The Alabama Senate postponed a vote on electronic bingo gambling, but supporters won a shouting match in front of the capitol, rolling out country music stars Tracy Lawrence, John Anderson and Darryl Worley and drowning out speeches by Governor Bob Riley and First Lady Patsy Riley, who tried to rally the anti forces.

Worley, one of the developers of Country Crossing, which shut down under threat of raids from Riley’s anti-gambling task force, said he asked God whether he should speak at the rally: “He spoke to me and said, ‘You go down there and speak your heart,’ I believe Country Crossing is a good thing.”

God had Governor Riley deliver a different message to the anti-casino religious groups gathered at the capitol:  “Not here. Not in Alabama.”

The Senate bill, which has been dubbed the “Sweet Home Alabama bill,” would allow 10 electronic bingo casinos in Alabama if approved by the state’s voters in a November 2 referendum.  It would not affect electronic bingo casinos already run by the Creek Indians in Montgomery, Wetumpka and Atmore.

What the esteemed delegate meant to say … Virginia state Delegate Robert G. Marshall, a Prince Williams Republican, blamed “poorly chosen words” for his implying that disabled children are God’s punishment for prior abortions.  What Marshall said at a news conference was: “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”   Marshall got no sympathy from Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who called Marshall’s comments “wrong and offensive.”

Chattanooga hoping to get a ‘Bloom Box’: A pioneering new fuel cell technology, which was tested, in part, at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s SimCenter, is on the brink of commercialization and could usher in a new approach to how electricity is created and distributed.  K.R. Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, California, was to unveil the “Bloom Box” to the public this week.  A 100-kilowatt Bloom Box will be placed on top of the EPB building in downtown Chattanooga.  “This could have a tremendous impact for the world in creating new energy sources that are not connected to the grid and which are cleaner and more efficient than much of today’s generation,” said U.S. Representative Zach Wamp, a Tennessee Republican who helped secure government money to fund the project.  But some critics have expressed doubt the technology can be made affordable anytime soon.

Dew Droplets: An unidentified corporate sponsor has underwritten 200 free tickets to weekend performances of “The Full Monty” at N.C. Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina, for men who have been laid off … State Representative Darryl Owens has introduced legislation to eliminate from Kentucky’s oath of office the passage that requires officeholders to swear they have not participated in a duel … The number of people age 50 and older reporting marijuana use in the prior year went up from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent from 2002 to 2008 … The Church of Scientology has hired three well-credentialed investigative journalists to produce a study of the St. Petersburg Times‘ coverage of the institution … The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly trying to set her boyfriend on fire … Jimmy Dean, of TV sausage fame, has been named to the Country Music Hall of Fame … A Pitkin, Louisiana, woman has pleaded guilty to selling two children in her care for $175 and a  cockatoo.

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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.