2001 Columns

Dec. 24, 2001: I Don’t Know About You, But I Am Plumb Tuckered Out

The year 2001 grabbed my psyche and shook it like a dishrag. I thought my days with the Olympics produced some extraordinary highs and lows, but this year made those times look like a walk in the park. I can think of no better way to recuperate than to make a beeline to the exquisite […]

Dec. 17, 2001: Over the past month, I have made a number of speeches around the state.

The endeavor was time-intensive but well worth the effort. Nothing beats face-to-face communications. I am not a demographer so my research may be statistically flawed, but I am satisfied that the people I have spoken to over the past few weeks represent a good cross section of rank-and-file Americans. My audiences were young and old, […]

Dec. 10, 2001: This is not the column I intended to write.

As I was scribbling away on another piece that would amuse my friends and confound my detractors, I learned of a family that had just lost a daughter in an automobile accident. I don’t know the family, but a friend does. The young woman was an honors graduate of the University of Georgia’s music department […]

Dec. 3, 2001: In the short time I have been in the column-writing business, I have learned that strong opinions evoke strong reactions.

When you agree, you let me know quickly and when you don’t, I find that out in a hurry, too. For example, one reader reacted to my comments last week by suggesting I give up this space permanently and “go fishing.” A great idea – the fishing part, I mean. My sources tell me the […]

Nov. 26, 2001: While the world was busy marveling at how the Georgia Bulldogs kicked Georgia Tech’s backsides, 31-17.

and won undisputed bragging rights for a whole year (you knew I was going to sneak that in, didn’t you?), scientists at Advance Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts, announced that they have cloned a human embryo. As near as I can figure, they don’t plan to make a bunch of new humans to tend all […]

Nov. 19, 2001: Bingo! Dr. Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia, has put the responsibility of increasing student body diversity at UGA right where it belongs —

on the rest of us. This is not the university’s problem; it’s ours. For several years now, Dr. Adams and others have wrestled with the issue of whether UGA should take only the brightest and best from our state, which tends to make the university mostly white and predominately female, or should it more closely […]

Nov. 12, 2001: My daddy used to say, “You don’t have to be smart; you just have to recognize who is smarter than you.”

My friends at Georgia Tech – and believe it or not, I do have a few – will be pleased to learn that I now publicly bow in deference to one of their own. (My Tech friends will no doubt hasten to add that all their graduates and 99 percent of the flora and fauna […]

Nov. 5, 2001: Some random thoughts on some random subjects…

While I reserve the right to occasionally add my two cents worth on the terrorists and those who tacitly support them, I believe it is clearly in the national interest that I move on to a discussion of other weighty issues that confront our society today — like why repair people never come when they […]

Oct. 29, 2001: Conrad Fink is a professor at the Grady College of Journalism

Conrad Fink is a professor at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia and a distinguished journalist. Fink has had an illustrious career as a reporter, foreign correspondent and vice president of Associated Press. As one who puts my time and tithes into the Grady College, I’m glad he is there, but […]

Oct. 22, 2001: Is there no rest for the weary?

Having just concluded an extraordinarily successful term as chairman of the Governor’s Special Committee to Design a State Flag That Looks Like a Pair of Cheap Golf Slacks, I figured I had earned the right to a little peace and quiet. Alas, it was not to be. I have received an urgent request from Mars, […]

Oct. 15, 2001: You know what this country needs right now?

We need some good old-fashioned awards. I don’t know about you, but for weeks I had eagerly anticipated the Emmy telecasts. I wanted to see who would win the coveted Most Commercials without Any Programming award (the Weather Channel was a lock for that one), and the Longest Running and Least Intelligent Program on Television. […]

Oct. 8, 2001: Much to the relief of the United States government…

I have decided not to join forces with CNN and the Washington Post telling President Bush how to run his war. He seems to be doing fine without my help, and I suspect he could make it without the nudniks at CNN and the Washington Post, although you would never get them to believe that. […]

Oct. 1, 2001: They’re baaaaaack!

The naysayers are beginning to find their voice again. It was only a matter of time. After enduring what must have been an agonizing several weeks of flag waving, patriotism and general good feeling in this country, the anti-American crowd is desperate to make us understand that a bunch of nut cases flying airplanes into […]

Sep. 24, 2001: President Bush has urged us all to try and get our lives back to normal after our national nightmare.

I couldn’t agree more. Being the patriotic American that I am, I decided to do my part so I promptly lost my briefcase. I also forgot to turn off the lights when I left the room – any room. I found myself in the den looking for something but I couldn’t remember what I was […]

Sep. 17, 2001: Some random thoughts as I try to comprehend the incomprehensible.

The terrorist attack was extremely well-planned and executed with deadly precision but the planners made a fatal mistake: Overkill. Had they thought about it, they would have exploded a few car bombs from time to time to let us know they were there and rattled our nerves as they have done for years. This action […]

Sep. 11, 2001: Where do we draw the line?

How do we balance the rights of American people to exercise their extraordinary freedoms against the intent of people in the world – and in our own country – who choose to make their political statements not through a free press, but with cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent people? The recent and unimaginable acts […]

Sep. 4, 2001: What a difference a day makes.

I love my alma mater, the University of Georgia, but several issues have arisen recently that have bothered me and I felt like I couldn’t get anybody’s attention, despite the time and dollars I have given over the years. “Not to worry,” a UGA official assured me. “We’ll sit down and talk them over. We […]

Aug. 27, 2001: I know there is a logical answer and I am sure somebody out there will provide it,

… but I am trying to figure out why everyone is in such a dither about California Congressman Gary Condit, he of the weird hairdo and frozen smile. What has he done that is so different from former president William Jefferson Clinton? Both men dallied with an intern. Both men lied about it. Both men […]

Aug. 20, 2001: Just when I thought there was nothing left to look forward to

but a rocking chair and Metamucil, doggone if a couple of old guys don’t pull off a major coup. The Coca-Cola Company has announced that they are bringing back 65-year-old Brian Dyson as their chief operating officer. Hurrah! Then beleaguered General Motors hires 69-year-old car designer extraordinaire Bob Lutz to put some pizzazz in their […]

Aug. 6, 2001: Allow me to offer a slightly different perspective on the redistricting session currently underway at the state capitol.

The whole thing is about as meaningful as bifocals on a boar hog. It is a private party for politicians, special interest groups and assorted political junkies. No voters need apply. I generally defend politicians because the vast majority are first-rate people trying to do a good job. They put up with a lot of […]

Aug. 13, 2001: Maybe it’s my age or the dog days of summer,

…or maybe I am just having a bad hair day but I am fed up with political correctness. The majority of people in this country have been intimidated and paralyzed to the point that they are afraid to say anything lest some minority group be offended. This phenomenon has occurred because special-interest groups have learned […]

Jul. 30, 2001: Dear Kathleen Devere Worthley, welcome to the world.

We are glad you have arrived. I thought your Mama and Daddy had outdone themselves when they created corn-fried shrimp at the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island, but you are without question their greatest creation. Your presence has been much anticipated. Things haven’t been going too well on the planet. I’m […]

Jul. 23, 2001: Doggone it. As much as it pains me to say so, I am going to have to plead guilty to a blatant case of obfuscation and adumbration.

In other words, I haven’t made myself clear. A few weeks ago, I observed that the Georgia state flag battle was over. According to my mail, the fight has only begun. In the interest of clarity, let me try again. Save your energy. The state flag has been changed. The old one is toast. Gone. […]

Jul. 16, 2001: As you know by now, the demigods at the International Olympic Committee have awarded the 2008 Olympic Games to that bastion of democracy, Beijing, China.

If you aren’t familiar with the location, it is the home of Tiananmen Square where tanks run over people holding views that differ from the tank commanders’ bosses. Lovely spot. China’s human rights record hasn’t been – well – spotless. But the IOC is confident that will change once they get the government to stop […]

Jul. 9, 2001: I don’t know if word has reached the folks at the United Nations

or the Geneva Convention or wherever they talk about these sorts of things, but my wife has declared war on squirrels. Total and unconditional, scorched-earth war. No suing for peace and that kind of stuff. We are talking major conflict here. One of her first acts as Commander in Chief was to appoint me brigadier […]

Jul. 2, 2001: Some random thoughts on some random subjects:

Senator Max Cleland must feel pretty good about his reelection chances. He recently voted against an amendment that would withhold federal funds from school districts that denied use of their facilities to the Boy Scouts. It passed anyway. I seriously doubt Sen. Cleland’s vote reflects the sentiments of the majority of his constituents. Maybe his […]

Jun. 25, 2001: Reflections on our Nation’s Birthday:

In case you haven’t noticed, this great nation of ours is having a birthday. She is 225 years old and doing just fine, thank you. She has survived foreign wars, civil wars and cold wars. Born in revolution and not given much of a chance to survive, the United States is today the freest, richest, […]

Jun. 18, 2001: Tobacco products – especially cigarettes – have all the redeeming qualities of a fence post.

I smoked a cigarette once when I was at the University of Georgia. I was trying to be cool. I got such a bad case of heartburn that I never smoked another one. So much for being cool. According to the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, cigarette smoking is responsible for 90 percent of lung […]

Jun. 11, 2001: It is the end of an era.

My friend, former colleague and fellow Bulldog, Carl Swearingen, senior vice president and secretary of BellSouth Corporation is retiring. To the best of my knowledge, he is the last of a breed of managers raised up in the business by the legendary Jasper Dorsey and BellSouth will be poorer for not having any more of […]

Jun. 4, 2001: If fish truly is brain food, then my cerebellum runneth over.

I have just swooped into the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on Saint Simons Island and devoured all the corn-fried shrimp I could get my hands on. Those little critters never had a chance. With a face covered in tartar sauce and a brain kicked into overdrive, I was seized with a stroke of genius. […]

May 28, 2001: The next time you develop a bad case of the poor-pitiful-me’s,

when you think the whole world is against you, when you think you are roadkill on the highway of life, just remember that someone is worse off than you. His name is Tom Green. If Tom Green had been around in Old Testament days, he would have made Job feel like a million shekels. Listen […]

May 21, 2001: We are fortunate in Georgia that we have managed to avoid some of the scandals and improprieties that have hit other state governments.

But watch out. We have the potential for a major disaster because of a loophole in our ethics law big enough to drive a road-grading machine and a contract full of high-tech goodies through. Georgia currently has one of the weakest ethics laws in the country. I know. I serve as a member of the […]

May 14, 2001: Look out, Bob Dole. Here comes Dick Yarbrough.

Bob Dole, former United States Senator, Republican presidential candidate, host of Saturday Night Live and spokesperson for Pepsi Cola and for Viagra, is widely known for referring to himself in the third person. After reading his mail this week, Dick Yarbrough thinks he should emulate Bob Dole. Dick Yarbrough gets lots of reaction to his […]

May 7, 2001: To my son, Ken:

I have been proud of you since the day you were born but never more so than right now. After almost 20 years in the business world, you are about to become a teacher. When you step up on the stage at Kennesaw State University and get your teaching certification, it will be one of […]

Apr. 30, 2001: I normally leave the contact sport of politics to those better able to explain its intricacies

but I couldn’t help notice that Max Cleland, Georgia’s senior senator, is beginning to raise his heretofore-nonexistent profile. For that, you can blame our junior senator, Zell Miller. Mr. Miller hit Washington like a hurricane and is the talk of the nation. The political pros can harumph about his dalliance with the Bush Administration but […]

Apr. 23, 2001: This is a column I wish I didn’t have to write.

I consider the University of Georgia as family. I have served as president of the national alumni society. UGA has named me their outstanding alumnus. I have a facility named for me in the College of Journalism. I give my time and my dollars to the institution. I bleed red and black. But today I […]

Apr. 16, 2001: Here is some news that is going to knock your socks off.

A bunch of researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine who had too much time on their hands – and probably too much government money – have made a startling discovery. They have determined through some scientific mumbo-jumbo that men listen with only half their brains, while women use both sides. Where have these folks […]

Apr. 9, 2001: Some random thoughts on some random subjects.

I’m not sure if Republicans truly believe they have a chance of beating Governor Roy Barnes next year. The fact is that they haven’t got a snowball’s chance in you-know-where if the best gubernatorial candidates they can offer are State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko (“Frick”) and Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne (“Frack”). Who says […]

Apr. 2, 2001: Haul out the pine tar! Limber the muscles!

Grab the horsehide and swing the lumber! It is baseball time again! Time to once again greet America (On Line)’s team – the Atlanta Braves! Hope springs eternal. Over the past few years, our heroes have smashed our high expectations like Mark McGuire smashes fastballs. But this year may be different. Granted the combined age […]

May. 26, 2001: One of the values of checking this space is that you will be made privy to important information not available elsewhere.

For example, since the Legislature has adjourned, you have been inundated with analysis by political experts over what got passed and what didn’t and who delivered the most pork to the folks back home so nobody would be mad about changing the state flag. Really mundane stuff. But no one, dear reader, has alerted you […]

Mar. 19, 2001: I am suffering from a bad case of contempt of court.

The sources of my contempt are Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alice Bonner and convicted murderer Ronald Keith Spivey. In case you missed it, Judge Bonner recently dismissed a hit and run case because two attorneys from Howard’s office were 15 minutes late. The legal beagles thought they were supposed to be there at 9:30 […]

Mar. 12, 2001: Once again, it is open season in America’s schools.

Two students killed in San Diego. One wounded in Pennsylvania. The very real prospect of future teenage copycats trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. What is going on? If you listen to the media and liberal politicians, they will tell you that the answer to school violence is more gun control. They are […]

Mar. 5, 2001: To Ex-President William Jefferson Clinton:

Somewhere in Harlem, New York Dear Mr. Clinton: I hope this letter reaches you. I had originally intended to send it to your penthouse in Manhattan but understand you have moved to an outhouse in Harlem. I trust you are still there. The last white guy that tried to set up shop in your new […]

Feb. 26, 2001: I have just returned from a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

didn’t want to go, but as is usual in my household we took a vote. The final tally was 1-1 — I lost. If you are planning to go Down Under, let me warn you, it is a long way from here. To get there, you must cross the international dateline. In Australia, it is […]

Feb. 19, 2001: I don’t know about you but I am not exactly dancing on the rooftops over the 2000 census.

According to the nose counters at the Census Bureau, Georgia is now the 10th largest state in the union. Our population grew from 6,478,216 in 1990 to 8,186,453 in 2000, an increase of 24.6 percent. This growth reminds me of something my wise father once said. Daddy opined that the state wasted a lot of […]

Feb. 12, 2001: Take Heart, O Weary Traveler…

There will soon be one less airline to kick you around. American Airlines has announced plans to take over TWA. Just what we need in the airline industry – less competition! The news gets even better. Donald Carty, American Airlines CEO, says less competition will actually benefit the flying public. With two national airlines – […]

Feb. 5, 2001: Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Roy Barnes has the burners going full blast and hasn’t even broken a sweat. You are witnessing one of the most politically astute, bright, active, gutsy governors in our state’s history – and he isn’t even through his first term! I make a lot of speeches around the state and […]

Jan. 22, 2001: Before being allowed to correspond with you on a regular basis, I was required to recite the Columnist’s Oath.

In doing so, I solemnly swore I would uphold the Constitution of the United States, defend it against all enemies, domestic and foreign, never use words like “synergy” and “input” and read my Thesaurus every day. I also pledged to take complicated issues and explain them in such a simple way that you would feel […]

Jan. 15, 2001: Bill Byrne, Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, is said be contemplating a run for governor.

If he does, be prepared for an interesting time. I speak from experience. Of the many issues that arose while planning the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, one of the most contentious was whether to move a volleyball venue from Cobb County because of an effort by one commissioner to promote a “Family Values” resolution […]

Jan. 29, 2001: Move over, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon!

Stand back, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman! Make way for America’s newest Odd Couple, Sam Nunn and Ted Turner! Nunn and Turner. Turner and Nunn. Either way you say it, it boggles the mind to think of these two on the same planet, let alone working together. Sam Nunn, former senior senator from Georgia, is […]

Jan. 8, 2001: It was not my alma mater’s finest hour.

Forty years ago this month, two young people who wanted to attend the University of Georgia along with other high school seniors in the state, were forced to go to federal court to gain admission. The two students were eminently qualified except for one extenuating circumstance. Both were black. As federal judge William A. Bootle […]

Jan. 1, 2001: To Brian and Thomas Yarbrough; Zachary and Nicholas Wansley:

Well, boys, it looks like we made it to the new millennium. The last time we did this was a thousand years ago, and if the planet doesn’t self-destruct in the meantime, it will be another thousand years before we do it again. You are fortunate to have lived through a change of centuries and […]