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Maria Saporta reports:

Ted Turner, the former owner of the Atlanta Braves, finally let the world know Wednesday that he would not have moved the baseball team to Cobb County. …

Asked why he was against the move, Turner said: “It’s tradition. I never would have done it. They tried to get me to move the Hawks and I didn’t do it.”

If the Braves move to Cobb County as planned, then Major League Baseball should put an American League team in Turner Field. At least that’s the vision and the crusade — some might say the wild pitch — of Mike McDonald, a long-time Atlanta advertising executive and baseball fan.
Tim Tucker, reporting in The Journal-Constitution: Ad man pitches AL team for Turner Field | www.myajc.com

Less than two weeks after a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a new effort has been launched in the South seeking to build wider acceptance of gay and lesbian couples in the hope of overturning similar bans across the region.

The $1 million effort will be focused on field organizing and sharing the stories of gay couples through local community and business events as well as social media in 14 Southern states.

The key, supporters say, will be to share stories like those of Linda Ellis and her partner, Lesley Brogan, who appeared at Monday’s event. The two have been together since 1988 and are raising their sons John, 15, and Sam, 12, in Decatur, Ga.

"They will tell you we are just like any other old married couple," Ellis said. "They will tell you that, and it’s not true. Not yet. And we’re ready for it to be."

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was among those kicking off the “Southerners for the Freedom to Marry” campaign Monday, saying he believes gay marriage supporters are on the “right side of history.”

"This is about a trajectory. This is about the fact that marriage equality is on an irreversible path toward being legalized across the United States of America," said Reed, who spoke of his initial reluctance to move from civil unions to supporting gay marriage based on religious reasons.

Georgia and the 13 other states targeted in the campaign all have either a constitutional or statutory provision defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and Republicans still hold considerable sway in those states.

A news anchor at an Atlanta television station on Monday destroyed conservatives who lashed out a Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial because it included people from different cultures and different sexual orientations singing “America the Beautiful” in multiple languages.

Following Coca-Cola’s inclusive Super Bowl advertisement on Sunday night, racist remarks erupted on Twitter and conservatives like Glenn Beck accused the company of trying to “divide people.”

“Coca-Cola has always been about inclusion,” WXIA’s Brenda Woods noted during her “Last Word” segment on Monday’s newscast. “But the fact that people are outraged over this ad is outrageous itself. People indignant that others would have the audacity to sing ‘America the Beautiful’ in a language other than English, when America was built on opening its arms to the world?”

“The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say ‘give me your English-speaking only, Christianity-believing, heterosexual masses.’ It says ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses tempest-tost,’” she continued. “Have we forgotten that every one of us ‘Americans’ except for Native Americans, are descendants of foreigners? That the English language is from England?”

Courtney Siceloff was a devout Quaker who did a lot of good during his lifetime, but he never shrank from pointing out what was not good.

He was a dedicated protester for decades. Into his 80s he was a familiar figure at the corner of 14th and Peachtree streets holding a sign that read, ”War is not the answer,” even getting arrested for trespassing to call attention to what he called his “witnessing against injustice.”

“We looked to Courtney for guidance in turbulent times and times of joy. His integrity, his pursuit of justice, his commitment to nonviolence and his Quaker capacity to find the good in everyone were luminous beacons to us all,” said one of his fellow American Friends Service Committee members, former AFSC regional director Elizabeth Enloe of New York City. Courtney Parker Siceloff, 92, died Tuesday at Hospice Savannah of respiratory failure.

Courtney Siceloff, a long-time resident of Atlanta, was one of the people who made the city — and the South — a better place.

Robert A. Pastor, a Latin America specialist who was a top U.S. negotiator of the 1977 Panama Canal treaties, and who through scholarship and diplomacy sought to strengthen U.S. relations with countries to the south, died Jan. 8 at his home in Washington. He was 66.

The cause was colon cancer, said his son, Kip Pastor.

In a varied career lasting nearly four decades, Dr. Pastor became a trusted adviser to presidents, a respected figure in foreign affairs and a prolific academic.

He rose to perhaps his most influential role right out of graduate school at Harvard in 1977, when Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s newly named national security adviser, hired Dr. Pastor as the National Security Council’s director of Latin American and Caribbean affairs.

Bob Pastor also was a respected professor at Atlanta’s Emory University.

My memories take me back to when I was a child in India, to class IV current events class, where I first learned about the cruelty and viciousness of apartheid. And then to my days at Florida State University, where I protested apartheid and urged divestment. The demonstrations over investments in South Africa matured me in so many ways. To February 11, 1990, when Mandela was released from prison. I could not take my eyes away from CNN, tears streaming down my face. It was as all the world had been freed. To the day in 2010 when I finally visited South Africa. Soweto and Robben Island were my two top destinations.

I stood in Mandela’s cell. Tried to imagine…

What a tower of a man he was. His name was synonymous with words that describe the very best of mankind. Courage. Virtue. Goodness. Strength. Love. Dedication. Honesty. Conviction. Fortitude. Brilliance. Soulful.

Moni Basu, Atlanta-based journalist for CNN, in her blog post: Rest in Peace, Madiba | Evil Reporter Chick
We are … conscious that here in the southern part of the country, you have experienced the degradation of racial segregation. We continue to be inspired by the knowledge that in the face of your own difficulties, you are in the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement in this country.

Nelson Mandela speaking to a crowd of more than 50,000 people at Georgia Tech’s Grant Field in Atlanta in 1990. He’s quoted in Nelson Mandela’s 1990 visit to Atlanta | www.ajc.com

I was there, I’m happy to say.

(via tartantambourine)

Major League Soccer hopes to place its next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta.

"We’re making progress in both of those markets. I wouldn’t say we’re close," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s championship game between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.Former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham is leading the Miami effort and has the right to an expansion team at a discount fee of $25 million

"We are very excited about the opportunity of David putting together an ownership group and finalizing a stadium site in downtown Miami," Garber said. "We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That is an indisputable fact."

New teams have been announced for 2015 in New York City and Orlando, Fla., increasing the league’s total to 21, „,

Falcons owner Arthur Blank heads the Atlanta venture, which would play at a new stadium for his NFL team, a venue scheduled to open in 2017.”We’ve been working on a downsizing technology that we think would be unique, would be the only one of its kind anywhere in the world,” Garber said. “We’ve got to continue to work hard with Atlanta to see if this whole project makes sense for them. But I am encouraged by the discussions and hope to be able to finalize something.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013 is World AIDS Day, an awareness day that sparked a global initiative to encourage countries and communities to take a stand against HIV/AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection and it can take years for a person infected with HIV to reach this stage.

From 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” The World AIDS Campaign focus on “Zero AIDS related deaths” signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all and a call for governments to act now.

AID Atlanta and several other metro area organizations are holding numerous activities during the coming week including free HIV testings, lunch and learn sessions and candlelight vigils. It is estimated that 33.3 million people have HIV worldwide, with 1.2 million persons who are living with HIV in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates. This number is expected to continue to increase over time, as advances in treatments prolong the lives of those who are infected and more people become infected with HIV each year.

Despite increases in the total number of people in the U.S. living with HIV infection in recent years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. However, new infections continue at far too high of a level, with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year. Worldwide, the rate of new infections, or incidence, has decreased. In 33 countries, the incidence has decreased more than 25 percent since 2001, including countries in the hardest hit areas of sub-Saharan Africa.