Phony Capito URL redirected users to Byrd site

An apparent case of cybersquatting created a minor dustup Friday when visitors looking for a campaign website for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) at www.capito2006.com were redirected to Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) campaign site at www.byrd2006.com. Though she has yet to announce her intentions, Capito has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Byrd as he seeks a ninth Senate term.

An apparent case of cybersquatting created a minor dustup Friday when visitors looking for a campaign website for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) at www.capito2006.com were redirected to Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) campaign site at www.byrd2006.com.

Though she has yet to announce her intentions, Capito has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Byrd as he seeks a ninth Senate term.

The flap was first noticed by West Virginia talk-radio host Hoppy Kercheval and followed up by state GOP political consultant and author Gary Abernathy on his blog.

Capito spokesman R.C. Hammond quickly went on the offensive Friday, firing off a statement. “Certainly Senator Byrd would not want to mislead West Virginians into thinking Shelley Moore Capito has something to do with his 2006 reelection and will do everything in his power to return www.capito2006.com to its proper home on the Internet,” Hammond said.

“Within hours,” he said, the Byrd camp in fact had acted. Now any attempt to connect with www.capito2006.com results in a split-second view of the Byrd homepage followed by this message: “You have been redirected to this page in error. Someone unknown and unaffiliated with Friends of Robert C. Byrd had been redirecting Web traffic from capito2006.com to byrd2006.com.

“When Friends of Robert C. Byrd became aware of this activity, we immediately undertook corrective action to remedy the situation, including contacting the hosting company for capito2006.com and creating this error page.”

But the question remains: who’s responsible for purchasing the domain name and redirecting visitors? Hammond said the move makes sense because, although she had not yet registered the name herself, she has registered similar Web addresses in the past, such as www.capito2002.com and www.capito2004.com.

According to Abernathy, former West Virginia Young Republican Chairman Charles Bolen and others “tracked down the phony Capito domain owner via records available on the Internet. The Capito site is registered to a Stanton Denman of Herndon, Va.”

A 2003 American Prospect article refers to Denman as a “former Pentagon employee” who worked for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.

Sen. Conrad's budget talk draws little interest

Certain hot topics such as the Karl Rove CIA leak investigation or the speculation over who’ll fill the Supreme Court vacancy are guaranteed to hold the attention of journalists during the summer doldrums.

But talk about the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) midsession review of the fiscal 2006 federal budget, as Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) did last week in a news teleconference, and you’re lucky they don’t fall asleep.

Conrad, the ranking member of the Budget Committee and an acknowledged expert on how the government raises and spends tax dollars, provided a lengthy analysis in which he challenged the administration’s claim that the budget deficit will be about $325 billion for 2005.

Conrad said the OMB isn’t counting the $180 billion it’s taking from Social Security or the $20 billion it’s taking from Medicare to pay for other things, which he predicted will add more than $500 billion to the debt this year.

With that, he offered to take questions about the report, which was due out the next day.

After a reporter asked if he had “any sense of what they may be reporting in terms of Medicare,” Conrad replied, “We don’t know that,” then asked, “Anything else?”

Hearing nothing but silence, he said, “OK. Thank you.”

Just in time, another stemwinder from Bork

Just in time for what’s sure to be a bruising Supreme Court nomination battle, the most bruised nominee of all is out with yet another screed on current constitutional jurisprudence — or lack thereof.

'A Country I Do Not Recognize': The Legal Assault on American Values, edited by failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, takes its title from a famous dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Bork’s lengthy introduction to the book pulls no punches and lays bare his contempt for the current court — revealing just how high the stakes could be for both his intellectual allies and foes alike. Some examples:

• “By denigrating the sacred, by abolishing taboos, by announcing the principle of man’s radical autonomy, the Court has embarked on a reconfiguration of our society, on what the Court seems to imagine as a perfectibility project.”

• “What the cultural left calls ‘mainstream’ is a polluted current that has long since overflowed its banks and is wreaking devastation on America’s moral and aesthetic landscape.”

• “Today’s Court manifests one of the less attractive hangovers from the Sixties, that it is, in fact, enacting in the name of the Constitution, the modern liberal agenda of political correctness.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, the book is slated for publication by the Hoover Institution on Aug. 26, just as the Senate prepares to return from August recess, in all likelihood to begin confirmation hearings on President Bush’s nominee.

Former Kerry aide writing for hit show ‘The Closer’

A former speechwriter and staffer to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and other Democratic senators wrote last night’s episode of the hit cable series “The Closer.”

Roger Wolfson worked for Kerry, Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and the late Paul Wellstone (Minn.) and co-founded a political consulting firm before packing up his D.C. life and heading for the left coast to try his hand at screenwriting. He’s already penned scripts for the blockbuster “Law and Order: SVU” on NBC and “Century City,” a short-lived futuristic legal drama on CBS.

He’s been writing for “The Closer” since TNT picked it up as a series in February. The show stars Kyra Sedgwick as a Los Angeles deputy police chief who relies on her skills as a CIA-trained interrogator to solve murder cases. Its first episode, June 13, drew about 7 million viewers — the highest rated premiere in cable history.

In last night’s episode, former “Family Ties” star Meredith Baxter was a guest star, playing a U.S. congresswoman — “totally coincidentally,” Wolfson said.

His next episode airs Aug. 29.

Friedman mention boosts book sales

Message to fellow authors from Clyde Prestowitz: Forget Oprah. Try to get your book plugged by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

Prestowitz, the former Reagan administration Commerce Department official who now heads the Economic Strategy Institute, saw his new book about America’s economic decline under globalization, Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East, jump dramatically on Amazon.com’s best seller list after Friedman gave it a passing mention in a recent column.

“A little mention in Friedman’s column is better than a full review in the Times or BusinessWeek,” Prestowitz said last week as his book, published by Basic Books, zoomed from about 400 to 40 on Amazon and to No. 9 on The Washington Post’s best-seller list.

Maybe that’s why Amazon is offering Prestowitz’s book along with Friedman’s best-selling tome about globalization, The World is Flat, as a package for only $34.29.

Historian Ritchie’s near-miss in London

Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie nearly became an eyewitness to history during a recent visit to London, but he’s glad that he didn’t.

Ritchie and his wife, Anne, an oral historian at the National Gallery of Art, were attending an oral-history conference at the British Museum, which is close to the Russell Square underground that was attacked by Islamic terrorists.

In fact, Ritchie and his wife rode the Piccadilly line to the conference on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, two days before the July 7 terrorist attacks that killed more than 50 people.

Mondales are 'very hopeful' daughter will recover from cancer

Former Vice President Walter Mondale is telling friends and associates that he and his wife, Joan, are “very hopeful” that their daughter Eleanor will recover from brain cancer.

“Eleanor is young and strong, very positive, and is receiving the finest medical care possible,” he wrote to those who have expressed their concern. “She is undergoing therapy on a daily basis at the wonderful Mayo Clinic. All of this makes us very hopeful.”

The Mondales’ 45-year-old daughter is undergoing seven weeks of chemotherapy and radiation after doctors determined on May 31 that two tumors in her frontal lobe were malignant.

Eleanor Mondale, who lives in the Minneapolis area and recently married a local rock star, is a former TV host who once inspired Monica Lewinsky to throw a fit at the White House gate when she heard Mondale was visiting President Clinton.