Monday, September 13, 2010

13 SEP 10: Sanford and Daughter

Columbus set another weather record Sunday, with a high temperature of 98 degrees F. And the real reason behind all the record highs is becoming clear to me. As they love to say on the TV news, the campaign races are "heating up" - with candidates and activists offering plenty of hot air.

The heat was on a veteran local lawmaker over the weekend. It stemmed from the discovery that Rep. Sanford Bishop gave scholarships from a Congressional foundation to two of his relatives. It's hard to believe Bishop spent so much time in Washington that he forgot about the Georgia HOPE Scholarship.

Records uncovered by show Rep. Sanford Bishop's stepdaughter received a scholarship from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in 2003. Aayesha Owens Reese went on to have a nice part-time job with the Muscogee County Junior Marshal program - while Bishop did nothing to fund rail service between Atlanta and Columbus, to ease Reese's commute.

Politico also found the niece of Sanford Bishop's wife received scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in 2003 and 2005. Remember, Vivian Creighton Bishop is only the Municipal Court Clerk - with no power to order ethics investigations.

Rep. Sanford Bishop was tracked down in Sumter County, to explain these scholarships. He said at the time, the rules for Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships had NO restrictions on awarding them to relatives. That restriction was added two years ago - perhaps to ensure lawmakers actually make contact with voters and their families.

Rep. Sanford Bishop promises to repay the amount he gave his relatives in scholarship money to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. But that's too little too late for Bishop's campaign opponent. Mike Keown's campaign claims it shows a "lack of character and judgment." Then again, it could show a lack of scholarship applicants....

Before you laugh at that, consider what happened in Columbus a few years ago. The Courier offered thousands of dollars in college scholarships to local students - and no one applied [5 Aug 07]. If the newspaper ever found a way to blame this on Mayor Jim Wetherington, I didn't hear about it.

You have to call up Page Two of Politico's report on Rep. Sanford Bishop to learn one key detail. The scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation are NOT paid with your tax dollars. The fund comes from corporate donations. In fact, some scholarships have the name "Cheerios" on them. Bishop gave them to his Honeys, and Republicans consider that Nuts.

Even before this issue became public, some political watchers sensed Sanford Bishop could be losing support in his re-election bid. They think Mike Keown is riding a wave of anti-incumbent sentiment, and could make the November vote for Congress close. Who knows - Dylan Glenn might emerge from hiding and endorse Keown before long.

But Rep. Sanford Bishop has plenty of incumbent tricks at his disposal. He could send another "Sanford Bishop Reports" newsletter across his district, using taxpayer funds allocated for such things. And he could bring big-name Democrats to Columbus for rallies. After all, Bill Clinton was in Georgia last week - backing a U.S. Senate candidate who's even more likely to lose.

Mike Keown was in Columbus Sunday, speaking to the local Tea Party's second annual "9/12" rally at the Government Center. The Ledger-Enquirer reports this year's theme was "Repeal, Reduce, Restore." Reusing and recycling are something liberals do, of course....

What does the Columbus Tea Party want repealed? WTVM showed one participant's sign calling for repeal of the 16th amendment - the one allowing the federal government to impose taxes. If all federal tax money went away, how would the huge deficit be paid off? Would Jerry Lewis be asked to host a second telethon?

I won't tax your patience much longer -- and quickly review other weekend discoveries:

+ Columbus Councilor Glenn Davis told the Ledger-Enquirer the Parks and Recreation scandal might not have occurred, if a Recreation Advisory Board had met more often. In fact, the city's list of board members still shows one whose term expired eight months ago. Perhaps this board only meets when a Little League team falls short of the regional title.

+ The Altrusa Club Book Sale continued at Daniel Middle School, with books sold by the bagful. I don't recall this sale ever extending to a second weekend before. If Alabama cities can sue BP over lost revenue, Altrusa might be able to sue Apple for inventing the iPad.

+ PMB Broadcasting swapped formats at three of its radio stations. WRLD-FM is now "Boomer 95.3" again, playing "True Oldies Channel" music which used to be on WRCG AM-FM. WRCG is now "106.9 The Ride" - and now is on its third different format in six months. If this trend continues, "The Swingin' Years" soon might be on 24 hours a day.

+ The Georgia Department of Labor posted a job opening for an experienced Sushi Chef. But I think this listing lacks pizzazz. It should say: "Seeking seasoned sushi chefs to season sushi in Savannah."

+ The Atlanta Falcons opened the regular season by losing to Pittsburgh 15-9 in overtime. A potential game-winning drive in the fourth quarter was stopped by an interception by Steeler safety Troy Polamalu. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan apparently was too dumbstruck by Polamalu's hair.

+ The Atlanta Dream missed a last-second shot, and lost Game 1 of the WNBA Finals 79-77 in Seattle. The Dream almost won, even though star Angel McCoughtry needed three stitches on her forehead in the fourth quarter. Take that, you feminists! If women didn't know how to stitch, she couldn't have returned to the game.

+ Instant Message to Teresa Tomlinson: About that new mayoral campaign commercial, praising how smart you were as a child - shouldn't you follow Roy Barnes's example? Are you going to post your school report cards online?

The Blog of Columbus had nearly 25,000 unique visitors in the first half of 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 566 (- 24, 4.1%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-10 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats