Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Couple of things

- It took a little time, but the interviews with Andy Herod and David Hamilton are up.

- Atta boy Elton. He and I just might be one in the same as the idea of going to such a wonky gathering sounds fascinating to me. Still, it's very good to see him not only encouraging political involvement from younger folks, but also for going to Washington, D.C. to talk about our efforts in fighting poverty.

- Ultimately, with the growth of our metro area, this is going to be necessary. And what I'd like to see come out of it is a system of roads which embrace a 'Complete Streets' vision which incorporates adequate lanes for automobiles, safe avenues for pedestrians, visually appealing features along the way and ample lanes for bicycles.

- Loyal reader, good friend and Watkinsville City Council member Brian Brodrick gets some love for showing some love.

- OK, Jenny, here's the thing ... if you acknowledge the folks who are giving Greeks a bad name through higher-than-normal arrest rates are probably not the ones who are directly engaged in community service and philanthropy, then why are we letting them in? Why aren't we denouncing their actions since it seems apparent you don't approve of it? It would make sense that rather than be upset at the local newspaper for reporting the very factual statistics of this case, you'd be upset at the small percentage of members in your organizations who are giving you a bad name.

- I didn't win Mega Millions last night, but I'll take $276 millon this weekend as a late birthday present.

- I think the idea to vaccinate girls with the new cervical cancer vaccine is a good idea, and I'm a bit puzzled by those who oppose it. They seem to be wrestling over morality issues regarding a vaccine, but this also seems like good common sense too. If girls who are raised with a particular set of morals might, from time to time, deviate from said morals. It would make sense then to provide some sort of blanket protection for them from this disease.

- Hillary talks about ... Captain D's tilipia dinner.

- J.T. and the boys from the Athens Banner-Herald smack around Sadie Fields's weak argument against Sunday Sales. Safe to say I concur.

Shameless self-promotion

So today, I enter the final year of my 20s as I turn 29.

When I was a kid, that typically meant some sort of birthday party at a fast food restaurant or possibly a spend-the-night get-together. Today it means going to work, coordinating Figgie's@Five and then leading a development committee meeting for IHN of Athens at 7:30 p.m.

But still ... Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Podcasts with District Eight candidates

It's taken a little while, but I finally have gotten my podcast interviews with both Andy Herod and David Hamilton up. Many thanks to Rusty and Amber at the Georgia Podcast Network. I don't know a whole heck of a lot about audio editing, and my computer was unable to edit mp3 files for some weird reason, and Rusty was gracious enough to work with me and get them ready. If you feel like doing a podcast, I say give 'em a shout ... they'll be glad to help you out and walk you through the process.

Regarding the actual interviews, a few things to note ...

- Herod has a lot of animals. Our interview, at times, is borderline hysterical because of the barking of his dogs from outside.

- They're both mighty handy individuals, having done lots of work on their houses. Hamilton's is still a work in progress, but he's done almost all of it himself, and he walked me through his house and showed me his plans.

- They're both pretty wonky, particularly Herod. He and I chatted about British politics and the rightward shift of the Southern Baptist Convention following the interview.

- You'll discover in the podcast, but Hamilton was in a reggae band. Pretty cool.

Here's the link for the podcast with Andy Herod.

Here's the link for the podcast with David Hamilton.

Couple of things

- OK, I want to be clear about this, but I think Dan Abitz is a bid misguided here in his own interpretation of the statistics. In fact, he sets up one of the most spectacularly shallow counterarguments I've seen on the Athens Banner-Herald editorial pages in quite a while. He concedes that 33 percent of the arrests are Greeks, that the Greek community at the University of Georgia is 20 percent of the total student population (at best) and the proceeds to say this is all 'OK' because 33 percent isn't even double of 20 percent. Listen, I'm sincerely not here to rain on the Greek parade. I've got plenty of good friends who went through the Greek system, and the fraternities and sororities in town do much good work, but Abitz is disputing statistical evidence here ... very poorly. The fact remains that Greeks are arrested, for things like underage drinking, at a higher rate than non-Greeks.

- As if you didn't think J. Warren Blackmon was already a bit nutty, the use of a Little Richard quote solidifies that. Buddy ... it's a zoning issue. There ain't no personal vendetta against you.

- Because this guy needed to add to his growing legend some more.

- Some folks would be a bit concerned after reading this piece, but I'm not. It's an uphill climb in the 10th Congressional District, and the more important goal is longterm building of the party. Winning local and state elections and cultivating future leaders is more important big-picture-wise.

Adrian's gate thing

I'm a bit late on the whole Adrian wrote a letter to Flagpole thing, so forgive me. So here are some thoughts ...

- Those were some pretty friggin' harsh comments that were fairly unwarranted. You may disagree with the guy, but when you concoct arguments he's not even making, that's ridiculous.

- As you may know from Athens World, when Adrian comes to write, he comes to write.

- As far as the actual issue itself, I'd recommend that each gated community is responsible for producing either cards that can be distributed to all EMS vehicles, or that the codes are given to all emergency personnel. I don't think we need an ordinance mandating this or that the gates need to come down unless the individual communities make an independent decision to do just that. It seems like there's a fairly simple solution floating around here.

- I would disagree, at least on a sementics level, with Adrian regarding this line - 'Living behind a gate is not really about making a private choice' - in the sense that most gated communities, whether patio home neighborhood communities or apartment complexes, tend to be on the higher end of the financial scale (more so for renters, I would imagine). So there is some private choice involved. Folks made the decision to live in a particular community like Jennings Mill rather than, say, Forest Heights or Carrington Plantation or Chadd's Walk, three neighborhoods with comparable prices. I don't point this out to suggest they are any less worthy of receiving timely and efficient city services, but to note that it should be the responsibility of the community to work out something with the local government to ensure said timeliness and efficiency.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Couple of things

- I've heard The Departed isn't as good as Raging Bull or Goodfellas, but it is about time that Martin Scorsese won an Academy Award. And though it would have given me immense joy if Abigail Breslin had knocked off Jennifer Hudson for Best Supporting Actress (since I'm absolutely tired about hearing how wonderful the latter is), I was happy to see Little Miss Sunshine pick up a couple of awards.

- I'll be honest, this guy is probably right. If gross negligence on the part of the company results in hundreds of people getting ill, then I think the company should have to take some responsibility.

- Speaking of movies, I saw Hustle and Flow on Saturday, and it was excellent. And while Terrence Howard was arguably good enough to win an Academy Award, I was more impressed by the strong performances by both Taryn Manning and Taraji Henson. One of them should have at least been nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

- I'm glad to see some sort of common sense legislation coming out of the Georgia General Assembly regarding Jekyll Island. My concern has been that we'd hand the keys over to developers who would transform that property into something resembling Tybee Island. It's refreshing to see the Jekyll Island community rallying together to argue against any development on the untouched southern portion of the island. Of course, the leadership in the Georgia General Assembly often ignores the wishes of the locals, so we'll see what happens.

- I met with both Andy Herod and David Hamilton this past weekend and recorded a pair of podcasts that, once I work my way through some technical difficulties, I will be sure to put online for folks to listen to.

- Erick at Peach Pundit is right about this. Shouldn't we be transporting nuclear waste through sparsely populated areas rather than, say, through the middle of the largest city in the Southeast? And should we really be advertising the fact that we may do just that?

- At his blog, Blake focuses on the best news possible regarding the 10th Congressional District race ... no more Ralph Hudgens. A race between Brian Kemp and Tom Chasteen would result in a legislator with a connection to Athens-Clarke County, which is a very good thing.


FedEx Cup Standings: No. 1
PGA Tour Money List Standings: No. 1
World Golf Rankings: No. 16

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Reading up

As folks may or may not know, it's hard for me to read just one book. As a result, I bounce around a good bit. So here's what I'm skimming through right now ...

- Banker to the Poor by Muhammed Yunnus - Yunnus is going to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his innovative work regarding micro-lending. It's a fascinating, yet remarkably simple concept (namely the economies of less-developed countries are not on par with those in 'First World' ones, meaning lending to individuals and/or businesses in those countries is big for them and inconsequential for us).

- Wishful Thinking by Frederick Buechner - I pick this up now and then and shuffle through it. It's laid out like an encyclopedia rather than a book you read from cover to cover, which is good for someone like me who bounces around.

- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois - It's a great read, but chock full of heady stuff. Since it's set up in an essay format, it makes it pretty easy for me to work through one portion and then set it down for a while. I've always wanted to read this book, and it's been sitting on my shelf for about a year now.

- The White House Looks South by William Leuchtenburg - I got this back at Christmas and immediately dove into the passages relating to Franklin Roosevelt. It's mighty big (seriously, sitting on my nighstand it's about as thick as my Bible), but I've enjoyed it. It's pretty wonky and very historical, so it's something you need to read for a bit, and then put down to process what you've taken in.

Hoping to read soon ...

- Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell - He comes highly recommended from Matt, so I'd like to give him a try. I've listened to some of his stuff online and enjoyed it. Plus he apparently has started a micro-lending type of service up in Grand Rapids, Mich., so I'd be curious to find out how he transitioned the program to the U.S.

- The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook - I picked this up at Barnes & Noble one day, and it was awesome. The Wife claims I don't need another cookbook, but I think she's mistaken ... I'll be cooking for three soon. I need more material!

- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain - I encouraged Russ to buy this book last week when he was in town, and I realized that I need to actually read this thing. I love the man's TV show.

- Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 by C. Vann Woodward - My boss was kind enough to pass this book on to me, and I need to actually read it. I flipped through the first few pages and thought it looked interesting, but had just picked up Barack Obama's book and then rolled into Christmas which always delivers a bonanza of reading material. Hopefully I can get to it this spring.

So ... what are you good folks reading?


Lost to Justin Rose 3 and 2 in the third round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championships.

He got behind pretty big pretty early, down five holes with five to play, but closed very strong, birdieing Nos. 14, 15 and 16 in a gallant comeback. Rose sank a tricky birdie as well on No. 16 to end the match, but I'm pretty impressed with how well he battled back.

This strong showing, coupled with the early departure of other top seeds, definitely won't hurt his standing on the PGA Tour Money List or the FedEx Cup standings. Only five weeks until The Masters.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Couple of things

- OK, my hometown is acting silly. I mean, really people ... you passed a resolution opposing Athens getting a medical school? One of the most dysfunctional local governments in the state can manage to get together to publically denounce an entire city? Bravo guys, bravo.

- Wow. Chip Pettigrew all but says the Athens Banner-Herald is complicit with terrorists. It's safe to say his position is, well, absolutely moronic. But kudos to you Chip for producing the weirdest letter in quite a while.

- I don't know where I come down on this. I think the War in Iraq has been terribly mismanaged as well, but I don't like the concept of the legislative branch, regardless of who is in power, micromanaging how the commander-in-chief does his job. For instance, I'm not sure how you could instruct our troops to only fight al-Qaida when they aren't entirely sure who's even shooting at them anyway. Furthermore, from a logistical standpoint, if you can't get the votes to end a filibuster for a non-binding resolution, how will this more severe action stand a chance of seeing a vote? Make no mistake, I'm not a fan of this war or how it's been prosecuted, but I also think the proper way to bring it to an end is to win some more elections, namely that one for the right live in a big white house in Washington that'll happen in Fall 2008.

- As an aside, I was correct in thinking that Roy hadn't changed and was still an idiot. Of course, now he's going to kick the tar out of Jim, so there's that.

- Blake went to Paul Broun's announcement speech at the UGA College Republicans meeting, and it's safe to say he's a bit wacky, a little inconsistent and kinda out-of-touch. Socialized medicine? Really? We're dragging that tired line out again? And Blake calls him out on his gross ignorance regarding the PeachCare situation. Plus his illegal immigration bit is worth a laugh if you're interested. How this guy is kin to the other Paul Broun is beyond me.

- I think this is a decent little idea.

- I've said it before, but Jackson County thing is ugly ... and terribly vague. The only thing I know for certain is that Dwain Smith looks more foolish with each passing day (and subsequent quote to the press).

Music for the moment


Defeated Sergio Garcia 4 and 3 in the second round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championships.

Will face Justin Rose today in the third round.

Click here for live scoring.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Couple of things

- I noted this over at Peach Pundit, but this is the logical move by Gov. Sonny Perdue. I'm quite sure it's partisan, and he'd give second thought to doing this if a Democratic seat was suddenly open, but ultimately it consolidates two elections and allows the legislators to serve out their terms in the Georgia General Assembly. Blake also says at his blog that Doc Elderidge will probably run.

- After reading this, I've already got a question for David Hamilton for our Saturday morning podcast ... how are you going change the way property is valued?

- The thing about this is that in theory, there is little the actual Southern Baptist Convention could do to root out molestors. Baptist churches operate independently from each other (it's one of the core principles of the denomination). In reality, the SBC could organize some policy that it could pass on down to assist with the efforts. Of course, in reality, the SBC doesn't really let its churches operate too independently anyway, so there's that.

- Speaking of religion news, I offer some observations on the progessive blogosphere's debate involving Jim Wallis.

- Someone compared Jack Murtha to Lee Harvey Oswald (which is ridiculous), and Matthew Yglesias points out the frightening use of language by some on the right.

- Stanicek (aka 'Our Boy Tim Kelly') pens a letter concerning the Brain Train, and I think he and I have similar concerns, but come to different conclusions. I think without something like the commuter rail, there's little incentive for MARTA to improve its facilities and service (though I believe Nicki mentioned something about plans for MARTA are already underway). Again, if we're really going to start thinking about long-term, smart growth, then this is a good option. What needs to happen is for the folks working on the commuter rail to sit with folks from MARTA and devise a comprehensive alternative transportation system that can benefit the entire region.

- Of course, Kevin McGreevy misses the point altogether.


Defeated Stuart Appleby 4 and 3 in the first round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

Will face Sergio Garcia in the second round today.

Click here for live scoring.

Progressive religion in the blogosphere

There's a dust-up among us politically progressive Christians in the blogosphere. First Jim Wallis from Sojourners writes this, and he's answered by Kos and then Pastor Dan at Street Prophets twice. So I've got a few thoughts about it ...

- Wallis is kinda of a self-promoter. I mean, he named his blog after his book, so there's that. And I do think his original post did come out of nowhere, particularly following extensive discussion from a variety of middle-to-left blogs regarding the role of religion, specifically Christianity, in the political progressive movement.

- Some secular progressives are hostile to any mention of religion, specifically Christianity. One commenter at Street Prophets accused folks like me of desiring to push party politics aside if the need arose for me to defend my God and faith ... to which I replied, well, yeah. My faith heavily influences my political views and not the other way around.

- I do think us politically progressive Christians owe Wallis a little bit of leeway here considering he is, quite literally, the founder of this modern version of this movement. What frustrates me about Kos's response was not any of his particular details, but rather this claim that his guys have been doing this better and Wallis is just obtuse in not noticing. Well, he might be, but this, to me, is merely an extension of the liberal blogosphere just trying to take credit for every positive thing that has happened in progressive politics as of late, proceeding to stomp all over all the hard work done by trailblazers like Wallis.

- I'm still not really sure what we're arguing about. I'm not really sure why Wallis felt the need to bring this up again, particularly after the positive dialogue a few weeks back.

- Chuck at Street Prophets penned this appropriate response which, more or less, sums up my feelings on the matter.

A year more of this?

This story is mighty silly to me. You mean to tell me that Hillary Clinton's camp has nothing better to do than fire off press releases blasting that one of her big donors has decided back Barack Obama instead? And that's she's upset because he offered his thoughts on why he did so?

Obama fired back.

We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom. It is also ironic that Senator Clinton lavished praise on Monday and is fully willing to accept today the support of South Carolina State Sen. Robert Ford, who said if Barack Obama were to win the nomination, he would drag down the rest of the Democratic Party because he's black.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Couple of things

- The 10th Congressional District race is getting jam-packed as Paul Broun's son jumps into the fray. He's a good conservative, however, unlike his daddy as he supports things which make me cringe ... like a national sales tax. Willie Green, Doc Elderidge and Tom Chasteen ... you're up next!

- It's a mighty big 'if' regarding the Navy School site. Understandably, the LRA wants a committment from the University of Georgia regarding building the medical school, which I don't think is unreasonable at all. This isn't a simple sale of property, but an awarding of public land for specific use approved by the LRA. If there's no assurance the medical school will actually end up on that site, then what's the point in giving the land away?

- Folks, we're just dancing now. Sen. Saxby Chambliss wants the state to handle its PeachCare situation, while the state wants Congress to do something (even to the tune of suspending the Georgia General Assembly's session). Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the governor campaign on a platform that touted a massive $500 million surplus? Where did that revenue go?

- This kid has got to come to Georgia because of the endless possibilities regarding his name. Can't you hear Larry Munson hollering after he picks off a pass 'Rambo draws first blood!'

- The endorsement letters are trickling in to the Athens Banner-Herald, and the first one is Joshua Inwood backing Andy Herod. As an aside, I'm working to schedule interviews. I'm meeting with David Hamilton on Saturday morning, and I'm finalizing setting up a time with Herod (hopefully on Friday). I'll record them both and put 'em up as podcasts.

- Mitt Romney recently lined up his campaign team in Georgia, and he's getting blasted from the left (Matthew Yglesias) and the right (Erick at Peach Pundit)

- Wow. Andy Totten sets up a ridiculous false argument by advocating that those who call for a minimum wage hike try to live on $7.25 an hour. If we're setting up juvenille and shallow arguments Andy, why don't you try living on $5.75 an hour?

Check it out

I've got to give credit to Ed for pointing me to Adam Hood. As he noted, 'it's great music to sit around a fire pit and have a beer or two' ... which, coincidentally enough, we just did a few nights ago.

Matt and I thoroughly enjoyed Play Something We Know, which is one of the more entertaining songs I've come across in a while.

Real work conversations

Hillary: I don't comprehend people who don't like Nicholas Cage.
Me: (silence)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Couple of things

- Willie Green's a Republican? He was Charlie Maddox's top backer last year, so it shouldn't be a big surprise (and he likes payday lending which is one of the most cruel devices that unintentionally perpetuate poverty on the planet). He'd have an uphill climb in this election now that Jim Whitehead has jumped into the race with Ralph Hudgens, with the former already lining up key endorsements from folks like Max Burns and Barry Fleming. We also learn that Doc Elderidge is still weighing a run. No Democrat not named Terry Holley has volunteered yet, which is understandable seeing this is a district which backed Charlie Norwood by close to 70 percent.

- Speaking of politics, fresh off his loss in the Agriculture Commissioner race, Brian Kemp wants another go. He'll be the man to beat based on the 'R' next to his name and his name recognition, though Tom Chasteen could make it interesting. Chasteen would draw Democrats and could pull some of those moderates who'd back Kemp.

- I point out that it ain't pretty in Jackson County regarding their county manager being fired.

- Hopefully the Georgia General Assembly will find a way to restore the funding for Athens Tech because otherwise, they're just talking a good game about investing in our technical schools to develop the nursing and biomedical industries.

- Here's how to not position yourself for a challenge to a popular congressman.

- Iraq = American Revolution ... this must be the new PR strategy.

- Excellent coverage by John Dickerson of Barack Obama in South Carolina including his ability to take a prominent endorsement from a state legislator of Hillary Clinton and turn that to his advantage.

- Safe to say that Matthew Yglesias nails it on this one.

- Not that I necessarily disagree with F. Todd Baker, but what was really lacking in Norm Weatherby's letter was an actual understanding of what our community, particularly downtown, looked like. I mean, 'T-shirt shops?' Really? The man's acting like we're Daytona Beach in the foothills rather than, say, one of Men's Journal's 'Top 50 Places to Live' or one of Money Magazine's 'Top Five Places to Retire' or Sperling's BestPlaces's 'Top Small U.S. Metro Area in 2006 for Relocating Families.

Just over the border ...

This whole thing in Jackson County is ugly, and kudos to the Athens Banner-Herald for being all over it the past few days.

Long story short, there has been some friction between Crandell Jones, the county's city manager, and the new members of the Jackson County Commission. Last Friday, Jones compiled a memo in which he listed some possible charter violations committed by some of the members, as well as allegations of racial and sexual prejudice on the part of Jackson County Commissioner Tom Crow.

The memo comes out ... and Jackson County Commission Chairwomen Pat Bell asks Jones to resign (because that's effective problem-solving). Jones says no, and last night the commission votes 3-1 to get rid of him without any further explanation or without saying Jones's allegations are false.

Naturally this has racial implications going on, and I can't say that I'm not surprised. Out of all the places I had to cover athletics for at the Banner-Herald the only one where I personally heard derogatory racial language being used was in Jackson County. I don't think this is reflective of the entire county by any means, but I do think that it's troubling that such language was used so freely and casually.

Dexter Sims had the best quote in the whole story when he said - "I don't want to say it's race, but (Bell's) given us no choice but to say it's race. It's just a shame for the whole county."

Until the commission can produce verification that it wasn't based on something as banal as racial animosity, that's all folks will speculate.

Monday, February 19, 2007

They call it positioning (and kinda crass)

Folks, let's not try to be too overt about this whole thing.

Over at Peach Pundit, we're having a nice chat about the re-election chances for both John Barrow and Jim Marshall. All things considered, it's a pretty civil little discussion about who should run, how they should run and the like.

And then, in comes State Sen. John Douglas, a Republican from District 17. Says Douglas ...

Jim Marshall continues to try to have it both ways. He votes for Nancy (Defeat and Retreat) Pelosi for Speaker and then against their Surrender resolution. What did he expect to come from his fellow Democrats? Plus his remarks in the Sunday AJC editorial section were disingenuous to say the least: Hey GI Joe, dont worry about what is being said and done in DC, it doesnt matter anyway. (paraphrased) My question to Marshall is why is he there if what they are doing doesnt matter?

Hey Jim, you cant have it both ways………in spite of what you are trying to do. Any your party is stabbing our troops and war effort in the back. Way to play guys.

Eloquent, I know.

Most folks were, understandably, taken back somewhat, and I commented on the senator's mastery of the English language in what was, probably, a cheap shot. As we all know, I grow frustrated when people spit out tired partisan talking points rather than rationally discuss issues, so this comment bothered me considering it contained all the nuance of a jackhammer.

I decided to do some research and came across his personal web site.

Now, it's important to keep things in perspective here. Jim Marshall is the Democratic representative from District Seven, which is a Republican district. Marshall is a well-known and well-liked moderate to conservative Democrat who defeated another well-known and well-liked Republican, Mac Collins, in a district that was redrawn to push Marshall out. The prevailing wisdom is that if Marshall couldn't lose to someone like Collins, then he's going to be hard to beat in that seat.

Douglas, according to his biography, moved to Newton County in 1996 and served on the county's board of education for several years.

District Seven, after its redistricting a few years ago, now snakes northward out of Middle Georgia and includes more than half of Newton County.

Is it possible that Douglas, rather than, you know, actually participate in discussion and dialogue at these blogs, is trying to stake out position and lambast a well-respected member of Congress from both sides of the aisle in Georgia in an attempt to score some political points ... setting up a possible challenge to the state's most popular Democrat not named 'Zell Miller?'

I'm just following the dots, that's all.

The question of timing

I think it's worth nothing that, aside from giving me a shout-out, Ben did some fine job connecting the dots regarding States McCarter's resignation. Namely that McCarter decided to call it quits at the last moment possible so in order to have the special election held on March 20. Had he waited any later, it would have been bumped to June.

Nefarious? I don't think so. Intentional? Quite possibly. Since McCarter ain't talking, we won't know. But it does appear logical to speculate that a man who had repeatedly, both in public and private, said he planned to retire mid-term would put this kind of thought into his decision.

Couple of things

- Well said fellas.

- This is a ridiculous column. It's faulting Barack Obama for things that have been endorsed by other contenders for the presidency as well. Obama did back Joe Lieberman last year ... during the primary, as did Hillary Clinton. Obama does trail in black voters ... but he's not even 10 days into his presidental campaign, while the Clintons have been a household name in progressive politics for more than 15 years (it's also interesting to note that Obama's support in the black community is considerably stronger than Clinton's in the Midwest, where he is well-known). Furthermore, what is the point of this column? If Clarence Lusane is truly a commentator on progrsesive issues, then what is the point of decrying Obama's infant candidacy while lifting up the centrist views of Clinton? It flies completely in the face of logic.

- Wow Henry Shirah ... that's one weird letter.

- This whole race in the 10th Congressional District is gonna be interesting. I don't think you'll see that many names ultimately in the mix, and I'm quite sure folks like Doc Elderidge or Tom Chasteen might start casting an eye at something like Ralph Hudgens's vacated seat rather than run in a jam-packed race for U.S. Congress. Just anyone but Hudgens ... or Terry Holley for that matter.

- Not that I'm entirely opposed to this concept, but comparing Tucker to The Landings is ridiculous.

- Charles Howell III won the Nissan Open.

- It's good to see these ideas get narrowed down, particularly the one proposing a local pool for local businesses, though I hope that includes self-employed folks and potential entrepreneurs. I very much like the proposals for non-traditional schools, free child care and a regional economic development authority.

- The wild ride that is John McCain's bid for the presidency grows more shameless by the minute. First, he agrees to speak to a meeting of creation scientists, and now he suddenly wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. I mean, do Republicans take him seriously any more?


Well, the kid went out there and actually won. And he beat Phil Mickelson of all people, giving me conflited emotions all afternoon on Sunday. Safe to say, however, that when we finally reached the playoff, I was firmly in the camp of my boy Charles Howell III (or as Dave referred to him in a text-message ... 'Chucky Three Sticks').

He was clutch like you wouldn't believe. Down by four shots at one point on the back nine, he sank a pair of long birdie putts, drilled an eight-footer at No. 18 to keep the pressure on Mickelson, who then bogeyed the final hole to set up the playoff.

After sinking a tough six-footer for par on the first playoff hole, Howell yanked his drive on the next hole way left and ended up on the cart path. He was able to make a tremendous chip to get up-and-down to save par and force a third playoff hole, where he sank the tournament-winning putt.

After he won, I asked the The Wife what the over-under was on my mother crying. A phone call home had my dad answer the phone, partially because she was teary-eyed and partially because she was on the phone with Howell's mom.

Aside from picking up his second victory on the PGA Tour (and first since 2002), he's also all but clinched a spot in the 2007 Masters, which means my father and I get to walk a few holes with his mother as she deliberately avoids watching play due to her nerves.

FedEx Cup Standings: No. 1
PGA Tour Money List: No. 1
World Golf Rankings: Will enter Top 25 today

'Atta boy Chucky Three Sticks.'

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Since I offered a link to a song that was used in the movie When We Were Kings, it's only appropriate that I link to the footage of the fight from the movie.

Kind words

Ben Emmanuel quoted me (sort of) this week's City Pages in Flagpole. It was regarding States McCarter resigning his District Eight seat, and he referenced some dialogue here at the ole blog and give me a shout-out. Many thanks good sir.

Also, apparently civility pays off. The chairman of the University of Georgia College Republicans sent me an email that commended me for working to have some sort of civilized conversation here, recognizing that we disagreed on plenty of things but letting me know he appreciated my approach to a variety of issues and debate. I thought it was pretty classy, and such courtesy deserves to be mentioned.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Couple of things

- I expected the Local Redevelopment Authority to do this, and I think it's a good thing. I'm not crazy about the University of Georgia getting all of the property, but I can also recognize the service it will bring. I'm also very glad the non-profit providers will be compensated in some form or fashion. They're supportive of our ideas, and that's a very positive thing. I'll take land somewhere.

- See ... this is why I buy Jif.

- I'm incredibly glad to see something being done regarding Sunday Sales. I think Sadie Fields's argument is severely lacking. I mean the mere ability for me to purchase alcohol won't do anything to weaken my faith. Plus that even misreads the bill which, as I've noted before, merely lets communities vote on whether or not they want to permit Sunday sales of alcohol.

- Hey! Frank's kid is going to play football at Navy.

- Bravo to the folks at the Athens Banner-Herald for giving kudos to both Bill Cowsert and Jane Kidd. Cowsert is embracing an interesting transportation option and has a good vision for 316, while Kidd was classy when others were not.

- I'm debating a bit with Jeff Emanuel.

- Quite frankly, here's a rudimentary version of Susan Mattern's objection to criminal background checks ... 'don't do background checks on me, just people who are my boss ... or work with kids ... or clean our floors ... or are accountants ... just not me.'

- Cpl. Charles Chapeau throws down the gauntlet with Adrian. OK, well, not really. But he does offer some clarity on the driving-in-the-left-lane discussion.

Music for the moment

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some rebuttal, plus a request

Xon jokingly mentioned my criticism of Jeff Emanuel in this posting, and it's true that I was bit hard on him. But because I'm being critical of his ideological views doesn't mean that I'm being dismissive of him, even if I was a bit flippant in my thoughts.

He and I have exchanged some different thoughts on the proposed troop surge over at Peach Pundit, and I appreciated his responses. I don't agree with the man's politics, but he seems like a nice enough fella, and I've enjoyed that brief discussion.

In that spirit, particularly since he's got a blog now, I'd like to encourage him to shoot me an email and see if we can work out some sort of point-counterpoint kinda thing on a recurring basis. I think discussion, debate, disagreement and dialogue are good things (apparently I think alliteration is cool too), so I hope he'll touch base me with me and consider this.


In the meantime, he put together more thorough thoughts on the Iraq troop surge debate here, and I'd like to address some of his points ...

- It's safe to say that I think Emanuel is creating a false choice that results with, in his view, a no-win situation for whoever opposes his view. I think it's somewhat of a strawman as well. First, he claims that the efforts to push forward a non-binding resolution are ultimately part of a comprehensive strategy to cut funding from the troops and employ, as he puts it, a 'slow bleed' on the troops until they have to pack up and head up. Understandably, he dislikes this policy (as an aside, so do I as I oppose cutting any funding for the troops). However, he later claims that the non-binding resolution isn't 'honorable' and that those who oppose the policy should support cutting funding. It can't be either-or, but he wants it to be because he could then easily claim that those who oppose his position are 'not supporting the troops.'

- That said, I firmly reject any notion that supporting a non-binding resolution that disapproves of a specific foreign policy conducted by the Bush Administration is tantamount to 'not supporting our troops.' That's a tired line that fails to recognize numerous elements of this complex debate. As I noted at Peach Pundit:

I also disagree with how you think this will be interpreted by those serving over there, and I say that with the utmost respect and in a cautious tone since I know you served over there. To suggest this particular resolution or the ongoing debate over the war from a variety of different factions from both sides of the aisle will be the tipping point to an either-or mindset on their part is simplifying the matter.

From friends and colleagues I know who have served in Iraq, as well as from the reports I see and hear, there is considerable frustration from the troops on the ground. And it isn’t over merely the actual debate over the war, but over everything from frustration from lengthy time away from loved ones and home to uncertainty over who is and who isn’t an ally to concern over the direction of the mission to any of the other numerous factors they have to deal with while serving in Iraq.

I can concede your point that some troops might grow disheartened from even the non-binding resolution, but to suggest that it will have a massive effect on troop morale is something I simply don’t agree with. Or at least any more than existing factors they deal with everyday while on the ground. In fact, I would imagine some troops would agree with the non-binding resolution because of their disagreements with the war policy.

- What troubles me about Emanuel's position is that it clings to this notion that all it takes is staunch determination if we want to win. That if only we just fought harder, if only we just put more money and more troops in place, if only we truly believe we can win ... then those we fight in Iraq will crumble under the strength of our convictions. Surely, these are noble beliefs - and, as a man of faith, far be it from me to belittle the power of belief and conviction - but I also think those convictions must be put in the appropriate context. The War in Iraq has devolved into a secretarian stuggle in which our soldiers are being asked to do a job - police warring and rival factions - they weren't originally requested to do. If I firmly believe that I'm going to rid my house of ants, but the real problem I have is hornets and beetles, then my conviction to exterminate ants does me no good.

- Appealing to the argument that folks are 'either with us or with the terrorists' and then applying that simplistic worldview to Americans who oppose the war is ridiculous. It's the same worthless line of argument that I think some Democrats trot out on economic issues to accuse Republicans of being cold to the poor. In both capacities it's foolish and is done only to score cheap political points, though the former is considerably worse because it implies a condoning of extremist terrorism. It's cheap, shallow and wrong. I'm happy to debate the merits of our foreign policy and how best to combat terrorism, even with those who are ideologically different than me, but I also expect some respect in the situation.

Couple of things

- The word on the street is that there's more to this than meets the eye ... what that would be, I don't know, so now I'm just speculating.

- Spinning off of Blake's story, I take a brief look at the upcoming special election for the 10th Congressional District.

- Wow. I say again, wow. I'm thinking this all might be talk, but if the University of Georgia is seriously considering pulling back, that's pretty big. They say they want to all of the land to help develop the proposed medical school, but they have met some resistance with the Local Redevelopment Authority and drew some questions from lawmakers earlier this week. There are some more hearings today regarding some of the non-profits, including IHN of Athens which I helped work on, so I'm hoping to get over there this afternoon.

- As I've discussed here before, some of the incredibly partisan, and sometimes shallow, arguments over at Daily Kos tend to frustrate me. And I don't necessarily agree with everything in this one (primarily his central argument of cutting funding), but it was submitted by a soldier who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and opposes the war, so it offered a unique take on the whole situation.

- On the opposite side of the spectrum, Cindy Selvidge's argument is so juvenille and ignorant it's almost hard to believe it isn't a joke. 'We're taking a stand that needs to be taken, telling people who hate us we're not going to take it anymore ...' Awesome. Because Islamic extremists will recognize our conviction and surely will lay down their arms after your PowerPoint presentation.

- The UNICEF report on child poverty has the U.S. at the bottom of the barrel, which is more than a tad disconcerting. And we lag in everything from public assistance to family support, so it covers all of those things that people from both sides of the aisle say is the cause.

- Don Nelson talks about possible land purchases by the local government.

- Adrian's running for the president of the Jennings Mill Homeowners Association, so good for him. I didn't realize there was such a grueling campaign to go through, so I'll give him my endorsement just for good measure. On a related note, I'm trying to get one started for my neighborhood, which should be lots of fun.

And so it begins ...

It's clear that Blake and I are talking to the same folks because I've heard what he's heard regarding the 10th Congressional District. So, that in mind, let's give some thoughts ...

- Tom Chasteen would be an excellent candidate for Democrats, but I think it's important that we keep the eye on the ball here. I'd argue that Chasteen would be a stronger candidate to run for the State Senate seat recently vacated by Ralph Hudgens. The 10th is an overwhelmingly Republican district with Charlie Norwood collecting close to 70 percent of the vote in 2006. This isn't to say that I don't think the right candidate couldn't run a competitive race there, but I also concede that it's a tremendously uphill climb. So, big picture-wise, let's work on building that foundation and not get fascinated by 'big seats' like this one.

- Doc Eldridge would be interesting, but I ultimately don't think he'll jump in to either race, particularly if Barry Fleming and Jim Whitehead opt to run. Plus, I don't see him wanting to take on Brian Kemp for the State Senate seat.

- Ditto for former Augusta mayor Bob Young. He's going to run for something one of these days, but I don't see this being a good fit for him. He's got a nice job working for the Bush Administration right now, so there's no need to put that in jeopardy before 2008.

- Alan Powell ... great candidate, but please stay in the Georgia General Assembly.

- Terry Holley? Um, no.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Couple of things

- Folks, I have an announcement.

- Creepy. Not one, but two cases of child exploitation.

- Russ is supposed to be coming home for a few days today, so let's hope he wasn't one of the 1,200 cancelled flights out of Chicago.

- While we all mourn Charlie Norwood's passing, Ralph Hudgens proceeds to use yesterday to not only announce his candidacy for the seat, but brag about his chances. Classy.

An announcement

Today is Valentine's Day folks, and that means we spend lots of money on cards, candy, dinner and the like to express our undying affection to our loved one. For the loyal readers of my humble little blog, you may remember The Wife's Valentine's Day proclamation from last year where I was absolved from doing such things which kinda rocked since she kinda rocks.

This year, however, we each have a big ole gift on our plate, and that's because she and I are expecting our first child (of course, I naturally mean her since she's doing all of the actual work and I just supply her with food, drink, etc.). Safe to say, we're both terribly excited and nervous and overjoyed and terrified all rolled into one, so it's fantastic.

As of today, we are entering the second trimester and/or the fourth month of this experience, and The Wife has been quite the trooper. The first few months were a bit rough on her, but we're hoping she's turned the proverbial corner since she's felt considerably better the past few days and is now beginning to eat us out of house and home.

We're excited, and I wanted to share our joy with you fine folks. Enjoy your Valentine's Day.

The Wife and I have proceeded to make a mini-combo version of us who will possess his/her mom's insanely thorough organizational skills and his/her dad's love of progressive politics and Waylon Jennings.

Real work conversations

Me: I had to be careful because when he said that, I wanted to make a joke about it, but was unsure how he'd take it.
Carissa: Yeah, I was concerned about you doing that.
Me: Nothing mean, I just didn't want him to be offended.
Carissa: I have that problem too. When I sense a weakness, I tend to try and exploit it.
Me: That's really not the same problem.
Carissa: Yeah ...


Me: Since (you're leading this tour of the exhibition), you could play with their minds since you can literally make up anything you want about her.
Hillary: Like saying she invented rap music?
Me: Could be anything! Like 'I hold in my hand a simple police baton ... did you know that she handpainted 200 of these for officers in Detroit?'
Hillary: No.
Me: 'Did you know that the TV show Sledgehammer was loosely based on her childhood experiences in her native Hungary?'
Hillary: No.
Me: 'Who here likes Goo-Goo Clusters? How about Circus Peanuts? She's responsible for them both!'

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Charlie Norwood, 1941-2007

Rep. Charlie Norwood passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer and other health-related problems. I didn't agree with him on much, but he was a good man who worked hard for his district.

Let's keep the Norwood family in our thoughts and prayers.

May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
- Pslam 119: 76

Some thoughts from around the state ...

"There is a time for politics and a time for compassion. Today, the thoughts and prayers of Georgia Democrats are with the family of Congressman Charlie Norwood. Our hearts go out to his family and colleagues in this difficult time. While we sometimes disagreed with Congressman Norwood on ideology and policy, we all agree that he was a man of principle and ideals, conscientious in his duty to his constituents and dedicated to his work. Now is a time for compassion and we pause the work of politics to honor a good Georgian and a good man, Representative Charlie Norwood."
- Jane Kidd, Chair of the State Democratic Party of Georgia


"Charlie will be remembered for many things. His tenacity, his great sense of humor, his commitment to his district and to his constituents. But from a political standpoint and from a service standpoint he will be remembered for Norwood-Dingell, the legislation that laid the groundwork for reforms in health care that continue to this day.

I am so thankful for the contributions Charlie made to our state, to me as an individual and to this Congress. It is with great sorrow that Dianne and I mourn the loss of this phenomenal man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gloria, their family and his countless friends and supporters."
- U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)


"The people of Georgia’s 10th Congressional District and the state as a whole lost one of their greatest champions today. Charlie Norwood has served the people his entire life. He served his nation as a soldier in Vietnam, he served Augusta, Ga., as a dentist but also as a dedicated father to his children and husband to his loving wife Gloria. Since 1995, he has ably - some would say tenaciously - represented the people of east Georgia, but his service and his wisdom has benefited us all."
- U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)


"I was saddened to hear of Charlie’s passing today. Charlie was a fighter both in politics and health; an ordinary man would have thrown in the towel long ago. Charlie and I have been friends and colleagues since he came to Congress in 1995. Besides being a great representative, Charlie was an incredible man who served his country in Vietnam where he won two Bronze Stars. When he came home, he opened his dental practice where he helped hundreds of patients. He brought concern for people to Congress where he fought for patient rights, veterans and small businesses. Congress and the State of Georgia have lost a good man today. My thoughts and prayers are with Gloria and their family."
- U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)

Couple of things

- Listen, it's jobs and jobs are good, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed about this. There was a ton of potential at the Homewood Village Shopping Center, and a rare opportunity to work to bring in an anchor retail store, preferably a grocery store, to this location. Now, the folks all along the Jefferson Road corridor and back up places like Lavender Road realize their have fewer options for groceries. It's Bell's and that's it unless you feel like driving out to Publix. Quite honestly, and I mean this as no disrespect to DialAmerica, but I think the folks who manage that property dropped the ball.

- I'm just trying to understand Sen. John McCain's logic ... voters are upset over high U.S. casualty rates, we should expect a massive offensive from insurgents which will most likely result in a spike in casualty rates and we should more U.S. troops over there. Yep. Sounds like a winning strategy to me.

- These are the kind of questions Bob Smith needs to be asking, but I don't know if I'd say the University of Georgia was too secretative or anything. It sounds more like Smith just wanted to know what was going on his neighbor's backyard, which I suppose is understandable.

- To tell you the truth, I honestly didn't realize you couldn't already do this with the proper permit.

- Nicki explores the land use issues a little more, primarily talking about spot zoning and the 'McMansion' issues. She makes good two points, though I will be completely honest and say that it's very difficult for me to work through the entire 'preserving the historic character' argument. Not that I'm not sympathetic to it, but I would have a difficult time supporting an ordinance which somewhat inhibited what a property owner could do with this property (again, on a philosophical level). However, her latter point involving unnecessary and inflated property value increases is something I'm in total agreement with, and is what I think needs to be most in consideration in this discussion. So, we kinda agree, but for different reasons ... sort of.

- Don Nelson catches us up on 'Project Bamboo' and who is actually behind it.

- Hillary likes Bam's Unholy Union, while I hate it ... and this can largely be attributed to the genuine dislike I have for Bam Margera and other no-talent, disrespectful spoiled celebrities who shouldn't be celebrities.

- Jeff Emmanuel is all up in arms over Dan Matthews's rant over Charlie Norwood. Listen, this whole thing is stupid. Dan's rant was in poor taste, full of absurd partisan language in a time when partisan politics shouldn't be employed and was fairly ignorant. I've met Dan, and I like Dan, but that post was dumb and should be disavowed. However let's also remember this is Jeff Emmanuel getting all worked up over this (I mean, he cites Red State as a beacon of civility). You know ... the same Jeff Emmanuel who loves guilt by association, bashes groups which differ from his worldview, thought Republicans did a nice job handling the Mark Foley debacle and then proceeded to get his facts completely wrong when attempting to unnecessarily slander the opposition party and blames the media for the situation in Iraq.

Some more on District Eight

Over at Athens World, our friend Hillary has posed a very important question in light of the upcoming special election for District Eight - 'What do Eastsiders care about?'

She rattled off a few questions she'd like to hear some answers on, and both Andy Herod and David Hamilton have taken the time to respond. Herod did so at Athens World, while Hamilton started working through her concerns at his own blog.

In such a condensed race like this one, with the election just a little more than a month away, these types of discussions are much appreciated. Keeping in that spirit, I'm working to set up some podcasts with both Hamilton and Herod. On Thursday, I'll be chatting with Herod and hope to have it up by Friday morning, while I'm still working on making my calendar work with Hamilton's, but hope to have something nailed down in the next day or so.

That in mind, if you've got some questions you'd like to see answered, email them to me, and I'll work 'em in.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Couple of things

- This was a pretty interesting story on States McCarter. I didn't know he closed down his email account.

- Don Nelson's been doing some pretty good work as of late, and this column on the park-and-ride lot is another example. I think, as folks may have seen through the course of this conversation here, my position had evolved greatly on this whole matter. I still have legitimate and honest concerns about where it goes and about how best to make it a long-term, viable option, but I also recognize the importance of putting something in place that may lead to benefits down the road. Also, for what it's worth, Nelson's puts forward an interesting idea involving pairing it with the proposed Target. I don't know if that's the ideal spot location-wise, but that's the kind of thinking I like to see.

- Speaking as someone who enjoys their music, it's more than a bit odd that The Dixie Chicks won five Grammys last night. Not because I don't think they're talented, but rather because Taking The Long Way, while a fine album that is full of political discourse and personal experience, pales in comparison to Home. It's more than a bit head-scratching because here The Grammys award a group for political discourse and personal experience, but in 2003, with Bruce Springsteen having put together such a historic collection in The Rising (considerably more loaded with political discourse and personal experience), they gave the award to jazz singer.

- Gosh, far be it from me to defend Ralph Hudgens, but I think we're being a bit too hard on him here. There is lots of speculation going on regarding the 10th Congressional District, and Hudgens never actually said he planned to run. He said he wouldn't make a decision about running until the appropriate time. He surely could have phrased his words better, but I don't think his intent was to show any disrespect to Charlie Norwood.

- Phil Mickelson won his 30th tournament yesterday at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He fired a final round 66 to finish at a tournament record 20-under and win by five shots. Since his implosion on the final hole of last year's U.S. Open, he's struggled, so it was good to see him play so well. In fact, he was lights out yesterday. He played No. 17 and No. 18 at Pebble Beach about as well as you can play them.

- Awesome. Adrian is totally 'that guy' in his letter. And that's why we love him. I would like to ask a question though ... technically, wouldn't driving in the left lane over the maximum speed limit be illegal? If the only condition for driving in the left lane (that doesn't involved passing another car) is that you do so unlawfully, then wouldn't the officers be doing this properly?

- My guy is officially in the race as Barack Obama declared his candidacy for the presidency on Saturday.

The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed. And we should take heart, because we've changed this country before. In the face of tyranny, a band of patriots brought an Empire to its knees. In the face of secession, we unified a nation and set the captives free. In the face of Depression, we put people back to work and lifted millions out of poverty. We welcomed immigrants to our shores, we opened railroads to the west, we landed a man on the moon, and we heard a King's call to let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more - and it is time for our generation to answer that call.

For that is our unyielding faith - that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.


FedEx Cup Standings - No. 3
PGA Tour Money List - No. 4
World Golf Rankings - No. 47

Needs to finish in Top 10 of the PGA Tour Money List or Top 40 of the World Golf Rankings the week prior to The Masters to earn invitation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Random notes on pop culture

- Can someone explain to me why Parker Posey, the 'queen of indie films,' was in Blade Trinity? With Triple H? I know the film's been out for some three years now, but I suppose it never dawned on me that Posey was starring in it.

- For that matter, can someone explain to me why I proceeded to watch Blade: Trinity twice this weekend?

- The Transformers movie, gotta say, looks pretty cool.

- Via the advice of Kyshona Armstrong, I also recommend to you Rose Polenzani. Kyshona did a cover of Polenzani's You Were Drunk during last month's Figgie's@Five, which is available for free in the audio section of the site.

- Speaking of Figgie's@Five, let me also plug February's guest Allison Weiss, who plays lots of snappy, pop, acoustic kinda stuff (like I'm Ready which, both Hillary and I agree, is insanely catchy). She'll be playing on Feb. 28, which also just happens to be my birthday.

Put up or shut up

Remember all that talk about uncertainity regarding Barack Obama's ability to fight back in a competitive race?

If the following exchange is an example, then I think he'll do just fine ...

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard blasted Senator Obama's policy on the Iraq war and said al-Qaeda would "be praying as many times as possible for a victory for not only Obama but also for the Democrats".


"If Prime Minister Howard truly believes what he says, perhaps his country should find its way to contribute more than just 1,400 troops so some American troops can come home," [Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs] said. "It's easy to talk tough when it's not your country or your troops making the sacrifices."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Announcing early?

I suppose this video means Barack Obama is definitely in. I figured he was, but this sort of sucks the suspense out. I'm interested in the potential user-friendly options he talked about for the web site.

Nevertheless, should be interesting.

Necessary clarifications

In my Couple of Things from this morning, I picked up on one of the discussed theories for why States McCarter resigned, which was that it might stem from some long-simmering frustrations that culiminated in Tuesday night's vote regarding a proposed office park to be located in the front of Green Acres. A few clarifications/corrections on that front ...

- I have been assured from different folks that is not the reason he stepped down, and no one honestly knows why he stepped down.

- I had a factual error in my reporting (shocking, I know) for which I must make amends. The vote was not 9-1, as I stated, but actually 7-3 with McCarter, Harry Sims and George Maxwell voting against tabling the effort. Apologies for my error.

- I have also been assured from very reliable sources that because the property in question was rezoned to a commerical zoning, there is no cause for concern that it would revert to being a residential zoning which would open the door for something like a mini-subdivision. Whatever goes there, I'm assured, will be something the neighborhood wants and fits into the current zoning.

- The tabling was done so folks in the neighborhood could take some time to process the information regarding the proposed office park, and its potential impact, a little more, which isn't necessarily a terrible thing.

So, who's next?


Just for the record, I'd like to make it public that I am not the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Couple of things

- I'll be absolutely honest, the 'McMansion' proposal brought up by David Lynn has me conflicted. On one hand, I'd be somewhat upset if someone told me I couldn't build my house on my property how I wanted it, primarily because my neighbors weren't crazy about its aesthetics. However, on the other hand, as the story notes this is a problem that is statewide. My grandmother lives in an older neighborhood near the front gates of the Augusta National Golf Club, and the house directly across from hers was bulldozed and replaced with a four-story plantation-style structure whose only purpose is to host clients during Masters week. Not only is it an eyesore, but, as others in the neighborhood follow suit due to a lack of proper regulatory oversight, it is unnecessarily altering several things over there, including property taxes, land use dynamics, etc. So I see both sides of this thing, and let's hope we can get a good policy in place which accommodates design freedom, but also protects the neighborhoods.

- Hopefully, we're progressing on this Sunday Sales thing. I'm not alone in my optimism as the Athens Banner-Herald says the same thing.

- One of the rumors going around regarding States McCarter's resignation, and mentioned in Blake's story, is that Tuesday's 9-1 vote by the Athens-Clarke County Commission to table a request for a developer to turn a few parcels of land at the front of Green Acres into an office park was the tipping point. McCarter was the lone dissenter of the bunch, and at a previous meeting, had argued that the office park plan wasn't perfect by any means, but was the best plan available. That, if the park plan wasn't approved, there was a very real chance the next proposal to come their way would be one that would drop a mini-subdivision in that slot. So I think two things to come away with from that specific issue ... first, the vote was tabled, so it isn't officially dead or anything; second, I think McCarter, actually, might be kinda right on this (and I don't say that a heckuva lot) in the sense that, comparing the two with the logistics and realities of the situation over there, an office is the default 'less worse' option. It isn't the job of the commission to play developer, something noted by several of them during these discussions, but to see if the proposed plans warrant appropriate zoning changes, if they fit the neighborhood and environment and if this suits the long-term land use plan. Arguably, this plan is somewhat lacking, but the substantially worse earlier plans for a 19-house subdivision and the fact such a similar proposal might snake its way back toward them if the park is shot down for good are not better alternatives. It's a weird, frustrating situation for all parties involved, but it might become very necessary to ponder the pros and cons of this thing, and, again, go with the 'less worse' one.

- Yesterday, I had Andy Herod's announcement, and today I received word that David Hamilton has a blog. He's got a little bio information and announcement statement up, so check that out. I say again ... it's a shame we won't have a longer time for this campaign because it's two solid candidates for District Eight.

- The caveat is that spot zoning is bad as a long-term land use objective, but sometimes necessary on a case-by-case basis (hence the moniker I suppose). Still, I agree with Peter Goerig in the sense that it would be useful to take a look at some earlier problems that have resulted from the rezoning efforts over there (I remember having a conversation with Kelly Girtz that was something to this effect).

- Stanicek has his baseball preview up for Georgia - Part One and Part Two.

- You're darn right we need more frequent leaf-and-limb pickup. See, this is the beauty of local politics. The fact that something like attention to the details can pay off so much.

Music for the moment

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Edwards blogger thing

It's a bit of inside baseball that will get an irrational amount of attention more than likely, but since it involves one of my top two candidates for president as well as blogging, I figured I'd talk a bit about it. What happened, namely, was that Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, two liberal bloggers who operated their own personal sites, were hired by John Edwards to work on his campaign blogs. Someone - either the media or right-leaning blogs, I'm not clear on which - went back through their previous postings and came across some offensive materials, including what many Catholic leaders claim is anti-Catholic postings and language. The story gets out across the national blogs and the mainstream media, and there is pressure for Edwards to fire both Marcotte and McEwan. After confronting the two women, he decided to forgive them and let them remain on his staff. This, naturally, has been met with criticism on the right and in conservative Catholic circles, while being applauded on the left and in blogger circles. So, some thoughts ...

- Right off the bat, I don't know where I come down on the whole thing. From a political perspective, Edwards did a smart, and somewhat noble, thing by being willing to fight for these two people. He was willing to acknowledge that they made a mistake in how they handled themselves, even if it was on their personal time and in the past, and took them at their word that it wouldn't happen again. It was a pretty gracious act and showed he would stick up for them when lots of folks would have tossed them under the bus.

- That said ... I don't necessarily buy their apologies. Because it seems they dance around rather then come out and flatly say 'we were wrong.' So when Marcotte says 'my intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs' that's hogwash. There are few, if any, explainable reasons why someone would resort to intentionally using such defamatory language toward one's religion or beliefs if the intent wasn't to belittle or dehumanize it. Furthermore, apologizing for someone being 'personally offended' by their writings isn't taking responsibility for one's actions. It's still placing the burden of blame on the one who was offended.

- These writings were on personal blogs done in the past, which is a whole different ballgame. It is, quite possibly, the first time the online musings of a politically active blogger has come under scrutiny in a campaign (I could be wrong about this). As someone who has an interest in being, well, politically active this is interesting to follow. I try my hardest to run a fair blog with honest discussion, though I'm quite sure I've said silly things over the years. But are those statements, whatever they may be, enough to damn me forever? I would like to think not, and I would like to think not for Marcotte or McEwan or the any other host of bloggers from both sides of the political aisle. We must strive to be responsible and respectful in our speech, but we also should be able to understand the concept of grace too.

- The caveat about blogging, however, is that it has transformed the average, everyday political discourse people have had for centuries - which was full of its own stupid statements and frustrated moments - into public record, free to be overscrutinized by opposing candidates, other bloggers, the media and the like.

- Of course, we've seen hysterical reactions from both sides ... as this posting of the Catholic League and resulting commentary from MyDD suggests. I'm no fan of Bill Donohue, and his statement if full of mistruths (like Edwards condoning anti-Catholicism) and self-absorbed delusions of grandeur (like this irresponsible and troubling line - 'I have news for (Edwards) - the Catholic League - not Edwards - will decide what the debate will be about, and it won't be about the nation.') But, of course, then Chris Bowers says had Edwards fired the bloggers, he wouldn't have supported his candidacy ... because blogger allegiance is more important than, say, the situation in Iraq or our economic future?

Herod's announcement

As we've chatted about already, Andy Herod is running for District Eight. He sent out this email to some folks on the eastside ...

Dear Friends and neighbors: I am emailing you to let you know that I have decided to run for the 8th District seat of the Athens-Clarke County Commission. As you may know, Commissioner States McCarter resigned today. The Special Election to replace Commissioner McCarter will occur on March 20, 2007. I hope I can count on your support in the coming weeks.
With very best wishes,
Andy Herod


Andy Herod, Neighborhood Activist, to Run for 8th District Commission Seat

Athens, Georgia February 7, 2007 — Andy Herod, long-time Athens neighborhood activist, has announced his intention to run for the 8th district Commission seat vacated by States McCarter. Currently a member of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission, president of the Federation of Neighborhoods, and president of the Green Acres-Crestwood Community Association, Herod's campaign will focus on strong neighborhoods and smart growth for the 8th district.

"I am enthusiastic about what we can accomplish in the 8th district by working together as united neighborhoods in partnership with government, business, and community associations. I look forward to outlining in detail how I will continue to work to improve the quality of life for all residents of the 8th district," stated Herod.

Andy has lived in Green Acres for some 12 years. He is a Professor of Geography at UGA, serves as Chair of the President's Faculty Advisory Committee, and is a member of University Council. His wife, Jennifer Frum, has worked in Public Service and Outreach at UGA since 1995.

For more information about Herod's upcoming campaign, contact him at

Couple of things

- As you probably know, States McCarter is out, and David Hamilton and Andy Herod are trying to get in.

- Apparently, there's not a lot of interest in a hunting ordinance. I've stated my opinions on the matter ... namely that any ordinance shouldn't include a complete ban of rifles because there is ample space in this community to set up a tiered system of hunting.

- It's hard for me to imagine how one makes such a difficult and profoundly personal decision, so everyone keep Charlie Norwood in your prayers.

- I agree something needs to be done at Jekyll Island, and I hope they pursue the path of renovating the abandoned and dilapidated buildings rather than line the island with condos. On a related note, gotta say I'm impressed with Rep. Harry Geisinger's marshland buffer proposal. It isn't very often a Republican puts forward some sort of environmental legislation that I like, so credit where credit is due.

-When I've got some more time, I'll I'll look at this a bit closer (the issue, not necessarily the editorial).

- I've tried, but it's hard to understand the Halloween movies.

- It's not often you hear the words 'Rep. Bob Smith' and 'elegant compromise' in the same sentence, particularly with regard to local issues, but that's what this editorial says. And, they're not necessarily wrong about it as it isn't a terrible idea.

- I don't particularly see eye-to-eye with Hillary regarding the criminal background checks in the sense that I don't think we'd see her suggested results, regardless of how severe or not severe they may be. As far as the actual issue, I really don't come down one way or another on it.

- Awesome. I need to learn more about Primitive Baptists.

The future of District Eight

Blake does a nice job digging around for reasons why States McCarter resigned because, as you may have noticed, his resignation letter doesn't offer many clues. The story touches on all of those random rumors I've heard flying around.

And it sets up a showdown between two very solid and very worthy candidates in Andy Herod, a member of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission, and David Hamilton, the president of the Cedar Creek Neighborhood Association.

David is a regular poster in these parts, and I've grown to like him very much. He's a rather pragmatic fella, and we need more of that in our political lives. I've never met Andy, but I've heard good things about him. It'll be a good - and very condensed - race for this open seat.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Serious observations

- I'm not sure what about Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is stellar enough to warrant a slot on American Movie Classics.

- Looking back at the entire series, is it ever explained why Michael Myers is, in fact, damn near impossible to kill? I mean, the end of this movie sees him thrown from a truck, run over by a car and repeatedly shot by a host of police officers, yet he's not even remotely near being dead.

- After all of that and he tumbles down a well, why don't the police drop Molotov cocktails down there to ensure that he doesn't come back?

- Why exactly is he so angry and determined to kill everyone? I mean, really. There's no method to this thing.

- Regarding my third point, if you watch the beginning of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, which picks up right where the previous movie left off, you'll realize that the police did throw a Molotov cocktail down the well, but he slipped out to a stream and swam to safety.

- There's some fine acting in these movies.

- In something we're all eager to see, how will Jamie, played by Danielle Harris, interact with Annie ... also played by Danielle Harris in Rob Zombie's Halloween.

- You know, if someone wanted to do this right, they'd take the Batman Begins route by making him non-supernatural, but employing lots of tricks and deceptions to give the illusion of being unable to be killed.

Norwood to stop treatment

The Athens Banner-Herald has a breaking news story on Charlie Norwood opting to not continue his cancer treatment. The congressman will move to a hospice in Augusta.

This is pretty sad news. There is almost nothing I agree with this man on when it comes to politics, but he's a good, decent person who's dedicated the past 14 years of his life to public service. As a native Augustan, I can honestly say that he works hard for my hometown and even managed to steal a few votes from my Democrat mother now and then.

He's lived a good life, and we should all keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time.

McCarter resigns

Athens-Clarke County District Eight Commissioner States McCarter has resigned from the Athens-Clarke County Commission effective immediately.

Here's his statement ...

Resignation Statement

I have resigned from the A-CC Commission effective today (February 7, 2007). A-CC Attorney Bill Berryman informed me earlier that a Special Election will likely be held on March 20, 2007 to fill my open position. Board of Elections Supervisor Gail Schrader has confirmed Berryman’s conclusion. You may call her at 706 613-3150 if you have questions. My seat will be vacant only at the February agenda setting and the March voting meetings. Please watch for candidate announcements. In the meantime you may contact 10th District Commissioner Elton Dodson (who also represents you) at 706 543-7880 at home or at 706 549-9294 at work. He can be contacted electronically at

I hope that I have served you well during the slightly over six years that I have been the commissioner for District 8. States M.

Couple of things

- I will say this in a moment of levity, Republicans often get unnecessarily maligned when they propose things like changing the eligibility status of programs like PeachCare. I mean, it really isn't like they hate poor people or children. That said, I do think that the proposed changes are kinda foolish and unnecessary, and that Rep. Lynn Westmoreland comes across as kinda non-caring toward the affected people. I also relate to this on a personal level as good friends of mine fit into this financial bracket upon marriage and provided health insurance for their daughter this way.

- OK, actually being someone who has regularly dealt with background checks, these concerns are pretty unfounded in my opinion. If anything, if the checks are 'imprecise' it swings the way of not being complete enough rather than listing things the applicant never did. This is something which can be remedied rather easily by setting in place strict policies for conducting the checks and how to interpret the findings.

- I say that Sunday Sales is a local issue to be handled by individual communities.

- I like this Clint Ricker fella.

- I'll be honest, I'm not sure how to process this editorial in the Athens Banner-Herald. I mean, well, yeah ... candidates for office from either political party shouldn't be unethical. That makes sense for a tremendously wide variety of reasons. If the editorial is arguing that ethics should be center-stage as a platform for Democrats to run on, I'd disagree with that and point to the lack of success Mark Taylor had running against Sonny Perdue. Relying on the Bobby Kahn approach of 'look how awful the other guys are' is ridiculous and not going to bring anyone into our camp. Thinking of bold ideas and presenting them to the public can.

- Take this heaping dose of logic you Saving Grace-lovin' Comer people!

- In what is sure to devolve into a ridiculous conversation, Peach Pundit asks if we the present should apologize for the past. I don't necessarily know the answer to that question, though I think there's nothing inherently wrong about a nation apologizing for its mistakes. In fact, if you look at countries which have done just that, you'll find genuine progress in those respective issues (consider post-war Germany's response to Nazism).

- I've given him a rough time as of late, but Bill Shipp's column today is pretty interesting and talks about some of the things being done at the Georgia General Assembly.