Archive for News

DNC email: Cambridge, MD is a “shitty town”

DNCThe Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) finance director referred to Cambridge, Maryland as a “shitty town” in an email that was part of the #dncleaks earlier this week.

Cambridge, in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is home to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Harriet Tubman’s birthplace and a museum, several other museums, and many other attractions.

The Eastern Shore is a conservative area. It makes up most of the state’s First Congressional District, which is occupied by Republican Congressman Andy Harris.

The email was sent by Jordan Kaplan, National Finance Director of the DNC.

Capital News Service, via WTOP, had this to say about it:

National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan was asked by a colleague in May about his visit to Cambridge, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“It was fine. Shitty town and were(sic) only stayed for a few hours. We spent the night in Annapolis.”

Read the whole email.

Other DNC Emails About Maryland

Other emails released by Wikileaks referred to Maryland politics. The Capital News Service story reported on them also.

In one email, Alexandra Shapiro (Mid-Atlantic Finance Director) wrote “This is just sad” when she forwarded an article about a Martin O’Malley fundraiser to retire campaign debt after he withdrew from the race.

Another email leaked involved O’Malley too. After O’Malley complained during a debate about not getting enough time, John Fritze asked the DNC about debate procedures. In a response that was referring to either O’Malley or Fritze, the party communications director Luis Miranda told a colleague, “Hilarious. What a joke that guy is. You can tell (Fritze) on background that it’s entirely up to the networks and leave it at that.”

In another message, DNC finance chief of staff Scott Comer described Chris Van Hollen’s primary victory in the Senate race this year as “so beautiful.”

Another message involves Steny Hoyer.

Brian Wilson of WMAL accused of harassment

Brian WilsonBrian Wilson is co-host, along with Larry O’Connor, of Mornings on the Mall on WMAL radio in Washington, DC. He previously worked at Fox News Channel as anchor and reporter.

On the heels of Roger Ailes’ departure from Fox amid sexual harassment allegations, an allegation has now been made against Brian Wilson by a former employee of the network.

The New York Times reported that Rudi Baktiar accused Wilson of improper behavior in 2006 and that she thinks she lost her job over reporting it. Wilson denied the accusation when contacted Friday.

Specficially, Bakhtiar claims that, while having coffee in her DC hotel lobby, Wilson told her he wanted to help her get a permanent job and then said, ““You know how I feel about you, Rudi.”

After that, Bakhtiar says Wilson repeated himself after her response. She alleges that she asked him what he meant and he responded:

“Well, I’d like to see the inside of your hotel room,” adding that he wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship.

Bakhtiar says she was told to report the incident to Human Resources and that her on-air appearances ended and she was eventually let go. The reason given for her firing was due to her job performance.

Wilson denied the allegations to the Times and said, “I take strong exception to the facts of the story as you have relayed it to me, period. Beyond that, I will have no further comment.”

Bakhtiar admits she is risking a lawsuit from the network for violating provisions of a settlement. She told the Times that her lawyer was contacted by Fox News after their inquiries.

The full story discusses an environment where sexual harassment was prevalent according to multiple former employees. These are the latest accusations following an internal investigation that started this week after former host Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of harrasment. Reportedly, current host Megyn Kelly also alleged harassment by Ailes as part of the internal investigation.

More on Brian Wilson

Wilson’s departure from Fox News made news too.

Howard Kurtz, who was then at The Washington Post, wrote:

Fox insiders say Wilson has had temper issues. In one story involving guns, they say, Wilson was furious after a producer removed the sound of gunfire from his taped piece, even going so far as to knock over file cabinets.

Another story by Betsy Rothstein, who was the editor of FishbowlDC then, noted:

As some may know, Wilson had a very brief stint as the DC Bureau chief, but things were turbulent. He had a number of personnel problems, including temper tantrums and threatening producers in the newsroom with his outbursts.

Another story at FishbowlDC included more details:

Insider reports reveal that Wilson went haywire when a producer tried to replace a shot in one of his TV packages. Wilson reportedly “yelled” and “kicked a chair.” The producer then went to Human Resources to report the incident. Next thing you know, Diane Brandi, of legal affairs in New York, comes to Washington. Sources say Fox News employees said they wouldn’t feel comfortable if Wilson returned to Fox News.

Politico reported in June 2007 on Wilson:

Brian Wilson has been the Fox News D.C. bureau chief for less than six months and already he’s making an impact. Two weeks ago, he had to write an apology letter to Rep. John Conyers for using B-roll of him that was intended to be footage of indicted Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.

Wanted teen taunts police on Facebook Live

Facebook LiveFacebook Live is the latest outlet for criminals to be seen and heard. At left is a picture, provided by the Spartanburg County (SC) Sheriff’s Department, of Nicolas Shane Earnhart.

According to Fox Carolina, Earnhart went on Facebook Live Tuesday and taunted police. According to the reporter who saw the video, “Earnhart said he knew he was going to jail but authorities were going to have to come find him.”

Earnhart is wanted for multiple counts of breaking into a car, multiple counts of petit larceny, grand larceny, and burglary.

Police consider him armed and dangerous and previous media reports, including one by WSPA indicate that almost every picture he posts on social media includes him brandishing at least one weapon. WSPA also reported that one picture posted on Earnhart’s account showed an assault on a law enforcement officer. Upon further research, the latter appears to have been an emoji of a police offier next to the emoji of a gun with profanity written above it.

I have not been able to find an account for Earnhart doing a quick Facebook search. The local sheriff’s department posted numerous pictures and other information online.

Other Crimes and Criminals on Facebook Live

Before Facebook Live was a thing, a disgruntled employee at a Virginia television station gunned down two of his coworkers while they were doing a live shot on the air. He also posted the video to his Facebook account.

Other examples of crimes and terrorist attacks shown via Facebook Live:

  • The Paris attacks by ISIS were streamed live.
  • A Chicago man was murdered while streaming live video just last month.
  • Just today, police in Norfolk, Virginia reported on a triple shooting that was streamed live yesterday.
  • After Philando Castile was shot by police, his girlfriend streamed live video that showed the final moments of his life.
  • There have also been reports of sexual assaults and other cases, ususally involving minors that were streamed live.

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and apps including Periscope, Twitter’s new live video, Snapchat, Facebook Live, and other platforms, we will continue to see more of this. It’s not a knock on the platforms, just a statement on life in the 21st century.

 

 

Paper ignores DOJ criticism of Bob Ehrlich

EhrlichA publication I generally only refer to as “a local newspaper” reported tonight on the fact that former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich sent a letter in support of convicted conman Wayne Simmons ahead of the latter’s sentencing in federal court. They made no mention of the fact that federal prosecutors were critical of the former governor’s letter in their sentencing memo.

The story in the Capital-Gazette by Phil Davis just discusses the letter that was sent by Ehrlich to the court and describes the details of it and the case.

Davis totally omits the whole point of the original blog post by William Cooke (and the one I wrote yesterday.) In addition to that, Davis gives no credit to Cooke, who uncovered the letter and the other documents from federal court records.

Ehrlich Story Not First Gaffe for Paper

This Ehrlich letter isn’t the first time the Capital Gazette has had trouble giving credit where it was due when a blogger was concerned.

During the 2014 Republican Primary for Anne Arundel County Executive, I  wrote a piece on an altercation involving then-candidate Steve Schuh with a staffer of then-County Executive Laura Neuman. Rema Rahman, who worked for the Capital Gazette then but works for Roll Call in DC now, wrote a story on the incident without giving credit to The Quinton Report. After I pointed that out in a follow-up and also corrected a misspelling of Schaffer’s name, her original story was updated to correct the spelling but stil failed to give credit.

I’m not surprised Cooke failed to get any credit in the Phil Davis story on the Ehrlich letter. I’m not really surprised Phil Davis missed the actual point of Cooke’s post either – that Ehrlich was called out in a federal court document for the contents of his letter supporting Simmons.

Other larger and more esteemed publications and broadcast outlets do a much better job than the local newspaper in Annapolis ever does in giving credit where it’s due to bloggers or other media platforms breaking stories that they then report on.

 

Bob Ehrlich called out by federal prosecutors

Bob EhrlichFormer Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, largely irrelevant in state politics after his prediction no Republican would ever be elected governor again was proven wrong in 2014, has brought himself to the attention of federal prosecutors in recent days in a less-than-positive manner.

William Cooke reports that Ehrlich wrote a long letter praising Wayne Simmons, a former Fox News commentator who pleaded guilty to a major fraud against the United States, wire fraud, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Much of the court proceedings centered on his impersonation of a CIA employee. Simmons is currently under house arrest awaiting his sentence later this week (July 15.)

The Washington Post noted:

In court, Simmons admitted he had lied on federal forms when he claimed he had not previously been convicted of a felony, had never filed for bankruptcy and had held a top-secret security clearance. He said he did so to help get a government job overseas.

[…]

Court records show Simmons faced tax liens totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. And according to a recent filing from prosecutors, he “used his false claims of CIA affiliation to induce the IRS to abate approximately half a million dollars” in 2008.

In 2007, when he attacked a cabdriver in Annapolis, Simmons told the responding officers that he worked for the CIA and that the driver had a bomb, according to a police report.

Be sure to read the whole voluminous article linked above.

The letter from Ehrlich was sent on July 7, 2016 ahead of the sentencing in an attempt to help lessen the sentence that Simmons receives. He could receive as much as 40 years in prison.

In their sentencing memo, federal prosecutors detailed all of the crimes Simmons was guilty of and even took issues with Ehrlich’s letter; referring to the former governor by name (emphasis added):

“In light of the actual and potential harm the defendant’s crimes imposed on national security, the government is baffled by the uninformed commentary provided by the defendant’s prominent supporters. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 117-1 (letter of former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich describing the defendant as ‘patriotic’ and noting that ‘one would be hard pressed to find a person more dedicated to the security of the U.S.A.’).”

Here’s a screen capture from the memo itself:

ehrlich-simmons

Bob Ehrlich and Criminals

Ehrlich consultants Julius Henson and Paul Schurick were charged and convicted for a robocall in 2010 that was deemed to be in violation of state law and an attempt to depress turnout in majority black areas. That was Ehrlich’s second loss to former governor and failed presidential candidate Martin O’Malley. Ehrlich defended Schurick on the stand as a character witness in court.

In 1995, then-Congressman Ehrlich was criticized when he sent a letter to a federal court praising the character of convicted felon Bruce Bereano after he was convicted of mail fraud. Bereano, still a lobbyist in Annapolis, was convicted of “defrauding clients of more than $16,000 to make illegal campaign contributions.”

However, Ehrlich didn’t defend former administration official Robert Ballinger. Ballinger pleaded guilty and received probation for impersonating a federal officer. He pretended to be a Secret Service agent to withdraw money out of a bank account belonging to his father. Ballinger also claimed to be a congressional staffer, a former top official in the Maryland Republican Party, and a top staffer in the Ehrlich campaign. An Ehrlich spokesman denied he ever was on the campaign staff.