Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I might be wrong

OK, perhaps I need to issue a mea culpa on this Jim Martin thing because a second poll released today shows him within striking distance of Saxby Chambliss. Plus, there was an earlier poll by Rasmussen that had Martin down just seven, and these two polls are much, much closer than that.

It's Chambliss's to lose, but Martin's putting it into play. That said, let me encourage you to give him some coin.

UPDATE: In the Survey USA poll, Martin leads among men 47 percent to 45 percent. To quote a buddy of mine ... 'holy crap!'

District Six

Over in my old stomping grounds, it looks like we've actually got a race for Athens-Clarke County Commission District Six. Driving around town, I've seen a good number of Ed Robinson signs and, prior to our move, I had received a letter from him as well.

Not much out of Red Petrovs's camp yet, though I did see my first signs for him along Atlanta Highway near the Publix yesterday. Honestly, they're not attractive and pretty confusing. The campaign's slogan apparently is 'Pick Red Petrovs' so 'Pick Red' is larger in red text on a blue background, but 'Petrovs' is much, much smaller and almost impossible to read.

Seeing how things like yard signs spur name recognition, which is crucial in down-ballot, local races like this one (particularly ones lacking an incumbent), I wish someone would have advised Petrovs to go a different route.

I'm hoping to touch base with both candidates to get some thoughts on the race, but what about y'all? What are y'all hearing on this race or others?

Yeah, but ...

Naturally, I'm suspicious of this poll showing Jim Martin within three points of Saxby Chambliss. Make no mistake, I think Martin would be a vastly better senator than Chambliss, but I think this is an outlyer and, even if it wasn't, all it shows is a lack of confidence and enthusiasm toward Chambliss and not necessarily voters shifting toward Martin (as his poll numbers dropped two points as well).

Voters may not like Chambliss, but they're not sure about Martin either. The latter is running a tough and impressive media campaign, so I'm hopeful he can build on these numbers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some perspective

OK, Alabama came to play.

But, as completely crazy as it sounds, this game was not the complete domination that some have made it out to be. It isn't the end of the world for Georgia, and it doesn't even dash any sort of title hopes - SEC or national - largely based on the events of the past week. Yeah, it really sucks to lose like that on ESPN and it is beyond depressing to be down 31-0 at halftime, but I'd argue the Bulldogs were only a play or two away from winning this game and winning it outright.

Consider Alabama's successful scoring drives in the first half.

The first touchdown came thanks to a mulligan on a roughing the passer penalty that, though it was technically the proper call to make, is also an absolutely preposterous rule and should be enforced with much more leeway. Daryl Gamble, as he was properly coached, put up both hands to bat away John Parker Wilson's pass and, as he brought them down, one glanced by Wilson's facemask. Nothing malicious intended, but rather an aggressive player trying to make a play for his team.

The penalty wiped out an Alabama fumble, gave the Crimson Tide new life and they cashed in, going up 7-0.

Their next drive resulted in a field goal after a pair of silly penalties gave Alabama considerably better field position. Still, Georgia's defense held as it should have and forced a field goal to make it 10-0.

The Crimson Tide went up 17-0 after Brian Mimbs, one of the best punters in the SEC, shanked one only 18 yards, giving Alabama a short field to work with. As any good team should, the Tide cashed in.

It became 24-0 on what I feel was the definitive play of the game when A.J. Green loses a fluke fumble after picking up a first down in Alabama territory. If Green had been able to cleanly pivot and get past his defender, there was no one between him and end zone. So a 17-7 Alabama lead was transformed into a 24-0 one. This changed the entire complexion of the game for the rest of the contest.

Alabama puts together a nice drive and Wilson hits Julio Jones in stride for a touchdown to make it 31-0 at the halftime.

That's a rather atypical first half performance, is it not? A shanked punt from the conference's best punter spots Alabama probably 25 yards against a tired Georgia defense, coupled with a 14-point swing on one play. This game was very, very close to being - at worst - 17-7 Alabama at the half.

This is even more frustrating when you look at the second half when, as I properly called at halftime, Georgia came out and put up 31 points (30, I know, but the Bulldogs wouldn't have gone for two points if they weren't down by 18 at the time). Georgia held the Crimson Tide to no yards in the third quarter and rattled off 17 points in the blink of an eye. They tacked on two more touchdowns in three minutes to close the game out.

And they did it without ever committing to the running game (for obvious reasons seeing how the Bulldogs trailed by five scores at the half).

Look at the final statistics ... this 'dominating' Alabama team outgained Georgia by 10 yards. This 'dominating' Alabama was held to an average of 2.9 yards per rush, despite working behind one of the best offensive lines I've seen in a long, long while. This 'dominating' Alabama team threw for fewer yards than Arizona State did last week.

The Crimson Tide is a very, very good football team, but they are not - not - heads and shoulders above Georgia. They were very opportunistic and brilliantly took advantage of some Bulldog miscues - a silly penalty, a shanked punt, a fluke fumble - and turned those mistakes into 21 points.

If there's no penalty, does Georgia drive the length for a touchdown? If Green spins free and scores, does that energize the team and we rally to win big like Tennessee did to us two years ago?

Yes, I know it's all 'would have, could have' right now, and I ain't taking anything away from Alabama, but the hand-wringing that has already emerged and that only Georgia fans can do is misplaced and borderline preposterous. The Bulldogs have some question marks and some key injuries, but they've got enough talent and are well-coached enough to

And, honestly, someone point out a Georgia team under Mark Richt that has ever quit (um, that wasn't playing Tennessee)? West Virginia needed a fake punt to stave off the biggest collapse in a BCS bowl game. Virginia Tech couldn't hold off a team it had down on the mat. And, for a few moments in the fourth quarter until the Crimson Tide themselves woke up, Alabama was facing the same predicament.

Win out, and you still play for the national title. Lose just one game that isn't to Florida, and you play for the SEC Championship. The season ain't lost yet. Remember how lousy you felt after Tennessee last year? How much better did you feel at the end of the year?

A little perspective is all we need now.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Hamby

The decision of Elton Dodson to withdraw from the Athens-Clarke County Commission District 10 race means that Mike Hamby will assume that spot next year. As I noted earlier this summer, I've been lending a hand to Hamby's campaign, and I'm excited for him and I'm excited for the community.

Mike's an honest guy who is dedicated to progressive principles and possesses a pragmatic way of looking at things. He'll bring a much-needed small business perspective to the commission, and I think he'll do just fine.

Dodson and I sparred right off the bat after he joined the commission, but ultimately I think he served the community well. Make no mistake, he and I had disagreements over policy and over the roles and responsibilities of a commissioner, but Dodson is a good guy who desired to do good for his community. He worked hard to make Athens-Clarke County stronger. His service should be applauded, and I wish him and his family the best moving forward.

Hopeful, but wary

I think the open meeting between Melvin Davis and the trio of Oconee County Commissioners made some promising strides, but color me skeptical on Davis's instruction to request a survey of the county's employees.

Something about it seems somewhat shady to me, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the next time we hear about - if we hear anything at all - is with the employees overwhelmingly backing the current structure.

But ...

... how can this be? I thought Southern California was the best team ever?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Well ...

More local newsmaking as Political Insider picks up an interview between Tim Bryant and Tex Pitfield, an oil executive who is arguing that Sonny Perdue should cancel Saturday's Georgia-Alabama game.

Arguably, that ain't gonna happen, but it's interesting to note that Pitfield says that he urged the governor to take more proactive steps with regard to shoring up existing fuel supplies prior to Hurricane Ike.

Dodson out

Via two sources, Elton Dodson has withdrawn from the race for Athens-Clarke County Commission District 10.

Making a bad deal marginally better

If we're truly going to move forward with a massive welfare program to assist Wall Street CEOs whose own reckless habits fueled the situation we're in now, then at least it's shaping up to feature some of the components that I'd like to see in place.

Of course, it still stinks big-time, and I doubt if anyone knows if it will actually do anything to address the economic turmoil we're facing, and Lord knows it doesn't exactly do anything to help out struggling homeowners or folks dealing with rising energy and food prices, but whatever, right? I mean, the president sounds panicked and John McCain had to suspend his campaign, so we have to take action, right?

If we're going to do something, it ought to take into consideration some of these factors, and I know it's odd that I gravitate toward a conservative solution to this problem, but this plan seems to have some good legs to it. Namely, that if we increase the ability for folks to save, that in turn will increase capital available for the banks to use. And it comes with a benefit to the investor.

Of course, I don't think this should be a long-term solution, but rather a short-term one designed to have somewhat of the same effect as the ill-conceived initial bailout plan.

Why couldn't a hybrid of both plans work?

Why not something like ...

- Inject $100 billion - with the appropriate oversight, accountability and equity stake for the taxpayer - rather than $750 (particularly since the Bush administration pulled $750 billion from out of thin air);

- For a period of one year, remove all taxes on IRA accounts and match every $10 invested in those accounts with $1;

- Require that Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year's other forms of compensation;

- Give bankruptcy judges the ability to adjust mortgages.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It gets even better

OK ... OK ... OK ... OK ... if the institutions whose collapse has fueled this crisis are under investigation for fraud then why exactly should we give them anything?

Seems to me that if you defrauded investors, the last thing we ought to do is hand over a blank check.

Well, now

As if the game wasn't going to be interesting enough, an Alabama coach gives Georgia some bulletin board material.

Of course, I always thought you wore black to a funeral as a sign of respect for the loved one who's passed on? If Georgia's wearing black, wouldn't that mean Alabama's the one getting buried?

Just saying

I still have a low enthusiasm level for Jim Martin, but I have to say that he's put together some solid messaging this campaign and his ads look like they're top-notch quality. And his newest one is a nicely done concept.

Right down the road

Though it will arguably make the tailgating efforts a little more tricky, ESPN Gameday in the Myers Quad is pretty awesome, and it should offer a unique perspective too.

The analogy that I like to offer is that before ESPN earned the rights to cover the first two days of The Masters, they had to find places off the grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club to do their shows and their shoots. Typically, they wound up at Augusta Country Club, which literally backs right up into Amen Corner.

The first year, however, they rented a house at the corner of Magnolia Drive and Washington Road - three houses down from my grandmother's place - and did live shots from the front yard overlooking the scene outside the gates, which was pretty cool and gave folks the opportunity to gather around and watch the telecasts.

Coupled with another blackout, this should rock.


The thing I think Anthony Postero is right about is that I've noticed more careless cyclists on the road since the beginning of summer than I can previously recall which, as I've noted before, does a disservice to the individuals and groups who rightfully advocate for safe, alternative transportation options and actually follow the rules.

The comments that follow the letter offer some solutions to address this issue, but I think they don't get to the heart of the matter. If you want to see this problem addressed, you add bike lanes where applicable and affordable and hand out citations to cyclists who either ride side-by-side on the road or do not use a bike lane where one is available.

The enforcement of such a move might prove to be tricky, but it would seem to be an effective way to address the matter without penalizing the law-abiding cyclists in our community.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

End of an era

Hadn't really had a chance to process Larry Munson's retirement, but I can say that is was a long time coming. While Munson had begun to slow down in recent years, his playcalling skills had really diminished this season. In fact, I was forced to turn off the radio and listen to the TV broadcast during the Central Michigan game because it was getting rather confusing.

Which is a shame since he's arguably one of the greatest play-by-play announcers of all-time and a legend in Georgia athletics. Folks have been calling in to the radio shows offering their favorite Munson moments, and one that I haven't heard yet that is my personal favorite is his call of the Bulldogs' 37-17 win over Florida in 1997 that ended the streak (the first one!).



When you lose George Will and William Kristol you know this $700 billion giveaway to the folks who got us in the mess ... er ... Wall Street CEOs probably isn't a good idea.

Old ads rock


A compilation of old presidential campaign advertisements, complete with swinging 1970s-era music for Gerald Ford.

The Michael Dukakis one is classic.

Early voting

Insanely early voting is underway in Georgia, and here is a list of places of where you can go.

Mitigating circumstances

This is an interesting read regarding the proposed Epps Bridge Parkway shopping center. From my initial review, the project appears to be a monstrosity that will only exacerbate traffic along a corridor that is filling up with more and more vehicles on the road, along with stack up yet another strip mall that will roll into the predictably boom-and-bust cycle that practically all strip malls follow.

But Lee Becker's research regarding the oddity of the developer desiring to mitigate wetlands damage in Greene County rather than the immediate geographical area is another red flag. If this project is to march forward, any mitigation work should be done in the immediate area where the project has impacted the local environment, and Becker identified an emerging mitigation bank in Rose Creek that is available for credit purchase and, presumably, would offer the necessary ones needed to enable the project to proceed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gladiator Gala

Clarke Central High School is hosting the 'Gladiator Gala' to benefit its football program. For more information, see below ...

Gladiator Gala ‘08
Saturday, October 4th
The Classic Center – Foundry Building
7:00-10:00 pm

Tickets: $100 – admits two
Your ticket is your chance to win the Grand Prize - $3000.00 cash!

2nd Prize: $1000.00 cash

3rd Prize: $500.00 cash

Proceeds go to the Clarke Central Touchdown Club to support Clarke Central Football

Speakeasy Theme with Silent Auction Items

Live Entertainment with Mark Maxwell, Dinner Buffet, Cash Bar

Fun and Games and Lots of Prizes to Win!

Master of Ceremonies: Doc Eldridge, former Athens/Clarke County Mayor and current President of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce

Buy Your Ticket on-line: www.cchsgladiatorfootball.com

The Gladiator Gala is presented by the Clarke Central Touchdown Club and sponsored in part by the Classic Center. Thank you for your support!

Additional Information:
GALA Chair: Janis Maxwell
706-549-4533 or janis@firsttune.com

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gentle request

As a lot of you know, I'm the president of the board of directors for the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens, which is a coalition of area congregations that assist homeless families in need. Our annual golf tournament is scheduled for Monday, September 29, 2008 at Athens Country Club. I sent the following email out regarding the event to my personal contacts, and I wanted to put it up here as well. If you're interested, send me an email ...

Apologies for a mass email, but the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens is hosting its annual golf tournament on Monday, Sept. 29, 2008 at Athens Country Club. This year, I’m serving as the president of the board of directors, and this is our primary fundraiser for the year. It brings in approximately 20 to 25 percent of our annual budget, so it’s vital for our success.

The cost to play is $125 per golfer or $500 per team, and it covers green fees, cart fees, a boxed lunch and a gift bag. Prizes are awarded for long drive, closest-to-the-pin and low gross and low net team scores.

If you’re not familiar with our organization, IHN of Athens is a coalition of more than 15 area congregations that provides shelter and support to homeless families in need and helps put them back on the pathway to sustainable independence. We don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel as we work to connect our families with agencies and services in the community and give them the support they need.

It’s a great event with great fellowship at a great golf course. Please consider participating in the event by signing up or letting us know you’d like to play. ... Also, help us spread the word by circulating this email with your friends and colleagues who might be interested.

The deadline to let us know you’d like to play is the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, and you can pay when you arrive. All we need to know is if you want to play, who your possible team members are and your handicaps. If you’d like to get paired with a team, just let us know that too.

Thanks again everyone.

I'll field this one Harry

Um, well Kathryn ...

- Poverty rate pushing 30 percent

- Crippling traffic and infrastructure woes

- A stagnant housing market in a community with massively overbuilt apartments and condos

- Water management woes in light of the drought

- Concerns over economic development

I'm not necessarily opposed to the light pollution ordinance, but to say it's something which outranks issues like these is kinda silly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I was sorely negligent in keeping up with The Office last year, but after catching last year's season finale and realizing that Amy Ryan is joining the cast, I'm very much excited about the upcoming season.

Powell lands key endorsement

This is a nice endorsement for Jim Powell, particularly seeing how Angelia Spier is not only the current commissioner in that spot, but also is a Republican ...

Jim Powell endorsed by PSC incumbent Angela Speir

HIAWASSEE, Ga. - Jim Powell, Democratic nominee for Georgia Public Service Commission, District 4, has received the endorsement of the current holder of that office, Commissioner Angela Speir.

Speir, a Republican, said she wholeheartedly supports Powell’s candidacy because of his superior qualifications and commitment to stand up for Georgia consumers, which she said are more important than political party affiliation.

“I endorse Jim Powell for the Public Service Commission because he is the best person for the job,” Speir said. “Jim is knowledgeable and ethical. He understands that public service is about serving the people and making honest, fair decisions on their behalf. I have worked tirelessly on the Commission for the betterment of our state. I am proud to support Jim because I know he will do the same.”

Powell said, “I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of Commissioner Angela Speir. During her service on the PSC, she has made the interest of consumers her top priority and has taken a stand on numerous occasions for open government and ethical conduct on the part of the commission. I also intend to follow Commissioner Speir’s example by earning Georgia voters’ support in this election against a career politician who is beholden to the special interests and lobbyists who are financing his campaign.”

Powell, a first-time candidate for office, retired in February 2007 after 35 years of public service. He served as a Senior Executive with the U. S. Department of Energy, managing a number of initiatives and a budget of over $300 million, and as the Southeast Regional Director, based in Georgia. Jim and Karen, his wife of 37 years, live in Hiawassee. They have two adult sons and two adorable granddaughters.

On July 15, Powell received 85 percent of the statewide primary vote to earn the Democratic nomination.

For more information, visit www.jimpowellforgapsc.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Asking again

Ben echoes my thoughts on Bobby Saxon with a fine piece of work that ends with this money quote ...

And (Saxon) poses a good question: If I’m too far to the right for you, then how about Paul Broun?

I had a couple of conversations with some folks yesterday who, in honest terms, explained their hestitation in financially supporting Saxon. And they had some valid concerns, including ones that I don't necessarily disagree with.

But that misses the point altogether ... Broun is a disaster of a congressman, and we created him. We got all up in arms because Jim Whitehead made some inappropriate comments about Athens-Clarke County so, when Jim Marlow got bumped out of the runoff election, a good number of moderates and Democrats in this area flocked to back Broun solely to keep Whitehead out.

And what did it get us? How about a congressman whose own philosophical views hinder him from actually representing his constituents yet don't seem to matter when it comes to him spending taxpayer money to get himself reelected. How about a congressman who is more than happy to propose a bill that may address a possible issue in the American Southwest but can't be bothered to fight for the USDA facility in his own backyard.

Say what you want about Whitehead - and I can say a lot - but I've got a feeling he would have known how to work within the system and provide better representation for the 10th District than Broun ever could.

Broun played us, and now he's betting that he won't be held accountable for the things he's done or the representation he fails to provide to the people of this district. But, I'll tell you this ... there's chinks in Broun's armor, there's discontent among Republicans in the Augusta area, there's interest beginning to build for Saxon in traditionally red areas and, with a little bit of help, this could get pretty interesting.

Remember how Democrats in the Athens area got behind Broun to tip him over against Whitehead? Imagine if Republicans in the Augusta area got behind Saxon to tip him over against Broun? It can happen if he gets the resources to get his message out.

I'm asking again ... consider helping Saxon out.

Where's Mrs. King?

Um, awesome?

Bonus points for who gets the title reference.


I'm glad to see Athens-Clarke County moving forward with consideration of placing advertisements on the community's buses. This is something I've been an advocate of for quite some time, and I think it's the right decision.

I am somewhat disappointed they opted out of the wrap-around advertisments, not only from an aesthetic point of view but also because it has the real potential to cut into revenue (and given the difficult economic times, maximizing revenue is crucial these days). The rationale, which is understandable, is that those ads are typically sold in longer blocks of time (Blake's article notes 12 to 24 months), and I would assume this is because of the cost of applying and removing the ads.

Still, I wish more flexibility would be considered with regard to this proposed trial period of this venture. If more revenue could be generated by permitting the wrap-around ads, in addition to presenting a more interesting look to our buses, why not set a one-year trial period for this?

Typically, that's presumed to be a permittable period of time and it's been a timeframe the community's used in the past (i.e. the initial compromise on the smoking ban).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Further showing his disconnect for reality, as well as an apparent lack of restraint for a campaign spokesperson, Tim Echols tells us that Paul Broun refusing to debate Bobby Saxon is the media's fault.

Granted this is a puzzling line of argument to take, and all that was lacking was Echols's writing 'I told the Athens Press Club thanks but thanks to that debate to nowhere.' Then again, I can't make much sense of what Broun and his allies do these days (well, aside from spending taxpayer money to get re-elected and propose bills addressing supposed issues in California while turning a blind eye to advocating for projects in Georgia).

Instead of trying to manipulate debate in this election, maybe the media should sit back and cover the events as they happen.

Um, like this one? How about this one?

Listen, this man doesn't represent this district. He promotes himself, and it's time that everyone realizes this. Help out Bobby Saxon, and let's make sure Broun doesn't (not) serve us anymore.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Consolidating power?

Well, like Hillary, I think we've got some positives in this, but I'm not sure setting up the power for the state to dismantle or take over school boards is the best course of action.

Granted it may be the most appropriate solution given all other options, or lack thereof, but something just doesn't feel right about letting the state come in and take over a locally elected governing body. Again, we're not talking about taking over a school system, but a school board, and that makes me remain cautious.

Can someone help me out with recall election information? Obviously you want to have certain precautions in place to avoid silly recall attempts, but a recall vote is much more locally centered and places the power in the hands of the community, not the state government.

A programming note

I'm actually hoping to write a little something on last night's forum on public service, which I thought was quite good and featured good ideas from both Barack Obama and John McCain.

Just saying.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Um ...

At the forum on national service, dealing with a question regarding expanded federal grant funding for community service opportunities (i.e. non-profit work), John McCain said he wasn't sure if he could support that because he wouldn't want to stifle the work already being done by agencies which don't receive funding of that type.

Now, speaking as someone who works with non-profits in areas such as these, I haven't met one yet that would be 'stifled' by additional funding. It seems to me there are probably logical arguments to make against such funding, but 'stifling' their work by increasing their revenue doesn't make sense at all to me.

Two items of note

A couple of interesting articles involving issues dealing with homelessness and poverty with the first being that the Midtown Security Alliance called for a boycott of Whole Foods due to its decision to donate a portion of its sales to the Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter, and the outcry was so severe that the fundraiser was called off.

On the surface, this is rather offensive (and even when you dig a bit, it's still offensive), but there have been a list of noted problems involving the Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter. Since it serves as an overflow shelter in a major urban area, it primarily deals with chronic homeless individuals which typically means that population is more prone to deal with crime, mental illness, etc. It's a needed service, but it's also one that requires a considerable amount of attention and care, and this shelter didn't seem to be able to offer those types of services - or adequate shelter - and some individuals appeared to cause some problems for the community.

Now, this Atlanta Business Journal article traced some of those problems, but also showed how the shelter was attempting to get a handle on those challenges. In fact, it was hoping to develop a mixed-use, multi-purpose facility that could put those it served on a better path. It's unclear, though, whether or not the shelter was actually able to do a better job in policing its property or implementing the necessary changes in service delivery to do any good.

Just thought it was interesting.

Related to that, Atlanta is putting in meters for donations for the homeless a la Athens-Clarke County. It's not that I'm opposed to that by any means, it's just that I don't think it's terribly effective in deterring panhandling or encouraging giving.

Break out the bobbleheads!

Tim Bryant over at 1340-AM had it first, but everyone's got it now as Paul Broun has decided to not debate Bobby Saxon in Athens-Clarke County ... which is barely a year after Broun harshly criticized Jim Whitehead for not debating him in Athens-Clarke County. Of course, that was when Broun was running as a faux populist(ish) conservative insurgent, and now he's just a sitting congressman fending off a challenge.

I'm not terribly shocked by Broun's refusal since, obviously, it's a political decision (one has to assume he's in control of this election and there's no real need to put himself on the same stage as his challenger, particularly given how poor of a debater Broun is).

But I'm also not shocked seeing how Broun has been revealed to be nothing more than a blatant hypocrite more concerned with self-preservation than either adhering to his own supposed principles or actually serving his constituents in a way that doesn't use them as political pawns.

While I'm not of the mindset that debates - at least in their current structure in today's environment where it's all for show anyway - are overwhelmingly necessary to the political process, they are useful tools that gives voters the ability to see candidates stand side-by-side and air our their differing views. But, then again, that isn't the real problem here.

The real problem is that we have a congressman who is more obsessed with parroting some ridiculously false narrative about his principled views, but time and time again does the exact opposite and it hurts our district.

Broun opposed seeking funding for local projects, passing the buck to Georgia's two senators to get the job done, but is more than happy to take credit for their success.

Broun talks about responsible, fiscal conservatism, but has no qualms about spending almost every dime of his taxpayer-supported congressional budget by mid-year solely to help him fend off a primary challenge from a more well-funded opponent.

Broun decries 'big government intervention' but is all to eager to do so to address what may or may not be a problem in California.

And now, Broun was for the debates before he was against them.

It would be pathetically comical if it wasn't so real ... and if Highway 78 was dotted with massive yards signs featuring Broun's smug grin, as if he knows that he's pulled the biggest joke on all of these voters.

Brian's got a good take on this at his place, and it's definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Um ...

Further proof that up is down to some folks, Erick tells us he'd back Karen Handel for governor.

Karen Handel.

If that travesty happened, would she be the first governor in state history who didn't finish college?

Band geeks vs. jocks


Forget accusations of the Athens Banner-Herald being biased for liberals or conservatives let's focus on the real debate ... the Clarke Central marching band taking on its football team war!

Granted I think Joseph's Trotochaud's claim that the football team doesn't need lines to practice is kinda far-fetched - it's always good to know exactly how far 25 yards is if you're working on, say, a slant patten designed to pick up 25 yards - there isn't a workable solution to this? Clarke Central has two fields to work on in their practice field and Billy Henderson Stadium, and one of those should have lines on it at all times.

Then again, you wouldn't necessarily want a group of individuals trampling all over your football field to practice a five minute routine when you've got to spend 48 minutes on it that same evening.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Unnecessary precedent

I meant to comment on this sooner, but booting Tom Leach off the Oconee County Planning Commission seems kinda silly to me.

There are no rules which stipulate that Leach must step down. It seems to be more of a localized precedent as Mike Maxey stepped back during his run for office a while back, but I don't see how one can't adequately represent his community on the planning commission while campagining. Presumeably Leach is running for office because of the experiences he's had and the issues he's dealt with while serving Bogart on the commission.

But the deal with Maxey was that he was permitted to return to the commission after taking a leave of absence from the commission and, as the article notes, Leach won't be able to because he was forcibly removed from his slot. This whole thing seems preposterous to me, and it smacks of some sort of political retribution.

Challenges of growth

Hmmmm ... I don't know about this, namely because I haven't determined what I think the most efficient form of government would be. Currently, Athens-Clarke County operates with a full-time appointed position of county manager which is ably handled by Alan Reddish, while electing a separate position of mayor to serve, more or less, as the guiding voice of the commission (setting the agenda, developing the budget, managing the various meetings, serving as one of the government's representatives in the community, etc.).

For the most part, this set-up has served the community well.

However, I've also had a belief that the mayor should have more authority than the position currently has now, and that any sort of slot for a manager would be someone who would be more of a chief of staff for the mayor, assisting him/her in implementing the necessary changes.

Truth be told, I don't know which arrangement would work better, but I do agree with Carl Jordan's assessment ... which is namely that Athens-Clarke County is a growing community that will face more complicated and larger challenges due to said growth. A full-time position with a pay scale that is comparable to ones in neighboring communities makes sense.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Nothing yet

No word yet on if Paul Broun will actually debate Bobby Saxon despite the latter's request to financially challenged congressman to do so in each county.

What myth?

Aside from playing politics, Karen Handel also enjoys spinning a yarn or two, as evident by her inability to do basic math with regard to voter registrations ...

"Statistics on [the Secretary of State's] website show that between January and August of this year, black voter registration rose by 149,840 (from 1,226,426 to 1,376,266 – an increase of 12.2%).

During the same time period, white voter registration increased by 159,650 (from 2,967,199 to 3,126,840 – an increase of 5.38%).

That's 309,490 newly-registered voters during the time period, 51.5 percent of them white and 48.4 percent of them black.

Whatever it is – or is not – it's different from what was happening four years ago.
During the same time frame in 2004, the number of black voters rose by 47,379 (from 1,017,579 to 1,064,958 – a gain of 4.7%) and the number of white voters rose by 21,641 (from 2,757,792 to 2,779,433 – a gain of 0.78%)."

This can largely be attributed to the aggressive voter registration efforts made by Barack Obama (and some additional response to that from grassroots GOP organizations), and while I still don't see him winning Georgia it's absurd for Handel to suggest there hasn't been a surge in registrations here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fun with (electoral) maps

Now that we've pushed our way through vice presidential selections and party conventions, we're settling into the actual horserace of the campaign as both Barack Obama and John McCain have less than 60 days until Election Day.

As one would expect, the post-convention bounces have arrived with Obama opening up a lead of five or more points following the close of the Democratic National Convention, and the McCain camp effectively neutralizing that with the Sarah Palin announcement and following Republican National Convention.

Of course, national tracking polls don't really tell much of the story, which is why looking at the electoral vote tracking is a much better gauge of the race. Two sites I like are Electoral Vote and Five Thirty Eight (both also focus on Senate and House races too).

Looking at their numbers, a little less than two months out Obama still appears to be a favorable position, though the Palin pick and convention bounce will help McCain in places like Florida and Colorado which have trended toward Obama in recent weeks.

Based on the state of the race now - and knowing the winning candidate would need 270 votes - Obama is looking at 210 'safe' electoral votes and McCain is sitting on 176 'safe' votes. From there, Obama has the edge in four key states that would put him over the top in Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17) and New Mexico (5).

I would expect Obama to take Pennsylvania and Michigan and, as of now, I'm thinking Ohio goes his way too. The Palin pick makes that state more interesting, but I think economic issues are going to be more at play there than whatever she brings to the ticket.

I do think, though, that Palin's presence takes places like Montana and North Dakota - Mountain West states that are trending Democratic at the state level and where Obama is either holding slim margins or running strong - off the table. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, who knows.

Florida is one of two wild cards. The state didn't warm up to Obama during the primaries, but McCain's positions on Social Security might hurt him with elderly voters and no one knows how Palin will play with them. I think it ultimately falls for McCain, but I'm not sure.

Virginia is the other one. Before the Palin pick, I would have put money on the state going blue, but her presence on the ticket will energize social conservatives who still have some pull in this state. While the Mountain West states are undergoing a switch to swing state status across the board, Virginia is the only state on the east coast not named 'Florida' that is shaping up that way. I think McCain wins it though, meaning he'd also take North Carolina.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Just saying

Well, I mean, obviously Wendy Osborne should be charged in the death of the nine-month-old child left in a mini-van.

I'm quite sure it was an accident, but accidents result in criminal charges all the time. If I 'accidently' run into someone's car, I may not have intended to ... but, more than likely, I'm going to face some sort of penalty for it. Now, change 'run into someone's car' with 'leave a nine-month-old in a mini-van for more than two hours on a 90-degree day while you went inside to get a nap, all the while remembering to get a pair of other children out of the car' and, um, yeah ... you should face some charges and appropriate punishment.

Of course, you don't want to know what I think the punishment should be because whatever it ultimately will be, it won't be harsh enough in my book.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Athens Volunteer Service Expo

Let me give a plug to the Athens Volunteer Service Expo, which is slated for Sept. 26 at The Classic Center. It showcases several non-profit organizations in town and is a great opportunity to find one you might be interested in working with.

Also, if you're a non-profit organization, touch base with them and sign up if you're looking for volunteer help. It's $50 to get a booth, and it's free to attend.

Pay attention

Let me agree with Kelley Timms on this issue.

It isn't as if we don't need more forms of alternative transportation or safe avenues for cyclists to use, it's that you have several folks who don't give a flip about the good work advocated by groups like BikeAthens.

For every cyclist who adheres to rules, I see two or three - a large number of them students at the University of Georgia - who completely disregard them, and that's infuriating. Driving through downtown Athens-Clarke County or through the UGA campus can be trying because you have cyclists and pedestrians who absolutely don't care about where they cross the street, when they cross the street, if they stop at the light or whether or not they weave in and out of traffic.

And their actions give a negative - and unfounded - perception of the folks who advocate for things like multi-use pathways or more pedestrian-friendly measures.

That's the real problem here.

No thanks

Travis Marshall can file all the lawsuits he wants, but the Oconee County Commission made the right choice by adhering to the overwhelming wishes of the community and following the plan for development. Marshall's proposal ran contrary to both of those, and it was rightfully denied.

Keeping that area of the county in its more rural state is the right choice, as is encouraging denser pockets of development in targeted areas in the north portion of the county, as evidenced by the upcoming vote on the proposed shopping center near the Oconee Connector.

I'm not a huge fan of said proposal seeing how there's a lot of wasted opportunity with regard to how the Epps Bridge Parkway corridor has been developed to date, but at least it follows the rational of targeted development rather than what used to go on, which was random developments with little to no regard for the actual environment near them.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Apparently in getting ready for the brand new version of Beverly Hills 90210, which debuts tonight, one of our cable channels decided to air a 24-hour marathon of the original series focusing on Shannon Doherty's time with the show (as an aside, I have no memory of her going off to college in Minnestoa and returning for one final season).

The Wife and I were watching the high school graduation episode - the one right after 'Donna Martin graduates' - and I commented 'doesn't Dylan skip the graduation and go sailing around the world' ...

And then it hit me that I was confusing another classic teen-angst drama, Dawson's Creek with Beverly Hills 90210. I was promptly corrected.

No real point to this story ...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day event for Saxon

From the Saxon campaign ...

This Labor Day, come join the Saxon Campaign at Athens' own premier downtown movie theater, Ciné, to celebrate the contributions of hard-working Americans and the American Labor movement! The celebration will start in the space behind Ciné, where we'll provide good eats (while supplies last), and you'll have an opportunity to meet Bobby Saxon, your candidate for Congress who is running against Paul Broun. After the meet and greet, Ciné is screening a 2008 documentary about the life of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Make sure you get your tickets when you arrive, as they most likely will sell out!

Watch the movie with Bobby, then stay afterwards for a discussion of the film. The bar and baristas are great at Ciné; you can take drinks into the movie and enjoy them during the discussion, too! Please arrive promptly, both to enjoy the food and, more importantly, to take the time to meet our first-rate candidate!

If you plant to attend, please RSVP so we can plan food accordingly. You can either respond to this message, or RSVP through the Facebook event page here: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=26054441087