The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 November 2005

Franken Defender Finally Emerges


Hey, Somebody Had To Fix Franken's Scalia Mess

Whether the left was busy overdosing on Tofurkey, or protesting at shopping malls (we're certain they weren't with Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, nobody was), the Radio Equalizer isn't sure. They were very, very late to the Franken-Scalia party, however.

After widespread New York City media criticism (previously covered here), along comes The Nation a week later, claiming Al Franken was actually right to confront US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Yes, we can read Al's mind: "Hey, where the #!%#&?! were you guys last week?"

Why didn't more lefties race to Franken's rescue when this first broke? Did even they see the irony in pressing Scalia over ethics issues, given Air America Radio's sleazy corporate behavior and Franken's awareness of it (previously proven by Michelle Malkin and myself), despite his dishonest denials?

In keeping with typical leftist intellectual dishonesty, The Nation's John Nichols omits any mention of the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal, where $875,000 in taxpayer grants were diverted to the liberal radio network.

How does that really compare to Scalia's hunting trip, or his dinner with Cheney?

An excerpt:

According to a scathing article that appeared in the Scalia-friendly New York Post, "Franken stood up in the back row and started talking about ‘judicial demeanor' and asking ‘hypothetically' about whether a judge should recuse himself if he had gone duck-hunting or flown in a private jet with a party in a case before his court."

Franken's reference was to Scalia's refusal to recuse himself from deliberations involving a lawsuit brought by public-interest groups that said Vice President Dick Cheney engaged in improper contacts with energy-industry executives and lobbyists while heading the Bush administration task force on energy policy. A federal court ordered Cheney to release documents related to his work with the task force, at which point the Bush administration appealed to the Supreme Court.

After the administration filed its appeal but before the court took the case, Cheney and Scalia were seen dining together in November, 2003, at an out-of-the-way restaurant on Maryland's eastern shore.

After the court agreed to take the case, Cheney and Scalia spent several days in January, 2004, hunting ducks at a remote camp in Louisiana.

Watchdog groups called for Scalia to recuse himself -- Charles Lewis, director of the Center for Public Integrity, argued that fraternization involving a justice and a litigant with a case before the court "gives the appearance of a tainted process where decisions are not made on the merits" -- but the justice responded by announcing that, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."

Several months later, Scalia and the other justices remanded the case back to the appellate court for further consideration -- a decision that effectively made the issue go away during the 2004 presidential contest.

Scalia, a friend of Cheney's since the days when they worked together in the administration of former President Gerald Ford, had participated in a decision that was of tremendous benefit to the vice president in an election year.

Yet, when Franken raised the issue at the Conversation on the Circle event, according to the Post, Scalia "chided Franken as if he were a delinquent schoolboy." And Time Warner chairman Dick Parsons said of author: "Al was not quite ready for prime time."

In fact, it was Scalia, not Franken, who was caught with his ethics down.

Scalia took issue with the comic's use of the word demeanor. "Demeanor is the wrong word. You mean ethics," the justice claimed, before adding that, "Ethics is governed by tradition. It has never been the case where you recuse because of friendship."

Actually, Scalia was wrong on all accounts. Because U.S. Supreme Court justices decide when to recuse themselves for ethical reasons, they operate under looser standards and softer scrutiny than other jurists. Thus, the term "demeanor" was precisely correct. Legal dictionaries define "demeanor" as one's "outward manner" and "way of conducting oneself." By any measure, with his refusal to recuse himself from a case involving his friend Cheney, Scalia chose to conduct himself in an unethical manner.

While it's convenient to pin it all on the New York Post, until The Nation is ready to come clean on the Gloria Wise scandal, they haven't a leg to stand on here. "Ethics" and "Al Franken" really don't belong in the same sentence.

That confronting Scalia resulted in the one time Al didn't get his legendary "Frankenfluff" treatment, probably wasn't coincidental.

Oddly, Al Franken also jumped into Washington state politics today, in a widely distributed AP story. The issue: embattled Spokane Mayor Jim West, who faces an upcoming recall vote after a barrage of recent allegations about his personal life.

From the story (excerpted here):

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Six months after a newspaper outed Mayor Jim West as a closeted homosexual and accused him of offering city jobs and perks to young men in exchange for sex, residents are nearing the end of a cringe-inducing saga.

Ballots are already in the mail for a special Dec. 6 election that will decide if West remains in office or is recalled. Officials are investigating whether he abused his office.

"I think Spokane has been suffering from a low-grade depression," said Tom Keefe, a local attorney who is spearheading the effort to recall West.

And why not? Consider some of the details that have greeted residents on television or in The Spokesman-Review newspaper:

One young man accused West, 55, of offering him $300 to swim naked with him.

An investigator said West offered an $80,000 a year job as city human resources director to a young gay man, identified as Witness No. 2, with no qualifications for the work, saying "it's totally my choice."

The Spokesman-Review on May 5 began a series of stories that contended West offered young men city jobs in exchange for sex. Several young gay men told the newspaper they were offered perks, trips, jobs and appointments by West.

The recall election is based on a single count alleging West misused his office by offering to help an 18-year-old man he met at get a City Hall internship. The person the mayor thought was a young man was really a middle-aged computer expert hired by the newspaper.

For the national media, the West story was interesting primarily because he was a longtime conservative Republican state legislator who often voted against gay-friendly bills.

Liberal comedian and author Al Franken calls West "the anti-gay gay mayor."

"Not every anti-gay Republican is a repressed homosexual," Franken joked during an appearance in Spokane, "I just want to make that clear."

West also went on the "Today" show early in the scandal to explain that he voted against gay marriage and similar bills because it was the will of his constituents.

West has declined to identity himself as gay, or "psychoanalyze" himself or talk about when he knew he was attracted to men. He is not in therapy, he told The Associated Press, even though his private laundry has been hanging for months on the national clothesline.

"I'm asexual more than anything else," West said, describing his life as work, TV, pizza and beer.

Predictably, liberal gay groups have pounced on West, for the sole reason that he's a Republican. Were he a Democrat, they'd be marching in the streets to support him.

Franken's rhetoric follows their talking points with precision.

Since it seems likely West will be recalled, it's hard to understand why Franken felt the need to kick a guy on his way out of Dodge, except to take an easy shot at somebody.

Someday Al will get all of the anger out his system, once and for all.

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Frankenspeech by Agent Tim Online, Frankencharity by IMAO


  • Continuing to talk about this charity thing is rather sad. I mean, what do you expect them to do? They had a clearly shady dude running the organization when it first started. He made some bad choices, this was one, and they are trying to make it right and move on.
    It really comes off as quite pathetic that you have to keep bringing this up. Questions were raised, questions were answerd, move on.

    By Blogger Jake White, at 28 November, 2005 14:04  

  • ^^^^^ well said.

    In fresh ratings news...
    WTPG: +0.3
    KFPT: +0.2
    KKZN: +0.2

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 28 November, 2005 17:10  

  • "Someday Al will get all of the anger out his system, once and for all."

    Projection, thy name is Brian Maloney.

    By Blogger Robert, at 28 November, 2005 17:56  

  • Seattle numbers show AAR affiliate rising to 2.1, or more than double its fall 2004 rating. Also, this is now barely behind the 2.2 rating of the limbaugh/oreilly/savage conservative talker... yeah, not a viable format.

    By Blogger Justin, at 28 November, 2005 18:12  

  • Yea, just drop it Brian and all you neocons! What are you expecting? An admission of guilt? An apology? Repayment of the debt!? Get out of town cause your not getting either.

    As long as progressive ideals are advanced, as long as our liberal network is born, who cares if some inner-city kids get run over in the process! Don't you see, our message must get out!


    By Blogger monkeybrau, at 28 November, 2005 18:32  

  • monkeybrau said..."Yea, just drop it Brian and all you neocons! What are you expecting? An admission of guilt? An apology? Repayment of the debt!?"

    I know it's easier just to bury your head in the sand and believe what you want to believe, but I'm still gonna try and wave some smelling salts under your nose.

    If you listened to AAR, you'd have noticed that they have been pretty open about the controversy. I listen to Franken's show as well as Morning Sedition and they have discussed it on both shows. They are clearly very embarrassed and sorry that it happened, and were in the process of paying off the debt when an investigation was launched which halted the whole process.

    So you've got an admission of guilt, an apology, AND an attempt to pay back the money. So what exactly is your point? Blaming the current people running AAR for the problem is like blaming William Clay Ford, Jr. for something Lee Iacocca did when HE was running Ford Motor, Co.

    This is just a lame attempt to draw negative attention to AAR, but anyone with an open mind knows they have already dealt with the issue so it makes people like Maloney look foolish to constantly bring it up.

    By Blogger Jake White, at 28 November, 2005 18:45  

  • Surely you can't expect a fair and reasoned discussion with Brian Maloney-Baloney-Malarkey and his sheeple. When you have so little substantive material, you have to keep dredging up the same tired talking point, even when the points are no longer valid.

    I wonder if Maloney-Baloney-Malarkey is paying as close attention to the corruption among his idols, like Delay, Cunningham, Frist, etal. No, can't do that... have to go after the people with real power — liberal radio talk show hosts.

    By Blogger Scribe, at 28 November, 2005 19:17  

  • Take a look at the program lineup in Seattle:

    Just goes to show you: Less AAR talent ='s higher ratings!! You should post the program lineup for ANY stations that gains ratings and you'll notice that they had to REMOVE AAR content in order to get ratings.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 28 November, 2005 19:57  

  • Are you retarded, Lidsville?

    Rhodes, Maddow, Morning Sedition, Hartmann (AAR syndication), Franken, Malloy, So What Else is News, Ring of Fire, Flanders, On the Real, and Springer are all Air America.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 28 November, 2005 20:24  

  • "Ethics is governed by tradition." -- Scalia

    That's what the old slave-owners used to say many years ago, until that tradition disappeared.

    By Blogger WHT, at 28 November, 2005 20:43  

  • The only AAR prime time player is Al Franken. Miller and Schultz have the other prime slots. AAR knows they can't make it with Randi 'Tinfoil Hat' Rhodes in morning or on the drive home.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 28 November, 2005 21:10  

  • Your vigilant attendance in defense of AAR speaks volumes. Keep hope alive, keep believing, click the heels of your ruby slippers and maybe it will all magically become successful. Or, recognize that, even for free, people don't want to listen to paranoid fantastical delusions of doom, gloom and schadenfreude.

    By Blogger monkeybrau, at 29 November, 2005 12:47  

  • monkeybrau, couldn't help but notice you didn't actually disagree with anything I said.

    I don't know if AAR is going to make it or not. That's not really the point. You said they didn't apoligize, admit guilt, or attempt to repay. Those are all incorrect statements as I showed.

    By Blogger Jake White, at 29 November, 2005 18:33  

  • Mr. Kite wrote: In fresh ratings news...
    WTPG: +0.3
    KFPT: +0.2
    KKZN: +0.2,

    But that's really not a big deal.

    WTPG went from 0.9 to 1.2, but it's neverthless in 22nd place in Columbus, Ohio, and last winter it was at 1.5.

    KFPT, Fresno, is in 29th place and merely moved from 0.4 to 0.6. Nothing to write home about there.

    KKZN, Denver, went from 1.9 to 2.1, but two ratings books ago it was at 2.0. So it's pretty much hovering around the same spot -- and at 20th place in its market.

    Moreover, you could easily have found "fresh" examples of Air America stations losing ground, such as WLIB in New York, which just slipped from 1.2 to 1.1. Or WXKS in Boston -- from 0.5 to 0.4. Or KTLK in Los Angeles: 0.9 to 0.8.

    And why is it that the Air America stations in Dallas (KXEB) and Atlanta (WWAA) couldn't even crack the ratings at all this time around?

    I mean, pop the champagne corks if you want to, but what I see is a network whose audience has basically stabilized -- and in a low position on the ratings charts. Adding another 500-watt daytime-only station in Hog's Bladder, West Virginia, isn't going to make any significant difference in the network's viability.

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 02 December, 2005 15:34  

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