It is hard to remember how much better things are in America today than they were four years ago when Barack Obama took the oath of office for the first time.
You often hear there isn't much to do in Columbus. That is hardly the case this past week, especially. The week offered an embarrassment of riches for anyone who wanted to be informed, entertained and inspired, with two outstanding events unfolding almost simultaneously at the Trotter Convention Center (and other venues) and Mississippi University for Women.
Aaron Swartz: Robin Hood or John Dillinger? He was not as virtuous as Robin and hardly as bad as John. Call the computer genius saint or sinner, few will argue with labeling his suicide at age 26 a "tragic loss."
In the days before the re-inauguration of President Obama, there have been the usual curtain raisers, with the usual suspects screaming from their respective corners about the usual stuff. And then there have been interviews with "real" people.
Last week, at a meeting in New York, it was announced that a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have agreed to get together once in a while and chat. This made news nationwide. Does that not tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of American politics?
Puffy little dark-eyed juncos are popping in and out of the leftover Christmas tree. The same Christmas tree we bought at Marvin's the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of years back we decided we were no longer able or nimble enough to trek hill and dell to secure the tallest and finest cedar tree in the Prairie.
Thursday night it was my good fortune to see Spike Lee's heart-rending documentary, "4 Little Girls." The screening was the second item in a remarkably dense schedule of events Dream 365 organizers have programed over six days, beginning with a spelling bee on Wednesday and culminating tomorrow with a prayer breakfast.
Over the years searching for the route of the Hernando de Soto Expedition through Alabama and Mississippi has been about like hunting a ghost. So I guess that in looking for the route of his 1540 trek through what is now Lowndes County, it is only fitting that an old ghost story turned up.
This is a poem about a small town, whose aldermen decided to let them down.
Anyone who is concerned about the recent news that hydrofracking is happening in Lowndes County may very well feel overwhelmed or helpless as though facing an incoming tidal wave. Maybe we ask, "What can I do?" Or maybe we're confused and don't know who to trust. "The people with the oil and gas industry say it's safe. The Caledonia board of aldermen seem to think it's safe. Other people say it's terrible. Who should I trust?"
People with little knowledge of the petroleum industry or the technology used are expressing their views and opinions as if they were proven facts. If you watch a biased movie or prejudiced documentary, you are now a bona-fide expert in the field of oil and gas drilling and completion techniques. Besides being of profound knowledge, you pass judgment and condemn the business and the industry for generating profits for their shareholders, creating jobs thus reducing unemployment.
Does torture work? It is a Bush-era debate that has found Obama-era relevance because of a new movie, "Zero Dark Thirty," in which torture seems to work quite well.
Tommy Prude's term on the Columbus Municipal School District's Board of Trustees will end March 2. While there is some reason to believe Prude will ask to be re-appointed for another five-year term, we do not believe it is in the best interests of the district for Prude to return.
Senate hearings on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary will be a distinctive Washington entertainment, a donnybrook without drama. He should be confirmed: Presidents are due substantial deference in selecting Cabinet members because they administer presidential policies and, unlike judicial appointments, they leave when their nominators do.
For the second time in two years, the Mississippi Senate has passed Charter School legislation. The bill, which has a faint aroma of Good -Ole-Boy corruption, would permit for-profit charter schools to open in chronically low performing districts.
Exposed. That, in a word, is how you feel when someone broadcasts your home address without your knowledge, against your wishes. Your correspondent speaks from experience.
On a visit to the Dispatch about a month ago, Terry Brown, the Mississippi Senate pro tempore from Columbus, was asked why he so vigorously supports charter school legislation.