Saturday, August 7, 2010

Odds and Ends (2)...

Isn’t it splendid that the Senate finally confirmed Elena Kagan?  The final vote was 63 to 37 with only one Democrat, Ben Nelson (D, NE) voting against her, but with 5 Republicans, Snowe and Collins from Maine, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, Richard Lugar from Indiana and Judd Gregg from New Hampshire, voting for her.  Those 4 states that those 5 represent are lucky, but poor, poor Nebraska represented by both Nelson and Chuck Hagel.  
We are still trying to clear our desk tops of accumulated odds and ends.  One of the best items that we couldn’t throw out was a tiny note in a New York Times piece about political corruption, titled “Running Government as a Cash Business.”   [Here]  The article is a fascinating account of cash found stuffed in curious places, such as shoe boxes and safety deposit boxes, by big city mayors, a state’s Attorney General and even a Vice President.  (I didn’t know that Spiro Agnew went on to become a successful business consultant after his $10,000 fine and a 3-year unsupervised probation.  I thought he went to jail.  It sure is important to have friends in high places.)  
But the item that really caught my eye was about the corruption trial of the ex-governor of Illinois Rod R. Blagojevich whose attorney mounted an extraordinary defense by saying that his client was simply too stupid to carry out the schemes of which he was accused.  (I’m not making this up!)  The Times quoted his lawyer who said in the trial’s closing arguments that no one could say that his client is “the sharpest knife in the drawer.” [Here]  
Extraordinary defense, wasn’t it, but hard to argue with.
And now to another trial and one that we have already written about, viz. Charles Rangel.  With the msm’s rush to judgment and the arched eyebrows and furrowed brows of the reporters (overwhelmingly white), what has been little mentioned are the people of Harlem whom Congressman Rangel has represented, helped, advocated for and championed for 40 years.  Before that, he fought for them and for his country in the Korean War, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.  Truthout ran an article by activist Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, who reminded us of those 40 years: [Here]
Congressman Rangel has represented the people of the 15th District of New York for 20 terms - 40 years. It's the people of Harlem that have been the direct beneficiaries of his leadership and it's those same people who will be put on trial along side the Congressman, if in fact he does stand trial. At the end of the day, it is the people of Harlem that really matter, and no matter how this works out for Rangel, it's a sad day in Harlem for them. 
It’s good to be reminded of what is most important and most tragic in this whole business.
We close noting the passing of a wonderful man whose ninety years of life were filled with all good things and accomplishments.  His name was Morrie Yohai and he invented---Cheez Doodles, although his obit tells us that he always insisted that “we” had “developed” those seductive snacks, not invented them.  Whether it was invented, developed or sent straight from heaven, we salute Morrie Yohai with gratitude--

...and orange fingers...

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