The Jack T. Chick Documentary For the last two years, I have been chomping at the bit in my desire to tell you this: I am the first person to do a recorded interview of Jack Chick in over 30 years. Those of you familiar with this blog know that I have a great interest in Jack Chick's work (which has attained icon status at least in terms of popular culture). That interest will be manifested in a documentary film about Jack Chick and his work.
When I arrived at the premiere, volunteer ticket-takers led me to the sanctuary where there were two large screens where the film would be projected. Before the screening, the head of the Light of the World Foundation spoke. Even though I disagreed with the theology of the film (clips are available here and also on YouTube), I was very impressed with the quality of the paintings for the film (most of which were done by Chick Publications' artist Fred Carter).
After the screening, to my surprise, Chick and Carter was introduced to the crowd of several hundred (we gave them a standing ovation). I was seated about 100 feet from Chick and my first impression was that he looked like an older, thinner Helmut Kohl. After the introductions, the premiere was officially over and people congratulated Chick and Carter. I shook hands with Chick and told him I was a big fan of his work; I also complimented Fred Carter on the painstaking process of doing most of the 360 paintings used in the film.
I had given thought of a documentary film on Chick for quite some time. However, one big hurdle was that he hadn't given an interview since 1975 (The Los Angeles Times tried but failed to get an interview when it did a series of front-page stories on Chick during the height of the Alberto controversy) . However, there were two things on my side: 1) I knew that Chick invested heavily in his film and would probably welcome any help with promoting it. 2) I'm rather resourceful in terms of getting into places I shouldn't be and being in the interviewer's chair with Jack Chick was just another challenge.
I started off by calling the head of the Light of the World Foundation, posed as a fundamentalist filmmaker, and offered to give advice on promoting the film. He agreed so I cut my long hair and put on conservative clothes before I met with him at his office. I gave him some valuable advice based on my own experience in independent filmmaking (For instance, I told him to get the film listed on the Internet Movie Database). One of the other ideas was a documentary film that could possibly be played on public access television. The head of the foundation contacted Chick; a few days later, the head of the foundation told me that Chick prayed about whether to give me an interview for my documentary and apparently God gave Chick the green light because, to my surprise, he agreed to an interview (artist Fred Carter also agreed to an interview ).
Before I go any further, let me discuss the ethical implications of my actions. There are no hard-and-fast ethical guidelines for documentary filmmakers (though recently in International Documentary Magazine, Bill Nichols wrote a thoughtful article calling for a code of ethics for documentary filmmakers. At various film festivals and film seminars, I have spoken to documentary filmmakers who have told me that the most important thing is to get the interview.
That wasn't good enough for me. While journalists are not documentarians, the two groups have much in common. Accordingly, I looked at the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists for guidance. The code states that "journalists should avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story." I think I stand on firm ground when I argue that going undercover was the only way for me to get the interview. Had I told Chick the truth about who I was, my chances of getting an interview would have been nil.
The code also dictates that "journalists should recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy." On the one hand, I respect Chick's desire for privacy and I would do nothing to invade his privacy. However, Jack Chick is the world's most published living author (years ago, it was estimated that he has sold 500,000,000 tract and books--Chick told me that he sells over 130,000 tracts a day so my guess is that the current total is closer to 750,000,000 books and tracts distributed). Chick and his ideas deserve examination--not debunking, mind you, because Chick tracts generally deal with matters of faith. Nevertheless, the Chick tract phenomenon should be looked at from a socio-historical and a cultural perspective.
One overarching principle of the code is that "ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect." Although I disagree with Chick from a theological standpoint, I have no doubt in his sincerity and respect him for taking unpopular views--views that almost cost him his business. I also like Chick as a person and was pleased with his down-to-earth and unaffected manner (e.g., he insisted that I call him Jack). Although Chick has been accused of creating hate literature, I can attest that Jack Chick, in his heart, is not a hater.
I met Chick and Fred Carter for their interviews at Fred Carter's house. Both gave interviews about 45 minutes long. Both men had interesting insights. I won't go any further on this. Wait for the film!
Here's the story: yesterday, the Hannity & Colmes show came to San Diego as part of Fox News' 10-year anniversary celebration. They had the show on the deck of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. I was a member of the show's live audience. In order to blend in with the crowd, I shaved off my soul patch and trimmed my sideburns. In order to give the impression that I had short hair (at least from a front view), I put my hair in a ponytail--in fact, my hair was pulled back so tight that it looked like I had the same hair stylist as Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH). I wore a pinstriped suit, a red and blue Gucci tie with an American flag tie pin.
The crowd of about 300 was about as fair and balanced as Fox News. I noticed a couple non-Caucasians but that was about it, making the crowd collectively pastier than the Bill O'Reilly event I attended in LA a couple years ago. Not surprisingly, before the show, when Hannity asked if there were any liberals in the crowd, I and two other people applauded.
My goals as an audience member were three-fold: 1) My main goal was to be part of the audience Q & A with the hosts (Colmes didn't make the trip so Bob Beckel co-hosted). I wanted to ask a tough but fair question. This didn't happen because, like the O'Reilly event I had attended, the questions were screened (audience members were given cards to write down questions before the show) and my question wasn't chosen.
2) When the camera panned the audience, I wanted to unfurl a 1' by 3' banner with the words "SLANTHEAD.COM." Slanthead.com is a site I have that contains an open letter to Fox News viewers ("Slanthead" is Ed Schultz's nickname for Hannity due to Hannity's funny-shaped head--which I can attest looks as funny-shaped in person as it does on TV). This didn't happen either because the camera panned the audience too fast for me to unfurl it with any chance for home viewers to see it. Quick note: during the show, I restrained myself from pimp-slapping Republican strategist Karen Hanretty for these comments.
Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that Ed Schultz had nothing to do with either the domain name Slanthead.com or the question I wanted to ask about Hannity's debate-dodging. I just think slanthead is a hilarious nickname, so my friend grabbed the domain name for me. As for my question about Hannity's chickening out of a debate, I thought it would be interesting to get his side of the story and report it to the readers of this blog. The only time I spoke with Schultz was when he was in SD earlier this year and I asked him a question for the benefit of my blog readers.
Anyway, after the show, Beckel and Hannity were hanging around and signing autographs for the crowd. I went up to Beckel and told him he rocked for calling Bush a draft dodger in front of a hostile crowd. Then I went over to where Hannity was signing autographs for a couple dozen of the audience members. He was flanked by a serious-looking guy in a suit, whom I'll call Smiley (I'm assuming Smiley is part of the dreaded "Fox Security"). Here is the brief exchange between Hannity and me:
ME: Mr. Hannity, I have a quick question for my blog. HANNITY: What's the name of your blog? ME: It's called Scoobie Davis Online.
I could tell it took a second or two for the tumblers in Hannity's head to click. He then turned his back to me and started signing other peoples' stuff and getting his picture taken with fans. I waited patiently for a couple minutes and when he turned back around and I said, "Excuse me--" Smiley then told me to "hold off." Hannity then took Smiley aside and started whispering to him (Hannity was looking at me when he did this).
Smiley then came over and said, "Let go over there and talk." One thing I learned in my experience of crashing events is that when people say, "Let go over there and talk," they mean, "Let's go over there so we can toss your ass out of the joint." I figured since he didn't demand that I come with him that he wasn't with the Midway's security team, but was a Fox News employee. So I figured I would fuck with him for a while. I responded, "Well, I can hear you well here. What don't you tell me what you have to say here?" Smiley then repeated himself and then I repeated myself. My exchange with Smiley reminded me of the "Dude! You got a tattoo!" sequence in the film Dude, Where's My Car?. After I got tired of jerking Smiley around, I agreed to walk with him. We walked over to Midway's security area and Smiley told them to escort me off the carrier. Midway security then walked with me as I left the carrier.
During an October 22 profile of House Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on CBS' 60 Minutes, correspondent Leslie Stahl was busy fretting over Pelosi's uncivil rhetoric and wondered how the Democratic leader could possibly work with President Bush if her party prevailed in November. Reading back some of Pelosi's quotes about the Bush administration being "failed" and "arrogant" and -- gasp -- even criticizing the government's inept response to Hurricane Katrina, Stahl insisted, "You're one of the reasons we have to restore civility in the first place."
Pelosi disagreed, noting that rhetoric is the everyday language of political debate in this country. And plus, she said, it was accurate. But an overly anxious Stahl was unconvinced. "How does this raise the level of civility?" she pressed.
Stahl is hardly alone when it comes to current-day hand-wringing over how Democrats -- and Pelosi in particular -- will respond if they recapture control of the House after 12 years in the minority. Time magazine worried that some Democrats "would undoubtedly try to use their majority power to exact revenge for Republican overreach" in recent years. And MSNBC host Norah O'Donnell went one better, demanding Democrats go "on the record" and "promise" that if they seize control of the House, they would not issue subpoenas to the White House and make "the president's final two years in office a living hell."
The flood of unsolicited advice about etiquette and manners coming Democrats' way from Beltway insiders -- from the "make-nice crowd," as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls them -- rings hollow. The press seems spooked that a Democratic victory would mean Congress would then become too political, too partisan. Yet this is coming from the same Beltway press corps that yawned while polarizing, partisan House Republicans, led by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), discarded generations' worth of bipartisan Capitol Hill traditions and protocol in order to radically alter the way the legislative branch functions. But only now, with the specter of a Democratic majority looming, do journalists consider partisanship to be a newsworthy (and disturbing) issue.
The trend highlights two distinct media double standards on clear display during the run-up to November. The first suggests that when Republicans are in power, partisanship, even the jacked-up kind on steroids, is dubbed healthy hardball. But if Democrats practice any (or even contemplate it), that's deemed to be bad for democracy. The second is that Democratic Party leaders are routinely held to a different press standard; a standard usually constructed by Republican smears.
Jerry Falwell: Gay Smut Peddler? The Mark Foley page scandal reinforces my belief that the contemporary Republican Party, especially its sectarian wing, has some serious sexual hang-ups. First, there's the widespread practice of serial marriage among GOP bigwigs. Regarding homosexuality, there are two Republican pathologies; the first is closet tolerants such as Ann Coulter who defended Jerry Falwell for blaming 9/11 on gays but who has a big reputation as a fag hag. Then, there are the self-loathing Republicans like Foley and GOP apologists (like Fox News Democrat Tammy Bruce).
FALWELL: I want you to fasten your seatbelts right now because I'm going to tell you something that will, I think, blow your mind--about this tape right here. This is the tape that nobody in Washington knows how we got. You see, let me explain: during the April 25th  homosexual March on Washington, I sent two camera crews undercover and incognito to infiltrate the anticipated one million gays and lesbians in that parade march on the nation's capital. Our camera crews attended dozens of unbelievable events. I mean they attended marriages of hundreds of gay couples . . . What they filmed was undoubtedly triple X-rated: nude lesbians blocking the street and nobody arresting them--dancing in the street, nobody arresting them. It was just as if Sodom and Gomorrah had stepped out of the Old Testament pages and visited our nation's capital . . . I watched in amazement as I saw a gay rights dance, a radical fairy get-together, and so much more that I cannot show you on this television station . . . It includes my biblical commentary which clearly tells you blow-by-blow what you are seeing and defines what you and I can do to stop the implementation of this radical gay agenda before it's too late for our country. God help us if we don't succeed. This tape will cost you $35 on your Visa or Mastercard plus three dollars for shipping and handling . . . I sincerely believe that only if everyone in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ today gets informed and becomes involved--rising with a mighty voice in unison, exposing sin as sin--can we avert the judgment of God upon this nation which, I believe, is imminent. . .
Falwell's pitch and the video excerpts remind me of the old saying that Democrats and Republicans read banned books--it's just that Republicans form censorship committees and read them as a group. Similarly, fundamentalist homophobia allowed Falwell to make a quick buck by giving voyeuristic kicks to latent homosexual fundamentalists who wanted to watch gay porno and not feel guilty about it. It's good work if you can find it.
First Time I Heard This Yesterday Charlie Cook was on CSPAN and he mentioned that many Democrats bitterly joked that the word "green" in Green Party is an acronym for Get Republicans Elected Every November. Here's why
Sean Hannity: Debate Dodger On his radio program today, Ed Schultz told his viewers about how Slanthead refused to debate him in Cincinnati earlier this year. Radio executives told Schultz that Hannity expressed fears that Schultz would physically attack him. What a wuss!
I suspect that what Hannity really feared was an intellectual pummeling, not a physical one. Hannity doesn't want to face an opponent who knows the score; why else was Colmes chosen to be his partner on Fox News? Anyhow, Hannity eventually agreed to a debate--with Jerry Springer.
Blackwell sounded optimistic on Hewitt's show but it ain't gonna happen: The latest CBS News/New York Times poll has Strickland leading by 25 points. When a candidate is that far behind, it's too much of a deficit to be made up by cheating (as Blackwell did with the Ohio presidential vote in 2004). Let's hope that when Strickland becomes governor that he does a full investigation. Blackwell belongs behind bars.
Sun Myung Moon's Creative Offering to the World: The Movie Inchon I finally finished seeing the Moonie-produced film Inchon (IMBD entry here) (I got a bootleg copy in June but it was such painful viewing that I had to see a little at a time). Since principle production was done in 1980 and it is conservatively estimated that the film cost $44 million to make (about $104 million in today's dollars) and it made less than $2 million at the box office, it is one of the biggest--if not the biggest--box office disasters in history.
I can see why the critics and audiences panned it. The script was awful. The opening invasion scenes reminded me of a cross between scenes from The Rat Patrol and The Green Berets. Laurence Oliver, who played General Douglas MacArthur, hammed it up badly and looks ridiculous. The pacing was bad. There were problems with costuming (e.g., in the press room scene, there were actors with late-1970's wardrobe and haircuts).
The badness of Inchon is completely logical: Inchon is to the cinema what Moon's Washington Times is to journalism--bloated white elephants that evoke mocking laughter from serious people. The Washington Times, which has cost Moon over $2 billion, is viewed with derision by real journalists. Total ideologies, by their very nature, create sterile art (think: socialist realism and architecture under the Ceausescu regime, e.g., click here) and the concept of a journalist's search for truth is an alien idea to those with a totalitarian mindset.
Loose Ends: I got my bootleg copy through Superhapppyfun--don't worry, if you buy it, none of the money goes to Moon or the Unification Church.
Rex Reed was in the film. For some reason, Reed has gotten roles in some really bad films (Inchon, Myra Breckenridge, and Hurry Sundown).
I am proposing here that after the election Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi go the President and offer the kind of government America must have in these troubled times, offering a new spirit of national unity, bipartisanship, shared purpose and a restoration of goodwill and civility in Washington.
To the old hands who read this, please bear with me, I am addressing this to two groups, the leaders themselves and to patriotic Americans and young people who do not have insider knowledge of Washington but have the innate goodness and common sense that has always made America a great nation. . .
Are we nation of domestic enemies, at war with each other? Or a great American family, in which we are all in this together? . . .
Democratic Leaders should both challenge and offer the President a good faith and common sense path that can end the crisis in Iraq, end the crisis of credibility of our leaders and end the acrimonious politics of disrespect, and division, which are hurting our country, our democracy, our security, our troops, our communities and our credibility around the world.
Anyone who thinks that Democrats should work with the Bush White House and cooperate with congressional Republicans is a fool.
Democrats are supposed to work with Karl Rove? Why don't Budowsky ask them to make out with a cobra? Work with the Newt-clones in Congress? Fuck that noise. Budowsky asks, "Are we nation of domestic enemies, at war with each other?" My answer is an emphatic "yes." The Republican hard right started it; the Democrats should end it.
After they cynically exploited 9/11, the Bush White House and Republicans in Congress were riding high and they thought they would be part of a permanent majority for the next generation. I know they did a lot of things that they thought they could get away with because they thought the Dems would not have subpoena power for the foreseeable future. The Foley scandal is small potatoes and the tip of the iceberg.
My advice to soon-to-be Speaker Pelosi and (hopefully) Majority Leader-elect Reid is simple: 1. Investigate 2. Subpoena 3. Repeat steps one and two
The hard right is not to be trusted; it is to be discredited and defeated. To paraphrase Karl Rove, the Democrats in the House and Senate should fuck Bush and the GOP like no one has ever fucked them. After that, then they can talk about working together.
The conservative movement has been very effective attacking the media (broadcast and print) for its liberal biases. The refusal of the media to disclose and discuss the ideological leanings of reporters and editors, and the broader claim of objectivity, has made the press overly anxious, and inclined to lean over backwards not to offend critics from the right. In many respects, the campaign against the media has been more than a victory: it has turned the press into an unwilling, and often unknowing, ally of the right.
I was curious how Christian bloggers would respond to these revelations. Blogger La Shawn Barber , who tells her readers, "[f]irst and foremost, IÂ?m a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ" wrote about a 60 Minutes story--the one on the Duke rape case but had no mention of the Kuo interview. Click here and ask her why no post on Kuo.
Krugman is Fucking Brilliant He sums it up better than anyone (copied from donkey o.d. ):
One-Letter Politics By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 16, 2006 Op-Ed Columnist
In a recent interview with The Hartford Courant, Senator Joseph Lieberman said something that wasn’t credible. When the newspaper asked him whether America would be better off if the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives next month, he replied, “Uh, I haven’t thought about that enough to give an answer.”
Why wasn’t this a credible answer? Because anyone with the slightest interest in American politics — a group that obviously includes Mr. Lieberman — is waiting with bated breath to see how this election goes, and thinking a lot about the implications. If the Democrats gain control of either house, no matter how narrowly, the American political landscape will be transformed. If they fail, no matter how narrowly, it will be seen, correctly, as a great victory for the hard right.
The fact is that this is a one-letter election. D or R, that’s all that matters.
It’s hard to think of an election in which the personal qualities of the people running in a given district or state have mattered less. Given the stakes, voters who answer “yes” to the question Mr. Lieberman claims not to have thought about should think hard about voting for any Republican, no matter how appealing. Conversely, those who answer “no” should think hard about supporting any Democrat, no matter how much they like him or her.
There are two reasons why party control is everything in this election.
The first, lesser reason is the demonstrated ability of Republican Congressional leaders to keep their members in line, even those members who cultivate a reputation as moderates or mavericks. G.O.P. politicians sometimes make a show of independence, as Senator John McCain did in seeming to stand up to President Bush on torture. But in the end, they always give the White House what it wants: after getting a lot of good press for his principled stand, Mr. McCain signed on to a torture bill that in effect gave Mr. Bush a completely free hand.
And if the Republicans retain control of Congress, even if it’s by just one seat in each house, Mr. Bush will retain that free hand. If they lose control of either house, the G.O.P. juggernaut will come to a shuddering halt.
Yet that’s the less important reason this election is all about party control. The really important reason may be summed up in two words: subpoena power.
Even if the Democrats take both houses, they won’t be able to accomplish much in the way of new legislation. They won’t have the votes to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, let alone to override presidential vetoes.
The only types of legislation the Democrats might be able to push through are overwhelmingly popular measures, such as an increase in the minimum wage, that Republicans don’t want but probably wouldn’t dare oppose in an open vote.
But while the Democrats won’t gain the ability to pass laws, if they win they will gain the ability to carry out investigations, and the legal right to compel testimony.
The current Congress has shown no inclination to investigate the Bush administration. Last year The Boston Globe offered an illuminating comparison: when Bill Clinton was president, the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether Mr. Clinton had used the White House Christmas list to identify possible Democratic donors. But in 2004 and 2005, a House committee took only 12 hours of testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib.
If the Democrats take control, that will change — and voters should think very hard about whether they want that change. Those who think it’s a good idea to investigate, say, allegations of cronyism and corruption in Iraq contracting should be aware that any vote cast for a Republican makes Congressional investigations less likely. Those who believe that the administration should be left alone to do its job should be aware that any vote for a Democrat makes investigations more likely.
O.K., what about the Senate race in Connecticut, where Ned Lamont is the Democratic nominee, and Mr. Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary, is running as an independent but promising to caucus with the Democrats if he wins? Is this a case where the man, not the party, is what matters? Only if you believe that Mr. Lieberman’s promise not to switch parties is 100 percent credible.
Note: I don't use terms "Christian right," "conservative Christian," or "religious right" because "sectarian right" is a more accurate term to describe this group because their defining characteristic is their sectarianism. There are tens of millions of Americans who are right-of-center who are Christian who deplore the politics of the sectarian right which wants to make their theological views the law of the land.
Another Previously Unpublished Jack T. Chick Photograph I have two photos from Jack Chick's high school yearbook (click here and here). Here is another one (it's from the high school theater group--the yearbook also mentions that the Chickster played the character Paris in Romeo and Juliet) chick appears to be wearing the same cool leather jacket he wore in the first photo I put on the blog:
Grassroots Media on (S)election 2004 in Ohio This morning I watched Laurie Paglin's short documentary No Umbrella: Election Day in the City; it is filmed in Cleveland and shows the chaotic situation in a Cleveland polling place, the result of misconduct by Kenneth Blackwell in terms of shorting the inner-city areas of acceptable voting resources. The consequence: Republican areas generally received an ample number of voting machines and poll workers, but the cities got shafted.
This was the perfect political hit for nine reasons:
1) It instantly lost the GOP a House seat. Democrats need only a net 15 seats to take over the House. The news came out late enough that Republicans can't replace Foley's name on the ballot, which will effectively hand the seat to the weak Democratic candidate who was running as Foley's rival. That means Democrats now need to net only 14 seats to take control (13 really, since they're in the same favorable situation with former GOP honcho Tom DeLay's seat in Houston). That was a big score in itself
2) The scandal couldn't be contained by Foley's resignation. Usually, if a politician misbehaves and quits, everyone else can say good riddance. But because the scandal involved teenagers working on Capitol Hill, this one had an entirely different provenance. If this was an institutional failure, then the people who run the institution have to shoulder the blame too, no?
3) It fit beautifully into a pre-existing story. The nation doesn't like Congress. Thinks members of Congress put their own needs before everybody else's. Well, a closeted gay member of Congress hunting for quail among the teenagers sent to D.C. to "work" in cute little uniforms makes that point almost perfectly.
4) There was no defense. Clinton partisans didn't have to blush when they said the sex life of their president was nobody else's business. After all, Clinton had gotten himself involved with a 21-year-old. Republicans couldn't say any such thing about a 50-something congressman going after teenage boys.
5) It wasn't too gross. It's salacious, since it involves sex, but not too salacious, since Foley (so far as we now know) did not have sexual relations with anyone involved. Therefore, we could all continue to talk about it and joke about it and obsess over it without feeling as though we were all dealing with something truly and unspeakably heinous. There's no Gap dress, there seems to have been no crime committed and the dirty little secret is that, even for Republicans fearful about the loss of the House, this scandal is kind of fun.
6) Hastert's excuse is too hard to understand. The speaker has been forced to say that, yes, he knew about the original "too friendly" e-mails but not the grotesque "instant messages." This distinction eludes many people, and not just illiterate yahoos without computers. Chris Matthews of "Hardball" needed it to be explained to him. Very slowly. And he still didn't get it after the explanation was done.
7) It can go on and on and on. The page program has been around forever. Drunken, lascivious congressmen have been around forever. We're going to be hearing and reading about passes, would-be passes and the like from now until the ratings dip, which may be never.
8) It could still lose the GOP more House seats before the election. Say we find out some elected House member really did know a lot about this and said nothing. He will probably have to quit in the next couple of weeks. If that were, say, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, his seat would go Democratic as well, thus reducing the Democratic number to 12.
9) It will depress Republican turnout. The way for Democrats to win isn't to get Democrats hyped up. Democrats need to dampen Republican enthusiasm to keep GOP voters from journeying to the polls on a midterm Election Day. This has done it.
The one great irony is that if Democrats do prevail in November, everybody's going to know the election wasn't a referendum on Bush, which is what they most wanted. But you can't have everything.
"It's really moot," one of Hastert's most severe Republican critics (who would not be identified) told me. "We are sure to lose the House, and Denny never would want to be minority leader." With Hastert's last performance as speaker coming in a predictably do-nothing lame-duck session after the Nov. 7 election, the month of October will be challenging for him and his party as he decides what to do with plans to campaign for challenged House candidates.
REALITY:Ohio State 35, Bowling Green 7 Northern Illinois 28, Miami of Ohio 25
Just Helping my Sitemeter stats: On one of my previous college posts, I received a lot of hits because I ranked Playboy's "Girls of the Big 12 Conference" pictorial. Accordingly, this month Playboy has a "Girls of Hawaiian Tropic" pictorial. My favorite: Amanda Corey. First runner-up: Carin Ashley. Second runner-up: Loredana. Special mention:Alba Nadal, Samantha Harris, Candice Guerrero, Natalie Weston, and Natalie Thomas.
The Right's Lastest Tack to Scare Up Conservative Evangelical Voters: FoleyGate is Part of an Anti-Christian "Witch Hunt" Since the Foleygate scandal broke a week ago, the GOP and its allies have been scared shitless that Christian fundamentalists--one of the Republican Party's core constituencies--will stay home out of disgust at the GOP House leadership's apparent cover-up of the scandal (if you don't believe me, listen to Slanthead Hannity's radio show). Low turnout of fundamentalists will be disastrous for the GOP.
The Wailing and Gnashing of the Teeth By the Right For the past week, it's been great listening to the unhinged talk of the right-wing talk radio jocks like Limbaugh, Drudge, and Hannity (with their talk of the Foley scandal being the work of the Clinton War Room" or that the whole thing was a "prank gone awry" by the not-so-innocent pages). It's Wing-Nuts Gone Wild!
Is Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) Ashamed of Being A Republican? Check out the mailer sent out for incumbent Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi who represents Ohio's 12th district and is in a competitive race this year; there are over 500 words in the mailer but not one is the word "Republican":
Addendum: Here is what was on the National Journal's House race ranking page yesterday:
There's nothing harder than trying to rank the races from 40 to 50. In fact, we wish we had 75 slots, since there are a number of races that don't make our top 50 which arguably could (see Doolittle or Tiberi or even Oberstar). We use the final 10 slots in our rankings to judge the second-tier races we believe are actually beginning to pop.
Foleygate FAQ Needed Ever since the scandal surrounding Mark Foley's activities with teenaged pages emerged, there has been a campaign by the right to make it appear that the whole thing is a Democratic dirty trick (e.g., click here). Also, there has been a lot of disinformation by the right (e.g., Hannity and others brought falsely claimed that Bill Clinton commuted former congressman Mel Reynolds' sentence for having sex with a 16 year-old campaign volunteer--in fact, Reynolds had finished the entire sentence for the illicit sex when Clinton commuted Reynolds' sentence for bank fraud). My schedule is busy but if someone is up to the task, let me know and I'll link to it.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Debbie Schlussel is spreading the falsehoods that 1) Clinton pardoned Reynolds (Reynolds' sentence was commuted which, contrary to Schlussel's post, means that Reynolds is still required to register as a sex offender); and 2) Schlussel's post suggests that it was the sex offense that Clinton addressed in the commutation).
A posting of an unredacted instant message sessions between Rep. Mark Foley and a former congressional page has apparently exposed the identity of the now 21 year-old accuser...
ABC RELEASED TRANSCRIPT OF ONE CHAT BETWEEN FOLEY AND A MAN WHO WAS 18 AT THE TIME OF THE INSTANT MESSAGE EXCHANGE.... NETWORK STATED THE MESSAGE WAS TO 'UNDER AGE' TEEN... DEVELOPING...
ABC ONLINE GLITCH LEADS TO IDENTITY OF FOLEY ACCUSER; FEATURED IM EXCHANGE WAS WITH 18 YEAR OLD
ALSO (Via American Politics Journal)"MSNBC's David Shuster: "Hastert will not be House Speaker by this time next week"; House Republicans Moving to Force Dennis Hastert to Resign as Speaker in Foleygate Cover-up Wake; Link, Details to Follow..."
Don't Ya Love It? The Right is Going Apeshit over Foleygate It's great to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity. I was listening to Limbaugh's radio show today and his tack is that it is all a political dirty trick by the Democrats--specifically what Limbaugh calls "The Clinton War Room"--and what El Rushbo calls "the drive-by media." Limbaugh went as far as to compare Democrats to the Mafia in that they can't win at the ballot box legitimately but need to "take out" Republicans by smears and dirty tricks.
More on Foleygate First for laughs, wing-nut Mark Levin on NRO: It’s time to ask the Democrat [sic] leadership and the organizations with which they work what they knew about these instant messages and when.
Probably the funniest comment about Foleygate was from Next Gingrich: "...I think had they [the GOP House leadership] overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would also have been accused of gay bashing." Remember when Gingrich was behind the whisper campaign against then-Speaker Tom Foley? Gingrich put out a memo titled, "Tom Foley: Out of the Liberal Closet."
Right-Wing Talk Radio Spinning Wildly I was listening to Hannity and he was comparing Foleygate to the the Studds scandal (also incorrectly claiming that the male pages in both the Foley and Studds scandals were 17 years-old--the page who received lurid e-mails from Foley was 16). He also brought up canards like Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Wiley (and Hannity knows what a uncredible witness Wiley was).
Following the revelations about Florida Rep. Mark Foley's sexually suggestive e-mails to a 16-year-old congressional page, I have concluded Republicans are unworthy of retaining control of the federal government.
Why Did The Pages keep Quiet for So Long Fear of retaliation, argues Robert Parry:
For generations, American parents have sent their high-school-age children to Washington to serve as Capitol Hill pages and to learn about the real world of politics. In the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley’s salacious e-mails, it’s clear that one lesson the pages learned was to fear Republican retaliation.
It now appears that one of the chief reasons why Foley’s e-mails remained secret for so long – and why some former pages still won’t speak publicly – is that they recognize that divulging what Foley did to them could kill their hopes for future careers in politics.
Is Hume's Apologia The GOP Spin on the Foley Scandal? On yesterday's edition of Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume made the following argument about Republicans and Democrats on sexual misconduct by members of the government with subordinates (full transcript and video on Media Matters):
It is very serious misbehavior on the part of Congressman Foley. Whether it stems from some overall arrogance or just the weakness of the human flesh is another question. It's probably worth noting here that there's a difference between the two parties on these issues. Inappropriate behavior toward subordinates didn't cost Gerry Studds his Democratic seat in Massachusetts, nor Barney Frank his. Nor did inappropriate behavior toward a subordinate even cost Bill Clinton his standing within the Democratic Party, even though, indirectly at least, he was impeached for it. Mark Foley found out about this -- was found out to have done this, and he's out of office and in total disgrace in his party.
Here are the problems with Hume's logic:
1) Probably the most glaring omission is that for the Foley scandal, it involves an underaged person being hit on by an adult. The Clinton and Frank scandals involved sexual relations between consenting adults (I'll discuss the Studds situation later). Frank was censured by the House for his activities and Clinton was denounced for his behavior by Democrats.
2) Regarding the Foley scandal, there is evidence that the House leadership knew about Foley's behavior since 2005 but did not take adequate steps to address the matter. This refutes Hume's claim (in the last sentence quoted) that Foley got the heave-ho from Republicans once his activity was discovered. 3) Regarding the Studds matters, the scandal occurred in 1983 when it came out that he had a sexual relationship with a 17 year-old male page. At the same time, Repubican Dan Crane was caught having an affair with a 17 year-old female page. There was no difference between the two parties on the Crane and Studds matters: both Studds and Crane received the same punishment: censure by the House (Crane, unlike Studds, was defeated for his reelection bid--but that's a matters for the voters in the district).
Hume's line of reasoning was also used this morning on the Fox & Friends show by the hosts and a Republican guest (there was no Democratic counterpart--that's fair and balanced for you). Does this argument represent the GOP talking points on the matter?