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Jeff Whitten: The dogs may bark
editor's notes

A former high school baseball coach told me something a long time ago that’s stuck with me ever since.

We were shooting the breeze after practice and the subject got around to difficult parents – and man, he had a bunch that year and they liked to line up in lawn chairs right behind the home dugout and give him and his kids an earful despite his teams usually being good enough to make a run at the region title.

“If I had my way we’d lock the gates to keep the parents out and just let the kids play baseball,” he said.

And then he added: “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.”


It was something his high school coach used to say, the coach told me, and it’s basically an adaptation of an old Arab proverb meaning some people are going to complain no matter what so just keep doing the best you can with what you got – even if social media has given us more barking dogs out there than ever.

Is there a political party out there with that slogan? Probably not. Onward: It’s Wednesday morning and we still don’t know who the next president will be, but the process of elimination has whittled away some of the folks junking up the local news with their political ads. Hopefully.

On that note, an unofficial poll of people I know shows a decided majority want their ambulance chasing lawyer commercials back during local newscasts on WJCL, WSAV, WTOC and the other one. It’s been a mess, though, this election, with too much negativity.

Regrettably, the commander in chief was calling the other side names Tuesday night, claiming victory despite a lot of votes still being left to count.

In fairness the man’s had so much abuse heaped on him it’s probably hard to be civil. But that’s no excuse. And before Republicans blame everything that ever happened to anybody on the fake liberal news media and the Democrats, a little perspective should be in order.

My recollection of his predecessor’s eight years in office was of a right wing and its media outlet that continually treated him with more than contempt.

Me, I left a lot of blanks in unopposed races over in Effingham County where I live. I probably could’ve written a name or two in, but I didn’t want to screw up the process by introducing the name Ewell Seymour, or, even better, H.L. Mencken or Sky Lungston, who at least could ride a motorcycle up a ramp and into the air over several cars and back down the other side, all with a snake around his neck. We need more folks in Congress like that.

If you think developers have too much sway here in Bryan, take a ride over there. It’s a mess.

Now, for some numbers of a different sort.

We media bigshots get lots of emails from people who do surveys on this and that on behalf of various companies with data on just about everything that has anything to do with a state that likes to pride itself on being No. 1 for bidness. A good bit of it ain’t all that flattering. For example, Georgia “Has the 9th Slowest Recovery for Weekly Unemployment Claims in the U.S.,” according to the subject line in one PR firm pitch sent Oct. 29. Same firm, different day: “Georgia is the State with the 5th Lowest Credit Score.” Yikes. And a different PR firm says the Peach State has the seventh highest average cost of Coronavirus case at $238. I’d tell you how they figured that out or what it means, but then I’d have to kill myself.

In the meantime, one such ranking stood out.

This one ranked the best and worst drivers in the U.S. – by state, mind you – and Georgia’s drivers finished 11th worst. We were sixth in accidents and ninth in citations. Here’s a link if you’re feeling froggy: In Georgia’s defense, probably half the people driving around the state on any given day are from up north and therefore naturally have to be first to get where they’re going, which is usually somewhere I’m going and often means a trip through Pooler, which according to my own survey is the traffic armpit of the known universe.

It’s so bad GDOT should use one of those digital traffic signs spanning I-95 as you head that way to blink out Dante’s warning in the Divine Comedy to those about to enter Hell: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

Whitten is editor of the BCN.

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