Caroline Kennedy Seeks Senate Seat

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg has told Governor David Patterson she is interested in taking Hillary Clinton’s place once Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state.  This has caused a debate, chiefly among Democrats, as to her qualifications for the job.  I find that to be humorous, coming from a political party who are one and all behind putting Al Franken in the Senate!

 

Asked why she was trading decades of carefully cultivated privacy for the sharp scrutiny of a Senate bid, she pointed to her work as a lawyer, an education advocate and an author of books on topics including constitutional law.

 

“These are issues that I care so much about, and I understand that, really, I have been trying to work on them as a private citizen,” she said in a two-minute news conference. “But really, to solve our problems, I think government is the place where people need to come together.”

 

“I feel this commitment, and this is a time when nobody can afford to sit out. And I hope that I have something to offer,” Kennedy said.

 

Widely described as extraordinarily shy, self-deprecating and down-to-earth, Kennedy has tended to limit her forays into the public sphere to nonpartisan activity.  Then, after the New York Times had endorsed Hillary Clinton for President as expected, Caroline showed keen political instinct, timing and leadership in her op-ed letter to the Times endorsing Barack Obama.  As it turns out, this may have been an event that turned the corner on the Obama campaign.  The following day, her Uncle Ted followed suit and the Democratic Party was headed in a new direction.

 

The entire presidential race exposed a weakness in leadership and a decline of substance in the Democratic Party.  The presidency is a management position, and the Democratic rank and file has shown little interest in its competent managers.  The trend seems to be the more devisive the better.

 

There will be none of this with Caroline Kennedy. In fact, her presence in the Senate and as a political representative of New York will have a restorative effect. It will help to reverse this trend by raising the standard of leadership back to the highest standard.

 

 

There are a number of high-profile candidates for Clinton’s Senate seat — including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose last name carries some star power of its own in the Empire State — but their odds grew just a bit steeper when stacked against the wattage of a storied Democratic dynasty.

 

Robert Kennedy was elected to the Senate with few ties to his adopted home state, but his niece’s New York roots run deep.

 

Jacqueline Kennedy relocated to New York City after her husband’s assassination in 1963, with children Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr.

Caroline Kennedy has spent most of her life in the city, working there after graduating from Harvard, meeting her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, on the job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attending Columbia Law School there.

 

Her most prominent public roles to date involved overseeing her father’s presidential library and presenting the annual Profiles in Courage Award.

 

She’s also edited several books, from a volume of children’s poetry and an updated edition of her father’s book “Profiles in Courage” to a collection of patriotic verse (“A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”)

 

Most of her leadership positions have been based in the arts: hosting the annual nationally televised Kennedy Center Honors in Washington and serving as the honorary chairwoman of the American Ballet Theatre, as her mother had.

 

In a 2002 Time magazine interview promoting the updated “Profiles in Courage,” Kennedy would not rule out the possibility of a run for public office.

 

“I don’t have any plans to do that right now,” she said. “I don’t plan ahead. My kids are young, and I’m really happy to be able to be around. But I do care about issues, and I’m interested in them. So I don’t see that now, but you know, I have a long life ahead of me.”

 

As for her experience and qualifications, what about RFK?  His only public service was a non-elected position as Attorney General, yet he served the state of New York well and may have been a fine President had he not taken the route through a kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel.  And Ted Kennedy had not been elected to a lower office before he became the Senator from Massachusetts and he now “the Lion of the Senate” and revered by most if not all of his colleagues.  

 

No, the argument about not having previously been elected to anything is not what the complaining is really about.  It is more about envy that she could be considered for that position in the first place.   

 

Caroline Kennedy has a chance to do something that isn’t done much in Democratic politics lately.  She has the name and clout to get things done and she has the ability to bring some class back into the party.  Though out her life, she has carried herself with grace and strength through tragedies that would be more than most of us could handle. 

 

While I doubt that I will agree with her on most issues, I would welcome anyone bringing those qualities to that side of the aisle in the Senate.

 

 

Did You Hear? Gov Sarah Palin’s Church Was Burned by Arson

Gov. Sarah Palin’s home church was badly damaged by arson last Friday evening.  Damage to the Wasilla Bible Church was estimated at $1 million, authorities said Saturday.  No one was injured in the fire, which was set while a handful of people, including two children, were inside, according to Central Mat-Su Fire Chief James Steele. 

The fire was set at the entrance of the church and moved inward as a small group of women were working on crafts, Steele said.  The group was alerted to the blaze by a fire alarm.

An accelerant was poured around the exterior of the church before fire heavily damaged the building, federal investigators said Monday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the accelerant was poured at several locations around the church, including entrances.

Fire authorities were called to the scene at 9:40 p.m., unusually early for many arson fires, Agent Nick Starcevic  said.

“It’s kind of odd to do in the evening hours,” he said. “I can tell you that most of the arson fires I’ve worked on are late nighttime, usually when no one is there.”

Gov. Palin, who was not at the church at the time of the fire, stopped by Saturday. Her spokesman, Bill McAllister, said in a statement that Palin told an assistant pastor she was sorry if the fire was connected to the “undeserved negative attention” the church has received since she became the vice presidential candidate Aug. 29.  Church members say they thought it was just likely local punks or someone who had a beef with God.

“Whatever the motives of the arsonist, the governor has faith in the scriptural passage that what was intended for evil will in some way be used for good,” McAllister said.

You may have missed this story since it wasn’t covered heavily in the mainstream media.  It wasn’t as exciting as shoe tossing reporters in Baghdad or the follow ups to the Governor of Illinois being arrested before he sold Barack Obama’s old Senate seat on eBay.  Still, it probably would have been covered more if it had been a black church with women and children inside in the south.  Once again, the press has managed to under-impress me.

The damage to the building totals around $1 million.   That was damage to the building and not the church because despite the fire, the church went on to have services anyway in a nearby middle school.  Church is more than just a building, but the building burned down.  The congregation, by the way, are not freaking out.  One member, Patsy Inks, says she was initially shocked and frustrated by the news but by Sunday, two days later, she was feeling blessed.  “The tragedy has brought us together,” she said.

Authorities don’t know who did this and maybe it is just local punks and I hope it is just local punks, but I can tell you that regardless of the cause, the people of the church and the way they are reacting is inspiring.

As far as I know, the members of this church are not asking for donations to help.  They probably won’t.   They are not that kind of people.  If you want to help this small town recover from the $1million in damages anyway—contact them and ask what you can do to help.

Wasilla Bible Church
Email: church@wasillabible.org
1651 West Nicola Avenue
Wasilla, Alaska 99654
907-376-2176

President Bush Says He Has “Sacrificed” Free-Market System

 

President George W Bush said in an interview Tuesday he was forced to sacrifice free market principles tosave the economy from “collapse.”

“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” Bush told CNN television, saying he had made the decision “to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse.”

Bush’s comments reflect an extraordinary departure from his longtime advocacy for an unfettered free market, as his administration has orchestrated unprecedented government intervention in the face of a dire financial crisis.

“I am sorry we’re having to do it,” Bush said.

But Bush said government action was necessary to ease the effects of the crisis, offering perhaps his most dire assessment yet of the country’s economy.

“I feel a sense of obligation to my successor to make sure there is not a, you know, a huge economic crisis. Look, we’re in a crisis now. I mean, this is — we’re in a huge recession, but I don’t want to make it even worse.”

Mr President, you don’t have an obligation to your successor!  You have an obligation to the American people…to the next generation…to the Constitution!  We didn’t elect you to do away with the free market system!  It is not the problem!  It is the answer!

 

P.B.S. Pinchback: America’s First Black Governor

It was this past week in 1872 when Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became Governor of Louisiana and in doing so became the first black Governor of any American state.  It took over a hundred years for another African-American to become a governor when Douglas Wilder was elected Governor of Virginia in 1990.  With Barack Obama having just been elected as the first black President of the United States, it seemed appropriate to take a moment and remember another black politician who made history in this country.

 

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born on May 10, 1837 to William Pinchback, a successful Virginia planter and Eliza Stewart, his former slave.  The younger Pinchback was born in Macon, Georgia during the family’s move from Virginia to their new, much larger plantation in Holmes County, Mississippi.  In Mississippi, young Pinchback grew up in relatively affluent surroundings on a large plantation.  At the age of nine, he and his older brother, Napoleon, were sent by his parents to Ohio to receive a formal education at Cincinnati’s Gilmore School.  Pinchback’s education was cut short, however, when he returned to Mississippi in 1848 because his father had become seriously ill.  Following the death of his father, shortly after his return, the paternal relatives were vengeful and disinherited Pinchback’s mother and her children.  To evade the possibility that the northern Pinchbacks would legally appropriate the children as slave property, Pinchback’s mother fled with all five to Cincinnati.  Shortly, thereafter, Napoleon became mentally ill, leaving 12 year old Pinckney as sole-provider for his mother and four siblings.

 

Pinchback found work as a cabin boy on a canal boat and worked his way up to become a steward on the riverboats which ran the Ohio, Mississippi and Red Rivers.  During these years, he sent as much money as possible to Cincinnati to help support his mother and his siblings.

 

In 1860, when Pinchback was 23, he married Nina Hawthorne, a 16 year old from Memphis.  When the Civil War broke out the following year, Pinchback hoped to fight on the side of the Union troops against the South.  To Pinchback, the main issue in the conflict between North and South was slavery and his heritage gave him an insight into the status of both blacks and whites in the country.  In 1862, he made his way into New Orleans, which was then under occupation by Northern troops.  There, he raised several companies of the Corps d’Afrique, part of the Louisiana National Guard, and was the only officer of African American descent to serve in that organization.

 

In 1863, he had been passed over twice for promotion and growing tired of the prejudice he encountered at every turn, resigned from the Guard.  When the war ended and the slaves were emancipated, he and his wife moved to Alabama, eager to test out their new freedom as full citizens.  However, racial tensions in their new surroundings were shockingly vicious.  Occupying Union forces shared equally prejudiced views as those of their former Confederate enemies and would sometimes put on Confederate uniforms at night and terrorize the newly freed blacks.  The movements of blacks were also restricted by the so-called “black codes” across the South and it became obvious that white Southern politicians were going to do everything possible to prevent them from gaining any political power.  Pinchback’s political career was born out of this hostile climate.  He began speaking out at public meetings and soon became a well-known orator who urged former slaves to organize politically.

 

Pinchback eventually returned to New Orleans with his family and upon settling there, organized the Fourth Ward Republican Club.  Now a confirmed Republican, he was elected a delegate to the Republican State Convention and even spoke before the assembly.  His orations helped win him election to the party’s Central Executive Committee.

 

During the State Constitutional Convention of 1867-68, Pinchback accepted the candidacy for State Senator on the Republican ticket.  He campaigned vigorously for both himself as well as for his close political ally, Henry Clay Warmoth, another radical Republican and Pinchback’s mentor.  When Pinchback narrowly lost his bid for the state senate seat, he charged voting fraud.  The newly convened legislature agreed and allowed him to take office.

 

Pinchback joined a Louisiana State Senate that held 42 Representatives of African descent—half of the chamber—and 7 of 36 seats in the Senate, and his battles against the state’s racist Democrats brought him enemies.

 

In 1871, Warmoth’s Lieutenant Governor, a black physician named Oscar Dunn, died suddenly of pneumonia.  In a bid to thwart Democratic control of the state, Pinchback’s name was put forth by the Warmoth faction as Dunn’s replacement and the Senate elected him by a narrow margin in December of that year.  The Lieutenant Governorship also brought with it the post of President Pro Tempore of the state Senate.  At the time of Pinchback’s taking Louisiana’s second highest political office, the political climate in the state was fractious and violent.

 

 Pinchback continued in his role as Lieutenant Governor for the rest of 1872, but by the fall of that year, many Republicans in the state had turned on Warmoth and wished to unseat him.  Election results once again came into dispute and Warmoth enacted a special extended legislative session to settle the problem.  Through complicated political maneuverings a House majority ejected Warmoth from his Governor’s post on November 21st.  When Pinchback took the oath of office the following month, the Democrats were naturally enraged to have a man of African descent in the Governor’s chair, but the State Supreme Court upheld the legality of Pinchback’s ascension.

 

While Pinchback went about fulfilling his duties of acting Governor, formal impeachment proceedings against Warmoth were under way.  Pinchback became the recipient of vicious hate mail from across the country as well as local threats on his life.

 

When the returns from the November 1872 election came in and were accepted, Republican William Kellogg was declared Governor and was sworn in on January 13, 1873, ending Pinchback’s brief but historical executive stint.  He had held office for only 35 days, but 10 acts of legislation became law during that time.

In that same election, Pinchback had run for a U.S. Congressional seat and in January of 1873 he became a Congressman.  It was a public office he had long coveted and with it he achieved another pioneering accomplishment as the state’s first black Representative to Washington.  His victory was short-lived, however, as opposing factions in the state unseated him by charging election fraud and naming a white candidate instead.  It was the beginning of a reversal of the political gains blacks had achieve since the war’s end.

 

In 1887, nearing 50 years of age, Pinchback took up the study of law at Straight University and was a member of its first graduating class.  In the 1890’s, he moved with his family to New York City, where he served as a U.S. Marshal from 1892 to 1895.  They later settled in Washington, DC.

 

Unfortunately, the achievements he had worked toward—mainly the political enfranchisement of blacks—had been reversed by both legal and illegal means.  With the southern Democrats asserting power in the state legislatures, white power was again firmly entrenched in the south.  The number of registered black voters in Louisiana was one indication:  it fell from 130,000 in 1896 to 1300 in just eight years.

 

Pinchback died in December of 1921 and was buried in the Metairie Ridge Cemetery of New Orleans.  For much of his life, he found himself in unique circumstances because he was of mixed heritage.  On one hand, he was able to achieve some of the education, business opportunities and material comforts normally available only to whites of the day.  However, he was also the victim of discrimination as well.  When asked once of which heritage he drew upon as a source of pride, Pinchback replied, “I don’t think the question is a legitimate one, as I have no control over the matter.  A man’s pride I regard as born of his associations, and mine is, perhaps, no exception to the rule.”

Charlie Rangel Should Step Down

Rep. Charles Rangel said Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised him he will keep his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee as long as he wants – even though investigators haven’t completed their report on ethical allegations facing the Harlem Democrat.

 

“She told me I am her chairman of the Ways and Means Committee as long as I want to be,” Rangel boasted to reporters at a ribbon-cutting for a new East Harlem School.

 

The Democratic chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee has been at the center of a seemingly endless swirl of questions about his activities.

 

He came under fire recently after The New York Times reported that Rangel worked  to protect a tax shelter for Nabors Industries, an oil company whose chief executive was pledging $1 million to a school bearing the congressman’s name.

 

The executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, also personally pledged $200,000 to the City College of New York, where the public policy school is named for Rangel.  Last year, the company won congressional approval to preserve its tax shelter in the Caribbean, saving Nabors tens of millions of dollars annually and depriving the federal treasury of $1.1 billion in revenues over a decade, according to a Congressional analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

 

Various other aspects of Rangel’s questionable ethical activities — which have also featured maintenance of multiple rent-controlled apartments, including one (illegally) as a workspace, enjoyment of tax benefits by claiming two difference cities as primary residences, and using his Congressional letterhead to raise money for a private foundation — is theoretically being investigated by the House Ethics Committee.

 

One activity that I find troubling is Charlie Rangel claiming that he did not know that a Caribbean resort villa he purchased 20 years ago was financed with a no-interest mortgage from the developer and has generated $75,000 in income that he should have reported on tax and financial disclosure forms.   Is one supposed to believe that the leader of the tax-writing committee had not paid the U.S. taxes on income from his own luxury vacation home because he was ignorant of the tax laws…the New York Democrat writes the damned tax laws!

 

Charlie Rangel shows contempt for the country, the American people, the House of Representatives as exhibited by both his unethical activities and his cavalier attitude about it.  He is most certainly not a patriot.  One would hope that he would be challenged and defeated for his seat in Congress in 2010, but it is clear that the drones that have elected him since 1970 will overlook his shortcomings.  At the very least, he should step down as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee or be forced to step down.  

 

That is not likely to happen.  One shouldn’t be surprised, in spite of Socialist Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s promise to clean up Washington’s “culture of corruption,” that she will smile and look the other way when it is a liberal Democrat involved in the investigation.

Government Should Stay Out of Auto Business

This past Sunday on Meet the Press, President-elect Barack Obama told Tom Brokaw, “We don’t want government to run companies.  Generally, government historically hasn’t done that very well.”  Obama is absolutely correct!  Government has been shown to be a miserable corporate manager.  We should never want politicians or federal bureaucrats managing private companies.

 

Unfortunately, that is exactly what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow liberal Democrats in Congress are about to do.  Under the plan being submitted by Congressional Democrats “would mandate, or at least heavily influence, what kind of cars companies make, what mileage and environmental standards they must meet and what large investments they are permitted to make.”

 

The latest bailout plan, which the Congress hopes to vote on Wednesday, calls for an initial $15 billion for General Motors and Chrysler.  Everybody seems to agree that these figures are just a down payment.  The plan will be overseen by an official, appointed by President George W. Bush, whom congressional lawmakers describe as an “auto czar.”  This person will act as a kind of trustee with authority to bring together labor, management, creditors and parts suppliers to negotiate a restructuring plan.  He or she will also be able to review any transaction or contract valued at more than $25 million.

 

Nobody is saying what will happen if Ford were to choose not to take the money at this time.  Ford’s CEO has said that they do not need the money at this time, but is requesting a $9 billion line of credit. Ford is supporting the other two auto makers getting a bailout because a failure of either or both would affect Ford so negatively.

 

It still poses an interesting question, though.  Will Ford be exempt from the rules and meddling of members of Congress and the Auto Czar?  If so, will they then have an unfair advantage?  Will they be forced to follow the same rules and regulation to be eligible for the line of credit they are requesting?  None of that is clear at this point.

 

If General Motors and Chrysler (and/or potentially Ford) get the bailout that the chief executives are asking for, you can potentially kiss the companies good-bye.  It won’t happen overnight, but the demise will be virtually guaranteed.

 

With or without an Auto Czar and with or without the bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself.  Detroit needs a turnaround, more than a check.

 

Detroit’s problems are structural and cannot be cured simply by an injection of taxpayer money.  There are other auto makers (such as Toyota, Honda and BMW) building cars on American soil and actually making a profit by doing so.  The biggest problem for the Big Three is their completely uncompetitive labor costs which come to more than $70 an hour.  Some people have disputed this number, but have not been able to provide any evidence that refutes it.  The numbers break down this way:  about $30 in base pay becomes $40 after average overtime pay is included; then another $33.58 is tacked on in benefits which include health care, dental, life insurance, disability, unemployment insurance, pension payments and payroll taxes.  These numbers come from GM itself!

 

All of these costs are for current employees and do not include any payments or benefits for current retirees.  If you were to figure in the $4.9 billion that GM paid to retirees and surviving spouses in 2006, the hourly wage goes up another $31 leaving GM with labor costs of $100 an hour!  Contrast these numbers with the $43 an hour that Honda is paying its workers and the problem becomes clearer.

 

That extra burden is estimated to be more than $2000 per car.  Think what that means:  Ford, for example, needs to cut $2000 worth of features and quality out of its Taurus to compete with Toyota’s Avalon.  Of course the Avalon feels like a better product—it has $2000 more put into each one!  Considering this disadvantage, Detroit has done a remarkable job of designing and engineering its cars.  But if this cost penalty persists, any bailout will only delay the inevitable.

 

The huge disadvantage in costs relative to foreign brands needs to be eliminated.  That will mean new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Toyota and Nissan.  Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per automobile for domestic automakers is not higher than that of foreign producers.

 

Management, whether the existing group or new managers, must work with labor leaders to see an end to the enmity between labor and management.  The division is a holdover from the last century and companies in the 21st century cannot perpetuate the destructive labor relations of the past.  This may mean a totally new direction for the U.A.W., perhaps in profit sharing or stock grants to all employees or perhaps something else.

 

Investments need to be made for the future.  Investments should be made in truly competitive products and innovative technologies—especially fuel-saving designs—that may not arrive for years.  Starving research and development is like eating the seed corn.

 

The federal government should invest substantially more in research—on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and such—that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry.  That is where Congress can help rather than dictate.  Washington is spending about $4 billion on energy research today and should commit to investing at least $20 billion a year.  The research could be done at universities across the nation, at research labs and even through public/private collaboration.

 

Another way Congress could assist the automakers is to rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.

 

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as employer and as a hub for manufacturing.  A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs.  It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.  The federal government could, and should, provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

 

Whether through a managed bankruptcy, or simply through their own restructuring (which Ford seems to think they are doing), the federal government could assist and propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than sealing their fate with a bailout check.

 

I would hope that, rather than rushing to send a check, some in Washington will consider that there are options other than government taking over the business of business.  Apparently, I won’t get what I hope for from Congress…again.

William Jefferson Defeated in Louisiana 2nd District

I am pleased to report that William Jefferson will not be returning to Congress as a Representative of Louisiana.  In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes most of New Orleans, Republican attorney Anh “Joseph” Cao won 50 percent of the vote to Jefferson’s 47 percent and will become the first Vietnamese-American in Congress.  

 

Cao, who came to the United States when he was 8, holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Baylor University and a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University.  After a stint as a Catholic seminarian, he earned a law degree from Loyola University in 2000.

 

Married with two daughters, he now runs a law practice in Venetian Isles specializing in immigration.

 

Cao took an interest in local politics after his home and office were swamped during Hurricane Katrina.

 

His first bid for public office last year, when he sought the open 103rd House District, was inauspicious.  Running then as an independent, he finished fifth in a six-candidate field.

 

Cao said he began eyeing a run for the 2nd District seat shortly after a Virginia grand jury indicted Jefferson last year.

 

For a look at Cao’s positions on issues and more information about him, visit his website at http://josephcaoforcongress.com/

 

Greg Rigamer, a New Orleans political consultant, said his analysis showed turnout in predominantly white sections of the district was double that in black areas. He said that helped push Cao to victory over Jefferson, who became Louisiana’s first black congressman since Reconstruction when he took office in 1991.  “This is quite a feat,” Rigamer said of Cao’s victory.

 

New Orleans voters had long been loyal to Jefferson, re-electing him in 2006 even after news of the bribery scandal broke.

 

William Jefferson’s record of shady behavior first came to public attention when he utilized National Guard assets to remove personal property from his home in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. An investigation for corruption began a year later with allegations of bribery. William Jefferson was videotaped receiving $100,000 in a leather briefcase in an Arlington, Virginia hotel. A subsequent raid on William Jefferson’s Washington DC residence uncovered $90,000 in cash stuffed in a freezer with serial numbers matching the money given to Jefferson in Arlington. The incident made William Jefferson the butt of late night comedians.On June 4, 2007, Rep. Jefferson was indicted on 16 criminal counts, including two counts of conspiracy to solicit bribes, two counts of solicitation of bribes by a public official, six counts of honest services fraud by wire, one count of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, three counts of money laundering, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of racketeering.  The indictment stems from multiple instances in which Rep. Jefferson agreed to perform official acts for 11 different companies in return for bribes payable to him and his family members.  The indictment was the culmination of a criminal investigation that began in approximately March 2005.  Jefferson has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

The following year, the FBI raided William Jefferson’s Congressional offices, touching off a period of political wrangling over the alleged Constitutional impropriety of the raid. An appellate court ruled that William Jefferson had the right to review the documents the FBI seized from his office under court supervision and to take out those that were privileged.

 Though Jefferson will pack up his Capitol Hill office, he will remain in the news: Originally scheduled to begin last week, his trial is likely to start in early 2009.

 

Also in the cross-hairs of federal prosecutors are Jefferson siblings Betty Jefferson, the Orleans Parish 4th District Assessor, and political consultant Mose Jefferson, who were indicted last year on charges that they conspired to loot more than $600,000 in taxpayer money from three charities.

 

In a separate case, Mose Jefferson was indicted on charges that he bribed the former president of the Orleans Parish School Board.

 

Those trials are set for early next year.

 

Jefferson‘s defeat also marks the latest and most severe blow to the Progressive Democrats, the Central City-based political organization that he founded.

 

Among Jefferson allies who have been forced from public office since news of the FBI probe into Jefferson’s dealings broke are: Renee Gill Pratt, the congressman’s former legislative aide who lost her seat on the City Council; close ally Eddie Jordan, who was forced to resign as Orleans Parish district attorney; and Jefferson’s daughter, then-state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, who lost a bid last year for the state Senate.

 

The election results of December 6th is a huge step in Americans doing something to take their country back.  Jefferson was not a patriot and deserves to go to jail and this is a good first step in that direction!

 

Congrats again to Joseph Cao and to the people of the Louisiana 2nd District!