Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:
Wall: Illinois State Senator Tom Cullerton indicted on federal embezzlement charges
“Cullerton, D-Villa Park, is accused of collecting more than $274,000 in salary and benefits, but doing little or no work for the union, according to the grand jury indictment handed up Friday. Cullerton, a veteran, took the union job several months after he was elected in 2012. The 49-year-old is facing 39 counts of embezzlement, one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and a single count of making a false statement about a health care matter. […] Federal prosecutors allege that Cullerton used the proceeds from the alleged scheme to pay personal expenses, including his mortgage, utilities and groceries.”
Schreckinger: Biden Inc.
Their ventures, over nearly half a century, have regularly raised conflict-of-interest questions and brought the Biden family into potentially compromising associations. This investigation offers the most comprehensive account to date of the politically tinged business activities of Biden’s brother and son, and is the first time former associates of James and Hunter have alleged that the pair explicitly sought to make money off of Joe’s political connections. […] The Biden Family: A political and financial timeline […] James Biden, known socially as Jimmy, is seven years younger than Joe and a dead ringer for his famous older brother. He worked as a salesman and served as the finance chairman of Joe’s first Senate campaign in 1972 before embarking on a career as a serial entrepreneur. In the 1970s, as Joe was entering the Senate and taking a seat on the Banking Committee, James obtained unusually generous loans from lenders who later faced federal regulatory issues. Joe Biden was in touch with two of those banks about his brother’s loans, . . . […] During the Obama years, several months after James joined a construction firm as an executive, the firm received a contract worth more than a billion dollars to build houses in Iraq while Joe oversaw the U.S.-led occupation of that country.
Greenfield: In 5 States, 1 in 5 Prisoners are Muslim
“At 1%, Muslims are still a small percentage of the population. But there’s one place in America where they are vastly over-represented. State prisons. Take Maryland, which has an estimated 70,000 Muslims, making up over 1% of the population. But of Maryland’s 18,562 prisoners, 5,084 were Muslims.
That’s 27.4% or over 1 in 4 prisoners. […] In 5 states, . . . […] Combine all those Muslim prisoners into a city and you have a population larger than Youngstown. […] The current cost of incarcerating Muslim federal prisoners is taking $670 million a year from taxpayers.”