Archive for the ‘It’s a Scandal’ Category

Spencer Bachus: Let the Fluffing Begin

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) has made quite a splash in the news recently, as his insider trading was exposed for the world to see. But one would never know that reading Mary Orndorff’s piece for the Birmingham News, posted just now at al.com. Nope, it’s all about Bachus agreeing with everyone in the county Jefferson County commissioners who want to get rid of the sewer system’s $1 million court-appointed receiver. His rationale? The receiver represents the creditors, not the people. Gee, ya think?

“I’d like him probably out of the picture,” Bachus said in an interview Cialis on Capitol Hill. “The receiver represents the creditors, not the people of Jefferson County.”

Looks like  inside-trader “the regulators are there to serve the banks” Bachus is sucking up to divert attention away from his recent troubles, and Ms. Orndorff (or perhaps her editor) is only too ready to help by omitting any mention of them. Here’s a clue, Spencer: it’s not working.

“I’d like him definitely out of the picture,” constituents said in an interview in Alabama. “Bachus represents his own bottom line, not the people of the 6th District.”

There, fixed that for you.

 

Spencer Bachus, Your Adieu Is Long Overdue

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Unlike most of y’all young whippersnappers, I remember when Spencer Bachus first ran for Congress back in 1992. As I recall, his platform consisted of two major things, prison for pregnant drug addicts who didn’t immediately get into all those available and affordable treatment facilities and TERM LIMITS. Correct me if I’m wrong Cialis – and you can remember back that far – but didn’t he say he’d retire after two terms?

Ten terms later, he’s still there. That fish was already starting to turn, but after this week’s revelations, it’s reeking. Time to go, Spencer. Take retirement and enjoy the fruits of your labors stock trades.

Buckelew Gets Three Years Probation, Fine

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Former Republican County Commissioner Mary Buckelew was sentenced to three years probation, community service, and a $20,000 fine yesterday after pleading guilty to obstructing justice by lying to a grand jury about taking gifts from investment banker Bill Blount.  The prosecution had asked for a six month sentence and a $30,000 fine.

So the white Republican lady avoids prison.  Former County Commissioner Gary White, the other prominent white Republican implicated thus far, was convicted in January 2008 of taking envelopes full of cash from an engineering firm buying sewer business from the county.  He managed to persuade a judge to overturn his conviction and give him a change of venue, but his retrial has yet to take place.

Black Democrat Chris McNair was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and an $850,000 fine in 2007, but he has yet to serve a day.  Black Democrat Jeff Germany is, thus far, the only defendant in the sewer/financing debacle to do time; he was released in September after serving 32 months and three weeks.  Black Democrat Larry Langford faces a potential 800+ years after he was convicted on 60 corruption counts; his co-defendants-turned-accusers Bill Blount and Al LaPierre have yet to be sentenced but cut deals to ensure relatively short prison stays.

Kyle Whitmire, who knows a whole lot more about the area’s federal judges than I, offers an explanation (in comments) for Buckelew’s slap on the wrist:

The disparity between the sentence Buckelew received and the sentence Langford will likely receive (best guesses are between 15 and 25 years) has little to do with race and much to do with the judge.

The most discouraging thing I’ve taken away from covering federal courts is how arbitrary sentencing can be. If you’re a defendant, the sentence you face depends almost completely on which judge you draw.

There are some judges who don’t seem to believe that public corruption and white collar crime should be against the law. I’d put U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson in that camp. During the sentencing, she went so far as to say that the shoes, handbag and spa trip were of little concern to her.

Other judges, including U.S. District Judges Virginia Hopkins and Scott Coogler (who Langford drew) tend to sentence on the high side of the scale.

That sucks — not because Langford is likely to get a long sentence but because Buckelew isn’t going to do any time at all.  She sold out cheap, but she still sold out, a point the prosecution made quite effectively in the Langford trial.

During opening arguments, [defense attorney Mike] Rasmussen had stacked seven file boxes in front of the jury to represent the $7 million Blount received in the scheme. Rasmussen then showed jurors a small box about large enough to hold a sleeve of business cards. That box represented Langford’s take. The defense used the proportion (or disproportion) between Langford’s $235,000 and Blount’s $7 million to argue there had been no agreement.

Concluding the prosecution’s case, Martin held another small box in front of the jury. It was about the same size as the box Rasmussen showed them the week before. He reminded the jury of Rasmussen’s boxes and Martin said he had known from the beginning of the trial what he would say to them in the end.

“Langford isn’t supposed to have a box — at all,” Martin said. “If he does, it’s dishonest.”

Buckelew isn’t supposed to have a box either, no matter that the box only contains a purse, some shoes, and a trip to the spa.

Love Stuff Redux

Friday, October 9th, 2009

It’s déjà vu all over again!  Local and state officials in Auburn are hyperventilating about Kalli’s Love Stuff and its sales of, um, marital aids.  Didn’t we already cover this back in 2007?  Yes, I know that was the Hoover store, and it was couched as a zoning issue, and the Supreme Court recently failed to overturn the state’s ban on the sale of sex toys, but the point remains the same:

Hoover has been fighting the zoning battle since 2005; perhaps it’s time to give it a rest as well. It sounds like the store goes out of the way to avoid exposing The Childrentm to adult merchandise.

Testimony in the case showed that in December 2006, the Love Stuff store had 36 percent of its inventory in an area of the store set aside for adult-oriented items, and that area was restricted to adults. The rest of the store is open to customers of any age.

I suspect most of the opposition comes from parents who fear that just seeing the store’s sign will corrupt their kids and, God forbid, lead to uncomfortable questions. Please, people — it’s called Love Stuff, not Dildos ‘R’ Us. Just tell the kiddies it’s where the storks hang out between baby deliveries.

State Sen. Ted Little (D-27th District) initiated the current inquiry, stating, “I do not expect this to take place in my district nor anywhere in the state of Alabama…I am in favor of a thorough investigation to find out if sales are taking place of those type of products.” Really, Ted?  Do you favor your constituents leaving the state to make these purchases?  Seems like we could use the tax revenue right here.

Of course, the local reporters found a Concerned Mothertm to express her concern for The Childrentm:

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Coffee County Scandal

Monday, September 29th, 2008

That headline just does not compute for me.  My father grew up in Kinston, which to my amazement actually has its own Wikipedia entry, and it would be hard to find a quieter place. We visited my grandmother there until she moved to Dothan when she was 95. (She was 103 when she died, so if I got her genes I might be here for a while.)

Anyway, back to the, gulp, scandal.  It seems the DHR director for Coffee County, Brandon Hardin, wanted to get rid of the local DHR Board chair, Doug Donaldson, who wanted him fired, so Hardin threatened to fire a social worker with whom Donaldson was supposedly romantically involved.

Got all that?  It’s what is alleged in a lawsuit filed by Cheryl Hancock, the social worker whose job was on the line, and it looks like there are taped conversations to back up her allegations.  She has sued Hardin, former state DHR Commissioner Page Walley, and DHR General Counsel Sharon Ficquette.  Walley resigned effective September 1 to take a position as managing director with the Casey Family Programs.

The Eagle has obtained two audio conversations, one being a phone conversation between Donaldson and a man who identifies himself as State Deputy Finance Director Andy Hornsby. During the conversation, (Hornsby) says he is calling as a friend to Donaldson and as a favor to then-State DHR director Page Walley. Later in the conversation, Hornsby, who is a former DHR state commissioner, tells Donaldson that Hancock will not be fired if he resigns from the board.

I’m sure the defendants will use the Palin ExcuseTM that the Powers That Be had no idea what their minions were up to, at least until they’re forced to issue a Palin RetractionTM.

Partial transcript of the conversation after the jump:

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