Archive for May, 2012

What can be done about hazing?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Hazing isn’t new, but last year’s hazing death of Florida A&M University’s drum major Robert Champion has thrust the ritual into the national spotlight. Today, the president of a local FAMU alumni chapter denounces the practice and seeks support for his storied but embattled alma mater; and a psychologist explains society’s role in trying to combat a behavior that she says over the past 15 years has grown more frequent, violent and sexual in nature.

Time for FAMU to heal

By James McLemore

Let me begin by sharing my heartfelt sorrow for the family of Robert Champion.

What happened last November is nothing less than a tragedy.

The practice of hazing must stop. It has no place in today’s society.

Young adults should recognize this. Everyone needs to realize that past practices must now stay in the past.

Too much danger and liability can affect the lives of many these days.

For more than 25 years, I have been affiliated with the FAMU community as a …

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Undecided on T-SPLOST?

By Tom Sabulis

We would like to hear from readers who are undecided on the T-SPLOST referendum for an opinion-page column. What are your biggest concerns? What will sway you to vote for or against the sales tax for transportation improvements on July 31?

Please contact Tom Sabulis at

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5/30: Airport concessions contracts

Moderated by Rick Badie

The international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport sits shiny and new. But former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr writes that the city’s handling of concessions contracts for the $1.4 billion terminal dulls its glamour and has left a smudge on the city’s reputation. Atlanta Aviation General Manager Louis Miller says the selection process to award contracts was transparent, above-board and doesn’t warrant scrutiny. It is time to end the meritless attacks, he writes. Read what they have to say and comment.

An earlier version of this post inferred that the City of Atlanta certified airport vendors. GDOT and MARTA certify vendors seeking certification as “disadvantaged business enterprises” in order to compete for concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Airport contracts sully city

By Bob Barr

The recent, long-delayed opening of the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport should have …

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We want to hear from you about T-SPLOST

By Tom Sabulis

We would like to hear from readers who are undecided on the T-SPLOST referendum for an opinion-page column. What are your biggest concerns? What will sway you to vote for or against the sales tax for transportation improvements on July 31?

Please contact Tom Sabulis at

Continue reading We want to hear from you about T-SPLOST »

5/29: Pass or fail T-SPLOST?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

We’re nine weeks away from the historic July 31 vote, when residents in 10 metro Atlanta counties will cast ballots on a 1-cent sales tax to fund $7 billion in transportation improvements.

Our first writer, a respected Washington scholar, calls it our “21st century Olympic moment”: If we don’t pass it, we will lose our economic mojo for a long time. I also talk with a local tax watchdog, who says there are better ways to tackle our most congested areas, rather than funding empty buses and light rail.

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Ethics of lobbying and stem cells

Bob Irvin, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 15 years, beginning in 1972, writes about efforts in the then-minority Republican Party to tackle the lobbyist-gift issue.

Also, novelist Kira Peikoff addresses the push to get a personhood question on the July 31 primary ballot, and what it could mean to award legal rights to embryos.

Tom Sabulis is today’s discussion moderator. Commenting is open immediately after Peikoff’s column.

GOP must be different

By Bob Irvin

House Speaker David Ralston was quoted as saying at the Republican state convention last weekend that people who promote ethics reform “are not interested in seeing a Republican agenda.”

Since when?

When I first ran as a Republican for the General Assembly, 40 years ago, ethics and openness were already a core part of our party’s agenda. The very first partisan floor fight we ever organized was in 1975, for open committee meetings. Every year thatI was the minority leader in the House, and most …

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Gay marriage: About time or no way?

Today, a same-sex marriage proponent calls gay marriage the new normal. An opponent  says such unions erode the country’s moral fabric.

Let us know what you think with comments below. Moderator Rick Badie leads the discussion.

Lift marriage barrier for same-sex couples

By Matt Hennie

There’s a “new normal” brewing across the country, yet it embraces values that have stood the test of time: equality and freedom.

That “new normal” is what Gallup calls the acceptance of same-sex couples that they find is growing. A recent Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans agree that gay and lesbian relationships are “morally acceptable.” Even more say same-sex couple relationships should be legal.

Package that with the endorsement delivered earlier this month by President Barack Obama and it’s clear the tide is shifting in favor of marriage equality.

Acceptance is coming to Georgia, too, though at a much slower pace. A recent Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone poll for WSB-TV …

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Small Business: Two Views

How do small businesses rank Georgia and metro Atlanta? Pretty well. Atlanta was ranked America’s fifth friendliest city for small businesses while Georgia was the sixth friendliest state, a survey notes. Today, the founder of a small-business website explains the rankings and outlines areas that need improvement. The state director for the U.S. Small Business Administration offers her perspective on the region.

Small business plays vital role in Georgia economy

By Terri L. Denison

When I arrived in Georgia in May 2002, I quickly sensed that I had landed in the most entrepreneurially oriented place among my various tours of duty with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Many people I encountered, even casually, were thinking about starting a business, were starting a business or had an established business. Even individuals who held traditional jobs also operated their own enterprises. Statistics have supported my initial observations. Ninety-five percent of the businesses …

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Rejected from Harvard? It’s not about you

By Maureen Downey

The standard college rejection letter announces: “While you are a qualified applicant, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission.”

However, the rejected student often reads a subtext into the letter: “You are not good enough. You are not getting into this amazing college that would have changed your life.”

Allison Singh, 37, understands that reaction. That is how she felt when Princeton rejected her 20 years ago. She nursed her wounds until she realized that she ultimately benefited from the loss.

So, when a high school friend asked her to help her boss’ daughter deal with a rejection by her dream college, Singh composed a long email that began: “I was crushed when I wasn’t accepted to my first-choice college. I felt like a failure and was angry that all of my hard work hadn’t been enough for admission.”

But Singh ended the email with: “But slowly, I gave my school and my classmates a chance, and gave myself a break … I came out of …

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Bus service: Two different looks

With Megabus’ discount connections expanding in the Southeast, we offer a critical look at the new route serving Atlanta and New Orleans. A colleague who recently tried Megabus for the first time writes of her experience taking it to the Jazz Fest.  Paired with that is an essay by a former MARTA rider who writes about the lessons in tolerance she learned while riding the intown bus.

Riding Megabus: New route to Big Easy

By Colleen McMillar

For most people, the allure of Megabus is as simple as this promo from the company’s website: “The first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city-to-city travel for as low as $1 via the Internet.”

Excuse me, did you say as low as $1?

The super-cheap Megabus began operating out of Atlanta last November with routes to 11 cities. Recently, the company added daily departures to Athens and New Orleans.

It was the latter that grabbed my attention: French Quarter Festival. Jazz Fest. Essence Music Festival. Satchmo SummerFest. Voodoo Fest. My …

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