One of the few things Georgia lawmakers seemed to agree on as the New Year began was that this election-year session of the General Assembly would be a brief one. It's gratifying, then, to note that the state's Legislative Branch has still managed to carve out time for some of the genuinely pressing issues weighing on the minds and lives of Georgians.
Like, for instance, a "Merry Christmas" bill that passed the Senate last week. This bold act of lawmaking no doubt comes as joyous news to millions of Georgians who have lived for too long in abject terror that they or their school-age children would be dragged off to some secularist gulag for sharing Christmas greetings in public. If there's a Profile in Courage award for lawmaking, this should be a strong contender.
Unless, that is, it gets edged out by a House initiative dubbed "American Laws for American Courts." (Yes, it's another anti-Sharia law bill.) If there's one thing Americans in general, Georgians in particular, have good reason to fear even more than saying "Merry Christmas" in public, it's the imminent threat of our legal system being overrun by Islamic fundamentalism. No less a dignitary than Georgia's own Newt Gingrich said, in 2010, that Sharia law is "a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it," which should tell you pretty much everything about this "issue" you need to know.
And of course we can't leave out those masters of statecraft defending our precious right to carry our shootin' irons to churches, bars, college campuses and unsecured public buildings. There can hardly be a churchgoer, pub patron, college student or professor anywhere in Georgia who hasn't bemoaned the chronic shortage of firepower at those venues.
It might be a short session, but our Statehouse reps are determined to beat the clock on those things that truly matter.
Hear Ike laughing?
The Eisenhower Tree at Augusta National Golf Club is no more.
No, this isn't Auburn's live oaks all over again; the Ike Tree wasn't poisoned by some perspective-impaired fan angry that his favorite player had lost the Masters. This was strictly nature's doing: The recent ice storm damaged the tree beyond salvaging.
The legendary loblolly pine was the bane of a certain U.S. president and Augusta National club member who kept hitting his tee shots into it. So much did Ike hate the tree that at a 1956 club meeting he moved to have it cut down. Masters Chairman Clifford Roberts ruled the president out of order and ended the meeting.
Which only demonstrates something most of us have long suspected: Not even a president can change Augusta National. It takes an act of God to do that.