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United States Government Politics

"Tubes" Senator Being Investigated For Corruption 613

Posted by kdawson
from the cozy-relationships dept.
DragonTHC writes "Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, is being investigated in a federal corruption probe that has implicated his son Ben. Part of the case involves a fishing co-op whose members allegedly paid Ben Stevens $500,000 to get a federal bailout from his father." The other Alaskan senator, also a Republican, is under a cloud as well.
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"Tubes" Senator Being Investigated For Corruption

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  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday July 16, 2007 @01:53AM (#19873821) Homepage
    right down the tubes!
  • Shock horror (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Don_dumb (927108) on Monday July 16, 2007 @01:55AM (#19873829)
    A politician, corrupt. - I am flabergasted.

    The only unbelievable thing about this is the number of people who will claim that "this politician can't have done anything wrong, he is a good man", despite the fact he *is* a politician.
    • Re:Shock horror (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedgemage (934558) on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:19AM (#19873933)
      Corrupt politics in Alaska? You don't say. Anyone who has ever had to live and work in Alaska can tell you that political corruption is inevitable since you have so many natural resources, so few people, and so much money to be made.
      • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Monday July 16, 2007 @07:07AM (#19874891)
        While it's trendy to bash mr Stevens for his "tubes" remark on such a technology-minded website, it's far from bring his only or even most notable act of incompetence. Here is a Senator who routinely votes on pork-laden bills that give kickbacks to himself and local Alaskan contractors - liek the inafmous "Bridge to Nowhere" that would have costmillions and allowed a small town (can you even call it a town when there's not even 1000 people lviing there? I'd say a village) to save itself a bit of travelling by crossing the river directly.

        Stevens' case is not particularly odd either; it's symptomatic of Congress' Culture of Corruption (if you want it to be catchier, replace them with "Edgy" Ks) wherein a bunch of fatcats scratch each otheR's back. I know its a cliché - but damn it, it's true and casesd like these and Tom Delay's just shove it down our throats day after day after day. What will it take for the ystem to change, or BE changed (forcefully)?
        • by extra the woos (601736) on Monday July 16, 2007 @07:25AM (#19875003)
          "the inafmous "Bridge to Nowhere" that would have costmillions and allowed a small town (can you even call it a town when there's not even 1000 people lviing there? I'd say a village) to save itself a bit of travelling by crossing the river directly."

          Sorry, Ted Stevens may be a cranky old man, but you dissapoint me by blatantly lying.

          The city the bridge is being built at has over 7,000 people. The reason it does not have more is there is a land shortage. Much land is available on the island (OCEAN, NOT RIVER). However, understandably, not being able to drive to work in the morning tends to make people not want to live there. There are many locations in many states where development could only take off once a bridge was built so people could drive around. A ferry just isn't the same, and you know it.
          • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday July 16, 2007 @08:51AM (#19875649) Journal

            The city the bridge is being built at has over 7,000 people. The reason it does not have more is there is a land shortage. Much land is available on the island (OCEAN, NOT RIVER). However, understandably, not being able to drive to work in the morning tends to make people not want to live there. There are many locations in many states where development could only take off once a bridge was built so people could drive around.
            All this may be true, but it still doesn't explain why the federal government should be spending $315 million (assuming no overruns) for this small town. That same amount of money would have a much greater return on investment if used for other things.

            There is no way that any kind of growth stimulus among a population of 7000 justifies spending $315 million.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              That same amount of money would have a much greater return on investment if used for other things

              Yeah, such as not having been taken from the people that earned it in the first place.
          • by JDevers (83155) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:07AM (#19875811)
            The area I live in will soon stop growing if a major interstate isn't around the city, currently there is interstate access only on one side of town and that side can't grow much because of mountains. With an interstate on the east side of town the city could get around a LOT better and growth would continue at the current rapid rate which would be good for the local and state economy. This loop will cost less than $300 million and will help an area of 500,000+ people, how can you say that this city of 7,000 is more deserving? I'm sure there are many areas in this country far more deserving than ours as well.

          • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:08AM (#19875823)
            "The reason it does not have more is there is a land shortage."

            We're talking about Alaska, right?

            "There are many locations in many states where development could only take off once a bridge was built so people could drive around."

            And this makes it a federal issue why? If Juneau paid back slightly less in their Permanent Fund, they could have paid for their own bridge themselves (maybe even two or three) without having to get a pork earmark in Washington.
  • by fishyfool (854019) on Monday July 16, 2007 @01:58AM (#19873839) Homepage Journal
    The 500 million dollar bridge to an uninhabited island? Why does this not surprise me?
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:01AM (#19873859)
    The corruption goes way higher than that. But THAT is a state secret.
    • The corruption goes way higher than that. But THAT is a state secret.



      Corruption seeps in from the top down ("The fish starts to stink at the head", as other languages might put it). If you find someone at a certain level who is corrupt, it's safe to assume that corruption is already well established at the higher levels.


      If your regular street cop is corrupt ... then that country is already screwed.

  • Earmarks are good? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mypalmike (454265) on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:02AM (#19873863) Homepage
    "Earmarks are good for the country and good for the people you represent. That is the role of a congressman. If you can't get money for your district, you shouldn't be in Congress."

    This is a quote FTA from Republican representative, Don Young.

    This is the "party of smaller government?"

    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:18AM (#19873925) Homepage Journal
      This is the "party of smaller government?"

      When Republican's mean 'smaller government' they mean 'spend less on social security'.
    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:52AM (#19874051)
      Surely there are some conservatives/libertarians who actually believe in small government, but the mainstream Republicans are not among them. The Republican Party is up to its eyeballs in its own mythology--these catchphrases are bandied about, but they are code-words conveying a very specific message, and that message isn't "small government". Less money for the poor, less money for environmental protection, less money for education--yes, yes, and yes, but not less money for the arms contractors, not less money for Haliburton, not less money for handouts to evangelical groups.

      It's the same when they say "we believe in religious freedom!" -- what they mean is "We believe in the right of Christians to discriminate against non-Christians in hiring, housing, and so on," NOT "people should be free to practice their own religion." The phrase you're looking for is "glittering generalities." No one is going to argue against freedom, just as few will argue for big government. When you actually get down to what they really believe, it's pretty repugnant at times. These phrases get thrown around because they sound good and they build a false sense of consensus.

      • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday July 16, 2007 @05:34AM (#19874561) Journal
        I'm registered as a Republican, and I enjoy news like this. I can hardly wait for the entire edifice of the modern GOP to come crashing down.

        I think we're way beyond the point of ever having "small government" (God bless Ron Paul just the same). I'm in favor of more limited and fiscally disciplined government, like we had under Clinton. I'm not against safety nets and some forms of social welfare and I'm not against public sector spending. Some public infrastructure projects can (and have) increase wealth for a larger amount of people rather than lining a few pockets. (I'm thinking of proposals for public access wifi and broadband expansion.) Some regulation of industry is necessary if history is any basis for judgement. OTOH, regulation of morals is overstepping the proper bounds of government. (Fuck you, Christian Right.)

        It's not just Bush/Cheney. It's the whole national apparatus of the GOP that has been corrupted. I'd rather that we were a weak minority party acting as a brake on the Dems than to do what the GOP has done over the past 12 years.

        Note: Other then Arnold for Gov., I haven't voted for a Republican for national office since 1999. I've even donated to Democrat campaigns. But I don't think I could ever consider myself a Democrat. I'm too much of a liberal in the old school sense. Really old school.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AndersOSU (873247)
          Generally speaking I'm with you, but I don't think the GOP is going to come crashing down. What I'm really praying for is a schism, where the religious right casts out the libertarian non-believers.

          I really do think this split is inevitable, I just can't tell if it is going to happen by 2012 or 2020.

          When the GOP can't count on the suburban doctor's vote because he feels some strange loyalty to Regan, then they might wake up and at least make an attempt at applying logic to their fiscal policies.

          I think we
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm in favor of more limited and fiscally disciplined government, like we had under Clinton.

          It sometimes seems to me that the rational voter should vote "against" the presidential candidate that espouses his values... Once in office there are powerful temptations pushing presidents to pursue policies that are the opposite of their party's positions. They will face withering criticism for being an "extremist" or "radical" if they govern according to their stated principles. They dare not go too far. On th
    • Unfortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 16, 2007 @05:31AM (#19874549)
      Both parties are kind of two sides of the same coin. They are both for big government, just different big government. Republicans are for big government in things like military and infrastructure spending (needed or not). Democrats are for big government in things like entitlement payments. Likewise neither party is really for personal freedom. They both want to you be free to do things they like and prevented from doing things they do. Democrats are all about the freedom for things like gay marriage, but want to make it illegal to say things that hurt others feelings (hate speech laws). Republicans are happy to protect your right to be a bigot, but like hell they want to let gays get married.

      Now of course there are exceptions to these rules, and if you are voting for someone in the major parties that's what you have to look at, is their politics not the party politics because BOTH parties are for big government and BOTH are for restricting personal freedom. You can also vote libertarian, at least assuming they'll run a candidate that isn't a complete nutjob in your area.
    • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday July 16, 2007 @06:36AM (#19874747)

      This is the "party of smaller government?"
      "Mentioning Jesus in a speech, that's small government. Doing what Jesus said, that's big government."
    • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@NOspam.gdargaud.net> on Monday July 16, 2007 @06:37AM (#19874749) Homepage
      Is that the same Dong Young as those pearls of wisdom ? :

      "Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans." —Don Young.

      "I don't see any justification for the federal government owning land, other than the Statue of Liberty and maybe a few parks, maybe a few refuges. But to just own land to do nothing with it I think is a disservice to the Constitution." —Don Young.

      "We wonder why we have got the Freemen or the militants. We wonder why we have got unrest in this country. It is because our government, in fact, has got out of hand and out of line, with the Endangered Species Act." —Don Young.

      "If I have my way, I'm going to dissolve the Forest Service. They're in the business of harvesting trees and they're not harvesting trees, so why have them anymore?" —Don Young.

      "If you can't eat it, can't sleep under it, can't wear it or make something from it, it's not worth anything." —Don Young.

      "The environmentalists — the self-centered bunch, the waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots that don't understand that they're leading this country into environmental disaster." —Don Young.
  • by dufus4 (581604) on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:08AM (#19873887) Homepage
    The other Congressman under a cloud is Rep. Don Young (R), not the other Alaskan senator (Lisa Murkowski (R)), who isn't yet being investigated for corruption.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:09AM (#19873889)
    If you're going to post this, where are the stories about Senator Feinstein [thehill.com] directing more than a billion dollars toward a company her husband controls? Or how about Harry Reid's son's and son in law [thehill.com] all being lobbyists, one even lobbying him?

    How about slashdot go back to, oh, I dunno... technology instead of hiring editors who are nothing but partisan shills?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by XnavxeMiyyep (782119)
      The reason this is relevant is ONLY because Ted Stevens said that the internet was a series of tubes. Slashdot reports news for nerds, and I'm sure a lot of us nerds are amused when anything happens involving Ted Stevens.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:52AM (#19874263)
        Why not mention Slashdot's favorite Congressman, Rick Boucher, co-sponsored legislation to make it legal for corporations to pass off spyware [slashdot.org]. Yeah, the story actually got covered but the hit piece on Boucher was missing. kdawson posted that story as well. Was Boucher given a pass because kdawson was hired despite not reading Slashdot and thus not knowing it's history (I mean, he posted a story about whether people should have a right to broadband under the Enlightenment topic (since been changed corrected)). Is it because, before slashdot, he had a fairly partisan liberal blog and thus gets to use slashdot as a much larger soapbox to push his political agenda?

        Why isn't Al Gore covered more given his connection with the nerd community if that is the standard? Where is the story on the indictment Congressman Jefferson's bribes involving telecommunications [washingtonpost.com] in Nigeria if the standard is hit pieces on Congressmen who've said/done something regarding technology?

        Is this really what Slashdot wants to become, just another group think site that promotes the propaganda of one political party? The National Enquirer of tech news? I stopped going to kuroshin when it turned more into a political group think site than a site about technology. I've never used digg or reddit but I've heard they've gone that route as well. How I miss the old Slashdot way, way back before it was sold to Andover and then passed to VA Research. It actually used to be a site about computers, technology, Linux and the internet. Kdawson even makes me miss Jon Katz, michael, etc.
        • by Lost Engineer (459920) on Monday July 16, 2007 @04:16AM (#19874341)
          My working theory: Slashdot is really a political discussion forum. The whole "News for Nerds" thing is just here to scare away the unwanted.

          Oh dammit I gave it away... Somebody silence me next time.
  • Could someone please explain to a non-US resident why these two politicans are of interest to Geeks & Nerds.

    Reading the article would suggest that the two in question are beyond what would be considered a normal retirement age.

    ZombieEngineer
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by uarch (637449)
      It isn't of interest to "Geeks & Nerds". At least, no more than any other political story.

      The only thing I can think of is kdawson saw "corruption" and "Republican" in the same post and got all excited. Especially since he made a point of making his own comment about some other random Republican.

      I'm all for bashing politicians but lets not start flooding the front page with even more unrelated trash ;)
    • google "series of tubes"
  • Let's Compare! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:20AM (#19873937)
    Slashdot summary: He's a Republican.
    Linked article: He's a Republican with many years of experience who is running for reelection.

    Slashdot summary: Senator is being investigated in a federal corruption probe
    Linked article: Senator is "facing scrutiny" from federal investigators. He is thriving on the setbacks, and political analysts say nothing has happened that would cause him to "lose his perch" yet.

    Slashdot summary: The investigation has implicated his son, Ben.
    Linked article: Ben's office was raided by the FBI in an entirely separate incident over a year ago, and he hasn't been charged with a crime. (Sounds like something Slashdotters would condemn...like when accused software/music pirates get raided, but are never charged with a crime.)

    Slashdot summary: A fishing co-op allegedly paid $500,000 to get a federal bailout from Ben and his father.
    Linked article: No mention of anything about a fishing co-op or a federal bailout.

    Slashdot summary: The other Alaskan senator is also "under a cloud". It doesn't mention what this cloud is, or even give her name, but it's sure to mention that she's a Republican.
    Linked article: The only mention of the other Alaskan senator is that her party welcomes the challenge from Democrats, who were unable to unseat her. There is no mention of her being under any kind of "cloud" in either this article, or her Wikipedia article.
  • Not surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @02:23AM (#19873955)
    As an Alaskan, this does not surprise me... It may be useful to note that "the other Republican senator" is Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed as Senator by her FATHER, Frank Murkowski, when he was elected Governor (after being Senator himself). His administration had, to my recollection, the lowest approval rating in the history of Alaska, and was notorious for its almost unfathomable corruption. No, I didn't vote for any of these people.
  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:08AM (#19874109)
    Why do we investigate politicians for corruption *AFTER* they fuck things up, instead of investigating politicians for competence *BEFORE* they fuck things up?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why do we investigate politicians for corruption *AFTER* they fuck things up, instead of investigating politicians for competence *BEFORE* they fuck things up?

      They're called elections.

      No, just kidding! That would require an informed public, which would result from an inquisitive media that is independent of the political system and advocates for the people.

      Mod +1 funny.
    • by MadJo (674225)
      Because then we wouldn't have any politicians, and that would be bad... oh, erm, no, that would be a good thing.

      *joins IHC Navistar in his protest*
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:14AM (#19874139)
    Did they use dumptrucks full of cash, or a series of money tubes?
  • by splutty (43475) on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:24AM (#19874179)
    Democrats say all Republicans are liars. Republicans say all Democrats are liars. And this is the only time both of them speak the truth.
  • by ortcutt (711694) on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:42AM (#19874235)

    The other Alaskan senator, also a Republican, is under a cloud as well.
    Don Young (R) is Alaska's sole Representative in Congress, not the other Alaskan Senator.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday July 16, 2007 @04:01AM (#19874295)
    News at 11.

    But is an example of that fact going to lead to an interesting discussion on Slashdot?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 16, 2007 @04:21AM (#19874355)
    Aside of snide tube jokes and I'm pretty sure the "down the tubes" comment I read wasn't the only one, do you really think this is funny?

    I mean, it may be selective journalism (ya know, you only hear about the bad ones), but why do we have corrupt politicians? Hell, don't we pay them more than enough? Why the corruption? I can see why a politician in Roman times had to be corrupt. Politics was a sport for the upper class because it was unpaid.

    Today we're far from that. They usually have paychecks that make the average person go green in envy. Still that's appearantly not enough and they want more, more, more. And don't think it's an US phenomenon, you have the same greedy, bribable bastards all over the planet.

    Why, I ask? Are politicians getting worse or do we just hear about it more often today?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MLease (652529)
      We do hear about everything that happens more often today (especially the bad stuff, because that's the most newsworthy) than our ancestors did; we have better communication. But in politics, once corruption sets in, it's hard to reverse. When most people are honestly trying to serve the good of the people, things are reasonably good. However, when corrupt and corruptible people start getting into office, they find themselves with a competitive advantage. They are willing to do or say whatever it takes
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Are politicians getting worse or do we just hear about it more often today?

      I think we just hear about it more often. Remember, we now have a series of tubes that can be used to instantly transmit any negative information around the planet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "I mean, it may be selective journalism (ya know, you only hear about the bad ones), but why do we have corrupt politicians?"

      We get crooks because we want crooks. We consistently vote for politicians who promise and shamelessly deliver all the pork earmarks they can get their hands on. Our biggest question on election day is "How much money can you get me?"

      When you get right down to it, it's not that Stevens took a kickback, it's that he didn't share this one with the rest of the district.
    • by Valdrax (32670)
      It's very simple. Our system positively selects for corruption, and it always will so long as the support of a few wealthy men is necessary to successfully compete in an election. I volunteered in the finance office of a campaign for governor, and you have no idea just how expensive a campaign is and just how much that money hinges on a short list of generous donors until you've gone over the public finance disclosures of your candidate and their opponents. Only the super, super rich can self-finance.

      Wit
  • by maroberts (15852) on Monday July 16, 2007 @05:15AM (#19874503) Homepage Journal
    When I want to read about corrupt politicians, I'll read CNN.
    How is this of interest to the Slashdot community?
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday July 16, 2007 @07:05AM (#19874873)
    we've been hearing about zero tolerance in schools and the workplace. and even in law enforcement.

    why not POLITICS?!

    really, they (the ominous 'they') need to taste a dose of their own medicine. see how it feels to make one mistake and be out on your arse.

    I think this would be great to see - you get 1 chance as a politician (or law enforcement person) and once you screw up, you're out - period. and your record is permanently ruined (like what happens to normal regular people).

    do you think that if the guys in office are NOT above the law, they'd maybe start following them better? or maybe make BETTER laws if they, themselves, are held to the same standards?

    lets also include widespread wiretapping and 'tube monitoring' (ha!) in that, for all folks in office. afterall, they all work for US - we should see and hear how they run their jobs, down to the tiniest details of their lives. just like they are trying to do to us.

    you think that would go over well? no? really? (why is that?)

    the fact that our gov goes unchecked for so long before something bubbles up means we are not watching them enough. we should install cams in their offices and tap their lines, just so we can ensure we have an honest politician.

    (yeah, I expect a LOT of support on this idea. yeah.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by east coast (590680)
      Yeah, we've seen the kind of nonsense that has been done in the name of zero tolerance too:

      5 year olds suspended from school for carrying a plastic fireman's ax as part of a Halloween costume.

      Kids spending serious time in jail (at your expense) for having a little bit of dope.

      If it's a brainless idea in those cases why continue to spread it? You may see it as turn-about being fair play but I'd rather stop the endless retaliations and let cooler heads prevail.
  • Subject (Score:5, Funny)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Monday July 16, 2007 @07:14AM (#19874931) Homepage
    Looks like old Senator Stevens might get to find out that prison is full of tubes, too. Unfortunately they might dump heavy loads into his "truck" and cause some gridlock, but that's to be expected.
  • by SengirV (203400) on Monday July 16, 2007 @08:53AM (#19875695)
    I wouldn't expect anything less from the comrades at /.

    When are the stories of democratic corruption coming to /. ?

    BTW - Stevens is scum and should be tarred and feathered. But then again, so should a lot of politicians. All I know is that /.'s bias is very clear. Almost like the Washingotn Post and New York Times claiming that they are "totally objective" in their reporting, when to anyone with a brain, they are clearly not.
  • by drig (5119) on Monday July 16, 2007 @12:06PM (#19878029) Homepage Journal
    Check my Slashdot ID. 4 digits. I'm a computer programmer. I know C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, bash, csh, C#, etc. I use Linux at home. Okay, have I established my creds? I worked for Eazel. I spoke once at an O'Reilly Conference.

    I'm a Democrat. I can't stand Ted Stevens. But, seriously, why is everyone so upset over his comparing the Internet to a series of tubes?

    I refer to my Internet connection as a "pipe". I really, really don't believe the Internet is at all like a truck. I agree that there is a limited amount of data that can fit on an internet pipe. I would like it if someone pointed out the vast amounts of dark fiber to Mr. Stevens (compare it to a really huge tube with only a trickle of water running through it, if you think it'd help), but his analogy was *correct*.

    But, I think it's a bit ridiculous to be making fun of him for using "tubes" instead of "pipes". Are we really upset with him because he's uncomfortable and bad with words? Isn't our problem with him that he's nerdy?

    Bad news: so am I.

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