Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Fun Allowed?

-ROVE STRATEGY PAPER FOUND IN NIXON ARCHIVE - A 1973 memo by the young Karl Rove has surfaced. Karl was seeking pointers on his 1974 strategy, a strategy that included building a group of "New Federalism Advocates" (NFAs) by promising them face time with Haldeman and Ehrlichman. This proved less than enticing to potential NFAs when face time turned out to mean looking through thick glass while talking on prison telephone. Most exciting was Rove's suggested use of Reefer Madness showings as a fundraiser. Karl is sometimes accused of dissing the religious righteous behind their backs, Maybe he's been a closet hippie all along? Now Karl is hiding behind memory loss to duck questions about the Reefer Madness reference. Could memory loss be the result of Karl's personal reefer madness? More likely it's just practice for Karl's response to inquiry on US Attorney firings. Come on, Karl, everyone our age remembers Reefer Madness, but we will let that slide if you just tell us what NFA really stood for in the young Republican elite - No Fun Allowed? -

-CONRAD BLACK, EX PRESS BARON, GUILTY OF FRAUD -Earlier in these proceedings Mr. Black had advanced the novel argument that he could not receive a fair trial since a jury of his peers would consist entirely of billionaires. Actual jury did a discriminating job, acquitting on most counts but picking the most indefensible facts as the basis for convictions. Essentially American Publishing, an almost inactive subsidiary of the public company managed by Black, paid Black not to compete with American Publishing if he should ever leave the company. If that did not seem to make sense it's because it doesn't make sense, like getting paid not to compete with yourself. Fact that the payments were made under a backdated contract that allowed Black to receive them tax free under Canadian law the real explanation. "I was only cheating on my taxes, not bilking the shareholders" never a great defense, but here he also seems to duck normal approval process for compensation, so he was doing both. This jury picked and chose among complex charges, which may mean Black's appeal will be difficult. If Lord Black (who is actually a peer of the realm, member of House of Lords) thinks it was difficult to get a jury of his peers wait until he tries to find a cell block of his peers - relatively few titled billionaires in Joliet at last count. Joliet Jake Blues might be available if you would settle for Black & Blues cell pairing with color peer, always good to have a cell mate who plays the harmonica.

-FOR JAMES'S COMPANION, REAL ESTATE PROVED LUCRATIVE IN A HURRY -Maybe No Fun Allowed was the watchword for Nixon-Rove young Republicans, but it was a different story for former Newark Mayor Sharpe James. He faces one set of charges based on use of City funds to cover living large personal expenses for himself and his companions, a second set of charges based on arranging sweetheart deals in sale of city properties to one of those companions, real estate baron Tamika Riley, pictured above. Riley, with no training, experience or capital, managed to earn a quick $620,000 by flipping properties she purchased from the city with James's help. James defends on grounds that extravagant lifestyle was all necessary to promote Newark, jump start recovery. Newark government's incompetence and corruption has been preventing recovery in a city that should have taken off a decade ago. James's personal touch as a politician may work with a jury, could make for an interesting trial when all he needs is reasonable doubt. If James tried to prove he achieved anything as mayor beyond patronage expansion and being in the right place at the beginning of the right time he would lose before he could finish his opening statement.

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