What if campaign money was spent instead on something worthwhile?  How many people could have been helped, for instance, by the $70 million spent by Republicans Rick Scott and Bill McCollum in the Florida governor’s race?  According to calculations by the St. Petersburg Times, $70 million would have:

  • Bought school lunches for each of Hillsborough County’s 87,448 elementary school students for 356 days.
  • Covered four years of in-state tuition for 3,486 students to attend the University of Florida.
  • Provided shelter for 500 pets a day at the Hillsborough County Animal Services for the next 32 years.
  • Paid the salaries of 188 firefighters or 151 police officers for the next 10 years.

Same festival, different fish: Organizers of the Perdido Bay Mullet Festival in Alabama this Labor Day planned to serve catfish instead of mullet. Bill Cornell, president of the Optimist Club of Perdido Bay, which sponsors the event, said organizers worried about public concerns over Gulf seafood quality following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and decided to switch to a freshwater fish.

A coyshebainu? Police in Frankfort, Kentucky, found Lori Goodlett’s missing dog Cooper, a registered Sheba Inu.  Unfortunately, they turned Cooper over to the Franklin County Humane Society.  The shelter manager decided Cooper was a coyote and ordered police to come get him.  They released him into the wild.  Cooper is still missing.  The shelter manager resigned.

Tea-ed off: Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield has had enough of the local Tea Party.  In an email, he accused Tea Party President Mark West of being “in violation of the laws of God and man.”  Furthermore, he said, “You have raised the hate level in Chattanooga to ‘red’ and contributed to a very toxic situation among the population in this community.”  West, who is leading a recall effort against the mayor, replied that he had spoken to several pastors and other men of God and none found any basis for the mayor’s claims that West is in violation of the “laws of God and man,” according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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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.

  1. Terri Evans

    Thanks, Ron for continuing to keep us enlightened and informed about our fellow Southerners.

  2. Those same dollars that paid for political advertising are going to circulate through the economy and pay for all those other things you mention.
    Now, whether the advertising for Scott and McCullum is of equal value to lunches for a hundred or a thousand children is another matter. I wouldn’t spend a dime for Bill McCullum (don’t know Scott from a paper towel). So, it’s my hope that the voters will eventually decide that people who put so many assets into self-promotion are not likely to be responsible stewards of the public good.

    Some Republican candidates are starting to use the word “frugal.” But, in their mouths it seems to mean that they count on their cronies to work for them for free, at least until after the election.

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