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San Francisco 2008 Chinese New Year Parade

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February 24, 2008

Have A Clue
Sunday. In following Glenn Greenwald's media blog on I learned that 60 Minutes is airing a story this evening (CBS at 7:00) on the Justice Department and how it targeted Don Spiegelman - the then governor of Alabama, a Democrat running a tight race against a conservative Republican for a seat in the U.S. Senate - with a prosecution that not only cost him the Senate race but ended with a sentence of five years in prison. Scott Horton, who's been following this story for Harper's, sent an email to Greenwald that Greenwald quoted in his blog:

“You should alert your readers to watch 60 Minutes on Sunday for an extremely important piece. They will learn how at the instigation of Karl Rove, the Justice Department was turned into a political hit machine to destroy the reputation and ultimately imprison AL governor Don Siegelman on accusations which do not constitute, no matter how you parse it, a crime. . . .

“It's an extraordinary, deep peek into a hopelessly corrupt Justice Department. They've been struggling to keep the lid on this story for two years. And on Sunday it is going to blow.”

Spiegelman, from what I understand, was essentially guilty of the dealings described. The problem is that if the Department of Justice had examined the dealings of all one hundred Senators, eighty percent of them would have gone to jail on this exact same charge. Which is more than a little scary. Dirty tricks are dirty tricks but, in addition to subverting the American justice system, as a political ploy they sent an innocent man to five years in prison? I think 60 Minutes runs tonight (CBS at 7:00) next to the Academy Awards (is ABC trying to bury the story?) so not many people will see it, but I will. Yes I will.

It's been raining all weekend, but not to the degree they were projecting. Which is good. I drove over to breakfast this morning at nine - the ladies put me at a large table even though the place was crowded and I told them I'd already read the paper and didn't need the space to spread it out - ate quickly, took a couple of pictures and skedaddled. Now it's after noon, the heat is on full blast and I'm ready for the day, rainy or no.

A thought about the journal that's been kicking around in the back of my mind (for nine years): maybe, just maybe, I should dig out one of my old English language books and learn how to use punctuation. Some of it I know, but the some of it that I don't know probably makes many of you wince. Semi-colons come to mind. Semi-colons haven't entered my dreams yet, at least not that I recall, but it would be better if I really knew how they are to be handled. Commas, semi-colons, colons, elliptical asides. These are some of the writer's tools and they need to be learned if only out of respect. Why talk about it now? My recent little procrastination blurb. It doesn't make me feel guilty, it just lets me know (by putting it off) that I don't have a clue. Doodle-dee-do.

After watching 60 Minutes. It turns out there was no case, the prosecutors kept exculpatory evidence from the defense that they are under the law required to provide, Spiegelman took nothing for his personal benefit and indeed I think that more than eighty percent of Congress and all fifty state legislatures are doing exactly what he was accused of doing every day because that's the way (unfortunately) the game is played. And he's serving seven years, by the way, instead of five. All of this compliments of a totally politicized Department of Justice, Mr. Bush and Karl Rove. Fifty-two former attorneys general from 40 of the 50 states including the former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods (who co-chairs the John McCain 2008 Arizona Leadership Team) have requested Congress to investigate. Please do. Congress? Are you there? Congress?

The 60 Minutes segment can be watched on the Harper's magazine post here.

The photograph was taken yesterday prior to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 17 - 55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/750th second, f 2.8, ISO 640.