Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fields-Fail Award

W.C. Fields is one of my favorite comedians. Part of his genius was coming up with humously apt names for the characters in his films. Among these were Egbert Souse ("accent grave over the e," as he says repeatedly), T. Frothingill Bellows, and Larson E. Whipsnade. But even Fields couldn't have come up with a name as apt as the great James D. Fail, a corrupt S&L official back in the early 1990s.

So in the grand tradition of Fields and Fail, this award goes to public figures with especially apt names. And the inaugural winner goes to lobbyist Thomas Skanke of the Skanke Company (no indication of an "accent grave over the e"). According to Josh Marshall, Skanke is tied up in the growing scandal around Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis.

Oh the pace quickens.

Only weeks ago, scandal-plagued House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) issued a categorical denial that he'd ever "recommended a lobbyist to any constituent, contractor or anyone seeking federal funds."

Now documentary evidence surfaces that Lewis lied.

And when I say 'documentary evidence' I would be referring to a letter from Lewis to a constituent recommending the lobbying services of Tom Skancke of The Skancke Company.

In Lewis's letter to the County of San Bernardino (the county I grew up in, by the way and which Lewis represents), he wrote "It is a pleasure to be writing this letter on Tom's behalf and strongly recommend San Bernardino County's retaining The Skancke Company's services."

I'm not sure which is more upsetting: Lewis's lies and corruption or that someone has to go through life with the name Skancke.

One way or another, it ain't pretty.

If you have other nominees for the Fields-Fail Award, let me know.

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