Has anyone else noticed that pre-election polls are almost
worthless anymore for predicting the outcomes of elections? I mean, who
would have ever guessed that Howie Dean would slip so dramatically
from his commanding front-runner status like that? Or that John Kerry
would emerge from nowhere to lead the pack?
Of course, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two,
beyond their carefully crafted public images, but that isn't the point
here. The point is that pre-election polls no longer correlate with
election results. John Q. Public can share his opinions with pollsters,
and reveal how he intends to cast his vote, but he has no control over
how the vote-counting software records that vote. And the belief in
free and fair elections is so firmly ingrained in the American psyche
that nary a word is said when election results fail to come anywhere close
to pre-election forecasts, as has become rather commonplace.
I mention this because it appears as though Bush's Hollywood-spawned
protégé out west is preparing to utilize modern voting machine
technology to create a de facto
dictatorship in the state of
Kollefornia, which will cleverly masquerade as a shining example of
pure, 'direct democracy.'
Ahhnuld has stated repeatedly that if the state legislature
won't go along with his reactionary "feed the rich and starve the
rest" agenda, he will take his proposals directly to the people, in
the form of ballot initiatives. Of course, the catch is that Schwarzenegger's
backers control the vote counting, so the Plastic Man is free to propose
any sort of reprehensible ballot initiative, secure in the knowledge
that 'the people,' come election day, will vote it into law. And Team
Ahhnuld, with the full support of the media, can claim that it is only
giving the people what they want.
Ahhnuld's first ballot measures, to be reviewed by voters
in March, are already on the table, and they are decidedly unpopular.
The proposal to float a $15 billion bond, for example, is supported by
only a third of potential voters, according to two recent polls. Those
in the know have opined that such a low level of initial support would
ordinarily render the proposal dead on arrival. But I'm betting those numbers
will mean nothing come March, much as Ahhnuld's own pre-election poll
numbers did not stop him from scoring a whopping victory.
Credit for the turnaround in public support for the ballot measures
will, of course, go to Ahhnuld's allegedly masterful salesmanship
and uncanny media savvy (more on that later).
It did not take long at all for Schwarzenegger to display a strong
predilection for dictatorial rule, which came as a surprise only to those
who thought that Ahhnuld had been joking when he spoke of his desire to
"speak to maybe 50,000 people at one time and have them cheer, or like
Hitler in the Nuremberg Stadium, and have all those people scream at you
and just being in total agreement with whatever you say."
On the campaign trail, Steroidenegger repeatedly promised to repeal
a recent hike in vehicle registration fees. And just after taking office,
he did just that, accompanied by much cheering and fanfare. By cutting
registration fees, however, he cut off a major source of funding for cities
and counties. To rectify that situation, the ever-smiling governor simply
instructed the state Legislature to restore the funding, without offering
a clue as to where the money would be coming from. Lawmakers balked at
the request, insisting, quite reasonably, on knowing exactly how Team Ahhnuld
planned to squeeze a few billion dollars out of the state's looted coffers.
Not to be deterred, the Plastic Man simply waited until the Legislature
adjourned for the year and then he bestowed upon himself the authority
to make an executive decision. Such a course of action was in clear violation
of the state's constitution, and it sent an unmistakable signal that Schwarzenegger
is not a big believer in the notion of separation of powers.
Reaction came quickly from prominent state 'Democrats' and the editorial
staff of the state's 'liberal' newspaper of record, the Los Angeles
. "We haven't had this kind of bold leadership in Sacramento for
a long, long time, and we are really grateful for it," gushed James K.
Hahn, Los Angeles' 'liberal' mayor. "He's exercising executive power to
the max. That's the only way to get anything done around here," added California's
'liberal' former governor, and the current mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown.
A lead editorial in the Times
revealed an editorial staff on the
verge of wetting themselves:
With a dizzying media savvy, Arnold Schwarzenegger rode to
the rescue of California cities and counties Thursday ... Legislators thought
Schwarzenegger would take the blame when they dragged their heels in bailing
out local government. Show us where the money will come from to make up
for your car tax reduction, they demanded. Instead, Schwarzenegger went
into action, seizing an obscure law to justify immediate payment of the money
without legislative action. So much for Democratic lawmakers ... [who] could
only reply that Schwarzenegger was 'skating on thin legal ice.' Never mind
the lawyers. If there's a legal problem, Schwarzenegger will deal with that
later. ["Schwarzenegger Steps Up," L.A. Times, December 19, 2003]
Sure he will -- in much the same way that he is dealing with the numerous
allegations of sexual assault that he promised to address after the election.
Apparently it is no big deal that Team Ahhnuld is running roughshod over
state law. I guess we can't let little "legal problems" impede the governor
from doing the people's work.
' reporters were only slightly less enthusiastic than
the paper's editorial staff:
In the constant maneuvering for power between the governor
and the Legislature, Arnold Schwarzenegger - just one month on the job
- obliterated any lingering doubts Thursday that he is the supreme political
force in the Capitol. Schwarzenegger's raw assertion of executive power
... sent a clear message that he can govern without lawmakers' cooperation,
a political reality that could leave the Legislature marginalized ... Schwarzenegger
demonstrated that he is not afraid to confront, diminish and, if necessary,
humble the Legislature in pursuit of a popular agenda. [Peter Nicholas and
Joe Mathews "Schwarzenegger Seizes Reins of Power in Capitol," L.A. Times,
December 19, 2003]
And that, presumably, is a good thing, especially since he is pursuing
a "popular agenda." It is unclear, however, how popular that agenda actually
is with the people of California. It is certainly popular with the media
and the political establishment though, and that is all that ever really
To be sure, repealing the vehicle registration increase was a popular
move. But using extra-constitutional means to rob money from needed social
programs to make up the shortfall is another story altogether. And why
bother? What is really gained by robbing from Peter to pay Paul? Team Ahhnuld
has repeatedly emphasized that deep cuts will be made somewhere, so why
not from cities and counties?
Why not? Primarily because much of that money is earmarked for emergency
services, which is to say, much of it goes to funding city and county police
agencies. Much of the state's money, on the other hand, ostensibly goes
towards tending to the needs of children, the sick, the elderly, and the
disabled. And whereas cutting funding for social programs is perfectly
acceptable, cutting funding for the police would be as crazy a notion as,
say, cutting the 'defense' budget. And any fool knows that we have no alternative
but to continuously increase
'defense' spending, regardless of how
many social programs are gutted in the process. And so it goes with the
police as well.
The reality is that it is imperative that funding for the police,
like funding for America's military machine, be dramatically slashed.
Police agencies around the country are funded far in excess of legitimate
needs, allowing for police forces that are too large, too militarized,
and too well compensated. That overcompensation, by the way, is key to maintaining
a force that will serve as enforcers of the status quo rather than as servants
of the community.
Despite the state's budget crisis, the police will not suffer. To the contrary,
a proposal is on the table to boost Los Angeles County sales taxes by a
half-cent, with the revenue going directly to the L.A. Sheriff's Department,
the L.A.P.D., and various local police departments. All of these agencies
claim to be in dire need of additional funding, to hire more officers, purchase
more equipment, and tend to new 'Homeland Security' duties.
What Team Ahhnuld is doing on the state level is the very same thing
that Team Bush is doing on the national level: taking advantage of deliberately
created budgetary crises to rob massive amounts of money from other programs
and funnel it into the creation and maintenance of a high-tech police state.
What he is doing, in other words, is stealing taxpayers' money and then
using it to create the very infrastructure that will strip away what remains
of those taxpayers' freedoms and civil rights.
In Sacramento, as in Washington, funding for violent repression is
paramount. And in Sacramento, as in Washington, dictatorial rule seems
to be openly coveted. Schwarzenegger could probably even teach Bush a few
things about authoritarian rule. The L.A. Times
' article noted in
passing that when Ahhnuld announced his little scheme, most Legislators
"were back in their districts, waiting for the start of the session that
begins in January. Some who were in the Capitol, however, were simply barred
from the room."
I guess physically barring lawmakers from the room in which it is
about to be announced that their power is being illegally usurped is what
meant by "humbl[ing] the Legislature."
To give credit where credit is due, the L.A. Times
did finally get
it right on December 22. It was easy to miss though, since it was hidden
in a brief, two-sentence Letter to the Editor from Times
Kathy Price. Ms. Price's letter read as follows:
In response to "Schwarzenegger Seizes Reins of Power in Capitol,"
news analysis, Dec. 19: The United States bypasses the United Nations, President
Bush bypasses public will and now Schwarzenegger bypasses the California
Legislature. Is dictatorship the "new democracy"?
* * * * * * * * *
Speaking of Gropenegger (no, we're not quite done
with him yet), Superior Court Judge Loren E. Masters recently ruled, quite
unexpectedly, that Schwarzenegger had illegally funded his gubernatorial
campaign. When I say the ruling was unexpected, I am not suggesting here,
by any means, that there was ever any doubt that the Plastic Man had illegally
funded his campaign. No, I am suggesting that it is a bit surprising that
there are still some judges left on the bench with at least a modicum
It seems that California's action hero - after bragging that he
didn't need to take anyone's money, and after promising that he wouldn't
- financed his campaign by taking out a low interest, sweetheart bank
loan that he planned to repay by raking in what is generally referred to
as "special interest money." And he has been, since taking office, raking
in contributions at a fever pitch, bypassing laws enacted by California voters
aimed at limiting individual contributions. Back in the days of yore - which
is to say, about three or four months ago - such behavior could get you thrown
out of office. But that was a different era, I guess.
On Monday, January 26, Judge Masters ruled that the $4.5 million
loan was illegal and he ordered that Ahhnuld personally repay it. The
very next day, the governor made a lunchtime appearance before the Sacramento
Press Club, where he attempted to provide some positive spin to the court
decision. It was a pathetic performance -- possibly even eclipsing his
work in Twins.
Schwarzenegger, beaming as always, told the assembled reporters
that he fully agreed with the judge's decision. He said that what the judge
had ordered was "great" and, as is virtually everything in Ahhnuld's world,
"fantastic." "We never wanted to raise the money to pay it back," said
he, "I myself [will] pay for that."
Well, I suppose he will now, assuming that he intends to comply
with the judge's order. Before losing the case, however, Schwarzenegger
hadn't made much of an effort to repay the loan. And he had mounted a vigorous
defense in the case, even filing a motion questioning the motives for the
suit and stridently arguing that the matter should be dismissed. He had
worked very hard, in other words, to avoid the outcome that he found so
"fantastic." And the very fact that he did borrow the money tends to argue
against his claims that he always intended to use his own money. After all,
it shouldn't have been too hard for Ahhnuld to scrape together $4 or $5
million. And being that he is such a 'fantastic' businessman, you would
think that he might have had the foresight to free up some of his cash in
anticipation of financing a run for the governor's office. But apparently
Of course, the California Kid had an explanation. According to the Los
Angeles Times, "Schwarzenegger said he had been on the campaign trail
and unable to write a check himself to cover campaign expenses. Being
a 'hands-on guy when it comes to money,' he said, it was not the sort of
task he liked to delegate to others. So instead, he said, he authorized
the $4.5-million bank loan."
These were not just your garden variety lies that Ahhnuld was telling.
No, these were absurd, nonsensical lies -- the kind of lies that probably
would not even be believed by the people who believe that that tiger really
was trying to save Roy.
Since the problem, by Schwarzenegger's own account, was not a lack of funds,
but rather an inability to access those funds, due to being out on the campaign
trail, it is not entirely clear how obtaining more funds through a bank
loan solved the problem. Wouldn't the loan, after all, just result in more
money being dumped into an account that could not be accessed? And why would
someone who wouldn't delegate authority to sign checks decide to delegate
authority obtain a $4.5 million loan? Or did Ahhnuld have the time to
arrange the loan himself, just not enough time to sign a check?
It's all very confusing to me. But at least Ahhnuld was happy with the
court's decision: "It was a good decision by the judge. Exactly what
we intended to do."
The governor didn't bore the assembled reporters for long with
his bizarre praise for the judge's decision. Instead, he quickly moved
on to offer praise for the reporters themselves. He spoke glowingly of
the press, and of how his careers as both a bodybuilder and a film star
had been aided and abetted by the generosity of the media. He repeatedly
offered thanks to the assembled reporters. Amazingly enough, he even openly
bribed the Press Club, handing over a $1,000 check for its scholarship
program. Incredibly, he had somehow found the time to sign the check himself.
Schwarzenegger concluded his appearance with the following appeal:
"Let's all work together. And please continue selling my projects and
selling my philosophy and the different things we're going to get out
And that, dear readers, is an example of "dizzying media savvy." This
is how it works: when confronted with possible exposure as a corrupt fraud,
go before the press on bended knee; tell easily discredited, nonsensical
lies; heap shameless praise on an undeserving press corps; offer a pathetic
bribe; and then wrap up by openly reminding reporters what their true function
It should go without saying that anyone with true "media savvy" would
have known that they could have gotten a free ride from the press without
all the groveling.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
One final note on Ahhnuld the Barbarian: did anyone
else notice that it seemed rather odd to use the State of the Union speech
as a forum to condemn the use of steroids in professional sports? Am I the
only one who interpreted that as a truly bizarre attempt to distance Bush
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
In other news, we were just days into the new year when my daughter got
herself suspended from school. And this was not, I must confess, her first
run-in with school authorities. No, the first was three years ago. That
was when I received a phone call informing me that she had been sent to
that feared and mysterious place known only as "The Principal's Office."
She was five years old at the time. In Kindergarten. True story.
And what, you may well be wondering, had she done at such a
young age to earn herself a trip to the principal's office? Well ...
as it turns out, she had tied her shoes to the legs of her chair, and
she had knotted them so tightly that neither she nor her teacher could
untie them. So after being cut free, she was shipped off to see the
principal. The school seemed very concerned about this incident. The teacher
seemed very concerned. My ex-wife seemed very concerned. I, on the other
hand, found it quite funny. I probably blew any chance I may have had
at being named the school's "Parent of the Month."
For some strange reason, I seemed to be the only one able to recognize
her behavior for what it was: she had staged a symbolic protest against
the incredibly repressive and conformist atmosphere of an institution
that more closely resembles a prison than a school. And to that, I say,
"you go, girl!" ... ooops, sorry ... I forgot that I am not supposed to
laugh or make light of the situation, lest my daughter learn the wrong
lesson from this episode, or some such thing.
Anyway, here we are three years later and I get another phone
call. Now call me old-fashioned if you must, but I had never heard
of an eight-year-old getting suspended from school. But then again,
I had never heard of a five-year-old being sent to the principal's office.
That's just me. I grew up a long time ago, in a different era. I grew
up with Peter and Bobby, and with Danny, but not really with Greg or Keith,
because they were a little older and a little cooler ... especially Keith,
but also Greg when he got his own room with all the beads and stuff. I think
that might have been the year that all the boys returned for the new Fall
season sporting "Afros."
Remember that? The previous season had ended with everyone having their
normal hair, and then they all showed up on the season premiere with 'fros!
Even Mr. Brady! What the hell was up with that? And then, even more bizarrely,
all the 'jocks' at my school starting sporting 'fros as well. And then,
perhaps in a bid for acceptance by the 'cool' people, my own brother came
home with one, immediately earning himself the nickname "Greg Brady."
I try to forget about all of that, but every now and then I will see the old
school photos, and there it will be, staring me in the face. The 'fro. And
coupled with it, the hideous Hawaiian shirt. It isn't a pretty sight. And
then the memories will come flooding back -- legions of white guys inexplicably
sporting 'fros, my brother selecting just the right 'fro pick, Afro-Sheen
on the bathroom counter,
neighbor Juan (later the bass player
for the band Ratt
) strolling the halls of our high school, a mass
of human hair roughly the size of a hot air balloon struggling valiantly,
and yet failing, to follow the rhythms of his walk.
Anyway, I guess that's another story. And by the way, I do know now that
Greg wasn't really all that cool. And I'm okay with that. Let's move on
then, shall we?
So here is the scenario: my daughter, still determined
to break free of the school's psychic bonds, joined in an elaborate
plot to launch a daring daylight escape. There were six other eight-year-olds
involved. Collectively, they formed what we shall refer to here as the
Gang of Seven. Their intended destination? A nearby 7-Eleven store. Their
objective? Jaw Breakers.
There are indications that an initial attempt during school hours failed.
But luckily, they had a back-up plan: during the after-school program,
two of the Gang would set up a diversion to draw the attention of the
campus aides while the other five slipped out through a back door of what
passes for the gym. That plan, alas, was foiled, and the Gang of Seven
was quickly rounded up. The purported leader was suspended for four days.
The rest received lighter sentences. Meanwhile, I ventured off in a fruitless
search for a "My Child Was Suspended From School" bumper sticker.
"But Dave," you may be asking, "is there a point to any of this"? Uhh ...
not really, now that you mention it. There was certainly no legitimate reason
for including that extended Brady Bunch
reference. As for the
rest, it serves as an introduction, of sorts, to the first on a short list
of links to articles that, for various reasons, struck me as being particularly
noteworthy (since some of these articles will likely soon expire, or be
transferred into some dreaded paid archives, I have taken the unauthorized
liberty of re-posting them, and I have included links to both the originals
and the re-postings).
From Australia's The Age
comes this short but revealing piece
by an expatriate American who recently returned to visit a country that
looks much different than the one she grew up in (which happens to be, coincidentally,
the one I remember growing up in). The author takes a clear-eyed look
at what irrational fear has already done to our communities, and what it
is doing to our children.
This next offering comes from, strangely enough, the op/ed pages
of the Los Angeles Times
. Normally when I turn to the newspaper's
editorial pages, I am greeted by offensive cartoons from Michael Ramirez
and the repulsive writings of such propagandists as the CFR's Max Boot
(nice name, by the way). But on January 28, 2004, the Times
fell asleep at the wheel and allowed CSU professor Theodore Roszak to rage
against the machine (actually, against the corruption of the machine's potential,
and against man's twisted relationship to the machine).
Next up is a look at how electronic voting machines are quickly stripping
away Americans' alleged right to vote (actually, the right to vote for
one of two nearly indistinguishable candidates, but let's not quibble here).
If you are already familiar with the issue, you probably won't learn anything
new from this four-page exposé. However, it is a very good, and
fairly short, overview that comes from a respected media outlet in the
home of our staunchest ally. As such, it is a good article to pass along
to skeptical friends and colleagues.
I was thumbing through the paper the other day, incidentally, when I happened
upon a list of sample questions taken from the test given to those applying
for U.S. citizenship. One of the questions was: "What is the most important
right granted a U.S. citizen?" The correct answer is supposed to be: "The
right to vote." That being the case, you would think that someone in Washington,
or in the America media establishment, would express some concern over whether
that right still exists.
Next on the list is a three-part offering from the Philippines. Read it,
and understand it, and you will be well on your way to understanding how
the global 'War on Terrorism' is really being waged.
This final offering is a rather lengthy affair. It is, nevertheless,
essential reading. Very rarely, I must say, do I encounter such a lengthy,
ambitious rant with which I have no major quarrels. Kudos to Mr. Kupferberg
for a job well done.
I have a number of other links to share as well, but I have just a
little more ranting to do first.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
The Democratic presidential contenders were recently asked
by an obviously bored reporter to name the living Republican that they
like the best. Several chose 'moderate' Republican Senator John McCain (who,
in an hilarious development, will be playing the role of a Bush critic
on the new panel that will be trying to solve one of the most baffling
mysteries of modern times: the Iraq 'intelligence failure'), but one of
the contenders broke from the pack and chose decidedly conservative commentator
My first guess, upon hearing of this, was that it was perhaps Joseph Lieberman.
My theory was that Lieberman - thinking back to how, during the 2000 presidential
election, Buchanan had secured the votes of all those Jewish concentration
camp survivors in south Florida - saw the endorsement as a way of shoring
up his base of support.
But I was wrong. It turns out that it was actually that wily
little 'ultra-liberal,' Dennis Kucinich, who expressed admiration for
Buchanan. Go figure. All I can say is that my favorite living Republican,
if he proves to be for real, is a much different Buchanan.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
This one is from the "things that make you go 'hmmm ...'" files.
A story that has been circulating in the conspiracy community for
quite some time now holds that our back-up quarterback, Dick Cheney, has
a fondness for playing "The Most Dangerous Game." In other words, he allegedly
likes to, quite literally, hunt humans. Preferably young, naked, female
humans. For sport.
I know what you're thinking, so let me just say that I don't make this stuff
up. Nor do I vouch for its veracity. All that I am saying is that these
claims have been made -- albeit not, to my knowledge, by the most credible
of sources. Nevertheless, what is being claimed is not beyond the realm
of possibility. After all, what we are talking about here, on the one hand,
is abhorrent and psychopathic behavior. And on the other hand, we are talking
about Dick Cheney. These two things are not, quite obviously, mutually exclusive.
Everyone has by now heard about the hunting trip recently taken by Cheney
and his invited guest, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who will soon
sit in judgment of Cheney's withholding of the notes from his "Top Secret
Energy Club." The hunting trip was, quite obviously (to everyone but Scalia),
wildly improper. It is difficult to imagine, however, that it did much to
influence Scalia's pending decision. The trip was, in other words, completely
unnecessary, since, as everyone knows, Scalia was already wearing a Team
Why then the provocatively timed, and much-publicized, hunting trip? And
why has Scalia steadfastly refused to acknowledge the obvious and recuse
himself? One possibility is that there is a plot twist in this script: instead
of doing what everyone assumes he will do, perhaps Scalia's role will be
to provide the 'swing' vote that turns the high court's decision against
Such a strategy, if employed, would represent an attempt by the political
elite to reestablish the illusion of an independent judiciary, after that
illusion was shattered three years ago by the court appointment of Team
Bush. By now highlighting, rather than downplaying, the close personal relationship
between the two men, Scalia's unexpected decision can later be hailed as
a shining example of judicial independence.
Another possible goal of such a scenario could be to create the appearance
of dumping previously withheld information into the public domain -- except
that it won't be the actual Energy Task Force notes that are released; it
will be a very carefully packaged bundle of information that appears to
be damaging, and that appears to provide ammunition to critics, but that
actually serves to further the agenda.
The Task Force meetings were conducted in complete secrecy (possibly even
utilizing the Cone of Silence). No one (except those who attended) can therefore
verify what is in the mysterious notes. It naturally follows then that no
one will be able to verify that what is released is legitimate, or that the
release represents anywhere near a full disclosure. Cheney has had ample
time down in his secret hideaway to tailor the notes for public consumption.
It would be incredibly naive to think that that hasn't been done.
If we assume that, contrary to expectations, the court will order the release
of the notes, then what should we expect to be 'revealed'? My guess is that
the documents that will be released will indicate that Team Bush's energy
policy (and foreign policy) are based on concerns over 'Peak Oil.' I am
not saying here, mind you, that that is the true motive behind the actions
of Team Bush; I am saying that that is what the Task Force's notes will
I believe that the Washington gang wants to promote the notion of 'Peak
Oil,' but they want to do it in a backhanded way. They want to plant the
seed in the public consciousness, but they want to do it without directly
discussing the issue, and they want to do it in a way that makes it appear
as though their hand has been forced. What they want, in the final analysis,
is the consent of the American people for the continuation of their rampant
warmongering. But the old lies aren't really working anymore. So I'm thinking
that maybe the Washington gang is betting that the American people can be
recruited as unacknowledged conspirators.
This is how such a scenario could play out: first, the seeds of 'Peak Oil'
theory are planted, but then no one really talks much about it. Then, as wars
continue to be waged, the same old lies will be trotted out about promoting
democracy, preventing genocide, and ridding the world of 'weapons of mass
destruction.' The media, of course, will play along. And the people will also
play along, even though they will know that they are being lied to, because
everyone will 'know' that the unspoken truth is that we need
whatever is necessary to secure the oil supplies that will prevent our cherished
way of life from coming to an abrupt halt.
... Uhhh ... I'm a little confused here. I set out to pen a short piece on
the Cheney/Scalia hunting trip and I seem to have somehow segued into predicting
some bizarre scenario that, to be perfectly honest, just came to me as I was
writing this, which means that I haven't really thought it through. Your first
clue that I am full of shit will come when Scalia unabashedly sides with
Cheney. Your second clue will come when the Task Force notes remain under
Now that we have that out of the way, let us now return to the original
focus of this particular rant -- exploring whether there may be a much darker
side to the hunting trip story. Consider the following report from the venerable
Los Angeles Times
"Two Black Hawk helicopters were brought in and hovered nearby
as Cheney and Scalia were whisked away in a heavily guarded motorcade to
a secluded, private hunting camp owned by an oil industry businessman [identified
as Wallace Carline, the head of Diamond Services Corp.] ... the Cheney-Scalia
trip drew the attention of local officials because of the unusual security
precautions ... on the morning of Jan. 5, a large security contingent
was in place -- two Black Hawk air combat rescue helicopters, a line of
armored sport utility vehicles and a ring of federal agents and sheriff's
deputies who set up a security perimeter. The area was declared a no-fly
zone for other aircraft ... Perry [Ken Perry, of the Perry Flying Center
at the Harry P. Williams Airport] said Cheney was among the first to deplane,
followed by Scalia and a young woman who was identified to Perry as one
of the justice's daughters. Both Perry and Naquin [David Naquin, the local
sheriff] said there were orders prohibiting photographs of those who exited
the planes and climbed into the motorcade. But two days later, Cheney returned
to the airport without Scalia, and photographs were allowed ... Scalia
stayed on to hunt a few more days, the sheriff said, but local officials
said it was unclear how he returned to Washington."
[David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano "Scalia Was Cheney Hunt Trip Guest,"
Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2004]
Uhmm, would it be considered rude to ask what happened to Scalia's
'daughter'? Why is there no mention of how she
returned to Washington?
And would Scalia really have brought his daughter along on such an outing?
Since it wasn't a big secret that Scalia and Cheney were there, doesn't
it seem reasonable to conclude that the ban on photographs was intended to
protect the young woman's identity? And did Scalia really hang around to
hunt for a few more days, despite the fact that, according to Sheriff Naquin,
the hunting "was terrible. There were very few ducks killed."?
Is it possible that Scalia and Cheney opted to leave separately so as not
to highlight the fact that someone in their party had gone missing? Since
no one saw Scalia leave, then it follows that no one can confirm whether
his 'daughter' left with him. And even if she did, doesn't this story, at
the very least, have the makings of a good sex scandal? I mean, when two
older guys and a young woman go duck hunting for a couple of days and no
one brings back any ducks, people are going to talk. And if the two guys
come back without ducks or the girl, then I think we could have a serious