Who knew you could find the latest political trend in Popular Science?
From aerial drones to virtual fences, the Department of Homeland Security employs a wide range of tools to protect the nation’s borders. But a pair of Texas lawmakers now want a decidedly more futuristic approach: electromagnetic pulses.
Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar want the border patrol to use portable EMP emitters to disable cars, boats or a host of other electronic items.
A suitcase-sized EMP could thwart smugglers trying to drive illegal drugs or immigrants into the United States, the lawmakers say.
The EMP Suitcase Compact 2100 Series, developed by Austin-based Applied Physical Electronics, emits high-amplitude electronic fields powerful enough to disable various devices “without causing permanent physical damage or endangerment to individuals,” as Cuellar’s website says. Similar devices have been used by the Defense Department for the past 12 years.
Both congressmen have advocated the use of aerial drones, which began flying above Texas on Tuesday.
You know about former congressman Nathan Deal, now a Republican candidate for governor, and his problems with a certain congressional ethics panel. Which released a report on his activities — even though he had already left office.
A pair of Georgia Democrats have declared themselves Deal’s allies. Sort of. From my Cox colleague Jamie Dupree in Washington:
There is an interesting battle developing in the Congress over ethics and a new independent ethics oversight board that Democrats created back in March 2008, as some lawmakers aren’t pleased with the work of that new board.
Last week, without much notice, a group of members of the Congressional Black Caucus introduced a resolution in the House to rein in the Office of Congressional Ethics, worried by its assertive work on ethics matters.
Led by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), twenty black lawmakers offered a House Resolution that would basically water down the powers of the OCE, and stop the public release of reports on alleged ethical misconduct.
What’s their beef?
Well, the new office has done a lot of digging over the past two years into activities of black lawmakers, and released public reports on the probe, even if no rules have been broken.
Right now, the OCE acts as sort of a grand jury, evaluating charges of ethical wrongdoing, and then passing its information on to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, known on Capitol Hill as the House Ethics Committee.
This is the same congressional panel that looked into Deal’s activities.
See the Fudge resolution here — which, as we type, we realize is some mightily appropriate phrasing.
Among the sponsors: U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Hank Johnson of Decatur.
On Tuesday, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young confessed that he’d grown a little squishy on the Democratic race for attorney general.
Earlier, he’d consented to a photograph with Ken Hodges, the Dougherty County prosecutor. More recently, Young has written a $200 check to Hodges’ Democratic rival, Rob Teilhet of Smyrna.
On one hand, Young said: “I took a picture with [Hodges]. But the picture that I took with him really was at Joe Lowery’s retirement. It didn’t constitute a formal endorsement.”
On the other hand, the former U.N. ambassador, ever the diplomat, said: “I have on number of occasions have supported more than one Democrat.”
Despite the dilution, certain residents of metro Atlanta this week have been receiving a Hodges mail piece with this image:
On Thursday, Teilhet expressed his objections to the piece:
“Georgians don’t need another politician who bends the truth here and there and misleads the public.
“The honorable thing to do here is to contact all the voters who received this mail piece and issue them a correction and an apology for misleading them. I look forward to seeing that mailer next.”
No chance of that happening, said Hodges campaign spokeswoman Shannon Marietta:
The reality is that Ambassador Young endorsed his candidacy, as have former chief justice Leah Ward Sears, [state] senator Michael Meyer Von Bremen, civil rights leader Lonnie King, and law enforcement officials from around the state.”
Former state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah says the Republican nomination for governor will go to one of the two candidates who can afford the most TV.
[Johnson] predicted that the Republican primary race will come down to an “air war” between Oxendine and himself. Johnson said his campaign war chest is fully stocked and ready for that battle.
The primary is extremely important, he said, “because the Republican nominee is all but certain to be the next governor.”
With seven Republican candidates and seven Democratic candidates currently running, along with some independents, “there’s a whole covey of birds out there,” he said.
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