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.
Today was wonderful. I've just returned from a feast at the Blue Willow Inn, out in Social Circle, where I had the Charleston Room at my disposal. I enjoyed sweet tea, roast beef, and two helpings of my favorite dessert, banana pudding. This has been a perfect day, but then everyone knows Memorial Day is always the start of warm weather fun. The grills come out; the convertible tops go down; and boat owners everywhere race to the lakes to enjoy their expensive hobby. Yeah. Boats are on my mind.
This year as we prepare the budget, the district Commissioners requested the county manager prepare a budget not to exceed the tax dollars generated by the current 10.91 millage rate. In other words, no tax increase. This is an admirable goal and I agree with them; no one wants to raise taxes.
There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there's Mitt Romney.
Being in the right place at the right time is sometimes less about luck than it is heeding a call. And, rather than fame or fortune, the result can be something far more precious.
Words have power; they create images and possibilities, and provide a window into the future of what could be.
What is it in human beings, in general, that inspires the sometimes-lifelong pursuit of perfection? Perfection is an elusive thing - if it even exists. The pursuit is like chasing an ephemeral sprite through a darkening forest. Now you see it. Now you don't. What seems perfect in one moment can be altered in an instant by a change in one's emotions, the arrival of new information or a new light that is shined on what was thought to be a flawless object.
I sponsored the school newspaper at Newton County High School for many years. It was, for the most part, an enjoyable experience. The students were enthusiastic and often had visions of publishing great exposés about various school activities. They were disappointed to learn that stories actually had to be based on fact and that there was little or nothing at the school that would be suited to an exposé.
Have you ever heard of Florida International University? I must admit they don't come to mind when talking about institutions of higher learning. Perhaps that is because I think first of the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, current state football champions and home to 18 Rhodes Scholars. Woof! Woof!
Donald Trump has said he would be "open" to accepting a Cabinet post if Mitt Romney becomes president. Trump would prefer "a position where I negotiate against some of these countries, because they are really taking our lunch." So is he on the short list, perhaps, for secretary of state?
It's encouraging so many candidates qualified to run for local positions in the upcoming primary elections. These days, nearly everyone has all the answers, until you press them to put those great ideas into practice. Then, the excuses start.
An 8-year-old boy loses his father to an execution squad. Imagine the shock, questions and hurt at losing his father at such a young age. Why did his father have to die? Could his death been avoided? Why did he have to lose his father?
The Obama campaign's early attempts to attack Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital or present him as too extreme to be president have not worked out all that well so far. The early stumbles have created a flurry of commentaries wondering what's wrong with the team that performed so flawlessly in Election 2008.
We recently returned from an out-of-town trip to find that summer - not even having arrived officially - is on sale and fall is peeking around the corner. The mailbox was full of catalogs offering miraculous markdowns on everything one might want for summer - shorts, sandals, sand pails, swimwear and outdoor furniture, to name a few. Are such early sales campaigns a simple ploy to bulk up summer sales figures or just to get rid of merchandise that's overstocked due to overzealous corporate buyers? Or is it a brazen example of ever accelerating marketing and profit taking that focuses us always ...
The summer of 2012 will, no doubt, be a time of political discourse and critical decisions that will determine the direction and fate of our country. We are blessed with the opportunity to study issues and positions of candidates and express our beliefs through our vote during elections. This summer we will be looking at candidates for positions on all levels of government; local county, state and federal.
Most acknowledge that we are faced with diverging paths and philosophies of major consequence. Will we chose the direction that moves us away from financial ruin and fiscal irresponsibility? Will we demand ...
I was musing on the incongruity of two laws, announcements or whatever you call them enacted by the Covington City Council in the last few years. The first outlawed the shooting of squirrels in the city of Covington even with pellet guns or BB guns. The second approved the shooting of deer with bow and arrow within the city limits. I fail to see how a bow and arrow is safer than a BB gun. If I walk early, I see deer in the city cemetery. I would hate to think someone is taking aim at them while I walk ...