Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. A chance to be grateful instead of focusing on gift-giving and gift-receiving. Family, friends, bountiful feasts and football are at the forefront of our minds rather than cocktail parties and gifts. Think of it as a time to pause and give thanks before the whirlwind of December.
Part of the allure and fascination of politics is that you don't know what's going to happen until election night is over and all the votes have been counted. It is real-life, high-stakes drama. In the 1970s, it was volunteers who would call in the vote tallies from the precincts. They would be written on the blackboard and the totals calculated as the votes were called in.
Prognosticators are predicting a Republican takeover of the United States Senate, and a pickup of a few seats in the House of Representatives. Driven in large part by the unpopularity of President Barack Obama (latest Gallup poll 42 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove of Obama), this potential change in control provides both an opportunity and a risk for Republicans.
My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the mid-1970s, when I was in grammar school. Her goal, at that time, was to stay alive to see my older sister Kathy and me graduate from high school. She neither dwelled on the disease, nor on why she was stricken with it, but instead focused on getting rid of the cancer and living for her two daughters.
While new and novel might be exciting, routine and habit can help create a structure and framework for success. From eating breakfast, brushing our teeth or exercising every day, much of our lives are driven by routine. This reliance on routine behavior can startle us when we are driving and find ourselves not at our planned destination, but at our routine destination.
Ever since the 1976 election, I've understood the importance of voter turnout. My father was running for United States Congress in rural Georgia, having lost in 1974. He realized in early 1976 that running as a republican in Georgia, while Jimmy Carter was topping the democratic ticket, was going to be a hard feat to pull off, but confident of his ability to work hard, he trudged forward.
The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, was questioned this past Tuesday by members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding lapses in Secret Service Performance. The hearing focused primarily on an incident that took place on September 19. Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, allegedly jumped the White House fence, ran across the White House lawn, ran up a flight of stairs and through the North Portico door. He then allegedly entered the entrance hall, turned left and headed into the East Room, where he was tackled and subdued. A knife was allegedly found in his possession.
With just under six weeks to the Nov. 4 Election Day, the pressure is on. With a Democratic sitting president with a low 44 percent approval rating, many Republican races across the nation are being run by tying the Democratic candidate to the president. In many cases, this might indeed create distaste for the Democratic candidate by the voters and lead to a Republican victory. But, with no clear path forward, who is to say that the voters won't be just as disgruntled in a few years with Republicans?
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The current budget impasse might have made you a bit blue. Ups and downs are normal in life, but when the potential of a debt default is the news, it's easy to forget the ups.
Yes, it is frustrating. The government should run smoothly and efficiently, going about its business and getting things done without much pomp and circumstance.
At times it can be discouraging, with all the news out of Washington focusing on the negative, partisanship and gridlock.
Serendipitous events do not a strategy make.
Out of the corner of my eye, as I was passing a television, I saw a plane fly into a building. The sound was not on, and I thought, it must be a small plane and a small building. An errant pilot or a plane with failing equipment apparently had crashed when it intended to land.
Good parents eventually learn that lines in the sand are useful only if enforced. Inevitably, red lines will be stepped on or, more often than not, jumped over. If the lines have no meaning, children will realize that their parents are full of bluster and either lack the ability or the determination to carry through with punishment.
My favorite place in Washington is the Lincoln Memorial. Its grand size, pivotal location and sweeping view of our capital city are a backdrop for the inspirational addresses inscribed on its walls. Lincoln's second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address are there for all visitors to read.
Last week, our two children started back to school. The prep work included buying new backpacks, books and school supplies, along with a few new clothes. Binders were labeled and organized, new textbooks were bought and thumbed through, and, for our daughter Maggie, the first day's outfit was carefully thought through and laid out the night before. Schedules were printed and reviewed.
This past Saturday, Dr. Steve Davis gave the message at my mother's funeral. As pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Ga., he recounted that, during a recent visit, she told him that she was the luckiest person on earth.
Editors Note: Jackie Battley Gingrich passed away on Aug. 7. Her daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote this column about her mother in May 2011.
It's been a strange week. My sister and I passed the coursework and pool portion for open-water scuba diving, my son turned 12, and my mother ended up in ICU. You can plan as much as you like, but oftentimes life happens, and not as you might have planned.
Currently 20 of the 100 U.S. senators are women, as are 78 of the 435 representatives, for a grand total of 18 percent of congressional seats.
Donald Trump's tweet Tuesday of this week puts it all in perspective, "@realDonaldTrump: With Spitzer & Anthony Weiner running for office, New York is pervert central! Pathetic."
This week, we celebrated the Fourth of July, the day that our founders declared their independence from Great Britain. This declaration action came after a long history of imposition by King George III. While it might seem as though this is ancient history, there are applicable lessons to remember today.
Helping another person even when doing so could adversely affect you is considered a virtue by many. People are often applauded as heroes, as they should be, when they help others.