Friday, November 25, 2005

November 23, 2005

News That Floats

It's Dime Dropping Season in DC
Something very important happened yesterday to a guy few have ever heard of, Michael Scanlon. Yesterday Mikey pleaded guilty to a series of corruption charges. He was smiling when he went into court and he was smiling when he left free on bail. (More)

Why was this man smiling? And why were prosecutors smiling right along with him? Because Scanlon is likely to send some very big fish to the slammer.

First who is Michael Scanlon – or maybe more accurately, who was he? First he served as former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay's right hand man. When he left that job he went to work for Washington's most corrupt lobbyist, "Casino Jack" Abramoff, himself a DeLay confidant and co-conspirator.

Those two slimballs took young Mike on the ride of a lifetime. From making clerk money with DeLay, Scanlon was soon rolling in millions as he helped Abramoff rob American Indian tribes blind. Something like $80 million passed through Scanlon and Abramoff's hands before they got caught. In the process the two men even got themselves way too close to a Miami mob hit. (Read the whole story Here)

Now Scanlon has turned state witness against Abramoff and, sources say, at least six House members who took bribes from to vote the right way on Indian gaming issues.

But there's more, lots more.

The relationship DeLay and Abramoff yielded enormous benefits for both men over the years, but in ways that almost always smelled fishy. DeLay is already facing charges of campaign money laundering in Texas. Abramoff helped DeLay set up the leadership PAC involved in that scheme. Both men were also intimately involved with Enron which put up the seed money for another DeLay PAC. Abramoff and DeLay were both deeply involved in a series of smarmy deals and at least one rigged election in the American protectorate Mariana Islands – where Enron also bribed its way into a fat power plant contract with DeLay and Abramoff's help.

Mike Scanlon was there for all these capers. He knows a lot. And he's talking, and smiling. All of which makes me smile as well. I am declaring 2006 The Year of Smiles.

Catholic Church Downsizing
Rome, Italy – Yesterday the Catholic Church announced a major restructuring. The Vatican is ordering seminaries to bar candidates for the priesthood who "practice homosexuality," have "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" or support "gay culture," according to a document published Tuesday by Adista, a Catholic news agency in Rome. (More)

Yesterday's announcement that the Church would lay off gay priests and stop hiring them could cripple the organization, particularly in the US where the priesthood is still reeling from a decade of end to end sex scandals.

Just who is going to run US Catholic churches under the new rules is the big question. We know now who can't:

Those who Need Not Apply for the Priesthood:

* Married men
* Women -- (married or otherwise.)
* Pedophiles – (Once a rich source of manpower, they cost the Church more in legal fees than they were worth.
* Gay men – (Have not cost the Church a dime in legal fees but are considered icky.)
* Men who aren't gay, but may have "tendencies" (i.e. Sing show tunes in the shower and own large collection of Streisand albums.)
* Men who are comfortable with gays, believe they are among God's children and should not be hassled about it.

Well, that certainly narrows the potential priesthood pool down. But down to what?
Who Can be Priests

* Be male (Exam required)
* Be single
* Practice celibacy
* Possess deeply rooted asexual tendencies
* Live only with other men
* Be willing to wear dresses and flowing robes on the job.

I don't know but it looks like the Catholic Church has painted itself into a very small human resource corner.