by Jeffrey Toobin
Since the midterm elections, President Barack Obama has been acting as if he feels liberated from parochial political concerns. After taking action on immigration, Cuba, and climate change, he should take on another risky, if less well-known, challenge by commuting the prison sentence of Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama.
Siegelman, a Democrat, served a single term in office, from 1999 to 2003, in the last days before Alabama turned into an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent the subsequent decade dealing with the fallout from the case that landed him in prison—a case that, at its core, is about a single campaign contribution. Siegelman ran for office on a promise to create a state lottery to fund education in Alabama. The issue went to a ballot question, and Richard Scrushy, a prominent health-care executive, donated five hundred thousand dollars to support the pro-lottery campaign. (Voters rejected the lottery.) After Scrushy had given the first half of his contribution, Siegelman reappointed him to Alabama’s Certificate of Need Review Board (the CON Board), which regulates health care in the state. Scrushy had served on the CON Board through the administrations of three different governors. The heart of the case against Siegelman came down to a single conversation that he had with Nick Bailey, a close aide of the Governor’s, about a two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar check from Scrushy for the lottery campaign. As summarized by the appeals court:
Bailey testified that after the meeting, Siegelman showed him the check, said that it was from Scrushy and that Scrushy was “halfway there.” Bailey asked “what in the world is he going to want for that?” Siegelman replied, “the CON Board.” Bailey then asked, “I wouldn’t think that would be a problem, would it?” Siegelman responded, “I wouldn’t think so.”
by Elaine Povich
With all the attention focused on California’s water woes, an observer might conclude that the Golden State’s drought is the exception. It isn’t. Forty states expect to see water shortages in at least some areas in the next decade, according to a government watchdog agency.
In a 2013 survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), state water managers from around the country said they expect freshwater shortages to continue into the next decade, even under what they described as “average” conditions. If those conditions change—whether because of rapid population growth, unusually low snowfall or rainfall, or accelerated economic growth—the situation could worsen.
The Vatican will host an international climate change summit involving some of the world’s leading climate scientists and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, reported The Huffington Post.
Despite Vatican and papal involvement in the summit, conservative Catholics are alarmed at the Catholic church’s involvement in the issue.
We all remember the controversy that erupted during the 2000 presidential elections when Florida votes were too close to call and forced a recount. Bush ended up winning Florida and, ultimately, the election.
During this time, George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, was the governor of Florida. Considering this, Jeb had a role in the Florida recount, reported TruthOut.
by Roxana Hegeman
A Wichita State University mathematician sued the top Kansas election official Wednesday, seeking paper tapes from electronic voting machines in an effort to explain statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts across the country.
by Eric Boehlert
Less than one week into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and it’s a blurry image from a fast-food restaurant security video that’s emerged as the defining media image. After “news” broke that Clinton, en route to Iowa to meet with voters, stopped in at an Ohio Chipotle for lunch and that the order was captured on film, the press corps basically went bonkers, treating it like a Tupac sighting and going all-in with fevered reporting.
by Cassandra Fairbanks
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has provided new details in the case of two Albuquerque police officers who are under investigation for brutality after allegedly beating a homeless man on March 20. According to Brandenburg, the person who reported the assault was a police cadet who has since resigned.
by Jonathan Spicer
(Reuters) – The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago.
Some market technicians have transferred from New York and others were hired at the office housed in the Chicago Fed, according to several people familiar with the build-out that began about two years ago, after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan.
What in the world are the elite up to? In recent days, we have learned that the New York Fed is moving a lot of operations to Chicago because of concerns about what a “natural disaster” could do, the federal government is buying 62 million rounds of ammunition commonly used in AR-15 semi-automatic rifles for “training” purposes, and NORAD is moving back into Cheyenne Mountain because it is “EMP-hardened”. In addition, government authorities have scheduled a whole host of unusual “training exercises” all over the nation. So are the elite doing all of this in order to prepare for something really BIG, or should we just chalk up all of this strange activity to rampant government paranoia?
“While We Were Sleeping”
Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD
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