Remember the story of "The Little Engine That Could?" That could very well describe the city of Dalton, a town of some 34,000 nestled in the corner of Northwest Georgia, not far from the Tennessee line.
"All politics is local," the late Speaker of the House Tip O' Neill famously said. How right he was. The world today is suffering from the failure of President Obama to apply a school of law enforcement that happened to originate in O'Neill's hometown, Boston, and goes by the moniker "broken windows." The problem, simply stated, is that Obama was deaf to the sound of tinkling glass.
The lovable legend of Robin Hood with his band of Merry Men making life difficult for the Sheriff of Nottingham offers a great way to understand the politics of 21st century America.
What a difference a year makes. Last September, the Obama administration and the media were cheering happenstance as victory. A quick review of last year's events: the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilians, tough talk by President Barack Obama, an administration push for a congressional vote for use of force, Secretary of State John Kerry's off-the-cuff remark regarding Syria giving up chemical weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraging the remark into action, the Obama administration claiming a great solution.
A recent column on Vox.com may have inadvertently highlighted the gap between the nation's political elites and the rest of the nation. Vox is an "explanatory journalism" site founded by former Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein.
Can it be? Is it September already? One of my favorite tunes, "September Song," was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called "Knickerbocker Holiday. The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia - "For it's a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
America rarely does time capsules anymore, but the ones it does should include videos from February 2011 of American TV reporters exulting in the triumph of the Arab Spring. "This is the sound of a people rising," ABC's Terry Moran told us from Cairo. For Egyptians, it was a day "when a people rose and made themselves a new country, a new world, a new life."
Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn't, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let's pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.
As the character Cecily said to Miss Fairfax in a play written by Oscar Wilde entitled "The Importance of being Earnest": "When I see a spade I call it a spade."
The news from Ferguson, Missouri, has brought back unpleasant memories from the long-ago riots in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was the summer of 1970, and I was a young teenager close enough to the action to be appropriately frightened.
My first paying job was cleaning the bathrooms at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Georgia, where I was a member. I was 14, the minimum age for "children" to work. This was neither glamorous nor exciting work, but useful and needed work. On Sundays I often over heard the "little old ladies" of the church commenting on the cleanliness of the bathroom. I remember my subsequent feeling of pride. While not a glamorous work, my actions were helpful and appreciated by those who used the facilities. For providing this useful service I earned minimum wage in 1981, ($3.35 ...
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
As Hannah Arendt foresaw, we are once again up against the question of evil. An American photojournalist, James Foley, was presented to the camera and methodically decapitated. The instrument was not the ax reserved for royalty or the whooshing blade prompted by that reformer Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but an ordinary looking knife. Death would be neither swift nor painless. This, somewhere in the bleached desert, was pure evil.
The structure of county government is once again on the agenda of the Board of Commissioners (BOC), which has scheduled a work session for Aug. 26, 2014. As readers may recall, this has been a topic of discussion for several months and the BOC has met with experts from both the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the regional planning agency. Representatives of both clearly have indicated that the current "hybrid" system of having both a full time Commission needs to be changed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of county government.
The other day I found myself thinking on how long I have been a part of the newspaper industry - it turns out that this will be my 50th year, with one year of my life working with mentally challenged adults and two working with people going into their final sunset, through Hospice.
The lighting was dim and the air filled with the fragrance of carnations and roses last Friday night. The tiny baby lay there quietly, with perfectly round cheeks and a little button nose, like on all newborn faces. A knit cap covered his hair, a monogrammed blanket was tucked beneath his chin, and as I heard others remarking, that precious baby looked just like a porcelain doll displayed in a box.
Budget follies are in full swing in the nation's capital once again. Republicans, who agreed to automatic cuts a few months ago, are now trying to find a way to avoid defense cuts.
I'm going to take the opportunity this week to write a letter of thanks to our veterans.
I guess I'm just a Luddite, trapped in a world-gone-by, but I prefer old movies to most of the ones coming out now. While there are some really good movies - the Harry Potter series comes to mind - most of the new stuff is just too trashy for me. There's too much cussin', too much sex, and way too much irreverence being shown to the things I care about. But those old movies are different. There's something comforting about watching a movie that celebrates goodness and honesty and doesn't glorify evil. That might seem so old fashioned ...
The aging process is a strange thing.
A special work session of the Board of Commissioners of Newton County was held Monday night to determine the continuing status of the Administrative Assistant position and how that position would function and report. Up to this time the position held by Mr. Middleton reported directly to the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Kathy Morgan. Chairman Morgan had full administrative power and singular control of the daily operations of Newton County.
I am still not quite sure whether it is the result of the open-heart surgery I had 13 years ago or the fact I have gotten older, but it seems that I can well up with uncontrolled tears these days due to the strangest things.
If only I could turn my thoughts to all that's pleasant this time of year. Aren't the trees just gorgeous? And what about these perfect, blue-sky days we've enjoyed?
Gov. Nathan Deal has once again overlooked my immense talents when making his governmental appointments. Seven former legislators have recently been appointed to high posts in the Deal administration. Why legislators? One observer told the Atlanta Newspapers that it helps to have had the experience of serving in the Legislature to understand the inner workings of government. I already understand the inner workings of government: Free "working trips" to Germany, eating off lizard-loafered lobbyists, never paying to see a ballgame and furloughing school teachers. I guess I'll stick to being a modest and much-beloved columnist where my inner working ...
I direct a duplicate bridge game once a week. To make me sound important, I am an American Contract Bridge League certified director. That fancy name doesn't mean much. Last week, however, the other directors were out of town, and I had to direct three games.
It's one of those things that makes you go, huh?
Gents, we're often accused of being unable to do anything culinary other than burning steaks on a charcoal grill or making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I don't think this reputation is fair, but the ladies may have a point or two in their favor. For instance, I've yet to meet a man who owns a recipe box - one of those wooden dust-gatherers where you keep index cards with step-by-step instructions for making pies, cakes and casseroles. I don't know too many men who wear floral aprons either, but let's stick to the recipe problem. Go out in ...
It will take more than a generic Republican candidate to defeat President Obama next year. Repubicans will need a leader that can inspire millions to get involved and take action. Enthusiasm, optimism and passion are called for to make the movement work.
It is fitting that President Obama is ending the war in Iraq. President Kennedy (D) got us into Vietnam and President Nixon (R) got us out. President Bush (R) got us into Iraq, and President Obama (D) will get us out.
If you think you elected a commission chair three years ago as the county Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, think again. By all accounts, three district commissioners plan to strip the administrative duties from the duly elected commission chair and vest them in a hired, unelected administrative position more than a year before the chair's first term ends.