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.
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.
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.