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.
Believe it or not, I have written a column for one year and this one marks the beginning of a second year. I have yet to understand why you find the trivia of my life interesting, but I am glad you enjoy it.
In my hometown, everyone is required to have a landline telephone so local officials can reach us with a reverse 911 call.
The age of the drones has arrived. It's not possible to uninvent these Orwellian devices, but we can - and must - restrain their use.
From Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, commercial aircraft were diverted from airspace over the southeastern U.S. when pilots reported hearing loud, persistent beeping in the area. Flights returned to normal once FAA investigators confirmed the beeps were coming from a backup alarm sounding as the State of Georgia shifted into reverse. However, they warn the noise may continue for at least a decade.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. It means the devil will have his way with you if you don't pay attention to the finer points in the big plans or schemes that you might devise. He's a crafty fellow and lies in wait in the most innocuous spots to trip you up.
Our fascination with the Olympics goes beyond the near-perfect performances of the athletes. It also includes their stories. We watch and experience the trials and triumphs of people who fail, who get up and who triumph once again. Possibly through watching how Olympians perform under pressure, we can learn how to perform under pressure, as well.
Two examples stand out in my mind from this week, in women's gymnastics and men's swimming.
Hard to believe, but it has been 16 years since the Olympic Games were held in our state. As I watch the festivities in London, I remembered the phone calls I had received over the past year from media members in Great Britain, asking me if I had any thoughts on what was going to happen when the Games began in London. Here is what I told them:
My sister and her daughter and granddaughter came to visit me last week. My niece is researching our family history and wanted to pick our brains and copy whatever pictures we had of our parents and grandparents.
I'm ready for the Olympic Games, ready to watch the best athletes in the world giving it all they have. I'm ready to be inspired.
After a long Republican presidential primary soap opera, continuing mediocre economic news, ongoing information on the Greek crisis, the current silliness of the presidential campaign quips of the day, and last week's tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Americans are in desperate need of inspiration.
This is a moment for all Americans to be proud of the single best thing George W. Bush did as president: launching
Consumer confidence fell to the lowest levels of 2012 this past week. Most Americans believe that both the economy and their own personal finances are getting worse. Just 25 percent believe the economy is getting better, and only 22 percent said the same about their personal finances.
Still, the lows of 2012 aren't nearly as bad as they were in the previous three years. But the trend is discouraging. It looks like yet another year starting with improved outlooks for the economy that fade by summer, and it's clearly taking a toll on the American people.
I fully understand why President Barack Obama, candidate Mitt Romney, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid don't want to talk about gun control in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. shootings. I don't want to talk about it either.
Not because I don't think it needs to be discussed, but because we've become inept as a nation talking about anything that stirs emotions. Politicians are concerned with losing votes; I'm concerned about losing the goodwill of friends, neighbors and even family. I'm reluctant to throw more fuel on ...
I have just returned from a memorable trip to Valdosta. I went there to speak to the Rotary Club. The members laughed in all the right places, which not only was memorable, but downright remarkable. What made the trip even more special were two visits I made while there. I dropped by to see my beloved college professor Dr. Raymond Cook on his 93rd birthday. My detractors will find little comfort in this but I would not be where I am today had I not been assigned Dr. Cook's English Literature course in the spring term of my freshman ...
The bitterness evident in today's national politics is nothing new in the history of this country. It is tempting to say it's never been worse, but that's not true if you look back at the partisan rancor of early pamphleteers in the nascent days of this republic. Dueling opponents often picked up dueling pistols and had it out. Even Thomas Jefferson wasn't above it, this despite the fact that as the principal author of our Declaration of Independence, he chose succinct and timeless words that are beautiful to recall even today. In the pages of his ...
The ceiling fan and light in my bedroom turn on and off with a remote control. You have to leave the light switch permanently on, and then find the clicker (my household's name for a remote) to operate the controls.