Georgia

Race to the Bottom

Back in the 1940s, when there was no pretense of equality among the races and, instead, a benign acceptance—if not, among some, a certainty—that inequality was in fact the way things should be, my mother, then a college student, journeyed 200 miles from her family’s home in north Georgia, through the slash pines and wiregrass, to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in a settlement called Keysville.

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Freaks and Geeks

The fans who descended upon Baltimore in September 1983 for the forty-first annual World Science Fiction Convention hadn’t come to meet Newt Gingrich. They were there to see Isaac Asimov and the test pilot Chuck Yeager, to listen to Jim Henson hold forth on The Dark Crystal, to hear panel discussions like “Is There Pornography in the Future?” In this milieu, the gentleman from Georgia’s sixth district stood out mostly because of his conservative attire. “He was a novelty,” recalls the author Virginia Postrel, who met Gingrich at the convention. “People were wearing blue jeans.

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There’s been no shortage of attention to the wave of recent laws in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and elsewhere that have ordered police to check detainees for proof of legal residence, required school officials to check the legality of students’ immigration status and prohibited employers from hiring undocumented aliens and landlords from renting to them. According to the conventional wisdom, it’s Washington that’s ultimately responsible for these draconian laws: The federal government forced local government’s hand by failing to address comprehensive immigration reform.

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Alexei Slapovsky’s 2010 novel, March on the Kremlin, opens with a young poet being accidentally killed by a policeman. Not knowing whom to blame and what to do, the poet’s mother picks up the body and, cradling her dead son in her arms, walks almost unconsciously toward the Kremlin. Her son’s friends trail close behind. Across the city, just as the mother is starting her long trek in pursuit of justice, an aging drunkard decides that his brother, who died the previous night, deserves to be interred by the Kremlin walls. So he, too, heads toward the Kremlin.

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The end of 2011 brought discouraging news for advocates of effective goods movement policy, as evidenced by new developments in the standoff between the ports of Charleston and Savannah. As reported by the Charleston Post & Courier (h/t to Peter T.

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Today, millions of Americans (who, unlike your humble blogger, are still on vacation) are trading the champagne of December 31st for the six-packs of January 2nd. That’s right: It’s time for college football. Today, Houston and Penn State play in the TicketCity Bowl, Ohio State and Florida play in the Gator Bowl, Michigan State and Georgia play in the Outback Bowl, Nebraska and South Carolina play in the Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin and Oregon play in the Rose Bowl, and Stanford and Oklahoma State play in the Fiesta Bowl.

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If you’ve watched a recent GOP debate, you may have felt like you were, willingly or not, sitting through a class with Professor Newt Gingrich. Indeed, before Gingrich was a politician, he was an academic, albeit a not terribly successful one: In 1978, he was denied tenure at West Georgia College (the stated reason was that he had failed to publish any work). Fifteen years following that setback, however, he made a brief return to academia.

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The Forgotten Campaign

If the resurgence of Newt Gingrich is strange for voters to behold, it has been doubly so for David Worley, the man who at age 32 came within 974 votes of keeping Gingrich from becoming a world-historical figure in the first place. It’s easy to forget, but, before Gingrich presided over the Republican Revolution of 1994, he very nearly lost his seat—even though he was, at the time, a twelve-year veteran of Congress and the second-ranking Republican in the House.

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In the early part of the 20th century, when Jewish entertainers like Al Jolson would toss Yiddish references to gedaempfte Rinderbrust (beef brisket) and the like into their routines, it was widely seen as an expression not of anti-Semitic baiting, but as a cocky sort of pride. Yes, the performers were intentionally making a point of their ethnicity, but it was in the form of a shout-out to the Jews in their audience, not as a wink to their would-be persecutors.

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What's for lunch today? In many Texas prisons, nothing. The Times had a remarkable story tucked inside Friday's paper noting that Rick Perry's administration has decided to stop serving lunch on Saturdays and Sundays in order to help deal with the state's budget troubles. Not serving lunch to 23,000 inmates is the better part of $2.8 million in prison-system savings being sought this year.

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