The Moose expresses his appreciation to Rabbi Abramoff and Righteous Ralph for providing some good laughs in an otherwise grim political environment.
Yesterday's Indian gambling scandal hearing provided some low comedy and profound farce for a political community that needed some merriment. We even had the emergence of the Kato Kaitlin of the scandal - a lifeguard who is miraculously transformed by Rabbi Jack into a policy wonk. Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post,
"There were phony grass-roots Christian groups. Phony billing statements. Nonprofits with phony purposes. And, perhaps phoniest of all, a "premiere international think tank" called the American International Center, directed by two boyhood friends of Abramoff partner Michael Scanlon: yoga instructor Brian Mann and lifeguard-cum-excavator David Grosh. Mann refused to answer questions, but Grosh, who never consulted a lawyer, was happy to tell his story.
"I'm embarrassed and disgusted to be a part of this whole thing," Grosh said in his two-sentence statement. "The Lakota Indians have a word, wasichu , which aptly describes all of us right now."
"Grosh didn't say what wasichu means (literally, "he who steals the fat"), and McCain, not being fluent in Lakota, merely thanked Grosh and read from the think tank's self-described mission of "bringing great minds together from all over the globe" under the "high power directorship" of Mann and Grosh -- who now does construction work and tends bar."
On a more serious note, we learned that Righteous Ralph Reed, the would-be Lieutenant Governor of the Peach State was caught in his web of lies. The Washington Post,
"Material released yesterday also appeared to undermine assertions by former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed, now a candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor.
"Reed has acknowledged receiving $4 million from Abramoff and Scanlon to run anti-gambling campaigns in the South. Reed has said he did not know where the funds were coming from, but e-mails suggest that he was aware that some of the money he was getting came from the casino-rich Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians."
Brother Ralph, don't you know that bearing false witness is against God's law? And He does not buy spin.
Meanwhile, the Moose was particularly amused with a released e-mail exchange between Rabbi Jack and his spiritual adviser, Rabbi Lapin,
"And there was Exhibit 31, an e-mail from Abramoff to a rabbi friend.
"I hate to ask you for your help with something so silly but I've been nominated for membership in the Cosmos Club, which is a very distinguished club in Washington, DC, comprised of Nobel Prize winners, etc.," Abramoff wrote. "Problem for me is that most prospective members have received awards and I have received none. I wasF wondering if you thought it possible that I could put that I have received an award from Toward Tradition with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies?"
"There were titters in the audience as Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) read aloud the e-mail, then outright laughter as he continued reading: "Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean."
The rabbi, conservative radio host Daniel Lapin, gave his blessing. "I just need to know what needs to be produced," he wrote. "Letters? Plaques?"
From now on, the Moose declares that he is Dr. Moose, Scholar of Advanced Talmudic Studies! --