I’ve had the same e-mail address for about eight years now, which is saying something. I’m not sure what.
Anyway, after today, that address (it starts with “freejimtraficant”) is no longer really relevant, since Jim Traficant will be freed from a federal prison sometime today. Jimbo, the former congressman from my former district in Ohio was sentenced to prison seven years ago on corruption charges. He was kicked out of Congress as well, after saying stuff like this:
Now he’s getting out, and the sideshow begins:
- In 2002, the minor league Mahoning Valley Scrappers held Jim Traficant Night. Those wearing a toupee or those who could prove that they were the son of a truck driver got in free. Turns out, the team wanted to do the same thing for Jimbo’s release. Not so much.
- A Youngstown TV station promised to deliver Jim’s first letter to the media since his trip to prison. In fact, they said it was his first contact with the media in seven years. Then the story aired. Was it a revealing first-hand look at his time behind bars? No. Traficant rambled on about some book he’s writing about high school football.
- There will be a Jim Traficant Appreciation Dinner, which the former congressman is not expected to attend. It’s $20-a-plate, and according to the Youngstown Vindicator, “all party goers are invited to dress Jimbo-style. But if you don’t own skinny ties, bell-bottom pants and denim suits — all Traficant trademark clothes — the dress is casual.”
- Some guy paints Traficant-related art. One shows him as a UFO. Yeah, you can buy one if you want.
My actual contact with Traficant has been nil, except for the one time he visited my high school and I asked him a question about NAFTA and he got all pissed off. His response wasn’t like this, but it was close:
I ended up with the e-mail address on a lark; I didn’t want something like jeremy3952, so I just typed in random stuff, and freejimtraficant was the first one that stuck. And it’s stuck ever since. I have a bunch of Traficant campaign paraphernalia, thanks to my dad, who stopped by the campaign office one night and picked up pins, t-shirts and yard signs. That, of course, was the year that Jimbo ran from prison.
I’ll be watching today to see what happens. Jim’s not expected to talk to the media. But if he does, beam me up.
From September 2, 2009