Archive for November 21st, 2011
The special investigator appointed by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to look into the government misconduct in the Polar Probe affair has issued his report. The investigator, Henry F. Schuelke, III, took 30.5 months to issue his report. The report itself is presently under seal, but Judge Sullivan has issued an order laying out the process by which it will be made public, and issuing a stern warning that he is strongly inclined to make the entire 500-page report public.
While the Schuelke Report isn’t public, Judge Sullivan’s order discloses three important things:
- We haven’t yet seen the full extent of prosecutorial misconduct. Judge Sullivan states Schuelke found more.
- Schuelke concluded there was insufficient evidence to support charges of criminal contempt against the government attorneys. He hints that there may be a basis for charges of obstruction of justice. We learn nothing about bar association discipline.
- Judge Sullivan really, really wants the report made public.
WC very recently wrote about a different pattern of prosecutorial misconduct in Illinois. The Illinois prosecutor is an elected official, which in Illinois means a high risk of corruption. These attorneys, most of them members of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, can’t make that excuse. The public Integrity Section; quis custodient ipsos custodes, indeed.
The first filing deadline under Judge Sullivan’s Order is January 6, 2012. Depending on what gets filed, we could know that soon when The Schuelke Report will be public.
How crass are the auto-racing crowds at NASCAR?
The crowds at the season ending NASCAR race in Homestead, Florida booed the First Lady and Jill Biden at the race’s start. Obama and Biden were there to promote the Joining Forces Initiative, a program championed by the First Lady to help veterans returning home from the wars in the Middle East.
WC admittedly has serious problems with automobile racing. Watching noisy cars race around a track, polluting the air and consuming our precious, limited remaining supplies of petroleum, ranks off the bottom of WC’s list of fun. Whatever charms the sport may have are completely lost on WC.
WC understands it is second only to professional football in popularity in the U.S., and that it is easily the most popular sport in the South. WC tries not to visualize NASCAR fans as hard of hearing, mouth-breathing Fundamentalists, but, seriously, the fans really make it hard to reject the stereotypes.
WC regards the Bush administration as the worst disaster to afflict our country since the Great Depression. But if Bush had appeared at a sports event in Fairbanks to honor the U.S. military veterans, WC would have gritted his teeth, applauded politely and moved on. Honor the office, honor the soldiers, swallow the bile and move on. However much WC might loath George W. Bush. And it would never cross WC’s mind to boo Laura Bush.
It’s not respect for George Bush. WC attended an excellent “End of the Error” Party in mid-January, 2009, highlighted by a ceremonial shredding of official portraits of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And enjoyed himself very much, thank you.
But we did not shred a photo of Laura Bush. It’s a matter of civility, lingering respect for the country and patriotism.
Is the NASCAR booing racism? Much of the Right’s gross overreaction to President Obama’s election and actions, if not motivated by racism, certainly seems to spring from the same well of irrational hatred and fear that infects the Right. Whether it’s Teabagger Congressmen or NASCAR ninnies, their near-hysterical behavior towards President Obama is far beyond disagreement with his politics. The fact much of this irrationality comes from the Old South is equally troubling.
In WC’s college days, some of his acquaintances behaved similarly towards President Nixon following the invasion of Cambodia. Not just Nixon; also the American flag and returning Vietnam vets. It was an irrational hatred, a froth-at-the-mouth reaction. It was frighteningly wrong. When you surrender your rationality, you surrender what makes us human, You abandon what makes us citizens.
As well as making yourself open to believing whatever charismatic crackpot comes along.
So consider this a call for civility and tolerance. Irrational hatred has not and will never serve a democracy well. Here’s a proposal: WC will try not to judge all NASCAR and auto racing fans by the conduct of their inexcusably rude colleagues at Homestead, if NASCAR fans will try to show a little more maturity, a little more civility and, above all, a little more rationality. At least try not to live down to WC’s expectations.