Update: Tom Delay’s Ethics Problems

I am posting this due to all the petty ethics complaints being thrown at Tom Delay. It just shows how silly one of the complaints made against him are really.

Most of them are frivilous, which is why the republicans had to change the rules on the ethics commity to require a majority before hearings are held. Basicly the idea is if you cannot get one person from the other party to agree it is worth investigating, it is frivilous. If they did not change the rules Delay would have to spend all his time in hearings instead of doing his job.

Whether you are from the left or the right, Democrat or Republican, you should be able to see the rule change is fair. Remember there are Democrats in line to be brought up on ethics charges as well.

The following is a reprint from Patterco’s Pontifications:

The L.A. Times ran a front-page article this week about nepotism in Congress. The article contains new information about large payments to family members by several prominent Democrats, including Barbara Boxer:

[F]ive of the top six congressional families in The Timesâââ analysis of two election cycles were Californians. The campaign fund of Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) paid $251,853 to her husbandâââs firm, according to the candidateâââs campaign filings. She was followed by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-North Hollywood), $205,500; Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego), $154,504; and Rep. Howard P. ââÅBuckââ? McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), $152,362.
Altogether, at least 10 lawmakers in the 53-member California House delegation have hired family members, according to records and interviews.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Hayward) paid his wife, Deborah, $119,000 from his campaign fund over the last four years to serve as his campaign manager, records show. In the last election, she earned $2,400 a month as campaign manager and was awarded a $2,400 bonus.

ââÅItâââs just a matter of paying her for the professional job she was doing,ââ? Stark said.
In addition, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) paid her son, a lawyer, $130,000 over four years to run her political action committee, according to her campaign filings.

But guess what? This new information was buried on page A18. And who was the only politician named on Page A1? Why, that would be Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose payments to family members are old news:

The practice is not illegal but has come under new scrutiny following reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLayâââs wife and daughter had received hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2001 from his political action and congressional campaign committees.

That pretty much fits normal news practice, right? New information on A18, old news on A1.
(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for noting this first.)

P.S. Why in the world doesnââât the L.A. Times publish the hard data online so that readers can see for themselves exactly which lawmakers have been discovered to have relatives on the payroll, and how much money is involved? Is there any excuse for not doing this?

Hat tip to the Discerning Texan for pointing me to this article.

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Civilian Chopper Shot Down in Iraq

From an article on FNC:

The clip, apparently shot and put online by the Islamic Army in Iraq, tracks the helicopter as it turns into a fireball and careens toward the ground. Gunmen are seen running toward the crash site.

The group claimed responsibility for shooting down the Russian-built Mi-8 transport helicopter, on which all 11 men on board âââ six American and two Fijian passengers, and three Bulgarian crew members âââ were killed.

The man shown being shot to death in the video was the Bulgarian pilot, the company that owned the helicopter said Friday. The slain pilot was identified as Lyubomir Kostov (search), said Mihail Mihailov, manager of the Heli Air company.

“The man shot on the video is definitely Lyubomir Kostov, the pilot of the chopper,” Mihailov told The Associated Press in Sofia, Bulgaria, after seeing the video on the Internet.

Here is another article on FNC.

I heard on the news yesterday that the people responsible for this attack were captured; thanks to 3 tips from the Iraqi people.

Strategic Importance OF U.S. Actions Since 9/11

A Very interesting op-ed piece on the American Thinker states the case for the strategic importance of U.S. actions since 9/11.

The US is executing a well-planned regional and global strategy in our war against Islamo-fascism, as indicated in recent reports. The geo-political thrusts and counter-thrusts in this conflict are being deftly managed by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and the other members of GWâââs national security team. The SecStateâââs visit to Asia and the announcement that the US will sell F-16s to Pakistan and other military gear to India reveal a maneuver to counter Iranâââs latest gambit to maintain its status as the regionâââs terror-master.

Looking at a map of the entire region, stretching from Israel on the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent, prior to 9-11, we would see a massive land area anchored on the flanks by two relatively prosperous democracies: Israel and India. The nations between these two countries were essentially a vast land barrier comprised of radical Islamo-fascist states. From this perspective, Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom take on even more significance beyond the obvious benefit of getting rid of two bloodthirsty dictatorships. By invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and the Coalition struck at the dual keystones of this massive barrier, and have started the process of tearing down the wall between the two democracies on the flanks of this volatile region.

Douglas Hanson is the American Thinkerâââs military affairs correspondent

This is just a VERY small teaser of an in depth article I recommend reading.

Hat Tip to The Discerning Texan

The Future of Journalism

The Buzz Machine has an interesting article on the future of journalism.

The Economist marvels at Rupert Murdoch’s speech to newspaper editors:

The speechâââastonishing not so much for what it said as for who said itâââmay go down in history as the day that the stodgy newspaper business officially woke up to the new realities of the internet age. Talking at times more like a pony-tailed, new-age technophile than a septuagenarian old-media god-like figure, Mr. Murdoch said that news ââÅprovidersââ? such as his own organization had better get web-savvy, stop lecturing their audiences, ââÅbecome places for conversationââ? and ââÅdestinationsââ? where ââÅbloggersââ? and ââÅpodcastersââ? congregate to ââÅengage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions.ââ? He also criticized editors and reporters who often ââÅthink their readers are stupidââ?.

You heard it! We are the future of journalism. Or at least a part of it.

Hat tip to Myopic Zeal

Update: SGT. Patrick Habb Innocent!

From a press release by the Miricopa County Attorney:

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas today announced his decision that Sgt. Patrick Haab, who detained a group of illegal immigrants and the man smuggling them, was making a lawful citizensâââ arrest and did not commit a crime.

ARS 13-3884 conveys upon citizens of Arizona the legal right to make a citizens arrest if (1) a felony is committed in the citizen’s presence or (2) a felony has actually been committed and the citizen has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it.

One of the individuals arrested by Haab, Mr. Oliviera-Antonio, has been charged by the United States Attorney with engaging in human smuggling. The other six men detained by Haab engaged in felony conduct by conspiring with the alleged coyote.

This is not a green light to intimidate, threaten, or detain anyone merely suspected of being in this country illegally. Mere presence in the U.S. illegally is a crime, but not in itself a felony, so other factors must be present in order to justify a citizens arrest. In this case, the other factor was the human smuggling, Thomas added.

Hmm, illegal entry into the U.S. is not a felony?

Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to

enter) the United States at a time or place other than as

designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil

penalty of –

(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or

attempted entry); or

(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of

an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under

this subsection.

That is all I can find in the Law Library. I did not know that it was not a felony to illegally enter our country.

One Nation under God “your personal belief system”

From an article in The Washington Times’s:

DENVER — The students in Vincent Pulciani’s seventh-grade class were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance this week when they heard the voice over the intercom say something they’d never heard before, at least not during the Pledge.
Instead of “one nation, under God,” the voice said, “one nation, under your belief system.”

The bewildered students at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge never even got to “indivisible,” according to Vincent’s mother, Christina Pulciani-Johnson.

“He came home and told me about it after school, and he said, ‘I just stood there, Mom. I didn’t even know what to do. We all just stood there and didn’t even finish it,'” Mrs. Pulciani-Johnson said, quoting her son.

Margo Lucero, the eighth-grade guidance counselor at the school, substituted the phrase “under your belief system” as she led the recitation of the Pledge on Wednesday.

Unbelieveable. PC run amok!

Meanwhile, Jefferson County School District spokesman Rick Kaufman was engaged in damage control, describing Miss Lucero’s decision to rewrite the Pledge as “inappropriate” and stressing that she had acted independently, without consulting the district or other school officials.

I am impressed, and surprised, that they came out against the counselor.

Some comments from The Moderate voice.

Billy Jones at View from the Foothills has rewritten the entire pledge to conform to P.C. standards:

I pledge [allegiance] some occasional recognition
to the [Flag] symbols of oppression

of the [United States] diverse indigenous peoples

of [America] the land mass referred to by oppressive European conquistadors as “America”

and to the [Republic] totalitarian theocracy, for which it stands,

[one nation,] a Balkanized patchwork of cultures,

[under God,] under each individuals’ personal belief system

[indivisible,] divided into innumerable unique communities of culture,

[with liberty and justice for all.] where some are more equal than others.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin who adds:

Amen. Or rather: Secular, non-discriminatory interjection of agreement.

;^)

Medicare Fraud Is Out Of Control

It seems Medicare fraud is out of control in this country. I have been reading numerous articles on the subject and we could really use the money wasted on fraud to lower the deficit. More importantly to lower the tax payerâââs burden to provide Medicare. One book on the subject states that drug dealers are migrating to Medicare fraud! I think Congress should be doing something about this problem. But I doubt they could stop fighting long enough to accomplish anything.

From an article in The San Francisco Chronicle:

The Government cannot even run Medicare efficiently and people want this country to have socialized medicine? Imagine the mess that would cause!

But he and other experts say even the small percentage of fraud that is patently obvious is enough to bury the small number of investigators and prosecutors currently assigned to the problem. In California alone, more than 16,000 Medicare beneficiaries make fraud complaints each year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which operates the national health care system. Only a tiny percentage ever results in prosecutions.

“Tell Congress to give us some help,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Connie Woodhead, who is in charge of a new unit that addresses health care fraud in the Los Angeles area. “There is a lot of crime, and relative to the amount of crime, not a lot of people to do the investigations.”

In his 2000 book, “License to Steal: How Fraud Bleeds America’s Health System,” Sparrow says criminals have started to migrate from fields like drug dealing to health care fraud because they view it as fast, easy money.

Here is another story in the same paper. They compliment each other.