Wow, Rabalais leaving The Advocate to be a blogger

Scott Rabalais, a longtime sportswriter for The Advocate (The Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) is jumping ship from the print world to the web world, going to work as a blogger for, part of an ESPN-associated startup network of sports blogs.

Man, what has this world come to? I went to J-school with Mr. Rabalais and worked indirectly with him as he contributed sports stuff for LSU Magazine when I was a student staffer there. He stuck around Baton Rouge, got a job at the local newspaper and stuck around for 19 years. And now, instead of continuing the inevitable devolution of a local sportswriter (you become Sam King, then ultimately you become that crazy guy who covered high school sports and ate sardines right out of the can in the newsroom … Ted something?), he’s making the jump to the “new media” world of “blogging”.

It’s hard to say whether The Advocate is in cost-cutting mode and encouraged Rabalais to take an early-retirement package to help shed expenses (that’s happening in a big way with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here, and he mentions Williams Weathers moving to as well) or that this is simply a considered career shift for Rabalais, but it’s a big deal for somebody so associated with hometown coverage of the hometown team to jump over to Internet media.

I’ll be interested to see whether Baton Rougeans follow Rabalais over and start getting their LSU insight online (and whether LSU gives him the same access as print and TV media) or if they just keep reading The Advocate and whatever dude they put on the LSU beat.

But good luck to Mr. Rabalais in this brave new world.

College Football Preview: SEC East

Georgia is No. 1. Georgia will win the BCS Title. Knowshon Moreno is the next Herschel Walker. Mark Richt is God. You know, I’m sorry. I don’t buy it.

I never bought the “BCS is in the bag” nonsense, because you simply cannot look past the Dawgs’ schedule. At South Carolina, at Arizona State, Alabama and Tennessee at home, at LSU the week before the annual Georgia Loses To Florida game, then at Kentucky and at Auburn before finishing with Georgia Tech and the SEC Championship Game. If they pull off a one-loss regular season, I’ll be very impressed. If they make it to the SEC title game in a position to go to the BCS title game and beat LSU, Auburn or Alabama again (or beat them after losing earlier in the year), I just might stop making fun of their coach and his inspirational gimmicks.

But they won’t.

And ignoring the schedule difficulties for a second, I’m still trying to figure out what has everybody so over-the-top excited about the 2008 Bulldogs. Yeah, they should be good. Big deal. Half of the SEC is good.

Everybody’s talking about Moreno’s fantastic freshman season and projecting a monster sophomore campaign leading the Dawgs to glory. Let’s just step back a bit and I’ll tell you a story about a boy named Justin. As a freshman in 2003, Justin Vincent played key roles in LSU’s SEC Championship Game and BCS Championship Game victories (named MVP of both) while rolling up more than 1,000 yards and averaging 6.5 yards per carry. An amazing season, which was followed by 322 yards rushing in 2004, 488 in 2005 and 210 to close out his career in 2006.

Last season, Knowshon rolled up more than 1,300 yards rushing, averaging 5.4 yards per carry (1.1 yards per less than Vincent in his freshman season). And, of course, it only gets better from here, right?

In other words, settle down about Knowshon. He may well be the next Herschel, but there’s a reason people still talk about the “next Herschel” – guys like him don’t come around very often.

Then there’s QB Matthew Stafford, who commanded Georgia’s 83rd-ranked passing offense and finished the season ranked 56th in passing efficiency. Oh, and the Dawgs’ No. 1 receiver last season won’t be back this year. This is exciting … why?

So I guess Knowshon better have a great year … running the ball behind a line that’s now having to replace three of five starters with the injury to Trinton Sturdivant and managed to only finish the season with the 37th-best rushing offense last year.

Georgia brings back 9 of 11 starters on defense, so they’ll lean heavily on those guys – who finished 2007 No. 14 in total defense and No. 18 in scoring defense.

Quick review, then. Georgia finished 2007 No. 74 in total offense, No. 34 in scoring offense, No. 14 in total defense and No. 18 in scoring defense (74/34/14/18 in shorthand). National Champion LSU was 26/11/3/17 (with both scoring offense and defense warped by the two 3OT games). The year before (2006), LSU was 11/9/3/4.

My strange shorthand aside, the gist of the situation is this – Georgia did not play at a national champion level in 2007. This season they will have to perform better than last season against a tougher schedule … while replacing half their starters on offense and with a almost intact but only “really good” defensive unit returning.

I just don’t see it.

Georgia could be in an LSU-like position to be the top-ranked two-loss team this season, but no team can count on the fluke of a finish that elevated LSU in 2007. Just another Sugar Bowl appearance would be a great outcome for Georgia this year. I could see three losses easily, and I think the potential exists for an implosion that leaves the Dawgs at 7-4, though I don’t think that’s likely.

And, though you wouldn’t know it from all the coverage Georgia is getting, there are actually a couple of other talented teams in the SEC East. Remember last year when Georgia should have gone to the BCS title game? One of the reasons they didn’t was they lost to SEC East Champion Tennessee and didn’t even make the SEC title game.

The Vols somehow managed to work their way to a 10-win season and the SEC title game without being very good at all (playing an extra regular-season game helped get to 10 wins). The offense? Poor. The defense? Horrid. A masterfully-paced schedule with a good SEC West draw helped the Vols over-achieve last season, but this year they have to face Florida in Knoxville a week before traveling to Auburn and later have to go back-to-back-to-back-to-back with Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina. I actually like Tennessee’s new QB – Jonathan “Straight Outta” Crompton after watching him in person against LSU two years ago, but repeating as SEC East champs will be little more than a dream for the Vols this season.

In Gainesville, Tim Tebow may have won the Heisman, but the Gators lost three SEC games and found themselves looking up at Georgia and Tennessee in the SEC East standings. That had to be tough for what was easily the most talented team in the division. But the Gators were too young on defense and got in too many Tebow-led shootouts. The defense is still a question mark, with almost the whole D-line to be replaced and nobody special in the secondary, but look for Urban Meyer to be more deliberate on offense to avoid giving his opponents too many chances on offense. Think of the strategy Les Miles employed against Florida rolled out by Meyer because all QBs will look like Tebow against his guys.

South Carolina – I don’t buy ‘em. It’s a lost cause, Mr. Spurrier.

Kentucky – I’m going on the assumption that I can go back to ignoring them.

Vanderbilt – I’m pretty sure I can continue ignoring them.

So, then, what happens?

I like Florida. The Gators have a lot more talent than Tennessee and a better schedule, and they have a lot better schedule than Georgia. Georgia may be more talented than Florida on balance, but I’ll take the power of Tebow minus the defensive question marks plus the easier schedule in this battle.

And, of course, a lot will be riding on the Florida/Georgia game Nov. 1. I picked Georgia to win the game last year (and Tennessee to win the division – really!) because of schedule pacing, and I’ll call it for Florida again this season for the same reason. The four weeks leading up to Jacksonville look like this:

- Florida: at Arkansas / LSU / OPEN DATE / Kentucky
- Georgia: OPEN DATE / Tennessee / Vanderbilt / at LSU

Clear advantage to Florida there. So I like the Gators to take that game and the SEC East, and for the Gators to finish the conference schedule 7-1.

Next time – LSU and the SEC West

TechCrunch rant about ‘CNN’ Phelps ‘spoiler’ on Twitter goes haywire

One of the great things about an RSS client is that once it grabs a published article, it hangs on to it. If you make changes later, the first thing you published will disappear from your site, but not my client if it passed by before the change. If you change the title of a post, I end up with two copies of the article.

This actually happens fairly frequently; usually it’s some minor thing like a misspelled word or fixing an awkwardly-written headline. Pre-publication editing is a not a strong suit of many blogs, especially the technology blogs out on the west coast.

So this morning I started browsing RSS feeds and came across two versions of a TechCrunch article. The first was titled “CNN Fails To Include Spoiler Alert in Tweets, Ruins Olympics”. The second carried the headline “CNN Doesn’t Include Spoiler Alerts in Tweets, Twitter Users Say It Ruined Olympics“.

Yeah, that looked like a fun change to examine.

After publication of the original article, a flood of users (rightly) defended the notion that breaking news waits for no network and no tape delay, and TechCrunch writer Jason Kincaid quickly jumped in to say he agrees with that and was being sarcastic in writing about the Twitter complaints. Likely? Let’s examine the before and after.

Just in case things change again, I’m including screen grabs of the story in my RSS reader and what’s on TechCrunch now.


Apologies for the smallness of the type there. But the critical elements are:

- Headline with the “Fails” and “Ruins” elements
- “Too bad CNN already spoiled the results”
- “CNN has unfortunately failed to account for this”
- “CNN has shown little remorse”
- “For shame, CNN. For shame.”

Also notice the item from MSNBC published right before the TechCrunch one – “Phelps wins record 8th gold”. I should write about RSS ruining the Olympics.


Kincaid says he was being sarcastic in the original post and the readers just didn’t get it. I think that argument falls apart upon reading of the original version, and especially falls apart when you consider the following:

- The Twitter account Kincaid wrote about does not actually belong to CNN. He did not realize that.
- The Phelps event was only tape-delayed by NBC in the western U.S.; it was shown live in the east. Kincaid doesn’t seem to understand that.

I’m not giving somebody the benefit of the doubt that he was writing poorly-received sarcasm when he can’t even get basic facts straight. No, I think this was a case of blind excitement over being able to weave Twitter into the Phelps story (or is that vice-versa with TechCrunch?) getting in the way of stopping to think for a second.


Jobs I Should Apply For: “Internet Job”

Well, this one is kind of a no-brainer.

I mean, I’ve been doing “internet job” for almost 11 years now. Reliable – yep; honest – sure. And at home in my spare time is perfect. I’m not sure about the pay, though. “Internet job” usually pays more than $8 an hour.

College Football Preview: Top 10 projections

Time to start putting the noggin’ and the WordPress to work focusing on college football. And the first focus this season will be taking a look at the “expert” predictions and pre-season rankings run through the Wisdom filter.

I came up with the following Top 10 ranking based on the average placement for each team on the six most prominent national pre-pre-season ranking lists: Athlon, Lindy’s, Phil Steele, Sporting News, Rivals and Sports Illustrated plus the pre-season rankings in the Coaches Poll and Associated Press Poll. During the season, of course, the AP Poll is meaningless. But it’s a data point for pre-season expectations.

So, averaging things out, we get:

1. Ohio State
2. Georgia
3. USC
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. Missouri
7. LSU
8. Clemson
9. West Virginia
10. Auburn

Ranking philosophies vary, with some services ranking based on talent and others based on predicted results. Georgia, for example, got No. 1 rankings in both polls, two No. 1 rankings from services that lean toward talent and a No. 5 and No. 9 ranking from services that lean toward expected results. And the No. 1 composite ranking of Ohio State shows how a talented team in a pitiful conference jumps to the top of the list. Nobody thinks they can screw up.

And it’s on that note that we can begin with my own view. I won’t be number-ranking teams, just looking at each team’s prospects and opining on whether I see them finishing higher, lower or about the same as their composite pre-pre-season ranking.

1. Ohio State – The Buckeyes’ 2008 conference schedule is identical to 2007, they’ve got three powder-puff teams (Youngstown State, Ohio and Troy) to play again this season, and they play a team from the Pac-10. Last year, that Pac-10 game was Washington at home. This year it’s at USC. If Ohio State gets past USC in week 3 and Wisconsin in week 6, it’s clear sailing until weeks 11 (at Illinois) and 12 (Michigan). The Buckeyes have lost one regular-season game in the past two years – I think they lose another one this year. Their ultimate ranking will depend on whether other teams finish undefeated, but I think the Buckeyes are the most likely team to end up No. 1 at the end of the year. SAME

2. Georgia – Can the talent match the hype and endure the schedule? It won’t be easy for Georgia. Early in the season it’s at South Carolina, then at Arizona State, then hosting Alabama, then an off week, then hosting Tennessee. The Bulldogs get a one-week breather with Vandy before playing at LSU, then against Florida, then at Kentucky, then at Auburn. Brutal. I don’t see them finishing this high. LOWER

3. USC – The Trojans’ schedule is heavily front-loaded, with only Cal representing any kind of threat after USC’s Oct. 11 game against Arizona State. The fairly young Trojans have to get past Ohio State, Oregon and Arizona State, plus survive trips to Virgina and Oregon State to get into coast mode, however. Another Pac-10 title and another BCS Championship Game miss seems about right for USC this season. SAME

4. Oklahoma – The Sooners remind me a lot of Georgia; they have a lot of talent coming back and are led by a young QB and dynamic young tailback. The difference is Oklahoma doesn’t have to play Florida, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and Arizona State. They avoid Missouri during the regular season and get Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech at home. Lots of talent, a relatively weak Big 12 and avoiding the best team in the North should equal success. HIGHER

5. Florida – The talent on the field and the coaching power on the sideline should help the Gators avoid a three-loss SEC campaign again this season. And it doesn’t hurt that the Gators traded Auburn for Arkansas in the West rotation. HIGHER

6. Missouri – I’m not a believer in Missouri. They were overrated last year based on success with a weak schedule, and that’s what they will benefit from again this season. Their only significant challenges are opening against Illinois, going to Texas and ending the season against Kansas (if you believe in Kansas). Still, I think they fall apart. LOWER

7. LSU – You’re not going to see me talking up the Tigers before the season this year. There’s just too much unsettled with the QB position, and I’m not about to start making BCS predictions when it looks like the JV Harvard quarterback will be our season starter. He could well be Matt Mauck, which would be great. But I imagine Leslie is very happy to have three soft games to open the season to help figure things out. I’m in that camp as well. A better assessment will come before Auburn. But it’s a testament to LSU’s breadth of strength that the Tigers are still getting top-10 pre-season rankings without a quarterback that’s taken meaningful snaps in college. And I’d agree with that. SAME

8. Clemson – I suppose the Tigers are the best pick to swell up and fill the void left by Boston College and Virginia Tech losing all of their firepower (in the case of Boston College – it was just that one guy). I don’t know that they excite me that much. Clemson lost almost its entire offensive line, and someday Miami and Florida State are going to roar back to prominence. Clemson avoids Miami this year, but gets Florida State later in the season when the ‘Noles will have more of their players back from jail academic suspension. Plus the Tigers have to get past Alabama to open the season and South Carolina to close it. LOWER

9. West Virginia – I’ve also never been much of a Mountaineers fan, and I normally project them to finish high because of a weak schedule. And, thankfully, they tend to blow their chances anyway. The biggest test this season will be at Auburn, which is a much tougher task than W.V. is used to. I think they lose two games, maybe three. So I could see them being at the bottom of the top 10. SAME

10. Auburn – The lesser Tigers have brought in a “spread offense”, which should perform markedly better than the “no offense” approach they took last season. How that will come together and how effective it will be remain to be seen. Urban Meyer sure had a tough time when he first brought his offense to the SEC, so these things can take time. But like LSU, Auburn has three fairly easy warm-ups (except their third game is against Mississippi State, not a total patsy) before the Tiger/Tiger showdown Sept. 20. Whichever team has their offense more together on that day will go a long way in determining what happens in the SEC West. This is also a tough prediction to make right now, but ultimately 10 seems about right. SAME

So I like Oklahoma and Florida to do better than predicted; Georgia, Missouri and Clemson to do worse. The rest of the top 10 seems about where I would project those teams to finish. Outside of those in the aggregate top 10, I like these teams to potentially climb:

- Texas. Not a huge surprise, as the Longhorns are No. 10 in the Coaches Poll. Back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Missouri mark the middle of the season, and by November we’ll know of the ‘horns are more a No. 5 team or a No. 25.

- Arizona State. A team on the rise that will face a huge test with Georgia, Cal, Oregon, USC and Oregon State in the space of seven weeks. I don’t see them going 5-0 in that stretch, but 4-1 isn’t out of the question, and if the Sun Devils can win three of these and not lose outside of this stretch, they’ll finish up with a top-10 ranking.

- Virginia Tech. Lots of losses on the defensive side means very low expectations for a team that won 11 games and the ACC title in 2007. They certainly have the potential to be better than expected.

- Tennessee. I don’t feel real strongly about the Vols, but a few breaks here and there could put Tennessee back near the top of the SEC East. Among UGA, Florida and Tennessee, two are very likely to finish in the top 10. It’s mostly likely UGA and Florida, but don’t count defending East champion Tennessee out to surprise people again.

Dish Network lied to me; executive customer service guy is a douche

Update: I had also sent an email in to a bunch of corporate email addresses at Dish, and today (Aug. 18) somebody got back to me with an apology for my customer service experience and promise to make the appropriate “adjustment” to my account. Hopefully this is a long-term change in what they are charging me.

As I mentioned about six weeks ago, Dish Network killed off my 942 HD-DVR and other older models either as part of their TiVo mess or just as policy during their big HD expansion. Whatever the reason, Dish called me up, told me that my 942 wouldn’t work come August 1 and offered to send me a new 622 HD-DVR on a no-cost lease (the post I linked to above says just that). I specifically asked about being charged for leasing a unit after I had already purchased the 942 they were killing, and I was specifically told by the Dish person that I would not have to pay the lease fee on the new DVR because I owned my 942.

Pretty darn clear – they called and said I would no longer be able to use my 942 and they needed to set me up with a 622. And because I own my 942, I would not be charged a lease fee for the 622. Crystal clear, no confusion, no doubt.

Ha. Right.

Checking the activity on my Visa this morning, I noticed my Dish Network auto-pay charge, and it was way more than my normal monthly bill. I knew this season’s ESPN GamePlan charges would be kicking in this month, but this seemed above even that. So I logged in to my account and checked out the most recent bill. Problems abounded.

- The “DISH Network DVR Service Fee” was $17.94 for August, and there was a pro-rated $5.20 fee for July as well.

- An “Addl Receiver Access Fee” of $5.00 had appeared in August, along with a $4.35 pro-rated fee for July.

- A “Leased Receiver Fee” of $7.00 had appeared in August, along with a $6.09 pro-rated fee for July.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Poking around the Dish site, I saw that they think I have three active receivers – the 622, the new 722 (which they brought instead of the 622 they said), and my old 942. Awesome that they didn’t actually deactivate the 942 like my 722 installer asked them to. So that explains the too-high DVR fee and the additional receiver fee – Dish thought I had three DVRs, not two. A call to customer service (India) quickly resolved that issue. They deactivated the 942 and put in reversals for the charges associated with it.

But then I asked about the leased equipment fee. The Dish policy is this: the first receiver you lease is no charge. Each unit after that is charged a monthly lease fee. For an HD-DVR, that’s $7 a month. I explained to the nice Indian lady that Dish had called me last month to tell me that the equipment I purchased would no longer work on their network, but that they were happy to send me a new HD-DVR at no cost and with no monthly lease fee – because it was replacing equipment I purchased. I specifically asked about this at the time because I wasn’t very happy at the prospect of incurring a lease fee when I was being forced to get rid of purchased equipment. So I am very, very, very sure the Dish woman who called me told me I would not incur an equipment lease charge because of this change from my 942 to their 622.

The Indian lady could offer nothing but explanations about their policy on lease fees for multiple receivers. I asked to speak to someone with more authority than her, and was given to a nice Indian man, who told me the same thing.

Very little satisfaction on this issue came from my Indian conversations. They said nothing other than “this is the policy” and offered a temporary courtesy waiver, so just for giggles I asked if there was anybody in America I could speak to. Somewhat to my surprise, Mr. Indian transferred me over to “executive customer service”. And that’s where I encountered one Mark Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez also offered little relief – just the same 6-month waiver “as a courtesy” – and just kept insisting this was a “valid charge”. Valid, I guess, because Dish Network doesn’t have a problem with its agents lying to customers.

And that’s what bothers me so much – that their agent would call me up, tell me I could no longer use the equipment I purchased, and flat-out lie to me about the fact that the company will charge me $84 a year for the use of this new receiver I didn’t ask for.

Mr. Rodriguez, however, is a real piece of work. I mentioned at one point that if the person who had called me hadn’t lied about the no-cost equipment lease, I would have considered canceling my service rather than being hit with that charge. At that point he jumped in with “I can help you out with that request if you like.” A total douchebag – working in their “executive” customer service, no less.

When I finally got sick of him, I asked for the name of his supervisor so I could file a complaint about him. I’d resigned myself to the idea that six months without the fee is the best I could hope for after being lied to, so I wasn’t looking to continue that discussion – I just wanted to complain about the douchebag I had to deal with.

His response was that his supervisor is “Melissa”. I asked for a last name and he said he does not have to tell me her last name. I asked him for her phone number, and he said he does not have to provide that, either. So I asked him for the main number of his office and he says it’s the number he gave me at the start of the call as his contact number. Asked if that wasn’t his direct line, he said it was – and that he didn’t have to give me the main switchboard number.

Boy do I feel special. I then ask if I can speak to “Melissa”, and he says she is not available. I asked if he can transfer me to her line anyway so I can leave a message, and he said yes. And he transferred me … to the number one would call in to fetch voice mail messages. An immediate call back to Mr. Rodriguez got no answer, went to a voice mail box identified as being his, but one which is full and I could not leave a message in.

That, friends, is awesome customer service. You can, by the way, try to reach Mark Rodriguez yourself if you’re having a problem with your Dish service. I can’t promise he’ll answer or you can leave a message, but he’s at 915-298-5706.

And my takeaway from this experience? I doubt I’ll leave Dish over it (I’ve been a customer of theirs for eight years now … not that they seem to care about that) because I hate Comcast and like the Dish DVRs quite a bit. Though I do hear AT&T is expanding their video service … But it greatly lowered my opinion of Dish and pushes me away from the “satisfied customer” column. Oh, and I switched back to paper billing so I can see what charges they might try to slip by me now. That’ll eat in to the profit they’ll be making on my leased equipment fee, I suppose.

This doesn’t bode well for Georgia

The AJC (sometime recently) ran a photo gallery of the field trip to a swimming pool organized by UGA coach Mark Richt (sometime recently) in lieu of practice for his No. 1 – ranked Bulldogs!

Judging from this photo of UGA starting QB Matthew Stafford, I’m starting to doubt the Dawgs’ prospect for a BCS title this season:


Stafford - taped and ready!

I mean, if the boy has to have both of his ankles taped just to go swimming, how’s he going to hold up to an entire season of being chased by SEC defenses? It’s a far cry from his days of power-lifting kegs at Talladega. And nice touch, Coach Richt, on the black shorts. I bet the boys thought they were going swimming in the traditional red … until right before they took the field pool.

The Longest Street View in the World

Google has released Street View for New Orleans and Baton Rouge (including a really wide swath of southeast Louisiana – I wouldn’t have thought my sister’s place or my ex-inlaws’ place would be there), and the company and the state are touting this release as a positive infotool in post-Katrina Louisiana.

OK, fair enough. And Street View in New Orleans does offer up a lot of exploration opportunities. I couldn’t help but notice, though, that among the routes documented for posterity is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Yep, all 24 miles of the trip across the lake are documented in full 360-degree wonderfulness. In fact, Google shot the Causeway in both directions – meaning there’s about 47 miles of panoramic wonderfulness to enjoy.

A typical Causeway view (feel free to pan & zoom, or click the arrows to continue the journey!)

View Larger Map

I know I don’t have the patience to click my way across the Causeway (and certainly not across and back), so if there are Street View gems to be found there, somebody else will have to discover them.

Georgia town spends half its annual budget to drive out business

The town of Lavonia in extreme northeast Georgia is making news today for spending $1 million to buy and close a strip club called Cafe Risque that the town has been trying to shut down for years. A million bucks, I suppose, is the market price for self-righteous indignation that a business you don’t approve of would dare bring visitors and money to your community.

There are a couple of aspects of this not being touched upon by the media – which is focused on the “town buys strip club” angle. One is that Lavonia is a very small town. So small, in fact, that they haven’t updated their budget on the city’s website in four years. But in 2004, the total operating budget for Lavonia was $1.78 million, meaning the $1 million spent to drive the club out of town (no doubt rolled in to a capital budget, not operating) probably still represents half of the city’s total annual operating budget. Couple the up-front costs with the ongoing lost tax revenue from the club itself and other businesses such as gas stations and restaurants that benefit from the traffic, and Lavonia is putting a huge premium on their piousness.

Secondly, Lavonia is just a few miles from the South Carolina border, and about 20 miles from the southernmost strip club along I-85 in the Palmetto State. So Lavonia was no doubt getting strip-club business from Georgians who otherwise would (and now will) drive on up to South Carolina to get their strip on. A Google Maps search shows Greenville and eastern South Carolina is silly with strip clubs. Buying out Club Risque will have little impact on the immoral behavior of Lavonians and northeast Georgians – it’ll just send them up the road to South Carolina to spend their money.

The town could have simply accepted the existence of Club Risque – opened before Lavonia clamped down on strip clubs in their local ordinances – as a loopholed business and let things be. Customers would visit if they chose to, Club Risque would generate tax revenue, drive traffic to other nearby businesses and Lavonians could just go about their lives; helped along by a little smut-generated tax revenue.

But no. Nakedness and sexuality so offend this outpost of propriety that the town was willing to come up with half as much money as it spends to operate the entire town each year and forego untold future tax revenue to make their town strip-club free.


McCain rocks the Fudge Haus

I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. At roughly the same time Barack Obama was addressing thousands of enchanted Germans in Berlin:

Obama in Berlin

John McCain was also courting the German goodwill in Columbus, Ohio. And while CNN chose to carry Obama’s speech live, they gave equal time to McCain by showing a delayed tape of his brief press conference … in front of Schmidt’s Fudge Haus in Columbus:

McCain at the Fudge Haus

McCain at the Fudge Haus

Two candidates practicing the delicate art of image crafting and the perception of power and authority. Sorry, Obama campaign, you can’t beat the Fudge Haus for presidential gravitas.

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