Tuesday, August 31, 2010

31 AUG 10: In the First Place

A former U.S. First Lady gave the kickoff speech Monday night, at this year's Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum. Compare that with last year, when the only female speaker was NBC News reporter Norah O'Donnell - and the NBC station didn't even bother interviewing her.

Laura Bush spoke at the Columbus Trade Center's Leadership Forum dinner. This year's event is sold out, and apparently had a waiting list. So if The Cannon Brew Pub had more customers than usual wearing suits, that might explain it....

I'm presuming the former first lady spoke on some aspect of leadership. But I'm not sure exactly what, because the late-night newscasts didn't air any clips from her speech. WRBL only mentioned a reference to a Laura Bush bobble-head doll -- which I guess is a nice alternative for people who didn't want to buy her book in the lobby.

Laura Bush began her Columbus trip by signing copies of her book at Barnes and Noble. It's called "Spoken From the Heart" -- as opposed to Dick Cheney's memoirs, which would be called "Surgery ON the Heart."

Laura Bush arrived at Barnes and Noble to sign autographs at 12:00 noon. But some people lined up outside the store at 4:00 a.m. This shows you a difference between the political parties. Republicans line up before dawn to meet famous political names. Democrats tend to do that when a new gadget from Apple goes on sale.

WTVM spotted a leader of the Muscogee County Young Republicans in the line outside Barnes and Noble. But I can't help wondering if any political candidates showed up. Republicans could have used a quick endorsement soundbite - while Teresa Tomlinson could have attempted to prove she really is nonpartisan.

Laura Bush also reportedly stopped by Dinglewood Pharmacy during the afternoon. WRBL claimed she did NOT eat a scrambled dog, but Secret Service agents with her did. The reason for this should be obvious. The agents didn't know what in the world a scrambled dog is, and had to make sure it's not poisonous.

But back to Monday night's speech: I can remember when Richard Hyatt used to post frequent updates on the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum on his website. That hasn't happened in a couple of years. Are the forum organizers restricting extensive quotes now? Is there some rule that says fiscally-minded leaders make you buy the DVD?

To be fair: the Columbus State Cunningham Center has a YouTube channel, where you can see several speeches from last year's Leadership Forum. Some young people may gain insight in how to lead. Then all they'll need to do is marry into the right Columbus families.

The Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum continues today. What do you know - one of the speakers is the President of Columbus Bank and Trust, who happens to be Blanchard's son Billy. Smart leaders know how to stay within their expense budgets....

We have much more on Laura Bush ahead - but first, let's check a Monday news summary which seemed to be filled with weekend follow-ups:

+ An online posting claimed several Columbus State University students have been suspended from a dorm, after Sunday's shooting incident in a parking lot. Campus police now say several shots were fired, and one apartment building was placed on lockdown. College students probably wouldn't mind if that lock-in occurred right before finals.

+ Authorities revealed one of the suspects in the "beauty parlor poker" case is Jimmie Hooks III -- the director of the Aaron Cohn Youth Detention Center.
Playing teenagers for cigarettes may have given him good practice for big-time cash games....

(Another suspect in the case is a volunteer coach with the Georgia Blazers basketball team. I'll avoid any comparisons to "Rec-Gate" -- but point out this is what happens when senior centers only offer canasta and bridge.)

+ Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter admitted to WRBL he had knee surgery last January. Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington also required knee treatment this year - so the Fort Benning Commanding General had better be ready to take full control of this area.

+ The Northern All-Stars returned home from the Little League World Series, to a celebration in the Shaw High School gym. Take that, Bobby Howard - and go help Peach Little League improve their program, so you can host a big party for them next August.

(The Northern players signed autographs for hundreds of fans. But Troy Gilliland confessed he didn't sign his entire last name. Even at an early age, some pitchers learn how to take shortcuts.)

+ WTVM reporter Elizabeth White gave birth to her second child. The baby girl was born less than 72 hours after White reported on a stun gun incident at a Chambers County Wal-Mart store. Get the story first, and the powdered milk second....

-> Our recent poker tournaments have been challenging, in ways other than the game. Read about them at our other Blog, "On the Flop!" <-

LAUGHLINE FLASHBACK: We followed Laura Bush quite a bit, when we wrote LaughLine for a national audience. Here's a sample of it....

1 AUG 00: Monday night's [Republican convention] session was marked by a speech by George W. Bush's wife. Laura Bush used to teach second grade, and she said her husband "spends every night with a teacher." By comparison, President Clinton has spent a lot of nights with students.

(Maybe the teacher should give Mr. Bush some lessons in world affairs?!)

Mrs. Bush reflected on her childhood, saying her father "bought her an education policy." Apparently her Dad was a member of the National Education Association - which spends money all the time for Democrats to do that.

Laura Bush encouraged parents to read to their children, saying television doesn't teach language skills. "It's just background noise," she declared. Then how have so many children learned the bad words on "South Park" and pro wrestling shows?

Mrs. Bush ended by saying she hopes to see a female President someday. Somewhere in Philadelphia or Washington, Elizabeth Dole must have felt like breaking a pencil in two.

22 JAN 01: One pre-inaugural event featured Laura Bush at a salute to U.S. authors. Since she's a Republican, this was a bit surprising. We expected a salute to the publicity agents instead....

Mr. Bush introduced his wife at the salute to authors by saying: "Her love for books is real, her love for children is real, and my love for her is real." Please note the President did not say HE loves books -- and if it's about some other country, we KNOW he doesn't pay much attention to it.

We were surprised to learn former librarian Laura Bush sorts her books at home by the Dewey Decimal System! [True/AOL News Ticker] Some of us were tired of Hillary Rodham Clinton as First Lady - but are we replacing her with a Martha Stewart clone?!?!

26 FEB 01: Former President Bush spent the weekend in Kuwait, joining in the country's celebration of liberation. The current President might have joined his Dad, but Laura Bush couldn't check the maps out from the Presidential Library....

21 MAR 01: First Lady Laura Bush also attended the East Room event. The President remarked his wife ">always makes sure my tie lies straight." [AOL News Ticker] Compare this with President Clinton - who always made sure his lies were tied straight.

(It's a good thing Mrs. Bush is there to straighten out the President's ties. Now if she can straighten out some of the words that come from his mouth....)

21 JAN 02: First Lady Laura Bush will speak today at the Atlanta church which the Martin Luther King family called home. Remember when Mrs. Bush said she'd be a "behind the scenes" first lady, compared with Hillary Rodham Clinton? We're starting to wonder why she's not Secretary of Education....

First Lady Laura Bush marked the [inauguration] anniversary by donating last year's inaugural ball gown to the Smithsonian Institution. Should we read a hidden message into this? Either she's not expecting her husband to win a second term, or she's gaining more weight than we know.

24 JAN 02: First Lady Laura Bush wears contact lenses. And you thought she only became wide-eyed when her husband mispronounced words....

20 MAY 02: First Lady Laura Bush is in the final days of a trip to Europe. It's her first trip overseas without her husband since they entered the White House -- which may explain why we've Vice President Cheney in public more often lately.

The next "Newsweek" magazine claims Laura Bush took SO MANY bags on her European trip that the contents of each bag are kept in a computer. We know about the first lady's love of libraries, but does she have to personally give them away at every stop?

Laura Bush took daughter Jenna with her on the European trip. [True/Inside Edition] Jenna jumped at the chance to go - if only because the legal drinking age in much of Europe is below 21.

22 MAY 02: President Bush begins a trip to Europe, by flying to Berlin. At the same time, Laura Bush ENDS her own 11-day trip to Europe. Isn't this how the rumors started about the Clintons' marriage?

10 SEP 02: First Lady Laura Bush reflects on last September 11, in an interview on today's "CBS Early Show." She says one lesson of that day is for people to think about their families. If you've noticed, twin daughters Jenna and Barbara have been in a LOT less trouble since that day.

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