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.
My sweet father's life ended just seven days short of this Father's Day. I'll have many opportunities to remember the goodness of his life, and even his passing. But, first I must share an unpublished piece I wrote four years ago.
In January 1995, I made a list of 18 attributes that described the type of man I wanted to marry. The list included "wants children," "high family ties - loves his mother," "secure in himself" and "social."
Three years later, I married such a man. A man who more than met the list, Jimmy Cushman.
I hate mirrors. There's one in each of our bathrooms, and there's a mirror in the hall, and there's supposed to be one in our bedroom, but I haven't put it up since we moved in last year. Why would I want another mirror? The ones I already have hate me as much as I hate them. It's like they are all saying, "Hey, David...look over here!" and when I do, I see an old man staring back at me. And that old man is me. And I don't like what I see ...
The new Federal Reserve report showing that household net worth collapsed between 2007 and 2010 quickly became campaign fodder for both sides.
Republicans seized on the data to claim that the current administration is out of touch. President Obama helped the GOP with his comments that the private sector is doing fine and that small businesses will not be affected by his health care plan.
There was a lot to love about Charlie King who died Saturday at the age of 96. Former Covington City Manager Frank Turner put it as well as anyone could: "There's no one who didn't love Charlie King."
The state of affairs in Newton County deteriorates but avoids the attention of key office holders like the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education. We are awash with discussions that hold our attention with notions of discretionary endeavors for Civic Centers, Green Parks, Hiking Trails and other niceties. These type projects are worthwhile when held in their proper place. When will we learn fiscal discipline with a proper order of priorities that focus our energy, resources and devotion to improving the basic quality of life? A county with employment opportunities, a safe environment, schools that produce smart productive citizens ...
For a guy more uptight than a bullfrog in boiling water, State Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, can be a hoot. I first discovered this when he and another senator named Chip (Pearson, from Dawsonville) teamed up a few years ago to pass a bill in the Senate banning our body parts from being micro-chipped without our permission. I thought that was pretty funny: Chip, Chip and Microchip. Get it?
I wrote that when the bill passed the senate, Rogers was so ecstatic, he was seen running up and down the halls at the capitol yelling, "I am Mork ...
Recently, someone asked me the phone number of one of my daughters. I had to get out my cell phone and look up the number. I didn't know it by heart.
I was embarrassed at first, but when I thought about it, I realized that I only know five phone numbers by heart - my home phone, my cell phone, my husband's cell phone, my sister's home phone and the home phone number of one of my friends. And three of those numbers I knew before my husband or I had a cell phone. I had to look ...
Today was wonderful. I've just returned from a feast at the Blue Willow Inn, out in Social Circle, where I had the Charleston Room at my disposal. I enjoyed sweet tea, roast beef, and two helpings of my favorite dessert, banana pudding. This has been a perfect day, but then everyone knows Memorial Day is always the start of warm weather fun. The grills come out; the convertible tops go down; and boat owners everywhere race to the lakes to enjoy their expensive hobby. Yeah. Boats are on my mind.
This year as we prepare the budget, the district Commissioners requested the county manager prepare a budget not to exceed the tax dollars generated by the current 10.91 millage rate. In other words, no tax increase. This is an admirable goal and I agree with them; no one wants to raise taxes.
There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there's Mitt Romney.
Being in the right place at the right time is sometimes less about luck than it is heeding a call. And, rather than fame or fortune, the result can be something far more precious.
Words have power; they create images and possibilities, and provide a window into the future of what could be.
What is it in human beings, in general, that inspires the sometimes-lifelong pursuit of perfection? Perfection is an elusive thing - if it even exists. The pursuit is like chasing an ephemeral sprite through a darkening forest. Now you see it. Now you don't. What seems perfect in one moment can be altered in an instant by a change in one's emotions, the arrival of new information or a new light that is shined on what was thought to be a flawless object.
I sponsored the school newspaper at Newton County High School for many years. It was, for the most part, an enjoyable experience. The students were enthusiastic and often had visions of publishing great exposés about various school activities. They were disappointed to learn that stories actually had to be based on fact and that there was little or nothing at the school that would be suited to an exposé.