birth_certificate_5Nathan Deal, the Georgia Republican congressman running for governor, says President Barack Obama should put rumors that he wasn’t born in the United States to rest by producing a birth certificate.  Well, actually, he has, and FactCheck.org has touched the embossed seal and declared it authentic.

This raises the question:  Where was Nathan Deal born?  He claims he was born in Millen, Ga., but his official biography mentions only that he was “raised” in Sandersville. Perhaps he was born in Tennessee, where 34 percent of residents — and 47 percent of Republicans — believe Obama was not born in the United States.

Here’s some other stories from around the South that grabbed our attention.  And check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.

Swine stew: U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) has come to the defense of PETA, sort of.  Capitol police rejected PETA’s plans to take pigs to Capitol Hill to protest how they are treated in corporate hog farms. According to the Charlotte Observer, PETA also wanted to fill 3,500 buckets with pig urine and waste and use fans to send the scent wafting across Capitol Hill.  Police said pigs have potentially unhealthy effluent and could potentially spread swine flu. Etheridge, a part-time farmer who raised pigs as a kid, fired off a letter to Capitol Police, declaring, “Coming in contact with pigs is not a significant risk factor for contracting the novel H1N1 flu. And it is not possible to get it by eating pork or pork products.”

Meanwhile, in cow news: A Spartanburg, S.C.,woman who heard a giant splash in her backyard discovered a 650-pound cow had fallen into her swimming pool.  It took five men from the county rescue team to free the cow using a sling.  The cow reportedly is doing well.

18_HELMS_3.standalone.prod_affiliate.91Tolerance in a portrait: The late U.S. Sen Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), whom Washington Post columnist David Broder once called “the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country,” will have a portrait hanging in the Capitol Hill Club painted by Rene Dickerson, a prominent African-American artist whose works have focused on jazz, Motown and beautiful women.  Asked by a friend to do the portrait, Dickerson recently said of Helms, “He was just from that era. One of the things I came to appreciate about Jesse Helms was that he was a man of integrity based on what he believed.”  The portrait was unveiled Wednesday night.

Under the B, no:  The Alabama Baptist Convention has passed a resolution condemning electronic bingo gambling and praising Gov. Bob Riley for his efforts to stop illegal gambling in Alabama.

Not even between opposites? Houston lawyer Barbara Ann Radnofsky, who is running for Texas attorney general, contends that a 22-word clause in a 2005 Texas constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state. At issue is this baffling passage:  “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Picture14Edwin Edwards is probably laughing in his cell: The ex-wife of Louisiana’s imprisoned ex-Gov. Edwin Edwards suffered a broken tooth in a fight with her ex-boyfriend and father of her child.  Brian Low, 34 a Baton Rouge financial planner, denied punching Candy Picou Edwards, 45, in the mouth, telling police she was injured when she hit a window seal as he threw her across a bed in an attempt to calm her down. Candy Edwards divorced the legendary governor in 2004 after he began serving a 10-year-sentence for extortion.  Edwin Edwards once bragged that the only way he could lose an election was to be caught in bed “with a dead woman or a live boy.”  He gets out of prison in 2011.

When bad things happen to good numbers: Recovery.com is blaming computer glitches and misreporting from states for a series of embarrassing errors in its tracking of federal stimulus money.  Louisiana’s 8th Congressional District, for instance, supposedly is getting $5 million in stimulus money.  Problem is, Louisiana has only seven congressional districts.  The website gave Virginia’s 12th Congressional District more than $2 million.  Virginia has 11 congressional districts.   Among those admitting reporting errors was the director of the Housing Authority in Fort Payne, Ala.  A $540,071 grant to re-roof 154 apartments did not produce the 7,280 jobs reported, she told the Birmingham News, but 14.

gibsonSometimes, when it rainforests, it pours: Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz took a leave of absence from the board of Rainforest Alliance after federal agents raided his company’s Nashville plant looking for environmental violations.  The raid was part of an international crackdown on the use of endangered woods from the world’s rainforests to make musical instruments.  No arrests were made at the Gibson plant, and Gibson officials deny any wrongdoing.

First pythons, now this: Piranha fish have been found in a retention pond in Palm Springs, Fla.  One was hooked by a resident fishing, and two more were found later. State wildlife officials poisoned the whole lake in hopes of keeping piranhas  from becoming Florida’s next nature horror story.

A shorter tree: The Christmas tree in front of the South Carolina Statehouse is shorter than usual, not even reaching above the monument to Confederate soldiers on the front lawn. The Columbia Garden Club normally buys the Statehouse trees in North Carolina but found a cheaper deal this year in Pennsylvania. Club member Jane Suggs called it a “recession tree.”

JM1Honoring Savannah music man: Savannah unveiled a statue of the late Johnny Mercer to mark the 100th birthday of the world-famous lyricist who penned such hits as “Moon River.”

Dew DropletsFlorida Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders are discussing a new tax on car rentals to pay for South and Central Florida rail service in hopes of attracting federal dollars for a bullet train … South Carolina lawmakers are discussing legislation for next year that would raise interstate speed limits to 80 mph … Lawyer Ken Keechl has become Broward County, Fla.’s, first openly gay mayor … Richmond County, Ga., school board members voted to outlaw “saggy pants” at football games and other after-school events.

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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for ajc.com and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.