Today's Blogs

Abuse Excuse

Bloggers aren’t buying Mark Foley’s claims of being sexually abused by a clergyman as an explanation for his pursuit of congressional pages. They also fret about North Korea’s threatened nuclear test and marvel at Joe Sharkey’s survived mid-air collision.

Abuse excuse: Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned last week after it was discovered he’d been sending sexually explicit IMs to congressional pages, has now come out as gay but also as the childhood victim of abuse at the hands of a clergyman. Bloggers almost universally bridle at the convenience of this announcement. Some with their own histories of sexual abuse take umbrage at exploiting psychic wounds for damage control.

“Gadfly” at SocraticGadfly is a child-abuse victim, but he’s not having Foley’s late-stage confession, which he sees as a dodge for accountability: “If he really accepted full responsibility, he wouldn’t have mentioned his childhood until some time later. It looks clear to me he’s trying to have it both ways. … [W]hile Foley’s lawyer is right that ‘shame’ keeps many adult victims of child sexual abuse quiet, it usually doesn’t keep them quiet that long. From my experience, the age of realization is more likely to be in one’s 30s.”

Rape victim Sharon Cobb is equally appalled at what she sees as Foley’s get-out-of-jail free card: “Mark Foley makes a mockery out of people like me who have worked so hard to overcome adversity and deny it its right of passage. First the alcohol made him do it. Now his poor teenage years. B U L L S H I T!”

In an open letter to the former representative, Phoenix resident Scott at Scott-o-Rama questions the relevance and timeliness of Foley’s disclosure of his homosexuality: “So what?  I’m gay, but I have never stalked minors online.”

Vincent, at evangelical weekly World magazine’s WorldViews, is also skeptical of Foley’s motives: “I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but the man has been in rehab for what, five minutes? What is the point of coming out now, publicly, with information that he was abused sexually by a member of the clergy. … Gay activists say that childhood abuse does not lead to homosexuality, and that homosexuality is not related to pedophilia. So what does Foley, who also came out yesterday as gay, hope to achieve?”

Read more about Foley’s alleged sexual abuse as a boy. This Slate piece explains  why Foley isn’t quite a pedophile. John Dickerson cautions  the Democrats on their response, and Slate blogger Bruce Reed has some advice  for Republicans.

Testing, 1, 2, 3, testing: Just months after its underwhelming test of the Taepodong-2 missile, North Korea announced Tuesday that it will begin testing nuclear weapons. Almost immediately, new Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe said his country should begin scouring its constitution to see if a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang is off-limits, with China and South Korea issuing calls for calm over what may prove to be Kim Jong-il’s final bluff.

Conservative Ken McCracken at WILLisms writes: “North Korea risks alienating their all-important neighbor China, and could push Beijing even further towards strong relations with the West. Diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. have warmed of late, and China seems to be realizing that taking a harder line with Iran is earning them big points on the international stage. … A North Korean nuclear test right now would be quite stupid, especially considering the already shaky nature of the regime there, and the inevitable sanctions that would follow a test.”

John Gittings at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free thinks Pyongyang’s threat makes all too much sense after one round of regime change: “The US invasion allegedly to remove Saddam’s WMD ‘threat’ has demonstrated that is safer to be an actual nuclear power than a potential nuclear power. Even the remotest chance of retaliation is likely to buy immunity - which is why North Korea has been keen (though not yet successful) to demonstrate its long-range missile capability.”

Righty Stanley Kurtz at the National Review’s The Corner sees a silver lining if the test bomb goes off: “At least a nuclear explosion in North Korea may help rouse the West from its folly of weakness and denial. The war on terror is running on two separate tracks right now. Our confrontations with North Korea–and with Islamists across Europe and the Middle East–are going poorly. This has emboldened the forces of appeasement and denial in the West.”

Read more about North Korea’s possible nuclear test.

Snarky about Sharkey:New York Times contributor Joe Sharkey survived a midair collision in a corporate jet on a trip to Brazil. (The plane it collided with crashed, killing all 155 passengers on board.) But since Joe made it out OK, bloggers don’t mind seeing the lighter side to his harrowing account of the event in the Times.

Noting that Sharkey had been talking to the pilots just minutes before the collision, gossip blog Jossip can’t help but wonder: “So, Sharkey was chatting up the pilots and then the pilots crashed? Hmm. We’re not explicitly saying there’s a connection between these two events … but it does seem like a detail the folks on Lost might choose to leave out.”

Urban travel guide Gridskipper says when you’ve got a comfy perch at the Times, don’t leave it: “Gallow humor aside, the stakes are high for Sharkey and those like him. Freelance and die but if you survive, you’ll get bumped from a rinky-dinky Business section to A1.”

Read more about Sharkey’s fly-in with death.