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,
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 ...
Once upon a time there was a silver-tongued president. His foreign policy must have been seen by enemies of the United States as weak and feckless, because these enemies became emboldened. Mideast terrorists staged a brutal, bloody attack in which innocent Americans were killed. The president's response could be seen as a display of shameful weakness rather than steely resolve.
A U.S. ambassador is the legal representative of the President of the United States to that foreign country and the land on which the U.S. Embassy resides is considered U.S. territory. The murder of U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and an armed attack on a U.S. Embassy are both unequivocal acts of war. I am bewildered and upset by the response from the President and the State Department. The president delivered a weak response with a reference to U.S. respect for other religious beliefs without taking a strong position of power to provide ...