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Topics - obamacon

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General Off-Topic Board / PSA: No one cares when you go to bed
« on: June 06, 2007, 10:15:02 PM »
You know who you are.


General Off-Topic Board / What good is being tall?
« on: June 05, 2007, 04:06:46 PM »
What advantages and disadvantages are there to being tall or short? In particular, what can a tall man expect to get in the legal realm simply because he is tall?


General Off-Topic Board / Poll: What's the most fun thing for you?
« on: June 04, 2007, 04:13:26 PM »
If you want to have the most fun you could, what do you do? Only list things you've actually done before.

General Off-Topic Board / Cold, hard cash
« on: June 04, 2007, 12:35:14 PM »
Jury Indicts Jefferson in Bribery Probe

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering in a long- running bribery investigation into business deals he tried to broker in Africa.

The indictment handed up in federal court in Alexandria., Va., Monday is 94 pages long and lists 16 alleged violations of federal law that could keep Jefferson in prison for up to 235 years. He is charged with racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money-laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Jefferson is accused of soliciting bribes for himself and his family, and also for bribing a Nigerian official.

Almost two years ago, in August 2005, investigators raided Jefferson's home in Louisiana and found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a box in his freezer.

Jefferson, 63, whose Louisiana district includes New Orleans, has said little about the case publicly but has maintained his innocence. He was re-elected last year despite the looming investigation.

Jefferson, in Louisiana on Monday, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two of Jefferson's associates have already struck plea bargains with prosecutors and have been sentenced.

Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide, admitted soliciting bribes on Jefferson's behalf and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Another Jefferson associate, Louisville, Ky., telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty to paying between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes to Jefferson in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations. Jackson was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Both Pfeffer and Jackson agreed to cooperate in the case against Jefferson in exchanges for their pleas.

The impact of the case has stretched across continents and even roiled presidential politics in Nigeria. According to court records, Jefferson told associates that he needed cash to pay bribes to the country's vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

Abubakar denied the allegations, which figured prominently in that country's presidential elections in April. Abubakar ran for the presidency and finished third.

The indictment does not name Abubakar. But it describes Jefferson's dealings with an unnamed "Nigerian Official A" who was a high-ranking official in Nigeria's executive branch who had a spouse in Potomac, Md. One of Abubakar's wives lived in that Washington suburb.

Court records indicate that Jefferson was videotape taking a $100,000 cash bribe from an FBI informant. Most of that money later turned up in a freezer in Jefferson's home.

In May 2006, the FBI raided Jefferson's congressional office, the first such raid on a sitting congressman's Capitol office. That move sparked a constitutional debate over whether the executive branch stepped over its boundary.

The legality of the raid is still being argued on appeal. House leaders objected to the search saying it was an unconstitutional intrusion on the lawmaking process. The FBI said the raid was necessary because Jefferson and his legal team had failed to respond to requests for documents.

Some but not all the documents seized in the raid have been turned over Justice Department prosecutors.


Associated Press writer Cain Burdeau in New Orleans contributed to this report.

EXCLUSIVE: Women, Minorities Top Bush's Supreme Court Short List
White House Prepares for Possible Vacancy as Court Nears Summer Break

June 1, 2007

The White House is developing a short list of possible Supreme Court nominees so President Bush can move swiftly if a justice retires at the end of June, when the Court breaks for its summer recess, according to sources involved in the selection process.

Bush met with top advisers last month, and they discussed possible nominees if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs.

He told White House Counsel Fred Fielding and other administration lawyers that he wanted to nominate a woman or a minority to the Court, and his legal team has narrowed its focus to a half-dozen contenders, sources said.

Bush Prepares for Potentially Historic Choice

Most of the potential nominees have been well-vetted by the White House, which conducted extensive background checks and interviews in 2005, when it was searching for replacements for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The White House is not expecting a retirement, but it wants to be ready if a surprise announcement occurs, sources said.

It's widely considered that the most likely candidates for retirement are liberal Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, although both have said emphatically that they do not plan to step down.

The White House typically prepares an informal list of possible replacements every spring in case justices announce they are retiring at the end of the Court's term. But there's more urgency now.

Solid Conservatives Considered

With the heated political climate -- and with Bush's approval ratings still low -- advisers believe they cannot afford any missteps with the Supreme Court if a vacancy were to occur, sources said.

To that end, advisers are focusing on possible nominees who are believed to be solid judicial conservatives and would galvanize the base at a time when Bush desperately needs its support.

Conservatives who have grown disillusioned with Bush on Iraq, spending and immigration believe his nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito are the one bright spot of his presidency.

Roberts and Alito have clearly helped move the Court in a more conservative direction this year. But the Court remains closely divided -- 5-4 -- on controversial social issues such as abortion, affirmative action and presidential power, and conservatives don't always carry the day.

The Court now has four solid judicial conservatives in Roberts, Alito and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Anthony Kennedy typically sides with them, but not always. One additional vote could turn the Court firmly to the right.

That means the stakes for the next nomination could not be higher -- as both sides are acutely aware.

Owen, Rogers Brown Back on Short List

Leading Senate Democrats are already warning against solidly conservative nominees, and that could make confirmation difficult in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Still, some of Bush's political advisers believe he would be better off tapping a strong conservative who would rally the base -- especially a nominee with a compelling life story who would be difficult for moderate Senate Democrats to oppose.

In that camp are federal appeals court Judges Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Both were filibustered by Senate Democrats after Bush nominated them as appellate judges and were eventually confirmed after Senate leaders struck a compromise on judicial nominations.

Either could have been a likely replacement for O'Connor in 2005, but leading Senate Republicans told the White House not to nominate them because they were seen as too controversial at the time. Now that both are on the federal bench, the White House has put them back on a working short list.

Of the two, Owen is the best known in the White House and is generally considered less controversial than the more outspoken Brown.

Owen, like Brown, also has gotten high marks from her colleagues on the federal appeals court. But Owen's friendship with Karl Rove could hurt her, especially in a White House vulnerable to charges of cronyism.

The White House also is looking at Chicago-based federal appeals court Judge Diane Sykes, who is considered conservative but less controversial, sources close to the process said. But Sykes is not as well known inside the administration, which is a strike against her, White House sources said.

Bush does not want to repeat the mistake of his father, who nominated the unknown David Souter, believing he was conservative only to see Souter quickly become one of the Court's most reliable liberal votes.

Another prospect who was seriously considered for the O'Connor vacancy also remains in the mix, New Orleans federal appeals court Judge Edith Brown Clement. Clement interviewed with Bush in 2005, when he selected Roberts.

With the focus squarely on women and minorities, the White House also has expanded its search to include judges who were not seriously considered two years ago.

Federal District Judge Loretta Preska, who was nominated by George H.W. Bush, is getting a close look, as is Raoul Cantero, a judge on the Florida Supreme Court.

Cantero became the first Hispanic to serve on the state supreme court when then-Gov. Jeb Bush nominated him in 2002.

General Off-Topic Board / Most ridiculous collector's edition items
« on: June 01, 2007, 12:36:09 PM »

General Off-Topic Board / What will become of Russia?
« on: May 31, 2007, 02:34:01 PM »
With falling birth rates, an over-reliance on oil and natural gas to prop up the economy, etc., what will happen to Russia in the next 50 years?


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