You probably didn’t have time to watch this yesterday, so here it is again: the ’60 Minutes’ report about our wonderful Justice Department finding a pretext to send the Democratic governor of Alabama to prison for seven years (where he resides today, whisked straight from the courthouse in shackles). Even Republicans are stunned. Rove is the one who needs to be in jail, and Bush needs to pardon Siegelman yesterday.


Morrie Hartman:As you might know, the local CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama, WHNT, did not air the Siegelman story as scheduled during ’60 Minutes’ last night, claiming ‘technical difficulties’ just as the Siegelman story was about to air. The station does say that they did air the story later last night. I emailed WHNT today to complain about the apparent censoring of the Siegelman story, and they did respond. More precisely, their weatherman, James Dice, responded. (‘Take it from the weather guy here – we had a satellite receiver fail. It broke. We scrambled engineers to the receiver site to get a backup receiver in place. We rebroadcast the piece and it’s available on whnt.com for people to watch as often as they wish. My gosh – I hope nothing ever breaks here at the station again because the public is not forgiving of anything. We’re accused of being the liberal media by the Republicans and the Democrats accuse us of covering things up. My friends in the news department are taking a very undeserved beating over this. We try to do things right, but I can assure you equipment will break again. I’ve had radar fail during severe weather and I didn’t receive as many e-mails as this.’) A moment ago the station added a banner to the top of their home page linking to the story and enabling people to watch it online.’

☞ It’s hard to believe their equipment failed at the precise moment that the most important broadcast segment of the year (for Alabama) was about to air. But it’s good to know wiser/more-decent minds prevailed and they’ve tried to make amends.

Robert Haugland: ‘Congress is too busy investigating whether baseball players used steroids to investigate something like this, which affects us all and is one reason for Congress being there in the first place (checks and balances). Congress also convened a special session a few years back to cover the Terry Schiavo case but this case in Alabama, I guess, is just not really important!’


Jeff Schwarz: ‘Siegelman is not an isolated incident. In NJ, they tried that with the guy who is now our senator, Bob Menendez. And statistically, according to this Paul Krugman column, the Bush Justice Department prosecuted hundreds of Dems, but almost no Republicans.’

From that March 9, 2007, column:

Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.

How can this have been happening without a national uproar? The authors explain: ‘We believe that this tremendous disparity is politically motivated and it occurs because the local (non-statewide and non-Congressional) investigations occur under the radar of a diligent national press. Each instance is treated by a local beat reporter as an isolated case that is only of local interest.’

And let’s not forget that Karl Rove’s candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Mr. Rove’s time in Texas: ‘In election years, there always seemed to be an F.B.I. investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished.’

☞ Seems as though they’ve managed to do for the Justice Department what they did for FEMA.


Erich Riesenberg: ‘There must be dozens of cases of politically biased charges from the Justice Department. My neighbor, the first ‘out’ gay Iowa state senator, was acquitted after less than two hours . . .

. . . A federal jury in Des Moines took less than two hours Thursday, including time for lunch, to reject charges that state Sen. Matt McCoy used his political power to pry $2,000 from two former associates in a business deal gone wrong.

McCoy’s relatives sobbed with relief when jurors announced their verdict in court. The smiling senator, who faced up to 20 years in federal prison, repeatedly hugged his lawyers. . . .

Here is some info on the US Attorney . . .

. . . How partisan is Whitaker? Well, he’s quite the Republican. He’s a social conservative and supportive of the Iowa Christian Alliance (formerly the Iowa Christian Coalition . . .

Bias at the Justice Department seems as common as closeted gay Republican legislators.’

☞ Ouch. But you know what? Politicizing the Justice Department deserves some stinging criticism. And Karl Rove really should go to jail.


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