Friday, December 16, 2011

Quote Of The Day

A bonfire was quenched last night.
I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian - on the left and on the right. The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy - the one that's absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes. And the origins of that are theocratic, obviously. The beginning of that is the idea that there is a supreme leader, or infallible pope, or a chief rabbi, or whatever, who can ventriloquise the divine and tell us what to do.
Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Our old friend the witch burner, Erick Erickson.
I hope for a Perry rebound. He’s on his first wife still and has the most consistent record of conservative policies. And we hate the same people and institutions. We have the same general world view.
Note use of the word "hate". This from the man who routinely questions Jimmy Carter's Christianity.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Rewarding Bad Behavior

The streak of media in this town rewarding bad behavior continues.

Atlanta Progressive News' Matthew Cardinale continues to report the "scoop" that the Atlanta Journal Constitution does not credit other sources for stories. I know this comes as a shock to all those staffers at Creative Loafing, the editor of Decatur Metro and every other blog that has covered local news in this town for the past decade.

But let's put aside the continued self-declared importance of Matthew Cardinale (and his new best friend at Peach Pundit, imagine that, a Republican consultant collaborating with an avowed socialist to attack the Republican's favorite punching bag) as he protects us from the greed and sloth of the corporate media giant  and wonder aloud about the response of two of Atlanta's most storied journalists.

Former Creative Loafing Editor, Ken Edelstein:
Thank you for covering this, Matthew. The straightforward, factual fashion in which you play this media watchdog role is a real service to the community.
And The Saporta Reports Maria Saporta:
Astute observation Matthew
Ken and Maria, I just have one question. If one of your reporters did this, would you continue to promote their "good work".

There are many people in social media who continue to do good work and for years they have been routinely ignored. But many times, those who play fast and loose with the rules, get links, credit and pats on the back.

Welcome to the new world, bubba. Same as it ever was.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell responding to allegations made by the blog LaFayette Underground that she waltzed into a Huddle House, drunker than six sailors.
I wrote them back and said they must’ve gotten me mixed up with someone else because I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I don’t dance and I don’t date.
LaFayette Underground has been sticking pins and needles in Walker County officials for two year.Recently, one of its anonymous contributor's was not only identified by police but questioned after security footage showed him on city property after hours.

The conflict between the powers that be in Walker County and the anonymous blog has been bubbling for some time and brings into light a number of issues confronted by social media in the past half decade; anonymity, ethics and standards, etc.

I'll withhold judgment on the standards of LaFayette Underground but will say based on what I've read, they've played fast and loose with the game. That's a dangerous position in any circumstance and as they are discovering, it has real world implications when you are accusing those in power of malfeasance

Friday, December 02, 2011

Quote Of The Day

From an Andrew Sullivan reader:
I spent Thanksgiving with my family of formerly-sensible moderates and conservatives. Every one of them has morphed into a Gingrich fan....The only thing they're interested in is the visceral joy of watching someone destroy and humiliate "that damned Obama." They're convinced that Gingrich is just the guy to administer the rough justice they crave, and whether he's electable or would even be good for the country simply doesn't enter into their thinking.
I could tell a very similar story in the context of "that damned Obama". And I agree with the reader that anyone who thinks Gingrich doesn't stand a chance in nabbing the nomination is fooling themselves. The desire to "teach Obama a lesson" is very real and many are under the delusion that Professor Gingrich can administer the beat down.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friday Night Lights

My beloved Colquitt County Packers will play the Grayson Rams this Friday night in Loganville. While checking the ticket situation, I noticed the following on the Grayson website:
We need a volunteer to work the TDC parking lot beginning at 4pm. I have had numerous  emails and calls about parking, so I think that they will be bringing a large following.  I  believe that last year we had some issues with them getting here early and parking in that  lot.
Yes. We travel.

And yes. We tailgate.

Welcome to high school football - South Georgia style.

Tweet Of The Day

In response to Poltico's Mike Allen tweeting that Warren Buffet buying his hometown newspaper is a "great day for publishing", the AJC's Kyle Wingfield tweets:
I'm sure it would also be a "great day for publishing" if a Koch bought a paper.
In the rapidly closing circular world of "Republican thought", Warren Buffet = George Soros.

All because he uttered the heresy that we may be on the left side of the Laffer Curve.

Job Seeking Is A Part Time Task?

Sen. John Albers wants those receiving Unemployment Insurance Benefits to volunteer 24 hours a week or lose their "handout". He would amend current unemployment law to add the following:
The individual has performed at least 24 hours of service per week, either paid or unpaid, for a nonprofit charitable organization.
His justification?
“At the heart of welfare is the notion that government is responsible for the prosperity and success of our lives,” Albers said in a statement. “It is not. Government is responsible for providing the environment and helping people when needed with a 'hand up' and not a 'hand out.'”
I suppose we should give Sen. Albers a break since he's only been in office a little over a year and actually understanding the laws, portions of which have existed for decades, before commencing to tinker would be a terrible burden.

Unemployment Insurance is no hand out. It is exactly what it is named - insurance. Employers pay a relatively modest premium, in the form of a payroll tax, in reality no different than the subsidy they pay on most other forms of insurance (health, disability, etc.), and if the employee is separated through no fault of their own, that employee receives a weekly payment (once again, think of disability plans) for a period of their unemployment.

In exchange, employers benefit from a more stable workforce and through the various human resources functions of the Department of Labor, easy access to that workforce.

In order for the recipient to receive the benefit, they must not only be available for employment but actively seek employment. Actively seeking employment means using the majority of the work week mailing resumes, interviewing and networking.

Now, along comes the seasoned Senator Albers with the notion that actually using the majority of your week to search for work is counterproductive to searching for work. Those lazy lucky ducks would be much better served by squeezing 24 hours of picking up trash in between actually trying to find a job.

I would think the "conservative" approach would be to actually understand the system instead of immediately implementing radical change. And I bet Sen. Albers could accomplish this herculean task of educating himself in less than 24 hours a week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quote Of The Day II

Breaking the current "conservative" orthodoxy.
Government is not the sole solution in any of the above issues. But the limited government we have should be functional, competent, and dedicated to the overall policies that create an environment that lets individuals prosper.
Slowly but surely, Republicans are waking from their talk radio fever dreams to remember conservative philosophy does not divorce governance and competence.

Quote Of The Day

Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein rips into Drew Westen for accusing Obama of not being more FDR-like.
You know what can FDR kicked down the road for political reasons, to be dealt with after an election? A little something called WORLD WAR II.
Read the whole delicious teardown.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More From The Bill Heath Files

Yesterday, I mentioned how Republican Senator Bill Heath is not satisfied with having "In God We Trust" as an optional sticker on our license plates. Instead, it should be required! And those heathens that don't like it will have to pay extra for a modesty sticker to shamefully cover up the declaration of worship!

Not surprisingly, this ain't Heath's first rodeo in wielding the power of government for righteousness and the preservation of modesty lest the bedrock of our country crumble!

In 2004, he tried to outlaw genital piercing. But for women only.

Amendment sponsor Rep. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, was slack-jawed when told after the vote that some adults seek the piercings...."What? I've never seen such a thing," Heath said. "I, uh, I wouldn't approve of anyone doing it. I don't think that's an appropriate thing to be doing."
The original bill outlawed female genital mutilation; a particularly heinous ritualistic practice usually performed on young girls. Heath  tacked on an amendment outlawing genital piercing even if it was a voluntary action of adult women on their own bodies.

Heath's zealotry to make sure the government appropriately enforced his version of sanctity for all things hoo-hah derailed the entire bill.

Ultimately, with some girl power from both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle, the bill passed. History does not record if on this second try, Heath was unable to lift himself from the fainting couch to save the Republic once again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

January Can't Come Fast Enough

In case you're wondering why I revved the engine up again, look no further than two pre-filed bills.

Exhibit A - Sen. Bill Heath is not satisfied with optional IN GOD WE TRUST stickers for license plates. He wants those magical words required. Those who don't want idolatry/graven images on our government required identification will have to pony up a dollar for generic county modesty stickers.

Exhibit B - After the hippie/communist/dirtbags who infest that leftist hive known as Mississippi (with that many consonants, they must all be descended from Russians!) destroyed righteousness by defeating the personhood amendment, Rep. Rick Crawford takes up the noble cause of protecting us from the sins of in vitro and birth control. Bonus....he's a Democrat. Oh, what fun we'll have dissecting that one.

Seriously. Who could stay away with the yahoos making it this easy?

Quote Of The Day

What do you get when you mix the state's leading Republican blog with a newspaper run by middle Georgia Democrats? A sometimes jarring dose of common sense.
At the heart of the issue is the Federal Government’s inability to process enough work visas or to process those that they are able to complete quickly enough. This, combined with the low chance of being caught without a visa and minimal consequences for those who are, has led to employers opting for illegal workers and for an unending stream of those who would take the jobs.
Of course, Charlie Harper glides by, barely touching the political crux of the problem - any straightening of this labyrinthine mess to ease access to a willing labor pool will  immediately elicit cries of "amnesty" for "law breakers" by those who wish to steer his party.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This Side Of The River

A pet political philosophy of mine is "this side of the river"; no matter how right you feel, sometimes you have to look around at who's with you on this side of the river.

In an interview with the Atlantic's Conor Freidersdorf, Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist explains his "side of the river" moment.

In the mid-2000's Gilchrist made headlines for leading people down to the Mexican border to "assist" the Border Patrol in guarding against illegal immigrants. Then some really "interesting" people started showing up.

In 2007, a similar group created a "parody" video portraying a Minutemen killing an an illegal alien and burying him the desert. Gilchrist rightly condemned the horrid thing and that's where, for him, things went sideways.
I got down there on the border and started to lecture them. And they literally threw me off their mountaintop and declared me an enemy of America. At that point I realized it was becoming not about racism, but about outright fascism. You goosestep with me and my ideas or we're going to trash you just like we're going to trash the illegal aliens. And that's when I realized -- that was about 2007 -- that's when I realized that I had opened up a can of worms, somewhat. Part of this issue had opened up a can of worms and brought forth some of the ugliest people you can ever imagine.
Subsequent events even caused him to praise former adversaries the ACLU and soften his stance towards the Southern Poverty and Law Center,

He still holds to fairly hard line views on immigration, but he deserves credit for looking around and realizing, this ain't the place I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Context  of the quote is the events of the last few days, Cain's weird press dealings, Ohio stomping Kasich's agenda flat and Mississippi strangely saying a pro-life amendment went too far. The entire piece is worth the read but to me, this is the kernel.
A party that gives a motivational speaker ten times the support of a two-term governor of Utah, re-elected with 84 percent of the vote, with strong bipartisan credentials and an even stronger tax reform plan ... well, it's a party in free-fall that also doesn't understand that it is.
The quote struck me, not only because it wraps some reality around our current fun show mirror political world, but it also reminded me of a recent conversaiton.

I try to avoid predictions because I'm not very good at them. But when a night fueled with alcohol caused two of the most reasonable men in Georgia  to turn red-faced, sputtering and abandon reason, I looked the Republican in the eye and said, "you don't see it yet, but he's going to roll you".

Monday, November 07, 2011

Crashing The Blame Game

When the entire global economy comes within inches of collapse, you can be sure there will be plenty of finger pointing. The direction of the pointed finger generally depended on your preconceived political point of view.

Listen to the Limbaugh/Hannity/Axis every day? Then you probably think it was the government forcing banks to loan to irresponsible people. Read Daily Kos on a regular basis? Then, it's all about unregulated greed with Wall Street running wild. If you're the Tea Party.....well, it's probably a weird mix of both, but really, you're just pissed about government money heading in six different directions and none of them yours.

I will admit that I've struggle to make sense of it all, but there's one thing that never seemed to jibe with reality.. Sure there were irresponsible loans and irresponsible borrowers and I'm sure Fannie Mae had its part to play, but how does Dudley Downbeat down the street taking a second mortgage to buy a boat result in global economic armageddon?

Based on one emailer to Andrew Sullivan, Dudley Downbeat had his role in the play but he was a walk-on showing up briefly while other larger players convinced the audience the show must go on.
Wall Street firms were regularly leveraged 30:1...the scale of the bubble to be increased by orders of magnitude - the equivalent of having 50 homes in a fire-prone neighborhood, but with 100 insurance policies on each and a lively market of bets on which will burn down first.  If this were just a sub-prime housing crash, it would have hurt (think dot-com crash), but it wouldn't have brought the global financial system to its knees.  That required Wall Street and AIG, with the ratings agencies helping along the way (by convincing institutional investors that all was safe).
The burning house analogy is the best one I've heard yet.

The analysis of what happened isn't finished (few have yet written about the hidden bank run that annihilated things like mutual funds) and will probably go on for the next decade. But it's clear there's plenty of blame to spread around, but it ain't going to spread like peanut butter. Some deserve some chunks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Playing Mad Max On N. Highland

Creative Loafing's Gwynedd Stuart gets many things right in her article about daily conflict between drivers and pedestrians in Virginia Highland.

Atlanta is not a pedestrian friendly city. Sidewalks are sparse and multi-lane thoroughfares, even in the city core are numerous. Also, even on the never ending autobahns we call interstates, we text, apply makeup, read and stuff our faces with pounds of fast food flesh.

In a pedestrian dense neighborhood like Virginia Highland, it is down right frightening.


There are also some special factors about Virginia Highland which should be considered.

Between Ponce and Los Angeles, there are no fewer than 10 pedestrian crossings with a significant number placed mid-block. It would be interesting to research the genesis of this high frequency. I imagine it has something to do with it being an "entertainment district".

The result of this overcompensation is drivers start, stop, repeat process for the full 1.5 miles. It can be frustrating for the most patient driver.

But this is a mild annoyance compared to the far more dangerous game of Frogger played by the pedestrians.

I will not go so far to claim the previous point is causation for this one, but despite being blessed with abundance of crossings, Virginia Highland pedestrians have a peculiar laissez faire attitude about where to cross the street.

 It doesn't matter the conditions; light, dark, sunshine, raining., hail of frogs, it is inevitable that a drive down Highland will result in a sudden stop due to a pedestrian darting between cars to dash across the street.

Sunday, returning from my farm in south Georgia, I witnessed near tragedy. A car was inching its way out of Yeah Burger, attempting to turn left onto southbound Highland. Of course, the driver was looking to his right to avoid being boned like a T. At the same time, a gentlemen who was drunk/texting/generally oblivious began walking at a diagonal from the Taco Mac towards the other side of the street.

The car saw an all clear and gunned it. I do not exaggerate in saying that a life was spared by two humans suddenly becoming aware of a vast world outside their tiny existence, a quick swerve of the car and hilarious pirouette by the walker.

It is law that cars stop for pedestrians and any suggestion otherwise should be castigated. However, it is also law that pedestrians use the crosswalks and in this particular neighborhood it's almost impossible to avoid them.

But most important of all, if you are a couple hundred pounds of soft flesh, can we expect a smidgen of common sense instead of proudly strutting arrogance when you cross paths with 2000 pounds of twisted steel? As Gwynedd also notes, the law won't matter one smidge if you a smudge on the pavement.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Atlanta Tea Party Strenously Objects

I strenuously object?  Is that how it works? Objection. Overruled.  No, no, no, no, I strenuously object. Oh, well if you strenuously object, let me take a moment to reconsider. ~A Few Good Men

The Atlanta Tea Party (conveniently located in Dacula) has issued a press release letting everyone know they still aren't happy about the Occupy Atlanta thing.
we could not have signs on poles or sticks, or not allowed to even pass out little flags to wave, because they were held up by sticks....Occupy Atlanta has had control of Woodruff Park for the past weeks with no permit, no fees, the use of poles and sticks to hold some signs and their tents
So basically it boils down to "they were allowed to have sticks and we weren't."

You object once to get it on the record.

Atlanta Tea Party, however thin it was, you made your point. Now you are just being ridiculous.

UPDATE: A commenter points out, the rally where the Tea Party couldn't carry their "sticks" was at the State Capitol which is not only State property but operates under a whole different set of rules. The Occupy "campers" were in Woodruff Park which is a city property. You would think the "Atlanta" Tea Party would know the difference. Even if they both are inside the perimeter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Danger Of Living On An Island Thinking It Is A Continent

As dawn broke with Woodruff park clear of its recent "campers", the consensus seems to be that, although most would have acted earlier, Mayor Reed resolved the Occupy Atlanta situation with great prudence and care. Watching Oakland wake to a haze of tear gas, most are rightly relieved that Atlanta continues its legacy of restraint and orderly resolution.

Except, of course, the Tea Party. They continue to mewl about perceived hurt and wallow in yet to happen persecution.

If all you see is shark filled waters, soon, you begin to believe your existence is the only one in the vast ocean.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Older Sister Jealous Of New Baby

Local Tea Party people have been fuming about Occupy Atlanta for the last few weeks. They frequently miss the irony of attacking the "unwashed" down in Woodruff Park using the same methods previously used against them.Poor messaging. Badly spelled signs. Ridiculous outfits. Jackasses doing things no one would abide.

But what has really lit their fuse is Mayor Reed not immediately scooping up the Occupy People by the britches and flinging them out the park. They do have a point.

Although, one could argue that Mayor Reed was put in a difficult situation by the campers and hindsight is 20/20, that the occupiers are violating city ordinance by remaining in the park past 11:00pm is undisputed. It will probably cause a headache at some point in the future.

Debbie Dooley and the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots (conveniently located in Dacula) want to cause Mayor Reed's head to throb now. They demand an extension of  the same courtesy to the Tea Party and if he doesn't, by God, they aren't afraid to lawyer up. From an email sent to the Mayor's office.
We have noticed that the City of Atlanta has waived many of your ordinances, fees, etc., in regard to the Occupy Atlanta protests. We have called in the past to find out information for events on City of Atlanta venues like Woodruff Park and have been told it would require a permit and fees and there were restrictions. In the future, Atlanta Tea Party expects to receive the same “benefits” or waiving of fees, permits, restrictions that you have accorded the Occupy Atlanta protests. If we don’t, we will seek legal action.

You have to get past the comedic image of a woman who once told me she was afraid to ride MARTA at night alone, camping out in Atlanta's version of Hooverville. But once there, it is easy to think she and her compatriots are right.

To a point.

There is a subtle difference. Occupy Atlanta didn't exactly start as an "event'. It started as a metastasized version of the homeless problem around the park. People sleeping overnight ain't exactly a new problem down there. And every now and then the city will come along and roust them out.

Where Occupy Atlanta began crossing the line was when they started building things and then decided to throw in with an already permitted festival. Anyone watching the growing spectacle could see Mayor Reed's patience growing thin.

It finally broke when, due to security reasons, the city pulled the permit on the music festival. The lunatics running the asylum decided to keep romping. Their romp included a non-permitted generator and when the Mayor's people tried to tell the press the what for, they began shouting that it is "their park".

There's a big difference between asking forgiveness instead of permission (the tact the occupiers originally took) and asking permission that is refused and proceeding anyway (the line they finally crossed this weekend).

And, despite the conspiratorially minded, I doubt the Tea Party would have been treated any differently.

If some Tea Partiers sporting powdered wigs, waving American flags showed up sans permit on public property screaming about God knows what, I doubt the city would do much. I know this because I saw the Ron Paul people (sometimes with muskets!) do it in 2008.

But if those tea partiers, sans permits, rolled out a stage, a generator and began putting on a Let Freedom Ring concert, were told they couldn't do it and kept on rolling, I imagine they would receive exactly the same reception the occupiers are now facing.

It's a subtle difference. But the difference is there.

Not that it will matter. Subtlety is quickly lost in the whirlwind of the screaming mi-mis.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ID Please

Scene from The Breakfast Club

Andrew: What do you need a fake I.D. for?
Brian: So I can vote.

Todd Rehm at Peach Pundit references an interesting study from our neighbors to the east. South Carolina has a voter ID law similar to Georgia. Unlike Georgia, however, where Democratic activists cried people would be dispossessed, then scoured the state for those poor unfortunates and comically failed, the Associated Press' report on South Carolina is very different.

The report is unclear if South Carolina has similar "free ID" provisions like Georgia. It is these access provisions that ultimately saved the Peach State's law and caused much consternation in liberal circles. But the number of people who do not possess ID in the Palmetto State is dramatic.
The precinct that votes at Benedict College in Columbia, has 2,790 voters, including nine white voters. In that precinct, 1,343 of the precinct’s nonwhite voters lack state identification, but only five white voters do.
All this fascinating data led to the usual discussion of "how do people live in a modern society without identification". To many, having to flash a government ID is a pervasive act in the 21st century. They cannot be convinced otherwise, not matter how you explain that not everybody drives, not everybody flies, not everybody drinks spirits, etc., etc., etc.

But the bottom line is this - although having an ID certainly greases the rails of our society, it is by no means necessary and it is actually pretty rare that you have to show one.

Don't believe me? Try this little experiment. Try to remember the last time you actually had to show your ID. If your over 30, I guarantee it is harder than you think. If you can remember, then think of how many times you've had to do it in the last six months. Probably not that many.

Checks are direct deposited. We no longer access our money by cashing checks. If you don't drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, speed, fly planes or rent cars and have worked at the same job for years or are retired, it's actually pretty rare that anyone ever ask you to prove who you are.

I honestly can't recall the last time I actually showed my drivers license to someone. Probably the last time I took a plane trip. Definitely the last time I voted. Other than that? Can't think of of one time I had to whip the old government ID out.

Identification helps but it's just not as much a requirement as it used to be.

Unless you want to vote.

Or get a job.

And perversely, it is those who publicly decry government interference in our lives who seem obsessed with the government knowing exactly who you are and what you are up to

Monday, October 17, 2011

Republican Strategist: Opposing HB87 Is "Hard Left

It has always amazed me how cavalierly the Republicans in this state ignore parts of their rural base with continued preening over their pet anti-illegal immigration law, House Bill 87.

But rarely does the mask slip to show their real disdain. They are usually a bit more clever - especially those who make a living loving up that base prior to elections.

Today on Peach Pundit, Republican strategist Mark Rountree noted that the OccupyAtlanta folks were now demanding repeal of HB87 (a demand that was apparently by a splinter group and quickly denied by the Occupy folks) and that showed the group had been taken over by the "hard left".

When regular commenter pointed out that many people who don't associate with left wing politics also disagree with HB87, Rountree responded:
Yours is a hard Left demand” from political outer space
So you farmers down south of I-16, you know, all my neighbors and friends who usually pull Republican when you enter the voting booth? The ones with the crops currently rotting in the field? Remember what the suits in Atlanta consider you the next time the election season rolls around.

Nothing but a bunch of whining "hard leftists".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Our" Means A Small Group Of The Selfish

I didn't think there was any way I could start to sympathize with the Tea Party, but Occupy Atlanta may accomplish the impossible.

From Gwynedd Stuart at Creative Loafing

will erect a wall today on which the 99% can write their stories.
Say what you will about the naivete and ridiculousness of the Tea Party, and I've said plenty, but they never plopped their asses down in a public park for days on end, with the overwhelming support of less than 100 people "renamed" the park to their liking and then, on the eve of finally getting rousted by the authorities, started building a wall!

Occupy Atlanta is the 99% in the sense that 99% of us have bat crap crazy relatives that overstay their welcome.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Serenity of John Lewis

If you can ignore the cult-like chanting, focus on the face of John Lewis.

If there is a god, he reached down and placed something deep within Lewis. Something most will never possess. Once again, in his lifetime, he is told by a man that he cannot speak and he responds with a shield of peace and serenity.

The young man at the end of the video who yells "John Lewis is not better than anyone else" is very wrong. John Lewis is better than most. And it is this denial which lifts the shallow shell of self-righteousness off this movement and exposes a deep arrogance not so different from those they oppose.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Long Suffering Of Gwinnett County

4 days.

Practically every year, MARTA and Grady step before the government of the great state of Georgia, hat in hand, and beg for a few crumbs to stave off fiscal starvation. They are met with tut-tuts, accusations of poor management and disdain for their very existence. Usually, they leave with an empty hat.

After four days of suffering the indignity and inconvenience of the HOT lanes, Governor Deal heard the terrible cries of the Gwinnett commuters and not only promised reduced tolls but pledged to ask for a waiver to kill the occupancy requirements which are key to the programs success.

At least we now know the weak member of the pack. We will have no problem identifying who to cut loose when the lions come.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

OccupyWhereEver vs. The Tea Party, Contd

On the flip side, you don't get to say the Tea Party represents America when they wear funny outfits and bitch about bailouts helping Wall Street and then call the folks doing pretty much the same thing - dirty hippies.

OccupyWhereEver vs The Tea Party

If you made fun of grannies toting signs saying "Keep The Government Out Of My Medicare", you're not allowed to get mad at people making fun of the Occupy movement for using iPhones to spread their anti-corporate message.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Quote Of The Day

From the always interesting Conor Friedersdorf, who explains why Sarah Palin hinders the acceptance of right wing populism.
Then there are the constant attacks on "the lame-stream media." Once again, that's language with appeal to a lot of political junkies on the right. But if you're a Republican voter for whom the news media plays a small, decidedly peripheral role in life, how are you going to react to the woman who always seems to be on the TV, complaining about how much the people on the TV suck?
Of course, since Conor doesn't worship at the temple of mavericky, he's obviously shackle-y.

Why You Shouldn't Listen To Libertarians

Libertarians are consistent in one aspect- they always think everyone else is wrong.

Many are currently crowing about how President Obama "answered" Reagan's question of "are you better off now than you were four years ago".

Of course that's not really what he said and he has carefully explained in interviews how things were much worse than anticipated. Matters not one speck to libertarians who use such oracular texts as pamphlets "proving" that FDR extended the Great Depression to reach conclusions on Obama's policies before he ever put his hand on the Bible.
Not because they overestimated the economic problems they country was facing, but because it was based on the false premise that government can create jobs by spending money we don’t have.
The only difference in the libertarian's view that Obama made things worse and the Republican's caterwaul that all he does is blame Bush is semantics.

The problem is they both ignore the fact that Obama is right.

See that chart up there? That's the revised statistics of the depth of the contraction during the Great Recession. It was a full percentage point worse than originally estimated. That means the economy lost $100 billion more than originally thought.

But what if the Libertarians are right? What if Obama is a misguided incompetent? Then we should look at alternatives right?

How about Romney? Nope. They hate him because of Massachusetts healthcare.

Surely Perry. Nope. One word - Gardisil.

Well how about tea party darling, Herman Cain? Oh, you didn't know he supported TARP?

So what will Libertarians do when election time rolls around? They'll vote for Gary Johnson who stands not a hoot's hell chance in winning. Then, what will they do in the general? They'll either stay home or vote for the candidate they select at the colorful hootenanny they call a convention.

And in January 2012 if, with their assistance at picking every scab the Republicans open on Obama, we elect a full bore lunatic, they will wipe their hands and say their conscience is clean because they didn't vote for either one.

Which is why until the day dawns where they give a whit about reality, we shouldn't give a whit about what libertarians think.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The "Good Story" Standard At The AJC

According the ajcatlantanews twitter feed, I should check out a "good story" from Atlanta Progressive News "editor" Matthew Cardinale. So I did. And I have to admit there's some good reporting in there about Atlanta Housing Authority chair Renee Glover's impending departure. Not surprisingly, having read Cardinale over the years, the "good story" stuff amounts to what Matthew actually witnessed.

To find it, you have to read through a wash of unsourced innuendo such as:
Mayor Kasim Reed--who one source told APN is estranged from Franklin--is also not a fan of Glover.
Then, late last week, another source--a Buckhead source--also said they were expecting Glover to resign within the next few days.
A Buckhead source! Well that must make it credible!

But even if you can look past the bizarre writing (Buckhead!) and the side swipes based on the unverified, does someone who in the past has said he wouldn't bother allowing the other side to give their point of view realy merit a "good story" atta boy?

And I don't know if the fact that he doesn't care is worse than he admits to being lazy..
Cardinale in response to his sloppy reporting on Kasim Reed in 2009, "I've been doing this (APN) now for 4 years and usually have a good idea of when a PR department is going to respond, and when they aren't. So, I just didn't want to waste my time, nor my readers' time"
 It takes about five seconds to discover just how much Cardinale respects journalism.

Once upon a time that attitude would have resulted in a shunning. Now, it gets a hearty pat on the back.

ADDENDUM: Just seconds after I publish, Creative Loafing's Thomas Wheatley publishes a story that indicates Reed may have pushed Glover out. Well, of course that makes a difference right? Absolutely. The difference is in Wheatley's last sentence.
We asked Mayor Kasim Reed's office why he and board members he appointed would like to see a change in leadership, as the AHA statement says. "We have no comment," replied a spokeswoman.
Because that's what the writer of a "good story" actually does.

Get Me A One Handed Economist

I love Politifact. It's not because they make a valiant attempt to fact check the pretzel logic of politics. It's because they tend to piss everyone off. My motto is if everyone is mad, you must be doing something right.

Republicans are so convinced they are just another arm of the liberal media octopus, websites have already sprung up documenting their alleged complicity in the massive media conspiracy.

Fortunately for the purveyors of "everyone is out to git the Republicans", amnesia is a convenience.

Today, the AJC's Kyle Wingfield praises Politifact for rightfully calling "Pants on Fire" on Nancy Pelosi and her debt chart that is once again, circling the meme-circuit.

Politifact is absolutely correct. Pelosi's chart is a horror of incorrect data based on starting the Obama Presidency in 2010 instead of 2009. To my mind, this says more about Pelosi's utter incompetence than honesty.

Oh, if only Politifact had stopped there Kyle. Because, as is their way,  they proceed to throw a little fire your way as well.

Turn on WSB radio any time after 8:30am and there's a fair chance you'll hear some version of "Obama tripled the deficit How can he blame Bush!".

Well, according to Politifact, although Pelosi's numbers would make a third grader blush, the Republicans catchy numbers don't fare well either..

Most of your conservative brethren tend to ignore that it was Bush's final budget that pushed the deficit over $1 trillion. Not Obama's first.

Or as Politifact demonstrates once it ran the numbers:
Using the corrected figures does mean that, superficially at least, Democrats have a point. The debt did still increase more, on a percentage basis, under Bush than it did under Obama.
But don't fear, Kyle, they do go on to explain how when compared to percentages of GDP and time spent in office, the Democrats arguments gets weak again.

Or as Politifact so eloquently states:
Of course, all this goes to show that statistics can be used -- and misused -- to bolster almost any argument
But that last part is almost certainly due to their liberal bias.

Inside Baseball Scorecard - BFD vs Peach Pundit

A hush hush payment to a former state employee has led to a tempest in a teapot. It remains to be seen if the teapot boils over and spills into the public awareness, but, as with most things of an insider nature, the insiders care deeply.

So, let's check the scorecard to see how they fared.

The Field of Play

On July 28 of this year, a Senate administrative committee paid $80,500 to an Atlanta law firm stating that it was to deal with a personnel issue. According to those involved, the sum came with a confidentiality agreement and the principles said no more.

Enter state Senator Vincent Fort. Sen. Fort claims the money settled a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former senate secretary. Fort is then followed by Democratic Senator Donzella James who not only furthers the story of discrimination but also names names. She claims the allegations were against Republican Senators Barry Loudermilk and William Ligon.

Enter Democratic Party of Georgia chair Mike Berlon. Berlon issues a press release asking Republican Senate leader Tommie Williams to release the details of the settlement. Later, Berlon releases a second statement echoing Donzella James' accusations

Loudermilk and Ligon issue statements hotly denying the implications.

With the gag order in place, what took place was a proxy war that played itself out on the states two most prominent partisan blogs.

Let's tally up the score.

The Players

DPG Chair Mike Berlon

Reality - As a lawyer, Berlon knows it is sticky to play around with a confidentiality agreement. As a politician, he knows that attacking when your opponent can't speak is a rare opportunity. As the DPG chair, he has a responsibility to fire up the troops and he would be derelict if he let this particular chance pass.

The Politics - Berlon is using a tactic since time immemorial but was crystallized by Lyndon B. Johnson in a congressional race when he ordered his campaign manager to tell the press his opponent fornicated with swine. When the campaign manager offered it was not true, Lyndon responded, "make him deny it".

Blog For Democracy

Reality - Blog For Democracy is doing its dutiful duty of releasing tidbits passed down from the DPG.As exhibited by their comment sections, they are accomplishing the number one task of an activist website; the troops are getting fired up.

The Politics - Passion has to have practice or it becomes a quickly extinguished flame. If this episode becomes another exercise in liberal epistemic closure, merely reinforcing the hard left's notion that all "rethuglicans" are racists, then it goes nowhere. If it is used as a smaller plot line that carries into a larger narrative of a lack of transparency by Republicans, then it may keep the base rallied.

Peach Pundit

Reality - It's rare the Republicans are put on the defensive and as Republicans are so adept at doing, they've fired back pretty hard. The charge is led by Todd Rehm (his fellow contributors are curiously quiet) who notes that if the Democrats want answers they can ask one of there own. Democratic Senator Steve Henson sits on the committee that approved the payment.

The Politics - Rehm's riposte is a good one but it's not as clean a narrative as "racial discrimination". Complicating the Republican's response is their flank is tender from pokes by tea party and others who always look askew at government.The comments by the anonymous and the trolls have not been kind. But more importantly, Debbie Dooley with the Atlanta Tea Party seems to be having none of it as well.

The Final Tally

Berlon and the BFD are narrowly winning this round.  However, Democrats tend to get wrapped around the axle on relatively minor issues (Alan Powell's residency) while Republicans were clutching the steering wheel of the entire car (winning practically every election in the state). Whether this issue stays a minor distraction or gains traction with the general public will determine the final tale of the tape.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Mitt Romney on his perceived "flip flopping":
In the private sector, if you don’t change your view when the facts change, you’ll get fired for being stupid.
He's right. And it's the most refreshing thing he has said.

Refreshing because in the current season of the dogmatic there are few who understand facing facts is a necessity. Sometimes, even old Mitt himself.

My Afternoon Kyle

Blow, Gabriel, Blow. Kyle Wingfield defends his brothers and sisters in the profession against the myth that they are intentionally influencing campaign outcomes.
The media aren’t trying to puff up Cain now any more than we were trying to hold him down before. The public responded to Herman Cain, and the media are responding to the public. If he falters, the cycle will work the same way. And likewise if he continues to gain momentum.
And it is exactly the formula of public responds then media responds that is frequently distorted and reversed by some of Kyle's friends in order to continue the "liberal media" myth.

Kyle's honest defense is something we never saw from the previous proprietor.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stupidest Thing I've Read All Day

I occasionally read an Occupy Wall Street story, think, "I used to be stupid and 22", then go back to the important things in life.

But when the Ginger Flash at Creative Loafiing reports that we're getting our own local chapter, "Occupy Atlanta", my curiosity is piqued!

Where will these idealistic, young torch bearers of civil disobedience gather?

Centennial Olympic Park? Convenient for shouting at the Chamber of Commerce!

Atlanta Finanical Center? Atlanta's own Wall Street!

The Gold Dome? The nexus of corporatist corruption!

Phipps Plaza? Sneer at the bourgeoisie!

Brownwood Park. Huh?

If you are not familiar with that hotbed of radicalism, it's the public park near Moreland and Glenwood. Smack in the middle of that notorious snake pit of corporate interest known as East Atlanta.

Maybe they chose their location due to the proximity of neighborhood watering holes. After all, what better way to quench your chant parched thirst than downing a Proletariat Beer Refreshment.

UPDATE: Some have questioned if I'm missing the point that this may be some sort of organizing hootenanny as opposed to an actual protest. I get it. I hope they get that it doesn't dull the point that they've made an open call via social media to have God knows how many people just show up in a public park in the middle of a neighborhood.

But I'll let your judge for yourself. Here's the guide to "People Assemblies" . Make sure you learn that people don't speak, they have "oral interventions:.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Night

Originally posted 2007

Jim Wooten on the death penalty.
We can either accept that juries reflect the will of the people and, therefore, disparities that superficially appear “arbitrary” will result. Or we can change the system.

David Keaton
Samuel Poole
Wilbert Lee
Freddie Pitts
James Creamer
Christopher Spicer
Thomas Gladish
Richard Greer
Ronald Kleine
Clarence Smith
Delbert Tibbs
Earl Charles
Jonathan Treadway
Gary Beeman
Jerry Banks
Larry Hicks
Charles Ray Giddens
Michael Linder
Johnny Ross
Ernest Graham
Annibal Jaramillo
Lawyer Johnson
Larry Fisher
Anthony Brown
Neil Ferber
Clifford Henry Bowen
Joseph Green Brown
Perry Cobb
Darby Tillis
Vernon McManus
Anthony Ray Peek
Juan Ramos
Robert Wallace
Richard Neal Jones
Willie Brown
Larry Troy
Randall Dale Adams
Robert Cox
Timothy Hennis
James Richardson
Clarence Brandley
John C. Skelton
Dale Johnston
Jimmy Lee Mathers
Gary Nelson
Bradley P. Scott
Charles Smith
Jay C. Smith
Kirk Bloodsworth
Fredrico M. Macias
Walter McMillian
Gregory R. Wilhoit
Muneer Deeb
Andrew Golden
Abolph Munson
Robert Charles Cruz
Rolando Cruz
Alejandro Hernandez
Sabrina Butler
Joseph Barrows
Verneal Jimerson
Dennis Williams
Roberto Miranda
Gary Gaugher
Troy Lee Jones
Carl Lawson
David Wayne Grannis
Ricardo Aldape Guerra
Benjamin Harris
Robert Hayes
Christopher McCrimmon
Randall Padgett
James Bo Cochran
Robert Lee Miller, Jr.
Curtis Kyles
Shareef Cousin
Anthony Porter
Steven Smith
Ronald Willamson
Ronald Jones
Clarence Dexter, Jr.
Warren Douglas Manning
Alfred Rivera
Steve Manning
Eric Clemmons
Joseph Nahume Green
Earl Washington
Willam Nieves
Frank Lee Smith
Michael Graham
Albert Burrell
Oscar Lee Morris
Peter Limone
Gary Drinkard
Joaquin Jose Martinez
Jeremy Sheets
Charles Fain
Juan Roberto Melendez
Ray Krone
Thomas Kimball, Jr.
Larry Osborne
Aaron Patterson
Madison Hobley
Leroy Orange
Stanley Howard
Rudolph Holton
Lemuel Prion
Wesley Quick
John Thompson
Timothy Howard
Gary Lamar James
Joseph Amrine
Nicholas Yarris
Alan Gell
Gordon Steidl
Laurence Adams
Dan L. Bright
Ryan Matthews
Ernest Ray Willis
Derrick Jamison
Harold Wilson
John Ballard
Curtis McCarty

Damn right we need a new system.

The Innocence Project

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flavors Of Condescension

Advocacy for a particular political persuasion requires a belief one holds the correct point of view. However, there is a point where belief converts to condescension, arrogance, haughtiness or whatever word you can find in your thesaurus that equates to being a jackass.

In my travels, I have found the two dominant parties prefer different flavors of condescension.

Republican Flavor:
I'm right. You're wrong. Go pound sand.
At this time, there's just too many examples to list.

Democrat Flavor:
If only you were knowledgeable / understanding / worldly, you would change your mind
Latest example. Troy Davis.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Douglasville Public Snitch Program?

We're still three or so months away from the scoundrels returning to the Gold Dome but Douglasville is wasting no time in advocating new "we must fix this!" legislation. In response to the terrible death of Bobby Tillman at a teenage house party, the wise ones of Douglas County want a state law to make sure the police gets advance notice of house parties.

How you might ask? Punish neighbors who don't dial 911 if they see obviously ill-intentioned youth clogging the well manicured streets? Instead of neighborhood watch are they going to get funds to start a neighborhood snitch program? Punish kids who show up to anything that doesn't involved a bouncy castle and pony rides?

Well, they aren't really sure.
Toward that end, Douglasville officials are considering a resolution that would urge state lawmakers to pass legislation to help give police advance notice about teen house parties. City Manager Bill Osborne said he doesn't know exactly what form such a law would take, but is hopeful state lawmakers can come up with a proposal.
Give the legislature an idea (involving more police power no less!) and let them work out the details. Now there's a rabbit hole lined with trouble making.

A Couple Of Random Thoughts

Lots of hootin' and hollerin' about last night's special election in New York.

Can you ever remember such intense interest in what amounts to local races? Is it a product of more information available due to the internet, more people involved at the grassroots level or, as some make it, bell weathers to a larger change? No doubt it will play as the latter. My warning to the crowers, the hardest fall is after the overreach.

If it is a bell weather, as Jay Bookman notes this morning, we face the possibility in 2012 of the Republicans controlling every facet of government. In 2010, I heard a lot of people justify the Republican takeover of the House (including electing some certifiable loons) as a good thing because divided government is a good thing. So, will people who used this rationalization vote Democrat in 2012?

Closer to home, I'll tease a bit. Radio Host Martha Zoeller has announced a bid for Congress. Not too long ago, she and I had a fascinating exchange on Twitter. It involved the word sacrifice. More on that later.

Finally, perhaps if this grows into more than a tempest in teapot, I will comment. I'm fortunate to not have certain shackles. But for now, I stand in solidarity with no comment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

TSPLOST Is Lose/Lose For Fulton And Dekalb

It is rare that I note the writings of a commenter; especially a commenter on another site. But I've "known" Dave Bearse for a long time and know his musings usually have value.

His analysis of the effect of the upcoming TSPLOST on the residents of Fulton and Dekalb is spot on.

The Tea Party-GOP base position is pretty simple. Fulton and DeKalb paying twice as much as everyone else for regional transportation, three times as much as everyone else combined for transit, and ten times as much as Tea Party strongholds like Cherokee County, is a transportation handout to Fulton and DeKalb slackers.
The math is pretty easy, even for graduates of Georgia’s K-12 system.

Fulton and DeKalb’s 1% MARTA and 1% T-SPLOST equal 2%, every one else 1% for regional transportation.

T-SPLOST is 50-50% transit-roads. (Before anyone points out it’s 55-45, note that the 15% being returned to counties for use at their own discretion is likely to be tilted toward roads.) Fulton and DeKalb 1% MARTA and 0.5% T-SPLOST transit equal 1.5%, everyone else collectively 0.5% T-SPLOST transit.

Now examine the T-SPLOST as it concerns Cherokee County, an easy choice because Cherokee County has only a few large T-SPLOST road projects totaling $200,000,000. Then consider that the T-SPLOST will return about $60,000,000 to Cherokee County, and that will be very heavily tilted toward roads. (The $60M is a back of the napkin figure but a reasonable order of magnitude.) The first result is that the T-SPLOST will return about three-quarters of the Cherokee County T-SPLOST contribution wholly within the County.
(Not fair you say, Cherokee isn’t getting all they paid in? The $260,000,000 in Cherokee County road improvements won’t much benefit anyone but those that live in Cherokee County. How many people from metro Atlanta that don’t live in Cherokee County travel in Cherokee County on any given day? Almost no one. Meanwhile half of the people that reside in Cherokee County and are employed travel outside of Cherokee County to their employment.)

The second result is that one-half (50-50 transit-roads split) of the one-quarter of 1% Cherokee County T-SPLOST funds that aren’t returned to Cherokee County will go to regional transit, one-half or one-quarter is one-eighth of 1%. Fulton and DeKalb paying 1.5% for transit are paying more than 10 times more. Sure Fulton and DeKalb should pay much more, but the factor of 10 illustrates the ridiculousness of the Tea Pary and its control of the Georgia GOP.

Fulton and DeKalb voters will be voting no on the T-SPLOST too. A yes vote simply empowers the Tea Party panderers that control the Georgia GOP.
Bottom line: if TSPLOST passes, Fulton and Dekalb residents will be double taxed and  those who believe they will never use public transit or it will have no effect on our infrastructure ills will still say their tax money is being used for ITP boondoggles.

Fulton and Dekalb cannot win.

Convince me I'm wrong, transportation advocates.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apparently On The Verge of Segregation

A quick quiz. Which of the following does not fit the definition of segregation.
  1. Due to your race, you can't use a certain rest room
  2. Due to your race, you can't eat at certain restaurants
  3. Due to your race, you can't attend a certain school
  4. You "only get" 49 out of 180 districts which favor your election
If you answered number 4, Democratic House Leader Stacy Abrams would beg to differ. In press releases now filling in-boxes, the Democrats are pleading with people to help "Stop the re-segregation of Georgia and protect the Voting Rights Act. Vote NO on the GOP's redistricting maps".

The Democratic caucus' size is at a historic ebb. To expect there would be no consequences when re-apportionment time rolled around is foolish. To complain about the unfairness of it all is just politics. To compare what has been a fairly transparent process where admittedly you lose power but still have seats at the table to being shut out of society based on nothing more than the color of your skin is ludicrous, factually inaccurate and frankly, an insult to history.

There are plenty of arguments to be made. Comparing a process where you were destined to lose to the era of police dogs and fire hoses is not one of them.

And do beware of unintended consequences. Keep up the inflamed racial rhetoric and that story which alleges a white Democrat demanded to be placed in a neighboring district so he would face a white opponent instead of the other neighboring majority minority district against an African American opponent just might grow legs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Overreach Begins

Remember yesterday when I talked about nose rubbing and overreach? Apparently it has begun.

AJC's Jim Galloway reports, via rules process, the Senate Republicans only gave the Senate Democrats nine minutes to file amendments:
Henson said Seabaugh informed him that because they were not submitted under the terms of the new rules – within 24 hours of consideration – they would not be allowed.
What is the point of being that harsh? It's not like the the Senate Democrats have enough votes to really do anything. It smacks of something that happens when a majority wants to stick it to the minority as hard as they can. Sort of like what happened 10 years ago when the Republicans were the ones on the pointy end of the pig sticker.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Four Things To Know About Redistricting

The boys and girls are back at the Gold Dome for their once a decade (if all goes well) redistricting party. Redistricting is so inside baseball, it should have its own clubhouse personnel. But it is the only thing that can radically change the political landscape for years if not decades, so it behooves us to pay some mind to what the yahoos have planned.

Here's four things to note in the coming weeks.

1. The Maps - You can find them here. I would advise using the Google Maps plug-in. Otherwise you may embarrass yourself as I did when I misread a squiggly line and thought I had been thrust into a Gwinnett County district.

2. The Democrats Will Whine - One person's whine is another person's positioning. Democratic caucus leader Stacy Abrams started the whining/positioning last week by pointing out 10 districts where Democrats are "paired" against each other. In other words, two incumbents will face each other in the primary.

The whining will ignore two salient facts: arguably the Democrats did much worse to the Republicans in 2002 and the recent electoral routs have left the Democratic caucus with such a striking low membership that it may not have been possible for the Republicans to do any worse.

3. The Republican Will Rub It In - Payback is hell and the Republicans have been waiting a long time for this one. In 2002, in a last ditch effort to stave off what everyone knew was going to be a series of wave elections, the Democrats drew up maps that were at times so absurd one district was called "a squashed daddy long legs". Elephants have long memories and their crowing at sticking it back to their opponents will be loud.

But they need to be careful of the over reach.The obvious goal of the majority party is to reach a super-majority that will have the votes to pass any Constitutional amendment. There are Republicans who privately say that may be too much power, even if it is in the "right hands". If they succeed and we see endless streams of "Bobby Franklin" style bills, the electorate will wake up and the reckoning may shut down the party early.

4. None of It Matters Because We're All Going To Court - Bottom line is Georgia is still under the aegis of the Voting Rights Act. This fact means our maps will be reviewed by the feds. One of two paths will be taken, either the Justice Department steps in to tinker or Secretary of State Brian Kemp takes the case directly to court. Either way, a panel of judges will ultimately decide the final lines on the map. And that's what Stacy Abrams statements are really about. And that's what GOP Chair Sue Everhart's press releases are really about. Positioning for the final act.

A prediction sure to be wrong: The judges will not alter the maps greatly for two reasons: The Republicans have been very clever is disguising their gerrymandering. Oh, it's there. It's just hard to see and what you do see looks mostly political, not illegal. Also, as I said before; with this few Democrats, there's just really not that many places you can put them.

So, let the curtain rise and the actors trod the stage. But remember, despite the cry and hew you hear from Capitol Avenue, we are only  in the first act.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marketing vs. Reporting, Continued

As I noted last week, an Atlanta Journal Constitution staff report on the weather contained a marketing tag line for partner radio station WSB.
Doug Turnbull in the AM750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center reported
Bold is theirs. Not mine. That's exactly how it appears on the AJC website.

I did a little follow up on this new curiosity.

According to the AJC's Public Editor, the tag line is the "descriptor" used to identify the partner station. I don't believe Shawn McIntosh understood my point that someone somewhere consciously made the decision to start including a marketing tool in every staff report. Also, playing it off as akin to following the AP style book is frankly a little weird.

I also contacted a former reporter for his opinion. His thoughts were that it probably did not cross an ethical line but it is "amateurish"  and "shilly". He also pointed out it has gone on far longer than I knew.

Here is a February 2011 report on a DUI suspect slamming a police officer head on,
"It appeared as though he was making a left-hand turn when in fact he was making a U-turn, going about 15 miles per hour, and collided head-on with one of our officers," Duncan told AM 750 and now 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB.
My question for my journalist readers; am I making a big deal out of nothing or does this bother you?

If you still work up Perimeter way, feel free to comment anonymously.

My Morning Kyle

It has been a while since I've picked on the AJC's (usually) reasonable conservative voice, but some things cannot pass.
It is not much of a leap from the rhetoric of our president to the violence and looting that has beset Great Britain.
No, Kyle. Connecting a President, in a time of severe financial crisis where we may ask our grandparents to continue working until they are 70, asking the wealthiest in this country to return to the tax rate they "suffered" under for the entire decade of the 90s to people literally burning their cities to the ground is a huge leap.

Hyperbole is an effective tool in the hands of the political provocateur, but there is a difference between stretching a rhetorical point and living in another universe while proclaiming your feet are firmly planted on planet Earth.

We need more reality in our conversations. Kyle, you ain't helping.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Two Years Ago

What I said two years ago.
But what I am sure of is there is a wave of irrationality. As to how large that wave is, I do not think we know.
I don't think anyone ever imagined the wave would get this high.

And yes, I called out one side.
Even though we don't know how pervasive the irrational fear is, leaders (and there is little denying some of the people I am about to name have been embraced as leaders) on the right have trumpeted it as a "movement" and "patriotic" and as "mainstream". We've reached the existential moment where fear of the unknown or ignorance of the known is not only seen as rational political thought but a reason to proudly thump one's chest and declare patriotism.
And there is no mushy middle here. I was right and I'm not too shy to say it.

Those that ride the tiger do not fear the dismount. They no longer care. They only revel in the red of tooth and claw as it continues to ravage anyone in their path.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Tip Of The Spear 2011

Two years ago, I wrote the logical evolution of the new media world is blogs/social media/citizen journalists acting as the tip of the spear with traditional press acting as the haft.

City Journal's Conor Friedersdorf writes extensively about how the green shoots of this concept sprout in the far flung corners of the country:
In these instances, as in many others, the Los Angeles Times wasn’t needed to discover corruption: citizen journalists could sniff it out as capably as any watchdog. Once on the scent, however, the amateurs couldn’t dig as deep or growl as menacingly as newspaper reporters backed by a powerful regional publication....Going after the same records, the Times reporter made insistent phone calls to the city clerk every day, and having been denied, said (as she later recounted to NPR): “Listen, are we getting the documents? I really don’t want to sue you, but we will, and when we go to court and we win, because we will, we’ll ask the judge to make you pay our legal bills, because that’s what the public-records statute says.”
The conversation continues.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Follow The Money

Follow the money has been the mantra of investigative journalism since Deep Throat's words first echoed in a dark D.C. parking garage.

Atlanta Magazine's Doug Monroe assembles some of the trail markers of the corporate moves behind testing in our schools. Even if you believe No Child Left Behind's intent was noble, it would be difficult to dispute its creation led to an explosion of money in the testing industry.

Although I find Doug's initial pass at this beast interesting and I hope he teases it out, I'm really looking forward to his next piece on charter schools.

Most folks don't know that Doug an I frequently disagree. I'm too conservative for his taste. But those disagreements are usually in the nuances and even if we joust on the core, it's with the understanding that each side has a valid perspective.

I have a feeling on this one we're going to be at complete loggerheads. Maybe I'm wrong. Should be interesting.

Marketing Vs. Reporting

Can you spot the subtle marketing in this straight reporting piece about last night's storms?
Doug Turnbull in the AM750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center reported that all lanes of I-285 were blocked as chickens were running around on the highway. The wreck, which happened before 5 a.m. just north of I-20, was also affecting traffic on that interstate. All lanes of I-285 were reopened shortly before 7 a.m.
WSB Radio and the Atlanta Journal Constitution are owned by the same parent company.

And by the way, I did not add the bold to that particular word. That's how it actually appears on

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Good Morning Douglasville!

You write one thing in 2 years about Genarlow Wilson and you wake up an entire county's online community.

Welcome Douglasville readers! Since some of you are speculating about my political persuasions, personal pursuits and possible pickles, I thought I would clear a few things up.

I've never met D.A. McDade - inside or outside a courtroom.

I've been called a liberal so many times, I habitually check to see if the ghost of JFK is standing behind me. I don't mind and if it provides you comfort, so be it.

I would think that an elected official using evidence from a criminal trial in an attempt to steer favorable legislation would bother liberals, conservatives and everything in between. Maybe I'm wrong. Feel free to check out the entire back story as you make your own decision.

I do enjoy a drink. I do enjoy gambling. If you assume this makes my life miserable, I will assume you are Baptist who deeply desires to do the same. At least, openly.

Finally, I have no beef with Douglas County. I enjoy traveling your auto auction lined thoroughfares. And I always politely tip my cap to your radar totin' revenue collectors as they take their rest in the shade of the overpasses.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

George Will Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, George Will advocated a brand of conservatism combined with pragmatism which would no doubt in today's climate brand him a RINO or worse, a liberal.

U.S News Scott Gallupo compiles a collection of Will writings from a few decades ago, although given his recent tendencies, might as well have been written in cuneiform on sand tablets.

My personal favorite:
"[A]ll government takes place on a slippery slope. Anything can be imagined carried to unreasonable lengths. That is why the most important four words in politics are: up to a point... Sensible government is impossible when the citizenry succumbs to the corrosive suspicion that governors are incapable of reasonable distinctions. It is mindless to insist that any practice that conceivably could be carried to extremes is, for that reason, intolerable even when carefully circumscribed."
I still tend to look to George Will for sane conservatism, but his recent teenage-like infatuation with the saucy new girl in town, dressed in provocative swatches of the Declaration of Independence and topped with a tri-corn hat, drives me batty.

The Patronage Of David McDade

Patronage positions are the last train whistle of the favored sons, the political ankle sniffers and the general scoundrels who need a job.

I leave to you how to place Douglas County District Attorney David McDade.

His quiet appointment to the State Council of Criminal Justice Reform seemed a weird footnote to Georgia's most heinous lack of judicial restraint since the 60s. But weird footnotes live in the places of political patronage and are usually not noteworthy.

But if those in high places start raising up a simple appointment to elevated position of praise worthy, it may be time to refresh some minds about what rocks were stepped on upon the way.

For those who were not around three years ago, David McDade made national headlines for prosecuting Genarlow Wilson. For a couple of hours of teenage stupidity, Genarlow Wilson was handed 10 years in prison and when every reasonable voice in the state called for relenting, McDade dug in deeper and deeper.

We can argue the nuances of the discretion of a prosecutor all day long; there are many shades and many arguments that we will not revisit now.

What we can not argue is the one heinous decision McDade made. Once he realized the sway of public opinion turned against him, he released a lurid tape of teens engaged in sexual acts. He distributed it to the legislators who were considering how to act on the odd case.

It would be bad enough if he used a piece of evidence from a criminal trial in an effort to turn legislation in his favor, but that pales when you realize he wouldn't stop until the Feds stepped in to not so gently reminded him of the possible violations of child porn statutes.

You have to ask yourself, is that the guy you want on a council for "Criminal Justice Reform"?

Monday, August 01, 2011

One Night In Pakistan

We've dealt with the abstract far too much lately. The New Yorker's Nicholas Schmidle's riveting account of the events of the night we eliminated Bin Laden should snap us back to reality:
During the next four minutes, the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered. Mark, a master chief petty officer and the ranking noncommissioned officer on the operation, crouched on one knee beside the open door of the lead helicopter. He and the eleven other SEALs on “helo one,” who were wearing gloves and had on night-vision goggles, were preparing to fast-rope into bin Laden’s yard. They waited for the crew chief to give the signal to throw the rope. But, as the pilot passed over the compound, pulled into a high hover, and began lowering the aircraft, he felt the Black Hawk getting away from him. He sensed that they were going to crash.
Find half hour to quietly read the entire piece.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Profoundly Unserioius

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives uses a talk radio program to vet his plan to save us from financial ruin.

The acolytes continue to spin the tale that even if the debt ceiling is not raised, we will have plenty of money to keep the "important" things solvent.

Now, today, the usual suspects are cackling all over twitter about Apple having more cash on hand than the entity that represents all 300 million of us.

Up to this point, the lunacy that infects the GOP has been inside baseball or the navel gazing of the teevee hairdos. Now, it is starting to affect the entire economy - from the cats om the "Street" to the payroll of soldiers in the field to the young couple considering buying a new house.

And the Republican intelligentsia is laughing all the way.

Outside the deafening echoes of the re-affirming radio, television, social media chambers, regular folks are starting to notice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day

From Megan McArdle, who recently spoke to some finance people about why the stock market was not reacting badly to the news out of Washington:
No, they're relatively calm because they simply cannot bring themselves to believe that we're not, in the end, going to raise the ceiling.  It's too outlandish that we would, through the collective action of our congressmen, suddenly and for no apparent reason shoot ourselves in the head.
 The Dow is currently down for the fourth straight day but still relatively modest in its downturn. Right now it's the annoying cat scratching your leg to wake you up. Next Tuesday, it could a tiger eating us all alive.

Advice For Life

Do not speak ill of the dead. No matter how right you are, your only accomplishment.will be the lessening of yourself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chart Of The Day

Some will dismiss it because of the source (Center for American Progress), but I believe it's difficult to argue with the numbers.

The President is now to the right of Bowles-Simpson.

We are on the brink of fiscal disaster, but it is the President who is creating job stifling "uncertainty" and it is the President who is engaging in "class warfare".

But most importantly, it is all his fault because he steadfastly refuses to put anything on paper.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Speed At Will In Dekalb?

The quiet war between the Dekalb PD, their own command and the county commissioners is heating up again. Nothing official, but Dekalb Officers Speak is calling for another "ticket strike":
Even though we ended the ticket furlough, the commissioners followed through with their threats anyway. For ending the ticket furlough, what did we receive in return? 5 precinct reduction in promotional pay, increase in pension contribution of 66 percent, reduction in vacation time, reduction of vacation roll over to sick time, thus increasing the years of serve before retirement. And now they reduced 10-hour employees (us) holiday time. We now are only paid 8 of the 10 hours. We will be forced to take vacation or comp time to make the difference...Time to hit them where it hurts! Let the share in our misery. The only way we can fight back is through a ticket strike. They heard us loud and clear last time, time for them to hear from us again....Call it what it is, a ticket strike....and now!
Speed at your own risk. However, if you normally travel between Spaghetti Junction and I-20, that's already par for the course.