Dec. 31, 2007: To My Grandsons: Work Hard and Have Passion

TO MY GRANDSONS: WORK HARD AND HAVE PASSION To Zachary and Nicholas Wansley, Brian and Thomas Yarbrough Thinking about what I wanted to share with you this year, I was struck at how much we — you and I — have changed since we began this annual correspondence back at the beginning of the new […]

Dec. 24, 2007: Businesses Run For Re-Election Every Day

BUSINESSES RUN FOR RE-ELECTION EVERY DAY It was not the way I wanted to end the year, but I have only myself to blame. One of my cardinal rules is to exercise care when doing business with friends. That is how friends can become ex-friends. I have adhered to that rule with a few notable […]

Dec. 17, 2007: Reflections On Christmases Past And Present

REFLECTIONS ON CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT Oh boy! It’s Christmas time. My favorite time of the year. I love Christmas. I love giving presents. I love singing Christmas carols. I love the smell of cookies as they come to life in the oven. I love the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. I love the […]

Dec. 10, 2007: UGA Is A Winner On And Off The Football Field

UGA IS A WINNER ON AND OFF THE FOOTBALL FIELD Okay, Bulldog Nation, let’s all get a paper bag and breath into it very s-l-o-w-l-y. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Feel better? Good. Now turn off the whine machine, and let’s talk. We need to accept the fact that the University of Georgia is not playing […]

Dec. 3, 2007: Underdog Democrats Intend To Be Major Player In Next Legislative Session

UNDERDOG DEMOCRATS INTEND TO BE MAJOR PLAYER IN NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION A couple of weeks ago I visited with Georgia House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons) to get his views on the upcoming legislative session. Last week, I stopped by to see what House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) had to say about things. […]

Nov. 26, 2007: Reflections On Growing Another Year Older

REFLECTIONS ON GROWING ANOTHER YEAR OLDER I have survived another birthday and am happy to report that I am still on the right side of the grass. Don’t scoff. At my age, that is becoming a big deal. Getting old is not for sissies. Today, I have body parts that ache constantly that I wasn’t […]

Nov. 19, 2007: GOP Leader Says Water, Tax Reform To Dominate Busy Legislative Session

GOP LEADER SAYS WATER, TAX REFORM TO DOMINATE BUSY LEGISLATIVE SESSION Don’t look now, but the Legislature opens for business in about eight weeks. You might want to hide the silverware. To find out what we should be prepared for, I dropped by Jerry Keen’s offices for a chat recently. Keen (R-St. Simons) is the […]

Nov. 12, 2007: A Lost Friend Reminds Me Of What Is Important In Life

A LOST FRIEND REMINDS ME OF WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE Don’t look now, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s a good time to get things in perspective, to reflect on all the things for which we have to be thankful. In truth, we should never let the sun set without giving thanks […]

Nov. 5, 2007: Some Helpful Advice To The Governor Regarding The Water Crisis

SOME HELPFUL ADVICE TO THE GOVERNOR REGARDING THE WATER CRISIS DEAR GOV. PERDUE: When you decided to run for governor a few years ago, I’ll bet you never thought you had signed on to manage the worst water crisis in our state’s history. Usually, our governors just make a lot of speeches and issue proclamations […]

Oct. 29, 2007: Chambliss Talks About Peachcare, Water And Warts

CHAMBLISS TALKS ABOUT PEACHCARE, WATER AND WARTS Sen. Saxby Chambliss called the other date to update me — and you — on a number of issues currently ricocheting around Washington, including continued federal funding for the State Children’s Insurance Program, known in Georgia as PeachCare. The program authorizes states to provide healthcare coverage to “targeted […]

Oct. 22, 2007: Random Thoughts On Random Subjects

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON RANDOM SUBJECTS Lordy, I upset some Georgia Tech fans a couple of weeks ago by poking fun at their all-night Welcoming Event and Brand Alignment hootenanny on November 1. One reader told me that students no longer use slide rules at Tech, as I had implied. I suppose that means they’ve also […]

Oct. 15, 2007: Say A Prayer For Little Abby Smith

SAY A PRAYER FOR LITTLE ABBY SMITH If you have tuned in to see who is going to get sledge-hammered this week, the answer is no one. Politicians of all types and persuasions are getting a pass. Hollywood draws a bye as well. You will find no barbs aimed at cat lovers, the blowhard City […]

Oct. 8, 2007: Get Ready To Rap At Tech’s “Welcoming Experience”

GET READY TO RAP AT TECH’S “WELCOMING EXPERIENCE” On Thursday evening, Nov. 1, Georgia Tech, my third favorite team in the whole wide world (UGA is first, anybody playing Tech is second, you can figure out the rest) meets Virginia Tech at Grant Field in Atlanta. To those of us unsophisticated in such matters, we […]

Oct. 1, 2007: Reflections On Iraq Two Years Later

REFLECTIONS ON IRAQ TWO YEARS LATER It has been two years since my trip to Iraq to see the war through the eyes of Georgia’s 48th Brigade Combat Team located in the aptly named “Triangle of Death”, south of Baghdad. The longer I am away, the scarier it seems. Would I do it again? In […]

Sep 24, 2007: Cynthia McKinney Has Returned, And I’m Ecstatic

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY HAS RETURNED, AND I’M ECSTATIC The Lord works in mysterious ways. After enduring the unending righteous indignation of Al, a former television network correspondent, and Barney (not his real name) who is a “charter coordinator” of something or other (he won’t tell me) in the Atlanta area, I was about ready to insert […]

Sep. 17, 2007: Governor Shares Lessons Learned From Athletics

GOVERNOR SHARES LESSONS LEARNED FROM ATHLETICS Watching Gov. Sonny Perdue on television at the Little League World Series, where his hometown Warner Robins team defeated Japan for the world championship, reminded me that he was a pretty good athlete in his day. How good? “I was small,” he said when I dropped by his office […]

Sept. 10, 2007: From Gator Jibes To Diatribes: Readers Respond

FROM GATOR JIBES TO DIATRIBES: READERS RESPOND If you know any shrimp personally, you might tell them to get out of town. As soon as I finish writing this, I am off to the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island to stuff my face with copious amounts of the corn-fried variety. Before […]

Sept. 3, 2007: Some Reflections On 9/11 Six Years Later

SOME REFLECTIONS ON 9/11 SIX YEARS LATER It has been six years since a group of madmen carried out a series of unprovoked attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon killing more than 3,000 innocent people. I can still see a group of frightened U.S. senators standing on the steps of the Capitol […]

Aug. 27, 2007: My First And Last Words On Lowlife Michael Vick

MY FIRST AND LAST WORDS ON LOWLIFE MICHAEL VICK A number of readers have asked why I haven’t written about the Michael Vick saga. I have tried to ignore the subject since everyone else feels compelled to blather about it ad nauseum. What is there left to say? Frankly, Vick isn’t worth the precious space […]

Aug. 20, 2007: Georgia License Plates For Florida Gators Is A “Dum-Dum” Idea

GEORGIA LICENSE PLATES FOR FLORIDA GATORS IS A “DUM-DUM” IDEA Georgia Department of Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, who probably sings “Rocky Top” in the shower each morning, said recently he will approve a specialty automobile license tag for the University of Florida. In a state wherein is found […]

Aug. 13, 2007: Odds Long For Nunn And Gingrich Presidential Chances

ODDS LONG FOR NUNN AND GINGRICH PRESIDENTIAL CHANCES How ironic that two Georgians, Sam Nunn and Newt Gingrich, are being mentioned as possible presidential candidates. Talk about your political yin and yang. As managing director of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games with responsibilities for coordinating state and federal government support for the Games, my staff […]

Aug. 6, 2007: State Bar Suing Ethics Advocate Is Bad Lawyer Joke

STATE BAR SUING ETHICS ADVOCATE IS BAD LAWYER JOKE Many of my friends are lawyers. It is not that I seek them out but since there are more lawyers in the world than fleas on a dog, the law of averages says some of them are bound to become friends. Therefore, I hope my legal […]

Jul. 30, 2007: Painting Reminds Me Of What Is Important — And What Isn’t

PAINTING REMINDS ME OF WHAT IS IMPORTANT — AND WHAT ISN’T People ask how I come up with ideas for this space. It’s easy. I look for the thinnest skin I can find and make a beeline for it, like a sand flea finding an ankle. Certainly, there is no shortage of thin-skinned targets to […]

Jul. 16, 2007: A Modern Day Miracle: Baptist Appoint Female Minister!

A MODERN DAY MIRACLE: BAPTIST APPOINT FEMALE MINISTER! Don’t look now, but the First Baptist Church of Decatur has just appointed a (gasp!) female, Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, as its senior minister. Grab an umbrella. The sky may be falling. Naturally, this appointment hasn’t gone over well with some of the poobahs in the Southern Baptist […]

Jul. 9, 2007: Sifting Through The Ashes Of Immigration Reform

SIFTING THROUGH THE ASHES OF IMMIGRATION REFORM Sifting through the ashes of the recent failed immigration reform effort in Congress, one can learn a lot of helpful lessons. The most important, of course, is that We the People are still in charge. I cannot remember when the American public has been as angry as they […]

Jun. 26, 2007: Jack Kingston Sets The Record Straight On Congressional Workweek

JACK KINGSTON SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON CONGRESSIONAL WORKWEEK If he had it to do over again, I suspect he would do it differently. Georgia’s Republican 1st District Congressman Jack Kingston created a firestorm a few months ago when he complained publicly about the new Democratic majority’s decision to go to five-day workweeks, instead of […]

Jun. 18, 2007: An Old Man Remembers That Fishing Is A Great Way To Spend A Day

AN OLD MAN REMEMBERS THAT FISHING IS A GREAT WAY TO SPEND A DAY I owe Gov. Sonny Perdue an apology. I thought his pet program, “Go Fish, Georgia,” was a bunch of hooey. Thanks to my young friend Carter, I don’t feel that way anymore. Carter was my partner recently at a little fishing […]

Jun. 11, 2007: A Lot Of Things Have Changed In This World, But Not Vince Dooley

A LOT OF THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN THIS WORLD, BUT NOT VINCE DOOLEY The first time I met Vince Dooley was at a restaurant at St. Simons Island. It was early 1965, and he was sitting alone in the near-empty eatery having dinner. I walked over and introduced myself and congratulated him on the winning […]

Jun. 4, 2007: Proposed Immigration Reform Is A Hot Topic In Georgia

PROPOSED IMMIGRATION REFORM IS A HOT TOPIC IN GEORGIA This is a first. I am getting inundated with angry mail, and for once, I am innocent. Usually, my broadsides at politically irrelevant flaggers or loud-talking, know-it-all Yankees or President Peanut’s pontifications will have folks snorting like a cranky bull with postnasal drip. But, alas, the […]

Jul. 2, 2007: Run Zell, Run. Your Nation Needs You

RUN ZELL, RUN. YOUR NATION NEEDS YOU I wish to say a word about the current crop of people running for president of the United States. The word is “ugh!” There’s not a pony in the pile. Maybe it doesn’t matter who is president. After all, we have survived one of the most inarticulate presidents […]

May 28, 2007: Jimmy Carter Can’t See Himself As Others See Him

JIMMY CARTER CAN’T SEE HIMSELF AS OTHERS SEE HIM I had planned to ignore Jimmy Carter’s latest blather about the Bush administration being the worst in history. For one thing, President Peanut is Exhibit A when it comes to bad presidential administrations, and he doesn’t need my help in reminding you of that. Instead, it […]

May 21, 2007: Georgia’s Public School Teachers Need Support, Not Meddling

GEORGIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS NEED SUPPORT, NOT MEDDLING As another school year comes to a close in Georgia, hats off to those heroes who labor in the trenches underpaid, underappreciated and under pressure — our teachers. I have two public school teachers in my family, Dr. Ted Wansley and Ken Yarbrough. Both are high school […]

May 14, 2007: House Speaker Goes From Political Penthouse To Outhouse

HOUSE SPEAKER GOES FROM POLITICAL PENTHOUSE TO OUTHOUSE You live by the sword, you die by the sword. In my not-so-humble opinion, House Speaker Glenn Richardson got badly gored during the recent budget fight in the General Assembly. He had it coming. He may be King Kong in the House of Representatives, but to a […]

May 7, 2007: ‘Victims’ Should Understand That Actions Have Consequences

‘VICTIMS’ SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES I am sick of people who get into trouble of their own making and then are portrayed as victims. Take the case of Genarlow Wilson, a former Douglas County student who is doing ten years in prison for having oral sex with an underage girl in a hotel […]

Apr. 30, 2007: Just What the World Needs — A Kinder, Gentler Column

It is not easy being married to the fearsome Woman Who Shares My Name. She makes me eat broccoli all the time, which I believe to be hazardous to my health, except she says things will be more hazardous if I don’t eat it.  Even though we have dual heating and air-conditioning controls in the […]

Apr. 23, 2007: Random Thoughts On Random Subjects

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON RANDOM SUBJECTS Here is a suggestion for all the self-important talking heads on television and newspaper editorial writers across the country: Take the time and space that have been devoted to harrumphing about Don Imus and blabbering over Anna Nicole Smith and spend it on Professor Liviu Librescu, the 76-year-old Virginia Tech […]

Apr. 16, 2007: Rumor Of UGA VI’s Retirement ‘Greatly Exaggerated’

RUMOR OF UGA VI’S RETIREMENT ‘GREATLY EXAGGERATED’ Dear Uga: I am just back from a trip with my grandson to the Normandy battlefields in France. To tell you the truth, I was reluctant to go because (a) the Legislature was still in session at the time and there was no telling what kind of mischief […]

Apr. 9, 2007: Home And Humble From Our Trip To Normandy

HOME AND HUMBLE FROM OUR TRIP TO NORMANDY The weather was miserable. The trip was magnificent. Grandson Thomas and I are back from Normandy, trying to absorb what we saw, heard and felt as we walked the same beaches, bridges and killing fields where long ago ordinary men did extraordinary things. It was known officially […]

Apr. 2, 2007: Taking My Grandson To Normandy To Learn About Real Heroes

TAKING MY GRANDSON TO NORMANDY TO LEARN ABOUT REAL HEROES For one who hates to travel, I have long awaited this trip — taking 16-year-old grandson Thomas Yarbrough to Normandy, the site of Operation Overlord — most of us refer to it as D-Day — the largest military invasion from the sea in history and […]

Mar. 26, 2007: Why Do House Republicans Want To Pick a Fight With Media?

It looks as though the boys and girls of the Legislature — more specifically the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives — are at it again, acting like a bunch of petulant, thumb-sucking five-year-olds. The source of their snit fit? The state’s media, of course. Most of my career has involved dealing with the […]

Mar. 19, 2007: I’m Sorry, But I Don’t Understand All The Apologies

IMaybe it’s because the vernal equinox is near its ecliptic intersect, or then again it could be the pine pollen, but it seems that all of a sudden people are apologizing for the darnedest things, or are wanting folks to apologize to them. The new chairman of Atlanta-based Home Depot, Frank Blake, has apologized publicly […]

Mar. 12, 2007: Brian Nichols Case Is a Perversion of Justice

William Gladstone, British prime minister in the late 1800s, said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” He could have been talking about the American judicial system today. More specifically, he could have been talking about the Brian Nichols case. You may recall that two years ago, in March 2005, Nichols was on trial for rape in […]

Mar. 5, 2007: Politicos Are Dead Wrong About This Mountain Man

The last thing Zell Miller needs is to have me springing to his defense. Zell can take care of himself, thank you very much. But he has taken a couple of gratuitous shots recently that I feel need further commentary. First, state Sen. Regina Thomas (D-Savannah) was quoted in news reports as saying that while […]

Feb. 26, 2007: This Proud Georgian Thinks Pledge of Allegiance to State is a Great Idea

I must confess that there have been days when I wasn’t sure if Rep. Bobby Franklin’s elevator stopped on every floor. The Cobb County Republican can think up some pretty goofy stuff — even for a member of the Georgia General Assembly — that makes you wonder if he needs a day job or if […]

Feb. 19, 2007: My Mailbox Says It Is Going To Be a Very Interesting Year

If the first two months are any indication, it is going to be a very interesting year. I haven’t really hit my stride yet, and already my mailbox is overflowing. Either I have been remarkably adept at pushing hot buttons or it is just too cold to go outside and play Cowpersons and Native Americans. […]

Feb. 12, 2007: Snagging “Super Speeders” in Georgia Is a Super Idea

Well, they finally got something right under the Gold Dome. After enduring a spate of proposals in this legislative session that range from silly (the governor’s “Go Fishing” program), to scary (deciding how the state will redevelop Jekyll Island), to serious (rescuing PeachCare insurance), to just plain dumb (cutting the school-year calendar), here comes “Super […]

Feb. 5, 2007: Legislative Effort To Cut School Calendar Deserves An “F”

Before this session of the Legislature began, State School Superintendent Kathy Cox told me she hoped legislators would work with her and her staff to get the department’s views on proposed legislation affecting public education in Georgia. That seems fair. Lawmakers know to talk with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources, […]

Jan. 29, 2007: State Democratic Honcho Needs To Put Up Or Shut Up

Bobby Kahn, the just-retired chairman of the state Democratic Party, has made a serious personal charge against Republican Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson and, of this writing, hasn’t backed up his accusation. Kahn says that the Speaker had an “inappropriate relationship” with an Atlanta Gas Light Company lobbyist while cosponsoring a bill that would […]

Jan. 22, 2007: Flaggers Should Celebrate All That Is Glorious About The South

Tweaking flaggers is like bearbaiting. There’s not a lot of sport in it, and I only do it when I am too bored to pick on the blowhard city of Atlanta. In case you are not aware, flaggers are not imbued with much of a sense of humor. I reckoned in this space last year […]

Jan. 15, 2007: Bellsouth Dithered And Dallied And Is No More

It is now official.  BellSouth Corporation has gone with the wind, or more precisely, gone to San Antonio, Texas. People have been asking me what I think of the takeover of my alma mater by its former Bell System country cousin, Southwestern Bell, now known as the “new” AT&T. To quote Rhett Butler, “Frankly, my […]

Jan. 8, 2007: To My Grandsons: Some Advice For The Year Ahead

To Brian and Thomas Yarbrough, Zachary and Nicholas Wansley, In case you are counting, this makes the eighth straight year I have written you with a little grandfatherly advice at the beginning of the New Year. You might be interested to know that this is far and away the most popular column of the year […]

Jan. 1, 2007: Gov. Perdue Needs To Explain Land Deals To Us

Sometimes our elected public officials forget who’s in charge. That would be you and me. After all, we put them in their jobs. They also forget the media’s role in the political process. It is the media’s job to fairly and accurately report on the actions taken by these public officials so we can know […]