Category Archives: Opinion

Skipping debate will not cost Trump

150810-donald-trump-debate-743a_ded2a0af932f2c2332757273ea911da2.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

This is the face of a man who knows exactly what he’s doing. Or not. Who knows?

Sure, it seems insane for any candidate–even a frontrunner–to consider skipping the final debate before the Iowa Caucus, but Donald Trump is not your typical candidate. If Jeb! Bush or Marco Rubio led Iowa with a week to go and decided to skip the final debate, it might be considered a fatal mistake, costing the candidate not only Iowa, but other early states as well. However, Trump continues to prove his impervious to the usual traps that ensnarl campaigns and cost candidates elections. No, Trump continues to win and his defiance may be the reason why.

Trump’s entrance into the race last summer (has it really been that long?) defied logic. His campaign kickoff speech, filled with grotesque words about Latinos and undocumented workers was equally baffling. Surely, no one serious about winning the presidency would say these things and think they’ll win, right? But Trump’s poll numbers shot through the roof. Nothing he’s said or done since that fateful day have affected Trump’s numbers. The only thing that’s truly changed is the candidate nipping at his heels, and who stands to his left and right during debates. Trump, however, has remained front and center at every debate, and through every gaffe, ramble, and scoff, Trump reigns supreme.

So why skip the final debate before real votes are cast?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, National Elections, News, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized, US News, US Politics

The problem goes beyond #oscarsowhite

oscars-mcqueen-win

This scene from the 2014 Oscars is a rarity in the film industry, but the problems go well beyond #oscarsowhite

Controversy followed the recent Oscar nominations, as an almost all white slate of nominees were announced, once again providing a glaring problem in the Academy’s membership. The Academy quickly moved to ameliorate the problem, promising to select far more female and minority members by 2020, and slowly but surely phasing out the predominately white male membership that’s dominated the Academy since its foundation. However, fixing the Academy doesn’t fix a bigger problem: people of color still do not have the opportunities to star or make some of the biggest films every year.

Let’s look at the top-10 highest grossing films of all time. Only Furious 7 was directed by a non-white male. The other nine were directed by white men. Two of the bigger pictures of the year–albeit not in the top-10–were directed by African-Americans. F. Gary Gray directed Straight Outta Compton, both critically-acclaimed and a box office hit and Ryan Coogler directed Creed, which helped pump fresh blood into the sagging Rocky franchise. Coogler’s success with Creed landed him the job directing Marvel’s Black Panther movie, due out in 2018.

However, when you scroll through some of the bigger films of the year, you realize that Gray and Coogler are joined by few other directors of color. If the Oscars have a color problem, Hollywood does even more so. Yes, the Oscars need to be more inclusive and must broaden its membership to ensure that the entire spectrum of film each year is considered for awards, but the film industry itself must do a better job to ensure minorities have opportunities to direct big, prestige films, you know, the ones that tend to be nominated for Oscars.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Film, Opinion

Proposed fireworks regs in GA a bit much

fireworks-file1

During the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, lawmakers finally legalized fireworks. Not sparklers, which had long been allowed in Georgia, but legitimate fireworks. Bottle rockets, mortars, and other fun explosives would finally be sold and taxed in Georgia, ending necessary pilgrimages into neighboring states to buy fireworks. What thrilled many Georgians who enjoy risking their fingers, faces, and other body parts to lit fireworks on Independence Day and New Years upset Georgians across the state, who didn’t welcome the new law with open ears or eyes.

Since every single Georgian obeyed the previous ban on fireworks and never once launched a bottle rocket, lit a firecracker, or watched a mortar light up the night sky, many were shocked, outraged, and very upset by the noise caused by fireworks on July 4th–along with the days immediately before and after America’s birthday. Calls were launched to strongly regulate–or ban–fireworks, because dogs, children, and the sensitive ears of adults were hurt by this new, foreign sound.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Georgia News, Georgia Politics, Metro-Atlanta Politics, News, Opinion, Policy, Politics, State Policy, Uncategorized

The Politicization of Everything

You may have heard, some long-bearded man who stars in a popular reality TV show said something offensive and the entire country flipped their lid. Once again, Americans of all stripes decided they were scholars of the U.S. Constitution, and chimed in accordingly.

I have little to say regarding the Duck Dynasty controversy that unfolded yesterday except for this: when something major happens that you consider a violation (or not) of one’s constitutional rights, think long and hard before you say something. Look, I’m no Constitutional scholar. I didn’t go to law school, nor do I pretend to be an expert in all things “freedom.” I’m a political scientist, who dabbles in the world of campaigns and political communications and I can tell you without a doubt that the vast majority of this country hasn’t the slightest clue what they’re discussing.

Like so many other, I joined the fray yesterday, and chipped in my two cents. It’s not worth repeating here, but let’s be clear, no one’s constitutional rights were violated yesterday. In fact, all the noise that emanated from the Duck Dynasty nonsense is a fantastic demonstration of the power of free speech. Americans hit the web to express support for either Phil Robertson or A&E without any repercussions or interference from an oppressive government.

Remember, your right to free speech protects you from the government, not your employer.

We live in a great country that allows us to debate something as irrational and bizarre as the personal views of a man who makes a living through calling ducks.

If that’s not freedom and American, I don’t know what is.

Ultimately, the fallout gives off the distinct impression that we now live in a country where we politicize everything. Pseudo-politicians like Sarah Palin insist on giving their political opinion of the actions a private company took when they believed an employee stepped out-of-bounds. Ditto for Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Not everything in this country is political. The talking heads, politicians, pundits, and others would make you believe that there is politics in everything we do, but there just isn’t. We are the ones creating the political environment when it doesn’t need to exist.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, US News, US Politics

Stop defining the race of a made-up person

Sorry kids, but Santa Claus isn’t real. Sure, he’s loosely based on St. Nick, but the big guy, with the red outfit, big beard, and a jolly laugh is a fictional character meant to excite kids about Christmas, sell paintings, and most importantly, bottles of delicious, fizzy Coca-Cola.

To go on national television to explicitly claim that Santa Claus is of one particular race is beyond ludicrous; it’s insanity. It’s something that lunatics rave about after they’ve consumed one too many hits of bad LSD, or the hangover from the whiskey hasn’t yet kicked in.

For the love of Christmas and all that is holy, stop talking about Santa.

Unless expressly stated by the creator of a character, fictional beings can be of whatever race we choose. If the producers of the James Bond franchise decide to replace Daniel Craig with a black 007 following Craig’s tenure, will the bloviating fools on FOX News decry the choice and argue that James Bond is white?

Probably not.

Why you ask?

James Bond, like Santa Claus is a fictional character, and despite only caucasian interpretations of the character, it doesn’t mean James Bond’s (or Santa’s) race is dogmatic.

Maybe this just happens to be a new front on the supposed “War on Christmas,” which is nothing more than a conservative delusion to make sure that the ideologically opposed can find no common ground, even around Christmas.

Some may be desperately trying to cling to an America that is dominated by straight, white males, but the country is changing. We are moving forward into a time where (we hope) race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation are no bearing on whether you are Santa Claus, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or president. Clinging to the past makes it harder for us to move forward as a nation.

Of all the issues that matter, some still believe Santa’s race is a newsworthy topic. Keep it up, FOX News and talk radio, you’re certainly winning that culture war…

Leave a comment

Filed under Cable News, Media, Opinion, Talk Radio, US Politics

Stop worrying and love the stadium: Braves to Cobb a done deal

Look, I’m not a huge fan of the idea that the Atlanta Braves are going to call the suburbs home starting in 2017. While stadiums are notoriously bad at spurring economic growth in surrounding areas, several cities have had great luck developing the area around ballparks and making it a great place to hang out. Colorado and Cincinnati are just two examples to cities and teams making a commitment to downtown areas and bringing growth along with them.

The Braves just couldn’t get it in Atlanta, so they’re moving. The debate has moved away from Cobb vs. Atlanta and turned into a battle between the pro-business Chamber of Commerce types against the anti-tax, cleaner government types (another strange alliance between the Tea Party and Sierra Club). They have a legitimate beef with the county over with how quickly Cobb moved to sign, seal, and deliver the land to the Braves, and made their views known at a series of quickly organized town hall events held last night. (If you’re looking for a great analysis of the Mountain View town hall, check out Blog For Democracy’s play-by-play)

While I admire the efforts of anti-stadium groups, they’re coming up short and they know it. Much like Common Cause Georgia’s attempts to derail the new Georgia Dome, efforts by groups in Cobb are coming too little too late, and that’s exactly how Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee and the Braves wanted it.

They kept the stadium deal a secret, dropped a bombshell on metro-Atlanta and Lee scheduled a vote on the issue just two weeks after the Braves’ announcement that they were moving to Cobb.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

It’s a done deal and everyone knows it. Lee’s going to get his votes tonight and the memorandum of understanding will be signed, and an RFP for the development will be submitted thereafter. It’s happening; the Braves are moving to Cobb County in 2017. We better get used to the idea.

Sure, we could argue that Cobb tax dollars should be used for schools, infrastructure improvements, and other needs, but this is a county who’s eschewed from spending money in those areas in recent years. I guess from a glass half-full perspective, at least they’re going to spend money on something major.

Pro-Braves groups argue that millions of dollars in SPLOST revenues will benefit Cobb schools following the stadium’s construction, which is all well and good, but what does the school system do in the intervening years?

There are boundless questions that require answers and sadly, we’re going to get most of them after it’s guaranteed that the Braves are moving to Cobb County. No one needs to go quietly into the night and accept defeat, but Tim Lee, his business cronies, and the Braves developed on hell of a deal, behind closed doors, and for good reason. They knew the anti-tax, anti-growth tea party types in Cobb County would balk at the deal.

Cobb didn’t exactly let the anti-Braves groups have their day in court (they took public comment on the stadium out of the equation) but press conferences, and solitary town hall meetings are about all those groups are ultimately going to get.

Opposition will still be there, long after tonight’s vote is recorded and well into the construction phase of this project. However, the hyperbole and “I hate the Braves” mentality will fade. We’ll all funnel into the new park in 2017, throw money at the Braves, and hopefully celebrate something more than a division title.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Braves, Georgia News, Georgia Politics, News, Opinion, Politics, Sports

Retailers and shoppers are slowly destroying Thanksgiving – The Independent Florida Alligator: Columns

Black Friday destroys the meaning of Thanksgiving. This week’s Alligator column.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Retailers and shoppers are slowly destroying Thanksgiving – The Independent Florida Alligator: Columns.

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinion