Archive for September, 2009

Time to wean Ga.’s jobless from taxpayer support, right guys?

The official unemployment rate in Georgia is 10.2 percent, which means that more than one of 10 Georgians who want a job can’t find one. Unfortunately, that  number that doesn’t fully describe how widespread the problem has become, because it doesn’t include those who have simply stopped looking in an economy in which a single advertised job can attract thousands of applicants.

All in all, almost 240,000 jobs have disappeared from Georgia in the last year.

Last night, the U.S. House of Representative voted 331-83 in favor of a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states, defined as those with an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent or higher for the last three months.  That would include Georgia and 28 other states. The check isn’t a lot — it maxes out at $355 a week here in Georgia — but for many households it’s the only income they can depend upon.

(UPDATE: I just got off the phone with the state Department of Labor. According to their estimates, as …

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Dems afraid to tell it like it is on health care

Writing on today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page, Thomas Frank condemns the Democrats’ decision to “complain to the referee” (my words) about GOP incivility rather than take the debate head on. Among other things, he writes, the approach “goes against the old rough-and-tumble image of the Democratic Party and confirms instead the effete latte-and-sushi stereotype of recent years.”

It’s a good piece, but the closing offers a lot of wisdom and good advice packed in three little paragraphs:

“The health-care showdown should have been a one-sided blowout. And yet it is the Democrats who are running to the playground monitor and watching their support drain away.

Why? Because from the beginning they have understood the problem primarily as a technical consumer issue, not a bid for social justice in a manifestly unjust time. In their criticism of the insurance industry they have largely avoided terms like “profiteering” in favor of dry talk about lower costs and more …

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All the king’s horses and men struggle to put Afghanistan together again

It’s impossible to know how much credence to give such reports, but a story out of Washington by McClatchy Newspapers suggests that Gen. Stanley McChrystal might resign as commander of allied forces in Afghanistan unless President Obama gives him the additional troops he is requesting:

“In Kabul, some members of McChrystal’s staff said they don’t understand why Obama called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” but still hasn’t given them the resources they need to turn things around quickly.

Three officers at the Pentagon and in Kabul told McClatchy that the McChrystal they know would resign before he’d stand behind a faltering policy that he thought would endanger his forces or the strategy.

“Yes, he’ll be a good soldier, but he will only go so far,” a senior official in Kabul said. “He’ll hold his ground. He’s not going to bend to political pressure.”

The Washington Post doesn’t go quite that far, but it does report growing impatience in military circles with the pace of …

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Surprise! South isn’t like the rest of the country

Last week, Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly put together an interesting chart using results of a weekly nationwide Research 2000 poll. He took the question “Do you have a favorable view of the Republican Party?” and charted the results by region.

R2K_GOP

As the Cookie Monster might note, one of these regions is very much not like the other.

While public attitudes toward the GOP are largely positive here in the South, they are very much negative in the rest of the country. Just 7 percent of voters polled in the Northeast think favorably toward the Republican Party, and numbers in the Midwest (13 percent) and West (14 percent) aren’t much better.

Not surprisingly, charting favorability toward the Democrats would produce a mirror image of Benen’s chart. While just 41 percent of voters think favorably of Democrats, and 50 percent perceive it unfavorably, those national numbers vary widely by region. In the Northeast, 62 percent view the Democrats favorably, while just 20 percent do …

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Rail will come ‘when Georgia gets its act together’

Ray LaHood, the U.S. secretary of transportation, was asked Monday whether high-speed rail would ever come to Atlanta.

“It’ll come to Atlanta if Georgia gets its act together,” LaHood said, using words that came across more blunt in person than they do on the page.

In a later interview, LaHood revised and extended that remark, suggesting that the state has yet to get its act together in other ways as well.

“I think that’s true of transit too,” he said. “There has to be a commitment by state government that transit is important,” implying that in Georgia it isn’t.

According to LaHood, he took that same message into a 40-minute private meeting with Gov. Sonny Perdue Monday.

LaHood is a former Republican congressman, serving 14 years in the U.S. House until he was appointed by President Obama to lead the Department of Transportation. The change in administrations has come at a time when the country is already being forced to rethink both its high consumption of …

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Legal system’s patience with ‘birthers’ may have ended

I’m thinking that Orly Taitz, the Queen Advocate of the Birthers, better come up with ten grand pretty quick. Then she should turn her attention to finding another line of work, because her time as an attorney may be coming to an end soon.

Last week, Taitz asked U.S. District Judge Clay Land in Columbus to issue an order that would keep Army Capt. Connie Rhodes from being shipped to Iraq against her will. The stated reason, of course, is that Barack Obama is not native born and thus is an illegitimate commander in chief. In a rather cutting order, Land lambasted the request as frivolous and warned Taitz not to file such bogus litigation in his court.

Land is known as a no-nonsense judge, but on Thursday, Taitz filed an emergency motion to reconsider, citing the same frivolous claims she had offered in the initial lawsuit. Land responded with an order requiring Taitz to explain why she should not be fined $10,000 for contempt. “She continues to file motions that do not …

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The Afghanistan problem gets more difficult

From the beginning eight years ago, the United States has failed to commit the resources and attention needed in Afghanistan. Barack Obama campaigned on correcting that problem and moved last spring to do so as president. Now he is once again being asked by military commanders to boost the number of U.S. troops committed to the effort.

As someone who has long argued for a more concerted effort in Afghanistan, I have to confess to serious new doubts driven largely by the outcome of the recent Afghan elections. Those results revealed an Afghan people increasingly alienated from the government of Hamid Karzai, and a thoroughly corrupt Karzai government shamelessly willing to stuff thousands of ballot boxes in a transparent effort to keep itself in power.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of that problem. In a conventional war in which victory can be won through brute military power, a lack of host-government legitimacy would not necessarily be critical. But the strategy of …

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Free swim Sunday

… I’m afraid I’ll be swimming at the golf course too.

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If Sarah Palin talked like a pirate

… on today’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, it might go something like this:

“I am one who, on Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is certainly today in our beloved state of Alaska would be a day where I be saying “aaarrrghh” and shaking my cutlass at that lily-livered Putin rearing his eyepatch over there in Russia where that Obama said where he wouldn’t put missiles, that scurvy son of a Kenyan.

palin

Former Alaska governor-turned Pirate Queen Sarah Palin

Did ye know ye can see Russia from my crow’s nest?

I also certainly want to preclude that the bilge-sucking Obama should be keelhauled for making old people walk the government death planks, which doesn’t even make sense! I mean, health care reform will make our country run out of buried treasure except Alaska with its oil, which is buried too and I have the map but it’s different because it’s black. But I thought I should say before I stop but not quit because I never quit because Americans don’t do that no matter what the …

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Travelin’ music, reposted, purified and sanctified

I’ve heard a lot of stories over the years about the boys from Athens, supposedly first-hand tales of the days before they hit big. Some of ‘em may even be true. In any event, here they are making their debut on the Friday Night Travelin’ Music:

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