Here's how my Aug. 11, 2003, column began: "Anyone who believes President Bush's Africa initiative, including sending U.S. troops to Liberia, will amount to more than a hill of beans is whistling Dixie. Maybe it's overly pessimistic, but most of Africa is a continent without much hope for its people." More than a decade has passed since that assessment, and little has changed to suggest a more optimistic outlook. Now Ebola threatens the very existence of the West African nations Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Moreover, the deadly disease is likely to spread to neighboring nations.
My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the mid-1970s, when I was in grammar school. Her goal, at that time, was to stay alive to see my older sister Kathy and me graduate from high school. She neither dwelled on the disease, nor on why she was stricken with it, but instead focused on getting rid of the cancer and living for her two daughters.
Ben Bradlee would not have liked me to say so, but he was the living refutation of the Declaration of Independence: All men are not created equal. Certainly, he was not. He was born rich and well-connected, a member of the WASP tribe that once ran much of America and nearly all of its prestigious institutions. He was compellingly handsome and so smart that no crossword puzzle could really challenge him. It's not that he didn't have a weakness. He did. He was a sucker for the underdog.
So as to give some perspective, I'm going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.
Last week Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia.
To understand the lack of enthusiasm most Americans feel about the midterm elections, it's important to recognize a vital distinction between government and community.
While new and novel might be exciting, routine and habit can help create a structure and framework for success. From eating breakfast, brushing our teeth or exercising every day, much of our lives are driven by routine. This reliance on routine behavior can startle us when we are driving and find ourselves not at our planned destination, but at our routine destination.
Tell me something: What do you think would happen if the United States concludes that Iran has been cheating and delaying and is about to pop a fully functional nuclear weapons program? Would President Obama respond by joining Israel to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities to smithereens - or would he stall and equivocate? My bet is the latter and so, just to double down, is what I bet the Iranians are betting. They have taken the measure of Obama. He lacks menace.
The Food and Drug Administration can make two types of errors. It can approve a drug that has dangerous unanticipated side effects, or it can reject or delay approval of a drug that is safe and effective. Let's look at these errors, because to err on the side of under- or over-caution is costly.
It's a little thing, but it bugs me a lot.
If I die anytime soon - and I have no plans to do so at the moment - please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, "He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association." You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad Pitt and my uncanny ability to put commas where they don't belong.
Ever since the 1976 election, I've understood the importance of voter turnout. My father was running for United States Congress in rural Georgia, having lost in 1974. He realized in early 1976 that running as a republican in Georgia, while Jimmy Carter was topping the democratic ticket, was going to be a hard feat to pull off, but confident of his ability to work hard, he trudged forward.
This past summer I travelled back home to attend the 50th year reunion of the class of 1964 of St Mary's High in Annapolis Maryland.
In 1913, an entrepreneur "said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years." For that accurate assessment of reality, he was prosecuted for stock fraud. A U.S. District Attorney claimed that, "based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public ... has been persuaded to buy stock in his company."
The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, was questioned this past Tuesday by members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding lapses in Secret Service Performance. The hearing focused primarily on an incident that took place on September 19. Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, allegedly jumped the White House fence, ran across the White House lawn, ran up a flight of stairs and through the North Portico door. He then allegedly entered the entrance hall, turned left and headed into the East Room, where he was tackled and subdued. A knife was allegedly found in his possession.
Our cottage in Oxford is once again a woodsy retreat, lush with fresh greenery and new growth.
In case you missed this, there is a bill calling for the governor to be able to remove members of the Atlanta School Board if they keep chicken fighting among themselves rather than doing their job.
This year's legislative session is at last over.
If change were the criteria for judging school improvement, many school systems would be way down the road towards greater student learning. And, while "first order change" (an extension of the past consistent with existing knowledge and skills) is hardly the same as "second order change" (a break from the past requiring new knowledge and skills), both types are at work in Newton County School System as we seek continuous improvement.
Settle back friends, 'cause I'm about to tell you a story that may leave you slack-jawed and dumbfounded.
Economics is much simpler than many highly-paid pundits would like you to believe.
My head spins. My eyes cross. My neck tightens. I find it hard to draw a deep breath, and my hands tremble uncontrollably.
Donna and I have seen a lot of Newton County and environs in the past few weeks.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company is pleased to recognize members of the 2011 General Assembly who gave so much so that we could get so little.
Upon occasion, when meeting someone for the first time, I've fielded queries about my last name. A knowledgeable baseball fan, for instance, might ask if I were related to the late, great Ernie Harwell of Detroit Tigers broadcasting fame.
Ice cream hunting season is almost here. I'm so excited! During winter, all the ice cream migrates down to Miami where it congregates in retired autoworkers' refrigerators until it's safe to return home. Sadly some of the ice cream will never make it to Georgia. If you wonder why that happens, just look at the average retired autoworker's stomach. Mother
If there were a Vogue magazine for cities, Covington would have been on its cover Wednesday. There couldn't have been a finer day for showcasing our little burg to 50or so state officials, downtown professionals, developers and foundation representatives who arrived for the Heart and Soul bus tour.
We celebrate Palm Sunday this week to remember what seems like the pinnacle of Jesus' ministry.
The Civil War started 150 years ago this week, threatening to tear our country apart. In the end the Union prevailed. In today's turbulent times, the lessons from the Civil War are still applicable.
When it comes to driving, it sometimes seems that we have the worst of both worlds in Newton County, with urban congestion on roads and drivers who learned their skills in the country.