03/23/2019

January 26, 2014: Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System Going to the Dogs and That’s a Good Thing

The State of Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System is going to the dogs. And that’s a good thing. This is just one of the lessons I have learned during my short time as a member of the board of the Department of Juvenile Justice. All I knew about the department up until my appointment was what […]

January 19, 2015: The State Of This Column Has Never Been Stronger

My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and […]

January 12, 2015: Macon Legislator On A Mission To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Georgia

Allen Peake is a man on a mission. The five-term Republican state representative from Macon is the driving force behind proposed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia. He may succeed this year after suffering a setback in 2014 when the House and Senate got into a bit of political brinksmanship at the last minute […]

January 6, 2015: To Cameron Charles Yarbrough: Some Advice From An Old Man

Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: For the past 15 years, I have taken the opportunity at the beginning of the New Year to share some advice — first with your dad and his cousins and now with you, my great-grandson. I hope you don’t mind and will bear with me. You would probably rather be playing […]

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 […]

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 […]