Friday, March 26, 2010

Race of Fools - 2010

Leaving shortly for another round of this insanity.

To read the recap of last year's race, go here.

I'll be back next week with a full report.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 27

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 27

* The budget is upon us. No, it can't be so. But it is, precious. Not listening, not listening.

* Still a week behind. The lonely trudge continues.

* Nwandi solo again.

* Teleprompter broke. Poor Nwandi. She's having to read the copy.

* Valarie at Hogwarts talking about the ban on texting bill. It passed the Senate. Sponsor Sen. Jack Murphy says it's all about keeping people from "texing" while driving. He's surrounded by young'uns and the parents of the young man who was killed when he was texting while driving. Teens would lose their license if caught.

* Teleprompter appears to be fixed.

* A Democrat got something passed! Sen. Emanuel Jones got the zero tolerance on weapons modified to have some common sense.

* A slow day on the House floor. The only hot spot was something about juvenille deliquents timed served. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Think Of The Children) is the sponsor.

* Just saw the back of Tom Baxter's head and he's on twitter! HAH!

* Scowling house clerks! The streak continues!

* There was so little going on this day they are covering technical rules. Porter is speaking and there's some Rep. behind him talking on the cell phone and giggling. Speaker Murphy would have never put up with such nonsense.

* We can get license plates with Pandas on them. Why don't we just let everyone design their own and get it over with.

* Something about water and local control. Highly technical again. Honestly, I don't see how they are producing a whole broadcast with this mush.

* More water. The hillbillies want to limit basin transfers. They don't want the city folk to suck all the water from Hazzard County. More technical garbage. They are actually arguing over whether it was sent to the proper sub-committee. BORING.

* House Transportation Committee passed their version of the TSPLOST but put in the part the Guv said he would veto. Can you say poison pill? I knew you could.

* It's a transportation segment so we must see a shot of the Downtown Connector.

* They aren't going to get the transportation bill passed. AGAIN.

* And it's not going to include MARTA. So, Dekalb and Fulton are screwed meaning they probably want support it. Could they make this monster any uglier?

* The Repubs announced a tax overhaul commission. This gives Chip Rogers another chance to talk about our tax system being based on an "agrarian economy". He makes some good points about how overly complicated the beast is.

* Democrats are agin it of course and Casey is calling them on it

* Dubose is pointing out that the Republicans are putting everything off until after 2012 which just happens to be during the term of the next Governor.

* Sen. Judson Hill got another version of his healthcare nightmare passed.

* Tape Machine Monster strikes again! God bless 'em, they've got serious gremlins in this episode.

* PROJECT TOM CRAWFORD! Lord GAWD, the striped shirt is back! Must have come up in the rotation in the closet. Tom's entire look is so gray, he's blending into the background. He's becoming Cheshire Cat-like, slowly disappearing until we only see his grin.

* Lawmakers Flashback! Tom Murphy and Earl Erhart are going to go at it. Awesome. THE TAPE MACHINE AT THE FLASHBACK! ARGH!

* Nwandi is having to fill. This episode is a disaster.

* The Senate honored Lawmakers on their anniversary. The House did this last week. The tape machine is threatening to eat this one too. The Beast must be fed!

* Nwandi says maybe they need some budget increases to fix the tape machiines! HAH!

* Nwandi is stretcccccching her words. Fill Nwandi! Fill!

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! And Ricky misses her camera cue. It's completely off the rails now. The economy is so bad even the lottery is short of funding. Jenkins Co. has an unemployment rate of 22%. My lord. This is certainly the way to end this doomed episode.

* Nwandi and Ricky are doing some back and forth to fill more time. I hope the tape machine doesn't eat Georgia Outdoors. They might have to put up an old fashioned "Please Standy" slide.

* The trainwreck is finally over. Thank the lord, that's a wrap.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That Side Of The River

As a blogger, the news that Orly Taitz, the birther queen, has joined the legal fight to challenge this week's healthcare legislation causes me to rub my hands in glee. As a thinking human being, it strains my eye muscles as they roll uncontrollably.

I refer to one of my political priniciples as "the side of the river". It states, "no matter how much you fundamentally agree with an issue, sometimes you have to look around and see who's standing on your side of the river". There is nuance, however. Each side of the river always has resident kooks. One must determine when the number of kooks begins to override the comfort of ideological purity.

Even though I fundamentally oppose to the healthcare legislation (primarily due to the individual mandates), I think it's starting to clarify which shore of this political river is becoming the home of the wildest raving lunatics.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 26

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 26

* We must talk of the budget. I fear it. We must. Not yet.

* A week behind still and I fear I may never catch up. There is no choice but to trudge on. My only companions - my ghostly readers and the vaporous images on the screen.

* Nwandi is solo again. Hope all is okay with Susan.

* The appointment bill to allow the Governor the power to select four currently elected officials passed Senate committee.

* And there's Keocia in the usual Valarie spot! Girlfriend is moving up in the world!

* Sen. Bill Heath has hair the color of tin foil. Or it could be the unforgiving lights of the sterile committee room. He makes the good point that most people couldn't even name the candidates for these positions. He also points out rightly that most states don't elect these positions. It is rather shocking when outsiders learn we elect administrative positions.

* Sen. Renee Unterman, straying from her usual child safety causes, points out the Guv is already pretty powerful and doubts this thing will get out of the Rules Committee.

* Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Land Of Middle Georgia Spas) wants to allow us to register to vote online. Very forward thinking but fraught with peril. Vincent Fort (D-Land of a Thousand Rants) objects. He believes it will dilute minority votes and says it's a solution in search of a problem. Passed on a party line vote. We're getting to the point where bills are going to be more contentious.

* Valarie back at Hogwarts!

* Scowling House Clerks! The Streak continues!

* More trying to find tax cheats. This time tightening up business licenses. And we get a rather strange shot of one of the signs full of Asian script which dot Buford Highway. I get the feeling the Lawmakers camera crew had a hankering for Korean Barbecue.

* Billions! Billions for state coffers! Yeah, right.

* Chyron says Massage Parlors! This should be exciting. Let's hope for a happy ending. Of course, Cecil Staton is the sponsor. I once dated a massage therapist. Happy endings until it ended.

* Back to Valarie. Business inventory tax bill. They've tried to kill this thing for years. The locals usually scream bloody murder. This is sausage making at its finest. They essentially want to allow counties to opt out.

* More sausage making and we get a machine gun style series of clips. Including one that weirdly showed legislators eating lunch. Bizarre segment.

* The Senate defeated a ridiculous measure to protect us from the Federal healthcare bill (which at this point had not passed). It was defeated because the Senate Democrats held fast and it failed to reach the required 2/3 majority. Political sausage making at its finest. They will reconsider this at some point. That's called a tease in the bidness

* Leadership Series. Senate Pro Tem Tommie Williams. Oh lord, he's going to talk about the budget. Can you say we ain't got no money? I knew you could. Tommie shouldn't wear pale suits with his complexion.

* We still aren't close on a transportation plan. This is going to go down as the biggest do-nothing legislature in history. It's got so bad, the Speaker himself came to plead before the Senate Transportation Committee.

* A slight pause to say the Lawmakers team does a helluva job covering so much garbage and regurgitating it in a fairly palatable fashion.

* They are trying to give the Speaker and the Lite Guv subpoena power to obtain legislator's tax records to enforce the new ethics laws. That's pretty wild and might be a fine example of the pavement on the road to hell.

* Lawmaker Flashback! The Dean of the Senate, George Hooks in 1995. It's an eminent domain bill. This was about a pipeline they wanted to run right down the gut of the state. We've reached the time where they are talking about bills I remember. Shot of a legislator writing an actual letter. Strangely anachronistic given all are now seen tapping away at laptops.

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Macon's raising taxes. Obviously local council member Erick Erickson was too busy hobnobbing at CNN since he raised nary a peep. Columbus is trying to save its crime lab. Savannah's St. Patrick's Day parade happened know what I mean.

* Tomorrow we get to play Project Tom Crawford! But for now, that's a wrap!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 25

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 25

* We must speak of the budget, love. I can't utter a breath. We must, love.

* Day 25 and I'm a week behind again. The session has become my own Sisyphus stone. We - the Legislature, Nwandi, Susan, Valarie, the kids - are all stuck in a limbo of debt and doom. The only way out is to move forward.

* Nwandi is by herself. That's going to be quite a chore.

* Chief Justice Carol Hunstein's first State of The Judiciary. Lord, I'm behind. I've already heard the highlights of the speech and it is full of doom. Tales of judges not working and great mobs of predators flying out of the system.

* When she mentioned the budget, Lt. Guv. Cagle looked like she took a gavel to his forehead.

* Valarie is at Hogwarts with reaction to the speech. The Chief is talking about Mitch Seabaugh's proposal to reduce judges. Sen. Preston Smith, chair of the Judiciary Committee, says there are many solutions but doesn't say which one will work. Rep. Wendell Willard, the House Judiciary Chair, doesn't see cutting judges. This means the thing is doomed.

* Lawmakers is getting pre-empted tomorrow night by some Georgia Tech geekfest. Fortunately, the magic DVR saves our recaps.

* Oh lord. It's the hippie UGA students with the protest of the day. Lots of tie-dye. Shocking. And there's Trevor Southerland of the UGA Democrats. Met him. Nice guy. Practically a communist.

* And now Dubose Porter. With Stephanie Benefield. And Vincent Fort. It's the usual lineup of liberal lions.

* Valarie is doing double duty. She's covering Sen. Chip Rogers weekly press conferences. Bonus points for using the word scofflaws. Suddenly, we're very interested in busting tax cheats. You can see the haze of desperation drifting across the screen.

* Plug for Delta. Because we're going to talk about transportation. Apparently, the only thing they will get done is shortening the terms of the DOT board.

* Road racing! The Senate passed the bill to allow racing on city streets. Bring on the Winder Grand Prix! Given my near future activities, I have a heightened interest in these issues. Stay tuned this weekend for my annual report on something that legally I can't really mention.

* Valarie again! She's like a remote anchor. The House voted down some alimony bill. They are talking about how to deal with the same people marrying multiple times. Which reminds me of this funny story.

* Earnest Dan Weber wants to pass something that will bring more federal dollars to the schools. He's so earnest.

* We need to make sure buses that carry kids have insurance. Yes, it wasn't in there already.

* Back to Valarie again. She must have had a helluva time putting all these on locations spots together.

* Scowling House Clerks! The streak continues! I was getting worried. This is the latest spotting yet.

* More screaming about tax cheaters.

* The Hustler bill. The dirty mag wants to get pictures of that poor hiker girl. We currently don't have a law preventing this type of ugliness. Rep. Jill Chambers is going to explain the bill and Nwandi warns it could be graphic.

* I knew we would hear the word purient. The graphicness was the word "genitals". Well, this is the Bert & Ernie network, so what did you expect?

* Jeff Mullis wants a blue alert to notify people that a cop killer is on the loose. Not a bad idea. But seriously. Aren't we going to start running out of colors?

* Uh oh. Some tax bill to extend the Dekalb Homestead exemption caused some consternation amongst my county delegation. The Chair of the delegation is nicknamed "Coach". Always great nicknames in the House. He wants to delay the bill to talk some more. Scowly Red looks like she's shooting lazer beams from her eyes. How dare they threaten to upset the carefully laid schedule of the Scowly House Clerks!

* Senate Committee passed shortening the terms of the DOT Board. They can't disagree on a transportation plan, but they've got plenty of time to gig they're old adversary.

* Expanded coverage of The Chief's State of the Judiciary speech. Bathroom break!

* Lawmakers flashback! We're going to talk about the '96 budget. There's "Skin" Edge. The old Republican leader. Whatever happened to him? He wasn't caught up in that Dafusky Island awfulness, was he? They are arguing over the amount of prison beds. Not the best flashback but we do get to see ol' anchor Gerald Bryant. He was a good 'un.

* Rep. Michael Harden wants to drug test people applying for Unemployment Insurance. There is so much wrong with this insanity, I can't cover it all here. Since I have some expertise in this area, I may write about it at length. When asked about possible Constitutional issues, Rep. Stumpjumper replies judges make bad rulings all the time. The clarity of his reasoning is stunning.

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Tiger will play at The Masters and there is much rejoicing at the Washington Road Hooters! Lamar Advertising, the billboard people, won't accept
"spas" as customers any more. Lookee there, legislators! The free market at work!

* Leadership series tomorrow with Tommie Williams. But for now, that's a wrap!

Life In The 4th

Living in the 4th Congressional District, voting in the Republican primary is about as useful as shoeing a goat. Having voted in the Democratic primary for the past 20 years, I take quite a bit of ribbing from Democrats about my declared independent status. My usual response is since Elaine Boyer is the only Dekalb Republican ever seriously challenged, I'm pretty sure she's got it covered without me.

All changes in July.

For the first time since I've been a resident of Georgia's third largest county, the Republican primary is far more interesting. More importantly, all the Democrats are in relatively safe seats or are heading to a foregone conclusion.

For these reasons, I will pull the Elephant's ticket this summer.

And I've narrowed my choices on candidate for Governor down to two. I'll leave you to speculate which they are.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Witches Hammer's New Gig

Despite my salty nature, I purposely make my writing PG-13.

Erick, the evangelical Christian who frequently questions the Christianity of those he disagrees with politically, calls a sitting Supreme Court Justice a "goat f*cking child molester" and gets a gig on CNN.

I think it may be time to talk about the history of Tortillas and why the owner shuttered the place.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 24

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 24

* We must speak of the budget, precious. No, no. We must speak of the budget, precious. Not listening, not listening!

* It's Friday! That's means PROJECT TOM CRAWFORD!

* Governor Perdue announced the revenue figures and it ain't good. First, we're going to take some of the stimulating from the 2011 budget and move it back into the 2010 budget. He also is dropping his "bed tax" on hospitals but to make up for that one, he wants to remove the sales tax exemption on non-profit hospitals. That's huge.

* He says there's too much "don't cut us, cut them". He's getting pretty harsh with the hospital lobby.

* The Democrats are pounding on the leadership about cuts in education and the furloughs. Good politics but given the shortfalls, far from realism. They want to "invest in education" but the only method they have for funding it is catching the "cheats". In other words, they think there is a pot of gold under the couch cushions.

* Calvin Smyre wants to do away with tax exemptions but doesn't say which ones. That is the trick isn't it?

* Chip Rogers pet property tax bill passed the Senate. He's using an example of someone who bought a house for $13,000 but was appraised at over $100k. He puts forth that someone who can afford such a cheap hovel certainly couldn't afford the taxes. He's right. Which is why I guarantee it wouldn't be an individual buying it. It would be a developer. But we are talking politics here. Why confuse things with honesty?

* Today's show is depressing.

* Less paper - more internet reports. Good thing they thought of this now. Lord knows, we needed the last 15 years to prove that whole internet thing isn't just a fad.

* Rep. Mike Jacobs bullying bill got tabled. That means it probably won't surface again this session. No protection for Jacobs from bitter Young Democrats.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* Senate Transportation Committee. That means Valarie at Hogwarts. DOT board members will get shorter terms. Not so secret dirty secret, the Leg can't stand the Board's independence. They will chip away at their power however possible.

* PROJECT TOM CRAWFORD! Tom! You actually look quite sharp today! Still a striped tie, but it goes well with the pale blue shirt and charcoal jacket. We're approaching small town funeral director again, but, lord knows, it's a big improvement over the recent 70's sugar daddy looks.

* Milton County is back! Fulton absorbed the then rural county back in the 20s but now it wants to break away again. Rep. Jan Jones, the new Speaker Pro Tem, is pushing this one. It's going to be a nasty fight because of all the goopy usual mess - race, the Constitution, MARTA funding, taxes. What a mess. The big bears here are the liabilities for Grady and MARTA.

* Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) is saying Miton would still pay for MARTA. It's a geographical thing plus there is a MARTA station in Sandy Springs. An interesting note, the Sandy Springs area was not part of the original Milton. So why do the upstarts want it? Pretty simple. Cold hard cash. It along with its neighbors Alpharetta, Johns Creek and the city of Milton are some of the wealthiest in the state.

* Speaker Ralston and Lt. Guv Casey Cagle got to play with some new medical devices. It's a teleconferencing deal. They are poking and prodding two of the most powerful men in the state. Feel free to makes your own jokes. Bonus points for a shot at Glenn Richardson.

* Lawmakers Flashback! Apparently it's the only reason some people tune in. Not sure I would have said that. And it's a gun bill! Yeehaw! 1994 is the year and we're discussing background checks. Some Rep is holding up a street sweeper in the chamber. That's quite a prop. Denmark Groover is talking about something called the "catfish substitute". It's an old country boy round about way of saying he's goina gut it.

* Lawmakers was honored in the House today! Nwandi got to stand up on the Speaker's dais along with Executive Producer Ashlie Lewis. How exciting! They got in a plug. Including the internet broadcast. Give a teevee person a mic and they will plug away!

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Oh, it's good news. Robins AFB is hiring 500 people.I wonder if that came from the stimulating. Ricky got her stories mixed up. Probably because she's giving good news.

* Chief Justice Carol Hunstein is giving her first State of the Judiciary on Tuesday. Leah Sears speeches were always appointment teevee. We'll just have to wait and see how the new robe on the block delivers because for now, that's a wrap!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 23

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 23

* We must talk of the budget dear. We can't. But we must. I see it in my nightmares. Then, we must wake from this deep darkness.

* That water thing I didn't understand yesterday passed both House and Senate.

* Oh we have clips of scientists in waders and the Hooch. We're getting fancy graphics now. There is no fear of the beast tape machine!

* Statewide watering ban from 10:00am to 4:00pm. That's pretty harsh. There are exemptions for farming, gardening and such. Someone needs to read this thing in detail and find out exactly what we can and can't do.

* The Senate had no debate. The House was a little livelier.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* Interbasin transfers are not in this bill. Rep. Debbie Buckner says it ain't a great bill. Democrats are never satisfied.

* Mitch Seabaugh wants to eliminate 19 Superior Court Judges. He's an accountant so he says he's going by hard numbers. He looked at average cases per judge. The judges say the math is flawed because it doesn't take into account the different type of cases in different districts. It's the classic conflict of black and white numbers against context.

* DOT can raise the number of design build projects. These are essentially private run projects, soup to nuts. The real reason this thing passed is some we can get more stimulating!

* House Transportation. That means Valarie at Hogwarts. And probably shots of the the Downtown Connector. Yep. There's the Connector. This is the regional version of the bill. The House statewide funding plan is apparently dead.

* Fran Millar wants to repeal the MARTA tax in Fulton and Dekalb. His reason is because those two counties would double tax themselves. Millar once again shows most of the North Dekalb Republilcans are reasonable human beings.

* Since they're talking about MARTA, I'm surprised Jill Chambers didn't appear in a cloud of smoke and brimstone.

* Our first appearance of Sen. Dan Weber! North Dekalb Republicans in the House! No wait. Instead it's a clip of Vincent Fort. The beast tape machine strikes back! It did not appreciate being force fed all those rich graphics.

* After some foster care bill, we get back to Sen. Dan Weber. Dude, you need a haircut. He's gone full blown hippie! But we always knew the North Dekalb Republicans were secretly liberals. His bill moves the date to extend contracts to teachers to May instead of April. It gives the school system extra time to decide. Vincent Fort opposes it because it would be hardship on the teachers. It passed.

* The Applebee's Bill is back. It allows establishments that serve alcohol to set up shop near public housing. This is really all about an Applebee's out in Winder. Apparently there ain't too many places to put tacky, cookie cutter "bars" in Winder.

* Another nasty abortion bill is in committee. We get Lara Fawaz at Hogwarts for the update. This one requires doctor's to refuse to perform an abortion if they believe a woman is under coercion from a third party. So, now doctor's are being made agents of the state?

* A Georgia State law professor is pointing out this thing is fundamentally flawed. Even a Republican is pointing out she can't vote for this little nightmare. She got so mad about she left the meeting.

* Susan congratulates Lara on a good story. Well deserved.

* Synthetic pot! And they are showing one of those little foil packets with a zippy name like pep spice. I believe my shady convenience store may sell this stuff. Apparently it's ten time more powerful than the real stuff! And doesn't show up on a drug test! Hmmmmmmm. Of course, we must ban it.

* Tom Murphy was honored in the House. His portrait was unveiled and it will sit just outside the House. His portrait has the old flag. Interesting. Even the scowling House clerks look reverent.

* Lawmaker flashback! And of course it's Tom Murphy. He's speaking on the lottery bill. This should be a hoot. He's pointing at the camera and telling the "educational televsion" folk they need to show this! He's taking a shot of Zell! Oh, those were the days! Apparently Zell accused him of holding the bill up in committe. He called the commitee chair to testify to the falsehood. Now, have a clip of Governor Joe Frank. He says we shouldn't be in the gambling "bidness". Awesome clip.

* Nurse day at the big house. There hasn't been that many people dressed in white at the Capitol since Gene Talmadge was governor.

* The Senate honored the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Committee. And they are all red-faced. Not kidding. Bet some visine was passed out before that speech.

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Students protested budget cuts at the Medical College of Georgia. McIntosh County doesn't have a 911 system. Residents aren't happy about the fees required to pay for it. They probably aren't happy about having pay for new horseless carriages either. Something about GPS systems on bicycles but the chyron says GPB. Intern had a freudian slip.

* Tomorrow we get Project Tom Crawford! But for now, that's a wrap!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 22

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 22

* Shall we talk about the budget? No, it will be too bloody. But we must, we must.

* House approves making it a felony to knowingly send out tainted food. Just as I said last year, how is this not already a law! The whole thing is due to the bad nuts down in Early County which made their way into some salmonella flavored peanut butter.

* Something about water. We can't water our lawns or something. I don't know. It's a bunch of parliamentary mess that even I can't figure out. It'll probably come up later.

* They expanded the definition of vaccine to include oral mists. Yes, this type of minutiae actually has to be done. Methinks Lawmakers is struggling to find interesting stories.

* Privatization of Rest Areas. Like I said. Struggling. They could be turned into faux convenience stores. Slushies for everyone! If they have those delicious taquitos, I'm all for it.

* Both transportation committees met today. Of course this means Valarie at Hogwarts. I bet we get to see the Downtown Connector! Rep. Jim Cole, the Guv's floor leader, is laying down the law. County opt-out will mean a veto. Regions still can. Now, we get into constitutionality. Should it be an amendment? Might we have an equal protection issue here? This is going to get complicated.

* Downtown Connector! They also want to shorten the terms of the DOT board members but they aren't sure what the limit should be.

* Oh my goodness. Valarie says the TSPLOST may not pass again! That would be three years in a row, I think.

* Budget time. Get out the knives. Jerry Keen wants to extend the schedule by shortening the legislative work week. Reps are concerned about getting home to their families or what not. Oh, and campaigning as they can't raise money while in session.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* Leadership series. Dubose Porter. His wife is running for Lite Guv. Don'tcha know. Oh, and he's running for something too. Governor, I believe. He's pimping his "share the data" tax plan again. He seems to think it is holy water that will wash away the budget blood.

* Tom Crawford needs to take fashion tips from Dubose. That's one sharp tie.

* Susan is desperately trying to get him to talk about something else and he keeps going back to finding the "cheats".

* When Dubose gets wonky, he starts to lose me. I'm sure I'm not alone.

* Accountants only have to go to training for half the current time. Or something. They continue to clean the house while the sludge of the budget looms on the horizon.

* Protest of the day! It's the Americans For Prosperity. That''s Grover Norquist's fanatics. Read Tom Crawford snarky recap here.

* Tom Graves sounds like a preacher. I suppose that plays well in his part of the state.

* Won't someone think of the children! It's the Youth and Children committee. Of course they are in the room that looks like it used to be the living room of a double wide. It's a great wad of liberals! People going hungry! Can't get healthcare! It's all going to hell!

* Lawmaker flashback! Young Dubose Porter in 1987! God bless him, he'd already lost all his hair. This is about burn permits. I know something about this as I have to burn my farm each year. Reminds me. I haven't done that yet. Lord, one of the gentleman farmer reps just said "forestry man".

* A bill to go after street gangs and their "tags". I fear we are about to get on trepidous ground. It allows prosecutors to go after people who recruit. Can't wait to see how that's defined.

* Keocia!

* A bill is in committee to allow people on the sex offender lists to petition for their removal. It's basically for those that are dying or ones who are "level one" and haven't shown a propensity to do it again. I wonder if that would cover that poor lady in Augusta who was put on the list for giving her high school boy friend an "oral test".

* Keocia talked to Bobby Franklin! Of course, he was the only member who was against the bill. But in true Franklin fashion, it ain't what you think. He's agin the registry altogether because he believes if they've served the time, the state should be done with them. Of course, this probably means he also believes they shouldn't have been released in the first place.

* Another protest! Against Meth! The anti-meth people have a big screen teevee! There's some money behind this sucker. Thurbert Baker and his "hair" was there.

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Four members of the assisted suicide group Final Exit were indicted in Forsyth County. Gwinnett County's DA says the public defender system may violate the Constitution. A gun went of in a Dublin Middle School. It's the third incident in that school this year?! What's up with that?

* Tomorrow, we get the bill to appoint Constitutional officers. What fun! Just once I wish Susan would give me a sly wink. But for now, that's a wrap!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 21

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 21

* We're back on track and I have a feeling we're going to be hearing about the budget.

* Nwandi's back! YAY! And we get to talk to Tom Crawford! YAY!

* Chip Rogers is floating layoffs and fee increases. Republicans for fee increases. You can smell the desperation in the air.

* Jerry Keen says we haven't looked at fees in 15 years. He wants to charge grocery stores for their inspections. It only costs $82 dollars to file a lawsuit. I think even libertarians might agree that's too cheap. Imagine what it could do to cut down on frivolous lawsuits!

* February revenue numbers are in. They are down 10% from last February. We're screwed.

* Project Tom Crawford! Striped shirt with a patterned tie again. I give. At least it's not striped on top of checks this time. Less wobbly on the TeeVee. It's eerie seeing the Capitol so quiet behind Tom.

* Tom says not only is the 2011 budget going to be $1 billion short but the 2010 budget still needs $200 million cut. This is going to get awful.

* The Education Civil War continues. Last week, Seth Harp wanted to raise tuition by 77% . That raised the ire of many. Harp is not happy about it and he's fire-breathing from the Senate well. He even takes a few shots at his own party leaders - Governor Perdue. If this is the opening salvo, it will get much bloodier.

* In the House, Austin Scott is also taking shots at the Guv. Calling him a tax and spender. Pretty much called him a Democrat.

* Scowling House clerks! The streak continues!

* The House wants to renew the hotel tax in Atlanta. It's earmarked to support the Georgia Dome. And it's Republicans arguing for it. The extension of a tax! Strange times, bubba.

* Fees. Fees. Fees. It's all about fees. More action in the Senate about bringing them up to date. I remember when driver's license went from $4.50 to $15.00. It almost caused a revolt.

* Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Land of A Thousand Democrats) wants a requirement to teach first aid in secondary schools. Sen. John Douglas (R-Crazyland) says it's fine but doesn't need to be codified. Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Strange Hair) points out we already require health classes. The thing eventually passed.

* House approved the Governor's school board governance bill. It allows the governor to swoop in an take out school board members where the system loses accreditation. It can only happen after the state Board of Education holds are hearing and recommends the action.

* Child prostitution bill. This should be good. So good, we have Valarie at Hogwarts. Opponents say the measure, which changes the offense to "unruly children", say it decriminalizes prostitution. I didn't see their pile of stones, but I'm sure they are nearby. A Fulton prosecutor argues for the bill and not hauling children off to jail for crimes where they can't even consent. So much for the law and order crowd.

* Hustler has filed open records request to get the pictures of that poor hiker girl that was killed last year. Yep, Larry Flynt is still the most vile man on the planet. Speaker Ralston is dead set against and is trying to pass a bill which will prevent these types of request. They should research what happened in Florida after Dale Earnhardt's death. But it won't cover the Hustler situation. To which the Speaker says they are welcome to sue the State. I'm pretty sure Flynt has heard those words before.

* Black History Moment. We're getting it now because of the recess. And there's Keocia! She's not really missing. Profile of Coretta Scott King. Coretta was a country girl. Didn't know that.

* Ban on texting while driving passed Senate committee. Ban on eating Whoppers while driving must be on the way. Hearing old dudes talk about texting is pretty funny.

* Hearing on raising the cigarette tax. And there's Tom Baxter! It's standing room only for this committee meeting and all the beautiful people are there.

* We've got a roving camera! It's slowly swinging away from Nwandi and there's Ricky looking a little stunned. Camera intern must have dozed off. Or seen a rat. Whiplash back to Nwandi.

* International Women's Day. I suppose this counts as our protest of the day. And there's Nan Orrock! Of course Lawmaker's identifies here as Gail Buckner of Morrow. It's easy to get your liberals confused.

* Lawmakers Flashback! It's also Women's History Month. So, naturally we get to see an old dude - Denmark Groover. But he's honoring the first woman who served in the General Assembly - Viola Ross Napier. She served in the 20s which is pretty amazing.

* Susan points out there still not enough women in the Legislature. SNAP!

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! A hunter killed a forestry employee in middlle Georgia. He thought he was a coyote. Tax breaks are helping movies move to Georgia. Great. More liberals. Short segment tonight. Just not enough bad news to go around.

* Tomorrow! More protests! More Porter! But for now, that's a wrap!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 20

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.

* Let's do the time warp again! This episode was broadcast on Feb. 18th. Tomorrow the legislatures returns, Lawmakers returns and Gonzo returns on a regular basis. I promise. Now on with the show.

* It's the weekly recap show and that means Project Tom Crawford!

* Valerie on the set again. No mention of Nwandi this time. That can't be good. And Valerie missed a camera transition. There's some bad juju in the air.

* Sen. Jack Hill talks about looking under the mattress for money. Told you they're desperate.

* Oh boy. They're going to tackle the Board of Regents. That's going to be one hella nasty fight.

* Snappy yellow suit on Valerie. Matches the 70s themed set. Cut me some slack. It's the weekend recap. It's all about the fashion. One day your in and the next, you're out.

* Scowling house clerks! The streak continues!

* It's all about the adjournment. Which already happened. Democrats didn't want to take the break. That's something I didn't know.

* Love the necklace Susan. More fashion. I'm also getting caught up on Project Runway.

* We have to talk about fashion cause lord knows, the last day before the ADJOURNMENT not a lot got done.

* Tape monster is back!

* Rep. Steve Davis (R-Land Of Endless Pavement) wants to restructure the Atlanta Regional Commission. His amendment was ruled not germane. I wish I could rule the nightmare that is the Hudson Bridge Rd. exit not germane.

* The Senate debated a bill about mobile homes. For an hour. Good lord. And it was sponsored by Sen. John Bulloch who's from down my way. The jokes just write themselves.

* The Non-Civil Committee. Awesome name. And we get Lara Fawaz at Hogwarts for a report. Fixing the law to cut off the loophole that allows student-teacher relations (in the Biblican sense). Barry Loudermilk wants to ban abortion based on race. Democrat Stacy Abrams points out just how insane this thing is. If a woman mentions race and the doctor performs the abortion, the doctor is a criminal. Seriously. Have they lost their minds?

* Good job Lara. Where's Keocia? Has Channel 46 already hired her?

* Project Tom Crawford! Oh Tom! A checked shirt with a striped tie? And it appears Tom is determined to bring the 70s back. I swear the tie is gold with black stripes. Can someone from The Men's Warehouse save this man? I feel all wobbly just looking at that thing.

* There are far too many mentions of "gaping holes". Sounds dirty.

* Tom points out the only big pool of money left is the University system. You think politics is nasty these days? Just wait until that fight starts.

* We're going to raid the sewer funding. We're literally up sh*t creek.

* Working Family Caucus or something. And there's Nan Orrock. I could have put money on her being there. Democrats for tax reform? Closing tax loopholes? How about that! Too bad they didn't act this way when they were in power. Oh and of course they want to raise taxes. Duh.

* Lawmaker flashback! 1985. Angulique Proctor was an anchor! I believe she went on to report for one of the big boy TeeVee stations. They're debating gasoline sales which is about as boring as it gets. This was back in the day when they were called filling stations. Young Steve Thompson! Well, not exactly. That sucker hasn't changed a bit. And I won't even get into the deal with his hair.

* Protest of the day and that means Alan Freedman. The advocates for vouchers braved the chilly weather. They even have a rabbi! How refreshing. In a weird sort of way. Now in the committee meeting and there's former WSB reporter Bill Nigut! He's a big old liberal, so he doesn't like vouchers. I once danced the Hora with him. How many south Georgia rednecks can say that!

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Georgia is getting no transportation stimlus funds and the chyron reads "No Stimulus For You". One of the interns has a sense of humor. Rejection, rejection, rejection. Tiger Woods? What the hell does this have to do with Georgia? Oh, The Masters of course. A rockslide closed a highway in north Georgia. We're back to Revelations style news updates.

* And we're off for the ADJOURNMENT, but with the magic of the internet, I've brought you up to current. So we start all over again tomorrow. But for now, that's a wrap!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 19

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

* Still in the time warp. This is from 2-17-10

* Nwandi still missing in action! Valerie back on the set.

* The Senate passes legistlation to prevent fraudulent insurance discounts. We didn't already have this?! Seth Harp says a grand a day is "chicken feed". He actually used the term "one blamed thang". He's pretty fired up. He's not running for Insurance Commissioner or anything is he? Naw. That couldn't have anything to do with it.

* Private ownership of public water? This sounds fraught with danger.

* Laura Fawaz at Hogwarts!

* This little nightmare bill is in committee. Chip Pearson wants to apply DOT language to the water controls. Of course the hippie river keepers are agin it. I have to say throwing building resevoirs into the private sector does give me a small case of the willies.

* Forest land protection act. My ears just perked up! This is about covenants of connservation. I let mine lapse a few years ago because of the potential fines and penalties if I ever sold. They are trying to shift that burden to the purchaser. Would have been nice if this thing had passed when I needed it.

* Scowling house clerks! The streak continues!

* Pilot program to allow the Secretary of State to transmit electronic ballots for our service men and women overseas. Interesting idea. It's not budgeted so we'd have to find grant money (meaning the Feds).

* Fulton County Taxpayers Association at some committee meeting. They're always riled up. That was the briefest clip ever. Valerie says we'll hear more in the future.

* Budget discussion with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and and the Georgia Budget Policy Institute. The wonkiness is overwhelming. Bottom line. We ain't got no money.

* Harry Geisinger wants horse racing! I want casinos! More sin equals more money! Let the good times roll. We're getting a lesson in how pari-muteuel gambling works. I surprised the rafters of Hogwarts aren't crumbling

* Apparently Susan called Farriers - Ferrets. Good thing there isn't one nearby or she might have got a horseshoe upside the head.

* Rep. Matt Ramsey wants to increase penalties for harming court officers. He used a sports metaphor about penalties being harsher for striking the official. And this has Rep. Bobby Franklin (R - Crazyland) all riled up. He says it sends the wrong message that regular people of Georgia are less important than state employees. He just called judges state employees costumed in a robe. My god, can he get any more bat guano insane?

* Hospital tax is in sub-committee and it appears everyone in the state other than Governor Perdue hates this thing.

* Sen. Buddy Carter introduced his first piece of legislation and that means hazing! And it's about new drugs. Oh this is going to be good. They're making him pronounce the chemical names of the drugs. Oh, are they such cards! It actually is pretty funny and Valerie just flat out lost it. She can't stop laughing.

* Lawmakers flashback! Increase the Governor's pension. Ol' Gov Busbee claimed that term limits qualified as "involuntary separation" and thus a higher pension. Now that's some fine grifting. And there's a young Paul Coverdell. God rest his kind soul. They used old Lester Maddox to draw sympathy for the measure. Only in Georgia.

* Valerie is still giggling.

* Larry Platt! Pants On The Ground! HE'S IN THE SPEAKERS SPOT OF THE HOUSE! SINGING HIS SONG! The Republicans look horrified! Valerie is losing it again!

* Ricky Bevington and her BOOK OF DOOM! Morris News is in bankruptcy. No streetcars for Atlanta. And we lost one of Georgia's brave sons in the conflict overseas. Gay parade in Augusta gets the go ahead from a judge.

* Valerie's still giggling.

* Susan has to talk over the closing music. They are really running tight these days.Tomorrow we get to play Project Tom Crawford, but for now, that's a wrap!

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 18

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

* We're still in the time warp. Tonight's show is from 2-16-10. But even though we're behind we haven't missed much. The guys and gals from the hill have been cloistered in budget meeting for the last two weeks. Time to catch up.

* There's our old friend the orange juicer. And there's Susan and...Valerie?. Nwandi has the night off and Valerie has been summoned from Hogwarts to fill in.

* 2010 amended budget passed. This gets us to June 30. Unfortunately, it does not get us past that point and the resulting revenue nightmare is the reason for the current recess.

* Everyone wants to improve tax collection. We're down to looking for pennies in the couch.

* We're dipping into the rainy day fund and it's still not enough. Sen. Jack Hill wants to increase this fund during better times to better weather the desperate times.

* Chyron sars "LOST Revenue". How appropriate. LOST is local option sales tax. The house is trying to pass a bill that will end contentious revenue negotiations following the census. The counties and cities apparently tend to have a knock down drag out about how to divide the money based on the new population shifts. It got vetoed last year. Because it didn't contain a "doomsday clause". Awesome. If the two sides can't reach an agreement, the tax simply goes away! That'll get 'em moving.

* Dude from the transportation department has the snappiest pink tie I've ever seen. Dick Williams would be so proud. They're trying to increase the cap on "design build" projects. These are projects that are worked start to finish by private companies (think the fifth runway at the airport). It's all very byzantine but the bottom line is it will allow us to get more stimulus funds.

* There's our plug for Delta! And a shot of the downtown connector! It's a Lawmaker exacta!

* Rewriting the trust code? That's about as exciting as watching mules graze.

* Oh there's a pet trust! Awesome! You can now leave money to Fifi!

* Scowling House clerks. The streak continues!

* Better sunshine laws for local governments. If they have a budget of over $1 million, they must post their budget and audits onlin yearly. Citizens can contrast and compare their government with nearby systems. Good bill.

* Senate appears to have been doing housekeeping. The Senators look bored. Wish they'd catch one napping. Seriously. They're talking about utility contracting.

* Little League Softball champions from Warner Robins! They're so cute.

* Some firefighter pension bill. Susan got a little gleam in her eyes.

* Leadership series. House Majority Leader Jerry Keen. The amended budget won't completely pass until they see February revenue numbers. If it's bad they will have to cut more. It's gonna be bad and they're going to have to cut more. More about collections. Once again, we're looking under the sofa cushions.

* I think I just saw General Larry "Pants On The Ground" Platt walk behind Keen. He's everywhere!

* The more they talk about the budget shortfall, the more Keen looks like he wants to vomit. We can't touch Medicaid because if we reduce it we have to send the money back! That leaves education. Oh, it's going to get ugly. We're either going to have to increase classroom size or more furloughs. If they are even hinting at laying off teachers, we are in deep doo.

* The yearly gun bill. Mitch Seabaugh wants to expand where you can pack heat. It includes college campuses and the Regents are agin it. Seabaugh is saying he's made compromises and the college folks didn't even aknowledge it. No one's happy down there these days.

* A bill that would allow gun owners to have their pieces in their cars when they drive to the airport. It's a good bill but of course a Democrat is imagining all kinds of nightmare scenarios about people "snapping" or some garbage.

* Lawmaker flashback! Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. This ought to be interesting. My god is that Calvin Smyre? It is! He's so young! This is in 1984. And he had quite a head of hair. This is a very technical bill. It only passed after they removed the Governor's power to declare days of fasting and prayer as holidays or some other Old Testament wandering in the desert mess. Can't they ever just do something right?

* Susan is talking about how handsome Smyre was then. And now. Rowwwwrr.

* It's the Mitch Seabaugh show! He's talking about the bonuses for lottery officials. Bring more transperancy and oversight in the bonus process.

* Protests of the day was about the death penalty. They want a one year moriatorium. Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. But of curse we get Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Land of Outrage). He's calling them "latter day crucifixtions". Fort never pulls a punch. And Stephanie Benefield. And Nan Orrock. It's the liberal trifecta!

* Rick Bevington and her book of doom! Southern Company is getting $8 billion from the Feds to build nuclear power plants. Ricky seems confused. Possibly because she's delivering good news. 80 new jobs coming to Gordon County. Ricky might start weeping. Stray cats are a problem in Athens. I always knew that Brian Setzer was trouble.

* Quick wrap up. Gals ran out of time. Time to move on to tomorrow. That's a wrap!