Friday, March 30, 2007

Ethics and politics

I have a lot to say about the attorney purge scandal. I'll throw up some more comments on it over the weekend. And it looks like even the Daily Star is taking notice of the scandal, at last.

The mainstream media have been treating this scandal like it's no big deal. They've swallowed the stock Tony Snow argument that these attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the president" and they can be fired at the president's whim, even when they're in the midst of unprecedented public corruption investigations, or when they're refusing to bring bogus voter fraud prosecutions against Democrats. There's a widespread perception that it's perfectly acceptable to abuse the Justice Department for political ends.

This perception, needless to say, is completely false.

Model Rule 3.8(a) (from the ABA Model Rules which form the foundation of most state ethical rules) clearly states that prosecutors shall "refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause." So it seems the Justice Department is openly forcing its U.S. Attorneys to violate ethics rules. Despite public perception to the contrary, ethics rules apply to prosecutors just as strongly as they do to defense attorneys -- or any other lawyer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kale & Bean Soup

Kale!  It's one of my favorite vegetables.

But it wasn't love at first sight. When we firsdt started getting it at the
CSA I found it totally repulsive. It was turgid, tough, and smelled like
feet. But once you cook it thoroughly it turns a wonderful shade of bright
green, and develops a rich, full taste. Great for soups.

My recipe for bean and kale soup:

1 large saucepan
1-2 spicy sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
1 to 1/2 potato, depending on size
1-2 cups kale, stems removed
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-1 1/2 cup dry beans (tepary, pinto, kidney)
1 serrano chile pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups water
A few sprigs of cilantro

Soak dry beans for 6-8 hours. Boil sausages for 3 minutes or so. Then,
slice the sausages and saute them over high-medium heat in the olive oil in
the saucepan for another 3 minutes. Remove the sausages and set them aside.
Toss about a tbsp of water into the saucepan and scrape off the sausage
bits with a spatula. Pour 1 cup red wine into the water-sausage fat-olive
oil emulsion and reduce to about 2/3 cup for 5-10 minutes, depending on the
type of saucepan you're using.

Add stock, water, beans, kale, and seasoning (except cilantro). Cook for about 30
minutes. Then add remaining vegetables and sausages and cook for another
30. Add salf and pepper to taste. Once finished, add sprigs of cilantro.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Here comes the Straight Talk Express!

"...oh, what's that? Condoms for Africans to stop the spread of HIV? Uhhhh...whatever Tom Coburn says."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Netroots <3 John Edwards

Today's straw poll at DailyKos is interesting. Edwards is ahead of Obama, 40% to 26% at the time of this posting. Last month showed Edwards with a slight edge. Obama may have star power, drawing hundreds of people even at the tiniest of events, but the netroots clearly like Edwards.

I find this encouraging. For all the hype, I just don't think Obama is a candidate of much substance. And I'm not too impressed with a candidate who can't even come out and say that "homosexuality is not immoral." Obama's still essentially an empty suit. Once people realize this en masse, Edwards is in a great position to surge ahead of him.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

It's going to cost Maricopa County taxpayers another seven figures to remain Death Capital of the United States.

County Attorney Andy says there is "no need for [his] office to evaluate its policy."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

And then there was that "strange coincidence" involving Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) and a highly profitable federal land swap initiative that would have greatly enriched one of Renzi's political patrons.

I do recall the U.S. Attorney's Office being interested in that.
Paul Charlton is scheduled to testify this afternoon before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His fellow attorneys have been spilling the beans all morning about Republican senators and representatives pressuring them about ongoing investigations involving Democrats in the runup to the election.

Which reminds me about that story Randy Graf was peddling about Gabrielle Giffords "sweetheart" Rio Nuevo land deal. Was anyone listening in Washington?

Friday, March 2, 2007

So, did you know Maricopa County has 135 pending death penalty cases?

That's a lot, right?

L.A. County, home to 9.9 million people, has only 36.

The Hon. James Keppel, Criminal Presiding Judge of Maricopa County, ordered County Attorney Andrew Thomas into a closed session Friday to discuss the matter.

Why a closed session? Choice quote from Stephen Dichter, from the Office of the Legal Advocate: “No one should see how the attorneys make the sausage.”
Paul Kiel reports that Paul Charlton is among the six U.S. Attorneys being asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Surprising that the local media hasn't picked up on this. Especially given how this story is causing some major shockwaves right next door in New Mexico.