Ron Paul and KBR Struggle with Female Staffers, in their Own Special Ways

Highlights from the Blog at HOUSTONPRESS.COM

Political Animals

Ron Paul Aide Too Sexy for the Net
Press secretary on the hunt for fun

By Steve Olafson

Question: How sexy are Ron Paul-style Republicans?

We intended to post a YouTube video that might have addressed the above question, but before we did so, we decided to place a call to the Washington office of U.S. Representative Ron Paul, the Republican from Brazosport and one-time presidential candidate.

We didn't want to talk to Paul. We wanted to talk to Rachel Mills, his press secretary who last week caused a small stirring in the loins of the Internet that ended prematurely.

You can't see the aforementioned YouTube viddy now. Rachel took it down after we called her.

By way of explanation, the video was in the vein of a one-woman comedic skit in which she spoke directly to the camera, talking about what she wanted in a fella. In the political vernacular of the gag, she was looking for a "candidate" — preferably one who believed in "Constitutional protection," an oblique reference to safe sex. Va-va-voom!

She then, more or less, vamped for the camera and laid down a few other sexual innuendos and double entendres.

Some found it clever; others, not so much.

Said one commenter on a thread at RonPaulforums.com: "Practice safe lunch; use a condiment. By the way, should this be considered NSFW?"

L. Golden, a Paul constituent in the 14th Congressional District, was among those put off by the display, telling us, "The problem I have is that there is ZERO coverage of our Congressman in District 14's news media. This is what a press secretary is supposed to be doing, correct? Instead, we have this video circulating on the Internet. It's distasteful, downright inappropriate and does not reflect well on Dr. Paul and whoever hires and manages the congressional staff. In addition, this person's salary is paid by the taxpayers...for doing what??"

We talked to Rachel on the phone last night and she said she wished we didn't write about this video.

In her own defense, she said she performed in the video on her own time. She didn't want to talk about this during office hours, either, asking to speak to Hair Balls via her "personal cell phone" after work. (Yea, taxpayers!)

She's only billed as "Rachel" in the video and not as Paul's press secretary. Nevertheless, she said she decided to pull the video after getting our phone call.

"I don't want to upset anybody," she said, most especially Congressman Paul, whom she said she greatly respects.

Mills, who once ran for a state House seat in North Carolina and marketed a pinup calendar featuring herself and other Libertarian women wearing bras and panties, called her now-deleted video a "casual, fun thing" and nothing more.

Mills appears in a few other videos on the "Ladies4Liberty" YouTube Channel. She's the "waitress" in the "Unidine" vid, a sketch that equates universal health care with a restaurant where the customers are told they can't pick from the menu and must eat whatever they're served.

It's not the least bit sexually suggestive and no one's complained about it yet, so far as we know.
_____________________

Courts

Rape (Allegedly) Yes, Headscarves No
KBR has some funny standards for employees

By Chris Vogel

It's hard to know what kind of workplace behavior is acceptable at KBR these days.

On the one hand, if you believe the many lawsuits filed against the nation-builder, it's not unheard of for the men stationed in Iraq to verbally and sexually abuse their women colleagues, even rape one on occasion. There are alleged incidents of prostitution and human trafficking at a Thai brothel, where KBR managers encourage their workers to visit, and in some cases possibly even own the brothel. There are even instances where KBR workers supposedly exposed military personnel to contaminated food, contaminated water and improperly incinerated human remains. Yes, one man claims he saw a wild dog running around base one day with a man's arm in its mouth.

So it should have hardly come as a shock to Karen Tounkara when she was fired from her contract gig at one of KBR's Houston facilities for wearing a headscarf. After all, a company must have its standards.

According to a lawsuit recently filed against KBR in Houston federal court, Tounkara, a Muslim, claims she was discriminated against because of her religion when she was prohibited from wearing her headscarf, or hijab, in observance of her faith while she worked.

Tounkara's attorney, Darius Porter, tells Hair Balls that his client was contracted through a nursing agency to help prep KBR workers heading to Iraq. When Tounkara showed up to her first day of work in December, she was told she could not wear her headscarf. "Mind you," says Porter, "this was December and there were other nurses there who had on hats and skull caps because of the cold weather. They weren't required to do anything."

Later that night, says Porter, the staffing agency told Tounkara she was not welcome back at KBR because of a KBR policy stating that no employee can wear a head-covering at work. When Tounkara explained that she was a Muslim and asked if an accommodation could be made, says Porter, KBR countered by saying Tounkara could wear her headscarf up until entering the gates of KBR and put it back on once she had left.

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