Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Georgia's Gov. Deal Names Lackey to Key Transportation Post

In one for the ages, Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal tapped a long-time Republican operative to head up the state's important transportation department. The transportation planning director basically picks the projects that get funded from large parts of the state’s $2 billion gas tax budget! What follows are excerpts from the AJC.com article:

The Senate Transportation Committee on Monday voted swiftly and unanimously to confirm Toby Carr as the state’s transportation planning director, the semi-final step in his appointment.

Gov. Nathan Deal nominated Carr, a political aide, to replace Todd Long, a career transportation planner and engineer.

The planning director has perhaps the strongest single hand in picking which projects get funded from large parts of the state’s $2 billion gas tax budget.

Carr is former director of the Georgia Republican Party, led Deal’s gubernatorial transition committee, and recently has been Deal’s transportation policy advisor. He’s been acting as planning director pending his confirmation.

But his background raised no questions for the committee members. After Carr delivered his opening remarks to them Monday and braced for questions, the senators, both Republicans and Democrats, voted to confirm him without asking a single one.

In interviews, some said they had worked with Carr when he was Deal’s liaison to the General Assembly, so they were not concerned about his education, experience or the approach he would take for the transportation planning position.

“We’ve had great experience with him already,” said Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, a member of the committee. “You know you have faith somewhere. You have to have faith in the people that you’ve known. You could criticize or ostracize anybody. But this young man is a fine young man, demonstrated right in this building.” Jackson had begun the meeting with a prayer that the committee “justify” “the appointment of a good man by a great governor.” Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis said the senators didn’t need to ask Carr questions the public could hear, because they had each spoken to Carr privately beforehand. “We had a copy of his resume,” Mullis said.

Carr has degrees in finance and agricultural engineering, which he earned with honors.

Long has degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, for which he studied subjects including transportation planning, traffic flow, and geometric design for transportation.

Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, defended the unquestioning support of Carr. “I don’t know how good you have to be to size a project up,” he told a reporter after the meeting.

A 2009 law passed as SB 200 set up the planning director position so the governor would have a strong hand on the front end of choosing projects, in hopes of avoiding conflict with the DOT board at the back end.

The House Transportation Committee will consider Carr’s nomination after the primary elections, said Chairman Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla. Roberts said he did not anticipate roadblocks for Carr, but he would hold both a subcommittee hearing and committee hearing so representatives could have adequate opportunity to question Carr.
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plez sez: georgia's good ole boy network strikes again! i'm always hearing how the republicans are about individual responsibility and hard work... they tend to leave out the part about licking the boss's boots and being a faithful political operative.

this story in the ajc.com got me so riled up, i had to respond: "so… a $2 billion gas tax budget is taken from a guy with degrees in civil engineering and given to a UGA grad (who, i’m sure is a nice guy, but is nothing but a political lap dawg) w/ with ZERO transportation experience on the eve of a statewide vote on spending an additional $1 billion transportation tax (have you people even looked at what parts of Metro Atlanta are going to get a lion’s share of that new construction?) … and NO ONE (democrat or republican) even asks him a softball question?!? you gotta love this state! i am voting NO on T-SPLOST (as many times as they’ll let me)!"

you got it, this yokel gets to "plan" what to do with $1 billion of basically discretionary spending... and i can guess where he'll use his discretion in spending it! the following picture shows the breakdown of the planned spending. my little area (plezWorld is circled in RED) is earmarked for 3 or 4 projects because the I-20 MARTA Expansion project is "contingent upon additional funding"! but the MARTA improvements from north springs to holcolm bridge road is mysteriously fully funded by t-splost! 

oh yeah! i thought republicans were against any new taxes?!?

~ ~ Citations ~ ~
Read the AJC Blog article about Gov. Deal's New Transportation Planning Director.

Go to the Untie Atlanta to see how Georgia plans to spend $6 BILLION transportation tax money.

Read the AJC.com article about the mystery of $1 BILLION in transportation tax money.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

plezWorld Remembers 9/11

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning, I had taken the week off from work because we were bringing the newborn SugarPlum home for the first time. My wife had gone into the office in downtown Atlanta to grab a few things and then were going to get our daughter at noon.

plezWorld saw something on the television about about a plane flying into the World Trade Center in NYC and decided to turn to CNN and see what was going on.  I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane slam into the tower... in disbelief!  The imagery of the moment, no, that entire day will forever be etched in my memory.

The most joyous day of my life - bringing home my baby girl - merged with the most horrific day in US history. I remember holding her in my arms that afternoon and into the night wondering what had become of the world, when someone would plot and plan such a diabolical attack. And I remember fighting back the tears while thinking of what a hateful world we had brought my daughter into... I could only pray she would be capable of growing up devoid of the cynicism and hate this day brought us.

It is now a decade later, two wars have run their course, we have a Black President, bin Laden is dead... and my innocent little girl is a pre-teen. She is pretty as a button, lovable, and kind. But we have raised her in a changed world, where every motive is suspect, our freedoms have been abridged, our economy has tanked, and political vitriol has damn near crippled President Obama. This post-9/11 world is vastly different than the one I grew up in. I can only hope we can use this tenth anniversary of 9/11 to put this behind us and move on to a kinder, more understanding America.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity - 100 Years of Achievement

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was founded on January 5, 1911 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Re: Official Statement on Founding of Kappa Alpha Psi

Today,we celebrate the vision of ten founders, who recognized the need for college-trained men to countermand the vestiges of racial discrimination at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, that mirrored the community-at-large in Indiana and across the nation in general. Our Founders not only recognized the indifference of the majority population to the needs of African Americans, but had the foresight to take action to do something about it. As a result, Elder Watson Diggs and nine other students at Indiana University at Bloomington decided to join together to broaden their social, academic and economic opportunities. Thus, they founded a college fraternity, following their peers at Howard University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The first century of our fraternity, then called Kappa Alpha Nu was launched in January 1911.

When we study our one hundred year history, we learn that our Founders, though young in age, were filled with wisdom beyond their years. We learn that they understood the environment around them; they recognized the opportunities that their collegiate peers had that were denied them. They learned that they were not on a level playing field, but simply members of a racial minority for which equal accommodations and access were not granted. They learned fast that racial denial did not have to be, if they would but join together with other students of like circumstance and change the socio-economic paradigm in which they lived.

Throughout our Kappa lives we have always remembered the year 1911. We have taken every opportunity to reflect on the miracle that happened in January of that year. We have honored our beloved Founders, as though they were far above mere mortals, not because they were, but because we uniquely know the depth and breadth of their vision and the one hundred years of positive results.

I pray that future generations of Kappas will continue to perpetuate the legacy of our Founders, and that the service we render to mankind will reflect acts of substance, that not only satisfy members of the fraternity, but change the plight of the least of these in our society-at-large. I believe that we will continue to grow as “One Kappa! Creating Inspiration” and always responding to “A Call to Service.” Happy Birthday Kappa Alpha Psi!


Dwayne M. Murray, Esq.
31st Grand Polemarch

plez sez: Congratulations on 100 years of Achievement to all of my Fraternity Brothers!

Achievement in every field of human endeavor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unemployed African-Americans Need to Redefine the Game - Randal Pinkett, Ph.D.

Unemployed African-Americans Need to Redefine the Game, Says 'Apprentice'-Winner Pinkett

With the latest Department of Labor statistics indicating 16.1 percent of the black population versus 8.7 percent of the white population face unemployment, "The Apprentice"-winner Randal Pinkett offers clear advice for business success -- stop playing the game and start redefining it.

"African-Americans who cling to strategies that worked in the past, without taking into account how the world is shifting, will likely feel frustrated as they progress at a snail's pace or, worse, lose ground in the future," Pinkett explains. "We must redefine the game now because while we have made tremendous progress, we still face tremendous challenges, and tremendous work remains to be done. Our communities and our country cannot afford to wait."

Randal Pinkett, author of the upcoming book "Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness" (AMACOM; October 28, 2010) with Rutgers Business School Professor Jeffrey Robinson, believes that the key to success is to transcend supposed barriers and survival instincts, and instead to pursue greatness.

(1) Establish a strong identity. Leverage your culture and ethnicity as assets, not as liabilities. These characteristics give you a unique competitive advantage, so don't white-wash your resume.

(2) Network and build diverse relationships. Use your membership in professional black organizations to meet people and discover new opportunities.

(3) Seek the wisdom of others. We all know the power of a great mentor and now is the time to take advantage of everything they have to offer.

(4) Become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship creates wealth, transforms communities, and boosts the wealth of African-Americans as a whole.

(5) Give back generously. As the recession attempts to tear us apart, now is the time for us to give back to one another. Whether with time, talent, or money, we can all make a difference.

As Pinkett asserts, "Black Americans should not focus on winning the game in any arena -- business, professional, social, or political. The ultimate goal is to redefine the game sufficiently to end the game itself."

© 2010 AMACOM

Author Bios
AMACOM is the book publishing division of the American Management Association, a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals, teams, organizations and government agencies.

For more information please visit "www.amacombooks.org".

Randal Pinkett, Ph.D., coauthor of Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, was the winner of season four of The Apprentice and the show's first minority winner. He is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of BCT Partners, an information technology and management consulting firm. Dr. Pinkett is based in Somerset, New Jersey.
For more information please visit www.randalpinkett.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Jeffrey Robinson, Ph.D., coauthor of Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, is a leading business scholar at Rutgers Business School and lives in Piscataway, New Jersey.

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plez sez: full disclosure - plezWorld received a review copy of the book, "Black Faces in White Places" in exchange for publishing the feature above.

i did receive a complimentary review copy, but i plan to buy at 10 copies for people in my network who i mentor. it is chock full of suggestions and strategies for advancement as a person of color in the corporate arena. this book should be required reading for every black college graduate!

i really connected on a personal level with Randal Pinkett: grew up in a small, predominantly white town in upstate New York, attended a predominantly white university to study engineering, and go to work on a daily basis as one of the few Black faces in the office. his story and game-changing strategies definitely resonated with plezWorld.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tea Party & Birthers Say, "Racism! What Racism?!?"

plez sez: it is, what it is!

oh no, don't say plezWorld is gonna start bloggin' again!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt for the Heisman Trophy

Josh Nesbitt leads a deadly triple option oriented attack for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The video below highlights how Nesbitt (and the Tech defense) dismantled No. 4 Virginia Tech to take the ACC Coastal Division lead.

To: All Heisman Trophy voters

Fr: Brian McMahon, PhD; School of Psychology; Georgia Institute of Technology

For Your Heisman Consideration: No. 11 Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt

The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded to "an individual who deserves designation as the most outstanding college football player in the United States" (www.heisman.com,; 2009), and this is a call for Georgia Tech junior quarterback Josh Nesbitt to be fully considered for this prestigious award. This proposal deviates from the Best Player from the Best Team (BPBT) model that involves awarding the trophy to a player from one of the teams competing in the BCS National Championship Game or its predecessor (e.g., Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke et al.). The BPBT model is not without merit, of course, and indeed it is certain that the best teams in the nation feature very good players. However, and also paradoxically, the best teams in the nation likely are so good because they have so many very good (i.e., outstanding) players. Nesbitt, on the other hand, while certainly surrounded by many very good players, leads a Yellow Jacket team (No. 11, AP) that likely does not possess the depth and breadth of talent that does, say, Florida, Texas, or USC (www.rivals.com,; 2 007; www.scout.com,; 2007). It is suggested here that Nesbitt's relative importance to a surging Yellow Jackets (7-1, 5-1) team coming off wins against Virginia and then-No. 4 Virginia Tech - and whose only loss was at then No. 20 Miami - makes him the most outstanding player in college football and worthy of the Heisman Memorial Trophy.

In an effort to place Nesbitt and his performance over two thirds of the season in the appropriate context, it is necessary to understand the player, what he has done, and the importance of his accomplishments to his team. This step is undertaken with the aim of demonstrating that Nesbitt's season to date is superior to any player from a larger-market or higher-profile team afforded more media coverage than Georgia Tech (e.g., Florida, Texas, and USC). First, Nesbitt is an elite athlete who was ranked the 10th-best quarterback prospect of 2007 and received scholarship offers from, among others, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia (www.rivals.com,; 2007; www.scout.com,; 2007). Thus, while he is quarterback at Georgia Tech, a university with four national championships in football (the most recent being 1990), Nesbitt likely could have achieved greatness at schools with higher national profiles. Second, Nesbitt has been the most important player on an 11th-ranked (AP) Yellow Jackets team that has played the nation's 15th-toughest schedule to date (www.cbssportsline.com,; 2009), rushing for 88.4 yards per game (4.1 yards per carry) and 11 TDs on the nation's leading rushing team (292 ypg).

Additionally, Nesbitt has thrown for 979 yards and 4 TDs and has a quarterback passing rating of 149.4 that with more attempts would place him among the nation's most efficient passers (e.g., preseason Heisman favorite Colt McCoy of Texas has a rating of 143.3). Perhaps more important than his own statistics is Nesbitt's role as primary facilitator of Tech's triple-option offense in which the q uarterback must make a series of almost instantaneous decisions on each play. Should the ball be handed off to the fullback, pitched to the halfback, or kept by the quarterback? In wins against Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Clemson, and Jacksonville State, Nesbitt has made the correct decisions that have enabled his team's success, while also leading the Yellow Jackets to the seventh-best third-down-conversion rate (48%) in the nation. This last statistic is notably critical because offenses that convert third downs build and maintain momentum while keeping tiring opponent defenses on the field. Finally, Nesbitt's contributions and Tech's offensive success must be considered in relation to a Yellow Jacket defense that surrenders nearly as many yards (355) as the offense gains (421) each game. By comparison, Florida's offense gains nearly twice the number of yards (457) than its defense allows (230) per game; Texas amasses 438 yards per game while surrendering 236; and USC gains 440 and allows 292. This suggests that Nesbitt and the Yellow Jacket offense - of which he accounts for 50% - have a slim margin for error that has been navigated successfully over Tech's seven wins.

To consider something is to think carefully about it (www.merriamwebsters.com,; 2009), and the individuals who vote for the Heisman Memorial Trophy are "informed, competent, and impartial" (www.heisman.com,; 2009). In the spirit of this these guiding principles and the great tradition that is the Heisman Memorial Trophy do we request that you vote Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt for this illustrious honor. In addition to the evidence presented above and Georgia Tech's place atop the ACC Coastal standings, additional support for Nesbitt's candidacy abounds. For instance, against then-No. 4 Virginia Tech, Nesbitt's 39-yard, fourth-quarter TD run increased the Yellow Jackets' lead to double digits and e ssentially put away the Hokies. In Tech's thrilling 49-44 win at Florida State, Nesbitt accounted for 105 of Georgia Tech's 116 yards in the fourth quarter as the Yellow Jackets won for the first time at Doak Campbell Stadium. In that same game, Nesbitt demonstrated his character, will, and strength by wrestling away the ball from a Seminoles linebacker who had temporarily recovered a fumble by another Yellow Jacket; Nesbitt's effort allowed Georgia Tech to maintain possession and, eventually, he sealed the win with a 22-yard TD run. Finally, in a game in which Mississippi State was committed to slowing the Yellow Jackets' running game, Nesbitt was 11-for-14 for 266 passing yards and one TD as Tech defeated the Bulldogs in Starkville. Most striking about Nesbitt's passing in that game is that it came a week after he rushed 32 times in a win over then-No. 22 North Carolina. As opposed to the seemingly perpetual search for a Heisman candidate when none readily appears on the national landscape (e.g., recent discussion of an Alabama lineman who blocked two field goals against an unranked team; talk of a Notre Dame quarterback on a 5-2 team with the nation's 25th-toughest schedule), this proposal aims to present a candidate with credentials and intangibles superior to any player in the country. To be outstanding is to literally stand out, and Nesbitt does that from his peers because of both his tremendous statistical season and his relative importance to the No. 11 Yellow Jackets. This is a request for you formally recognize Josh Nesbitt as the nation's most outstanding college football player.

Note: Brian McMahon works in the Georgia Tech School of Psychology. McMahon and some of his fellow psychologists are hoping that voters for the Heisman Trophy will take a strong look at Josh Nesbitt.

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plez sez: this is a plausible argument. as the person who is responsible for 75% of the offensive production on a single-loss team with a passing efficiency among the best in the country, i could see josh nesbitt at the new york athletic club hoisting the trophy that sports the name of past georgia tech head coach john heisman.

we had another plausible candidate a few years ago, joe hamilton came second in voting when he was up for the award. plezWorld would love to see the award sit in the athletic complex of the school where its namesake once coached. JOSH NESBITT for the HEISMAN TROPHY!!!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Georgia Tech Official Sports Report article about Nesbitt for Heisman.

Read the BBuzzOff article about the argument for Josh Nesbitt.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT - Movie Review

plezWorld and the family just got home from watching the World's Greatest Entertainer's final dance... this was Michael Jackson as you have never seen him before!

Excerpts from the press release on michaeljackson.com about the movie:

CULVER CITY, CA - Commenting on the announcement, Kenny Ortega, director of and Jackson's creative partner on the THIS IS IT concert, said, "This film is a gift to Michael's fans. As we began assembling the footage for the motion picture we realized we captured something extraordinary, unique and very special. It's a very private, exclusive look into a creative genius's world. For the first time ever, fans will see Michael as they have never seen him before – this great artist at work. It is raw, emotional, moving and powerful footage that captures his interactions with the THIS IS IT collaborators that he had personally assembled for this once in a lifetime project. This film shows a consummate performer working with and guiding singers, dancers, band members, choreographers, special effects creators and countless other creative members of the team as we all assemble this historic concert. I can think of many words to describe Michael as he rehearses for and creates THIS IS IT– inspirational, dynamic, generous, dedicated, loving and the guiding force—you see him as the true architect and driving force of this project – a true master of his craft, the Entertainer of Entertainers. I'm proud of the many years of friendship and creative association I shared with Michael and I'm happy that people will get a chance to see his spirit and drive in action. THIS IS IT may go down as the greatest concert that no one got a chance to see, but with this film, we get a rare portrait of Michael as he prepares for his final curtain call and what I believe was going to be his master work."

Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT will offer Jackson fans and music lovers worldwide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts that would have taken place beginning this summer in London's O2 Arena. Chronicling the months from April through June, 2009, the film is drawn from more than one hundred hours of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show. Audiences will be given a privileged and private look at the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, and genius as he creates and perfects his final show.

"I have never been partners with a more creative, innovative or groundbreaking entertainer than Michael Jackson," said Randy Phillips, President & CEO, AEG LIVE and producer of Michael Jackson THIS IS IT. "While the concerts would have been the greatest shows in the history of music, our film will provide a historic event for Michael's fans to see for themselves the genius that he was and the creativity, talent and imagination that the entire cast devoted to create the ‘greatest concert that never happened'."

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plez sez: go see this movie! i know i'm going to see it again. it was dazzling! it was exhilarating! it was fun! it was pure magic! and if that wasn't even the dress rehearsal, i cannot imagine how great the actual concert would've been.

it is almost beyond comprehension that MICHAEL JACKSON died while rehearsing for this show. in the movie, he was always upbeat, humble, respectful. he was so full of life... and he was also a consummate perfectionist who nailed every dance move and hit every note. he was not a 50-year old has been... he was that 20-something guy who walked away from the grammy awards with eight trophies.

and that concert would've been worth every penny spent to see him. he had reworked many dance moves and added all kinds of cutting edge technology to the show that would've made his old videos seem... old! "this is it" would've been the greatest concert ever.

plezWorld cannot believe he is no longer with us, but his music and the image of a once-in-a-lifetime icon will live forever.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the CNN.com movie review about "THIS IS IT."

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