It turns out you can go home again. I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Dr. Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents, came for the ceremony and both made my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus. That is something we haven’t felt at my alma mater for a long time. My opinions and I were a constant source of irritation to outgoing president Dr. Michael Adams. Not my fault. He got lousy advice. His fault is that he took it.
I suspect our intrepid public servants believe you will accept their feeble efforts at ethics legislation this past session. A reader asked this week what she could do to make legislators take this issue more seriously. As with all things political, it will require pressure from voters, including letters and phone calls. All political decisions are made either with the application of pressure or the absence of it. I wouldn’t waste my ammunition just yet, but come this fall, let’s let our legislators know that we aren’t satisfied and want more substantive legislation on the subject. I hope the media will help and Gov. Deal, too.
Speaking of the recently-concluded General Assembly, one of the weirdest pieces of legislation was a bill to crack down on slow drivers on Georgia’s roads. What made it more bizarre was that it was introduced by Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, former commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. It didn’t make it through this session but will likely come up next year.
Obviously, Rep. Hitchens knows something I don’t know but my current duties take me from one end of this state to the other and slow drivers don’t seem to be a problem. I am concerned more with avoiding tailgating trucks, drivers on their cellphone doing roughly the speed of sound and SUVs that don’t turn their lights on when it’s raining. I am going to need to see some statistics on this “problem” that bothers Hitchens.
I am getting very tired listening to that fat toad who runs North Korea talking smack. First thing he needs to do is stick a sock in his big mouth. The second thing is get a good haircut. Who can take seriously a guy with an Afro that looks like it crashed and burned? And, where is Jimmy Carter? He has told us many times how close he is to that bunch in North Korea. Could it be that the Obama administration doesn’t want him sticking his nose where it is not wanted like he did during the Clinton and Bush administrations? If so, that is the first thing Obama has done with which I agree.
I got a note from retired Sgt. Bill Huffman, of Gray, who escorted me on some of my trips while I was in Iraq in 2006 with Georgia’s 48th Brigade Combat Team in the aptly-named Triangle of Death.
After my visit, I came home. Huffman went on to serve in Afghanistan in 2009-10. He says he was proud to serve his country but he missed watching his kids grow up, the dance recitals and birthday parties. “I do regret all that I missed,” he said. He wonders now if it was worth it, as do I. Too many young American men and women sacrificed lives and family in a senseless war in a barbaric part of the world that will never change. And for what?
Finally, a not-so-random thought: Politicians have no shame when it comes to money-grubbing. Former Republican State Sen. Dan Weber, of Dunwoody, wrote the legislation creating charter schools and has now formed a taxpayer-supported foundation to lobby for the program his bill created and will likely get paid $10,000 a month for his troubles if his new board approves. (Insert joke here.) I have said it before and I will say it again: I am not against charter schools. I am against politicians getting their hands on the big money charter schools can generate while they starve public schools systems financially.
Let’s see how long it will be before the for-profit charter school management companies start kicking in with campaign donations to their sycophants in state government. You can bet that you will be the first to know when I find out.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.