Let's hold off on dissecting the general elections until the political pundits have had their say. They don't know any more than you and I do (after all, we are the voters), but they think they do and telling them otherwise might offend them. Political pundits can be very sensitive.
One thing for sure: All the candidates for statewide office will agree that Georgia is one big honkin' state. From Dalton in the northwest to Brunswick in the southeast is approximately 360 miles. By contrast, Washington, D.C. to New York City is 200 miles. Still, I would prefer the longer mileage and be able to stay in this great state than go where people talk too loud and think kudzu is a Japanese martial art.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a self-described Muslim civil liberties organization (Now that's an oxymoron waiting to happen), got their burqas in a wad when National Public Radio analyst Juan Williams said on Fox Broadcasting's "Bill O'Reilly Show" that he gets "nervous" when he gets on an airplane and sees Muslims. Muslims would be the first to tell you that most of the bombings and threats of bombings we have experienced in the U.S. over the past decade have been the work of New Age Norwegian vegetarians.
By the way, I'm not sure why it is necessary that the federal government give money to the left-leaning NPR. The feds don't give me money to write this column and I am a lot more interesting and much less condescending than anybody on Public Broadcasting, with the possible exception of the Cookie Monster.
I predict that anti-illegal immigration activists are this year's version of state flaggers. Remember the flaggers? They were feeling their oats when George E. Perdue unseated incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002. Flaggers took ample credit for Barnes' defeat. Perdue then blindsided them and changed the state flag again. The flaggers flopped because they never developed broad public support for their cause. It is going to be the same with the illegal immigration crowd. While they have the support of much of the media, the ACLU, national Democrats and assorted liberal weenie groups, they don't have the support of the general public. Look for the Georgia Legislature to lay them low in 2011.
If you don't like public schools, more power to you. It is a free country. But please don't rant to me about "teachers unions." There is no such thing in Georgia. The Georgia Association of Educators is an affiliate of the National Association of Educators but they have no power as a union in our state. They cannot negotiate wages, workplace issues or anything else. In fact, the GAE, the Professional Association of Educators (PAGE) and the alphabet soup of other education organizations have little influence with the Legislature. The array of special interest groups don't always speak with one voice when advocating for public education. Legislators know that and act accordingly.
I have discovered a law firm in suburban Atlanta named Slappey and Sadd. Their website says they handle wrongful death and personal injury cases. I'm sure they are good at what they do but I wonder if they are ever mistaken for two of the Seven Dwarfs. ("I'm sorry but Slappey and Sadd are not in. Would you like to talk to Dopey or Doc?").
Finally: A few months back I told you about the Three Wise Men who have been a major influence in my life: Media mogul John Jacobs, of Gainesville; my college professor Dr. Raymond Cook, of Valdosta; and real estate maven Roy Hodnett, of St. Simons Island. Two are in their 90s and one is a couple of birthday candles away from that milestone.
Happily, all three are still rockin' and rollin'. Jacobs and his wife, Martha, have been named Philanthropists of the Year by the North Georgia Community Foundation. Dr. Cook was present recently when I spoke in Valdosta and had the opportunity to tell those assembled how he inspired me to stay in school when I was ready to drop out. Hodnett just celebrated his 90th birthday with his family and is still deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of his thriving business. These guys aren't getting older. They are getting better!
Reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.