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.
It's the last few weeks of summer. For those of us with children in school, this is our last chance to get away before becoming engulfed in school schedules, homework, activities and carpool. For children, it is their last chance to be carefree, sleep in and play with friends.
Many years ago, the Saturday Evening Post was one of the best-known magazines in America. But somehow I learned that the Saturday Evening Post was actually published on Wednesday morning. That was a little disconcerting at first. But it was one of the most valuable lessons, that words do not necessarily reflect reality.
For most of us most of the time, the days of our lives go rolling along placidly and maintain a predictable pace. The paper arrives at 5:30 a.m. The garbage truck comes on, say, Thursdays, and most of us manage to get the Herby Curby out the night before. (It's hit or miss here.) The laundry gets picked up on Saturdays, and Wednesday is Senior Citizen's Day at the local grocery.
School starts this week. I taught high school English (or language arts as it is now called) for over 30 years and have been retired for over 10 years.
The 15th anniversary of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games has come and gone with barely a whimper. Looking back, the Olympic Games were not the City of Atlanta's finest hours - or days. They were given a unique gift and didn't know what to do with it. I know. I was managing director - communications and government relations for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games - and had a front row seat to all the action.
Think about it: Do you ever go through your days or weeks responding to situations or to the people in your life as if you were a robot? My answer, regrettably, would be "yes." I'm definitely not a pilot, but you could call me an "autopilot." My responses, decisions and actions often derive from instinct or intuition, habit, cues from the people with whom I come in contact or commonly perceived expectations in certain situations.
The big news, as far as the media are concerned, is the political game of debt-ceiling chicken that is being played by Democrats and Republicans in Washington. But, however much the media are focused on what is happening inside the Beltway, there is a whole country outside the Beltway - and the time is long overdue to start thinking about what is best for the rest of the country, not just for right now but for the long haul.
In her July 22 column, Barbara Morgan tells us that "bold, well spoken retiree" Bill Hoosen is upset that the Newton County Board of Commissioners did not recently raise property taxes. According to Morgan, Hoosen believes the lack of a tax increase "will harm the county."
There is a fallacious, salacious and slightly audacious rumor afloat that I can be a tad politically-incorrect at times. Moi? Knock me over with a (organically-grown) goose feather. I'll have you know that some of my best friends are (fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank), not to mention (fill in the blank.) On rare occasions, I have even been seen in public with (fill in the blank.)
There are a number of undisputed facts in the current debt ceiling debate.
SEA ISLAND, Ga. - Normally, the surf can be heard faintly throughout our family's house on the coast of Georgia.
As of this writing the space shuttle has left the International Space Station for the last time and the program has officially ended.
Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this common sense fact is routinely ignored.
You've got to give it to Bill Hoosen. He's a bold, well-spoken retiree and Newton County resident who's unafraid to stand up to the Board of Commissioners when he thinks they're about to vote into law a budget that he believes will harm the county.
You would think designing a license tag would be relatively simple, wouldn't you?