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Friday, October 13, 2006

Introducing Good Will Hinton

I am pleased to announce the arrival of my new group blog, Good Will Hinton.

Over the past year and a half, we have created a great forum here for charitable dialogue between those on the Left and the Right. I have been so pleased at the lack of vitriol and extreme rhetoric and have enjoyed getting to know many of my readers via email and the phone.

I have decided to expand the community that we have created here and have decided that a large group blog along the lines of RedState or DailyKos is the way to go with one big exception.

The fatal flaw at RedState and DailyKos is that they tend to be all about toeing the party line. There is little room for dissent at sites like this. That's fine if that is what you are looking for. But I think many people these days are tired of the typical partisan rhetoric and demogoguery.

To that end, Good Will Hinton is dedicated to gracious and reasonable dialogue between those who disagree. Not only will many of the regulars here at Dignan's 75 Year Plan continue our dialogue, but I will be incorporating contributions from well known figures. I already have commitments from two elected officials and a nationally known author.

This site will remain online for posterity sake. But for great new content, come on over to Good Will Hinton. I would greatly appreciate all of you with links to this blog to update your links to the new site. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Facing the Challenges of Growth in Atlanta

Yesterday, Buzz Brockway at Peachpundit referenced an article in the AJC about the proposed Beltline and asked why the City of Atlanta was making things difficult for developer Wayne Mason. I'm going to attempt to answer this question as we have seen just the beginning of these city growth conflicts.

I am one of those rare Atlanta natives (4th generation to be precise). I have seen most of the transformation of Atlanta from sleepy town to world-class city. I can remember when Lenox Mall was an open-air mall, when the Omni (now the CNN Center) had an ice skating rink, and when driving past Jimmy Carter Blvd up I-85 meant that you had left town. I remember what the traffic was like on I-85 (now Buford Hwy) before they built the new freeway. And I rode on MARTA the day it opened. Trust me, that orange, yellow, and brown look was hot back then.

One of the advantages that Atlanta has had over many other cities is all of the available space for growth. Unlike many American cities, there are no natural boundaries to restrict growth. We used that space in the '80s and '90s to become one of the largest cities in America. Along the way we created a massive doughnut of a city with booming suburbs encircling a decaying core. Sometimes it is hard to believe that less than 10 years ago stretches of Peachtree Street through Midtown were given over the drug dealers and prostitutes at night.

That original advantage of available space has now become a disadvantage. We are now conditioned to think that we all need low density development in Atlanta. And one of the great ironies is perpetuating low density development.

For years, political conservatives have argued against more city planning in favor of laissez-faire development. They have argued that people should have the right to live in whatever environment they choose and should be able to use their property (i.e. land) as they see fit. I generally agree with this sentiment. However, the irony is that pro-growth/pro-sprawl people have used the power of the government through zoning laws to force development into a suburban mold.

Ask the developers of Atlantic Station how open our zoning system is to mixed-use development and increased density. If it had not been for the City of Atlanta seeing the opportunity and allowing zoning variances, Atlantic Station would have never happened. Only over the past few years have their been zoning designations for mixed-use in Atlanta.

There is nothing laissez-faire about our current system of zoning and land planning. The deck is stacked in favor of low density development.

Now that people are now moving back into the city, we have this current debate around Wayne Mason's Beltline development. The great irony is that many of those decryingMason' development because of the increased density are the same people clamoring for better mass transit. As anyone who has studied transportation issues can attest, mass transit depends upon increasing density of development.

And while it is understandable for people who live in outer suburbs such as Alpharetta or Woodstock will fight against high density developments in their communities, those living in intown neighborhoods need to understand that there will naturally be greater density closer into town. Ultimately, to answer Buzz's question, the City of Atlanta is putting a roadblock in the way of Mason's development because of a vocal minority who fear change.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Georgia Politics Podcast

I know this may be a bit too local for some of you, but I was invited to be a part of a panel discussion for the Georgia Politics Podcast on Sunday. Joseph G of monotonous dot net led the discussion. Others on the panel were Catherine Smith of Blog for Democracy, Decaturguy of Atlanta Public Affairs, Nikki Strickland of Alenda Lux, and Joe Winter of Joeventures. The wonderfully talented duo of Rusty Tanton and Amber Rhea hosted us and recorded the podcast.

This podcast party was a perfect example of my contention that actually meeting people face to face can help rachet down harsh political rhetoric. I am sure that I have very little in common politically with the other guests yet they were a great group of people that I got on fabulously with. I was particularly impressed with Joseph G and his desire to have guests from all along the political spectrum participate in the podcast.

As for the podcast itself, we discussed the Hank Johnson/Cynthia McKinney results, the Georgia governor's race, and the recent comments by Andy Young.

Speaking of Hank Johnson, I got to speak with Hank for about 10 minutes last night at a party for his campaign team. Considering that Hank is a shoo-in to win in the general election in November, I was impressed by how unaffected he seemed, especially after all of the national media attention. I think that Hank is going to make a great Congressman and is going to represent the entire district with class and dignity for years to come.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Demogogue v Public Servant: Vernon Jones Is A Bully

This post may be a little too local for some of my readers but think it will illustrate a greater point.

There is a current debate going on in DeKalb County, Georgia regarding the structure of the county government and whether we would be better off by incorporating as a city. The City of DeKalb would become the second largest city in Georgia, so we are talking about something with a large impact. There are of course good arguments to be made on both sides of this issue. Joe Knippenburg of Oglethorpe University presents one of the more compelling ones this morning. However, this story has quickly gone from a substantive discussion into something more personal.

Vernon Jones is the current CEO of DeKalb County and has come out strongly in favor of turning the county into a city. One would hope that Jones would take every opportunity possible to thoughtfully advocate his position. Well, for those who are familiar with Jones, the reality can't come as a surprise.

It seems as if Jones has decided instead to insult one of the opponents of plans to incorporate the county. Yesterday, Vernon Jones referred to State Representative Mike Jacobs as having "the IQ of an empty Corona light beer bottle."

Let us ignore for the moment that Jacobs is a highly successful attorney, is a fellow Democrat, was elected to the state legislature at a fairly young age, and is the consummate public servant.

Jones has a long history of bullying his political opponents. And this strategy has worked to a point. But with the recent defeat of Cynthia McKinney, the voters of DeKalb County have shown that they will not perpetually put up with politicians who cling to power with demogoguery and bullying tactics.

There is much talk of there being an anti-incumbant sentiment in the air this fall. Well, I hope that it is joined by an anti-demogogue sentiment as well.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Politics of Poverty

A friend of mine from church recently sent me an article by Bill McKibben entitled "The Christian Paradox" that was published in Harpers last summer. After reading the article, I realized that I have read many similar articles over the past couple of years. The gist of the article is that while most Americans claim to be Christians, they don't appear to be following Christ's commands, particularly as it relates to caring for the poor.

This premise is central to the Religious Left's critique of our culture, as often expressed by people such as Jim Wallis or Ron Sider.

Of course many on the Religious Right counter that laissez-faire capitalism is the only way to provide for the poor.

Both groups are wrong and I am going to take this opportunity to show why.

The Religious Left's Case on Poverty
Bill McKibben gets to the heart of the issue by asking this question:
"What if we chose some simple criterion—say, giving aid to the poorest people—as a reasonable proxy for Christian behavior? After all, in the days before his crucifixion, when Jesus summed up his message for his disciples, he said the way you could tell the righteous from the damned was by whether they’d fed the hungry, slaked the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, and visited the prisoner. What would we find then?"
Bill then provides the answer:
"In 2004, as a share of our economy, we ranked second to last, after Italy, among developed countries in government foreign aid. Per capita we each provide fifteen cents a day in official development assistance to poor countries. And it’s not because we were giving to private charities for relief work instead. Such funding increases our average daily donation by just six pennies, to twenty-one cents. It’s also not because Americans were too busy taking care of their own; nearly 18 percent of American children lived in poverty (compared with, say, 8 percent in Sweden). In fact, by pretty much any measure of caring for the least among us you want to propose—childhood nutrition, infant mortality, access to preschool—we come in nearly last among the rich nations, and often by a wide margin. The point is not just that (as everyone already knows) the American nation trails badly in all these categories; it’s that the overwhelmingly Christian American nation trails badly in all these categories, categories to which Jesus paid particular attention."
Jim Wallis echoed many of these thoughts in a press conference last year calling for a "moral budget":
“As this moral battle for the budget unfolds, I am calling on members of Congress, some of whom make much out of their faith, to start some bible studies before they cast votes to cut food stamps, Medicaid, child care and more that hurt the weakest in our nation. The faith community is drawing a moral line in the sand against these priorities. I call on political leaders to show political will in standing up for ‘the least of these,’ as Jesus reminds us to do.”
A common refrain from the Religious Left is that the federal government is the primary dispenser of charity and that the amount of or lack of federal funding directed at poverty is a prime indication of our morality as a people and nation.

I believe that there are a number of problems with this approach ranging from the practical to the spiritual.

Middleman Politics
Almost all industries have realized over the past couple of decades that the idea of removing the middleman is an attractive idea. Most people have come to realize that middlemen in business processes often serve little interest other than their own in creating friction in order to make money. This isn't to say that all middlemen are bad or are not valuable, but I believe that there is a cost involved in using middlemen.

As it relates to poverty reduction, government fills the role of the middleman. And no middleman in all of history has created more friction and additional cost than the federal government. Non-profit charities are often rated by their ability to direct the highest percentage possible of donated funds to those in need. The higher the administrative costs are, the less money goes to those the charity intends to help.

If the federal government was rated in the same manner, it would fail tremendously. A tremendous portion of money raised (i.e. taxes) for those in need (i.e. welfare recipients) actually goes to pay the salaries of government employees, retirement accounts, an unreal amount of office space, etc. If the US federal government actually were a non-profit charity, it would be on the cover of Time magazine for defrauding its donors.

Coercion is not charity
I think that most Christians would agree that more should be done to help the poor and oppressed. I believe that it is disingenuous for the Religious Left to suggest that true Christian charity involves the government.

The Religious Left is completely correct when they say that Christians are commanded to help the poor. I could document all of the references in the Bible that talk about helping the poor but I would run out of room. It is absolutely clear that Christians are commanded to give charity to those in need.

However....government aid is not charity. Let me repeat: government aid is not charity. It doesn't even have the ability to be charity.

By its very nature, government is coercive. That it, it has the power of the sword to command people to action. Almost everything the government does comes with the implication that if one goes against the government, they will be forcibly made to do as the government requires. It doesn't make sense for the Religious Left to speak of helping the poor by the country giving more. It is too easy to be generous with other people's money.

I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound like charity to me. Forcibly taking money from some to give to others? If you boil down government aid to its root, this is what you have. While Christians are certainly commanded to "render unto Caesar", I can see no justification whatsoever that helping the poor involves taking from others by force.

Missing the point
I was thinking about this issue a few months ago and realized that there is a paradox going on here. On one hand, Jesus Christ commands Christians to help the poor. Yet Jesus also says that "the poor will always be with you."

I suppose that there are some who would use this latter reference as an excuse to do nothing to help the poor. But I think most would agree that this isn't the case. But isn't it fruitless to try to end poverty since Jesus said that we would always have poor among us?

This made me think that there is more to this than is on the surface. Why would Jesus ask people to do something that he knew they would fail at?

I believe that Jesus intended great good to occur in more than one way when he commanded Christians to help the poor. Not only did he want to see actual physical suffering alleviated, but I believe that he knew that great spiritual good would come to both those helping the poor and the poor themselves through the actions of charity.

Ask anyone who has spent time working in a soup kitchen or building a house for the homeless and they will tell you how good it made them feel. I don't think that we should be motivated by the promise of feeling good about ourselves, but I don't think there is any denying that great good does come from helping those in need. There also tends to be a relationship between how close we get to those in need and how we feel about our works of charity. Spending time with an inner-city fatherless child can have a tremendous impact upon our lives in addition to the positive impact on the child's life. However, in those cases where we simply give money to a charity (still a laudable action), the impact upon us and those in need is lessoned.

So how much are we missing when we delegate charity to the government? How easy does it then become to avoid the poor and avoid getting messy with other people's lives? How easy do it become for the poor to resent those better off in society that they have little interaction with? How easy does it become for some to foment class warfare?

The Religious Right's Case on Poverty
To this point, I have focused on how the Religious Left approaches the issue of poverty. But the Religious Right certainly hasn't gotten this issue correct either.

Those on the Right generally argue that free-market capitalism is the only way to address poverty. Many say that we should simply end all government aid and that private organizations such as churches will take over. I earlier accused the Religious Left of being disingenuous, but at this point the Religious Right outdoes them. Does anyone actually believe this? If this were the case, wouldn't we have already seen a tremendous reduction in those living in poverty?

Two things have occurred to free-market capitalism that is hampering its ability to care for the poor.

Much that passes for capitalism these days isn't. In fact, capitalism has often become corporatism. That is, instead of an economic system based upon freedom, we have moved towards an economic system set up for the benefit of large corporations.

I could write a book on all the ways we as a society give money to large corporations. While I have nothing against big business per se, I am baffled at how we as a society have gone to great lengths to subsidize large businesses through tax breaks, various business incentives, and the like. While I don't think that direct government aid to the poor is a good solution, it is far better than plowing money into big business.

One thing that many proponents of capitalism often forget is the origins of capitalism. It is often forgotten that the father of modern capitalism, Adam Smith, was a moral philosopher who wrote almost as much regarding ethics as he did on economics. Smith conceived of free-market economics taking place in an environment filled with exhortations and expectations of morality.

While "The Wealth of Nations" is a much better known work today, Adam Smith's "The Theory of the Moral Sentiments" is what made his career. In this book, Smith argued that ethics didn't derive from law or rational thought, but that people were born naturally with a moral sense. It was this moral sense that acted as a restraint upon the baser impulses of man to exploit others in an economic system.

Unfortunately, many proponents of capitalism, especially libertarians, have forgotten these origins of the system. Too often capitalism is presented as simply the working out of people's self-interest. This ultra-individualistic approach is doomed to fail.

So what is the answer? How should the Religious Left and Religious Right approach the issue of poverty?

One would hope that those on the Left and Right could put down their "culture war" weapons and spend time, money, and resources giving sacrificially to those in need to the point that there was little left for the government to do. I would love to see broad coalitions put aside their differences to tackle the issue of poverty.

When Christianity Jumped the Shark

By Christianity, I don't mean the historically-based belief that God came to earth as a man, Jesus Christ, and was killed on a cross and came back to life because of the flawed nature of humans.

I am actually referring to the cultural phenomenon that involves reading Left Behind books, speaking another dialect, and praying like Jabez. This morning I found something that indicates that this cultural-Christianity has finally "jumped the shark".

Armor of God PJs

I kid you not. Yes, this is what thousands of martyrs throughout history died for.

Opinion Masquerading as News

I came upon this story yesterday at Yahoo News from the AP. Here is the first paragraph:
"American students often get the impression from history classes that the British got here first, settling Jamestown, Va., in 1607. They hear about how white Northerners freed the black slaves, how Asians came in the mid-1800s to build Western railroads. The lessons have left out a lot."
Talk about a red herring. I was in high school over 15 years ago and this wasn't what I was taught. I have a hard time believing that history lessons have become more Euro-centric since then. So what gives here?

I believe that the answer is a journalist with an ax to grind. Or better yet, one who makes a living off stirring up racial animosity. I realized that I had seen the name of the author of this piece before, Erin Texeira.

After some research, I discovered that Erin is part of the narrative journalism movement. While most who write narrative jouralism strive to use stories to illustrate points, Texeira appears to have mastered the art of finding anecdotal evidence to try to promote her agenda.

Now this is all fine and good if Erin wrote as an opinion pundit. But she doesn't. She writes AP articles that generally appear to be hard news and usually are presented as such. Unfortunately, Erin doesn't use any actual evidence to back up her sweeping claims of rampant discrimination and a culture still dominated by "THE MAN".

Here is a quick sampling of some of Erin's article titles:
  • Asian Youths Suffer Harassment in Schools
  • Slavery Reparations Gaining Momentum
  • Black Men Fight Negative Stereotypes Everyday
  • Growing Anger Among Blacks as Latinos "Take Over"
  • Asians Underrepresented
Of course all of these articles are based upon nothing more than a story or two.

I don't mean to purport than discrimination and bigotry have been eliminated from American culture. But one or two stories do not equal a truism. If Texeira wishes to write her opinion, she should start a blog. And stop pretending to write "news".

Friday, August 18, 2006

Crazy Like A Fox

I have been amused over the past six years at the alternating criticisms of Bush as being either the dumbest president in history or the most cunning and evil president ever. Over time this criticism has morphed into a bit of both, hence the "crazy like a fox" title of this post. Though I think many on the left have started to apply this term to the two-headed beast known as "Bush/Rove".

As evidenced by this week's gaffe by George Allen and subsequent criticism, this motif is in ascendency.

For those of you who have been in a coma this week, let me get you up to speed on Macaca-Gate. Senator George Allen of Virginia is often discussed as a possible presidential contender in 2008. This past week while on the campaign trail, Allen spoke to an audience and pointed to S.R. Sidarth. It seems that Sidarth is a college student working for Allen's Democratic opponent who has been shadowing the campaign presumably to document Allen's talking points and any missteps. Well, Sidarth hit the jackpot.

At the beginning of his speech Allen motions towards Sidarth and refers to him as "macaca". He then goes on to welcome Sidarth to America. And the best part of this is that Sidarth got this all on video. Yes, there is a God.

And so now we enter the "crazy like a fox" part of this discussion. Neither the blogosphere nor the mainstream media can figure out if this was just an asinine statement or was a cleverly calculated move to garner support from the good folks of Virginia (aka the "white folks of Virginia') at the expense of a foreigner. (or as the 'necks like say "fahr-ner")

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post has decided to take the "crazy like a fox" route.
Okay, I'm willing to believe the senator is ignorant of primate taxonomy and Belgian slang -- he's all about good-ol'-boy bonhomie, not Renaissance-man erudition. I don't buy the rest of his explanation, though -- that he was trying to refer to Sidarth's haircut, which he thought was a mohawk. I also don't buy his claim that he meant no offense.

I think he was playing to the crowd by singling out the one person who didn't belong there, not because he was a spy from a rival campaign -- shadowing is standard campaign practice these days -- but because he looked "foreign" (my word, not his). I think he came up with "Macaca" as a kind of generic name for a foreigner who appeared to be from the Indian subcontinent, or someplace over there where people have dark skin and straight black hair. Why else would he add the "welcome to America" bit if not to emphasize Sidarth's apparent foreignness?

Sorry Eugene. I just don't see it that way. I think you are giving way too much credit to Allen.

I am going to go with the "Beavis and Butthead" explanation. See, I don't think that Allen was purposefully trying to denigrate Sidarth's ethnicity or appearance as a foreigner. I happen to think that at that moment, Allen morphed into a 13-year old Beavis who can only describe those he dislikes as "fart-knockers" and then falls on the floor in a spasm of laughter.

Either way, isn't it about time to cross Allen off the list of possible presidential contenders?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stop the Demogoguery Hugh!

So I am reading Hugh Hewitt's blog tonight and come upon a post about today's court decision regarding warrentless surveillance. After a legal analysis of the decision, Hugh throws out the usual conservative talking points:
"Rather, the judge has triggered another great moment of clarity about the Ned Lamont Democrats (and the Jon Tester Democrats in Montana, the Debbie Stabenow Democrats in Michigan, the Maria Cantwell Democrats in Washington State, the Sherrod Brown Democrats in Ohio etc etc.) Judge Anna Diggs Taylor is a Jimmy Carter appointee, and so she's even given us a twofer today: Illustrating the vast dangers of liberals running national security, and the lasting impact of liberal presidents on national security."

Not surprisingly, plenty of red meat for the base. Of course those on the left will object to Hugh's comments here but that is par for the course and what you would expect.

At this point, however, the wheels come off.

"Don't run for your life in the fall. Vote for your life. Every vote for a Democrat (except Joe Lieberman) is a vote against victory."

Let me see if I understand Hugh correctly here. Voting Democrat equals suicide. Literally.

I'm guessing that Hugh is not trying to convince anyone of anything, but this is pathetic nonetheless. Why do pundits (and even politicians) have to resort to such feeble thinking? Why not just write "Nanny nanny boo boo!"

Gay Saudi Arabia

I found this very interesting new item about a suspected gay wedding in Saudi Arabia. While there are some who think that the United States is obsessed with sex and is stridently homophobic, nothing can compare with Muslim attitudes towards homosexuals.

Publicly claiming to be homosexual in a Muslim country usually equals death. So why is it that rarely does one hear the homosexual community here in America speaking out against Muslim countries? Am I missing something here?

Jimmy Carter: Partisan Hack

In the late '90s, we saw many on the right losing their minds over Bill Clinton. When I say losing their minds, I am referring to the penchant to find ways to criticize Clinton in every manner possible regardless of how much a stretch had to be made.

The same thing is now happening with the left as it relates to George Bush. This week's Der Spiegel interview with Jimmy Carter is case in point. Carter seems to be gunning for the title of "Worst Ex-President" with statements like this:
"I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon."
I suppose the random firing of rockets indiscriminently into civilian population centers doesn't justify any type of response. How can anyone take Jimmy Carter seriously anymore?

It is sad that Carter has squandered away his good reputation to become a partisan hack.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mission Accomplished: Cynthia McKinney is Finished

Back on April 4, I wrote the following:
Cynthia McKinney is unfit for her job because she is a do-nothing demogogue whose apparent goal in life is self-promotion through race-baiting and conspiracy theories.

So I am throwing down the gauntlet.

Unless a better candidate appears, I will run for Congress against Cynthia. If I have to spend every day after work knocking on doors in my district for the next 20 years, I will do what it takes to defeat her. If I have to places calls to every person in this country asking for donations to the campaign, I will do it.

Of course I would rather not have to do it myself. I will happily support any candidate who stands a better chance than I. I don't really care if they are Democrat, Socialist, Green Party, or Communist.
I spent the next few weeks exploring the idea of running against Cynthia McKinney myself. At that time, I had little confidence that anyone else would have a chance of defeating her. I finally decided not to run after I discovered that the State of Georgia essentially bans independents from voting ballots.

I did decide that I was going to do whatever it took to remove McKinney from office.
While I am not going to officially run against McKinney, she is going to have to deal with me one way or another. This blog is going to become the best source for truth about her ineffectiveness. And McKinney is going to see me on the campaign trail.
I decided that one way or another I was going to have a say in this race. Since then I have written many articles documenting the ineffectiveness of McKinney. And I eventually became the defacto person to go to for those interested in defeating McKinney. During the past few months, I have had political consultants, the media, community leaders, elected officials, and ordinary citizens contact me to find out how they could help me defeat McKinney.

While many blogs are taking credit for helping defeat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, I believe that I played a role in helping defeat Cynthia McKinney. Not only have I become the best place for information about why McKinney needs to go, but I have played a role in Hank Johnson's campaign to defeat her.

While my efforts began as ABC ("Anyone But Cynthia"), I have come to respect the man who defeated her in last week's runoff, Hank Johnson. After meeting Hank and hearing him speak on many occasions, I believe that Hank has great potential. I also great appreciate his stated goal to represent the entire district. I am now planning on holding Hank accountable to this goal to represent us all.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cynthia McKinney v Hank Johnson: Liveblogging the Runoff

Today I will be liveblogging election events during the day and tonight I will be at the Hank Johnson election party liveblogging the returns. Please check back here during the day for updates on this race. Please email me with any tips or news about today's runoff.

12:16AM - Time to call it a night. I couldn't be more pleased with the result. Big thanks go out to all who responded to all of my email to go out and vote for Hank Johnson today. Also, a big thanks to all the other blogs that linked here and for all the great readers and commenters.

11:35PM - Received an official comment from Hank's campaign staff: "The people have spoken!"

11:32PM - Just shook Hank's hand. What a genuinely nice and classy man!

11:20PM - 98% reporting now. Hank Johnson has 59% of the vote. This is such a large margin that there cannot be an silly excuses about Republicans crossing over or other such nonsense.

10:59PM - IT'S OVER!!! We are now up to 89% reporting: Hank Johnson (58.9%)/ Cynthia McKinney (41.1%)

10:47PM - I am going to predict thank Hank Johnson ends up with somewhere between 56% and 58% of the vote. Great victory!

10:34PM - Up to 66% reporting: Hank Johnson (58%)/ Cynthia McKinney (42%). I am calling this race now. HANK JOHNSON DEFEATS CYNTHIA MCKINNEY!

10:18PM - Now up to 51% reporting: Hank Johnson (58%)/ Cynthia McKinney (42%)

10:13PM - AJC is reporting computer problems with getting the votes in from DeKalb.

9:58PM - We are now up to 35% reporting and DeKalb precincts are finally in: Hank Johnson (61%)/ Cynthia McKinney (39%)

9:52PM - Folks, here is the big story so far. I did a bit of analysis in the precincts that have reported so far. In the primary a few weeks ago, Hank Johnson received 2,194 votes in Rockdale County. This time, with only three precincts outstanding, Hank has received 4,325 votes. That is amazing. This race is going to hinge on this amazing voter turnout!

9:41PM - 18% reporting. Still nothing from DeKalb.

9:38PM - Hank just came out and addressed the crowd. He said that we have a long night ahead of us. Agreed.

9:15PM - We are now at 13% reporting with the percentages still the same. However, looking at the county returns, the only precincts reporting so far have come from Gwinnett and Rockdale counties, which were expected to be won handily by Johnson. So we still have a long way to go until DeKalb County starts reporting some precincts.

8:53PM - We are starting to get a steady stream of people coming into the party here at the Holiday Inn in Decatur. If you are in the area, please drop by and see us.

8:45PM - 12% reporting/Hank Johnson (74%)/Cynthia McKinney (26%)

8:39PM - 8% reporting/Hank Johnson (75%)/Cynthia McKinney (25%)

8:34PM - is reporting that a McKinney staffer grabbed one of their cameramen today.

8:30PM - We are now up to 6% reporting/Hank Johnson (73%)/Cynthia McKinney (27%)

8:21PM - I am going to weigh in with my first prediction of the night. Based on what I have seen today and the apparent heavy turnout I think that we are going to see close to a 50/50 split in the south part of DeKalb with the heavy turnout on the north side of DeKalb putting Hank over the top. I am thinking that Hank may get at least 55%.

7:58PM - Another update: 4% reporting/Hank Johnson (74%)/Cynthia McKinney (26%)

7:50PM - Getting set up here at the Hank Johnson party. I am going to be joined by Andre Walker of Georgia Politics Unfiltered, Jeff Emanuel of PeachPundit, and Tom Baxter of the AJC.

7:47PM - FIRST RETURNS OF THE DAY: With 1% of the precincts reporting, Hank Johnson has 75% and Cynthia McKinney has 25%. It means nothing of course.

7:41PM - Another report: "These are Northlake-Embry Hills area precincts (Between Tucker and Chamblee). Evansdale (6:50 p.m.) Heavy turnout compared to primary: 34 percent as opposed to 20 percent in July. 600 Democratic Ballots, 87 Republican.

Johnson probably picked up an additional 250 votes out of Evansdale. It’s difficult to imagine McKinney getting even 10 percent of the vote up here.

Midvale Road -- 6:40 p.m. Similar percentages and raw numbers: 590 Democratic ballots, 90 Repub.

I haven’t checked the neighboring precincts, but these received the same amount of effort from a very dedicated group of people. (We had GOTV people working until the polls closed at Evansdale and Midvale). Expect similar numbers from Hawthorne, Henderson Middle, Embry Hills and Midvale Elementary, which were also covered by this effort.

6:48PM - Another report from the Chamblee/Brookhaven area: "Today two simple joys were rolled into one - I was able to take a walk with my son, and he helped me cast my vote against Cynthia McKinney!"

"The poll workers told me that the turnout numbers don't sound very impressive. However, the percentages are encouraging - as of 6:00 they think they had passed 20% and were aiming for a 22% turnout. Of course, almost all of the ballots were for the Democratic race. Considering that the primary race only drew 18%, I'm very encouraged by the turnout in my neighborhood."

6:46PM - Report from my friend Cancerman: "When I voted at 5:15 today, about 400 people had voted in Chamblee, 350 of them voting in the Democratic primary."

5:24PM - The famed McKinney organization is a shell of itself. I am stunned at how much more organized the Johnson campaign appears to be. I just drove out Covington Highway, down Panola Rd, and on Thompson Mill Rd. Hank appears to have an advantage on signs by 2:1 or even 3:1. I have come across a few places with Johnson supporters and McKinney supporters. Not only were there quite a few more Johnson supporters out but it almost looked like McKinney dragged some kids out of playgrounds to hold her signs.

5:02PM - Just drove down into South DeKalb. Not surprisingly, in Chamblee, Doraville, and Tucker there were about 100 Hank Johnson signs to every 1 McKinney sign. Just about 50/50 in Clarkston. However, once I drove south of Memorial Drive on S. Indian Creek Rd, there were almost no McKinney or Johnson signs. I did see some Johnson supporters near Redan and Indian Creek but there were probably more Greg Hecht signs around there. Very strange. I am wondering if people in South DeKalb are fed up with the controversy surrounding this race and are not turning out as strong. We will find out tonight. I am now on Covington Highway heading east. I'll check in again soon.

4:20PM - Here are some turnout numbers from Gwinnett County that I just received: "I just got off the phone with a lady from the Gwinnett Elections Board. She tells me about 1200 people from Gwinnett have voted in the 4CD. The total votes cast on 7/18 in Gwinnett for the 4CD was 2054 votes. Thusfar, it seems turnout is higher than expected in Gwinnett. "

4:19PM - I just received a report of intimidation against some Hank Johnson supporters this afternoon. According to my source, someone was taking pictures of Johnson supporters and their car tags. I'll provide an update when I hear more.

3:40PM - I am frustrated about not getting any reports from South Dekalb so I am going to drive down there myself and provide some updates from the road.

3:00PM - In response to complaints of voting irregularities from the McKinney campaign: “We have monitors on the ground addressing each of these issues," Kara Sinkule of the Secretary of State’s office said. "We have not had any of these allegations substantiated.”
HT: mitrebox

2:48PM - The AJC reported, "By 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, about 120 of more than 1,400 registered voters had cast ballots at the Panola precinct at St. Paul A.M.E Church in Lithonia."

2:06PM: Another update from the McKinney campaign: "At 11:00 a voter said she voted for me, but after the vote the machine displayed a vote for Hank Johnson. A Team McKinney attorney followed up with the voter and will issue a complete report."

"At noon, turnout appears to be running slightly behind that of July 18th. Translation, if this trend maintains, runoff turnout will be higher than predicted."

2:01PM: chrisishardcore reported to me earlier today: "Chamblee precinct had about 100 voters by 9:30. Probably about a 70/30 split between Dems and Republicans. This is a low turnout/population precinct."

1:48PM - The McKinney campaign is already panicking. Her website is reporting voting irregularities and intimidation of McKinney supporters. Some things are as predictable as the rising of the sun.

1:39PM - From a precinct captain: "Turnout is up from the primary at Evansdale/Midvale (only 20 percent during the primary). I’ve worked the streets for many hours over the past two weeks and the traffic is overwhelmingly pro-Hank – well above 90 percent. Hank has a lot of African American support around this area, based on responses. Hank’s Poll Workers are well organized up here . Every polling place I’ve been to has been staffed and covered. I haven’t seen a single McKinney sign in this entire area all year until today. There were some McKinney supporters with signs alongside a Johnson volunteer at Warren Technical on Chamblee Tucker. That is the first presence I’ve ever seen of her campaign."

10:30AM - Another report from a 4th District voter: "I voted at Oak Grove precinct north central DeKalb. I was number 135 at 8:30 this morning, but I did not get a break down of how may GOP or DEM ballots had been cast. Hank Johnson had supporters along Briarcliff Road and in front of Lakeside High and Oak Grove Elementary. There were large “vote today” signs along with persons holding Hank’s red signs. It looked very well organized."

10:15AM - Wow! Just voted at my polling station next to Oglethorpe University. Poll workers said that around 230 people had voted so far today and that there had been a steady stream all morning. This sounds like a stronger turnout than some were expecting.

9:12AM - Just received a report from a friend in central DeKalb that the Hank Johnson supporters near her polling place were many and appeared well organized.

9:00AM - I am heading out to go vote. I'll report back in a bit on the turnout.

8:50AM - While doing some research I have discovered that Cynthia McKinney's campaign website is down. I wonder what sort of lies are on there that they have to cover up.

Runoff Today: Help Boot Cynthia McKinney

Today is finally the runoff election for the 4th District Democratic primary race between Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson. And it is the opportunity to finally rid ourselves of the most ineffective member of Congress, Cynthia McKinney.

Over the past months, I have documented Cynthia McKinney's lack of effectiveness and lies here, here, here, and here. And today the voters of the 4th District of Georgia can finally say "ENOUGH!"

We have had enough of a representative who constantly embarasses us!
We have had enough of a representative who doesn't care about us!
We have had enough of a representative who, despite her power and wealth, blames all her troubles on racism!
We have had enough of a representative who serves at the behest of wealthy donors that do not live in her district!
We have had enough of a representative who has no shame about lying to her constituents in political ads and in televised debates!
We have had enough of a representative who believes her constituents to be either too stupid or too ignorant to uncover her lies!

So if you are a registered voter in the 4th District of Georgia, please go vote for Hank Johnson today. As long as you are a registered voter and did not vote in the Republican primary a few weeks ago, you are eligible to vote in today's runoff.

Some of you may be Republicans who think that leaving Cynthia McKinney in office will hurt the Democrats. You couldn't be more wrong. The Democratic Party has turned its back on McKinney as has the Congressional Black Caucus. Cynthia McKinney doesn't hurt or embarrass her party. Cynthia McKinney hurts and embarasses us, the citizens of the 4th District. I'm tired of hearing national media say that the 4th District must be full of idiots to keep electing McKinney.

And finally, if you think that you will wait to vote against McKinney in the general election, I beg of you to reconsider. In effect, today IS the general election in the 4th District. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, on top of the fact that the Republican party has not nominated a candidate with a legitimate chance of running a competitive race. So if you wish to have any say in who your representative is, today is your chance.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Lies of Cynthia McKinney and Billy McKinney

Desperation is setting in for Team McKinney. As most of you know, the most ineffective member of the US Congress, Cynthia McKinney, is in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for the 4th District in Georgia. And she and her Anti-Semitic father are willing to say anything and everything in hopes of her being re-elected.
Lie #1: "I will be pitted against a mostly unknown and unproven opponent, who will nonetheless have the unanimous backing of big national media and national money." - Cynthia McKinney
This is a complete fabrication that Hank Johnson is being funded by national money and the implication that Cynthia McKinney is not. According to PoliticalMoneyLine, 65% of McKinney's contributions have come from out of state. Not mentioned is that many of her contributions from Georgia have not been from her district. Conversely, only 6% of Hank Johnson's contributions have come from out of state. I will add the caveat that these percentages may have changed since the primary two weeks ago but I doubt that they have changed signficantly.
Lie #2: "The media and money behind my opponent will do their utmost to polarize the election along racial and party lines." - Cynthia McKinney
This is highly comical since Cynthia McKinney is one of the great race-baiters in our country today. And specious since her opponent, Hank Johnson, is black as well. I'm not sure how a runoff featuring two black candidates can be polarized along racial lines.

This statement is also ridiculous because McKinney does everything she can to blame every ill on the "white man". Her recent run-in with Capital Police was of course evidence of racism. While she constantly claims to be a victim of racism, she hopes others ignore the fact that as a black female, she is a US Congresswoman, is highly educated, and is a member of the "rich" that she so often rails against. Her constant claims of racism are a great insult to those blacks and other minorities who are truly victims of real racism.
Lie #3: "To win, they must provoke a stampede of Republican voters to the polls on August 8th." - Cynthia McKinney
I predicted this particular lie from McKinney last week. It is sad how predictable she has become. The AJC showed very clearly that McKinney was forced into this runoff not because of Republicans crossing over but because fewer Democrats in South DeKalb County voted for her. I can also attest that at last week's rally for Hank Johnson, very few if any Republicans were in attendance.
Lie #4 - "I have been scored by and according to, I have the highest legislative record, success record, of any of the Democrats in the Georgia delegation; and that's including Congressman John Lewis." - Cynthia McKinney during 7/31/06 debate.
It is amazing that McKinney is willing to make such a brazen and patently untrue statement that is so easy to disprove. According to, McKinney is actually 408 out of 435 representatives in their Power Rankings. This is pathetic for a representative with 12 years of tenure in Congress. And she is second to last for Georgia representatives, besting only John Barrow, a first term representative.

Cynthia McKinney also must assume that her constituents are stupid by claiming a strong legislative record. In my research, I have discovered only one bill that she sponsored that has become law: a bill to rename a post office in Decatur, GA. A case can be made by McKinney that she has been in the minority party during the Bush administration. Fine. But show me the legislation she sponsored under the Clinton administration. You won't find any.
Lie #5 - "The Fourth District is in danger of being represented by the Republican Party. As I have looked back over the last year of political events, I have detected a very astute strategy to turn the 4th district over to the Republican party." - Billy McKinney
One wonders what universe Billy McKinney lives in. The 4th District of Georgia is just about the most Democratic district in Georgia behind only Rep. John Lewis' 5th District. The 4th District has been represented by a Democrat for over a decade with hardly a serious Republican challenger. On top of the fact that in 2004, the Georgia State Legislature redrew the district boundaries to make it even more Democratic.
Lie #6 - "It is easy to see that Hank [Johnson] is a darling of the Republicans." - Billy McKinney
Let's take a look at Hank Johnson on the issues and see how likely this statement is.
Yeah, Hank sure does sound like a hardcore Republican to me.

The sad thing about all of these lies from Cynthia and Billy is the presumption that their constituents, particularly the black community, is too stupid to fact check them. I have spoken with many of my black friends about McKinney and to a person they are embarrassed to have her as a representative. As am I.