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News - Are statewide sales tax holidays a legitimate bargain?

Yes. High taxes and big government form a vicious cycle that suppresses economic growth.

A two-day sales tax holiday won't rocket Georgia's economy into recovery, but it's a step in the right direction. It's also a conspicuous government acknowledgment that taxes drag down the economy. Every dollar taken in taxes is a dollar not spent or invested by individuals. Reducing private spending and investing puts a brake on economic activity, stifling growth and job creation.

When you tax something, you get less of it. Tax income, and you get less income. Tax investing, and you get less investing. Tax spending, and you get less spending. That's the basic economic truth driving Georgia's sales tax holiday. In overwhelmingly approving the measure, Peach State pols of all stripes agreed that shackling the taxman tends to free the economy.

I'll support any tax holiday, however brief and narrowly drawn. But if we really wanted to get the economy humming, we would slash taxes across the board. Permanently.

Today, taxes in America are at a record high, with government at all levels seizing 32 percent of our national income. The average family now pays more in taxes than for food, clothing, shelter and transportation — combined. High taxes and big government form a vicious cycle that suppresses economic growth. When high taxes swell revenues, government expands into new functions. When such functions become entrenched, they create an excuse for still higher taxes.

Here in Georgia, the boom of the 1990s gave Democrats a blank check toward expanding government. Over the last 10 years, state spending ballooned 86 percent. (Georgia's population, meanwhile, grew 26 percent.) Today, the boom is gone, but the hog-wild spending continues. House Democrats recently passed a supplemental budget with enough pork to build a barbecue sandwich visible from outer space. Democrats threw your money away on, among other things, "stress control" and "alternate life paths" programs for troubled youths. Price tag: $93,086.

If a fleeting little tax holiday is good for the economy, voters should ask their elected representatives at all levels why much larger tax breaks wouldn't be far better. In fact, if government's total share of national income were somehow reduced to 25 percent from the current level of 32 percent, it would unleash an economic boom of unprecedented size and duration.

Of course, all we're talking about now is suspending Georgia's sales tax for a couple of days. Even so, two days of starving the taxman are better than none.

If Luke Boggs had his way, every day would be a tax holiday.??



More By This Writer

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In the essential   struggle to defend America against terrorism and terror states, the Democratic Party has become the Appeasement Party. Even as evil wraiths plot in  distant caves to unleash on us unspeakable weapons, many Democrats have lost the nerve to defend our nation, our people and our way  of life.

Just one year after 9-11, Beltway Democrats are finding every excuse not to take out Saddam Hussein. With rare exception, they call for more negotiation and more proof of the danger. Like the pea-brained ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend the threat doesn't exist. Jimmy Carter wants President Bush to hold off until Saddam explodes a nuclear bomb. Carter's plan? Return fire when we see the white of their mushroom cloud.

The patron saint of modern appeasement, Carter last week expressed "concern" not about Saddam's bid to acquire weapons of mass  murder but Bush's eagerness to stop him. No surprise here. As president, Carter was more worried about America's "inordinate fear of communism" than the Soviet Union's vigorous spreading of it.

Sen. Tom Daschle, who beat the drums for attacking Iraq in 1998, has greeted Bush's drive to topple Saddam with petty partisanship and knee-jerk obstructionism. What Bush proposes, Daschle opposes, consequences be damned. Oblivious to the obvious, Daschle demands to know what has changed to require U.S. action now, as if he has missed every intelligence report on Iraq and every lesson of 9-11.

Then there's Al Gore. Last week, Gore claimed people overseas are now more worried about America than al-Qaeda. I think Gore is wrong. But if he isn't, shame on the brainless foreigners — not Bush.

Echoing Bill Clinton, Gore said Bush should finish off al-Qaeda before addressing Iraq, which might make sense if we controlled Saddam's timetable. In the real world, Hussein is no less dangerous because Osama bin Laden's fate is uncertain.

Meanwhile, maverick Democratic Sen. Zell Miller firmly supports Bush's drive to de-fang Iraq. Miller did, however, toss a bone to party bosses with a recent op-ed posing mostly pointless questions about things like Bush's plans for post-war Iraq.

Frankly, I'm far more concerned about how the appeasers in Miller's party plan to avoid a post-apocalyptic America. They have no answers, only objections.

While Miller supports Bush's move to take out Saddam now, Sen. Max Cleland is another story. Even as he has tried to link himself to Bush in a pair of deceptive campaign ads, Cleland doesn't support the president — not on the war and not on much else. Firmly in the appeasement camp, Cleland recently ripped Bush as a "Lone Ranger" and said the U.S. shouldn't "rush to judgment" on Iraq. Cleland nonetheless admitted he would probably vote to authorize the use of force against Hussien.

Cleland wants it both ways, appealing to  his liberal base by slamming Bush and then grudgingly going along with the president  due to widespread constituent pressure.  This is a pattern with Cleland, who voted 22 times to cut or delay Bush's tax cut before voting for final passage.

Cleland is a crafty politician. He knows he's more liberal than his constituents, and he likely won't rub their noses in it right before an  election. If the Senate votes on Iraq before Election Day, count on Cleland to vote for the war against his own inclinations. If, however, he manages to win re-election and score six more years before he must again face Georgia voters, expect him to return to obstructing Bush and counseling a policy of appeasement toward the likes of Saddam Hussein.

Georgia voters face a critical choice in this year's Senate race. We must decide if we want a vigorous national defense that takes the battle to the terrorists — or a sitting-duck strategy of waiting around for the next spectacular attack before doing anything.

Serious times demand serious leaders.

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com

For the record, Luke Boggs doubts Cleland's leadership, not his patriotism. ??


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__In the essential   __struggle to defend America against terrorism and terror states, the Democratic Party has become the Appeasement Party. Even as evil wraiths plot in  distant caves to unleash on us unspeakable weapons, many Democrats have lost the nerve to defend our nation, our people and our way  of life.

Just one year after 9-11, Beltway Democrats are finding every excuse not to take out Saddam Hussein. With rare exception, they call for more negotiation and more proof of the danger. Like the pea-brained ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend the threat doesn't exist. Jimmy Carter wants President Bush to hold off until Saddam explodes a nuclear bomb. Carter's plan? Return fire when we see the white of their mushroom cloud.

The patron saint of modern appeasement, Carter last week expressed "concern" not about Saddam's bid to acquire weapons of mass  murder but Bush's eagerness to stop him. No surprise here. As president, Carter was more worried about America's "inordinate fear of communism" than the Soviet Union's vigorous spreading of it.

Sen. Tom Daschle, who beat the drums for attacking Iraq in 1998, has greeted Bush's drive to topple Saddam with petty partisanship and knee-jerk obstructionism. What Bush proposes, Daschle opposes, consequences be damned. Oblivious to the obvious, Daschle demands to know what has changed to require U.S. action now, as if he has missed every intelligence report on Iraq and every lesson of 9-11.

Then there's Al Gore. Last week, Gore claimed people overseas are now more worried about America than al-Qaeda. I think Gore is wrong. But if he isn't, shame on the brainless foreigners -- not Bush.

Echoing Bill Clinton, Gore said Bush should finish off al-Qaeda before addressing Iraq, which might make sense if we controlled Saddam's timetable. In the real world, Hussein is no less dangerous because Osama bin Laden's fate is uncertain.

Meanwhile, maverick Democratic Sen. Zell Miller firmly supports Bush's drive to de-fang Iraq. Miller did, however, toss a bone to party bosses with a recent op-ed posing mostly pointless questions about things like Bush's plans for post-war Iraq.

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While Miller supports Bush's move to take out Saddam now, Sen. Max Cleland is another story. Even as he has tried to link himself to Bush in a pair of deceptive campaign ads, Cleland doesn't support the president -- not on the war and not on much else. Firmly in the appeasement camp, Cleland recently ripped Bush as a "Lone Ranger" and said the U.S. shouldn't "rush to judgment" on Iraq. Cleland nonetheless admitted he would probably vote to authorize the use of force against Hussien.

Cleland wants it both ways, appealing to  his liberal base by slamming Bush and then grudgingly going along with the president  due to widespread constituent pressure.  This is a pattern with Cleland, who voted 22 times to cut or delay Bush's tax cut before voting for final passage.

Cleland is a crafty politician. He knows he's more liberal than his constituents, and he likely won't rub their noses in it right before an  election. If the Senate votes on Iraq before Election Day, count on Cleland to vote for the war against his own inclinations. If, however, he manages to win re-election and score six more years before he must again face Georgia voters, expect him to return to obstructing Bush and counseling a policy of appeasement toward the likes of Saddam Hussein.

Georgia voters face a critical choice in this year's Senate race. We must decide if we want a vigorous national defense that takes the battle to the terrorists -- or a sitting-duck strategy of waiting around for the next spectacular attack before doing anything.

Serious times demand serious leaders.

[mailto:luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com|luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com]

''For the record, Luke Boggs doubts Cleland's leadership, not his patriotism. ''??


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  string(4275) "    Appeasement is no match against Saddam   2002-10-02T04:04:00+00:00 News - Serious leader or sitting duck?   Luke Boggs 1223535 2002-10-02T04:04:00+00:00  

In the essential   struggle to defend America against terrorism and terror states, the Democratic Party has become the Appeasement Party. Even as evil wraiths plot in  distant caves to unleash on us unspeakable weapons, many Democrats have lost the nerve to defend our nation, our people and our way  of life.

Just one year after 9-11, Beltway Democrats are finding every excuse not to take out Saddam Hussein. With rare exception, they call for more negotiation and more proof of the danger. Like the pea-brained ostrich, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend the threat doesn't exist. Jimmy Carter wants President Bush to hold off until Saddam explodes a nuclear bomb. Carter's plan? Return fire when we see the white of their mushroom cloud.

The patron saint of modern appeasement, Carter last week expressed "concern" not about Saddam's bid to acquire weapons of mass  murder but Bush's eagerness to stop him. No surprise here. As president, Carter was more worried about America's "inordinate fear of communism" than the Soviet Union's vigorous spreading of it.

Sen. Tom Daschle, who beat the drums for attacking Iraq in 1998, has greeted Bush's drive to topple Saddam with petty partisanship and knee-jerk obstructionism. What Bush proposes, Daschle opposes, consequences be damned. Oblivious to the obvious, Daschle demands to know what has changed to require U.S. action now, as if he has missed every intelligence report on Iraq and every lesson of 9-11.

Then there's Al Gore. Last week, Gore claimed people overseas are now more worried about America than al-Qaeda. I think Gore is wrong. But if he isn't, shame on the brainless foreigners — not Bush.

Echoing Bill Clinton, Gore said Bush should finish off al-Qaeda before addressing Iraq, which might make sense if we controlled Saddam's timetable. In the real world, Hussein is no less dangerous because Osama bin Laden's fate is uncertain.

Meanwhile, maverick Democratic Sen. Zell Miller firmly supports Bush's drive to de-fang Iraq. Miller did, however, toss a bone to party bosses with a recent op-ed posing mostly pointless questions about things like Bush's plans for post-war Iraq.

Frankly, I'm far more concerned about how the appeasers in Miller's party plan to avoid a post-apocalyptic America. They have no answers, only objections.

While Miller supports Bush's move to take out Saddam now, Sen. Max Cleland is another story. Even as he has tried to link himself to Bush in a pair of deceptive campaign ads, Cleland doesn't support the president — not on the war and not on much else. Firmly in the appeasement camp, Cleland recently ripped Bush as a "Lone Ranger" and said the U.S. shouldn't "rush to judgment" on Iraq. Cleland nonetheless admitted he would probably vote to authorize the use of force against Hussien.

Cleland wants it both ways, appealing to  his liberal base by slamming Bush and then grudgingly going along with the president  due to widespread constituent pressure.  This is a pattern with Cleland, who voted 22 times to cut or delay Bush's tax cut before voting for final passage.

Cleland is a crafty politician. He knows he's more liberal than his constituents, and he likely won't rub their noses in it right before an  election. If the Senate votes on Iraq before Election Day, count on Cleland to vote for the war against his own inclinations. If, however, he manages to win re-election and score six more years before he must again face Georgia voters, expect him to return to obstructing Bush and counseling a policy of appeasement toward the likes of Saddam Hussein.

Georgia voters face a critical choice in this year's Senate race. We must decide if we want a vigorous national defense that takes the battle to the terrorists — or a sitting-duck strategy of waiting around for the next spectacular attack before doing anything.

Serious times demand serious leaders.

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com

For the record, Luke Boggs doubts Cleland's leadership, not his patriotism. ??


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Article

Wednesday October 2, 2002 12:04 am EDT
Appeasement is no match against Saddam | more...
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  string(37) "Why motherhood and the U.N. don't mix"
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  string(4072) "Senate Democrats are trying to score  election-season political points pushing ratification of a radical United Nations treaty with a serious beef against motherhood. Crazy as it sounds, they just may succeed.
Democrat senators, led by Joe Biden and Barbara Boxer, are selling the treaty as a harmless common-sense women's rights measure when it is neither. In fact, the treaty is so extreme that it has been gathering dust in Washington since the Carter administration.Proponents note that the treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has been ratified by 170 nations. What treaty pushers don't say is that more than a few of those ratifying countries probably wish they hadn't. Policed in perpetuity by a kangaroo committee of U.N. busybodies, the treaty seeks an end not so much to unfair gender discrimination but to natural gender differences.The treaty's left-wing enforcers have declared war on stay-at-home moms, dismissing the noble calling of full-time motherhood as a backward social construct, nothing more. The U.N. pushes governments to get more moms into the workforce and more kids into day care. CEDAW meddlers have even railed against Mother's Day, warning Belarus that they are "concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as Mother's Day."Even as the U.N. decries motherhood, it salutes prostitution. CEDAW enforcers told China to legalize the oldest profession. In Germany, where prostitution is legal, the  committee complained that hookers don't "enjoy the protection of labor and social law." Oh, the horror!The globo-bureaucrats behind CEDAW are also pro-abortion absolutists, respecting neither national laws nor the individual consciences of doctors who would rather not rip apart babies in the womb. The U.N. warned Croatia that "the refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis of the conscientious objection of doctors is an infringement on women's reproductive rights."Don't trouble CEDAW enforcers with such antiquated notions as freedom of religion, either. The committee told Croatia it was concerned "that church-related organizations were adversely influencing the government's policies concerning women."It goes on and on. The CEDAW committee told Thailand to revise its textbooks "to reflect values of gender equality," instructed Ireland to count its female professors, complained that Peru wasn't providing enough contraceptives to "teenage girls," and even directed Libya to reinterpret the Koran on gender issues.As CEDAW shows, the U.N. has far outstripped the mandate of its charter. No longer content with its original peacekeeping mission, it's meddling more and more in the internal affairs of member states. Issues like education, housing and health care, however, should be subject to national sovereignty, not government by international committee.Why is CEDAW coming up for ratification now? The primary driver is politics. Democrats want to paint Republicans into an election-season corner, giving GOP senators the unwelcome choice of voting for a flawed and dangerous treaty or being slammed as an enemy of women's rights.Republicans can also thank President Bush. Earlier this year, his State Department upgraded CEDAW's status to one of low priority, but acceptable and recommended for approval. Now the Bush administration is divided, with some pointing out CEDAW's obvious problems and others arguing that Bush needs to find an international agreement he can support after raining on the parades of the International Criminal Court and the job-killing Kyoto climate treaty. The president needs to tell the American people just how radical CEDAW is. If he  doesn't, he will have only himself to blame  when Democrats pass off CEDAW as a harmless fuzzball.CEDAW was in ratification limbo for 22 years for good reason. It deserves to keep on collecting dust — unless (or until) Americans want to be lectured by foreign nitwits on the evils of Mother's Day. luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com"
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  string(4185) "__Senate Democrats __are trying to score  election-season political points pushing ratification of a radical United Nations treaty with a serious beef against motherhood. Crazy as it sounds, they just may succeed.
Democrat senators, led by Joe Biden and Barbara Boxer, are selling the treaty as a harmless common-sense women's rights measure when it is neither. In fact, the treaty is so extreme that it has been gathering dust in Washington since the Carter administration.%%%%%%Proponents note that the treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has been ratified by 170 nations. What treaty pushers don't say is that more than a few of those ratifying countries probably wish they hadn't. Policed in perpetuity by a kangaroo committee of U.N. busybodies, the treaty seeks an end not so much to unfair gender discrimination but to natural gender differences.%%%%%%The treaty's left-wing enforcers have declared war on stay-at-home moms, dismissing the noble calling of full-time motherhood as a backward social construct, nothing more. The U.N. pushes governments to get more moms into the workforce and more kids into day care. CEDAW meddlers have even railed against Mother's Day, warning Belarus that they are "concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as Mother's Day."%%%%%%Even as the U.N. decries motherhood, it salutes prostitution. CEDAW enforcers told China to legalize the oldest profession. In Germany, where prostitution is legal, the  committee complained that hookers don't "enjoy the protection of labor and social law." Oh, the horror!%%%%%%The globo-bureaucrats behind CEDAW are also pro-abortion absolutists, respecting neither national laws nor the individual consciences of doctors who would rather not rip apart babies in the womb. The U.N. warned Croatia that "the refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis of the conscientious objection of doctors [[is] an infringement on women's reproductive rights."%%%%%%Don't trouble CEDAW enforcers with such antiquated notions as freedom of religion, either. The committee told Croatia it was concerned "that church-related organizations [[were] adversely influencing the government's policies concerning women."%%%%%%It goes on and on. The CEDAW committee told Thailand to revise its textbooks "to reflect values of gender equality," instructed Ireland to count its female professors, complained that Peru wasn't providing enough contraceptives to "teenage girls," and even directed Libya to reinterpret the Koran on gender issues.%%%%%%As CEDAW shows, the U.N. has far outstripped the mandate of its charter. No longer content with its original peacekeeping mission, it's meddling more and more in the internal affairs of member states. Issues like education, housing and health care, however, should be subject to national sovereignty, not government by international committee.%%%%%%Why is CEDAW coming up for ratification now? The primary driver is politics. Democrats want to paint Republicans into an election-season corner, giving GOP senators the unwelcome choice of voting for a flawed and dangerous treaty or being slammed as an enemy of women's rights.%%%%%%Republicans can also thank President Bush. Earlier this year, his State Department upgraded CEDAW's status to one of low priority, but acceptable and recommended for approval. Now the Bush administration is divided, with some pointing out CEDAW's obvious problems and others arguing that Bush needs to find an international agreement he can support after raining on the parades of the International Criminal Court and the job-killing Kyoto climate treaty. The president needs to tell the American people just how radical CEDAW is. If he  doesn't, he will have only himself to blame  when Democrats pass off CEDAW as a harmless fuzzball.%%%%%%CEDAW was in ratification limbo for 22 years for good reason. It deserves to keep on collecting dust -- unless (or until) Americans want to be lectured by foreign nitwits on the evils of Mother's Day. ____[mailto:luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com|luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com]____"
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  string(4301) "    Why motherhood and the U.N. don't mix   2002-08-21T04:04:00+00:00 News - Domestic disturbance   Luke Boggs 1223535 2002-08-21T04:04:00+00:00  Senate Democrats are trying to score  election-season political points pushing ratification of a radical United Nations treaty with a serious beef against motherhood. Crazy as it sounds, they just may succeed.
Democrat senators, led by Joe Biden and Barbara Boxer, are selling the treaty as a harmless common-sense women's rights measure when it is neither. In fact, the treaty is so extreme that it has been gathering dust in Washington since the Carter administration.Proponents note that the treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has been ratified by 170 nations. What treaty pushers don't say is that more than a few of those ratifying countries probably wish they hadn't. Policed in perpetuity by a kangaroo committee of U.N. busybodies, the treaty seeks an end not so much to unfair gender discrimination but to natural gender differences.The treaty's left-wing enforcers have declared war on stay-at-home moms, dismissing the noble calling of full-time motherhood as a backward social construct, nothing more. The U.N. pushes governments to get more moms into the workforce and more kids into day care. CEDAW meddlers have even railed against Mother's Day, warning Belarus that they are "concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as Mother's Day."Even as the U.N. decries motherhood, it salutes prostitution. CEDAW enforcers told China to legalize the oldest profession. In Germany, where prostitution is legal, the  committee complained that hookers don't "enjoy the protection of labor and social law." Oh, the horror!The globo-bureaucrats behind CEDAW are also pro-abortion absolutists, respecting neither national laws nor the individual consciences of doctors who would rather not rip apart babies in the womb. The U.N. warned Croatia that "the refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis of the conscientious objection of doctors is an infringement on women's reproductive rights."Don't trouble CEDAW enforcers with such antiquated notions as freedom of religion, either. The committee told Croatia it was concerned "that church-related organizations were adversely influencing the government's policies concerning women."It goes on and on. The CEDAW committee told Thailand to revise its textbooks "to reflect values of gender equality," instructed Ireland to count its female professors, complained that Peru wasn't providing enough contraceptives to "teenage girls," and even directed Libya to reinterpret the Koran on gender issues.As CEDAW shows, the U.N. has far outstripped the mandate of its charter. No longer content with its original peacekeeping mission, it's meddling more and more in the internal affairs of member states. Issues like education, housing and health care, however, should be subject to national sovereignty, not government by international committee.Why is CEDAW coming up for ratification now? The primary driver is politics. Democrats want to paint Republicans into an election-season corner, giving GOP senators the unwelcome choice of voting for a flawed and dangerous treaty or being slammed as an enemy of women's rights.Republicans can also thank President Bush. Earlier this year, his State Department upgraded CEDAW's status to one of low priority, but acceptable and recommended for approval. Now the Bush administration is divided, with some pointing out CEDAW's obvious problems and others arguing that Bush needs to find an international agreement he can support after raining on the parades of the International Criminal Court and the job-killing Kyoto climate treaty. The president needs to tell the American people just how radical CEDAW is. If he  doesn't, he will have only himself to blame  when Democrats pass off CEDAW as a harmless fuzzball.CEDAW was in ratification limbo for 22 years for good reason. It deserves to keep on collecting dust — unless (or until) Americans want to be lectured by foreign nitwits on the evils of Mother's Day. luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com             13008966 1238058                          News - Domestic disturbance "
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Wednesday August 21, 2002 12:04 am EDT
Why motherhood and the U.N. don't mix | more...
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  string(4032) ""Mouth of the South" is a moniker Ted Turner has soundly earned. He has dismissed Christianity as a "religion for losers," ripped Catholic CNN staffers as "Jesus freaks" and, in February, called the Sept. 11  terrorists "brave."Turner's mouth isn't the only problem, though, because he's putting his (considerable) money where his mouth is. And, like his mouth, his money has been roaming into some pretty irresponsible places, like the coffers of some honest-to-goodness American anarchists called the Ruckus Society.Documents obtained by Activistcash.com reveal that Turner's foundation has been Ruckus' top sponsor, with donations totaling more than $110,000.Though claiming to be non-violent, Ruckus teaches demonstrators how to spark confrontations with police and destroy property, all in service to a radical anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-free-trade agenda. Prior to large protests, the group holds "direct action camps" for several hundred recruits. Budding hooligans are trained in "police confrontation strategies," "street blockades" and "urban climbing." They also are taught how to "scout" industrial facilities — only scouting isn't scouting. It's snooping around and breaking things.Ruckus spearheaded the most violent protests in recent U.S. history. At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Ruckus instigated clashes with police that left 15 officers injured and 30 patrol cars damaged. At the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, Ruckus members led rioters in smashing windows, lighting fires, destroying vehicles and trashing a Starbucks and a McDonald's. The group isn't bashful about claiming credit for violence. As Ruckus Director John Sellers told USA  Today, "We kicked the WTO's butt all over  the Northwest."Ruckus was founded in 1995 by Howard "Twilly" Cannon and Mike Roselle. Cannon once captained a ship for the mischief-making mariners of Greenpeace. Roselle founded Earth First!, the enviro-Nazi group that rose to infamy in the 1980s popularizing "tree-spiking."Roselle gave readers of The Earth First! Journal a peek at the big picture in December 1994: "Monkey-wrenching sabotaging logging equipment is more than just sabotage, it's revolutionary! This is jihad, pal. Everything, every assumption, every institution needs to be challenged. Now!"If that sounds a lot like a call to anarchy, it is. And Turner's money is backing it.Violence, according to Sellers, isn't always violence. As he told Mother Jones in 2000, "Violence to me is against living things. But inanimate objects? I think you can be  destructive; you can use vandalism strategically. It may be violence under the law, but I just don't think it's violence."To be sure, Turner is not alone in the Hall of Shame supporting these lawless kooks. In fact, the Ruckus support list is a veritable "who's who" of the crackpot left, from limousine liberals to platinum-bong hippies. Among them:
 Anita Roddick, British founder of the relentlessly left-wing Body Shop chain, is a  faithful supporter and Ruckus board member.
 The Deadhead drips behind Ben & Jerry's sold out to Unilever in 2000, but they keep the money flowing to Ruckus. Unilever — the multinational behemoth behind ubiquitous household brands — had to agree, as a condition of buying Ben & Jerry's, to continue funding the duo's wacko-left causes. Total to Ruckus? More than $100,000.
 Outdoor gear supplier Patagonia has donated $30,000.Posing as non-violent, Ruckus grotesquely compares its tactics with those of Martin Luther King Jr., who is featured conspicuously on its website. This is a terrible insult to King and his lieutenants, who pursued a noble and just end  through truly non-violent means. Ruckus  is as committed to non-violence as Yasser Arafat.Bernie Marcus was recently second-guessed elsewhere in these pages for financing an  aquarium. I figured Ted Turner deserved at least as much grief for bankrolling anarchists.Luke Boggs has never been afraid to raise a respectable ruckus.??


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 Anita Roddick, British founder of the relentlessly left-wing Body Shop chain, is a  faithful supporter and Ruckus board member.%%%%%%
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  string(4285) "    It takes money to wreak wacko-left havoc — just ask Ted   2002-06-19T04:04:00+00:00 News - The price of anarchy   Luke Boggs 1223535 2002-06-19T04:04:00+00:00  "Mouth of the South" is a moniker Ted Turner has soundly earned. He has dismissed Christianity as a "religion for losers," ripped Catholic CNN staffers as "Jesus freaks" and, in February, called the Sept. 11  terrorists "brave."Turner's mouth isn't the only problem, though, because he's putting his (considerable) money where his mouth is. And, like his mouth, his money has been roaming into some pretty irresponsible places, like the coffers of some honest-to-goodness American anarchists called the Ruckus Society.Documents obtained by Activistcash.com reveal that Turner's foundation has been Ruckus' top sponsor, with donations totaling more than $110,000.Though claiming to be non-violent, Ruckus teaches demonstrators how to spark confrontations with police and destroy property, all in service to a radical anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-free-trade agenda. Prior to large protests, the group holds "direct action camps" for several hundred recruits. Budding hooligans are trained in "police confrontation strategies," "street blockades" and "urban climbing." They also are taught how to "scout" industrial facilities — only scouting isn't scouting. It's snooping around and breaking things.Ruckus spearheaded the most violent protests in recent U.S. history. At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Ruckus instigated clashes with police that left 15 officers injured and 30 patrol cars damaged. At the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, Ruckus members led rioters in smashing windows, lighting fires, destroying vehicles and trashing a Starbucks and a McDonald's. The group isn't bashful about claiming credit for violence. As Ruckus Director John Sellers told USA  Today, "We kicked the WTO's butt all over  the Northwest."Ruckus was founded in 1995 by Howard "Twilly" Cannon and Mike Roselle. Cannon once captained a ship for the mischief-making mariners of Greenpeace. Roselle founded Earth First!, the enviro-Nazi group that rose to infamy in the 1980s popularizing "tree-spiking."Roselle gave readers of The Earth First! Journal a peek at the big picture in December 1994: "Monkey-wrenching sabotaging logging equipment is more than just sabotage, it's revolutionary! This is jihad, pal. Everything, every assumption, every institution needs to be challenged. Now!"If that sounds a lot like a call to anarchy, it is. And Turner's money is backing it.Violence, according to Sellers, isn't always violence. As he told Mother Jones in 2000, "Violence to me is against living things. But inanimate objects? I think you can be  destructive; you can use vandalism strategically. It may be violence under the law, but I just don't think it's violence."To be sure, Turner is not alone in the Hall of Shame supporting these lawless kooks. In fact, the Ruckus support list is a veritable "who's who" of the crackpot left, from limousine liberals to platinum-bong hippies. Among them:
 Anita Roddick, British founder of the relentlessly left-wing Body Shop chain, is a  faithful supporter and Ruckus board member.
 The Deadhead drips behind Ben & Jerry's sold out to Unilever in 2000, but they keep the money flowing to Ruckus. Unilever — the multinational behemoth behind ubiquitous household brands — had to agree, as a condition of buying Ben & Jerry's, to continue funding the duo's wacko-left causes. Total to Ruckus? More than $100,000.
 Outdoor gear supplier Patagonia has donated $30,000.Posing as non-violent, Ruckus grotesquely compares its tactics with those of Martin Luther King Jr., who is featured conspicuously on its website. This is a terrible insult to King and his lieutenants, who pursued a noble and just end  through truly non-violent means. Ruckus  is as committed to non-violence as Yasser Arafat.Bernie Marcus was recently second-guessed elsewhere in these pages for financing an  aquarium. I figured Ted Turner deserved at least as much grief for bankrolling anarchists.Luke Boggs has never been afraid to raise a respectable ruckus.??


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Wednesday June 19, 2002 12:04 am EDT
It takes money to wreak wacko-left havoc — just ask Ted | more...
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__"Welcome to L.A., Mr. Former President."

"Please, just call me Bill. We're friends, after all, and that way you won't need to use the word 'former.' Not a big fan of that word right now."

"Well, I am very, very sorry. Have you had a good visit so far?"

"You bet. My DreamWorks golfing buddies are out here, the women are flat gorgeous, and I just can't get enough of this In-N-Out Burger.  I mean, I inhale that stuff."

"That's great. Well, the network is very eager to hear what you have in mind."

"Super. So here's the deal: When I'm not out giving the same speech over and over again to people with far more money than sense, I watch a little daytime talk — OK, a lot of daytime talk.

"Thing is, there's nothing to it. Nothing. You just stand there, keep your eye on the camera, and act like you care about people. I've been doing that for years."

"The daytime talk market is certainly  opening up."

"I know, I know. With Rosie and Sally Jessy packing it in and Oprah set to retire in 2005, there are some big pumps to fill. And who's gonna fill 'em? Maury Povich? Mr. Connie Chung? No, it'll take someone with a little more gravitas than that."

"Would you have a desk like Letterman ...  or just sit there like Merv Griffin?"

"Neither. Remember how I tore up Daddy Bush and the Little General in the '92 debates? Well, that's my format. I want to get out there with the people, like Donahue and Geraldo."

"What sort of topics would you cover?"

"All the classics. Makeovers, eating  disorders, bisexual love  triangles — anything that strikes an emotional chord. Because making an  emotional connection is what it's all about."

"Very true."

"How do you think I got elected? Back in '92, they couldn't have kept me on my debate stool if they'd sewn my pants to it. I was constantly popping up, going over to these poor saps and caring my butt off."

"But that was 10 years ago."

"Just like wooing a woman: Once you've  got it, you never forget. Just watch me emote  for a sec ..."

"Wow. I'd forgotten how good you were."

"And just think: You're a man. Everyone knows I've got enhanced power over women.  I simply bite my lower lip, raise my eyebrows and look very, very concerned. Chicks lap it up."

"How would we keep them coming back  for more?"

"Give 'em what they want, appeal to their base instincts, put on a show. Don't you  remember the spectacle when I was in office?"

"I sure do. And, frankly, if we could pack that kind of sex and scandal into a daytime talker, we'd have a national phenomenon on our hands."

"Try international. The Europeans love me and the boys in China are big fans, particularly after I let the folks at Loral and Hughes fix their ICBMs. I'd be bigger than Hasselhoff overseas."

"I'm sold. Let's talk dollars."

"Well, as you know, I've been in public  service my whole life, I've never made much money, and I've had to defend myself against dozens of baseless lawsuits. Bottom line: I need 50 million a year."

"That's pretty steep, but I think we can  work something out. After all, Hollywood  takes care of our own, and you're certainly  one of us."

"Thanks a lot. You don't know how much that means to me."

"Of course, I should let you know that we would have a pretty rigorous schedule,  taping 39 weeks a year."

"Thirty-nine weeks? I was thinking more  like 39 days. I mean, I've got things to do.  Who's going to keep talking about how I  almost got bin Laden? Who's going to  supervise the writing of my memoirs? Who's going to walk the dog in Chappaqua?"

"Honestly, Bill, I don't know. But that's the way we do things."

"Hmm. Well, I'll need to run all this all by my wife, of course."

"Of course. Just let us know what  she decides."

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com??


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__''"Welcome to L.A., ''Mr. Former President."

"Please, just call me Bill. We're friends, after all, and that way you won't need to use the word 'former.' Not a big fan of that word right now."

''"Well, I am very, very sorry. Have you had a good visit so far?"''

"You bet. My DreamWorks golfing buddies are out here, the women are flat gorgeous, and I just can't get enough of this In-N-Out Burger.  I mean, I inhale that stuff."

''"That's great. Well, the network is very eager to hear what you have in mind."''

"Super. So here's the deal: When I'm not out giving the same speech over and over again to people with far more money than sense, I watch a little daytime talk -- OK, a ''lot'' of daytime talk.

"Thing is, there's nothing to it. Nothing. You just stand there, keep your eye on the camera, and act like you care about people. I've been doing that for years."

''"The daytime talk market is certainly  opening up."''

"I know, I know. With Rosie and Sally Jessy packing it in and Oprah set to retire in 2005, there are some big pumps to fill. And who's gonna fill 'em? Maury Povich? Mr. Connie Chung? No, it'll take someone with a little more gravitas than that."

''"Would you have a desk like Letterman ...  or just sit there like Merv Griffin?"''

"Neither. Remember how I tore up Daddy Bush and the Little General in the '92 debates? Well, that's my format. I want to get out there with the people, like Donahue and Geraldo."

''"What sort of topics would you cover?"''

"All the classics. Makeovers, eating  disorders, bisexual love  triangles -- anything that strikes an emotional chord. Because making an  emotional connection is what it's all about."

''"Very true."''

"How do you think I got elected? Back in '92, they couldn't have kept me on my debate stool if they'd sewn my pants to it. I was constantly popping up, going over to these poor saps and caring my butt off."

''"But that was 10 years ago."''

"Just like wooing a woman: Once you've  got it, you never forget. Just watch me emote  for a sec ..."

''"Wow. I'd forgotten how good you were."''

"And just think: You're a man. Everyone knows I've got enhanced power over women.  I simply bite my lower lip, raise my eyebrows and look very, very concerned. Chicks lap it up."

''"How would we keep them coming back  for more?"''

"Give 'em what they want, appeal to their base instincts, put on a show. Don't you  remember the spectacle when I was in office?"

''"I sure do. And, frankly, if we could pack that kind of sex and scandal into a daytime talker, we'd have a national phenomenon on our hands."''

"Try international. The Europeans love me and the boys in China are big fans, particularly after I let the folks at Loral and Hughes fix their ICBMs. I'd be bigger than Hasselhoff overseas."

''"I'm sold. Let's talk dollars."''

"Well, as you know, I've been in public  service my whole life, I've never made much money, and I've had to defend myself against dozens of baseless lawsuits. Bottom line: I need 50 million a year."

''"That's pretty steep, but I think we can  work something out. After all, Hollywood  takes care of our own, and you're certainly  one of us."''

"Thanks a lot. You don't know how much that means to me."

''"Of course, I should let you know that we would have a pretty rigorous schedule,  taping 39 weeks a year."''

"Thirty-nine weeks? I was thinking more  like 39 days. I mean, I've got things to do.  Who's going to keep talking about how I  almost got bin Laden? Who's going to  supervise the writing of my memoirs? Who's going to walk the dog in Chappaqua?"

''"Honestly, Bill, I don't know. But that's the way we do things."''

"Hmm. Well, I'll need to run all this all by my wife, of course."

''"Of course. Just let us know what  she decides."''

[mailto:luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com|luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com]??


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  string(3973) "    Mr. Clinton goes to Hollywood   2002-05-22T04:04:00+00:00 News - Talk ain't cheap   Luke Boggs 1223535 2002-05-22T04:04:00+00:00  

__"Welcome to L.A., Mr. Former President."

"Please, just call me Bill. We're friends, after all, and that way you won't need to use the word 'former.' Not a big fan of that word right now."

"Well, I am very, very sorry. Have you had a good visit so far?"

"You bet. My DreamWorks golfing buddies are out here, the women are flat gorgeous, and I just can't get enough of this In-N-Out Burger.  I mean, I inhale that stuff."

"That's great. Well, the network is very eager to hear what you have in mind."

"Super. So here's the deal: When I'm not out giving the same speech over and over again to people with far more money than sense, I watch a little daytime talk — OK, a lot of daytime talk.

"Thing is, there's nothing to it. Nothing. You just stand there, keep your eye on the camera, and act like you care about people. I've been doing that for years."

"The daytime talk market is certainly  opening up."

"I know, I know. With Rosie and Sally Jessy packing it in and Oprah set to retire in 2005, there are some big pumps to fill. And who's gonna fill 'em? Maury Povich? Mr. Connie Chung? No, it'll take someone with a little more gravitas than that."

"Would you have a desk like Letterman ...  or just sit there like Merv Griffin?"

"Neither. Remember how I tore up Daddy Bush and the Little General in the '92 debates? Well, that's my format. I want to get out there with the people, like Donahue and Geraldo."

"What sort of topics would you cover?"

"All the classics. Makeovers, eating  disorders, bisexual love  triangles — anything that strikes an emotional chord. Because making an  emotional connection is what it's all about."

"Very true."

"How do you think I got elected? Back in '92, they couldn't have kept me on my debate stool if they'd sewn my pants to it. I was constantly popping up, going over to these poor saps and caring my butt off."

"But that was 10 years ago."

"Just like wooing a woman: Once you've  got it, you never forget. Just watch me emote  for a sec ..."

"Wow. I'd forgotten how good you were."

"And just think: You're a man. Everyone knows I've got enhanced power over women.  I simply bite my lower lip, raise my eyebrows and look very, very concerned. Chicks lap it up."

"How would we keep them coming back  for more?"

"Give 'em what they want, appeal to their base instincts, put on a show. Don't you  remember the spectacle when I was in office?"

"I sure do. And, frankly, if we could pack that kind of sex and scandal into a daytime talker, we'd have a national phenomenon on our hands."

"Try international. The Europeans love me and the boys in China are big fans, particularly after I let the folks at Loral and Hughes fix their ICBMs. I'd be bigger than Hasselhoff overseas."

"I'm sold. Let's talk dollars."

"Well, as you know, I've been in public  service my whole life, I've never made much money, and I've had to defend myself against dozens of baseless lawsuits. Bottom line: I need 50 million a year."

"That's pretty steep, but I think we can  work something out. After all, Hollywood  takes care of our own, and you're certainly  one of us."

"Thanks a lot. You don't know how much that means to me."

"Of course, I should let you know that we would have a pretty rigorous schedule,  taping 39 weeks a year."

"Thirty-nine weeks? I was thinking more  like 39 days. I mean, I've got things to do.  Who's going to keep talking about how I  almost got bin Laden? Who's going to  supervise the writing of my memoirs? Who's going to walk the dog in Chappaqua?"

"Honestly, Bill, I don't know. But that's the way we do things."

"Hmm. Well, I'll need to run all this all by my wife, of course."

"Of course. Just let us know what  she decides."

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com??


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Article

Wednesday May 22, 2002 12:04 am EDT
Mr. Clinton goes to Hollywood | more...
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Maybe I'm a little odd,

but I hate to see Kmart in such desperate straits.

Here in Atlanta, I grew up with Kmart. Sure, other discounters have come  and gone. I certainly never waxed sentimental over Treasure Island, Richway or Zayre's. But, if the worst comes  to Kmart, I will miss it.

Kmart, after all, is home to some serious retail icons. The bold yellow price tag. The  flashing blue light. The big red "K" itself. And for me, it's also home to some powerful memories. Growing up in Chamblee in the 1970s, before I could walk, I was cruising the aisles of the Buford Highway store, riding shotgun in my parents' buggy.

Back then, Kmart was a weekend ritual, a family-time destination when the toil of the week or Saturday yard work was done. A trip to Kmart was particularly welcome in the  summer, when the store's industrial-strength air-conditioning provided a refreshing respite from the heat. Time was, a kid could get a fine Friday evening's worth of entertainment at Kmart. Hiding in the clothing racks. Checking out the TVs. Slurping down Icees. Eating  popcorn from those long skinny bags.

Kmart could get pretty exciting in those days. Just three simple words, blared over the store's intercom, made grown men and women scurry like excited children: "Attention Kmart shoppers." So what if the famed Blue Light Special was often an invitation to buy something you didn't need. It was fun.

Kmart had a distinctive smell, too, a  not-unpleasant blend of fresh plastic and  bubblegum, fried food and floor cleaner. It  was the smell of something new.

My family would buy stuff at Kmart. Not exciting stuff so much, but necessary stuff — stuff to keep the household humming. Light bulbs and furnace filters, tire repair kits and toothpaste, Cokes and Planters Cheese Balls. Every once in a while, there would be something extra, like an LP record or a toy.

Ah, yes, the toys. There was an acute sense of anticipation double-timing it to  the Kmart toy aisles, which were always  next to sporting goods, near the soaring  bike rack. As a kid, I spent many Friday  nights with my mom's parents in Buckhead. Come Saturday morning, we were routinely found in the gold Buick, heading out to the Kmart at Broadview Plaza (now Lindbergh).

Funny what you remember. I have a vivid memory of my granddaddy standing in the Broadview Kmart, talking with a friend  and marveling at how our new president, Ronald Reagan, had survived an assassin's  bullet with uncommon grace and good humor. Six months later, we lost my grandfather to a heart attack.

When I was 10 or so, I'd phone Kmarts all over town looking for the latest Star Wars action figures. When something did turn up, I'd ask my dad or grandmother to "stop by" Kmart and help me spend my allowance.

All that, of course, was a long time ago — in a retail galaxy far, far away.

Since then, other stars have risen as Kmart's has fallen. The chain's stores didn't get any younger. Next to the competition, they were darker and messier and dirtier — and getting worse. Even with fewer people shopping,  checkout lines grew painfully long. In fact, the only thing that moved slower than the checkout lines was the merchandise itself. Lots of stuff just sat there, literally collecting dust.

Kmart has struggled to turn things around in the last couple of years, adding lights, widening aisles, brightening in-store graphics and  featuring promising new lines like Martha Stewart. I'm not a Wall Street analyst, but my gut tells me these changes were only about  10 years too late.

Strange as it may sound, I get a little excited walking into a big discounter even now. Only these days, that store is much more often than not Wal-Mart. I still drop by Kmart every now and then, not so much for the merchandise but for the memories. And maybe an Icee.

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com

For pint-sized cowboys like Luke Boggs, no

Kmart trip was complete without a stationary

gallop on the brown mechanical horse outside.??


"
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____
__Maybe I'm a little __odd,

but I hate to see Kmart in such desperate straits.

Here in Atlanta, I grew up with Kmart. Sure, other discounters have come  and gone. I certainly never waxed sentimental over Treasure Island, Richway or Zayre's. But, if the worst comes  to Kmart, I will miss it.

Kmart, after all, is home to some serious retail icons. The bold yellow price tag. The  flashing blue light. The big red "K" itself. And for me, it's also home to some powerful memories. Growing up in Chamblee in the 1970s, before I could walk, I was cruising the aisles of the Buford Highway store, riding shotgun in my parents' buggy.

Back then, Kmart was a weekend ritual, a family-time destination when the toil of the week or Saturday yard work was done. A trip to Kmart was particularly welcome in the  summer, when the store's industrial-strength air-conditioning provided a refreshing respite from the heat. Time was, a kid could get a fine Friday evening's worth of entertainment at Kmart. Hiding in the clothing racks. Checking out the TVs. Slurping down Icees. Eating  popcorn from those long skinny bags.

Kmart could get pretty exciting in those days. Just three simple words, blared over the store's intercom, made grown men and women scurry like excited children: "Attention Kmart shoppers." So what if the famed Blue Light Special was often an invitation to buy something you didn't need. It was fun.

Kmart had a distinctive smell, too, a  not-unpleasant blend of fresh plastic and  bubblegum, fried food and floor cleaner. It  was the smell of something new.

My family would buy stuff at Kmart. Not exciting stuff so much, but necessary stuff -- stuff to keep the household humming. Light bulbs and furnace filters, tire repair kits and toothpaste, Cokes and Planters Cheese Balls. Every once in a while, there would be something extra, like an LP record or a toy.

Ah, yes, the toys. There was an acute sense of anticipation double-timing it to  the Kmart toy aisles, which were always  next to sporting goods, near the soaring  bike rack. As a kid, I spent many Friday  nights with my mom's parents in Buckhead. Come Saturday morning, we were routinely found in the gold Buick, heading out to the Kmart at Broadview Plaza (now Lindbergh).

Funny what you remember. I have a vivid memory of my granddaddy standing in the Broadview Kmart, talking with a friend  and marveling at how our new president, Ronald Reagan, had survived an assassin's  bullet with uncommon grace and good humor. Six months later, we lost my grandfather to a heart attack.

When I was 10 or so, I'd phone Kmarts all over town looking for the latest ''Star Wars'' action figures. When something did turn up, I'd ask my dad or grandmother to "stop by" Kmart and help me spend my allowance.

All that, of course, was a long time ago -- in a retail galaxy far, far away.

Since then, other stars have risen as Kmart's has fallen. The chain's stores didn't get any younger. Next to the competition, they were darker and messier and dirtier -- and getting worse. Even with fewer people shopping,  checkout lines grew painfully long. In fact, the only thing that moved slower than the checkout lines was the merchandise itself. Lots of stuff just sat there, literally collecting dust.

Kmart has struggled to turn things around in the last couple of years, adding lights, widening aisles, brightening in-store graphics and  featuring promising new lines like Martha Stewart. I'm not a Wall Street analyst, but my gut tells me these changes were only about  10 years too late.

Strange as it may sound, I get a little excited walking into a big discounter even now. Only these days, that store is much more often than not Wal-Mart. I still drop by Kmart every now and then, not so much for the merchandise but for the memories. And maybe an Icee.

[mailto:luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com|luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com]

''For pint-sized cowboys like Luke Boggs, no''
''''
''Kmart trip was complete without a stationary''
''''
''gallop on the brown mechanical horse outside.''??


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  string(4259) "    Mourning the memory of the once-mighty   2002-04-10T04:04:00+00:00 News - Blue over Blue Light Specials   Luke Boggs 1223535 2002-04-10T04:04:00+00:00  

Maybe I'm a little odd,

but I hate to see Kmart in such desperate straits.

Here in Atlanta, I grew up with Kmart. Sure, other discounters have come  and gone. I certainly never waxed sentimental over Treasure Island, Richway or Zayre's. But, if the worst comes  to Kmart, I will miss it.

Kmart, after all, is home to some serious retail icons. The bold yellow price tag. The  flashing blue light. The big red "K" itself. And for me, it's also home to some powerful memories. Growing up in Chamblee in the 1970s, before I could walk, I was cruising the aisles of the Buford Highway store, riding shotgun in my parents' buggy.

Back then, Kmart was a weekend ritual, a family-time destination when the toil of the week or Saturday yard work was done. A trip to Kmart was particularly welcome in the  summer, when the store's industrial-strength air-conditioning provided a refreshing respite from the heat. Time was, a kid could get a fine Friday evening's worth of entertainment at Kmart. Hiding in the clothing racks. Checking out the TVs. Slurping down Icees. Eating  popcorn from those long skinny bags.

Kmart could get pretty exciting in those days. Just three simple words, blared over the store's intercom, made grown men and women scurry like excited children: "Attention Kmart shoppers." So what if the famed Blue Light Special was often an invitation to buy something you didn't need. It was fun.

Kmart had a distinctive smell, too, a  not-unpleasant blend of fresh plastic and  bubblegum, fried food and floor cleaner. It  was the smell of something new.

My family would buy stuff at Kmart. Not exciting stuff so much, but necessary stuff — stuff to keep the household humming. Light bulbs and furnace filters, tire repair kits and toothpaste, Cokes and Planters Cheese Balls. Every once in a while, there would be something extra, like an LP record or a toy.

Ah, yes, the toys. There was an acute sense of anticipation double-timing it to  the Kmart toy aisles, which were always  next to sporting goods, near the soaring  bike rack. As a kid, I spent many Friday  nights with my mom's parents in Buckhead. Come Saturday morning, we were routinely found in the gold Buick, heading out to the Kmart at Broadview Plaza (now Lindbergh).

Funny what you remember. I have a vivid memory of my granddaddy standing in the Broadview Kmart, talking with a friend  and marveling at how our new president, Ronald Reagan, had survived an assassin's  bullet with uncommon grace and good humor. Six months later, we lost my grandfather to a heart attack.

When I was 10 or so, I'd phone Kmarts all over town looking for the latest Star Wars action figures. When something did turn up, I'd ask my dad or grandmother to "stop by" Kmart and help me spend my allowance.

All that, of course, was a long time ago — in a retail galaxy far, far away.

Since then, other stars have risen as Kmart's has fallen. The chain's stores didn't get any younger. Next to the competition, they were darker and messier and dirtier — and getting worse. Even with fewer people shopping,  checkout lines grew painfully long. In fact, the only thing that moved slower than the checkout lines was the merchandise itself. Lots of stuff just sat there, literally collecting dust.

Kmart has struggled to turn things around in the last couple of years, adding lights, widening aisles, brightening in-store graphics and  featuring promising new lines like Martha Stewart. I'm not a Wall Street analyst, but my gut tells me these changes were only about  10 years too late.

Strange as it may sound, I get a little excited walking into a big discounter even now. Only these days, that store is much more often than not Wal-Mart. I still drop by Kmart every now and then, not so much for the merchandise but for the memories. And maybe an Icee.

luke.boggs@creativeloafing.com

For pint-sized cowboys like Luke Boggs, no

Kmart trip was complete without a stationary

gallop on the brown mechanical horse outside.??


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Wednesday April 10, 2002 12:04 am EDT
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