Thursday, June 08, 2006


So what's all this talk about plans for Columbus to "go international?" Aren't two Chef Lee Chinese restaurants and a Mediterranean Café enough?

But seriously: the Columbus Chamber of Commerce announced plans Wednesday for an upcoming trip to Asia to seek new business. The itinerary does NOT include Beijing or Shanghai - so we'll have no talk about this being a "Chinese junket."

A delegation from the Columbus Chamber will leave Friday for Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The top priority is to bring new companies to the city. If that fails, there's Plan B -- finding baseball prospects for the Catfish.

Did you notice Mayor Bob Poydasheff is going on the Chamber of Commerce trip - just as the budget debate approaches a final vote? The timing of this simply looks terrible. Next thing you know, the mayor will ask for a Council vote on the definition of marriage.

(Besides, it's an election year -- so Jim Wetherington's friends may have video cameras at the airport to send the Mayor off on the trip.)

I didn't realize until Wednesday that Japanese companies currently have $340 million invested in Columbus. The Chamber of Commerce did NOT explain how much remains, when you subtract insurance policies sold by AFLAC.

The two-week trip probably will include a stop in Kiryu, Japan. That's Columbus's official sister city. Maybe it will have some secrets for getting big crowds out to minor league baseball games.

The Columbus group will meet with the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce during its trip. The visitors had better get plenty of rest before this meeting -- because those Taiwanese can have "Taipei personalities."

Mayor Bob Poydasheff hopes to spend some time in Taiwan with executives from the parent company for Continental Carbon. His suitcase ought to look strange at the airport X-ray machine - carrying all those back porch boards covered with pollution....

Then there's the stop in South Korea - the country of Kia, and alleged corporate corruption. Chamber of Commerce officials say they're not concerned about possible wrongdoing by Hyundai. As long as Fort Benning isn't telling soldiers to avoid buying Sonatas, it's OK.

The Chamber of Commerce delegates admit one of their goals is to attract technology companies to Columbus -- businesses making things such as cell phones and flat-screen televisions. If they can pull this off, Best Buy may have to change its name to "Pretty Good Buy."

BLOG CORRECTION: Two Alabama political offices which we suggested were settled Wednesday actually are not. State Senate candidate Kim Benefield and Russell County Coroner contender "Pee Wee" Sumbry will face Republican opponents in November. The G.O.P. candidates were so quiet, I thought it was old-fashioned Alabama politics - and they didn't exist.

By the way, Pee Wee Sumbry's big primary win means no coroner job for Mark Godwin. That'll teach his supporters to wave signs in his behalf at a Columbus Catfish game this week - since for one thing, Golden Park is on the Georgia side of the river.

Did you hear about the strange primary story in Barbour County? The Sheriff says two voting machines were taken from a rural community center - BEFORE the Tuesday vote. I'd think there are easier ways to practice with sample ballots than this....

Now for other quick thoughts from a fast-moving Wednesday:

+ The NBC Nightly News visited Fort Benning, to ask soldiers about reports that a computer disk with their personal records had disappeared near Washington. But where did reporter Mark Potter find a Waffle House with soldiers? Victory Drive may be the only interstate exit in the South without one.

+ The Georgia Association of Educators endorsed Mark Taylor for Governor, and declared it an easy choice. Apparently the teachers don't trust Cathy Cox, no matter how she spells her first name.

+ Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue warned the level of West Point Lake is approaching a historic low. He blames the Army Corps of Engineers for drawing down the lake, to protect endangered mussels in Florida. Yeah, but shouldn't it be easier to catch fish around here these days?

+ Auburn University trustee Bobby Lowder donated one million dollars to the College of Veterinary Sciences. What's he trying to do now - get the rodeo coach fired?

+ The Columbus Catfish stopped Savannah 3-0. In fact, pitcher Cory Wade stopped Savannah - getting 26 outs in a row, after a first-inning double. Is that why Wade Cleaners has a billboard on the Golden Park wall these days? [True!]

+ Instant Message to WALB-TV in Albany: Did I hear it right - you had EIGHT cameras on hand for the blowing up of that television tower Wednesday night? I sincerely hope you sent as many cameras to the funerals of those four Army soldiers, since their deaths led to that....

SCHEDULED FRIDAY: A second opinion on how the Alabama Primary went....

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