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,
Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is catching heat from right-wingnuts for doing exactly what he should be doing - trying to help the federal government find a way out of the financial morass the country is in. The wingnuts want him to honor a 20-year-old no-tax pledge. The senator said he is not talking about tax increases, but tax reform and cites loopholes that need to be closed like the current $6 billion annual tax credits for ethanol production. Good for him. I support his efforts 100 percent. Maybe the wingnuts would rather see some moron representing us who thinks rape is ...
My granddaughters who attend school in Newton County have weekly vocabulary tests. To paraphrase Martha Stewart, that's a good thing. The more words a reader understands, the better reader a person is. And reading is the bottom line (no offense to math majors).
Last Sunday, sitting mesmerized by Cirque du Soleil's Totem, I was struck by how the show challenges our notions of human limitations. With feats of incredible athleticism, agility, strength and grace - framed with soaring imagination and creative artistry - Cirque reveals the amazing possibilities to be discovered beyond the boundaries of what we believe is humanly possible. Every act was something I wouldn't have believed possible before seeing with my own eyes.
Standing outside Le Grand Chapiteau (the Big Top) at intermission, I recalled walking those same grounds decades ago as a young boy touring the Atlantic Steel mill ...
My wife and I attended the Christmas parade held today in Covington. The weather was beautiful and the streets and sidewalks were crowded with families and children anxious to acknowledge the coming Christmas season. There were marching bands and parade floats galore. Wait - there was something missing! Except for one band and one float of a manger, there was no sign of a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I am not one to exclude the secular celebration of Christmas with Santa Claus for a strictly exclusive focus on the birth of our Lord, but neither do I wish ...
The passage in Ruth 1:16 highlights what it means to belong: "Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God my God."
This was Ruth's response when her mother-in-law Naomi suggested she go back to her own people after the death of her husband, Naomi's son. But Ruth was determined to stay, to be with Naomi.
I've been re-reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, and my brain is reeling with spaceships, robots, time travel and towels. But one passage I read is more a real-world warning than it is science fiction. Arthur Dent, the protagonist, is stranded on a remote and primitive planet. Nothing in his training has prepared him for a world that's this simpleminded, and despite his supposed learning and skills, he feels useless. Instead of doing what most useless people do - going into national politics - he opens a sandwich shop. He's a survivor and he's found ...
For decades, it has been obvious that there are irreconcilable differences between Americans who want to control the lives of others and those who wish to be left alone. Which is the more peaceful solution: Americans using the brute force of government to beat liberty-minded people into submission or simply parting company? In a marriage, where vows are ignored and broken, divorce is the most peaceful solution.
Similarly, our Constitutional and human rights have been increasingly violated by a government instituted to protect them. Americans who support constitutional abrogation have no intention of mending their ways.
Washing windows isn't on anyone's list of favorite things to do, but imagine the job of washing the windows at CNN Center where soaring glass window walls enclose the towering structure. Well, Covington's Fred Franklin has done it, but that's only one of his high-rise, nail-biting accomplishments. When Atlanta hosted the 1988 Democratic Convention, it was Franklin who rigged and lifted to the roof the sound and lighting stages, hung the ceiling banners and raised thousands of balloons to the roof that would be dropped at the end of the convention.
With high-flying experience like that ...
One little noticed and quite remarkable aspect of Election 2012 is that Barack Obama won a majority of the popular vote for the second consecutive time. With the exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt's four-term run in the 1930s and '40s, it's the first time the Democrats have won a majority of the presidential vote in back-to-back elections since 1836.
This suggests that the president has a unique opportunity to reshape American politics in a major way. To accomplish that, however, his second term will have to be deemed a success in the court of public opinion. Mandates and ...
It's my birthday month again, and I had to renew my car tag. This year, I had to get an actual tag, not just a decal. I didn't think anything about it until I had to find my car in a parking lot and realized that I couldn't look for the familiar "ACY" license plate. (I told you there are several cars in Covington just like mine.) I have to learn a new set of letters.
In case you have been busy doing mundane stuff like eking out a living, you may have missed the news that there is a petition going around that would allow Georgia to secede from the union. As of this writing, there have been 24,579 signatures to the petition.
Thanksgiving week is a time to express gratitude and appreciation and to acknowledge what we are thankful for in our lives. Many of us have Thanksgiving routines and rituals that take us out of the everyday routine of our lives and provide a space for us to slow down, unwind, reflect and give thanks.
You might say "successful aging" means finding another candle on the old birthday cake, but I don't believe success can be defined in such simple terms where quantity equals quality. I think successful aging means something more complex, like coming to grips with your mortality and the small, but important role you play in life. You also have to wise up about your dreams. I abandoned my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. I also gave up the extremely unrealistic dream of owning a vintage Italian car that didn't leak oil and make me swear. Does that mean ...
President Barack Obama narrowly defeated Gov. Mitt Romney in the popular vote 51 percent to 48 percent. In the all-important Electoral College, the difference was larger, with Obama winning 303 electoral votes and Romney 206. Let's not think so much about the election's outcome but instead ask: What's so good about democracy and majority rule?
It never fails that whenever I sit down to compose this weekly column - or almost anytime I find myself at the computer - our little gray girl cat comes around mewling plaintively. In the wink of an eye, she's on the desktop, prowling back and forth across the keyboard, putting herself between the computer screen and me.