Friday, September 29, 2006

Music for the moment

Couple of things

- Ahhhh ... a Banner-Herald editorial on downtown bars that only Doug Lowry could love. First off, let's be clear about one thing ... the bars which violated the fire code should face the appropriate fines and/or punishments and make the necessary changes. However, it's quite a leap in logic to suggest we should start 'yanking' licenses because of this thing, and Hillary agrees with me. If you keep leaving the toilet seat up, does that mean the government should deny you bathroom privileges? I know it's trendy these days to pile it on the downtown bar owners, but let's keep it all in perspective here.

- Charles is tongue-in-cheek, and my bet is that it sails over the heads of a lot of people ... Norm Weatherby included. Speaking of Mr. Weatherby, I think we should start a 'Weatherby Watch' ... this dude gets a ton of xenophobic letters in the paper.

- This really seems to be a non-story to me, peppered with random facts and figures from other places in the country, placed high in the story, designed to get everyone all up in arms about how safe our streets are. However, if you read down, you see both the president of BikeAthens and Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Elton Dodson saying things are going pretty well, actually.

- Speaking of Dodson, he offered a quote for the ages in this article in The Red & Black:

Chuck Jones, who recently dropped out of the District 9 commission race, called for local government to increase its efforts to include students. He could not be reached for comment.

On his Web site, he said he hoped a University student would run for local government in the future with the support of a unified student body.

Jones was critical of the moratorium because he said it unfairly targeted students.

'That moron is twisting the issues,' Dodson said of Jones.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Couple of things

- Last night, some potential commissioners squared off in a debate, so I took a look at it.

- Also, I've got some of Mayor Heidi Davison's answers to the Athens Grow Green Coalition's scorecard.

- The third podcast for The Cover Two should be up soon enough this morning.

- Greg Benson used to work at the ole musee ... oh, and guess what, he's an idiot.

- One of the four greatest golfers of all time died yesterday as Byron Nelson passed away at age 94. Tiger Woods is ridiculous, but consider this ... Nelson won 11 straight tournaments in 1945, 18 overall that year and 31 of 54 from 1944 through 1945. And then what? He retired at the peak of his game at age 34.

- Dude, they are after Wesley Nash up in Madison County.

- Pete loves misguided hyperbole (again). Again, it's not that I don't consider myself a political progressive, but I think when you try to be so uber-specific, particularly on things like whether or not you think our public schools are doing good or bad, you miss the point of what defining ideology really is.

Debate recap


Plenty of good things to discuss from last night's Athens-Clarke County Commission debate ...

- First off, Chuck Jones dropped out of the race? Dude, we don't agree, but you've been a pretty loyal commenter. No love ...

- Anyway, that means it's just Alvin Sheats (who was AWOL last night), Ed Vaughan and Kelly Girtz for the District Nine seat. Vaughan seemed to be a bit all over the place with his answers, and I'm more than a tad confused about his proposal for a 'Blue Collar Fund' ... no matter. Girtz seemed very impressive. He's sharp and seems pretty pragmatic about a lot of things.

- By the way, I like Girtz's proposal of employing county workers to work on affordable housing repairs ... that's New Deal-esqe right there.

- In District One, another loyal Safe As Houses commenter in James Garland squared off with Doug Lowry. I've met Lowry on a handful of occasions, and he seems like a nice enough fella ... but I am completely baffled after reading some of his comments. First off, the Democratic candidate in the race claimed he was the conservative, which the actual conservative Garland probably was amused by.

Then there was this gem ...

When asked about the conflict between downtown's daytime retailers and nighttime restaurants and bars, Lowry said he sides with the retailers, who often say bar-goers drive away their business by leaving trash and odors behind in the morning. Bars also contribute to widespread alcohol abuse among students, he said.

"I would really like to see no more bars downtown," he said. "I have no use for them."

Well, I was teetering toward the edge anyway, but now you lost me Doug Lowry. As I've argued before, I don't think the perception matches with the reality when it comes to widespread alcohol abuse on campus, and eliminating bars in downtown won't do anything if it does exist ... instead moving it from downtown Athens into the dorms and apartments of these students (i.e. away from where we have to as a community, you know, actually deal with it).

Now, again, while I like Garland on a personal level for his openness for civil discourse and general friendliness all the way around, I'd have a hard time supporting his candidacy seeing how I am so not a libertarian. So this one just got interesting.

More AGGC scorecards

Yesterday, I linked to a partial collection of answers from Charlie Maddox for the Athens Grow Green Coalition candidate scorecards. I've been fortunate enough to get a copy of Mayor Heidi Davison's answer and thought I'd post her answers to the same questions.

What do you think Athens-Clarke County’s growth issues will be in the next ten years?

Athens is a uniquely wonderful, eclectic, livable, and highly desirable community that enjoys the amenities of a large city while enjoying the charm of a small town. Often recognized nationally and internationally as a great place to live for young parents with children, retirees, art and recreation lovers, etc., these attributes will contribute to our continued upward growth patterns. Simply put - we sizzle with personality!

That winning personality is driving our population increases. Predictions tell us Athens’ residents will increase by more than 50% over the next ten years reaching 250,000 by the year 2030. Additionally, we must consider increased numbers of people commuting from neighboring counties with complementary high growth rates.

As an important center for work, shopping, medical and other services, entertainment, and recreation, these factors will place a strain on our current infrastructure. Planning for the demands of this future growth requires a proactive rather than reactive stance.

Growth within our small geographic footprint calls for non-traditional solutions in every area including housing, recreation, multi-use and commercial construction, transportation alternatives, economic development, and public safety. Compact development in close proximity to existing infrastructure that is pleasantly dense and close to town, protects greenspace, reduces the cost of service delivery, and fosters a sense of place should be our goal.

Policies to ensure environmental sustainability in order to meet the sheer volume of basic human needs of clean air, clean water, and the responsible disposal of waste are going to present this community with the challenge to think anew towards creative solutions.

More fleshed out than Maddox's response, but still playing it safe by speaking generalities (overall). What impressed me, however, about Davison's response was her desire to protect existing greenspace in spite of the impending growth, which I take to mean she sees feasible solutions to create denser pockets of population within our community. One of those solutions, I would assume, would be mixed-use developments.

Also, kudos for recognizing the challenges of waste disposal, particularly in light of the recent landfill problems.

What will you do to increase the supply of accessible, affordable housing?

Several opportunities present themselves in this area that should be discussed and possibly implemented. Those include the creation of a Housing Trust Fund to be used for gap financing, reduce parking requirements for residential development, more aggressive demolition of blighted housing to be replaced by new homes, turning surplus property over to housing providers, working with developers to consider expedited permitting and creating voluntary inclusionary housing policies to meet the needs for mixed-income, lifecycle, and workforce housing, and explore the concept of “Granny Flats”.

The government can and should continue to work with local housing providers such as Habitat for Humanity, Athens Housing Authority, Athens Land Trust, EADC, local developers, employers, and funding institutions in an effort to define housing goals and strategies for implementation. Work of this nature is underway to build new housing and rehabilitate existing older dwellings, but efforts could be better coordinated.

As gentrification seeps into our more modest in-town neighborhoods in the form of infill, we need to seek out ways to allow underperforming property to be revitalized without the negative effect of displacing long-time homeowners. Using some of the strategies alluded to in the first paragraph, it’s possible to inject into the mix moderately priced homes for those with low to middle incomes.

The two greatest expenses are housing and transportation. By creating moderate income housing close to transportation nodes, individuals who earn a modest living are more likely to have opportunities for participation in the local economy, investment in their family, neighborhood and the larger community.

Considerably more thorough than Maddox, who effectively gave a non-answer on that question. Davison dives into specifics, which is much appreciated, as is her recognition that it's important to develop some of this more affordable housing near existing transportation nodes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Couple of things

- With all due respect, Ed Elder is an idiot. While I have plenty of ideological disagreements with Morris Communications brass, I can safely say censorship isn't happening there. With the sheer volume of letters that trickle in to the Athens Banner-Herald, decisions have to be made about what runs and what doesn't run. So, sometimes, a letter doesn't get in, but that doesn't mean it's censorship.

Furthermore, if I got a ton of emails criticizing my blog but chose not to run them all, would I be guilty of censorship? Of course not. They were able to say their piece, criticize my site and move on. My decision to not run their comments is not hindering their free speech at all. The Banner-Herald is a private business that has the right to publish what it sees fit. Simply opening up an avenue for its readership to communicate with its reporters, editors and managers means it's not censoring their thoughts.

And don't get me started on the 'monopoly market' phrase ... there are a variety of weekly newspapers in the surrounding, rural counties, a very successful weekly alternative in Flagpole and a pretty good student newspaper in The Red & Black. Plus, anyone can come along and challenge the Banner-Herald if they see fit ... it just hasn't happened yet.

- Athens-Clarke County mayoral candidate Charlie Maddox shares his ideas with Athens Grow Green Coalition, and I share some of those ideas with you.

- OK, except it really isn't as 'aggressive' ... and the 9/11 Commission findings showed that.

- Not that I really follow Virginia politics all that much, but it appears George Allen is in a world of trouble.

- As noted earlier, Athens Politics is back in the mix.

Grow Green scorecards

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Athens-Clarke County mayoral candidate Charlie Maddox's responses to the annual scorecard from Athens Grow Green Coalition, and thought I'd share a few of his responses since there has been many - me included - calling for him to flesh out some of his positions:

What do you think Athens-Clarke County’s growth issues will be in the next 10 years?

Athens has yet to balance progress with preservation. Our environment and our culture are our most precious resources, and we must fight to preserve both. Smart growth is the answer; however, smart growth has become a guise for many with a no growth agenda. Our citizens deserve the opportunities for employment and natural surroundings. One should never be chosen at the exclusion of the other.

Additionally, our city has failed to actively promote our natural resources as enticement for the relocation of citizens and businesses to our area. Such marketing could help our city gain resources while ensuring an ongoing commitment to our environment.

Not a bad answer. These types of surveys are always difficult for candidates to answer because you don't want to be too specific, but you also want to give more in-depth glimpse to what you want to do. He appeared to handle this one right and, truth be told, is actually dead-on. This city has struggled for a long time under many different Mayor and Commissions to balance the need for controlling sprawl and preserving our history with the necessity to see our community, and its economy, grow.

He doesn't offer much of an idea of how to actually do that - not saying he lacks one - and focuses on selling the city as is.

What will you do to increase the supply of accessible affordable housing?

As a city, we have gained a reputation as a difficult and undesirable place for development, and because of this, talented developers who could help create responsible and affordable housing are bypassing Athens.

Additionally, our own government entities are repeatedly blocked and frustrated by the layering of hindrance in our planning and permitting process.

We should set reasonable goals and rules for our citizens’ housing needs and pursue those goals outright. If efforts are united for needed and responsible development as they have been for other efforts, we will begin the process of getting high quality housing for all Athenians.

Listen, I know this is a difficult issue, and Lord knows I don't have all the answers (or even a modicum of them), but I was particularly disappointed by this answer ... especially since Maddox works with the Athens Housing Authority. This was a specific question and it called for a more specific answer, not generalities.

Instead, he alluded to what he felt the problem was - the community scaring off developers - and then danced around the issue by saying we should set 'reasonable goals and rules' to meet housing needs. Fair enough, though I disagree with the assertation that Athens-Clarke County has scared off developers, particularly in light of the boom along Mitchell Bridge Road and down Timothy Road or, well, anywhere on the eastside.

Affordable housing, more than often, isn't pursued by developers because they want to bring home a solid return and selling a house for $110,000 versus an overpriced condo for $305,000 is a no-brainer from a business sense.

There are things developers can do and there are things the government can do (mixed-use developments come to mind, property tax freezes are another, utilizing a portion of the Navy School's land is yet another), and it's important we don't throw tons of blame around and skirt the tough questions our community faces.

Monday, September 25, 2006

They're back

The folks at Athens Politics have returned ... and by 'folks' I really mean 'brand new people.' Poor DiDDY got a bit burned out and Publius has a full plate, so they enlisted Todd Mitchell and Blackfin Day to help out. I've got absolutely no idea who these fellas are, so there's that.

They do, however, have an unusual obession with John Barrow's race ... despite the fact that he, you know, lives in Savannah now.

That and Todd says he's a 'Kerrycrat' ... which makes me absolutely shudder at the thought of another ill-fated run by the most unlikable U.S. presidential candidate in 20-plus years.

Still, they're posting a lot which is cool and this is mostly good-natured 'welcome to the party guys!' kinda ribbing.

Tailgating pics

Couple of things

- Doug McKillup pens a letter to the editor concerning the need to increase our investment in education to lure companies like Novartis.

- Jokingly, I used to advocate for launching our trash into space toward the sun, but Randy Hartmann says we might need to reconsider that idea. So, dude, please recycle a bit.

- Our boy Tim Kelly has a blog finally, so I recommend you go check it out.

- It's weird things like this that I didn't know about the Carter family which might make their reality show interesting enough to watch.

- Here's a better article on President Clinton taking on Fox News yesterday, complete with the line "(Fox News anchor Chris) Wallace said that the question was drawn from viewer e-mails."

- Even Team Brown went to the Georgia-Colorado game.

- Since the U.S. team apparently forgets how to play when the Ryder Cup rolls around, is it possible to genetically engineer younger versions of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer so we can, you know, start winning this thing again?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Screw you Fox News

Awesome. I like it when we decide to occasionally, you know, actually hit back.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Couple of things

- I suppose Jill Seymour wants us to stop celebrating St. Patrick's Day since we're cleansing ourselves of our immigration past ...

- This is a cool idea, though one hopes they get actual construction-type people to build the thing.

- The article on spending on poverty also leaves out a key component, which is administrative costs. Lots of money gets ultimately wasted on things which could be consolidated, so I'm glad to see that Judge Steve Jones and the PPA is preparing a report designed to point us in the direction of how to use our public money more efficiently.

- By the way ... dude, give 'em a dollar or two. We label panhandling like it's this horrible, evil thing but when I have loose cash on me, I always try to give some to somebody who asks for it on the street. A dollar for him or her may help them, but it doesn't hurt me at all.

Real Work Conversations

Me: Yeah, I'm taking votes to see what kind of cheap beer I should bring to our tailgate.
Paul: If they still make it, you should bring Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Hillary: What do you mean if they still make it?
Me: I just bought some a few weeks ago.
Paul: I don't drink anything like that, or anything out of can.

(Fast-forward three hours or so)

Hillary: That's got to be a 'Real Work Conversation' ... particularly how he called it Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Me: I just like how he thought they didn't make it anymore.
Hillary: I know.
Me: Well, he is a Notre Dame fan ... they must be more high-brow in the tailgating tastes.

TV talk

OK, The Office premiere wasn't what I expected, but I think is the appropriate direction for the show to go in. It gives them a little more time to draw this thing out, though the lacking of Pam and Jim being together at work severely hampers one primary avenue of comedy. Though the dropping of the phrase 'I think it's available at Sharper Image ...' had me howling.

The Wife compelled me to watch both the premieres for Grey's Anatomy and ER, which are two programs I'm not really into but can be sold on based on the stars of the shows.

Music for the moment

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Couple of things

- In a world in which our primary enemies are shadowy organizations focused on close, personal 'combat' (i.e. suicide bombings), Jeff Emmanuel calls for ... a missile defense system. In it, he asks why North Korea would object to us building a missile defense system unless they wished us ill. The lack of knowledge of recent history is staggering in that statement, but no matter. North Korea objects because it throws off the existing balance they have just achieved in (supposedly) acquiring nuclear weapons. Mutal Assured Destruction kept this world together during the Cold War, and the North Koreans - as completely insane as that government is - want to buy into that. Kim Jong-Il may be a loon, but he craves power ... and lobbing his one nuclear missile at the U.S. or any other Western country would result in the destruction of his country and the end of him.

- Furthermore, it's not that I'm necessarily opposed to a missile defense system, but that it doesn't appear to be the most effective way - practically and financially - to defend our country from weapons which may or may not exist.

- Athens-Clarke County mayoral candidate Charlie Maddox strikes back.

- Hillary rounds up the proposed changes to the Georgia license tag, complete with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reader submissions. Note tag with phrase 'Dumber Than A Bag Of Hammers' ...

- I mean, I consider myself a progressive but some of Pete's examples are technically kinda conservative ... as well as being too incredibly specific to be able to effectively pigeonhole into a particular political ideology.

Maddox camp responds

The folks from Charlie Maddox's campaign sent me a response to the ultra-weird email circulating throughout town that calls for African-Americans to vote for Maddox, regardless of the issues of the day but solely based on his race.

Here is their complete response:

Response from The Maddox Campaign.

The Committee to Elect Charlie Maddox Mayor is saddened that racism and bigotry has entered the mayoral race in the form of salacious e-mails. In an e-mail from an individual identified as Mr. Ajabu, readers are encouraged to vote for a candidate by virtue of race alone. Further language in the e-mail is divisive, uninformed and in a spirit of ill will. It has come to our attention that this is not the first time Mr. Ajabu has sought to impugn the dignity of Athens’ leaders.

The Maddox campaign is in no way connected to, in support of or of like mind with Mr. Ajabu. We view his comments as further evidence that Athens is a divided city in deep need of healing its wounds.

Charlie has been called many things in this campaign. He has been called the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate. He’s been called the rich candidate, the poor candidate, the business candidate, the social justice candidate, the country club candidate and the candidate who once lived in public housing. He’s been called the black candidate and, interestingly enough, the white candidate.

However, Charlie is everyone’s candidate. He’s for true resolution and action to reduce poverty. He’s for thoughtful transportation solutions, smarter growth, action to produce economic development, every shred of support the city can give the school system and its students, and preservation of quality of life for everyone. Charlie does not and will not support micromanagement of the goverment, disproportionate allocation of resources, undermining our judicial process and mere lip service to the dire needs of our citizens.

When Charlie is elected mayor, he will represent all citizens of Athens. Mr. Ajabu’s assertion that Charlie is merely a “tool” to gauge the influence of Black voters in Athens is misguided. We believe that the composition of the list to which he sent his message reveals that his intentions are anything but sincere.

Athens is in need of a leader who can rise above the special interest groups and give leadership to our entire community. Charlie runs not as a candidate of a particular political persuasion or racial group. He does not promise to give preferential treatment to special interest groups who offer to help his campaign. Charlie is running as the candidate who is from Athens, who is for Athens and who can lead Athens into a very bright future.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Couple of things

- Wow. There really isn't a heckuva lot out there worth talking about today. I mean, you've got Barrow County approving Sunday by-the-drink alcohol sales as well as another judge throwing out Voter ID bill, complete with absolutely ridiculous rhetoric on both sides, yet nothing really strikes my fancy. I'll try though ...

- The second podcast for The Cover Two is up, and this one includes a discussion of the video game The Oregon Trail.

- There was a military coup in Thailand last night, which is something we haven't seen in a few years.

- Russ randomly talks about life in Chicago.

- I don't know if the University is ignoring any possible racial motivations in the Chi Phi porn peddling ... I mean, the editorial even concedes the punishment was 'swift and strict.' Just because they didn't come out and say it, doesn't mean it didn't factor into the decision-making process.

- The Sports Guy's Week One wrap-up of the NFL is high quality, and he offers the best suggestion for the NFL in years:

We had a second scenario when a coach didn't throw a challenge flag in time -- this time, with Bill Parcells, who accidentally forgot that he was keeping the flag in his cleavage after a disputed red zone play in the Jags game. By the time he chucked the flag, the ball was already being snapped for the next play. Since this keeps happening, my friend Ace came up with a way to solve the problem: Give every head coach one of those T-shirt cannons (like the ones cheerleaders use at basketball games), and when they want to challenge a play, they have to hoist the cannon and shoot the flag onto the field (preferably right at one of the officials). Not only would this be fun to watch, it would be more riveting to watch someone like Parcells trying to operate the cannon. I love this idea. Somebody plug Roger Goddell in, wake him up and pitch it to him.

- You've got to tip your hat to the Watkinsville. While the rest of Oconee County is slowly becoming sprawl city, this little town is actually putting policy in place which encourages responsible and smart economic growth and development.

- OK ... I guess there were things to talk about.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Avast ye! (2006 edition)

It what can only be referred to as an act of blasphamy, the fact that today is Talk Like A Pirate Day was completely overlooked at work today until its final moments.

Fortunately, Hillary was nimble enough to document the occasion in its twilight as Carissa and I uncovered all sort of parrot araphernalia.

Don't ask.

Couple of things

- Yesterday, I picked up some random email that featured the oddest endorsement of Charlie Maddox I've seen yet.

- OK, this is one of the most unusual non-issues the University of Georgia has on its plate right now ... and they've wrestled with it for a while now. I can logically see why faculty wouldn't want to have a fall break (i.e. it disrupts their class schedule and puts them behind on their lessons), but at the same time can they see that merely postponing the start of the fall semester by two days and eliminating the fall break is ridiculous? A break is just that ... a break. It's something designed to get everyone rested and renewed, and I think it's a good plan. As far as the moving it from the Georgia-Florida weekend ... why bother. Back when I was in school under the good, old quarters system, 3/4 of the student body skipped and most of the classes were cancelled anyway. Having this break during that weekend is just efficient for all involved. If the university thinks for one second that not having fall break that weekend means kids are going to buckle down in their studies that particular weekend, than they're sadly mistaken.

- Not that it's shocking, but the family-friendly zone are vacant, and the article includes a shout-out to Paul Westerdawg's video.
Wouldn't it make sense to perhaps shrink down the size of these venues and make them more fun zones for children? It seems to me the main thing being utilized are the inflatable structures, so let kids play on that and cut the family-friendly zones down in size.

- Hey, you stay classy Chi Phi ... doing a bang-up job with reinforcing that Greek stereotype.

- The local boys have done good!

- I watched the premiere of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip last night and, like most Aaron Sorkin shows, it was incredibly well-written and well-directed. The characters were funny, complex and all in all, it was a nice job. My only concern ... why am I going to devote so much time to watching a program about running a comedy sketch show?

- I go away for a weekend and Hillary
pens a column for the Athens Banner-Herald.

- Uh ... we get a 'How Athens Works' lesson from States McCarter ... and it's kinda oddly timed and pretty random.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Children everywhere ...

Until the world is graced by the presence of the yet-to-be-conceived McGinty child, I must admit that I'm partial to saying my neices and nephews are the absolute cutest children on the planet ... and this is just Corbin and Reagan ... I've got six of 'em.



On tolerance

I'd like to go into a long discourse about the comments recently made by Pope Benedict XVI regarding Islam, but I'm kinda tired. Still, after going over his actual comments, which happen to come from an intellectual presentation to a collection of academic leaders in Germany, it's hard to find much wrong with what he said.

The phrase that has most in the Middle East and Islamic world upset is one that calls some of the ideas espoused by the prophet Mohammed 'evil' and 'inhuman' ... but it's important to understand those comments stem from the work of a theologian and historian from the 1300s. All the Pope was merely doing was referencing a historian to begin an honest and academic discussion, one in which he never endorsed those comments.

So, to me, it seems pretty ignorant and, quite frankly, stupid for militant Islamic leaders to call for all-out war against Christianity over the comments of a man who has been dead more than 700 years. Still, radical Islamic terrorists, like those in al-Qaida, endorse, you know, strapping explosives on 14-year-old boys and sending them into shopping malls, so we're not exactly dealing with rational individuals here.

Why should the Pope apologize? If we're going to limit academic dialogue, particularly in matters of religion and faith, to only that which doesn't offend, than what's the purpose of having a liberal society in which we can debate issues and beliefs. Disagreement isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it often leads to a greater understanding and appreciation of the very thing you're disagreeing over.

Disagreement doesn't mean you up and vow to kill anyone who doesn't think like you.

Wow ...

Chalk this one up to the Safe As Houses tip line, but I received this bizarre email featuring a backhanded endorsement of Charlie Maddox's mayoral campaign that is absolutely overflowing with grammatical errors and ill-informed political strategy. It's almost too weird to comment on, though I will note the use of the phrase 'Do you feel me?'





DISCUSSION:Statistics say that there are approximately 102,000 people that live in Athens. Those same stats say 60% of the population is white while 40% is Black. However, public schools say that its population consists of 60% Blacks and 40% whites. We want to know the true strength of our numbers. The mayor”s race presents us with the opportunity to find that out. Charlie Maddox is a Black man running for mayor. To be honest, people have expressed mixed feelings about Charlie. This movement says no matter how you feel about Charlie he can be a tool we can use to determine Black political strength in Athens. Here are the steps:



When our numbers put Charlie in office we will be assured by our voting strength that there is not an office in Athens that Black people cannot control.

STEP 3: Determine the political offices in Athens such as, Mayor, School Board, Sheriff, Prosecutor, Solicitor General, just to name a few.

STEP 4: Identify people of our people who are willing to run for the offices.

Right now we do not choose the people who run for office. The people that run are chosen by someone else. We did not choose Charlie to run for Mayor. However, Charlie can be a tool that we use to determine our voting strength so we can choose who we want to occupy which office. Do you feel me?

STEP 5: Vote in the people that were chosen by us.

BENEFIT: In working for Cynthia Mckinney's campaign I found out that a U.S. congress person gets $1.3 million dollars a year to run their congressional office. Out of this money they can hire 22 staff people. Most elected offices are given money to hire staff people. If we are responsible for electing people then these staff positions can be filled by you or me. Likewise, we could take over the school board. The school board awards contracts. We will set up people, for example, to sell toilet paper to the Athens Clarke County School District. Do you realize how much toilet paper the school district uses? Because we control the school board we can determine who gets what contracts. We can start using the taxes we pay to the school system to start making our people wealthy. That means there will be jobs that pay a living wage that are controlled by us just because we use our vote intelligently.



TOMS: We must realize that Uncle Tom is still with us. There will be Black people you know who will try to stop us from realizing our voting strength by saying Charlie can”t win. He is inexperienced. He is an uncover Republican. Don”t throw your vote away. Vote for the white folks. Don't let Tom get you.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Couple of things

- They did this at Carrabba's? Really? OK ... no matter. The article focuses primarily on land usage and property taxes. Heidi Davison has some interesting ideas on switching our local property tax assessments which I need to ponder further before making a comment, though I'll say off the bat that Andy Rusk - nice guy, regular poster - loses points for disparaging comments about the green belt and poormouthing TDRs.

- He didn't win it, but kudos to Madison County graduate and Athenian resident Ryan Hybl for his runner-up finish in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

- Dog! No! Actually, the details of the arrest make it seem really odd to me. I don't think this will last long ... but should make for some good reality TV.

- I plugged this at The Cover Two, but our first college football podcast is up. Thanks to the good folks at the Georgia Podcast Network.

- Because my original posting regarding the upcoming season of The Office was a hit, I decided to add another video tracing Jim and Pam.

The kids are alright

James Garland, a candidate for the District One seat for the Athens-Clarke County Commission, has been kind enough to participate in some of this blog's discussions about issues facing today. He appears to be a sincere, honest fella even if I do share some ideological disagreements with him.

One of those disagreements, though it's not ideological, can be found in this story from The Red & Black yesterday. Garland said he would be in favor of redrawing the existing commission districts to create a student district.

In theory, I'll admit it's a good notion to get the students involved in the political process and to give them a viable shot at representation on the Athens-Clarke County Commission. Too often, the students do get the shaft, more or less, and finding a way to make their voices heard is important.

However, I don't know if that theory and this proposal align properly. What this would do is disproportionally hurt an area of permanent residents (ones who just happen to be some of the most politically active, on both sides of the spectrum, in the community) in favor of transient ones. Though I don't necessarily subscribe to Tom Chasteen's politics, his concerns are mine ... being that permanent residents around the University community would see their strength wrongly diluted.

Now, let me be clear, I don't think that Garland's doing this as some partisan effort to get more Republican voters to the polls. I think he has a legitimate concern about student representation. But I think there are more appropriate ways to get their message out.

For instance, perhaps a student advisory committee ... comprised of, say, the SGA president, two Greek representatives, a Black Student Affairs Council representative, a few at-large representatives, etc. and etc. This committee could have monthly meetings and have its head meet on a regular basis with the commission over a working lunch or something.

Maybe a student liason could be set up by the Athens-Clarke County government.

Plus, Jeff Emmanuel's concern that students have no shot of winning that seat appears to be unfounded. Blake Tillery ran a heckuva race against a well-known and well-supported resident Athenian in Alice Kinman and lost by a mere 121 votes.

My point is that before we decide to go messing around with our commission seats so we can get a student up there, let's make sure we consider how this impacts the influence of all citizens.

Upon further review ...

In the past, I've made no bones about the enthusiasm shown by The Wife and I in our encounters with celebrities because, well, quite frankly we're goobers.

On top of that, just a few days ago, I commented about my R.E.M. concert experience where I stated that I had a ton of respect for the accomplishments and contributions of the band but had never really considered myself a fan of their music aside from a few isolated instances.

I'm going to reconsider all of that thanks to the events of the past week. In the past three days I have been so incredibly fortunate to not only see the band perform in an intimate venue but also to be able to meet and interact with a few of the members. I have been impressed not only with the music I've heard (most for the first time), but primarily by the graciousness, kindness, openness and genuine friendly attitude the exuded. Shoot, one of the members even sought The Wife and I out, introduced himself to us and engaged us in conversation.

It was incredibly overwhelming and, I'll be honest, I'm quite sure I foolishly stumbled my way through our conversations ... I can only hope I didn't embarass myself too much.

This is a group of honest guys who love Athens-Clarke County, love Georgia, are passionate about the issues facing us today, sincerely appreciate and adore their fan and, from what I can gather, possess that same down-to-earth vibe they had started out more than 25 years ago.

As a result, I'm going to seek out some of their music and give it another go (I'm sure Tim can help me out with that). I think y'all should do the same.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

T-minus one week

Couple of things

- I retraced the steps that led me to the R.E.M. benefit/tribute concert.

- This is a shame. Ann Richards was one of those crucial public figures who I had a fondness for during the transitionary phase from me being the youth who was raised Republican to becoming a Democrat in the 1990s. The Texas political scene is worse off without her.

- This is tonight!? I thought it was at the end of the month ... I don't know how I'm going to swing this one, but I've got to give it a go.

- Surprise, surprise ... consultants don't want to offer affordable housing but, instead, upper-end housing. Listen, I'm not saying it should be entirely devoted to use for poverty agencies or homelesness agencies - I've long advocated for some sort of mixed-use, economic development on that property - but a portion of the property should be reserved for offering affordable, quality, transitional housing ... something which is significantly lacking in this community.

- These types of laws are mighty tricky because, in essence, you're asking for some sort of regulation hindering the ability of individuals to associate freely. While I've got no problem with using existing laws to handle situations where some individuals are overly aggressive and threatening, it seems to me simply asking for money shouldn't be regulated.

- Awesome. I like Ryan Hybl, and I had no idea he was playing anywhere. Good for him. If he wins, he lands a Master's invitation for 2007.

- Note use of phrase 'neo-Molly Hatchetts'

Music for the moment

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday night's alright for ...

When I set out to enjoy a Happy Hour with Tim and Matt on Tuesday, I never envisioned I'd stay in downtown Athens until 1:25 a.m. and wind up seeing one of the most recognizable and respected rock bands of the past 25 years in a small, intimate venue. But, hey, I did ... and that's pretty friggin' cool.

I decided to attend the R.E.M. benefit/tribute concert at the 40 Watt Club since Tim already had tickets for him and some of his buddies from law school. It was expressed to me that extra tickets were on sale at the 40 Watt, though upon our arrival it was obvious they were incredibly sold out. And, upon our arrival at Clocked for dinner, it was slowly becoming apparent the band would play. Athens is an amazing town when it comes to covert, music-related rumors ... particularly those relating to R.E.M.

Being the ever-friendly and ever-charitable group of guys they are, they tend to pop up at these types of smaller events and do a song or two. So, as the rumor mill began to churn, the demand for tickets shot up drastically (one dude in our group was offered $100 for his $13 ticket).

Now, I'll be honest - I'm not really a big R.E.M. fan. I don't dislike them by any means, and I've always really respected and appreciated the music they put out. Every once in a while a song would come along I'd be partial to - like Monster or Second Guessing or Drive, but for the most part I just knew they were a really good rock band who had a sound which wasn't entirely in line with my tastes.

I mean, I had the chance to see them in Atlanta in 2004 and attend an after party, but I passed it up so I could stay home and watch Game One of the 2004 World Series.

Still, the opportunity to see them in a small environment like the 40 Watt was absolutely too good to pass up, so I began to press on for tickets. Thus I began to check around and see if anyone had any extra tickets anywhere, though it was definitely not a buyer's market. Fortunately, thanks to the extreme kindness and generosity of, shall we say, a couple who had the appropriate connections, two tickets were unearthed for me and Matt ... and for that I am immensely grateful (you guys rock!).

So ... here are a few highlights:

• Tim is a massive R.E.M. fan, and it was very clear that this was, quite possibly, the greatest night of his life. Even as my energy waned after midnight (I've become rather Bushonian in my sleeping habits, going past 10 p.m. is an accomplishment for me these days), he was there literally forcing me to wave my arms in the air.

• One of the coolest parts of the night for me? That Mayor Heidi Davison was looking for extra tickets on my behalf. Tim tells me that when one gentleman said he had extra tickets, she quickly popped up with 'Johnathan McGinty needs extra tickets.' Dude, I was already going to back her anyway, but this was the icing on the cake.

• That Patterson Hood is pretty good. So is Modern Tin Cup Prophettes. Of course, my knowledge of the local music scene is so incredibly lacking, so there's that ...

• I really think Matt took about 471 pictures with his camera phone.

• One of the other coolest parts of the night? That Tim was given a beer orginally purchased for Mike Mills, prompting him to immediately begin shouting 'Who has a camera phone!? Who has a camera phone!?' The photos turned out very greenlightish, but still ... that rocked on a random level.

Hillary, I could tell, was absolutely stunned to see me at the concert. I told her today that I was trying to slowly become hip.

• I've always been rather indifferent to It's The End Of The World As We Know It, mostly associating it with the opening of cheesy sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day ... but seeing Michael Stipe sing it with an assortment of local bands as well as the rest of R.E.M. ... yeah, that was awesome ... awesome I say.

Couple of things

- Went to this last night. Awesome. More later when time permits. Hillary has quick glimpse.

- Not that it's necessarily a bad thing the group is starting up here, but why is a guy from Duluth chairing an Athens-Clarke County organization?

- Also ... I agree with the university that it's too soon to take away the family-friendly tailgating zones, despite some of my contentions with them. However, why do they get the cheerleaders and band and UGA baseball team and all sorts of other cool perks versus the considerably larger group of people who don't attend this area?

- Hank's good people, and I agree with the overall point he's making - affordable housing units at the Navy School are good - but disagree on some minor issues - such as not putting any sort of development on that property which can generate substantial tax revenue.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Couple of things

- I've been away and, quite frankly, I didn't really want to come back. A life of leisure at the beach would suit me just fine.

- Athens-Clarke County mayoral candidate Andy Rusk pens a letter to the editor regarding the downtown drinking issues.

- Per an email release, I learn that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has endorsed Heidi Davison’s re-election bid for mayor of Athens-Clarke County. That's big time folks since a lot of folks really like Shirley, myself included. It'll probably go a long way in helping sway the minds of a lot of people who are on the fence about Heidi ... or, then again, it could just be another endorsement that no one pays attention to. I mean, Ashton Kutcher endorsed John Edwards and that didn't get him out of the primary, so, you know, there's that.

- Continuing the election news, Mac Rawson, who's seeking the 47th District State Senate seat, is hosting a rally and BBQ at Pittard Park in Winterville this Thursday. The admission is $10 and has food from Zeb's BBQ. Mac's good people, and I'd recommend getting out there. I've got a commitment that night, but I'm going to see if I can swing by for a bit.

- Dude ... I mean, for one thing, they lack souls so killing them in the name of Steve Irwin is really stupid.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Couple of things (about to go beach edition)

- Paul Westerdawg at Georgia Sports Blog runs one of the best blogs on Georgia athletics around, and he did a little documentation of the usage of the newly instituted Family Friendly Tailgating Zones that is tremendous.

- Athens-Clarke County Commission candidate James Garland articulates views he shared here on redistricting at the Athens Banner-Herald.

- Another running diary, courtesy of yours truly ... this one on my tailgating adventures.

- Election season is heating up as Heidi Davison's reelection campaign is trying to round up and mobilize volunteers. On Friday, Sept. 8, she'll hold a campaign rally at the Old Jail House, where she'll speak, some bands will play and folks will screen the movie Heidi ... which, it must be noted, is a lot different than her administration.

- And, with that, I'm heading to the beach for the rest of the week.

Monday, September 04, 2006

We're 1-0! We're 1-0!

In the tradition of Summer Soiree 2006, New York, the combo Georgia-Auburn tailgate/Boston trip and, most recently, the South Carolina-Mississippi State game, and thanks to generosity of a one Dave Akins, I'm pleased to present another running diary ...

Now we must understand that football season, particularly college football season is a big deal in the McGinty household. Ever since my days as a three-year old where I was absolutely convinced I was Herschel Walker, wasting away hours on a Saturday afternoon in the fall watching football is perhaps the best way I can think to spend my time. When The Wife and I were about to get married, on the first weekend of the college football season back in 2001, she asked if we could go to Bed, Bath and Beyond or some other nonsensical store of that ilk, to which I understandably responded 'you're kidding, right?' She countered with 'Are you going to watch football all day?' ... which I followed with 'I will spend every Satuday in autumn for the remainder of my life watching college football.'

The tone was set and somehow she decided to march ahead with that whole lifetime of love and devotion thing ... so yay for me. Now, with that little nugget of information stored in the back of your head, imagine just how fired up I was for Georgia's season opening contest against Western Kentucky this past weekend.

I mean, hell, I did a running diary on the South Carolina game. Still, as excited as I was, my enthusiasm paled compared to Ed's who was at my house at 8:15 a.m. raring to go. The sight of him pulling a Miller Lite out of his pocket that early in the morning is entertaining enough, but also a little much for me when the sun has just barely cracked the horizon.

Yet, as early as we were going, Tim and Tovrog were at it even earlier ... thanks to our new tailgating policies.

Tim and Tovrog may have made it out there at 6:45 a.m., but DAve and the other folks were in the car at that time heading from Atlanta ... so that's rather disgusting.

With Ed's buddy Chase in tow, we swing through Chic-fil-A for breakfast, as well as making a quick run to pick up some beer for the tailgate. The Wife, being of a sound fiscal mind, has the McGinty household running on a tight budget. As a result, our selection of Schaefer's Light has a direct correlation to my available capital.

You laugh now ... just wait until you marry a CPA.

Tent City, being an ever-growing and ever-expanding community, has made some necessary changes in recent months ... all of them good. Our leadership has remained the same - Matt Tovrog, we salute you good sir - but the fun factor was definitely kicked up a few notches with the inclusion of Cornhole.

As noted earlier, Cornhole was featured at Summer Soiree 2006. The set is covered in all sorts of Georgia decorations and is a good way to pass the time, particularly seeing how there was some difficulty in getting the satellite set up (it was explained to me it was something to do about location and angles and trees, but to be honest, I think zoned out).

I sat Cornhole out, instead opting to read one of two in-house Tent City publications in the Tent City Tattler ... which is a little more brief and a little more vulgar than its counterpart, the Tent City Herald. Both had their moments. The former included John Hart loving face painting, while the latter included a prediction that I'd blow my knee out at some point this year. So, you know, tough call.

Carrie and Meims, however, didn't sit Cornhole out and apparently roared through the competition.

Remember the name.

The game itself you ask? You need to know a few simple things ...

- Joe T was solid and made few mistakes;
- Matthew Stafford, however, will probably start by midseason;
- Darius Dewberry is a freakin' man;
- Mikey Henderson and Asher Allen are crazy fast;
- Chase was miserably hot and wanted to leave midway through the first quarter.

After the game, Hartman is able to get the satellite working and for that he is a hero to us all, particularly with California at Tennessee and Notre Dame at Georgia Tech approaching us.

'Hartman, I stand corrected ... you are an oak.'

Now, we briefly return to all of those tailgating rules which were instituted over the offseason. They were done, primarily, in response to the aftermath of the Auburn at Georgia game from last year, where North Campus was left in shambles. I personally think it's an overreaction to the problem, but that ship has kinda sailed I suppose.

Being good law-abiding citizens both before and after the rules were put in place, we do all that we can to clean up our trash, not encroach on nearby tailgates, etc. Such sanity, however, cannot be said of all tailgates.

Because just across Sanford Drive from us was a group of individuals who proceeded to dump their still burning charcoal into a cardboard trash can and then leave. Now, I didn't major in chemistry, but I do know that smoldering timbers will ignite dry cardboard, so I'm not shocked when the side of the box peels away in flame.

This, understandably, brings the cops and fire department out.

I mean, seriously.

Burning trash bins aside, it appeared to be a successful first tailgate. Meims brought something called 'Cherrishinskis' which are, quite literally, little red fruit balls of hell. I ate a lot of junk food and even The Wife stopped by in the afternoon.

That's a good time. Let's say we do it again, oh, at least six more times this home season.

Couple of things

- In the shocking and tragic kind of news, Steve Irwin, the 'Crocodile Hunter' died yesterday when he had his heart pierced by a stingray's barb.

- The university says the new tailgating rules worked out OK, even if it meant folks were setting up at 6:45 a.m. It wasn't terribly crowded actually, thought I'm not sure if that was the result of a 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Western Kentucky or the new rules turning a lot of people off. The jury's out, and we'll find out more for the Colorado game.

- Another letter by Norm Weatherby, again revealing not only his thinly veiled disdain of the poor, but also his lack of compehension of American labor laws.

- I love J.T., but there are quite simply too many things to say about this column. I'll just leave it at this ... it ain't fair to criticize something you know so little about, so I'm glad he decided to visit the schools and share his experiences with everyone.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Couple of things

- As pointed out earlier, I'm famous. And, it should be noted, double famous.

- I did a running diary for the debacle that passed for the South Carolina at Mississippi State game last night at The Cover Two.

- Big Papi is OK, which is great news. Though the shipping of David Wells to San Diego means the Red Sox have raised the proverbial white flag.

- The discussion over downtown continues as Mark Bell, owner of two downtown bars, responds to the Athens Banner-Herald's editorial.

Well now ...

Sadly, they didn't use the smiling picture of me.

Still, a nice story by Aubrey Smith of The Red & Black profiling local bloggers, including yours truly. And what are the odds that I'd be featured in an article which requires some background commentary from Charles Bullock? Excellent!