Archive for October, 2010

Protester stomped in Ky. Senate race

Since this is pretty clearly going to dominate the innertubes today:

I have no doubt whatsoever that Rand Paul and most of his supporters are appalled by what happened last night. However, I also have no doubt that in this incident and others yet to come, we are reaping the harvest of hatred sown by overheated rhetoric that treats political disagreement as betrayal and political opponents as a dire threat to America’s existence.

And on that point, it’s good to get at least SOME bipartisan agreement, notably here and here.

On the other hand, there have also been attempts to justify it and to excuse it or even celebrate it.

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Transit links crucial to suburban prosperity

Under prodding by Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix, Fayette County leaders may soon try to secede from the Atlanta Regional Commission and cast their lot with less-urban counties to the south and west.

(NOTE: Mayor Haddix has submitted a rebuttal to my column, which is available here.)

It’s hard to imagine a more short-sighted policy. Fayette County would not only be turning its back on metro Atlanta; if experts are right, it would also be turning its back on the model of growth likely to define America’s future.

The impetus for Fayette’s possible secession is understandable to a degree. In 2012, voters in regions across Georgia will decide whether to impose a sales tax for transportation that will be collected and invested within each of those regions.

In the 10-county ARC, Fayette County is a relatively small player. Haddix and others believe that by aligning itself with the less populous Three Rivers Regional Commission, Fayette County might gain a louder voice in how …

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$850 million later, high-tech border fence a failure

The Obama administration has decided to abandon construction of a high-tech “virtual fence” along the Mexico-U.S. border, proclaiming it an expensive failure.

Just as most people expected it to be.

When the so-called Secure Border Initiative was announced back in 2006, President Bush called it “the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history.”

“The American people are rightfully insistent on the fact that we solve this 30-year-old problem,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said. “And this is about a solution which we believe is going to do the job.”

Even at the time, though, most of those paying attention understood the project to be a purely political gesture by the Bush administration, which was eager to tamp down criticism of its immigration policy.

”We’ve been presented with expensive proposals for elaborate border technology that eventually have proven to be ineffective and wasteful,” U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Kentucky, …

Continue reading $850 million later, high-tech border fence a failure »

Eight days to go, time for election predictions



With the midterm election now just eight days away, it’s time to show your stuff. Break out your crystal balls and predict — in hard numbers — how many seats the Republicans will occupy in both the House and Senate by the time the smoke lifts off the battlefield and the polls close in Alaska and Hawaii.

Democrats are claiming that their voters are finally awakening to the challenge ahead, while Republican scoff at the notion and predict great things ahead.  As of Sunday, Nate Silver, the statistician behind the fivethirtyeight blog, was predicting that the Democrats will still hold a four-vote margin in the Senate, while Republicans would have a 25-vote margin in the House.

But what’s YOUR call?

I’ll take the winner out to lunch at Manuel’s, at my expense.  For you conservatives, that’s not only a free lunch, it’s a chance to tell me face to face just how wrong I am about everything (but we’ll only have an hour or so.)

The …

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A travelin’ music salute to those who taught us how

The REAL Jay Bookman, the first and the best Jay Bookman, happens to be my father, who’s been dealing with some medical issues this week. So, by the time this shows up on the innertubes, I hope to be driving down the interstate to spend some time with him and his lovely bride of some 55 years and counting.

So tonight’s travelin’ music goes out to my pops, and to my father-in-law Larry, out in California, who’s dealing with his own medical challenges this week. They taught us the way, and they teach us still, and I hope they’ll keep doing so for many years to come, because Lord knows we could still use the help.

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GOP leaders steering for the iceberg

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. (AP photo)

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. (AP photo)

Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, is chairman of the House Republican Conference and is the third highest ranking Republican in the House. Yesterday, in a visit to Florida, he discussed his plans should the GOP take control of the House of Representatives.

From the Tampa Tribune:

TAMPA – Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, a likely 2012 presidential contender, told a gathering of local Republicans Thursday night that Republicans will refuse to compromise with the Obama administration on health care, the economy or anything else if they win the House majority back Nov. 2.

Pence also told the crowd of several hundred Republicans that the nation’s future is at risk, and the country could become a failed power if Republicans don’t win….

“The last Republican Congress didn’t suffer from too little compromise, it suffered too much,” he said. If they retake the majority, he said, there can be “no compromise that allows more borrowing, more …

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Atlanta school board needs to act as adults

Trying to delve into the inner workings of the deeply divided Atlanta school board is an exercise in futility and confusion.

That’s OK, though, because the board members’ simmering jealousies, resentments and suspicions of each other don’t really matter much to anybody but the members themselves.

On the issues that matter, achieving clarity is actually pretty simple.

For example:

– The board clearly isn’t divided by issues regarding education or policy or the welfare of students; it’s torn by disputes about who gets to be in charge, who said what to whom when, who gets the blame and who gets to say “I told you so.”

That’s bad enough. Trying to resolve that kind of internal, personal dispute through a lawsuit, as some board members are now threatening, would only cement the animosities now dividing the board. It would be an admission of failure, not a step toward resolution.

– The recent vote by a five-member board majority to toss aside the board’s duly …

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NPR correct to cut ties with Juan Williams

NPR has fired senior news analyst Juan Williams, who also appears as a commentator on Fox News, for comments about Muslims that Williams made in an appearance with Bill O’Reilly.

As Fox News reported it:

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country,” Williams told host Bill O’Reilly during a discussion on the dilemma between fighting jihadists and fears about average Muslims.

“But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous,” Williams said.

The truth is that as a commentator and analyst, Williams has been skating on his reputation for a long time, and the ice was getting thin. He had already given NPR cause for concern with previous statements on Fox, such as the time he inexplicably described Michelle Obama as “Stokely Carmichael in a designer …

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Barnes’ use of rape images exploitive


It’s October, and as the leaves begin to turn, the nights start to cool, and Halloween and November draw closer, the political ads become more and more nightmarish.

For the last week or so, for example, Democrat Roy Barnes has been banging on his Republican opponent, Nathan Deal, about a bill that Deal sponsored in the state Senate almost 20 years ago.

According to Barnes, the bill would have seriously weakened the rape shield law in Georgia that protects victims from being hauled into the witness stand and forced to recount their sexual histories. According to Deal, the bill would have brought Georgia law into line with the federal government’s tough rape shield law and strengthened it against legal challenge.


So who’s right? Well, back in 1991, opposition to Deal’s proposed change in state law snowballed so quickly, particularly among women’s groups, that nobody — including Deal — was willing to stand in front of it and try to stop it. He was forced to rewrite the …

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State legislators to challenge ‘anchor babies’

From USA Today/The Arizona Republic

“PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers in 15 states Tuesday announced a nationwide effort to change the way the 14th Amendment is interpreted and stop granting citizenship to babies born in the USA to illegal immigrants.

A national coalition called State Legislators for Legal Immigration is coordinating the effort.

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce said Kansas lawyer Kris Kobach, who helped draft Arizona’s tough immigration law now on appeal in the federal courts, is working with him and Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh to draft a bill that all the states could use as a model on the citizenship issue….”

Here’s the relevant portion of the 14th Amendment:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor …

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