In this June file photo, Tovah Ringland, left, and Jennifer Susko, center, hold signs supporting the teaching of critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion. Susko was the organizer of a pro-CRT rally at the Cobb School District headquarters.

Last month, the Cobb Board of Education banned the teaching of critical race theory, ordering Superintendent Chris Ragsdale to carry out the fiat in the Cobb School District.

So it’s interesting to scan the topics several CCSD counselors will address at the American School Counselor Association's annual conference, which kicks off Saturday in Las Vegas. 

If you guessed critical race theory among them, you would be right, according to the schedule.  

You may also recognize some of the names of the counselors: Jennifer Susko, a counselor at Mableton Elementary School, and John Nwosu, a counselor at Garrett Middle School, have been unapologetically supportive of their use of CRT as educators.

How Ragsdale responds to this throwing down of the gauntlet remains to be seen, but with national teachers unions speaking up in support of CRT — which holds that racism is as part of American history as apple pie, baked into our founding and continuing to saturate America’s legal systems and institutions — the counselors may feel protected from any sanctions. 

Susko and Nwosu referred AT to the district’s communications department for comment. District spokeswoman Nan Kiel said counselors in Cobb Schools have historically traveled to the annual conference and the trip will be funded with a combination of district and personal funds.

“This week, we should be celebrating baseball,” Gov. Brian Kemp, standing in front of Truist Park, intones in a just-released TV ad. “Instead, Stacey Abrams and the liberal mob forced the All Star Game to move, despite the fact that we made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

The governor goes on to tout Georgia’s “secure, accessible and fair elections” and says he “won’t back down” from his fight against that “liberal mob.”

KSU economics professor J.C. Bradbury, a member of the Development Authority of Cobb County, had some thoughts.

“Interesting that Kemp is filming this on stadium property. Explicit permission had to have been given, if you're wondering where the team stands,” he wrote on Twitter. “I filmed an interview down near the Battery a few weeks ago. The crew was denied access to film on the property.”

Later in the day, FiveThirtyEight reporter Nathaniel Rakich said he'd looked into the matter:

"The Kemp campaign tells me this ad was not filmed in a studio or in front of a green screen, but rather in a "public space"—so, presumably, in front of Truist Park, but not on the grounds where they'd need the #Braves' permission," he tweeted. "The campaign sidestepped a question about whether they had the #Braves' permission. I've also got an email out to the #Braves themselves."

CAMPAIGN FINANCES: If state Rep. Erick Allen, D-Smyrna, wants to be Georgia’s next lieutenant governor, he’s got some serious ground to cover in the fundraising department.

Allen raised just over $106,000 in the latest fundraising quarter, per a disclosure filed with the state this week. That’s about on par with one of his primary opponents, Democratic campaign operative Kolbey Gardner, who brought in $112,000 in the same period.

Both Democrats have a long way to go to catch up with the (current) leading Republican candidate. State Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, brought in over $2 million just five weeks into his candidacy.

Allen’s donors include some familiar names for Cobb readers. Among them are Marietta activist Sally Riddle, school board member Dr. Jaha Howard, State Rep. Teri Anulewicz, Cobb Commissioners Jerica Richardson and Monique Sheffield, commercial realtor Dan Buyers, and Sheriff Craig Owens. He also pulled in checks from a slate of former Democratic hopefuls including gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson, and 2018 lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico, who also serves as Allen’s campaign committee chair.

Another of Cobb’s legislators had a more successful quarter. State Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, has her eyes on the Attorney General’s office, hoping to unseat incumbent Chris Carr. Her campaign announced Thursday it had raised $675,000 since April 14.

HIE-YA!: How do cops detain suspects when things get violent, with a minimal amount of force? The answer for Marietta, it seems, is the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Marietta Police Maj. Tanya Twadell recently told the City Council the department had received a $32,000 grant from the state of Georgia to train officers in Jiu Jitsu.

MPD started training recruits in the martial art in 2019 and have since expanded that to allow all officers to participate.

Twadell said the program’s reaped benefits.

“It is a grappling art, and being able to control and takedown with minimal force behind it, it has resulted in fewer injuries to both officers and suspects in arrests where there has been confrontation,” Twadell told council.

Council will vote on accepting the grant July 14. An uncontroversial item, it looks set to pass.

LIKE A SPACESHIP: At a recent electric vehicle showcase at Town Center mall, MDJ night editor Aleks Gilbert was offered an experience he couldn’t pass up: a brief ride in a Tesla Model X and a taste of its stomach-churning acceleration.

The Ray, an organization advocating for the construction of “net-zero highways,” sent intern Stewart Massey to the showcase to spread the word.

The website explains the net-zero highway concept: about 18 miles in Troup County use “a pavement that uses traditional solar cells, protected in a patented frame, that allows the road surface to generate clean energy under heavy vehicles.”

Beside that stretch of highway, at a Georgia Visitor Information Center, The Ray has also installed electric car chargers and a tire safety check station. Along the highway, it has installed autonomous vehicle-friendly road striping and “V2X connected technology” (best you just visit their website to learn more about what exactly that last one means).

After running through his spiel, Massey offered Gilbert a quick ride in the Ray-branded Model X.

With the windows rolled up, the car creeped out of its parking spot, almost silent aside from a barely-audible hum.

“Sounds like a spaceship,” Massey said. “Talk about being alone with your thoughts.”

Tesla claims the 2020 model year, an $81,000, 5,534-pound car, can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. After finding an empty stretch of road near the mall, Massey counted down from four: “Three, two, one…”

Gilbert didn’t time the acceleration, busy shielding himself from a coffee table book balanced in front of the passenger seat on the car’s dashboard. But the feeling of leaving one’s stomach at the start of the ride as the car zooms ahead to 55 miles per hour was enough proof that it is indeed fast.

Much-loved MDJ and syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough has announced his book published in the year 2000, “And They Call Them Games,” will be re-released for the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The book features an insider’s perspective of Atlanta’s hosting of the Olympics, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, and is billed as the only book written about the Atlanta Games. Based on Yarbrough’s role as managing director of communications and government relations for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the book focuses on a host of issues the committee faced in planning and overseeing the games.

“It is hard to believe it has been 25 years since the Centennial Olympic Games were staged in Georgia,” Yarbrough said. “A lot of Georgians were a part of that big event, whether as volunteers or spectators. Ironically, there is a whole generation today who were either too young to remember that time or were not even born in 1996.”

The book discusses the Centennial Park bombing, the gay rights battles in Cobb County, the uproar over the state flag and the competing needs of local, state, federal and international relations.

“This book recounts my first-hand experiences in helping stage what was billed as ‘the largest peacetime event in history,” Yarbrough said. “It is the only book written on those Games and covers the good and the bad of that unique experience. It was a privilege to be a part of a group of dedicated and selfless individuals who made it happen.”

SPEAKER CIRCUIT: Scott Tufford, associate broker with Re/Max Around Atlanta, is the guest speaker at Monday's Metro Marietta Kiwanis Club meeting. 

The meeting begins at noon at the Roswell Street Baptist Church. You may watch by Zoom.

Tufford's topic is “Buying or Selling? What the Residential Real Estate Market Is Like in the Metro Atlanta Area.”

For more information or to make a reservation for in-person or virtual, please email Metromariettakiwanis1957@gmail.com.

APPOINTMENTS: Outgoing Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has announced new committee appointments for the Georgia State Senate. Here’s the Cobb legislators who got a nod:

Kay Kirkpatrick will chair the Violence Against Health Workers committee, and was named as a member of the Study Committee on Sickle Cell Anemia.

Lindsey Tippins has a spot on the Committee on Age of Mandatory Education.

And Jen Jordan will join the Study Committee on Outdoor Learning.



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(1) comment

George Don Spruill

If it’s possible, Susko and Nwosu should be fired forthwith.

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