Monday, February 22, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 17

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

* Good gracious. I'm 11 days behind. This is from Feb. 11. But it's a weekly recap which means Project Tom Crawford.

* Supplemental budget passed the House. This is the bridge budget which gets us to the end of the year. Although this is normal, it's a bit more grim this year.

* First up is the Minority Leader, Dubose Porter. He's running for Governor dontchaknow. And his wife might be running for Lt. Governor. I think I speak for bloggers of all stripes in saying, RUN CAROL RUN!

* Porter is skewering the Republicans on cutting education and not taking up his pet bill to collect uncollected sales tax.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* Rep. James Mills is praising the budget because it's less spending. Well, it is but certainly by default.

* Regional sales tax plan. The difference between this year and previous sessions? The Speaker of the House is joining the Governor and the Lite Gov at the press conference. The exorcism of the Ghost of Glenn Richardson begins.

* Rep. Doug Stoner (D-Loves The Camera) pushes the Democratic alternative. They want the vote to happen this year. On the Georgia Gang (taped one week after this episode of Lawmakers), the AJC's Jim Galloway said some Republicans are whispering the Democrats may have the framework that could have pass. This is a good indicator of how desperate everyone is to pass some sort of transportation plan.

* More debate on the supplemental budgets. And as always, the Halls of Fame are easy targets. Keving Levitas (D-Metro Griftdriftland) is grilling Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Needs A Shave) about how they keep trying to kill these things.

* Rep. Jill Chambers is very excited about some unclaimed property she's found. Somehow she's going to convert it to cash and wants to buy trooper cars. I swear I hear the sound of speeding MARTA bus headed for the spot she's standing on.

* More budget debate. Culver's kid, the only Independent in the chamber, is asking Harbin about some money for studying mental health. I'm pretty sure the Lawmaker gang just wanted a chance to try the letter I on the chyron.

* The bank loan renewal thing (it was that weird thing in the House the other day) passed the Senate and becomes the first bill to hit the Governor's desk. Bobby Franklin, author of the eternal HB 1 that outlaws every form of abortion, is probably sulking that always being the earliest pre-file once again fails as a strategy to win the first bill derby.

* Leadership series. Senate Democrat Leader Robert Brown. He's talking about tax structures. Given his recent troubles with getting his own taxes filed, this is kind of funny.

* Another bill that passed the Senate last year but not the House now passes committee. The Ghost of Speaker Richardson moans. This bill is the one that would allow the Governor to step in and replace school board members. Fruit from the poison tree that was the Clayton School Board.

* It was poor peoples day at the Capitol. So of course they have a band full of hippies playing reggae.

* Lara Fawaz. Poor thing looks cold.

* The poor people's rally has signs that match their theme. And there's Nan Orrock! Mark one up for the liberal cred.

* Tom Crawford time! Oh lord. He's gone monochromatic. Someone check to see if he has ties to the sepia lobby. And I'm pretty sure my grandma made a few quilts out of the material in his tie.

* Anniversary of the founding of Georgia. Thank goodness we are getting more special interests pieces! Gives the kids something to do. Perdue just said 1773. I think he meant 1733. Education in Georgia really is suffering.

* Lawmakers flashback! Somebody's going to jail! This is dealing with the Capitol Renovation Scandal back in 1984. The fiscal officer for the Legislature was indicted by a grand jury. Here's Speaker Murphy. And there's a microphone jacket for 94-Q! That station is currently Star 94 and plays Lady Gaga 24 hours a day. I reckon back then they did actual news. And this is my favorite piece of Lawmakers ever! We saw it last year. They used to take phone calls during the show and then House Rep. Roy Barnes is getting an earful from some irate yahoo. "C'Mon Roy! Give us some answers!"

* Some shots of the Haitian fundraiser mentioned yesterday. Or 12 days ago. I'm so confused.

* Time for Ricky Bevington's Book of Doom! Winter storm advisory! School boards suing charter schools! Locusts! Missing girl found dead! Water Into Blood! Actually this is rather sad. It was that poor girl who lost her life in Haiti.

* Lawmakers returns next tuesday. Which was actually last tuesday. Next, I'll explain the magic of quantum mechanics. Until then, that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Intermission

The bad news - we ain't got no money. The Legislature is taking a two week break to figure out how to cut another BILLION from the budget.

The good news - this gives me time to catch up on the ever so behind Gonzo Lawmakers.

Let's see how Susan, Nwandi and the gang have being doing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 16

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

* Falling behind again. Time to catch up. This episode aired last Wednesday.

* I've been told that what I've been calling an orange juicer is actually a "reamer". Fitting somehow.

* Budget passed committee! Much rejoicing in the land! This is the amended budget which is what is needed to carry us all the way to the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

* Once again every agency must cut 8% except, wait for it, here it is, education. It only gets cut 4% despite the fact it makes up half the budget.

* Ben Harbin needs a shave again. Come over to the dark side, Ben! Grow the goatee!

* We are so desperate for revenue we're counting on the fraud investigators at Revenue to turn over rocks and discover cash.

* We're not going to borrow from the HOPE fund to soften the budget blow. Education wins again!

* Design build projects for the DOT. This is going to be hard to explain. Essentially, it means more federal money can flow our way. And a Republican just said "stimulus" without coughing up a fur ball.

* We changed the name of some building. The changed the name from "facilities" to "finance". This bill brought to you by the letter F.

* Oh boy. Here comes the Harbin comment that caused quite the stir last week. He called out former Secretary of State Karen Handel for not furloughing employees. They don't have tape of the committee meeting. According to the AJC's Aaron Gould Sheinin, there were a few gasps when he made the comments.

* Current SOS Kemp is explaining why furloughs are tough because it would mean cuts to essential services.

* We're going to raise the retirement ceiling for janitors, lunch ladies and bus drivers. Not everybody in education wins. Actually they are raising the amount of money they will receive. So, education wins again!

* More retirement crap. Lots of house cleaning.

* Cigarette tax time. Which means lobbyists. Hide the children! Pictures of degenerate smokers in a bar. It looks like the Righteous Room. Now we get a lobbyist from the convenience store folks who looks weirdly like Ben Stein. He says south Georgia convenience stores received a boost in sales when Florida raised their tax. I can testify to that. I stock up before going to the Sunshine State.

* Mary Perdue visited Scottish Rite to visit with sick chilluns. She's promoting something called the Bearable Hugs campaign. DCSS has something called a Fatherhood Program Manager. What's up with that? And what does he have to do with giving sick kids teddy bears?

* Keocia! Doing a walk and talk. This kid has a future in the biz.

* Mike Jacobs, every young Democrats dream boat, is back with his bullying bill. He wants to transfer bullies to different schools. He had to transfer out of his party to avoid bullying, so he's familiar with the topic.

* Bill to allow vets to attend school while waiting for GI Bill payments to start.

* And continuing with the veterans theme, the bill to limit military recuriters activities on school campuses. Of course it's sponsored by a Democrat. Sometimes they make it too easy. John Douglas (R-Crazyland) is talking about pigs dressed up are still pigs and Nan Orrock looks like the wants to emasculate him.

* Lawmaker Flashback! 1984 and we're talking about expanding MARTA. They were trying to get Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton to join the system without paying a late penalty. Of course some Cobb yahoo, says thanks but no thanks. 26 years later and we are still dealing with this crap.

* Rep Calvin Smyre (D-Smooth Operator) is hosting a fund raiser for Haiti and everyone is "strongly encouraged" to attend. Jerry Keen is even encouraging Republicans to sign checks to Clinton! (It's the Clinton-Bush Relief Fund)

* Ricky Bevington and her Book of Doom! Irregularities on standardized tests. Potentially indicating cheating. January was the coldest month since 1985. She's seriously going to start talking about locusts next. Finally, some good news. Mitsubishi is hiring 200 workers down in Pooler.

* Tomorrow is the week in review! And that means we get to see what Tom Crawford is wearing! For now, that's a wrap!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Political Hardball

During a time when the public is in an uproar about the shenanigans at the Capitol, Karen Handel says the culture at the Gold Dome is full of "sex, lies and lobbyists".

That's good politics.

During a fiscal crisis where everyone in the state is taking furloughs, Rep. Ben Harbin slyly slips in a comment about how Handel has not taken any furlough days.

That's also good politics.

Erick "Glass Jaw" Erickson vehemently defends Handel and also slurs Harbin.

Might be good politics. Might be petulance parading as politics. In the media age of Erick's heroes (Rush, Sean, etc.), it becoming difficult to tell the difference.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 15

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 15

*And now we are truly up to date. Current day of the session and of the gang down at GPB.

* Bill to give local schools discretion on spending for the next three years passed the House. They can do things like redirect library funds to save furlough days.

* Scowling House clerks! And the red head is back. I'm dubbing her Scowly Red.

* Minority leader Porter wants to limit the bill to one year. Much like they did last year. This brought a brouhaha over certain House rules. Porter wanted to amend the bill, but that's only allowed in committee. He demanded Speaker Ralston put these rules aside, but the Republicans only have so much leniency in their system this year. Too bad they didn't have any tape of the fruforal.

* More retirement stuff. It's kind of a tradition to get all the housekeeping out of the way early. Before they get to the nasty stuff like the budget and transportation.

* More housekeeping. Removing the address from the drunk driver pictures required to be printed in the paper. Apparently some ne'er do wells were using the info to stalk women. That's pretty heinous.

* The House Democrats are back with their plan to grab uncollected sales tax. They want to cross reference tax delinquency records with the application for business licenses. Makes sense. Which means in doesn't stand a hoot in hell of passing.

* Numbers. Lots of numbers. Interesting numbers but lots of numbers.

* Lottery tax again! This thing is the early hot potato. Good lord, the Republicans are talking about taxing food again! The sky is yellow and the sun is blue!

* Transportation. But it's so weird I don't understand it. Something about pulling from the sales tax revenue. There are so many plans to fund this critical need, I don't know if it'll ever get through.

* Shots of the streets of Atlanta. Surely, the downtown connector will soon follow.

* I see now. They would take 25% of the sales tax revenue (once we get out of the recession of course) to create a trust fund for transportation projects.

* Instead of the connector, we get Ga-400. They camera dude is approaching the toll booths. Your tax dollars at work!

* Of course, this plan requires amending the State Constitution. Everything requires amending the State Constitution. We have such a byzantine system of government.

* Leadership series. Democratic House Caucus Chair Calvin Smyre. More about the Donkey's plan to find all the tax scofflaws. Both sides have plans to do this. So it's all going to be in the dickering. Give and take on transportation too. It's early. They're all playing nice.

* Hardie Smith was swore in to the Senate. He won the special election over in Augusta. And we see the new Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, for the first time.

* Casey - "He's already been sworn in and now he's gonna get sworn at". Cagle always has the best zingers.

* No pay increases for school administrators during a year when teachers are being furloughed passed sub-committee.

* More about the health care resolutions to allow us to do things that we don't even know if we are going to have to worry about yet.

* Humane society day. We get to see doggies? Nope. Just a room full of lobbyists. Make your own euthanasia joke here.

* Lawmakers flashback! Lt. Governor Zell Miller is smacking around Sen. Nathan Dean for opposing some bill. He's being removed as a committee chair. Oh my sweet lord! We've got a young Roy Barnes and good gracious did he have a head of hair! He's lucky a janitor didn't snatch him up, turn him over and start mopping the marble halls! He was the Governor's floor leader at the time. He's criticizing Zell's action. Back in the day Zell and whoever was Governor famously didn't get along. Seriously, follow my link at the top of the page and watch the clip. You will not believe what Barnes looked like!

* There was a mistake in last night's flashback clip. The Lawmakers crew at the time identified Sen. David Scott, now a U.S. Congressman, as Sen. Tom Scott, the long time tax commissioner of Dekaln. I thought that was David. Too bad there wasn't a Gonzo Lawmakers back then. We could had a good time with that one.

* Here's Ricky Bevington with the Book of Doom!

*Hurl Cam! They were on Nwandi when they should have been on Ricky. I'm going to have to start wearing one of those big neck brace thingees. Oh my sweet lord, they switched back to the main camera and caught Susan digging something out of her eye! Nwandi is trying to play it off by staring at the off screen Ricky and nodding. And we're back on Ricky.

* Now back to the Book of Doom. Revenue is down. "Locusts!" Bibb County's School Superintendent resigned. "Frogs!" Augusta has a new minor league hockey team. "Rivers run with blood!" Well maybe not, but hockey in Augusta?

* Tomorrow we start with the budget! What fun! Susan did a little stroke of the chin. In my mind that was meant for me. For now though, that's a wrap.

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 14

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 14

* I've finally caught up! Today's Gonzo is in synch with yesterday's broadcast. Hopefully, I can continue to stay on pace. And hopefully, the gang has a better day than they did last Friday. The number 13 bit 'em hard.

* Chyron was late. Not a good sign.

* We start off with Perdue's proposal to appoint the Ag, Insurance, Labor commishes and the State School Superintendent.

* Sonny still needs a hair cut. Everybody's rocking the 70's vibe!

* Support and opposition does not fall along party lines. He doesn't want an appointed Attorney General or Secretary of State. They need to remain independent.

* I notice that Susan doesn't jump in and interrupt the Governor like she does most politicians. WHOOPS! Take that back. She just jumped on the Gov and he seemed a little off put.

* Casey Time!

* As usual, the Lite Guv is cautious. There's pros and cons and we'll debate them.

* Bill to reduce the use of paper. We need more online stuff. Macon's Travis Fain has a hilarious write-up about this one.

* The Guv pushing his merit based pay for teachers. I can smell the lobbyists circling. It looks like The Guv has a knot on his head. I hope he didn't get head butted by the head of the Georgia Association of Educators.

* Casey again. Being cautious again.

* Looks like today is pretty much all pressers. Makes sense as the legislative day was fairly light.

* Sen. Steve Henson....wait a minute. I'm pretty sure I know Steven Henson. He's the senator just to the south of me. And that sure doesn't look like him. Maybe he's coloring his hair. Anyway, ethics blah blah blah.

* Sen. Vincent Fort is railing against Emory again. This time about that poor young man who died in the sleep center last week. He wants them to shut down the sleep center. I happen to know someone who works there, so I would call this a negative jobs program.

* More of The Guv. Maybe he got the knot on his head from being under heat of the camera lights for hours on end. Probably also why he never has time to get a hair cut.

* I wish we could see Bert Brantley and determine if he's wearing a tie. The public has the right to know!

* Keocia!

* And she has a meaty bill to talk about. The Fair Lending Act. This is about the fifth straight year they've tried to pass something against predatory lending. Never passes. Won't this time either.

* Sen. Fort again. Talking straight to Keocia. And he's against the bill! For the obvious reason. It doesn't go far enough to help the little peoples.

* A bill to reward local law enforcement for busting the illegals. I predict this will be popular. The Georgia Latino Legislators shockingly disagrees.

* Some technical bill about people on probation not doing like they should. But we get a scowling House clerk. The streak continues! Although the red headed one isn't there. Hope she's okay.

* More housekeeping. They changed a single word in a law. Not kidding.

* Lottery sales tax. I smell study committee! Alan Essig of the Georgia Budget And Policy Institute (seen by some as a hidey hole of socialist pinkos) likes it but smells trouble. That man is always a negative nelly. And the fact that he even hints at liking it will probably scare the Republicans straight.

* A bill to allow car racing in local communities if sanctioned by the local government. The Fast And The Furious: Gwinnett County! Many technical questions by the committee members. I smell study committee!

* Seriously. How old is Adam Bridges?

* Medical indemnity fraud. How exciting. Scuse me, while I step out for a minute.

* Lawmaker flashback! Richard Warner is the anchor in 1984. I remember him! Yes, I was a political geek even back then. At least they have chairs now. Progress! Some legislator is talking about hooch. There's nothing like an old white dude in a bad suit talking about the liquor and "other spriits".

* Green blazers but it's not about The Masters. It was 4-H day! I was a 4-Her. I'm suddenly giddy. Everyone is praising the new Rock Eagle dining room. Might have to make a visit.

* Ricky Bevington and her Book of Doom! The GBI is closing three of its crime labs including I'm sad to say the one in my hometown of Moultrie. Another fine against a chemical company. I swear one days she's just going to start screaming "frogs!" "locusts!" "rivers turning to blood!"

* Tomorrow we get Calvin Smyre on the leaders series. He's always entertaining. For now, that's a wrap!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 13

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 13

* Lucky 13! And it's the end of the week - you know what that means. We get to see what Tom Crawford's wearing!

* The Guv wants to appoint four currently elected constitutional officers. Like a cabinet based system. This topic is really wonky and gets the insiders fevered, but it's going to get a lot of attention.

* House Majority Leader Keen likes it. Shocking. He admits there's no political upside in supporting this measure. Hogwarts foundations just shook from the shock of sudden honesty.

* Rep. Austin Scott. He's running for Governor and he's agin it.

* Susan says the thing is like a checkerboard. Strange analogy.

* Stephanie Benfield is agin it also. She's about as liberal as it gets. Good example of how this thing cuts across party lines.

* DOT is going to reverse its position to use accrual (not cruel accounting, although some might say that also applies) and go back to a cash based system.

* Lara Fawaz live at Hogwarts. This is an awfully dense topic for one of the kids so let's see how this goes.

* It's also pretty tough to say "accrual". And she's saying it a lot. We finally get footage of the spanking given to the DOT Board Chair.

* Sen. Jeff Mullis is already quoting country songs. When they start pulling from their favorite poets of heartache, you know you're in trouble. The DOT Chair looks like he'd rather have rattlesnakes put in his shorts.

* How do you tell the depth of iPhone penetration? By the number of people tapping away on them as the politicians drone on in a committee meeting.

* Lara got the scoop that they were going back to the old system. Nice job, kid!

* We needed a bill to allow the Drivers Services to change a drivers license number if it has been lost or stolen? Good lord, there are stinkbombs like this roaming around and we're busy talking about non-existent microchips implantations?

* More retirement loophole closing. Yawn.

* Only one bill in the House and it deals with putting something on a website instead of mailing it. Guess they have to fill 30 minutes somehow.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* Tom Crawford time!

* Oh Tom. Not a paisley tie with a striped shirt! Is that some homage to the Lawmaker Flashbacks from the 70s?

* Now I'm having a flashback. The way Tom's striples are "moving" due to the camera, I feel like I'm back in college when we would conduct certain chemical "experiments". Cue the Pink Floyd.

* Some committee meeting about disability rules. Can't follow. Still woozy from the Crawford segment.

* Lawmakers Flashback! Denmark Groover! Awesome! We're up to 1984. And it's a bill about wiretapping. As Sting would say "synchronicity"! Talk about drug dealing, narcotics, a little bit of gambling. Ah, those were the days. They are explaining "Grooverizing". I'll get into that some other time.

* Black History Month moment. It's about the state flag. And peanuts. And they interspliced black and white clips. The whole thing's a little strange but tt's actually a good story. Rep. Joe Wilkinson's relates how he was there as a Cub Scout the day the Confederate Battle Flag version of the state banner was unveiled. On the way out, his mama went up to a black peanut vendor and bought every last one of his roasted legumes. When asked why, she responded because that flag was meant to hurt people like the peanut man. Awesome.

* Tape disaster! And we get to hear the floor director scream "coming back, coming back!" It was going to be the week in review, complete with fancy slides. I'm sure we'll see it shortly.

* Quick pivot to some weird bill about putting locks on cars so drunks can't crank 'em up. And we have a new kid! Hello Adam Bridges! Good lord. Is he old enough to be on tv?

* Here's the weekly wrap up tape again. And it froze again. Poor babies! Bring in the exocist and get that thing cleansed! They finally got it going but it's fightin' em! Fight that tape machine! Fight it good!

* Tape machine wins. I'm willing to bring my chicken bone cross down there if necessary.

* And it eats the next story too! The savage beast will not be quelled!

* They finally got it going and Sen. Valencia Seay is trying to get old white dudes to wear red dresses to raise awareness for women's heart health. I'm seriously starting to wonder if the Wendy's slipped something pharmaceutical in my co-cola.

* Here's Ricky Bevington and her Book of Doom! Sen. Saxby (R-Griftdriftland) is drawing fire from the conservative blogs for his weird remarks about Don't Ask Don't Tell. Shout out to Jason Nye! Oh lord. Jason finally gets a little pub and they got his name wrong. And they segue to the Imperial Sugar explosion. Yeah. That wasn't intentional. If you don't remember, Saxby took some heat over some campaign donations from that industry. The UGA Athletic Director gets a raise. No one else on campus gets a raise. Awesome.

* Lawmakers will not be seen ono Saturday or Sunday. Because they have to squeeze in This Old House and History Detectives. That's the end of the week and that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 12

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 12

* Orange juicer. Check. Nwandi. Check. Susan. Check.

* Opposing transportation plans are up.

* But first the hospital tax. It's pretty controversial but the fact is the medicaid program faces a huge shortfall.

* Cue the lobbyist with some good fear mongering about closure of rural hospitals. Possibly the loss of 3300 jobs. 2/3 of the hospitals represented by this guy are in the red. Yikes. They are so desperate they are willing to take a rate cut.

* Our first shot of the Guv's mouth piece Bert Brantley. He's actually a pretty nice guy and will even occasionally respond to a wild eyed blogger. But he never wears a tie. What's up with that?

* Bert tells us the problem is hospitals have to cover these patients unlike individual doctors and such.

* Jesus. If we institute a $1 per pack cigarette tax, we will be "rewarded" with 1.5 billion in federal funds. Remind me to talk sometime about my feelings on the Fed's version of the shakedown.

* Here's the transportation plans. Let me break it down very quickly. Democrats want a bunch of rail. Republicans? Not so much.

* Senate and House Dems actually played nice long enough to introduce a joint bill. They want to free up the gas tax to pay for more than roads and bridges. It's been a bone of contention for years.

* Rep Doug Stoner (D-Never Misses A Camera) criticizes the lack of movement from the Guv.

* Dems want it on the ballot this year. That's a bold move.

* Senate committee is giving the DOT board a spanking over it's accounting practices. They changed systems despite the recommendation of an auditor.

* Microchip bill! The Senete says the government can't implant them involuntarily. The Mark Of The Beast lobby strenously objected. Vincent Fort vs. Chip Pearson. This should be fun. Fort is asking the obvious question of whether this practice has actually ever been done. Pearson of course has no knowledge of such. Once again. 40 days may be too much.

*By the way, John Douglas has proposed a bill to put microchips in pythons. Once again, the agents of the original Serpent claim hypocrisy.

* Cleaning up retirement loopholes. Yawn. Although there's something about the only way around this currently is to divorce and remarry. A jobs program for local magistrates!

* More retirement fun. But it gives me an opportunity to give a shout out to the scowling House clerks. The streak continues!

* Leadership series. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. He's been in the forefront of some big items - notably the proposal to completely overhaul the property tax system. Chip needs a little pancake. He's looking slightly corpse-like.

* His goal, and he's been clear about this, is the eventual elimation of the property tax. He says it's an antiquated system based on the old agrarian cycles. I'm suprised the ghost of Gene Talmadge didn't rise up and smack him.

* Rogers is saying the problem with education is the Department of Education. He's never been shy about throwing a few bombs.

* In a touch of irony, I just noticed an update on a teacher friend's twitter that she faces more furlough days.

* Perdue wants to give the GBI the power to investigate mortgage fraud. Interesting idea.

* Here's Rob Telh..Telle...that Democrat dude running for Attorney General's bill to take DNA when someone is arrested. A shocking number of states already do this thing. Requesite grieving parents. If only we'd violate the Fourth Amendment, tragedy could be avoided. The thing is going to sub-committee. That's not a good sign.

* Bill to allow the Governor to remove members of local school boards.

* Keocia!

* This thing almost passed last year mostly due to the heinous situation in Clayton County, but the House let it quietly die. The fear is it gives the Governer way too much power. Someone from the Chatham school board is pointing out that the investigative process is fairly opaque and it's easy to jump to conclusions. This is an awful lot of power to put the in the hands on one person. It got tabled in order to try to clean this baby up.

* Sen. Gail Buckner (D-Have Election Will Run) wants to go a little further. She wants to dock school board member pay is a school loses accreditation. Harsh!

* Rep. Cecil Staton (R-Erick Erickson Land) wants to crack down on massage parlors. Increase penalties if they step over, um, certain lines. No happy ending for you!

* Lawmaker flashback! There is no way they top the last one. Oh wait a minute. I could be wrong. It's Ray Charles performing "Georgia On My Mind" on the floor of the House. Not only is that awesome but if memory serves it was the first time he had performed in Georgia in years. He wouldn't come back after a nasty racial incident in Augusta. Seeing a full jazz combo on the House floor is pretty damned cool. Nice editing too. Gotta say. They're really upping their game on the flashbacks.

* Hope scholarship eligibility. Yawn.

* Here's Ricky Bevington and her Book of Doom! Trouble in east Georgia! Warren County's schools are going straight to hell and they are begging the state for help. Fall line freeway is back in the news. They've been trying to get that damned thing built for decades. Georgia Chamber of Commerce quail hunt down near Albany. Having seen similar hunts, the quail have little to fear.

* We get Tom Crawford tomorrow! Yay! For now, that's a wrap.

Tom Price 2012?

Interesting tweet from the AJC's political ace, Aaron Gould Shenin:
Georgia Rep. Tom Price schedules visit to Iowa this month, and has op-ed in Nashua (NH) Telegraph today. OK then
When politicians start scheduling things in Iowa and Nashua, they are usually gearing up for a Presidential bid.

Tom Price, you may not know, is the Republican representing the 6th District here in Georgia. Didn't know that? Don't know where the 6th is? You wouldn't be alone as I've heard Republicans question, "where is the 6th again? Somewhere north of the 2nd?"

Maybe the Mayans do have it right. Maybe we really are headed to crazy land.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 11

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 11

* Susan is back in black

* Susan and Nwandi are giggling. Someone must have spritzed the studio with nitrous.

* More Glenn Richardson. He haunts the session. He's under an ethics investigation now. He transferred some money from his campaign to his PAC which may be a no-no. No findings at this time.

* Valerie at Hogwarts. Time to talk water.

* Perdue is not a 'one size fits all kinda guy'. This is his reasoning for not having a comprehensive plan. Okaaaaaay.

* New properties must have more efficient "fixtures". That means toilets.

* Shot of the precious Chattahoochee.

* The Governor wants to find new sources of supply. One thing is interconnection. Sounds like basin transfer. South Georgia just shuddered.

* Chip Rogers wants to expand the current school voucher system to military families. Which means we get to see the original author of the bill, Eric Johnson. He's running for Governor so I hear.

* There's the AJC's Jim Galloway! And he's picking his nose! (Actually, he was just scratching. Don't cut me off Jim!)

* Gotta have some mothers and some chillun's at this type of presser.

* Rogers admits his goal is universal vouchers. He isn't going to cast aspraisions. That means he doesn't want to piss off the teachers. DOE favors charter schools over vouchers.

* Temporary license for medical personnel who comes from out of the state to help in a disaster. Sen. Preston Smith is telling horror stories from Haiti. Hurricane in Savannah. Earthquake in North Georgia. Terrorist attack in Atlanta. Swarm of locusts in Hahira. Just kidding about the last one.

* Trauma system is coming but slowly. Not too shocking considering they only gave them $25 million to play with. We're trying to upgrade rural ambulances. We're also building a central communications center to better direct patients. We're using Alabama as a model! If you didn't understand the state of trauma care in Georgia, I hope that helps.

* An interesting bill passed committee. It closes a loophole that prevented teachers from being prosecuted for having an affair with a student if the kid was over 16. 16 is the age of consent and that's how it got overlooked. Some sharp lawyer used that to get a teacher off. So to speak.

* Susan Hoffman just gave a little "whoop" over getting a mouthful of copy out. I'm telling you. Nitrous in the studio.

* Michael Thurmond is getting pretty gray. Hell, I am too. So who am I to speak.

* Some conservative coalition wants lower taxes and have more family values. Shocking.

* I bet this presser will be fun. Keocia has it.

* We're 46th in the nation in taxes. 50th in the nation in debt. Still not good enough for some people. Per capita spending is down 20%. Of course, Sen. Doug Stoner, a Democrat, is doubtful this is good. Sometimes the parodies are just too self-evident.

* Lawmaker Flashback! And we finally get to see Tom Murphy! I hope he's a gavel banging. Good lord there's a young Al Scott! He was the Labor Commissioner when I started. He took over for David Poythress who resigned to run for something or another. He has quite a snappy suit on. I think my mother had a couch covered in that material. Scott just said everyone in the Legislature is guilty of driving drunk four nights a week! Gavel banging! The chair will TEND TO IT! Speaker Murphy is admonishing Scott. Scott looks hot! He says he wasn't making a reference to anyone but himself. He just admitted to being a drunk!This is the weirdest exchange ever and this best flashback ever! They will never top this one.

* The Senate is honoring some baseball player. Sorry. I'm still reeling from that flashback.

* The ballplayer is not wearing a tie. I'm pretty sure that's against the rules. But he's a ballplayer so they get to do things like that.

* Susan is sorry she didn't get his autograph. But now she's got firefighters to talk about. Nitrous. I'm telling you. Maybe something stronger.

* I like that the chryon has to tell us Sonny Perdue is an R from Georgia.

* Firefighter day at the Capitol. Lord, there's Oxendine. And Thurbert Baker. It's Governor-candidate-palooza.

* State news with Ricky Bevington. She's sorry she has no fires to report. Warren County schools is on the brink of losing accreditation. Metro Atlanta hospitals are taking in Haitian refugees.

* Tomorrow on Lawmakers - Chip Rogers. He's a rock star. But for now, that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 10

Some have noted I have failed to link to the appropriate websites like I should.

To familiarize yourself with Lawmakers, please visit GPB.

Also, for good prep on the days goings on as well as video of Lawmakers, please visit Georgia Legislative Watch.

Now, on with the show!

Day 10

* There's our friend the orange juice squeezer

* Deadline to extend contract signing for teachers by one month passed.

* We're in the House so we are treated to the scowling clerks.

* This was actually to extend a bill passed last year for another three years.

* Interestingly, there was bi-partisan support and opposition to the bill. For something where both sides could have made political hay, the teacher lobby is just that strong, everyone seems to be arguing on principle. Of course, then the thing passes 164-1. What a bunch of hot air.

* First meeting of the House Transportation Committee. We should see some fireworks here!

* Valerie at Hogwarts

* Our first shot of Delta. Is that news, a commercial or "corporate underwriting"?

* We're reviewing SB200, passed last year, which restructured how transportation projects are approved.

* Can we get a better shot of this committee room? Once again all we have are the backs of heads. And it sounds like the committee members are speaking in a fish bowl.

* The usual shot of the downtown connector.

* Ultimately it's about money. Which nobody has. No kidding.

* WHOOPS! Susan corrects the teacher contract vote. It was actually 136-33. Still pretty overwhelming for so much hot air.

* The Legislators may consider 3000 bills in one session! Once again, 40 days is probably way too many.

* The Republicans put out their five point plan to grade bills. It's the same thing Speaker Richardson put forth a few years ago. His ghost still moves in the hallways.

* A little confusion about where we are going next. But it looks like its too the Senate. Good. They are always full of hijinks.

* A school chilluns bill to expand the term "textbook" to include digitial devices. Apple stock just went up a few more points.

* Sen. Steve Henson says there might be a problem if a child lives in a home that doesn't allow computers for religious reasons! Are their Amish in Tucker?

* Now, we get sound about that Republican score card thing. The gremlins are back. I'm getting whiplash trying to track the stories tonight.

* All Anti-freeze must have an additive to make it taste bitter. Otherwise the animals, the chilluns and the huffers might be overcome with the desire to drink the sweet purple passion.

* Susan says those that opposed the bill simply oppose mandates on businesses, not opposed to human safety. Well that's a relief.

* Bully bill in committee. And there's every young Democrat's favorite Republican! Mike Jacobs (R-Turncoats R Us). Three strikes and you're sent to an alternative school.

* Some Morgan County mother is giving a recount of how her son accidentally took a bag with a fishing knife in it to school. He was arrested and spent the night in a detention facility. This is testimony to try to add some common sense to the current zero tolerance rules. It makes far too much sense to pass.

* Leadership series! Jan Jones, the new Speaker Pro-Tem. They are doing these remotely now instead of in studio. Possibly because they are using the facility to tape Nancy Grace.

* Lawmaker Flashback! 1979 again. And that poor anchor woman is still standing. Somebody get her a chair! This was back in the days when men named 'Burl' roamed the halls. Good gawd what a tie! And a vest! Who misses the 70s? Ashtrays still present too.

* Technical difficulties yesterday prevented showing all the craziness from the press conferences on Unterman's (I never spell her name right) child prostitution decriminalization bill. Today we get to see the pro-bill side as well as the pro-stoning side.

* Ricky Bevington is here to read from her book of doom. Augusta elected a new state Senator (Hardie won). A hydrogen fuel station opened at Robins AFB. It'll be used to run fork lifts. UPS tripled profits. It's a happy report! Yeehaw! Oh wait, UGA is being fined for burning hazardous and medical waste. Nasty. Follow GPB News on Twitter. I do!

* Tommorow, More sex bills! And firefighters! Susan is very fond of the firefighters. For now, that's a wrap!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 9

Day 9

* Susan sure is fond of black.

* There was a big brouhaha over Renee Untermann's child prostitution bill today. I hope one of the kids caught the crazy on tape.

* House passed bill that allows businesses to renew loans even if the value of the thing is below the loan price. Currently, banks can call the loan or not allow renegotiation. The business has to have made their payments on time. Apparently, this closes a loop hole which allows state chartered banks to take this action. Federally covered banks already can.

* Here's Chip Rogers big bill to overhaul the property tax laws. Year long appeals. Receive notice of assessment every year even if there's no change. Tweaks some other assessment rules. This thing was just introduced and is going to get a lot more scrutiny, so I'm sure we'll get into the details later.

* Rogers ultimately wants the property tax eliminated. Many of his cohort on the elephant side of the aisle want the income tax eliminated. If we do away with both what would be left?

* And I get my answer right away! Here's a Republican that wants to institute a new tax! Sen. Greg Goggans wants to tack on sales tax to the lottery. I bet that's going to be popular.

* Sen. Bill Jackson (R-Land of Cotton) apparently lives near a wrinkle in time since he's preachin' a story straight out of the 1850s. He knows a silver haired lady, teaching in a one room shack with a pot bellied stove so we must support the teachers. This is the best speech ever.

* Valerie live at Hogwarts.

* Sen. Harp, who just happens to be running for Insurance Commissioner, wants to amend the constitution to re-affirm the right of people to choose their own health insurance. Amend. The. Constitution. For something that hasn't even passed. And you wonder why we have so many lawyers in this state.

* They also want the Attorney General to investigate Nebraska gettin' a deal on a bill that hasn't passed yet. Once again, 40 days is about 39 too many.

* Sen. Ross Tolleson wants the United States to keep up with the Russkies in weapons research. 39 days is too many. Cut it down to half a day and be done with it.

* Rep. Amy Carter (no not that one) wants to send the sex offender list, currently sent via snail mail, by digital means to schools (currently that's required by law)

* Here's the child prostitution bill! And Alan Freedman has the goods!

* Renee Untermann's bill essentially wants to stop arresting children under 16 engaged in prostitution (an act that in Georgia they can't even legally consent to perform). Opponents believe jail is just dandy. Hopefully, we'll get to just who those opponents are in a minute.

* Hurl cam!

* Concerned Women for America, The Georgia Christian Alliance oppose the bill. They believe it sends a signal that prostitution is okay because it removes the deterrent. Alan forgot to ask them if there they will next advocate stoning.

* Job creation. Complex. Needs time. This might get meatier later, but not tonight.

* Lawmaker flashback! 1979! We're flying now! Bill to allow hunting with handguns! Lord goodness the GPB studio has changed. That poor woman in 1979 didn't even have a chair. My brothers used to shoot hogs with pistols. I have no idea if it was legal are not when they did it. No Speaker Murphy again! We are told it is because the Speaker Pro Tem was running things in the clip.

* Joint ethics committee. The Democrats have already started making political hay with this issue.

* Keocia!

* They are haggling over gift giving. Rep...I don't know who it is, I didn't catch her name and the camera angle is only showing the back of her asking if the scarves they get from the dental lobby would be a problem. Yes. It's just that weird.

* Lots of committee meetings and special gatherings, so the kids are getting busy. Lara Fawaz went to some water discussion with the geoscience geeks from the universities. Some law professor is explaining the city of Atlanta is probably okay but Gwinnett is screwed. He wants us to collect water from our air conditioners. Seriously.

* Black History Month lesson in the House. Explaining the term "the real McCoy" came from an African American inventor who invented some sort of lube. For machine parts, you degenerates. Anyway, did not know that.

* State news with Ricky Bevington. And she's reading from the Book of Revelation again. Whales are choking. High school students can now access graduation test prep on-line. How 1990s of us! The first African American Chief Judge of the Appeals Court, John Ruffin, died.

* They had to wrap that sucker quick. They are getting closer and closer to going past 7:30. I expect less vamping in upcoming broadcast. But for now, that's a wrap!

The Fires Of The Stake

Prince of Georgia Politics, Tom Crawford has declared Florida Republican Charlie Crist's bid for the Senate dead. He's probably right.

How does a rock star GOPer with a 70% approval rating, the man who delivered Florida for McCain go from a 30 point lead to a 12 point deficit in a matter of months?

It certainly wasn't his support of the largest property tax rollbacks in Florida history. It certainly wasn't his support of a bill to ban gay adoption. It certainly wasn't his pro-life stance.

Rational analysis would conclude Charlie's dive into the abyss was the result of the catastrophic economic collapse. Florida's revenue formula based on property taxes, when suddenly no one was building houses, and tourism, twarn't nobody going to Disney World, meant the Sunshine State took exploding economic lava bombs straight in the shorts.

But we are not dealing in the rational world, so set these facts aside and step on to the e-ticket ride that is current Republican politics.

Charlie was undid by a hug.

Unlike his fellow Republican brethren who bellowed far and wide against the federal stimulus, then eagerly wallowed to the trough to partake of the "socialist" slop, Charlie openly declared it was the correct policy.

Then he hugged the man who brought the manna from D.C. Charlie hugged Obama and the witch burners ran to gather kindling.

And now he will burn.

Daily, we hear the witch burners cry the dogma of the purge. Only the true can remain. Only those who kneel, weep and prostrate themselves at the the golden raimants of the revered father of modern conservatism deserve redemption.

Only the stained dare touch the leperous Democrats. Only the infected show the buboes of the stimulus. Only the heretics preach surrender to terrorism evidenced by the closing of Guantanamo, moving the trial of Khalid Shief Mohammed to New York and allowing a trial for that fool who blew up his underpants.
Another important measure we have developed in our overall strategy is applying the rule of law to terrorists. Terrorists are criminals. They commit criminal actions like murder, kidnapping, and arson, and countries have laws to punish criminals. So a major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are -- criminals -- and to use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law against them.
Ronald Reagan's top State Department Official on terrorism said that.

There is no place for Charlie Crist in today's Republican party.

There wouldn't be room for Reagan either.

He would be primaried.

UPDATE: I originally wrote Reagan said the above quote. It was actually L. Paul Bremer, talking about the Reagan Adminstration's policy in dealing with terrorism.