Author: Jessica Szilagyi

Morning Reads – Thursday, October 15, 2015

On this date in 1892, the US government announced that the land in the western Montana was open to settlers. The 1.8 million acres were bought from the Crow Indians for 50 cents per acre

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Morning Reads – Thursday, October 8, 2015

On this date in 1945, President Truman announced that only Britain and Canada would be given the secret to the atomic bomb.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

 

Morning Reads – Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy First Day of October!

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Cameras. Cameras Everywhere.

Red light cameras. Police scanner cameras. Body cameras. Light post cameras. And now…school bus cameras, at least for several metro areas like Gwinnett, Cobb, and Clayton counties as well as Marietta and Decatur City Schools.

Failing to yield for a school bus stop sign is one of the more dangerous traffic violations on the books and very few people will argue anything about the current law should be changed. In Gwinnett County, though, fines are increased if the violation is caught on a camera attached to a school bus.

But as the AJC reported this morning, like most technology “wins”, there are downfalls, too. It now seems drivers are being penalized when the sign has been out for merely a second or two.

Gwinnett Solicitor Rosanna Szabo told the AJC they’re now asking that the sign be out for 3 or more seconds before issuing a citation, as one or two seconds may not be enough reaction time for drivers to make a stop. 1,370 motorists have paid the price in the past six months while 150 were dismissed.

The school system? They’re lovin’ it. Gwinnett County Schools collected $574,425 in fines from January to June. They say they use it for transportation-related safety projects and to pay officers who review the footage. (If they’re hiring, we should all apply. That is a substantial salary.)

Also of concern, cameras are administered by an Australian company, Redflex, that has been at the center of federal bribery case out of Chicago for months.

These cameras bring about the same worries any other government-run recording devices do. How often is this data purged? Where is it stored? Can it be hacked? What information is attached to the license tag? Is it or is it not subject to open records requests? Hint: Based on a bill that failed to pass in the legislature this past year, there aren’t succinct and safe answers to any of those questions.

Additionally, cameras don’t protect children riding the school bus or limit the number of kids who will be struck by vehicles not adhering to the law any more than the current sign on the bus, the flashing lights, or the laws on the books. It only punishes the violator after the fact. The Gwinnett School district begs to differ, however, citing no children have been struck since the cameras were installed.

Morning Reads – Thursday, September 24, 2015

On this date in 1869, thousands of businessmen were financially ruined after a panic on Wall Street. The panic was caused by an attempt to corner the gold market by Jay Gould and James Fisk.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Morning Reads – Thursday, September 17, 2015

It’s one of my favorite days…Constitution Day!!

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum 

Which Georgia Republican Will Take Up Transgender Policies?

The firestorm stemming from the early release of transgendered inmate Ashley Diamond is dwindling but the flame fanning when it comes to the bigger picture of transgenders in Georgia is still wildly ablaze.

While serving a sentence for robbery, Ashely Diamond, who was born a male but is now living life as a female filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice after the Georgia Department of Corrections stopped administering hormone therapy. Georgia and federal law both prohibit incarceration facilities from stopping medication that was part of an inmates lifestyle prior to entering prison, however, furthering a transition through surgery or additional hormone drugs is not permitted. Once the DoJ ruled the Georgia DoC must administer the hormones, Diamond filed another lawsuit alleging repeated rape and assault charges. Shortly after, Diamond was released after serving only 3 of the 12 year prison sentence. The Georgia DoC says early release is common, but others speculate that Diamond was released because no one knew what to do with her and the lawsuits and negative publicity seemed unending.

The majority of the issues around Diamond’s case arose because Diamond was living life as a female…in an all-male prison.

This may have been the first case of its kind in Georgia, but it certainly won’t be the last. The decision to either enact a law, or push for the Georgia Department of Corrections to establish a policy, is on the shoulders of Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly. While the issue certainly isn’t sexy, or politically expedient, it is necessary.

Read more

Morning Reads – Thursday, September 10, 2015

On this date in 1794, America’s first non-denominational college was charted. Blount College later became the University of Tennessee.

Peaches 

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

UGA Pays Trayvon Martin Attorney for “Hoodies Up” Speech

Though it’s been years since Trayvon Martin was killed in a scuffle between he and George Zimmerman, and it’s been years since Zimmerman was acquitted in his criminal case, the Martin family appears to be reaping the benefits of the continued media frenzy.

On September 10, Jasmine Rand will address University of Georgia students with her lecture “I am Trayvon Martin: Hoodies Up.” She’ll received $3,500 for her presentation. The University of Georgia’s Institute for African American Studies is sponsoring Rand’s lecture.

Her “Hoodies Up” presentation covers the “use of the media to further a social justice cause” and her “experience as a professor that encouraged her students to work side by side on her case and launch what became an international movement.” She also addresses her continued belief that the Zimmerman case received the wrong verdict, citing human rights violations against Martin.

“If you break down every aspect of the Trayvon Martin case, things that are tangible and things that are intangible, you’re dealing with civil and human rights, and so much of that is not quantifiable in a traditional sense,” the trial lawyer said, according to a glowing UGA Today press release. “So there are certain aspects that have a very real influence on leading a movement and creating social change and changing the law that have nothing to do with black letter law.”

The full description of Rand’s lecture is “I Am Trayvon Martin: Hoodies Up — How One Case Changed a Nation & Ignited the World.”

This isn’t the first lecture of this nature. Earlier this year, the University of Georgia hosted a psychology professor, Enrique W. Neblett, Jr., who lectured about his belief that racism causes black college students to gain weight during the first year on campus

Morning Reads – Thursday, September 3, 2015

On this date in 1976, the spacecraft Viking 2 landed on Mars. The unmanned spacecraft took the first close-up, color photos of the planet’s surface.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Morning Reads – Thursday, August 27, 2015

On this date in 1938, Robert Frost, in a fit of jealousy, set fire to some papers to disrupt a poetry recital by another poet, Archibald MacLeish.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Willard Targets Planned Parenthood with New, Possibly Redundant, Legislation

Following the continued blow back from Planned Parenthood videos that continue to surface indicating that some chapters of the organization sell fetal tissue for profit, state representative Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) is planning to introduce a bill that will close a loophole for that exact issue in Georgia code.

Currently, Georgia law says fetal tissue must be ‘buried, interred, or cremated’ but Willard told WSBtv the law only applies to disposal, not medical research.

According to an interview with WSBtv, Willard also wants to make it a felony at the state level punishable by up to five years in prison. He says that the desire to do something came to him after the videos were released.

Willard says his bill will still allow for voluntary donations of tissue without monetary exchanges, but Planned Parenthood Southeast says even that isn’t allowed because of the disposal requirements.

What’s interesting is that selling fetal tissue is already against federal law and two separate investigations requested by Governor Deal concluded that facilities within the Planned Parenthood Southeast organization all properly disposed of their aborted fetal tissue. Perhaps Willard’s angle is the ability to shut down facilities under Georgia law.

Morning Reads – Thursday, August 20, 2015

On this date in 1866, it was formally declared by President Andrew Johnson that the American Civil War was over.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Morning Reads – Thursday, August 13, 2015

On this date in 1784, the United States Legislature met for the final time in Annapolis, MD.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

Morning Reads – Thursday, August 6, 2015

On this date in 1945, he American B-29 bomber, known as the Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb on an inhabited area. The bomb named “Little Boy” was dropped over the center of Hiroshima, Japan. An estimated 140,000 people were killed.

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum