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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Inside Information

“Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has maintained for years that his stock holdings in the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain posed no conflict of interest for a policymaker deeply involved in health care matters. He even received two rulings in the 1990s from the Senate ethics committee that blessed the holding of the stock in blind trusts.
So when Frist decided in June to dump all the stock, and later cited as the reason his desire to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, eyebrows went up among ethics experts and congressional watchdogs. Why did he do it at that time?
Precisely a month later, after the stock was sold, its price tumbled 9 percent when executives in the company -- HCA Inc., which was founded by Frist's father and on whose board Frist's brother serves -- disclosed that hospital admissions of insured patients were lower than expected, depressing profits in the second quarter.
Several ethics experts and watchdogs said they found it odd that Frist could intervene to order such a sale when the HCA stock was ostensibly out of his reach in blind trusts. Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, said, ‘The notion that you have a blind trust but you can tell your trustee when to sell stock in it just doesn't make any sense. It means you have a seeing eye trust and not a blind trust. It's ridiculous.’
Larry Noble, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, agreed that the arrangement ‘seems to defeat the purpose of a blind trust. Somebody else is supposed to have control over it to avoid potential conflicts of interest. If you can just reach in and sell stock, it seems it defeats the whole purpose.’
A sample agreement for blind trusts published by the Senate ethics committee staff on its Web site states that there should be no ‘direct or indirect communication’ between senators and trustees unless the senator is directing the trustee ‘to sell all of an asset . . . [which] creates a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof due to the subsequent assumption of duties’ by the senator.
Jan W. Baran, a Republican ethics expert at Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, said, ‘That's the question, 'What changed?' ‘ to compel Frist to sell his stock when he did.
According to Senate ethics rules, Baran said, Frist ‘can tell somebody to dispose of all of an asset that was initially placed into the blind trust. As a matter of Senate ethics rules, he is in compliance. The question that remains is, why did he sell the stock at that time? What conflicts arose in June that did not exist beforehand?’"
-Washington Post, September 22, 2005

“Maybe he can have Martha Stewart’s old cell. She isn’t using it any more. And now for the President’s version of ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

“THE PRESIDENT: Bianca. Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question.
Q I'll follow up.
THE PRESIDENT: No, that's fine. (Laughter.) Thank you though, appreciate it. Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question.
Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --
THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?
Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.
Q Just a quick question --
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush at the Pentagon, September 22, 2005

“Q Who makes up the list of reporters that he is allowed to call on?
Q Yes, where's Bianca? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Who makes up the list? It depends on the reporters that show up. I don't think she had a question. But the President --
Q Who is Bianca, anyway?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President had his most recent press conference this afternoon just a short time before I was out here, took questions from I think everyone who was there.
Q -- you count that as a press conference?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it was a 30-minute briefing and several questions taken. I think I would call it a press conference.
Q Does anyone know who she is?”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, September 22, 2005

“So if anyone sees Jeff Gannon, male prostitute, in a dress… Well, I think we just figured out what his drag name is. America needs… JEFF GANNON. The only man who can save us (or at least the president) from what could possibly be crippling questioning. Apparently his new ‘secret agent’ name s going to be Bianca.”

"Thank you. Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you've said you are going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
-“Jeff Gannon” at White House Press Gaggle, January 26, 2005

“Fred Garvin: [entering] Mrs. Potter?

Mrs. Potter: Yes.. that's me.
Fred Garvin: The same Mrs. Potter who's Vice-President, in charge of loans for the Franklin National Bank in Chicago.
Mrs. Potter: Yeah, that's me.
Fred Garvin: Here, this is for you.
Mrs. Potter: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Fred Garvin: May I come in?
Mrs. Potter: What for?
Fred Garvin: Well, ma'am, you see, when a VP like yourself comes to Milain to do business, it's customary for the company to send a gal up to the room, compliments of Great Lakes Feed & Grain. And, well.. since you're a gal, the company sent me - Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute.
[Fred stares at the camera as the title card appears ]
Mrs. Potter: Uh.. I don't, I don't think you understand, Fred. I'm not that kind of girl..
Fred Garvin: Oh, let me reassure you, ma'am. I can assure you professional hygiene, discretion and animal gratification.
Mrs. Potter: I have never had to pay for that in my whole life.
Fred Garvin: Well, don't worry about it. Great Lakes Feed & Grain is picking up the tab. You get me for the whole night!
Mrs. Potter: Hey, uh..
Fred Garvin: Hey is for horses, young lady. No ifs, ands or buts about it - you're spending the night with Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute.
[Fred stares at the camera as the title card appears]
Well, now, I have a work order here which specifies that I am to roger you roundly 'til 6:15 tomorrow morning.
Mrs. Potter: Now, wait a minute.. wait a minute. Don't I get dome say in this? I mean, maybe I want some sleep. Maybe I don't want to be rogered roundly.
Fred Garvin: Ma'am, you're dealing here with a fully qualified male strumpet. I service the entire quad cities area - Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf. Why don't you give it a whirl? What have you got to lose?
Mrs. Potter: [walks aside to think to herself] What do I have to lose? No one's ever gonna know.. and I'm not gonna see Paul for another couple of weeks. Sure, Fred's not the most attractive guy in the world.. but if he makes a living at this, he must be doing something right. [finished thinking] Okay, Mr. Garvin. I'll try it.”
-Saturday Night Live


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