Former Senator Ted Stevens dies in plane crash

Former Alaskan Senator Ted Steven has died today in a plane crash in Alaska, has been confirmed.

Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, 86, has died in a plane crash in Alaska, according to his former chief of staff Mitch Rose.

Former Nasa chief Sean O’Keefe was confirmed also to have been aboard the small plane, officials say.

The aircraft is believed to have been carrying nine people.

The National Transportation Safety Board says five people were killed and four survived, with two badly hurt. It remains unclear who the survivors are. (read all)

Also on board was the current director of EADS America O’Keefe. Allegedly Mr O’Keefe and his son have survived the accident. Former Senator Stevens leaves a wife and six children. I am truly sorry for his family as well as for the families of the passengers and crew on board of that plane, who all suffered a terrible loss.

DOJ drops charges against former Senator Ted Stevens R-AK

This is not an April Fool’s story, though I initially thought so.

Eric Holder has dropped all charges against former Alaskan Senator Stevens because the case was marred by allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Holder also wanted to send a message early in his tenure at the department that misconduct by prosecutors would not be tolerated.

If it means that prosecutors are held to higher standards in the future, fine. But Republicans will spin that one against the Democrats in a hurry. Politico, CNN and more have confirmed the story.

Senate scuttlebutt..

According to Bob Geiger, the Senate will be voting this morning on what to do about Joe Lieberman – as well as electing leadership for the next Congress. The questions is whether or not to strip former-Democrat Joe Lieberman of his Chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as punishment for his despicable conduct during the 2008 presidential campaign. Geiger says:

Today’s vote will be by secret ballot but CNNABC News and others have reported what I am also hearing from Senate sources: That Lieberman will be allowed to stay on as chair of the Homeland Security Committee but will lose his position as Chairman of a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee, known as the Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection Subcommittee.

This is like giving him fifty lashes with a cooked spaghetti noodle.. What’s the point? He should be removed from the Caucus. At the very LEAST he should be stripped of his Chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

UPDATE: Democratic senator says Sen. Joe Lieberman keeps committee chair despite backing McCain.

Also taking place today (or actually, now NOT taking place), is the issue of Ted Stevens who was facing an expulsion vote in the Senate by fellow GOP colleagues.  Beings the final tally of the ballots from the Alaskan Senate race is completed today with the outcome expected to favor Stevens’ opponent Mark Begich, they have decided to postpone that vote.

Convicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens will remain a member of the GOP conference in the Senate pending the outcome of his re-election bid.Stevens critic Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, announced Tuesday he’ll hold off on a move to expel Stevens from the GOP conference and strip him of plum committee assignments starting in January. He said some of his colleagues want to see whether Stevens wins another term before voting to sanction him.

UPDATE!! Alaska Senate race has been called for Mark Begich

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has lost his bid for a seventh term. The longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate trailed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 3,724 votes after Tuesday’s count. That’s an insurmountable lead with only about 2,500 overseas ballots left to be counted.

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Observers sense ‘something fishy’ in Alaska vote

Raw Story

The 2008 presidential race is over, but several Senate races still remain undecided. Georgia is headed for a runoff, Minnesota for a recount — and in Alaska things just keep getting stranger.

“It looks like senator and convicted felon Ted Stevens and Congressman-currently-under-investigation Don Young will both hold onto their seats,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted on Thursday. “That said, there’s a case to be made that there’s something fishy going on up there.”

“Even though the polls this year have generally been pretty accurate, they were way off in Alaska. Stevens was running between 7% and 22% behind his Democratic challenger in the polls, but now he is narrowly ahead in the vote count.”

Read more..

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There was a really good article written on this at the Huffington Post by Shannyn Moore called:
 Stolen Election from Alaska?

Something stinks. Not just an ordinary low tide smell. Not like something you’d blame on the dog. It smells like an infection. For me to plug my nose, I’d have to overlook some curious facts.

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Alaska’s Results Raise Questions

The media can not seem to explain what the problem is in Alaska, but they can find out how much she spent on clothes and how many times she used the quote “Bridge to Nowhere.”   I think voting irregularities should rank higher than the previous two issues.  The Washington Post has the update on the ongoing questions that don’t seem to add up.

Alaskans are different. Very different.

Elections officials, party leaders and voters are wondering what happened this Tuesday in the Last Frontier, where turnout was surprisingly low and two lawmakers who have been the focus of FBI corruption investigations appear to have been reelected despite polling suggesting they would be ousted.

The final voter turnout numbers won’t be available until absentee ballots are counted, which could take at least another week. But this year’s total is not expected to eclipse Alaska’s 66 percent turnout in 2004 or its 60 percent clip in 2000. (This is especially odd given that Alaska’s Board of Elections saw a 12.4 percent hike in turnout for the August primaries, before Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was selected as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee.)

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Ted Stevens Juror Lied?

The Roll Call is reporting that the juror in the criminal trial of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska lied:

The juror who was dismissed from the criminal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to attend the funeral of her father in California admitted Monday that her father had not died, and that she went to California to attend a horse race.

Can this story GET any weirder?? (H/T: TPM)

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Reid Says Stevens Will Not Serve In Senate

Convicted felons are not allowed to serve in the Senate.  Harry Reid is asking Ted Stevens to step down in the middle of his re-election.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was forced into the middle of Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) re-election bid late Saturday night after a senior Senate Democrat endorsed Stevens and called on voters to disregard his seven-count felony conviction.

In a bluntly worded release from his office, Reid warned that Stevens would not only face an ethics investigation but also expulsion proceedings regardless of his efforts to appeal the convictions.

Reid’s decision to jump into the Alaska Senate race with both feet marks the first time a leading national Democrat has explicitly warned that Stevens’ ouster from the Senate would be sought. GOP leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have already called for him to step down or face expulsion.

Stevens is arguing he can serve Alaskans effectively while the court appeals are being heard.  “I have not been convicted of anything,” he told the cameras.  He made that statement during a live debate on Thursday.

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Sen. Stevens found guilty on corruption charges

MSNBC

Alaska lawmaker was accused of lying about $250,000 in gifts

Sen. Ted Stevens was found guilty on all counts at his corruption trial Monday.

Stevens was charged with lying on Senate financial forms about $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts he received from an oil contractor. [..]

[..] Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count, but under federal sentencing guidelines, he would likely receive much less prison time, if any. [..]

[..] In a tight election year, the verdict has the potential to alter the nation’s political landscape. The Senate’s longest-serving Republican is fending off an aggressive Democratic challenger for a seat he’s held for generations. And it could push Democrats toward a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

More from McClatchy:

 A federal jury on Monday found Republican Sen. Ted Stevens guilty of lying on his financial disclosure forms, ending in disgrace the four-decade Senate career of a man whose imprint on Alaska dates to before statehood.

It’s the highest-profile felony conviction in a sweeping four-year federal investigation into corruption in Alaska politics, and an almost-unprecedented conviction by a jury of a sitting U.S. senator.

Jurors found that Stevens, 84, willfully filed false financial-disclosure forms that hid such gifts as renovations that doubled the size of his home. Those gifts, valued at as much as $250,000 over seven years, came mostly from his former friend Bill Allen, the star prosecution witness in Stevens’ trial and the former owner of Veco Corp. The oil field-services company was one of Alaska’s largest private employers before Allen, caught up in the federal corruption probe, was forced to sell it last year.

Now, voters will decide whether Stevens, who’s represented the state in the Senate since 1968 and before that helped usher in statehood for Alaska, should continue to serve as their senator. For the first time in his career, Stevens faces a competitive re-election fight, against Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

For more details on the trial, and future implications, read the rest of this article.

(AP/Gerald Herbert)

UPDATE: Great followup of this breaking news at TPM.

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Lady McPalin

Lady McPalin
Original words and music “Lady Madonna”, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2008

Lady McPalin, standing on your feet
Wonder how you manage to take the heat?
Who took the money? Something else was meant.
Did you spend the money that Congress sent?
Friday night a lie about an airplane
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