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.
Since becoming a regular columnist, I've avoided writing about trails or bicycles. I get type-cast as an advocate, and there are so many other great topics. But, it's Bike Month, so I can't resist reflecting on the wonders of two-wheeled, self-propelled transportation.
The League of American Bicyclists declared May National Bike Month in 1956 and they've celebrated for 55 years. Today, at 3 p.m. on the square, Mayor Ronnie Johnston will proclaim May 2012 Bike Month in Covington, before the monthly Community Bike Ride. It's a gentle, family-friendly ride, suitable for kids and adults ...
One hundred years ago, the European powers were hurtling down a path leading to World War I. Trench warfare became the dominant image of that war, as both sides dug in and the battle lines barely moved. Many called it the "War to End All Wars," but in the end it merely set the stage for World War II.
Election 2012 is shaping up to be the political equivalent of trench warfare that fails to resolve anything.
Last night, President Obama visited Afghanistan and stood on the shoulders of the U.S. military to trumpet his foreign policy. But that military is being eviscerated under the president's budget cuts, creating a hollow force and exacerbating today's readiness crisis.
These days I'm just waiting to see what institution, individual or entity will be the next disgraced by scandal, lies or cover-ups. How the mighty do fall, and they seem to be falling in ever more rapid succession in a 24/7 news environment and the exploding social media universe. In many cases, we "know" way too much about a possible scandal before the facts can prove it right or baseless.
The spring weather has tempted all of us to get outdoors. I think everyone has decided to enjoy the nice weather before it gets so hot that going outdoors results in immediate heat prostration. I was going to mention getting hot and sweaty, but I read somewhere, I can't give you an attribution, that ladies don't sweat; they glow. In fact, a friend of mine swears that her mother belonged to a garden club called Hoe and Glow.
I see many families, groups of ladies and solitary walkers on the sidewalks around town. Mothers with strollers and walkers ...
As the U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with the Obama administration's challenge of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration, the overall issue of immigration remains misunderstood by both political parties in Washington.
I have recently found myself thinking about these questions: "Can one person really have an impact on our local economy? Can one person's vision, ideas, influence and labor really change the direction of a whole community or does our future and economy just happen to us?"
"Our Thoughts" last Sunday raised an interesting question: Is Newton County part of Metro Atlanta? For the Editorial Board of the Covington News, commenting on reporting of the Baxter International announcement, the answer was a resounding "no." But, as far as the rest of Georgia is concerned, "it depends."
The trial of John Edwards - former everything, including senator, vice-presidential candidate, presidential candidate and Father of the Year - is getting underway in North Carolina.
Monday night, my husband came home around 8:30 p.m. and was surprised to find me painting my office. Early that morning, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I decided to paint my office. The deadline was driven by a Tuesday installation appointment for a TV. After all, why hang the TV on a wall with old paint, nail holes and patches of paint missing where the dry-erase squares had been removed?
Only six years ago, Shannon Davis was the petite, pretty and pert front desk manager at the Newton County Chamber of Commerce, a part-time employee. Today she's one of the local faces of the state and regional team that landed a $1 billion investment by Baxter International at Stanton Springs industrial park that will put 1,000-1,500 people to work by 2018.
With justices questioning his aggressive assertion of federal power on both health care and immigration laws, President Obama faces the prospect of two major setbacks at the U.S. Supreme Court in the middle of his re-election campaign.
I wrote one column about unexpected and funny answers students sometimes write on tests. But unexpected and funny answers from students can come in other forms. When you get a funny answer to a question and the whole class is paying attention, you don't want to laugh and hurt a student's feelings, but sometimes the comment is so startling that you just can't help but laugh.
Calling on a student to read a passage or a sentence in a grammar exercise can be tricky. Some students don't like to read aloud and some can't do ...
Dear Governor, I know you have been waiting to hear how I think you are handling things these days, but I wanted to give you time to get the legislators out of town and to be sure all the silverware is accounted for. Plus, I have been busy trying to help your pal, Leroy Gingrich, understand he has blown his chances of becoming President of the United States and that he might want to go back to Washington and moonlight as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
I like your low-key style and the way you are willing to work with both parties ...
Glad to see you back again this week. Have you had a chance to gather your tools for your hunt? Did you get a chance to explore Ancestry.com? Did you go visit the Newton County Library's Heritage Room? The Library has genealogy volunteers just about everyday in the Heritage Room to help you. How about that steno book and loose leaf notebook?