Two Tennessee legislators want that state’s attorney general to do what U.S. Senate Republicans couldn’t:  Stop the health care reform bill.  Republican lawmakers Debra Maggart of Hendersonville and Susan Lynn of Mt. Juliet say the state should sue the federal government because the bill  could cost Tennessee taxpayers an extra $1.4 billion a year in Medicaid, while Sen. Ben Nelson’s Nebraska gets a free ride.

In a joint letter to AG Robert Cooper Jr., Maggart and Lynn declared, “We see this as a violation of the equal protection of the law, an affront to our sovereignty, and a breach of the U.S. Constitution.”

Meanwhile, in Grinch news: Someone stole the Grinch, all 36 inflatable feet of him, from Sheryl Parker’s front yard in East Memphis, Tennessee.  “The Grinch is supposed to steal Christmas. Not people,” Parker told the Commercial Appeal.   People carried on the Grinch’s work in Richmond, Viriginia, where 300 coats for the needy were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse, and in Violet, Louisiana, where dozens of Christmas gifts for children were stolen from beneath a large crucifix at a Catholic church.

Baby Jesus and the state of political discourse: Tennessee Republicans are circulating a “Christmas card” showing the House Democratic leader’s chief aide, Lonnie “Skip” Cauthorn, shooting a bird.  State Rep. Stacey Campfield posted the card on his blog with the caption “What ‘New’ Democrats think of the birth of Christ.” Campfield said he believes Cauthorn sent the card in response to a Christmas video that Campfield had distributed by e-mail. The video featured Campfield as Santa.  Cauthorn says he didn’t send the card, apparently mailed to several legislators and lobbyists, and doesn’t know who did.  He doesn’t deny being the guy with the finger, but claims the photo was shot years ago.

Now, let’s all sing ‘Jingle Bells’: Where did James Lord Pierpont write “Jingle Bells”?  The debate continues to this day. Savannah, Georgia, claims it was there, where he and his family lived during the Civil War.  Medford, Mississippi, claims it was there, when Pierpont was a young man, in 1850 at Simpson Tavern.  Both have markers claiming the song. But Savannah author Margaret DeBolt says Pierpont was in California in 1850.  Valdosta, Georgia, makes only a modest claim:  Pierpont and his wife and four children lived there sometime around 1870 and also lived for a time in nearby Quitman.

For that last-minute gift: By all means, go immediately to our Dew Shops.  We’ve got everything from gourmet cakes to gourmet coffee, plus books, baskets, beer and much more.  If you insist on getting something really weird, you might consider contacting the folks at Nashville Electric Service; they’re offering gift certificates for electricity.  Meanwhile, in retail news, Walmart has experienced a 22 percent increase in online sales this year and could be in position soon to challenge Amazon.com as the online shopping leader.

Dew Droplets: The Savannah College of Art and Design will open a campus in Hong Kong next fall … The Charleston, South Carolina, fire department has removed a nativity display from a station after getting a complaint that it was an unconstitutional endorsement of one religion … Holiday memorial services for homeless people who have died were held in Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, and Tampa … Ex-NFL quarterback Joe Namath, who already has one dog under house arrest, is now being sued in West Palm Beach, Florida, by a former UPS driver who claims he was attacked in 2007 by three of Namath’s dogs … Country music star Carrie Underwood is engaged to NHL hockey star Mike Fisher … Diane Sawyer, who takes over as ABC anchor on Monday, is a native of Glasgow, Kentucky, and got her start at WLKY in Louisville.



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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.