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.
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.
We Americans have always been noted for our ability to have opposing political groups playing hardball politics while remaining civil and non-violent. When the campaigning, debating and voting was over, we returned to running the government and moving forward. The night time threats of physical violence to an opponent and his family was reserved for the banana republics and dictatorships. Sadly, some citizens of Newton County have recently displayed banana republic political behavior.
"To you, I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!"
My granddaughter in the fourth grade recently had a test over pronouns, and in particular the many different spellings and meanings of "there, their, they're, theirs, there's.
The lighting was dim and the air filled with the fragrance of carnations and roses last Friday night. The tiny baby lay there quietly, with perfectly round cheeks and a little button nose, like on all newborn faces. A knit cap covered his hair, a monogrammed blanket was tucked beneath his chin, and as I heard others remarking, that precious baby looked just like a porcelain doll displayed in a box.
Budget follies are in full swing in the nation's capital once again. Republicans, who agreed to automatic cuts a few months ago, are now trying to find a way to avoid defense cuts.
I'm going to take the opportunity this week to write a letter of thanks to our veterans.