School is out, Memorial Day is past and summer stretches in front of us. Maybe it's because I live in the South, but summer seems to be a time when everything slows down, as if to pay homage to the heat and humidity that abound. Without the invention of air conditioning, there is not doubt there would be few who would choose to live in the deep South today, at least during the summer.
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 received a call at home the other day, and the caller asked if he could count on my vote for charter schools in the upcoming election.
I told him no and offered to explain to him why. He hung up.
If the pro-charter amendment people are trying to win friends and influence voters to pass the measure in November, they have picked a bad way to do it.
Attorney Glenn Delk and proponents are clearly trying to intimidate opponents of the amendment by accusing the state's 180 local school districts of illegally using taxpayer money to campaign against the amendment. Fortunately, they lost the first round in Fulton County Superior Court.
Wisdom abounds in nature. Over the years, I've learned much by observing the natural world around me. A good example would be the lessons taught to me from tending our backyard Koi pond.
Today in Newton County, our news agonizes and debates over low SAT scores and drop out rates in our high schools, drop out rates and low performance levels in our community college, high teenage crime rates, and embarrassing rates of single mother and teenage pregnancies. All the while, we good citizens argue between the Board of Education, Board of Commissioners and Chamber of Commerce for solutions to treat the symptoms and ignore the disease; all this done from good intentions and a touch of fear to appear politically incorrect and expose a distasteful aspect of our society.
There are some 20,000 miles of federal and state highways in Georgia - the interstate system and major roads that link our cities one to the other; carry our commuters to and from employment centers and give structure to our thriving logistics industry and interstate commerce.
It's right there in black and white in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... ."
I recently received an email from a friend which touched on several "myths" about the American education system. The article was based on statistics gathered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (not a misspelling, the organization originated in France).
If you aren't careful, it is very easy to get pessimistic these days. We have gotten too loud, too adversarial, too politically-correct, too ethically-challenged, too secular and too narrow-minded - not to mention slightly humor-impaired.
In order to win next month, Republican nominee Mitt Romney will have to articulate the reason why the choice for him is right. The choice has to be about more than Mitt Romney, and really about more than President Barack Obama. The compelling choice should contrast the very different futures each man would seek to create. The ability to describe and contrast two potential visions of the future -- one under Obama and the other under Romney -- will likely prove key to who wins.
Ronald Reagan had this linguistic ability, which he honed over decades of work.
If one were trying to prove in court that MSNBC is crazily biased, you could do worse than submitting Rachel Maddow's Tuesday night show.
As a kid, I was a sucker for machines. I couldn't pass a gumball rack without turning all the handles; I took apart my toys just to get at the electric motors; and I was simply mad for anything with batteries, gears or knobs.
I would have given away all my Superman comic books for a robot, even if it was missing a dozen transistors. Well, times have changed, and now I'm surrounded by more machines than I ever wanted. And I'd give them all away, if I could.
I would be careful about declaring the presidential contest "a whole new race" following Wednesday's debate. Polls show that most voters have made up their minds, and some, due to early voting, have already cast their ballots. One good night for Mitt Romney does not turn the world upside down.
But make no mistake, it was a very good night for Romney - and a bad one for President Obama. This election wasn't a done deal before the debate, and it certainly isn't now.
My job seldom takes me to the big city these days, unless I'm traveling. But, in college and later working downtown in the 80s and 90s, I was a regular on the streets of Atlanta. Encounters with panhandlers were part of the daily routine. You got used to it, but I was never comfortable.
If you have any heart at all, it's hard to turn away from need. And, yet, there could be no end. Each small gift only attracted more asks. Sometimes, I'd give spare change or a few small bills; other times, I'd avert ...
Most of the discussion on taxes was spent on Romney's tax plan. Romney's plan, like most tax reform plans, would lower tax rates and make other changes to the tax code to encourage growth. The economy will not recover fully until we have tax reform.
"Biscuits," he said. "Biscuits?" I asked. "Yeah, biscuits," he said. "I want to learn how to make biscuits, the kind my grandmother made." My jaw dropped a bit. This bachelor friend of ours sitting across the lunch table was revealing a side that caught me off guard. He's regularly decked out in crisp, starched shirts that fit the rather starchy business he's in. The idea of a guy up to his elbows in flour and shortening was hard to imagine. (Actually, it's impossible to imagine the woman in my own household up to her elbows in flour ...