Many things to catch up on today:
— The state of Georgia spent $1.8 million to attract 14,300 or so to a huge biotech conference in Atlanta last week.
The event was pronounced a resounding success. Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was named governor of the year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, danced with a robot, according to my AJC colleague Dan Chapman.
The Legislature’s proclivity to inject itself into the stem cell debate was mentioned in the hallways, but was not an official topic.
Another glossed-over topic was a state-by-state analysis of biological science education in American high schools, sponsored by the same outfit that named Perdue its favorite governor.
Georgia finished at the bottom, in a “lagging performance” category that also included Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.
— Jon Lewis of WSB Radio ran into former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes on the Memorial Day circuit. Barnes appears to have latched onto the secession issue, ground initially plowed by his possible 2010 rival, David Poythress, a Democrat already in race for governor.
Here’s what Lewis posted this morning:
“Have we gotten to that?” Barnes says. “Have we absolutely gotten down in the politics of Georgia that leading candidates say we ought to secede from the Union? How dare them.”
Barnes is expected to announce on Monday whether he will join the field of Democrats vying for governor next year.
“I’ve made up a bucket list, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough time for everything,” Barnes says. “Having said that, I’m very concerned about where the state is.
— As Memorial Day weekend started, word spread that House Republicans had picked a side in the coming bankruptcy of General Motors.
This from the New York Times:
Twenty House lawmakers sent a letter on Friday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, arguing that the Obama administration’s auto task force is unfairly favoring one class of unsecured creditors, the United Auto Workers union, over another, the bondholders.
Georgia signers include Tom Price of Roswell, Lynn Westmoreland of Sharpsburg, and Paul Broun of Athens. Read the letter here. Here’s a taste:
We are extremely concerned that in the name of restructuring General Motors, the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry….has begun waging what some believe amounts to a war on capital: contractual rights of investors are being trampled by the government under the rationale of “extraordinary circumstances.”
…The proposal seems to favor the rights and claims of the UAW, a political ally of the current administration and a powerful lobbying force in Washington, over the rights and claims of the company’s diverse group of bond-holders.
While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Your taxes fund $25 million in lobbyists salaries. Sloppy state record-keeping included concern over security breaches in the federal witness protection program. Tax assessments drop in five major metro Atlanta counties. Cops seriously hurt on job say the city of Atlanta has begun stonewalling on medical aid. Gwinnett pays more for land than it’s worth.</li> High school students improve on Georgia Graduation Test. U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican candidate for governor, drops legislation calling for an end to “birthright” citizenship. Feds to track Georgia’s stimulus spending. Isakson-backed panel will probe economic crisis, even though business types say it’s unnecessary. Gingrey: The U.S. is falling behind the robot curve.
Your Luckovich fix. Cynthia Tucker says there’s no lesson learned to be learned from T.I. the Rapper. Harold Meyerson declares that Republicans have lost a worldview. It’s time this drug ‘war’ ended, sayeth Bob Barr.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
MT’s Lucid Idiocy: DOT to put State Farm Insurance Co. ads on its HERO units, a $5.1 million, three-year deal. Albany Herald: On a new political blogging force in southwest Georgia.
WP: Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee is tough to pigeon-hole. WSJ: Defense secretary warns that U.S. public support for the Afghan war will dissipate in less than a year unless there’s a shift in momentum. NYT: Obama has only limited options in a nuclear face-off with North Korea.
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