I can’t sleep.
While I’m thinking about Hank, I recommend Ken Burns’ latest documentary, “Country Music,” and I’m not exactly a country music buff (though my father’s favorite song was “The Wabash Cannonball” . Burns has always had a fondness for ethics stories, and his latest work is full of them.
How did I not know that Williams died before he turned 30? Based on his amazing output of classic songs, I assumed he must have lived to be 90. He’s the Buddy Holly of Country, or perhaps the Mozart.
1. Before we get to the real cheating, stop making me defend Mike Bloomberg! From Yahoo, in a post headlined, “Bloomberg Shares Doctored Debate Video To Hide Dismal Performance” by David Moye, who needs a head transplant:
“On Thursday morning, the billionaire businessman released a deceptively edited video that falsely suggested he rendered the other candidates speechless at one point….The video begins at the moment when the former New York City mayor declared: “I’m the only one here I think that’s ever started a business.” During the actual exchange, his comment was greeted with about four seconds of silence, but the video below falsely implied it was more like 20….whoever edited Bloomberg’s video tweet took moments from other parts of the debate to make it look as if his declaration was so powerful candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe Biden had no response.”
Garbage! The critics are doing the exact same thing they did to President Trump’s video that kept showing video of Nancy Pelosi ripping up his State of the Union speech interspersed with the President’s admirable guests, like the 100-year-old Tuskeegee Airman. Anyone who couldn’t tell that the video was edited to make a point rather than to deceive is too dumb to vote. Similarly, anyone who believes that a Democratic candidates debate stage would ever stay silent for 20 seconds doesn’t know what a debate is, and has been watching cartoons all his life. A satirically edited video isn’t deceptive just because some viewers are dumber than boxes of kitty litter.
2. But back to that dismal performance...Remember these House Democrats: Reps. Nita Lowey of New York, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Pete Aguilar of California. All three formally endorsed the former New York mayor after he showed himself to be clueless regarding workplace harassment, as well as dishonest, evasive, and too arrogant to bother preparing for a debate that is intended to help voters decide who should run against Donald Trump. Accused, fairly, of believing he can buy the Democratic nomination and the election, Bloomberg proved that he also believes that if he spends enough money, the fact that he is a terrible candidate and a pretty disgusting human being won’t matter. Then these three Democrats set out to prove him right, spitting in the metaphorical eye of anyone who thnks that actual merit and integrity should matter in choosing a President.
3. Better late than never...Little by little, Russia’s steroid cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is being uncovered and punished. The International Biathlon Union ruled that Evgeny Ustyugov, who competed in the Russian gold-medal-winning relay team, had used a banned steroid during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, dictating his disqualification from the Winter Olympic Games 2014 where he won a gold medal.
The decision is expected to be upheld by the International Olympic Committee and after the usual appeals, meaning that the long-standing Russian plot to dominatemedal counts using a state-sponsored doping program will have failed. Once it is finalized, the decision will knock Russia into second place at Sochi with 10 gold medals, after Norway, which won 11 gold medals, and put it in a tie with the United States.
4. Segue alert! And speaking of PEDs: Baseball players are still speaking out angrily about the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, demanding justice, punishment, revenge, for the Astros players to wear hair-shirt uniforms, —something, dammit!—as baseball writers cheer the critics on, and write about an integrity crisis in the sport. Strange…some of these same writers were heard, just a month ago, explaining why they voted to let steroid cheats Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame. These positions are incompatible. I will be looking to see if the Hall vote totals for Bonds and Clemens start declining this year after creeping up over the last few elections.
If so, all those trash cans will not have been banged in vain.
5. Tales of the King’s Pass. New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, a supposed police misconduct watchdog as Chair of the Public Safety Committee, has paid a $5,000 fine after it was revealed that she used a “Do you know who I am?” ploy to avoid a $50 ticket for talking on her cell phone while driving. Gibson called then-Deputy Inspector Kevin Catalina from her car and claimed she was innocent, and he spoke the desk officer at the precinct, who then ordered the officer not to write the ticket. The sequence of events violated the section of the City Charter that forbids elected officials from using their positions for personal advantage. The councilwoman apologized to the community for her actions.
She should be stripped of her committee duties and kicked off the City Council.
6. I’m not a Tucker Carlson fan, and Carlson isn’t a Donald Trump fan, so my endorsement of his blazing critique last night of the judge who sentenced Roger Stone yesterday while saying that stone was “prosecuted for covering up for the President” is based on pure merit.
“Stone’s sentence was delivered by an Obama-appointed judge called Amy Berman Jackson,” Carlson said. “You often hear people say that our justice system has been infected by politics. Amy Berman Jackson is living proof that it has been. She’s an open partisan who has so flagrantly violated the bounds of Constitutional law and fairness that it’s shocking she’s still on the bench. If there’s anyone in Washington that deserves to be impeached, it’s Amy Berman Jackson.”
Regarding her accusation that Stone engineered a “cover up,” Carlson continued,
“It’s totally untrue,. Nobody connected to the President has ever been charged with a crime related to spying for Russia or colluding with Russia, much less convicted of one. Stone was not charged with covering up anything. That was not the charge. That is not what he was sentenced for. Amy Jackson knows that. She lied about it.”
Indeed, a gratuitous comment like that would usually get a judge in trouble with the judicial ethics panel.
Carlson also made a valid ethics point about the judge’s gag order on Stone:
“The entire Democratic Party and their servants in the press can defame him at will, and they are relentlessly, but if Stone dares to express his own opinion, Amy Berman Jackson will send him to jail immediately. She’s banned him from speaking publicly about the case in any way. He can’t tweet or write on Facebook. He can’t go on television, he can’t speak to reporters. He cannot express himself indirectly. If Roger Stone asked a friend or family member to deliver a statement on his behalf, he would be violating Judge Jackson’s order.”
To be fair to Judge Jackson, Stone virtually begged to be gagged after making inflammatory comments about his case on social media.