Thinking about my kids, I really have been fortunate. I divorced my first wife when my two older kids were 5 and 3, and I was able to get custody of them. That wasn't the norm back in 1988, so I was fortunate to not be a "weekend dad." Throw in the fact that I married a wonderful woman, who raised Michael and Shannon as her own kids, and who they regard as their "mom," and you see how lucky I am.
As the holidays approach each year, we prepare for family visits, big feasts, gift exchanges and begin to reflect on the past year. Georgia has seen a tough year with the fallen financial and housing markets, job reductions and flooding that destroyed many homes, businesses and land. The affects have left many Georgians preparing a little differently this year.
This is going to be a special Thanksgiving. My great-grandson Cameron Yarbrough and I are going to begin a new family tradition this week by sharing a birthday celebration. He will hit the ripe old age of 1 tomorrow and two days later I will become slightly older than Kennesaw Mountain.
"Hey, Barack. It's me, your heart. It might be all the White House pickup basketball games or the imminent prospect of nationalizing American health insurance, but I'm feeling better than ever.
Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Dallas, tried to kill himself Nov. 8. A few days later, the former Paulding County attorney issued a news release acknowledging the suicide attempt.
Attention, National Board Certified teachers in Georgia who got hosed by the state in the last legislative session: I think I have found the guy in the white hat who plans to ride to the rescue. And he is a good one to have on the horse.
My water utility recently increased rates with tiered pricing: if you use more, you pay more. In so doing, San Francisco joined nearly 200 municipalities across the country.
Years ago, when I was still in Congress, I pulled up one day to address a public meeting in a remote and very rural part of Indiana. The sheriff, a friend of mine, met me outside the small volunteer firehouse where I was to speak. "The Ku Klux Klan is here in full regalia," he told me. "If you'd like, I'll keep them out of your meeting."
Thursday was a day I believe most educators are eager to recognize. Nov. 19 was National Parent Involvement Day, a time set aside each year to say an extra-special thank you to parents.
As the painful economic downturn forces businesses to become more efficient and refocus on their mission, state government should be no different. Across-the-board budget cuts are reaching diminishing returns. It's time to look seriously at eliminating programs that no longer serve a core government function.
On Nov. 3, the fairy tale died. The election results in Virginia and New Jersey dismantled the self-satisfied, just-so story that Democrats have been telling themselves about last year's election.
There are just a few things you can count on in this world: The sun will rise in the east; nobody will ever sing better than Ray Charles and somebody will try to make a martyr out of that piece of camel dung that killed 13 innocent men and women at Fort Hood, Texas.
The tragedy at Fort Hood last week is almost beyond comprehension. Other than the 9/11 attack or maybe the Oklahoma City bombing, I can't think of a tragedy in my lifetime that just takes your breath away.
Members of AIG's financial-products unit should take heart. Yes, Obama administration pay czar Kenneth Feinberg is coming down on them with the awesome power of his czardom, dictating that their pay not exceed $200,000 a year. In Wall Street terms, this is so draconian, they might as well be forced to earn whatever they can get by begging on street corners and finding leftover change in pay phones.
My friend Sam Griffin, the retired publisher of the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight, recently shared a letter written to him in 1942 by his father, Capt. Marvin Griffin, later to be governor of Georgia, as he and his men, members of the Georgia National Guard's 101st Coast Artillery/Anti-Aircraft Battalion, were preparing to embark for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
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.
Having had time to reflect on the recently completed 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly, it is with great regret that I have to say it was the most embarrassing performance by your state legislature that I can remember.
Sometimes, I think I focus too much on the litter. But it is the nature of what I do.
Editor, I travel a lot and have written on the subject of gun rights before. Recently in Atlanta, they locked down a school because a neighbor was squirrel hunting nearby. Those people in Sandy Hook, Conn., are getting a new school because one of their own citizens committed murder there. Pretty soon, local commissioners are going to be sending drones through the community to look for zoning violations.
Editor, April marks the nation's "Month of the Military Child" - a time to honor youth and their service to our country. On Tuesday, April 15, as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices, the public is invited to "Purple Up! For Military Kids." Everyone in the community is encouraged to wear purple shirts, scarves, shoes, buttons and pants. If it's purple, or can be turned purple, make it happen.
It happened recently - the 20th anniversary of stock-car racer Davey Allison's death. Maybe you remember him. Maybe you don't. But I shall never forget him.
There is nothing more important than the safety and protection of innocent children. Not constitutional rights, not animal rights, not thoughts, opinions, feelings or political beliefs. The lives of children must be given top priority.