Tag Archives: Georgia

Yes, Really, Ice Shutdown Georgia. Why?

To my friends who don’t understand Georgia and ice shutdowns, here’s an explanation. For the decades that I remember, weather forecasters, who I refer to as weather psychics, flip out, or as some might say, “nut up,” when there is any possibility that water might fall from the sky while the air temperature is below freezing. The sensational manner in which the media present these possibilities (apocalyptic graphics and music) has created in essence the effect of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” (see Aesop).

In practical terms this is what happens. Sunday and Monday temperatures were in the 60s. Forecasts for Tuesday, reported a high of just above freezing. Yesterday, I walked to the courthouse, five blocks from my office around noon in Athens. Light snow fell and didn’t make it to the ground but the temperature was above freezing. In the next two hours, the snow became heavy hitting the street and melting. This water didn’t evaporate. As the temperature dropped, the watern to freeze. Two hours later, snow piled up in trees and on cars. As the temperature dropped, the water began to freeze, create a layer of ice which covered with snow became deceptively pretty. Even experienced Northerners who can drive through snow have trouble with hidden ice.

Businesses, which are skeptical of weather forecasts, and schools, which already closed one day due to bitter cold, have difficulty justifying closing, losing business or school days with the potential for embarrassment when, as often happens, there’s no snow.

Yesterday, the delay in decision making created what one can only hope is significant embarrassment for government and business. We’ll have to see what our fair governor has to say. What is for sure? National coverage, horrible traffic photos, people sleeping cars, being taken in by strangers, big box stores providing shelter-none of that looks promising to businesses planning to relocate. Children stuck at schools without their parents, parents unable to even locate children because schools don’t know where the children are.

Yes, there are many stories of wonderful people taking care of their neighbors and strangers and that is heartwarming. Those doing the cost/benefit analysis, however, should realize that having employees and children and pregnant women stuck on interstates and roads is bad advertising for the entire state of Georgia. The longer term impact of this snow-generated gridlock will outweigh any productivity that might have been squeezed out of people in the hour or two when they should have been headed home.

Delay by employers and schools created a situation in which people ands school buses were REQUIRED to drive on icy roads. The amount of people didn’t create this situation, the decisions of those in control of employees and students did.


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Ain’t FDR’s New Deal, Nope Georgia’s Deal…

Where to begin? The Honorable Nathan Deal continues to make Georgia look like a 19th century fiefdom instead of a 21st century modern government.

Deal has excluded a news  station from his offices for reporting negatively on the governor. To his horror, they asked QUESTIONS about how money was spent. The answer summarized by former opponents in their paper.

After being served with subpoenas from the ethics office, Deal just slashes the budget, eliminates a job in the division and forces out the director in charge of investigating his office. Now that’s efficiency! No ethics inquiry AND save the state money. What have we been thinking with all this ethics garbage. Really!

Perish the thought that Deal might use some introspection and consider his ethics after canning the ethics leader. No, Governor Deal accepted “Diamond” perk from Delta after signing a $30 million tax break for Delta.

Wow! It’s good to be King…I mean governor.


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Random News and Diatribes: June 17, 2011

News you may have missed or just need to see.

Ethics? Smethics? Well, Governor Nathan Deal’s appointees and office find  themselves with their toes into hot water again…the question is will anyone do ANYTHING about it. One would think in this day and age that the Governor’s office would steer clear of any investigations and not touch that with a 10 foot pole. Not our governor, no, despite of his years of experience as a lawyer and politician, his staff and friends (appointees) are behaving like there’s something to hide.

I hope that there’s nothing lurking behind the scenes, I hope that people are just making bad choices. If anyone in the governor’s office reads this, GROW UP. Stop acting like there’s something to hide. At some point, you’ll get bitten by this behavior. You will embarrass not only yourself but the entire State of Georgia.

Weiner resigns. Please stop the jokes. He’s resigned. Now, whether this resignation is a swan song or just the show’s climax before the intermission remains to be seen. (See, William Jefferson Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, et al.)

Miranda Rights, Expanded. Children, even if they’re not under arrest, are entitled to hear their Miranda rights. I’m not sure, really, what good it would do in this child’s situation when faced with 3 or 4 adults, many of whom are charged with acting in loco parentis, as parent, for the child. How many kids would challenge the school principle? Teach you kids, ask for a lawyer.

Timeless. Here’s a summary of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s interview. Somethings are timeless and transcend class: “Do I need a lawyer?” Yes, they took you off a plane, disrupted your schedule. Yes, you moron, you need a lawyer.

Sports Rioting.I just don’t understand. Why? Canadians are so restrained.

Justice, at a price? For your consideration, “can justice be bought?

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Random News: June 3, 2011

In case you missed these interesting stories…

Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. Apparently the city of Riverdale, Georgia, wants a piece of property repaired, demolished or otherwise rehabilitated. Bank of America denies ownership of the property. Funny how that works. Property ownership should be clear and on record. Odd how Banks want their payments but they can’t be bothered to care for the properties with which they find themselves when everything falls apart. The Bank branch manager faces a contempt finding, though, I doubt the branch manager has the authority to make any decision about the property. That person is being subject to incredible amounts of stress and threat of jail because his/her employer failed to represent and take care of him/her. Sad, really.

A Beautiful Day. Talk about dumb luck.Pick up a hitchhiking Bono on the side of the road, get back stage passes to U2. Pretty cool.

Pushy sales pitch leads to arrest. Apparently these entrepreneurs need to find another market for their product. For some reason, I am always intrigued by stupidity of this level. Even in Athens, someone called the police to complain about pushy pot dealers. Perhaps he should take some business classes and learn how to target his market better. Wow!

Witness Credibility Measured By Jury, Not Media. A ticket fixing scandal damages credibility, i.e. believability, of officers involved in a DWI in the Bronx, NY. This case may not be a sensational murder or a spectacular show trial, but the result serves as an example for anyone willing to pay attention. The thorough discussion of jury deliberations would serve as informative for people who are quick to jump on the “send ’em all to prison” bandwagon. Simply because an individual is arrested does not mean they are guilty. These jurors indicated that the officers’s testimony was inconsistent, the jurors questioned the officers’ ability to tell the truth. These issues cannot be adequately addressed by media who seek headlines, not truth. Verdict in latin means truth. The media, who sensationalize crime, seek readers, not truth. The wider public would do well to remember that.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Having worked as a criminal lawyer for more than 10 years (both prosecutor and defense attorney) the story and suffering of Jaycee Duggard falls squarely into the category of “the truth is stranger than fiction.”

Don’t know much about economics. The segmentation of all concepts annoys me. I truly don’t know much about economics but the reports that reduced job growth makes the economic growth sputter seems one sided. The U.S. economy does not exist in isolation. Perhaps something about the economy, say increased gas prices during last month or increasing food prices, prevented more job growth. No one looks at the economy as a whole, no, our attention is focused to headlines that look at limited statistics in isolation without looking at the entire picture of the economy or quite frankly using common sense to find a broader answer.

Isn’t it just too damn early for this mess? Really, announcing candidacy for president in the 2012 election in early June of 2011, Mitt Romney. Covering the other talking heads who might be diminishing the spotlight for the guy declaring his run for presidency. Sarah Palin and Rudy Guiliani on speaking tours or at least media spotlight speeches. Do these people have real jobs? Why are funding this lunacy?

USDA’s new food guide, I guess. Still not clear why the government should tell us what to eat and how to eat, but the USDA’s new icon for telling people what to eat makes more sense than the revamped weird food pyramid. Again, less processed more real food in it’s original condition. Duh!

Not my fault, blame the job. In the era of abdication of responsibility, the LA Times presents the following headline “Too fat? Blame Your Job.” Really? How about take responsibility! Besides, I encounter many obese people who do not work, collect disability checks, and generally do not do anything to care for  themselves. The study shows that sitting all day creates a problem for workers. Good point. Though, my back tells me when I’ve been sitting too long and I expect most other people suffer from the same or similar issues. Here’s my suggestion: buy a standing desk (very expensive) or purchase an Ikea Bistro table (they sell 2 seater or 4 seater versions) and use that as an alternate standing desk. Much more cost effective and good for the body. Just do yourself a favor, don’t BLAME your job. Take responsibility for yourself. You are the only person who can take care of yourself.

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Random News. May 31, 2011

Random news that I find interesting this morning. Perhaps you will too.

Education Choices or Business Decisions? Apparently, winning awards takes priority for schools over the actual education of children. In Gainesville, students claim to the AJC that the schools transferred without consent or pressured students to transfer to increase graduation rates. The Georgia Supreme Court overturned the laws about charter schools and public schools transfer students from one school to another to improve numbers. Are public schools a good investment of our tax money? Should we continue to employ people who worry more about the bottomline than the actual education of students?

“Liar, Liar, Vest on Fire!” (Michigan Billboard Highlighted in AJC) Jim Tressel finally resigned. Was there any doubt he would be gone? Tressel highlights the negative aspects of NCAA football. He looked the other way when student athletes exchanged their player ephemera for benefits. He failed to report this violation when he knew. The quandary: Tressel’s behavior on the field and off belied his private attitude which permitted rules violations.

A Good Story about being a Foster Kid. Heard this story last night on “All Things Considered.” The situation in which these children found themselves is not uncommon. A four year old providing care to her siblings in the absence of parents, or at least lack of parenting, is more prevalent that you can imagine. Drugs, depression, lack of understanding of parenting lead to children raised essentially feral. I highly recommend that you listen to the story rather than read. The voices of those involved convey the gravity of this situation.

Basic Human Needs. How do we feed the planet? Not well apparently. Food prices doubled in the last twenty years. They (whoever they are) predict the planet will have 9 billion people by 2050. Should we be worried about where food is grown and food prices? Yes. Should we be concerned that the planet’s climate might be changing (whether natural change or man-made or both)? Probably, but I doubt we have any control, ultimately, over the changes. We should be concerned that production of food is decreasing while the population increases. We should be concerned that children in our neighborhoods go hungry because parents have no money or spend their money poorly, or selfishly, without regard for the basic human necessities. We should educate people about basic human existence. Then we can worry about whether the coach of  a football team broke rules… (what’s really important?)

International Politics, Drama. Why is it a big deal that Iran denied the German Chancellor’s request to fly through Iranian airspace? Iran’s choice showed disrespect for the leader of a nation. A nation involved in the sanctioning of Iran. Germany called back, or withdrew, her ambassador from Iran. In the great game of international politics, these acts create a showdown. Except, these actors do not meet at high noon with 6-shooters at the OK Corral. No, these actors have bombs and can create war. In isolation, this snub might not rise to that point. Iran and the UN Security Council are at loggerheads. This act is another in a long line.

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Georgia’s New Money Pit

As State of Georgia employees see benefits shrink and unpaid furlough days, the Honorable Sonny Perdue announces that he will appoint a “special attorney general” to sue the United States government over health care reform. Why, pray tell, must Georgia retain “special” counsel when the State has an elected Attorney General? Partisan politics. The current attorney general Thubert Baker, Democrat and lawyer, is running for Governor. Did you know, this is an election year? Perdue, a Republican and veterinarian, believes that the recent healthcare legislation should be challenged.

Now, after threatening the livelihoods of thousands of State employees and releasing many others from employment for lack of money, Perdue proposes to hire an attorney to file this splendid lawsuit. Creating a special attorney general is not as simple as hiring one lawyer. No, a lawsuit of this type will require several lawyers, support staff, and researchers. First, the attorney(s) will need to research the issue, thoroughly, to determine if a suit is viable. Next, pleadings will be drafted. Mediation will probably be ordered. Court hearings. Negotiations. All the while, money will be spilling out of the State’s coffers. I would sooner bury the money in a pit than invest it in a frivolous lawsuit.

I would like to ask Governor Perdue how he can justify this useless expense when the attorneys that the State already pays for are required to take furloughs and reductions in pay. We have gotten the government for which we voted. Now is the time to speak up! Say something.

Whether or not you agree with the healthcare legislation, the expense of this lawsuit to the State will be enormous with little to no positive results.


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2008: Advanced Voting Experience

Today, I chose to vote early instead of my preference for actual election day. In Athens, one can vote either at the Board of Elections or the Classic Center (civic center). While standing in the cattle lines, a man who was also in line to vote asked John and I if we knew the party affiliation of the Court of Appeals candidates. As politely as I could muster, I indicated that the election was non-partisan. He continued to ask people how to vote WHILE STANDING IN LINE. This man did indicate that he should have done better research before coming to vote. Seriously? And he gets to vote and choose who will be deciding cases in the Court of Appeals. Yikes!

As we entered the voting and another cattle line, a woman began asking the already busy pollworkers if she could get a printout of her vote to PROVE how she voted today. She did not ask quietly. No, the whole place could hear her. She continued pressing the issue and got agitated to some degree. I feared she might start some sort of revolt. She said that she’d been asking for that for 8 years. Honestly, in the 19 years that I’ve been voting no one has ever been able to make a copy of a vote. What is the world coming to? Did she want to post this one her refrigerator?

Not to mention the guy standing the big holding room who looked at the Sample Ballot and said “I don’t live here who do I vote for. Well, I live here now. But, I don’t know who to vote for.” Crimminy!

Why do people persist in being hardheaded? If you don’t know who to vote for, then don’t show up to vote. If you keep asking the same question, year in and year out, and get the same answer, why continue? If you seek a change, DON’T wait until you show up at the polling place and harass the volunteers. Challenge the people who make the decisions. And GROW THE HELL UP.

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