Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

90 Years Ago: Rebecca Latimer Felton becomes the first woman US Senator

Rebecca Ann Latimer Felton (June 10, 1835 – January 24, 1930) was an American writer, lecturer, reformer, and politician who became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate. She was the most prominent woman in Georgia in the Progressive Era, and was honored by appointment to the Senate; she was sworn in on November 21, 1922, and served one day, the shortest serving Senator in U.S. history. At 87 years old, 9 months, and 22 days, she was also the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate. As of 2012, she is also the only woman to have served as a Senator from Georgia. She was a prominent society woman; an advocate of prison reform, women's suffrage and educational modernization; and one of the few prominent women who spoke in favor of lynching. 
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Final Appeals Fail At Supreme Court; Troy Davis Execution Likely

JACKSON, Ga. — The Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected an 11th-hour request to block the execution of Troy Davis, who convinced hundreds of thousands of people but not the justice system of his innocence in the murder of an off-duty police officer.

The court did not comment on its order, which came four hours after it received the request. Davis’ execution had been set to begin at 7 p.m., but the high court’s decision was not issued until after 10 p.m.
Read the rest here.

Update: Davis has been executed.

Last-ditch appeals as Troy Davis execution nears

ATLANTA — Death row inmate Troy Davis neared his execution Wednesday despite a furious last-ditch campaign in the U.S. and Europe to win his clemency for killing a Georgia policeman, a crime he and others have insisted for years he did not commit.

The Georgia Pardons and Paroles Board on Wednesday morning said it would not review its decision to allow the execution to go forward.

Davis was set to die at 7 p.m. for the 1989 killing of off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was slain while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked.

Davis' lawyers have long argued Davis was a victim of mistaken identity. Prosecutors say they have no doubt that they charged the right person with the crime.

Supporters planned vigils outside Georgia's death row prison in Jackson and at U.S. embassies in Europe.

Davis' attorneys Wednesday filed another late appeal aimed at blocking the execution by convincing a judge that some of the original evidence was questionable.

Earlier, defense lawyer Stephen Marsh told The Associated Press that the Georgia Department of Corrections denied his request to allow Davis to take a polygraph test. Marsh had said he hoped the polygraph would persuade the state pardons board to reconsider a decision against clemency.
Read the rest here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

150 years ago Georgia secedes (whether they liked it or not)

...But while Georgia may have the most slaveholders in the south, it has the most non-slaveholders as well, and the state’s attraction to secession has never attained the white-hot pitch that prevails in its short-fused neighbor to the east. Thus, while Governor Brown and Senator Robert Toombs were laboring mightily for secession, staunch unionists massed in town squares to declare their allegiance. We do not consider the election of Lincoln and Hamlin as sufficient cause for Disunion, was the message from a large crowd in Crawfordsville, according to reports. We are not of the opinion that the election of any man . . . is sufficient cause to disrupt the ties which bind us to the Union, was, reportedly, the view of attendees at a mass meeting in Walker County. “We will never forsake the old `Star Spangled Banner,’’’ wrote one newspaper editor in Harris County, and appended the names of 175 local men who pledged to “preserve the honor and rights of the South in the Union.’’

Recognizing the strength of the unionists, the ultras tried to persuade the legislature to bypass the people and accept responsibility and pass an ordinance of secession itself. “Come, then, legislators,’’ implored Thomas Cobb in the Milledgeville debates in November. “Represent the wisdom and intelligence of Georgia; wait not till the grog-shops and cross-roads shall send up a discordant voice from a divided people.’’ Said Toombs, more pithily, “I am afraid of conventions.’’ But it was precisely into the hands of that divided people that the legislature passed the decision, calling for a convention to discuss the matter to be held on Jan. 16...

...When the convention came to order on Jan. 16, the delegates constituted — to be sure, this is the opinion of one of the delegates — “the most distinguished body of men which had ever assembled in Georgia . . . . Of the 297 delegates, there were not four whose names were not of pure English, Scotch or Irish origin. It would not have been possible to assemble in one hall, by any method of selection, a more truly representative body of the best intelligence in Georgia.’’

Two days were spent on matters of organization, and then the body got down to business: a separatist resolution favoring secession was proposed. Before action could be taken on that proposal, however, a competing resolution was proposed by the cooperationists that proclaimed Georgia’s attachment to the union and called for Georgia to host a convention of the southern states where they would discuss their relations with the federal government and devise a plan of action that would safeguard the rights of the slaveholding states.

Once again, Alexander Stephens rose to defend the Union. “This step, once taken can never be recalled; and all the baleful and withering consequences that must follow will rest on the Convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war which this act of yours will inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvests shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land; our temples of justice laid in ashes; all the horrors and desolation of war upon us — who but this Convention will be held responsible for it?’’

Stephens’s sobering eloquence was admired, but not enough to win a majority in favor of the cooperationist alternative, which lost, 166 to 130. The following day, the separatist proposal passed, 208 to 89, and the convention president, George Crawford, immediately declared Georgia to be an independent nation. As the poet Sidney Lanier put it, “Tears of joy fell from many eyes, and words of congratulation were uttered by every tongue. The artillery from the capitol square thundered forth the glad tidings, and the bells of the city pealed forth the joyous welcome to the new-born Republic.”

At the convention on the following day, a second effort by a cooperationist delegate to obtain from Governor Brown the official vote tallies of the Jan. 2 election was officially defeated.

The tallies have yet to be released. Meanwhile, in Habersham County, one voter is loudly complaining that his delegate to the convention, a preacher named Singleton Sisk, fraudulently declared himself a union man to win election, and then voted with the secessionists. Reports of similar complaints have emerged in a score of other locations.

It is not likely that these objections will be long pursued. At the convention, the secession bloc pushed through a resolution mandating that all delegates, most specifically those who opposed the Ordinance of Secession, affix their signatures to the document as a “pledge of the unanimous determination of this Convention to sustain and defend the State, in this her chosen remedy.’’ As one of its very first actions, the independent republic of Georgia passed a law against treason, an act that includes attesting a continued allegiance to the United States. Disobedience is punishable by death.
Read the rest here.

Still Fighting Russia, This Time With Words

TBILISI, Georgia — The new teacher who arrived recently at School No. 161 could barely speak a word of the Georgian language, knew little about local customs and easily got lost in the crazy-quilt streets of this hilly capital. But she was at the forefront of one of the most notable educational initiatives — if not social experiments — being attempted in the former Soviet Union.

When the teacher, Deborah Cruz, walked into a classroom of squirmy teenagers, they grew rapt. Here was a stranger who would help connect them to the rest of the world, one irregular verb tense at a time.

Ms. Cruz, who is from the Seattle area, is part of a brigade of native English speakers recruited by Georgia’s government to spur a linguistic revolution. The goal is to make Georgia a country where English is as common as in Sweden — and in the process to supplant Russian as the dominant second language.

“What we are doing is really something groundbreaking,” Ms. Cruz, 58, said after leading her class in a form of tick-tack-toe on the blackboard, with students devising a sentence to fill in a box.

One of her students, Tekla Iordanishvili, 15, chimed in, “English is the international language, and we need it.”

The government has already lured 1,000 English speakers to Georgia, and by September, hopes to have another 500 in place so that every school in the country has at least one. Under the program, which resembles both the Peace Corps and the Teach for America program, the teachers live rent-free with Georgian families and receive a stipend of about $275 a month.

The initiative to embed these foreigners across Georgia reflects the ambitions of its Western-leaning president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who speaks excellent English and studied law at Columbia University. Since taking office after an uprising in 2003, Mr. Saakashvili has worked to wrench Georgia out of Moscow’s orbit and move it closer to the United States — so determined is his effort that it was a factor in the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia.
Read the rest here.

Better if they were taught Mandarin.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Georgian Orthodox Church offers to permit some minor criminals serve part of their sentence in monasteries

Officials in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia have announced a scheme to let prisoners shorten their jail terms by spending time in a monastery instead.

The scheme for petty criminals has been proposed by the country's Orthodox Church and government officials.

It comes as prisoner numbers in Georgia continue to rise and so too does the popularity of the Church.
Read the rest here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Georgia Seeks Return of Luger's Body

TBILISI, Georgia–Georgian officials said Monday they were working to return the body of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili to his mountain hometown for burial in a cemetery beside its small Georgian Orthodox church.

Mr. Kumaritashvili died in a training accident hours before the opening of the Winter Olympics on Friday when he lost control of his luge on the final turn of the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre and hit a steel support at 90 miles per hour.

"The funeral could be in two or three days but nothing is clear yet," said David Kumaritashvili, the luger's father.

The athlete will be buried in Bakuriani, the quiet ski resort where he lived all of his 21 years and became a local hero. The town of about 3,000 inhabitants, set high in the Caucasus Mountains about 110 miles kilometers west of Tbilisi and surrounded by fir-covered peaks, is a close-knit community and expects a deluge of mourners.
Read the rest here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pat Buchanan on Bear Baiting

A big hat tip to Alex (a reader from Russia) for the below article. While I do not endorse everything Mr. Buchanan has written he makes some very strong points which tend to reinforce the old adage about their being two sides to most disputes.

Ad Orientem

Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia's invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser's decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.

Nasser's blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili's blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili's army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours.

Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.

Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America's lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.

American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight -- Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.

Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.

True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?

Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?

Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?

When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?

Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of who viscerally detest Russia?

That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili's provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia's nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.

When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?

American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia's doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin's birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?

The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.

We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic "revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.

Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.

Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia's space and getting into Russia's face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost -- in Tbilisi.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Prayers for Peace

A Georgian soldier is blessed by an Orthodox priest following confession near the front line.

On Saturday, August 9, 2008, late at night, following all-night vigil at the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco, CA, a moleben was performed at the relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, which lie uncorrupt in the church, for the cessation of bloodletting and for the increase of love between the Ossetian, Georgian and Russian peoples. Georgian and Ossetian families were in attendance. With tears in their eyes, the worshipers heard the Gospel words on how the Savior gave us a new law: “love one another as I have loved you.” Supplications were intoned for the health and salvation of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, Katolikos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, Archbishop Theophanes of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, all those wounded and exiled and their relatives and all our Orthodox brethren peoples.

Also in attendance were Russian and American parishioners. The Cathedral Choir sang. In his sermon, Protopriest Serge Kotar asked that all pray for the establishment of peace. After the moleben, no one wished to depart.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Some Perspective on the Outbreak of War Between Russia & Georgia

The hostilities between Russia and Georgia that erupted on Friday over the breakaway province of South Ossetia look, in retrospect, almost absurdly over-determined. For years, the Russians have claimed that Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has been preparing to retake the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and have warned that they would use force to block such a bid. Mr. Saakashvili, for his part, describes today’s Russia as a belligerent power ruthlessly pressing at its borders, implacably hostile to democratic neighbors like Georgia and Ukraine. He has thrown in his lot with the West, and has campaigned ardently for membership in NATO. Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s former president and current prime minister, has said Russia could never accept a NATO presence in the Caucasus.

The border between Georgia and Russia, in short, has been the driest of tinder; the only question was where the fire would start.

It’s scarcely clear yet how things will stand between the two when the smoke clears. But it’s safe to say that while Russia has a massive advantage in firepower, Georgia, an open, free-market, more-or-less-democratic nation that sees itself as a distant outpost of Europe, enjoys a decisive rhetorical and political edge. In recent conversations there, President Saakashvili compared Georgia to Czechoslovakia in 1938, trusting the West to save it from a ravenous neighbor. “If Georgia fails,” he said to me darkly two months ago, “it will send a message to everyone that this path doesn’t work.”

During a 10-day visit to Georgia in June, I heard the 1938 analogy again and again, as well as another to 1921, when Bolshevik troops crushed Georgia’s thrilling, and brief, first experiment with liberal rule.

Georgians are a melodramatic people, and few more so than their hyperactive president; but they have good reason to fear the ambitions, and the wrath, of a rejuvenated Russia seeking to regain lost power. Indeed, a renascent and increasingly bellicose Russia is an ominous spectacle for the West too. While China preaches, and largely practices, the doctrine of “peaceful rise,” avoiding confrontation abroad in order to focus on development at home, Russia acts increasingly like an expansionist 19th-century power, pressing at its borders. Most strikingly, Russia has bluntly deployed its vast oil and gas resources to punish refractory neighbors like Ukraine, and reward compliant ones like Armenia.

From a lengthy but good article on the present crisis in the New York Times. I recommend the article in its entirety.

With all of the threats to Christianity in the modern world, both internal and external, I find the spectacle of two Orthodox Christian states shooting at each other to be nothing less than revolting. All wars are on some level immoral though this is not to suggest that there is no right to self defense. However this war is a moral travesty.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Georgia Patriarch a Voice for Calm

Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II

TBILISI, Georgia, Nov. 14 — When Georgia’s short democratic experiment seemed near collapse last week amid a commotion of flying tear gas canisters, rocks and rubber bullets, the nation’s leaders, their opponents, and the Georgian people looked to Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church.

The patriarch addressed the nation on television, calling for an end to the violence and opening the churches as a refuge. And when the violence subsided, he offered his services as mediator between the government and the opposition.

“If there is anything in this country that can be a guarantor of security, it is the patriarch,” Tina Khidasheli, of the opposition Republican Party, said in an interview days after a government-imposed state of emergency shut down independent media and curtailed political rights. “No one else has any authority anymore.”

As leader of a near 2,000-year-old religious tradition, the patriarch has been a unifying force through 30 years of political turmoil, poverty and war, even as one revolution after another, peaceful or otherwise, has toppled the nation’s political leaders.

Read the rest here.