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Thread: Class is in session

  1. #1
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    13 Aug 07

    Class is in session

    While the trial for this Vince FUMO is almost over, this comes from a Pittsburgh Newspaper. A little background is this same governor, after FUMO was indicted for 139 counts by a federal grand jury, when asked if he would endorse FUMO for re-election to the state Senate stated, "All he has to do is ask." Rendell, while running for election, promised real estate tax relief if gambling was legalized in the state.

    Gov. Rendell's civics class: the alternate version
    Monday, March 02, 2009
    By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    A news release from Harrisburg last week announced: "Gov. Edward G. Rendell will teach a one-hour, statewide civics class at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25. ... The governor's lesson plan centers around how a state budget is planned, presented and implemented."

    The Morning File was not able to be there, but imagines the class could have gone something like this:

    Rendell: OK, everyone settle down. If you'll just open your textbook to the chapter on massive deficits beyond government's ability to address, we can begin.

    Joey: Hey, where's Mr. Fumo? I thought he was supposed to be teaching us today.

    Rendell: Vincent Fumo is, uh, indisposed and may not be back for quite some time. I'm subbing.

    Lavonne: Too bad. Mr. Fumo always brings cool things to class whenever he's here. This budget stuff is boring.

    Rendell: It may be boring, but it's important. For instance, you have to understand the math involved in gambling. The more money your parents lose gambling, the better off they are.

    Cheryl: Huh? You got to explain that better, Mr. Rendell. I'm not getting that. (The rest of the class murmurs puzzlement.)

    Rendell(diagramming on chalkboard): It's simple. Let's say we legalize video poker. So your mom stops at her favorite bar on her way home on payday. Let's say she loses $200 in the poker machine. But meanwhile, we create a tuition grant program that gives you $1,000 in financial aid next year. You're really way ahead, see? Any questions?

    Nate: Yeah, both my parents are recovering alcoholics who have transitioned to a new addiction to gambling. How's this going to help them?

    Rendell: No questions? Good, let's move on. It's important that you understand the benefits of privatizing the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

    Joey: My uncle, who just got laid off from truck driving, complains the turnpike tolls just got raised in January and says they'd get raised even more under some private company.

    Rendell: Well, heh heh, how smart can he be? He drives a truck, after all.

    Joey: Actually, he earned his MBA from Wharton last spring, but no one's been doing any hiring since then.

    Rendell: Tell him to apply to one of the casinos -- they're going great guns. Now then, let me explain the benefits of the $787 billion economic stimulus package for Pennsylvania. You see --

    Lavonne: I know what I see. The Democratic Party is mortgaging my future. I'm going to be saddled with incredible tax burdens years from now because you and other government leaders got the country into a giant mess.

    Rendell: Now, that's a little simplistic. Let me --

    Nate: No, she's right, Mr. Rendell. Everyone in elected office wants to avoid tough decisions and slap on Band-Aids and quick fixes. Why is that?

    Rendell: Nate, do you want to be sent to the principal's office?

    Nate: No, but --

    Rendell: Quit disrupting the class then. Actually, you're all going to be a lot better off soon, because we're planning a new system of competency tests to make sure you've actually learned something before graduating from high school.

    Cheryl: What, more tests? I am so tested out already, and I'm a lot smarter than ever shows up on tests. I just get nervous and forget things.

    Rendell: That's why we're going to have your teachers teach to the test, so you won't have to worry so much. Just show up for class, and I'm sure you'll pass.

    Nate: But with all these tests, we don't ever spend time any more discussing theories or analyzing concepts or really trying to understand the world.

    Rendell: Nate, this is your last warning about disruptions, young man! And I do have the right to execute you, if you've forgotten that from our prior civics lesson.

    Joey: Hey, chill, Mr. Rendell. I was wondering, since we only have a couple of minutes left, can you go over the new sex-education curriculum with us? The school board decided we can talk about things besides abstinence now, but I'm confused about what the other options are.

    Rendell: Just don't have eight babies at once and expect the state welfare system to pay for it. We can't afford it right now. And I'm afraid that's all we have time for today, but you've been a wonderful class. I hope you'll all apply to the Governor's Schools of Excellence this summer. Oh no, wait -- we had to scrap those. Forget that last comment, everyone. But have a great day in Pennsylvania!

    Gary Rotstein can be reached at or 412-263-1255.
    First published on March 2, 2009 at 12:00 am
    Last edited by JOgershok; 02 Mar 09, at 14:38.

  2. #2
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    12 May 05
    Philadelphia, PA.
    Fast Eddy!
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  3. #3
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    13 Aug 07
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    Fast Eddy!
    That's him.

  4. #4
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    13 Aug 07

    Fumo jury to get case after 4+ months of testimony

    Fumo jury to get case after 4+ months of testimony

    by The Associated Press
    Wednesday March 04, 2009, 10:00 PM

    PHILADELPHIA -- A powerful lawmaker achieved lofty goals during a 30-year run in the Pennsylvania Senate, but fell sway to "greed, power and an overwhelming sense of entitlement," prosecutors argued Wednesday in a $3.5 million corruption case.
    Democrat Vincent Fumo, a wealthy lawyer and banker from Philadelphia, is fighting his third and most serious political indictment of his long career.

    Jurors are to start their deliberations Thursday. They were seated on Oct. 22, and appear to have grown friendly over the months. Three alternate jurors were sent home Wednesday, although they could be recalled if needed.
    Prosecutors called 82 witnesses and introduced 1,300 exhibits to demonstrate their view that a power-mad, money-hoarding Fumo used state workers as minions. He employed three drivers and deployed others to clean his mansion, run his farm and spy on enemies and an ex-girlfriend, they said.

    "This is a case about greed, power and an overwhelming sense of entitlement," U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer said as he handed jurors the case after 70 days in court.

    The defense argued that prosecutors set out to "demonize" the long-popular Fumo, who steered billions of dollars worth of state projects to his Philadelphia base since 1978. They said Pennsylvania law gives senators broad discretion over the use of their staffs.

    "How can you victimize an institution that by its own design leaves everything to the discretion of the individual senator?" defense lawyer Dennis Cogan asked Wednesday, concluding his three-day closing remarks.

    Fumo, 65, has often looked tense in court and was hospitalized briefly for stress. But he smiled Wednesday when Cogan wrapped up their case.

    Fumo is also charged with defrauding a neighborhood nonprofit he founded and ran as a "constituent-service arm" of his district office. He steered state grants and a $17 million donation from a utility company seeking a state deregulation deal to the group -- and then, according to prosecutors, plundered its assets.

    Prosecutors say Fumo also paid state workers handsomely for their blind loyalty.

    Fumo, through a lawyer, declined comment on the trial.
    J. J. Ogershok, Jr.

  5. #5
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    13 Aug 07

    Karen Heller: Greed breeds guilty verdict for Fumo

    By Karen Heller
    Inquirer Columnist

    In the end, six years since the federal investigation of Vincent J. Fumo began, two years since the indictment, and almost five months since his marathon trial opened, there was not a scintilla of doubt.

    Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Jury forewoman Karen White paused, took a sip of water, then her wan voice resumed the constant drumbeat.

    White repeated the word guilty so many times that it took 13 minutes to render the unwavering verdict on the vast catalog of crimes.

    Page after page, count after count, every solitary charge met with the same judgment, 137 counts for him, 45 counts for aide Ruth Arnao, conspiracy, fraud, obstruction, falsified tax returns.

    In five days of deliberation, the 12 jurors asked U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter not a single question.

    Life was not good in Fumo World.

    Or, to quote juror Antoinette Randell: "Greed will get you."

    Granted, it may take 30 years.

    How the mighty fall

    The great man, the once all-powerful state senator, Prince of the City, Lord of Appropriations, and Grand Pooh-bah of Other People's Money slumped in his chair, ashen, silent and vanquished.

    The trial had taken its toll. Fumo appeared paler, smaller, and weaker, a mere puddle of his swaggering former self.

    After so many words, 107 witnesses and 1,550 exhibits, enough paper to fell several forests, there was largely silence, tears and astonishment. It seemed as though no one in the defense had seen this coming. Even prosecutors John Pease and Robert Zauzmer were astounded by the lack of jury questions, the totality of the verdict.

    Loyal aide-de-camp Arnao, Fumo's Sancho Panza, sitting by him after so many others had flipped, wept, her hands clasped below her chin. So, too, did Fumo's younger daughter, Allie, and his sweetheart, Carolyn Zinni. Fumo hugged them across the courtroom bench, as if already in jail, though he's months away from sentencing, possibly longer pending appeal.

    The former legislator is free on $2 million bail to dwell in his 27-room mansion, awaiting sentencing of 10 to possibly 20 years. He is also free to roam the nine counties of Pennsylvania's federal Eastern District.

    Still, the proceedings seemed like a funeral, the death of Fumo's power, his reputation.

    His estranged middle child, Nicole, was nowhere near the courtroom. Nor was his former adjutant, now her husband, Christian Marrone, the government's star witness.

    Of course, many would argue, Fumo's six-day testimony, at turns arrogant and brash, proved every bit as useful to the prosecution. To wit, "My only obligation as senator is to go to Harrisburg and vote" and "It's also a violation to spit on the sidewalk, but I don't know if it's enforced."

    Lessons learned

    What does the Fumo trial tell us?

    Treat a future son-in-law like a serf at your peril and watch your family fall like the House of Atreus.

    Have a former girlfriend followed, ditto.

    Buying one Oreck with Other People's Money is foolish. Buying 19 is excessive, evidence of OCD, and will provoke contempt.

    Also: Shaking down one utility may prove successful. To reach out and touch Verizon, too: Greedy.

    Don't call Gov. Rendell as a witness after supporting his rival.

    A charity is not for tools.

    A museum is not for yachts.

    E-mail lives. Forever.

    Lastly: Liberal use of OPM will anger those Other People.

    In the government's resounding victory, U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid quoted Thomas Jefferson upon leaving office. "I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service," Jefferson wrote, "and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty."

    Fumo leaves with hands dirty, reputation sullied, bank accounts potentially emptied, but, thanks to those Orecks, his homes impeccably clean.
    J. J. Ogershok, Jr.

  6. #6
    Muganga Military Professional JOgershok's Avatar
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    13 Aug 07

    Fall out

    Sources: Feds Target Fumo Friend Who Nearly Collapses

    By Karen Araiza
    updated 8:17 a.m. ET March 20, 2009

    The fallout from the Vince Fumo federal corruption case landed right in the lap of Mitchell Rubin today and it nearly made him sick.

    "He really looked like he'd taken a punch to the gut," said Tony Hanson on KYW radio.

    Rubin is the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

    He is also the husband of Ruth Arnao, who was convicted on Monday along with her boss, Vince Fumo -- each was found guilty of every single count against them, 45 for Arnao and 137 for Fumo.

    On Thursday, Fumo and Arnao were back in court as the U.S. Attorney's office moved to have assets seized to pay restitution.

    During that hearing, an FBI agent approached Rubin and handed him a letter. Neither side would confirm the contents, but Rubin appeared stunned, looked at the letter and nearly collapsed on the court bench, according to Hanson.

    One Fumo count involved what prosecutors called Rubin's $30,000-a-year, no-work Senate contract.

    Rubin handed the letter to his wife's defense attorney, Edwin Jacobs.

    Within hours, there was a call for Rubin to step down. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said if Rubin can't give an adequate explanation, then he should resign immediately and return the $30,000 from the consulting job to the state, according to WGAL

    Jacobs said he expects that others may get target letters based on the trial evidence.

    Fumo could get up to 20 years in prison for defrauding the senate, a nonprofit and a museum. His sentencing is set for July 13, 2009.
    J. J. Ogershok, Jr.

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