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October 27, 2008 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Sen. Stevens (R, AK) found guilty of of seven corruption charges. Stevens was behind in the polls before this point anyway, so it looks like a solid Dem gain at this point. Palin has obviously thown him under the bus.
posted by jaduncan (131 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
HA HA HA.
posted by trondant at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Forgot a tag.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 9:08 PM on October 27, 2008


!
posted by ob at 9:10 PM on October 27, 2008


Why doesn't this have the seriesoftubes tag?
posted by Hollow at 9:11 PM on October 27, 2008


Truly despicable people are the gift that keeps on giving. Really!
posted by brain cloud at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2008


Oh. Oh my. I should have looked before I posted. My face is so red.
posted by Hollow at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2008


Thwow him to the fwoor!
posted by Krrrlson at 9:13 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Tag added. And let me be the first to acknowledge the comedy in this slashdot comment:

"Prison, it's not like a big building, it's more like a series of cubes."
posted by jaduncan at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2008 [77 favorites]


Hahahahahahahhahahahah!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2008


Stevens goes down the (series of) tubes.
posted by netbros at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2008


Pardon?
posted by spicynuts at 9:17 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


On a serious note: I suppose the chances Stevens will actually go to prison are relatively slim, right?
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 9:19 PM on October 27, 2008


Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:21 PM on October 27, 2008



On a serious note: I suppose the chances Stevens will actually go to prison are relatively slim, right?


It's up to 5 years on each count, so a maximum of 35 years in total. Given this, it's not impossible to imagine some level of penal sentence. Although if he can keep the appeals going until January it does seem more likely than not that as spicynuts implies, Bush will pardon him.

I have a suspicion that the Bush pardon list will resemble a phone book, actually.
posted by jaduncan at 9:24 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Frankly, given his age it seems unlikely that he'll actually see jail time. I'd be satisfied at this point with an ass-whooping in the election next week.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:25 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


*flushing noise*
posted by sexyrobot at 9:26 PM on October 27, 2008


I've been chuckling about this all day.
posted by rtha at 9:30 PM on October 27, 2008


I really doubt he'll ever see the inside of a jail cell. But that's still a satisfying verdict.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 9:31 PM on October 27, 2008


On a serious note: I suppose the chances Stevens will actually go to prison are relatively slim, right?

Bush pardoned (well, commuted) Scooter Libby, and he lied about participation in an act of treason against an undercover CIA operative. If you honestly think Stevens will serve a day in jail for being a greedy Republican, then might I note that Barack Obama to carry Utah is only 2 cents a share on InTrade and you are one optimistic motherfucker.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:34 PM on October 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


1) haha
2) He's 84, he'll get probation.
3) This is a very bad post, with "it looks like a solid Dem gain at this point" and the "thrown under the bus" cliche really pushing it over the edge.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:38 PM on October 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


I suppose the chances Stevens will actually go to prison are relatively slim, right?
From TFA:
Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced, but under federal guidelines he is likely to receive much less prison time, if any.
Also from TFA:
Stevens' conviction hinged on the testimony of Bill Allen, the senator's longtime drinking and fishing buddy. Allen, the founder of VECO, testified that he never billed his friend for the work on the house and that Stevens knew he was getting a special deal.

Stevens spent three days on the witness stand, vehemently denying that allegation.
posted by hattifattener at 9:39 PM on October 27, 2008


Won't spend a day in jail.
posted by sluglicker at 9:42 PM on October 27, 2008


Re: Thrown under a bus-ness:
I find it funny that Palin criticizes a "big oil service company", but not actually... -um- Big Oil.

So there's that.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:42 PM on October 27, 2008


It's surprising that Stevens isn't required to resign his Senate seat. It's one thing if voters elect someone who is already a felon (don't know if one's allowed to stand), and quite another if one is convicted while in office, and that too for corruption i.e. something related to official duties. Should be automatic, no?
posted by Gyan at 9:49 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


They grow good people up there.
posted by mazola at 9:53 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


McCain/Palin: See, we don't need to elect a Democrat to solve the corruption problem. We're doing just fine as it is. George W. Bush is a mavericky maverick straight-shooter.
posted by spiderwire at 9:57 PM on October 27, 2008


If only Colin Powell hadn't said

My schadenfreude at this is tempered by Colin Powell's recent comments about the man. Sigh.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:57 PM on October 27, 2008


great job on that one, huh.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:57 PM on October 27, 2008


Everyone knows that morality doesn't survive at that latitude.
posted by jamstigator at 9:59 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Should be automatic, no?

There may need to be impeachment hearings to drag this felon out of office, unfortunately.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:02 PM on October 27, 2008


Dear Lord, I beg you, please let Senator Stevens die in prison, preferably by cutting his own throat with a rusty bolt from his bedframe. I don't ask for much, Lord, but I ask for this.

Oh, and P.S., Lord, please have someone beat Duke Cunningham to death with a lead pipe before Bush inevitably pardons him.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:20 PM on October 27, 2008


I love that you can't vote in most places if you're a felon, but there's no rule against felons serving in Congress.

Kinda tells you where their priorities are, dunnit?
posted by SaintCynr at 10:21 PM on October 27, 2008 [26 favorites]


I dunno about pardons. Administration insiders who might spill juicy tidbits to avoid jail time, sure. An old asshole from the Senate? I could see Bush deciding not to flush still more of his reputation down the series of tubes.

Everything Bush does in his last months will be a cross for his party to bear in '12. Passing up an opportunity to do damage control by letting Stevens take his medicine would be stupid even for him.
posted by Epenthesis at 10:25 PM on October 27, 2008


Lord, please have someone beat Duke Cunningham to death with a lead pipe before Bush inevitably pardons him.

Classy. I like how you stopped short of wishing rape on him to keep from getting dragged into Meta.
posted by Cyrano at 10:25 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Agreed. The recurrent prison rape "gag" is one of the most tiresome aspects of this site.
posted by Wolof at 10:35 PM on October 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


The recurrent prison rape "gag" is one of the most tiresome aspects of this site.

The whole prison rape "thing" seems to be almost exclusively American, too, which is creepy beyond bad comedy. I don't think any other nation so plainly and uniformly considers being raped as part of a crime's normal, appropriate punishment.

Whatever the root psychological cause there, I think it's probably related to the people who endorse our Gitmos and Guantanamos as in any way acceptable.

It's a national mental illness.
posted by rokusan at 10:41 PM on October 27, 2008 [28 favorites]


Best clear out the old criminals. There's a whole new bunch waiting their turn.
posted by pompomtom at 10:54 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't know folks, Colin Powell says he's okay as Solon and thanks points out.

Doesn't his personal endorsement mean anything to you people?
posted by codswallop at 10:55 PM on October 27, 2008


I like how no one was talking about rape jokes until someone started bitching about rape jokes...


that said, I hope they nail his ass to the wall (with fines and/or jail time)
posted by slapshot57 at 10:56 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Buh bye.
posted by zippy at 11:01 PM on October 27, 2008


It's surprising that Stevens isn't required to resign his Senate seat.

Please see "Powers, Separation of." Even the Senate Ethics Committee is loathe to overrule voters, and the executive branch shouldn't be allowed to.

In any case, I imagine he would at worst be sent to "pound you on the tennis court" prison.
posted by dhartung at 11:01 PM on October 27, 2008


I'd settle for a 7-count felon on corruption charges to not being re-elected, no need for ass pounding. Where I come from (California, an evil Liberal metropolis, so I'm told), 3 felonies earns you a life sentence. That is, you're in prison for the rest of your life.

I'm sure he'll walk free and be re-elected though. And no one will give a shit. This conviction barely made the front page of CNN. This is a fucking blip on the radar.
posted by cj_ at 11:02 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


In properly run democracies, such miscreants do the honorable thing, and resign.

Quaint, but far more effective.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:06 PM on October 27, 2008


Colin Powell says he's okay... doesn't his personal endorsement mean anything to you people?

Ahem.
posted by rokusan at 11:07 PM on October 27, 2008


Doesn't his personal endorsement mean anything to you people?

A long-time Republican expressing support for another long-time Republican is not news. A long-time Republican endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate is news — and is perhaps meaningful, as determined from the literal words of support he issues are also condemnations of the Republican Party as a whole. Do you believe that the two personal endorsements are equivalent?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:09 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Uhh, PareidollaticBoy, you realize that most of those links are about Blair Wilson, who didn't actual resign, just left the Liberals and became an Independent then Green? And that most of the rest are about people calling for Dion to resign after doing poorly in an election? Which could be explained by Canada not being a properly run democracy, but...

ok, fair enough.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:12 PM on October 27, 2008


The United States Senate is not like a big legislature. It's a series of rubes.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:12 PM on October 27, 2008 [10 favorites]


It's Ted Stevens. Even if he is IN jail Alaskans will probably still re-elect him.
posted by fshgrl at 11:16 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fun fact about throwing people under buses: this phrase was virtually unknown before 2003.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:32 PM on October 27, 2008


Due to his age, I doubt if he'll actually spend any time in prison, though I'm on the fence as to whether Bush will pardon him or not. On the one hand, yes, it'll be another blow to the Republicans if he does, but on the other hand, I'm not sure if Bush honestly gives a shit anymore. The man is the President and can barely even get on the news anymore, and is probably looking to see what the private sector can whip up for him once he's out. My guess is that he doesn't care what the public thinks, just what the top executives think, and will make his choice based on that.

The Anchorage Daily News endorsed Obama, though, saying that the race wasn't about Palin, but about McCain, and that Obama was the better choice. Ballsy call. (But one that I'm happy about)
posted by Navelgazer at 11:43 PM on October 27, 2008


Fun fact about throwing people under buses: this phrase was virtually unknown before 2003.

Public transportation is for socialists.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fun fact about throwing people under buses: this phrase was virtually unknown before 2003.

Actually, twoleftfeet, try thrown under the bus and you'll enjoy a trip back through the Great Depression, including metaphoric use.

(Not sure if that link will work. Its "thrown under the bus" as a quoted phrase.)
posted by rokusan at 11:54 PM on October 27, 2008


Or "throw * under the bus" - 1969.
posted by zippy at 11:58 PM on October 27, 2008


dhartung: Please see "Powers, Separation of." Even the Senate Ethics Committee is loathe to overrule voters, and the executive branch shouldn't be allowed to.

Isn't it simpler than that? A lawmaker who is found to have broken laws, by due process of law, shouldn't be allowed to continue making them. Although I do remember reading about a massive DoJ sting operation in the 80s which was halted on the basis of constituting political interference because upto a third of House members would likely have been caught.
posted by Gyan at 12:01 AM on October 28, 2008


Regarding the Google news history searches for throwing under the bus, both the great depression "usage" (Uncyclopedia??? Seriously???) and 1969 "usage" are from modern pages that just happen to have old dates sprinked in them.

In conclusion: Google needs to work on their machine learning skillz.
posted by zsazsa at 12:18 AM on October 28, 2008


In an interview with NEWSWEEK, William Safire, the author of "Safire's Political Dictionary," traced the popularization of the phrase back to Cyndi Lauper, who jauntily tossed her critics "under the bus" after the release of her debut album "She's So Unusual" in 1983, says Safire. But he suspects that the phrase has deeper roots in minor-league baseball, where players are almost always bused to away games. In fact, its original meaning could be have been quite literal: be on time for the bus, or you will be thrown underneath it, into the storage bays.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:31 AM on October 28, 2008


Oh, and previously.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:35 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Zippy, rokusan: It's true that there are many early references to the phrase, "throw X under the bus," but as far as I can tell, most of them actually involved something being thrown under a bus. Our forebearers were literal-minded folk.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:36 AM on October 28, 2008


Yeah, some of the oldest "cites" are Google bugs, it appears. Figures.

No matter what, though, I think it's (a) somewhat older than 2003, and (b) already worn out its welcome. Clearly, Main Street USA needs a new phrase.

I'm waiting for Obama to say he "pwnd those McCain n00bz" myself.
posted by rokusan at 12:39 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or "throw * under the bus" - 1969.

I haven't seen that News archives thing until now, but it looks as though it's not very accurate.

The 1969 date looks like it was scraped from the text (June 1969), but the actual usage is in a comment on a 2007 blog post: "Those transgendered people were fighting for us back in June, 1969 (the Stonewall Riots, for those of you not versed) and I'm not gonna throw them under the bus."

The next oldest entry on that timeline is 1987, and that one also looks wrong, and for the same reason - the date is incorrectly scraped from the text: "Shockingly, Roone Arledge and Dick Wald, who was then senior vice president of ABC News, continued to allow her to report the story, then proceeded to throw her under the bus when The Wall Street Journal published an article in March 1987 naming her in the affair."
posted by pracowity at 12:48 AM on October 28, 2008


This is worse than Spitzer when he paid for a series of boobs.
posted by clearly at 12:50 AM on October 28, 2008


Double-Tongued (which studies slang origins) has traced the first published usage in its current sense to 1991 (ignoring Cyndi Lauper here, who wasn't using it exactly the same way). But the point of the original News Archive search was to show that the phrase has only become generally well known in the last five years.

But yeah, it's an annoying cliche which has definitely, um, jumped the shark.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:56 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for a monarchy to fall, just to see who publishes a "Throne Under the Bus" headline first.
posted by pracowity at 1:28 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gyan: Wondering about that one too; it's opposite of what we have in India. A convicted felon can vote, but they cant stand for elections, which makes immense sense to me.

Of course, you must temper this bit of constitutional values-jujitsu with the knowledge that there are very few convictions for corruption in India, precisely for this reason. When I say, very few, I mean, less than 10. Yeah.
posted by the cydonian at 1:47 AM on October 28, 2008


prison bars are also a series of tubes.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:38 AM on October 28, 2008


Oh, that Sarah. Ain't she adorable?
"The verdict shines a light on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company up there in Alaska that was allowed to control too much of our state," Palin said.

"And that control was part of the culture of corruption that I was elected to fight, and that fight must always move forward regardless of party affiliation or seniority or even past service."
Yeah, corruption is bad. Such as when you narrow the bidding process for the construction of a pipeline in a way that exclusively favors a company close to your administration.
Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.

The leader of Palin's pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman's former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada's lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal, interacting with legislators in the weeks before the vote to grant TransCanada the contract. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin's pipeline team.

Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.
Uh-oh, looks like someone's got a case of the Oopsies! Ah, so what? It's not like anyone reads stories by the AP on the front page of Yahoo. This'll probably all blow over.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:20 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm trying and failing to envision something suitably horrible and poetic to happen to him in prison (on the off chance that he might do time). Really, it hinges on this being the guy who was praised for "bringing home the bacon," that is, taking back to the state of Alaska disproportionately large segment of Federal funds, given the state's contribution. For as much as Republicans bitch about having people on welfare, it's weird to see them develop an entire welfare-dependent state. And then be perversely proud of it. I guess it can be excused through the whole states' rights / let's cripple big government by removing all of the money from it.

But I digress. As a "good ole boy" of the first order, the more I think about it, if he did go to prison, he'd probably end up running a racket there, too. Unless he had a chance of cracking and blabbing for a cushier cell. We all know what happens then: late at night, the prison warden himself unlocks Stevens' cell, ushering in a black garbed gentleman. Stevens, shaking, wanting to know who this guy is.

"Remember G. Gordon Liddy? I know the two of you didn't exactly travel in the same circles. There was a man who knew how to keep his mouth shut. What was it, nearly a hundred days in solitary? Supposedly climbed trees during thunderstorms as a kid, to get over his fear of lightning. Liddy, there's a guy we didn't even have to consider visiting ... on the other hand, you've got your Ken Lay. Soft. And just as ready to turn as a half-finished pancake. We just scraped him off the pan and into the trash." He begins to fiddle with a rolled-up package containing a single syringe.

"I wasn't going to testify about anything, I swear! And-and they'd find evidence, in the autopsy!"

"C'mon. The warden let me in here. He's grateful for all of your hard work in keeping money coming in. And he'd like to keep it that way. I know you called in some shots to stay in your home state — you'd have been better off going Fed. And all you need are a few toxicologists on the payroll. You know how it is, Ted. Just have to know the right people to get things done."

"Wait, wait, I-I-I've got a lot owed me over the years, favors I can call in! I'm not a threat!"

"The G.O.P. doesn't look back, Ted. It's one of our strong suits. And all of your favors expire the second you get caught. We put the scandals of the past behind us, one way or another. So Ted ... what'll it be? Cool like Liddy ... or Lay you to rest?"

The terrible thing is right now, if this fanciful scenario was found to be the actual truth, I don't think I'd be the least bit shocked, 'cept maybe at them being caught at it.
posted by adipocere at 3:35 AM on October 28, 2008


His prison will be exile from power. Nothing hurts a man like that more.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:38 AM on October 28, 2008


My schadenfreude at this is tempered by Colin Powell's recent comments about the man. Sigh.

Why? Because Mr Anthrax Vial is such a great judge of character?
posted by delmoi at 4:41 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


What exactly did this guy do that makes him deserve such vitriol?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:05 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


His prison will be exile from power. Nothing hurts a man like that more.

Poverty does.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:32 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this at all. Why did Stevens not have his office send out a press release a few days ago clearing him of all wrongdoing? That seems to work.

I'm actually sorry the deadline to get a name on the ballot there was September 17. I would almost like to see a new candidate slotted in for the GOP; it would be like a reality show. "Okay, you have one week to campaign, and you have the endorsement (implicit or explicit) of Ted Stevens, Sarah Palin, and George Bush. Go!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:33 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually if he wins and steps down, Palin would get to nominate a replacement.
posted by delmoi at 5:52 AM on October 28, 2008


Er, I mean appoint. She would appoint a replacement.
posted by delmoi at 5:53 AM on October 28, 2008


Some hilarious contortions to soothe ruflled feathers over at RedState, under a post (now) titled Don't Vote For Ted Stevens For Senate or Don Young for House At Large in Alaska:
Note - A previous version of this post was entitled "RedState Endorses Mark Begich, Democrat For Senate, and Ethan Berkowitz, Democrat for House At Large in Alaska." We have changed the title and amended the post to retract the formal endorsement out of respect for RedState Contributors who did not feel they could be associated in good conscience with an endorsement of two pro-abortion Democrats (though we note that Ted Stevens is also not pro-life).
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:00 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


delmoi, I was under the impression that in Alaska, it goes to special referendum.
Apparently there was some outcry after a Senator from Alaska replaced himself with his daughter when he was elected Governor.
posted by Richard Daly at 6:07 AM on October 28, 2008


The greatest quote from the trial came from Sen. Stevens himself: "We have many things in our house that don't belong to us."

FUCK YOU JACKASS!
posted by Mister_A at 6:18 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


THE BEST OF TWO LOOSERS. GOP STILL HAS MORE HONEST AMERICANS CONTAINED IN IT'S GROUP. WHERAS O BAAMA HAS THE LIKES OF BILL AYRES AND JERREMIAH WRIGHT OF "GOD DAMN AMERICA" FOLLOWERS. O MAAMA BELIEVES IN SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM AND ABORTION.
VOTE STREIGHT GOP. THE BEST OF 2 CHOICES. BE SAFE!

best comment ever
posted by fungible at 6:23 AM on October 28, 2008



What exactly did this guy do that makes him deserve such vitriol?


Ted Stevens is responsible for Alaska being ranked #1 or #2 in Federal funds received per capita every year. In 2005 that translates to $1.89 given to Alaska per every $1.00 sent to Washington, DC in comparison to New Jersey's paltry $0.65 return. That's over 3 billion dollars in earmarks since 1995. Alaska actually has so much money to burn (thanks to taxes on the oil industry) that the state charges no sales or income tax but instead gives every Alaskan an annual check. Last year's check per person including children-- $3,120.

The Bridge to Nowhere was his baby. He also is responsible for things such as the road to his favorite restaurant being paved, a restaurant owned by a long time friend and campaign contributor. It is old school cronyism and corruption-- powerful man makes things happen for his friends and supporters.

Of course to anyone reading Metafilter his greatest mistake was in causing the Network Neutrality amendment to fail by giving an 11 minute speech in which he demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about the internet by referring to it as a "series of tubes" that could get "clogged" which once caused an email sent to him to be delayed by 5 days.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:27 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


delmoi, I was under the impression that in Alaska, it goes to special referendum.

If Stevens resigned now, Palin could appoint a replacement to serve his term until January. Because it's less than 48 days before the election, his name cannot be removed from the ballot.

If Stevens wins and then resigns, by law Palin has to call a special election, as she is not allowed to appoint a replacement for a term that has more than 30 months remaining on it. At most, she can appoint a seat-holder who can serve until said special election.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:35 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the least savory element by far in Mr. Stevens' trial was his throwing his wife under the bus. Any 'family values' president who pardons a husband who asks such a thing of his wife is exposing themselves as a total 100% hypocrite.
posted by newdaddy at 6:38 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


> in which he demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about the internet by referring to it as a "series of tubes" that could get "clogged"

To be fair, this is actually a pretty accurate metaphor. Obviously an e-mail delayed for 5 days is a different problem entirely, but there's really nothing wrong with describing it as a "series of tubes" when network engineers characterize available bandwidth as the "pipe".
posted by cj_ at 6:40 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


What exactly did this guy do that makes him deserve such vitriol?

He's a little shit. Stevens was the embodiment of enshrined power, openly bragging about how he would use his position in the Senate to block legislation not because he disagreed with it, not because his constituents asked him to oppose it, but because he wanted to get back at sponsoring senators he felt had "wronged" him. You know how all the crazed right-wing bloggers talk about how Hillary Clinton should never have power because all she'll do is use her office to pursue petty vendettas and line her own pockets? Well, guess what, Stevens did just that. And he bragged about doing it.

So fuck him. He was a bad senator, a horrific representative of the people of Alaska, and a shitstain of a human being. And even the Republicans know that. Most are just pissed he had to finally get his ass served to him in an election year. This man's career was the Washington equivalent of an embittered family waiting for their cranky, demented great-grandfather to just finally fucking die already so everyone else could get on with their lives.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:41 AM on October 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


What exactly did this guy do that makes him deserve such vitriol?

There's a cluster, but I'd say it was mostly because he was a (1) Noisy, (2) self-righteous republican, who (3) has a strong anti-environmental stance, (4) who makes pork, criticizes pork, and then makes more pork. In the on-line world, he takes heat for (5) opening his mouth to reveal absolute cluelessness about what the internet is or does, while pushing for sweeping reforms that, according to some, could more or less scuttle the usefulness of the whole thing. And finally (6)tried to make up for the series of tubes thing by drafting a bill to protect our children from Wikipedia, et al.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:46 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


network engineers characterize available bandwidth as the "pipe"

That's precisely one of the reasons got laughed at. If he'd said "pipes" no one would have cared. It's that someone explained the metaphor to him and he got it wrong. That and the whole "it's not a truck" thing.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:51 AM on October 28, 2008


I think referring to a piece of e-mail as "an internet" is what really set the hook. The series of tubes thing wasn't polished, but he tried to look like he knew all the buzzwords and kept digging when he was in a hole to begin with.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:57 AM on October 28, 2008


I agree that the old coot got more flak than necessary for his word choices, and that the metaphors he used and points he was making were not so bad. Complete quote:
"I just the other day got -- an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially..."

"They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes."

"And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

I think the truly offensive thing, rather than the specific words, is that he's clearly out of his element, and yet was (and remains) the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which is the very committee that oversees US gov't policy re the Internet.
posted by rokusan at 7:10 AM on October 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


I don't mind that Palin threw him under the bus; that's an instance of her doing the appropriate thing. Stopped clock and all that.
posted by Mister_A at 7:13 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy: Ted Stevens is responsible for Alaska being ranked #1 or #2 in Federal funds received per capita every year. In 2005 that translates to $1.89 given to Alaska per every $1.00 sent to Washington, DC in comparison to New Jersey's paltry $0.65 return. That's over 3 billion dollars in earmarks since 1995. Alaska actually has so much money to burn (thanks to taxes on the oil industry) that the state charges no sales or income tax but instead gives every Alaskan an annual check. Last year's check per person including children-- $3,120.XQUZYPHYR: So fuck him. He was a bad senator, a horrific representative of the people of Alaska, and a shitstain of a human being.

Which is it?

I'm glad he was convicted, but I don't see the need for vitriol. This is politics, and in Alaska, politics involves graft, corruption, and kickbacks. It's close to Russia in more ways than one.

If this is about Net Neutrality, well... again, I don't see the need for vitriol. Satire, maybe even acerbic wit, but not righteous anger. The guy's a buffoon, not a monster.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:20 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


What happened to my line breaks? Ack.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2008


askmefi
posted by matteo at 7:44 AM on October 28, 2008


Don't know if this was said already as the thread is getting longish, but usually the senate refrains from formal impeachment proceedings until after all appeal have been exhausted. So if he is elected next week, which I doubt, the chances of him being reprimanded could be in the January time frame. Chances are Stephens won't see any jail time anyways.
posted by daHIFI at 7:58 AM on October 28, 2008


Sentencing in this case isn't until February; can Bush issue a pardon before sentencing? In the Libby case it was after sentencing...

Also, I'm curious about McCain's statement that Stevens should step down. What happens if Stevens steps down before the election? Is there a mechanism for him to be replaced on the ballot this late? It seems like there's some kind of strategy behind the statement, given that the statement itself makes it more likely the Democratic candidate will win and does nothing to improve McCain's chances, really.

Anyway, I'm hoping Stevens loses the election but then doesn't step down before he leaves office. (And hopefully he'll do that just to spite both McCain and Palin.) This adds to the post-election Republican humiliation and keeps it fresh for a couple months. But it also saves us from a couple months of 'Senator Todd Palin' or (if allowed) 'Senator Sarah Palin' or 'Senator Bristol Palin Johnston'.
posted by troybob at 7:59 AM on October 28, 2008


Classy. I like how you stopped short of wishing rape on him to keep from getting dragged into Meta.
posted by Cyrano at 10:25 PM on October 27


You're wrong. Prison rape is an abomination, and I have done what I can to elect politicians and law enforcement who understand that and seek to build prisons that are centers for rehabilitation, not just brutal punishment.

That said, I feel that the U.S. should abolish the death penalty except in cases of political corruption. We should take China's lead (not joking) and start executing people like Stevens and Cunningham who betray the public trust in order to line their own pockets. It is treason as surely as selling state secrets to the highest bidder is.

Republicans and Democrats alike should cower in fear at even the thought of appearing corrupt - their personal and financial lives should be completely transparent. And when they start selling out the people at large, we should freeze their bank accounts, including those of their spouses and minor children, give them a few years on death row for their appeals, and then strap them to a chair and get rid of them.

Public service should be service, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:00 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


If there is no punishment, why even have laws or enforce them? I hope these "sentencing guidelines" include something about the concept of "justice".
posted by mattbucher at 8:04 AM on October 28, 2008


I don't know folks, Colin Powell says he's okay as Solon and thanks points out.

Doesn't his personal endorsement mean anything to you people?


Why? Because Mr Anthrax Vial is such a great judge of character?

You both misunderstand me. Powell's endorsement of Obama would be better, in my mind, if he had not also endorsed this tool almost immediately beforehand.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2008


Here's a link to a recent interview with Stevens' Democratic opponent, Mark Begich, about music and politics in 2008.
posted by digaman at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2008


Wow, Begich has more to say about just music than Palin has said about the entire world.
posted by troybob at 8:25 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


What exactly did this guy do that makes him deserve such vitriol?

Along with what everyone else has already said, his asshole response was so obnoxious that the Daily Show did an entire piece on it.

He is the worst combination of a corrupt politician combined with an aggressive and vocal prick. Also, he eats babies.
posted by quin at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2008


But it also saves us from a couple months of 'Senator Todd Palin' or 'Senator Bristol Palin Johnston'.

Oh please oh please oh please oh please!
posted by rokusan at 9:13 AM on October 28, 2008


This is worse than Spitzer when he paid for a series of boobs.

Hopefully he used a series of dubes. Play safe, governors and young people!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:23 AM on October 28, 2008


NYT:
Senator Ted Stevens “has broken his trust with the people” and should step down, his fellow Republican Senator John McCain said on Tuesday, a day after Mr. Stevens was convicted of violating federal ethics laws for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and services he had received from friends.
posted by grouse at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2008



Which is it?

I'm glad he was convicted, but I don't see the need for vitriol. This is politics, and in Alaska, politics involves graft, corruption, and kickbacks. It's close to Russia in more ways than one.


The existence corruption doesn't make anyone less outraged when someone gets caught up in it. Senator Stevens cheated the system and citizens hate that. Are you seriously unable to see why people might be spewing at the mouth over this?
posted by scabrous at 10:12 AM on October 28, 2008


existence of corruption.
posted by scabrous at 10:12 AM on October 28, 2008


The seduction of construction led to the eruption of corruption.
posted by jamstigator at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Heh.

I heard Bristol has her baby names narrowed down:

BOY:
Static
Voltron
Godwin
Lemönjello

GIRL:
Cuddlefish
Singer
Infundibula
Lemænjello
posted by Mister_A at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2008


The greatest quote from the trial came from Sen. Stevens himself: "We have many things in our house that don't belong to us.";

No, the greatest quote was his explanation of why he had a houseful of expensive stuff from oil company executive (and his longtime drinking buddy) Bill Allen:
Bill Allen stole our furniture and put his in our chalet.
posted by msalt at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well that is a great quote, msalt. I recommend that everyone go read that Anchorage Daily News link, it's chock full of that jaw-droppingly, cluelessly, blissfully unaware sense of entitlement that has endeared Stevens to so many of us.
posted by Mister_A at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2008


I'm glad he was convicted, but I don't see the need for vitriol.

Corruption destroys good government. It is the most serious thing a public official can do wrong.
posted by rodgerd at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2008


Yup that news story linked by msalts is priceless.

With all his old e-mails conspiring against him like that on the witness stand, it's no wonder Stevens hates the Internet so much.
posted by rokusan at 11:24 AM on October 28, 2008


Corruption is often cited by IMF and other financial organizations as a reason not to invest in emerging or 3rd world markets. Why? Because they feel corruption hurts their chances of getting a return on their investment.

I think the American people should cite corruption as a reason not to pay taxes or obey authority that keeps its proceedings hidden from us. Why? Those facts make it likely we won't get a "return on our investment", i.e. a government that serves us, as all those quaint old historical documents and speeches say should be the case. Their corruption robs us of our right to a system that facilitates the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness, and replaces that system with a bloated leech that feeds on us and serves its own ends.
posted by SaintCynr at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2008


Are you seriously unable to see why people might be spewing at the mouth over this?

Spewing at the mouth is a sign of rabies, isn't it? Look, I understand ressentiment, I just don't think it's particularly reasonable or healthy. We prosecute corruption so we can live in a just society, not so we can get out hate on. Read that Anchorage Daily News link: it's chock full of knee-slapping buffoonery. This guy's not a pedophile, he's not a mastermind or an evil genius. He's a clown. He's clueless and incompetent. He's the product of a system, and last time I checked, rabid lynch mobs and torture ideation aren't very good at fixing that system.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:01 PM on October 28, 2008


He's a clown. He's clueless and incompetent.

No, he's really really not.

He got where he is not because he was stupid or incompetent or too trusting. He got there because of his arrogance and his sense of entitlement. He got there because he thought the laws didn't apply to him. He got there because he didn't see his job as a senator as serving the people of Alaska, but as a quid pro quo scheme - "I got them stuff, now what can they get for me?"

There are graft, corruption, and kickbacks in Alaska because people like Stevens create and maintain a system that allows for them. People like Stevens figure out how that system will benefit them, and work to grow it.

So hell yeah, I'll do a little dance when someone like him gets taken down.
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on October 28, 2008


I'm trying and failing to envision something suitably horrible and poetic to happen to him in prison

At least one horrible thing already happens in prison by default. Your basic freedoms of association and location and participation are all forfeit -- but hey, if you're good or connected enough, they'll only be severely curtailed.

Sounds pretty sucky to me. Some people think it's funny to augment it with rape or other abuse, though, and are really heartened by the fact that because prison is full of people with criminal tendencies and run by people whose role is to control rather than care, it is often extra hellish.

It's great that Stevens is going down and all, but honestly, the crimes under review don't seem so heinous that normal sentencing wouldn't be enough.

On the other hand:

His prison will be exile from power. Nothing hurts a man like that more.

I'd agree that'll hurt, but I don't think it'll be enough. If I were the judge, I'd look hard at a prison term or some kind of restitution program. Good ol' Tubes may not be much of a hacker, but like a hacker, he knows how some systems work and could be in a position to help secure them if he were either so inclined or suitably motivated.
posted by namespan at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2008


Mister_A : I heard Bristol has her baby names narrowed down:

Cuddlefish


OMG Baby Cuttlefish!
posted by quin at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2008


DCist reports comments from Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska):

You have to understand that this was not a jury of his peers. It was in Washington, D.C. , which most people in Washington, D.C., don't look very favorably on the Congress because we run them. I don't know why anybody didn't bring that out. They're not a self-governing city like they say they are. We actually make decisions for them. Makes us very, very suspicious.
posted by Tehanu at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, the New York Times thinks he'll do time, unless he gets a pardon:
Judge Sullivan has wide discretion in setting a sentence, although lawyers familiar with the subject said it was difficult to conceive of a situation in which Mr. Stevens would not be required to spend time in jail.
Emphasis mine. Whether this is wishful thinking on the part of the lawyers familiar with the subject, who knows.
posted by ook at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2008


It was in Washington, D.C. , which most people in Washington, D.C., don't look very favorably on the Congress because we run them. I don't know why anybody didn't bring that out. They're not a self-governing city like they say they are. We actually make decisions for them. Makes us very, very suspicious.

Well, maybe if they didn't run them into the ground...
posted by troybob at 1:33 PM on October 28, 2008


Wouldn't it be awesome if Wotan just up and smote that Don Young scoundrel?
posted by Mister_A at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2008


I'm waiting for Obama to say he "pwnd those McCain n00bz" myself.

A series of n00bz.
posted by oaf at 2:05 PM on October 28, 2008


I don't mind that Palin threw him under the bus; that's an instance of her doing the appropriate thing. Stopped clock and all that.

Palin is the last person who should be running her mouth about the "culture of corruption in Alaska", for the reasons I gave upthread. She handed a sweetheart pipeline deal to a company close to her administration when the bidding process was supposed to be open to everyone. She's just as guilty of cronyism and favoritism as Stevens, and needs to seriously back-off of this hypocritical rhetoric.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:23 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sen. Stevens: "We have many things in our house that don't belong to us."

Just like the American electorate.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]



Sentencing in this case isn't until February; can Bush issue a pardon before sentencing?


Well I don't know about Stevens, but Bush is already trying to pardon himself.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:01 PM on October 28, 2008


Justice would result in his house being repossessed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:21 PM on October 28, 2008


The people who said he was merely clueless are right. There are so many ways to funnel graft while skirting around the rules it's not even funny. He could have taken way more than he did while staying "clean" if he'd been smarter. People who think this will do anything to stem the enormous tide of corruption in American politics are dreaming. They got him for spitting on the sidewalk while the rest of Washington is running around looting free.

The only reason message boards are lit up with this story is because this is a guy who once dared describe a bunch of nerds' precious internet in terms they didn't approve of. Otherwise they wouldn't care.
posted by Potsy at 12:42 AM on October 29, 2008


He's one of the most powerful politicians in this country, and his environmental record is among the worst. I had forgotten the tubes quote was him until it kept punctuating jokes.
posted by Tehanu at 5:32 AM on October 29, 2008


Ted Stevens has spouted blatantly phony defenses of major polluters, mining companies, oil companies, etc. for years and stymied a lot of important legislation.

The corruption is the illegal reason WHY he did it, but his truly evil actions were legislative. Even small scale corruption needs to be punished severely -- in both parties -- because government can do so much harm and spend so much of our money.
posted by msalt at 11:08 AM on October 29, 2008


Optimus Chyme: [politicians'] personal and financial lives should be completely transparent. And when they start selling out the people at large, we should freeze their bank accounts, including those of their spouses and minor children, give them a few years on death row for their appeals, and then strap them to a chair and get rid of them.

In that scenario, why would anybody become a politician unless they were a) very good at hiding their thefts and b) ruthless enough to do what is necessary (if you catch my drift) to avoid the above happening?

The thought of politics turning into another four-year Big Brother soap on TV does not really appeal to me.
posted by LanTao at 8:10 PM on October 30, 2008


Could one become a politician because they, y'know, want to improve the country and the lives of fellow citizens?

Or is corruption a prerequisite for politicking?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 PM on October 30, 2008


Wouldn't requiring people who want to improve the country to bare it all be an unreasonable burden?

I have no problems with oversight but Optimus Chyme's version just strikes me as over the top.
posted by LanTao at 1:10 PM on November 1, 2008


These are people who are basically in control of every facet of your life. Some of them even want to control what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom. "Baring it all" is not, in the case of elected officials at the federal and state level, an unreasonable burden. IMO.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:25 PM on November 1, 2008


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