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.
There was a time when I believed that the best way to curtail the impact of money flowing into our political system was to monitor it. Make sure that campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures were reported quickly and accurately, I reasoned, and journalists and the American public could determine for themselves what they could tolerate.
If I die anytime soon - and I have no plans to do so at the moment - please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, "He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association." You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad Pitt and my uncanny ability to put commas where they don't belong.
"It's a funny thing." That's what Mama used to say when something baffled her. Like Mama, I prefer that things make sense. Otherwise, I'll ponder, figure, study and try to decipher that funny thing until it's somewhat sensible.
Are you ready to make a difference this fall? Then consider volunteering this month for our ninth annual Rivers Alive in Liberty County.
I imagine, from time to time, you all get tired of reading about my adventures in toddler town and would like to hear from other parents. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when Hinesville Public Relations Manager Krystal Britton Hart took me up on my offer to guest write this week's column. Krystal has two daughters herself, one of whom is the same age as my daughter, Reese. I enjoy comparing notes and talking with her, and I'm sure our readers will be as interested in hearing what she has to say as I am. Enjoy!