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April 3, 2008

It occurs to me that we should all be concerned about a situation in Alabama in which former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman was convicted of a myriad of charges stemming from a political contribution.

My concern does not come from the fact that Siegelman was convicted of anything at all, but more from the way the case against him came about.

In what appears to be significant evidence, the trail of gross abuse of power leads back to Karl Rove, the (evil) wizard Merlin to George Bush’s (inept) King Arthur.

A political crony of Rove’s, William Canary, is married to Leura Canary, a deputy attorney in the Alabama Attorney General’s office, who was part of the case against Siegelman until she recused herself and handed it over to Alice Martin, another deputy attorney in the office.

One might ask why Don Siegelman is of such interest to Karl Rove and his minions. The answer is that during a re-election bid, Siegelman questioned voting irregularities that appear to have handed the election to his Republican rival.

In cases similar to this the convicted has been freed pending appeal, as Siegelman’s case currently stands. However, Siegelman was recently released after serving almost a year in jail.

The reason he was not released immediately is that the Attorney General’s office could not find the court transcripts. To add insult to injury, those convicted under similar circumstances are given some time to get their affairs in order before being required to begin their sentence, but Siegelman was taken away immediately in shackles.

This situation is garnering a great deal of attention from the press and other Attorney Generals’ offices across the nation, and rightly so.

This administration has repeatedly used the Justice Department to further its political ends, and the cost to you is an erosion of freedom and constitutional rights.

The Gonzales fiasco appears to be just the tip of the iceberg, and I predict that more and more abuse of power will become apparent as the Bush administration nears its long-awaited conclusion.

I’m actually hoping that this whole scenario does not play out too quickly. If Rove is found to be duplicitous in this situation and charges are brought against him, he could be pardoned by Bush if it all plays out before Bush leaves office a la Scooter Libby case.

I sincerely hope that the student body of this university is paying attention to this kind of news item. The importance to the future of this nation cannot be over-stated.

We rely on the press to be our watchdog, guarding us from these kinds of dangers, but we must read, listen and pay attention to the news and use this information to stop abuse of power at every opportunity, but mainly at the voting booth. I encourage all of you to stay informed and not let your rights be taken away bit by bit.

Don’t forget to stretch every day!

Bill Henderson is the head coach of swimming and diving at UWRF and serves as the athletic department’s equipment manager. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and his master’s in physical education from Sacramento State in California.