Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I must be too forgiving a person. As usual I find myself in the minority opinion regarding a couple of prominent people in the news who've messed up in the public eye, one recently, the other years ago. To whit, Atlanta Falcon QB Michael Vick and Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings.

Vick of course, lost his cool after Sunday's Falcon's loss to the New Orleans Saints, giving fans "the finger" as he left the field. He released an apology fairly soon after, but he's been raked over the coals by letter writers to the local Atlanta paper and by sports writers across the board. Hastings apparently can't outrun his past impeachment as a federal judge, since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has found it the better part of political expediency to deny Hastings in his bid to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, despite his having the seniority for the post.

The conventional wisdom on these two gentlemen seems to be that (1) Vick is a spoiled brat who should take being heckled and booed and insulted and like it, because after all, he's paid a lot of money as a pro athlete, and (2) that Hastings is a an impeached former judge who should never be allowed any post of power because of his same impeachment from years ago. As usual, I find myself at odds with the almighty CW.

In Michael Vick's case, he's human and he's still very young. Football is an emotional game, and from what I saw last Sunday, Vick may have been one of the few Falcons playing with any amount of courage and heart. He also seemed to be one of the few who was actually upset by the loss. That doesn't seem spoiled to me. I'd WANT my quarterback to be upset when we lose. To castigate him for doing something I was tempted to do last week to the redneck Newnan truck driver who honked his horn at me (after tailgating me for several miles) simply because I was going the posted speed limit seems a little much to me. Simply put, Vick shouldn't have given the obnoxious fan the finger. He did, he aplogized, and he didn't hide from the media later on. Give the young man a break (and some decent receivers and linemen while you're at it.)

In Alcee Hasting's case, I'm reminded of the time when congress tried to keep Adam Clayton Powell out of office, or the time when the Georgia legislature tried to do the same thing to Julian Bond. Hastings is a duly and legally elected member of Congress since 1993. He was never found guilty in a court of law for any actions as a judge. By all accounts he's served on the Intelligence committee faithfully and honorably during his tenure in Washington. His impeachment in the House of Represetatives was overturned in Federal Court only to lose on appeal when the Supreme Court said Federal Courts had no jurisdiction in the case. It's a travesty that he was bypassed for the Chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee. If I didn't know better I'd swear it's because he's of African-American descent.

Let me make a point here before I get castigated for the previous remark. I'm just a fat old white guy starting to lose his hair, but I've been around long to see this kind of thing for years now. Examples? Plenty, just off the top of my head. Maynard Jackson doesn't get the Democratic National Committee Chairmanship in 2001. Herman Cain can't win the Georgia Republican primary for Senator in 2004. Andrew Young can't win the Georgian Democratic primary for Governor in 1990. Sylvester Crooms can't get the coaching job at Alabama in 2003 (just for fun, ask Alabama if they'd take him now?). Kweisi Mfume can't get win the Maryland Democratic primary for Senator this year. Republican Michael Steele can't win the general election for same. Harold Ford, Jr. can't win the election for Senator from Tennessee in 2006. The list goes on and on. In every case I've mentioned one can make a logical case why race had nothing to do with the outcome. Maybe so, but it sure does seem that the law of averages would fall a different way just once in a while. In the case of Hastings, he deserved the Chairmanship, pure and simple. He didn't get it. Maybe next time, but if I were a member of Congressional Black Caucus I'd be mad about this one.

Not that they should give the House Democratic leadership the finger or anything though...

What Would Jesus Do?

Apparently the Christian Coalition of America, a conservative Political Advocacy Group, has a different answer to the "WWJD" question than the Rev. Joel Hunter. Hunter is a pastor of a nondenominational megachurch in Longwood, Fla., and had been the choice for CCA President until the group's Board of Directors decided that Hunter's ideas about expanding the group's mission to deal with such issues as poverty, AIDS, global warming, and the death penalty were just way out of line for a group with Christian in their name.

In a Washington Post story "Second New Leader Resigns from the Christian Coalition" dated for Nov. 29, 2006, it was reported that several CCA state organizations, Georgia's among them, had broken away from the national organization because of differences with Rev. Hunter's planned agenda of broadening the group's focus to actually deal with some real world problems in a Christian compassionate way.

While there may have been more to the story than that, since the article indicates that some of the problem may have been a resistance on the part of Roberta Combs, chairman of the coalition's four-member board, to part with control of the organization, I still think it's sad that the dichotomy between liberal and conservative has gone to such lengths in this country that a person such as Hunter is "radicalized" for his beliefs. Some of his apparently "far out" ideas include items such as a consideration of raising the minimum wage and an opposition to the death penalty. I guess that the CCA now has posited their own answer to the proverbial WWJD and apparently it doesn't include ministering to those with AIDS or on death row, among others. The good folks of the CCA might want to go back and read Matthew 9:9-13 and see what it says about reaching out those in need. Just my opinion.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post Election Thoughts

It's taken me this long after the election to get onto our home computer, between the "bogarting" of it by the teen age moralist and the sainted spouse and the pre teen cat whisperer. Maybe it's time for us to get more than one of the "infernal machines"? Incidentally, do I show my age by using the term "bogart" to mean monopolization? Guess I listened too much to my "Easy Rider" soundtrack album back in my youth.

I was happily surprised by the Democratic pick up of both Houses of Congress Tuesday. As I wrote right before the election I was pessimistic about us picking up the Senate and also about the chances of some statewide Democratic incumbents in Georgia. Thankfully Thurbert Baker and Michael Thurmond were both re-elected, although Thurmond's race was much closer than it should have been. As I've often said and wrote, Michael Thurmond has done an excellent job of running the Georgia Department of Labor, and for him win by anything less than a landslide speaks ill of Georgia voters. Instead of 54 plus percent he should have won with 60 or 65 percent. Still, I was quite happy to see this deserving intellectual leader returned to office for 4 more years. In Thurbert Baker's case, he won with 57 percent of the vote. One interesting fact I noted about Baker's re-election was that he had a majority in most of Georgia's counties. The fact that my home Coweta county gave 57 percent of it's vote to Baker's opponent told me all I need to know about how Republican and "red" Coweta county is at this point in it's history. Hopefully that will change over time. It seems kind of sad that the birth place of one of Georgia's most progressive Democratic Governors would be so conservatively Republican. I'm speaking of Ellis Arnold of course, who as Governor from 1943-1947 was far ahead of his time. Of course Arnold's reward for being so progressive and liberal was that he was never again to win an election in a long lifetime after 1947. Sometimes I despair of my home state and it's politics. Stil in all, a good night to be a Democrat nationally, and a better night than I had hoped to be a Georgia Democrat, with at least some Dems winning statewide races.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Odds and Ends - Election Countdown

A little over a week ago, the teen age vegetarian moralist and I went to hear a University of Georgia history professor speak about the south. Dr. James C. Cobb is quite an interesting speaker and historian. Seems like a nice guy too. I've added his blog
  • Cobbloviate
  • to the list of my favorite net voices. My advice to the 2 or 3 fans I have who read this blog is that you should check out Cobb's thoughts on the body politic. His take is that next Tuesday's election will be about average or below average historically for out of power party gains during 6th year mid-term elections. He also posts a link to op-ed writer Charles Krauthammer's recent piece documenting why that probably will be the case. Sadly, I think both men are correct. I don't see major gains for the Democrats, probably winning the House, but not by any landslide, while I'm afraid they'll fall short in the Senate. I already figure my lone vote against the tide of Georgia Repulicanism won't make a major difference as the GOP takes over more statewide offices. I'm hopeful Michael Thurmond can survive, but I won't be surprised if he's voted out. Sad, but not surprised. The man's only done the best job ever as the state's labor commissioner and his reward will probably be to be booted out for Republican Brent Brown, but I guess we'll see whether or not that's the case come Tuesday evening. I sincerely hope I'm wrong on this one, kinda like I am weekly on my pro football picks.

    Speaking of football, there was some poetic justice in the collegiate gridiron world this weekend, with Mississippi State defeating Alabama. Sylvester Crooms is the man the Tide should have hired as their head coach years ago, and I enjoyed seeing his team stick it to his former school.