What time is it, boys and girls? It's time for Answer Man! Time to dip into the ol' mailbag and see what is on your mind and show you how little is on ours. While we can't guarantee total and complete accuracy in our answers, it is Answer Man's opinion that this won't matter because if you knew the answer, you probably wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.
Dear City of Covington Residents,
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.
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.
I guess I'm just a Luddite, trapped in a world-gone-by, but I prefer old movies to most of the ones coming out now. While there are some really good movies - the Harry Potter series comes to mind - most of the new stuff is just too trashy for me. There's too much cussin', too much sex, and way too much irreverence being shown to the things I care about. But those old movies are different. There's something comforting about watching a movie that celebrates goodness and honesty and doesn't glorify evil. That might seem so old fashioned ...
The aging process is a strange thing.
A special work session of the Board of Commissioners of Newton County was held Monday night to determine the continuing status of the Administrative Assistant position and how that position would function and report. Up to this time the position held by Mr. Middleton reported directly to the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Kathy Morgan. Chairman Morgan had full administrative power and singular control of the daily operations of Newton County.
I am still not quite sure whether it is the result of the open-heart surgery I had 13 years ago or the fact I have gotten older, but it seems that I can well up with uncontrolled tears these days due to the strangest things.
If only I could turn my thoughts to all that's pleasant this time of year. Aren't the trees just gorgeous? And what about these perfect, blue-sky days we've enjoyed?
Gov. Nathan Deal has once again overlooked my immense talents when making his governmental appointments. Seven former legislators have recently been appointed to high posts in the Deal administration. Why legislators? One observer told the Atlanta Newspapers that it helps to have had the experience of serving in the Legislature to understand the inner workings of government. I already understand the inner workings of government: Free "working trips" to Germany, eating off lizard-loafered lobbyists, never paying to see a ballgame and furloughing school teachers. I guess I'll stick to being a modest and much-beloved columnist where my inner working ...
I direct a duplicate bridge game once a week. To make me sound important, I am an American Contract Bridge League certified director. That fancy name doesn't mean much. Last week, however, the other directors were out of town, and I had to direct three games.
It's one of those things that makes you go, huh?
Gents, we're often accused of being unable to do anything culinary other than burning steaks on a charcoal grill or making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I don't think this reputation is fair, but the ladies may have a point or two in their favor. For instance, I've yet to meet a man who owns a recipe box - one of those wooden dust-gatherers where you keep index cards with step-by-step instructions for making pies, cakes and casseroles. I don't know too many men who wear floral aprons either, but let's stick to the recipe problem. Go out in ...