Dec. 28, 2009: It Is A New Year But Don’t Tell The Corn-Fried Shrimp

IT IS A NEW YEAR BUT DON’T TELL THE CORN-FRIED SHRIMP You can stick a fork in 2009. It is done. I can’t say I am sad to see it go except that it puts me one year closer to the ultimate conversation with my Maker, who can’t wait to hear my excuses for a […]

Dec. 21, 2009: There Are Some Treasures That Money Can’t Buy

I am a rich man, a man of incalculable wealth. Had I read these words through some magical process several decades past, I would have assumed that my bank account would be overflowing and my estate large and prosperous. Not so. Time has given me a new value system. I now know that what makes […]

Dec. 14, 2009: I Wish I Had Been There. In Bethlehem.

I WISH I HAD BEEN THERE. IN BETHLEHEM. I wish I had been there. In Bethlehem. I wish I had witnessed the birth of the baby Jesus in that humble setting in a lowly manger. Was it really as cold that night as it is sometimes depicted on our Christmas cards or was it a […]

Dec. 7, 2009: Investigative Reporter Turns State Politics On Its Head

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER TURNS STATE POLITICS ON ITS HEAD Dale Russell is the best investigative reporter in Georgia, bar none. With a single interview, he has turned state politics on its head. It was Russell, head of the investigative unit at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, along with producer Mindy Larcom, cameraman Mike Carlin and editor Travis Shields […]

Nov. 30, 2009: Paying Homage To Three Wise Men

PAYING HOMAGE TO THREE WISE MEN This is the story of three wise men. They do not come bearing gifts of gold and myrrh and frankincense. Their gifts are service, intelligence and integrity. They don’t have exotic names like Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa. Theirs are ordinary names: John, Raymond and Roy. But there is nothing […]

Nov. 23, 2009: Southern Expert Puts Latest Health Survey In Perspective

SOUTHERN EXPERT PUTS LATEST HEALTH SURVEY IN PERSPECTIVE Imagine my surprise to read recent news reports that Georgia is among the least healthy states in the nation because of, among other things, our “poor diet.” Obviously, the experts who put the report together have never heard of sweet tea, Vidalia onions, barbecue sandwiches or grits […]

Nov. 15, 2009: Powerful Rules Chairman Plans To Restore Certified Teacher Funds

POWERFUL RULES CHAIRMAN PLANS TO RESTORE CERTIFIED TEACHER FUNDS Attention, National Board Certified teachers in Georgia who got hosed by the state in the last legislative session: I think I have found the guy in the white hat that plans to ride to the rescue. And he is a good one to have on the […]

Nov. 8, 2009: American Muslims Can’t Have It Both Ways

AMERICAN MUSLIMS CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS There are just a few things you can count on in this world: The sun will rise in the east; nobody will ever sing better than Ray Charles and somebody will try to make a martyr out of that piece of camel dung that killed 13 innocent men […]

Nov. 1, 2009: Long-Ago Letter Still A Fitting Tribute To Our Veterans

LONG-AGO LETTER STILL A FITTING TRIBUTE TO OUR VETERANS My friend Sam Griffin, the retired publisher of the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight, recently shared a letter written to him in 1942 by his father, Capt. Marvin Griffin, later to be governor of Georgia, as he and his men, members of the Georgia National Guard’s 101st Coast Artillery/Anti-Aircraft […]

Oct. 26, 2009: An Ode To A Wise Son From A Grateful Father

AN ODE TO A WISE SON FROM A GRATEFUL FATHER I am not going to tell you how old he is because he might not want you to know. So, I will just tell you that on his birthday next week, the last number will have a “zero” behind it and he was born as […]

Oct. 19, 2009: Just What The World Needs: A New Public Opinion Poll

JUST WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS: A NEW PUBLIC OPINION POLL The Yarbrough Multinational Media and Pest Control Company is pleased to announce the results of the first survey by its new subsidiary, Round or Square, Inc., one of the nation’s leading opinion research firms located in a pool hall in Greater Garfield, Ga. Dick Yarbrough, […]

Oct. 12, 2009: Why Should Teachers Believe Anything Politicians Say?

WHY SHOULD TEACHERS BELIEVE ANYTHING POLITICIANS SAY? My son-in-law, Dr. Ted Wansley, teaches at Whitewater High School in Fayette County and coaches the school’s cross-country teams. He is also a National Board Certified teacher. Ted got his doctorate at evening classes at Georgia State University while teaching high school during the day. He could have […]

Oct. 5, 2009: An Identity Crisis That Only A Squirrel Can Love

AN IDENTITY CRISIS THAT ONLY A SQUIRREL CAN LOVE I am having an identity crisis. Identity crises are much more serious than mid-life crises. For the latter, you can buy a toupee or a convertible or visit a tanning salon. If you have an identity crisis, you tend to talk to yourself and people assume […]

Sep. 28, 2009: Drumming Up Appreciation For The Marching Band

DRUMMING UP APPRECIATION FOR THE MARCHING BAND A young man asked recently if I would write a letter on his behalf, recommending him to the University of Georgia. That was an easy request. The lad is as bright as a newly-minted penny and I have no doubts that if UGA remains his first choice, he […]

Sep. 21, 2009: Carter Is Poster Boy For “Acts Based On Racism’

CARTER IS POSTER BOY FOR “ACTS BASED ON RACISM’ I don’t know how Jimmy Carter can look himself in the mirror. He has made hypocrisy an art form. When asked recently about the actions of South Carolina Republican Cong. Joe Wilson, who stunned the crowd during President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of […]

Sep. 14, 2009: Obama Needs A New Czar And I Have The Perfect Choice

OBAMA NEEDS A NEW CZAR AND I HAVE THE PERFECT CHOICE Dear Mr. President: I don’t know if you see my columns because I can’t get anybody at the White House to return my calls. I do know plenty of politicians in Georgia read me because a lot of them get their drawers in a […]

Sep. 7, 2009: Reflections On The Loss Of A Young Life

If you will allow me a moment of personal privilege, it has been one year since our grandson, Zack Wansley, collapsed and died while training for the Thanksgiving Day Marathon in Atlanta. He was 22. This was not his first Thanksgiving Day race. If memory serves me correctly, it was his eighth. Zack was an […]

Aug. 31, 2009: Georgia Safety Organization To Conduct National Emergency Drills

GEORGIA SAFETY ORGANIZATION TO CONDUCT NATIONAL EMERGENCY DRILLS FOR BUSINESSES AND FAMILIES It has been eight years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington killed some 3,000 innocent people. How soon we forget. Fortunately, there are people like Len Pagano who haven’t forgotten. Pagano […]

Aug. 24, 2009: Random Thoughts On Grinches, Values And Sweet Tea

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON GRINCHES, VALUES AND SWEET TEA Sometimes you just can’t help but feel sorry for Malfunction Junction, aka, the City of Atlanta. Admittedly, it is hard to do because it is such a blowhard town and not half as hip as it thinks it is. But if I was a city booster, I’d […]

Aug. 17, 2009: It’s About More Than Health Care Reform: Ordinary Citizens Are Fed Up With Out-Of-Touch Government

IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN HEALTH CARE REFORM: ORDINARY CITIZENS ARE FED UP WITH OUT-OF-TOUCH GOVERNMENT I was discussing with my son, Ken, the free-for-alls taking place in town hall meetings around the country as angry people confront members of Congress over the Obama Administration’s current health care reform proposals. It isn’t all that surprising, he […]

Aug. 10, 2009: Sweet Tea Summit Covers ‘Go Fish’ And Georgia’s Water Wars

SWEET TEA SUMMIT COVERS ‘GO FISH’ AND GEORGIA’S WATER WARS I have just attended the Sweet Tea Summit. It was like President Obama’s recent Beer Summit except we didn’t have to endure Joe Biden and his motor mouth. Gov. Sonny Perdue’s communications chief Bert Brantley has enough problems on his plate that he didn’t need […]

Aug. 3, 2009: Georgia Democratic Congressman Not Sold On Current Health Care Reform Legislation

GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN NOT SOLD ON CURRENT HEALTH CARE REFORM LEGISLATION I called Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall who represents Georgia’s 8th Congressional District in Middle Georgia to check the status of health care reform currently lurching its way through Congress. I know what is being proposed. What I wanted to know was if this hydra-headed […]

Jul. 27, 2009: Maybe Obama And I Just Need To Calibrate Better

MAYBE OBAMA AND I JUST NEED TO CALIBRATE BETTER If comments made in this space have in any way angered, dismayed or caused dry heaves to anyone who has read them, it may be that I should have calibrated my words differently. I’ll guarantee Barack Obama knows what I’m talking about. If you were watching […]

Jul. 20, 2009: Zell Miller Is A Hard Dog To Keep Under The Porch

ZELL MILLER IS A HARD DOG TO KEEP UNDER THE PORCH This is my first column since my rotator cuff surgery and it hasn’t been easy getting the words to come out the way I intended them to. My left hand is slower than a Georgia Income Tax return and my right hand is totally […]

Jul. 13, 2009: Georgia Council On Economic Education Shows Our Kids Are Smarter Than Critics

GEORGIA COUNCIL ON ECONOMIC EDUCATION SHOWS OUR KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN CRITICS Okay, you Neal Boortz Kool-Aid drinkers (including those who wrote to defend your boy and couldn’t even spell his name correctly), I have a few questions for you: 1: If Andy can produce either 24 loaves of bread or eight pounds of butter […]

Jul. 6, 2009: Perdue’s Works Overshadowed By Insensitivity To Public Perceptions

PERDUE’S WORKS OVERSHADOWED BY INSENSITIVITY TO PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS There is a saying in politics that “perception is reality” and my perception of Gov. Sonny Perdue is that he hasn’t exactly shot the lights out in his two terms as Georgia’s chief executive. There are the publicity stunts too numerous – and too embarrassing – to […]

Jun. 29, 2009: Media Need To Remember That First Amendment Belongs To Us All

MEDIA NEED TO REMEMBER THAT FIRST AMENDMENT BELONGS TO US ALL Looking around for something appropriate to say as our nation celebrates its 223rd birthday, I happened to run across an old clipping in my files from Eugene Methvin, one of the finest journalists ever from the state of Georgia. Methvin is a local boy […]

Jun. 1, 2009: An Open Letter To Georgia’s Public School Teachers

AN OPEN LETTER TO GEORGIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS Congratulations on completing – no, make that “surviving” – another year in Georgia’s public schools. As some of you know, I have a son and a son-in-law who are high school science teachers. I don’t know why they – and you – do it. On second thought, […]

June 22, 2009: Random Thoughts On Bad Service, Good Water And Other Important Matters

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON BAD SERVICE, GOOD WATER AND OTHER IMPORTANT MATTERS A friend of mine, once a top official in state government, recently tried to get AT&T service to his farm in Middle Georgia. After talking to robots and not getting his calls returned by a human being, he decided he had no choice but […]

Jun. 15, 2009: Strike This Libertarian From ‘Humor-Deficient’ List

STRIKE THIS LIBERTARIAN FROM ‘HUMOR-DEFICIENT’ LIST Hard to believe, but some people actually get their knickers in a wad over observations that emanate from this space. After a careful analysis of critical comments (insert joke here), I have decided that the vast number of complainants suffer from a serious case of humor deficiency. This is […]

Jun. 8, 2009: Barnes Bid For Governor May Be Tougher Than Pundits Think

BARNES BID FOR GOVERNOR MAY BE TOUGHER THAN PUNDITS THINK Whoa! Whoa! Hold on a second. Yes, I know former Gov. Roy Barnes has announced he is running again in 2010 but before all the political pundits, pollsters and press give him the job, there is the little matter of getting elected first. It is […]

May 25, 2009: Sending Guantanamo Prisoners To Georgia Would Solve The Problem

SENDING GUANTANAMO PRISONERS TO GEORGIA WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM For once, I am going to have to (shudder) agree with the American Civil Liberties Union. They are busting their britches to have pictures released of some of the 240 detainees at Guantanamo being waterboarded by the CIA. That is a great idea. I believe most […]

May 18, 2009: Radio ‘Talkmaster’ Boortz Is Just That: All Talk

RADIO ‘TALKMASTER’ BOORTZ IS JUST THAT: ALL TALK This is the column I always wanted to write about the commencement speech that radio talk show yakker Neal Boortz always wanted to give. You remember Boortz, don’t you? He is the guy who loves to jump on “pitiful government schools.” Evidently, he has always wanted to […]

May 11, 2009: I Warned You: Dr. Gil Can Pray Up A Storm

I WARNED YOU: DR. GIL CAN PRAY UP A STORM My hair is wet. My socks are mildewed. My joints ache. There is a torrent of water running down the street, and more rain is on the way. Drought? What drought? I hate to say I told you so, but well — I told you […]

May 4, 2009: I Have Seen The Future, And I Like What I See

I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE, AND I LIKE WHAT I SEE After too long an absence, I finally returned to sacred ground at the University of Georgia. For all my babbling about my love for UGA, I have not felt welcomed there for several years. President Michael Adams seems to view me as just short […]

Apr. 27, 2009: Looking Back, Everybody Got What They Deserved From The Olympic Games

LOOKING BACK, EVERYBODY GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED FROM THE OLYMPIC GAMES I was at the Masters a few weeks ago and had to giggle. (Well, not giggle. I don’t think giggling is allowed at Augusta National. But I was smiling.) As I strolled amid the azaleas and pines and watched magnificent golf being played on […]

Apr. 20, 2009: I Wish Zell Miller Would Come Back And Straighten Things Out

I WISH ZELL MILLER WOULD COME BACK AND STRAIGHTEN THINGS OUT I miss the heck out of Zell Miller. I wish he would come back and straighten out the mess under the Gold Dome. And he could, too. His detractors — mostly liberal weenies, these days — go apoplectic at the mention of his name. […]

Apr. 13, 2009: Random Thoughts On Politics, People And Portraits

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON POLITICS, PEOPLE AND PORTRAITS Kudos to Joe Mulholland, district attorney for the South Georgia Circuit, which includes Bainbridge, Camilla, and Cairo. After reading my suggestion that state government rather than schoolteachers take a furlough, the DA told me, “Some of us in government have already taken your argument to heart.” Mulholland says […]

Apr. 6, 2009: If Women Ruled The World, How Would I Know The Difference?

IF WOMEN RULED THE WORLD, HOW WOULD I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE? I heard that former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers was coming to Atlanta to keynote a conference with an eye-glazing title: “Possible Woman Conference: Power, Promise and Possibilities,” to take place April 21 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The proposed […]

Mar. 30, 2009: Could My Three Favorite Subjects Be Plotting Against Me?

COULD MY THREE FAVORITE SUBJECTS BE PLOTTING AGAINST ME? We are four months into the new year, and I have heard nary a public peep from President-for-Life Jimmy Carter, our Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney or noted land baron Ted “Buffalo Boy” Turner. Churning out breathtaking prose week after week is hard enough without […]

Mar. 23, 2009: Let’s Furlough Legislators And Bureaucrats And Make Them Collect Back Taxes

LET’S FURLOUGH LEGISLATORS AND BUREAUCRATS AND MAKE THEM COLLECT BACK TAXES I have a way to cut the state’s $2 billion deficit significantly while keeping members of the General Assembly, the state’s constitutional officers and assorted bureaucrats busy doing something meaningful for a change. Impossible, you say? Hear me out. I must confess I was […]

Mar. 16, 2009: Ballot Box Most Effective Way To Deal With Legislative Tax Evaders

BALLOT BOX MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DEAL WITH LEGISLATIVE TAX EVADERS I think I have just figured out a way to get the 22 legislative tax evaders out of the General Assembly and onto the streets where they might have to find real work and quit swilling from the public trough. Don’t re-elect the miscreants. […]

Mar. 9, 2009: Some Legislators Want To Spend Tax Dollars, Not Pay Them

SOME LEGISLATORS WANT TO SPEND TAX DOLLARS, NOT PAY THEM Let me say unequivocally that Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, and I are on the same page regarding the fact that the Georgia Department of Revenue says Williams and about 10 percent of his colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly are delinquent in paying their taxes. […]

Mar. 2, 2009: Dalton Area Frustrated With Politicians’ Lack Of Communications

DALTON AREA FRUSTRATED WITH POLITICIANS’ LACK OF COMMUNICATIONS With apologies to Cool Hand Luke, what we have here is a failure to communicate. The people of Dalton are sorer than a carbuncle at the perceived lack of interest by elected officials in their time of economic suffering. Metro Dalton, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties, […]

Feb. 26, 2009: Nationally Certified Teachers Deserve Better From State Government

NATIONALLY CERTIFIED TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER FROM STATE GOVERNMENT How would you like to work in a business with 236 CEOs telling you what to do, but with only a few having the foggiest notion what your job entails and no responsibility for what happens? In other words, how would you like to be a public […]

Feb. 23, 2009: Casey Cagle Talks About Downsizing, Education And Learning Curves

CASEY CAGLE TALKS ABOUT DOWNSIZING, EDUCATION AND LEARNING CURVES I stopped by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s office the other day to talk about what’s going on in the state these days. I found him refreshingly candid. Actually, I came to complain. State government is a columnist’s dream when you have the Speaker of the House […]

Feb. 8, 2009: Trying To Find Some Good News Isn’t Easy These Days

TRYING TO FIND SOME GOOD NEWS ISN’T EASY THESE DAYS As I was writing this column, the Woman Who Shares My Name wanted to ask two questions. First, would I please talk about positive things this week? “Surely,” she mused, “there has to be some good news you can share with readers instead of your […]

Feb. 1, 2009: There’s Nothing Fishy About New Infantry Museum And Soldier Center

THERE’S NOTHING FISHY ABOUT NEW INFANTRY MUSEUM AND SOLDIER CENTER Sometimes I don’t understand my beloved state of Georgia. How in good conscience can we spend $19 million on something like Go Fish Georgia, which Gov. Sonny Perdue thinks is the greatest thing to hit the state since James Oglethorpe’s two feet? We have a […]

Jan. 26, 2009: Note To Jimmy Carter: There Is A New Sheriff In Town, And He Has Your Number

NOTE TO JIMMY CARTER: THERE IS A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN, AND HE HAS YOUR NUMBER He may have done some things you like and some you don’t like in his first few weeks in office, but President Barack Obama has hit a home run in his appointment of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell as […]

Jan. 19, 2009: Predictions For The Upcoming Year From Football To Oprah

PREDICTIONS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR FROM FOOTBALL TO OPRAH I am a little late delivering my 2009 predictions to you, which must have put you in a dither. Reorganizing my sock drawer took longer than I thought. But, even though we are a few weeks into the new year, I offer my same money-back-if-not-satisfied guarantee. […]

Jan. 12, 2009: To My Grandsons: Live Your Life As Zack Lived His

To Nicholas Wansley; Brian and Thomas Yarbrough: This is my ninth year to dispense some grandfatherly advice to you at the beginning of a new year. Things have certainly changed since I began this correspondence. Not only have you gone from pre-teens to adults during that time, including one newly minted father among you. We […]

Jan. 5, 2009: State Transportation Department Conducts Funny Business

STATE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT CONDUCTS FUNNY BUSINESS American humorist Will Rogers once said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Could he have been talking about Georgia? No question that Department of Transportation Commissioner Gena Evans is a laugh a minute. Just for grins, can you top charges of sending […]