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.
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.
Just what were these guys thinking?
Mort Ewing and Tim Fleming, members of the Newton County Board of Commissioners, are reported to have said, that no one has asked them to raise their taxes. Maybe, but to me, that's asking the wrong question.
Here we go again. Yet another public office holder - a New York Congressman - has been caught in and disgraced by an egregious and revolting lapse in judgment, to put it mildly. I won't go into the details, but it involved his Twitter account.
The people of Newton County and the five cities located here have suffered dramatically during this great recession that seems to have no end.
Well, it looks like I am in another theological pickle.
It's gardening time in Georgia, and some of my friends are sharing pictures of tomatoes, peppers, squash and all the other plants they're growing in their backyards. I love to see all this home gardening, but thankfully, I haven't seen any pictures of okra plants. Before I tell you about my hatred for okra, I'd better explain a bit about the proper pronunciation. It wasn't until I was in college that I learned that the itchy pods that we grew each year were pronounced "OAK-RAH." I grew up saying "OAK-REE," and I'd usually pronounce ...
I can be predictable in my columns.
The church in which I grew up had a tradition of singing one particular song more often than any other. In the middle of the service, just before the pastoral prayer, we would sing "Take time to be Holy."
This week in the church year, we are celebrating the Ascension of Jesus. That's the day, 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, that he elevated in front of the disciples' eyes and rose up to the heavens until the clouds hid him from their sight (See Luke 24 or Acts 1).
"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it."
The sale of 200 million shares of AIG stock by the U.S. treasury in late May was reported to have made a "small profit." There are a couple of things about that sale and the U.S. ownership stake in AIG I find puzzling.
It's not as if I were planning a trip to Germany this summer, but being a vegetarian, I would give it a wide berth for now. Some 1,500 people who live there or who have visited there recently have been sickened by one of the world's largest ever outbreaks of a heretofore unknown E. coli infection that has killed 18, making it the deadliest outbreak in history. Suspicion is pointing toward imported lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, leading Russia to ban all vegetable imports. When the advice is not to eat summer's salad bounty, I think I ...
It's hot, darn hot, about 13 degrees warmer than average, and supposed to top out at a searing 97 degrees today in Newton County.
Rats. I thought I could get out of writing a column this week.
Do you remember the Bible verses about Peter denying Christ three times, or the disciples arguing about seating arrangements up in Heaven, or the time they fell asleep while they should have been praying? How do most good folks react, when they hear about someone who disappointed Jesus? Some of them get high-and-mighty, pretty quickly. "Oh, I wouldn't have let Christ down! No sir! Not me! I'd have marched up to those Roman soldiers, and said, 'You want my savior? Well, you'll have to take me first!' That's what I would have said, praise God!"