Sunday, November 30, 2003

Blog of the Week
Please visit our Blog of the Week: Damage: Global Warming Catastrophe - New Evidence

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Pigboy can't admit he's a hypocrite
In what must be the most laughable of Freudian slips ever uttered, artificial heroin junkie Rush Limbaugh confronted a hostile caller who slipped past his phone screeners earlier this week and called the substance-abusing talk show schmuck a hypocritical pillhead. Limbaugh attempted to parry the charge by uttering an odd non-sequitur about how his behavior doesn't determine the value of right and wrong. He then uttered this precious statement: "If I were to admit I'm a hypocrite, then I'm going to be disqualified from being able to say what I think is right and wrong." Ooooookkkkaayyyy...Rush doesn't think he's not a hypocrite; he just can't admit that he is. No wonder his followers are dumb as oak stumps. Oh, well -- Metha-dittoes, Rush! Parse his statements for yourself.
Jockisch itch
Another day, another corrupt Deep South Republican. Today's offender is Freeman Jockisch, a commissioner on the Mobile, Alabama, County Commission. Jockisch faces federal criminal charges for evading tax payments. This isn't the first time the commish has gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. An anonymous crusader tipped local media to the fact that Jockisch's water sprinkler firm was doing work on a county project (Hint to Republicans reading this: this is what's known as "conflict of interest." And it is illegal, despite the fact that your leaders get away with it all the time). County Republicans are starting to elbow one another aside for the chance to run against Jockisch in the next election. Read about his troubles here.
Byrd on a wire
One of the grinding paradoxes of the Republican Party is that, while it touts itself as the party of responsible government spending, its elected officials tend to burn through money like drunken sailors on shore leave. And that's the best-case scenario! Sometimes they dispense with the formalities and embezzle the public coffers. And, sometimes they simply do weird stuff that violates the basics of public finance, as well as breaking the law. Case in point is Nebraska State Treasurer Lorelee Byrd. The 47 year-old Republican pled guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor account of official misconduct. This after she was caught this past February having written $300,000 in bogus checks which were then locked in her office vault until the end of this year's legislative session. Byrd voided the checks after the session ended. She claims she wrote them to set aside money to cushion the state's new child-support payment system when it goes into effect next March. Investigators believe she wrote the checks in order to get the $300,000 sum out of her operating budget and keep it away from legislators looking to slash the state's budget. Byrd will get the usual GOP slap on the wrist -- a $1,000 fine and no time in jail -- and may try to brazen out her conviction in order to remain in office. Several legislators have said they will launch an attempt to impeach her. Read the story here.
GOP turkeys give so much...for us to poop on!
While you drowse on your couch, drugged by the Green Bay-Detroit game and tryptophan, the Republican Party is keeping up its grueling pace of robbing the country blind. I don't know about you, but there's something comforting in knowing that the biggest collection of thieves in the nation are sticking with their long-established traditions.

Orrin Hatch has always been a particularly obnoxious partisan Republican. Hatch never met a television camera he didn't like and you can usually catch him on one of the Sunday talk shows once every month or so, lying through his teeth and moralizing at the top of his lungs about anything and everything. So, it might have come as somewhat of a surprise to the hoi polloi inside the Beltway when a staff member in Hatch's office was suspended from his job after an investigation by the Senate Sergeant at Arms fingered the Hatch aide for hacking the secure computer networks of two Democratic members of the Senate Justice Committee. An internal memo to Dem committee members outlining possible strategies for fighting Bush judicial appointments was leaked to GOP-friendly media outlets a week or so back. The subsequent five-day attempt to drum up a scandal against Democratic obstructionism never caught on with the media outside the Beltway.

Hatch does have a scandal on his hands now, however. His henchman faces a federal criminal investigation. It also turns out that an unnamed former Republican member of the committee may also be implicated in the server hacks. Hatch deployed the standard Casablanca defence when finally cornered by journalists willing to contemplate the possibility that the sun doesn't shine out of the Republican Party's collective ass: "I was shocked to learn that this may have occurred. I am mortified that this improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files may have occurred on my watch." Mortified enough to resign your chairmanship of the committee, Senator Hatch? Didn't think so. It's faintly possible that this scandal may actually have some legs, so go ahead and familiarize yourself with the
facts. See also, this Reuters dispatch from FindLaw. A tip of the hat goes out to Stentor and Frank S. for providing me with really detailed accounts of this story and for staying on my lazy ass until I got them posted. You guys rock!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A note from your host
There's a theme to all of tonight's entries -- all came as a result of tips e-mailed to me. I depend on my readers to make me aware of Republican evil-doing. I may not be able to use everything you send me, but I'll try. This is a collaborative effort, so don't hesitate to drop a dime on a GOP goon near you. Thanks!

P.S. -- Anyone have a hit counter that I can cut and paste into the Blogger software that will work with it?
Porn foe busted for soliciting prostitute
I read somewhere recently that the adult film industry in the U.S. generates almost $8 billion in revenue each year -- roughly the same as the "legitimate" Hollywood industry. Now, as long as it depicts consensual, respectful (I'm sorry, spitting on women and verbally abusing them is not erotic) relations between legal adults, I have no problem with porn. I'm obviously not the only person who feels that way, judging from the balance sheets for various porn studios.

But, of course, American society must have its morals czars. The City of Louisville, Kentucky, has its own anti-porn prude-a-rama in the form of the Citizens of Metro for Property, Safety and Security. The group's raison d'etre is to keep video porn stores out of residential neighborhoods. Having been in Louisville a time or two, I can vouch for the fact that immorality of all kinds is alive and well on almost every street corner in the place. This does not speak badly of Louisvilleans at all. It means they're more honest and open about the human condition than some other burgs I could mention...>Cincinnatti<....So it will be interesting to see what Louisville's right-thinking burghers will do to John W. Riddle, age 65, vice-president of the aforementioned anti-porn group. Riddle was arrested last Saturday with a bottle of Viagra and a known prostitute. He's already been drummed out of his fascist morals whackathon. Perhaps Riddle will find out via this mortifying public embarrassment that lowest-common-denominator puritanism cuts both ways. Thanks to Cdone for sending this in!
Naked came the GOP staff attorney
Everyone should have a hobby. Steve Linnen of Columbus, Ohio, likes to relieve the stress of his job as a staff attorney for the Ohio House Republican Caucus by taking photographs. Photographs of fully-clothed women. Photographs of fully-clothed women reacting to the realization that the guy snapping their photo is bare-ass naked. There's bad performance art in there somewhere, but I digress. Steve-O was arrested last week by Columbus police after they cornered him behind a grocery store moments after he had photographed his last victim. Cops think Linnen may have scared the hell out of as many as 39 women. He's on paid leave pending the completion of the criminal inquiry against him. Read the details here. Thanks to EP V. for sending this particular link, because it was far more detailed than any other account I could find! Dan L. also gets a big shout-out for chipping in on this story!
Penn Rethug spies on business foes
One of the excellent points made by columnist E.J. Dionne on today's op/ed page of the Washington Post is that Republicans are willing to play dirty and Dems aren't. Dionne didn't intend that comparison to be favorable to Democrats. How dirty are our beloved friends across the aisle prepared to get? Take U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) as a typical example. A disgruntled Shuster campaign staffer revealed recently that Shuster had set up a surveillance program to identify and name business leaders in his district who are backing his primary opponent, Michael DelGrosso. Shuster had 22 year-old Joshua Juda sneaking into DelGrosso campaign events with a cell phone so he could call Shuster and pass on names and descriptions of the people at the events. Juda apparently discovered sometime in recent weeks that he had principles. Or, more likely, that he was exposing himself to some degree of legal risk and political ostracism. With guys like Bill Shuster willing to do this, is it any wonder that the Pink Tutu Dems on Capitol Hill are getting jackrolled at every turn? Thanks to Charles D. for the tip on this story!

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Blog of the Week
Please join me in giving a big round of applause to this week's Blog of the Week, Anarchy Xero: Winding the Iraq Deathwatch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Judge stops natural resources giveaway
One of the most important scandals of the Bush Administration, one that has received virtually no coverage from the corporate-owned media, is its single-minded determination to hand over the nation's bountiful natural resources to Republican cronies for a song. U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., today kicked the Bushies in their collective testicles (shriveled and wee as they may be), ordering the Department of the Interior to review its rules for determining fair market value for public lands and public resources it sells to private-sector corporations. Kennedy blistered former Interior Solicitor William Myers, III, for miscontruing and evading the agency's mandate to protect the environment when he issued a ruling that the agency could not force private companies mining public lands to abide by any regulations. Ironically, Myers is no longer at DOI, having been appointed to a federal appeals court this past May. Check out the new judge's record of diligently and impartially defending the rule of law here.
GOP's Inhofe approves of torture
Republican U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma thinks torturing Iraqi prisoners is a damn fine and dandy way of proving one's Amurikan patriotism. Inhofe took to the floor at a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting today to praise Army Lt. Col Allen B. West for punching an Iraqi policeman during an August interrogation, firing a pistol toward him and threatening to kill him. Here in Western civilization, the U.S. Army has determined that West's actions violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A military court must now decide whether or not to courtmartial Lt. Col. West. In the thuggishly immoral world of Republican politics, however, West is a man who deserves praise for his actions instead of condemnation. At least, that's what Jim Inhofe told the committee. Inhofe also made it clear to Army officials testifying at the committee meeting that he would be following the outcome of West's case very closely. Is Inhofe alone in his admiration of West? "I think others may share it but may not want to say it," the senator opined. No, Senator, others may share it, but they're not nearly stupid enough to open their mouths in public and say it. You have that honor all to yourself. Read about it here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Coming soon to a Florida prison near you!
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay/Could be Pigboy is going away...Chill the champagne, gang, because the fat boy is in big trouble. ABC News is reporting tonight that El Rushbo is facing state criminal charges of money-laundering. The criminal probe stems from the on-going investigation of Limbaugh's illegal drug purchases. Limbaugh apparently withdrew money from his account with US Trust in Manhattan to fund the drug buys. All of the withdrawals were in amounts slightly less than $10,000. Why? Because federal law requires banks to report any transactions of $10,000 or more. The law is aimed at preventing drug syndicates and other criminal enterprises from using U.S. banks to launder profits.

New York officials stumbled onto Limbaugh's withdrawals, some 30-40, all in cash, during an investigation of US Trust two years ago. Banks are required to file suspicious activity reports when customers exhibit withdrawal patterns that appear designed to skirt the $10,000 limit. US Trust didn't. Limbaugh's lawyer, Roy Black, denies his client has done anything illegal. Then again, Roy's the guy you want as your legal counsel if you ever get caught in bed with the proverbial live boy or dead girl. Jack Blum, an expert in financial crime, had a different take on the Limbaugh story, noting that the bank was so used to the transactions that an employee actually delivered the cash to Limbaugh personally: "That in itself is a suspicious activity: They are structuring their transaction to avoid reporting to the government, and the bank is required to file with the federal government something called a suspicious activity report." Interesting, isn't it, that this story surfaces a day after someone in the Florida law enforcement community told reporters that Limbaugh probably wouldn't face charges on the drug buys.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Clap for the Pigboy!
Artificial heroin fiend Rush Limbaugh returned to the airwaves today after a five-week drug rehab stay at an Arizona resort. According to listeners who posted to relevant discussion threads on Democratic Underground, the blabber-mouthed egomaniac was, by turns, incoherent, unintelligible and possibly "on" something. Metha-dittoes, Rush! It's great to see you back in usual form. Oh, and Pigboy is still dodging Florida law enforcement authorities. He's broadcasting this week from Manhattan.
Tennessee GOP pol takes a cue from Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh's love affair with narcotics appears to be setting a new standard for Republicans who would lead the huddled masses. Case in point, former Tennessee Rep. Ronnie Davis (R-Newport) was cuffed and perp-walked by federal DEA agents last Tuesday at a Lebanon, Tenn., truck stop. Agents busted the 59 year-old Davis as he arrived at the truck stop to pass a Limbaugh sampler -- hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, butalbital -- to long-time friend Diana Burton. Burton rolled on the no-doubt-rabidly-anti-drug-in-public Davis and wore a wire to help authorities build their case against the former Republican legislator. Burton and Davis were already in hot water after a grand jury indicted them last year for selling passports doctored to look like diplomatic passports to two Texas businessmen for $100,000. And, no, I don't know if it was Ken Lay and Dick Cheney. Trial on those charges is still pending. Read all about Ronnie Davis, Republican role model, here.
NYTimes finds piano player in whorehouse
Who'da thunk it? Nepotism of the rankest kind in upstate New York where, in Oneida County, the New York Times has discovered a judiciary completely controlled by the Republican Party (with one exception). And reporter Leslie Eaton seems pretty durned surprised to find it there. Eaton apparently thinks judicial log-rolling only happens to Democratic judges in Brooklyn. This, by the way, is what passes for journalistic balance these days. Ya gotta get both sides of the story, even if there is only one side. Eaton thus excuses the...um, appearances of impropriety among the Republican members of the Oneida County bench. Thanks, New York Times! This is the kind of reporting that brought us Ken Starr, President George W. Bush and Enron! Play professor of journalism by reading this and thanking God that you don't actually pay for a subscription to this shit.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

GOP Presidential candidate violates parole
The first Republican candidate to file for the 2004 New Hampshire Presidential primary is currently cooling his heels in a state prison. Robert Haines of Manchester was picked up for violating the terms of his parole. Haines was apparently so busy campaigning that he didn't give his parole officer a telephone number where he could be reached. Yo, Bob, I got two words for ya, pal: "cell phone." A phrase which, when you consider Haines' current plight, is pretty damn ironic. Haines went to prison after pulling a rifle on a man in 1995. Cops also discovered that Bob was wearing body armor when they arrested him, another legal no-no. Bob told the court that he had worn the armor because he was a candidate. No, I am not making that up. That's what the dude said. Anyway, Republicans need not fear that this fine example of Republican sanity won't make it to the big party. Haines says he'll be kicked loose by Dec. 19 -- just in time for a Christmas shopping spree in the sporting goods section of the local Wal-Mart. Check out President Haines here and here.
Blog of the Week
Congratulations to And Then's...: Late Night With Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, this week's Blog of the Week!

On edit: Must learn to spell some day...

Friday, November 14, 2003

Pretty please, no brass knuckles!
This week's Pollyanna Award goes to the editorial staff of the Ithaca, New York, Journal. After unraveling a Republican dirty tricks campaign in nearby Enfield, the Journal's band of the brave had a...well, let's just be polite and say "disproportional" reaction to the Thuggie skullduggery. The GOP sent out anonymous fliers to voters in Enfield claiming that Democratic candidates in the town council race were under investigation for campaign law violations. Enfield voters received the mailers sent out by the county's acting Republican committee chair too late for Dem candidates smeared by the fliers to respond to the allegations. On Nov. 4, Enfield voters rewarded the GOP's criminous behavior by electing all Republicans. Enfield deserves what it's got coming to it for making such a stupid move to the right. The Ithaca Journal's op-ed page thundered out its disapproval of the Enfield maneuver: "Enfield's Republicans need to reconsider their campaign tactics. Hopefully, they will decide to remove negative campaigning from future election endeavors." Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of their collective asses as they do so. Jesus H. Christ, guys, is the Ithaca Journal a refuge for former Tom Daschle aides? Enjoy this hard-hitting editorial here.
Godspeed, Roy Moore!
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore can now be referred to as former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. Moore, you'll remember, is the idolator who refused to remove the stone monument of the Ten Commandments that he bootlegged into the Supreme Court Building in the middle of the night. Alabama's Judicial Ethics Commission removed Moore from office this week for refusing to obey a federal order to take his rock off of public property. Moore didn't act upset about what would have been an unbearable humiliation to a normal human being. No, this is Moore's next step in his campaign to be elected governor of Alabama, which will undoubtedly descend into socioeconomic annihilation so complete that it will make sub-Saharan dictators shiver with horror when they see the images on their television screens. Moore says he's no martyr, which is absolutely true, but definitely not what he wants his followers to think.
Hate radio host indicted for kiddie play
With Rush Limbaugh scheduled to schlep back to the microphone Monday afternoon (will he have found Jesus during his sabbatical?), the arrest of a Houston hate radio jock on charges of indecency with a child is a timely reminder of what a pack of hypocritical creeps the denizens of the AM dial are. Jon Matthews of KSEV (fired as of Wednesday) is a practioner of that perversion known to law enforcement authorities as "weinie wagging." He faces 2-10 years in prison if convicted of exposing himself to a minor. Catch it here. And thanks to Stentor for slipping this one to us!
GOP seeks to hose men and women in uniform
I'm still on a rampage about the Bush Administration's unforgivably shabby treatment of members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Let's face it -- when you're a Republican President and you've got the Army Times flaming your ass, you have a major problem. For those of us who enjoy watching you twist in the wind, however, this is an unadulterated pleasure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I don't do funerals
So how contemptuous of the American military is George W. Bush? The New York Times' Frank Rich nailed the Resident dead to rights recently on CNN when he pointed out that Bush did not attend the funerals of Iraq War casualties because he knew the message that such images would send to the American public. NewsMax and other scurrilous right-wing sob sisters immediately attacked Rich, but so far none of them have published a single photo of George W. Bush attending a military funeral for an Iraq War casualty. You can tell the White House has been stung deeply by Rich's criticism. They've deployed Condoleezza Rice to deny the truth. Condi gets to run interference in cases like this because the White House thinks her race and gender make it much less likely that reporters will stand up and challenge her on-screen and in print. They apparently don't realize that for every critic like Frank Rich, they've got dozens of journalists so intimidated or mobbed up with the GOP that they never really have to worry about scandal. Journos outside the Beltway incestathon, however, aren't sitting still for Bush's obvious lack of care for the lives of American service members in Iraq. Try here, here and here for great commentary about George W. Bush's criminal disdain for our men and women in uniform. Oh, what the hell! Read this, this and this as well.
Veteran's Day Special
The Felonious Elephant would like to thank all the men and women -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- who have sacrificed so much -- in some cases, their lives -- in military service to this nation. You answered the call to public service and we support the idea that veterans deserve the support and recognition due them.

Our current Commander-in-Chief play-acted the role of military officer. George W. Bush used his father's political influence to wangle a fighter pilot's job with the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Bush's appointment over a hundred far more qualified applicants ensured that he would never have to face physical danger in Vietnam. He then added insult to injury by deserting his post for an entire year, using his dad's political connections once more to avoid court martial. Wanna see for yourself? You can read documentation of Bush's shameful cowardice here, here, here (although I think Cecil Adams lets Bush off the hook when he says Bush-as-deserting-coward is nonsense), here (track back to the index page at this site after reading this page. A great site!) and here.

Bush's own dodgy history of military service may go a ways in explaining his administration's openly indifferent and often hostile attitude toward military veterans and current service members. Democratic presidential candidates are taking the opportunity of today's focus on veterans to remind voters that Bush has butchered veterans services since being appointed to office by the U.S. Supreme Court. Veterans groups, in return, have worked with Democrats on Capitol Hill to force the Republican-controlled Congress to abandon its support of the Bush war on veterans and support instead support programs that benefit them, as well as current service members. If you want to get a feel for the Bush Administration's contempt for vets, check this out.

This is a President and a political party that doesn't give a damn about taking care of military veterans, current service members or their families. Let's hope that, come next Veterans Day, the American people -- including veterans -- have seen fit to remove this disgraceful coward and his fellow draft-dodging chickenhawks from office.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Blog of the Week
Check out the Elephant's vote for the League of Liberals Blog of the Week Clareified: Death By Invitation.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Connecticut Governor finally acknowleges Enron ties
Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland, currently facing a federal criminal probe related to corruption in the state's trash authority, has admitted that he stayed in close contact with Enron chief Ken Lay during an experimental trash authority project carried out in conjunction with Enron. Rowland was forced to acknowledge his ties to Lay after an internal Enron e-mail and accompanying memo surfaced outlining the extent of Rowland's ties to the failing energy company. Up until the e-mail and memo leak, Rowland had publicly insisted that he never met with or spoke to Lay about Enron's dealings with the trash authority. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has called the authority's Enron deal "a $220 million illegal loan" by the state trash authority to "a politically connected corporation." Enron ponied up $60,000 for the Republican Governors Association, headed by Rowland, a few days after he and Lay first discussed the joint fuel cell project. Connecticut's Journal Inquirer brings you the full story. This is great journalism and it puts many of the state's other news outlets to shame.
Family-values Rethug nailed in strip club pay-offs
Former Las Vegas cop and city councilman Lance Malone was, by all accounts, a far-right zealot and God-fearin' Mormon during his years as a public servant. But Malone found Mammon in a big way after being hired as a lobbyist by strip club proprietor Michael Galardi. He now faces racketeering charges in Nevada and California for his "lobbying," which basically involved paying off city council members in Las Vegas, San Diego and Palm Springs. Galardi turned state's evidence this year and helped prosecutors bury his former lobbyist and the public officials who took money from him. Malone was indicted yesterday along with two other Las Vegas council members (one of whom is still in office). This will make for fascinating coverage on Court TV. More background on Malone and the federal probe that nailed him here and here.
Sanitized for the GOP's protection
God forbid that George W. Bush should have to actually experience dissent first-hand. Which is why the administration has been vigorously buggering the First Amendment for nearly four years by keeping anyone even remotely appearing to dissent from the Rethug Party line from an event where Bush is in attendance. Instead, anyone who doesn't want to show up and kiss the President's ass has to ride out his visits in "free-speech zones," well-policed public areas far removed from Bush's physical presence. Now, a South Carolina war protester has subpoened administration officials to testify at his upcoming trial for entering a restricted area. This is a federal beef, filed after the State of South Carolina dropped trespassing charges against Brett Bursey. Bursey was busted at the Columbia, S.C., airport for waving an anti-Bush sign. Other waving pro-Bush signs at the same place were not arrested or removed from the airport grounds. Bursey, age 55, has subpoened U.S. Attorney General John "Crisco Kid" Ashcroft and presidential advisor Karl "The Weeble" Rove to testify at his trial about the White House's actions to smother open dissent and why it decided to go after Bursey when the state balked. Catch Brett Bursey's good fight here.
True Dem hero takes on environmental regulation
You might want to remember the name of Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, Attorney General of the State of New York, has spent the past three years tackling crimes that federal law enforcement wouldn't. Spitzer has been the scourge of Wall Street, investigating and prosecuting brokers, brokerages, corporate officers and others for high-dollar financial crimes. Spitzer's "kill" ratio been phenomenal, especially given the fact that he was ordered by the Republican-controlled Securities and Exchange Commission not to conduct these investigations. Spitzer, basically daring the SEC to try and stop him, carried on. The SEC, embarassed by Spitzer's success and its own unfavorable comparison in the media, didn't push the issue any further.

Spitzer has now opened a new front -- investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes that the Environmental Protection Agency under Bush appointees is not willing to look into. In fact, the EPA appears to be ready to drop a large number of pending prosecutions for violations of the Clean Air Act. And Spitzer is making no bones about his willingness to pick up the EPA's slack. "By saying they won't proceed, they're saying, 'Never mind.' They're saying, 'Get out of jail free,''' Eliot Spitzer told the Associated Press. "I'm saying, 'We're happy to do your work for you. If you don't wish to bring these cases, we will.' These are good cases. We'll take the cases they've let slide.'' Thank you for standing up for the law, Mr. Spitzer! Read more here.

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