Ways to Connect

Jeff Roffman

"A psychological thriller draped in lust, incest, power and seduction."

That's the Atlanta Opera blurb for the company's new production of Salome, which runs Jan. 25 to Feb. 2. 

Set in King Herod's palace and culminating in a teenaged girl's kissing a severed head, the opera shocked when it was new. Even now it comes on strong. And it's not trivial to mount.

Music director Arthur Fagen sat down with GPB's Sarah Zaslaw to dish about the challenges of Richard Strauss's most scandalous opera.

John Amis / AP

On Thursday's Political Rewind, we waded into impeachment news to check on how Georgians may be reacting to the ongoing trial of President Donald Trump. Georgia’s attorney general added his name to a letter from the top prosecutors in 21 other states who are calling impeachment an unconstitutional partisan effort.

In news surrounding the presidential race, Sen. Bernie Sanders is showing gains in national polling and in key Democratic primary states. Our panel analyzed his surge.


State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says 2019 was another banner year for Georgia with increases in jobs, workforce and employed residents. 

Year-end numbers in all three categories were record highs. At the same time, the December unemployment rate was another record low. 

Andrea Smith / AP

Economic growth is slowing down because of worries about international trade, according to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 2020 Georgia Agricultural Forecast released Wednesday.

Trade disputes have created a lack of stability in the agriculture industry, said UGA Professor Adam Rabinowitz, who assisted with the forecast. Georgia has felt the impact in some of its key commodities.

There’s been a lot of uncertainty lately in the last couple of years as a result of trade disputes,” Rabinowitz said. “Even though there's been a little bit of recovery in some areas, it hasn't been much.”

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

A new rule passed Wednesday by the State Election Board will require poll workers to remind voters to review their paper ballots before casting them. The directive is one of many proposed rules that will govern the new ballot-marking device voting system being rolled out statewide.

The changes address issues ranging from early voting to absentee ballots, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said, adding that many of them would be amended to incorporate feedback given by public commenters and other voting rights groups.

“This will be a process; we'll take a few iterations," he said. “We want to continue to improve elections in Georgia and we want to continue to take input from all the key voters and stakeholders in the election process in Georgia.”


Despite a state audit critical of Georgia's popular film tax credit, Gov. Brian Kemp has no plans to rush into making possible adjustments.

Kemp said any decision involving changes to the film industry credit should require a "very methodical" approach.

The audit by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts said Georgia's film tax credit "been overstated," and the report did acknowledge the tax incentive has increased the production of movies, television, and interactive entertainment in Georgia and has created jobs.

Atlanta University Photograph Collection courtesy Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

The Atlanta History Center welcomed more than 3,000 visitors Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, museum officials said.

But this year, the holiday coincided with the opening of a new exhibit, “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow,” that continues through June 30.

The exhibit on Reconstruction and the subsequent era of Jim Crow rule in the American South was created by the New York Historical Society in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and has been expanded with local artifacts, photographs and stories.

Senate Television via AP

On Wednesday's Political Rewind, Georgias' Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler joined all of the GOP members of the Senate to vote down a series of Democratic amendments that would allow witnesses and documentary evidence into the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Atlanta's airport will be used to screen travelers for a new virus that originated in China.

The Atlanta-based Centers For Disease Control and Prevention plans to funnel flights from Wuhan, China, to five airports including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

Travelers on those flights will be screened for a coronavirus that has sickened 300 people in east Asia and killed six.

MORE: 1st Case Of New Coronavirus Detected In U.S.

Tom Marcello / Flickr

Today, we remember the life of jazz legend Jimmy Heath, who died at his home in Loganville, Georgia, on Sunday at the age of 93.

Georgia’s Republican governor and first lady have announced a slate of legislative measures they want to see enacted this year to combat human trafficking.

Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp said the proposals unveiled Tuesday build on work already being done by the administration. A spokesman for Kemp said the legislation will be introduced next week. The measures will require the legislature's approval in order to become law.

Ga. House of Representatives stream

Gov. Brian Kemp told lawmakers Tuesday his $28.1 billion budget includes millions in savings that don’t require drastic cuts to services Georgians need while some agency heads said slashing spending would not be easy.

Speaking to the joint House and Senate Appropriations committees, the Republican talked about his spending plan and the listed several examples of streamlining operations.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

On Tuesday's Political Rewind, the impeachment trial of President Trump begins and Georgia congressional delegates play key roles.

New polling from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN checks on Georgia and national opinions on a range of issues, including impeachment.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

The youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. said the country needs to take the principles her father espoused and enact them year-round, moving from a “day on” during the holiday to a constant state of fighting for civil rights.

“We must act now before it's too late because we are teetering on the edge of losing our collective soul and opportunity to build the beloved community,” Bernice King said. “We cannot afford to operate as if we have the luxury of time. At some point, that window of opportunity will close. And our tendency to act only in times deemed as great crises will have failed us.” 

Atlanta History Center

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we bring you a special episode of Political Rewind.

Atlanta History Center curator Dr. Calinda Lee and Georgia State University professor of African American Studies Dr. Maurice Hobson joined our panel to discuss modern misconceptions of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. 

Much of our conversation revolved around a new exhibit at the The Atlanta History Center, "Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow," which runs until June 30 and features local artifacts and history from the decades following the Civil War.

encrier / Getty Images Pro

A Georgia agency says dozens of counties statewide will share $166,000 in grant money to buy child car seats.

The Georgia Department of Public Health said in a news release that car seats will be distributed among 107 counties using money awarded from the Child Passenger Safety Mini Grant program.

Tony Webster / Flickr

Amazon is opening another massive warehouse in metro Atlanta that will create 500 new jobs.

Courtesy of Will Brown / Kate DeCiccio for Amplifier / Courtesy of Donal Thornton and Tresor Dieudonné

As 2019 drew to a close, protests spilled into cities from Hong Kong to Santiago, Paris to Tehran, and Khartoum to La Paz. People around the world flocked to the streets, often with handmade signs, addressing their objections to policy changes, power grabs and cutbacks.

The power of images to communicate disagreement is the subject of an exhibition now on view at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). 

For the last five years, we’ve heard cries of “fake news” from media critics on both sides of the political aisle. This year, Emory University offered first-year students the opportunity to enroll in a course about fake news. It’s one of Emory’s “evidence-focused seminars” intended to prepare students for college-level research. We speak to Dr. Judith Miller, who teaches the course, and Natalia Thomas, one of the students who took the class last semester.

Pria Mahadevan/GPB News

Spreading lies is not new in politics. However, slickly packaged fictions can move faster, wider and deeper in the digital age.

After the election of President Trump in 2016, concepts like “alternative facts” and “post-truth” became buzzwords. Increasingly, calling something “fake news” became a blunt instrument for discrediting stories, whether based in fact or not.

The term is also being used to educate students at Emory University. History 190: Fake News is one of dozens of “evidence-focused seminars” intended to prepare first-year students for college-level research.

Charles Kelly / AP Photo

He was a civil rights icon, beloved father and husband, who would be 91 years old this year. On Monday, the nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Georgia native was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee a day after delivering one of his most memorable speeches, “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.”

John Amis / AP Photo

On Friday's Political Rewind, the legislature has recessed at the end of the first week of the 2020 session. Members will spend next week in budget hearings. Agency heads will plead their cases for why they should not lose significant funding despite demands from Gov. Brian Kemp for big budget cuts.

Corey Brooks / Blessings in a Bookbag

This holiday weekend brings no shortage of fun to the Georgia coast. Mahogany Bowers of Blessings in a Bookbag and Rachael Flora of Connect Savannah have your guide.

Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest budget proposal would increase state spending to $28.1 billion for the next fiscal year, largely driven by increases in formula-based funding for education and health care plus a pay raise for public school teachers. 

The proposal comes as many other state agencies have been asked to cut back.

The governor’s budget report released Thursday kicks off the next phase of budget discussions at the state Capitol, where lawmakers have been greeted with the news of tepid tax collections as the larger economy continues to grow.

The amended budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30, has been revised down slightly from $27.5 billion to $27.4 billion as the governor’s office projects only a slight growth in the amount of money collected from taxes and fees.

Wikimedia Commons

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta is launching a special exhibit next week to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

In conjunction with Monday’s holiday, the Center is showcasing an exhibit on King’s Beloved Community, which begins this weekend.

Department of Corrections

Georgia’s parole board on Thursday spared the life of a prisoner just hours ahead of his scheduled execution, commuting his sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

Jimmy Fletcher Meders, 58, had been scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 7 p.m. Thursday at the state prison in Jackson. But the State Board of Pardons and Paroles released its decision granting him clemency around 1 p.m.

It made headlines when Queen Elizabeth II agreed to grant Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle their wish for a more independent life, allowing them to move part-time to Canada while remaining firmly in the House of Windsor. We speak with Emory history professor Dr. Patrick Allit and CNN senior writer Lisa Respers France to analyze the historical context and current implications of their move to this side of the pond.

David Goldman / AP Photo

Last September, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring state and local governments to consent, in writing, to allow refugee resettlement inside their borders.

The deadline for officials to opt in was originally Jan. 21. That order was struck down in a U.S. district court earlier this week. 

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is coming up on Monday. The King Center announced this year’s theme is “The Beloved Community: The Fierce Urgency Of Now.”

The Reverend Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, says her father’s message of the ‘beloved community’ operates out of unconditional love, adding, "it’s not about who deserves’s about all human beings having this inherent worth and value.”

Xernona Clayton embodies those values. She worked with Dr. King and Coretta Scott King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the late 60s. In 1967 she became the first African American in the southeast to have her own television program. She served 30 years as an executive at Turner Broadcasting System and founded the Trumpet Awards to recognizes accomplishments of African Americans.

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