Friday, September 30, 2005


The indictment of Tom Delay was not much of a surprise for me. The man's pretty crooked and it was only a matter of time before the trail of corruption and deceit finally caught up with him. And, understandably (and stupidly), the current GOP establishment is rushing to his aid.

This has made Hunter at Daily Kos kinda upset. All I can really say is ... damn ... he's ticked..

Welcome to the world of the politics of personal destruction, you tubthumping, chin-jutting, Bush humping gits. Welcome to the nasty and partisan world that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and a legion of insignificant lowest-rung toadies like yourselves nurtured into fruition daily with eager, grubby hands, and now look upon with dull-faced faux horror.

I know you hate me, and anyone else who dares disturb the thin strands of alternate reality in which George W. Bush is an intellectual giant, Saddam really was responsible for 9/11, the economy is getting better by the minute, and we capture the most very important members of al Qaeda on a weekly basis.

But here's some advice. You'd better start hating me more. This is the world you forged and, unfortunately for you, I'm beginning to take a fancy for it. Welcome to the politics of your own party, finally sprouting from the ground on which you planted the seeds and shat upon them.

A tad vulgar at times, but Hunter's point is well-taken. You can't create this entirely new set of rules in politics, as the Republicans did in the 1990s, and then when it starts to get used on them, feign innocence.

It's actually fairly remarkable, what's going on right now. What you are witnessing is the implosion of an entire political party right now. I'm not saying they'll lose Congress ... or even the presidency in 2008 (though I hope so), but the corruption and greed and deceit that runs rampant through some key leaders in the current GOP power structure will haunt them for years to come. This is a party that was poised to seize control of the American government for quite a while, but the missteps with regard to Iraq and Katrina, the continued sluggishness of the economy, the unpopularity of the GOP proposals for Social Security and other programs, and the ramifications of the potential criminal and definitely unethical activities of Delay, Bill Frist (investigation for selling stock just before it crashed) and Jack Abramoff will loom large.

Take notice ... this really could be the collapse of this version of the GOP.

Game Time (for real)

Just like last year, David Ortiz is damn near singlehandedly keeping Boston alive. A game-tying home run in the eighth inning against Toronto, followed by a game-winning single in the ninth inning to keep the Red Sox one game behind the Yankees heading into this weekend's absurdly huge series with the Yankees.

Now, I realistically don't expect Boston to win all three games this weekend - which is what the Red Sox need to have happen to win the American League East title outright - but I do think that two out of three is possible. Of course, I'm ridiculously nervous now. I can handle finishing second in the AL East ... but not to the Yankees ... not the year after they beat New York to finally rid themselves of the curse and win the World Series.

Of course, the last time the Red Sox found themselves in a must-win situation against the Yankees, a peculiar thing happened.

Cartoon nostalgia

The internet leads you to some interesting things.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Three vs. Four

Pete McCommons of Flagpole fame is a big fan of three-laning Prince Avenue. Now, for the longest time I have felt that this is a fairly stupid idea, and after reading McCommons' most recent editorial waxing poetic about dogwoods and bicycle lanes, I'm not really inclined to change my mind. But he does make a very good point in that three-laning Prince Avenue for only one portion - from Milledge Avenue heading into downtown - can help make that area more pedestrian friendly.

Forget the bicycle lanes at this point. You do have several establishments and developments in that area which rely heavily on pedestrian foot-traffic for business and making that small portion a bit more inviting for them isn't necessarily a bad idea. What is a bad idea, however, is three-laning the remaining stretches of Prince Avenue.

This is the primary corridor for folks from Jackson County to reach Athens (as well as how I get downtown from my house), and bottlenecking all of those cars into one lane is an absolutely horrible idea. McCommons vents his frustration over this fact here:

So, anyway, the big debate is whether we can make Prince Avenue an inviting, traffic-calmed, tree-lined entry into Athens, or whether it will continue to be a four-lane race track to funnel SUV's from Jackson County's burgeoning housing tracts into downtown Athens.

My question for him is ... does he think merely three-laning the road will make these SUVs from Jackson County magically disappear from the roads? They're going to keep coming to Athens, and this venture would only make it worse. He talks about how successful other three-laning adventures were, but I'm not sure what fantasy land he's referring to. Lumpkin Road is a nightmare now, while Baxter Street isn't any fun from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. So why in the world would we want to take one of the main traffic arteries in our community - particularly one that runs by our growing medical sector - and make traffic even worse?

Listen, I'm a fan of bicyle lanes. I really am. But I ask with all honesty here ... is it worth making traffic even more awful along one of our busiest roads just so a handful of cyclists can have a sliver of asphalt? Why not explore a plan to widen sidewalks and encourage dual-use pedestrian pathways?

It's not the size of the dog in the fight ...

I don't know where Hillary tracks this stuff down, but this is tremendous.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Great minds think alike

Here I had two good ideas for posts, and the good folks at Athens Politics beat me to the punch.

Here are their offerings on Gov. Perdue's odd decision to close the schools and Elton Dodson's stance on the La Puerta del Sol development.

AP does a good job rounding up the letters criticizing Perdue's move to close the schools, including my favorite one which feature this line:

Even more disturbing is the thought that 50 kids who would have been on one bus to one destination are now being taken by 50 different cars to 50 different locations - not saving resources, but shifting the burden.

Regarding Dodson, I had sent him a letter asking if it was true that he was unsure if he would support LPDS because it might endanger his relationship with States McCarter, as the Athens Banner-Herald had indicated in Sunday's In The Loop. Dodson was kind enough to respond to both me and AP, sending both of us copies of letters he has sent to the editor at the ABH.

Dodson has said that he personally supports the notion of LPDS, but will base his vote on what that particular community wants to have happen. You've got to respect that and, if you support LPDS as I do, then I'd recommend you drop him a line and voice your support.

For the record, here is a snippet from what Dodson sent me:

Though as a citizen I am a regular customer and cheerleader for Mr. Rubio and his contributions to our community, my decisions as an elected representative must be consistent with the needs and demands of my constituents, especially where a proposed rezoning will directly impact surrounding neighborhoods. Rarely do so many neighborhood associations lend their collective voices to formally oppose a rezoning, as has been the case here. I would be derelict in my duty if I did not separate whatever personal feelings I have about this project from the public dialogue created by it. I have made no decision on this matter, and will not until public comment has ended during our voting meeting. ... Whatever anger a commissioner may direct my way on any issue is irrelevant where it is contrary to the best interests of our community. If a colleague chooses to
sever a relationship with me over a single rezoning, I believe the cost of maintaining such a relationship is in any case too great an obstacle to effective representation and I welcome the breach.

Even though I've disagreed with Dodson on some issues - most notably the smoking ban - I'd like to give him plenty of credit for touching base with me and explaining his views. Kudos to him!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Almost like the Gipper

I'm not a Notre Dame fan by any means, but - thanks to Paul here at work (who is a huge Irish fan) - this story was brought to my attention. Tugs at the heartstring of even the most cynical person.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A few good points

Lost in all of the shuffle in the debate over La Puerta del Sol is some common sense coming from Athens-Clarke County commissioner Alice Kinman. I was high on Kinman prior to last year's election, having known her through her work with the Interfaith Hospitality Network (and I respected the campaign she ran, as well). I haven't always agreed with some of the decisions she's made as commissioner, but she's been very open and honest about her views and has returned all of my emails to her.

But the Five Points commissioner takes it up a notch with a good proposal buried at the bottom of Friday's Banner-Herald commission story:

Kinman asked a committee of commissioners to examine the way the county chooses where to install sidewalks. Now, commissioners choose sidewalk projects from a ranked list prepared by the county transportation department, but some commissioners say the list doesn't always make sense. She asked for a sidewalk master plan similar to ones for roads and bicycle lanes.

Kinman shares, more or less, a vision similar to one I have. She has alluded to in previous meetings and statements that she's open to wider sidewalks which feature bike paths, rather than simply three-laning current four-lane roads and adding a bike lane on each side of the street. Widening the sidewalks and creating ample space for pedestrians and bikers to co-exist, while maintaining the necessary lanes needed to handle the traffic flows on the city's major streets is sound policy. If nothing else, it does deserve a good look.

Speaking of La Puerta del Sol, States McCarter continued to lobby his fellow commissioners to vote against the proposed mixed-use development on the eastside. The commissioner opposes it because he says it will bring noise, extra traffic and possibly drunk drivers too close to Cedar Shoals High School. One has to wonder why Ansonborough elicted little rebuttal from McCarter, but this one has him all riled up.

The good folks at Athens Politics are all over this one - here and here. Plus Hillary is on the ball as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Famous Amos

No one ever accused me of being totally on top of the music scene, but I've got to recommend Amos Lee for your musical selections. Becky here at work has a couple of his songs, and I must say ... I like 'em. Bought the CD off iTunes last night and the entire thing is excellent.

Give it a listen, won't ya?

TV Talk

So I've been pretty excited about the season premiere of Lost, but I was unimpressed on the whole with last night's episode. It's not that I didn't like it - because I did - but what was actually in the hatch was not what I expected ... and not in a good way. I'm just unsure about the whole 1970s disco thing, with random Scottish running guy down there. It was so not what I was looking for out of that thing.

And then Invasion also was fairly sub-par. It was better in its final 15 minutes, but it attempted to do too much in its first episode. Safe to say, I'm OK missing that one.

On the whole, I've enjoyed the season premieres this year. Supernatural is excellent, and I'll definitely have to Tivo My Name Is Earl from here on out. How I Met Your Mother has promise, primarily because of Neil Patrick Harris, and I'm still a sucker for Gilmore Girls (it really does have great writing!).

I've got the season premieres of The West Wing and Grey's Anatomy on Sunday, and I've been looking forward to both of those for a while ... especially The West Wing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I've never really cared for Oprah all that much. I mean, I give her all the credit in the world for her book club which, by all accounts, has done wonders for promoting literature in our country (seriously ... it's an amazing thing if you think about it).

But it weirdly infuriates me that Hermes, the store which barred her from entering its store 15 minutes after it closed, decided to come on her show and apologize for its treatment of her.

Listen, I've been five minutes late to Target, and they won't let me in.

Breaking ranks

I strongly disagree with the rationale of Armando from Daily Kos with regard to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus on Montana agreeing to support the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

It's not that I'm a fan of Roberts - I honestly don't know whether or not to support or oppose his confirmation ... he sounds OK< but so did Clarence Thomas - but it's that Armando completely ignores the fact that senators are representative of the communities and/or states they live in. Baucus believes, rightly or wrongly, that Roberts' judicial views are in tune with the vast majority of the folks in Montana. Armando scolds him for breaking party ranks and disagreeing with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

Well, I call 'em as I see them too. And I have found that Max Baucus meets my criteria for a gutless son of a bitch. Baucus demonstrates a healthy disrespect for his Leader in the Senate and for the values and principles that define the Democratic Party.

We're back to party loyalty and ideological purity. It's one thing for Armando to say that Roberts is wrong for this reason or that reason. But it's another thing entirely to be upset because he's doing what he thinks is right for his home state and not following the company line.

There are plenty of reasons to think Baucus' endorsement of Roberts is faulty. Doing so because he wants to reflect the views of Montanans is not one of them.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Critic's Corner

The good folks at Athens Politics take aim at Banner-Herald executive editor Jason Winder's latest column concerning a living wage. Now Winders, my former boss, is a good guy and his column does have some truth to it, but I agree with Publius on this one.

Winders was right in stating that small businesses would be ones who would be hurt the most by a mandated living wage. Of course, this is pretty much basic economics so I don't know how much credit should be given for that assumption. But he never really discusses the issue and instead dismisses it casually as something silly that only do-gooder-types care about. Had it been a more intelligent discussion about the pros and cons of a living wage, Winders would have explored the popular notion of a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for small businesses which voluntarily offer a living wage. And there are plenty of other ideas of how best to promote a living wage, and - it should be noted - stronger arguments against implementing a living wage.

While we're on the Sunday editorial page, let me also have a bit of fun with Jim Thompson's column about form letters. Again, it must be noted that I am a personal, and for the most part, professional fan of JT. He's a good guy whom I've got a ton of respect for.

But, is it just me, or does anyone else see some sort of peculiar hypocrisy in bashing folks who submit the same letter over and over again ... yet has pretty much done the same thing himself? About the very thing he's criticizing?

Though such repeat performances are nothing new. The Banner-Herald hearts D.J. Shockley on Saturday and on Sunday.

There's an old phrase I like ... something about glass houses and stones, I think.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The cold, hard truth

I'll be the one to say it ... we've got to raise taxes.

There is absolutely no way this country can pay for a war in Iraq, the other aspects of the War on Terror and the rebuilding efforts of Katrina. The administration has said it won't raise taxes and will look to cut spending, though most officials agree there is little spending to cut.

So ... we should raise taxes. It's cut and dry to me, but apparently I'm wiser than the folks in the Bush administration.

Rusk speaks out (part deux)

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due ... mayoral candidate Andy Rusk has responded to some comments on this particular blog and over at Athens Politics. He attempts to hash out his beliefs some, and also said he would participate in some of the discussions at both sites.

I don't know much about Mr. Rusk ... but that's pretty damn cool. My snarkiness aside, the fact we have a candidate who is not only savvy enough to navigate what few local blogs we have, but also willing to engage in them makes him rank high in my book. Again, we've got a way to go before I begin to decide who I'll vote for, but let's all applaud Rusk for actually taking the time to chat with us.

And if you swing back on by here again, feel free to comment or initiate any type of conversation.

A candidate who respects and interacts with his constituents ... amazing.

A fresh start

I'll have to give the president his due - his plans for the reconstruction of New Orleans are promising (at least in the outset) and it was refreshing to see a man who prides himself on never being wrong actually come out and say 'I screwed up.' Granted, I still believe the latter occurred solely because of political reasons - especially considering the administration has spent much of the past week-and-a-half attempting to smear the local and state officials - but as I said earlier, better late than never.

Hopefully the new New Orleans will be a much more secure city, and that its reconstruction efforts will include attempts to restore much of the lost wetlands that used to soak up the storm surge. It also would be refreshing to see much of the new housing - particularly low-income housing - built on higher ground rather than the lowest levels of the city.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's gettin' real

Whew boy! Now this is what I call a mayoral race! Folks dropping out left and right ... obscure carpenters running to be, in his own words, nothing more than a 'figurehead.'

So States McCarter announced yesterday, after seeking the county's top post for only a month or so, that he would not run for mayor. Guess that ad money he spent was even that much more wasted, but no matter. McCarter probably got out and began talking to people and realized he wasn't as popular as he thought he was. He is still planning on resigning his commission post this year, and even found a guy to replace him in David Hamilton.

Barring Heidi Davison seeking re-election, this makes Tom Chasteen a serious contender now. And one has to wonder about Keith Johnson, who is running on issues I care about ... but is so far from who I would trust to lead my community, it ain't funny.

Add to all this, you've got 25-year-old Andy Rusk deciding he wants to be mayor. Rusk, in how not to make a initial impression to the community, said the mayoral post is just a figurehead and said he wants to make it a 'bully pulpit.' Sure, we know what he means, but that doesn't mean you go around saying it.

Aside from that, he appears to be the guy actually running on the anti-commission agenda ... and that should be interesting. He's also an 'independent Democrat' ... which means he's a Republican living in Clarke County.

The rumor mill also tells me that Carl Jordan is considering stepping down from his commission seat in 2006, setting up another special election. Now, I have said - mostly joking - that I'd run for mayor. But I am serious about this, if Jordan steps down, I do plan to run for his seat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Local love

I'm a sucker for local blogs which focus on local politics - hence my affection for my friends at Antidisingenuousmentarianism and Eponymous. Well, I've added a third blog to the list in Athens Politics.

Appropriately named, isn't it?

I came across it through a link on Hillary's site, and was sent to a rant about Elton Dodson's recent discovery of poverty in Athens. I immediately was hooked (I've got more planned on Dodson in a bit, have no fear). Check it out. It's got some pretty extensive coverage and commentary on the local scene.

There you go

Well, it's purely political ... but it's also better late than never.

The future looks bright

I'm telling ya ... this is just the type of thing you want to see coming from your future quarterback.

Matthew Stafford, the nation's top high school quarterback, has already committed to play at Georgia next year. And he's pitching in to help the Bulldogs reign in some more top recruits.

It's also how he plans to get Georgia one of the top-rated recruiting classes in the country. See, Stafford, like Georgia, is not satisfied with 18 commitments. He wants more.

"[David] Ausberry and [Tim] Hawthorne, I'd love to have them," said Stafford, who committed to UGA way back in May. "They look good. I know I'd throw it to them."

This is a player who knows what he wants. Which fits in perfectly with Georgia because it has behaved like a program that knows exactly what it has wanted and needed this recruiting season. While the wide receiver duo of Ausberry (Lenmoore, Calif.) and Hawthorne (Homewood, Ala.) remain free agents, the Bulldogs have locked up 18 commitments and one of the top classes to date, according to the Web site pundits who follow this sort of thing with a nearly religious zeal.

Ausberry is the top wide receiver from California, while Hawthorne is a blue-chipper from Florida. Both are big (6-foot-4, 215-plus pounds) and fast. The sheer fact they are even considering Georgia over teams like Miami or Southern Cal is huge in my book.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Game time

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Best of the rest

So Sarah McLachlan went and released a CD of remixes of some of her earlier hits. Now, I'm typically not a big fan of remix albums, but this one - Bloom - ain't bad ... even if it does dip into more techno-electronic-type dance beats than I prefer. I've given it my official thumbs up.

You can check it out at her official web site. My initial favorites are her haunting remix of World on Fire, as well as the modified hip-hop vibe on Just Like Me. I've always been partial to Ice, but that song sounds creepy no matter what bass line you put to it.

Still hard to pick her overall best work. World on Fire is a very profound song that was, in part, a response to 9/11. But I've always loved Elsewhere and Hold On, arguing that the former might be her most complete song in terms of lyrics and music.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blast from the past

Lookee, lookee ... it's a flashback in the Banner-Herald. You know, I was actually pleased with how this story turned out. There aren't many times I could say that. Though the Clarke Central/Cedar Shoals rivalry usually forced me to deliver some better writing.

For sheer historical value ... it also was the last time Clarke Central beat Cedar Shoals.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A taxing decision

I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold on Gov. Sonny Perdue's decision to suspend the state gasoline tax for the month of September. Is saving 10 cents a gallon at the pump really worth losing an estimated $75 million in tax revenue? If we were talking about savings along the lines of $1 a gallon - something which consumers could recognize as a dramatic reduction in price - that's one thing.

This, though, I'm not so sure.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The non-accountable government

Despite the title of this post, I want to be very clear about what I'm about to say - this is not about politicizing the tragedy along the Gulf Coast. It really isn't. This is about asking honest questions and levying serious criticism about what is occuring on the ground in New Orleans.

And the vast majority of that criticism is directed toward the sheer incompentency of federal, and some state, officials to effectively manage and respond to this event. It has been more than four days since Hurricane Katrina has departed the Gulf Coast, and chaos still reigns in New Orleans.

People are dying the streets. Lawlessness rules the day. Rotting corpses drift in the putrid waters. The remaining survivors are combatting the heat in the filthy Superdome and Convention Center.

And aid trucks are finally rolling in. A welcome sight, no doubt, but my question through all of this has been 'where in the world is the leadership?'

Did we not have a plan for this kind of thing? One would think, with a Department of Homeland Security and 9-11 only a few years in the past, there would be some sort of plan to handle what would happen with another large-scale disaster. Even if it was a strike by a terrorist organization that destroyed much of a city, we'd be faced with a large population of displaced people. And one would think we would have developed a system to accomodate these people upon losing their homes, and that such a scenario could easily be transferred to deal with the refugee crisis in Louisiana.

Apparently not.

Apparently there is a vast difference between the reality of the situation on the ground across the Gulf Coast and between those federal and state officials who are 'coordinating' the rescue efforts.

From CNN:

At a news conference in Baton Rouge Thursday, (FEMA Director Michael) Brown bristled when reporters asked him about the criticism of FEMA's effort in general, and the criticism by Ebbert and Maestri in particular. He insisted his agency was "meeting the needs as they are communicated to us."

"I think everyone in the country needs to take a big, collective, deep breath and recognize that there are a lot of people in this state, in Mississippi and Alabama who are living under conditions that, quite frankly, I doubt any reporter in this room is living under -- no food, no water, it's hot, it's sticky, their homes have been destroyed, they don't know where they're going to go next."

But there was perhaps no clearer illustration of the disconnect between how emergency officials view the situation at a distance, and how it is viewed by those actually living it on the ground, than Brown's comments to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday evening about the evacuation of hospitals in the city.

"I've just learned today that we ... are in the process of completing the evacuations of the hospitals, that those are going very well," he said.

Shortly after he made those comments, Dr. Michael Bellew, a resident at Charity Hospital, where more than 200 patients were still waiting to be evacuated, described desperate conditions. The hospital had no power, no water, food was running out and nurses were bagging patients by hand because ventilators didn't work.

Earlier in the day, the evacuation from Charity had to be suspended for a time after a sniper opened fire on rescuers.

At another local hospital, Memorial Medical Center, a small fleet of helicopters was brought in to evacuate patients and staff after hospital officials were told "by officials on the ground to take the matter into our own hands," said Trevor Fetter, president of Tenet HealthCare Corp., the hospital's owner.

This is the same man who said he didn't know there was a serious problem at the Convention Center on Thursday afternoon, despite the fact that the national news media had been reporting on it since the levees broke.

The local officials throughout the Gulf Coast, but particularly in New Orleans, have been infuriated by the slow response and poor organization from the federal level. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin blasted federal officials Thursday and Friday, joining several others to do so:

You mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on man. I need reinforcements. I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. This is a national disaster. ... I've talked directly with the president. I've talked to the head of the homeland security. I've talked to everybody under the sun.

They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem, or it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get ... on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now. They're thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal.

Get off your asses and let's do something.

The scary thing is that the Bush administration has apparently been doing things, but to the detriment of New Orleans' situation. Since taking office, funding for Army Corps of Engineers' water projects have dried up and investments for beefing up the city's levee system vanished.

The New Orleans Time-Picayune in 2004 reported:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency shook up its way of distributing disaster preparedness money when it introduced its Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program in 2002. Given the program's criteria, Louisiana appeared to have been a shoo-in for federal dollars for 2003, the first year the program began awarding money. Instead, Louisiana got nothing.

And it isn't like this is something that people don't forsee coming (unlike what the president claimed when he said no one thought the levees would give out). Scientific American reported in October 2001 that a 'major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city.' Other reports showed that New Orleans could only weather a Category 3 hurricane and that, contrary to Bush's assertion, the levees were dire need of an upgrade.

Shouldn't this be something the government should be concerned about? This isn't an ideological dispute over systems of taxation. This is about how to take of its citizens - how to protect them - in the face of a natural, or national, disaster. Shouldn't a government think of a way to help protect its people from these types of disasters (as much as they can), provide quick and efficient relief upon the disaster and provide security to quell lawlessness?

These should be automatic things which are executed promptly, not days after the fact ... with the world watching as our fellow citizens die.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We were afraid of this guy?

It's appropriate that ESPN Gameday selected new country-pop stars Big and Rich to perform in Columbia, S.C., as part of the festivities surrounding the Central Florida-South Carolina football game. One bunch of musical wannabes sharing the stage with a wannabe football program, each enjoying their 15 minutes of fame ... two fads that can't be forgotten quick enough.

This is what drove Steve Spurrier to come back to college football? To inherit a weak football program with exactly one conference title in its entire history? It's one thing to get your start at a place like Duke, but it's another to enjoy the high life at Florida and then come crashing back down to earth and patrol the sidelines for South Carolina. Welcome to Columbia, the place where college football coaches go to die.

With the exception of three drives, the Gamecocks looked so awful Thursday night it's difficult to fathom how they can compete in the SEC this year. Beating a team which had lost 15 straight games by a mere 11 points - and being completely and thoroughly dominated in the second half - is not exactly how you go about building a dynasty.

South Carolina's running game was non-existent. The Gamecocks' offensive line was incredibly porous. The special teams were terrible. And their defense couldn't stop an offense that ranked as one of the worst in the country last year.

Blake Mitchell looked OK ... throwing for 330 yards and all. But much of that came on big plays and more often than not he looked a tad lost. He missed several wide open receivers and was frazzled in the face of a blitz.

Plus, if South Carolina thinks it can run that gimmick defense where its defensive line is standing up against teams like Georgia and Tennessee, then the ole ball coach needs to brush up on his play-calling skills. Big, strong and experienced offensive lines, like the Bulldogs' and Volunteers', can come off the line quick and will lay the Gamecocks' undersized lineman flat on their backs.

All in all ... absurdly unimpressive. But the South Carolina fans scream like mad, certain (as they always are) that glory is right around the corner.

Perhaps I should put out a sign for them next week when they visit Athens. It'll be the one that reads 'Welcome To Reality.'

Self-fulfilling prophecies

What Gov. Sonny Perdue did yesterday was, admittingly, smart policy (issueing an executive order which would lay heavy fines and sanctions on folks who price gouge for gas), but at the same time it also was insanely stupid.

What was fueling everyone yesterday was fear - primarily stemming from some idiotic rumor that the gas pumps would be shut off across the state at 3 p.m. This rumor surely was driving many people to the gas station, creating a run on fuel. But the governor's statement and attempt to soothe the fears of Georgian consumers by saying 'there is no energy emergency' most likely did more to fan the flames of hysteria than calm them. After the head of the state addressed this most unusual rumor, everyone began to freak out ... thus seeing prices as high as $8.99 for premium gas in some areas and spot shortages cropping up all over the place.

Perdue's call for patience is a tad like Bill Pullman's character in Independence Day urging everyone to remain calm despite the large number of city-size space ships hovering over the world. Naturally, the last thing you're going to do is stay content when you have your leader saying 'don't worry about it' but you see hordes of other folks panicking.

Granted, Perdue was in a tough spot, and it's really hard to blame him. He had to address the state because some folks were freaking out, but human nature resulted in many more people freaking out because he spoke.

Of course, we can levy some blame at the Athens-Clarke County Chamber of Commerce for sending out an email urging their members and businesses to fill up as fast as they could because gas would run out this weekend. And these folks, despite their good intentions, wonder why they have an image problem.