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.
Editor, Veterans, did you know that when Congress passed legislation to provide caregiver assistance to our nation's most severely disabled warriors, they instituted willful discrimination the likes of which hasn't been seen since the oppressive days of Jim Crow laws?
I'm a CEO with a GED, and I have walked in the shoes of a minimum wage worker. I know from experience that it's a tougher road today.
Not long ago, the national philosophy behind criminal-justice policy was to lock offenders away and teach them a lesson. This was popular with politicians who found that it played well before crowds, and it was popular in communities where prisons and jails created jobs. Some folks even seemed to celebrate the idea that prisons were real hellholes.
Seven or eight years ago, as our nest became empty, my wife and I began taking short road trips to destinations as far as three hours from home.
Editor, In the recent Courier article announcing Sen. Isakson's visit to Hinesville on Sept. 5, Isakson was quotes as saying, "As you may know, it takes the VA an average 478 days to make a determination on a VA claim. That's more than a year. Although there are signs of improvement, it's still taking too long."
The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week's column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. "Surely, you can find some positive things to write about," she said, "and temporarily take people's minds off all the terrible things going on in the world. I think your readers would appreciate that."
I've always been one of those persons who won't hire someone to do something for me if I can do it myself, such as painting my house, building a deck, building a utility barn, caring for my own lawn, installing new flooring, etc. It was just the way I was raised. And it stuck.
When I think back on the days of my youth, that time when I had the privilege of traveling on the NASCAR circuit, it would be hard to pick a lesson learned that was more important than another.
Most mornings, I spend about five minutes pulling my freshly washed hair into a ponytail. It's easy, it's efficient, and, I like to tell myself, it's even chic. When I know I'll be meeting important people or attending special events, however (like, say, the United Way annual campaign kick-off party or a chamber of commerce breakfast), I break out the products and utensils and spend an extra 20 minutes or so coaxing my locks into what I hope is a more professional-looking style.
I am superficial. I know that looks matter - when it comes to our community's appearance, that is.
Editor, I'm appalled - to say the least - at the extravagant salary paid to Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee.
I'm not sure how many wilderness survival shows there are on television right now, but it appears there is some kind of obsession going on with this type of programming. And they are running the gamut from being naked in the wild to being fat in the wild. That's right, there's a show now titled "Fat Guys in The Woods." Fortunately, they keep their britches on.
• President Ronald Reagan, Jan. 30, 1984: "Exports create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation's export sales."
Editor, The following is an open letter on sequestration to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, from retired U.S. Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, head of the Association of the United States Army:
Some of my favorite Norman Rockwell prints all have something to do with eating, but not for the reasons you might think.