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.
I hate toll roads. It's probably because I was born in Miami, and I remember my parents feeding the toll booths with nickels that I could have used to far better ends.
In a recent Wisconsin speech, GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum stirred supporters with a tale of assault on American democracy and tradition. "I was just reading something last night, from the State of California…I think it's seven or eight of the California system of universities don't even teach an American history course. It's not even available to be taught," he said. "Just to tell you how bad it's gotten in this country, where we're trying to disconnect the American people from the roots of who we are, so they have an understanding of what ...
Call up the office of County Clerk Jackie Smith, and if she's not there to answer, you'll hear her cheery voicemail declaring, "It's a beautiful day in Newton County!"
Indeed, it is a beautiful day in Newton County since the announcement yesterday of a $1 billion investment by Baxter International in a plant at Stanton Springs that will employ 1,000 to 1,500 workers to make blood-related products. Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall calls the project a "game-changer" for this neck of the woods. Commission Chair Kathy Morgan takes sentimental pride in the ...
I know I've already used this famous slogan of Bill Clinton from his last presidential campaign a number of times, but holy cow Batman, we are drowning in endless preaching on increasing revenue (secret word for taxes) and totally ignoring spending.
The Buffett Rule - what a masterful misdirection play used to avert attention from the gargantuan spending and to invoke class warfare. Under the Buffett Rule, businesses and families earning $1 million will pay a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate. The president says those Americans aren't paying enough, and as proof he points to billionaire Warren Buffett ...
Recently my youngest granddaughter had surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. It was my first experience with a children's hospital, and it was an eye-opener. The staff and facility could not be more welcoming and child friendly.
The nurses wear brightly colored T-shirts to appear less threatening. The rooms have chairs which can be made into beds for parents, and mothers are allowed to sleep in the hospital beds with their children, even in pediatric intensive care.
Those of you who regularly check this space know this, but to the newcomers out there: I am a whiner.
Like Goldilocks, I whine when the porridge is too hot. I whine when the porridge is too cold. But unlike Goldilocks, I whine even when the glop is just right.
Driving my children to and from various events earlier this week, we had a discussion about what makes a good story. They are both working on writing a book (as am I - we'll see who finishes first).
Stories, I explained, are interesting because they have conflict. There are most often two forces that push against each other. In classic stories, it's good versus evil. Really interesting stories have subplots, which reflect conflicts within conflicts.
What's become of our society? Our youth? Our parenting? Children used to dream of being able to go to middle school instead of working in factories, let alone high school. Why has the parenting become so laissez-faire that our teens no longer wish to learn and become educated? Why has the "education" system lowered its standards simply to accommodate for the lacking of our generation? Why is our society sacrificing education and knowledge for the sake of schooling?
Our dropout rates are decreasing, but each teenage generation as a whole seems to care less about education than the previous ...
The 1970s were described famously by novelist Tom Wolfe as the "Me Decade" in a 1976 article in New York Magazine.
If I were asked to pin a label on the period we live in today, I would call this the "Who? Me!?" decade.
Any doubt that Mitt Romney would win the Republican presidential nomination vanished when Rick Santorum left the race. It also marked the end of Romney's time as the defining figure in the overall contest for the White House.
On a warm day, back in the dark ages when Richard Milhous Nixon was the Emperor of DC and double-knit polyester was the darling of the fashion industry, I was scouring my school's library for something good to read. I had already polished off Thomas Edison's biography, every "Three Investigators" detective story I could find, and a piece about the father of the telegraph: Samuel F.B. Morse. And then I found it - a big, hardcover book on robots. Robots!
Outside of Chinese sweat shops, Americans are by-and-large regarded as the hardest working people on earth. This is particularly true when compared to the long-time history of less-work-and-more-play written into law in major European nations. That practice may be on the decline because of the massive government debt crises in places like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, among others. Ample pensions, early retirement and long vacations contribute to the imbalance in government revenues that is threatening the stability of those countries - and leading to riots in many places contesting the cuts to pensions, play and pay.
The United States House of Representatives has passed a Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan. His budget has been dubbed "The Path to Prosperity" which is aptly named since it starts the reversal of current trends and knifes through the controversy. The Ryan budget is not just a blueprint for spending. It's a platform for governing that deliberately and self-consciously advances "the timeless principles of the American Idea"- among them limited government, free enterprise and economic liberty.
I tend to daydream. Sometimes I look at the shape of the clouds above me and I can see a tea kettle or maybe the little fat guy that used to run North Korea. And then sometimes I just close my eyes and think of headlines I would like to see, such as:
President Obama says teleprompters make him say dumb things
There have been many scientific discoveries in my lifetime. Some helpful, some not.
Certainly the fruition of John Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon should be near the top of the list. Then there was the ability to create and harness atomic energy. I'm not sure if that can be categorized as helpful or not helpful.