Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 AUG 11: Rice and Cohn

Didya hear about the big star-studded dinner Monday night at the Trade Center? From what I saw on TV, the main dish was fluffy Rice....

When I took a Monday morning "follow-up" jog downtown, the main vehicle entrances to the Trade Center on Front Avenue already were blocked by yellow tape. I presumed it was a security precaution for Condoleezza Rice's appearance at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum. After all, Carver-Spencer football "after-parties" usually don't last three nights.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the big opening-night speaker at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum. Oops, check that - WLTZ called her a "head of state." Huh?! I thought Laura Bush spoke at the Leadership Forum last year.

The schedule had Condoleezza Rice speaking for 30 minutes, then taking questions from the audience for 30 minutes. I'd tell you what she said - but TV stations apparently were barred from recording it. So if Rice called former Vice President Cheney a tabloid blowhard the way Colin Powell did Sunday, you'll have to find out from a Democrat who bought a ticket.

Condoleezza Rice apparently didn't hold a news conference to go with her Columbus appearance. I wanted to hear her reaction to Dick Cheney's memoir, which comes out today - the one in which he takes credit for Colin Powell's departure, which led to Rice becoming Secretary of State. He shot a hunter as Vice President, and still fires at will today.

(It turns out Condoleezza Rice has her own memoir coming out this fall. So if Dick Cheney's book makes "heads explode" in Washington, Rice could provide the Super-Glue to put them back together.)

I also wanted to know what Condoleezza Rice thought of the unusual photo collection of her found recently. It was in the compound of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi. What sort of weird Wonder Woman fantasies has he had?

Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, so she has roots in this region. In fact, I wonder how many east Alabama bachelors bought tickets to this dinner - since Rice is still single after all these years.

The Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum continues today. The best-known speakers are Senator Johnny Isakson and Fort Benning Commanding General Robert Brown. But I'm intrigued by Patrick Lencioni - who wrote a book called "Five Dysfunctions of a Team." Why would someone who wrote about the Auburn University men's basketball starters be invited to this event?

As it happened, Monday brought news that a longtime local leader plans to retire. Judge Aaron Cohn will leave the Juvenile Court bench next month at age 95. My first reaction to this news was obvious -- what did the Judicial Qualifications Commission possibly find out about him?

Aaron Cohn has been a juvenile court judge in Columbus since 1965. He's seen a lot of changes, and not all of them for the better. Cohn says drugs were NOT an issue when he took the gavel. But as I recall, the Beatles changed that within a couple of years.

The career of Judge Aaron Cohn was shaped during World War II, when he served under General George Patton. Cohn says he helped liberate a concentration camp in Austria - as opposed to Michael "Weaver" Carothers, who would rather obliterate any memory of it.

Judge Aaron Cohn has been honored in many ways in Columbus. A Youth Development Center is named after him. And you may not know Cohn is in the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame, for playing tennis in college at Georgia. And way back then, a 40-0 lead really was worth something.

So we wish Aaron Cohn the best, as he finally lays down the gavel at age 95. I guess the time eventually comes when the spanking hand loses part of its sting....

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E-MAIL UPDATE: As for that other judge who plans to retire Thursday, Douglas Pullen....

I told you a few years ago that this guy was a dirtball...[T.H.] is one of 3 Mothers that we know he screwed in court...all the same complaints and comments. Well now you can see for yourself he should never have been on that bench.

Patricia A Holt

Hmmmm - so much for the other Columbus Youth Development Center being named after him.

That mother "T.H." was named in an e-mail to us two years ago. We shortened the name and are doing so again, for the sake of twins the mother lost in a 2007 divorce ruling by Judge Doug Pullen. But I don't think Pullen had her child support checks sent to the Mercer Law School.

The Ledger-Enquirer website revealed three of the complaints against Judge Doug Pullen Monday night. None of them seem to involve divorce cases, or Pullen once declaring himself a spokesman for God [14 Oct 09]. But one complaint asks whether Pullen's "social or professional relationships" influenced his decisions. Yeow - who bought him lunch at the River Club?

With Aaron Cohn out of the running for Doug Pullen's Superior Court seat, Columbus suddenly has two open judicial positions. Maybe that's part of the reason why Georgia Governor Nathan Deal came to town for Condoleezza Rice's speech. Attorneys had their own job networking night.

Before returning to our top story, let's catch up on news items we've missed from the past couple of days:

+ An inside source confirmed to your blog WTVM will drop "Weather Now" from channel 9.2 in four weeks, to add the new "Bounce TV" channel founded by Andrew Young. In 2008, Columbus had two local weather channels. Soon there will be none -- so the door is wide open for Kurt Schmitz to start a pirate TV station.

+ Traffic at all Chattahoochee River bridges slowed to a crawl, as police conducted a "Hands Across the Border" checkpoint for drunk drivers. I could see the Oglethorpe Bridge slowdown outside my window. If someone's started a "blogger tour" of Columbus for tourists, there must be a better approach than this.

+ Uptown Columbus Director Richard Bishop hinted the Chattahoochee River rafting course might not be ready next Labor Day weekend after all. He told WTVM the whitewater project may not be finished until early 2013. Well, it HAS been a bit on the wet side there lately....

+ Instant Message to Wane Hailes of The Courier: If it will make you feel any better - the Columbus Civic Center doesn't spend any advertising money with me, either. I think the staff waits for me to reveal something it's quietly canceled.

LAUGHLINE FLASHBACK: We commented on Condoleezza Rice several times when we wrote LaughLine for national subscribers. Here's part of our "Condi collection" from 2000-01....

18 DEC 00: On Sunday, the President-Elect nominated Condoleezza Rice to be his National Security Adviser. If you recall Mr. Bush's introduction at the Republican convention, she's called "Condy" for short. She should NOT be called a "high-rise Condo."

The President-Elect promised Condoleezza Rice will have a "key foreign policy role" as National Security Adviser. He introduced Rice as a "brilliant person." We thought about this, and realized we've heard no one introduce Mr. Bush this way.

24 SEP 01: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice scoffed Sunday at Afghanistan's demand for proof of Osama bin-Laden's involvement. She told CNN that country does NOT follow a western standard for justice -- proving the Taliban and right-wing radio talk shows have something in common.

Condoleezza Rice told "Fox News Sunday" all sponsors of terrorism will be considered hostile to the U.S. In her words: "We are not going to declare that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists." So if someone rubs out Osama bin-Laden, will he still be tried for murder?

15 OCT 01: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told "60 Minutes" Sunday night Afghanistan's government is "losing military assets daily." Well, hold on a minute. Every time a pilot drops a U.S. bomb, what do WE do?!?!

Condoleezza Rice said it will NOT be the U.S. Army's role to get involved in "nation-building." We think she means the formation of Afghanistan's next government -- because as we recall, the U.S. helped rebuild Germany and Japan after World War Two.

Condoleezza Rice warned TV networks again against showing videotapes of Osama bin-Laden from start to finish. She said it's a matter of presenting "unedited incitement" of hatred. This may explain why we haven't seen speeches by Louis Farrakhan on TV lately, either....

22 OCT 11: The latest "U.S. News and World Report" claims the Bush administration will NOT put women in units on the front lines in Afghanistan. First they release a "top 22" list of terrorists that's all-male - and now this?!?! C'mon, Condoleezza Rice, speak up!

2 NOV 11: U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice announced Thursday bombing runs WILL continue in Afghanistan during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The only thing that MIGHT change is that food drops will happen only at night. You don't want to tempt somebody who's fasting.

Condoleezza Rice responded to international pressure to stop the attack during Ramadan by saying: "We can't afford to have a pause." Can't afford it? We thought the surplus this past fiscal year was the second-biggest ever....

6 NOV 01: The latest "Ladies Home Journal" ranks the 30 most powerful women in America -- and for some reason, it placed Britney Spears above National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice! Can you imagine what would happen if they switched jobs? The Taliban leaders would be dodging falling Pepsi cans.

(Condoleezza Rice IS a trained musician, you know. Maybe she needs to switch from classical piano to something with a hip-hop beat.)

9 NOV 11: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice revealed Thursday President Bush will NOT meet with Yasser Arafat while they're at the United Nations. She claims the Palestinian leader is too close to some terrorist groups. Why can't the Palestinians do what U.S. residents do - and build a gated community an hour away from the terrorists?

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