Emmett Miller was at a campaign fish fry last year when he learned he had an opponent in his race for an open seat on the Baker County board of commissioners. He was surprised but not alarmed, even though his opponent was white.
“I just knew I had it,” said Miller, 62, an affable but shy former factory worker. He figured that even if, back in the 1960s, he was too young to join voting rights protests with his sister, he could still do his part by helping his neighbors get paved roads and better drainage. “All the time I figured I was going to win,” he said, “because I had more blacks than he had whites.”
He was wrong. Miller, who is black, lost the race, despite winning his own, largely black, precinct by a wide margin. Even though nearly half the county is black, it is governed by an all-white commission.
However, if Baker County’s five commissioners were elected from districts rather than by a countywide vote — the way local governments are elected in 52 of Georgia’s 159 counties — Miller would likely have won.
The same story, with various local permutations, is repeated all across Georgia. After almost a half century of battles targeting at-large elections as a violation of the Voting Rights Act, African-Americans remain under-represented in local governments across the state, an exclusive analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed. At-large voting and black under-representation still go hand-in-hand, leaving some local governments, which decide matters of great importance for day-to-day living, without any black representation.
A study reveals South Carolinians are among the most courteous people in the nation, and Ohioans among the least
The study did not check to see if the phrase “Bless your heart,” understood in its true meaning when used by SC residents, might negate the Palmetto State’s ranking.
Marchex Inc. published the results awhile ago, in May during National Etiquette Week, but the study began attracting notice this week. Marchex specializes in mobile ad technology and conducted the study by examining 600,000 phone calls made to businesses and recorded over a 12-month period. They looked for curse words and polite phrases such as “please” and “thank you”. …
States most likely to use polite words were South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia. Callers more likely to leave out polite terms came from Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee and, claiming the dubious distinction of having both rude and profane callers, Ohio.
I was there, I’m happy to say.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) has a message for the estimated 57.2 million Americans suffering from diabetes, asthma, cancer, genetic disorders, and other pre-existing medical conditions: it’s your fault.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered video of Hudgens from a November meeting at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club in Evans, Georgia in which he makes the case against the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, Hudgens compares requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions to requiring auto insurers to pay claims to any reckless drivers without comprehensive auto insurance who crash their cars.
Jim Galloway reports:
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is no friend of the Affordable Care Act, and he recently opened up a new front of attack on an aspect of the law that even many of his fellow Republicans say they like: guaranteed coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. …
Here’s what Hudgens said:
"I’ve had several companies come in and they have said just the fact — just the fact — that in the individual market pre-existing conditions have to be covered on Jan. 1, that that is going to double the cost of insurance. And if you don’t really understand what covering pre-existing conditions would be like, it would be like in Georgia we have a law that says you have to have insurance on your automobile. You have to have liability insurance. If you’re going to drive on Georgia’s roads, you have to have liability insurance. You don’t have to have collision. You don’t have to have comprehensive. You don’t have to have rental car or towing or anything else. But you have to have liability. But say you’re going along and you have a wreck. And it’s your fault. Well, a pre-existing condition would be you then calling up your insurance agent and saying, ‘I would like to get collision insurance coverage on my car.’ And your insurance agent says, ‘Well, you never had that before. Why would you want it now?’ And you say, ‘Well, I just had a wreck, it was my fault and I want the insurance company to pay to repair my car.’ And that’s the exact same thing on pre-existing insurance."
Activists in Georgia and across the nation are fasting in support of the passage of immigration overhaul legislation, hoping to ratchet up the pressure on Congress to act before the end of this month.
Son Ah Yun, of Smyrna, and others are drinking only water and going without food for 48 hours. Among other things, they are pushing for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. A naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in South Korea, Yun started fasting Monday and plans to finish Wednesday. She said she has kept herself busy so she won’t think about eating.
“As an immigrant myself I really believe in this issue,” said Yun, a campaign organizer for the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based group that helps poor people organize and improve their communities. “We are not just talking about other people’s families. We are talking about my family.”
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.
Bo Emerson, one of the strongest writers at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reports:
There’s a new CARE Package under the tree this holiday season.
CARE, the Atlanta-based relief agency, which pioneered the delivery of food to a devastated Europe following World War II, is reimagining the iconic CARE Package as a 21st century tool of development.
“Now the icon will stand for donations that extend far beyond the confines of a carton,” said Rob Schapiro, the creative director of a marketing agency using the familiar stenciled package.
Magazine ads, billboards and “ambient” ads will tell the story of what CARE accomplishes today. Instead of just food in a box, the new message says CARE delivers lasting change for the better, defined as “empowerment,” “sustainability,” “livelihood,” “tools,” “skills,” “training” and “support.” In one display ad, an entire verdant village spills out of a CARE Package.
One of those “ambient” ads was just installed Monday at Atlantic Station, featuring oversized CARE boxes constructed around the street lamps that illuminate the sidewalks of the mixed-use area.
The point of that installation is that CARE delivers electrical power — and light — to help end poverty.
I have gone through CARE’s emergency training program, have met many of their workers and have traveled in the field with them, and I strongly support their works. If you have a little money to kick in every now and then, CARE is a good recipient of donations. Your money will be well-spent.
Authorities in northwest Georgia say a man shot and killed a 72-year-old who he thought might be an intruder but turned out to be a wandering Alzheimer’s patient.
Walker County police told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Ronald Westbrook had walked about 3 miles in the sub-freezing temperatures before knocking on Joe Hendrix’s door just before 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Hendrix’s fiancee didn’t answer, instead calling police. Sheriff Steve Wilson said before deputies arrived, Hendrix went into the backyard with his handgun, where he saw Westbrook in silhouette.