Several BLOGS ago I said something to the effect that subpoenas might be orbiting like flying biscuits. As I sensed, these frisbee biscuits have flown and according to Flannery O’Connor what goes up must come down. Any guesses as to where these subpoenas came down, so far? Three landed at City Hall. Two in the Department of Grants Management and one in the Department of Water Mismanagement. This second department is headed by the indomitable Rachet Rob “I’ll turn your water off” Hunter.

Speaking of water did you read in the faithful AJC that Atlanta City Council paid the national accounting firm (KPMG) to audit Hunter’s water department. Did the audit find anything? Only that the City of Atlanta owes $140,000,000 in unpaid water bills. Correction: that might not be for water alone. Seems to have been in connection with a trust fund or something. One thing is for sure: if it’s under Shirley’s watch you can rest assured it’s on the up and up. And if Rachet Rob is watching, all’s well. $140,000,000??? I do wonder if Dave “Great news!” Wardell at Central Atlanta Progress is shouting “Great news!” at that news. What will come of all this? Probably the usual; nothing! I can tell you what will not come of it. Water at our cherished City Hall will not be turned off. Where oh where is Rachet Rob when you need him?

On that word SUBPOENA!! Let me see. I have never known its etymology. Sub, sub, sub! I believe that means “under.” Poena, poena, poena! Let me get back to my Latin. I checked with St, Nicholas at the North Pole, and he said he saw some frisbee biscuits orbiting downtown in the area of The Hurt Building.

James Wilson Beaty, PhD
Jeremiah 22.16

AS I LAY DYING

August 20, 2009

William Falkner’s novel, AS I LAY DYING, gets its title from Book 11 of the ODYSSEY when Agamemnon tells of his murder by Aegisthus along with his wife, Clytemnestra. Odysseus is visiting Agamemnon in hell. Agamemnon explains to his old associate, Odysseus, that as he lay dying the “dog-eyed woman” would not even close his two eyes. This of course refers to the fact that none of the decent burial rites was afforded Agamemnon by his wife. The Atlanta world of power sees the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, Inc. as a dying thing. It lies at the point of death. And as a part of that death, I wonder who might come to close its two eyes? Who will come from “the powers in the towers” or from “the golden mile” from the state house northward to honorably bury the dead? Will a member of the the corporate community come to bury the dead honorably? Perhaps a few. Will the priests and clergy and rabbis along the golden mile come with condolences? A few will. Will elected politicians bring flowers? Three will! Will the dog-eyed woman be there to shed a tear? No, for sure.

Anyone, who, along with the downtown dunces, believes the Task Force is dying should research the Phoenix and the history of King Hezekiah’s health.

James Wilson Beaty, PhD
Jeremiah 22.16

Outside the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, I know of no statement exposing social injustices more powerful than Shakespeare’s Sonnet 66. He gave the world 154 sonnets, give or take a few, that some scholars believe might have been written by somebody else. Like the 150 Psalms of David, a few may have been set down by a second writer. I don’t care. For our purposes authorship is secondary; content is primary.

Sonnet 66 is unique for several reasons. First, ten of its lines begin with the coordinate conjunction, “And.” Ten lines beginning with the same word displays a regularity not to be found elsewhere in the remaining sonnets. I have not seen this regularity anywhere else in good writing. Shakespeare has a reason for his unvarying rhythm. He is creating a regularity that matches the monotony of the world’s injustice. And that monotony has its own dismal pattern of relentless repetition. A second unique feature of Sonnet 66 is its abandoning the three quatrains and rhyming couplet. Each of the “stanzas” forms a mini-poem while the couplet serves as a commentary on the fourteen lines. Not Sonnet 66.

For our accessibility and enjoyment I want to put the 14-line poem in front of us:

Sonnet 66
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry:
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,
And purist faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honor shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captain good attending captain ill.
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that to die I leave my love alone.

Line 1 tells that the poet cries for death because he is exhausted by the injustices he’s about to list. Lines 13 and 14 which close the sonnet repeat that his devastated state remains, and his desire to be gone from “these” remains. However, his only grip on constancy is his faithfully loving those around him. He cannot leave them alone.

A litany of evil smudges the page from line 2 through line 12. A parade of victims and victimizers file before the eyes of the narrator. The first seven lines form a lament while the last five lines name the victims and their victimizers. Each of the five lines is an J’accuse.

Throughout the sonnet the single line does what the four-line quatrain usually does. It makes a complete statement. For instance the second line notes that a worthwhile person is born to be a beggar while line 3 finds a worthless nothing, unjustly raised up and dressed in jollity, in a merry mood. Line 3 reminds me of the fop, prominent in Eighteenth Century English literature. The fop is the vain, overdressed dandy unaware that he hopes to be avoided by everyone in every room that he enters. “Oh no, look who just arrived.” He’s the one who has just been promoted over three others more qualified than he. Line two brings to mind Bobby Kennedy’s proclaiming that every baby born of woman in any one of the United States of America has an engagement ring on its tiny finger. And that ring is a promise of citizenship that carries with it the full protection of the Constitution. That promise is the guarantee as an American to the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Shakespeare’s second line “As to behold desert a beggar born” deplores that in his world that right had not been granted.

Lines 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 move from lament to J’accuse. Each of these lines accuses a perpetrator. And each of these lines exposes a mover and a shaker acting CUI BONO, for whose benefit? for what use? of what good? Each victimizer has made a victim for fear of being removed, replaced. Shakespeare, the master of words hates most miscalling, misnaming. Secondly, he hates the pretense of learning, the novice pretending to be an expert. Look with me if we dare at the five victimizers.

Line 8 reads, “And strength by limping sway disabled.” “Limping sway” is defective authority; any citizen in Atlanta ever heard of “defective authority”? I remember some years ago the Task Force leadership was at City Hall pleading for something. We were actually casting our pearls before swine. Robert S. Cramer, Jr., Chair of the Board, said to Mayor Bill Campbell, “Mr. Mayor, we own a huge building on Peachtree Street; we believe we have rights.” Campbell’s response in front of 12 people was, “Bob, you have rights; we have enforcement.” In 1995 the Task Force had the strength to apply for and to obtain $12.4 million that was dispersed among shelters throughout the greater Atlanta area. Campbell held a copy of the check for the media lying that the city had applied for and had gotten the $12.4 million. A shelter provider in my hearing said last month that the Task Force’s dispersement of that money was the only time that the accounting was fair. The Task Force since 1995 has been “disabled” constantly, unremittingly since 1995. Debbie Starnes came alive following the Super NOFA federal grant in 1995; the present Czar was on City Council. She saw then that federal bucks were to be had. The calculating Starnes as member of the City Council had her work cut out for her. Starnes, like Bruce Gunter, that safe point of light, is always close to the money. The “sway” in Shakespeare’s sonnet is that unsteady authority that pulverizes threatening strength. J’accuse Debi Starnes; J’accuse defective authority mirrored in the likes of Bill Campbell. J’accuse Shirley Franklin. J’accuse them in the names of 600 men at the Pine who will soon be on the streets of Atlanta fulfilling the wishes of defective authority.

Line 9 reads: “And art made tongue-tied by authority.” The City of Atlanta has never, not one time, not now, not ever addressed the homeless population. Pages of discovery (evidence) showing that Central Atlanta Progress, the City of Atlanta and the sad Atlanta Journal-Constitution have for years plotted to overthrow Anita Beaty and the shelter at Peachtree-Pine. I’m under lock and key not to BLOG what I know and who I know e-mailed whom in order to block funding, coaching reporters, asking about lenders, speaking with mega-million bucks donars, etc., etc. In a few days when all the court stuff is on record, I can post and, honey, I will. But for now, “Art” for Shakespeare meant articulation, oration, expression and truth telling. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has lied incessantly. It is Debi Starnes’ newsletter slandering the Task Force. Reporters for the local newspaper are coached by the brass at Central Atlanta Progress on which “spin” to take. And all the while those of us who know the truth are “tongue-tied” without the resources to pay the water bills because the creditor to whom we owe the water bill has illegally (tortious interference) stopped our funding. J’accuse Central Atlanta Progress. J’accuse Deborah “the whole truth” Cook. J’accuse Debi Starnes. J’accuse David “Great News” “Wake up Atlanta” Wardell. And I accuse these leaders of our city in the names of the hundreds of homeless men whose hands I shake all the time.

Line 10 reads, “And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill.” Remember Shakespeare despised almost as much as lying with the language, miscalling with the inaccurate words. Some years ago I was an honorable member of the Atlanta Kiwanis Club. I loved my time there, and those good folks let me speak once, with some trepidation I might add, theirs and mine. Before I left (the Task Force nor I could pay the dues), Horace Sibley, Esquire, was the quest speaker. He was invited to speak because he was then (and now I think) the Chair of Mayor Franklin’s newly appointed Commission on Homelessness. Among other things this retired attorney said that the commission which he chaired would end homelessness in Atlanta in ten years. Sibley mosied around Peachtree-Pine for ten months taking notes while his lovely daughter painted dozens of homeless people in our little art studio. “And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill” portrays Horace Sibley talking about ending homelessness. I’m sure he’s a brilliant lawyer, but he knows as much about ending homelessness as a rabbit knows about teaching Sunday School. J’accuse Hosby in the names of the 600 men who languish tonight at the Pine wondering where Team Goliath will stab us next,

Line 11 reads: “And simple truth miscalled simplicity.” The first century Christians were first called Chrestians, or simpletons. Brilliant Atlanta attorneys will soon show the Superior Court of Fulton County that the Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, Inc. has methodically, regularly and unremittingly been depicted by the local paper, agents of city hall and the wise Central Atlanta Progress to be at best simpletons who harm rather than help homeless people. Misnaming! Why this lie? Let me count the ways. One answer is enough! LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! Bruce “safe point of light” Gunter sidled up to Anita Beaty years ago in order to deliver the building to developers. He couldn’t deliver; he’s been an enemy ever since. No money; no Bruce. The Task Force has told the truth about homeless people since its inception. Truth speaking to power rarely wins. J’accuse Debi Starnes for telling people not to buy the Pine because it would soon be foreclosed. J’accuse the local paper for consistently reporting lies about Peachtree-Pine from lice infestation to human squalor. J’accuse them in the names of the twenty men thriving in transition at the Pine.

Line 12 reads: “And Captain Good attending Captive Ill.” When Bob Cramer graciously asked Mayor Campbell for relief, we all went there trusting that ILL would help. After Andy Young and Maynard Jackson, the Task Force has approached city hall only with hat in hand. In fact, the only times we’ve seen Shirley Franklin was when she drove by the Peachtree-Pine facility, slowly, taking notes. I think Hosby did that for her (that’s Horace Sibley). One of our staff members named him “Hosby” because we love him so much. He’s our friend. And he bats cleanup on Team Goliath.

The Pretrial hearing in the Superior Court of Fulton County is set for September 21, 2009. I can’t tell you yet what I know. I yearn to talk about subpoenas and motions and possible sanctions and 4000 pages of stuff and city attorneys and other Keystone Cops stuff like that. I asked a knowledgeable person how in blazes could the city have 4000 pages that mentioned the poor little David, the ruined Task Force. One smarter than I asked me, “How long did you say Debi Starnes has been running her mouth?” Speaking of “dismal pattern of relentless repetition.” Incidentally those 4000 pages are now in the hands of Task Force lawyers, along with subpoenaed e-mails from Central Atlanta Progress. I’m permitted to write that. As the Reverend Joseph Lowry has said, “And the beat goes on.” Stay tuned my little ones. The fat lady has not yet begun to sing. Watch for “Does A Worm Squirm?”

James Wilson Beaty, PhD
Jeremiah 22.16

Days Not So Good

August 13, 2009

Whenever a bad day comes and Rachet Rob “I’ll turn your water off” Hunter strikes again,remember the great have difficult days too. Ezra Pound wrote of his poetry:

Come, my songs, let us express our baser passion,
Let us express our envy of the man with a steady job
and no worry about the future.
You are very idle, my songs.
I fear you will come to a bad end.
You stand about on the streets,
You loiter at the corners and bus-stops.
You do next to nothing at all…
Insolent little beasts, shameless, devoid of clothing!…

Samuel “Dictionary” Johnson served from November 1740 to February 1742 as a reporter of the debates in Parliament. The reports were sold on the streets by publishers like Johnson’s friend Edward Cave. The name of Cave’s leaflets was THE SENATE OF LILLIPUT. Using Jonathan Swift’s LILLIPUT alerted the literate that satire lay ahead. Note takers attended the debates and conveyed their findings to Johnson who in turn, out of his imaginings, composed the speeches.

Guests at a Francis Foote dinner party heard their host marvel at the brilliance of a William Pitt speech. Foote allowed that the speech was the best he had ever heard and superior to anything in Demosthenes. Johnson, a dinner guest, said, “Sir, I wrote that speech in a garret in Exeter Street.” The group applauded Johnson’s eloquence and impartiality. On the impartiality Johnson confessed, “That is not quite true; I saved appearances tolerably well, but I took care that the Whig dogs should not have the best of it.”

I explain to my students and to my children that I read Johnson unabashedly and devotionally. Moral: sometimes the “dogs” do not have the best of it.

James Wilson Beaty, PhD
Jeremiah 22.16

Does Czar Debi Starnes work for United Way of Metro Atlanta? Does the Czar of homelessness work for the City of Atlanta? Does Debi Does Atlanta work for those good folks who gave us “the sanitized zone,” “the vagrant free zone,” “the tourist triangle”? Does she work for Central Atlanta progress? Did she illegally withhold a certification that could have funded more than $165,000 to help homeless people? Some expert legal minds think so.

On August 5 attorneys filed a PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR CONTEMPT with the Fulton County Superior Court. The motion alleges that city officials as early as March began thwarting the funding process. A long time City Hall employee refused to return phone calls and e-mails. One comment that she made to Task Force employee Keely Harris; “We have not decided what we are going to do with the Task Force.” That was March. After the Task Force applied for funding, the certification from the city’s own Office of Grants Management went to somebody in City Hall. It sat there until it was too late to be approved. But just in case, Debi Starnes covered the certification approval with a letter from Greg Pridgeon, another assistant to Mayor Franklin, saying to the State’s Department of Community Affairs that the city could not approve funding for the Task Force. Note that this MOTION FOR CONTEMPT comes four days after the ten counts of illegal actions by the city in the FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT listing 7 counts of illegalities. Note also that this hiding of an approved certification comes after Judge Bedford’s order in December of 2008 for the city NOT to interfere with Task Force funding.

The “hiding” place could have been somebody’s desk. Determining whether it was Debi’s desk may be a chore. Is her desk at United Way? Is her desk at Central Atlanta Progress? Is her desk at city hall? Who pays that Czar anyway?

In response to my “Comes now…” posted on August 2, zzack777@hotmail.com wrote a 210 word diatribe blasting among other things the Task Force bonuses, six-figure salaries, retirement packages, etc. That enlightenment forces me to share even greater light that he sheds. Reminds me of holy writ, Central Atlanta Progress’s life verse, Daniel 12.3, “And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” I quote the shining zzack: “I for one congratulate the City of Atlanta for finally waking up to the questionable practices of the “hell hole” known as Peachtree Pine and bring an end to the human squalor needlessly suffered by people who are brainwashed into believing that is all they’ll ever be.”

His verbage “hell hole” and “human squalor” can be filed along with “bonuses” and “six-figure salaries,” “retirement packages” and other such drivel. The “brainwashed into believing” give the opportunity to state some of the things that the staff of the Task Force really does. These dedicated people live by the philosophy of the little boy who daily rescued sanddollars at low tide. He knew that if these living creatures were out of water until the next high tide, they would die. So he tossed as many as he could back into the ocean. An enlightened gentleman watched the process and told the young lad, “Buddy, there’s millions of those sanddollars; you can’t possibly make a difference. The lad smiled as he tossed yet another into the water. He said, “It makes a difference to this one.”

When I read “brainwashed into believing that is all they’ll ever be” I recall dozens of human beings who have “come through” Peachtree Pine and today are homeless no more but are thriving, productive citizens.

I think of Steve Merritt who lived in the lovely transitional housing at the Pine for two years. While there he worked all the time and saved his money. A team of volunteer lawyers from Baker Donelson (zack’s habeas corpus jockeys) assisted Steve enabling him to buy his own home for the first time. Steve had struggled with cocaine for 18 years when he came to Peachtree Pine.

I think of Helen who stopped me recently in the Publix lot on Ponce and said, “Mr. Beaty, do you remember me?” I didn’t. Helen was carrying two bags of groceries to her apartment across the street. She thanked me for the three weeks she and her two little girls had spent nights at the Pine in our waiting area. The Task Force Housing Coordinator, Hepsy James, was able to place Helen and her two children into their two bedroom apartment at Briarcliff Towers. They have lived there ten months.

I think of the little family of three, father, mother and eight year old dancing on the sidewalk at the Pine door near Courtland. Great friend B Wardlaw came upon them and ask why such celebration? The little girl help up a key and explained that they were headed to their new apartment. “And I’ll have my own room too.” Telling me the story B said, “And that makes all this worth while.”

I think of Harry Reams who lived in the parking lot across from the Pine for six months. One morning he followed a Task Force employee (one of zzack’s six-figure people) into the building. He did not go to treatment but worked steadily for a month with no pay. He never left and is now drug free, employed at the Task Force, and lives with his lovely wife, restored.

I think of Troy Harris who came in off the streets and within his first year enrolled in a computer training enabled by Cascade United Methodist Church. Troy today is the most competent computer person on board and lives happily with his wife and two children.

None of the people mentioned aboved succumbed to the brainwashing that makes them believe that is all they’ll ever be. With a little support and assistance and much love from that band of misfits now thrive.

I mentioned Hepsy James. Her latest housing report, given to me on Monday, August 3, blew me away. As you know these are the darkest times in the life of the Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. Many like zzack rejoice that Hepsy James has not been paid for three months. Those folks like Dave Wardell at CAP say “Great news!” when the water is turned off at Peachtree Pine. The other side of that sick coin is that there exit human beings like Hepsy who single-handedly since January 1, 2009, has faithfully housed people from Peachtree Pine. Please look at the numbers. She has placed 225 human beings into housing. That does not make a difference when we look at the big picture. But you know, it makes quite a difference to those who are homeless no more.

James Wilson Beaty, PhD
Jeremiah 22.16