Saturday, October 07, 2006


Passing Of The Buck

It shouldn't be a complete shock when someone in their 90s is at last called by their Maker. Yet, the news of Negro Leagues greatBuck O'Neill's passing still feels like it.

It is a cliche to say that some people seem like they would be with us forever, but O'Neill was that type. I first met him in person several years ago when he was honored by the 100 Black Men organization. I was amazed, not only how energetic he was (given that he was nearly 90 already), but how graceful and loving of life AND COUNTRY he was.

There was no trace of bitterness that might have been expected (and understood)from a man of great talent and enormous skills who was cruelly denied opportunities over his life. Instead, he took advantage of other opportunities as they arose and made a vital contribution to the game he loved and to society at large.

I was fortunate enough to briefly interview Mr. O'Neill this spring as part of the New York Post editorial page's push to get the New York Mets to name their new baseball stadium after Jackie Robinson. O'Neill demonstrated he had the wonderful gift to say the perfect phrase for the moment: With absolutely no prompting from myself, he said, "Jackie Robinson Stadium - that would be something. When they do build it, I've got to come." To anyone, the allusion to "Field of Dreams" was obvious, but it was completely natural. Needless to say, he had this buoyant lilt in his voice and it was impossible to believe that you were speaking to a man in his '90s.

As Reggie Jackson said, "What a fabulous human being.He was a blessing for all of us. I believe that people like Buck and Rachel Robinson and Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa are angels that walk on earth to give us all a greater understanding of what it means to be human. I'm not sad for him. He had a long, full life and I hope I'm as lucky, but I'm sad for us."

And shame, shame, shame on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame for
not figuring out how to honor one of the great latter-day ambassadors of the game while he was still with us.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 06, 2006


Open Thread

Share your hopes, thoughts and dreams. But please, keep it Foley-free!

Bookmark and Share

House-Page Veterans For Truth?

My colleague John Podhoretz has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek (I think) column today applauding the "sleazy, skuzzy, unprincipled and entirely Machiavellian Democratic political operative" who managed to get the Foley scandal into the public, "fingerprint-free."

And, no sooner does Drudge
take the bait from other conservative sites about one page saying that the whole thing was a "prank", oops! up pop three more pages.

It's almost like we've seen this before.

Hmmm...mysterious political attack coming out of nowhere to injure a political operation -- at its strongest point? Where have we seen that before?

Oh, yeah, right! This is exactly what might have been expected -- had Karl Rove been working for the Democratic Party!

Seriously, consider that, on more than one occasion, a Rove opponent (John Kerry, for example) has found himself completely thrown off balance by an unexpected attack from a third-party source ("Swift Boat Veterans For Truth," to take a random example; a similar group popped up in 2000 to question John McCain's bona fides, to a lesser effect).

The opponent is left sputtering that Rove's campaign client was behind it all, but with no exact proof. Energy and focus that would have otherwise been directed at Rove's client instead have to be split in two -- taking on the charges from the outside, while still trying to work whatever had been the original campaign strategy.

To see Dennis Hastert
stammering that this was about George Soros, ABC News, Dick Morris (DICK MORRIS?!!?!?!) was tragic. It was reminiscent, again, of John Kerry and the Democrats in 2004 agonizing that the Swift Boaters were in the employ of the Bush-Cheney campaign -- yet couldn't prove it.

What is so particularly damaging -- and effective -- in this tactic is that it eviscerates the target's perceived strength. In the case of Kerry it was his Vietnam service; in the case of the GOP, it is the "pro-family"/moral values imprint that has been an intrinsic part of the Repubulican "brand" for decades.

Which, of course, raises the interesting question: The Democrats have been saying for sometime that they need "our own Karl Rove." So, who then is the invisible behind-the-curtain Machiavellian "Democratic Karl Rove"?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 05, 2006


At Last!!!

Finally, a congressman answers the age-old question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?"!! Well, technically, he has produced an ad where he admits to actually CHEATING on his wife, but NOT beating his mistress!

But, hell, that's as close as we're ever going to come in this day and age!

Let's hear it for the new honesty in politics!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

A Worse Place Than New York....

...for a black Republican to run for office?

How about
Washington, D.C.?

Nice profile of Juan Williams' son's Quixotic quest (thanks to commenter Madscribe for giving me the heads-up on this story).

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Foleygate = Prankgate?

From the Drudge Report:

According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal... Developing...

Can not wait to see how this plays out...

Bookmark and Share


Josh Marshall's distillation of the late-2003 time-period where Kirk Fordham reportedly informed Speaker Hastert's office of Rep. Foley's "overly friendly" interest in male pages.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin appropriately takes to task the conservatives hell-bent on "outing" the pages who received Foley's IMs. Apparently, many on the right have determined that this whole scandal is a dirty trick perpetrated by the Democrats and the awful media. For those keeping track, this is the third guilty party -- after alcohol and rapacious clergy -- responsible for these embarrassing events and revelations.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


I will be appearing TONIGHT at the New York Improv comedy club, 318 W. 53rd (bet. 8th & 9th) at the 9:30 p.m. show! I'll be upstairs in the "Chicago City Limits" comedy room.

Lots of cutting (and shooting)-edge observations about members of our fine political class: Dick Cheney, Jim McGreevey, MARK FOLEY (a new page of material!!) Condoleezza Rice, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more!

If you've seen me on stage before, come see me again -- lotsa new stuff, and way-cool presentation! If you haven't seen me before, well, what the hell are you waiting for?

Please call the club for reservations: (212) 501-6330. Tell 'em you're coming to see me!

Cover: $10, two-drink minimum

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Fighting In The War Room

I had the pleasure of traveling with Andrew Bacevich in my visit to China this summer. He has a great piece on the tensions between the military and civilian leadership at the Pentagon. Somewhat explains the chaos in Iraq policy.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Rep. Reynolds COS -- OUT!

Kirk Fordham resigns over role in Foley page scandal.

UPDATE: Fordham refuses to go quietly into that good night:

A senior congressional aide said Wednesday he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office in 2004 about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages -- the earliest known alert to the GOP leadership.
Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene." The conversations took place long
before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

And The Cradle Will Rock

So, now we have the "bottle made me do it" AND the "Catholic priest made me do it" excuse/explanation from Foley.

This, of course, only compounds things for Republicans. It's bad enough that Foley's transgressions put the party at variance with its
critical social conservative base.

But now, out comes the molesting card. Can GOP-leaning Catholic really be thrilled with the idea that they may have to relive the entire "pervy priest" headlines of the early '00s? How motivated to go to the polls in a few weeks and vote for members of the party that have helped remind the public about the most embarassing period in the history of the Church?

Not much, I'd imagine. (Denny Hastert's eerie physical resemblance to Bishop Bernard Law doesn't exactly help things either.)

And, going from the sublime to the ridiculous, can there be anything better than having a lawyer named "David Roth" explaining that Foley is an, ahem, "closet drinker"?

God help us, we can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE: And, one has to love the, "We can't control ourselves -- so let's get rid of the page program!" idea put forward by Rep. Ray LaHood (and Hastert is indispensable because, "He brought us through 9/11." Sorry that I missed Hastert manning the anti-aircraft missiles that defended the Capitol). Given the above, we should also just, you know, get rid of Catholic schools, altar boys and anything else out there that might tempt a priest. Let's close down parks because pedophiles stalk young kids there. Let's shut down airline travel because planes might get hijacked (oh well, we're almost halfway there to doing that anyway)!.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Blankley Verse

Tony Blankley explains the need for conservatives and Republicans hold Republican leaders accountable:

I believe in and have regularly fought the partisan fight to the bitter end — except when the position is ethically indefensible.
In this case, defending Denny Hastert's decisions is ethically wrong, would undermine our party's commitment to the defense of traditional moral values and is politically stupid in the bargain.
I have known Denny for almost two decades. He is an exceedingly decent man and a hard worker for conservative Republican values and politics. But we cannot deny the fact that he had a sustained lapse of good judgment. The fact that he reportedly has been quite ill for some time may be an explanation — but not an excuse.
Forget the later hideous text messages.
When the speaker was told that Mark Foley had sent that first e-mail — the "overly friendly" one that we all saw last Friday — he had to be either obtuse or on notice of the problem. Any father of a young man who saw such an e-mail sent to his son would rightly be disposed to immediately punch out Mr. Foley and warn him to keep away from his son, and then he would call the police. It was common knowledge that Mr. Foley was gay. If he had been straight and asked for a 16-year-old girl's photo, any sensible person would have concluded the same thing.
But the fact that, according to my best sources in the House Republicans, Mr. Hastert never informed any Democrats of the matter (even on the page oversight board), unambiguously suggests that he knew what was up. Thus began the cover-up. Of course he knew what the Democrats would do with the information. But not only is this not a Democratic Party dirty trick (the facts are real, not made up), but Mr. Hastert had a moral duty to do all in his power to make sure there would not be more victims of Mr. Foley's alleged sexual predation — or clear potential for such.
The fact that Democrats might also cover up such facts is just another reason why I am a Republican. Republicans do stand for sound moral values.
And if it is unfair that Democratic voters often give their politicians a pass on such matters (e.g. former Massachusetts Democratic congressman Gerry Studds got re-elected by his liberal voters after a similar incident was made public), that is just the price we have to pay in this wicked world for holding fast to our values and principles. If virtue were profitable, the whole world would be virtuous.
How in the world will Republicans be able to champion our values in the future if we weasel and excuse the cover-up of such conduct in one of our own? We have more to protect than the next election, we have our historic reputation among more than half the country for our principles.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow on Denny Hastert.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Lose one game? Fire the coach!

You are undefeated going into the third game of the season. Your opponent is also undefeated, and looking very tough. You lose in their stadium by 3 points. What happens next? Naturally, the fans, the team, and Media call for the coach's head!

Say what?

That seems to be what is happening with the San Diego Chargers. According to
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
"No one is happy.

Only Keenan McCardell is really saying so publicly, which should endear him to the thousands of Chargers fans who are beside themselves over Sunday's 16-13 loss in Baltimore and too many like it under Marty Schottenheimer.

But be certain about this: Not a soul at Chargers Park is pleased.

Many players, including McCardell, pointed out there are 13 games to play, which might be precisely the point.

Acee's article goes on to quote Charger management that nothing surrounding the coaching will be reviewed until after the season.

To be fair, the article does point to some bad coaching decisions by Schottenheimer.

Dealing with first year starting QB Phil Rivers:
"Asked yesterday whether [Schottenheimer] lacked confidence in Rivers, Schottenheimer balked.

“I have complete trust in him,” said the coach, who approved a sequence of play calls that had Rivers throw just once in the third quarter Sunday.

However, Schottenheimer was asked later if Drew Brees were still the quarterback would Sunday's play-calling have been different and would he have been willing to take more risks?

“I think that is a fair assessment,” he replied. “We're not asking Philip to do all the things we asked a five-year veteran to do.”

...After the game, Ravens linebacker Bart Scott said this to the Baltimore Sun: “I'm glad (Schottenheimer) stuck with his game plan, because that Rivers kid could play.”

...[Phil Rivers] played it cool when told of Schottenheimer's comments about how things would have been different if a veteran QB had been under center. But he was clearly crestfallen and then a little angry.

“My hope is there isn't a lack of confidence or trust,” he said.


In case you had not noticed, Schottenheimer does not deal well with young quarterbacks. He has a bad case of "George Allen syndrome" (and I am not talking about racism!).

While Schottenheimer did develop Bernie Kosar with the Browns, he did it VERY slowly. Consider that in Kosar's first year, 1985, the Browns had two one-thousand yard rushers (Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack). In 12 games, Kosar threw the ball 248 times, roughly 20 times a game.

Yet, Charger fans and Media expect Marty to air it out with a first time starter? Get real.

The Chargers run the ball too much, and at bad times:
"...the Chargers ran five of the nine times they had third-and-4 or longer. Schottenheimer attributed most of the play-calling decisions to poor field position.

But field position did not explain the time the Chargers ran on third-and-6 from the Ravens' 24. It also did not explain the time they started at their 40 and ran three straight plays before punting. Running three straight times after having first-and-20 at the 20 was a little curious as well. So, too, was there reason to question the fourth-quarter decisions to run from the Ravens' 41 on first down and again from the 35 on second-and-20.

Apparently, the people in San Diego are shocked by this. I have no clue why. This IS Marty Schottenheimer football. He did this in Cleveland, Kansas City, and Washington. Schottenheimer has always run the ball at obscenely stupid times, usually with some success, because he forces defenses to account for the run at all times.

Did the Chargers think when Schottenheimer arrived in San Diego he would be possessed by the spirits of Sid Gillman or Don Coryell?

In Marty's defense, he does have arguably the best running back in the game with LaDainian Tomlinson. Also, they only lost by 3 points to the Ravens, who are looking about as good as they did in their Super Bowl season.

No matter what you think of Schottenheimer's style, it is a point. That point usually happens in the playoffs, where Marty has never taken a team beyond the conference championship. And he never will.

But to lose one game to an excellent team and then call for the coach's head is the very definition of insanity. Add in the fact that the Chargers and their fans knew what they were getting when they hired Schottenheimer, and I am reminded of Albert Einstein's saying about insanity:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 03, 2006



Welcome, readers of Virginia Postrel's excellent Dynamist blog!

Thank you, Virginia, for your
kind words about this blog. However, I must correct for the record -- the recent post about Terrell Owens was the work of this site's "gridiron designated hitter" (to mix sports metaphors), Ed McGonigal!

Technorati Tags: ,

Bookmark and Share

Reynolds Crap

Another brave member of the Republican leadership. Ben Smith reports on NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds who brought kids to his press conference on Mark Foley!!!

even asked Reynolds to excuse the children, so a more "adult" question could be asked.

Reynolds declined.

"It's astounding to me," Reynolds said, "as a parent or a grandparent, that anyone would insinuate that I would seek to cover up inappropriate conduct between an adult and a child."
Nah, but you'd use your own political supporters' kids as shields to duck tough questions -- about "inappropriate conduct between an adult and a child"!

And what the hell were these kids' parents thinking? Don't they read the news?

Words fail me.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Triangulation Boomerang the Mark Foley saga, we now see the reverse of the Clinton years.

In the '90s, Clinton copted Republicans on policy issues; now, the Republicans have decided to co-opt Democrats on sex scandals!

Not sure if this reversal of fortune is going exactly the way the GOP would like it.

Geez, once upon a time, things were so simple: Republican scandals were about money and Democratic ones were about sex. Now, Republicans are resigning and/or being indicted over bribery, influence-peddling AND sex; Gingrich, Giuliani and McCain have eight marriages between them -- AND disgraced GOPers are going into rehab (a move that should earn them a lawsuit from the Kennedys for trademark violation).

So, what the hell is there left for Democrats to do???

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


I received an e-mail from a DC-based Republican that underscores the real trouble that the House GOP leadership -- and by extension, the congressional majority -- faces. This Republican is a Capitol Hill veteran who stays in touch with old associates:

It [troubles] me that [GOP defenders] kept referring back to Gerry Studs. While Studds is disturbing and the Democratic response was even more so, that was 24 years ago. The pages in question now were not even a twinkle in their parents eye at that point.

[At] lunch with some friends on the Hill today...they [were] pretty livid with the leadership. Everyone I have talked to agrees that this is 100 times worse than Abramoff or Cunningham - people expect Congressmen to be corrupt, they do not expect them to be pedophiles. Also, no one is buying the "well,
what we saw did not seem so bad and we did not see the IM" bit.
That's the problem -- of the sort that can turn a close election into a blow out: On the one hand, an opposition party that is fired up to motivate their base and the other party's base is completely demoralized. That was a fear well before the Foley crisis, but this could be the straw that broke the Republican majority's back.

UPDATE: The Washington Times recognizes the stakes -- and urges Dennis Hastert to do the right thing. The fact that the editorial page editor of the Times was once press secretary to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (indeed, the man who hired me for the job writing in the office), Tony Blankley is significant. No, it doesn't mean that Tony is doing Newt's bidding via the editorial pages (indeed, Newt's response on Sunday was remarkably forgiving of the leadership's decisions -- though he may not have had all the information at hand).

Tony is very well-connected on Capitol Hill himself and is friends with many GOP members. If anything, this editorial signals that Hastert has lost the support of the Washington Republican establishment. The only thing that can stop a complete Republican train wreck in November is the departure of a real heavyweight. That means Mr. Hastert must go.

UPDATE II: Americablog is, of course, very liberal and is clearly no fan of Republicans. Still, they make some good points about the culpability of the GOP leadership in this sordid story, beyond Hastert:

But this is absurd.

The final point is a bit over the top. It wasn't much of a secret that Foley was gay (heck, I heard about that when I was working on the Hill ten years ago). That doesn't automatically mean that every GOP member should have known about Foley's proclivity for young men (in the same way that a straight politician might be known as a "player," but it might not be widely known that he has an eye for high school cheerleaders). Still, the scandal certainly taints all House Republicans as it is. It wouldn't be a surprise if local newspapers will be asking their local member about what they knew of Foley's behavior.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 01, 2006


House of Hastert

One of the signature achievements of this Congress is celebrated on Speaker Hastert's U.S. House homepage (photo glitch is on the original page):

“At home we put children first, and Republicans are doing just that in the House”

Speaker at the Enrollment ceremony of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006, 7/26/2006(Washington, D.C.) House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) today [July 25, 2006] issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The bill passed by voice vote.

“At home, we put the security of our children first and Republicans are doing just that in our nation’s House. We’ve all seen the disturbing headlines about sex offenders and crimes against children. These crimes cannot persist. Protecting our children from Internet predators and child exploitation enterprises are just as high a priority as securing our border from terrorists.

“House Republicans understand that a safer America involves providing safety measures on all fronts. That’s why today we passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.”

(Read the entire statement...).

For emphasis sake, just click on the above link and get another snapshot of the same statement:
“At home we put children first, and Republicans are doing just that in the House”

Speaker Hastert Comments on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006

July 25, 2006

(Washington, D.C.) House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) today issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The bill passed by voice vote.

“At home, we put the security of our children first and Republicans are doing just that in our nation’s House. We’ve all seen the disturbing headlines about sex offenders and crimes against children. These crimes cannot persist.

Protecting our children from Internet predators and child exploitation enterprises are just as high a priority as securing our border from terrorists.

“House Republicans understand that a safer America involves providing safety measures on all fronts. That’s why today we passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.”

The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006 protects our nation’s children by improving sex offender registration and notification programs, enhancing law enforcement resources, preventing child exploitation, stopping child pornography and creating new criminal offense penalties protecting children from the Internet. The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act also authorizes grants and other programs to protect and help our children.

Stew on those lines: "Protecting our children from Internet predators and child exploitation enterprises are just as high a priority as securing our border from terrorists. House Republicans understand that a safer America involves providing safety measures on all fronts." (emphasis added)

The Adam Walsh Protection Act was passed July 25th -- nine eleven months after Mark Foley's initial suggestive e-mails first became known to House Republicans -- and five months after Dennis Hastert learned about the series of e-mails coming from Foley.

Gee, wonder whether Republican members would sit on information about terrorist activity for nine eleven months!?!?

Safety begins at home?

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Piece edited to reflect the August 2005 date when initial Foley e-mail exchange came to light and Rep. John Shimkus, chairman of the House Committee on pages, was notified. Also, my apologies for the weird layout this morning. Some formatting error was introduced when I e-mailed this post to Blogger.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Turning The G.O.Page

With a weekend that began last Thursday with a Bachelor party in Toronto and headed with Homecoming at St. John's College in Annapolis, there has been little time for blogging. (Thank you, Ed, for your cogent and exhaustive T.O coverage).

It was a bad time to be somewhat out of touch, given the big news out of Washington. Rather than play catch-up on the
Mark Foley scandal, for the time being, I'd just like to associate myself with every word that my friend Doug Bandow has to say on the topic:
First, the fact that Speaker Hastert did nothing reinforces the image of a leadership that cares only about protecting itself, even if teenage pages are at risk. The explanation that the Speaker was only aware of the most benign sounding emails is no excuse: even the most benign-sounding weren't benign.

Congressmen rarely, if ever, have informal, social contact with their own pages, let alone those of other members. The wall of separation is even higher after the scandals of a quarter century ago involving members of both parties.

Second, there was no reason to believe that contact was limited to "overly friendly," but largely benign, messages to one page. Rep. Foley was widely thought to be gay. He is not the only homosexual in Congress, and his sexuality alone was appropriately of no interest to Congress (or, apparently, to his constituents). But for an older gay member to appear to be hitting on an underage page should have set off alarm bells even in the offices of GOP leaders used to running the institution without accountability. They had an obligation to make sure that there were no more cases, and to threaten sufficient sanctions to ensure that no such contacts occurred again. They appear to have failed on both counts.

Third, this episode confirms the widely held belief that the Republican majority is corrupt, arrogant, deceptive, and out of touch. Voters can forgive many things, but not leaders so concerned about preserving their own power that they do nothing to protect children under their care. The charges and counter-charges over Iraq and terrorism might be confusing. Not Foleygate. People will easily understand what went wrong here, and it is likely to move a handful of voters, just enough, in my view, to guarantee a Democratic House.

Fourth, GOP members, especially those holding vulnerable seats, will be the first to sense any shift in the public mood back home, where they all are headed, now that Congress has gone out. And if the news is bad--stoked by a growing sense of outrage if more kids were contacted by Foley, and especially if anything physical happened--then they will do anything necessary to save themselves. Just as Jonah was tossed overboard by his shipmates, the Republican majority may defenestrate Hastert from his fancy office.
Doug's entire post is dead solid perfect.

I will add one other point: Republicans have to fear how the phrase "Security begins at home" will resonate over the next five weeks. And by "home," the Democrats won't be just talking about "the homeland." Foley's gone. Hastert's toast -- and he may bring down the entire House around him.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook