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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Whether the topic is UAB football or Don Siegelman, al.com writer Chuck Dean doesn't seem to have a clue


UAB football at Legion Field
An editorial at al.com today suggests UAB shouldn't have a football program because it has a medical center--and we all know that universities with medical centers have never been worth a damn at football.

Author Charles J. "Chuck" Dean doesn't exactly say that; in fact, he doesn't actually say much of anything--other than UAB has a medical center, it saves lots of lives, and that's a good thing. That, Chuck declares, is UAB's "true calling." After all, the headline reads: "UAB's true calling isn't football. It's saving lives."

How is that supposed to enlighten anyone in the al.com audience, other than to make it clear that Chuck Dean is a master of the obvious statement? It is one of those vapid articles that seems to have no point other than to generate rage--and lots of digital clicks and comments--among UAB supporters and those who would like to see the Birmingham campus return to its status as an extension center.

The space for Chuck's op-ed might have been put to better use with an article titled "10 ways to shave your genitals while driving a locomotive."

After reading Chuck's article, my instant reaction was, "This might be the single worst piece of horse excrement I've ever read at al.com--and that is saying something." But then I remembered Chuck's May 21 piece about the U.S. Eleventh Circuit's ruling to uphold the convictions in the case of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman. I quickly decided that the UAB football piece might be bad, but it can't top the Siegelman article when it comes to ignorant, lazy journalism.

The headline on Chuck's piece from three weeks ago set a somber tone: "Don Siegelman is staying in prison and that's the right but sad decision." I remember reading that headline and thinking, "Oh boy, this is going to be a meaty piece, with Chuck telling us exactly how the Siegelman court got it right."

But these few paragraphs pretty much sum up Chuck's take on a case that many legal analysts have called perhaps the worst political prosecution in memory:

Former Gov. Don Siegelman will be staying in prison on public corruption charges. And he won't be seeing his sentence reduced either.

That is what a federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled Wednesday sinking Siegelman's hopes for a new trial or at least some time shaved off the remaining two years of his original six and a half year sentence.

When I heard the news my first reaction was a yawn. I think I'm like a lot of you. I was done with the Siegelman thing a long time ago. It's still hard for me to get my head around the fact that this case is now into its second decade.

What do we learn from this? Chuck is bored. In fact, he's so bored that he simply doesn't care that boatloads of facts and law show that a citizen in his state--the former governor, no less--was shipped to federal prison because of a "crime" that does not even exist under the law.

Not only is Chuck bored, he's lazy, too lazy to look up any of the ample meat and potatoes surrounding the Siegelman case--which also involved a former CEO (Richard Scrushy) from one of the best-known corporate entities in Chuck's market. Does Chuck cite anything from the record, or anywhere else, to support his claim that Siegelman and Scrushy went to prison under lawful circumstances? Nope, not a single thing.

Don Siegelman
Here is a question for Chuck: If you are bored by the Siegelman case, which has been described by many knowledgeable analysts as one of the most grave injustices of the modern era, why did you get into journalism? If you can't be bothered to research at least a few of the key issues the case raises, why are you still in journalism?

Hey Chuck, do you remember Watergate, the case in the 1970s where a few determined reporters and editors brought down the Nixon White House and taught a generation of Americans that you had better keep a close watch on our nation's institutions--and the authority figures who run them? If you don't, Watergate taught us, those authority figures are likely to turn your cherished institutions into playrooms for their own crooked agendas. Do you remember that, Chuck?

You now seem to be saying, "Ah, the hell with it. Let authority figures do whatever they want. It's too much effort to keep an eye on them. If a federal judge--or a group of federal judges--says something is so, it must be so. I'm too bored to question authority, and I hope my readers won't question it either."

That's the kind of thinking that apparently led to today's UAB football article. Again, Chuck doesn't actually say much of anything in the column--but the headline and general tone hint that UAB has a strong medical center, so that should preclude it having a football team, or offering a comprehensive undergraduate experience.

Now, let's consider some of the universities that have major medical centers, and football programs of longstanding, right on their campuses. Let's see . . . we have Florida, UCLA, Ohio State, Utah, Louisville, Arizona, Miami, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Missouri, Washington, Duke, Michigan, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Minnesota . . . well, you get the idea. Lots and lots of universities have football stadiums in the shadows of their medical centers. Some of those universities even are in the vaunted SEC. And quite a few of them are regular contenders for football championships--winning on the gridiron, while also saving lives.

It can be done, and it has been done for years. Chuck, I guess, was too bored to look that up.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chuck Dean needs to go greet shoppers at Wal-Mart if he can't put more effort into his writing than this.

Anonymous said...

A horrible excuse for journalism from Mr. Dean. His article is utterly pointless.

Anonymous said...

Let's see . . . Ohio State beat Bama last year, and Ohio State has a medical center. I guess you can kick Crimson ass on the football field and save lives at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge about the Siegelman case should be outraged. He should have never spent a day in jail and with all the obvious corruption in his case he should be released immediately! Is there any way we can make that happen?

Anonymous said...

Is Dean saying that UAT's "true calling" IS football? Or does UAT even have a true calling, other than serving as PBJ's giant sandbox? Maybe that explains the "outstanding" graduates that UAT produces.

legalschnauzer said...

The best option at this point, @8:01, probably is to petition the White House. It's obvious the courts never are going to rule lawfully on the case. Once Siegelman gets out, there should be a thorough investigation of federal courts in Alabama and the 11th Circuit appeals court. The corruption there is mind boggling, but I doubt that the DOJ will give it a second glance--or even a first glance.

Anonymous said...

Below must be Chuck Dean's explanation regarding the Siegelman case. He notes that Siegelman's efforts to say his prosecution was political has been taken up by the "less informed." Do you think the "less informed" includes you, Schnauzer? Do you think Chuckie D is taking a shot at you?

"I hesitated to even write about the latest court decision because I know we all have Siegelman exhaustion. But I decided to write to say this:

"The federal court decision I think was the right one. Siegelman violated his oath to all of us. He corrupted his office. His at times pathetic efforts to say his prosecution was a political one has along the way been taken up by the less informed or by those who wanted to use the Siegelman prosecution to allege wrong doing by much higher political power players, like Karl Rove."

Anonymous said...

Below must be Chuck Dean's explanation regarding the Siegelman case. He notes that Siegelman's efforts to say his prosecution was political has been taken up by the "less informed." Do you think the "less informed" includes you, Schnauzer? Do you think Chuckie D is taking a shot at you?

"I hesitated to even write about the latest court decision because I know we all have Siegelman exhaustion. But I decided to write to say this:

"The federal court decision I think was the right one. Siegelman violated his oath to all of us. He corrupted his office. His at times pathetic efforts to say his prosecution was a political one has along the way been taken up by the less informed or by those who wanted to use the Siegelman prosecution to allege wrong doing by much higher political power players, like Karl Rove."

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, I probably am among Chuck's "less informed." But "less informed" than whom? Than him? I'm not sure it's possible to be less informed than Chuck. A few things to note about Chuck's explanation:

* Right up front he says he has "Siegelman exhaustion." So he is both too bored and too tired to actually think about the story.

* He says "Siegelman violated his oath to all of us." How? And how does that connect with the federal charges that were brought? Chuck doesn't say.

* He says Siegelman "corrupted his office." How? And how does that connect with the federal charges that were brought? Chuck doesn't say.

* The case wasn't about some generalized notion of "violating an oath" or "corrupting an office." It was about specific federal charges, which have elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That doesn't even touch on the bogus Leura Canary recusal or the statute of limitations, which the facts show was up by almost a full year before the indictment was filed.

But I guess those kinds of issues are just too tiring for Chuck to ponder. Maybe the goon squad will come for Chuck someday and throw him in the slammer. It's happened to other journalists. Maybe then, he'll have the strength to think about these issues with some seriousness.

As it is, he gives not one fact and not one citation to law to show that the Siegelman case was correctly decided. Worst of all, he pretty much admits that he doesn't care what taxpayer-funded courts do. He's happy to take any press release they feed him.

What a disgrace to journalism.

Anonymous said...

Siegelman, other than exercising his legal and lawful rights to enjoy same equal rights, protections, and due processes guaranteed all other citizens, supposedly, by our constitution, he has noticeably been silent.

But, Siegelman is not destined to remain in prison for the rest of his life; and more than once has he made reference[s] to his political persecutions rising to levels of Watergate 1973, although in his case, ascending well beyond.

What, although sadly, is not commonly known to the public, if at all; how many are they having rode their white horses these past years under the guise being crusaders for law and order when in fact are "wolves in sheep's clothing, and now some who may be waking nights in cold sweat nightmares of Siegelman having them by their "gonads" as he's walking out of Oakdale's front door, not knowing what to expect will be his next move. I think an old adage something like this, when you have the enemy by his balls, he'll follow you anywhere.... Support Governor Siegelman

legalschnauzer said...

I wish Siegelman had filed a civil complaint a long time ago--against Bill Canary, Rob Riley, Matt Lembke, Terry Butts, Karl Rove, and others who were involved. That might have been a better use of his resources than all of the wasted criminal appeals. If Don didn't file a civil case, Lori, Dana, and Joseph Siegelman certainly could file one; they've been hurt horribly by all of this. My guess is that lawyers would be reluctant to take such a case because it likely would reveal the gross corruption at the heart of our "justice" system.