October 29, 2005

When will DeLay and DeGuerin smarten up?

Tom DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, requested the removal of state Judge Bob Perkins earlier this week because the judge has made 34 contributions since 2000 to Democratic and liberal groups, above all to MoveOn.org.

So Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle says, in essence, “You wanna piece of me? You wanna piece of me? So, Earle subpoenaed Perkins’ campaign contributions, but threw nearly 30 other potential trial judges on DeLay’s money laundering charge under the bus as well.
Earle also subpoenaed records from the Texas Ethics Commission of political contributions from 2000 to 2005 by nine judges in Tarrant County, 17 in Dallas County and five in Travis County.

DeLay has requested that his trial be moved out of Austin's Travis County, where Earle is the district attorney and Perkins is the judge. Tarrant and Dallas counties are possible locations should the trial be moved.

Almost all Tarrant and Dallas judges whose records were subpoenaed have made federal political contributions to Republican groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The center does not monitor contributions to state candidates or parties, which is the information Earle seeks.

At least six Tarrant County judges contributed to the Tarrant County Republican Victory Fund, which helps support federal and local GOP activities.
Fun with Tom and Dick continues.

October 28, 2005

GOP rats will flee the sinking ship

From what I’ve read, a few GOP Congressional rats are already starting to scurry away from Plamegate as fast as they can.

I’m waiting for Clintonesque comments such as:

1. “I did not have verbal intercourse with that man.”

2. “Scooter. Nope. Can’t say I know anybody by that name.”

3. “What sort of self-respecting man would call himself Scooter?”

I have no doubt that, if he thinks it will help himself out, Rove will orchestrate a Congressional and other GOPer "shunning" of Libby. Plus, given rumors of some degree of falling out between Bush and Cheney, this gives Rove the chance to get out the long knives on that issue.

Update, Oct. 31:
Just on time, here’s one of the biggest rats.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a vigorous defender of the administration, said on ABC: "I think what we found out this week is that any alleged wrongdoing is really confined to a single individual. Those who were expecting an indictment, indicating a broad conspiracy to out a covert CIA agent or -- are going to be disappointed because there is no evidence to support that."

The mind boggles to think that Crony Cornyn could be on the SCOTUS short list.

What’s Rove got that Fitz wants?

In other words, why didn’t special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald indict White House Assistant Chief of Staff Karl Rove?

If rumor is true that Rove turned down a plea bargain to one count of perjury, it certainly means that Fitz has got more arrows than that in his quiver.

I don’t think he offered Rove the plea because his case is significantly weaker than that against Libby.

Instead, he needs Rove, along with what he’s already got from Libby, to go higher up the food chain. And, we know there’s not much higher up the food chain.

And, if Karl’s not going to play ball, with a reimpaneled grand jury, Fitz can get more lesser fry in the White House to lay more at Rove’s door.

That’s my take on where we’re at right now.

Raw Story confirms me on this.

“Twist slowly in the wind”

So Scooter gets it, while Rove remains on Fitzgerald’s clock, in Fitz, Round I. Apparently Rove didn’t listen to the advice and warnings of Mark Corallo about Fitz’s toughness and integrity when he allegedly turned down a plea bargain to cop to one count of perjury.

Instead, riffing on Nixon’s comment about FBI Director L. Patrick Gray, he’s left to “twist slowly in the wind.” Of course, nobody else is doing this to Rove. He hoist himself by his own petard.

Assuming Raw Story is correct, that’s indeed what’s happening as we speak. Surely, the public announcement of this turns the heat under Rove’s boiling pot even higher.

The fact that Fitz could be looking at civil rights violations, as well, means that this has entered a whole new dimension.

And something tells me that Fitz will be once scorned, twice shy, on cutting Rove any deals.

Fitz is serious

A five-count indictment for Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff shows that.
Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter' Libby Jr. was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case.

The five-count indictment accuses Libby of lying about how and when he learned about CIA official Valerie Plane's identity in 2003 and then told reporters about it. The information was classified.

Obviously, Libby’s not targeted as a flipper, unless he’s got something huge to tell to get out from under one or two of those indictment rocks.

October 27, 2005

Dallas Morning News latest newshole pratfall

So, now the News is running a 12-page advertorial section, "Inside Spaces," daily, or at least Monday-Friday. And, this is 12 pages broadsheet, not tabloid.

Does a newspaper with pretentions to being a national-level, national-coverage, national-coverage-quality journal do this?

I don't think so.

New blog

I have created a new blog, The Philosophy of the Socratic Gadfly (at the risk of sounding a bit egotistical).

Anyway, I plan for the blog to be politics-free; even when I comment on some scientific issues that have political fallout, I’ll do my best to hew that line.

I’m aiming it primarily containing philosophical and psychological reflections and speculations, classical music criticism, some other arts criticism as well, perhaps, and some of my poetry.

I have it linked at the right.

Emperor Bush doesn't know he has no clothes

Former Clinton counselor and current Texas political pundit Paul Begala says that not only does Emperor Bush have no clothes, he also has nobody who will tell him that. Even more so, Begala says Bush likes it that way.

I do have one quibble with Paul’s serious yet hilarious smackdown.

I think even as tough as it is, he still gives Bush credit for too many brain cells. I’m not sure Bush even knows that his ass is in fact being kissed.

I mean, this is the same 5-year-old/(dry?) drunk who thinks if he holds his breath long enough, we will magically win in Iraq.

No. 2 in the BCS, and 50 cents gets you a cup of coffee

I’m not talking about USC’s slipping behind Texas in football standings.

Instead I’m talking about blogging and the Blogging Count Statistics, to coin an acronym.

More specifically, when our head graphic artist asked me at work Tuesday if I had a blog and I said I had three, we got to talking about various Internet-related topics for a bit.

Then, my curiosity piqued, I did something I hadn’t done in a while: Googled my name.

Lo and behold, this blog popped up as No. 2 on Google’s page rank.

But, 24 hours later, I didn’t see it on the top three pages.

And 50 cents still gets you a cup of coffee somewhere. Along with 15 minutes, or at least 15 seconds, of cyberfame.

October 25, 2005

NFL superstar Coles comes out of his personal closet

How I relate to his harrowing tale of child sexual abuse

Note: This is modified from my Lancaster Today column of Oct. 27

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Laveranues Coles is out of the closet.

Not the closet of homosexuality, or his story would have made far bigger headlines than it actually did, sadly.

No, the New York Jets wide receiver recently came out of the closet of his personal childhood fears, hells and demons. In a September profile story in The New York Times, followed by a gripping October appearance on Oprah, Coles talked about how he was sexually abused for three years by the man who became his stepfather.
“I haven't talked about it in … forever, but I know that holding something like that inside has been a burden for so long,” Coles said in an interview after helping the Jets beat Miami 17-7. “For me to get on this platform that I have, having been in the league and have all the media attention that we have, I think it's something that should be said.

“If it gets one kid to come out and say, ‘Look, this is happening to me,’ … I think it’s right.”

Short of an American male professional athlete, while still playing, coming out and saying he is gay, this is probably the most groundbreaking baring of one’s soul someone like Coles could do.
And the Times profile was only the start.

Coles blazed even more new ground in his Oprah appearance, when he talked candidly about the aftereffects of the abuse — not just juvenile aftereffects, but adult ones he still lives with right now.

Reading stories about the Oprah appearance hit my right in the stomach. Coles talked about many things that I can relate with — feelings of being unclean, unworthy, unsure of oneself and more.
“It’s among the reasons why I am not married or have a girlfriend. I don’t know does someone want to be with me after everything that I've been through,” he told Oprah Winfrey and her audience.

“It makes it very hard for me to trust women,” he said. "I think it has a lot to do with why I'm probably not married today because the way I felt about myself…not knowing how a woman would take having a man that this has happened to.”
Arguably, in light of our stereotype of professional athletes, that might be just as much a bombshell as claiming to be gay.

At one time, Coles followed the American macho athletic male stereotype. He said he received counseling, but in essence tried to shrug it off just as he had been encouraged to shrug off athletic injuries.
“You just want to put it behind you,” he told the Times. “I think, you know, as a man, when you’re violated in that way, you don't know how other people are going to take it, how other people are going to view you. There’s so much that comes with revealing that part of your life and story.”
In fact, based on what his stepfather had told him at 13, at the end of three years of abuse, Coles had reason to be afraid of others’ reactions. His stepfather, whom Coles has not mentioned by name, told Coles’ friends that Coles was gay.

He got into several fights over this — this and probably acting out the anger and fear trapped inside him. He eventually approached officials at his school and told them the real story.
I read one sad part in this story. Either Oprah, for her vaunted empathy and talk-show interviewing skills, doesn’t have that empathetic touch here, or else she’s losing some of her skills.

Oprah asked Coles’ mother, Sirretta Williams, if she thought she and her husband had had a normal sex life at the time Coles was being abused.

What Oprah apparently doesn’t get is that child sexual abuse is no more about sex than rape is. Both are ultimately about the violent and abusive use of power, with sex being the medium for that.

How do I know? Because, with the exception of it being a different family member and my age being younger, Coles’ story is my story.

I write a column every April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, about the need for all of society to take sexual abuse — and above all, incest, sexual abuse by a family member — seriously. I’ve had a couple of very brief statements in a couple of those columns about my childhood history, but they’ve been brief indeed.

Fortunately, Dr. Robin Smith, a psychologist who was on the same program, did get it.
“It is not just being molested. We need to call it what it is: Rape.” Smith explains that by referring to the abuse as “sexual molestation,” the severity of the crime is diminished. “It is rape,” Dr. Robin continues. “It’s not just physical. It's not just sexual. It's the normal parts of life that you couldn't even do without being reminded of the filth that was brought into your life. The other piece that was raped was your spirit.”
There’s other “unfortunates” to this.

Somehow, I missed the Times story, and heard about the Oprah appearance about a week after it happened. I Googled Coles’ name, etc. and got several blog hits as well as this.

On at least one black-male oriented blog, Coles’ sexual preference was brought up, not so much by the blogger as by commenters. Some said that he was using the sexual abuse as an excuse to stay in the gay closet. Others seemed to be echoing the line of Coles’ stepfather, that the abuse had made him gay.


And those posters, despite their denials, show their homophobia.

Another unfortunate was Sports Illustrated’s Michael Silver, who wrote an SI column that said, in essence: “This is interesting, but, dammit, why can’t we get a male athlete coming out of the closet.”

Way to write off a great story, Michael.

I know you meant that writing a story about the first openly gay NFLer would be a great story for its story line, not just your scoop. But still, you diminished the great story already at hand.

UPDATE Nov. 11, 2011: Let's definitely take child sexual abuse in general, whether incestuous or not, more seriously, unlike Joe Paterno.