March 11, 2011
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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.
Scientists also believe there is a correlation between being happy and living a long life. I’ve got a chance here. I am never happier than when I am tweaking the humor-impaired among us and reading their blustery emails.
I think it’s important to take a moment of personal privilege and remind you how transitory life is and to never lose track of old friends because you are too self-absorbed in your own little world. Sad to say, but I did exactly that to an old friend who deserved better from me.
Don’t forget: You are the ultimate judge of what constitutes ethical behavior under the Gold Dome. That is the way it should be.
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.
I have no interest in looking for Martians or spending the rest of my days with a bunch of wackos. There are enough space cadets right here on earth, thank you, and I don’t have to pay $38 to tell you about them.
I asked Junior how the reputation of members of Congress fared in the shutdown. He said the good news was that Americans didn’t rate them any lower after the shutdown than before. The bad news is that they weren’t rated all that highly to begin with.
Whether Sen. Don Balfour is innocent of the charges being leveled against him or not is for others to determine but there is no question that he has made political life more difficult for his colleagues in the General Assembly.
As for ethics reform, giving up football tickets is no big deal. There are still plenty of ways to influence politicians. All it takes is money. If our legislators think the clock has run out on our interest in stronger ethical behavior, they are badly mistaken. They had better strap on their helmets because We the Unwashed are still in this game.
While I appreciate the encouragement I have received to enter into politics, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you I must pass on the opportunity. I just don’t think I could make those critical decisions that impact the daily lives of my fellow citizens with broccoli stuffed up my nose.
If the superintendent runs — and I believe he will — “uphill” doesn’t begin to describe the challenge Barge has ahead of him. He is going to have to develop a grassroots organization of the first magnitude because big-money contributors always bet on the incumbent. Deal already has a war chest estimated at $1.1 million.
I’m not sure how the Supreme Court will rule on the matter, but I do hope that Gov. Nathan Deal doesn’t find himself ankle-deep in water at the Governor’s Mansion one day and order Dr. Gil Watson to come to the Capitol and ask God to make it quit raining so much.
Hold your head high, teachers. There are a lot of us who appreciate you. I’m one of them and I’m not going away.
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 the globe, courtesy of foreign governments and big corporations like BP and Chevron
It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I didn’t know I would make it this far. But as long as there are clowns walking the earth, there will always be the need for someone to point them out to you. Thank you for allowing me that opportunity.
Yarbrough touches base on lobbyists, Georgia Tech and more.
There is no way I could produce such pithy and thought-provoking essays each week without the help of my columnist commandos.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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?"
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 turns out that you can go home again.
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.
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 more urgent when Skeeter calls.. One thing about Skeeter Skates. He gets
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
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
Let's face it. Judges can be pretty scary folks to We the Unwashed. But m intent today is to let a good man know that he has made a positive difference in more lives than he can imagine.
The Georgia House of Representatives has passed an ethics reform bill and has sent it on its way to the state Senate for its consideration and action. But don't get out the confetti just yet.
My fellow Americans: (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I come to you today to report on the state of your column.
Are you sitting down? I had a meeting with House Speaker David Ralston last week at the Capitol. Got your breath yet? There's more. It was a good meeting.
As many of you recall, I opposed the recent charter school amendment, not because I oppose charter schools -- I don't -- but because I thought the wording of the amendment was duplicitous. But the voters have spoken and I am ready to move on.
Yarbrough takes a look at Chip Rogers' new job with GPB.
Voters' voice on lobbyist gift limits sticking. Don't look now, but I think you are beginning to have some impact on the issue of unlimited lobbying expenditures in the Legislature.. Our politicians seem none too happy about having to derail their gravy train. They have tried to ignore you (and
I have the privilege of being with a group of newspaper publishers at the Georgia Press Association's winter gathering in Atlanta this week. It is one of those times I wish my momma and daddy were still around to see the crowd their little boy is hanging out with these
Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough:. Over the years it has been a tradition at the first of the year to impart some words of wisdom in this space to your father, uncle and cousins, who double as my grandsons. Perhaps some of my observations were useful to them. Maybe some fell
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
I was hoping that for once the Mayans would be right about something and that the world would have ended on Dec. 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
How 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
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
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
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
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.
The charter school amendment will be decided Tuesday. If it doesn't pass, it will be the greatest upset since David conked Goliath with a rock.
If the charter school amendment is such a good thing, why do its proponents seem to be using deceptive tactics to promote it?
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.
Just when I think that maybe this world and those that occupy it are beyond redemption, I run across someone like Ava White and I am reminded that there are good people quietly doing good things for all the right reasons.
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.
GSSA head refutes claims on charter schools. 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
When the gavel bangs to open the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly, I would suggest the first order of business be to have Willie Nelson serenade them with "The Party's Over."
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.
'Skeeter' talks about the Middle East
New tool helps 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
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
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.
What in the world was State School Superintendent John Barge thinking when he endorsed the re-election campaign of State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock? Chip Rogers, in case you are not aware, is not exactly public education's best friend.
Olympics, 16 years after 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
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 made while there.
The 10-county, $7 billion Metro Atlanta transportation referendum is set to be decided by voters on July 31. If passed, the plan will be funded for 10 years by a 1-cent sales tax. Even if your county votes it down, the measure still becomes law if a majority of the rest do.
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. The bigger question is what does this mean to our daily lives? That required a call to Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Ga., the prestigious and prodigious prognosticator.
Everyone seems comfortable with the relationship between lawmakers and lizard-loafered lobbyists except We the Unwashed.
The phone rang the other day and an the other end of the line was Gay Blade, the world’s flaming liberal. Gay spends a lot of time trying to raise my sensitivity toward liberal issues. So far, Gay has not had a lot of luck.
Sheila the Family Wonderdog is one proud pooch today.
Bin Laden swims with the fish.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company located in Greater Garfield, is pleased to recognize members of the 2011 General Assembly who gave so much so that we could get so little. Please hold your applause until all our honorees have been recognized. Otherwise, we could be here until the Legislature returns in August. Nobody wants that.
Let’s dip into the mailbag today, boys and girls, and see what is on the minds of discerning readers.
A.D. Frazier is not a happy camper. My friend and former Atlanta Olympic colleague spent last summer chairing the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, a 10-member council appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston.
Over my long life, I have come to realize that college football is not life-or-death. Life and death are life and death. Football is a game. Only a game. Yet, there are those rare times when the sport can tell us a lot about life — and death — and remind us that there is more to winning than the final score.
Oh great. Now, the Obama administration is getting involved in public education in Georgia. That’s all we need. The deft touch of an inept federal government.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states clearly that nobody can infringe on my right of free speech: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_United_States. You can get in serious trouble for that.
The next time the illegal immigration advocates start whining about the poor Mexican workers coming into the United States to “do jobs we won’t do” and to “make a better life for their families,” please inform them that the porous borders between lawless Mexico and the U.S. are also letting in drugs at a scale almost beyond description and that Atlanta is a major distribution hub for the hombres.
In my house, the contest for state school superintendent is as important as the governor’s race. I have a son, son-in-law and now a grandson who are public school teachers, and they — and all the other teachers — deserve a draw-a-line-in-the-sand advocate.
Albert Mohler is at it again.
When I pay University of Georgia President Michael Adams a compliment, you may be sure it is the real thing.
This isn’t going to please those boys and girls with the dark glasses and hearing aids who are always talking to their lapels, but my column commandos walked right past them the other night to attend the season’s first Conversation at the Carter Center, otherwise known as Jimmy Carter’s Out-of-Touch-With-Reality Pontifications.
In all the hubbub over the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City as a reciprocal gesture of friendship to Muslims who have agreed to build the Ali Khamenei Baptist Tabernacle in downtown Tehran, you may have missed the latest debate between Georgia’s gubernatorial candidates sponsored by the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located in a pool hall in Greater Garfield.
You can take the boy out of Georgia, but you can’t keep him from swelling with pride while he’s gone.
If you find any dead squirrels in my backyard, it is because they have laughed themselves to death.
I love the state of Georgia better than apple butter, but sometimes the place can try my patience. Like right now. It is just too hot.
I had considered the recently-constituted Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians just so much political hooey until I saw who was elected chairman of the council: Adolphus Drewry Frazier Jr.
As promised, I have the latest analysis of the recent primary results, courtesy of Junior E. Lee, general manager of the C. Richard Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool room in Greater Garfield.
What, you may ask, am I going to say this week about the primary elections? The answer: Nothing.
I am unalterably, unequivocally, and un-any other word you can conjure up opposed to school vouchers. I consider them somewhere south of Gov. George E. Perdue’s beloved horse barn that got tanked earlier this year.
This time of year is referred to as “Dog Days.” That is because state government feels that in appreciation for your tax contributions this is a great time to hound you with a bunch of new laws, regulations and similar irritations that usually become effective July 1. Hence, Dog Days.
Of some 15,000 school systems in the United States only one has lost accreditation in the past four decades. In August 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools denied accreditation to Clayton County.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Charles Ector, of Gainesville. I had been told he was a former Tuskegee Airman. He was portrayed as a World War II fighter pilot who came back home from Europe to join the vaunted fighters that had to deal with enemies abroad and racial prejudice at home. When we met, I asked him about his experiences. He said, "I don't want to talk about it."
I am not going to tell you how old he is because he might not want you to know. So, I will just tell you that on his birthday next week, the last number will have a "zero" behind it and he was born as Dwight Eisenhower was going out of office and John F. Kennedy was coming in. You can figure out the rest.