News & Opinion

News about Atlanta issues, arts, events, and more

Deal signs law requiring mass drug tests

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law that will arbitrarily require all Georgia welfare recipients to submit to drug tests.

The riddle of Newt Gingrich is solved

Why isn't Newt Gingrich the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination? Is it because he's extraordinarily unpopular with voters? Is it because he's so disliked by actual Republican office holders that he was reduced to touting an endorsement by Sarah Palin's husband? Is it because he's the only Speaker of the House in U.S. history to be fined and reprimanded for ethics violations?

Gov. Deal’s spokesman not shy about gerrymandering

Everybody knows political parties draw state and Congressional voting districts to favor their side, but seldom do politicians flat-out admit it.

Transportation referendum: Some basic questions answered

Last week, a coalition of business and civic groups launched an $8 million advertising campaign to promote "yes" votes in July’s transportation referendum. The campaign’s powerhouse list of corporate donors—among them Coke, Delta, Turner, Siemens, Wells Fargo, and GE —should tell you that city leaders are taking the referendum very seriously.

Newt Gingrich: Losing friends and alienating people

If it had happened in February or March, Rick Santorum's withdrawal from the GOP Presidential race would have been great news for Newt Gingrich. I'm not suggesting he would have beat Romney, but he would have had a better shot - particularly in the southern primaries where Romney is least popular. Instead, Santorum's announcement Monday that he's giving up the fight has actually managed to Gingrich look (even more) foolish.

Commentary: Can Atlanta save the World?

Our fair city’s romance with the wrecking ball and bulldozer is well documented. So it seemed like cause for huzzahs when the Atlanta Urban Design Commission denied a request to demolish the Auburn Avenue building that once was home to the Atlanta Daily World, the country’s first black-owned daily paper.The Integral Group — a developer with a track record of working on urban projects, including the redevelopment of Grady Homes — planned to preserve the World’s facade and replace its guts with new apartments, affordably priced and presumably appealing to Georgia State University students. Critics said saving the façade wasn’t enough, and more than 1,100 people signed a petition protesting Integral and GSU (never mind that the school wasn’t formally associated with the project).

Roswell’s state Senator argues for drug testing the world!

In yesterday's big AJC story about Georgia's constitutionally questionable new bill requiring drug tests for welfare recipients, one of the bill's sponsors defended the bill thusly:

This Week in Atlanta History: The King Funeral, 1968

On April 9, 1968, while 110 cities were still shaken by the violence and rioting that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta hosted a daylong series of funeral events honoring the slain civil rights leader. Seen by more than 120 million on live television and attended by more than 150,000, it was the largest funeral ever staged for a private citizen.

Q&A with SweetWater

In 2012 Atlanta's SweetWater Brewery celebrates fifteen years of barreling up some of the south's best-selling craft beer. As fans prep for the eighth annual SweetWater 420 Music Festival in Candler Park, April 20–22, cofounder Freddy Bensch reflects on his success.What can you reveal about the special SweetWater fifteenth anniversary beer you're creating with your former college roommate and SweetWater cofounder Kevin McNerney [who left the company in 2008]? The very first beer we ever brewed here was SweetWater ESB [Extra Special Bitter], and we ended up winning silver medals at three different beer festivals. But we stopped making it after three years. For the fifteenth anniversary, we took that recipe, dusted it off, and gave it an adrenaline shot: bumped up the hops and the alcohol and turned it into a high-gravity ESB. Kevin came back to work on the recipe and brewed it with us. We're actually bottling it today. To have Kevin, who was a huge, instrumental part of building this place and a great friend, come back and help out with the anniversary beer was personally, for me, just awesome.When guys on the brewery tour walk into your SweetWater Tasting Room, their jaws often go slack. It's like stumbling into the ultimate man cave, only you get paid to work there. Did you realize that when you were creating it? When you're around it all day, you take it for granted. But when you see someone walk in for the first time, and his eyes and tongue fall on the floor, you realize how great you have it. You're wearing flip-flops and shorts, and they're in a suit and tie. I have to remember that not everybody gets to drink beer for a living at three in the afternoon. It puts things into perspective about how lucky we are.Your wife has to be psyched that your man cave doubles as your office at work, right? You know, my wife just built me a man cave at our home in the basement. I have no idea about what she's trying to tell me with that. What does that mean? I'm completely perplexed with that one!I love that the SweetWater 420 Music Festival starts on April 20. How much do you have to pay someone off so that date always lands on a weekend? Actually, the date is sort of a moving target; but if you drink enough 420s, it all seems to work out.This year you've booked Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, former James Brown sax man Maceo Parker, Athens act Perpetual Groove, and Donna the Buffalo. How do you select the proper music to drink beer by? We pull from our roots. It's musicians who inspire us and bands that we know put on a show and are going to blow people away. We also love giving up-and-coming acts a shot. We try and introduce the crowd to local bands that maybe people haven't seen before. Bottom line? It's really a personal preference and bands that are going to contribute to an all-around good time.Each year people always come away from the festival talking about the great vibe SweetWater 420 creates. Are there any secrets to achieving that? For a beer-and-music fest, people are always surprised at how family oriented it is. That's something I'm really proud of. It's not Oktoberfest by any means. There's a ton of kids' activities. A lot of the folks who come down each year were with us fifteen years ago. They were twenty-one, twenty-two back then, and now they're thirty-six or thirty-seven, and they have families. They still show up to blow off the dust and shake it around a little bit. They just have a baby attached to them now.On your SweetWater business card, you have the job title of "Big Kahuna." What's the typical reaction you get when you hand it to someon

Cindy Pinion Plays Hostess of North Georgia Bluegrass

Tony Rehagen is our senior editor. Learn more about him | Follow him on Twitter | Contact him

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