Sex Scandals

Tantaros’ Complaint Against Fox News, O’Reilly, Ailes, and Others

What kind of a place is Fox News?  These allegations keep on coming.

Some excerpts:

[C]ommencing in February 2016, Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.” Fox News did take one action: plainly because of O’Reilly’s rumored prior sexual harassment issues and in recognition of Tantaros’s complaints, Brandi informed Cane that Tantaros would no longer be appearing on O’Reilly’s Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor.

Ew…. and….

Perhaps the most shocking encounter of all was a Spring 2015 meeting between Tantaros and Fox News Senior Executive, Defendant William Shine (“Shine”), during which Tantaros sought relief from Ailes’s sexual harassment… In response, Shine told Tantaros that Ailes was a “very powerful man” and that Tantaros “needed to let this one go.” Yet, after Ailes was revealed to be a sexual predator and forced to resign, Shine was promoted to Co-President of Fox News. Shine’s inexplicable elevation sends the message that it will be “business as usual” at Fox News when it comes to the treatment of women

Here’s the whole thing:

Cooper Files Response To DOJ Complaint

News-Observer:

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday that his office and four outside attorneys would represent North Carolina in the federal government’s challenge of House Bill 2, hours after making a political issue of a court document filed in the case by his Democratic challenger.

An exchange of political volleys Thursday started when the Republican governor portrayed Attorney General Roy Cooper – who has said he would not defend the law – as reversing himself by responding to the complaint by the Department of Justice.

Cooper’s office had filed the response on Friday, with a deadline to respond looming and no other private attorneys representing North Carolina at the time – raising the possibility that the state could have been left unrepresented or had a judgment entered against it for lack of response. The filing asked for an extension of the deadline.

On Thursday, Cooper’s campaign called McCrory’s criticism misleading, reiterating Cooper’s opposition to the law and that he wouldn’t defend it.

McCrory’s campaign then called on Cooper to resign as attorney general “for gross incompetence.”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the federal Department of Justice brought the lawsuit last month, naming as defendants the state, McCrory, the state Department of Public Safety and the UNC system and its board of governors.

Put another way, McCrory was going to blow off the deadline in the DOJ lawsuit, so Cooper filed a response to the complaint.  Cooper agrees with the DOJ, so McCrory was not happy with the nature of the response.

Basically, it was a set-up.  McCrory wanted to make Cooper look bad by making Cooper stick to his guns and not defend the case.  When Cooper did file a (conceding) response, McCrory could then claim that Cooper was incompetent.

Except it really doesn’t seem that way.  It seems that Cooper saved McCrory from a default judgment.

The Cuban Mistress Crisis

The National Enquirer is reporting that Ted Cruz is hiding five different mistresses.

Before you scoff, remember that the National Enquirer was right about Gary Hart’s affair, and John Edwards.  Others in (somewhat) more respectable media outlets seem to think it is accurate.

Brietbart News is claiming the story was peddled to them some time ago by “Rubio allies”

The bombshell report, published in the magazine’s March 25th issue, includes pixelated photos of the women allegedly involved with the first-term senator, but doesn’t give their names.

However, several reports in online journals and on Twitter — where the hashtag #CruzSexScandal is trending worldwide — identify one of the women as Katrina Pierson, a former Cruz aide and tea party congressional candidate who now works for GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

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Pierson identified above rejected the allegations on Twitter:

Yet she made her Instragram account private last night:

ted-cruz-sex-scandal-katrina-pierson_grande

Another of Cruz’s purported lovers outed by the Internet is Sarah Isgur Flores, who worked for former Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO briefly challenged Trump for the lead in the race, but she dropped out of the campaign in February.

Last July, a Cruz-affiliated super PAC donated $500,000 to Fiorina’s campaign, without explanation — a highly unusual move that is being reexamined in light of the Enquirer’s report about Cruz’s indiscretions. And Fiorina made a highly publicized last-minute endorsement of Cruz in the final days before the Florida primary, helping him come in a respectable second to Trump and keeping his White House hopes alive.

A third woman has been identified as Amanda Carpenter who denies as well

Cruz himself denies it, of course.  He posted this on his Facebook page:

I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won’t go.These smears are completely false, they’re offensive to Heidi and me, they’re offensive to our daughters, and they’re offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack.

Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

But THEN there is a story which I was GOING to blog about a long time ago, but I figured there was no there there.  It’s this, a Texas state police report from 2005 claiming that Heidi Cruz was a “danger to herself” as she was found sitting aside an Austin expressway.  Jilted?

heidi-cruz-police-report-ted-cruz-sex-scandal_grande

Trump, a longtime friend of the Enquirer’s CEO, says he has nothing to do with the Enquirer story.  And actually, I believe him.  He’s ahead.  Why attack Cruz now?  Or was their little spat about their wives what prompted this?

So far, a lot of speculation and nothing solid.  But in the weirdest of campaign seasons, who knows if it is possible?

RELATED:  Ted Cruz using the word “copulate” is just as bad as him using the word he was trying to avoid.

On The Ashley Madison Hack

So, a few days ago, the website Ashley Madison was hacked and its 37 million customers could soon have their data leaked online by a crew calling themselves The Impact Team.  Ashley Madison, for the uninitiated, is a site that lets spouses cheat on their partners — kind of like a match.com for adulterers. The Impact Team has threatened to release a huge trove of data beyond the snippets of information they already leaked from Avid Life Media, the owner of Ashley Madison and related properties Established Men and Cougar Life, if the cheating site was not shut down.

Why is Impact Team doing this?  Well, it seems they were particularly aggrieved at a service launched by Ashley Madison last year, promising it could delete users’ information so it was irrecoverable for $19. The hackers claimed that service didn’t do as advertised, and customers’ names and addresses were still stored on ALM’s servers.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team said in a notice alongside the leak, in which they also claimed to have taken complete control of ALM’s “office and production domains”, as well as “all customer information databases”.

If that is true, I think they have a point.

Now, I suppose the news of the leak is ho-hum news to a lot of people, but to 37 million — wait…. let’s just contemplate that number.

Wow.

Ok.  Well to them this is potentially… bad.  REAL bad.

What disgusts me are people like Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who posted a message on his Facebook page about the matter Wednesday afternoon, stating:

The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Ashley Madison, the website for people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked this weekend. Their slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Hackers threatened to reveal personal data related to 37 million users. I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands—God already knew! His holy Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God’s laws and standards never change—all sin has a price. The New York Daily News calls this an “‪#‎adultery‬ website.” Isn’t it a shame that immorality is such big business?

You know what?  F you, Franklin Graham.

Not being married nor inclined to cheat, I’m not personally affected by this hack, but it does establish a terrible precedent.  We don’t want to snicker at the cheaters who got caught because you never know what could be out in the dark hidden recesses of the web that reflects badly on you or. . .  and this is important . . . someone with the same name as you.  So I think we need to pay attention to this type of thing a little more closely.

Gawker Is Imploding

More fallout from this debacle:

Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of Gawker.com, are resigning from the company. In letters sent today, Craggs and Read informed staff members that the managing partnership’s vote to remove a controversial post about the CFO of Condé Nast—a unprecedented act endorsed by zero editorial employees—represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff. Under those conditions, Craggs and Read wrote, they could not possibly guarantee Gawker’s editorial integrity.

Excuse me?  “Editorial integrity?”

Gawker Does The Right Thing . . . Too Little, Too Late Though

I was going to write about a certain story, but I didn’t want to promote it.  Basically, the Gawker news site put a story up online about a certain person you have never heard.  And it doesn’t matter who it is.  But he is the brother of someone in Obama’s cabinet, and the CFO of a major publishing company.

And the story was long and detailed, but the thrust of it was simple: this man, who has a wife and kids, paid $2,500 to have sex with a male escort.  How did Gawker get the story?  The male escort was trying to blackmail the man-in-question, and passed on texts and emails to Gawker.  Which Gawker published last evening.  They basically outed a guy and destroyed his personal and possibly his career.

Gawker’s story, written by Jordan Sargent, instantly and almost universally provoked unbridled scorn, and rightfully so.  The story had many problems — including the question of whether the subject was prominent enough to be covered at all.  And for the LGBTQ community in particular, the story brought back memories of people effectively weaponizing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for blackmail and other threats.

Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read defended the story in a way that is utterly laughable, and it’s grounded in a premise that is very common when people want to wallow in others’ private lives, yet incredibly toxic.  He tweeted:

Ugh. Gawker wants you to think it is simply on the prowl to locate and punish adulterers who are vandalizing the sanctity of their marital vows. It’s just about solemn retribution for sinners. They are posing as the chivalrous defender of this man’s wife. (And note the sexist attitude of the tweet — what if a “married c-suite executive is cheating on her husband?)

But in truth, they are are hoping for clicks and pageviews so they can get revenue from their advertisers.  That’s all.  It’s not news — it is cllick-bait.

Even if you buy Read’s justification, you know it is a lie.  Read has no idea whether the CFO’s wife knew about the adultery or not. To justify the article, Read is feigning knowledge that he in fact completely lacks: the private, intimate understanding between the CFO whose life he tried to destroy and the wife whom he has deluded himself into believing he’s protecting.

A good rule of decency is to stay out of the private, personal, and sexual lives of consenting adults, absent some very compelling reason to involve yourself (such as damaging hypocrisy on the part of a political figure). The temptations to intrude into and sit in judgment of those aspects of other people’s lives are powerful, but they’re almost always lowly, self-degrading and scummy. If you have any doubts about that, reading that vile Gawker post will permanently dispel them.

So…..

I was going to write about all that, but Gawker just did the right thing, and took down the article.  Here’s the story about that, from, well, Gawker:

Yesterday, Gawker published a post about the CFO of Condé Nast attempting to pay a gay porn star for a night in a Chicago hotel. Today the managing partnership of Gawker Media voted, 5-1, to remove it. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the piece, was the sole dissenter.

The vote to remove the post, which was written by staff writer Jordan Sargent and edited by several other Gawker staffers, comes after widespread criticism from our own readers and other outlets. Along the Craggs, every other member of Gawker Media’s editorial leadership, including Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read and the executive editors of Gawker Media’s Politburo, strenuously protested removing the post.

The partners who voted to remove the post were Heather Dietrick, who serves as president and chief legal counsel; Andrew Gorenstein, who serves as the president of advertising and partnerships; chief operating officer Scott Kidder; chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew; and chief executive officer Nick Denton, who founded Gawker Media in 2002. Along with Tommy Craggs, they belong to Gawker Media’s managing partnership, which Denton established in 2014 and whose members decide on all major company matters.

“The point of this story was not in my view sufficient to offset the embarrassment to the subject and his family,” Denton wrote in a lengthy statement issued on Friday afternoon. “Accordingly, I have had the post taken down. It is the first time we have removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement.”

Score one for the mission-to-civilize.

Unfortunately, they don’t actually apologize.  They’re basically saying, we were right to post it, and we’re right to take it down.  Ugh again.

Some Sarah Word Salad

Why isn’t the dialogue going right now towards hey, let’s get that law enforcement official — he or her — who released this file, this confidential.

Who — who has been a victim, is a victim — would ever want to speak out and still be able to trust law enforcement that what they’re being told, with counselors and amongst themselves, that their files are going to be held confidential, and then they’re exploited! Why isn’t the press going after that police chief, she or he or whomever it was who released this, and you know it was for political reasons, Sean.

Duggar <> Dunham

So Sarah Palin wrote this:

I worship this.  And because no Facebook post by Sarah Palin is ever complete without a moment of total monkeyfuck insanity, the best part is where she jabbers, “Such obvious double standards applied to equally relevant stories underestimate the wisdom of the public, discredit the press, and spit on the graves of every American who fought and died for the press’s freedom.”  Kind of a leap there how she got the soldiers tied into it.

And Bristol wrote this:

I can’t believe how crazy the media is going over the Duggar family compared to the big fat yawn they gave Lena Dunham when she wrote in her book that she sexually experimented with her sister. I’m sorry to have to do this, but let me remind you:

In her new book called Not That Kind of Girl – according to Bradford Thomas — she writes about “experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using ‘anything a sexual predator might do.’ In one particularly unsettling passage, Dunham experimented with her six-year younger sister’s vagina. ‘This was within the spectrum of things I did,’ she writes.”

It gets worse.

She also – according to her own book – used her sister, “essentially as a sexual outlet, bribing her to kiss her for prolonged periods and even masturbating while she is in the bed beside her.”

That makes me want to puke.

Remember the liberal media outrage?

Oh that’s right. It didn’t happen. The liberal media darling Dunham was praised for her “honest and witty” book.

The double standards make me sick. Josh Duggar touched a sleeping girls breast – a terrible thing to go. But now their ENTIRE family is punished and their hit show is canceled? He’s labeled as a pedophile? His family is crucified!

Liberals in today’s media can do no wrong, while conservatives can do no right.

Now, Lena Dunham’s stories are admittedly ookey, and she didn’t help herself by saying that she would do “anything a sexual predator might do”.  But that is (as she has since explained) hyperbole, one of the tools in a comedian’s belt.  But as for actual molestation, there are a couple of important distinctions between Dunham and Duggar, which are apparently lost on the Palins and Jesus:

(1a) Josh Duggar molested 5 girls, including his own sisters and a babysitter.  There were repeated incidents

(1b)  Lena Dunham examined her one-year-old sister’s vagina…. once.

(2a)  Josh was 14 at the time.

(2b)  Lena was 7 at the time.

(3a)  Josh was old enough to know better.

(3b)  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, touching and observing a new sibling’s genitals is a “normal, common” behavior in kids ages 2 to 6 (Dunham was 7, but still…..)

(4a)  With Josh, it was sexual.

(4b)  With Lena, it was curiosity following a discussion with her mom about uteruses.

(5a)  With Josh, it happened.

(5b)  Dunham’s account is suspicious, claiming that her one-year-old sister had put pebbles in her vagina “as a prank” to get Dunham to look there.  (Do one-year-olds “prank”?)

(6a)  Josh’s parents, Michelle and Jim-Bob, buried and denied the crime in order to serve the higher power of spreading their ultra-Christian faith to the masses. Via a reality TV show. For profit.

(6b)  In her memoir Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham self-reported her incident.

But other than that, these two situations are exactly the same. Thanks for pointing out this glaring “double standard”, Sarah Palin; your entire post is definitely unrelated to your chummy relationship with Josh Duggar. God bless Sarah Palin for protecting us all from hypocrites, pedophiles, and liberals.

The Duggars Get Softball Interview

Okay, the Duggars.  One word: ugh.  And I could add a lot more to that — about how they’re not really “owning” that their son molested their daughters — but they demonstrated that themselves in an interview with Duggar-friendly Megyn Kelly of Fox News.  Raw Story nails this:

There was so much to dislike and be horrified by in Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’sinterview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News Wednesday night that it is hard to even know where to start.

With an able assist from Kelly — a former lawyer who used her legal training like a defense attorney walking a client through court testimony, making a small admission of guilt here, pointing the finger at someone else in the courtroom over there — the entire interview was an exercise in damage control and blame-shifting with a healthy dollop of the persecution blues.

Among the many low-lights:

  • Jim Bob Duggar, with his wife looking adoringly on, admitting that their son Josh groped –or in carefully-couched crisis manager-speak “inappropriately touched” — several younger Duggar daughters. But the girls were asleep and didn’t know it happened. Also, he touched them over their clothes. Oh, yes, and it was only for a “few seconds,” as if the 5-second rule was in effect which means it never “really” happened. Did I mention that a tearful Josh ratted himself out to his parents? Yes, according to Jim Bob, that happened.
  • Jim Bob and Michelle once again equating transgendered men and women with pedophiles which, by the way, Josh Duggar is not even though one of the victims of the then-14-year-old would have been attending kindergarten if she wasn’t being home schooled. How do we know Josh is not a pedophile? According to Jim Bob, “Actually a pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Joshua was actually 14 and just turned 15 when he did what he did. And I think that the legal definition is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child preying on a child. ” Move along folks, nothing to see here, just a 14-year-old playing doctorgynecologist with his 5-year-old sister. Nothing weird about that.
  • Why didn’t the Duggars turn their creepy son in? Jim Bob — and you should get used to Jim Bob speaking for the family, because he is the patriarch and also because Michelle doesn’t seem particularly bright — explains: “As parents, you’re not mandatory reporters… The law allows for parents to do what they think is best for their child.” Laws that require teachers to report child abuse to authorities apparently do not apply to home schooling parents. Score one for the home schooling movement. Subtract one from moral culpability.
  • The acknowledgement, as Michelle explained in her little-girl-voice, that the Duggars don’t even let their girls hold hands, kiss or be alone with their boyfriends when they are allowed to have one, lest their purity be sullied. A lesson, I might add, that the girls have had beaten into their heads long after their parents covered up the fact that their own brother had already gotten to second base with four of them.
  • Bringing on Jessa and Jill Duggar — two of the molestation victims whose interview will air on Friday — to vouch for their brother while claiming that they are victims of… wait for it… a vengeful and anti-Christian media, including the tabloids who had a major hand in turning the whole family into America’s Most Famous Breeder Couple and Their Spawn.

This is where Megyn Kelly hit her journalism stride, turning a previously softball interview into an inquisition of the “media” and police authorities who are the real bad guys here and not Josh who, according to his parents, is still working things out with God since he is conveniently beyond the reach of the law.

Because they are Christians, albeit ones who never felt to the need to admit that their son was a creepy sister-groper while they preached sexual morality to America’s legions of sinners, apparently no one else was supposed to know about a little indiscretion that happened multiple times over almost two years with five different young girls.

“I know everyone of us has done things wrong. That’s why Jesus came,” Michelle explained. “I feel like this is more about… there’s an agenda.”

Prompted by Kelly, who practically held up cue cards and mouthed the words for them, Jim Bob said that “THE REAL STORY” is how the supposedly sealed juvenile record of their son was released since they had gone to such extreme efforts with local authorities to bury it for the sake of Josh Duggar’s future. Also, the girls. Them too.

“And when you’re in every newspaper and everything throughout the world, I mean, it’s been an unprecedented attack on our family. And this information was released illegally,” Jim Bob explained. “And so I wonder why all this press is not going after the system for releasing juvenile records. That is a huge story.”

Speaking for his daughters who have been paraded on television since 2008, when they weren’t having their marriage details sold to People magazine as “exclusives,” Jim Bob added, “They didn’t want this out. Every victim should have the right to tell their own story, not the tabloids.”

Defending her daughters who were apparently  raised to believe that “what Josh does in the Duggar household, stays in the Duggar household,” Michelle Duggar explained that the girls” have been victimized more by what has happened in these last couple weeks.”

Accordingly the Duggars insisted that the people who released Josh Duggar’s file either “have an agenda,” maybe were “bribed,” and have absolutely “no consideration” for the girls.

NOW the girls are victims.

As blame-shifting goes, refocusing the narrative on the evil media and the legal system while climbing up on the cross, this was not entirely surprising since there is a lot of money in play here if TLC dumps their show.

As for the show, Jim Bob said they weren’t worried about that right now, saying, “At this point, our family is trying to regroup from these attacks.”

Then Kelly thanked the couple for the interview, to which Jim Bob told Kelly in the only moment in the interview that was the honest to God truth: “Thanks for telling our story.”

That was her job, after all.

Mission accomplished.

Catching Up

The merry month of May is a busy one.  Fortunately, not a lot is happening news-wise upon which I feel the urge to pontificate at length.  However, I few tidbits are worth at least a passing mention:

  • Yay, Ireland for the feckin’ landslide to legalize same-sex marriage.  Significant, I think, in light of the strong Catholic sentiment there.  Seems that Rome is really out of lockstep with much of the flock.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road is everything people say it is, for better or worse.  It’s adrenaline, which means that even if you don’t like it, you’ll enjoy the incredible effort that must have gone into making it.  Steampunk Mario Brothers, as they say.
  • RIP John Nash:

    John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind,” has died along with his wife in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was 86.Nash and Alicia Nash, 82, of Princeton Township, were killed in a taxi crash Saturday, state police said. A colleague who had received an award with Nash in Norway earlier in the week said they had just flown home and the couple had taken a cab home from the airport.

  • The Josh Duggar apologia from the Christian right has been pretty sickening.  The speed with which they “forgive” and pray for Josh Duggar is alarming.  Almost no mention of praying for his victims.  I’ve read so many articles that say, “Josh Duggar was wrong, BUT…..”.  And yes….. technically, he was an underage teen, but I don’t find that to be an excuse — at 17, you’re old enough to know not to molest your sisters and their friends in their sleep.  More importantly, we are learing more about the Duggar’s “purity culture’, and what it does to silence its victims.  And of course, all the forgiveness overlooks the ugly cover-up where the Arkansas Republicans worked to get the police record of the investigation into Josh’s assaults expunged.
  • This will probably develop into a more full post at some point, but I can’t quite get on board with the objections from some womens’ groups about the “gratuitous rape” scenes in HBO’s Game of Thrones.  First of all, anyone who has watched the series at all knows that the show doesn’t pull any punches on a number of fronts.  Incest, horrific and bloody murders, rapes…. they are all in there.  I don’t quite understand why, in Season 6, some people are suddenly finding one aspect of this dark dark show to be objectionable.  Secondly, speaking specifically of the rape of character Sansa Stark two weeks ago, it was not (compared to other GoT scenes) very graphic.  There was no nudity nor was it violent.  It was tame by Game of Thrones terms.  But it was a rape.  And notably, everyone agrees that the scene was exceedingly disturbing…. as depiction of rape should be.  To me, a gratuitous rape scene would be one which was clearly thrown in just to thrill and titillate the audience.  This was not that.  I recall many years ago when Edith Bunker was raped on an episode of the 1970s hit comedy All In The Family.  It was, to my knowledge, the first depiction of rape on television (although the actual rape was not shown).  There was the same sense (in some corners) of outrage — what is rape doing on the entertainment box?  Well, I understand that people don’t want their comedies, or violent medieval dramas, sullied with real-life horrors.  But rape happens, and it is ugly.  I don’t mind that ugliness in my fiction, as long as it is not glorified, and especially if it gets people talking about it.

Anthony Weiner’s Problem

Apparently, being busted for an online affair and forced to resign from Congress taught Anthony Weiner that he'd need to be more careful, and use an alter ego the next time he sent pictures of his equipment to women.

So he used the name "Carlos Danger."

It was bound to happen sooner or later: An anonymous woman has claimed to the Arizona-based gossip and nudies site The Dirty that she carried on an explicit online affair with mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner — after he was busted and forced to resign from Congress for the exact same thing. "She was lured by Anthony Weiner post scandal via Facebook," wrote the site's editor Nik Ritchie yesterday. "They had a relationship for 6 months and she believed they were in love … The relationship consisted of Anthony Weiner and Anonymous sending sexually explicit pictures of each other and having sexual conversations via phone. The best part was Anthony used an alias this time thinking this would protect him. Anthony Weiner used the name 'Carlos Danger' when he would email pictures of his penis via Yahoo."

Weiner has owned up to it and apologized.

I don't really care about the sexual lives of our politicians unless they are in a position to be blackmailed or whatever.  And that held true for the first round of Weiner scandals.  But at some point, it becomes an issue of ones' common sense, and Weiner seems to lack it.  It's not so much the pictures themselves, but the stupidity of a candidate who can't lay off something which acts as a constant distraction.

Plus that fact that, according to some reports, he wasn't asked to send out these explicit pictures of himself — he just did it.  That's kinda creepy.

Maybe Weiner needs to re-evaluate his life goals again.

The Petraeus Affair

So let's get this straight: a woman who is a close friend of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and his wife triggers a FBI investigation of threatening emails from another woman, who is instantly found to have been engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with Petraeus, and apparently thought the first woman was a rival for the general's favor, although the FBI almost instantly discovered the theoretically unrelated fact that said first woman had actually exchanged a few thousand "potentially inappropriate" emails with Petraeus' successor to Petraeus in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. And the original FBI investigator sent shirtless photos of himself to the woman who started the whole investigation.  None of these people are single or married to each other.

I don't have much to say about this except that I really don't care.  It's a weird story, and unfortunate, and none of our business.

I also disagree with those senior members in Congress who think they should have been informed about it earlier.  This is just ego.  Senior members of Congress are not normally put into the loop when there is an investigation going on, even a security investigation… unless there appears to be an actual breach, which wasn't the case here.

It is amusing, I will say, to watch the right wingers try to spin this scandel into some grand conspiracy having to do with Benghazi, or the elections.  Even if those theories make no sense whatsoever.

Short Takes

*  Britney Spears – who used to be famous – is engaged.  Uh, to be married.  Uh, again.  She's 16 years old still.

* Naughty Republicans — the mayor of Grandaven, Mississippi for 14 years — a guy named Greg Davis — re-ran for mayor in 2008 on a family values platform.  You know where this is going, right?  He's in trouble now for using thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on liquor, expensive dinners at a local restaurant, and a visit to an adult store catering to gay men.  The latter revelation forced him to admit that he is gay.

* Naughty Tebaggers – Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was taken into custody Thursday morning after he tried to check in for a Delta flight to Detroit with a locked gun box containing a Glock pistol and 19 cartridges of ammunition, Queens prosecutors said. [CBS News]

*  The Florida Family Association can suck it.  Seriously.  The new show on TLC, called American Muslim, portrays Muslims in America as normal everyday Americans with normal everyday American problems.  The Florida Family Association objects to the show… because it portrays Muslims in America as normal everyday Americans with normal everyday American problems.  Apparently, you can now protest stuff because it ain't bigotted enough for you.  Oh, and screw you Loew's.

*  Every once in a while, Congress will do something good — like ban traditional incandescent light bulbs (which are inefficient and hurt the environment).  Unfortunately, the good die young.

Cain’s Newest Accuser

Responding to a fifth accuser, who claims that she and Herman Cain have had an on-and-off sexual relationship for 13 years, Cain said that he knew the woman and was trying to help her out financially, adding this on CNN yesterday:

 I have no idea what it is that she's going to have to show proof. 

Hmmm, let's see:

She showed us some of her cell phone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from a number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain's private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months– calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the early morning, and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year.

“We've never worked together,” said White. “And I can't imagine someone phoning or texting me for the last two and a half years, just because.”

Oh, Herman.  Give it up. 

Rockulikeahermancain

UPDATE:  Reports are out today that Cain is talking with his staff about dropping out.  Which can only mean one thing — he's dropping out.  Probably will take a few more days to mull it over (so it won't look like this accusation was the death blow), but he's going to be gone by the end of the week.

Penn State Update

Nothing to add except that Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas the other day was just plain oookey.  And I can't believe his lawyers saw any benefit to Sandusky for giving this interview, especially if he was going to say what he said.

I mean, "Sure I showered naked and frolicked with little boys.  I mean, I like that.  But I didn't bang 'em."*that doesn't help your case, Sandusky.

* Not an exact paraphrase, but pretty darn close.

Raw Deal for Paterno

I'm not a Penn State fan; I'm not even a follower of college football.

But as I understand it, after 46 seasons, Penn State college football coach legend (he's a "legend" apparently, although I wouldn't know) Joe Paterno has been removed from his position because he supposedly exercised bad judgment back in 2002.  What happened was, he was told by a graduate assistant coach that Jerry Sandusky (a former assistant coach to Paterno who stilled used the Penn State facilities) sexually assaulted a boy in a school shower.  The graduate assistant coach witnessed the assault.

Paterno reported the incident to Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, who did nothing, and are now under criminal investigation for doing nothing and covering the matter up.

And now, in the wake of a scandal where Sandusky is accused of molesting/raping dozens of boys over several years, the Penn Board of Trustees have removed Paterno.

Why, exactly?  Paterno reported the incident to his higher-ups, whose job it was to take it further to the police.  They didn't.  How is that Paterno's fault?

Sure, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and knowing NOW what a danger Sandusky was, I'm sure everyone, even Paterno, wishes that that Paterno had "done more".

But at the time, all Paterno was aware of was a single incident, relayed to him as a second-hand account.  He had no independent knowledge of the incident.  He didn't sit on it; he reported it to authorities.  They dropped the ball (negligently or intentionally); not Paterno.  And arguments (mainly from the left) that Paterno is a child-molester "enabler" simply overlook the what Paterno knew to be true as well as when he supposedly "knew" the facts.

Furthermore, it seems to me that the assistant coach who witnessed the rape has some culpability as well — tell me, why isn't that a 911 call?

UPDATE:  Bill in the comments thoughtfully disagrees:

Need to disagree with you on this one. Paterno had a severe moral lapse. What he should have done is reported what he knew to the police and then the university, immediately and in that order – what he should *not* have done is sat by for nine years while nothing happened.

But this is my point.  What Paterno KNEW at that time was nothing much.  Rumor isn't knowledge.  And in fact, the more outlandish the rumor, the less likely someone in Paterno's position is likely to accept it as "factual truth".  What's worse, he could have suffered consequences (including lawsuits) for making what could have been false accusations.  If he had done nothing, I would agree that he was being, at best, negligent.  But he didn't do nothing.

To my mind, the "moral lapse" moniker doesn't apply unless one expects Paterno to have possessed, at that time, 20/20 hindsight, or that he actually witnessed a 10-year-old boy being raped.  In retrospect, he says he wishes he had done more, and I'm sure we all agree.  But his failure not to do more is not, in my view, sanctionable.  This strikes me as a typical situation where peoples' (understandable) outrage over the heinous act is causing them to demonize people — Paterno, specifically — who not culpable of anything truly immoral.

Put another way: if, back in 2002, Curley and Schultz had done what they were supposed to do, namely:

(a) talk to the graduate student to confirm the allegation; and
(b) notify the police and/or district attorney

then this scandal would have erupted in 2002 and 2003.  Would anyone be criticizing Paterno for a "moral lapse" then?  Not likely.  In fact, he would be praised for setting the wheels in motion to bring a horrific molester to justice. 

So why is he being blamed now?

Shorter Aaron Worthing

The depraved idiot tries to make a deep point, but just spittles on his face:

The First Amendment doesn't prevent people from making sexual threats in the workplace, and it shouldn't.

UPDATE:  Worthing responds in the comments.  I stand by my "shorter" representation of what he was saying, and of course, I have provided the links so that readers can be the judge.  Worthing apparently doesn't think that making hostile and offensive sexual comments in the workplace serves as a implicit threat to many (particularly women) who hear them.

Cain: “Sharon WHO?”

MSNBC:

Cain, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, maintained his innocence amid allegations that he had made an inappropriate advance toward [Sharon] Bialek in 1997, when he was head of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and she had traveled to Washington, D.C. to seek his help in finding a job.

"I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period. As far as these latest charges, I don't even remember — I reject all of those charges. How can I defend charges when I don't even remember this person by name," Cain said in an interview with ABC News and Yahoo, streamed online this afternoon.

Cain said he hadn't even recognized Bialek or remembered that she had worked at the restaurant group Cain had led.

To be fair to Cain, it's probably hard to keep straight all the women he sexually assaulted.

“Doesn’t Exist” Is The Scariest Response

It's a bit disconcerting to see some of the responses from the Cain supporters this morning, following the sexual harrassment/assault allegations of Sharon Bialek directed at Cain.

It's one thing to disbelieve Bialek.  In a he said/she said situation, people are going to line up that way.

But what's happening in some quarters of the right is stomach-turning: some rightwing columnists and pundits are saying that her accusations are irrelevant.  And why?  Because sexual harassment doesn't exist.  This is simply insulting to women, period, and shows a cruel ignorance of reality.  Over at Slate, Dalia Lithwick has the bill of particulars:

Why not start with John Derbyshire, who put it this way in the National Review: “Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing? Is there anyone who doesn’t know it’s all a lawyers’ ramp, like ‘racial discrimination’? You pay a girl a compliment nowadays, she runs off and gets lawyered up.” In Derbyshire’s America, “girls” see litigating as a shortcut to riches. Evidently we can’t procure riches the old-fashioned way anymore.

 

Laura Ingraham, who—recall—also has no idea whatsoever what happened between Cain and his accusers, is equally certain that each of the women involved is just greedy: “We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends. It always ends up being an employee who can’t perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green,” she said on her radio show. Exactly. Like my mom always said: If you can’t marry a rich man, your next best option is to sue one.

 

Or take the legal stylings of Kurt Schlichter, who asserts that “the only things you need to file a lawsuit are the filing fee and a printer. Facts are optional. … Where sexual-harassment law once protected women from being forced to be the playthings of crude lechers, it’s been transformed to enforcing a prim puritanism that drains the humor and humanity from the workplace.” The humorless line is the route Sen. Rand Paul chose to deploy as well: “There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly.” You catch that? Humorless puritanical women have weaponized sex-discrimination law as a part of their global war on humor.

 

Rep. Steve King doubled down on this theme, calling sexual harassment “a terrible concept,” and lamenting the tendency “to define an action by the perception of the perceived victim.” Not clear whether the civil justice system is better off for examining only the perceived perceptions of the drunken harassers, but I take it that King is generally more confident that men are more perceptive about all things than the women who work for them.

But leave it to former Sen. Fred Thompson to really elevate the debate. In a riotously funny column penned in Cain’s defense, he too blows the whistle on the whole “sexual-harassment scam.” Because it is, as he conceives of it, a talentless woman’s golden ticket to fame: “These alleged victims and their lawyers—no matter what they may say publicly—are champing at the bit to come forward for their day in the limelight and the inevitable book deal.” Just think of all the famous sex-discrimination memoirs you’ve read recently. Yeah, me too. Or as my colleague David Weigel notes, “My idea of frothy fun would be to make accusations of sexual harassment against a powerful person, become a notorious figure whose life and character came under microscopic examination, and then spend the rest of my life living in a legal system shaped by the man I accused.”

And Ms. Lithwick sums it up nicely:

This isn’t just an effort to discredit Cain’s accusers. It’s an effort to dissuade women with genuine complaints from coming forward to report them…. [and] what’s worrying to me is the indifference of so many Republican voters:  New poll results show that 70 percent of Republicans say the sexual harassment scandal makes no difference in their vote. It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.

Cain Campaign Delusional

This is part of a statement released by the Cain campaign last night, after Cain's fourth accuser got on national television and told her story in detail:

Unfortunately, the media-driven process by which one must seek this opportunity is fundamentally unserious. I have touched on this before – the emphasis on "gaffes," gotcha questions and time devoted to trivial nonsense – and everyone knows the process only became further detached from relevance this week as the media published anonymous, ancient, vague personal allegations against me.

Hey, if people don't want to believe the accusations of Sharon Bialek, that's fine.  But factually, you simply can't call them "anonymous" or "vague".

And you lose credibility by saying so.

Pig (and Stupid Lawyer) Of The Day

Aaron Worthing (who purports to be a lawyer) at Patterico's Pontifications, on the subject of Herman Cain:

Or did he do the full quid pro quo (“something for something”) and say, “sleep with me or you are fired/won’t get that promotion, etc.?” Now I want to be careful to say that we are not nearly there, yet, but if that is what it was, then it’s not just “sexual harassment.” Seriously what do you call it when you give something of value in exchange for sex? In most states, that’s prostitution. 

No, Aaron.  An employer saying to an employeee "sleep with me or else you are fired/won't get that promotion" is the textbook definition of sexual harassment.  It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Go back to law school (or alternatively, get a job and read the company employee manual).

EEOC, get my back:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Aaron has a hard time understanding these situtations.  For example, he gets puzzled about the following scenario:

Cain pressures the woman to have sex with him, she capitulates… and then she goes to HR, hires a lawyer and sues? That sounds odd to me, although the answer might be that something might be missing. 

He finds it "odd" that a woman would capitulate to pressure?  What's so odd?  That's what the harasser is trying to do, and sometimes they succeed!  

Aaron, of course, is demonstrating the mentality that makes sexual harassers think they can get away with their harassment in the first place.  They hit on their employee (with the subtle threat of repercussions if the employee doesn't give it up).  If the employee shoots them down, the putative harasser can always say they were just joking.  Bu if the employee has sex with them, then the harasser is shielded from liability (i.e., "she wanted it")

Unfortunately for Aaron, that's not how it works.  It does not matter whether she "accepted" the full "quid pro quo".  After all, agreeing to have sex with a harasser doesn't negate the coercion aspect (and it arguably bolsters it).

Then, to make sure his stupidity and ignorance about sexual harassment is solidified, Aaron writes:

Indeed, I have read of cases where Virginia attorneys offered for their clients to pay them in sex instead of fees, which then led them to be arrested for soliciting prostitution.

Which relates to the Cain allegations how?  At the risk of pointing out the obvious, an attorney-client relationship is not the same as workplace conduct, since the two actors there do not work for the same company or employer.

FURTHER THOUGHT:  Of course, Aaron's views change when Democrats and blowjobs are involved.  In those situations, it is of course, sexual harassment.

UPDATE:  Worthing responds in the comments below, and for once, he's right about something: dyslexia wins the day.  I read what he wrote as "…then it’s just not 'sexual harassment'.", instead of what he actually wrote, which was "…then it’s not just “sexual harassment'.” (as in "it's not only sexual harassment").

So the "pig" remark is retracted on my part, although I stand by the rest of the post (and why is "sexual harassment" in scare quotes, anyway?).

Herman Cain And Racism

Okay.  So Herman Cain was once accused of sexual harassment.  And now people want to know more.

My feelings?  I don't think this has any bearing on anything, and I detest this kind of politics.  I need to be shown why it is important, and how it bears on his ability to be president.  There are answers to that question — legitimate ones.  For example, if he had previously said that he never had been accused of sexual harassment, and he knew that statement to be false, that is an issue that goes to his credibility.  

Or, if the sexual harassment was part of a serial problem.  Or, if it rose to the level of a crime.

But that's not the case.  Apparently, he was accused of sexual harrassment.  He admits this, although he denies the sexual harrassment.  The matter was settled by a confidential settlement agreement.  End of story as far as I am concerned.

On the other hand, Cain's defenders, including Rush Limbaugh, are saying that all this interest in Cain's possible sexual harassment is…. racism. 

Wait, what?  Aren't the Republicans the one who bristle when their criticisms of Obama is labelled as "racism"?  And yet, here they are.

And it's an odd criticism.  I mean, WHERE is the racism exactly in any of Cain's critics?  WHO are the racists, exactly?  

Cain refuses to talk about the incident.  Worse yet, he's changed his story.  Is pointing out that he changed his story, racism?  And if so, how?

Excuse me, Cain supporters.  I think there are reasons why the sexual harrassment "issue" should be put to rest (i.e., it is irrelevant until somebody makes an argument why it should be relevant).  But to use Cain's race as a basis to try to shut down inquiry?

Lame.

(The real thing scary about Cain is his incredible lack of knowledge about basic things any president should know.  Yes, Herman, China is a nuclear power.  It has been for almost 50 years.)

NOM Uses Obama Crowd Photos In New Hampshire Ad

See if you can spot any similarities in this website, which is a website that the National Organization for Marriage has put up to end same-sex marriage in New Hampshire…

NOM-NH

and this website post, which is about the crowds who turned out for an Obama rally in November 2008 in Columbus Ohio:

OHIO-rally

Hint: look in the lower left hand corner of each picture.

It's an obvious attempt to make NOM appear to be popular and formidable than it actually is.  I mean, when you have to borrow crowds…

RELATED:  In a vote of 11-6, the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee has voted to accept a sub-committee’s recommendation and approved a mesure to repeal the state’s 2009 marriage equality law. The full House is expected to take-up the issue in January.

The Long National Obsession Is Over

Weiner is stepping down.

Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York will step down from office amid intense pressure from congressional Democrats following his admission of risque online chats and photo swaps with multiple women and lying about it, sources tell ABC News.

Weiner, 46, has begun sharing his decision with close friends, the sources said, but has not yet sent a formal letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicating his intentions.

A Democratic source said Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Wednesday night while they were at a White House picnic to inform them he would resign today.

I'm still not convinced that Weiner's misdeeds warranted a resignation.  He broke no law (as far as I know); he's not a moral hypocrite.  Yes, he's a little ookey sexually, but then again, so was Ben Franklin.  And Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), meanwhile, remains a senator in good standing, despite his lies and habit of hiring hookers. 

The Final Word (One Hopes) On Weiner

I'm just outsourcing this to Glenn Greenwald, who makes some valuable points:

What makes the Anthony Weiner story somewhat unique and thus worth discussing for a moment is that, as Hendrik Hertzberg points out, the pretense of substantive relevance (which, lame though it was in prior scandals, was at least maintained) has been more or less brazenly dispensed with here.  This isn't a case of illegal sex activity or gross hypocrisy (i.e., David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley (who built their careers on Family Values) or Eliot Spitzer (who viciously prosecuted trivial prostitution cases)).  There's no lying under oath (Clinton) or allegedly illegal payments (Ensign, Edwards).  From what is known, none of the women claim harassment and Weiner didn't even have actual sex with any of them.  This is just pure mucking around in the private, consensual, unquestionably legal private sexual affairs of someone for partisan gain, voyeuristic fun and the soothing fulfillment of judgmental condemnation.  And in that regard, it sets a new standard: the private sexual activities of public figures — down to the most intimate details — are now inherently newsworthy, without the need for any pretense of other relevance. 

***

Yes, Anthony Weiner lied — about something that is absolutely nobody's business but his and his wife's.  If you're not his wife, you have absolutely no legitimate reason to want to know about — let alone pass judgment on — what he does in his private sexual life with other consenting adults.  Particularly repellent is the pretense of speaking out on behalf of his wife, as though anyone knows what her perspectives on such matters are or what their relationship entails.  The only reason to want to wallow in the details of Anthony Weiner's sex life is because of the voyeuristic titillation it provides: a deeply repressed culture celebrates when it finds cause to be able to talk about penises and naked pictures and oral sex while hiding behind some noble pretext.  On some level, I find the behavior of the obviously loathsome Andrew Breitbart preferable; at least he's honest about his motive:  he hates Democrats and liberals and wants sadistically to destroy them however he can.  It's the empty, barren, purse-lipped busybodies who cannot stay out of other adults' private and sexual lives — while pretending to be elevated  — that are the truly odious villains here.

In The AtlanticConor Friedersdorf argues that the private consensual sexual activities of politicians are none of our business, and in reply,Megan McArdle insists that "society has [an] interest in whether people keep their vows" in marriage and thus it's a good thing "to use a few of our precious news hours to say, 'Hey, not okay'!"  Except McArdle has absolutely no idea what vows Weiner and his wife have made to each other, and she shouldn't know, because it's none of her business, despite her eagerness to learn about it and publicly condemn it.  Even if she had any idea of what she was talking about — and she plainly doesn't — nothing is less relevant than Megan McArdle's views of the arrangement Anthony Weiner and his wife have for their marriage and whether each partner is adhering to that arrangement.  That a journalist atThe Atlantic wants to talk about this, and dig into the details, and issue judgments about it, says all one needs to know about our press corps.

Can one even imagine how much different — and better — our political culture would be if our establishment media devoted even a fraction of the critical scrutiny and adversarial energy it devoted to the Weiner matter to things that actually matter?

And that's just the highlights — read the whole thing.

The End Of Weiner?

I like Anthony Weiner and his brand of politics.  No holds barred.  Fiery.

And then he had to go and do something stupid and classless like having inappropriate online conversations with women not his wife, some underage apparently, and some conversations including risque photos.  Worse than that — far worse than that — he made Andrew Breitbart look somewhat respectable.

So…. after finally fessing up, what now?  Weiner says he's not going to resign.  And I think that is good.  I don't think politicians should be held to a higher moral standard unless of course they hold themselves and others to that standard.  Weiner was never the sanctomonious holier-than-thou type, and now we know that he doesn't have good reason to be.  In other words, the status is quo.

But of course, this may not be his choice.  There will be motions to censure, calls for criminal investigations, etc.  The GOP will not rest until they have their head.

Oh, Anthony.  You and John Edwards.  What the hell were you thinking?  WERE you thinking?

Wither Representative Christopher Lee

Which is funnier regarding the Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY) story:

That Lee, a man with the finely-toned body of a PGA golfer, described himself as "a very fit fun classy guy" after lying about his profession, his martial status and his age. 

or

That in the post-Mark Foley era, a married US congressman with a child would be so naive as to think, in the digital age, that appealing to a strange woman on Criagslist whom he's never met with half nude photographs wouldn't wind up on a website like Gawker.com for public ridicule such as this.

It's a tough call.

[h/t: Brilliant at Breakfast]

P.S.  For those keeping score… Number of resignations from the "new" Republican-controlled House: 2;  Number of legislative bills passed: 0

UPDATE:  The Left Coaster suggests that we make this a "teachable moment" for our kids:

Let's salvage something from Christopher Lee's misadventure and seize the opportunity to explain to our children that it's cool to have a phone that can take a picture and it's wonderful to have a mirror where we can do a little prep work before we go out in public, but when you stand in front of mirror with your phone camera and start clicking, you really have to expect that the resulting photos may show up anywhere.

Yes.  Especially if you are famous or in a position of public trust. 

Prediction

The story which will occupy the news next week will be about John Boehner's affair.

Oh, yes.  You read right.  Affair.  The story hasn't broke yet, but it will in 3… 2….

Another Naughty Megachurch Leader

Is this even news anymore when this happens?

Two young men in Georgia said Tuesday that the pastor of a 33,000-person Baptist megachurch, Bishop Eddie L. Long, had repeatedly coerced them into having sex with him.

In two lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, the men said that Bishop Long, a prominent minister and television personality, had used his position as a spiritual counselor to take them on trips out of state and perform sexual acts on them.

Bishop Long is the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, an Atlanta suburb. It is one of the largest churches in the country.

“Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship,” said a suit filed by one of the men, Maurice Robinson, 20. The other man who filed suit is Anthony Flagg, 21.

The Al Gore Sexual Misconduct Allegation

I almost hate to give credence to this National Enquirer driven story.  But conservative blogs are all over this, so it need addressing.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the incident supposedly happened in October 2006.  And we're only hearing about it now.

Secondly, this:

The Multnomah County district attorney's office was aware that the woman's attorney filed a complaint with police about two months after the encounter, but the woman didn't show up for three scheduled interviews with police investigators. At that time, police were told the woman didn't want to proceed with a criminal case and would pursue a civil case instead.

In other words, she wanted $$$$.

But I have some trouble with the narrative of what (supposedly) happened:

According to a lengthy transcript of the woman's Jan. 8, 2009, statement to a Portland detective, the therapist said she arrived in the suite about 11 p.m. Earlier that evening, Gore addressed a near-capacity crowd in the Rose Garden's Theater of the Clouds, telling the audience that man-made global climate change is the most important moral challenge of our time. She said Gore changed into a bathrobe, spoke of his grueling travel schedule and need to relax and told her to call him "Al."

While giving Gore an abdominal massage, she said he demanded that she go lower and soon grabbed her right hand and shoved it under the sheet.

"I felt like I was dancing on the edge of a razor," she told Detective Molly Daul.

Then why didn't she leave at that point?

She tried to use an acupressure technique to relax Gore and thought she may have nearly put him to sleep.

That would have been a good time to leave too.

She went into the bathroom to wash up and came out to pack up.

That's when, she says, Gore wrapped her in an "inescapable embrace" and fondled her back, buttocks and breasts as she was trying to break down her massage table.

She called him a "crazed sex poodle" and tried to distract him, pointing out a box of Moonstruck chocolates on a nearby table. He went for the chocolates and then offered her some, cornering her, fondling her and shoving his tongue in her mouth to french kiss as he pressed against her.

She said he tried to pull her camisole strap down.

She said she told him to stop it. "I was distressed, shocked and terrified."

She said she was intimidated by his physical size, calling him "rotund," described his "violent temper, dictatorial, commanding attitude" — what she termed a contrast from his "Mr. Smiley global-warming concern persona."

She's right.  That doesn't sound like Gore.

Later, she said, he tried to lure her into the bedroom to hear pop star Pink's "Dear Mr. President" on his iPod dock. She said Gore sat on one end of the bed and motioned for her to join him.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  The massage is over and, according to her, she's already been groped and manhandled once.  She's no longer in the "inescapable embrace" of Gore.  So why the hell isn't she leaving NOW?

Suddenly, she said, he "flipped me on my back, threw his whole body face down over a top me, pinning me down."

She said she loudly protested, "Get off me, you big lummox!"

And this is where credibility really goes out the deep end.  "You big lummox".  What is this?  A Katherine Hepburn movie?

Seriouslly, with the "lummox" comment and the "Dear Mr. President" playing on the iPod, this sounds like really bad fan fiction.

The therapist said she injured her left leg and knee and sought medical care for several months.

The therapist later told detectives she did not call the police because she was afraid she wouldn't be believed. "I deeply feared being made into a public spectacle and my work reputation being destroyed," she said.

As it was, she said, even friends of hers who had voted for Gore didn't necessarily support her.

No, I'm sure they didn't support her.  I doubt it had anything to do with voting for Gore though.

She did call the Portland Women's Crisis Line, which encouraged her to call police.

She told detectives last year that she was not out for money but only wants "justice."

Then, if it was about "justice" and not about money, why didn't she fail to show up for three police interviews on three separate occasions?  Why did she pursue a civil remedy, rather than a criminal one?

Tellingly, neither the police nor her former attorney seem too exorcised about the sexual misconduct:

Randall Vogt, a Pearl District attorney who specializes in sexual misconduct cases, said he represented the massage therapist in 2006. "That file was closed and put to bed and forgotten," Vogt said. "She and I parted on friendly terms as best I can recall." He was not aware that his former client reactivated her claims against Gore last year.

Wheat said police didn't investigate the woman's 2009 statement further because "they didn't feel there was any additional evidence that would change what they saw in 2006." That's also why the police didn't consult with the district attorney's office about the 2009 statement, she said. Wheat added that the woman received a lot of attention from police and a victim's advocate, who made sure she had counseling.

Look, it is entirely possible that everything that this woman said happened, happened.  But her story sounds very suspect, IMHO.

UPDATE:  The woman's statement to the police is available verbatim at The Smoking Gun.  Why didn't she run from the room?  She was afraid of getting tasered or shot by Gore's security detail.  Riiiiiiight.  (Interestingly, she later recounts having a conversation with Gore that night in which he told her that he doesn't get Secret Service protection).

If you read the whole thing, you get a good idea of this woman's mental state.

Oh, she's a 54 year old grandmother.

UPDATE #2:   Case closed.

Why?

She alleges that Gore played Pink's "Dear Mr. President" on his iPod.  In fact, he serenaded her with it.

Problem:  The alleged event took place on October 24, 2006.  "Dear Mr. President" was released on December 21, 2006.

How likely was it that Gore had obtained a pre-pre-release copy?

UPDATE #3:  Okay, maybe not.  There had been live performances of "Dear Mr. President" prior to the December 21, 2006 release date, going as far back as July 2006.

So, Is ANY Republican Faithful To Their Marriage In South Carolina?

Outgoing governor had an affair, wife divorces him. Former wife now supports new GOP gubernatorial candidate, who we now know also had an affair – with a staffer of the adulterous governor – and who distanced herself from the governor because of HIS affair.

Haley, who is married and has two children, has yet to comment on Folks' announcement. About an hour after Folks announced the affair, Rep. Haley canceled an interview with WIS News 10 that had been previously scheduled for Monday morning and had been confirmed by the campaign before the FITSNews page went live.

Haley recently rocketed to the front of the polls in the Republican race for governor after being publicly endorsed by Republican icon Sarah Palin and former first lady Jenny Sanford. Ms. Sanford, who divorced her husband after the governor announced an extramarital affair of his own, has not commented on the news of Haley's alleged affair.

Haley was once a close political ally of Governor Sanford, but somewhat distanced herself from him after Sanford's affair came to light, saying the governor had "fallen short" in his behavior.

Here's the blogger's admission of the affair.

The Class of 1994

Here we go again:

"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff…."

That's Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind), sponsor of the "Marriage Protection Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, admitting to an extramarital affair yesterday morning with part time staffer Tracy Jackson.  (The two can be seen here in a video interview discussing, ironically, abstinence education.  Jackson is the "interviewer").

The Washington Post notes that the Republicans who were swept into office in 1994, which includes Souder, seem to have, well, a lot of "issues":

Souder appears likely to join classmates Mark Foley (lewd text messages to House pages), Mark Sanford (hiking the proverbial Appalachian Trail with his Argentine mistress) and John Ensign (whose parents paid the family of his ex-mistress $96,000) in the sex-scandal hall of fame. Another of their classmates, Bob Ney, did prison time for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

As Eric Massa, John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer can attest, scandal can visit any party or any political body. But the House Republicans of '94 stand out: No fewer than 15 of the 73 elected in the landslide that year have entertained the nation with flaps that include messy divorces and a suspicious car accident.

Philadelphia Democrat “Outs” Her Opponent… As A Straight Man

Is Gregg Kravitz, a Republican candidate running for the Pennsylvania State House, only pretending to be gay in order to win over LGBT voters?  His Democratic opponent thinks so:

Josephs-kravitz-split-cropped-proto-custom_2The longtime Democratic incumbent in a Pennsylvania State House race is accusing her primary challenger of trying to win votes by keeping his heterosexuality in the closet.

"I outed him as a straight person," Rep. Babette Josephs said during a fund-raiser, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "and now he goes around telling people, quote, 'I swing both ways.' That's quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy's a gem."

Josephs contended that her challenger, Gregg Kravitz, had said he was gay, then brought a "girlfriend" to an event and now says he is bisexual — a ploy, she says, to get the votes of the district's LGBT voters.

"He's said so many things to so many different people that I am puzzled," said Josephs, a widow. The issue, she said, is Kravitz's credibility.

Kravitz — whose campaign sent the audio of Josephs' remarks to the paper — denied the charges that his bisexuality is a beard.

"My sexuality is not a qualification for office," Kravitz said. "I bring it up only in the context that it's important for the LGBT community to have a seat at the legislative table."

He also said he doesn't recall using the phrase "I swing both ways" and said he hasn't discussed his sexuality with Josephs.

Josephs, 70, has been a supporter of gay rights since she was elected in 1984, according to the Inquirer, working to add sexual orientation to a hate-crimes bill.

Strange times.

More RNC Sex Woes

Not an April Fool's Day joke.

So the RNC sent out this mailer recently:

RNCpage1
RNCpage2
And guess what you hear when you dial that number at the bottom:

"Hey there sexy guy.  Welcome to an exciting new way to go live one-on-one with hot, horny girls waiting right now to talk to you.  Lie back, baby.  Relax and get ready to meet real local students, housewives, and working girls from all over the country.  Hundreds of hot girls call free all day and night cuz we love nasty talk as much as you do.  Hot amateur talk and voice personals for just 99 cents per minute.  Or live one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who will do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute.  This service is brought to you by Intimate Encounters.  You must be over 18.  Enter your credit card now to join the fun. 

No credit card?  Call 1-900-Talkline for just $1.99 per minute.  That's 1-900-T-A-L-K-L-I-N-E.  Or try collect call back.  Dial 1-215-SexTalk and we'll call you right back.  Connecting you to hot live talk with horny students, housewives and working girls.  That's 1-215-S-E-X-T-A-L-K.  For the same exciting action call 1-775-785-6860 for exciting action at just 89 cents per minute.  That's 1-775-785-6860 to bill this call discretely to your phone.

Now it's time to stick it in.  Enter your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or AmericanExpress card number now followed by the pound key.  Or press 1 for other billing options."

[Source: ABC News]

Republican Sex Scandal of the Week: Hypocrisy Alert

Republican Missouri State Senator Rod Jetton fired a state lawmaker from his committee chairmanship in 2007 because the lawmaker had changed a bill in order to end a state ban on gay sex.  You can read Jetton's defense of his actions from a 2007 editorial here.  In it, he boasts "I have fought attempts by liberals to repeal the gay sex ban for years". 

Also in that 2007 editorial, Jetton laments how, thanks to his colleague's actions, gays can have sex (what Jetton calls "deviate sexual intercourse") in Missouri.

Uh-huh.

Flash forward to Monday.  Seems the (now-former) state senator has more than a passing familiarity with "deviate sexual intercourse":

The former speaker of the Missouri House has been charged with a felony after what looks like a bout of sado-masochistic sex that went way too far.

Details are still unconfirmed, we should note. But a woman appears to have suggested to police that Rod Jetton, a Republican who now works as a political consultant, may have slipped something into her drink, then beat her up during sex, after she failed to use the safe word they had agreed upon as a signal to calm things down.

Here's what we know: The woman, who lives in Sikeston, Missouri, told police that Jetton and she spoke by phone on November 15th about their plans to have sex that night, according to the blog of a TV station. Several hours later, she says, he went to her home with two bottles of wine. According to the woman, Jetton poured the wine in the kitchen, out of her view. He then returned to the living room and handed her a glass. While they were watching a football game, the woman says, she started 'fading' in and out and lost consciousness several times.

The woman added that she and Jetton had agreed on the phrase "green balloons" as a "safe word" that she could use if things got too rough during sex. That's not uncommon among people who enjoy sex that involves dominance and submission.

But somehow things seem to have gotten way out of hand. The police report continues: "[The woman] recalls Jetton hitting her on the face very hard. She then remembers waking up, lying on the floor and Jetton was choking her. [The woman] said she did not know what happened with her memory because she had been drunk but had never had the blank spots in her memory."

According to the formal complaint filed against Jetton, he "recklessly caused serious physical injury" to the woman "by hitting her on the head, and choking her resulting in unconsciousness and the loss of the function of part of her body."

Jetton then stayed the night, says the woman. When he woke up, she says, he kissed her and said, "You should have said green balloons." He then left and hasn't returned.

So, in the Jetton world view, consensual gay sex is "deviate"; beating that crap out of woman during sex in which you slipped her date rape drugs… not so much.

UPDATE:  Yeah, this was particularly nasty….

The Power of Tiger

It says something about the fame of Tiger Woods when the number one search term for Google today is "transgressions" (a word used by Tiger in his press release this morning).

It also says something about the stupidity of people when the number four search term today is "transgression definition".

In fact, 7 of the ten top googled search terms involve the Tiger Woods scandal (including searches for pics of the women in question).

RELATED:  From the police photos, we can see what Tiger's reading:

Griponphysics

Carrie Prejean, the Anti-Gay Christian Spokesperson, Has A Sex Tape

It's almost not worth writing about anymore.  Another "family values" icon proves to be a hypocrite.  TMZ writes:

Carrie Prejean demanded more than a million dollars during her settlement negotiations with Miss California USA Pageant officials — that is, until the lawyer for the Pageant showed Carrie an XXX home video of her handiwork.

The video the lawyer showed Carrie is extremely graphic and has never been released publicly. We know that, because TMZ obtained the video months ago but decided not to post it because it was so racy. Let's just say, Carrie has a promising solo career.

We're told it took about 15 seconds for Carrie to jettison her demand and essentially walk away with nothing. As we first reported, the Pageant is paying around $100,000 to her lawyers and publicist — a fraction of her bills. She pockets nothing in the settlement.

I wonder if she'll be invited to next year's Values Voter Summit.

My Take On Roman Polanski

Yes, the 13 year old victim, now in her 40's, has long since forgiven him.

Yes, the victim's mother at the time was apparently some freaked out fame wannabe, and put her daughter in that position.

Yes, it was a long time ago.

Yes, he's famous.

But here's the thing.  A crime is a crime.  He committed a crime.  He pled gulity to it, before he fled.  That's all that matters.  And crimes, by the way, are crimes against the state (that's why criminal cases are typical title "The People versus Joe Smith"), so it doesn't matter what the victim says now.

And it doesn't matter how long ago it happened (no statute of limitations once you've pled guilty).

And it certainly doesn't matter that he makes movies.

Yet Another Republican “Family Values” Hypocrite

TPM reports:

Paul-stanley-muck Meet Tennessee state senator Paul Stanley. He's a solid conservative Republican and married father of two, who according to his website is "a member of Christ United Methodist Church, where he serves as a Sunday school teacher and board member of their day school." (Check out the religious imagery on the site — the sun poking through clouds, as if manifesting God's presence — which of course shows Stanley's deeply pious nature.)

Stanley recently sponsored a bill designed to prevent gay couples from adopting children. And when a Planned Parenthood official recently sought his support for family planning services for Memphis teens, Stanley told her, according to the official, that he "didn't believe young people should have sex before marriage anyway, that his faith and church are important to him, and he wants to promote abstinence."

So far, so far Republican. But you can see where this is going…

In a sworn affidavit, a Tennessee state investigator has said that Stanley admitted to having a "sexual relationship" with a 22-year-old female intern working in his office, and to taking nude pictures of her in "provocative poses" in his apartment.

***

Late Update: It gets worse. In 1994, Stanley's first wife, Judy Martin, filed for a restraining order against him, charging that he had physically assaulted her three times. She wrote: "He was going out the door to leave our house and he hit me with a tremendous blow and then he proceeded to turn and run away from me outside the garage to the street." Stanley and Martin divorced the following year.

According to the Nashville Post, Stanley met his current wife, Kristi Stanley, soon afterwards, while both were working for Bill Frist's U.S. Senate office in Memphis. She was working as — an intern.

By the way, this isn't the Paul Stanley of KISS.

Anyway, he quit yesterday, taking full responsibility but blaming bloggers and the media.

Another Evangelical Perv

USA Today:

Tony Alamo, a one-time street preacher who built a multimillion-dollar ministry, was convicted today of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex, the Associated Press reports.

Alamo remained silent as the verdict was read. 

His five victims sat looking forward in the gallery. One, a woman he "married" at age 8, wiped away a tear, the AP says.

In the trial, the five women, now age 17 to 33, told jurors that Alamo "married" them in private ceremonies while they were minors, sometimes giving them wedding rings. Each detailed trips beyond Arkansas’ borders for Alamo’s sexual gratification.

"I’m just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel," Alamo called to reporters afterward as he was escorted to a waiting U.S. marshal’s vehicle. The trial was held in Texarkana, Ark.

(Emphasis mine)

Yo, Tony?  I realize I'm no evangelical preacher like you, so I may be ignorant about the Bible and shit like that, but what scripture of the Gospel commands that you rape eight and nine year olds?

Alamo faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.  I suspect he's going to get all sorts of sexual education there.  Let's hope.

UPDATE:  Oh, I see.  After visiting the Tony Alamo Ministries website, I've learned that Tony is actually innocent of these crimes.  You see, the FBI made these women lie, because Tony has been criticizing the government for 45 years (you know, the government which was behind the JFK assassination and 9/11).  As Tony writes: "Either you believe Pastor Alamo or the homosexual Pope."

Um… I'll go with the homosexual Pope, Alex.

Of course, he contradicts himself when he writes:

The legal age of marriage is puberty. Webster’s Dictionary states childhood is the “state or time of being a child; state or time from birth or infancy to puberty or maturity.” Webster’s definition of puberty is “the age when one becomes capable to bear children, which is marked by maturing of the reproductive organs, with the onset of menstruation in the female; the period at which sexual maturity is reached.” The Bible says this as well.

God’s Word, the Bible, never condemns a man for having more than one wife!

Ew, I need a shower.

On Mark Sanford

I think Josh Marshall's headline says it all: "Just Go Be With Her!".  But there's more:

Mark Sanford says that at least he will "be able to die knowing I had met my soul mate,"… And if that's not enough, he says that for all the grief his affair has caused, that if the affair means he can never run for president (think the ship's sort of sailed on that one), that it will have been worth it.

That's sweet.  But you know, he's going to have to choose at some point.  Because he's already demonstrated that he can't handle his executive position as governor and a marriage and a mistress.  Yes, it seems that the marriage is over, but remember, it was temporarily over last month when he wafted away to Argentina and virtually abandoned his job.

Which again, is a sweet, perhaps even romantic choice.  But it doesn't sound like presidential material:

Of course, when you're a middle-aged man facing the collapse of your life's work and abandoning hope of being with the woman you call your 'soul mate' rational decision making or a clearly considered plan may be too much to expect. But it does seem like there are two guys here. One saying he wants to serve out his responsibility to his state and reconcile with his wife and another using the press to broadcast a free form love poem to the girlfriend in Argentina.

So he's got to make a decision.  And if he won't, I think the people of South Carolina will make it for him.

Argentinesbed1 

If she's worth it, then he should have no regret about stepping down.

But he's trying to cast himself in the vein of King David.  Nope.  He should try to emulate King Edward VIII, and get off the throne to be with the one he (supposedly) loves.

Sanford Follies

I did, at one point, express some sympathy for Mark Sanford, opining that his affair was "an affair of the heart".

But that sympathy has faded upon learning that:

  • taxpayers footed the bill for his Argentian rendez-vous (that's French for "fuckin'")
  • the piece of Argentian tail which he now refers to as his "soul mate" was one in a series of extramarital affairs

Again, this isn't so much about his private life.  He shouldn't resign because of the affairs pre se, as far as I am concerned.  But it crossed over into a public issue when he used public funds, when he made "family values" a centerpiece of his campaigns, and when he repeatedly lied to the people of South Carolina — even during his confession — about the affair(s).

I give him a week, tops.

Different Perspective On Sanford

And one with which I agree, from John Dickerson at Slate:

The personal impact of the Sanford affair is more gripping than the political. Sanford has done a horrible thing to his wife and family and friends. He seemed to know and feel this more profoundly than other politicians we've seen go through this familiar apology exercise before. That doesn't excuse him. Not that he was asking that anyone excuse him. He seemed to be trying to take all the blame, as he should. Some might think his explanations were excuses. To me they seemed like a man confessing the details of a crime.

The minute Sanford started speaking, the reviews poured in via e-mail and Twitter. He was rambling, confused. He didn't tear up enough when talking about his wife. He favored his mistress. He answered the questions too thoroughly. All these judgments seemed absurd. A man standing in front of a bank of cameras in the middle of a complete collapse is going to say a lot of things poorly.

The snap judgments failed to acknowledge a grain of the fundamental human carnage we were witnessing. You can laugh at Sanford, as you can laugh at a video of a wrecked Amy Winehouse falling all over her house. But at some point, even though they did it to themselves, you have to feel sorry for them as human beings. You can do that, I think, and not be a fan of adultery or drug use.

I'm not offering Sanford's humanity as an excuse. I'm just marveling at how few people stopped for a moment to even nod to it. My thoughtful colleague William Saletan and Andrew Sullivan were exceptions. Maybe there are others. Maybe people expressed these views in private conversations. But in the e-mails and Twitter entries and blog posts I read in the aftermath, Sanford's human ruin was greeted with what felt like antiseptic glee. The pain he's caused, the hypocrisies he's engaged in, seemed like license to deny him any humanity at all.

When I read the emails, I was struck by just how human this tragedy.  And I actually felt bad for Sanford.  Not Sanford, the governor, or Sanford, the politician, but Sanford, the man.  Because the emails almost sounded like an affair of the heart.

I mean, this wasn't your run-of-the-mill family values politician being caught having random sex in airport bathroom stalls, or chasing after congressional pages indiscriminately.  At least (so it seems) there was one woman, and his interest in her seemed to transcend purely sexual interests.  In other words, this has the earmarks of an "affair of the heart", making the Sanford affair less troubling than those of his colleagues-in-disrepute, and yet more tragic.

I'm not defending him.  For his hypocrisy alone, he should be burned at the political stake.  If it turns out that the fiscal conservative used taxpayer dollars for his jaunts to Argentina, all the more reason for a downfall.  But as for the personal repercussions, I actually kind of feel bad for him (and all involved — his wife, kids, and even the other woman).

Of course, Sanford's personal tragedy reflects what is happening in thousands of households all over America.  None of those people, however, have to see it unfold on cable television (except for Jon & Kate, who I feel less sympathy for because they voluntarily gave their personal lives over to TV).

One more thought from Dickerson:

What Mark Sanford seemed to be trying to say is that he screwed up, in the biggest possible way, because he lost his bearings. He lost his self-control. He was indulgent. He forgot that there were other humans in the world. Yet in the constant flow of abuse, joke-making, and grand conclusions about his failings, it seemed everyone having a good time pointing at his self-indulgence was also engaging in a form of it.

I don't think everyone is "having a good time pointing at his self-indulgence".  There's a good time being had at Sanford's expense, but it's all schadenfreude at the hypocrisy, not the self-indulgent affair itself.  He's being hoisted by his own petard.

After all, there have been 21 major sex scandals since Bill Clinton.  Why do the Republican ones (arguably) get more press converage?  Not because the media is liberal, but because of the hypocrisy.

But Dickerson's point is valid, echoed here by John Cole:

I'm not trying to be a scold, because I know I can be as bad as anyone when it comes to the schadenfreude. And I know that Sanford has worked to marginalize a number of people who only want to be able to be married. But unlike when I watched Ensign last week and saw a tough politico with no soul doing whatever he could to just salvage his career, when I watched Sanford yesterday, I saw a confused, and lost, and hurting person.

Ditto.  Amusement existed at a time when there were only questions.  Amusement at the situation, amusement at the obvious and awkward lies….  But now that we have the answers, we're all struck with the personal nature of this "scandal" — the fact that it involves people — and it feels a little bit awkward to even know about it.  At this point, the only relevant matter is the public aspects of it: the "abandonment" of the people of South Carolina by its leader, the hypocrisy of the pro-family political stance by Sanford and others, and the hypocrisy of a fiscal conservative leader taking taxpayer money for — uh — personal use.

And perhaps, the whole affair has something to say about social conservatism in general, its fall from grace, and questions about its place (or lack thereof) in the political spectrum.

Personally, I would be happy to see Mark Sanford, both the political figure and the private man, heal.  Specifically, I hope that somewhere in that healing process he will learn something about glass houses, and purge himself from the self-righteous values voters clan (after all, they've already purged him).  But beyond the greater political and social implications (including but not limited to the political future of Mark Sanford himself, the downfall of social conservatism, the role of journalism, etc.), I no longer give a shit.

Ewwww, Not The Actual Emails

How did they get out so fast?

Oh, and those trips to Argentina?  Could be that the taxpayers paid for them.  Mr. Fiscal Conservative, Mr. I-Don't-Want-Stimulus-Money spent taxpayer dollars to meet his paramour in Argentina.

Impeachment to come next.  Or resignation.

ON SECOND READING:  Actually, I kind of like the emails.  I mean, under better circumstances (e.g., neither one is married) they're rather sweet and classy.  A little risque, but not perverted.  It's just a shame to see them splashed in a newspaper.

RELATED:  A blogger at the conservative Redstate has a hissy fit.  Now, before you click through to read it, take my advice: imagine it in the voice of Corky (from Waiting for Guffman) when he throws his tantrum ("because you're all bastard people!"), as the World O' Crap people have done.  It's very entertaining that way.

Sanford On Clinton/Lewinsky and Livingston Affairs

“The bottom line, though, is I am sure there will be a lot of legalistic explanations pointing out that the president lied under oath. His situation was not under oath. The bottom line, though, is he still lied. He lied under a different oath, and that is the oath to his wife. So it’s got to be taken very, very seriously.” [Sanford on Livingston, CNN, 12/18/98]

We ought to ask questions…rather than circle the wagons for one of our tribe.” [Sanford on how the GOP reacts to affairs, New York Post, 12/20/98]

“I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.” [Sanford on Clinton, The Post and Courier, 9/12/98]

The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.” [Sanford on Clinton, CNN, 2/16/99] [Source]

Chris Cillizza adds:

This is not the end of the story. The problem for Sanford is that he appears to have willfully misled his staff, the lieutenant governor and the people of the state about his whereabouts — signaling that he was likely headed to the Appalachian Trail before hopping on a flight to Argentina. There will almost certainly be some sort of investigation into whether Sanford misused state funds on this trip — remember that he took a state-owned vehicle and parked it at the Columbia airport — that will keep this wound raw for the foreseeable future.

It’s 2:15 PM. Do You Know Where Your Governor Is? [UPDATE: He Confesses]

Gov. Mark Sanford is late for his 2:00 pm news conference to explain his whereabouts and odd behavior these past six days.

Except he hasn't shown up yet.

Probably on the Chisholm Trail, I'm guessing.

Picture 20 UPDATE (2:25 pm): Okay, here he is. He's basically apologizing to his wife, kids and staff for just disappearing like that.

2:27 pm:  Now he's holding back tears.  Saying how he's let people down.  Including his in-laws.  Not exactly saying what he did to let them all down.

2:27 pm:  Now apologizing to people of faith.  Still not explaining what he's ap[ologizing for.

2:30 pm:  BOOM!  There it is!  "I've been unfaithful to my wife".  Developed a relationship with a woman from Argentina.  Began as an innocent email exchange.  Lady in the background behind him gave a "WTF?!?" head turn when he said that. [NOTE: I called it when I first wrote about it: "I smell Republican sex scandal"]

2:32 pm: Going to resign as Chairman of Republican Governor's Association.

2:38 pm: Sanford is explaining that he went to Argentina on this trip was essentially to break off or end the relationship with the woman in Argentina and that he's committed to trying to reconcile with his wife.

And that's all there is to write.  He's still talking and there's still question time, but the rest is just epilogue.  One could take the stance that this is a private, not public, matter, but his behavior this past week makes that argument a non-starter.

Some may want to give him credit for his standing up there, owning up to his mistake, being earnest, blah blah blah, but I can't help but wonder what he would be saying had he not been caught by a reporter in the Atlantic airport where he just debarked from a flight from Argentina.  Would he still be spouting the Appalachian trail story?

Whatever kudos can be given to his newfound earnestness, the affair itself (or even the ending of it, as he claims) doesn't excuse leaving an entire state rudderless for several days.  Nor does it excuse the hypocrisy from this "family values" political figure.

LATER THOUGHT:  Perhaps this webpage should come down….

EVEN LATER THOUGHT:  Less than a month ago, the right blogsphere was all agog at the "scandal" of Obama taking his wife to NYC for a date (a Broadway play).  Not to mention their constant party line that gay marriage creates family instability.  Wonder what they have to say now?

Ensign/Marriage Values Timeline

Some brief quotes from U.S. Senator John Ensign (R-NV), GOP leader of the Republican Policy Committee and a man hinting at a 2012 presidential bid, on the subject of marriage:

1998: While running for Nevada’s Senate seat against Harry Reid, Ensign called on President Clinton to resign in light of his admitted affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky:

“I came to that conclusion recently, and frankly it’s because of what he put his whole Cabinet through and what he has put the country through,” Ensign said Thursday, becoming the first member of the Nevada delegation to call for Clinton to quit. “He has no credibility left.”

Feb. 2004:  Ensign announces his support for an amendment to the Constitution that would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Ensign said the amendment, which ultimately failed, was necessary to protect “the institution of marriage“:

“Sadly, the effort to redefine marriage against the wishes of a majority of the people is, with help from activist judges, succeeding,” Ensign said. “In order to defend the institution of marriage, uphold the rights of individual states, and maintain the will of the people, I believe we are compelled to amend our country’s constitution.”

“The effort to pass a constitutional amendment reaffirming marriage as being between a man and a woman only is being undertaken strictly as a defense of marriage against the attempt to redefine it and, in the process, weaken it,” Ensign said. “Marriage is an extremely important institution in this country and protecting it is, in my mind, worth the extraordinary step of amending our constitution.”

October 18, 2007: "There's too many people that paint with a broad brush that we're all corrupt, we're all amoral. … And having these kinds of things happen, whether it's a Republican or Democratic senator — we certainly have had plenty of Democratic scandals in the past — we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard." – John Ensign (R-NV)

10543892_BG2April 19, 2009: “I believe that marriage should be defined as that between one man and one woman. You want to do what is ideal for children and all of the studies show that the ideal for children is to be in a household with a father and a mother.” – John Ensign (R-NV)

TODAY (the predictable punchline): "I came home to Nevada to come forward and explain to the citizens of our state something that I was involved in about a year ago. Last year I had an affair. I violated the vows of my marriage. It is the worst thing I have ever done in my life. If there was ever anything in my life that I could take back, this would be it…. I take full responsibility for my actions." – John Ensign (R-NV)

UPDATE:   Oh, and Ensign is a longtime member of the Promise Keepers, a conservative evangelical group that promotes strong families and marriages.

Miss Prejean’s Contract

The contract:


Carrie Prejean Miss California Contract

Miss California pageant co-director Shanna Moakler who just resigned had objected to Prejean signing on to the National Organization for Marriage’s lobbying team and to Prejean’s failure to own up to topless photos, both of which violate the Miss California contact, says one news source.

I don’t claim to have gone over the contract with a fine tooth comb, but I see nothing which requires her to “own up” to topless photos taken before she signed the contract.  [UPDATE:  Found it.  Her checking “TRUE” in Paragraph 9(a) on page 8 seems to clearly be a lie….]

But, even then, there is an allegation that at least the latest set of photos were taken after she signed the contact, which is a violation. 

In any event, the photos are just one issue:

California pageant officials said Prejean, 21, asked for permission to elaborate on her answer and they agreed. But then, they said, she began speaking without their permission in front of crowds opposed to gay marriage, including her San Diego church and the National Organization for Marriage.

Keith Lewis, the state pageant’s co-executive director, said Prejean also began missing Miss California events she was contractually obligated to attend.

If it is in fact true that she missed Miss California events, that also is a contractual violation.

We all know that Trump gave her a pass, but it seems to me that doing so really makes the contract agreement she signed a bit of a sham.  I don’t blame Shanna Moakler for quitting.

Levi Johnston Wants You To Know….

… that he's not "white trash".

Right.  The sproadically-employed dude only got the underage daughter of Alaska's governor pregnant (they weren't married) thanks to unprotected sex… and then went on a trashy daytime television show to attack his estranged girlfriend — that's all.

Why, that could be a story right out of "Ozzie and Harriet".

Now This Calls For Some Serious Schadenfreude

The James Dobson-led conservative religious group, Focus on The Family, has fallen on hard times.  First, their once-significant political inflluence has dwindled to almost nil, as shown by the last elections.  Secondly, they have had to undergo serious layoffs recently. 

So this can't be welcomed with much pleasure:

A Colorado Springs man who narrates the Bible in Spanish on CDs and works in the Spanish broadcasting department of Focus on the Family appeared in court Monday in Golden on two felony counts of using the Internet to lure a 15-year-old girl for sex, The Denver Post reports.

Juan Alberto Ovalle, 42, was arrested Friday when he drove to Lakewood to meet the girl — who turned out to be an undercover officer — after discussing various sexual acts he wanted to perform with her, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said.

He's not just some rent-for-hire actor doing translations.  He's an actual preacher.  According to another website, Ovalle was born in the Dominican Republic, and "came to know the Lord at the age of 14". He has served as pastor and preacher in his country, the USA and other countries in Latin-America since he was 19. He also served Trans World Radio ministry and the Spanish broadcasting department of Focus on the Family.

Focus on the Family has been quick to purge audio recordings of Ovalle from its website:

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Those of you who speak Spanish might enjoy this recording (mp3) of Ovalle, reading from 1 Corinthians, on the subject of unlawful fornication ("We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died")

The arrest was part of an underage sex sting operation.  The affidavit for his arrest, which I'll post below the fold, is… well…. NSFW.  And not very WWJD.

By the way, Ovalle was from Colorado Springs, the same community as Ted Haggard.  What is it with the evangelical community in that town?