THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† “Person Of Interest” Steven Hatfill To Earn Lots Of Interest Income From Huge DOJ Payout: A federal court unsealed documents showing how the F.B.I. anthrax investigation went so wrong that the agency wasted years trying to pin the attacks that killed five people on government scientist Steven J. Hatfill, who was finally absolved of the crimes by the government this year and given a $4.6 million settlement, reports The New York Times:
Search warrant affidavits said that Dr. Hatfill filled prescriptions for the antibiotic Cipro, the preferred drug for treatment of anthrax, two days before each of the mailings of anthrax-laced letters in September and October 2001. Under questioning by agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he denied taking Cipro at that time, the affidavits said.
The documents report that Dr. Hatfill spoke of serving in a Rhodesian military unit accused of starting an anthrax epidemic in 1979, told an acquaintance that it would take a “Pearl Harbor-type attack” to awaken the
The Hatfill search warrant material shows how an accumulation of claims from acquaintances can cast an innocent person in a highly suspicious light, said Mark A. Grannis, a lawyer for Dr. Hatfill. As an example of how innocent details can be made to look suspicious, Mr. Grannis said Dr. Hatfill was taking Cipro, a widely prescribed antibiotic, after sinus surgery in 2001.
Search warrants, Mr. Grannis said, often use hearsay and unconfirmed information to convince a judge that a suspect is worthy of further investigation.
“Whether or not it was right for the government to rely on this kind of information to obtain a search warrant in 2002, we know in 2008 that Steven Hatfill had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks,” Mr. Grannis said.
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, The House That Ruth Didn’t Build): Citing E-mail messages between aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Yankees executives, The New York Times reports that the Bloomberg administration pulled out all stops to secure a free 12-seat luxury suite for its own use at the new Yankee Stadium. The suite, which is located in left field before the foul pole, juts out so occupants have a direct view down the third base line. In return, the Yankees got 250 additional private parking spaces and the rights to three new billboards along the Major Deegan Expressway. According to The Times;
It is hard to determine the precise value of what the city gave the Yankees as part of the exchange. The public parking, though perhaps a convenience to those who drive to the stadium, was to be run by a parking garage operator, not the city, before it was turned over to the Yankees for team use. The billboards would most likely generate about $750,000 annually, given their location. The Yankees are expected to charge $600,000 to $850,000 a year for stadium luxury suites, according to reports.
Westchester Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky (D), who conducted a hearing on public financing of sports stadiums a few weeks ago and had obtained the E-mail messages, tells the paper: “There’s this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality to the question of, what is the public interest here and who’s protecting it? We can’t find the money for the M.T.A., or schools, or hospitals, and these folks are used to the perks and good things of life, and expect them.”
The city – which also wheedled a luxury box at the new Shea Stadium from the Mets - insists that it is customary for cities to get choice luxury suites in stadium or arena deals.
† Updates To Previous Posts (10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This installment of The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador as First Lady is a super-sized post-holiday round-up:
Blackhawk pilot Jonathan Harris, 35, was awarded a Silver Star – along with his 60-year-old father, Gary Harris, who was awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star in a simultaneous ceremony, reports The Associated Press:
The two generations watched each other through a video teleconference between
According to the Army, the elder Harris was serving as a squad leader in August 1969 with a company near Go Rieng that came under intense mortar and rocket fire. He held off attackers and got his wounded fellow soldiers safely aboard a medical helicopter.
The younger Harris, 35, was given the award for exceptional gallantry against enemy forces in July, when his helicopter was struck by rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft artillery near the Afghan city of
According to the Army, three soldiers' lives were saved when Harris, who holds the rank of chief warrant officer 2, killed an insurgent and dragged his wounded crew chief to safety.
Meanwhile, Moisei (“Moses”) Baraniuc, a 17-year-old part-time grocery bagger at the Top Food & Drug in
And even with “a slumping economy” making many of us “more fearful than thankful,” according to The Associated Press, dental office receptionist Monique White – who just a year ago was homeless and unemployed – and her partner Doug White put on a spread that included nine turkeys, four hams, 16 boxes of stuffing and a dozen pies for 32 strangers who answered an ad she posted on Craigslist inviting “people laid off from work …. with no family … ashamed to bring their children to a Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen” to their home for the holiday. White's boss heard what she was up to and paid for the food, a local hotel pitched in with enough tables and chairs for the crowd and a professional magician volunteered to perform for the kids. White advises: “People need to stop being so worried about me, me, me, my bills, my life. You stop worrying, and look what happens?”
Finally, our soon-to-be First Lady should consider 11-year-old Brenden Foster, whose dying wish was to feed the homeless. When
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, Fed Up With Farmers): The Wall Street Journal notes a disconnect between Barack Obama’s tasking newly-named White House budget director Peter Orszag with identifying government programs “that have outlived their usefulness”:
Mr. Obama cited a recent Government Accountability Office report that found that of the 1.8 million people receiving farm payments from 2003 to 2006, nearly 3,000 had incomes above $2.5 million, which ought to make them ineligible for aid. Nevertheless, they cashed in to the tune of some $49 million. …
However, there is the small matter of where Senator Obama was on this issue when we really needed him. The 2008 farm bill - which set national policy for five years - was a perfect chance for real change thanks to surging crop prices, record farm income and a President unconcerned about re-election.
President Bush actually sought a $200,000 annual income cap on subsidy payments, but Congress couldn't bring itself to vote on anything below $750,000. And even that got killed by the likes of Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, who as it happens helped Mr. Orszag get his current job running the Congressional Budget Office. The Members ended up passing a $300 billion bill in which nearly every crop, from corn to sugar, won subsidy increases. Mr. Bush vetoed it in May but was overridden. …
Given [Obama’s] plan to spend some $500 billion to $700 billion on “stimulus,” he's going to need every penny in savings he can get. We can't wait to see Mr. Orszag lead the charge against his former patrons on Capitol Hill.