White Picket Fences

As of this Memorial Day Weekend, "White Picket Fences" has become a fledgling literary journal. Still with the rough edges, but not just one man's effort any more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An interesting comparison was drawn here, regarding Andersonville and Guantanamo. Or so the inference is easily made.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The following appeared in my mail box. I think you should read it, if you have any fellow feeling for the families of the workers at the Walmarts.

Dear Working Families e-Activist,

Pledge Not to Shop at Wal-Mart for
Back-to-School Supplies

Tell Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott you will not buy back-to-school supplies from Wal-Mart this year because Wal-Mart needs a real
education about
how to treat workers.

Child labor violations. Sex discrimination. Low wages. Lousy benefits. All from Wal-Mart—a company that rakes in $10 billion a year in profits.

Wal-Mart needs a real education in how a rich company should treat its workers.

And together, we're going to provide it by pledging to buy back-to-school supplies from other stores this year. Please click on the link below to send your pledge to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott:

There are hundreds of reasons to pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year. Here are a few:

* As the world's largest retailer, today Wal-Mart is setting the standard for America's workplaces—and it's a standard of low wages, poor benefits and worker abuse that working families cannot accept. Together, we have to stop the Wal-Marting of America's jobs.

* Wal-Mart has racked up huge fines for child labor law violations. The rich company reportedly makes children younger than 18 work through their meal breaks, work very late and even work during school hours. Several states have found Wal-Mart workers younger than 18 are operating dangerous equipment, like chainsaws, and working in such dangerous areas as around trash compactors. (The New York Times, 1/13/04; The Associated Press, 2/18/05; The Hartford Courant, 6/18/05)

* Wal-Mart pays poverty-level wages and fails to provide affordable company health insurance to more than 600,000 employees. That means Wal-Mart workers and their families have a hard time paying the bills and getting the health care they need—and Wal-Mart is at or close to the top of state lists of employers whose workers are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded health insurance programs like Medicaid. (Wal-Mart annual reports; Business Week, 10/2/03; state reports)

Pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year. Click on the link below:


Need more reasons to buy school supplies elsewhere this year? Try these:

* Wal-Mart has a shameful record of paying women less than men. Wal-Mart pays women workers nearly $5,000 less yearly than men. Some 1.6 million women are eligible to join a class-action lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with discrimination. (Richard Drogin, Ph.D., 2/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/30/04)

* By demanding impossibly low prices, Wal-Mart forces its suppliers to produce goods in low-wage countries that don't protect workers. A worker in a Honduran clothing factory whose main customer is Wal-Mart, for example, sews sleeves onto 1,200 shirts a day for only $35 a week. (Los Angeles Times, 11/24/03)

* Wal-Mart can afford to do better. Wal-Mart—America's largest private employer—raked in $10 billion in profits last year. CEO Lee Scott landed almost $23 million in total compensation last year alone. Wal-Mart has no excuse for its behavior.

Let's educate Wal-Mart. Click on the link below to send Scott your pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year:


Thanks for all you do for working families.

In solidarity,

Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO
Aug 11, 2005

P.S. Please forward this e-mail to friends and family members and urge them to join you in pledging not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year.

n. 1. a worker in a cotton mill; (broadly) a poor rural white person. Southern. 2. a foolish or ignorant person. Also lintbrain.

[from the Erin McKean, at verbatimmaq.com]
Georgia Leads Nation in Jobless Jump Under Perdue
RNC embarrasses Perdue with press release

(Atlanta) The job picture in Georgia under Gov. Sonny Perdue is the worst in the nation. Over the past year, the ranks of jobless in Georgia grew by 34,500 people – more than any other state. The Georgia unemployment rate jumped the most in the nation as well, an increase of 0.7 points. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, Data comparison between June 2004 and June 2005 from “Table 3. Civilian labor force and unemployment by state and selected areas, seasonally adjusted,” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t03.htm]

On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) abandoned a lagging Gov. Perdue by issuing a press release touting national economic gains. While the RNC claims that the national economy is doing well, Gov. Perdue is hoping that Georgians do not notice that their economy is far worse than it has been in recent Georgia history. For this first time since 1989, the unemployment rate in Georgia is higher than the national rate. Georgia’s unemployment rate is now higher than it has been since 1994. [http://www.gop.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=5731; Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Georgia]

“Georgia job prospects continue to be bleak under Gov. Perdue, and we are now lagging the nation in job growth,” said Bobby Kahn, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “The best jobs program for Georgia will be Gov. Perdue losing his.”

Under Democratic leadership, Georgia became an economic powerhouse, fueled by our job growth. Under Gov. Perdue, the business climate in the state has become less appealing for new companies or new growth. While other Southern states like Alabama, Florida, and Texas are among the national leaders in shrinking unemployment rolls, Georgia continues to wallow in economic misery.

Georgia economy compared to neighboring states (ranked by increase in unemployment %):


Change in unemployment #’s

(July 2004 – July 2005)

Change in unemployment %

(July 2004 – July 2005)







South Carolina






North Carolina






[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Data comparison between June 2004 and June 2005 from “Table 3. Civilian labor force and unemployment by state and selected areas, seasonally adjusted,” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t03.htm]


Monday, August 15, 2005

This last Saturday, folks in Southeast Georgia got a rare treat when SAMS Shortline passenger train service came to Vidalia, in Toombs County. Passengers boarded the train starting at twenty minutes to eight, and were rolling by eight eastward toward the rising sun and Pembroke, Bryan County.

This ride was indeed a rare treat offered to celebrate the Centennial of Pembroke's being incorporated as a city. The train, which has a capacity to carry 350 passengers, was nearly full. Premium service coaches allowed forty five passengers. Third class, or "coach," held up to eighty passengers per car.

Passengers were able to enjoy a two hour layover during which the parade trooped down Pembroke's main east-west thouroughfare, Highway 280. Present at the parade were the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as various church and civic groups.

According to Mr. Kinneman, the conductor, the diesel engines, Type T, had a 2000 horsepower capacity. Mr. Kinneman also serves as head of the Southwest Georgia Excursion Train Board. The SAMS line normally operates six times a week, running between Archery and Cordele, in Southwest Georgia. Their schedule includes Plains and Americus, the stomping grounds of former Georgia Governor and U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Tonight, author Bill Shanks will visit the Barnes and Nobles bookstore and coffee house to promote his recently published book, Scout's Honor. This oevre is a response to Michael Lewis book, Moneyball.

Scout's Honor uses the Atlanta braves as an example of how the instincts of old-school scouts and veteran players make a successful winning team.

For more information on events at the Savannah book store, call 912-353-9231 or send me an email to remind me to check the listings.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Last Wednesday a member of our community hung himself. They say that he had suffered from depression.

Although I did not know the man, I felt sadness at hearing of this tragedy. I pray for him, and most of all for his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

I resolved to write about my own experiences with depression, my journey toward and within recovery, with the hopes that maybe at least some one who is still experiencing depression, loneliness, or anger can benefit from some of my experience. I hope to let those out there who think they are alone and without defense, that there is hope, that there are ways to treat depression, and most of all, that it is not a mark of a weak person, or a punishment from God.

I am a male, 44 years of age, transplanted to the South by the Army. A young girl and a toddler call me Daddy; a wonderful strong and intelligent woman calls me her Man, her Husband. Maybe your first thought would be, why then would I suffer from depression?

My depression began in early adolescence. It went untreated for years, with exception of some stress management I got as a college student. To complicate matters, apparently I also struggled with an attention deficit and a mild syndrome, combined with some emotional scarring from child abuse. Partly out of desire to avoid the stigma of mental illness, I covered up my problems as best I could, managing to cope with them privately. I did not even tell my parents much, as I thought they would not understand or sympathize.

Many doctors and psychiatrists and others in the health professions agree that depression is a disease, that it is treatable, not just with medicines but with professional counseling. The bottom line is that today there is so very much that can be done to help a person. This is not just coming from the hospitals and clinics, but also from universities, colleges, churches, and twelve step groups.

Back in the days, as the elder folk like to say, people would hide their depression, because it was considered a weakness of character. There has been for a long time a stigma on this as well as on all other mental illness. Today we are realizing that hiding it just makes it worse. A vital part of recovery is the sharing of one’s life experience, the good as well as the bad. As St. Paul preached, “The truth will set you free.”

Today I am able to manage, thanks to a moderate dose of what is more popularly called Prozac. I also receive regular counseling , thanks to the Veterans Administration and the generosity of the American tax payers and our government. I attend church as much as my health and my conscience allow, and participate in civic and artistic activities. Perhaps most important to me, I try hard to be a good father and husband. I know the kids and wife count on me to be there for them, and I give thanks to God for this opportunity to serve and protect.

I would take this time now to urge you, if you are feeling troubled, feeling burned out, as if you have lost interest in the things that used to give you that joy of living, then please seek out the advice of a mental health professional and someone in the clergy. Find someone whom you trust, whose advice seems to give you courage and hope. Pray, and pray regularly. Most of all, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, never, never, ever give up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Here are the promised results from the election to the GES parents and teachers' association, and the agenda for last night's Glennvile city council meeting, plus a review of the meeting and some matters discussed. I'm sorry that it took so very long to get them posted. One of the reasons was a problem which resulted from me unplugging the computer too soon, before the shut-down process was completed.

Anyway, our parent representative serving for the one year term is Jeff Weathers. Rob Muray was voted from a choice of two candidates. He will serve the two year position. The losing candidate happens to already by on the Glennville City Council, and serves as vice principal of the High School. He was not present. One of the African American community nominated him.

The teachers on the parent and teacher committee are Linda Parker and Tammy Dasher.

I will try to keep you all posted on developments in the Tattnall and Evans counties' schools as I learn of them, and will cover other local schools' news whenever possible. Of course, should you wish to assist me in learning and reporting on local school issues, this will be a milestone in the development of a local community web log. May God will this happen.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Local agencies hold job fair

Heart of Georgia, WIA/Job Training Unlimited, and Community Collaborative Partners held a job and resource fair at the Family Enrichment Center in Reidsville a week ago, Thursday. Several employers and local agencies were present to offer information on human services for Tattnall and the surrounding counties. Among them were GED preparation instructors, Peachcare for children, Medicaid, and Workforce Investment Act services (WIA). Agencies providing assistance in securing employment and advancement included the One Stop Center and the Georgia Department of Labor.

“The job fair was beneficial to a lot of people,” explained Linda Wortham. “It was very beneficial for the vendors to be there, so they could network with each other and the clients.”

JP Creighton

Points of contact:

Claudette Collins, One Stop Center 912-654-5060
Linda Wortham, 1-800-503-0204
Motorists of the highways, unite!

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