Archive for the ‘Quality of Life’ Category

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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Braves move to Cobb County

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Braves made shocking news Monday when it announced the team planned to move Atlanta’s major league baseball franchise to Cobb County in time for the 2017 season. With its lease expiring at Turner Field, the team apparently has negotiated an investment of $450 million in public money from Cobb County to help pay for the new stadium. We hear from the team and supporters and critics of the deal.

Commenting is open.

Great move for jobs and growth

John Schuerholz, president of the Atlanta Braves

Today, I would like to announce that the Atlanta Braves will build a new ballpark, which will open for the 2017 major league baseball season.

The new location is a short distance from downtown Atlanta at the intersection of I-75 and I-285.

Our lease at Turner Field expires in three short years, but in addition to that, we wanted to find a location that is great for our fans, makes getting to and from the stadium much easier and provides a first-rate game …

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Vets have earned their own court

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Commenting is open.

By Charles A. Shanor

A decorated Navy SEAL discharged after multiple combat tours, Chad is emblematic of veterans’ needs. Combat-related brain injuries have caused memory and concentration problems. The VA provided him rehabilitation and surgery, but medication has led to weight gain and depression.

Chad’s social security disability checks are late and assistance he obtained to expedite these may cost him 25% of his payments. Child support takes most of his military retirement check; his house was foreclosed upon. Currently homeless, Chad has had minor run-ins with the law.

All this makes Chad a potential client for Emory Law’s Volunteer Clinic for Veterans, for help with obtaining VA benefits and some non-benefits issues, like housing.

But Chad’s scrapes with the law need a different fix, which is the focus of a policy initiative at the clinic: veterans’ court.

Georgia incarcerates nearly 2,650 veterans in state prisons. Over 1,800 …

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Digital access…and narcissism

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Lack of Internet access prevents low-income citizens from full connection to jobs, education and other life necessities. Today, representatives of a major communications corporation and a national civil rights organization write about what they are doing to facilitate broadband adoption in these disconnected homes. On the flip side, a digital worker writes about an unfortunate byproduct of too much technology — the focus on oneself.

Please note: There are three columns today.

Commenting is open.

Digital divide hurts education and jobs

By David L. Cohen

Statistics about broadband adoption and the “digital divide” paint a distressing picture in metro Atlanta and throughout the nation. According to government figures, nearly 30 percent of Americans lack Internet access at home — even though service has been built out to three-quarters of those people’s homes.

In Atlanta, where Comcast offers broadband service to 99 percent of our footprint, high-income …

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Why cut food stamps?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Saying the nearly $80 billion food-stamp program is out of control, House Republican leaders have narrowly passed a bill to cut funding in half over 10 years. It also adds job or work-training requirements for recipients ages 18 to 50 without minor children. Work continues on the bill. Passionate debate has ensued.

Commenting is open.

Shameful cuts to vital food program

By David Scott

CLARIFICATION: This guest column cites $40 billion in cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recently voted on by Republicans in the U.S. House. That amount is the total reduction over 10 years.

Republicans in the House of Representatives recently voted to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

These cuts target our most vulnerable citizens, like seniors, children, veterans and disabled persons. In fact, veterans are the fastest-growing group receiving food stamp benefits. Census data indicate that about 900,000 …

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Walkable urban places – in the suburbs, too

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Walking a way to the future

By Tom Sabulis

The talking point was meant to be a grabber: Metro Atlanta has reached peak sprawl. More development is going to urban development. The old way of fueling our economy by building subdvision after subdvision has been replaced by a new real estate metric — the proliferation of intown multi-purpose hot zones where folks can walk to their desired destinations.

Then came the kicker: Many of these new urban locales are actually in…the suburbs.

The “urbanization of the suburbs” is helping drive the real-estate market both in Atlanta and outside the perimeter, says Christopher B. Leinberger, a land-use strategist, professor at the George Washington University School of Business and author of a new report called “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Atlanta.” (www.atlantaregional.com/walkups).

The study says land use in metropolitan areas can be defined two ways: “drivable …

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Healthcare.gov and restricting doctors

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Continuing the conversation on the Affordable Care Act, a healthcare expert writes that, despite the failures of the federal website Healthcare.gov, consumers can still enroll, but they need to do legwork to find the right plan. A statewide doctors’ group says new insurance networks are restricting patient access to their doctors.

Commenting is open.

Website failure aside, shop around for deals

By William S. Custer

“Keep calm and carry on” was the slogan on a widely distributed poster in Great Britain just before World War II; it has been gaining popularity again just in time for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. While the issues we face are far less harrowing than those Britons faced, it would be difficult to tell that from the rhetoric surrounding the ACA.

In truth, most Georgians will experience either no change or only a small change (1 percent or less) in premiums and benefits in 2014 as a result of the ACA. That is because more than …

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