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May 19, 2006

Malco-Update and Open Thread

Malbug_17I'll be heading down to DC again this evening, so if anyone sees me this weekend, please do say howdy!

I have to apologize for my relatively light posting.  Aside from some work-related crises I've been dealing with, I have spent a lot of my blogging time on getting ready to launch our WordPress site and to leave TypePad behind forever.  I'll probably keep the TypePad site operating for a while to get people migrated over with us, and so that the pictures and such don't all get zapped.  But WP will open up a whole new realm of possibilities.

I've already exported all the content from "here" over "there."  I've started installing plug-ins, like one-click translation for eight different languages.  I have even set up Malcontent forums, but I need to put a little more work into that.  I also need to spend some time on templates, themes and some of the graphic elements.  But all of those changes, and a lot more fun stuff, are on the very near horizon.

So given that dearth of new content, I thought I would try throwing it open to only our second open thread ever, to see if there's anything that we should be talking about, but aren't.

An Oil-Fueled Torch

Malbug_17Leave it to Ex-Sen. Robert "The Torch" Torricelli (D-N.J.) to be the gift that keeps on giving.

The corruption-plagued New Jersey pol, who abruptly dropped out of his 2002 re-election bid, has now been linked to the Oil-for-Food scandal.  Torricelli, then a congressman, allegedly tried to get oil-for-food contracts at favorable terms for David Chang – the same campaign contributor whose ties to the Senator helped precipitate his downfall – and his company, Bright and Bright:

Contacted by telephone, Mr Torricelli, who now runs his own business consulting firm and remains a powerful figure in New Jersey politics and a prominent Democratic party fundraiser, admitted meeting Mr Hamdoun “many times”, “probably both” in Washington and New York “and in Baghdad”. He first denied mentioning Mr Chang or Bright and Bright during his conversations with (former Iraqi ambassador to the UN Nizar) Hamdoun. When told about the Iraqi documents that suggested there had been discussions, he said he did not remember mentioning them.

While the Torch's political career is dead and buried, this is the first indication that Saddam's corrupt influence might have reached even into the U.S. Congress.  Torricelli's history indicates that he would have been just the man to have obliged.

May 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

Malbug_17Yes, it might be taken a bit out of context, but it's still fun:

"If I had to go male it would be (Rep.) Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) because I would just love to be with him."

— Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on going male

May 08, 2006

Burying, Rathering Than Grinding, Axes

Malbug_17

Many on the gay Left have made a cottage industry of demonizing their political opponents, even when those opponents also happen to be gay.  So it was refreshing to see today's WaPo op-ed by Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, and her partner, Hilary Rosen, former director of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Rather than continue the Left's pointless and self-destructive crusade against Mary Cheney, the pair welcomed her more public stance on issues of concern to gay Americans:

Mary's presence on the national stage -- the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives -- is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans.

[snip]

We applaud Mary Cheney's leap onto the national stage. The timing of the book's release is a welcome boon to the current effort to defeat (for the second time) the White House-endorsed Federal Marriage Amendment, which is before Congress and would put discrimination against gay and lesbian families into the Constitution. The vote has once again been timed by the congressional Republican leadership to exploit the midterm elections.

Mary is leading the Cheney family to bring new understanding to dinner-table discussions across the land. We look forward to the Cheney family embracing this teachable moment, not just on the book tour but in election halls, state legislatures and Congress.

Nice to see that "Dear Mary" website hasn't been updated since the 2004 election, by the way.  Then again, leave it to those kooky gays not to let a chance at political posturing go by, at the expense of actually making a meaningful difference.

May 05, 2006

Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' Man

Malbug_17

OK, possums, I'll be in DC this weekend.

(Thankfully, at least some of you will not.)

Be good while I'm away.

And if you see me at Halo or Cobalt/30° tomorrow night, say hi.

But no drinks tossed in my face, please, unless they're carefully aimed at my open mouth.

If you don't know or can't remember what I look like, you can watch the video here, seeing as how much I love posting pictures of myself.

Gotta keep the readership levels up, yo.

Kennedy Addendum

Malbug_13

I eagerly wait to hear what kind of criminal charges Rep. Kennedy will be facing.

Surely crashing your car while intoxicated would be viewed more seriously than being stopped for going 10 MPH over the speed limit with a blood-alcohol content barely above the legal limit.  Surely a congressman wouldn't be held to a lower standard than a schlub like me.

Freddy Quimby Meets Jeff Conaway

Malbug_13

May 5, 2006, Boston Herald:

U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy insisted yesterday that he had consumed “no alcohol” before he slammed his Mustang convertible into a concrete barrier near his office, but a hostess at a popular Capitol Hill watering hole told the Herald she saw him drinking in the hours before the crash.

[snip]

Earlier in the evening, Kennedy issued a statement through his office blaming the accident and strange behavior surrounding it on prescription drugs.

Jan. 8, 2006, a drunken Jeff Conaway on "Celebrity Fit Club":

"Everybody, thank you for your concern. It was nothing to be concerned about. I took a couple of Benadryl and I got loopy. ... I am on prescription drugs, yes."

UPDATE: Not to be flip about this situation, because Kennedy now has stopped lying and is going into drug rehab.  Hey, it worked for P.O.B.

May 04, 2006

The Yellow Badge of No Courage

Malbug_13

Rarely do I find myself in agreement with Richard Cohen – that is, when I'm not so put off by his usual solipsism and general Leftishness that I will actually read him.

But today, in his column on Stephen Colbert's turn at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, he "speaks truth to power" about one of the Left's favorite bromides de jour:

Why are you wasting my time with Colbert, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country. His defenders -- and they are all over the blogosphere -- will tell you he spoke truth to power. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful it suggested repercussions, consequences -- maybe even death in some countries. When you spoke truth to power you took the distinct chance that power would smite you, toss you into a dungeon or -- if you're at work -- take away your office.

But in this country, anyone can insult the president of the United States. Colbert just did it, and he will not suffer any consequence at all. He knew that going in. He also knew that Bush would have to sit there and pretend to laugh at Colbert's lame and insulting jokes. Bush himself plays off his reputation as a dunce and his penchant for mangling English. Self-mockery can be funny. Mockery that is insulting is not. The sort of stuff that would get you punched in a bar can be said on a dais with impunity. This is why Colbert was more than rude. He was a bully.

[snip]

He had a chance to tell the president and much of important (and self-important) Washington things it would have been good for them to hear. But he was, like much of the blogosphere itself, telling like-minded people what they already know and alienating all the others. In this sense, he was a man for our times.

He also wasn't funny.

And if another person cites that Jefferson-quote-that-Jefferson-never-said, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," I will throttle them.

[h/t OpinionJournal]

May 03, 2006

Sanctity of Marriage Watch

Malbug_13

Ricky Santorum, who believes that allowing gay people to marry signals the impending collapse of Western civilization if not the Apocalypse itself, is working hard to re-elect an adulterous House member who allegedly assaulted his mistress.  A spokeswoman had no comment on the obvious incongruity.

This is funnier than anything else I have written this week.

Time Warner Jackpot Sparks Outrage

Malbug_13

New York (AP) — On the heels of Time Warner's announcement of a $1.46 billion first-quarter profit, the Senate Commerce Committee has announced hearings next week to investigate potential price-gouging.

"All those zeroes," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, loosening his Incredible Hulk tie.  "All those freakin' zeroes!"

"A profit that high cannot possibly be a result of market forces," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a committee member.  "I will not stand by idly while hard-working Americans and Vietnam veterans are made to pay obscene prices for substandard news and entertainment."

Commerce Committee staff members have been combing through the media giant's shareholder reports, news articles and other documents for evidence that the company is taking unfair advantage of consumers.

As the nation heads into the busy summer entertainment season, senators are concerned that high prices for Time Warner products are stretching Americans' disposable incomes thin.  Others expressed anger at Time Warner's profligate spending.

"They're paying Anderson Cooper $2 million a year for, what, 300,000 viewers a night?" said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)  "I mean, that's half of what Brian Williams makes on NBC, but about 6 million fewer viewers."

Richard_parsons_money

Richard Parsons, Time Warner chairman and CEO,
receives his annual bonus

"Look at this list of underperforming properties," said Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.)  "Ratings for 'The Sopranos' are in the toilet.  The Atlanta Braves' starting (pitching) rotation has an ERA of – what – like, 12?  And Quack.com?  What the fuck is that?"

Senators said they intend to press Time Warner to adopt austerity measures.

"Do they really need a 'Fortune 500'?" asked Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)  "Isn't 300 or 400 good enough?"

Richard Parsons, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, was reached for comment atop a four-story pile of money.

"The men and women of Time Warner are working hard to shore up this critical sector of the U.S. economy," he said, lighting a fat Montecristo Platinum with a fistful of stock options.

"With Americans importing more of their news from Britain and more of their feature films from Europe, they should be thankful that there are still domestic media leviathans to make them think and laugh."

A Senate Commerce Committee spokesman said hearings would be scheduled for Tuesday, and that Parsons and other top executives could expect tough questioning.

"Like any red-blooded American, I'd fuck Brandon Routh too," said Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)  "But $11 is still an awful lot to ask for Superman Returns, and that's even before nachos and a Coke."

April 28, 2006

Brawl Under the Big Tent

Malbug_13Elephant_1As if the conformity mafiosi weren't bad enough with their "gay Republicans are an oxymoron" trope, there has also been a spirited battle raging in the past couple of years – mostly under the radar – within the ranks of gay conservatives, libertarians and Republicans themselves.

At the center of the big shitstorm is Log Cabin Republicans, a storm that only intensified when LCR announced in 2004 that they wouldn't endorse George Bush for President and would instead spend $1 million toward his defeat to "educate" voters on why the Federal Marriage Amendment was such a bad thing.  (For the record, I feel those decisions were fairly sensible, despite the internecine warfare and identity crisis that they were bound to precipitate.)

Perhaps as if to reinforce the sensitivity involved, LCR's press release announcing those ads is buried on their website.  Their press-release archive page begins only after that announcement was made.

The debate centers on whether Log Cabin should be primarily a gay group or a Republican one.  The head of LCR, Patrick Guerriero, planted his flag squarely in the latter camp in a December interview with The Advocate: “Are we first and foremost a Republican organization, or are we first and foremost a gay organization with a role to play inside the Republican Party? The board and I made a conscious decision on the second, and that has affected everything we have to do and continue to do.”

It's against this backdrop that LCR reached out to bloggists to cover their 2006 national convention, which is underway in Washington, D.C.  (Disclosure: I was invited to attend but am unable to travel this weekend.)  Blog-pal BoiFromTroy is filing reports, as is MeetJustin.

The convention's agenda, true to the Guerriero interview, is heavy on gay advocacy and light on issues related to ways to support and elect Republicans who are more friendly to gay causes.  This has prompted Bruce at GayPatriot, one of the most vociferous critics of Log Cabin, to issue a challenge to BoiFromTroy:

[I]f you find any actual Republicans at the Log Cabin “convention”.. please notify the media!!

I’m sure you will trip over the Gay Rights Pro-Abortion Lobbyist and the Neo-Liberal-Neo-Conservative-Neo-Confused Speaker many times, though.

BFT essentially concedes the point:

While the speakers have not been Republicans (sorry Bruce) they see a potential strong ally with Gay Republicans who can certainly do some educating among the members of our party.

As usual, I think I come down somewhere in the middle on this one.

I think advocacy is extremely important: Winning hearts and minds, whether among the public or among elected officials, is indispensable.  But unlike groups such as HRC, which are at least supposed to be bipartisan and advocacy-oriented, LCR was established as a partisan, political entity supporting Republicans.  If it ceases to function as such, it might as well merge with any of the other sundry gay-rights groups out there.  (In fact, the Liberty Education Forum was established parallel to LCR to function as a non-political, 501(c)3, advocacy arm, putting LCR at risk of becoming doubly redundant.)

I do not expect Log Cabin to rush in to support people like Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum or Marilyn Musgrave, nor should they.  But as a gay man who is deeply disillusioned with the current direction of Republicans, I would feel better if Log Cabin spent more of its time and resources at helping build a better GOP: recruiting and supporting more gay and gay-friendly candidates, working harder to build bridges on Capitol Hill, and influencing the legislative process.

Log Cabin Republicans was originally established to say, "We are going to play a unique role in the gay political landscape."  Today, what they are more often saying is, "Ditto!"

It's the Economics, Stupid

Malbug_13Nozzle Columnist Charles Krauthammer reveals the shocking truth behind the skyrocketing gasoline prices.

It's ... SUPPLY AND DEMAND!

Actually, he ticks off a number of interesting underlying factors that have restricted supply and increased demand to their current extremes: among them, the American public's intransigence, the boom in China and India, environmentalists, and Iowa farmers.

Give it a read, especially if you sit around all day scapegoating the oil companies.

Quote of the Morning

"Poor bastard took it better than a gay porn star. ... Wait, he did take it from a gay porn star."

Rep. Linda Sanchez, (D-CA) on Scott McClellan (from "DC's Funniest Celebrity" contest, as quoted by The Hotline, sub. req.)

April 19, 2006

More Gas from Mr. Global Warming

Malbug_13Gore Helpful blogger Jordy sends along a little money-grubbing missive from the most inept politician in recent history (with the possible exception of John Kerry), Al Gore.

You remember him, right? The guy who took the strongest economy ever and was still unable to ride it to the White House?  (As a pre-emptive measure, I recommend that any comments about "stolen elections" save me the trouble by appending the standard line "This commenter is an idiot" yourselves.)

Even though Gore is politically clueless, I will assume that he at least had sense enough to send this only the howlingest of the moonbat base.  Because if he thinks that his message holds even the slightest appeal for a moderate/libertarian American like me, he missed the target by several furlongs.

Al.  Sweetie.  Baby.  Repeat after me: Bush hatred in not an agenda.  Rove-mongering is not an agenda.  A little line buried at the bottom about stem cells and "global warming" is not an agenda.  And until your party develops an actual agenda, something more compelling than livid, spittle-flecked rage, you will remain deservedly in the minority.  But I'm rooting for you, Al, because I believe that genuine electoral alternatives are critical to the democratic process.  You're just not providing one right now.

Letter after the jump ...

Continue reading "More Gas from Mr. Global Warming" »

McClellan ... Out!

Malbug_13Scott Bushies talking to Tony Snow as possible WH press secretary replacement.

Now Scott will have to listen to that old bat Helen Thomas only in his nightmares.

April 10, 2006

Surreal Time With Cynthia McKinney

CmMalbug_13 I don't know what school of PR Cynthia McKinney's lawyers and handlers went to, but one of the first things I ever learned about damage control was, "If you're in a hole, then put down the damn shovel."

In the latest stop on her you-a culpa tour, the Georgia congresswoman was on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," denying that she had asserted that her altercation with a Capitol policeman was a function of racism, and then disingenuously expounding in the same breath on the racist nature of society.

Using the royal "we," McKinney argued essentially that her liberal credentials put her personal behavior off-limits to scrutiny, even when such behavior is potentially criminal.  To his credit, Bill Maher tried to call her on her bullshit – in his own timid, left-leaning way.

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, low bandwidth]

April 06, 2006

Quote of the Day

Malbug_13"I'm going to put your ass in jail. I'm a police officer."

Rep. Cynthia McKinney's bodyguard, an ex-police officer

April 05, 2006

The Real Pig in a Poke

Malbug_13Pig Citizens Against Government Waste's 2006 "Pig Book," tracking annual congressional pork-barrel spending, is out today.

Among the worst offenses this year are "$13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C."

That is all fine as far as it goes.  CAGW should be applauded for policing such profligacy, which by and large is meant to curry votes in home constituencies.  (I have worked in the past for congressional appropriators.  To be sure, there is a lot of validity to many individual "ear-marked" projects, but they generally are inserted into appropriations bills with the next election, and not the wise use of taxpayer money, in mind.)

But the $29 billion in "pork-barrel" projects identified by CAGW represents only 2.8 percent of total federal discretionary spending, and just 1.05 percent of the total $2.77 trillion budget.  Nondiscretionary spending ("entitlements") accounts for fully 61.4 percent of the budget, and growing.

Continue reading "The Real Pig in a Poke" »

April 03, 2006

Number of Tears Shed Here: Zero

Malbug_13Good-bye, Tom.  Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way back to Texas.

March 31, 2006

McKinney's Basic Instinct

Malbug_13As I write this, Cynthia McKinney and her fellow race hustlers are pleading the notoriously anti-Semitic congresswoman's case in her cop-smacking incident at a news conference before a hallelujah chorus at Howard University.  The case being, naturally, that the cop she physically assaulted was racist (and a far cry from her much more conciliatory "official" statement).

I'll leave my personal feelings about the congresswoman aside for the moment, or the cast of characters backing her up that included the America-hating Harry Belafonte, but I was struck by at least one thing:

Two rationales were provided for McKinney's behavior.  First, that the Capitol Police should be better trained to know who the Members of Congress are because it has a bearing on their safety.  (I'd add that a 10-year political veteran of D.C. like myself also can no longer recognize her after she ditched her trademark braids for a radically different 'do.)  I have also personally witnessed something similar happen to a white senator.

And second, Team McKinney is alleging that the police officer knew who she was and was harassing her merely because of her race.

Now, if you're going to mount a defense in advance of what is reportedly her potential arrest, shouldn't you at least be sure that the two reasons you give aren't directly contradictory?



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