Sunday linkage

It’s been “House Project Weekend” at casa de ST’s, but in the meantime, here are some Sunday links waiting for your perusal:

—– Remember the arrest of Senator Jim Webb’s aide after he was caught carrying a gun not registered to him into the Russell Senate office building? The charges have been dropped. Must be nice to have connections …

—– A former state department official has been named in the ‘DC prostitution scandal’: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias, who resigned Friday. Good riddance. While it’s heartening to see the Nutroots so ‘concerned’ with what goes on in DC when the lights go out, it sure would have been refreshing for them to have shown that same level of concern over their adulterer in chief back when he sullied the Oval Office with his little ‘extracurricular activities.’ Oh, and if these people think the names on the “DC madam’s’ list” is going to be exclusively Republicans, I’ve got beachfront in West Virginia to sell ’em. Now, whether the mediots will make a big deal of the names of the Democrats on the list will be another matter entirely …

—– This is just freaking sick. Bastards.

—– High-profile carbon credit buyers are coming under some heat – from the NYT, of all newspapers:

But is the carbon-neutral movement just a gimmick?

On this, environmentalists aren’t neutral, and they don’t agree. Some believe it helps build support, but others argue that these purchases don’t accomplish anything meaningful — other than giving someone a slightly better feeling (or greener reputation) after buying a 6,000-square-foot house or passing the million-mile mark in a frequent-flier program. In fact, to many environmentalists, the carbon-neutral campaign is a sign of the times — easy on the sacrifice and big on the consumerism.

As long as the use of fossil fuels keeps climbing — which is happening relentlessly around the world — the emission of greenhouse gases will keep rising. The average American, by several estimates, generates more than 20 tons of carbon dioxide or related gases a year; the average resident of the planet about 4.5 tons.

At this rate, environmentalists say, buying someone else’s squelched emissions is all but insignificant.

“The worst of the carbon-offset programs resemble the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences back before the Reformation” said Denis Hayes, the president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental grant-making group. “Instead of reducing their carbon footprints, people take private jets and stretch limos, and then think they can buy an indulgence to forgive their sins.”

I must say, it’s nice to see the NYT finally devoting a page or two to skepticism of the carbon credit scheme and the people who purchase them.

—– Speaking of ‘enviro-friendly’ politicians, make sure to read Mark Steyn’s metaphorical piece on “Light bulbs that don’t signify ideas

—– Been convicted of a ‘minor crime’ but don’t want to serve next to hardened criminals? In California, some prisons are offering what the NYT has dubbed ‘five-star jails’ where those ‘in the know’ and with the ‘resources’ to afford it can stay to serve out their sentences:

For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.

Many of the self-pay jails operate like secret velvet-roped nightclubs of the corrections world. You have to be in the know to even apply for entry, and even if the court approves your sentence there, jail administrators can operate like bouncers, rejecting anyone they wish.

“I am aware that this is considered to be a five-star Hilton” said Nicole Brockett, 22, who was recently booked into one of the jails, here in Orange County about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and paid $82 a day to complete a 21-day sentence for a drunken driving conviction.

Ms. Brockett, who in her oversize orange T-shirt and flip-flops looked more like a contestant on “The Real World” than an inmate, shopped around for the best accommodations, travelocity.com-style.

“It’s clean here” she said, perched in a jail day room on the sort of couch found in a hospital emergency room. “It’s safe and everyone here is really nice. I haven’t had a problem with any of the other girls. They give me shampoo.”

For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts — who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients” — get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song.

Many of the overnighters are granted work furlough, enabling them to do most of their time on the job, returning to the jail simply to go to bed (often following a strip search, which granted is not so five-star).

The clients usually share a cell, but otherwise mix little with the ordinary nonpaying inmates, who tend to be people arrested and awaiting arraignment, or federal prisoners on trial or awaiting deportation and simply passing through.

The pay-to-stay programs have existed for years, but recently attracted some attention when prosecutors balked at a jail in Fullerton that they said would offer computer and cellphone use to George Jaramillo, a former Orange County assistant sheriff who pleaded no contest to perjury and misuse of public funds, including the unauthorized use of a county helicopter. Mr. Jaramillo was booked into the self-pay program in Montebello, near Los Angeles, instead.

How much do you want to bet that some of these same people who are paying for this posh jail treatment are some of the same people who feel sorry for and say all we need to do is just ‘understand’ convicted felons and not be so harsh on them, yet they don’t want to mingle with them? Isn’t that rich – in more ways than one?

—– Michael F. Scheuer, the head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is disputing some of the claims former CIA director George Tenet made in his forthcoming book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. The book is due out tomorrow. Expect it to renew the debate as to who ‘knew’ what prior to 9-11, and whether or not the war in Iraq was ‘justifiable.’

—– Jules Crittenden has another Good News, Bad News link roundup.

—– Something you won’t hear much about in the MSM: The probe against former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for alleged insider trading has been dropped, thanks to Frist’s penchant for documenting things in email.

—– From bad to worse in the UK: The Independent reports that there is one CCTV camera per 14 people in Britain.

—– Senator John McCain is not happy about the ‘rough treatment’ he believes he’s receiving from the press. Aww.

—– Complaints about the Nutroots coming from Democrats? Who’da thought?

—– Who said this: “I’m ready for my fatwa”? Michelle Malkin has the story.

—– And last but not least, what the world has been waiting for: Bart Simpson will ‘bare all’ in an upcoming feature Simpsons film. :-&

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