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Hometown Heroes

Africa: A tragic continent

Here's how my Aug. 11, 2003, column began: "Anyone who believes President Bush's Africa initiative, including sending U.S. troops to Liberia, will amount to more than a hill of beans is whistling Dixie. Maybe it's overly pessimistic, but most of Africa is a continent without much hope for its people." More than a decade has passed since that assessment, and little has changed to suggest a more optimistic outlook. Now Ebola threatens the very existence of the West African nations Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Moreover, the deadly disease is likely to spread to neighboring nations.

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The power of positive beliefs

My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the mid-1970s, when I was in grammar school. Her goal, at that time, was to stay alive to see my older sister Kathy and me graduate from high school. She neither dwelled on the disease, nor on why she was stricken with it, but instead focused on getting rid of the cancer and living for her two daughters.

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Posted: oct. 25, 2014 11:52 a.m. | Updated: oct. 25, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Ben Bradlee was a leader and a friend

Ben Bradlee would not have liked me to say so, but he was the living refutation of the Declaration of Independence: All men are not created equal. Certainly, he was not. He was born rich and well-connected, a member of the WASP tribe that once ran much of America and nearly all of its prestigious institutions. He was compellingly handsome and so smart that no crossword puzzle could really challenge him. It’s not that he didn’t have a weakness. He did. He was a sucker for the underdog.

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Posted: oct. 25, 2014 11:56 a.m. | Updated: oct. 25, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Embarrassing economists

So as to give some perspective, I’m going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.

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Posted: oct. 25, 2014 11:58 a.m. | Updated: oct. 25, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Gov. Deal pledges 'everything on the table' public education reform

Last week Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia.

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Posted: oct. 25, 2014 4:53 p.m.

Americans love community, hate politics

To understand the lack of enthusiasm most Americans feel about the midterm elections, it’s important to recognize a vital distinction between government and community.

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Posted: oct. 25, 2014 11:53 a.m.

Cushman: Exercise, routine and life

While new and novel might be exciting, routine and habit can help create a structure and framework for success. From eating breakfast, brushing our teeth or exercising every day, much of our lives are driven by routine. This reliance on routine behavior can startle us when we are driving and find ourselves not at our planned destination, but at our routine destination.

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Posted: oct. 18, 2014 3:53 p.m. | Updated: oct. 18, 2014 10:52 p.m.

Cohen: A president lacking menace

Tell me something: What do you think would happen if the United States concludes that Iran has been cheating and delaying and is about to pop a fully functional nuclear weapons program? Would President Obama respond by joining Israel to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities to smithereens — or would he stall and equivocate? My bet is the latter and so, just to double down, is what I bet the Iranians are betting. They have taken the measure of Obama. He lacks menace.

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Posted: oct. 18, 2014 3:51 p.m. | Updated: oct. 18, 2014 10:49 p.m.

Williams: Officially killing Americans

The Food and Drug Administration can make two types of errors. It can approve a drug that has dangerous unanticipated side effects, or it can reject or delay approval of a drug that is safe and effective. Let’s look at these errors, because to err on the side of under- or over-caution is costly.

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Posted: oct. 18, 2014 3:48 p.m. | Updated: oct. 18, 2014 10:47 p.m.

Rasmussen: Lottery lies fuel distrust of government

It’s a little thing, but it bugs me a lot.

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Posted: oct. 18, 2014 3:47 p.m. | Updated: oct. 18, 2014 10:46 p.m.

Random thoughts on some random subjects

If I die anytime soon — and I have no plans to do so at the moment — please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, “He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association.” You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad Pitt and my uncanny ability to put commas where they don’t belong.

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Posted: oct. 11, 2014 3:22 p.m.

Get Out and Vote

Ever since the 1976 election, I’ve understood the importance of voter turnout. My father was running for United States Congress in rural Georgia, having lost in 1974. He realized in early 1976 that running as a republican in Georgia, while Jimmy Carter was topping the democratic ticket, was going to be a hard feat to pull off, but confident of his ability to work hard, he trudged forward.

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Posted: oct. 11, 2014 3:23 p.m.

From Annapolis with love

This past summer I travelled back home to attend the 50th year reunion of the class of 1964 of St Mary’s High in Annapolis Maryland.

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Posted: oct. 11, 2014 3:19 p.m.

Things will get worse before they get better

In 1913, an entrepreneur “said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years.” For that accurate assessment of reality, he was prosecuted for stock fraud. A U.S. District Attorney claimed that, “based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public ... has been persuaded to buy stock in his company.”

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Posted: oct. 11, 2014 3:15 p.m.

The culture of passing the buck

The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, was questioned this past Tuesday by members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding lapses in Secret Service Performance. The hearing focused primarily on an incident that took place on September 19. Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, allegedly jumped the White House fence, ran across the White House lawn, ran up a flight of stairs and through the North Portico door. He then allegedly entered the entrance hall, turned left and headed into the East Room, where he was tackled and subdued. A knife was allegedly found in his possession.

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Posted: oct. 04, 2014 5:41 p.m. | Updated: oct. 04, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Will the West defend itself?

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sometimes called ISIS or IS, is a Sunni extremist group that follows al-Qaida’s anti-West ideology and sees a holy war against the West as a religious duty. With regard to nonbelievers, the Quran commands, “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.” The Quran contains many other verses that call for Muslim violence against nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.

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Posted: oct. 04, 2014 5:43 p.m. | Updated: oct. 04, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Dooley's players need to ensure legacy

Last Saturday while the Bulldog nation sweated out a 35-32 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers that should not have been as hard as our scholar-athletes made it, former head football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley’s first team at UGA was recognized on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. As nice as that was, more — much more — needs to be done to honor the legendary Hall of Fame coach.

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Posted: sep. 30, 2014 7:37 p.m. | Updated: sep. 30, 2014 7:38 p.m.

Missing the story on Patton

It’s a fortunate thing that Bill O’Reilly’s latest book, “Killing Patton,” was written by him and not someone else. In that case, O’Reilly would have taken the poor person apart, criticizing the book for its chaotic structure, for its considerable padding and for its repellent admiration of a war-loving martinet who fought the Nazis and really never understood why. George S. Patton stood almost shoulder to shoulder with them in his anti-Semitism -- not that O’Reilly seems to have noticed or, for that matter, mentioned in his book.

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Posted: sep. 30, 2014 7:36 p.m.

The ability to walk away is key to empowerment

Politicians like to talk about empowering the middle class or other segments of the voting population, but they’re typically a little fuzzy on what empowerment really means. That makes sense when you consider that elections are essentially about politicians asking to get power rather than share it.

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Posted: sep. 27, 2014 6:16 p.m. | Updated: sep. 27, 2014 10:00 p.m.

The power of positive campaigning

With just under six weeks to the Nov. 4 Election Day, the pressure is on. With a Democratic sitting president with a low 44 percent approval rating, many Republican races across the nation are being run by tying the Democratic candidate to the president. In many cases, this might indeed create distaste for the Democratic candidate by the voters and lead to a Republican victory. But, with no clear path forward, who is to say that the voters won’t be just as disgruntled in a few years with Republicans?

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Posted: sep. 25, 2014 7:58 p.m. | Updated: sep. 25, 2014 10:00 p.m.

They are ruthless

“They are ruthless, single-minded and totally committed.” ­— British security adviser; Source: “The Times of London,” Aug. 16, 2006.

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Posted: sep. 25, 2014 7:59 p.m. | Updated: sep. 25, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Thinning out the alternatives for Jekyll Islander

I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. One day I am advising world leaders on the nuances of international monetary policy. The next day I am consoling a distraught reader who thinks I need to “look within myself spiritually.” The last time I looked within myself, I saw my navel. It was full of lint. Never again.

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Posted: sep. 23, 2014 7:21 p.m.

A policy developed in spurts

Of all the experts I have read or consulted lately about the situation in the Middle East, the one who made the most sense was quoted recently in The New York Times. She’s Jennifer Shelton-Armstrong, identified as a 45-year-old Democrat in Mission Viejo, California, who participated in a poll about President Obama’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism. This is what she said: “He is ambivalent, and I think it shows. There is no clear plan.”

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Posted: sep. 23, 2014 7:20 p.m.

An exhausting retirement

I have a friend who recently retired.

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Posted: sep. 20, 2014 5:39 p.m. | Updated: sep. 20, 2014 10:00 p.m.

The tech-inspired future of education

In 21st-century America, hope and change comes from tech-inspired entrepreneurs.

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Posted: sep. 20, 2014 5:46 p.m. | Updated: sep. 20, 2014 10:00 p.m.

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