Friday, October 6, 2006

The Lightning Round:
A Real Page-Turner

I shoulda been a Capitol Hill page. Just imagine all the dirty rumors -- and dirty dresses -- I could've picked up. Of course, Your Humble Blogmaster's adolescence dates back before the Internet hit prime time, when gossip still crawled via telephone and corner conversations on the Q.T... very hush-hush.

THE FOLEY FOLLIES. Disgraced former Florida congressman Mark Foley unloaded a triple whammy on us this week through his attorney: he's alcoholic, he's gay, and he's a sex abuse victim -- at the hands of a clergyman. Note how he left himself multiple escape routes for his lewd online conversations with a congressional page. Sure, Mark, whatever sticks to the wall.

While Foley rehabs himself, the focus now turns to his Republican cronies, and what they knew. A former aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert claims he told fellow GOP'ers -- including the speaker -- about Foley's conduct years ago. The Ethics Committee is digging into it. Hastert says he's staying put. After all, resigning right now would be to cut and run, and then wouldn't the pedophiles win?

Hastert ally Rep. Ray LaHood wants the congressional page program suspended, at least until reforms are in place. From the AP:
"Some members betray their trust by taking advantage of them. We should not subject young men and women to this kind of activity, this kind of vulnerability," LaHood said in a CNN interview.
George Washington University law professor Johnathan Turley says shutting the program down is not an option. From ABC News:
"If Congress abolishes it, they're saying they can't be trusted with children," Turley said.

"The solution is not to remove the temptation from Congress, but to force it to comply with criminal laws and moral tenets."
Asking Congress to follow the laws they make and act decent -- what a concept!

If that doesn't work, we can always change the official page uniform to a burqa.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK. Meanwhile, in another branch of the government, Department of Interior employees -- with no pages to chat up -- are wasting time on Internet gambling and sex.

Network World reports findings by the department's Inspector General:
• Computer-use logs revealed more than 4,732 entries relating to sexually explicit Web sites and gambling sites. Some computers accessed sex sites for 30 to 60 minutes during the test period.

• This activity accounted for more than 24 hours of Internet use during the sample period, which did not include a review of e-mail or other means of transferring prohibited material.

• More than 1 million log entries were discovered indicating 7,763 Department computer users spent 2,004-plus hours accessing game and auction sites. Extrapolated over the year, that could account for 100,000 lost work hours. Put another way, this would equal 50 full-time employees doing nothing but surfing online game and auction sites.
"Hey there cutie keys," the office drone types, "I've got this place in Rocky Mountain National Park..."

NAMING NAMES. Victims' groups say ex-congressman Foley needs to name the clergyman he accuses of sexual abuse.

From the AP:
"To simply say, `I can't tell you the name,' in my judgment, that's despicable," said William Brooks, a former Roman Catholic priest at Cardinal Newman High School in Lake Worth where Foley was briefly a student in 1969. "It casts a dark cloud of suspicion over all the clergy who worked during those days. I just think it's wrong."
And covering things up is our job, anyway.

IN GOD WE TRUST -- ALL OTHERS WEAR KEVLAR. Brian Rohrbough, who lost a son in the Columbine shootings, told the CBS Evening News audience gunmen are getting into schools because The Almighty isn't there anymore.

From his "freeSpeech" segment:
For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.

We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.
This argument ranks with the Rev. Jerry Falwell's infamous assertion that God removed the veil of protection over the U.S. prior to the 9/11 attacks because of abortion, feminists, homosexuals, pagans and liberals. It's also not much of a stretch from the contentions of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members picket the funerals of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq, claiming its the price America pays for tolerating homosexuality.

One Georgia woman even blames school shootings on Harry Potter.

So what do these folks make of an outsider going into a schoolhouse and killing five Amish girls -- five girls with God in their hearts, in a community devoted to God?

Westboro Baptist says it won't picket the girls' funerals. Even their twisted logic snaps on this one.

LEARNING, LOCKED AND LOADED. If you can't put God back in school, maybe Smith and Wesson will do. Wisconsin state representative Frank Lasee, says the answer to school shootings is letting teachers carry guns.

From the AP:
"To make our schools safe for our students to learn, all options should be on the table," he said. "Israel and Thailand have well-trained teachers carrying weapons and keeping their children safe from harm. It can work in Wisconsin."
Given the borderline insanity of some classrooms, aggravated by swollen class sizes and apathetic pupils, your Lightning Round observes a fatal confrontation in the making.

"Put that iPod away Billy, or I'll give you an iOut!"

Tough lesson, indeed.

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