My friend Cody Laird is so passionate about longleaf pine forests that his wife sometimes wishes she were a longleaf pine.
I'm as interested as the next person in how Washington will work with Barack Obama in the White House, but there's an important question that's been missing. It has to do not so much with the new president as with the new Congress, and it should be high on every citizen's list of concerns: Will Congress live up to its responsibility to exercise robust oversight over the new administration?
Barack Obama promised the end of the era of lobbying as we know it during the campaign, but the National Marine Manufacturers Association didn't get the message. Nor did the National Automobile Dealers Association. Nor did anyone else who can make a case for getting any precious drops of the bailout money sloshing around Washington.
"I hope you have a lonely Thanksgiving," Ken no-last-name e-mailed me last week. He said he was a supporter of Sen. Saxby Chambliss. He was really mad at me for suggesting that old Sax might not be another Daniel Webster or Sam Nunn. I suppose Ken didn't read that I am betting a wad ($50) on his guy Saxby to win the runoff election against Democratic iron man "Boss Jim" Martin.
It was not Webvan or Pets.com this time. It was Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Wachovia. Gone or sold for pennies on the dollar. It was $700 billion - taxpayer dollars - rushed through Congress to avert the "greatest crisis of our time." What actually happened, and what can we learn from it?
December 1 is a special day on my calendar. It's the birthday of one of my heroes, a man I've admired since we met exactly a decade ago. He's a champion of rivers, conqueror of polluters and destroyers, defender of wild things, campaigner for justice.
For any Georgians still wondering about the need to see what government is up to with their tax dollars, it's highlighted by a Cobb County's special election on extending a Special Local Option Sales Tax this fall. How special? Scheduled on an "off" day, it cost taxpayers $500,000 or so, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
Democrats see the road to economic recovery, and it has been bulldozed, flattened out by a road grader and covered with pavement.
The buzz is getting louder. Former Gov. Roy Barnes is said to be thinking of running again.
One of Barack Obama's acts of courage as a presidential candidate, his campaign maintained, was to give a speech in Detroit excoriating the auto industry for its carbon-emitting sins. Obama noted how the industry had long played "typical Washington politics" with an "army of lobbyists."
The past week has seen new revelations in the ongoing saga of Gena Evans, nee Abraham, the woman whom Gov. Sonny Perdue put in charge of the state Department of Transportation. Perdue pushed Evans for the job supposedly to clean up a deeply troubled agency, which is facing a staggering funding shortfall in excess of $7 billion over the next six years for needed road construction and improvements. According to DOT's own estimate, its expected funding shortfall over the next 25-30 years is an almost incomprehensible $51 billion.
Once he is sworn in on Jan. 20, our new president will command all eyes. After a long campaign during which he and his rival traded policy prescriptions and accusations about their respective flaws, the country will be anxious to see the White House's agenda. Congress, it seems safe to say, will be an afterthought, its views given weight only insofar as they might hinder or abet the president's plans.
All hail the end of the Reagan era! That's the cry going up throughout liberaldom as the financial crisis and the Democratic electoral sweep threaten the Reaganite troika of deregulation, low taxes and free trade.
Unintended consequences: Sen. Saxby Chambliss would have won re-election without a runoff if his fellow Republicans in the Legislature had not messed with election rules in a misguided effort to help the GOP.
On Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), my father, brother Christopher and I will be conducting a wreath laying ceremony at the two tombs of our grandfathers in Arlington National Cemetery. I have planned this visit for over a year now as a respectful gift to my father Adna Romanza Chaffee IV.
Editor, My hat goes off to the Tri County RC Flyers for their recent airshow and the thousands of dollars they raised for wounded veterans. Unfortunately, the Courier's story contained a description of the Wounded Warrior Project organization that was misleading and is inaccurate. It read "… which helps veterans wounded in conflict…"