Friday, March 26, 2004

Rep Nick Smith/House Ethics Probe Underway

On February 26th on Iddybud, I wrote:
I hear the investigation's really heating up on this Rep. Nick Smith-Medicare-House of Representatives bribery case. The House Ethics Committee may not be the only investigators...I hear there may also be an ongoing criminal investigation.
I see it's hitting the mainstream. It was the focus of ABC's Nightline last night. Yesterday, the House ethics committee named four lawmakers who will investigate whether Rep. Smith was offered the bribe to vote for the Medicare bill. A talk-radio host who helped expose the Medicare bribe has curiously lost his job. According to Roll Call, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the matter, too

Medicare Bribe Archive:
Feb. 26, 2004: "FBI Examines Medicare Bribe"
Feb. 4, 2004: "Brad's Little Problem"
Jan. 22, 2004: "Burying the Bribe"
Jan. 8, 2004: "Bob Novak Ate My Brain!"
Dec. 23, 2003: "Now It's a Scandal"
Dec. 8, 2003: "A Drug-Company Bribe?"
Dec. 6, 2003: "Why Smith Can't Recant"
Dec. 5, 2003: "Nick Smith Recants"
Dec. 1, 2003: "Who Tried To Bribe Rep. Smith?"

Eat your boogers
Forget an apple a day.
Go ye the green way.

Fake Boogers

Show your four-year-old how corn starch and water is sticky (especially as it dries out) and he will be looking at synthetic boogers!

The State of the Media 2003
2004 - the year of blogging?

The Web log culture is fascinating and still evolving.

From The State of the Media 2003 Report:
Web logs, or blogs, such as and, are an exciting new prospect for the Web. And some of these bloggers are influential. For now, though, bloggers appear to command only a fraction of the online audience. During the first week of the Iraq war, for instance, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that only 4 percent of Internet users had visited a blog......

In some cases yesterday's influential print columnists are today's bloggers. Journalists like Mickey Kaus (formerly of The New Republic), Howard Kurtz (of The Washington Post), Virginia Postrel (former editor of Reason) and Rich Lowry (editor of National Review), are people whose blogs are often cited by the old media and thus whose influence reaches much farther than their direct audience. The Web log culture is fascinating and still evolving.

.....Whether it will become a serious online presence and influence on journalism remains unclear. Several panelists at the Online News Association's 2003 conference predicted that 2004 would be the year of blogging.18 At this point, though, the hard data suggest that its influence, like journals of opinion in print such as The Nation or The Weekly Standard, will be more intellectual than commercial. In 2003, many political analysts credited conservative blogs for playing a role in the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott when the mainstream press did not do much with the story of his comments in favor of past segregation. Whether blogs come to define the Internet or represent only a small but appealing aspect of it, is still a question.


'Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!'

Credit: AP photo

--President George W. Bush

"I'm appalled. I think it's in extremely poor taste. I think he owes an apology to those families who have lost loved ones there and those of us that are going through the dread every day having a son or daughter in Iraq. He pokes fun at the reason that he told us (soldiers) went over there. I think it's extremely callous."

--Larry Syverson of Richmond, Virginia, who has a son serving with the Army in Iraq and another who recently returned after serving in the Tikrit area.

"This is disgraceful. He doesn't think of all the families that are suffering. It's unbelievable, how this guy tries to run the country."

--George Medina, 43, of Orange County, who lost his 22-year-old son, Spec. Irving Medina, Nov. 14 in Baghdad.

"To be poking fun; it's just a travesty to the soldiers who lost their lives. I think it's disrespectful."

--Charles Celestin, 28, of Coral Springs, Fla., whose brother-in-law, Spec. Irving Medina, died Nov. 14 in Baghdad.

"That's supposed to be funny? Unfortunately for the president, this is not a joke. George Bush insulted me as a veteran and as a friend to many still serving in Iraq. President George Bush showed a stunningly cavalier attitude toward the failed search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the administration's rush to war. If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Five-hundred eighty-five American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last year; 3,354 have been wounded, and there's no end in sight. George Bush sold us on going to war with Iraq based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But we still haven't found them, and now he thinks that's funny? George Bush didn't tell us the truth about the economy, about job loss, about the true cost of his deceptive prescription drug plan, or about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. There's nothing funny about that."

--Sen. John Kerry

"George Bush insulted me as a veteran and as a friend to many still serving in Iraq. This act lowers the dialogue about weapons of mass destruction. War is the single most serious event that a President or government can carry its people into. No weapons of mass destruction have been found and that is no joke - this is for real. This cheapens the sacrifice that American soldiers and their families are dealing with every single day."

--Brad Owens, Iraq war veteran

"It was one of the most despicable acts of a sitting president. That's not a joke to us, Mr. Bush. Five hundred soldiers lost their lives, looking for weapons that weren't there. Billions of taxpayer dollars were spent looking for weapons that weren't there. But guess what? You gonna look out that window in January and see a moving van to send you back to Texas."

--Rev. Al Sharpton

"They're not there [WMDs]. That is the issue. We should not take it to a new step to make fun of the situation. This is a very serious issue. We've lost hundreds of troops, as you know, over there. Let's not be laughing about not being able to find weapons of mass destruction."

--DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe

A little casual?! Why the hell did Nancy Pelosi laugh?

"I had thought that that was a little casual about a serious subject, but now the president has made it open season."

--Nancy Pelosi

"I wish I could report to you that the conflict is almost over. This I cannot do. We face more cost, more loss, and more agony. For the end is not yet."

--President Lyndon Johnson, 1967, who saw nothing humorous in the Vietnamese war - the conflict that George W. Bush managed to creatively avoid.

"The Democrats will go after anything.”

--Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie

"That WMD crack? And posing in advance for a stupid picture to go with your stupid, insensitive-to-soldiers'-families joke? Well. I'd say that should be worth at least another half-hour in front of the 9/11 Commission. But I don't get to make the rules."

--Value Judgement blog
Around the CNY Blogs

Although the warm Spring weather has arrived, it's still a rather somber day today in Syracuse. As NYCO points out, there is no joy in Mudville today. The Syracuse University men's basketball team is out of the NCAA Championships. NYCO also has provided astute commentary on the "unity" Democrat's dinner on Thursday:
About the unity dinner itself, I had surprisingly mixed feelings. I was channel-flipping between sports and politics, so I didn't see all of the Big Dog's speech (the C-SPAN video archives being like TiVo for Politics). But I did catch the bit where he was excoriating the GOP for its campaign tactics against McCain and Cleland, and when he got to the part about the Cleland-Osama ad, I just felt a real twinge, thinking about the Dean-Osama ad and how of course he wouldn't be mentioning that. And feeling that old anger about the Democratic establishment for a moment. I'm not sure I want to let go of that.
Lastly, dumb comment of the night goes to Jimmy Carter: "Ralph, go back to … examining the rear ends of automobiles and don't risk costing Democrats the White House this year, as you did four years ago." Yeah, that'll make people leaning Nader want to vote Democrat. Thanks.
Central New York readers will also be interested to read Nyco's comments on the strange passing-up of the Joanne Shenandoah documentary "Dancing on Mother Earth" by Public Television station WCNY in Syracuse.
If we can't see controversial programs about people and issues that actually concern CNY, what is the point of having public television in the first place?