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Archive for January 9th, 2009

Illinois House Votes to Impeach Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich holds press confernce Friday After Impeachment Vote

Gov. Blagojevich holds press conference Friday After Impeachment Vote

The Blago circus continued today, and frankly, it was not a good day for him.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The Illinois House of Representatives on Friday voted almost unanimously to impeach embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
A monitor shows Speaker Michael Madigan as the Illinois House debates the governor’s impeachment Friday.
The vote was 114-1, with three representatives not voting.
The matter now moves to the state Senate, which will try the case. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to remove the governor from office.
Blagojevich’s actions “show a public servant who is prepared to turn public service into an avenue for private benefit,” the chairwoman of the House impeachment committee, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said at the start of Friday’s impeachment debate.
“They show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois.”
For Full Story

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Burris Appointment Legit (CNN)

Hello Houston, We’ve Got a Problem: Feds Bust NASA Scientist With Child Porn on Work Computer

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Not a good way to start the New Year.

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

The first criminal case of 2009 out of the Greenbelt office of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Alfred B. Schultz, a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with looking at child pornography on a NASA computer last August. A criminal information–a document filed when a defendant in a case has waived indictment–was filed in federal court against Schultz on Jan. 5.
“I don’t know what happened,” Schultz tells City Paper in a Jan. 8 phone conversation about the accusation. “They said I looked at porn sites, and I don’t remember doing it. I may have done some of it, but I don’t remember.”
Schultz says he first learned of the investigation during the first week of December. He says he has a lawyer and is going to see the prosecutor in mid-February.
He also says he has talked to family members about the charges.
“They think I may have been depressed for about a year now,” he says. “I’m going to try to straighten this out. I’m going to see a psychiatrist.”
For Full Story

Read 1-page Criminal Information

A.G. Nominee Holder Repeatedly Pushed to Get 1999 Clemency for 16 Members of Violent Puerto Rican Nationalist Groups

Eric Holder may be one of the more low-key nominees in the Obama administration, but his confirmation hearing promises to be anything but low key.

Eric Holder/law firm photo

Eric Holder/law firm photo

By Josh Meyer and Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.
Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now. The new details are of particular interest because Republican senators have vowed to revisit Holder’s role during his confirmation hearings next week.
Holder had no comment for this article, but a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team said Holder’s actions were appropriate.
For Full Story

Fed Probe into Gov. Richardson Case Gives Rare Glimpse into Wrongdoing in Municipal Bond Biz

Gov. Richardson

Gov. Richardson

More dirt on the financial dealings in this country can’t make us feel very good.

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
New York Times

The federal investigation that prompted Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary offers a rare glimpse into a long-simmering investigation of possible bid-rigging, tax evasion and other wrongdoing throughout the municipal bond business.
Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year.
For Full Story

House Votes to Continue Purusing U.S. Atty. Firings

Administrations are changing. But Congress still wants to get to the bottom of the U.S. Attorney firings that tarnished the Justice Department.

By Lisa Mascaro
Las Vegas Sun
WASHINGTON – The untold story of the firing of Nevada’s former U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden may yet be unraveled. The House on Tuesday voted to continue a lawsuit seeking testimony from the Bush administration about the politicizing of the Justice Department.
As part of a routine package of rules governing the opening of the new Congress, the House agreed to continue the lawsuit it brought last year after President George W. Bush’s former officials ignored subpoenas to produce documents and appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
The move by the Democratic-controlled House is an assertion of congressional authority after several years of what scholars see as executive branch overreach by the Bush administration.
Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley said Congress should do no less.
“A very fine U.S. attorney from the state of a Nevada was unceremoniously removed for no reason – I would like to know why, I would like it top be made public and I would like those responsible punished,” Berkley said. “By passing this rule we have assured this will be done.”
For Full Story


OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blackberries, Satellite Phones, Gmail: Terrorist Tools in the 21st Century

Satellite phones and caves. Blackberries and 8th Century ideology. Welcome to terrorism in the 21st century.

By Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com

Following the Islamic terror attack in Mumbai, India in November, it was revealed that the tech-savvy terrorists used BlackBerries and Google Earth satellite-imaging to plan and carry out their atrocities.
It was the latest example of the West’s enemies employing 21st century technology to spread its 8th century ideology. It is also the most visible manifestation of a phenomenon that first came to the fore on September 11, 2001, and is spreading under the radar of ordinary people. Experts, however, are increasingly concerned about the spread of jihadist jujitsu – that is, of Muslim terrorists’ use of Western technology to destroy the West itself.
For example, the monitoring service SITE Intelligence Group revealed last month that Islamic extremists are being instructed on how to use the popular video-sharing site YouTube as a way to disseminate propaganda videos.
For Full Story

WOW! Hard to Believe You Can Spend So Much Time Behind Bars Without Being Criminally Charged

It’s hard to believe you can spend such long stretches behind bars without ever being charged with a crime. But here’s some tales.

By ASHBY JONES
The Wall Street Journal

One can spend a long time in jail in the U.S. without ever being charged with a crime.
It happened to H. Beatty Chadwick, a former Philadelphia-area lawyer, who has been behind bars for nearly 14 years without being charged.
Businessman Manuel Osete spent nearly three years in an Arizona jail without ever receiving a criminal charge. And investment manager Martin Armstrong faced a similar situation when he was held for more than six years in a Manhattan jail.
All three men were jailed for civil contempt, a murky legal concept. Some scholars say it is too often abused by judges, to the detriment of those charged and their due-process rights. “These results of too many civil-contempt confinements are flatly outrageous and often unconstitutional,” says Jayne Ressler, a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

For Full Story

Dept. of Homeland Security to Move East of the River in D.C.

If any place in the city could use a fresh injection of life it’s Anacostia, the city’s often forgotten section.

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — After years of battling historic preservationists, the federal government won approval yesterday to build a massive headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security on a 176-acre hilltop site east of the Anacostia River.
The $3.4 billion headquarters would be one of the largest construction projects in the Washington area since the Pentagon was built in the 1940s. Advocates say it would generate economic activity in one of the city’s poorer corners and provide a secure workplace for 14,000 Homeland Security employees scattered across the Washington area.
For Full Story