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.