Thursday, May 31, 2007

Couple of things

- The Athens-Clarke County Comprehensive Plan is going through its process of being updated, and the citizen input portion is still alive and well. This Saturday, at the UGA School of Environment & Design Broad Street Studios from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m a group of consultants with the Jaeger Company will lead a discussion on the outlying corridors of our community that shift from a rural area to a single-family residential one as they move into town. It's something I'd like to go to, but The Wife tells me we have to go see her family.

- Also this Saturday, the State Democratic Party of Georgia will hold a mass canvas to encourage voters in the 10th Congressional District to get out and vote ... one would presume for one of the three Democrats on the ballot in James Marlow, Denise Freeman (now with corrected spelling) or Evita Paschell. If you want to volunteer, email

- Southern Republicans are doing cartwheels because Fred Thompson has all but decided to run for president (and we know how they love below-average actors transforming into celebrity politicians since, apparently, witty one-liners are better than, you know, actual policy). Still, Matthew Yglesias is among the many who aren't sold. Ezra Klein also questions this whole thing.

- We all kinda saw this coming, and it is a good thing methinks, but the LRA and the University of Georgia have agreed in principle regarding the Naval Supply School land. UGA, as it stands now, will get all of the property (it would seem to help ensure no future expansion into the Normaltown neighborhood), with a contingency plan for a private developer to assist in case the proposed medical school falls through. The area non-profits will get $7.9 million to assist with acquiring building space along North Avenue.

- Speaking of non-profits, we've launched a new fundraising program at IHN of Athens. It's a simple premise - if we can get everyone in our member congregations (and beyond) to give $30 a year, we can almost cover our entire budget for the fiscal year. We've also got levels of giving that include tickets to different events throughout the year, which you can see here. If you'd like to make a donation, it would be much appreciated. You can read up on IHN of Athens at our web site.

- Hillary makes a good point regarding the Athens Banner-Herald editorial, particularly since I, like her, like most of what it says. Also talking about the UGA child care issue is Nicki.

- Kickoff is set for Oklahoma State and South Carolina, though The Wife reminds me that I'll probably be busy come late August and early September. Something about my firstborn.

Real Life Conversations

Me: It may be kinda wrong, but I really like Miranda Lambert.
Hillary: She's good.
Me: Well, it's a combination of things ... such as I think her songs, like Kerosene, are pretty catchy. Plus, she's pretty hot.
Hillary: Both are true.


Me: I don't really know what has gotten into me. I really like country music now.
Bly: It's OK. I like beer now. Things change.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Couple of things

- Good bit of reporting by Rebecca Quigley on the MCG expansion planning, and what's most interesting is that Rep. Ben Harbin, the Augusta-area legislator who changed the budget to divert money from a study on Athens-Clarke County to Augusta-Richmond County regarding an expansion, originally wanted to expand MCG in Savannah. How's that gonna play in your backyard? And what the heck man?

- I'm not really sure what Paul Broun's fine has to do with anything, but it is kinda troublesome that he practiced without a medical license for a year. Of course, his explanation seems logical.

- Flagpole has a nice article on Carl Jordan, and I'm listed as a possible candidate for his seat should he step down in 2008.

- I've had more than one person say 'why are you defending Paul Broun?' Listen, I'll defend anybody from ridiculous charges, and I'll give anybody the credit they deserve when they do good. But I haven't defended Broun's political positions once, and that's what elections are supposed to be about.

- Typically I shy away from what article should be placed where, but I think Bette McNeely has a point here. Clarke Central being ranked in the top three percent of public high schools in the country is a pretty big deal, particularly when you hear all this nonsense of how 'bad' Clarke County schools are.

- Matthew Murphy's letter to the editor suggests that he's never actually read any of Leonard Pitts's other columns. It's also completely misreads the entire commentary, which was that spinning something to avoid taking responsibility is a problem. Pitts was not equating anyone's comments with someone else's, but rather using examples of how those figures attempted to shape the story in a favorable light to themselves.

- Note to Jason Aldean ... just because you release a song called Johnny Cash doesn't mean you can get respect. Hell, if Johnny was still around, he'd beat you down for grossly misusing his name with such a profoundly awful song.

Well now

John Huie put together a nice piece on District Six Commissioner Carl Jordan in this week's Flagpole and, positioned in the final paragraph, is this little nugget of information ...

If Jordan doesn’t run again, (Elton) Dodson says, he’s heard rumblings that local blogger Jonathan McGinty might be interested. So might one of Jordan’s previous opponents, former commissioner Marilyn Farmer or businessman Bob Beal. But, he says, “so long as [Jordan] can articulate clearly what the interests of constituents are - and they feel connected to that message - they certainly can’t argue that he’s not been attentive and responsive to their concerns.”

I'm involved in community 'rumblings.'

Seriously, though, I actually might be interested. It's no secret that I'm passionate about many issues (I do run a blog that focuses on local politics after all), and, again, it's no secret that I'm not shy to voice my opinion on those issues. I'd by lying to you if I said I hadn't thought about seeking a public office at some point in my life. I'd be lying to you if I said I hadn't considered whether or not I could do a good job for the community by seeking Jordan's seat when he decides to step down.

But there are several important things folks need to know ...

- The circumstances of my life are vastly different on May 29, 2007 than they were on May 29, 2006 as I'm expecting my first child.

- Jordan, as noted in the article, hasn't said he won't run again. He's got a group of commissioners he enjoys working with and that's energized him. Unless this Carl governs more like Rove and less like Jordan, I wouldn't run for that seat until he decides he can't serve anymore.

- My desire to serve in some capacity very well may result in me seeking a public office, perhaps even the District Six seat in 2008, but it also means I very well may opt to volunteer with a local non-profit here in town that needs some help. I want to serve in a capacity that allows me to do the most good.

It's flattering that some folks think I could be a good commissioner, and make no mistake that I am interested if the circumstances were right. Still, it isn't even the summer of 2007 and the election isn't until fall of 2008 ... so we've got some time here.

Right now though Jordan is the commissioner and, though I've disagreed with him on some things, he's been a responsive and dedicated public servant who was a voice in the wilderness for several things regarding land use, public transportation and environmental protections.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Couple of things

- With all due respect, it does appear that Michael Adams is a bit removed from reality on this. According to our Staff Council rep, expanding child care for university employees is talked about almost at every meeting and there are at least two studies involving the UGA community which stress this as a pressing need.

- I know I really shouldn't care about this, but Rosie O'Donnell is a moron.

- Two things worth noting in this editorial ... first, the Democratic Party hasn't endorsed anyone in the 10th Congressional District. What has happened is that a majority of the individual county parties lined up behind James Marlow. The state party, however, hasn't endorsed any of the candidates. Second, good to see them calling out Jim Whitehead for refusing to come to Athens-Clarke County and, you know, answer questions on why he wants to blow us up.

At first, Team Whitehead cited a scheduling conflict for his inability to show. But that was difficult to swallow. The Athens Press Club set the time and date of the debate based on a conversation with his campaign manager. The club thought it only fair for Athens residents to get a chance to hear from one of the frontrunners. So Whitehead was the first call.

Now, it turns out Whitehead isn't coming because he isn't happy with the press coverage he's been receiving in this area. Too bad. We're sure you had a lot of questions for him.

For a man who so freely exploits his time in Athens and on the UGA campus, it's a shame he feels the need to turn his back on it now.

Beyond that, his dodge raises far more serious questions. It makes us wonder how a man so worried about facing a handful of citizens in a left-leaning county will handle a room full of them in D.C. It doesn't give us much hope for a lot of bipartisan cooperation from the former UGA lineman, should he get elected.

And if Whitehead so disdains the "liberals" comprising a chunk of Athens and refuses to visit the city to share his platform with those voters, then it's logical to assume he'll give our community short shrift if he's sent to Congress. Not comforting.

- I think there's some potential to Barack Obama's health care plan, though I'll need to take some time to read over it a little more.

- I don't think there's a 'market solution' to our drought.

Faulty thinking

I see where Erick was going with this over at Peach Pundit - that the more considerate thing to do would have been to ask the neighbors to quit watering first - but it's also important to consider that we are, you know, in a severe drought and watering past the alloted times are a violation of state law.

But what's more puzzling to me is this notion that we employ a 'market solution' to this problem since that's what Republicans and other conservatives love to discuss doing whenever we have a pressing issue to tackle. In his defense, he says he uses recycled bath water to water his plants (which is a great idea and would save me from getting up early on my days to water), but also acknowledges that he'd pay more to water.

How does that work exactly? Due to our drought, water is being a scarce resource. Water is something that is also a communual entity that we all have to share. Why, exactly, is it 'fair' or 'appropriate' to permit those who have more disposable money to water more than others? How is that actually conserving water?

If anything, such an attitude is selfish, greedy and contrary to what he called for originally ... which was be considerate to your neighbors.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Couple of things

- Well, well, well ... Eric Spohn is going to pay for the damages to Brandon Phillips's truck. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but this would appear to contradict what Bill Greene said Peach Pundit and here. Greene argued that it was Phillips who was at fault by attempting to run down Spohn, that he had pictures and that the witnesses would back his story. If the witnesses would back his story, and Spohn's statement, why would there be a need to pay for damages?

- The good news from this is Michael Vick wasn't there.

- By the way, I like Rick Lindsey, the owner of Washington Ford, Mercury, Inc. who rented the car to the Whitehead campaign. Why? Because of this quote ... 'Since I'm a damn good Democrat, it won't make a difference about any Republican hitting my truck.'

- The deadline was almost missed, but the University of Georgia and the Local Redevelopment Authority have come to terms, and it appears to be a pretty good deal. It includes provisions for if a new medical college isn't funded, as well as an assurance for paying $7.8 million to the collection of area non-profits.

- Breathing a sigh of relief ...

- Haven't they been doing this already? I just read something about the price gouging bill I saw ... which, by the by, I don't think is a good idea. It's not a terrible one, mind you, but states already have regulations for this kind of thing. And prices that are, say, $3.40 a gallon aren't gouging. If it was around $8 a gallon while everyone else hovered around $3, that is probably some element of gouging. Right now, we're just in a period of high demand and dwindling supply. If you want government to get involved, I'd argue for larger tax deductions for hybrids and incentives to produce more bio-diesel cars for a start.

- I'm not really out to defend Paul Broun's politics or anything, but Christie Hayes's letter is absurd. Broun offered a logical and rational criticism of Whitehead's outrageous positions, as well as saying that Whitehead favored a possible tax increase, not that he had ever voted for one.

- In other 10th Congressional District news, one of the Young Dems from UGA was kind enough to post some of the things James Marlow had been doing after I had said I felt he has sorta vanished. This Saturday, Marlow's going to be in Towns County for a fundraiser beginning around noon. If anyone from any of the campaigns has any event information, I'd be glad to post it.

Music for the moment

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More on Greene-Whitehead

OK ... Bill Greene's campaign has Eric Spohn's statement to the police up, and there's quite a bit of discussion, of which Greene is participating in, over at Peaach Pundit.

One of the questions I asked there I'll restate here ... if it's a public building, then the Whitehead camp should have been afforded the same opportunity to place signs there as well. It would seem the only folks who could remove the signs would be those who worked at that building or some other sort of government official.

Of course there could be some sort of contractual agreement which stated Greene's campaign had the full authority to remove signs which didn't support his candidacy. Much how you can rent a venue and decorate it to your liking, but that doesn't mean other folks can come in and hang flyers during that time.

Still, wouldn't it have been better to just let him do it and then either reposition the Greene signs to cover the Whitehead ones or merely remove the signs after Brandon Phillips departed?

Make no mistake, if Phillips did attempt to hit Spohn, that's a crime and he should face the appropriate punishment. However, why was there even any real reason to make this a big deal? Why would Whitehead 'not approve' of one of his staffers placing signs out?

Bill Greene responds

Bill Greene, a Republican candidate for the 10th Congressional District vacated by the death of Rep. Charlie Norwood, responded to my post from earlier this morning in the comments.

Since the man is running for office, it's only appropriate and fair that I post his response in an actual post ...

So much speculation, so little knowledge of the facts. So here are the facts.

On the evening of May 22nd, the Greene for Congress campaign was holding a private fundraiser at the Community Center in Watkinsville, Georgia. A Whitehead campaign staffer, Brandon Phillips, arrived as it began and placed Whitehead campaign signs all around the building (NOT just in a private yard, we have the pictures) where the Greene fundraiser was being held. I approached the Whitehead staffer, who was standing by his truck in a private driveway getting more signs out, and asked him to take down the signs around our building, which he refused to do. Then the owner of that property asked me to step off of his property, which I did. As I left, I mentioned to him that (A) I'm sure Jim Whitehead would never approve of placing his signs all around the building where his opponent's private function was being held, and (B) I'd hate to see them lose all that money, since the people inside the building would be coming out shortly to pull up the signs there were not on private property. (And yes, there were Minutemen inside as well, which Phillips knew in advance.)

I went inside to greet all of our supporters, and our campaign manager, Eric Spohn, went out to take pictures of the signs and the truck's license plate (to show Jim Whitehead what his people were doing), at which time the Whitehead staffer jumped into his truck, threw it into reverse, and attempted to run down Eric. Eric jumped out of the way at the last second, pushing off of the truck as it sped by, putting a small dent in the side.

All of this happened right in front of the police station (which is attached to the Watkinsville Community Center, where our event was being held), the two of them were questioned, and they were asked if they were pressing charges against each other (against Phillips for assault with a deadly weapon and/or attempted vehicular manslaughter, against Eric for property damage). Eric said he didn't want to have to do so if it could be solved between the two of them, as he didn't want to have to bring all of his witnesses (some of whom were minors, there with their families as volunteers at the event) into court. Phillips, it turns out, couldn't file charges, because it wasn't his truck.

So no one got into a fight. No one was arrested. No one filed charges. The signs were all removed (both the dozens surrounding our building, and from the yard of the private home -- apparently, someone was simply paid off to put a sign up for the evening). Our event went great. We all went home.

Unfortunately, this is just another example of politics as usual. What we had was a foolish young man, making several foolish mistakes. He was foolish to put dozens of signs around his boss's opponent's private event. He was foolish to try to stop the Greene for Congress campaign manager from taking pictures of his truck & license, by attempting to run him down. And he was foolish to think that this is how politics is done -- which is what the voters of Georgia are sick and tired of. Jim Whitehead should do the right thing: this staffer should be fired (or if he was a volunteer, banned from the campaign), and I hope he learns his lesson and avoids foolishness in the future.

That's what happened. I was there. You weren't. End of story.

Except for one more thing: I called Jim Whitehead's campaign several times, and left messages asking him to return my call, so we could discuss this incident. He hasn't done so.

First off, many thanks to Greene for responding. I took some liberty and poked a good bit of fun at him, and he responded with a little dig of his own, but also with a thoughtful response. Our vast political differences aside, I appreciate it good sir (he didn't pick up my comment about 'The Hulk' ... I meant that primarily due to how big is ... have you ever seen him ... the man is solid).

Second, with a little bit of defense of the reporting done by the Athens Banner-Herald, and my resulting commentary, the primary piece of information that was available to used to build such reports comes from the police report from the event. Phillips makes some strong accusations in said report, and those accusations appear to be supported by many witnesses there (we approach a he-said/he-said situation because you indicate those witnesses would side with your staffer).

Still, this witnesses thing, with all due respect, makes me wonder. Since they would appear to be the most impartial folks involved in this thing, what did they see?

Couple of things

- From what I hear, the Ford F-150 is sturdier as the Nissan Titan gives more on the impact of the knuckles.

- Athens-Clarke County ... anti-business or the town with the strongest economic growth in the state?

- If you're interested, I'm going to do another Wednesday Night Program at First Baptist Church of Athens on June 13. If you recall, I did one on faith and politics last year, and they're willing to let me come back this summer and talk about global warming, stewardship of the Earth and all of that.

- Ah yes, Alan Keyes ... redefining what it means to be irrelevant daily.

- I'm not a huge tennis fan, but if you get the chance go watch John Isner compete in the 2007 NCAA Tennis Championships. Isner is one of the best Georgia has ever hard and is arguably the top player in the country.

- Someone has to explain the appeal of Fred Thompson to me. Republicans are falling all over themselves to get him to run, and I'm at a loss for it. His positions are identical to John McCain's, he's from Hollywood (which I thought was a no-no for Republicans not named 'Arnold') and he enjoys engaging in childish, lame, embarassing arguments with Michael Moore (who is, well, childish, lame and embarassing). Seriously? This is the best you got?

- Excellent. I don't even have the faintest idea what compelled Bill Akin to pen this letter, but a couple of sentences and a Lenin reference? Wow.

If I knew it was this kind of party ...

So, this is the choice everyone has to make here ...

You've got one candidate who says outrageous things like he wants to blow up the University of Georgia and that Democrats are trying to register members of al-Qaida to vote, the latter of which was so absurd that even one of his Republican opponents calls him out on it.

And that guy wants to vaguely 'restore Constitutional government', as if we've simply not been doing that for the past 200-plus years. Coincidentally enough, doing so also includes abolishing the IRS, scrapping the income tax and replacing with an incredibly regressive sales tax which would actually raise taxes on the middle class.

But us Democrats are a bit confusing anyway. I don't know a thing about Evita Paschall, and I can't begin to find out since she refuses to fill out any sort of voter information surveys and is the only candidate that doesn't have a web site. For those with web sites, Denise Freeman needs to learn to use SpellCheck because if she can't get 'Congress' right then I'm going to have a hard time trusting her on some things.

I like James Marlow, and he's put together a good message on a variety of issues, but I had two conversations with a pair of friends last night that resulted in us questioning where in the heck he had gone in recent weeks.

But still, all of that now pales in comparison to ... Bill Greene.

Now, to be fair, I've always felt that Greene was easily the candidate with the most loose screws in this whole thing, it's just that he was able to keep everything under control a little better than, say, Whitehead. Well, the wheels may have started to come off.

It seems that Greene, along with a few of his buddies, were doing a fundraiser at a local VFW in Watkinsville. A supporter of Whitehead, being politically savvy, knocked on the door of some folks who lived directly across the street and got them to put a 'Jim Whitehead for Congress' sign in his yard.

This angered The Hulk, er, Greene.

Phillips told police that Greene, Spohn and a third man yelled at him while he walked into a private driveway across VFW Drive, where two homeowners gave him permission to post campaign signs in their yard.

Phillips told police someone told him to quit or they'd send the Minutemen out to stop him. Greene is a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a group dedicated to keeping illegal immigrants out of the United States. As Phillips left, Spohn followed him, taking pictures, Phillips told police.

As he backed up his truck, Phillips heard a thump and found a dent on his truck.

Witnesses told police they saw Spohn jump to the side and hit the truck with his fist as it approached him.

There are way too many things that are comical about this. First off ... can you imagine Greene hollering 'we'll send the Minutemen out for you!' Second ... not so much for that whole private property rights thing are we, sir?

But lastly ... this Spohn fella punched a truck.

Now, in his defense, maybe this was Spohn's statement that we need to move to a more energy efficient lifestyle and that the truck Phillips was driving was needlessly wasting gas. OK, that's probably not it, but who knows?

So, what are we left with? Something which will be terribly entertaining as we gallop into the homestretch of this special election, though political theater sometimes doesn't translate into proper leadership.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Couple of things

- Now, is it just me, or is Greene County sheriff Chris Houston taking this whole thing too lightly? 'He was just trying to warn them?' Dude, he shot a man for getting too close to his fishing lines. You don't shoot someone as a warning. Hell, you don't shoot at someone as a warning for something as minor as guarding your fishing lines.

- Regarding the Oconee County alcohol ordinance, I don't really have an opinion. Well, I do in that I think they should permit the sale of beer and wine in restaurants, but I mean that it's important for that community to determine what's best for its residents. You know, it's called local control ... what the Georgia General Assembly refused to let you do.

- Speaking of alcohol ordinances, Athens-Clarke County is pitching some of the possible new regulations regarding serving alcohol to the bar owners and, not shockingly, some of them don't like it (including, not shockingly, Sky Hertwig). I don't like the concept of setting a minimum price at all, and I've got some concerns about buying only two drinks at once ... partially because that ain't gonna do anything. If Little Billy wants to knock a few back, he's going to find a way to get his 14 beers. The latter, again, wlll largely affect only the overwhelming majority of bar frequenters who do drink responsibly and are coming to simply buy the next round for their table. As far as the doorman being 21, I'm OK with that though I do think the workforce realities could pose some problems. Training classes for doormen, coupled with stiff penalities for businesses which serve underage individuals, seem to be a better approach. That way it's less regulation and instead puts the onus, rightfully, on the business owner.

- Go. Dawgs.

- And, ah yes, in typical Atlanta Hawks fashion ... they got the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft ... which is, forgive me, almost worthless this year with two remarkable prospects in Greg Oden and Kevin Durant waiting to be taken with the top two selections. Just go ahead and take Levi Stukes and be done with it.

- The new branding process offered by the Athens Area Visitors and Convention Bureau is coming under fire. Personally, I don't think it's as bad as everyone is saying, but I'm also not crazy about it ... particularly the tagline. I do, however, favor Jeff Snowden's proposal from a few years back.

- There's a nice little discussion about the 10th Congressional District race going on at Peach Pundit.

- Finally ... congrats to Xon and his wife Katie on the birth of their son, Bradley Davin Hostetter. Eight pounds! That's a sturdy little fella!

On the shelves

Something can be labeled 'Christian' and not be true or good. I was speaking at a pastors' conference several years ago, and a well-known pastor was going to be speaking after me. I thought I'd stick around when I was done because I wanted to hear what he had to say. It was shocking. He essentially told the roomful of pastors that if their churches weren't growing and they weren't happy all the time and they weren't healthy and successful, then they probably weren't 'called and chosen by God' to be pastors. I can't imagine the messages his talk put in the hearts and minds of those pastors who were listening. I couldn't begin to understand how he made those verses mean that. And it was a Christian pastor talking in a Christian church to other Christian pastors. But it wasn't true.

This happens in all sorts of areas. It is possible for music to labeled Christian and be terrible music. It could lack creativity and inspiration. The lyrics could be recyled cliches. That 'Christian' band could actually be giving Jesus a bad name because they aren't a great band. It is possible for a movie to be a 'Christian' movie and to be a terrible movie. It may actually desecrate the art form in its quality and storytelling and craft. Just because it is in a Christian book by a Christian author and it was purchased in a Christian bookstore doesn't mean it is all true or good or beautiful. A Christian political group puts me in an awkward position: What if I disagree with them? Am I less of a Christian? What if I'm convinced the 'Christian' thing to do is to vote the exact opposite?

Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.
- 'Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith' by Rob Bell

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Couple of things

- Wow. Paul Broun is too conservative for my tastes, but he sure knows how to put together an intelligent, coherent and mature counterpoint to someone as nutty as Jim Whitehead. If the conservatives in District 10 - the ones who wouldn't ever consider backing James Marlow - would look at Broun and then Whitehead, they'd flock to the former.

- Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans), the guy who controls the Georgia General Assembly's purse strings and, at the last minute, raised a big stink about Athens-Clarke County getting some exploratory money for the Naval Supply School, picked up a DUI early Sunday morning.

- It's about a week or so old, but Adrian put together a brief, yet good piece on the discussion about cyclists obeying traffic laws. Part of the reason that angers me so much is that I strongly advocate for things like bike lanes or multi-use pathways. When a handful of people act so foolishly and, by default, unnecessarily make everyone else angry at all the law-abiding cyclists, it's incredibly frustrating to me.

- ... Says the man who landed a military jet on an aircraft carrier with a banner that read 'Mission Accomplished.'

- Folks have been talking a lot about the immigration bill that was recently announced, in which both Georgia senators worked with a pair of Democrats in Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Ken Salazar to put together the closest thing to a humane, yet tough bill possible. Does it have some flaws in it? Well, of course, but I think they're ultimately minor ones. But this is compromise at its finest, despite the opposition of many Republicans.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bigger than all of us

Back in my days in high school, my favorite teacher was a gentleman named Eric Stanley. He was funny and charming and, for some odd reason, particularly enjoyed me and my group of friends. I liked him so much, I took three years of French from him, including a class he created just for us called 'French III' my senior year that consisted of merely five students. And though I can only recall one or two phrases from that language to this day, I still had some of my fondest memories with him and that class.

Many of those memories came from my French Club experience, where I served as president for two years. Now, let's be honest, we didn't really do a whole lot of anything. Sure, we had those typical student functions like a candy sale or a field trip to a French restaurant. So, in my senior year, I really wanted to do something spectacular ... so I helped organize a trip to Walt Disney World.

Why? Well because of the World Showcase in Epcot, of course.

Like the rest of my friends, Charles joined us for this trip, as well as did his now wife, then girlfriend, Wendy. During some down time in our room - in the Embassy Suites, which was big time for kids in high school away from their parents - the three of us were sitting around watching TV or something. I'm not entirely sure how this situation developed, but I remember the toilet beginning to rapidly, and I mean rapidly overflow.

Now, this wasn't a alien situation to me at all because, well, I grew up with my father. But the only way I knew how to deal with this situation was with a plunger, and that device was sorely lacking as the dirty water began to pour all over the bathroom floor. Compounding the problem was this mystical lack of ability for Wendy or I to do anything aside from stare.

Charles, in one fluid motion, leaps past us into the bathroom, plunges his arm up to his elbow into the toilet, wiggles it around until a loud 'whoosh' is heard and the toilet magically flushes.

Wendy and I, understandably, are partially amazed and partially horrified as he stands there, grinning, with his arm delicately balanced like a surgeon about to operate. I ask him 'how did you do that?' He replies ... 'I'm a Rozier' and slams the door with the other hand and quickly turns on the shower afterward.

It's an odd story, sure, but it's also one of my favorite memories of the guy. It's funny and random and, in a weird way, kinda sweet. And it's typical of him.

I tell you this because, on Friday, I went to the funeral for Charles and Wendy's daughter.

It was a nice service, and lots of family and friends were able to come. Charles had a friend from his days in Columbia, S.C., deliver the message which I understand was a good one, but I was mostly too numb to absorb much of it (and I don't mean that as a slight against the poor lad's preaching skills ... seriously, I'm sure he's quite good).

It's just that loss, particularly this kind of loss, is difficult to process.

As the service ended, I shook Charles's hand as I came out, and I just cried. I didn't say anything to him. I just gripped his hand and looked down and cried.

I cried because it's one of my oldest friends, and he is having to endure this awful experience. I cried because it doesn't seem fair that a beautiful little girl only got to experience a mere hour of her parents' love and compassion. I cried because I'm having a little girl, and even though I've never met her outside of the ever-expanding bump that is The Wife's stomach, I love her more than I've ever loved anything on this planet. I cried because I couldn't imagine - I can't imagine - my place in this world where I won't have the ability to teach her everything that is wonderful about this life.

So I just cried.

And Charles looked at me, smiled, and just kept saying 'It's OK. It's all going to be OK.'

And, even as I type that, I begin to shake ... because my friend who had lost so much was the one comforting me. It's partially ridiculous, quite frankly. The one who was suffering was the one who was comforting, but that's because Charles got it.

Despite all the pain, and despite the fact that he and his wife are going through a very real grieving process, Charles got that everything about that moment was bigger than all of us.

Typically, when moments of incredible joy or harrowing sorrow come over me, I try to put my thoughts on paper, as they say. It's not that I can't sit down and have a deep, emotional conversation with someone, it's just that, for some reason, I feel as if I have a better opportunity to express myself if I can just jot it down.

When my father was sick and going to get a stem-cell treatment, I wrote him a lengthy note thanking him for everything he ever taught me. When I was eight years old, I wrote my mother a note on Mother's Day telling her she was, and I quote, 'the best mommy ever.' If I am engaging in a debate with someone, I work to write down my thoughts in a coherent order to best explain my position.

I wanted to do that here, but I kept struggling to find some sort of text that would underline how I felt about not just the suffering Charles and Wendy were enduring, but about that moment where I grasped my friend's hand and he encouraged me.

And, late Sunday night, it hit me as I was reading Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell. Now, my buddy Matt had been trying to get me to read this for quite some time, but I was steadily plowing my way through things like an analysis of FDR's famous 'Hundred Days,' so I was hesitant to take on anything new. But on Thursday night, while sitting in his office before an IHN of Athens board meeting, he put that book in my hand and simply said 'read it.'

It was as if he knew that he was a part of this painful, yet incredible journey.

Not only has it been a very fresh and impressive book, but it also presented me with what I was looking for ...

Whatever those things are that make you feel fully alive and like the universe is ultimately a good place and you are not alone, I need a faith that doesn't deny these moments but embraces them. I need a spiritual understanding that celebrates these kinds of transcendent moments instead of avoiding them. These moments can't be tangents. They can't be experiences that distract from 'real' faith. These moments can't exist on the edges, because they are part of our faith. A spirituality that is real will have to make sense of them and show us how they fit. They are expressions of what it means to live in God's world.

I was in Rwanda a few years ago, and a group of us went hiking in the slums of Kigali with a woman named Pauline. Pauline spends her free time caring for people who are about to die from HIV/AIDS. She agreed to takeus to visit one of her friends who only had hours to live. We hiked through this slum for what seemed like miles, and as we got further in, the shacks became smaller and smaller until all we had to walk on were narrow trails with sewage crisscrossing in streams that ran beside, and sometimes under, the shacks.

Eventually we ended up in a dirt-floored, one-room shack about six-by-six feet. A woman was lying under so many blankets that all we could see was her mouth and eyes. Her name was Jacqueline. Pauline had become her friend and had veen visiting her consistently for the past few months. As I knelt down beside her on the floor, I watched Pauline, standing in the corner, weeping. Her friend was going to die soon. What overwhelmed me was the death or despair or poverty. What overwhelmed me was the compassion. In this dark place Pauline's love and compassion were simply ... bigger. More. It is as if the smallest amount of light is infinitely more powerful that massive amounts of dark. The ground was holy.

I'm sure you have had similar experiences. In the strangest of settings, maybe with people you barely know, you become aware that the ground beneath your feet is holy. It is sacred. There's something else, something more, going on here.

I went to a funeral several years ago and walked into the lobby of the chapel and immediately thought I was the first one there. Then I realized I wasn't the first one; the husband of the woman who had died was there, standing over the open casket. I walked over to him as he stood over the body, put my arm around him, and didn't say anything. Just two of us in a big open room, looking down at his wife's body. He just kept saying over and over, 'She was such a good woman; she was such a good woman.' And we stood there together for a while with my arm around his shoulder, and I listened to him repeat, 'She was such a good woman.' The ground was holy.

A young woman in our church gave birth last week to a two-pound baby who died the day after being born. My friend Matt went to the hospital to visit them. When he entered the room, he realized the baby was still there. And the couple was sitting in shock, stunned that this had happened and happened to them. Matt walked in, greeted the couple, and then took the baby in his arms and kissed it.

I wasn't even there, and I can feel the moment. The pain, the anguish, the sense that something else was going on in that room that we only get glimpses of from time to time.

Because it isn't just concerts and surfing and the high points, and it isn't just those beautiful moments in the midst of the everyday and mundane; it is also in the tragic and the gut-wrenching moments when we cannot escape the simple fact that there is way more going on around us than we realize.
- 'Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith' by Rob Bell

Maybe it doesn't work for you, and that's fine. But it works for me, and I hope it works for Charles and Wendy. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Couple of things

- Here is further proof that Greene County features an odd mixture of viewpoints. If the state has the audacity to approve this pathetic excuse of a charter school - despite the fact the Greene County Board of Education didn't address the primary concern leveled, which is the deliberate exclusion of individuals outside the Lake Oconee area - then what's the point? It's obvious this is a direct violation of what a charter school is supposed to be, but they signed off on it anyway? Unbelievable.

- Again, it's only May, but I'm enjoying watching their gradual implosion.

- I'm kinda nervous about this passing, but this is exactly the kind step our area needs to take to help develop our regional economy. Developing the 316 corridor from Athens-Clarke County through Atlanta - as well as encouraging other entities to settle in the area - coupled with the proposed development of the Naval Supply School, could mean a new chapter in our community's history.

- Jenna Daniels forgot to mention she found it 'you know, kinda cool' when Todd McCorkle talked about the color of her underwear back when he coached her.

- Over at Peach Pundit, Andre has a good post up about Jim Whitehead's view on Iraq that has elicited a barrage of responses, many of them outrageously absurd.

- Two ways to view this letter ... one, he's absolutely right, but two it's possible she was expressing her opinion that she disagreed with the law and did so independently, as most columnists do. I was just confused of why it was in the Living section and not the editorial page.

- Randomly, these are two of the best videos in YouTube history.

Music for the moment

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Couple of things

- The Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department is seeking to raise fees to offset rising costs, which is understandable. The question I've always had for the longest time is ... why don't citizens inside Athens proper have the ability to choose their solid waste disposal company? When I lived outside the traditional city limits, I had that luxury, and I was afforded the chance to get a company which picked up more than once a week and gave me a larger can to hold my garbage bags. Unless I'm gravely mistaken or someone over at Public Utilities flat out lied to me, I'm stuck with one provider. And make no mistake ... it's not like they don't do a good job, but the lack of choice frustrates me.

- I understand why there is no need to build a library, but it's still kind of a shame. Nonetheless, the proposed facelift to these three parks all sound quite good, particularly the ones for East Athens. Connecting that park by a scenic walkway to Dudley Park is an outstanding idea.

- I commented on Blake's suggestion that we consider making the commission full-time and built in on marginally.

- Well, hello non-story. Also, note to self, don't screw with overworked and underappreciated firefighters.

- Here's a confusing analogy which doesn't work well and only makes me hope that gratuity was included on their bill.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time isn't on their side

OK, I thought Blake's recent post was about something, but then it turned out to be about something else. He starts out by saying this version of the Athens-Clarke County Commission hasn't accomplished anything with the implication being that it's their fault.

Then, upon reading a little more, one finds out that it's because they are strapped for time and are unsure about the proper procedure and protocal. This, understandably, gives a wholly different slant to his post. The time issue is important to consider because, as Blake notes, being a commissioner is a part-time job.

So ... I'll play your game you rogue ... Athens-Clarke County should have full-time commissioners, just as how the Georgia General Assembly should have full-time legislators. It's time to realize that this is a community which needs to have its elected officials on-the-clock year-round and, forgive me for suggesting this radical notion, but also having broader powers to propose and enact policy.

I work a full-time job, but also volunteer with several groups and am very active with my church ... and I can't find enough time during the day to do what I need to do. I can't even begin to imagine how pressed our elected officials - both at the local and state levels - are for time.

I would disagree with Blake that we should lower the number of commissioners. For a town with a population that will approach 110,000 very shortly, having only seven wouldn't suffice. The current number of 10 is very manageable, permitted the commissioners have the ability to focus fully on their duties and are given the proper authority to march forward rather than react to zoning requests or recommendations from staff.

But the remainder of his recommendations are good ones ...

Move all the meetings that aren’t usually attended by the public (everything but third-Thursday agenda-setting and first-Tuesday voting) to the daytime. Staff the commission with one or two people who work explicitly for them, similar to the auditor, so government employees aren’t sent on a wild goose chase every time (Carl) Jordan decides he wants to overhaul the zoning code.

Where there's smoke, there's a fire (somewhere)

In case you're wondering the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the awfully strong smell of smoke, as well as the haze hovering over Northeast Georgia, is a result of the massive wildfire in South Georgia. It's not, they say, a result of the fire at a tire plant in Butts County.

If it smells this bad up here, 250 miles away, I can't imagine what it must be like down there.

Couple of things

- The folks with OneAthens are getting their ducks in a row, and I must add that the suggestions by Valdosta's Mara Register are interesting. It's startling to think they've got non-profits which are able to repair and/or build affordable housing at such a remarkable rate. It's an interesting concept to focus all of its Community Development Block Grant money toward one entity, and you definitely see it paying off down there. One would have to wonder if such a concept would be successful here, though the best way to distribute the funds would be to the newly formed Athens Resource Center for the Homeless which would be a collection of five anti-poverty non-profits.

- Hey Alex, take a breath man. The headline seemed pretty specific to me and wasn't unfair to the tens of thousands of law-abiding vegans out there.

- The Towns County Democratic Party is using its annual 'Spring Fling' event to raise funds for James Marlow's campaign. It'll be at the Square in Hiawassee on Saturday, May 26, from noon to 4 p.m.
May 26, from 12 - 4 pm.

- Comforting news No. 1 ... we've built a 'Disneyland' for al-Qaida in Iraq and our methods are outdated in curbing their recruitment. Awesome. The expert does put forth quite a dilemma ... he doesn't want us to leave Iraq, but also thinks we're not doing this the right way. Now, I don't favor a withdrawal either, but at the same time we're not just fighting al-Qaida there. There's got to be a logical way to still combat them, while removing ourselves from a largely secretarian conflict.

- I received a comment about the lack of 'Music for the Moment' as of late. My apologies. I'll try to get up a new version this Friday. How about Redneck Yacht Club until then? Since it's kinda a funny song.

- I shared some thoughts on the passing of Jerry Falwell.

- Comforting news No. 2 ... the U.S. ranks last out of the six wealthiest countries in the world in health care affordability, quality and efficiency. The other five countries have - gasp! - universal health care programs. Anyway, we apparently spend $3,000 more per capita than the next closest country, have little to no system of electronic record-keeping, have the longest wait times, have no manageable system for preventative care and ranked low in quality as well.

Please, fight amongst yourselves

There's some spin, as well as bickering, going on at the latest GOP debate, and lots of folks aren't buying it.

“We’ve had a Congress that’s spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said, mocking the Democratic presidential hopeful’s penchant for $400 haircuts.

He did not mention that until January, Congress has been under the control of Republicans for a dozen years.

Giuliani criticized the Democratic front-runner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, at one point, in response to a question about abortion. That prompted one of the debate moderators, Chris Wallace of Fox, to ask whether the former mayor would answer the question.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Music for your ears

Not a bad music release day with a couple of folks I like putting out new CDs, though some efforts were a tad lackluster.

- Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park - Man, this is awful. Seriously, it's as if the guys simply forgot how to perform. It sounds nothing like their previous albums, which I really liked, and is filled with unimpressive and uninspiring tracks.

- One of the Boys by Gretchen Wilson - Surprisingly strong. The two released tracks are definitely underwhelming (particularly the one featuring John Rich), but the rest of the album is solid, country, beer-drinking music with There's a Place in the Whiskey and There Goes the Neighborhood being really strong.

- Sky Blue Sky by Wilco - Not bad. Sounds a lot like their earlier stuff, which isn't a bad thing at all. I really like the flow on You Are My Face.

On Falwell

Jerry Falwell passed away earlier today, apparently from a heart-related affliction.

It's no secret that I was not a fan of Falwell's ideology and most of his theological leanings. I think he worked to polarize the Christian faith and compartmentalize for the political gain of the political party he favored. I'm not suggesting he is alone in doing so, but, as the founder of the 'Moral Majority,' he was arguably one of the most effective.

That said, Falwell passed away earlier today, and I feel a sense of loss. As a Christian, he and I shared the same faith, despite our vast differences across the political and theological spectrum. He was a leader of the Religious Right movement and, rightly or wrongly, he worked to spur those who shared his beliefs into a life of political activism.

Two weeks, I taught a lesson to my Sunday School on John Wesley (fitting they picked the former Methodist). It focused on his life and was the last of an examination of three other leaders in the church (along with Martin Luther and St. Francis of Assisi) and their works in the social justice realm.

One part that impressed me was Wesley's attachment to this passage from the fifth chapter from Paul's second letter to Corinth:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21

As the church was continuing to grow, as well as work to reform itself in some capacities (as Wesley was a part of the Church of England at the time), he found solace in this verse. From it, he drew a desire to work with those individuals who he differed with on some aspects by focusing on their shared commonalities rather than their differences. And the central commonality was their unwavering faith in God. Reconcilation to Him would ultimately mean, in due time, reconcilation to each other.

Falwell and I didn't have much in common, but I would hope that eventually we could have shared that same reconcilation.

Couple of things

- I think Warren Blackmon files a lawsuit over some sort of zoning issue every year. Doesn't seem likely he'll fare better in his appeal considering he's changed his mind on what to build in that particular zoning area two or three times, all without going through the necessary process to amend the proposal.

- Having covered Georgia golf in the past, I have to say that this doesn't surprise me. Art Leon's quote regarding Todd McCorkle being the kind of guy you could have a beer with, but not the guy you want coaching women's golf is dead-on. It wasn't as if he was swarmy or anything, but that he just didn't really have a sense of what was appropriate. The harassment complaints are most troubling, and McCorkle shouldn't be coaching anywhere as a result. The man was acting like an idiot, and he got what he deserved.

- However, I'm less sympathetic to the views that McCorkle 'yelled' at his players. Coaches yell ... coaches of all sports. If yelling at players gets you in trouble, then Andy Landers would be long gone by now.

- Amen to this editorial. Doc Elderidge is exactly the man the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce needs to head up its organization, and I have no doubt it will get back on track under his leadership. Kudos good sir.

- Speaking of Doc, I'm not ashamed to say that had he run for the 10th Congressional District, he would have been the frontrunner to receive my vote (maybe Pete McCommons and I are more alike than I think). He's not, which makes my choice considerably easier. I say that because James Marlow wrote a very strong piece in today's Athens Banner-Herald.

T-minus three months

Well, we're officially three months away from Mini-McGinty joining our household. We have two names picked out, but we're still mulling them over so I'll sit on that for now. I've just got to put together a crib at some point this week.

Still, The Wife has become Little Mama, and she looks mighty cute if I say so myself.

Little Mama and Lindsey ... in a payback photo for the latter who was forced to pose before she gave birth a few months back.

Monday, May 14, 2007

There's winning, and there's losing

It's always nice when your guy wins a pretty big tournament, but it's a little painful to observe when it comes as a result of an absolute meltdown by his opponent.

Sean O'Hair didn't even touch the green at the the TPC at Sawgrass's signature hole, the island green, par three No. 17. His tee shot just sailed well right and soared over, plunking into the water. His penalty shot then hit too far on the green and rolled off. All of a sudden he goes from being two shots down with two hole to play, to being en route to a quadruple bogey and a final score of five-under.


As I'm currently reading The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, it's no secret that I have quite an admiration for Franklin Roosevelt.

And it's safe to say that this is exactly the kind of thing where he would say 'we did our job, let's do something else.'

The money comes from the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service, an outgrowth of the Rural Electrification Administration created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring electricity to farms. More than 70 years later, the goal of providing electricity to rural areas has long been accomplished, but the federal government is still making the subsidized loans.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Couple of things

- While the problems in Jim Whitehead's forum are too many to count, does anyone else appreciate the hypocrisy in the opening statement ...

Knowing they can't win the special election for the 10th Congressional District seat on the issues, the state Democrat political machine has instead chosen to go negative in an effort to obscure those issues. We are now confronted with the very kind of negative campaigning that Americans of all political persuasions have grown to detest - the politics of personal destruction.

Let's leave aside, for a moment, that he closed with a line made popular by a Democrat, and instead focus on the fact that Whitehead, a man who just a week ago was quoted by the press as saying that 'left-wing radicals' were trying to deliberately register members of al-Qaida to vote, despite the fact he had nothing to back up that claim. Listen, if you say something outrageous, and then others criticize that statement, that's not negative campaigning. Aside from that, I found the column to be full of ridiculous bluster (which isn't shocking coming from a fairly ridiculous man), including a disdain for people who don't think like him and unrealistic and non-practical suggestions for how to deal with illegal immigration.

- I know this seems rather small, but it's actually huge. A central place for folks to inquire about volunteering is very essential, particularly for the non-profits that need them to function.

- I'm gonna suggest that Rory Sabbatini keeps his mouth shut. Before you start challenging the world's best golfer, you may want to actually pad your resume a little more. Shoot, you may also want to remember last weekend at the Wachovia Championship, when you also called him out and this 'beatable' Tiger Woods fired a final round 69 to your 74 and won the title.

- Perhaps I'm a little hard on him, but I really felt that Brian Kemp's comments were off-base. Again, not only are they not reflective of the situation facing the LRA, but they also don't take into consideration the benefit the University of Georgia will be receiving.

- Here's something which states the obvious - of course John Edwards's policy proposals are costly, but kudos to him for offering bold, big ideas. That's the type of discussion we need to be having. I like some of his ideas, while I'm not thrilled with others.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

For shame

In developments which make me further regret voting for Brian Kemp a few years back, the former state senator is balking at helping non-profit organizations, despite the fact his organization is required by law to do just that.

Kudos to Buddy Allen for not only pointing out the legal requirements, but also the economic savings the University of Georgia is facing by being awarded the land for free.

Plans call for UGA or the private developer who takes over the base to pay about $7.9 million to a holding corporation created by the LRA. That corporation's board would find land in the North Avenue area, near other Athens social service agencies, then build or renovate about 51,000 square feet of office and residential space and lease it free to a coalition of five nonprofit groups. It also would pay for repairs and maintenance for 50 years.

The space would include an emergency shelter for children, transitional housing for homeless women and families, medical and dental clinics, day care, a day shelter, counseling programs and administrative offices. The facilities would be run by Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, the Athens Area Homeless Shelter, AIDS Athens, Athens-Oconee CASA and the Interfaith Hospitality Network under one umbrella nonprofit called Athens Resource Center for the Homeless.

That approach is the most unique and innovative that a veteran of base-closings, consultant Jim Hicks, said he's ever seen.

What can I say, we like thinking outside the box. This is one crucial step in addressing several major obstacles that families in poverty face.

A not-so-dirty secret

I'm a fan of Peach Pundit and their staff. They're overwhelmingly Republican, but they're pretty fair and, more often than not, refrain from sensationalist language and focus instead on some pretty good debate.

This isn't to say that I don't get worked up from time to time over there, or that a couple of folks do act in a careless fashion. But on the whole, those guys do good jobs.

I say that because Erick Erickson, who is one of the primary contributors, is running for City Council in Macon. Erick is, well, pretty darn conservative, but he's an honest guy who means well and does good work there. Just wanted to say that I wish him well.

That's some good advertising

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Couple of things

- Yes, I've been slack. In all honesty, I've been thinking about abandoning the blog, but I probably won't. Whenever I think about doing just that, something pops up that I want to comment on, so it's not likely. However, I may post less frequently as I have in the past. It's just that you get tied up with work, family, volunteerism and, well, a general desire to sit down and watch sports on TV, and you find that you post less and less. I'll do my darnedest to stay more up to date.

- Speaking of up to date, can I just point out that Jim Whitehead is definitely a frightening individual. Paul Broun may be absurdly more conservative than me, but he seems like a decent enough fella who just marches to a different ideological drum than me. Whitehead, however, is downright ornery and somewhat detached from reality. Everyone is familiar with his older comment about getting rid of the University of Georgia because it has nothing but liberals (tolerance anyone?), and he's gone and done it again by saying 'left-wing political activists [are] intentionally registering illegal aliens to vote, including known Al Qaeda terrorists.' Now, I recognize that some Republicans have developed this odd fantasy that Democrats love manipulating elections, but it's just that ... a fictional tale they spin when they have little else to bring to the plate. So, again, at least Broun is out there talking about issues (albeit with an admittedly differing take than myself), but Whitehead apparently just likes making up stuff. Is a man who is obviously so far removed from the actual debate of concrete issues really mature enough to be a congressman?

- Of course, I say that but the people of Central Georgia did elect John Douglas.

- Matthew Yglesias - who is at new site by the way - thinks just like me ... with regard to Avril Lavigne.

- As we already knew, the area non-profits are getting some sort of compensation in the Naval Supply School deal. The University of Georgia, however, is still dragging its feet, but that shouldn't be a concern. They're still the best fit, even if Augusta legislators enjoy completely overreacting to the possibility of an additional Medical College of Georgia campus up here. Seriously, my grandmother thought they were closing and moving up here, which is completely false.

- Speaking of that, I was glad to see Gov. Sonny Perdue use the line-item veto to permit passage of the mid-year budget. And I'm also glad he's calling out Glenn Richardson. It's beyond comprehension to me how one of our legislative bodies can have such a backward-thinking individual responsible for its guidance and leadership.

- I missed good follow-up commentary opportunities with regard to the whole Boys and Girls Club thing. Here's my take ... the commission was right and Henry Ramsbottom is wrong. It's not nuanced, sure, but it's to the point. Someone who comes in, offers a mildly decent proposal that has some potential, is unwilling to bend on the requests from the commission to meet the vision laid out in the land use plan, refuses to withdraw his request to resubmit so it could be properly examined by the planning staff and then, upon it's not shocking defeat, threatens to build something completely opposite of the original proposal just to tick off people he doesn't like is wrong. It's pretty cut-and-dry methinks.