Sunday, September 14, 2014

First Slice 9/14/14: Bill Clinton visited Reynoldstown, ate a hearty breakfast

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 9:14 AM

While you were waiting for your Hot Pocket to finish getting nuked in a gas station microwave, former President Bill Clinton on Saturday shook hands and ate breakfast at Homegrown.


Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin yesterday apologized to fans after audio of General Manager Danny Ferry's comments and majority owner Bruce Levenson's racist email were released. Koonin asked Hawks supporters to stand behind the players as the organization tries to rebuild with a new owner and newly hired diversity officer.

Former Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon was indicted on Friday on federal charges for wire and mail fraud. According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, the lawyer, who voluntarily gave up his law license earlier this year, allegedly took clients' money to pay his bills and other clients.

Last year, Georgia Power agreed to purchase more solar power from the state's growing clean energy industry. Now the utility is pushing back.

The detective who investigated the case involving a former Atlanta Police officer accused of killing a woman he met on CraigsList reportedly testified on Friday that the suspect had used the online service to meet women for sex.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria yesterday released a video showing a black-clad executioner beheading British aid worker David Haines. The clip, which follows videos showing the execution of two American journalists, is aimed at pressuring Britain, a key United States ally.

Meet the National Football League's problem solvers. Its security team is "set up just like the FBI" and tasked with staying ahead of potentially damaging PR nightmare and legal headaches.

How can authorities curb the sale of illegal drugs and items containing potentially dangerous prescription medication from being sold on eBay and Amazon? Atlanta doctor Ford Vox has some ideas.

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5 things to do: Atlanta Arts Fest

Posted By on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 8:00 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. Atlanta Arts Festival continues at Piedmont Park

2. Atlanta Meatball Festival at Belle Isle Square

3. Blast-Off Burlesque presents: Prime Time 2 at Wrecking Bar Brewpub

4. Beulah Creek continues at Dunwoody Nature Center

5. Seed to Fork Garden Dinner Series at Milton's Cuisine and Cocktails

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

5 things to do: Salvage

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 8:00 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. Salvage: A Curated Vintage Show at Ambient Plus Studio

2. ONE Musicfest at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

3. Jazzoo at Zoo Atlanta

4. Art Party at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

5. Bo Ssam Series at Seven Lamps

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Atlanta's creative class pushing for civic innovation

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

ONE Musicfest presented a panel on Atlantas Creative Economy on Wed., Sept. 12.
  • Keith "Sav" Matthews
  • ONE Musicfest presented a panel on Atlanta's Creative Economy on Wed., Sept. 12.

The photo above accompanies an article currently posted on CNN Money titled: "Why Atlanta is ripe for innovation." Before you check that out, take a closer look at the photo because it features several key people involved in advocating for the future of Atlanta's creative economy.

The photograph was taken earlier this week at a similarly themed panel in preview of ONE Musicfest (Sat., Sept. 13; Aaron's Amphitheater at Lakewood). Among the panelists was the article's author, Rohit Malhotra, who is also head of the new Center for Civic Innovation. Malhotra was one of several panelists in a conversation that attempted to bridge Atlanta's creative (music, arts, film) and start-up communities with local government to consider ways to build upon the city's creative capital. Over the course of an hour, they talked about ways to increase cross-breeding and communication between different disciplines and silos.

At the heart of it, this generation of creatives is attempting to do something Atlanta hasn't always excelled at — which is building on past cultural legacies instead of burning them to the ground, while simultaneously embracing progressive ideas and innovation rather than turning a deaf ear.

Moderated by visual artist Fahamu Pecou (pictured above, far left to right), the panel discussion held at Downtown Atlanta's M. Rich Center for Creative Arts, Media and Technology also featured Sherri Scott of the advertising agency JWT; City Councilman Kwanza Hall; LaRonda Sutton of the Mayor's Office of Film and Entertainment; Bem Joiner of branding company Rebelutions; ONE Musicfest Founder J. Carter; Dashboard Co-op Co-founder and former project supervisor at the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs, Courtney Hammond; and Malhotra on the far right.

The panel titled "Atlanta's Creative Economy" was organized by Bem Joiner and largely inspired by the kind of conversations he's known for passionately sparking among the city's creative and civic circles. As J Carter put it at the beginning of Wednesday's panel, Joiner's "the biggest advocate and cheerleader for Atlanta that I know."

He's found a like mind in civic entrepreneur Malhotra, who uses his CNN Money article to advocate for an increase in open data from city government in order to spur technological innovation in Atlanta.

The Center for Civic Innovation, which launches today, presents itself as a resource hub for social entrepreneurs. It's first initiative is "a partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to find new approaches to tackling food security in the city, where almost 800,000 people require the support of food pantries and meal service programs," Malhotra writes.

You can read the rest of his article at CNN Money.

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Hawks GM Danny Ferry to take an indefinite leave of absence

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Former Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (#9)

Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry has decided to step away from his position with the team indefinitely due to racist remarks made about NBA forward Luol Deng.

Last June, Ferry described Deng on a conference call with team officials as a player with "a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back." The GM also called Deng a "two-faced liar and cheat." His comments sparked an internal investigation that led to the discovery of a racially-charged email sent by Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson, which has since prompted him to sell his share of the franchise.

Ferry, who apologized for his remarks earlier this week, said he was merely repeating comments made by sources who were scouting Deng as a possible free agent signing. Koonin doled out an undisclosed punishment for his remarks, but decided against firing Ferry. But following the release of an audio recording of his remarks last night, the GM has decided to temporarily leave his role with the organization.

Here's what Ferry today had to say about his decision:

"No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng.

Luol is a good man who I have known for many years and he has done a tremendous amount of good for his country and around the world. I apologize to Luol and I apologize to all that I have offended. As I have said, while these were not my words, I deeply regret repeating them. Almost all the background information I provided during the lengthy presentation regarding Luol was positive and my personal and professional recommendation during the call was very much in favor of adding Luol to our team but I never should have uttered those offensive remarks and for that I apologize.

My focus moving forward is to tirelessly work to rebuild trust with this community and with our fans. I realize that my words may ring hollow now and my future actions must speak for me. I will maximize my time during this leave to meet with community leaders and further educate myself and others on the extremely sensitive issues surrounding race, diversity, and inclusion. I will find a way to make a positive difference in this area, and further learn from the sensitivity training that I will go through.”

CEO Steve Koonin issued his own statement about the Hawks' plans address the team's race-related problems moving forward:

This afternoon, Danny Ferry requested, and I have approved, taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately. This has been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family and it is my hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing. As a human being, manager and friend, I wish him well as he undergoes this process.

While the issues related to race are deeply troubling, at the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners. That said, we have taken several steps to address what we can do as an organization to be better and stronger, including working with a diversity consultant to examine us and to train us to ensure something like this never happens again, we are committed to hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, and we have and will continue to meet with community leaders in an ongoing way to ensure our values reflect the community in which we play and work. The process of selling the team, which is to remain in Atlanta, is already underway.

Vice President of Basketball Dominique Wilkins, who's reportedly considered buying a stake in the franchise, personally reached out to Deng last night about Ferry's remarks. He tweeted about the conversation earlier this afternoon:

In Ferry's absence, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer will oversee basketball operations and report directly to Koonin.

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Super Visions: Guardians Part 1

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM

guardiansofthegalaxy53bd9650b134a.jpg
  • Marvel Studios

Things to know about me as you read this post:

I am the same age as Marvel’s superheroes, and I learned to read in part by reading comics, especially Spider-Man and Fantastic Four (as well as Superman, Batman, Archie, Uncle Scrooge, and many, many others).

I reviewed films for radio back in the 1990s — until I didn’t. Thereafter, I never recovered my earlier voracity for the medium.

I have and enjoy Netflix, but most months I stream many more hours of television with it than I do movies.

With Marvel Studios shaping its interwoven megafranchise on screens big and small, and with DC trying to play catch-up in live action (though no one else has yet equaled the serial glories of such animated goodness as Justice League Unlimited or The New Batman Adventures), never has there been a better time to be a superhero geek. Which I am.

That said, some examples of the current plenitude deserve higher praise than others.

So, about Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel’s latest feature film brings together various incarnations of that obscure interplanetary band of heroes in a noisy, sometimes confusing space opera that I still laughed all the way through. Once, anyway. Creeping feelings of extreme disservice to the film’s female characters — including Zoe Saldana as an assassin named Gamora and Karen Gillan as her “sister,” Nebula — led me to Google “Bechdel* test.” Color me not surprised to find a writer wrist-slapping director James Gunn for delivering a film that he reportedly claimed clears the famous must-have-at-least-two-female-characters-with-names-who-talk-about-something-other-than-a-man bar but nonetheless bears a “whiff of misogyny.”

Basically, I want to resee GotG with the Bechdel test in mind. Iron Man 3 passed with flying Peppers. I can’t shake the suspicion that the aforementioned sisters spent all their joint screen time arguing about good pop/bad pop bullshit.

Stay tuned.

*Rhymes with “rectal”; look here, under “How do you pronounce your last name,” if you don’t believe me.

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Judge to rule soon on Peachtree-Pine shelter

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, the operators of the mammoth homeless shelter at Peachtree and Pine streets in Downtown, will soon learn if a judge thinks they need to pay toward a $900,000 promissory note while the nonprofit battles its landlord in court.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall, who's overseen the Task Force's long-running legal battle with building owner Premium Funding Solutions, yesterday said he needs time to reconcile what attorneys for each side have argued in the light of a state Supreme Court pronouncement.

"There is already a lawsuit that is pending over who owns the property and whether or not we have to pay," said Steven Hall, representing the Task Force, which has operated the city's largest shelter since the mid-1990s.

The state Supreme Court order, says Hall, bars an award for payment while the other case runs.

"In Georgia, you can only pursue a claim in one case," he said, and the lenders are pursuing those payments in the other case.

Attorneys for the owners of the note say that despite ongoing litigation, a point has been passed at which Peachtree-Pine tenants have to pay up.

"This is not about eviction, this is not about possession, conspiracies or even the Task Force," said Josh Belinfante, attorney for Premium Funding Solutions, on behalf of the lenders. It's instead about what the law requires, he argued.

The payment he wants the judge to order is indeed not a typical mortgage payment, but payment into a special court-protected account that's designed to hold disputed money.

"I haven't decided what I'm going to do … I've read the Supreme Court opinion over and over again and I've looked at the docket. Just give me until next Friday to do something," Schwall said Thursday afternoon after about a half-hour of arguments.

He asked both sides to return to court on Sept. 19 to hear his ruling. If the Task Force is ordered to pay, Hall has pledged to appeal.

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Religious right nails it to 'Black Jesus'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Aint God good?
  • screenshot/Adult Swim
  • Ain't God good?

"Black Jesus" is being crucified by the religious right.

Before Aaron McGruder's post-"Boondocks" re-up hit the Adult Swim airwaves, conservative Christians were picking up their pitchforks in protest. Now one month after the show debuted on Aug. 7, they're claiming a major victory.

The American Family Association reports that Hydroxycut is the latest in a handful of advertisers who have pulled support from TBS's Adult Swim show "Black Jesus." Hydroxycut, as you might recall, is the weight loss aid that got its start by preying on the insecurities of overweight consumers to sell them dietary supplements with dangerous ingredients (ephedra) subsequently banned by the FDA. How's that for irony?

You've probably seen one of their commercials late at night while binge eating in front of the TV.

The American Family Association's "About Us" page on its website claims it "has been on the frontlines of America's culture war" since the non-profit was founded in 1977 by a United Methodist Church pastor in Southaven, Mississippi. The original name of the organization, which also self-identifies as a "ministry," was National Federation for Decency.

In a press release, the Tupelo, Mississippi-based non-profit ministry of culture warriors denounce the latest episode of "Black Jesus," in which "40 profanities and numerous blasphemies" were heard.

The live-action show satirizes the return of God's son as a black man in Compton, Calif. who enjoys smoking bud, turning water into malt liquor and hanging with the homies on the block. But everybody's not laughing at McGruder's send-up of race and religion.

While it's stirring up the kind of controversy McGruder is known to generate, it's received a mixed critical embrace. And despite the age-old debate over the historical inaccuracies of a white Jesus, some African-Americans within conservative Christian circles are equally offended.

I know this because my mother tried to get me to call TBS directly after she said she viewed the trailer on another woman's smartphone at her neighborhood beauty salon. Nothing like a group of seasoned church ladies to rile up a word-of-mouth campaign. The image of them huddled around a cellphone in the beauty shop, mouths agape while watching Jesus H. Christ cuss up a storm, is almost as funny as an actual episode of "Black Jesus." After catching the first one, I haven't tuned in since. It's not as smart a cultural critique as I'd expected from McGruder, which makes it harder to defend against the attacks of the religious right.

According to AFA, other companies who have pulled advertising from "Black Jesus" include American Eagle Outfitters, Progressive Insurance, Unisom (Chattem), Monistat 1 (INSIGHT Pharmaceuticals, LLC) and Airheads Candy.

You must be the scum of the earth when drug and sugar pushers want nothing to do with you.

“We are so thankful to see that advertisers are making the wise decision to disassociate with this terrible Turner Broadcasting System show,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said in a press release. “We have had several productive conversations with companies who are rethinking their advertising strategies in an effort not to alienate their customers by aligning themselves with offensive programming.”

It's almost reassuring to know that Jesus' second coming is being met with the same derision as his first pop-up appearance back in the negative-0000s. Maybe that's the joke.

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5 things to do: DJ Shadow

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and more at the Loft

2. Michael McDonald at the Atlanta Improv Comedy Club

3. Islands, TEEN, and more at the Earl

4. James Beard Foundation's Taste America at the King Plow Arts Center

5. Sun Araw and Weyes Blood at the Mammal Gallery

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First Slice 9/12/14: Fulton announces early weekend voting in multiple locations

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Fulton County voters will be able to cast ballots during the two weekends before November’s election at multiple locations in North Fulton, the city of Atlanta, and South Fulton.

Turner Broadcasting is up for additional tax breaks from Fulton County in a move that officials hope will help retain local jobs. The tax breaks are contingent on Turner having 7,000 employees in Fulton by the end of 2018. That is 500 more employees than Turner currently has in the county. So there's that hurdle as well as the fact that Turner recently offered buyouts to nearly 600 workers and a swarm of layoffs are expected in the coming months. Turner has its own ideas on whether keeping jobs locally plays a part in the tax break deal.

According to new documents released by the Cobb County police, Geddy Lee Kramer, the man who shot six employees at a Fed Ex facility in Cobb Couny before killing himself, also had an elaborate plan for a massacre at his high school, North Cobb. Kramer lacked the funds to carry out his elaborate plan that included shootings and bombs as well as locks and chains for doors. Kramer shelved the plan and graduated in May of 2013.

Sack of dead beavers is the new horse head in the bed. Chad Artimovich of Cumming has been charged with illegal dumping after police discovered he had dropped off a sack of rotting beaver carcasses in the parking lot of a local TitleMax. Artimovich said TitleMax was harassing his family over $4,000 in lending debt. According to the officer who discovered the contents of the sack, the smell was "atrocious" and lingered for hours afterwards in the officer's patrol car.

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09/11/2014

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