Friday, August 29, 2003

Ye Olde Porke Barrelle
Millions of jobs lost in the United States since George W. Bush took office, people losing their homes and pensions and all Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) can get his mind around is an idiotic demand that the federal government pay his district $170 million for a bridge over the Susquehanna River that Union Army troops burned in the summer of 1863 to slow down the advance of Confederate forces which ultimately ended at Gettysburg. Pitts says he's just trying to "tell the story of the area, highlight the history." What, does he plan on hiring Halliburton to do it? Read about it here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

What crime? I didn't do anything!
Former West Virginia Governor Arch Moore, Jr. ended his political career in the late 80s/early 90s by being acquitted of charges of taking bribes, then taking the gaspipe on federal charges of corruption. Moore served his time and now wants to regain his law license. Hoppy Kercheval of West Virginia's MetroNews says Moore is still not coming clean about his crimes. Read his take on Moore's attempts to smooth over the bumps in his past here. Thanks to Jeff G. for sending this one in.
"It's really pretty straightforward"
Jeffrey Toobin, one of the best and most honest legal experts in American journalism at the moment, talks with CNN today about Judge Roy Moore and the latest nutwing amicus filing to stop the removal of Moore's Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama State Supreme Court building. Read the rest of Toobin's interview here. You can also read the complaint lodged against Moore by the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission. The commission makes a pretty solid argument against Moore.
I need some confirmations
I have a couple of politicos in legal trouble that I have not been able to definitively find their party affiliation. I'll post the names here and if you can send me some documentation (voter registration or news media link) showing that they're Republicans, then I can give them the attention so richly deserved. First up is Ross Margraves, former chair of Texas A&M's board of regents. Next is Karen Yontz of Pennsylvania. Then we have Ray Kest of Toledo, Ohio. In New Mexico we have Charles Maestas, while in Copperhill, Tennessee, we have Robert Thomas. If you can help me pin the tail on the elephants, I would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Fox News slinks away
Having essentially admitted in court that its "fair and balanced" slogan is absolute crap, Fox News scurried back into the baseboards this afternoon by dropping its lawsuit against Al Franken. The network sued the humorist for trademark violations. Franken's real offense was maneuvering the network's top-rated gasbag, Bill O'Reilly, into an on-air explosion of screaming. But never fear -- Fox News showed what a classy "fair and balanced" act it is when spokeswoman Irena Steffen, announcing the demise of the suit, stated that "it's time to return Al Franken to the obscurity that he's normally accustomed to." The wrap-up is here.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

He's got the tort scratch fever!!!
With Bill O'Reilly temporarily sidelined from the stupid legal maneuvering competition, Republican gun nut Ted Nugent has decided to walk O'Reilly's slack by suing the City of Muskegon, its mayor and city manager and a number of other folks for cancelling his June 30 concert in that fair city. Muskegon did so after the Nuge got caught spouting racist epithets during an interview with a couple of Denver radio shock jocks May 5. Nugent is babbling nonsense about how the concert cancellation is unfairly tainting his reputation. Apparently no one has had either the heart or the courage to tell the Motor City Madman that he achieved that feat all on his own. Read more here, here and here.
Court room howls as Fox News jumps the shark
The case of Fox News v. Al Franken was unceremoniously judged to be without merit and, consequently, splattered like a bug on the windshield of the justice system Friday. The mercy killing, provided by Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, put an end to Fox's ludicrous attempts to force Franken and Penguin Publishing to remove the phrase "fair and balanced" from the cover of Franken's new book. Reached by phone after Judge Chin's announcement, Franken said, "In addition to thanking my lawyers, I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life." Here's the court room play-by-play.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Killer Congressman expects charges
Republican U.S. Congressman Bill Janklow of South Dakota has acknowledged that he expects to be charged in the death of a motorcyclist at a rural intersection last Saturday. This story is just sad and ugly. Here's the latest.
Republican state senator drew unemployment during legislative session
Okay, I know people like to complain that legislators never do anything, but they really do. Washington State Senator Joe Zarelli is no exception. The Ridgefield Republican played a critical role in this year's budget negotiations and drew praise from both sides of the aisle for his masterful ability to wring consensus from bitter partisanship. This represents a comeback for Zarelli, who got caught taking $12,000 in unemployment benefits last fall while he was working in the legislature. Zarelli deployed the "honest mistake" defense initially, but turned around and repaid the $12k with interest. Has Zarelli learned anything from his legal contretemps. Well, yeah. He's already employing (whoops, probably not the best verb to use!) the popular Republican strategy of calling any critical scrutiny of his ethical behavior as unacceptable partisanship on the part of Democrats. Let's hope his Dem opponent in the next election has enough of a spine to call Zarelli on his illegal gaming of the unemployment benefit system. This is a brown-nosing piece par excellence, but it's the most recent story I have on Zarelli. This story from 2002 shines a little more light on what kind of weasel Zarelli is. Thanks to DougP for sending this story to me!
Roy Moore's blasphemy rolls on and on
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore continues to pilfer Christianity in his drive for political power. The U.S. Supreme Court declined yesterday to hear Moore's appeal against a lower court ruling that ordered him to remove his Ten Commandments memorial from the State Court Building. Today, Moore told his assembled sheep that his conscience would not allow him to follow the law and obey the U.S. Constitution. I think the claim of actually having a conscience in Moore's case is somewhat dodgy. Nevertheless, the television cameras continue to document Moore's bullshit, which included rambling statements about how he was actually the opposite of George Wallace standing in the doorway of a schoolhouse to protest desegregation. George, you see, was trying to keep people out, while Moore is keeping God in...the courthouse. Which leads me to wonder how susceptible God may be to Stockholm Syndrome should Moore continue to keep Him cooped up in the State Court Building. Read the latest in Moore's follies here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Yeah, Moses had the same problem when he came down from the mountain
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has just been told to remove his two-and-a-half ton Ten Commandments from the state's Court Building. Moore has made a career in Alabama of riding the Ten Commandments to elective office (which might lead more uncharitable observers to wonder about the breadth and depth of the gene pool in that fine state). The U.S. Supreme Court gave Moore and his crappy golden calf the bum's rush late this afternoon, declining to hear an appeal from a lower federal court that ordered the removal of the monument from government property. Check it out here.
Toxic mold or Texas Republican -- which is the lower form of life?
The Republican Party's willingness to sell out to sleazy corporate interests can never be overstated. One particularly sad and infuriating example comes to us via Texas, where thousands of homeowners during the last few years have been forced out of their houses by toxic mold infestation. And it's not just your average Joe who is having to deal with this serious health threat. The State of Texas has already had to detoxify its Governor's Mansion ($50,000) and the Attorney General's Office in Lubbock. But while working stiffs were suffering from the health effects of mold in their homes (think overwhelmed immune system and a permanently-impaired central nervous system) and even losing their homes to foreclosure after abandoning them to save their lives, a guy named Joe Nixon filed a claim with his home insurer and walked away with a $300,000 payout. This same Joe Nixon, a State Representative (R-Houston), spent the 2003 Texas legislature session pushing "tort reform" legislation that would literally allow corporations to get away with murder. Nixon is currently under investigation by the Travis County District Attorney over whether his $300,000 payday constituted preferential treatment. He'll beat the rap, of course, because Texas voters appear to be gluttons for punishment. But Joe Nixon's hypocrisy sets new depths for even a Republican office holder. Check the outrage here and here and here. Thanks to Karen T. for alerting me to this story.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Media Whores Online rocks!
The good folks at Media Whores Online very graciously blurbed the Pachyderm in today's edition. Their mention is already bringing in tales of Republican misconduct that I would never have heard about otherwise. This is important. The national scandals are the ones everyone follows, but we need to show Republican law-breaking and ethical misconduct up and down the political feeding chain. Thanks to MWO, we can pool more information. Thank you, Horse!
Republican fined for election law violations...in Florida!
This is like something out of a Carl Hiaasen novel! Who would have ever guessed that a Florida Republican official could get accused of violating the state's election laws and actually be convicted? Folks, this is verging on Stephen King territory. Take hundred of thousands of insane, right-wing gusanos in Miami-Dade, add in the central Florida rednecks, the Bush Family Evil Enterprise (I know, it's supposed to be "Empire." I'm just using the terminology found in the federal RICO statute), the spooky sugar producers cartel and every knuckle-headed escapee from Brooklyn who thinks he's voting for Nelson Rockefeller whenever he votes Republican in The Sunshine State -- and you have a recipe for a banana republic that serves roughly 16 million people. Maybe "maims" is a better descriptor...

So, who is the only Florida Republican stupid enough to feel the icy embrace of the law? Palm County Commissioner Mary McCarty who was so enraged by the legal reasoning of Dems on the state's Supreme Court during the 2000 Presidential theft that she sailed out -- eyes spinning independently of one another in their sockets, no doubt --- and started the Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary. She then raised $450,000 to further her plans to remove three Democratic judges on the court. Remember that $450,000 sum. It's critical to the bind Commisioner McCarty now finds herself in. That's because Florida law limits fundraising by such groups to $500. The Florida Elections Commission could have fined Rightoid Mary the full $450,000. Instead they settled on a $2,000 fine. That ought to be enough to not mislead anyone into thinking that Republicans and legal justice have anything to do with one another in Florida. Read it
here. A big Thank You to RAmes88 for the tip on this puppy!
If the road sign has a white border, I don't have to obey it
This story is developing fast, so bear with me if it's not entirely thorough. U.S. Rep William Janklow (R-South Dakota) ran a stop sign in a rural area over the weekend, killing a motorcyclist in the process. Janklow has a well-documented history of speeding and a fairly impressive collection of citations for said activity. The former Governor could face criminal charges unless the state's Rethug establishment can figure out some way to save his ass. Janklow, by the way, is supposedly great friends with South Dakota Tackling Dummy Tom Daschle (D-Spineless). The Rapid City Journal is all over this story. Start here, then work your way through the site's main news page. The New York Times carried this earlier today.
"Welcome to MY Fantasy Island!"
Former Senator Marilyn Manibusan (R-Guam) took a six-year federal fall August 15 after being convicted on charges of wire fraud, extortion and misapplication of federal funds. Manibusan used her position as chair of the Guam Housing Corporation to solicit bribes from real estate developers and construction companies trying to get work on the island. A Republican putting the squeeze on other Republicans. My, how...Republican! Read about Manibusan's sentencing here. She's also apparently not the smartest financial criminal in the world. This story from March, 2003, documents her bankruptcy filing in detail.
British paper nails Austrian Octopus
The sins of Arnold Schwarzenegger aren't exactly illegal and, Lord knows, the man married into the family that embodies the very concept of male philandering in American culture. But even by Kennedy standards, Arnold is a cut above the rest. There's one icky detail, legally speaking, in this delightfully sordid, exhaustive profile of the action movie star's sexual life. That detail involves Schwarzenegger's long-time mistress, Gigi Guyotte, who began her affair with the Terminator when she was 16 years old, somewhat below the age of consent in most states. Hell, maybe even in California!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Trading spaces
Meet Washington State's own Pam Roach who, like the animal in her surname, scurries around in the dark looking for places to feed. This Roach, however, is on the move in search of elective office. Literally. The Republican state senator has switched residences twice in two months. Why? Because she is seeking a seat on the King County Council. Her two wingnut opponents in the race filed a complaint with the county's board of elections contending that she doesn't actually reside in the district in which she's running. Find more on Roach's perambulations here. (Thanks to Democratic Underground's Top Ten Conservative Idiots for the tip on this story! Go there and donate, please!)

Friday, August 15, 2003

What we have hyar is failure to ex-communicate
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is rolling in high cotten these days. The judge is the darling of right-wing religious fanatics everywhere for his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. Moore told a federal district judge to stick it this week when ordered to remove the 5,300-lb. shrine to theocracy from the premises of a government building. Moore vowed instead to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he will undoubtedly be told to take the goddamned thing down by a slim (i.e. non-rabid) majority. Read about it here.
Someone please get this gentleman an indictment
Last I heard, we have federal and state laws all over the place governing who can raise money for political campaigns, how they can raise it, how much of it they can raise and to whom they can give it. During the Clinton Administration, Rethugs howled about Dem fundraisers at Buddhist temples and the corporate-enslaved news media printed every accusation, although they were eventually disproved (the media whores didn't put themselves out to clear the record, naturally). So what do we get when Rethugs are running the nation? This kind of boodling. Now, I'm not accusing the subject of this story, Lee Cowen, of breaking the law. But I have a hunch a federal grand jury will down the road.
Is "fair and balanced my ass!" trademarked?
Unless you live under a rock -- and let's face it, only Republicans are likely to be found there since sunlight blinds them -- you have no doubt heard about Fox News suing political commentator and author Al Franken for trademark violations. No, seriously they did! I'm not making this up! Anyway, Fox objects to Franken's use of the phrase "Fair and Balanced" because it claims to hold federal and state trademarks on said words. The phrase appears on the cover of Franken's upcoming book, as does something else: a photo of Fox News blowhard Bill O'Reilly. This would be the same Bill O'Reilly who was verbally bitch-slapped on national television by Franken a few weeks back. Big Bill's final argument on camera entailed screaming "Shut up! Shut up!" at Franken as a nation watched and howled with delight. But why not let the document itself tell the story? Read Fox's legal filing in the case of Bullying Right Wing Dumbass v. Guy Who Made Him Look Like An Idiot. This one's got CourtTV gavel-to-gavel coverage written all over it.
Ooooh, somebody didn't get their anti-psychotics today, did they?
Welcome to Felonious Friday! Manuel, margaritas all around, please! We kick things off with Fresno, California, city councilman Jerry Duncan, a man just one water tower and a sniper rifle away from making national headlines. The Republican councilman spends his time in council meetings dreaming of dirty bombs to kill all the liberals in town and having the Fresno Police Department summarily execute the members of the city's Human Rights Commission. How do we know this? Because Duncan e-mailed his cronies during council meetings to share his sociopathic musings. Sensible Fresnoans want Duncan gone. Lock and load here.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Top Virginia Rethug bugs out
"Turn out the lights; the party's over. They say that all good things must end..." God bless, you, Willie Nelson! And good riddance to you, Gary R. Thomson. Thomson was, until this past Tuesday, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party. Gary got caught illegally taping phone conversations of several Virginia Dems. Thomson pled guilty, got a $2,000 fine and dodged a trip to Oz. He claims he and former VaGOP executive director Edmund A. Matricardi III had no idea that what they were doing was wrong. The scary part is that I can almost believe that...Naaaahhhhh!! Read the story here.

Monday, August 11, 2003

South Dakota sets Psycho Jarhead Appreciation Day
No one -- and I mean no one -- epitomizes the frightening ruthlessness of the Republican Party more than G. Gordon Liddy, ex-Marine, ex-FBI agent, ex-Nixon Administration nut job. Gordo's the one who held his hand over an open flame to show his trustworthiness to the Nixon cause. He also served several years in prison for crimes related to his work for the Nixon White House, including the Watergate break-in. Liddy hasn't changed his spots over the years. When federal agents entered the Branch Davidian complex in the mid-1990s to arrest cult leader and child molester David Koresh, which led the sick weasel to immolate himself and his remaining followers, Liddy used his nationally-syndicated radio program to tell his listeners exactly how to shoot any law enforcement officials who might come after them. We even know now, courtesy of a PBS special on Watergate running tonight, that Liddy wanted to kill John Dean and Jeb Magruder, two Nixon aides whose moral consciences led them to cooperate with the Congressional investigation into Watergate. "I think Gordon Liddy is a psychopath," Dean told the San Francisco Chronicle when apprised of his near-rendezvous with the lethal Mr. Liddy.

You would think that such ignominy would render Mr. Liddy so socially radioactive that he'd have a hard time worming his way into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. You would be wrong, however. You see, in George W. Bush's America, Republicans feel entitled to praise and laud even the most violent, criminous and despicable of people, just as long as they're playing for the GOP. South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds recently did just that, declaring August 7 as "G. Gordon Liddy Day" throughout the state. Rounds's office backpedaled on the deal when his constituents started raising hell. Get the details here.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Yours, mine, not ours...
In a welcome relief from the recent Rethug barrage of ne'er-do-wellery on federal lands in the Rocky Mountain states, one Oregon state representative has plopped himself down in the stew pot on charges of insurance fraud. John Mabrey (R-The Dalles) and his wife, Janet Hawkins, face arraignment Monday on charges that they swindled Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of $4,000 in insurance payments. Small beer, yes. But the hypocrisy is what makes this puppy so loveable. See, Mabrey and Hawkins had been living as a common-law couple (i.e., shackin' up) from 1991 until 2002, when they finally formalized their relationship in the eyes of the State of Oregon and whatever God Almighty uses to keep track of these events. Gotta love these family values! (Thanks to BigLed at Democratic Underground for this story!)

Thursday, August 07, 2003

They get the goldmine; we get the shaft
One more tale of Republican mugging in the Wild West, one so egregious that Republican Senator Charles Grassley felt moved to denounce the Department of Interior, a task probably as palatable as being a vegan forced to wrestle greased pigs. Bottom line -- The Rethugs at Interior cut a deal with the even scarier Rethug Mormons who run Utah to trade public lands. The acreage traded was roughly equal. The mineral value of the traded acreage wasn't. Whistleblowers at Interior leaked the discrepency, which would have handed the Mormo...I mean the State of Utah roughly $116.7 million in federal mineral assets. The People of the U.S. would get bupkis in return. Sift through the ugly details here.
A "partisan smear job"? Riiiiiggghhhhtttttttt...
What the hell is the deal with Republicans and theft of public natural resources? Theodore Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave. The U.S. Department of the Interior's top lawyer, William Myers III, had a buffaloe nickel dropped on him this week by environmental and conservation groups, who filed complaints with the Office of Government Ethics alleging that Myers violated a pledge to recuse himself from anything dealing with the cattle industry, whom he heavily represented as an attorney in private practice back in his home state of South Dakota. Interior's response is the aforementioned "he wuz railroaded" quote in the headline. Catch the rest here. Oh, and fret not for Bill, gang. He's been nominated for a federal judgeship on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by the Bush administration. Hmmmm...maybe there's something coming open in Wyoming...
Brimming with conflict of interest
Federal District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer of Wyoming has boundary issues -- the boundary between his wallet and the ethical and legal obligations of his public office. Brimmer recently issued a ruling that struck down a Clinton Administration executive order banning construction of new roads on public lands that are neither already developed or officially listed as wilderness areas. The order affected roughly 30% of federal lands containing large amounts of timber. Since no roads means no logging, no strip mining, no exploratory oil drilling or other form of natural resource extraction, those particular industries have a heavily-vested interest in seeing the no-roads order deep-sixed. It turns out that their heavily-vested interests just happen to be virtually the same as Judge Brimmer's heavily-invested interests. Da Judge, it turns out has between $400,000 to $1.1 million invested in the oil and gas industry, 15 separate companies. The Wyoming Republican, however, didn't see any need to recuse himself from hearing this particular case. Environmental groups have filed formal ethics charges against Judge Brimmer. Don't expect the Bush Administration to drop the gavel on Clarence Brimmer. Read the grizzly (yes, it's a pun!) details here.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Now, that's the Spirit!
The Federal Election Commission, the comatose federal agency responsible for enforcing the nation's campaign finance laws, has slapped Centennial Spirit, a Republican front group, with a $10,000 fine. The group raised $1 million for Colorado Gov. Bill Owens' first run for the governorship, as well as funding other Rethug candidates in 1998. Colorado's secretary of state and two state courts punted on sanctions against Centennial Spirit's blatant violation of state and federal laws limiting corporate donations to political candidates. See here for further detail. Is the FEC declaring war on so-called "astroturf lobbying"? Believe it when you see it.

Friday, August 01, 2003

You can't say that California Rethug operative Karl Brabenec isn't doing his bit to transmit GOP family values to a new generation of overprivileged white high school and college kids. Karl, it seems, held a Socratic dialogue of sorts at the national Young Republicans convention in Boston in mid-July, a thoughtfest entitled "Karlpalooza '03." To keep those impressionable young minds focused on God-fearing, traditional valuing Republicanism, Brabenec had friends distribute fliers for his colloquy promising "lots of beer, liquor and sex." Karl's fun ride has cost him his job as President of the Orange County Young Republicans. Don't cry for Karl, Argentina, though, because he gets to keep his $38,789 a year staff job with Orange County Executive Edward Diana. Orange County...hmmmm. Isn't that the county that had to declare bankruptcy a few years back thanks to questionable use of public funds by the rabid Republicans who have run the place for decades? Well, we wouldn't want to tar poor Karl Brabenec with an overly-broad brush. Suffice it to say that his willingness to provide booze and cootchie to potentially underage Republican kids might not sit too well with their parents. The details can be found here. Don't miss the links on that page to the Karlpalooza flier or the letter from a friend of Brabenec's attempting to take the heat for Karl's mess.

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