Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Ex-Governor Says Conviction Was Political
By ADAM NOSSITER
MONTGOMERY, Ala., June 26 — The convicted former governor of Alabama, Don E. Siegelman, faced prosecutors who urged a long prison sentence here on Tuesday in a federal corruption case that has unexpectedly transcended the confines of this sleepy state capital.
The talk in the courtroom was of local things — dubious warehouses, a landfill, a lucrative hospital. But as he emerged from court today, Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, tried to paint a bigger picture, saying he was a victim of Karl Rove, the senior political adviser in the White House.
“The origins of this case are political,” Mr. Siegelman said. “There’s no question that Karl Rove’s fingerprints are all over this case, from the inception.”
His words, in turn, have been fueled by an affidavit that seems to link his prosecution to high government circles, which has given the case a serious jolt.
Mr. Siegelman was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud last year after being accused of persuading Richard M. Scrushy, then the chairman of the HealthSouth Corporation, to pay off $500,000 in debt from a lottery campaign the governor had initiated, in exchange for a seat on a state hospital licensing board. Mr. Scrushy was also convicted.
You see, Karl sent us off to go and convince Scrushy (evil HMO corporate fatcat that he is) to approach Siegelman about the $500k....
And this final bit from the Times' story is juicy:
Politics did not come up in the intricate court calibrations of the defendants’ relative culpability on Tuesday, all with an eye to assessing how long they might spend in jail. Nonetheless, the idea that the government had plunged forward heedlessly with a grab-bag of charges against Mr. Siegelman, and was still trying to convict him of it, fueled his lawyers’ arguments.
“The government is asking that he be penalized for every single thing he was charged with, whether he was acquitted or not,” said Susan James, a Siegelman lawyer. “The government drastically lost the case,” she said. “We strongly object to the court considering acquitted conduct.”
Hmmmm... I seem to recall Patrick Fitzgerald trying to get Libby sentenced for disclosing the Id of a secret CIA agent, even though he was never charged with that offense. I wonder how the Times covered that storyline...
ARC: St Wendeler
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Last night I was dealing with one of my periodic insomnia attacks. What does one do in such circumstances? Turn on C-Span of course. I knew I would soon be asleep when I saw the face of Congressman Tom Lantos (D-Ca) chairing a committee meeting. Surely I would be asleep in mere minutes.
Two hours later my head was buzzing. It was an incredibly informative viewing. I was surprised to say the least.
There were three witnesses. One was General Batiste, former commander the the 1st ID in Iraq, and the other two were an academic, Anthony Cordesman from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a fellow from AEI, Frederick Kagan. This was the most informed and balanced discussion of our Iraq experience I have heard.
Cordesman caught my attention when he described Rumsfeld as one of the two worst Secretaries of Defense in U.S. history, the other being McNamara of Vietnam fame. The other two witnesses pretty well agreed with that opinion. I was awake for the duration.
Given what has happened in the four plus years since the invasion, that evaluation is pretty hard to argue with.
This is not the conventional looney crap you hear from the left. These men are all supporters of having done something in the Mideast to change things radically, including serious military action. Their problem was with the planning and subsequent execution of the war.
In a word, the administration was naive in the runup to the war. They had no idea of how the Iraqis would react, or worse, did not care. They were unwilling to deal with the ethnic realities. They made common cause with vengeful Shiites who have become a major proble, They are shocked when those same Shiites evidence no interest in binding up wounds with the Sunis and stall the necessary reforms that would facilitate that end. They had no idea of what they were going to do once Sadam was gone. The thinking stopped abruptly with the pulling down of Sadam's statue.
In short, what was the dog going to do when he caught the car?
All conceded that that has been changing slowly, but the obvious question remains, is it too late?
Our looney friends on the Left thought it was too late and that we had lost before the idea even occurred to Dick Cheney et al to invade Iraq. That's their nature. I can ignore them with ease.
But that does not mean I have to ignore the errors that have been made. It is not treasonous to look at what went wrong so that we can either fix the problem or not repeat the mistakes in the future.
Is it too late to fix the problems in Iraq?
My gut says yes. America's political endurance for this war has been exhausted. In September or shortly thereafter I think congress is going to pull the plug. I think that is a terrible idea, but I also think that is what is going to happen.
What will be left behind in Iraq?
I do not know, but I can not believe it is going to be anything good.
I really thought the Senate was going to pass this particular piece of sausage, the immigration bill. I am relieved they did not. The reasons for that relief are numerous, but the main one is the death of amnesty.
Twelve million illegal aliens were about to become legal within 24 hours of applying for a visa after a background check that had to be completed in one business day of the application being made.
Frickin' preposterous. State can not get passports out in months. How the heck did they expect to do a background check in one business day?
That is just one glaring point.
The major point for me was the deliberate fogging of the difference between legalization and citizenship. The path to citizenship was indeed rather burdensome, as it should be for anyone who broke the law. But the path to legalization was instantaneous. None of the proponents of this legislation dealt adequately with this issue, and I believe that was deliberate.
The newly legal had to do NOTHING to stay here.
And reason prevailed, and all hail an enraged citizenship for standing up and backing down the Senate.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Sorry for the lack of posting... in the middle of a job change. Leaving a company that I've been with for quite some time and trying to tie up all the loose ends before I take the plunge into the new job.
That and the daily drip drip drip from the nattering nabobs of negativism have kept me away from the Conspiracy for a while.
But Ana Marie Cox provides me with some inspiration - for she is truly a Titanic Twit (as I've demonstrated previously). In her latest installment, we have this attack on Romney (my comments throughout as usual):
Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2007
Romney's Cruel Canine Vacation
By ANA MARIE COX
The reporter intended the anecdote that opened part four of the Boston Globe's profile of Mitt Romney to illustrate, as the story said, "emotion-free crisis management": Father deals with minor — but gross — incident during a 1983 family vacation, and saves the day. But the details of the event are more than unseemly — they may, in fact, be illegal.
The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.
Here is the offending passage, italicized by me:
Before beginning the drive [in 1983], Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
First, should point out that this was 1983.... I mean, Oliver Willis was 5? Ana Marie Cox and Mark "Screw 'Em" Moulitsas Zunigas (aka Kos) had just passed their first decade on the planet.
Lemme put this in perspective... seat belts in the back seat were often buried in the crevice of the station wagon, never to be retrieved. Kids napped in the space between the headrests and the rear window. Baby On Board signs didn't appear until 1984!!
What I'm trying to say is that we didn't take the safe transport of kids very seriously back then, so Romney's actions probably aren't that whacko for the day. It's not like we had dog seat belts in the early '80s like we do now (the existence of which is a sure sign of two things: 1) our unbelievable wealth and 2) that the apocalypse is nigh).
And Romney even built a windshield on the roof for Seamus. Images of Clark W Griswold come to my mind...
Second... this was 1983 - 24 years ago. Just a few years earlier, Obama was smnking weed and doing coke, but that's "too far in the past to be of concern today." Let's at least be consistent!
Woops... lemme give the stage back to the Ueber-Twit:
Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out." The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it's against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and "if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal." And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said "even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we'd hope that people would use common sense...Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate...I can�t speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation."
While this may be illegal today, was it illegal at the time? If Romney was put in a similar situation today, would he treat Seamus in the same manner?
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney's candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident "a lesson in cruelty that was ... wrong for [his children] to witness...Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who's under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured." Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign did not return repeated calls and emails about the treatment of his dog.
Ahhh, yes... everything goes back to Gitmo and Abu Ghraib! Well, isn't it obvious that Romney supports torturing terrorists? He's just some sicko who enjoys torturing the innocent and weakest among us. No doubt he'd be extra cruel to any detainees that have puppy-dog eyes, right?
And, sure PETA doesn't have a position on Romney's candidacy... rrrrriiight. I bet I can guess what their position is on every GOP candidate. That Ana obfuscates this either demonstrates her stupidity or her contempt for her readers. (I guess her coverage of the sex life of Jessica Cutler already demonstrated that - while at the same time getting her a paid gig.)
As organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Romney came under fire from some animal welfare groups for including a rodeo exhibition as part of the Games' festivities. At the time, he told protesters, "We are working hard to make this as safe a rodeo for cowboys and animals as is humanly possible."
Well, the rodeo is just f-ing evil, am I right? I mean, no sane person could stand to watch a horse or bull being ridden by a man for a few seconds. And, of course, no sane person could stand to actually put a piece of beef in his mouth and chew.... And no sane person could actually have a dog as a pet... or put an animal in a zoo.... ad infinitum.
ARC: St Wendeler