With St. Patrick's Day coming up on Wednesday, some people worry that those inclined to drink too much will celebrate not just in the middle of the week, but on the weekends on each side.
As a result, AAA Auto Club South and a beer company this past week revived their initiative, "Booze It Up! We'll Haul You Home."
OK, that isn't really the name. The program has the less-catchy title of "Tow to Go," and has been around since 1998. This year's program runs through Wednesday.
It's a simple concept. Anyone who gets all likkered up between now and St. Paddy's Day can call 1-800-AAA-HELP. They'll send a wrecker to haul the car and the owner home free of charge.
While this is a great way to potentially cut down on drunk drivers, it sure as heck won't cut down on drunks. Quite the opposite, which is why a brewer is paying for it.
Let's be honest. No alcoholic beverage maker tells you to "drink responsibly" because they actually expect moderation, any more than Dunkin' Donuts hopes you stop at one glazed. They just don't want bad publicity if you drink irresponsibly.
Besides helping keep drunk drivers off the road, though, the program also removes any rationale for anyone who drives drunk during the holiday. With someone graciously offering to take you and your car home, confidentially, for free, what possible excuse could anyone have for driving drunk?
Please: Driving or not, drink responsibly.
Given the choice between slamming a delicate body part in a car door and delivering yet more news about the Columbia County Republican Party, I'm about ready to reach for the door handle.
It's not that I have an aversion to schadenfreude; I mean, I'll rubberneck for a train-wreck just like the next guy. It's just that I get weary of the whining from any organization whose members seem to feel like the only acceptable news is their news, or no news - certainly not any that makes them look bad.
Well, sorry; grow up. The solution is to work for news that makes you look good, not to hope there's no news.
In any event, the latest news is that the attempted ouster of county Republican Chairman, Lawrence Hammond has been reversed.
Hammond appealed his recent removal to district party officials. They reinstated him as chairman March 2.
Now, Hammond says, "basically, I intend to call a meeting to resign and elect a new chair. ... There is just no way I can reason with this crowd."
Specifically, the "crowd" Hammond references are pro-Brett McGuire members on the executive board who were behind his attempted removal. McGuire is running against County Commission Chairman Ron Cross.
"I don't see how anyone can separate this elect-Brett McGuire group from the Republican Party without kicking them out," Hammond said. "I am as conservative as it gets, but if that type of behavior is going to be tolerated and to a greater extent encouraged, then I am definitely out. I want no part of it."
The decision shuffles interim chair Pat Goodwin out of the seat. Still, she says the party made great progress in the brief non-Hammond interlude - adding members, bringing in significant speakers, that sort of thing.
She shrugged off the party's failure to announce Hammond's reinstatement. I heard about it only from party officers who leaked Goodwin's memo about the decision in spite of her request, "please do not use Facebook and/or other social media or newspapers to share this information."
She says there was "nothing secret" about the decision, and contends Hammond should have made his own announcement once reinstated. But if he'd lost, want to guess how fast a press release would have been issued?
In any event, all's well that ends. And hopefully this will end soon.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a car door to slam.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail email@example.com. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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