Wednesday, November 23, 2005This just makes me sick to my stomach.
A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, was not even with him that night.
The victim was shot nine times with a rifle during an attempted robbery before the gunman shot the only witness.
That witness, Juan Moreno, told the Houston Chronicle for its Sunday editions that Cantu was not the killer. Moreno said he identified him at the 1985 trial because he felt pressured and feared authorities.
Cantu, who had maintained his innocence, was executed on Aug. 24, 1993, at age 26. "Texas murdered an innocent person," co-defendant David Garza said.
Sam D. Millsap Jr., the district attorney who handled the case, said he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from a witness who identified a suspect only after police showed him a photo three times.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005The Post:
Investigators are looking at half a dozen members of Congress, current and former senior Hill aides, a former deputy secretary of the interior, and Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues, according to sources familiar with the probe who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Because of his central role in much of Abramoff's business, Scanlon could be a key witness in any trials that arise from the case.
Also, sure they're "Regretful for what happened to the tribes." It's my understanding that the e-mail exchanges between Scanlon and Abramoff in Al Franken's new book make them look like cartoon villains.
Ex-DeLay Aide Cooperating in Bribery Probe
Michael Scanlon, a former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress.
Scanlon, a former aide to Rep.Tom DeLay, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle and agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to the tribes.
Scanlon, who is expected to cooperate in the investigation of Abramoff and members of Congress, could face up to five years in prison.
Outside the courthouse, Scanlon attorney Plato Cacheris said his client "is regretful for what happened to the tribes" and is trying to do what is right by cooperating with the investigation.
The charge was in a criminal information filed Friday accusing Scanlon of conspiring with Abramoff to defraud Indian tribes and engage in a corrupt scheme that lavished trips, sports tickets and campaign donations on a member of Congress, Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio.
DeLay is among those facing scrutiny for his associations with Abramoff, including a trip to Scotland and use of Abramoff's skybox at a Washington sports arena.
Abramoff's lobbying network stretched far into the halls of Congress. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show nearly three dozen lawmakers helping to block an American Indian casino in Louisiana while collecting large donations from the lobbyist and his tribal clients.
Among the documents were private e-mails, released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in which Abramoff said he had persuaded Ney to attach language to an election reform bill to help an American Indian tribe in Texas reopen a closed casino.
Abramoff directed a Texas tribe, the Tiguas, to donate to Ney's re-election campaign and PAC by e-mail.
Abramoff and Scanlon were paid more than $80 million between 2001 and 2004 by six American Indian tribes with casinos.
Mark Tuohey, a Washington attorney for Ney, has said the congressman was misled by other people and was a victim in the circumstances involving Scanlon.
Ney's office performed certain acts and "there was certain other wining and dining situations like other people do," Tuohey said.
DeLay, who relinquished his post as House minority leader after a separate indictment in Texas, is due in court in Austin Tuesday for a hearing seeking dismissal of conspiracy and money laundering charges.
Monday, November 21, 2005
AFA Founder Urges Pro-Family Holiday Season Shoppers to Shun Target
By Ed Thomas
November 18, 2005
(AgapePress) - The American Family Association (AFA) wants help from the shopping public in using the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend to keep sending a message to Target Stores about the national chain's faith-and-family-unfriendly practices.
AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon says it is important that the organization's current boycott against Target, which started in October, keep hurting the company's bottom line -- that is, the amount of money made -- especially during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. He is hoping a strong message from the pro-family shopping public will help convince Target to change some of its policies.
The reasons for the boycott are valid ones, Wildmon asserts, and they include Target's "refusal to let the Salvation Army put their kettles in front of the stores," and the company's policy "banning all use of 'Merry Christmas' in their internal store operations and in their advertising." He says Target wants the profits from Christian families' spending, but the retailer does not want their holiday message or the spirit of their charities -- including faith-based service organizations like the Salvation Army.
That is why the AFA spokesman feels it is essential that projected sales at Target stores nationwide and the value of the company's shares continue dropping, as a recent USA Today report indicates they have. He says the newspaper article revealed that Target's new store revenue and stock value have both taken a hit over the last year.
"They are a good bit lower in their sales in November than they had expected," Wildmon notes. "In fact, it's so bad that on Tuesday of this week, their stock dropped seven percent in one day." The Christian activist believes these low numbers are likely due in large part to the boycott, and he wants to see the trend continue.
It is important, Wildmon asserts, that the upcoming monster Thanksgiving shopping weekend and Christmas season be used to show Target that it cannot get Christians' purchasing revenue while rejecting their beliefs and their charities. He is encouraging pro-family shoppers to take their money elsewhere until Target gets the message and changes its policies.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Bush: 'May God bless the Christians of China'
President attends government-sanctioned church
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- President Bush attended a legally sanctioned church Sunday in Beijing before scheduled talks on religious freedom with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Bush also planned to discuss trade, intellectual property rights and support for the U.S. push to spread democracy in nations such as Iraq.
During his visit to the Gangwashi Church -- one of five Protestant churches sanctioned by the government -- Bush signed a guest book with the words: "May God bless the Christians of China." With her signature Laura Bush, who's accompanying her husband, added, "with love and respect." (Watch Bush after attending officially recognized church in Beijing -- 1:36)
"It wasn't all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society," Bush said. "My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly. A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths."