Rather than capping off their Birthright experience with awkward sexual advances like good Jewish teens, Republican congressmen on a fact-finding trip to Israel tea-bagged the Sea of Galilee, finding the fact that this will get them reprimanded by Republican leaders and ridiculed by the media. Rep. Kevin Yoder received the most criticism for his decision to baptize his balls in the lake.
As it turns out, the subsequent FBI probe of the junket wasn't due to skinny dipping, but related to the investigation of another congressman for failure to properly file paperwork disclosing another foreign trip, explaining why no one interviewed Yoder's bare staff.
Now, the American Association for Nude Recreation, a group "serving more than 52 million individuals who enjoy skinny-dipping and clothing optional recreation throughout North America" also known as "nakationing," has come to Yoder's defense.
According to an AANR press release[pdf]/answer to the question of "What do Herman Melville and George W. Bush have in common?," Yoder joins the illustrious ranks of John Quincy Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Norman Rockwell and the aforementioned Bush and Melville in letting their Moby Dicks soak in the cool evening water…
Tags: FBI, House of Representatives, Israel, Kevin Yoder, Nudity
This is my kind of congressional scandal! First of all, skinny dipping in a Biblical location. Two thumbs up! Second, no rape! A million thumbs up! Finally, the opportunity to stick the words "nude," "romp" and "probe" all in the same headline. They don't even have enough thumbs up for that…
During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told Politico. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed, while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.
"A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit," Yoder said in a statement to Politico. "It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize."
I find it extremely difficult to find the scandal in this scandal. A guy went away to one of the most beautiful places in the world, he got a little drunk and then he got his junk out. It happens! And it wasn't even a skeevy kind of junk-getting-out; it was skinny dipping. With the other people in his party. Granted, it sounds like he might have been the only one to get fully naked. But somebody's gotta be that guy. What's that thing Jesus said? Let he who has never been that guy who gets his junk out on vacation cast the first stone. Or something. Besides, to hear my Jewish friends tell it, 90 percent of trips to Israel result in over-drinking and public nudity.
Why is the FBI even involved in this? If the FBI wants to bother somebody about this, they should interrogate Kevin Yoder's penis. Kevin Yoder's penis was the one that caused this issue. When you're on vacation – or "a fact-finding congressional trip" — and you get a couple glasses of wine in you, you take your hand off the wheel and your penis takes over. I wonder if the FBI decided to interview Kevin Yoder's penis…
Travis Smith, Yoder's chief of staff, told Politico "Neither Congressman Yoder, nor his staff, have been interviewed by the FBI."
I guess not.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: FBI, House of Representatives, Israel, Kevin Yoder, Nudity
Since the breakdown of the New Deal coalition, dozens of strategists and public intellectuals have offered formulas for turning progressive dross into electoral gold for the Democratic Party.
The Berkeley cognitive scientist George Lakoff has suggested a new Democratic lexicon to better "frame" issues through linguistics. Others insist Democrats need more populist economic policies. Blue Dog Democrats advocate giving up and becoming Republicans. Shockingly, none of these approaches have ushered in a new age of liberal governance. Either these theories are wrongheaded or Ron Paul keeps stealing all that electoral gold.
Leave it to Mitt Romney, the high-flying management consultant, to unwittingly introduce a whole new approach for progressives.
Yesterday, Romney wrapped up his Olympic gaffeathon with a speech in Poland, praising the country as an economic model for prosperity for the rest of the world. Matt Yglesias notes that Poland's sustained economic recovery is due to expansionary monetary policy undertaken by the Polish central bank to reduce the value of the Zloty — precisely the kind of policy Romney and most conservatives oppose when it is undertaken by our own Federal Reserve.
An even better example of Romney's affection for good policy, as adopted by our allies, came when he praised Israel's system of socialized medicine as an effective agent of health care and cost control.
This opens up a perfect opportunity for Democrats. We already know that to U.S. conservatives, everything Israel does is sacrosanct and beyond criticism. So the next time progressives introduce some modest expansion of the welfare state, they should present it as an example of adopting the Israeli socio-economic model.
At present, the top marginal tax rate in Israel is 48%, applicable to income over $125,000 a year, while Barack Obama is only proposing a relatively paltry levy of 39.6% on couples earning more than $250,000 a year. Similarly, why does the United States spend more per capita on defense than Israel, which can do no wrong? In the parlance of the times, there should be no daylight between the United States and its foremost ally.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Israel, Liberals, Mitt Romney, Poland
Showing the kinds of true leadership qualities that you just cannot learn in business school — no, these are the kinds of valuable skills that you can only learn in the school of hard knocks — Mitt Romney stepped up to the plate and took a hard look at the myriad of missteps and mistakes he made during his trip through GOP-approved foreign countries. And he valiantly took full responsibility.
And then threw it onto the lamestream media…
Asked about his missteps in an interview with Fox News’ Carl Cameron before he left Poland on Tuesday, Romney accused reporters of trivializing the substance of his trip and trying to divert attention from President Obama’s stewardship of the economy.
"And I realize that there will be some in the Fourth Estate, or whichever estate, who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran," Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview that aired on Tuesday morning. "They’ll instead try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country."
And also, if those other countries weren't there in those other places in the world there wouldn't have been any places in which to make a bunch of mistakes. So, don't think we're not looking at you, too. You're partially to blame, rest of world.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Europe, Israel, Media, Mitt Romney, Poland
In some ways a presidential campaign is a lot like Olympic gymnastics: There's lots of flip-flopping and someone always cries at the end. How does Mitt Romney's foreign trip stack up on the International Gymnastics Federation's scoring system?
Event: Special Relationship Still Rings
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
The Routine: In a standard still ring routine, gymnasts are required to perform various skills while keeping the rings in an unchanging position. In the special relationship variant, candidates are required to adopt positions that have some relevance to the modern international order, while convincing our British allies that they are now and forever our very best and most important friends, even though this has no semblance to reality whatsoever.
The Execution: Romney went back in time to insult the British about their houses being the wrong height and size.
Score: 12.5, with high deductions for general instability.
Tags: Israel, Mitt Romney, Olympics, Poland, United Kingdom