Federal Official Resigns in Escort Service Inquiry (our tax dollars at work)

Published: April 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 27 — The head of the Agency for International Development, Randall L. Tobias, resigned abruptly on Friday for what he said were “personal reasons,” but an administration official said Mr. Tobias’s name had come up in an investigation of a suspected Washington prostitution ring.

On Friday night, ABC News said Mr. Tobias had confirmed on Thursday that he was a customer of an escort service.

A woman from Vallejo, Calif., Deborah J. Palfrey, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she operated a call-girl service in Washington, and has threatened on her Web site to sell her client list to raise money for her defense. ABC News reported that Ms. Palfrey had given the network thousands of phone numbers of clients.

In court papers filed on April 11 in Federal District Court here, she identified an adviser to the Pentagon as “one of the regular customers” of her service. She posted the man’s photo from his own Web site and tax records on a house he owns in Washington.

On her Web site, Ms. Palfrey asserted that her service, doing business as Pamela Martin and Associates, “functioned as a high-end adult fantasy firm which offered legal sexual and erotic services across the spectrum of adult sexual behavior.”

Mr. Tobias told ABC that he used the service for massages, not sex, according to the network’s Web site.

The State Department referred all questions to Mr. Tobias’s personal office in Indianapolis. There was no reply to a message left there on Friday night. At his Washington apartment building, the concierge said Mr. Tobias was not in.

Mr. Tobias, 65, is a former chairman and chief executive of Eli Lilly & Company and of AT&T International. He served as the chairman of the board of Duke University from 1997 to 2000. He was also a major donor to various Republican campaigns.

President Bush nominated him in July 2003 to lead a $15 billion program to fight AIDS worldwide.

At the time, some AIDS experts said Mr. Tobias did not have much experience with AIDS or Africa.

Then, as director of United States Foreign Assistance, he held the rank of ambassador.

In January 2006, Mr. Bush said he would nominate Mr. Tobias to be the administrator of the Agency for International Development. That position gave him the rank of deputy secretary of state.

The White House did not confirm the circumstances of the resignation. Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said the president expressed “sadness and disappointment” that Mr. Tobias was resigning. Mr. Bush expressed appreciation for Mr. Tobias’s work here and around the world, Ms. Perino said, and “wished his family well in the future.”

Jim Rutenberg contributed reporting.


April 16, 2007

This week’s legislative idea comes from Bayport, NY.  Here is an excerpt from her letter to Congress:

“Once again, it’s tax time and as always, we owe money to the state and federal governments because I am married with no children. My husband & I have no children because we cannot afford to have children living on Long Island. But we do have 2 dogs – 2 very expensive dogs – and they are our kids.  If I should mistreat, neglect, abuse or deprive my dog of health care in any way, I can be arrested for animal cruelty. But yet, here we are, spending thousands and thousands of dollars each year giving my dogs the best care in emergency and non-emergency situations, what do we receive? My proposal is to be able to declare my dogs as dependents on my taxes at the end of the year.

“With the request of proper documentation from pet owners, I firmly believe we should propose a new law to be able to claim our dogs as dependents, whether it be for routine exams, medicines and/or emergency care. Anything would be of great assistance to pet owners.”

See the full text of the letter here 

-Tell Congress If They Should Introduce Dog Deductions
-Yes, Pets Should Be Tax Deductible Like Any Dependent
-No, Pets Should Not Be Tax Deductible Like Any Dependent

Take Action By clicking on this link at the bottom of the page there is a form with instructions on how you can take action on any of the above.

Prejudice by choice? Don Imus – was it fair?

After sitting and watching what has been happening over the last few days regarding the fate of Don Imus it makes me wonder was this prejudice by choice or loss of freedom of speech and who has the right to determine which is which. I don’t condone what Don Imus said at all but in some ways I feel this was a double edge sword. 

We are constantly crying “freedom of speech” yet there are political watchdogs sitting with baited breath waiting to pounce on any statement that can be construed as biased or prejudice so they can rush to the media, and in my opinion, set out to see how much damage they can do to one’s career.  I don’t think naming names is really necessary as we all know who they are and the list isn’t limited to two.

I read an article written by HARVEY FIERSTEIN, an actor and playwright who said, and I quote “he is a gay American and fat”.  In his article he toggles with the idea how and when one chooses to be prejudice.  I think his article is worth reading and his views definitely have merit. 

Almost every night we hear comedians poke fun at fat people, celebs in rehab, comments relating to “the gay community”.  Programs like “politically incorrect” will hash and rehash derogatory statements made by others and yet, neither the  comedians, talk show hosts, etc, lose their endorsements or sponsors.

Even recording artists can rap about anything without too much controversy, probably because you can’t you can’t understand most of what they are saying.  Some have come under scrutiny but it has to be something really controversial and media worthy and even at that a mere apology or slap on the wrist takes care of it. Being dropped from the recording industry is not a consideration, at least none that I can think of but I could be wrong, that has happened a couple of times 😉 according to my husband. 

I definitely think Imus’s comment was out of line and of poor taste but should it have cost him his job?

For those of you who are too young to remember the “Tonight Show”, before Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, the original show years ago was hosted by Jack Paar.  One night he made reference to the bathroom as a “water closet“.  Believe it or not, he was fired! 

What choice do we have?

Here we are in another presidential election year and what choice do we have?  Do we have the opportunity of choosing between the best candidate, the most qualified or do we choose from a list of those who have had the good luck of raising the most money for their campaign as the one we want to lead our country the next four years? 

I’m sick and tired when I read/hear the amount of monies being raised and spent for campaigns when it is all I can do to afford health care and prescription drugs now that I’m 65 and forced to become a member of our government’s wonderful Medicare system.  Now I get the opportunity to vote for one of the candidates who is among the list of those who raised the most money for their campaign.  For the most part that means voting for the lesser of two evils.  Where are the good candidates, the ones I feel I really would like to lead our country?  They have not entered the race or entered and dropped out because they weren’t wealthy enough or lacked the funds to compete.  Somehow I feel I’m getting the short end of the stick.

The info below is as of 4/02/07 provided by CNN’s political ticker at: http://tinyurl.com/wwrgp

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Below is a list of money raised by the candidates, according to figures provided by their campaigns:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, $26 million
Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, $14 million
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, $6 million
Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, $4 million
Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, $1-2 million

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, $21 million
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, $14 million
Arizona Sen. John McCain, $12.5 million
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, $1.3 million
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, $500,000

Note: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has yet to
release his fundraising totals.

CNN’s Mark Preston and Robert Yoon
Posted 4/02/2007 04:21:00 PM

Today’s government

I am so tired of our nation’s politicians. They are not looking out for anyone but themself. I think anyone on the hill should only be allowed to serve a limited term and not a life time. The way it is now we have a stagnant senate and congress. Some are so old they can hardly hear, let alone walk unassisted. They spend precious time voting on less important issues such as whether to allow same sex marriages which has nothing to do with the economy of our nation. Maybe it is me but I wish they would spend their efforts more into the helping their own. We have far too many people on welfare who speak English and are American citizens who need help yet we seem to offer that help to foreigh countries first. My thinking is, if you can’t speak English, then you can’t vote, period !!!

We have a great country, it is just that the people on the hill are in such a land of their own. They don’t have to worry about income, insurance, etc so there is no reality check for them. They have no idea what it is like to get sick and have no way of getting help, being denied insurance, having to go through a Health Department, etc. They wouldn’t last one day if they had to face that. They have never had to choose between medicine and food.

I know I’m rambling here but I am so frustrated with what I see and the sad thing is I don’t see any change in the structure for the future.