BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Alrighty Then

Okay.

Coffee. Much better.

Back from a glorious vacation in the Grand Tetons.

Unforeseen benefits of said vacation? A trip down I-15 and the chance to compare the BILLBOARDS in Provo, Utah...with the billboards in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It's a tale of babies vs. babes.

Good times, people. Good times.

UtahBrides.com vs. Vasectomy.com.

"Get Married, Buy a Home" (not joking, some mortgage company) vs "What Happens in Vegas...Happens at Cheetahs."

"God's Army II" vs. Spearmint Rhino.

Didn't know there was a "God's Army I."
"God's Army (I)" is a feature film that depicts the struggle of a young Mormon missionary in downtown Los Angeles adjusting to an alien city and the rigors and rewards of a new spiritual life -- and the struggle of his older mentor, who has a terminal disease, to adjust to the end of his own mortal life.
A young missonary in downtown Los Angeles?

Good luck!

Wonder if the film includes a scene of the young dude dropping some LDS knowledge on the crowd around the pool at the Downtown Standard?

I'd pay to see that.
"Excuse me, miss. May I talk to -- "

"Get lost, faggot."

"Oh -- "

"How'd ee-ew get tha' bike up here?!"

"I'm sorry, I was just -- "

"Wan' some coke? Ha ha!"

"Oh, dear."

"Lindsay! Linnnnnsssssaaaaayyyyy!! 'M over here, ee-ew bitch!!!"

"I'll be leaving now."

"Gimme your tie. Ack!"
Now, the news of the day...from the NY Times:

Tremors Across Washington as Lobbyist Turns Star Witness

Excerpts:
Not long ago, Mr. Abramoff was perhaps Washington's most aggressive - and, at $750 an hour, most highly compensated - deal maker, a flamboyant man who moved fluidly through the nexus of money and power.

Now his decision to cooperate in a broadening corruption and bribery investigation has thrust him into the role of a corporate insider turning against the company that claimed just to be doing business as usual
The "company" is "Washington, INC."
The plea bargain also had immediate ripple effects for a lawmaker who was once Mr. Abramoff's closest ally in the Republican leadership, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas.

Mr. DeLay, indicted on a count of money laundering in a separate campaign-related case in Texas, is trying to regain his post as House majority leader, but Mr. Abramoff's plea complicates his prospects.
Gee, ya think?
Mr. Abramoff's plea bargain is scary to Washington's power brokers precisely because he was so entangled with so many of them.

His ties to Grover G. Norquist, a leading conservative strategist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition who is now a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, date from his college days.
More on that particular trio:
A one-time Hollywood filmmaker, Mr. Abramoff began his rise in Republican power circles in the 1980's, when he was chairman of the College Republicans National Committee.

His staff included Mr. Norquist and Mr. Reed.
That...is a fun bunch.

My god, did I waste my time at Northwestern.

What was I thinking?! I should've joined the CRNC!

Had I spent my time trying to figure out how to "drown the federal government in a bathtub" and...hating gays...why...I'd be super-successful right now.

I'd have my own restaurant (Signatures) and my own cruise line (Sun Cruz)!

But no, I was more intersted in the scene at the Metro and the pancakes at Walker Bros.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!
In 1994, when the Republicans reclaimed the House after 40 years, Mr. Abramoff rose to power with them.

He used his contacts with Mr. DeLay and other prominent Republicans to build a lucrative lobbying and business enterprise that, at its peak, included a fancy restaurant, Signatures, with a special kosher kitchen.
I don't think that the, uh, "average patron" at Signatures was too concerned with "keeping kosher."

Capice?
His primary clients were Indian tribes, which he has now acknowledged bilking.

From complimentary meals at his restaurant to lavish golfing trips to Scotland, including one taken by Mr. Ney and another by Mr. DeLay, to lucrative skybox tickets at Washington sports events, Mr. Abramoff's largesse seemed to know no bounds.

*

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois announced that he would donate to charity $69,000 in campaign contributions directed to him by Mr. Abramoff.
Ha.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Mr. Hastert said the speaker would join a growing list of members of Congress who have returned or donated money given them by Mr. Abramoff.

"The speaker believes that while these contributions were legal, it is appropriate to donate the money to charity," said the spokesman, Ron Bonjean.
Rrriiiggghhhttt.

Speaking of charity, AmericaBlog has a pretty nifty piece on some talking heads who've spent some time dealing with Casino Jack's own charities.

Specifically, Messrs. Matthews, Snow and Hume:
Abramoff forms a group called the "Capital Athletic Foundation." The group appears to play a key role in the Abramoff scandal:

"...allegations that Abramoff used NCPPR and CAF to pay for overseas trips for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and other Republican lawmakers and that he attempted to influence lawmakers with large donations from various American Indian tribes."

More on the non-profit's role from the Washington Post:

"The Capital Athletic Foundation's Web site portrays youths at play: shaking hands over a tennis net, learning how to hold a bat, straining for a jump ball. Its text solicits donations for what it describes as "needy and deserving" sportsmanship programs.

In its first four years of operation, the charity has collected nearly $6 million. A gala fundraiser last year at the International Spy Museum at one point attracted the Washington Redskins' owner as its chairman and was to honor the co-founder of America Online.

Records for GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths, and federal investigators are looking into how large amounts of money were funneled through the nonprofit group to support Abramoff's interests.

But tax and spending records of the Capital Athletic Foundation obtained by The Washington Post show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths.
Oops.

(This WaPo story is dated 9/27/2004, BTW.)
Instead, the documents show that Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's high-powered Republican lobbyists, has repeatedly channeled money from corporate clients into the foundation and spent the overwhelming portion of its money on pet projects having little to do with the advertised sportsmanship programs, including political causes, a short-lived religious school and an overseas golf trip."
Aravosis brings the above mentioned talking heads back into the mix.
Then we go back to March 5, 2003 and find out that Chris Matthews helped put on an event benefiting the very same "Capital Athletic Foundation":

"It's called the Interactive Spy Game Gala. Scheduled for March 26 at the International Spy Museum in Washington, the event's purpose is to raise about $300,000 for the Capital Athletic Foundation....

Fox News Channel's Tony Snow is master of ceremonies, and Fox's Brit Hume and MSNBC's Chris Matthews are aboard.

Opera great Placido Domingo is an event committee member. But, this being Washington, the event will be mostly populated by powerful lawmakers, including Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas; Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif."
Excellent stuff.

Please read the whole piece at AmericaBlog: Apparently, the above mentioned "event" was canceled at the last minute.

Think Chris Matthews will play Hardball with Abramoff?

More will be revealed...

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