Friday, October 26, 2007

Speaker Richardson, I've got one for you too.........

Before I start, I know this post won't be the most popular one I've ever entered into this blog. It's very true that I am the product of a man that looked at a Beta VCR and saw the future. As a result of those genes, I frequently find myself going against the grain.

Now, let's not kid anyone here. Even a part time glancer at this blog knows that I am against the death penalty. The reasons are many, and it's really not important to get into all of that right now. So you know where I'm coming from. What is important, is to point out the temerity of Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson.

Everyone remembers Brian Nichols. Not quite three years ago, he went on a courthouse rampage that left several people dead. Much of what took place happened in a very public way. There's no question about Nicholson's guilt or innocence. The only issue that needs resolving is Nichols' ultimate fate.

Understandably, many have clammored for the death penalty. Unfortunately, the Nichols case became a convenient talking point for politicians who favor such a punishment. In fact, last year, politicians from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Speaker Richardson made good use of it.
So when a plea deal on Nichols' behalf for life in prison without parole came up, the very idea of such a disposition didn't sit well with folks like the Governor and the Speaker.

Not surprisingly, every Superior Court judge in Fulton County recused themselves from hearing the case. Not out of fear or for some unreasonable excuse, but because they all knew the Superior Court judge and other court personnel that Nichols attacked and killed. Enter retired Senior Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller from another district to hear the case.

We have estimates of trial costs for Nicholson of upwards of $5,000,000 on both sides. Nicholson is being represented by public counsel. So in order to grant the Governor's and Speaker's death wish, this is the price that we must pay. The problem is that the defense has run out of money to mount a sufficient defense for a man that many want to see die. And before people get the idea that most of that money is going to the defense, it isn't. Prosecutors are mounting a huge case of over 300 witnesses that promises to keep Nancy Grace in business for quite a while to come.

In light of that, Judge Fuller has postponed the Nicholson trial several times. Fuller has also expressed his displeasure with the General Assembly for failing to appropriately fill the indigent defense fund coffers. Consider the General Assembly's cage rattled. Speaker Richardson wants a panel to probe Judge Fuller's actions.

In other words, how dare the judge point his finger at the very people who are responsible for the money shortage?

Apparently, Speaker Richardson feels that Brian Nichols is subhuman and not deserving of an adequate defense. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we all know that Nichols did it. And we all know how horrible the consequences of that terrible day have been for so many people. But Judge Fuller isn't the one to blame here.

Just imagine if Judge Fuller allowed this case to proceed with the defense attorneys not being given what they need to do their jobs. You should be able to smell the words "appeal" and "Supreme Court" and "retry" coming at this point.

Yet, Speaker Richardson's reaction isn't what I would expect it to be. Instead of working with the General Assembly and the Governor to find the necessary monies, he wants to have Judge Fuller impeached - impeached for nothing more than seeing that Brian Nichols is given his constitutionally protected right to an adequate and reasonable defense. You know, one of the bedrock principles that this country was founded on.

So Speaker Richardson, if you're so anxious to play judge, jury, and excutioner, go right ahead. But pay for it. Pay for your blood lust. We had a life in prison without parole deal on the table. But it wasn't good enough. You're getting what you want. So ante up!

I feel like picking a bone today.........

Okay, in a way, I do actually get a small kick out of watching three Republican governors finger point, call names, and go running to the White House to tell on one another. But, folks, the water crisis is serious. Despite water conferences between the three (Florida's Governor Crist is new to the fray) from Tallahassee to Bainbridge to Dothan, the states of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama just can't seem to share the water. So, we'll likely see things settled in a federal court. Hopefully, it will be a settlement that all three states can live with.

Yesterday's AJC contained a guest column by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley where he had this to say in response to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's assertion that Florida and Alabama are trying to take Georgia's drinking water:

"Contrary to some of the recent heated rhetoric emanating in Georgia, Alabama doesn't seek to cut off drinking water supplies to the Atlanta region. But Alabama cannot stand by and watch Georgia make a claim on the water in those reservoirs as if it belonged only to Atlanta. Downstream communities in Alabama and Georgia depend on the releases from those reservoirs to meet drinking water needs in times of drought as well as to support industry. If the water is not released, then the industries will be forced to shut down, and thousands of Alabama and Georgia families will lose their source of income."

Not to be outdone, Perdue offered a response criticizing the Corps of Engineers and suggesting that the amount of water Gov. Riley claims that Alabama needs isn't accurate in today's AJC saying:

"I will not stand for negligence when it comes to protecting Georgians' water supply. The Corps of Engineers' culpability grows every day. I will continue to seek a reasonable solution from the president of the United States, and by working with my friends in Alabama, but I cannot allow Riley's inaccurate assertions to go unchallenged."

Perdue won't stand for "negligence", eh? Well, former Georgia Democratic Party chair, Bobby Kahn weighs in over at Peach Pundit, and points out that Georgia's water crisis might at least be partially blamed on the Governor's own negligence (h/t Amy):

"Before Perdue was elected, Georgia was implementing a water plan. The Department of Natural Resources was looking to build reservoirs in North Georgia controlled by the state that would be used for drinking water. Currently, the lakes that supply the water to the Metro Atlanta region are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and have other purposes, including providing power and serving downstream environmental needs. That plan has been delayed for at least five years. As a result, Georgia finds itself fighting the Corps because we waited."

It seems that as Gov. Perdue postures and gyrates before the state's media, throwing in a punch or two to please the home folks, he himself has played a role in our water shortage. Considering that last year was a re-election year for the governor, it's disappointing that water wasn't a large issue between he and his opponent. Come to think of it, neither was transportation, nor the overdevelopment of north Georgia, which also contributes to our water problems. Consequently, south and western Georgians as well as Alabamians and Floridians are paying a price too.

So I'm hoping that the armchair political QB's that spent 2006 defending the slimey tactics of the undynamic duo of Perdue and Mark Taylor, and being concerned more about winning the election than actually solving the problems of the state are now happy. Continuing to turn important races that should be based on a little thing called issues rather than Wikipedia entries or writing letters to the editor over sports section headlines.

And if you're reading this and feeling a finger poking in your eye, don't blame me. You can't fault us "idealists" for feeling this way.

You want a good dose of "realism?" Well, I hope you can drink this bit of reality. Whether it be mussel farmers, people paying higher prices for electricity, or those of us facing water rationing, someone is going to be hurting - at least for a while.

Somehow I doubt that the any of the three states are completely right about their arguments. But I know this much, Georgia (metro Atlanta anyway) has made some unhealthy contributions to this crisis that plagues us.

So for our part, I'd like to humbly apologize to our neighbors and friends in "the other Georgia" as well as in the states of Alabama and Florida. Try not to hold it against us all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ode to the Mullet

Since I blogged about Izzy's slow recovery from his surgery a couple of weeks ago, many of you have continued to ask me about him. I'm glad to say that Izzy is almost back to his old self. But notice that I did say "almost."

One thing that has been slow to change is that his hair hasn't grown back where it was shaved, right on top of his little head. Now that it is coming back in little by little, he looks like a dog version of Billy Ray Cyrus complete with a doggy-mullet!

Which reminds me of 1984, when I - yes, I - had a mullet. But wait, wait.......if you're old enough, you probably had a mullet too! When I look at pictures of my teen years, I sometimes see my hair short and sort of spikey on top and longish in the back with a curl around my left ear. And before you ask, no, I won't be posting pics of that. ;-)

I was 12 in 1984, and I thought I was cool. I mostly wore tank tops or muslce shirts to show off my lanky arms and skinny upper body. I even wore cut off blue jeans now and then. But I also had a fascination with Panama Jack. I think the other difference in me that year was that I carried a pocket knife in my front pocket. It was a gift that I hadn't asked for. Nevertheless I walked around with it, along with my plastic comb handle sticking out of my back pocket.

I was thinking of Izzy's doggy-mullet this week and telling this same story to a girl that is 20 years old. It suddenly saddened me to realize that my mullet PRE-dates her existance!

Okay, now that I've given you an unpleasant visual, and perhaps rekindled some memories for you, it's important to remind everyone that even celebrities and sex symbols wore mullets. Soap stars, movie stars, sports figures, pin up girls and hunks, you name it and they had it.

Even fashionable women like tennis champ Chris Evert had one. I remember when she cut her hair off, perm fried it, and dyed it blond in a trashy, vampy sort of look so unlike the previous pristine Prissy Chrissy look with the long hair in a pony tail complete with bow. It was a part of her 80's power look, which she came up with when she switched from a wooden racquet to graphite and took up weight training in order to catch her great rival (and fellow mulleteer), Martina Navratilova.

By 1987, Chris' mullet did something quite scary. It grew wings! She curled her bangs over her forehead and created a tall dome on top of her head that extended down to her shoulders. Exactly what kind of hair products it took to perfect that look, I have no idea. Thankfully, my mullet never looked like it could fly away or knock down low flying planes like her's did.

So thanks everyone for asking about Izzy. Know that he's doing well and keeping me on my toes. As I look across the room, he's lying in the sun on his back tanning his pinkish belly. He looks comfy, so I may go over and do the same thing. However, we won't be sharing hairstyles!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore shares this year's Nobel Peace Prize along with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate for their efforts to call the world's attention to global warming and the measures needed to fight it. The Nobel committee recognized Gore's early attention to the matter.

The committee's decision to also honor the panel was a smart one. Those men and women have made great contributions in taking out the politics of the issue out, and establishing validity to the idea that global warming is indeed happening, and that humans are contributing to it.

Of course, this will spur on more speculation that Gore might be talked into jumping into the 2008 presidential race. Personally, I'm just happy to see the guy finally getting the credit that he deserves on an issue that is affecting every living thing on this earth.

On MSNBC this morning, former President Jimmy Carter was asked to comment on Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. He said that he was extremely happy for Gore, and that he hopes that Gore will participate in another "political event."

Could he have been expressing his wish to see Al enter the race? I take it to mean that. Although he could've also been talking about a future run for president beyond 2008 as well. The Gores and Carters have always been extremely close, including several joint collaborations between Rosalynn Carter and Tipper Gore on mental health issues.

Contrastly, the relationship between the Clintons and Carters has never been friendly. Not only have they had policy disagreements, but personal ones as well. Even to the point of Carter refusing to attend the 1996 Democratic National Convention, and subsequent inauguration. As well as Hillary's snub of Rosalynn Carter at a late 90's event in Atlanta for Georgia Democratic women, in which Douglas Brinkely ("The Unfinished Presidency") quoted Mrs. Carter as saying was, "hurtful."

Although, it is important to remember that Pres. Carter did invite John Edwards to Americus, GA to speak earlier this year. So, I feel sure that he will actively support whoever the Democratic nominee ultimately is.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does the new "Bionic Woman" have fembots and cheesy sound effects?

Carter Slams Cheney; Al Gore Finally Getting his Due

Former President Jimmy Carter took another swing at our amoral Veep yesterday, saying that Dick Cheney, "hasn't been right on hardly anything." Carter went on to call Cheney a "disaster" with "undue influence" on the president.

I'm sure that conservatives and the whacko right will come down hard on Carter for his comments, as they usually do. You see, they can't refute what he says with facts. Because the facts rarely support their efforts to cover up for wayward Republican presidents and officials. Instead, they'll try to dismiss Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and go back to thinking of new and creative ways in which to spin the the unspinnable.

They'll also spout out some kind of hullabaloo about former presidents not speaking ill of the current administration. Which is always a hypocritical route to take considering that former President Reagan spent 8 years distorting the records of Carter and even fellow Republicans Ford and Nixon, just to deflect any criticism from him. I guess when Carter started firing back at Reagan they thought that they were entitled to some sort of presidential exception.

But frankly, I appreciate it when the former president calls upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to pass opinions - both good and bad - about how the current occupants of the White House are doing. It's not like he held his tongue when Bill Clinton was in office. So if Republicans stomp their feet and give in to their usual anti-Carter rants, just suggest to them that they should actually consider what he's saying. Because all Carter did was state the obvious.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore, 7 years removed from having the 2000 presidential election stolen from him, can feel a certain amount of gratification. Draft Gore launched their last best move in which to attempt to lure Gore into the 2008 presidential race. I more or less gave up any real hopes that Gore would enter the race during the summer. Since then I've operated on the assumption that I'm going to have to choose from the current crop of Democrats to support. If I voted my heart, I'd probably go with Dennis Kucinich. If I went with our best chance of winning in 2008, I'd vote for John Edwards. However, it would do my heart good to see Al step in this race, and step over Hillary and give us a real shot at changing the fortunes of this country.

Instead, we may have to settle for supporting Gore's chances for a Nobel Peace Prize. Still, it's great to see so many people embracing Al. He's possibly given more to us than we've given him.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hillary: First Iraq, now Iran?

For someone who says that she regrets voting to give Bush authorization to use force against Iraq, Hillary sure has a funny way of showing it. Last week, Hillary became the only candidate for the Democratic nomination for POTUS to side with Sen. Lieberman to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group. For a more informed read into exactly what the Bush administration has in store for Iran, thanks to the Hillary's and Lieberman's of the world, take a looksy at Seymour M. Hersh's New Yorker article, "Shifting Targets."

The only question is when do the bombs start falling on Iran?

Hillary's being roundly criticized for her support of Lieberman and Bush here, here, here, and here, and justifiably so.

h/t: Beyond the Clintons and BlueBloggin