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Middle Georgia Makes National Transgender News, Raising Questions About Gender Segregation, Sex, and Assault in Prison

By Dave Oedel

Ashley Diamond has been visiting Middle Georgia from north Georgia’s city of Rome, where Diamond grew up. But Diamond has not been visiting our region’s tourist sites, and Diamond’s visit is not voluntary. Diamond was incarcerated for burglary in Middle Georgia’s medium-security Baldwin State Prison in Hardwick, near Milledgeville, before recently being transferred to the maximum-security Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.

Diamond is suing the state of Georgia in relation to the conditions of Diamond’s confinement. As a female-presenting “transgender” individual with male genitalia, Diamond was incarcerated with men, and then allegedly raped seven times in prison by male inmates. Treated as a male, Diamond’s long, flowing hair was shorn upon entry into the prison system, Diamond’s female clothing was taken away, and Diamond was denied a continuation of hormones that Diamond had been taking before incarceration.

Anatomically male by birth, … Continue Reading

Three Georgia Senators Poised to Weigh in on Iran “Deal”

From Macon Monitor Staff Reports:

On April 2, 2015, the Obama administration with other national administrations from China, Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany tentatively agreed upon a framework for an agreement with Iran, to be finalized by June 30, 2015, concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Earlier, on March 9, 2015, alarmed about the trajectory of the administration’s negotiations with Iran and the Senate’s non-involvement in the negotiations, both of Georgia’s sitting senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, joined 45 other Republican senators in signing a letter drafted by freshman Senator Tom Cotton declaring the Senate’s constitutional right to be counted on anything considered to be a treaty.

Cotton’s letter was derided by many, including former Macon Mayor Jack Ellis in the Macon Monitor, as inappropriate interference with the administration’s delicate ongoing negotiations with Iran. Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, who was born in Macon and raised in Perry, also was skeptical about the propriety of the Cotton letter as being “a very significant departure from the norm of American foreign policy.”  Nunn is particularly prominent on questions of nuclear non-proliferation in his role co-chairing the Nuclear Threat Initiative with Ted Turner, himself also formerly of Macon. … Continue Reading

Opinion: One Middle Georgian’s Gun-Gripping, God-Loving, Bee-Keeping Perspective on Iranian Nukes

By Dave Oedel

President Barack Obama undoubtedly won’t be listening to god-loving, gun-gripping, border-conscious, bee-keeping Middle Georgians for advice on what to do about Iranian nukes.  After all, the president hasn’t bothered to visit us clingers in Middle Georgia, whether as a candidate or as president. Too bad for him, and our nation.

You may recall seven years ago this month when candidate Obama said that people in job-hungry small towns in middle America “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Although President Obama was condescending in his comments, he wasn’t too far off the mark in some ways. Unfortunately, the president after seven years still doesn’t seem to understand the perspectives that he sensed are out here beyond the Beltway.

Let’s start with God. When Americans “cling” to God in the political context, it means … Continue Reading

Opinion: Why Georgia’s Cautious Approach to Marijuana Legalization Makes Sense

By Dave Oedel

Georgia’s legislators have gotten some heat from advocates for marijuana legalization for not having gone farther than the nine categories of ailments for which an oil distillate of marijuana will now become legal in Georgia. Allen Peake, a Macon-Bibb delegate to Georgia’s General Assembly, led the effort to pass Haleigh’s Hope Act, H.B. 1, this session. Some commenters, though, have taken the legislators to task for not having done more.

The bizarre postures that some states find themselves in after rushing into relatively wholesale legalization of marijuana, however, suggest that Georgia was wise to take a relatively cautious approach.

Consider the case of … Continue Reading

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