Thursday, January 29, 2009

Less than 1% of corruption cases get investigated, allegedly

The below was found on the Hartford Courant newspaper site [here]. Steven G. Erickson thoughts on the below written in red.


Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez
(TOM BROWN / HARTFORD COURANT / February 1, 2007)
Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez

On Jan. 27 2009, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez surrendered himself on bribery charges related to renovation work performed on his house by a city contractor who received millions of dollars in public contracts.


Former State Senator Louis DeLuca
(SHANA SURECK / HARTFORD COURANT / October 15, 2007)
Former State Senator Louis DeLuca

Louis DeLuca became a part of a scandal involving the mob in 2007. DeLuca asked an alleged mob associate to intervene in what DeLuca called an abusive relationship between his granddaughter and her husband. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to threatening, receiving a suspended sentence. DeLuca later resigned from the Senate, which became effective on November 30, 2007.

Alleged Mafia garbage hauling, fixed bids, and doling out "beat downs", is Official Connecticut a real life version of HBO's, "The Sopranos"?



Former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim
(MARK MIRKO / HARTFORD COURANT / April 4, 2003)
Former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim

Joe Ganim was convicted on federal corruption charges and sentenced to 108 months at a federal correction facility. Ganim was also ordered to pay $148,000 in restitution and a $150,000 fine. Ganim was said to have received $529,505 in kickbacks and bribes from his accomplices.

Was Ganim as bad as former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland, known as "Johnny" to both Presidents Bush? [more]


Former Gov. John Rowland
(Hartford Courant / December 14, 2006)
Former Gov. John Rowland

A year after being sworn in to an historic third term as Connecticut's governor, John G. Rowland admitted publicly that he had received free work from state contractors on his summer cottage in Bantam, an admission that foreshadowed his resignation and, ultimately, his imprisonment. He officially resigned on July 1, 2004; then pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge on Dec. 23 of that year. He served ten months in federal prison before his release on Feb. 10, 2006.


Former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano
(DOUGLAS HEALEY / AP / December 1, 2000)
Former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano

Philip Giordano is currently serving a 37-year prison term for sexually abusing two young girls while he was mayor of Waterbury. In 2003, Giordano was convicted of violating the girls' civil rights by paying a crack-addicted prostitute to bring her daughter and niece to him for sexual encounters in 2000 and 2001, when they were 8 and 10. Giordano was arrested in July of 2001 by FBI agents who were monitoring him as part of a municipal corruption investigation. The arrest stunned the city and prompted fellow Republican and then-Gov. John Rowland to ask Giordano to resign.


Former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro
(TOM BROWN / HARTFORD COURANT / June 4, 2007)
Former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro

Joseph Santopietro was convicted in 1992 of conspiring with bankers and developers to trade favors for bribes and kickbacks disguised as loans.


Former State Sen. Ernest Newton
(BOB CHILD / AP / September 20, 2005)
Former State Sen. Ernest Newton

Former Bridgeport State Sen. Ernest Newton was sentenced to five years in prison in 2006 for accepting a $5,000 bribe, evading taxes and pilfering campaign contributions to pay for car repairs and personal cellphone calls.

Ernie Newton may have made one or two big mistakes. Look at his prison sentence. Rowland got a year in prison. Rowland when he was working came in, and almost everyday he was profiteering, stealing, taking bribes, and retaliating against those who got "mouthy" about his crimes. [my more recent email to "Johnny"]


Sen. Christopher Dodd
(ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES / October 16, 2008)
Sen. Christopher Dodd

Sen. Chris Dodd came under fire after it was found out that he received favorable terms on his Countrywide Financial loans when he refinanced his mortgages in his Connecticut and Washington, D.C., homes. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Dodd later proposed a housing bailout to Congress which would in turn help companies accused of causing the subprime meltdown, including Countrywide. Dodd has still refused to release documents on his 2003 loans.

Dirtbag ... he is unresponsive to most, if not almost all, of his constituents.


Thomas Gaffey
(HANDOUT / October 17, 2008)
State Senator Thomas Gaffey

State Senator Thomas Gaffey came under scandal in 2007 when allegations came out that he was involved in a romantic relationship with a school lobbyist at Connecticut State University while at the same time pushing for a billion dollar proposal for the CSU system. He denied his relationship with the university administrator, and was reelected November 2008.

A billion dollars!!!??? What happens to a common thief who steals one candy bar from one candy store?


John M. Fabrizi, Mary Fabrizi
(DOUGLAS HEALEY / AP / June 20, 2006)
Former Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi

Former Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi admitted in 2006 that he abused cocaine while in office. The allegations of his drug use first surfaced after a drug dealer claimed there was a videotape of Fabrizi using cocaine. It was later found out that the videotape never existed.

Just not as good at denying wrongdoing as most Connecticut Official Scumbags.


Mayor Patrick L. Tallarita

In 2007, former Enfield Mayor Patrick L. Tallarita was named in a lawsuit over an alleged confrontation with a man in a grocery store.


T. Frank Hayes
(HANDOUT)
Former Mayor T. Frank Hayes

Former Waterbury Mayor T. Frank Hayes was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the City of Waterbury in 1940. Hayes served six years in prison.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Connecticut Official Sleazebags on Parade

Connecticut

GOVERNMENT WATCH
A Fine, A Reprimand And A Raise

Jon Lender | Government Watch | The Hartford Courant
January 25, 2009


The announcement of a $1,000 fine against state Department of Children and Families lawyer Maureen Duggan last week probably closed the book on any penalties she'll pay for an incident in 2004, when she used a phony identity in writing a letter that led to the firing of her then-boss, state ethics director Alan S. Plofsky.

And the way it all shakes out, she ended up with a fine, a reprimand and a raise.

The $1,000 fine extracted by the Office of State Ethics for violating ethics statutes was more than offset by the $6,000 raise that Duggan has received — a 5 percent boost to $111,000, up from about $105,000 — in her current job as a management attorney at DCF.

For a while last year, it looked as if Duggan might be in real trouble, perhaps in jeopardy of losing her law license and her state job.

That was after The Courant disclosed in May that Duggan, a staff attorney at the State Ethics Commission in 2004, was the author of the mysterious, unsigned letter that purported to be from a parking lot attendant who had observed irregularities and improprieties at the ethics commission office.

More than one administrative inquiry was launched into her conduct. But eight months later, it now appears that the newly announced ethics fine is the last sanction possible in the case. Earlier, state personnel officials decided not to discipline her, and last month a state lawyers' grievance panel gave her a reprimand while ordering her to attend nine hours of ethics classes.

Now, with the episode behind her — other than the humiliation that she has said she feels — Duggan continues to serve in good standing as the DCF's assistant legal director, supervising nine hearing officers, seven of them lawyers, in the department's administrative hearings unit.

DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said that after the Department of Administrative Services decided not to discipline her last year, the department required her to take a one-day ethics course administered by the Connecticut Bar Association. And, he said, Duggan's supervisor at DCF gave her a half-hour "counseling" session, in which she was told:

•"The obligations of a public servant and attorney are that their standard of accountability is higher than someone in the general public."

•"There are appropriate ways to bring concerns to the notice of management" — and writing letters under a phony identity, such as an imaginary parking lot attendant, isn't one of them.

Duggan's salary rose to $111,000 because "in 2008 managers received cost of living adjustments" of 3 percent, and, because her performance was rated satisfactory by her superiors, she got a "performance-based increase" of 2 1/2 percent.

Meanwhile, Plofsky, who was fired a month after Duggan's letter arrived, still has a case pending in federal court, suing members of the former ethics commission who fired him in September 2004 after a chain of events touched off by the August arrival of Duggan's letter.

The letter contained intentional errors of spelling and grammar such as the phrase "I want to be anonimus" and "I work in the parking lot and patrol the building where the ethics is." After the letter arrived, Duggan and two co-workers filed sworn "whistle-blower" complaints against Plofsky, with allegations of misconduct that formed the basis for his firing. In Duggan's sworn complaint, she referred to her own letter as "an anonymous letter," as if someone else had written it. Plofsky denied the charges and a state panel later reinstated him, albeit not to his old job. He retired last May.

The domino effect of Duggan's letter ended with the legislature dismantling the old ethics agency, which imploded amid bitterness over the Plofsky situation. It was replaced in 2005 by the new Office of State Ethics, which now has fined Duggan, and an overseeing panel called the Citizens Ethics Advisory Board.

Plofsky's federal lawsuit has dragged on now for three years. His lawyer, Gregg D. Adler, said Plofsky's case originally could have been settled for less than $200,000, a cost to the state that already has been exceeded in the past several years of litigation. It's the job of state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office to defend the case, and, as it turns out, part of Duggan's present job is to serve as DCF's liaison to Blumenthal's office — not on her case, but on any DCF-related lawsuits.

Duggan's lawyer, Hope Seeley, has said that issues raised in the "anonimus" letter were found valid by auditors, and that Duggan "felt she had no viable alternatives" to faking her identity because "she feared retaliation by Plofsky."

Adler said those fears were groundless, and it's Plofsky who has been wronged.

He added: "While Mr. Plofsky, who had to take early retirement because he was unable to cope with the degradation suffered as a result of his public discharge just weeks after he had been instrumental in forcing the resignation of a corrupt Governor, languishes at home waiting for the issuance of a decision in his federal court case, Ms. Duggan received two slaps on the wrist" — the reprimand and $1,000 fine — "while retaining her job as an attorney with the Department of Children and Families. This is not justice."

•Jon Lender is a reporter on The Courant's investigative desk, with a focus on government and politics. Contact him at jlender@courant.com, 860-241-6524, or c/o The Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.


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[click here] for:

What about arrests and prison for behavior like this?:

Attorney, prosecutorial, judicial, official, and police misconduct is an "art form" in the state of Connecticut and too many other states. There are two classes of people. Those that get taxed, arrested, and live in a "State of Fear" and there are those who run the "State of Fear" with immunity from arrest and prosecution, what US Constitution?


MAUREEN DUGGAN, right, addresses the committee reviewing misconduct charges against her related to a fraudulent letter she wrote in 2004 while a staff lawyer with the State Ethics Commission. The letter led to the firing of ethics chief Alan S. Plofsky. Her lawyer, Hope Seeley, is at left. (BOB MACDONNELL / HARTFORD COURANT / November 5, 2008)

GEICO has the highest amount of complaints in Hawaii


Lava blows from a cinder cone and flows through a channel at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

USGS photo [found here]


The below was [found here] on the web.

I admit it. I do like that heavily accented Geico gecko. It’s one of the commercials that comes on my car radio that doesn’t cause me to immediately switch the dial. The Geico cavemen? Them I could live without. (Thankfully, as their quickly canceled television show proved, so could most of the rest of the country.)

But just because Geico has the best commercials, doesn’t necessarily mean it has the most fans. Especially not in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumers Affairs Insurance Division recently published a comparison of motor vehicle insurance for all its islands. It also published customer complaint ratios for all the carriers in the state. Seems Geico, cute lizard and all, had the highest number of complaints on Oahu. In all, Geico totaled 106 complaints on the island. American International Company came in second with 54 complaints.

Liberty Mutual Insurance had the highest ratio of complaints on the island, though, for every 1,000 autos. The company led the way with a score of 0.667. Geico again scored high, though, finishing second with a complaints ratio per 1,000 autos of .0578.

The number of complaints and the complaint ratios are based on written complaints that the Hawaiian insurance division received from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2007 for 11 insurance companies that write more than 95 percent of the auto insurance policies in the state. Not all of the complaints, of course, will have been found to have been justified.

I don’t know about you, but these kind of lists always fascinate me. It’s always interesting to see which companies are generating the most complaints. Check with your own state if you’re considering changing insurance companies. You never know if they’ll have a list like the one in Hawaii. Be careful, though, of judging any company only on the number of complaints it receives. The key is that we don’t know how many written complaints truly are justified and how many are filed by the cranks of the world.

Comments posted to above piece as of 8 AM EST, January 26, 2009:

  1. Steven G. Erickson Says:

    GEICO will leave you hanging, check out comment # 12:
    http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/2008/11/geico.html

    Your medical bills might not be paid, your lost wages might not be paid, and GEICO might just string you along.

    Do yourself and your community a favor don’t get GEICO auto insurance, it is like not having insurance.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big Brother's Library?

Iowa woman jailed for overdue library book

Text SizeAAA

Filed under: Extracurriculars

The folks in charge of the Jesup Public Library in Iowa take their circulation rather serious, if judged by the arrest last week of Shelly Koontz for failing to return a book she'd checked out in April. According to The Gazette, local cops showed up at Koontz's home at 8:30 p.m. one day last week with a warrant for her arrest for not returning the library book "The Freedom Writers Diary." The $13.95 book was nine months overdue.

Before you send her a check in protest, though, know this: the library had called her four times and sent her three first-class letters and a certified one. After receiving no reply, a local police officer stopped by the house to leave the message that Koontz needed to return the book ASAP. The library finally filed charges on October 10th. When confronted with her crime, Koontz told the police she had been too busy to look for the book she'd misplaced.

Koontz was taken to the Buchanan County Jail where she was fingerprinted and her mug shot taken. She was held there until her mother helped pay the $250 bail.

The Freedom Writers Diary is the story of "How a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them." Perhaps Koontz can use her writing skills on a few reminder notes, such as "Return the stupid library books!"

King of the Ponzi Scheme


Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, photo stolen [from here]


Charles Ponzi [source of photo includes story]


[source for the below]

Victim: Madoff took 'all my money'

Phyllis Molchatsky lost millions investing with Bernard Madoff and, like many other victims, has few options for getting that money back. But her attorney sees hope in a 1955 court case.

By Catherine Holahan, MSN Money

For Phyllis Molchatsky, investing with Bernard Madoff wasn't a way to get rich. It was a plan to keep Parkinson's disease from stealing her life.

In 2001, Molchatsky was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder. Doctors told her she needed to quit her job as an office manager, she says. Molchatsky was not yet 55.

Though she had saved nearly $2 million, she wanted assurance that she would have enough to care for herself and have a family. She turned to her broker for help. He showed her a fund that was invested with Madoff.

"I wanted someone who was a little bit more conservative, someone who could let me sleep at night," Molchatsky said.

Molchatsky's investment, which eventually soared to $3.8 million, according to reports from her broker, is now gone. She worries she will someday become a financial burden to her adopted son and her partner, and expects to have to sell her suburban New York home. "It was all my money," Molchatsky said. "I wanted my son to have a better life than I had."

Molchatsky, like many Madoff victims, is desperately trying to recover her losses. But with Madoff insolvent, victims are finding few avenues for restitution. Bankruptcy courts and other entities, some of which provide relief to investors in bankrupt brokerages, will likely have insufficient funds to cover what the Securities and Exchange Commission said could be more than $50 billion in losses.

As a result, many victims are turning against those believed to have willingly, or unwittingly, perpetuated Madoff's alleged fraud by endorsing his business. That includes the investment firms that entrusted Madoff with clients' money, their auditors, even the federal government.

Taking on Wall Street's top cop

On Dec. 23, Molchatsky filed an administrative claim against the SEC, a preliminary step for any lawsuit against a government entity. The claim alleges the SEC was negligent in failing to uncover what may prove to have been the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

"We feel that this was a classic case of negligence by the SEC," said Howard Elisofon, a New York attorney who is suing the SEC on Molchatsky's behalf.

The SEC declined to comment for this story.

Fighting the government will be no easy task. But Molchatsky, like most Madoff investors and financial fraud victims, has few places to turn.

Investors can't go after Madoff. The government has seized his few remaining assets in hopes of dividing them among his investors -- in the event he is convicted. If Madoff is found guilty, it could take years for the government to secure and sell his assets, then determine how to distribute the proceeds, let alone cut checks. Even then, Madoff's remaining millions would likely be little consolation to investors who, collectively, are believed to have lost tens of billions.

The FBI classifies Ponzi schemes -- in which investors are paid "dividends" from money provided by new investors rather than from a business's profits -- as among the most common investment scams. Since Madoff's December arrest, the U.S. Department of Justice has charged at least half a dozen more people with operating multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes.

In most cases, there's little left for investors once a scheme crumbles.

"The reality is that many, many times the person who has defrauded you has squandered your money," said one federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified. "They have spent it on things that we cannot recoup, things such as expensive meals, fancy vacations, things that have no value whatsoever."

Tip: How to deduct Madoff losses

'Very little recourse'

Another avenue for restitution is the Securities Investor Protection Corp., or SIPC. The nonprofit, which is funded by its broker-dealer members, provides some relief for investors in failed brokerage firms that still owe their customers cash, stocks or bonds. The SIPC promises to reimburse individual investors in bankrupt member brokerages up to $500,000.

"Although not every investor is protected by SIPC, no fewer than 99 percent of persons who are eligible get their investments back from SIPC," it boasts on its Web site.

Though investors can seek up to $500,000, the amount typically received varies. Investors can seek only their principals -- not believed profits or the interest they would have earned had they, instead, kept their money in a savings account. In cases in which an investor had withdrawn more in "dividends" than the amount initially invested, an SIPC claim could result in a "clawback," through which investors who lost money would seek funds from those who, unwittingly, had profited from the scam.

The scale of Madoff's case would make it difficult for the SIPC to pay out much to victims. Though the SIPC has mailed out claim forms to more than 8,000 Madoff investors, it doesn't have enough to pay them all. According to the SIPC's Web site, the nonprofit has about $1 billion in assets and could borrow $1 billion more from the SEC. That's barely enough to cover the reported losses of a dozen or so prominent funds that had invested with Madoff.

The SIPC is also offering reimbursements only to those who invested directly with Madoff's broker-dealer arm. An investor such as Molchatsky, who put her money in a fund that ultimately invested in Madoff's brokerage, is not eligible. And though intermediaries can apply and then redistribute any funds received to all affected clients, the amount eventually received by individuals is unlikely to provide much relief.

"The people who have invested in Madoff have very little recourse other than to turn to people who helped him carry out his scheme," said Reed Kathrein, a partner in Seattle law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro. Kathrein's firm has filed a class-action suit against several so-called feeder funds or funds of funds that had placed money on behalf of their investors with Madoff. The suit includes Tremont Group and its owner, Oppenheimer Funds.

Unlike Madoff's bankrupt firm, many of the funds that invested in him still have significant assets. But proving that investors are entitled to that money is no simple task. Many investment firms are set up as limited-liability corporations, which prevents investors who lose money in one fund from seeking compensation from other funds controlled by the same firm.

A paucity of scrutiny?

Investors also face hurdles in proving that such firms are liable. Under U.S. securities laws, plaintiffs must show that the brokers, hedge funds or money managers actively urged investors to do something that was not in their best interest, Kathrein said. "Congress has made it difficult in the past few years to get people who are aiders and abettors," he said.

Kathrein and other lawyers hope they will have a strong argument under state fiduciary-duty laws. They plan to argue that executives of the funds that invested in Madoff, and their auditors, violated those laws by failing to provide sufficient care in vetting Madoff before investing client funds.

"Our view is that this was a total breakdown in the due-diligence process," said Gregory M. Nespole, a New York attorney who is pursuing a class-action suit against Andover and Beacon funds, which lost money in Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme. "When I entrusted my money to a money manager, it is my understanding that money was going to be carefully invested and that the places where it was going were going to be investigated."

The funds are not admitting any mistakes. Their lawyers will argue that Madoff simply hid his fraud too well. They will likely point to the sheer number of investment professionals and savvy, high-net-worth individuals allegedly defrauded as evidence that standard checks could not uncover fraud. Even the SEC, after all, didn't figure it out until someone from Madoff's firm, reportedly one of his sons, came forward.

"Like the tens of thousands of investors swindled by Bernard Madoff, the Andover and Beacon funds are shocked by the circumstances and unprecedented scope of the Madoff situation," the funds' managers said in a statement e-mailed by a spokesman. "The funds are exploring their legal remedies in an effort to recover the losses caused by Madoff's conduct."

Tremont issued a similar statement. "Tremont believes these claims are wholly without merit and will vigorously defend itself while continuing to maintain a focus on efforts to pursue avenues for recovery that may be available to its funds and investors," spokesman Montieth Illingworth said.

The SEC's dimmed lighthouse

Unlike the funds, the government has admitted missteps. In a Dec. 16 statement, then-SEC Chairman Christopher Cox expressed regret that the agency had not looked more deeply into Madoff's activities. He said that "credible and specific allegations regarding Mr. Madoff's financial wrongdoing, going back to at least 1999, were repeatedly brought to the attention of the SEC staff." However, the SEC never requested a formal investigation.

"A consequence of the failure . . . is that subpoena power was not used to obtain information, but rather the staff relied upon information voluntarily produced by Mr. Madoff and his firm," Cox said.

That's one reason Molchatsky and her lawyer are taking on the government.

"It is quite admirable for Chairman Cox to stand up to the plate and actually make public statements that there was credible evidence. . . . It's very admirable, but it is also very telling," said Elisofon, Molchatsky's attorney. "That will go a long way to proving liability."

Molchatsky knew Elisofon through a mutual friend. After learning about Madoff's alleged scheme, she reached out in hopes of finding some way to get back her money. She was still in shock. She wanted to know how Madoff could have perpetrated such a large fraud without a long history of violations and fines.

Madoff's record appeared unassailable. Though Molchatsky didn't know that Madoff was a former head of the Nasdaq or considered an electronic trading guru, the past performance of the American Masters Broad Market Fund, which invested in Madoff's brokerage, was impeccable. It never rose as high as competing funds during market rallies, but it never lost significantly when the market was down, said Molchatsky.

"I would not have given a penny . . . if there was the slightest blip on the radar," Molchatsky said. She blamed the SEC.

Elisofon's initial reaction was to push another option, he said. He didn't believe he could sue "king and country." Though Molchatsky could ultimately receive some restitution from a successful class-action suit against the third parties that invested in Madoff -- since she invested through an intermediary -- she and her law firm opted not to sue those who gave money to Madoff. Even if one of these lawsuits by another firm is successful, the sheer number of investors eligible for restitution makes it unlikely that Molchatsky would receive much of her investment back.

Eventually, Elisofon decided that Molchatsky's best option was to sue the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. After all, while feeder funds could try to claim they were blameless victims, the government had admitted mistakes, Elisofon said.

Elisofon likened the case to a 1955 court decision in which the government was successfully sued for failing to maintain a lighthouse. In the case, Indian Towing Co. v. the United States, the company was awarded damages after its barge ran aground on an island where the Coast Guard had a lighthouse. The light, at the time, was broken.

"They (the SEC) left the light out in the lighthouse," Elisofon said. "We feel ultimately that we can prevail on that."

The government has six months to respond to the administrative claim. If it denies Molchatsky's claim for restitution or ignores it, Elisofon can proceed with a lawsuit. He expects that could take years.

In the meantime, Molchatsky will likely have to sell her home and uproot her family. And, though Elisofon is hopeful the government could take other steps, such as creating a fund for the victims or giving the SIPC more money and a broader mandate for compensation, Molchatsky knows she faces a long struggle to get her life back.

"My future," she said, voice breaking, "the only thing that remains the same for my future is the love I have for my son. . . . Everything else is upside down."

Produced by Darragh Worland/Graphics by Joe Farro


Published Jan. 22, 2009


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http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/

http://thegetjusticecoalition.blogspot.com/

http://judicialmisconduct.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 23, 2009

Officials driving drunk and/or involved in public corruption in Connecticut?

No surprise ...


DCF Commissioner Susan I. Hamilton speaks at a press conference on July 18, 2008. (MARK MIRKO)

DCF Commissioner Arrested On DUI Charge

By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY | The Hartford Courant
1:58 PM EST, January 23, 2009


NORTH HAVEN — - Susan Hamilton, commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families, was charged with driving under the influence last night, police said today.

At about 6:45 p.m. a state trooper noticed a GMC Acadia being driven "erratically" on I-91 north just before exit 11, state police said. The trooper pulled the vehicle over and conducted a field sobriety test, which she failed, according to a brief police report from the Troop I barracks in Bethany.

Hamilton, 42, of Meadowbrook Road, West Hartford, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to drive in the proper lane and was released on a promise to appear in Superior Court in Meriden on Feb. 6, police said.

Hamilton's rise through DCF has brought her from being a front-line child abuse investigator to being the head of an agency with one of the largest budgets and work forces in state government.

Despite the well-documented controversies and problems at DCF, 41 candidates applied when the commissioner's job opened up, including 29 from outside Connecticut. Hamilton was chosen from that large group. Hamilton was recommended as the top choice among three finalists by a three-member screening committee that included Gov. M. Jodi Rell's chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody.

In 1998, Hamilton was appointed by Kristine D. Ragaglia, the agency's commissioner, to head DCF's legal division, where she oversaw 13 lawyers and 23 paralegals. The West Hartford resident holds a master's degree in social work and a law degree.

Statement of Governor M. Jodi Rell issued this statement on the arrest of on Commissioner Susan Hamilton:

"I consider any instance of drinking and driving to be a serious matter and I am disappointed that this incident occurred. I also believe this to be an aberration for Commissioner Hamilton, whose personal and professional conduct has been heretofore exemplary over a 16-year public service career.

Commissioner Hamilton has expressed her remorse to the employees of DCF and to me and has pledged to take every action to ensure this never happens again."

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Holding the Culprits of 9-11 Profiteering Accountable?


The image of Bernie Sanders was stolen from commondreams.org [here]



Vermont US Senator Bernie Sanders, a professed Socialist, is interviewed by Rob Kall of OpEd News. [OpEd post]

Mr. Kall's text with above video:
"Rob Kall and Bernie Sanders talking Economics

Rob Kall interviews Senator Bernie Sanders (I- VT) on:

-how big companies that are too big to fail are using bailiout money to get bigger

-on investigating who and what caused the economic crisis

-on investigating people who profited from 911

-on where's the bottom-up in the bailout"


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[click here] for my letters to Vermont US Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch on a similar subject.

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Text of email I just sent to Bernie Sanders:

Sir, I just watched a video of you being interviewed by Rob Kall of OpEdNews.com and would like to commend you.

I am posting this open letter to you [here].

I would like to see those who were involved in profiteering from 9-11 on, brought to justice. I would also like to see those who caused the unnecessary deaths of our US Troops in the ground war in Iraq brought to justice and charged with murder here in the US. If we weren't lied into war, they would not have been so much suffering, death, and our US economy wouldn't be in shambles.

If George W. Bush and his co-conspirators aren't brought to justice, we could eventually have a regime similar to Saddam's here in the US. Please help us and the US to make sure it doesn't happen. Let's make it so that George W. Bush is the first American President to be arrested, hauled off in handcuffs, fingerprinted, has his mug shot taken, and is then ferried by paddy wagon or prison barge to the appropriate lock down facility or prison. Let's make sure his co-conspirators are similarly situated.

I also would like you to look into [this constituent complaint for remedy].

Steven G. Erickson
stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Post Office Box Eight Seventy-Four
Brattleboro, VT
05302

Bush/Cheney Indict Vote Brattleboro, VT 03-04-08


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

MYSTERIOUS PRISON BUSES IN THE DESERT

by Ellen Brown

[source, OpEd News]

Prison buses are driving around empty in the Tucson area. Are Wackenhut and the DHS preparing for civil unrest?

On a recent visit to Tucson, where I was invited to give a presentation on monetary reform, I was disturbed by a story of strange goings on in the desert. A little over a year ago, it seems, a new industrial facility sprang up on the edge of town. It was in a remote industrial zone and appeared to be a bus depot. The new enterprise was surrounded by an imposing security fence and bore no outward signs identifying its services. However, it soon became apparent that the compound was in the business of outfitting a fleet of prison buses. Thirty or so secondhand city buses were being reconfigured with prison bars in the windows and a coat of fresh paint bearing the “Wackenhut G4S” logo on the side.

The new Wackenhut operation is shrouded in mystery. It has been running its fleet of empty prison buses night and day, apparently logging miles on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract. Multiple buses can be seen driving all over town and even on remote desert back roads. Oddly, except for the driver and one escort guard seated in front, these buses are always empty. Wackenhut Services was founded by George Wackenhut in 1954 to provide prison guard services to state and federal governments. Mr. Wackenhut was reported to be something of a brawler himself, having once earned distinction beating up his business partner in a fist fight. Now owned by the Danish corporation G4S, Wackenhut Services has a sinister reputation for hiring thugs. It has been said that it’s hard to tell which is more dangerous, the prisoners or the guards.

Observers originally thought that the purpose of the new Wackenhut operation was to outfit prison buses to be distributed in other parts of the country. But it soon became apparent that none of the buses was leaving the Tucson depot. Recently, a passerby observed what appeared to be a training operation there. In what seemed to be strange activity for 10:30 PM on a Saturday night, the depot yard was fully illuminated, the entire fleet of buses was up and running, and drivers and guards were scrambling around the yard. The question is, what were they training for? Wackenhut has never officially announced itself to the community, and the local news media have never mentioned its presence. Hiring has been discreetly conducted via the Internet, and an apathetic general public has taken little notice.

Among the few who have noticed, one theory is that the prison bus depot is simply infrastructure for border security. But if so, where are the illegal aliens? Why are these buses always empty? What is the alleged justification for burning thousands of gallons of diesel fuel to run thirty decrepit, smoking buses night and day without passengers?

There is another interesting piece to this puzzle. On the desolate plain between Phoenix and Tucson is a tiny town called Florence, Arizona, which features a population consisting largely of prisoners. For decades, Florence has been the home of two of the largest county and federal prisons in the state; and in 2007, a vast new DHS prison was built there as well. Like the Wackenhut buses, this shiny new facility, which literally disappears into the horizon, has gone unannounced and unnoticed by the general public. A new facility for imprisoning illegal aliens? It is hard to imagine such expensive infrastructure being built for that purpose when U.S. policy has been to simply return illegals to their home countries.

Fraud and waste aside, this mysterious activity has sinister implications. Why the obvious secrecy?

Since the World Trade Center disaster in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has grown to monster proportions, claiming a projected $50 billion of the federal budget in 2009. DHS includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which earned notoriety in 2005 for its gross mishandling of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Al Martin, a retired naval intelligence officer and former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors, has linked the remilitarization of FEMA to the civil unrest anticipated along with economic collapse. He wrote in a November 2005 newsletter called “Behind the Scenes in the Beltway”:

“FEMA is being upgraded as a federal agency, and upon passage of PATRIOT Act III, which contains the amendment to overturn posse comitatus, FEMA will be re-militarized, which will give the agency military police powers. . . . Why is all of this being done? Why is the regime moving to a militarized police state and to a dictatorship? It is because of what Comptroller General David Walker said, that after 2009, the ability of the United States to continue to service its debt becomes questionable. Although the average citizen may not understand what that means, when the United States can no longer service its debt it collapses as an economic entity. We would be an economically collapsed state. The only way government can function and can maintain control in an economically collapsed state is through a military dictatorship.”1

Of course, there may be another, more innocent explanation for all this. But anyone living near one of these facilities should be asking to hear it. In the meantime, the ominous implications would seem to warrant exploring alternative sources of funding for the federal budget and the federal debt. There are other ways to deal with the national debt than relying on the waning appetites of the Chinese and the Japanese for U.S. securities. Some innovative possibilities for funding both the federal debt and President Obama’s new economic stimulus package will be the subject of future articles. Stay tuned.

1. Al Martin, “FEMA, CILFs and State Security: Shocking Updates,” www.almartinraw.com (November 28, 2005).

www.webofdebt.com

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and "the money trust." She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from "the money trust." Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature's Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com and www.ellenbrown.com.



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Note: because I decide to post something not written by me, doesn't mean that I agree, or disagree, just that I found it interesting.

http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/

http://judicialmisconduct.blogspot.com/


http://thegetjusticecoalition.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Russian-Ukrainian gas war

by Eric Walberg
[Original Source, OpEd News]


Europe 's winter of discontent

More tricks and hot air from across the Atlantic leave Europeans in the cold.

A hurried resolution to the Ukraine-Russia gas war was reached during a visit to Moscow by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko to meet with her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin this week. Ukraine finally agreed to pay higher European prices for Russian gas from 2010, after a 20 per cent discount in 2009.

This accord came in the wake of sharp criticism of Ukraine by European leaders and Putin's first official visit to Germany as prime minister, where he presented a more ambitious long term solution to the unending troubles with Ukraine that have left European countries without winter fuel more than once. His proposal involves leading European energy companies forming a consortium with Russia 's Gazprom to ensure that Russian supplies reach their destination. "Trust has been damaged,"- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the talks, without specifying who was to blame. "We hope this idea of a consortium has a chance in succeeding."-

In Soviet days, there was never a reliability problem in dealing with Moscow, so what's the problem now that we are all one big, happy, capitalist family? Quite simply, Ukraine refuses to pay market prices for its own gas imports from Russia, and even stopped paying its gas debt, preferring to steal Europe 's gas as it transits Ukrainian territory and create a reserve for its own use, a strange and shortsighted policy to say the least. Whereas in the past, world price fluctuations among the "free nations"- were of little concern to Soviet planners, Russian politicians today very sensibly want to extract every last kopeck from trade partners. They certainly will not put up with blatant theft and nonpayment of debts.

But Ukraine is the West's "friend"- and would-be member of NATO, while Russia is now the West's "enemy"-. Still, theft is theft, and the EU is beginning to sour on its eastern friend. Talks on a new association agreement with the Ukraine and on energy cooperation are now on hold. "This is about their credibility in terms of their entire relationship,"- said an EU official. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned with uncharacteristic bluntness, "If Ukraine wants to be closer to the EU, it should not create any problems for gas to come to the EU."-

Ukraine 's bonanza of gas transit fees could disappear as well. Putin raised with Merkel the issue of Gazprom's NordStream pipeline, being built with German energy companies Wintershall and Ruhrgas which would allow Russia to send gas directly to Europe under the Baltic Sea as part of its policy of diversifying its export routes. At present 80 per cent of Gazprom's exports--supplying a quarter of Europe 's gas--must transit Ukraine. The best remedy against theft is to avoid dealing with the thief.

But in the meantime, EU and Russian officials are still pressuring Ukraine for an acceptable way to monitor gas supplies. Russia wants a 50 per cent share in the Ukrainian portion of the pipeline, as it has with a similar pipeline network through Belarus, which would put an end to the pilfering, but Ukraine refuses. Thus Putin's idea of a compromise international consortium, with Russia 's involvement, to manage the pipeline, a proposal quickly approved of by Merkel. She has an election coming and Ukraine 's defiant anti-Russian stance--and its shenanigans--do not impress potential voters, however much they may please Washington.

Hardest hit in early January were Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia during an especially cold winter spell. But the fractious 27-member EU, with its latest additions--the Polands and Croatias--is not amenable to making big deals with Russia in the common interest. Anti-Russian rhetoric is a big vote-getter for the new guys on the block, and it is no surprise Putin chooses to bypass the toothless EU and speak to Germany directly.

The factors leading up to the gas war are well known. On 2 October, the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers agreed to switch to market prices in the business between their gas companies--Gazprom and Nafotgaz--with the Russian side allowed to sell directly to end users in Ukraine. In late November Kiev stopped payment of pending debts, making a new gas deal for 2009 impossible. Russia has been heavily subsidising Ukraine, buying from Central Asian producers at $375 per 1,000 cubic meters and selling to Ukraine at $179.5. It has been more than generous in easing Ukraine 's transition to market prices, accepting a gradual increase to $250 for the 2009 contract. Based on 2008 sales, Gazprom lost $12 billion by selling gas at a subsidised price to Ukraine and had to ask for a bailout from the Russian government.

With no contract for 2009 in place, Moscow was forced to cut off the gas supplies to Ukraine on 1 January. Ukraine retaliated by refusing to allow the transit of Russian gas to Europe and using gas destined for the European market to create a gas reserve of its own at no cost, enough to last six months even if Russia cuts off all supplies.

Ukraine pleads its coffers are bare, which is no doubt true. Its industrial production sharply declined in November and GDP is forecast to contract by 10 per cent in 2009. It just accepted a $16.4 billion loan from the IMF. Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Erik Berglof recently warned that the IMF package might not suffice: " Ukraine is heading toward a twin currency and banking sector crisis that could well bring down most of the economies of Eastern Europe."- However, the IMF, no friend of Russia, also argues that Ukraine could easily solve its debt by transferring partial ownership of the pipeline to Gazprom, the obvious solution, which Merkel surely approves of as well. Russia is a reliable partner as both she and the IMF know perfectly well, but justifiably balks at being robbed by an ungrateful neighbour.

The missing link in this tedious and unnecessary "crisis"- is the meeting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko had with US officials in mid-December, where he signed a strategic partnership agreement that included a clause on energy cooperation. Ukraine 's refusal to pay its debts or negotiate joint control of the pipeline with Russia were no doubt part of this agreement. This trail of events was not lost on the Russians. Medvedev openly blamed the US for the shutoff, saying Ukraine 's actions were directed from Washington . Editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Politics Fedor Lukyanov said, "Ukraine chose a tactic of deliberately creating a crisis through its rejection of talks and agreement, with the expectation that ultimately any major disruption of gas deliveries to Europe would hurt Gazprom's reputation as a reliable energy partner. Everything that has happened after 31 December seems to me a delaying tactic. We are losing not a mere propaganda war but a real gas war. It is not accidental that countries that have excellent relations with Russia such as Greece, Hungary and Bulgaria, which are among our main European partners, are experiencing the worst difficulties."-

Yushchenko has played the anti-Russian card to the hilt since his suspicious "Orange Revolution"-, financed by US government-funded "nongovernmental"- organisations, amid accusations that he was poisoned by KGB (excuse me, FSB) agents. He has presided over a Wild West "democracy"- since then, which has little to show for itself beside his failed attempt to push a divided Ukraine into NATO and his disastrous support of Georgia's mini-war last summer, for which he provided some rusty tanks, a scandal which is still smoldering. According to a recent poll conducted by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 84 per cent of Ukrainians feel that things are going seriously wrong in their country, with 49 per cent calling it "critical and explosive"-. Analysts do not rule out Ukraine sliding toward authoritarian rule.

Like the war in South Ossetia last summer, this latest "crisis"- has "Made in the USA"- written all over it, like the US-approved invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia, a trap set by the Cheneyites to snare both the Russians and the new administration in Washington. They even concluded a last-minute security pact with Georgia on 9 January which will most probably lead to a permanent US military presence in the Caucasus. The Kremlin has so far been cautiously optimistic about a fresh start to US-Russia relations under Obama, but he has his own Russophobe advisers, Robert Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski, so the omens are poor for a turn-around.

Just as the US used the Georgian war to depict Russia as expansionist, and to push its unpopular missile defence project on Europe, it appears to have a hand in this made-to-measure energy crisis, yet another link in its latest Cold War, which is almost sure to proceed despite the cosmetic change of power in Washington this week. US media did its part, with the Washington Post exhorting the Europeans to "grasp the real message of this cold week"-, as "Mr Putin's regime plainly intends to use Europe 's dependence on Russian energy to advance an imperialist and anti-Western geopolitical agenda."-

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[click here] for Steven G. Erickson's articles on OpEd News

[my blogs on OpEd, here]

The Stark Raving Viking blog

Infowars.com - Bush Pardons Himself Against Warcrimes

Monday, January 19, 2009

Connecticut Politics

Censure For Sen. Gaffey
Shameful Misconduct • Mr. Gaffey, one of the chamber's leaders, ought to know better, yet the Senate has been silent

January 18, 2009

The Hartford Courant

There's no question state Sen. Thomas Gaffey is ethically impaired. Revelations about his fast-and-loose accounting and double-billing, and complications surrounding his romantic attachments have caused the Senate repeated embarrassments.

The question is what, if anything, the Senate intends to do about him.

Mr. Gaffey's accounting practices caused the latest problems. The State Elections Enforcement Commission is investigating apparent double-billing by the 50-year-old Democratic senator from about 2004 to 2007.

A review of state records by The Courant shows he billed his political action committee and the state several thousand dollars for the same hotel stays and legislative conferences. Although the state reimbursed him, Mr. Gaffey failed to repay his PAC.

In an interview with Courant reporters Jon Lender and Edmund Mahony, Mr. Gaffey said he was embarrassed, didn't mean to keep the extra money and has repaid his PAC "somewhere around $2,500 or $3,000" so far. Yet he admits he reviewed the accounts only after they were questioned in The Courant about a year ago.

In 2007, Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported that Mr. Gaffey was having an affair with Jill Ferraiolo, a high-level legislative liaison for the Connecticut State University System. Mr. Gaffey failed to disclose that relationship when he, as a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, voted for a 10-year, $1 billion bonding package for CSUS, one of the largest in state history. He was also a member of the Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement, which oversees the state university system.

Mr. Gaffey's relationship with Ms. Ferraiolo was in clear conflict with his official duties. Yet, aside from a few public expressions of disappointment by Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, Mr. Gaffey's misconduct has drawn no official reprimand from the Senate.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission's investigation is ongoing. But based on the evidence so far, Mr. Gaffey's conduct is clearly ripe for Senate censure.

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http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/


[click here] for:

Only getting rid of Woman, Minority, and Judges who break ranks?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why does GEICO insurance suck?

Whether you are a renter, trying to enjoy your rental wanting to protect your stuff in your apartment, are involved in motor sports, have a boat, motorcycle, own your home, or just if you want cheap automobile insurance, GEICO could be the wrong choice.

Those who have needed automobile repairs, filed legitimate claims, and have endured personal injuries needing their medical bills and lost wages paid, GEICO screws people over. Just a little taste of what is a national scam GEICO is [found here].

It is no wonder. GEICO stands for "Government Employees Insurance Company".

Donovan Hires Former Speaker

Connecticut

By CHRISTOPHER KEATING | The Hartford Courant
3:04 PM EST, January 16, 2009


Former House Speaker James Amann was hired Friday as a $120,000-per-year senior adviser to his successor, Speaker Christopher Donovan.

In his new position, Amann will help Donovan on both administrative issues and important pieces of legislation. He will also be organizing regional meetings with both business groups and advocates on a variety of legislative topics.

"His skills at negotiation and consensus building will be particularly welcome at a time when we in state government need a cooperative approach to solving the daunting challenges before us," Donovan said.

Amann, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, stepped down last week after serving for four years as speaker during an 18-year legislative career.

Although Amann is a conservative Democrat and Donovan is known as one of the most liberal, pro-union legislators, they formed an alliance on any number of key issues over the past four years.

"Jim and I worked extremely well together to advance an ambitious House Democratic agenda," Donovan said. "I am fortunate that he has agreed to bring his talents and wisdom to my office as we navigate the uncertainty of the economic crisis and address the needs of the people of Connecticut."

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[click here] for:

Anatomy of a Political Scumbag?

Connecticut



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Connecticut Bob paints James "Jim" Amann as a Mafia Don in this video:


[click here] for Connecticut Bob video list

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Public Corruption, Attorney and Judicial Misconduct are present because there is a lack of an effective Grand Jury System. The need for a strong Grand Jury system, and the process explained [click here]

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[click here] for:

Judges, some are public abusers for life



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Blogger's Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials, Notice
[found here]

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Typical Politician?

Connecticut

Gaffey Target Of Probe Into Double Billing

By JON LENDER And EDMUND H. MAHONY | The Hartford Courant
8:04 PM EST, January 15, 2009


A veteran Democratic state senator double-billed the state and his own political action committee for thousands of dollars' worth of expenses for travel and posh hotels over a four-year period, state records show.

The payments to 14-year Sen. Thomas P. Gaffey, D- Meriden, are now under investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The commission's investigators also have questioned the fact that Gaffey allowed his girlfriend, Patricia Murphy, to use a cellphone on his PAC's account for an extended period until they broke up in 2007, Gaffey acknowledged. He said he paid for her "nominal" calls on the phone.

Investigators from the enforcement agency took possession months ago of financial documents from Gaffey's political action committee, called the Government Action Fund, and have questioned him about his use of the PAC funds, Gaffey confirmed Thursday. The questions surround flights to several legislative conferences and stays in hotels from about 2004 to 2007 -- at times with Murphy -- for which he solicited and received reimbursements both from the state's legislative management office and his PAC.

For example, Gaffey was reimbursed $613 by the state's legislative management office for three days in August 2006 at the luxury Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville during an annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators -- and he got $1,015 from his PAC for the same hotel stay.

Other questions arose concerning similar billings to both the PAC and the state for trips to political events such as national legislators' conferences in cities including Salt Lake City and Seattle.

The expenses apparently amount to several thousand dollars, Gaffey acknowledged Thursday. He said that in the past year, since questions were raised about his PAC's finances, he has gone back and used his personal funds to repay "somewhere around $2,500 or $3,000" to the PAC for its expenditures on trip expenses, and he may end up reimbursing more than $800 more.

Gaffey admitted that he did not immediately repay his PAC for expenditures it made on his behalf for trips as soon as the state reimbursed them. He said he only went back and examined the PAC's books after questions were raised about its finances in Courant columns about a year ago that prompted the current probe by the election enforcement agency.

Gaffey said he never intended to keep money from the double-billing. He had no explanation for why he failed to repay in a timely fashion, other than the fact that the state reimbursements come as part of his regular legislative paychecks and he doesn't look carefully at the stubs -- and that he was inattentive because of how busy he is with both his $100,000-plus job for the state's trash authority and the time he spends as a legislator. "It's a situation where I had too much going on at once."

"This was not intentional," he said. "There were a number of trips that just got by me. ... I feel very badly about it. It's embarrassing." He said proper "controls were not in place" in his PAC to flag payments that it made for him to be sure he repaid the money when the state reimbursed him. "I'm not going to blame anybody else for that.

"We are cooperating fully" with the continuing elections enforcement commission probe, Gaffey said.

The status of that probe is not clear. Commission chairman Stephen Cashman said Thursday he could not discuss details of a case, other than to confirm the investigation "is ongoing and either complete or nearly complete." He said that he does not know when his board will act on the matter.

Cashman was asked if the case was headed for one of the negotiated settlements the commission often agrees to for cases of irregularities and improprieties -- or if the panel might exercise its power to refer the matter to the chief state's attorney for a criminal probe. "I am not ruling in or out anything," he replied.

By last fall, commission investigators had questioned not only Gaffey, the senator acknowledged, but also ex-girlfriend Murphy; the PAC's treasurer, Meriden lawyer Dennis A. Ceneviva; and Gaffey legislative aide Robin Havelin.

Gaffey, 50, has long served as the co-chairman of the General Assembly's education committee. He is also director of recycling and enforcement at the state's quasi-public trash agency, the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority. He is the deputy president pro tempore of the Senate.

This is not Gaffey's first expense-billing scrape. In 2002, it was revealed that he and another state legislator, then employed by the CRRA, collected state legislators' mileage reimbursements for their trips to and from their homes to Hartford in CRRA vehicles, but had lagged thousands of dollars behind in reimbursing the trash agency for their personal mileage on the same vehicles.

In addition, Gaffey received some unwelcome attention about a year ago when Courant columnist Kevin Rennie revealed that Gaffey was having an affair, confirmed in e-mails, with Connecticut State University System legislative liaison Jill Ferraiolo while he aggressively pushed a billion dollars in bonds for CSU. Rennie also wrote that Gaffey had long made incomplete disclosures on the use of the PAC credit card.

It turns out that the same applies to the PAC's official reports to the elections enforcement commission about the trips now at issue -- because in many cases Gaffey's bookkeeping is hard to follow.

For example, in anticipation of attending the 2005 NCSL conference in Seattle from Aug. 16-20, 2005, Gaffey submitted a travel authorization request to the legislative management office - dated April 8, 2005 - for his stay at the Fairmont Hotel that would cost $1,020. After the trip, he was notified - on Sept. 15, 2005 - that he would be reimbursed $1,834.58 by the General Assembly to cover his expenses, including the room.

Much later, in a Jan. 6, 2006, report filed by his PAC - covering the period from Oct. 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2005 - Gaffey charged a $294.77 expenditure for the Fairmont Hotel.

Gaffey said he began going back through the PAC's records after Rennie raised questions, and he knew further questions would follow -- and that was when he discovered that he had failed to repay the PAC properly for expenses connected with several trips. He was contacted later by the commission's investigators, and he turned records over to the agency. The senator said that based on discussions with his lawyer -- former Democratic legislator Thomas Luby, who he said has been in contact with the enforcement commission's staff -- "I am hopeful we'll have a resolution in the very near term." As to the possibility of a criminal investigation, Gaffey said, "that's never, ever been stated."

He said he thinks that the matter might be resolved administratively by a settlement, perhaps forfeiture of the PAC's current assets of about $15,000 to $20,000. Gaffey said the PAC has been inactive for the past year during the probe, and he plans to dissolve it because it has proved more than he can handle.

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Are politicians too busy covering their own tracks to serve constituents and the best interest of the public?
[more]

Tooling Around in a 2007 Denali



video

Friday, January 09, 2009

Law Enforcement wants YOUR stimulus package


I found the above [here]

I was listening to Vermont Public radio this morning.

It looks like police unions nationwide want to grab what they can. Police don’t stimulate the economy. Police with unlimited budgets and no accountability are more abusive and freedom robbing than are under-funded police.

A bedroom community can spend millions on its police force and the 3rd shift can be too busy sleeping with prostitutes and socializing with drug dealers to answer citizen calls, and others can be too busy dealing drugs, stealing cash, and shaking down rival drug dealers during the day. [story] I believe DARE is a scam [OpEd piece]

Citizens who question police budgets and want accountability of officers can suffer the fate of Ritt Goldstein, being terrorized out of the US to seek political asylum in another country. [story]

Law Enforcement and a just Judicial System are necessary for a civilized society.

I disagree with writing blank checks and giving up freedom for “safety”.

Too much money is spent trying to fine us, confiscate our cash, assets, property and children, and too much money is spent imprisoning too many of us. [story]

What ever money that is “given out” WE THE PEOPLE HAVE TO PAY IT BACK.

“Just say no”, to a US Police State.

-Steven G. Erickson

http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/

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Is GEICO automobile insurance just a scam? [more]

Thursday, January 08, 2009

State troopers file lawsuit against attorney general

For The Herald Press

NEW HAVEN [Connecticut] — State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has become the target of a federal lawsuit filed by eight state troopers, The New York Times reported Friday.

The troopers say Blumenthal’s double role — defending government workers accused of breaking the law as well as looking into wrongdoing — leaves him unable to adequately protect whistleblowers.

The suit, which also names three others working under Blumenthal in the Attorney General’s Office, was filed Dec. 22 in the Richard C. Lee U.S. District Court in New Haven, resulting from 2005 accusations of problems within the Connecticut State Police.

There were charges of mismanagement resulting from favoritism as well as charges of sexual assault, drunken driving, domestic violence and larceny. A 168-page report released in December 2006 by the Internal Affairs section of the state police found “consistent disregard for official policies, reinforced by a consistent failure to discipline employees who deliberately and willfully fail to adhere to them.”

There were 70 specific calls for reform, and many troopers wound up leaving the force.

Caught up in the turmoil were state troopers who cooperated with investigations and, as registered whistleblowers, asked protection from Blumenthal’s office.

Eight troopers have filed against Blumenthal, the Times reported. This is a second try at a lawsuit for one, according to The Connecticut Law Tribune.

Andrew Matthews was a sergeant in Internal Affairs in 2005 when he asked for protection from Blumenthal’s office. His lawsuit said Blumenthal failed to respond in a timely fashion, thus contributing to the retaliation, but the U.S. District Court rejected the claim in June.

In addition to Matthews, the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit are identified as Lt. Benjamin Pagoni, Master Sgt. Theresa Freeman, Sgt. Stephen Sampson and troopers Patrick Carozza, Karen Nixon, Theodore Driscoll and John Butkevicius.

According to the lawsuit, an investigator told the troopers confidential information about them had been shared with senior members of the state police, the paper said. According to the lawsuit, he said “there was no effective separation between the units in the office of the attorney general’s office responsible for protecting whistleblowers and for defending senior managers retaliating against whistleblowers.”

Norm Pattis, a lawyer representing the troopers, told the Times that whistleblower cases should be handled by another agency.

Blumenthal responded to the Times that he shared the whistleblowers’ frustration and had requested legislation improving the situation.

“The lawsuit cannot accomplish legislative change, and the lawsuit is factually and legally baseless,” he said. “We have a strong firewall to prevent any unethical flow of information.”

Messages left with a representative for Blumenthal were not returned Saturday.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Man Boobs and Raisin Testicles?





(Steroids, needle and sports bra not included)

Gladiator Nitro Says Steroids Gave Him Man Boobs

You might know Dan Clark from his acting career in movies such as “Death Becomes Her” with Meryl Streep or “Equilibrium” with Christian Bale. But you probably know him better as Nitro, arguably the lead male Gladiator from the original “American Gladiators” show. He was athletic, good looking, seemingly smart and articulate: in short, women wanted him and men wanted to be him.

But if we’ve learned anything about our “tell-all” society, it’s that successful and famous people have problems too, so it’s no surprise that Clark has his own memoir coming out. And the NEW YORK POST reports that Clark has a dirty (not-so) secret to confess: he was loaded on more steroids than the BALCO medicine cabinet while filming “American Gladiators.” It was so bad, that Clark eventually developed a condition called “gynecomastia.” In other words, he had man boobs.

“Bitch t- -s, man boobs, breast-chesticles is what they’re called on the street. Gynecomastia is the scientific name. No matter what you call it, I [had] it,” Clark, who was “Nitro” on the smash reality series, reveals in his memoir, “Gladiator: A True Story of ‘Roids, Rage and Redemption,” out next month. “I hate[d] taking off my shirt. For photo shoots, [I’d] wet my nipple with spit . . . [to] look firm instead of hanging down.”


It was so bad that Clark would plead with the wardrobe department to make him new outfits, not revealing that he needed them so he didn’t show more jiggle than Zap. He eventually had to have breast reduction surgery (side note: Nitro with a D-cup equals an AOL Fantasy Sports Girl.)

In addition, Clark would need to explain to his sexual partners why his privates had turned shriveled raisins, which can’t be a fun conversation. And then there was the dull pain every time he had sex. (Or as married people call it, “sex.”) All in all, quite the price to pay for fame.

I’m not shocked that anyone involved in “American Gladiators” was taking massive amounts of steroids (with the possible exception of Larry Csonka and Wesley “Two Scoops” Berry.) But the revelations that Nitro had man boobs will make watching the reruns on ESPN Classic a new experience. It’s a drinking game. Take a shot every time Nitro has to adjust his top to hide his cans. If he has a “wardrobe malfunction” - that’s a whole fifth. Drink up!

The above, re-posted [from here]

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http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/

Mother sprays 3 year old with high pressure car wash wand



This is clear child abuse.

I don't know if this is a single mother, or not.

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My take on the whole single mother thing:

I have witnessed some of what passes as parenting by single mothers. They're often so afraid of not getting the love of their child, or children, they will not discipline children at all, will not require them to do any chores, and will use child support and alimony to absolutely spoil their children giving into every demand. These brats can become selfish adult sociopaths.

Men dating these single women with children can end up being assaulted by the children, the mother doing nothing. I know of a case of a teen who was caught stealing from his mother by the boyfriend, so the teen smashed the boyfriend in the head with a stool, possibly fracturing the boyfriend's skull, picking up a large mechanic's screw driver to stab him.

Children of single mothers often don't want to share their mother and will vandalize the boyfriend's car, steal items, destroy valuables, and cause as much stress and aggravation as possible in the hopes that their mother will break up with the boyfriend.

Not all fathers are winners, either. Two parent households where the children are related to both parents is ideal.

Lawyers don't make money if everyone gets along and their is justice. States don't get a massive influx of federal tax dollars if kids aren't fought over in court, if there aren't divorces, strife, crime, and injustice. States get federal funds to imprison, confine, process, force to take state ordered classes, put on probation, parole, and put restraining orders on, as many citizens as is possible.

[click here] for the Chris Kennedy story.

Chris Kennedy on Fatherlessness



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