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The unlikely orator: Congressman Hank Johnson

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The rhetoric seems to be as incendiary as ever.  But is it dumber?

A transparency-in-government foundation called Sunlight issued a report it called The Dumbing Down of Congress? Its analysis of congressional speeches shows members of Congress speak, on average, at the level of a tenth grader. That's compared to an eleventh-grade level seven years ago.

RELATED| Low-soaring political rhetoric embodied by Woodall

The good news is that three Georgia Congressmen use college-level language, according to the study. 

Georgia Supreme Court reverses murder conviction

ATLANTA -- Steven Lamar Scott has already spent two years in prison. In March of 2010, he was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life behind bars for shooting and killing Dan Smith.

This week he found out that sentence has been overturned. He now has the right to a new trial.

In a decision handed down Tuesday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously reversed the murder conviction.

According to court documents, Scott killed Smith when he found out the man had allegedly molested his niece. When Scott confronted the man, he called the 16-year-old an expletive, then said he could do whatever he wanted. Witnesses say Scott fired 12 rounds at Smith.

The court on Tuesday published an opinion saying a DeKalb County trial judge erred in excluding evidence of the alleged molestation and in not telling jurors they could consider voluntary manslaughter.

The DeKalb County District Attorney's office would not comment on the case.

DeKalb unemployment exceeds metro rate in April

DeKalb unemployment exceeds metro rate in April

ATLANTA -- The preliminary unemployment rate in metro Atlanta declined to 8.5 percent in April, the Georgia Department of Labor announced last week.

That's the lowest level since December 2008, when the rate was 7.7 percent.

In DeKalb County, the unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in April.

Metro Atlanta's rate decreased as the number of new jobs grew. The industries showing growth include trade and transportation, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, construction, and education and healthcare.

Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at 6.5 percent, while metro Dalton had the highest at 11.4 percent.


CARY, NORTH CAROLINA--The Emory men's and women's tennis programs enjoyed banner performances on the final day of action at the NCAA Division III Championships with a pair of performers bringing home singles championships.

Dillon Pottish captured the men's title with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 victory over Nick Ballou (Bah-lew) of Cal Lutheran in the title match, closing out his season record at 34-3. Pottish, last year's national runner-up, becomes the second straight and third Emory player overall to capture the singles title, joining Michael Goodwin (2009) and Chris Goodwin (2011) in that exclusive company.

Gabby Clark toppled top-seeded Lok-Sze Leung (lock-see-lung) of Middlebury College in the women's title showdown, 6-2, 7-6, becoming the third Emory women's player in school annals to earn that coveted distinction. Clark, who ended the year with a 27-4, record, joins Mary Ellen Gordon (2003 and 2004) and Lorne McManigle as other Emory women's singles champions.

Three-day Ga. hurricane exercise ends

Three-day Ga. hurricane exercise ends

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia emergency planners have finished a three-day statewide hurricane exercise.

The HURREX 2012 exercise ended on Thursday. It involved more than 800 people from local, state, volunteer and federal agencies who responded to a simulated Category 3 hurricane that landed south of Savannah.

The simulated storm caused catastrophic damage to buildings along the coast and spawned a tornado in metro Atlanta.

Emergency planners divided the exercise into three different phases: Pre-landfall, post-landfall and recovery. The workers used data and information support sources in scenarios ranging from evacuation to sheltering to search and rescue situations.

Emory Univ. acquires vast photo collection

ATLANTA -- Emory University has acquired a rare collection of more than 10,000 photographs depicting African American life from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The university said Thursday that the collection was acquired from photo collector Robert Langmuir and will be housed at Emory's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library.

The images range from the 1840s to the 1970s. They include many formats and cover a range of subject matter, from nightclubs to preachers and blue singers.

Emory University Provost Earl Lewis says the collection "sparkles with intelligent insights into the lives and cultures of the African-American experience over many decades."

Emory Men's Tennis Wins NCAA Championship

CARY, Nc. -- The Emory men's tennis  team earned the program's third national crown Wednesday afternoon as it rallied for a victory over Kenyon College in the title match of the Division III Men's Tennis Championships.  The 5-3 decision over the Lords closed out the Eagles' season record at 25-0 while Kenyon finished at 24-5.  The Division III Championships were held in Cary, North Carolina.

Holding a 4-3 edge in the match, freshman Eric Halpern sealed the outcome for Emory with a 7-5, 7-5, triumph over Tim Rosensteel at No. 5 singles, his 20th win in 22 outings this spring.  Other Emory singles winners included freshmen Alex Ruderman at No. 6, Ian Wagner at No. 3 and Brian Kowalksi at No. 4.  The Eagles earned their other point at No. 3 doubles with Kowalksi and senior Dillon Pottish battling to a 9-8 verdict over Paul Burgin and Kevin Ye.