From Washington, my AJC colleague Bob Keefe has this:
Democratic U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop called Internet insinuations that he was somehow involved in fraud surrounding last year’s settlement between the government and African-American farmers “one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.”
Videos featuring two Georgia farmers that are being circulated on the Web by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart hint that Bishop, of Albany, may have known about possible fraud in last year’s so-called “Pigford” settlement between the government and black farmers who claimed that a Department of Agriculture farm loan program discriminated against them.
Read the rest here. Below is one of the videos at issue. It’s pretty thin gruel:
Keefe also offers up this reminder:
Shortly after her firing, Sherrod – a resident of southwest Georgia – immediately began stumping for Bishop’s re-election.
On Tuesday, we told you about a movement, endorsed by possible GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich, to allow financially troubled states to declare bankruptcy. The New York Times has more today:
For now, the fear of destabilizing the municipal bond market with the words “state bankruptcy” has proponents in Congress going about their work on tiptoe. No draft bill is in circulation yet, and no member of Congress has come forward as a sponsor, although Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, asked the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, about the possiblity in a hearing this month….
It would be difficult to get a bill through Congress, not only because of the constitutional questions and the complexities of bankruptcy law, but also because of fears that even talk of such a law could make the states’ problems worse.
Lawmakers might decide to stop short of a full-blown bankruptcy proposal and establish instead some sort of oversight panel for distressed states, akin to the Municipal Assistance Corporation, which helped New York City during its fiscal crisis of 1975.
Still, discussions about something as far-reaching as bankruptcy could give governors and others more leverage in bargaining with unionized public workers.
Walter Jones of Morris News Service was a busy fellow on Thursday. First, he had this item about a visit by Tim Echols, the newest member of the Public Service Commission, to the used car market:
After his election in November, Echols snagged a used Honda Civic for $3,000 that runs on compressed natural gas. He drives it on his commute from Athens to his Atlanta office, but can only fill up in Atlanta because there are no natural gas fueling stations in Athens….
Echols showed off the four-door to reporters and lobbyists and has offered rides to his colleagues. He says it performs like any other Honda, gets 36 miles per gallon, goes 190 miles on a tank and only costs $1.29 per gallon to fill. Plus, the law lets alternative-fuel vehicles travel in the carpool lane even with only one person aboard….
Echols wants to see more people driving natural gas vehicles, like the fleets of UPS and Atlanta city buses. Natural gas engines are 29 percent cleaner than gasoline engines, let alone diesel engines.
The hitch, he recognizes, is that few consumers will take the plunge until there are more places to buy fuel. That’s why he supports a proposal to allocate a portion of the state’s Universal Service Fund for gas pipeline expansion to Atlanta Gas Light Co. to build a network of fueling stations.
And then there’s this for school system lobbyists to ponder, also from Morris News Service:
Conversations are quietly under way around the Capitol about creating a new panel to look at school funding.
House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman said Thursday that the goal will probably be to draft some ultimate recommendations next year.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider