Ladies and Gentlemen, the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company located in Greater Garfield, Georgia, is pleased to recognize members of the 2011 General Assembly who gave so much so that we could get so little. Please hold your applause until all our honorees have been recognized. Otherwise, we could be here until the legislature returns in August. Nobody wants that.
Our first award is the coveted Titanic Award given to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who has seen his political career sink like, well, the Titanic.
Four years ago, Cagle was rumored to be making a run for governor. Now, he can't even run the state Senate, thanks to a palace revolt among his senate colleagues. Much of what sank with the Titanic has been recovered. May the lieutenant governor's career be so lucky.
The Look-Ma-No-Heads Award is given to the Gang of Eight or Seven or Six — I can never keep up with cabals — who took over leadership (insert joke here) of the Senate and managed to distinguish themselves by doing absolutely nothing but bicker. They even embarrassed the House of Representatives and that's hard to do.
The Rodney Dangerfield I-Get-No-Respect Award goes to Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. This award was much debated by the judges because Dangerfield had a sense of humor. Not Mr. Rogers. However, judges chose to recognize the majority leader for his lack of success with his cherished voucher bill and another measure to allow home-schoolers and "virtual" schoolers to participate in extracurricular activities at resident schools. That's a shame. Virtual volleyball could be a winner.
The I-Am-A-Survivor Award is presented to Sen. George Hooks, of Americus, dean of the state Senate and a white Democrat who lives below the gnat line. Research by the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company indicates white Democratic politicians who live below the gnat line and don't morph into Republicans are rarer than wooly mammoths.
The There-is-No-Free-Lunch-Only-Free-Dinners Award goes to House Speaker David Ralston who recently ate an entire wooly mammoth at one sitting. He wasn't sure what a wooly mammoth would taste like — it tastes like an old elephant — but since a lizard-loafered lobbyist was paying the tab, he thought he'd give it a go.
The I-Enjoy-Being-a-Girl Award is given to Senate Minority Whip Cecil Staton of Macon, who has been accused by a political activist of being behind emails sent in the name of "Beth Merkleson," criticizing an effort to restore Cagle's power. Staton has denied the charge and says he can prove he was in Macon at the time shopping for a new dress and purse for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Out-of-This-World-And-Most-Other-Worlds Award goes to Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Cobb, who wants to do away with the driver's license. He says it violates the spirit of the Magna Carta of 1215. (Don't ask me. I just write the stuff.)
Actually, this was one of his less bizarre ideas. Our Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney may soon have some serious competition. Is Uranus big enough for both of them?
The Good Humor Award is given to House Whip Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta. He took my lickings over his teacher evaluation plans and kept on ticking. I found him accessible and affable. Bummer. This column is hard enough to write without having to deal with politicians who are accessible and affable. (But I am still on alert as to how teachers would be evaluated.)
The Be-Careful-What-You-Pray-For Award goes to the entire General Assembly. Last year, lawmakers created the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness to craft a tax reform package. The group composed of business leaders and economists were told their recommendations would be voted up-or-down by the General Assembly without amendments.
Of course, that didn't happen. The legislature piddled and diddled and wasted the time of a lot of busy people who will know better the next time they are asked to trust the resolve of a bunch of politicians.
And finally: The prestigious John Wayne Quiet Man Award is given to our chief executive, Gov. Nathan Deal. Throughout the session, the governor kept a low profile, said all the right things and seemed to get along with both parties. The staff at the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company already misses George E. Perdue.
Congratulations to our winners. And to all our intrepid public servants, we thank them for their continuing efforts to give us more government than we want or need. You may now applaud.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can reach him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; website.