Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gypsies, Tramps, and Mark Sanford

Dana Milbank
Op-ed on Mark Sanford

"I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest." - Silvio Berlusconi

Weird stories coming out of Europe, about the clashes between the Irish and about 100 Gypsies, with the Irish violently kicking them out of Belfast, making the Iranian crackdowns looking like a tea social... It gets a bit confusing, calling the Romanian immigrants either Romanians or Roma, which is an ethnic group, and if they are Romanian Roma, which this group happens to be, and now they are trying to migrate back to Romania. It seems that each European country they go to is treating them worse because the only job skills they have are as thieves and working the black market. Their fates, as reported by the BBC: "So what is in store for the 100 Romanian Roma, as they make their way home? There is not much to cheer about, says Mr Ionescu, who believes their European citizenship is mostly on paper.
"They are going back to a hole. Local authorities have no power to integrate them and central government has run out of money for this," he said.
"I'm afraid without European pressure nothing will be done. We need a European Roma Agency. We are chasing the Roma from one country to another and in Romania their situation has worsened after 20 years of democracy." 

The UN report on the global illegal drug trade has just come out, and the good news is that demand for opiates, cocaine, and marijuana has declined or stabilized. Which may mean that the market for cocaine has been saturated, and the violent fighting between drug cartels in Mexico may be fighting over smaller sales and turf, though cocaine is still a $50 billion market. OK, I might fight over a piece of that, too.. The bad news is that places like the Golden Triangle have converted to making amphetamine, and amphetamine sales is up, especially in the Middle East: "Huge laboratories in South East Asia, especially in the Greater Mekong sub-region (Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and parts of southern China), are producing massive quantities of methamphetamine tablets, crystal meth and other substances including ketamine, it said.
It said EU countries were the main suppliers of ecstasy, while Canada had become a major hub for the trafficking of both ecstasy and meth.
But 30% of global ATS seizures in 2007 were made in the Near and Middle East, where use was reported to have risen sharply.
The UNODC said shifts in the production of ATS showed how criminal groups could exploit the situation in more vulnerable, developing states."

Sex scandals are becoming common among our politicians, witness the standing ovation John Ensign got when he addressed the House Republicans at lunch the other day. In fact, pundits are predicting that he might easily become re-elected because he admitted to his affair before it officially broke elsewhere in the news.

 Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be going over the good old boy limit, now that more allegations are coming out about his life. His wife is seeking divorce after pictures surfaced of him at an 18 year old girl's birthday party, and everyone winked and nudged each other. But, by God, the last straw has been reached when three prostitutes have claimed that he paid for their company, and he did the boogie at the Prime Minister's residence, eeewww! Be careful where you sit, you might get the wet spot...

So, the GOP had made a list of promising politicians that might be considered to run for President in 2012. We can scratch Bobby Jindal and John Ensign off that list. And now, it looks like it's time to scratch out South Carolina's Mark Sanford, who disappeared for 5 days without telling his wife or his staff, leaving the state and the press to play Where's Waldo?

Jokes were made after his staff suggested that he might be hiking the Appalachian Trail, and last Sunday was declared Hike Naked Day. His wife suggested he wanted to get away from the kids, or that he was writing, or that he had projects to do. It turns out that he had a project to do in Argentina and, as Politico reports from his press conference: "South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, his eyes red, admitted to having an extramarital affair Wednesday with an Argentine woman.

"I've been unfaithful to be my wife," Sanford said at a state capitol news conference.

It began very innocently," he explained, saying that developed into an adulterous relationship in the past year.

He said he seen his unidentified mistress three times since they began the affair or, as he put it, "since the whole sparking thing." Sanford said he was resigning his post as Chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. I can hardly wait for the late night jokes to come out... How many more family values politicians will come out and admit to their illicit affairs? We know there are a few more...

late night jokes:

"Nice vote of confidence for President Obama this weekend. John McCain, of all people, said that President Obama has 'done well' during his first few months in office. In fact, McCain's so proud of Obama, he sent him a card with a five dollar bill inside." --Conan O'Brien

"More unrest in Iran as the government continues to crack down on protesters. And to disperse crowds, Iranian police used tear gas, water cannons and the NBC primetime lineup." --Conan O'Brien

"Some experts are saying the Iranian election was rigged because in some towns, voter turnout was more than 100%. What's even stranger, all those extra votes were from elderly Jewish people in Palm Beach, Florida." --Conan O'Brien

"According to a new report, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have greatly reduced their number of customer complaints. The automakers did this by greatly reducing their number of customers." --Conan O'Brien

"Today, President Obama signed a bill that prevents tobacco companies from using misleading labels like 'low tar' and 'light.' The tobacco companies said from now on they'll label their low tar cigarettes as 'less cancerific.'" --Conan O'Brien

"President Barack Obama's approval rating of 61%, which I thought was staggeringly high, has now dropped to 56%. So don't kid yourselves. Hillary could still win this thing." --David Letterman

"Did you hear this? Hillary Clinton busted her elbow. Apparently, she slipped and hit the floor when she went home to her husband early, unannounced." --David Letterman

"And she hasn't recovered yet. As a matter of fact, she's still wearing her orthopedic pantsuit." --David Letterman

"John McCain is being more outspoken about President Obama's foreign policy and his Iranian strategy. And today, McCain got so loud and so angry, and he was screaming, that they asked him to leave Denny's." --David Letterman

"You folks following the Iranian elections? Well, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the winner. And lots of protests. And it got to be so crazy that Iran's supreme leader actually spoke live on television last night. And it preempted Al Jazeera's most popular show, their number one show over there, which is 'How I Met Your Camel.'" --David Letterman

"But the supreme leader said that the Iranian elections were not rigged. Well, that's good enough for me." --David Letterman

"He did say that there was some trouble early on and they did make some errors. As a matter of fact, he's now saying that they forgot to count votes for Susan Boyle." --David Letterman

"But the Iranian government is planning a curfew because things are getting so crazy in Iran. And I thought if there is one thing an angry mob respects, by God, it's a curfew, isn't it?" --David Letterman

"Hillary Clinton is expected to make a full recovery after having surgery to repair her broken right elbow. Yeah, doctors say she'll be able to point and crazy smile at people in no time." --Jimmy Fallon

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