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.
Fires burn in our embassies overseas, mobs burn our flag and murder American dignitaries. The positions taken by our government, the reporting to the people and the response to those countries where these actions have taken place are totally unacceptable.
With the vote on the charter school amendment just over a month away, the heat is getting intense. I know. I have felt it. I wrote a column a few weeks ago giving the pro-charter folks an opportunity to make their case for the amendment. For my trouble, a number of anti-charter advocates wondered if I was going soft on them and backers of the bill continued to accuse me of giving out "misinformation." I love this job.
I own a sewing machine. My husband gave it to me as a Christmas gift just after we married so it must be more than 40 years old. It still works, but I have cracked the presser foot and the top of the machine is a bit dented. I have also broken off the back-up button. But it still works just fine.
As I write, it's Thursday night in Hancock, Md., and I'm at the end of day four of a six day journey by bicycle from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. With two friends, we biked Monday through Wednesday on the Great Allegheny Passage Rail Trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md. Today, our travels took us onto the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, which will lead us to the D.C. suburb of Georgetown by Saturday.
Newton 4-H is bursting at the seams, literally.
Now, at least, there can be no doubt about who is waging class warfare in this presidential campaign. Mitt Romney would pit the winners against the "victims," the smug-and-rich against the down-on-their-luck, the wealthy tax avoiders against those too poor to owe income tax. He sees nearly half of all Americans as chumps who sit around waiting for a handout.
Mitt Romney's comments about 47 percent of Americans being dependent on government and locked in to vote for President Obama highlight a fundamental reality in American politics today: The gap between the American people and the political class is bigger than the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C.
The challenge for modern-day campaigns is that the rapid speed of the news cycle ensures that new news is created on a daily basis, even when it is not really news. Blame the hunger for something novel and fresh that can eat up time on the 24-hour cable news channels.
There's nothing like being away to restore one's body and soul. We were away just last week in somewhat familiar parts of Maine and New Hampshire, itself a brand new experience. The clean air, lack of humidity, brisk breezes, forest-covered mountains, rocky shores and charming small towns, some predating the Revolutionary War, were balm and sustenance. Good friends, good food and good wine provided endless moments to be cherished.
When the gavel bangs to open the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly, I would suggest the first order of business be to have Willie Nelson serenade our solons with "The Party's Over." Willie sings that song better than almost anybody and it would be an effective way to remind our intrepid public servants that there is a new sheriff in town.
A frequent topic of conversation in the Language Arts teachers' work room of Newton High School more than 20 years ago was something we called the sense threshold. When the administration, county office or other powers-that-be issued an edict that defied common sense, we would exclaim in wonder, discuss the absurdity and intone, "sense threshold, sense threshold."
One year, it was decided that we would not keep official attendance in our roll books; we would mark attendance and tardies on a Scantron form for each class period. In other words, we would bubble in who was tardy and absent on ...
The courthouse is a wealth of information for family research. Just like newspapers, court records tell us how our ancestors lived.
A teacher told me this week, "If only students remembered lessons as well as commercials."
The health care debate is a great example of why Americans hate politics.
Do you collect things? For reasons known only to God and Alan Greenspan, we humans are the only species that collects things just for fun. Penguins don't knowingly collect sports memorabilia; turtles don't collect stamps; and I've yet to meet a dog who owned any artwork - not even an acrylic-on-velvet painting of a fire hydrant. Animals collect berries, nuts, twigs and other practical things, and except for the pack rat, random collecting is a human act, passion and obsession. I'm an admitted collector. I collect teapots, guitar amplifiers and English grammar books, but, I'm not ...