Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tailgating with baby

Saturday, September 29, 2007


At last, we can relax now Sara.

And thank you Baltimore.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Water woes

An update from the local government on our water status ...

Bear Creek Reservoir is currently 13.1 ft below full pool. The precipitation deficit for Athens this year (through September 26, 2007) is approximately 15.2 inches. Unfortunately, there is no anticipated precipitation for at least the next 5 days.

As an aside, it's going to consistently be in the low 80s for the next 10 days. Remember how it used to be, you know, cool during fall? And the leaves would actually change color rather than dry up and fall off?

In lighter news

The painters at the office are listening to some serious adult contemporary music.

Just a few moments ago Club Nouveau's version of Lean On Me ... and now Hold On To The Night by Richard Marx.

Coupled with the concentration of fumes, it's making for a surreal morning.

UPDATE: Seriously. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon? It's like I'm trapped in a dental office.

UPDATE II: Shadows Of The Night by Pat Benetar. I can't make this up. Hell, I can't keep up with it.

Dialogue and discussion

Flack alluded to this a few days back, and I just wanted to follow up a little bit regarding engagement, or lack thereof, between elected state Democratic officials and the state and local bloggers who supported them and, more often than not, share their ideological vision.

Now, as readers know, I'm not one of those guys who think bloggers are the key to success. The self-righteousness of some commenters at Daily Kos and, well, everyone at Open Left is pathetic to me. There's a real disconnect between what the national progressive blogosphere can do/has done, and what has really taken place.

Likewise, I'm not here to be a mouthpiece for anyone's particular ideology, and I call out Democrats as well as Republicans when I disagree with them. But the blogosphere has helped open doors and permitted direct discussion between our elected officials and everyday folks like you and me. So when folks ignore the great opportunity these forums offer, it's baffling to me.

And to credit non-like-minded folks, state Republicans get it. If you head over to Peach Pundit and sift through 8,237 posts on Fred Thompson, you'll see Republican members of the Georgia General Assembly directly engaging with the readers there. In the past two weeks, I've been able to directly communicate and openly and rationally debate with GOP officials like Rep. Earl Earhart, while Sen. David Shafer runs one of the best political blogs around.

I don't agree with those guys on many things, but I appreciate the fact they're out there defending their ideas and being willing to discuss them with those who don't agree with them.

And the progressive bloggers here in Georgia can barely get any of the elected Democratic officials to acknowledge us.

Credit where credit is due, but the state party structure has done a very solid job of working to reach out to bloggers, and that's to be commended. I can only hope some of our Democratic representatives follow this lead.

Who's watching my kid?

Child care is in the news, and I'm most pleased to see University of Georgia President Michael Adams recognize that this is a need for faculty and staff. Being a father now, it would make things considerably easier to have on-site child care provided.

As of now, Emma Kate will attend Trinity Lutheran (starting part-time next week ... little sad actually), which is convenient to our house but not our work, which is where we'll be when she's there. The cost crunch, however, is very real, which is why I'm sympathetic to Teresa Perry's concerns ... but only so much. The McPhaul Center is a steal at $180 a month. We'll pay between $300 and $500 a month.

Granted I'm not a full-time student, but I wonder just how low UGA would be able to go and still be able to offer quality care, and make no mistake, The McPhaul Center is the best in the business.

Related to these issues, OneAthens are rolling out some excellent plans to help low-income families. And right off the bat, let me say kudos to the Nancy Travis House for the development of this scholarship program. These programs are just the kind of innovative thinking this community needs to address poverty.

Music for the moment

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Couple of things

- We can conserve! And this will help us get through the end of the year, so here's to crossing our fingers and hoping for an incredibly wet final three months of the year.

- Kudos to Clarke County's schools, further proving that much of the distrust of them is based on false perceptions. As James Simms said, much work still needs to be done, but I think we're seeing some real progress. The resources are there, and this community is taking steps to address our poverty rate and we're seeing more and more parents being willing to invest in our public schools, which is a most positive step.

- It's not the kind of poll you want to cite, but it's one that's cited by Rand Knight nonetheless.

- Dubose Porter: 'We ought to consider the Glenn Tax.' Casey Cagle: 'This thing concerns me.' Wasn't so hard, was it?

- Related to that, no one enjoys paying property taxes, sure, but I wouldn't say they're 'too high' with a blanket statement. Actually, quite the contrary, as Georgia's property taxes are among the lowest in the nation. Some groups feel a stronger pinch than others, and the appropriate measures should be taken to address that, but blowing up the system and replacing it with a radically different one controlled by a handful of folks in Atlanta isn't the way to go.

- Related to that, Glenn Richardson pens a forum so absolutely absurd, that I had to quit reading it. He argues off that bat that because you can still have local referendums on SPLOST projects, that local communities should be content. It's like arguing with a child.

- Related to that, Chris smacks around the logic behind the Glenn Tax.

- Via Peach Pundit, I stumbled upon this fascinating story. Everyone write Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov and thank him for not letting the Soviet Union blow all of us up.

Positive spin

Received this little tidbit ...

In a poll being conducted by A Donkey And An Elephant Walk Into A Bar, Rand Knight is leading his announced primary opponents, proving that he is the only progressive Democrat running for U.S. Senate and the party's best hope of beating incumbent Saxby Chambliss.

Rand Knight: 16.28%
Dale Cardwell: 11.63%
Vernon Jones: 0.00%

I point this out why? Because not only are those number incredibly off, suggesting that Knight isn't the best choice anyway, but the site conducting the poll is a dating site.

In other news, Sally124fromToccoa also thinks Knight is 'teh dreamy.'

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Couple of things

- So Dubose Porter decided to lend some unneeded credibility to a lousy plan by an unpopular Republican leader, despite the fact it's opposed by, well, everyone. Here's what he should have said, but didn't.

- Though Erick wants to keep his head in the sand, it's refreshing to see some Republicans actually develop alternative policy proposals for key issues of the day.

- I'm almost beyond attempting to reason with folks who oppose this NABF proposal, primarily because there's this certain self-righteousness about their questions ... as if they haven't ever been considered before by those who plan and prepare these programs or facilities, or by our local leaders from both sides of the aisle who have worked to bring this here. Which is why I think Doc Eldridge's question - 'If not this, then what?' - is relevant. The point being that if you keep pushing back against development and investment in this community, you're going to see such opportunities dry up. You cry 'wolf' one too many times, and eventually folks stop coming to check on you.

- I was busy with work and unable to attend the affordable housing conference, but it sounds like it was mighty interesting, particularly Mayor Heidi Davison's idea to use HUD funds to help get an affordable housing non-profit foundation going. Related to that, I'm working with some folks to launch a group called The Stable Foundation, which would do just that, in addition to providing things like financial literacy, life skills, job training, etc.

- Flack is done with Rep. Jim Marshall after the latter voted against funding the expansion of SCHIP. Granted, Marshall's vote was astoundingly stupid (seriously, this thing had broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate ... why pick it for political cover?), but I'm not ready to throw in the towel on him yet. Why? Because he's still a good congressman overall for Georgia and because he's a Democrat with name recognition who is, as of now, the only viable option to win in this conservative state.

- Want to know one reason why Barry Flemming is challenging Rep. Paul Broun? This medical college thing. I know it's something done by the Georgia General Assembly, but having an Augusta Republican in Washington would give that community some clout in these negotiations. Still, I agree with Doc ... if this gets down to ability to expand and economic benefit, Athens-Clarke County wins it hands down.

- Sara, I'm breathing a little easier. Five games left and a three-game lead.

What Dubose should have said

"Obviously Georgians want their elected officials to take a look at our tax system and obviously we as their representatives need to heed those concerns, but one thing we cannot do is take even more autonomy away from our local communities, and that's what the Glenn Tax does and that's why the Speaker's plan is wrong."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dubose blanks out

After continuing the trend of elected state Democratic officials ignoring bloggers, Dubose Porter proceeds to lose touch with reality by saying the Glenn Tax might be OK ... joining the Speaker in becoming the only folks who think it might actually be a good idea.

Good grief. I agree with Flack ... is it too much to ask that elected state officials from the Democratic Party actually show some spine now and then? I mean, surely us bloggers can't be the only ones who actually know how to run an effective opposition strategy.

With friends like these ...

Couple of things

- The Mike Gundy meltdown was awesome ... he was a few seconds away from shouting 'I hope you have beautiful, articulate sons!'

- This is awful. Please keep the Reeves family in your thoughts and prayers.

- Perhaps I'm a little naive on this, but I honestly don't share the same concerns that Amy Kissane has. That isn't to say they're not valid, but I think the potential of a handful of Greek organizations moving isn't enough to sound the alarm bells about the destruction of the historic beauty of Milledge Avenue, and comparisons to Prince Avenue are off-base for a variety of reasons (ranging from the proximity to UGA to existing zoning around the street).

- I'm going to talk about this a little more, but Flack is spot on. While the state party has been considerably more open to reach out to the progressive bloggers in Georgia, the rest of the elected officials - statewide, not locally - haven't tapped into the resources of the blogosphere and are way behind the curve of the Republicans in this state.

- Nothing like playing up your strengths, but whatever. The weirder thing is that this is a 'non-denominational' party ... huh?

- Wallace Gilberry? Never heard of him? Only thing I know is he didn't sack Matthew Stafford, let alone kill him.

- Bruce, you're killing me. Two tours in the past four years, and none come to Atlanta or Greenville or something?

Bear with me

Shameless Proud Daddy moment ...

Photo by Charles's wife Wendy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Don't tase me ... sis?

Meltdowns in sports are always fun.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy went nuts, throwing a massive temper tantrum because a reporter offered some criticism of Cowboys quarterback Bobby Reid. It was awesome, though for someone who worked as a sports reporter during the Jim Donnan era at Georgia, nothing new.

Jenni Carlson, the reporter who penned the column in question, gave a response here.

As an aside, am I alone in being attacted to Carlson?

Send rain

Following up a little on the drought discussion that Jason Winders got going, there's a pretty interesting comment on his blog regarding yards and landscaping being a luxury.

It's tough to sort out the whole landscaping/nursery/ornamental issue on this because, arguably, that's a way of life for some folks and a ban means they can't do something which puts food on the table. However, I do agree that it's a luxury, and I do agree that we've reached a point where some sort of emergency measures needed to take place. It's unfortunate but necessary.

Ultimately, you have to figure that we're now a little more than five weeks away from not being able to tap into the Bear Creek Reservoir anymore and there's no relief in sight. Without trying to sound overly dramatic, this is a historic drought, and we're on the verge of entering into unchartered waters, er, territory with this thing.

Back in June when we were debating this, we discussed in hypotheticals about water running out and everyone, including myself, said that wouldn't happen. Well, hell, it might ...

Then what?

This is why he was here ...

All those folks who were up in arms about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia University? Those who wanted some form of censorship?

They apparently forgot that free speech goes both ways ... case in point, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger's vicious and intellectual smackdown ... to Ahmadinejad's face.

It takes courage to stand up for unpopular speech. It also takes courage to challenge that speech face-to-face in a manner that so few were willing to do.

Barrow's got a taker

According to Peach Pundit, Ray McKinney has decided to abandon his ill-fated presidential bid and set his sights on a new target ... Athens's native son and current 12th District Congressman John Barrow.

Granted McKinney stands a better chance against Barrow, but taking down a moderate Democrat with name recognition and a moderate-to-conservative voting record in a district which has been trending toward Democrats in recent elections isn't the easiest task in the world either.

Drought reading

We've done some drought coverage here, and Jason Winders takes my side ... twice. Of course, 'my side' is actually 'common sense' so there's that.

I shouldn't be surprised by this pathetic outcry. You're witnessing nothing more than another window into our growing lack of concern for our neighbor. We've become more selfish on the roadways, in line at the grocery store and seemingly everywhere else we mingle.

So why should this be different? Too many of our worlds stop at our front door. Or at least at our rose bushes.

Like it or not, when it comes to water, we're all in this together. Rain or not, I hope this attitude dries up soon.

Couple of things

- I can't believe this stupid thing is still going on. Yes, Denise Grier was falsely ticketed, but so is saying the police officer had some ulterior motive against her based on her political beliefs has no grounding in the facts of the case. The larger issue, which hopefully has already been addressed, is making sure the local police officers are aware of the state indecency laws.

- It would be nice if Jeff Chapman had been put on the legislative committee handling Jekyll Island's redevelopment, but, of course, it made considerably more sense to fill it full of folks with no ties to the region.

- Well, it's odd, but it's true.

- In the weird and random news department, when my daughter woke The Wife and I up at 2 a.m. this morning, I had Bubba Shot The Jukebox in my head. What's even weirder, yet surprisingly expected, is that I changed the lyrics to address the fact that my daughter hasn't had a bowel movement in more than a day.

- Funny thing is, Mitchell Seabolt's letter for Fred Thompson is about as developed as the latter's campaign platform.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Even more fame!

In lighter news ... The New York Times is talking about 'The Cherrishinski' ... seriously.

Music for the moment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some levity needed

Though I run the risk of sounding inadvertantly insensitive, what's all this hullabaloo over the 'Jena Six?'

The students did beat another student, right? Pretty severely, right? If the evidence points toward the accused committing the crime, isn't it the appropriate thing to charge them with battery?

Surely the white students who hung the nooses are stupid, prejudiced and ignorant, but they faced punishment from their school. Besides, being stupid, prejudiced and ignorant isn't grounds to be viciously beaten, is it?

Across the border

Over at Oconee Democrat, we see some love for Brian Brodrick - loyal reader, good friend and all-around, stand-up guy - and some general appreciation for good, old-fashioned small-town politics.

Couple of things

- In the bang-your-head-against-the-wall news, Perry Bugg doesn't care if you actually have water to, you know, drink, saying it would be better to let him water the yards he maintains. Yeah buddy, with only six weeks of water left in the Bear Creek Reservoir, that's a great idea. Here's another one ... until he recognizes there are more people in the world than just him, no one use Perry Bugg for their landscaping needs.

- Yes Tim, please tell me again how more painful it is to be an Orioles fan. Because this terrific, yet oddly not surprising, implosion is a joy to experience.

- Though I'm glad to see the subcommittee recommended easing the restrictions on sales near churches and schools, this is going to be an interesting discussion when it comes before the full commission. Ultimately it will pass, and I believe it should, but it's going to bring folks out of the woodwork to oppose it (for dubious reasons mind you).

- Even more questions about the Glenn Tax and its impact on local communities.

- First off David Ingle, thanks for letting us know you were being sarcastic. We're all so dense, we never would have gotten that. Second, I never buy into this 'wasted police resources' issue. Simply because law enforcement is pursuing another lead doesn't mean they're still not focused on the other investigations and tasks at hand.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who? Me?

In the shameless self-promotion department, I'm a featured panelist at Connect, which is a Grady College conference that focuses on social media and public relations.

It's on Oct. 19, and I'll be talking about my blog. Should be interesting.

Interesting point

Rich emailed me with a pretty interesting question from one of his students who asked what the Glenn Tax would do with regard to Tax Allocation Districts. The student said that would TADs would cease to exist, and Rich and I agree with that assessment.

As you know, TADs use the anticipated tax growth from rising property values in designated geographical areas to finance new infrastructure or other public improvements to help encourage new private-sector investments in the community. Eliminating the property tax, then, would eliminate a key tool many local communities have come to use to encourage economic development.

Volunteer opportunity

The Athens Land Trust, which is a great organization in this community, is seeking some volunteers to assist with painting one of their new homes on Saturday. They're planning on getting going around 8 a.m. at 158 Susan Circle in Winterville.

If you're interested in helping out, or in ALT, then call 706-613-0122.

NABF update

Blake says the NABF site is down to us, Kansas and Texas, which is interesting since I thought Mississippi, with a governor that was the former chair of the GOP and, well, Trent Lott, had a strong chance to land it.

First time for everything

In words that don't get said very often, I think Jeff Emanuel has a valid point here. Does it really matter how hot it is in Iraq? I mean, it's friggin' hot, and quibbling over 125 degrees vs. 130 degrees is stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I really like Jeff, but it's weird to say that I agree with him on something.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's wonky time

While I think there are definitely some good elements to Hillary Clinton's health care proposal, I still maintain that Barack Obama's plan out there for a variety of reasons ranging from increased flexibility for states to determine what method works best to efforts to reduce the cost of premiums and make coverage more affordable for all.

Still, can I take some time to defend Clinton's plan from Mitt Romney's absurd attack on it. While it's painfully obvious that he hasn't actually read anything about Clinton's plan, does he really believe that saying 'Hillarycare' over and over again is a winning strategy?

Especially since he ushered in a plan that had many similar characteristics while he was governor of Massachusetts. I mean, I know he enjoys shifting his political positions in order to meet the wishes of the GOP electorate, but this is ridiculous.

And that doesn't even touch the fact that the hospital where he spoke out against Clinton's plan wasn't happy at all with being a backdrop.

A little late

Everyone wish Happy (late) Birthday to Hillary. She's 30 now.

I was unable to make it to her shindig, which greatly disappointed me.

Couple of things

- Yeah, I'm kinda with Gary Gerrard on this, primarily because it's partially an example of vigilante justice and partially because it has the very real possibility to hamper or manipulate actual police investigations.

- So what if it's 14 months until Election Day. We've got a challenge to Ira Edwards (because contested sheriff's races are always fun)! Seriously though, Kenneth Brown has an impressive resume and deep roots in this community, plus he's running an independent rather than challenge Edwards in the Democratic primary. He said it's because he doesn't think the sheriff's office should be a partisan race, which I agree, but typically folks who run as 'independent' rather than in a primary always make you raise an eyebrow. It'll be interesting to watch, though Edwards will be mighty hard to beat.

- First O.J. and now an out-of-work reporter from the Savannah Morning News. Who knew armed robbery was all the rage?

- Rand Knight takes on the liberal media!

- Blake asks if we're NIMBYs or cautious with regard to the bioscience facility, and I think we're somewhere in between. Obviously with something like this coming into your community you want to maintain a close eye on the situation, but also this is an excellent opportunity for Athens-Clarke County. As of now, I feel very secure with the containment procedures and safety measures, and I hope we can land it. It would be a boon for our economy and for our reputation.

- I hate to break it to you Barry, but there ain't a whole lot you can do aside from Georgia never hosting a home football game again. When you get close to 100,000 people crammed onto a few square miles of real estate, with a select and ignorant few acting irresponsible and boorish, you're going to have problems. Already the UGA Police and Athens-Clarke County Police have to rely on out-of-county assistance to keep up with the demands placed on them by game days.

- Are the inmates running the asylum at Peach Pundit? Fantasy football? A dearth of posts? Duplication of content? No Fred Thompson references in 24 hours?

This is what we got?

As we know, there are two main candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss in 2008 in Vernon Jones and Dale Cardwell. Safe to say, these two fellas leave a whole lot to be desired, but have no fear ... there's a third candidate in Rand Knight.

Of course, he's lagging behind in money, polls and, well, people actually knowing who he is. To address these problems, Knight's going on offense ... against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Now, understandably, this is a completely ludicrous way to go about getting attention, particularly when, though unfortunate, those errors appear to be just that ... accidental typos. To accuse the state's largest newspaper of harboring a grudge against someone they've never heard of and is languishing in the race is insane.

Add to that this unintentionally comical campaign video, and I'm convinced that Rand Knight is actually a character played by Ben Affleck with a bad Southern accent.

UPDATE: Publius beat me to the punch ... and, yes, Nic Cage from Con-Air is a better choice.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prince Avenue's back

This has to be the weakest and, quite frankly, most shamelessly misleading argument for renovations to Prince Avenue I have ever seen.

Ted Hafer, the owner of The Grit, was struck by a car while leaving the Daily Co-Op grocery store. It's an awful story, and fortunately Hafer was not seriously hurt and is recovering from the accident. We all wish him well.

Julie Darnell uses this accident to chastise motorists for, well, apparently obeying the existing traffic laws. A glance at the actual story reveals that witnessess said Hafer was jaywalking and, if so, was in violation of the law, meaning he was not taking advantage of the existing sidewalks or crosswalks.

I'm not quite sure of Darnell's contention that not enough stoplights exist on that road, as there two within two blocks of each other as you creep closer to downtown, and both of those locations offer safe passage for pedestrians. There are also two additional pedestrian crosswalks and the speed limit for that stretch is a reasonable 35 miles per hour (though I am willing to concede to her that it could be slowed down to, say, 25 miles per hour for the final block or two where commercial development is more bunched up).

Furthermore, what exactly does this instance prove? Not that we need additional crosswalks, particularly if Hafer, as he says, was simply trying to get into his car. If anything, this would reinforce my belief that eliminating the parking spots on the street and replacing them with bicycle lanes and multi-use pathways appears to be the most sound choice to creating an environment conducive to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Make no mistake, I am a strong advocate of the Complete Streets initiative, but I want to argue for it in a honest and rational manner ... not by taking advantage of the misfortunes of another individual and contorting the facts of the case to suit my needs.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

From the opinion pages ...

Rounding up today's editorial page at the Athens Banner-Herald ...

- I put some initial thoughts regarding Jason Winders's take on the Glenn Tax, but I do want to build on that somewhat here. His point, which is will taken, is that its opponents need a plan. While I still maintain the most important thing at this given moment is merely defeating this terrible idea, the suggestion that a plan is needed doesn't necessarily match up with reality. That is, discussion about how best to address property taxes has been going on for years, but it's been going on in its appropriate place ... and that's at the local level. Here in Athens-Clarke County, we've had several candidates incorporate different elements of property tax relief or reform into their platforms.

- I disagree with J.T., who talked about removing the tax-exempt status for churches, but I also think this particular line of argument is flawed ...

Part of the rationale for treating churches as non-taxable entities is that they provide something of value to the community - most concretely in regard to the social-service work that most of them do in feeding and clothing the economically disadvantaged - that offsets the fact they don't pay property taxes.

That's fine. But what about those individuals who contribute volunteer time or write checks to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross or their local food bank? They can't go down to the tax assessor's office with a canceled check or a record of the time they've given to charitable work and suggest that their property tax bills be reduced or negated as a result of the service they've provided to the community.

We already have a system in place which compensates individuals for their service. If you give money to a charity, you can deduct it from your income tax. If you contribute time to a particular organization, that organization can log those hours and count toward grants and other forms of assistance.

- Bill Shipp. Newt? Seriously? Honestly, does he even have any sense of what is actually going on with state politics anymore?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Yeah, but ...

My former boss, and general all-around good guy, Jason Winders offers a somewhat different take on the Glenn Tax. Overall, I don't disagree with his assessment - that stupid plans get more attention and credibility because of what are often false public perceptions - but I do differ with him over the whole 'lack of another idea' thing.

For starters, I'm not convinced those who don't like the Glenn Tax need to put up some alternative plan. The reason there is so much opposition is because this is, quite simply, a pretty lousy idea that needs to die a quick, yet painful, death. To achieve the latter, its detractors don't need to put together 'Super-Awesome Tax Reform Plan X' ... but instead point out the numerous, obvious flaws in the Glenn Tax.

Also, if we're discussing tax reform, and property taxes are local revenue-raising agents, is it essential to hold a statewide discussion on this? Shouldn't local communities determine which way of raising revenue is best for them? I mean that's the primary problem with the Glenn Tax anyway, isn't it? If Miller County wants to get rid of property taxes, more power to them. If Athens-Clarke County wants to keep them, more power to them.

And who's arguing for the status quo? To suggest mere opposition to a plan that will dramatically overhaul our state and local tax system, undermining local control in the process, is not tantamount to saying that everything is hunky-dory with the existing system. It's just saying that Glenn Richardson's plan is extreme and lousy.

Outdoor watering banned in A-C

From the local government ...

Effective Monday, September 17, 2007, Athens-Clarke County will implement Level Four Drought Restrictions, which prohibit all outdoor water use 7 days a week, 24 hours a day as part of Step E in the ACC Drought/Water Shortage Management Plan. The restrictions affect all residential, commercial, governmental and institutional customers of the ACC Public Utilities Department’s public water supply system and include prohibitions on drip irrigation, car washes, and pressure washing, among other activities.

Violators of the outdoor watering ban may receive a surcharge of $1000.00 added to their water bill and/or termination of water service.

These Step E restrictions also affect commercial and industrial outdoor use of water critical to the conduct of business such as commercial car washes, tree farms, golf courses, and garden supply nurseries. Some commercial and industrial uses are eligible for Special Outdoor Water Use Permits from the Water Conservation Office if plans include reduction strategies.

Further information, including the full Drought/Water Shortage Management Plan (Chapter 5-3 Article 6 of the ACC Code of Ordinances), may be obtained at the Athens-Clarke County Web site at or through the ACC Public Utilities Department (706-613-3470) or ACC Public Utilities Water Conservation Office (706-613-3729). For ideas on how to conserve water at home and in the workplace, visit the State of Georgia’s website at

Podcast ready

It's a day later or so, but the new Cover Two podcast is ready ... complete with an LFO reference.


The Georgia Municipal Association is firmly against the Glenn Tax save one guy, and our mayor quickly put him in his place by pointing out the reality of the situation ...

Only Carnesville Mayor Harris Little disagreed with the consensus. Little said he and his constituents would support the change if Carnesville was guaranteed the same amount of money it's spending now.

"As long as they turn the water on and water comes out, and they flush the toilet and waste goes away, I'm not sure they care," he said.

Athens-Clarke Mayor Heidi Davison quickly countered Little, drawing applause for saying she won't be satisfied with providing only basic services. Athenians demand amenities like parks and a revamped Baxter Street from elected leaders, she said.

"I don't want my citizens reduced to a medium level of service because you don't want to pay your property taxes," Davison said.

It's kinda cloudy


This guy?

(Fred) Thompson was asked in an interview for Bay News 9's "Political Connections" program whether he thought Congress' intervention to save the life of the brain-damaged woman two years ago was appropriate.

"I can't pass judgment on it. I know that good people were doing what they thought was best," Thompson said. "That's going back in history. I don't remember the details of it."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some Surge thoughts

Gen. David Petreaus reported on the progress of 'The Surge' to Congress a few days back, and I've got three observations ...

- One of the more curious things to consider is how effective 'The Surge' has been in stamping down violence. To be sure, some parts of the country are feeling the benefits of an increased American military presence (whether or not that will remain after a drawdown in forces remains to be seen), but I think it's not clear that 'The Surge' has brought about the reduction of violence in Anbar as some claim. In that province, you see new partnerships emerging between the U.S. forces and non-AQI groups. However there are two ways to view this that don't involve 'The Surge.' One is that any sort of partnership is something that isn't dependent on a large number of U.S. forces being on the ground, but rather the empowerment of the non-AQI forces (who, by the by, aren't exactly chummy with us anyway). The other way of looking at this is to understand that AQI was only responsible for a small fraction of the violence and that by engaging and, well, paying some insurgent groups to stop attacking us, we've been able to reduce the attacks. Either way, both are seem to be viable solutions that don't require a large number of U.S. forces (the latter would even suggest the fewer forces the better).

- I think Matthew Yglesias is right on this one. According to Petraeus's report, the number of crucial Iraqi divisions - fully independent, Iraqi-led with coalition support, fighting side-by-side - has remained stagnant since April 2006, something which predates 'The Surge.' The only thing that has changed, and only marginally, is the number of 'units forming' ... which is a fairly nebulous category, is it not? Granted it's a step in the right direction, but we're not seeing any real progress on this front, nor can we assume it is the result of this policy.

- A bunch has been made over the ad by MoveOn, and there rightfully should be a fuss over it. It was stupid, childish and ignorant and amounted to nothing less than an attempt to smear Petreaus. MoveOn should be ashamed, and this just cements why that group always kinda bothered me in the first place. I'm glad that some folks called them out on it. Let me also point out that lots of this righteous chest-thumping and holier-than-thou attitude from some conservatives is rather pathetic. Lest we forget that conservatives were calling Sen. Chuck Hagel the exact same thing just a few months ago ... and, of course, that was OK.

Couple of things

- It's been a busy week with IHN of Athens, work and my mom in town (which is a good thing), but it's limited my blogging time. I'll try to catch up somewhat.

- Sure ... his 'friend' was 'too shy' ...

- Not that I particularly enjoy seeing fees passed on to consumers, and Lord knows I scour our phone bill each month to see what fees I could live without, but this makes sense and seems only fair, doesn't it? It isn't as if there is some other 911 service which Internet phone users partake in.

- In the good news department, Gov. Sonny Perdue still doesn't like the Glenn Tax. In the non-connected-to-reality department, Glenn Richardson's spokesperson says the Glenn Tax will give local governments more control.

- Carol Goerig has a well-intentioned, albeit misinformed, letter regarding developers overbuilding Athens-Clarke County. As Nicki pointed out in the comments here, there really isn't a whole heckuva lot you can do to stop them. If developers meet the existing ordinances and requirements to build, then, well, they can build.

- It's a couple of days old, but I want to echo Athens Politics regarding Bill Shipp's column from Sunday ... namely that it would be nice if he actually knew what he was talking about. Specifically I'm speaking of the fact that he said Barack Obama was leading in Georgia when, in fact, Hillary Clinton is doing so. Now while I would like Obama to be ahead in the polls, I also have enough common sense to, you know, not just make up stuff so it neatly fits into what I want write about.

- Rumor has it that it's already looking for a new wife.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

Today is the sixth anniversary of the awful attacks of 9/11, the effect of which on my life I shared a few years back.

In retrospect, here is one of the most powerful columns written by Leonard Pitts the day following the attacks and his take on it today (the latter of which I just recently linked to).

The Chase Street thing

Not much time for blogging this morning with some work responsibilities, as well as IHN of Athens ones too. But I did want to take a few minutes and offer some late comments regarding J.T.'s take on Chase Street Elementary.

Needless to say that while I like J.T., I think he and the staff are a bit off on this one. I fail to see how increased participation from parents, even new ones, has the potential to harm other students. Not only is that not the way public schools are set up, but it also neglects to see that a revitalized PTO has the very real possibility to lift everyone in that school.

Parents who are making this kind of concerted effort obviously desire to see the school and and all of its students succeed, and not just a handful of them. If the latter was the case, they would be entering them in the school choice lottery or exploring moving to another county or enrolling them in private school.

And the actions taken by this group of Chase Street Elementary parents is exactly the mindset that The Wife and I have regarding our child. We are zoned for Timothy Road Elementary, and, as of now, are committed to finding folks who will have children Emma Kate's age, send them to Timothy and become engaged.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Couple of things

- Ultimately, this is a big step in the right direction, and it's that type of grassroots enthusiasm that we need for the biofuels industry to go. I've said it once and I'll say it again ... we need a regional economy and one of its centerpieces needs to be a strong biofuel industry. Out of all the regions in the state, not one is suited better for it with the mix of urban and rural landscapes than Athens-Clarke County and its surrounding counties.

- Again, Leonard Pitts is my favorite columnist.

- I thought Blake made some good points here.

- This story is a perfect example of why I don't understand the mindset of so many developers in this community. The market works based on supply and demand. Speaking with several friends who are in real estate or the mortgage business, our demand has gone down drastically and our supply is already at an incredibly high surplus ... yet these folks still want to keep building at a pace that is considerably higher than our projected population growth. And everyone is struggling to find the best way to approach this thing. Do we need to consider rezoning particular areas? What about possibly developing incentives for more mixed-use developments to spur commerical growth? I'm interested to hear some of the thoughts from those on comprehensive growth plan committee examining this issue.

- Easy cupcake ... that's still Blake Mitchell as your quarterback and not Danny Wuerffel. You'll still finish 7-5 by the end of the year.

- Franklin Langham's a Georgia boy, so kudos for the win good sir. He had some success on the PGA Tour a few years back, but is working his way back through the Nationwide Tour. If he keeps playing like this, he'll earn his tour card in no time.

- Speaking of golf, Charles Howell III reached the final playoff event for the FedEx Cup, though it would take a win in this week's Tour Championship to capture the title.

Those are good points

I don't completely agree with Blake on this, but I think he's more right than wrong about this ...

The (debate over the alcohol ordinance) exposed a number of problems with the Athens system of government. One, there’s no leader, just a lot of shifting alliances among people who tend to agree on most issues but don’t appear to communicate all that well.

Two, appointed officials are the ones really running things. Manager Alan Reddish, Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, Attorney Bill Berryman and Finance Director John Culpepper worked on a 30-page list of revisions to the alcohol ordinance for a whole year before blindsiding the commission with it, and commissioners are still sore about it. They want to be telling staff what to do, not having staff bringing them finished products unbidden to vote on.

Three, the committee system doesn’t work because their recommendations mean nothing. It is a waste of time. Everything has to be hashed out twice. One commissioner, who is not on the LRC, complained that the recommendation should have come to the full commission at a work session. If commissioners always want to act as a committee of the whole, what is the point of committees of the half?

Four, none of the commissioners had a burning desire for alcohol reform at all, yet it’s dominated the agenda for six months. In the meantime, they’ve done little work on issues they actually care about, like affordable housing and the environment. And time is running out – six months from now half of them might be running for re-election.

Namely I think the second and fourth points are pretty accurate and reflect something which isn't necessarily a pressing problem with the system, but something which must be terribly frustrating for the commissioners. Granted the existing process is that staff prepares these recommendations - and we have a most talented and able staff - but I think that may not always be the most appropriate arrangement, particularly for the community which has elected these commissioners to serve as their representatives.

Blake argued for it a while back and I concurred, but this community needs to have a full-time commission that has the ability to develop and present legislation, rather than react and respond to prepared ordinances from staff. It would probably make the government more efficient in terms of its responsiveness to the community.

Apparently, I'm getting old


Who knew the MTV Music Video Awards could be so comically embarassing?

I suppose that's a rhetorical question as Kid Rock beat up Tommy Lee (and it's about time someone did), Kanye West complained about losing and Britney Spears was Britney Spears.

Makes me kinda wish I had actually watched it.

Or, you know, realized it was on.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hear it roar

Two things related to Oak Grove thing ...

- Surely there is a compromise that can preserve greenspace and permit additional automobile traffic, the latter of which I feel is necessary based on the location of the development.

- Food Lion? Food Lion? What in the world do we have to do to attract a high-end grocery store here?

Rational intelligence

I would like to think that most folks thing that, regardless of some political differences I may have with some people, that I'm a pretty reasonable guy who enjoys a reasonable discussion of issues.

With that in mind, I get more and more outright stunned by what is, quite frankly, obscene stupidity on the part of a large number of people. Perhaps I shouldn't be stunned since, well, there are a lot of people in the world, making the odds rather good that a portion of them are rather short-sighted.

Consider my criticism of the upcoming report the president is due to present of the success of 'The Surge' in Iraq. One would think that if you supported this element of military strategy and foreign policy, you could offer a coherent and rational defense of it. As I have had since before it was implemented, I had doubts about its long-term effectiveness in bringing security to the region as well as its ability to help Iraq achieve its 18 stated political goals (to date, Iraq has met five).

One would think that, since I have repeatedly argued in the past against an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, this could be accepted logically for what it is ... a simple questioning of this strategy to achieve its stated aims. Of course, logic doesn't always flow freely I suppose because, in what is becoming an incredibly tired and borderline comical tradition, I was told to merely shut up and support 'The Surge' because the military was executing it and if I didn't think the strategy was the best way to achieve those stated aims, I must not support the military.

This, of course, is completely ridiculous, patently false and suggests, dare I say, an inability to effectively defend one's position.

This isn't the case for all. Xon is a hardcore libertarian who possesses a worldview that confounds me, but he engages me in dialogue and presents his case intelligently. Consider Jeff Emanuel, who defends 'The Surge' with experience and data.

I can still disagree with them, but I can respect them because they respect me and my positions.

People put up blinders, and they make things fit into their worldview even when the things they initially supported don't necessarily work. Folks from all over the political spectrum label those who ask these questions as 'unpatriotic' or 'fundamentalists' or 'hippies' or 'Rethugs' and fail to understand that disagreement over specific policies or ideas or actions doesn't mean you have to surrender your worldview.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fleming (almost) is in

In new of the terribly not shocking kind, it appears that State Rep. Barry Fleming will offer Rep. Paul Broun a primary challenge next year.

Talking Points Memo's Election Central picked this up as well, though I'm disappointed a progressive blog didn't mention the fact that Broun already had a challenger in 2008.

Is it a report if there's no report?

Call me crazy, but this whole report-on-the-surge thing that will be presented by Gen. David Petraeus is becoming less and less of a credible analysis of the effect of 'The Surge' in Iraq and more of a twisted and banal exercise in public relations.

Consider now that when Petraeus makes this report to Congress ... he won't actually have a report to present, but rather 'an assessment by testimony.' The latter, of course, will be lacking in statistics, data and other useful things to gauge how this thing has worked out.

Rather convenient since this is the latest in a weird string of events for this report ... particularly coming on the heels of that GAO report found that Iraq had only met five of 18 goals, an oddly testy interview Petraeus gave to The Boston Globe in which he had more caveats and qualifiers for this thing than you'd believe and a fascinating article by Andrew Tilghman, a former military correspondent, that revealed significant exaggeration when it comes to al-Qaida's presence in Iraq.

Of course, a lot of folks are getting upset since some people are calling this President Bush's report ... which, if you read the actual bill requiring this report, you'll see it is President Bush's report ...


(A) The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.

(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.

(C) If the President's assessment of any of the specific benchmarks established above is unsatisfactory, the President shall include in that report a description of such revisions to the political, economic, regional, and military components of the strategy, as announced by the President on January 10, 2007. In addition, the President shall include in the report, the advisability of implementing such aspects of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, as he deems appropriate.

(D) The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above.

(E) The reporting requirement detailed in section 1227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 is waived from the date of the enactment of this Act through the period ending September 15, 2007.

(3) TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS- Prior to the submission of the President's second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.

Couple of things

- Make no mistake, this is an awful story. But it's also really, really weird too, isn't it?

- Well, speaking of weird.

- Nice story on the Clarke Central-Cedar Shoals game which takes a look at coaches who have been at both schools. It's one of the better rivalries in the area, so I recommend you swing by and check it out tonight. I'm hoping to do so myself.

- I think this is a really good thing, but I don't know if it's a charter school. That is, of course it's a charter school, but it doesn't appear to be constructed like other ones I've seen. If anything it appears to resemble the Classic City Learning Center by offering flexible hours and focused training.

- Matthew Yglesias takes a look the fervor behind supply side economics because, yes, that debate sadly still exists.

Music for the moment

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nicely done

Folks, if you're out in downtown Athens-Clarke County tonight, swing by Flicker to congratulate Jared on his opening. He's Hillary's husband, and one heckuva nice guy.

It's from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Couple of things

- Adding to the vast number of folks who think the Glenn Tax may not be the best idea, Gov. Sonny Perdue says he's got plenty of questions about it. This is good to hear, but also part positioning on his part on behalf of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle who is lining himself up for a run at the governor's seat in 2010.

- In the same article, Perdue reaffirms his commitment to bring a medical school expansion to Athens-Clarke County (also good), and please note that Augusta is getting so desperate that they know want to tear down a public housing project to make room. Related to that, Dave Barbee resigned from the Augusta Housing Authority, and, even though they say his positions don't reflect theirs, the state GOP is more than content to let him keep his leadership position.

- I took some exception to Elton Dodon's statements at a recent rally, and, judging by the comments, so did a few other folks.

- Ultimately, I don't think we have enough political clout to land the bio-defense facility ... but don't worry, that ain't stopping folks from playing the NIMBY card.

- For those interested, a new podcast for The Cover Two.

- OK, well, kind of. I mean, I think raising the age to 21 was a little silly, and your example clearly illustrates that. However I think we have to be clear about some things here ... if we're trying to stop outrageous criminal behavior, police background checks are obviously the way to go. If our aim sincerely is to merely curb underage drinking, then police background checks won't do a whole heck of a lot. I still argue that a 21-year-old UGA senior with a clean record is just as likely to let in four underage buddies as a 19-year-old UGA sophomore who has an underage possession under his belt. There isn't some magic quotient that enables us to determine who is and who isn't going to let someone in. Obviously we shouldn't be employing sex offenders as doormen, but don't we already have some sort of system in place to notify us of who they are?

- A little bit of a response to Hillary's points on the neighborhood budgetary initiative.

- Peach Pundit's favorite actor-turned-politician (for the moment at least) makes it official. How serious is Fred Thompson? So serious that he shows up on The Tonight Show rather than engage in a substantive debate on the issues of the day with his opponents.

Ah, not-so soft prejudice

I first noticed this at Tondee's Tavern in the diaries, and then sought out the article in The Augusta Chronicle the further explained it.

Wow. As I noted a few days ago, race-baiting is not some new development when it comes to politics in Augusta, but this does kind of take it to a whole new level.

Dave Barbee, now a former member of the Augusta Housing Authority, put together an email filled with such idiocy, one has to read it to believe it ...

Gentlemen I am begging you both not to give in on the revitalization of downtown Augusta!!! The problem with the politicians is the White/Black ratio in downtown Augusta. The development of the property beside St. Paul's Church is high income folks who will tend to be White and now we are closing GM (Gilbert Manor) and moving Black folks out. We will be making the downtown Whiter with moving 200 whites in and moving 500 blacks out! The numbers will affect political boundaries, school board lines, commission district lines, State Representative district lines, and Senate district lines.

For his part, Barbee has resigned from the board and apologized for ... a poorly worded email being made public. He goes on to say that 'it literally breaks' his heart to see he plight of the poor in Augusta and that he intended to use the phrase 'mixed-use' rather than, say, 'let's ship off all of the blacks.'

Again, all you can really say is wow.

Flack follows up a bit and, aside from noticing as I did that Barbee didn't actually apologize for his race-tinged rant, that the Republican Party is content in letting him remain as the chair of the 10th Congressional District. While that is disappointing enough, what's even weirder is the fact that they go along with the line that Barbee's thoughts were misconstrued to some extent ... but then argue that Barbee's comments don't reflect the positions of the state party.

If his positions don't reflect your party, then why are you letting him keep his seat? One would think if I had someone who didn't represent my party, I wouldn't necessarily want them representing me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

White, middle-class person speaks out

An interesting discussion at Blake's blog regarding OneAthens, poverty and Elton Dodson, and I'd like to focus on it a bit.

Dodson spoke at a recent rally and, according to the blog, raised concerns about the effectiveness of OneAthens. Blake points out that the groups who are working on the recommendations from Partners for a Prosperous Athens are comprised of the same folks who typically do this kind of thing - activists, officials and connected business folks. Dodson said the poor aren't involved, and that concerns him ...

(Dodson) accused OneAthens of “whitewashing” the problem in order to hide it from people like (Tim) Echols, a conservative Republican who, after taking a spin with cop through East Athens, sounds like he’s on the verge of becoming radicalized.

"(PPA and OneAthens are) not going to amount to anything, anything in this community except make middle-class white people feel better about themselves unless the people who are most impacted, the people with the low-paying manufacturing jobs and service jobs, are empowered and involved in this effort," said Dodson.

Now, I like Dodson. A lot of folks don't like him, but I do. We don't always agree on things (see smoking ban), but I give him the benefit of the doubt and applaud him for engaging folks at this blog. With that said, I'm not sure what to make of his take on the situation.

For starters, it seems a little weird to be imploring the poor to get more involved. If the working poor had the necessary time to devote to this kind of thing, one would have to imagine they very well may not be poor. In reality, they're working long hours for meager pay and doing so at inconvenient times, all while managing their families. To chastise them for a lack of involvement seems misplaced to me.

From what I can know about OneAthens is that is actively trying to find ways to empower low-income citizens in our community, working to develop a long-term plan to extend opportunity and security to those most in need.

I am bothered by his statement that right now it exists only to make white, middle-class people feel good. Speaking as a white, middle-class person ... I can tell you that isn't the reason I work with local antipoverty groups at all, and I find that assertion rather insulting. Nor is that terribly reflective of the makeup of OneAthens, which is comprised of people from varis racial, ethnic, ideological and religious backgrounds.

I'm just not really sure what to make of this criticism. Are we to feel guilty that folks who typically weren't involved in the fight against poverty are involved now? Is there some turf war I don't know about?

Are we to chastise the low-income working class for not attending a meeting because they're pulling a double-shift to take care of their family?

Low-income citizens are ready to engage the community and take advantage of practical ways to move up the economic ladder. To suggest they aren't is silly.

On neighborhoods again

Hillary raised some valid points with regard to my endorsement of getting neighborhoods more involved in the budgeting process. While I sympathize with her pointing out that we, you know, have a representative government already which is supposed to do these things, I would counter by suggesting that this level of involvement isn't threatening to turn us into a direct democracy. If anything, it lets neighborhoods determine what projects are most important to them and enable their elected officials to focus on other, larger projects.

Any extensive overhaul like this will, understandably, require a significant period of time spent mobalizing and organizing the neighborhoods in our community to make sure they all have a shot at the table. Thanks to strong organizations like the Federation of Neighborhoods and the work of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department, I see this as something quite feasible.

There are questions and considerations that must be addressed, but we're in the beginning stages here. Ultimately, I still think this is a very good idea.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thank you Helix

Couple of things

- You'll find few people who are more engaged in the fight against poverty than me, but you'll also find me disagreeing with Patty Freeman-Lynde on this matter. It's easy to urge consumers to shop elsewhere and to pay a little more to support workers who earn a living wage, but it's also a tad ironic too. In the fight against poverty, why are we scolding businesses which sell valuable goods inexpensively? Rather than harm businesses like that - and make no mistake, I've got plenty of issues with Wal-Mart - why not advocate for things which will empower low-income citizens and give them the chance to move up the economic ladder? I don't want them earning $10.50 an hour ... I want them earning $20 an hour and up, and the only way to do that is to provide them ample training and educational opportunities.

- More Augusta drama, with the 10th Congressional Chairman of the Republican Party calling for downtown Augusta to become 'whiter.' Race-baiting in my hometown's politics is nothing new - though the open crassness of this is a tad shocking - but, as dumb as Dave Barbee appears to be - there's a background of stupidity going on here. As I noted in a previous post, Gilbert Manor was slated to be closed with its residents moved to a mixed-income development with good connectivity and the opportunity to eventually own certain housing units. Of course, the African-American commissioners opposed it since it would lessen their voting strength, while white residents near the proposed development opposed it since it meant a large influx of African-Americans heading their way. There's no such thing as a rational solution in Augusta for the time being.

- I offered a link to Jay Bookman's take on the free market approach to health care, made a sensible request and wish to follow it up with this ... I'm a practical, pragmatic guy. I like the free market. It has provided us with a great many wonderful things. I also recognize the spirit of compromise and abhor loving an idea for the sake of adhering to one particular ideology. What was refreshing about Bookman's column wasn't that it offered some tremendous alternative for health care, but rather than it said what I'm saying here. And that's blind allegiance to any one idea is pathetic and terribly short-sighted, and that's my take on the health care debate. For so many conservatives, they have to believe that a free-market approach is the way to go because if they don't, they fear their whole world will come crumbling down. And when you examine the number of successful public health care systems - from overseas or right here at home (PeachCare or Medicare) - you're confronted with the reality of the matter, which is that sometimes the government can do things right. I know this makes the heads of some ideologues explode, but that's the fact of the matter. This isn't to say that there is no place for the free market in this discussion because there must surely is, but rather that making it only about the free market is ridiculous and downright ignorant.

- In response to this inquiry, folks tell me the only place grilling is prohibited is at the parking decks ... which, again, makes perfect sense.

- Justin Gwin echoes the points that Hillary and I made last week.

- This interview with President Bush is, well, kinda terrifying ...

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, "The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen."

But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush's former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army's dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, "Yeah, I can't remember, I'm sure I said, 'This is the policy, what happened?'" But, he added, "Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff," referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.

- In other news, Elizabeth Kraft also advocates for eating three square meals a day.

It's not this hard, really

As expected, Xon wrote an opus in response to my linking to a Jay Bookman column discussing the allegiance many conservatives play to a free market approach to health care.

Being a libertarian of sorts, he had issues with it, and that's fine. But something repeatedly pops up in this discussion that honestly bugs me. I can accept disagreement over the matter and I can accept that, say, in this instance Bookman generalized to some extent.

But I'm quite honestly tired of folks who trot out the tired argument 'well, gosh, I don't want a bureaucrat making this decision for me.' I'm tired of it because I don't know of a single person who advocates for expanded and/or universal health care who wishes to strip all elements of choice or flexibility out of the equation. The plans on the table increase consumer choice and the majority of them incorporate existing private insurance companies to offer the consumer additional flexibility (not to mention the fact that it, you know, actually extends some measure of coverage to those who currently lack it).

The collective sigh ...

This, plus this makes it as if last weekend never happened.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Changes to tailgating?

With a new baby at the house, I missed Georgia's 35-14 win over Oklahoma State, as well as the festivities at Tent City. But, catching up on the news today, something caught my eye ...

This story on tailgating changes in the Athens Banner-Herald discusses a ban on grilling, and I have to assume this means a ban on grilling in the parking decks, and not a ban on grilling at traditional tailgating spots.

I don't see any mention of this rule, or any changes for 2007, here at Gameday Gameplan, nor is there a news release listed at UGA's web site either.

Of course, prohibiting grilling in a relatively enclosed space like a parking deck is a perfectly logical rule, and one I've got no problem with. But I'm curious ... is this new? And, if so, why was there little to no mention of this change?

Naturally, I wouldn't be in favor of a complete ban on grilling since, well, how could I do this ...

If you're interested, I still enjoyed a cheap beer yesterday from the friendly confines of my recliner.

Wasting our time

Rather pathetic article on the Glenn Tax in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution which dances around the fact that few people actually like this thing (it says the Georgia Municipal Association has 'concerns' when, in fact, it flat-out opposes it).

Honestly, this thing and the logic behind it is so ridiculous, it's hard to believe that so much time has been wasted talking about it.

Let's remove from the debate for a minute the fact that someone who lives in the Country Club of the South wants everyone to 'pay their fair share' and 'not get a free ride on taxes' ... despite the fact that we're using these taxes to fund services for those people they decry because they can't afford them anyway, but whatever.

Again, quibbling over sales tax vs. property tax aside, this is nothing more than a power grab by some political powerfully Republicans. It's a local control isssue.

If Glenn Richardson was honestly convinced this was the way to go, he'd promote legislation instead which enabled individual communities the power to collect and distribute revenues the way they see fit. What he wants to do is funnel all of the state revenue into Atlanta so he can say 'yay' or 'nay' to who he feels is most deserving of money.

And that concept even has libertarians who like the philosophy behind a sales tax mighty wary.

He's on point

Jay Bookman on the religion of the free market:

Ideologically speaking, the conservatives' choice is already made. They have to believe that private enterprise is always, in every regard, preferable to government, even when, in practical terms, that approach makes no sense.