesses to locate here should be limited to those with high unemployment caused by plant closings. Once skilled and disciplined workers leave to find jobs in metro Atlanta or elsewhere, they’re not going back, worsening those counties’ predicament. Kelly McCutcheon, executive VP of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, notes that “hundreds of scholarly studies and decades of real-world experience reveal no clear benefits in state tax incentives” and are “particularly questionable” in a business-friendly state like Georgia. Use them sparingly. And target ‘em.
And in a few years when a company has drained all the tax juice out of that poor county, they will move along, trailing yet another wake of unemployment. GPPG is right. Just don't do it.
Georgia is among 17 states with the lowest graduation rates, according to an advocacy group. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be in schools with low graduation rates. Blacks and Hispanics are also more likely to be born without a married mother and father in the home. There is a correlation. It’s not the schools’ fault. We can’t fix education’s problems until we fix the family - or as an inadequate alternative, change the school model.
Wooten 101: Marriage and school choice solves all social ills.
Once again the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services wasn’t omnipotent in preventing the death of a child, which authorities say occurred at the hands of the mother’s boyfriend. It doesn’t take a village; social workers won’t always render perfect judgment. It’s the mother and father thing, again. Government can’t raise healthy children or protect them.
Once again, marriage solves all social ills, including child abuse. It just makes you pine for the glory days when real life was just like "Leave It To Beaver".

The rest is the usual "Democrats want us all killed / Republicans are trying to save us all (but only Palin Republicans)". I've had all I can take.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ahem. Mr. Galloway.

I'm going to attempt to avoid profanity but it will be difficult.
Blogging is the new journalism, we’re told. And so all bloggers are journalists, right? Not really. ~AJC's Political Insider Jim Galloway
No kidding.

Let's get the karmic band-aid out of the way first. Jim Galloway is one of the finest journalists in this town and if the AJC ever lost him, I doubt they would recover.


For over three years, there has been a conversation in this town about journalism, blogging, where the two meet and where they don't meet. As far as I know, Jim Galloway has never been a participant. The ignorance of his statement bears witness to this fact.

My only personal interaction with Jim was when I went to the Newt Gingrich love fest at the Galleria. I introduced myself and he complimented my writing which was very nice of him. He then told me I was too late, they'd already talked to the bloggers.

Because you see - a blogger wouldn't attend an event to get a story - one would only attend to be spoon fed whatever was covered in the "blogger meeting".

Let me share something with you, Jim. Blogging is not the new journalism. Journalism does occur on blogs, although getting some of your cohorts to admit this tiny fact is akin to convincing a flat earther the moon landings really happened.

And lot's of other things occur on blogs. We come in many varieties, cover many topics and we'll even admit we have different levels of quality. You see, we're not this monolithic creature which simply vomits the same thing over and over. And every time I hear a newspaper person, the supposed guardians of the truth, use this easy fallacy, my respect for your industry slips a little further.

Now, about Erick Erickson.

Jim's ridiculous statement led to an analysis of Erick Erickson's latest ugliness which led to the pearl clutching discovery that not all bloggers are journalists and perhaps the state's largest blog, Peach Pundit, is not a transparent temple of the truth. Get out the fainting couch.

If Jim was going to pick a finer example to portray blogs as non-journalistic, I couldn't think of a better one.

After all, over the years Peach Pundit has:

  • Published a front page writer who failed to disclose his connections to campaigns and has published false stories. (By the way, Jim - Peach Pundit is the only Georgia blog I know where he wouldn't be booted on his ass immediately)
  • Published anonymous tips without any attempt at confirmation.
  • Been a vehicle for Erick's personal witch hunts. Witch hunts disguised as expose but backed by evidence so thin, The National Enquirer would blanch.
  • Witch hunts which skate perilously close to libel.
  • And has generally chosen to use the worse characteristics of a political spin machine as its modus operandi.

Peach Pundit isn't a journalistic outfit? Tell us something we don't know.

Peach Pundit is a monument to ego (Jim, you should ask Erick about his rolodex - he's proud to brag it's bigger than John Oxendine's) which loves nothing more than to wallow in the mostly Republican mud but when called out, snouts up its few mealy-mouthed Democrat contributors (one who happens to be the aforementioned false reporting scoundrel) and squeal "Objectivity! Objectivity!"

But they are the cool kids, so of course the establishment runs to them for a good story. After all, they and the establishment slop at the same trough with the same obvious result emerging from the other end. Garbage in, garbage out.

Jim, just because Peach Pundit is the biggest and baddest doesn't mean they're the best. And just because they are the most popular doesn't mean the rest of us want to be just like them.

And you, Jim, are the best in the business at telling us things we don't know. Please, return to that rewarding venue and leave this isle of tropes far behind.

Random Thoughts

Of course the day after I say I'm going to rededicate myself to writing, I find I have no time for writing. But there are two thoughts I keep rolling around my head.

-Erick Erickson has unleashed another vicious screed against President Jimmy Carter. I am willing to debate Carter's presidency and his impact on world affairs all day long, but it drives me insane when people start questioning his Christianity. Erick Erickson is exactly the type of person who drove me away from Christianity. Jimmy Carter is the type of person who tempts me to give it another try. Who is truly a fisher of men? (Matthew 4:19)

-Some time back, Thomas Wheatley and I discussed the need for a journalism town hall in Atlanta similar to the one held this spring in Chicago. Unfortunately, since that initial conversation, we've both been busier than two mules pulling a 4 team hitch. But with all the disparate meetings happening around town, I still think it would be valuable. But only if it were immediately followed up by a unconference BarCamp. And I don't mean a "half day of presentations followed by breakout sessions" meeting. I mean an honest-to-god unconference where we put a boatload of smart people in a room with butcher paper, magic markers, let them scribble their crazy ideas, then get together with people who want to discuss that idea and see what happens. And it needs to include more than journalists and bloggers. It needs to have entrepeneurs, web people, SEO people, marketing people and ad people. I bet you a shiny nickel it will result in at least one potential solution to the "how does news survive" problem.

Two thoughts that keep rolling around my head. I'm sure another one will start rollling soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I've Learned

It's day one at Drifting Through The Grift. I will probably spend most of the day setting up all the bells and whistles around the place but I thought a little introduction is in order...You may call me griftdrift. ~March27, 2006

It's not an anniversary but I feel the need for reflection. Drifting Through The Grift has been a great adventure over the last three years and don't worry, it will continue. At times, I marvel at the places I've been, the things I've seen and the things I've learned.

Rusty hates lists but I like them. Here are the thoughts which have been percolating in my brain for the last few days.

On Blogging and Writing

  • I've stopped referring to myself as a blogger. It feels stale and limiting
  • I've begun referring to myself as a writer although at times, it feels too pretentious
  • Blogging brings great discipline and every writer needs great discipline
  • I'm terrible at self-promotion. I probably should get 3 times the traffic I do but I don't hawk myself like I should.
  • Inspiration comes from the oddest places
  • Every writer knows the frustration of writing a great piece and having it wither on the vine. I can write what I think is my best and hear crickets. I write three sentences about a drunk on a lawnmower and get 20 comments
  • There are a many great writers in this town and they often make me feel inadequate
  • I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson but I've learned that my own voice is more valuable than mimcry
  • Most people point to this piece as their favorite (a sociology professor even read it to his class)
  • This piece is my favorite
  • I'm rededicating myself to writing. Including finally working on the novel I've sketched out over the last three years
  • Two years later, "Porn Hunt" is still the top search term to hit my blog
On Citizen Journalism

  • It is possible but it's really hard
  • Professional journalists do it well and they have to do it well every single time
  • I believe the ultimate point that some professional journalists miss is people attempting citizen journalism attempt to mimic the standards set by the professionals because of their great admiration for the profession
  • It still amazes me how easy it is to just take a pad and pen and just go someplace or call someone - from the Georgia Supreme Court to talking to a legislator
  • That's the easy part. Putting together a piece that is both informative and entertaining is the hard part. And let me re-emphasize, the professional journalist has to do it every single time.
  • We're doing a good job but we could be doing more. We need more coverage of the City of Atlanta. Especially with the Mayor's race
  • The bottom line is if your interested, pick up a pen and pad or a recorder or a camera and hit the streets. The stories won't wait on you.
On Traditional vs. New Media
  • On the positive side, when I consider the conversations two years ago at the APC compared to more recent conversations, I'm encouraged
  • On the negative side, there are still many in the traditional media or transitioning from the traditional media who are blind to the rich new media culture in Atlanta
  • It is telling that the person who greets me without judgment at every event we both attend is a 30+ year veteran of political reporting while the nastiest fight I've ever experienced was with a 30-something staff writer at the AJC. Sometimes we need to re-assess our own judgments
  • I will continue to point to places like inDecatur, DecaturMetro and DriveAFasterCar until I'm blue in the face because I believe if anyone is close to figuring the whole thing out it is them.
  • I still believe the niche market is the savior of news
  • I believe the TV news has the best chance to survive as meta-news because pictures are still more compelling
  • But I believe the pictures would be even more compelling if they were backed by well-written copy and connections to the local
  • The "blogs don't fact check/spew untruths/have no standards" meme still drives me crazy. If you find yourself saying this, realize your peddling philosophy from five years ago and you will be judged accordingly
  • The influx of outstanding, experienced writers into the community is a huge positive. Now, we just need to help them engage.
  • My theory that once a journalist is dragged kicking and screaming into the blog world, they become addicted holds true. Mark Bradley is the latest proof
  • My personal "gets it" hierarchy goes like this: Creative Loafing>Athens Banner Herald>AJC
  • Creative Loafing was the first to embrace the community and still the best at engaging the community
  • Athens Banner Herald moved from picking on commentors to becoming the most willing to engage in "the conversation".
  • For all my criticism, I like the AJC redesign and think they are possibly now moving in the right direction
  • This fact will not prevent me from laying into them when they something stupid in the future. And they will.
  • I still owe Andisheh Nouraee a bowl of pizza sauce
  • I still claim Blake Aued owes me a beer
On Politics
  • There's always something crazy
  • It has to be really crazy for most people outside the insiders to care
  • It is very easy to get sucked into the inside baseball aspects
  • Most legislators are nice. Shocking but true. It is always good to remember this fact when you worry your caricatures go too far.
  • But some of them are mean as snakes and would walk a country mile to slap a mule if they thought it would get them votes, money or power.
  • Sen. David Shafer is a bit of a nerd but that also makes him invaluable in wonk talks. I learned more about Grady from him in 30 minutes than I learned in dozens of media pieces
  • Up close, Dale Cardwell is a little scary
  • Jim Martin has the passion in him and I sometimes wonder if he's just getting bad advice on his image
  • Josh Lanier is a little crazy but it's the good kind of crazy. And he thinks its funny when I talk about him collecting tip jars from filling stations
  • Rand Knight could have a bright political future but humility is a word that needs to be learned
  • I'm frequently reminded of an old Playboy cartoon where a madame is talking to one of her young ladies of the evening and she says, "I know, dear, Democrats are more fun but Republicans have more money"
  • The first time I attended a Democrat event, someone was passing out jello shots
  • I've yet to attend a big Republican event. I'm not sure why. They are a secretive bunch
  • Bobby at Manuels swore to me he was retiring before the next President election. I told him, "You can't do that!". He looked me in the eye and said, "Watch me"
On The Personal
  • Three years ago, I was intentionally unemployed and set off to explore writing, politics and the country
  • In those three years, I've published over 2300 entries, travelled to nearly every state east of the Mississippi and chased political stories to Perry, Cumming, Athens, Moultrie, the Capitol, the Georgia Supreme Court and even a porn shop
  • Three years later, I'm back in the software industry but I'm still chasing stories
  • Possibly for that reason, I find myself being pulled more to the web/tech/entrepeneur side of social media instead of writing/journalism/politics side
  • I'm still going to chase stories because I'm a writer and that's what a writer does.
I'm proud my writing, my advocacy of the local blog community and the product I've produced over the past three years. But what makes me happiest is the people I've met, the places I've seen and the education both have provided. This little experiment doubled my circle of friends and my exposure to worlds I'd never experienced cannot be quantified. And those will always stay with me. Even if blogger or blogs or new media or whatever the next iteration is called goes tango uniform.

Thanks to all who've provided so much.


The adventure continues.

The Bloggerati Cometh

I doubled booked myself Monday night and chose bowling over bloggerati activity - possibly an indication of my state of mind regarding all media at the moment.

Channel 46 invited area bloggers to yet another "summit". Fortunately, my brothers and sisters attended and reported their thoughts. Most are surprisingly positive, but maybe expectations are low at this point.

Check them out here.

Mostly Media
My Urban Report
Blog For Democracy
The Buzz Blog

The conversation continues.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Stupids

My dreams are all dead and buried.
Sometimes I wish the world would just explode.
When god comes and calls me to his kingdom,
I'll take all you sons of bitches when I go!

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Morning Wooten

I'm irritated.
It is shocking that the National Superintendent of the Year, Atlanta’s Beverly Hall, refuses to acknowledge that subordinates cheated on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and commendable of Gov. Sonny Perdue to take her to task for living in denial.
There's more nuance here than Jim let's on.

But I'm irritated because he does hold a kernel of truth. Unfortunately, in our nasty business, some sow kernels in order to reap myths. A favorite harvest of those of a certain political stripe is the ripe trope of Atlanta cannot do anything right.

It is important to understand, as Jeff Dickerson noted on Sunday's Georgia Gang, that this is not copy off a fellow student's test cheating - this is indicted with a felony and trotted off to prison cheating. It has already happened in Dekalb County where two educators have resigned and were promptly charged by the D.A.

Stark contrast is fertile ground for the pundit class and Jim is a master plowman. Atlanta's rather mealy mouthed response of "the preliminary results show that cheating could not be proven on these tests" stands out against the swift action of Dekalb and other schools.

Atlanta should have said - "We are investigating but given the severe consequences there will be no rush to judgment and if foul play is discovered, those responsible will feel the full weight of punishment".

For all her faults, Mayor Millielou seems to be the only person Atlanta government willing to fling fists at the chattering bullies. The rest seem to think half-ass press releases are the only dam needed against the constant waves of anti-Atlanta hate.

And that irritates me more than Jim Wooten being half right.

The Fish Is Gone

The Fish is gone, but not forgotten.

For over three years, the Carp Circles psychobilly fish has been the mascot of Drifting Through The Grift, but it is time to put him out to pasture. And milk that sucker for everything he's worth!

A new banner is in town and the fish has moved over to the right side and onto a t-shirt. I've opened a little Cafe Press shop in case anyone wants a personal copy of the fish. We'll see how it goes and maybe add some more options in the future.

Now, how many people do you think will believe I'm that goofball sitting on the left hand side of the picture?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

About That Birther Soldier

By now, I'm sure you've heard of the soldier stationed in Columbus who refused deployment on the grounds President Obama hasn't proved he is a U.S. citizen and therefore is not a legitimate Commander In Chief.

For all my "birther" updates, I race to WorldNetDaily. I have a fascination with Joseph Farah's weird little site. It occupies the same part of my brain which is intrigued by phantom time theory and the British Royal Family being 7-foot tall, blood sucking reptiles.

For more background on the fun that is WorldNetDaily, see my piece written in 2007.

Oh the places you will go and the things you will see.

Sanford's Georgia Connection

Gov. Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley reached out to S.C. Governor Mark Sanford's staff during the "Days Of The Missing Governor Crisis". Above is the email. Click to enlarge.

So, that's why they never return my calls. I bet Baxter never has this problem.

h/t: Left On Lanier

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lede Of The Day

Chip Towers lede this morning sounds like something out of Revelations.
Toppled trees, lightning strikes, fires, flooding and power outages are all being reported as a result of powerful storms that ripped through the metro area Sunday night and Monday morning.
Atlanta's obsession with weather continues unabated.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Morning Wooten

I almost didn't dive in this morning. As I told someone earlier, Jim's more "crazy uncle" than "lunatic" this morning. Lunatic always sells better.

But I suppose I can't pass this one up.
Run, Sarah, run. Actually, all candidates should resign to run for higher office. All four of the presidential and vice presidential candidates last year, including Palin, held onto their jobs until they got something better.
As the story of Sarah Palin's sudden resignation just gets weirder, Jim stubbornly tightens up his bubble. He may be right. Maybe she did resign early to set up (a disastrous) run in 2012.

But as The Mudflats points out, history tells a different story (ed. note - I don't normally cut and paste whole hog but it's the only way this makes sense. Make sure you do the courtesy of visiting the original site)

On a hunch, I reviewed online lists of all the men and women who’ve been elected governor of their state since the year 1900. Pored over them for a few hours. Over 1200 politicians have taken that first-term oath of office. Some soon died in office. Many resigned to accept other positions in government, including Spiro Agnew who was “tapped” by Nixon after being the Governor of Maryland for about five minutes. On a handful of occasions, a first-termer was dragged off to the slammer or impeached. One was incapacitated by a nervous breakdown and one left just as impeachment came knocking on his door. So—how many out of over 1200 just up and quit before the end of their term?

Three: Jim McGreevy, Eliot Spitzer and Sarah Palin.

In case you don't remember, McGreevy quit when it was discovered he was having an affair and Spitzer was making it rain with call girls.

Governor's don't usually resign for weird, esoteric reasons like "needing to pass the ball".

The Morning Line - Republicans

Until the primary is complete, The Morning Line will deal only with the primary races. All odds are based on the candidates ability to win their own party's nomination. And remember children - gambling is illegal and all information is for entertainment purposes only.

The Republicans are tight. Of course, these are the types of races where any good bookie rakes in the dough.


John Oxendine (5-1):

Positives - High name recognition, consistently high vote totals in previous elections

Negatives - Prone to odd campaign decisions and gaffes

How do you not make John Oxendine the favorite? Everyone wants to discount his candidacy but he consistently polls at number 1. Despite a donation snafu that resulted in an AJC investigative piece, despite having to give that money back, despite Democrats crowing about how many cars he's crashed, despite weird Snopes quality emails, Oxendine keeps coming out on top in polls. Time will tell if the continuous storm of taint will eventually drag his numbers down.

Nathan Deal (6-1):

Positives - Access to a congressional level donation network

Negatives - Does anybody outside the mountains really know him?

If the odds had been released prior to the quarterly financial statements, Deal's numbers would have been much longer. But his astonishing total of over $1 million cash on hand moves him past horses played more prominently in the early tip sheets. It shows the power a sitting Congressman can wield in the money game. Now, Deal (who is a better campaigner than most people think) has to hit the road and introduce himself to the rest of Georgia.

Karen Handel (7-1):

Positives - High name recognition, Perdue's infrastructure

Negatives - Very polarizing for a Secretary of State

Early tip sheets had Handel as a favorite but her rather anemic fundraising in the 2nd quarter dampens the enthusiasm. Certainly, she was hampered in ways others weren't (i.e. unable to transfer money from other campaign war chests, didn't make a personal loan to the campaign) but the image problem remains. Handel has to move past any impression that she is not a serious player. But Madame Secretary has proved in the past that she does not mind baring the knuckles and it is doubtful anyone is underestimating her.

Eric Johnson (8-1):

Positives - Gobs of money

Negatives - Temperment may be better suited to the state house

Another horse moving up due to the just arrived fund raising numbers. That Johnson outraised Handel may be the surprise of the early campaign season. Part of this is explained by his transferring money over from his now defunct Lt. Governor race but the public will only see the big number. It will keep Johnson's name in the limelight of the front runners. But publicity is a two edged sword. Johnson can be prickly and it may only be a matter of time before he publicly snaps at someone.

Austin Scott (15-1):

Positives - Playing the populist card

Negatives - Already resorting to stunts

Florida had Walkin' Lawton and we have Amblin' Austin. Scott plans to walk a thousand miles through Georgia. It worked for Lawton in the prehistoric days before the internet but in 2010, it's about a half step above smoke stack sitting. Scott has a future in the state, but not this time.

Ray McBerry (100-1):

Positives - Can't do much harm

Negatives - Bobby Franklin, The Constitution Party and a boat load of crazy

Ray McBerry has more in common with the lunatic/theocratic Constitution Party than the Republican Party. Georgia may be backwards but we ain't that backwards. But we should get some good sideshows out of him.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

If you give the criticism, when it is addressed, you've gotta give the praise.

Like The Dew took our criticism about not reaching out to the local community to heart and pretty much imported my entire Georgia Voices section into their links section.

We've coaxed them out of their house, now it's time to show we can be good neighbors. When you see traffic coming your way, it would be nice to return the favor where possible.

Money In Interesting Places

It has been reported that the sour economy is reducing even political donations, but perhaps people are being more selective with their checks. Travis Fain reports that in the Republican Secretary of State race Sandy Spring councilman Doug MacGinnitie raised donations (plus a loan) in the same neighborhood as clear favorite Brian Kemp.
Kemp put up a good fundraising number, raising $267,170 in six months. And he's got a ton of endorsements. But Sandy Springs City Councilman Doug MacGinnitie raised $207,127. Throw in another $50,000 from a loan and he's got $223,674 in cash on hand to Kemp's $255,660.

That race may be more interesting than we initially thought.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

More Hometown News

Sigh. I suppose I have to say something about this.
Moultrie resident Gerald Psalmond is sick and tired of people who believe in the separation of church and state. He’s so tired, in fact, he wrote a letter to The Moultrie Observer saying so:
What follows is a rambling screed about praying, minorities, the evils of the ACLU, majority rule and camel races. Yes, camel races.

So...what can I say? Everyone's home town has its share of kooks.

Lest you forget, Moultrie is also home to a guy who got a DUI.....on a lawn mower.

And the guy who was tasered at the Wal-Mart.

And the guy who wasn't dead, just drunk.

At least it's never dull.

The Morning Line - Democrats

Until the primary is complete, The Morning Line will deal only with the primary races. All odds are based on the candidates ability to win their own party's nomination. And remember children - gambling is illegal and all information is for entertainment purposes only.


Roy Barnes (3-2):

Positives - Dump trucks of money and name recognition

Negatives - Many hurt feelings

Notes - Does time heal all wounds? This is the question Roy Barnes must answer in the next 18 months. As Andisheh noted, Barnes first term reads like a greek tragedy. He was a man of vision but God help anyone who got in the way of that vision. His hubris led to a humiliating defeat which still smarts to this day. Beyond the obvious advantages, Barnes has the "I told you so on his side" but he must play this chip carefully if he is going to win back those he smacked around the last time.

Thurbert Baker (5-1):

Positives - Good name recognition, can run to the right of everyone

Negatives - Genarlow Wilson and the lure of other jobs

Notes - If you're an attorney general running for higher office you better be able to talk about crime and you better be able to talk tough. Thurbert Baker can do both. His reputation as a hard ass on getting people convicted could carry a lot of weight with voters not normally inclined to pull a Democratic ballot or lever. But his lack of discretion in the Genarlow Wilson case hangs out there like a festering sore. Baker has to make sure it doesn't pop.

Dubose Porter (15-1):

Positives - Has the legislative network to fall back on

Negatives - Not much money and not much name recognition

Notes - Dubose Porter is a nice guy and we know what happens to nice guys. If Roy hadn't jumped in the race, maybe, just maybe Dubose close ties to the legislature and their network of money would have allowed him to compete with Thurbert. With Roy now gobbling up Democratic Party networks, Dubose is scrambling for crumbs. He'll make a good show but that's all.

David Poythress (20-1):

Positives - Comes out swinging

Negatives - No money, no name recognition, no chance

Notes - David Poythress last won a statewide race in 1994 - back in the days when people still pulled the Democrat lever because their daddy and his daddy and his daddy pulled a Democrat lever. With Roy and Thurbert sucking up all the money, the only shot for someone currently polling south of 5% is to start wildly swinging and hope a haymaker lands. Poythress, to the surprise of some, did just that - sending out a scathing press release demanding loser Barnes drop out. Loser Barnes brushed aside the feeble swat and backed up another dump truck to the bank.

Carl Camon (OTB):

Positives - He's the mayor of Ray City

Negatives - No one in Georgia outside the Greater Tifton-Ocilla Metropolitan Area knows where Ray City is

Notes - For you non-gamblers, OTB means "Off The Board" which means no betting which means this is the last time we'll discuss Carl Camon.

The Betting Window Is Open

The money is flowing and it's time for the gambling to begin!

Governor Roy Barnes surprise defeat in 2002 set in motion a series of dominoes which have now fallen squarely in the laps of the Georgia voters.

Barnes fall was the first defeat of a sitting governor since the inception of the two term system established in 1974. For 28 years, Georgia voters happily settled into a routine of elect a Democrat, four years later elect him again and then, four years later elect another Democrat.

The misstep by Roy means that in 2010 we will have our first governors race without an incumbent since Zell Miller left West Paces Ferry in 1998.

This strange confluence of events may lead to the wildest and closest primary and election season since 1946. In that monumental year, Mr. Gene died unexpectedly causing three different men to grab at the reins of power and the poor Secretary of State sat on the "Great Seal" for weeks to keep the madness from spreading beyond the Gold Dome.

Of course, a true horse race brings out the worst degenerate gamblers. Hunter S. Thompson may have said only a fool would bet on politics but even the good Doctor was not above laying a fin on his favorite pony.

So, the betting window is open.

The Morning Line (Democrat edition) will be posted shortly.

Plugging The Libertarians

Lately, I've been giving them a hard time, so it is time to balance the cosmic equation.

The LP in the ATL has a new website.

First impression is it's pretty spunky. I especially like the use of feeds.

Check 'em out.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My Morning Wooten

When I saw this headline - "Sarah Is The Conservative's Oprah" - I knew we were headed to la-la land.
Give her three years for the people south of Alaska to see and hear her and she’ll be the Oprah of the conservative movement. People like her. People listen. She connects. She’s real. Oprah picks the books people read. Sarah will pick the issues people discuss...The Left knows that. That’s why she frightens them
I'm not sure how we'd quantify it, but I'll take that bet.

I have to assume Jim somehow missed conservatives such as George Will who were left scratching their head over the odd resignation. The only "conservatives" who mindlessly cling to a person who thinks there is a "Department of Law" that protects the President is the Kristol-Barnes-Erickson nutjob axis of the Republican party.

And lest you think the Oprah analogy is an original idea, Reihan Salam pondered the possibility days ago.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


It's gonna be a long campaign season.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Wingfield At It Again

The best suggestion for naming my new series is "My Morning Wingnut". But I can't do it. I can't possibly justify it. Kyle Wingfield is making my life hard and I don't know what to do about it.

Like this.
That’s why the opportunity for us to take the future of our civil-rights framework into our own hands is so valuable. While the Supreme Court might be able to temper public angst by issuing warnings before it acts, as it did last month, the better solution is for citizens and our elected representatives to take the initiative.
Criticize this? Hell! I could have written it!

Maybe wing nuttiness is acquired with age. Maybe I can find some way to slip Kyle a loony pill. Until that time, I doubt you'll see much ranting against the AJC's latest "wingnut".

One other thing. It's time to let a cat out of the bag. Although I'm pro-choice, he sums up my feelings on Roe v. Wade pretty well. Let the slings and arrows fly.

My Morning Wooten

The things you almost miss due to a holiday weekend.

This past Friday, Jim nearly slipped through a real lulu.
President Obama may not have been too quick to react to the Russian invasion of the Republic of Georgia or the bogus election in Iran, but he’s on top of the situation in Honduras, where the elected president was deposed for trying to thwart the Constitution. He’s either a slow study or fast to firmness on international affairs that don’t much affect our national security.
The Russians invaded Georgia? Did I somehow miss a major international event due to the tsunami of celebrity deaths? Nope. It happened in 2008. August 2008. Three months before the election and fully 5 months before President Obama was inaugurated. But it was a campaign issue at the time. The apparent lacking of alacrity referred to by Jim comes from then candidate Obama issuing a statement that mirrored the position of every world leader (including President Bush). John McCain, on the other hand, pretty much wanted to start shooting Russian tanks toot sweet.

Which leads us to Iran.

Although certain Conservative leaders desired a more firm response, they agreed that the Iran situation required delicate handling and the U.S. could not allow the theocrats to paint the crisis as U.S. provoked. Meanwhile the loons of the Kristol-Barnes axis, which Jim is apparently a member, believe if you ain't bombing, you ain't trying.

But at least those two arguments have some nuance. The final thrust, however, twists reality so far, it may be possible for Jim to view his own backside.

So, civil disorder in our own hemisphere doesn't affect our national security? The toppling of a government less than a thousand miles from our southern border doesn't affect our national security?

There once was a man who believed Central America was so vital to American security that he propped up a brutal dictatorship in one country (El Salvador) and some would say broke the law in an attempt to overthrow the government of another country (Nicaragua).

I guess Jim just doesn't think much of the Reagan Doctrine.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Wingfield Something Something

Have you heard? There's a new kid in town. His name is Kyle Wingfield. He's Wooten's replacement and he's put me into a terrible dilemma. He's reasonable and doesn't provide me much ammunition. Also, I can't think of a clever name for a series about him.

Until today.

I have one firm rule in life. If you tell me you believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, I will stop listening to you as I will assume anything which comes next will be just as insane.

I have a more flexible rule regarding logical fallacies - if you use them frequently, I'll probably stop listening to you. I need flexibility on this one because if it were applied rigidly, I'd have to stop paying attention to politics.

Kyle Wingfield tackles Cap and Trade today and shockingly, I agree with most of his points.

Cap and Trade is a Rube Goldberg affair which likely won't accomplish its goal - can't disagree there.

It will likely be used for nefarious gain by greedy politicians - if it can be leveraged, a politician will grab the nearest lever.

A straight carbon tax would be fairer - A conservative calling for a tax? Both shocking and correct.

Unfortunately, to get to these meaty and worthy topics, you have to traverse the following:
One does not have to doubt, as I do, claims that the complex science of the Earth’s climate is “settled” to see that this bill is a sham.
Well, hello Mr. Strawman wrapped in a cloak of incredulity.

Climate science is certainly not settled and no one claims it is. What has been described in layman's terms as "settled" is the overwhelming evidence that man is impacting the climate in an adverse manner.

And that leads us to the argument of incredulity. It's a personal favorite since it is so frequently used by creationists. The simple version is someone states something is so complex it can never be understood therefore any conclusions must be wrong.

Life is so diverse, therefore we can never understand it, so evolution cannot possibly explain it. The weather, atmosphere or whatever trope of the month is used to describe climatology is so complicated, climate scientists could never explain its actions.

Any scientist, if he or she didn't immediately apply my 6,000 year old rule, would reply, of course it is complex but that does not mean we cannot understand it nor should we stop trying.

Kyle, your writing reminds me of the old Jim I so frequently miss. It is well reasoned, worthy of conversation and certainly on the track of "common sense conservatism".

It would be a shame if so early in your run you decide fast fallacy is necessary to amplify steady reason.

Now about that name...maybe something with Winging in the title?

My Morning Wooten

The cat gets cattier as the cat approaches the end.

It’s fair enough for Presidents to hold Town Hall meetings and to pretend that he’s taking questions from something other than an infomercial audience. But it is phony, the stuff of campaign commercials. The White House press corps is right to challenge the pretense that a legitimate give-and-take represented as a news event is being held when it’s a sham.
I don't know which is more shocking.

The revelation that Presidents actually stage events in order to promote their agenda (why am I having a flashback to a fighter jet, a flight suit and a big ass banner?)


That Jim just complimented the liberal media White House press corps.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Cognitive Dissonance Of Erick Erickson

Two Peach Pundit headlines posted within minutes of each other.

ATL Growing (subhead: Good for Georgia)


Taxing People Out Of Atlanta

It appears Erick is having a hard time tracking his own cheap shots.

2009 Reflected In 1938

A common theme in politics is it has never been this bad before. This whine is always followed by someone countering with tales of Grover Cleveland's "bastard" child or Andrew Jackson's wife being called a "bigamist whore".

The current turmoil in journalism seems to have a similar tale to tell. Listening to the extremists, one might think a sudden vacuum in professional news is bringing the Republic to its knees.

Jack Shafer of Slate counters that we have indeed heard this all before. But he turns the argument on its head by arguing that we are actually entering a golden age of journalism.
What Sullivan got absolutely right in 1938 is that technology, culture, business, and audience tastes are always in flux, making it the job of writers young and old to grab the best available tools and get to the business of chronicling the world. If Sullivan were alive today, I'll bet he'd be encouraging journalists to study PHP and Javascript, to hone their video-cutting skills, and to learn how to manipulate databases. The cheap tools and affordable devices the average Joe has at his disposal to produce precision journalism and distribute it around the world are enough to make the reporters of yesterday sob in envy. It's the difference between digging ditches with a spade and excavating a canal with dynamite.
A loyal reader pointed me to this article and particularly the penultimate paragraph (which is not the one I quote above) but instead of reprinting that one as well, I encourage you to read the entire piece.

From fire to the printing press to the automobile to the iPhone, technology is always the great cultural motivator. We have arrived at one of those great divergences where technology is fundamentally changing institutions considered most sacred. It is time to make the hard choice - embrace the inevitable change or allow the inertia of lamentations to paralyze.