Some random thoughts on random sub­jects

The Covington News - - OPINION - DICK YARBROUGH COLUM­NIST You can reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@ bell­south.net or P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, GA 31139.

Ge­or­gia Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss is catch­ing heat from right-wingnuts for do­ing ex­actly what he should be do­ing — try­ing to help the fed­eral government find a way out of the fi­nan­cial morass the coun­try is in. The wingnuts want him to honor a 20-year-old no-tax pledge. The se­na­tor said he is not talk­ing about tax in­creases, but tax re­form and cites loop­holes that need to be closed like the cur­rent $6 bil­lion an­nual tax cred­its for ethanol pro­duc­tion. Good for him. I sup­port his ef­forts 100 per­cent. Maybe the wingnuts would rather see some mo­ron rep­re­sent­ing us who thinks rape is “a gift from God.” ...

But all the wingnuts aren’t on the right. A sur­vey by the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search In­sti­tute at UCLA shows that col­lege fac­ulty mem­bers tilt left. Over half iden­tify them­selves as “lib­eral” and more than one in 10 say they are “far left.” I hope stu­dents un­der­stand that many of their pro­fes­sors live in a dream world be­cause they’ve never had to make a liv­ing in the real one. ...

State Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, a.k.a. “Will the Win­ner,” a.k.a. “Mork from Ork,” has stepped down from his post as ma­jor­ity leader and turned over the reins to Sen. Ron­nie Chance, R-Ty­rone. I will miss the Chip­ster. I loved his stand on not al­low­ing our body parts to be mi­cro-chipped with­out our per­mis­sion (a burn­ing is­sue in our Gen­eral As­sem­bly, sec­ond only to rec­og­niz­ing “Go Fish, Ge­or­gia” as the state’s of­fi­cial joke.) Mr. Chips was a hoot to write about, but I will ad­mit he got a lit­tle scary to­ward the end. In­stead of wor­ry­ing about bud­get short­falls and ethics re­form, he was host­ing meet­ings on a United Na­tions con­spir­acy to take over pri­vate prop­erty through mind con­trol. Nanoo! Nanoo! ...

My friend, Matt Tow­ery, CEO of In­sid­erAd­van­tage, an in­ter­net po­lit­i­cal news ser­vice, thinks horse rac­ing is headed down the home­stretch to­ward re­al­ity. Tow­ery, a former state se­na­tor, cites a poll by Land­mark Com­mu­ni­ca­tions show­ing that over 70 per­cent of Ge­or­gians want to vote on a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment to al­low horse rac­ing in the state. “Make no mis­take,” Tow­ery said, “rac­ing will come to Ge­or­gia in the fu­ture. The is­sue is that of when and how.” I ex­pect this will get Bap­tists in such a fever they will tem­po­rar­ily for­get about women preach­ers and the sins of yoga. ...

I have been told that a mea­sure is be­ing drafted in the Leg­is­la­ture that would ben­e­fit pub­lic school teach­ers. It is about time. When I get the de­tails, I will let you know. Un­til then, I will re­main du­bi­ous. I am still not sure what pub­lic school teach­ers have done to earn the an­tipa­thy and dis­re­spect of leg­is­la­tors. Teach­ers are not the pri­mary cause of the cur­rent state of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in Ge­or­gia. In my opin­ion, the big­gest prob­lems are ap­a­thetic and of­ten ab­sen­tee par­ents as well as red tape and bu­reau­cracy at ev­ery level of government from the feds to lo­cal school boards, leav­ing school teacher as con­ve­nient scape­goats. In­ter­est­ingly, our in­trepid pub­lic ser­vants seem to have cho­sen to ig­nore the first prob­lem and ex­ac­er­bate the other one. ...

One more word on ed­u­ca­tion: Char­ter school ad­vo­cates have reached out to me in spite of my strong op­po­si­tion to the re­cent con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment in which they pre­vailed and I lost. I have been asked to in­ter­view a char­ter school teacher in the class­room. I plan to do just that af­ter the first of the year. That is a wise move on their part. There are more than a few politi­cians in our state, along with their staffs, who have the pub­lic re­la­tions skills of a turnip. They could learn a les­son from the char­ter school folks. ...

On a per­sonal note: This has been a tough year for los­ing good friends. The most re­cent is John Wil­lis, pub­lisher of the Cal­houn Times and ed­i­to­rial page ed­i­tor of the Rome News-Tri­bune, a good and de­cent man who passed away sud­denly last week. More and more, I am feel­ing my own mor­tal­ity. It is a hum­bling and scary thought. ...

Fi­nally, to Coach Mark Richt and the Ge­or­gia Bulldogs: You left it all on the field against Alabama and I am proud of your ef­forts. Be­sides, you are still state foot­ball cham­pi­ons, hav­ing re­duced Ge­or­gia Tech to road kill. That is what mat­ters most in this house­hold. Woof! Woof!

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