The Kudzu Kronicle

Because not all Southerners are the same

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They’re real journalists — and they put out a damn paper

Let me be clear: I am not a journalist. I have a column that appears in a newspaper once a week. As I’ve told people, it’s like a movie “based on a true story” — and it’s somewhere between 1 and 99 percent true every time.

However, I did spend more than 20 years as a real journalist. I didn’t expose Iran-Contra. I didn’t bring down Nixon, and I didn’t uncover Clinton’s mess with Monica Lewinsky — although I had to read way too many stories about it and had to read the whole Starr Report when we printed it at the Ledger-Enquirer.

But, still, I was still a real journalist. I laid out thousands of pages and edited many thousands of stories at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Americus Times-Recorder about murders, rezonings, business developments, new laws, council meetings, new plays, you name it. I laid out upcoming events, sports schedules, TV lineups, food inspections, church calendars and listings for civic and self-help groups. I tweaked the kerning on three lines of the NFL standings so it didn’t throw off your entire Standings & Scoreboard agate on page 2. I covered high school and college athletic contests, snapped thousands of photos and interviewed famous coaches like Vince Dooley and Dan Reeves, along with celebrities like Charlie Daniels and the legendary Bo Duke — er, I mean John Schneider. Continue reading

Larry David and I agree on a few things — especially small talk

One of my former bosses at the Ledger-Enquirer — whom I, with fond affection, called “Pork Chop” — kept trying to get me to watch some HBO show called “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” At the time, I didn’t even have HBO and barely watched any TV that wasn’t sports or news.  (Yes, kids, there was a time when there were news channels that told you what was happening in the world instead of offering perpetual punditry.)

I declined, but Pork Chop insisted: “No, you don’t understand! This guy is you! You have to see it.”

“The bald Jewish millionaire behind ‘Seinfeld’ is just like me, huh? Yeah sure.”

But Pork Chop and her husband finally brought in a stack of DVDs from the first few seasons of the show, and, sure enough, he was in many, many ways … me. Although, at the time, I had way better hair. Now, we’re getting more similar on that battle front, as well.

Larry and I agree on many issues — such as pretentiousness, politics, social norms, societal obligations, golf, political correctness, etc. And we definitely agree on avoiding small talk, which is the subject of this week’s column in the Ledger-Enquirer, linked below.

This week’s column in the Ledger-Enquirer

We desperately need a viable third party in this country

On most issues facing this country, I’m a centrist. On a few issues like health care, I’m a “Crazy Bernie” lefty. On issues like religious extremism, I’m a right-wing lunatic hawk. But, mostly, I’m a centrist … which means no party in D.C. is working for me.

Then again, I don’t have the riches to buy myself a politician the way Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Everything Else can. They don’t seem interested in Big Broke. (Coincidentally, U.S. health care is working to keep me Big Broke, which is why I’m big on Bernie.)

Beyond the money controlling politics, the partisan divide with our two-party system has become extreme. From the day they take office, politicians are worried about the next election instead of governing. And the problem has become so fine-tuned that 51-49 is considered a mandate. Even when you lose a popular election by 3 million votes, you can claim a mandate.

So, once either party has control, governing takes a backseat to pushing hard-line agendas through “mandates.” When the two parties have divided power, we get gridlock. Sometimes we even get gridlock when there is division within a party as we see now with the GOP-led Congress. Continue reading

Why I stand for the anthem

Whether I’m at a high school soccer game, a civic event or an NFL football game, I stand when the national anthem is played, face the flag and place my hand over my heart. I don’t do it because I’m forced to or because I fear fines or penalties. I do it because I choose to. Why?

  • Because I still believe that flag is an icon of democracy, even if it is often hijacked by the new American oligarchy/corporatocracy. I believe that flag represents the many, not just the few at the top.
  • Because I believe in freedom — not just for the horribly oppressed straight white Christian male but for Americans of all races, genders, class, religion choice, sexual orientation, et al. I know it’s getting to where folks want to pass religious liberty bills because you can hardly discriminate against anybody anymore, but I’m siding with freedom over the haters. They do have flags more appropriate for haters. (Scroll a little, and you’ll see it.)
  • Because I believe in what America should be still can be, although that faith may be a little shaken these days.
  • And because even though my World War II veteran grandfather who lost both legs fighting Nazis in North Africa died back in 1981, I still fear that if I don’t stand up, he’d somehow make it so that I sure as hell couldn’t sit down again — just as he would have then.

Continue reading

Deport Michael Williams back to Trumptopia

There’s no shortage of disgusting candidates running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Georgia, but Michael Williams just might be the worst with his Deportation Bus. Granted, illegal immigration is a yuge issue in this state, ranking only slightly behind gnats seeking to unionize.

I’m all for strong borders and ensuring that only citizens can vote. However, I have a problem with those whose immigration stances all seem to stem from one thought — I hate brown people. Worse than that are the people like Michael Brown who pander to those who hate brown people.

Today’s column in the Ledger-Enquirer is about the racist lawyer up in New York City who snapped when he heard Spanish being spoken at a Fresh Market there.  I know he’s a Trump fan, and I suspect he’d love to drive Michael Williams’ Deportation Bus.

At least today will mark the end of Williams’ gubernatorial run, and we can get back to pandering to right-wing Georgians’ other backward views on religious liberty, LGBT issues, gun control and shifting state revenue production to the backs of the poor while coddling the rich.

GOP gubernatorial candidates agree on 1 thing: changing Georgia’s motto to “Yeehaw!”

If you’ve seen Republican Brian Kemp’s latest ads in the gubernatorial primary race here in Georgia, it’s hard to tell if they are real or a “Saturday Night Live” sketch.  Meanwhile, front-runner Casey Cagle is constantly reminding folks how much he loves President Trump. In fact, he loves him so much, I’m afraid one of his ads might appear on my Direct TV’s naughty channels.

I’m used to both Democrats and Republicans pandering to their bases during primary season, only to have to walk everything back when the general election rolls around. But these Republicans are so over the top with their pandering to the lowest common denominators in their bases that it will be impossible to walk it all back.

And with just over a week to go before the official primary vote — although a July 24 runoff seems likely — they are doubling down on the comedy. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on an exclusive copy of their latest gubernatorial debate, and the Ledger-Enquirer decided to publish it online today — a day ahead of its usual run date.

It’s sure to make my conservative friends very happy.

read it in the ledger-enquirer here

Continue reading

Y’all should never call

I’m not a huge fan of being around humans. I’ve probably mentioned it before. I mean, as a mammal, they are highly overrated. In fact, I just spent this past Saturday on Georgia’s largest barrier island, Cumberland Island, which allows only about 250 or so folks on it a day — or as I like to call it when I’m there, about 248 too many.

I don’t like small talk. I don’t want to talk about the weather. I don’t like to hear your opinions on the game last night. I certainly don’t want to talk about politics, especially when I’m the only one who’s right. Discussing politics with someone whose politics are wrong just means you have to wait until they finish their incredibly idiotic point so that you can rebut it with common sense and facts, which means they just start talking again on a completely new idiotic line of reasoning — or lack thereof.

Many times I’ve seen someone I know a block ahead on the sidewalk or on another aisle of the store and immediately go into CIA covert mode, ducking behind shrubs and clothing racks like I’m a fugitive from the law.

“Who is that?” my wife will ask, figuring the gig is finally up.

“It’s someone I know, and they might want to talk. Ditch the buggy! Let’s get out of here!” Continue reading

The trickle-down fairy tale is losing steam

After the GOP trotted out every employee who got a one-time bonus and Speaker Paul Ryan touted the school secretary getting an extra $1.50 in her paycheck, the truth is starting to come out that — surprise — the Republican tax bill is mainly helping corporations and millionaires. Hmm, where’s my shocked-face emoji?

Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has recently come out saying there’s no evidence that the tax bill is helping American workers. Corporations are using it to buy back stocks and increase dividend payments. Meanwhile the deficit is soaring, and the debt is climbing to untenable levels. Ultimately, the American worker and the poor will not only see virtually no reward from the tax bill, but they’ll wind up suffering the most because of it.

Of course, Rubio must decide whether he’s going to keep pitching the party line of how great this bill is working or he’ll have to separate himself from the crowd to make sure that he doesn’t suffer political harm when his constituents realize they’ve been scammed. I suspect he’ll backtrack on his criticism and try to find a vague middle ground where folks will forget whether he was for or against this bill.

Or, he could pitch the plan I pitched in November when they were still deciding how bad of a bill they could craft. Now that it has been proven yet again that trickle-down economics is a fairy tale, try trickle-up economics.

It would work for all Americans.

And that’s why it would never pass.

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