Don’t Cry For Me Argentina…

25 06 2009

MarkSanford

Unless you’ve had your computer and televisions off this week, you know by now that South Carolina governor Mark Sanford has confessed to cheating on his wife with an Argentinian woman he apparently met on the interwebs. While I hesitate to weigh in on the issue at all, since it seems to be the only newsworthy item this week, I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

First, let’s recap. Over the weekend there was much local buzz over the fact that Gubna Sanford was “missing.” I failed to see what the big deal was–even Governors are entitled to a vacation, and this one did just lose a contentious battle over stimulus dollars. His wife said she didn’t know where he was, his staff said he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

When we flew to California a few weeks ago, I saw Sanford getting off a plane, alone, and remarked that it seemed odd that he wasn’t with any security detail or other entourage. This week, reporters found  his car at the airport, which seemed to shatter the story that he was off hiking. I joked that he was probably just jetting around to have an affair.

The good Gubna was spotted at the Atlanta airport, and when pressed by reporters, indicated that he had changed his mind about hiking and flown to Argentina instead. “I wanted to do something exotic,” he said. In a press conference yesterday, he revealed that the exotic thing he was doing was an Argentinian woman with whom he had an 8 year email “friendship” that culminated into a sexual affair about a year ago. His wife has known for five months, and he hopes for her forgiveness.

Now, I have long shook my head at the political wives who will stand there like a bobble headed doll while their husbands admit to affairs, hookers, and wide restroom stances. But not Jenny Sanford. Ole Mark stood up there and bawled his eyes out alone. Take note, political wives. In a statement later in the day, Mrs. Sanford said “We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.”

Girl kicked his ass out! I can not think of another political wife in recent history who has shown that kind of backbone. And while her statement went on to say that the couple hopes to reconcile and that  “I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.”  I have to wonder if the ink isn’t already drying on the divorce filing. How does a man earn such a chance when his ass just flew to Argentina THIS WEEK? That doesn’t appear to be the actions of a man bent on saving his marriage.

Sanford has resigned as head of the Republican Governor’s Convention, but apparently has no plans to resign from his position as Governor. And I am fine with that. While I think in many ways he has screwed South Carolina like it was his Buenos Aires mistress, his personal failures have no bearing on his job performance. (Although it might be noted that he is technically a criminal now, as SC statutes call for a 6-12 month prison term for adultery). As a Congressman, Sanford voted to impeach President Clinton in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal–a vote we have to wonder if he now regrets since he finds himself in much the same situation. And while Sanford has gained respect for his firm fiscally conservative policies, he has taken a lighter approach with the polarizing social issues that many conservatives use to rile up their base. Still, as recently as two weeks ago he was urging for the protection of the ole “sanctity of marriage” (You know, marriage is one man and one woman, but what happens in another hemisphere ain’t nobody’s bidness.), a cry that is way beyond hypocritical.

Once on the short list of McCain’s Vice Presidential picks, and considered a sure fire contender for the 2012 Presidency, most now conclude that Sanford’s politcal aspirations are over. Perhaps he has  a future as  a trashy romance novelist though, as emails from the Governor to his paramour read like something that ought to have Fabio on the cover:

“You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty.”

“I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light”

Gag.





Was Dick Cheney A Client of the DC Madam?

25 05 2009

 I’m bringing you a very special guest blog this morning. The following post was written by Montgomery Sibley, the attorney for the “DC Madam.” Mr. Sibley contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I would participate in his virtual book tour (His new book, “Why Just Her?” was released last month). I invited Mr. Sibley to submit a guest blog, and assured him that I would post it unedited. Enjoy!

 

Was Dick Cheney A Client of Jeane Palfrey’s Escort Service? This is a question that I have been asked many times. Jeane didn’t know the answer as she never met her D.C. clients as she lived in California and never asked for their real names – unless they were paying by check. Only a few bright men – “Shock and Awe” Harlan Ullman among them – were so clever as to pay the escorts by personal check.

However, we have strong information that Cheney was a client and thus actively pursued that information by subpoena. For if we could prove that vice-president of the United States was a client, I didn’t  think any jury would convict Jeane. On May 7, 2007, I wrote a memo to Jeane’s criminal counsel, Preston Burton stating:

“I had lunch with Wayne today. Basically, he has it from three sources, one Pentagon and two CIA, all of which he considers reliable, that [Vice President Dick] Cheney was a client of the service when he was CEO of Halliburton. . . .Additionally, Bush’s transition team took over the offices of Halliburton in Arlington and hence that number may also be at issue. Last, Ken Starr’s wife, Alice, was the PR person for the landlord. Hence, all those numbers could be quite interesting. Wayne’s take is that GWB wants to oust Cheney, who apparently has many enemies including Karl Rove, in order to put a new VP in place in time to bask in the power of the Presidency during the next presidential election. All this is part of the CIA and Pentagon payback for the last six years of Cheney. Who knows?”

We did confirm later that while C.E.O. of Halliburton, Cheney lived in a townhouse owned by Halliburton at 6613 Madison of McLean Drive, McLean, VA 22101, making him a neighbor of the CIA. Run the address on Google Maps and you will see this address was a few short blocks from CIA headquarters and, thus, subject to CIA CCTV surveillance for security purposes. Hence, I issued a subpoena to the CIA for this information about Cheney.

Of course, the administration was not going to allow me to get that sort of information from the CIA and in short order the judge who authorized the CIA subpoena was removed from the case. Shortly thereafter, so was I. At the criminal trial, this issue was never raised and Jeane was convicted. For more on this issue, please see the YouTube video.

Thus to answer the question of whether Dick Cheney was a client, I have to say we may never know because I believe he made damn sure that information would never surface.





What Do You All Think About the Economy?

18 02 2009

It’s no secret that the economy is in the toilet. Even jobs once thought to be insulated from even the toughest times are being eliminated. Decreased tax revenue has districts laying off teachers, hospitals are letting employees go, I bet even undertakers are seeing spending decrease.

There’s no argument that things are bad. But there is plenty of argument about who is to blame and what can be done to fix it. Our government is passing out money left, right, and sideways. There was last falls bank bailout, which edged close to a trillion dollars (may have even surpassed that amount by now, I can’t keep  up anymore.) There were loans to the automakers, who are now asking for more money. Then there is the latest stimulus bill, again edging uncomfortably close to the trillion dollar mark.

Will any of it help? How quickly? And at what price to the future?

The entire debacle brings up something that has been painfully obvious during the past decade–the ridiculous partisanship that exists in Washington. It doesn’t take Scooby Doo to sniff out the mystery of where politicos stand on most anything–all one has to do is see which party they are a member of.  Most any vote is made along such succint party lines, I wonder if the people wouldn’t be as well served in sending a group of trained chimps to Washington. Simply coach each chimp into how to vote, then the people can decide how many democrats and how many republicans monkeys will make up the Congress and Senate.

chimp_at_typewriter

This is no time for political posturing. We need leaders who will do what is NEEDED, not what will make it easiest for them to win their next election. Leaders who will take action that is best for the country, not make decisions that are best for their party.

I’m no economist. I don’t even  balance my own checkbook, so I don’t have the answers. But I do try to look at any given issue from a variety of angles, and I don’t look to Rush Limbaugh, the Huffington Post, or the email forwarded to me by the old lady down the street to form my opinions. (If you visit discussion boards, or even read the comments that follow many news stories, it’s almost laughable how so many people allow themselves to be parrots for pundits. Laughable if it weren’t so pathetic!)

The first question might be, should the government provide stimulus at all? Should companies that have fallen victim to their own risky practices and shoddy products be given money from the public coffers? Will pumping trillions into the damaged economy shore it up, or ultimately push it over the edge?

They are complex questions, and ones I don’t pretend to  have the answer for. The truth is, I don’t think even the greatest minds know exactly what caused it, what will fix it, or how to keep it from happening again.

What I do know is that we have become, by and large, a nation that lives beyond it’s means. The average home has gotten larger while the average family has gotten smaller. What were once luxuries are now necessities. The savings account balance has been traded for the credit card  balance.

And our politicians have spent, and spent, and spent without any plan or, seemingly, concern for where the money was coming from. And before anyone points any fingers, BOTH parties are guilty of this. In fact, during my lifetime, the national debt has grown at greater paces under Republican presidents, which makes me wonder what, exactly, conservatives are conserving anymore. Politicians have, in the past, been unafraid to make the painful decisions. During WWII, tax rates went higher, rationing went into effect, all to cover the needs we faced then. Not now. How much have we spent on the War on Terror, with nary a cut elsewhere or a tax increase to cover those costs? Just charge it for the next generation, is that our answer?

So, what should be done? Anything? How should we pay for it? What should be cut to pay for new spending? What lessons can we learn from this mess? Has it changed, forever, how you view your own finances?

 

*update…there is a site up, http://www.recovery.gov/ that promises to track where the stimulus money is going.





SC Has It’s Priorities All Wrong

3 02 2009

With a state budget crisis going on that has gutted education, restaurant inspections, and vaccinations, (among many other state services) you might think SC would have something better to worry about, but no.

heads-up-2

First, we have some sherriff’s department desperate to find it’s fifteen minutes of fame after Butterface Phelps was caught smokin’ a little of  that “ooooo weeee” :

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina authorities in the county where Michael Phelps was spotted smoking from a marijuana pipe say they are considering a criminal charge against the Olympic superstar.

Cowan did not specify what charge was being considered and declined to discuss details of the investigation.

The photograph was first shown in a British tabloid Sunday. News of the World said the picture was taken during a November house party while Phelps was visiting the University of South Carolina.

Phelps and his advisers did not dispute the photo’s authenticity. He has issued a public apology. “

And, second, a South Carolina state senator has proposed to outlaw profanity. And it applies to both oral and written profanity. To which I say: come and get me you fucker!





Enough Already!

22 01 2009

I was eating dinner last night and the folks on Entertainment Tonight were talking about it. The interwebs are abuzz. The Today Show did a piece on it. Then this morning I go to check my email and their is a link to an article about it. I’m talking about the First Family’s wardrobe and I am puzzled as to why we even give a shit. That President Obama got his bow tie from J. Crew is of no interest to me. That Mrs. Obama chose a young, relatively unknown designer for her ball gown is an admirable (and fashionistas might say) gutsy move, but not one that deserves headlines.

michelleobama

Now, I was anxious to see what she would wear for inauguration, but only because the red and black number she wore the night Barack accepted the nomination was, to my eye, a monstrosity that made her look like the Bride of Satan emerging from the fires of hell. (Apologies to Narciso Rodriguez–it would be a fine dress for a cocktail party, but it looked like something from the Penney’s sale rack on national TV)

I thought the Isabel Toledo outfit Michelle wore for the swearing in was gorgeous. The color complimented her complexion perfectly. That it was exquisitely made was obvious, and it had a timeless, yet trendy appeal that suited her very well.

But then came the much-talked-about Jason Wu Ball Gown. That I seem to be the only one who didn’t like it probably says more about my fashion sense than it does about the gown, but the damned thing looked like something you’d wear to a country prom! Or maybe as a SECOND wedding dress. The single strap bothered me, I can’t decide if it looked more like an afterthought, or like it had lost it’s twin. And it seemed like she had to constantly adjust it to keep from tripping on the hems. And all those skinny bangle bracelets. Was there a sale at Claire’s or what?

Let’s hope all this wardrobe nonsense is over. We ought to be much more concerned with how he will lead the country than where he got his socks and what her coat is lined in.





There’s a Storm Brewin’

15 12 2008

i_believe_sc

There’s a storm brewin’ in South Carolina. It’s not a hurricane, an ice storm, or even a thunderstorm. It’s a storm over license plates, of all things. And this one can be filed with the War on Christmas because I just can’t quite side with either party that has it’s panties in a knot.

The state legislature OK’d a new license plate that bears a stained-glass window with a cross in it and the words “I Believe” emblazened at the bottom of the plate. Predicatably, lawsuits have been filed, and a federal judge has put a stay on issuing the plates until the matter can be resolved.

This plate was to be optional. It wasn’t the standard issued to everyone. Those who wanted it had to request it. It joined dozens of other specialty plates offered by the SC DMV. If you so choose, you may express yourself in SC by having a license plate bearing the name of any one of dozens of colleges, Nascar teams, or charitable organizations. From what I can gather, any organization may request it’s own speciality plate by rounding up 400 pre-orders or depositing $4,000 for the start up costs to make a special plate.

Predictably, some are arguing that these plates represent an uncomfortable mingling of church and state. Were these the standard issue handed out to everyone, I would fully agree. But no one is being forced to have the plate, and in fact, any other religion that wishes to have a special plate need only come up with the aforementioned $4,000 or 400 interested people to have their own. One of the plates already available is for members of a Secular Humanist society. I might be missing something here, but if there can be a secular humanist plate up for grabs, I don’t see why one bearing a cross is off the list.

The folks who are against this plate trot out the ole “separation of church and state” argument, which I fully “get” and generally agree with. But, in this case, the state is not forcing this plate on anyone. From all I can see, they would be just as likely to issue a plate that heralded any other faith if so requested. This plate no more forces Christianity on anyone than a Nascar plate forces an Earnhardt fan to like Jeff Gordon. Were SC issuing this plate while refusing to consider speciality plates for other faiths, I would understand those who oppose it. Near as I can tell, they are not. Now, if Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist groups were denied a similar expression of their faiths, we would have a problem.

But what REALLY irks me are the people who have gone to the airwaves and the internet to voice their support for the plate. “But wait…” you are probably thinking, ‘didn’t he just say he thought the plate was just fine?” Yes, I did. But those up in arms that a judge has voiced concern over the constitutionality of the plate have trotted out the same tired old canards that get reused and recycled every time an issue like this comes up:

“They already took away the Ten Commandments and prayer in schools!” No they didn’t. You’ve every right, if it is your prerogitave, to display the ten commandments in your home, business, etc. I know them by heart because my mother had a copy, etched in brass no less, hanging over the toilet in the hall bathroom when I was a child. When someone tells you that you can’t have the 10 Commandments on your private property, let me know so I can join you in your outrage. But if you are so weak in your faith that you require a reminder be placed in every court room, post office, and federal building, then your problems go well beyond anything the government is likely to be able to assist you with. And no one is going to stop Little Susie from bowing her head in a moment of prayer before a meal, a test, or anytime she feels the need to go one-on-one with God. What has been challenged, and righfully so, is group prayer led by the teacher, the person making the morning announcements, or speakers at assemblies. Our public schools are there to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Matters of faith are best left to the church and home. And if Little Susie doesn’t know to pray unless the teacher tells her to, then home and church haven’t done a very good job.

The other thing that burns me is the feeling that most of the people I saw on the news seemed to think this license plate was a wonderful way to show the world their faith. I’ve got news for those folks–if you need a license plate to show the world you’re a good Christian, you probably aren’t one. I don’t know what added cost was planned to get the “I Believe” plate, but SC already has a plate that many people of faith choose that reads “In God We Trust” and that plate carries an additional $24 fee. I would guess that 100,000 people in SC have that plate. Think of how many hungry people those millions of license plate dollars might have fed, how many children that money might have clothed or how many doctor’s visits those fees could have covered. But, I suppose, to some, it’s better that everyone in the carpool line knows you “believe”.





The “War” on Christmas

11 12 2008

waronchristmas

Since I’m on my soapbox…

The past few years, ever since some fella who looks like Beavis’s geriatric stunt double wrote a book, some of the news pundits have declared that there is a “War on Christmas”. If the checkout girl at the mall doesn’t bid you a “Merry Christmas” as she rings up your purchases, then her store must be part of the vast conspiracy. If the local courthouse isn’t displaying a plastic Jesus with a lightbulb shoved up it’s hindquarters, then they, too, have fallen victim to this War.

I say baloney. And I say it to both sides of the battle. To my knowledge, a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree. A decorated evergreen isn’t a traditional accompaniment to any Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice celebration. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong). Politically correct loonies can call it Spaghetti Cat for all I care, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a Christmas tree just as surely as the treats handed out on October 31st are Halloween Candy and not Holiday Candy.

Now, for the suggestion that wishing someone a Merry Christmas might be somehow offensive to those who don’t celebrate it. Who’s skin is that thin?? I will accept any well wishes in the spirit they are intended. I don’t find it the least bit offensive to be wished a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, a Blessed Kwanzaa, or a Splendid Solstice. And anyone who does needs to grow up.

On the other hand, those who expect to be wished a Merry Christmas by every store clerk, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker need to join us all in the real world for a moment. Stores serve EVERYONE of EVERY religion or lack thereof. The girl ringing up the pair of Spanx you picked out for Aunt Myrtle hasn’t a clue as to what holiday you hold dear, and for minimum wage, frankly, she doesn’t give a damn. She isn’t there to bolster your spiritual beliefs. If you want to be in a place filled with people who all believe what you believe, there is probably a lovely church within spitting distance of the mall that will be happy to wish you a Merry Christmas and, if the timing is right, let you have a crack at some homemade goodies down in the fellowship hall.

If every person aghast that a Nativity scene isn’t being funded with tax dollars would channel the energy they expend clutching  their pearls and pretending  that the end is nigh into showing the world some TRUE Christmas spirit surely that would go a lot further than a faded plastic arrangement of people on the lawn.








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