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Thoughts on politics, journalists, birthday girl

POSTED: January 25, 2012 4:00 a.m.

State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, one of our two unelected lieutenant governors - Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, is the other - sent out a puff piece taking much credit for authoring a bill to require local school boards to consider a teacher's "effectiveness," not seniority, when getting rid of teachers.

People both inside and outside state government tell me that Williams has solved a problem that doesn't exist. Many school boards are already doing this. Seniority is a big issue in the Northeast, where there are teachers' unions. We have none in Georgia.

I wish Williams and/or Rogers would share with me their vision for public education in the state. I have no doubt that public school teachers around the state would be interested to hear their views. On the other hand, maybe they think if they shut their eyes I will go away and leave them be. They would be more correct to think that maybe the sun will rise in the west. . . .

One reason to be concerned with President Obama's welfare is that Vice President Joe Biden is just a heartbeat away from the top job. What a scary thought. Biden was recently in San Francisco the week the 49ers met the New York Giants for the NFC championship and chirped that he hoped the Giants won. (They did. They beat the 49ers 20-17 in overtime.)

He later admitted he had been talking about the San Francisco Giants baseball team, which he confused with the 49ers football team. Of course, he is also the guy that asked a wheelchair-bound friend to "stand up and take a bow."

Personally, I'd rather have a VP who shoots friends in the fanny on hunting trips than one that shoots off his mouth everywhere he goes. Biden could start World War III with a tongue that seems permanently disengaged from his brain. ...

Georgia has lost one of its most distinguished journalists. Gene Methvin was the son and grandson of a Georgia newspaper family from Vienna. Gene was a cum laude graduate from my beloved Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia.

He spent 42 years with the Reader's Digest but never lost his Georgia roots. He had little patience with self-important journalists who thought their First Amendment responsibilities included leaking government information that could compromise our national security and embolden terrorists and who considered themselves reporters first and Americans second.

Methvin was an American first and a serious journalist who, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not take himself seriously. He was one of the best ever. ...

I have an original oil painting hanging in the Huie-Wilcox Gallery on the campus of the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick. I understand some long-time political acquaintances saw it and were rather shocked that a snarly columnist was capable of such sensitivity. I will admit that my yang sometimes gets the best of my yin but I try not to make a habit of it. ...

After eight years of Gov. George E. Perdue's temper tantrums and concrete fish ponds, current Gov. Nathan Deal's style is a refreshing change of pace. He seems willing to work collaboratively with both parties in the Legislature to get things going and, unlike his predecessor, he doesn't let his ego get in the way. I am not ready to put him in the Pantheon of legendary governors like Seth John Cuthbert and Humphrey Wells just yet because I'm still trying to figure out where he stands on public education issues, but I am cautiously optimistic. ...

And finally, this is probably going to get me in trouble. My youngest child hits a milestone this week. I am not allowed to divulge too much information at the risk of getting in more trouble, but Maribeth Yarbrough Wansley has a birthday with a zero on the end of it. I have it on good authority that she was born during the Kennedy Administration. You do the math.

In some ways, we are very much alike. We both suffer fools poorly and our motors run full-speed. The difference is that she never saw an animal she couldn't love and nurture. I think all squirrels should be assigned to permanent purgatory. I am very proud of her and what she has accomplished as a wife, mother, environmentalist and community leader.

Most of all, she has made me look like a better father than I deserve.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. He is a part-time resident of Dawson County.

 

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