Selfies, followers, likes and the fascination with celebrity anythings (chefs, decorators, stylists, authors, etc.) are just a few of the ways that today's society focuses attention on individuals. It's not enough to be a great chef - it's better to be a celebrity chef. It's not enough to participate in an event - it's better to snap a selfie of yourself at the event and then post it online for all to see.
During the early years of the Reagan administration, a Washington news conference was held for me for my first book, "The State Against Blacks." Before making summary statements about the book, I offered the reporters assembled that they could treat me like a white person. They could ask me hard, pressing questions. They could demand proof of the arguments that I was making.
"The difference between Bush's mistakes and his disappointments may just be that he hasn't yet taken ownership of the latter," Massimo Calabresi wrote in Time as he covered President George W. Bush's final press conference in January of 2009. Four years earlier, left-wing journalist John Dickerson had begun a trend among the Bush White House press corps, demanding from the president a recognition of his mistakes.
Political reporters seem to enjoy the game of politics far more than the substance of issues. But recent Supreme Court rulings on the president's health care law, campaign finance reform and other topics may force a fundamental issue into the 2016 election. Upcoming rulings on same-sex marriage, immigration and another health care case will add fuel to the fire.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my free time now that I have decided not to run for President of the United States (or what's left of it.) Some of you wrote and asked me to reconsider my decision. I am humbled by your pledges of support but I don't want to broach the subject again with the Woman Who Shares My Name. She has access to a lot of broccoli and says she know where she can get more. I had best leave that alone.
Occasionally, I wonder whether I'm alone in some of my wonderings. Look at the claim that conservatives or Republicans have launched a war on women as a part of their overall mean-spirited agenda. In the case of mistreatment of women - or of anyone else - assault, rape and murder are about as horrible as it gets. But I would be willing to bet a lot of money that most of the assaults, rapes and murders of women are done by people who identify as liberals or Democrats, particularly in the cases of murderers. Most crime, except perhaps white-collar crime, is ...
Dear Public School Teachers in Georgia:
A surreal moment passed for me this week with several press reports about presidential candidates heading to Atlanta in August this year. Six years ago in Atlanta, a group of online political activists got together in person. They had been online collaborators among the Republican grassroots for six years without ever having met face to face.
It's mid-May and time for celebrating graduations. It's a time to look back on accomplishments and, more importantly, to look forward to new phases and opportunities in life.
American government - at all levels - is losing the legitimacy it needs to function. Or, perhaps, some segments of the government have already lost it.
Last week in Garland, Texas, a lady named Pamela Geller sponsored an event about Islam, a component of which included drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. While Muslims in prior centuries painted Mohammed and some Muslims still think it is OK to draw Mohammed, most Muslims around the world condemn the drawing of any image purporting to be the likeness of Mohammed.
Before we examine the issue of police shootings of blacks, I would like to start the conversation with another question. Here it is: If a person chooses to stand on railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train, who is responsible for his being run over? And if many people meet their maker this way, what would you recommend as the best way to reduce such deaths? Would you focus most of your efforts on train engineers, or would you counsel people not to stand on railroad tracks in the face of an oncoming train?
What time is it, boys and girls? It's time for Answer Man! Time to dip into the ol' mailbag and see what is on your mind and show you how little is on ours. While we can't guarantee total and complete accuracy in our answers, it is Answer Man's opinion that this won't matter because if you knew the answer, you probably wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.
Dear City of Covington Residents,
"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.
According to College Board, average tuition and fees for the 2013-14 school year totaled $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for in-state residents at public colleges and $22,203 for out-of-state residents. Many schools, such as Columbia University and George Washington University, charge yearly tuition and fees close to $50,000. Faced with the increasing costs of higher education, parents and taxpayers might like to know what they're getting for their money.