* For Marietta, the election of Steve "Thunder" Tumlin, set to take office in the new year, brings fresh energy and new vision to the tough task of leading the city.
* Republicans in the Georgia House have nominated a new speaker, Rep. David Ralston of Blue Ridge, a low-key, straight-talking lawyer to succeed lightning-rod Glenn Richardson whose lobbyist and marital problems derailed him. Ralston should be the cool hand to steer the House toward long overdue ethics reform in the legislature. He could be the best thing that's happened to Georgia Republicans in a long time.
* Public opinion across this country is still running strongly against the Democrat health care takeover and given a few more weeks it might possibly be derailed or postponed indefinitely. The latest poll update by Rasmussen Reports this week showed 55 percent of voters opposed the bill and only 41 percent favored it - the fifth straight week of support ranging between 38 percent and 41 percent. The Dems in Congress have to deal with some balking members, principally over the issue of federal funds for abortion.
* One Democrat saw the light this week just in time for Christmas. Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he was switching to the Republican Party. He was among few Dems opposing the Obama economic stimulus package and also voted against the House health care takeover bill. Griffith's north Alabama district is staunchly conservative.
* The Federal Reserve last week decided to hold interest rates at their record low level to give support to a recovery, and there was an uptick in home sales in November, thanks to a tax credit for first-time home buyers - a very workable plan that Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Marietta) has pushed persistently.
* The Atlanta Falcons won their last game even though they fell out of the playoff picture, thanks to Dallas whacking unbeaten New Orleans. The Falcons now have a 7-7 record with two games left and are expected to finish with a winning record for a second straight year.
* Chipper Jones signed for three more seasons with the Atlanta Braves months ago and catcher Brian McCann is still around.
* Chip Caray is returning to the Braves broadcast booth for 150 games a few weeks after splitting with Turner Sports. He's going to do the Braves play-by-play on Fox Sports South and SportSouth, continuing the Atlanta tradition of his dad, the late Skip Caray.
* Georgia Tech with an 11-2 record won a trip to the Orange Bowl on Jan. 5 to face Iowa (10-2). A victory there should give the Yellow Jackets a decent ranking in the national polls.
* Georgia with its 7-5 record gets to play Texas A&M (6-6) in the Independence Bowl next Monday, Dec. 28. It could be a nice finish to a tough season if the Bulldogs can beat the Aggies.
Merry Christmas to all!