Category: Miscellaneous

Broadway Recognizes Georgia’s Favorite Dueling Immigrant

In 1776, three Georgians – Lyman Hall, George Walton, and Button Gwinnett – signed the Declaration of independence. Each lives on, most notably through the counties that bear their surnames. When you visit the Georgia State Capitol, you can see the marble bust of each one in the rotunda.

What do we know about Button Gwinnett? It’s been written that Gwinnett is great, success lives there, and in at least one Gwinnett city, everyone is somebody. However, unlike his co-signers from the thirteenth colony, Gwinnett wasn’t even born here – he was an immigrant – and he died in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh in May of 1777 following a disagreement over securing Georgia’s southern border. Gwinnett wanted to invade Florida; McIntosh disagreed and asserted that Gwinnett’s scheme was politically motivated. (Maybe it would have been easier to just build a fence?)

Revolutionary-era immigrants who died in a duel with a political rival are kind of a thing right now – perhaps I’ve mentioned it? – so it only stands to reason that our man Bilbo Giblin Button Gwinnett is ready for his turn in the spotlight. It took a South Carolinian and a New Yorker (and a beat-boxing New Orleanian) to get the job done, and for that, we raise a glass to Stephen Colbert and Lin-Manuel Miranda for their one-song musical. Ladies, prepare to defend thine Button-holes:

Surely the Apocalypse is Upon Us

deans_bbqOur little family moved from Jonesboro to Douglas County back in the 1990’s. On our first visit to the local BBQ joint, my then six-year-old turned up her nose and sniffed like a NYT food critic, “It’s not Dean’s.”

In every BBQ contest and ranking and internet flame war, I have trumpeted the delights of Dean’s for many years. You will never find better. But now time is running out.

The bastion of BBQ in Jonesboro is closing it’s doors on December 31.

Debate all you want the merits of sauces (Mustard! Get thee away from me!), the depths of smoke rings, the sweetness of porcine cuisine. Just talk amongst yourselves. I’ll be in Jonesboro, standing in what will very soon be a very long line.

250+ Students Attend Youth Leadership Summit Held By Congressman Tom Graves

graves-ylsLast week, over 250 juniors and seniors from 27 different high schools in the 14th District gathered in Calhoun at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.  The purpose: to learn leadership skills, hear from business and community leaders, and to expand their network as they graduate and go to college or enter the workforce.

Those leaders included Floyd County Sherriff’s Deputy Carrie Edge,Co-founder of ADDO worldwide Kevin Paul Scott, Commissioner of Georgia Department of Community Affairs Camila Knowles, and Instructor of Management at Kennesaw State University Dr. Alvin Miles:

“You are here today because someone, somewhere saw something special and different in you,” said Rep. Graves. “And knowing that each of you was created for a unique purpose to impact lives in a positive way, our goal is to equip and inspire you to maximize that purpose now and not wait – because you are not just the leaders of tomorrow, you are leaders today.”
Similarly, Kevin Paul Scott declared during his presentation, “When we’re looking for leaders, we’re looking at you.”

Floyd County Sherriff’s Deputy Carrie Edge spoke on how to become the “Best You Yet.” She stated, “ In order to lead, you must choose to live by choice and not by chance, realize your full potential and seek to fully apply yourself in every decision you make, while maintaining laser focus on your, ‘Why?.’”

Dr. Alvin Miles gave countless examples of how everyone should leverage their unique background to guide their future. He shared that when he was growing up he had to be reminded to speak softer because his voice carried. But then he realized that his voice carrying was an advantage he had over others and encouraged students to remember that “as leaders in your community, your voice carries and you have unfair advantages over others.”

“Just by being here today, you are one step ahead of others and you should use your advantages to make a positive difference in the world,” Dr. Miles added.

Students engaged online via Twitter and other social media using the hashtag #GA14YLS, and there was plenty of positive feedback from the summit.  Also, Congressman Graves did take a selfie with some of the students:
Read more

The Five Georgians Lost but Not Forgotten

Freedom TowerToday is the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by Islamic terrorists on American soil.

Rather than focus on all the noise and negativity, allow me a few moments of personal privilege.

My oldest goes to school in NY. One of my “bucket items” was to visit the 9/11 Memorial before she finished her studies and moved on to greener pastures. She made it happen this summer when I traveled back with her in the weeks before her semester began.

We got to the Memorial around 11am and it was already crowded and very hot/humid. I purposely found the four Georgians killed in the attack and their names. By the time I got to Mike, the tears were streaming down my face. My daughter was just a high school freshman that fateful day. She, and those younger, may never understand the violation we felt. Not just that day, but the next, and the years to come.

Never forget.

September 11, 2001 dawned as a beautiful autumn morning. Lightly crisp, brilliant blue sky. What many call a “Chamber of Commerce Day.”

At 7:59 am, American Airlines flight 11 departs Boston Logan bound for Los Angeles. It never made the destination. Instead, it crashed at 8:46 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At 10:28, the North Tower collapses, killing Michael Gann of Roswell. He was attending a conference and was due to return home that afternoon. Read more here.

michaelGann

Never forget.

At 8:14 am, United flight 175 departs Boston Logan bound for Los Angeles. It never made the destination. Instead, it crashed at 9:03 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. At 9:59, the South Tower collapses, killing Harshad Thatte of Norcross and Maynard Spence, Jr of Douglasville.

harshadThatte

Harshad and Maynard worked for the same company. Harshad’s Condolences page here (the Obit page is under maintenance.)

Maynard is remembered as caring man with an infectious laugh. Read more here.

maynardSpence

Never forget.

At 8:20 am, American Airlines flight 77 departs Washington Dulles bound for Los Angeles. It never made the destination. Instead, it crashed at 9:37 into the Pentagon, killing Georgians Maj. Stephen Long and Maj. Wallace Cole Hogan at their posts. Read more about Stephen here. Cole had startling blue eyes. Read his story here.

stephenLong

Never forget.

At 8:41 am, American Airlines flight 93 departs Newark bound for San Francisco. It never made the destination. Instead, the heroic passengers and crew mounted an attack against the lunatics who hijacked the aircraft. It crashed near Shanksville, PA, taking 40 heroic souls and 4 terrorists with it. While none were Georgians, the 40 heroes who gave their lives are dear to our hearts. Read more here.

Never forget.

Never, ever forget.

[Post updated to include Maj. Wallace Hogan.]

College Football Pick ‘Em: Honoring the South’s True Religion

Its that time of year when we glorify the highest-paid person on campus who is neither a university administrator, researcher, professor or academic; we as adults pin all our hopes and dreams on the athletic achievement of boys; indelibly link ourselves to institutions that we likely have no actual connection with and happily feed a multi-billion dollar “amateur” spectacle.

Yes it is college football season once again!

And what finer way to celebrate that by proving your superiority to fellow Peach Punditeers in the annual Peach Pundit College Football Pick ‘Em Tournament?

The system for ESPN seems to have changed because I couldn’t find last year’s group but no matter! Here is the group homepage. If that doesn’t work, search for Group ID 40659, “PP Supports Ga State” using the password “Go Panthers.”

Prizes will be awarded!

Sign up!

Of Course, You Know This Means War!

You invade Fort Oglethorpe, we'll invade Chattanooga.
You invade Fort Oglethorpe, we’ll invade Chattanooga.  Tit-for-tat, right?

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam must feel awfully powerful being Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.  The Chattanooga Times-Free Press has an article about Governor Haslam’s seemingly quiet invasion of his fellow Republican Governor Nathan Deal’s state of Georgia:

On a listing of Tennessee historic sites, an icon located just below Chattanooga describes the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park’s headquarters as “Fort Oglethorpe, Tenn.

Maybe the move to annex Fort Oglethorpe represents a tit-for-tat effort on Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s part, an effort to punish uppity Georgia officials who have long disputed the two states’ border, especially as thirsty Atlanta and parts of North Georgia seek access to the Tennessee River.

To quote both Groucho Marx and Bugs Bunny: “Of course, you know this means war!”

It’s a “glitch” that apparently has been fixed with the State of Tennessee’s roll-out of their redesigned website.  Of course, this may only be a preemptive strike to hamper our efforts on getting our water back.  Either way, Tennessee should know that Georgia won’t go down without a fight.  Everyday, Georgia sends thousands of people to invade Tennessee…..of course, they come back home to Georgia only to return the following day, but it could be the next #Occupy movement.  Or something.  After all, Chattanooga, Georgia does have a nice ring to it.

Reporting from the Occupied Territory, over and out.

Six Classic City Attractions, as Selected By Athens Native Jack Kingston

Editor’s Note: With this weekend’s Georgia Republican Convention in Athens, former congressmen Jack Kingston compiled this list of things delegates and alternates might want to see and do in the Classic City. Although Kingston represented a district that included much of southeast Georgia, he is originally from Athens.

In addition to the places in this list, don’t forget the Peach Pundit Road Show, beginning at 6 PM Friday At Magnolia’s. We look forward to seeing some of you…

Friends,

I am looking forward to seeing you in my hometown this weekend for the Georgia Republican Party’s 2015 Convention. By birthright, Athens was founded by The University of Georgia. Bound at the hip, its name comes from the Greek Goddess of Enlightenment— Athena. Along with all the University has to offer, there are many off-campus things to do this weekend during the State Convention. This event is an important part of the political process and I encourage all of those able to attend to do so.

If you are interested in watching me speak, I will be on stage around 12:30pm in the main room at the Classic Center.

For those of you who plan on being there, just in case you need a break from politics, here are a few things to do and places to visit while you are in Athens:

The Mayflower – Located right across the arch, the Mayflower is one of the few restaurants that have been owned by the same family and has been in the location since its founding in 1948. Not open for dinner, Mayflower is one of the best spots for breakfast and lunch. I recommend almost anything on the menu, and would also recommend a walk around downtown after your meal, I usually walk out of there pretty full.

Terrapin Brewery – After three unsuccessful years looking for investment money, two Atlanta Brewing Company employees, had made it big. While living in Atlanta, a 1993 UGA grad and his buddy from California had been brewing their own drinks at their house and had a vision to start their own brewery. The idea was to create beer with a unique and distinct taste in a town with a unique and distinct vibe. Finally, the first Terrapin Beer was brewed in April of 2002. Terrapin Brewery, named after the Grateful Dead song “Terrapin Station,” hosts tastings and tours and usually has around 30,000 visitors a year.

For those under 21 or with young kids, there is a really nice outdoor area with space for dogs, games, food trucks, space heaters in the winter, live music, and tons of family fun. Read more

Happy Birthday, Tyler

It turns out that we have not one, but two interns celebrating their birthdays this week.

Wednesday, it was Joash. Today, it’s Tyler Blackmon. Although he’s from Georgia, Tyler just returned to the Peach State from Connecticut, where he’s a rising senior at Yale. In a few weeks, he’ll be off to Washington to intern for the State Innovation Exchange.

Wish Tyler a happy birthday in the comments. And, I think that means we’re just about done with intern birthdays. Except for Will. You’ll have to wait until July for that.

Another Intern Birthday

Our intern Joash has a few things to celebrate this week. On Saturday, he will graduate Magna Cum Laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – International Affairs and a minor in Public Policy. That’s quite an accomplishment. But Joash hits another milestone today as he celebrates his birthday.

In June, he’ll be traveling to South Asia on another internship–a ten month stint with the International Justice Mission.

Take a moment today to wish Joash a happy birthday, and congratulate him on his accomplishments.

Travis Roberts lives again… Cancer Kicks formally launched

cancerkicksA year and a half ago I had the honor of introducing the Peach Pundit family to a man named Travis Lee Roberts. Since that time #travsarmy helped make the final months of Travis’ life and the months after his passing something incredibly special for Travis, his family, and his friends.

The outpouring of support to get Travis on GameDay in Athens was a campaign lead by Travis’ brother-in-law, Joe Pettit. What Joe accomplished with the help of #travsarmy was nothing short of heroic and showed the selflessness that we should all strive for. Now Joe has taken up another campaign for Travis, and he needs your help once again to help other individuals and their families in their fight against cancer.

“Travis founded Cancer Kicks to help thousands of families, who are not only fighting for the lives, but are struggling to pay their medical bills as well as to raise funds to assist world-class cancer research centers who are dedicated to providing research to finding a cure for Cholangiocarcinoma and other rare cancers that are currently underfunded,” said Joe Pettit, President of Cancer Kicks and Travis’ brother-in-Law.

While I am sure Joe would rather be taking his orders directly from Travis as to how Cancer Kicks should be run, I know that Joe will build the organization into something that makes Travis proud. Take some time today and visit the website and read about Travis’ story from those who know him best. While Travis’ body might not be among us, his legacy of hope and determination lives.

How you can help:

Website: CancerKicks
Twitter: @CancerKicks
Facebook: facebook.com/cancerkicks

 

Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Man Cursing On 911 Call

The Southern Center of Human Rights issued a press release saying that they have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Whitfield County resident Boyd Green against Whitfield County law enforcement after he was arrested for using foul language on a call to 911. (Note: I did star out the words for our audience since they were uncensored in the press release.):

ATLANTA – Today, lawyers from the Southern Center for Human Rights and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Boyd Green against Whitfield County law enforcement officers who jailed Green for saying the words “bulls***” and “a**hole” during a 911 call. Mr. Green, a 58-year-old, indigent, disabled veteran of the United States Marine Corps, was arrested for uttering two expletives in passing while registering a verbal complaint about a police officer over the telephone. The case, Green v. Chitwood, et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

The pertinent facts are as follows:

In June 2013, Green lived in Rocky Face, Georgia, with his ailing 83-year-old mother, Ada Green. Green was his mother’s sole caretaker.

On June 20, 2013, a Dalton police officer arrested Green for driving under the influence. Green told the officer that his mother was ill and alone, and he implored the officer to have someone check on her. No one checked on Ada Green. Once incarcerated, Green again notified officials about his mother’s condition. No one checked on Ada Green despite Green’s pleas. Green was still in custody, five days later, when Ada Green was found in her home by a friend, deceased. Devastated, Green was subsequently released and placed on probation for DUI.

Nearly one year later, on June 2, 2014, Green dialed 911 and was connected to a 911 dispatcher. Green complained to the 911 dispatcher that his mother died the previous year because law enforcement officials failed to heed his requests to check on Ada Green. During the 82-second 911 phone call, Green did not raise his voice, threaten the 911 dispatcher or anyone else, or insult her in any way. He used expletives two times, in passing. First, he said, “[t]he sorry d*** a**hole knows me,” referring to the Dalton police officer who had arrested him in 2013. Later in the conversation he used the words “d*** bulls***.”

About thirty minutes later, Whitfield County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Green’s home and arrested him. The stated reason for the arrest was a violation of O.G.C.A. § 16-11-39.2 (B)(1), a Georgia statute that purports to make it illegal to use vulgar language during a 911 call. Green spent three days in jail as a result of the “vulgar language” arrest. The charges against him were later dismissed.

“In this country, people have a right to register a verbal complaint about the police without being jailed as a consequence,” said Sarah Geraghty, Senior Attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights. “Law enforcement officers abused their authority when they arrested Mr. Green for making a complaint about a police officer over the telephone.”

In his lawsuit, Mr. Green’s seeks damages for violation of his First and Fourth Amendment rights and injunctive relief to prevent authorities from enforcing the statute. The defendants are Scott Chitwood, the Sheriff of Whitfield County, and the Sheriff’s deputy who arrested Green.

I wonder how many folks get arrested under this statute for using “vulgar language” while making a call to 911. It seems like it’s a bit much to have someone arrested who may let a word fly from being under duress. Perhaps it’s one of those laws that could be reviewed by one of our lawmaker readers.

PP March Madness Bracket Challenge (Pick Georgia State)

This week, U.S. workplaces will see the annual loss of a billion dollars in productivity…meaning it is time for March Madness!

Doubly best of all, PP has a bracket challenge and the state’s favorite sons, Georgia State, are going dancing!

If you want to play, simply follow the link above. There were link issues previously with the link. If you run into that, search for Group ID: 806724. The password is: “GoPanthers”. You can create an ESPN account or use your FB ID and I believe there’s a way to just create a name.

Hopefully someone can de-throne carter8893 who won last year’s PP Challenge, bringing honor to his family.

Lest anyone think I am anything other than an unbiased fan of GSU, I have them defeating UVA 100-3 in the final.

Rep. Joe Wilkinson To Drop Bill To Make “Adoptable Dogs” Georgia’s Official Dog

Penelope
Our dog Penelope may not qualify as an official state dog under Rep. Wilkinson’s legislation, per se, but she was rescued just the same.

Representative Joe Wilkinson (R-Atlanta) will be introducing legislation today in the House to make Georgia’s official dog “adoptable dogs”. It’s another admirable piece of “feel good” legislation that does highlight the need for more permanent and even foster homes to homeless dogs. My wife and I rescued two one week-old puppies from a litter that a friend and his wife’s dog had by accident. The mother dog was very young and inexperienced, so most of the litter didn’t survive. We took them in because our friends have two young twin boys, so splitting time between the boys and the puppies would have been too much, so we volunteered. It was a difficult, but rewarding task. We bottle-fed them every few hours, nurtured them, and made sure that they were on track of growing at a steady pace. We wound up adopting one of them, Penelope (as you can see in the picture to the right).

My first reaction to the bill was “Really? Of all the things we need to do, this is one of them?” I then took a breath and though about it some more. I think I understand the reason behind it, and I’m even fine with it passing, but I hope the part to raise awareness doesn’t stop after the cameras cut off after the press conferences are over. There are plenty of dogs and cats out there that are looking for warm, loving families. If the legislation garners an increase in pet adoptions, then great, but I believe there’s more that can be done.

I know that one of the local Humane Societies in Chattanooga was looking for volunteers, and I believe that the volunteer hours required to help take care of all of the animals was somewhere in the 15 hours per day range. That’s a lot of care. So, even if you can’t adopt a(nother) pet, there are other ways to make sure that homeless pets like volunteering or even donating to your local animal shelter.

UPDATE: Rep. Wilkinson stopped by the House press gallery to talk to Charlie and said that shelters have reported that they have had a few folks coming in and saying they have thought about adopting, but this has given them the motivation to adopt. Good job, Representative.

Some Awful News From Senator Curt Thompson

Those of us who work in politics are a close knit community, no matter which side of the aisle we work on. We got sad news from State Senator Curt Thompson, a Norcross Democrat, who lost his home in a house fire today. While he is safe, casualties include several family pets. The Senator also lost all his personal belongings.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for those wishing to help Curt get through the next few weeks.

We wish Senator Thompson the best in recovering from this tragedy, and ask you keep him and his family in your prayers.

Join the Navy, See the World

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Douglasville sailor Jeremy Boling is participating in exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Thank you sir for your service!

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 8, 2015) Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Jeremy Boling, from Douglasville, Georgia, serves as the landing signalman during flight quarters aboard USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) Feb. 8, 2015. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina A. Oseguera/Released)