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Hometown Heroes

Questions of character

Beverly Gage, a Yale historian, was researching a biography of J. Edgar Hoover in the National Archives when she came across the infamous letter the FBI had written to Martin Luther King Jr., outlining in the crudest form his extramarital escapades and suggesting, King concluded, that he kill himself: “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is.” King did nothing, but the FBI acted. It leaked its dirt to the press.

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Updated: nov. 22, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Thanks and giving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. A chance to be grateful instead of focusing on gift-giving and gift-receiving. Family, friends, bountiful feasts and football are at the forefront of our minds rather than cocktail parties and gifts. Think of it as a time to pause and give thanks before the whirlwind of December.

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Posted: nov. 22, 2014 5:20 p.m. | Updated: nov. 22, 2014 10:00 p.m.

The audacity of arrogance

In the week following the shellacking of his party in the midterm elections, one might think that President Barack Obama would be conciliatory and humble. Instead, he has continued to be audacious — but with arrogance rather than hope.

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Posted: nov. 15, 2014 6:17 p.m. | Updated: nov. 15, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Politics from the bottom up drives reform

In the wake of the midterm elections, many are now speculating about what will happen to President Obama’s health care law with a Republican Senate. However, all the partisan talk misses the point. In America, change does not come from politicians. It comes from the American people and the popular culture.

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Posted: nov. 15, 2014 6:24 p.m. | Updated: nov. 15, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Republican gains deep and wide

Little noticed by the Washington press corps is the extent of the Republican State legislative gains in Election 2014. A quick trip to the enormously informative Ballotpedia.org website provides the numbers that the DC reporters overlooked.

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Posted: nov. 08, 2014 7:12 p.m. | Updated: nov. 08, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Now, it's about governing not politics

Part of the allure and fascination of politics is that you don’t know what’s going to happen until election night is over and all the votes have been counted. It is real-life, high-stakes drama. In the 1970s, it was volunteers who would call in the vote tallies from the precincts. They would be written on the blackboard and the totals calculated as the votes were called in.

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Posted: nov. 08, 2014 7:15 p.m. | Updated: nov. 08, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Scholar-athlete charade

Last year’s column “Dishonest Educators” (1/9/2013) reported on the largest school cheating scandal in U.S. history. In more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated, teachers changed student answers on academic achievement tests. Cheating orders came directly from school administrators. The cheating was brazen. One teacher told a colleague, “I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell.” Atlanta’s not alone. Teacher cheating has been discovered in other cities, such as Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington.

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Posted: nov. 08, 2014 7:17 p.m. | Updated: nov. 08, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Peace before sunset

Last week a neighbor friend passed on to his own personal sunset.

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Posted: nov. 08, 2014 7:20 p.m.

Cushman: Getting stuff done

Prognosticators are predicting a Republican takeover of the United States Senate, and a pickup of a few seats in the House of Representatives. Driven in large part by the unpopularity of President Barack Obama (latest Gallup poll 42 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove of Obama), this potential change in control provides both an opportunity and a risk for Republicans.

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Posted: nov. 01, 2014 5:46 p.m.

Rasmussen: Election 2014 in context

Political pundits often miss the forest for the trees, and it’s amazing how things look when you pause for a moment to look at the broader context of the 2014 midterm elections. The short-term discussion among political junkies is all about whether Republicans can win control of the Senate and just how many seats they will win.

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Posted: nov. 01, 2014 5:45 p.m.

Williams: 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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Posted: nov. 01, 2014 5:44 p.m.

Yarbrough: A salute to one trying to make this a better world

A wise man once said that our only reason for occupying space on this earth is to leave things better than we found them. Unfortunately, not enough of us will. Len Pagano is an exception.

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Posted: nov. 01, 2014 5:42 p.m.

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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Posted: oct. 27, 2014 11:11 a.m.

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.

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