Posts Tagged “1080”

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland fills in as a talk show host on WTIC AM radio in Farmington, Conn., Friday, July 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill), via New Haven RegisterNote: There’s been some news on this case; please see an update below.

I recently updated my post about former Connecticut governor John G. Rowland having a talk-show on WTIC-AM in Hartford, by noting he had to quit WTIC-AM (WebCite cached article) over what were — at the time he left the station — allegations about his involvement in election fraud. Those allegations have, since his resignation, become a federal indictment (cached).

In this morning’s Hartford Courant, reporter Jon Lender goes over the indictment — which is based on accusations by a GOP Congressional candidate and her husband, backed by emails he’d sent them as well as to another Congressional candidate who’d previously rebuffed his solicitation (cached):

“Love the Gov.”

That’s how ex-Gov. John G. Rowland signed an email to Republican congressional candidate Mark Greenberg on Oct. 23, 2009 — in the first of several messages that prosecutors say he sent over seven months in hopes of becoming a consultant to Greenberg’s 2010 [Republican primary] campaign in the 5th District.

Rowland wasn’t bashful about mentioning his former office — which he quit in 2004, a year before being jailed for corruption — in pitching Greenberg for what a newly released federal indictment describes as a “a sham consulting contract” that would have paid him secretly for helping Greenberg’s campaign.

Rowland depicted himself as still a big man in the district that he’d represented, himself, as a Republican congressman from 1985 to 1991 before he became governor.…

Greenberg ultimately refused the contract.

Rowland didn’t settle for Greenberg’s rejection of his proposal:

In the 2010 election campaign, the indictment says that Rowland proposed that he be paid through a non-profit animal shelter run by Greenberg. Two years later, the indictment says, Republican candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley agreed to Rowland’s proposal that he enter a consulting arrangement with her husband’s nursing-home business while helping her ultimately unsuccessful 2012 campaign.

The $35,000 in payments that Rowland received under that consulting contract were, in reality, payments from the Wilson-Foley campaign for his political assistance — even though the Wilson-Foley camp said that Rowland was a volunteer helper, the indictment says.

Rowland allegedly wanted to conceal his paid campaign work because of potential negative publicity over his December 2004 conviction for political corruption; he pleaded guilty to accepting more than $100,000 in benefits from businessmen while he was governor from 1995 to mid-2004.

At the time he was being paid by Brian Foley’s business and helping the Wilson-Foley campaign, Rowland also was using his role as WTIC-AM radio talk show host to criticize one of Wilson-Foley’s opponents on the air.

What he did for Wilson-Foley was to use his radio show to go after her chief primary challenger, then-state-senator Andrew Roraback (cached). He and his co-host at the time, the Reverend Will Marotti, went as far as to announce Roraback’s cell phone number over the air, implying listeners should call him and protest his opposition to the death penalty as well as his position in other “social issues.” Most of us would call this “inciting to harass.”

Now, why am I pouncing on the poor, beleaguered John Rowland? What’s the relevance of this to religion? That’s easy. As I noted some years ago, Rowland used his religiosity to claim he’s been “redeemed” since he was shamed out of the governor’s office in 2004 and pled guilty to federal corruption charges. He even marketed himself as a motivational speaker, with his main credential being his felonious past, his claimed remorse, and his presumed redemption. Here is his motivational-speaking Web site (cached). He claimed to have become a better man because of his experience and that he could provide life-lessons to other people.

But clearly, he wasn’t really walking that talk. His correspondence with Greenberg in 2010 demonstrates he had his conniving little hand out, trying to scarf up extra money on the side, without anyone being the wiser. In other words, he did again pretty much the same sorts of things he’d done 10 or more years ago, which had forced him out of the governor’s office in the first place.

Had he actually learned his lesson? No. He’d merely pretended to. And he committed this hypocrisy under cover of being religious, arm-in-arm much of that time with his erstwhile theo-political operative Marotti. He and Marotti must have forgotten that their Jesus explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical.

What’s more, he used his WTIC microphone to make himself and Marotti (who’s taken his place at the station) into the chief spokesmen for Connecticut’s Religious Right. And those R.R. listeners ate it all up, happily. They called into the show, calling him “governor” even though he’d been out of office for years and in spite of his own crimes that put him in federal prison for a year. All of that was irrelevant. They eagerly kowtowed before, and slavered over, this admitted felon.

Their chief rationales for doing so, are: First, “everybody in office is on the take,” so it’s OK that Rowland had been. After all, there’ve been some Connecticut Democrats convicted of corruption (e.g. former Hartford mayor Eddie Perez and former state senator Ernie Newton), so what’s the big deal with Rowland getting free work done on his cottage by state contractors and political operatives? That the “everyone does it” and “but the other side is corrupt too!” arguments are brazenly fallacious, is something that doesn’t matter to them. Second, many of them think the Hartford Courant fabricated the charges against him back in the early 2000s, and drove a completely-innocent man from office. It’s natural they’d do this, since Rowland himself had spent his last couple of years as governor repeatedly mouthing that very mantra. His wife Patty even once let loose with her own “parody” of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” lamenting how horrible the Courant had been to Connecticut’s first couple (cached). It was all very childish and petulant, of course — not to mention later belied by the fact that Rowland himself allocuted to the charges in federal court when he pled guilty — but many of his followers still cling desperately, in spite of that, to the idea that the Courant had made it all up.

This time around, Rowland once again claims his critics and accusers are wrong. He’s pled not guilty, and his lawyer promises he will be “fully vindicated” (cached). Given the documents in the indictment, it’s impossible to believe this is going to happen, if this should get to trial (unless the jury is packed with Rowland-loving Rightists). Word around Connecticut, over the past couple weeks, had been that, like the Foleys, Rowland was negotiating a plea deal. That effort failed. Maybe his lawyer is pushing back in order to renegotiate a better deal for Rowland, and he’ll plead out later this year. Who knows?

But whatever the case, the real bottom line here is clear: Religious people are just too fucking eager to open themselves up to bad people who’ve claimed their religion “reformed” them. It’s my experience that corrupt people tend to remain corrupt, no matter what they say and no matter if they appear to have cleaned up their acts. Religion has no power to force anyone to become a better person; they either reform themselves, or they don’t. Religion has nothing to do with it. Now, believers in a religion love to think their religion has that kind of power … but their believing it, cannot and will never make it so. Their desire that this be the case, though, leaves them prey to liars, con artists and swindlers.

Update: John Rowland’s trial ended yesterday, and the jury convicted him (cached). He and his attorneys will, no doubt, appeal this, but neither his conviction nor the appeal were unexpected. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill, via New Haven Register.

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Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland fills in as a talk show host on WTIC AM radio in Farmington, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill), via the Register-CitizenNote: There have been some developments about this story since I posted it. See this post for the latest on it, and a couple other updates below.

My home state of Connecticut, over the course of the 20th century, tended to be areligious and progressive. That changed, however, as the 21st century dawned. This state has become increasingly religious, and increasingly militant about it. Connecticut’s Roman Catholic dioceses, for instance, have decided to wield their political power like a club — very likely as an exercise in pushback, due to the reporting over various abuse scandals, such as that of Fr Stephen Foley (cached) and Dr George Reardon (cached). And the state’s right-wing — once of the gentlemanly, socially-moderate “country-club Republican” variety — has become more ardent and much more religious than it had been.

Toward that end, WTIC-AM 1080 in Hartford — which has reflected this increasing militancy and religiosity in its talk-radio offerings — will now have a daily 3-hour show co-hosted by John G. Rowland — once governor of Connecticut, who was disgraced out of office and pled guilty to corruption charges — and his “friend” and erstwhile political operative, the Rev. Will Marotti, as reported in the Hartford Courant‘s Java blog (WebCite cached article):

Tune in …Former CT guv, John Rowland, is on the air beginning Thursday.

Rowland, the come-back kid when it comes to being an arrested public official who did jailtime but landed a plum job in his hometown of Waterbury, has a new gig… radio show host on WTIC-AM.

He and his religious inspiration, Rev. Will Marotti are launching a new program titled “Church and State.” The show runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. replacing the “Total News” block.

I’ve already blogged about Rowland’s appeal to religiosity as a way of recovering from his own shame. It appears that Connecticut’s right wing has fallen for this swindle, and the venerable (and once-respectable) WTIC-AM has bent over for him and for the militant Religious Right.

Well, WTIC can put on its religious radio show — and make no mistake, it absolutely will be religious in nature, no matter what Rowland, Marotti, or WTIC say about it — but I’m not fooled by the criminal Rowland or his willing enablers in the church or in the media. And I don’t plan to surrender to the Religious Right who are trying to conquer the Nutmeg State. If they want me to obey the strictures of their religion, they’re just going to have to make me do so.

Update 1: I’m not sure when it happened — maybe in the last month or two — but the Rev. Marotti is no longer part of this show, and it’s no longer called “Church & State.” The shamed-out-of-office Rowland is now its sole host. I guess WTIC-AM’s experiment in trying to proselytize Nutmeggers, has failed. Although leaving a convicted felon on the air, isn’t all that great either. Sigh.

Update 2: How the mighty — and “redeemed” — have fallen! In the wake of an electioneering scandal, Rowland quit WTIC-AM (cached). This came after both Rowland and the station’s management had spent the better part of a couple weeks insisting nothing was wrong and vehemently denying he would be leaving. His replacement is his erstwhile theo-political operative and co-host, Will Marotti. So much for WTIC’s proselytizing experiment having ended. And Rowland was just indicted on two counts of election fraud (cached).

Update 3: The verdict is in! As Rowland’s vicious enemies at the Hartford Courant report, he was convicted (cached). He and his attorneys will appeal, because they still don’t see how anyone could think Saint Johnny ever did anything wrong, but I’m not sure how far that will get them.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill, via the Register-Citizen.

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This morning I happened to hear a local radio show (on WTIC 1080) by a guy named Jim Vicevich. He’s Hartford’s local version of Glenn Beck … a sanctimonious windbag full of self-righteous bellicosity. Like Beck, his act is a cross between Howard Beale (of Network fame) and a street preacher. Only he leans a little more in the direction of street preacher, because he has a lot of overtly-religious guests (e.g. folks who work for anti-abortion religious ministries, who as one would expect frequently sprinkle their on-air speeches with “praise Gods”), and he discusses the religious aspects of issues like abortion, more than most other Rightist pundits. He also actively solicits on behalf of religious groups, for instance in one of his blog postings.

At any rate, today he pontificated on how an apparent Planned Parenthood defector somehow “proves” that abortion is bad. Unfortunately, in doing so, Vicevich falls into the old rhetorical trap of an irrelevant appeal to authority (which is a fallacy in every sense of the word). Here’s his blog entry on the matter:

This is why we need this ultrasound so badly here in Connecticut.

Planned Parenthood has been a part of Abby Johnson’s life for the past eight years; that is until last month, when Abby resigned. Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure [emphasis in this quotation by Vicevich, is his own].

For Vicevich, looking at ultrasounds “proves” something. Unfortunately this is an illogical assumption. What looking at ultrasounds does, is not to “prove” anything in an objective way. Rather, it simply confirms — in a merely-emotional way — his own personal preconceptions.

One may wonder why having been a Planned Parenthood worker is “irrelevant” to the matter of abortion … because it certainly would appear that it’s relevant. But that’s all it is — an appearance only. What makes this an “irrelevant” appeal to authority, is that that having worked at Planned Parenthood does not grant Ms Johnson, or any other former Planned Parenthood worker, any real authority on whether abortion is right or wrong. Moral and ethical questions such as that are metaphysical in nature, and there is no such thing as a credential to decide metaphysics, because there is no final authority on the subject; no objective certification in that field; and no way to verify anything metaphysical. One may believe that a person carries such authority — for instance, Roman Catholics believe the Pope has the authority to make theological and doctrinal decisions (which are, by their very nature, all metaphysical) — but in the end, there are no objective credentials to back up these beliefs. (If there were, there would not — for example — be so many Christian denominations that refuse papal authority.)

Really, Ms Johnson’s belief that abortion is “bad,” is no more valid or relevant an authority on the subject than anyone else’s. Her belief, in the end, is nothing more than a subjective value judgement that she has made for herself. That’s all.

I’m sure Mr Vicevich, who once had a stellar career as a local TV business reporter before he turned into a raging Religious Rightist … is educated enough to know his claims are fallacious. That’s what makes him such a sad case, and an example of why (as the United Negro College Fund has often said), “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

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