Morning Reads 2/25/2013

February 25, 2013 6:30 am

by Ron Daniels · 22 comments

Welcome to Monday Morning Reads: Where we give out noise-makers for free and the points don’t matter!

Judge to Governor Deal re: Dekalb School Board: “Not so fast my friend.”

On the General Assembly’s radar this week–ethics and justice reform. Some executives also want the General Assembly to help out the high tech industry.

Speaking of justice, are Georgia’s mandatory minimum sentences causing disparity in jail times?

Oscars? Who needs them! Not us in Hollywood South. You fellows ain’t getting nothing out of me! Except maybe my name, rank, and Social Security number: Wood, Hollis P., Lumberjack, Social Security 106-43-2185.

Hey, we’ve been in a drought. And this rain is crazy. But look at our rivers. Its flooding, maybe.

Emory President censured for slavery article.

By the way, we need to be killing folks on death row faster. We’re running out of the poison.

Did Arthur Blank attempt to burn down the Georgia Dome? Would have been a win-fall for somebody. Hold on Artie; we can still burn that sucker down. I’ll get some burlap bags for our feet. Let it come a good thunderstorm. Hey, it works in some counties.

Not to mix subjects, but the aforesaid acts would likely work in this county. You know, poaching stings and all. They likely have some good stills hid from the revenue boys too.

It’s time for Georgia to recommit to water plans, say some. I say we’re about to drown right now. Write this again next month.

Oh, and while I have this soap box: you do not need to rename the Eugene Talmadge Bridge. I understand the sentiment, but I also believe said sentiment is based largely on individuals ability to read only half of the history book.

And now, music, in honor of MC Hammer. I’m on my way to Tifton, ya’ll behave.

Added by Charlie:  A couple of weeks ago Georgia lost doctor and author Ferroll Sams Jr.  As is sometimes the case with strong and great couples, Georgia lost his wife, Dr. Helen Fletcher Sams, over the weekend.  Dr. Ferroll and Dr. Helen were married for almost 65 years and were each true pillars of the community where I grew up.  We are a better place for them having been here.

saltycracker February 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

Listening to the Dekalb school board members plead their case for accreditation they might consider dropping dialects and speaking clearly. Local control doesn’t look so good when the majority elects the incompetent again and again.

Raleigh February 25, 2013 at 8:16 am

Local control? No public school system in Georgia really wants local control. With one hand they say stop to the state for meddling in their business and the other hand their palm’s out demanding more state money. All “local control” means is another talking point to appease the masses.

Ed February 25, 2013 at 8:20 am

No mention of the Daytona? Come on, I can’t be the only PPer who likes NASCAR…and I’m supposed to be the liberal of PP.

saltycracker February 25, 2013 at 9:23 am
Grandson of Flubber February 25, 2013 at 9:41 am

Althought it hasn’t caught much attention, SPLOST IV earling voting begins today in Cobb County.

Grandson of Flubber February 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

Spell check mia culpa: “Although”

Ed February 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

“Spell check mia culpa”

lol.

Charlie February 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

So little that I live in Cobb and didn’t even know about it.

We’ll get something together on it.

mpierce March 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Did ya’ll put something together and I missed it?

James February 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

Weird comment about renaming the Eugene Talmadge Bridge. Talmadge was a well-known racist. Not surprisingly, some people have a problem with driving on a bridge named after a well-known racist. I’m not sure how “the other half of the history book” is supposed to matter.

Ron Daniels February 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I don’t think you know as much as you think you do about Eugene. He used race to get himself elected. Absent some new information surfacing, Talmadge’s position and acts have been known for over half a century.

If we do not recall history, we doom ourselves to repeat it. I suspect the very people who are objecting to the name of the book has only secondhand information regarding Talmadge. He was a very nuanced politician. For his time, he was also quite progressive.

But you know, let’s just forget history. It’s not important at all.

Seth Clark February 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

A quick read of William Anderson’s A Wild Man from Sugar Creek– THE history book on ‘Gene– will show that Talmadge was a man outside of the race-baiting, but that race was essentially the platform of every Gubernatorial and Senate races he ran. His beliefs on racial politics were him because the people of Georgia thought it was.

That was his aim: use race to galvanize and recreate the Lost Cause insurgencies, and the devastatingly deregulated economic system of the 1910’s. In that regard, he was more successful than any other Southern Governor.

He did more than just touch on race issues– his tone and ideas were the basis of 30 years of succeeding Lost Cause and Massive Resistance politics based in hate. He was George Wallace before Wallace knew how to tie his shoe. And he was better at the political game than Wallace.

But since we both agree that he, as anyone, is more nuanced than his signature rallying cry, what does the other side of the history book say about Ole Gene?

The other side of the history book tells a story of an overreaching Executive that declared Martial Law at the Capitol, and fired UGA professors for their beliefs—an action that cost him an election against Ellis Arnall, an actual reformer and “progressive for his time”. Talmadge worked tirelessly at the expense of the people who voted for him to undermine the only successful job creation programs of his time, the New Deal, and was almost impeached as Agriculture Commissioner for trying to fix markets years before.

His henchmen were constantly armed, and were not above attacking the Press if they didn’t receive the respect they felt they deserved. If a government official did something out of step with the administration they were literally forced out of their desks at gun point.

He supported Atlanta cotton speculators against the Federal Government and cotton farmers, which slowed growth in South Georgia. When the feds tried to pay farmers to till out their cotton and plant something else in order to deflood the market and PAY them to plant something they can actually eat, Ole ‘Gene demagogued that Roosevelt was declaring cultural war on South GA Farmers. Farms shut down because of this, and lives ruined. But it got him elected to a second term. This is just one example of his oversimplification of an issue in order to maintain a cultural hold on Georgians and create political factions for, and against, him.

He was not progressive for his time. Ralph McGill was progressive for their time. And Talmadge hated McGill. Talmadge was a populist only because he declared he was. His anti-New Deal policies hurt the dirt farmers or portended to protect.

Eugene Talmadge was a brilliant speaker and campaigner– the last of his kind, thank God. Only Tom Watson or the Lost Cause orators matched him before in those regards and no one has since. Anyone in politics can learn greatly from his tactical brilliance. But, brilliant and decent are far from synonyms in my praise of him, and we should be careful not to conflate the two as well. It is the most fascinating political story of modern Southern politics, but not because of the protagonist’s meritorious or populist character.

Should he be remembered as our longest serving leader and one of the most brilliant political minds of the 20th century? Absolutely. But, remembrance and laud must not be conflated in doing so. Don’t say we have to read history in full then not cite any historiographical evidence of your claim. And rewriting him as a progressive for his time is offensive to the thousands of disenfranchised, and their grandchildren, black and white, that would like to drive over a bridge named for something that didn’t marginalize one group of people by exploiting another.

Ron Daniels February 25, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I’d say that Red Galluses: A Story of Georgia Politics is the history book on Gene. But it’s not like I’ve read all of them extensively or anything. Surely he wasn’t progressive. He didn’t kick “strikebreakers” out of Atlanta. He didn’t oppose the regressive sales tax. My mind just made all of that up, surely.

What of the Jefferson Davis Highway? Where is the movement to change the name of that stretch of highway? What of the vast number of confederate war memorials? There is no reason to single out the Talmadge bridge when there are so many other issues. We can spend money on something like this while we have children who aren’t getting an education. We can spend money and time changing the name of a bridge when we can’t afford to keep the State Archive open.

Eugene is far from an idealistic hero; but revising history just because it’s ugly doesn’t work well for anyway. Rome fell for a reason, we must learn from that–not go change the name of Rome, Georgia.

Seth Clark February 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Allen Henson’s book is great, no doubt, but it has to be contextualized. He was one of Talmadge’s Assistant AG’s, not an historian. It was rife with revision and more melodramatic than some of the essays in I’ll Take My Stand.

With all due respect, no one revised anything except you. Even with the examples you cited, primarying two incumbent Senators over their reticent support of the New Deal is not progressive.

I’m not revising history because it’s ugly; I’m simply correcting an assumption that not supporting a sales tax or chasing violent strikebreakers out of Atlanta allows people to posthumously assign a progressive label on a man that fought the most fiscally progressive federal government we’ve ever seen. That’s revision. Yes he was complicated. We both agree on that. But, progressive? C’mon.

Check out his speeches from when he mulled a Presidential run against Roosevelt in 1935. See if those sound progressive. His own words are much better indicators than us arguing over the most trustworthy choice of Talmadge history.

And let’s be clear– I never advocated changing the name of the bridge. My hang up isn’t the name of the bridge. It’s the insensitivity of rewriting the nature of the Talmadge administration and using that as an argument to NOT change the name.

Ron Daniels February 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I think we have a failure of communication; particularly my use of “quite progressive.” There were certainly more progressive politicians and pundits at the time–you’ve named a few and there are more. Eugene was not, as many believe, a fascist. I’m not even sure he could truly be labelled as a populist. Considering that Talmadge hailed from Telfair and Montgomery when he entered politics, I was judging him against his surroundings in terms of progressive-ness.

In the grand scheme of things, I can’t say that Marvin Griffin was more progressive. I can see an argument for Lester Maddox, but not a clear-cut one. Nor can I say some of my own family members from the same region were more progressive. From the anecdotal evidence I’ve been exposed to, Talmadge was more progressive than many folks from Telfair County in that day.

Will Durant February 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Ahem, history is a thing I know just a little of… George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and certainly that was more heinous than Gene Talmadge’s segregationist rants. Abraham Lincoln may have been the great emancipator but his viewpoint on white supremacy would certainly be considered racist by today’s standards. Richard Russell was also a segregationist but also in the same era as Talmadge and as bad as it may seem to you now, you didn’t get elected in Georgia without a segregationist plank in your platform. Perhaps we need to rename the nation’s capital, states, cities, roads, etc. to civil rights leaders’ names. But wait, didn’t a lot of them suffer from some human frailties themselves? Oh Hell, let’s just use numbers.

drjay February 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm

meh, i have been surprised following this story in the local paper that it has come up after all these years as something that needs to be i was not aware of how much this bridge and it’s name impacts the daily lives of my neighbors…when the new bridge was built in the early 90s it probably should have been renamed then, but it wasn’t so i guess it’s going to get renamed now–i would suggest something like sav’h harbor gateway bridge, or coastal empire bridge or some such and then there would be no need to worry with who may or may not be offended by the offensive person for whom the bridge ends up named…

Bill Dawers February 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

It sounds like the entire Chatham delegation in Atlanta is prepared to move ahead with the introduction of a name change — likely something like Savannah River Bridge (which many already call it). I agree the new bridge should have been given a different name when the original bridge was replaced. Even considering the politics and cultural mores of the time, some of Talmadge’s statements stand out. This ball got rolling recently when Stan Deaton from the Ga. Historical Society suggested renaming it for Oglethorpe, but there have been a number of other credible suggestions. I’d actually like something like Seafarers Bridge or something with a little poetry to it, but Savannah River Bridge would be just fine.

David C February 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Well, surely we can come up with a better namesake for a bridge than the guy behind the infamous quote “Sure I stole it! But I stole it for you.” I mean, we’re not LOUISIANA over here.

Noway February 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

These are the same folks who now hate Jefferson because he owned slaves, Ron. Don’t blame them, they know not what they do.

Ron Daniels February 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I get steamed when we portray Oglethorpe as a Saint and admonish other folks.

xdog February 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is dead at 96.

I always liked Koop for his old-style beard and the fact that he was doctor en0ugh to risk offending many of his evangelical brethern by advocating using condoms and sex ed, esp in dealing with AIDS. He pissed off a lot of Reagan people in his career, which was always a good thing. He hated smoking too, calling cigarettes a nicotine delivery system. Tough old bird.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/health/c-everett-koop-dead/?hpt=he_c1

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