Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank you, Republican primary voters

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 3:11 PM

I'm celebrating Sen. John McCain's victory in Florida last night.

With the win, McCain seemingly has a lock on the Republican presidential nomination. This means that, of the three remaining candidates (McCain, Clinton, Obama) with a realistic shot at the White House, not one supports the Bush policy of torturing prisoners or detaining them in perpetuity without access to courts.

Two of the Bush administration's most shameful, profoundly un-American policies will end in January 2009.

It's not everything, but it's something.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bibb County parents shudder, schoolyard perverts laugh diabolically

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Tee hee.

From the office of Gov. Sonny Perdue:

Kumho Tire to Locate First U.S.

Manufacturing Facility in Macon

Korean tire company to create 450 jobs, invest $225 million in Bibb County facility

 

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Dogwood Fest still scrambling

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 4:36 PM

Organizers of the 72nd annual Dogwood Festival say they may have to move the popular event to Stone Mountain or Lenox Mall this year after they received word from the city on Jan. 11 that Piedmont Park will be off-limits to festivals and events this year because of the drought.

They have looked at a number of possible sites — including Turner Field, Atlantic Station and the Civic Center — and all had scheduling conflicts. Another promising possibility was turning this year's event into a street festival along Fifth and Spring streets. Georgia Tech put the kibosh on that idea.

“Most major cities have a large street festival that includes fine art, music, food and family activities, not unlike the Dogwood Festival,” Atlanta Dogwood Festival Executive Director Brian Hill said. “We developed a plan around Fifth and Spring streets, commonly known as Technology Square, with an effort to minimize traffic and incorporate local businesses. City officials evaluated the plan, and all parties thought we had an exciting solution to our dilemma.” Unfortunately, Georgia Tech officials were concerned that the event could impact Saturday classes and research in nearby buildings.

Party poopers.

Hill says the festival is looking at one other Midtown option. "If we can’t get a site agreement this week, we will turn to either Lenox Mall or Stone Mountain as festival venue options.” Both facilities can host the event and have proven successes hosting events the size of the Dogwood Festival. “We appreciate the willingness of both facilities to support us; however, we hope to keep true to the mission of the Dogwood Festival and celebrate the coming of spring in Midtown," Hill said. "Perhaps if we can’t be among the blossoming trees in the park we can at least stay within walking distance."

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Quill on the alt-weekly scene: 'Generational shift'

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Quill, the official publication of the Society for Professional Journalists, has an insightful piece by Ed Avis on the changing landscape of alternative newsweeklies. Creative Loafing's Ben Eason is heavily quoted in the piece, naturally, in part because of the recent acquisitions of the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper. In part Eason talks about the "generational shift" in the industry.

The article thoughtfully lays out many of the challenges facing alt-weeklies, including the Internet and the subsequent impact of Craigslist on classified-ad sales, and how consolidation is one of the responses to that challenge:

At least 18 media companies in the United States own two or more alternative weeklies, including Review Publishing, which owns the Philadelphia Weekly and Atlantic City Weekly, and Village Voice Media, which owns 16 papers, including the Riverfront Times in St. Louis, Westword in Denver and New York’s Village Voice.

“Does the corporatization of those papers mean there will be less enterprising reporting? I’m not sure,” said Medill’s [Charles] Whitaker. “In the corporate model, there is an emphasis on producing a lot of stories, which can hinder enterprise. People can become concerned with filling space. But it hasn’t played out yet.”

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Violence, sex, and more violence

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 8:39 PM

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FIGHT NIGHT AT WILD BILL’S: “Enough fighting. Let’s hug this one out.”

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

More of Joeff's fantastic photos from Friday's Fight Night after the jump.

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Continue reading »

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Tom Cousins and UGA's music-business program

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 8:11 PM

In this week's cover story on the new music-business program at the University of Georgia, an Atlanta businessman who had pledged a $500,000 donation to the program was mentioned but not identified because the deal had yet to be finalized.

Bruce Burch, co-director of the program, said today that the mystery man is none other than Tom Cousins, founder and chairman of the board of Cousins Properties. Cousins, a UGA grad, built many of the city's most prominent structures, including the CNN Center, 191 Peachtree and the East Lake Golf Club.

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UGA's music-business program was founded in 2006 by Burch and co-director Steve Dancz. It is designed to teach students about the business of music, and to help them get jobs within the industry. Burch says they eventually want to expand the program to include classes on the entertainment industry as a whole.

"Having Tom Cousins and his foundation on board, it gives our program even more credibility in the state with the business community," says Burch. "It's going to help us expand our program and help us move forward on some of the plans we've made."

Bruce Burch

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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Satellite crash: How rational is my fear?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 7:04 PM

I keep reading that an old American spy satellite is going to crash to Earth soon.

Unlike a lot of the stuff the media have told me over the years I'm supposed to be afraid of (radon, Y2K, apples with razor blades, strangers offering me rides to the hospital to see my injured parents, tuna, Jamaican drug posses, anti-depressants, iced tea, Ice-T, cell phones, stuffed koala bears) I'm actually kind of nervous about this satellite.

What if I'm walking the dogs and, SMACK, a chunk of sizzling-hot spy satellite crushes me? Stranger things have happened.

How are the dogs going to get home? And if they get home, how are they going to open the garage door? They don't know the code. Even if they did know the code, they can't reach the keypad.

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Capitol Gateway Park moves closer to reality

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 5:17 PM

If you take Memorial Drive into and out of downtown, you may recently have noticed land-clearing on several woebegone parcels between that street and MLK Drive. And you may have wondered what's going in where those dilapidated structures had been.

Here's your answer: Nothing.

The demolition you've witnessed is part of an ongoing project to create a linear park between the state Capitol and Oakland Cemetery. The western portion of the park, where the Capitol Homes public housing project once stood, is already cleared and is awaiting state funding to turn it into a greenway.

Just last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue submitted a budget proposal that includes some $11 million to begin designing a pedestrian thoroughfare that will allow visitors to walk from the Gold Dome to the planned Capitol Gateway Park by way of a walkway spanning the Downtown Connector. The ambitious proposal calls for the parking deck next to the Statehouse to be replaced by a rolling lawn, through which Piedmont Avenue will be rerouted, boulevard-style.

As for the land-clearing to the east, at Hill Street and along Oakland Avenue, that's the city's handiwork. Through the Atlanta Development Authority, and with support from the Trust for Public Land and private donors, the city is assembling the rest of the strip along Memorial to complement the state's portion.

Last year, the city bought three blocks, with four more to go. The most recent acquisition – for $1.7 million – was the block on the north side of MLK, just opposite the entrance to the cemetery. The land was vacant except for an old, shanty-ish house, says Ellen Wickersham, the ADA's manager of parks and greenspace.

"As we were wiring the money to seller, fire engines were called because the house was going up in flames," she says. "It's totally unexplained."

The site could be used for a future visitor's center for Atlanta's most famous cemetery, she says.

Meanwhile, a number of existing businesses are still operating in the planned park corridor, including the beloved Daddy D'z. But Wickersham says the city isn't trying to push anybody out.

"This is a long-term project, so we're working with individual businesses in order to respect their needs," she says.

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Town hall meeting about Jekyll Island development set for Thursday in Decatur

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 2:34 PM

The Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island will meet Thursday, Jan. 31, 7-9 p.m., at the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur to discuss the Linger Longer project that is raising a lot of questions about the future of the coastal Georgia getaway.

Visit the group's website here to find out just what's at stake. For more information about the Linger Longer project, click here for the developer's take.

Details about the meeting, pulled from an e-mail release, can be found after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Add It Up:Joblessness

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 10:00 AM

U.S. unemployment rate in November 2007: 4.7 percent

U.S. unemployment rate in December 2007: 5.0 percent

Months since such a large increase in unemployment was recorded in single month: 73

Months since the 9/11 attacks: 74

Georgia’s December 2007 unemployment rate: 4.6 percent

Unemployed persons in Georgia: 236,454

Approximate weekly unemployment insurance benefit for someone laid off from full-time job paying $10/hour: $138

Portion of that $138 owed in state and federal income taxes: $22

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, Georgia Department of Labor, National Employment Law Project

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