May 6is a day in spring, with 35% of the year gone by. It has it’s fair share of history, some of which did not turn out well. In 1861, the Confederate Congress declared war on the United States. In 1937, a German zeppelin named “Hindenburg” exploded while trying to land in New Jersey. In 1940, Bob Hope did his first show for the USO, somewhere in California.
Roger Bannister ran the first sub four minute mile, on May 6,1954. The current record is 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj on July 7, 1999, with a party with Prince to celebrate. Since most track meets now use 1500 meters, the mile record is more or less obsolete.
On this day, Georgia executed two notable prisoners. In 2003, Carl Isaacs was put to death. Mr. Isaacs was the ringleader in the 1973 Alday family killing, in Donalsonville GA. Five years later, in 2008, William Earl Lynd was poisoned by the state. This was the first condemned man to die after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution by poisoning was constitutional.
Taurus is the sign for those whose blood starts to pump May 6. Included are:
Maximilien Robespierre (1758) Sigmund Freud (1856) Rudolph Valentino (1895)
Orson Welles (1915) Willie Mays (1931) Rubin Carter (1937)
Bob Seger (1945) Tony Blair (1953) PG (1954) George Clooney(1961)
To make room for these folks, someone has to die. For May 6 this would mean:
Henry David Thoreau (1862) L. Frank Baum (1919) Marlene Dietrich (1992)
This repost, written like H.P. Lovecraft, has pictures from The Library of Congress.
This is a repost from 2010. It is about the eleven Presidents, one fourth of the total, who have
helped themselves served over the last sixty two years. Barack Obama got re-elected, and killed lots of people. The United States survived, and will elect another President on November 8.
Every four years, someone will say this is the worst choice ever. Every four years, someone will say this is the most important election ever. They are always correct. This year the choice will be between Donald John Trump and Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. Choosing between those two idiots will be challenging. The good news is that most people live in states where the electoral votes are conceded to one of the duopoly parties. These voters can focus on local elections.
Listening to the news shows that came on before the cartoons, PG heard the phrase “President Eisenhower”. As a friends explained to him, G-d made everything, but the President is Eisenhower.
When he was six, PG moved to a new house, and started first grade. There was an election that fall, and someone named Kennedy became President. PG wasn’t old enough to pay attention to the news yet, except when it looked like the Russians were going to kill us all in 1962.
The first news story that PG clearly remembers was the day when his fourth grade teacher, Miss McKenzie, told the class that President Kennedy had been shot. One of the worst moments that weekend was the moment when a plane landed in Washington, and the new President spoke on television. THAT was the new President? Yuck.
Lyndon Johnson was a larger than life figure, and was ultimately hated by millions of Amuricuns. While there was some good done by LBJ, it was overshadowed by the War in Vietnam.When he left office in 1968, the voters had possibly the worst choice ever…Hubert Humphrey or Richard Nixon.
Tricky Dick Nixon is another larger than life figure, with millions of Americans screaming for his impeachment. For some reason, there were others who passionately admired the man.
In 1973, the oil companies tried to say there was an oil shortage. Later that year, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel, and the Arab oil producers cut oil to the USA. After this embargo, OPEC was in charge of the oil supply, and the price of gasoline increased 200%. The era of big money oil was on. What a convenient war.
After the ethical shortcomings of Mr. Nixon became too obnoxious to ignore, Gerald Ford became President. On a policy level, Ford was like all the other Presidents…some things he got right, some things he got wrong. On a personality level…the show business part…Ford excelled. His family provided harmless fodder for the gossipmongers. He was a likable man, a welcome break from the meanness of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.
When PG was a kid at Ashford Park School, there had never been a President from Georgia. It seemed impossible. When Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter announced he was running, it seemed like another ego tripper running for President. The funny thing is, he won. It still seems a bit unreal, like having the Olympics in Atlanta.
Jimmy was a Democrat, with attack Republicans fighting him every step of the way. This is a problem later Democrats in the Oval Office will have. On the policy level, he did better than many realize. Many of his achievements only bore fruit after he left office. On the show biz front, his down home Georgia routine did not appeal to many Yankees. In 1980, he was defeated by an actor.
PG was worried when Ronald Reagan took office. With America’s nuclear arsenal, and the Soviet Union wheezing it’s threat, many thought that Ronnie would start the war to kill us all. The good news is, this war never happened. Whatever tough talk came out of Washington was not matched by military adventurism abroad.
Reagan was the master of show business. He was an actor, playing the greatest role of his career. It was said that if America had a figure head monarch, Reagan would have been terrific. On the policy front, taxes were cut, and the budget increased. The national debt went over a trillion dollars, which was seen as a horrible moment. (The annual budget deficit is now over a trillion dollars.)
When Mr. Reagan’s two terms were over, George H.W. Bush took over. This was an era where the Democrats could not do anything right on a national level. Bush presided over a war, and brought the troops home when the mission was over. His image never appealed, and the whiners were not pleased. A computer salesman named Ross Perot decided to run as a third party candidate.
In the winter of 1992, PG had a little job downtown. One day, there was a rally at the CNN center for a little known Presidential candidate. PG went, and said to a friend, If this guy gets elected, you are going to regret not going to see him. At the time, War Winner Bush seemed unbeatable, and PG said that with high sarcasm.
When he got to CNN center, it was obvious that a big money event was unfolding. The place was packed, with school children bussed in to fill all the seats. Finally, the speakers blared “Twist and Shout” at top volume, and Bill Clinton walked on the stage. PG was not especially impressed.
Clinton inspired toxic hatred, but managed to keep the boat floating. He won reelection, with the Republicans seeming to self destruct. The economy was going good, the budget was balanced, and the haters went wild. After a entertaining sex scandal, the Clinton years were over.
A couple of weeks before the 2000 election, PG liked neither candidate, and did not think it made much difference. (With Georgia’s electoral votes certain to go Republican, PG did not have a vote.) He listened to someone talking, who thought that it was important that Gore won. PG remembered that conversation often during the next eight years.
George W. Bush was a disaster. It is possible that 911 was a personal vendetta against the Bush family, and would not have happened if Gore was President. The reaction of Bush to this tragedy was to start two wars that we have not been able to finish.
Finally, we have Barack Obama, the first dark skinned President. He has continued the war happy ways of the Bush regime. BHO will probably be reelected in 2012, and given four more years to wage war. Pictures for this feature are from the The Library of Congress.
The idea was to read the book, sit down at the machine, and have the text flow effortlessly out. That was five weeks ago, when the library copy of Another Roadside Attraction arrived. Now the book is due back in six days. The bookmark … a library handout about taking the GED … is in front of page 163. Marx Marvelous is having his job interview with Amanda Ziller. The body of Jesus has not appeared, although second time readers know it will.
One place to start is with an internet comment. “… For you see, I have discovered something terrible: Tom Robbins has almost no re-read value. Seriously. It is almost nonexistent. … The man really does have a gift. But that gift is a one term president. It just doesnt have what it takes to be re-elected.”
The fine print page in ARA says “Copyright © by Thomas E. Robbins.” It was written during the Richard Nixon administration. Tricky Dick won a thumping re-election in 1972, but resigned under pressure in 1974. PG first read ARA in 1978, or maybe 1977, when Jimmy Carter was POTUS. Smiling Jimmy did not play the game well, and was sent back to the peanut farm by Ronald Reagan. This led to Daddy Bush, Slick Willie, Idiot son Bush, and the current occupant.
TER novels hold up well to second helpings. PG has redone Cowgirls and Woodpecker, the books that made TER a star. (Bad rhyme alert) There is the fun of seeing bits of verbal derring do that you remember from the first go round. If you are looking for plot subtleties to show up, good luck.
ARA has a different feel from the novels that followed. It was the first TER book that PG read, not knowing what would happen in the next 38 years. There is an optimism to ARA… Marx Marvelous is currently predicting the rise of a new religion, to replace obsolete Christianism. Oh, if only. Christianism is, at the core, a marketing scheme. It has adapted to the changing realities of the past four
decayed decades. Jesus worship is a day glo mall of ideologies, with something for everyone. The salvation centerpiece at the heart of the bonanza reamains eternal and unchanging. If the product sells, then trust the marketplace.
Another fun idea is to fact check. TER likes to throw “facts” out at rapid speed. One such incident is on page 82. Amanda is discussing some of her ideas for the roadside zoo. (Baby Thor is nowhere to be seen, and is possibly being raised by Mon Cul the baboon.) JPZ is barely listening, being occupied by rubbing his pecker against her belly. Amanda will not quit talking insect trivia. JPZ counters her by saying that bald eagles have bad breath. Before long, JPZ is one twelth of a fathom into Amanda.
With the internet, and too much free time, we can fact check this claim. The first result for “Do bald eagles have bad breath” is a facebook event, “Ranger Talk – Do Bald Eagles Really Have Bad Breath? · Hosted by The San Gorgonio Wilderness Association.” The next result is a 1997 style web page full of Bald Eagle Characteristics. While the halitosis issue is not settled for sure, it sure does sound likely. Since few of us are going to be within range of a bald eagle mouth, this will have to do.
“Q. Do bald eagles have the same digestive system as humans? A. Now there’s an interesting question! The answer is, no. … part of their stomach has turned into a gizzard, which we don’t have, in which food is ground down to a fine consistency to permit rapid digestion. In eagles, this is also the place where pellets are formed. These are masses of material from prey that cannot be digested, such as fur, feathers, and occasionally bone, that then travel backwards from the gizzard up to the mouth and are cast (like vomited) out the mouth. … Another major difference is that eagles (and other birds) have something called a crop, in the upper alimentary track (esophagus) where food can be stored for days.This is extremely beneficial to eagles…”
The first chapter of ARA has relatively little action. The verbal wizardry that TER is known for is not on display. The first chapter is where we meet Amanda, and see her wedding to JPZ. Plucky Purcell, who is possibly the real life stand in for TER, makes an appearance. Amanda says a lot of things, which are either charming or irritating, depending on the reader.
One way to crunch the verbiage is taking notes. Whenever the reader sees something noteworthy, he writes down the page. (The reader here is PG. Masculine pronouns will be used. There is enough confusion already without gender neutral designations for third person humanity.) The book serving this project is “Bantam trade paperback reissue / May 2003 … ISBN 0-553-34948-1.”
Plucky Purcell made his living selling dope and facilitating abortions. In 1971, this was a dodgy enterprise. Baby killing was not yet legal, and the political squalling not yet begun. (College freshman PG attended a lecture about abortion.) On page 66, it is said “His fees are more than fair: he seeks to make a living, not a killing.” Get your irony fix on page 66.
Page 67 has a spelling mistake…Babylonain is not a real word. Both page 70, and page 98 feature the n-word, in all its six letter glory. On page 79, Amanda is said to smell like the leftovers at an eskimo picnic. TER evolves, and some say matures, as his novels progress. It is fun to go back to the start.
Page 114 is a quote that PG remembers from 1977. It struck PG as being very profound, a thought that would confound the cynical fuddy duddy of 2016. Here, through the miracle of internet quote copy paste is the passage. Profound, or confound? Let the reader decide. “The principal difference between the husbandryman and the historian is that the former breeds sheep or cows or such and the latter breeds (assumed) facts. The husbandryman uses his skills to enrich the future, the historian uses his to enrich the past. Both are usually up to their ankles in bullshit.”
Page 141 … the square root of two with, a similar digital inventory to page 114 … is where the synchronicity sweepstakes announces a winner. Marx Marvelous overhears Amanda Ziller ask if Roland Kirk is indeed the Count Basie orchestra in drag? Little did the fictional Lady Ziller know that PG would see a concert by Rahsaan Roland Kirk on August 9, 1974. This was the night Richard Nixon announced his resignation. Mr. Kirk, aka the modern miracle of the tenor saxophone, passed away December 5, 1977, which is roughly when PG was reading ARA for the first time. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.
If you start school an hour later, kids will go to sleep two hours later. ~ I enjoyed your show at Java Monkey last night. You know how to present material in an entertaining fashion. The piece on edit made me think. 1-The formula for writing is ass + chair. 2- Edit anagrams into diet, tide, and tied. Two of those words have the same pronounciation. I talked to you on the sidewalk before your performance. My stage name is Chamblee54, with Luther Mckinnon on my drivers license. I am @chamblee54 on twitter, and my graphic poems are posted at https://chamblee54.wordpress.com/ Once again, thank you for your performance. ~ By commenting, you agree to our terms of service and to abide by our commenting policy. ~ The two-wrongs-make-a-right comments are as pathetic as the Drudge report reverse psychology publicity. ~ @mbsycamore 1- On David Bowie’s birthday this year I ripped his cd’s into computer playlist & reposted a commentary. 2 days later he died 2- On May 26, I am planning to do the same thing for Bob Dylan. Do you think it will kill him? ~ There is no bad publicity. Mr. Drudge spelled her name correctly. ~ @mbsycamore re:#beyonce 1- …What kind of ass are you? – The kind that responds to facebook threads about publicity campaigns for 2- corporate product. – Wow, you make it sound so dirty. ~ It is better to have 102 facebook friends than a temperature of 102 degrees. ~ How much creative input does Beyonce’ have? There is nothing wrong with being a performer. However, there is something “plastic” about being well funded corporate product. ~ Even after 2000, there are few calls to scrap the electoral college. It keeps the Demo-Repub duopoly in power. ~ @BarbaraBoxer I predict that the latest @CarlyFiorina merger will be as successful as her last one. ~ Luther Mckinnonsaw someone use they and her in the same sentence. This is weird. 3- There is an old saying… he who speaks the truth should keep one foot in the saddle ~ Luther Mckinnon Emoji can be very powerful. A former friend made a vile comment at my blog. I confronted ff, and said “this says more about you than it does me” FF said “uh huh” and sent an emoji. Is there a slap in the face emoji? ~ The J Dude did say something about homosexualism. Matthew 15:11. ~ @miragonz nothing quite like that moment of mutual understanding when you and the person next to you on a plane bust out the xanax at the same time ~ @GlennLoury @JohnHMcWhorter @bloggingheads never get any multitasking done with you guys ~ @RonenV culture hacker. conversations. art tech business philosophy sex hair ~ @AfroEmotive Does anyone else get @AZEALIABANKS confused for @IGGYAZALEA ? ~ Outdoor art is always changing. Even if it is just the exposure to sun, wind, and rain. ~ an ally is not a punching bag, or an opportunity to get racial revenge ~ Is this about the upcoming Trump vs. Clinton election? If not, then maybe it could be ~ 1- @eddarrell “I have not the advantage of a classical education, and no man should, in my judgment, 2- @eddarrell … accept a degree he cannot read.” Millard Fillmore- From WaPo article on the best jokes from Presidents link ~ America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny ~ ” the Electoral College almost always reflecting the national democratic will.” ” saw him (Trump) lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names” ~ How Atlanta protesters shut down ‘pro-white’ demonstrators in Georgia ~ Savannah man in court after white power rally at Stone Mountain ~ When Slogans Replace Arguments ~ Splain ~ https://chamblee54.wordpress.com/ ~ Why More Black Men Must Be Feminists ~ most unusual statement ~ WHERE “BECKY” COMES FROM, AND WHY IT’S NOT RACIST, EXPLAINED ~ Sanders is biggest spender of 2016 so far — generating millions for consultants ~ I Do Not Need To Be Surprised By Bigotry To Be Outraged By It ~ ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ Pits Zappa vs. Zappa ~ Police: Driver injected heroin minutes before fatal crash in Atlanta ~ never ~ Man allegedly shoots ex-girlfriend twice in Walmart parking lot ~ small ~ I Hope “Becky” Becomes a Slur ~ Larry Wilmore ~ John Adams quotes ~ larry wilmore ~ 7 Times Larry Wilmore Made White People Uncomfortable At the WHCD ~ posting a link does not indicate approval of content ~pictures today are from The Library of Congress. ~ selah
After last nights
ADHD WHCD, the Washington Post published The single best joke told by every president, from Obama to Washington. It was easier than finding anything funny said by Larry Wilmore. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.
The pickins are surprisingly slim, especially for the modern era. When everything you do is recorded, something has to be funny. Three recent Republicans show a liberal capacity for humor.
George H.W. Bush, 1989 Gridiron Club: “People say I’m indecisive, but I don’t know about that.”
Richard Nixon, in Ms. magazine, 1971: “Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I wouldn’t want to wake up next to a lady pipefitter.”
Herbert Hoover “Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.”
Warren Harding was a dog. … “referring to his penis, which he named Jerry, in a 1915 love letter to his mistress Carrie Fulton Phillips: “Jerry — you recall Jerry, whose cards I once sent you to Europe — came in while I was pondering your notes in glad reflection, and we talked about it.”
You have to go back over a hundred fifty years to get a serious laugh.
Andrew Johnson “Washington, D.C., is twelve square miles bordered by reality.”
Abraham Lincoln “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
Franklin Pierce about duties after leaving office: “There’s nothing left. . . but to get drunk.”
Zachary Taylor when suggested that he run: “Stop your nonsense and drink your whiskey!”
John Tyler on his death bed: “Doctor, I am going. Perhaps it is best.”
James Madison on his death bed: “I always talk better lying down.”
PG found a quote once about Alexander Hamilton, by John Adams. “His ambition, his restlessness and all his grandiose schemes come, I’m convinced, from a superabundance of secretions, which he couldn’t find enough whores to absorb!” A google search for verification led to a reddit page, Fake Founder Quotes, starring John Adams. Apparently, Mr. Adams said something similar to that in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, sent January 25, 1806. According to this source, the letter was a satire of Jonathan Swift’s Tale of a Tub
George Washington in a 1788 letter congratulating the Marquis de Chastellux on his recent marriage: “Now you are well served for coming to fight in favour of the American Rebels, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, by catching that terrible Contagion — domestic felicity — which like the small pox or the plague, a man can have only once in his life: because it commonly lasts him (at least with us in America — I don’t know how you manage these matters in France) for his whole life time.”
Doug Richards is an Atlanta tv news reporter. He writes a blog, live apartment fire. He was on the scene twenty four years ago. There was a riot downtown. Mr. Richards had a bad night.
PG was working in the Healey building that day. He ran an RMS, or reprographic management service, in an architects office. He had a blueline machine, ran jobs for the customer, and had free time. PG did a lot of exploring, and enjoyed the various events downtown. On April 30, 1992, there was an event he did not enjoy.
The day before, a jury in California issued a verdict. Four policemen were acquitted of wrongdoing in an incident involving Rodney King. The incident had been videotaped, and received widespread attention. The verdict of the jury was not popular. The dissatisfaction spread to Atlanta.
Sometimes, PG thinks he has a guardian angel looking over him. If so, then this thursday afternoon was one of those times. PG went walking out into the gathering storm. He was a block south of the train station at five points, when he saw someone throw a rock into a store front. The sheet metal drapes were rolled down on the outside of the store. PG realized that he was not in a good place, and quickly made his way back to the Healey building.
A group of policeman were lined up in the lobby of the building, wearing flack jackets. One of the police was a white man, who was familiar to workers in the neighborhood. A few weeks before the incident, he had been walking around the neighborhood showing off his newborn baby.
There was very little work done that afternoon in the architect’s office. Someone said not to stand close to the windows, which seemed like a good idea. Fourteen floors below, on Broad Street, the window at Rosa’s Pizza had a brick thrown threw it. There were helicopters hovering over downtown, making an ominous noise.
There was a lot of soul searching about race relations that day. The Olympics were coming to town in four years, and the potential for international disaster was apparent. As it turned out, the disturbance was limited to a few hundred people. It could have been much, much worse. If one percent of the anger in Atlanta had been unleashed that day, instead of .001 percent, the Olympics would have been looking for a new host.
After a while, the people in the office were called into the lobby. The Principal of the firm, the partner in charge of production, walked out to his vehicle with PG and a lady in operations. The principal drove an inconspicuous vehicle, which made PG feel a bit better. PG took his pocketknife, opened the blade, and put it in his back pocket. It probably would not have done him much good.
PG usually took the train downtown. As fate would have it, there was a big project at the main office of redo blue on West Peachtree Street. That is where PG’s vehicle was, in anticipation of working overtime that night. The principal drove PG to this building. PG called his mother, to let her know that he was ok. The Atlanta manager of Redo Blue talked to him, to make sure that he was not hurt.
If PG had not gone back downtown the next day, he might not have ever gone back. He was back at the West Peachtree Street office, and was assured that it was safe to ride the train into town. The Macy’s at 180 Peachtree had plywood nailed over the display windows. A gift shop in the Healey building had a sign in the window, “Black owned business”. Friday May 1, 1992, was a quiet day.
This is a repost. The events of twenty four years ago are mostly forgotten in Atlanta. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
In the time between 1980 and 1994, if you lived in Atlanta you heard about Lewis Grizzard. Some people loved him. Some did not. He told good old boy stories about growing up in rural Georgia. Many of them were enjoyable. He also made social and political commentaries, which upset a few people. This is a fishwrapper friday repost, with historic pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
PG had mixed feelings about Lewis. The stories about Kathy Sue Loudermilk and Catfish were funny. His opinions about gays, feminists, and anything non redneck could get on your nerves. His column for the fishwrapper upset PG at least twice a week.
In 1982, Lewis (he reached the level of celebrity where he was known by his first name only) wrote a column about John Lennon. Lewis did not understand why Mr. Ono was such a big deal. PG cut the column out of the fishwrapper, and put it in a box. Every few years, PG would be looking for something, find that column, and get mad all over again.
The New Georgia Encyclopedia has a page about Lewis, which expresses some of these contradictions. If Grizzard’s humor revealed the ambivalence amid affluence of the Sunbelt South, it reflected its conservative and increasingly angry politics as well. He was fond of reminding fault-finding Yankee immigrants that “Delta is ready when you are,” and, tired of assaults on the Confederate flag, he suggested sarcastically that white southerners should destroy every relic and reminder of the Civil War (1861-65), swear off molasses and grits, drop all references to the South, and begin instead to refer to their region as the “Lower East.” Grizzard also wore his homophobia and hatred for feminists on his sleeve, and one of the last of his books summed up his reaction to contemporary trends in its title, Haven’t Understood Anything since 1962 and Other Nekkid Truths (1992).
In the end, which came in 1994, when he was only forty-seven, the lonely, insecure, oft-divorced, hard-drinking Grizzard proved to be the archetypal comic who could make everyone laugh but himself. He chronicled this decline and his various heart surgeries in I Took a Lickin’ and Kept on Tickin’, and Now I Believe in Miracles (1993), published just before his final, fatal heart failure.
As you may have discerned, Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr. met his maker on March 20, 1994. He was 47. There was a valve in his heart that wasn’t right. The good news is that he stayed out of the army. At the time, Vietnam was the destination for most enlistees. The bad news is that his heart problems got worse and worse, until it finally killed him.
Sixteen years later, PG found a website, Wired for Books. It is a collection of author interviews by Don Swaim, who ran many of them on a CBS radio show called Book Beat. There are two interviews with Lewis Grizzard. The first one was done to promote My Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of A Gun. This was the story of Lewis Grizzard Senior, who was another mixed bag.
PG found himself listening to this chat, and wondered what he had been missing all those years. The stories and one liners came flowing out like the Chattahoochee going under the perimeter highway. Daddy Grizzard was a soldier, who went to war in Europe and Korea. The second one did something to his mind, and he took to drinking. He was never quite right the rest of his life. His son from adored him anyway. When you put yourself in those loafers for a while, you began to taste the ingredients in that stew we called Lewis Grizzard.
PG still remembers the anger that those columns caused … he has his own story, and knows when his toes are stepped on. The thing is, after listening to this show, PG has an idea of why Lewis Grizzard wrote the things that he did. Maybe PG and Lewis aren’t all that different after all.
Atlanta Rising: The Invention of an International City 1946-1996 is on the shelf at the Chamblee library. This book is a history of Atlanta in the modern era, written by former fishwrapper scribe Frederick Allen. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
The story begins in 1948. AR is weighted more to the older part of the story. The main text is 248 pages. On page 124, Ivan Allen has just built a controversial roadblock on Peyton Road, which would be in 1962. The further along in the story, the fewer details are included. The first big story is when Georgia had two governors. This is one of the best descriptions of the two Governors controversy around, and does not mention Ben Fortson’s wheelchair cushion.
The mayor at the start of the story is William B. Hartsfield. “Willie B” was a leader in creating the Atlanta Airport, and in building it into the powerhouse it is today. He was mayor until 1961, when Ivan Allen Jr. moved into the office.
AR has many moments of unintentional irony. When you read a book 18 years after it was written, and fifty years after the events in the book, you see things that could not have been imagined before. In 1960, many of the political-business elite thought it was time for Mr. Hartsfield to retire. Among his shortcomings was an indifference to sports. Mr. Hartsfield thought that a new stadium would be too great a drain on the city’s taxpayers. Fifty four years, and three stadiums, later, the power elite is going to build another stadium. Atlanta Stadium cost eighteen million dollars. The Blank bowl will cost over a billion. (In the past year, a plan to move the Braves to Smyrna was announced.)
One of the big stories here is civil rights. Atlanta came out of that struggle looking pretty good. It was a combination of image conscious businessmen, enlightened black leadership, and a huge helping of dumb luck. In 1961, the city was under federal pressure to integrate the schools. The state was firm in opposition, and the city wasn’t crazy about the idea anyway. Then, another federal court ordered the integration of the University of Georgia. Since the people would not stand for messing with their beloved University, the state laws forbidding integration were quietly repealed. The city schools were integrated with a minimum of fuss. (The book tells this story much better than a slack blogger.)
The controversy about the 1956 model state flag was going full steam when AR was written. The book has some legislative records, which for some reason never made it into the fishwrapper. There is no clear cut answer as to why the legislature changed the state flag. It was mentioned that at the national political conventions, you could not have a written sign, but you could wave a state flag. This controversy provided a diversion from gold dome crookedness, and hopefully has been laid to rest.
A man named Lester Maddox sold fried chicken, and ran for public office. AR describes Lester as looking a bit like an angry chicken. Through a series of constitutional convulsions, Lester was elected Governor in 1966. The state survived his tenure. In the seventies, when Jimmy Carter was running for President, Lester said a lot of rude things about Jimmy, helping the smiling peanut farmer get elected. In another turn of fate, Lester Maddox died June 25, 2003. This was two days after the eternal departure of Maynard Jackson, the first black Mayor of Atlanta.
The book ends with the 1996 Olympics looming over the city. Billy Payne led a smart campaign to secure the games for Atlanta. One of his moves was to keep Jimmy Carter and Ted Turner out of the action. After the 1980 boycott, and the Goodwill Games, neither person was popular with the I.O.C. The book was published before 1996. The Olympics were a blast.