Notes From Atlanta

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Consumers screwed in Texas.

From LAT:

On his first day as governor of Texas, George W. Bush declared that limiting lawsuits was an "emergency issue" for his state.

"We must put a stop to the frivolous and junk lawsuits which clog our courts," he said in January 1995, a popular line he has repeated often since then.

Getting rid of "frivolous" suits — or even defining them — proved difficult, but the new governor won limits on how much money could be awarded in the biggest cases. For example, punitive damages were capped at twice the amount of a victim's loss.

But the legal-reform movement Bush launched in Texas has gone far beyond questions of monetary awards. Among other things, it has led to limits on the right to sue in the first place.

"Texas has gone from one of the most friendly states for consumer protection to one of the most anti-consumer states," said University of Houston law professor Richard M. Alderman, an expert on consumer rights. "It all began in 1995. Bush oversaw a significant retreat for consumer protection, and it was all done under the guise of attacking 'frivolous' lawsuits."

The impact has been felt by home buyers such as Mary and Keith Cohn, whose elegant new residence in this well-off Houston suburb came with a leaky roof that led to rotting and moldy wallboard throughout the structure. After their daughters became ill, the Cohns moved out. The repairs ultimately cost more than $300,000.

To their astonishment and dismay, they learned that when the builder refused to repair most of the damage, they could not sue him for redress. Instead, they could pursue private arbitration, a process they considered stacked against them.

"This is the largest purchase of your life," said Mary Cohn, "but you have zero consumer protection."

What I want to know is did Mary and Keith Cohn vote Republican? Did they screw themselves?

Our civil court system is the little people's protection against the large companies. The GOP wants to do away with it because they support the large corporations, and do not care about the little people. And yes, it is little people buying $350,000 houses. Without redress in the courts, they can lose all their money, their good credit, and their house. Think about why the GOP keeps pushing to restrict your right to have wrongs done to you addressed in court. Having your day in court is one of the basic rights citizens of the US have. Don't let the GOP take it away. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

That could have gone better.

Bush speaks at UN.

Bush’s remarks drew applause only once — at the end of his speech.

You know all the UN delegates are sitting there thinking, "You broke it, you fix it."

Hell, he can't even admit he broke it. Bush is an idiot. 

Monday, September 20, 2004

Bush cost her a brother.

I found out that my brother, Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell, was dead during a graduate seminar on April 29.

Immediately after a uniformed officer knocked at my mother's door to deliver the message that broke her heart, she called me on my cellphone. She could say nothing but, "He's gone." I could say nothing but, "No." Over and over again we chanted this refrain to each other over the phone as I made my way across the country to hold her as she wept.

I had made the very same trip in February, cutting classes to spend my brother's two weeks' leave from Baghdad with him. Little did I know then that the next time I'd see him would be at Arlington National Cemetery.

During those days in February, my brother shared with me his fear, his disillusionment and his anger. "We had all been led to believe that Iraq posed a serious threat to America as well as its surrounding nations," he said. "We invaded expecting to find weapons of mass destruction and a much more prepared and well-trained Republican Guard waiting for us. It is now a year later, and alas, no weapons of mass destruction or any other real threat, for that matter."

Ryan was scheduled to complete his one-year assignment to Iraq on April 25. But on April 11, he e-mailed me to let me know not to expect him in Atlanta for a May visit, because his tour of duty had been involuntarily extended. "Just do me one big favor, OK?" he wrote. "Don't vote for Bush. No. Just don't do it. I would not be happy with you."


No go read the rest. Now please. 

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Hummer is for pussies.

Check out the International Truck and Engine Corppration's CXT


The Hand of God?!

Republicans keep telling everybody to forget about the election of 2000. I don't think God has. He has been hammering them with hurricanes since. This year, every time Jeb Bush tries to suppress votes or add people onto the ballot the courts have said could not be listed, another hurricane comes barreling up from Hurricane Alley. It is obvious that the Bush family and the Republicans are responsible for all this destruction. Surely, Jerry Falwell with his gays/AIDS logic would agree.

For the sake of the people of Florida, Jeb, quit tampering with the election!

Photos of damage from AJC.

Photos of damage from Pensacola News Journal. 


Atlanta gets hammered last night.

Wow, what a storm. We got nothing like Pensacola, who got destroyed, but we did feel the effects. I have been wtaching the Chattahoochee behind my apartments. I have never seen it this high. Luckily the banks on the other side are about 3 to 4 feet lower than ours, so they get all the flooding. Some crummy, low light photos are below.

Apex Sand compound is over run by the river. This area will be turned into a Roswell city park shortly. Posted by Hello 

Apex Sand Company dredging equipment. Lots of trash collecting on the upriver side of it. Posted by Hello 

Georgia Tech dock and boat house. I saw guys from Tech getting the place ready last night, so they were prepared. Those Tech kids are smart. Posted by Hello 

River heads towards apartments on river. Posted by Hello 

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Reservists trickling towards Kerry.

The serious mood was broken by Sam Poulton, who rose in the second row, wearing a VFW cap, to poke fun at himself. He turned to face the audience and cameras. "I want you to look at this face," he said. "I'm 56 years old, a proud reservist. I was ordered back to Iraq. It's something when my son and I are both deployed. I went to war for George W. Bush; I came home to vote for John Kerry."

From The Washington Post. Go have a read.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Wow! Solo breakaway wins Vuelta stage.

You can check the results at various cycling sites, but American David Zabriskie just did a solo breakaway for 100 miles to win the 11th stage of the Vuelta. That is incredible! 100 miles with no drafting at the professional level. Those breaks rarely succeed. Oportunist Jacky Durand used to try for those all the time, and could rarely pull it off.

The Vuelta is The Tour of Spain, one of the three Grand Tours, including the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.  

Monday, September 13, 2004

Georgia voting machines officially suck.

Graded F-minus.

With Election Day less than two months away, a conservative group rated Georgia's paperless touch-screen voting system the worst in the nation, with Florida and several other states not far ahead.

The Free Congress Foundation, a longtime fixture of the political right, warns in a new report that if the Nov. 2 vote totals are contested, the result could be a "fiasco," since so many states have installed electronic systems that have no paper ballots that can be recounted.

Georgia, the first state to install a paperless system in all counties, was graded "F-minus" based on the reliability of the equipment and its capacity for a "verifiable recount."


Georgia officials have long argued that the $54 million touch-screen system is easy to use and popular with voters, despite some glitches when it debuted in November 2002. In Fulton County, for example, some machine totals were counted late because poll workers forgot to remove memory cards. But the election result was not affected.

Sinkule said the state would add printout devices if required but added, "Let's not rush to mandate a paper trail without federal standards in place."

After all the reports of unsecured patches being loaded right before the election in 2000, the "robga" file, and the funny results you would think Cathy Cox would want verifiable recounts. She doesn't? Why would anybody be against being able to verify the vote? 


Deion returns.... and who really cares.

The Cleveland fans had some fun, however.

The signs were hung in the end zone: "Past Your Prime Time."

The barbs were flying on the airwaves: "Deion's been retired for three years," said Browns radio analyst and former lineman Doug Dieken, "and he hasn't made a tackle in six."

Imagine all the signs when he plays someplace where people really don't like him. 


Dave FM brings back ex 99x jock.

Dave FM bringing Barnes back to Atlanta.

I don't really listen to much regular radio since getting my XM system, however this looks like a little war starting. Dave FM, formerly Z93 Classic Rock, is bringing Steve Barnes back to the Atlanta airwaves. I think 99x has been circling the drain ever since Will left many years ago. I can't believe it has taken this long for somebody to try and steal their listeners. It will be interesting to look at the rating books in the future.

I just recently hooked up XM in my truck that I really only use to take the dogs to the river. I do listen a bit to radio when driving that. 99X just seems lame. 96 Rock has started spinning even more classic rock, I guess in an effort to pick up the few remaining Z93 listeners. Dave FM seems to be playing a decent mix of old and new. However the Zepplin tune had me hitting the button yesterday. Does anybody need to hear Led Zepplin anymore? Yeah they made great music, but haven't we all just heard too much of it? 

News and notes from Atlanta, and a touch of national stuff, as seen by gttim.

Georgia for Dean

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