07/26/2017

December 29, 2014: Potato Bowl Already Looking Like the Highmark for 2015

I had just returned from the local toxic waste site where I had disposed of my holiday fruit cakes and was busy cramming my Christmas tree down the garbage disposal (don’t ask), when I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was the Environmental Protection Agency coming to talk to me about polluting […]

December 22, 2014: I Wish I Had Been There. In Bethlehem

These words are dedicated to the memory of my friend, the late Otis Brumby, Jr., publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal, who encouraged me to run this column each Christmas season. It is also dedicated to those who believe. I wish I had witnessed the birth of the baby Jesus in that humble setting in […]

December 15, 2014: Friendships Are Truly The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Maybe it’s the fact that I have more days in the rearview mirror than I have ahead of me, but at this special time of year I am more aware than ever of the gift of friendships. Friendships are always the correct size, the right color and don’t require a set of instructions on how […]

December 8, 2014: Commission Director Says Progress Being Made In State’s Charter School Efforts

You may recall that I vigorously opposed passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012 creating the State Charter School Commission that would allow an alternative method for authorizing charter schools in Georgia. You may recall, also, that the amendment passed handily. So much for my vigor. My primary objection to the amendment was a concern […]

December 1, 2014: If Bora-Bora Doesn’t Care About The Game, Why Should We?

This was written in a cave somewhere in Greater Bora Bora. The column was floated across the ocean in an RC Cola bottle to this newspaper.  (I have no idea how the editors got in from bottle to print. I assumed that if editors can figure out where commas go, they ought to be able […]

November 24, 2014: Carl Sanders: A Great Man Who Did Great Things For Georgia

On my “To Do” list last week was a reminder to call former Gov. Carl Sanders and see if he had any thoughts on how to get the field at Sanford Stadium named for UGA’s former coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. I knew he would like the idea and perhaps could jerk a few […]

November 17, 2014: Junior E. Lee Analyzes Elections And Predicts Our Next President

I was on St. Simons Island last week scarfing down massive amounts of corn-fried shrimp at the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill when someone came to the table to inquire if Junior E. Lee had finished his analysis of the recent election. That really puffed Junior up when I told him that. As most of […]

November 10, 2014: This Is One Terrorist That Deserves Our Thanks

This is a story I shared with some of you a couple of years ago but given the well-deserved tributes this week to our veterans, it seems an appropriate time to share it with all of you. It is about a terrorist; an honest-to-God terrorist. Not only does he not deny the appellation, he’s proud […]

November 3, 2014: Junior E. Lee Is Bullish On His Post-Election Analysis

I called Junior E. Lee and asked when he would have some post-election analysis to share with you. Junior, as you know, is general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, home of Round-or-Square Polls, whose motto is “You supply the dough and we will cook the […]

October 27, 2014: A Salute To One Trying To Make This A Better World

A wise man once said that our only reason for occupying space on this earth is to leave things better than we found them. Unfortunately, not enough of us will. Len Pagano is an exception. Pagano is president and CEO of Marietta-based Safe America Foundation, an organization he founded some 20 years ago. Its stated […]

October 20, 2014: Gov. Nathan Deal Pledges “Everything On The Table” Public Education Reform

Last week Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia. This week, incumbent Republican Gov. Deal talks about his plans for public education in a second and final term as the state’s chief executive. What he told me came as a bit of a surprise. I suspect […]

October 13, 2014: Democrat Gubernatorial Hopeful Jason Carter Shares His Views On Education

I have asked the two major gubernatorial candidates to talk to Georgia public school teachers about their respective education platforms. This week the floor belongs to Jason Carter, the Democratic challenger. Next week, it will be Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s turn. The teacher’s vote could be the difference in a very tight race as to […]

October 6, 2014: Some Random Thoughts On Some Random Subjects

If I die anytime soon — and I have no plans to do so at the moment — please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, “He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association.” You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad […]

September 29, 2014: Dooley’s Players Need To Ensure Stadium Will Carry Coach’s Legacy

Last Saturday while the Bulldog nation sweated out a 35-32 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers that should not have been as hard as our scholar-athletes made it, former head football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley’s first team at UGA was recognized on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. As nice as that was, more […]

September 22, 2014: Thinning Out the Alternatives for Jekyll Island Deer

I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. One day I am advising world leaders on the nuances of international monetary policy. The next day I am consoling a distraught reader who thinks I need to “look within myself spiritually.” The last time I looked within myself, I saw my navel. It […]

September 15, 2014: Trying To Find The Positives In This World Can Be A Negative

The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week’s column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. “Surely, you can find some positive things to write about,” she said, “and temporarily take people’s minds off all the terrible things […]

September 8, 2014: Dalton State College A Major Player In Area’s Economic Rebound

Remember the story of “The Little Engine That Could?” That could well describe the City of Dalton, a town of some 34,000 nestled in the corner of Northwest Georgia not far from the Tennessee line. In the oft-told tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. Larger engines refuse to do it. […]

September 1, 2014: It’s September and the Political Days Grow Short

Can it be? Is it September already?   One of my favorite tunes, “September Song,” was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called “Knickerbocker Holiday.   The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia — “For it’s a long, long time from May to December, but […]

August 25, 2014: Family’s Tragedy is Reminder to Text Less and Live More

It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn’t get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure. This killer? Texting while driving. The cure? Don’t do it. There is no text so urgent as to distract […]

August 18, 2014: One Letter Not Enough To Polish Liberal Credentials

Rap! Rap! Rap! “The special called meeting of the Loyal Order of Liberals will come to order. Let’s begin the meeting as we always do with the Liberal Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to liberal causes. The right wing is nothing but mush. And if something goes wrong on the left, We can always […]

August 11, 2014: Gosh Dang. What Is Wrong With A Southern Accent?

I just learned of a book called, “Say Goodbye to your Southern Accent.”  Gosh dang. What is wrong with a Southern accent? The book’s authors, Jennifer Adams and Johanna Chapman, run a firm called Atlanta Accent Management. Ms. Adams was quoted in the Atlanta newspapers recently as saying, “We have clients who do business around […]

August 4, 2014: A Fresh Reminder Of Why Teaching Is A Noble Profession

Dear Georgia Public School Teachers: It is new school year but, alas, the same old impediments: An out-of-touch federal bureaucracy; ideological state legislators who choose not to send their kids to public schools but intend to tell you how and what to teach, and a society that values reality television more than quality education. Sometimes […]

July 28, 2014: Trying To Determine Who Is The Real Outsider In U.S. Senate Race

The U.S. Senate race this November between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue will be one of the more unusual campaigns we have witnessed in Georgia. Neither has held public office and both are anxious to portray themselves as the ultimate “outsider.” But just how outside is outside? That was a task I assigned […]

July 21, 2014: Taxpayers On The Hook For Mishandled Ethics Probe Of Gov. Deal

  In 1997, Gov. Zell Miller appointed me to fill a vacant seat on the five-member State Ethics Commission and then reappointed me to a full term where I served until 2002. It was a rewarding experience and I am proud of the good things we accomplished at the commission. Now, fast forward to its […]

July 14, 2014: The Job Of Waxing Poetic Can Be Quite Frenetic

  “I have gotten bad news and am much the worse for it. “I’ve just found out I’m not the nation’s poet laureate. “I made a great effort. I put up a good fight. “But instead the job went to a guy named Charles Wright. “Burma Shave.”   The preceding stanza should tell you I […]

July 7, 2014: When It Comes To Polls And Pests, Junior E. Lee Knows His Business

  With the July 22 runoff elections fast approaching, I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, to get his thoughts on the various races and to see who he thinks will make it to the finals of the November general election […]

June 23, 2014: Retired General Sees Hope In Future Iraqi Generations

  In my home hangs a photograph of a rather large and deep hole on the side of an asphalt road. It is the aftermath of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) — or in more simple terms, a homemade bomb — that went off just as the Humvee in which I was riding passed over […]

June 16, 2014: If Heaven Is Out Of The Question, Any Day In Athens Will Do

I have said it before but it bears repeating: If I don’t qualify for heaven (a distinct possibility), my preferred alternates are: (a.) Athens, Georgia, on a crisp fall Saturday afternoon; (b.) Athens, Georgia, on a warm spring day or (c.) Athens, Georgia, on any day. As you no doubt know, Athens is home to […]

June 09, 2014: A Salute To A Man Who Achieved His Dream

  Before the start of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, Billy Payne, the organization’s CEO, reminded everyone that while much of the attention during the Games would be focused on the high-profile athletes, not to forget that all 10,000 athletes from the 107 countries represented were and would forever be Olympians — a title very […]

June 2, 2014: Sea Island Company Defends Proposed Development

I wrote recently about the concerns of environmental groups over a proposal by the owners of Sea Island to develop 7.2 acres on the south end of the island. They say that the land is too fragile for the proposed development. Those opposed were savvy enough to alert me to their concerns and I was […]

May 26, 2014: Unsolicited Advice For Senatorial Candidates From A Nattering Nabob

To David Perdue, Jack Kingston and Michelle Nunn: Congratulations on making it this far in your quest to become our newest U.S. Senator. As you prepare for the next phase of your campaign, I thought I would pass along to you some unsolicited advice for your consideration. Please don’t thank me. It was either this […]

May 19, 2014: Some Random Thoughts On Some Random Subjects

How’s this for a conflict? This past weekend I had to choose between going to New York and attending the prestigious Peabody Award ceremonies, sponsored by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia or an opportunity to participate in the 14th annual Washpot Festival in Garfield. Since I had […]

May 12, 2014: There Is No Question That Answer Man Knows His Stuff

It is the Merry Month of May and you know that means, boys and girls. It is time for Answer Man! You ask it, we answer it. Please know that all answers have been authenticated and hermetically-sealed by Funk and Wagnall. (No, not that Funk and Wagnall. This is Elrod Funk and Jim Bob Wagnall. […]

May 5, 2014: Talking Politics and Watching Out For the Spinach

I like to surround myself with those smarter than me. In my case, that’s not hard to do. I could make a sack of rocks look like a Mensa meeting. So, I was flattered to be asked to lunch recently with a group of reporters, editors and long-time political observers in Atlanta and listen to […]

April 28, 2014: Sen. Chip Rogers ‘Dream Job’ At GPB Goes ‘Poof’

The scene: The office of Teya Ryan, president of GPB. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! “Ms. Ryan?” “What is it, Tiffany? I am very busy and I asked not to be interrupted.” “I’m sorry to bother you but there is a man pacing outside your office dressed like Big Bird. He says he must talk to you […]

April 21, 2014: Proposed Sea Island Development Awash With Controversy

The Sea Island Company wants to build a group of condominiums on what many people believe to be environmentally unsound ground. Why should you care? According to Pierre Howard, “If Sea Island (Co.) can do this, then it can be done anywhere. The Georgia coast belongs to everybody.” That, he says, is why you should […]

April 14, 2014: Needing To Remember What Easter Is All About

I wish I had been there. In Jerusalem. With Jesus. I wish I could have witnessed the events of a week that changed the world forever. I wish I could have accompanied Jesus into the city as he rode astride a donkey and watched the crowds throw their cloaks before him, cheering the man they […]

April 7, 2014: Child Abuse And Neglect Need To Be Georgia’s Priority

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Georgia, as proclaimed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. Child abuse is a subject I don’t like to think about, let alone write about and you would probably just as soon not hear about. But it is there and we need to acknowledge it and demand some solutions. Sadly, […]

March 31, 2014: Irritating Liberals And Conservatives In Same Week Not Easy

Even by my impossibly high standards, this has been a good week. It began with a whack upside the head from a reader in South Georgia after I opined that those who want to change the way we teach our children in public schools ought to have their kids in public schools. I was referring […]

March 24, 2014: Columnist Commandos Get Scoop On Latest Developments In Crimea

Since the policy of the federal government seems to be to snoop on the conversations of private citizens, I thought it would be appropriate if we turned the tables on them.  So, I authorized my columnist commandos to infiltrate the White House disguised as Teleprompters and get the real scoop on the latest developments in […]

March 17, 2014: Celebrating The Life And Legacy Of A Great Journalist

I was at the sausage-making plant last week, better known as the Georgia General Assembly. I was there for a good cause. The state Senate was honoring Dick Pettys, one of the finest journalists to walk through the doors of the state Capitol, and I was asked to be a part of that special day. […]

March 10, 2014: Legislature Solving Another Problem That Doesn’t Exist

The scene: I-16 near Dublin. WAAANGH! REEP! REEP! REEP! “Driver! Pull your car over immediately!” “Officer, have I done something wrong?” “Sir, I clocked you in the left lane going 87 miles per hour!” “Gosh, I am sorry. I was in a hurry to get to an all-day singing in Dudley. In my excitement I […]

March 3, 2014: Sen. Tippins Working To Improve Common Core Standards

As predicted in this space a few weeks ago, there is compromise legislation pending in the General Assembly regarding the Common Core curriculum, the controversial program which seeks to establish consistent education standards across the country. For this, you can thank Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), the chairman of the Senate Education and Youth Committee.  Getting […]

February 24, 2014: Easing Restrictions On Convicted Sex Offenders Is A Bad Joke

The Cherokee County Republican Party has a blurb on its website about Rep. Sam Moore, who won the 22nd District house seat earlier this month following the death of veteran lawmaker Calvin Hill. Among other tidbits about Moore are his hobbies, including this: “Playing jokes … watch out. You have been warned!” Boy, were they […]

February 17, 2014: Protecting Our Children More Important Than Toting Guns To Church

Let me run some numbers by you: 152: The number of children who died in 2012 in Georgia, despite the intervention of the state’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). 13: The number of children who died in 2012 while in foster care. Zero: The number of people who died in shootouts in a […]

February 10, 2014: Some Random Thoughts On Some Random Subjects

Many of you have written to say you oppose HB 875, which would allow weapons in houses of worship and is currently making its way through the Legislature faster than a speeding bullet. I suggest you let the bill’s author, State Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), know, too. Call him at 404-656-0188, or email: rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov.  Contact […]

February 3, 2014: Annual State of The Column Finds Much To Applaud

My fellow Georgians, in order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is a requirement that I submit to you annually a State of the Column message. This I do today. (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I can report that the state of this column has never been stronger. (Clap! Clap! […]

January 27, 2014: Legislature Takes Aim At Passing ‘Guns For God’

American humorist Will Rogers once said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Ol’ Will would have loved the Georgia Legislature. They are the gift that keeps on giving. Our intrepid public servants believe they have identified the Number One issue that has vexed “We the Unwashed” for far […]

January 20, 2014: Who Wants To Live Longer Without Banana Pudding?

I read a news report this week that says while we are living a lot longer in the U.S., people in other countries are living even longer. Bummer. I asked Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Ga., to analyze the report for me […]

January 13, 2014: Loss Of An Old Friend Is Reminder Of Misplaced Priorities

If this sounds like name-dropping, I apologize but I am trying to make a point here. I picked up the newspaper this past week and discovered that Larry Speakes, the long-time spokesman for Pres. Ronald Reagan, had died at his home in Cleveland, Miss. He was 74 and according to reports, he finished out his […]

January 6, 2014: To Cameron Charles Yarbrough: Have Fun And Give Life Your Best Shot

Dear Cameron: You have been in this world for a tad over five years. I think you would agree it has been a pretty good ride to this point. A lot of people love you and care deeply about you.  When you are older, you will understand just how fortunate you are. You have brought […]