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.
The political impact of Thursday's stunning Supreme Court decision on health care reform is clear - good for President Obama and the Democrats, bad for Mitt Romney and the Republicans - but fleeting, and thus secondary. Much more important is what the ruling means in the long term for the physical and moral health of the nation.
We declared our independence from Great Britain 236 years ago next week. It was a declaration long in coming, brought about by the overreaching rule of King George III and Britain's insistence on taxation without representation.
If you've spent many summers in the southern U.S., chances are you've seen them. I'm referring to those huge, wasp-like insects that show up this time of year. They have colors, markings and a body shape kind of like a hornet, only closer in size to a 747 than a Cessna.
I read several news reports recently about a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the Imperial College in London that said while women are still expected to live longer than men, the gap is closing. The study concludes that life expectancy for women in Georgia increased by a little less than three years while men increased more than five-and-a-half years.
At some point some ancestor of my husband installed bathrooms in my house. If that ancestor inspected the back bathroom today, he would not find much different.
Much like Mark Twain, reports of the death of friendship in our society are greatly exaggerated. It's fashionable to lament the demise of real relationships and paint the age of social networking as a sad and lonely time. Well, my personal journey these past two weeks, dealing with the death of my father, has taught me many things. And, chief among them is that friendship, caring, and compassion are alive and well in our time.
John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, crossed the ocean from England to New England aboard the Arabella in early 1630. While aboard, he penned a directive that he read to those traveling with him either while they were still on board the ship or shortly after they had disembarked that June in Salem. Most of them were Puritans, who were leaving England for religious freedom as well as to start afresh in a New World, as directed by God.
In 2006, when George W. Bush was president, federal law enforcement officials came up with a spectacularly dumb idea: Allow powerful firearms purchased in the United States to "walk" across the Mexico border, where authorities would trace the weapons and eventually nab the big-time criminals who supply guns to the ultra-violent Mexican drug cartels.
Every summer, millions of Americans enjoy baseball, summer camps and vacation plans. But for the nation's political junkies, every fourth summer is filled with guessing games about the vice presidential nomination.
It's hard enough having one columnist in the house, but imagine the situation over here in McCoy-land. I'm in my fourth year with my humor column - Pecan Pie for the Mind - and my wife - Jan McCoy - is on her second year with her religion column. Our kids duck and cover when they see us, for fear of becoming next week's humorous anecdote or sermon topic. And consider the residents of Covington, where both our columns run in The Covington News. Imagine the trauma that ensues when some devout little lady is looking for "that sweet McCoy's ...
On the night of December 15, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by an untraceable assault weapon that was deliberately handed to Mexican drug lords by U.S. officials through Operation Fast and Furious. Ever since, the Terry family and Americans across the nation have asked how this could have happened.
And ever since, Attorney General Eric Holder has stonewalled Congress in its attempts to find these answers. Yesterday, President Obama joined this stonewalling effort, asserting executive privilege over many of the documents about the operation that Congress had subpoenaed but still had not ...
My husband may laugh at what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. It's my column. He somewhat regularly observes frantic behavior on my part, but at my core, I can say with some confidence that I am a calm person with a solid spiritual foundation. I know what's important and what's not. I try to practice love and forgiveness, understanding that one must "practice" everyday. Despite my efforts at regular practice - oh, some people and situations do try me - I'll never be perfect and not even when I reach ...
As I write my columns, I often wonder if any of my students are reading them and making mental corrections. I hope there is nothing that needs correcting, but if there is, I hope they find the problems.
I received a press release last week from the Secular Coalition for America, a group of "atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans" announcing plans to establish a chapter in Georgia to lobby state lawmakers.
Among the things they don't like in our state are the annual Clergy Day at the state capitol and a law that "requires" that "In God We Trust" be printed on license plates. They need to do their homework on this one. There is no law that requires "In God We Trust." That is an option available to anyone who wishes to have ...
Just in case you missed this, there is a move afoot - there is actually legislation being introduced in Congress - to make the American Bison the official national mammal of the United States.
The main problem about naming the bison as the official mammal is that the next thing would probably be someone wanting an official reptile. I don't know what creature that may be but you figure Charlie Sheen would be in the running for the honor but he has no chance as long as John Edwards is still around.