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.
Part of the joy of a presidential campaign is visiting different parts of the country. This past week was New Hampshire week. I've been to New Hampshire about a half-dozen times. It's a beautiful state. Mountains, ocean, beautiful forests and normally snow this time of year. However, we were snowless.
Rattling around in my brain is politics...and more.
It's January. The holidays are over and most of us have taken down the holiday decorations and returned to normal. I say most of us because I have a friend who will tell me for the next two months that she has to find the time to dedecorate. Her husband says he finds Christmas decorations in July. But she usually gets it done by March. I like her use of dedecorate. It's not a word, but it gets the point across. And she has been dedecorating for at least the last 15 years.
Have you noticed how some things just naturally go together? Take honey and biscuits, for example. Whenever I visit one of those "breakfast anytime" restaurants, I make a pig of myself with their biscuits, and I make sure to have plenty of honey to spread on them. Life offers up so many wonderful pairings: salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, grits and butter, and too many others to list. Life seems better when it's done in pairs.
Twenty one years ago today, I stood before a handful of friends and family in a little church and said, "I do," to the man of my dreams.
Her beloved husband Ben had just been buried, when the very next day, deep in her sadness, Bobbie Banks was handed the gift of a tiny handful of white fur, a Bichon she would name Maggie. Four years later, she calls "Miss Maggie" a "godsend" in her life. "She means everything to me," she said. Maggie, a "rotten to the core" and affectionate lapdog, "is as close to being human as a dog can be. We talk about everything, and she never gives me any backtalk," Bobbie laughed.
"We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution." - Abraham Lincoln
The folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have just released their recommendation for words and phrases that should be erased from our vocabulary in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
It is an amazement to me that people seem to find columns about grammar interesting. I feel, every time I write one, that I am back teaching school and I can envision my readers falling asleep as they read a somewhat esoteric discussion about a grammar question.
Now that the Iowa Caucus is over, we can go ahead and celebrate the real start of the presidential primary season.
The good news is this is our democracy in action; the bad news is, it will be in action for the next nine months.
Your parakeet may be the only one who noticed, but I didn't write my column last week. I'd planned to offer some snappy New Year's resolutions, but I procrastinated and the next thing I knew, my first grandson - Daniel Christopher McCoy - was on his way, and I was off to the hospital to meet him. Yep, I'm a grandfather now, and my whole life is changing. I was expecting to be able to handle this title with ease, but being a grandfather is more powerful and transformative than I knew. If you have grandkids, you'll ...
Some things just never change. We shake off the stresses and excesses of the holiday season that began way back at Thanksgiving and then ring in the New Year with sometimes-forced merry-making and excesses of another kind. (Here's hoping you chose ABC's Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark, bless his heart, as late night companions over CNN's Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN. Oh my aching head, and it wasn't the champagne!)
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, has signed an exclusive contract with one of the nation's premier prognosticators, Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Ga.
The New Year is upon us and now is the time to look to the future and all the changes we will make next year. In other words, this is the time for the annual New Year's Day resolutions.
It seems that the more I delve into the facts surrounding the process of the acquisition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Right of Way and its conversion to trails, the more clear it becomes that the entire endeavor is much more costly and complex than previously portrayed.