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Articles by Section - Columnists


First session finishes with a flourish

The last day of my first session was thrilling and exhausting. I worked from 7 in the morning to midnight to get "Kelsey's Law" over the finish line. Only 13 minutes remained before the official "Sine Die" when all work must cease until next year. But I am incredibly grateful that my work, and the work of Newton Representatives Pam Dickerson and Doug Holt before me, finally came to fruition after four long years. More importantly, I am humbled to be just a small part of courageous Kelsey's fight to protect fellow teenage girls.

April 12, 2015 | Dave Belton | Columnists


Columnist no ‘Playtoe,’ but irked by lack of respect

Fortune Magazine has announced its list of the World's Greatest Leaders for 2015 and would you believe that I got snubbed again this year?

April 12, 2015 | Dick Yarbrough | Columnists


Gay rights movement is totalitarian

The gay rights movement has tended to be a well-choreographed stage production over the last number of decades. Over time, behind the scenes, they pushed hard for gay characters in film and television. They pushed gay actors out of the closet and encouraged celebrations of diversity.

April 12, 2015 | Erick Erickson | Columnists


Technology will trump ‘Bootleggers’ mentality

In recent weeks, I've written about how the "Bootleggers and Baptists" dynamic corrupts regulatory politics. Bruce Yandle developed this concept decades ago. He observed that Prohibition became reality because Baptists wanted people to stop drinking while the ban on legal alcohol put money in the Bootlegger's pockets. The do-gooders succeeded only because the money-grubbers joined their effort.

April 12, 2015 | Scott Rasmussen | Columnists


Living through the times

It seems every day now some famous personality or former friend has passed away and at 68 it makes me think sometimes of my own mortality.

April 05, 2015 | T. Pat Cavanaugh | Columnists


GE and America’s corporate bootleggers

I recently highlighted an important book that describes how politics really works. "Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics," by Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle, showed that prohibition became reality because it appeared to satisfy both Baptists and Bootleggers.

April 05, 2015 | Scott Rasmussen | Columnists


The weekend that changed the world

Approximately 1,982 years ago, a man died. In fact, many men died that day. We know for sure of three men. Two were tied to crosses and crucified. One was nailed to the cross. Had that been the end of it, it would have just been like so many other Roman crucifixions. But, unbeknownst to most anyone at the time, the first Easter weekend would become the most important weekend in the history of the world.

April 05, 2015 | Erick Erickson | Columnists


Newton Co. legislators busy with successful legislation

It was a great week for Newton County! I am ecstatic to tell you that "Haleigh's Law," the medical cannabis oil bill, passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor this week. Also my bill, "Kelsey's Law," passed unanimously in the Senate near midnight on the last night. I was also very excited that Newton County Representative Pam Dickerson's cyber-bullying law passed both the House and the Senate.

April 05, 2015 | Dave Belton | Columnists


Growing jobs, investing in the community and trading squirrel pelts

Dear Editor,

March 29, 2015 | Ronnie Johnston | Columnists


If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out

The headline to this story is an adage taught by journalism schools throughout the country. News is supposed to be based on facts and reported without bias. But alas, reporters are human and have biases, acknowledged or not. If they are blatant and obvious, then we can dismiss them out of hand, (example: Chris Matthews saying, "I felt this thrill going up my leg," when listening to a speech given by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama).

March 29, 2015 | Jackie Gingrich Cushman | Columnists


President Spock?

The death of Leonard Nimoy saddened millions of Trekkies around the world (including me). But it wasn't just Trekkies who mourned. In the past month, it has become clear that Mr. Spock - the character Nimoy brought to life - had become a cultural icon extending far beyond the Trek universe.

March 29, 2015 | Scott Rasmussen | Columnists


Thankful for a new generation of committed Methodist ministers

I spent last week helping to assess a group of people for a job I couldn't do if my life depended on it. Actually, what they were seeking is not a job; it is a calling. And my life here and in the hereafter depends on how well they do it.

March 22, 2015 | Dick Yarbrough | Columnists


Baptists and Bootleggers:

It's apparent to anyone willing to look that a wide gap has grown between a Washington/Wall Street political class and the nation they want to rule. Less clear to many is the reason why.

March 22, 2015 | Scott Rasmussen | Columnists


‘A great week for the children’

It was a great week for the children of Georgia. Not only did my bill to protect teenage girls from having their phone number put on a pornographic website ("Kelsey's Law") pass unanimously, but a Cyber Bullying measure by my fellow Newton delegate Rep. Pam Dickerson also passed. Overall, there were many bills to protect children including the "Hidden Predator Act" which lengthens the amount of time a victim may bring a sexual abuse perpetrator to civil court. This bill moves Georgia from the fourth worst in the nation to where most states are now. There was also a ...

March 22, 2015 | Dave Belton | Columnists


Our thoughts: Election smearing

There has begun a stirring of potential political candidates for the 2016 election, we know this because already there is already a sense of mud being mixed in order to smear folks.

March 22, 2015 | Staff Report | Columnists


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Archive By Section - Columnists


Morgan: A look back on Ballard's career

The best advice longtime local attorney Don Ballard ever got came from an unusual source, and he's never veered from it. It became his personal, professional and political mantra that he follows to this day. Back in 1952, Ballard set up his law practice in partnership with the late Col. C. C. King in downtown Covington. Col. King was the father of beloved local historian, Charles C. "Charlie" King Jr., now 97.

Not long afterwards, Ballard won a seat in the state House of Representatives, in a district that included Newton, Rockdale, Morgan, Jasper and Putnam Counties. "I had ...

April 05, 2012 | Barbara Morgan | Columnists


Perugino: What is the energy plan of this administration?

Recently the Obama Administration effectively outlawed coal as a fuel source and it underscores the importance of Congress severely curbing the authority of regulatory agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which would effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities.

Once again the Obama administration has usurped the power of Congress, denied the Constitution and used dictatorial powers to issue self serving regulations through his Federal agencies. Our freedom is being chiseled away on a daily and ...

April 05, 2012 | Willliam Perugino | Columnists


Legislature doesn’t always do what it says

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 evidence, look at how the Legislature has gone back on its word regarding special fees that were to be collected and spent for such things as environmental cleanup, drivers' education and other purposes.

April 03, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Legislature doesn’t always do what it says

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 evidence, look at how the Legislature has gone back on its word regarding special fees that were to be collected and spent for such things as environmental cleanup, drivers' education and other purposes.

April 03, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Men do more around the house now

I have been musing lately about the different responsibilities that men assume or assist with in the running of a household. There is a large gap between men of my husband's age and men of my daughters' ages.

My husband assumes responsibility for mowing the lawn, at least the middle of the lawn or what can be reached by a riding lawn mower. But most other yard chores belong to me. I prune, weed and water. He does, however, maintain a vegetable garden and is justifiably proud of its produce. My husband is in charge of the car and ...

April 03, 2012 | Paula Travis | Columnists


That's a wrap: Session is out for the year

Last week saw the conclusion of the 2012 legislative session. The House finished voting on most of the remaining Senate bills, and then worked through the many situations where differing versions of bills had passed in the House versus the Senate. These are resolved by either agreeing with the other chamber's version of the bill, or by standing firm and appointing legislators to what is called a "conference committee." The conference committees try to reach a compromise version of a bill, which must then be approved by both chambers. However such differences are resolved, the final few days of ...

March 31, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Exploring the deep blue

James Cameron - filmmaker and Hollywood superstar - just took a trip to the bottom of the ocean.

March 31, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


America through foreign eyes

I've been in Europe for going on three weeks now, and I'm ready to come home. I miss my family, my bed, my friends and my guitars. I miss big steaks, cold sodas, twisted Southern English and rock and roll. I even miss our stupid American electoral circus, the lame tabloid-like coverage of our party-hardy political parties and the inert populace that thinks "insightful news analysis" is a reporter droning on about which politician said which "bad word" in which public forum. I miss all of this - warts and all - and I want it back. Europe is lovely ...

March 31, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Whatever happens next, the health care law is doomed

Media coverage now implies that the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the fate of President Obama's health care law. But nothing the court decides will keep the law alive for more than a brief period of time.

There are three ways the health care law could meet its end. The first, obviously, is the Supreme Court could declare some or all of it unconstitutional in June.

March 31, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Negative campaigning

It seems the Republican presidential primary is wending to a close with the stars aligning behind the ultimate candidacy of Mitt Romney to take on President Obama in the general election. Don't you think it's time for a nice, deep breath? All together, now: Inhale the pure, fresh air of these cool mornings and exhale all the polluted air filled for these many months with bitterness, rancor, ugliness, pettiness and deadly dares more befitting a prison yard brawl than a contest leading to the door of the White House.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a veteran of presidential campaigning ...

March 29, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Latarski: All the pollen isn't such a bad thing

Spring is now officially upon us, although the weather we have had lately makes it feel like spring came and went around 2:47 a.m. Tuesday morning, and we headed straight into summer.

Normally we accept this with good grace because we know that our Northern friends are still digging out of snow, but that has not been the case this year.

March 24, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


McCoy: Breaking the sound barrier

How many of you grew up reading about a superhero who had amazing powers and who flew around town fighting crime while looking snazzy in a form-fitting costume? Come on; you know you read about Superman or Wonder Woman or other comic book heroes, and you wanted to be just like them. You wanted superpowers, and if you had any fashion sense, you wanted a snazzy cape with your initials on the back. Maybe you haven't given up hope. Maybe you still want superpowers, even if you're willing to compromise on the costume. I know which superpower I ...

March 24, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Burgess: Social Circle's best kept secret - Fire explorers and fire volunteers

Wanting to learn about our Fire Explorers and fire volunteers in Social Circle, I met two young ladies at the fire station who made me realize that there's a lot about firefighting that most folks, especially me, don't know. Shannon Patterson and Ashley Yantis are both experienced firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians. Both are enthusiastic and totally committed to their work in insuring the safety of our citizens. Patterson is tall and pretty. Yantis is short (they call her "half-pint") and cute.

Unlike most jurisdictions, Public Safety Officers in Social Circle are cross trained as firemen and as ...

March 24, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Apted: Are you a facebragger or facedowner?

Are you a "Facebragger?" Urban Dictionary.com defines Facebragging as "the act of using a social networking site in order to show off or impress others with material items and/or fun activities and may include status updates, comments, or most often, pictures."

The opposite is referred to as being a "Facedowner"- someone who only posts the most dismal and depressing updates, presumably to garner sympathy from their friends.

March 24, 2012 | Staff Report | Columnists


Gallimaufries to green grass

If you read last Sunday's Covington News, you may have seen a diatribe about this paper in the form of a letter to the editor from a man named Felton Hudson of Stone Mountain. In it, he also took a harsh swipe at my personal opinion columns, calling them "pedantic gallimaufries." More on that in a minute.

March 23, 2012 | Barbara Morgan | Columnists


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