Saturday Reads: Steubenville News, Democrats’ Latest Cave, Plus Villager Snits and FitsPosted: April 27, 2013
There is some news coming out of Steubenville, Ohio in the buildup to the the grand jury investigation, which begins hearing from witnesses on Tuesday.
From The Columbus Dispatch: School, other sites searched in wider Steubenville rape probe
Police officers and investigators yesterday were searching the eastern Ohio high school attended by two football players who raped a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
Searches also took place at Vestige Ltd., a digital-evidence company in northeastern Ohio, and the offices of the Steubenville school board in addition to Steubenville High School, DeWine said. The searches are part of an attempt to learn whether other laws were broken in connection with the rape.
“What I hope people will believe when we’re done is that we did everything we could to find the truth and that justice was done,” DeWine said in an interview. “What you’re seeing today is just part of that effort.”
Using warrants, police officers and investigators began the searches about 2 p.m. and possibly would work into the night, DeWine said. There was no immediate word on what the searches turned up…
Judges sealed investigators’ requests for the search warrants at the request of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, ruling that disclosing them “would be detrimental to the ongoing criminal investigation,” according to the judges’ orders.
The Atlantic Wire asks: What Is Steubenville Still Hiding?
Toward the end of the school day Thursday, more than eight months after a Steubenville Big Red pre-season game turned into a serious of house parties and a series of attacks on a 16-year-old girl, local police and investigators showed up — as if out of nowhere — at Steubenville High. They stayed on campus into the night, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Associated Press, executing search warrants that were either new or unheard of — and certainly fascinating. “Steubenville Police assisted the Attorney General in the search warrants,” said William McCafferty, the local police chief who “begged” for evidence when the initial crime was reported. Officials for Steubenville city schools, who have been publicly silent (save for one brief statement) since that fateful August night that brought a social media and judicial storm upon the Ohio town, confirmed the search in a a statement released Friday reading in part that “we have been from the beginning and are continuing to fully cooperate with the authorities in this investigation.”
But this is a new investigation, and this week’s search appears to have an urgency of its own, as DeWine’s grand jury prepares to convene on Tuesday. The attorney general said the searches at Steubenville city schools were “just part of that effort” — an effort he announced after two Steubenville High students and football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty of rape. “We cannot bring finality to this matter without the convening of a grand jury,” DeWine said at the time. “I anticipate numerous witnesses will be called. The grand jury, quite frankly, could meet for a number of days.”
Grand juries, by their nature, are conducted in secret, and the warrants executed on Thursday remain sealed — and so it remains unclear whether investigators were searching computers, paperwork, or physical evidence. DeWine has said the grand jury will be looking for, among other things, at the crimes of failure to report a felony, tampering with evidence. DeWine explained that “indictments could be returned and additional charges could be filed” in light of the jury, the nine members of which were seated last week but will begin hearing testimony and reviewing evidence on April 30. He alsocalled the grand jury “a very good investigative tool as well as a very deliberative body,” which makes the timing of the school search all the more interesting.
It sounds like this could get interesting. Personally, I’m hoping Coach Reno Saccoccia gets his comeuppance.
Yesterday, Democrats in Congress once again allowed Republicans to treat them like doormats when they voted to ease sequestration “pain” for the mostly wealthy frequent flyers.
Ezra Klein sums it up thusly: The Democrats have lost on sequestration.
That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future….Sequestration was supposed to be so threatening that Republicans would agree to a budget deal that included tax increases rather than permit it to happen. That theory was wrong. The follow-up theory was that the actual pain caused by sequestration would be so great that it would, in a matter of months, push the two sides to agree to a deal. Democrats just proved that theory wrong, too.
In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.
Democrats had other choices, of course. As Politico’s Glenn Thrush pointed out on MSNBC Friday, President Obama could’ve vetoed the FAA bill while standing at a Head Start that’s about to throw needy children out of the program. He could’ve vetoed it from the home of an jobless worker who just saw her benefits cut. Democrats could simply have insisted that the powerful can’t get out of sequestration unless the powerless can, too. But they didn’t — and they show no signs that they’ll start.
Sigh . . .
TPM’s Brian Beutler: How To Lose The Sequestration Fight
Last night, the Senate proved it can fix big problems for real Americans — so long as they’re rich, or relatively rich, or fly for business or what have you….
The point of sequestration is supposedly to create just enough chaos that regular people — people with political clout, such as, say, business travelers — demand that Congress fix it. Or as the Democrats conceived it, to create the public pressure they need to knock Republicans off their absolutist position on taxes.
Well, they got their outcry…and then promptly folded. They allowed Republicans to inaccurately characterize the FAA furloughs as a political stunt. Then without any organized effort to cast the flight delays as part of the same problem that’s also keeping poor people homeless they assented to providing special treatment to the traveling class.
Beutler says Obama agreed to the cave because “the White House didn’t want to be seen standing in the way of a solution — and in particular a Republican solution…”
Raise your hand if you’re shocked. Hmmmm…not a single hand?
At Think Progress, here’s a list of 12 Programs Congress Refuses To Save From Automatic Spending Cuts. None of them meets the “important to rich people” criterion that most Congresspeople use to decide their votes.
Meanwhile, the Villagers are preparing for the annual White House correspondents’ Dinner tonight, and one of my least favorite Villagers is having a snit fit about it.
Politico breathlessly reports: Tom Brokaw says ‘no thanks’ to White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Tom Brokaw blames it all on Lindsay Lohan.
Last year, Brokaw became one of the biggest critics of the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner after he saw Washington buzzing around and about the troubled Hollywood actress, who was a guest of Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren.
“The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan,” Brokaw told POLITICO during a recent interview in his office in the NBC News Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in New York. “She became a big star at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Give me a break.”
The breaking point for me on any TV or radio program is Tom Brokaw. If he’s on it, I shut it off. But Politico thinks he’s the ultimate arbiter of proper Villager behavior.
The veteran TV newsman’s vocal dissent after the dinner in 2012 was notable for a number of reasons.
First, Brokaw’s industry stature made him the most notable media figure to criticize an annual event so precious to many of his colleagues in the press corps. Second, Brokaw has standing beyond his long tenure as the “Nightly News” anchor — he was once a White House correspondent during the Watergate era. And lastly, his critique was purposeful, public and unpredictable; he made a point to, seemingly out of nowhere, bash the WHCD on “Meet the Press” just one week after the soiree, saying it was “time to rethink” the occasion since it, in his words, “separates the press from the people that they’re supposed to serve, symbolically.”
“One of the reasons that I wanted to raise it on ‘Meet the Press’ — and I told [host] David [Gregory] beforehand, ‘I’m going to look for an opportunity to do that,’ is that we were at a point in Washington where the country had just kind of shut down on what was going on within the Beltway,” Brokaw told POLITICO.
Sorry Tom, that ship sailed long ago–probably sometime during the 1980s when the press corps went down on bended knee to a third rate B-movie actor.
Anyway, I wonder why this wasn’t Brokaw’s breaking point?
At Mediaite Tommy Christopher (sort of) ” target=”_blank”>takes the other side of the argument: Leave The White House Whorespondents’ Dinner And Integrity Yard Sale Alone!
These criticisms invariably come from people who either don’t work the beat, have already had their fun, or have never had any fun, and rarely do the people who attend get asked what they think. This year, broadcasting legend Tom Brokaw has renewed his annual objection to the event, and found hearty agreement from our own Noah Rothman, who thinks our big little dinner is “Hurting The Media’s Already Tarnished Brand.”
So here’s the counterpoint from Christopher:
Most White House reporters are not rich celebrities themselves, and do an incredibly hard, thankless job, and they enjoy the one night a year on which they get much-deserved recognition. Just ask them. One year, I also decided to guilelessly ask some of the celebrities in attendance why they wanted to go to the dinner, and a few got a little offended, as if the event itself wasn’t worthy. For every celeb who just wants to be seen, there are several others who really take an interest in what we do, and who we do it to. As Ed Henry points out every year, the WHCD is also a charity event that awards needed scholarships to aspiring young journalists.
But I’m not gonna front; the WHCD parties are a blast. I can see how they’d be tiresome for someone like Tom Brokaw, but I don’t actually get out that much. Aside from getting to meet the likes of Mr. David Effing Chappelle, the annual event is a bit like summer camp, where I get to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a very long time. It’s also a chance to get valuable feedback from the media and political figures we cover, and to give them feedback, as well.
I’m running out of space, so I’ll end with a couple of quickies.
According to the NYT, Europe [is] Facing More Pressure to Reconsider Cuts as a Cure
BRUSSELS — Unemployment has surpassed Great Depression-era levels in Southern Europe. Recession is drifting to the once resilient economies of the north. Even some onetime hawks on government spending say they cannot cut any more.
After years of insisting that the primary cure for Europe’s malaise is to slash spending, the champions of austerity, most notably Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, find themselves under intensified pressure to back off unpopular remedies and find some way to restore faltering growth to the world’s largest economic bloc.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who once promoted aggressive budget cuts, became the latest leader to reject European Union targets for reducing deficits.
That is one of several developments — a recent court ruling against job cuts in Portugal; a new, austerity-averse prime-minister-in-waiting in Italy; and mounting doubts among ordinary Europeans and even the International Monetary Fund — that have forced senior officials in Brussels to acknowledge that a move away from what critics see as a fixation on debt and deficits toward more growth-friendly policies is necessary.
Is this for real? I guess it’s mostly up to Angela Merkel. We’ll see.
Recently David Corn obtained a “secret tape” of Frank Luntz criticizing right wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh. Luntz must have gotten quite a bit of blowback, because he really threw a fit and took it out on the University of Pennsylvania: Frank Luntz Withdraws University of Pennsylvania Scholarship Over Secret Tape.
Luntz has decided to withdraw funding for a university scholarship named after his father that sends students to Washington, DC, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian, an independent student newspaper at the school.
While Luntz is scheduled to speak on a panel at the University during graduation weekend, he said that he would never return to speak after this incident, and would discourage others from speaking here.
“I can’t imagine a speaker coming to Penn and being so open. I can’t imagine a speaker coming to Penn and being so candid,” he said. “Frankly, I think it’ll have a chilling effect on whether speakers do or don’t come. I wish it didn’t.”
Why would a university allow a speaker to have a talk that is “off the record” in the first place?