Monday, February 28, 2011

Georgia Department of Corrections accused of flouting federal law

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 5:34 PM

It was bad enough — or, at least, really confusing — when we discovered that Georgia got its supply of the lethal injection drug thiopental from a creepy, unlicensed company that operates out of the back of a driving school.

Now, a Washington, D.C. law firm is claiming that in doing so, the Georgia Department of Corrections violated several federal laws that dictate how drugs are procured.

Attorneys with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (sounds made-up, I know), the firm representing Georgia death row inmate Andrew Grant DeYoung, have issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder claiming that the GDOC "resorted to unlawful means" to get its hands on thiopental, the first drug in a three-drug cocktail used in state-sancitoned executions.

Allegedly, the GDOC failed to register with the DEA as an importer of thiopental and also failed to declare the shipment of drugs when it came in last year — both would constitute violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, according to the complainant firm.

There's been a shortage of thiopental in the U.S. since 2008 (the only domestic manufacturer recently announced it was halting production). If there's a demand, why isn't there a supply? Probably because there isn't much money in it. Records show that the GDOC wired the equivalent of just $340 to British distributor Dream Pharma on July 21, 2010 for 50 vials of thiopental.

The letter requests a Department of Justice investigation into the matter.

The GDOC wasn't prepared to comment on the claims when we contacted them earlier today. Spokesperson Kristen Stancil said they are "reviewing the letter" and will eventually issue a statement.

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Gyun Hur's Spring Hiatus begins at Lenox Mall

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Flux Film 007 | Hur from Proper Medium on Vimeo.

Hudgen's prize winner, arts advocate, and all-around-talented superstar Gyun Hur begins her massive installation at Lenox Square Mall today. Spring Hiatus is located "right between Macy's entrance and Sephora," and will be worked on from 1 pm to 8 pm until March 12.

If you're not familiar with the patient, fascinating process that goes into Hur's installations, you can do no better than the recent Flux Film embedded above, which is only the first of three films to be made by Proper Medium to document the project. It should be interesting to see in the coming days how the quiet contemplation and fragile stillness of Hur's work is able to translate the hurried and chaotic mood that dominates the mall. You can get more details and updates from Hur's blog and Flux Projects.

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Spoiler Alert: Tosh.0 tackles Tip Toes

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Following-up on the Best Worst Movies discussion, I would be remiss not to include the Spoiler Alert sequence from Daniel Tosh's Comedy Central program.

This week, a 45 minute take on the Matthew McConaughey, Gary Oldman, Peter Dinklage, Kate Beckinsale dud Tip Toes.

While the broadcast edition was cut down to about 4 minutes, the entire uncut monolog the full version on the Comedy Central Web site.

That he's willing to spend so much time lovingly skewering such a turd of film finds Tosh into MST3K territory.

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Where do you want Beltline transit to go? Here are planners' ideas.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Behold! One of the segments above — or maybe a slight variation — might become the first Beltline transit segment
  • Atlanta Beltline Inc.
  • Behold! One of the segments above — or maybe a slight variation — might become the first Atlanta Beltline transit segment
Elected officials in metro Atlanta are drawing up lists of projects they want to receive funding for what's been called the largest investment in roads, bridges and transit metro Atlanta's seen in decades — a one-cent sales tax voters will decide next year and that, if passed, could generate an estimated $7 billion over 10 years for news roads, bridges and transit.

And Beltline bigwigs want at least one of the project's future transit segments to have a shot at that cash.

To improve their chances, project planners have made the radical decision to veer from the Beltline's familiar leaf-shaped loop and propose a transit spur into Midtown and downtown. The move drastically changes the Beltline's reach — and just might impress state and elected officials who will decide which transportation projects receive funding from the tax. (More on why Beltline planners chose those spur routes, which are part of the city's transportation plan but have not undergone extensive analysis, later in the post.)

Among the concepts under consideration: Light-rail from southwest Atlanta to Georgia Tech; Streetcars zipping from Midtown to Piedmont Park and north toward Lindbergh; and a transit line that, in addition to linking with the downtown streetcar, would connect Glenwood Park to the Bank of America Plaza.

On Feb. 17, residents gathered at City Hall for the first of several "citywide conversations" Beltline officials have organized to present the potential transit segments. (Here's an updated PDF of the evening's presentation.) It's all part of — stay awake here — the Transit Implementation Strategy, a year-long process to determine how the Beltline's long-awaited light-rail component will be built.

Beltline officials dropped a lot of info on residents at the meeting. Expect more discussion of the segments — some of which might be a bit wonky — in the coming weeks. For right now, however, it's best to offer the basics.

After the jump, a look at the concepts, plus some takeaways. Keep in mind that these are just segments that could be funded by the one-cent sales tax. Other future segments — and perhaps some of these — might be built with funding from federal, local, private or other sources. We've included all the text from the specific PowerPoint slides in case readers had any specific questions about routes and other aspects.

Continue reading »

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Morning Newsdome: And the most dramatic protest goes to ...

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Mohamed Ghannouchi
>> Reese Witherspoon, did you hear that Tunisia's Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced his resignation Saturday after being criticized for being too close to the country's former ineffective government that toppled last month? Now tell us what high school prom dress you're wearing to the Oscars. (the New York Times)

>> Hilary Swank, you look like a running back in a ball gown. What's your feelings on Oman being the latest Arab nation to be swept up in political unrest as violent anti-government protests left one in six protesters dead? Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has been in power since a coup against his father in 1970, almost as long as the Oscars' telecast. (Al Jazeera English)

>> The U.N. Security Council unanimously banned Muammar Qaddafi and his family from traveling, and Qaddafi's son Saadi wasn't too pleased, saying: "I go to safari. In Libya, there is no safari, so I have got to hire a lawyer. This bothers me so much because I spent most of my life traveling." Hillary Clinton said the U.S., which imposed unilateral sanctions, has been "reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east. We are ready and prepared to offer any type of assistance." But from this tragedy comes hope: An Israeli-made auto-tune video is sweeping Libya. There is hope for peace in the Middle East after all. (NY Daily News, Washington Post, NY Post, YouTube)

>> Wisconsin state police allowed protesters to stay at the capitol building on Sunday night after some off-duty cops, firefighters and former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin vowed to take part in the civil disobedience. Democrats need two more Republicans to block Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union bill after Republican Sen. Dale Schultz said he would not back it. The police just didn't want to miss Kirk Douglas' introduction. (Salon)

>> And finally: John Galliano, 50, the flamboyant designer of Christian Dior, was suspended last week after allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks at a Paris bar. No one believed it, until now. A video of an intoxicated Galliano shows the designer saying, "I love Hitler" and "People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed." What would Christian Dior do? (the Sun)

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"Fringe," Season 3, Episode 15

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:21 AM

THE CHEESE STANDS ALONE: John Noble (Center)
“Subject 13” functions both as a sequel and a prequel. It presents a follow-up to events of last season’s clever, context-placing episode “Peter,” which also flashed back to 1985, and also opened with the kitschy early-1980s-style “Fringe” credits, with techno music and a font worthy of Omni Magazine. In “Peter,” Walter brought the alternate version of his son in to our universe, ostensibly to save his life, and “Subject 13” spins off from the consequences of his actions.

By presenting Peter and Olivia as children (very played by Chandler Canterbury and Karley Scott Collins, respectively), “Subject 13” offers some hitherto unknown early chapters of their relationship. There’s a prequel problem here, because given how closely Walter and Olivia knew each other, and how young Olivia and Peter had a fateful meeting, it’s impossible that the characters wouldn’t have remembered these things, or at least mentioned them before now. (“Weren’t you the kid I met in the tulip field that time?”) At least Walter has the excuse that he had parts of his memory surgically removed. Maybe something else happened to Olivia and Peter, like the droids getting their memories wiped at the end of Revenge of the Sith. But is that what the producers really want us to think of?

While “Fringe” usually has fun with its flashbacks and alt-universe episodes, and this week included a few jokes based on 20-20 hindsight, “Subject 13” proved almost unbearably sad. Young Peter and Olivia come across as immensely sorrowful children, with Peter distraught over his (accurate) conviction that he’s in the wrong universe, and Olivia facing physical abuse from her stepfather and scientific abuse from a potential father figure, “Dr. Walter.” And in both universes, Walter’s marriage to Elizabeth (Orla Brady) is falling apart under the strain.

Continue reading »

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Oscar's best moments were the montages

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:56 AM

The morning after (and more than 100 tweets) later, The King's Speech and Inception remain Oscar night's big winners, picking up four statuettes apiece. The stuttering monarch movie swept the biggest categories — Best Picture, Actor for Colin Firth, Director for Tom Hooper and Original Screenplay — while the latter picked up four Oscars in technical categories. Hooper's win was probably the biggest upset of an evening that lived up to expectations. Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and f-bomb-dropping Melissa Leo won for Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress, respectively. Here's a complete list of winners.

The water-cooler consensus holds that young hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco were definitely not the winners of the evening, as non-comedians given the weakest Oscar night jokes I can remember. I want to focus on the positives this morning, and will point out that Hathaway was totally charming and excited and worked really hard. And James Franco is... really handsome, I guess. My favorite ad-lib was Cate Blanchett seeing the make-up montage for The Wolf Man and deadpanning, "That was gross." Two of the most impressive moments of the evening were the montages of the 10 Best Picture nominees that opened the show (accompanied by The Social Network's version of "In the Hall of the Mountain King") and lead into the Best Picture win (framed around the big speech of The King's Speech). Maybe they showed favoritism to The Social Network and The King's Speech, but they were ingeniously edited, and one of the rare times the craft of the show equaled the craft of the work it was honoring.

Also, this montage of four big 2010 films as "musicals" was pretty clever, and maybe the closest the evening came to being hip:

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Watch Roosevelt House — one of the final traces of Atlanta's public housing program — go 'boom'

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:44 AM

One of Atlanta's last public housing projects is no longer.

Early Sunday morning, the Atlanta Housing Authority imploded Roosevelt House, a 17-story tower on North Avenue Georgia Tech that once offered public housing for senior citizens and people living with disabilities. Residents reported hearing booms as far Inman Park. Another nearby facility will be demolished floor by floor in the coming weeks.

The Sunday demolition event, which attracted a sizable crowd of students and families, is one of the last to be conducted by the AHA, which since 1995 has replaced Atlanta's projects with mixed-income communities — a program that's earned both praise and scorn.

Below and after the jump, several videos of the demolition.

Continue reading »

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5 things today: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:52 AM


1) Buckhead Restaurant Week continues at Market and more.
2) Tera Melos and Marnie Stern bring math-rock and noise-rock to the Drunken Unicorn.
3) Tango Buenos Aires stages Fire and Passion at Fox Theatre.
4) Folk/punk band the Almanac Shouters play WonderRoot.
5) Salman Rushdie introduces The Dead, part of Emory's Great Works of Fiction Made into Great Films series.

See more Atlanta events.

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5 things today: Buckhead Restaurant Week, Tera Melos

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:52 AM


1) Buckhead Restaurant Week continues at Market and more.
2) Tera Melos and Marnie Stern bring math-rock and noise-rock to the Drunken Unicorn.
3) Tango Buenos Aires stages Fire and Passion at Fox Theatre.
4) Folk/punk band the Almanac Shouters play WonderRoot.
5) Salman Rushdie introduces The Dead, part of Emory's Great Works of Fiction Made into Great Films series.

See more Atlanta events.

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