The Jackson Herald
November 15, 2000
It amazes and confounds me that a country that rose to superpowerdom
in less than 225 years can't determine the results of an election
in 24 hours. I expect to hear the results of the election when
I turn on the radio Wednesday morning. After living amidst political
signs and debates for months, I want a swift end. Then, when
Florida touts their legal privilege to take days to recount ballots
and declares that they will wait a week for absentees, I wonder
why Florida relishes the limelight. The only thing the recounts
prove is inefficiency. And the fact that the state is taking
days to do it, instead of hours, only proves my point.
And then the Sunshine State says they want to do a hand count.
Computers and machines are designed to eliminate human error,
yet Floridians want the United States government to accept the
results of a hand count over two counts done by machines? I don't
think we should. I haven't even mentioned the possibility of
human bias tainting the count. What is supposed to stop a strong
Gore supporter from not counting votes for Bush? I can't decide
if this is the worst thing to happen to a democracy or the best.
It could be the best if I believed that the Democrats were interested
in determining who legally is the next president and not interested
in putting their candidate in the White House.
I'm not the only one confounded. The Washington Post printed
a story by T.R. Reid Thursday which said: "An enthralled
but bewildered world watched the planet's most powerful democracy
choosing its leader, both amused and disturbed by the turmoil
in America's electoral system. Some of the verdicts today were
harsh: 'A mockery.' 'Chaotic.' 'A nation in limbo, a Constitution
The announcement of Bush's victory prompted leaders of Britain,
Germany and China to send premature congratulations to Bush that
they later had to rescind.
In Argentina, the daily newspaper Clarin, wrote: "With all
their state-of-the-art graphics, fun little computer models,
split screens of information, and groups of political analysts,
U.S. television was at the pinnacle of technology for the first
election of the 21st century. But all that technological paraphernalia
didn't help them."
The most startling quote I read came from David Smith, a British
correspondent with the Channel 4 news. He said: "It makes
a mockery of the orderly transfer of power that their founding
fathers envisioned." The "It" he refers to is
not clear in the quote, but I think we can pick several its our
founding fathers wouldn't have anticipated. The Democrats taking
their loss to the courts not once, but multiple times. The possibility
that a judge may rule that Florida's election ballots are invalid
even though both parties approved the ballots before November
7. Or the big "it," which has led Gore and the Democrats
into being sore losers: the media announcing the winner without
considering the impact of absentee ballots or questioning the
accuracy of their exit polls. My husband and I flipped between
the four major network channels for election coverage. We saw
a lot of posturing and conjectures, a lot of pretty maps, and
several updates on the state of the crowds at the candidate's
respective residences. But we didn't see a single network that
had the same number of electoral votes ascribed to the candidate.
In fact, when we went to bed around ten, one network was ready
to hand the laurels to Bush, while another wanted to give Gore
Yet I sit waiting expectantly for this latest drama to play out
flipping between the major networks for the latest news from
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers.
The Jackson Herald
November 15, 2000
Class A playoffs: the good, the bad and the ugly
When the GHSA engaged its massive realignment last spring, nearly
everyone involved with the sport of football cried foul. Schedules
had long been completed, and with every region in every classification
changing, those schedules were rendered useless. That left coaches
with a logistical nightmare, and very little time to sort it
One of the most incredible things the realignment brought about
was the automatic playoff berths enjoyed by 12 class A teams.
A multitude of people this reporter among them expressed
their distaste for that result (just for clarification, it is
this reporter's opinion that the realignment itself was a good
decision, but the region determinations were nothing short of
Now that the brackets have been filled out, it seems the uproar
may have been justified, at least in most cases.
Class A regions 1, 5 and 8 all entered the 2000 football season
with only four teams, giving all four in each region automatic
spots in the playoffs. A cursory glance at season records show
those 12 teams have a combined record of are you ready
for this? 64 wins, 56 losses. That's a winning percentage
of .533. Very impressive for playoff-bound teams, huh?
Of course, statistical geniuses will argue that since those teams
must play one another during the regular season, the number of
losses will naturally be inflated.
Okay, so let's remove region losses, with the understanding that
we must also remove region wins.
Each of the 12 teams played three region games. That's 36 games.
Since there can only be one winner and one loser, that means
the region records were 18-18. Take that off the original total,
and we're left at 46-38 in non-region contests. That's a little
better. Now our winning percentage is up to .547. Yippee!
Thank goodness for region 8 teams, who finished 24-4 in non-region
games. Without Commerce, Buford, Jefferson and Wesleyan, the
record drops to an abysmal 22-34 (.392).
Now, I know this all means virtually nothing, except that you
can count on regions 1 and 5 being almost out of sight after
this week's opening round.
The problem is, the realignment diminishes the quality of the
playoff games. If a team qualifies for post-season play, they
should at least have a winning record. It should be noted, by
the way, that House Speaker Tom Murphy's home team of Bremen
made the playoffs with an 8-2 record, good for third in the region.
Teams like Landmark Christian, Heard County and Lanier County
don't belong in the playoffs. Between the three of them, they
went 3-27 on the season, and one of those three wins was head-to-head.
It's an abomination to the competitive spirit that high school
football should be all about.
This reporter has picked against Jefferson and been wrong on
more than one occassion this season. I didn't think you were
a playoff caliber team, guys.
I was wrong.
Good luck to both Commerce and Jefferson in the state playoffs!
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. He may be
reached at 367-2348, or via email at SpeckCh@aol.com.
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