The Reverend Joseph Lowery is uncharacteristically quiet as he sits at a long table inside the modest room in Downtown’s Atlanta Life Insurance Company building. Between bites of fried chicken and peach cobbler, he occasionally interjects or asks a question, but mostly he listens attentively, staring out at a group that’s as diverse as the issues for which its members are so passionate.
In the forty years he has been in the public eye, Ted Turner has been called a genius, a jackass (by his father, among others), a visionary, childlike (a compliment), childish (not a compliment), a pioneer, a young maverick, an old lion, a straight shooter, egomaniacal, steadfast, restless, haunted, mercurial, brilliant, impatient, impetuous, insecure, generous, genuine, loyal, and cheap. Also nuts.
“I don’t need money. People give me things because they believe in me.” So said Willie Stark in All the King’s Men, and so, pretty much, said Talmadge. Ethics investigators found the U.S. senator from Georgia accepted loads of undisclosed gifts: airfare, clothing, fruit of the month packages, a trampoline, and wads of cash that he stuffed in a pocket.
The cars keep coming—sedan, coupe, SUV, SUV, hybrid, van, SUV, truck, station wagon, sedan, truck. It's midmorning and technically well after the end of rush hour, on a leafy, tree-lined residential street. But this is the ATL, the automotive industry's bitch, whose car-clogged freeways and surface-street arteries are choking on a diet of pure vehicular cholesterol, and traffic just keeps on coming.