Tuesday, August 03, 2010

3 AUG 10: Deal or No Deal

Monday marked three months until Election Day - and you can tell the race for Georgia Governor is getting serious. One Republican finalist was in Columbus Monday. The other plans to be in town today. And their party leaders are having a field day, over a Democrat who didn't clear his travel plans with them.

The Republican who visited Columbus Monday was former Congressman Nathan Deal. He stopped at the airport with a group of female state lawmakers. If Bill Clinton or John Edwards did this, every late-night talk show on TV would have beaten me to the best punchlines....

Nathan Deal told WRBL the Republican runoff for Governor should NOT be about gender - but he brought the lawmakers to show high-ranking Georgia women support his campaign. If anything, this proves Alaska is the biggest state in the union. One female politician from there is equal to several from Georgia.

The campaign visit with female lawmakers was obviously in response to the endorsement of Karen Handel by former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Palin plans to campaign for Handel in Georgia next Monday, one day before the Republican runoff - so don't be surprised if supporters wave boxes of Summer's Eve.

Karen Handel posted a Facebook message saying her campaign bus tour will resume Wednesday. Yet for some reason, she's visiting Columbus one day early. Do that many local Republicans want their candidates traveling in fuel-efficient cars?

Muscogee County Republicans are divided when it comes to the runoff for Governor. Rep. Richard Smith was at the airport Monday backing Nathan Deal. State Senate candidate Josh McKoon supports Karen Handel. Considering McKoon is single, you'd think the presence of all those women backing Deal would tempt him to change his mind.

Both runoff candidates point fingers at each other in campaign ads. But perhaps the toughest words in the Republican race have come from leaders of Georgia Right to Life. The organization's President reportedly called Karen Handel "barren and infertile" because she has no children. Since when did a "right to life" group decide producing new life was mandatory?

So what about the Democrat running for Governor? Skeptics suspect Roy Barnes was running FROM President Obama Monday - staying far away from his Democratic fund-raising event in Atlanta. It was one time when Barnes may have been thankful there are "two Georgias."

A member of the Roy Barnes campaign claimed last week the Democrat was "not invited" to Monday's Presidential fundraiser. Other Democrats say Barnes actually was invited. But of course, some candidates get so busy traveling around Georgia that they can't get to their post office box for weeks at a time....

So while the President spent Monday in Atlanta, Roy Barnes was in Thomasville. He was endorsed by 19 county sheriffs, including Stewart County's Larry Jones. That reminds me - whatever happened to Barnes's promise in a commercial years ago to have inmates build new prisons? Why did Stewart County need a private company to build the one it has now?

At another stop, Roy Barnes opposed the shutdowns of state crime labs in Columbus and other cities. He also claimed the state should provide money for county sheriffs to run registries of sex offenders. Yet the Muscogee County Sheriff simply connected with a national database, offers e-mail alerts for free -- and the City Manager hasn't suggested John Darr charge a three-dollar monthly fee.

As all this happened, Headquarter Nissan opened for business in Columbus - and one TV station showed a campaign site in front of the entrance, supporting John Oxendine. If Oxendine was in the Republican runoff for Governor, he would have been in Columbus by now. If anything, he ought to have even more free time to pick up his signs.

-> Miracles (or something like them) sometimes happen at poker tables. Read what happened to us Monday night at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: We heard from the Director of the Chattahoochee Valley Library System Monday, about Michael Weaver's threatened lawsuit. Claudya Muller didn't know anything about what we posted Sunday - but she said Weaver received approval to check several filtered websites, after he requested them. So is "censorship" really censorship, if you have to ask and say please?

Claudya Muller told your blog exceptions can be made to the library rules for public access computers. They're done on a "user by user" basis within 24 hours, after the staff makes sure desired websites are legal. Claiming you're doing statistical "research" into the number of nude pictures on X-rated sites probably won't work.

But the big surprise came when I asked Claudya Muller who decides what items are blocked from public access computers. The decisions are NOT made by Muller, or the Muscogee County Library Board. She said it's done by the makers of the SmartFilter software. So before Michael Weaver files his lawsuit, he might want to check Orbitz for the best air fare to the Silicon Valley.

Claudya Muller noted SmartFilter is used by "80 percent of the public libraries in Georgia." Yet McAfee's web page promoting the software claims users can "customize policies" in a variety of ways. There could be almost as much buck-passing here as BP is doing for south Alabama shrimpers.

We'll see where the legal dance goes from here - and now let's check other Monday news:

+ A late-afternoon thunderstorm left scattered damage to trees in Columbus. It also caused some economic damage -- as a sharply lower temperature reduced sales of Thirstbusters at Circle K by about 25 percent.

+ Georgia State Patrol officers denied e-mail rumors of a major organized crackdown on speeding to increase state revenues. But the new law banning texting while driving IS being enforced now - so pretend you're in the United Arab Emirates, and use Blackberry devices in well-hidden locations.

+ Alabama's Education Department reported Lee County and Russell County schools failed to make "adequate yearly progress." The Russell County School Board already has responded to this, by making its adequate almost-yearly change of superintendents.

+ Muscogee County high schools opened fall football practice. I didn't realize until I watched WTVM that Shaw's new head coach is named Jamie Fox. I can hear the other schools' marching bands now - working on a special version of "Hit the Road Jack" especially for him.

+ Instant Message to the Princeton Review: You simply MUST provide full disclosure here. Did you decide the University of Georgia was the top party school before or after what happened to Damon Evans?

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