Aug 252007
 

Another Representative of Republicanism
Angelo Cappelli. In St. Petersburg, Florida, he was hailed as a rising GOP star, with an uncanny ability to raise funds, a hot banking job, lots of friends in the local Republican party and he made it a close race for a seat in House District 52. Unfortunately, Angelo’s got a little problem.

After a six-week investigation, police arrested Cappelli on Wednesday morning at his lawyer’s office on Central Avenue. He faces grand theft and perjury charges, according to St. Petersburg authorities.

Cappelli, 37, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the trust of a deceased bank client. By Wednesday evening, Cappelli was out of jail on $55,000 bail. He could not be reached for comment.

Justice 40 Years Too Late (FindLaw)
For three decades, Marie Salvati and Olympia Limone essentially lived as widows, struggling to make ends meet as each raised four children on her own. Their husbands grew old behind bars after being convicted of a murder the FBI knew they did not commit.

Finally, in 1997, Gov. William Weld commuted Salvati’s sentence, and he was released from prison. It would be another four years before he and Limone were exonerated by a state judge. The judge found two Boston FBI agents had allowed Barboza to frame the men because Barboza and his friend, Vincent “Jimmy” Flemmi, one of Deegan’s killers, were FBI informants who provided evidence in the agency’s highly publicized war against crime bosses.

Last month, a federal judge excoriated the agency for withholding evidence of the men’s innocence and ordered the government to pay a record $101.7 million to the Salvati and Limone families and those of two other men convicted with them who died in prison.

Sorry, but this why you can no longer sit a jury and just accept as gospel whatever a cop may say. It is most likely not true.

Nov 102005
 

Less than a week after a Washington Post story about the existence of the CIA’s secret prisons, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) have called for an investigation into the leak of this information. "Such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences." While conservatives have rushed to investigate this "serious matter," Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) revealed that the leak likely came from a Senate staffer who attended last week’s GOP-only meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, where the detention centers were discussed. "It’s sad that the Republican Congressional leadership wants to focus not on the C.I.A.’s maintenance of secret facilities…but on those who discovered this blatant illegality," said Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

Nov 102005
 

This guy fits right in with the current crop of Republicans. During his 1990 nomination as an appeals court judge, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito promised to recuse himself, to avoid potential conflicts of interest, in cases "involving Vanguard, in which he owned mutual fund shares; Smith Barney, his brokerage firm; First Federal Savings & Loan of Rochester, N.Y., which held his home mortgage; and his sister’s law firm." But in cases involving three of the four companies, senators on the Judiciary Committee question whether Alito has truly attempted to avoid ethical conflicts. In a 2002 case, Alito ruled in Vanguard’s favor, even though the judge owned between $390,000 and $975,000 in mutual fund shares from Vanguard. He later withdrew from further involvement in the case only after the protests of the other party. Alito also ruled in a 1996 case involving Smith Barney and in 1995, Alito failed to recuse himself from a case involving his sister’s law firm.

Oct 272005
 

While you and I are cringing with every stop at a filling station, the big oil companies are raking in the big bucks.

Hooray for Big Oil! Shell only delivered a 68% rise in net profits but yes, they’re still getting by and making ends meet. Thankfully the GOP is there to support them during their time of need.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday said quarterly profit surged 75 percent to nearly $10 billion, raking in a bonanza from record oil prices. The profit was the highest in the company’s history, surpassing the record it set in the 2004 fourth quarter. Revenue jumped 32 percent to just over $100 billion.

Sep 272005
 

In November 2002, the U.S. attorney in Guam, Frederick A. Black, notified Justice Department officials that he was opening an investigation into Jack Abramoff’s lobbying activities with Guam judges. Days later, Black was demoted and barred from pursuing public corruption cases, ending his investigation. The Justice Department’s Inspector General and the FBI are looking into Black’s demotion to determine whether Abramoff’s close ties to the Bush administration may have influenced Justice Department officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, in any way. “What this starts to suggest is that Abramoff’s ability to corrupt the system was far more pervasive, certainly than we knew at the time,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

Sep 272005
 

Mike Brown may have resigned earlier this month as FEMA director amid intense public criticism, but taxpayers are still paying his salary. Brown remains on the FEMA payroll as a consultant so that the agency can receive a "proper download of his experience." The Department of Homeland Security is already spinning the story; spokesman Russ Knocke says that "Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks." Whatever happened to Brown’s promise on the day he resigned? "[I]t is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA" on the day he resigned? "[I]t is important that I to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA"." The Department of Homeland Security is already spinning the story; spokesman Russ Knocke says that "Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks." Whatever happened to on the day he resigned? "[I]t is important that I to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA"

It’s also been reported that we will be paying him to conduct an investigation into his own stupidity and incompetence as FEMA Head in the coming months. Can you believe the arrogance of this administration, and their determination for political payoffs at taxpayer expense?

Sep 272005
 

Bush’s allies in Congress are using high gas prices as another excuse for massive giveaways to the oil industry. The Los Angeles Times reports that conservative "leaders in Congress announced plans to introduce new legislation or amend existing measures to bestow more tax breaks on the industry and provide other incentives left out of the big energy bill Bush signed into law in August." The oil industry hardly needs the help. Even before Katrina hit, oil companies were flush with cash. ExxonMobil’s profits are expected to exceed $10 billion in the third quarter of 2005, "more net income than any company has ever made in a quarter." Now the industry is using Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to jack up prices — and profit margins — even higher.

A right-wing plan to cut the federal budget by $500 billion over ten years would destroy nearly all existing programs that promote energy efficiency and conservation. The scheme, dubbed "Operation Offset," would eliminate the EnergyStar program, the Hydrogen Fuel initiative, the Freedom Car program, funds for research on renewable energy, and programs that support high-speed rail. A progressive approach would save more money in half the time and would preserve all of those programs. 

Sep 212005
 

Not only did Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary serve U.S. troops in Iraq spoiled food (sometimes a year past the expiration date), but also contaminated water from Iraq’s Euphrates River, containing "numerous pathogenic organisms" at nearly two times the normal contamination levels of untreated water. "[R]aw sewage is routinely dumped less than two miles from the water intake location." KBR water quality specialists reported their concerns, but were told by their superiors that their claims were "erroneous" and "corrective measures" had been taken, with no evidence anything had been done. Two whistleblowers resigned because of "unsafe water and pressure to cover it up" (one became sick from the drinking water) and another expects to  be terminated soon.

So now they’re being unleashed on the citizens of the Gulf Coast as well. Ya know, quite frankly, in words of our Vice President, to all of you that voted President Cheney and W into office, "Go fuck yourselves."

Sep 212005
 

Stock prices for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) fell 15 percent in late July, but not before Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist unloaded his family’s shares. HCA is the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, founded by Frist’s father and directed by Frist’s brother, who is also a leading stockholder. The senator sold his shares in the corporation by July 1, two weeks before the prices fell, followed by the shares of his wife and children by July 8. His spokeswoman explained Frist’s decision to sell his stocks as an attempt to "avoid any appearance of conflict of interest [with his work in the Senate]" and that the reason he chose that particular moment to sell as "he’s [never] been worried about it in the past." HCA has donated a total of $83,450 since 1989 to the senator’s campaigns. Trading on insider information is illegal.

So, he’s been in the Senate for how long? And its just now a possible conflict of interest? Yeah…right!

Sep 212005
 

David Safavian, who until Friday headed the "obscure but extremely important" federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was arrested yesterday, accused by federal agents of "lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff‘s dealings with the federal government." In his position at the OMB, Safavian set purchasing policy for the entire government, and "had recently been working on developing contracting policies for the multibillion-dollar relief effort after Hurricane Katrina." His arrest — the "first criminal complaint filed against a government official" in the ongoing Abramoff probe — exposes a thicket of corruption involving Abramoff, leaders of the right-wing movement like Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, and public officials at the very highest levels of government, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

The complaint filed by the FBI accuses Safavian of making "repeated false statements to government officials and investigators" about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002, when Safavian was chief of staff at the Bush administration’s General Services Administration. In that position, "ethics rules flatly prohibited the receipt of a gift from any person seeking an official action by the agency," and before the golf trip, Safavian assured GSA ethics officers in writing that Abramoff "has no business before GSA." In truth, Safavian was already actively assisting Abramoff "acquire control of two federally managed properties in the Washington area;" a 40-acre plot that became the campus for a Hebrew school Abramoff founded, and office space that Abramoff was seeking to lease for his Indian tribal clients. Indeed, on the very same day Safavian sent the letter to the GSA ethics office, "he sent an e-mail to Abramoff from his home computer, advising him how to ‘lay out a case for this lease.’" The day before he departed to Scotland, Safavian "arranged a meeting for Abramoff’s wife and business partner with officials at GSA" to tour of one of the properties — a tour that Abramoff suggested after being shown a map of the space in Safavian’s office. And in an email to a colleague, Abramoff himself explained why he’d invited Safavian on the golfing trip: "Total business angle. He is new (chief of staff) of GSA."

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