17 MAY 10: The Day the Bus Moved
The Columbus area was in the national TV spotlight Sunday night. In fact, it was quite a change from the last time Harris County was on prime-time television. This time outside visitors were welcomed with open arms - instead of law enforcement handcuffs, for arresting predators.
The season finale of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" went to Pine Mountain Valley, for the story of Greenville High School football coach Gregory Williams. A new home for the family with multiple disabilities was built in only seven days during February. The average viewer probably matched that, by crying into seven tissues.
The Williams family decided NOT to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at their new home. Instead, they went to the Firefighters Association of Columbus for a wider "family" reunion. Come to think of it, the construction crew never talked about installing a home security system....
The ABC hour resolved several mysteries from February's week of construction. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition brought in the Tuohy family of "The Blind Side" fame from Memphis, since Jeremy Williams played college football there. Leigh Anne Tuohy happens to be an interior designer - and she came across tougher than the women on "Designing Women" years ago.
Leigh Anne Tuohy visited the home construction site, but she had another task - to make over the Greenville High School football weight room. At least she stopped short of bringing in pink and blue "smart bells" like they sell at Sears.
(The high school work included a visit from former Georgia football star and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward. Given what's happened since February, let's all be thankful Ben Roethlisberger didn't join him.)
Yet Extreme Makeover: Home Edition surprisingly did NOT show any video of Sandra Bullock -- who joined the Tuohys in February, for the "move that bus" big reveal. Did the producers decide Bullock should have been back in Hollywood, hiding her adopted baby?
The makeover began with the demolition of
This Old House the former home of Jeremy Williams. That segment struck me as a little silly, with high school football players crashing through the walls. But I suppose ABC had to bring in ESPN football analysts, if the network wants to keep college football and N.B.A. playoff games.
The Jeremy Williams project marked a first for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as a modular home was built on the site. But amazingly, I didn't see a single cubicle inside the house....
The two children in the Williams family received special bedrooms. One was a "cowgirl room" for Josie with fake hay. The other was a high-tech room for six-year-old Jacob, complete with a computer connected to one of those "magic walls" like CNN uses for political coverage. In other words, this child could do a fancier weather report than Bob Jeswald.
In another nice surprise, the telecast revealed the two children of Jeremy Williams are receiving full four-year scholarships to attend Columbus State University. But remember, that was in February - so the C.S.U. Faculty Senate now might demand veto power over that decision.
While the extreme makeover was underway, Jeremy Williams and his family enjoyed a snow-covered vacation at a Colorado resort. And who should show up there with a special song but Demi Lovato of "Camp Rock." How nice of her -- and nice of ABC to make sure every Disney-run TV network gets one last mention before the season ends.
I suppose a little bit of commercialism is commonplace in a project like this. Did you notice the Extreme Makeover team specifically mention CVS Pharmacies twice? After watching that emotional hour of television, they'd better have a sale on Kleenex this week.
The ABC web site billed this as the "biggest finale ever" for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Yet the episode surprisingly lasted only one hour, not two. Was that because the crew used modular housing? Or because "Desperate Housewives" was doing its own extreme makeover on Wisteria Lane, with a bomb?
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E-MAIL UPDATE: A reader made a startling claim last Sunday and Monday about the Columbus Tea Party's most recent rally. Sunday brought a startling reply from the Tea Party's Sandy Toth....
Dear Mr. Burkard:
This is in response to your recent posting regarding the CGTP's Tax Day Reunion.
Yes, it's true (as reported in both the local paper and tv news) that our emcee was a homosexual drag queen. What is not correct is that he is a cross-dresser. There are distinct differences between the two.
The Tea Party Patriots are not interested in representing social issues. The focus is on fiscal responsibility, free markets, small government and adherence to the Constitution. What individual members believe regarding various social issues is none of our concern. For example, I believe that abortion is legalized murder of innocents. I am involved in that fight as well, but never will I try to combine it with the Tea Party.
The offical mission statement and values of the TPP are thus:
The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.
Tea Party Patriots, Inc. as an organization believes in the Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets. Tea Party Patriots, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers. We recognize and support the strength of grassroots organization powered by activism and civic responsibility at a local level. We hold that the United States is a republic conceived by its architects as a nation whose people were granted "unalienable rights" by our Creator. Chiefly among these are the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Tea Party Patriots stand with our founders, as heirs to the republic, to claim our rights and duties which preserve their legacy and our own. We hold, as did the founders, that there exists an inherent benefit to our country when private property and prosperity are secured by natural law and the rights of the individual.
There are many types of conservatives and I believe that the national tea party's membership reflects that. Where is it written that a homosexual cannot also be a member? That would be tantamount to excluding blacks, hispanics or anyone else. This is not a fight for just straight republican white people. The fight is for we, the people, and our country...and the more soldiers, the better.
Mr. [Shawn] Carter is a valuable member and does far more to promote the tenets outlined above than many who just show up to holler and wave signs about...or freak out about someone in a dress.
Oh, and incidentally, you may want to remind your Constant Reader to re-read the Constitution and also the Federalists papers regarding militias. It would seem he is a member of such, as are you and every other able bodied man between the ages of 17 and 64.
Sandy and Mercy
Isn't it nice to know the Tea Party understands the difference between a drag queen and a cross-dresser? Maybe I'd know the difference if I had a subscription to Cosmopolitan....
While the Tea Party movement may be driven by budgets and governmental size, sooner or later social policy and economic policy cross paths. To use Sandy Toth's example, there's the question of whether abortion should be covered under health care reform. And if you REALLY want a small government, you could require women to follow the "Ozzie and Harriet" example and home-school children.
Yes, Article I of the U.S. Constitution mentions militias. Congress is supposed to provide funds for them -- yet here's another clash of values. That LaGrange Militia group needs to persuade Rep. Lynn Westmoreland to make an exception to his no-earmarks policy.
Now let's get you up to date on interesting items from the weekend....
+ Columbus Police told WTVM two prostitution arrests were made at Days Inn on Macon Road. Officers believe a prostitution ring is operating in local motels. If someone changes the signs from "free Wi-Fi" to "free wifey," that's a clue.
+ The Muscogee County Election Board announced the usual 48 precincts will be used for the Georgia Primary. A proposed consolidation plan has brought no response from the Justice Department - and those of you who like to use the phrase, "Silence equals consent" should remember this is a pretty big exception.
+ The Georgia Department of Transportation opened a second lane of traffic on Interstate 185 near the entrance to Fort Benning. A third lane is planned next year, but apparently must wait until the fancy Victory Drive interchange is finished. You'd think they'd need a third open lane to put the giant sculptures and tanks in place, but....
+ Aflac kicked off the summer reading program it sponsors, by hosting a party on the lawn outside the Columbus Public Library. Huh?! Hasn't Aflac been told there's no greenspace outside the library for doing that yet?
+ Georgia joined the list of states challenging the federal health care reform act in court. Because Attorney General Thurbert Baker refused to file a suit, Governor Sonny Perdue asked nine private attorneys to do it for free. No wonder he wanted the power to appoint several elected state officials - he wanted to cut their pay and save the state money.
+ Alabama Governor Bob Riley urged tourists to visit the Gulf Coast, despite the BP oil rig disaster. Riley declared at a Gulf Shores news conference, "The beaches have never been cleaner, the atmosphere has never been as electric...." He didn't mention the latter is true because the former might not be much longer....
+ Mike Woodson was fired as Atlanta Hawks head coach, even though the team improved to a 53-win season. Maybe this is a sign that a big move is coming - such as making LeBron James player-coach.
+ Instant Message to OfficeMax: Aw, c'mon - $79.95 for a computer mouse?! What does that top-dollar model do, automatically run away from cats?
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