No Comment — July 3, 2007, 12:05 pm

Curious Crime Spree in Alabama

Seems that people who raise their voice in support of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman are often the victims of unfortunate accidents. Ask Dana Jill Simpson, the Rainsville Republican lawyer who notes that as soon as she told some friends that she had resolved to file an affidavit exposing what was going on in the Siegelman case, unfortunate accidents started happening. Like a fire at her home, and a brush with a motor vehicle operated by an off-duty law enforcement officer that resulted in her car being totaled. Well, maybe these were just accidents. In fact, Simpson seems convinced they were. But it’s clear that she has some vague and lingering doubts.

And then, following the sentencing phase of the Siegelman trial, his lawyer, Susan James, reports that her office was ransacked. These weren’t your ordinary vandals, it seems. They left computers, television sets, champagne and bottles of alcohol untouched. And they focused with laser-like intensity on her client files.

They probably didn’t find what they were looking for: the files relating to the Siegelman case. James, who had gone to visit her client in prison, had taken the files along with her.

Of course, this is certainly just a third-rate burglary. But somehow it starts me thinking back to another third-rate burglary that occurred 34 years ago in an apartment and office complex near the Potomac River. That, of course, had no connection whatsoever to any broader government conspiracy. And in the end, it brought down a presidency.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

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