- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 26, 2010

NEW YORK

Ex-judge: Criminal charges possible

ALBANY | A special investigation concludes that New York Gov. David Paterson’s testimony about his plans to pay for World Series tickets last year was “inaccurate and misleading” and warrants consideration of criminal charges by a prosecutor.

In a report Thursday, former state Chief Judge Judith Kaye notes four of five tickets to the World Series opening game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies were paid for later. She says there’s a question whether Mr. Paterson gave “intentionally false testimony” to the State Public Integrity Commission about having written an $850 check in advance for two tickets.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares is reviewing the case.

Mr. Paterson denies wrongdoing. He eventually paid for two tickets and staff members paid for two. He maintains going to the game was part of a ceremonial public duty that entitled him to a ticket.

MASSACHUSETTS

Brown camp brushes off criticism

BOSTON | A spokeswoman for Republican Sen. Scott Brown is brushing off criticism from Sarah Palin, who questioned his credentials as “a hard-core constitutional conservative.”

The former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee faulted Mr. Brown, once a hero of the “tea party” movement, during an interview Wednesday on the Fox Business Network.

Mrs. Palin said that while Massachusetts voters might be willing “to put up with Scott Brown and some of the antics there,” voters in her home state “wouldn’t stand for that.”

Mr. Brown has sided with Democrats on a handful of initiatives including a sweeping financial overhaul. He skipped an April tea party rally Mrs. Palin headlined in Boston.

A Brown spokeswoman said that his votes are based on what’s best for Massachusetts and that his priorities include jobs, controlling spending and deficit reduction.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

States on track for weatherizing

MANCHESTER | Standing outside a New Hampshire home being insulated for winter, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Thursday that after a slow start, states are on track to weatherize 600,000 homes by March 2012.

By March 2010, a year after the economic stimulus pumped new money into the decades-old federal Weatherization Assistance Program, fewer than 31,000 homes had been retrofitted.

But Mr. Biden said the total has now jumped to 200,000, with 80,000 homes being retrofitted this summer alone.

“We’re picking up the pace. We’re weatherizing 20,000 to 30,000 homes each month, and at that pace, we’re going to meet our goal,” he said.

“Investing in weatherization is a no-brainer. If we keep up the current weatherization pace, will lessen our dependance on foreign oil by 1.5 million barrels, the equivalent of going out, waving a wand and taking 107,000 automobiles off the road permanently, and saving consumers a lot of money.”

Mr. Biden marked the milestone at the home of Lynn Dumont, a single mother who is expected to save $600 a year once energy-saving improvements are complete on her 50-year-old ranch-style home.

“Try being a single mother raising two kids, and tell me that doesn’t make a difference to you,” Mr. Biden said.

FAA

Airline hit with multimillion fine

Federal officials have hit American Airlines with a record penalty of $24.2 million over maintenance lapses that caused thousands of canceled flights in 2008.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that American failed to take steps to prevent chafing of electrical wires in the wheel wells of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80-series jets.

The FAA says the wiring could have led to fires and fuel-tank explosions, but American says it was a minor matter of leaving too much space between clips that held bundles of wire together. The airline says passenger safety was never threatened.

American can challenge the proposed penalty and negotiate to reduce it. American is a unit of AMR Corp.

HOUSE

Democrat jokes Pelosi might die

An Alabama Democrat insists he was joking when he said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might get sick and die before he has to decide whether to vote for her as leader again next year.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Rep. Bobby Bright was speaking at a Chamber of Commerce event in Montgomery Wednesday when he was asked about his oft-criticized decision to support her as party leader after his 2008 election.

Trying to deflect the issue, Mr. Bright said Mrs. Pelosi could lose her election, decide against running for speaker again, or get sick and die. The paper said Mr. Bright made it clear he was joking, and the remark drew laughter from the crowd.

SENATE

Lawyer to aid Murkowski effort

The top lawyer for the Republicans’ Senate campaign committee is heading to Alaska to help Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is trailing in the primary vote.

Mrs. Murkowski asked Sean Cairncross to help her campaign prepare for the counting of as many as 16,000 absentee ballots cast before Tuesday’s primary. Republican officials say the National Republication Senatorial Committee’s chief counsel will spend a few days in Alaska.

With all precincts reporting, heavily favored Mrs. Murkowski trailed conservative lawyer Joe Miller by 1,668 votes, leaving both hoping that uncounted absentee ballots will give them the victory. Officials will start counting absentee ballots next Tuesday.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor safe after plane blows tire

CHARLESTON | A spokewoman says West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is safe after being forced to abort a takeoff in his private plane when it blew a tire.

Mr. Manchin was piloting his single-engine Piper Saratoga on Thursday. After the tire blew out, the plane veered off the runway and into the grass at Charleston’s Yeager Airport.

Spokeswoman Sara Payne Scarbro says Mr. Manchin was with first lady Gayle Manchin and a member of his security detail.

They were headed to a Fairmont reception for his U.S. Senate campaign. The Democrat is seen as the overall front-runner for the late Robert C. Byrd’s seat.

No one was hurt, and the aircraft appeared otherwise undamaged. Miss Scarbro says the governor still planned to attend the campaign event.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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