A Tennessee legislative committee has voted to send letters to the other 49 state legislatures inviting them to join in a “working group … to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and to seek repeal of its assumption of powers.”  The committee is putting postage on a “state sovereignty” resolution, backed by Tea Party leaders, overwhelmingly approved by the full legislature in May.  Alaska is the only other state to actually adopt such a resolution.

dont_tread_on_me_state_sovereignty_tshirt-p235315770184846077t53h_400Among the charges leveled in the letter, according to The Commercial Appeal:  “The federal government seeks to control the salaries of those employed by private business, to change the provisions of private contracts, to nationalize banks, insurers and auto manufacturers, and to dictate to every person in the land what his or her medical choices will be.”

Furthermore, declared Murfreesboro Republican Sen. Bill Ketron, “Our president is going to Copenhagen in December to sign — I guess it’s a treaty of the industrialized nations — and a world bank will be created in Geneva.”

Tennessee got national attention last week for a poll indicating that 34 percent of its citizens believe President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.  It was not immediately known if members of the legislative committee were born in Tennessee.

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.

OK, maybe not his sexual misconduct: Turns out the new commander picked to clean up the North Carolina Highway Patrol’s image as a pack of philanderers was transferred early in his career for an extramarital affair.  In 1987, Randy Glover’s then-wife squealed to his supervisor when Glover took up with a sheriff’s dispatcher.  The couple divorced in 1989. Gov. Beverly Perdue called in from China to try to calm the media frenzy.  “He had an affair nearly 25 years ago, he’s married with two beautiful little daughters and I really, really am disappointed in this kind of journalism,” she told reporters in a long-distance conference call.

This week’s featured teacher sex scandal: Aiken, S.C., middle school teacher Tammy Joy Key, 38, was arrested on charges of having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

At least no teachers or children were involved: Two Columbia, Tenn., men have been charged with bestiality pornography and animal cruelty for having sex with a horse and photographing it.  One of the men previously had been charged with videotaping a friend having sex with a horse.  The friend reportedly died later from injuries suffered in the incident.

mae-fong-kenner-arson-case-9d5bb430a34e47b2_smallChinese restaurant competition heats up: In Kenner, La., the owner of Fong’s Chinese & Cantonese Restaurant was arrested on charges of torching Young’s Garden Chinese Restaurant across the street.  Things don’t look good for 74-year-old Mae Fong.  Police say a surveillance videotape shows her setting the fire.  Her family says she’s innocent.

Not just a giant tea bag: It’s a hot air balloon that the Americans for Prosperity are bringing to Mount Pleasant, S.C., to protest Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s support for a cap-and-trade energy bill.  Bringing the “Hot Air Tour” to Graham’s home turf fulfills the promise of conservative advocacy groups to go after Republicans as well as Democrats in their war against policies they don’t like.  The group plans also to accommodate folks who just want a brief ride in the tethered balloon.

Making those South Carolina schmucks look like mensches: Professional Holocaust denier Eric Hunt is suing 80-year-old Holocaust survivor Irene Weisberg Zisblatt of Pembroke Pines, Fla., over her memoir. Hunt, who was convicted in 2007 of assaulting Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel in an elevator, contends that Zisblatt’s account of surviving the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp contains “vicious lies” and “fantastical tales” that turn Jews into haters and torment non-Jews.  The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Peter Weinstein.

spaceBeam up this costume? In Miami, immigrant advocates are urging retailers to pull a Halloween costume depicting a space creature in orange prison garb emblazoned with the words “illegal alien,” while a group that supports strict immigration laws says such a move impinges on freedom of speech. Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in Los Angeles first raised the issue.

It could, of course, be true: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who has become famous for shooting from the lip (remember “chocolate city”), is stirring controversy again after a visit to Cuba.  Nagin told The Associated Press that he thinks Cuba does “a much better job” than U.S. officials of identifying citizen needs and deploying resources in the face of hurricanes.  Nagin noted that only seven Cubans were killed in Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma, which struck the island last year, in part because authorities use soldiers to close highways and enforce evacuations.

Showing T. Boone Pickens’ vision some love: TVA has agreed to buy 450 megawatts from two wind farms in North and South Dakota. Tennesee Valley Authority directors have agreed to secure as many as 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy, and TVA executive Belinda Thornton says as many as three more power contracts could be announced by the end of the  year.

20091021-221609-pic-275899806.embedded.prod_affiliate.71A miss on Miss Military: Airman 1st Class Apryl Sanders, a weapons manager for the 16th Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., was named Miss Military last month by a nonprofit organization in California, but this week she e-mailed contest organizers to say she can’t keep the crown.  Calvin Hill, founder of Military Civilian Experience Inc., speculated that Sanders was forced by her superiors to give up the crown.  Sanders said she gave up the crown because she is about to be deployed and couldn’t fulfill her Miss Military duties.  Judy Smith, public affairs officer for Sanders’ unit, said, “She did a competition without the approval of her chain of command.”

In other military news: Fort Gordon, Ga., is borrowing six young red-cockaded woodpeckers — three male and three female — from Fort Bragg, N.C., with the mission of mating the endangered birds.  The birds  nearly vanished as the South’s once-vast longleaf pine forests fell to timbering and development but are making a gradual comeback in places such as Fort Gordon, where successful habitat restoration has aided their expansion.

Dew Droplets: A Metairie, La., man has been arrested for the second time in five months on charges of placing lewd telephone calls to local real estate agents … Sixteen people attempted unsuccessfully to get marriage licenses for same-sex weddings in Hamilton County, Tenn. …  An 11-year-old Marathon, Fla., boy was charged with chasing and stabbing two classmates with a hypodermic needle at his school … Charlotte area police reported at least six collisions between motor vehicles and deer this week … John Edwards’ national approval rating has fallen 27 points, the steepest drop Gallup has measured since 1992 … On Nov. 3, some  3 million elementary and middle school students across the United States are expected to join in an interactive virtual tour of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park … On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Dickson, Tenn., will give all U.S. veterans and active duty military a free meal.

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.