12/14/2019

December 2, 2019: Remembering The Night They Turned Out The Lights On Christmas Eve

When I see ads about stores being open until midnight and beyond during the Christmas shopping season, I want to cry. Where were these people when I needed them? It was Christmas 1984. I owned my own public relations firm and, thankfully, it was very successful. As much work as I could handle. On Christmas […]

November 25, 2019: Some Reflections on Giving Thanks

Some of you will be reading these words before, some during and several after Thanksgiving Day (like the old British Empire, the sun never sets on this column.) So, we need to set some ground rules:  Let’s remember to express our thanks  on days other than when our mouths are stuffed with turkey parts.  The […]

November 18, 2019: A Conversation with Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan

You might be interested to know that there have been only 12 lieutenant governors in Georgia’s history, going back to 1947 when the position was created.   Four went on to become governor.  One became lieutenant governor after having served as governor. Four others tried for the state’s highest office and failed.  Two left politics after […]

November 11, 2019: Some Thoughts on The Retirement of Johnny Isakson

I ran across a piece recently entitled: “Johnny Isakson: Living His Values.”  That, he has done.  As he leaves the U.S. Senate and some 40 years of public service, I doubt we will see his equal anytime soon.  I make no apologies for my admiration for this good man.  He has been my friend for […]

November 4, 2019: Discussing Impeachment With Skeeter Skates and the Ryo Coffee Club

I was surprised when the phone rang this morning.  I expected it to be a friendly robot offering me a credit card I don’t want or a back brace I don’t need.  What to my wondering ears should appear but Skeeter Skates, the proprietor of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair, located in […]

October 28, 2019: The University Of Georgia is Winning Where It Counts

I bow to no one in my love for and loyalty to the University of Georgia. I bleed red and black. I have served as president of the National Alumni Association, have been named the university’s outstanding graduate and today endow a professorship as well as fellowships at my beloved Grady College of Journalism and […]

October 14, 2019: Can We Ever Stop Ranting and Listen To Each Other?

Sometimes the best advice can come from the strangest places.  Jackie Cushman has a new book out entitled, “Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening.”   Such advice could not come at a better time.  Ranting has become our national pastime and it is hard to listen when we are […]

October 7, 2019: Some Random Thoughts on Some Random Subjects

As if we need more proof that the impeachment cacophony is Inside-the-Beltway blather between Republicans and Democrats, cheered on by wingnuts and navel-gazing pundits, consider how important that issue is to families whose loved ones may have been abused in some of Georgia’s senior care facilities.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done one of the finest […]

September 30, 2019: If You Want To Talk Impeachment, You Had Better Hurry

If you are up to your gullet with all the mud-slinging in Washington, you have come to the right place.  I am right there with you.  I have spent enough time in and around D.C. to know the impeachment controversy involving Donald Trump is partisan political posturing by Democrats and Republicans. This issue isn’t about […]

September 16, 2019: A Stark Reminder that Life is a Precious Gift

We are no strangers to hospitals, my bride and I.  Over the past several years, we have dealt with her broken leg (twice) and my almost having bought the farm or kicked the bucket or some other clever way of saying I nearly died from septic shock. A return visit to the hospital is never […]

September 23, 2019: A Potentially Great Senator Declines the Opportunity

Dear Governor Kemp: I hope all is well with you.  I first want to tell you that you and your team did an excellent job during the recent threat from Hurricane Dorian.  Fortunately, Dorian decided to skip the Georgia coast—including my personal slice of heaven on Saint Simons Island – but there is no question […]

September 9, 2019: Reflecting on The Legacy of Sen. Johnny Isakson

I usually refrain from commenting on the topic de jour in the media. I’m not much of a “me, too” person.  Let everyone else have their say and when the dust has settled, I will have mine.  Otherwise, you risk being lost in the noise. Today is an exception.  That is because my subject is […]

August 25, 2019: To Coach Vince Dooley:  Congratulations on an Honor Overdue and Much  Deserved

Dear Vince: The day has finally arrived.  Next Saturday, the University of Georgia will officially name the field at Sanford Stadium, Dooley Field.  It’s about time.  In fact, it is long overdue. You now join fellow Hall of Fame coaches Bear Bryant, Shug Jordan, Frank Broyles, Johnny Vaught, Bobby Dodd, Gen. Robert Neyland, Eddie Robinson, […]

August 19, 2019: Is Hollywood’s Impact on Georgia’s Economy Just More Make-Believe?

Hollywood is the land of make-believe and nowhere is that make-believe more evident than in the film industries’ alleged impact on Georgia’s economy. That, according to Dr. J.C. Bradbury, professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University. After the General Assembly passed and Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a measure banning abortions if a fetal […]

August 12, 2019: Be Careful What You Root Out of The Family Tree

When my momma was alive, she was a walking repository of our family’s history, not only hers but my dad’s as well.  She could rattle off the names of great-aunts and not-so-great uncles, cousins, the good, the bad and the ugly.  There was the uncle who was in the Battle of the Marne in World […]

August 5, 2019: An Open Letter to Georgia Public Schoolteachers

Dear Georgia Public Schoolteachers: Unless I have miscalculated, I believe this is early August and you are already back at work.  School in August?   For a guy who never started school until Labor Day, that takes some getting used to. And wasn’t it just last year that a group of resorts, chambers of commerce and […]

July 29, 2019: Some Random Thoughts on Politics and Other Trivialities

I know he is a long-time 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 […]

July 21, 2019: Gov. Kemp Makes Long Overdue Changes to Board of Regents

Gov. Brian Kemp has made some crackerjack appointments since taking office in January, but none better than naming Atlanta real estate executive Sam Holmes to the Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia. Holmes comes from good stock.  His dad, businessman Paul Holmes, is one of the most widely-respected and best-liked souls […]

July 14, 2019: General Assembly Plays by a Different Set of Rules

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! “Folks, may I have your attention, please!  My name is Figby and I have been asked to convene a short meeting of members of the General Assembly this morning.” “Who the dickens are you, squirt?  Where is David Ralston, our beloved speaker?” “As I said, my name is Figby.  I am chief […]

June 30, 2019: Political Wingnuts Having Problems Distinguishing Friends From Enemies

Politics keeps getting weirder by the day.  That must be frustrating to the wingnuts on both extremes of the political spectrum who think a middle ground doesn’t exist. Witness Gov. Brian Kemp.  He pushes through the Heartbeat Bill, banishing abortions after six weeks which thrills conservatives and throws the pro-choice crowd into a frenzy.  Then […]

June 17, 2019: Junior E. Lee Busy Getting Bugs Out of His Upcoming Poll

One of the most important things to know about this column is that it is a part of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company headquartered in Greater Garfield, Georgia, under the management of Junior E. Lee, our general manager.  No other column can make that claim. Junior, as you may know by now, […]

June 10, 2019: Father’s Day A Time to Remember a Special Man

I first penned this tribute to my father in 2015.  It has been 35 years since he passed away and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, especially on Father’s Day.  With a few minor edits, I present it again this year. My dad was a man with a limited education […]

June 3, 2019: Some Unsolicited Advice for Gov. Brian Kemp

Dear Gov. Kemp: I have been wanting to share some thoughts with you about your first 100 days in office but I have been distracted with other matters, like watching House Speaker David Ralston trying to scramble out of a hole he dug for himself.  I am still getting used to calling my Lambda Chi […]

May 27, 2019: Bartow County a Positive Example of School and Community Partnership

This is a story that is so good and so positive it is almost exasperating.  Let me get to the good and positive part first. I will explain the exasperation later. Last year, a group of community volunteers in Bartow County, led by Rev. David Franklin, the head of the Bartow Baptist Association, approached the […]

May 20, 2019: It Is Hard To Be Influential Around Skeeter Skates

When the phone rang, I knew who it was.  It was Skeeter Skates. The phone just sounds different when he calls.  He can be intimidating, even to a telephone. For those of you who may be new to this space, Skeeter Skates is the owner of the eponymous Skeeter Skates Plow Repair and Stump Removal […]

May 13, 2019: Speaker Ralston’s Legal Tactics Could Backfire on Him

Let me get straight to the point:  Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston is skating on thin political ice.  Ralston holds the second-most powerful position in our state and has for almost two decades.  But those days may be coming to an end.  There is no question that Ralston is a power under the […]

May 6, 2019: Dooley Field At Sanford Stadium Is Pleasing In A Thousand Ways

What a nice way to celebrate my 1000th syndicated newspaper column.  University of Georgia President Dr. Jere Morehead and Athletic Director Greg McGarity have proposed that the field at Sanford Stadium be named for Hall of Fame football coach, Vince Dooley.  It’s about time.  It fact, it is long overdue.  I have known Vince Dooley […]

April 29, 2019: Some Random Thoughts on Some Random Subjects

If anyone wonders why we have so little faith in our government and those within it, consider the obsession with the Mueller Report.  It is about the only thing the Inside-the-Beltway crowd is talking about these days.  Russian collusion.  Impeachment.  Impact on 2022 elections. Meanwhile, farmers in South Georgia continue to await help from the […]

April 22, 2019: Remembering A Good Friend Who Walked into My Life

You never know where you are going to find good friends.  Maybe it is someone you grew up with or met at school or worked with.  Or maybe it was just a guy walking up the street.  Like Tom Horton. In one of life’s ironies, Tom lived on one of end of our block-long street […]

April 15, 2019: This Week a Time to Remember What Easter is All About

Continuing a long-standing Easter Week tradition in this space. 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 […]

April 8, 2019: For Georgia Public Schoolteachers, Voucher Battle Isn’t Over

Dear Public Schoolteachers: For once, the good guys (that would be you) won.  But, save the high-fives.  This fight is far from over. I am talking about the failed attempt to ram a private school voucher bill through this session of the General Assembly.  It was just the latest attempt by a bunch of Kool-Aid […]

April 1, 2019: Trying to Explain Life’s Challenges to Someone With Icing on Their Face is Not Easy

I sat down recently for a chat with my twin great-granddaughters, Hadley Ann Yarbrough and Harper Grace Yarbrough, on the occasion of their first birthday.  I thought this would be a good time to share some of my life experiences and to gain some perspective on what their generation is thinking about the world in […]

March 25, 2019: College Admissions Scandal Proof That There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

In a massive college admission scandal the FBI is calling Operation Varsity Blues, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts has released documents revealing that some rich and influential parents have paid huge sums on money – huge to you and me but evidently chicken-feed to them –to get their children into elite schools, allegedly […]

March 18, 2019: Public Education Advocates Battle Latest Private School Voucher Scheme

Dear Georgia Public Schoolteachers: I have some good news and some maybe not-so-good news.  First, the good news:  After years of eye-pokes by the voucher-loving Kool-Aid drinkers in the General Assembly, you seem to have finally found your voice and as a result, one of the most egregious anti-public school voucher bills in recent memory […]

March 11, 2019: Whatever Happens, This Lifelong Methodist Isn’t Going Anywhere

I am going to have to get to this sooner or later, so I will opt for sooner. A special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted recently in St. Louis to continue its long-standing policy that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”  The vote was 438 for […]

March 4, 2019: Victims of Child Sex Abuse in Georgia Faces Powerful Foes

Marlan Wilbanks is a man on a mission.  An Atlanta attorney, Wilbanks is the driving force behind the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic (CEASE) the nation’s first legal clinic dedicated to representing survivors of child sexual abuse.  The clinic is a part of the University of Georgia School of Law and gives second […]

February 25, 2019: A Reminder That Magical Times Are Never Lost

It was a magical time at Saint Simons Island.  Of course, any day spent in the Golden Isles is magical, but none were like this. It was a time when a group of us hung our collective hats at St. Simons.  We played golf together, shopped together, socialized together and, of course, ate shrimp and […]

February 18, 2019: Giving Our New Governor Some Fraternal Advice

 Dear Gov. Kemp: I trust you are settled into your new job and are busy governing our beloved state.  My purpose in writing is to let you know you aren’t in this thing alone.   I am always available to dip into my deep reservoir of political knowledge whenever you need me.   Heck, you don’t even […]

February 11, 2019: The State of The State of This Column Cannot Be Overstated

My fellow Americans (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!).  I come today to submit to you my annual State of the Column address.  It is with great pride that I tell you that the state of the state of this column cannot be overstated! (Thunderous roar!) In the past year, I have written more than 39,000 words […]

February 4, 2019: If You Can Change Your Name and Gender, Why Not Your Age?

Now this is a movement I could get behind.  Emile Ratelband, of Arnhem, Holland, recently petitioned the local courts to allow him to become officially 20 years younger.  He told the court that he “suffers” from being 69-years-old and thinks that being 49 would help him with job prospects and getting dates on line.  Bless […]

January 28, 2019: An Opportunity to Repay My Alma Mater And My Mentor

I owe the University of Georgia more than I can ever repay the institution.  In my obituary, if you don’t see my involvement at UGA prominently mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs, call the authorities. They are burying the wrong man. I’ve done everything from driving to Athens from the Atlanta airport after an […]

January 21, 2019: Some Random Thoughts on Some Random Subjects From Rocket Ships to Ray Charles Robinson

I doubt this kind of stuff keeps you awake at night but there was a great hue-and-cry in the state senate when Sen. Renee Untermann (R-Buford) was removed as chair of the prestigious Senate Health and Human Services Committee and assigned to head the Senate Science and Technology Committee which is akin to going from […]

January 14, 2019: After Meeting Bill Gaither This Bucket List is Complete

After Meeting Bill Gaither This Bucket List Is Complete Sometimes in this business, it isn’t so much what you know as it is who you know. A couple of years ago I wrote about trying to nail the final plank in my bucket list by meeting Bill Gaither.  If you have recently transferred in from […]

January 7, 2019: To a New Year, A New Life and an Old Man’s Wisdom

Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: As has been my custom this time of year, I was about to impart some of an old man’s wisdom to my one and only great-grandson, but there has been a new development.  Henry Sanford Wansley decided to make an appearance.  (And on New Year’s Day!)  Two great-grandsons.  Too good to […]