Friday, October 13, 2006

Jindal is not a Mark Foley sympathizer 

T-P:


Looking to capitalize on the congressional page scandal, 1st District candidate Stacey Tallitsch of Metairie has launched a televised attack casting incumbent Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, as a Mark Foley sympathizer.

In a 30-second spot that aired over the weekend on WUPL, Tallitsch, a Democrat, charged that Jindal blocked "an investigation into Foley's pedophilia" by voting to refer the matter to the largely ineffectual House ethics panel.

Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned his House seat last month after it was reported that he sent inappropriate e-mails to a 16-year-old boy and other minors who served in the congressional page program.

Jeebus. I haven't seen the ad yet, but this appears to be wild flailing by a destined-to-lose first time candidate. I definitely know the type. Actually, Jindal has been cautious in his comments about the scandal (especially in terms of Rep. Rodney Alexander's role). He's clearly not a "Mark Foley sympathizer", and, unlike Sen. Vitter, Rep. McCrery and Rep Boustany, Jindal hasn't lavished praise on Alexander's mis-handling of the matter. When he stood in support of Alexander, he said "I'm not here to criticize Rodney..." -- that was brilliant! It insulates him from future political attacks after investigators expose Alexander's negligence by asking him basic questions about the scandal. "Why did you treat this matter as one that involved a single page when you had emails that raised questions about Foley's involvement with MULTIPLE pages? Why did you not insist on an investigation into the matter so that children under your care were not left at risk?... etc." I believe Alexander has no satisfactory answers to those crucial questions-- not that the LA media will dare ask him!-- and I believe he should resign.

Louisiana Democrats should realize that Alexander's initial, grossly negligent reaction to MULTIPLE allegations of Foley's inappropriate behavior around pages is the soft spot here. And therefore, those who zealously defend Alexander (like Boustany, McCrery and Vitty-cent) are also vulnerable. Those, like Jindal, who merely chose to "not criticize" Alexander are much less vulnerable.

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Tell me if you think the following scenario is illuminating:

Your 16 year-old daughter tells you that her 50 year-old teacher sent her a personal email asking for a photo of her and what she wants for her birthday. She's confused and "freaked out", and says that the teacher has made comments about her 16 year-old friend being in "really great shape". Your daughter also tells you that another friend of hers knows of a teacher who "hits on" students.

What do you do in response? Do you quietly approach the principal and ask him to tell the teacher to stop emailing your daughter?

Does anyone think that is a remotely adequate response?!
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pombo plugs the royalty pipeline 

Times Picayune:


Recent political tremors in the ranks of House Republicans are complicating already shaky chances of passing legislation to boost offshore drilling and steer billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue to Louisiana, members of both parties say.

The scandal over messages sent by former Rep. Mark Foley to teenage pages threatens to upend the House GOP leadership, which had vowed to push the legislation in a lame-duck congressional session after the Nov. 7 midterm elections.
...
[Senator Mary Landrieu] also raised concerns that falling gasoline prices could erode some of the political momentum to pass a pro-drilling measure quickly.


I worried about the same thing a month ago. Anyway, the T-P story describes the bill's recent history and details what the latest "fly in the ointment" is:


Proponents were on the verge of victory in late September, when talks between the House and Senate stalled over how the royalties... would be divided among the coastal states. Members recessed without a deal, but House Republican leaders promised to come back next month to hammer one out.

The outcome is especially important for Louisiana, which hopes to use royalties from Gulf of Mexico drilling to restore and shore up its eroding coastline.
...
No joke.


Jindal said he remains optimistic about getting a deal in November....

There's a shocker.


House plan scuttles deal

The House and Senate still would have to overcome their differences, which has proven difficult so far.

It appeared before the recess that the two sides had agreed to a Senate-passed provision allowing drilling in 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico and giving coastal states a 37.5 percent share of royalties on the new production, a stake that would send $20 million to Louisiana over the next decade and as much as $650 million annually after that. They also were close to agreement on a House-passed provision fixing a bureaucratic error that let oil and gas companies off the hook for an estimated $10 billion in royalties from leases purchased in 1998 and 1999. The recovered royalties also would be shared with the states.

But as time ran out before the recess, House members, notably [Richard] Pombo (R-CA), were pushing to allow Virginia to opt out of a federal drilling moratorium and draw new seaward boundaries off the East and West coasts and in the Gulf. Those items stirred opposition in the Senate, and the deal unraveled.

The conventional wisdom has been that if the Democrats take control of the House, Republicans will drop their requests and agree to the Senate-passed bill just to score a pro-drilling victory before they hand over the reins of power. If Republicans keep the House, it's unclear what will prompt entrenched interests on both ends of the Capitol to strike a deal.

So according to this article, the conventional wisdom is that if Dems take the House, Louisiana is more likely to get this royalty-sharing bill.

Some say they regard this legislation as an insult, and would like to hold out for more (similar to Leander Perez). I agree that LA deserves "more", much more (and in addition to federal coastal restoration funds!) but I don't understand how a significantly more generous bill will pass and not be vetoed by Bush.

Now if you're saying the Pelican State should forego the legislative "compromise" route and make its stand and play "hardball" with the powers-that-be, then you better be willing to go all the way, to show your threats are not empty.
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Bring 'em on! 

Six years ago, George W. Bush said:

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

Today, we learn about this news story:

A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.

Currently, the 10-member commission-- headed by a secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush, James Baker-- is considering two option papers, "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," both of which rule out any prospect of making Iraq a stable democracy in the near term...



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More here.
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Didn't Alexander's office have an obligation to make sure that Foley was not hitting on other kids? 

A great Harper's article on Foleygate includes this passage about Rodney Alexander's mishandling of the matter (my emphs):

Congressman Alexander's office declined to comment on the matter, apart from issuing a brief statement emailed to me on May 31 by press secretary Adam Terry: "When these emails were brought to our attention last year our office reviewed them and decided that it would be best to contact the individual's parents. This decision, on behalf of our office, was based on the sensitivity of the issue. Our office did, in fact, contact the parents, and we feel that they (the juvenile's parents) should decide the best course of action to take concerning the dialogue outlined in the emails." I had a number of other questions I wanted to ask-- for example, although the ex-page's parents were understandably concerned about their son's name coming out in the press, didn't Alexander's office have an obligation to make sure that Foley was not hitting on other kids?-- but Terry did not reply to further requests for comment.

Why is Louisiana media unwilling to ask this basic qestion of Alexander? Seriously. Why does the media accept the false claim that these were merely "overfriendly" emails, and that Alexander's handling of them was entirely sensible and acceptable?

The emails WERE NOT merely "outlined dialogue". They also included reports of inappropriate behavior between a Congressman and other pages, but Alexander's office did NOTHING about that. They totally screwed up, and left kids at risk, and yet Vitter, McCrery and Boustany will defend Alexander's indefensible, grossly negligent handling of the matter. Vitter is proud of it, and McCrery asserts Alexander is beyond criticism. The outrage in this state is minimal, and it should be at an apex.

Why is that?

How can you look at the facts of this matter, and actually READ the emails, and call for Hastert's head but not Alexander's?

I'm pissed off, and am going to find ways to escalate this issue.

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Depahted 

I don't do many movie reviews anymore, since getting slapped for liking "Waking Life". Obviously, others review movies much better than me. Although, I did like my "combo" review for Garfield and Fahrenheit 9/11.

Anyway, with all that in mind I humbly submit to you a condensed "review" for Scorsese's The Departed, which Lovely and I saw last night, after enjoying duck at the Upperline.


The Depahted = The Talented Mystic Reservoir Dogs



(That's a thumbs up.)
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Dinesh D'Souza is a Republican Rhombus 

I don't know exactly what that means, but it's a suggestive statement. It resonates.

Face it: you come to YRHT for occasionally-inspired locutions, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna leave you hanging. So there. Dinesh D'Souza is a Republican rhombus.

Why? The central claim of his new book, The Enemy at Home, is that the cultural Left is responsible for causing 9/11.

Hopefully, The Left will soon formally apologize to the country for 9/11. Check back for updates.

While we wait, let's review a recent news article about Republicans and an unfortunate email. (No, not THAT unfortunate email... we've covered that ground already to no political effect.) I'm talking about the guest list for a Republican National Committee's dinner that was mistakenly emailed to a reporter. Yeah, that email. The guests were categorized by, among other things, their "race".

The attached spreadsheet of 76 guests included category headings with Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and "race." The race of all but three were listed as "Caucasian." One was identified as "Asian," and the race of two others, Malik and Seeme Hasan, was listed as "Muslim."


Where to begin? How 'bout the basics. Here's a few quick factoids to help our friends, the Republican Rhombi:

As useless as so-called "racial" categories are, "Muslim" is not one of them.

Further, most "Muslims" are "Asian"; those are not discrete categories.

Most Muslims are not of Arab descent.

And most Arab-Americans... are not Muslim!


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I've felt compelled to list ways one can tell if he or she is a Republican Rhombus:

If you immediately suspected that Bill Clinton, George Soros, and Nancy Pelosi are somehow behind those aforementioned "facts" about Muslims.... then you might be a Republican Rhombus.

If, like Trent Lott, you observe the sectarian carnage in Iraq and ask (in 2006!): "Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me".... Then you might be a Republican Rhombus.

If, like President Bush, you observe the government in Iraq and ask "Where's George Washington? Where's Thomas Jefferson? Where's John Adams, for crying out loud?"... then you might be a Republican Rhombus.

If you write or read books called The Enemy Within and The End of Evil.... then you might be a Republican Rhombus.

If you have an "It's a Child, Not a Choice!" bumper sticker on your car, yet you think protecting young kids from sexual predators... is optional... then you might be a Republican Rhombus.

If you're a devout fundagelical who begins the day with fresh emailed talking points from Ken Mehlman, then scans Drudge's "developments", then reads the latest news story from Jeff Gannon, then listens to the latest reason why Dems are behind the Foley scandal, then laments how horrible Clinton's affair was (it left him open to blackmail!), and then dutifully votes for Charlie Crist for governor... then.... then YOU MIGHT be a Republican Rhombus.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gill: Nagin is a "liability to the city he is supposed to serve" 

YRHT 9/30/06:

So the farce will soon come full circle. Nagin, who used innuendo about Mitch Landrieu's family to win re-election (with the help of the highly-educated "Couhig Conservative" voters), will likely reciprocate William Jefferson's endorsement with one of his own.... I CAN'T BLOODY WAIT to hear Nagin's "good reasons" for endorsing the corrupt Jefferson machine over Karen Carter or Joe Lavigne.


Apparently Times Picayune columnist James Gill was also licking his chops over this one. In today's column he writes:

Look at the reasons Nagin gives for taking up in Jefferson's campaign. You have to wonder whether he is pulling our leg, since it is hard to believe any politician could be that out to lunch.

Sad to say, this one evidently is. He will record radio ads and automated phone messages, and allow his mug to appear in mailers, because he says the city will benefit if Jefferson is re-elected.

Jefferson's Washington clout, even in what Nagin delicately terms its "current subdued form," will allegedly be "helpful for our city and state going forward."

It is true that Jefferson has excelled at bringing home the bacon. But that's not all he's brought home. When the feds came calling at his Washington residence, they found bundles of marked bills that, according to a conversation Jefferson had with a wired-up informant, were supposed to pay off a crooked politician in Nigeria.

Jefferson 's role became even more "subdued" when he was kicked off the Ways and Means Committee, but his "experience and relationships" in Washington can still translate into recovery moolah for New Orleans, according to Nagin.

But that cannot conceivably compensate for the loss of public goodwill across the country that will inevitably follow if a congressman widely regarded as penitentiary bound is re-elected with the enthusiastic support of the mayor.

No, Nagin is not pulling our leg, because the stakes are too high for levity. He does not mean to play the clown; it just comes naturally.

...

The evidence released by the feds, and the statements given by [Jefferson's] erstwhile associates when copping pleas, are thoroughly damning. For Nagin to issue an endorsement as though nothing were amiss defies common sense, and makes him a liability to the city he is supposed to serve.

Nagin might be a "liability to the city", but Mitch Landrieu wears makeup, has weird hair, and is related to his father.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

YRHT Google Search term of the day 

Here.
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Monday, October 09, 2006

CityBiz: Jindal "stubbornly" resisted Landrieu's bill at LA's expense 

Citybusiness editorial (via the DP):

The political brinksmanship displayed by Sens. David Vitter, R-Metairie, and Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, was particularly disheartening when considering how close Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, had positioned the Outer Continental Shelf oil royalty revenue sharing bill to passage during the waning days of Congress.

Jindal stubbornly continued to stump for his House version even after it became common knowledge Landrieu's Senate bill was the only one with a chance of passage. His support could have played a critical role in passing a compromise bill.

Instead of pulling together, the Louisiana delegation fell apart.
...

CityBusiness was first to report new analysis last week from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center, which shows 217 square miles of Louisiana's coastal lands were blown up during hurricanes Katrina and Rita-- more than 10 times the land loss originally estimated.

Louisiana has already lost 1,900 square miles of coastal lands, primarily marshes, between 1932 and 2000.

The amount of land lost during last year's hurricane season represents 42 percent of the land loss scientists predicted would take place over the next 50 years even with storms factored in.
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There is no more important piece of legislation in front of Congress for Louisiana. Please focus on passage of OCS, not on party politics.


Great. According to CityBusiness, our ever-optimistic "whiz kid" Jindal apparently doesn't know when to compromise. The stakes couldn't be higher for Lousiana, and he's totally committed to wonderful royalty-sharing bills that don't have enough support to pass. That isn't helpful.

Our Pelican delegation had a crucial, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some progress on oil royalties for Louisiana. Now that opportunity seems lost, due (in part) to unrealistic House members like Jindal who held out for "nothing" when "something" was on the table. Well, congratulations guys. You got it.

But Bobby Jindal remains "optimistic" about the lame duck session, and has "commitments" from the House leadership, and is 90% certain an energy bill will pass... etc.

And those are lovely, pretty, hopeful thoughts that you should have little to no confidence in.
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Rep. Baker falsely claims Hastert asked Foley to resign! 

Recently the Dead Pelican printed a Press Release from Rep. Richard Baker in defense of House Speaker Hastert's handling of the Foley affair. I will print some selections from the release and provide commentary where appropriate.

Congressman Baker statement in support of Speaker Hastert

BATON ROUGE - U.S. Rep. Richard H. Baker, R-Baton Rouge, issued the following statement today in support of Speaker Hastert on the issue of former Rep. Mark Foley's behavior:

"First of all, Congressman Foley's behavior was unconscionable, reprehensible, and beneath contempt. But...

Uh oh.

"some of the clamor being raised in criticizing Speaker Hastert over this matter has, to my mind, been outrageous, unfair, and at times outright misleading.

How so?

"An Advocate editorial this week, for instance, alleges an 'institutional coverup' - a charge that is as ridiculous as it is irresponsible based on the facts we currently know. Similarly, this week a liberal attack-dog outfit calling itself America Family Voices placed 'robocalls' in my district accusing Republican leaders of having 'covered up for a child sex predator' and proclaiming that 'the answer is arrests, resignations, and a new Congressional leadership.' In this, and in other commentary, I see a misleading attempt to lump together and blur the lines of an inappropriate email exchange that was known to Congressional leaders and the disgusting and sexually explicit instant messages that the evidence shows were not known.

There is an investigation underway to determine the extent of any "coverup". However, let's be clear. It was not just one "inappropriate email exchange". The emails that Rep. Alexander received included reports of other "inappropriate behavior" involving other pages.

"Based on the facts that I have seen, I have confidence in Speaker Hastert and believe he acted as best he could to address this problem in light of the information presented to him. In retrospect, is it possible more might have been done to unearth all the facts in this case? Sure. But I would demand to know from all those critics with 20-20 hindsight just how they would have gone about discovering the private communications sent by a sitting member of Congress to former pages no longer in Washington.

Umm... how about an attempt to investigate Foley's emails to the former pages' who were mentioned in the initial email? Wouldn't that represent a reasonable response? What did Kerianna think? How about Will? Were current pages ever "hit on"? Could former pages be contacted and interviewed?

"What we know now is that when the parents of a Louisiana teenager had legitimate concerns about the inappropriateness of what was called an 'overly friendly' email exchange with their son, Congressman Foley was confronted, agreed to stop, and reportedly gave strong assurances of his innocent intent.

Well, again, "we know now" a whole lot more than just that. We also know that other pages were mentioned in the initial email. What about Foley's inappropriate contact with Will? Why was that not worth a confrontation? What about Kerianna's allegations? What about Congress' moral obligation to the parents of all the other pages? What about their concerns? Apparently Congressman Baker forgot to read this post from "The Corner"? (Funny that a liberal must point out a post from a conservative's blogroll... an aside: why can't Baker find any conservative Pelicans worth linking to?)

Then, last Friday, when the more lurid and vulgar instant messages came to light, showing that Mr. Foley had lied about the extent of his behavior toward pages, he was immediately asked to resign and did so.

Can someone from Congressman Baker kindly provide the name of the person who "immediately asked Foley to resign"? Because that appears to be a lie. Foley resigned of his own volition. No one in the GOP leadership "asked him to do so". That's the sort of thing that occurs when someone gets their "facts" from the Rush Limbaugh show. (Dittoheads: In case you hadn't noticed, Limbaugh is an entertainer... nothing else.) Baker continues:

I can't imagine anyone could have suspected such vile behavior,

Well, perhaps a timely investigation might have uncovered a few who "suspected" such vile behavior. Perhaps Kerianna. Perhaps other former pages... When it comes to something as serious as sexual predators, I think we should "err" on the side of the children. We shouldn't trust the limits of people's rather circumscribed "imaginations". This isn't the first time this sort of vile behavior has happened. It would be naive to think it's the last.

and obviously if the Speaker had known about these other messages he would have taken the prompt corrective action he took last week.

But HE DIDN'T take "prompt corrective action" last week. He claimed to, but that was a lie a misspoken claim. Apparently, Baker believed the Speaker's misstatement on the nationally-syndicated Rush Limbaugh show-- and I'm sure he wasn't the only one. So, again, Mr Baker please tell us: precisely what "prompt and corrective action" was taken by the Speaker last week? Since Foley resigned before Hastert could do anything, what exactly are you referring to? Or are you simply extremely uninformed about what the Speaker did regarding this important matter about which you're passionately defending him?

But somebody knew about them, perhaps as long as three years ago, and, what's more, knew that they represented behavior that put other young people at risk. And I believe the Speaker has acted correctly in calling for an investigation to find out who knew, when they knew, and why they didn't act sooner to protect the innocent.

Perhaps the investigation will uncover something. Time will tell, as you say. But we don't need an investigation to know that the Speaker's lack of action last year kept the teenage pages under his care at risk. Nor do we need an investigation to know that Rep. Alexander's negligence in not ensuring a thorough investigation kept "innocent" teenagers at risk.

"I remain strongly supportive of the Speaker and have communicated that support to him. There has not been a presentation of any facts that should lead a reasonable person to have doubts about his performance.

Anyone who reads the initial emails and sees how Alexander and Hastert treated this matter as one that pertained only to Foley and one page-- despite what the emails clearly say!-- should have grave doubts about their performance. Baker's blindness to this obvious fact is very disturbing.
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"One of the stupidest politicians Louisiana has ever known." 

America, rest easy. You can count on Rep. Rodney Alexander to protect some of your children from predatory sex preeverts.

It's true. The Foleygate case shows us that when Alexander learns of three or more possible cases of adult predatory behavior around minors, he will dutifully inform his superiors about at least one of them.

One out of three ain't bad... right? Ask any baseball player.

Louisiana: aren't you "proud" of Alexander's handling of the matter (like Sen. Vitter)? Isn't that the behavior of someone who is "beyond reproach" (as Rep. McCrery describes it)? Would you "refrain from criticizing" such a resonse (like Rep. Jindal chose to do)?

These Republicans rallied to Alexander's defense, and anyone who has looked at the emails Alexander received should have HUGE questions about how he chose to handle the matter.

Several times, I've implored readers to look at the initial Foleygate emails for themselves. That's all you really need to see in order to know that Alexander totally mishandled the extremely serious allegations that came across his desk. By not insisting on an investigation into ALL of the serious allegations contained in the initial emails, Alexander violated the trust of the parents who had teenagers in the Congressional Page program. In my view, Alexander intentionally narrowed the scope of the email he received, and ignored the reports of inappropriate conduct inolving other pages.

That was either a grossly negligent or galactically stupid move on his part. But, either way, Alexander should resign immediately. He is a disgrace, and Republican Representatives and Senators who support and endorse what he did disgrace themselves and the state they represent. For example, if Senator Vitter's children were similarly disserved by entrusted caretakers, and left exposed to possible sexual predation, would Vitty-cent be so sanguine about the situation?

This is unbelievable, and no one seems to care. WHO WILL HOLD REP. ALEXANDER RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS AWFUL NEGLIGENCE? There are serious questions he hasn't answered. He should not be left off the hook.

Below, I've reprinted a key excerpt from the initial email sent to Alexander's office. As you can plainly see, this is NOT merely an "over-friendly" email, as Ramesh Ponnuru has pointed out. (Unless you're the type who thinks 50 year old men who "hit on" your teenage daughter are just being "over-friendly".) In the following excerpt, the page in question reprints a quote from Foley about another page named Will. The page in question also repeats a claim made by a former page named Kerianna. Read the excerpted paragraphs, absorb them, and think about how you would respond if this was brought to your attention. Then imagine yourself as Will's parents, or Kerianna's or (especially) any of the other page's parents who didn't merit an investigation. The page's comments are highlighted:

This was the one [Foley] sent about [another House page named] Will:

"I just emailed will... hes such a nice guy... acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape....i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey heading to the gym....whats school like for you this year?"

And this is the one about send him a pic:

"how are you weathering the hurricane...are you safe...send me an email pic of you as well...."

Sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick...

I talked to another page that was here during the school year and first part of summer. Kerianna (her name) said that there was a congressman that did hit on pages. She didn't know his name...

Foley also asked me what I wanted for my birthday coming up. I told him it was in December... [...] it's still August.

Did Foley contact the page named Will? Did he say anything inappropriate to him? Could Kerianna identify the congressman who "hit on" pages? Which pages did he "hit on"? What did he do, or say, precisely? Are there email records of those conversations?

These are just a few of the basic questions that immediately come to my mind after reading that email, yet Rep. Alexander read this and decided to weakly pursued it as a strictly one-on-one matter between Foley and one page.

That's inexcusable, but it doesn't stop Republicans from endorsing what Alexander did, and busily hinting at conspiracy theories involving Democrats. (Apparently, Dems were holding on to these emails through the 2004 presidential elections in order to deploy this political dynamite in the 2006 elections. A masterful stroke, no? I'll have more on these wild, false theories in a later post.)

In the meantime, have a look at this CNN clip where former Asst US Attorney Melanie Sloan is interviewed. Her orgnanization sent the emails to the FBI during the summer, and the FBI failed to follow up. Sloan gets it. In this clip, she talks about the emails Alexander received, and says: "The problem with the email[s] is that they suggest criminal activity. They suggest that this is a man who might be involved in making improper sexual advances towards minors." Note: that's "Minors" plural.




A thorough investigation is the bare minimum that was required here, and Alexander's mis-handling of the email (narrowing its scope to exclude some claims, not showing it to Hastert... etc) left teenagers at risk.

Alexander is either galactically stupid or grossly negligent. What other POSSIBLE explanation can there be? Please, please tell me if you think I'm in error here... Make your case. I'll retract everything immediately if I find it persuasive. Otherwise, I think you should consider joining me in calling for Rep. Alexander's immediate resignation.

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* Title quote is from political strategist James Carville, describing Alexander.
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You're not the boss of me 

Emily Metzgar points us to a story about regulating political blogs.

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Related link.


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Brent Sanders charges: "A Conspiracy of Silence" 

While Louisiana Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Libertarian candidate Brent Sanders shows voters how any candidate (or person!) with a backbone and an unshattered moral compass should respond to Alexander's role in Foleygate. Here's a portion of a press release Sanders' campaign emailed me:


For Immediate Release
October 8, 2006

Congressional Candidate Brent Sanders Responds to Page-Gate: "A Conspiracy of Silence."

Earlier today, District Five Congressional Candidate Brent Sanders responded to the ongoing investigation of Congressman Mark Foley (R- FL) regarding his inappropriate contact and vulgar comments to young male Congressional pages. "Representative Foley abused his position of authority. These young boys went to Washington, D.C. to work for their role models and mentors. Instead, they were betrayed by the very people that write the laws to protect them."

Sanders contends that Foley is not the only culpable party. "Silence is an accomplice to abuse," he said. "Our laws mandate that certain individuals are required to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect. These laws include any person who provides training and supervision of a child."

Sanders further stated, "Where is the accountability? These Congressmen had not only a moral obligation, but possibly a legal requirement to report these offenses. Instead of reporting to the proper authorities, who have trained investigators, their first action was political damage control. That is reprehensible."

Although Sanders did not single out his opponent, Rodney Alexander, he believes it is still necessary to investigate the chain of communication that took place between Alexander's office and other members of Congress, including Representative Tom Reynolds, head of the NRCC. "They both have questions to answer."

This is exactly the sort of response we should be seeing from every candidate, and every politician, in Louisiana. Questions indeed "need to be answered". (Though I cannot see a plausible "good answer".) Yet, all we have thus far is a hideous and alarming defense of Alexander by most LA Republicans, and utter silence from the Dems. YRHT salutes Brent Sanders for handling this issue correctly. We hope Sanders becomes an even bigger political "surprise" than Libertarian Zaitoon was in the Insurance Commissioner's race.

Again, for those of you who haven't read the "original" Foley emails that were reported to Alexander, READ THEM HERE (.pdf). I've written a condensed version of exactly what happened, only moved from the halls of Congress to Anyhighschool, USA. This scenario might help some people get their minds around what happened.


Student #1: Mr. Alexander, I'm "freaked out" because Mr. Foley emailed me and wanted a picture of me. I think it's sick, sick, sick.... Mr. Foley also commented on my classmate Will's "great" physique, and my friend Kerianna says that she knows of a teacher who is "hitting on students". I wanted you to know about this, because you're a teacher that I trust. Here are copies of the emails that troubled me.

Teacher Alexander: Student #1, I will tell the Principal about Mr. Foley's contact with you but will not show him any of these emails you forwarded to me, because your parents won't want that. I will make sure the Prinicpal tells Foley not to email you again.

Alexander does exactly that, and then other sexually explicit emails from Foley are revealed. There is outrage at the Principal's handling of the matter but remarkably little towards Teacher Alexander. Other Teachers at the school rally to Teacher Alexander's defense. They say they are "proud" of him and that he handled it the best he could.

As a parent, how does that sit with you? What's your reaction to that?
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