Archive for ‘sex scandal’

May 10, 2009

Fear, Loathing and Smitty in Las Vegas

“We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold . . .”
Hunter S. Thompson,
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The photo above was one of several that arrived yesterday in a brown manilla envelope with no return address, accompanied by a cryptic note assembled by some maniac who had cut letters out of magazines and pasted them together to create a message so disgustingly obscene that even I would not reprint it here.

No matter what this anonymous extortionist claims, I refuse to believe that my dear friend Smitty could have engaged in the repulsive acts portrayed by these photographs. As far as I’m aware, for example, there are no teenage Ukrainian albino prostitutes employed in Nevada. Even if there are, I sincerely doubt there could be two of them — identical twins at that and, to judge from the astonishing variety of poses, double-jointed bisexual acrobats who’ve spent years studying the Kama Sutra.

However, if these lurid scenes are genuine, Smitty is either racing toward the Mexican border or headed for a long spell in a federal penitentiary. He has no alibi, because everyone knows he spent the past week in Las Vegas, a place notorious for its decadent hedonism. Certainly I cannot be held accountable because, so far as I knew, he was merely going on holiday with his German in-laws. Granted, one occasionally hears bizarre rumors about elderly German tourists, but . . .

Forgeries or felonies, the photos were certainly interesting, although fearing an inquiry by the Postmaster General’s office — some kind of sting operation? — I immediately destroyed all of them except the one relatively safe picture I scanned in and displayed at the top of this post. That is obviously Smitty at the right side of the photo. I’d recognize the bowtie anywhere, but . . . who is that woman on the left?

Little Miss Attila? Well, certainly some of the tales Matthew Vadum told of their CPAC escapades two years ago might lead me to believe she could do such things. And she does live in L.A., a reasonable driving distance from Vegas, assuming you have a radar detector and you’re driving one of those big Chevy convertibles with a powerful V-8 engine.

For a few minutes, I stared at the photo while smoking a bowl of Kashmir’s finest and decided no, it couldn’t be Attila. Too tall. Which also rules out Cynthia Yockey who was, after all, still in Baltimore so far as anyone knew.

Who could she be? And then it hit me.

One of the photos I’d burned immediately after receiving the package had depicted Smitty participating in altogether despicable behavior with a certain breed of domesticated livestock.

Sheep? No Sheeples? Oh, Carol, you temptress . . .

May 9, 2009

Traffic surges from anti-Obama backlash and Carrie Prejean nude . . .

. . . but mostly from Carrie Prejean nude. Should I be ashamed to be the Google-bomb prophet? Would it have been better to let Perez Hilton, hateful lefties and trashy gossip blogs monopolize all that “Carrie Prejean nude” traffic?

Did I mention I flat-out stole the headline shtick from Ace of Spades HQ?

If loving traffic is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Because whatever you write ain’t nothing until somebody reads it and, out here in the ‘sphere, ain’t nobody going to read it until somebody gives you the linky-love.

Rule 2. Just the facts, Jack.

But if you take the linky-love, you gotta give the linky-love. The whole point of having more traffic is to shower the hits on the blogs you love. Which is why I so much enjoyed turning Jules Crittenden into Marie Osmond’s lesbian daughter.

Because I’m a giver. Even if Allah hates me. And you want gold 30% off retail.

May 8, 2009

‘I stand in naked solidarity . . .’

Tigerhawk strips down with Carrie Prejean, and makes a massively impressive argument:

The angle of the shot . . . makes it only mildly NSFW, certainly no worse than the “scandalous” picture of Carrie Prejean. The picture may lack the compositional integrity of the Speedo shot of The Other McCain, but it is no more or less offensive, and perhaps leaves more to the imagination, at least in the frontal sense.

“More to the imagination”? Oh, so much more than you could possibly imagine:

That water was cold. And did I forget to mention that my wife and I have six children? Because conservatives “don’t understand about sex.” It’s still National Offend A Feminist Week, and we know what does the trick.

May 6, 2009

Carrie Prejean Sideboob Jailbait?

An anonymous commenter on an earlier post just directed me to a blog asserting that Carrie Prejean was a precocious 17 when she posed for the now notorious Cheesecake Photo That Shook The World.

Words cannot sufficiently express my indifference to this “controversy.” If Carrie Prejean were stripped of her Miss California USA title tomorrow — and dibs on the “Carrie Prejean stripped” Google-bomb, just in case Pirate’s Cove thinks they can beat me at that game — so what?

She’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s famous and, one way or another, she’ll soon be very rich. Her future’s so bright, she’s got to wear shades. She’ll get a book contract for at least a million dollars, and the publisher will pay a ghost-writer $75,000 to actually write the book. There will be speaking engagements, magazine interviews and TV appearances. She’ll fly around the country first-class, stay in five-star hotels and eat at the finest restaurants, all of it at someone else’s expense.

And good for her, right? OK, so a bunch of grouchy gay militants are calling her ugly names, but they call me ugly names, too, for which I have not the consolation of either beauty or wealth. (You can help remedy the latter by hitting the tip jar, by the way.)

While I congratulate myself on having the keen capitalistic foresight to include the phrase “Carrie Prejean nude” in my first blog post about Miss California USA, and while I glory in the reward of surging traffic, would you mind if I ask a favor?

Could everybody please stop taking this so seriously? There are children dying in Sudan, OK?

So I’m finding it kind of hard to get all worked up over the “Martyrdom of St. Carrie” meme. To wit:

MEDIA ADVISORY, May 6 /Christian Newswire/ — The “tolerant” proponents of homosexual marriage, following the hateful lead of homosexual, Perez Hilton and the likes of anti-Christian bigot Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, have had their fun bashing Miss California, Carrie Prejean. For simply stating the obvious truth that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, Carrie has been unjustly slandered, insulted and ridiculed.
“By courageously shining the light of God’s truth on the marriage issue, now homosexuals and their allies irrationally seek to defame and destroy Carrie Prejean,” said Dr. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. “Perez Hilton, ‘queen of all media,’ and your sycophant Keith Olbermann, take some advice from Jesus Christ; ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.'”

Dr. Cass, I agree with you wholeheartedly, just as I agree wholeheartedly with you about marriage. (See, “Marriage: A Hill to Die On.”) Yet I hope you will excuse me for saying that, as someone who’s been in the news business since 1986, I think Christian conservatives need to think a little harder about their communications strategy.

Yesterday, in my role as a Joe Friday “just the facts ma’am” reporter, I made a few inquiries trying to get to the bottom of this Carrie Prejean topless photo story. Simple questions: Who took these photos? When? Where? Why?

People associated in various capacities with Miss Prejean either (a) did not have the answers to these questions, (b) were not authorized to address these questions, or (c) didn’t think I was sufficiently important to deserve so much as a “no comment” in reply.

Fine. You are paid to know what you’re doing. But the folks who were managing Sen. George Allen’s 2006 re-election campaign thought they knew what they were doing, too. And one of the things they made sure to do was to ignore my repeated attempts to contact the campaign. “For want of a nail . . .”

As I explained in an e-mail to one of Miss Prejean’s associates yesterday, the fundamental principle of crisis communication is that you can tell your own story to a sympathetic source, or you can allow your enemies to tell their story to an unsympathetic source. To be silent is to surrender the battle to your enemy, who will be only too happy to portray your silence as fearful defensiveness.

And now I exhort you to be of good cheer . . . for there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not. . . . Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Acts 27:22-25, KJV

“Be of good cheer . . . Fear not” — we don’t hear that enough from Christian leaders nowadays. If you have faith and hope, you should also have the courage that God can deliver you. And if you have courage, you can laugh at the folly of those who think themselves greater than God.

Trust me, I know how easy it is to doubt, to become frustrated and impatient, to demand deliverance right now, when it suits God’s purpose to let you be chastised a while longer. We are fearful because we are weak, but we should learn to laugh at our weakness just as we learn to laugh at our persecutors.

So I’ll laugh at the irony of being the Christian conservative blog king of “Carrie Prejean nude,” just as I’ll laugh at the idiots who tell me that believing in marriage as ordained by God is a function of a psychological disorder, “homophobia.” Hey, I’m about nine kinds of crazy, but that’s one kind of crazy I’ve never been.

Lighten up, people. Be of good cheer. Fear not. And don’t fight that urge to hit my tip jar. I’ve got a sexy wife and six beautiful kids to feed.

UPDATE: I noticed I was getting traffic from AnnCoulter.com, and you can go over there to see what she quoted. She’s apparently decided to help us celebrate National Offend A Feminist Week.

The first time I was introduced to Miss Coulter, she shook my hand and said, “A most unfortunate name.” And I said, “Ah! Crazy Cousin John!”

She and my buddy Pete Parisi of The Washington Times were in the same class at the National Journalism Center, and I’ve told the story of the night we all got together at Shelly’s Backroom Tavern. Like many another famous conservative — and some of us not so famous — Miss Coulter’s fearsome reputation is a distortion manufactured by liberals who would rather demonize her than to engage her arguments.

At any rate, Carrie Prejean should say a prayer of thanksgiving that Perez Hilton didn’t ask for her opinion about Reverend Jeremiah Wright. If you think it’s hard being denounced as a “homophobe,” you should try being denounced as a “racist.

UPDATE II: Somebody in the comments just linked a site which actually seems to be trying to drag Miss Prejean’s relatives into this mess. This kind of unlimited personal attack, involving people’s family members, is vile beyond words. Nevertheless, I did not delete the comment, because whatever the facts are, the facts are.

These sleaze merchants are really exposing their own viciousness, and you can evaluate that along with whatever truth there may be in their accusations. It’s out there, and I’m not going to pretend it’s not out there. Please pay attention:

To Carrie Prejean, whoever is “representing” Carrie Prejean, and everyone who knows and cares about Carrie Prejean:
You can’t cover-up or stonewall in the New Media environment. You can’t sit around trying to calculate and worrying about, “Gee, what do they actually know? How much is going to come out?” Assume the answers to those questions are “everything” and “all of it.”
Not only have I spent 23 years in the news business, but I am personally acquainted with some of the top P.R. professionals in the country, including the kind of people that a Fortune 500 company calls when they’ve just been sued for a gazillion dollars and they’re guilty as hell.
It is becoming clear from the way this story has spun out of control that whoever is giving Carrie Prejean media/P.R. advice, their advice isn’t working.
Let me make a suggestion to Carrie Prejean’s team: Call the Clare Boothe Luce Public Policy Center and ask to speak to their director of marketing. I guarantee you she can recommend somebody who knows all about crisis media management.

I hope somebody makes that call soon. Trust me.

April 12, 2009

Obama’s Kenyan half-brother is ‘linked’ in sex assault on 13-year-old British girl

Via Memeorandum, the Times of London:

Barack Obama’s half-brother has been refused entry to Britain after reportedly being accused of an attempted sex attack on a 13-year-old girl on his last visit.
Samson Obama, who runs a mobile phone shop in Nairobi in Kenya, was on his way to the president’s inauguration in January when he tried to stop over in Britain to visit relatives. But he was turned away by immigration officers who declined to issue a visa on the grounds of deception.
Biometric tests carried out at East Midlands airport showed that he was linked to the attack on a girl in Berkshire last November but never charged, according to a report last night. Further checks identified Samson as the half-brother of President Obama, leading to a hurried call to the White House.
A Home Office source told the News of the World: “This was obviously an extremely sensitive issue when it was flashed up by the database.” Officers had noticed that one of the documents that Samson had supplied with his visa application was false which led them to make further inquiries, according to a Home Office spokesman.
Details on the database suggested that he was the same man who had been arrested by police in Berkshire after approaching a group of young girls, including a 13 year-old, and allegedly trying to sexually assault one of them, the News of the World reported.

The original News of the World exclusive is here. Obviously, the president is not responsible for the (alleged) misconduct of his siblings, but (a) exactly how many half-siblings does he have? and (b) imagine the media reaction if there was a case like this involving a relative of Sarah Palin.

UPDATE: Tim Graham’s memory is helpful:

Clinton’s White House aides complained about all the British press clips the “Clinton haters” used to start up negative coverage in the United States. . . . . I’d venture that if American media outlets found it newsworthy that President Bush’s niece Noelle falsely tried to grab a prescription for Xanax in 2002, a teen-sex controversy over a half-brother might be worth a few sentences.

A few months before I joined the staff of The Washington Times, the Clinton White House put together a 331-page report entitled “The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.” The object of the report was to explain how scandal stories about the Clinton administration originated outside the big mainstream press (New York Times/Washington Post/TV networks) and subsequently made it into the mainstream. The Washington Times figured prominently in that conspiracy theory, as did the Telegraph and other British newspapers.

The Fleet Street Formula
OK, to get into a wee bit of journalistic “inside baseball” here, you have to understand the “Fleet Street” mentality of the British press. God bless ’em, the British tabloids are utterly without shame. They have the insane belief that the object of journalism is to sell newspapers, and they go about with admirable capitalistic insight: Give the customers what they want.

It’s a simple formula: Celebrities, sports, sex, crime and scandal. The ideal British tabloid story would be if Victoria Beckham were having an affair with a member of Parliament whose mutilated corpse turned up in the trunk of the Saudi ambassador’s car. (Adding the irresistible “wog” angle to the story, you see.)

To a British reporter, the president of the United States is merely another celebrity, whose name and picture on the front page can help sell papers, especially if there is some kind of scandalous whiff of sex, crime or scandal involved.

Trust me, the boys at the British tabs were saying “thank you, God” when Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican vice presidential candidate. A good-looking bird is always news on Fleet Street. (Old Benny Hill joke: “What’s the hottest part of the sun? Page Three!”)

Beyond the obvious insight that “sex sells” (Rule 5C) British editors seem to understand the power of news as publicity. This was something that my hero, Hunter S. Thompson, figured out early in his journalism career: At some level, a lot of what a reporter does is to publicize people and events. (Thompson learned this in his early career as a sports editor, which he recounts briefly in the “Epitaph” at the end of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72.)

Trump, Gotti and Vince Foster
To understand the value of this insight, consider how the New York Post — the nearest U.S. equivalent of a Fleet Street tabloid — made celebrities of John Gotti and Donald Trump. Gotti was just another mobster in a town with lots of mobsters, and Trump was just another real-estate developer. But because of the way the NY Post lavished these two figures with front-page coverage, they became celebrities. The same is true of Amy Fisher, the “Long Island Lolita.”

Which brings us back to the Clintonian conspiracy theory of White House scandal coverage during the 1990s. That 331-page report (which was accompanied by a wacky-looking chart that used to be prominently displayed in one assistant editor’s cubicle at The Washington Times) evidently began with an effort to figure out how the Vince-Foster-Was-Murdered story became a continuing headline saga.

Vince Foster was an old Little Rock law firm colleague of Hillary Clinton’s who became a minor official — Deputy White House Counsel — in the Clinton administration. And then one day in July 1993, his body was found in Fort Marcy Park with a bullet through his head. Every investigation into Foster’s death has ruled it a suicide but, as with the assassination of JFK, suspicious minds were . . . well, suspicious.

Here’s the thing to understand: Until he shot himself, Foster was obscure, but in death he became a celebrity. Why? Because, among other things, you can’t libel the dead.

Dead men don’t file libel suits, which is why the skeptic must keep a container of salt handy when considering all those tales of JFK’s notorious womanizing. There is abundant reliable testimony that JFK wantonly indulged his voracious sexual appetites, but the story of any specific Kennedy liaison (e.g., Marilyn Monroe) must be scrutinized with profound skepticism simply because (a) we’ll never hear JFK’s side of the story, and (b) the journalist who alleges the affair can never be sued for libel.

Britain’s libel laws are much more plaintiff-friendly than U.S. law. An American journalist sued for libel knows that the burden is on the plaintiff to prove his story false; a British journalist must prove his story true. But in England as in America, you can’t libel the dead, and after he reached room temperature, Vince Foster was fair game.

It was an Irishman, Brendan Behan, who is credited with the famous P.R. maxim, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” although the full quote is: “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.” And Foster’s obituary was very bad publicity, indeed.

The fact that Foster had been involved in helping the Clintons deal with the Whitewater scandal — once famously described as “a cover-up in search of a crime” — generated a massive tsunami of fresh reporting on a story that the Clintonistas wanted to go away. And thus the administration assigned White House staffers to prepare the “Conspiracy Stream of Commerce” report, in an effort to explain how a story by Christopher Ruddy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review or Jerry Seper of The Washington Times ended up getting ping-ponged around until it was big enough news that Peter Jennings felt obligated to mention it for 40 seconds on the ABC Evening News.

Spiking the Scandal
Naturally, the Clintonistas had a propaganda objective: To convince mainstream journalists to stop reporting Clinton White House scandals. “No story here. Asked and answered. Next question.” And this pushback against negative reporting had a real impact.

Everybody journalist in Washington knows that Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff had the Monica Lewinsky story wrapped up about two weeks before it finally made the front page of the Washington Post. It was Matt Drudge (who figured prominently in the “conspiracy stream of commerce” theory) who broke the news that Isikoff’s story had been spiked, setting off a furious scramble by D.C. news organizations to confirm the Lewinsky story.

I’d only been in town two months at that point (I started with The Washington Times in November 1997) but I’ll never forget how close one of our reporters came to beating the Post on the Lewinsky scandal. The Post and Newsweek are part of the same operation, so the Post‘s reporters had the inside line, but it was nonetheless a close contest. And the main reason we couldn’t beat them, of course, was that the people pushing the story didn’t want the story to break in a “right-wing” publication; they wanted a respectable “mainstream” publication to be the first with the story.

Fortunately for Monica Lewinsky, she didn’t have to turn up dead in Fort Marcy Park — or crash into the side of a mountain in Croatia, like Ron Brown — to become a celebrity. My advice to Samson Obama? Don’t forget to pay your life-insurance premiums.

March 16, 2009

11-Year-Old Girl Self-Porn

More proof that insanity is the new normal:

A Kentucky man is accused of persuading an 11-year-old Humble (Ky.) girl to send him nude photos of herself while the pair played video games online.
Anthony Scott O’Shea, 24, of Somerset, Ky., has been charged with promotion of child pornography, online solicitation of a minor and sexual performance of a child. He will soon be transferred to Houston, said Sgt. Gary Spurger of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. The girl sent the man photos over the course of several weeks as they played games online with their PlayStation 3 consoles in December, Spurger said.

Maybe the New York Times’ new porn expert needs to research this angle.

The news tip was sent to me by Frequent Commenter Smitty, just after I saw a Twitter from John Hawkins seeking evidence that “insanity is the new normal.” I told Hawkins to remember to quote Hunter S. Thompson: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” And then I noticed that Smitty had reminded me of a Saturday post, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Downloads,” which referenced Hawkins’ post on an 18-year-old girl who committed suicide after her ex-boyfriend made public the nude photos she had sent him.

So this is obviously the evidence Hawkins was looking for.

UPDATE: More evidence from Texas:

KELLER — A Keller man has been jailed on child pornography charges.
Federal agents say they found illegal material at Bryan Dickson’s home on Wednesday. The convicted sex offender told agents he had been viewing it online since 2006.
In 1988, Dickson was convicted in New Jersey of sexual assault of a child. But his name did not appear on any list of registered sex offenders.
Ever since he moved into his Keller home a year ago, neighbors say they had their suspicions about him. “We just kind of stayed away,” said one.
Their fears were confirmed on Wednesday when federal agents arrested the 46-year-old for child pornography. . . .
But what really angers parents is the 1988 child sex assault conviction in New Jersey. Yet the Keller man was not listed in the New Jersey or Texas sex offender registries.
That infuriates neighbors who had tried checking up on him. “When you talked to him, you got bad vibes,” one neighbor said. “We thought maybe it wouldn’t hurt to check; didn’t find anything; just thought we were being overly paranoid.”
In Texas, sex offenders who served their time before 1997 aren’t required to register, which may explain why Dickson lived next to a high school and was able to get jobs at family-friendly places like the Dallas Zoo and Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine.

Reassuring, isn’t it?

March 15, 2009

Ross Douthat, porn expert?

“Forget ‘normalizing homosexuality’ — something the Right has been worrying over since the advent of gay liberation. Today, the Internet and DirecTV are normalizing everything, from group sex to bestiality to darker things that decency forbids mentioning. And as for pedophilia — why, any erotic website worth its salt promises links to images of the ‘barely legal,’ ‘young teen sluts,’ and all the rest. Today, Nabokov’s Humbert would need not be a tragic figure; instead, he could have spent his years ensconced in front of a glowing computer screen, with a thousand Lolitas for his delectation.”

* * *

“Over the past three decades, the VCR, on-demand cable service, and the Internet have completely overhauled the ways in which people interact with porn. Innovation has piled on innovation, making modern pornography a more immediate, visceral, and personalized experience. Nothing in the long history of erotica compares with the way millions of Americans experience porn today, and our moral intuitions are struggling to catch up.”

* * * *

A Catholic friend advises me that Lenten vows are not enforced on Sunday. Or, as we call it around here, Rule 5 Sunday.

March 13, 2009

‘Mamas, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Downloads’

Some very helpful advice for mothers and daughters from John Hawkins, telling the “sad, sad story” of Jesse Logan, who committed suicide at 18, after her high-school (ex-)boyfriend humiliated her by making public the nude photos of herself she had sent him.

Keep in mind that Hawkins is no prude. Every day, his Conservative Grapevine aggregrator features not only a selection of political news and commentary, but also a couple of links to cheesecake photos of lovely starlets in bikinis. This was the subject of a debate among conservative bloggers in which I framed the question, “Is Babe-Blogging a Sin?”

My conclusion was that it is not, and the joys of babe-blogging were enshrined as the popular Rule 5 of “How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog.” However, if you disagree, please don’t click over to John’s site. (BTW, John, you’ve got a broken link on the Denise Richards bikini pics at CelebSlam.) Having been an artist since youth, my aesthetic enjoyment of beauty has at times been a snare and a stumbling block to me.

There is a line between flirty and trashy, between alluring and indecent. At times, I’m not very good at figuring out where that line is, but am deeply thankful that digital media didn’t exist in 1978, when I was 18 and — believe it or not — even less responsible than I am now.

(Thanks to Frequent Commenter Smitty, from whom I outrageously stole this one.)

March 8, 2009

The sadistic pleasure of ‘progressivism’

Remember when Eliot Spitzer’s anti-capitalist crusades made him a darling of the “progressive” Left?

“I was never fully undressed. He was naked. He was perspiring a lot. He was holding me down. He pinned me to the bed. That didn’t bother me. But when he grabbed my throat, that was too much. I remember trying to push myself up off the bed, which made him apply more pressure. I’ve never been worried about my safety, but I was really concerned.”

Strangling hookers. Something symbolic there, eh?

February 19, 2009

J. Edgar Hoover, Bill Moyers and LBJ’s homophobic witch-hunt

Is the headline fair? Hey, it was fun to write:

[B]ack in 1964, [Jack] Valenti was a Houston ad executive newly installed at the White House as a top aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI found itself quietly consumed with the vexing question of whether Valenti was gay.
Previously confidential FBI files show that Hoover’s deputies set out to determine whether Valenti . . . maintained a relationship with a male commercial photographer. . . .
Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members. Moyers said by e-mail yesterday that his memory is unclear after so many years but that he may have been simply looking for details of allegations first brought to the president by Hoover. . . .

We distort. You decide.