More Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 6, 2002

By:Bill Ship
The Jackson Herald
November 6, 2002

Overview of elections
Voters have more at stake in Tuesday’s election than simply deciding which avowed conservatives (Democrats or Republicans) are going represent us in Atlanta and Washington.
The partisan control of the U.S. Senate and House may rest in the hands of the Georgia electorate. We also may help decide the direction of the next presidential election.
Let’s look at the U.S. Senate race. As it has been from the start, the battle between Max Cleland and Saxby Chambliss remains a tug of war between surrogates - Sen. Zell Miller and President George W. Bush. Even if Miller opposes Cleland in D.C., he has remained solidly in Max’s corner throughout the election season. And President Bush is spending as much time as he can afford promoting Chambliss. Despite what you hear on TV, this race is not about homeland security or Boy Scouts or social security. It is about winning a majority of the Senate.
If Chambliss wins, Bush and his Republicans may have enough votes to carry the day in the Senate, confirm their judicial appointments and gain approval for most of their legislative package.
If Cleland prevails, Democrats will probably retain narrow control of the Senate as well as the ability to maintain gridlock in the national arena (not always a bad thing). Just how the Democrats will treat Miller after the smoke clears remains to be seen. Georgia’s junior senator is a Democratic friend indeed on the campaign trail. On the Senate floor, he’s a treacherous rattlesnake, more likely to bite his natural Democratic buds than his perceived Republican enemies.
The governor’s race: If Barnes wins, national headlines will hail him as “another New South Governor” and “the voice of progress and moderation.” An invitation to speak in New Hampshire will undoubtedly arrive shortly. If the New York Times decides Barnes has “brought a breath of fresh air to the national scene,” then Roy may be off to the big-time races.
To his credit, Barnes swears he will not heed the national sirens’ call. He wants to finish what he has started: school reform and improved transportation. And for second-termers, nothing feels as good as a little game of get-even with those summertime Democrats who defected during the autumn election campaigns.
If Perdue wins, he will presumably keep his promise. Georgia will have a referendum on the state flag, and once again the Confederate battle banner will unfurl over the statehouse. In exchange, we can say good-bye to future Super Bowls, NCAA tournaments, large international conventions and probably Coca-Cola’s corporate headquarters. A Perdue victory would put an anti-Atlanta guy in the Gold Dome for the first time in years. Georgia would also have “a man’s governor” (a hunter and horseman as depicted on TV) instead of a chief executive who constantly caters to the women’s vote. We also might experience a near-total turnover in the state government’s managerial personnel (again, maybe not a bad thing).
In the lieutenant governor’s tilt, incumbent Mark Taylor appears safely out of reach of Republican challenger Steve Stancil. Though Stancil is a solid contender, Taylor’s better-than-anybody-else’s commercials put him well out of harm’s way.
* * *
Three hotly contested congressional races also figure into which party may control the U.S. House:
Third District: Bibb County Commissioner Calder Clay (R) is in an uphill battle against former Macon Mayor Jim Marshall (D) in a decidedly Democratic district - but one that was drawn in the vain hope of keeping Saxby Chambliss from going statewide. Polls show Marshall ahead, but Clay is gaining ground. Marshall’s high-profile primary victory over Perry attorney Chuck Byrd may have given him a name-recognition edge that Clay cannot overcome.
Eleventh District: This congressional race may be the bitterest and most expensive ever staged in Georgia. With the backing of House Speaker Tom Murphy, businessman Roger Kahn wrecked the primary hopes of Democrat ex-Rep. Buddy Darden to return to Congress. Now Kahn is engaged in a brutal match with Republican state Sen. Phil Gingrey, a die-hard foe of the Barnes administration and ardent pro-life advocate. The race has centered on Kahn’s immense wealth and Gingrey’s questionable legislative record.
Twelfth District: Champ Walker was handpicked by his pop, state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker, to waltz into Washington as the representative of the new 12th District, custom tailored for the heir to the Walker political dynasty. The waltz has turned into a barroom brawl with much of the electorate shocked at Walker’s police record and other problems. Republican Max Burns, a professor at Georgia Southern, should start working on his maiden speech before the House. A lesson here for the Democrats: Before bestowing the party’s blessing, vet all candidates, even if they happen to be sons of VIP’s.
Turnout is the golden key to victory in every one of these races. Watch the TV commercials in the hours before the election. The positive spots are aimed largely at women. Look for lots of kids, messages of pathos, but very little war talk.
Still, the big story of Election Day 2002 in Georgia may not be simply the outcome of the elections - but whether Georgia escapes disaster as the first state to adopt a uniform electronic balloting system to serve its 5.6 million registered voters. The majority of whom will sit on their hands on Election Day and then spend the next two years complaining about the results.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Send us a letter
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 6, 2002

Short notes from all over
I have read Genesis and I have read Darwin. I was not there when either one of them was written. So if I believe either one — and I do — it is by faith.
For what it’s worth, this bit of advice for the creationists and the evolutionists: Stop acting like monkeys. Spend less time worrying about how you got here and more time working on where you go from here. Then you just might make some small contribution to the human race.
Oh, by the way, I have it on good authority that all the apes, baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and Neanderthals are teaming up to bring a class action lawsuit against the human race. The charges? Libel, slander and defamation of character.
* * *
“Eat half as much, exercise twice as much.”
I can’t believe it! Those eight simple words “tremendously improved the qualify of life” of a Florida lady and her grandchild. They lost 30 and 45 pounds respectively.
That’s why I write this stuff. That kind of reward is worth far more than the fabulous salary I receive from MainStreet Newspapers.
In fact, if Mike didn’t pay me, I’d do it for nothing.
* * *
I’ll never run out of something to write about. There’s enough old stuff to keep me going this week. And if I’m still alive next week, there’ll be enough new stuff.
I am indebted to my friend Tom Bryan for this latest addition to my overstuffed stuff file. He wrote:
“I noted in The Herald that Commissioner Britt complained about a lot of stuff going on, which Chairman Fletcher then referred to staff; therefore, we now have ‘STAFF STUFF.’ Ain’t it grand!”
Yes, Tom, it’s grand. Stuff gets more interesting by the minute.
* * *
Check out this stuff. The traffic problem around Atlanta has been solved.
I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. The person who told me about it was running for political office and asked not to be identified. This person thought that the voters might think he/she was crazy.
He/she ain’t crazy. He/she is one of the smartest people I know.
Here’s the solution. Stop building parking lots and parking decks.
When there’s no place to park downtown, people will stop driving. They’ll be forced to stay at home or carpool, take the bus, ride MARTA, ride their bicycle, or walk. (Walk! What a great idea!)
* * *
Something’s wrong with this picture.
At a craft store at an outlet store in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., there are enough figurines to create a Nativity scene, a.k.a. manger scene, on every courthouse lawn in America.
Mary, Joseph, Balthazar, Gaspar, Melchoir, an ox, a donkey, an angel, another angel, a drummer boy, a shepherd, camels, sheep, an elephant, an innkeeper and Jesus are all there.
Prices for all of these pieces, except one, range from $32.95 to $109.95.
Jesus is on sale for $27.95.
* * *
OK, so Pigeon Forge is a tourist trap. But it is a pretty tourist trap.
In winter, spring, summer and fall, the flowers up and down the strip are very pretty.
Places of business — hotels and motels, restaurants, shops, T-shirt stores and tattoo parlors — are neat and clean inside (I’m not sure about the tattoo parlors) and beautifully landscaped outside.
That’s more than you can say for a lot of towns and commercial enterprises. How is it where you live, work, play and do business?
Clean ‘er up and they’ll come.
* * *
Why? Good question. Here’s another good one. Why don’t we ask why?
You stand in line for hours waiting for a celebrity autograph. Why?
You meet somebody on the street. She speaks. Calls your name. You carry on a long conversation. You have no idea who she is. You don’t ask her name. Why?
You go to the store. You are looking for something. You know it’s there somewhere, but you can’t find it. You don’t ask a clerk to help you. Why?
You are in a long line at the supermarket or the big box store. There are 14 cashier stations. Only four are open. You don’t yell for the manager and demand that he open up one or two more. Why? (Tell him this: “Someday you are going to make it as easy to get out of here as it is to get in, and you are going to revolutionize merchandising in America!”)
When I was a young teenager in high school, I wanted to ask Louise Long for a date. I didn’t have the nerve. Too shy. Why?
Louise went to the prom with Roy Jones. Why? He asked her.
You weigh 296 pounds. You are not overweight. You are fat. You could “eat half as much and exercise twice as much,” but you won’t. Why?
You smoke two or three packs of cigarettes a day. You cough all night, and it takes you ‘til the 10 o’clock coffee break in the morning to get your pipes unstopped. You could stop smoking — cold turkey. But you won’t. Why?
* * *
Yes, why is a good question. But it will drive you up the wall sometimes. There’s a time to ask and a time not to ask. We need to learn the difference.
Things over which we have no control, don’t ask.
But things we can do something about, ask.
Why not?
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.
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