February 17, 2012
By Kurt Nimmo
In a move completely ignored by the establishment media, the Virginia House of Delegates has voted in favor of House Bill 1160 (HB1160), legislation that codifies in Virginia law noncompliance with the “kidnapping provisions” of section 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA).
The final vote, held on February 14, was 96-4. The bill was sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall and was introduced on January 16th of this year.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is on record as opposing the legislation.
HB 1160 reads as follows: “A BILL to prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”
Passing the legislation demonstrates the power of local grassroots activism. A number of groups opposed to the federal NDAA bill petitioned the government in Virginia and motivated a Sub-Committee #2 Civil vote followed by a vote of 16-0 by the Courts of Justice Committee which led to the passage of Bob Marshall’s final bill earlier this week.
October 6th, 2011
The Huffington Post
Sarah Palin will not run for president in the next election cycle, according to multiple reports.
“After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States,” said Palin in a statement on her decision.” As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.”
During a radio interview on the “Mark Levin Show” after the news broke, Palin was asked if she’s considering running for president as an independent candidate. In response to the question she said, “I would assume that a third party would just guarantee Obama’s reelection, and that’s the last thing the Republican party can afford. So the consideration for a third party is not there, no.”
News of Palin’s decision comes after months of speculation swirling around Palin’s political ambitions. The former governor made headlines by embarking on a bus tour of the eastern United States in May. More recently, she captured attention with an appearance in Iowa that coincided with the Ames Straw Poll — a table-setter for next year’s Iowa caucuses.
“My decision is based upon a review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year,” Palin explained. “I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency.”
The former governor added, “Know that by working together we can bring this country back — and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.” On the “Mark Levin Show” she elaborated, “Not being a candidate really you’re unshackled and you’re allowed to be even more active.”
The announcement from Palin came one day after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signaled that he will not pursue the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Despite recent buzz on the possibility a contender could make a late entry into the race, the GOP primary field appears to be solidifying.
Until recently, the Republican race appeared to be shaping up as primarily a contest between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry. The latest polls out on the primary; however, show former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain finding a surge in support and the Perry’s numbers on the decline.
Perry released a statement on Palin’s decision on Wednesday. He said, “Sarah Palin is a good friend, a great American and a true patriot. I respect her decision and know she will continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington.”
As for what’s next for Palin, the former governor said on Wednesday, “In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the president, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.”
Below, full text of the statement released by Palin on her decision.
October 5, 2011
After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.
My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.
From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.
I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.
Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.
In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.
Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!
God bless America.
– Sarah Palin
July 25th, 2011
The Raw Story
By: Eric W. Dolan
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura lambasted Friday at a federal court hearing “un-American” security procedures implemented at airports across the nation in 2010.
He filed a lawsuit with the Transportation Security Administration in January, claiming their use of pat down searches at airport security checkpoints is unconstitutional. Pioneer Press reported that a lawyer for Ventura argued in federal court that the searches violate his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable and unwarranted searches.
The Justice Department has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that the searches are legal and that they can only be challenged in a federal appeals court.
“In a free country, you should never feel comfortable being searched,” Ventura told the Justice Department lawyer Tamara Ulrich. “This is not the country I was born in. We’re a fascist nation now.”
The former professional wrestler had a titanium hip implanted in 2008 that sets off metal detectors at airport checkpoints. Since 2010, new TSA procedures require him to undergo invasive physical pat down searches when he sets off the device.
The body imaging scanners and pat down procedure implemented by the TSA have received intense scrutiny amid reports of travelers feeling humiliated and traumatized.
July 6th, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry ordered Friday that schoolgirls in Texas must be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, making Texas the first state to require the shots.
The girls will have to get Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating it Gardasil vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Details of the order were not immediately available, but the governor’s office confirmed to The Associated Press that he was signing the order and he would comment Friday afternoon.
Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
Toomey was expected to be able to woo conservative legislators concerned about the requirement stepping on parent’s rights and about signaling tacit approval of sexual activity to young girls. Delisi, as head of the House public health committee, which likely would have considered legislation filed by a Democratic member, also would have helped ease conservative opposition.
Perry also received $6,000 from Merck’s political action committee during his re-election campaign.
It wasn’t immediately clear how long the order would last and whether the legislation was still necessary. However it could have been difficult to muster support from lawmakers who champion abstinence education and parents’ rights.
Perry, a conservative Christian who opposes abortion rights and stem- cell research using embryonic cells, counts on the religious right for his political base.
But he has said the cervical cancer vaccine is no different than the one that protects children against polio.
“If there are diseases in our society that are going to cost us large amounts of money, it just makes good economic sense, not to mention the health and well being of these individuals to have those vaccines available,” he said.
Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit stating that he or she objected to the vaccine for religious or philosophical reasons.
Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say mandates take away parents’ rights to be the primary medical decision maker for their children.
The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.
The New Jersey-based drug company could generate billions in sales if Gardasil _ at $360 for the three-shot regimen _ were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group’s president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.
A top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
June 28th, 2011
Stunned and nearly speechless after hearing the verdicts against him, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will wake up Tuesday to the stark reality that he is likely headed to federal prison within months, leaving behind his wife, two young daughters and comfortable home in a leafy Chicago neighborhood.
A jury convicted him Monday on 17 charges, including trying to sell or trade President Obama’s old Senate seat and attempting to shake down executives for campaign cash. The convictions carry a combined maximum prison sentence of around 300 years, but legal experts say a federal judge is likely to send him away for around a decade, give or take a few years.
An irrepressible Blagojevich had said before the retrial began that he refused to even contemplate the prospect of prison. But red-eyed, his face drawn and frowning, he hurried out of the courthouse after the verdict was read.
The broke and impeached ex-governor told reporters that he and his wife, Patti, “have to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out.” His two daughters are 8 and 14.
Uncharacteristically, the 54-year-old Democrat had little more to say, adding only that he was stunned by the verdict.
“Well, among the many lessons I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I’m going to keep my remarks kind of short,” Blagojevich said.
He is almost certain to appeal the convictions, and his defense attorneys filed a number of motions to lay the groundwork for that.
If he does end up in prison, Blagojevich would follow a path well-trodden by Illinois governors, including Blagojevich’s predecessor, former Republican Gov. George Ryan — now serving 6½ years in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.
In Illinois’s book of political infamy, though, Blagojevich’s chapter may go down as the most ignominious because of the allegations he effectively tried to hock an appointment to Obama’s Senate seat for campaign cash or a job.
Blagojevich will probably receive around 10 years in prison, with little chance he would get more than 15, said former Chicago-based federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer said. Another former prosecutor, Phil Turner, said Judge James Zagel might look to Ryan’s sentence and mete out a similar one for Blagojevich.
Zagel did not set a sentencing date, but Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago attorney who defends clients in federal court, said it’s likely Blagojevich would be sentenced late this year. When he is, Pissetzky said there is a chance he could end up serving in the same prison as George Ryan.
The verdict, coming after his first trial ended last year with the jury deadlocked on most charges, was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who spent 2½ years professing his innocence on reality TV shows and later on the witness stand. His defense team insisted that hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud.
After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky and asked “What happened?” His wife, Patti, slumped against her brother, then rushed into her husband’s arms.
Before the decision was read, the couple looked flushed, and the former governor blew his wife a kiss across the courtroom, then stood expressionless, with his hands clasped tightly.
The verdict capped a long-running spectacle in which Blagojevich became famous for blurting on a recorded phone call that his ability to appoint Obama’s successor to the Senate was “f—-ing golden” and that he wouldn’t let it go “for f—-ing nothing.”
The case exploded into scandal when Blagojevich was awakened by federal agents on Dec. 9, 2008, at his Chicago home and was led away in handcuffs. Federal prosecutors had been investigating his administration for years, and some of his closest cronies had already been convicted.
Blagojevich was swiftly impeached and removed from office.
The verdict provided affirmation to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the nation’s most prominent prosecutors, who, after the governor’s arrest, had condemned Blagojevich’s dealings as a “political corruption crime spree.”
The key question for the jury was whether to accept the defense suggestion that Blagojevich’s activities amounted to “the kind of political wheeling and dealing that is common in Illinois and around the country.”
“That,” said Fitzgerald, his voice rising, “couldn’t be any further from the truth. … Selling a Senate seat, shaking down a children’s hospital and squeezing a person to give money before you sign a bill that benefits them is not a gray area. It’s a crime.”
Fitzgerald pledged to retry the governor after the first jury failed to reach a decision on all but the least serious of 24 charges against him.
The jury voted to convict on 17 of 20 counts after deliberating nine days heading into Monday. Blagojevich also faces up to five additional years in prison for his previous conviction of lying to the FBI; Pissetzky said Zagel would almost certainly sentence Zagel for all the convictions at once.
Judges have enormous discretion in sentencing and can factor in a host of variables, including whether a defendant took the stand and lied. Prosecutors have said that Blagojevich did just that.
Blagojevich was acquitted of soliciting bribes in the alleged shakedown of a road-building executive. The jury deadlocked on two charges of attempted extortion related to that executive and funding for a school.
Zagel has barred Blagojevich from traveling outside the area without permission. A status hearing to discuss sentencing was set for Aug. 1.
All 12 jurors — 11 women and one man — spoke to reporters after the verdict, identifying themselves only by juror numbers. Their full names were to be released Tuesday.
Jurors said the evidence that Blagojevich tried to secure a high-paying, high-powered position in exchange for the appointment of Obama’s successor in the Senate was the clearest in the case.
“There was so much more evidence to go on,” said Juror No. 140. Jury members said they listened and re-listened to recordings of Blagojevich’s phone conversations with aides. They also acknowledged finding the former governor likable.
“He was personable,” Juror No. 103 said. “It made it hard to separate what we actively had to do as jurors.”
Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law who watched much of the trial, said the defense had no choice but to put Blagojevich on the stand, even though doing so was risky.
“The problem was with some of his explanations,” Kling said. “It reminded me of a little kid who gets his hand caught in a cookie jar. He says, `Mommy I wasn’t taking the cookies. I was just trying to protect them and to count them.”‘
June 2nd, 2011
By: Statehouse Bureau Staff
Facing broad criticism for flying by helicopter to watch his son’s high school baseball game in Bergen County, Gov. Chris Christie refused today to refund the state for Tuesday’s $2,500-an-hour flight.
“The governor does not reimburse for security and travel,” a spokesman for the governor, Kevin Roberts, said in an e-mail message. “The use of air travel has been extremely limited and appropriate.”
The State Police said the flight taken by Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, had presented “no additional cost to taxpayers.”
That didn’t stop a horde of Democratic legislators — and even some conservative commentators — from denouncing the use of the helicopter by a governor who has become widely admired for his insistence on fiscal austerity.
Christie flew from downtown Trenton to Montvale, where his son Andrew was playing baseball for Delbarton, his high school team. He stayed five innings before getting back into the helicopter, accompanied by his wife. From there they flew to Princeton, the police said, for a dinner at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion, with a group of wealthy Republican donors from Iowa who were in New Jersey to try to persuade Christie to run for president.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) chided the governor today for what she called his “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.
“I can’t remember how many times I had to skip political events because my children had games or school activities,” Vainieri Huttle said. “Leaving in the fifth inning to meet with wealthy Iowa political donors says something about the governor’s priorities. Perhaps his presidential courters can help him foot the bill so our taxpayers aren’t on the hook for such perks when he is calling for sacrifice.”
Even a conservative talk show host from Fox News, Greta Van Susteren, added to the stream of criticism. She took to her blog to question why the governor had used the helicopter.
“In these very, very difficult times for most Americans, it looks really bad when a politician is spending (or appearing to be spending) taxpayer money in lavish ways,” Van Susteren wrote.
Amid the flak, State Police Supt. Rick Fuentes issued a statement saying the pilots would have been in the air training even had they not been ferrying the governor and his wife in the new $12.5 million helicopter.
“Therefore, there is no additional cost to taxpayers or the State Police budget, nor is there any interference with our daily mission by adding the state’s chief executive to any of these trips,” Fuentes said.
The use of state helicopters by governors of both parties has been a flashpoint for decades. But the practice has been to reimburse the state for flights not related to official business. In 2002, the Democratic Party paid the state $18,200 for 14 flights by Gov. Jim McGreevey that were deemed political or personal, including one to a wedding.
Gov. Christie Whitman repaid the state when she took a police helicopter to a New Jersey Devils game at the Meadowlands.
According to Fuentes, Christie has traveled on the state’s helicopter 35 times since taking office in January 2010 — far less than previous governors — including trips to survey flood and storm damage. The dates and locations of those trips were not made public.
“As part of our long-standing security protocol, the EPU (Executive Protection Unit) provides secure, protected travel by vehicle in the overwhelming majority of the governor’s business and personal travel, except in those rare instances when the governor’s schedule warrants use of air travel,” Fuentes said.
A State Police spokesman, Sgt. Stephen Jones, emphasized that pilots are constantly logging hours in the new helicopters and would probably have been flying even if the governor had not been aboard.
“The destinations might be different,” Jones said. “But they’d be logging flight hours — flying over rail systems or transportation hubs or ports or chemical or nuclear facilities.”
As for Christie’s use of a car to get the 100 yards from the landing site to the ball park, which was ridiculed by Van Susteren and others, Jones said the cars were there for the governor’s safety.
“If the helicopter got called away for a higher priority mission, then the governor would be transported to his next location on the ground,” Jones said.
April 5th, 2011
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
By: Daniel Bice
Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.
Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.
How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?
It’s all in the family.
His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.
The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker’s campaign over the past two years.
Total donations: $121,652.
That’s big-time backing from the homebuilders.
The younger Deschane didn’t respond to questions about his job.
But his father said he doesn’t think his group’s financial support of the first-term Republican helped his son in his job search.
“He got the position himself,” said Jerry Deschane, who returned to the trade group in September after a hiatus during which he worked as an independent lobbyist for many groups, including the builders association. “I didn’t get it for him.”
One Walker critic isn’t buying it.
State Rep. Brett Hulsey called Deschane’s appointment another case of the new administration using state jobs to repay various industries.
Hulsey said he was unimpressed with the younger Deschane’s résumé, including his lack of environmental or management experience.
“It doesn’t look like he’s ever had a real job,” the Madison Democrat said.
Hulsey noted that the recently approved law that made collective bargaining changes converts 37 top agency attorneys, communications officials and legislative liaisons from civil service positions to jobs appointed by the governor.
“This is an example of the quality of candidates you’re going to get,” said Hulsey, owner of the consulting firm Better Environmental Services.
According to his résumé, Deschane, 27, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, worked for two Republican lawmakers – then-Sens. David Zien and Cathy Stepp, now the natural resources secretary – and helped run a legislative and a losing congressional campaign. He held part-time posts with the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Business Council until being named to his first state gig earlier this year.
Deschane’s father said that during the gubernatorial contest he might have reminded Keith Gilkes, Walker’s campaign manager and now chief of staff, that his son “was out there and available.”
“I put in good words for every one of my children in their jobs,” said the elder Deschane. “But that would be the extent of it.”
David Carlson, spokesman for the Department of Regulation and Licensing, confirmed that Gilkes recommended Deschane for an interview with the agency. Deschane’s name does not appear on a list of job applicants with Walker’s transition team, but the governor’s office confirmed that Gilkes interviewed Deschane for a state job in December.
A month later, Secretary David Ross, a Walker cabinet member, named Deschane the bureau director of board services, a job that paid $64,728 a year.
Not long after, lawmakers approved the governor’s plan to convert the Department of Commerce to a public-private hybrid in charge of attracting and retaining businesses, with its regulatory and environmental functions being moved to other agencies.
Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin then appointed Deschane to his new post there to oversee the changes.
“It was felt that he would be helpful in working through the transition issues,” said Commerce Department spokesman Tony Hozeny.
The move meant a pay raise of more than $16,500 a year for Deschane, even though he had put in only a couple of months with the state.
Deschane’s father said his group doesn’t lobby or work with his son’s division, which deals primarily with regulating underground storage tanks and petroleum tanks and products. Hozeny said the younger Deschane will be expected to abide by state ethics rules in dealing with family members.
A spokesman for the governor said Walker’s team was aware of Deschane’s two drunken-driving convictions, the most recent of which occurred in 2008.
“We . . . felt he had changed his habits and that these past incidents would in no way affect his performance at this job,” said Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie.
Deschane’s father acknowledged that his son had made “foolish” decisions in the past, but he argued that the Walker administration was influenced by the younger Deschane’s strong résumé.
“He’s a bright young man,” the father said.
Michael McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and a regular critic of Walker, said he’s not surprised officials claim the builders association’s contributions had no impact on the hiring. No politician concedes being influenced by campaign donations, McCabe said.
But he said it’s hard to reach any other conclusion in this case.
“It has all the markings of political patronage,” McCabe said.
July 20, 2010
Deposed Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to finally step into the witness box at his corruption trial on Tuesday, though exactly when will depend partly on how quickly prosecutors finish cross-examining his brother.
For most of the trial, co-defendant Robert Blagojevich faded into the background. But in a full day of testimony Monday, the sometimes emotional older brother told jurors he had no part in alleged plans to trade Barack Obama’s former Senate seat for campaign funds or a Cabinet post for his sibling, and that he never put illegal pressure on potential political donors.
Taking the stand in his own defense, Robert Blagojevich said that his brother’s advisers told him not to link any efforts to raise money for the Rod Blagojevich campaign to the governor’s official actions.
Earlier, he had testified that he agreed to become the chairman of his brother’s campaign in 2008 in an effort to get closer to his brother and to keep a promise they both made to their mother before she died: that they would help each other.
Robert testified that, before coming in to run his brother’s campaign, he met with several of his brother’s closest advisers to get training on political fundraising, since his only previous fundraising work was for charity groups.
He said he spoke with Rod himself, his campaign advisers Lon Monk and John Wyma, and at least two attorneys – Rod’s general counsel Bill Quinlan and his campaign attorney, Tony Jacob.
Robert said he relied on Tony Jacob a great deal for advice on raising money for the campaign fund.
“I would go to him for filing questions; whether we were properly documenting donations … proper expenses,” Robert testified. “He was sort of my screen to make sure I didn’t do anything improper with the fund.”
But during cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner wasted no time in trying to shoot holes in Robert Blagojevich’s claim that he never tried to trade his brother’s state actions for fundraising or benefits for the governor.
Niewoehner confronted Robert Blagojevich with two allegations that didn’t come up in his earlier testimony: A Nov. 5, 2008, conversation with his brother in which Robert suggests that Rod ask President Barack Obama to kill the federal investigation of his administration; and that Rod asked Robert in December 2008 to solicit a campaign contribution from State Rep. Kurt Granberg at the same time he was up for a post to run the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
On the Nov. 5 tape, Robert refers to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as “a sword hanging over his [Rod's] head” and tells his brother that if he can get Fitzgerald “to close the case on you, it provides you total clarity.”
Robert also urges his brother to “horse-trade” with Obama to get him to close the federal investigation into the governor’s administration.
“That’s what you wanted to have happen?” Niewoehner asked.
“As a brother, of course I did,” Robert said, prompting Niewoehner to ask if he wanted the investigation killed in exchange for his brother picking Obama’s friend and adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to be his successor in the U.S. Senate.
Robert vehemently denied that.
“Barack Obama was just going to do that for nothing? Niewoehner asked.
Robert said he believed it was possible, because his brother “knew Obama from his state senate days.” Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama served together in the Illinois State Senate in the 1990s.
“I was very naïve to suggest that,” Robert said.
July 1, 2010
By Bob Secter
Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial picked up this morning from its cliffhanger ending Tuesday with prosecutors playing more from the wiretap that famously captured the then-governor talking about his power to appoint a new U.S. senator as “(expletive) golden.”
Former campaign aide Doug Scofield testified Tuesday that Blagojevich was jealous of Obama’s rise into national politics and ultimately to the White House, and that theme continued this morning.
More of Blagojevich’s November 2008 conversation with Scofield has Blagojevich railing about Obama, the newly-elected president.
“He’s a demigod now,” Blagojevich complained.
Blagojevich also dreamed out loud about what might have happened if he had decided to get into the Democratic presidential race before the Iowa caucuses, which Obama won.
“I could’ve worked my ass off,” said Blagojevich, adding that he would have hired political consultant David Axelrod to preempt Obama. “That would’ve scared him,” Blagojevich said.
June 4, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist, speaking live on CNN this morning, said he’s receiving new reports that tar balls may be washing up on Pensacola’s beaches.
The governor said his inspection by air yesterday showed an oil sheen about 3 ½ to 4 miles off the coast, promoting his request for another $50 million for the state’s emergency response efforts, including for additional booms. He has also requested additional skimmers.
As BP struggled to put a lid on the Gulf oil gusher Thursday night, the growing slick of oil hovered just a few miles off Navarre and Pensacola beaches.
“I’m here to tell you my worst nightmare is coming true,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, one of several officials who visited Pensacola and called for the Department of Defense to take over the oil-control effort.
Oil could wash up near Navarre Beach today, according to an oil spill trajectory forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
On Saturday, oil could potentially wash up on a wide swath of beaches stretching from Mobile Bay to Navarre, according to the forecast.