Power Corrupts, Chapter XXVIII in a Continuing Series

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It was bad enough to learn that Henry Kissinger, memorably (and accurately) tagged as a "socialite war criminal" by the old Spy magazine, was joking with Soviet functionaries about fucking Playboy models during the Cold War and on the taxpayer dime.

Here's a new bit for the Neverending Petty Complaints about the Powerful that End Up Aggregating into a Big Deal Dept.: Former South Dakota Gov. U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow, found guilty of manslaughter last year after killing a motorcyclist and leaving the scene of the accident, pardoned his son-in-law for multiple DWI and pot-possession charges.

Reports the AP:

Among the records released Thursday was Janklow's 2002 pardon of William Gordon Haugen II, who is married to Janklow's daughter, Shonna. The pardon covered drunken driving convictions in 1983 and in 1997, and a 1993 conviction for marijuana possession.

Janklow initially refused comment Thursday when reached at his home, but later gave his first interview since being released from jail. He said he pardoned Haugen after he promised that he would go straight.

"My son-in-law did things when he was a younger person that he paid for. He came to me and asked if I would clean things up because he wanted to go to law school. I said, `Is this all behind you?' and he said, `So help me God, it's behind me.' I said, `Are you ever going to embarrass me or anybody else?' He said, `Never,' and so I did it, and he's just finished his first year in law school and is a very good student."

One wonders about the other South Dakotans that lacked the connections that allowed for such selective treatment.

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  1. The best thing about SPY was its epithets. If I recall, Ed Koch was “free-lance racist” while their nemesis, Donald Trump, was always “short-fingered vulgarian.” Not to mention Abe “I’m writing as bad as I can” Rosenthal. We need a renewal of this spirit to afflict the comfortable. What would they call Michael Moore, for instance?

  2. What father wouldn’t use every tool at their disposal “for the children”?

    /end obligatory compassion

  3. I’m be speechless and full of rage if I wasn’t so tired.

  4. Epithets are fun! I like Graydon (studio whore) Carter, myself!

    http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/showcase/la-fi-carter14may14.story

    If Janklow’s son-in-law keeps from screwing up, I’d say the pardon for the doobage is a good thing. Everybody should get one! “Bad Governor” on the DWI pass, though.

    Kevin

  5. He didn’t ask, “Are you ever going to endanger someone else’s life again by driving drunk?” Nope, he was more worried about being embarrassed and covering his own butt.

    That’s a stupid interpretation of Haugen’s statement. He said “embarass me or anyone else” — using your reasoning, that would mean that Haugen was trying to cover the whole world’s butt.

    A husband and wife go to a party. The husband, an alcoholic, gets ripped and pukes on the hostess. The wife, furious, says “don’t embarass me like that ever again”. Is she “covering her own butt”? No — she’s using a euphemism for “stop acting like a jackass, you drunken buffoon”.

    Drug abusers are embarassments to their friends, family, and loved ones. It is not uncommon for the people who have to tolerate another person’s substance abuse to use terms like “embarassment”, “shame”, etc, to describe the problem.

    I have a feeling that, had the governor refused the pardon, we’d be reading a snitty Reason post about how Haugen was do much of a “zealous drug warrior” that we wouldn’t even help his own son-in-law, even though the son-in-law had obviously cleaned up his act.

    Haugen did the right thing. The complaint is only that he doesn’t do the right thing often enough. I don’t see the “corruption” angle here, though.

  6. Spy Magazine. I remember that as being funny for about a year, then later it seemed you had to live in Manhattan to know (or care) who or what the hell they were talking about. Always did like their ‘Separated at Birth’ feature, though.

  7. Speaking as a flaming heterosexual, I gotta admit that you could roll out the hottest batch of Playboy ‘mates and if Henry Kissinger is brought into the discussion, I’m unable to perform.

    Please take care with future such ‘groupings’ as a Topic lead.

  8. Janklow’s a real scumbag. I love this question:

    I said, `Are you ever going to embarrass me or anybody else?’

    He didn’t ask, “Are you ever going to endanger someone else’s life again by driving drunk?” Nope, he was more worried about being embarrassed and covering his own butt.

    Nice.

  9. nothing’s more embarassing than your son-in-law’s car covered in dead bodies, of course.

  10. Contrast the media coverage of Janklow’s pardon with the incessant daily updates of the scandalous drinking habits of the presidential daughters.

    And Kissinger, my gawd what a cad (like he’s EVEN gonna get laid), my buddies and I never joke around about wanting to do hot chicks. Especially if anybody’s been drinking.

  11. DAN: Drug abusers are embarassments to their friends, family, and loved ones.

    Steve: Such embarassment is self-inflicted. If I choose to use or abuse any substance it’s all on me. And if you or anyone else choose to be embarrassed by my actions, it’s all on you.

  12. Such embarassment is self-inflicted. If I choose to use or abuse any substance it’s all on me. And if you or anyone else choose to be embarrassed by my actions, it’s all on you.

    You’re the kind of guy who’d tell his kids “I never loved you; you should have been aborted” and then defend the statement on free speech grounds, aren’t you?

    Yes, you have the right to use drugs. But only a sociopath would adopt the position you’re advocating — that the grief your actions cause your loved ones is their problem, and not yours.

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