Friday, July 29, 2005

I catch a beat running like Randy Moss

Much props to Hillary at Antidisingenuousmentarianism for bringing us this link which compares college football programs to rappers.

It's excellent. My favorite ones?

-Clemson/Ying-Yang Twins

Squad preferred by the mentally challenged, replete with an inexplicable moment in the sun that everyone's better off forgetting. Known to squander mainstream respect with ill-advised forays into crunk. But that's not as convincing as the fact that a certain Tiger QB supposedly asked my friend's sister if he could get a noseful of her nether regions. I seriously can't believe this wasn't the first one I thought of.


-Georgia Tech/Method Man

Man, was it really THAT long ago that these guys were contenders? Prone to lapses in judgment, and being hamstrung by shaky leadership. Really likes the wacky tobacky.

It's tremendous. Check it out.

Energy use is fun!

In light of the energy bill which doesn't really accomplish anything, I thought I'd bring your attention to an interesting commentary brought to my attention by ATL's Finest. It focuses on why Detroit hasn't become a hotbed for alternative fuels for automobiles.

Pretty much, it says some American auto maker should recognize there is money waiting to be made by investing in hybrid technology and other cleaner--burning alternatives. With people more willing to pay higher prices for hybrids - I know my wife and I are considering doing so when we purchase our next car - it seems the time is right for a major U.S. auto company to jump right on in.

What if one of them decided to break from the pack? What if a major automaker decided to reinvent itself as the world's first and only green car company, producing only hybrid, clean-diesel and other high-efficiency vehicles? Not Birkenstocks on wheels, mind you, but enjoyable, functional cars that get great mileage.

Consider the advantages. Such a company could drive down the cost of producing hybrids by attaining economies of scale. It would be ready - nay, eager - to comply with stringent clean-air rules wherever they were imposed. It would be positioned to exploit the federal mandate for low-sulfur diesel fuel, which will open the door next year to cleaner-burning diesel engines. And it would no longer have to compete as much on price, because consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for more efficient cars.

It's interesting stuff. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

For Mr. Johney Friar

Apparently, I wasted my letter to the editor honors with my 'Fun With Grammar Attack on States' earlier this week because I would have loved to respond to this one.

Johney Friar of Auburn claims that criticism of Fox News is not grounded in reality and that the other news networks (he cites CNN) are actually the ones who are biased and don't give the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But his examples defending Fox's 'fair and balanced' approach show exactly why Fox is slanted right anyway!

I can find no better example of why Fox News is gaining popularity than the July 25 newscasts on CNN and Fox. CNN reported the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania crashed a Marine's funeral and gave out business cards, injecting politics in the solemn occasion.

Fox News with Brit Hume had the same report, but also reported the lieutenant governor's name and the fact she is a Democrat. I find it telling CNN omitted those two important facts.

Also, on the same newscast, CNN reported Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts had an affiliation with the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, in which he moderated several symposia. Fox News had the same report, but added that icons of the left also participated in symposia, including Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. and current Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

These are perfect examples of Fox's bias. Any negative news they can find in which they can link to Democrats, they jump at the chance to connect the dots. In the first instance, what is the point of listing this. I caught this story a bit later on Headline News and think it's completely irrelevent what the political affliation is of the lieutenant governor. If she was campaigning at a funeral, that is appalling, but that's not reflective of her poliltical ideology. By revealing the party links, Fox is implying that all Democrats act in this inappropriate manner and all of their conservative viewers bark 'yep, that's right ... damn liberals.' If Fox was really 'fair and balanced' they would have either ignored the party affliation or cited past/recent examples of such behavior from both sides of the aisle.

The latter example is even more puzzling. The story is about John Roberts ... the man is the center of attention because he's just been nominated for the Supreme Court. His connection to the Federalist Society is relevent to the ongoing debate, but the participation of a handful of more left-thinking individuals in similar symposia is completely unrelated to the story. It's a counter-argument for the right - a not-so discreet talking point - masked as news. Furthermore, there is a distinct difference in being a member of the Federalist Society (and even moderating the symposia) than simply participating in the symposia. Lots of folks of all political persuasions participate in symposia sponsored by rival organizations, but typically it takes someone vested in the host organization to moderate one.

Apparently Friar didn't see the contradictions in his own postings ... and he must have missed the numerous other times Fox News has butchered journalism in exchange to get in a few cheap shots at Democrats and advance GOP talking points. Like when John Gibson recently declared that Karl Rove deserved a medal for outing Valerie Plame (7/13/05) ... or Carl Cameron blatantly lying when he said the president would never dismiss the leaker in his administration (7/12/05) ... or Brit Hume saying in the wake of the London attacks that now was the time to buy futures ... or Brian Kilmeade saying that it was good England experienced a terror attack because it would strengthen their resolve in this fight (apparently forgetting the German Blitz of World War II or the constant terror attacks waged on British soil by the IRA through the past two centuries).

If you like Fox News because you like sticking it to liberals, fine. But don't watch Fox for news because you're not going to get it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Making sense on Hillary

Matt Yglesias, as he usually does, cuts through the muck and makes some real sense discussing Hillary Clinton's 'liberal' credentials.

He quite wisely points out that Clinton, well, isn't that liberal. Rather, she's been a moderate for all of her life and even was a Republican prior to college. The reason people think she's a communist in centrist's clothing is because of one of the most effective smear campaigns in the history of politics. During her husband's first term in office, she was given the responsibility of heading up health care reform. She delivered a rather unusual plan which still relied heavily on the exisiting health care and insurance infrastructure, but did offer - in some cases - limited choices. Republicans ran an effective public relations campaign which derailed the plan and labeled her a liberal willing to give government the ability to make all of your personal health care choices. Granted the latter was an out-an-out lie, but folks were stuck with that impression of her.

But if you dig beyond that singular argument, you find a more moderate record ... particularly in her successful tenure as a U.S. Senator. She has become known as one of the key Democrats for Republicans to work with when seeking a bipartisan proposal. She's shrewd enough to get what she wants out of the bill, but also let those on the other side of the aisle get something too. She's one of the more hawkish Democratic senators out there and is a pivotal force in the moderate DLC.

The problem is, as Yglesias notes, the perception that Hillary is too liberal. She's spent much of her life living as a moderate, but it's hard to sell that when you have folks like Tracey Schmitt saying things like 'the fact that the centrist organization of the Democrat Party would anoint Hillary Clinton anything, exemplifies just how far left the Democrats have gone.' All of the swing voters nod there head and go 'yep, she did want to socialize health care' and then I pull out my hair.

I like Hillary. I'd be inclined to support her in 2008 if she does run for president, though I have become a strong fan of Wesley Clark and I've always loved John Edwards. But I don't know if she can win, particularly if she runs against someone like Rudy Guiliani or John McCain ... two moderate Republicans (of course, neither one of them may survive the GOP primary seeing how much control the Religious Right and neo-conservatives have right now).

UPDATE: Carl Cannon at The Washington Monthly says Hillary can win.

Round two ...

So when Bill Shipp said the UGA Athletic Association was in for a world of hurtin' what he really meant to say was the Campus Police. Of course, seeing how frequently the football team has sent folks over to the latter's holding tank, it's understandable he mixed the two up.

No matter. The Banner-Herald reports that Lt. Roderick Platt filed a complaint with a litany of allegations against UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson. Platt claims Williamson "has continued to use his position of authority to make threats, intimidate and spread his sexually explicit and harassing behavior upon me and other employees throughout the police department." The chief has supposedly brought in porn for officers to see, become 'obsessed' with a current employee's web site which shows pictures of her modeling career, made offensive sexual and racial comments during his tenure and fostered an environment which has resulted in low work morale.

It's pretty damning stuff.

In other UGA sexual harassment news, President Adams rejected former Grady College dean John Soloski's appeal for an independent hearing.

Just so we're clear here ... Adams has overseen the hiring of a basketball coach who brought the program down in scandal and two administrators who faced allegations of sexual harassment and severe mismanagement. OK. Connect the dots.

Monday, July 25, 2005


The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to see the Bruce Springsteen concert at Phillips Arena (many props to my boy Paul at the museum for helping me out). And it wasn't just any concert, but a solo, acoustic show which lasted two-and-a-half hours. No opening act, no backup band ... just The Boss with a couple of guitars, a piano and harmonica (the man played I'm On Fire on the freakin' banjo). Safe to say ... the show rocked.

Seeing Springsteen was, shall we say, an emotional experience for me. Not in the sense that I was a huge Springsteen fan (though I have become a big fan in recent years), but rather because of my affection for The Rising.

9/11 had a very profound effect on me. I've never talked about it with anyone - not my wife, not my family, not my friends. But the events of that tragic day really did change me, my worldview and my intentions in life. It was staggering to me that more than 3,000 innocent people could vanish just like that ... and that their deaths were the result of deluded individuals who hated us so much they felt such carnage was justified.

I was angry, scared and confused in the days that followed. I remember watching the first tower crumble and not thinking it was real, that it must be a scene from some movie I had seen before. It was impossible for me to fathom that people were trapped in that tumbling building, plunging to their deaths ... never to see their loved ones again.

I couldn't comprehend it. I couldn't make sense of it. And I thought every day for the rest of my life would be just like that one.

One thing that helped provide me some consolation was Springsteen performing My City Of Ruins at the impromptu telethon held in the wake of the attacks:

Now with these hands,
With these hands, With these hands,
With these hands, I pray Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for the strength Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for the faith, Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for your love, Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for your love, Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for your faith, Lord
With these hands, With these hands,
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands, With these hands

Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up!

I truly think this was the first time I cried since the planes hit the towers. Maybe the anger and confusion had clouded my emotions, but this song broke through that facade. And for the first time, I really began to think that everything would be OK.

And I began to think about what I really wanted to do with my life, how I wanted to live my life. Everything crossed my mind - from joining the military (seriously) to dropping everything and working with the Peace Corps. In the end - through a combination of lack of courage on my part, my love and dedication for my wife and thoughtful searching - I determined there was much work I could do at home for now.

My wife (then fiancee) and I began searching for a church in town. I sought out charitable organizations that worked for the greater good in our community and found a couple that I began to work with. I decided to become more involved in the public sector as well, getting involved in politics for the first time last year.

Doing my part to give back to the community and help those who are less fortunate than me is, in a small way, a fitting tribute to honor the lives of those lost that day.

Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
- Robert Kennedy

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bored? Try Pug blogging!

My boy Russ at Thought Struggle has decided to enact a new weekend ritual - Friday Pug Caption Contest Blogging.

A very promising venture in my opinion.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Good points, bad points

In a remarkable turn of events, Kos has managed to tick me off and please me at the same time. First, he bashes the Democratic Leadership Council (to my chagrin) and then he rips NARAL. I like the DLC, so his criticism irritated me, but I tire easily with NARAL, so his criticism was appreciated.

I'll do my darnedest to make this brief, but on the DLC ... it's primarily two things in my book - Kos apparently has thin skin on this issue and is craving ideological purity. The DLC, founded in the 1980s by moderate Democrats as a rebuttal to the leftward lurch of the party in the late 1960s, has drawn plenty of criticism of the Howard Dean wing of the party. The organization strives to pursue more centrist policies, but does stick to traditional Democratic principles.

Probably much of the criticism stems from some DLC criticism against individuals like Dean and other more liberal members of the party. But this is foolish criticism in my book because I think such criticism is good. The fact that Kos is offering his own criticism of the DLC is good, despite my disagreements with him. I think these kind of debates show that the party isn't one monolithic, similar-thinking bloc. Principles are one thing - and I, for one, think that the DLC has more in common with the more liberal wing of the party than differences - but the disagreements stem over hurt feelings (Daily Kos was overflowing with all of these 'attacks' on Dean's record by the DLC during the primary ... thought that was part of a campaign, but no matter) and competing approaches to enact said principles.

On NARAL, Kos bashes the pro-choice group for forcing a pro-life Democrat out of Congressional race in Rhode Island, instead endorsing a Republican who, quite frankly, hasn't done much to support abortion rights in his time in Congress. NARAL also has waged war on Bob Casey, a promising pro-life Democrat in Pennslyvania who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Rick Santorum. NARAL had the audacity to say that there was no difference in Casey and Santorum with regard to women's rights.

NARAL always has bugged me by their single-minded and short-sighted stands which often sacrafice the greater good in the name of 'making a point.' Good to see Kos rag on them a bit.


Hillary at Antidisingenuousmentarianism has brought the plight of Tavares Kearney to our attention.

The son of obnoxious V-103 morning personality Wanda Smith, Kearney apparently got caught cheating on a food and nutrition test - again, I say, a food and nutrition test - by using his cell phone to get answers. The graduate assistant asked for the phone, which Kearney handed over before thinking 'gee, I'd like to keep that.' So, in turn, he grabbed the graduate assistant's wrist, twisted hard and ripped the phone from her hand before darting out of the class.

Kearney now faces expulsion - which he should - and this would bring the number of 2005 signees who will not attend Georgia to seven out of 19. That's not a good ratio. Even returning players are facing problems. Zeb McKinzey is suspended for the first game after drunkenly breaking into a student's apartment and falling asleep on the sofa; Derrick White was booted from the team after being arrested twice in three months; Michael Turner was busted for speeding and pot ... hell, Darrius Swain spent almost a month in jail.

So I'm not entirely sure who's going to suit up for Georgia in the fall ... which is I'm relying on their success in NCAA Football 2006 to get me through (D.J. Shockley is ridiculous and they made Quentin Moses an uber-defensive end).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Communication issues

Can someone in the advertising department of the Banner-Herald take that difficult 20-foot walk and tell the newsroom that States McCarter is running for mayor? I mean, those ads are finished by 5 p.m ... how in the world does that just slip past them?

Of course, someone should have told McCarter he could have saved some campaign funds by announcing his candidacy through a press release and a free news story rather than pony up the money for an ad littered with grammatical mistakes (you don't 'insure' an inclusive and responsive government - unless you want to financially protect it - you 'ensure' an inclusive and responsive government).

Anywho ... McCarter's officially in the game now and the mayoral watch falls on Heidi. On pure speculation, I think she may sit this one out. Of course, with McCarter and Tom Chasteen splitting the eastside, the westside is seeking a candidate.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Good eatin'

Folks hate Rachel Ray?

Who knew?

For years, I devoured the show, and Ray and I enjoyed a problem-free relationship. But as she became more popular and her detractors became more vocal, I realized that if I wanted to defend her, I should try a few of her recipes. You can imagine my dismay when, 21 recipes later, I was forced to admit that I could not complete a 30-Minute Meal in 30 minutes. Ray's four-course "Cooking for 10 in 30 Italian Style" menu took me a frenzied one hour, 25 minutes, and 57 seconds. Though the food was very good, I came away exhausted and with a burnt finger.

Say what?

Talk about good quotes ... my boy Marc digs up a gem in this one.

Kinda warm to be doing this ...


It's the first week of practice for high school football. Ah, it takes me back to those long days preparing the prep football preview section.

Good times, good times.

Atta girl

Hey everyone, let's give some props to our girl at Antidisingenuousmentarianism for her letter to the editor.

She takes Elton Dodson to task for, well, not really wanting to be open with his constituents.

Safe to say that lots of the good feelings I've had for our commission has plunged southward in recent days.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Meme strikes back

My boy Eponymous has tagged me, so I relent ...

10 Years Ago - On the verge of kicking off my senior year in high school ("Take me home ... Stelling Road ... to the place I belong ... Westside High School ... mountain mama"), preparing to assume the mantle of being newspaper editor for, are you ready, The Westside Story. Typical evenings were spent cruising around in Xon's minivan with Russ, Chris (now Cari), Charles and Bryan. Always good times. Oh, and holy crap, I was dating Jenny Wright. In hindsight, not my best judgement.

5 Years Ago - Only a few months into my first full-time job as prep sports editor at the Athens Banner-Herald, furiously working on the prep football section and adjusting to the learning curve that comes with full-time employment. Living my boy Bryan in the ghetto, but enjoying our full-service bar.

1 Year Ago - Enjoying my third year of marriage to the wife, working as assistant news editor at the Banner-Herald. Nothing much to write home about.

Yesterday - Got up, went to work, handled several interview requests and got the run-down of our new web site here at the museum (kudos to Becky for her hard work, site rocks). Returned home and made my world-famous fried chicken gumbo for a dinner party we were having with some friends, then enjoyed a cold beer with family and friends on a very, refreshing evening.

Today - Got up, went to work, facilitated the use of some images for a newspaper in South Carolina, enjoyed a hearty lunch at the new dining hall on campus with Becky, Carissa (different one from Cari), Tricia, her husband George and their adorable, yet incredibly finicky eater of a son. Looking forward to seeing another proud Banner-Herald alum in Marc who's enjoying a brief break and is in town after diligently covering the Reds.

Tomorrow - Take pictures of Family Day, do some yard work ... and who knows.

5 Snacks I Really Enjoy - Little Debbie Nutty Bars, Munchie's Mix (mixture of Cheetoes, Sun Chips. pretzels and Doritos), apples, Bosc pears, almonds

5 Bands/Artists That I Know The Lyrics Of Most of Their Songs - Tupac, Eminem, Linkin Park, Bruce Springsteen, John Cougar Mellencamp

5 Things I Would Do With $100,000,000 - 1) Give enough money to my family members so they could live comfortably for the rest of their lives; 2) Fund the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens for the next 50 years; 3) Give some money to random charities and my church; 4) Buy a sweet beach house ... either at Ocean Isle, N.C., or somewhere in the Charleston, S.C., area; 5) Buy some land in Athens-Clarke County, and elsewhere in Northeast Georgia, and designate it as either permanent greenspace or a public park ... probably both.

5 Locations I'd Like To Run Away To - Costa Rica, The British Virgin Islands, Key Largo, Banff (Canada), Anywhere in New England

5 Bad Habits I Have - Quick temper, procrastination, inability to finish projects, stuttering and speaking too fast (is that a habit), sticking my foot in my mouth

5 Things I Like Doing - Watching TV, reading, working in the yard, playing NCAA Football 2006, spending time with the wife

5 Things I Would Never Wear - Thong, Speedo, dark socks with shorts, braided belts (I've been there, and done that), any New York Yankees apparel

5 TV Shows I Like - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The West Wing, Lost, Grey's Anatomy

5 Movies I Like - To Kill A Mockingbird, Anchorman, Mississippi Burning, Primary Colors, Dead Poet's Society

5 Famous People I'd Like To Meet - Robert F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, George Clooney, James Carville, Sarah Michelle Gellar

5 Biggest Joys At The Moment - Dwelling on the fact the Red Sox are world champs ... and beat the Yankees in Yankee Stadium in Game 7 to do it, enjoying my job and the people who I work with, satisfaction of seeing how nice our yard looks, enjoying our new friends at our new church, spending time with the wife

5 Favorite Toys - NCAA Football 2006 ... that's it! I need an iPod!

5 Of You Who Are Going To Do Your Own - Xon, Russ, Erich, Charles, Ephus

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Worthwhile background info

From the AP's story on Michelle Wie's match play win in the Amateur Public Links Championship ...

Wie still has a long way to go. She would have to win five more matches before getting the coveted invitation.

"Tomorrow's a whole new day," she said when asked about her upcoming match.

Wie advances to play C.D. Hockersmith of Richmond, Ind., in the second round on Thursday. The third round of match play follows in the afternoon.

Hockersmith, whose eyes remain open when he sleeps, said he's looking at the match as an opportunity.

"This would be great to beat her, to give me some confidence," the Ball State junior said.

Why Hockersmith would disclose his creepy sleeping habits during a press conference or in a media book, who knows ... perhaps he also has a bad case of the Jimmy legs. Regardless, many kudos to the Associated Press reporter who included that little tid-bit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

All the Wie!

Count me among the folks who are fascinated by Michelle Wie's successes on the golf course.

But fascination is one thing, understanding the challenges posed by her wading into the world of men's professional golf is another.

Currently Wie is participating in the Amateur Public Links Championship, with hopes of winning said event and earning a spot in the Masters. Now it's a tall task for a 15-year-old - boy or girl - to win such an event, and I don't necessarily think Wie has what it takes now to do so. I could be wrong, and I do think in time she will be able to compete for crowns like this one.

Arguably, her participation in this event has given it considerable more press coverage and public attention than it has received in the past. Partly because she is, quite frankly, a girl playing in a men's arena ... and partly because she's a girl who is smacking the ball 290 yards off the tee and shooting close to even par from the men's tees.

Not everyone is over-joyed with her presence:

"I don't think she should be here," said Danny Green, who tied for second in medal play after matching the tournament low with a 65 for a 2-under 138. "I think she should play in the women's tournaments because they don't let the men play in women's tournaments. I just don't agree with that, but it's not my call. She qualified and she is going by the rules. She's here and she is a great player. I've got nothing against that."

Now Green does have a point, even if he's not making it completely clear. There are two things to consider when it comes to not letting Wie, or other women, participate in men's events. First, as Green alluded to, men are not allowed to compete in women's tournaments. The LPGA has a strict policy that forbids men from competing in women's events, while the PGA has no such policy. This, on the surface, is unfair.

Second, as some others have suggested, Wie's participation in these types of events are done purely as a ratings-grabbing ploy. Realistically, she has little chance to win these tournaments (she hasn't won on the LPGA yet, and folded in the final round of the U.S. Women's Open recently), and her spot in the tournament takes up a spot that could be used by a professional male golfer who has struggled on the PGA Tour and has a more realistic chance to win.

I think both are valid arguments against Wie's participation, but I think both also have strong rebuttals and practical solutions.

With regard to the double-standard of allowing women to play in men's events - amateur or professional - but not the other way around, I am quite sympathetic to this view. I have no problem with women playing in men's tournaments, but I think it is only fair if men of a similar skill set play on the women's circuit. That is, isn't it possible that a male golfer who isn't a scratch golfer (like pros are) - one who typically shoots 80-85 - could compete on an even level with professional women golfers? Granted sticking Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson on the women's tee at the Nabisco Classic would be a tad unfair, which is why slightly worse than professional male golfers would be needed for the women's circuit.

Considering the second argument, it's not an easy black-and-white decision. With regard to the Public Links Championship, Wie signed up and qualified for this event. She didn't earn a special invitation like she did for the Sony Open, but rather went out and earned it the old-fashioned way. So I think she has every reason to participate in this event.

Special invites, are a tad tricky. I'm sympathetic to the argument of leaving out 'more deserving' male golfers, but only so much. Wie has more than enough physical talent to compete with the men. She drives the ball close to 300 yards, has been in the running for major titles on the LPGA at the age of 15 and, in a few years, will emerge as the most dominant female golfer on the planet. Physically, she can hang with the boys and deserves to be out there.

Plus, if you a tournament director running a tournament, you definitely want to make as much money as you can and garner as much attention as you can. It's important, than, to find ways to bring people to your events ... and someone like Wie has that ability. The same thing happened when Tiger Woods turned pro and picked up some special invites ... same goes for Charles Howell III after he captured the NCAA title.

As a result, while I do respect those who are suspect of the special invite rule, I find it too inconsistent to be used as a reasonable argument against Wie's participation.

The girl's good. Let her play I say.