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Step off, old man!
Friday, 20 August 2004
Catholic pervs in the Bush White House
I used to work as a reporter so I find a story like this interesting. My apologies for its length but its worth the time. I love how this hypocrite, when caught engaging in inappropriate behavior, blames it on politics.

I know others, including our former President, have done the same. Still, there is nothing more satisfying than an expose about someone who pledges to be holier-than-thou and everyone else. Here it is from National Catholic Reporter reporter Joe Feuerherd.

"Deal Hudson, chair of the Republican National Committee's "Catholic Outreach" effort, resigned that post Aug. 18, citing a forthcoming article in a "liberal Catholic publication" which, Hudson said, would reveal "allegations from over a decade ago involving a female student at the college [Fordham University] where I then taught."

Hudson, a frequent White House visitor and confidant of Bush political strategist Karl Rove, is publisher of Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic monthly.

Hudson, writing on National Review Online, said those allegations are "being dug up ... for political reasons in an attempt to undermine the causes I have fought for: the defense of Church teachings on life, the priesthood, the authority of the pope, and the need for faithful Catholic participation in politics."

"I think it best that I no longer play a role as an adviser in this year's campaign," Hudson said in the article, titled "The Price of Politics: Getting ahead of a potential distraction."

Hudson said a reporter from the publication interviewed him earlier this year and that "none of the questions was personal; the questioning was all political, all about my support for President Bush."

He continued: "Then people began telling me that this reporter was calling former employees and acquaintances and asking them for information about my personal life. Apparently this reporter was not content with a fair debate of the merits of substantive issues, where of course, there could be honest disagreement. His target was now going to be my life, my past, and apparently any mistakes that he could uncover to embarrass me."

***

The "liberal Catholic publication" Hudson refers to is NCR. I am the reporter. Some of what Hudson says is accurate.

On March 26 I met with Hudson in his DuPont Circle office. From my perspective, it was a long overdue get-together. I'd been meaning to profile the man who had successfully placed himself at the center of things both Catholic and political in the nation's capitol since I became NCR Washington Correspondent in September 2002.

Just prior to our sit-down interview, Hudson had played a key role in the forced departure of Ono Ekeh, a low level employee at the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for African-American Catholics. Ekeh hosted a "Catholics for Kerry" Internet forum and, consequently, was not suitable for employment by the bishops, Hudson said in his widely distributed e-mail column.

I called Hudson and talked to him about Ekeh's departure. Politics aside, I asked, did he have any personal regret that Ekeh, a father of three young children, had lost his job? Not in the least.

"If you're going to play in the sandbox," Hudson told me, "then you have to take the consequences of your public utterances and your public actions."

Hudson liked the story. On March 24 he sent me a short e-mail, "good job on this report," it read.

Prior to that brouhaha, in September 2003, Hudson hosted a meeting of the bishops' conference administrative committee -- some of the top players in the U.S. hierarchy -- and approximately 40 leading conservative Catholic lay people. That gathering was called in response to a previous meeting those bishops held with a group, led by investment banker Geoffrey Boisi, that Hudson said was full of "dissidents."

Meanwhile, Hudson was well-known as the Catholic go-to guy at the Bush White House. As chair of the Republican National Committee's Catholic Outreach effort, he participated in weekly phone calls with White House political staff, had input on appointments and personnel, and was a frequent visitor to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was not a great leap to conclude that this was someone NCR readers should know something about.

When we sat down on that rainy Friday morning we had a high-minded conversation focused on the policies and politics of the Bush Administration and Hudson's influence in matters of both church and state. Interview completed, I planned to make a few phone calls -- the perfunctory due diligence a reporter undertakes when working on such a story -- and write the piece. I promised it to my editor for the next issue of the paper.

But as I started to make those phone calls, red flags flew. Few of Hudson's ideological soul mates -- people who'd known him at least since he came to Crisis in 1995 -- would speak for attribution. Cautiously, however, they said unflattering things.

Hmm.

These were conservative Catholics -- people who agreed with Hudson about such things as "the defense of Church teachings on life, the priesthood, the authority of the pope, and the need for faithful Catholic participation in politics." Hints, and sometimes more, were dropped about his past and his present. Check out why he gave up a tenured position in Fordham's philosophy department, several sources suggested.

More calls. More of the same.

I called my editor and told him I'd need more time -- perhaps a lot more time -- to complete the story.

So, between other stories and assignments, I kept at it. I talked to members of the Baptist youth group in Atlanta where he'd been a minister more than three decades ago. He was remembered fondly there as a dynamic and charismatic presence. I spoke to former colleagues at Mercer University, where Hudson had chaired the Philosophy Department, and was told of a courageous battle he had undertaken with the administration there. Others had less flattering recollections.

And so on and so on. Over four-and-a-half months I conducted more than two dozen full-fledged interviews and had at least that many more casual conversations.

And then I flew to Portland, Maine, to meet with Cara Poppas.

An 18-year-old Fordham freshman in 1994, Poppas had been in-and-out of foster homes from the age of seven. The fourth of nine children, her mother an alcoholic and her father a troubled and disabled Vietnam veteran, Poppas had survived poverty and traumas.

In early February 1994, she approached Hudson with a question. He suggested, she said, that they go to his office and discuss it. "I told him everything about me," Poppas recalled in a four-page document she provided to Fordham administrators in May 1994. "He knew I was ... without parents, severely depressed, and even suicidal. I discussed with him why I had lost my faith in God, in humanity, and in myself. He was extremely attentive and genuinely concerned."

On Feb. 15, "Fat Tuesday," Poppas again visited Hudson at his office. Hudson invited her, she said, to join him and a group of NYU students at a bar in the West Village. Later that night, Hudson and Poppas engaged in a sexual encounter that is recounted graphically in a four-page description she provided Fordham University. Her memo is reported on in detail in the story elsewhere on this Web site.

Approximately two months later Poppas confided the episode to a faculty member who advised her to inform Fordham's administration about Hudson's conduct.

On April 28, 1994, Poppas met with Jesuit Fr. Joseph McShane (now the university's president). McShane was sympathetic and understanding, Poppas recalled. He told her the university would deal with Hudson once the semester concluded, said Poppas.

Poppas was asked to write a detailed description of what had transpired between her and Hudson. On May 9, she submitted that document to the university counsel.

The semester concluded, Poppas met with university president Fr. Joseph O'Hare. He asked her, she recalled, how the situation could be rectified. "One of us should have to leave," responded Poppas, "and it shouldn't be me." O'Hare told her, she recalled, that he would take care of the situation.

"Sexual harassment is not tolerated at Fordham University," the school's assistant vice president for public affairs, Elizabeth Schmalz, said in a July 2004 statement provided to NCR. "It subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being, educational experiences and careers of students, faculty and staff. It is especially disturbing in the context of a teacher-student relationship."

Continued Schmalz: "Fordham followed its policy rigorously in this case and initiated an investigation into the matter upon receipt of the student's complaint. The professor later surrendered his tenure at Fordham."

While Hudson was taking over the reigns at Crisis, Cara Poppas consulted an attorney. Arriving back at Fordham for the fall semester, she discovered that the bulk of her financial aid had been withdrawn due to poor academic performance. She was broke.

Poppas blamed her downward academic spiral on the incident with Hudson.

She filed suit against Fordham (a claim which was later dismissed) and Hudson.

In early 1996, Hudson offered to settle for $30,000, one-third of which would go immediately to her attorney, the remainder to her in quarterly installments. Poppas' attorney suggested she take the deal. She agreed. And she also agreed to keep the settlement confidential.

In response to NCR inquiries about his relationship with Poppas, Hudson, through a Crisis spokesperson, said: "The matter about which you have inquired has been satisfactorily resolved between all parties and we have agreed that no more may be said about it."

***

On five separate occasions between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 -- by phone and e-mail -- I requested another face-to-face interview with Hudson. Told that he was traveling, I offered to fly to wherever he was to conduct the interview. He declined, responding only through his spokesperson. He said he would not respond to what he referred to as "rumors" and asked that the questions and the supporting documentation be forwarded to him. I sent him the documentation by fax. He sent a two-line response, declined to speak with us further, and shortly thereafter published a statement in National Review Online.

***

In my 20 years as a writer and journalist I've written what could fairly be termed "favorable stories" about such conservative Catholics as Cardinal John O'Connor, Opus Dei's Fr. C. John McCloskey, Patrick J. Buchanan, and Jim Towey, director of the Bush Administration Office of Faith Based Initiatives. The notion that this story was somehow politically motivated is incorrect. I went where the story led me

Posted by brettdavey at 8:42 PM EDT
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Bush cronies
If you can get ahold of today's NY Times, do so. You can read it online but there is a chart that accompanies the story that spells it all out. Here's the gist of it:

"A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.

Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.

The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the "baby killer" and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements [...]

Mr. Perry, who has given $200,000 to the group, is the top donor to Republicans in the state, according to Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan group that tracks political donations. He donated $46,000 to President Bush's campaigns for governor in 1994 and 1998. In the 2002 election, the group said, he donated nearly $4 million to Texas candidates and political committees.

Mr. Rove, Mr. Bush's top political aide, recently said through a spokeswoman that he and Mr. Perry were longtime friends, though he said they had not spoken for at least a year. Mr. Rove and Mr. Perry have been associates since at least 1986, when they both worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Bill Clements."

Posted by brettdavey at 8:17 PM EDT
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Thursday, 19 August 2004
It's about time...
This is from the AP. I'm glad Kerry is striking back at Bush's MO of letting others do his dirty work.

"Democratic presidential candidate and Vietnam War veteran John Kerry on Thursday shot back at attack ads questioning his service record during the war and called on President Bush to denounce the TV commercials.

Kerry said the ads, aired by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, are funded by a Republican contributor from Texas.

"They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce them tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work," he told a cheering crowd at a meeting of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Boston.

"Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on!" Kerry challenged.

In response, Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry knows his statements are false.

"Sen. Kerry knows President Bush has called his service in Vietnam noble ... and the Bush campaign has tried to have a debate about the future, not the past," Schmidt said."




Posted by brettdavey at 12:42 PM EDT
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Skin crawl....
Who are they trying to appeal to... the voters who like creepy, angry, Southern turncoat Democrats?

"The Republican National Committee is turning to a Democrat to nominate President Bush in New York at the convention. The choice of Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who leads a committee of Democrats for Mr. Bush, will be announced by party leaders on Thursday, officials familiar with the decision say. Mr. Miller, as governor of Georgia, nominated Bill Clinton for president in 1992."

Posted by brettdavey at 12:39 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 18 August 2004
Electric lard ass
I guess some on the Christian right are mad about the lineup at the Republican Convention, feeling they are being ignored. Bush is trying to avoid the same mistakes his father made when he gave Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson prime speaking engagements. As for the last part about Henry Hyde, is this guy kidding? Electrifying? Oh and by the way, the great moralist Hyde who led the impeachment of Clinton was also an adulterer. He had an affair with a married woman that he now sloughs off as a youthful indiscretion. Oh, the hypocrisy!

Here it is from the LA Times:

"Many socially conservative leaders feel slighted, saying their representatives have been edged out of prime-time convention speaking slots by more moderate Republicans, such as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani -- who favor legal abortion -- and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who opposes a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

Their push for a bigger piece of the action has generated a small movement.

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence got 127 Republicans in Congress to sign a letter calling for a central speaking role for Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), who is anti-abortion, saying his appearance would electrify the delegates like "Elvis at Memphis."

Posted by brettdavey at 11:26 AM EDT
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Not the Nature Boy...
This comes from the Washington Post, about the Repubs shoring up the celebrity quotient for their convention. I don't care about any of these people, except the last one. Ric Flair, say it ain't so!

"When worlds collide: Though a culture war flares regularly between the showbiz community and the Bush administration, GOP operatives are striving mightily to add a Hollywood sheen to the Republican National Convention. Yesterday a convention planner proudly informed us that those swingin' twins Jenna and Barbara Bush will host "R: The Party" Aug. 29 at Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom, with a celeb invite list including (drumroll, please): born-again Christian and actor Stephen Baldwin, known among Republicans as "the good Baldwin"; actress Barret Swatek of "7th Heaven"; Angie Harmon, late of "Law and Order," and her husband, former NFL cornerback Jason Sehorn;Aaron Buerge of "The Bachelor"; country music vets the Gatlin Brothers; the ever-lovely Bo Derek; and our favorite pro wrassler of all time, Ric Flair."

Posted by brettdavey at 11:21 AM EDT
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The company you keep
Just so you know, this is the company that publishes the anti-Kerry book "Unfit to Command." What do they say about the company you keep. This is from the Southern Poverty Law Center's website:

William Regnery II, an heir to the Regnery publishing fortune who's a prime mover and shaker in white nationalism publishing, is moving into a new line of business: match-making for "heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage." In an appeal to potential investors titled "Population is Destiny," the famously reclusive Regnery wrote this March that the Caucasian dating service would be no ordinary money-making opportunity, but a chance to ensure "the survival of our race," which "depends upon our people marrying, reproducing and parenting."

Regnery, who says he's long been concerned with a "tendency to bachelorhood" among white men, told the potential investors that his latest effort to save the white race would not stop with match-making. The dating service, he says, will be only the "first arrow in a business quiver" providing "services and products to whites."

Promoting white nationalism is nothing new for Regnery -- or his family. His grandfather, William I, signed incorporation papers for the America First Committee, an organization that opposed fighting Nazi Germany in World War II. His father, Henry, created Regnery Publishing, one of the major purveyors of books by right-wing attack dogs like Ann Coulter and G. Gordon Liddy.

William II has made his mark as a major fundraiser in radical right circles as the founder of the Charles Martel Society in 2001. The society publishes The Occidental Quarterly, an academic-looking journal filled with articles by white-supremacist luminaries such as Sam Francis, editor for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens and Wayne Lutton of the hate group The Social Contract Press.

The society is putting together conferences, summer schools and a speaker's bureau -- all designed to push Regnery's view that the white race is veering toward extinction."

Yeah, sign me up!

Really, what a bunch of crap. No suprise they have Ann Coulter on their roster.

Posted by brettdavey at 10:36 AM EDT
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Monday, 16 August 2004
The other side
When you're firmly entrenched in a mindset, it's difficult to understand how the other side feels. I'm as guilty of anyone of that.

I saw where the Swift Boat veterans' book that bashes Kerry is number one on Amazon. It kind of got under my skin. Then, I realized that's probably how people who like Bush felt about "Farhenheit 9-11"'s success.

Let's put it this way: do you think the people who said to right-wingers, "How can you judge 'Farhenheit 9-11' if you haven't seen it?", are going to read the Swift veterans book?

I know I'm not. Having said that, I think one of these media successes is fairly truthful and the other is BS, but I'm sure my friends who are right leaning feel exactly the opposite.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:25 AM EDT
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Is Rush next?
There have always been rumors floating around that Rush Limbaugh is gay and that his three marriages were all scams. Who knows and normally, who cares? However, in this case, we're talking about a guy who has made a career of defending people who aren't usually on the enlightened side of this debate.

Rush's response to NJ Gov. McGreevey's resignation is interesting, frankly because it's pretty sensitive. Here it is, from the NY Daily News:

"Limbaugh talked about the politics of the case, but focused his remarks on the personal aspect. "I can't help feeling empathy and actual sympathy for him," said Limbaugh. "It's not an easy way to have lived.

"A lot of people will try to use him now for their own gains, but in the middle is Jim McGreevey, who has to try to find happiness - and it won't be easy. He's a messed-up guy, obviously."

Limbaugh recently underwent a long round of therapy for pain-killer addiction and when he returned he talked on the radio about facing up to his real self for the first time. It was very difficult, he said, but also liberating.

"It's a blessing for Jim McGreevey that this happened," said Limbaugh. "He hasn't gone all the way yet, but he's taken the first step, and I want to be the first to wish him all the best.

"This would not have been my take on this a year ago. I'm glad it's my take today."


Posted by brettdavey at 11:00 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 August 2004
Pass the Bayer, Damn the terrorists
This comes from Kevin Drum of "Washington Monthly", who is quoting CNN. Everything, it appears, is the fault of terrorism, including tooth decay and bad reception on your TV. Here it is:

George Bush's Medicare bill prohibits the importation of cheap drugs from Canada. This has proven to be an unpopular rule, and Bush spokesmen have struggled to come up with persuasive reasons for their stand.

Today they finally did:

"Cues from chatter" gathered around the world are raising concerns that terrorists might try to attack the domestic food and drug supply, particularly illegally imported prescription drugs, acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford says.

....Crawford said the possibility of such an attack was the most serious of his concerns about the increase in states and municipalities trying to import drugs from Canada to save money."

Are there any depths to which these guys won't sink? What's next? Alleged al-Qaeda infiltration of labor unions? Email from Osama to the NAACP?

Every time I think the Bush administration can't get any worse, they get worse. Every. Single. Time.


Posted by brettdavey at 1:00 PM EDT
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