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.
Thanksgiving is the great American holiday: no flag-waving, gift-giving, fireworks or lights, just family, friends and food.
The first "official" Thanksgiving was celebrated 222 years ago. President George Washington's first presidential proclamation designated the 26th day of November to be set aside for giving thanks.
Let's peek in on a classroom in the year 2411 where they're studying Ancient Earth History 101. Today's topic is, "The Origin of Thanksgiving."
Only two days before Thanksgiving, there I was with Christmas on my mind, and I set out to scour a few nearby retailers for something new to add to my worn-around-the-edges holiday décor. As I race-walked up and down those aisles, hoping something would catch my eye, it just didn't feel right. The mass-produced Christmas décor - snowmen, tabletop trees, Santas in every shape and size, sparkling deer, boxed ornaments in fuchsia and purple and all made in China - felt soul-less. The look on the faces of the Santas and snowmen was more sober, fixed and shocked than ...
You might wonder about the title of this article if you're anything like me. You see, I struggle with portion control. So Thanksgiving can be a real problem for me. I'm guessing I'm not alone. I'm pretty sure that there are very few people reading this who limited their calorie intake to the recommended daily amount yesterday. And even though I'm writing this before Thanksgiving, I'm pretty confident that this will prove to be a true statement. I ate a lot on Thanksgiving.
My article "Have We Lost Our Civility in Politics," printed on Nov. 18, has drawn some criticism in the form of Letters to the Editor penned by Bob Furnad and Maurice Carter.
Junior E. Lee is one of my most valued associates, but he can be a load to manage and a bit of a know-it-all.
I have a birthday this week. A big one. Reaching this day has caused me to muse about some of the changes that accompany reaching such a milestone.
My parents just had new windows installed in our old house. The original wooden windows had been weathering and wearing since 1968, and the folks decided against scraping and painting them one last time. I saw the new windows this weekend, as I was visiting my old hometown, and as we admired the craftsmanship, we wound up in my old bedroom where a fancy new sliding unit had been installed. It was about a few seconds after I opened the new window that I realized I was falling through it.
Turkey day is approaching and it is a wonder time.
They may just give Dasher, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph a run for their money.
"What is the meaning of life?" my middle school daughter asked me recently as we were lying on her bed one evening. After a few minutes of contemplation, knowing that the answer was not about acquisition of money, fame or power, and that material items might provide ease in life, but not meaning, I responded that it is "to experience and then to allow God's grace to shine through you to others."
It seems the Christmas holidays arrive a little earlier every year, thanks in part to retailers pushing to get every sale they can. This year we saw Christmas decorations out well before Halloween and a few communities have already put up Christmas decorations and turned on their Christmas lights.
Hallelujah! It's a word we've all heard, probably all used. Hallelujah! It's a word that means "Praise the Lord." You see it all over the place in the Old Testament as the people praised God when they saw one work of his or another. "Hallelujah" is what we're told we'll be shouting for all time in heaven, in the presence of our God we won't be able to keep from praising.
Are you asking yourself every day where has this year gone? It is now the middle of November. Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas, a little more than four weeks later, and New Year's less than a week after that.