DNC bus dumps raw sewage down storm drain


WSB-TV in Atlanta reports that local authorities in Gwinnett County are investigating a report that a bus being used by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) dumped raw sewage into a storm drain (above photo from WSB-TV.)

An employee at an O’Reilly Auto Parts store reported seeing the bus pull into a turn lane on the road outside the store. According to the employee, the RV driver got out and opened the drain plug on the bus. All of the sewage from the bus lavatory then drained out onto the street and into the storm drain. The employee also took photographs that were provided to the police.

A police report indicated that there was a “foul smell” and a “large amount” of”drying toilet paper” where the bus had parked in the roadway. A fire department hazmat team was called to clean up the spill.

A statement from the DNC to WSB apologized:

This was an honest mistake and we apologize to the Lawrenceville community for any harm we may have caused. We were unaware of any possible violations and have already taken corrective action with the charter bus company to prevent this from happening again. Furthermore, the DNC will work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, as well as local and state officials to determine the best course of corrective action.

The first part of this statement seems far-fetched and seems a bit disingenious with the “may have caused” phrase. That part reeks of apologies to anyone who might have been offended in other faux apologies by people committing wrongdoing.

DNC not the only offender

In 2005, a tour bus driver for the Dave Matthews Band admitted dumping 800 pounds of sewage onto passengers on a tour boat on the Chicago River. The bus was on a bridge at the time. The driver, Stefan Wohl, received 18 months probation and was also sentenced to a $10,000 fine and 150 hours of community service. The band had previously given $50,000 to the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Chicago River. Wohl apparently never drove for the band again.

Political Intimidation and the Maryland Lottery

LotteryI noticed something very interesting while reading a recent article in The Washington Post about recent events at the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency.

IGT Global Solutions Corporation (formerly GTECH) lost out on a $263 million contract with the Maryland Lottery for its “central monitoring and control systems” according to the article. After losing the contract to Scientific Games International, IGT filed a letter of protest. They didn’t stop there.

IGT doubled down and filed a second letter of protest targeting Maryland Lottery director Gordon Medenica. He sent an email to lottery staff explaining the decision-making process. The director noted in that message that the technical requirements were more important than being the low bidder.

Medenica’s statement to the Associated Press about the protest:

The real story here is the attempt by the losing bidders to bring political pressure to an ongoing procurement process. Their manipulation of an independent, objective, competitive procurement is blatantly inappropriate.

Two recent posts at Red State by an out of state blogger seemingly discuss the matter from IGT’s viewpoint. The first, by Dan Spencer, notes that Medenica “has been appointed, but not yet confirmed by the state Senate.”

That sure sounds like IGT is sending a warning shot at Medenica, as well as a subtle attempt to encourage legislators to threaten his confirmation.

Another post at Red State cites “an industry insider” who claims that “bid protests” and “legislative scrutiny” could cause problems for Medenica because he was senior executive for Northstar New Jersey Lottery Group, a “business venture that was partially owned by Scientific Games.”

What this shadowy “insider” left out is that – in addition to Northstar being partly owned by SGI – it was primarily owned by IGT. In fact, IGT owned just over 82% of Northstar, and also provided part of Northstar’s staff.

More on IGT and Lottery Director Intimidation

This all seemed strange, so I started looking into previous lottery contracts around the country and found that IGT has tried similar intimidation tactics in a few other states.

In Texas in 1998, GTECH paid out a $725,000 settlement to former lottery director Nora Linares to settle a lawsuit. The Linares suit claimed GTECH “was to blame for interfering with her employment, emotional distress and making it difficult for her to get a new job.”

Linares claimed GTECH, which operated the Texas lottery, gave her boyfriend a $30,000 consulting contract she knew nothing about before it was made public in 1996. She also alleged that the GTECH engaged in a “systematic effort” to get her fired from her job in an attempt to cover up what they had done.

In Arizona in 1993, lottery director Bruce Mayberry was fired from his job, allegedly thanks to the insistence of a former staffer of Arizona Gov. Fife Symington who then worked for GTECH. Reportedly, Mayberry “tried to force the vendor to live up to its contract.”

As a result, the Arizona Attorney General announced an investigation of the firing.

One thing mentioned in coverage of that firing involved Maryland back then:

If [Attorney General] Woods looks for a pattern, he won’t have to look far, because GTECH has a habit of hiring political insiders to do its bidding. GTECH hired two associates of Maryland’s governor during a controversial bidding war for that state’s lottery contract. GTECH won the contract, but the U.S. attorney for Maryland has conducted a yearlong criminal probe into alleged bid-rigging.

Reporting from Arizona also mentions that the Kentucky lottery director and the entire lottery board resigned after a state audit showed  that “GTECH had benefited from contract loopholes and sloppy oversight.

In 2015, former Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox went to federal prison after pleading guilty to accepting bribes. While GTECH wasn’t involved in this case, they were supporters of him. In fact, he paid a $10,000 fine in 2003 for a conflict of interest when he voted for legislation that would give GTECH $770 million and result in his law firm being hired by the company. Fox was regularly “schmoozing” with lobbyists from the company, including at Red Sox games in Fenway Park.

This is probably only the tip of the iceberg with lottery and gaming contracts across the country and around the world. While I do not really care who the Maryland Lottery agency selects to run the lottery,  this kind of political hardball by a government contractor in my own state does get my attention.

More to come.

Kellyanne Conway’s Weird Defense of Todd Akin

Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Conway, the latest campaign manager for Donald Trump, has worked in Republican campaigns as a pollster and consultant for a while now.

In 2012, Conway worked for Missouri Senate Candidate Todd Akin. During that time she compared attacks on Akin to the FBI siege on David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

Akin, a Republican congressman, infamously answered a question about rape exceptions for abortion by saying, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin later said he misspoke and clarified his remarks but many Republican politicians rushed to condemn his remarks. Many of them later returned to supporting him in an effort to save the Senate that year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on what Conway had to say about the whole thing:

A consultant for embattled Senate candidate Todd Akin today compared Republican attacks on Akin to the 1993 federal siege of cult leader David Koresh.

“I’ve expressed this to Todd as my client for a while now, I’ve expressed it to him directly,” Akin consultant Kellyanne Conway said in interview released today by the conservative Family Research Council. “The first day or two where it was like the Waco with the David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records. Then here comes day two and you realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters.”

An Akin spokesman responded to her comments by saying, “It was a stupid comment to make.”

Conway then tried to walk her remarks back:

Conway said today that she was not comparing Akin to Koresh, but rather was comparing the GOP leaders who were trying to dislodge Akin to the federal agents in the standoff with Koresh.

“It was about how overbearing the Republicans had been. It was about the tactics being used to force (Akin) out,” Conway said. “I wasn’t comparing the (two) men. . . . I don’t consider David Koresh a man of fortitude. Todd Akin is a man of fortitude.”

More on Kellyanne Conway

Conway’s husband, attorney George Conway III, advised Clinton sexual harassment accuser Paula Jones when she sued President Bill Clinton. Trump supporter Ann Coulter, a friend of George Conway, also served as an unpaid legal advisor to Jones.



Flashback: Kathy Szeliga in 2013

szeligaIn 2013, I blogged about reports that Delegate Kathy Szeliga called for a “legislative investigation into the failures of the state health insurance exchange” to Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Speaker Mike Busch, and Leader Mike Miller.

She also told Bryan Sears of The Daily Record that she wanted a “forensic audit” to “look at the costs, the contracts and how they were awarded.”

The most memorable quote from that story:

Szeliga said Brown, former health care exchange director Rebecca Pearce and others “are just polishing a turd” when it comes to the information being released about the website and its unsuccessful rollout.

More on Kathy Szeliga

Szeliga is a solidly pro-life member of the Maryland House of Delegates. She faces hard left Democrat Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. Senate race.

She was dead-on with her comments about Anthony Brown and the Maryland Obamacare Exchange’s woes.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, 1838-1899

Baxter QuintonI originally posted this about Baxter Quinton on Facebook on September 30, 2016.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, my great-great-grandfather was born on September 30, 1838 in Chester County, SC.

He enlisted in Company F of the 23rd SC Volunteers (Hatch’s Coast Rangers) in 1861.


After being stationed in South Carolina, the regiment moved to Virginia and during the war served in General Evans’, Elliot’s, and Wallace’s Brigade. It participated in the conflicts at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), South Mountain, and Sharpsburg, then was ordered to North Carolina and later to Mississippi. The unit skirmished at Jackson, was sent to Charleston, and in the spring of 1864 returned to Virginia. It continued the fight in the trenches of Petersburg and around Appomattox. During the Second Manassas operations, August 6-20, 1862, this regiment lost sixty-eight percent of the 225 engaged, and all its field officers were wounded. It reported 10 killed, 22 wounded, and 5 missing in the Maryland Campaign, totalled 297 men in October, 1863, and had 49 killed or wounded at the Petersburg mine explosion. The 23rd had many disabled at Sayler’s Creek and surrendered 5 officers and 103 men.

The unit surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse along with the Army of Northern Virginia. He received his parole there.

A full list of battles the regiment fought in include:

  • 1862: Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station, 2nd Manassas (Bull Run), South Mountain, Sharpsburg (Antietam)
  • 1863: Siege of Jackson, Charleston Harbor
  • 1864: Bermuda Hundred, Siege of Petersburg, The Crater
  • 1865: Fort Stedman, Five Forks, Appomattox Court House

More on Baxter Quinton

He married Elizabeth Hudson, a direct descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. They had several children including William Baxter Quinton, my great-grandfather.

E. Baxter Quinton died on August 21 in 1899 in Chester County.