Monday, September 29, 2008

Bring on the price gouging

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 6:00 PM

I'll start this off by saying I'm not exactly sure what price gouging is. I'm under the impression that charging as much for something as you can is capitalism. I don't quite understand when and how a price hike for a scarce product becomes crime.

With that in mind, I'd like to request the state lift price gouging restrictions on gasoline immediately. I'd rather pay $10/gallon for a couple weeks than spend four hours on Friday and Saturday hunting for gasoline.

I'm just saying.

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Dancing in the park

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 5:51 PM

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PROJECT DANCE “I’m down with G-O-D, yeah u know me.”

Project Dance is a traveling um, dance project, whose founders want to “positively impact culture” and help dancers fulfill their “fullest human potential for their own wellbeing and their contribution to the world.”

Honestly, we have no idea what that means, but the dancing was really good. A three-day festival of traveling and local dancers in Centennial Olympic Park last weekend, the show mixed hip-hop, lyrical, ballet, and modern dance. Sadly, there was no mime, but there was a dancer who approached the lip of the stage to yell about the end-times.

Speaking of end-times, the only real bummer about the show was the overbearing religiosity of the music. Instead of fun religious music (gospel, Handel, Jesus Christ Superstar), too much of it was of the tedious, earnest, contemporary Christian variety. We don’t want to risk a smiting, but yuck.

(Photo and additional reporting by Tara-Lynne Pixley)

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Dave's not here

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 5:49 PM

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CHEECH AND CHONG AT THE TABERNACLE FRIDAY: Sit-down stand-up.

Photo by Perry Julien

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Creative Loafing files for bankruptcy protection

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Creative Loafing Inc. — which owns alternative weekly newspapers in Chicago, Washington, Tampa, Charlotte and Sarasota, as well as Atlanta — today filed for bankruptcy protection. Prompting the move was a debt load of more than $40 million.

“The company owned owed more money than it can pay back right now,” CEO Ben Eason said in a conference call with company managers. The bankruptcy petition was filed in Tampa, where the company's based, and was timed to preclude an interest payment that was owed lenders on Wednesday.

The company will ask federal bankruptcy Judge Caryl Delano to stay any attempt by creditors to liquidate the assets or take control of the company.

“We’re doing the right things,” Eason said. “This will give us a fresh start. It is a reorganization, not a liquidation. Everybody gets paid.”

The debt load was substantially increased last year when Creative Loafing purchased the Chicago Reader and the Washington City Paper. Since then, advertising revenues for the print editions of the papers has deteriorated, as they have for newspapers nationwide. Over the same period last year, revenues were down between 10 and 15 percent.

Among the largest unsecured creditors is Fayetteville Publishing Co., which prints the Atlanta paper and some of the other papers in the group. The Georgia Department of Labor, the Georgia Department of Revenue and the IRS are also among the creditors.

Creative Loafing was founded in 1972 by Debby Eason in Atlanta and later opened several other papers in the Southeast. Her son, Ben, who owned the Tampa paper, acquired the rest of the family newspapers in 2000.

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The downside of diesel

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 3:46 PM

I drive a 1973 Mercedes that runs on petro-diesel, biodiesel, or any combination of the two.

This means I do not have to wait in long lines to fill up my tank as there is plenty of diesel around town.

Unfortunately, this also means I can't use "I don't have gas" as an excuse to work from home this week. Kinda sucks because my mom is in town.

Doh!

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U.S. Supreme Court's Troy Davis decision expected by Oct. 6

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 3:33 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected decide by next Monday whether to hear the appeal of Georgia death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, AJC.com reports today. Last week, the high court granted Davis a stay — less than two hours before his scheduled execution — to give the justices time to decide if his innocence claims warrant further review.

According to the AJC story:

The high court’s granting the stay at such a late hour, while not unprecedented, indicates the case has the justices’ interest, court watchers said.

“The court can grant a stay and then refuse to hear a case, but they don’t issue the stay lightly,” said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who specializes in arguing cases before the high court. “They are thinking about it hard.”

Last week's U.S. Supreme Court order stated that if the justices opt not to hear the appeal, "this stay shall terminate automatically" — meaning Davis' execution would again be imminent.

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Epidemik Coalition looks at gas shortage

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Christa at Pecanne Log points us to Ted Ullrich's "Localize Your Life" project, a photographic examination of a city with little fuel. Ullrich is a member of local design collective the Epidemik Coalition.

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(Screenshot from Ullrich's Flickr)

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Atlanta blogs today

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM

— Now in his second term of office, exactly what has Sonny Purdue accomplished beyond his fishing program? ATLmalcontent ponders that question as gas supplies dwindle while the governor twiddles his thumbs and says, "Crisis? What crisis?" Hell, Sonny ain't even in the country. This week's sign of the end of the world as we know it? The malcontent counted 32 cars waiting in line at one a.m. over the weekend at the lone gas station in Cumming that actually had gas.

— The banking bailout agreement is in place, and that worries Jason Pye. He notes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been generous with elected officials on both sides of the aisle. And that Democrats also blew off the warning signs of the foreclosure crisis. He also notes that no one really knows how deep the financial consequences will be, and predicts taxpayers will never get that money back.

— It's no surprise our economy is falling apart, Dcup says on Politits. And she offers up a very personal story to illustrate why so many of us owe too damned much money.

— Let's see. The gas crisis. The banking crisis. The presidential debate. The Nichols trial. Lotsa news out there, right? Not at WAGA. The aptly-named Live Apartment Fire notes that WAGA devoted seven minutes of its newscast Friday to, well, covering an apartment fire live.

— Life is always richer with Driftgrift's "Morning Wooten," and the latest edition is especially delicious. DG is certain that Wooten lives in some alternative universe where Ward and June live around the corner, and Eddie Haskell represents the only Democrat in the neighborhood.

— And, finally, Chicken Fat offers a short but very sweet good-bye to Paul Newman. Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, owned a condo in Marietta at one point and Chicken Fat notes that he donated money for a much-need facelift to Glover Park. Paul Newman

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Atlanta gas hunt rocks the Twitter

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Searching for gasoline in Atlanta is one of the most popular uses of the micro-blogging service Twitter this morning, according to Twitter's list of most-searched topics.

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Note: #atlgas is the only non-national topic on the list.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about -- web-enabled Atlantans are blogging the location of stations with gasoline by blogging it to Twitter along with the characters #atlgas. Including #atlgas in the message allows people to find up-to-minute gasoline sightings simply by searching for the characters #atlgas.

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Metro Atlanta gas shortage — where to find fuel

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Gas is hard to find in metro Atlanta, so we're taking the most logical approach: Taking out our sharpest crayon and writing a letter to the governor, who sadly, will not witness the long lines of GasGatePanic2K8. He's in Europe, rustling up some of those mystical "jobs." And maybe selling a road to a Spanish company. But that's another story. Behold the most important document written since Martin Luther nailed that Sunday school assignment to a bigass wooden door!

Georgia motorist searches for fuel in Mableton
  • Georgia motorist searches for fuel in Mableton

Dear Gov. Sonny Perdue,

Hope Europe's been sweeet, sir. I'm sure you've been inundated with tips from friends and family members as to where you should go, how you should get around, which hostels are cool, which headshops in Amsterdam "are hip," etc. But just like last year when we asked you to bring back water from your jaunt to China, how about this time you tote back some gasoline for us? Because I don't know if you've got the memo, but we're not doing too hot over here! Motorists are "stalking" fuel trucks, lines are spilling out into the streets, and I myself witnessed a testy moment between two guys squabbling over who pulled up to the gas pump first. They saw my angel face and felt a wave of peace overtake them. That is my way.

Well, in your absence, the people have largely ignored your Friday afternoon "tips" and taken to the Internet to try to make sense of all this. If you want to catch up, be sure to check out Tessa from Drive A Faster Car's rundown on what tools are available to residents who need fuel. The go-to resource that offers the most recent updates on where gas is available is Twitter. Users of the free microblogging service are posting updates every 10 minutes or so. The local teevee stations have some resources available, too. The governor points you to to the largely static "atlantagasprices.com," which is so uninformative in times like this I'm not even going to link to it.

Now, we all know you can't control the weather and you can't force refineries to start producing quickly. But you do have the power to allow the supplies at gas stations catch up with demand. The only way that might be possible is to reduce demand. You could cancel school for a day. Order state employees to work from home or give them an extended weekend. The state Senate press office is telecommuting for the next month. The fine minds at InsiderAdvantage suggest a system similar to how we water our lawns during the drought, which honestly is the best idea I've read thus far.

Oh, and UGA lost to Alabama. (Maybe you should've canceled that football game?)

Love,

Creative Loafing

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