House ethics investigation? What a joke.

Sorry, my bad. Jokes are funny. This was just pathetic.

The House Ethics Committee released its report today, and spent 91 pages (and who knows how many dollars and hours) parsing towards its conclusion that nobody broke any rules and that nobody should be punished, sanctioned, or even publicly singled out for reprimand.

They did confirm that then-House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and RCCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) were each aware of the problem long before it came to the surface and that then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was also aware, if not to the same degree.

But they didn’t break any rules.

Because apparently, we need there to be a rule, one that says that if one of your colleagues is a sexual predator, making inappropriate advances upon minors, then you need to take action to stop him from doing that.

They confirm that John Shimkus (R-IL), the chair of the House Page Committee, was aware of the problem and that he didn’t tell Dale Kildee (D-MI), the only Democrat on the three-person board about the instant messaging because “Dale’s a nice guy, but he’s a Democrat, and I was afraid it would be blown out of proportion.” And to ensure that it was swept under the carpet instead, he didn’t even tell his fellow Republican on the board, Shelly Moore Capito, of West Virginia.

But he didn’t break any rules.

Because apparently we need there to be another rule, one that says that if there is a problem with a program that you are responsible for overseeing, then you have to discuss it with the other people who are also responsible for overseeing that program. And for good measure, maybe a rule that says that you should actually do something about it.

They wring their hands about the fact that they have no jurisdiction over Mark Foley, because he is no longer a member of the House. But they have no problems, apparently, with the fact that he will continue to receive his pension. Because currently, you get to keep your pension unless you are convicted of crimes related to treason or espionage. Mightn’t this have been a good opportunity to throw in with the people who are advocating for the revocation of pensions of any Congress members who are convicted of felonies either during or after Congressional service?

Hey, that would be a good rule.

And retired Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), who also seems to have known about this long before the public? Well maybe his statement to a former page of his who had also received “special attention” from Foley sums up the whole attitude of this investigation best. When the scandal was unfolding, Kolbe’s former page contacted him to ask him what he should do about the fact that he, too, had received an inappropriate IM from Foley back in 2001. Kolbe told him that, “it is best that you don’t even bring this up with anybody….(T)here is no good that can come from it if you actually talk about this. The man has resigned anyway.”


And then to foist upon us the following “justification” for the whole lack of investigation thing: “Some may have been concerned that raising the issue too aggressively might have risked exposing Rep. Foley’s homosexuality, which could have affected him both personally and politically.” Yup, the number one possible factor listed by the Investigation Subcommittee was that the GOP was too gay-friendly. Never mind the fact that nobody being investigated had actually had the balls to try to use that excuse for themselves. Never mind the fact that this had nothing to do with homosexuality and everything to do with pedophilia. Could we dismiss a lack of investigation into a hypothetical murder committed by a Congressman by saying that we would be afraid that exposing him as, well, a murderer, might affect him “both personally and politically”?

Excuse me while I puke.

Here are the phone numbers of the two Representatives responsible for this steaming load: Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) (202) 225-4695, and Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA) (202) 225-5816.

Annan speaks on Darfur


Outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will ask Friday how the international community can allow the “horror” in Sudan’s Darfur region to continue and say there is more than enough blame to shared all around.

In a speech to be given in New York, Annan says blame can be shared by those valuing abstract notions of sovereignty over human lives; those whose response of solidarity puts them on the sides of governments and not people; and those who fear commercial interests could be jeopardized.

“The truth is, none of these arguments amount even to excuses, let alone justifications, for the shameful passivity of most governments,” Annan says in the speech to be given to mark International Human Rights Day.

“We have still not summoned up the collective sense of urgency that this issue requires,” said Annan, who pledged earlier this week to make the killings in Darfur his priority until he leaves office on December 31.

Some 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the rebels took up arms against the central government in 2003, while another 2 million have been driven out of their homes.  more


Remember when the Bush Administration said they were going to take a active role in the region.  Secretary Rice made several statements and held meetings.  So, what happened?

Ray Nagin urging the government to "come correct"

From NYT:

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Thursday urged the Bush administration to speed aid to Hurricane Katrina victims, suggesting the government was not meeting its legal obligations to help the city recover.

At a news briefing, Nagin bemoaned the procedures to get money for housing and to rebuild roads and power systems. ”A bureaucratic maze,” he branded them.

While Congress last year appropriated billions of dollars for Katrina relief, the city has seen a tiny fraction of that amount. more


My heart goes out to those in New Orleans.  They still need a ton of help.