A few days ago I talked about two women I met in Atlanta that were working hard to make their dreams and/or business’ a success I have one more such story for you.

Last Friday was my final full day in Atlanta and as my wife and I didn’t have time go to the Coca Cola museum on Tuesday as we had planned (CNN took much longer than we expected) Vinnie, my wife and I found ourselves once again on MARTA on the way to Atlanta proper.

One of the great disadvantages of the cellphone age is that if you spend all your time looking down at the phone for fear of missing something on the net you can miss interesting people, things or events that happen around you that unlike the internet can’t just be brought up to view later.

Like Sekondi Landry

During our trip while Vinnie and I were gabbing away and DaWife was valiantly putting up with us a young man came onto the subway and stood by the front wall. He seemed no different than another other such young man we had seen except for the fact he didn’t have a wire coming out of his ear.

For 2018 that was a significant difference but a few seconds later he demonstrated what was really unique about himself when he reached into his bag and produced two drawings and placed them over the corner of a pair of advertisements on the train.

The first drawing on the right wasn’t bad at all but the drawing on the left I thought was really good and Vinnie agreed even going so far as to compare it to a certain one eared artist.

I was intrigued, and spoke to him. His name was Secondi he didn’t go to art school, in fact he was getting his GED but had been drawing since 10 and decided he was sick of the various ads he saw on the train and thought he’d put up some of his work.

I loved the idea as it contrasted from a graffiti artist who has to deface what already exists without permission. I pulled out my camera and talked to the young man and recorded a brief interview

So here was a nice little story about a young man He had a dream of being an artist, with a little of his work. a great little subway story to add to the site.

But the story wasn’t over

A few minutes later he switched out his drawings. The new on on the right was of a foot and sneaker and didn’t impress me, the one of the left however was, in my opinion at least as good as the first I admired and that’s when something extrodinary happened.

Another fellow came on the train, noticed the drawing and instantly took a liking to it and asked if he was interested in selling it. Sekondi was and out came the video camera.

Now I don’t know if Sekondi Landry will someday become a household word, or if his art will ever be famous or even if one of the many companies that put good graphic designers to use might someday snatch up Sekondi, or even if those who read this blog might disagree with my high opinion of his work but I do know this. On Sept 7th 2018 Sekondi Landry managed to prove that his artwork was good enough that someone coming on a subway presumably without the intention to locate or buy a drawing was impressed enough to pay cash for it.

That’s a real milestone that, no matter what the future holds can never be taken away and it’s a great American story.

Remember this signature, someday you might find it in a gallery near you.

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Two Real American Ladies in Atlanta
One of the most interesting things about this vacation has been the fact that it’s been an ACTUAL vacation. Other than an interview at EWTN yesterday and a radio show I recorded with Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life (who I ran into accidentally) I’ve not been obliged to cover anything and I’ve only taken a few minutes of each day to write a daily post and send out the occasional tweet while my wife is still asleep or occupied.

But as you might guess vacation or no vacation, anniversary or no anniversary I meet a lot of people some who have interesting stories and I’d like to introduce you to two of them.

First meet Asha Nicole who I met on Monday morning on the way to Game one of the Red Sox Braves series.

As you can tell by the uniform and the background Asha works at one of the many Waffle House restaurants in the area, but what you can’t tell by just that picture is that she just moved to the Atlanta area from Louisiana to pursue a career in music. That she has her first single out which is available on iTunes and various music sites to buy and when she’s not taking your order and providing excellent service to folks like me having breakfast or lunch to make sure the bills are paid she is working hard to try to make her dreams come true.

You can listen to her single F.O.O.L.I.S.H here.

You can buy the song at amazon here.

Perhaps 10 years from now you will all know her name and young girls will dream of being the next Asha, perhaps not, but either way let the record show her first interview was with DaTechGuy at DaTechGuy Blog.

Two days later I was sitting behind home plate at Sun Trust Park for game 3 right below the broadcast booth for the travel day noon start. We met some interesting people but the most interesting were a couple who where huge RedSox/baseball fans that had driven 4 hours from Charlotte to be there.

Meet Rebecca Akins

For those of you who haven’t yet clicked on the video Rebecca has a unique jewelry business. In addition to other various themes she makes jewelry out of baseballs that she gets at major league , minor league or spring training games. Customers can also send her baseballs and she will make custom jewelry out of it.

The name of her business is Gypsy Castaway. Her Facebook page is here, The Web Site is here.

Both of these ladies are very nice people and if either Afro-punk / hip hop music or jewelry are your thing you’ll want to check them out but the real point I want to make is this.

While the media concentrates on Senators grandstanding for the camera, or people Cosplaying at hearings for fun and profit, playing the Manchurian candidate for the NYT and Axios or proclaiming themselves Spartacus in the real world actual there are millions of actual Americans that you will likely never hear about, people like Asha and Rebecca working hard to take advantage of the opportunities that America allows them to try to make their goals and dreams a reality.

I’d like to seem them both succeed.

A closing thought. I don’t know what Asha’s and Rebecca’s politics are and I don’t care but I do know that America is lucky to have them both and for my money they are more authentically American then almost anyone the media has spent the week hyping.

And a lot more interesting too.

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It has been my privilege to have been a citizen of the great state of Georgia for nearly 35 years now.

The old adage that time files is more than a truism.

One of the things that attracted my family to the “New South” was the tremendous opportunities for growth and advancement in the Metro-Atlanta, GA area.

When my family moved down to Atlanta, GA we observed that the “spiritual climate” of this area was radically different from what we had experienced in our beloved Northeastern United States (New England and the Mid-Atlantic respectively).

People who live in the Northeast are more reserved when it comes to expressing their faith or lack thereof.

Conversely, men and women who live in the Southeast inhabit a region of the country known as the “Bible belt.”

The Bible belt is distinguished by the tremendous number of Christian Churches (Evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox).  There is also a noticeable present albeit much smaller of prominent Jewish synagogues.

Religious people of all persuasions – Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or even Atheist are much quicker to share their belief system with you in the “Bible belt” than in the Northeastern United States.

Atlanta, Georgia was known as a “Southern Sleepy City” up through the early 1960s until men of Vision such as the late Coca-Cola CEO Robert Woodruff along with the great Atlanta, Mayor William B. Hartsfield worked with the Metro-Atlanta, GA Chamber of Commerce to develop a mission statement that stated that

“Atlanta A City Too Busy To Hate!”

This slogan provided a “sense of mission” – a mission statement? – that helped the city to navigate the turbulent years of the modern Civil Rights Era (1946 through 1971) and it also helped the Metro-Atlanta region transform the deep South from an economic stagnant backwards region into both and educational and industrial / information sector powerhouse.

When the Supreme Court mandated educational integration in the famous Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954, Southern states like Alabama (see Governor George Wallace) and Mississippi (Governor Ross Barnett) played to the fears of intransigent Whites who cried, “Segregation today, Segregation tomorrow, and Segregation Forever!”

The leaders of The City of Atlanta took a different approach; the city’s business leaders stressed that while they publicly endorsed legal segregation that they would not allow their political views to keep the city from moving forward economically.

Former Atlanta, GA mayor Ivan Allen (1961-69) was the only politician from the “Deep South” to endorse the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Bill which did away with legalized segregation.

(Allen previously was a strong proponent of “Jim Crow” etiquette, but his awakening took place in the early 1960s as the preaching of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. awakened him to the immorality of treating people of color as second 2nd class citizens.)

The City of Atlanta had a somewhat clandestine “power elite” that was made up of  the Clergy, Wealthy & Well-connected Whites along with their Clergy and best Educated and Business counterparts in the Negro community.

Together and behind the scenes the White and Negro “power elite” provided invaluable leadership to propel Atlanta, Georgia into its role as the Business, Political, and Spiritual capital of the “New South.”

Shortly after Pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. won the “Nobel Prize” for Peace in 1964, the Atlanta “power elite” made sure that they set up an integrated (bi-racial) gathering to honor Dr. King at the Dinkler Plaza Hotel in 1965.

This event was one of the first truly integrated events in the city’s history bringing together an unbelievably large group of 1,500 people!

The men chiefly responsible for this historic event were (this is not an exhaustive listing) “Atlanta leaders Ralph McGill, editor and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution, Rabbi Jacob Rothschild of The Temple, Morehouse President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, and Archbishop Paul Hallinan, came together as a committee to organize this event” [Source:  Atlanta Daybrook Internet News https://atlanta.daybooknetwork.com/story/2015-01-25/50228-ahc–mlk-jr-peace/].

Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen was an enthusiastic supporter and the Coca-Cola Patriarch Robert Woodruff lent his name and considerable support.  The then Coca-Cola President Paul Austin was proud to be a part of the Dinkler Plaza Hotel night honoring the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City of Atlanta has truly been “A City Too Busy to Hate.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to show some more positive aspects of this city motto along with some of the attendant problems that have accompanied the city’s endeavors to be faithful to this mission of being “A City Too Busy to Hate.”



Back in 2010 I was in Atlanta covering the GOP primary fight in GA-4 there was a scandal going on with the school system.

District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming, who announced the indictments, said Reid manipulated four school projects to benefit Pope, and that Lewis signed off the changes, and that they benefited from gifts of sporting and theater tickets. Keyes Fleming said both of them concealed the changes and Pope’s involvement from the DeKalb School Board.

But that turned out to be small potatoes compared to the cheating scandal that first broke a year later:

Eighty-two of the teachers flat-out confessed. The 800-page report said the cheating has been going on for nearly a decade. It first came to light when the state noticed an alarming number of erasure marks on the answer sheets.

Teachers and principals were erasing the wrong answers and filling in the right ones, the report said. At one school, the faculty even held weekend pizza parties to correct answers before turning them in. Over the course of a single year, scores at the school jumped 45 percent.

And last month the ax fell:

Of 35 Atlanta educators indicted in 2013, more than 20 took a plea deal. Twelve educators went on trial six months ago, with 11 convicted and one acquitted on April 1.

Of the 11 convicted, two took a deal in which they admitted guilt, waived their right to appeal and received much lighter sentences. One defendant was giving birth during the sentencing phase not been sentenced.

This as you might guess has had an effect on Georgia votes opinions on charter schools as my collogue at watchdog Yaël Ossowski pointed out

An American Federation of Children poll conducted in January showed that 72 percent of Georgia voters support “innovative, self-governing, and highly accountable charter public schools,” demonstrating a great amount of public support.

But more interesting than people voting in polls is a report that came out earlier this month from Georgia State University on the effect on enrolment in charter schools vs public schools

The test-cheating scandal that rocked Atlanta’s public schools disproportionately affected African-American students and sparked a spike in the city’s charter school enrollment, Education Week reports.

Atlanta parents are voting with their feet, From the report:

Table 5 presents a breakdown of enrollment in APS traditional and charter schools by year for those students who were in a flagged classroom in 2008/09.  There is some evidence that the cheating scandal lead to a movement away from traditional public schools and into the charter sector.  There are fairly large increases in enrollment in charter schools in the two years after the revelation of teacher cheating, 2009/10 and 2010/11.  After the 2010/11 school year the absolute enrollment in charters stabilizes, though the relative proportion continues to increase.

The report shows that the Charter school enrolment is up 229% over the figure from the year before the cheating scandal broke.

Those choices seem vindicated by Atlanta Neighborhood Charter school winning 2015 Georgia charter school of the year & a $50k grant from the Coca Cola Foundation

Yet one of those convicted invited to speak to the national action network to speak in Detroit says the entire scandal is all about attacking pubic schools:

Detroit leaders of NAN say the prosecution of teachers, administrators and others in this case is an effort to discredit and dismantle public education in urban cities.  NAN president Rev. Charles Williams II says that there are similar efforts going on in Detroit.


“One of the first things to do if you want to dismantle it is discredit it,” Williams said. “So what they have done in Atlanta is they have discredited the Atlanta Public School system so the charter school industry can come back.”

This reaction might be fueled by the fact Georgia actually has not only charter schools but charter school systems and according to Atlanta magazine 65% of the charter schools in the state are part of such systems.

Conspiracy theories not withstanding according to a Stanford study charter schools in Atlanta which are serving a school population that is 58% in poverty while not showing the dramatic difference we’ve seen in Boston doing as well as systems like Boston are still outperforming their public counterparts

While some are still pointing to standard tests as the culprit in Atlanta the lesson is clear, Atlanta parents including many in poverty are choosing charter schools in greater numbers, it will be up to those Atlanta charter schools absorbing them to continue to give those parents reason to stay.

This is simply awesome

Via Hotair and Business insider

Update: And this is simply stupid

Forgetting for a moment the childishness of everyone repeating everything like six-year-old kids (even repeating “mike check”), how idiotic is it to not allow an Atlanta & Civil rights ICON and a sitting congressman for over 24 years to speak?

Look at the faces of the people around Lewis in this video and remember that unlike the baseless accusations against the tea party that every single video of a public event couldn’t support, THIS video directly supports the idea that John Lewis a member of congress for 24 years was less important to this overwhelmingly white group than an agenda. Don’t think for one moment that the Black community will not remember this.

I wonder what Lawrence O’Donnell will have to say about that?

The damage control on this should be interesting.

Update 2: Breitbart’s linked the video, he’s got to be loving this, btw the article that I linked from Warner Todd Huston is awesome.

I wonder who on the left will offer $100k to the person who can “debunk” that video? More importantly watch how the damage control on this event is done. It will tell us a lot about who is paying for and running this entire business.

I would not want to be Anorexic Hippie Megaphone Guy when it happens.

Update 3: Job #1 for the lefty blogs is to keep this off of memeorandum, Job 2 is to keep it off of TV until damage control is done. If Fox isn’t running full tilt with this video they ought to be.

Update 4: Put in calls to Representative Lewis Atlanta & DC offices seeking comment. Left a phone message and sent an e-mail to Brenda Jones his media person and called and left a message for the Emergency media person Michael Collins as well. I’ll let you know if I hear back from either of them.

Update 5: At least They treated Congressman Lewis better than the guards at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

What does this movement have against black people?

Update: 6 here is a video of comments directly afterwards via fresh loaf:

For some reason the MSM doesn’t find this newsworthy, I wonder why?

Update 7: Via Human events CBS Atlanta covered it

Take a look at the women at the end, way to go Occupy everywhere folks. This might be shark jumping time.

Via Smitty Dan Collins in a NSFW post remembers another similar event:

Meanwhile Ali offers an invitation to Rep Lewis:

To the Honorable Representative John Lewis (D-GA),

You’re welcomed to come down to south Georgia where I’ve lived for more than 3 years and speak at a tea party rally.

I wonder what Morgan Freeman thinks about that!

Update 8: Drudge comments on the Chanting but not keeping John Lewis from speaking.

Update 9: Hotair covers the story and it finally makes Memeorandum. The MSM however managed to keep it off long enough to keep it from being a Sunday show issue, and by next Sunday it will be old news.

Today in This Post I wrote about the president Atlanta trip and democrats running away from him.

This morning I got the following e-mail from Republican Liz Carter’s campaign:

Carter Commends President Obama for Addressing Wounded Veterans
President Obama First President to Address
Organization Since 1996

(Atlanta) – The Annual Disabled American Veterans National Convention is being held in Atlanta July 31 – Aug 3. The organization, now in its 90th year of service representing America’s disabled veterans, will host President Obama on Monday, August 2nd.

“I applaud President Obama for coming to speak to this organization that does so much good on behalf of our disabled vets and their families,” stated Carter, the Republican nominee for Georgia’s 4th district House of Representatives. “Our wounded warriors are very deserving of our appreciation and gratitude.”

Carter, whose father was a WWII veteran, sits on the advisory board of Operation Homefront and is a member of the Women’s VFW Auxiliary. “Our veterans have made enormous sacrifices and our troops continue to do so around the world. I’m pleased that the President is attending the convention to honor their service.”

Carter also expressed her hope that, “…this visit will help remind those in Congress of the importance of addressing the needs of our veterans and treating our military with the utmost respect.”

While in Georgia, President Obama will also be fundraising for the Democrat National Committee. When asked about the president’s fundraising appearance Carter commented, “I’m sure President Obama is very aware of how vulnerable certain Georgia seats are in this November’s election.”

About Liz Carter, Republican Nominee GA-4 US House of Representatives
Liz Carter (http://lizcarterforcongress.com) is not waiting until she’s elected to serve the people of Georgia District 4, she is fighting for her constituents daily. As the owner of a small business consulting firm, Liz has put her career on the back burner in order to meet with her fellow citizens and understand the needs and challenges of her community. Among Liz’s many professional accomplishments is the successful management of a multi-million dollar business unit and a track record of increasing revenues and effective cost cutting – all skills that will be employed to the benefit of her District once she is elected. Liz is focused on sustainable job growth in the private sector, strong national security, and improving education.

About DAV
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s wartime disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site www.dav.org.

How bad are things for this President? He has to rely on republican candidates for congress to give him credit when credit is due.

Memeorandum thread on the President’s remarks here.

Hit the Monastary of the Holy Spirit this morning (wonderful place), had a long interview with Cory Ruth (r), toured the World of Coca Cola museum took more photos of houses and managed to get caught in the same thunderstorm twice in one day, once in Atlanta and once back here.

I’m currently washing clothes and getting ready for final packing of both the clothes and some stuff for the family. I’m hoping to hit one more event in the morning if possible. I have several posts that I’m working on concerning the trip and hoping to do a long round up of what I saw and thought.

My stomach is going to miss this place badly but I suspect my arteries will not.

You might have noticed btw that I have very few video interviews of individuals even though that is my normal practice. For whatever reason people though willing to talk were reluctant to appear on video outside of events.

That has been a very productive trip. Starting on Monday we will discover what the prospects are of me taking any others.