Welcome To Reality Politics

Way back in 1988, the Writers Guild of America went on strike for 155 days -the longest strike in that organization’s history. The work stoppage screwed up what used to be called “the fall lineup” and forced television networks to rely on a mix of re-runs, specials, sports programming and unscripted original series such as COPS. Whether or not the strike led directly to the creation of the “reality” TV genre is disputed, but with the election to the presidency of Donald Trump, a reality TV star for 11 seasons on “The Apprentice,” there’s no doubt that an outsized personality combined with an extraordinary (or weird) concept and constant exposure on television can be combined to create a powerful political force.

Which explains a remarkable press release from State Senator Michael Williams, R-Forsyth, who’s looking to seek statewide office next year. (Exactly which office is unknown, although there is persistent and deliberate speculation that he may try to skip a few rungs on Georgia’s traditional political ambition ladder and seek the keys to the mansion on West Paces Ferry Road right out of the block.) Williams has won the support of Duane Chapman, a five-time married felony convict who’s most famous as the star of the A&E television series “Dog The Bounty Hunter.” Given Chapman’s tumultuous past, and, err… striking appearance, it’s a type of alliance not to be found among traditional political tactics. But tradition and precedent are so 2014. Welcome to the age of reality politics.

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A Little Perspective on the Storm

As much of the metro Atlanta region resets the clocks on their microwaves and coffeemakers this morning, and suffers through the inconveniences of internet outages and tree limbs on our lawns, it’s worth noting that while we may be late to work, we still have jobs to go to, and none of us is worried that this years’ earnings are at risk. But last weeks hard freeze has pretty much killed off Georgia’s blueberry crop for the year, eliminating between 80 and 90 percent of the entire harvest worth by some estimates more than $200 million.

“Economically speaking, that’s gonna translate to, in Appling County alone, about $20 to $25 million,” said [blueberry grower Allen] Miles.

It will likely hurt not only growers, but anybody that does business with them.

“We’re down to 50 people doing what 400 were doing. So, we’re down 350 employees,” said Miles.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia House Agricultural Committee Chairman Tom McCall toured south Georgia to assess the damage earlier this week, as reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  Continue reading “A Little Perspective on the Storm”

Update on Advertising In GA 6th

UPDATE:: Apparently there’s a thing in browsers called a cache, and if you have an out-of-date one, it can lead you to false errors on various websites, such as DanMoody.com which is working fine, as now reflected in this post. In keeping with our long-established editorial policy, we regret the error and blame others.

We posted a compare and contrast of the first round of TV ads in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last week, and there have been some updates. As noted by 11Alive News, Karen Handel is out with a minute-plus web ad, describing Jon Ossoff as a “lightweight liberal.”

Entitled “Lightweight Liberal,” the ad takes aim at the Democratic frontrunner in the race, Democrat Jon Ossoff. Handel campaign spokesman John Porter also said the ad is designed highlight the “tax-and-spend agenda behind Jon Ossoff’s chief supporters, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.”


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Is Georgia Voter Data Secure?

Way back last December, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp asked the Department of Homeland Security to explain an apparent “…attempted breach of the state’s computer systems that house its voter registration database by someone in the federal government.”  As crazy as that may sound, there are similar and separate allegations about attempted data breaches of the voter databases in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Idaho.

Data security isn’t a brand new issue for Secretary Kemp, whose office accidentally released over 6 million complete voter records, including Social Security numbers and other personal data in October 2015. Kemp fired a staffer and claimed to have recovered the discs containing the information, but nobody’s ever really sure about that sort of stuff.

The Democrats are now playing politics with the most recent allegation, that somebody at Homeland Security attempted to penetrate the voter database in the Elections center at Kennesaw State University. According to Greg Bluestein in the AJC:   Continue reading “Is Georgia Voter Data Secure?”

Is It Art Or Obscenity?

The line between what’s artistic and what’s prurient has always been a bit fuzzy, though not hard to find. As Justice Potter Stewart pointed out, one may not not be able to define obscene material, but can still “…know it when [he sees] it.”  And former State Representative Jill Chambers is adamant that her efforts on behalf of the Oasis Goodtime Emporium are clearly art. As noted by the venerable art critics at the AJC’s Political Insider and the Georgia Report, Chambers is the artistic director for Oasis, and under that direction the emporium offers acts of “serious artistic value.”  Body painting. Headdresses. Aerial acts. And we are reliably informed of the occasional poetry reading, which surely must confound the lunch-bucket regulars.

Former  State Rep. Jill Chambers, R-DeKalb, in the Georgia State House, an emporium noted for its lack of good times. (2009 AJC)

Chambers says the club has at least two burlesque shows per day, and also has on its bill performance artists who appear at mainstream venues like 7 Stages, The Tabernacle, or Red Light Cafe.”

Of course they do. And of course this fight is not over freedom of expression or even the First Amendment right to shake one’s money maker at strangers. It’s about selling booze.  Continue reading “Is It Art Or Obscenity?”

Dueling Ads in Georgia 6th

Judson Hill is out with his first commercial that starts airing today.

He’s up against this POS from Mutual of Omaha’s Dan Moody:

And they’re both trying to catch Bob Gray, whose cookie-cutter spot has been blanketing tv screens in the district for nearly a month.

Your assignment is to compare and contrast the effectiveness of these tv commercials on their creative and rhetorical merits alone -without any context about the size of their respective buys, their penetration, or their reach. Are you, as a viewer, more persuaded, intrigued or outraged by one more than the other? If so, why or why not.

Please keep your comments on topic and use punctuation properly. Charlie hates it when you don’t.


No-Show Jobs Available In DeKalb School System

Remember DeKalb County Schools? Nearly lost their accreditation because of a bickering board and so much general shenanigans that the Governor had to replace most of the board members? If you do, please tell Leo Brown about it, as that system seems to have slipped his mind. He supposedly works there as a “Chief Human Capital Management Officer” –he’s contracted with the school system to the tune of $175,000 per year– but he hasn’t been seen in a school building since before winter break last year.

Whatever a Chief Human Capital Management Officer is, Brown was hired by new DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green to be one, before going missing in December. The AJC’s Marlon Walker took notice of his prolonged absence in late February:

District officials did not respond to emails last week about his employment status or where he’s been. He was not present for the DeKalb County Board of Education’s meetings in January or last week, as he typically would be. Brown has said he’s dispatched employees to job fairs and through partnerships with colleges while seeking teachers for hard-to-fill positions. The district has hired about 70 uncertified teachers since being awarded Strategic Waiver School System status, which allows flexibility from some state rules while holding districts to more strict standards. The district, however, has more vacancies (58.5) than it did this time last year (53.5), without employing uncertified teachers.

So he was hired to fill vacancies, but DeKalb has more vacancies now than when he started? Maybe it’s good he went missing –the only additional vacancy he’s created is his own.

Except, this is DeKalb, so it’s never that simple.   Continue reading “No-Show Jobs Available In DeKalb School System”

Politics 101: It’s The Echo, Not The Shot

I have no candidate in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, so the advice I’m offering is free, and that’s probably exactly what it’s worth. Even worthless, though, it’s still qualitatively better advice than whoever thought it would be smart to try to tag Jon Ossoff with some semi-embarrassing video footage of him dressing up as Star Wars characters and singing. It was college, and as I have had to explain to more than a few candidates in my time of giving out political advice, “College don’t count.”

So there’s some cringeworthy footage of a shirtless college kid acting like a dork? And you want to spend $1 million boosting his name ID with it? Hey, NRCC, 2016 called and said it’s going to grab you by the p***y. How much would THAT be worth?  

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A GOP Takeover In Fulton County?

UPDATE:: Bernie Tokarz contacted me to say: “I am not running for Fulton County Chair.” So he’s out. 

SECOND UPDATE::  An alert reader has pointed out that the last Republican to sit in the Chairman’s chair was Karen Handel, who took a whopping 58% of the vote in a 4-way race in a special election to replace Mike Kenn in 2003. (I looked it up. The reader is right.)

For an off year that’s supposed to be boring, 2017 is looking to become very interesting politically for Fulton County. In addition to the 18-candidate special election for the 6th Congressional District on the north end of the county, there’s an upcoming special election to fill a vacancy on the Roswell City Council; Roswell Mayor Jere Wood may finally be term-limited; Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle is said to be considering a state office; there are 70-some people seeking positions with the City of South Fulton and County Chairman John Eaves decision to run for Mayor of Atlanta will create an open seat and possibly a chance at Republican majority on the Fulton Board.

Robb Pitts is already running for Chairman, and Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr., may be considering it as well. Union City Mayor Vince Williams can’t be ruled out. By rights, it’s a Democrat’s seat and the odds of a Republican winning a countywide office are extremely long during regularly scheduled elections. Three Republicans on the commission (Bob Ellis, Liz Hausman and Lee Morris) all hail from points north of Wieuca Road, and the County hasn’t voted for a Republican President since Nixon visited China. But a special election could throw all those rules into a cocked hat.  Continue reading “A GOP Takeover In Fulton County?”

#NudeElephant – Big Bucks and Transparent Budgets

Joe Pettit has been active in Georgia Republican circles for years, and has a long view that’s been seasoned by years in the trenches. As GOP convention season gets underway, he’s offering some advice -and some unexpected praise -here it is:

The odd compulsion to attend several boring Republican meetings is tugging at me again. Three out of every four years in Georgia, we have a convention process, in which party insiders pick the party leadership at various levels.

Each time “convention season” rolls around, I am forced anew to think of what what an effective party structure looks like. This year I’ve pinpointed some things that I think are fundamental:

1. The party needs to be the strongest fundraiser in the state. A particular US Senator or Governor may be able to dwarf the party at times, but the party needs to hold its own. As such, the party organization needs to be a calming factor in the business community, and it needs to be run with efficiency. If businesses think the party is going to turn on them, or if they see the party wasting money on staff and ineffective events, they won’t give the party money.    Continue reading “#NudeElephant – Big Bucks and Transparent Budgets”