How many Secret Service agents does it take to pay a hooker?
(Apparently eleven was not enough.)
How many Secret Service agents does it take to pay a hooker?
(Apparently eleven was not enough.)
“Hookers in Times Square, God bless ‘em, are offering a Mitt Romney Special. For an extra $20 they’ll change positions.” –David Letterman
BREAKING: Round-the-Clock Congressional Sessions Bad for Business, Say Prostitutes –Andy Borowitz
Many New Yorkers (perhaps its former Governor) will be disappointed by the ruling of the New York Tax Appeals that they will not allow tax deductions for hookers and porn as a medical expense. More at Forbes.
Responding to climate change might impact some businesses, but there’s no reason that it should harm the business of prostitutes. Copenhagen has tried to shut down prostitution during the conference, but the prostitutes have responded with offers of free sex:
Copenhagen’s city council in conjunction with Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards out to 160 Copenhagen hotels urging COP15 guests and delegates to ‘Be sustainable – don’t buy sex’.
“Dear hotel owner, we would like to urge you not to arrange contacts between hotel guests and prostitutes,” the approach to hotels says.
Now, Copenhagen prostitutes are up in arms, saying that the council has no business meddling in their affairs. They have now offered free sex to anyone who can produce one of the offending postcards and their COP15 identity card, according to the Web site avisen.dk.
If Eliot Spitzer decides to run for office he will have a problem with the opposition. It is not that someone who has indicated her intent to run against him is more qualified for the position but that the campaign would be a constant reminder of the past scandal. Kristin Davis, who provided Spitzer with “escorts,” is threatening to run against her on the Manhattan Madam blog (hat tip to Political Wire):
Eliot Spitzer has the bug. For the second time in six months he has been caught planning a come-back. First, he floated a trial baloon for his old job as Attorney General. It was more like a lead balloon. Now he is contemplating a run for the US Senate or New York State Comptroller.
As I told the New York Post yesterday, “if he runs for public office I may have to run myself to focus attention on the multiple illegal acts for which he has not been punished, his abuse of women and the SEXISM in the way he walked away scot free while I went to Rikers for four months for supplying him with ‘company”.
There is far more to tell about Eliot Spitzer, the ladies and the way he treated them. There is also far more to tell about Spitzer’s relationships with multiple New York Escort services including several of my competitors when I was in the business. I’m sure if he and I both ran these facts would come in during a spirited campaign.
Voters would get to decide whether it is fair and equitable that Spitzer broke multiple state and federal laws and avoided prosecution while I was punished for my supplying girls for Spitzer, Madoff and others. If it fair that a rich white male walked while a woman entrepenuer did hard time for a victimless crime.
I would make sure everyone remembers how Spitzer violated the public trust and at the same time I would push a REFORM agenda. Prostitution should be legalized, regulated and taxed to help solve our fiscal problems. Marijuana should also be legalized, regulated and taxed. With both, New York could balance our budget without raising taxes or cutting essential services. Gay Marriage, hamstrung in the State Senate, should be legalized as a matter of total equality.
Yes indeed, if Eliot spitzer throws his hat in the ring, I may just have to jump in the race myself. After all, how I could I do worse than the clowns we have in Albany now?
I’m often referred to as the “woman who brought down the Governor” – excuse me people, I didn’t call the tabloids, I didn’t blow the whistle and I didn’t save “the dress.” I did nothing to shine a light on my indiscretions or to “out” anyone else.
She also has a few words for those who judge her:
But there are those of you out there who just love to judge. Let me say this – most girls, to varying degrees, of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes. I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things. They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress at the store down the street or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it. This is a dishonest relationship. I see this all over New York City. Some women aren’t as vindictive, but still dive into relationships with wealthy guys who they don’t love or even find attractive, but they stay in it because they have a nice home, a car and spending money – they would rather stay in an unfulfilling or loveless relationship than lose that security. This, too, is a dishonest relationship. I see this type all over the suburbs of New Jersey with the housewives who are strung out on mood stabilizers or the couples who put all their attention on their chil dren so they don’t have to deal with their own issues.
As the economy gets tough many need to change how they do business. This includes those in the world’s oldest profession. Reuters looks at how prostitutes are coping in Germany, where prostitution is legal:
In one of the few countries where prostitution is legal, and unusually transparent, the industry has responded with an economic stimulus package of its own: modern marketing tools, rebates and gimmicks to boost falling demand.
Some brothels have cut prices or added free promotions while others have introduced all-inclusive flat-rate fees. Free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers, as well as “day passes” are among marketing strategies designed to keep business going.
A little information on the size of this industry:
Germany has about 400,000 professional prostitutes. Official figures do not distinguish between the sexes and the number of male prostitutes is not known, but they account for a small fraction of the total and are treated the same under the law.
In 2002, new legislation allowed prostitutes to advertise and to enter into formal labor contracts. It opened the way for them to obtain health insurance, previously refused if they listed their true profession.
Annual revenues are about 14 billion euros ($18 billion), according to an estimate by the Verdi services union. Taxes on prostitution are an important source of income for some cities.
Prostitution is also legal and regulated in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey and in some parts of Australia, and the U.S. state of Nevada.
To remain in business despite customers cutting back on expenses, prostitutes are offering flat rate deals for food, drink, and sex. Others are offering enticements such as loyalty cards and senior citizen discounts.
Berlin’s “Pussy Club” has attracted media attention with its headline-grabbing “flat rate” — a 70-euro admission charge for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m…
“Our offer might sound like it’s too good to be true, but it’s real. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want and have as much sex as you want.”
Stefan, who runs other establishments in Heidelberg and Wuppertal besides the Berlin club, said the flat rate had helped keep the 30 women working in each location fully employed.
Other novel ideas used by brothels and prostitutes include loyalty cards, group sex parties and rebates for golf players. Hamburg’s “GeizHaus” is especially proud of its discount 38.50 euro price. The city has Germany’s most famous red-light district, the Reeperbahn, in the notorious St. Pauli district.
Harvard economist Jeffery Miron calls for legalization of drugs:
Over the past two years, drug violence in Mexico has become a fixture of the daily news. Some of this violence pits drug cartels against one another; some involves confrontations between law enforcement and traffickers.
Recent estimates suggest thousands have lost their lives in this “war on drugs.”
The U.S. and Mexican responses to this violence have been predictable: more troops and police, greater border controls and expanded enforcement of every kind. Escalation is the wrong response, however; drug prohibition is the cause of the violence.
Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead.
Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after.
Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine when prostitution is banned but not when it’s permitted. Violence results from policies that create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question.
The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs. Fortuitously, legalization is the right policy for a slew of other reasons.
See his full op-ed for multiple reasons as to why legalization is the right policy.
The Economist calls for an end to the drug war:
Next week ministers from around the world gather in Vienna to set international drug policy for the next decade. Like first-world-war generals, many will claim that all that is needed is more of the same. In fact the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.
“Least bad” does not mean good. Legalisation, though clearly better for producer countries, would bring (different) risks to consumer countries. As we outline below, many vulnerable drug-takers would suffer. But in our view, more would gain.
The article proceeds to discuss the problems caused by the drug war, including increased crime and violence:
Indeed, far from reducing crime, prohibition has fostered gangsterism on a scale that the world has never seen before. According to the UN’s perhaps inflated estimate, the illegal drug industry is worth some $320 billion a year. In the West it makes criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens (the current American president could easily have ended up in prison for his youthful experiments with “blow”). It also makes drugs more dangerous: addicts buy heavily adulterated cocaine and heroin; many use dirty needles to inject themselves, spreading HIV; the wretches who succumb to “crack” or “meth” are outside the law, with only their pushers to “treat” them. But it is countries in the emerging world that pay most of the price. Even a relatively developed democracy such as Mexico now finds itself in a life-or-death struggle against gangsters. American officials, including a former drug tsar, have publicly worried about having a “narco state” as their neighbour.
The failure of the drug war has led a few of its braver generals, especially from Europe and Latin America, to suggest shifting the focus from locking up people to public health and “harm reduction” (such as encouraging addicts to use clean needles). This approach would put more emphasis on public education and the treatment of addicts, and less on the harassment of peasants who grow coca and the punishment of consumers of “soft” drugs for personal use. That would be a step in the right direction. But it is unlikely to be adequately funded, and it does nothing to take organised crime out of the picture.
Legalisation would not only drive away the gangsters; it would transform drugs from a law-and-order problem into a public-health problem, which is how they ought to be treated. Governments would tax and regulate the drug trade, and use the funds raised (and the billions saved on law-enforcement) to educate the public about the risks of drug-taking and to treat addiction. The sale of drugs to minors should remain banned. Different drugs would command different levels of taxation and regulation. This system would be fiddly and imperfect, requiring constant monitoring and hard-to-measure trade-offs. Post-tax prices should be set at a level that would strike a balance between damping down use on the one hand, and discouraging a black market and the desperate acts of theft and prostitution to which addicts now resort to feed their habits.
This is not a radical change in position for The Economist. Actually it is not a change in position at all. They wrote about the problems with prohibition twenty years ago. Events over the past twenty years have shown that they were correct.
While many aspects of Obama’s policies will be an improvement over those of the Bush administration, as Andrew Sullivan points out, Obama still makes the mistake of sticking to a law enforcement approach to the drug problem.
We learn from Tod Purdum’s article on Bill Clinton in Vanity Fair that Clinton has been angry in recent years, and that he might have cheated on Monica as well as Hillary:
It may well have been Clinton’s displaced anger (at the media, the Obama campaign, or both) on his wife’s behalf that led to his charged performance in the South Carolina primary, where he campaigned extensively against the wishes of Hillary’s high command in the mistaken belief that he could help her among black voters. He not only failed to do so but damaged his own relations with many prominent blacks, just as black voters were flocking to Barack Obama for the first time in large numbers. Hillary’s campaign was arguably never the same again.
It is also possible that all these influences have combined to make the cavernous narcissism that has always driven Clinton, for better and worse, at last consume the man almost completely. It was Clinton’s political genius to position the Democratic Party, for the first time in a generation, as the champion of those who “work hard and play by the rules.” In his own life, he has always followed only the first half of that dictum, and has never been fastidious about appearances, in ways charming and not. At a private meeting in New York City in 1992, aids activists, who were lobbying Clinton to include a speaker with aids at the Democratic convention that summer, presented him with a big batch of condoms, and a participant told me at the time that Clinton instantly replied, “My staff thinks this is the last thing I need.” Less amusingly, in the run-up to the 1996 re-election campaign, when Clinton took one of his many fund-raising trips to California, I teasingly asked his press secretary, Mike McCurry, whether the president intended to go jogging with Eleanor Mondale, the daughter of the former vice president—as he had on a previous trip—after he was spotted with her (and Barbra Streisand) in the wee hours of the morning. The next day, as we boarded the plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to Los Angeles, McCurry, whose effectiveness as Clinton’s spokesman was aided by the fact that he never fell in love with him, sidled up to me and told me that he had passed my question on to the president, and that Clinton had responded, in vivid terms he knew I could not print, that I should not confuse exercise with extracurricular activity.
Only much later would the world learn that no less an informed observer than Monica Lewinsky, whose judgment, in hindsight, has often seemed sounder than the president’s, had taken note of Mondale’s presence at his side. According to Andrew Morton’s authorized account Monica’s Story, Lewinsky flew into a swivet when she was once stopped at the White House gate on her way to a hoped-for meeting to deliver Christmas gifts to the president. While waiting, she learned that Mondale was with him in the White House.
“Do you think I would be stupid enough to go running with someone I was foolin’ with?,” Clinton later asked Lewinsky. Without missing a beat, she replied, “Do you want me to answer that?”
Questions are also raised with regards to the people Clinton has been associating with:
Whatever the facts of Clinton’s personal life, it is beyond dispute that he has associated with some decidedly unpresidential company. In 2002, Clinton flew to Africa with the New York investor Jeffrey Epstein on his private Boeing 727 on an anti-aids and economic-development mission. (Others on the mission included Kevin Spacey and the comedian Chris Tucker.) In 2006, Epstein was indicted on state charges of soliciting prostitution in Palm Beach, Florida, and he later came under investigation by federal authorities amid allegations that he hired under-age girls for massages and more in a house stocked with sex toys and genitalia-shaped soaps. He remains the subject of at least four pending civil lawsuits from young women and is reportedly expected to accept a plea deal on a state charge that would give him 18 months in prison, followed by house arrest, in lieu of a trial now set to begin this month.
The article goes on to raise more questions with regards to Clinton’s associates, his finances, and his behavior in recent months. It provides yet another reason why Democrats are wise to nominate Obama as opposed to tying the party to this freak show.
The husband of one my Senators here in Michigan was caught in a prostitution sting:
The co-founder and former CEO of the liberal-progressive Democracy Radio and husband of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was caught in February by a Troy police sting aimed at catching prostitutes, according to a police report.
Thomas L. Athans was stopped Feb. 26 by undercover officers investigating a possible prostitution ring in a room at the Residence Inn near Big Beaver and Interstate 75. Athans paid a 20-year-old prostitute $150 for sex in a Troy hotel but was not arrested, according to police reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Detroit News.
On the positive side, this shows how thrifty we are here in the midwest. Senator Stabenow’s husband paid $150. Compare that to Elliot Spitzer paying over $4000.
On the negative side, I can’t help but recall that a few years ago I was unable to get the suite I usually stay in at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and found that Senator Stabenow (and presumably her husband) were staying in the room. (I might have to pick up some Retcon from Torchwood before the next time I stay in the suite to get rid of this memory.)
We also learn about how the police are able to crack these prostitution cases. Lt. Gerard Scherlinck provides an example of our police at work:
Troy’s police spotted an advertisement online at www.backpage.com which read “a young blond hottie here for your total enjoyment” in Troy under the name “Kasey.” The posting had rates for 15 minutes ($100) and by the half hour ($160) and hour ($225).
“Those are all red flags for prostitution,” Scherlinck said.
I sure am glad that our police are astute enough to break that tough code and figure out that the ad was about prostitution. A lesser mind might not have recognized those red flags or figure out what the ad was offering.
Update: In response to those who have expressed skepticism, the news account is real. There really is a Big Beaver Road in Troy.