December 31, 2012: Could Goats be the Answer to Georgia’s Problems?

My work never ends.  Not only do I have to deal with compound verb forms each and every week, the editors insist I throw in some commas along the way for reasons I don’t fully understand.  I think commas are a nuisance and only serve to get in the way of great thoughts. There is […]

December 23, 2012: Sorry, Mayans, But There Is A New Year Coming

I was hoping that for once the Mayans would be right about something and that the world would have ended on December 21 as they had said it would.  That would have taken care of the fiscal cliff and all the politicians that caused it.  A little fire and brimstone would serve them right. As […]

December 17, 2012: I Wish I Could Have Been There In Bethlehem

This column was a favorite of my friend, Otis Brumby, Jr., publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal and Neighbor Newspapers, who passed away earlier this year.  It is dedicated to his memory. I wish I could have been there.  In Bethlehem. I wish I could have witnessed the birth of the baby Jesus in that […]

December 10, 2012: Vince Dooley Talks About Football, Family And UGA History

I called Hall of Fame football coach Vince Dooley this week to get his perspective on UGA’s heart-breaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. There are few people more qualified to comment than Vince Dooley. Let’s start with the fact that he won 201 football games, six SEC championships and a national title […]

December 3, 2012: Some Random Thoughts On Some Random Subjects

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is catching heat from right-wingnuts for doing exactly what he should be doing — trying to help the federal government find a way out of the financial morass the country is in.  The wingnuts want him to honor a 20 year old no-tax pledge. The senator says he is not talking […]

November 26, 2012: If At First You Don’t Secede, Why Try, Try Again?

In case you have been busy doing mundane stuff like eking out a living, you may have missed the news that there is a petition going around that would allow Georgia to secede from the union.  As of this writing, there have been 24,579 signatures to the petition. The impetus for the secession drive is a […]

November 19, 2012: We Are All To Blame For Church Membership Decline

A recent study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Life reveals that for the first time in our history, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48%). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50%. There are […]

November 12, 2012: Junior E. Lee Discusses Recent Election Results

I have just received Junior E. Lee’s analysis of the recent elections.  Junior, as you know, is general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, and a certified pest control professional.  When not trying to get rid of termites in Arveen Ridley’s barn, Junior manages one of […]

November 5, 2012: A Salute To The Hero That Made It Home And To Those That Did Not

Because of the timing of my column deadline, I will have to defer comment on the elections until next week.  I can say this much, however.  We cast our votes freely and with no tanks in the street. As imperfect as we may think ourselves to be, this is still the greatest country on earth.  […]

October 29, 2012: Ten Reasons To Vote ‘No’ On The Charter School Amendment

The charter school amendment will be decided on November 6th.  If it doesn’t pass, it will be the greatest upset since David conked Goliath with a rock.  Give me the money that has been made available to the pro-charter amendment forces (over $2 million, almost all of it out-of-state) and let me quash the opposition’s […]

October 22, 2012: Charter School Amendment Is More About ‘How’ Than ‘What’

Rep. Edward Lindsey, (R-Atlanta), majority whip in the Georgia House of Representatives says he finds himself bordering between “amused and disturbed” by opponents of the charter school amendment which is set for a vote on Nov. 6.  Specifically, he doesn’t like the assertion that the state school board retains the power to overrule on appeal […]

October 15, 2012: Pro-Charter Amendment Forces Trying To Bully Opponents

If the pro-charter amendment people are trying to win friends and influence voters to pass the measure in November, they have picked a bad way to do it. Attorney Glenn Delk and proponents are clearly trying to intimidate opponents of the amendment by accusing the state’s 180 local school districts of illegally using taxpayer money […]

October 7, 2012: Special School Has Positive Impact On Special Needs Children

If you aren’t careful, it is very easy to get pessimistic these days.  We have gotten too loud, too adversarial, too politically-correct, too ethically-challenged, too secular and too narrow-minded – not to mention slightly humor-impaired. Just when I think that maybe this world and those that occupy it are beyond redemption, I run across someone […]

October 2, 2012: Junior E. Lee Says Uga Tops On His Bugs List

Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in Greater Garfield, Georgia, just called me with what he said was an exciting development. It either had to be that he had the latest poll numbers on the presidential race – Junior runs our polling firm, Round or Square Polling, […]

September 24, 2012: School Superintendent Association Head Refutes Pro-Charter Claims

With the vote on the charter school amendment just over a month away, the heat is getting intense.  I know.  I have felt it.  I wrote a column a few weeks ago giving the pro-charter folks an opportunity to make their case for the amendment.  For my trouble, a number of anti-charter advocates wondered if […]

September 10, 2012: Charter Amendment Advocates Present Their Case

Rep. Edward Lindsey, (R-Atlanta) majority whip of the Georgia House of Representatives asked me if I would talk to the proponents of the upcoming constitutional amendment on charter schools and get their side of the story. This was after Mr. Lindsey and I had publicly crossed swords over the issue. So I met with Tony […]

September 3, 2012: Veracity Valuator Useful Tool To Clarify Opinions

I got called a “liberal” the other day by a reader in Cherokee County who doesn’t think much of my opinions and suggested “Someone should retire his word processor.” My word processor, Barney, was elated at the thought. Barney hates this job. When I brought Barney home, it was with the promise that he and […]

August 27, 2012: Skeeter Skates Weighs In On The Middle East Situation

I was in the middle of preparing a Power Point presentation for you on why House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) needs a campaign war chest of $356,415.19 to run unopposed for reelection in his district. The neat part was going to be explaining the $1,000 campaign contribution from the American Kennel Club, located in […]

August 20, 2012: Charter School Amendment Debate Gets Ugly Quickly

I knew it was going to get ugly but I didn’t know it would get this bad this quickly.  I am talking about the constitutional amendment on charter schools to be voted on in November that asks, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon […]

August 23, 2012: Thanks To You, Speaker Might Be Ready To Unload Gravy Train

Are you sitting down, dear reader? House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) has announced that he will propose a full ban on gifts from lizard-loafered lobbyists in the next session. Before you fall over in a dead faint, let me remind you that politicians are crafty sorts. They excel at saying one thing and doing […]

August 6, 2012: School Superintendent’s Endorsement Of Chip Rogers Raises Questions

What in the world was State School Superintendent John Barge thinking when he endorsed the reelection campaign of State Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock)?  Chip Rogers, in case you are not aware, is not exactly public education’s best friend.  Rogers talks about education “being in his blood” and then proceeds to bleed public schools […]

July 30, 2012: Watching The London Olympics 16 Years After The Atlanta Games

Hard to believe, but it has been 16 years since the Olympic Games were held in our state. As I watch the festivities in London, I remembered the phone calls I had received over the past year from media members in Great Britain, asking me if I had any thoughts on what was going to […]

July 23, 2012: Recent Trip A Reminder To Take Nothing For Granted

Recent Trip A Reminder To Take Nothing For Granted I have just returned from a memorable trip to Valdosta. I went there to speak to the Rotary Club. The members laughed in all the right places which not only was memorable, but downright remarkable. What made the trip even more special were two visits I […]

July 16, 2012: Being a Certified Modest and Much-Beloved Columnist No Easy Task

Would you allow an unlicensed electrician to install a bug zapper in your living room? Would you let an unlicensed plumber unclog the throne in your reading room? Would you give an unlicensed pilot permission to take you for a spin in his Sopwith Camel and allow an unlicensed insurance agent to sell your Significant […]

July 9, 2012: Plum Nelly Pitts Says Higgs Boson Won’t Fix Stupid

News bulletin: Scientists working at the world’s biggest atom smasher near Geneva have announced the discovery of a new subatomic particle that looks remarkably like the long-sought Higgs boson. Sometimes called the “God particle” because its existence is fundamental to the creation of the universe, the hunt for the Higgs involved thousands of scientists from […]

July 2, 2012: We The Unwashed Don’t Find Lobby Reform ‘Silly’

Everyone seems comfortable with the relationship between lawmakers and lizard-loafered lobbyists except We the Unwashed.  But, then, what do we know?  Rep. Don Parsons (R-Cobb County) a seven-term member of the House views the fuss over trying to curb unlimited lobbying expenditures as “silly.”  Mr. Parsons has some serious competition in the Republican primary.  I […]

June 25, 2012: It’s Not The Menu That’s Threatening Women’s Longevity, It’s The Men

I read several news reports recently about a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and the Imperial College in London that says while women are still expected to live longer than men, the gap is closing. The study concludes that life expectancy for women in Georgia increased […]

June 18, 2012: Methodists More Than A Match For Secularists

I received a press release last week from the Secular Coalition for America, a group of “atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans” announcing plans to establish a chapter in Georgia to lobby state lawmakers. Among the things they don’t like in our state are the annual Clergy Day at the state capitol and […]

June 11, 2012: Odds Are Will ‘The Winner’ Rogers Wishes He Was Mork From Ork

For a guy more uptight than a bullfrog in boiling water, State Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) can be a hoot.  I first discovered this when he and another senator named Chip (Pearson, from Dawsonville) teamed up a few years ago to pass a bill in the senate banning our body parts from being […]

June 4, 2012: Georgia’s Golden Isles Don’t Need Dr. Beach’s Approval

Have you ever heard of Florida International University? I must admit they don’t come to mind when talking about institutions of higher learning. Perhaps that is because I think first of the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, current state football champions […]

May 28, 2012: Explaining Voter Anger To Speaker Ralston No Easy Task

KNOCK!  KNOCK! KNOCK! “Mr. Speaker, may I come in?” “Well, if it isn’t Spiro Amburn, my favorite chief of staff.” “Doggone it, Mr. Speaker, you say that every time I come in the door.  I am your only chief of staff!” “Did somebody get up the wrong side of the bed this morning?  Looks like […]

May 21, 2012: An Open Letter To Georgia’s Public School Teachers

I write to applaud you for having made it through another year in Georgia’s public schools.  Good for you.  Frankly, I wonder sometimes why you do what you do and then I remember that you are changing young lives for the better.  Not many of us can make that claim. Your rewards for your efforts […]

May 14, 2012: Skeeter Skates Finds Out He Has A Lot To Learn About Politics

Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter’s Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Metropolitan Pooler, called me this week.  That was an historic occasion.  Maybe not man-landing on-the-moon historic, but pretty close to it.  Skeeter rarely ever calls.  I think it is because he thinks he knows everything.  Being an industry leader in the tree stump […]

May 7, 2012: Random Thoughts On Daffy Duck, Uga Fishing Team And Why David Ralston Doesn’t Want Lobbying Limits

Just when my life seemed to have lost all meaning, up jumps our Ambassador to Outer Space, Cynthia McKinney, who has announced her intentions to run for Congress as a member of the Green Party this fall in Georgia’s 4th District. This is quite a comedown for Miss Moonbeam, who was the Green Party’s candidate […]

April 30, 2012: Federal Judge Sees Majesty In The Law, Not Jokes

While May 1st  is designated Law Day in the United States, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood, chief judge of the U.S. Southern District of Georgia, says we Americans should remember that every day is a day of law in this country.  There would be anarchy without it. I had the privilege of following Judge Wood on […]

April 23, 2012: Giving Governor Deal Good Marks For His Job Performance

Dear Governor, I know you have been waiting to hear how I think you are handling things these days, but I wanted to give you time to get the legislators out of town and to be sure all the silverware is accounted for. Plus, I have been busy trying to help your pal, Leroy Gingrich, […]

April 16, 2012: Shepherd Center Rebuilds Lives And Uplifts Spirits

Those of you who regularly check this space know this, but to the newcomers out there: I am a whiner. Like Goldilocks, I whine when the porridge is too hot. I whine when the porridge is too cold. But unlike Goldilocks, I whine even when the glop is just right. Recently, my whining was put […]

April 9, 2012: Daydreaming About Clouds And Wished-For Headlines

I tend to daydream. Sometimes I look at the shape of the clouds above me and I can see a tea kettle or maybe the little fat guy that runs North Korea. And then sometimes I just close my eyes and think of headlines I would like to see, such as:   PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS […]

April 2, 2012: Legislature Doesn’t Always Do What It Says It Will Do

Do you really think if the state takes control away from local school boards to establish charter schools as the upcoming constitutional amendment proposes, they will do it better? If so, you are smoking rope. Once our legislators get control of the process, there is no guarantee that they will do what they say. As […]

March 26, 2012: Junior E. Lee Thinks He Has Identified The Next President

Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, called me all out of breath. I usually am not that concerned because after Junior has sprayed Arven Ridley’s barn for fleas, it sometimes leaves him winded. But I knew this wasn’t the case. He isn’t […]

March 19, 2012: ‘Mfmwgmfwff.’ Legislators brief public on upcoming issues

“Members of the Legislature, my name is Figby and I have been asked by House Speaker Dennis Ralston — he is the gentleman over in the corner eating the Twinkie — along with Senators Tommie Williams and Chip Rogers to discuss some potential campaign issues this fall. They are, of course, your leaders and have […]

March 12, 2012: Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About For-Profit Charter Schools?

At the risk of sounding like Johnny One-Note, let me go back over my concerns one more time about the charter school constitutional amendment bill in the State Senate that may or may not have been passed by the time this gets to you. (My deadlines and legislative deadlines don’t always coincide.) I don’t have […]

March 5, 2012: State Representative Defends Current Lobby Laws

State Representative Defends Current Lobby Laws Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs) has figured out something many of his colleagues in the General Assembly seem unable to grasp: If you disagree with something I say, tell me so and give me your side of the story Wilkinson called after my column advocating limits on lobbying expenditures […]

February 27, 2012: Legislators Take “Cut-And-Run” Approach To Public School Issues

Dear Public School Teachers: The “school choice” crowd in the General Assembly is after you again. I am beginning to think this is all your fault. Evidently, you did something to them in their prepubescent period that has scarred them for life. Maybe you caught them smoking in the bathroom or smooching in the hall. […]

Feb. 20, 2012: Georgia’s Lobbying Laws Should Make You Very Mad

I seem to have an innate ability to make folks mad. Usually, it is the humor-impaired and special interest twits. Today, I hope to make everybody mad, no matter your race, creed, color or university affiliation. This diatribe is for all. It is about our friends in the General Assembly and their astonishing arrogance and […]

February 13, 2012: Why Not A Signing Day For Non-Athletic Achievements?

Knock! Knock! “Come in.” “You have a minute, Principal Huggins?” “Yes, Coach Buldowski and Mr. Hornblow.  What can I do for you?” “Sir, I have an idea I would like to run by you and I asked our band director, Mr. Hornblow, to come along.” “Interesting.  Proceed, Coach Buldowski.” “Sir, I think it sends the […]

February 6, 2012: Annual State Of The Column Covers A Wide Range Of Important Topics

In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, I am required to submit annually a State of the Column message. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stand and applaud if you hear something that floats your boat or look bored if you don’t. You may be on television. […]

January 30, 2012: Southern Baptist Leader Speaks Right From His Heart

Whew! That was close! I almost became a Baptist the other day. Not just any Baptist, but a (gulp!) Southern Baptist. Let me add here that there have been times when the Rev. Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, has become so weary of trying to save my sorry soul that he would gladly […]

January 23, 2012: Random Thoughts On Politics, Distinguished Journalists And The Birthday Girl

State Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), one of our two unelected lieutenant governors — Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) is the other — sent out a puff piece taking much credit for authoring a bill to require local school boards to consider a teacher’s “effectiveness,” not seniority, when getting rid of teachers. People both inside and outside state […]

January 16, 2012: Georgia’s Education Chief Sees Teachers As ‘Life-Changers’

State School Superintendent John Barge knows what teachers can do, given the opportunity. “A teacher turned my life around,” he said in a recent telephone conversation. Monty Fountain, a teacher and a coach at Alexander High School in Douglas County became a father-figure and set him on his career path. “Given the impact that Coach […]

January 9, 2012: Outback Bowl Proves That Some Phrases Never Go Out Of Style

The folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have just released their recommendation for words and phrases that should be erased from our vocabulary in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. Why Lake Superior State? And why the list? Well, for one thing, they […]

December 26, 2011: To Cameron: The World May Change But The Fundamentals Remain The Same

DEAR CAMERON: For the past decade, I have written an annual letter of advice to your father, your uncle and their cousins, trying to give them a little perspective on what life was going to be like for them as they grew into adulthood. Today, they are all adults and are experiencing first-hand the ups-and-downs […]

January 2, 2012: Plum Nelly Pitts Agrees To Prognosticate In This Space

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, has signed an exclusive contract with one of the nation’s premier prognosticators, Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Georgia. I don’t have to tell you what a coup this […]