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.
Rock Eagle 4-H Center continues to change as cabins are gutted, torn down and replaced with beautiful new cabins.
As the man said who watched the mule dance: "That just ain't right."
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.