What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.
Ben Adler published a highly entertaining article a few days ago about former presidential candidates Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee. Can’t say I was surprised to learn they are all making big money off spam e-mails selling dubious products to former political supporters.
Questions persist over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s involvement in lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. I doubt the disgraced former Port Authority official has any real dirt on Christie. If he gets the immunity from criminal prosecution he’s seeking, I expect his so-called “evidence” about the governor will turn out to be a whole lot of nothing. Furthermore, if Christie runs for president in 2016, I believe his signing New Jersey’s version of the DREAM Act will be more of a liability in the GOP primaries than anything related to the bridge scandal. Nevertheless, the controversy does appear to have Christie rattled.
Who’s old enough to remember Dinesh D’Souza? He made a name for himself during the 1980s as a conservative provocateur on the Dartmouth campus. He later became a popular paid speaker and occasional talking head. (Unofficial nickname: Distort D’Newsa.) In late January, he was indicted for allegedly breaking federal campaign finance laws. Naturally, D’Souza claims his prosecution may be “a kind of payback” for his documentary film “which links the supposedly anti-colonialist views of [President Barack] Obama’s father to the policies of the Obama presidency.”
Closer to home, misconduct involving federal grants has ended the careers of two former Iowa State University faculty. Palaniappa Molian was a tenured professor in the highly-regarded College of Engineering when he spent federal grant funds on personal expenses unrelated to his research. Last week he pled guilty to felony charges of making false statements; he will be sentenced in April and could face up to five years in prison. It’s not clear yet whether criminal charges will be filed in a much worse case of fraud involving former ISU Assistant Professor Dong-Pyou Han, who had to resign in December after falsifying research on a vaccine for AIDS. James Bradac of the National Institutes of Health told the Des Moines Register that Han’s test results were “the worst case of research fraud he’d seen in his 24 years at the federal agency.”