What sounds better than drinking with your favorite Peach Pundit pals while talking Sine Die politics? Nothing (or everything).
Charlie gave y’all the details earlier, but a reminder never hurts. Come for the drinks, stay for the Sine Die existential crises.
Where: Gordon Biersch Midtown (848 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA)
When: 7pm-10pm; however, you may come and go as you please
Why: To drink
Who: Some, others not so much
As always, I look forward to seeing, like, eight of you. The eight are TBD.
You know the saying – the best people watching is at the airport. Today was a bonus level.
Two days after a man in Texas was diagnosed with Ebola, a Missouri doctor Thursday morning showed up at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport dressed in protective gear to protest what he called mismanagement of the crisis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Gil Mobley checked in and cleared airport security wearing a mask, goggles, gloves, boots and a hooded white jumpsuit emblazoned on the back with the words, “CDC is lying!”
“If they’re not lying, they are grossly incompetent,” said Mobley, a microbiologist and emergency trauma physician from Springfield, Mo.
Mobley said the CDC is “sugar-coating” the risk of the virus spreading in the United States.
Yes, the #EbolaInTX diagnosis is scary. Yes, the local hospital dropped the ball. Yes, the media is freaking out. That is no reason for you to do the same.
The good doctor is entitled to his opinion of the CDC, even if many think he made a fool of himself expressing them. Like most government entities, the CDC operates on the facts available to them at that time. Whether this information is the right facts, wrong facts, too many or not enough, they base their decisions on the facts at hand.
Beside the Ebola angle, many ladies like myself wonder how he can clear airport security in a full-body germ suit, and I can’t get my underwired garment through without an intimate encounter with a ham-handed stranger.
Aside: Is it just me, or has the last year unfolded like Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders?
Last summer I wrote a post on the domestic use of UAVs or drones. A lively debate ensued. Given the news coming out last night that Amazon is seeking to begin delivering small packages via drones I thought it might be a good idea to have that debate again.
Earlier this year I attended a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). I am an alternate on the Communications and Technology Taskforce of ALEC (if you want to debate ALEC, which I’m sure some of Georgia’s left-wing twitterati will want to do, please save that for another day, we’re talking about drones here). At this meeting we had a panel discussion on how States should deal with the growing use of drones. The panelists from CATO (a libertarian think-tank) and the ACLU (the left-wing civil rights group) agreed: restrict the use of drones by government, but leave the private use of drones alone.
The CATO panelist pointed out that as air travel became popular, experts predicted the public would be terribly upset at planes violating the airspace above their property. It turns out almost nobody was worried about a plane flying 30,000 feet above their house, they just didn’t want an airport too close to their home because planes are noisy. In other words, we don’t know how the public will react to private individuals using drones, and we’re not even sure how private individuals will use drones so don’t rush out and pass a bunch of new laws trying to solve problems that don’t yet exist. This seems to me to be good public policy. In fact, last year I was a co-sponsor of a bill to require law enforcement to first obtain a search warrant before using UAVs for surveillance. The private use of UAVs is not touched in that bill.
Current law may very well deal with any abuses private individuals may perpetrate with drones. For example, last week there was a rather humerous story about four individuals using a drone to drop tobacco into a prison yard in Calhoun County. The four face up to twenty years for smuggling contraband into a prison. I imagine we’ll see these sorts of things from time to time and current law will probably deal with them just fine.
The big news in the world of drones came last night on 60 Minutes. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced his plans to use the “Amazon Prime Air” army of drones to deliver small packages to preferred customers within a certain radius of one of their distribution centers. The plan must have FAA approval and thus won’t be ready to go for a couple of years.
Bezos told 60 Minutes that the service could be up and running in as few as four years — although he noted that he is an optimist when it comes to such things.
“One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” the company said.
This is the latest futuristic effort by Bezos, who was an e-commerce pioneer in the 1990s and more recently popularized the e-reader — while pursuing personal projects such as private spaceflight and a 10,000-year clock built inside a mountain.
They even have a short demonstration video of what their talking about.
So what about all this? Does Bezos’ plans excite you or scare you? Should we restrict private use of UAVs or just government’s use?
Everyone is doing it, California, Oregon, Colorado. Basically everybody.
Why aren’t we? Is it because we already have?
Back in 1980, when sideburns were in, Georgia was among the first to study medicinal marijuana. And by study, I mean pass a bill authorizing its study.
From Creative Loafing:
Under the law, the state created a program to study the effects of medical marijuana on cancer and glaucoma patients. The program was to be overseen by the Patient Qualification and Review Board, or PQRB. The board’s governor-appointed members would review doctors and patients allowed to access cannabis for medical treatment. The marijuana would come from the University of Mississippi Marijuana Project, the nation’s only federally approved pot farm.
But Georgia’s medical marijuana program soon faced a major problem when the legal pot supply dried up. In 1982, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration stopped delivery of the country’s sole source of legal cannabis.
Georgia’s program had effectively ended without ever supplying a single patient with the medical marijuana promised. Subsequent Georgia governors had the authority to reappoint the board, but never acted. As a result, the law has lingered on the books for the last 30 years.
Paul Broun was thrilled. He reportedly was hugging people on the floor of the General Assembly when it passed. Unfortunately, that was a different time, and a different Paul Broun.
What’s going on now in the country?
- 13 states have proposed or enacted legalization, including Colorado and Washington
- Three states have commissioned studies to analyze the impact of legalization: New Mexico, Rhode Island and West Virginia
- 21 is the recommended age for legal use of marijuana across the board
- The majority of proposed legislation recommends each state’s Department of Revenue, Department of Taxation or the Liquor Control Board serve as the regulating body
- Two states propose creating a new regulatory body: Maine – Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, Licensing and Enforcement; Massachusetts – Cannabis Control Board
- Taxation varies amongst proposed legislation ranging from 15 percent in New Hampshire, 25 percent in Nevada and $50 per ounce in Maine
- The State of Washington limits advertising signage of retail outlets selling marijuana to 1,600 square inches
So, I have to ask, are you a 420 person?
The whole law after the jump for your perusal:
As the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict captured the attention of America on Saturday night, Najee Shabazz Muhammad found himself quietly stewing in a jail cell in Atlanta.
Muhammad is commander of the New Black Liberation Militia, a black separatist organization based in Augusta. Last year, as protests over the Trayvon Martin shooting and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law were escalating, Muhammad called for a “citizen’s arrest” of Zimmerman.
Thursday afternoon, just as assistant Florida state attorney Bernie de la Rionda began presenting the state’s closing arguments against Zimmerman, FBI agents detained Muhammad in an abandoned Augusta home, his friends say.
But rather than take him into custody themselves, Deputy Bradley Eagler of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Eve Street address in Augusta to make the actual arrest. He arrested Muhammad on an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor probation violation from Fulton County, 150 miles west in Atlanta, according to sheriff’s office records in Augusta and Fulton County.
“The FBI called us and we did the transport from here to there,” said Sgt. M. McDaniel, public information officer of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in Augusta. “Beyond that, we weren’t involved.” Read more
“All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.” – Osama Bin Laden, October 2004 tape.
“I never thought I would see that a president would act in direct defiance of federal law by authorizing warrantless NSA surveillance of American citizens. This disrespect for the law is not only wrong, it is destructive in our struggle against terrorism.” – Eric Holder, June 2008 speech before the American Constitution Society.
“… (W)e have to make sure that we understand, as I’ve said in many speeches, that there’s not a tension between respecting our great tradition of civil liberties and having very effective law enforcement and anti-terror tools. There’s a false choice, I think, that is often presented.” – Eric Holder, January 2009 Senate confirmation hearings.
“You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. … There are trade-offs involved.” – President Barack Obama, Friday.
“If it comes to a choice between risking my life and losing my essential liberties, I’ll risk my life.” – the Death First Code.
(Update at the end.) I have a Fiend Folio in a trunk in my basement, along with hexagonal graph paper, 20-sided dice and pewter miniatures. I’m a recovering hard-core Dungeons & Dragons nerd.
This confession made, know that I follow the tribulations of Dragon*Con closely, which faces growing calls for a boycott because one of its founders and principal shareholders faces serious serial child molestation charges. But you don’t have to roll 20’s to find the political and economic threads of the case fascinating.
Ed Kramer has been able to delay trial in Gwinnett County since his initial arrest in August of 2000 on charges of molesting two teenage brothers during sleepovers at his house earlier that summer. Kramer has been using the proceeds from his one-third ownership stake in Dragon*Con to fuel his tortuous legal defense.
“This case has been called for trial no less than 12 times for trial and each time, Kramer has had a reason for delay all the while screaming about his speedy trial rights,” said Gwinnett County district attorney Danny Porter in an email.
Supposedly on house arrest for medical conditions, Kramer was nonetheless caught in a Connecticut hotel in September 2011 with a 14-year-old boy with whom he was apparently filming a horror movie, in violation of the no-contact terms of the court. Georgia extradited him in January.
Kramer has since filed more than 200 requests for accommodation of his physical handicaps and religious restrictions along with various grievances since his return to a Gwinnett County jail cell. Porter has pretty much had it and is arguing that Kramer’s medical condition isn’t legitimate – that he’s faking it to delay trial.
Horror writer Nancy Collins, who is spearheading the boycott, reminded me in a phone call Tuesday that one of Ed Kramer’s principal attorneys has been none other than Bob Barr, former congressman, current Republican candidate for the 11th district U.S. House seat currently occupied by Phil Gingrey, and semi-recovering libertarian. Barr and Kramer go way back. Barr has been working for Kramer since at least 2007. Meanwhile, Kramer has political roots in the science-fiction libertarian movement. Read more
All those elephants stomping around Columbus this weekend aren’t Alabama fans. They are Republicans, coming together to fuss and bicker over our state’s nominee for the election this November. No chimneys or white smoke involved.
Former UGA Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing More than $200K from the University.
Austell is proposing a 28% property tax increase.
Shades of Collinswood. The new 9th congressional district race has gubernatorial family members supporting different candidates. Pass the popcorn.
Much ado about that shiny new terminal.
And the bleat goes on.
Keep up with Aimee Copeland here.
Herman Cain endorses Mitt Romney as GOP nominee. Finally.
Newt reluctantly joins the chorus.
Second verse, same as the first.
Capitol offices are being burgled. Republican congressional offices, specifically. Where’s the black helicopters?
The Walking Dead kicks off Season 3 at the the end of May. Downtown Senoia will figure more prominently this season as a “safe haven” from nasty zombies.
Atlanta six year old turns an unassisted triple-play.
The NATS is fretting how their new basketball arena will show on TV.
Never lose a trivia game again – UGA prof pins modern parable book.
Donna Summer died Thursday after a battle of cancer.
Even though it’s last months news, it’s still so…so… schadenfreudeful.
AND DON’T FORGET tonight is the Columbus Peach Pundit Road Show at The LOFT’s Green Room at 1032 Broadway, 6 pm to around 9:30 or whenever we’re asked to leave. Avoid any cover charge by using the secret password PEACH PUNDIT ROADSHOW at the door.
“We look forward to seeing some of you. Others, not so much.”
Hizzoner Kasim Reed sent out an email today touting a recent Arizona State University study that found Atlanta had the second-fastest job growth of “major metropolitan areas” in 2011.
From The AJC report:
Only Houston beats Atlanta, according to researcher Lee McPheters, whose findings are based on the latest jobs figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Atlanta had 3.1 percent job growth between January 2011 and January 2012, compared with Houston’s 3.7 percent growth. The figures reflect non-agricultural job growth among populations of at least a million workers.
Today’s Courier Herald Column.
Monday will be Halloween. This means getting to dress up to go out and pretend to be someone they are not. It’s like everyone gets to be a politician for a night.
Halloween is also marked as the busiest day for commuting with the worst traffic jams. Those who live along the I-85 Corridor north of Atlanta have hopefully been saving up to try the new Lexus lanes.
While the public outcry over SRTA’s new HOT lanes along the route has been fierce, traffic conditions Monday evening may have even the most jaded over the concept of paying extra to use a lane that was once free deciding an extra couple of dollars is worth getting to see the kids in full costume.
Halloween is also close to elections, generally held on the first Tuesday in November. Many municipalities will be having elections next week, and we’ll also pass the mark where we are one year from electing our President for the next four years.
Three years ago, I went trick or treating with my niece and nephew in Atlanta. They, aged 7 and 6 at the time, respectively, are a good sister and brother, which means they tend to fight a bit, and disagree even more. Just days before the election, each had taken sides. My niece, ever the serious one, had sided with her Dad and some of her classmates and was hoping for a John McCain victory. My nephew, already showing signs of being antiestablishment, had sided with his mom, an Obama supporter. Read more
With the recent action taken to downgrade our credit rating by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and the significant decline in stocks over the last few days, I fired over a few questions to Joe Magyer, a financial advisor at The Motley Fool, UGA grad and friend. Hopefully, this will help you make at least some sense of what is going on right now. Also, make sure to check out Joe’s recent post, The 60-Second Guide to Recession-Proof Investing.
Q: What do you make of the downgrading in the United States’ credit rating?
JM: It is an embarrassment for our country, a blow to consumer confidence, and might ultimately cost us dearly later on. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised that Standard & Poor’s chose to downgrade the U.S, though. They drew a line in the sand when they said they’d want to see $4 trillion in cuts and our leaders didn’t deliver. Not that I give much credence to ratings agencies’ opinions to begin with. Collectively, they’re reactionary and fairly lemming-like.
Until we can find something to blog about, here’s an Open Thread. Discuss whatever is on your mind as we live our last 5 days here on earth.
I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I’ve been trying to make a living and working on something that I hope to pull off with little or no publicity. Anyway, here’s an Open Thread for your commenting pleasure.
Some suggested topics: a) Herman Cain appears on Fox News Sunday, b) Atlanta’s CDC is offering tips on preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse and, 3) GALEO is urging left-wingers not to boycott Georgia.