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.
The trial of John Edwards - former everything, including senator, vice-presidential candidate, presidential candidate and Father of the Year - is getting underway in North Carolina.
Monday night, my husband came home around 8:30 p.m. and was surprised to find me painting my office. Early that morning, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I decided to paint my office. The deadline was driven by a Tuesday installation appointment for a TV. After all, why hang the TV on a wall with old paint, nail holes and patches of paint missing where the dry-erase squares had been removed?
Only six years ago, Shannon Davis was the petite, pretty and pert front desk manager at the Newton County Chamber of Commerce, a part-time employee. Today she's one of the local faces of the state and regional team that landed a $1 billion investment by Baxter International at Stanton Springs industrial park that will put 1,000-1,500 people to work by 2018.
With justices questioning his aggressive assertion of federal power on both health care and immigration laws, President Obama faces the prospect of two major setbacks at the U.S. Supreme Court in the middle of his re-election campaign.
I wrote one column about unexpected and funny answers students sometimes write on tests. But unexpected and funny answers from students can come in other forms. When you get a funny answer to a question and the whole class is paying attention, you don't want to laugh and hurt a student's feelings, but sometimes the comment is so startling that you just can't help but laugh.
Calling on a student to read a passage or a sentence in a grammar exercise can be tricky. Some students don't like to read aloud and some can't do ...
Dear Governor, I know you have been waiting to hear how I think you are handling things these days, but I wanted to give you time to get the legislators out of town and to be sure all the silverware is accounted for. Plus, I have been busy trying to help your pal, Leroy Gingrich, understand he has blown his chances of becoming President of the United States and that he might want to go back to Washington and moonlight as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
I like your low-key style and the way you are willing to work with both parties ...
Glad to see you back again this week. Have you had a chance to gather your tools for your hunt? Did you get a chance to explore Ancestry.com? Did you go visit the Newton County Library's Heritage Room? The Library has genealogy volunteers just about everyday in the Heritage Room to help you. How about that steno book and loose leaf notebook?
I hate toll roads. It's probably because I was born in Miami, and I remember my parents feeding the toll booths with nickels that I could have used to far better ends.
In a recent Wisconsin speech, GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum stirred supporters with a tale of assault on American democracy and tradition. "I was just reading something last night, from the State of California…I think it's seven or eight of the California system of universities don't even teach an American history course. It's not even available to be taught," he said. "Just to tell you how bad it's gotten in this country, where we're trying to disconnect the American people from the roots of who we are, so they have an understanding of what ...
Call up the office of County Clerk Jackie Smith, and if she's not there to answer, you'll hear her cheery voicemail declaring, "It's a beautiful day in Newton County!"
Indeed, it is a beautiful day in Newton County since the announcement yesterday of a $1 billion investment by Baxter International in a plant at Stanton Springs that will employ 1,000 to 1,500 workers to make blood-related products. Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall calls the project a "game-changer" for this neck of the woods. Commission Chair Kathy Morgan takes sentimental pride in the ...
I know I've already used this famous slogan of Bill Clinton from his last presidential campaign a number of times, but holy cow Batman, we are drowning in endless preaching on increasing revenue (secret word for taxes) and totally ignoring spending.
The Buffett Rule - what a masterful misdirection play used to avert attention from the gargantuan spending and to invoke class warfare. Under the Buffett Rule, businesses and families earning $1 million will pay a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate. The president says those Americans aren't paying enough, and as proof he points to billionaire Warren Buffett ...
Recently my youngest granddaughter had surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. It was my first experience with a children's hospital, and it was an eye-opener. The staff and facility could not be more welcoming and child friendly.
The nurses wear brightly colored T-shirts to appear less threatening. The rooms have chairs which can be made into beds for parents, and mothers are allowed to sleep in the hospital beds with their children, even in pediatric intensive care.
Those of you who regularly check this space know this, but to the newcomers out there: I am a whiner.
Like Goldilocks, I whine when the porridge is too hot. I whine when the porridge is too cold. But unlike Goldilocks, I whine even when the glop is just right.
Driving my children to and from various events earlier this week, we had a discussion about what makes a good story. They are both working on writing a book (as am I - we'll see who finishes first).
Stories, I explained, are interesting because they have conflict. There are most often two forces that push against each other. In classic stories, it's good versus evil. Really interesting stories have subplots, which reflect conflicts within conflicts.
What's become of our society? Our youth? Our parenting? Children used to dream of being able to go to middle school instead of working in factories, let alone high school. Why has the parenting become so laissez-faire that our teens no longer wish to learn and become educated? Why has the "education" system lowered its standards simply to accommodate for the lacking of our generation? Why is our society sacrificing education and knowledge for the sake of schooling?
Our dropout rates are decreasing, but each teenage generation as a whole seems to care less about education than the previous ...