Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chronic Myopia and The Birmingham News

Alabama newspapers in Birmingham, Mobile, and Huntsville--all owned by Advance Publications--seem to have a chronic case of myopia when it comes to covering anything having to do with the Bush Justice Department.

The latest example comes from a Saturday editorial in The Birmingham News.

The editorial gives the appearance of being "fair and balanced," stating that federal prosecutors should not use their jobs for political ends--and unscrupulous politicians should not cry "political prosecution" when they get busted.

On the surface, that seems fair enough. But when you read the entire editorial--and if you have closely followed Bush DOJ issues in Alabama--you realize the News leaves out several salient points:

* The News references a number of folks who have pleaded guilty in connection to the investigation of Alabama's two-year colleges. But the News fails to mention compelling evidence that Justice Department officials in Alabama use threats and browbeating in order to get guilty pleas from suspects. And the strongest evidence of such threats comes from the wife of a Republican, former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White.

* The News seems to stand up for Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, who recently received stiff criticism from Birmingham lawyer and former U.S. attorney Doug Jones. But the News fails to point out the overwhelming evidence that Martin lied under oath in an employment-related matter, even though she was cleared of perjury charges by . . . the Bush Justice Department.

* The News applauds U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Paul Greene for rejecting Alabama Rep. Sue Schmitz' claims that she was the target of a political prosecution. But the News fails to point out that its own story reveals that Greene also required prosecutors to make more definitive statements regarding the alleged crimes Schmitz committed. Greene seems to be saying that the government's initial indictment was so weak or poorly worded that Schmitz and her defense team had little way of knowing what specific crimes she is alleged to have committed. By the way, we learn today that Schmitz' attorneys are appealing Greene's ruling regarding political prosecution.

* It's possible that Sue Schmitz, E.B. McClain, and other Democrats implicated in the two-year colleges investigation will prove to be crooks. If so, they deserve to be prosecuted. But here's the problem any rational reader should have with The Birmingham News and the Bush Justice Department: State government in Alabama has three branches--executive, legislative, and judicial. Only one of those branches, the legislative, is controlled by Democrats. And which branch has been the subject of intense scrutiny from the News and the Bush DOJ? You got it: the legislative. Evidence abounds of wrongdoing in the executive branch, led by Republican Governor Bob Riley. Have the News or the DOJ looked at Riley with any skepticism? Nope. And this blog is dedicated to showing--with clear, irrefutable evidence--that the Republicans who control the judicial branch are corrupt. I've made reams of information available both to the News and the DOJ. Have they done anything with it? Nope.

* That's called a "double standard," and a recent op-ed piece in the Montgomery Independent brings this issue into focus. The piece is written by Dr. Paul Hubbert, head of the Alabama Education Association. Hubbert points out that one of the biggest "double dippers" in the Alabama Legislature is House Republican leader Mike Hubbard. According to Hubbert, one of the prime opponents of a recent bill that would have allowed public employees to serve in legislature was none other than Hubbard. And here is Hubbert's take on that subject:

Opposition to the bill was lead by Representative Mike Hubbard, of Auburn, who received a contract from Auburn University worth millions for rights to broadcast Auburn sports. Representative Hubbard was involved in passing a bill granting an extension on his and other similar contracts. After getting his contract extended by several years, he then sold his company to a competitor who had offered more for Auburn sports broadcasting than Hubbard had. Hubbard now serves as president of Auburn broadcasting for that company.

Talk about "double-dipping!" Representative Hubbard takes the prize. Contract language calls for Hubbard's company to have 547 football season tickets, three luxury skybox suites, and 100 premium parking places for all football games. Yet, last week he claimed Democrats "threw ethics out the window" when they pushed through legislation allowing public employees to continue serving, when elected, as they have since 1819 when Alabama became a state.

Without a doubt, the amount of money Representative Mike Hubbard has made from his contracts with Auburn University would make him the "King of Double-Dippers."

Deep down he knows that he has made more through his sweetheart contracts with this institution than all the other educator legislators' salaries combined.

So there you have it: A Republican, and a loyal Bushie, is the "King of Double Dippers" in the Alabama Legislature, making megabucks from his relationship with Auburn University. Have The Birmingham News or the Bush DOJ even cast a glance in Mike Hubbard's direction?

Not a chance.

If someone in authority starts looking at people like Hubbard, perhaps we will have reason to believe the prosecution of someone like Sue Schmitz is legitimate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might add the money Mike Hubbard's wife makes as an Auburn facutly/administrator. Look at how fast she is making it up the Auburn administration ladder. Is it merit? From what I can find by searching the scholarly data bases, she does not have the publications normally expected to earn tenure, let alone full professor. Her only single author publication seems to be nothing more than her observations about a distance education teaching experience. Take a look at: