951.embedded.prod_affiliate.74South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford may have escaped impeachment, but he can’t escape about-to-be-ex-wife Jenny’s candid conversation with Barbara Walters.  Jenny Sanford told the famous ABC interiewer that she had had no intention of standing by the governor during his first confessional news conference in June and that she had asked him earlier this year to leave for 30 days to get his act together — but didn’t give him permission to fly off to Argentina to see his mistress.

Sanford was one of Walters’ picks for “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009.”  The interview aired Wednesday night.  Sanford said her husband’s actions hurt her but didn’t take away from her self-esteem.  “They reflect poorly on him,” she said.

And, on Friday, she filed for divorce.

‘Green balloons!  Green balloons!’ OK, this one’s a hair outside the South, but we couldn’t resist mentioning former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton’s arrest after an alleged S&M episode gone wrong.  In a felony complaint, a woman accuses Jetton of hitting her on the head and choking her during sex play, “resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of a part of her body”  An affidavit says the two had agreed on the “safe words” “green balloons,” which apparently were not used.  An attorney for Jetton, now a political consultant, says he’s innocent, but gossip Web sites such as Gawker were having a field day reporting the famously anti-gay Republican’s current troubles.

3102789There goes the White House tour: Party crasher Tareq Salahi of State Dinner fame has resigned from the Virginia tourism board. In a letter to Gov. Timothy M Kaine, Salahi said “the extraordinary misinformation resulting in the unfortunate negative and tabloid-type media coverage …  could possibly be a distraction to all the good work” of the tourism board.  Salahi and his wife Michaele declined a recent invitation to explain themselves before a Congressional committee.

Larry Langford still a man of influence: Acting Birmingham, Alabama, mayor Carole Smitherman blamed phone calls by convicted and ousted mayor Larry Langford on behalf of opponent William Bell for her third-place finish in this week’s election.  Bell, a Jefferson County commissioner, and lawyer Patrick Cooper will face off in a runoff Jan. 19.  Langford, meanwhile, continues to drive his Cadillac Escalade to and from church and says he has “moved on to other things, and my interest now is teaching Bible study” while out on bond appealing his bribery conviction.

npndogclerk112509c_95530cAnother service worker dismissed: Facebook friends are rallying behind Cody the convenience store dog, who drew national attention for his habit of greeting customers at the gas-pay window of the BP station in Clearwater, Florida.  Cody’s owner has been told by Florida Department of Agriculture inspectors that the store’s food will be declared unfit for consumption if he doesn’t stop bringing Cody to work. The ‘Let Cody Stay!!!’ page  has more than 6,500 members at the moment.

Dew Droplets: Wind destroyed the Christmas tree at the Tennessee capitol … North Carolina officials dropped an investigation into former American Idoler Clay Aiken’s voter registration that began after he slammed some local school board candidates on his blog … A teenager has been arrested in the slaying of Bambi, a Bloomingdale, Georgia, family’s pet deer … Richmond, Virginia, real estate agents are being plagued by the theft of foreclosure signs … Covered in blood and wrapped in plastic, half-naked PETA protesters demonstrated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida … Within 10 minutes, authorities in Shelby County, Tennessee, got separate reports of a motorist hitting a deer and a motorist hitting a cow.

Check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.

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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.