Ran­dom thoughts about just a few ran­dom sub­jects

The Standard Journal - - COMMENTARY - By Dick Yar­brough Guest Colum­nist

It doesn’t com­pletely fill my bucket, but it is a darned good plank. Some­time ago, I opined about want­ing to meet Bill and Glo­ria Gaither, who are to South­ern gospel mu­sic what Rem­brandt is to oil paint­ing — the best.

That would just about com­plete my bucket list which in­cludes shoot­ing the breeze with (pre-Twit­ter) pres­i­dents in the Oval Of­fice; run­ning the Olympic torch (twice); serv­ing as pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia na­tional alumni as­so­ci­a­tion; hav­ing a paint­ing of mine hang­ing at the state Capi­tol and play­ing golf at the Old Course at St. An­drews.

All good bucket ma­te­rial, but not Gaitheresque. Lo and be­hold, it turns out that loyal read­ers Jane and Michael Cox of Dun­woody are good friends with the Gaithers, have talked to them and tell me it will hap­pen. In the mean­time, Bill Gaither has sent me an au­to­graphed book on the roots of South­ern gospel mu­sic. I am heaven-bound. ...

A per­sonal mes­sage for Oconee Please stick to law en­force­ment and leave the com­edy stuff to me. Your Face­book posts County Sher­iff Scott Berry: are so entertaining that you are mak­ing me ner­vous. I might be forced to go get a real job.

Dur­ing the re­cent snow­storm that hit much of the state, Sher­iff Berry en­cour­aged cit­i­zens to stay off the roads, say­ing, “If a deputy is di­rect­ing you to not travel down a road­way, he or she prob­a­bly has a good rea­son for do­ing so.

The fact that you are from Wis­con­sin and say ‘this ain’t s—-’ is re­ally not per­ti­nent.” And then this: “I know you need cig­a­rettes, beer and wine to get you through hav­ing your kids at home. Can you just do with­out for a day? Stay home.” This guy is good. ...

At the risk of bit­ing the hand that feeds me, I find too many me­dia opin­ion-mak­ers too pre­dictable. They are ei­ther all in for Don­ald Trump or all out. All the time. How bor­ing.

I would rather have you have to read a few para­graphs to find out who I am about to skewer, be it the Ge­or­gia Bap­tist Con­ven­tion lob­by­ist who says tot­ing a gun to church is a “sanc­tity of life” is­sue — for­get that New Tes­ta­ment stuff about “turn the other cheek” — or the head-bang­ing cretins in the NFL (is it still around?) who dis­honor their coun­try while mak­ing more money in a year play­ing an ir­rel­e­vant kid’s game than a school­teacher will earn in a ca­reer. And I’ve only just be­gun. ... For­mer state sen­a­tor and cur­rent Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Hunter Hill is tout­ing term lim­its as a part of his plat­form.

Guess what? We al­ready have term lim­its. They are called elec­tions and We the Un­washed de­cide who serves and for how long. A ma­jor down­side to term lim­its is that it put tremen­dous power into the hands of bu­reau­crats who are not elected.

Most politi­cians will tell you they find it chal­leng­ing enough to deal with all the bu­reau­cratic red tape in gov­ern­ment, even after hav­ing been in of­fice for a while. Bu­reau­crats would eat term-lim­ited leg­is­la­tors for lunch. ...

Speak­ing of Hill, his de­par­ture from the Leg­is­la­ture means one less ad­vo­cate for cut-and-run pub­lic school pol­icy, al­though I am sure some­one will pop up to take his place and push for more tax cred­its to at­tend pri­vate schools. Just what our state needs: More money si­phoned out of the state trea­sury.

The Ge­or­gia Bud­get and Pol­icy In­sti­tute es­ti­mates that the dozen tax breaks law­mak­ers ap­proved late in the 2017 ses­sion will cost the state trea­sury roughly $483 mil­lion over the next five years. That is al­most a half-bil­lion dol­lars sucked out of the bud­get. Guess that means we can’t fix what ails Ge­or­gia’s pub­lic schools. We just don’t have the money in the bud­get. No won­der. ... Fi­nally, in the What­ever-Floats-Your-Boat depart­ment: The ath­letic sup­port­ers at You-Know-Where In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy are ex­ult­ing on so­cial me­dia over Ge­or­gia’s over­time loss to Alabama in the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Bless their hearts. Their foot­ball team went 5-6, got their butts kicked by the Bull­dogs, 38-7 and couldn’t even qual­ify for one of the sev­eral hun­dred made-for-TV bowl games. To make matters worse, their bas­ket­ball team was waxed by UGA, 80-59 ear­lier this sea­son.

Look for them to start play­ing the aca­demics card, for which I have a two-word re­sponse: Rhodes Schol­ars. We have a whole lot more of them than you do. Woof! Woof!

You can reach Dick Yar­brough at [email protected] dick­yarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ga. 31139 or on Face­book at www.face­book.com/dick­yarb.

Dick Yar­brough

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