Today's Blogs


Bloggers discuss the latest charges of corruption against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; they also mark the passing of author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop head Frank Conroy and examine the economics of the upcoming royal wedding.

RounDeLay: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay spent Wednesday defending himself against accusations that he’d funneled $500,000 from his political action and campaign committees to his wife and daughter and allowed a lobbyist to pay for a trip to Russia.

“The United States of America cannot have one of its top congressional leaders taking money from people advocating for Russian military-intelligence and defense interests as part of a lobbying deal. It simply cannot,” argues Garance Franke-Ruta on the American Prospect’s blog, Tapped. “[T]his is clearly no longer just a story about DeLay’s relationship with a couple of American lobbyists; it’s about the relationship of a cadre of movement conservative lobbyists with foreign business and government interests.” The Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum asks, “Back in the mid-90s, wasn’t DeLay awfully vocal about opposing action to stop Serbian genocide in Kosovo? And wasn’t the Russian security establishment one of the biggest defenders of Serb interests?”

Arguing that the House should move at once to kick out DeLay, UCLA professor Mark Kleiman writes, “Would it pass? Almost certainly not. But getting all, or vitually all, of the Republicans in the House on record as supporting not just corruption but selling out to the Russians would be a triumph in itself.” Linking to this piece that says conservative leaders are pushing Republicans to defend DeLay, lefty Digby ties this controversy to the Terri Schiavo issue, writing, “[I] think that we want the extreme rightwing to be defending Tom DeLay, especially the Randall Terrys and the James Dobsons, as often as possible. We especially want to see those guys on Fox News. A lot.” He explains that, during the Schiavo debate, “common sense” Republicans began to see “FOX News and talk radio as being full of shit for the first time … I think Schiavo may turn out to be the first big tear in the right wing matrix.”  

DeLay is having such a bad week, he’s even being linked to the author of the infamous Schiavo “talking points” memo. On Wednesday, Republican Brian Darling, formerly of the Alexander Strategy Group, admitted to writing the talking points memo that called the Schiavo case “a great political issue.” Democratic stalwart MyDD links DeLay to the controversial memo: “The Alexander Strategy Group is a firm created by former DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham (and yet another place from where DeLay’s wife has cashed checks). Tom DeLay used the talking points at least on three occasions.”

Read more about DeLay; viewDonzelion Disssents’ Tom DeLay Ethics Machine.

Frank Conroy, R.I.P.: Author Frank Conroy, head of the influential Iowa Writers’ Workshop, died Wednesday. “Until I took Frank’s workshop, I only thought I was a writer. In some fundamental way, he turned me into one. Now, he hovers behind me—benevolent, but never sparing with criticism—every moment I write. Whenever I feel myself exerting pressure on the page, refusing to let myself off the hook, that’s for him,” writes “Lila” in a post at Babies are Fireproof, the “Unofficial Backroom of the Iowa Mafia *.” On EarthGoat, another Iowa initiate has extensive notes from the last workshop Conroy taught before going into surgery: “Everything that’s wrong is always revealed in language. Art takes place at the overlap between the writer’s energy and the reader’s.”

Read more about Conroy; readBookslut’s roundup of Conroy obits; and read a Salon piece addressing the impact of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Royal markup: Responding to the recent announcement that Prince Charles’ wedding to Camilla Parker-Bowles will be postponed a day in honor of the Pope’s funeral, Brit Mike Richards writes, “There are now 2,000 mint condition tea towels with the wrong Royal Wedding date on in circulation. Might these be worth even more money in years to come as some famous flawed stamps are?” Writer Jenn Shreve points out that commemorative mugs, which were selling poorly until the date was changed, are now in high demand. Chatter blog TheRat and Mouse tracks the eBay value of a balcony that will allow a view of the wedding. (It sold for 800 pounds.) Commenting on Bubbi, the blog of a Wisconsin grandmother, Jody muses, “My understanding was that they couldn’t marry because Camilla wasn’t a virgin. I wonder if that will be an issue when William marries?”

Read more about Charles and Camilla. Or, don’t. OK, if you insist, in Slate June Thomas defends Prince Charles, Laura Barton delves into the love story in “Foreigners”, and “International Papers” checks in on how the British tabloids are behaving.

Have a question, comment, or suggestion for Today’s Blogs? E-mail

Correction, April 8: This piece originally stated that Babies are Fireproofis the “Unofficial blog of the Iowa Mafia.” It is actually the “Unofficial Backroom of the Iowa Mafia.” (Return to the corrected sentence.)