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Columnist keeps Rotarians laughing, updated

Dick Yarbrough, a syndicated columnist whose columns appear in The Post-Searchlight and 19 other newspapers throughout Georgia, entertained members of the Rotary Club Tuesday.

Dishing out humorous stories and throwing barbs at politicians and other subjects that occupy his columns, Yarbrough told stories of “Malfunction Junction,” referring to the City of Atlanta; state politicians; people who talk on cell phones while waiting in checkout lines, and broccoli, which was on Tuesday’s menu but not on his plate.

One of his stories was about dirt. With all that’s going on in the state that includes a budget crisis and lacking education scores, Yarbrough jokingly said Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, is focused on the big picture—making red clay the official dirt of Georgia.

Yarbrough was a vice president of BellSouth Corp. and then as managing director of communications and government relations of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. His columns reach more than 1 million households each week.

Yarbrough said he wanted to update the Rotarians on three topics, the governor’s race, the water war and terrorism.

He called the governor’s race the stealth campaign.

“You don’t see anybody doing much now except Roy Barnes, who is out trying to undo what he did before,” Yarbrough said. He said the former governor has a better chance than he thought.

As for the water war, Yarbrough said Atlanta water interests don’t “get it.”

“They really do not get it up there. It’s all about developing around Atlanta, and as though the lake (Lake Lanier) belongs to them,” Yarbrough said. “They really don’t understand about the rest of the state.”

On a serious note, Yarbrough said having civilian trials in New York City, instead of military tribunals, of five terrorism suspects is a scary thought. One suspect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is the self-described mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

“Do to the things that we do well, which is to guarantee a free trial, to people who I don’t think deserve it, is really going to be a scary time,” Yarbrough said.