While Congress, press and bloggers have concentrated on the 8 (or maybe 9 if you count Minnesota) fired US Attorneys, it has always seemed to me that the really big story is that of the vast majority US Attorneys who were not fired and who, by their conduct, proved themselves to be â€œloyal Bushies.â€ What did the loyal Bushies do? Well, it appears that one answer seems to be emerging.
In Wisconsin, US Attorney Steven M Biskupic, a well-regarded career prosecutor was, it appears on the â€œto be firedâ€ list. He was saved from life in the private sector at the last minute it appears. Why do you think? What did he do, if anything, to demonstrate his loyalty? Did he, perhaps, indict a Democrat in a setting which threatened to change the course of an election?
Well, as it happens, he did. Biskupic caused a Grand Jury to indict Wisconsin state civil servant Georgia Thompson for a contract steering charge which seemed to implicate the stateâ€™s Democratic Governor Jim Doyle while the 2006 elections were going on. (The claim was that Thompson had awarded a contract for state employee travel to one agency because its owners were Doyle contributers.) Biskupic secured a conviction and, harshly, Thompson was imprisoned while her appeal was pending.
At oral argument, four months later, the appellate judges took the view that the case was (in the words of one of them) â€œbeyond thin.â€ Instantly after oral argument, the US Court of Appeals took the extraordinary step of ordering the immediate release of Ms Thompson and directed an order a acquittal. (The order is here and an audio file of oral argument is here for those of you who want to know what appellate defense attorneys dream of).
mole333 mentioned Chris Owens's TV show, Inside the Congressional Black Caucus (iCBC, the lower case "i" is part of the logo and intentional), in a December blog, but the launch was delayed until now.
iCBC airs Mondays 9 PM and Midnight Eastern Standard Time on the Black Family Channel (152 on Time Warner in NYC, see your local listings elsewhere). iCBC is scheduled to premiere on April 30 with footage of California Congressperson Maxine Waters and Michigan representative John Conyers and an interview with the Rev Jesse Jackson.
Chris Owens, the Harvard and Princeton educated son of former Brooklyn, NY Congressperson Major Owens and a 2006 Congressional Candidate himself in the frequently discussed in the Daily Gotham 11th CD race, is the co-host and executive producer. Chris isn't the only Owens with a TV career, brother Geoffrey played Elvin on the Cosby show.
iCBC is a joint production effort of the Black Educational Network (BEN, Which he co-founded) through iCBC Productions LLC and historically black college University of the District of Columbia, UDC). UDC also provides production facilities for Washington DC Cable Channel 98. read more »
I wrote about this yesterday, but I am revisiting it with the smoking gun letter uploaded rather than just linking as a PDF. I want to emphasize that this is a scan of the letter sent by the company that makes the voting machines Sarasota County used warning of a glitch. This warning was ignored by Kathy Dent, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections. The result was an election with an unprecedented, and HIGHLY suspicious, 18,000 vote undercount for Congress and that undercount is believed by election experts to have changed the outcome of the election, essentially stealing the election from Democrat Christine Jennings. Here's the letter:
This letter suggests a specific action...which the Sarasota election board NEVER ACTED UPON. Furthermore, posters were sent by the company that were meant to be posted at each polling place to warn voters of the delay. The posters were never posted. Finally, and probably criminally, Kathy Dent never released this letter when Christine Jennings' legal team filed a letter of discovery. That essentially is a cover up. read more »
We all saw with horror as yet another Florida election was mired in uncertainty and missing votes. A whopping 18,000 votes for Congress in the FL-13 Congressional race disappeared, mostly from Democratic districts. This is an almost unprecedented undervote that raises red flags that SOMETHING went seriously wrong with that election. This is further evidence that touchscreen voting machines are just too unreliable. And many elections experts agree that the results of the election were affected by this undervote and, had those votes been properly recorded, the Democratic candidate, Christine Jennings, would have won.
But...it looks like the Florida election board had full warning there was a problem and were even offered a patch but IGNORED IT. Then they tried covering it up.
According to a letter dated August 15th (PDF from the Christine Jennings campaign) from the company that made the machines used in FL-13 to the Florida elections board, a problem had been identified that gave a slow response time on the computer, slower than what a voter would expect. The letter claims that this would not affect the integrity of the vote (covering their asses) but it is likely that this kind of delay could lead to a voter being out of sync with the computer and would be exactly the kind of thing that could lead to an unrecorded vote. If the computer takes too long to respond, and the voter has moved on, then a vote will go unrecorded. It warrants further investigation to see if the delay is the cause of the undervote. read more »
Power affects the people we elect in odd ways. Two examples:
One of the people I met with Tuesday while lobbying the Legislature for smaller class sizes in NYC, was my Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh. He ran an anti-establishment campaign in the Democratic party primary, has long progressive service at the City Council. I thought he'd be a fire-eater, a dragon slayer. He wasn't he carefully explained that, in his view, this was not the year to make a stand for smaller classes and that the legislature could revisit the issue in years to come. Mind you, a perfectly reasonable position. He saw no urgency in reigning in Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Klein.
Mr. Kavanaugh's low key response reminded me of a disturbing email I got from my favorite Congress Member: John Hall. There, he explained to me that "I didn't run for Congress to cast a protest vote; I ran to change the course of our country." Further he said he would not vote with the Congressional "Out of Iraq" caucus and would support Speaker Pelosi's somewhat confused (in my, extremist, view) to end the war in Iraq.
I, of course, want the politicians I vote for or campaign on behalf of, to use their office as a soap-box on which they can take courageous stands. Both of these guys have been in office only a few weeks and they are already sounding as timid as Chris Quinn has become. She, at least, has gotten to wield some actual power. read more »