11/24/2017

December 30, 2013: How to Monitor Who is Spending What on Our Legislators

This could be a very important piece of information I am about to share with you. Whether it is or not is up to you. It depends on how much you care about the money being spent on our state’s politicians. If you don’t care and want to cop the “it doesn’t make any difference” […]

December 23, 2013: With The New Year Coming, Time For Some Serious Soothsaying

Good grief. I just took a peek at next week’s calendar. It says 2014. That can’t be correct. I’m still waiting for Y2K and for all our computers to crash. I must have overslept. Time flies when you are having fun and never do I have more fun than on New Year’s Eve at the […]

December 16, 2013: There Is Much To Believe In At Christmas

This column first ran in 2010.  The status of Cameron Charles Yarbrough has been updated, but the message remains timeless. I believe in Christmas. I believe as a Christian that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.  The Messiah. I believe you have the right to disagree with me, […]

December 9, 2013: Like Nelson Mandela, Andrew Young’s Journey One Of Forgiveness

Former South African president Nelson Mandela has received much-deserved praise following his death on Dec.5 at the age of 95, and rightly so. South Africa could have sunk into chaos and a bloody civil war with Mandela’s rise to power following 27 years of imprisonment and the end of apartheid. Instead, he preached reconciliation and […]

December 2, 2013: Game Over, Now Time To Get Down To Business At UGA

It was as ugly as a wart hog, but for the 11th time in the past twelve years, 38 of the past 50 and 65 out of 108, the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South has bested You-Know-Where Institute of Technology for […]

November 25, 2013: Tweaking The Humor-Impaired Is Dangerous Work

  Knock! Knock! Knock! “Hello, may I help you?” “Yes, my name is Bland.  Agent Bland.  This is my associate, Agent Person.  We are with the Politically-Correct police, Humor-Impaired division.  We would like to talk to you for a minute.” “What have I done?” “We have received numerous complaints that you may be singling out […]

November 18, 2013: Random Thoughts on Random Subjects

Last week, family and friends gathered in the small town of Chattahoochee Hills, south of Atlanta, to celebrate a life well-lived. Our late grandson, Zack Wansley, was honored at the dedication of “Zack’s Glade,” a pristine and picturesque piece of Cochran Mill Park near where he died while training for the Atlanta Marathon in 2008. […]

November 11, 2013: To Uga President Jere Morehead: Welcome Aboard

Dear Dr. Morehead: Congratulations on your investiture as the 22nd president of the University of Georgia. I wish I could be there for the ceremony on Nov. 19, but I have a long-scheduled conflict on that day. Otherwise, I would be there barking “Woof! Woof!” to show my pleasure in having you officially recognized as […]

November 4, 2013: Here’s A Chance To Make Yourself At Home On Mars

I have some good news and some bad news. I read in the paper recently about a proposed venture to send people to Mars. The good news is that it will be a one-way trip. The bad news is that the launch isn’t scheduled until 2022, meaning anybody dumb enough to consider the idea of […]

Oct. 28, 2013: With Watson’s Statue Gone, Why Not a Salute to Perdue?

Ring! Ring! Ring! “Hello, Gov. Deal’s office. May I help you? One moment, please. Governor, you have a call on Line One.” “I’m in a very important staff meeting. If it’s that flap-jaw from the Ethics Commission who says I ‘owe her,’ tell her I am looking to get her a job in Djibouti herding […]

October 21, 2013: Junior E. Lee Analyzes Reactions To Government Shutdown

I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, to see what kind of reactions he was getting from the public to the recent shutdown of the federal government. In addition to being a certified pest control professional, Junior is responsible for managing […]

October 14, 2013: Not Winning Nobel Peace Prize Has Its Own Rewards

Bummer.  I just learned that I did not win the Nobel Peace Prize again this year.  This is getting old.  I was so confident this time that I had my tuxedo pressed and new laces put in my Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star high-top sneakers. It seems the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons nosed […]

October 7, 2013: State Department Of Driver Services Working To Improve Customer Experience

After a friend told me she had waited three-and-a-half hours recently to get her Georgia driver’s license renewed and then had to deal with a clerk that could have passed for a robot – and an unhelpful one, at that – I thought this to be a typical example of a bunch of government bureaucrats […]

September 30, 2013: Charges Against State Senator Feed Negative Perception Of Politics

Despite the rants of publicity-seeking bigots, the blather of Twitter twits and a national news media more interested in scooping the competition than in accurate reporting, the fact is that our American system of justice presumes one is innocent until proven guilty. I say this to emphasize that Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville), once the chairman […]

September 23, 2013: Ticket Ban Doesn’t Stop Need For More Ethics Reform

It looks like our legislators are about to lose one of their most cherished perks: free football tickets. Bless their hearts. This is the last year lizard-loafered lobbyists can give legislators free access to see our scholar-athletes do their thing on Saturday afternoons across the state. A prohibition against this long-revered tradition begins Jan. 1, […]

September 16, 2013: Why We The Unwashed Won’t Help Either Side in Syria

Dear Syrian Rebels: I thought I’d take a minute to correspond with you as you resume your efforts to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. You are no doubt disappointed that the United States government chose not to come to your aid as they promised. There is a good reason and that is my purpose in […]

August 20, 2013: Hard to Make Political Decisions With Broccoli Up Your Nose

It is flattering to have readers tell me I should run for public office. There are also an equal number of adoring fans that say I should stick my head in a bucket of tar.  But that is a topic for another day. At various times, it has been suggested that I run for (a) […]

September 2, 2013: Discovering Legislator With a Sense of Humor a Rare Occurrence

Rats! As if creating this profound and pithy prose each week wasn’t hard enough, now I have discovered a legislator with a sense of humor. The apocalypse is upon us. As those of you who have followed this space over the years know well and those of you who are new to it will soon […]

August 26, 2013: Last Will And Testament A Reminder That Each Day Is Precious

Please indulge me a moment of introspection and feel free to think along with me. Chances are what I am going to say may apply to you as well. My family and I recently sat through a thorough review of my Last Will and Testament. It was a surreal experience, listening to my friend and […]

August 19, 2013: State School Superintendent Weighing Run For Governor

If public education in Georgia doesn’t have enough problems, there is now a high-profile ruckus between Gov. Nathan Deal and State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. It has gotten so peevish that there is talk that the school superintendent may challenge Deal in the Republican gubernatorial primary next spring. This brouhaha seems to have its […]

August 12, 2013: A Soggy Reminder To Be Careful What You Pray For

You may have read that the United States Supreme Court is going to hear a case about whether or not prayer can be uttered in town councils across America. Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that such a nefarious deed violated the First Amendment’s ban on an “establishment of religion.” If such a ban […]

August 5, 2013: School Teachers: They’re Grasshoppers in an Elephant Fight

Dear Public School Teachers: As you head back to the classroom for the new school year, I would like to tell you that things have changed for the better but I would be fibbing. Budgets will continue to shrink, classroom sizes will increase and the ignoramuses among us will still expect you to close the […]

July 29, 2013: Why Wasn’t Skeeter Skates Included On Azerbaijan Junket?

I read recently in the Atlanta newspapers that our intrepid public servants just keep on going — on trips, that is. Despite a self-congratulatory swipe at ethics reform in the last session, there seems to be nothing stopping the boys and girls of the General Assembly and assorted state bureaucrats from continuing to zip around […]

July 22, 2013: Looking Back On 15 Years Of An Accidental Career

This month, I begin my 16th year as a syndicated newspaper columnist in Georgia.  Time flies when you are having fun and I am having a ball.  I hope you are, too. This career – unlike my tenure at BellSouth and then at the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games – was accidental.  In June, […]

July 15, 2013: Random Thoughts On Random Subjects

After much posturing, the General Assembly passed a sleeves-out-of-their-vest piece of legislation on lobbying reform in the last session and wants us to believe they have answered our concerns.  Not so. Lobbyists still have better and more frequent access to politicians in state government than We the Unwashed (and the legislation didn’t quell the self-righteous […]

July 8, 2013: Columnist Commandos Get Inside Info On Rogers Radio Gig

There is no way I could produce such pithy and thought-provoking essays each week without the help of my columnist commandos.  These folks are my private information-gathering experts.  They can go anywhere and find out anything. They are the masters of disguise.  How good are they?  One of them currently is posing as one of […]

July 1, 2013: A Salute To A Smart Man Who Walked A Fine Line

I try to make it a habit to hang around with smart people.  Given that my IQ is not much larger than my waist line, this isn’t difficult to do. One person who fits that bill – and is a nice guy to boot – is the dean of my beloved Grady College of Journalism […]

June 24, 2013: A Visit With Carl Sanders Recalls Tumultous Time In Georgia

When Jimmy Carter ran for the state senate in 1961 and was defeated, he claimed voter fraud.  Carl Sanders, president pro tem of the state senate, supported Carter’s claim and provided legal counsel from the Democratic Party.  Carter prevailed. Fast forward to 1970.  After serving as Georgia’s governor from 1963-67, Gov. Sanders ran again.  In […]

June 17, 2013: A Story About Friends, Strangers And A Baseball

This is a story about heroes — good people doing good things.  The cast of characters in this performance shares one thing in common:  They are strangers to one another.  They will meet for the first time via this column.  That is what makes this such a good story. Hero Number One: Rob Neely, a […]

June 10, 2013: State Charter School Commission In Good Hands

I have said it before, but let me repeat:  I have no problem with charter schools.  I did have a big problem with the ham-handed way last November’s charter school referendum was rammed through by proponents. Of course, it passed.  With all the money that was put behind it and the intimidation of those deigning […]

June 3, 2013: No One Can Question Answer Man’s Wisdom

Well, boys and girls, I see by the old clock on the wall that it is June already.  We know what that means.  It is time for Answer Man to dig into the Question Box and see what is on your hearts and minds and assorted body parts.  Just remember that Answer Man doesn’t have […]

May 27, 2013: Waiting For Atheists To Create A Sunset Or A Duck-Billed Platypus

Dear God: I apologize for contacting you in such a public manner but there is an issue here in Georgia I need to discuss with You pronto.  I thought about bringing it up in my prayers but, frankly, I have so many sins teed up to apologize for that my knees would likely give out […]

May 20, 2013: Education Expert Says Students Aren’t Blueberries

Dear Public School Teachers in Georgia: It looks as if you have survived another year of underwhelming support from state legislators, many of whom would kiss a tree toad if so instructed by the anti-public education crowd.  I know it is frustrating but as my daddy used to say, consider the source. One reader harrumphed […]

May 13, 2013: Dalton Mayor Mulls Primary Run Against Governor Deal

David Pennington, the mayor of Dalton, is making noises about challenging incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary.  Say what? I visited the mayor a couple of weeks ago at his office to see if he was truly serious.  He tells me he is and that he will be making a decision by […]

May 6, 2013: Lagrange College Senior Triumphs Over Life-Altering Experience

This is the story of courage.  This is a story of tenacity.  This is the story of Hill Daniel. Daniel, a 21-year-old senior at LaGrange College, will be graduating next week with a degree in psychology after a distinguished college career in which he served as president of the Student Government Association, a Presidential Student […]

April 29, 2013: GPB Deals With An Unhappy Big Bird And Talking Frogs

RING! RING! “Hello, this is Teya Ryan, president of Georgia Public Broadcasting.  I am calling to ask you to consider a donation to GPB.  If you donate $250, we will send you a talking frog.” KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! “Please excuse me a moment.  Yes, Wanda?  What is it?” “Ms. Ryan, sorry to bother you but […]

April 22, 2013: ?Boston Terrorist Attack Brings Back Memories Of Atlanta Bombing

When the terrorist attacks occurred in Boston during the running of the Boston Marathon, memories came flooding back of our own dark days in Atlanta. It was 17 years ago, July 27, 1996, when those of us who were a part of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games had our worst fears realized.  A […]

April 15, 2013: Random Thoughts On Random Subjects

It turns out that you can go home again.  I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Dr. Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents came for the ceremony and both made […]

April 8, 2013: Outstanding Equestrian Team Is UGA’s Best-Kept Secret

They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of.  They have won five national titles and go into next week’s national championships one of the favorites to win it all again.  Their home record is 44-1. They are a model for what all intercollegiate athletics should be but, alas, […]

April 2, 2013: Skeeter Skates Not Impressed With Ethics Reform Legislation

When the phone rang, I knew who was on the other end:  Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter’s Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Greater Metropolitan Pooler.  I can’t tell you exactly why but the phone always sounds a bit harsher when Skeeter calls. One thing about Skeeter Skates.  He gets right to the point.  […]

March 25, 2013: Going Into The Lion’s Den For A Worthy Cause

I have a good idea what Daniel felt like when he was tossed into the lion’s den way back yonder.  I found myself last week on the floor of the State House and the State Senate, looking eyeball-to-eyeball with some of the very folks I have cuffed around in this space over the years. As […]

March 18, 2013: If Not For Our Natural Resources, We Could Be Iran Or Detroit

It is a theological fact that God really likes Georgia.  That is why He put mountains in North Georgia and the Golden Isles smack up against the Atlantic Ocean and added a bunch of lakes and parks and historical sites in between.  Otherwise, we could have been Iran.  Or Detroit. I stopped by last week […]

March 11, 2013: Judge Charles Carnes Has Earned His Place At The Head Of The Table

Let’s face it.  Judges can be pretty scary folks to We the Unwashed.  About the only time we ever see them is when we are called for jury duty or when – Heaven forbid – we are a plaintiff or defendant or a witness, wishing we could be anywhere but in the courtroom. But I […]

March 4, 2013: For Ethics Reform, The Party Isn’t Over Yet

The Georgia House of Representatives has passed an ethics reform bill and has sent it on its way to the State Senate for their consideration and action.  But don’t get out the confetti just yet.  What one body sees as true ethics reform, the other sees as a desultory effort to curb the power and […]

February 18, 2013: Thanks To Humor-Impaired, The State Of This Column Has Never Been Stronger

My fellow Americans:   (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I come to you today to report on the state of your column – and it is your column because without you, I would be writing to myself which doesn’t make any sense.  (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I delayed my State of the Column in order that President […]

February 11, 2013: Speaker David Ralston Discusses Proposed Ethics Legislation

Are you sitting down?  I had a meeting with House Speaker David Ralston last week at the Capitol.  Got your breath yet? There’s more.  It was a good meeting. Several of our mutual friends had been trying for some time to get the Speaker and I together, saying we might have more in common than […]

February 4, 2013: Walking Away From Public Schools Is Not A Solution

As many of you recall, I opposed the recent charter school amendment, not because I oppose charter schools – I don’t – but because I thought the wording of the amendment was duplicitous.  I thought it grossly unfair that Gov. Nathan Deal could wax eloquently on the need for passage of the amendment but School […]

January 29, 2013: Georgia Public Broadcasting Welcomes Their New Executive Producer

Knock! Knock! Knock! “Hello.  Can I help you?” “Hi.  Are you Teya Ryan, president of Georgia Public Broadcasting?” “Yes, I am.  Who are you?” “I am Chip Rogers, your new employee.  I used to be the majority leader in the state senate where I was responsible for such cutting-edge issues as preventing our body parts […]

January 21, 2013: Legislators May Finally Be Getting The Message On Lobbying Limits

Don’t look now but I think you are beginning to have some impact on the issue of unlimited lobbying expenditures in the Legislature. Our politicians seem none too happy about having to derail their gravy train.  They have tried to ignore you (and me) or, when necessary, explain to us in the most condescending manner […]

January 14, 2013: Local Newspapers Serve As Our Advocates And Protectors

I have the privilege of speaking to a group of newspaper publishers at the Georgia Press Association’s winter gathering in Atlanta. This is a special opportunity because this is a special group.  Besides, I think my lunch is free although I can’t be sure.  Publishers run a tight ship. Newspaper publishers manage a business that […]

January 7, 2013: To Cameron: Thank You For Reminding Us What Really Matters

Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: Over the years it has been a tradition at the first of the year to impart some words of wisdom in this space to your father, uncle and cousins, who double as my grandsons.  Perhaps some of my observations were useful to them.  Maybe some fell on deaf ears.  I have […]