There's a pony in there somewhere

Friday afternoon dump (and, oh, it's a big one)

For a good time call ... ?
You lovers of the political gossip blogs (or all things steamy and innuendo-based), may have clocked that one of San Antonio's own was accused last Monday of being Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi is stepping down before the end of his term. While the official rationale was intimated to be money -- Lott would like to move to ex-lawmaker lobbying Valhalla before stricter relocation requirements kick in -- Big Head DC purported to break the story that Lott had been documented frollicking (in cyberspace, anyway, and maybe also on a sunny Florida beach) with Benjamin Nicholas, a pseudonymous local gay escort with an international clientele, who wrote a freelance article for the Current last year about the Woodlawn Theatre. BHDC's Rob Capriccioso claims to have "email and other documents" supporting the allegation, but his proof so far has consisted of email protestations from Nicholas -- which, to be fair to BHDC, start out coy, referring to Lott as Trent, and suggesting that the Senator would appreciate some slack. By the end of the day Monday, however, Nicholas had posted an unequivocal denial on his tasty blog, 15 Minutes.

Backlash ensued: Huffington Post called Big Head a liar; Dan Savage of Seattle's The Stranger (where Nicholas has also freelanced) at first wondered why Capriccioso would pick a San Anto escort out of the blue, then came valiantly to Nicholas's defense after Big Head refused to produce the smoking gun (or a used holster, even).

Nicholas, meanwhile, has declined to speak on the record about the incident beyond his official denial.

Capriccioso, for his part, tells the Current: "Just like any other journalistic organization, we are obliged to put our cards on the table at our leisure. Just because some commenters and bloggers have claimed that we have an obligation to reveal information in specific ways does not make it so." Asked whether Nicholas had threatened legal action (e.g. libel), he replied, "No comment," which if we follow BHDC's rules of email engagement means "Yes! (Harder! Faster!)"

Despite the acid criticism from the virtual West Coast, BHDC refuses to bow, and hasn't yet responded to follow up questions such as: Are you ever going to show us the money? Are you holding out for a big-media paycheck? Will we see you on Anderson Cooper 360? Etc.

In any event, either this is the lull before the media firestorm (major news reporters camped out around the clock at your favorite taqueria! ABC has already called looking for our elusive multi-talented writer), or Nicholas's no-comment strategy is working and Capriccioso's no-confirmation approach is backfiring, because the story hasn't perked much since Savage's put-up-or-shut-up charge. The Current is hunting around for some facts with which to write an actual new story, but we don't have any yet --  don't worry, though, we haven't finished going through our entire escort rolodex.

The other red meat
Now, some ranch bidness we didn't have room to include in the Thanksgiving week Queque, wherein we discussed the imminent gathering of the proletarian forces of Texas Agriculture, the Texas Farm Bureau,  convening in Waco this weekend to forge an 81st-lege hammer with which to smash once and for all Perry's Trans-Texas-Corridor land grab. The farmers will also be taking up the protein-rich Beef Checkoff, whose coffers are filled annually to the tune of $80 million or so ($1 for each and every head brought to market), a dowry so golden it was once responsible for the marketing mega-hit "Beef. It's what's for dinner."

Unfortunately, the annual per-cow tithe to the quasi-governmental program has remained the same since Checkoff's 1985 inception while inflation has raced ahead, leaving critical pieces of the square-meal revolution on the media-buy floor: Commercials, yes, but also educational outreach in schools (to counteract the misinformed folks who keep telling kids to eat chicken), and more food-safety research on such topics as "Who let the E. coli back in?" and "Someone please explain to those effin' Japs that our beef is just as good as theirs."

So ... where were we? Let me put down this napkin ... and my steak knife ... ah, yes, the TFB will vote this weekend on doubling that paltry 1 to a 2. If their can-do attitude is contagious at the American Farm Bureau level, look for more pro-breef propaganda -- er, research and marketing -- at area grocery stores and elementary cafeterias.



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