A Storied Name Returns To Arizona Politics

Democrats hold the governorship in Arizona at the moment, but Janet Napolitano won’t rest easily tonight after seeing who just tossed his hat in the ring for her job in 2006. Don Goldwater, the nephew of legendary Republican conservative and Arizona statesman Barry Goldwater, has decided to run for Napolitano’s job:

Republican Party activist Don Goldwater announced his candidacy Tuesday for governor in 2006, sounding some of the same conservative themes once heard from his uncle, 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
“The state is headed in the wrong direction,” said the 50-year-old candidate. “We must return to the basic principles of limited government, individual liberty and economic freedom.”
Goldwater said he would push for tax cuts and school choice and combat illegal immigration. He said he would fully enforce a voter-approved immigration law, including its requirement that voters produce identification at polling places.
He called illegal immigration destructive to the state’s health care industry, a burden on public schools and a threat to public safety.

Napolitano has managed to keep on top of Arizona polling by presenting a more moderate approach to politics than the Mad How antics of the DNC chief. In fact, on Howard Dean’s last visit to Phoenix, Napolitano would not meet with Dean, preferring to disassociate herself from the radical and irrational direction of current Democratic leadership. She has kept herself from making the big mistakes that would sink her career in a blue state that has twice gone for George Bush, the last time by eleven points.
That may not suffice in 2006. For one thing, Arizonans have become increasingly disenchanted with moderate approaches to illegal immigration, a common theme among the border states. In 2004, Arizona passed a referendum requiring photo-ID verification at all polling places by twelve points, despite the opposition outspending the initiative’s supporters by a 5-1 margin. Napolitano opposed the measure (as did John McCain), and voters have little confidence that she will enforce it. Goldwater plans on making that an issue in this election, along with other illegal immigration issues. As his primary opponents all appear to be moderates, he has a good chance to rise above the field.
More than that, however, Goldwater brings the name and, the GOP hopes, the magic along with it. It may be possible to overestimate Barry Goldwater’s impact on Arizonans, but it isn’t easy. Goldwater fought to preserve and extend the conservatism of the American West when the intelligentsia roundly ridiculed it and Nelson Rockefeller-style politics dominated GOP circles.
Forget John McCain; Goldwater was the true maverick, a man who followed his own principles even when the press ridiculed him for it. He didn’t have any interest in sucking up to the media, nor did he sell out for his backers or his own financial interest. Goldwater didn’t always hew to the GOP party line, either. When asked about his position on gays in the military during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” debate in the 1990s, Goldwater famously declared that the only criteria he demanded was that a soldier shoot straight.
Now his nephew has decided to step into the legend’s shoes, and at the age of 50 could have plenty of time to transform himself into a presidential contender for 2012 or 2016. If he can knock Napolitano out of the governor’s house, it also opens up some interesting possibilities for the Bush White House in 2007. Rather than get stuck with McCain as its perpetual gadfly in the Senate, Bush can find some irresistable appointment for the press diva, allowing a Governor Goldwater to appoint someone more reliable for his Senate seat. Expect Karl Rove to take considerable interest in this race.
The GOP has to love the possibilities in Phoenix. In Arizona, never bet against a Goldwater.
UPDATE: Nephew, not son, which I knew before I started typing this post. I was keeping an eye on the news on TV and for some reason rearranged the Goldwater family tree. Thanks to The Texas Times Dude for the correction.

Tapscott: No One Mourns The Wall?

Mark Tapscott wonders why the mainstream media and the blogs haven’t shown more interest in a statement by the New York Times’ Bill Keller last month essentially admitting that “even sophisticated readers of The New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages.” Mark writes that no one seems all that shocked to hear Keller admit this:

I blogged at length on Keller’s memo and the committee report June 28. But besides postings by other bloggers, reports in Editor & Publisher, some pieces in Salon and Slate and an edition of PBS’s excellent “On the Media” radio show hosted by Bob Garfield, Keller’s comment has all but disappeared since its initial public appearance in mid May.
That invisibility might be attributable to some degree to professional courtesy among editors, but my guess is that it is more related to not wanting to call attention to the fact Keller’s statement so profoundly concedes what critics have said for so long and thus confounds all of those MSM denials over the years since Spiro Agnew’s first mention of the “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

I agree with Mark; this should have received much more attention. Mainstream media outlets, mostly newspapers, that have a regular editorial section constantly defend themselves from allegations of bias by asserting that a “wall” exists between news reporters and the editorial staff. This wall supposedly keeps any editorial biases from appearing in the manner in which the publication reports news stories. It seems that Keller might admit in his statement that such a wall only exists in the utopian concept of a newspaper and not in its practical application.
On the other hand, it could mean something different. A local newspaperman once told me that my suspicions about our local newspaper and its editorial bias were fundamentally correct but my understanding of how it happens was off. Technically, he assured me, the wall exists. Editorial-page staff do not influence the placement and editing of the news sections. The bias enters the system because the newspaper/media organ tends to hire and promote people who think alike — in this case, with strong leftist biases.
This causes a cognitive disconnect when media critics start complaining about the biases of news reporting at places like the New York Times or the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Bloggers such as myself will point out evidence of what we think is editorial tampering in news reporting. The newspaper, knowing that the processes in place don’t give that kind of access to the decisionmaking on news reporting, scoff at the allegations and hold them up to show us as rubes. In fact, the bias exists, as this journalist told me — but results from the monolithic mindset that afflicts most news outlets due to the “birds of a feather” syndrome, and not any deliberate attempt to skew reporting, at least not directly.
Keller’s remarks therefore probably admit less but mean more than people think. I doubt that he intended on saying that the wall has crumbled and editorialists have infiltrated news reporting. What I think he meant was that the bias exists with or without the wall. That presents a much more difficult problem for papers like the Times. If the processes really were corrupt, fixing them would not be terribly difficult. The problem exists because newspapers have created a tunnel-vision mindset, one so entrenched that most of those involved can’t even detect it for themselves.
The challenge, for those who admit this problem, is to fix it. Given the size of the effort needed to do so, it really isn’t so surprising after all that most would prefer not to acknowledge it.

Dionne Tosses Out The Constitution

Something about Republican executive nominations seems to make George Bush’s opponents suffer short-term memory loss. First Senator Ted Kennedy and now Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne forgot about the Constitution regarding two different nominees. In today’s Post column, Dionne argues that the Senate Judiciary Committee should transform itself into the secular Inquisition by interrogating John Roberts about his Catholicism during his confirmation hearings:

Conservatives have long argued, correctly, that religiously inspired voices have a legitimate place in the public square. Limiting religion to the private sphere relegates it to what the theologian David Tracy has called the “harmless reservations of the spirit.”
But if religion is to play a serious role in politics, believers have to accept the obligation to explain themselves publicly. That’s why it would be helpful if Roberts gave an account of how (and whether) his religious convictions would affect his decisions as a justice. President Bush has spoken about the political implications of his faith. His nominee should not be afraid to do the same.

For a group that regularly jumps up and down about the constitutionality of their right to protect sources — which appears nowhere in the Constitution — journalists (and Democrats) seem awfully eager to overlook the language that actually exists in the document. Dionne says, “Of course, we shouldn’t have religious ‘tests’,” as if that concept provided some sort of guideline that circumstances could overrule. Article VI, Clause 3 states quite clearly that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that, and it absolutely answers Dionne’s entire argument. Why shouldn’t the Judiciary Committee ask him about his religion? Because it’s against the law to decide his confirmation on that basis, and therefore inappropriate to ask about it.
But let’s go a little farther on Dionne’s train of thought. Dionne argues that because Tom Coburn got excited about having a Catholic on the Supreme Court, that somehow opened the door for Dick Durbin and the rest of the Senate to demand Roberts answer for his Catholicism. This isn’t cross-examination in a criminal trial, and Coburn’s reasons for delight don’t change the Constitution. Durbin can feel free to tell American voters whatever he likes about why he doesn’t like Roberts, just as Coburn can in supporting him. Neither of them can make his religion a reason to vote against him for a nomination, as the Constitution makes clear, and that makes questioning him about it for his confirmation completely inappropriate and technically illegal.
Dionne then uses Mario Cuomo and John Kerry’s experiences on the campaign trail to justify the secular attack on Roberts’ faith. Both men came under considerable fire from Catholic bishops during their electoral campaigns at various times, Kerry most recently during the last election. Since both men support abortion and regularly vote to enable even the most extreme uses of that procedure, Catholic bishops and many of the congregation wanted steps taken to deny them the Eucharist, abortion having always been explicitly in opposition to the Catholic catechism. Cuomo and Dionne use those experiences as an excuse to override the Constitution.
However, that obtuse argument doubles back on itself. Dionne and Cuomo effectively argue then that the Catholic Church overrides the Constitution through proclamation — the exact problem they supposedly want to avoid through interrogating Roberts about his faith. A proclamation denying a Catholic the Eucharist does not override Article VI and demand religious tests for office.
Besides, both men ran for office proclaiming their Catholicism and making it part of the reason why voters should elect them to office. Some bishops and laity reacted to that not by saying that they should be disqualified from public office, but that they should be disqualified from Communion while supporting abortion. Neither took the threat seriously, and it appears that Catholic bishops didn’t take it seriously, either. And the voters who pointed out the problem with Kerry’s stance, myself among them, wanted to highlight Kerry’s problem with truthfulness and consistency rather than create a barrier for a non-believer to achieve public office.
If Democrats and journalists insist on using the anti-Catholic strategy Dionne urges, they will not only disregard the explicit language of the Constitution but alienate even larger swaths of the American public with their win-at-all-costs ethics. After all, one doesn’t need an emanation from a penumbra to understand Article VI. If that isn’t clear enough for Democrats or journalists, then their attempts to justify abortion through a tortured reading of the Fourth Amendment have no credibility whatsoever, making this entire exercise unnecessary anyway — as it should have always been.
UPDATE and BUMP: If you’ll permit me a personal note on this, I’d like to touch on Dionne. I met E.J. at the Heritage Foundation event hosted by Mark Tapscott. While I rarely agree with him, he came to the event with a constructive attitude, asked a couple of very good (and tough) questions, and afterwards greeted me graciously. I wish I had been able to talk with him more at the time.
Sometimes we get caught up in rhetorical battles, and we forget that the people on both sides can be very nice folks with whom you’d be happy to tip a drink after the debate. Dionne strikes me as just that kind of man. I still think he’s completely wrong on this point, though.
UPDATE II: [Deleted. Thought better about feeding trolls.]

Air America: Another Legal Consultation

Earlier, New York attorney Eric Costello reviewed the known facts and allegations surrounding the scandal at Air America and gave us his trenchant observations. He laid out the possibilities for legal action and criminal investigation, if the reporting from the New York Sun and the blogosphere proved correct. In a follow-up e-mail, he reviews the applicable laws in more depth and points out where Air America and Gloria Wise might face some tough scrutiny, assuming Eliot Spitzer ever decides to get involved.

Further to my email of this morning, I had a bit of free time on my hands, so I went spelunking into the various areas of New York State laws and regulations regarding not-for-profits. A few items of interest turned up, which I pass on to you for whatever you think it’s worth. You may quote me on this.
In this email, “EL” stands for the Executive Law, “NPCL” stands for the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, and “NYCRR” stands for the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (i.e., New York’s equivalent of the CFR).
In no particular order:
(1) Investments
I did find out that Section 512 of the NPCL, entitled “Investment Authority,” fairly broad discretion in the types of investments that not for profits may make. BUT —
Section 717(a) of the NPCL imposes duties on directors and officers with regard to this power, as follows:
“In the administration of the powers to make and retain investments pursuant to section 512 (Investment authority) […], a governing board shall consider among other relevant considerations the long and short term needs of the corporation in carrying out its purposes, its present and anticipated financial requirements, expected total return on its investments, price level trends, and general economic conditions.”
So query if the investment by Gloria Wise in Air America was subject to this analysis, and whether it met any of these tests. In particular, did the investing of hundreds of thousands of dollars in an unliquid enterprise have an impact on the needs of the corporation? Given that Wise, it seems, has gone bust, that’s an interesting question.
(2) Reports
Section 172-b of the EL requires various types of reports to be filed annually with the Attorney General. Depending on the levels of gross revenue and support, there are different requirements. Assuming Gloria Wise had gross revenue and support of >$250,000 in any fiscal year, that would require them to file, by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of their fiscal year (whenever that is — check their bylaws), an annual financial statement with audited financials from an independent certified public accountant, with audit report. The president and chief fiscal officer have to certify, under penalties of perjury, that the financial statements are true and correct to the best of their knowledge. Rather like a corporation filing with the SEC.
Some of the specifics about these annual financial reports can be found in 13 NYCRR Part 92.3. Among other things, even if the registrant doesn’t file an IRS 990 with the IRS, they must file it with the NYAG (Part 92.3(b)(2)).
Bottom line: just as with Enron’s 10-Ks filed with the SEC, there’s stuff filed under oath out there that we, the public, can look at. See next item. What kind of disclosure there will be regarding related party transactions, the terms of the note(s), default(s), would be interesting to know.
(3) Public availability
13 NYCRR Part 100.1 says very specifically:
“Unless otherwise exempt from disclosure pursuant to State or Federal law, […] financial reports and other documents required to be filed pursuant to […] Article 7-A of the Executive Law become public records of the Attorney General.”
Section 172(b), cited above, is part of Article 7-A of the EL.
13 NYCRR Part 100.2 says:
“Copies of all […] annual financial reports and other documents filed with the Attorney General and not exempt from disclosure pursuant to State and/or Federal law shall be open to public inspection subject to the following requirements:
(a) A request for inspection shall be made in writing and shall include the name and address of the person seeking the inspection.
(b) Such inspection shall be subject to the applicable provisions of Article 6 of the Public Officers Law.
(c) Such inspection shall at all times be subject to the supervision and control of the Attorney General or his assistants.
(d) The Attorney General is authorized to charge a reasonable fee for copying and postage.
(e) Filings may be inspected, by prior appointment, at the offices of the Charities Bureau during regular business hours or will be mailed to the requestor upon payment of all copying and postage fees.”

Bottom line: anyone can ask for Wise’s financials. Including the MSM.
(4) Spitzer Nastygrams
The NYAG, under Section 175 (2)(e)(i) of the EL, can take action “in the name and in behalf of the people of the State of New York” if an organization:
has failed or is failing to apply the funds solicited from the public in a manner substantially consistent with its charitable purposes or solicitation
Even more interesting, the NYAG can take action to enforce Section 172-d(1) of the EL, which prohibits making:
any material statement which is untrue in […] [a] financial report or any other forms or documents required to be filed pursuant to [Article 7-A of the EL]; or fail to disclose a material fact in […] [a] financial report […]
Bottom line: the NYAG has no shortage of nasty questions to ask the directors and officers of Gloria Wise. Should he feel the urge, naturally. Where this would lead is another Good Question.
All of this, I hope, is of interest to you and your other readers, who might decide they’d like to do a little investigating on their own. I believe the NYAG still has offices at 120 Broadway in New York City.

If you happen to find yourself in the neighborhood, why not drop by AG Spitzer’s offices and ask them why they haven’t yet taken a look at the shenanigans at Gloria Wise.

Americans Coming Together Falls Apart

John Fund notes in OpinionJournal’s Political Diary (e-mail subscription only) that the grassroots organization Americans Coming Together has quietly closed its doors. I have not yet seen any press release announcing this; in fact, the ACT website says nothing at all about a cessation. However, ACT last updated its blog almost a month ago. Given all the political tussles this summer, it sounds as if no one’s home at ACT.
Fund writes:

Last month, ACT quietly shut its doors and went out of existence. Remarkably, its demise attracted almost no media attention. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t teach its backers some lessons. Privately, some Democrats admit that ACT’s emphasis on using paid workers to gin up voter turnout was eclipsed by Republican efforts to motivate volunteers to do the same work for free. In the end, ACT will stand as a monument to how big money in politics — such as the $37 million spent by Mr. Soros in 2004 — isn’t nearly as important as having a candidate with a coherent message and supporters who believe in their own nominee rather than merely disdain the opponent.

Fund also mentions the embarrassment and dismay that ACT caused the Democrats when the AP reported that ACT hired convicted sex offenders to do their door-to-door canvassing for the voter registration drives it conducted. It turned out that the hiring couldn’t even be blamed on poor oversight, but a deliberate attempt to rehabilitate the worst offenders by sending them to people’s homes in an effort to collect their personal information. Their spokesman made this policy clear when asked by the AP:

ACT does not believe the felons it sends door to door pose a threat to the public, said Mo Elleithee, a Washington-based spokesman for the group. “We believe it’s important to give people a second chance,” Elleithee said. “The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society.”

ACT later found more suitable tasks for their contingent of second-chancers, but the damage had already been done. In the end, as Fund notes, the Democrats spent millions on ACT and its shenanigans, while the Reublicans did the same work with volunteers, managing to avoid sending felons and sex offenders to the doorsteps of families. The Republicans also fielded candidates with coherent political messages rather than a presidential contender who offered up memorable quotes such as, “I voted for the eighty-seven billion — before I voted against it.”
If ACT has closed its doors, it won’t be missed, not even by deep-pocketed Democrats looking to rescue failed campaigns.

Not That We Blame You, Of Course …

Bill Clinton has a new spokesperson, the AP reports this morning. Jay Carson replaces Jim Kennedy, who has a new job flacking for Sony Pictures in Hollywood. Carson has a long history with the Democratic Party — and something tells me that this new job might have provided a way for the Democrats to shorten it a bit:

Former President Bill Clinton has hired a new spokesman, a veteran of the Howard Dean 2004 presidential campaign and New York City’s 2012 Olympics bid.
Jay Carson was also a former press secretary for Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and has worked for the Democratic National Committee. Clinton’s office announced Carson’s hiring Tuesday.

Hmm. Let’s see: Dean campaign — self-destructs. NYC’s Olympic bid finished out of the money. Tom Daschle managed to go from the Senate caucus leader to private citizen. The DNC just got co-opted by Mad How disease, whose series of illogical and outrageous eruptions have even caused people like Harry Reid to distance themselves.
Either Jay has gotten desperate to get away from failure, or the Democrats have decided he’s a jinx that needs to go where he can’t do much further harm. Best of luck, Jay … you’ll need it.

Air America: A New York Attorney Consults

CQ reader and New York attorney Eric O. Costello, Esq. has followed the Air America story over the past several days here at CQ, Michelle Malkin, and Radio Equalizer. He sent me an e-mail this morning that comprehensively looks at the legal issues surrounding the transfer of $875,000 from a Bronx non-profit to Air America — and also the notion floated by Al Franken that a “forensic” investigation had already brought this to Piquant Media’s attention. Mr. Costello has kindly consented to publication of his observations:

I am a lawyer, admitted in New York State since 1992, with a fair amount of experience in corporate transactions (I used to do a lot of corporate/SEC work — I’m mostly in litigation, these days). I also was on the board of directors of a not-for-profit corporation for over a decade, serving as one of that corporation’s officers as well. Please excuse any rambling that occurs in the following text (which you may quote from, freely, as I use no names other than my own).
Frankly, I’m aghast that the directors and officers of Gloria Wise approved the loans to the Air America affiliate, as has been reported. Aside from the obvious fact that there would be problems in taking funds earmarked for specific purposes (possibly violating the terms of the monetary grants — had the monies come from a foundation, and the foundation was made aware of the diversion, Gloria Wise’s name would be mud forevermore, and word gets around the foundations pretty fast), and aside from the fact that this would have been a very large chunk of Gloria Wise’s liquidity (assuming a $400,000+ series of loans — where the hell were Gloria Wise’s accountants in this?), I would imagine it would be highly problematic, under the charter and by-laws of Gloria Wise, to make such loans to Air America’s affiliate.
Typically, the charter and/or by-laws of a not-for-profit spell out what restrictions there are on investments that can be made. (Query: what’s in the charter and by-laws of Wise?) It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, but I can well believe that the loan to the Air America affiliate would not be allowed, especially (as I’ll bet is likely) it was unsecured, or secured only by unregistered and illiquid stock. At my not-for-profit, we stuck to bank accounts and CDs for any cash waiting around to be applied for the purposes for which it was earmarked. The insurance company that provided the “D&O” insurance for Gloria Wise must be having (to use the, ahem, non-legal phrase) the screaming whim-whams.
Follow the money, but also follow the minutes of the meetings of Gloria Wise’s board of directors. There should be some discussion in there, and (ideally) a written presentation to the board discussing the investment, considering this would be a material amount of Wise’s cash resources. That is, if the directors of Wise were doing their job properly.
(This doesn’t even get into the mind-bending conflict-of-interest issues here, which others have pointed out. On my board, we had long and involved discussions on the subject of officer and director conflicts, and we eventually adopted a conflicts procedure, after getting a lot of advice on the subject from experts in the field. This was funded by a grant from a foundation that wanted to strengthen our corporate structure and activities. Thanks be to God, the other officers and directors of my not-for-profit were blessed with sense, both of the common sense and moral variety.)
The use of the term “forensic” by Al Franken is interesting. “Forensic accounting” is a term well known in the legal community. I’ve attended CLE [continuing legal education] courses on “accounting for lawyers” that talk about exactly that — and usually this comes up *after* the fact, after some corporate entity has gone ker-splat (another legal term there, forgive me). It strikes me that if Franken is using the term correctly (I admit, a good question), this would imply that the new owners of Air America didn’t know of the issue before they bought in, possibly because of poor documentation of the loans (i.e., no note, no record). Poor documentation of loans is a Bad Thing, to use yet another legal term.
By the way, anyone know the terms of the loan(s)? What interest rates, what term, what security? Was this a sweetheart loan, on terms that Air America couldn’t have received at, say, Bank of America or J.P. MorganChase (or other Enron lenders). Any personal guarantees by individuals here, considering this was a startup? If so, anyone collecting on them? If not, why the hell not?
Finally, one last point: I doubt the FCC or SEC has jurisdiction over this matter (private firms, and Air America doesn’t own stations, as far as I know), but you know who has statutory oversight over New York State not-for-profits? The New York Attorney General’s office. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, E. Spitzer, Esq., Scourge of Wall Street, with an assorted collection of trophies mounted on his wall, would be the point man for any investigation of this matter. Surely (we ask rhetorically) Spitzer will be eager to investigate such blatant conflicts of interest, risky lending, and other sort of malfeasence, no? That is, unless his run for governor is putting a crimp on his time.

In my reply, I pointed out that Jeanette Graves alleges that the Gloria Wise board knew nothing of most of these transfers, but Mr. Costello quickly replied:

Even if Graves is telling the truth, *somewhere* there’s got to be something in the board minutes of Wise. We had regular updates on the budget and balance sheet of my not-for-profit, complete with hard-copy presentations, and it would strike me that a $400,000+ loan is going to show up on the balance sheet *somewhere*, and any director worth his or her salt is going to ask questions about this, rubber stamp or no.

I admit, that’s a darned good point. I serve in essentially the same position as Ms. Graves for a local non-profit here, one with just a fraction of the Gloria Wise budget. However, that kind of money should have shown up in their budget statements, which gives a whole new dimension to this scandal.
Eliot Spitzer, where are you? And where is the mainstream media?

Gray Lady Weeps Over Bolton Appointment

The New York Times editorial board works itself into quite an emotional state this morning over the recess appointment of John Bolton to the UN. In fact, their editorial today goes so far as to praise Condoleezza Rice’s performance at State, which they haven’t bothered to do as a stand-alone opinion, just to take a swipe at Bolton:

If there’s a positive side to President Bush’s appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it’s that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it’s hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington.

The editors just spew nonsense in this lead. Rice has long been one of Bolton’s most public supporters, arguing strongly for his confirmation and yesterday speaking in support of his recess appointment. Her decision to choose a more low-key undersecretary instead of Bolton obviously resulted from a decision made by Rice and Bush to send Bolton to the UN after John Danforth resigned.
The Times gets even more silly with this statement:

There is plenty to complain about at the United Nations, but real work happens there, and it requires the services of men and women who know how to wring agreement out of a group of wildly different and extremely self-interested representatives.

All this proves is that the Times, despite calling itself the Paper of Record, does little checking of the record on its own. The Times may not recall the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), for which the Arms Control Association credits Ambassador Bolton as chief architect. He got a dozen nations to agree to the treaty to interdict WMD components during shipping. One of those interdictions stopped nuclear material from reaching Iran, as Rice mentioned in a speech two months ago. The ACA credits PSI with helping to convince Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi to drop its WMD programs by successfully interdicting shipments of centrifuge components for its nuclear program:

The one successful interdiction that has come to light was an October 2003 operation to seize centrifuge components destined for Libya. U.S. officials credit the interdiction with helping to further convince Libya, which had been conducting secret disarmament negotiations with the United States and United Kingdom for several months, to publicly renounce its WMD ambitions and programs two months later.

He also managed to push through a repeal of the noxious UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1991 during his earlier tour at Turtle Bay. If the Times thinks that didn’t take some wheedling and diplomacy, then it has neglected its UN beat for far too long.
None of this really matters much, anyway. Bush used the recess appointment to show the Democrats that their irrational obstructionism has rendered them increasingly irrelevant. The same can be said for the editorial board of the New York Times.
UPDATE: We’re getting some traffic from James Wolcott, whose idea of biting wit is to say that I look like a child molester and that CQ commenters are “several rungs down the evolutionary ladder”. Small minds generate small thoughts, and I also notice that Wolcott doesn’t have the guts to allow comments on his site. Anyway, welcome aboard.

Err America: Franken Speaks, Buries The Excuses

David Lombino has another installment in the emerging financing scandal at Air America that Brian Maloney first uncovered last week. Today, Lombino publishes an interview with Al Franken that demolishes attempts by Air America supporters to defend the netlet from its connection to potential wire fraud and misappropriation of government grant money intended for poor kids and Alzheimer’s patients (via Michelle Malkin):

Mr. Franken said he has learned details of the story only in the last week. He said Piquant LLC, current owner and operator of the radio network, found a record of the transfers while conducting a “forensic” investigation into the finances of the previous owner, Progress Media, which was run by Mr. Cohen. That internal probe was conducted before the city agency became involved, Mr. Franken said. Efforts by The New York Sun to reach Mr. Cohen for comment in recent days have been unsuccessful.
A Piquant spokesman said yesterday that Gloria Wise would be compensated regardless of the amount of money it transferred. Mr. Franken said he did not know if money from Gloria Wise had been absorbed by the network and used to finance its operations. He said Piquant’s payments to Gloria Wise were scheduled to begin this month but were prevented from going through while the city investigation continued.
A spokesman for the Department of Investigation, Keith Schwam, said that if Air America discovered the transfers before the city probe began, “They neglected to tell anyone at DOI or in the city about it.”

So Piquant Media knew about this problem months ago but kept it quiet? That appears to corroborate its earlier statement that it decided “months ago” to pay back the money. However, why didn’t it start paying it once the forensic investigatin turned up the problem? More importantly, why didn’t their accountants and Piquant Media turn over these findings to Gloria Wise’s board and to the authorities?
Instead, the charity group continued without its funding for another several months, losing government contracts when it couldn’t meet its obligations under the previous earmarked grants to provide services to the poor kids and Alzheimer’s patients. While Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club struggled along, Piquant Media and Err America stayed silent, at least on this one injustice where a corporation took money from the downtrodden to line its own pockets. Funny how that happens when the pockets getting lined are one’s own.
Franken’s admissions clearly shows that Err America and its new management knew of Evan Cohen’s irregular transfers of money, but also shows that they intended on keeping it to themselves for as long as possible. If their statement about resolving to repay the money “months ago” had any truth to it, they would have notified Gloria Wise’s executives at the time of the discovery as well as the competent authorities of the state. They also would have come up with a better initial statement blaming everything on previous ownership; if they had already decided long ago to pay the money back, why didn’t they say so in that first press release?
So far all we have heard from Err America is a lot of double-talk and self-serving half-truths. That still beats what we’ve heard from most of the Exempt Media, which has avoided this topic despite the blockbuster nature of the story. That will be the topic of my Daily Standard column tomorrow. Perhaps media outlets like the New York Times, which regularly runs fawning articles on the struggling netlet, will finally look into the tawdry details of Err America’s grab at city grant money intended for the poor and sick.
UPDATE: A CQ welcome to Lucianne readers. Regarding “Err America”, I used that earlier in my blog to describe their efforts at audience-building. I did like RBMN’s drowning/waterpistol proverb, though … gotta use that myself sometime.
UPDATE II: Check out these observations from a New York attorney.
UPDATE III: To answer Mr. Buddwing in the comments — yes, we should note that Franken didn’t lawyer up and issue a standard “no comment” in response to Lambino’s request for a response. It would have been very easy to do so, although if he plans on running for office, eventually he will have to answer for this scandal. He doesn’t exactly apologize for the malfeasance, but he didn’t commit it, either.

Gray Lady On Plame: Never Mind

The New York Times finally noticed in its wall-to-wall coverage of the Valerie Plame leak case that Plame hardly equated to the deep-cover agent her husband, Joseph Wilson, claimed her to be. Far from learning the name and occupation of Wilson’s wife from a Deep Throat inside source at the White House, it turns out that all Robert Novak had to do was read a book:

One of the most puzzling aspects of the C.I.A. leak case has had to do with the name of the exposed officer. Why did the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak identify her as Valerie Plame in exposing her link to the C.I.A. in July 2003 when she had been known for years both at the agency and in her personal life by her married name, Valerie Wilson?
Mr. Novak offered a possible explanation for the disconnect on Monday, suggesting in his column that he could have obtained Ms. Wilson’s maiden name from the directory Who’s Who in America, which used that name in identifying her as the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador.
Mr. Novak did not explicitly cite the directory as his source. Nor was this his first public reference to the Who’s Who listing. In a column in October 2003, three months after he had first disclosed Ms. Wilson’s name and her role, Mr. Novak cited the published listing as evidence that Ms. Wilson’s identity was “no secret.”
But in drawing renewed attention to the published listing, Mr. Novak seemed to suggest more directly than ever before that the scrutiny that has focused on which of his sources provided him the name might have been misplaced, and that he might well have figured it out by himself.

So let’s get this straight. Ambassador Wilson has so much concern for his secret-agent wife’s cover that he gets her listed under her maiden name in Who’s Who In America as his spouse. Then, just to ensure that she remains as anonymous as possible, he starts leaking information on the secret trip she arranged for him at the CIA to investigate Saddam Hussein’s attempts to make a deal in Niger. And just to make absolutely sure that no one figures out who Valerie Plame is, he goes public and writes an op-ed stating for the record that the CIA selected him for this assignment — which raises eyebrows everywhere, since Wilson never worked for the CIA before.
Now I understand Wilson’s rage when this carefully constructed curtain of secrecy fell to the ground, courtesy of Robert Novak.
This just caps an already-ridiculous meme, one started by the media and one which indicts no one but themselves. The media demanded to know who leaked Plame’s name to Novak, but none of them wanted to reveal their inside sources to resolve the mystery. Now we know why. None of them can read a book or do their own research, except for Robert Novak — which explains why Patrick Fitzgerald seems to have lost interest in him.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! No, I’m not vacationing in Sag Harbor with Mickey Kaus, but I’ll bet he and I would be reading the same book if we were — Who’s Who seems to be a great journalistic guide to everyone the CIA wants to hide these days.