Caught on Tape: Bribes, Public Corruption – In one brazen crime in Tennessee, cameras caught then-Hamilton County Sheriff William Horace “Billy” Long taking thousands in bribes and embracing corruption to the core. Upon taking a wad of cash from an FBI informant, Long gave his blessing to the man’s money-laundering operation.
“They can get all the drugs they want…. they need me to get the money out” of the country, the informant, funeral home operator Rev. Clarence Eugene Overstreet, told the sheriff. The men also share a laugh about rolling in the cash. The Lord is my shepherd; he make me to lay down in green pastures,” the informant says, rubbing his fingers together and emphasizing the word “green” to indicate he’s talking about cash. In another video clip, Overstreet cautions Long about cash, saying, “Now, it’s dope money, so you know, it might be all over the place.”
And the sheriff was even willing to give a gun to a man he knew was a convicted felon, ineligible to own one. “I got you a present, here, a Christmas present,” Long said, unzipping his bag to get out the gun. “I’ll put it in my Bible,” Overstreet said. “Now it’s loaded, ready to go, ok?” Long said, handing over the firearm. “You didn’t get that from me, Rev. I don’t know nothin’ about it,” he added, as Overstreet admired the weapon.
Dallas Police Detained NFL Player Who Was On His Way to See a Dying Relative – Dallas police officer is under investigation after he detained a NFL player who had been on his way to see a dying relative. Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats was rushing to the hospital to see his dying wife’s mother. Dallas Officer Robert Powell refused to let Moats go into the hospital after running a red light. The relative died while Moats was held in the Hospital parking lot.
Shoddy Wiring ‘Everywhere’ on Iraq Bases, Army Inspector Says – Thousands of buildings at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan have such poorly installed wiring that American troops face life-threatening risks, a top inspector for the Army says. “It was horrible — some of the worst electrical work I’ve ever seen,” said Jim Childs, a master electrician and the top civilian expert in an Army safety survey. Of the nearly 30,000 buildings the Army’s “Task Force Safe” has examined so far, Childs said more than half “failed miserably.” And 8,527 had such serious problems that inspectors gave them a “flash” warning, meaning repairs had to be completed in four hours or the facility evacuated. He said the majority of those buildings were wired by contractor KBR, based in Houston, Texas (with former CEO Dick Cheney).
Medical Care in Foreign Countries Can Cost as Little as 10 Percent of Comparable Care in the United States – Next year alone, an estimated 6 million Americans will travel abroad for surgery, according to a 2008 Deloitte study. “Medical care in countries such as India, Thailand and Singapore can cost as little as 10 percent of the cost of comparable care in the United States,” the report found. Companies such as Los Angeles-based Planet Hospital are creating a niche in the service industry as medical travel planners. One guidebook says that more than 200 have sprung up in the last few years. “We find the best possible surgeons and deliver their service to patients safely, affordably and immediately,” said Rudy Rupak, president of Planet Hospital. “No one should have to choose between an operation to save their life or going bankrupt.”
IBM Wants Stimulus Money While Outsourcing Jobs Out of the U. S. – IBM’s reported plans to lay off thousands of U.S. workers and outsource many of those jobs to India, even as the company angles for billions in stimulus money, doesn’t sit well with employee rights advocates. IBM wants a share of the money in President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for projects updating power grids, creating electronic health care records and furthering the use of broadband. According to Business Week, IBM has indeed been shifting jobs. The magazine reported that the company’s workforce went up from 386,558 at the end of 2007 to 398,000 at the end of 2008. But U.S. employment fell from 121,000 to 115,000 during the same time.
Conservatives [Without Conscience] Attack President Obama With What Conservatives Have Been Doing – The far-right’s staggering disregard for the significant flaws of the former Republican president confounds logic when measured against their ridiculous attacks on the current president. It’s the same thing that Bill O’Reilly does every night: Accuse others of doing what you yourself are guilty of.
ATTACK: President Obama took a vacation to Hawaii.
REALITY: President Bush set a record for presidential vacations during two wars and a major hurricane.
ATTACK: President Obama’s budget could double the national debt.
REALITY: President Bush’s spending actually did.
ATTACK: President Obama is “shredding the Constitution.”
REALITY: You mean there’s any Constitution left to be shredded?
ATTACK: President Obama chuckled while talking about bailing out the auto industry.
REALITY: President Bush routinely smirked and grinned while talking about the significantly more serious issues of war and military casualties.
ATTACK: President Obama is incompetent.
REALITY: Do I even need to do the list?
ATTACK: President Obama is presiding over a one-party fascist government.
REALITY: Didn’t the Republicans say they were going to have a permanent one-party majority? Now go look up fascism and compare that to the actions of the Republicans.
ATTACK: President Obama uses a teleprompter.
REALITY: President Bush couldn’t speak English when he used a teleprompter.
Alternative Budget From Republicans: Not Really! Boehner Lies About Having Budget Ready - “Two nights ago, the president said, ‘We haven’t seen a budget yet out of Republicans.’ Well, it’s just not true, because here it is, Mr. President,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), waving a blue document in the air… Other than the tax proposal [to cut the top marginal rate for the super rich from 35% to 25%], however, the plan was absent any details. Instead, it hammered the Democratic budget as too expensive.
Reporters — mainstream, liberal and conservative — greeted the Republican document with a collective scoff.
“Are you going to have any further details on this today?” the first asked.
“On what?” asked Boehner.
“There’s no detail in here,” noted the reporter.
Answered Boehner: “This is a blueprint for where we’re going. Are you asking about some other document?”
How About Some Charts and Graphs in That Republican Budget? Not Really! – An anonymous official quoted in Politico’s story on the House GOP budget plans said, “We need to hold something up and say, ‘Here are our charts. Here are our graphs. It’s real.” Here’s one of the Republican charts:
(What a joke!) There are a few charts but only three graphs in the plan, all of them CBO estimates about Democratic budget proposals — none of them scoring Republican proposals.
Limbaugh Attacks “Barack Ogabe” And His “Angry” Wife – Rush Limbaugh was at it again on Tuesday, “confusing” Barack Obama with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, and referring to the president as “one angry guy — his wife is angry as well.” Limbaugh went on to “accidentally” refer to Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, as “Barack Ogabe.”
Norm Coleman Donor Ordered Payments To Wife’s Company According to Testimony – The former finance chief of a Texas company controlled by Nasser Kazeminy, a close friend of former Sen. Norm Coleman, said in a deposition last week that Kazeminy ordered $100,000 in fees be paid to a Minneapolis insurance agency where Coleman’s wife was employed.
B.J. Thomas, who was chief financial officer of Deep Marine Technology Inc., said that $75,000 of that sum was paid to Hays Companies even though he saw no evidence of Deep Marine receiving any consulting services from Hays.
Thomas’ deposition, taken under oath on March 19 and obtained by the Star Tribune, is the first corroboration from an official at Deep Marine of allegations made by company founder Paul McKim in a lawsuit filed last year against the company.
Senator Gets Nasty: Responds to “You Are Good” With “Your Wife Said The Same Thing” – Buried within the hours of debate in the Senate on Thursday is an exchange you’d be more likely to hear in a locker room than a congressional hearing.
Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was on the receiving end of this one, after telling Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), “Oh, you are good.”
“Well, your wife said the same thing,” Grassley responded.
Corporate Billions Kept Offshore – According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly all of America’s top 100 corporations maintain subsidiaries in countries identified as tax havens. Goldman Sachs Group set up three subsidiaries in Bermuda, five in Mauritius, and 15 in the Cayman Islands? Why did Countrywide Financial need two subsidiaries in Guernsey? Why did Wachovia need 18 subsidiaries in Bermuda, three in the British Virgin Islands, and 16 in the Caymans? Why did Lehman Brothers need 31 subsidiaries in the Caymans? What do Bank of America’s 59 subsidiaries in the Caymans actually do? Why does Citigroup need 427 separate subsidiaries in tax havens, including 12 in the Channel Islands, 21 in Jersey, 91 in Luxembourg, 19 in Bermuda and 90 in the Caymans? What exactly is going on at Morgan Stanley’s 19 subs in Jersey, 29 subs in Luxembourg, 14 subs in the Marshall Islands, and its amazing 158 subs in the Caymans? And speaking of AIG, why does it have 18 subs in tax-haven countries? (Don’t expect to find out from Fox News Channel or the New York Post, because News Corp. has its own constellation of strange subsidiaries, including 33 in the Caymans alone.)
FDA is Considering Allowing Unregulated Ingredient in Yogurt – Never heard of Milk Protein Concentrates? You’re not alone. But ask any U.S. dairy farmer about this processed food ingredient and you’ll get an earful. Unregulated imports of cheap milk protein concentrates are driving down the price of domestically produced milk and putting American dairy farmers out of business. No one in the government is checking to make sure that they’re safe to eat, and now FDA is thinking about letting them be used to make yogurt. MPCs have never been tested enough to make the list of food ingredients FDA considers to be safe – and they are not allowed in some dairy products that have regulations on how they are made. Tell FDA you don’t want MPCs in your yogurt at the link.