24 JAN 10: Lies, More Lies and the Weather
This may be showing my age, but I'm old enough to remember when CBS aired the game show "To Tell the Truth" every afternoon. I also remember the summer day in 1968 when it was interrupted for a special report, as the Soviet Red Army stopped the "Prague spring" rebellion in Czechoslovakia. I didn't like the interruption then -- but now I realize CBS was showing AND telling truth.
But sadly, the news in recent days has featured plenty of stories about lies. The biggest one in Columbus involves a 14-year-old girl, who claimed she was kidnaped and harmed while walking to a school bus stop. It sounded like a copycat crime - but now we're told it was more like copying another student's test.
To be honest, something in the back of my mind wondered if this claim was for real. It seemed too much like another kidnaping of an East Columbus Magnet Academy student one week earlier -- and someone was already under arrest in that case. Criminal gangs may not be smart, but they're probably also not stupid enough to try that stunt twice.
Police Chief Ricky Boren told reporters several points in the 14-year-old's story "didn't add up" -- and when officers went back to the girl, she admitted she made it all up. If the goal was to have a neighborhood watch group named in her honor, I don't think it will work.
(The girl's parents apparently didn't know she was lying, either. And let's face it - one week simply isn't enough time for the family to book an appearance on The Maury Povich Show for polygraph tests.)
The Columbus Police Chief knew about this before Thursday night's community meeting at a church. But Ricky Boren told WLTZ he didn't reveal the teen's admission there because he didn't want to take away from the meeting's purpose. Wow - withholding somewhat good and potentially relieving news?! I thought only liberal news reporters did that....
Chief Ricky Boren explains the two kidnaping reports have helped bring an east Columbus neighborhood together. It's certainly prompted many Columbus parents to warn their children about "stranger danger." May those same parents remember this, when they're shopping through the classified ads for a used car.
The unnamed juvenile who claimed the second kidnaping now is under arrest -- charged with "making a false report." If TV weather forecasters faced this sort of charge, they all might be arrested at least once a year....
Was I the only person in Columbus who felt cheated by Saturday's weather? The forecasters called for a partly sunny day, with a high temperature approaching 60 degrees F. Instead it was cloudy, with the temperature never topping 50. And Derek Kinkade's prediction that things would get warmer through the night doesn't count after 11:00 p.m.
For days it appeared Saturday evening would be warm enough for outdoor running. But instead, I was left disappointed - stopped by weather or other events for the ninth Saturday night in a row. It's almost enough to make me demand the "rails-to-trails" course have a dome and climate controls.
Of course, there's the biggest national liar of the moment - former Presidential candidate John Edwards. He denied cheating on his wife, then admitted it. He denied fathering a "love child" from adultery, but now admits he did. If President Obama appoints Edwards a national "climate change czar," I'd invest in heaters instead of air conditioners.
Sad to say, John Edwards has taken the stereotype of a lying politician to a completely new level. He took it one step beyond former President Clinton - who somehow had enough character and ethics to avoid going too far with Paula Jones.
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E-MAIL UPDATE: This reply to Friday's main topic might relate to our main one today....
Richard, You quoted Owen Ditchfield as saying six hotels have recently opened in Columbus South or are under construction. Was that an exaggeration? The Suburban Extended Stay opened on Victory Dr way over a year ago, the Candlewood Suites opened on Victory Dr very recently and the new Holiday Inn Express will open within days on Victory Dr at the site of the old Denny's Restaurant. Those are the only ones I know of. Where are the rest? And a very reliable source (a hotel owner) told me recently that the occupancy rate of hotels in Columbus right now is too low and that most of them are just barely breaking even. This person told me that they really don't need any more hotels in Columbus or they will all go broke. And the Ft Benning newspaper reported recently that the Army plans to build an approximately 1000 room hotel on Ft. Benning soon. If that happens can you imagine how low the occupancy rate will be in the Columbus hotels? Most active duty, retirees, Dept of Defense civilians on TDY and their families will want to stay on post because of the lower room rates, better security, and closer proximity to the Infantry Museum, commissary, Ft. Benning Mall, etc. I've also talked to some individuals who have stayed in hotels on the south side who have regretted their decision to stay there because they've had to drive to the north side where the chain restaurants are to eat. That is also a major problem in booking conventions for the hotels on the south side. Other than McDonalds and Burger King can anyone name a franchise restaurant that has opened on the south side in years?
After further review of the town hall video, Owen Ditchfield (at the start of the second clip) dropped only one other name -- a Hampton Inn, on the grounds of the National Infantry Museum. We know no one would dare build a motel on the grounds of Port Columbus, because ghosts might infest it.
(But down the road and across Victory Drive from Port Columbus, there's Value Place. The value apparently is so good, the hotel can't afford a listing in the AT&T Yellow Pages....)
Since you also asked for names of Columbus South restaurants: Sonic and Checkers opened on Victory Drive in the last five years or so. The only Huddle House in Columbus is located near the Dolly Madison bakery. And don't overlook Saxby's on Buena Vista Road -- which might as well be a sit-down restaurant, because you usually have to wait awhile for dinner.
Now let's state some truthful events of the weekend (with our punch lines thrown in), beginning in Columbus South....
+ Business executive and former Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot visited Fort Benning. Perot reportedly made a major donation to build the National Infantry Museum, but I don't recall a media event being called in his honor. Maybe planners rejected Perot's suggestion to fill the museum with pie graphs.
+ Edward DuBose returned to Columbus, to be inaugurated for a third term as Georgia NAACP President. This news probably shouldn't surprise anyone - since Republicans are more likely to call for term limits.
+ Richard Hyatt's web site reported a security guard was robbed at the Trade Center. Apparently this happened in the early morning, before the annual Health and Fitness Expo -- so we can't blame this on a doctor demanding a co-payment.
+ Columbus Police reported a man was assaulted during a three-day drinking binge. If he drank malt liquor, things might have been different -- because they used to say Old English 800 is "The Power."
+ WTVM showed video of people practicing medieval maneuvers of some sort in Lakebottom Park. Does this mean we're getting a Medieval Times dinner theater? Or is this the best the Georgia Renaissance Festival can do for a winter training camp?
+ Roundball Saturday Night (tm) found Georgia's men surprising top-ten Ten-nessee 78-63. In a 48-hour span, Georgia defeated Tennessee in men's basketball, women's basketball and swimming - so that finally might make up for the loss in football.
+ Instant Message to Wane Hailes: A friend of mine can't believe your latest issue of "The Joint" contains 12 pages of local mug shots. How many did you have BEFORE all the new police officers were hired?
TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/24 JAN 00: We were at the checkout of a well-known department store that begins with "K." Behind us, a man held a little boy upside down and shook him a bit, saying, "Give me the money. Give me the money." We reached a quick conclusion.
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