ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday there are overwhelming ethical, financial and religious reasons to abolish the death penalty all over the world.
Carter spoke at a daylong symposium on capital punishment at the Carter Center in Atlanta, but it wasn’t the first time the 89-year-old former president and former governor of Georgia has advocated ending capital punishment.
Statistics have shown that the possibility of the death penalty does not reduce violent crime that and crime doesn’t increase when executions are stopped, he said. He also said there are unfair racial, economic and geographic disparities in the application of the death penalty.
“It’s hard to imagine a rich white man or woman going to the death chamber after being defended by expensive lawyers,” Carter said.
He said there have been some positive steps, noting U.S. Supreme Court decisions that barred the execution of the mentally disabled, people under 18 and people convicted of rape unless a death is involved.
But he also noted that Georgia, which became the first state to ban executing the intellectually disabled in 1988, is the only state that requires death penalty defendants to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they are disabled — which he said is a nearly impossible standard.
Carter noted that a majority of the executions since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. in 1977 have been carried out in Southern states, which are traditionally more conservative. But Carter said he doesn’t believe that opposing the death penalty has to be politically poisonous.
Sitting on a panel with Carter at the American Bar Association’s National Symposium on the Modern Death Penalty in America, Southern Center for Human Rights president Stephen Bright prodded Carter about the political viability of such a position in Georgia.
“Let’s say you were advising someone running for governor today, just hypothetically let’s say a member of your family was running for governor and asked you what position to take on the death penalty,” Bright said, drawing laughs from the crowd. Carter’s grandson, Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, announced last week that he’s running for governor.
Carter laughed and then grew more serious in his response: “If I ever have someone like that in my family, I will give them a copy of the speech I just made and ask them to do what they believe in their heart is right because I don’t believe that the death penalty abolition would be an overwhelmingly a negative factor in Georgia politics.”
ATLANTA — New phones issued in metro Atlanta will no longer come with the 404 and 678 area codes.
Instead, the national organization that assigns area codes will start using the 470 code for the region. No existing phone numbers will be changed.
John Manning, the senior director of the North American Number Planning Association, said officials assigned the last prefix to the 404 area code on Oct. 11. The prefix is the three-digit sequence that comes after an area code. The 404 area code has been used in Atlanta for six decades.
Each area code can have about 8 million phone numbers.
Metro Atlanta now has four area codes: 470, 404, 678 and 770, which was created in 1995 for communities in the outer metro region.
Among the unappealing junk and bills in my mailbox recently, there was one cheery standout. The card, addressed to my daughter, was a ‘thank-you’ for her work as a flower girl in a recent wedding.
Ripping apart the envelope with relish, my girl abruptly deflated: “Mommy, I can’t read it. It’s in cursive.”
It’s an increasingly common phenomenon, accelerated by the fact that the new Common Core educational standards do not include cursive instruction.
Like most adults, I spent grade school painstakingly polishing that weird lowercase ‘b’ and uppercase ‘G’. I rarely use my cursive as an adult. On the rare instances that I don’t type a correspondence – thanks to email and social media – I use block letters.
This, however, was the first time I realized that my children will probably be incapable of reading something in cursive. Rebecca A. Silva, a third-grade teacher from Rhode Island, expands on the topic of the cursive-illiterate: “I think there’s a concern that kids can’t access history. Without teaching them cursive, you’re denying them that access.”
Jimmy Bryant, the director of archives and special collections at the University of Central Arkansas, worries more about the demise of an American art form: “As an archivist, I see many beautiful letters that were written in cursive. At one time in our history people took great pains to write a letter utilizing their best penmanship. In fact, a case could be made that some of the finer examples of cursive writing are actually a form of art. We need to teach cursive to school children to preserve this history.”
Still, cursive isn’t dead just yet, and at least seven of the states that adopted the Common Core standards are fighting to keep it alive in schools.
Bartow County will issue $205,000,000 in taxable revenue bonds and provide a number of incentives for the planned Shaw Industries plant in Adairsville, which is expected to create 340 new jobs in the first five years, according to an agreement, above, okayed by sole Commissioner Steve Taylor during his Wednesday public meeting.
The Development Authority of Bartow County will title to the plant, effectively exempting Shaw, the lesee, from property taxation. In lieu of tax payments, Shaw will pay $5,334.20 per year, which is equal to the school portion of ad valorem taxes based on the 2013 assessed value to the land on which the new plant will sit, which is $298,000, according to the agreement.
In exchange for those and other incentives, in five years, Shaw will create 340 qualified full-time jobs—the average annual salaries of which likely will equal or exceed $37,500 per year or $18 an hour—and make an initial capital investment of at least $85,000,000.
The city of Adairsville would provide additional incentives, according to the agreement.
Cherokee County School Board Member Kelly Marlow can remain in office while the case against her moves forward in the criminal justice system.
That was the decision handed down today by a three person panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to recommend if the board member should be suspended after she was indicted on false statement charges.
“The review commission determined that the indictment does not relate to or adversely affect Marlow’s ability to perform her official duties,” the governor’s press office said in a news release. “The commission’s ruling is final.”
Cobb County released the details of its much-anticipated stadium deal with the Atlanta Braves on its website this morning, showing a multi-layered agreement that would fund the construction of a $672 million stadium through new and existing taxes.
In the end, the average Cobb County property owner emerged unscathed, at least in the short term of a 30-year deal that shows the county paying 45 percent of the total cost. The new taxes included in the deal are a 3 percent countywide car rental tax, a fee on top of the existing hotel-motel tax and a new tax on property owners within the Cumberland CID that would raise $5.1 million per year through a 3 mill increase.
The Braves are responsible for any cost overruns. The team would also control stadium leases, which means they would have final say on what events could be held at the stadium. The Braves and the county will share responsibility for maintaining the stadium.
Your Georgia Desk:
State Sen. Jason Carter says he’ll serve out his term in the General Assembly, but his race for governor means the Decatur-based seat will be open next year.
A first replacement candidate for the 42nd Senate District has just announced. Russell Waldon is a 31-year trial lawyer and a 20-year trustee of the Atlanta Boy Choir. He’s an Emory law school grad, but his academic career extends well beyond that.