Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sex guru and CL cover star Michael Alvear

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 7:10 PM

Michael Alvear

This week's CL cover story profiles Michael Alvear. The Atlanta sex and relationship guru's career has taken off, while his love life life hit a brick wall built by the government-sanctioned discrimination.

I was introduced to Alvear's work six or seven years ago when I found one of his op-ed pieces in Southern Voice. I was a big fan and picked up the paper every week looking for his work.

Sadly, I can't find any of his Southern Voice columns online. However, while rummaging online I did find a couple of Alvear-related nuggets worth sharing.

Here's a commentary he wrote and read for NPR's All Things Considered in 2003 about how the South's culture of politeness and indirectness contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

And here's my favorite online Alvear knick-knack — a clip of him on The Greg Behrendt Show last year criticizing the studio audience for applauding a 23-year-old woman's virginity.

"Does that mean women who have had sex don't deserve applause?" he asks.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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Activists: Transit plan doesn't serve people who need it most

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Atlanta Jobs With Justice, Transit Planning Board, Protest

CONNECT THE WORKERS Rev. Timothy McDonald of First Iconium Baptist Church says movement and mobility are a human right and essential to getting people to hospitals, jobs and families.

Two groups hoping to help metro Atlantans move about our world came head to head last night at the Transit Planning Board's final presentation of Concept3, its regional people-moving vision.

Prior to the plan's presentation at the Fulton County Library's downtown branch, several organizations outside rallied to call attention to their own two-year plan which they say places emphasis on riders dependent on public transit to live their daily lives. Concept3, they argued, was "racist" and "white supremacist" in its scope, eschewed the workers who often don't own cars and don't travel during peak hours, and served merely as a way to funnel residents of outlying counties into and out of the city — its goal was to relieve congestion rather than connect people. Missing from the equation was a people's voice on the MARTA executive board, they said. They said the TPB needed to disband and that MARTA be given full authority over public transit in the region.

The ire grew to a boil inside the library's auditorium when Terence Courtney of Atlanta Jobs With Justice heatedly addressed Cheryl King of the TPB and repeated the groups' demands. Chief among the concerns he listed was accessibility for the disabled and ensuring that public transit would connect people to areas where they could find sufficient work. King reminded Courtney that the plan is not set in stone and the purpose of the presentation was to gain insight into residents' needs.

To its credit, the agency — while it may be another bureaucracy in the state's slow-moving transportation realm — has pushed for transportation solutions for the southern part of the region and city, as well. King is black, as is Clayton County Commissioner Eldrin Bell, chairman of the board. Lest the agency receive new funding or revive its purpose, the TPB is already slated to disband within the next two years. Save for the Peachtree Streetcar, Concept3 does very little to speak about city-specific connections, but one could argue that area is being addressed by Mayor Shirley Franklin's ConnectAtlantaPlan.

To view the transit riders' plan, click here. To get more information about Concept3 and the TPB, click here.

(Photo by Thomas Wheatley)

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Morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 3:47 PM

DOUG COLLINS: State rep from Gainesville, who's also an Air Force Reserve chaplain, to be deployed to Iraq in September.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: Hawks play one in Boston tonight before returning to Philips Friday.

SHAD STATE OF AFFAIRS: Because lock valves on a Savannah River dam have failed, leaving the gates stuck shut, biologists on Tuesday manually moved spawning shad in the Savannah River upstream to shoals near Augusta so they can lay their eggs.

CLAYTON SCHOOLS: New corrective superintendent's contract pays him $1,187.50 per day and allows him to take 45 percent of his time off; the school system is set to lose its accreditation in 124 days. Also, the state attorney general's office is demanding that the Clayton school board address allegations that it illegally closed public meetings.

GWINNETT SCHOOLS: Gets AAA, the highest possible rating, from two agencies that evaluate financial stewardship.

LONG, STRANGE TRIP: Father of LSD Albert Hofmann dies at 102.

WRIGHT BACK ATCHA: Obama denounces his former pastor.

THE BREAST THINGS IN LIFE: WSB reports on a website (NSFW) that allows women to post photos of themselves, nude if they choose, to solicit donations for breast implants. WSB gets fair and balanced by quoting Georgia Christian Alliance's Sadie Fields to wax philosophical on the nature of porn. Guess what? She says it's porn.

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CL Flickr: Prizes for your photos

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Since the tornado in March, activity on our Flickr group has spontaneously increased.

Readers and CL employees have been uploading all sorts of Atlanta-themed photos, including artfully composed architecture shots, cheap-and-amusing-ish cell phone snaps, and, mysteriously, an 18 month-old behind-the-scenes photo from the set of a Nelly video filmed in East Point.

We very much enjoy the photos you're contributing to CL's Flickr group, so starting today we're going to encourage you to contribute mo' and mo' better photos by offering you VALUABLE PRIZES!!!

Here's how this bribery contest is gonna work.

1. Join CL's Flickr group.

2. Upload to the group your photos of street scenes, restaurants, clubs, bars, galleries, funny signs, parks, events — especially places and things mentioned on the Urban Explorer Web site. We want to see Atlanta through your eyes.

3. Every Wednesday, we'll award a prize (tickets to something) to the person who took our favorite photo during the previous week.

4. At the end of May, we'll give a prize (also tickets) to the person who uploaded the most Atlanta photos to the group.

Any questions? E-mail me (andisheh at, call (404-614-1888), or leave them in the comments.

Commence shootin'.

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Yoo hoo, America.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Yo, America.

American casualties in Iraq are up for the third straight month.

If you insist on focusing your attention on the idiotic ramblings of a narcissistic, ill-tempered religious figure, how about focusing it on one whose ramblings mean life-or-death for thousands of Americans and Iraqis.

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Livers are back!

1407 Metropolitan Parkway SW, if you're hungry.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Georgia Power pushes rate increase, says coal costs squeeze profit

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Woe is Georgia Power.

The energy heavy and subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co. is advocating before the Public Services Commission today and tomorrow that it needs to raise its rates 3 percent because of the skyrocketing cost of natural gas and coal, the state's predominant fuel burned to generate electricity. Customers would most likely see their bills go up $3 if the hike is approved.

Georgia Power says the rate hike will generate $222 million. Long the cheapest bang-for-the-buck source, coal's prices have risen sharply, from nearly $40 a ton early last year to $90 a ton in today's market, thanks to increasing demand from India and China. Two new coal power plants have been proposed for the state of Georgia. The mining and use of coal is also probably one of the stiffest middle fingers you can give to Mother Nature, but that's another story.

In other news, the sun continues to shine and wind continues to blow.

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Morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 3:43 PM

HAWKS POPULI: Philips Arena pulsates as the suddenly unstoppable Joe Johnson leads the surging Hawks over the heavily favored Celtics to tie the series at 2-2. They're in Boston Wednesday and back here Friday.

TAYLOR BENNETT: Ga. Tech QB transfers to La. Tech. He'll be playing for Vince Dooley's son and La. Tech's mascot is also the Bulldogs, so page-view-hungry websites come up with misleading-but-not-untrue headlines like this:


JEREMIAH WRIGHT: Doing his best to keep Obama out of the White House. CNN has this bio of the ravin' reverend. ATLMalcontent is justifiably worried that Obama is showing a Kerryesque lack of anger over this.

JIMMY CARTER: On "The Daily Show" last night.

NEED FOR SEED: UGA anthropologists' Southern Seed Legacy protects heirloom varieties of old and disappearing Southern crops such as the plum granny and the turkey craw bean.

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DeKalb County PATH trail critics fight project with spraypaint

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 3:22 PM

DeKalb County, PATH trail, Medlock Park, Mason Mill Park, Three Forks Heritage Alliance

The DeKalb County PATH trail between Medlock and Mason Mill Parks that has riled critics and become a hot-button issue — and caused a rift between neighborhood supporters and opponents — is now being spraypainted, evident in the photo of a vandalized silt fence along the planned multi-use trail. Construction of the project was recently halted by the state Environmental Protection Division and is now in limbo land.

For more photos, click here.

(Photo courtesy of the Three Forks Heritage Alliance)

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Qualifying: Day 1

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM

The opening day for qualifying is always the most exciting because it brings out the serious challengers and candidates for open seats. The idea is to get your name down ASAP in order to scare away potential opponents. There are usually a handful of stragglers who wait until the last moment – which in this case is Friday at noon – but most of the serious contenders use qualifying as a way to serve notice that they now want your money.

That said, let's see who picked up opposition on Monday, starting with the state Senate:

  • We gave Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, a coveted Arnie award for courageously fighting a losing battle to keep developers from turning Jekyll Island into a floating strip mall. He's being challenged by a fellow Brunswick Republican, Terry Carter, who is – surprise! – a developer.
  • Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, has picked up opposition from 72-year-old Betty Aaron, a Palmetto Democrat who served a few years in the House during the '80s.
  • Sen. Nancy Schaefer, R-Turnerville, has apparently adopted a strategy of confusing potential opponents. First, she was going to run for Congress, then she announced her retirement, then she gave word she was running for re-election to her Senate seat. Her website still says she's running for Congress – or maybe she's changed her mind again. Anyway, it appears the strategy hasn't worked; she now has two GOP challengers, Jim Butterworth of Cornelia and Terry Rogers of Clarkesville.
  • Sen. Dan Moody, R-Alpharetta, has Democratic opposition from Akhtar Sadiq, a Roswell business consultant.

Lots more activity on the House side:

  • Rep. Ron Forster, R-Ringgold, won a Golden Sleaze award for penning the dumbest bill of the past year, a measure to rent out state inmates to military contractors in Baghdad. We hear conflicting info on whether he's re-upping, but so far, he has two GOP challengers, Bob Jenkins of Dalton and Tom Weldon Jr. of Ringgold.
  • GOP Rep. Matt Dollar, East Cobb's own good-time party boy, is being challenged by Democrat RuthE Levy of Marietta, an Air Force veteran and grandmother last seen running for state Senate.
  • Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, has opposition from Democratic physician Chris Cameron of Atlanta.
  • After serving 32 years in the Statehouse, Rep. Bob Holmes, D-Atlanta, is finally retiring. Seeking his seat are Democrats Ralph Long III, a real estate broker; Tony M.L. McCann, a teacher; and the feisty Keisha Waites, who has unsuccessfully run for both the Atlanta City Council and Fulton Commission.
  • Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague, D-Red Oak, who also earned a Golden Sleaze award for claiming a suspiciously large mileage reimbursement, has three Democratic challengers: 71-year-old community activist Sandra Hardy and retiree Woody Holmes, both of Fairburn; and businessman Charles Sharper of Atlanta.
  • Lining up to succeed Rep. Stan Watson, D-Decatur, who's running for DeKalb CEO, are teacher Rita Robinzine and businessman Byron Wilson, both of Ellenwood; and real estate broker Rahn Mayo of Decatur. All are young Democrats and, we believe, first-time political candidates.
  • So far, two of DeKalb's three House Republicans have Democratic opposition. Rep. Mike Jacobs, who last ran with a "D" behind his name, faces businessman Keith Gross, and Rep. Jill Chambers faces businesswoman Cecilia Hailey.
  • Surprisingly, Rep. Ron Sailor's career move into prison has only brought forth one potential successor so far, psychotherapist Jim Sendelbach of Conyers, who is running as a Democrat, although he previously ran for Congress as a Libertarian.
  • Rep. Bobby Reese, R-Sugar Hill, is another recent Golden Sleaze laureate for his resolution urging Congress to repeal the 14th Amendment. We can only hope we served in some small way to encourage his GOP challenger, businessman David Hancock of Suwanee.

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