For decades, conservative leaders in Washington and Atlanta have preached the goal of decentralizing government by returning power from federal to state and state to local, giving average citizens more direct control of their daily lives.
Georgia's ongoing transportation problems are a long and winding road, often clogged with ice, potholes, orange barrels and the nagging sense that it's an issue that may never be fully resolved.
In the last two weeks, we've seen two different "state of" speeches, from leaders with widely disparate views. Both offered a list of priorities amid a recovering economy, setting goals to better the lives of those they serve. Each was greeted with applause from supporters, grim faces and still hands from foes.
The idea of free speech embedded into the U.S. Constitution 225 years ago remains an elusive goal ever under attack and in need of a diligent defense. Even as we Americans often don't fully grasp its scope and meaning, what we hold as a fundamental right isn't always acknowledged everywhere.
Second terms can be a dicey thing for executive officeholders. Though much desired - when was the last time we recall a president or governor who didn't seek one? - they often slip into the dreaded "lame duck" limbo as heads start turning toward who's next in line.
Now that the holiday leftovers in the fridge are dwindling and many have put away the decorations, we prepare for the first work week of 2015 with high expectations.
"The policeman is our friend."
Peace on earth? Where, exactly?
The holidays are traditionally a season of giving, where many with kind hearts buy for families in need, Angel Tree kids or Toys for Tots, feed the hungry or follow the sound of the summoning jingle of bells to drop a few bucks in the Salvation Army's red kettles. And as the calendar year wanes, those in the mood for goodwill and tax deductions pull out their checkbooks to make end-of-year donations.
Most Americans of Baby Boomer age and younger were exposed to marijuana at some point in early adulthood, whether they partook or not on their own. For many, it was a rite of passage encountered at a rock concert or someone's dark basement. For others, it was a substance and a crowd of users best avoided.
In the great American novel "To Kill A Mockingbird," attorney Atticus Finch is explaining to his daughter Scout how to deal with other people amid conflicts at school: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
When you think about it, it's somewhat odd to choose one particular day of the year to express thankfulness.
If there's a word that can sum up our national leadership these days, it is "lame" - a lame-duck session of Congress, a lame-duck president, all yielding results that are totally lame.
Hall County's business community took a well-earned opportunity last week to celebrate a full November cornucopia of blessings and pat itself on the back a bit.
Last Tuesday, Americans trudged dutifully to the polls to vote, proudly plastering "I'm A Voter" stickers on their chests for the rest of the day.
There is an old adage warning those who seek civil discourse to avoid the discussion of politics or religion in social situations.
Death and taxes are life's only certainties, Benjamin Franklin said, and one is about as popular as the other. They surely go together for most elected officials, and when they ask constituents for more, it's like a trip to the dentist for everyone.
"Safety first" was taught to a generation of children in eras past, and remains a top priority for parents, schools and society. Back in the day, children cowered under their desks to prepare for nuclear attack; today, they hunker down in hallways braced for tornadoes.
Broken families. Neglectful parents racked by poverty, addiction or poor personal decisions. Abused children denied a normal upbringing. Government agencies short on resources and personnel scrambling desperately to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
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