Archive for July, 2012

Time to put on those travelin’ shoes and go a-fishin’

The first time I saw the great Elvin Bishop, we were both younger men. It was back in the early ’70s, in Raleigh, N.C., right about the time he put out his excellent and underrated album “Let It Flow.” Looking through the song list from that album — “Travelin’ Shoes,” “Stealin’ Watermelons” — is like going back in time.

That album also included Elvin’s classic celebration of fishing, the aptly titled “Fishin’.” It’s a critically important theme, so important that Mr. Bishop felt obligated to revisit it at more length in a later song, the equally aptly titled “Gone Fishin’ Again,” as in “me and my no-good friends are gone fishin’ again.”

Which of course we are. See ya’ll back here in a couple of weeks. Be good, be cool and be wishin’ you were with us, ‘cuz we plan on having us a damn good time.

– Jay Bookman

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A Plan B should TSPLOST fail? Realistically, I doubt it

So is there a Plan B should metro Atlanta reject the one-penny sales tax for transportation?

Theoretically, sure there is. State law says regional leaders can propose another list of projects to voters in two years, when many who oppose the current list argue that a “better” list would be more likely to win voter approval.

That’s wishful thinking. The same political forces that produced a list that is too heavy on transit to some, and too light on transit to others, will still be in play come 2014, and at best will produce a list much like this one.

Besides, let’s be honest: Most who oppose this T-SPLOST would also oppose any future tax increase for transportation. Their opposition is based not on these specific projects but on the idea of a transportation tax increase, period. That will not change.

And frankly, I doubt that two years from now, public officials would be able to agree on any list at all. As highly politicized and contentious as this process has become, elected …

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Have the grifters on Wall Street found yet another mark?

The Los Angeles Times has a damning piece explaining how our good pals at JPMorgan & Chase have allegedly manipulated the electricity market in California and perhaps in the Midwest as well, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from consumers and businesses and depositing it in the accounts of JPMorgan, pretty much risk free.

The focus of the alleged scam is the California Independent System Operator, which fulfills the state’s energy needs by taking bids from private power marketers to provide electricity to the state.

Here’s how the Times explains it (and don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may seem):

“The alleged scheme involves two related wholesale electricity markets maintained by the ISO. There’s the day-ahead market, in which power plant owners place bids to provide power for the California electricity grid in the future; and the real-time market, an auction market through which ISO buys electricity for immediate distribution to homes and businesses.

To …

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NRA, gun industry once again mine profit from paranoia

In the health-care debate, we’ve all watched as the proudest single accomplishment of a self-described “severely conservative” Republican governor has somehow been  transformed into proof of Marxist intent once that same plan was adopted by a Democratic president.

It’s political alchemy at its best. In fact, as testimony to the power of propaganda, that one’s hard to beat. It reminds us that if people really want to believe something — even something manifestly ridiculous, illogical and countermanded by facts — they will still find a way to do so.

But this example of that same phenomenon comes in a close second:

“Gun sales are soaring nationwide and retailers say that’s not unusual to see during a presidential election year. “Basically the situation you have now is 2008 all over again,” said Steven B. Drew, owner of Georgia Gun and Loan.

Analysts say the 2008 spike came from fear that new gun control legislation would make it more difficult to acquire firearms. “People were …

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McCain chews out Ga. congressman for ’specious, degrading’ attack

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Republican of Georgia, has joined four other Republican congressmen in alleging infiltration of top levels of the U.S. government by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that according to the congressmen is “devoted to destroying Western civilization from within” and “is determined to impose shariah world wide.”

Huma Abedin

Huma Abedin

More specifically, Westmoreland and his colleagues have demanded an investigation of Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,  whom they claim has tight ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and has perverted U.S. policy on its behalf, producing decisions that may “pose security risks for this nation, its people and interests.”

Westmoreland and his colleagues, including former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, cite no evidence for that scurrilous claim.

Earlier today, another former GOP presidential candidate took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to condemn Westmoreland and his colleagues. …

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Romney camp toying with symbolic birtherism

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A screengrab from DrudgeReport.com, the conservative id, highlighting accusations from Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio that President Obama's birth certificate is undoubtedly a fake. It is complete with links to World Net Daily, which gleefully reports Arpaio's claim that this information "threatens to weaken national security.”

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John Sununu, a prominent spokesman for the Romney campaign, says that he is sorry for his remark Tuesday morning that “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

I do not for a moment believe that Sununu is sorry about that remark. Quite the contrary, he said what he intended to say and what the Romney campaign had instructed him to say.

After all, in a separate appearance Tuesday morning on Fox News, Sununu said much the same thing in slightly different words, claiming that Obama “has no idea how the American system functions. And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking …

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Is Louisiana the future of Georgia’s education system?

If you want to see where Georgia conservatives want to take education in this state, look five hundred miles west to Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal is implementing a voucher program intended to move hundreds of thousands of students out of public schools and into privately run schools at taxpayer expense.

Louisiana officials have made it clear that they do not intend to impose teacher standards on those schools. Students attending voucher schools will be immune to the high-stakes testing that is required in the state’s public schools. In addition, the state will not sit in judgment of what the schools teach or how they teach it.

John White, Louisiana’s school superintendent, has told the press that it should be up to parents, not the state, to gauge whether private schools are delivering a quality education. “To me, it’s a moral outrage that the government would say, ‘We know what’s best for your child,’” White said. “Who are we to tell parents we know better?”

That “who …

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National Review to Romney: Release the tax returns

You know, when even the editors of the highly conservative National Review are willing to take the GOP presidential nominee to task for not releasing his tax returns, the debate is pretty much over:

“The Romney campaign says he has released as many returns as candidate John Kerry did in 2004, and cites Teresa Heinz Kerry’s refusal to release any of her tax returns. Neither is an apt comparison. John Kerry actually released returns from 1999 through 2003, and also released tax returns during his Senate runs. As for Teresa Heinz, Romney isn’t the wealthy spouse of a candidate, but the candidate himself. In 2008, John McCain released two years of returns, but he had been filling out financial disclosure forms for decades as a senator. Romney protests that he is not legally obliged to release any tax returns. Of course not. He is no longer in the realm of the private sector, though, where he can comply with the letter of the law with the Securities and Exchange Commission and …

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‘I wish this president would learn how to be an American’

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“I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

– Top Romney surrogate John Sununu, in a media call this morning arranged by the Romney campaign.

Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire and White House chief of staff under the first President Bush, has since tried to apologize for the statement. Perhaps he’s trying to unsay it retroactively. Perhaps he’s got his Etch-a-Sketch out, shaking it furiously.

But really, there’s no cause for an apology or retraction. Sununu simply said what he meant to say. For example, is the statement above any different from what Sununu told Fox News this morning, for which he has not apologized?

“He has no idea how the American system functions. And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent … another set of years in Indonesia.”

We get it: “Barack HUSSEIN Obama isn’t a real American. He’s not one of US, he’s one of THEM. I mean, just look at him. Where’s his birth …

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Mitt Romney and his plan for ‘the little people’ out there

From National Journal:

“Mitt Romney held up the waiters and waitresses serving donors at a fundraising event Monday night as examples of people who aren’t doing well under President Obama.

Addressing 300 contributors who paid $2,500, $10,000 or $50,000 to hear him speak in Jackson, Miss., Romney acknowledged that the people in the room were well-off compared to many Americans. It was the middle class that had been let down by Obama, Romney said, and he pointed to the wait staff serving finger foods as an example.

“It’s tough being middle class in America right now,” Romney said. “The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they’re not having a good year. The people of the middle class of America are really struggling. And they’re struggling I think in a way because they’re surprised because when they voted for Barack Obama … he promised them that things were going to get a heck a lot of better. He promised hope and change and …

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