Governor Spitzer Resigns Over Prostitution Scandal
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resigned over charges he spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes, including one particularly swanky night at a Washington hotel the night before Valentine's Day.
Earlier in the week, Spitzer publicly apologized to his wife and family and to the public for his personal failings. Later, it became obvious the scandal was irrecoverable and he began preparations for resignation, which he did this morning as I write this, Wednesday, March 12.
Most reactions have been to the effect of "couldn't happen to a nicer guy", a sarcastic blow to the tough-as-nails politician who, ironically, made his name as a tough-as-nails state prosecutor with a successful record of, among other things, breaking up prostitution rings.
The radio reports mentioned a "Kristen" who charged the 48-year-old governor $4,800 for her services. Investigations revealed he may have spent as much as $80,000 on prostitutes over the past two years.
Spitzer says his resignation is effective Monday. He will be replaced by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who will become New York's first black governor.
In a way, it's a shame, really. Spitzer had a promising career still ahead of him. I'm sure Mrs. Spitzer will be the recipient of a million interview requests. They'll be asking things like "Did you know this was going on?" and "How was your home sex life?" and "How did it feel up there next to your hypocrite of a husband when he had to come clean?" (So far, she has been described as merely "stoic".) She and Hillary could trade some stories.
I was just getting over this story when this came in from the Tampa Tribune...
Yamanaka, who met the judge at Malio's Restaurant around 1995 ("he bought me a drink") claims the judge helped her hide assets from creditors, at a time when she had court judgments against her totaling nearly $315,000. This was done with shared bank accounts since her credit was terrible. Nonetheless, the judge and Yamanaka bought and sold a house in Hawaii, all under his name. He said they were "business partners".
His judicial standing is already at risk since shielding her from judgements is unethical. Their personal relationship has provided natural fodder for speculation (she said it included sex.....he said it's "personal", but won't elaborate). Now she says he owes her more money and she is suing him!
Like Spitzer's story, the judge's tragic weakness will cost him. His long and storied career in Central Florida, historic on many levels, really, is being brought down in an extremely humiliating way. BUT....who's fault is that?
Double Standards Again
The second most-repeated phrase during and after the Debra LaFave sex trial where she was merely given probation for having sex with a student was, "Oh sure...if it was a man he'd've gotten life!" (The first most-oft-repeated phrase, from men anyway, was "Hey, where was this action when I was in high school!"). The very beautiful LaFave was cited as being "too pretty for prison" and managed to escape that fate, while less attractive female teachers went to jail.
No one here is going to defend pedophilia and please don't get me wrong, but now comes the story of Dade City Middle School teacher Michael Black who's been sentenced to 22 years for having sex with a teenage girl who wants to marry him after graduation(!). Her father called him a predator and the judge obviously agreed. Black plead guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct and was handed 22½ years followed by 10 years of strict sexual offender probation.
I think the double-standard here is glaring. I am NOT an advocate of the frivolous position that statutory rape is different for boys than it is for girls. The law does not distinguish gender.
LaFave continues to work her day job, although I believe she's still on probation. (I should point out that the most notorious sex abuse case in modern times between teacher and student, that of Mary Kay LeTourneau, did result in a seven-year prison sentence. That her "victim" and LeTourneau eventually had kids and got married is a subject for another time.)
To be fair, her story is that hitchikers left the weed behind accidentally, but was discovered when she was pulled over for swerving in the road.
The 69-year-old Wells, founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute and organizer of the region's annual family movie festival called the Spud Fest, then failed a sobriety test.
Wells' lawyer, Ron Swafford, said that a friend of Wells' testified that he'd left a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle after using it that day, and that Wells was unaware of it. Swafford also said several witnesses were prepared to testify that Wells had very little to drink at her birthday party and was not intoxicated when she left. He said she was swerving on the road because she was trying to find the heater controls in her new car.
Under a plea agreement, three misdemeanor counts - driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance - were dropped. Wells is serving 6 months unsupervised probation and was fined $410.50.
I hadn't been to the Bay area RenFest in many, many years, at least since they were located behind the Largo City Public Library in Pinellas County. Some time ago, they moved operations due to the Largo government's desire to use the property for other purposes. Therefore the decision was made to move this most unique theme park to the University of South Florida area, specifically, MOSI, that is, the "backyard" of the Museum of Science and Industry. Amid acres of rolling grass and stately grand oaks, it's found a suitable home, I think.
The price has gone up considerably since the old days, to around $17 per adult. It is quite the grand attraction, but I think an individual might get more out of it if he or she is already predisposed to being a fan of the time period being emulated here, that of 16th century England. However, even if one is not, the time spent here is certainly entertaining if for no other reason than to observe the many actors, performers and shopkeeps who stay in character for the entire 6-week run of this Festival.
My co-explorers for this outing were members of the delightful Ciurro family, Lisa, Dan, Anne and mom, who, except for Lisa (FANGRRL), Dan's wife, I was meeting for the first time. They graciously invited me along care of some free passes obtained by Anne Ciurro. I was honored to be included in this and honestly didn't know I was along for a free ride until we were, literally, at the front gates.
It is my impression that once inside, it is virtually indistinguishable from the original RenFest of Largo, except maybe more spread out (others may disagree). That means a lot of walking, so ye olde editor carried along his trusty cane to assist in traversing the property and that definitely helped forestall fatigue. However, benches are also fairly plentiful for frequent rest-stops, if needed.
The Jousting Tournaments, Human Chess Game, and roaming performers (all in character and costume), and live animals contribute to an eerie sense of time-reversal, where you get the feeling this is precisely how it was in 15-something England. Some shows we stopped to see included the aforementioned Jousting Tourney and Human Chess match, plus a fascinating exhibit by a glass-blower. Comedians and singers are all over the place, one can stop and eavesdrop for a minute or for an entire performance. The King and Queen (I believe the same actors have been doing this for at least a decade) wander and meet with common folks before one or both is called to officiate something like the tournament.
The event carried some minuses. Most irritatingly, the food, something many of us link inextricably with a trip to the fair, was absolutely not up to par with fairs of the past. We were confused as to why this seemed to be so pervasive this year. My party wound up throwing away more than they consumed, but I settled for a pretty decent funnel cake (care of Lisa, thank you, sweetie) and Gatorade. I guess funnel cakes are hard to mess up.
Speaking of Gatorade, yes, I am aware there was no Gatorade in mid-16th century England. This brings me to the next minus, which may mean nothing to most people. I distinctly remember the old Fest heavily discouraged the use of any modern technology on the grounds, in an attempt to further the illusion that we were out of our time. Exceptions included things like wristwatches, which were referred to as "elfin timepieces". You never saw a cellphone or pager. Of course, times change and the resistance has softened, not only with the paying public, but with the vendors themselves who made little attempt to disguise their ATM or credit card machines as anything but what they were. Hey, times are tough, they'll take the money however they can get it!
However, in retrospect, these fairly minor annoyances did not affect our enjoyment to any appreciable degree (well, hopefully, the food meets better standards next year), as we were just happy to be doing something together. All things considered, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to returning next year.
THE BAY AREA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Grounds of MOSI at USF
Museum of Science and Industry
Fowler Avenue and 46th Street
11315 North 46th Street
Tampa, FL 33617
Weekends Only from 2/23/2008 -- 4/6/2008
10:00:00 AM/6:00:00 PM
Dave Stevens, R.I.P.
This is late-breaking and just getting in under the wire, I know, but I couldn't let this issue of PCR go by without acknowledging the tragic death of Rocketeer creator/artist Dave Stevens at the too-young age of 52. I just heard about it (via Mike's Rant) and I'm freaked out over it. Stevens was a f*cking genius. He was an astounding artist who not only perfected a fine-line, retro-style magazine look to his illustrations, but along with creating the Rocketeer, was instrumental in reinvograting Bettie Page fandom (most of the women in his comics bear some resemblance to Page). He will be sorely missed.