The problems of being a maverick

Speaking of McCain and lobbyists … oh, wait.


As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, John McCain began hearings that helped bring down Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who was the central figure in a political scandal that landed Mr. Abramoff in jail.

Steve Benson, Arizona Republic, February 22, 2008 Now, as Mr. McCain releases the names of hundreds of “bundlers” — his top money collectors — one person who popped up is Juan Carlos Benitez, a lawyer and lobbyist whom Mr. Abramoff had championed for a Bush administration post.

Leslie Wayne, writing for The Caucus, reports that the House Committee on Government Reform issued a 2006 report that includes Mr. Benitez’s name. Jack Abramoff apparently wanted him appointed special counsel for immigration-related employment issues, which position—given to Benitez in 2001—allowed him to conduct investigations into allegations of unfair labor practices, including issues important to the scandalized lobbyist’s clients.

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Labor News: Stop reading now

In labor news, from The Stranger‘s “I, Anonymous” (March 26, 2008):

Okay, guys. I’m as big a fan of public sex as anyone. When you two business-suit-wearing boys went into the handicap stall of the men’s bathroom together for a quickie at the hotel where I work, I didn’t think it was a big enough deal to stop you. Next time I will. You two left your semen on the floor and walls of the stall. You’re jacking and sucking not two feet from a roll of toilet paper and a convenient way to flush away the evidence. That’s not convenient enough for you? You know who has to clean up your misplaced yuppie baby-gravy? A 90-pound grandmother and housekeeper had to get all of her biohazard business on to clean up your mess. Is it a fetish of yours to have senior-citizen ladies who make minimum wage clean your come off the walls and floor? Or is it your special way to say “fuck you” to the working class? So to all of you folks having public sex, please remember that public places need to be cleaned by someone, and no one is paid enough to clean up the ejaculate of strangers. So have some courtesy and wipe up afterward. Thanks.

I’m sure there’s a Larry Craig joke to put here, but, you know, whatever.  So, yeah.  Er … um … come on, guys.

Labor abroad

From “Soy Bomb” to Happy-Face Bombers, Americans have nothing compared to Bolivian prostitutes when it comes to dramatic protests. Back in October, Reuters brought us an interesting item:

Prostitutes in the Bolivian city of El Alto sewed their lips together on Wednesday as part of a hunger strike to demand that the mayor reopen brothels and bars ordered closed after violent protests by residents last week.

We are fighting for the right to work and for our families’ survival,” Lily Cortez, leader of the El Alto Association of Nighttime Workers, told local television.

Tomorrow we will bury ourselves alive if we are not immediately heard. The mayor will have his conscience to answer to if there are any grave consequences, such as the death of my comrades,” she said, surrounded by about 10 prostitutes who had sewn their lips together with thread.

Some 30 other women were shown fasting inside a medical clinic nearby.

Apparently (get this) students helped the push against the prostitutes. It seems student activists went on a hunger strike in an effort to close down seedy business establishments such as bars, brothels, and karaoke rooms.

And then, just to add yet another dimension to it, a third hunger strike apparently includes leaders of an association representing the bars and karaoke rooms.

Seriously, no wonder the Iraqi Bush War is still afoot. Maybe the Republicans would pay attention if Mike Jones decided to sew his mouth shut.

On a more serious note, I have to do some scrounging around for a decent update. One copy of the Reuters story ran in the “Oddly Enough” listings. I remembered this story just the other night, after weeks of not thinking about it, and there’s just not a whole lot to go on. I guess the sewing of the lips was the sensational part, and who cares about the rest?

Marina has some commentary on the situation over at Objectify This. That’s about all I could find for now.