Morning Reads 10/23/2012

October 23, 2012 9:11 am

by Ron Daniels · 54 comments

Synovous anticipates paying back the federal government for TARP funds by the fourth quarter of 2012. At the latest, those funds will have been repaid by the second quarter of 2013. Those folks must not be from Georgia if they expect to make gains in the first or second quarter.

Bribery in the Probate Court of Camden County. Sounds like the name of either a really good or really bad trash novel. You might recall this Associate Probate Judge, she’s been in the headlines before for issuing JFK, Jr. a marriage license.

Given the outcome of the TSPLOST, I can understand why folks are weary of sales tax referendums; but is a forensic audit the way to redeem SPLOSTs? I thought people hated accountants just like they hate lawyers.

Tomorrow: Get thee to Krystal. 25 Cent Krystals. You’re welcome. This message sponsored by Pepto-bismol, Malox, and TUMS.

This Atlanta daycare should just can’t catch a break.

Speaking of Atlanta, I have proof it’s a modern dystopian city. They are even using it as such in a movie. And it doesn’t involve zombies.

Speaking of Atlanta, the Cardinals lost. Baseball karma.

Augusta’s Oldest Physician is in the hospital . . . I wonder if he’s telling the nurses how to treat the patient?

Charter School Amendment Forum, the answer is: NO. Now what exactly was the question?

UGA team members realize they really aren’t that good. Can we survive Saturday? Maybe. I’d gas up the bandwagon if we lose or win, though.

Two candidates for District Attorney debate at Mercer Law School. I’ll take a moment to note that I support Mr. Winters and think he has done a fine job.

Oh, two guys debate last night. Does anyone care? Ole’ Bob couldn’t get names right. And apparently, not everyone was telling the truth.

Here’s some music for your morning. Have complaints? Blame Charlie.

John Konop October 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

Who lost the debate last night?

I would say the NEOCANS lost big last night. It is clear must Americans are done with the policemen of the world/nation building foreign policy.

Trey A. October 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

The voters lost. They pretty much only talked about stuff they agree on, except for when they changed the subject and rehashed domestic issues.

A serious discussion on drones, Pakistan, Israel/Palestine and Gitmo would have been nice.

“The same, but with a bigger Navy” is not a legitimate alternative to Obama’s foreign policy. I don’t agree with some of Obama’s foreign policy positions, but foreign policy is clearly something Romney is uncomfortable talking about. It still really bothers me that he avoided Vietnam via a Mormon mission to France AND that none of his five able-bodied sons served after 9/11. This, and Romney’s unwillingness to legitimately challenge Obama on foreign policy, will cost him some of the veteran votes that went to McCain–a true war hero. And Ohio and Florida are full of veterans.

peachstealth October 23, 2012 at 10:25 am
Trey A. October 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

The same article shows Romney’s support is less than what McCain enjoyed in 2008, which is significant because this election will be much closer than 08 in the popular vote. So, while the GOP candidate has greater national support this time around, his support is less in a key traditional GOP strength: the military and veterans.

The difference between winning 70 percent of the military/veteran vote in Florida and 66 percent is pretty big.

seenbetrdayz October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

All I know is that Romney doesn’t make much sense when he attacks Obama for his comments about ‘daylight’ between the U.S. and Israel.

I just shake my head.

‘Daylight’ is a bad thing, as opposed to, what, ‘night’? ‘Pitch black’? ‘Dark of darkness’?

I just don’t know how ‘daylight’ became such a bad thing.

kyleinatl October 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

Correct, if there’s a reason Mitt Romney loses come Election Day, it’ll be because he’s seen as a return to Neocon foreign policy. I’d still be pretty shocked if he lost though.

seenbetrdayz October 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I really wish Romney didn’t come with such a bad trade-off. I can’t really blame republicans who think that the economy would be better off with Obama voted out (I tend to agree), but for me to support that I *also* have to support nation-building around the world and supplying weapons/financial support/even military deployments into countries where no one really knows who is fighting who.

Sadly, if you value prosperity and peace, there is no where for you to go in the current two-party system.

kyleinatl October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

Incredibly well said, glad somebody else is thinking it.

Trey A. October 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

Heard something on the radio this morning about Gov. Deal taking the advice of his education task force (or commission or something) and changing the way the state funds its public colleges. Instead of paying schools based on enrollment and credit hours, the new program will fund schools based on student outcomes–specifically graduation rates. Sounds interesting… And it sounds like a good idea on the surface. Anyone know more about this?

(Deal is slowly winning me over with his work on prisons and colleges)

seenbetrdayz October 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I don’t know about colleges but he did impress me at the state convention when he talked about prison over-crowding and needing reform. I haven’t paid much attention to his plans for education, admittedly, and I doubt he will get anywhere with reforms so long as the majority of the GOP continues to view drug use as a criminal issue rather than medical.

I seem to recall a story a few days ago of a SWAT drug raid on a home by Richmond County sheriff deputies where agents forced a pregnant woman, her mother, and a young girl to lie on the floor while they searched a house —— a half a block away from the intended target! The wrong address, no knock warrants, gung-ho approach to fighting the ‘war on drugs’ looks more like a ‘war on us.’ If it had been an isolated incident, I could chock it up to being an honest mistake, but events like that happen all around this country and I guess most people just adopt the attitude, ‘well, it hasn’t happened to me yet.’

We have a police force that is becoming more and more militarized and we have a military that has become a global police force. Can someone please point me back to the portal that takes me back to the America I used to know?

Ed October 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

“And apparently, not everyone was telling the truth.”


Politicians were debating and not being honest?

Well, I never!

Thanks for crushing my beliefs, Ron.

Harry October 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Military forces chaplains to perform ‘gay’ marriages

saltycracker October 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Would have liked for Romney to have been more aggressive in several situations, including security at hotspot embassies.

The bayonets & swords was a smartass knee jerk. I am under the impression that the Navy stats for ships includes subs & aircraft carriers and the navy has asked for more ships. If they need them is another subject as the “ships” of today do a lot more than yesterday’s.

If it is correct that the foreign aid bill is an all or nothing vote, Romney should have been pushing it be approved one country at a time.

I’m undecided on the military budget. I question the size of worldwide deployment of the military in these high tech times involving long range capabilities & mega-carriers:

United States military deployments
As of 31 December 2010, U.S. Armed Forces were stationed in 150 countries. Some of the largest contingents are the 103,700 in Afghanistan, the 52,440 in Germany (see list), the 35,688 in Japan (USFJ), the 28,500 in Republic of Korea (USFK), the 9,660 in Italy, and the 9,015 in the United Kingdom respectively. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.

saltycracker October 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm

modify – ” horses & bayonets”

David C October 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Romney’s “The navy’s the smallest since 1916” is the kind of asinine “fact” that only plays well in talk radio land. One carrier battle group could likely sink all of Der Kaiser’s navy, with the Royal Navy and US Navy of 1916 thrown into the bargain. That’s leaving aside the fact that just one of our nuclear ballistic missile submarines has explosive firepower beyond anything imaginable in 1916. Our naval forces are on a whole other level than anyone on earth (and many of the next class navies, like Japan, the UK, and France are our closest allies), much less those of the World War I era. Trotting out that balderdash was hanging a fat curveball right across the plate and the President hit it out of the park. If Romney ever thought that was a serious or valuable critique, he’s delusional.

Trey A. October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

He’s not delusional. He was doing exactly as you said–looking for an asinine “fact” to drum up the base.

You’re spot on in your critique, though.

c_murrayiii October 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Actually, Romney was spot on and the President was the delusional, childish one displaying a lack of seriousness on a serious subject. Yes, as aircraft carrier can do more than a traditional battleship from WWI (WWII proved that), but the issue is not “my ships are stronger than yours” the issue is force projection and the ability to respond to contingencies the world over. The United States, good or bad, is largely responsible for maintaining the freedom of the seas nowadays. An aircraft carrier, of which we have 11 in commission currently (with one going out of service in December), requires months of overhaul every time it gets back to port, sometimes upwards of 18 months of overhaul. Submarines are similar, though we have a few more (about 73, 18 of which are part of the nuclear deterrent). Of course, a submarine can’t do much with a ship taken over by Somali pirates. The fact is, the President’s budget delays the addition of new aircraft carriers, submarines, and surface vessels so that our force will fall under that recommended by the Admirals and national security experts to maintain our force projection capabilities. This means we will be less able to respond to the closing of the Straits of Hormuz, incidents in the South China Sea, pirate activities in the Red and Arabian Seas, humanitarian and rescue missions such as tsunami’s, earthquakes, or civil wars where American citizens are caught behind the lines, as well as situations requiring US air and missile power on land targets (Libya, Kosovo, etc.). I can certainly respect a perspective that the US shouldn’t engage in Libya-style operations in the future, but the other missions are critical to commerce and international security that require ships ready and able to respond on short notice, and these missions are not “sinking battleships.” Also, it takes years to build an aircraft carrier or submarine, and China is building up its navy for some reason, including creating its own carrier force, a substantial submarine fleet, and a cruise missile designed to sink carriers (not many countries have carriers, the US has the most, so I think its fair to make an inference these missiles are intended for us). Maybe they won’t be a threat, but we should at least maintain a navy comparable in size to that found throughout the 1990’s for a host of reasons, as well as to ensure the next time China has a dispute with Japan or Vietnam over islands in a major shipping lane, that we can actually respond.

Trey A. October 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

C_Murrayiii… I agree with your sentiment, but you are off base. First off, China’s “new” carrier was built more than 25 years ago and sat mothballed in Ukraine for the better part of two decades. Thailand, Brazil already have carriers. Mexico and Spain have two each. China’s military spending as a portion of GDP has actually decreased for most of the past decade. China’s one legitimate Navy threat is its submarine program, which uses quiet (cheaper) diesel subs that are practically incapable of crossing an ocean.

Secondly, most of the missions you described above are actually Coast Guard missions–global anti-piracy, ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships, humanitarian and rescue missions, etc. The Navy has co-opted many of those missions by converting Cold War relics (sub-hunting surface ships, amphibious landing ships) to better accomplish traditional Coast guard missions like anti-piracy and rapid aid.

We still have too many ships in the Navy. You could make a case for a more robust Coast Guard, but in doing so, we would likely need to shrink the navy further. Where we do need better naval capability is in tracking diesel submarines (Iran, North Korea and China all have them–so do Pakistan and India) and combating cheap speed-boat type coastal vessels (Iran’s greatest Naval strength).

You could reduce the surface fleet by another 20 percent and still have enough power projection to go around. Yes, we “only” have 11 aircraft carriers (as much as the rest of the world combined), but we also have 9 amphibious assault ships–large flat tops that are indistinguishable from aircraft carriers in appearance and function to the common observer. And we have some 108 active cruisers, destroyers and frigates. I assure you that if we choose not to respond to “a China dispute with Japan or Vietnam over islands” it is purely for geopolitical reasons. Fleet readiness has nothing to do with such decisions. We have unquestionably the most impressive Navy on the face of the earth and our ships deploy far more often than our allies and our enemies.

I spent the better part of the last decade in the Navy. I’m not a naval scholar, but I feel like I have a valuable and learned perspective on the subject… On final note, Go Navy, Beat Army!

Holly October 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Dr. Watson was my grandmother’s doctor through all of her adult life. He also delivered both my dad and uncle. He is the nicest, most caring man you could meet. I wish him a speedy recovery!

SallyForth October 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Ron, kudos on the music selection – I love me some Macon, GA, soul. :)

Noway October 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Couple of things, thanks for the Krystal news! Second, with the significant shift to Romney in virtually every major or minor poll, do you all think he’s gonna win? A month ago I don’t think many of us, even die hard Romney fans, would have thought so. Apparently debates matter.

The Last Democrat in Georgia October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Romney will win the election going away, winning AT LEAST 53% of the vote to Obama’s 47% (or less).

You are so very correct that debates matter because if the General Election was a test, the debates would be a major part, likely a majority, of the candidates’ grade.

The absolute best thing that Romney could have done was not only to show up to that first debate, but literally clean Castro’s, eh, I mean Obama’s clock in the process.

When all is said is done on November 6th, Romney will likely win more than 300 electoral votes and upwards of 40 states all based on concerns about the economy.

Calypso October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

“…with the significant shift to Romney in virtually every major or minor poll, do you all think he’s gonna win?”

No, though I hope he does.

Trey A. October 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Electoral College math is still pretty daunting. He’s really got to rally in Ohio. Without Ohio, Romney can’t win without taking nearly every other swing state, including Wisconsin and Virginia. Obama can lose Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, New Hampshire and either Iowa or Nevada and still win. The president only needs to win the swing states where he currently has the biggest leads–Ohio, Wisconsin and either Nevada or Iowa–to get a second term (assuming he holds onto Michigan and Pennsylvania, two “lean Obama” states). With a win in Colorado, Obama can lose Wisconsin from the previous list and still win… Romney’s got his work cut out for him, but he’s in a much better position than he was before the debates started.

saltycracker October 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Trump said he had a big disclosure on Obama and it might turn the election.
It should bring a bit of levity to all this uptight talk.
Hold on, he’s coming.

SallyForth October 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. I’m sick of everything being about Ohio. No matter which guy wins the election, I hope he loses in Ohio so we can break this curse about “gotta win you-know-where.”
That state gets way too much campaign advertising money poured into it (most of which is probably going out of Georgia, with all the multi-zillion dollar fundraisers held here and zero coming back in from either campaign).

kyleinatl October 24, 2012 at 11:10 am

So you’re saying you really want non-stop advertising…I bet it’s a nightmare to live in Ohio right now, and Florida, and Virginia…

SallyForth October 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Not really on the advertising, but I’d put up with it a few months every four years in order to get some of that moolah into our state’s economy. Plus it would be nice not to be taken for granted by either party.

saltycracker October 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

It’s the economy, stupid. (As the saying goes).

saltycracker October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

At the end of the day most should see Obama dragging out a recovery and increasing our back breaking debt. Only one side wants to limit debt to some % of GDP.
We can fight all day over how to tax and spend as long as we are not headed to bankruptcy.

Noway October 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I’m not optimistic about either party cutting spending but at least Romney gives it lip service. I will tell you this, if Romney wins and does not begin slashing spending the Repubs will never win the presidency again in my lifetime. We all have heard that ‘this isn’t sustainable.’ We get it. So, shut the eff up and do something about it!!!! All of the taxes that are sent to the treasury only pay for 57% of what this country spends every year. Think about that. The other 43% comes from China. We all know we cannot continue to spend like we do. you don’t need to be Charles Krauthammer to know that. The question is, when will the cuts start and whose ox will get gored.

Harry October 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Absolutely true.

Calypso October 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Except the part about 43% of our borrowing comes from China. It’s actually about 10% which comes from China. Not saying any amount is good, it’s just that only 10% or so of our borrowing comes from China.

Harry October 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Actually, it’s only about 7%…$1.1 trillion according to Wikipedia.

Calypso October 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Thanks, it must have decreased since I last heard (more likely we borrowed more elsewhere to alter the percentage from China).

mpierce October 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm
Calypso October 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Looks like about 20%, correct?

Calypso October 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm

That would be 20% of what is held by foreign countries, not 20% of total debt. The majority of which is held by the US taxpayers.

China’s holding of total debt is right at Harry’s figure of 7%

mpierce October 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Looks like their holdings spiked last year (just before the debt deal & credit downgrade) and has been trending down since. I suppose that means they haven’t been financing our deficit over the last year.

Noway October 24, 2012 at 6:41 am

Regardless of the percentage, the part that scares the crap out of me is that 43% doesn’t come from our own pockets and is borrowed, from whom is really a secondary issue.

Calypso October 24, 2012 at 8:18 am


mpierce October 24, 2012 at 9:18 am

That 43% is being held down by historically low interest rates. I hate to see what happens when interest rates start rising.

Harry October 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

Did you not get the memo? Hyperinflation will never happen here. 😉

Calypso October 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

We got it all on a five-year ARM. We won’t be living here in five years, so we’ll sell at a price higher than what we paid for it, make a profit, and move on.

Harry October 24, 2012 at 10:26 am

That may be a good plan, but you may not have 5 years to execute.

SallyForth October 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Yay!! Calypso got his boat back! But just WHY will you not be living here in five years?

Calypso October 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

That post was a poor attempt at a joke referring to mpierce’s comment about what will happen when interest rates start rising. I was using the flawed school of thought of many homeowners who thought they’d buy more than they could afford on a low interest ARM and dump the place before the interest rate re-adjusted in five years.

Sorry for the lameness of it.

Calypso October 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm

By the way, that ship is my namesake, the expeditionary ship of Jacques Cousteau, who was my childhood hero.

SallyForth October 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Yep, I knew that was the source of your PP handle, but didn’t realize this is a picture of Cousteau’s actual “Calypso.” That being the case, I guess we don’t need to hunt you a not-so-tiny avatar.

saltycracker October 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Guess you didn’t see the video tour of the ship

Scott65 October 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

These avatars are giving me fits…I think I’ve changed it 20 times already

Calypso October 25, 2012 at 6:19 am

I like your avatar, it shows your work. Do you do mainly commissioned pieces, or whatever strikes your fancy and then try to market it?

SallyForth October 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Calypso, how do you know Scott made that? I’m pretty sure our President would say he (or she, as the case may be) didn’t.

Calypso October 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Why, anyone can recognize an original Scott65 when one sees one!

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