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.
As a college student, I was always grubbing for a few extra dollars. I held part-time restaurant and retail jobs, and I even built hydraulic hoses for 18-wheelers. "Anything for a buck" was my motto. It was also my excuse for becoming a telephone solicitor - that unloved wage-slave who calls your home just as you sit down to dinner. So, instead of studying or attending school events, I was often renewing magazine subscriptions or selling aluminum siding. Yeah, you read that right: aluminum siding! I fell pretty low in the late '70s. I even listened to disco.
One of the fundamental gaps between the American people and their elected politicians can be found in perceptions of the relationship between economic growth, job creation and government spending.
The runaway train has again picked up speed fueled by government's out of control spending. You certainly won't read this in the major media this week.
Campaigning and courting have something in common, I've decided. Both are built on fevered promises made at the height of passion. You know the lingo: "I'll never (whatever)." Or: "I'll always (whatever)." Or: "I promise (whatever)." "You can (always) count on me." "You'll be my top priority (forever)." "You'll (always) come first." "(Your) wish is my command." "I will (never) compromise my pledges to you." "There will (never) be a day in your life when you will question my commitment to you."
At the risk of sounding like Johnny One-Note, let me go back over my concerns one more time about the charter school constitutional amendment bill in the State Senate that may or may not have been passed by the time this gets to you. (My deadlines and legislative deadlines don't always coincide.)
The Heartland Woman's Club will hold its 21st croquet tournament Saturday at Oxford College on the field behind the tennis courts. The tournament is for novices and anyone can learn to play in less than three minutes. Teams of two players usually play at least five matches which last around 20 minutes each, and team members are treated to breakfast, lunch and prizes. There will also be a silent auction.
"School stinks!" How many times have you heard that from a kid with too much homework and not enough weekend? I'm sure every student has said it at some point, and I'm beginning to think the kids may be right, but not in the way you might be thinking and certainly not in the way they intend it.
Listen, you and I both know that using profanity is an ugly and immature thing to do. However, a cuss word or two, when the situation calls for it, can be an unavoidable sin. Let's say you just dropped a 50 foot oak tree with your new chainsaw, and you watched in horror as the tree crushed your house, which was just 40 feet away. That would justify a pretty good blast of profanity and no one would reprimand you - at least, not until you turned the chainsaw off. So, I'm not unrealistic. I know there are times ...
Just in case you missed this, a study conducted by a psychologist at Cornell University determined incompetent people are too stupid to know they are incompetent.
The federal government in Washington has grown to the level where it is dominating all aspects of our lives. The answer is in our own backyards. The states have the power to stop "Obamacare" and all other forms of out-of-control federal government mandates and overregulation from all agencies. If states want nothing to do with National Healthcare as proposed by Barack Obama or Congress, then they should refuse it.
Would you agree that television's highest rated reality show since the dawn of that egregious genre's debut has been this year's Republican presidential primary campaign? Who in their right minds consented to all those debates where facts were given hiatus, mud was the medium of discourse and lies and distortions cascaded in a verbal and suffocating avalanche? One came away not only questioning one's sanity for watching, but also that of the candidates whose performances were subjected to the microscopic review of the 24/7 press corps, as is required. The unrelenting review of every parsed ...
I lived next door to my mother-in-law for over 25 years. From the top of her blonde, blue-eyed head to the bottom of her pointy-toed high heels, she was a true Southern belle and a steel magnolia. All five foot two inches of her. Actually I think that she exaggerated her height an inch or two; she was a petite woman.
Dear Public School Teachers: The "school choice" crowd in the General Assembly is after you again. I am beginning to think this is all your fault.
Lent began this week on Feb. 22. It ends April 8 with the celebration of Easter. In the Christian tradition, the Lenten period is a time of fasting and prayer, preparation and reflection in anticipation of Easter, which commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Winter is waning and baseball season is upon us.