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.
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.