back to article 'Series of Tubes' Senator convicted of corruption

Alaska Senator Ted 'Series of Tubes' Stevens was convicted Monday on seven felony counts for lying about hundreds of thousands of dollars in free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor. Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens Federal jurors found Stevens, 84, guilty of falsifying his annual Senate …


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  1. Sooty

    strangely enough

    he actually seems pretty technologically savvy for a politician!

  2. Stevie Silver badge

    The Man is a Genius!

    Rarely has anyone managed to describe the complex and highly technical infrastructure that connects the nation's computers so accurately, so informatively and yet so poetically.

    I look forward to his groundbreaking forthcoming technical manual "The Design Of The Unix Operating System" in which he will liken the internals of the OS to a bunch of magic slates with only one stylus.

    "There's this thing called a stack and when it overflows, you get what systems programmers call a stack overflow, which causes all kinds of slowdowns and makes your internets arrive a day late".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Austin Modine

    My Internets haven't arrived yet. Quit clogging the tubes with your bloggery.

  4. Frumious Bandersnatch

    unix is nothing like a dump truck

    It's more like a set of pipes.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The Senator says NO!

    Well, except to goodies for his house - or multimillion dollar bridges to sparsely populated islands.

    Then he's all yes.

    The amusing thing is that he was so sure he'd get off that he asked for an expedited trial so that he'd be "clear" for the election. He's something for the election, but not clear.

    One corrupt Alaskan down, one to go.

    Maybe Paris can go for the seat ...

  6. Phillip

    We're not all as dumb as him...

    This guy makes Americans look worse than we already appear. I swear, how this man got elected senator of anything is beyond me. Wait, isn't he from the same state as our predetermined future VP (and subsequent President)? Oh no...

    To think that he has ANY say/vote/opinion on anything technical is a travesty. The fact that he made those statements adds salt to the wound.

    On behalf of all Americans, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the world for this man ever having face time to begin with.

    Mine's the one with a hefty dose of shame inthe pocket...

  7. James Butler

    That's not the wacky thing

    The wacky thing is this:

    1) Stevens has been convicted, therefore he is now a "convicted felon"

    2) While he cannot cast a vote as a "convicted felon", HE CAN STILL RUN FOR OFFICE!

    3) If he gets re-elected, HE CAN STILL SERVE HIS TERM ... until he goes to jail, IF he goes to jail.

    Pretty wacky.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Whats the Problem

    First - Sounds like a reasonable explanation of how the Internet gets bogged down to me - wish others could explain some of the more tech stuff in so simple terms.

    Second - Why all the fuss over a chair and house renovations - sounds fairly minor to me and anyway, whats the point in being a politician if you don't get any perks.

    Third and Final. Before their is a mass shout about how bad this guy is - at least from other politicians, they should be very careful to check that they have never received any form of advantage what so ever from their position - even to the extent of car use, upgraded seat when flying or even someone opening a door for them.

    Mines the coat with the thick brown envelope :-)

  9. Sam C

    It's not a bad analogy

    If he's said "It's *like* a series of tubes", it might not have sounded so stupid. I'm sure that's what he was told to say anyway, but he muffed it.

    But at any rate, this guy is clearly a crook, so he gets what he deserves. Altho the only difference between him and just about every other politician is he got caught.

  10. Sam

    Never mind all that...

    Is that a syrup alert or what?

  11. J


    If a guy like that is speaking against net neutrality, I believe that's proof that ending neutrality is not good for me, but sure very good for whomever is paying his bills to say these things. Senators ain't cheap, or I'd buy myself one.

  12. Serenity

    @ AC: So what's the problem

    For an 84 year old man I'll agree with you that Steven's explanation isn't entirely terrible, even if it is muddled. And you get muddled form an 84 year old Alaskan.

    As to the rest of your points, there's no problem with a politician having a few perks, but there are huge problems with people buying your support through financial advantage and then going a step further and actively hiding that said money, goods, or services were provided.

    What you can and cannot accept and what you must and must not disclose as a United States Senator is clearly established, not only did Stevens accept what amounted to gifts from an oil lobbyist (friend or not) he went on to hide the fact that he accepted him (the illegal part, which he was convicted for). Are other politicians guilty of similar things? Unfortunately, it's not only likely I'm sure it's common place, but Stevens got caught, so he gets beaten up on.

    Sorry, he doesn't get a "aww you should have done better." He was put in a position of trust by the people, and longest serving Senator or not, he's the most recent to publicly fail.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    the wrong article

    In fact I think there was a nice article about the RIAA wanting to own the srtreaming pipe to your computer without any interference bye others on the way. Perhaps he was poor enough only to read one article. Sertainly, in his possision, it is enough to put him in prisson.

    But then again, he did read one article, and that is a lot after all.

  14. Chad H.

    This is all a misunderstanding

    You see, it wasn't a bribe at all...

    It was a series of Tubes.

  15. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like his career as a Senator is.....

    ....going down the tubes?

    [I do hope this 'Internet' gets published]

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled ..."

    So wait, they have bottomless trucks in America?

  17. Mark

    re: so what's the problem?

    The problem is that this senator who doesn't know what the internet is was at the time in charge of how the internet should work.

    If your doctor was heard to say "your heart is like a big pump and like a big pump it needs grease" would you be happy for them to check out that funny feeling in your chest? To open it up and tinker with it?

  18. Brian

    Gotta repost this

    Not original (someone posted this on Slashdot, and I believe it was originally on Digg), but:

    "Prison - it's like a series of cubes"

  19. Douglas Lowe
    Black Helicopters

    Election Plan

    So, McCain gets Senator Steven's to step down - leaving an opening for a Republican candidate in Alaska. Only with the election just days away they need a well know Alaskan Republican - so in steps Palin (pushed by McCain?). McCain now needs another running mate - decides to go for the celebrity factor, and ropes in Schwarzenegger.

    Schwarzenegger for president 2009?

    (Note: I fully acknowledge I'm ignoring many, many US election laws with this suggestion, but it's a fun idea anyway)

  20. Dave Harris Bronze badge

    @James Butler

    While I'm sure what you say is true, I believe there's also something in the Alaska laws governing eligibility that says that any candidate for a (federal) elected position must be a qualified voter, hence, a convicted as yet unsentenced felon is not qualified to vote (a felon who has served their sentence is qualified) is not qualified to stand for a (federal) position. There's been some comment about this from the guys at Reality Based Community ( ).


    A Governor can normally appoint a replacement senator in case of death or conviction, but I'm not sure that applies when a sentence and/or re-election is pending. It's possib le that Gov. Palin could appoint herself, but if Begich (sp?) wins the Alaska Senate race, the point is moot anyway. I think Nate Silver at has some thoughts on this.

    And I'm open to correction on these points from someone who knows better.

    Happy face because, if Nate's right, things will go the right way (el Reg, how about a "fingers crossed" icon?)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "This guy makes Americans look worse than we already appear."

    Why? He doesn't appear that bad to me. Although having said that, he does look like an Arab.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet analogies.

    I hope all the morons that can't cope with a simple and fairly reasonable analogy don't

    forget to jump on anyone who refers to internet connections as pipes in the same way.

    It'd be a right tedious arsehole who would witter on for hours with technical detail when a

    simple plumbing analogy would suffice.

  23. Tony


    What is this internets thing that everyone is on about?

    I demand that someone print me off a copy right away so I can check it for inaccuracies.

  24. Ted Treen

    @ Phillip

    Don't apologise - just 'cos he's American doesn't mean that he's your fault...

    After all, we Brits have Blair, Brown and Mandelson (and loads more of that ilk) but since I never voted for any of 'em - and counselled stridently against anyone else doing so - I don't feel too ashamed.

    Surpressed, dehumanised, marginalised, despairing, ignored - well yes.

    But not ashamed.

    Mine's the one with a copy of "Insurrection for the middle-aged" in the pocket....

  25. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    @ Philip

    ***"This guy makes Americans look worse than we already appear. I swear, how this man got elected senator of anything is beyond me."***

    Tell you what, we'll swap him for Mandelson.

    We take Ted Stevens off your hands and make him a Lord, you stick Mandelson in the slammer for 35 years.

    Sound fair?

  26. Andrew


    A simple analogy normally suffices to explain to Joe Blogs/Joe the plumber what's going on.

    What made this mock-worthy was, as has already been pointed out:

    1) He mucked up the line (missing out the critical word _like_ )

    2) He mucked up the whole speech (eg "internet" etc)

    3) He clearly had no deeper grasp of the matters beyond the analogy he himself was using

    4) His repeated use of words like "commercial" to mean "stuff that the people paying me can't make additional money from"

    5) From all the above, he clearly has no real understanding of how the internet currently works

    6) He was in a position to pass legislation on how it should work

  27. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    @ re: so what's the problem?

    Like a BBC presenter supporting his mate Russel Brand this morning:

    OK yes one person got a phone call and a couple were upset but what real difference did it make to anyone?

    Where does it stop?

    OK so a child got run over by a drunk and then raped by him then he ate the body; so what? It didn't affect the rest of us.

    OK so one American Presidunce invaded Iraq so what? It doesn't affect the rest of us.

  28. Steve

    I've heard worse

    I knew a guy who once asked me if you could fit the internet on a dvd.

  29. John Wise

    But you get free Ring-Ding!

    "Just the other day an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o' clock in the morning on Friday – I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things that are going on in the Internet commercially."

    Surely he needs faster Internet Service Providings!? Something like a 42 Megabytings connection should do the trick nicely. And, if he signs up in the next 3 days, he will also get a free ring-ding!

    Mine's the one with bobblehat in the left pocket!

  30. Schultz
    Thumb Down

    Got it wrong!

    The internet is not a series of tubes, else the sh!t flowing in would just drip out somewhere else. The thing is based on discreet "packets" which get "routed" through the strangest places and sometimes get lost. Of course you can "trace" your packets, but you have to find that mailing slip first.

    Now why didn't we just buy some trucks instead?

  31. Glenn Charles

    actually, not true; some jail time is expected

    It's just at boy's camp for a few months, though, if it happens. There are prisons for the rich or famous, you know.


  32. Pierre

    The truck analogy is better

    Actually, he got it all wrong. The Intarwubs are much more like trucks than like tubes. You give parcels to the truck driver (your provider) and he passes it on to other drivers, and so on until it eventually reaches the destination (much like DHL or Purolator courriers). And sometimes the driver refuses your parcels because the truck is full (or because he thinks the truck might fill too quickly). That is named throttling. So you have to wait for the next truck. Of course this analogy is not very good either. The intarwed are more tube-like trucks with drunk drivers actually. The most appropriate name would be trubes, methink. Yes, this is the perfect analogy. The Internet is a collection of trubes.

    Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with delayed e-mails (or "internets", as some might call them). Maybe someone should explain him that you actually need to plug the computer in to receive "internets"?

  33. Mike Groombridge

    actually i used a simalar discribption once

    but i used vacum tubes like the tills at super stores to as my analogy to explain how the internet. (simular not pural) worked to my nan. she used to get confused between e-mail and internet to at first. she picked it up and corrected my aunt once saying it's e-mail the hints in the name Mail :-) but to be fair to him it's not like he has a real job where he may actually use email so would need to know the difference.

    as for the point that he's been convicted good he deserves it for hiding the cash hell he'd probable cept half of it if he'd declared it

  34. James Butler

    @Dave Harris

    The Alaska state constitution provides that "[n]o person may vote who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude unless his civil rights have been restored." The term "felony involving moral turpitude" is defined to include nearly all felonies. In Alaska, voting rights are restored, and felons may re-register to vote upon completion of their sentences including any terms of parole or probation. (Each state gets to set its own rules in this regard.)

    The only qualifications for running for Congressional office are those spelled out in the U.S. Constitution -- basically, matters of residency. No other state or federal requirements can be imposed. That includes any effort to bar someone convicted of a felony.

    The Senate gets to set its own rules about who can serve. It can expel a member by a two-thirds vote. This would be an option whether Stevens' appeal survives or not, and whether he goes to jail or not.

    If Stevens' appeal fails and he goes to jail, the Alaskan Governor (Palin) gets to test the current waters by appointing a replacement for him. Alaska has gone back and forth several times over the years about whether the Governor can simply appoint a replacement or whether an election is required. Currently, the Governor can appoint a replacement, but would likely face a court challenge if she does so.

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