I’m Back!

Published: July 6, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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I’m gone a few short weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail and what do I come home to?  Well, here’s the CliffsNotes version.

Manny’s Back! 

Manny Ramirez, the “vacationing” Dodger slugger returned to the lineup following a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.  He went 1 for 6 with a walk against the San Diego Padres in his first two games.  Since he’s been gone, the Dodgers have been on a tear with the best record in baseball at .634!  Reaction to Ramirez’s return has been swift.

“There doesn’t seem to be genuine remorse,” Padres pitcher Chris Young said. “The guy could set a great example and come out and say what I did was wrong, explain what he did, why he did it and show — especially the kids out there — that this is wrong. But kids aren’t hearing anything like that out of his mouth, and it sets a horrible example.”

J.D. Wins!

A New York Judge upheld a copyright suit brought by writer J.D. Salinger against writer Fredrik Colting who authored a novel derivative of Salinger’s classic Catcher in the Rye. True to his penchant for reclusiveness, Salinger declined to comment on the decision.

Franken Wins!

In a unanimous decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court declared Democrat Al Franken the winner over Norm “They shoot incumbents, don’t they” Coleman.  And to think it only took 8 months and around $11-million in recount charges to do it.

Bye, Bye, Bernie.

Bernie Madoff, the former NASDAQ chief and mastermind behind perhaps the largest Ponzi (maybe they should change the name) scheme in U.S. history was sentenced to 150 years in prison.  In handing down the sentence, Judge Denny Chin said, “The message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil.”

In a related story, the Washington Post reported that “Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, sent e-mails to a supervisor, saying information provided by Madoff during her review didn’t add up…” back in 2004.  However, “she was told to focus on an unrelated matter, according to agency documents and sources familiar with the investigation.”

Not to be outdone, Texas financier R. Allen Stanford has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme that cheated investors out of $7 billion.

I’ll take “FINALY!” for $200, Alex.

Trebek: “This former U.S representative from Louisiana was found with $90,000 in cash in his freezer.”

After a two-year investigation, William Jefferson is facing 16 criminal counts of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

According to the NY Times, “…Jefferson acknowledged that he made a ‘mistake in judgment along the way,’ but denied that he tried to bribe a Nigerian official. He said that the $90,000 discovered in his freezer was the ‘F.B.I.’s money,’ and that the agency gave it to him to pass along as part of its own plan.  [Jefferson] walked away without answering reporters’ questions, including a request to specify his ‘mistake.’”

In the category of Amazing Statements: Defense attorney Robert Trout said “A lot of what you hear you will disapprove of,” acknowledging that Jefferson, in his role as U.S. representative, benefited from business deals he helped broker in Africa. “But,” Trout said, “he’s not charged with a violation of House ethics rules. He is accused of a crime.”

We’ll see, Bob.

A Senator, a Governor and the Naked Guy, oh my!

U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada publicly confessed to having an extramarital affair with a former staff member.

Six days later, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, ending his mystery disappearance for about a week and lying to his own staff in the process.

Both Ensign and Sanford were welcomed to the club by members Clinton, Edwards, Vitter and Spitzer.

Sanford’s public apology was refreshing in that his wife was not dutifully standing by his side.

But the (former) public official who takes the top prize in my books has to go to Gainesville, Georgia’s former mayor Mark Musselwhite who was reportedly “found naked and holding a beer at a… campsite told police he wasn’t the same naked man seen walking around earlier,” the Atlanta Journal wrote.

“He told me he was the ex-mayor of the city Gainesville and he was a very political person,” Department of Natural Resources Ranger Brandon Walls wrote in his report.

“Musselwhite said he was hot and had been in the creek… He apparently didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.”

And this just in… 

Washington D.C. Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry was arrested (again?) Saturday night and charged with stalking a woman.  The woman reported that the former D.C. mayor was “bothering her” as they drove in two separate vehicles, the police reported.

I think I’ll head back to the trail.


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