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Thursday, August 19, 2010

And Now I Defend The Dishonor Of Rhode Island

I refuse to be drawn deeper into the Ground Zero Mosque - Obama Is A Secret Muslim threads at Memeorandum.

I have much more important things to do.  Like defend the history of corruption in my home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations against those who would reduce us to mere Illinois status.

It all started simply enough, with a click over to a post at Slate's Double X blog, in which author Jessica Grose demonstrates that Sarah Palin has liberal feminists wrapped around Palin's Twitter button.  Palin tweets, they jump high.

Ms. Grose was responding to a Facebook post and Tweet by Palin tweaking the attempts by liberal feminists to control what it means to be a feminist:
Who hijacked term:"feminist"?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it's ironic (& passé)
That tweet has them all flummoxed ("What the dickens is a "cackle of rads"?").

I clicked over to Ms. Grose's Twitter profile, and did not see much about Palin, but I did see the following:

What exactly is that supposed to mean?

The handful of you who have been reading this blog since the early days (2009), know that I have defended the dishonor of Rhode Island with particular vigor, Rhode Island Is No. 1 Again -- In Fraud.  How proud I was when a survey of journalists rated us No. 1 in corruption.

I even argued that based on the trial of Buddy Cianci, For the Sake of the Nation, Gov. Blagojevich Should NOT Resign.

And Buddy Cianci, and the false comparison to the relatively bland Blago, also has been a subject of argument:
In the public corruption sphere, RICO was used to convict Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. The life and trials of Cianci are set forth in The Prince of Providence, written by Providence Journal reporter Mike Stanton, and later made into a movie. A political character even more colorful than Blagojevich, Buddy Cianci ran Providence like his own fiefdom and was hugely popular (and still is).
So why am I all worked up about Ms. Grose's tweet? 

Because Buddy Cianci beat more charges than Blago.  In fact, Buddy also was convicted of only one Count, and was found not guilty (not just a hung jury) on 26 Counts ranging from extortion to bribery to everything else everybody knew he did but the feds could not prove:
The federal government charged Cianci and his top assistants with dozens of counts of criminal activity relating to campaign contributions, payoffs, and other sundry matters. The feds had videotape of Cianci's top assistant taking a cash bribe. But the feds didn't have anything specific on Cianci. No wiretaps or video of Cianci taking, ordering, knowing about, or otherwise conducting criminal activity. One of the Counts in the indictment was a RICO conspiracy.

The RICO theory was that Providence City Hall (the Mayor's Office, and various administrative departments under Cianci's control) was a criminal "enterprise" controlled by Cianci. In this manner, Cianci could be held liable for the acts of those who reported to him even if there was no hard proof of Cianci's involvement in specific crimes.

Cianci was found not guilty of 26 specific criminal charges. The only charge on which he was convicted was RICO conspiracy.
Buddy ended up serving 5 years in federal prison, not that much more than Blago will serve if the one Count on which he was convicted holds up.

So, I'm not sure that Buddy Cianci envies Blago, or is willing to cede the title of Most Corrupt Politician Who Got Away With A Lot.  Buddy has served his time and put it behind him, and now has a popular radio talk show.  Blago is just starting out.

So what is the point of this post; is there a point?

I stand before you today to defend the dishonor of Rhode Island's long history of political corruption against all who would seek to equate us to mere Illinois status.  To paraphrase a Rhode Island tourism advertising campaign:
"We have all the corruption Illinois has, without the empty space."
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  1. They don't just stop having the mafia down in Providence. I think Nicholson said something like that in a movie once.

  2. Blago had a Sunday gig on WLS Radio before the trial started. Most of it was pretty boring stuff (singing like Elvis). However, he knows a lot of people and a lot of dirt that has not yet seen the light of day.
    Peace, G

  3. Perhaps Ed DiPrete would be the better comparison? Consider the scale.

  4. I'm from Louisiana, and I resent this post. My state is #1 in fraud.

    We just have more talented criminals. Only a small fraction of ours get caught!

  5. Don't forget the other Ninja star tweet today by Ms Palin:

    "Pelosi's investigation of Harry Reid&Howard Dean&others who oppose Ground Zero Mosque will be enlightening,we're sure.(Note to AP: GZM term)"

    yep, let Pelosi's "investigation" start with:


  6. Also from Louisiana and agree with Susan, most of our politicians' retirement plans include vacations at Club Fed.