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.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sometimes called ISIS or IS, is a Sunni extremist group that follows al-Qaida's anti-West ideology and sees a holy war against the West as a religious duty. With regard to nonbelievers, the Quran commands, "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out." The Quran contains many other verses that call for Muslim violence against nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.
Last Saturday while the Bulldog nation sweated out a 35-32 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers that should not have been as hard as our scholar-athletes made it, former head football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley's first team at UGA was recognized on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. As nice as that was, more - much more - needs to be done to honor the legendary Hall of Fame coach.
It's a fortunate thing that Bill O'Reilly's latest book, "Killing Patton," was written by him and not someone else. In that case, O'Reilly would have taken the poor person apart, criticizing the book for its chaotic structure, for its considerable padding and for its repellent admiration of a war-loving martinet who fought the Nazis and really never understood why. George S. Patton stood almost shoulder to shoulder with them in his anti-Semitism -- not that O'Reilly seems to have noticed or, for that matter, mentioned in his book.
I know I've already used this famous slogan of Bill Clinton from his last presidential campaign a number of times, but holy cow Batman, we are drowning in endless preaching on increasing revenue (secret word for taxes) and totally ignoring spending.
The Buffett Rule - what a masterful misdirection play used to avert attention from the gargantuan spending and to invoke class warfare. Under the Buffett Rule, businesses and families earning $1 million will pay a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate. The president says those Americans aren't paying enough, and as proof he points to billionaire Warren Buffett ...
Recently my youngest granddaughter had surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. It was my first experience with a children's hospital, and it was an eye-opener. The staff and facility could not be more welcoming and child friendly.
The nurses wear brightly colored T-shirts to appear less threatening. The rooms have chairs which can be made into beds for parents, and mothers are allowed to sleep in the hospital beds with their children, even in pediatric intensive care.
Those of you who regularly check this space know this, but to the newcomers out there: I am a whiner.
Like Goldilocks, I whine when the porridge is too hot. I whine when the porridge is too cold. But unlike Goldilocks, I whine even when the glop is just right.
Driving my children to and from various events earlier this week, we had a discussion about what makes a good story. They are both working on writing a book (as am I - we'll see who finishes first).
Stories, I explained, are interesting because they have conflict. There are most often two forces that push against each other. In classic stories, it's good versus evil. Really interesting stories have subplots, which reflect conflicts within conflicts.
What's become of our society? Our youth? Our parenting? Children used to dream of being able to go to middle school instead of working in factories, let alone high school. Why has the parenting become so laissez-faire that our teens no longer wish to learn and become educated? Why has the "education" system lowered its standards simply to accommodate for the lacking of our generation? Why is our society sacrificing education and knowledge for the sake of schooling?
Our dropout rates are decreasing, but each teenage generation as a whole seems to care less about education than the previous ...
The 1970s were described famously by novelist Tom Wolfe as the "Me Decade" in a 1976 article in New York Magazine.
If I were asked to pin a label on the period we live in today, I would call this the "Who? Me!?" decade.
Any doubt that Mitt Romney would win the Republican presidential nomination vanished when Rick Santorum left the race. It also marked the end of Romney's time as the defining figure in the overall contest for the White House.
On a warm day, back in the dark ages when Richard Milhous Nixon was the Emperor of DC and double-knit polyester was the darling of the fashion industry, I was scouring my school's library for something good to read. I had already polished off Thomas Edison's biography, every "Three Investigators" detective story I could find, and a piece about the father of the telegraph: Samuel F.B. Morse. And then I found it - a big, hardcover book on robots. Robots!
Outside of Chinese sweat shops, Americans are by-and-large regarded as the hardest working people on earth. This is particularly true when compared to the long-time history of less-work-and-more-play written into law in major European nations. That practice may be on the decline because of the massive government debt crises in places like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, among others. Ample pensions, early retirement and long vacations contribute to the imbalance in government revenues that is threatening the stability of those countries - and leading to riots in many places contesting the cuts to pensions, play and pay.
The United States House of Representatives has passed a Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan. His budget has been dubbed "The Path to Prosperity" which is aptly named since it starts the reversal of current trends and knifes through the controversy. The Ryan budget is not just a blueprint for spending. It's a platform for governing that deliberately and self-consciously advances "the timeless principles of the American Idea"- among them limited government, free enterprise and economic liberty.
I tend to daydream. Sometimes I look at the shape of the clouds above me and I can see a tea kettle or maybe the little fat guy that used to run North Korea. And then sometimes I just close my eyes and think of headlines I would like to see, such as:
President Obama says teleprompters make him say dumb things
There have been many scientific discoveries in my lifetime. Some helpful, some not.
Certainly the fruition of John Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon should be near the top of the list. Then there was the ability to create and harness atomic energy. I'm not sure if that can be categorized as helpful or not helpful.
We are taught at a very early age, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."
It's one of those things so positively stupid it makes you think it might not be a bad idea.
As Mitt Romney assumes the role of presumptive Republican nominee, polls suggest a competitive general election matchup between the former Massachusetts governor and President Obama. Typically, both candidates poll in the mid-40s, while 10 to 12 percent remain uncommitted to either side.
Among these uncommitted voters, Rasmussen Reports polling shows that just 22 percent approve of the way the president is handling his job. Seventy-two percent (72 percent) disapprove. As for intensity, just 2 percent strongly approve, and 40 percent strongly disapprove.