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.
Every morning in December, I enjoy a laugh as I look out my front window and see our eight-foot-tall inflatable Santa flattened on the ground. It's just so funny to see the jolly old man face-planted in the dirt, quite realistically reflecting the way I feel at the end of every December day - totally, utterly deflated.
Over the years, a group of local men have met every Friday to pray and read the Bible; from one of those meetings, the annual legislative breakfast was born.
I wish I had a cup of coffee for every time someone has advised me to drive in the right-hand lane on the interstate. Actually, that would be too many coffee cups to wash, so I'll settle for a few pounds of coffee beans, and I'll brew it myself. The fact is, I've heard this comment over and over: "Stay right! It's safer!" I'm sure there are safety advantages to consider, and - as my wife reminded me - traffic laws often require you to drive in the right-hand lane. So, I'm not about to offer ...
I heard a modern version of the Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael story this week. You may remember Abraham, who turned Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert, with bread and a skin of water. (The Abraham of Ishmael and Issac.) Both of which were soon exhausted.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is moving into its third month across the country. While the original goals of the group may have had a bit of merit, their tactics and stubborn refusal to work with those they attack and to seek real solutions exhibits their true colors, anarchy and destruction.
Does evil exist in the world? Is there really a devil that competes with God for control of the human mind? Are there unseen evil spirits that wreak havoc on the affairs of human beings? There is no simple answer to any of these questions or one that will satisfy all of us. All of the world's major religions wrestle with the subject of evil, even Buddhists who believe that evil exists only in a person's mind and can be overcome with practice.
Today, I ask for a moment of personal privilege. It was two years ago this week that I wrote about the Three Wise Men that have so greatly influenced my life: Roy Hodnett, a real estate magnate on Saint Simons Island; Dr. Raymond Cook, my college professor, now residing in Valdosta; and John W. Jacobs, Jr., a broadcast pioneer and philanthropist from Gainesville. All three in their 90s or close to it. All three a part of the Greatest Generation. All three family men of faith. I could not have asked for better role models.
A bank-o-mat ate my debit card in Bratislava. I bet you have never made that statement before. I had to make it twice and then explain it to a teller last April.
Did you know that Jim Crow is coming back? Just in time for the holidays. Not the Jim Crow I grew up with in the Deep South but a financial Jim Crow.
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.