Daily Archives: February 2, 2009

>PALLONE WANTS ANSWERS FROM JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ON POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF FORMER CHRISTIE ASSISTANT

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Long Branch, NJ — U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today sent the following letter to Acting Attorney General Mark Filip asking whether First Assistant United States Attorney Michele A. Brown had permission to attend a recent political gathering with New Jersey Republican Party leaders and staffers about former U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie’s campaign for governor. The New Jersey congressman also asked the Justice Department whether such activity violates any current laws or guidelines regarding the conduct of employees in Brown’s position.

United States Department of Justice
Acting Attorney General Mark Filip
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-001

February 2, 2009

Dear Acting Attorney General Filip:

I am once again writing your office regarding what I believe to be a troubling pattern of misconduct involving some members of the United States Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. As you should be aware, I have raised concerns regarding the increased use of deferred prosecution agreements by the Department, the apparent rewarding of political allies and supporters with lucrative federal monitoring agreements and the increased politicization of the office of United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey by the former United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie.

It would seem that many of my past concerns have been borne out by the facts as shortly after Mr. Christie left office as U.S. Attorney he launched a campaign for Governor of New Jersey. It is troubling however, that the politicization of the office has seemed to continue despite Mr. Christie’s absence. Recently, I learned that one of his top deputies at the office and the current First Assistant United States Attorney, Michele A. Brown, was present at what appears to have been a political gathering of Republican Party county chairman, state legislators and campaign staffers actively engaged in and advising Mr. Christie’s campaign for governor. As I understand it, this meeting was an organized function of Mr. Christie’s political campaign, and not simply a social gathering. It included, among other things, speeches from prominent Republican fundraisers about campaign fundraising strategy, as well as remarks from key personnel of Mr. Christie’s political campaign and Mr. Christie himself about campaign strategy for his candidacy for governor.

I am sure you agree that it is crucial that citizens have the utmost confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of all employees of the Department of Justice and particularly those who serve in senior positions at the various United States Attorneys’ Offices. Given the many examples of misconduct and excess over the last few years at the Justice Department, it is clear that such confidence has been shaken and considerable work needs to be done to ensure that we once again have faith that our laws are faithfully executed and justice is administered fairly and without regard to political consideration.

I would like to know whether Ms. Brown’s attendance at this obviously political strategy meeting was approved of in advance by the Acting United States Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr. and whether her attendance violated any current laws or guidelines regarding the conduct of employees in Ms. Brown’s position. Furthermore, given the excessive and inappropriate political activity engaged in under the previous U.S. Attorney, do the applicable guidelines need to be revised and/or strengthened to ensure that senior members of the U.S. Attorney’s staff do not simply become a campaign infrastructure in waiting?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress

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Filed under Chris Christie, Frank Pallone, Michele A. Brown, Misconduct, New Jersey, Republican leaders, U.S Attorney Office

PALLONE WANTS ANSWERS FROM JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ON POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF FORMER CHRISTIE ASSISTANT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Long Branch, NJ — U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today sent the following letter to Acting Attorney General Mark Filip asking whether First Assistant United States Attorney Michele A. Brown had permission to attend a recent political gathering with New Jersey Republican Party leaders and staffers about former U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie’s campaign for governor. The New Jersey congressman also asked the Justice Department whether such activity violates any current laws or guidelines regarding the conduct of employees in Brown’s position.

United States Department of Justice
Acting Attorney General Mark Filip
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-001

February 2, 2009

Dear Acting Attorney General Filip:

I am once again writing your office regarding what I believe to be a troubling pattern of misconduct involving some members of the United States Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. As you should be aware, I have raised concerns regarding the increased use of deferred prosecution agreements by the Department, the apparent rewarding of political allies and supporters with lucrative federal monitoring agreements and the increased politicization of the office of United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey by the former United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie.

It would seem that many of my past concerns have been borne out by the facts as shortly after Mr. Christie left office as U.S. Attorney he launched a campaign for Governor of New Jersey. It is troubling however, that the politicization of the office has seemed to continue despite Mr. Christie’s absence. Recently, I learned that one of his top deputies at the office and the current First Assistant United States Attorney, Michele A. Brown, was present at what appears to have been a political gathering of Republican Party county chairman, state legislators and campaign staffers actively engaged in and advising Mr. Christie’s campaign for governor. As I understand it, this meeting was an organized function of Mr. Christie’s political campaign, and not simply a social gathering. It included, among other things, speeches from prominent Republican fundraisers about campaign fundraising strategy, as well as remarks from key personnel of Mr. Christie’s political campaign and Mr. Christie himself about campaign strategy for his candidacy for governor.

I am sure you agree that it is crucial that citizens have the utmost confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of all employees of the Department of Justice and particularly those who serve in senior positions at the various United States Attorneys’ Offices. Given the many examples of misconduct and excess over the last few years at the Justice Department, it is clear that such confidence has been shaken and considerable work needs to be done to ensure that we once again have faith that our laws are faithfully executed and justice is administered fairly and without regard to political consideration.

I would like to know whether Ms. Brown’s attendance at this obviously political strategy meeting was approved of in advance by the Acting United States Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr. and whether her attendance violated any current laws or guidelines regarding the conduct of employees in Ms. Brown’s position. Furthermore, given the excessive and inappropriate political activity engaged in under the previous U.S. Attorney, do the applicable guidelines need to be revised and/or strengthened to ensure that senior members of the U.S. Attorney’s staff do not simply become a campaign infrastructure in waiting?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Member of Congress

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Filed under Chris Christie, Frank Pallone, Michele A. Brown, Misconduct, New Jersey, Republican leaders, U.S Attorney Office

>By Courting the Republicans, Obama Could Get the Worst of All Worlds

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Consensus among the nation’s political elite is a recipe for disaster – just look at Iraq, the war on terror and deregulation.


The following article by Gary Younge which appears in the Gaurdian/UK says it all:
Pity the Republicans. Defeated in the presidential election, depleted in Congress and departing from the White House in disgrace, they are a shell of their previously bullish selves. As much of the country, and indeed the world, celebrated the inauguration two weeks ago, they looked askance. It was unclear how many of them realised that one of the reasons this particular ceremonial theatre was so popular was because they were leaving the stage.

This weekend they held a conference in Washington entitled “Republican for a Reason”, where it rapidly became evident that nobody was entirely clear what that reason was. Having set out as social conservatives, they ended up as conservative socialists – big spenders who made the first moves towards nationalising the banks.

The party elected Michael Steele as its national chairman. Promising outreach and renewal, Steele – the party’s first African-American leader – claimed Republicans have an “image” problem. That’s true. According to a recent Pew survey, the Democrats are enjoying the greatest favourability advantage it has ever recorded. Republicans trail in every demographic group apart from white evangelicals.

The problem with the party’s image is that it is a faithful reflection of its policies and culture. Steele, who once compared stem-cell research to concentration camp experiments, was the moderate in the election. He defeated the South Carolina chairman, Katon Dawson, who became politically active in protest at racial integration of schools and was a member of an all-white country club for 12 years before leaving last year. It was a close run thing. Steele won 91-77 on the sixth and final ballot.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, almost half of Republicans think their problem is not that they have been too rightwing, but too moderate. More than half think the Alaska governor and defeated vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin offers the best model for their party. To the extent that they have learned any lessons from their defeat, they seem to be the wrong ones.

One of the few people prepared to give Republicans the time of day at the moment is President Barack Obama. For the past two weeks, Obama has been desperately trying to persuade them to support his economic stimulus package. After several trips to Congress for negotiations he called on Democrats to strip some elements from the bill that Republicans objected to. He also added more of the tax cuts they wanted…
Read More>>> Here

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Filed under Congress, Economic Stimulus Package, Gary Younge, Michael Steele, President Obama, Republicans, Sarah Palin, tax cuts, the Gaurdian

By Courting the Republicans, Obama Could Get the Worst of All Worlds

Consensus among the nation’s political elite is a recipe for disaster – just look at Iraq, the war on terror and deregulation.


The following article by Gary Younge which appears in the Gaurdian/UK says it all:
Pity the Republicans. Defeated in the presidential election, depleted in Congress and departing from the White House in disgrace, they are a shell of their previously bullish selves. As much of the country, and indeed the world, celebrated the inauguration two weeks ago, they looked askance. It was unclear how many of them realised that one of the reasons this particular ceremonial theatre was so popular was because they were leaving the stage.

This weekend they held a conference in Washington entitled “Republican for a Reason”, where it rapidly became evident that nobody was entirely clear what that reason was. Having set out as social conservatives, they ended up as conservative socialists – big spenders who made the first moves towards nationalising the banks.

The party elected Michael Steele as its national chairman. Promising outreach and renewal, Steele – the party’s first African-American leader – claimed Republicans have an “image” problem. That’s true. According to a recent Pew survey, the Democrats are enjoying the greatest favourability advantage it has ever recorded. Republicans trail in every demographic group apart from white evangelicals.

The problem with the party’s image is that it is a faithful reflection of its policies and culture. Steele, who once compared stem-cell research to concentration camp experiments, was the moderate in the election. He defeated the South Carolina chairman, Katon Dawson, who became politically active in protest at racial integration of schools and was a member of an all-white country club for 12 years before leaving last year. It was a close run thing. Steele won 91-77 on the sixth and final ballot.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, almost half of Republicans think their problem is not that they have been too rightwing, but too moderate. More than half think the Alaska governor and defeated vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin offers the best model for their party. To the extent that they have learned any lessons from their defeat, they seem to be the wrong ones.

One of the few people prepared to give Republicans the time of day at the moment is President Barack Obama. For the past two weeks, Obama has been desperately trying to persuade them to support his economic stimulus package. After several trips to Congress for negotiations he called on Democrats to strip some elements from the bill that Republicans objected to. He also added more of the tax cuts they wanted…
Read More>>> Here

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Filed under Congress, Economic Stimulus Package, Gary Younge, Michael Steele, President Obama, Republicans, Sarah Palin, tax cuts, the Gaurdian

Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

For all of you sun birds out there that just can’t wait for this winter to be over, I have some bad news. Punsutawney Phil, that prognosticating groundhog from Gobbler’s Knob has seen his shadow this morning, which means six more weeks of winter. Lets hope he is wrong!

Here is the official proclamation:
Hear Ye Hear Ye

On Gobbler’s Knob this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators

Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper

And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths

After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,

Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time

And a bright sky above me

Showed my shadow beside me.

So 6 more weeks of winter it will be.

If you missed it, watch the video:

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Filed under Gobbler's Knob, Groundhogs Day, offical proclamation, Pittsburgh Steelers, Punxsutawney Phil, six more weeks of winter

Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

For all of you sun birds out there that just can’t wait for this winter to be over, I have some bad news. Punsutawney Phil, that prognosticating groundhog from Gobbler’s Knob has seen his shadow this morning, which means six more weeks of winter. Lets hope he is wrong!

Here is the official proclamation:
Hear Ye Hear Ye

On Gobbler’s Knob this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators

Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper

And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths

After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,

Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time

And a bright sky above me

Showed my shadow beside me.

So 6 more weeks of winter it will be.

If you missed it, watch the video:

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Filed under Gobbler's Knob, Groundhogs Day, offical proclamation, Pittsburgh Steelers, Punxsutawney Phil, six more weeks of winter

Colbert: The Audacity of Nope

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, assuming his best fake-conservative pundit persona, was wildly enthusiastic on Thursday about the Republican House members’ unanimous refusal to vote for President Obama’s stimulus program.

Declaring Today’s Word to be “The Audacity of Nope,” Colbert exclaimed, “We don’t neet a package filled with handouts — we need one filled with balls! And yesterday, 177 House Republicans put their nuts on the line and said, ‘No! We will not vote for this bill that we know will pass anyway!'”

Read more about the Audacity of Nope from Raw Story >>> Here

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Filed under Audacity of Nope, Comedy Central, Economic Stimulus Package, House Republicans, President Obama, Stephen Colbert