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Random thoughts from Dick Yarbrough

Here we go again. The University of Georgia has another Rhodes Scholar. According to my abacus, that makes 25. But who’s counting? (Wink! Wink!) Phaidra Buchanan of Tyrone, Georgia, is the latest. She will begin her studies at Oxford University in England in October and will pursue a Master of Science degree in comparative and international education. Congratulations to her and Glory, Glory to Old Georgia. … Speaking of UGA, let me introduce you to the latest Yarbrough-Grady Fellows selected by the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications: Laura Burr, from Bishop, Georgia; Sophia Haynes, from Johns Creek; Sarah McRae, from Peachtree Corners and Grant Mitchell from Milton. I won’t take the time to go into how one is chosen to receive these fellowships except to say they are highly competitive and on my best day I would never have qualified for one. These young people are brighter than a new penny and I am honored to be a part of the effort.

I read that Ron Klain has been named President-elect Joe Biden’s chief of staff. I doubt he remembers me but he was my primary contact during the planning for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

At the time, he served in that same role for Vice President Al Gore, who coordinated the federal government’s efforts. Unlike a lot of people who get close to seats of power and become arrogant satraps, Klain was accessible and easy to deal with. I wish him well.  Uh-oh. I think I am in trouble. In doing some research on the family tree, I have discovered two ancestors on my momma’s side who were Confederate soldiers. One was even a prison of war. This obviously is not going to sit well with the historic revisionists, especially when they learn that I graduated from Russell High School in East Point, which was named for William A. Russell, an officer in the — you guessed it — Confederate army. Fortunately, there are no statues erected to me (that I know of) to tear down. Maybe they will confiscate my Dixie Cups.As we steel ourselves to endure another month of hyperbolic ads on behalf of the four candidates vying for Georgia’s two U.S. senatorial seats in the Jan. 5 runoff, of this I am certain: Raphael Warnock, Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue and Jon Ossoff multiplied or divided aren’t in and probably never will be in the league with two giants who have represented us in the Senate, Sam Nunn and Johnny Isakson. Nunn, a Democrat, and Isakson, a Republican, were statesmen in the finest sense of the word who put their country ahead of partisan politics. I am afraid we won’t see their likes again in the political arena. Not from this crowd, anyway.

Finally: The good news for me is that a lot of you read this column.

The not-so-good news for me is you tend to read it closely and don’t hesitate to let me know of any boo-boos you find contained therewithin.

A couple of weeks ago, Junior E. Lee, the general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in Greater Garfield Georgia, credited Lee Iacocca with having created the Thunderbird. Wrong. It was the Mustang as many of you reminded me.

I’m not being defensive but please understand that this one is not on me. That comment came directly from Junior. But let’s cut him a little slack. You must remember that Junior E. Lee is not only a highly respected political analyst but he is also a pest control professional. I can only surmise that he may have sucked in a bit too much malathion that day.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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