About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spies/traitors: Larry Wu-Tai Chin

Note: Particularly revolting among the various types of miscreants who achieve at least temporary celebrity when their misdeeds come to light are those who betray their country. Some traitors who spy for foreign powers rationalize their actions by saying they acted for the greater good, given some of the ill-advised foreign-policy decisions that have been made by our government over the years. Most of these individuals, however, were in it for the money. A few of the people appearing in this section of the blog realized significant amounts of swag for their treachery, but most spies, like so many politicians, can be bought cheaply.

Peking-born Larry Wu-Tai Chin spent more than 40 years in sensitive U.S. government jobs, all the while selling information to China. He is thought to be among the elite group of only five spies who were paid more than $1 million for the intelligence they traded for cash.

It is also thought that Chin was a trained spy for China when he got his first U.S. government job in 1951, translating Korean prisoner of war interviews for the State Department.

In 1952, he went to work in Japan for the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, and in 1961, he took a new CIA job in California. Chin became a U.S. citizen in 1965.

Having been promoted, he moved to a higher-level job in Arlington, VA. Reportedly, no one in the agency suspected him of being a mole. Chin cultivated a reputation as a successful gambler as cover for his more lavish than normal lifestyle.

He retired in 1981 and was given the CIA's career intelligence medal for distinguished service. Meanwhile, Chin had a wife in Virginia and a mistress in Chicago.

Chin was arrested in 1985 by the FBI and was held without bail as a flight risk. He admitted to spying for China and in 1986 was convicted. Prior to his sentencing, however, he apparently placed a plastic bag over his head and committed suicide in his cell.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spies/traitors: Aldrich Hazen Ames

The best-compensated spy in our nation's history is ex-CIA officer Aldrich Ames, who raked in nearly $5 million from the Soviets and, later, from the Russians.

Ames' story was dramatized in the 1998 film "Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within," with Timothy Hutton in the title role.

Ames was with the CIA for a long time: 31 years. A Russian speaker, he began his career by identifying Soviets who might become double agents for the United States. Then he himself became one for the Communists.

Ames passed along classified information and received cash payments at what are called "dead drops," agreed-upon locations where items could be dropped off and picked up.

It is a matter of great wonder that his superiors failed to notice that a man earning $60 or more.

Ames' revelations cost several Soviet and Russian double agents their lives, and finally, the agency took notice of how many of their key sources were turning up dead. Ames came under suspicion and was given two polygraph tests, but passed both.

In 1994, the FBI arrested both Ames and his wife. To avoid the death penalty, both pled guilty. He got life, she, five years. The photo below shows Ames being cuffed leaning on his ill-gotten Jaguar.

Spies/traitors: Christopher John Boyce

The 1985 movie "The Falcon and the Snowman," starring Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton, depicted the story of Christopher Boyce (played by Hutton) and his lifelong friend Andrew Daulton Lee, convicted American spies for the Soviet Union.

Boyce's father, an FBI agent, helped his son get a job as a clerk at TRW, a California company that dealt in U.S. spy satellites. As a boy, Boyce had taken up falconry as a hobby, hence the nickname The Falcon.

Lee was a drug dealer, which accounts for his nickname, The Snowman.

Boyce would purloin classified documents, and Lee would drive them into Mexico to sell to the Soviets. Detained in 1976 on suspicion of non-espionage criminal activity, Lee was caught with classified microfilm. He fingered Boyce, who was arrested at age 24 in 1977. Both men went to prison.

Boyce said that the reason for his treason was anger over some of the ill-advised activities of the C.I.A.

Boyce escaped in 1980 and turned into a one-man Bonnie and Clyde, robbing 17 banks before being recaptured in 1981.

Remarkably, Lee was paroled in 1998 and Boyce in 2003.

Boyce and Lee have led awfully active lives for a pair of former Roman Catholic altar boys.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spies/traitors: Clyde Lee Conrad

For roughly 14 years, U.S. Army non-commissioned officer Clyde Lee Conrad sold secret documents to Hungary, which netted him more than $1 million.

Conrad had been introduced to this dangerous but profitable line of work by another Army sergeant, Hungarian-American Zoltan Szabo. Szabo weaseled out of prison time by testifying against Conrad and others in their spy ring, but Conrad was tried in Koblenz, Germany, in 1990 and received a life sentence.

This spy ring had sold the Hungarians information on nuclear weapon sites, NATO material of various kinds, and the U.S. Army's plan for troop movements should war break out.

Conrad died in prison in 1998 at age 50.

Spies/traitors: Robert Hanssen

Over a 22-year span, FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen sold secrets to the Soviets. For his efforts, he received not only uwards of $1 million, but also a life sentence without parole. Most of his prison time is spent in solitary confinement.

Hanssen's espionage activities began in 1979, when he ratted out a Soviet spy who had been working for the United States.

Hanssen's most-publicized traitorous act was revealing to the Soviets the tunnel dug under the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., to facilitate spying on that country's activities.

He also revealed the plan for where our top government officials would be located in case of nuclear war.

Hanssen was columnist Robert Novak's source for a story on then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno's lax prosecution of campaign finance "irregularities."

At age 58 in 2001, Hanssen was given his sentence. He was spared the death penalty by having pled guilty to espionage charges.

Spies/traitors: John Walker Lindh

"The American Taliban" is the nickname affixed to then 20-year-old U.S. citizen John Walker Lindh, who was captured in 2001 by Afghan forces.

Lindh, who had a bullet wound on one thigh, was questioned by the C.I.A. and admitted that he had received training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and at another location in Pakistan.

As a teen, Lindh had converted to Islam, traveled to the Middle East, learned Arabic and studied the Koran. He began dressing the part and took the name Sulayman. He returned to America but at age 19, returned to Yemen and received his military training.

Lindh was indicted in 2002 for supporting terrorist forces and attempting to kill U.S. forces. He pled not guilty to firing on Americans but guilty to aiding the Taliban.

Young Mr. Lindh was given 20 years without parole. His parents attempted to have President George W. Bush grant their son a pardon, but Mr. Bush refused.

Spies/traitors: Jonathan Pollard

Texas-born Jonathan Jay Pollard is unusual in that he was a U.S. citizen who spied for one of our nation's allies, not one of our enemies.

Before receiving a life sentence in 1987 for spying for Israel, Pollard defended his actions on the basis that being Jewish, he had a higher calling to promote the welfare of the Jewish homeland. The court, on the other hand, firmly disagreed.

Pollard was a Navy intelligence officer whose handling of classified documents raised suspicions. After an FBI investigation, he was arrested in 1985 after an unsuccessful attempt to receive asylum in the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.

Pollard's first wife, Anne, also served a much shorter prison sentence for having assisted her husband's activities. The couple divorced, and Pollard was remarried while in prison to a woman who has campaigned for his release or pardon.

Spies/traitors: John Anthony Walker

A remarkably active Cold War spy for the Soviets was John Anthony Walker, a Navy warrant officer.

Walker, sometimes with the help of his son, Michael and other accomplices is said to have aided the Soviets in translating upwards of 200,000 encrypted messages, beginning in 1967 when the elder Walker was working aboard a U.S. nuclear submarine.

Two sad aspects of this saga were that Walker had been allowed to join the military rather than serve time for burglary--not the very best way to recruit-- and that no one suspected him of selling documents to a foreign power until his own ex-wife ratted him out when he would not pay her alimony.

Son Michael got out of prison in 2000, but Walker and the other members of his spy ring all received life sentences.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disgraced political figure Rod Blagojevich

Note: Here follow a sample of U.S. political figures of various kinds whose reputations have been harmed by scandal. Some of these individuals have suffered from zipper trouble; others from the heavy need for that root of all evil, money; and a few for still other troubles.

Youthful looking, mop-haired Rod Blagojevich was Governor of Illinois from 2003 until he was removed from that office in 2009. The charges brought against him were several, but the straw that broke the camel's back in his case was the allegation that he attempted to "sell" the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when Mr. Obama won the White House.

For that and other similar matters, Blagojevich, age 52 at the time, was impeached; he has now been indicted by a federal grand jury, as well.

He maintained his innocence, and although he lost his high office, he put up one heck a PR damage-control campaign in his attempt to remain governor.

Disgraced political figure Michael D. Brown

Aside from the horrible plight of the thousands of people who lost their homes and jobs due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005,one of the most pathetic sights of that time was President George W. Bush complimenting Michael Brown for his FEMA management, saying with total cluelessness, "You're doin' a heck of a job, Brownie."

At that time, Brown, a political appointee, was the federal government's head of FEMA response under Homeland Security.

Brown's lack of awareness was such that he admitted to CNN that, despite constant reporting, he did not realize that many of the storm's displaced persons were being quartered in the New Orleans Convention Center awaiting food, water and other help.

Embarrased, Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff relieved "Brownie" of his Gulf Coast duties a few days later. In turn, Brown placed the blame on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco.

Interestingly, Brown is now an executive for a consulting firm, specializing in disaster recovery.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Disgraced political figure Henry Cisneros

An accomplished fellow, Henry Cisneros had become the first Hispanic man to be elected mayor of a big American city (San Antonio, TX, in 1981) and from 1993 to 1997 was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.

His well meant involvement in changing mortgage rules to help more low-income people achieve the "American dream" of home ownership later turned into the nightmare that helped bring on our nation's present recession.

Cisneros had to resign in 1997 due to money he had paid the woman with whom he had been involved in an extramarital affair, Linda Medlar.

As is usual with prominent politicians, he failed to come clean under questioning and in 1997, was hit with a variety of charges, including giving false statements.

Cisneros was allowed a plea agreement and got off with a small fine. Finally, in 2001,he was the grateful recipient of one of Bill Clinton's many presidential pardons.

Disgraced political figure Gary Condit

Like many other members of Congress who get themselves into zipper trouble, Gary Condit, who represented California in the U.S. House, is rather a handsome chap who looks younger than his actual years.

Condit, a Democrat, served his state from 1989 until 1993. What caused his political tumble was an affair with a 23-year-old political intern (he was 53 at the time).

The affair came to public light in 2001 after the young woman, Chandra Levy, disappeared. At first he denied any wrongdoing regarding the extramarital affair but upon further questioning by police, admitted to it. He was not an official suspect in her disappearance, although rumors flew, a couple of which caused Condit to sue for libel.

Later news reports revealed Condit had had an earlier affair with an airline stewardess.

Nevertheless, he pressed on, running for another term, but lost in the primary. He has since gone into the ice cream business.

The body of Miss Levy was found in Washington's Rock Creek Park in 2002, and in 2009, police arrested ex-con Ingmar Guandique and indicted him for Levy's killing.

Condit sued Dominick Dunne of Vanity Fair magazine in 2002;suit was settled out of court. Condit tried to sue Dunne a second time for repeating the alleged libel, but a judge tossed that suit. The former congressman also brought suit against a small California weekly, but in 2007, that suit, too, was dismissed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Disgraced political figure Bull Connor

Perhaps Theophilus "Bull" Connor was merely a product of his times, but the man will go down in U.S. history as the very face of racial discrimination and repression as it was once practiced in the Deep South.

Connor, Alabama-born, won a seat in his state's legislature in 1934 and two years later became Birmingham's commissioner of police, a post he held for more than two decades.

Connor ran unsuccessfully for governor of his state in 1950 and got into trouble the following year for having a fling with his secretary. He was nearly impeached, but a state appeals court saved him from that fate. He also was said to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Connor's lasting infamy, however, came in 1963 when he ordered fire hoses and police dogs loosed on protesters organized by Martin Luther King. The resulting TV footage revolted decent Americans and shamed our nation in front of the rest of the world. The irony is that that footage proved to be a turning point in race relations and in the attitudes of all but the most entrenched segregationists.

Connor died in 1973 after having suffered two strokes.

Disgraced political figure Larry Craig

In 2007, Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested and charged with lewd goings-on in an airport restroom.

Craig had represented his state in Congress since 1991 and was on the board of the NRA (National Rifle Association). Rumors had circulated about Craig's sexuality for years, but no charges of any kind were ever filed.

The truly unusual facet of his 2007 troubles was that the senator initally pled guilty to disorderly conduct, yet denied that he had practiced lewd behavior in the Minneapolis men's room. He announced that he would resign from the Senate but later attempted to withdraw his guilty plea and changed his mind about resigning. Craig did not run for re-election and served out his term which ended after 2008.

Like many other former members of Congress, he founded a consulting business.

Craig will long be remembered for his remark that he merely had a "wide stance" when doing No.1.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Disgraced political figure Duke Cunningham

Randy "Duke" Cunningham represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 until 2005, when he resigned due to multiple charges of misconduct.

Cunningham had a heroic career in the Navy prior to getting into the dirty business of politics. He was an ace fighter pilot in Vietnam and after that, a flight instructor of future Navy pilots.

As a congressman, he was no shrinking violet. He was an outspoken far-right Republican who showed little patience with "soft" Democrats. He was tough on crime--ironic, as it happens.

When charges against him began to surface, he initially admitted only to bad judgment. As evidence began to pile up, he eventually pled guilty to taking large bribes, tax fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.

In 2006, Cunningham was given an 8-year prison sentence and was ordered to surrender $1.8 million. He should have listened to President John Kennedy when that leader said, "Ask not..."

The Copley News Service and the San Diego Union-Tribune won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their work that dug up the dirt on Cunningham.

Disgraced political figure Tom DeLay

It is important to note that former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has not yet been convicted of anything illegal, but in 2005 he resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives amidst charges of campaign finance misdeeds.

Staunchly conservative, DeLay (nicknamed The Hammer) was pro-life, pro-Israel, pro-business, against the teaching of evolution, and a major foe of environmental advocacy groups. He also joined in the debate over what to do about disconnecting comatose patient Terri Schiavo from life support. DeLay, of course, argued against disconnecting her feeding tube.

It appears that DeLay's troubles stem from his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pled guilty to various fraud charges.

Since is departure from Congress, DeLay has started his own political blog, has published a book and has appeared on Dancing with the Stars.

Disgraced political figure John Edwards

One of the saddest falls from grace among many in this category of the blog was that of John Edwards, whose hopes for our nation's highest office were wiped out by an affair he had with one of his campaign staffers, Rielle Hunter.

The sadness was not so much in the disappointment suffered by Edwards himself, but in the anguish caused his wife and the mother of his four children, Elizabeth Edwards, cancer sufferer.

John Edwards became known to the nation as Sen. John Kerry's vice presidential running mate in the 2004 election. Having lost that one, Edwards returned to the state he once served in the U.S. Senate, North Carolina, and in 2001, accepted a position at the Chapel Hill School of Law.

Having retained his hopes of making it into the White House, Edwards became a Democratic candidate for president in the 2008 race. His Republican opponents derided him as "The Breck Girl" due to his shiny mop of hair, which made him look younger than his actual years.

In his younger years, Edwards had become the most successful plaintiffs' lawyer in North Carolina and had his own highly profitable firm in Raleigh.

His undoing as a candidate stemmed from his affair with Hunter, which he initially denied, then finally confirmed. Americans' hearts went out to his wife, still fighting cancer.

A child born to Hunter has never been proved to be Edwards', but in a seamy twist to the tale, Edwards' aide Andrew Young (not the one from Atlanta) at first claimed that he was the father of Hunter's child, then recanted that story, saying Edwards had pressured him to make the bogus claim.

It has not been a pretty story, to say the very least.

Disgraced political figure John Ensign

A dapper, youthful looking Republican from Nevada is John Ensign, whose reputation was slightly dented in 2009 when he admitted to having an affair with a woman on his staff.

The woman in question was the wife of one of Ensign's top aides.

After the admission, Ensign and his own wife apparently reconciled. Ensign was one of the many Republican members of the House of Representatives who called for Democrat Bill Clinton to resign in the wake of the Monica Lewinski scandal.

Also, Ensign has opposed same-sex marriage, has been staunchly pro-life and has often espoused the sanctity of marriage and family life.

Ensign, who has been in Congress since 1995, entered politics after a successful veterinary career.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Disgraced political figure Mark Foley

Florida Republican Mark Foley, who represented his state in the U.S. House of Representatives, resigned in 2006 in the midst of a scandal involving sexually oriented emails.

The emails in question were sent by Foley to boys who had been pages in Congress. Ironically, Foley had spoken out in Congress against the activities of pedophiles. In fairness, he did vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriages.

A number of former pages came forward making charges of inappropriate conduct on Folwy's part over a period of roughly 10 years.

No physical sexual contact with minors was proved about the congressman and no criminal charges were filed against him.

Foley revealed that as a boy, he was abused by a member of the clergy and also revealed that he had a drinking problem.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Disgraced political figure Rudy Giuliani

OK. Ok. Maybe "disgraced" is a little harsh in Giuliani's case. Perhaps "sullied" would be more accurate.

Giuliani, almost always photographed smiling broadly, was Mayor of New York City in between the terms of David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, and a very popular mayor he was, too.

The Republican, George W. Bush-backing Giuliani was appreciated most for his part in reducing street crime in the city, his success at prosecuting the various New York crime families during his time as the city's U.S. Attorney, and for his seeming omnipresence to bolster morale after the World Trade Center disaster.

The Brooklyn-born politician, having achieved widespread name recognition all over the nation, made a run for the White House in the 2008 election, but his campaign fizzled amid accusations of fraudulent billing associated with an extramarital affair he was having at the time. This affair, with Judith Nathan, whom he later married, was the second such drawback to his political hopes. In 1997, a story in Vanity Fair magazine had reported another affair, this one with his communications chief, Cristyne Ford Lategano.

After his term as mayor ended in 2001, Giuliani joined a law firm and opened his own investment banking company plus his own security consulting firm.

Disgraced political figure William J. Jefferson

Nine-term Democrat representing Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives William Jefferson was found guilty in 2009 of 11 of 16 charges against him.

Jeferson, an African-American Harvard Law School graduate, was convicted of bribery, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

Most damning of all was the FBI's having found $90,000 in marked bills wrapped in foil, concealed in frozen food boxes and stashed in the congressman's office freezer. That's a lot of cold cash, and its journey's beginning was videotaped by the FBI, as well. The search warrant that allowed this 2006 revelation is thought to have been the first FBI raid of a U.S. congressman's office. One hopes it is not the last.

Jefferson denied any guilt, has not yet been sentenced, and vows to appeal his conviction. Even so, he lost his House seat in 2008 to Republican Anh Cao. Jefferson and his wife filed for Chaper 7 bankruptcy protection in 2009.

Disgraced political figure John Jenrette

By far the most colorful figure brought down by the FBI's Abscam sting in 1979 was John Jenrette, Democrat, who represented South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He was colorful in that he was young and energetic and in that he was at that time married to a blonde of extraordinary beauty with whom he is said to have had sex one night on the steps of the Capitol. The excellent D.C. comedy troupe, The Capitol Steps, have the Jenrettes to thank for their group name.

In 1980, John was found guilty of taking $50,000 from a phony Arab sheik in exchange for his congressional influence. He got a two-year sentence, and the shapely Rita divorced him and did an eye-popping spread in Playboy magazine.

John Jenrette later went into public relations and property development in his native state.

Disgraced political figure Kwame Kilpatrick

The son of a well known political family in Detroit, 31-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick became Detroit's youngest mayor in 2002.

His tenure as governor was as sore beset with trouble as his city's economy, and in 2008, he resigned his office as part of a plea arrangement.

Kilpatrick had been charged with a wealth of misdeeds, which he initially denied, including an extramarital affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

His attempts to blame his woes on racism, inasmuch as he is African American, failed.

Other portions of his plea deal required that he spend four months behind bars, repay the city $1 million, surrender his law license and give up his pension rights from his period as a state representative.

Disgraced political figure Bob Livingston

A Republican who represented Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 1999, popular conservative Bob Livingston resigned after marital infidelity revelations surfaced.

Democrats smirked at this news, inasmuch as Livingston not long before had loudly called for Bill Clinton to resign as president following the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Livingston had been remarkable in that he was the first Republican within living memory to have been elected to Congress from his state.

Livingston was replaced by David Vitter, who lasted but a little while until he was brought low by a sex scandal of his own.

A truly odd aspect of Livingston's political demise was that the governor's affair had been brought to light by Larry Flynt, publisher of the girlie magazine Hustler.

Disgraced political figure Jim McGreevey

Another of the increasingly numerous governors to resign because of extramarital sexual adventures is Jim McGreevey of New Jersey.

McGreevey, a Democrat, led his state from 2002 until in 2004, he came out as gay and admitted his affair with an Israeli man named Golan Cipel, whom the governor had hired as his state's director of homeland security, even though the man's credentials for such a post were minimal at best. Cipel denied being gay and said he had been sexually harassed by McGreevey.

When McGreevey made his dramatic resignation announcement, his wife stood by his side in one of those supremely uncomfortable moments of political life.

Disgraced political figure Dick Morris

Included here because of his former role as a top political adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, Dick Morris suddenly dropped out as Bill Clinton's campaign manager for reelection in 1996 after news reports appeared revealing Morris' "affair" with a prostitute, Sherry Rowlands.

According to Rowlands, Morris especially liked toe-sucking. She also revealed that he had let her a Clinton speech prior to its delivery.

Lord knows, President Clinton had enough marital infidelity troubles of his own, and Morris, a further embarrassment, had to go.

Naturally, Morris remained in the political consulting business and began to specialize in the campaigns of other nations.

Morris' infidelity doesn't seem to have harmed his career all that much. In America, what do we do with someone like him? Why, we turn him into a New York Post columnist and a Fox commentator, of course. And media convergence being what it is, he also started his own political Web site, Vote.com and has published a number of books, some of them critical of the Clintons.

His prediction that the presidential election of 2008 would be between Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice proved wrong.

Disgraced political figure John M. Murphy

Caught in the net of the FBI's 1979 sting operation known as Abscam was House of Representatives member John Michael Murphy, New York Democrat.

Video footage made available to U.S. television audiences showed Murphy literally stuffing his clothing with cash that he thought was from an influence-buying Arab sheik.

Murphy was given a three-year prison sentence on conspiracy charges and in 1980 lost his reelection bid as well.

Before getting into the smudgy business of politics, Murphy had been a decorated Marine officer and had served honorably in Vietnam.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Disgraced political figure Bob Packwood

One of those powerful politicians who seem to think "harass" is two words, Bob Packwood of Oregon resigned from the U.S. Senate in 1995 after being recommended by the Senate Ethics Committee for expulsion.

His weakness was women, which came to public light in 1992 in a devastating story in the Washington Post. That story told of complaints made by 10 staffers and lobbyists who said they had been groped or otherwise abused by the senator, who for two years in the 1980s had been chair of the Senate's Finance Committee.

Following his resignation, Packwood started his own D.C. lobbying company.

Disgraced political figure Daniel Rostenkowski

Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee and a 36-year veteran in the House Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in 1991 found himself under investigation for a variety of corrupt practices.

Turning postage stamps into cash, personal use of funding for his office, and giving people bogus "jobs" were among the charges.

Rostenkowki, a Democrat, was sent to prison for 18 months in 1995. He once had been, at 24, the youngest member of the House, and his many connections along the way helped him receive a presidential pardon in 2000 from the Great Pardoner himself--Bill Clinton.

Disgraced political figure John G. Rowland

John Grosvenor Rowland was a highly popular three-term governor of Connecticut, but his powerful position led him astray and into a 10-month prison stay.

Rowland, a Republican, led his state from 1995-2004, when he resigned his high office.

Reports of political graft were at first denied by the governor, but finally he plead guilty to tax and mail fraud charges after some of his aides began to spill the beans.

Following his prison stay plus four more months of house arrest, he began to put his life back together and today heads economic development for the city of Waterbury, CT.