Archive for the ‘Quality of Life’ Category

Mercer, MLK and civil rights

By Spencer B. King III

Last September, Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, gave the keynote address kicking off the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of Mercer University, highlighting his belief that Southern liberal arts institutions like Mercer had a great influence on the Civil Rights movement. Sharing the day with one of my Mercer classmates, the Rev. Bill Willis, spurred memories of my first encounter with Andrew Young.

On April 9, 1968, I received a call from Bill, who asked if I could leave my duties as a medical resident at Emory University to provide transportation from the airport to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. I picked up Bill, and to my surprise, Michigan Gov. George Romney and James Cavanaugh, mayor of Detroit. I felt out of place as I sat in Wheat Street Church next to Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP, and observed the organization of celebrities who would be escorted through the crowd to the service at Ebenezer Church.

Bill and …

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Cityhood rages in DeKalb

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A number of DeKalb County neighborhoods are seeking to incorporate as cities, to better serve themselves and keep their tax money from a county establishment that has seen its share of corruption. Today, the county CEO writes about the residents the cityhood trend leaves out in the cold, while leaders in the Lakeside, Briarcliff and Tucker communites demand their rights to hold a vote on the issue.

Commenting is open.

City trend leaves some residents out

By Lee May

Cityhood is not inherently a bad thing. There have been cities within DeKalb County since 1822.

It is a fundamental right for citizens to be able to choose more government and pay a premium for heightened levels of service.

The trouble is, under current Georgia law, cities can be created or expanded in a way that unfairly impacts service levels for others outside of these arbitrarily drawn boundaries.

Governments are funded primarily through property taxes and licensing fees. As it currently …

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Mistreated dogs?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia Regents University in Augusta has come under fire from the Humane Society of the United States for performing painful dental implant experiments on dogs obtained from a questionable dealer. GRU’s vice president of research says the humane society is presenting incomplete facts and inaccuracies in its video, made by an undercover lab worker; proper research protocols were followed; the research was necessary to improve human lives, and proper pain medication was used on the dogs.

Commenting is open.

Saving animals from labs

By Wayne Pacelle

Picture a different life for the dog who loyally sits by your feet every night or who dances with excitement when she sees you — a dog like my beagle mix, Lily, who quickly became a member of my family when we adopted her some months ago.

Imagine, instead, that dog in a laboratory, confined to a cage and taken out of the cage primarily for invasive procedures that result in extended suffering and pain. The …

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Christmas Eve messages

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

What are some of our religious leaders thinking this Christmas Eve? We invited a Christian and a Muslim to offer their views on how the holiday is celebrated and observed from a distance, respectively. Our deeds, spirit and pursuit of material goods (i.e. presents) all come into question. In our third column, we present reader comments from our blog regarding recent transportation columns.

Keeping God in our outside world

By Patricia Templeton

Like many families, we spend Christmas Eve doing last minute errands: the trip to the store, the stop by the church to make sure everything is ready for the evening’s services, wrapping those last packages.

My racing around is always accompanied by a special soundtrack: the live radio broadcast of Christmas Lessons and Carols from King’s College in Cambridge, England. Hearing Christianity’s sacred stories — from the Garden of Eden through the birth of Christ, and listening to the beautiful Christmas hymns and …

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Connecting our faith with deeds

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Here’s a seasonal column from an Atlanta pastor who also writes for the Higher Ground blog at

By Joseph L. Roberts Jr.

Today, we desperately need to connect the values taught by all our religious institutions — Christian, Jewish and Muslim — with our daily practice as citizens.

A few Sundays ago, after worship at Ebenezer Baptist Church, we stopped at a gas station. My wife and I remained in the car while our son filled the tank. A middle-aged man walked by. He wore three pairs of worn-out pants, each pair slipping on his thin frame, showing soiled undergarments. He seemed depressed and desolate, but he didn’t approach us to ask for assistance. He probably wrote us off as people coming from church, who had already forgotten the challenge heard at worship.

He searched two large trash bins nearby, looking for any discarded food. He quickly wolfed down anything that was edible. He searched again, for something to drink. When he …

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Fight for jury trials

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Two weeks ago, we published a column by an Atlanta attorney whose firm’s nonprofit wing found that an alarming number of employment discrimination cases never reach a jury here. Today, we continue the conversation. An Atlanta lawyer explains that federal judges are only doing their jobs by tossing cases that don’t meet minimum standards, while another echoes the words of Founding Fathers, who saw the jury trial as a pillar of justice for all Americans.

Commenting is open.

Judges are only following the law

By Randy C. Gepp

A recent Opinion article published in the AJC entitled “Preserve Right to Jury Trial” represents that the process used by Atlanta federal judges in employment cases is denying the right to a jury trial. This representation is untrue. An employee whose claims meet the minimum statutory requirements will receive a jury trial.

Our laws do not require that every claim, no matter how frivolous, will proceed to a trial before a jury. …

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Atlanta’s next human rights legacy

City poised to be role model once again

By Doug Shipman

While many of us may be focused on holiday preparations, an important milestone passes next week: Tuesday marks the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Created after the atrocities of World War II by a global committee led by Eleanor Roosevelt, this United Nations document provides crucial context for what can be our next great legacy.

Beyond “the city too busy to hate,” Atlanta is poised to become America’s home for human rights.

Atlanta holds a unique place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement — as a Southern city where conflict gave way to cooperation, citizens worked together across racial and religious lines, and the business community joined in support.

But this spirit of collaboration didn’t end with the 1960s. In the decades since, Atlanta has become known as a welcoming home for many minorities, from immigrants to LGBT people. Our civil rights legacy and growing diversity played …

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Mental health cuts loom at Grady

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Grady Memorial Hospital could learn next week if Fulton County plans to cut funding for mental health services. Rosalynn Carter, a longtime champion of mental health issues, writes that the county cuts would send an unfortunate message just as Georgia was making strides in the mental health arena. Fulton Chairman John Eaves says others need to help share Grady’s load, beginning with state expansion of Medicaid.

Fulton must avoid mental health cuts

By Rosalynn Carter

The Fulton County Commission must avoid the proposed cuts to Grady Memorial Hospital’s mental health services. The loss of the Grady programs these monies fund will be devastating. Emergency rooms at area hospitals will overflow with mental health patients in crisis. With an already inadequate capacity, the regional hospital will have to turn away more citizens in need. The jail population likely will increase as it becomes practically the only alternative for shelter and care. The county …

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Jury trials denied

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Recently, the AJC reported on a study that showed it’s nearly impossible to get a jury trial in employment discrimination cases in federal court in Atlanta and north Georgia — judges here tossed more than 80 percent of all cases. Today, one of the lawyers who conducted the research writes about the evisceration of a basic right and another looks at recent Supreme Court decisions reflecting a national trend.

Commenting is open.

Preserve right to jury trial

By Amanda A. Farahany

The right to a jury trial is the armor that protects us from the government, corporations and each other by defining the standards of conduct acceptable in our society. When we were deprived of the right to trial by jury before, the founding fathers of this country sought independence and waged war.

Fifty years ago, this country demanded equality among races and genders. Again, lives were sacrificed in the fight. Congress, following the peoples’ will, passed the Civil Rights Act …

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The fight against obesity

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

It may not be fair to bring up obesity during the holidays when many of us like to indulge thankfully, and guiltlessly, in our favorite feasts. But there may be no better time to discuss it. The American Medical Association recently classified obesity as a disease, and experts say Medicare needs to cover treatments. Another columnist writes that younger people can guide their elders in keeping their weight and health under control.

Commenting is open.

Our youth can fight obesity

By John E. Maupin Jr.

Something dramatic happened a few years back when an elementary school in DeKalb County began teaching students about nutrition, health and fitness. The children became interested in the quality of the food they were eating and in exercise. Soon, they were telling their parents what to put in their lunchboxes and dragging them to early morning fitness classes at school.

I think about this example every time someone asks me what we’re going to do about the …

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