The scene: I-16 near Dublin. WAAANGH! REEP! REEP! REEP!
As predicted in this space a few weeks ago, there is compromise legislation pending in the General Assembly regarding the Common Core curriculum, the controversial program that seeks to establish consistent education standards across the country.
The Cherokee County Republican Party has a blurb on its website about Rep. Sam Moore, who won the 22nd District House seat earlier this month following the death of veteran lawmaker Calvin Hill. Among other tidbits about Moore are his hobbies, including this: "Playing jokes … watch out. You have been warned!"
Let me run some numbers by you. 152: The number of children who died in 2012 in Georgia, despite the intervention of the state's Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). 13: The number of children who died in 2012 while in foster care. Zero: The number of people who died in shootouts in a house of worship in our state during the same period. 152 to 13 to zero. So what is the hot-button issue in this session of the General Assembly? Guns for God, of course. HB 875, authored by Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper.)
Many of you have written to say you oppose HB 875, which would allow weapons in houses of worship and is currently making its way through the Legislature faster than a speeding bullet. I suggest you let the bill's author, State Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), know, too. Call him at 404-656-0188, or email: email@example.com.
My fellow Georgians, in order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is a requirement that I submit to you annually a State of the Column message. This I do today. (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!)
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.
I read a news report this week that says while we are living a lot longer in the U.S., people in other countries are living even longer. Bummer.
If this sounds like name-dropping, I apologize, but I am trying to make a point here.
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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 minds and assorted body parts.
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.
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.