Friday, August 31, 2007

More on Godard

Here's another story on Xavier Godard's unfortunate death. It appears he must have injured himself while jumping off a rope swing, and that possibly led to the drowning.

Also, have heard from some folks that the Raiders are letting Quentin Moses, a former teammate of Godard at Cedar Shoals and one of his close friends, return home for the funeral.

Just a shame all the way around. The Wife and I are considering make a donation to the Cedar Shoals track program in his memory, and if you feel compelled to, I'd encourage you to do the same.

Divided loyalities

Make no mistake, I'm still very firmly in the Obama camp, but the more things I read about John Edwards, the murkier things start to become for me.

Folks haven't preached old-fashioned populism in a long time, and there's a good bit of old-fashioned populism in me.

Sad news

This is tragic news.

Xavier Godard, a star running back and former state track champion from Cedar Shoals, died in an accidental drowning this past Wednesday.

Godard was, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite athletes that I covered. He was just a great, great kid all the way around.

I did a nice feature story on him back in 2001 and also caught a nice moment of him in the 2002 Boys Track and Field Championships.

The world is a little smaller today without him.

Couple of things

- State Sen. John Douglas, responds to an Athens Banner-Herald editorial that criticized his role in meddling with the affairs of the Doraville Police Department. Note that Douglas didn't actually refute the claims made by the Banner-Herald, instead opting to play show-and-tell by listing numerous bills he's supported that have aided law enforcement. He avoids any extensive talk of his war on the Conyers Police Department or how he, like so many Republicans at the state level today, are all too eager to dive headfirst into local affairs and tell folks what they should and shouldn't do.

- I'm going to interested to see some more details as this materializes, but this is a great idea. You want local control? It doesn't get any more local than letting individual neighborhoods determine what projects mean the most to them. As noted in the article, it's going to be essential that a period of time be spent to help neighborhoods get organized formally so they be effectively represented.

- Aside from the obvious copyright issues involved with UGA pharmacy professor sharing questions from previously taken tests, I don't know if this amounts to any sort of 'cheating.' That is, my question would be if the test changes each year, and I would imagine that, to some extent at least, it does. The only fault, then, would be that you're teaching the test and not the subject. But, still, copyright infringment is bad, so it'll be interested to see how this pans out.

- I'm just sad there was no mention of a Richard DeRose sighting at the biolab hearing.

- Athens World: Beware the fluoride.

Music for the moment

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Couple of things

- Well alright ... we're back to perpetuating the myth that downtown Athens-Clarke County is something as lawless as the Old West frontier. First we have Marvin Westfall, the pastor of Athens Christian Church, who makes an argument that is so far-fetched and removed from the reality of the situation it's difficult to process. That argument? That the Athens-Clarke County Commission is in bed with the downtown bar owners. Somewhere, Damon Krebs is choking on his Milwaukee's Best. Really? Aside from the fact that the wavering over the background checks on the doormen is a good thing, namely because there's the real potential it would be adding an additional layer of regulation that wouldn't actually accomplish anything except burden local businesses, there's also the fact that comparisons of this to rental registration are far-fetched because this commission is made up of different personnel than the one that initially supported it a couple of years back. Hillary agrees with me.

- Continuing our ridiculous argument trend we have Brad Snelling who takes one isolated incident and translate that to mean that downtown is under siege by dangerous, marauding thugs.

- There's a ton of unintentional comedic value in the Oglethorpe County flagpole story. Says Sam Hurst on his attempts to raise $1.5 million to build the flagpole and park: "It's just been a lot harder to raise the money than we thought." Really? You don't say? People weren't gung-ho to write you checks to build an absurdly large flagpole that would blot out the sun in their back-yard? You only got $6,800? I mean, goodness, what other possible things could people have been giving money to?

- I think Rep. John Lunsford makes a shallow argument for the Glenn Tax.

- Related to that, J.T. and the boys say to the Georgia General Assembly 'quit screwing around and focus on real issues.'

- "The Surge" you say? Only five out of 18 goals have been met so far.

- Peach Pundit plays a juvenille race card of its own and doesn't like this column - even though it ultimately supports the same end - but Cynthia Tucker is dead-on with regard to the Grady Hospital fiasco. I don't understand why people don't get that an overwhelming African-American population that is largely poor is wary of Southern white conservatives wanting to take over this hospital. Perhaps such fear isn't warrented and perhaps it's wrong, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and David Shafer talking tough isn't constructive at all.

- I'm honestly I don't care at all about this Rep. Larry Craig thing, but I am a bit befuddled by some gay activists being upset by Craig's denial of being a homosexual. I mean, could it be that he really isn't gay? I understand the rationale of the 'hypocrisy' argument, but criticizing him over his denial is, well, kinda dumb isn't it?

How not to do a rebuttal

Showing that he apparently doesn't talk to his constituents or the elected officials of his home town, Rep. John Lunsford addresses a non-concern of opponents of the Glenn Tax - tax rates - and glosses over the primary argument - the fact that this strips away local control.

To argue it doesn't, as Lunsford weakly does, is an exercise in futility. It eliminates local positions, removes their ability to set their own tax levels (thus giving them more flexibility in budgeting) and, of course, removes their ability to raise the revenue each community sees fit. A guarantee that a community will receive as much as it did in FY 2007 is shaky at best since, obviously, the plan doesn't take into consideration rising costs over time or that by doing so, some communities will be permanently stuck with lower levels of revenue than others.

To argue that this thing doesn't remove local control is like arguing that the sky isn't blue.

No Boston Massacre yet

Am I worried?

Contrary to the reports of doom and gloom from ESPN, there are still four head-to-head games between the Red Sox and Yankees, a mere 29 remaining in the season and a six-game lead for Boston in the American League East. Yes, it would be nice to have won last night, but things still look pretty good.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mr. Invisible?

Related to what I mentioned this morning about Rick Goddard's criticism of Jim Marshall, it apparently is even more bizarre and without reason.

Why? Because, according to the Congressional roll call and noted by Chris, Marshall was actually there and voted for its passage.

The Cover Two

We're days away from Georgia kicking off, so Tim and I decided to kick off another season of The Cover Two Podcast.

This week we preview the upcoming season, unveil a new segment and have a guest interview. So ... check it out.

In related news, though The Realist has moved on to greener pastures, The Cover Two will return. Note the new address and, as of now, incredible lack of content.

Couple of things

- Rick Goddard is a decorated veteran who served as a general for many years. These days he's challenging Rep. Jim Marshall, who is arguably one of the more popular politicians in the state despite that 'D' next to his name. After Marshall defeated another popular politician, Mac Collins, last year, Goddard was supposed to be the ace in the hole for the state GOP to finally take that seat. Of course, Goddard has proven to be a rather ill-equipped fella with a laughable understanding of how Congress works. The general has been criticizing Marshall for being 'absent' during a recent vote on the Farm Bill. Well, Marshall was ... because he was in Iraq visiting with Georgia soldiers. And Marshall, who serves on the House Agricultural Committee, helped write the bill and worked to ensure its passage by a safe margin before leaving. So Chris sums up ...

(Goddard) doesn’t even appear to have any criticisms of the bill save for Marshall’s absence during the vote. He seems to be saying: Hey 8th District, your Congressman is ineffective because ... well ... a bill you wanted passed on his watch after he helped write it.

- Goddard's response, of course, is brilliant. If by 'brilliant' I mean 'utterly ridiculous.'

- When they move, can we stick a Trader Joe's or Fresh Market in their place?

- Initially, I'm not crazy about a local ordinance against McMansions.

- I know, I know ... a ton of of folks have linked to it already, but what isn't awesome about Miss Teen South Carolina linking South Africa and 'The I-Rack!' to our own educational woes? She attempted to redeem herself, but this moment is too priceless.

Infill development

Gosh, I might sound markedly conservative on this ...

But I don't think we need an ordinance regulating McMansions, namely because for all of the frustrations we have with the overbuilt housing market in Athens-Clarke County, we don't have a problem with this. And we don't have a problem primarily because developers have recognized it's more profitable to subdivide the lots (for good or for bad), and because they have recognized that folks want to live in smaller homes that are reflective of their surroundings.

This isn't to say that we don't have some issues with infill development. For instance, the impact on rising property values for low-income citizens is a real concern, but also a very necessary component. The problem isn't the rise in property values - that, in fact, is a very good thing for homeowners - but the impact on the home valuation and any resulting increase in property tax. The latter can be addressed separately.

Nothing, however, about these scenarios scream 'new ordinance' to me quite yet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Couple of things

- Every time there's a high-level position open in the Bush Administration, this story crops up. However, seeing how local boy Larry Thompson has passed on a few opportunities in the past, I just don't see him stepping into a lame-duck administration for a little more than a year ... particularly after the debacle that was Alberto Gonzalez's tenure as Attorney General.

- Good friend and loyal reader Brian Brodrick, a member of the Watkinsville City Council, writes a letter against the Glenn Tax. Namely Brodrick, a Republican, says what I've been saying all along ... that this thing strips communities of local control. So let's lump him in with the Democratic leaders of Athens-Clarke County who oppose this thing to further show how ridiculous and somewhat insulting this proposal is . I've always liked Brodrick, and I'd like to see him seek a higher office one of these days and we'll list him in that small, select group of Republicans I'd be more than willing to go to bat for.

- Whatever Terry Kay.

- Rosemary Risse: End poverty by not having sex and listening to motivational speakers.

- I do honestly like Jeff Emanuel and I think it's very noble (and groundbreaking for a blogger) for him to be embedded overseas, but is anyone else shocked that he thinks the surge of U.S. forces in Iraq is working? Aside from the fact that an increased presence of U.S. forces on the ground there has the real potential to suppress violence in those areas where they are deployed, is this really the type of long-term foreign policy strategy we wish to engage in? Particularly when the general responsible for the surge says we'll need to keep doing this for at least 10 more years?

- A preview of my alma mater! Woot! Back in the day, we were horrible in football (and burdened by being stuck in the same region as Josey, who pieced together two of the best seasons in Augusta football history during the mid-1990s ... they thrashed us by 40 one year and beat Cedar Shoals in 1995 to win the Class AAA Championship), but Westside has gotten much better in recent years and has one of the top Division I-A prospects in the South on the team in Sanders Commings.

- Athens-Clarke County's recycling program is paying off, literally, as the community had a net profit of $11.31 per recyled ton in FY 2007, and it is less expensive to process recycables at our Recovered Materials Processing Facility than merely taking them to the landfill. Aside from the monetary savings, we also saved enough energy to provide electricity to more than 4,100 homes and reduced our carbon emissions by 18,761 metic tons.

- The Red Sox kick off a three-game stint against the Yankees tonight and, unlike in years past, I'm a little more relaxed about it this season thanks to that eight-game lead in the American League East with 31 games left.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Meet the new boss ...

So Alberto Gonzalez resigns, and it's expected that President Bush will replace him with Michael Chertoff.

The same Michael Chertoff who was unprepared for Hurricane Katrina and waited for 36 hours after the storm hit before passing off responsibilities to Michael Brown.

Good Lord. Is failure a prerequisite for a position in the Bush Administration?

Out of the rain

Ultimately, Mark Richt is a class act, and he apologized for bemoaning the fact that the University of Georgia doesn't have an indoor football facility. I, however, don't necessarily think he should apologize for what he said, just how he said it.

And that's why I think there's a certain naivity to what Texas is arguing for here, and I say that as one of the guy's good friends. Any sort of expansion for the UGA Athletic Association, particularly for the football team, would result in a massive fundraising drive. So to chastise Richt for his statements and urge him to push for a private fundraising drive instead reveals a lack of understanding about how the process works.

The team could use an indoor football facility, and I think it would help with recruiting ... which, based on the hauls the Bulldogs have pulled in over the past few years, is something worth pondering.

Champs again

I watched it, and it was awesome.

For those keeping score, that's two straight Little World Series titles for teams from Georgia.

Way to go guys. Let's hope y'all decided to suit up for the Bulldogs in six to seven years.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Are we on the same planet?

The long, painful slide to irrelevance continues for Bill Shipp. Not only do I think he's just flat-out making up stuff now, but it's also clear that he's either not paying attention to what's actually going on in state politics or some folks have reached the same conclusion I have ... which is that the poor guy's time has come and gone.

As for the state party, it may be in the minority, but it's been anything but quiet the past few months. I get emails and mailers and phone calls pretty regularly, and there are plenty of cases of news coverage throughout the mainstream media and the blogs.

It appears Shipp's merely ignoring all of this activity because it enables him to parrot the false narrative that state Democrats are sitting on their hands and continue to put up this faux image that he's some crusading independent out to rid the state of corrupt legislators.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Going Right

An interesting take on the shift in the South by Matthew Yglesias where he says he disagrees with Paul Krugman's take on why the South went Republican.

I think Yglesias's points are good ones, but it's a distinct generalization to argue that the South has been decidedly anti-tax or anti-government. In fact, for much of the 20th century, the South was very much a populist stronghold that embraced the ideals of the New Deal.

Matters of race ultimately cemented the shift. That, and an effective public relations campaign by the GOP designed to convince white Southerners that conservative positions were actually populist ... something I'd disagree with, but can recognize nonetheless.


I ain't out to defend Rep. Paul Broun's politics, but the man is facing some ridiculous heat from Augusta.

Sylvia Cooper (the Blake Aued of Augusta, only with worse hair) offered a healthy does of passive aggressiveness in this July version of 'City Ink.' She took shots at Broun's vote on medical marijuana and him standing next to John Lewis.

Seriously, has the leadership and media structure in my native home become that insecure?

Friday, August 24, 2007

It isn't ... except it is

That 'global warming isn't real' hearing the Georgia House GOP threw a day or so ago?

Grift tells us the experts don't actually agree with Jeff Lewis and Clay Cox, who instead cherry-picked answers to justify their preconceived beliefs.

On this debate ...

Who knew that this excerpted quote from Andrew Sullivan would elicit so much anonymous ire?

So let's get right to the heart of the matter off the bat, and I'll begin with an admisison of my foolishness ... I thought Sullivan had a typo. I didn't read 'fascistic' but instead saw, honestly, 'fantastic.' My interest in this excerpt focused on the end of it and not the earlier part which I included solely for context. Had I done the smart thing and properly read it, I would have omitted that piece and said Sullivan had gone over-the-top.

I didn't. I skimmed the top. I made a dumb mistake.

And that leads us to something which fascinates me ... the obsession of those who are so eager to defend not the war, but the failed war policy of this particular president. It's an obsession over sementics, brushing aside the realities of the situation to instead belittle the opposition based on a verbal gaffe.

We saw it in 2004 over the infamous 'I voted for it before I voted against it' line. Arguably, that was a rather dumb sound bite, however it was true for John Kerry as it has been true for every elected offical since this nation's inception. Bills go through several processes of edits, compromises, amendments, etc., and sometimes someone votes for something because it's one thing on one day, but then opposes it the next day because it's something different.

This, to me, is common sense. This, to me, is how the world works. I can think of numerous projects I've worked on where I have not cared for them in the beginning, but begun to like them toward the end.

But we live in a world of sound bites, and those who defend the president's war policies seized on this moment ... focusing on a verbal quip rather than, say, the actual policies of the president.

And we find ourselves in the same place here. Our anonymous commenters jumped all over Sullivan (again, a conservative mind you) because he used, arguably, a ridiculous analogy to make an otherwise valid point. As noted, if I had read it more closely, I would have not included that passage and chided Sullivan as well.

But does that render the gist of his argument invalid? Of course not. Sullivan, ignoring the vast historical inaccuracies in the president's VFW speech, focused on the attempt to lay this mess of a war and occupation at the feet of those who merely said 'this policy isn't working, we need to try something else.'

In a world of grey, this president decided to paint in black-and-white and lump anyone who disagreed with his narrow worldview into one category, pushing conservatives like Sen. John Warner into the same camp with far-left liberals like Rep. Dennis Kucinich, cowardly hiding behind a brave, yet tired military to do so.

Dissent, then, was not permitted. Blind allegiance to the president's war policy was demanded, and those who disagreed with even the most minor of details were not merely traitors, but directly responsible for the deaths of our soldiers and the Iraqi people.

It's an insane argument for a wide variety of reasons, the least of which being that it ultimately results in the president of our nation openly accusing anyone who sees things differently an enemy of the state.

That is what offensive to me. That is what is inexcusable to me.

And folks chime in and say 'well, golly gee, so many folks have been so mean to him over the past few years.' Well, yes, that's true. And much of the rhetoric has been ridiculous, misleading and far too personal.

However, there is a marked difference between an activist group or a far-left blog making these ridiculous attacks and the president responding by throwing everyone not in his inner circle under the bus with historical falsehoods and showy bluster.

The president should be above that.

He should be able to draw from reason, logic and experience to present a defense of his policies and present them to the public. This one did not. He lashed out at not only anyone who voiced an alternative view, but also those like myself who have worked to accept the man's policies and positions in good faith.

Because, truth be told, I'm not for a massive drawdown from Iraq. I think there's much work left to be done there. My quibble is with how we're going about doing it and what additional measures - diplomatic and humanitarian - we are not currently employing to our best efforts.

To me at least, it's clear that the president doesn't particularly care about finding workable solutions or seeking out common sense answers. Bipartisianship is a word that he sees not as a proper route to find a just and proper compromise to best represent all citizens, but a means to entrap and weaken those he disagrees with.

It's a shame. Perhaps I gave him too much credit because it's obvious he didn't offer me any respect.

Couple of things

- The alcohol ordinance continues to be tinkered with (perhaps), and I say kudos to Kelly Girtz for asking if we really needed the background checks for doormen. I was content in letting in slide by if that was a part of the compromise between the bar owners and the commission, but I don't think it will ultimately do anything to deter underage drinking and will tack on an additional cost to the owners. Why on the former? A background police check has the potential to reveal a couple of bad apples, but most owners of businesses, believe it or not, aren't going to typically hire bad apples for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, a large bulk of underage drinking downtown occurs from either the usage of a fake ID or from somone simply knowing the doorman, who in turn lets his friends in.

- In response to Jay Glazer, might I recommend Too Dumb For New York City by Waylon Jennings?

- I can think of plenty of words I can use to describe the drought ... 'exceptional' ain't one of them

- Forget the morality arguments that pop up whenever you discuss sex education or birth-control, doesn't this appear to be an unnecessary attempt at price-fixing? If companies wish to distribute these 'clinic packs' to college health clinics, then why shouldn't they be able to?

- Related to that, Shannon Little, the student interviewed for the article, said her health insurance didn't cover prescription medicine. What's the point of health insurance then?

- Listen, I'm still high on John Edwards. Really. But is quibbling over who first said they wanted to bring 'change' to Washington really how you want to go about this? I'm just stunned he didn't trot his wife out to say it.

- OK Adrian Carver, first off no one listens to Texas anyway. Second, what the heck are you talking about? Isn't this common sense? That a third-string quarterback who has no playing experience who suffers a severe injury faces a difficult road back to a career? And why wouldn't this be news worthy for Athens-Clarke County as D.J. Shockley was one of the most popular players to ever suit up for the University of Georgia?

Music for the moment

Thursday, August 23, 2007


From Andrew Sullivan ...

To place all the troops into the position of favoring one strategy ahead of us rather than another, and to accuse political opponents of trying to "pull the rug out from under them," is a, yes, fascistic tactic designed to corral political debate into only one possible patriotic course. It's beneath a president to adopt this role, beneath him to coopt the armed services for partisan purposes. It should be possible for a president to make an impassioned case for continuing his own policy in Iraq, without accusing his critics of wanting to attack and betray the troops. But that would require class and confidence. The president has neither.

Half-full glass?

In news I'm not sure how to process, a new group called Freedom's Watch is preparing to blitz the airwaves with ads targeting vunerable Republicans for their positions on Iraq.

This is interesting not merely because it's a conservative group headed by Ari Fleischer, but also because native son John Barrow, a Democrat, is listed as a target. I don't know whether or not this is good or bad for him.

Couple of things

- Related to denial party thrown yesterday by the Georgia General Assembly, we have Rusty Allen splitting hairs here. And this is why scientific data is so complicated and can be spun, unfortunately, in so many ways. First off, the original article isn't 'wrong' because it is warmer in this century than it was in the final 30 years of the previous one. Second, Allen isn't 'wrong' because Georgia has cooled ever so slightly over the previous 100 years. However, neither one can be accurately used to validate or disprove global warming since the local temperature of one state is irrelevant when compared with the overall surface mean temperature of the world.

- Some good points in this editorial on the challenges facing Ben Epps Airport - and it doesn't even include Nicki's argument that UGA faculty and staff are limited in their choice of carrier. I had completely overlooked the Barrow County expansion, which truly will mean that will become the regional transportation hub. The ability to bring in medium-size jets opens a whole new door for them and makes it a more desirable place for service.

- Related to that ... there's a federal subsidy for unprofitable small-town airports? Really?

- Honestly, still not totally crazy about the location of this thing, but kudos to those involved for putting forth a great plan for the park-and-ride lot. I've been critical of it, but this is good progress. I'd also like to see the possibility of having UGA bus service reach this lot, solely based on the perception that would show for students.

- Kos has become obsessed with us, as now he manages to compliment and insult Georgia in the same sitting. Somehow, if Johnny Isakson steps down from the U.S. Senate in 2010, that's a competitive seat ... but then again, he takes shots at state Democrats, so I'm kinda confused. I'd suggest first he follow his own advice and then he actually try to get to understand a little about the reality of Georgia politics before chiming in.

- Speaking of hating on the South, can someone tell Jay Glazer to shut the hell up? I've always felt he was a lousy, self-absorbed columnist, but why devote your entire NFL preseason column on the Bengals to making fun of Kentucky? Was writer's block so bad you had to score some cheap laughs with tired cliches about 'hillbillies?' You know it's funny ... I'm from the South, went to New York City and loved it because I appreciated the difference of it. Now I'm generalizing here, but why do New York writers feel the need at every turn to make fun of the South?

- My discussion of yellow lights has kicked off an interesting conversation, and, apparently, has folks thinking I'm Cal Naughton Jr.

- Sorry Tim ... guess this doesn't rank up there with Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak of games played.

- I must sheepishly admit that I had never even thought of having Eric Zeier do color, and that's a great call. My first choice was Kevin Butler, but Zeier is top-notch and, of course, not Jeff Dantzler.

Way too early for this

Some interesting and, quite honestly surprising, nuggets from the latest round of national presidential surveys.

Hillary Clinton is up in three states that went Republican in 2004, but also some polls from the South are also eye-opening as Survey USA results show Clinton leading three GOP candidates in Kentucky and Virginia, and Mitt Romney in Alabama.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

That's a vacation

Can I just take a moment to say that even though I really don't care for his other show, Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run is some quality television. Seriously, I'm anticipating taking a trip next year in which I retrace his steps and eat at every juke joint, BBQ shack and soul food establishment Alton Brown visited.

Pushing back

Since I posted my issues with the global warming denial sideshow hosted by Georgia Republicans, I got a press release from Rep. Dubose Porter (D-Dublin) who was bothered by the comments made by Jeff Lewis and Clay Cox ...

"Political leaders in our neighbor states, like South Carolina and Florida, have taken steps to address this problem," Porter said. "By refusing to acknowledge, much less address, this problem, Georgia Republicans are burying their heads in the sand on the issue of global warming and ignoring a potential catastrophe."

Flack (who has the entire release posted) likes that Democrats decided to hit back on this one, and says they should do more of that. I agree. Granted we've seen a ideological shift in this state that is largely responsible for GOP gains in Georgia, but I also think the fact that so many Democrats have sat on their hands the past few years around here has contributed to that surge of red.

Pushing back is a good thing.

At least green means go

This week's Pub Notes in Flagpole brings some attention to those security cameras installed to keep tabs on folks who run red lights. Now, as Pete notes to some extent, it seems patenly unfair to give someone a ticket for running a light which had only been red for 0.84 seconds.

Furthermore, it seems kinda unfair to tell someone that a yellow light is the same thing as a red light as one can see quite quite clearly that they are two distinctly different things. A yellow light signals caution and a red light, meaning complete stop, is on the way shortly. To penalize someone for going through a light which does not require complete stop, or for that matter hasn't even occured yet, seems to be a rather wrongheaded way of enforcing the law.

On the South

This article on The Oxford American in Flagpole is one of the better reads I've come across in a while. I particularly enjoyed, and felt a deep connection with, this particular passage by John Nettles ...

The South, in whole and in parts, has found itself on the wrong side of so many issues, from desegregation to evolution, from the Confederate flag to the Confederacy, that it’s sometimes hard to defend one’s regionalism as anything other than knee-jerk bigotry, but we still do it because for every boneheaded thing to come out of our corner of the Republic, there’s something noble and righteous that couldn’t have come from anywhere else. The same Mississippi that gave us Trent Lott and Byron de la Beckwith gave us William Faulkner and Robert Johnson. Bull Conner’s Alabama is also Hank Williams’ and Booker T. Washington’s. Lester Maddox’s Georgia is Martin Luther King’s Georgia.

The best thing we Southerners can do is to internalize it all under the mantle of character. Sure, Paula Deen’s syrupy gentility makes me want to take a melon baller to my frontal lobe, but Savannah wouldn’t be the same without her, and I doubt I’ll run into her on the street anyway. And Athens will always be my twisted, artsy home, no matter how the state legislature tries to gerrymander the life out of us. Yeah, I may live in the reddest of the red states, but I’ve got Flannery O’Connor and Harry Crews and Ray Charles and Chet Atkins and R.E. by God M. to save my soul.

History? Who needs it!

I've always tried to limit my criticisms of the Bush Administration to that of policy and execution, but the president's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars really makes me scratch my head. By not only invoking the Vietnam War, something the president refused to do for years, but also the Korean War and World War II, Bush not only reveals a desperate and flawed defense of his Iraq policy, but also a fundamental, and dare I say, incompetent understanding of history.

I mean, for one thing, Bush works to blame millions of deaths in the region on the American withdrawal, referencing 'the killing fields.' Of course, that actually occured in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime and was ultimately ended by ... Communist Vietnam.

Safe to say that Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias are on the mark in their criticisms.

State GOP: The sky isn't falling!


The Georgia General Assembly convened 'experts' and they panned global warming.

While I'm not shocked that the conservative leadership in Atlanta would deny global warming, I am somewhat befuddled by the fact that this was a state-sponsored panel hearing ... featuring three global warming skeptics and only one individual who felt it was a possible problem.

So, pretty much, Georgia stands alone. We were one of eight states to vote against California's efforts to combat global warming in a recent governors' convention and while Florida and South Carolina, both with Republican leadership, make strides to articulate alternative views on how to best address the problem ... Georgia holds a faux panel discussion, Clay Cox - the open-minded intellectual giant he is - declares 'hearing people say what I want them to say makes me feel even better about my narrow-minded views!' and Jeff Lewis - the chair of our state's energy committee - says 'global warming ... forget about it!'

Why, on so many fronts, when the rest of the country is taking positive steps forward and engaging in discussion on so many issues, are we stuck in neutral and slowly drifting down the hill?

Couple of things

- Karin Albert puts together a nice letter in favor of the Athens-Clarke County YWCO, and this story is getting some good traction. We had an incredibly high number of comments on my posting, and then Blake picked it up for his blog.

- Athens-Clarke County District Nine Commissioner Kelly Girtz shared some thoughts on residential speeding and traffic calming.

- I'm not alone in picking on Kos, as Andre picks up on his new obsession with Georgia.

- Bill Shipp: It's hot, so we don't need no stinking leadership.

- Folks can trump out the tired experience card all they want, but Barack Obama makes more and more sense when it comes to matters of foreign policy, which is something Matthew Yglesias alluded to here.

- As much as I would like to see expanded service at Ben Epps Airport, Athens-Clarke County Manager Alan Reddish is right on the money on this thing. Not only are small airports across the region closing up shop, it is important to remember that we're just an hour away from the busiest airport in the U.S. in Atlanta, as well as an hour-and-a-half away from one in Greenville-Spartanburg. One has to think folks, as of now, are content with those options.

- Since we're a little more than a week away from kickoff, I like Kyle's smackdown of South Carolina right here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Girtz offers some thoughts

Athens-Clarke County District Nine Commissioner Kelly Girtz was kind enough to stop by and participate in our discussion regarding the traffic calming measures for residential neighborhoods. He offered a good bit of clarity for me, which is much appreciated.

Here's his comment ...

Thanks, Jmac, for highlighting the neighborhood traffic management issue. The history of the ACC program, and some engineering details are important to keep in mind.

The program has always been written to assume a shared cost between a neighborhood and the general fund, based on the level of cut-through traffic. As one writer notes, this relies on accepted standards of measuring vehiclular trips from homes - standards which have been verified through data collection in Athens neighborhoods.

Invariably, in implementing the program, past commissions would point at the scourge of cut-through traffic in every neighborhood, no matter what the traffic engineers told them. This meant that all funds used were general fund dollars. The current commission has agreed to heed the reports of staff regarding the actual split of local v. cut-through traffic. If this approach doesn't come to pass, I recommend you park your junkers in front of their driveways. Y'know - immediate and appropriate consequences.

The 35mph threshhold is important because that is the point at which traffic calming devices (speedhumps, etc.) begin to slow traffic. The haul-ass folks are actually the folks more impacted, on average. Those speeding at "only" 30mph on a residential street tend not to slow down for a speedhump.

Nicki mentions chicanes, chokers, and some other options - all of which the Transportation and Public Works department has in their arsenal. It was an overwhelming preference of the citizen committee studying this issue that the whole toolbelt be brought to bear, not just the often-rightly-maligned speedhump. Furthermore, the new ACC traffic engineer Steve Decker is fanastic, and can offer neighborhoods other general advice. For example, speed may not be the issue for your 'hood so much as volume and lack of sidewalks.

As mentioned in Blake's article, we are going to continue to meet to work on more macro-level speed and safety policy issues, such as policing and enforcement. The "traffic calming device" program is appropriate in some cases, but is limited in its effectiveness.

So, alright - send your good ideas to me at


Deflating balloon

If it means anything ... the new Travis Tritt CD isn't terribly good.

OK ... some pictures

I do have to take a mild break from usual blogging as I can't resist the urge to show off some baby pictures ... so bear with me, I'm still basking in new fatherhood.

Oh just wait until I convince The Wife to let us buy the Nike Crawler Uniform ...

Out of this series of photos, this is the only one where she's not yawning or grimacing from gas pains.

Couple of things

- It's Bobby Saxon's world, and we're just living in it as the chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party challenges Rep. Paul Broun.

- Though I'm critical - and rightfully so I think - I take a look at the good faith efforts on addressing residential speeding.

- Are we going to let Florida beat us in this too? Come on folks ... we can do better than this.

- As we all suspected, Michael Vick is indeed guilty and, as a result, his days with the Atlanta Falcons should be over. Get through a year of Joey Harrington, draft a quarterback next year and move on.

- At Peach Pundit, Andre asked about party registration in Georgia, and I disagree with him. As good of a Democrat as I am, if I had a strong connection to a particular Republican candidate and the circumstances were so that I had the ability to help him or her out in their primary, why shouldn't I be afforded the opportunity to do so? And what of independent and moderate voters? And, as we were until a few years ago, what of local elections where the 'real' battle is in a particular primary. All these types of questions are why I supported non-partisan elections in Athens-Clarke County a few years back.

- Grift has traveled to Gettysburg and put up a ton of pictures, along with some historical commentary, and it's pretty interesting. Feel free to go to his blog and check it out.

- Is it wrong that I'm irrationally excited about the fact that Travis Tritt's new CD came out today ...

- Understandably, I've been busy with a new job and, of course, fatherhood, so my blogging has waned as of late. I was a bit curious, however, to see how I had been doing on those influential blogger rankings ... and, prior to the brief hiatus, I had been ranked No. 3 by BlogNet News for July 29 and August 5.

Calm down!

I'm going to need some help sorting this thing out.

On the surface, it seems to be a more fair-minded approach on how to deal with residential speeding, but, then again, something about it seems more than a tad muddled to me. That is, how exactly are we to determine whose cars belong to who? Is it merely because a car is going over 35 miles per hour that we determine they don't belong in that neighborhood (if so, that's incredibly faulty as I notice numerous residents of my neighborhood violating that law).

I suppose part of the concern I have with this right now is that this appears to be a hyper-local problem in that it affects specific neighborhoods with access to major areas of commerce in community (i.e. Normaltown, Five Points, etc.). It mean, you don't really hear of many folks cutting through High Ridge to get somewhere these days.

I make this point because if it's a select group of neighborhoods affected, we're using an inexact science to determine the payment guidelines and we're even having the discussion of who to foot the bill ... then part of me feels that the neighborhoods that are affected by this should be the ones who pay for these measures.

Listen, I'm very much a big-picture, common-good, we're-all-in-this-together kind of guy, but something about this doesn't feel quite right to me.

10th District challenger (already)

This isn't the guy Nicki alluded to a month or so ago, but we have a Democratic challenger for Paul Broun in 2008.

Bobby Saxon is someone I've been hearing about for a few months now, and he sounds like a strong candidate based on some conversations I've had. He's a good moderate which will please some and upset others, but from what I can gather he appears to be a rather pragmatic fella which makes me happy.

Now, the question is who he faces. If Barry Fleming gives Broun a primary challenge, he probably knocks out the congressman and, quite honestly, almost locks up this thing with the Augusta area support. However, if Broun holds on and squares off against Saxon, this could get interesting.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hypocrisy Part Deux

After looking like a fool on Meet The Press in which he chastised Democratic Leadership Council chairman Harold Ford for 'attacking Democrats,' Kos proceeds to ... attack a Democrat.

How can you say you'd be satisfied if you lost a Democrat in Jim Marshall ... even if it means replacing with, as you concede, a Republican who will agree with you on only 5 percent of the issues?

It's things like this that make me take that community less seriously with each passing moment.

Open forum

Erick is going to ask Glenn Richardson some questions about the speaker's plans to implement a state-wide sales tax, abolishing property taxes in the process. He wants some input from the readers of Peach Pundit, so I'd like him to ask why Richardson has such a strong desire to stamp out local control?

Wingmen need not apply

For those who have concerns over Athens-Clarke County's new alcohol ordinance, be sure to remember this law.

It's illegal in Indiana for someone under 21 to merely drive an of-age individual to specifically a liquor store? How ridiculous is that?

I mean, don't get me wrong ... I ain't out to defend Jimmy Clausen or anything, but that seems tragically unfair.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

OK ... you were right

Boy, when I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

Can someone tell Terry Francona to resist the urge to, you know, throw a perfectly good season in the trash by encouraging him to never pitch Eric Gagne again? I mean, what the friggin' heck?

He had a 2.16 ERA when he arrived in Boston, but has promptly blown two saves (after blowing six during his entire career), seen his ERA balloon by two full runs and cost the Red Sox at least three games in the past week. If the Yankees hadn't struggled in their previous two series, he singlehandedly might have enabled them to tie Boston for first place in the American League East.

Good Lord, can we go ahead and call this the second-worst trade in franchise history?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Flight ...

Um, silly question, but ... how is it the Athens Young Women's Christian Organization if it moves to Oconee County?

And is it just me or is a tad insulting that the YWCO is packing up and heading across the county line? Why are we inconviencing those 900 folks in Athens-Clarke County who attend the YWCO on Research Drive?

"This facility is 25 years old and needs renovation," (YWCO Executive Director Kitty Mehren) said. "And there is a big market (in Oconee) for families and children, and that is our market."

I understand the need to get a new space, and I understand the need to reach out to a growing market in Oconee County ... but does that mean you completely turn your back on the membership in Athens-Clarke County? Does that also mean there are no families and children in Athens-Clarke County?


I'm a big fan of Mark Richt, but someone needs to tell him that Joe Cox is not D.J. Shockley.

Mother of Mary ... is there a worse idea than rotating Cox with Matthew Stafford (aside from, say, trading for Eric Gagne, of course)?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

DPG challenge

I like this.

The Democratic Party of Georgia has invited all of the presidential candidates to attend its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner next year (seeing how it's close to Georgia primary election), and they want you to help get them there.

Check out the challenge they have here, and see if you can get your candidate to attend.

Couple of things

- Honestly, can John Edwards defend himself for a change?

- Blake's being doing good work over at his blog, and I picked up on a nugget involving the possibility of the local government starting up blogs

- He's still a bit cranky and nutty, but I like this column by Bill Shipp a litte more than his recent works.

- I'm not sure about this, and not simply because evidence directly connecting Iran's government to attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan is spotty. But rather because is it effective diplomacy to label the military of a nation a terrorist group? We've already lumped them into the 'Axis of Evil' haven't we? We already have a litany of economic sanctions on their government, don't we? What exactly is this going to do except further complicate the chances for resolving our differences diplomatically?

- As an aside, Elizabeth Edwards's criticism of press coverage is absurd. Her husband was on the cover of Esquire and Men's Vogue last month and, you know, there is the actual story I'm referencing. Raise more money. Move out of third nationally. Then you'll see a press bump.

- After using race to frame the election results of the Macon City Council, Erick says it's not about race at all.

- We're about three weeks from kickoff ... just saying.

The veil of anonymity

Though he primarily focused on the ever-growing tension between Harry Sims and Carl Jordan, Blake brings up a good quote by District One Commissioner Doug Lowry, who was skeptical of the blog community ...

Mostly, the five commissioners on the GOC – not to be confused with the DOC – talked about starting up government blogs and Internet message boards, the idea being that the more ways citizens can get in touch with commissioners, the less they’ll want to show up at voting meetings.

The biggest concerns were whether they could censor obscene or libelous posts – no, said county Attorney Bill Berryman – and how to ensure everyone used their real names.

'I'm not going to talk to Bulldog20 or something like that,' Commissioner Doug Lowry said.

I think it's a good idea for the commission to find ways to increase participation and dialogue, and I'm always grateful for those elected officials who peruse my blog (and others) and offer a comment or two. My concern with Lowry's statement is that, well, as of now, that's how the blogosphere works.

Almost everyone operates under a nickname of some sort. For many, sure, it provides a sense of anonymity for folks who might fear reprisal or for folks who just want to comment as is. Anonymous quotes can be a little frustrating, particularly in a passionate conversation, but it's still someone who is putting up valid arguments and questions and concerns.

To say that you don't want to talk to 'Bulldog20' means, ultimately, that you don't want to talk to your constituents. If 'Bulldog20' was using 'Jack Smith' instead, but his name wasn't really 'Jack Smith' ... then what? Is it because it appears to be a Christian name that everything is OK?

The point being that you never really know who's using a nickname and who's not. But you have to recognize and respect the fact that the person behind the nickname is still an engaged and active citizen who wants to participate in the process, and that's to be applauded and not scoffed at.

As a commissioner, you are expected, if not damn near required, to listen to and heed the wishes and concerns of your constituents. It's perfectly understandable that, from time to time, you may or may not agree with them, and that if you do disagree it's fine for you vote in a contrary fashion to the majority of your constituents. However, you need to engage them and let them know why it is you voted the way you did.

And sometimes that means chatting with 'Bulldog20' ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Talking the loudest

Yesterday morning, Markos of Daily Kos fame, went on Meet The Press to participate in a confusing and borderline ridiculous debate with Harold Ford, the current chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

And it revealed why, despite sharing some common ideological visions with members of the Daily Kos community, I feel like it's more and more like romper-room over there. In one fell swoop, Kos proceeded to blame the DLC for the Minnesota bridge disaster, take full and complete credit for the recent Democratic takeover of Congress and complete rewrite the rules of logical debate to benefit only him, while harming Ford.

It was truly astonishing to watch, particularly the latter point I allude to. Kos took great effort throughout the discussion to chastise Ford for poormouthing Democrats on a variety of media outlets, namely Fox News. After enduring 10 minutes or so of such childish attacks with grace and respect, Ford finally responded ...

REP. FORD: But, but, Markos, in all fairness, your site has posted awful things about Jewish-Americans. Your site ... You - now you have a site up about ... something about Cindy Sheehan, she uses it as a - she has a heavy presence there in talking about her run against ...

MR. MOULITSAS: It's called democracy. If you don't like regular people--hundreds of thousands of people ... Because I don't control hundreds of thousands of voices. You and your organization have a few dozen people. You can control that message. And you don't need to attack Democrats.

Hmmmmm ... anyone else see this? It's democratic for Daily Kos to lambast Ford and other centrists, but it's wrong for Ford to return the criticism. It's the type of immature logic that makes your head want to explode.

Now, hear me out ... I'm a moderate Democrat, but I've had some issues with some of the positions the DLC has taken in recent years. But they've been over ideological differences, and isn't that what we're supposed to wrestle with in politics? And, particularly since we both fall under the same party banner, shouldn't we find a way to resolve those differences and work together and not bristle when someone says 'I think X is a better way to do that?'

I've never fully grasped this need for the Daily Kos community, along with many others in the liberal blogsophere, to believe that they are responsible for the 2006 election results. Kos said his blog has about 1 million readers, which is most impressive.

However, in the 2004 election, 48 million people voted for the Democratic nominee for president. Am I to believe that 1/48 of the Democratic voting population is responsible for this change?

It's part of the ironic frustration that I have as a blogger. I recognize that my blog provides commentary on existing current events. I play a small role in conveying views and opinions, but I would never be so arrogant to think that I have the ability to sway an election (even a local one).

Friday, August 10, 2007

New watering rules

We've got some more watering restriction changes on the way ... particularly with the drought and heat wave hitting ridiculous levels (seriously, 82 degrees at 8 a.m.?) ...

Effective August 11, 2007, Athens-Clarke County’s revised outdoor water restrictions policy allows outdoor watering only on weekdays from midnight until 10:00 a.m. based on the last digit of a customer’s address. No outdoor watering for any addresses will be allowed on weekends.

The new outdoor watering schedule is as follows:

Address ending in: Watering day (between midnight & 10:00 a.m. only):

0, 1 Monday
2, 3 Tuesday
4, 5 Wednesday
6, 7 Thursday
8, 9 Friday

No outdoor watering on Saturdays & Sundays

Since the implementation of weekend only outdoor watering restrictions on June 26, 2007, some residents have experienced discolored or brown water during the weekends. While unpleasant, the discolored water has been tested by the ACC Public Utilities Department and is safe for use and consumption. The discoloration is believed to be a result of increased weekend demand in residential areas for outdoor watering that loosens mineral and sediment in pipes of the water distribution system. The new restrictions are intended to alleviate the problems associated with the discolored water by distributing water usage over five days instead of two.

Music for the moment (for Emma Kate)

That kinda makes sense

Call me crazy, but on the surface, Gov. Sonny Perdue's plan to cover 30,000 workers in Georgia's small businesses seems like, well, a pretty good idea.

So much so that I actually had to call a few people last night and make sure it was. I mean, sure, there are some concerns I have, such as that 30,000 seems like a low number, and others raised similar questions ... namely that $182 million is a lot of money for just 30,000 folks.

But, still, the fact that Earl Ehrhart didn't like, dropping that fun word 'entitlement' in the process while urging, surprise, more tax cuts, makes me think that the governor is definitely going in the right direction on this.

It's been an odd few weeks for some of us Democrats in the blogosphere as I'm not the first to defend Perdue (Flack already beat me to it). Here's hoping the governor is willing to work with the moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly to make this a viable effort.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Silliness ...

To really prove I'm not focusing on baby photos all the time, I have to respond to the silliness of Michelle Cram who argues increasing, rather than removing, the restrictions on businesses to sell alcohol near schools and churches.

No one's advocating that these business owners sell alcohol to minors, but rather that they be afforded the same perogative as other businesses in the area to sell the goods of their choosing. Do we really think that simply because the Kangaroo on Lumpkin Street is forbidden from selling a 12-pack of PBR due to its closeness to Barrow Elementary School that this will somehow curb underage drinking?

Or that because someone favors removing the restrictions they believe 'alcohol first, schools and churches second' (a line so absolutely preposterous, that I had to read it a couple of times to make sure she actually said that)?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Even more photos

Hello folks.

Though I promise that I don't intend to transform my blog into an all-baby, all-the-time endeavor, I do want to give a brief update and put some additional photos up since lots of family and friends have been gathering here.

Mom, Dad and Emma Kate are all doing fine. We're a little blurry-eyed, naturally, and still trying to figure out all sorts of things involving routine and/or deciphering cries and what-not, but we're doing well. We've had lots of help from family and friends, and for that we are most appreciate.

I won't lie ... I'm tired, lethargic, sort of achy, kinda overwhelmed at times and even a little nauseous ... and every minute of it is awesome. Many thanks on the congratulations from everyone who has posted, called or sent us an email. I know I haven't had the time to chat with all of you, so don't take it personally. Your well wishes mean a heck of a lot.

The happy family.

Proud Grandma No. 1.

Proud Grandma No. 2.

Avery and Regan meet their new cousin.

One proud - albeit sleepy - papa.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And introducing ...

... Emma Katherine McGinty, born at 6:45 a.m. on August 2, 2007.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The next step ...

Well, it still is kinda early in this whole thing, but it appears to be game time for Mini-McGinty. Wish The Wife and I luck - primarily her - but, have no fear, pictures will follow.

The reality of the manner

Remember how some of the folks at Peach Pundit were claiming it was racist of the NAACP to, you know, urge the public to follow the rule of law?

Turns out the only racism emerging right now is on the other end as court officials in Surry County are receiving racist hate mail ...

Gail Clayton was talking to yet another reporter about the Michael Vick dogfighting case when a co-worker handed her a letter that had just arrived at the Surry County courthouse.

"Blacks - no matter how much money and education will always be of a jungle race!" read the handwritten, unsigned letter, postmarked Richmond and addressed to courthouse "Managers."

"Why dont the White Race in Surry take back their town from the ones that cant act civilized and obey the White laws as we do?"


The letter shocked the county Circuit Court clerk, who said it "crossed the line" with its racism.

"I feel the letter had to be from someone who had knowledge of me being a black clerk in this office," Clayton said. "Whoever this (writer) is, I'm not planning on going anywhere."

Also, both the sheriff, Harold Brown, and the prosecutor, Gerald Poindexter, are African-American.

Fair enough

In the spirit of fairness - and because he sent me a good-natured email - Blake actually broke the story on the rising BRAC costs a month ago.

Touche ...

Couple of things

- This is a fascinating story, and I would agree that much of the reason stems from the fact there, as of yet, hasn't been significant economic expansion in either Madison County or Oglethorpe County. Those folks have to go elsewhere to work. Something I didn't see answered in the article, and I would assume this to be true, but I would imagine that those who operate small farms count as self-employed, right?

- We go from fascinating to, well, odd. Though this seems somewhat like what I would expect the opening of The Bourne Ultimatum to be, I'm curious if the guy who found it will now have some sort of superpowers.

- Those numbers that BRAC tossed around a few years back about shutting down the Naval Supply School and it saving so much money. Yeah, not so much.

- One would hope that Chester Mingledorff wouldn't believe those things simply because 'Democrats say so' ... but rather because, you know, you can really infer a lot of that stuff by simply paying attention the past seven years or so.

- Ah Mac Collins ... acting all Terry Holley-like.

- One trip to Greenland, and Johnny Isakson's an expert?

- We are a mere 32 days away from kickoff, and a pair of my favorite Georgia bloggers participated in a roundtable at Roll Bama Roll ... plus Doug (and his dog) has shown up at a tailgate or two.

Hold on a minute ...

Winders was the first one down here to point this out, but it now appears that some folks are questioning the cost-effectiveness of BRAC's latest round of closings, including the Naval Supply School here in Athens-Clarke County.

In 2005, the commission suggested changes or closings to 222 bases across the country, but in just two short years costs have skyrocketed to the tune of $8 billion for the entire project. Locally, it's going to cost roughly $18 million more to shut down the Naval Supply School, which is making a lot of folks think twice about this thing.

New Jersey's two senators are proposing that any base closing which costs have gone up 25 percent or more be re-evaluated.

The following is from the Courier-Post's article and cited by Winders ...

The Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Ga., has faced a similar situation, according to retired Navy Capt. George Huban, a former school commandant.

Costs to close the school and move it to Newport, R.I., have increased about $18 million since it was approved in 2005. Huban said he and a group of volunteers tried to tell the BRAC commission the estimates were too low, but to no avail.

Huban said the increased estimate from $23.8 million to $41.9 million, a 76 percent jump should cause the government to pause. "Reasonable people would say if you're outside of the cost bounds by a particular amount, wouldn't it make sense to take a breath and say, 'Does it make sense?"' he said.

If this thing was being done to save the military costs, is it feasible to proceed?

And, if not, what does the University of Georgia do next? Or, for that matter, the collection of non-profits that have banded together to form the Athens Resource Center for the Homeless?