Thursday, October 25, 2007

Drought Work Session

We'll be doing a bit of "liveblogging" coverage of the Commission drought work session. We've already dialed up the red carpet coverage pre-meeting coverage of Blake Aued dropping his note pad. Stay tuned for more excitement.

Finally starting up; Heidi apologizes for sitting with her back to the audience, apparently because of the large screen used for the work session.

Fun fact: We are now in what is called an exceptional drought, which means it's only expected to be this dry once every 100 years.

We're now apparently liveblogging JobTV. Oh wait, just kidding. And there it goes again. I guess that job in Monroe was more important than the three words I missed. Seriously, can I get a job managing the feeds for Channel 7? Cause this guy sucks. Also, that slide is giving me a headache.

Seems like the bottom line is that the steps taken so far are kinda working, and we'll probably be ok so long as we keep conserving like we've been doing and so long as it rains somewhere in the normal range the rest of the year and early next year. If not, we'll eventually have to take Step F, which apparently involves some mandatory reduction in usage. Violations will involve a 10 times rate for amounts over the limit, that plus a $1,000 surcharge for a second offense, and all of that plus a service disruption for a third offense.

No change in current drought conditions would place Step F as occurring on December 14, 2007. We would then have to start to use internal back-ups (Lake Chapman and the Loop 10 reservoir, which I didn't even know we had until tonight) on February 23, 2008 if things didn't improve before then.

However, it unfortunately sounds like a mandate from Sonny may force us to go to Step F sooner than that. We have to cut an additional 10%, even though we've already taken steps that other communities haven't taken. No good deed goes unpunished.

Maxwell is talking about paper plates and such. Now he's suggesting a 4-day work week. Cool!

Hoard makes the case for multi-year averages instead of a 12-month average in calculating the base from which a % must be reduced, suggesting that a 12-month average unfairly penalizes companies that have proactively taken steps to conserve in recent years. I don't disagree, except that it might drive up the amount of reduction that has to come from residential.

Girtz: "This is a great drought, and I thank you for it."

Guvmint low-flow showerheads for the poor, courtesy of fines against violators? That might work.

Ok, I've got to go eat and watch BC-VT. My civic engagement only goes so far. I'll refrain from ordering water.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Flounder Files: Really?

Sigh. Why do I get the feeling that "really?" is a word I'll be using quite often with this guy?

So, another email from Rand "Flounder" Knight, candidate for U.S. Senate, fell into my inbox from an anonymous friend. Here's the headline:

Rand Knight leads new poll!

Stop the friggin' presses!!!!!!!!

So this Flounder guy, who hasn't even made it into any Georgia poll that I've seen, who hasn't even really made it into most of the news stories I've read about this race, is leading in a poll?


Hmm, this bears reading. Maybe I've judged him harshly. Maybe I've been under a political rock for the last few weeks and missed a sudden Flounder-surge.

Not so much, no.

The poll in question was an online poll (apparently fairly old) that was hosted on something called (Long domain names much?) Apparently it's a social networking (translation: one step up from dating) site for the politically inclined.

And, the "lead" Rand brags about breaks down like this:
Rand Knight: 16.28%
Dale Cardwell: 11.63%
Vernon Jones: 0.00%

Hmm... I did go to public schools, but I know a little math. Enough to know that 16.28 + 11.63 + 0 = 27.91. And enough to know that 27.91 is less than 100%. Fortunately, the kids over at Blog for Democracy have the answers I see. (Those Atlanta folks - so bright and on top of their bloggin' stuff.) Sez Bernita:

Wyc Orr: 25.58%
Rand Knight: 16.28%
Dale Cardwell: 11.63%
Vernon Jones: 0.00%
Jim Marshall: 46.51%

So what you're saying is, Flounder is not so much leading, as he is trailing two guys who aren't even in the damn race (one of whom may not even be much of a Democrat) in a poll conducted on a social networking site?


Yeah, that's some shit to brag about, Flounder. Keep up the good work.

What can Broun do for you?

Saw this on a blog from the Bobby Saxon campaign. Saxon, you may recall, is challenging Congressman Paul Broun in the 10th District. (The Flem is also running.) Saxon is a Democrat, but by most accounts, the most serious Democrat to run in the 10th in a while. Being quick to respond when Broun acts the fool is a good indication that he might actually be a serious candidate.

Sez Bobby:

What can Broun do for you? Not much if you’re a Georgia child in need of healthcare

ATHENS, Ga. Democratic Congressional candidate Bobby Saxon released the following statement on last night's vote in the House of Representatives to re-authorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). S-CHIP is the parent program for Georgia's successful PeachCare program, which provides affordable health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Georgia children.

“I'm deeply disappointed that Congressman Broun chose to put party above principle with his vote last night. I'm not a doctor like my opponent is, but I do know the Hippocratic Oath, and its charge to protect patients from harm.

“With his vote against children's health care, Congressman Broun has broken that promise and, if he had his way, hundreds of thousands of Georgia children, and their families, would be harmed.

“I'm going to fight to keep our promise to our children, because this is about more than just a health care bill. Healthy children do better in school, they learn more, and they succeed. That's good, not just for the children and their families, but for the future of America's workforce and economy. When I am elected to Congress, I will always put the interests of our families and children first.”

Bobby Saxon is a small business owner and has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and led a Homeland Security mission. Saxon also serves as Chair of the Jackson County Democratic Party and is a member of the Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee. Please go to for more information on Bobby Saxon and his campaign for United States Congress.

Ok, not bad. I don't know whether this went to reporters (how about it, Blake?), or his email list or what. I picked it up from Tondee's Tavern. Still, nice one, Mr. Saxon.

The bloggernetz are angry!!

At one Jim Marshall, that is. Seems Rep. Marshall, a Democrat from Macon, did the unthinkable - he voted against his party on extending children's health care.

Flackattack is pee-yossed!

And even more pee-yossed!

Since, once upon a time, we here in "Heidi's world" had a congressman who bucked the party line more than some of us would like, how about the Athens take on this whole thing. (Don't worry, our former Congressman voted for children's health care, and he approves of them dawgs too!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Get a load of this guy!

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce you to Rand Knight, Democrat for U.S. Senate. You've probably never heard of ol' Rand. That's cool. For your background information, he's been in the Senate race for a handful of months and has just made the transition to actually being mentioned in newspaper stories.

Anyway, Rand Knight is not having the best week ever. First, he and his fellow candidates, Cardboard and Snuggles, got royally dissed by the national Democrats and state party chairwoman Jane Kidd. (Don't act so shocked folks, they're only saying what everybody knows - the candidates for U.S. Senate suck.)

Then, he decides to declare war on the AJC by launching into a whiny tirade over at Tondee's Tavern. JMac is all over this one like a hipster on a PBR.

Then, this afternoon, Jim Galloway and Bob Kemper over at the AJC's Political Insider delivered this hot, steaming nugget into my RSS reader. Rand has jumped on the bandwagon of 21st Century politics by making a bad YouTube video. Here you go.

Really? Ok, a few points to make here.

  • His head looks extraordinarily, um...tall. That's a mega-noggin.
  • "Technical and sales background." Really? Because voters really seem to like salesmen, right?
  • Is it just me, or does his "southern accent" sound contrived? I don't mean a little exaggerated, I'm talking Nick Cage in "Con Air" bad. ("Put thuh bunneh in thuh bawx.")
Anyway, I never thought that I'd say this, but this guy makes me miss the political juggarnaut that was Cliff Oxford.

In the grand tradition of Tondee's Tavern and their candidate nicknames, I hereby christen Mr. Rand Knight....



Sunday, September 16, 2007

The GlennTax Travels, part II: D-I-V-O-R-C-E

The GlennTax travels, part II:
in which we talk about the 'Stache's control issues and why even prominent Republicans are less than thrilled about this idea. Also, we show Elton the love.

Control Issues:
To a lot of folks, the biggest slam on the GlennTax is it's decimation of the concept of local control. If you've followed Georgia politics closely for the past few years (you know who you are ... dork), then you know that the state Republican party created and solidified its hold on the majority in the General Assembly on the issue of local control. The line was essentially, "those big-gummint, tax-n-spend libruls are tryin' to run everthang from up in Atlanta! We [the GOP] recognize your right to run your community how you want to run it."

With all due respect, fellas - horseshit. The GlennTax is a direct, and probably gut-busting, shot to home rule and local control, because it takes the primary revenue stream for cities and counties and throws it in the trash. Instead, your county government is going to have to go to Atlanta, hat in hand, and beg the Stache (aka Speaker Richardson) for money every time you want to buy a fire engine, hire some new first grade teachers, or pick up the latest Jackie Collins pageturner for your local library.

Now, the Stache will tell you that if his nefarious scheme goes through, Athens is guaranteed to get as much money from the gummint next year as they collected in property taxes this year. Fair enough, but what about the year after, and the year after that? And, what if Athens wants to make a big, necessary capital expenditure, say building a new middle school? There's no guarantee that the State will release the funds. In fact, since Athens is represented in the House by two Democrats and one Republican (and let's be honest, Bob Smith only represents a tiny sliver of this town), smart money is on Paulding County getting a new middle school (or fire truck, or whatever) before Athens does.

As long as Republicans are in power, the GlennTax has the additional benefit of being "re-election insurance" for GOP incumbents, because they'll always bring back the bacon. So, it's a pretty sneaky way of getting close to that "permanent majority" about which some Republicans like to fantasize. (When they're not fantasizing about other things.)

Needless to say, a lot of local officials are less than excited about the possibility of going from being elected leaders to elected beggars. Here in ACC, Mayor Heidi Davison is all het up (and good on her!), and Super-Commissioner Elton Dodson, who is not always known for his reticence and tact, was pretty miffed as well. Sez Dodson:
"We would lose all local autonomy. ... It's the end of home rule in Georgia. It's the end of local control..." (ABH 08/27/07)

He's right, you know.

GOP to the Stache: Um... not so much, no
But those are just the insane ramblings of a bunch of mixed up libruls. Surely the GOP establishment is standing squarely behind the Stache and his tax pony?

Um... no.

In fact, GOP leaders like Governor Sonny Perdue, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson are publicly expressing their concerns about the GlennTax. And in a Georgia accustomed to monolithic GOP posturing, even the expression of mild concern is the political equivalent of declaring Glenn Richardson and his little plan dead to them.

Face it, these guys are divorcing themselves from Glenn Richardson and his plan and running the other way as fast as they can.

Even Phil Kent, who is to conservative meme what Britney Spears is to poor fashion choices, expressed some mild disagreement on this morning's "Georgia Circlejerk Gang."

Wrapping it up:
So to sum up, here's what you've got on the Glenn Tax. As we saw in part 1 of our Magical Mystery Tour, you're getting a whole slew of new taxes to make up for one tax, and the Stache would really appreciate it if you didn't notice that you're going to be paying those new taxes so that WalMart gets a tax break. And, if that isn't enough, it's also going to make sure that the Stache gets to dictate what goes on in your community, instead of your duly elected local leaders. Also, no one really likes it, other than Glenn and his cronies.

Join us for the next chapter, wherein we talk about alternatives, politely disagree with Flack and JMac, and make fun of the Stache some more.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Flem is loose!

So it's official. The Flem is running. (HA!) If you're interested in hearing him make it officially official, you could tune into Tim Bryant's show tomorrow morning.

Anywhich, Broun tells our pal Blake that he ain't skeered. Which is good, because if he were actually quaking in his boots, it would make it harder for the Flem to smack him around.

But, as previously mentioned, don't rule out hometown boy Bobby Saxon. As Blake points out:
"The Iraq veteran from Jackson County manages to slam the surge and the New York Times, and both praise and criticize, all in the same press release. Well played, sir."

He's right, you know. It's a small thing, but it's a smart triangulation move, and shows a level of political sophistication that hasn't been seen in this district in quite some time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Roundup: September 9th, 2007

Here's some stuff.

  • JMac no likey Food Lion. What's next, war on Ingle's?
  • I wax eloquent about the GlennTax. (Preview: it sucks!)
  • Jim T talks about noun wars. As a veteran of the gerund conflicts of '87, I can't agree more. Never again. (Ok, seriously, Jim makes good points here.)
  • Bill Shipp continues to barrel down the slippery slope from "crotchety" to "irrelevant" with this column. One point I'm going to make in opposition to this piece: Hillary Clinton is currently ahead of Obama, and by a not insignificant margin, in Georgia. And guess what, even that doesn't matter, because it's five months until we vote. A lot can happen in five months.
  • A few days ago, Blake's blog had an interesting thread with some good comments on poverty.

GlennTax Travels: Part I

[Editor's note: For the love of Girtz! You go away on a quick, year-long vacay, and this is what happens to AthPo? Seriously guys. All righty, let's pick it up.]

GlennTax Travels, Part I
In which we explore stalking horses, and how you're helping big-box business get ahead.

So, the editorial board at the ABH thinks Glenn Richardson needs to give it up on his whole "GlennTax," "Tax Pony," "I wanna be your Speaker and your banker" ish. For what it's worth, they're 110% right, but I don't know if I want to see what comes next to replace the GlennTax. Anyway, this gives me a great opportunity to jump in with one of those rambling, half-ass analyses that I know we all enjoy. Buckle in tight, kids, 'cos I got a few things on my mind. So many things in fact, that they can only be thoroughly explored in a multi-part series that will be posted as I feel like it.

The Stalking Horse Theory:

Some bloggers believe that the 'Stache (that's hipster bloggerspeak for Richardson, if you're keeping score at home) has no intention of passing his plan, and is instead using it as a stalking horse for a much more "reasonable" plan (and by reasonable, I mean less overtly crappy) that he can bring in as a "compromise" measure (and by compromise, I mean that they're going to ram it down your throat the same way they do everything else) later down the road.

Some folks think the GlennTax is a placeholder, designed to rile people up enough that Glenn can then pull the plan and replace it with a similar idea proposed by his loyal minion, Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons). Keen's scheme would replace property taxes with an increase in the statewide sales tax. I don't need to tell you that this is a terrible idea, for many of the same reasons that the GlennTax itself is a bad idea. In fact, it's very much the same plan, although it is less ambitious in scope. Of course, being less ambitious in the scope of taxes you're getting rid of means that the numbers fail to add up in an even more egregious fashion.

For what it's worth, I'm inclined to think that this theory is at least possible. It's not outside the realm of possibility that the 'Stache and his posse know that Keen's plan is a political turd, and the only way to polish it is by making it stack up favorably against an even bigger, stinkier bill. However, on the other hand, I'm not sure that the Speaker's ego will let him knowingly introduce a straw plan to block for Keen's bill.

Wal-Mart to Athens, Thanks for picking up our tax bill!

Here's another point that hasn't gotten much air time with respect to the GlennTax. As anyone who's been following this thing knows, if it passes, your property taxes go bye-bye. Sounds great, right? I mean, heck, sign me up! But wait, it's not just your property taxes going away, it's everybody's property taxes going away, and that means mine, Heidi's, JMac's, and - hmmm, oh yeah - every mall, factory, private college, McWendyKing's, car dealership, and every other business in the state of Georgia. And did I mention that bane of progressive suburban existence, Wal-Mart? Y'see, the 'Stache wants to frame this debate around residential property taxes, and he would just as soon nobody think about the fact that (almost) all properties pay property taxes. What that means for you and me is that businesses get an oh-so-sweet tax break, while we get a somewhat less-than-sweet tax break that, depending on your income, consumption, etc, may or may not end up costing you more money. Put another way, we're going to lose the property tax revenue from the new Lowe's, and that money has to be made up somehow. Guess who's going to be making it up? Consumers.

And that's why the GlennTax should perhaps be called the "GlennTaxes," because he's making up for that revenue shortfall by introducing a whole host of brand new taxes on everything from the will you get your lawyer to draw up to your haircuts, your tax preparation, the guys who cut your lawn, even your freakin' babysitter. So, while your babysitter is calculating the sales tax you owe her for watching the rugrats while you spent a few hours at Cine, please rejoice in the fact that you are helping Lowe's and Wal-Mart duck their fair share of the tax burden.

Stay tuned for Part II of the GlennTax travels, in which we talk about the 'Stache's control issues and why even prominent Republicans are less than thrilled about this idea. Also, we show Elton the love.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Flem rises...

According to CQ, Augusta state rep Barry "the Flem" Fleming is going to get into the race for the 10th Congressional District. And, as anyone with half a brain could've predicted, the folks down in Augusta have got a big ol' girlcrush on the Flem. Sez Debbie McCord, who runs the GOP in Columbia County, “Barry is very popular in our area and I do know he has a lot of support.”

Translation: Screw you, Broun. How dare you get elected from Athens?

Hey, by the by, isn't the Flem the state rep who got busted for DUI? No wait, that was this dude.

Not that Broun is any prize pig himself. I know, I know, he got elected because Whitehead essentially took a big fat dump on our civic pride. We did what we had to do, held our noses, and voted for Doc Broun. Given the fact that we'll actually have a Democrat in the general this year, we probably shouldn't do that so much this time around.

Not that it's going to be an issue. With the Columbia County GOP behind him, the Flem will beat Doc Broun in the primary like a rented mule.

But, speaking of Democrats, Athens does have a pretty good choice - this guy.