In less than an hour, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman will be featured at the Netroots Nation event in Austin, Texas.
"A Conversation With Former Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama" will begin at 10:30 a.m. and run until 11:45 a.m. Sam Seder, radio show host on Air America, will moderate the conversation, and it will be streamed live at Air America. You can catch the presentation here.
What is Netroots Nation? You can check it out here. And you can check out the full agenda here. Definitely makes me wish I could be there, and I'm heartened to know that a number of Alabama progressives are there.
Reading about this event makes me wonder about the strange world we live in, particularly here in Karl Rove's Alabama.
In the wake of Raw Story's investigative piece about my termination at UAB, I was invited to appear on the Thom Hartmann and Peter B. Collins radio shows. Where are they based? In Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California, respectively. I was impressed that both hosts clearly were well grounded in Alabama events related to the Bush Justice Department, particularly the Siegelman prosecution.
Have I been invited to be on any radio shows in Alabama--Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, Prattville, Boaz, Burnt Corn? Nope.
But let's consider the issue of Don Siegelman. He is one of the prime attractions at an event in Austin, Texas, an event that will be streamed live across the country on Air America. Apparently quite a few people around the country "get" his case and realize it raises disturbing questions about the Bush Justice Department.
Does the press in Alabama "get" the Siegelman case? Has it even made any attempt to "get" the Siegelman case?
Consider a recent editorial from our friends at The Birmingham News. The Newsies seem to revel in their ignorance about the Siegelman case. The editorial is filled with smug, condescending, uninformed claptrap. It's truly embarrassing that editorial writers from our state's largest paper make no effort to educate themselves before putting pen to paper.
Consider this from the Newsies:
Taxpayers should welcome the U.S. Department of Justice's internal investigation about alleged political motivations behind the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Not because there's such solid evidence Siegelman was prosecuted for political reasons. There isn't. But there's been enough political taint to some of the Justice Department's other conduct - and enough spin by Team Siegelman - to all but demand a response from the agency.
There isn't solid evidence that Siegelman was prosecuted for political reasons? Where have these people been?
What we've seen so far certainly hasn't sold us on the notion Siegelman was prosecuted for political reasons. His administration dabbled so much in shady business that nobody should have been surprised when federal investigators started sniffing around, least of all an old pro like Siegelman. Plus, those making the allegations about political motives haven't exactly inspired confidence in the credibility department.
Shady business? What exactly is the News referring to, and who establishes the definition of "shady business?" Was Siegelman's "shady business" any different from the "shady business" of other Alabama governors--including Bob Riley? Or was the amount of scrutiny Siegelman received different? And since when is anyone sent to federal prison for alleged "shady business." Our criminal courts are about crimes, not shady business. Has any Alabama newspaper unearthed any facts, and presented any law, showing Siegelman committed a crime? Answer: No.
Indeed, the best arguments for Siegelman's conspiracy theory have nothing at all to do with his case. The Justice Department's dismissal of prosecutors who crossed the Republican Party, as well as its political screening of young hires in its intern and honors programs, lend more credence to Siegelman's claims of partisanship than any evidence he has turned up related to his bribery conviction.
Here is where the News really shows its ignorance. By far the best arguments for Siegelman's conspiracy theory can be found right in his case. In fact, all one has to do is examine the words of U.S. Judge Mark Fuller, who "oversaw" the case. In his memorandum opinion attempting to justify Siegelman's immediate imprisonment, Fuller clearly showed that he either was ignorant of federal bribery and mail-fraud law or he intentionally misstated the nature of the laws in his jury instructions. That, to a large degree, is why the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals released Siegelman pending appeal: The judge himself could not justify the outcome in the case.
The truth of what happened to Don Siegelman is right there in his case. But to get at the truth requires reading key portions of the transcript and researching the actual law. That's too much effort apparently for the folks at the News.