Wednesday, July 07, 2010

7 JUL 10: Ariz. of Judgment

The federal government sued the state of Arizona Tuesday, over its new rules for policing illegal immigration. The rules are a bit like that invitation from TV stations for cell phone pictures -- see them, snap them with handcuffs, send them away.

Have you ever seen an Arizona state flag flying in Columbus - other than outside the National Infantry Museum? One has been displayed for several days outside a downtown restaurant. The Georgia flag is NOT displayed - which you'd think would make more sense right now. Candidates coming to town before the primary would want to wrap themselves in that flag.

Ruth Ann's Restaurant on Veterans Parkway has the U.S. and Arizona flags planted outside the doors. The national flag is only logical. But why the Arizona flag? Did I stumble upon some kind of political statement? Or is it subtle advertising, because Ruth Ann's now serves cans of Arizona iced tea?

If you guessed the flag is a restaurant's way is supporting Arizona's immigration law - well, that was my first guess. But when I called Ruth Ann's Tuesday for an explanation, the answer was quite different. It wasn't about politics. It wasn't even a tribute to Edwin Jackson, after he threw that no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I think it's because Mr. Ruth Ann and Mrs. Ruth Ann have family out there," a woman who answered the restaurant phone told me. This explanation was surprising in a couple of ways. For one thing, I didn't know the male owner was called by his wife's better-known name....

As far as the Ruth Ann's Restaurant staff member knows, the Arizona flag has nothing to do with immigration laws. It apparently isn't even a stunt to promote a misspelled new dish called Tuscon Chicken....

So if you've driven down Veterans Parkway and told people an immigration protest is underway at Ruth Ann's Restaurant.... well, maybe you're the very sort of person the Obama administration is concerned about in its lawsuit. You're jumping to conclusions, based on what you see. And we wouldn't conclude everyone selling Confederate flags on street corners is a racist redneck, would we?

Then again, a few Columbus restaurants may have been doing this kind of thing all along. Perhaps you've seen Mexican restaurants with flags of Mexico in the window. Italian restaurants sometimes do the same thing. And amazingly, they do NOT wait until World Cup soccer years to do this....

But other restaurants which could pull this sort of flag stunt never do it. KFC's never show the flag of Kentucky (at least around here). And shouldn't a United Nations flag fly outside the International House of Pancakes?

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Our mention last Friday of the mayoral forum on WLTZ left one reader stunned....

Richard, Are we having a come to Jesus this holiday or what? I'm all for carrying out the Great Commission but this is bait and switch here brother! What in the devil happened on Rise N Shine? What was Calvin Flyod's excuse for letting his show go unchecked as reported in one of your last episodes? I took the liberty this 4th of calling Paul and Bert to verify your report because I couldn't believe what I was reading. They did not answer my phone calls. I noticed Paul's website where he touts his "Christian Values" on his personal checklist. I wonder if the dynamic duo is familier with Matthew 7:2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.


I wouldn't dare guess about the Bible knowledge of Paul Olson and Bert Coker. But I've heard some people call the Bible a "law book" - and Olson seems to love memorizing city laws and ordinances.

At least one local pastor I know would respond to Robbie's verse with another one from the book of John -- advising people to "judge righteous judgment." Whether the judges on "America's Got Talent" really do that is open to debate....

Outgoing Mayor Jim Wetherington told WDAK's "Viewpoint" Tuesday he's NOT likely to endorse any mayoral candidate. And he has no interest in any possible write-in movement. If Bob Poydasheff wasn't inspired by that sign on Second Avenue, why should Wetherington do it?

But the mayor gave quasi-endorsements in two Columbus Council races. Jim Wetherington admitted he likes Post 1 Councilor Jerry Barnes "a lot." And he clearly supports Judy Thomas's Post 9 campaign. In fact, I suspect the mayor will be on his long-time assistant's resume in the next few weeks - even if it's out of style to list references.

(I notified one man Jim Wetherington did NOT endorse him on radio - and he apparently called the mayor about it, even though his possible campaign isn't planned until 2012. Even when you're a humor blogger, adding a smiley-face emoticon sometimes isn't good enough.)

Mayor Jim Wetherington did NOT want to talk about "Rec-Gate" during his radio interview. But he responded to suggestions of racism in the Parks and Recreation audit by saying in 50 years of public service, "I've never been called a racist." And if that had happened, Frank Myers would have filed a lawsuit for the mayor within days.

But uh-oh -- the latest issue of The Courier raises a new question about city audits. It alleges Mayor Jim Wetherington covered up a recent audit of the Columbus Fire and EMS Department, which included a complaint about altered time cards. This admittedly puzzles me -- because in 2010, shouldn't a city the size of Columbus do computerized time sheets?

Let's try to sort fact from fiction about other Tuesday news, beginning with the mayor....

+ Jim Wetherington revealed on Viewpoint he plans to visit a doctor today, and might need to have one of his knees scoped. The mayor explained he injured a knee playing softball a couple of months ago. So much for my theory about him retiring next year to senior center bingo games.

+ City officials admitted the renovations at Double Churches Pool might not be finished until summer swimming season is over. So? It's Double Churches - so have double seasons, and keep it open as late in the year as Six Flags Over Georgia.

+ Fire damaged a dining hall at a Chambers County campground. What interested me about this was the way WLTZ identified an assistant state fire marshal. At least, I'm presuming that's his proper title - and he hasn't been named in that mysterious missing audit.

+ A candidate for Georgia Labor Commissioner campaigned in Columbus. Democrat Darryl Hicks says one of his goals is "put Georgia back to work" - and you can get that started, by electing him to a job in November.

+ WTVM reported the Hyatt Place near Columbus Park Crossing was named the best Hyatt hotel in the country. Wow - I guess the massage bars in the rooms must be loaded with even more ginger root extract.

+ Columbus State University was named the host of next year's NCAA rifle championships. Apparently the shooting competition will take place at Fort Benning - while C.S.U. will set up Wii screens on campus for the peace activists.

+ Brookstone High School graduate Frank Crumley was named interim Athletic Director at the University of Georgia. Crumley assured reporters: "We're going to continue what we were doing before." Oh no - not more home football games with black jerseys.

+ Instant Message to American Eagle Airlines: I'm glad you're beginning service to Dallas-Fort Worth next week. But after hearing your commercial on WDAK radio Tuesday morning, I'd point out one little detail - this city is called "Columbus." Cheyenne is in Wyoming.

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