Georgia

Photo of the Day

Handouts/03.28.07/RJTECH/email from Charlie Moore/APD’s new recruiting/This picture was?placed on 10 billboards across the city. It was?part of APD’s new recruiting campaign that used the runaway bride as a way to get recruits. Photo: COURTESY APD Albuquerque Police spokeswoman Trish Hoffman appears in a new recruiting ad for the department.

The Bride Who Faked Her Own Kidnapping

Jennifer Wilbanks became something of a folk anti-hero, inspiring an action figure and a grocery store condiment called ?Jennifer?s High Tailin? Hot Sauce,? and numerous other items, even toast?

John Mason and Jennifer Wilbanks had planned a late April wedding with 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen, but the wedding would get postponed when the bride got cold feet. For nearly a week media attention would focus on Duluth, Georgia, a growing city in the suburbs of Atlanta that the two called home.

32-year-old Jennifer Wilbanks disappeared while out jogging four days before her wedding, it sparked one of the biggest missing persons stories in America in 2005. Then the shocking truth emerged.

At roughly 8.30pm on a chilly April night in the small town of Duluth, Georgia, Jennifer Wilbanks told her fianc?, John Mason that she was popping out for a run. Mason, 32, thought nothing of it. She ran marathons ? it was one of the many things they had in common. And with their wedding only 4 days away, Jennifer had a lot on her mind ? a run would do her good.

But Jennifer, then 31, didn?t return that night. At 10.15pm, Mason went looking for her around Duluth in his car. ?I thought maybe she might have turned her ankle and fallen,? he said. ?Or someone could have beaten her up? No idea.? He called the police at around midnight and spent a sleepless night by the phone. He had little idea then, that it would be the first of many.

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Watching the All Blacks “a chore”

via telegraph.co.uk

via telegraph.co.uk

From the twentieth minute, the game became incredibly frustrating. The All Blacks have more practice at shrugging shoulders and shaking their heads than getting back for kick-off receptions right now.

It’s not just handling errors and a lack of composure, they’re struggling with their general rugby nouse. The number of times the All Blacks outside backs were put in to touch instead of heading in field to keep possession and continuity was alarming. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Life Magazine The Monkey from Mars.

Photo: Life Magazine
The Monkey from Mars.

The Monkey from Mars

In 1953, three men managed to convince their town that it was being invaded by aliens using nothing more than a monkey, green food colouring, and a blowtorch. Their hoax was so convincing that they even managed to get the US Air Force involved. They did all this to settle a bet.

It was a hot night on July 8, 1953. Police officer Sherley Brown and his partner were doing a routine patrol down rural Bankhead highway near Austell, Georgia when up ahead they saw a pickup truck stopped in the middle of the road. They pulled over to investigate. What they found was the most unusual scene they would ever encounter during their entire careers as officers.

Three frightened young men ? Ed Watters (a barber, reportedly 28, although he looks younger), Tom Wilson (a fellow barber, 20), and Arnold ‘Buddy’ Payne (a butcher, 19) ? were waiting nervously by the side of the road. And lying there on the tarmac in front of the truck, illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights, was a bizarre two-foot tall creature that looked for all the world like a space alien.

Space aliens had been in the news a lot. Just the night before there had been multiple reports of a large, multicoloured, cone-shaped object flying overhead near Marietta, Georgia. But no one had ever produced a flesh-and-blood alien before.

The young men spilled out a strange tale. They said they’d been out in their truck “honky-tonking” around, when they came over a hill and suddenly found themselves careening towards a small flying saucer that was ‘glowing red all over.’ Three small aliens were outside the craft wandering up and down the highway. The young men said they jammed on their brakes, but couldn’t avoid hitting one of the aliens. The other two spacemen made it to the ship and blasted off, leaving circular scorch marks on the road that were still visible.

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Georgia pulls the plug on electric cars

Subsidies create poor behaviour, and are evil as they invariably don’t work.

Eventually the government that gave you the subsidy takes away the subsidy and people return to market driven forces for their decisions.

Georgia has one of the highest ownership rates of electric cars…because of subsidies…and those subsidies are no longer tenable.

A generous state tax break has helped make Georgia the number two?state for electric vehicles, and made Atlanta the top?market for the compact Nissan Leaf. Both the Leaf and the higher-end Tesla sedans are now common sights in and around metro Atlanta, where more than 10,500 are registered.

But this year, Georgia lawmakers needed to raise nearly $1 billion to patch up crumbling roads, highways, and bridges. So they are pulling the plug on that $5,000 tax credit ??a move budget analysts say will?contribute $66 million to the state’s coffers?in 2016 and nearly $190 million by 2020.

But it gets worse for electric vehicle (EV) boosters. Legislators are?adding a $200-a-year annual fee for owners to offset the loss of gasoline taxes that drivers would?otherwise pay to maintain roads.

Anything a government can give you, they can take away too. People bought the cars, not for valid economic reasons, but because they scored a $5000 tax credit. Read more »

The town that privatised everything

Oh for a mayoral candidate that would propose this for Auckland.

Len Brown is the exact reverse of this, and everywhere you look in the world where socialist mayors are installed the city quickly massively increases its debt and they splurge on everything.

Sandy Springs, Georgia may look like any other town in America. It has parks, roads, and beautiful places to live. But there?s one thing that separates this town from every other town: Sandy Springs privatized almost everything.

In 2005, Sandy Springs outsourced almost all functions of the city government (with the exception of police and fire) to a single company, which runs the town. That company is in charge of running all the vital functions of government, from the running the parks, to paving the roads, and even 911 calls!

The town is run very efficiently, with zero backlogs in permit requests. Call the city, and you?ll be surprised to find that you actually get a friendly person on the other line! The city has a 24/7 non-automated customer service hotline which fields about 6,000 calls per month. It also has a state of the art traffic system with cameras and a high tech command center.

When people come to Sandy Springs, they usually have no idea that it?s privatized, says Sharon Kraun, media relations director for the city. There are no signs with corporate logos or anything like that. According to Sharon, ?What people can tell is that the city is well taken care of, and the residents who live here or individuals who work here, like being here and are happy with the level of service provided.?

Shouldn’t that be the goal for every city…”…the city is well taken care of, and the residents who live here or individuals who work here, like being here and are happy with the level of service provided.?

When the project first started, the University of Georgia estimated that the city would need 828 employees. But because the town is managed by a private company, they?ve cut their workforce down to just 471 people. ?Besides fire and police, the city only has eight full-time public employees.

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Map of the Day

Kuzgun Cave

 

 

The Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave on Earth. It is located in the Arabika Massif of the Gagrinsky Range of the Western Caucasus, in the Gagra district of Abkhazia, breakaway region of Georgia.

The difference in the altitude of the cave’s entrance and its deepest explored point is 2,197 ? 20 metres. It became the deepest-known cave in the world in 2001 when the expedition of the Ukrainian Speleological Association reached a depth of 1,710m which exceeded the depth of the previously deepest cave.

You can read more here

Meet Mema. She’s a phenomenon

I know Mema isn’t a NZ resident, but just think -?everyone is allowed to vote…

Here’s more. ?Oh go on, you know you have to. ? Read more »

Palin mocked in 2008 and now her prediction has come true

Sarah Palin was easy to mock and a compliant left-leaning media did mercilessly.

In 2008 she predicted that a vacillating Barack Obama could lead to the situation where Russia could invade the Ukraine.

Well…guess what…Russian troops have landed in the Crimea and have taken over several airfields.

Breibart.com reports:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?warned that if Senator Barack Obama were elected president, his “indecision” and “moral equivalence” may encourage Russia’s Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

Palin?said?then:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.? Read more »

Georgia ditches gun free zones, allows people to defend themselves again

Georgia has passed a bill removing gun free zones from places like schools, churches, bars and some government buildings. Common sense seems to be breaking out.

Breibart.com reports:

On February 18 the Georgia House overwhelmingly passed a bill to allow guns at schools, churches, bars, and certain government buildings.

The measure passed by a margin of 119 to 56.

Titled the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” the legislation not only expands the number of places in which concealed carry permit holders can carry guns but also reduces the punishment permit holders face for carrying in a no-carry area unaware.? Read more »

A proper response

The other day Boing Boing published an article about the Police in Georgia (the country not the state) and their new iPad like?devices. In the article they added the following comment:

“100% guaranteed those crooked, fat, lazy cops will be using these devices primarily for porn and Russian gambling services.”

Boing Boing is clearly very widely read because the?Georgian?government responded. The letter is awesome and shows how you can turn a silly comment into a social media win. Labour should take note:

The article published on [Boing Boing on] January 12, 2012, about the initiative by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to introduce new portable field computers (so called ?Police Pads?) ends with an anonymous quote declaring that “100% guaranteed those crooked, fat, lazy cops will be using these devices primarily for porn and Russian gambling services.”

Stereotypes like this are easy to toss out?but are quite simply incorrect. This quote does not reflect the productivity, effectiveness, transparency, and reliability of the police force in Georgia today, but rather the bygone era of the 1990s, a reality that has drastically changed thanks to an ambitious and successful reform process.

The reform process in Georgia began immediately after the 2003 Rose Revolution. The new government inherited a completely corrupt and bloated law-enforcement system. The systemic corruption and the high level of crime throughout the country resulted in a very low level of public trust: fewer than 10% of Georgians had confidence in the police, according to 2003 polls. And the very low average policeman’s salary (approximately $68 per month) made the soliciting of bribes routine.

Georgia has since made the creation of an efficient and modern police force a national priority, undertaking a series of reforms that sought to rebuild the national police force literally from the ground up. The entire national police force was fired, and a new force hired, trained and deployed with the aim of meeting the highest international standards of professionalism.

These reforms are widely regarded as an unqualified success. Having reduced corruption and bribe taking to levels comparable to those in Europe, the police in Georgia have earned the trust and respect of the public they serve:

?According to Transparency International?s latest Global Corruption Barometer, in terms of public perception Georgia has the world?s 5th least-corrupt police force, placing it ahead of Germany or even the United States;

?According to the survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) in November 2011, 87% of population have confidence in Police;

?According to a survey funded by the EU and conducted by GORBI Institute in 2011, Georgia has one of the lowest “victimization coefficients,” a measure that reflects public perceptions of crime and individual security.

On the subject of the so-called “Police Pads,” reforms have transformed what was once an antiquated backlog of paper files for car imports, registries, and customs. They have been replaced with new, cutting-edge technology capable of streamlining requests and filing paperwork in record time.

Georgia has much work to do in shaking off the vestiges of nearly a century of Soviet occupation, but the transformation of our police force into a modern and professional service is an achievement that Georgians are deeply proud of, and a symbol of our commitment to retake our rightful place in the European community.

January 16, 2012
Press Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

No one will be under any illusion now as tot he fact that Georgia is a vibrant, modern, improving economy climbing out of the wreck of Soviet domination.

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