Because you might be flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson between now and Thanksgiving Day, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun has decided to offer you his comforting opinion on air safety.
The congressman from Athens joined House Transportation Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., at Reagan National on Wednesday, where the pair dropped a report that called the $56 billion spent on airport security since 9/11 to be a waste.
Broun said a terrorist bomb could be put aboard an airliner “very easily” at his home airport in Atlanta. “TSA has not prevented any attacks,” he said. “It’s just been very fortunate that we’ve had no attacks.”
Broun has been a frequent critic of airport security. When last heard from on the topic, the congressman said he had witnessed security agents at an airport – he never said which one – pat down an elderly woman and child, but skip a man “in Arabian dress, who just walked right through.”
Then again, there is that Channel 2 Action News video showing airport workers entering secured zones by piggybacking on each other’s passes, and unsealed catering carts ready to be loaded onto planes.
On security at Hartsfield-Jackson, Jonathan Allen, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, sends this note:
Once we learned of the allegations, we immediately investigated and found no security violations. Catering procedures vary based on their specific situation and physical layout. When and where carts are sealed may vary from location to location depending on the airline’s approved security plan. Also, there are layers of security in place that go beyond what was shown on the news report.
Newt Gingrich is at the top of a Fox News poll of the GOP presidential race this morning. Herman Cain has faded to a back-of-the-pack third, while Mitt Romney remains – well, an optimist might say “steadfast.” A pessimist might lean toward “mired.” From Fox News:
[Gingrich] stood at 12 percent in late October — before the Cain harassment allegations and Rick Perry’s “oops” debate. Now the former House speaker is at 23 percent, essentially tied for the lead with Romney, with 22 percent.
In a Washington Post piece this morning, Gingrich admits that as the newest of a series of revolving frontrunners, he’ll have to endure yet another round scrutiny that will test his discipline – which has sometimes been lacking. But he’s got a clear strategy:
One thing he will not do, Gingrich said, is go on the attack against Romney.
“I don’t need to try to get his votes,” he explained. “My campaign is going to focus on substance. My campaign is going to focus on very large proposals, the size of the challenges the country faces.”
On Wednesday, we posted the background of that CBS report on “insider trading” by members of Congress. A team of four academics led by Georgia state prof Alan Ziobrowski worked 16 years analyzing thousands upon thousands of financial disclosure documents submitted by House members and senators.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, still trying to revive his campaign, has been quick with his response:
In September, a Florida straw poll launched GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to the top of GOP presidential polls. But a return visit to the state on Wednesday wasn’t so kind. From the Miami Herald:
Cain, who last week stumbled over questions about what he would do in Libya, seemed to know little about Cuba. His campaign kept reporters at bay, and when asked about the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, Cain seemed stumped.The policy allows Cuban immigrants who have made it to US soil to stay.
“Wet foot, dry foot policy?” Cain asked. His press handlers interrupted as Cain diverted his course and ducked back into the building. Later, when he emerged, he was asked again by another reporter. Cain wouldn’t answer.
This morning at the state Capitol in Atlanta, state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, has a hearing at which officials representing the Breeders’ Cup – an annual and currently nomadic horse-racing event – will say that Atlanta could host their event, if only the state would accept parimutuel wagering.
The horse-racing gang then has a 10:45 a.m. appointment with Gov. Nathan Deal.
In an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) on Wednesday, House Speaker David Ralston repeated his doubts about the measure, especially as a competitor to a state lottery that funds college scholarships. Said Ralston:
”It’s absolutely essential that we weigh the potential impact of this expansion on lottery proceeds. Until that’s done, I don’t think there’s any reason to move forward on the issue.”
So you’re ticked off at a neighbor who sends his dog to your lawn when the critter needs to download? Consider the case of state Rep. Ralph Long, D-Atlanta, whose neighbor has hosted police officers 111 times in the last two years. From Channel 2 Action News:
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider