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Dick Yarbrough: Random thoughts on random subjects
Dick Yarbrough NEW 06062016
Dick Yarbrough

Dick Yarbrough

Syndicated columnist

If anyone in the governor’s office or Twin Pines LLC is listening, my open letter to Gov. Brian Kemp regarding the oxymoronic Environmental Protection Division’s consideration to allow drilling along the edge of our Okefenokee, they should know that the people of Georgia (or at least the ones who read this column – and that’s a lot) are livid, to put it mildly, at the political condescension about the matter. State Senate Majority Leader Sen. Steve Gooch, R- Dahlonega, saying this is a regulatory issue not a legislative one is asinine. Rep. John Corbett, R-Lake Park, claims a denial of the permits “walks all over private property rights.”

Oh, please. That presumes there is nowhere else on God’s Green Earth for Twin Pines to extract the minerals for paint, toothpaste and chewing gum but from our Okefenokee. And Rep. Lynn Smith, R-Newnan, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee that bottled up legislation last session that could have resolved the issue? She’s saying nothing. To our intrepid public servants I say, stonewall us if you wish or pat us on the head like we are gullible children, but this issue is not going away. ...

Congratulations to our public schoolteachers. You have survived another school year. No small accomplishment. I am glad to see you getting a raise in pay, although it is no more than what you deserve. Now, if you can only get the respect you deserve from critics who couldn’t carry your bookbag. ...

Columnist George Will, the longtime and highly-respected conservative commentor, has an interesting take on the upcoming presidential election. He offers up the thought of simply passing on voting. “Elections register opinions. Abstaining from voting can express a public-spirited and potentially consequential opinion,” he says and adds, “Voters’ eloquent abstention would say that they will return to the political marketplace when offered something better than a choice between two Edsels.” I still plan to vote, but he’s got a point.

These are two losers.

Unfortunately, one will be declared the winner. ...

I get a lot of news releases from a lot of firms ranking states in a variety of categories. One study I saw recently says that Georgians – that’s you and me – rank among the top 20 states (18th) in wanting to learn a new language. And our most popular choice? Chinese.

You may have told them that. I didn’t. I’m still trying to master the English language. ...

One issue that didn’t get through this legislative session was a bill to designate a new Official State Flower in lieu of the Cherokee Rose, which was adopted in 1916. The current state flower is not native to Georgia or even the U.S. It is an Asian plant brought over to this country for landscaping purposes. It is also closely linked to the Trail Of Tears, not one of our finer moments. The Georgia Native Plant Society is spearheading the effort to change this. State Sen.

Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville, is the bill’s sponsor, which will carry over to the next session. . . .

Speaking of official stuff, did you know Georgia has an Official State Plate? As in dinner plate? A loyal reader (aren’t they all?) Dr.

Susan Carol Hurt Tanner tells me that Miss Louise Irwin, of Sandersville, designed a set of plates in 1933 to commemorate the Georgia Bicentennial Celebration. There are 12 plates in the series, each featuring subject matter unique to Georgia such as General James Oglethorpe, the old state capital in Milledgeville, the current state capital, the campus of Wesleyan College in Macon and, of course, the Oldest State-Chartered University in the Nation.

In 1974, Gov. Jimmy Carter and the Legislature made them the Official Historical Plates of Georgia. The things you learn reading this column! ...

And finally, a special call-out to a special jurist.

Fulton Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick, who has been on the bench for the past 10 years, is retiring at the end of the year. While I don’t know a habeas corpus from a corpuscle, Judge Barwick and I share something in common: We love our Georgia Bulldogs. Woof!

Woof! It is also noteworthy that this July 4th, Judge Jane Barwick will be running her 48th consecutive Peachtree Road Race. That is roughly 300 miles of road racing.

Wow! Enjoy your retirement, judge, and keep on running.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.

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