March 16, 2008

The Birth of Prostitution

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , , — Volt @ 12:52 pm

March 13, 2008

Maureen Dowd: Ways of the Wayward

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Volt @ 5:09 pm

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, March 12, 2008

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa.– Just when I thought my head would explode from trying to figure out delegate math, I’m hit with call-girl math.

The arithmetic of procuring a prostitute who is both experienced and inspirational is even more complicated than the arithmetic of procuring a president who is both experienced and inspirational.

If you’re a frugal governor who doesn’t even like paying his political consultant bills, as opposed to an Arab sheik or a Vegas high roller, do you really need to shell out $4,300, plus minibar expenses, to a shell company for two hours with a shady lady? Aren’t there cheaper hooker hook-ups on Craigslist? It makes you wonder how sharp Eliot Spitzer’s pencil was on the state’s fiscal discipline.

And how does it add up that Steamroller No. 1 suddenly morphs into Client No. 9, a nom d’amour with the ring of an overpriced Gucci cologne for men, giving untold thousands for untold years to a prostitution ring that has hourly rates based on rating its girls on a diamond scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being $3,100, and above 7 in a special club for $5,500 and up?

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Froma Harrop: Give Spitzer Credit for Targeting Bad Guys

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Volt @ 4:42 pm

Froma Harrop, The Houston Chronicle, March 12, 2008

A few good words for Eliot Spitzer. The resigned New York governor could be brutish, vindictive and, when it comes to sexual rectitude, a grand hypocrite. But in going after the depredations of Wall Street, subprime lenders and corporate looters, he was a rare crusader.

In its duty to regulate financial activity, the Bush administration has committed gross negligence. The result — a plunging dollar, terrified credit markets, mass home foreclosures — is a national humiliation on par with Mrs. Spitzer’s personal one.

Spitzer railed against the excesses as well as outright fraud. It’s true that many liberal politicians have stepped forward to condemn abusive loans peddled to the unsophisticated and the ludicrous pay bundles of CEOs. But Spitzer, rich himself, was a Democrat representing the Empire State, whose economy benefits from a lively Wall Street casino. He was thus going after members of his better-heeled constituency.

It was Spitzer who blasted the Bush administration for actually stopping states from passing their own laws against predatory lending. Mortgage companies, he recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, were “making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay, making loans with deceptive ‘teaser’ rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees or even paying illegal kickbacks.”

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March 12, 2008

Robert Scheer: Spitzer’s Shame Is Wall Street’s Gain

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Volt @ 2:13 pm

Robert Scheer, TruthDig, March 12, 2008

Tell me again: Why should we get all worked up over the revelation that the New York governor paid for sex? Will it bring back to life the eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq that same day in a war that makes no sense and has cost this nation trillions in future debt? Will it save those millions of homes that hardworking folks all over the country are losing because of financial industry shenanigans that Eliot Spitzer, as much as anyone, attempted to halt? Perhaps it provides some insight into why oil has risen to $108 a barrel, benefiting most of all the oil sheiks whom our taxpayer-supported military has kept in power?

Sure, the guy, by his own admission, is quite pathetic in all those small, squirrelly ways that have messed up the lives of other grand public figures before him, but why is an all-too-human sin, amply predicted in early Scripture, getting all this incredible media play as some sort of shocking event? The answer is that, while having precious little to do with serious corruption in public life, it does have a great deal to do with stoking flagging newspaper sales and television ratings.

The sad truth is that reporting on major corruption, say, the rationalizations of a president who has authorized torture, doesn’t cut it as a marketing bonanza. Just days before this grand exposé, the president vetoed a bill banning torture, and instead of being greeted with horrified disgust, the president’s deep denigration of this nation’s presumed ideals was met with a vast public yawn. Torture, unlike paid sex, doesn’t have legs as a news story.

Sex sells, and frankly it would seem far more exploitative for the news media to pimp this tale to the public than anything that VIP escort service did with the pitiable governor. His behavior was not really any more wretched than messing around with a young and vulnerable White House intern who didn’t even get paid for her efforts, yet Bill Clinton survived that one, whereas Spitzer was presumed dead on the arrival of this “news.” The New York Times, which editorially has supported the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, whose vast White House experience clearly did not include corralling her husband, now editorializes contemptuously about Spitzer’s betrayal of the public trust as well as about his exploitation of his “ashen-faced” wife, who, like Hillary, stood by her man.

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