I am far more pessimistic about our political system than most Americans. At the same time, I am very optimistic about the future of our nation. That may seem like an odd combination to some, but I am optimistic because I recognize that Washington, D.C., does not lead the nation.
Though Wal-Mart remains fixed in the American conscience as Sam Walton's business, it is less and less that. Walton was folksy and relatable to the Americans who shopped at Wal-Mart. Everyone could imagine Sam Walton shopping there, too. But over the years, Wal-Mart's management has passed out of the direct hands of Walton's family.
The last day of my first session was thrilling and exhausting. I worked from 7 in the morning to midnight to get "Kelsey's Law" over the finish line. Only 13 minutes remained before the official "Sine Die" when all work must cease until next year. But I am incredibly grateful that my work, and the work of Newton Representatives Pam Dickerson and Doug Holt before me, finally came to fruition after four long years. More importantly, I am humbled to be just a small part of courageous Kelsey's fight to protect fellow teenage girls.
Fortune Magazine has announced its list of the World's Greatest Leaders for 2015 and would you believe that I got snubbed again this year?
The gay rights movement has tended to be a well-choreographed stage production over the last number of decades. Over time, behind the scenes, they pushed hard for gay characters in film and television. They pushed gay actors out of the closet and encouraged celebrations of diversity.
In recent weeks, I've written about how the "Bootleggers and Baptists" dynamic corrupts regulatory politics. Bruce Yandle developed this concept decades ago. He observed that Prohibition became reality because Baptists wanted people to stop drinking while the ban on legal alcohol put money in the Bootlegger's pockets. The do-gooders succeeded only because the money-grubbers joined their effort.
It seems every day now some famous personality or former friend has passed away and at 68 it makes me think sometimes of my own mortality.
I recently highlighted an important book that describes how politics really works. "Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics," by Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle, showed that prohibition became reality because it appeared to satisfy both Baptists and Bootleggers.
Approximately 1,982 years ago, a man died. In fact, many men died that day. We know for sure of three men. Two were tied to crosses and crucified. One was nailed to the cross. Had that been the end of it, it would have just been like so many other Roman crucifixions. But, unbeknownst to most anyone at the time, the first Easter weekend would become the most important weekend in the history of the world.
It was a great week for Newton County! I am ecstatic to tell you that "Haleigh's Law," the medical cannabis oil bill, passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor this week. Also my bill, "Kelsey's Law," passed unanimously in the Senate near midnight on the last night. I was also very excited that Newton County Representative Pam Dickerson's cyber-bullying law passed both the House and the Senate.
The headline to this story is an adage taught by journalism schools throughout the country. News is supposed to be based on facts and reported without bias. But alas, reporters are human and have biases, acknowledged or not. If they are blatant and obvious, then we can dismiss them out of hand, (example: Chris Matthews saying, "I felt this thrill going up my leg," when listening to a speech given by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama).
The death of Leonard Nimoy saddened millions of Trekkies around the world (including me). But it wasn't just Trekkies who mourned. In the past month, it has become clear that Mr. Spock - the character Nimoy brought to life - had become a cultural icon extending far beyond the Trek universe.
I spent last week helping to assess a group of people for a job I couldn't do if my life depended on it. Actually, what they were seeking is not a job; it is a calling. And my life here and in the hereafter depends on how well they do it.
It's apparent to anyone willing to look that a wide gap has grown between a Washington/Wall Street political class and the nation they want to rule. Less clear to many is the reason why.
Dear Valued Reader:
Curiosity is up and gone.
The other day, I met a nice older couple who had about 200 coupons in their possession, and they were using a good portion of them at the checkout counter. I paid for my few purchases, and when I finished, they were still presenting coupons. I was really impressed with their organizational skills and moxie! They had "couponing" down to a fine art, and this made me wonder: What would happen if coupons were used in all walks of life?
Last month, I wrote a column providing a midterm life update based on a question by David Brooks.
Bill Clinton successfully used the phrase "It's the economy, Stupid!" in his campaign for the presidency in 1992. Today, with the burgeoning deficit and economic disaster facing all Americans, the clarion call should be "It's the spending, Stupid!" It's not a case of insufficient tax revenue. We are over taxed, over regulated and drowning in mandatory entitlements. The task of finding fiscal responsibility to salvage our country from disaster begins at home on the local, county and state level. If we do not secure fiscal conservancy, less government intrusion and reduced spending on the local level, we ...
One of the joys of my position as chairman is getting to attend and participate in community events that bring out the best in Newton County. Meeting the people who volunteer their time, money and energy to make this county a wonderful place warms my heart, especially at Christmas.
When we were much younger, girls might have thought perfection resided in the right bottle of shampoo that promised just the right shine or swing of their long supple hair. Or the right make of hair product, in the case of a guy intent on the most stand-up crew cut. The just right shade of bubblegum pink lipstick might have cemented the impression we sought as the perfect teenage girl with just the look to win an appreciative glance from the football player two years ahead of us in school. Or in the case of a guy, the teasing look ...
We believe that the future development and growth of the Covington airport is essential to economic recovery of both Covington and Newton County.
My older daughter has hosted my family for Thanksgiving for the last several years, an arrangement which I greatly appreciate. I get to see my children, grandchildren, my sister and her son, and while I contribute, I don't have to cook the whole meal. This year, when we arrived, my husband discovered my son-in-law had recently bought one of those huge TVs that hang on the wall. My husband settled on the sofa in front of that large TV and stayed there the whole time we were at my daughter's house except for the time he was at ...
In case you have been vacationing on the moon, you may have missed the news that the student-athletes from the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, came up a wee bit short in attaining the football championship of the Southeastern Conference. That honor went to the young men of Louisiana State University who, having observed them in post-game interviews, are destined to become either, you know, great orators or, you know, quantum physicists.
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.