America rarely does time capsules anymore, but the ones it does should include videos from February 2011 of American TV reporters exulting in the triumph of the Arab Spring. "This is the sound of a people rising," ABC's Terry Moran told us from Cairo. For Egyptians, it was a day "when a people rose and made themselves a new country, a new world, a new life."
Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn't, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let's pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.
As the character Cecily said to Miss Fairfax in a play written by Oscar Wilde entitled "The Importance of being Earnest": "When I see a spade I call it a spade."
The news from Ferguson, Missouri, has brought back unpleasant memories from the long-ago riots in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was the summer of 1970, and I was a young teenager close enough to the action to be appropriately frightened.
My first paying job was cleaning the bathrooms at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Georgia, where I was a member. I was 14, the minimum age for "children" to work. This was neither glamorous nor exciting work, but useful and needed work. On Sundays I often over heard the "little old ladies" of the church commenting on the cleanliness of the bathroom. I remember my subsequent feeling of pride. While not a glamorous work, my actions were helpful and appreciated by those who used the facilities. For providing this useful service I earned minimum wage in 1981, ($3.35 ...
As Hannah Arendt foresaw, we are once again up against the question of evil. An American photojournalist, James Foley, was presented to the camera and methodically decapitated. The instrument was not the ax reserved for royalty or the whooshing blade prompted by that reformer Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but an ordinary looking knife. Death would be neither swift nor painless. This, somewhere in the bleached desert, was pure evil.
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
The structure of county government is once again on the agenda of the Board of Commissioners (BOC), which has scheduled a work session for Aug. 26, 2014. As readers may recall, this has been a topic of discussion for several months and the BOC has met with experts from both the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the regional planning agency. Representatives of both clearly have indicated that the current "hybrid" system of having both a full time Commission needs to be changed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of county government.
The other day I found myself thinking on how long I have been a part of the newspaper industry - it turns out that this will be my 50th year, with one year of my life working with mentally challenged adults and two working with people going into their final sunset, through Hospice.
While we might like to think that voters research the issues, review the candidates, and then vote for the candidate that best reflects their views, the reality, based on political science research, is much different. A
According to College Board, average tuition and fees for the 2013-14 school year totaled $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for in-state residents at public colleges and $22,203 for out-of-state residents. Many schools, such as Columbia University and George Washington University, charge yearly tuition and fees close to $50,000. Faced with the increasing costs of higher education, parents and taxpayers might like to know what they're getting for their money.
Rap! Rap! Rap!
Back in 1980, an Israeli diplomat met with Ronald Reagan as he was running for president. Reagan was furious over the hostages being held in the American embassy in Iran and told the diplomat he could not understand why the U.S. didn't do what Israel would have done: land troops on the embassy roof and take the Americans out. The dismayed diplomat nodded disingenuously. Yes, that's exactly what Israel would do.
As I get older unfortunately death rears its ugly head more than I would like to see.
Maybe it's the fact that both my parents were teachers when I was growing up, or that I was a studious, serious child, but I've always loved going back to school in the fall.
Even now - far removed from the original passions - I can still remember that my friends and I were once young and vibrant. When we were just approaching our 20s, we were night owls, prowling the Atlanta New Wave music scene when we should have been doing calculus homework. On a typical weekend in our suburban town, we'd finish our work at the mall or any of a dozen other places desperate enough to hire us, and we'd start out on our night crawls, down to the big city of Hotlanta. Hotlanta was what my out-of-state friend called it ...
I don't know what the state curriculum requires now, but when I taught, the Language Arts curriculum required students to write a term paper or research paper in the 10th and 11th grades. It was difficult enough then, but it must be impossible now with the blessing and the curse of the Internet.
Our democratic republic is founded on the basis that there is an informed active and participating citizenry. Somehow through the years our society has become apathetic and lazy in the responsibility to stay aware of issues in our government and intellectually curious enough to seek the facts and actions of our elected leaders.
You knew this column had to be written. It's just too obvious. I can't turn and look the other way. The topic just fell into my lap, so who could ignore it or pretend it didn't happen and just go on as before? Nobody, I say, and least of all, me.
State School Superintendent John Barge knows what teachers can do, given the opportunity. "A teacher turned my life around," he said in a recent telephone conversation. Monty Fountain, a teacher and a coach at Alexander High School in Douglas County became a father-figure and set him on his career path.
Part of the joy of a presidential campaign is visiting different parts of the country. This past week was New Hampshire week. I've been to New Hampshire about a half-dozen times. It's a beautiful state. Mountains, ocean, beautiful forests and normally snow this time of year. However, we were snowless.
Rattling around in my brain is politics...and more.
It's January. The holidays are over and most of us have taken down the holiday decorations and returned to normal. I say most of us because I have a friend who will tell me for the next two months that she has to find the time to dedecorate. Her husband says he finds Christmas decorations in July. But she usually gets it done by March. I like her use of dedecorate. It's not a word, but it gets the point across. And she has been dedecorating for at least the last 15 years.
Have you noticed how some things just naturally go together? Take honey and biscuits, for example. Whenever I visit one of those "breakfast anytime" restaurants, I make a pig of myself with their biscuits, and I make sure to have plenty of honey to spread on them. Life offers up so many wonderful pairings: salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, grits and butter, and too many others to list. Life seems better when it's done in pairs.
Twenty one years ago today, I stood before a handful of friends and family in a little church and said, "I do," to the man of my dreams.
Her beloved husband Ben had just been buried, when the very next day, deep in her sadness, Bobbie Banks was handed the gift of a tiny handful of white fur, a Bichon she would name Maggie. Four years later, she calls "Miss Maggie" a "godsend" in her life. "She means everything to me," she said. Maggie, a "rotten to the core" and affectionate lapdog, "is as close to being human as a dog can be. We talk about everything, and she never gives me any backtalk," Bobbie laughed.
"We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution." - Abraham Lincoln
The folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have just released their recommendation for words and phrases that should be erased from our vocabulary in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
It is an amazement to me that people seem to find columns about grammar interesting. I feel, every time I write one, that I am back teaching school and I can envision my readers falling asleep as they read a somewhat esoteric discussion about a grammar question.
Now that the Iowa Caucus is over, we can go ahead and celebrate the real start of the presidential primary season.
The good news is this is our democracy in action; the bad news is, it will be in action for the next nine months.