An Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the Imperium Americanum

Ken Lay Memorial Edition

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(Reuters) Convictions of dead Enron chief Ken Lay thrown out

(Houston Chronicle)Government sues Ken Lay’s estate

(AP) Judge vacates conviction of Ken Lay

(AP) Skilling sentenced to 24 years in prison

(USAToday) By claiming he’s guiltless, Skilling proves he’s clueless

Back in the old days, a financier convicted of mismanaging funds to his advantage would’ve been told to do the right thing and been handed a pistol with a single bullet. Why was this the right thing? It harkened back to Roman law that if you were convicted but had not been executed, the state could not take over your estate. In other words, by committing suicide, you provided for your family by not leaving them destitute. It was part of the presumption of innocence. Technically, you were still “innocent” until sentence was carried out. In modern times, we have a waiting period between conviction and sentencing, and if you were to die in that period, the conviction would be nullified for the same reason. Moreover, if the sentencing were to include a fine, that could not be taken from your estate either because that would be visiting your punishment on your innocent family.

These day we ALSO have drugs that can mimic heart failure. In fact, when Ken Lay was convicted, I had several conversations about the possibility that he’d conveniently pass away before sentencing. I can’t say this is the case, but he had powerful enough friends to carry it out had he wanted to. Saves the family from losing the estate (the estate can still be subject to civil suit, but without the living miscreant, the chances of substantial recovery is teensy), he goes into hiding in the tropics with the Swiss bank account money. Can YOU see a downside?

I also wish to mention my condolences to our friend, S.J. Smith, on the death of his wife. Teri was my wife’s writing and business partner and best friend. She was a great soul with an expansive personality and incredible good humor in the face of adversity. She was only 51 and passed because her physical heart was not as strong as her spiritual one. She will be missed.

UPDATE: I will be taking Friday off this week because of these sad and unforeseen circumstances. Thanks.

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I Could Swear That Garden Gnome Was Listening To Me…

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(WashPost/Reuters) US could prosecute reporters for leaks: Gonzales

(WashPost/AP) House Leaders Question FBI Search

Once again, this administration makes a judgement call and it calls for secrecy. Even if the government is acting in an illegal fashion, it is even MORE unlawful to blow the whistle on it or even be the recipient of said whistle-blowing information, according to the man who helped justify our use of torture. In a further demonstration that the principle of the separation of powers is considered null and void, a congressman’s office was searched by order of our own little Heinrich Himmler. Now, I will admit it looks bad for Jefferson (and The Party will undoubtedly use this incident to make the Democrats look as bad as the Republicans), but there is a principle at stake here. Does the executive branch trump Congress? And if so, why weren’t searches done of Duke Cunningham’s offices (as Steny Hoyer pointed out)? If Hastert and Boehner are complaining about this, this IS an issue!

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This Is For Shooting, This Is For Fun (Well, BOTH Are For Shooting LOL)

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(Reuters) Another ex-DeLay aide pleads guilty

(Reuters) Rep. DeLay wants pistol-packing permit back

I say, give him back the gun, with the admonition, “Do the right thing, Tom…” LOL


(WashPost) DeLay to Resign From Congress: Associates Say Reelection Fears, Not Criminal Probe, Led to Republican’s Decision

Well, it’s not as good as doing the right thing >:-) but it shows what a person of Delay’s character does when confronted… “This had become a referendum on me,” he told Time in an article posted on the magazine’s Web site last night. “So it’s better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what’s important for this district.” I wish this ilk would think LESS of Republican values and more about American values. And directly from his interview in TIME: “I have had hundreds of people work for me. Unfortunately, there’s three[~]one that we let go, Scanlon[~]that I don’t yet, I’ll wait until they’re found guilty. But it looks like they have violated the trust of my office…” What about OUR trust, Tommy? And later, about himself, “Everybody does some things[~]we’re all sinners.” Let me clue you in Tommy, GREED isn’t just about money–it’s about lack of charity and lust for power…and those you have in abundance…

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