Monday, November 17, 2008

SCHS Pigskin Update

Much to my dismay, the season has ended for my alma mater Indians. The team lost in the first round of the state AAA playoffs to the Flowery Branch Falcons by the score of 42-21, which just goes to shw how hard it is to beat a good team twice in the same season.

It was a darned good season nonetheless, as the team finished 8-3 overall and 6-1 in Region 8AAA. Just how good is evidenced by the fact that all three of the teams that knocked off the Indians, LaGrange (9-2), Eastside (10-1), and Flowery Branch (9-2) are in the round of 16.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Four Guys With Weird Names Walk Into A Bar

Those four guys would be Neal Boortz, Saxby Chambliss, Mike Huckabee, and John Linder (okay, maybe “Linder” isn’t really that weird). And instead of a bar, they will be walking into a FairTax Rally.

Poor attempts at humor aside, the Rally - which in practice also serves as something of a Saxby campaign event, even if unofficially - is scheduled from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center, located at 6400 Sugarloaf parkway in Duluth on Sunday, 16 November.

Regular readers will remember that I have long been an advocate of the FairTax.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

(Comparatively Minor) CCSD Gripes

Great. Yet another parcel of very scarce land is being taken off of the property tax digest – courtesy of my tax dollars, no less. In lieu of the tax-paying restaurant originally envisioned for the site, the Clarke County School District is spending $125,000 for what is described as an “approximately one-acre” out-parcel created by the construction of that new shopping center on Cherokee Road, adjacent to the currently-being-renovated Winterville Elementary School. See pages 36-46 of the PDF.

The problem is that, even though Clarke County is the smallest by land area in the state (and I read somewhere the third smallest in the nation) and is already home to a tremendous amount of property tax-exempt land, the Unified Government and the Clarke County School District keep spending my tax dollars to even further reduce the amount of taxable land in the county (remember that 7.24 acres for the Middle Oconee Greenway back in July, which is just the latest in a long string of such acquisitions?).

Of course, the practical effect of these acquisitions is to shift an ever larger financial burden onto the backs of those home and business owners who still pay property taxes. As I have been saying for years, at some point this strategy is going to collapse.

Also, the CCSD is going after that same $3.2 million grant from the Technical College System of Georgia to build the Athens Community Career Academy, a charter school, for which it missed the deadline last year. In the same vein, the CCSD is applying for a U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild grant to fund paid internships for the students of the proposed charter school.

I fully support the creation of a CCSD charter school, but must admit that I am disappointed that the only manner proposed to accomplish that goal involves relying on grants (especially when one considers that the CCSD could fund the entire thing out of its existing reserves and that relying on grants to fund ongoing expenses is problematic).

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Monday, November 10, 2008

McCain In Atlanta For Saxby On Thursday

The Saxby ‘08 campaign has announced that John McCain will pay a visit in support of his Senate runoff campaign.

A “Victory Rally” is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, 13 November, in the Kessel D. Stelling Jr. Ballroom at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, located at 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. “Invited guests” include a who’s who of the Georgia GOP hierarchy, just as one would expect.

This should work to the Senator’s advantage, as McCain outpolled Chambliss both in terms of absolute votes (2,046,419 to 1,864,909) and as a percentage of the overall vote (52.3% to 49.8%).

But then, Barack Obama did the same with regard to Jim Martin in terms of absolute votes (1,840,397 to 1,754,108) and as a percentage of the overall vote (47.0% to 46.8%).

And yes, there was a Libertarian candidate in both races, though presidential contender Bob Barr fared somewhat worse than did Senate wannabe Allen Buckley in terms of absolute votes (28,771 to 127,785) and as a percentage of the overall vote (0.7% to 3.4%).

Yes, I can understand the Libertarian disenchantment with McCain and/or Chambliss; there is palpable GOP disenchantment with them, as well. However, now that they have achieved their objective by forcing a Senate runoff, I hope that they will come to their senses and back Chambliss – he may not be a great candidate from the libertarian/conservative perspective, but giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority would be absolutely idiotic from that same perspective.

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SCHS Pigskin Update

My alma mater Indians posted a lop-sided 35-0 win over Jackson County to close out the regular season. Now come the state playoffs.

This week, the Flowery Branch Falcons (8-2, 8-1), fresh off of a 27-13 loss to Gainesville, travel to The Reservation in Toccoa to take on the Indians (8-2, 6-1) in a rematch of the season opener, which Stephens County won 28-25.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Running The Numbers

While it is true that the GOP fared poorly at the national level, though not as much so as some had anticipated, the results at the state level were mixed. Democrats predictably scored major victories here in Clarke County, though elsewhere across northeast Georgia the results were much more favorable to Republicans. Be that as it may, here is the official TOA analysis of Tuesday’s election results – much anticipated I am sure.

At the presidential level, the Republican ticket of John McCain/Sarah Palin won Georgia with 2,019,750 votes (52.4%) to the Democrat ticket of Barack Obama/Joe Biden with 1,803,924 (46.8%) and the Libertarian ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root with 28,414 (0.7%) Obama/Biden won Clarke County with 29,513 votes (65.1%) to McCain/Palin’s 15,309 (33.8%) and Barr/Root’s 492 (1.1%). No surprises here, as the GOP won statewide and lost locally.

In the US Senate race, the GOP's Saxby Chambliss placed first statewide with 1,838,919 (49.9%) to Democrat Jim Martin’s 1,721,112 (46.7%) and Libertarian Allen Buckley’s 126,003 (3.4%). Note the lower vote total for Chambliss when compared with that for McCain/Palin. To me, the discrepancy is attributable to Saxby’s betrayal of the GOP base on issues such as “comprehensive” immigration reform, the Wall Street bailout, and his membership in the Gang of Ten. In Clarke County, Martin won with 26,154 votes (60.6%) to Chambliss’ 15,245 (35.3%) and Buckley’s 1786 (4.1%). Interestingly, Martin did not fare quite as well in Clarke County as did Obama/Biden in terms of either absolute votes or percentage.

In the US House of Representatives District 10 race, Republican Paul Broun cruised, winning with 175,797 votes (60.8%) to Democrat Bobby Saxon’s 113,572 votes (39.2%). Of the 21 counties, or parts thereof, within the 10th District, Broun won 19 handily. He lost narrowly in Richmond County by a 52.6% to 47.4% spread. The only county to go decisively for Saxon was Clarke County, where he won with 27,044 votes (63.1%) to Broun’s 15,820 (36.9%). Again, no surprises here, though Saxon also fared worse locally that did Obama/Biden.

In Georgia Senate District 46, Republican Bill Cowsert defeated Democrat Sherry Jackson by the margin of 41,408 votes (57.8%) to 30,238 (42.2%). Jackson easily won Clarke County with 19,523 votes (62.4%) to Cowsert’s 11,755 (37.6%). She lost Oconee County and Walton County by margins of almost 3-to1, 12,154 (73.8% ) to 4307 (26.2%) and 17,499 (73.2%) to 6408 (26.8%), respectively. Here again, it was no surprise that Cowsert lost Clarke County but won everywhere else. Also, Jackson’s percentage was less locally that that of Obama/Biden.

In Georgia Senate District 47, the GOP's Ralph Hudgens blew out Democrat Tim Riley by 46,044 votes (64.8%) to 25,035 (35.2%). In Clarke County, Riley posted a 6726 (59.8%) to 4528 (40.2%) win. He lost everywhere else: Barrow County went for Hudgens 16,276 (70.2%) to 6918 (29.8%), as did Elbert County 1220 (57.2%) to 914 (42.8%), Jackson County 13,275 (73.8%) to 4715 (26.2%), Madison County 7166 (66.5%) to 3609 (33.5%), and Oglethorpe County 3579 (62.4%) to 2153 (37.6%). Here is the shocker. Riley polled less than 60% in Clarke County. Given how Clarke County Democrats absolutely revile Hudgens for his role is Senate redistricting, this strikes me as an astonishing low percentage.

The only contested race for Athens-Clarke County Commission went to Ed Robinson in a surprisingly easy District 6 win over “Red” Petrovs by a margin of 3566 (67.5%) to 1718 (32.5%). Robinson is yet another far left “progressive” whose only novel idea, aside from the usual progressive platitudes, was to annex parts of adjoining counties so as to extend the “green belt.” He will fit right in with others on the Commission.

Of the three contested seats on the Clarke County Board of Education, District 2 incumbent Vernon Payne held off challenger J.T. Jones by 1770 votes (56.3%) to 1372 (43.7%), District 6 incumbent Charles Worthy defeated challenger Jim Geiser 2610 votes (51.2%) to 2485 (48.8%), and David Huff outpolled Chinami Goodie 1990 votes (58.0%) to 1442 (42.0%) for the open seat in District 8. Given the chronic academic underperformance of the CCSD’s students and the administrative turmoil that has characterized the Board of late, the fact that every incumbent who ran for reelection won speaks volumes about the pathetically low, though horribly expensive, expectations most people in this county have for the education of their children. To my thinking, Huff is the only bright spot.

In the other local race of note, incumbent Democrat Ira Edwards defeated independent Kenneth Brown for Sheriff by 21,859 votes (53.8%) to 18,805 (46.2%). Given the incredible amount of baggage Edwards has accumulated over his two terms in office, the voters of Clarke County blew yet another chance for improvement.

By the waty, the election in Georgia went off with only a few minor glitches here and there – so much for Jane Kidd’s very public criticisms of Karen Handel, huh?

Note: Clarke County vote counts are final totals from the Clarke County Board of Elections; all other vote counts are from the Georgia Secretary of State as of Thursday morning.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fasten Your Seatbelts

. . . its going to be a bumpy night!*

Actually, if Obama/ACORN wins, the next four years may be very bumpy indeed.

I have commented hardly at all on the presidential race over the past few months. That is because I am better positioned than most others to discuss issues particular to Athens-Clarke County – so that is where I concentrate my efforts – and I realize that I probably would not have written anything significantly different than have thousands of others in the blogosphere.

Even so, I am old enough to vividly remember the self-professed “malaise” of the Carter Administration. Domestically, it was typified by “stagflation,” consisting of low economic growth coupled with high unemployment and interest rates (which the Keynesians said could not happen), and Arthur Okun’s “misery index” consisting of the inflation rate plus the unemployment rate. In foreign affairs, it took the form of aggressive Soviet (and by proxy Cuban) expansionism around the globe (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Namibia, Angola, Afghanistan, etc).

I find the prospects of an Obama Administration, coupled with probable Democrat majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate (G-d forbid a filibuster-proof one), far worse in all respects.

There is no need to catalog the specifics here, as many others have done so
ad nauseam elsewhere in the blogosphere. Suffice it to say that Obama’s professed redistributionist (and deliberately mischaracterized – anyone else see Neil Cavuto’s show yesterday?) tax plan is economically insane and that our enemies abroad cannot wait to test the neophyte president (this may well be the only serious foreign policy issue on which Joe Biden had been correct in the last 35 years). And don’t forget all of those affinities for Communist dictators, those political affiliations of choice with radical leftists/terrorists (that have continued to this day), and the willingness of Obama campaigners and supporters to turn the machinery of government against those who dare to ask pointed questions.

I fear that most people simply do not care that the Obama campaign has been patently fraudulent from the very beginning – not yet, at least. Just remember that the warning bells were sounding and the red flags were waving all around you before you cast you ballot.

With the caveat that John McCain was not my first choice for president of the United States on the Republican side, or even my second or third choices for that matter, I cast my vote for the McCain/Palin ticket last week during advance voting because I felt that there was no conscionable alternative.

*Apologies to Bette Davis’ Margo Channing in 1950’s All About Eve.

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SCHS Pigskin Update

My alma mater Indians posted an impressive 35-09 win over Elbert County last Friday evening. The Indians (7-2, 5-1) travel to take on the Jackson County Panthers (1-7-1, 0-6) in their final Region 8AAA game of the season this Friday.

Unless something completely unforeseen happens, Eastside of Covington and Stephens County will head into the playoffs ranked numbers one and two, respectively, from Region 8AAA.

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