David Kirkpatrick

December 20, 2008

Sugar daddies, feminism and outrage

I read the original at the Daily Beast and came to the same conclusion asRobert Stacy McCain writing here at Taki’s Magazine — it’s a work of fiction. I’ve known some local talent — ahem, dancers — who enjoyed the largess of sugar daddies, but the bit from “Melissa Beech” rang a little too much of fantasyland.

Who knows I’ve  run into some weird arrangements out there so anything is possible, but the whole tale does sound a lot like a hackneyed post-Sex in the City chick-lit plotline.

On top of that I thought it might just be James Frey at it again, writing in drag this time. The personal memoir is a totally discredited literary vehicle for the time being. 

Do hit the link up there and read McCain’s take on this. He fires a series of very well aimed volleys, not across the bow, but right into the heart of feminism. Well earned shots, too.

From the link:



She calls herself “Melissa Beech,” and if we take her thumbnail biography at face value, she’s a college senior, living in Philadelphia—and living in lavish style, thanks to her wealthy boyfriend. A successful media professional, he pays her rent, showers her with gifts, and takes her on expensive vacations. This “mutually beneficial arrangement” costs her beau something like $5,000 a month and was arranged by him, she says, “because his past girlfriends hadn’t understood that his work would always come first.”

Her story may be as phony as her pseudonym, but when Miss Beech told it via Tina Brown’s new outfit, The Daily Beast, the outrage she provoked was real. Her confessional elicited more than 100 comments—many calling her a prostitute—and prompted responses at Slate and Salon. Such was the outpouring of judgmentalism that Miss Beech produced a follow-up, interviewing her “benefactor” (as she calls him) who defended the legitimacy of their arrangement.

November 14, 2008

Deep rot at Justice

The Bush 43 Department of Justice has been a disgrace, and may well be much worse than the public even knows about right now. Good luck to the incoming DoJ team to shovel through this shitpile.

Scott Horton puts it all in perspective here.

From the Daily Beast link:

Painful as the appearances were of prosecutorial misconduct emerging from the Justice Department’s own letter, in retrospect that letter raises still more troubling issues. It now appears that the Justice Department was aware of even more startling allegations of misconduct raised directly by a member of the prosecution team, and documented with internal communications, but it consciously chose to hide all of this from the court and from opposing counsel. This would warrant another disciplinary review and possible action against the prosecutors.

In the meantime, U.S. Attorney Leura Canary is scrambling to find a new job. But her imminent departure serves to highlight a broader problem. As President-Elect Obama works to pick a new attorney general, his transition team is focused on a series of far more complex issues at the Justice Department. Public confidence in the work of the department has fallen to the lowest level since the Watergate scandal, when attorney generals John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst were indicted and convicted.

Alberto Gonzales and his three most senior deputies were all forced from office in disgrace as evidence mounted that they had abused the Department for political purposes. An internal investigation of this abuse could not be concluded because of obstruction from the White House and the refusal of Bush Administration lawyers to cooperate. A special prosecutor had to be appointed to investigate a number of allegations of politically abusive conduct concerning the operations of U.S. Attorney offices around the country.

Simply appointing a new attorney general will not resolve these problems, but it would be a significant first step. As the Siegelman case shows, some of the departing U.S. attorneys are leaving behind a legal toxic waste dump that may take years to clean up.

Deep Dive:  The key documents in the case.

Scott Horton is a law professor and writer on legal and national security affairs for Harper’s Magazine and The American Lawyer, among other publications.

If you have an interest in the Don Siegelman saga, TPMMuckraker has a many, many posts outlining this disgrace of justice in our nation, a nation of laws except under Bush 43’s DoJ as it turns out.