Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ha Kaloogian! [Updated]

Here is a classic example of a arch-conservative Republican who might as well be a character from Blast From The Past. Apparently, Howard Kaloogian, who is currently running to fill the House seat vacated by Duke Cunningham, is so oblivious to the world of the Internet that he thought he could pass off a photo of Istanbul, Turkey as proof that Iraq is peaceful and calm, with happy couples walking hand in hand!

Keep sticking out your chest there, smart guy! It’s a good thing you are around to tackle the noble task of moving America forward. It’s too bad you are trying to move us forward from about the 1960’s!

[Update 1] Here is Kaloogian’s response to the phony photo – blame it on a “staffer!” OK, I can buy the notion that because many photos were taken on his trip, including some in Turkey, a staffer might get them mixed up. But someone actually took the time to write and post the following caption along with the photo:

We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.

If this were truly an accidental mix up between two similar photos, then why not just switch to the right one? Couldn’t Kaloogian swap a real photo of downtown Baghdad and keep the same caption? I didn’t think so!

[Update 2] Kaloogian has now replaced the photo with another one, and added an apology followed by the same original caption that has no relationship to the new photo.

We originally posted a photograph not of Baghdad, Iraq but from Istanbul, Turkey where our delegation traveled on the way home to the United States. We apologize for this mistake. We have corrected it with a photograph we took from Baghdad.

Of course, nearly everything looks “calm and stable” when viewed from about a mile away! So what did Kaloogian see during his trip that led him to conclude that the news media is exaggerating the violence in Baghdad? And with all those pictures they claim to have taken, why couldn't they find one that doesn't look like a cheap gift shop postcard?

[Update 3] More detail on the Kaloogian flap here. The location and date of the shot is identified, as well the fact that the bluish building in the center has been blown to smithereens since the photo was taken. Oh, and Kaloogian's website has been taken down entirely. After the embarrassement of the Duke Cunningham scandal, I'm thinkin' Howard Kaloogian is not the guy to help wash away the smell of dishonesty that still lingers in CA-50.


  1. Could it be because they lying? In the hundred's of photos taken this was the best one.

    I have actually met Mr. Kaloogian. He was a lousy Assemblyman. I can't believe he has a chance at geting to Congress.

    I don't know - Turkey, Iraq their all the same aren't they.

  2. One other observation:

    If Schwarzennegger aide, Andrea Hoch, were to marry Howard Kaloogian, would she be Andrea Hoch-Kaloogian?

  3. I am so proud of bloggers who were the first to recognize the "staff error" and spread it over the blogosphere!

    In this mornings papers' e-mails, I noted several had picked up the story...and credited bloggers for their work.

    Good on youse, all youse guys!

  4. There is also another image of McDonalds PR and advertising in the Middle-East - not sure of it has been edited by Kaloogian.

    Take a peek -