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Random thoughts on random subjects
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Many of you have written to say you oppose House Bill 875, which would allow weapons in houses of worship and currently is making its way through the Legislature faster than a speeding bullet. I suggest you let the bill’s author, Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, know, too. Call him at 404-656-0188 or email him at
Contact your local representative as well. (If you aren’t a constituent of Jasperse, I doubt your opinions will carry as much weight with him.)
Some Republicans are not pleased that the bill does not require some training before strapping on a killing device. One legislator said, “Some of my colleagues don’t believe that there should be mandatory training requirements. Even the state of Texas thinks training should be mandatory.”
His bottom line: Background checks alone are not sufficient. The pro-gun group is pushing this legislation hard. If you don’t want guns in houses of worship, you had better act quickly. The skids have been greased on this one.
• One of the voices of reason in the Legislature is Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, who chairs the Senate Education and Youth Committee. Tippins was a longtime member of the Cobb County school board before coming to the state Senate and is a subject-matter expert on public-education issues, not an ideological zealot.
This brings me to the Common Core curriculum. Few issues have generated more misrepresentation — pro and con — than Common Core. Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons, wants to dump the whole thing and start over. That is not a good solution. What is needed is a more rational approach to see how to fix what is wrong with Common Core. I predict you will see some middle ground reached on the issue soon. Ligon likely will get the credit, but Tippins deserves it.
• An Atlanta writer has suggested that a statue of Jimmy Carter go into the spot on the Capitol grounds left after the likeness of former U.S. Sen. Tom Watson, an arch-segregationist of yesteryear, was removed.
A terrible idea. That honor belongs to Gov. Carl Sanders, who stood up to the segregationists during the tumultuous civil-rights struggles in the late 1960s when neighboring governors would not. Sanders saved us from our basest instincts and, as a result, Atlanta never became the Birmingham of bombs and police dogs.
His reward? A despicable, race-baiting campaign waged against him by the Carter crowd in the 1970 gubernatorial race, which Carter won. Sanders did more good and progressive things for Georgia than Carter ever did.
• I recently was invited to Dalton to speak to a group of local citizens, teachers and students about “making a difference.” I was preaching to the choir. Making a difference is a part of the town’s DNA. It was not that long ago Dalton had the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Recently, the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth said the Dalton area’s job growth is forecast to be higher than any other metropolitan area in the state. There are many reasons for that, including resurgence in the housing industry, the state’s economic development policies and solid local civic and business leadership.
I submit another reason may be that the best beef stew in the history of the world is served up at the Oakwood Café in downtown Dalton. Just saying.
• There is an effort among some movers and shakers in Paulding County, west of Atlanta, to establish a second commercial airport, perhaps as an alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson International. Some citizens don’t like the idea and wish to express their opposition at the airport authority’s monthly meetings.
Sorry about that. The authority’s chairman told residents that they can speak only if they submit a request and “as long as it’s not finger-pointing or back-biting.” Who wants a major airport facility in a place where the chairman sounds like Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies”?
• I watched with bemusement as 18-year-old kids recently announced on national television at what college they intend to play football. The media went dipsy-doodle over the news. I still await the day when we give high-school band members equal time. (“I am announcing today that I will play the clarinet at Fresno State!”) Band members deserve a little love, too. They work hard and, in many cases, the marching band is better than the football team.

Email Yarbrough at or write him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.

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