How did I end up here?

I’ve found myself in some strange places over the years, including:

  • Kate Jackson‘s bed, minus Kate Jackson;
  • An “old-fashioned cross burning” at the home of Howard Stern’s favorite Klansmen, Daniel Carver. Work, not pleasure;
  • On the telephone with Gallagher. Work, not pleasure;
  • Reviewing Partridge Family memorabilia on a picnic table at Road Atlanta with Brian Forster, aka drummer Chris Partridge. See above;
  • Riding shotgun in a pick-up truck, lost, with Elvis Presley’s evangelist stepbrother;
  • Alone, in a church where the members spoke in tongues;
  • A youth karate tournament in San Francisco de Macoris, D.R. (I was looking for a restroom);
  • In a tricked-out SUV driven by ex-big leaguers Tony Pena Jr. and Willy Mo Pena;
  • The 70s-era apartment of Jose Canseco’s ex-girlfriend. I was asked to leave.
  • Jerry Clower’s dressing room.

What $400 mil would buy

Excellent column by the AJC’s Kyle Wingfield detailing what the money earmarked for an unnecessary football stadium could go toward instead: 

For example, it could go to cutting property taxes. Atlanta takes in $18 million to $20 million in general funds for each mill of property taxes. (A mill equals a dollar of tax for every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value.)

If the city were to lower property taxes by one mill and replace the revenue with hotel taxes, the owner of a $250,000 home would save $250 a year. (Hey, that’s about what it costs to take a family of four to a Falcons game!)

On the other hand, we could continue to spend the money, just not on a new stadium. The list of potential projects is long. Here are some possibilities, not all of which I’m endorsing simply by including them here.

For $400 million, we could build the entire 44-mile network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes planned to help ease congestion in the region. Or we could make a number of improvements to freeway interchanges choked by traffic.

For those more interested in public transportation, the city could complete about a third of the BeltLine’s 22-mile transit loop. Alternatively, it could more than cover the first phase of the proposed streetcar route along the Peachtree corridor (a project I’d personally put at the bottom of the list).

Or the city could do the opposite of what governments tend to do and reduce the burden on future taxpayers.

With $400 million, the city could erase more than a quarter of its $1.5 billion pension funds deficit. Or it could pay for a big chunk of its continuing, $4 billion water and sewer infrastructure repairs. Those costs are inescapable. Why pass them on to unborn Atlantans when visitors could help us pay them down now?

Or we could give the money to one of the state’s five billionaires.



Thoughts on the NPR scandal

*Fired NPR exec Ron Schiller’s indulgence of Zionist conspiracies bothers me much more than his putdown of tea partiers. Though I wouldn’t go as far as Wonkette’s Ken Layne

a crumbling nation of fat slobs who ignore their kleptocrat kings and instead point their corn-dog fingers at Scary Mooslims and the “Kenyan president” and then get their little racist feelings hurt when anybody says, “Hey, look at those racist clowns.”

… I have a hard time feeling sorry for a movement that empowers nutjobs like Bachmann Palin Overdrive. The tape doesn’t lie.

*Talk about the pot-bellied calling the kettle Negro. Conservative blowhards complaining about “hateful rhetoric” from a heretofore anonymous NPR exec must not listen to their own broadcasts. One difference: Ron Schiller was fired.

*James O’Keefe is not a journalist. As the National Review’s Michael Walsh notes, “There ought to be a sharp line between ethical professional journalism and activist citizen-journalism, because the professionals generally have the technical experience to extract answers to questions without resorting to subterfuge.” O’Keefe’s resume includes getting a heroic teacher suspended and plotting to embarrass a CNN correspondent by recording a meeting on hidden cameras aboard a floating “palace of pleasure” and making sexually suggestive comments.

Morbidly obese gasbag plays the sloth card

We all know Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, but unemployment compensation? The payment of unemployment benefits is almost as high as Social Security in this country.  Folks, we are not going to survive as a nation, not the way we’ve been founded, with this kind of sloth and laziness and feeding at the public trough.

That’s a big fuck you from Rush Limbaugh to anyone who’s ever been laid off. He fails to note that unemployment benefits are financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes — hardly a handout, nor did he mention that payments (which barely cover essentials) are withheld unless you supply evidence that you’ve looked for work.

Thank Allah for the First Amendment

Andrew Sullivan underscores the importance of the First Amendment following a British judge’s wrongheaded decision to fine a Muslim extremist for orchestrating a vile protest during an Armistice Day ceremony.

The same goes with charges (ultimately dropped) against a preacher in Cumbria inveighing against homosexuality on the sidewalk. Ditto Britain’s banning of Fred Phelps compared with last week’s First Amendment decision. Free speech is being chipped away in Britain and Europe. Thank the Founders – one more time – for the First Amendment.

Man cannot live on $900 million alone

Forbes lists Arthur Blank’s net worth at $1.3 billion. Taxpayers are being asked to provide $400 million toward a new stadium (to replace one barely two decades old) for Blank’s Falcons.

Glad to see Georgia’s General Assembly taking care of one of the state’s five billionaires. The rest of their constitutents can suck it.

“Economists have studied the economic impact of stadiums to death, and the clear consensus is that there is no positive impact,” said author and sports economist J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State University. “Economists don’t agree on a lot, but right wing, left wing, they all agree on that.”

ATL’s worst owners accommodate nation’s worst pro sports fans

Atlanta sports fans, have we no pride?

The Lakers are in town tonight, which means you’ll be hearing chants of “MVP” every time Kobe Bryant touches the ball. Saturday night, a large contingent of Knicks fans started such a a chant for Amar’e Stoudemire.

Atlanta Spirit, the Hawks’ woeful owners, are magnifying the embarrassment by selling opposing team’s gear in their own store.

“In the arena? Are you serious? Unbelievable,” [Hawks guard] Jamal Crawford said.

Welcome to Atlanta, home of the Lakers. And Red Sox. And Jets. And whatever other pro sports team is trendy at the moment.

Gulf Coast oil spill redux

Obama is but a spectator to the events in Libya, waiting, as Christopher Dickey writes, for the inevitable slaughter of scores of civilians to act.

Once that happens then Western leaders may actually feel they have enough political cover to get involved. Actually, it would be better from the Obama-Cameron-Sarkozy point of view if hundreds of civilians get killed. Anything less, it would seem, and it’s a no-go even for a no-fly zone.

Another anti-gay activist caught frying up the corndog

Rev. Grant Storms, a renowned anti-gay Christian pastor from Louisiana, was arrested last week for masturbating at a public park, in the vicinity of a carousel and playground where children were present.

Longtime Atlantans might remember right-wing gadfly Matt Glavin, former head of the Southeastern Legal Foundation until he was arrested for liquidating the inventory.  

Shocking friend and foe alike, Glavin was charged back in May with public indecency for allegedly masturbating in public at the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area on Medlock Bridge road in North Fulton County. An undercover federal police officer reported that Glavin fondled him after he encountered the activist pleasuring himself.

And it wasn’t the first time that Glavin had been caught choking his chicken in the same park. In 1996, Glavin quietly pleaded “no contest” to charges of public indecency after being caught in an identical situation, which makes the former Southeastern Legal Foundation president’s strange compulsion for exhibitionistic autoeroticism all the more curious.