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Obamas leave Washington to begin life as private family

myAJC Voices


From our columnists

Kempner:  Big metro Atlanta ‘Sad Mall’ has new plan to get its smile back

“Sad Mall” is what my wife calls the place that used to be one of metro Atlanta’s go-to places to spend money. Now, there’s a newly revised plan to turn that frown upside down. It’s just hard to see how the company that owns struggling Gwinnett Place mall is going to pull it off any time soon. But wish them luck. Because they aren’t alone. Other aging shopping centers...
Should students take time out of class to watch Trump inauguration Friday?

Should students take time out of class to watch Trump inauguration Friday?

The online debate around whether schools should show students the inauguration of Donald Trump surprises me. Where the national event is applicable to the class or where there’s a long tradition of having students watch a new president ascend, schools ought to show it. Allow an opt-out mechanism for parents who don’t want their children to watch. That seems to be the standard in metro...
Latin American celebrity chooses Atlanta to launch film career

Latin American celebrity chooses Atlanta to launch film career

Atlanta is a long way from Canada and even farther from Chile, but for Canadian-Chilean celebrity Vesta Lugg, the metro-area is the place to be.
Norcross diet pill maker loses libel case about its products

Norcross diet pill maker loses libel case about its products

The litigious world of Jared Wheat has turned again, this time in a federal courtroom in Boston, and the outcome wasn’t what the Atlanta dietary supplement entrepreneur had hoped for.
Torpy: With ‘racist pig,’ a goof falls on his Facebook

Torpy: With ‘racist pig,’ a goof falls on his Facebook

I assume Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter is relatively smart because he was able to twice get elected. But Hunter is now the goof for getting on Facebook and calling Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig" and then dumping on “Demonrats” (as in Demon rats) who are “idiots”.
Life with Gracie: Why two Atlanta women will join their first protest march

Life with Gracie: Why two Atlanta women will join their first protest march

At exactly 10 p.m. Friday, Beverly Molander, Pat Harris and 18 of their girlfriends will board a charter bus headed north to our nation’s capital. It promises to be a heady moment for the women, who will make the journey far beyond their comfort zone. This will be their first protest march, but they have been looking forward to it since early December when Molander spotted news of the planned...
Falcons crash the party for NFL’s swells

Falcons crash the party for NFL’s swells

Joy-deprived Falcons fans celebrate the events of last Saturday’s playoff victory over Seattle.
Packers’ hobbled secondary in deep trouble against Falcons

Packers’ hobbled secondary in deep trouble against Falcons

Packers cornerback Damarious Randall watches Cowboys tight end Jason Witten score a TD. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) The over/under for the NFC championship game moved to 61 points, which is ridiculously (and historically) high for an NFL playoff game.
The Falcons — a really fast team in a really big hurry

The Falcons — a really fast team in a really big hurry

When the Falcons played for the NFC title four years ago, their starting linebackers were Sean Weatherspoon, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas. They weren’t untalented men. They’d been picked in Rounds 1, 3 and 4 of their respective drafts — roughly the same as Vic Beasley Jr. (1), Deion Jones (2) and De’Vondre Campbell (4), the starting linebackers for this conference championship...
Falcons have Arthur Blank dancing (but thankfully no mohawk)

Falcons have Arthur Blank dancing (but thankfully no mohawk)

The dance hasn’t been named, probably because it was more of a series of spontaneous, non-choreographed, flailing arm and leg movements by a 74-year-old man in a three-piece suit who, yeah, pretty much made the whole thing up on the spot. Where did Arthur Blank learn those … dance moves? “Probably from my mother,” he said Wednesday when asked about his postgame attitude dancing...
How the soaring Falcons rebuilt on the fly

How the soaring Falcons rebuilt on the fly

Of the 22 Falcons listed on the flip card as starters on offense and defense for the divisional-round game against Seattle, 12 — more than half — were acquired since Dan Quinn arrived. Not included among those dozen were Tevin Coleman, who led the Falcons in rushing against the Seahawks; Taylor Gabriel, who caught four passes; Justin Hardy, who caught two; Austin Hooper, who caught one...
Tony Gonzalez didn’t win title but says this is Falcons’ time

Tony Gonzalez didn’t win title but says this is Falcons’ time

Before he retired from football, venturing into the profitable-but-welt-free world of climate-controlled broadcasting and acting, Tony Gonzalez lived to win a ring. It didn’t happen when he played in Kansas City. So he fully endorsed a late-career trade to Atlanta. He came so close to a Super Bowl in his fourth season with the Falcons — say it with me: 10 yards from the end zone in the...
In Aaron Rodgers, the Falcons will face the NFL’s Michael Jordan

In Aaron Rodgers, the Falcons will face the NFL’s Michael Jordan

He’s not the greatest quarterback of all time, even of his time. (Tom Brady has been better; Peyton Manning was better.) He won’t be the NFL’s most valuable player. (Matt Ryan will, on merit.) He has half as many Super Bowl rings as the underdog quarterback in the other conference championship game. (Ben Roethlisberger has two.) But there’s something about Aaron Rodgers that...
Falcons’ road to Super Bowl not easy but this is game they can win

Falcons’ road to Super Bowl not easy but this is game they can win

Of course it’s Green Bay. It had to be Green Bay. It had to be the team that crushed the Falcons’ dreams in the Georgia Dome six years ago and the quarterback who has spent a good part of his career dismantling defenses, particularly the local one. It had to be a matchup made in video football and pyrotechnic heaven: Matt Ryan vs. Aaron Rodgers. Dallas was the NFC’s No. 1 seed going...
Falcons have been transformed into team Atlanta has waited for

Falcons have been transformed into team Atlanta has waited for

Exhale. This team is different. Marvel. This offense is otherworldly. The Falcons just put up 36 points against the NFL’s No. 3 scoring defense, which had been allowing half that — and the offense could’ve busted 40 again if not for taking pity on their opponent in the final two minutes (because that’s what it has come to). Drink it up. Atlanta postseason success doesn&rsquo...
The ascendant Falcons make short work of Seattle

The ascendant Falcons make short work of Seattle

There might be some team out there that can beat these guys, but I wouldn’t want to be the one that has to try. These Falcons are functioning at such an exalted level that the question isn’t if they can reach the Super Bowl — they absolutely can — but if any defense is capable of halting them now. The Falcons just destroyed the best defense they’ll see in these playoffs...
Don’t fret over these Falcons — they’re too good to flop

Don’t fret over these Falcons — they’re too good to flop

We live in Atlanta. When it comes to traffic, weather and postseason sports, we live in dread. The Braves: Fourteen consecutive first-place finishes, one World Series title. The Hawks: A lone trip to the Eastern Conference finals, swept once there. The Falcons: In business a half-century, their single Super Bowl remains a case study in how not to handle a Super Bowl. A man who lives not far from the...
Is Falcons’ young defense ready for playoffs?

Is Falcons’ young defense ready for playoffs?

It’s 14 years later. Dwight Freeney’s head is still ringing. “I can still hear the ‘Jets-Jets-Jets’ in my ears,” he said. “It was ‘J-E-T-S’ the whole game. I mean, the whole game.” It was the 2002 season and Freeney, a rookie with Indianapolis, was playing in his first playoff game. Not a joyous experience. The Colts lost to the New York...
Reviewing October’s epic Falcons-Seahawks game

Reviewing October’s epic Falcons-Seahawks game

It was two games in one, two games that spawned one careening end. Both sides walked away feeling they’d won. More than a few folks left CenturyLink Field that damp Sunday believing these teams would see each other again. Sure enough … The Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in Seattle on Oct. 16. With Round 2 nearly upon us, we review Round 1, which Andy Benoit of SI.com dubbed the Game...
Bill Torpy at Large: Got a beef with the McMansion next door?

Bill Torpy at Large: Got a beef with the McMansion next door?

It is absolutely impossible to drive up the 900 block of Indian Hills Parkway and not crane your neck when passing the new home under construction. By comparison, the surrounding homes look like tool sheds, as one neighbor put it. That neighbor, Violeta Toma, who lives three doors down, is still incredulous at the scope and magnitude of her future neighbor’s abode. “People stop and take...
Clemson’s breathless win was the right result at the right time

Clemson’s breathless win was the right result at the right time

We need to be careful. Sometimes, as Dr. Freud averred, a cigar is just a cigar. After a finish like Monday night’s (actually Tuesday morning’s), the temptation to ascribe Cosmic Meaning is great, when all that might have happened was Clemson having the ball last. That said … This felt like the right result at the right time. The right result for Clemson, which we once mocked for...
Amazing: Watson and Clemson take down the dynasty

Amazing: Watson and Clemson take down the dynasty

The dynasty has been toppled. Clemson, which came so close a year ago, scored a touchdown with one second remaining in the national championship game to beat Alabama 35-31, and nobody could say justice wasn’t served. Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, Ga., cut the Crimson Tide’s unassailable defense to pieces, driving his team to four touchdowns in an astonishing second half. If anything,...
Why Alabama winning all the time isn’t great for college football

Why Alabama winning all the time isn’t great for college football

The national championship game was to be played Monday night. Before it began, we wondered about a matter of national importance, at least as it pertains to sports: Did college football need Alabama to lose? This was the third run for the College Football Playoff, which many/most of us awaited for decades. Alabama has been the No. 1 seed twice and the No. 2 last year. It didn’t win the inaugural...
Clemson might win. But it’s playing Alabama

Clemson might win. But it’s playing Alabama

There’s a story a hundred media folks here want to write but most won’t. I include myself. I’d love to predict that Clemson will win the national championship, which would mean Alabama losing. Alabama losing would be a much bigger deal that Alabama winning and good for college football to boot. If that sounds unfair to the Crimson Tide, I’m sorry. But when you’ve been...
Jeremy Pruitt: From UGA to another title game with Bama

Jeremy Pruitt: From UGA to another title game with Bama

This is the fourth time in six Januarys that Jeremy Pruitt has officially been part of a national championship game. In 2012 and 2013, he coached Alabama’s secondary. In 2014, he coordinated Florida State’s defense. Now he’s coordinating Bama’s. Even last year, when he was technically between jobs, Pruitt was on hand in Glendale, Ariz., to watch the Crimson Tide play Clemson...
Want a parade, Atlanta? Falcons are your best hope

Want a parade, Atlanta? Falcons are your best hope

Notwithstanding forecasts of a frozen hell and a winter blast not seen in the free world since the “Great Blizzard of 1888” disabled railway, telegraph lines and I’m assuming Twitter in the Northeast, the Atlanta streets hunger for something to fall from the sky: confetti. Championship parades are not commonplace here. They run a close second to Sasquatch sightings. True story (for...
Suddenly, nobody wants Kyle Shanahan to leave

Suddenly, nobody wants Kyle Shanahan to leave

Two years ago, long before Kyle Shanahan made that rare sports transition from perceived stubborn, immature, obstinate knucklehead of an offensive coordinator to the Flavor of the Week, the Falcons’ new offensive coordinator was asked why everybody wanted to blame him for dumpster fires he left behind in Washington and Cleveland. (As if Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman and the...
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