I wish I had been there. In Jerusalem. With Jesus.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Georgia, as proclaimed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. Child abuse is a subject I don't like to think about, let alone write about and you would probably just as soon not hear about. But it is there and we need to acknowledge it and demand some solutions.
Even by my impossibly high standards, this has been a good week. It began with a whack upside the head from a reader in South Georgia after I opined that those who want to change the way we teach our children in public schools ought to have their kids in public schools. I was referring to the efforts led by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) to overturn the Common Core curriculum in the recent legislative session.
Since the policy of the federal government seems to be to snoop on the conversations of private citizens, I thought it would be appropriate if we turned the tables on them. So, I authorized my columnist commandos to infiltrate the White House disguised as Teleprompters and get the real scoop on the latest developments in Ukraine.
I was at the sausage-making plant last week, better known as the Georgia General Assembly. I was there for a good cause. The state Senate was honoring Dick Pettys, one of the finest journalists to walk through the doors of the state Capitol, and I was asked to be a part of that special day.
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.)
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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.
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!
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 for ethanol production. Good for him. I support his efforts 100 percent. Maybe the wingnuts would rather see some moron representing us who thinks rape is ...