No promises of quality this week, sorry.

“Every Mother’s Son” is literally the only palatable song from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

  1. Do I have some qualms, quibbles and quandaries with the philosophy, practices and prognostications with this? Yes. Did Creative Loafing generally get it right? Yes. 
  2. Atlanta had 10th-largest Metro GDP in 2013, GA’s GDP hit $307.2 billion. #money
  3. New York Times Editorial Board gives a shoutout (sort of) to the New Georgia Project.
  4. $155 million in funding for chicken lab is for the birds (or whatever is the appropriate avian pun). 
  5. Atlanta attempting to become a global arbitration hub.
  6. Druid Hills is Georgia’s smartest “town.” 
  7. Coca-Cola CEO remembers Truett Cathy’s lessons on life and business. 
  8. The challenges ahead for UPS. 
  9. Home Depot moved fast to stop the hackers. The problem? The hackers moved faster. 
  10. Seriously, Morris Brown just needs to go away.
  11. Hey, y’aaalllllll! Paula Deen’s comin’ back on TV! Add four sticks of butter… 
  12. Mayweather bout was over before it began. 
  13. “Horrible” and “no interest” used to describe betting action with Floyd. 


Georgia State University and 10 other schools are creating a national playbook to help low-income students graduate.

In a statement released on Tuesday, GSU said the University Innovation Alliance was created by schools that serve high numbers of low-income or first-generation collegegoers, and each institute has pioneered methods of ensuring all students graduate.

Besides the obvious, why is that a good thing?

For example, universities such as the University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University and Georgia State have used predictive analytics to aid the academic trajectory of students of all backgrounds. Georgia State successfully used predictive analytics and proactive advising interventions to increase its semester-to-semester retention rates by 5 percent and reduce time-to-degree for graduating students by almost half a semester. This means 1,200 more students are staying in school every year, and the Georgia State Class of 2014 saved $10 million in tuition and fees compared to graduates a year earlier. If these same innovations were scaled across the 11 UIA institutions over the next five years, it is estimated an additional 61,000 students would graduate from UIA institutions and save almost $1.5 billion in educational costs to students and taxpayers.

“That is the kind of transformation the UIA is after,” GSU President Mark Becker said.

Emphasis added.

Becker will serve as co-chair of the UIA. The UIA has already raised $5.7 million in funding, the member schools will match that figure.

Joining GSU are: Arizona State University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, University of California, Riverside,  University of Central Florida, University of Kansas, The University of Texas at Austin.

Good luck to the UIA!

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President George HW Bush made things kind of awkward yesterday.

The 41st President endorsed David Perdue. His decision is made all the more interesting considering, you know, Michelle Nunn ran President Bush’s Point’s of Light foundation. 

But the endorsement gets better! While David Perdue was mining the all-important Kennebunkport, Maine vote for his Georgia Senatorial campaign, we got this wonderfully-uncomfortable looking photo (from The AJC).



Does this mean the Hawks will come back from Winnipeg?


Republican Senate candidate David Perdue is out with a positive ad titled “Helping Georgia Grow.” It highlights agriculture, Georgia’s largest industry, talks about Perdue’s interest in serving on the Senate Agriculture committee, and features an appearance by his cousin and former Governor, Sonny Perdue.

Here’s the text of the ad:

Announcer: David Perdue grew up working his family’s farm in middle Georgia.

Sonny Perdue: He grew up modestly like we all did here. Packing watermelons, picking watermelons, toting watermelons. He got the real deal stuff here. The morals, the values, the work ethic.

Announcer: David Perdue knows how vital agriculture is to our Georgia economy. He wants to serve on the Senate Agriculture committee to help Georgia farmers grow.

While the ad will certainly appeal to those with any business related to farming, how will it appeal to the voters in the metro Atlanta area, which is where his opponent Michelle Nunn has her greatest support?


SunTrust Park

September 16, 2014 12:12 pm

by Ed · 31 comments

The new home of your Atlanta Braves* will be SunTrust Park.

From a press release:

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to partner with a great organization that shares our values for winning and serving the community,” said SunTrust Chairman and CEO William H. Rogers, Jr.  “This partnership provides SunTrust increased visibility on a regional and national level through a truly unique mixed-use development that will attract fans and visitors throughout the year.  Importantly, it will help us reach more people as we fulfill our bank’s purpose of lighting the way to financial well-being.”

“The new ballpark constitutes a new chapter in Atlanta Braves baseball, and we are excited that SunTrust has decided to build upon our decades-long relationship and embark on this journey with us,” said Atlanta Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk.  “Both of our organizations have deep roots in Atlanta and loyal fans throughout the Southeast and across the nation.  We couldn’t imagine a more perfect partner and look forward to seeing the first pitch at SunTrust Park in 2017.”

You can read the full statement from Sun Trust and The Cobb County Sellouts, Maaaaan below.

[click to continue…]


In Washington, Congress is preparing for a vote on President Obama’s request for funding to help Syrian rebels fight ISIS. At this stage, it looks like the proposal will be handled as an amendment to the continuing resolution that will fund the government past the end of the September 30th fiscal year.

Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah), for one, would prefer a standalone vote, and wonders whether the President’s plan will be enough to quell the threat posed by ISIS. Speaking to Mike Huckabee on Fox News over the weekend, Kingston also expressed his opinion that in order to win, American troops will need to be involved.

Kingston noted Article I of the Constitution provides that only Congress has the power “to declare war,” and said that this Congress should do its duty to the American people. In addition to the appearance on the Huckabee show, Kingston has pressed his case on Michael Smerconish’s CNN program, and on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes.

The Hill is reporting today that any vote on the matter will likely require Democratic support.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he wasn’t sure his amendment granting President Obama’s request for congressional authority would be backed by a majority of Republican lawmakers, many of whom expressed deep reservations about the plan.

And Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member close to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), predicted that Democrats would have to supply a significant number of votes to approve the amendment, since many members on both sides are likely to oppose it.

“It’s going to take a bipartisan coalition to pass it, and I think it’ll be bipartisan opposition,” Cole said.

Many House members, like Kingston, would prefer to have a new authorization of military force. Others wonder if any arms provided by the United States would eventually fall into the wrong hands. And still others are concerned that the whole effort could end up like the quicksand that drew the United States into the Vietnam War, noting that the military advisers sent to Southeast Asia by President Kennedy ended up morphing into hundreds of thousands of American troops.

But, campaign season for many (not including Kingston) beckons. It remains to be seen if Chet will get his wish.

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On this day in 1940, Sam Rayburn became Speaker of the House. He would serve in the post for 17 years, longer than anyone else. He is pictured above at right with JFK. It’s Papua New Guinea Independence Day, and the day we are supposed to celebrate the ozone layer. Morning Reads after the jump: [click to continue…]


National Journal is reporting that the House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Paul Broun, the former Senate candidate and lame duck congressman representing Georgia’s tenth district.

The announcement was the first official confirmation that the Georgia Republican was being scrutinized by the panel. The joint statement by the committee chairman, Mike Conaway, and the panel’s top Democrat, Linda Sanchez, said the case was referred by the Office of Congressional Ethics on July 31.

The OCE serves as an independent watchdog that does an initial vetting of ethics complaints.

Neither an OCE spokesman nor Broun’s office had comment or elaboration on what exactly is being investigated. A years-old complaint alleging Broun had violated the law by failing to accurately disclose the source of the loans made to the committee from 2007 to 2008 is not the focus.

According to the article, the commission will announce its next steps in the investigation no later than October 29th. Broun will leave office at the end of the year, so he would escape any penalties if no sanctions were levied by the time he leaves office.


President Obama will be in Atlanta on Tuesday visiting the Centers of Disease Control, and is expected to announce additional American efforts to fight the Ebola virus that is threatening several countries in Africa. The New York Times provides a preview of what is expected to be announced at his visit:

The president will go beyond the 25-bed portable hospital that Pentagon officials said they would establish in Liberia, one of the three West African countries ravaged by the disease, officials said. Mr. Obama is expected to offer help to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in the construction of five Ebola treatment centers around Monrovia, with about 500 beds.

In addition, Mr. Obama is expected to announce that he is appointing a woman as an Ebola czar to coordinate the American response, along with an increase in the number of doctors and other health care workers being sent to West Africa. The military is likely to provide medical supplies and training for African health care workers as they seek to contain the virus.

Trying to nip what could be a major epidemic in the bud is admirable, of course. For many Atlantans, however, this could be a bigger immediate concern:

Emory University Warns of Traffic Problems.


The AP is reporting that a series of DNC national radio ads began airing Monday, featuring President Barack Obama.

The first ads, aimed at African Americans, are part of a coast-to-coast buy worth more than $1 million. Future spots were set to target Hispanics, Asian Americans, younger and female voters.

“I want an economy where your hard work pays off with higher wages, and higher incomes, and affordable health insurance and decent retirement benefits,” Obama said in the first one-minute ads.

The ads are airing nationally during syndicated radio shows that are geared at black audiences, such as “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” ”The D.L. Hughley Show” and “Keepin’ It Real With Rev. Al Sharpton.”



Attorney General Sam Olens talks to students at Parkview High School about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.  Photo:  Jon Richards

Attorney General Sam Olens talks to students at Parkview High School about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Photo: Jon Richards

Attorney General Sam Olens traveled to Parkview High School in Gwinnett County this morning to kick off an effort to highlight the effects of prescription drug abuse in Georgia. At an assembly of several hundred high school students, Olens, Rick Allen, the Director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, Dallas Gay, the co-chair of the Medical Association of Georgia’s “Think About It” campaign, and other Gwinnett elected officials announced the We’re Not Gonna Take It video contest. The contest offers prizes for Georgia high school students who produce videos explaining why they support a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t include prescription drug abuse.

In his remarks, Olens called prescription drug abuse an epidemic, with some ten percent of high school students experimenting with the use of painkillers, including Xanax and other opiates. The problem is especially prevalent in North Georgia, in some of the same areas where methamphetamine abuse has been rampant. He noted that in 2009, more people died from prescription drug abuse than in automobile wrecks. In addition, more people die due to overdoses of prescription drugs than do by the use of street drugs like cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine.

Following Olens’ remarks, Dallas Gay told the tale of his grandson, who began to abuse prescription drugs in high school after his wisdom teeth were removed. Despite receiving treatment during his senior year in high school, and undergoing therapy while in college, Jeffrey Gay passed away in October, 2012 after attending a party where prescription drugs and alcohol were served. You can read Jeffrey’s story here.

Comparing the dangers of prescription drug abuse to the risk of nuclear war, Gay wrapped up his talk with a quote from the movie War Games, saying, “The only winning move is not to play.”

High schoolers can create videos that talk about how damaging prescription drugs can be and post them on YouTube. A panel of judges, including Linda Stouffer of WSB-TV, will select first and second place winners, and all entries will be eligible for a People’s Choice award. In addition to having their video broadcast on TV, the winner will receive an iPad. Second and People’s Choice Award winners will receive $300 gift cards. The complete rules are posted here, and entries will be accepted through October 31st.


This week’s Courier Herald Column:

The late Skip Carey used to have a saying when a Braves game was tied up after nine innings.  It was time for “free baseball”.  It was usually a bit of mocking wit to explain that the public was going to get to see more of a team that, especially during his earlier career, had probably already shown the fans enough during nine innings.  And yet, there was going to be more, despite few people ever complaining that a baseball game had gone by too quickly.

A new set of polls released last week in the Governor’s and U.S. Senate races show that we may very well be headed for “free baseball” in campaigns that have already been going on for quite some time.  Most of the polls are showing close races at or within the margin of error, with only one of four polls released showing any candidate for the top two offices at 50% support from likely voters. [click to continue…]


Joash mentioned this in a post last week when Bobby Jindal came to down to stump for the governor, but I think this needs a little bit more discussion. I was kind of surprised that it hadn’t come up in any of the comments either. Greg Bluestein and Maureen Downey covered it a bit more in depth.

The fact that the governor is talking about a Recovery School District is a big deal. We already knew that education was going to be the issue de jour for this cycle after the budget came out. Follow that with all of Jason Carter’s assertions on education, which Kyle Wingfield has enjoyed (here and here), and that’s the substantive issue to talk about. It’s also a whole lot easier to care about education than ethics. Kids are much cuter.

So what is a recovery school district anyway? Essentially it’s when the state sets up a new state wide school district to govern the worst performing schools. Generally the number that is thrown around is the bottom five percent. This is related to Race to the Top’s requirements for failing schools. However, it should not be seen as RTTT having an effect on an RSD, both of the best examples were in place well before RTTT. Rather, the causal effect is likely the other direction.

Speaking of the best examples, we see those in Louisiana and Tennessee. Louisiana’s was put in place just before Katrina, but the storm provided the needed impetus to really take advantage of what an RSD could do. Tennessee started a few years later but has enjoyed the benefits of seeing what works and what needs to be done differently.

In both states, the failing schools have been converted to charter schools, with charters being given through the RSD (Tennessee calls theirs an Achievement School District). This is done because clearly the previous leadership was not doing what it was supposed to do.

In Louisiana they have yet to renew a charter of a school that is not reaching goals related to attendance and achievement. They also have not renewed a charter of a for profit company, so any charge of profiteering off of children’s education is bologna. In the NOLA environment, the community nonprofits are the only ones that have been able to show success, and to be good stewards of the people’s tax money.

NSNO1What kind of success has the RSD seen? Here’s ten years in New Orleans courtesy of New Schools New Orleans. What you can see is impressive growth in the RSD as opposed to normal schools state wide in Louisiana. NOLA is actually on track to have some of the best performing schools in the entire state.

What does this mean for Georgia? Well there are a lot of places that really need some help when it comes to school achievement. Likely Clayton, Fulton, and DeKalb counties are coming to mind in addition to the City of Atlanta. Though there are some schools in the Augusta, Columbus, and Savannah areas that need some help to.

Could this lead to better schools in Georgia? Absolutely. But we’d have to do it right, and we’d have to be committed to real change for the long haul. New Orleans didn’t see things change over night. Memphis took a managed growth approach, on account they didn’t have 117 schools close due to a hurricane. The lessons learned from Memphis and New Orleans should be applied.

You have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Other states have some experience and we’re seeing good data once the commitment to a long term solution has been made. Lets start with five schools year one, raise that to ten schools for year two, maybe twenty year three. Growth in the RSD needs to be managed so that the whole reform doesn’t trip and fall on it’s face. If it isn’t managed, then there will be shortages of qualified teachers, school leaders, charter school governing boards, charter incubators, etc.

Georgia could definitely do this.


Boy was it a good weekend for football, and a great weekend to be a Gamecock. Between USC v UGA, Kentucky v Florida, and Notre Dame v Purdue, there were plenty of good games to watch. Here’s what else happened.


Georgia’s Democrats are catching some attention for their voter recruitment.
The case for more charter schools.
That’s a lot of fraud.
Savannah schools, doing more with less.
It’s probably a good idea to keep recess then.


UCF vs. Mizzou, 10-38
Massachusetts vs. Vanderbilt, 31-34
Arkansas vs. Texas Tech, 49-28
Georgia vs. South Carolina, 35-38
UL-Lafayette vs. Ole Miss, 15-56
Mississippi St vs. South Alabama, 35-3
Southern Miss vs. Alabama, 12-52
UL-Monroe vs. LSU, 0-31
Kentucky vs. Florida, 30-36
Tennessee vs. Oklahoma. 10-34
Rice vs. Texas A&M, 10-38


A Bernie Sanders presidential bid?
Film tax credits, loosing popularity.
John Kerry’s trying to find solid commitments against ISIS.
The Scottish independence vote is getting closer, as in it’s this week. Here’s one take on it.
Somalia is a success?

Everything Else

There was a password leak from Gmail. Go check if you are affected.