The political opposition researcher who illegally snooped into Michael Steele's credit history has found something else to stick her nose into: toilets.
Lauren Weiner fraudulently posed as Steele on the Internet to obtain his credit history three years ago. At the time, she was a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee researcher, and he was the lieutenant governor and a likely Republican candidate for Senate.
These days, Weiner is a potty blogger. On fullyflushed.blogspot.com, she digs up dirt on public johns.
"Bathrooms are often over looked, but I believe they are an important part of a dining experience," she writes. "Here I will give you the truth straight from the stall."
I'm all for shaming restaurants with gross bathrooms, but Weiner's written summaries and photos focus more on style points than sanitation.
"The stalls are small, slick, retro-mod looking, but not too confining," she writes of the "Ally McBeal bathroom" (side-by-side, co-ed stalls) in Washington's Cafe Asia. "And the sink is one big stainless steel [trough]. I'm not sure if it's meant to be a place to congregate, but it's certainly a conversation starter."
A less glowing review for the can at OC Wasabi in Ocean City:
"The stark single-stall didn't offer much to discuss," she writes. "It was clean and roomy but that's about all I can say. The generic color wasn't really creative."
While the blog makes no mention of Weiner's criminal past - she pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently obtaining a credit report, a misdemeanor - the sleuth is still crossing boundaries.
"They had a single stall for men and another for women (yes, I visited both)," reads her dispatch from O'Donnell's in Gaithersburg.
I wanted to ask Weiner about her bathroom fetish, but she did not return e-mails seeking comment. Maybe she's on the road. When she's not blogging, Weiner is deputy communications director for Americans United for Change, a liberal group gunning for George Bush in a shrink-wrapped bus.
On a cross-country tour, the bus rolled up to Mount Rushmore this week, emblazoned with the president's mug and these words: "The Bush Legacy: Economy in Crisis, Endless Iraq War, Healthcare's a Mess, Record Gas Prices." Weiner's name appeared on a news release promoting the Rushmore stop, which is why I happened to Google her, turning up the blog.
Can't wait for the posting on the tour bus loo.
Just there to pick up some Silver Queen
Steve Fogleman generated some political buzz by stopping by the Baltimore Farmers' Market last weekend, but he says he was after local corn, not Pat Jessamy's job.
Fogleman, the city liquor board chairman, unsuccessfully challenged the state's attorney in the 2006 Democratic primary. On Sunday, he attended a rally at the market calling for Jessamy to oust her spokeswoman, Margaret Burns. Burns has been under fire since May, when a legal publication quoted her playing down the severity of the beating that led to the death of Zach Sowers, a young Patterson Park newlywed.
News organizations, including The Sun, noted Fogleman's presence at the rally. Laying the groundwork for a Fogleman-Jessamy rematch? Politicos presumed yes.
Not so, said Fogleman. He said he regularly visits the farmers' market, and he wanted to stop by the rally to show support for Sowers' widow, Anna Sowers. (She's a friend of a friend; he'd also met Zach three years ago at Shorty's bar.)
"Pat Jessamy is not my enemy, but I really felt terribly for Anna to have to have this issue rehashed," Fogleman said. "She asked me to show up at rally. My wife and I went down and bought corn."
While at the rally, Fogleman said, someone asked him to help hand out fliers for another "Burns Must Go" event, planned for tomorrow in front of the Mitchell Courthouse.
"I handed out three fliers," Fogleman said. "Next thing I know, I'm in The Sun for passing out fliers. I didn't speak. I was in the back. ... I didn't want people thinking I'm handing out campaign fliers."
Fogleman said he hasn't ruled out running again for state's attorney. But his short-range goal is reappointment to the liquor board for another two-year term. His term expires in May. He expects to take his job cues from his first child, due Aug. 5.
"At this point, I'm going to let baby Annabel decide that."
Connect the dots
The latest issue of Women's Health magazine takes a look at sex and the city. Not the movie. The actual act, based on contraceptive sales tracked by market researchers ACNielsen. Among the "top burgs for bumpin'," as the magazine put it, Baltimore ranked 10th. ... The Jim Smith Society, a 39-year-old group of like-named men, gathered recently in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. No, the Baltimore County exec was not among them, said spokeswoman Ellen Kobler. She notes, however, that her sister-in-law used to work for a Jim Smith who headed a downtown law firm, and her husband went to school with a Jim Smith.