Saturday, June 12, 2004
According to Matt Drudge, Clinton is angry that he wasn’t invited to speak at the funeral. ( CLINTON DISAPPOINTMENT: LEFT OFF FUNERAL SPEAKERS LIST)
"President Clinton really held out all hope the funeral would be a nonpartisan event, like Nixon's was," a top Clinton source said on Tuesday morning. "He's angry and disappointed neither he nor President Carter have been asked to speak, as of yet."
The top source says Clinton has been critical that both Bush presidents will address the crowd gathered at National Cathedral.
It’s old news (yes, four days is old in the blogosphere), but after watching the national funeral service on Friday, it’s easy to see why Clinton wasn’t on the eulogy list.
George W. Bush got to speak for the simple reason that he’s the current President. If Reagan had died four years earlier, Clinton would have spoken.
George H.W. Bush was invited to speak because of his close personal relationship to Reagan. They worked together as President and Vice President for eight years. When the senior Bush’s voice cracked and it looked like he was almost going to cry, you knew it wasn’t staged, it was genuine heartfelt emotion. Clinton didn’t have a close personal relationship with Reagan. When planning a funeral, you normally invite friends of the departed to give the eulogies, not someone who only met him once or twice.
The other two world leaders who gave eulogies were Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney. In my previous post, Ronald Reagan, the Great Liberator who freed the slaves of communism, I wrote about the great praise heaped upon Reagan by Thatcher and Mulroney. Clinton wouldn’t have given Reagan such great praise.
No, I’m not saying that Clinton would have badmouthed the Great Liberator. He previously had some very nice words to say about Reagan at the dedication of the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. (Link via Green Fire Burning, which is critical of the decision to leave Clinton off the speaker’s list—read if you’re looking for an alternative point of view.) Clinton even talked about Reagan’s contribution towards world freedom and ending the Cold War:
Since President Reagan left office, the freedom and opportunity for which he stood have continued to spread. For half century, American leaders of both parties waged a cold war against aggression and oppression. Today, freed from the yolk of totalitarianism, new democracies are emerging all around the world, enjoying newfound prosperity and long-awaited peace.
But if you care to read the whole speech, you will see that it was a blatantly political speech in which he used the tie-in with Reagan to promote his own policies. He didn’t give Reagan any credit in the economic arena. And if you examine the above quote very carefully, you may note that it’s not even clear that he’s giving Reagan proper credit for ending the Cold War. Saying that he stood for freedom and then freedom came is not quite the same as saying that his policies directly brought about the freedom.
Clinton’s words of praise fall short of those of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher compared him to Abraham Lincoln, and gave him credit for “transform[ing] a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.” Thatcher and Mulroney both clearly stated in their eulogies that Reagan was right and those who disagreed with him were wrong.
Furthermore, Reagan had a more important relationship with Mulroney and Thatcher, who were the leaders of our two closest allies. Clinton was just one of fifty governors during the time of Reagan's presidency.
And that, in a nutshell, is why the Reagan family didn’t invite Clinton to speak. There was another former U.S. President who had a close personal relationship to Reagan, and two other former world leaders who hold Reagan in much higher esteem than Clinton.
I was completely shocked to discover the massive increases in federal government spending on education. The Department of Education is forecast to spend $62.8 billion in 2004. (OMB webpage about Dept. of Education)
In the comments left in my recent post about Rudy Giuliani, someone asked what I consider to be a real Republican. A real Republican believes in a limited role for the federal government, which means leaving to the states those government functions that have traditionally been left to the states. Such as education. Ronald Reagan was a real republican who came to Washington to reduce federal spending. The current administration is Republican in name only; it is not interested in reducing the size of federal government.
I disagree with some of Vance’s specific points. For example, he seems to think very highly of the Head Start program, yet from what I’ve read the Head Start program hasn’t been shown to have any long term impact on the children who participate in it.
But Vance’s general argument, that our federal government should not be involved with education, I’m in complete agreement with.
Friday, June 11, 2004
He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism.
. . .
Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.
Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.
Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War - not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.
. . .
With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today the world - in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev and in Moscow itself - the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer "God Bless America".
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Some in the West, during the early 1980s, believed communism and democracy were equally valid and viable. This was the school of moral equivalence. In contrast, Ronald Reagan saw Soviet communism as a menace to be confronted in the genuine belief that its squalid underpinnings would fall swiftly to the gathering winds of freedom, provided as he said, that NATO and the industrialized democracies stood firm and united. They did. And we know now who was right. Ronald Reagan was a president who inspired his nation and transformed the world.
Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada
These are incredible words of tribute, not from Americans, but from foreigners. George H.W. Bush was the kindly grandfather who no one could dislike. I’m not sure exactly what the point was of George W. Bush’s eulogy.
But two foreign former leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney, got to the point and praised Ronald Reagan’s greatest accomplishment, ending the threat of communism and freeing its slaves.
No one can possibly miss the unspoken comparison to the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator who freed the slaves of America.
I think this was a landmark funeral service. Before today, there may have been doubt about Reagan’s true role in world events. After today, there will be a consensus of opinion that Reagan did indeed win the Cold War and free the slaves of communism.
One couldn’t help but notice two other former world leaders in attendance, Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton. Gorbachev’s presence gave additional weight to the amazing eulogies of Thatcher and Mulroney.
And as for Bill Clinton, as he observed silently, I know he was thinking about how the true acknowledgement of Reagan’s accomplishments will affect his own place in the history books. Bill Clinton presided over eight years of economic prosperity and world peace. He would like history to give him the credit, but if it was Reagan who brought about the end of communism and brought peace to the world, and Reagan who “transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity,” that means that Bill Clinton was only a steward who oversaw what Reagan left for him, and not a leader who will be noted in history for having brought about the peace or the great economy. Much like Dwight D. Eisenhower, who oversaw good times but is not considered directly responsible for them.
* * *
Seeing Rudy Giuliani in attendance, I wondered if there was any significance in it. Recall my recent post about whether Bush may pick Giuliani as his vice presidential running mate for the next four years. (Vice President Rudy Giuliani?)
* * *
Chris Matthews and his gang on MSNBC are mostly talking about the eulogies of the two Bushes, and are giving Thatcher and Mulroney as little mention as possible. Are they already trying to alter public discourse, and steer people way from thinking too much about what the two foreign leaders had to say because they heaped too much praise upon Reagan?
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
With digital camera, radio, and bottle of water, I took the Orange Line down to the Federal Triangle station. The Metro exit at Federal Triangle is in the courtyard of the aptly named Ronald Reagan Building.
I walked down to Constitution Avenue. The crowds had already taken all the good vantage points and it was still an hour before anything was expected to happen. I knew that I would never be able to get any good photos with all these people blocking me.
I walked two blocks down to Tenth Street, hoping that the crowd might be thinner in that direction, but there was no such luck. I found a spot in the shade back from the street to sit down and wait—no point standing in the sun for an hour.
I took out the portable radio, put on the headphones, and tried to find a station with funeral coverage. The only station that seemed to have anything was NPR. Listening to NPR is like being in an alternate universe. Everyone kept calling in with nothing but bad things to say about Ronald Reagan, the greatest president of my lifetime. “So many people died of AIDS because of Ronald Reagan,” said one caller.
After about half an hour, my batteries ran out. Darn.
The crowd looks looks out over Constitution Avenue.
I figured it was a good time to scope out a better standing spot. I settled for the middle of Tenth Street, as close to Constitution Avenue as I could get. Lots of people were talking on cell phones. Who were they talking to? It seemed like a good way to kill some time, I tried to think of someone I might call.
Hi Dad. I’m at Constitution Avenue.
For the funeral procession.
I envied these guys watching from the balcony of
the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. They
could actually see stuff.
There were all kinds of people in the crowd. There were touristy people with little kids, local office workers looking very hot and sweaty in long sleeve shirts, gorgeous babes in skimpy outfits, and senior citizens. People from all walks of life came to pay their last respects to our fortieth president.
Something smelled really bad. Someone near me had some awful body odor! I moved twenty feet in the direction of the Washington Monument. It smelled a little better now.
Finally something started happening. There was a marching band. Then some military units. Then another marching band. More military units. A third marching band. The military units were wearing all sorts of different uniforms. There were black uniforms, gray uniforms, navy uniforms, green uniforms, and white uniforms. There was one unit in bright red uniforms. They looked like the guards at Buckingham Palace. Maybe Her Majesty had to lend us some soldiers because too many of our guys are in Iraq?
Reagan’s casket. You probably had a much better
view if you were watching on TV.
After the soldiers and the bands, there were two DC police cars, followed by a whole bunch of black cars. And behind all the black cars came the horse drawn casket. Some people clapped as the casket passed. I don’t know why they did that, it didn’t seem very appropriate.
A “Panda on Parade.”
It has nothing to do with Ronald Reagan.
After the casket, there wasn’t anything else. That was it. People started heading back to the Metro or wherever it was that they were going. As I was heading back I heard the jets flying overhead. But I could barely see any of them because they were blocked by the buildings.
Pennsylvania Avenue lined with American
flags in honor of Ronald Reagan.
When I got back to the Federal Triangle station, they weren’t letting anyone down the escalators. Instead of waiting around I decided to walk to the Metro Center station. I stopped in at Barnes and Noble on the way to Metro Center. I thought it would be a really smart business move to put a whole bunch of Reagan books up front. B&N would have made a killing. But unfortunately they didn’t have the foresight to order a bunch when they heard rumors that his health was failing.
Was it worth the trip? Yes, because it gave me an excuse to post some photos to my blog.
Additional blogosphere coverage of the funeral (with pictures):
Additional blogosphere coverage of the funeral (without pictures):
According to Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily, “[t]here are whispers among high-level political advisers to President Bush suggesting the possibility of replacing Dick Cheney with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the vice presidential running mate prior to the Republican National Convention in New York beginning Aug. 30.” (WorldNetDaily: Giuliani to replace Cheney on ticket? 6/9/04)
This isn’t actually that new of a rumor, it was mentioned by an MSNBC gossip columnist back in January. She said Cheney would use his poor health as an excuse for leaving, so as not to make Bush look like the bad guy for kicking out a loyal servant. (MSNBC: Will Giuliani replace Cheney in ’04? 1/27/04)
As a side note, the New York Post mentioned a few days ago the possibility that Giuliani will replace George Tenet as head of the CIA. Obviously, he can’t fill both rolls at the same time. (NY Post: GIULIANI COULD BE WAITING IN THE WINGS 6/3/04)
If George Bush does make this vice presidential switch, it’s because he’s desperate. His ratings in the polls keep going down and down, and he’s in danger of facing the same fate as his father in 1992: two Bushes who had huge approval ratings after going to war against Iraq, but unable to do anything to get the public to like them after fighting the war.
According to today’s New York Times, the Kurds are threatening to walk away from the Iraqi state. And I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want to be part of a country run by Shiites either. Would you? If the Shiites and Kurds part ways, it would certainly have a big negative impact on Bush’s reelection chances. (NY Times: Kurds Threaten to Walk Away From Iraqi State )
It’s no wonder that the Bush team is considering a big shake-up like this. Will Giuliani be able to turn around the campaign? Maybe. Giuliani is a very popular politician with a lot of charisma. He’s so popular in the New York area that he might be able to help Bush win New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Of course that’s a high risk strategy for Bush. In the 2000 election, Gore won 60% of the vote in New York, and 56% in both New Jersey and Connecticut. (CNN.com: Election 2000 Results)
There are a lot of electoral votes in those three states, but is Giuliani popular enough to overcome the tri-state area’s dislike of Bush? Giuliani’s immense popularity in New York City helped to elect his Republican successor mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Getting normally overwhelmingly Democratic New Yorkers to vote Republican is a pretty big accomplishment. If anyone can do it, Rudy can.
Outside of the Northeast, there is the danger that Giuliani will turn off Bush’s core Christian voters because he’s pro-choice. It’s not that the core Christian voters are going to vote for Kerry. But they might not vote at all. Getting the core voters out in force is a key element to winning elections. This has to be balanced against Giuliani’s popularity with the voters who could go either way.
If this shakeup does happen, it’s because the Bush team is focused solely on winning the election and not on what happens after he wins. It is my opinion that Giuliani has way too big of an ego to be a good vice president. He’s always seeking the spotlight. A “shameless publicity hound” is what Ron Lauder said in his negative campaign ads in the New York City mayoral primary many years back. This isn’t necessarily a bad quality in a president, but as a vice president he could wind up embarrassing the Bush administration on a frequent basis.
It should also be pointed out that Giuliani isn’t a real Republican. His campaign platform in New York City was that he was tough on crime. And this may be a good angle for the 2004 campaign, because tough on crime can be morphed into tough on terrorism. But as vice president, he’d be the leading Republican presidential candidate in 2008, and on most issues he’s politically a lot closer to Bill Clinton than to Ronald Reagan. On the other hand, Bush isn’t much of a real Republican either. When you remove from the table Bush’s support for a few issues that the Christian right cares strongly about, he also isn’t much different than Clinton.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
In my previous post, Calico Cat scammed by the dominatrix, I explained how Leola, who claims to be William Bennett’s dominatrix, scammed me.
* * *
Wonkette posted a link to my previous post: VirtuecratGate: A Hoax!?!. She found out about it so quickly because I sent her an email immediately after posting the account of how I was scammed. Thanks for linking to the post, Wonkette.
Is this a hoax? The manner in which I was contacted seems to be a hoax. A lot of the alleged facts appear to be bogus. But whether or not Leola McConnell had any kind of relationship with Bill Bennett that he would find embarrassing, I have no clue.
* * *
I received an email asking me about the IP addresses of the emails I received. For the sake of full disclosure, the IP addresses are different. All of Leola’s emails come from a cable modem. None of the source’s emails seem to have come from that cable modem. They come from several different IP addresses.
One can read some stuff into this. I think it’s likely that Leola has someone helping her. Because Leola has been doing this scam for over a year, one might hypothesize that initially she might have made the mistake of assuming that people wouldn’t know the difference if she used two different free email accounts (such as Yahoo or Hotmail) from the same computer, but discovered otherwise when someone confronted her with it. So by now, she has had ample opportunity to learn to send emails from different computers.
* * *
You will note that even though I am 99% sure I was scammed, since that last 1% will always be in doubt (hey, maybe she does have a secret stash of million dollar paintings and maybe every reporter is on the Republican payroll), I am keeping the source’s off the record emails off the record. I doubt that the two small quotes I published would give away a real source.
The source has not granted the same courtesy to me, posting the entirety of one of my emails to one of the comments here, including my phone number, and yes I deleted it. You will also note that Leola betrayed that reporter guy by publishing his email in full.
Yes, I was very eager to get the story, after all this is a big story and I would have made a big name for myself if I had broken something here. That’s why I was scammed. I fell for it, or at least wanted very much to believe that it was true.
For now, the anonymous comments are turned off. You can still comment if you have a Blogger account.
* * *
My advice to other bloggers or reporters who might be contacted by these people:
(1) Don’t let them lead you on with false hopes of becoming famous by breaking a big story. They’ve done this to zillions of people already, yet no one has broken a big story. Be suspicious, don’t trust them.
(2) At the very least, don’t have an email discussion with them, insist on talking on the telephone. Any emails from helpful informants that don’t want to talk on the phone should be ignored.
* * *
This is an appeal to the “real reporters” who investigated this story. I suspect that there are a large number of you. Contact me with some information that I can post on the blog so the final mysteries can be cleared up. You will help clear Bill Bennett’s reputation.
The difference between bloggers and reporters is that bloggers cooperate with each other, we share information, we link to each other’s posts.
* * *
There seems to be a discussion of this at the blog Transvigor, which focuses a great deal upon the comparison between Fawnia Mondey and Leola. Lingster says, “Leola is definitely capable of physically dominating a lot of men, Fawnia Mondey might have some trouble with that.”
Leola, if you need a self-esteem boost, go visit Lingster’s blog, he seems to think very highly of your looks. But he doesn’t have a high opinion of your ethics:
People who contract for these sorts of services demand confidentiality, not blackmail or exposure. For what it's worth, I believe her that Bennett was a client. But what I can't understand is why she thinks she's entitled to sympathy for trying to expose him.
I also apologize for the gratuitous link to Fawnia’s website, because it will just create unreasonable expectations in men of what the opposite sex might look like, so this stuff is harmful to both sexes. I urge you instead to check out Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who would surely kick Fawnia’s butt on an IQ test. The mind is really a lot sexier than the body.
* * *
There is no Jessica Cutler news today. That story is over. I think the Bill Bennett dominatrix scandal story is nearly over too. Does anyone have any ideas for new scandals?
Subsequent to this post, another blogger sent an email to Leola McConnell. She sent back to him the content of the very emails I sent to "Mitch", the source, who is allegedly the brother of a woman who used to live with Leola. Now I am close to 100% person that "Mitch" is not an independent person at all. Otherwise, how else would Leola have his emails? (Oh yes, there's some kind of bogus sounding story about how Leola made him give her the emails.)
Leola has been sending me threatening emails. My source in the news media tells me that this is her standard operating procedure.
On June 18, 2004 I spoke with Jose Montoya of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. I am not allowed to reveal the details of the conversation, but what he told me doesn't dissuade me from thinking that this story is a hoax.
On June 29, 2004 I spoke with another one of the reporters that Leola had been in contact with. That reporter's story is the same story I've heard before. He received emails from someone who claimed to know Leola, he eventually came to the conlusion that the story was fake, and then afterwards Leola sent him threatening emails.
In January, I posted Are Americans really fat?, in which I doubted the story that the news media keeps feeding us, that Americans are getting fatter.
Today in the New York Times is an article about Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at Rockefeller Univeristy who "argues that contrary to popular opinion, national data do not show Americans growing uniformly fatter."
As an obesity researcher, he might be expected to endorse the prevailing view that obesity in this country is out of control. But Dr. Friedman said he was outraged by the acceptance of what he sees as a hurtful myth, one that encourages people to believe that if you are fat, it is your fault.
The obesity arena "is so political, so rife with misinformation and disinformation," he said.
Dr. Friedman points to careful statistical analyses of the changes in Americans' body weights from 1991 to today by Dr. Katherine Flegal of the National Center for Health Statistics. At the lower end of the weight distribution, nothing has changed, not even by a few pounds. As you move up the scale, a few additional pounds start to show up, but even at midrange, people today are just 6 or 7 pounds heavier than they were in 1991. Only with the massively obese, the very top of the distribution, is there a substantial increase in weight, about 25 to 30 pounds, Dr. Flegal reported.
He also says that people have little control over their weight, and "free will" in dieting is an "illusion." "Body weight, he says, is genetically determined, as tightly regulated as height."
The article doesn't cover the questions I asked in my post from January. I posited four explanations for why Americans might be getting heavier which are never mentioned in the news media.
I think the message is clear, Americans are NOT getting fatter. So news media, please stop telling us this and stop telling us that we are bad people for eating the "wrong" foods. Do some real reporting for a change instead of just repeating the same innaccurate story over and over again.
I have been scammed.
I have been in email contact with someone who claims to know someone who knows the dominatrix and has firsthand knowledge of her relationship with Bill Bennett. I now believe that this is a fictitious cover story. Either the dominatrix herself is this anonymous source, or it is her co-conspirator, possibly her boyfriend.
The scam artist is actually not too bright, yet he/she has the street smarts of someone who probably has past experience with conning people.
I should have smelled something wrong when the source started telling me how great looking Leola is. There are some hot babes with muscles, like Fawnia Mondey, but Leola McConnell isn’t one of them.
The source did a good job appealing to my vanity, with statements like “You blog guys are going to be where real news comes from in the future, watch and see.” Buttering me up by telling me what an important contribution I’m making to society. Telling me how courageous I am to cover this story when everyone else is afraid of it. I’m sure that flattery is a classic strategy used by confidence men.
The source has sent me more than thirty emails, often several times a day. I find it hard to believe that a third party source would go through so much effort to get this story publicized simply on account of hating Bill Bennett’s politics. That’s the story the source gave me, I just want Bill Bennett exposed, but don’t hurt the dominatrix, she’s a good person who has only done good for the world.
But finally, what gave away the source is that the emails kept getting whackier.
This isn't some small time dominatrix she rents a half million dollar house for her boyfriend to paint out of. You doesn't even go there. He has paintings from a old painter friend that died that are worth millions, millions. . . . She knows every heavy weight lawyer in Washington D.C and they are fedding her information on people.
She knows every “heavy weight lawyer” in DC? Has millions of dollars in art lying around her house? Come on! This just smells too much like bullshit.
And the source got scared that a reporter might contact me. The source wrote:
If a reporter calls you wanting to talk off the record to a blog guy he wants to sabotage you in some way as far as I see it. He's either a Bennett agent or one of those angry guys that wrote her that she cursed in some way.
I’m supposed to believe that every news reporter is a Bennett agent? Or that that journalists really care that Leola gave them the same BDSM garbage as we saw in her emails that I published?
When initially contacted by the source, I requested a phone number and that request was ignored. Finally, on Sunday, I emailed the following to the source:
I have to confess that I'm no longer quite believing your story. Please email me your phone number and a good time to call you. Maybe you can convince me otherwise over the phone.
It is also interesting to note that I received an email from Leola on Sunday and one again today, both of them claiming that she has figured out who my source is. This is obviously in reaction to me expressing doubts about the source’s veracity. Sorry, the trick isn’t working.
After more than 24 hours passed from sending the email asking for a phone number (when normally this source has been emailing me several times a day) I finally received another email from the source. My request for a phone number was completely ignored. The email contained only three short sentenced designed to enhance the illusion that the writer is independent from Leola. Sorry, I no longer buy it.
I’m not the only person who was scammed. As far as I can tell, it’s a true story that reporters from various major publications investigated the story. Presumably they were all contacted by Leola herself, or by someone claiming to be an anonymous source. But presumably, none of them found anything except a loony dominatrix who wouldn’t give them any verifiable evidence that she actually had a BDSM relationship with Mr. Bennett. You’ve read her emails that I posted here on the blog. Would you believe someone like that without some kind of proof other than her say so?
Leola admits in her statement that she didn’t give them anything, which is also what she said in the emails which she sent me that I previously published here. She claims that if only a woman reporter had contacted her, then she would have given her some kind of real story. But it was Leola herself who went out of her way to contact reporters. If she really wanted to contact a woman reporter, she could have easily done so the same way she contacted me and a lot of other reporters. So this is really just some kind of game that she’s playing.
So this explains why there have been rumors that reporters have investigated the story. The rumors are true, they did investigate the story, but they didn’t find anything they could publish.
This is also further evidence that the mysterious source is Leola herself. I’m sure that if the reporters from the newspapers had an independent third party who would have backed up Leola’s story, this would have already been big news. Unless you buy the story that all the reporters are on the Republican payroll. That’s what the source said, and that’s what Leola’s statement says. The same reporters who broke the Bill Bennett gambling story are on the Republican payroll or agents of Bennett? Very unlikely.
Only one reporter who found my blog contacted me. All he would say on the record is that he was contacted by a person who made an allegation, but that the person failed to provide any proof, and that no matter how badly people may dislike Bill Bennett, he doesn’t deserve to have his reputation ruined by this story if it’s not true.
Leola McConnell’s statement that she published clearly lies about her true motives. She writes, “I have played dodge ball with this issue now for over A YEAR and I'm sick of it. It doesn't seem to want to go away. The Calico Cat idiot wrote me and now people accuse me of seeking publicity.”
As far as I can ascertain, this is a lie, she is seeking publicity for some unknown reason. Or maybe the reason is pretty clearly stated in that email from the reporter:
You have a financial goal over the next two years. I think there's a fair chance Flynt would put you over the top on your goal. You might have been BSing about $3 million, but that's not out of the ball park, IF you can prove a relationship with Bennett and IF you have juicy details. I haven't heard any details, but I assume they exist.
I have no clue why she would publish that email when it so obviously explains her motives.
Once again, all the evidence suggests that it is Leola who has been trying to promote this story, but she has not been successful because she refused to give the reporters any kind of proof or any details about her alleged relationship with Bennett. She was not successful until she discovered the power of blogs. After the Jessica Cutler story got its small moment of fame, she contacted Wonkette, who wouldn’t run with the story, so next she contacted me (under the guise of a helpful informant). And I successfully got out the story. I was her pawn.
Did Leola really have any kind of relationship with Bill Bennett, or is the whole thing made up? Is the real reason she didn’t give any verifiable details to reporters because she didn’t have any to give? I don’t have the answers to these questions. Perhaps the true story will be revealed in the near future.
I made a follow up post about this hoax with additional information. Dominatrix hoax update.
This post originally contained a link to a free web page at Tripod.com with Leola's statement, but that web page no longer exists. I saved a copy of it to my hard drive, but I'm not going to republish it because it contains false accusations, and it unfairly included a private email that a reporter sent to her.
The mysterious Rance had the following to say about George Tenet's resignation:
As a result of the whiskey, perhaps, I will now segue clumsily into Current Events. I have it on first-rate spook authority that Tenet, a good man, did indeed resign for personal reasons--Bush's personal reasons. Now, I'm aware that a politically-oriented remark will draw a hundred comments along the lines of “Where the hell do you get off making politically-oriented remarks, you stupid ivory tower Hollywood liberal pansy-assed pansy?" They'll just be deleted though. Unless you make a compelling case of why you’re any better qualified to offer analysis.
Monday, June 07, 2004
It seems that I am no longer on the preferred email list of the person or persons who are trying to promote this story. Wonkette has posted a link to a web page apparently created by "Leola Jean McConnell" aka "Mistress Lee" containing a not so brief statement which is must reading for anyone following the story. She insists that William Bennett was her "sub," and there is a brief description of their relationship.
What is really going on here? I have an idea, which I hopefully will be able to flesh out in the near future.
I think this story is a hoax. Calico Cat scammed by the dominatrix.
The dominatrix, who calls herself “Mistress Lee,” claims that former Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, was one of her clients. The Calico Cat does not know if this claim is true.
As previously promised, this excerpt from the book that “Mistress Lee” is writing will answer the question of whether President Bush is dom or sub:
Wannabe Dom's are a completely different breed, this is a dangerous group. People fail to realize that a true dom lives by the strictest code of ethics and morals( see true dom). Wannabe dom is quite the opposite, being amoral, a hypocrite, reckless and above all, self serving. For example the wannabe dom can go from being an alcoholic, governor with, the highest execution rate in the country (including the mentally ill) to the whitehouse where the self serving platform is the largest. Here is where he dictates as he chooses, as amoral as the edicts maybe. This sis contrary to a true domme's behavior and extremely dangerous. The wannabe dom creed "what have you done for me lately" is closely adhered to. The wannabe dom can go from mild/ you make me angry, I thin k I'll have your taxes audited; to extreme/ you make me angry I think I'll take this opportunity to rape your country at my countrymen's expense and many will die. There is no entertainment factor in this arena.
* * *
Keep checking in with the Calico Cat for continuing coverage of this story. A surprising new development may be revealed shortly.
I think this story is a hoax. Calico Cat scammed by the dominatrix.
Sunday, June 06, 2004
In Richard Leiby's June 4 online chat, he says that babies are ugly:
Olsen Twins: You know, why can't people say certain babies are ugly, not cute? I mean who made up that rule? How ridiculous.
Richard Leiby: This is a question for the ages. Dickens once wrote that every child born is fairer than the last. But don't blame Dickens. Everyone sees their own kids as beautiful, because they are THEIRS. But I agree: Some babies are goofy-looking.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, yes, this is one of those Jessica Cutler roundups. But Leiby didn't have much to say about Jessica. He says that she is no longer returning his phone calls, and hints that Playboy may be backing out.
Washington, D.C.: Anything new on Jessica Cutler?
Richard Leiby: Wish I had something for you, but she no longer returns my calls. Last I heard she was lunching with Playboy mag people, but now Playboy has clammed up too.
He also refers to Wonkette as "Wankette." Very funny.
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Surprisingly, there seems to be some new news about Jessica in today's Philadelphia Inquirer (annoying registration required to view article).
Veracity did not seem to be a major issue for Carlisle & Co., the New York literary agency that is representing Cutler.
"I believe her, but it's sort of irrelevant," said Carlisle's Pilar Queen. "We're looking for a story that reflects Jessica in her entirety, not just her blog. She's going to be writing fiction - based on fact, a lot of it.
"I've seen chick-lit done for New York and London," Queen said, "but I haven't seen it done for D.C."
I still want to know if "Pilar Queen" is man, woman, or transvestite.
David Brooks has some very insightful comments about political partisanship and irrational voter behavior in his column in yesterday's New York Times, Circling the Wagons:
[According to Green, Palmquist and Schickler, authors of Partisan Hearts and Minds,] people do not choose parties by comparing platforms and then figuring out where the nation's interests lie. Drawing on a vast range of data, these political scientists argue that party attachment is more like attachment to a religious denomination or a social club. People have stereotypes in their heads about what Democrats are like and what Republicans are like, and they gravitate toward the party made up of people like themselves.
Once they have formed an affiliation, people bend their philosophies and their perceptions of reality so they become more and more aligned with members of their political tribe.
Insightful indeed, and common sense when you consider human behavior. Humans are pack animals and feel most comfortable when they conform to a group. Having opinions outside of the mainstream makes people uncomfortable. It affects all aspects of life, not just political opinions. When the NASDAQ was ridiculously overpriced at 5000, everyone was saying that it was still a good buy and justifying why a P/E ratio of 100 made sense. People, even smart people who work on Wall Street, are afraid to have their own opinions and do their own rational analysis.
David Brooks writes further to explain how voters aren't rational:
Party affiliation even shapes people's perceptions of reality. In 1960, Angus Campbell and others published a classic text, "The American Voter," in which they argued that partisanship serves as a filter. A partisan filters out facts that are inconsistent with the party's approved worldview and exaggerates facts that confirm it.
That observation has been criticized by some political scientists, who see voters as reasonably rational. But many political scientists are coming back to Campbell's conclusion: people's perceptions are blatantly biased by partisanship.
For example, the Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels has pointed to survey data collected after the Reagan and Clinton presidencies. In 1988, voters were asked if they thought the nation's inflation rate had fallen during the Reagan presidency.
In fact, it did. The inflation rate fell from 13.5 percent to 4.1 percent. But only 8 percent of strong Democrats said the rate had fallen. Fifty percent of partisan Democrats believed that inflation had risen under Reagan. Strong Republicans had a much sunnier and more accurate impression of economic trends. Forty-seven percent said inflation had declined.
I would say that David Brooks is describing a mild case of cognitive dissonance. According to James Atherton, "cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation."
The classic example of cognitive dissonance was the study of a religous cult whose members believed that the world would be destroyed on a certain day. The day came, and the world wasn't destroyed. One might think that this would have alerted the cult members to the fact that their leader was a whacko who had misled them. But then they'd have to admit to themselves they were stupid for believing his nonsense. Instead, it was easier for them to believe their cult leader's explanation, that their faith had saved the world.
Cognitive dissonance makes it hard to convice people of opposite political beliefs that they are wrong about something. No matter how many facts you pile on to prove them wrong, you are unable to shake their religious-like belief in their ideology. Instead, they just get very mad at the person who is reciting the facts that prove them wrong.
I want everyone reading this to be aware that what you believe is often not based on rational analysis, and that you don't make rational decisions. You may be just as irrational as the members of the cult that believed that the world was coming to an end. It may be that your viewpoints on major policy issues are completely wrong because your brain refuses to admit that it has been wrong and therefore refuses to rationally analyze the facts.
If you're not sure what to believe, I urge you to keep reading my blog, and I will tell you. Because I'm a true contrarian who doesn't believe what everyone else tells me to believe. I do my own analysis and make up my own mind. I admit when I was wrong and when I was stupid. I acknowledge my faults. (These are all traits that don't help me very much in real life, so don't be jealous, just keep reading the blog.)