Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Mashup (1/21/11)

(By the way, let it be known for the record that I could care less whether or not Democratic and Republican politicians sit together during President Obama’s State of the Union address next week.)

  • Easily the biggest story going on in these parts at the moment is that of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who, as noted here, practiced late-term abortions and who is alleged to have “killed 7 babies with scissors” by cutting their spinal cords (I need say not another word on the horror of these allegations…two other women died as a result of what went on at his “clinic,” it is also alleged, and other women suffered injuries to bowels, cervixes, etc.).

    I honestly try to avoid posting on stories involving a crime that is under investigation unless there is a political angle. The shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the killing of Judge Roll and Christina Taylor-Green and others is an exception, and I would have made an exception here also (I know I’m a tiny little guppy in the ocean of “left blogostan,” as it were, but I don’t want to run the slightest risk of saying anything that could possibly aid a defendant in a criminal case).

    I would have kept quiet about this, as I said, had it not been for yet another bilious rant by Christine Flowers in the Daily News today (I knew she would write about this before I even looked for her column…her right to free speech I realize, odious as it is)…

    Perhaps the indictment of Gosnell will force us to now consider that full meaning of legal abortion.

    So here's a message for NOW, NARAL Pro Choice America and Kim Gandy.

    Listen up, Emily's List, Catholics for Choice and Nancy Pelosi.

    There's a long-distance call for you, Harry Blackmun.

    Sometimes, it now seems, it's hard to tell the difference between abortion and a capital crime.
    I thought we’d see an end (or at least a moratorium) on inflammatory language in our discourse in the wake of the Tucson shootings a couple of weeks ago. More fool me, I guess.

    So the dreaded Nancy Pelosi, Catholics for Choice, NOW, NARAL, Pro Choice America and Kim Gandy are as culpable on the issue of choice as a Philadelphia doctor accused of multiple murder. Nice.

    I guess the “rules” go something like this; we liberals aren’t even allowed to make the slightest association between Jared Loughner and right-wing violence and political rhetoric (and once more, let me point out that in no way am I saying that Loughner was motivated by Republican Party politics or the party’s media minions – no evidence to support that has materialized), but conservatives can equate horrific crimes of violence with Democrats whenever they want.

    Oh, and by the way Christine, Associate Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun died in 1999.

  • Next, the Bucks County Courier Times opined as follows today on the matter of the planned Criminal Justice Center to be built in Doylestown, PA (here)…

    If the commissioners wanted a contractor who knows a thing or two about courthouses, they picked the right one. (Ernest Bock and Sons) has a history of suing the organizations it holds contracts with, thus its familiarity with courthouses.

    This history was among the reasons that county Operations Director Jerry Anderson said he and his staff recommended the next lowest bidder. "(We) saw enough projects that we were concerned about," Anderson said, calling some of the claims filed by Bock "unconscionable."

    If that assessment gives you pause, it didn't stop Commissioner Charley Martin and former Commissioner James Cawley, now lieutenant governor, from giving Bock the contract anyway. Martin at least wrapped his vote in a stern warning: "You will be back here or we will be at your door", he warned, if the project does not start on time and stay on schedule.

    We like it when Charley goes all John Wayne. Unfortunately, tough talk doesn't frighten lawyers.
    Shockingly, I agree with the august Courier Times editorial board and its inference that Martin is an utter putz (interesting to see how he fares now that his pal Cawley is in Harrisburg)…

    In fact, county officials' stated concerns about the low bidder's litigiousness didn't scare off a suit against the county before the vote. Ironically if not shockingly, Bock filed suit against the county seeking a delay in the vote on the construction contract so it could respond to officials' concerns.

    And the commissioners still awarded the contract to Bock!
    I don’t get the awarding of the contract to Bock either, unless they managed to scare the Board of Commissioners into giving it to them with threats of further litigation. And the editorial is correct – lawsuits are a Bock specialty.

    As noted here, Bock filed suit to keep the contract for the Justice Center from being awarded to another firm (nice). And as noted here, they settled two suits with the Lower Merion school district for $740,000 for what Bock alleged was the early termination of a construction contract running over budget.

    Also, this tells us of a claim by Bock to recover about $10 million in the construction of Princeton High School, this informs us of a Bock Suit against the North Hanover (NJ) Township Board of Education, and this tells us of a suit by a contractor working with Bock on a construction contract because Bock wouldn’t pay for the bricks used by the subcontractor.

    Now I don’t know which of these suits have merit and which don’t. What I do know is that I performed a pretty high-level Google search and came up with this list pretty quickly; it remains to be seen what would happen if I looked for about an hour.

    And Bock is the outfit that was awarded the Criminal Justice Center by the Bucks County Commissioners (minus Diane Marseglia) anyway.

    And I’m sure Bock is just shaking over the warning from Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin – convulsing with laughter, I mean.

    (And by the way, Courier Times, your online popup ad for LA Fitness is really obnoxious.)

  • Finally, today marks two infamous anniversaries; the first is the 30th anniversary of the release of our hostages from Iran.

    As noted here by author Don Hopkins, it is important to consider (particularly with the upcoming Reaganalia on or about February 6th to commemorate his 100th birthday) that a highly plausible case can be made that our 40th president committed treason by negotiating an arms-for-hostages deal with the Iranian regime of Ayatollah Khomeni before he was sworn into office. It is also still shocking to consider, 30 years later, than an independent, sovereign nation that once supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would commit an act of state-sponsored terrorism by which innocent diplomats would be held captive for 444 days. However that is exactly what happened.

    (And by the way, please spare me the caveat that there is a Muslim objection to the Declaration, which claims that the document is based in Judeo-Christian beliefs. I am hardly a scholar of Islam, but somehow I believe the principles of the Declaration derive from other faiths that respect human dignity as well.)

    The second anniversary is of the utterly loathsome Citizens United Supreme Court decision. And I’ll let Keith Olbermann have the last word on that once more – I can’t see how I could ever top his spot-on commentary on that subject.

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