Morning Reads For Monday December 17, 2012.

December 17, 2012 7:00 am

by Buzz Brockway · 49 comments

Need to know how much time do you have left to purchase presents? Click here.

Georgia Items
– State Rep. Roger Bruce takes on those mugshot websites.
– The American Enterprise Institute says Federal Housing Authority policies hurt the people they are intended to help. Here’s a scary graph of the impact on Atlanta.
– Plant Vogtle construction will be delayed “more than a year.”
– Mayor Reed approves raises for the Atlanta City Council.
– Fort Stewart remembers fallen members of the 3rd ID.
– Income reaching new heights in middle Georgia?

National/International Items
-Secret Santas paid off layaway balances in PA, handed out $100 bills in MO, and dropped $20K in Salvation Army buckets in IL.
– Boehner says “let’s raise taxes on the rich” and the President rejects the plan. Who is it who wants to drive us off the fiscal cliff?
Anonymous goes after Westboro Baptist Church after the so-called Church says they will protest in Newtown, CT.
– Newtown Massacre: Grieving Father remembers his 6 yr old daughter. Hero teacher hid her students and put herself between the shooter and the students. Hero Principal saved many lives and “lunged” at the shooter in an attempt to stop him. Overview of the tragedy. The President’s emotional statement.

Please keep the discussion of this tragic incident civil. I’ll be monitoring the comments and will remove those I deem inappropriate.

Other Items
The Hobbit topped the weekend box office setting a December opening weekend record.
– The Falcons pounded the defending Super Bowl Champs. Will this quite the doubters?
– The Hawks are 14-7, only 1 game behind the World Champion LeBrons in the Southeast Division.
– Norcross, Sandy Creek, Jefferson, Emanuel County Institute, Gainesville, Buford, and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy are your GHSA State Football Champions. Congratulations to one and all.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the news, Buzz.

Ed December 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

“The shape and details of Boehner’s offer were uncertain Saturday night, as was the exact reason the president was prepared to reject it.”

Hmm.

Also, Buzz, please tell me you don’t actually believe that there will be any deviation from my fiscal cliff negotiation timeline I posted on Friday, because you know that’s exactly what will happen. Its bull**** season in D.C. and they’re serving it thick.

Valdosta State did what UGA can’t/couldn’t do this year–win a national championship in football!

That’s the only piece of news related to football this weekend.

xdog December 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

One judge pleads guilty, another judge stands accused of misconduct.
http://www.ajc.com/news/news/another-judge-accused-of-misconduct/nTXHb/

John Vestal December 17, 2012 at 8:05 am

Back around Thanksgiving, Rodney Ho at the AJC reported that the braintrust over at B98.5 had made the decision to delay going “all-Christmas” this year. The station had traditionally been all-Christmas music beginning on turkey day and running thru Christmas Day.

Instead, the reported plan was to start mixing some in and to ‘ramp up’ until going all-Christmas Dec 9 (last Sunday).

Well, here we are halfway between that date and Dec 25 and the playlist is still only including a Christmas/holiday tune every 3rd or 4th song.

Anyone else dissappointed by this development? Didn’t someone explain to their new PD, Chris Eagan, that there’s a large contingent of folks in the metro area that pretty much ONLY listen to them from Thanksgiving to Christmas JUST for the Christmas music?

Wonder what they told their holiday season advertisers?

Noway December 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

Interesting topic, John and I agree wholeheartedly. I loved listening to 98.5 for this month. I do miss the total Christmas music theme.

Ed December 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

With all of us about to die on Friday, I’m going to say what I really think about all of you.

Who wants to be first?

Rick Day December 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

when we find someone who cares what you think, we will let you know :D

Ed December 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

My mom cares.

I think.

Rick Day December 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

Mine doesn’t….

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

“Anonymous goes after Westboro Baptist Church after the so-called Church says they will protest in Newtown, CT.”

The subhuman Fred Phelps and his disgusting cult followers are simply sickening and don’t deserve the right to call themselves Americans or Christians.

Every dog has his day and that day is long overdue for Phelps and the Westboro cult who deserve every bad and cruel thing that they’ve got coming to them.

If there was ever any one group that needed one last drink of Kool-Aid, it’s Phelps and his repulsive band of savage inbreds.

Rick Day December 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

Phelps says out loud what most of you or yours really feel, or you would never use the word ‘liberal'; in a spiteful manner.

I’d love for 20 of us on PP to call a news conference at Goldie’s™ and voice our support for marriage perks equality. That would be really cool…”Conservative bloggers buck trends, develop sanity.”

Great headline!

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 9:44 am

I’ve got a heckuva lot of issues with those who call themselves (and those who are too cowardly to call themselves what they are, which is…) ‘liberal’, but the gay thing is not necessarily one of them.

Rick Day December 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

Rick’s comment has been deleted as out-of-bounds. And gross.
-Mike Hassinger

Ed December 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

Rick Day: elevating discourse as usual.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

“Rick’s comment has been deleted as out-of-bounds. And gross.”

…But it was so hilarious…and true.

saltycracker December 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

Obama’s words at Sandy Hook Elementary last night were his best. We are saddened to despair.

School safety has greatly improved but not enough. Resources (like from drug enforcement) should be shifted to public mental health asylums and safety personnel in our schools.

John Konop December 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

………..School safety has greatly improved but not enough. Resources (like from drug enforcement) should be shifted to public mental health asylums and safety personnel in our schools…..

I agree!

John Konop December 17, 2012 at 9:47 am

http://now.msn.com/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-says-mom-of-mentally-ill-son

I think all of you should read this article. I had an older brother who committed suicide while I was in college. He was also a genius with schizophrenia, and my experiences with the issue were similar to the article.

….. A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me…..

The biggest issue in my opinion is society lack of treatment for mental health over incarceration and a toughen up attitude over treatment from parents……We would never do this with a broken leg……..Until we re-focus our assets toward treatment being acceptable and re focus our money toward this over the failed war on drugs approach to mental health issues, we will not see any real change. Every time I hear about this happening I have the exact same feelings as below.

……………I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness………………..

bgsmallz December 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

I’ll chime in on a non-political note…which I should most definitely do more often. I’m far too critical of people on these comments…

Like many, I’m saddened about the pain and suffering evil causes in this world and the focus point upon that by the events in Newtown (and Oregon…and the bombing in Afghanistan of 10 young girls). I’m almost ashamed and guilty for the joy I experienced this weekend in the comforting company of my children. The saving grace for me has been to prayerfully consider the message of Christmas and in particular the Advent season of hope and peace. I found comfort in my church’s regular service and the special Christmas music service this weekend. I would encourage those looking for encouragement to find a service near you, attend, and connect with others who want to hope and believe that peace is possible and that good will triumph over evil.

John-Thanks for your personal note on mental illness. I’m sorry for your loss. Mental illness is such a problem not only for violence but also for the scores of folks forced into homelessness from mental disorders. I don’t know the answer, but I’m hopeful we will not stop asking the question until we honor the lives of those little ones who died this past week.

Max Lehmann December 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

John and bgsmallz:

Thank you both for your comments here; they are both heartfelt and important.

Mental health issues still carry a stigma to both those diagnosed and their family. Untreated mental health disorders are so costly to our society, in terms of misery, crime, and expense to the State and families. Mental health treatmentis considered the ‘red-headed stepchild’ of the healthcare system,; quality of care is lacking in almost every observable metric.

Is it too much to hope that a private/public bi-partisan effort to better treat mental health issues is promoted, in lieu of the inevitable ‘gun control’ arguments? Not too much to hope, but far to much to ever expect, of that I am sure.

in 2010, I had an incredibly honest exchange with Harry regarding the “Jack Boyz” gang horror. The adjudication of that case is “life without the possibility” for all involved. Good riddance to bad men, but ‘what-if’ these very young men had some sort of effective intervention, before they went so far over the edge?

Harry’s point was that until a community is able to make such a crime unthinkable, it will continue to occur. Even with full community awareness and support, this sort of aberrant behavior will still occur.

Sweden was the scene of a mass murder, and it is often considered one of the most civilized Western societies.

We need to improve medical help those that can be helped, identify and sort out those who cannot be helped where we must, and never lose sight of that ‘good will shall triumph over evil.’

I implore our civic, religious, and political leaders to put their hearts and minds toward creating an environment that fosters community-based solutions, with minimum reliance on dwindling State and Federal resources. We are better than this.

Best Holidays wishes to all, may Peace be with you, and hold your family close(r).

Daddy Got A Gun December 17, 2012 at 10:41 am

I’m sorry for your loss.

The need to treat the mentally ill in a humane manner is common ground with gun-rights folks, law enforcement, and others. Our safety net for the mentally ill is non-existant. The options are jail or the streets. Both are horrible and cruel options. I pray that we all can work together to help these people and do it in this legislative year.

Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

There is a piece falsely attributed to Morgan Freeman making the rounds in Twitter/FB world. No matter who actually wrote it, the premise is correct; media attention on these horrific tragedies may cause the next wackjob to see if he can out do a current wackjob record for deaths. Here is a link — http://mashable.com/2012/12/17/morgan-freeman-shooting-statement-hoak-fake/

It is a shame that the reponse to this tragedy will be to attack guns and their owners. That is always the easy way out instead of actually discussing what John talks about, mental illness.

Lea Thrace December 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

Though I agree with you, I do see some merit in discussing the need for Assault weapons being available to every Tom Dick and Harry. It is not needed for hunting and there are certainly better options available for protection of family and property. What purpose does having an assault rifle serve?

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

“What purpose does having an assault rifle serve?”

Keeping a government that has a neverending thirst for power (by way of the erosion of individual liberties) and is prone to overreach in check is the purpose that all weapons, including assault rifles, serve.

Assault rifles can also come in handy while fighting off attempted home invasions against heavily-armed street crews that consist of multiple lowlifes who care nothing about breaking multiple gun laws during the commission of violent and deadly crimes (see parts of Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett counties).

Otherwise, it does not necessarily matter what purpose having assault rifles serve as it is our Constitutionally-affirmed, God-given rights as Americans to individually own them as long as we don’t maliciously harm anyone.

Though I most definitely absolutely agree that not just assault weapons, but ALL weapons (handguns, rifles, automatics, knifes, etc) must be kept of the hands of the mentally defective.

But most importantly, the unspeakable tragedy in Connecticut clearly underscores the absolute need to make sure that the mentally-defective get the required help that is needed to keep society safe and make sure that innocent people remain unharmed.

Otherwise, there is not a weapons ban that can be strict enough to keep weapons out of the hands of a mental defect in a society where the multibillion-dollar illegal drug trade will always guarantee the availability of high-powered firearms, even if all firearms were to be banned.

Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Lea, Why have a Ferrari vs. a Prius if both are prevented from exceeding posted speed limits.

Many gun owners are collectors and have a variety of weapons. I see no reason for government to take reactionary measures the moment after such an emotion filled massacre.

Noway December 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

But they will, TJ. They will have numerous discussions on whether to begin limiting the 2nd Amendment rights. They did it after Columbine, Colorado and now this one. Those with the gun-grabbing agenda will go after this with both-barrels, so to speak.

The focus needs to be on the person who committed the crime and not the instrument used.

Noway December 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Mental illness has always been stigmatized. Wrongly so. It’s truly time that changed. It is often hidden as a ‘weakness’. Even those who are applying for federal employment that requires a security clearance are asked on the forms if they’ve ever seen a psychiatrist or psychologist. If it isn’t grief or marital counseling, it has to be explained. Doctors are often consulted by the agency granting the clearance before deciding upon giving the clearance. There are folks who do not seek help so they do not have to honestly answer that question.

Lea Thrace December 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

I attend a church in Dunwoody of which Rep Fran Millar is also a member.

He was the guest speaker for my Sunday school class yesterday. During the Q&A portion, it was asked if/when the legislature was going to do something about the lack of mental health resources in the state. Even to the point of enacting a tax to help with revenue for the issue.

His answer was that they were not going to do anything. Because there is no money.

But there is money (tax) for a new stadium. For Go Fish ramps. For these other (in comparison) less useful/meaningful endeavours.

If we continue to ignore the least of society, is it a wonder when bad things happen as a result (direct or indirect)?

Stefan December 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

What he should say is, there is no appetite among legislators to raise taxes, it being the only issue on which they are absolutely sure voters have an immutable position.

They are a bit wrong about that, but not enough to be of any electoral consequence.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Legislators might possibly be somewhat wrong about voters’ positions on tax increases in general elections, but they sure as heck are not wrong about voters’ position against tax increases being immutable in the Republican Primaries that decide statewide elections these days.

Willy-nilly support of tax increases in Republican Primaries most of the time gets politicians sent home, no ifs, and or buts about it.

IndyInjun December 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Nope, see TSPLOST.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm

But Georgia Republicans’ support of TSPLOST wasn’t exactly what one could call “Willy-Nilly” seeing as though many of the legislators who (lazily) supported TSPLOST early-on cut-and-run from it like their hair was on fire when they saw the public anger and outrage rising over it (see Chip Rogers & company).

saltycracker December 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Lea,
It is political responses like that and other rationalizations that makes one despair for our culture. I did not attend church this Sunday to avoid the BS. Spent the time holding my young kin close. Particularly thanking my related nurses at Children’s Eggleston and Atlanta Med.

Lea Thrace December 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I think what ticked me off the most about his statement was that not 5 minutes previous, he had spoken proudly of how he didnt think the Norquist pledge was a good thing, and that there are times when taxes are neccesary. He proudly talked about how he fought to remove his name after he signed it and no longer believed it. He spoke about how he believed that sometimes the government needs to have revenue to perform some essential duties.

Then he said the legislature has no money for mental health services. It took everything in me not to be rude and walk out of the room.

(I am of course paraphrasing all of this.)

John Konop December 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

We have the money if we decimalized drugs, and focused some of the savings on mental health ie treatment. Simple solution, but we need leadership ASAP!

Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Why is it government’s responsibility to fund mental health treatment?

John Konop December 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

The reality is simple, you can spend the money putting the mentally ill in jail and or prison or treat them. Not only is treatment less expensive it is the right thing to do. Also society itself must be open to treating the people with mental health issues like and other illness verse turning a blind eye, pretending it is not a problem, embarrassed by the situation…… Talk to anyone in the system, they will tell our legal system is a dumping ground for mental health issues. We can blow our money on the failed “War on Drugs” or promote mental health treatment and or pay people who cannot afford it.

………The number of incarcerated men and women with severe mental illness
has grown so tremendously in the last few decades that prisons may now
be the largest mental health providers in the United States. Yet U.S. prisons
are not designed or equipped for mentally ill prisoners……

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol41_2/fellner.pdf

Daddy Got A Gun December 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Because they are the truly needy. They are unable to take care of themselves and sometimes are a danger to others. Providing humane treatment for these people is a proper role of government because none of us could do it ourselves.

If I was king, I’d cut welfare and all of the other programs for the parasites by 50% and direct that money to mental health treatment facilities. We need to get these people off the streets and out of jails, and get them help.

Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

DGAG, I don’t necesarily disagree with you if there are corresponding cuts to generational freeloader programs. But I have difficulty seeing mental health coverage being any more of a right than regular healthcare coverage.

Yes a mentally disturbed person can be a danger to society, but then we start moving toward a ‘Minority Report’ type environment where government becomes the thought police in an attempt to thwart potential crimes. Since government fails in so many other areas, why would anybody expect it to somehow pick and choose which mental cases are to be treated and paid for by taxpayers?

This is truly a complex issue that is not likely to be solved in a free society. Unfortunately I think we have to accept reality that there will always be freaks with guns willing to do unspeakable acts before killing themselves. The best we can do as a society is arm ourselves so that we may hopefully dissuade some from carrying out their murderous intentions.

bgsmallz December 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

Local news missed…

DeKalb proposing two tax increases.

First, an 8% (!) increase in property taxes….http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/proposed-tax-hike-generates-little-reaction-in-dek/nTXDd/

Oh…and items not being covered by the AJC…SHOCKED!!!!…
-Number 1…why wouldn’t they report the % of the increase and instead are schilling the county line about how much more an average homeowner will pay? I guess ‘exclusive’ information has its price.
-Hotel Motel tax increase to 8%.
-sale of ‘surplus’ property including a library site
-new ‘hazardous waste fee’

But of course…the issue that at every budget meeting for the last 5 years that everyone agrees is killing DeKalb’s budget…namely pension obligations…is still being punted. Great work, DeKalb!

http://saportareport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/DeKalb-CEOs-budget-proposal-2013.pdf

Second… DeKalb wants additional sales tax to fund a new LOST tax for ‘transportation items’…which if anyone had been paying attention to DeKalb’s submission list for road projects to the T-Splost means ‘regular maintenance and paving’ that we haven’t done because we spent the money elsewhere. http://saportareport.com/blog/2012/12/dekalb-county-voters-may-see-a-transportation-sales-tax-proposal-on-a-future-ballot/

Anyway, someone needs to ask April Hunt and the AJC to actually research the bullcrap the county feeds her…

“Ellis has cut county spending by more than $100 million since taking office four years ago. ”
“CEO Burrell Ellis will make his proposed $562.7 million budget public Friday.”
The 2008 Tax funds budget was $636M. I found that on April’s own newspaper’s website in about 10 seconds with a google search. (http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2011/mar/04/burrell-ellis/dekalb-ceo-says-he-wields-big-budget-ax/)

Someone with a math degree explain to me how reducing the budget from $635 to $562 is $100M? Seriously, AJC?

(Not to mention that in 2008 DeKalb had roughly 100,000 more people to serve as that was pre-Dunwoody and Brookhaven incorporation.)

The AJC is not a source of news. Period.

Stefan December 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

Maybe they meant he had cut county spending which resulted in a cumulative savings of $100 million.

Though I don’t have a math degree.

bgsmallz December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

That’s not the quote. They say he ‘has’ which is completely and 100% inaccurate.

Look at the politifact article that I sourced to…Burrell has been making that claim that he ‘cut $100M’ for 2 years now in order to justify not cutting.

The problem is that while he ‘did’ cut $109M from the budget at one point…he has added back 7.2% in 2012 by adopting a $559M budget in 2012 (http://www.crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/17911049/article-A-word-of-caution-on-the-2012-DeKalb-County-budget)
and now is proposing adding another 1% increase in overall spending again…

I want to make sure we both understand how ridiculous this is…the county continues to bemoan lost revenue at a record pace, but for the second year in a row is actually INCREASING the budget despite the incorporation of 49,000 people and the loss of $25 to $35 Million in revenue. In what screwed-up world do you stop providing services to 8 to 10% of the population in your county and still increase your budget?

It would be completely unbelievable…except that it is pure DeKalb county.

bgsmallz December 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Speaking of pure DeKalb…school system is on probation.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/school-board-chairman-says-district-can-recover-fr/nTYRF/

SACS says ” This is because the school board, administrators and others in decision-making positions put the interests of adults before those of children.”

What say you, Eugene Walker?

“We’ve not done anything egregious,” Walker said.

Gov. Deal…please. send. help.

Ed December 17, 2012 at 11:04 am

Hey Buzz, you know what will quiet the doubters about the Falcons? When they win a playoff game.

Buzz Brockway December 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Very true.

Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Good call by SC Governor Nikki Haley — Rep. Tim Scott to replace Sen. Jim DeMint — http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/house-gop-favorite-tim-scott-is-ready-for-what-comes-next-20120329

Buzz Brockway December 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Awesome.


Three Jack December 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

+a bunch to David Burge

IndyInjun December 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Those mugshot websites need to be stopped from refusing to take down pictures of folks falsely accused.

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