Enthusiastic, entertaining, energized and eminent, President Obama's demeanor and delivery at the State of the Union belied his political reality. Unbowed, unbroken and possibly unaffected by the recent midterm Republican wave, Obama displayed his great skill by delivering an emotional teleprompter-driven speech that was a throwback to his first election. Varying tempo, pitch, passion and inflection, his speech was more a theatrical performance than a delivery of a prewritten, pre-released text.
Our 18-year-old granddaughter is living with us again as she goes to school, and I love having her. It reminds me of the time she was a baby living with us, and she was the love of my life - besides Molly, of course - and I took her everywhere. I packed her on my back as I covered meetings, we visited Disneyland every week, I decked her out in Disney clothes, we rode every mall merry-go-round in Southern California, we watched some of the most God-awful movies together - the adventures of Lava Boy being the worst - we enjoyed our evening walks ...
My first week of legislative "work" is complete, and it has been a whirlwind. It is hard to imagine how any person can meet so many people and deal with so many issues so quickly. Luckily, I have a very good mentor in former Representative Doug Holt who is helping me wade through the distractions.
Last week's column focused on the ways liberals use blacks in pursuit of their leftist agenda, plus their demeaning attitudes toward black people. Most demeaning are their double standards. It was recently reported that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, spoke at a 2002 gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders when he was a Louisiana state representative. Some are calling on Scalise to step down or for House Speaker John Boehner to fire him. There's no claim that Scalise made racist statements.
As members of the 114th Congress were sworn into office on Tuesday, their party affiliations described what happened last November: 246 of the 435 representatives and 54 of the 100 senators are Republican.
As we enter 2015, the politics of the president's health care law are little changed from last year or the year before, or any year since it was passed. The details change with the calendar, but year after year, the law remains a major drag on President Obama's popularity and legacy.
New Year's is the almost-perfect holiday (Christmas takes the blue ribbon). It's a combination of reflecting, celebrating or possibly just being glad of getting rid of the old year - while at the same time looking forward to the potential and possibilities of the year to come. It's the bridge between the past and present, where what has been done is over - but the future still looks bright, if a bit hazy.
I had just returned from the local toxic waste site where I had disposed of my holiday fruit cakes and was busy cramming my Christmas tree down the garbage disposal (don't ask), when I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was the Environmental Protection Agency coming to talk to me about polluting the toxic waste site with fruit cakes.
The rain this past week certainly has been a blessing as a good rain always is, but for newspaper people in circulation, inclement weather has always been one big pain in the rear.
Almost four decades ago, when I was in Mrs. Carmichael's Sunday School class, I memorized Luke Chapter 2, (the King James version of course). It took hours of practice and study, but the words still come when prompted by the line before.
Maybe it's the fact that I have more days in the rearview mirror than I have ahead of me, but at this special time of year I am more aware than ever of the gift of friendships. Friendships are always the correct size, the right color and don't require a set of instructions on how to operate them. They are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Intelligence school in Denver, CO was thought-provoking, complicated, and opened enigmatic doors I never thought existed. We mastered the art of dissemination; gained knowledge of codes; planned and plotted and analyzed envisioned missions; studied Soviet military equipment to master photographic interpretation; and were privy to a few top secret particulars that are now prehistoric. As Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago in his military masterpiece The Art of War, "Know your enemy better than you know yourself."
This is my second Christmas season without my mother, and so far it's been harder than the first. I had known that the first year would be hard, and all I really cared about was surviving it. Activity was my friend: My sister Kathy and I spent the fall wrapping up her estate, selling her house, and sharing her prized possessions with family and friends. We talked every day. Much of our connection was activity-based: Was her account closed? Were the papers signed? It was hard, but I had known that it was going to be hard -- so I ...
Japan is working hard at forgetting. Its prime minister, Shinzo Abe, suggests in code-talk that Japan was the victim of World War II - no war criminals at all, thank you - and its influential conservative press, with a wink from the government, is determined to whitewash the country's use of sex slaves during the war. This sort of thing can be catching. Maybe others will forget why they consider Japan a friend.
You may recall that I vigorously opposed passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012 creating the State Charter School Commission that would allow an alternative method for authorizing charter schools in Georgia. You may recall, also, that the amendment passed handily. So much for my vigor.
The fourth week of the legislative session saw a pickup of the pace, with 12 bills and resolutions reaching the floor of the House for a vote.
The issue of ethics and tightening standards on what gifts and perks legislators can receive from friends and supporters is once again making its annual appearance in the Georgia General Assembly.
My first marathon was New York in 1992. I trained with a group for months but had never gone a full 26.2 miles before the start of the race. Turns out that's something you ought to do.
Columnist William Perugino in Friday's paper complained that the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had announced that all health insurance must offer sterilization, contraception and abortion drugs with no regard for individual beliefs. He feels that the founding fathers who fled to America to find religious freedom would now believe that that religious freedom was taken from them.
In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, I am required to submit annually a State of the Column message. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stand and applaud if you hear something that floats your boat or look bored if you don't. You may be on television.
Ten years ago as my family and I were making a list of pros and cons for moving to Georgia, we placed Georgia's abundance of state parks right up under the Atlanta Braves on the pro side. We've enjoyed so much about these protected spaces of green goodness and historic wonder since we've lived here. There's nothing quite as frugal and fabulous as a trip to a Georgia State Park, friends. One of our favorites is just a hop, skip and a jump from Covington and is rife with history and fun.
Transitional phases are never easy. Whether it's remodeling a kitchen, rearranging the furniture or cleaning out a closet, the transitional phase is always a bit messy. This past month, we had our children's bathroom remodeled. We put it off for as long as we could. The shower has leaked for years, so our two children have been using our master bathroom for showers. The water in the sink only ran out in a trickle, barely enough for brushing teeth, and always cold. When the toilet quit working in December, that was it. We had to press forward with ...
Just because the economy is bad doesn't mean your social life has to be.
The finest examples of beef cattle, hogs and breeding ewes in Newton County go head to head on Saturday, Feb. 11, as 4-H'ers and FFA members compete at the Newton Classic Livestock Show.
The very essences of the principles devoted to the founding of our country were steeped in the preservation of religious freedom. Our founding fathers fled their homes in Europe and England to find a land where they were free to worship God as they believed and pursue their lives as they wished in happiness and peace. They died to gain their freedom of religion.
"I'm not James Taylor," laughs Mansfield's singer/songwriter Johnny Roquemore, known more for his humorous, bluegrass-inspired compositions than the smooth ballads delivered by tweed-clad Taylor. Growing up in DeKalb County, Roquemore picked up an electric guitar at 14 and with a neighborhood band made some "big noise," he recalled. "All I ever wanted was an amp taller than me." In college, he played frat parties in another band, but at the same time, he got hooked on acting and enjoyed a memorable run in the Atlanta theater scene, including a lead in an Alliance Theater production.
On the rainy weekend a few weeks ago I indulged in some retail therapy - shopping. A rainy weekend with nothing to do seemed the perfect occasion to shop. I don't know many women who dislike shopping, especially if they can score a bargain.
Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned fun? I'm here to tell you, friends. Nothing happened. Good, old-fashioned fun is waiting for you and your family right outside your back door. Not only can you have hours of fun together, but you can do it for free while getting (dare I say it?) exercise, too! Like some cosmic added bonus, you'll all get to unplug from screen time - cell phones, television, computers, eReaders, iWhatevers. You can have a blast together no matter how old your kids are or how un-athletic you may be. Goodness knows, I'm as uncoordinated as ...
Whew! That was close! I almost became a Baptist the other day. Not just any Baptist, but a (gulp!) Southern Baptist.
The sweat somehow made the moment more real. There we were, standing on the stage at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Columbia, S.C., on Saturday night with my dad, Newt Gingrich, celebrating his primary victory. It was the sweat rolling down the faces and dripping off the noses of the television cameramen, photographers, audience members and even those on stage celebrating that transformed the almost surreal scene into reality.