Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Atlanta blogs today: Common ground on sex crimes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 4:02 PM

Maybe Nader just needs one big group hug to validate his role in American politics. After the hug, maybe someone should also slap him on the back of the head and ask "WTF??"

-- Bernita on Blog for Democracy, reacting to a Washington Post article stating that Ralphie Boy is suing the Democratic National Committee for challenging his ballot status in 2004. Oh, and apparently Nader hasn't ruled out a 2008 run. is Halloween; the day where kids dress up in costumes and beg their neighbors for candy. Today also marks the day when actors John Candy & Michael Landon, DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Lowe, CBS reporter Dan Rather, and myself were born.

-- Andre, the true blue (dog) Democrat at Georgia Politics Unfiltered, who, upon realizing he has something in common with Mr. CEO, asks, "Are you scared yet?"

Wilson and Craig, both have a new-found appreciation for the power of sex crime laws to reach out and touch you in ways you never imagined (no pun intended). Both have an understanding of how important judges and their discretion are in dispensing justice. Both wanted a second chance. One won. One lost–or at least so far.

-- OK, so What is Goin' On actually posted this earlier this week, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spotlight a post titled "What Do Larry Craig and Genarlow Wilson Have in Common?"

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Brother, can you spare a drink of water?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 2:50 PM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said yesterday that Lake Lanier has enough depth to supply 280 days of drinking water. Oops, make that 279 days today. The state estimates there are 111 days worth of drinking water left.

Who to believe?

The state has hardly proven trustworthy in managing water issues. But let's not forget, the Corps of Engineers is the same group that assured everyone the levees around New Orleans were safe before Katrina proved otherwise. So I'm not exactly ready to take their word to the bank, either.

In the meantime, our neighbors to the south don't appear to be taking the drought very seriously.

In Columbus, the head of the water department is going to ask the state to exempt Columbus from water restrictions so people there can water their lawns and wash their cars.

And in Phenix City, Ala., across the river from Columbus, there are no water restrictions at all.

Ah, all for one and one for all. Right? Oops. Except when it comes to conserving water.

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Essence of Fox

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 1:33 PM

Conventional wisdom dictates one loves or loathes Fox News because of the network's politics.

I think what differentiates Fox from CNN or ABC, however, isn't that it's the place where Republicans and not-liberals go for TV news they like.

I think the secret is sensationalism.

All TV news sensationalizes. Fox sensationalizes with an intensity and shamelessness that other news outlets do not. Every moment of Fox News is calculated to get people worked up.


Yesterday afternoon in Phoenix, a toddler died after apparently being left in a hot car by his mom while she worked as a server at Hooters.

National news outlets are all over the story -- because it's tragic, and because the mother's employment at Hooters provides an opportunity for networks to show scantily clad women, and for armchair phony moralists to make snide comments about "Hooters girls."'s headline for the story is Forgotten Toddler Dies Inside Hot Car.

The Arizona Republic's website headlines the sad death 17-Month Old Found Dead In Car. puts all of the story's sensationalistic appeal right in the headline:

Toddler Dies After Hooters Mom Forgets Child in Hot Car.

The image they chose for the story is of 16 women in Hooters outfits at a convention in Las Vegas.


Fox looks at a dead child and a grieving family and sees tits and ass.

Yet it's the preferred network of self-proclaimed family-values, traditional conservatives.

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Streetalk: Where is the worst venue to see your favorite band?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 12:04 AM


Anna: The Roxy. Every time I walk in there, it’s the same crowd — the Buckhead Betties. You get in the bathroom line and you know your favorite song is going to come on while you’re waiting, and it does, and then you’re pissed off because all the little girls are putting on their lipstick real slow. Get some more bathrooms! And when you go to a rock concert, you’re rockin’ out, you get thirsty, and they get angry if you ask for a cup of ice water. I’m a SoPo (South Ponce) girl. The Roxy is just too fabricated.

Gene: Gwinnett Arena. I hate shows there. It’s too big and impersonal. The bands don’t enjoy themselves because they don’t sell as many seats as they would like to. Tool totally sucked there. The [security] guys at Gwinnett are dicks. That’s the biggest part of it. The kid sitting beside me lit up a cigarette and was kicked out. They could have just told him to put it out. If you light another one, then we’ll kick you out. Come on, it’s a rock show. We all rage against the machine.

Sharon: HiFi Buys. If you’re on the lawn, you’re not going to see anything except the big screens. I saw Elton John there and I got a Coke thrown on my back because I wanted to stand up and dance to the songs. The sound is not very good. It’s loud but you can’t pick up the nuance of the music. I don’t go to shows there anymore. The ambiance is like going back to high school. And last time I was there, they frisked me down worse than the TSA.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The drought, according to The Economist

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 5:22 PM

While perusing the job ads in The Economist -- I think I'd make a fine general director for Doctors Without Borders, thank you very much -- I stumbled upon the latest appearance of our fair state's woes in a major publication. In its usual fashion, the anonymous author(s) ends the piece with a view into the future, and offers a subject I haven't seen broached in news reports about the drought.

The weather forecasters aren't offering much solace, either, predicting a warmer and drier winter than normal for the south-east. As for the longer term, the fear is that global warming will make droughts like these more common.

Complex issue. But one worth examining.

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Erick Erickson beats Chuck Norris

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 2:09 PM

Erick Erickson beats Chuck Norris.

Erick Erickson

Not in a martial arts death match, perhaps, but on the Telegraph newspaper's list of the 100 most influential conservatives in the U.S.

The Red State and Peach Pundit blogger is 69 on the list.

Chuck Norris is 71.

Erickson's outranking of Norris is especially impressive when you consider that, when Norris does a push-up, he isn't lifting himself up. He's pushing the Earth down.

Erickson was one of the featured bloggers in CL's "Bright lights in the blogosphere" story in May.

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Profile: Steve Farris, tower-crane operator

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 1:00 PM


Steve Farris controls one of Buckhead's abundant tower cranes. Perched 300 feet in the air for 10 to 12 hours at a time, the 30-year-old endures danger and bottling his urine to build Atlanta's high-rises and elevate Atlanta's image.

"There's a lot of stress on me. Everyone within my [crane's] reach, I hold their life in my hands. The people I work with don't realize how easy it is for me to kill them."

Farris takes a DVD player and a GameCube into the cab in case he has free time, which he currently doesn't. He's heard of other operators taking refrigerators, microwaves, wives and "not wives" into the crane.

Farris is known on construction sites by his nickname, Shotgun. It was given to him by his now-father-in-law after Farris sired his granddaughter and married his daughter, in that order. Since his father-in-law was also the one who got Farris into the crane-operating business, the handle stuck in Farris' construction life.

"I don't mind [the nickname] at all. There are some people on the job site I don't want to know my real name. It helps me separate work and home."

There's no time for bathroom breaks, so Farris urinates into a bottle: "You're left to your own devices. If you have to poop, good luck."

His brother-in-law, also a tower-crane operator, says their experience has given them exceptional timing and restraint.

Farris' crane has a barbed-wire fence around its base to dissuade Atlanta's infamous crane-sitters. He isn't sure why people climb cranes. "Maybe because they're like you. They're just interested."

He takes almost no time off. "Right now it's pretty much straight into the next job. I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a lot of these [cranes] up in Atlanta right now."

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Interfaith laughter

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM


MUSLIM AND JEWISH COMEDIANS AZHAR USMAN AND RABBI BOB ALPER AT GEORGIA TECH’S FERST CENTER: This photo is one Catholic short of a really memorable caption.

(photo by Sarah Harms)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The dead of night

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 9:46 PM


HALLOWEEN TOUR AT OAKLAND CEMETERY: To keep from awakening this tomb’s brain-eating zombie, please turn your cell phones to vibrate.

(photo by Joeff Davis)

Unless you’re a security guard, a trespasser, or dead, Oakland Cemetery is usually off-limits to you at night. Last weekend, however, the cemetery gatekeepers welcomed visitors who paid up to $15 for spooky, Halloween-themed, nighttime tours of Oakland’s graves and mausolea (which is a real word, by the way). Tours were scheduled to start between 7 and 1o p.m, but turnout was so high both nights the cemetery was turning people away by 8:45.

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In your future I see ... more roads

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 8:30 PM

TRIP, a nonprofit organization whose initials stand for who-knows-what-’cause-they-sure-don't-tell-you-on-their-website, released a report Thursday outlining our congestion problems and the transportation hurdles Georgia faces during a time when finances are hard to come by. We've got some structurally deficient bridges and well-paved roads, and we better build more of the latter and update all of the former, the report says, lest we face a catastrophe like the crumbling of a Minnesota bridge earlier this year or an economic standstill. Who funds TRIP? You guessed it:

TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway engineering, construction and finance; labor unions; and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe highway transportation network.

In other words: businesses who have an interest in seeing more roads. But what's that you say, Smart Growth America? A majority of Americans think that transportation funds should go toward maintaining roads and investing in transit alternatives rather than building more concrete swaths that are sure to just fill up in a few years?

Something left out about the "we-must-build-roads" philosophy is how planners and politicians are not addressing the issue of the price and supply of oil and how the added number of motorists will affect Atlanta's notorious air quality problems. As more and more roads are built allowing more and more development of the city's outer reaches, more and more people will be driving. Doesn't the Urban Land Institute already view Atlanta as "chronically overdeveloped"?

Our roads may last a good while, but that's a worthless superlative when a majority of motorists can't afford to use them.

What say you, people? More roads or more options? And here's the hitch ... you gotta say why.

Also, click on this link for TRIP’s report. It’s full of juicy factoids and numbers, as well as the state and metro area’s most congested intersections and structurally deficient bridges.

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