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October 04, 2006


That's an interesting question. I have no idea what the Republicans knew when, although I'm on record as favoring removing the leadership for not being alert to this problem. On the other hand, having been in command of a large group, I have some limited sympathy for the possiblity they actually didn't know.

But Foley's just the latest example of a Republican using the office as a big wallow (though the others were, SFAIK, content to wallow in money, not underaged pages).

When the leadership is turning a blind eye to (or, worse, enabling) one scandal after another, the problem is not a lack of capacity to oversee large groups. It's a lack of desire to govern well and honestly.


(Again, let me note that I am in no way attempting to defend the Republicans.) All I'm saying is that it would not surprise me to learn that Hastert never really got the details on this story when it first surfaced. I remember all too well (indeed, it still happens) when I found out from a subordinate about some problem that actually began much earlier, but that the subordinate didn't think was important enough to bring up at the time. Again, that's not an excuse for Hastert; if his aides are that dim, he still has to bear responsibility for that. He's in charge, which means he's responsible, end of story.

In contrast to LaHood's dubious proposal, law prof (and former Congressional page) Jonathan Turley has another idea:

The most glaring problem is that the House Page Board, which supervises the pages, is made up mostly of members of Congress (the Senate Page Board is composed of only two Senate officials, with no members). The representatives on the board have built-in conflicts of interests in moving against members accused of harassment. Political and social alliances complicate the process and many members would prefer to remain in blissful ignorance when rumors arise.


The solution is simple: the alumni of the page program need to protect their own ranks. Some of Washington’s most powerful figures in politics, media, business and the law are former pages. They are neither intimidated by members of Congress nor hesitant to drag a member to account. They are protective of pages and have the clout to match their concern.

Congress should create a Congressional Page Board composed of former pages. This board would have the ability to report infractions directly to the respective Ethics Committees for each house, which would be required to investigate and act upon any complaint submitted by the board.

Looking at this, I think that there's clear evidence of a real problem in Republican ranks. Whether it's not making sure that people can feel free to bring this forward or that it was common knowledge and nobody did anything, this is an obvious and damning failure of the Republican leadership.

FWIW. Hastert was scheduled to have a telephone interview with Chicago's largets radio station between 5 and 5:30 today. The host, who is an extremely reasonable person, considers Hastert to be an honorable man and wanted to give him a platform in his home area, particularly because the station is heard in Hastert's district.

By 7:00, Hastert still had not come on, and the producer kept reporting that he was in conference with the Republican leadership. (I don't doubt that, as it appears there is a lot of holes in this dike.)

Near the end, obviously feeling somewhat frustrated, the host commented "Not answering questions is a form of answer in itself."

During the course of the show, btw, some callers kept trying to keep the focus on Foley, comparing to Clinton. The host kept that from happening saying Clinton was impeached, Lewinsky was older and was herself somewhat predatory, and that it was not a case of allowing someone to stay in a position where opportunities kept cropping up.

The next few days could be very interesting.

Also, I am really curious to know if any Dems had any inkling this was going on. If any did and did nothing, I will be just as angry at them.

Seems like there was a scene something like that in "Cronos", but just a long fall, no lava or anything.

Gary: Thanks for the Gibson info (and the fanzine scans! Woo hoo!). I always enjoy hearing about fan history (especially that which occurred prior to my birth.)

Actually, another expatriate Yank, the late Judith Merril, was responsible for my introduction to SF. I have vague childhood memories of watching Doctor Who on TVO, Ontario's provincial public broadcaster, back when Judy served as a garishly adorned 'host' of sorts (to those SF fans here who haven't - and I'm sure you have, Gary - Better To Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril is a must-read. And now I find myself wishing I hadn't sold England Swings SF and the first Tesseracts anthology 6 years ago.:-(). Speaking of TVO, did you ever watch a program called Prisoners of Gravity? I recall reading a mid-nineties F&SF editorial in which Kristine Kathryn Rusch mentioned something about the program being available on some PBS affiliates.

Amy Thomson, eh? Unfortunately haven't read anything by her other than Virtual Girl, although I've heard good things about The Color of Distance.

For the record: if any Democrats who could have done something had this information and didn't do it, I excoriate them as well.

This does not cover people who outside Congress who got the first (less damning) set of emails and either couldn't verify them or knew that CREW had already turned them over to the FBI. People in Congress were in a position to investigate this in a way that people outside Congress might not have been. Had I, for instance, received the first set of emails anonymously (and so not been in a position to verify their authenticity), I'm not entirely sure what I would have done with them -- things like 'calling up past and present pages' would not have been the same sort of option for me as for Hastert. I can pretty easily imagine looking at them, wondering if they were some sort of hoax, and filing them away in the same place as our one and only death threat, though I'd like to hope I would have forwarded them to some relevant authority.

"I always enjoy hearing about fan history (especially that which occurred prior to my birth.)"

You're interested in fanhistory? What's the world coming to?

The ObWi readership might not be interested (although there are a few other fans around here, like CaseyL, so you never know), so feel free to e-mail me a bit about this, if you feel like it; I'm curious to know more.

I mean, it's not every day -- or year -- I read/hear someone write/say "I always enjoy hearing about fan history."

And I did use to be a major fanhistorian, doing dozens of panels at cons, creating the tradition of a fanhistory display at Worldcons at SunCon in '77, along with an integrated fan program and fan lounge (though Susan Wood laid some ground work with her "All Our Yesterdays" room at MidAmeriCon in '76), and used to have one of the top ten collections of fanhistorical materials in private hands. Once.

I'm pretty gafia, for various reasons, and have forgotten tons of stuff, and haven't been doing anything much about fanhistory or fandom for several years, but it's not as if I've stopped caring.

"...and I'm sure you have, Gary"

No; as I said, I've been largely gafia for the past five-plus years, although I'm thoroughly aware of the book, of course. But I lost two huge book collections, and much of my fanzines and other materials, once in the fire in '91, and then again in other circumstances in '95, about which I'll send you a link if you ask me. Since then I've been relatively out of contact with folks and the field, at least compared to the fanatic involvement I had for a decades before that (first made contact with fandom in '71, although we had some discussions about all this here a year or two ago, but you weren't around then, I think). (And if I had a penny for every book by an old friend I've not yet gotten around to, I'd not need to ask for donations; well, slight exaggeration, but at any rate, it's hundreds and hundreds.)

You can find lots of online versions of fanzines, including a number of classics, at both efanzines.com and fanac.org.

"Speaking of TVO, did you ever watch a program called Prisoners of Gravity? I recall reading a mid-nineties F&SF editorial in which Kristine Kathryn Rusch mentioned something about the program being available on some PBS affiliates."

Was aware of it; didn't have access to it.

"Amy Thomson, eh?"

I have to confess that I've yet to read any of her published novels; I'm interested; I just, as I've said, haven't been active much, and that includes not keeping up much with the field, though I still read a fair number of reviews and news and whatnot.

I did work with Amy a bit on an unpublished novel back in the early Eighties. We first met at SunCon in '77, which was was her first con, and at which I wore about 14 different hats running things, including the fan program, fan lounge, and fanhistory display I mentioned, but also everything from running the slides at the Hugo Ceremony (which turned out to be out of order, and I'd not had time to check in advance; very frustrating), taking all the tickets for the Banquet (Keith Laumer threatened to hit me with his cane!), and oh, on and on. I even turned down, months before the con, Don Lundry's offer to run Facilities, because I knew I was already ludicrously overloaded. Lots of anecdotes, though! (Even more about Iggy the next year, which I ended up taking over being Director of Operations six weeks before the con, and retroactively named Vice-Chair of.)

Anyway, Amy was The! World's! Greatest! Neo! for a while; that was actually a nickname: she was that enthusiastic (she was 18 at SunCon; so was I, but I'd been active in fandom since I was 12).

I ended up using the press passes Vonda McIntyre gave me to take Amy to the press showing of a new movie called Blade Runner at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle....

I read England Swings SF at some early age; don't recall exactly, but somewhere between 1968-71, I guess. I was pretty much trying to read everything remotely decent published as sf in those days, which was really quite doable, since it was only six magazines and about 12 books a month.

That, while spending weekends at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library reading all the back issues on microfilm, to their first issue, of Amazing and Astounding. Well, skimming, at least.

Plus reading endless nonfiction, of course.

Ah, youth.

Shall begin to compose an email to you later tonight, Gary - expect it to arrive sometime tomorrow (I get easily distracted ;-)).

Thanks for the correction, Gary.

My reveries have no interruption. My commenting is like my jaywalking. The honks don't bother me.

Still, Mike Pence or someone of his ilk in a position of leadership is good only for little boys and little girls who don't want to be messed with. He has no such inclinations. He's very clean.

He leans more toward conquering the Mideast and molesting Social Security and Medicare.

And, he is eminently sincere. Right up the swing voters alley, who are looking to fall for sincerity one more time.

Nell: Not that AP isn't doing its part, sending out a story today describing Foley as "(D-FL)". That's going to do more damage than the same stunt by Fox, because it's going to get picked up all over the place. Some coincidence, eh?

I did a google on that. Whoever's idea it was, most news pages seem to have corrected it very promptly: even instances in googlecache are uncommon. One funny example (which has been corrected on the news page but is still visible on the Google News search page) not only identifies Foley as D-Florida, but identifies Hastert as D-Illinois. Now that's desperation...

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