Wednesday, July 14, 2010

14 JUL 10: Big B's

Instant Message to Glenn Beck: You might want to avoid any election-season visits to Columbus. Another national radio talk show tried to campaign in this area -- and Al Sharpton's candidate lost.

Final unofficial numbers from Tuesday night's Alabama primary runoff show Billy Beasley won the Democratic nomination for State Senate over Johnny Ford. Beasley won by nearly 4,000 votes - which leads me to think Ford should have brought Mike Rowe to town, instead of Al Sharpton.

Al Sharpton made a last-minute appeal for Johnny Ford, and unexpectedly included Phenix City among his stops. Critics called it a blatant attempt to make race an issue - perhaps forgetting people use the word "race" in describing campaigns already.

"Save our seat!" was the last Twitter message Tuesday by Johnny Ford. Since it was a Democratic runoff, the word "our" was thought by many to mean African-American voters. After all, the regular Tuesday crowd at Victoryland already had their seats in front of electronic bingo machines.

(For some reason, Johnny Ford did NOT post a congratulatory message to Billy Beasley on Twitter or Facebook Tuesday night. Maybe he was hurrying to Victoryland, to raise money to pay off campaign debts.)

Yet Euro-American Billy Beasley was endorsed by Myron Penn - the African-American State Senator who's retiring from the seat. Was that decision based on promoting racial unity in east Alabama? Or did Penn need one of those alleged 50-dollar payoffs for a vote?

Billy Beasley didn't bring up the electronic bingo debate in his campaign ads. But in March, he said Governor Bob Riley went too far by creating the Anti-Gambling Task Force. So far, Commander John Tyson has NOT gone after Beasley's campaign donors - since in a way, they gambled money that he'd win the primary.

Federal monitors were at several Russell County precincts Tuesday, after Johnny Ford warned of possible voting irregularities. But Judge Alford Harden told WLTZ the only problem seemed to involve confusion about district lines. Hopefully no Columbus voters went to the wrong "Government Center" for advance voting.

I knew Billy Beasley was a pharmacist. But I didn't realize until the other day that he once owned the drug store at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. Beasley will face Auburn Republican Kim West in November -- so one big issue could be whether reckless toilet paper tossing can be contained.

In other primary runoff races, Robert Bentley won the Republican nomination for Alabama Governor. He beat Bradley Byrne by 56,000 votes. So no recount will be needed this time - and the Republican math majors can focus on adding up big campaign donations.

John McMillan won the Republican runoff for Alabama Attorney General, defeating alleged "dummy" Dorman Grace by more than 15,000 votes. Considering McMillan holds a rifle on his home page and he gained the endorsement of Dale Peterson, Grace simply was outgunned.

With the Georgia Primary next in line on the calendar, Attorney General candidate Ken Hodges began running TV commercials in Columbus Tuesday. No, David Glisson does NOT appear in them. In fact, the listing of Hodges's personal honors strangely stop one year before the Kenneth Walker case began.

The Ken Hodges commercial reinforces his campaign slogan - that he's a "prosecutor, not a politician." That sounded impressive, until I stopped to realize something. The Georgia Attorney General doesn't prosecute cases - so why doesn't Hodges run for District Attorney again?

-> Monday night marked our best night of live poker in almost a year. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: The "gumball bandit" may have been captured Tuesday night. WRBL reported Tyrone Love was arrested on Joy Road. That could be trouble for defense attorneys - as Love, Joy and gumballs seem to go together.

Tyrone Love will appear in Recorder's Court Thursday morning, on several burglary counts. If police officers are able to roll bags full of evidence down the aisle, we'll know they have the right man.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Tuesday's mention of a nostalgic online auction didn't seem to charm one of our readers....

Richard, I wonder why the Muscogee County School Board decided to auction off the stuff inside Carver High School but just let people steal the desks, trophies and other items inside the old Baker High School. I attended the Lions on the Lawn Celebration at Baker High School in April and people were going in the unlocked doors and filling up their pickup trucks with all kinds of stuff. It was advertised that there would be Columbus Police Dept security at the event but I never saw any. Then I read that the School Board was going to donate 2000 bricks after the demolition (after the fire) to let the Baker Alumni Asso. sell. That was after the thieves stole as many as they wanted after the fire (before the security fence was installed). Many thousands of people graduated from Baker High School in the over 45 yrs that it was open. It's sad that each surviving grad can't get a brick!

That "stealing" was news to the school district's Director of Communications. Valerie Fuller checked with security personnel, and told me there was NO report of anyone stealing items from Baker in April -- not with the district, nor with police. Our witness should have walked over to the Frank Chester Recreation Center, and stood around the police cars until someone paid attention.

The Baker High School Alumni Association plans its own auction, of items recovered from the building fire in May. They're talking about desks and maps, instead of bricks. But how would someone sell a "counterfeit" school brick, anyway? Can you spot it by the lack of a fire smell?

When the demolition of the Phenix City Riverview Apartments began several years ago, someone brought me two bricks from one building. I eventually decided they weren't worth keeping. My doors stay open very well by themselves. And a loose brick left outside is a candidate to be thrown back inside -- through a window.

Another reader noted what happened to one of my credit cards:

My brother stopped and bought gas in Leesburg,Ga..using a credit card at the pump..Two days later his credit card company called him and asked about purchases all over the state in a 2 day period..He didn't make these purchases,so the card was cancelled ..Company rep.told him the criminals have a little device they slip into the credit card reader on gas pumps that reads your card..They come back in an hr and remove it before being discovered and bam they have all your credit card info..Then they make purchases in a short period and sell the info to other criminals..The advice of the rep was when ever you use a pay at the pump when you finish the transaction always press the cancel and any buttons that will end the use of the card and it will wipe out what the reader has saved on a chip...

Hmmmm - the last time I used that credit card for gas, it was at a station in downtown Phenix City. While I was there, a couple of men seemed to get into an argument at another pump. I was less concerned about skimmers than whether the men might consider me a scumbag.

Thanks for reading and writing. Now let's wrap up other Tuesday topics....

+ The man who invited me to attend Sunday's Jimmy Buffett concert on the Alabama Gulf coast reported on what happened. He says people were barred from having cameras, and no one was allowed onto the beach. I can understand the beach restrictions - because spit-out chewing tobacco might be mistaken for a tar ball.

+ Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington announced a legal settlement with Orbitz. The travel website promises to start listing Columbus motel rooms today, after ignoring the city for months in a dispute over tax payments. Hopefully the mayor informed Orbitz the Four Points Sheraton has changed its name.

+ Columbus Council approved the rezoning of Swift Mills, for loft apartments and shopping. Norfolk Southern Railroad officials warned noise from nearby train tracks will run off potential residents. But look on the bright side - the complex stores could make a lot of money selling ear plugs.

+ The Columbus Chamber of Commerce revealed this year's inter-city fact-finding trip will go to the "research triangle" of North Carolina. Some Columbus business people will want to visit Durham, to check another set of Blue Devils. Others will walk through downtown Raleigh, looking for creative ways to disguise spittoons.

+ Muscogee County School Superintendent Susan Andrews revealed to WTVM she dreams of running her own produce stand someday. How sad is this? The school budget is already tight, and now the superintendent wants to sell the apples that students give to teachers.

COMING SOON: I inspire a new local blogger.... but wait until you see what kind of blog it is....

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