Morning Reads for Monday, December 5th

December 5, 2011 6:32 am

by Jason · 55 comments

“Politics will sooner or later make fools of everybody.” – Dick Armey

Here in Georgia…
– Occupy Atlanta has camped out on Peachtree Street next to Woodruff Park.
– Despite a questionable record in other states, CAPCO legislation is on the table in the upcoming session.
– Secretary of State Brian Kemp wrote an op-ed recently defending Georgia’s voter ID law. Rep. Hank Johnson says they are unfair.
– A blogger in LaFayette has been bullied by local police.
– George Will really knocked Herman Cain yesterday on This Week.

National stories of interest…
– The Washington Post has put together this guide to ad spending by GOP candidates.
– Sigh. Donald Trump will host a GOP debate.
– An 85-year old grandmother claims she was strip-searched by TSA.

A few that I like…
– Georgia will play Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.
– Tech won a ticket to the Sun Bowl to take on Utah.
– Coke is axing the white holiday cans because people thought it was Diet Coke.
– Watch the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season in 4.5 minutes.

Calypso December 5, 2011 at 6:39 am

I have yet to read a positive opinion on CAPCO (I’m against it myself). Will (can) a proponent of it please give me the benefits as they see them?

Why is this bill so close to passing, I ask?

saltycracker December 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

So Politicians can get some insurance companies a tax break and investment opportunities while saying they are helping GA jobs…..and incidentially, their campaign funds…..

Venture capitalists are willing to take more risk than banks for the hope of higher rewards…

But this twist is taxpayers forfeit $125 million of current revenue and the insurance companies and CAPCOs take a chance on making big bucks for themselves with it. Even if the taxpayers would see any return in future taxes it would be over a long time.

These programs of putting up money we don’t have now to gamble on something over future years are out of control. This found money for insurance companies & CAPCOs is a bad deal for taxpayers.

Politicians picking winners and loosers…..

Dave Bearse December 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

But there’s no risk in it for the venture capitalists, which makes their role in it such as politicial plum. Gamble with taxpayer-provided funds. Win and get a healthy cut of the winnings. Break even and collect a paycheck while doing so. Lose? It was someone else’s money and there may be more where it came from.

mountainpass December 5, 2011 at 7:25 am

Another GT robbery a senior was beaten and robbed at gunpoint: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/16187058/georgia-tech-student-robbed-at-gunpoint

Interestingly the AJC article never mentions a gun just that he was “accosted” and treated for a head injury. The other reports I’ve read all report the gun and say he was kicked and punched in the head.
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/georgia-tech-student-robbed-1251370.html

mountainpass December 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

The AJC article has been replaced with a new one.

Engineer December 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

I think all that is could be discussed regarding the voter ID law has already been discussed a couple months ago on here (from the Voter ID law in South Carolina thread). I think the comments from it can be summed up in 3 (obviously over-generalized) comments. Voter fraud does happen. The voter id law offers a free photo ID. Photo ID’s are used at some point for nearly every person in the US.

I was actually surprised they even released the white can Cokes in the first place. They look alot like the Diet Coke colors.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

1. Photo ID does nothing to solve any kind of voter fraud in Georgia.
2. Offering a free photo ID is like offering training so you can pass the quiz before you vote.
3. Ease of acquiring is moot. It is possible that some previously perfectly eligible citizen is suddenly no longer eligible due to a random and questionable extra hurdle.

Engineer December 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

1. And what, roll over and let voter fraud happen? Unfortunately, it happens more than you might want to believe. In fact, absentee ballots remain a major the hole for abuse and fraud. Look at the 12 arrested in Bainbridge a couple weeks ago for fraud on absentee ballots.

2. So you see it as giving answers to a quiz, seems a bit fool-proof from your analysis. I dunno I kinda see it this way; it is free and easily available to anybody who isn’t too lazy make the minor effort needed to get it. After all, it isn’t like they are making them pay for it.

3. You have to have a photo ID to cash checks, especially on all government checks. You have to use photo ID to set up a bank account, to buy a car, to buy a house, rent an apartment. Even to use a d For pretty much any high value item you have to present ID.

Dave Bearse December 5, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I’m fine with voters being required to present photo ID, but am tired of its proponents telling me it was all about a concern for ballot security, and wasn’t motivated in part by a desire to suppress political opposition, without any facts in evidence.

“[A]bsentee ballots remain a major the hole for abuse and fraud’. Indeed absentee ballot fraud has long been orders of magnitude larger than at the polls fraud. Yet the damning truth is this anti-fraud legislation weakened ballot security in the area where fraud is most prevalent! It’s likewise damining that proponenets ignored objections that it was unconstitutional for the orginial legislaton to require the citizenry travel 50 miles adn then have to pay for an ID.

So where are the facts on poll ID-related fraud? You mentioned Brooks County where there were perhaps 1,000 fraudulent absentee ballots.. I doubt anyone could come up with three digits worth of poll-ID based fraud over a decade (or if they did, that one couldn’t identify ten times more absentee ballot-based fraud).

The evidence is that a significant number of supporters of this legislation supported it because of a belieft it would suppress opposition voting. Case closed.

Doug Grammer December 6, 2011 at 7:57 am

You know that’s like asking for stats on how many banks were not robbed because there are cameras and guards, right?

benevolus December 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

I doubt it. If it was happening to any extent, every now and then someone would show up to vote who had already voted, or to vote for a dead person, or get recognized by a poll worker as NOT their neighbor, or any number of other possibilities. Maybe they don’t keep track of such things, but if the legislation is justified by anything, why haven’t we seen it?

Engineer December 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

I agree with Doug regarding your bizarre request of stats. You may think that small numbers of fraud mean nothing, but to me, every vote is precious and you have no right to belittle their stolen votes. To protect these, at a bare minimum, some action has to be taken, simply put, while not perfect, photo-ID is the quickest and simplest action to implement.

” It’s likewise damining that proponenets ignored objections that it was unconstitutional for the orginial legislaton to require the citizenry travel 50 miles adn then have to pay for an ID.”

Travel distances vary from county to county. Most people with no transportation live in cities/urban areas (where transportation isn’t as much an issue), additionally, the ID is free, so your point regarding paying is moot.

benevolus December 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

It’s just curious that you hold “every vote precious” but are willing to potentially sacrifice some for no good reason.

Engineer December 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

You keep making these strawman arguments about supposed people yet you give no actual reasons why these people cannot access the very things I’ve mentioned (the various free transportation options, noting the ID is free, etc.). If you are just being contrarian just to be contrarian, then more power to you, but don’t ignore me when I give legitimate answers to your issues.

benevolus December 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

You are essentially saying “it’s OK to put hurdles as long as they are probably easy hurdles” and I am just saying no it’s not OK. If the hurdles served a purpose, then of course I might be OK with it. But these hurdles serve no purpose. People keep saying “any effort to prevent fraud” but this does not prevent fraud. Every example that anyone puts up is not related to photo ID at all. It’s always different kinds of fraud.

As I said before, this is essentially the same argument used years ago when Southern states tried to make people pass a literacy test in order to vote. It could be argued that it is easy to study and practice for the test, but the fact remains that it was easier for some than for others so it’s not fair. Same with the ID. It may be easy, but IT SERVES NO PURPOSE. People who were completely eligible one day suddenly were not the next day with no evidence of any problem that the hurdle solves.

Engineer December 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Again, you ignore my pointing out that your “hurdles” can be gotten around with as much effort as it would take the individual to register to vote. I honestly don’t know why I am even bothering anymore with you. The worst part is this repeated race baiting you are pulling with the constant referrals to the old literacy tests even though there is no test (outside of standing still for the camera).

David Staples December 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

So essentially, you want people to be able to walk into a polling place, say “my name is _____” and be allowed to vote? How about we extend that to banks and say that people ought to be able to walk into their bank say “my name is ____ and I’d like to withdraw $10k” and the bank should just trust that they are who they say they are. After all, proving your identity is apparently a hardship, right?

benevolus December 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Completely wrong. All I am saying is that the existing system prior to the photo ID law was pretty robust without adding this additional smokescreen that makes some people feel like something is being done.
Here in Georgia, we have to register- for which you need a photo ID- you have had to have some sort of ID when you showed up to vote- albeit not necessarily with a picture, you had to sign the affidavit, and you had to be on the voter roll. There is no room for voter impersonation there. It is much more likely precious votes are being miscounted in the machine software, or with absentee ballot shenanigans.

Now stop baiting me! I don’t have time for this anymore!

Doug Grammer December 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Does “Now stop baiting me! I don’t have time for this anymore!” = Don’t bother me with logic? I’m on a roll! Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

It doesn’t prevent ALL voter fraud, but can you admit it does prevent SOME voter fraud?

benevolus December 7, 2011 at 7:17 am

If I could believe that, I might not have a problem with it. As it is, I don’t believe it prevents any type of fraud.

Engineer December 7, 2011 at 8:32 am

“Now stop baiting me! I don’t have time for this anymore!”

The irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Doug Grammer December 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

You honestly think that the voter ID law does not prevent 1 person in the entire state of Georgia from thinking about voting in two precincts on the same day?

benevolus December 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

I doubt someone is going to show up with a photo ID that doesn’t look like them, so I am saying it doesn’t stop any type of fraud. But I also think the possibility of someone attempting it even before the photo ID law was extremely small. Too much risk for a tiny possible reward.

David Staples December 7, 2011 at 9:11 am

I’ve got ID cards that are easily replicated. My Weapons Carry License, MENSA card, etc. It would take me less than 10 minutes to make a passable non-state issued ID card and make a cup of coffee. It would take me quite a bit longer to actually make one of the new Georgia licenses / ID cards. So let’s say that I know a friend of mine has said he’s frustrated with the system and even though he’s registered, that he’s not going to vote. What would stop me (without a photo id) from going to the polling place, telling them I am him, showing a non-photo id, signing the affidavit and voting for him?

Doug Grammer December 7, 2011 at 9:24 am

If you admit the possibility, however small it might be, you’ve admitted the need for the law. Saying someone isn’t going to show up with a voter ID card, isn’t the same thing as saying someone might show up with a utility bill, which used to be OK, which could have been stolen out of a mailbox. Saying someone isn’t going to show up with a a voter ID card proves the effectiveness.

benevolus December 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

David and Doug, you can use a utility bill to go get the photo ID, so what’s the point?

Engineer December 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

” you can use a utility bill to go get the photo ID, so what’s the point?”
Funny you mention that because to start utility services, you have to present photo-ID (or at least I always have had to).

Doug Grammer December 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

I’ve never seen anyone use a utility bill to get a drivers licence. Please tell us which valid form of ID under the voter ID law can be obtained from a utility bill. Passport? Nope. Military ID? I don’t think so. Voter ID card? Not gonna happen.

It takes you a long time to admit that you are wrong, doesn’t it?

benevolus December 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

What does what you have seen have to do with anything? Here is the requirement:

“Applicant must furnish proof that he or she resides in Georgia and must provide a valid Georgia residence address. The following items are acceptable:

Utility bill issued within the last 60 days;
Bank statement issued within the last 60 days;
Current valid rental contracts and/or receipts for payments made within the last sixty (60) days for rent payments;
Employer verification, including, but not limited to, one of the following:
Paycheck or paycheck stub
Letter from employer or
W-2 for current or preceding calendar year”

There are others, but that proves my assertion I think.

http://www.dds.ga.gov/drivers/dldata.aspx?con=1747740603&ty=dl

This is getting absurd.

Doug Grammer December 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

keep reading:

“First time applicants for a Georgia identification card must show some acceptable form of personal identification that includes full name, month, day and year of birth. After verification of full name and date of birth, documents will be returned immediately to the licensee. The following items are acceptable but must be Original or a Certified Copy:
Original birth certificate (State issued, Hospital birth certificates are not acceptable).
Certified copy of birth certificate (Issued from Vital Statistics with affixed seal)
Certificate of birth registration
Certified copy of court records (adoption, name changes or sex changes.)
Certified naturalization records
Immigration I.D. card
Valid Passport
If your name has changed from your original birth record, you must present official certified documents supporting the name change, including but not limited to:
Marriage license, marriage certificate or marriage license application
Please note; by law, same sex marriage certificates cannot be accepted for name changes.
Divorce decree
Adoption
Legal name change
Amended birth certificate
Anyone applying for a Georgia identification card must provide a social security number at the time of issuance. It is not necessary to have your original social security card. However, penalties will occur if an incorrect social security number is provided. Any customer who is not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number must provide a letter of ineligibility for a Social Security number (Form SSAL 676).”

benevolus December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

The scenario is to impersonate a currently registered voter, so “first time applicant” doesn’t apply. You go there and say you lost your drivers license I guess, and that you don’t want to renew it, you just want the free ID.

Doug Grammer December 11, 2011 at 12:49 am

Guessing….try again. You can’t get the ID required to vote without proving who you are. Utility bills don’t work. An expired drivers licence won’t work either.

There’s a reason for that and you seem to be the only person on here who doesn’t understand why that is.

benevolus December 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I showed the rule. That’s what it says. Don’t blame me.

Doug Grammer December 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

You didn’t show all of what it says and you don’t understand it. By your own words you are “guessing” on how it works. Don’t blame me. Blame your teacher in High school…or maybe grade school.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

1. None of that has anything to do with photo ID.
2. To me, the most likely person affected by this is an elderly African-American who registered to vote in the 60’s and has consistently voted ever since then. Now living in assisted living facility, hard to get around, probably not much money. It just hurts my heart to think that this person, who may have seen or known people beaten or even killed to gain the right to vote, would have that right taken away for either a pointless, paranoid, misguided delusion, or a bald-faced political purge.
3. All those things you mention are private transactions. Companies can choose pretty much whatever requirements they want and you can choose to use them or not. Voting is a RIGHT. We shouldn’t be making t ANY harder without a damn good reason.

saltycracker December 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

You make a passionate case for that RIGHT – so how do we protect that elderly man’s vote from being negated by fraudulent votes ?
Seems like an easy imperfect step is picture ID in an increasingly “me first” world.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

First we should identify how the fraud is happening. It is not happening through voter impersonation, which is the only type of fraud a photo ID could possibly address.
Picture ID more likely just complicates the issue. You have poll workers- who to my knowledge have yet to be trained in any way regarding photo recognition- deciding whether or not someone looks enough like their picture before getting to vote? The poll workers sometimes can’t even cross off the right name in the book let alone compare a possibly 10 year old picture to an actual face.

Engineer December 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

1. It has everything to do with photo ID. The whole point is the limit fraud.

2. Don’t even pull that line. There are tons of organizations and most cities/counties including many church and senior groups (not to mention many cities, counties and regions that offer regional subsidized transit options for elderly) who help bring them to register to vote and vote for free. With early voting now being available in Georgia, you can easily schedule ahead of time and be able to vote without an absentee ballot in most cases (obviously military, long-term illness patients, and some students may not be able to, and that is what the absentee ballots are for and can be received through them, but they have to show ID).

3. Since when is a government check private? On every check I’ve seen from the government, there is a stamp/phrase on it saying ID must be shown. Although I disagree about it making things harder to vote, as very few normal US citizens of voting age do not carry a valid photo ID of some form. However if making sure the correct person is voting is “harder”, I’d say voter fraud is a damned good reason.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

There are many types of fraud, but using a photo ID to minimize voter fraud is like using a hoe to go fishing.

Rather than say how easy it is to comply, why don’t you say why you support it? Even if it is easy to comply doesn’t make it right, or a good law. If it doesn’t accomplish anything, why would we even take the risk of disenfranchising someone?

Photo ID is not the cure to “voter fraud”. Photo ID might cure voter impersonation if anyone was doing it, but they aren’t because it is a ridiculous thing to attempt. You’re going to go to some precinct and vote for someone else in hopes of changing one vote? You would have to get there before they vote, hope you don’t get recognized, and commit the forgery felony. It’s a paranoid delusion.

Harry December 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

There are precincts in this country where dead people vote, and if someone hasn’t voted by say 7 pm when the polls close, then someone else votes for them. Requiring photo ID in Chicago, St. Louis, and Philly would often result in different statewide results. Requiring photo ID in Georgia is preventative.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Maybe their registration requirements aren’t as robust there, I don’t know. But if poll workers are allowing votes to be cast after the polls close, photo ID ain’t gonna help that either.

David Staples December 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Fine, let’s forget about national elections. Let’s take a look at local municipal elections. Austell recently had an election where the At-Large (Post 2) was Randy P. Green (Incumbent) with 250 votes to Suzanne Thomason’s 252 votes. Ward 4 was Virginia Reagan (Incumbent) with 94 votes to Lance Lamberton’s 90 votes. Now what was that about just “one vote”? Sometimes that’s all it takes to throw an election one way or another.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I am not disputing that at all. I am just saying that if y’all think that this photo ID is going to stop that, you are probably mistaken. I think you are attributing all kinds of possible “voter fraud” corrections to this, and that is definitely a mistake.

David Staples December 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I don’t think anyone believes that photo ID is the only fix to voter fraud. I see it as just one piece of the puzzle. If we’re going to require private businesses to ask for ID when selling alcohol, why not at the voting booth?

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Because buying booze is a choice, a private transaction. No one has to sell you booze and no one has to buy it. Voting is a right and should not be hindered for no good reason.
Photo ID isn’t part of a fix, it’s a fake fix, and it might have prevented some people who were otherwise completely eligible from voting.
Where are all you libertarians who dislike frivolous laws that unnecessarily complicates things? This is one of them.

saltycracker December 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Removing the easy, imperfect voter ID is like taking the first rung out of the fixing the problem ladder.

benevolus December 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

On the other hand, based on the comments here it seems to have given a false sense of security. Our photo ID law is preventing voter fraud in Chicago and absentee ballot fraud here.

Engineer December 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

You ask why I support it, and I tell you again, it works to prevent voter fraud. Note, I said prevent; it isn’t a cure-all. When this nation started,

You keep acting like voter fraud doesn’t happen. While yes, one vote doesn’t always make a difference, in many races an election can easily come down to just a few votes.

Here is a prime example from a week ago in Quitman, GA (I accidently said Bainbridge earlier)…..
http://bainbridgega.com/news/publish/112711voterfraud.shtml
http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2010/07/26/until-south-georgia-voter-fraud-inquiry-is-settled-terry-coleman-says-hell-hold-off-on-concession/
…and yes, they are being charged.

LaFayette Underground December 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm

The Times Free Press article about the LaFayette bloggers (I am one of them) was prompted by this nasty piece of work in the Walker County Messenger:

http://catwalkchatt.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Officials+speak+out+against+LaFayette+Underground+blog-+one+contributor+identified%20&id=16579475

The sad part is, they wrote more about our contributor than they’ve written about local politics in the last two years – which is why we have to do what we’re doing with the blog.

— LU

griftdrift December 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm

LaFayette Underground, I’m curious to know your response to the following:

“The LaFayette Underground wrote several posts last year criticizing police department investigations into multiple arsons across town, accusing police of ignoring the problem. The blog then named a juvenile as the arsonist.

But police later arrested volunteer firefighter Melvin Chase in December 2010 and charged him in connection with several arson incidents over the past five years”

saltycracker December 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Credibility/transparency increases (agreement might not) with those blogs like PP with the front page contributors in the right hand column & some with bios.

E-mails & blog sites absent references should be deleted or at least taken with a teaspoon of salt.

LaFayette Underground December 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm

grift:

The juvenile in question had been going around the community bragging about his fire-setting prowess. He’s also a known drug user and has been arrested multiple times before and after our article for breaking into homes just like the ones burned to steal copper. Several of the fires LPD accused Marvin Chase with setting were set at the same time on opposite sides of town, and when he was arrested even the lead detective said there were probably accomplices involved. Our police source said they cut a deal with the kid, charged him just with some unrelated burglaries in exchange for his statements against Mr. Chase. He was a juvenile at the time, if he had been charged with all the fires he’d have been out of jail in 18 months.

Last December when Marvin Chase was arrested, they said he confessed to twenty fires – but he has (12 months later) been charged with only ONE fire, which was set in an area away from most of the other fires and in the middle of the day, which totally doesn’t fit the usual MO for these arsons. The only one they definitely have proof of is nothing like the others he supposedly did.

The juvenile we identified is, at least, an accomplice of the one who was charged. When the assistant police chief came to “talk” to one of our people at work, he said they can’t investigate the crime now or charge anyone with it because we posted bad information online. So now it’s not their incompetence, it’s us. Convenient scapegoat.

As for salty’s comment about anonymous contributors, you can see from the way they’ve responded to this that we were right in not putting our names out in public. They’re going after people’s employers and reputations because they cannot legally stop the blog. They involved an innocent uninvolved children’s ministry where one of our people happens to work, just to kick him and discourage others from getting involved in the blog. It IS bullying, as this post said in the link, and we’ve managed to avoid it for the last two years only by keeping names secret. There are others involved who still have a lot to lose from this kind of behavior on the part of public officials. When possible we do cite sources, and much of what we write comes from publicly available news sources or documents that we link to.

A few weeks ago the mayor of LaFayette threatened to “come after” a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter if he reported on a topic we brought up. That shows the mindset these people have. He can’t actually do much to the TFP, but the local newspaper is under the control of local politicians. They think we’ll roll over the same way the Messenger does, but we’re not going to. Check this out: http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/31/lafayette-gives-competitive-edge-mayors-pharmacy/ In a real town a mayor threatening media would end up punished. So would a police officer or county administrator going in the newspaper to slam a blog. But here nobody cares about anything.

We will be doing a full-length blog in response to the two articles soon, but there are other things going on at the moment (like 600+ victims of local debit card theft) we have to make a higher priority than publicly defending ourselves.

— LU

LaFayette Underground December 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Oh and if you care, here’s our original article regarding the arson arrests last year.

http://www.cityoflafayettega.com/2010/12/all-fired-up/

— LU

griftdrift December 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Yeah. I read the original. Will have more to say later.

LaFayette Underground December 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I see what you said on your own blog, somewhat negative about the LU, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about specific areas where we’ve supposedly done wrong.

Have you visited this part of the state much? Ever sat down and talked to a local leader, like Heiskell? Things don’t work up here the way they do in Atlanta, or even in Chattanooga or Dalton. Feel free to e-mail me at any time, [email protected], or follow us on Facebook at http://www.fb.me/lafayettelu

— LU

Comments on this entry are closed.