The Agitator by Oliver_Halle
The Agitator #126: No Plan B
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by Oliver_Halle
January 10, 2012 03:35 PM | 1223 views | 5 5 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

In a MDJ story dated 1/10/2012, “Grand jury suggests higher pay for police officers”, there were 22 comments underneath it at the time I wrote this, almost all negative, and all written by anonymous writers. Admittedly, I have a more positive opinion about paying police for the job they do for us, so at least I shouldn’t fear a knock on my door by one of Cobb’s finest for being on the wrong side of this issue. But it baffles me that even in responding to innocuous newspaper stories, most commentators hide behind anonymity and make some of the nastiest personal attacks about the subjects of an article or column. It would be nice to know who these folks are so that the readers can determine if the writer has a personal agenda, if it is a political opponent, or if there is something else driving the attacks. Same for those writers who support the people named in a story---we should know if they too have some personal interest or connection. I don’t like a lot of our elected officials at all levels any more than most other people, but I give them credit for putting their names out there when they float something controversial. I give them credit for letting the public jump on them and their ideas, for not hiding in a bunker when they say something likely to generate controversy. I think more of us would like to see some names behind the comments. Somehow I suspect that the nasty tone of many of them will become more civilized; they might not want their children, spouses and friends to see the kind of personal attacks that might otherwise be made on them. Perhaps too, some of these anonymous writers, who so often seem to be closet pundits on any subject, should give the rest of us the benefit of their knowledge, wisdom and experience, and run for office themselves.

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Oliver G. Halle
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January 13, 2012
That anonymity has become acceptable as the rule vice the exception with more and more media, in my opinion, doesn't make it right. There are any number of examples one can provide to demonstrate the problem with it. If a political candidate uses the blogs to write anonymously, how can the reader determine, and factor in, the credibility of the anonymous writer? I thnk we can all agree that if we know someone's agenda, it makes a difference in how we form our opinions. It also makes a difference in many instances to know the author's background, if they have a financial stake or interest in a topic. In a civil or criminal trial, these issues and more are brought out on cross-examination of witnesses so that a jury can better determine the truth. Knowing the identity of writers, with limited and valid exceptions, helps the readers to get a better handle on what is truth.

On this subject, Mr. Foster, we will have to respectfully disagree, but I do respect and appreciate your opinions and willingness to reveal who you are.


by Oliver_Halle
January 04, 2012 12:13 PM | 1080 views | 4 4 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Judy Manning's comments concerning Mitt Romney's faith demonstrate that she is unfit to hold office herself. What she doesn't seem to understand is that we are a secular nation, that we believe in freedom of conscience, and no matter what faith a person holds, as long as that person swears allegiance to support, defend and preserve the Constitution first, that is what matters. I am definitely not a Romney supporter, but to inject Romney’s religion into the debate, especially when he hasn't made it an issue, is despicable. Perhaps Manning should take some time and read the Constitution and case law, and read up on the history of this country.  
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De Dude
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January 05, 2012
Amen, Oliver......who is Judy Manning to "preach" about anything???? I am sick and tired of all these religious fanatics telling us how religion impacts everything in our government. Perhaps if THEY prayed harder we would not be in the financial mass we are in now!!!

by Oliver_Halle
December 20, 2011 03:21 PM | 1034 views | 1 1 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Tim Lee’s explanation for his trip to Israel on the nickel of a special interest group is more than laughable; it is contemptible. He says that it will help him deal with issues related to the Jewish community. I wonder if he has reached out to some of Cobb’s Jewish leaders and members to first identify what particular issues they have that other religious groups don’t have. Since when does a county commissioner deal with problems that are usually found on the national level? One exception, that does not apply to Lee or other locally elected officials, is the specialized training that Israel provides to local law enforcement to fight terrorism. Lee made a weak attempt in his MDJ interview to stress the importance of understanding Israel’s immigration issues. Perhaps if he studied a little of Israel’s history he would know about the Law or Return that gives every Jew in the world the right to immigrate to Israel, that under the law they are conferred automatic citizenship. There is no analogy to the illegal aliens that are found in Cobb County. The problems are hardly the same.

The other issue that should be of concern to all Cobb citizens is why Project Interchange would pay for Lee’s trip. Does PI have a special interest that Lee could potentially help them with on a local level? Does PI only offer to pay for elected officials or those in government that can dispense some kind of largesse or favors? Surely PI wouldn’t fund these trips if there wasn’t something in it for them. If they are so generous, perhaps I or anyone else can sign up for the opportunity. Lastly, Lee admits that his re-election campaign picked up the $350 that he was required to apply to the total cost. Are you kidding? He couldn’t pay for it himself? Do his donors know that he is using their money for this kind of “business?” A review of his past campaign disclosures also reveals that his Kiwanis dues have been paid from the same source. At a salary of $135,000 from the taxpayers, does the chairman ever spend his own money?  

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EMBuckner
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December 29, 2011
If the Dear Chairman wants to expend our tax dollars or his time willy-nilly, why should mere taxpayers and citizens object? Don't we all understand that DC knows best? Surely this outside Yankee agitator (self-proclaimed), whose middle name is derived from one of the leaders who caused us such terrible grief back in the sixties is not the source we need to rely on! Wishing I was anonymous and could therefore duck ALL responsibility for my remarks, I remain, a Georgia boy from as far back as I go.

by Oliver_Halle
December 07, 2011 12:37 PM | 1059 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

We now have three announced candidates running for Cobb Commission Chairman, and a fourth will soon announce according to the MDJ. The latest to jump in, Mike Boyce, is a retired marine colonel. So for now we have two candidates from New York, the incumbent Tim Lee, and former chairman Bill Byrne. Boyce doesn’t claim a state because he grew up in a military family that moved around a lot. He has strong leadership experience, did budget analysis work in the Pentagon, and used his military experience to govern an entity in Iraq. Let the New Yorkers go back to New York and run for office! :) (I confess to being from Brooklyn and Staten Island, but I have no interest in running for office. I just want to enjoy the good southern life under the leadership of someone home grown, or at least nearby.)

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by Oliver_Halle
November 23, 2011 02:35 PM | 1067 views | 2 2 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I state the obvious when I mention the high unemployment/underemployment rate, and how some families are desperately trying to generate any income they can in order to keep the wolf from the door. That said, a friend of mine who lives in an east Cobb gated community, told me that the other day a car came through his neighborhood at 6 a.m. with a loud muffler. A neighbor that was outside walking and who is active in his homeowner’s association, stopped the car to inquire about the noise and learned that the driver was an MDJ newspaper deliverer. If the story is accurate, the neighbor called the MDJ to complain about the muffler, and the driver was instructed to get it fixed before he would be allowed to deliver any papers.

If this story is true as reported to me, have some people reached a new low? I get the MDJ and the Atlanta newspaper delivered each morning and welcome the sound of their cars knowing that the newspapers are waiting for me. These carriers get up at an ungodly hour, and make their rounds in the dark and all kinds of adverse weather while most of us sleep comfortably. And they don’t make the money that those in gated communities do. Perhaps the homeowner in this instance, instead of calling the MDJ to complain, could have shown some seasonal spirit and offered to help defray the cost of the repair. I imagine, though, that the homeowner never experienced hard times and wouldn’t appreciate the plight of the less fortunate.

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Samuel Adams
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November 25, 2011
Agreed 100 percent, Halle.

How many sanitation trucks speed down my quiet street, sounding like the mother ship landing on our house? The UPS trucks scream up and down, dozens of times each day. Yet, it's the lone entrepreneur working for the local news outlet who is targeted by the wealthy. Yes, this is a bit of sarcasm, however, I am serious.

by Oliver_Halle
November 23, 2011 11:26 AM | 1206 views | 4 4 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
It is deplorable that our military veterans are experiencing the highest percentage of unemployment. Surely it’s not because these service members are unemployable. The military teaches a variety of skills that are useful in our economy. It is a false argument to suggest that “trigger pullers” don’t have requisite skills that translate into civilian counterparts, especially when there are approximately five people with varying skills that support each combatant. I would like to ask how many local companies, have hired a veteran? If not, when there has been a job opening, have you reached out to Dobbins AFB or other military installations to find out if you could post a job vacancy for service members about to rotate to the private sector? (This was common when I was in the Navy a long time ago.) Patriotism is more than displaying the American flag, putting “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers on vehicles, and voting for the politician who “out patriots” his opponents with self-serving lip service.
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EMBuckner
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December 31, 2011
I don't go around looking for chances to agree with Laura A, but she's right on this one. This nation, including Cobb, give endless examples of high-flown rhetoric to support those who have worn the uniform of our country but all too often don't back the rhetoric up. Everyone should understand that the men and women who have served us don't make foreign policy decisions--they just put their lives on the line to carry it out. So, whether you support or oppose a war or diplomatic effort, as an American you should support--and NOT just with words--those who have served us. And beware of the scuzz-balls who claim they have when they have not.

Mr. Halle should write up a blog entry on his well developed ideas about politicians (and others) who trade on service they never gave. Regards to all, Ed B.

by Oliver_Halle
November 21, 2011 09:21 AM | 1106 views | 2 2 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Cobb County has had a commission chairman for the past 20 years or so that is either from New York or New Jersey.  If no one else jumps into the race next year, we will have another four years of a New York transplant.  (I am a native of Brooklyn and Staten Island.)  Aren’t there any home grown folks that feel up to governing? 

Originally published November 11, 2011. 

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jawja boy
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November 25, 2011
Amen, Oliver, we surely do not need anymore Northerners coming down here telling us how to run our County....we need a true Southern boy with deep roots to get rid of the Brooklyn thinking politicos who think they know best....sound like someone you know???

by Oliver_Halle
November 11, 2011 11:25 AM | 1167 views | 2 2 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

On Monday, November 7th , Don (the Godfather) Jenacova and I hosted a Q & A meeting with Congressman Tom Price at Panera Bread near the Loop on Upper Roswell Road.  We had sixty people attend, the outer limit of what we hoped for in order to keep it manageable.  The format was for Tom to take five minutes to provide his overview of the problems our nation faces and what he is trying to do about it.  After that the meeting was turned over to the very eclectic audience.  Questions were drawn from a hat of those who submitted their names.  Most  got their question asked.  There were no softballs.  Tom handled some tough questions respectfully, and while not everyone agreed with him, I think it’s safe to say that all were pleased with his effort to address the issues.  This format allowed for the voters to decide what is important, and to put their elected representative’s feet to the fire.  It also alerted Tom to some things that are bothering his constituents, and I suspect that he may have been surprised by some of the questions. 

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Wendy Alpine
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November 11, 2011
Happy Veterans Day to you, Oliver. You and the Godfather are keeping our pols honest!

-- Wendy

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Oliver Halle of east Cobb is a retired FBI agent and has law degrees from The University of North Carolina and New York University. He commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam, where he earned the Bronze Star with the Combat V for meritorius action. While with the FBI he helped investigate and prosecute members of the Columbo organized crime “family” and later launched the investigation that resulted in the conviction on corruption charges of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.

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