The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Anthony Weiner is going to go into rehab for his alleged Twitter/Facebook/texting compulsion.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said the spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.
“Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
I’m sure Weiner could use some therapy, but I still don’t get why he is being singled out for this kind of public outrage when David Vitter wasn’t. As far as we know Weiner didn’t act out any of his fantasies with these women. I would think that hiring prostitutes to spank you when you’re wearing diapers would elicit more calls for “treatment” than Twitter and Facebook flirtations. But what do I know? Maybe a lot of Congressman like to wear diapers and have sex with prostitutes.
Apparently, the final straw for Democrats was the revelation that Weiner tweeted a 17-year-old Delaware girl, even though the girl’s mother said Weiner had not said anything inappropriate in these Twitter messages.
Delaware police said Friday they were investigating the reported communications, had interviewed the teen, and that “she has made no disclosure of criminal activity nor inappropriate contact by the Congressman.”
Neverthless Weiner’s colleagues in Congress are horrified and outraged. Here is what DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to say:
“It is with great disappointment that I call on Representative Anthony Weiner to resign,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement issued by the Democratic National Committee, which she has led since the beginning of May. She’s President Barack Obama’s representative as DNC chairwoman.
“The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable.
“This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House – and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important: his and his family’s well-being.”
According to Fox News, the police in Delaware are still investigating. The girls parents have turned her laptop over for inspection, but their attorney says there’s nothing to find.
“The Tweets in question between the student in question and the congressman were not salacious or in any manner inappropriate, said Daniel McElhatton, the attorney representing the girl’s family. “No photographs were ever sent to her or from her.”
Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller also said that Weiner’s interactions with the girl “were neither explicit nor indecent.”
The police are trying to verify that, McElhatton said.
Fox News claims to have been told by “sources” that much of the interchange between the girl and Weiner had been deleted from her computer. Fox is obviously hoping the police can find something salacious on the girl’s hard drive. I sure hope Weiner didn’t send anything sexual or suggestive to her.
The girl’s high school posted on her now defunct Tumblr blog a quote that appears to be from her direct messages with Weiner.
“I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape s—… My favorite congressman,” she wrote, adding a heart emoticon after “congressman.”
Seven days earlier, she posted a YouTube video of Weiner giving a speech and wrote, “My true love.”
Poor kid. It’s a shame she had to get dragged into this.
As an antidote to having to watch politicians call for their smelling salts and fainting couches, I recommend this story from NPR’s Weekend Edition: Zombies Walk the Halls of Congress.
NPR can now confirm that there are zombies in the U.S. Capitol.
OK, not the kind that pop out of graves and eat brains, but a different kind of undead — the undead political career. This week New York Rep. Anthony Weiner said he is staying put, even though some top Democrats have publicly called for him to resign.
He’s not the first one to stay in politics after serious ethics violations, trying to revive a seemingly lifeless career.
In this contrived scenario, there are three categories of Congressional Zombies:
— those who survived a scandal to live again,
— those who are wounded by scandal but stay in Congress (the real zombies),
— and those who hung on for a while but eventually got buried.
According to NPR, both Charlie Rangel and David Vitter are real zombies.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who was a client of a Washington prostitution ring. He was never charged because the news came out after the statute of limitations had expired. Two of Vitter’s calls to the madam were made during votes on the floor.
He apologized in 2007 — “I want to again offer my deep sincere apologies to all those who I’ve let down and disappointed with these actions from my past” — and neatly won a second term in the Senate.
Good grief! Vitter called the DC Madam from the Senate floor? Did he get a sudden urge for punishment? Please explain to me why he didn’t need to enter a treatment facility after his colleagues learned about his illegal behavior?
I’m pretty disgusted by Weiner’s behavior at this point, but I still wish I never had had to find out about it. I still don’t see any reason why it needed to be revealed either. Sure the guy acted like a silly adolescent, but how many of us would look dignified if our sexual fantasies were spread all over the internet and the media? I think this kind of scandal-mongering has gone way too far, and I’d like to see a lot more approbation about Andrew Breitbart’s repulsive behavior. I’d also like to see similar outrage against Congresspeople who take money from lobbyists and vote accordingly.
This scandal appears to be setting a whole new precedent for the kinds of activities that can get a politician in trouble. As far as we know, Weiner’s activities were all in cyberspace. Now if it turns out he behaved inappropriately with an underage girl, I’ll have to revise my opinion.
I’m sick and tired of the Weiner story, and I know most of you are too; but I just want to highlight a few reactions that I found interesting–all G rated.
I love this Lambert post, especially this part:
ZOMG!!!!!!! Offensive behavior online!!!!!!!! [Too tired for the riffs about the pearl clutching and the fainting couch.]
Anyhow, so Weiner’s an asshole. And so what. As William Gibson said:
“Fortunately,” he said, “it isn’t about who’s an asshole. If it were, our work would never be done.”
Love that quote! As Lambert points out, these “ethics” investigations never seem to happen to people who engage in torture, election fraud, or handing over the U.S. treasury to banksters.
Speaking of assholes, Andrew Breitbart claims he still has one more “lewd picture” of Weiner that he hasn’t released–and it’s not the one going around today. Talk about an evil human being. Breitbart is disgusting. If you read to the end of that piece, you’ll find out Breitbart’s notions of female sexuality.
One person who seems to have a little sympathy for Weiner is Charlie Rangel.
“His most serious problem is keeping his wife and family together at this time,” Rangel said in an interview on Fox Business Network set to air Wednesday evening.
Rangel did not suggest that Weiner resign. Here’s what he had to say about “ethics” investigations:
“They may do that, and God knows, I know what people feel they have to do as politicians to protect themselves. It’s totally unbelievable, but it happens,” Rangel said. “They love you, but they love themselves better and they make political decisions not to how it affects you, but to how it affects them and their reelection.”
They are all slime, yet they presume to sit in judgment on others. What Weiner did makes me sick, but the rest of them make me even sicker.
Melanie Sloan of CREW says there is a double-standard operating in the many calls for Weiner to resign.
“This is a massive overreaction and I don’t understand it,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
She points out that Charlie Rangel was censured for serious ethical breaches, yet was not forced to resign.
Sloan explained that the mounting pressure on Weiner may stem in part from the early precedent set by House Speaker John Boehner when, at the first sign of sexual misconduct, he urged Reps. Mark Souder (R, Ind.) and Chris Lee (R, N.Y.) to resign, even though their behavior didn’t appear to involve any abuse of their office.
“A lot of people really hate Weiner, too,” she said, referring to Weiner’s colleagues in the House, some of whom are said to have been rankled by his personality and frequent media appearances.
What about Weiner’s denials before he owned up?
“A politician lying is not that unusual,” Sloan said. “If the new standard is that politicians are out the second they lie to us, then a lot of politicians could be gone.”
As egregious as Weiner’s behavior was, it wasn’t a crime. Here’s an example of truly egregious behavior: U.S. pediatrician on trial for raping toddlers
A Delaware pediatrician went on trial for allegedly raping or sexually exploiting 86 young patients, all girls except one and almost all younger than three.
Earl Bradley has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts against him, and sat quietly in gray prison scrubs as a veteran state trooper spent hours Tuesday describing the doctor’s cache of home videos of the assaults.
They were so “horrible,” testified state police detective Scott Garland, a specialist in forensic computer evidence. “They were beyond anything I had ever witnessed. Nothing prepared me for it.”
And then there’s this: Casey Antony told a fellow inmate that she used chloroform to knock out her daughter Caylee when she (Casey) wanted to party.
Gaddafi bought Viagra-like pills for troops to attack women
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may ask for a new charge of mass rape to be made against Gaddafi following the new evidence. The chief International Criminal Court prosecutor is expecting a decision from judges within days on his request for crimes against humanity charges against the Libyan leader.
“Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape and this is new,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo told reporters.
He said there were reports of hundreds of women attacked in some areas of Libya, which is in the grip of a months-long internal rebellion.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said there was evidence that the Libyan authorities bought “Viagra-type” medicines and gave them to troops as part of the official rape policy.
“They were buying containers to enhance the possibility to rape women,” he said.
“We had doubts at the beginning but now we are more convinced that he decided to punish using rapes,” the prosecutor said. “It was very bad — beyond the limits, I would say.”
Let’s move on to the horrors of the Republican 2012 presidential field. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, voters aren’t ready for a Mormon president.
Sorry, Mitt. John Huntsman is also a Mormon. I guess voters don’t mind looney religionists as long as they claim to be Christians though. Have you heard about Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan?
Pawlenty calls for sweeping tax cuts dubbed by some as “breathtaking.” He’d cut the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest income, dividends and inheritances. There would be two tiers of personal income taxes — 10 percent and 25 percent.
Pawlenty would require Congress to reauthorize all federal regulations and radically reshape the federal government by privatizing services such as the U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak. He also would support an ill-advised balanced budget amendment. You could almost hear the corporate special interests uttering “check, check and check!” as the South St. Paul truck driver’s son ticked off items on their wish lists and then one-upped them.
Just reading about it makes me want to run out into the street screaming and tearing my hair out.
Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are supposedly feuding now because Ed Rollins said that Bachman is more “serious” than Palin. I had to really look around to find an article that didn’t call it a “cat fight.” Here’s Rollins, quoted by NPR:
“Well I’m going to work for Michele Bachmann if she runs. That’s the one that intrigues me the most at this point and I think to a certain extent she’s articulate, she’s a conservative. She’s got a great story to tell. She’s on the Intelligence Committee. You know, she’s unknown to the national audience, but she’ll become known and that’s the candidacy that I’m going to work for if she runs.
“Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years. She got the vice-presidential thing handed to her. She didn’t go to work in the sense of trying gain more substance. She gave up her governorship. You know, I think Michele Bachmann and others have worked hard. She has been a leader of the Tea Party, which is a very important element here. She’s an attorney, done extraordinary things with family values and what have you. So I think she will connect. She’s a great, great communicator and I would say in the race today she is probably the best communicator.”
Kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it? Now check this out: Santorum Calls Abortion Exceptions To Protect Health Of The Mother ‘Phony’
Longshot GOP presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum stomped for votes in Iowa on Tuesday, trumpeting his “culture wars” message. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Santorum is selling himself as the leading social conservative in a crowded field. Yesterday in West Des Moines, he made an appearance at a “crisis pregnancy center” called Informed Choices that tries to talk women out of having abortions. Santorum said that he “separates [himself] from the rest of the pack” and criticized the other candidates for simply “checking the box” on anti-abortion issues.
When discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony”:
SANTORUM: When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members came forward and said, “Why don’t we just ban all abortions?” Tom Daschle was one of them, if you remember. And Susan Collins, and others. They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective.
In other stupid Republican news, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had a painting of poor and homeless children removed from the governor’s mansion. From Mother Jones:
Walker has made headlines again after he removed a painting depicting three Wisconsin children—one had been homeless, one came from low-income family, and a third who had lost family members in a drunk-driving accident. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the painting was one of numerous pieces of art commissioned by the fund that operates the governor’s mansion—works that were intended to remind the governor of the constituents he or she represents.
Here’s the Journal Sentinel on the painting by artist David Lenz:
In an interview, Lenz said he carefully selected the three children portrayed in “Wishes in the Wind.” The African-American girl, featured in a Journal Sentinel column on homelessness, spent three months at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with her mother. The Hispanic girl is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. And the boy’s father and brother were killed by a drunken driver in 2009.
“The homeless, central city children and victims of drunk drivers normally do not have a voice in politics,” Lenz explained in an email. “This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them.”
He added: “I guess that was a conversation Governor Walker did not want to have.”
In other news, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, 77 army cadets were struck by lightening and hospitalized. Let’s hope they’ll all be okay. The weather sure is strange this year!
I’ll end with this interesting story from the LA Times: Autism linked to hundreds of genetic mutations.
Autism is not caused by one or two gene defects but probably by hundreds of different mutations, many of which arise spontaneously, according to research that examined the genetic underpinnings of the disorder in more than 1,000 families.
The findings, reported in three studies published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, cast autism disorders as genetically very complex, involving many potential changes in DNA that may produce, essentially, different forms of autism.
The affected genes, however, appear to be part of a large network involved in controlling the development of synapses, the critical junctions between nerve cells that allow them to communicate, according to one of the three studies.
Although the work will have no immediate value to patients or their families, the insights provide a wealth of targets to pursue in developing treatments for the disorder, scientists said. Understanding the genetic causes of autism spectrum disorders may promote more accurate diagnoses, and research on synapse formation and function could yield treatments that address the flow of signals between nerve cells.
What are you reading and blogging about today? Please share!!