At the age of 91, Henry Kissinger has published yet another book - his 17th in 60 years, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson. In that sense, "World Order" is something of a miracle, but it is also a swell read. So, I initially thought, was a review of it in The New York Times by John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of the admirable Economist magazine - and I praised it to him in an email. A bit later, I did a double-take. I still like the book, but Micklethwait's review is a different matter.
The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week's column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. "Surely, you can find some positive things to write about," she said, "and temporarily take people's minds off all the terrible things going on in the world. I think your readers would appreciate that."
At a July fundraising event in Chicago, Mrs. Michelle Obama remarked, "So, yeah, there's too much money in politics. There's (sic) special interests that have too much influence." Sen. John McCain has been complaining for years that "there is too much money washing around political campaigns today." According to a 2012 Reuters poll, "Seventy-five percent of Americans feel there is too much money in politics." Let's think about money in politics, but first a few facts.
President Obama's health care law is the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP.
According to a Gallup Poll released this week, "Americans' trust in the federal government to handle international problems has fallen to a record-low 43 percent, ... Separately, 40 percent of Americans say they have a 'great deal' or 'fair amount' of trust in the federal government to handle domestic problems, also the lowest Gallup has measured to date." (Poll conducted September 4-7, 2014, with 1,017 adults, 95 percent confidence level, +/- 4 points).
What is it that makes so many blacks so angry? What is it that makes so many of them blame the realities of life that beset everyone, e.g., debt, disappointment, etc., a result of their being black?
Remember the story of "The Little Engine That Could?" That could very well describe the city of Dalton, a town of some 34,000 nestled in the corner of Northwest Georgia, not far from the Tennessee line.
"All politics is local," the late Speaker of the House Tip O' Neill famously said. How right he was. The world today is suffering from the failure of President Obama to apply a school of law enforcement that happened to originate in O'Neill's hometown, Boston, and goes by the moniker "broken windows." The problem, simply stated, is that Obama was deaf to the sound of tinkling glass.
The lovable legend of Robin Hood with his band of Merry Men making life difficult for the Sheriff of Nottingham offers a great way to understand the politics of 21st century America.
What a difference a year makes. Last September, the Obama administration and the media were cheering happenstance as victory. A quick review of last year's events: the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilians, tough talk by President Barack Obama, an administration push for a congressional vote for use of force, Secretary of State John Kerry's off-the-cuff remark regarding Syria giving up chemical weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraging the remark into action, the Obama administration claiming a great solution.
A recent column on Vox.com may have inadvertently highlighted the gap between the nation's political elites and the rest of the nation. Vox is an "explanatory journalism" site founded by former Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein.
Can it be? Is it September already? One of my favorite tunes, "September Song," was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called "Knickerbocker Holiday. The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia - "For it's a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
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."
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.
Your parakeet may be the only one who noticed, but I didn't write my column last week. I'd planned to offer some snappy New Year's resolutions, but I procrastinated and the next thing I knew, my first grandson - Daniel Christopher McCoy - was on his way, and I was off to the hospital to meet him. Yep, I'm a grandfather now, and my whole life is changing. I was expecting to be able to handle this title with ease, but being a grandfather is more powerful and transformative than I knew. If you have grandkids, you'll ...
Some things just never change. We shake off the stresses and excesses of the holiday season that began way back at Thanksgiving and then ring in the New Year with sometimes-forced merry-making and excesses of another kind. (Here's hoping you chose ABC's Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark, bless his heart, as late night companions over CNN's Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN. Oh my aching head, and it wasn't the champagne!)
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, has signed an exclusive contract with one of the nation's premier prognosticators, Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Ga.