Hulk Smash Indictment?

NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports that DOJ sources say Ted Stevens’ indictment will be dismissed this morning by AG Eric Holder.  This would, effectively, end pending criminal sentencing from Stevens’ trial.

Reportedly, it was allegations of prosecutory misconduct and the withholding of potentially exculpatory information by prosecutors on the case which thoroughly disgusted Holder:

Holder’s decision is said to be based on Stevens age — the senator is 84 — and because Stevens is no longer in the Senate. Perhaps most importantly, Justice Department officials say Holder wants to send a message to prosecutors throughout the department that actions he regards as misconduct will not be tolerated.

Holder began his career in the department’s public integrity section; and, according to sources, he was horrified by the failure of prosecutors to turn over all relevant materials to the defense….

The conduct in question is not only horrifying to competent attorneys of either side of criminal law, but also violates standards of conduct and constitutionality as laid out in the DOJ’s USAtty Manual. I’d specifically point to USAM Sec. 9.5.001(E):

…This policy encourages prosecutors to err on the side of disclosure in close questions of materiality and identifies standards that favor greater disclosure in advance of trial through the production of exculpatory information that is inconsistent with any element of any charged crime and impeachment information that casts a substantial doubt upon either the accuracy of any evidence the government intends to rely on to prove an element of any charged crime or that might have a significant bearing on the admissibility of prosecution evidence. Under this policy, the government’s disclosure will exceed its constitutional obligations….

That does not mean everything is material and required to be disclosed, but it does say that if it’s even a close call, you err on the side of handing it over. 

A constitutional right to a fair trial is the prosecutor’s duty to ensure to the extent possible. And most prosecutors I know take that responsibility very seriously.

This is far from the first time the issue of exculpatory material has been raised with federal prosecutors the last few years.  That it would occur, however, in a case that was this high profile?  Beyond stupid.

Using this case as an example of what will NOT be tolerated is as good a place to start as any for Holder. 

It is beyond disgusting that a skeezeball like Ted Stevens can walk away from all the pocket-lining he did whilst in office because the prosecutors on the case were too craven to follow basic legal principles.  But there you are.  The vaunted DOJ has fallen to such a level, and it will take an enormous amount of work to lift it back up to where it ought to be.

Here’s to much more internal review and reform to come at DOJ. 

 
145 Responses to "Hulk Smash Indictment?"
Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 05:57 am 1

Good morning Christy, thanks for this.


JimWhite | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:07 am 2

Speaking of prosecutorial misconduct, Mr. Holder, you are guilty personally for not filing charges for the known war crimes of torture.

[Good morning, Christy.]


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:09 am 3

department of just us!


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:09 am 4

Is it possible that Bush’s DOJ intentionally mucked it up so thoroughly so as to ensure this outcome?


puravida | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:09 am 5

Good morning, Christy. I still think Uncle Ted is guilty as sin but a fair trial is guaranteed by the Constitution. He should have gotten one.


puravida | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:11 am 6

Hey, wait a minute. Today’s April 1st. You wouldn’t be funnin’ us, now would you?


JimWhite | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:12 am 7
In response to puravida @ 6

Christy isn’t. But I am.


Bluetoe2 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:14 am 8

First and only rule of the plutocracy, do no harm to fellow plutocrats. OT the NY congressional race has the Blue Dog Murphy ahead by 59 votes. Too close to call but between a Blue Dog and a Republican dog does it matter who wins? Besides the Republicans will tie this up in the courts for the next 18 months. It’s a tactic that’s working very nicely for the Republicans in preventing Franken from being seated.


Bluetoe2 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:15 am 9
In response to JimWhite @ 2

Can’t count on Holder but it’s looking like we can trust the Spanish courts.


klynn | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:18 am 10
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 4

I wondered the same thing. This screams muck-up way too much.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:19 am 11
In response to Bluetoe2 @ 9

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! No, wait…


puravida | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:20 am 12
In response to JimWhite @ 7

*g*


phred | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:22 am 13

Now that Holder has established this precedent with Stevens, will he now review all the cases where DoJ misconduct led to spurious prosecutions? I’ll be much more impressed after a thorough review that includes sanctioning (up to and including firing and bar referrals for disbarment) the DoJ lawyers and staff involved in all misconduct over the lat 8 years.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:23 am 14

Morning all — had to run to the doc in a box this morning. Having some ick.
Hope everyone else is having a good morning…


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:24 am 15

Lets see what happens with Don Seiglemans case


rxbusa | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:25 am 16
In response to JimWhite @ 7

EPUed at the Swim:

good one, JW! I hope you don’t mind that I sent a link to friends in lieu of my own creation. Love the YouTube.

Good morning, all! And thanks Christy for every morning!


JimWhite | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:27 am 17
In response to rxbusa @ 16

Thanks, it’s for everyone to enjoy. My twelve year old is going to send the YouTube to friends, too. It’s hard to believe BBC had such a great sense of humor back then…


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:28 am 18
In response to phred @ 13

Pretty sure they are doing a fairly thorough review of a lot of stuff at the moment — up to and including a current fight over releasing OLC memos between Justice and CIA/DIA. That one could get interesting…


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:28 am 19
In response to foothillsmike @ 15

ahem


rxbusa | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:29 am 20
In response to Bluetoe2 @ 9

I love the Bill O’Reilly response to the action by the Spanish courts: he won’t go to Spain. Lucky Spain.

I wonder if that means that if we take some action here, he will expatriate himself in a huff.

One can hope…


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:30 am 21
In response to rxbusa @ 20

hahahaaaaha


GregB | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:35 am 22
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 4

Not only is it possible, I am sure it that is the case.

-G


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:36 am 23
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 4

I wondered about this from the start. It would be interesting to find out if the prosecutors were career hires or political appointees.


Kassandra | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:38 am 24

Well, Stevens WAS old as dirt. I didn’t think for a minute he’d be put in jail. Too bad about the indictment, tho. Too many of these people have gotten away, literally, with murder, based on technicalities; Negroponte always springs to mind if not Reagan himself


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:38 am 25

Great way to start April Fool’s Day, huh?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:40 am 26
In response to RevDeb @ 23

The lead prosecutor was a career hire, I know that — and she had a pretty good reputation for fair play among folks I talked to about her when all of this crap first started coming up. It was something that surprised people who had been opposing counsel with her among the folks I talked with, anyway — not her usual MO.

Normally, if you have an attorney who plays fast and loose, people know that going in because that’s their reputation. That wasn’t hers, which makes me wonder what kind of pressure was coming from up the chain to make this case stick or if something else may have been going on? Or if it was a plain and simple clusterfuck (it happens).


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:43 am 27

I hope you feel better soon.
I guess we’ll have to wait to see what else Holder checks out before we can make a guess at how fair this will play out.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:45 am 28

an answer to a question which produces even more questions. That’s the way of the world today, huh?

Christy, I met a nice young lady from the ACS last night at drinking liberally who was part of the planning of the event you came to Philly for. She said nice things about you—of course. Still wish I could have been there and one of these days I’ll actually take the time to watch the video. I bookmarked it.


phred | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:45 am 29

Excellent! That’s very good news, thanks Christy. I’ll admit I have an impatient temperament, but it is so difficult to know whether wheels are turning behind the scenes or whether there are still sticks being stuck in the spokes.


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:46 am 30

It may not be a career ender for the lead prosecutor but it has now reached it’s zenith.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:46 am 31
In response to demi @ 27

Drinking lots of fluids and staying warm here. Am sure I’ll be fine in no time.

Stevens, OTOH, is going to be even more of a cranky old coot than usual, I’m sure. As much as it pains me to say it, he’s earned a right to be peeved about this — even if he is a licentious, greedy old bastard with the scruples of a fox in a publicly-funded henhouse.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:47 am 32

Or if it was a plain and simple clusterfuck (it happens).

Yep, I know. “Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence.” ;)


lennonist | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:47 am 33

Using this case as an example of what will NOT be tolerated is as good a place to start as any for Holder.

Amazing the way he chose this case as an opportunity to acquire “principles.” I’m surprised that you are not outraged at the decision. I threw up a little bit when Nina T. reported that Holder was “sending a message throughout the Justice Department that this conduct will not be tolerated,” as I translated it to mean that Obama was sending a message to the inside the beltway crowd that, under his watch, conduct such as Stevens’, would be tolerated.

Let me get this straight: Prosecutions for war crimes by top administration officials who’ve admitted their deeds on television? No action by Holder’s Justice Department. Deciding whether to continue to invoke the State Secrets provision in the Al-Haramain case as to prevent having to disclose the scope of Bush Admin. warrantless wiretapping? Holder’s Justice Department decides to continue Bush Admin. policy.

But, confronted with a defense motion for a new trial after a jury verdict against a Senator caught on tape lying on his Senate disclosure forms? Go beyond what even the defense was seeking and dismiss the indictment, rationalizing this as “sending a message” to the Justice Department?

What message does failing to prosecute war crimes send? Or to continue the cover-up of an unconstitutional wiretapping program?

The message is loud and clear: Not only does “he who has the gold [get to] make[] the rules,” but he who has the gold and breaks the rules (getting caught and convicted by a jury along the way) doesn’t have to suffer through seeing them applied to him if he gets caught.


GregB | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:47 am 34

Has Mr. Holder check out the case against Don Siegleman?

-G


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:47 am 35
In response to RevDeb @ 28

The ACS folks were fantastic. As were the homemade cookies that several of the members brought along for the event. Nummy!


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:48 am 36
In response to lennonist @ 33

and you are surprised about this?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:49 am 37
In response to GregB @ 34

I don’t know on that one — I haven’t been able to get a straight answer on that question as yet. But if and when I do, you know I’ll let you guys know. *G*


GregB | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:49 am 38

checked…


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:49 am 39
In response to lennonist @ 33

Are you just now catching up to this — or did it just hit you all over again?


GregB | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:50 am 40

Thanks Christy, hope all is well.

-G


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:50 am 41

Good Morning Christy and Puppies.

What a mess! Any chance the respected career hire had her work on this case tossed by low-minded higher-ups, in hopes of de-fanging/derailing the whole effort?

“whilst” [?] *g* I can tell when you’re pi$$ed. The only redeeming feature of this whole stinking pile is that, after all, the near-felon is 84, poor slob. *blergh*

Thanks much for making the whole sordid tale nice and public. There’s some justice in that, at least.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:54 am 42
In response to Adie @ 41

Yeah, I was a little disgusted on all sides of this one, frankly. I thought you guys might pick up on that. *g*


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:55 am 43

OT of the Stevens thing, but because I know Christy cares about the children, this story of mine from yesterday.
I’d gone out to get some OTC medicine for my son who has the ick and the home remedies were not cutting it. Stopped in a little mini-mart to get him something little and fun, like I did when all my kids were young and sick. I was checking out some little plastic toy thingies with little hard candies. And, there on the same shelf was a plastic bottle with plastic yellow bb’s. Not candy. I found the manager and pointed it out to him. Yeah, so? I explained why it wasn’t a good idea, as some parents may not be sufficiently monitoring what their kids were buying. Still no reaction. I told him that if a child got those and ate them and got sick or died, that the parent might sue him and end up owning his store. That worked. He removed them. When I was out later in the day, I stopped by to make sure he hadn’t put them back out.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 06:57 am 44

Just now catching up with comments. Busy morn here.

Sorry to hear you’re coping with ick on top of everything else, Redd.

Gremlins trying to punish for daring to take a couple’a days off? Don’t let em.

Good vibes and vitamins comin’ at ya from our household, hon.


oldgold | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:00 am 45

Holder, like Geithner, has from day one has been confronted with some of the most difficult and complex problems imaginable. Problems that for the most part were not of their making. This situation should not make them immune form criticism or excuse their mistakes, but I think it should mute some of the savagery of the attacks on their early performance.


Crosstimbers | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:01 am 46

Thanks for the post Christy. I agree with your take. IANAL, but it’s the same principle as the “war against terra.” You don’t surrender the things which make you different from the enemy , in order to fight them.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:03 am 47

Ahem. Stress. Immune system. Self-care.

The preceding message brought to you my Once a Mom, Always a Mom, Inc.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:03 am 48
In response to oldgold @ 45

Given how many cases the DOJ goes through in a single year — truly, the number is staggering — and multiply that out by the last 8 years of piss poor decision-making and internal DOJ mentality revamping to fit BushCo mindset? It really is an insane lot of problems to try and tackle all at one time.

Just wrapping my brain around the civil rights division reforms that are needed, let alone OLC and the criminal division and the needed beefing-up for securities fraud and…the list is truly endless.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:04 am 49
In response to barbara @ 47

Yeah, I pretty much failed that one, didn’t I? *g*


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:04 am 50
In response to barbara @ 47

by by by (the dog ate my edit)


alank | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:05 am 51

She would’ve removed herself from the case if she had any integrity. It doesn’t add up if she were under pressure, otherwise. There’s still the opportunity for her to issue a public response that points to something other than incompetence.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:05 am 52
In response to Crosstimbers @ 46

I do feel like that has been my “rinse, lather, repeat” mantra for the past few years but, honestly, it is so fricking true: you do not become that which you fight because if you do, they win. You win by being better.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:05 am 53

Another April fool’s joke:

China, U.S. to resume discussions on human rights
Published: Today, 9:51 AM
Source: Reuters Politics
LONDON (Reuters) – The United States and China agreed in talks between presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao to resume discussions about human rights as soon as possible, the White House said on Wednesday.

Yah, we’re the ones to tall China out on human rights.

Pot.

meet.

Kettle.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:06 am 54
In response to alank @ 51

It really is a bizarrely craptastic mess. I only wish I had some inside scoop on why — but folks have been incredibly tight-lipped about particulars. All I’ve gotten is a measure of disgust about the same shit that disgusts me, but none of the whys from any source I’ve tried to tap on this.

But I’ll keep trying…because I want to know, too.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:07 am 55

You win by being better.

Dems need this tattooed inside their eyelids.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:08 am 56
In response to demi @ 43

(((demi)))

WAY. TO. GO. GRRLLLL! Tenacity with brain fully engaged despite inner rage.

Whoot! *hands bonus secret decoder badge thru toobz*

My similar experience was MANY years ago, before things like bleach were topped with safety caps. Started out trying to make polite suggestion to dense, dense managerial schnuffalooper, and things escalated just a tad before I left, still unsatisfied.
But, by gum, the cleaning supplies aisle had been re-arranged by the next day.

It pays to speak up. It pays to keep your cool. It pays to mention something in passing that’ll scare the socks off stubborn dimwits when necessary.

Yee-haw! Mommies and all others united for safe kiddies thank you!


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:09 am 57
In response to RevDeb @ 53

What are these “human rights” of which you speak? I thought only corporations had rights?

;)


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:10 am 58

If I remember correctly one of the bigger problems was the prosecution allowing a witness to return to AK. The witness could have helped the defense? Shortly after returning to AK the witness died. Was the prosecutor allowing the witness to go home to die?


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:11 am 59
In response to Adie @ 56

Must. Stay. Vigilant.
(Thanks for the badge.)


lennonist | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:14 am 60

It hit me all over again, harder this time. As much as I wish I shared your optimism that this is the type of “work” that will lift “the vaunted DOJ has … back up to where it ought to be” I see this as work that takes it down further. Granted, if this policy is carried out across the board, without regard to senatorial privilege, I’ll share your optimism that this is as a good place to start as any.

I’ll believe my eyes and not my ears when considering Holder and wait to characterize this as “work” when I see it applied to an indigent defendant convicted of conspiracy rather than partially celebrated when it’s applied to one of Obama’s former colleagues.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:15 am 61
In response to foothillsmike @ 58

If I remember correctly, they failed to notify defense counsel that the witness would be returning to Alaska, even after defense had told them they might want to recall that witness to the stand.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:15 am 62

Hypocritical scold (that would be me) needs to run to store for cold meds. April 1. Snowing. Maybe some anti-depressants, too.

Sincerely,
She who has only one senator


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:15 am 63
In response to lennonist @ 60

second that emotion.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:16 am 64
In response to barbara @ 50

and Christy (49).

Ladies, ladies, LADIES!?!

Don’t make me come down there & smack yez about in re da sensical thing.

I didn’t have the slightest problem reading yer screed(s).

Carry on. Typos keep the world tilted just so on its axis. They’re the leavening in the bread of prose.

Onward fearless warriors! No fair looking back.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:17 am 65

Mornin’ Christy and Firedogs,

fyi – Confirmation Hearing today for Judge David Hamilton, Obama’s first Appellate Court Nominee.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:17 am 66
In response to RevDeb @ 63

Good one and hi, RD.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:18 am 67
In response to cbl2 @ 65

I’ve been hearing that some GOP shenanigans may be in the offing for today. But haven’t gotten details on it just yet. If and when I do, will let you guys know…otherwise, I’ll be keeping an eye on proceedings t the extent I can today.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:19 am 68
In response to RevDeb @ 63

Hey, how are you, btw? Seems like I haven’t typed at you in ages…


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:20 am 69
In response to demi @ 59

It’s elementary, my dear watson demi. *g*


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:20 am 70
In response to Adie @ 64

(((Adie))) My father used to call me a snot-nosed kid. Today, it fits. Blow job takes on new meaning.


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:21 am 71

I heard they were going to be playing Simon Sez. *g*


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:21 am 72

How can they possibly out-do their fudge-it budget presentation of last week??? says she, breathless in anticipation.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:22 am 73
In response to barbara @ 70

HAHAHAHAHAHA Ow, that made my sinuses hurt. But it was worth it, because I’m right there with ya…


alank | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:22 am 74

From mid-February:

In a status hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan held four Justice Department lawyers in contempt for failing to turn over 33 documents related to post-trial motions in the case of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption charges in October.

The contempt finding was directed at William Welch II, chief of DOJ’s Public Integrity Section; Brenda Morris, principal deputy chief of the section and lead prosecutor in the case; trial attorney Kevin Driscoll; and Patricia Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section.

When Driscoll failed to satisfy the judge with an answer as to why the documents weren’t turned over, the judge said he was holding the Justice Department lawyers in contempt.

“Is the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?” the judge asked, bewildered.

The bewildered judge was appointed by GHWB in 1991.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:23 am 75
In response to barbara @ 70

hee hee, ahhhh. Dads and their terms of endearment that drive moms to distraction. Gotta luv it!


OrganicGeorge | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:24 am 76

Actually from a political an policy standpoint Holder’s approach makes a lot of sense.

First by releasing a Republican, it takes an issue of the Rt. Wings plate that there is a liberal witch hunt by the Obama administration. Stevens is old, out of power and quite frankly a pathetic joke, so he is no longer a threat to anyone.

Second by laying down a marker on how to proceed with FUTURE prosecutions Holder is setting the stage for how future prosecutions will be conducted. That means that when DOJ does go after the real bad criminals from the Bush administration none of those players will get off on a technicality.

Personally I would love to see the Bush/Cheney crowd put away for life. I believe that justice will be done but the current financial crisis takes top priority. I welcome the Spanish courts action and believe they will be the basis of criminal indictments in this country. From a political aspect it is probably the preferred approach considering what a sideshow the Rt wing will put on once we start to go after Dear Leader and crew.

If we are lucky enough to survive this economic crisis; there will be time to put the these criminals away, with out prosecutors screwing up basic defendants rights.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:25 am 77
In response to lennonist @ 60

sensible approach, widely shared at the Lake, ibetcha. ;->


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:26 am 78

Considering how politicized the DOJ became, it just doesn’t disappear with an election win. I’d prefer a solid foundation be built as a platform for our justice system then a house of cards that could blown away with the blow hart winds of political persecution. This seems like a good start.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:26 am 79

Solidarity!


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:27 am 80
In response to OrganicGeorge @ 76

Well said, and I was going to attempt to post a comment similar to yours. I agree 100%.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:28 am 81
In response to Millineryman @ 78

barbara’s naive question du jour:

Would/might transparency include DOJ saying/explaining/being clear about what it’s planning to do, i.e., what its goal is, or would that be counter-productive to cloak-and-daggering?


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:28 am 82
In response to barbara @ 62

only one senator. hmmm. want me to hold down the fort with some “hyPER” scolding til ya get back? I’d be more than willing! gr-r-r-r.


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:31 am 83
In response to barbara @ 70

Mom used to call me snot-nosed Brat! Things haven’t changed much. All y’all know I’m still a brat.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:31 am 84
In response to Adie @ 82

I just read that Murphy is leading Tedisco (hope I have the right names) by 65 votes or thereabouts. I feel New York’s pain!


cbl2 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:32 am 85

NYT today

apparently their only problem with Hamilton is WH moving ” too fast “

srsly?


applepie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:33 am 86

This is disgusting. This is what makes being a schoolteacher today so difficult.

How am I supposed to teach my students that crime does not pay?

Reminds me of that Yeats poem…’ the falcon cannot hear the falconer’ and once again our ‘ceremony of innocence is drowned’.

Another Exxon Mobil tool gets a free ride and we get the shaft.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:34 am 87
In response to demi @ 83

Thank dog for small favours. *Yip yippy yayyyyyyyyyyy*


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:36 am 88
In response to OrganicGeorge @ 76

Oh, George, I was thinking the same thing, but my flu-addled brain couldn’t articulate. Thanks.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:37 am 89
In response to applepie @ 86

I hadn’t thought of the implications of all of this for educators. Wow. Talk about rock and hard place. Plus I assume you need to appear apolitical in the teaching of current time events.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:37 am 90
In response to barbara @ 84

please to forgive ignoramus here. are you MN?

I’m OH and about to blow my top over MN, much less NY. Dang! This is SUPPOSED to be a d-e-m-o-c-r-a-c-y. Even we inveterate Sesame St. fans know THAT!?!

Where’s the beef????? Everywhere! Until this junk gets sorted out and put to rights, literally. hmmmmmpf!


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:37 am 91
In response to barbara @ 81

I’m willing to give them a little time and space to figure out where the bodies are buried, who is a mole, and how to rebuild. I think it’s really hard to say what your going to do until you know for sure what exactly has been on the inside.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:38 am 92

yep, it’s been ages. I pop in once in a while but don’t have the time or energy that I used to. Working for one church full time with the hope of staying put takes lots more than doing interims where the tasks are pretty predictable and the emotional investment is less.

How am I doing? relatively fair. The anxiety level about the economy is hitting us all and it’s near impossible to put on a happy face to the congregation. We’re in our pledge campaign right now, kind of holding our breath.

Spouse is now well into recovery after last Oct. bypass surgery. Almost back to normal.

Gotta keep reminding myself to put gratitude for what I have on the top of the list.

Still pissed as hell at the DoJ and Congress for not going after the war criminals and will hold onto that until something happens on that front. I may die with it, who knows.

My brother is coming for the weekend and we get to do our “Duets” service on sunday morning, then he’s doing a concert at the church in the evening. Looking forward to that.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:40 am 93
In response to Millineryman @ 91

True. And if you open the doors too wide, too fast, the rats scurry. I just hope the rats are not sleeping well.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:40 am 94
In response to cbl2 @ 85

oh fiddletee dee! The thymes has lost its compass agin. Just give it a good whack across the nose and it may reset, or not.

DAWG! Must we do everything for these people?!


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:42 am 95
In response to Millineryman @ 80

Guess I owe you a beverage, or something.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:42 am 96
In response to cbl2 @ 85

Hey, there. I have an almost-inch-thick pile of printouts to peruse. Merci!!!


rxbusa | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:44 am 97
In response to phred @ 29

Can you imagine what that job is like? I took a job in a company that had a lot of problems in my area and I remember it as seeming like I would open a file drawer and find a pile of dog turds…and that happened about every week.

But these guys know going in that the whole place is a pile of dog turds. And the Rs won’t even let them staff up yet. While I have I expectations for them to correct things, I am also conscious that it has only been 2 months and they have an 8 year collection of dog turds to deal with. So I’ll cut them some slack.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:45 am 98

we had the “show text” back for a while and now it’s gone again? It was so good to get it back.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:45 am 99
In response to Adie @ 90

I am MN. And this would be slightly less difficult if Norm Coleman were a real human being (see “being, human”) rather than an amoral shape-shifter. Franken has his acerbic nature and backlog of naughty talk, but I think he will be an excellent senator. Probably more so than ever on the heels of this fiasco, because people will be watching more closely than they otherwise would have.


barbara | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:46 am 100
In response to RevDeb @ 98

If you refresh, it returns. No “edit” at Christy’s place, however.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:46 am 101
In response to rxbusa @ 97

dog turds with land mines hidden in side them.


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:47 am 102
In response to demi @ 95

A good thought for peace will do. I see you have the flu, I hope you feel better soon.


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:48 am 103
In response to RevDeb @ 98

Small beans.
Good to see you here, btw.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:48 am 104
In response to barbara @ 99

I am SO looking forward to hearing Al speaking from the floor of the Senate. It will be a breath of fresh air.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:49 am 105
In response to barbara @ 100

not working in Safari—maybe in Firefox, I’ll have to check.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:51 am 106
In response to applepie @ 86

OT except for tie to today’s public education flubbles & things various up with which teachers must put:

Good friend teaches college level bio. Glassware washer (literally) keeps butting in during labs to preach wingnut bio 101 (6000 yr old earth, man chasing around with dinos, the whole 9 yards) whenever REAL teacher turns her back. She tolerates him (!) because she is dedicated to her calling, and thinks she can “reach” him.

Where she gets her patience, I do not know. Teaching in the modern classroom is not for sissies.


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:51 am 107
In response to RevDeb @ 92

Have a good time with your brother. Sorry I’ll miss the service. We’re having the tag sale for my late aunt’s estate. Considering she left all her cash to the Right to Life under questionable circumstances it’s quite a mess.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:52 am 108
In response to demi @ 103

I know—it was just so nice to have it back. Oh well. I’ve got to sit with my little group of Bible ladies—yes, we UU’s sometimes read the Bible too, but we read it very differently from the churches down the street.

MM—I don’t know if you have plans this Sun. but it would be a great time for you to come over the bridge. My brother’s a really good performer!


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:52 am 109

ouch.


Millineryman | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:56 am 110
In response to RevDeb @ 108

Is the concert at your church in the evening?


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:56 am 111
In response to Millineryman @ 102

((World Peace — Goodwill towards Everyone))
It’s not just for Christmas.


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:59 am 112
In response to RevDeb @ 108

You mean you actually Interpret? Like, with your post-naive critical thinking brain? Good, good, good.
I’ve been studying some High Theology again.
Helen Prejean say’s Jesus calls us to a humanity beyond our prejudices.


RevDeb | Wednesday April 1, 2009 07:59 am 113
In response to Millineryman @ 110

yes. at 6 pm.

and now the ladies are here so I have to go. ta ta for now.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:03 am 114
In response to barbara @ 99

Franken has his acerbic nature and backlog of naughty talk,

well apparently he’s got nothin’ on ‘Shecky’ Grassley :D

p.s. excited for the good people of MN and all of us out here. so nice not to worry ’bout another going over to Blue Dogs. oh, and sorry ’bout that pile :D


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:04 am 115
In response to barbara @ 99

I suspected as much. Keep fighting! That particular race drives me in OH nuts, even. I find myself careening around butting into strangers’ conversations to remind them Franken is a smart, savvy, Harvard-educated, senatorial person who happened to be a whiz-bang funny guy ALSO. Having a sense of humor, an ascerbic wit, and a top-drawer brain is NOT incompatible with being a member of the U.S. Senate. Would that they ALL had his skills!

Besides, he WON, dammit!!!

And a good day to you too ma’am.

Stay tough, barbara. Apparently the goons are not giving up without a monster tantrum. And remember, even a dead shark can “bite”. No kidding. Something about nervous system trigger that can still go off even if brain-dead.

Don’t get me started on Coleman. Or bring up hairball Voinovichy.


lennonist | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:06 am 116
In response to applepie @ 86

I’m thinking of Yeats too, wishing I could write something in the spirit of Sept. 1913 like “But they were of a different kind, those names that stilled your childish play” or “Was it for this… that all that blood was shed?”

How would you describe an administration that ignores torture, continues the blanket use of state secrets to cover widespread governmental violations of the Fourth Amendment and then claims to be upholding Due Process as it effectively pardons a Senator after a jury verdict? Audacious?


Mary | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:06 am 117

Very good post – thanks Christy.


alank | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:09 am 118

Well, I guess, technically, Judge Emmet Sullivan was appointed U.S. District Judge during the Clinton administration. His first appt was under the Reagan regime. I came across the conflict between him and the Cheney crowd who won out the battle over the disclosure about the White Energy seance of ill-repute.

The case has highlighted the legal barrier that shields the White House when it wants to protect its confidentiality. The Freedom of Information Act permits the public to seek data contained in the files of government agencies, but it does not apply to the White House.

Congress can demand information from the White House, but only if lawmakers are determined to press the issue. The House and Senate, controlled by Republicans, have not issued subpoenas for information in this case.

In seeking information on the Cheney task force, the General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog agency, filed its first-ever lawsuit. The case came before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, a new Bush appointee. He ruled against the GAO, and the agency dropped its suit.

But the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch had more success when they came before U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, a Clinton appointee. Lawyers for the two groups claimed in their suit that Cheney had violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act by meeting in private with outside lobbyists.

Sullivan said he could not decide whether Cheney had violated the law without knowing who had met with or submitted recommendations to his task force. He then issued an order requiring the vice president’s office to turn over documents to answer these questions.

Cheney refused and took his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals. That court’s randomly chosen three-judge panel included two Democratic appointees and one Republican. In a 2-1 ruling, the appeals court panel upheld Sullivan’s order.

It went to the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of Cheney and his clients, with the one black judge chastising Sullivan severely.

In a concurring opinion, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said they would have … thrown out the judge’s original order, rather than requiring the appeals court to reconsider the case. Thomas said the district court “clearly exceeded its authority” by ordering the disclosure of documents. Scalia joined Thomas’ opinion and did not offer one of his own.


alank | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:11 am 119

The quote thingy went bonkers in my post 118.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:12 am 120

HEY RevDeb! I just KNEW it.

I’m sitting here next to a little pamphlet I just can’t seem to toss into the recycle bin. Title:

“Who ever heard of a church encouraging you to thing for yourself?”

Under that, another little pamphlet:

“Can I believe anything I want? A response to yough who want to know what Unitarian Universalists believe.”

Mebbe I’ll take them down and leave them on the “Welcome” table of the local wingnut establishment. Would that be crude? I promise to slip in quietly and leave quickly.

I stopped by the same place to pick up some of their “voter’s guide”s a few yrs ago. All I want to do is return a favor. I read theirs. Now it’s their turn.


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:14 am 121
In response to Adie @ 120

typo, phooey. “youth”


musicsleuth | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:16 am 122
In response to cbl2 @ 85

Whatever happened to upperdown vote? April fools!


Elliott | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:44 am 123

Morning Christy et al

Jane’s up with
Today on As the World Economy Burns. . . .

and I see Christy has a new post too
Help The Stupid, They’re Contagious: Smells Like CYA


JEP07 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:46 am 124
In response to barbara @ 99

“backlog of naughty talk,”

Ever been on the Senate floor before? Al and his “F-bombs” will fit right in.


alank | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:49 am 125

Yeah, whatever.

Here’s a pointed observation:

One of the issues here – the Prosecution bungling and Joy’s complaint – might have been like seeing a black swan at Potter Marsh. Highly unusual, but possible. But both the extreme Prosecution mishandling together with the rookie FBI agent squealing on his senior partner happening on a case of this level pushes this into the checkered swan category for me. Something is fishy. Both of these together didn’t just happen. This didn’t just fall into the Defense’s lap.

Indeed.


JEP07 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:52 am 126

Haven’t read all these comments, but I think Christy’s reference to Marcy’s post really bores to the heart of the issue.

The Bush DOJ deliberately screwed this one up. irreparably.

An appeal would have seen the jury’s verdict overturned. Now the whole thing is a mess, beyond any legal eagle’s ability to fix it.

Considering what the Bush family has done to our Supreme Court, and what the Republican majority did to the bench as a whole, there’s a long mountain to climb to get back to real justice.

Holder’s signalling he’s ready to start climbing, but there’s little doubt the holdovers will put obstacles before Holder. This is just the most recent example, but expect a generation to pass away before we have rectified the judicial subterfuge of the past 10 years.


JEP07 | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:59 am 127
In response to JEP07 @ 126

“Marcy’s post” was inaccurate

sorry, bmaz, it was your post on Marcy’s blog…


Adie | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:06 am 128
In response to Adie @ 121

and another in same dingdong piece. WT? i give up!


BargainCountertenor | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:06 am 129
In response to Adie @ 106

Good friend teaches college level bio. Glassware washer (literally) keeps butting in during labs to preach wingnut bio 101 (6000 yr old earth, man chasing around with dinos, the whole 9 yards) whenever REAL teacher turns her back. She tolerates him (!) because she is dedicated to her calling, and thinks she can “reach” him.

Where she gets her patience, I do not know. Teaching in the modern classroom is not for sissies.

Is this dishwasher (let’s call it what it is) a work-study? If he is, she really needs to go see the Department Chair and get him reassigned to the Chemistry Department. If he’s a University employee (regular type, not work-study student) she needs to see the Department Chair and the Dean and have him told that he cannot interfere in the classroom/laboratory.

If he’s actually a student in the class, then he will earn the reward for his beliefs when the term ends…

Thank doG I teach statistics, where the Talibangelicals don’t bother to tread.


earlofhuntingdon | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:10 am 130

Mr. Bush does not have a reputation for propriety; he has made avoiding consequences into high art. When personally convenient, he allows those who support him to do the same.

Is this gross negligence on the part of DoJ’s prosecution of one of its most high profile cases, or did DoJ take a dive after all the bets were made?

Proof of either may be hard to come by. A good HR department, for example, can find a reason to fire anybody and can cover up virtually any management error. By the same token, DoJ could cover its tracks through various means: choosing a poor or inexperienced team, providing few resources, delaying giving necessary reviews or approvals, etc.

Once more, the question is what will Mr. Holder and his boss do about it?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:11 am 131
In response to Mary @ 117

You are most welcome. Can you tell this kind of petty shit pisses me off to no end? This is basic prosecutor 101 here: fair trial means you play fair.


earlofhuntingdon | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:12 am 132

The story about Darth Cheney’s holdovers, while true across the federal bureaucracy – it’s the thing he spent most time doing and what allowed him to do everything else (apart from Shrub’s limitations) – it is probably most true inside the DoJ.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:12 am 133
In response to JEP07 @ 127

Yeah — that bmaz post was a thing of beauty, wasn’t it? *G* Gotta love him for drilling down to the core on that one.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:13 am 134
In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 132

I vacillate between DOJ, DOD, EPA or Interior as having the most burrowed ideologue remainders. Frankly, I think it may be a four-way toss-up.


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:29 am 135

Should I care if the Obamas are having tea with the Queen? TV folks seem to think it’s a big deal.
I’d rather have tea with Christy and the Pups.


james | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:32 am 136
In response to rxbusa @ 20

Don’t wish him on the poor ex-pats anywhere else.


demi | Wednesday April 1, 2009 09:44 am 137
In response to demi @ 135

But, the fun part of the story is I get to walk around the house talking in my high, Monty Python Queen voice.


earlofhuntingdon | Wednesday April 1, 2009 03:04 pm 138

No doubt they’ve all had pro bono briefings from Cheney-friendly lawyers on the protections available to them under civil service laws, the ones Darth spent so much time undermining.

Well, if being president were easy, Shrub could have done it.


rickbull | Wednesday April 1, 2009 08:12 pm 139

Christy:
Your editorial comment brings to mind the immortal Robert Redford quote from the film “Legal Eagles.” Paraphrasing: “Oh, so let’s give him a fair trial and then convict him?” Part of the evidence that appears to exonerate Sen. Ted Stevens was the testimony of a witness which was in direct contradiction to what this same witness had told investigators in an earlier interview. If you were so privy to all of the “pocket lining” that Stevens did while he was serving the people of Alaska for 40 years, why weren’t you called as a witness at the trial? Last I heard, a defendant is still presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty, which, because of prosecutorial misconduct, has not been done in this case. Let’s also not forget that this man (or “skeezeball,” as you call him) probably would have been re-elected were it not for the deliberate smearing of his name perpetrated by the prosecutors and abetted by the media. I sincerely hope that I am never tried before an all-liberal jury.
Sincerely,
RickBull


igo2go | Thursday April 2, 2009 01:42 am 140
In response to lennonist @ 33

Don’t be shocked if this is used for cover in the S case, I pray so…oh that the south may rise…finally.


igo2go | Thursday April 2, 2009 01:47 am 141
In response to lennonist @ 33

Sorry replied in the wrong place..cheers


igo2go | Thursday April 2, 2009 01:47 am 142
In response to GregB @ 34

Don’t be shocked if this is used for cover in the S case, I pray so…oh that the south may rise…finally.


twolf1 | Thursday April 2, 2009 05:07 am 143
In response to rickbull @ 139

Are you planning on committing some crimes?


rickbull | Thursday April 2, 2009 08:40 pm 144
In response to twolf1 @ 143

twolf1: Are you planning on committing some crimes?

No. Are you naive enough to think that a person has to commit a crime to be put on trial?


twolf1 | Friday April 3, 2009 05:05 am 145
In response to rickbull @ 144

Why so defensive? Would you rather be put on trial by Rove and his ilk? (ie Don Siegelman)

No need to answer, I know your close-minded position already.


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