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From Ed Pound at National Journal:
In one of the most sensational stories of the presidential campaign, The New York Times published a 3,000-word, front-page article in February suggesting that a little-known telecommunications lobbyist named Vicki Iseman had an affair with Sen. John McCain during his first run for the White House in 1999. The story did not provide any evidence of an affair, but said that McCain’s top aides became convinced that the relationship was romantic and took steps to keep McCain and Iseman apart…
“I did not have a sexual relationship with Senator McCain,” [Iseman] said in a three-hour interview last month in a seventh-floor conference room in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. “I never had an affair or an inappropriate relationship with Senator McCain, and that means I never acted unethically in my dealings with the senator.” Iseman, a partner in the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay, where she has worked for 18 years, adds, “I have never even been alone with Senator McCain.”
The Times stands behind its article. “I think that the story stands up, an important story, a strong story,” says Dean Baquet, an assistant managing editor who runs the newspaper’s Washington bureau and who helped oversee The Times’ reporting. The newspaper “had ample, multiple sources for the story,” he says, and had aggressively pursued Iseman’s side, staking her out, sending her e-mails, and leaving her phone messages. He says that his reporters sought her comment “very early on in the process,” but “we couldn’t get her to sit down and talk.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”