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October 05, 2006

Get rid of the predators, not the pages

Thanks to Mark Foley's depredations, the entire congressional page program is now in jeopardy. Am I the only one who thinks it's absurd to consider abolishing the entire program because of one congressman's unethical behavior?

Some people have suggested that the pages be replaced with regular employees. I think that would be a big mistake. The page program is an opportunity for young people to watch the process of legislation up close.

Unlike a lot of interns and work experience students, the pages actually get paid pretty well for high school students. Pages earn $18,817 in the House, $20,491 in the Senate. It's important to have paid opportunities available for students whose parents can't afford to underwrite enrichment activities.

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When have you ever known Republicans to care about opportunities for those who aren't well-heeled?

Republicans want MORE gov't workers? Maybe they're thinking of outsourcing. After all, some of their friends have a limo company that I'm sure could rustle up some "pages" on short notice.

I'm imagining Blackwater guys carrying letters around congress.

I'm a little suspicious that they're trying to shut the whole thing down before more revelations about other Republican Congressmen start emerging. Then they can say, "Why are you talking about old news -- we don't even HAVE a page program anymore!"

Lindsay wrote:

It's important to have paid opportunities available for students whose parents can't afford to underwrite enrichment activities.
_____________________

I don't know the answer to this. Do pages represent a random slice of the socio-economic population? The article states:

Applicants, who must be nominated by a senator or representative, are selected largely on the basis of academic records.

Is it possible these criterions lead to the under representation of the underclass in the page program?

CMike, I'm sure you're right about that. It would be a good idea to reexamine the nomination procedures for the page program.

-- before more revelations about other Republican Congressmen start emerging --

You boys don't ever learn do you? What in the world would make you think that there are no Democratic Foleys in there somewhere? Its not as though there's no precedent for that.

With politicians and other criminals, I go by the "cockroach rule"--if you see one when you turn on the kitchen light, there are probably ten more that you don't see. I'll presume that there are a number of other pervert Congressmen that see the pages as fresh meat. And you think that they're all "Rethugs" do you? How limited.

Which is nice, because every time your guys get caught at something, the other guy's doing it too so it's just typical of alla' fuckin' bums up inn'ere.

Shorter Phantom: Let me, a Republican troll, in my guise as "all politicians are vile" cynic, defend the Republicans' actions in covering up a sexual harassment scandal between one of their own and some minors, by bringing up a purely hypothetical "tu quoque" argument.

Next, watch the Phantom manage to argue that it's all the fault of diversity, and maybe that the pages really were asking for it, the naughty little lust monkeys!

How come fifty billion posts on this idiot and his e-mails and zero ( I believe )posts on "Refrigerator" Jefferson?

If a Democrat steals money but only liberals know about it, is it still a crime?

I agree with the Phantom that it is a ridiculous notion to believe that this is merely a republican/page issue. Under another post here I listed several Democrats who have been involved in page scandals, where actual sex occurred, not just virtual sex or whatever they are calling this thing with Foley.

As far as the page program, I have several friends who were pages during high school and they come from very different socio-economic backgrounds. They said they got in on academics mainly and a good recommendation from a local politcian, an alderman, state senator, mayor, etc. They loved their experiences and knew of only rumors of sex between pages and congressmen. Mainly, it was sex between pages and staffers. One friend told me a girl he knew while a page slept with 4 different male staffers over the age of 21! And she was 16!!

Also, is it a bigger deal that Foley for caught chasing boys?? What if he were after the girls? Would it be nearly as big a deal?? I doubt it.

Shorter Phantom: I demand that you libruls focus on the problems that I think are important! Of course, I don't want to hear diddly about any of the "transactional lobbying" that the people on my team did! Let's hear you attack the one guy we know about on your side.

Next up: Time to end the decades of silence regarding Gerry Studds!

paperweight

I'd run Foley out on a rail. Period.

Not sure that this is "sexual harassment" either. The clips I read appeared very consensual.

But they were perverted, with an underage dopey kid, and beyond the pale of anyone other than a Gary Studds type.

Or anyone who thinks that the "age of consent" should be 16 or 17, which probably encompasses 3/4 of this blogs readers in any other situation.

The "Rethugs" are giving deviancy a bad name!!

( Hat tip, Blame Bush )

I think that the age of consent for 16-19 year olds should be 16. The age of consent between 16 and 54 year old should be EEEWWW. Hormonally charged teenagers among other hormonally charged teens should get some leeway but Viagra driven senior discounters should be given no leeway whatsoever. I hope that clarifies where I stand on this issue.

How come fifty billion posts on this idiot and his e-mails and zero ( I believe )posts on "Refrigerator" Jefferson?

If a Democrat steals money but only liberals know about it, is it still a crime?

I believe I've mentioned Jefferson a couple times, and I do think what he did was a crime, and he should be charged hopefully soon. I think the fact that he doesn't resign is his own personal decision, and techinically till he is convicted, he can't be removed. I think the same could be said of Foley, even though he has been publically embarrased, like Jefferson, it doesn't mean he has to resign for it till convicted of a crime. Jurisprudence and the Sixth Amendment should still be observed regardless.

As far as the age of consent, I know it varies by state, but isn't it 16 years old in DC? I know they have tried to raise it to 18, which I find to be a bit better. I suppose it will be for the FBI to decide in this matter where the crimes occured. I know at least one of the emails/IM's occured in DC.

CZ

You, and I have mentioned Jefferson in our -comments-.

But to be honest, I don't know if I have -ever- seen a -post- by the proprietor(ess) of Majikthise, Crooks and Liars or similar. And any comments by said proprietor(ess) have been few, limited, and only when prompted.

An interesting phenomenon to behold.


CZ

You, and I have mentioned Jefferson in our -comments-.

But to be honest, I don't know if I have -ever- seen a -post- by the proprietor(ess) of Majikthise, Crooks and Liars or similar. And any comments by said proprietor(ess) have been few, limited, and only when prompted.

An interesting phenomenon to behold.

Well, I think it's a given if you want to read about Republican abuses, go to a Democratic site, and if you want to read about Democratic abuses, go to a Republican site. Both sides do the same thing the other does, so it's not suprising to me. Read the label! I think Linsay makes it pretty clear she's a liberal blogger, so it's a given most if not all her focus is on liberal issues. Generally, congressional crimes should be a non-partisan issue, but that's something that both sides get wrong on occasion.

CZ

No, I've read the label and its not a surprise. But it is interesting.

Congressional crime should be a non-partisan issue, but it's not. If crime is committed by a Democrat or a Liberal, it's really OK here, regardless of any unconvincing denials to the contrary. If crime is committed by an Abramoff or a bigtime Republican, it won't be much mentioned on LGF or Red State or any of a number of other sites.

My point all along is that you should not have to go to a Republican site to hear of Democratic / Liberal abuses or vice versa. If one opposed abuse, it should not even matter. But it surely does.

The unspoken message, from the liberals and conservatives alike: abuse is A-OK if my guy is the culprit. What matters is that my side "wins".

Again, an interesting phenomenon to behold.

"If crime is committed by a Democrat or a Liberal, it's really OK here, regardless of any unconvincing denials to the contrary. If crime is committed by an Abramoff or a bigtime Republican, it won't be much mentioned on LGF or Red State or any of a number of other sites."

I'm not sure if this is true, but I do believe that the Republicans started the idea of extreme partisanship, where the only thing that mattered was getting the other guy and winning. I don't agree with either side using it, but it seems to be the norm now, and if you cave in and show both sides you're being weak. I don't know of any non-partisan sites, I just don't think they exist, and if it were available I think people would be looking extremly hard to find a shift to one side or the other. I think the problem with newspaper and television journalists in general is that there is that monetary necessity to selling news, and if your newspaper doesn't sell it won't survive. News has become very corporate which I think is why blogs have become so popular.

--I don't know of any non-partisan sites--

Me neither and it pisses me the hell off. One really good somewhat middle of the road site would easily have far greater value than all the screamer/gotcha sites out there.

I'd start myself but am neither willing nor able to devote the time to it. Keep your eyes open for one.

Also, is it a bigger deal that Foley for caught chasing boys?? What if he were after the girls? Would it be nearly as big a deal?? I doubt it.

The "big deal" is that, in contrast to Gerry Studds and Barney Frank and whatever other Dem you care to mention, Foley has spent his political career working tirelessly for a party that fancies itself the arbiter of "family values" and personal morality, including sexual morality. There's a reason a smug, pious moralizer like Joe Lieberman feels more comfortable with Republicans, you know.

If you're looking for why the reactions to this type of scandal aren't symmetrical, that would be a good place to start.

No matter how much it pains me to say this, I have to agree with Kate O'Beirne's take here.

Yes, Phantom, I can't imagine why people aren't still talking about the raid on Jefferson's fridge that happened five months ago. Clearly, if Lindsay hasn't been posting about it every single day for the past five months, it means she's never posted about it, ever. Conservative Temporal Disorder at work once again.

Republicans can play the "but Democrats will be caught in the investigation, too!" card if they want. Let the chips fall where they may. I'm more interested in getting the sexual predators out of Congress, regardless of party. Are you willing to say the same?

Lindsay:

In order for you to be more fair and balanced I want you to start giving equal coverage to Democratic misdeeds. So if Bob Ney is mentioned, then you must mention William Jefferson. If you write any more about Jack Abramoff and the corruption of his Republican friends in Congress then you must apologize for not covering the ABSCAM scandal when you were two years old. If you mention the current Republican page scandal then you must mention the Democrat page scandal from 23 years ago. If you write about Republicans recently passing torture legislation then you must dig through history to find when Democrats passed their own torture laws. If you talk about Condoleeza Rice ignoring the CIA Director and the famous PDB that both warned of Osama bin Laden's intent to strike the US then you must find a way to blame the Democrats equally for this. Make a made-for-TV movie about it if you have to. If the NIE says that the Iraq war has increased terrorism then you must also say that Democrats have made the job of the terrorists easier every time they critcize the President. If you write about Mel Sembler being a rich, powerful and influential Republican then you must find a rich Democrat power broker who also made a fortune from a drug rehab program for teens that used brainwashing, humiliation and torture. I'm sure there must be one out there, because they're like cockroaches - for every one STRAIGHT program that is known there must be ten others that are not seen.

And if you simply can't find anything to balance out your coverage of Republican sleaze and corruption, then go to the catch-all fallback position: Blame Clinton.

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