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Monday, February 24, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin guilty of corruption, taking bribes

What a shock!

NEW ORLEANS -- Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted Wednesday on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office, including right after Hurricane Katrina.

The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

Before the verdict, the 57-year-old Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans courtroom: "I've been at peace with this for a long time. I'm good."

The Democrat, who left office in 2010 after eight years, was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of local businessman Frank Fradella.

He also was charged with accepting thousands of dollars in payoffs from another businessman, Rodney Williams, for his help in securing city contracts.

Nagin is best remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after levees broke during Hurricane Katrina, flooding much of New Orleans and plunging the city into chaos.


The buses arrived and were assigned to the "bus pool".

Nagin testified that key witnesses lied and prosecutors misinterpreted evidence, including emails, checks and pages from his appointment calendar linking him to businessmen who said they bribed him.

The defense repeatedly said prosecutors overstated Nagin's authority to approve contracts. His lawyer said there is no proof that money and material given to the granite business owned by Nagin and his sons was tied to city business.

The charges against Nagin included one overarching conspiracy count along with six counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and four counts of filing false tax returns. He was acquitted of one of the bribery counts.

Each charge carries a sentence of three to 20 years, but how long he would serve was unclear and will depend on a pre-sentencing investigation and various sentencing guidelines. No sentencing date was set.

Prosecutors say Nagin took hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of bribes, including money, free travel and granite for Stone Age LLC, a family granite business.

They allege the corruption spanned the time before and after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.

The charges resulted from a City Hall corruption investigation that had resulted in several convictions or guilty pleas by former Nagin associates by the time the trial started on Jan. 27.

Fradella and Williams, both awaiting sentencing for their roles in separate bribery schemes alleged in the case, each testified that they bribed Nagin.

Nagin's former technology chief, Greg Meffert, who also is awaiting sentencing after a plea deal, told jurors he helped another businessman, Mark St. Pierre, bribe Nagin with lavish vacation trips. St. Pierre did not testify. He was convicted in the case in 2011.

Nagin said he did not know his vacation trips to Jamaica and Hawaii were paid for by St. Pierre. He also said he wasn't told that a family trip to New York was paid for by a movie theater owner who, prosecutors said, received help with a city tax issue after Katrina wiped out the theater.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obamacare Definition:

To insure the uninsured we first make the insured uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again so the original uninsured can be insured for free.



Saturday, February 8, 2014

Joe Biden says there’s 'no obvious reason why I shouldn't run'

Here's one.

Vice President Joe Biden has now said that there is no reason for him not to run for president except for the fact that he likes driving his own car. 

'There may be reasons why I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run,' Biden told CNN

Biden has been plagued by questions about whether or not he will be running for President a third time in 2016, and he has stuck to his standing line about how has not yet decided.

No reason not to: Vice President Biden said that he needs to see the field and see if he is the only person that would fight for middle class values and a sound foreign policy.

(Maybe he could host another one of those $10,000 a plate fund raisers and invite the middle class) 

'For me the decision to run or not run is going to be determined by me as to whether I am the best qualified person to focus on the two things I've spent my whole life on: giving ordinary people a fighting chance to make it and a sound foreign policy that's based on rational interests of the United States where we not only are known for the power of our military but the power of our example,' he said. 

Biden, who is 71 and will be 73 at the time of the next election, previously said that he and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, had not had a formal conversation about 2016 and this time he took a different tact in answering the same question. 

'After I ran the first time, she didn't want me to run again. The second time, she came to me and said you've gotta run. The reason she wanted me to run was because she was convinced if I ran we'd end the war in Iraq and have a sounder foreign policy and she was convinced if I ran I would work like hell to make sure the middle class got a fighting chance,' Biden told CNN on Thursday. 

'I think the future for this country- I know people think I'm too optimistic, but it is incredible and there is so much just within our grasp.' 

Addressing the issue: Biden gave himself the deadline of 'a year this summer' to figure out if he will run.

(You didn't think he could figure it out right away did you?)

He said that his best bet on a deadline for the decision would be that he will have a verdict by 'realistically, a year this summer' which would give him just over a year to launch a formal campaign. 

'Doesn't mean I'm the only guy who can do it, but no one else I think can, and I think I can then I'll run. If I don't I won't.'

The obvious other competitor that he will- or won't- be facing is Hillary Clinton. 

The former Secretary of State is also mulling her decision about 2016, but her polling numbers and formal fundraising operation are significantly more suggestive of a run. 

The bevy of recent polls matching the various Republican candidates up with one likely Democrat all use Clinton as that figure, and the most recent take on the possible Democratic primary line up- done by Quinnipiac on January 31- has Biden with 9 per cent of the vote as compared to Clinton's 64 per cent.

I suspect this guy would have a better chance of becoming POTUS.

Think about it for a moment. Of all the people in the United States... the one most eminently qualified is Biden? 

Have we learned nothing from the current resident? You know... the one who said at his nomination victory speech, "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..." 

Fell a little short...ya think?


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Here we go again


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Search begins for Obama presidential library site

With Obama's blessing, top supporters are launching a foundation that will develop and build the library, which will both house his presidential records (college transcripts, Downgrade Badge, and the National Truth Award for "you can keep your insurance period" and the phone he didn't answer when Chris called from Benghazi) to serve as a monument to his legacy.

A Perfect fit


WASHINGTON (AP) — The search for a home for President Barack Obama's presidential library is officially underway.

With Obama's blessing, top supporters are launching a foundation that will develop and build the library, which will both house his presidential records and serve as a monument to his legacy.

The nonprofit Barack H. Obama Foundation will be led by Marty Nesbitt, a close Obama friend from Chicago, and Julianna Smoot, a former White House social secretary and top official in Obama's re-election campaign.

A vigorous competition to host the library has already ramped up. Hawaii, where Obama was born, and Illinois, his longtime home, have been lobbying the Obamas both publicly and privately. New York, where Obama went to college, also has expressed interest.

With so many of Obama's aides and supporters calling Chicago home, the focus has increasingly turned to the Windy City, where Obama was first elected and came into his own as a national political figure. The involvement of Nesbitt, a Chicago businessman, in forming the foundation is likely to amplify speculation that Chicago has an inside track to getting the library. The third founding member of the nonprofit's board, Kevin Poorman, is also based in Chicago and runs a company formed by Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, who is now Obama's commerce secretary.

''No specific site, institution, city or state is advantaged over another at this point,'' Nesbitt said in an interview. ''The ultimate site will be chosen based on the merits.''

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, said Chicago is ''undeniably a natural fit'' to host an Obama library and museum.

In February, the foundation will ask parties that want to host the library to make their interest known. That list will be culled and in May, the foundation will notify the groups that will be invited to submit formal, detailed proposals. The president and first lady Michelle Obama will make the decision, and the foundation will announce it in early 2015.

''He has asked us to lead the planning and development of a library in a way that reflects his values and priorities over the course of his career in public service,'' Nesbitt said — values like expanding economic opportunity, promoting peace and dignity abroad, and inspiring the ethic of American citizenship.

The foundation plans to hire full-time staff later this year. Although it will start fundraising right away to cover its own costs, most of the money to build the library won't be raised until after Obama leaves the White House. While Obama is still in office, the foundation won't take donations from foreigners, lobbyists or organizations that aren't nonprofits. It also plans to disclose all donations over $200.

The president, Mrs. Obama and White House staffers won't raise money for the foundation until Obama leaves office, the group said. Obama will be kept up to date but won't be closely involved in the screening of the site proposals.

For the communities vying for the library, much of the legwork required to put together a proposal is already complete. Hawaii officials have been working to lure the library since the 2008 Iowa caucuses — before Obama was even elected president — and has gently lobbied Obama's sister and close friends. At the University of Chicago, where Obama once taught law, a behind-the-scenes effort is being led by Susan Sher, a top university official and Mrs. Obama's former chief of staff.

In Honolulu, University of Hawaii professor Robert Perkinson, who is heading a statewide campaign for the library, said Hawaii's efforts would now accelerate. ''We have most of the building blocks we need, but assembling everything will take a lot of hours,'' he said.

In addition to serving as the official repository for presidential records and artifacts, the libraries often have an accompanying presidential center as a vehicle for ex-presidents to promote policies and coordinate humanitarian efforts after leaving office. Some groups already vying for Obama's library have proposed that he build a center or institute in one location and the library in another.


The candy man...can't

Here's a story which generates very little play from the MSM.

Remember when the candy man (Nagin) said he was going to "make New Orleans chocolate again"?

His new digs?

New Orleans Ex-Mayor's Corruption Trial Begins

Ray Nagin facing 20 years in jail for allegedly taking money and vacations in return for city contracts

Former mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face federal corruption charges that could put him behind bars for up to 20 years.

Prosecutors accuse Nagin of accepting over $200,000, along with family vacations and benefits to his family's granite countertop business, in exchange for millions of dollars worth of city contracts and taxpayer money. The 21 counts are not related to Hurricane Katrina rebuilding.

Business associates who allegedly flew the ex-mayor to New York City on a private jet and on first class vacations to Jamaica and Hawaii in exchange for city contracts are expected to testify, USA Today reports.

Nagin, who served as mayor from 2002 to 2010, was widely criticized for his slow and ineffectual response to Hurricane Katrina, which left 80 percent of the city underwater in 2005.

Nagin denies any wrongdoing.