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.
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.
The New Year is upon us and now is the time to look to the future and all the changes we will make next year. In other words, this is the time for the annual New Year's Day resolutions.
It seems that the more I delve into the facts surrounding the process of the acquisition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Right of Way and its conversion to trails, the more clear it becomes that the entire endeavor is much more costly and complex than previously portrayed.
Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon. President Gerald Ford. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bill Gates Sr. George Meyer, writer/producer of "The Simpsons." Ross Perot. NBA veteran Bill Bradley. Hotelier J. Willard Marriott Sr. A motley crew, you might say, but they are all Eagle Scouts.
Last night, after traveling from Atlanta, my family and I arrived - hungry and tired - in Des Moines, Iowa. We are staying in the home of a friend who is out of town and decided to order pizza. I found a restaurant on Google Maps and called to place the order, only to be informed that I had reached the wrong location. The man on the other end of the line gave me the number of a different location, which I called. The promised delivery time was 45 minutes to an hour. Not too speedy, I thought, but good enough. I ...
Do you find yourself continually searching for the most mundane things? I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my car keys. But only when I am in a hurry. It must be an axiom that you only lose things when you are in a hurry and have no time to look for them. Do you dial your cell phone from your land line because you can't find your cell phone? I do.
I know this probably sounds strange, but one of the most profound moments of my entire Christmas season happened while I was in the kitchen, making candy.
Scientists everywhere are decoding the human genome to see what we're made of and how we can make ourselves better. I'm no geneticist, but I know a little bit about southerners, and I'll certify that there is a special part of our DNA that makes us what we really are. We may be talking about just a few genes, but we southerners are programmed in a way that makes our lives much better here in our little part of the world.
There are few holidays that speak to family memories and traditions more than Christmas. The type of tree, when to put it up, when to take it down, what ancient family ornament goes where, the Christmas morning breakfast, Christmas Day dinner and when to open gifts all are ingrained in our family histories.
I have always loved Christmas and its traditions; even as I have grown older, I find that really deep in my heart I still believe in Santa Claus and the spirit of the whole season, and I just can't wait until I see the "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" re-runs at this time of year with the grandchildren.