Archive for the ‘Quality of Life’ Category

Treating autism in Georgia

Health plans should cover autism

By John Albers

Before the 2013 Legislative Session, I spent considerable time listening to the needs and concerns of my constituents. I was particularly struck by the number of families whose children have autism and the rising cost of their health care. I have a heart for those with specials needs and proudly sit on the board of directors for EnAble of Georgia. For these reasons, I decided to sponsor Senate Bill 191, known as Ava’s Law.

Ava Bullard was diagnosed with autism at age two and denied coverage under the state employee health plan. Her parents spent $5,000 a month for Ava to receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics as the treatment of choice for autism. Today, Ava is a fourth-grader in a general education classroom and no longer requires intensive treatment.

Autism treatment isn’t a mandated coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and …

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Guns on campus, in church

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Georgia General Assembly is discussing a bill that would allow guns to be carried on school campuses and in churches. Today, a local theologian criticizes such a a law that would harm the sanctity of churches, synagogues and mosques. In our second column, a gun-rights advocate argues that no law will be able to stop deranged criminals from slaughtering innocents, but legalized campus and church carry can help individuals protect themselves.

Commenting is open.

Guns in churches violate worship itself

By David Bartlett

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline read, “Voters: jobs yes, guns no.”

The accompanying article reported on a statewide poll that found that 72 percent of Georgians oppose changing current law to allow people to carry guns into churches, synagogues and mosques; and 78 percent oppose allowing students to carry guns on college campuses in our state.

The issue of gun safety requires the attention of all of us. But for …

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MLK and economic inequality

By Raphael Warnock

Finally, politicians on both sides of the aisle have decided that it makes sense to at least talk about wealth inequality. Those who are serious about this problem, and its complicated relationship to the thorny issue of race, would do well to remember that in the last three years of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was focused sharply on poverty.

Ironically, just five days after President Lyndon Johnson signed the voting rights bill into law, the Watts ghetto of Los Angeles exploded into an urban inferno fueled by hopelessness and despair. Dr. King shortened his vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico to come to Los Angeles and stand with the jobless poor and with those who were poor because their jobs did not provide adequate benefits or a living wage. Brought face to face with the tragic limits of his movement’s influence, Dr. King confided to one of his trusted advisors, Bayard Rustin, “You know, Bayard, I worked to get these people the right to eat …

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Beltline and smart growth

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Beltline recently completed a strategic implementation plan that will guide the project’s build-out through 2030, focusing first on acquiring the real estate needed to complete the transit and trail loop around Atlanta. Today, the Beltline’s new CEO writes about how they hope to accomplish all that needs to be done. In our second column, a development sector leader writes about how infrastructure investments large and small can pay off and make a difference in communities around metro Atlanta.

Commenting is open.

Next up for Atlanta Beltline

By Paul F. Morris

Nothing on the scale of the Atlanta Beltline has ever been attempted or accomplished in the Atlanta region. It is wildly ambitious. New transit, parks, trails, housing, economic development, public art, brownfield remediation, sidewalks and streetscapes – these are the core components of the Atlanta Beltline, and together they are transforming our city and catalyzing a renewed …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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