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 have a birthday this week. A big one. Reaching this day has caused me to muse about some of the changes that accompany reaching such a milestone.
My parents just had new windows installed in our old house. The original wooden windows had been weathering and wearing since 1968, and the folks decided against scraping and painting them one last time. I saw the new windows this weekend, as I was visiting my old hometown, and as we admired the craftsmanship, we wound up in my old bedroom where a fancy new sliding unit had been installed. It was about a few seconds after I opened the new window that I realized I was falling through it.
Turkey day is approaching and it is a wonder time.
They may just give Dasher, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph a run for their money.
"What is the meaning of life?" my middle school daughter asked me recently as we were lying on her bed one evening. After a few minutes of contemplation, knowing that the answer was not about acquisition of money, fame or power, and that material items might provide ease in life, but not meaning, I responded that it is "to experience and then to allow God's grace to shine through you to others."
It seems the Christmas holidays arrive a little earlier every year, thanks in part to retailers pushing to get every sale they can. This year we saw Christmas decorations out well before Halloween and a few communities have already put up Christmas decorations and turned on their Christmas lights.
Hallelujah! It's a word we've all heard, probably all used. Hallelujah! It's a word that means "Praise the Lord." You see it all over the place in the Old Testament as the people praised God when they saw one work of his or another. "Hallelujah" is what we're told we'll be shouting for all time in heaven, in the presence of our God we won't be able to keep from praising.
Are you asking yourself every day where has this year gone? It is now the middle of November. Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas, a little more than four weeks later, and New Year's less than a week after that.
We Americans have always been noted for our ability to have opposing political groups playing hardball politics while remaining civil and non-violent. When the campaigning, debating and voting was over, we returned to running the government and moving forward. The night time threats of physical violence to an opponent and his family was reserved for the banana republics and dictatorships. Sadly, some citizens of Newton County have recently displayed banana republic political behavior.
"To you, I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!"
My granddaughter in the fourth grade recently had a test over pronouns, and in particular the many different spellings and meanings of "there, their, they're, theirs, there's.
The lighting was dim and the air filled with the fragrance of carnations and roses last Friday night. The tiny baby lay there quietly, with perfectly round cheeks and a little button nose, like on all newborn faces. A knit cap covered his hair, a monogrammed blanket was tucked beneath his chin, and as I heard others remarking, that precious baby looked just like a porcelain doll displayed in a box.
Budget follies are in full swing in the nation's capital once again. Republicans, who agreed to automatic cuts a few months ago, are now trying to find a way to avoid defense cuts.
I'm going to take the opportunity this week to write a letter of thanks to our veterans.
I guess I'm just a Luddite, trapped in a world-gone-by, but I prefer old movies to most of the ones coming out now. While there are some really good movies - the Harry Potter series comes to mind - most of the new stuff is just too trashy for me. There's too much cussin', too much sex, and way too much irreverence being shown to the things I care about. But those old movies are different. There's something comforting about watching a movie that celebrates goodness and honesty and doesn't glorify evil. That might seem so old fashioned ...