May 1, 2007

"Put aside the titillation of the who's-who list ... and instead investigate the disturbing genesis, the confounding evolution..."

"... and the equally alarming continuation of this matter. I believe there is something very rotten at the core of my circumstance."

So says the alleged Washington madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, and who knew madams talked like that?

Are you titillated by this story? If so, are you titillated by the idea that there are prostitutes afoot in this world or by the prospect of bringing down "a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists, and a handful of military officials"? Which source of titillation is more embarrassing for the titillatee?

Me, I can't get excited about prostitutes. There are always prostitutes and clients for prostitutes.

53 comments:

MadisonMan said...

The story is not titillating in the least. The amusing (ironic? sad?) part is when scolding bureaucrats are revealed to be hypocrites. But such revelations aren't even surprising any more.

Roger said...

I confess, Ann--I am titillated! not by hookers, but by the prospect of a good ole fashioned sex scandal--leaking CIA names; firing us attys is all so much washington insider stuff--every one can relate to a sex scandal.

And from what I understand so far, Republicans appear to be keeping true to their economic if not their marital principles: they are paying for it.

Victor said...

If there's anything Haggardesque in there that may be interesting.

The run of the mill - madam with a giant book of business . . . not so interesting.

Revelations about Bill Bennett for example were pretty fun. Run of the mill hypocrisy when it comes to politicians we have all come to expect. Where there are extremely religious folks involved that's a different story.

That's much more interesting to watch.

George said...

There's a long, mostly non-judgmental feature in Sunday's NY Times Magazine about a--where else--San Francisco entrepreneur who hopes to corner the market on internet porn. The article sort of kind of dances around exactly what it is that this guy is selling, but when you go to his company's website....very, very, very, very creepy stuff. Scary stuff. Kinda reminded me of those new teen horrorsnuff movies. But the NY Times is quite blase about it all....

A madam in DC...how very positively Victorian...

Victor said...

You knew Fleiss had to come out of the woodwork and defend her "principals":

http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/05/heidi-fleiss-advice-for-alleged-dc-madam.php

quote:

"I know she's probably being swallowed up alive, and a lot of people can't take that weight on their shoulders," says rehabilitated Hollywood madam Fleiss, "but she's naming names and that goes against my principals—I realized I'd sunk my ship, but I wasn't taking anyone with me."

AllenS said...

"Are you titillated by this story?"

No, not at all, all I want is a massage.

John said...

The only way this is interesting is if some blowhard ban everything shut down the internet for the children type is involved. That is always funny. Like chimps in suits it never gets old to see some guy who makes his career wanting to throw out the Constitution so we can stop pornogrophers and child molesters from harming our children turn up on a maddam's list with his preferences being for the girls to be as young as possible and in a school girl outfit.

Tim said...

"...but she's naming names and that goes against my principals—I realized I'd sunk my ship, but I wasn't taking anyone with me."

Everyone has a code of ethics of some kind. Why shouldn't prostitutes and madams?

Invisible Man said...

Finding out that 40+ year old men use prostitutes is about as exciting as learning that college age kids try pot. But the possibility of catching Randall Tobias-level hypocrites who have spent their time preaching about abstinence and their puritanical views is pretty compelling.

Jeff said...

Remember, Ann, that the only sin on the left is hypocrisy. There could be a hundred Democrats on that list signed up for a Hot Carl, but the left wouldn't care a wink since they never blabbered on about "family values."

...well, they probably did, but everyone knows that's just hot air to placate the knuckle-draggers in Jesusland.

Telecomedian said...

Some folks seem to be clamoring for a D.C. sex scandal seem to be forgetting last year's sad tale of Mark Foley and the Congressional Pages. To me, adults having relations with other adults is a lot less scandalous than a Congressman sending sexually-explicit text messages to underage boys from the House floor.

If this country would ever let go of its absolute ridiculous fascination with sex, we might actually, I don't know, EVOLVE as a country and society.

But what do I know? I've just been listening to a lot of Bill Hicks lately.

John said...

Foley, what a dirtbag. But of course Gerry Studds was a dirtbag pervert of monumental proportions. He actually had sex with teenage pages while in the house rather than just writing them nasty e-mails. Studds of course was re-elected and hailed in later life. Being a liberal certainly gives the freedom to be an old pervert. Republican perverts thankfully do not get the same treatment.

bill said...

I don't know, I find it heartening that in DC there's a story with a happy ending.

Todd and in Charge said...

To me relevant where there is rank hypocrisy, like religious leaders who may be involved, or the AIDS abstinence guy.

Also Dick Morris, for obvious reasons.

hdhouse said...

I bet this makes Dick Morris squirm like hell.

And for anyone who thinks that prostitution isn't degrading on some level, just imagine the shock and awe, the absolute horror, of knocking on a client's hotel room door and having that creep answer in his bathrobe and socks and telling her the money is on the dresser.

eeeeeeeeeeewwwww the humanity. speaking of which, where is Sloan through all this? reading the munchkin chapters on family values?

Doyle said...

If so, are you titillated by the idea that there are prostitutes afoot in this world

Yeah, that's it.

John said...

"And for anyone who thinks that prostitution isn't degrading on some level, just imagine the shock and awe, the absolute horror, of knocking on a client's hotel room door and having that creep answer in his bathrobe and socks and telling her the money is on the dresser."

What you mean its not like Pretty Woman? Hey, a girl has got to make a livng some way. What is the difference between that and someone like Laurie David marrying an old rich guy? You want to tell me she married him for the sex and companionship? Or that any of Larry King's wives married him because he is so sexy and would have done so if he were an ordinary stiff? Or Don Imus' 30 something blond, thin wife? I have more respect for a hard working hooker than I do for someone like Laurie David. At least the hooker is honest about how she makes her living.

I don't see the appeal of it, but at the same time, I don't think it should be illegal. The real scandel of this is that the police in Washington DC, one of the most lawless cities in the country, are wasting time and resources trying to make sure rich old men have to go through getting a trophy wife if they want sex from younger women.

Doyle said...

What is the difference between that and someone like Laurie David marrying an old rich guy?

Just to pick a woman who married a rich man at random.

TMink said...

Victor wrote: "Where there are extremely religious folks involved that's a different story."

I don't think that extremely religious folks go to see prostitutes. Extremely hypocritical folks pretending to be religious do all the time though.

Ann Althouse said...

"What is the difference between that and someone like Laurie David marrying an old rich guy? You want to tell me she married him for the sex and companionship?"

I think Larry David is very attractive. And he's smart and hilarious. He wouldn't have to be rich. Now, her. What I don't understand is what HE sees in HER!

Monkeyboy said...

Don't care about the story really, but would just like to say that Bill wins the thread.

Revenant said...

I'm so glad to see the government chasing down call girls instead of wasting time with, like, terrorism or internet fraud or any of that trivial stuff. Bah.

So I guess I'm glad that the same set of people pushing for the crackdown are getting bitten by it. In Tobias' defense, though, escort service workers in America are generally in a different situation from third-world prostitutes -- the former are usually voluntarily employed and well-compensated, while the latter generally aren't. There's nothing wrong with being against the exploitation and enslavement of women who have no choice in the matter, while continuing to pay for sex with women who would just rather have sex for money than work retail.

John said...

Fair enough Anne. Maybe Larry is more of a catch than I thought. Of course, you are much more his age than his wife. Would think the same if you were 15 or 20 years younger? Even if she is a bad example, Diedre Imus and whoever is married to Larry King right now certainly fit the bill. I fail to see why it is okay for a young woman to marry a man strictly for his money yet not okay for her to just take money to have sex with him.

sonicfrog said...

I don't care about the prostitution in itself as I favor decriminalization or the practice (libertarian thing). That being said, I do love a political scandal.I am not only looking forward to learning the names of the "family values" clients, but then watching all those who defended Bill Clinton by excusing the Lewinsky scandal as "consensual sex and none of our business" now hypocritically go after republicans for having sex with escorts, which I assume was also consensual. And yes, that would be prostitution and against the law, but so is lying to a grand jury....

Maybe we do need to scrap everything, kick everyone out of office, and start over.

SteveR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJD said...

Oh, you'd be "excited" about it if Obama or Edwards were on the list. But since it's just a bunch of war-mongering Republicans, it's not of general interest. I see.

SteveR said...
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SteveR said...

Prostitution? I thought we were talking about massages. Its hard to finding a PT who works at night.

Robin Goodfellow said...

"Of course, you are much more his age than his wife."

According to the intertron, Laurie is ~9 years younger* than Larry, and will turn 50 next year. Say what you want about her politics, I don't see any indication that there's any sort of "May-December" romance or gold-digging going on. In fact, as far as I can tell, when the two got together Laurie had the better career.

(*) Note that the actress who plays Laurie on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is 7 years younger than the real Laurie.

Anyway, Clinton proved once and for all that the degree to which people care about a sex scandal tends to track very closely to whether or not they support the individual politically.

Cedarford said...

What makes it so important is sex scandals are instant political death sentences for those involved, unlike starting a disastrous war or being caught in massive corruption...at least by DC thinking. And, in DC, the thirst for power and money is played as a bloodsport with many players eager to ruin the careers of others to advance their own interests.

Europeans and advanced Asian nations continue to be amazed that, as they look on with their mistresses or boy toys stuffed in various apartments, their favorite prostitute listed on their official appointment calenders...that the only thing that is sure to kill the career of a powerful American politician or official is a "victimless activity".

And yes, liberal Democrats DO have more immunity than others, and the liberal media collaborates on it. Gay Democrats, including Barney Frank and Janet Reno, have been caught cold with prostitutes and achieved a "swept under the rug, don't mention it" status a closeted Republican could only dream of.

Peter Palladas said...

Me, I can't get excited about prostitutes.

...oh that one could take us miles...

www.men4rentnow.com/escorts/ - listings for all major US cities;)

Michael said...

As it is, and as it usually is, Tobias (R) was driven from office by both the left and the right.

But witness the left and right's reaction to Foley versus Studds.

Or Packwood versus Clinton.

Or Janklow versus Ted Kennedy.

The moment a prominent Democrat's name is revealed to be on the list? The right will still be on offense, but the left will go on defense, lecturing us all that it's just sex, and it's between consenting adults, and how dare you judge anyone, and it's a vast right wing conspiracy...

The left's double-standards is as predictable as night following day.

sonicfrog said...
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sonicfrog said...

Palfrey has a problem, besides the obvious. She claims her escorts were to provide "only the fantasy of sex" - not the real thing, as the article states. This seems very close to the "I didn't inhale" defense, but now it's the "I didn't insert" version, or even a modified version of the classic "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" meme, except now it goes "They did not have sexual relations with my women". Of coarse all the prosecution needs is one or two credible witnesses to testify that the sex that was had was more than a fantasy, or find a smoking gun, or in this case, a smoking blue dress, and the Madam is screwed (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Still, with phrasings such as this - "since the government has placed me in the untenable position whereby I do not have sufficient monies to undertake this extraordinarily expensive task on my own", I think Mrs. Palfrey has a future in the bloggisphere. Can someone blog from jail?

dave said...

Me, I can't get excited about prostitutes. There are always prostitutes and clients for prostitutes.

Of course, that disinterest would completely disappear if the name "Clinton" were involved.

Roger said...

"naming names...." reminds me of the old ray steven song about mississippi squirrels:

"She began to cry and then to confess to sins that would make a sailor blush with shame
She told of gossip and church dissension but the thing that got the most attention
Was when she talked about her love life and then she started naming names

Chorus

The day the squirrel went berserk
In the First Self-Righteous Church
In that sleepy little town of Pascagoula
It was a fight for survival that broke out in revival
They were jumpin' pews and shoutin' Hallelujah!
Well seven deacons and the pastor got saved,
Twenty-five thousand dollars was raised and fifty volunteered
For missions in the Congo on the spot
Even without an invitation there were at least five hundred rededications
And we all got baptized whether we needed it or not..."

Doyle said...

Good point, Dave. Bill Clinton set back feminism millenia, but "there are always prostitutes and clients for prostitutes."

MadisonMan said...

But witness the left and right's reaction to Foley versus Studds.

What was "the left's" reaction to Studds?

ShadyCharacter said...

MM: "What was "the left's" reaction to Studds?"

Exactly! Absolutely no consenquences or condemnation from the left, rather standing ovations and a glowing send off at his passing....

Was that not your point, MM?

MadisonMan said...

The standing ovation came from his constituents. Or rather, a select group of them. I wasn't aware that a small group of New Bedford MA residents constituted the entire "left". He was censured by his colleagues (Who were the 3 who voted against the censure, I wonder?) on both sides of the aisle, and lost a subcommittee chairmanship.

We have different definitions of no consequence.

Michael said...

MadisonMan: What was "the left's" reaction to Studds?

Re-electing him six more times.

Let me know when Foley gets re-elected.

MadisonMan said...

Let me know when Foley gets re-elected.

Perhaps Foley should run again as a Republican when it's made clear that he broke no laws -- I'm not sure if that determination has been made yet.

Studds broke no laws. Why shouldn't he run again, and if he's doing the job for his constituents, be re-elected? It's not like he was constantly advocating imprisoning gays or Family Values or whatnot anything prior to being outed. I don't think you can call him a hypocrite. Unsavory and skeevy, maybe.

A big difference between Foley and Studds was that Foley wasn't doing a great job of bringing home the bacon for his district. His main role seemed to be moral watchdog. You strip that away from him by revealing his IMing and what's left? Further, the Republican Leadership actively looked the other way with Foley. I've said before that was the real idiocy in the Affaire Foley -- why believe that the lid will be kept on a scandal when every seat counts? Did Democratic Leaders so strenuously look the other way with Studds? Not that I've read.

Revenant said...

Good point, Dave.

Whenever you find yourself tempted to use those three words, stop and consider whether you really know what you're doing. :)

Bill Clinton set back feminism millenia, but "there are always prostitutes and clients for prostitutes."

Anti-sex feminists of the Dworkin variety have a track record of being rigorously against anything that involves a penis and a woman, but other feminists see laws *against* prostitution as anti-feminist in nature.

Plus, of course, it is impossible to keep a straight face while arguing that women have a "right to choose" that allows abortion and sexual promiscuity but disallows the right to charge for that which can be given away for free.

Fen said...

dave: Of course, that disinterest would completely disappear if the name "Clinton" were involved.

Nah, then it would be "just about sex" [like with Gennifer Flowers]. No biggie there. I hope Clinton is seeing prostitutes - anything to prevent him from sexually assualting our daughters.

Triangle Man said...

On a side note, the Fleiss quote with the mis-spelling "principals" appears both here, elsewhere, and in the Google cache, but the radaronline article has been corrected to read "principles". In case anyone cares...

boston70 said...

The hypocrites are what makes this interesting. Tobias preached abstinence only and preached against hookers while he was doing them at the same time.

The republicans really can't run on family values anymore. There top three candidates for president in 2008 have had 10 marriages between all of them and their current wives.

Also, their supposed Ronald Reagan savior, Thompson's 2nd wife is 1/2 his age, and pretty scarey. Thompson recently did an interview in Politico where he said that he has chased lots of women and been chased and caught by lots of woman. I am sorry but he is butt ugly. What woman would chase him?

Not that there is anything wrong about any of this. I could really give a crap about how many wifes, marriages, hookers a person has had. But it has been such a central theme in past republican elections you would expect that they might live up to it. You would expect wrong.

The Washingtonian did an expose last year on Prostitutes in Washington. What was interesting was there was over 100 "massage" services or companies in DC. That seems like a lot for a city that size.

I think it should be legal. I really don't care but if someone like Haggard or Tobias or Foley is preaching about family vaules then nail them for all their worth.

The republicans can not run on family values again!!! Which I think could actually help them and expand their base.

Afterall, no one individual is ever going to please the likes of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, etc. It is impossible and that is the reason all of these religious freaks are bitching about the current republican candidates. Also, many of these religous leaders are well into their mid to late 70's and won't be around much longer so the republicans hopefully won't feel the need to kiss their asses.

The republicans are going to have to get over their gay hangups too. The under 30 crowd doesn't agree with the republicans on gay issues and they will be losing the next generation if they don't come into the 21st century.

Revenant said...

The republicans really can't run on family values anymore. There top three candidates for president in 2008 have had 10 marriages between all of them and their current wives.

Ten? I count eight:

Three current marriages:
- Mitt and Ann Romney (39 years)
- John and Cindy McCain (27 years)
- Rudy and Judith Giuliani (4 years)

And five previous ones, of which four are those of Rudy and his wife:
- John and Carol McCain
- Rudy and Regina Giuliani
- Rudy and Donna Giuliani
- Jeff and Judith Ross
- Bruce and Judith Nathan

Certainly Rudy's got a morals problem here, but anyone who thinks a three-decade-old divorce is going to hurt McCain has never heard of Ronald Reagan. Also, why on Earth would social conservatives care how many times the *wives* have been married before? They're not electing a wife, they're electing a President.

Of course, all of this is moot, because social conservatives vote for people who VOTE like Jesus, not people who ACT like Jesus.

Thompson recently did an interview in Politico where he said that he has chased lots of women and been chased and caught by lots of woman. I am sorry but he is butt ugly. What woman would chase him?

He's got money, power, fame, and charisma. The only faster way into a woman's pants is to have "Tampax" stamped on your side.

Methadras said...

I wonder how many on the list that ABC has are part of the DNC/DP? How many are leftist lobbyists, leftist activists, etc. etc?

It appears that being called a CEO within the context of this story, you must be a right-wing, conservative republican? Really?

boston70 said...

8 marriages compared to 10 marriages is much better for the three republican contenders-my bad. I was counting 3 each for Giulanni and Nathan. Again, I don't care about this but the republicans love them there family values. The only good news about all of these marriages is we aren't going to be able to here them go on and on about family values this year. But we are already hearing them flip on gay civil unions.

My point is that the religious right does care about this crap. If you don't think they do listen to Dobson's recent comments. Also, it obvious that these "religious men" do have clout. Many conservatives say that they don't have any clout anymore but obviously when the Bush admin hires 150 Regent University Law Grads (4th tier Law college-lowest tier) Pat Robertson is still influential.

What I find interesting, also, is how gay the republican men are for Thompson. Similar to their gayness for Reagan. Many of the supporters who are encouraging Thompson to run are men, using these homoerotic terms to describe his manliness. Not a lot about his leglislation in senate but quite a bit about his characters he has played in television, movies, his walk, the way he talks, his bravado, charisma. Face it the republican men are gay for Thompson just like they were gay for Reagan.

Revenant said...

Again, I don't care about this but the republicans love them there family values. The only good news about all of these marriages is we aren't going to be able to here them go on and on about family values this year.

As I noted earlier, there's no rational basis for your claim. You keep lumping "the top 3" together like they were running as a triumverate. A maximum of exactly ONE of those three men will be running for President on the Republican ticket, and two out of the three candidates have no marriage-related problems that will cause trouble with the religious right. Rudy Giuliani is the only one with a problem.

My point is that the religious right does care about this crap.

Everybody "cares about this crap". Obviously if all else was equal the divorcee would lose to the faithful husband, simply because most people are married and dislike divorce.

But of course, all things aren't equal, which is the point I made earlier. It is the issues the candidate supports that actually matter to the religious right. This is why the divorced-and-remarried Ronald Reagan, ex-Hollywood actor, defeated two never-divorced opponents, one of whom was a devout Christian fundamentalist.

Face it the republican men are gay for Thompson just like they were gay for Reagan.

"Gay for Thompson"? I didn't think anyone over the age of 15 actually talked like that. The guy has, in any event, been working successfully as an actor in manly-charismatic-leader roles for quite a while now, so apparently the public is kinda "gay" for him too.

reader_iam said...

"Gay for Thompson"? I didn't think anyone over the age of 15 actually talked like that.

Well, I don't know. It was in a different context (and admittedly I caught just a couple of sentences during a quick pass-through our kitchen), but I could swear that I heard Bill Maher, on Hardball tonight, make some sorta comment about some people being gay about (for? whatever) Ronald Reagan.

I think I only noticed that because I I thought it wasn't OK to just toss out "gay for (about)" like that.

Has something changed?

hdhouse said...

hey Methadras....give the alternatives of spending corporate money on the workers or hiring offsite and subkx the work, i think our GOP overlords would usually make the choice.

Revenant said...

I could swear that I heard Bill Maher, on Hardball tonight, make some sorta comment about some people being gay about (for? whatever) Ronald Reagan.

Bill Maher's brain doesn't have much influence on what comes out of his mouth. This is the same guy who thought six days after 9/11 was a good time to say that we're cowards and terrorists aren't.

You probably heard him correctly. The guy's a moron.