Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Breaking News: Craig in Court

Evidently the judge has decided not to decide yet. He won't likely be deciding 'til after the 30th. Poor Larry ... it's a conspiracy.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


                                      [click pic to biggie size; data from here]

Yes, to ensure (in theory, because in actuality this is a state-run program) no one gets covered that shouldn't and the funding levels will have no regard to cost of living (that is people who live in areas like NY where the salaries are higher but the cost of living is as well - the income cut-offs remain the same); they'll vote it down. Get the troops out of Iraq? No. Ensure the troops have as much time at home as on tour in Iraq - no. Keep voting for these fiscal conservatives [what an oxymoron that is] and they'll keep digging us into a hole any time they're left to govern.

Update: It appears that Mr. Simpson voted in favor of the bill today.

If I were a cynic, I might suggest that he did so knowing that The House did not have a veto-proof majority so his vote was moot. Mike can have his cake and eat it too. He can tell his constituents (of which I thankfully am not one ... oh wait -never mind) that he understands, it's a travesty that the program didn't get renewed but, after all, he voted for it. So he is, of course, blameless.

That's what I might suggest were I a cynic but, then again, you have to admit that vote was a 180-degree turn from his earlier position:
...The Democrat bill is an underhanded, devious step towards Hillary-care: a government-run, government-mandated health insurance plan for everyone, regardless of income, age or citizenship.

...This bill is bad for Idaho and bad for children.
I believe I've previously discussed other aspects of Rep. Simpson's presentation of the bill.

Cynic? Who, me?

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Fun w/ Venn Diagrams

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Oops ... He Did It Again

While this picture may not be worth a thousand words, it's likely worth a whole heckuva lot more than the dozens of words in this note. And doesn't Larry have neat printing?                                                                   [my emphasis]
Doesn't seem to indicate that Craig was all that stressed out or in any disagreement with the prosecutor does it? If Craig thinks this is going to play well, he ought to love the prosecutor's affidavit. [pdf] Here are just a couple of juicy tidbits:
13. (p. 3 of 33) ... I explained that the plea petition would be filed with the court and the petition and conviction would be a matter of public record. [As I said before, I couldn't believe he didn't know this and now, it appears, he was definitively informed of the fact.]

14. (same page) During the July 17, 2007 phone conversation, the Defendant expressed that he was in a difficult situation as a result of the nature of the charges and his position as a member of a zealous homophobic party United States Senator. I responded to the Defendant that I had appreciation for the fact that this was probably a difficult situation and told him that it was a situation regarding which he should seek advice from an attorney. ...[emphasis mine]
It's hard to argue misunderstanding of the situation based on these statements by the prosecutor. But if Craig's note and the prosecutor's affidavit don't sink him, take a gander at the prosecutor's motion to dismiss [pdf] that was filed in court today. Basically, the prosecutor isn't buying Craig's argument and calls him out for his political theater:
B. (p. 39 of 41) The Defendant Has Not Been Diligent in Seeking a Withdrawal of His Plea but Instead Has Waited in an Apparent Attempt to Gauge the Public Response to His Arrest and Political Turmoil.
It's difficult for me to imagine how Craig could possibly come to the conclusion that this exercise was going to come out favorably for him regardless of the legal outcome. Based on the prosecutor's motion, I don't think the legal outcome will be favorable either.

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Irony: Alive and Well

About whom would you think this statement might be made:
You've isolated your nation. You've taken a nation of proud and honorable people and made your country the pariah of the world.
This would have been my guess -but I would have been wrong.

No, this was George W. Bush commenting on someone else - not the other way around. Specifically, his comment was directed at the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Did anyone catch Scott Pelley's interview with Ahmadinejad on 60 minutes last night?

Was it just me or was he totally out of line with his arrogant and accusatory tone right at the outset:
PELLEY: Mr. President, do you intend to press your request to visit the World Trade Center site in New York?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, it was included in my program, if we have the time and the conditions are conducive, I will try to do that.

PELLEY: But the New York Police Department and others do not appear to want you there. Do you intend to go there anyway?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, over there, local officials need to make the necessary coordinations. If they can't do that, I won't insist.

PELLEY: Sir, what were you thinking? The World Trade Center site is the most sensitive place in the American heart, and you must have known that visiting there would be insulting to many, many Americans.

AHMADINEJAD: Why should it be insulting?

PELLEY: Well, sir, you're the head of government of an Islamist state that the United States government says is a major exporter of terrorism around the world. [my emphasis]
One has to wonder if Scott would have asked this of any member of the monarchy from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (you know the country from which came the majority of 9/11 hijackers). But chances are some of them have already visited there - they certainly would not be denied. And, why exactly would it be insulting? There is no evidence and, as far as I know, no claim to date that Iran had anything to do with the attacks (merely the entirely false and premeditated claims that Saddam/Iraq was involved).

Next, Pelley basically accuses Ahmadinejad's government of killing Americans in Iraq based on our government assertions that he takes as fact. Ahmadinejad then questions whether Pelley is a journalist or a politician and mentions that Saddam's WMDs were facts as well.

Ooh, an American journalist being questioned as to their role as journalist or Administration Mouthpiece -not something that happens often here, that had to hurt.

Pelley, again speaking for all Americans, attacks Ahmadinejad for smiling when he's querying him about having American blood on his hands.

Hmmm - inappropriate smiling. Does that evoke a picture of anyone? Has Pelley or anyone else in the MSM asked George W. Bush about the sh*t-eating smirk planted on his face even when discussing the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq?

Ahmadinejad then illustrates that he's more aware of the position of the American people with regard to Iraq than either the DC punditry or, apparently, Scott Pelley and he questions whether Mr. Pelley has the right to speak on behalf of the American people.

Pelley doesn't have the right to speak on my behalf - that's for certain but, more importantly, is this anyway for an American journalist to address the leader of another country? Never mind that it's ludicrous at this juncture to take anything that the Bush administration states as fact, Pelley's demeanor is as insulting, arrogant and counter-productive as Bush's foreign policy.

Near the end of the interview, Pelley insists that Ahamadinejad name a trait that he admires in Bush. Excuse me? I, as a patriotic American (one who actually served in the military) can't come up with a single redeeming quality of George W. Bush and given all the insulting rhetoric Bush has spouted about Ahmadinejad he's suppose to what ... turn the other cheek and say something nice about George?

The very premise of the question is absurd and when Ahmadinejad turns it around on Pelley, the best that he can come up with is that Bush is a religious man. Speaks volumes.

Finally, Pelley quotes Bush's comment referred to above and asks him to respond to it. Okay, I am not the only one who thought the quote was about rather than from Bush. I queried two people today (who did not see 60 minutes), reading the quote and then asking them to tell me to whom the quote was referring - the immediate response was Bush in both instances. Here's the exchange in the interview:
PELLEY: I take it you can't think of anything you like about President Bush.

AHMADEINEJAD: Well, I'm not familiar with the gentleman's private life. Maybe in his private life he is very kind or a determined man. I'm not aware of that. I base my judgment on what I see in his public life. Having said that, I think that President Bush can behave much better. There were golden opportunities for President Bush. He should have used them better.

PELLEY: I asked President Bush what he would say to you if he were sitting in this chair. And he told me, quote, speaking to you, that you've made terrible choices for your people. You've isolated your nation. You've taken a nation of proud and honorable people and made your country the pariah of the world. These are President Bush's words to you. What's your reply to the president?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, President Bush is free to think as he pleases and to say what he pleases. I don't oppose the freedom of speech. I believe in freedom of speech. President Bush is free to say what he pleases. But these would not change the truth. So that President Bush knows the Iranian people are dearly loved today. We can very well put this to the test to find out who has become isolated. Again, maybe one of my friends could go to another country and a friend of President Bush could go to the same country, find out which one of us is isolated. You're free to choose any country you like. I don't think that President Bush has said these things. Rather, I prefer to think that this is your impression of what the president has said.

PELLEY: I'm quoting the president directly for the record.

AHMADEINEJAD: This is a direct quote? So, well, this tells me that there's a great divide between us.
A great divide indeed. Another thing that struck me when reading the transcript of the interview today was the, how shall I say it, creative editing that went into the broadcast as well. Let's just say that you might come away with a different impression of Ahmadinejad's responses in reading the transcript than from having watched the 60 minutes presentation. What a shoddy piece of journalism.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Right Rights

What a great week for democracy in America.

It's good to know that Craig, who's fighting for rights he perceives he is owed as a member of the elite senatorial class, could take time out of his busy schedule to show up in DC and join Crapo to vote to deny the rights of others:

1) Habeas corpus - Never mind that our forefathers thought this right so important they sought to address it in the constitution, nonetheless congress with its passing of The Military Commissions Act back when the freedom-and-independence-loving Republicans were in power in 2006 suspended this right. Democrats attempted to restore the right but the GOP really isn't into the restoration of rights.

2) No taxation without representation. It seems to me there was a revolution or a war of some kind fought over this one but, again, Republicans don't think the population in the District of Columbia, which is greater than that of the state of Wyoming, deserves to be represented in congress. Blocked again by the individual-rights-loving Republicans. Of course, unlike the lily-white-red-voting Wyomingites the majority in D.C. are black and typically vote blue.

Did I miss anything? Oh yes, while our esteemed senators are willing to allow more of our young men and women die in Iraq to cover Bush's ass they stood up and condemned's ad calling General Paetreus out for the political whore that he is. Well, we've reached a new low now with our representatives condemning free speech on our dime.

As Edmund Burke said, all that's necessary is for good men to do nothing. Imagine if Colin Powell would have had the courage to speak up and resign before he enabled this administration to get us into this war in the first place, if Paetreus would have had the integrity and resolve to put forth the truth in his testimony before congress. Two generals ... good little soldiers both.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Backyard Entomology

Anyone have a clue as to the ID of this little guy/gal?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fun w/ Venn Diagrams

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Craig's Little SM Freak Show

Okay, so maybe not SM but masochistic to be sure.

At this point Craig should just go down to The Grove and piss himself in public as it could hardly be more pathetic an act than his filing this petition [pdf file] to withdraw is guilty plea.

If pride truly does go before the fall, Craig is still standing. His arrogance laid bare as a Full Monty in his motion.

From the very first sentence in the motion we are drawn back to his failed power play in Minnesota when he presented a young officer with a senate ID card in hopes of intimidating him:
Pursuant to Rule 15.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, Larry Edwin Craig, a United States Senator from Idaho ("Senator Craig") [per usual, my emphasis], hereby moves this Court for an Order allowing him to withdraw his guilty plea entered in the above-captioned action on August 8, 2007.
Wow. One might wonder what the significance is, other than to intimidate influence the court, of his being a senator in this instance. They're not merely going to mention the fact but let you know at the outset that he will be referred to, from this point on, as Senator Craig (for just how long that holds remains to be seen).

Lost in the *outcome-based-ethics of the GOP, coverage by the mainstream media, and the takes of late-night comedians, the power trip is in good measure what this is about. After all, he's no ordinary citizen by gawd and he should not be subjected to this. His ID card, like a magic wand, should have made it all disappear. His magical powers having failed him, he hoped to bury the incident with the quietest of guilty pleas - one in which he would not have to submit to the humility of a public appearance; he mailed it in.

Now we're to believe it was Craig who was intimidated, by the Idaho Statesman no less. To even address the ludicrous nature of this assertion is to lend it too much credence. It would take only a casual perusal of past issues to disabuse anyone of this notion, the fawning of the articles and editorials so saccharine as to be barely digestible. I don't know Dan Popkey's political persuasion (or that of the paper's editors) but based on his writing pandering, I'd say he's definitely in the I-wanna-be-with-the-power-brokers club.

The latest evidence was perhaps the August 12th non-article article by Popkey as to whether Craig would run for re-election. While most any Idahoan (or certainly Boisean) with a pulse was aware of the reason for Popkey's leave, not many likely knew of his interview with Craig upon the completion of his investigative query. In hindsight it would appear as though the article did serve a purpose - signaling to Craig that he was safe. Granted this was after Craig entered his guilty plea and I've little doubt that he was panicked that news of his arrest might start that snowball rolling but that doesn't mean that the plea was "not knowingly and understandingly made" as his motion asserts.

Let's back up a bit.

Senator Craig states that he did not consult an attorney regarding the incident yet, 11 days after his arrest, he returned to the airport police station and requested information for his attorney. He was either lying then (if that's the case perhaps it was another failed attempt at intimidation hoping they might drop the charges if he informed them he'd involved a lawyer) or he's lying about not seeking counsel prior to his guilty plea. It is interesting to note that in his affadavit (a legal document appended to the motion) Craig chooses his words a little more carefully, stating "I did not seek advice of counsel on the date of my arrest" and then talks separately about signing the plea petition even though he did not believe himself to be guilty [more on that later] and that he did not seek advice before entering that plea. It's not clear whether or not he means at any point in the interim or whether he's being deceptively specific.

His basic argument now (after having consulted an attorney) is that he's not an attorney and can't be expected to have understood the "intricate" constitutional rights he was waiving by entering his plea ... a judge should have asked him about it.

As I've stated before, I'm not a lawyer, I have never been a lawyer, I don't do those things ... but I am aware of Miranda, as well as the 6th amendment, and what those rights entail -as are the majority of Americans if the variety and longevity of Law and Order(s) are any indication.

Are we to believe the senator didn't know that everyone is allowed their day in court? On the contrary, he didn't want a day in court, he wanted to avoid that at all costs hence his choice to mail a plea.

We're evidently supposed to also believe that Craig doesn't know that arrests are a matter of public record. Again, according to the motion, since the officer said he wouldn't go to the press, Craig had an expectation that all would be hush hush and that should be viewed as a "promise" that would be "binding on the courts and parties". You have got to be shitting me. This is pathetic - if the man is that stupid, that should be a crime in and of itself.

Further, they want to be able to withdraw his plea because "there is insufficient factual basis, as a matter of law, to support his plea of guilty". The because-you-didn't-prove-it excuse. Well, the senator could have exercised his right to a trial, then the prosecutor would have had to prove his or her case or maybe the judge would have tossed it but he decided to enter a guilty plea - the ball was in his court.

Apparently Craig is even confused by the nuanced difference between the words guilty and innocent. He pleaded guilty but now he "submits that he is innocent of the charges against him".

Look at the the copy of his plea agreement (appended to the motion). It does not take an attorney to discern the following from the document: precisely what you're pleading to, what rights you are waiving in entering the plea, acknowledgment of whether or not you are represented by counsel, specifically that you are not making any claim of innocence and also the (detailed) rights you are waiving by not entering the plea in person.

To suggest that Craig is innocent and naive is simply not credible. In reviewing the interview one wonders where is the outrage of an innocent heterosexual man? [nowhere in the tone of that interview to be sure] Perhaps more telling, however, is Craig's use of "entrapment". The only way he could think of it as entrapment is if he thought that the officer's moving his foot slowly up and down had been done in response to his foot tapping (solicitation) and that it was an enticement for Craig to continue. Craig may not have acted wisely at any juncture but he knew what he was doing every step of the way.

I agree with the cop ... embarrassing.

*Outcome-based ethics. Notice that Republicans are only morally outraged when the result of advertising their faux ethics will have a desirable outcome. Vitter, with prostitutes? Well, hey, it's straight sex and he comes from a state with a Democratic governor - leave well enough alone. Instead, they can show their moral superiority while running that homo Craig off and they're guaranteed another sheep from that state. Yet we're to believe it's only because Craig entered a guilty plea, not the arrest itself - only in their warped world view is that a positive assertion.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Legalese Ease (or Not)

What did I say? Uh-huh.
Lawyers not involved in the case have said Craig faces a difficult challenge, pointing to Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure requiring that *a defendant show a "manifest injustice" to withdraw a guilty plea.

In Craig's case, he voluntarily signed a plea agreement that included a provision stating that the court would not accept such a confession of guilt from anyone who believed himself innocent.
Piece of cake, Larry.

*I don't think they made people think I'm gay is going to cut it.

Oh, and Butch, ya' know how you like to keep 'em guessing and do things contrary to what's expected of you... Call me, I could make myself available for a stint in the senate. Think of what that would do. This little scandal -it'd be forgotten in less than 24 hours.

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Let the Good Times Roll

Larry Craig is apparently having second thoughts about resigning. Never mind how schadenfreudeliciousTM it will be to watch the GOPers falling all over themselves to retract their previous stance, if this article is any indication of the talents of the crack team Craig has hired to revive his image - get me some popcorn. In the mean time, here's a little friendly advice, Senator:

First, don't let your spokesman use phrases like " he's not crying in his bedroom".

Second, using Spector as a bellwether for changing your announcement to intend to resign -probably not such a great idea. I don't mean to imply that Arlen can't be counted on for the strength of his conviction but ... you have been in the senate, right?

Third, you should really examine how an attorney's other clients have fared. You know Vick is likely doing some time in the big house and have you seen Gary Condit on the hill as of late? [Not to mention the character of his other high-profile clients - wouldn't want the whole guilt by association to raise its ugly head. Iverson and Vick are not exactly Boy Scouts but I suppose you're going for a tougher, more manly image - so maybe that's okay, big guy. Although you wouldn't want that stance getting any wider.]

Fourth, I think your ethics attorney may have already tripped coming out of the gate when speaking of other Senate ethics cases:
“If you look at all the cases the Senate has tried, they’re all bribery, treason, taking gifts from outsiders, all things that are expressly prohibited by law, rule or statute,” Brand said.
So, his hotshot DC lawyer is going to argue that the Senate Ethics Committee shouldn't have jurisdiction in this case because all other ethics cases have dealt with actions that were illegal, unlike Senator Craig's actions which merely violated a Minnesota statute and, therefore, were not prohibited by law or statute. It would appear Mr. Brand took Tortured Logic 101 with Bush. Hey, it may not make sense but I'm sure he's on solid legal footing there - no worries.

While you're up could you get a couple of cokes and some jujubes -it could be awhile before intermission.

Update: [from original posting of 9/4/07 10:35 PM]

Senator Craig is sooo gay [how gay is he?] - he can't even dial a phone straight. [Yeah, I know]

Perhaps more interesting (though no unexpected) is that while KHQ reports the entirety of the voice message Craig left on the phone:
"Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling, you can reach me on my cell. Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense arguing that all he know that I've been railroaded and all that. Having all that we've reshaped my statement to say it is my intent to resign on September 30. I think it is very important for you to make as bold a statement as you are comfortable with this afternoon. I hope you could make it in front of the cameras. I think it would ride the story that I am willing to fight that I have quality people out there fighting in my defense and that this thing could take a new turn or a new shape, it has that potential. Anyway give me a buzz, or give Mike a buzz on that, we are headed to my press conference now. Thank you, bye."
The Statesman reporter/editorial staff saw fit to excise the emphasized portion above.

[So, he wants his attorney to make as bold a statement as he is comfortable with ... Comfortable with legally because Craig has admitted his guilt to his attorney or comfortable with personally as Billy knows Larry is gay. Could you do it in front of the cameras - I need all the help I can get here - I think maybe little Larry had spent some time crying in his bedroom. Nice deletion Statesman.]

Jeralyn thinks Craig may have a shot at his plea reversal as the mail-in plea form doesn't inform him of his right to counsel - but what's a defense attorney suppose to say. Craig was given his Miranda warning by the officer and that's on tape - I don't believe the law states that an individual has to be made aware of his or her rights at every step of the process.

You can listen to the message here.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Special: Let's Be Frank

What he didn't say

Contrary to local media reports, Senator Craig did not apologize to Idahoans in his resignation statement yesterday. [ooh yesterday? Who said it was going happen yesterday?] What he said was:
I apologize to the people of our great state for being unable to serve out a term to which I have been elected.
Hmmm - I'm sure he does regret being unable to serve out his term but that hardly constitutes an apology in any way shape or form.

He also did not state that he would vigorously fight the charges against him.

His website does indicate that he has retained a lawyer to "handle issues pertaining to the Senate Ethics Committee investigation".

He refers queries about his legal defense with regard to the Minnesota incident to Judy Smith who will be handling "all other legal affairs".

I think his response is along the same lines as his showing the young officer his senate ID card and his indication that suing Mike Rogers, the blogger who first outed him, was not out of the question - bluff, bluster, idle threats.

There will be no suits and I would further suggest there will be no attempt to withdraw his plea.

First, Senator Craig entered a straight plea, not an Alford plea that would avoid admission of guilt. No doubt there is language that basically says he was not coerced in any way and was offering a truthful plea. Attempting to withdraw it now would suggest that he was lying in his initial plea; I'm not a lawyer so I don't know if that would constitute perjury but ...

Second, if he withdraws his plea, the original charge will be reinstated (a felony I believe) and you can bet all sorts of details, about let's say, just how far out of the way this particular restroom may have been relative to the expected path Craig would have taken in changing planes, will come out. A chance he wants to take? I think not.

As an aside, not that it was reported but, Craig stated:
I hope I have served you and our state to the best of my ability.
Not I hope you know/believe that I have served you, but that he hopes he has done so.

He hopes? Doesn't he know? If he doesn't know, who does?

Penalty - Delay of Game

Puhleez, can you get over it already. I am so damned sick of hearing about how wonderful the BSU bronco football team is and how last year's Fiesta Bowl was the greatest game in college history ... blah, blah, blah. You would think that there was nothing else positive about Boise, Idaho other than this athletic program.

Let's be frank, the Fiesta Bowl? A miracle on ice -it wasn't.

Yes, Oklahoma has 9 national titles; 8 of the 9 were prior to 1986. Both teams had starting quarterbacks that were seniors except:

While Zabransky was in his 3rd year as starting quarterback, Oklahoma's quarterback a fifth-year senior (owing to the fact that he was red-shirted as a junior not being needed at either the quarterback position that he wanted or as a wide receiver, the position he played the previous season), was in his first season as starting quarterback and this, only because the starter was removed from the team in August for NCAA violations. In fact, prior to last season Thompson (OK's QB) hadn't played any minutes in that position since 2003 when he was last a second string quarterback.

Thompson threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble.

Yes, those are the things of which the greatest ball games are made [I know it was all BSU's amazing defense].

That said, did Chris Petersen coach a helluva a game? Indeed he did. Credit, where credit due.

Update: And Another Thing

Just to get this out ahead of the election cycle -could we please find some political commentators who aren't completely worthless?!!

Granted Jim Weatherby sounds like a genius compared to Jasper LiCalzi (who sounds as though he graduated from the same educational system, "like as such", that produced Miss Teen South Carolina), but still.

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