18 October, 2006

Rep. King Says Baghdad Just Like Manhattan

Peter King, the Republican Congresssman from Long Island, apparently thinks things aren't going so badly in Iraq.

King, in a February talk at the Merrick Jewish Center, likened Baghdad to New York, with bumper-to-bumper traffic, shopping centers, restaurants and even amusement parks - whose parking lots are loaded with cars.

A video of the speech recently hit the Internet and is making the rounds. You can see it here.


Esquire has done an about-face with one of its political endorsements. The magazine, on its Web Site, had previously endorsed Buffalo-area Congressman Tom Reynolds, a Republican, for re-election.

But, in the wake of the Marke Foley scandal, Esquire has changed its endorsement to Democrat Jack Davis.

Here's why in the magazine's own words.

"You know what? In the wake of the Foley Scandal there's no way in hell we can endorse a man who bravely stepped before the microphones to say he didn't know anything about anything, and managed to surround himself with children to do it. What a dirtball. Esquire now endorses: Davis"

For what they are worth, click here for Esquire's endorsements for governor, U.S. Senate and every House race in New York state.


The Albany Times-Union today is reporting that Republican Rep. John Sweeney, from New York's 20th District, may have violated House ethics rules in making a trip to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Territory infamous for its garment sweatshops and prostitution.

The paper reported the Saipan Chamber of Commerce said it paid for the trip, in which case Sweeney would have had to disclose the payment - which he didn't.

According to the newspaper's account, Sweeney's office said the congressman thought the trip, taken in 2001 to deliver a speech to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, was being paid for by the Marianas government.

Under Congressional ethics rules, travel paid for by the U.S. government does not have to be disclosed. That would include the island government, which as a U.S. Territory would be permitted to underwrite a congressman's visit. However, according to the Times-Union, the Marianas government has dsiputed Sweeney's assertions, saying it did not pay for the trip.

The Times-Union reports Sweeney took the trip with a member of the staff of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of a lobbying scandal probe underway in Washington.

The newspaper reports Sweeney has insisted Abramoff did not personally organize or pay for the trip - although he had done so for other members of congress.

The Times-Union said in the report that "no suggestion has emerged that Sweeney directly assisted Abramoff or broke any laws."

Abromoff lobbied for the government of the Marianas periodically from 1994 until 2002.


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