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Ensign is considered a leading voice among social conservatives in the G.O.P. In 1998, as a House member running against Reid, he called on President Bill Clinton to resign after revelations about his affair with a White House intern. “He sent taxpayer-paid staff out to lie for him, and that is a misuse of office,” Ensign said, adding that the president had “no credibility left.”
In September 2007, Ensign called then-Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) “embarrassing” after Craig was arrested in an airport men’s restroom and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a sex sting. Ensign played the leading role in an unsuccessful effort to force Craig into resigning from the Senate immediately.
Ensign’s affair began a few months after he called for his colleague to resign, according to a timeline provided by his office.
By the way, public records show that Cindy Hampton, Ensign’s girlfriend, got paid about $2,000 by the senator’s campaign in 2008–$1,000 for consulting, $1,041.95 for accounting, and $41.95 for “payment of utilities” (given the repetition of the $41.95 figure, you have to wonder if she didn’t double-bill on utilities. That said, this is obviously the least of Ensign’s problems). The nature of the consulting was not disclosed. Her husband, Douglas Hampton, was paid well while the senator slept with his wife–as an administrative assistant to Ensign, he received $144,146.71 for his work during 2007 and 2008.
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.”