Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Morning Quick Hits

When Danielle Allen sets out to expose a smear, she finds the actual Freepers responsible
Danielle Allen works at the Institute for Advanced Study, the renowned haven for some of the nation's most brilliant minds, where Albert Einstein found his research home. So when the "Obama is a secret Muslim" email landed in her mailbox, she was intrigued in a way the rest of us weren't and she got to the bottom of it. A couple of Freepers who go by the handles "Beckwith" and "Eva" appear to be the two who are pouring the most gasoline on the fire. She determined that "Beckwith" is a veteran from Boston, who is old enough to have voted in the 1960 presidential election who was in the service by 1964, and host of a Web site that devotes considerable electrons to an "Obama file" that says the senator is "by birth, blood and training, a Muslim." Beckwith isn't overly concerned with substantiating his outrageous claims. "If 20 percent of what's on my Web site is true, this guy is a clear and present danger," Beckwith claims. "Eva" is really Donna Shaw, 60, a teacher who said Obama's ability to captivate audiences made her deeply uneasy because his "tone and cadence" reminded her of the child revivalist con-man preacher Marjoe Gortner. Without a trace of irony, she credits her fascination with politics to her father, who served briefly as an assemblyman in New Jersey - and was hounded from public life for false assertions that he was a secret Communist. Not often am I speechless, but in this case...

Five years for Dickie Scruggs
The legendary plaintiffs attorney, as famous for his courtroom theatrics as he is for taking on Big Tobacco, brought his bag of tricks along for his sentencing in federal court on Friday after pleading guilty ion March to charges he conspired to bribe a judge. "I could not be more ashamed to be where I am today, mixed up in a judicial bribery scheme," an ashen Scruggs told District Judge Neal Biggers Jr..."It's a scar and a stain on my soul that will be there forever."...Minutes later, Scruggs began to sway, and his attorney grasped his arm to steady him. The crowd gasped. A flock of prosecutors rushed to offer him a seat...Scruggs, who became one of Mississippi's richest and most powerful men after taking on Big Tobacco and insurance companies, sat shaking as the judge handed down the maximum sentence.

Administration approves expanded drilling for natural gas in Wyoming
Federal land managers are recommending companies be allowed to drill almost 4,400 new natural gas wells in western Wyoming, where energy development already is blamed for a spike in air and water pollution...The Bureau of Land Management's final drilling plan for the Pinedale Anticline also calls for new air pollution controls. The plan is subject to a 30-day public review before a final decision is issued.

Mullen reiterates his order for members of the military to stay out of politics
"It is a highly political time right now," he told officials who work with the Joint Chiefs. "I am anxious to make sure everyone in uniform stays out of the politics."...In an effort to appear apolitical, some military officers, such as the outgoing U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, choose not to vote...Mullen stressed he did not want troops to follow that lead. His message, he said, "doesn't mean don't vote; please do vote. But understanding what the rules are and not being pulled in is critical." Of course, no one who is paying attention believes Petraeus is "apolitical" because we remember this op-ed that was published in the Washington Post in the final weeks leading up to the 2004 presidential election. We know that there are lot more political actions than casing one vote - and influencing the votes of thousands certainly qualifies. I would also remind everyone that at the time of the 2004 presidential election, less than 700 Americans had been killed in Iraq, and now that number stands at 4113 and the violence against American forces is ratcheting up a the Surge™ of necessity draws down and the business of ethnic cleansing is complete and the Iraqis can turn their attention back to attacking the occupiers.

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