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Friday, January 30, 2004

Evolution is a "buzzword"?
Georgia School Superintendent Kathy Cox doesn't want people getting all hung up on phraseology when it comes to educating her state's children. That's why she has moved to strike the term "evolution" from the state's textbooks. Cox, a Republican, says she doesn't want knuckle-dragging Georgia Bible-bangers spazzing out over the word itself when the concept of evolution can easily be taught without reference to what exactly it is the childrens will be learning. How about "life-form spontaneous organization and development-type-related programs," Kathy? Catch the latest attempt by the right to cater to the nutwing Religious Right by intellectually impoverishing an entire state's children here. Kathy Cox's mea culpa can be found here. By the way, Cox also brags on her department's web site about developing curriculum standards based on those used in Japan -- a country whose public school system relies on rote memorization and refuses to teach students about its genocidal actions during World War II.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Der Oktoputz caught in campaign law violation
The blogging software is fucking up tonight and this is the third time I have written this entry, so I'm gonna make it short and sweet: Arnold Schwarzenegger, $4.5 million in bank loans to his campaign and a state judge who ruled that what he did was illegal. Leaven that with a jab about whether California voters are ready to admit buyers' remorse. Read about it here and here.
Repression 'R Us
U.S. Attorney General John "Kid Crisco" Ashcroft is back in the news today, telling the world that C+ Augustus will veto a bill that deletes some of the more offensive parts of the U.S. Patriot Act if said legislation reaches his desk. For more on how this religious nut and his draft-dodging boss (fuck you, Peter Jennings) plan to continue their bludgeoning assault on your personal freedoms, read here.
What appearance of impropriety?
One of the more irritating hypocrisies of the Republican Party is its pathological fascination with telling people how to act and think, then ignoring its own dictates. Tonight's case in point is U.S. Representative Billy Tauzin (R-Louisiana), who got his nuts roasted yesterday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California). It seems Tauzin, who carried major water for Big Pharmaceutical during closed-door negotiations that led to the recent Medicare rip-off bill in the House, will be leaving Congress at the end of this term to head up the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association. It's one of the top lobbying jobs inside the Beltway. Tauzin, of course, doesn't give a shit about how this log-rolling of his looks. I have to say I have been impressed with Pelosi's leadership in the House. The Dem caucus there has grown a visible spine under her guidance and is showing signs of party discipline. The Senate, meanwhile, is still stuck with Tom Daschle.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Pigboy's proffer rejected by prosecutors
Synthetic heroin fiend Rush "Why Would Anyone in Their Right Mind Let Me Near a Microphone Now?" Limbaugh is still convulsing through the justice system. It seems Rush's attorney offered to send his client to drug counseling in exchange for Palm Beach County prosecutors not prosecuting The Big, Fat Idiot on charges of doctor shopping. No deal. The D.A. wants Pigboy to plead out to the felony charges and he'll get three years' probation, drug counseling and random drug testing. Get the details here. Now, what kind of person tries to cut deals with prosecutors? Guilty people, that's who. Why is Rush not racing to embrace what would be a sweetheart deal for you and me? Because then he'd be a convicted felon -- not exactly the kind of guy you want as the standard-bearer for the Republican Party, although it only increases his GOP street cred in my opinion. I think a more basic problem is keeping Limbaugh from taking the prosecutors' deal: he hasn't got a hope in hell of passing random drug tests for the next three years and he knows it.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Janklow draws 100 days in jail
Former South Dakota U.S. Rep. William Janklow will serve only 100 days in jail for killing a motorcyclist after running a stop sign in his native state last year. This is a complete travesty. It is also a sad commentary on how Republicans preach law and order, but don't submit themselves to it. Read about it here, here and, especially, here where grown adults try to make excuses for the fact that a poor man can't get justice in South Dakota.
Ex-CIA officers ask Congress to investigate Plame leak
The White House can't be pleased with the news today that a group of former CIA officers is formally petitioning Congress to investigate who in the Bush Administration leaked the name of an undercover CIA expert in retaliation for her husband's public denunciations of C+ Augustus' lies about Saddam Hussein procuring uranium from Niger. Sleazeball columnist Robert Novak -- goddamnit, Carville, would you please reach over there and punch the smug fucker in the jaw? -- leaked Valerie Plame's name in print last summer after being given it by the Bushies. Novak is apparently unaware of the functional definition of treason. Anyways, here's another Republican crime which won't be aggressively investigated by the press. After all, they have their work cut out for them making fun of Howard Dean's speech Monday night.
One more incredible GOP crime for D.C. press corps to ignore
Remember last fall when a handful of Republican flunkies working for the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee got caught hacking into the servers of Democratic committee members? Well, the criminal investigation into the case has ballooned enormously and one of the primary targets may be Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Nick Confessore at The American Prospect says half the reporters in Washington spent the morning sending this Boston Globe story to the other half. Confessore seems to think (scroll down a bit) this story has legs. Maybe if it also involved Bill Clinton and blow jobs. Otherwise, the D.C. press corps will prefer to stay the hell out of it, thank you very much. Someone please do all of us a favor and clue Nick in gently.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Visit The Felonious Tycoon
Well, I did it. I created a new blog to track tales of corporate crime and evil-doing. Please visit The Felonious Tycoon.
FEC bitchslaps God's Anointed One
U.S. Attorney General John "King Crisco" Ashcroft was handed a stinging rebuke by the Federal Elections Commission last month. The FEC fined the Oily One $37,000 for improperly accepting a $110,000 campaign donation from a committee set up by Ashcroft to explore a Presidential bid. No, I am not making this up. You'll note that two Republicans on the commission wanted to excuse away Ashcroft's violation of the law. Hey, has anyone noticed that scandal involving Ashcroft is always of the nickel-and-dime, small-town hustler variety? Truly, he is a pygmy among gods of fraud as a member of the Bush Administration. Check it out here. EP V gets another "We're Not Worthy!" for spotting this one.
Second Amendment excuses desertion
Missouri State Representative Steve Dolan, a Republican, deserted his active duty post at Guantanamo, Cuba, last September. Now, most of the time, the U.S. Armed Forces frowns on desertion. But, it's okay in this instance because Dolan was needed back home in Jefferson City so he could cast a vote overriding the governor's veto of a law permitting Missourians to carry concealed weapons. The Pentagon found it in its heart to let bygones be bygones and issued Dolan a written reprimand rather than court-martialing his ass. Check it out here, with ass-covering by major players here and here. Thanks to Frank J. S for tipping me to this particular outrage.
Anti-gay pastor convicted of soliciting 14 year-old boy
There's a reason why Republicans are fixated on sexuality and it's usually Freudian and in your face. Case in point, the Rev. Craig White. White, whose spiritual mission for years was aimed at denigrating gays and lesbians on college campuses in the Philadelphia area, was convicted last week of soliciting sex from a 14 year-old boy. Police in West Chester arrested the molesting evangelist after he offered the kid $20 for sex. Shame, shame, shame. Thanks to EP V for updating us on this story, which I originally carried sometime last fall.
Wing-nuts v. Crooks: A GOP slug-fest
A band of concerned Republicans in Fairfield County, Ohio, has launched a take-over of the county's party central committee. Their beef? That the current leadership has acted unethically (no, I don't know what that means to a Republican. Maybe someone declined to steal the gold coins from a dead man's eyes). It's a glorious mess involving a Republican judge currently jailed on charges of arson, reports of sexual harrassment and close to a dozen embarrassing statements by people on both sides of the dispute who ought to know better. Fairfield County Dems, you have no excuse for not demolishing these idiots in November.
This stone will roll
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, City Councilman Vernon Robinson celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, Birthday by plopping a one-ton granite boulder with the Ten Commandments chiseled into it on the grounds of city hall. Vernon, as you have no doubt leapt to assume, is a Republican and has aspirations to higher office, notably North Carolina's Fifth District U.S. Congress seat. The rest of the city council, which has been plagued by Robinson's erratic behavior since he was first elected in the late 90's, wasted no time in ordering the rock removed. Robinson didn't get permission to put his boulder in front of city hall, saying he didn't know what the process for doing so was. Get a gander at Robinson's campaign site and you'll get some idea of the egomaniacal madness which drives this man to pursue national office.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

A blog for corporate criminals?
I'm thinking about starting a new blog to track stories of corporate corruption and crime. The Elephant will continue on regardless, but I would like some feedback about the idea of the new blog. I don't want to do it if no one's going to read it.
Let them eat cake
Last week's announcement of a merger between J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One will cost 10,000 employees of the merged firms their jobs. Morgan Chair and CEO William Harrison and Bank One CEO Jaime "I Have Hair Like Andy Fastow" Dimon hearkened back to the good old days of Social Darwinism by telling reporters that only the best employees will keep their jobs. Most of the lost jobs will come from Bank One's current Chicago headquarters. Anyone with a rational explanation of why all the dead wood in one large company is located in one geographical location should forward it to me for analysis and statistical ridicule. Here's the "you're outta here" news. You'll also want to know all about Mr. "Did I Mention My Hair Looks Like Andy Fastow's?" Dimon's professional past, since it will likely be relevant in the subsequent criminal investigations arising from the merger. Get to know this cute and cuddly little barricuda in pinstripes here and here. The Morgan Chase-Bank One merger is already off to a profoundly Republican start. Regulators at the Chicago Board Options Exchange have launched a criminal probe into what looks like insider trading activity immediately preceding the public announcement of the merger. The SEC says it will also launch an investigation as soon as New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer shames it into action. (Yeah, I'm kidding, but not by much) MSN has a great, detailed account of what happened to set off the insider trading alarm bells.
Bankers back away from padding their nests
Blumenthal gets a second attaboy this week for nailing the New Haven Savings Bank's sneaky attempt to funnel stock options to its top officers and board members as part of its merger with Savings Bank of Manchester and Tolland Bank. Options have played a crucial role in nearly every one of the major corporate scandals of the past four years. NHSB removed the options plan in a revised filing with the Connecticut Department of Banking last week. The bank reserved the right to re-instate the options plan at some point following the merger. Blumenthal is pushing the state banking commissioner to declare a seven-year moratorium on any such plan as part of the merger approval. Check it out here.
Taking the gas pipe
The Elephant comes to you on the road tonight from Charlotte, North Carolina. Since we're in one of the most right-wing Republican areas of the South and in one of the region's high-finance powerhouses, let's focus on corporate-related scandal. First up, this story from today's New Haven, Conn., Register. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has launched a criminal investigation into a near-black-out of electrical power across the state Thursday. Blumenthal says power companies sold their stocks of natural gas on the open market to take advantage of sky-rocketing prices on the spot market. Those stocks of natural gas would otherwise have been used to produce electricity for cities, towns and rural areas across the state during the on-going cold wave in New England. Instead, the state experienced rolling black-outs beginning at mid-week. There is no excuse for endangering the lives of millions of people for a quick buck, but that's where we find ourselves in this glorious era of Republican misrule. Blumenthal, by the way, is a Democrat, which means someone might actually find themself on the hook legally for this.

Monday, January 05, 2004

French judge may indict Cheney
There is some kind of poetic justice in the notion of Vice-President Dick Cheney being hauled before the bar of justice...the bar of French justice. France's Napoleonic Code of Justice gives independent magistrates sweeping powers to conduct their own independent investigations of alleged crimes. Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke made his bones in the 1990s investigating domestic corporate scandals. This past October, he announced that he was investigating a $6 billion project involving Halliburton (a Cheney-controlled corporation that has been graced with no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq by the Bush Administration), the government of Nigeria and a French petroleum engineering firm, Technip. On Dec. 22, Ruymbeke officially notified the French Justice Ministry that Cheney was a target of his investigation and could be indicted. The corporate-controlled, Republican-friendly Washington press corps hasn't breathed a word of the investigation. But, thanks to the good folks at The Nation, you can get up to speed on this important story here.
Why wait for facts when rumor will do?
Legislatures are often referred to as "deliberative bodies." Deliberation suggests contemplation before action -- looking before leaping in making laws. Not in California, where voters recently embraced a serial fondler with an Austrian accent as their new governor. In the newly-defined California style of governance, Republican Assemblyman Dave Cogdill of Modesto stands as an exemplar of what it means to be a leader in LaLa Land these days. Cogdill managed to ram through changes in the state's insurance laws based on a rumor that Scott Peterson had killed his wife, Lacy, in order to cash in on her life insurance -- a policy he reportedly took out on her without her knowledge. The only problem is that the rumor wasn't true. In California, as on this side of the reality divide, insurance companies don't write major league life insurance policies without requiring that the insured undergo a physical first. There's no way Peterson could have taken out a large policy on his wife without her knowing it. But, hey, it's okay, right? Just a bit of static. Happens to anyone. Except for the fact that Cogdill continued to embellish the rumor with made-up details while lobbying for his bill, even after he knew none of it was true. Read it for yourself here and here. Be sure to take a look at the thumbnails of Cogdill in both stories. He looks like the love child of U.S. Attorney General John "King Crisco" Ashcroft and Tom DeLay.
And, yes, Virginia, there is a Texas...
Now here's a great example of why we don't want the United States to devolve into a larger version of the state of Texas (and why we can depend on Lone Star Republicans to provide us with great examples of hypocrisy and criminal behavior). Republican Sky Sudderth, 35th District Attorney, has filed to run against incumbent Democratic Judge Stephen Ellis. Sudderth has quite a resume. Ellis filed charges of contempt of court against him last year for lying. Another judge heard the case and Sudderth was convicted. Last month, Sudderth was indicted on felony charges of aggravated perjury and tampering with records and evidence. Where else in the U.S. can a Republican do this shit and still run for higher office? Read about it here and here.
Pigboy wins reprieve on medical records
Artificial heroin fiend Rush "Pigboy" Limbaugh won a temporary victory today in a Florida court. Limbaugh is trying to keep law enforcement authorities from reading his personal medical records. The records were seized late last year during an investigation of Limbaugh's doctor-shopping for narcotics prescriptions. Limbaugh's mouthpieces won a 15-day stay on opening the records, time they plan to use to appeal an earlier judicial decision that would have allowed investigators to read the seized files. In what may be an appropriate gesture, the Miami Herald ran the story in today's edition in its Entertainment Section. Take a gander at the Palm Beach Post update. Limbaugh's neighbors must be praying fervently that either the scandal or Rush himself go away as soon as possible. And if Bill Press says your morphinated messiah is a whinging crybaby, dildo-heads, then the worm has surely turned.

Friday, January 02, 2004

GOP judge-elect busted for fondling moppet
Mark Pazuhanich, a former district attorney elected to a Monroe County, Pa., county judgeship, is keeping folks guessing about whether or not he will take the office he was elected to in November, 2003. Pazuhanich, being a hip family values Republican, took his daughter to a Hilary Duff concert last fall during which he allegedly fondled a 10 year-old girl. Yech! Just the kind of guy we need upholding the law in Pennsylvania! In the interest of full disclosure, the Elephant doesn't believe in child molestation at all, but we are waiting for the Olsen twins to turn 18 so we won't feel so icky fantasizing about them doing porn. Read about Pazuhanich's shame -- or lack thereof --
here, here and here. Once more...yech! Christ, dude, how can you take office after doing something like that?
Back in the saddle
Pickings were kind of lean in December here, mostly due to the holidays and an ongoing family medical emergency. Now that January is here, I can spend more time updating the Elephant.
You, too, can pledge to Dump Rowland
No sooner do I get an entry about Connecticut Governor John Rowland posted than Mike Panetta writes to tell me about the Dump Rowland web site. Quickly, children of the night, go to the web site and enjoy the facts Mike has gathered there! He's making a great case for shedding the Nutmeg State of a corrupt Republican pol. Maybe the state's Democratic Party will learn something from Mike's gumption.
West won't face court martial
You may remember the case of U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Allen West, who faced court martial this past fall for firing a pistol in the direction of an Iraqi civilian he was interrogating. Lt. Col. West will not lose his career and freedom after all. The Army has decided to issue a formal, written reprimand to West and dock $5,000 of his pay. The letter in his personnel jacket will effectively end his career, but save West's retirement benefits and rank. West is currently a hot property among GOP nutwings like David Horowitz, who think the colonel is a red-blooded, all-American killing machine. They tend to overlook the fact that West turned himself in to Army authorities and voluntarily reported his violation of interrogation standards. West has never wavered from acknowledging that what he did was wrong and that he would do it again in order to protect soldiers under his command. Decide for yourself whether West is a hero or morally-conflicted human being here.
Ken Lay's GOP buddy won't go quietly
Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland has been beaten black and blue by scandal this season, despite the willingness of the state's media outlets to look the other way and Connecticut Democratic Party leadership calls to do the same thing. The latest Rowland scandal involves who paid for construction work at the Guv's vacation home. I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that contractors eager to do state work are involved in the renovations. Connecticut's Democratic Party leadership says it will wait until a meeting next Tuesday with the governor to decide whether or not to call for Rowland's impeachment. Let's hope the state's voters use this year's election to load up the state Democratic Party with elected leaders who have balls. Enjoy Rowland's misery here, here, here, here and here. Word to the Hartford Courant -- nothing pisses me off more than having to register to read a newspaper on-line, even if it is free. It's just bad business to make it difficult for users to access your product. Thanks to Copple for excellence in tracking Gov. Dirtbag and passing information on to me.
Dick's rod seized at airport
Law 'n' order Minnesota State Rep. Dick Borrell (R-Waverly) was shocked to find that he couldn't carry a pistol in his carry-on luggage during a recent flight out of Minneapolis. Borrell's gat showed up on an x-ray screen and the Republican lawmaker was briefly handcuffed. The state confiscated his derringer and slapped Dick with a misdemeanor possession charge, all much more low-key than what you and I could expect from the justice system if we tried to bootleg a pistol onto a commercial passenger plane. Dick, by the way, was indicted last March by a grand jury for publishing false statements about his opponent. Read it all here. Hey, Minnesotans -- have you noticed how crooked your political class has become in the brief period since you handed control of the state over to the Republican Party? Thanks to EP V. for this story.

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