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For those looking for a good summer read I highly recommend yesterday’s indictment of Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana. It’s a genre-busting saga with something for everyone: mystery lovers will enjoy the overseas intrigue; fans of detective stories will marvel at the maze of shell companies Jefferson allegedly set up to solicit bribes; and fans of comedy will delight in learning more about how Jefferson stashed cash in his freezer.
The indictment bore out the reporting I did on the Jefferson case last year. I first reported here that in addition to his escapades in Nigeria, Jefferson was also taking payoffs for business deals he helped arranged in Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome, and that was alleged and detailed in the indictment. I also reported here on the array of Louisiana-registered firms whose officers included Jefferson’s family members and close political associates; a number of those firms, such as Providence International Petroleum and International Petroleum, were named in the indictment. And I reported extensively on Global Environmental Energy Corp (GEEC), another shady firm with close ties to Jefferson. GEEC–a waste recycling company with ties to several felons, including a man who allegedly bilked the YMCA and a bible college–is not named in the indictment but it can be identified as “Company C.” You can read about GEEC’s relationship with Jefferson beginning on page 46 of the indictment (paragraph 194).
Yes, I know about the presumption of innocence, but Jefferson is going to have a hard time weaseling out of this. I once interviewed an international businessman who was introduced to Jefferson in the late-1990s by a mutual friend in Louisiana. He told me that within thirty minutes, Jefferson was proposing a host of possible business opportunities that seemingly involved making payoffs to African government officials. “I was astonished,” this person told me. “Imagine the sort of things he would have been proposing if I’d known him for a week.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”