possible opponent for Albany District Attorney David Soares
makes himself known
A bad couple weeks just got worse for Albany District Attorney
David Soares; it became clear this week that he will likely
face a challenger in the form of his onetime opponent, Republican
attorney Roger Cusick.
In recent days, Albany County Comptroller Mike Connors released
an audit that found poor fiscal management in the district
attorney’s office. And after months of calls for Soares to
do so, his office released pages upon pages of documentation
of its investigation into the Troopergate scandal that critics
say Soares whitewashed.
This week, a number of petitions being circulated by the Albany
GOP carried the name of Roger Cusick. Cusick, an attorney
from Loudonville who opposed Soares in the 2004 general election,
has been noncommittal in interviews; if he gets the signatures
he needs, it is likely that he will run a third-party candidacy
Insiders insist that the push to find an opponent for Soares
was inspired by Connors’ recent audit and concerns over the
Soares recently told Metroland that whether or not
he had an opponent was “of no consequence.”
Cusick has been very vocal regarding his concerns about Soares’
investigation into Troopergate.
Last year, Cusick challenged popular Albany County Executive
Michael Breslin in a race that many saw as futile.
While Cusick’s possible last-minute entry into the district
attorney’s race may not be something that has the onetime
maverick Soares shaking in his boots—the fact that scandal
has motivated Cusick to run (his supporters have been telling
anyone who will listen that Cusick was “forced to run” by
the people) might indicate that the scandal surrounding Soares’
office has legs.
Cusick has been a bit coy regarding his entrance to the race.
He recently told the Times Union, “Will I state for
sure that I’m not running? No; I won’t state one way or another.”
first U.S. war crimes trial in half a century
came to an end this week with mixed results. The
man on trial, Osama bin Laden’s former driver
Salim Ahmed Hamdan, was found guilty of supporting
Al Qaeda but found not guilty of conspiring with
bin Laden to commit terrorist attacks. Hamdan’s
trial was the first in what will likely be a series
of military trials of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
Although he was partially acquitted, Hamdan still
faces up to life in prison. Representatives of
the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized
the Bush administration for starting the military
trials with “a marginal figure” such as Hamdan.
Hilton returned fire on the presumptive Republican
presidential nominee John McCain this week by
releasing a YouTube video mocking a McCain campaign
TV spot. Last week the McCain campaign launched
an ad that compared Barack Obama to Paris Hilton
and Britney Spears. Not only did McCain’s ad anger
Hilton’s parents, who are large donors to the
McCain campaign, it garnered a video response
from Paris herself. The video features—in mock
campaign-spot style—Hilton lounging in a pool
chair, offering her solution to the energy crisis.
And frighteningly, taking herself seriously for
two minutes before gleefully spouting the line,
“I’ll see you at the debate, bitches!”
perhaps one of the most off-color campaign stops
ever, John McCain paid a visit to the Sturgis
Buffalo Chip biker gathering in North Dakota this
week. The event, which featured Foghat, Kid Rock
and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Hawaiian Tropic girls,
and women’s oil wrestling, also plays host to
the “Miss Buffalo Chip” pageant. While addressing
the rowdy crowd, McCain suggested he might have
a late entrant. “You know I was looking at the
Sturgis schedule and saw that you have a beauty
pageant and so I urged Cindy to compete,” announced
McCain to catcalls and hoots. “I told her with
a little luck she could be the only woman ever
to serve as the first lady and Ms. Buffalo
Lone Ranger: Joseph Sullivan is all smiles.
Sullivan calls his critics politically motivated, and wins
a ruling on his petitions
is no fraud here,” wrote Joseph Sullivan, candidate for U.S.
Congress in the 21st District, to the New York State Board
of Elections in response to allegations by district resident
Keri Kresler that his petitions were collected improperly.
“Perhaps, lack of clear understanding of the election law,
haste and careless in gathering signatures, numerous minor
errors by witnesses and signers alike, but no fraud!”
On a different matter, the statement continued, “Brian Scavo
is the son of talian immigrants. English is his second language.
He is a survivor of exposure to lead paint and a product of
the Albany public school system. Call Brian stupid all day
long, but he is guilty of fraud [sic].”
Sullivan also suggested that Kresler “be hired as an Interrogator
at Gitmo Bay where she can instruct Al Qaida captives in NYS
Election Law . . .”
This week, the BOE ruled that Sullivan’s petitions are valid.
Sullivan has alleged that Kresler, who had come forward with
accusations of fraud against both Sullivan and Albany County
Legislator Brian Scavo (District 7), had been working as some
part of a “a politically motivated exercise in character assassination,
as well as an attempt to knock me off the September 9 Democratic
Sullivan, who until recently was a registered Republican,
has been a long-time oddball presence in Albany politics.
Sullivan is the founder of the Buckingham Pond/Crestwood Neighborhood
Association, and he ran a failed campaign for mayor of Albany
in 2005. Sullivan is known for his off-color blog posts and
e-mails. One recent press-release headline read: “WHY NO NIGHT
OUT AGAINST CRIME IN ONE ALBANY NEIGHBORHOOD?” The body of
the e-mail answered: “BECAUSE WE ARE READY, LOCKED AND LOADED!”
Kresler said she finds it ridiculous that Sullivan, along
with Scavo, would think themselves worthy of some greater
conspiracy. “I think we gave gotten to the point where you
can’t take him seriously as a candidate. He sounds like a
loon, and he can’t spell. I’m not an operative for anyone.
I don’t understand how many times I have to say this. He can’t
get it through his skull that I am doing it on my own, not
with encouragement from any other organization.”
Kresler said she challenged Sullivan’s petitions because she
simply did not believe his signatures were collected properly.
one trusts Bush when it comes to Iran—not Congress, and especially
not the antiwar community
nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization
of the use of force,” seemed pretty clear-cut when the 261
co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto
Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-Queens) nonbinding resolution calling
for sanctions against Iran.
In many ways, HCR 362 is similar to a slew of resolutions
issued by the House calling for the world community to act
together to forestall Iran’s efforts to advance an active
nuclear-weapons program. These resolutions decry the threat
that a nuclear Iran would pose to the Middle East and U.S.
interests in the region, and recommend strongly that the president
take actions to place strict sanctions against doing business
with Tehran. HR 362, however, includes language that many
in the activist community fear would give the administration
far too much leeway to manage Iran with hostile and precipitous
It’s no secret that the Bush administration views Iran as
the next logical front in the president’s war on terror. According
to political observers, House Resolution 362 was an attempt
by Congress to meet the threat of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions,
and to simultaneously tie the hands of Bush’s squirrelly administration
while the legislators were away on summer recess.
However, almost immediately after the resolution was entered
into official record, antiwar activists across the country
raised the alarm. Near the end of Ackerman’s purportedly innocent,
nonbinding document, there is a call for sanctions that appear,
through careful reading, to allow—and even call for—the president
to engage unilaterally in a military blockade of Iran, which
is legally considered an act of war unless authorized by the
The controversial passage reads: Congress “demands that the
President initiate an international effort to immediately
and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic
pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment
activities by . . . prohibiting the export to Iran of all
refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection
requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains,
and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the
international movement of all Iranian officials not involved
in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program .
To actualize these prohibitions and restrictions on movement,
critics have said, would necessitate military involvement.
A point missed by the 261 cosponsors.
never read the resolution as a call for a blockade,” said
Rep. Michael McNulty (D-Green Island).
The Capital Region’s Women Against War brought its members’
concerns over the resolution to the attention of McNulty,
a cosponsor of the Iran Blockade Resolution (as it is popularly
known), asking him to either withdraw his support of the resolution
or to push for the contentious language to be removed.
OK, the congressman said. When dealing with the Bush administration,
concerns over interpretation aren’t taken lightly. “We should
be very careful not to pass anything that Bush could interrupt
as giving him authority to use military force in dealing with
Iran,” said McNulty.
McNulty also said that he urges an intense diplomacy campaign,
coupled with the sanctions called for in HCR 362. And although
he does not see the specific language as a call for a military
blockade, he did say that he has spoken with Ackerman, who
has heard similar concerns, and the congressman intends to
reword the resolution.
Rachel McEneny, spokeswoman for Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Greenport),
said that the freshman Congresswoman agreed with McNulty that
Iran must be dealt with, but that caution must be exercised
when calling for action from this administration.
No action is expected on the bill until, at the earliest,
the second week of September.
loose ends this week-