Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta already under NSA/Cyber Command microscope

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During his final State of the City address, Mayor Deke Copen­haver said Au­gusta is under the Army Cyber Command’s microscope, and Washington is checking us out every day.

That’s an understatement. Everybody is under the NSA/Cyber Command’s microscope, earphones and electronic spying devices.

You might find this hard to believe, but I’ll swear on a stack of Bibles it’s the truth. While researching the National Security Agency and Cyber Command online Friday night, Yahoo flashed a notice that unusual activity had been detected on my computer, and I had to change my password to log back in.

If you don’t believe me, I’ll get Commissioner Marion Williams to demand the NSA’s hard drive.

Anyway, the mayor and community leaders can’t say enough about the boost to the area’s economy the operation will bring, but nobody mentions the interdependencies between the Cyber Command and the NSA, which is under fire for massive spying programs we only know about because of contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA gathers the information on citizens, allies and enemies and shares it with the Cyber Command for its cyber warfare operations, which I hope are never used against us poor turkeys.

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT CUSSIN’: The upside to all the spying is that at some point it will be a lot easier to write this column. All I’ll have to do is think about stuff, and the spy network will spread it around. I’ll just have to be careful what I think about.

WE’RE ALREADY MORE THAN HALFWAY THERE: “If a dictator ever took over, the NSA could enable (him) to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.” – Sen. Frank Church (1975)

EVEN BIG BROTHER WOULD HAVE QUIT WATCHING: In his speech, the mayor said Augusta officials should be on their best behavior because Washington is watching. I hope they weren’t watching last Monday when Augusta Commission committee meetings went on so long they lost quorums.

The public services committee lasted three hours, an hour of it with commissioners Williams and Bill Lockett arguing against moving forward to build the transit bus maintenance building on property the city owns off Highway 56 because it’s contaminated.

The move is important because redevelopment in and around the MCG Foun­da­tion’s 15th Street Kroger shopping center can’t happen until the current facility is abandoned.

Attorney Jim Plunkett assured them that the EPD had OK’d the land as suitable for bus maintenance operations, and that part of the property the previous owner had used as a dump had been vented to release any methane gas. Another sticking point was that part of the property where the buses would be parked is in the floodplain.

“What would happen if it flooded?”

Uh. Move the buses.

The irony in all this concern about contamination is that the current bus maintenance barn property on Broad Street is contaminated, too. In fact, you can bet every bit of downtown property is contaminated, including the levee that Com­mis­sioner Alvin Mason, a candidate for mayor, wants to level.

Not only would it take an act of Congress, but it also would cost a gazillion dollars to move and dispose of all that contaminated dirt. And the notion of private development on the leveled levee would be a violation of federal rules against building in a floodplain.

And what would happen if Augusta flooded? You can’t move the city.

A LEGACY WITHOUT A CLUE: The headline on the story in Friday’s Augusta Chronicle about the mayor’s speech stating “Copenhaver looks at legacy in last city address” caught my attention. What is a legacy? Is it something people will remember Copenhaver by, like Star­bucks coming to Augusta or 98 straight prayer breakfasts? Or is it what my older sister June said I was when they blackballed me from Sigma Delta Sigma?

The blackballing was understandable because I was a bushy-haired and socially unacceptable teen. I ran a one-girl animal rescue operation in our backyard. I loved the smell of Vitalis hair tonic, so I got a bottle and rubbed it on my face and up my nose and got so sick and dizzy I fell down in the front yard and threw up.

Sister June said I was a nut. Mama said I was just happy-go-lucky. But most people agreed with June. That’s why they blackballed me from Sigma Delta Sigma, a sorority of Tif­ton debutantes, being a member of which was akin to being on the social register of Alli­gator, Miss.

But I didn’t care. I didn’t want to go to meetings and work on projects. I was wild and free, doing flips in our yard and dreaming of being in the circus or playing with the stray animals and staying up all night reading.

Anyway, when I didn’t get into the SDS, June said she just had to take a stand.

“Why, you’re a legacy!” she cried.

I didn’t know what a legacy was, but I knew it was something I didn’t want to be.

So she resigned, but it didn’t hurt her any. She was still the most popular girl in school, and all her boyfriends drove big cars. They all turned out to be losers, though.

THE SIGNS, THEY ARE A’CHANGIN’ (PART II): Last week, we were imagining the scene that forced Geor­gia Regents University Pres­i­dent Ricardo Azziz to allow the word “Augusta” to be added to campus signs. We think it must have been precipitated by a visit to his office from members of the Geor­gia Board of Regents who took him to task for reneging on his promise to include the word “Augusta” on all Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity signs.

As we resume, Regent Ben Tarbaby III has reminded Azziz that this is an election year and that the political winds have shifted, blowing the smell of scorched earth and burned bridges from Augusta into the governor’s office.

“The governor has a lot at stake here with a majority of the voters still on their high horses,” Tarbaby says. “And, as you know, it takes a majority to win the governorship. The man’s got a lot to lose here.”

Regent Dr. Bone Setter jumps in and says, “Now this latest trick you pulled. This bait and switch with the signs, saying one thing one year and doing another the next, has put him, and more importantly us, in even worse shape. You’ve got to do something to smooth the ruffled feathers and make peace.”

“Do you mean leave?” Azziz asks.

“No, you can’t do that yet. But the people need some sign you don’t hate Au­gus­ta.”

“But, I do. I do,” Azziz wails, as he throws himself face-down on his desk and bangs it with his fists.

“Nevertheless, we want you to announce tomorrow you’re adding ‘Augusta’ to the signs.”

“Where?” Azziz asks. “After ‘Georgia Regents University’?”

“Before and after would be ideal: ‘Augusta Georgia Regents University at Au­gusta,’ but we’ll settle for one ‘Augusta.’ Then the governor will come here and announce the state’s allocating $53 million for the cancer center.”

“But he already did that.”

“That’s all right. He can do it again in a big ceremony where he presents you with an oversized cardboard check like a car dealership gives the salesman of the year. Then you could make a speech about how much you love Augusta. Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Azziz throws himself face-down on his desk again and begins tearing his pompadour out.

We imagine that’s more or less the way it happened.

Comments (19) Add comment
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Gage Creed
16770
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Gage Creed 02/01/14 - 10:04 pm
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Ricardo... it's not all about

Ricardo... it's not all about you. (Stolen from Dr. Kenny)

Riverman1
82398
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 11:34 pm
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Speaking of...

I wonder if we could work out something with the NSA/Cyber Command that they do us a little favor.

Graymare
3023
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Graymare 02/02/14 - 07:57 am
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"If you don’t believe me,

"If you don’t believe me, I’ll get Commissioner Marion Williams to demand the NSA’s hard drive." LMAO! I almost spit my coffee across my keyboard! Sylvia is the bomb! (Is it safe to use the "b" word, or will the NSA come looking for me?)

Lou Stewall
308
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Lou Stewall 02/02/14 - 10:23 am
5
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Contaminated dirt

Where did you get the information that the soil that makes up the levee is contaminated? From what? How did Billy Morris get a building permit for the hotel if everything at the level behind the levee is in the floodplain?

deestafford
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deestafford 02/02/14 - 10:39 am
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You mentioned Sen Frank Church...

You mentioned Sen Frank Church who was the lead in the revamping of the US's intelligence programs in the 1970's. Those of us who remember those hearings and the results understand how the country's intel capabilities were really downgraded for decades afterward. Because of he and his cohorts' overreactions we suffered greatly on the knowledge and capabilities of our enemies and potential enemies.

galaxygrl
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galaxygrl 02/02/14 - 11:36 am
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Watched

Does this mean with all our new neighbors from Cyber Command we will be in Obama's two person reach for being watched? There goes any privacy we had left.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/02/14 - 01:52 pm
3
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I don't care what Cyber

I don't care what Cyber Command does as long as they don't jam my garage door opener.

Lou Stewall
308
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Lou Stewall 02/02/14 - 02:01 pm
5
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FYI on Levee

Since the completion of Clarks Hill Dam in 1954 the river has never risen over its banks. FEMA determined the levee could be from 6-10 ft. high to hold back a 100 year flood. This means no flood insurance is required if that height is maintained. The ultimate hypocrisy is the 8th St. breech can't be secured, as there is no crane to lift the big timbers.
Sylvia, private developers would rush to make the banks of the river as vibrant as Savannah's. Augusta owns the land (no eminent domain battles necessary) and would profit immensely from selling it, and the jobs, taxes and tourists would flow freely.

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 02/02/14 - 02:55 pm
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Wow... amazing that opinion

Wow... amazing that opinion is stated as fact.

No crane to place the timbers? Really?

You guessed it...Frank Stallone
83
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You guessed it...Frank Stallone 02/02/14 - 03:00 pm
5
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"That’s an understatement.

"That’s an understatement. Everybody is under the NSA/Cyber Command’s microscope, earphones and electronic spying devices."

Right, because an NSA employee/contractor/military personnel would much rather see what (Insert middle-aged white male) from the CSRA is doing in his spare time vs. a legitimate threat from the middle-east. Gotta love the conspiracy theory industry that Snowden has catapulted.

pja5529
1605
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pja5529 02/02/14 - 03:24 pm
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Opinion

This sounds more like an opinion article than a news article.

Little Lamb
45313
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Little Lamb 02/02/14 - 04:48 pm
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Breach

The Eighth St. levee beach has had the stop-logs inserted two or three times since the breach was created. One was in preparation for an anticipated high-water event; and more have been done as drills. The city indeed has access to a crane to place the stop logs in the slot in the levee.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/02/14 - 07:18 pm
1
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I'm hoping from watching'

I'm hoping from watching' Honey Boo Boo and Hollywood Hillibillies that they believe anyone from the South is too stupid to be a threat. Otherwise all the outspoken conservatives are being investigated and likely radiated with some death ray from a satellite that kills within a few years. Dang.

itsanotherday1
42139
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itsanotherday1 02/02/14 - 07:27 pm
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Flood plain

How is it that the SC side of the river is developed WITHOUT a levee?

Gage Creed
16770
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Gage Creed 02/02/14 - 08:49 pm
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3
How is that folks keep

How is that folks keep rebuilding homes in Wilmington, NC? Or in tornado alley? Or Southern California?

dahreese
4703
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dahreese 02/03/14 - 12:18 am
0
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With all of the illegal
Unpublished

With all of the illegal spying on Americans and you by your own government, does it never occur to you that the "enemy" in the Middle East doesn't know you even exist and could care less about you?

That your own government is scared of you and that's why the illegal spying is happening?

That may be asking too much, though.

Darby
25080
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Darby 02/03/14 - 01:19 am
0
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“If a dictator ever took over, the NSA could enable

(him) to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.” – Sen. Frank Church (1975)"

.
Maybe from where you sit, but I'm betting the farm that we'd see the wisdom in the Second Amendment come into play really fast about that time.

itsanotherday1
42139
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itsanotherday1 02/03/14 - 01:58 am
2
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Flood plain

How is it that the SC side of the river is developed WITHOUT a levee?

Gage Creed
16770
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Gage Creed 02/03/14 - 06:08 pm
1
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IAD... I understand your

IAD... I understand your question, my question is if your home or business is flooded, destroyed in a mudslide, destroyed by a hurricane or tornado multiple times. Does it really make sense to place your home or business in that location? As for the SC side of the river, it has flooded in the past, Mason's Tree and Turf had fields underwater in previous high water situations, the Augusta Marina has flooded above the docks several times (no property loss other than cleaning the mud and silt from the road that I know of) Maybe your luck is better than mine, I choose not to tempt fate if there is another alternative.

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