November 26, 2008 — The Thanksgiving holiday is a lot of heartwarming things: thankfulness, the first Americans, traveling to be with family, a big meal early in the day that sometimes calls for a nap before waking up to eat more... It's heartwarming!
Thanksgiving is also a great time to resign, get indicted, promote someone controversial, or release a report you don't want anyone to read. After all, who's paying attention to the small print in the paper, when there're turkeys to stuff and football to be watched!
Therefore, it should not be surprising that in today's news there's word of not one, but two Bush administration criminal indictments.
A former special-assistant to the president, named Felipe Sixto; he's just been charged with stealing from a Cuba-related nonprofit while he worked there and after, when he worked in the White House.
And news of yet another criminal indictment in the department of the interior -- a guy named Edgar Johnson -- charged with taking bribes.
If the Department of the Interior is ringing a bell for you, it might be because you committed the phrase "snorting meth off a toaster oven" to memory the last time we talked about them. The Department of the Interior is the department with the already-pornographic-sounding name where the Inspector General said department staffers were doing drugs with, taking gifts from, and having sex with people from the oil and gas industry they were supposed to be working with, regulating... in any case, not shtupping.
Hearing today about yet another Interior Department employee maybe going too got me in kind of a Thanksgiving-y mood. Just in the sense that I'm really thankful! I'm really thankful that the Bush administration is going to be over soon.
It's important to look forward, I know. It's important to think about progress and change and things getting better. But it's also important to be thankful -- when the occasion permits -- for bad things we're leaving behind. And sometimes it's therefore important to remember, in a lot of detail, just how bad the bad old times have been.
In the hopefully heartwarming spirit of Thanksgiving let us consider just what it is, about the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney that makes me so thankful to see the southbound end of this northbound horse, on its way out of town.
Starting at the My-Boss-Snorted-Meth-Off-My-Toaster-Oven Department of the Interior and keeping just to resignations and indictments:
There's Julie A. McDonald, deputy assistant secretary at the department, who resigned after an internal investigation found that she hooked-up lobbyists with government documents.
There's Steven Griles, the number two guy in the whole department, who got sentenced to 10 months in prison in the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Abramoff also took down the Interior Department's Roger Stillwell from the Office of Insular Affairs; Robert Coughlin -- chief of the criminal division at the Justice Department; and David Safavian who was chief of staff in the General Services Administration!
Over at the Food and Drug Administration, there was Lester Crawford, Commissioner of the FDA, who abruptly resigned, and then pled guilty to conflict-of-interest charges because he held stock in the companies he was in charge of regulating.
How 'bout Claude Allen, the assistant to the president for domestic policy -- remember him? He also resigned really abruptly when he got busted for a bizarre scheme of ripping off Target using their return policy.
Brian Doyle, deputy press secretary for Homeland Security, he went to prison for a long time -- that was a horrible child porn thing.
There was also that other senior Homeland Security guy, Frank Figueroa, who had been the head of Operation Predator -- he ended up getting done for exposing himself to a girl in a mall.
John Korsmo, chairman of the federal housing board? He pled guilty to lying about inviting banks he regulated to fundraiser for a Congressional candidate. That cost his wife her job, too -- she was deputy chief of staff at the Labor Department.
Then there was Carl Truscott, head of the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He resigned after he ordered employees of the ATF to help his nephew with a high school video project.
Ken Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- he resigned when we learned that he was running a horseracing operation out of his office.
Dusty Foggo, Executive Director of the CIA? He pled guilty in the Duke Cunningham Congressional bribery scandal.
Oh, and Janet Rehnquist, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist's daughter! She resigned as inspector general at Health and Human Services after allegations that she delayed an audit of Florida's pension fund because presidential brother Jeb Bush asked her to.
The Boeing tanker scandal at the air force, that put a senior contracting official in jail, cost her boss his job, and forced the actual Secretary of the Air Force to resign.
How 'bout David Smith, deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks? He resigned after killing a buffalo and accepting the corpse as an illegal gift. Wow. Originality there. A President Palin would have totally pardoned him for that, dontcha think?
Philip Cooney, the chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality -- he had to resign after we found out that he revised the scientific reports on global warming to say everything's fine -- Exxon took him in, poor guy.
George Deutsch, a press aide at NASA -- he resigned amid allegations that he took it upon himself to keep the government's top climate scientist from talking about that dastardly liberal climate!
Thomas Scully, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- he had to resign after allegations that he pressured the number-crunchers to say the Medicare drug bill would cost less than it was expected to.
That was the same department where the chief medical officer, Sean Tunis, was found to have faked the documentation for his medical education. They kept him on for months after that. Even without a medical license!
Bernie Kerik, remember when he was going to be the next Homeland Security secretary? That was before the indictment. And the guilty plea. For the... uh... gifts and stuff.
And of course Scooter Libby, the Vice President's chief of staff, convicted of four felony counts in the Valerie Plame scandal, his sentence commuted by George W. Bush!
And who can forget the President's pal Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who resigned amid accusations he lied to Congress about the firing of of nine U.S. attorneys?
This is all just this one administration. I didn't even get to Congress.
There is a lot to be thankful for in this world. Even in this economy. Even with the seriously scary stuff going on around the world. Saying goodbye to a federal government with a rogue's gallery this crowded? Call me sappy, but I'm thankful!
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