Philadelphia Metropolis


Vincent's Lament

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Vincent Fumo.jpgIt's hard to keep a megalomaniac down, or at least quiet.

Witness the emails that emanated from former state Sen. Vince Fumo from his prison in Kentucky, railing against the feds, the media, his former loyalists, comparing himself to "Caesar and Jesus all tied into one with Brutus and Judas stabbing me in the back."

Block that metaphor!

To summarize the hundreds of emails, let's just say Vince is unrepentant and pissed off.

And he lets his Id do the talking, sending out the linear equivalent of screams and howls from his jail cell, punctuated -- oddly, strangely -- with happy  :-) and sad :-( faces.

Reading these emails, you have to think: This is crazy.

Not the contents, but the timing.

The emails were released by federal prosecutors who are in the midst of a campaign to get Fumo's 55-month prison for corruption raised to, say, 15 years.  They appealed U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter's original verdict, saying it was too lenient and failed to follow federal sentencing guidelines.

The appeals court agreed and sent the case back to Buckwalter, who will hold a hearing next Wednesday (Nov 9) on the issue. The odds that he will increase the sentence just grew, due to Vince's emails, sent out even though he knew the feds would have access to them and despite both his lawyer and fiancé telling him, as she put it in an email, to SHUSH UP.

But there is no shushing Vince. He bragged about how he had up to 15 hours of access to the computer on any given day and proceeded to use that time to create a series of emailed Merlot moments, without benefit of the Merlot.

The thing about Vince that I noticed as he advanced in politics is that he seemed to lose his governor. Not as in Corbett or Rendell. As in a centrifugal governor, a device invented in the 18th Century to regulate the speed of steam engines.

Lacking a governor, which controls the amount of fuel an engine can get, it would simply run faster and faster until it exploded or fell apart.

Most of us have governors. It's that internal device that stops us from, say, punching someone out when they insult you, or writing ugly rants to those who have crossed you.

Who among us has not sat down to write a red-hot-with-anger letter to someone that vented our feelings? The old rule was to let the letter sit a day before mailing it. Nine times out of 10, upon review, we would tear the letter up.

Thanks to modern technology, though, we can just hit the send button and have it winging its way.

The thing about Vince is that this same lack of a governor got him into trouble in the first place. He is a case study in wretched excess, using OPM (Other Peopl's Money) to buy himself various baubles and perks.

Prison hasn't changed him a bit. Though, I have to give him credit. There's a visceral eloquence to his rants that reminds me of a modern version of a Shakespeare soliloquy. Here is one email Vince sent set to poetic style.


I never hurt anyone in my life.

There were no victims.

But, because of who I was

And the jealousies that swirl around

My success and power,

I was targeted.

In the end, I got convicted of

Technical bullshit.

But the press started a feeding frenzy

That has still not subsided.

So it cost me my career, my pension

All of my cash...

And my freedom.

If that isn't a travesty of justice

I don't know what is ????. :-(

If this were a Shakespeare play, this would be followed by a stage direction, such as:

Exeunt Stage Left. Alas, poor Vincent, I do not think he is going to exeunt prison anytime soon. He may have typed himself into more years in jail.

-- Tom Ferrick

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