Around Town: The latest on Johnny, Joe, Abe and ‘Acworsaw’
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
October 16, 2012 12:00 AM | 5454 views | 6 6 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BACK BEFORE Johnny Isakson of east Cobb was elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate, he served under Gov. Zell Miller as chairman of the state school board.

So how does Isakson feel about the ultra-contentious Charter School Amendment that will be the ballot here in Georgia Nov. 6? Around Town posed that question to Isakson during the Q&A period after his talk to Cobb civic and business leaders at the Vinings Bank last Thursday.

Asked Around Town: “Senator Isakson, as former chairman of the state School Board, what is your position on the Charter School Amendment?”

Answered Isakson: “I’m a big supporter of charter schools.”

After five long seconds elapsed and it was obvious that Isakson wasn’t planning to say more, Around Town asked, “And the amendment?”

Continued the senator: “And in fact the first charter school granted in Georgia was at Addison Elementary in Cobb while I was chairman of the board, so I’m a big supporter of the charter school movement in Georgia.”

And that was it, as he quickly moved on to another topic. Although Isakson didn’t say as such, it’s one of the luxuries of being an elected federal official — sidestepping contentious issues because they are “state” matters.


ISAKSON had no qualms, however, about talking about V.P. Joe Biden, however, prior to that night’s Vice Presidential Debate. He noted that he had enjoyed serving with Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was still in the Senate, and added, “He’s smart and witty, but he will stick his foot in his mouth. And his biggest problem is that he’ll chew on it once he gets it in there.”


SPEAKING of the Charter Amendment, the The Cobb Association of Educators is hosting a charter amendment forum at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Hillgrove High.


LIKE SUPPORTERS of the two teams in the Super Bowl, local Republicans and Democrats are heading to separate locales to watch tonight’s second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

Cobb Democrats will gather at J.R. Cricket’s, 4479 South Cobb Drive, Smyrna; and at Brunswick Zone XL, 775 Cobb Place Boulevard, Kennesaw.

Cobb Republicans will be at Tijuana Joe’s Cantina, 690 Johnson Ferry Road; El Nopal Mexican Restaurant at 3100 Creekside Village Drive on U.S. 41 across from Walmart; and the Big Chow Grill, One Galleria Parkway Suite 1B1.


MORE POLITICS: A former member of the Cobb Board of Elections is complaining about present board member Rob Garcia.

Garcia, who sits on the Board of Elections and is president of the Bank of North Georgia, recently sent out a letter from the group “Republicans for Doug Stoner” urging Republicans to vote for state Rep. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) over Republican Hunter Hill Nov. 6.

“Even when I was a member we were not supposed to put bumper stickers on our cars and we were not supposed to put yard signs in the yard because that constituted an endorsement,” said the former member of the Elections Board. “Well, Rob Garcia is the one that wrote that letter in support of Stoner and he is on the Cobb County Elections Board, so that should have prohibited him from a public endorsement letter, and to top it off, he was appointed by the Cobb legislative delegation, so basically, ethically, he did wrong.”


WHEN STEVEN SPIELBERG’S new movie “Lincoln” hits theaters next month, those who see it will just be viewing one of the best movies ever made about the Civil War and the finest movie about Lincoln himself, but also — and unexpectedly — one of the most insightful movies ever made about this country’s political system.

“Around Town” was on hand for Wednesday’s sneak preview at Town Center of the forthcoming movie (courtesy of Dr. Brian Wills and Michael Schaffer at The Civil War Center at Kennesaw State University), which was followed by a live Q&A session by satellite link with Spielberg and actor Daniel Day Lewis, who portrays the president in the movie.

“We wanted to make a movie not about a monument called ‘Lincoln,’ but about the man called ‘Lincoln,” Spielberg said.

They succeeded. Lewis embodies Lincoln to a degree unrivaled by previous screen Lincolns. Not just his folksy storytelling, or his steel-trap legal mind, but also Lincoln the husband and Lincoln the doting father.

Also notable is the fact that Lewis depicts Lincoln with a historically accurate high-pitched voice, not the rumbling bass of so many other “Lincolns.” Sally Fields gives Mary Todd Lincoln a humanity she has not usually enjoyed in prior movies. And particularly memorable is a bewigged Tommy Lee Jones as now-forgotten U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, the leader of the abolitionist Republican Radicals who were pushing Lincoln hard for a harsh Reconstruction of the post-war South. All three are Academy Award-caliber performances.

The movie is adopted from author Doris Kerns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” but unlike the book focuses on just the last four months of Lincoln’s life, a period during which he was consumed not just by winning the war but by figuring out how to persuade the House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment prohibiting slavery.

What might have been a dry topic in the hands of a lesser director and cast is instead a torrent of rich characterizations and episodes. Lincoln cajoles, pulls strings and secretly hires lobbyists to finally — and narrowly — turn the vote his way in this warts-and-all depiction, which was shot entirely in Virginia and in some instances (like Appomattox), at the actual locations where the events being depicted took place.


“LINCOLN” INEXPLICABLY is not due for release until Nov. 9, just after Election Day. Movie-makers usually try to time their movies to capitalize on events, and what could be timelier than releasing a presidential biopic before a presidential election? Spielberg has told interviewers that he didn’t want the movie to be a “political football,” but the more likely reason, given Hollywood’s well-known liberalism, is that that many movie-goers might have been confused — and swayed the “wrong” way, had it come out before the election.

Why’s that? After all, everyone knows Lincoln was a Republican. But the movie’s “good guys” — the congressional Radicals who were adamant for the amendment and for racial equality — also were Republicans. The Democrats fought the amendment tooth-and-nail and, as the movie makes clear, many were willing even in early 1865 to trade legalized slavery for a Confederate surrender.

Oh, and speaking of Confederates, the few onscreen are treated fairly by Spielberg, rather than as evil or buffoons. In fact the movie includes what likely is the first-ever screen depiction of Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens of Georgia (who was the namesake of U.S. Sen. Alexander Stephens Clay, whose statue adorns Marietta Square).

With politics at the forefront of many peoples’ minds this fall, it’s unfortunate that so few of them will have the opportunity to see this film prior to Nov. 6.


HUNGRY? A Blue Devil Block Party and Food Truck Fest is slated for 5 to 7:15 p.m. Friday in front of Marietta Middle School in conjunction with Marietta High School’s Homecoming game. Sponsors are the Marietta Schools Foundation and Alumni Society. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, according to spokeswoman Dawn McEachern. For info go to


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT the proposal to combine the cities of Acworth and Kennesaw?

“Kenworth” is the name of the new city, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews told an MDJ reporter who was covering the ARC’s State of the Region Breakfast on Friday in Atlanta.

Just joking, Mathews later said.

Mathews was a strong supporter of Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee during this summer’s re-election challenge from former Chairman Bill Byrne, who just before the primary election abruptly proposed creating a new “City of East Cobb” out of unincorporated parts of the county. Many observers suggested such a city would lead to increased taxes and create an additional layer of government bureaucracy. Byrne lost the election. So Mathews’ suggestion last week was probably exactly what he said it was — a joke.

Another give-away was his proposed name, “Kenworth.” We suspect that if Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood was on board with the plan, he’d be pushing a different name for the new city: “Acworsaw.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 16, 2012
Looks like Rob Garcia is at it again.

It was not enough that he turned the Chamber into an organization that was more concerned with controlling politicians (i.e. Tim Lee) and raising taxes (TSPLOST) than attracting and keeping businesses in Cobb County, now he is trying to promote an Obama Democrat.

October 16, 2012
I have heard enough about Johnny Isakson for a while.

I have heard enough about Marietta parking issues for a lifetime!
Outsider One
October 16, 2012
Here's another tough question that Joe or Bill cold ask Sen. Isakson-Why can't the great unwashed/U.S. citizens join the same healthcare system that U.S. Senators and Representatives are apart of? The system is already in place in all 50 states. I would even pay 2-3 months ahead of time, since there would not be a paycheck to deduct from. I'd even pay more since technically I would not be an employee of the federal government. However, more people joining the system would increase the size of the insured pool and bring more money in to pay for coverage.

Please, oh please Sen. Isakson why can't I, a self-employed business person, have access to as good a health insurance plan as you do? Figuring in inflation, I'm sure that the government health insurance cost you less than health insurance did when you ran your real estate business. And you will have it for life as a supplement to your Medicare, even after you leave the U.S. Senate. And you are old enough so that Paul Ryan's plan to remove you from traditional Medicare and give you a voucher will NOT apply.

You are one fortunate person Sen. Isakson!
typical politician
October 16, 2012
Well, I am disappointed in the non-answer from Isakson. Just sounds like a typical pol. Am sick of them.

And another issue is that the president of a bank, also sitting on the Boards of Elections, writes a letter urging people to vote for a democrat. How nice. Will there be consequences? Very doubtful. Wrongdoing is punished so seldom it would be above the fold on the front page if anything was done. Just don't go into his bank.
October 18, 2012
Cobb board of Elections needs to be investigated. Enough said!
October 16, 2012
How about Crackkagun?
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