Two new books throw salt on the political wounds of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.  Game Change depicts Edwards as a jerk who belittled his staff and fought publicly with his ailing wife while romancing his videographer.  Coming in February, Jenny Sanford’s memoir, Staying True, is expected to elaborate on her divorce petition.

Jack Betts, associate editor of the Charlotte Observer, notes that Game Change also is unsparing of the saintly Elizabeth Edwards, including the “horrendous public spectacle at the Raleigh-Durham private aviation terminal when she ripped off her blouse and screamed ‘Look at me’ to Edwards as embarrassed staffers turned their heads.”  According to the book, Mrs. Edwards called her husband “hick” and referred to his parents as “rednecks.”

Perhaps to catch the current tidal wave of scandal, Random House moved the publication date of Jenny Sanford’s book from May to February 5.   The publisher’s Web site says that in the memoir Jenny Sanford “recalls her shock and anguish upon discovering that her husband was having an affair with a woman in Argentina.”

To Tweet or not to Tweet: Government workers across the South are getting mixed messages about using social networks.  North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue is urging state agencies to use networks such as Facebook and Twitter “to be fully transparent and accountable to the public.”  Perdue’s office has a Facebook account, and the state transportation department is on Twitter.  But the city of Florala, Alabama, has enacted a policy forbidding city workers from using social networks at work in order “to protect the integrity of its computers and assets.”  Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is on Twitter, but Jennifer Carter says she was urged to resign her job at University Medical Center in Jackson after she tweeted the governor that he should “schedule regular medical exams like everyone else instead of paying UMC employees over time to do it.”

Problem solved: While Great Lakes officials threaten to barricade the Mississippi River to stop the flow of huge, rapacious Asian carp, Louisiana has come up with a more tasteful solution:  rename them and eat them.  Henceforth, bighead and silver carp will be known as silverfin, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries plans to market them through Rouses Super Market, which has 28 locations throughout southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

Read their lips:  No new tax booklets: South Carolina and Georgia have joined Mississippi in pushing taxpayers to file online.   South Carolina Revenue Department officials announced they are forgoing the annual mass mailing of booklets to people who don’t file electronically. Spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell said the decision will save $271,000 and help the agency “go green.”  The Georgia Revenue Department mailed out notices this week telling taxpayers it will no longer mail Individual Income Tax Booklets.  The change, department officials said, will result in a 75 percent savings.

Dew Droplets: Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) says he no longer opposes same-sex marriage, fueling speculation he’s planning a run for Senate in liberal New York, where he now lives … U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) was to share the stage with Cheech and Chong at the Marijuana Policy Project’s 15th anniversary gala …  Betting on U.S. horse races dropped 9.9 percent last year … Virginia lottery drawings are moving from TV to online … The number of Chesapeake, Virginia, students with limited English proficiency has increased from 50 to 600 since 1993 … Immobilized by the cold, more than 1,000 sea turtles had been recovered in Florida waters as far south as Brevard County.

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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.