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Sometimes it takes a long time before you’re able to pay forward a kindness. This one took me 12 years to repay.

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, investigators discovered that the lone man assigned to guard the president, John Parker, had abandoned his post to watch the play from an adjacent box at Ford’s Theater. Worse, at intermission, Parker adjourned to a nearby saloon to have drinks with some friends. It was during the second act that John Wilkes Booth entered the president’s box and shot him.

Former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has urged President Trump and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD to stop exchanging insults over conditions in Baltimore.

A couple of years ago, Tink and I had the opportunity — which turned out to be an honor and a privilege — to work with Dolly Parton on a television project.

I know he is a longtime reader of this space and should he be doing so this week, I want Sen. Johnny Isakson to know he is in our prayers (assuming mine gets past the ceiling.) The senator is currently rehabbing after a fall at his residence in Washington, breaking four ribs. In the current dysfunctional political environment where each side is trying to out-scream the other, Johnny Isakson is one of the sane voices in Washington and one of the most respected. Also, the Woman Who Shares My Name loves him better than apple dumplings. You say something negative about her friend and she will put a skillet against your skull. Don’t even think about it. Get well soon, Senator. ...

The Washington Post, which has done everything in its dwindling power with articles, editorials and columns denouncing, demeaning and attempting to destroy President Trump, appears to have temporarily — but only temporarily — raised the white flag. A headline following former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance before two House committees said: “Democrats struggle to figure next move against Trump after Mueller Hearing falls flat.”

There’s something awful special about seeing the South from the pavement of asphalt back roads mostly forgotten by the majority of population. It is there among scrub pines, pecan trees and cattle watering in a nearby stream, that you will behold a sight that soothes the soul.

For safety reasons, fire marshals control the number of people who can occupy a building at any one time. We’ve seen what happens when crowds get too large and a fire breaks out, causing panic and often death. So why not control the crowd illegally entering America?

Before going any further, let me say that success means different things to different people.

You had to be there 50 years ago, and I was. As a young reporter for a local TV station in Houston, I frequently visited NASA (“the space base,” we dubbed it), met many of the astronauts and reported on their exploits.

This past Christmas Eve, we had just returned from a candlelight church service back to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis to have dinner at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Cappacio’s.

PLYMOUTH NOTCH, Ver. -- Rep. Justin Amash has left the Republican Party and will now represent Michigan's third congressional district as an Independent. In a Washington Post op-ed, he wrote: "I've become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."

Each year, I write an “I was wrong” column. In case you haven’t noticed, most columnists are right about everything. Just ask them. They will tell you why a particular politician is inept or why a football coach should be fired. These columnists are well-paid experts who regularly offer their solutions to everything that ails the world.

I never thought I would write this, but the publisher of The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, is right. Sulzberger wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in response to President Trump’s claim that his newspaper committed “treason” by publishing a story about U.S. efforts to compromise Russia’s power grid should Moscow again try to meddle in U.S. elections. The Times says it consulted National Security officials who raised no objections to its publication.

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There is a spot on I-20 East in Atlanta where the exit for I-85 and I-75 is located. That spot – THAT spot – has been the scene of some of our more heated disagreements.

A survey was once conducted over the country in which two questions were asked. First, are you worried about anything? Second, if so, what?

A common refrain of Mama’s, particularly during my high school and college years, was, “Don’t get above your raisin’, little girl.”

In his most famous dialogue, "The Republic," Plato, via Socrates, explored the idea that a just state would best function under the leadership of a perfectly just philosopher-king.

It may be a truism-in-the-making that one’s political career is over when, as a candidate, you must first apologize for your sex and race, which can mean only one thing: Young or old, you’re a white guy.

When I was growing up in the rural South, things were simple. Life was enjoyable and, though we didn’t know it then, we savored those days.

Something nudged me the other day and sent me to a closet where high on a shelf, tucked back in a corner, was a collection of Mama’s gatherings.

There are 8.5 million Virginians. Surely the commonwealth can find someone to serve as governor whose yearbook page does not prominently feature a picture of a broadly grinning young white man in blackface and another wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.

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