Hey lady, your racism is showing

The Friday Photo
A weekly photo inspired by art, community, and spontaneity
August 31, 2012

The First Family, official White House photo

Yesterday on NPR a story aired about Romney’s speech before a veteran’s convention in Indiana. The report focused in part on the challenges Obama has winning the support of older veterans.

A woman married to a vet, Bobbie Lucier from Manassas, Virginia said this when asked about the President, “I don’t like him, can’t stand to look at him. I don’t like his wife. She’s far from the First Lady. It’s about time we get a First Lady in there who acts like a First Lady and looks like a First Lady.”

Mrs. Lucier didn’t say what a First Lady should look like, or how she should act, but what she said about Michelle Obama did speak volumes about what Mrs. Lucier thinks a First Lady shouldn’t look like.

What I think I heard Mrs. Lucier say is she doesn’t like either of the Obamas because they are black.

Mrs. Lucier, your racism was on display to the world yesterday thanks to NPR. Ari Shapiro should have asked a follow-up question about what a First Lady should look like and how she should act. That’s an answer I would love to hear.






Don’t ask me to “play nice”

A Facebook friend posted this graphic, said he thought the statements were true, but asked if anyone could verify.

The people who responded in opposition to Ryan’s policies were mostly women (I responded too), and provided links to legislation, historic perspectives, and personal experiences to back up their positions.

The poor man, Jim, (no last names here because I am feeling generous and don’t want to expose the guy’s knuckledragger politics) “dared” someone to prove that a “common form of birth control” would be banned got a firestorm of answers from both women and men which included links to the legislation Ryan sponsored, Supreme Court decisions, historic references and stories of  personal experience.

Poor Jim responded at times by primarily personally criticizing strangers who offered strong arguments in opposition to Ryan’s policies. At one point, perhaps because no one was coming to Jim’s aid, the mutual friend, a man, asked everyone to “play nice.”  And frankly, when the topic is women’s health and reproductive choices, it really pissed me off for a man to say we should “play nice.”

I am not going to “play nice” when it comes to protecting the hard won health care rights for me, my friends, my daughters, my granddaughter, and my nieces. “Playing nice” also puts the ability for families to plan when and if they have children (childless couples are families too) at risk.

Any person, be they  male, female, gay, lesbian, transgendered, pangendered, questioning, celibate, or heterosexual, who has a vested interest in the health of women, children, and families in our country, needs to do their homework. We must know the legislation Ryan and likeminded Conservatives support, and speak up with facts and information, not hot-tongued rhetoric that is no better than the factless refutations proffered by poor Jim.

I am willing to discuss and talk when someone disagrees with me. But being told to “play nice” when the conversation is vigorous, don’t even go there with me.

(You can get a jump start on the legislation and some keen analysis here with a link to the Sanctity of Life Act, analysis of Ryan’s positions and policies at The Daily Beast and Jezebel. If that doesn’t scare you senseless about the attack on women by Republicans, read Rep. Todd Akin’s stupefying comments on whatever “legitimate rape” is.)



Tarbutton and Alford behind wildly unpopular Georgia Regents announcement

Rick McKee cartoon, Augusta Chronicle, August 7, 2012

Plant Washington profiteers Ben Tarbutton III and Dean Alford pal around at the taxpayer funded Georgia University Regents meetings, which Tarbutton chairs (Alford got a plum seat on the Board after Tarbutton ascended to its leadership)

Earlier this week, despite “widespread opposition” and a possible trademark law suit from the Virginia University Regents, Tarbutton’s board announced that Augusta State University, and the recently rebranded Georgia Health Sciences University, will now be called “Georgia Regents University.”

Regents Board Vice-Chair William NeSmith, who also serves as the area’s representative in the Georgia House, told the Augusta Chronicle, “To a person, I haven’t found anyone supportive in the 10th Congressional District that supports Georgia Regents University. It is widely unpopular to the people that I’ve talked to.”

Chris Gay, a sports writer with the Augusta paper, said this in an open letter to the Regents, “By naming this new school Georgia Regents University, you will essentially be naming this school after your own body. Which makes no sense. Why not name it “Georgia Board of Regents University” then? If you name it “Georgia Regents University,” we’re all going to add the word “Board” anyway. (And this is slightly off topic, but do you know what GRU is anyway? Have you seen the movie “Despicable Me?” If not, do a Google search.)

And the Georgia Regents response to what some might call outrage over the name announcement? Tarbutton essentially said, “Get over it.”

Tarbutton and Alford were mic checked in the spring when the Regents increased fees for students. Lately they can’t seem to drum up much support for Alford’s  no-bid coal plant which would be fed by the Tarbutton’s short line railroad.

Now, it seems they have made the entire city of Augusta, Augusta State Alums, and graduates of the Medical College of Georgia/Georgia Health Sciences University furious with their stubborn insistence on naming their alma maters after themselves.



Streamlining protection of our natural resources could result in huge savings for taxpayers

When the Effingham County EMA stepped up and advised citizens to stay out of the Ogeechee River downstream from King America Finishing (KAF) for the second Memorial Day weekend in a row, I started mulling over a suggestion on how the Georgia Environmental Protection Division  (EPD) of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could save taxpayers significant money and streamline protection of our natural resources. On the heels of yet another advisory issued this week due to blistered catfish downstream from KAF, I think the time is ripe for my suggestion.

Blistered catfish in the Ogeechee River, July 4, 2012
(photo by Effingham County EMA)

Based on the fact that the EPD doesn’t find unpermitted dumping when it does site inspections (the dumping went on for five years at KAF), negotiates paltry consent agreements, and then issues a draft permit which essentially says, “Go ahead and pollute but this time you will have a permit” I suggest that at the least the water program be closed except for one staff person.

My guess is that with the willingness to issue lax permits to repeat polluters, one staffer could readily handle the issuing of permits because it seems issuing permits to dump chemicals and wastes into our rivers and streams is what the EPD thinks it is supposed to do. A small desk with a large “PERMIT APPROVED” stamp is all they would need.

With all the chatter in Georgia about smaller government, the elimination of at least the water program in the EPD could not only serve as a savings to taxpayers, but could also be used for economic development. I can see the advertising now, “Bring your business to Georgia. No restrictions or penalties on polluters! Hurry down for prime river access sites!”

The General Assembly could then take some of those savings on department operations and direct it toward the county agencies who do respond promptly to protect the health of all those who love to fish, swim, and boat in Georgia’s rivers.

Effingham County’s EMA Director, Ed Myrick is a real bargain. Following the second fish kill and two tropical storms in May, Myrick told me in a phone conversation that he is the first full-time EMA Director they have had, and he is the only person on staff.

Myrick isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to protect the citizens in Effingham County. He told the Atlanta Journal Constitution what we already know, “it is apparent that the pollutants in the Ogeechee River are continuing to be an ongoing problem and may always be until the Northern portions of the river are reclassified. I sympathize with the businesses that depend on the Ogeechee River for income, but we must look after the health and safety of everyone involved.”

One person speaking up when an entire state agency won’t. Because it is the right thing to do.
Riverkeeper suit scheduled in Superior Court Monday, July 9.

 The Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) filed a suit against the EPD when an administrative judge in Atlanta ruled that citizens who live on the river, fish and swim in it, rely on it for their livelihood, or simply enjoy watching the wildlife, have no standing in court. The legal challenge will be heard this Monday, July 9 at 2:00 p.m. in Superior Court in Statesboro.  in Judge Turner’s Courtroom, Judicial Annex Building, 20 Siebald St. Statesboro, Georgia. This is not an opportunity to comment or speak, but rather to support the Riverkeeper and demonstrate your concern by being there. Please remember to adhere to proper courtroom attire and conduct.