Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples
Tax all the The Athens Banner-Her-
FIRST! deadly sins
ald web site and others
ran this article. This piece
I spent much of my
last decade at the Atlanta led me to write about
A sure (hell)fire way to fill faith and other issues in
iting other people’s writ- the state coffers the Georgia Legislature,
ing or presenting stories including Sunday alco-
as a designer or manager. By K. Patrick Jensen hol sales, increasing the
Since accepting a buy- Commentary tobacco tax and taxing
out, I have written on the Story updated at 9:18 p.m. on patrons of adult clubs. I
legislature for the Geor- 2/21/2009 even wrote about nuclear
gia Online News Service.
power and Georgia foot-
(Pages 12-16) The “wages of sin” don’t pay too
I also have written ball.
badly in Georgia, where tobacco,
news releases for Fam- liquor and the lottery contribute
ily Promise of Gwin- millions of dollars to fund state op- from those greedy enough to seek a
nett County, a group of erations in bad and good economic quick fix to financial woes.
times. Sin can pay - albeit for good
Faced with a $2 billion-ish budget causes like helping kids caught up
the homeless, and First in prostitution - but one could argue
Christian Church (Dis- shortfall, legislators are thinking of
new ways to raise public revenues Georgia and other states aren’t going
ciples of Christ), which far enough. We traditionally have
is celebrating its 100th from private actions. And Georgia
certainly isn’t alone. Cash-strapped had seven deadly sins - lust, glut-
birthday. (Pages 2-7) tony, greed, pride, envy, anger (or
legislatures nationwide are look-
Using my experience as ing at “sin taxes” for some revenue, wrath) and sloth. Let’s tax ‘em all.
a journalist at the AJC to according to a recent Wall Street Many of these taxes wouldn’t have
write them has helped all Journal article. to be just statewide. A Local Option
of my news releases to Gaining attention in Georgia is a Sin Tax could be established for lo-
gain coverage in print, on bipartisan proposal to charge strip cal officials hoping to cash-in on our
television or on the web. club patrons a $3 to $5 so-called lesser natures.
“pole tax.” The fee, according to pro- Here are some modest proposals
Also included are sto-
ponents, would be designed to help to make some bucks off each of the
ries from my AJC days as seven deadly sins:
a writer. (Pages 8-11) fund programs to help child prosti-
tutes and sexual abuse victims. • Lust: Besides strip-club pa-
Gray boxes in the sec- trons, printed pornography, X-rated
tion give background State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-
Buford, said there are links between movies on hotel televisions, racy
about the articles. singles bars and lurid advertising
the adult entertainment industry
and the underground world of child would be possible sources if we can
DON’T FORGET prostitution, with the state having to get by that pesky First Amendment.
Just imagine, any racy billboard
DESIGN! pay for health, corrections and other
costs when juveniles turn to pros- would mean money in the public’s
pocket. Or, thinking way out of the
A design portfolio is titution. “This is the industry that
at http://tinyurl.com/ creates the problem. They’re financ- box, some libertarians might say to
nqucfs ing what they created,” she told the just legalize prostitution and tax the
Associated Press. heck out of it. The legislature could
A profile and recom-
mendations of Kris Some Atlantans, meanwhile, are limit the world’s oldest profession to
Jensen are at http:// proposing a casino at Underground casino districts.
www.linkedin.com/in/ Atlanta, making use of gambling tied • Greed: A generation of pre-k
to the Georgia Lottery and bringing and college students have benefited
in possible millions more to the state Please turn to SINS, page 12
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 2
A ministry doubling service to the
homeless in Gwinnett County dur-
ing these economic times is news. In
March, I crafted a two-page news re-
lease plus two background pages on
Family Promise. These run through
page 5. The AJC ran a brief and the
Gwinnett Daily Post ran a story (see
bottom of pages 4 and 5). At least two
TV stations did reports with one shoot-
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 4
3/15/2009 12:01:00 AM These two background releases at the top of pages 4
and 5 supplemented the two-page news release with
Family Promise aims facts and figures about how the organization works.
to help more in need The Gwinnett Daily Post published this article (left) on
its front and website. TV stations also picked up on the
By Josh Green
Staff Writer coverage, and the director of Family Promise of Gwin-
nett County has been contacted after the coverage as a
LAWRENCEVILLE - In 2008, source for homelessness in general.
Gwinnett County hemorrhaged
61,000 jobs. Foreclosures sky-
rocketed by 64 percent. Evictions 40 guest families annually. That’s ditional social worker and creation
pushed 24,225 residents out of twice the number of families of a mentor group to help fami-
their homes. served in 2008. lies when they graduate from the
These figures - as tabulated by Family Promise leaders are in program. The increased services
leaders of Family Promise of Gwin- the process of recruiting congrega- will also require an additional van,
nett County, a fundraising network tions. Currently, the not-for-profit truck and more furniture to house
of churches, social workers and works with 25 churches through- families overnight, leaders said.
volunteers - mean homelessness is out Gwinnett to provide lodging, The additions are expected to
closer than many might think. financial counseling and case cost about $110,000 and require
Despite dour economic times, management services to families in the help of 15 more congregations.
the organization intends to double need. “The need for Family Promise
the number of homeless families it Its 1,650 volunteers logged has increased significantly,” said
serves next year. nearly 20,000 hours of service in Joel Beck, president of group’s
In January, Family Promise’s Gwinnett last year. board of trustees. “We’re commit-
board of trustees voted to add a The move is part of Family ted to increase services in order to
second rotation of congregations Promise’s strategic plan, which meet that need.”
in 2010, an effort to host about also calls for the hiring of an ad- Please turn to FAMILY, page 5
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 5
FAMILY, from page 4
Brent S. Bohanan, our program with a new-
executive director, said found sense of purpose
since beginning opera- and hope for the future,”
tions in April 2005, Fam- Beck said. “Real lives
ily Promise has success- are being changed and
• Served 49 homeless Family Promise is part
families in Gwinnett of a national organization
County; of more than 146 net-
• Helped 87 percent of works in 39 states. It was
families graduate from recently named Charity
the program with em- of the Year by readers of
ployment and housing; Gwinnett Magazine.
and For more information
• Provided shelter, meals on the work of Family
and support services to Promise, call 678-376- At Family Promise, I’ve been able to
93 children and their 8950 or visit www.fami- write in new formats such as this thank-
families. lypromisegwinnett.org. you ad in Gwinnett Magazine.
“Families are leaving
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 6
The news release
(left) on Holy Week
tied to the 100th
Contact Rev. Katie Hays, 770-963-9922 anniversary of the
church resulted in an
article in the Sunday
Come celebrate Easter at First Christian Gwinnett Daily Post
and TV coverage on
(Lawrenceville) First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Lawrenceville has
announced its Holy Week schedule and is inviting the public to Easter events.
The church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, is located at 3495 Sugar- among other sta-
loaf Parkway Lawrenceville, Georgia. For more information, contact the Rev. Katie Hays
at 770-963-9922 or www.lawrencevilleﬁrstchristian.org tions.
Here is a list of events open to the public.
Palm & Passion Sunday, April 5
Children palm parade at 10:50 a.m. service
I’ve put together a
Maundy Thursday, April 9
list of print, media
7 p.m. communion service with guests from the Salvation Army Worship Center, 3455 and internet sites
Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA 30044
where press releases
Good Friday, April 10
7 p.m. service at Salvation Army Worship Center are targeted for Fam-
Easter Sunday, April 12
ily Promise and First
•6:30 a.m. sunrise service in prayer garden at the church.
•9:30 a.m. Easter brunch served by Christian Men’s Fellowship.
•10:50 a.m. Easter worship
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 7
A well-written news release in this media envi-
ronment may spur a story but is just as likely
to be picked up verbatim by news organiza-
tions or blogs lacking staff.
The news release (right) about a free com- MEDIA RELEASE
munity celebration to mark First Christian
Church’s 100th anniversary resulted in print Contacts:
Libby Ballew, elder and event organizer, 404-538-2863.
stories in the Gwinnett Daily Post and the At- Rev. Katie Hays 770-963-9922 (after July 4)
lanta Journal-Constitution but was picked up
in its entirety by gwinnettforum.com, a web-
site read by movers and shakers in Gwinnet First Christian Church (Lawrenceville) is marking its
County (below). 100th anniversary with a community party from 10 a.m. to
1 p.m. July 11 at the church, 3495 Sugarloaf Parkway, Law-
It’s important that publicity target traditional The free party will include inflatables to bounce on,
media but also new and upcoming media. games for kids, hot dog lunches, a deejay, a Salvation Army
band, a performance by Atlanta Harmony Celebration, repre-
sentatives from community ministry groups and local dignitar-
ies, including Lawrenceville Mayor Rex A. Millsaps.
UPCOMING The church will be open for those who would like to view
the stained glass in the sanctuary.
First Christian Church to mark Families with children are especially invited to the kid-
100th anniversary on July 11 oriented event which concludes Vacation Bible School. “This
is our way to say: Thanks, Lawrenceville, for 100 great years,”
First Christian Church in Lawrenceville is marking said Rev. Katie Hays. “And of course, we’re hoping for a hun-
its 100th anniversary with a community party from dred more.”
For more information: Call 770-963-9922 or www.law-
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 11 at the church, 3495 Sugarloaf rencevillefirstchristian.org
The free party will include inflatables to bounce Families with children are especially invited
on, games for kids, hot dog lunches, a deejay, a Salva- to the kid-oriented event which concludes Va-
tion Army band, a performance by Atlanta Harmony cation Bible School. The Rev. Katie Hays says:
Celebration, representatives from community ministry “This is our way to say: Thanks, Lawrenceville,
groups and local dignitaries, including Lawrenceville for 100 great years. And of course, we’re hop-
Mayor Rex A. Millsaps. ing for 100 more.”
The church will be open for those who would like to For more information: Call 770-963-9922
view the stained glass in the sanctuary. or www.lawrencevillefirstchristian.org.
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 8
August 24, 1993 In the early 1990s, I wrote about magazines and eventually in-
Section: LIVING ternet content. Here’s an article on hip-hop magazines.
Edition: The Atlanta Constitution
The Atlanta Journal The magazine plans to pub- Sheet, agrees that Vibe looks beau-
Page: B/1 lish each month for the rest of tiful but added, “It’s not written for
this year, with 10 issues planned the hard-core hip-hop fans.”
Vibe tunes up to be the for 1994. The newsstand price is Mr. Van Meter, a former editor
$2.50. With an initial rate base of at Vogue, also became an issue.
voice of urban music 100,000, the magazine is hoping How can a white man cover the
for 500,000 circulation within two mostly black world of urban music,
Kris Jensen STAFF WRITER years. some asked.
The fact that Time Warner - “I’m a journalist and hopefully a
After baby boomers and Genera- home of Time, Life, Sports Illus- journalist’s job is to see what’s im-
tion X, is the world ready for the trated, Entertainment Weekly and portant in the context of the sub-
“Vibe Tribe”? Time Warner and People - is launching a magazine ject they cover,” he said. “I manage
show-biz legend Quincy Jones that focuses heavily on hip-hop - this magazine’s ideas and creativ-
think so. That’s why today they’re as well as other styles - shows the ity. I’m not the voice of it.”
permanently launching a fine- growing influence of the musical Some have also questioned
tuned Vibe, a new publication that form. whether the establishment, in the
covers urban music and culture. Hip-hop has joined the main- form of Time Warner, can cover
The Vibe Tribe is how the maga- stream in ads ranging from Sprite music that comes from the street.
zine is defining youth who are fans commercials (with Atlanta’s teen- Mr. Van Meter acknowledges
of urban music. age duo Kris Kross) to Budweiser that “we’re not an underground
Vibe debuted last September, commercials (with rappers meeting magazine. We’ve sold out from the
with a test issue that billed itself farmers). beginning. We’re Time Warner.
as a new magazine for the hip-hop Several nationally distributed How do you get around it?”
generation. Editor Jonathan Van periodicals have risen to track He added, “We conceived of the
Meter says the Vibe Tribe concept the growth of hip-hop, including magazine as being good journal-
is something Time Warner devel- The Source (200,000 circula- ism because we think that’s the key
oped. “I guess it’s a combination of tion, formed in 1988); Rap Sheet that’s missing.”
a marketing ploy, plus so we can (100,000 circulation, 1992); and While Vibe denies it’s just a hip-
invent some name of our own,” he Rap Pages (about 100,000 circu- hop magazine, it covers many of
said. lation, 1991). In addition, there the same topics as the established
He says “vibe” is a hip-hop term, are many fanzine publications on rap magazines:
as in “I’m vibing on him” or “that’s Atlanta newsstands. Both Vibe and The Source
vibe,” meaning something good. Its competitors both praise and feature on their September cov-
“Tribe” also is a hip-hop term for question Vibe. ers Snoop Doggy Dog, who gained
people you hang out with. “I think it’s a beautiful maga- fame on rapper Dr. Dre’s hit
The magazine wants to be the zine and the writers are top notch. album “The Chronic” and who has
voice of the urban-music gen- There’s no doubt in my mind that a much anticipated debut album
eration. “I think we’re positioning Vibe’s going to be a great maga- coming out, “Doggy Style.” While
ourself against Rolling Stone as a zine,” said Sheena Lester, editor of both magazines report that Snoop
youth concert magazine for people Rap Pages. Doggy Dog carries guns, only The
not interested in rock ‘n’ roll.” H. Edward Young Jr., associ- Source shows the rapper holding a
After examining marketing ate publisher of The Source, feels gun in its photographs.
tests of the preview issue, Mr. Van his magazine is very different Rap Pages shows rapper DJ
Meter said the magazine expanded from Vibe. “We cover the hip-hop Magic Mike on its cover, calling
its focus beyond hip-hop to other lifestyle, and we are true to it,” he him “the largest hip-hop artist
forms of urban music, such as said. “Vibe is trying to be all things you’ve never known.”He’s also in
dance-hall reggae, new jack swing, to all people.” Vibe as “the biggest hip-hop star
acid jazz, and rhythm-and-blues. But Mr. Young notes the addi- you’ve never heard of.”Rap Sheet
“The most important thing we tion of Vibe may help his and other also features him.
figured out is the notion that this magazines. “They’re educating the Vibe and The Source feature
isn’t a hip-hop magazine and it’s advertiser out there that hip-hop is Sean Combs, a.k.a. record produc-
important for people to understand a real force,”he said.
that because there are many hip- Please turn to MAGAZINES,
Jeff Stern, publisher of the Rap page 9
hop magazines,” he said.
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 9
At one point in the 1990s, I was writing The Newstand about magazine content,
launched CyberScene about internet content and wrote an occasional article. Plus
I was editing the weekly Leisure Guide, serving as features wire editor and laying
out some inside features pages. I’m interested in a diversity of content and ways to
present it. During my career, I’ve written about a wide variety of topics including
the Iowa Board of Regents, the Rose Bowl, mass murderers and county fairs. My
variety of interests and experiences will serve my future employer well.
MAGAZINES, from page 8 Mr. Van Meter notes that the time for the hip-hop press to pay
er Puff Daddy. magazine’s goal is to cover the more attention to such issues as
The 69-page issue of Vibe also hip-hop and other urban music the degradation of women, vio-
includes a profile of academician scenes with a critical eye. “When lence and the “gangsta”mentality.
Cornel West; a feature on urban something is bad, it’s time to say “People die. People get shot up
skateboarding; a feature on ris- it’s bad. I think hip-hop journalism at hip-hop parties,” said Ms. Lester
ing women in reggae; the fashions has been in bed with the subject of Rap Pages. “We have no prob-
of designer Byron Lars; and an and hasn’t been critical. It’s sort of lem being critical because we feel
essay by senior writer Scott Poul- fan journalism that I loved as a kid it’s our responsibility.”
son-Bryant called “Just a Word: but bores me now.”
Nigga”about the use of that term. Others in the business agree it’s
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 10
November 20, 1994 hype. In addition, the Clinton
Section: BUSINESS administration has been promoting
Edition: The Atlanta Journal Con- In 1994, the internet was commercial development of it.
stitution just starting its boom in Local providers report signing
Page: D/1 usage. Here’s a primer up college graduates who lost their
access after leaving school; cor-
PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY and report on early us- porate types who want the same
ers from a cover story access at home they have at work;
Snared by that ran in Personal and parents who want to send
e-mail to kids in college, dodging
the Internet Technology. long-distance phone bills.
Other subscribers are those who
Accessing a world of informa- have already navigated the on-line
tion: More and more on-line he could communicate with people services - such as Prodigy, America
users are discovering the net- in his native France. “It’s my curi- Online, Delphi and CompuServe -
work of computers that spans osity. It seems to be so huge, big. where they’ve gotten a taste of the
the globe. It’s amazing. You can log on to it Internet and want more.
and go all over the world. You can Craig, who has been on Prodigy,
By Kris Jensen STAFF WRITER talk to everyone.” America Online and Delphi, took
More local providers the plunge with Netcom Online
Internet - the worldwide net- While firm figures are hard to Communications Services, a
work of computer networks - has come by, there are indications that national provider. He says he has
become the rage of personal com- more people are getting on the Net enjoyed traveling to the world’s
puting. locally. universities.
The Net, as pundits call it, is In the last year, several provid- Fascinating and frustrating
everywhere - on line, in magazines, ers of Internet connections for per- “The Internet is fascinating if
on TV and radio and in political sonal and business accounts have you want to spend a lot of time on
campaigns. It has become part sprung up. Nearly all report growth it, but it can be frustrating because
of popular culture without most rates of 15 percent to 25 percent a in many instances you have to
people knowing exactly what it is. month. know where you’re going in order
And it appears that an increas- An Internet Users Group formed to get there,” Craig said.
ing number of Atlantans are get- six months ago, and soon divided Besides keeping up with her
ting hooked by the hype - or are at into business and personal users. daughters and three grandchil-
least thinking of taking the plunge “We have a priest who comes, a dren through e-mail, Stegar enjoys
into the information ocean that is Chinese translator from Taiwan visiting travel news groups. She
the Internet, which until recently who comes every time. We have a has been on Prodigy and America
has been the preserve of academia. partner in a pretty good size law Online, and says both are easier to
- Ron Craig of Atlanta, who firm, and companies from IBM to use than the Internet.
spends his day in front of a com- individual consultants,” says Mike Even so, she says families,
puter for United Airlines, has been Adkinson, president of the group especially those with high school
on it three months. He spends at and editor of Atlanta Computer students, may want to take the
least an hour and a half a day at it. Currents, a local magazine. plunge. “I just think the Internet
“I just know there’s so much there, Mimi Recker, research scientist will be necessary for every family
and I can’t stop going for it. I know in the College of Computing at in the next 10 years,” she said.
if I keep looking, I’ll stumble on Georgia Tech, says a combination
something interesting.” of factors have spurred everyday Chart: What’s in an internet ad-
- Martha Ann Stegar, 64, of At- people to join the Internet, which dress?
lanta has continued on the Internet began more than two decades ago Just as a postal address usu-
since retiring as a writer at Georgia for military and scientific research. ally contains a name, street ad-
Tech. “Interface to the Internet seems dress, city, state and ZIP code,
“I love e-mail. I’ve got friends to be jelling and becoming more each part of the internet address is
all over the world who I contact. I accessible . . . and that’s really in identifying information about the
have two daughters, both of whom the last year that’s happened. Prior recipient. Here’s what the Per-
subscribe to CompuServe, so we to that you would have needed to sonal Technology section’s address
can keep up with each other by be much more of a computer ex- means:
e-mail.” pert to plug in to the Internet.” firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mickey Durand of Norcross She credits software, such as
says he doesn’t understand the In- Mosaic, that makes it easier to Please turn to INTERNET,
ternet, but would like to get on it so navigate the Internet, and media page 11
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 11
January 12, 2007 I wrote this short piece INTERNET, from page 10
Section: Gwinnett Weekend (personaltech) Identfies the
Edition: Main; The Atlanta Jour- on taking walks for an user or organization’s name.
nal-Constitution exercise package for (@ symbol) Connects the “who”
Page: JW3 Gwinnett Weekend, the identifier (personaltech) with
now defunct Friday fea- (ajc) The domain; sometimes
Taking a stroll helps tures section. there is another word before
to bind partners the domain, which is the subdo-
the Y regularly and joined Weight main.
KRIS JENSEN Staff Watchers ... and kept walking. (com) Type or zone. Others
Between us, we’ve lost 80-plus include “gov” for government,
“We always see you walking.” pounds. I think I’ve given up on the “mil” for military, “edu” for edu-
Karen and I aren’t certain when idea of another marathon. We each cation, “net” for large companies
we started walking together, but walked/ran the Peachtree Road that have networks and “org” for
dozens of people have uttered those Race this year. Walking is also good non-profit organizatons.
words to us since we began our at relieving stress and helps cope There can be another “where”
walks around Flowers Crossing with occasional depression. segment at the end of the name
subdivision. But the main thing walking has to identify the country - for
If the family that prays together done is strengthen our marriage. example, “fr” for France or “uk”
stays together, the couple that Karen does almost all of the talking, for United Kingom. United
strolls together binds their souls telling me about her school day, States addresses usually omit it.
together. At least that’s my experi- what’s going on at church, and what
ence. our kids are doing. I’ve learned not Sidebar to D/01 story on
In 30 years of marriage, we’ve to suggest a solution to problems Internet.
tried various activities to help keep unless asked. I don’t talk as much, Here are some frequently asked
us fit, including volleyball, yoga, but I do try to tell her of my day. questions:
swimming, bicycling, road races We had to establish one rule of Q: Do I need the Internet?
and five marathons. (The latter was walking: If either of us had bad A: It's more a question of want
just me; my wife is much too sen- news, especially about our three than need. There are sources
sible to attempt marathoning.) kids, we had to share it during the now -including on-line services,
As our three children were born first half of the walk. Nothing ruins bulletin boards, CD-ROMs and
and we moved to Lawrenceville, we a walk more than being told one of even books, newspapers and
started taking less physical care of the children did something inap- magazines - that provide some
ourselves as we entered a world of propriate just as you’re coming up of the services and information
preschool, school, swim practices, to the driveway to finish. All that you find on the Internet. But if
soccer practices, baseball, church tension that left on the walk sud- you want to get on the informa-
youth groups, band, Scouting and denly catches up. tion highway early, the Internet
more. Some health problems pre- We’re blessed to live in a subdivi- may be for you.
vented running, and I began to put sion that doesn’t have a lot of traffic Q: What do I need?
on weight. all the time. If you do, there are A: A computer, speedy modem
About a decade ago, when our other good places to walk in Gwin- (9,600 baud or faster) and
youngest was 10ish and could be nett, including Ronald Reagan Park a connection. If you're lucky
left alone with his brother and sis- on Five Forks Trickum and Tribble enough to have an employer or
ter, we started walking. Mill Park. school on the Net, good for you.
The walking can vary from every If not, basically, you can con-
night to once or twice a week. nect to parts of the Internet
We have short, medium and long through on-line services or
courses around our subdivision and <ImageData> some bulletin boards, or you
close neighborhoods. We’ve walked Photo can open an account with a lo-
in the heat of summer. We’ve Kris and Karen Jensen of Law- cal provider.
walked (actually it was more like renceville have been walking regu- Q: Anything else?
sliding) after an ice storm. We’ve larly for the past decade and credit A: Yes, you'll need some of the
walked many times at night, when it for better health and a strength- new software that is making it
I’ve had to come home late, wearing ened relationship. easier to talk with other com-
little blinkers to alert drivers. </ImageData> puters on the Internet. Most
Walking gave us a fitness base providers give you software but
so when my obsessiveness kicked Copyright 2007 The Atlanta Please turn to INTERNET,
in last year, we started going to page 16
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 12
SINS, from page 1 ishment for the envious is to have tionally dispersed opinions would
their eyes sewn shut with wire. not have to pay a penny for their
from Georgia Lottery players, who Many Georgians have their faces thoughts.
since starting in 1993 have pro- and bodies sewn for plastic sur- Another thought would be to
vided $10.3 billion for education. gery so they can look beautiful and charge any Georgia or Georgia
So the wages for the sin of gam- defy age. Let’s tax voluntary plastic Tech fan a nickel for every public
bling have been better prepared surgeries. or on-air angry outburst against
preschoolers, better educational The envy tax would be collected the rival school. We could have tax-
technology and more college grads. from anyone wanting what an- men and taxwomen at games and
The proposed Atlanta casino other has. Since most young adults sports bars with cans to collect the
gambling could provide new wind- smoke to be like those who they money. Other potential anger-tax
falls, especially if the state consti- consider cool, the proposed $1-a- targets: road-rage drivers, lawyers
tution is amended to provide for pack tax on cigarettes could also and overbearing bosses.
more games of chance. help cut smoking while punishing • Sloth: Lack of an overall
And, if Atlanta gets a casino, envy. Add a 1-cent tax to any cloth- transportation plan, inadequate
could Savannah or Macon be far ing line by a celebrity, and we’d health care, an education system
behind? be on the way to reducing state that still ranks low nationally,
Gambling profits tend to come cutbacks. ineffective action on the drought,
from the poor, so why stop with • Pride: This sin biblically and failure to lower an often-fatal
them in gathering revenues from goeth before the fall, and certainly teenage driving age are just a few
greed? A “windfall” tax on CEOs’ a lack of humility would have of the reasons this tax should be
and executives’ salaries for any described many developers before placed on members of previous
company doing business in Georgia they went belly-up because of the legislatures.
certainly would boost the budget, recession. So a tax on developers Here’s hoping in these bad eco-
if not the spirits of workers losing of McMansions, expensive condos nomic times this General Assem-
their jobs. or unneeded strip malls would not bly will find a way to get to work
And, if oil companies boost only seem fair, but just, since so and get along well enough to take
pump prices again, hit them in the many of them have gotten away action on issues that eluded their
pocketbook with a windfall corpo- with shoddy construction in a state predecessors when financial times
rate tax. Make greed pay for the that seemed to pride itself that all were good.
public. you needed to be a developer was a K. Patrick Jensen is a former
• Gluttony: Gov. Sonny Perdue toolbox and pickup truck. editor at The Atlanta Journal-
has proposed taxing health care • Anger or wrath: Perhaps the Constitution who writes about faith
with what he describes as a 1.6 biggest example of anger/wrath and suburban issues. ... This com-
percent fee on hospitals and health in this legislature are proposals mentary was provided by Georgia
insurance plans to help fund health to lower the standard on death Online News Service....
programs. Instead, with obesity a penalty cases from a unanimous
major health care cost, let’s insti- 12 jurors agreeing to the sentence Reader Comments
tute the “Twinkie tax.” Snack foods just because the defense of court- Posted by: tumbleweed at Feb. 22,
would have an extra nickel tacked house mass slayer Brian Nichols 2009 at 2:31:50 am
on for health care, except for the somehow convinced three jurors Why pick the Christian list of
products of any politically power- to spare his life. But how to tax the “sins”? There are so many other
ful soft-drink companies based in wrathful who’d throw out a tra-
ditional judicial standard of una- good ones in the Quran.
Georgia. But the tax wouldn’t stop BTW......
there. Add 25 cents to each all-you- nimity just because of one case is,
can-eat buffet meal and the state again, beyond me. That pesky First Amendment has
would be well on its way to financ- When one thinks of inordinate been so loosely interpreted for so
ing health care. Proposals to boost and uncontrolled feelings of hatred long, it has finally come to mean
alcohol taxes and add Sunday sales and anger, talk show hosts come “anything goes”. How did it get to
of booze could also help fill alco- to mind. The anger tax would be be like that? ...
holic gluttons and the state coffers. aimed at those who stir up anger in
• Envy: One could argue envy the populace, no matter their po-
in the form of trying to have homes litical leaning. The tax would be on NOTE: SEVERAL INCHES OF
we can’t afford and greed by those every talk show pundit or political REMAINING COMMENTS
approving unpayable mortgages is blogger who receives talking points
daily from either major party or CUT FOR LACK OF SPACE
at the root of our home foreclosure
and credit crisis. But how to tax major political action committee.
that form of envy is beyond me. Of course, the First Amendment
In Dante’s purgatory, the pun- would be a hurdle to this action,
but those not plugged into the na-
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 13
Monday, February 9, 2009 voters whether they want Sunday will, in its wisdom, seek to avoid
sales of alcohol. Merchants could any unintended consequences that
sell from noon to midnight in Sen- are not the intent of the authors,”
Set ‘em up Joe for ate Bill 16 or 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 Oxendine said.
another round p.m. in House Bill 138. A third bill, Georgia is one of only three
on Sunday alcohol sales House Bill 104, would simply ex- states that prohibit stores from
tend to counties the authority – as selling any kind of alcohol on Sun-
By K. Patrick Jensen cities have now – to allow Sunday days. The other two are Connecti-
Georgia Online News Service alcohol sales at sports stadiums, cut and Indiana.
coliseums or auditoriums having While Georgia doesn’t allow citi-
Like a Sunday morning gotta- seating in excess of 2500 between zens to go to a convenience store or
get-ready-for-church hangover, the 12:30 p.m. to midnight. Morn- grocer to buy alcohol on Sundays,
issue of selling alcohol on Sundays ing worship times would remain citizens can drink at restaurants
is reviving itself for another round sacred. and sporting events – and then
of debate in the Georgia Legisla- An indication of how heated the drive home.
ture and Statehouse. debate over Sunday booze might Last year’s legislative and public
Booze vs. pews has been a pe- become popped up Thursday when debate was vigorous. Among the
rennial issue as the Legislature has State Insurance Commissioner tactics by Sunday alcohol sup-
struggled with one of the last of the John Oxendine, a gubernatorial porters was a website – votesun-
blue laws that at one time prohib- candidate, announced his opposi- daysales.com – by the Georgia
ited almost all commerce on Sun- tion to Senate Bill 16. Food Industry Association and
days in Georgia and many other “Republicans are supposed to be the Georgia Association of Conve-
states. The issue has simmered for the party of family values. Where is nience Stores that offered citizens a
years as people – especially out-of- the value in selling alcohol on the chance to read about the issue and
state immigrants or those living on Lord’s Day?” Oxendine said. contact legislators.
the border close to other states – Oxendine said he would join The website started to rev up for
questioned why citizens shouldn’t Gov. Sonny Perdue, the Georgia this year’s fight with new content
be able to pick up a six-pack to Christian Alliance, the Christian supporting Sunday sales, said Jim
watch the game on Sunday. Coalition of Georgia, the Georgia Tudor, president of the Georgia
Last year’s battle seemed par- Baptist Convention, and the Geor- Association of Convenience Stores.
ticularly strident. House advocates gia Council on Moral and Civic Among other things it points out
for Sunday sales took hostage a Concerns opposing Sunday sales. that Sunday is the biggest shopping
proposal to sell suds at the Gwin- He also indirectly criticized Lt. day for many retailers and polling
nett County Braves minor league Gov. Casey Cagle, who has said he has regularly shown overwhelming
stadium, which opens this April, won’t stop SB 16 from reaching the public support for Sunday alcohol
in a push for overall Sunday sales. Senate floor for a vote. sales.
The Gwinnett measure would “I share the disappointment of A big hurdle last year to Sun-
have given counties the same right many in the faith movement in day sales was Gov. Perdue who
as cities to allow alcohol sales at Georgia that certain elected of- went so far as to write a scathing
sporting events. That proposal ficials have moved away from the op-ed piece on the issue. Propo-
became mixed in with a bill al- position they promised to support nents point to him as being the
lowing all types of Sunday sales if during their campaigns once they main reason Sunday alcohol sales
approved by voters, much to the were in office,” Oxendine said. fizzled. Perdue had some odd allies
chagrin of Gwinnett legislators who Despite his general opposition to opposing Sunday sales, including
cried foul. The combined legisla- Sunday sales, Oxendine supports some in the liquor industry who
tion failed to pass. HB 104 by Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lil- questioned the financial payoff
Gwinnett would be able to sell burn), which basically amends the of the additional day of sales. But
alcohol under a measure approved state law passed four decades ago that was before the economy went
by both houses and signed by the allowing the city of Atlanta to have South.
governor, House Bill 1280. That beer at Braves games and other In the impassioned op-ed
measure allows alcohol sales at events to now include counties. piece, the governor pointed to
a Regional Economic Assistance Oxendine said: “I strongly sup- New Mexico, which had a rise in
Project, but the county would pre- port the ability to sell alcoholic alcohol-related crashes and deaths
fer a less bureaucratically cumber- beverages at the Gwinnett Braves after Sunday sales. Perdue wrote:
some method. stadium. As for the details of HB “The Republican principle of indi-
Two of the current bills in the 104, it has been suggested by some vidual freedom is just as important
Senate and House would give lo- that there might exist the possibil- to me as it is to my colleagues in
cal governments the option to ask ity for unintended consequences. the legislature, but so is the prin-
It is my hope that the Legislature Please turn to BOOZE, page 14
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 14
BOOZE, from page 13 is uncertain because no one knows against Sunday sales in general.
ciple of protecting innocent Geor- which locales would vote for it. He said he’d kill HB 104 himself if
gians. If you have ever comforted He points to growing support, it’s tied to general Sunday sales. “I
the parents or grandparents of a including what he described as a think we’ve seen over the last 30 or
young person lost in a DUI crash, very similar proposal in HB 138 40 years our conservative, tradi-
then you know that the cost of this sponsored by Rep. Roger Williams tional values vanish in our coun-
proposal is too great and the dam- (R-Dalton). try. Our culture has taken many
age it stands to inflict is too heavy Williams agrees the Sunday hits. Any reminder we have of our
a burden for innocent families to sales “is an issue the majority of Judeo-Christian tradition is a posi-
bear.” the citizens of George would like to tive thing,” he said.
That was last year. vote on.” Asked what would halt propo-
One of the legislators leading The haze of past legislative nents of Sunday sales of alcohol
the charge then and continuing battles is apparent in his measure, from attaching his bill to theirs,
the fight now is Sen. Seth Harp HB 138. First, the supposedly Cox replied, “Nothing.”
(R-Midland). Harp, a Methodist separate Gwinnett stadium pro- So look for the Legislature again
and regular churchgoer, offers a posal remained in the new bill as to serve up debate on Sunday sales.
proverb-like story as his reason for of Wednesday. Williams, who at After that, who knows?
sponsoring SB 16. first said he thought it had been It looks like Sunday baseball
After church one Sunday, he removed, was very thankful for the fans in Gwinnett County will have
recounts, he stood in the line at a tip that part remained, and prom- beer with their hot dogs in April
Publix where the visiting family of ised to take it out. Besides, he said, one way or the other as do Braves
a soldier who’d just completed ba- the stadium issue is addressed in fans at Rome and Atlanta stadi-
sic training was told they couldn’t HB 104 by Cox. ums.
buy beer for an impromptu engage- Indeed the Cox bill does seem a The governor is likely to stay
ment party for the private and his cleaner solution for having beer at true to his principles rather than
bride-to-be. Harp knew by Monday Gwinnett Braves Sunday baseball swallow an all-out Sunday sales
or Tuesday, the young man would games than making the stadium proposal in the hopes of more
be off to his assignment and the a Regional Economic Assistance revenue for the state from this
celebratory moment lost. Project – a program which is “sin tax.” It’s interesting to note
“Here is some family whose son aimed at helping local and state he and many other Sunday booze
is going to make a huge sacrifice governments and the private sector opponents have not turned down
and serve the county that wants to cooperate on large-scale tourism- gambling cash from the Lottery,
have a small celebration and our related projects with multiple uses which recently reported an uptick
archaic laws don’t allow it,” the that will create jobs and boost the in revenues during the recession.
senator recalls, explaining why he tax base. Perdue and like-minded legisla-
took on the cause of Sunday alco- David O’Kelley, Gwinnett Coun- tors are right that alcohol can be
hol sales. “I’ve been pushing that ty manager of license and revenue, a destroyer of lives – but nearly
stone up the hill ever since.” explains the county has started the every other state has chosen to
While the battle against Sun- somewhat cumbersome process of live with that sad fact every day,
day booze is often portrayed as a becoming a REAP, but it prefers including Sunday. Perhaps his
Bible-belt issue, Harp says he’s had HB 104. “It makes it a lot more successor will have to deal with the
only two people in his district dis- clean for us.” issue if he and legislators block the
agree with his stance on religious Even if somehow REAP didn’t measure again.
grounds. “The people in my church happen and HB 104 got tied up At any rate, whether next year
have said ‘keep it up’,” he said. He in the Legislature, the Gwinnett or in coming years Georgia citizens
points out Sunday sales in the bill stadium would probably still be someday will vote on a local basis
is a totally optional, based on a lo- able to sell beer at games in April. whether they should be allowed
cal vote. Dry areas could choose to That’s because its food and beer to buy some spirits on Sunday at
remain dry. vendor expects more than half of places other than ballparks and
The major problem facing the sales to be in food, which is the cri- restaurants. And what could be
bill? “I think the governor is the teria restaurants meet for Sunday more democratic – or Republican
problem.” alcohol sales. – in principle?
Harp points to the state’s $2 O’Kelley said that’s why beer
billion-ish budget shortfall and could be sold on Sunday at the
believes the Sunday sales of alcohol Gwinnett Arena for hockey and K. Patrick Jensen is a former
could help fill part of the financial arena football. editor at The Atlanta Journal-
hole, although estimates of how Cox says he’s for beer and base- Constitution who writes about faith
much Sunday alcohol could raise ball at the Gwinnett stadium, but and suburban issues. [full bio]
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 15
February 28, 2009 ta), along with the entire North Questioning of Georgia Power's
Fulton delegation, voted for the intentions caused Rep. Ed Setzler
measure. “The bill will save the (R-Acworth) to rise in defense of
House Passes Georgia taxpayers of Georgia money in the the utility as a company that sup-
Power’s Nuclear long run by not having to fund this ports communities. He pointed out
Funding Plan through unpredictable credit mar- the average shareholder is more
kets,” Martin said. He surmised than 63 years old and the teacher
that much of the measure’s opposi- retirement system is a major inves-
tion was coming from those who tor. Setzler decried what he called
By K. Patrick Jensen / SPECIAL are against nuclear power, regard- “class warfare” in attacking the bill.
less of the funding mechanism. “This bill is a rising tide that lifts
After three hours of contentious “In this economy we need to be all ships,” he said.
and spirited debate, the Georgia planning for cheaper and cleaner House Minority Leader DuBose
House approved by a 107-66 vote sources of energy and this is a good Porter (D-Dublin) questioned
on Wednesday a measure that will start,” Martin added. having citizens prepay costs dur-
result in rate hikes for most Geor- House Majority Whip Jan Jones ing bad economic times and said
gia Power customers to fund future (R-Milton) said she spent numer- the utility isn't the issue. “Georgia
nuclear power plants. ous hours looking into specific Power is good for Georgia but this
The bill, already approved by the concerns expressed by constitu- bill is not,” he said.
Senate, goes to Gov. Sonny Perdue ents and claims made by interest Rep. Hardie Davis (D-Grace-
for signature. groups, blogs, editorial writers and wood) said the bill was not a parti-
The measure would allow Geor- Georgia Power. “I independently san issue and his constituents near
gia Power to start charging “rate- concluded the legislation rep- Augusta support the bill not only
payers” – which opponents said resents sound, incremental en- for the financing but for the jobs
are mostly households and small ergy policy to assure our state can the project will bring.
businesses – a surcharge to pay fi- continue to secure low cost, clean Nuclear power is essential to
nancing charges on construction of energy for its citizens,” said Jones. help the nation be energy depen-
two new nuclear reactors planned But many legislators disagreed dent, he said. “Nuclear alone won't
at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. with taking the financing control get us there, but I guarantee we
Collection would start in 2011, away from the PSC not just for won't get there without it,” he said.
but the reactors wouldn't go online this project but future nuclear Jones concurred. “The hyperbole
until 2016. Usually Georgia Power construction. The argued the PSC associated with SB 31 would have
can only recoup plant construction could be more flexible to changing been more appropriately placed
costs when plants come online, financial times. with the real threat to power bills
according to precedents governed Instead, they argued, stock- rising by at least 25 percent be-
by its regulator for ratepayers, the holders and big commercial users cause of new federal regulations
Public Service Commission. The would benefit more from the action for renewable energy generation.
hike is calculated to start at $1.30 than homeowners and small busi- Georgia does not have the climate
per month on an average family in nesses because of the way the act is or terrain to produce sufficient
2011, growing to $9.30 by 2017. worded. They also questioned why wind- and solar-originated electric-
Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans) told the measure was being considered ity to replace our dependence on
legislators the measure would save relatively early in the legislative fossil fuels. We will move aggres-
constituents $300 million by pay- year when other House bills had sively on nuclear energy, though,
ing less interest over the life of the not been decided. and SB 31 is a part of that plan.”
multi-billion dollar project. “It's a Georgia Power has confirmed
good way to pay for nuclear en- that about two-thirds of the $1.6 John Fredericks contributed to this
ergy,” he said. billion that would be raised will story.
Harbin emphasized the measure be passed on to shareholders as
is just concerning funding while profits.
actual approval for construction Rep. Brian Thomas (D-Lilburn)
would be decided by the federal summarized the opposition by not-
government and the Public Service ing the bill “removes flexibility over
Commission. He said the action financing if conditions change.”
would help get better interest rates Some pointed toward Georgia
since the measure would be writ- Power's massive lobbying effort for
ten into law instead of a decision the bill. “The last great Georgia su-
by the PSC, which could change its perpower has an army of lobbyists
mind. and has nearly taken the capital,”
Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharet- Thomas mused.
Kris Patrick Jensen Writing Samples/Page 16
Monday, February 9, 2009 prostituted. off the street and rehabbing them.
"This legislation will protect And it's a very expensive proposi-
Legislators prep bills innocent children and teens from tion."
abuse and provide the resources Unterman views childhood pros-
to tackle Georgia's sex necessary to combat these crimes titution as part of a larger issue
trade 'underworld' much more effectively," she said. of young girls being pressured by
The legislation will "create a society and peers to act and dress
By K. Patrick Jensen coordinated, state-wide campaign older. "My stance is they deserve
Georgia Online News Service that will raise awareness and their innocence," she said. "That
stop the prostitution of children to me promotes the sex industry.
State Sen. Renee Unterman in Georgia," she said. Little girls are no longer little girls
began a long, eye-opening journey The legislation includes: anymore."
when she became interested in the • Amending the child-abuse report- Senate Bills 69 and 74 have been
issue of child prostitution. ing law to require mandatory re- referred to the Senate Judiciary
"I started three years ago to porting of all commercial-sexually committee while Senate Bill 91 has
work on it and it's taken that long exploited minors as child sexual been assigned to the Senate Fi-
to get senators to talk about it. It's abuse through Senate Bill 69. Cur- nance committee.
very difficult to get senators to talk rent law only mandates a report
about sex and sex trafficking" that of sexual abuse if by a parent or
involves girls some 12 years of age, caretaker, but the study committee INTERNET, from page 11
the Buford Republican notes. found that many adolescent girls
"It's the underworld you don't some let you choose. All can give
are solicited by non-family mem- advice.
want to think about existing. It's bers.
not rich or poor, Democratic or Re- Most of the new software al-
• Raising the minimum age re- lows click-and-point graphical
publican. It's kids who come from quirement of exotic dancers from
all segments of our society and a interface. That mea ns you don't
18 to 21 with Senate Bill 74, which have to learn the difficult Unix
lot of them get dumped here in also requires that any other em-
Atlanta. But places like Columbus language.
ployees in adult entertainment Once you get software, you also
and Savannah have the problem, facilities, such as waitresses, be
too," Unterman said. have to load it in your computer
21 as well. Unterman explained and connect to the Net. This
Legislators are talking now and the legislation as important since
preparing to act on a package of can be difficult, but is getting
sometimes girls using false IDs are smoother every day, at least ac-
three bills designed to help stem hired as waitresses and later are
the tide of filth that robs girls and cording to providers.
enticed to strip, with some earning Q: How much does it cost?
boys of innocence. $100,000 a year. The strip clubs
Unterman, who co-chaired the A: To sign up with one of the on-
also become a draw for prostitu- line services, get e-mail and other
joint Commission on Sexual Ex- tion.
ploitation of Minors last summer, limited access, costs $10-$30 a
• Charging a $5 entry fee for month. It can cost much more if
is sponsoring two of three bills patrons at adult entertainment
designed to create a no-tolerance you're on line a lot.
businesses and venues. Sen. Jack You can also go through a provid-
zone in Georgia for prostitution of Murphy (R-Cumming) has intro-
kids. er and spend $20-$30 a month
duced what some have called a or more for unlim ited access, or
Atlanta is one of 14 cities in the "pole tax" with revenue going to
nation with the highest incidents of less for e-mail or limited services.
fund services for children who have You also have to pay a set-up fee.
child exploitation. She said Atlanta been prostituted. The fee is not a
has a reputation for sexual tour- Call local providers for costs.
tax since its revenues go directly Q: Should I go directly to the
ism. to the Crime Victims Emergency
The commission found an esti- Internet or ease into it through
Fund rather than the state general on-line services?
mated 200-300 girls are sexually fund, advocates say.
exploited monthly in the state with A: Experts are divided on this
• Unterman said the fee is a way to one. Family PC, for example, in
as many as 129 girls being prosti- make the adult entertainment in-
tuted on a typical weekend night. its November/December issue
dustry pay for legal and health ex- suggests starting out on an on-
Twelve to 14 is the average age of penses caused by prostituted young
entry into pornography and prosti- line service to get a taste of In-
people, much of which is now paid ternet services before taking the
tution in the nation. for by taxpayers. "My contention is
The commission, which heard full plunge. Others say it's just as
society is paying for this with tax easy to start out on the Net if you
from experts all around the nation, dollars. We're already taking kids
also found pre-adolescent boys are have the time to learn it.