July 26, 2003

Slate reviews the dismal history of dictators' sons, including Oday and Qusay Hussein, Baby Doc Duvalier, and the particularly creepy "Nicu" Ceausescu, who purportedly spent his years in Romania raping women at will, including, allegedly, gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Interestingly, the daughters of dictators have turned out rather well when given the reigns of power, although readers of this site know that hasn't always been the case.

One son in particular who comes in for some rough scrutiny is Saadi Ghadafi, number three son of the Libyan strongman. Like Oday, Saadi runs his country's soccer federation, as well as large shares of Italian power Juventus, the European Champions Cup runner-up (Angelenos who complain about moronic owners like Donald Sterling should note that the team Juventus lost to, AC Milan, is owned by Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, who is literally a Fascist). Ghadafi is not just a team owner, though; he also starts for the Libyan national squad, and was recently signed to a two-year contract to play for Italian power Perugia in Serie A.

So far, his work ethic has failed to impress his new coach or teammates: blowing off practices, insisting on living without roommates on the road, roaming the streets of Italy with a "posse" that includes most of the dregs of the sports world, including Ben Johnson and Diego Maradona. In short, he is acting like the North African version of Allen Iverson. The owner of Perugia, Luciano Gaucci, who received attention when he cut the Korean player who had scored the goal to knock Italy out of the World Cup last year, insists that signing the spawn of Moammar is not a publicity stunt.
Jesse Taylor, the twisted avatar of Pandagon, is blogging up a storm today, for charity. He's participating in Blogathon 2003, in which he will be posting every 15 minutes for 24 hours. So far, he's already written yet another devastating Peggy Noonan parody. To contribute, sign up here. Go Blue !!!

July 24, 2003

Consider the possibility that the Bush Administration will dump Condi Rice on the voters of California in the upcoming election. They get rid of an embarassment who seems to have a hard time getting her story straight on UraniumGate, and the State GOP gets a candidate with impeccable D.C. credentials who has had no connection whatsoever with state government. The more clowns in the race, the better for me !!!
What was once merely a dream of the pipe variety is now a fledgling possibility. On October 7, an election to decide a recall of Gray Davis will be on the ballot, diverting millions of dollars from our booming economy into what is, in effect, a mulligan for the Republican Party. Whilst normally I would question whether such an expenditure is a worthwhile use of taxpayer money (particularly since the reason for this election is the governor's attempt to close the pending budget deficit with, gasp, a tax increase), I don't much like Davis, didn't vote for him last November, and will not mourn his passing from the political scene.

I now have less than three weeks to decide if I will enter the campaign to replace Gray Davis. Since the two ideal G.O.P. candidates were killed yesterday in a gun battle in Mosul, the most likely outcome of this election is that a human cyborg will be governor (that is to say, Davis will either win, or be replaced by Ahnolt). The only condition I have towards running is that I refuse to spend any of my own money, although my good friend in the Universal Studios legal department has supposedly already promised that she "will spend whatever it takes" to ensure my election. However, promises like that are cheap.

What I really need is a commitment from my supporters that will guaranty that my sacrifices over the next three months won't be in vain. To raise that money, I have gotten "jiggy" with the Internet, as the kids might say, and put a "Paypal" button on my website. No anonymous contributions, please (unless, of course, they're legal under California law; I really haven't read up on the subject). I will need 3,000 dollars American to even get my name on the ballot, and I figure I will need at least twice that to put on an adequate media campaign. So give generously; after all, whether you call it a campaign contribution or a bribe, it's all speech, and I will remember who "spoke" loudly on my behalf at this crucial time.

July 23, 2003

If this story is true, then the Eagle County D.A. has no choice but to drop the charges. Not just the fact that five witnesses said she was bragging about the incident, including trumpeting his size, but also the fact that someone who was supposedly a rape victim was at a teen party just a few days after the alleged attack. At least, that's what I was told back in law school: a prosecutor is obligated to dismiss charges once he determines that there is no likelihood of success.

And, of course, if the story is false, it's precisely why it's a good policy not to publicize the victim's name. [link via TalkLeft]

July 22, 2003

There are two kinds of people in this world, blondie: Perhaps the most interesting thing I have ever read about Jimmy Carter is the fact that his favorite film is "Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo".
Yesterday was the biggest day ever for my site, as far as unique visitors are concerned: approaching 2000, without a single new post (until now). The reason, interestingly enough, is that I am the only person to date listed by Google under this search category. Not bad, considering I've pretty much avoided the issue until now; a policy I intend to follow, at least until some of the evidence in that case becomes public, or the people of Colorado actually take the case to trial. But as the invaluable LA Observed notes, others have been less scrupulous, publishing the young girl's name, address, e-mail, phone number, pictures, etc.

Regardless of how you feel about these charges, or about the credibility of the alleged victim, there is something distinctly rank about that sort of thing. There is a good reason the public has frowned on outing women who have brought rape charges, even when it is entirely possible that the allegations are false: anything that might lead to the further humiliation of the victim will discourage other women from coming forward in the future. The act of rape is inherently one that humiliates the victim. It would be counter-productive to intensify that humiliation, particularly when the accused is a wealthy, popular public figure with access to the media.

More to the point, it is the flip side of the criminal ambulance-chasing practiced by Nancy Grace or Dominick Dunne. The courts, by and large, do a pretty effective job sorting out the innocent from the guilty, and where they fail, there are plenty of watchdogs who will point that out. If the woman involved is some nutso groupie with a penchant for basketball stars, or an over-emotional flake seeking attention with these charges, that truth will come out eventually. It does not help matters to attempt to intimidate her (and other women) into silence just because she points the finger at a beloved public figure.

July 20, 2003

Excellent take on the favorite newspaper for "people who are too lazy to watch television." I've always wondered if any of the bylines for the New York Post are actually legit; Jayson Blair is probably too scrupulous with the facts to get a job there now.
That eclectic multi-city pop festival known as the International Pop Overthrow plays today at Johnny Foxx's in West LA, with shows in the afternoon and evening. Included in today's festivities is reclusive Yooper folkist Annette Summersett, who is both "visually appealing" and a "strong singer-guitarist". Yippee !!!

Which reminds me, I have to get out to a Dodger game sometime soon. It's not that I expect to be entertained by some of the most dull, lifeless athletic performances outside of Serie A. As this article points out, going to Dodger Stadium is an event in itself, encapsulating everything that is sweet and wonderful (and a couple of the things that are crappy--arriving late and leaving early is an expression of our baseball savvy, but it still leaves a bad impression) about living in L.A. The classic steam/grilled Dodger Dog is one of the main reasons to go on living, no matter what bad cards (or Cubs) you're dealt.