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 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!"
Seems the older I get, the faster time flies by. How is it that this year's Memorial Day is upon us? Last year's commemoration of America's most poignant day of remembrances seems like just yesterday.
"How're you doing?" "What's up?" "Nice to see you!" "Pleased to meet you!"
"When a rural community with a large base of farm and forestland begins to convert that land into residential development, either as a planned growth strategy or due to market forces and a lack of growth control measures, the local government is virtually guaranteed to head down a path of deteriorating financial stability and increasing local property tax rates."