Here's how my Aug. 11, 2003, column began: "Anyone who believes President Bush's Africa initiative, including sending U.S. troops to Liberia, will amount to more than a hill of beans is whistling Dixie. Maybe it's overly pessimistic, but most of Africa is a continent without much hope for its people." More than a decade has passed since that assessment, and little has changed to suggest a more optimistic outlook. Now Ebola threatens the very existence of the West African nations Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Moreover, the deadly disease is likely to spread to neighboring nations.
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.
Ben Bradlee would not have liked me to say so, but he was the living refutation of the Declaration of Independence: All men are not created equal. Certainly, he was not. He was born rich and well-connected, a member of the WASP tribe that once ran much of America and nearly all of its prestigious institutions. He was compellingly handsome and so smart that no crossword puzzle could really challenge him. It's not that he didn't have a weakness. He did. He was a sucker for the underdog.
So as to give some perspective, I'm going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.
Last week Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia.
To understand the lack of enthusiasm most Americans feel about the midterm elections, it's important to recognize a vital distinction between government and community.
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.
Tell me something: What do you think would happen if the United States concludes that Iran has been cheating and delaying and is about to pop a fully functional nuclear weapons program? Would President Obama respond by joining Israel to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities to smithereens - or would he stall and equivocate? My bet is the latter and so, just to double down, is what I bet the Iranians are betting. They have taken the measure of Obama. He lacks menace.
The Food and Drug Administration can make two types of errors. It can approve a drug that has dangerous unanticipated side effects, or it can reject or delay approval of a drug that is safe and effective. Let's look at these errors, because to err on the side of under- or over-caution is costly.
It's a little thing, but it bugs me a lot.
If I die anytime soon - and I have no plans to do so at the moment - please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, "He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association." You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad Pitt and my uncanny ability to put commas where they don't belong.
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.
This past summer I travelled back home to attend the 50th year reunion of the class of 1964 of St Mary's High in Annapolis Maryland.
In 1913, an entrepreneur "said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years." For that accurate assessment of reality, he was prosecuted for stock fraud. A U.S. District Attorney claimed that, "based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public ... has been persuaded to buy stock in his company."
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.
Earlier this month, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act was celebrated. During the act's legislative debate, then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey, responding to predictions, promised, "I'll eat my hat if this leads to racial quotas." I don't know whether Humphrey got around to keeping his promise, but here's my question: Is it within the capacity of black Americans to make it in this society without the special favors variously called racial preferences, quotas, affirmative action and race-sensitive policies? What might a "yes" answer to that question assume and imply about blacks? Likewise, what would a "no ...
Following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, one of the key talking points that emerged from enraged opponents of the ruling was: "My boss shouldn't be involved in my health care decisions." California State Senate candidate Sandra Fluke says on her official website that such a perspective is "common sense."
Israel fought its first war, in 1948, against five Arab nations - Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan - as well as the Palestinians. In the prediction of the fairly new CIA, the outcome was never in doubt: "Without substantial outside aid in terms of manpower and material, they [the Jews] will be able to hold out no longer than two years." It has now been 66 years, but I fear that sooner or later, the CIA's conclusion could turn out to be right.
Last week I attended two informal meetings of citizens and two Chamber of Commerce moderated meetings on the 2050 Plan and a meeting on the Highway 278 Community Improvement District. I came away with an appreciation of just how similar is the end result most of us want for Newton County and yet how distant are the means that we would employ to accomplish that end.
I wrote this some time ago. With so many folks in the same boat as I was in those early days of my adulthood, I thought you might get a chuckle from my young eager mistakes:
During last year's budget negotiation meetings, President Barack Obama told House Speaker John Boehner, "We don't have a spending problem." When Boehner responded with "But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem," Obama replied, "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that." In one sense, the president is right. What's being called a spending problem is really a symptom of an unappreciated deep-seated national moral rot. Let's examine it with a few questions.
This summer has served as a reminder to me about the virtue of virtues, specifically hard work and perseverance. Last winter, our 12-year-old son, Robert, was accepted into an honors performance group as a string bass player, based on his teacher's recommendation and an MP3 submission of his playing. In May, he was sent four pieces of music to master by late June, when he was to perform them in New York.
"I have gotten bad news and am much the worse for it.
They had a term for her, but I've forgotten it. It was a name applied to a person who could not say no to a door-to-door salesman. The one I remember from my brief career selling magazines was totally upfront about her intentions. "I'll buy whatever you're selling," she said. I sold her Esquire and two other subscriptions. Salesmen back then had a name for such people. Today, I would call them conservatives. They, too, will buy anything.
One of the advantages of being an older baby boomer is that your mind can easily wander back to days of your youth and every detail of those experiences can be seen as clearly as if you were still that age.
In his weekly column for CNN.com, Julian Zelizer makes a reasonable case that "Distrustful Americans still live in age of Watergate." In his eyes, this helps explain why the president's health care law and other initiatives have encountered so much resistance.
In a piece titled, "They're Not Telling Us The Truth," I wrote: "Clinton, Bush and Obama, et al, have positioned us in harm's way by providing an accommodating environment for these illegal disease carriers. It is not my contention that everyone who crosses the border illegally is diseased or a disease carrier. I am saying, the fact that we do not know which ones are and which ones are not puts us in peril...I confess that when I walk into an uptown restaurant and see illegals in the kitchen or busing tables, I am concerned." (mychal-massie.com ...
Based on this fiscal year's eight-and-a-half months of activity so far, the number of unaccompanied alien children from Honduras apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol will increase 22 times from what it was in 2009.
FADE IN: Michael Corleone's den.
With the July 22 runoff elections fast approaching, I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, to get his thoughts on the various races and to see who he thinks will make it to the finals of the November general election and who will be eliminated this round.