Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pirates vs Congress

Depp? Yep! -- Hastert? Yuck!

Avast! Ye Scurvy Gentlemen

In new poll on ethics, the public ranks Congress lower than pirates.

The Borowitz Report

• Satire: Congress Rated Lower Than Pirates

The survey, which was conducted by the University of Minnesota's Opinion Research Institute and asked likely voters to rate 100 professions according to their ethics, showed congressmen near the bottom of the list, only ranking higher than crack dealers and lawyers.

Worse was the fact that pirates, who have not fared well in earlier incarnations of the ethics poll, were considered twice as trustworthy as members of Congress, a finding that sends an alarming message to lawmakers seeing reelection this November.

“Pirates received consistently higher marks than congressmen in this survey,” said Crandall Pritchard, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota. "We heard comments like, ‘Sure, pirates make people walk the plank and will slit their throats for a doubloon, but at least they would keep their hands off congressional pages.’ ”

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, under fire of late because of the congressional page scandal, said that the poll showing that pirates are more ethical than congressmen is much ado about nothing: "I don't think this reflects the unpopularity of Congress so much as it reflects the surging popularity of pirates."

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a more sober assessment: "Arggh!"

* * *

More on Foley Follies:

Kolbe Says He Warned of Foley Years Ago

Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe said Tuesday he told the House official in charge of the page program as early as 2001 about Rep. Mark Foley's "creepy" e-mail to a former page.

Kolbe, the only openly gay Republican in Congress, said a former page he had sponsored contacted his office to complain of e-mails from Foley and that he "passed along" the complaint to Foley, R-Fla., and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl. Kolbe said he did not take the matter to other lawmakers. [snip]

Kolbe is the second person to come forward and say that top House officials had early warnings about inappropriate Foley approaches to pages. Trandahl, the top administrative officer of the House, got his job from Hastert.

A lawyer for Kirk Fordham, Foley's longtime chief of staff, said Fordham will tell the House ethics panel Thursday that he warned Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, about inappropriate Foley conduct with pages in 2003 or possibly the previous year. Palmer has denied Fordham's account. [snip]

Asked about Kolbe's statement, Hastert told reporters in Aurora, Ill.: "I don't know anything more about it. [snip]

Meanwhile, lawmakers are responding to the ethics committee's request that they survey aides and former House pages to find out if any of them had knowledge of inappropriate conduct by Foley toward male pages.

* * *

Still More Foley Follies:

Ex-aide to testify he gave alert on Foley

Former Republican Rep. Mark Foley's former chief of staff, who says he warned the House speaker's staff three years ago of inappropriate conduct by Foley toward pages, is to testify Thursday before the U.S. House ethics committee.

Kirk Fordham will insist that he warned Speaker Dennis Hastert's chief of staff about the conduct in 2003 or possibly the previous year, Fordham lawyer Timothy Heaphy said. [snip]

Also Tuesday, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said he passed along a complaint to Foley's office and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl about inappropriate e-mails from Foley but took no further action when learning of the incident. Trandahl's lawyer, Cono Namorato, said Trandahl "will cooperate fully with the FBI and the House ethics committee investigations."

A former page sponsored by Kolbe contacted the lawmaker's office in 2000 or 2001, well before House leaders say they first learned of inappropriate messages sent by Foley. In a statement Tuesday, Kolbe said he wasn't shown the content of the messages and was not told they were sexually explicit.

Also Tuesday, Hastert met with an evangelist who hoped to persuade him to step down because of the scandal. [snip]

Ex-page Jordan Edmund, whose computer screen name was inadvertently published by ABC News, and his attorney, Stephen Jones, met in the U.S. Attorney's Office for 2 1/2 hours.

Polls show disdain: A CBS News-New York Times poll released Monday found that four in five people said GOP leaders were more concerned with politics than with the well-being of the congressional pages. Nearly half of those polled, 46%, said Hastert should step down over his handling of the Foley matter, while 26% said Hastert should remain in his post. The other 28% said they "don't know." The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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