Dear Public School Teachers in Georgia:
David Pennington, the mayor of Dalton, is making noises about challenging incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary. Say what?
This is the story of courage. This is a story of tenacity. This is the story of Hill Daniel.
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. 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 my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus.
They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of.
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.
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.
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It is a theological fact God really likes Georgia. That is why he put mountains in North Georgia, the Golden Isles smack up against the Atlantic Ocean and added a bunch of lakes, parks and historical sites in between.
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.
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. What one body sees as true ethics reform, the other sees as a desultory effort to curb the power and influence of those lizard-loafered lobbyists skulking the halls of the Gold Dome. We the Unwashed? We are caught in the middle, as usual.
My recent observations on the lack of respect given public school teachers in Georgia engendered a lot of responses but none better than this story sent to me by my friend David Egan, co-director of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and a former educator himself.
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!)
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. I thought it grossly unfair that Gov. Nathan Deal could wax eloquently on the need for passage of the amendment but School Superintendent John Barge was not allowed to talk about opposing it. It was like Goliath beating up David.
Knock! Knock! Knock! "Hello. Can I help you?" "Hi. Are you Teya Ryan, president of Georgia Public Broadcasting?" "Yes, I am. Who are you?" "I am Chip Rogers, your new employee. I used to be the majority leader in the state Senate, where I was responsible for such cutting-edge issues as preventing our body parts from being microchipped without our permission and for making people aware that the United Nations intends to take over local ...
Don't look now, but I think you are beginning to have some impact on the issue of unlimited lobbying expenditures in the Legislature.
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 days. Momma would be pleased; Daddy would be surprised.
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 on deaf ears. I have never asked. Anyway, they are adults now; old enough and wise enough (I hope) to figure things out for themselves. So now it's just you and me, kid.
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 would serve them right.
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.
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 said he is not talking about tax increases, but tax reform and cites loopholes that need to be closed like the current $6 billion annual tax credits ...
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.