Tom Baxter

Farewell, Honey Boo Boo: Reality television’s troubles hit close to home

Reality has hit a rough patch. We’re not speaking here of political or economic reality, where the news is seldom good, but something on which our state and city have made an indelible mark: reality entertainment.

Real people may be cheaper than film stars, but they can come with some nasty surprises, as demonstrated by the catastrophic (for the network, the family and most likely the whole town of McIntyre) collapse of the “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” franchise.
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GOP’s dominance of state legislatures one of decade’s big political shifts

Amid all the other gloomy results for Democrats higher up on the ballot, the erosion of a couple more seats in the state House might not seem like the worst disaster. But it’s symptomatic of a national trend which may be their party’s most troubling problem.

While they were gaining control of the U.S. Senate last week, Republicans also picked up control of 11 state legislative chambers, making significant gains elsewhere, including Florida, where they reached a supermajority in the state Senate.
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Little consolation for Democrats in election drubbing

Hedging their bets somewhat last week, some Democrats were advancing the idea that simply by making this a competitive election, they were ahead of schedule in Georgia. And there might have been some truth to that.

But in the cold light of the day after Election Day, with less to show for their efforts, overall, than in the midterm elections four years ago, the reverse of that argument also has to be considered.
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Zig Zag Zell points to end of an era

In this legacy year of Georgia politics, we have a Carter, a Nunn and a Perdue on the ballot. But the voice from the past we’ll remember from this election — if only because we’ve heard it so often — is likely to be that of Zell Miller.

Is there another politician in the country who would be asked to cut a spot for a Republican candidate for governor and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and is there another politician with the gall to accept both offers?
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Senate endgame: ‘A mother’s perspective’ vs. ‘hard right-hand turn’

Within a few minutes of each other during Sunday night’s Loudermilk-Young Atlanta Press Club debate, Michelle Nunn and David Perdue gave a clear indication which voters they think they need to win this very close U.S. Senate race.

For Michelle Nunn the moment came when the Libertarian candidate, Amanda Swafford, challenged her over a flier urging black voters in Georgia to avoid “another Ferguson in your future.”
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As problems grip Turner and ASO, Atlanta’s image, and its sound, fade

Between buyouts and lockouts, the visionaries who dreamed big about Atlanta’s future have to be a little dismayed right now.

Turner Broadcasting and CNN, like the Atlanta Symphony and chorus, were built on the upstart idea that a media operation based in a provincial city could compete on a global scale. The fates of all these organizations are now in the hands of much larger forces, and what happens to them will have a lot to do with the image Atlanta projects to the world.
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Rope-a-dope registration case could become a full-blown mess

First the math.

If we assume a reasonable increase in turnout over the 2.6 million Georgians who voted in the election four years ago, as most observers do, then the 40,000 voter applications (some say the number is as high as 55,000) which the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights says have not been properly processed would amount to between 1 and 2 percent of the total vote in next month’s election.
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The watch on the frontier of infection

Among the recent victims of exotic diseases was an Alabama hunting dog named Brennel. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa — the animal version of the Centers for Disease Control — confirmed last week that the dog had contracted the rare pseudorabies virus from a feral pig at a wild hog rodeo.

The virus that killed Brennel has never jumped over into a human host, although commercial hog producers inoculate against it to protect their stock. The attention focused by a government lab on Brennel’s ailment is a sign of the vigilance with which we now patrol the frontier of infection.
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Deal’s ‘Happy Days’ strategy depends on Obama’s recovery

In more ways than one, Barack Obama has been Nathan Deal’s bestest frenemy this year.

Obama is of course the scary figure whom Deal’s opponent, Jason Carter, is tied with in those black-and-white (mostly black) attack ads. In the eyes of Republican strategists, the president is the great nationalizer, and he’s been linked with the Democrat in nearly every race in the country.

Obama has been Deal’s frenemy in another, less obvious way as well. Continue reading

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Sports and the American funhouse

Had his glancing reflection not flickered briefly in the funhouse mirror of American culture, chances are U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller’s punishment for beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel would have been relatively mild.

Fuller spent a couple of nights in jail last month after his wife called police to their room at the downtown Ritz Carlton, and his cases were reassigned to other judges while the matter was being cleared up. But the charges against him were to be dropped in an agreement in which he was to enroll in domestic violence and substance abuse programs. It looked as though he would be returning to his judicial seat in Montgomery, Ala.

But last week the wind changed.
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