FACEBOOK-102909.ART_GPGSNILB.1+WOODLIEF.embedded.prod_affiliate.156All Jonathan Woodlief, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Lufkin Road Middle School in Apex, N.C., really did was take over the “admin” button on a Web site when someone else abandoned it, but he’s now the leader of a movement of hundreds of thousands of people online freaked by yet another abrupt Facebook change.  The revolt is being waged on one of Facebook’s own pages, titled CHANGE FACEBOOK BACK TO NORMAL!! As of 5 a.m. Friday, the site had 1,525,917 “friends” and, at one point, was averaging more than 100 signups a minute.  Newsobserver.com called Jonathan “Jon of Arc.”

At issue is Facebook’s change last week to its News Feed, making the main “home” feed a random selection of users’ friends’ posts.  The social network determines what’s most interesting for you.  (My post of the original Charlotte Observer story about young Woodlief on Wednesday didn’t make Facebook’s cut.)  Facebook officials point out that their pages now provide a companion Live Feed stream of everything your friends post.  But critics say having two streams not only is Web-load overkill but is disorienting.

“The new FB SUUUUUUCKS!” declared Theresa Therrien Weber in her post to Jonathan’s page.  “Virdrun waer et vill besser,” commented Mandy Molitor.  “Pas bien nul zero,” added Franco Lagaffe.  Nanang Sumpena had this to say, “Llieur ajigh ah nu ayeunamah….balikeun deui weh lah….jangar….”  Ayman Magdy weighed in with this comment: متلخبطوش اهلينا معاكو خلينا زي ماحنا

Yes, there appears to be international interest in this issue.

Jonathan says on his Facebook page he wants to get 10 million members.  But CBS 5 in Palo Alto, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley, quoted an unnamed “Facebook source” as saying, “”It’s important to note that the change we made impacts 300 million people and the protest group you’ve identified represents less than three-fifths of one percent of those users.”

Official Facebook spokesperon Meridith Chin put a more conciliatory spin on the quarrel, “Whenever we launch new products, we listen carefully to our users about what specific changes we can make to improve their experiences on the site.”

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.

Thank you, South Carolina: Assistant Attorney General Roland Corning, 66, lost his job after being stopped by police leaving a cemetery, with an 18-year-old stripper, a Viagra pill and a bag of sex toys in his Ford Explorer.  His young companion was identified as an employee of Platinum Plus Gentlemen’s Club.

Will Boeing save Gov. Mark Sanford? Some South Carolina political leaders speculated that Boeing’s announcement this week that it will build its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft at its Charleston International Airport property could take the impeachment heat off the state’s philandering governor.  “I think a lot of people will say, ‘OK, the standing of the governor is not hurting us at all, let’s just let the year play out,’”  House Speaker Pro Tempore Harry Cato of Travelers Rest told GreenvilleOnline.com.  The state ponied up $450 million in financial incentives to lure the Boeing plant, according to The Post and Courier.  In return, Boeing is promising 3,800 new jobs and $750 million in investments.

510163342Not quite the face of history: Haitians had a significant role in fighting the British during the Revolutionary War Siege of Savannah in 1779.  The regiment, known as the Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, did not, however, include Daniel Fils-Aime,  current chairman of the Haitian-American Historical Society in Miami, nor Rudolph Moise, a Miami doctor and actor running for Congress.  But their faces are on two statues in a monument to the battle recently unveiled in Savannah.  “We think they are corrupting history,” Miami attorney Phillip Brutus told SavannahNow.com.  But Savannah City Councilman Clifton Jones blames Miami politics for the brouhaha.  Brutus is Moise’s opponent in the Democratic race to replace U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Clean coal? University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to change the name of the men’s basketball dorm to the Wildcat Coal Lodge — part of a deal with 21 private donors who will spend $7 million to replace the aging residence hall with a new facility.  The donors were organized by Joseph Craft III,  president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, a Lexington-based coal company, and is the largest donor to the UK Athletic Association.

carole-smitherman-091028jpg-714d2a7d5bd9b75e_largeShe probably won’t be taking any gifts right away: Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman is now the Alabama city’s acting mayor after a federal jury found Mayor Larry Langford guilty on all 60 counts of taking $236,000 in cash and gifts from Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre.

At last, more chicken news: Col. Sanders impersonator Bob Thompson, a former mayor of Lawrenceburg, Ky., found himself shaking hands with the president of the U.N. Geneneral Assembly — and being cited as a security risk — during his appearance outside the United Nations headquarters in New York.  He was there for  a tongue-in-cheek KFC campaign to have a “Grilled Nation” of chicken fans admitted as the U.N.’s 193rd member country. U.N. officials have called the publicity coup a security breach and inappropriate commercial use of the U.N. name, according to courier-journal.com.  KFC issued an apology of sorts.  “KFC has the utmost respect for the United Nations, and this lighthearted event in New York City was in no way meant to undermine the important work that the U.N. does around the world,” spokesman Rick Maynard said in an e-mail.

Turning over profits in their graves: The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is losing ground to the King of Pop in the battle to be the world’s richest dead celebrity.  Although Elvis’ earnings rose from $52 million last year to $55 million this year, it was far behind Michael Jackson’s $90 million earnings, and Forbes magazine predicted Jackson’s year-in, year-out appeal will be “massively more global” than Elvis’ in the years to come.

image_8673165When you’re hot you’re not … or words to that effect: Air Around the Clock, an air conditioning and heating company based in Coral Springs, Fla., has sued All Year Cooling, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accusing the competitor of trademark infringement and misappropriating its “Your wife is hot” ad campaign.  All Year Cooling  has put up billboards using the phrase “Your wife is not hot.”

Just saying: Tennessee, where 34 percent of the people believe President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, has had at least three bestiality cases in separate counties in recent months.  Besides the guys allegedly having sex with horses in Maury County, police in Humphreys County found bestiality images on the cellphone of a youth football coach already under investigation for child rape, and police in Nashville have charged a man and a woman after a tipster turned over photos of them having sexual contact with a dog.

Dew Droplets: In Alabama, a jury has found former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas innocent of spanking inmates’ bare behinds in exchange for leniency … An auction of contraband cigarettes in Mississippi brought in $1.9 million, but most of that will go to the feds … The Catholic Diocese of Savannah has reached a $4.24 million settlement with a 40-year-old man who says he was sexually abused by a former priest … Activists from six states met with federal EPA  officials in Atlanta to demand a revamp of the agency they accuse of overlooking years of chronic environmental missteps in minority communities across the South …  Jesse Vasold was elected as William & Mary’s first transgender homecoming queen … Wal-Mart has started selling caskets on its Web site at prices that undercut many funeral homes.

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.