This past week, we came to know the meaning of "Polar Vortex." The cold converged on Midwest and the Eastern regions of the country without mercy. Health issues became a matter of life and death for humans and other animals. Frostbite was threatening exposed skin. Schools were closed, and people were told to stay indoors. More than 1,000 flights were canceled. It was too dangerous for the news reporters to continue reporting on how dangerous it was. If some of us had forgotten words like "Fahrenheit" and "hypothermia," we remembered them in a hurry.
There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers.
A friend recently wrote me, "What the 'Duck Dynasty' affair means to me is that, finally, some have had the courage to say 'ENOUGH' within the context of the media."
Just three days after Christmas, I ventured into a store and was greeted by a massive display of pulmonary confectionery: Valentine's Day candy in heart-shaped boxes, as it's known on the streets. I marvel at the power of capitalism and its never-ending push for the next source of revenue, but seeing Valentine's candy while the Christmas tree is still glowing is just too much!
Before President Barack Obama's health-care law was passed, Americans were frustrated that insurance companies had too much control over the medical care they received. Now, Americans are frustrated that the government has too much control.
The folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have just released their recommendation for words and phrases that should be erased from our vocabulary in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
It is an amazement to me that people seem to find columns about grammar interesting. I feel, every time I write one, that I am back teaching school and I can envision my readers falling asleep as they read a somewhat esoteric discussion about a grammar question.
Now that the Iowa Caucus is over, we can go ahead and celebrate the real start of the presidential primary season.
The good news is this is our democracy in action; the bad news is, it will be in action for the next nine months.
Your parakeet may be the only one who noticed, but I didn't write my column last week. I'd planned to offer some snappy New Year's resolutions, but I procrastinated and the next thing I knew, my first grandson - Daniel Christopher McCoy - was on his way, and I was off to the hospital to meet him. Yep, I'm a grandfather now, and my whole life is changing. I was expecting to be able to handle this title with ease, but being a grandfather is more powerful and transformative than I knew. If you have grandkids, you'll ...
Some things just never change. We shake off the stresses and excesses of the holiday season that began way back at Thanksgiving and then ring in the New Year with sometimes-forced merry-making and excesses of another kind. (Here's hoping you chose ABC's Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark, bless his heart, as late night companions over CNN's Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN. Oh my aching head, and it wasn't the champagne!)
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, has signed an exclusive contract with one of the nation's premier prognosticators, Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Ga.
The New Year is upon us and now is the time to look to the future and all the changes we will make next year. In other words, this is the time for the annual New Year's Day resolutions.
It seems that the more I delve into the facts surrounding the process of the acquisition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Right of Way and its conversion to trails, the more clear it becomes that the entire endeavor is much more costly and complex than previously portrayed.
Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon. President Gerald Ford. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bill Gates Sr. George Meyer, writer/producer of "The Simpsons." Ross Perot. NBA veteran Bill Bradley. Hotelier J. Willard Marriott Sr. A motley crew, you might say, but they are all Eagle Scouts.
Last night, after traveling from Atlanta, my family and I arrived - hungry and tired - in Des Moines, Iowa. We are staying in the home of a friend who is out of town and decided to order pizza. I found a restaurant on Google Maps and called to place the order, only to be informed that I had reached the wrong location. The man on the other end of the line gave me the number of a different location, which I called. The promised delivery time was 45 minutes to an hour. Not too speedy, I thought, but good enough. I ...
Do you find yourself continually searching for the most mundane things? I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my car keys. But only when I am in a hurry. It must be an axiom that you only lose things when you are in a hurry and have no time to look for them. Do you dial your cell phone from your land line because you can't find your cell phone? I do.
I know this probably sounds strange, but one of the most profound moments of my entire Christmas season happened while I was in the kitchen, making candy.
Scientists everywhere are decoding the human genome to see what we're made of and how we can make ourselves better. I'm no geneticist, but I know a little bit about southerners, and I'll certify that there is a special part of our DNA that makes us what we really are. We may be talking about just a few genes, but we southerners are programmed in a way that makes our lives much better here in our little part of the world.
There are few holidays that speak to family memories and traditions more than Christmas. The type of tree, when to put it up, when to take it down, what ancient family ornament goes where, the Christmas morning breakfast, Christmas Day dinner and when to open gifts all are ingrained in our family histories.