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05 April 2017

Georgia State University Tweets Taunts at Students During Severe Weather

The National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for the metropolitan Atlanta area Wednesday.

Delta Air Lines cancelled 300 flights due to the storms.

But at Georgia State University, the word from their official Twitter account Wednesday morning was, "Suck it up, buttercup . . . and bring an umbrella."

In response to a student's concern about walking to classes in heavy rains and potentially heavy winds, the GSU Twitter handle replied, "Hope you have an umbrella."

As the weather deteriorated in downtown Atlanta, so did the tweets.

A flurry of memes and animated gifs were traded back and forth between Twitter users, concerned that Georgia State was not treating the weather with the gravity it deserved, and the official GSU Twitter account.

Amid the barrage of criticism, Georgia State University posted an apology on Twitter.

It read, "We got a little sassy today, and we are sorry if we offended anyone. All emergency notifications will be posted on"

Local weather forecasters urged Atlanta-area residents to be weather aware ahead of Wednesday's storms

"Be prepared for the worst. We will have tornadoes and damaging winds. There will be damage. There will be widespread power outages," WSB-TV Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns said.

The University of West Georgia heeded the severe weather warnings, cancelling all day and evening classes at their Carrollton campus.

04 April 2017

Snoop Dogg Tapped to Headline Augusta Jam for Masters Golf Patrons

Georgia is the center of the golfing universe for one week in April every year.

The Masters golf tournament kicks off April 6th, and the City of Augusta plans on starting the weekend early with a lively party featuring the world-famous hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg.

Snoop will perform at the Inaugural Augusta Jam presented by Tanqueray No. TEN on Wednesday, April 5th.

The event supports the Mayors’ Masters Reception, which provides funding for several local Augusta charitable organizations. The City of Augusta recognizes the Mayors’ Masters Reception as the official commencement event to welcome patrons to Augusta for one of the most iconic tournament weekends in golf.

The inaugural musical celebration, hosted by ESPN’s Jay Harris and International Golf Model Seema Sadekar, will be held at the Country Club Dance Hall & Saloon.

Golf enthusiasts and guests will enjoy signature Tanqueray No. Ten Gin & Juice cocktails. DJ Suga Ray and DJ Kor will open up for Snoop, mashing up hip hop, country, pop and old school jams. Snoop will then hit the turntables to spin some of his classic anthems for all to enjoy to kick-off the historic golf tournament in style.

Tanqueray will pay homage to “golf’s 19th hole” by serving specialty Gin & Juice cocktails, including Snoop’s signature drink -- the Tanqueray No. Ten Laid Back.

03 April 2017

Opinion: Atlanta's Mass Transit Woes Can No Longer Be Framed Along the Old Racism Lines

In the days following the fire and collapse of I-85 north, I noticed quite a few people airing grievances against suburbanites living outside the perimeter who aren't necessarily enthusiastic about bringing mass transit to their communities.

These grievances reverted back to the usual, "white-conservative-Republicans-oppose-mass-transit-because-it-will-bring-the-'wrong-kind'-to-their-neighborhoods" argument.

The prevailing opinion in a lot of circles seems to be that demography equals destiny; that once these suburban counties become more "diverse" (you know, more black and Hispanic), they'll easily join MARTA.

Allow me to share some numbers pulled directly from the Census Bureau's 2015 population estimates.

Douglas County is 44.5% black and 9.1% Hispanic.

Henry County is 41.8% black and 6.5% Hispanic.

Rockdale County is 52.2% black and 10% Hispanic.

All three of these counties are included in the area designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget as the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. All three of these counties are teetering on the edge of being majority-minority.

If demography equals destiny, then why are these three counties, which are far more diverse than they were when MARTA was originally proposed in 1965, still hesitant to join MARTA?

If you're able to answer that question, then you'll understand why the old "white-conservative-Republicans-oppose-mass-transit-because-it-will-bring-the-'wrong-kind'-to-their-neighborhoods" paradigm no longer works.

It's no longer easy to frame metro Atlanta's transit woes on Republicans being opposed and Democrats being supportive. The biggest advocates of mass transit in Georgia these days are Republicans. In Douglas, Henry and Rockdale counties --three counties that went for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the past two presidential elections-- their Democrat-controlled county commissions have been slow to move on authorizing MARTA.

Atlanta's mass trasit woes go deeper than the old arguments of partisanship and racism allow. It is more nuanced than that, and requires a lot more critical examination than what quite a few people have been giving the issue.

Music Industry Applauds Passage of Bill Giving Tax Breaks to Recording Artists

Georgia Music Partners, a consortium of more than 200 music-related businesses including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), cheered final passage of a bill they say will boost the state's music industry.

The Georgia Music Investment Act (House Bill 155) authorizes a 15% tax break for companies that spend $500,000 for live performance rehearsals, $250,000 for stand-alone scoring projects or $100,000 for recorded music performances in the Peach State.

House Bill 155 adds an additional 5% tax break if the production takes place in lesser developed counties that are designated as tier 1 or tier 2 by the state Department of Community Affairs.

State Senator Jeff Mullis (R - Chickamauga) says the tax break for music industry is the missing link for Georgia's music industry to flourish.

"I am now looking forward to watching this tax incentive create job opportunities while simultaneously rebuilding the music ecosystem in Georgia,” said Senator Mullis. “The Georgia Music Investment Act will lead the way in attracting investment in Georgia from around the world.”

Mullis sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

Georgia Music Partners President Tammy Hurt called the bill's passage a "game changer."

“It’s no secret that the roots of music in Georgia go back generations … we represent all genres, from classical and rock, to hip hop and rap, to jazz and bluegrass — Georgia has it all,” Hurt said. “It is extraordinarily gratifying to see music creators, educators, lawmakers and businesses — inside and outside the state — united behind the first-ever targeted incentive for music in Georgia. If utilized to its fullest extent, House Bill 155 will be a total game changer for our music industry.”

The Georgia Music Investment Act is currently awaiting Governor Deal's signature.

29 March 2017

Tomorrowland to Unite the World with Music on Multiple Continents This Summer

The world famous Tomorrowland music festival continues to expand its horizons around the globe.

(Belgium's Tomorrowland festival will host eight parties around the globe to unite the world with music. Image courtesy Tomorrowland/ID&T.)
Belgium's big EDM bash, held each summer, will be at the center of parties held in Malta, South-Korea, Germany, Taiwan, Lebanon, Dubai, Spain and Israel on July 29th.

"Unite with Tomorrowland" aims to bring the festival's magic to eight different events, staged so that even on the other side of the world, Tomorrowland fans can experience the festival first-hand. Guests at these eight parties can look forward to an international name on one of the Tomorrowland stages, along with local DJ talent and plenty of spectacular showmanship and fireworks.

2017 marks the thirteenth edition of Tomorrowland. This year's theme is "Amicorum Spectaculum," which literally means gathering friends and artists at unique times and in exceptional settings.

Tickets for the annual event regularly sell out fast, leaving a lot of disappointed People of Tomorrow on the outside looking in. "Unite with Tomorrowland" is the festival's way of making the world a little smaller, through a satellite broadcast from Belgium, and bringing people closer together for one big memorable, musical weekend.

20 March 2017

Newly Minted Majority Black City Posts Abysmal Early Voting Numbers

"People died for our right to vote," is a phrase often used by civil rights organizations like the NAACP to encourage black participation at the ballot box.

Down in the newly-created City of South Fulton, however, black voter participation is pathetic.

Based upon new numbers released by elections officials, it will take a whole lot of encouragement to increase black voter turnout in the new City of South Fulton.

Data provided by the Georgia Secretary of State's office indicates that of the 62,865 individuals registered to vote in South Fulton on March 1, 2017, only 4,017 cast ballots during the nineteen day early voting period that started February 27th and ended March 17th.

With the very first election day just hours away in the new City of South Fulton, voter turnout stands at a paltry 6.4%. This stands in stark contrast to the 73.4% turnout for the referendum that created the new municipality.

The 2010 Census places the population of South Fulton at 90.8% black and 2.6% Hispanic or Latino.

South Fulton City Council candidate Catherine Rowell attributes the extremely depressed turnout in part to early voting hours that are inconvenient to citizens.

"I think the hours for early voting were less than idea [sic] with the polls opening at 8:30 a.m. (compared to 7 a.m.) and closing at 6:00 p.m.," Rowell wrote in a Facebook post. "In essence, making it impossible for anyone who works intown to vote without leaving work early."

Rowell predicted that less than 10,000 people would participate in the March 21st election.

Polls open in South Fulton at 7AM, March 21st, and close at 7PM.

Nearly seven dozen candidates are competing for seven city council seats as well as the position of mayor.

For #MusicMonday, "RMB," A Mashup By Robin Skouteris

"RMB" A Mashup by Robin Skouteris

Vanessa Carlton Entertains Her Extended Atlanta Family with an Hour of Songs and Stories

Promoters billed it as a concert to promote a new album. But for the 300+ people at City Winery's concert hall in Atlanta, the cozy performance by Grammy Award-nominee Vanessa Carlton could easily be described as an extended family reunion.

Seated behind a piano, Carlton regaled the capacity crowd with songs and stories -- particularly stories about her grandfather, whose presence was felt throughout the performance in the form of an oil painting crafted by him that loomed large on stage.

(Grammy Award nominated artist Vanessa Carlton's newest album, "Earlier Things Live," is now on sale. Image courtesy Vanessa Carlton.)
"My grandfather's original last name was Liberman," Carlton told her fans. "He changed it to Lee to sound less ethnic. Basically, we're Jews from Brooklyn, and we should be who we are."

The assembly of Vanessa Carlton enthusiasts, which was settled in the shadow of large wooden casks containing chardonnay and other wines, came near and far to see Carlton tickle the ivory keys. Rob Taylor and Cathy Chisholm journeyed from Charleston, South Carolina just to hear their favorite artist play. Another ticketholder said she caught a red-eye flight back to Atlanta from San Diego for Saturday night's show.

Lines began forming at 6PM for 8 o'clock event that opened with violinist Skye Steele Illinois-native singer-songwriter Tristen

Carlton's set started shortly after 9PM with the tune that made her famous, "A Thousand Miles." The 2002 Billboard Music Award nominee was joined on stage by violinist Skye Steele whose strings added extra character to Carlton's greatest hits.

Spanning an hour, the program featured eight songs from Carlton's previous work and some new music, "Love is an Art." Carlton prefaced each musical selection with a story about the song itself, which delighted the mostly female audience.

Carlton's husband, Deer Tick band member John McCauley, even had a song dedicated to him during the show, underscoring the familial nature of the entire event.

The Milford, Pennsylvania-native's Atlanta show was part of a multicity tour, promoting "Earlier Things Live," the fifth studio album by Carlton.

"Earlier Things Live," is a collection of live versions of Vanessa's earlier work and includes fan favorites such as the Grammy nominated "A Thousand Miles" and "White Houses." Additionally, there is a special duet with husband John McCauley of the Deer Tick Song "In Our Time."