Friday, 22 June 2007
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
This dispute about what senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer said
within earshot of senator James Inhofe is all over the blogosphere.
I've lifted the following excerpts from Jake Tapper at abcnews.com, but you can
find it in countless other places as well..
Talk talk talk
June 22, 2007 8:58
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okl, claims he overheard
Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Barbara Boxer, D-Calf, chatting about how out
of control talk radio had become.
"They said we've got to do something about
this," Inhofe told a talk radio host. (LINK) "That 'these are
nothing but far right wing extremists, we've got to have a balance, there's got
to be a legislative fix to this.'"
I'm still waiting for comment from Clinton's
and Boxer's offices.but this comes on the heels of a new study by a liberal
group (LINK) that
claims that in Spring 2007 "of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five
commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio
programming was conservative."
What do you think?
UPDATE: Boxer's and Clinton's offices got back
"Senator Boxer told me that either her friend
Senator Inhofe needs new glasses or he needs to have his hearing checked,
because that conversation never happened," says Natalie Ravitz, the
communications director for Boxer.
"Jim Inhofe is wrong," says Philippe Reines,
Clinton's press secretary. "This supposed conversation never happened - not in
his presence or anywhere else." .
First, a little disclosure for you: I am not a fan of James
Ihofe's. He is well to the right of me and not my political compatriot at
That said, however, I doubt that you can find a more honest man in the
senate. Whatever I think of his individual positions, I have great
confidence he will state them as he believes them.
By contrast, however, I cannot say that I have any such confidence for senator Clinton
or Boxer. I don't consider either of them very honest or forthcoming.
Add to this that the study Tapper mentions was put out just
this week - coincidentally I'm sure - by an organization headed by John
Podesta, Bill Clinton's former chief of staff (remember the co-presidency?), and
Ms. Clinton's denial starts taking on the aroma of the Bayonne docks after a
July heat wave.
I don't claim to know for sure who is telling the truth. I wasn't
there. But If I were a betting man, my stake would be on
Robin Williams is an amazingly talented performer, possibly the most talented I have
ever seen. And one of his greatest talents is improvisational humor -
i.e. the ability to just "wing it" and let fly with whatever comes out of his
mouth, completely unscripted. He can be hilarious when he does this. What
a great, creative genius he is!
This being the case, however, it makes me wonder why he would forgo such
amazing gifts and attack one of the most predictable, easy, cheap-shot
targets out there: Catholics. Forgetting the moral issues involved
(for the moment, anyway), what's the point of it? Lesser
comedians need that high hard one down the middle of the plate, not Mr.
On Monday, Robin Williams was a guest on the Tonight Show. And a good
portion of his "humor" involved vicious Catholic-bashing. Here is an
account of his performance from www.newsbusters.com:.
On the show, Williams pretended to play a game
where the pedophile is hidden under a cap (hat tip to the Catholic
League). Said Williams: "Here we
go. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Find the priest, find the pedophile.
Here you go right now. Move 'em around, move 'em around. Oh, you found the
Williams went on, placing his hand over his
groin, saying, "Youhave to realize that if you are a Catholic priest, you have
retired this. That's it--no more sex." Then Williams slammed confession.
"But they are going to put you in a small, dark box and people are going to tell
you the nastiest sexual stuff they have done.
Commenting on Williams' anti-Catholic bigotry
being aired on a major network, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said:
"Isiah Washington lashes out at one gay person in private and he is banished
from 'Grey's Anatomy.' Robin Williams lashes out all priests in public and he
suffers no consequence. To top it off, Williams suggests that most molesting
priests are pedophiles, when in fact they are homosexuals. But to make a joke
about gay priests could get him into trouble. So it's better to lie. This is
justice--Hollywood style." .
I hope you have some problems with this "humor". I know I do.
Yes, there are Catholic priests who have sexually abused children. Just
as there are Muslims who kill their daughters because the daughters have
been raped (that's for real, folks, It is called "honor killing", believe
it or not). There are also HIV- positive homosexuals who
continue to have unprotected sex, thus exposing this horrible condition to
innocent, unsuspecting partners. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
But you cannot attack Muslims or homosexuals as a group. That
would make you a bigot, a neanderthal, a disgusting lesser being, deserving of
scorn and ridicule.
On the other hand, if you do it to Catholics? No problem. It's
open season. And they're not the only ones.
Consider the case of Don Imus's racial insult ("nappy-headed hos) and Rosie
O'Donnell's sarcasm regarding Chinese people ("ching chong, ching
chong"). Imus is fired and disgraced. Rosie O'Donnell reaps
every benefit. You can't attack Black people, you'll get your backside
handed to you in a nanosecond. But Chinese people can be ridiculed at
will, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. What can they do about it?
So why does this happen? What are the criteria which define which
insults against entire groups are and are not acceptable? I think I can
offer you two:
-One of them is fear of retribution. If you go after Muslims as a
group or homosexuals as a group, you are going to get reamed. Both have
extremely active organizations that will come down on you hard as nails.
Plus, I suspect there is the fear factor for insulting Muslims (fatwah,
anyone?) and the fact that acceptance of homosexuality has become a key
criterion for proving you are a tolerant, understanding person, thus
homosexual bashing means you are the opposite.
No such luck for Catholics, though. Catholics don't issue religious
decrees that make you afraid to go to sleep at night, and Catholics, despite
their numbers, do not have the media support that gay and lesbian people
-The other is more political in nature. Robin Williams and Rosie
O'Donnell are left of center. And, as such, they are in tune
with the political sentiments of most mainstream media in this country.
This liberates them to be as small and hurtful as they want towards Catholics,
Chinese, whomever. Call it professional courtesy.
I believe that the single straightest line to hatred is
judging people as components of groups rather than as the individuals we all are.
I don't care if you are Catholic, or Muslim, or homosexual, or anything
else. You are YOU. And unless you define yourself by the group you
belong to and therefore are telling me that you are voluntarily soburdinate to
that group, I won't see you that way.
Personally, I try very hard to keep to this philosophy. Admittedly it
is sometimes hard to do. But it is almost always the right thing to
do, and decent people try to do the right thing.
I hope Mr. Williams thinks about his comments on Monday and reflects upon how
wrong, unfair and hurtful they are to so many people. Maybe he can
even find it in himself to apologize to the Catholics he insulted.
An apology wouldn't be very improvisational and could never get the
hip-crowd laughs he is so good at generating. But it would be a
pretty good thing to do. The right thing.
Without going into the reasons, I probably will not have access to a computer
for a couple of days. But that's not 100%, so please check in every now
and again to see if I was able to blog..
I promise to be back for sure either Sunday night or Monday morning.
THE HUMAN OIL SLICK STRIKES AGAIN
First it was the 28,000 square foot house being built by a man who piously
talked about how unjust it was to have "two Americas" - one of haves and the
other of have nots.
Then it was the announcement that his wife's cancer had returned, done not in
a tasteful, concerned way but as a media event he used to promote his
Then it was the $55,000 fee paid to him by a major university so he could
speak about poverty.
Now? It is the cynical usage of funds meant to fight poverty that are
in fact being used to further his presidential ambitions.
Who are we talking about? I bet you already know. But, pro forma,
I'll mention that we are talking about the human oil slick, john edwards.
Here are the particulars, which can be found all over the news this morning --
even on the front page of the New York Times, which is where this excerpt was
In Aiding Poor, Edwards Built Bridge to 2008
ended 2004 with a problem: how to keep alive his public profile without the
benefit of a presidential campaign that could finance his travels and pay for
his political staff.
Mr. Edwards, who reported this year that he
had assets of nearly $30 million, came up with a novel solution, creating a
nonprofit organization with the stated mission of fighting poverty. The
organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in
2005, and unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for
poor students the main beneficiary of the centers fund-raising was Mr.
Edwards himself, tax filings show.
A spokesman for Mr. Edwards defended the
center yesterday as a legitimate tool against poverty.
The organization became a big part of a shadow
political apparatus for Mr. Edwards after his defeat as the Democratic vice
presidential nominee in 2004 and before the start of his presidential bid this
time around. Its officers were members of his political staff, and it helped pay
for his nearly constant travel, including to early primary
While Mr. Edwards said the organizations
purpose was making the eradication of poverty the cause of this generation,
its federal filings say it financed retreats and seminars with foreign policy
experts on Iraq and national security issues. Unlike the scholarship charity,
donations to it were not tax deductible, and, significantly, it did not have to
disclose its donors as political action committees and other political
fund-raising vehicles do and there were no limits on the size of individual
You need quite a bit of hubris to run for president as
a nondescript one-term senator with no legislative accomplishments and a grotesquely
bad record of attendance at your committee meetings. And if that
was the extent of what edwards could be nailed with, it would be more than enough.
But when you add in the overt hypocrisy of this man, it takes on epic proportion. It is as if he
believes mouthing words to the country is like making summations to the
juries he talked into multi-million dollar judgments against doctors and
hospitals. Talking slickly and persuasively is all you need.
However the electorate is a different kind of jury. We are not bound by the parameters of written
law or the limitations placed on us by a judge. We can look at the entire
And when you look at the entire picture of the human oil slick, john edwards, he suddenly comes
across less like a viable candidate for the oval office and
more like this generation's Dorian Gray.
TROOP SURGE 'FAILURE' UPDATE
I post this as part of a continuing effort to inform you of how our troop
surge is doing, now that it has been implemented. Yes, this is the troop
surge which senate malaise leader harry reid and disparager of the house nancy
pelosi-ricardo declared a "failure", BEFORE it was implemented.
It is straight off the Reuters wire. Please keep in mind that
Reuters is, to say the least, not our greatest ally when it comes to the war in
Al Qaeda fight to
death in Iraq bastion: U.S.
By Alister Bull 46 minutes
Thousands of U.S. soldiers on the offensive
north of Baghdad are facing fierce resistance from hundreds of al Qaeda
militants who are ready to fight to the death, an American general said on
The militants are making their stand in and
around the Iraqi city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, where the
U.S. military on Tuesday launched one of its biggest operations since the
invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"It is house to house, block to block, street
to street, sewer to sewer," said Brigadier-General Mick Bednarek, commander of
Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Iraq's Diyala province.
Not far from Baquba, U.S. attack helicopters
killed 17 suspected al Qaeda gunmen on the outskirts of the town of Khalis early
on Friday, the U.S. military said.
The military said those killed were armed and
had been acting suspiciously around an Iraqi police patrol. That brings to 68
the number of militants killed so far in the operation.
U.S. officials accuse Sunni Islamist al Qaeda
of using car bombings and other violence to try to tip Iraq into full-scale
sectarian civil war. A suicide truck bomb blamed on al Qaeda killed 87 people
outside a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Bednarek estimated several hundred al Qaeda
militants were at Baquba and it would be a long and dangerous job for U.S.
forces to flush them out.
"They will not go any further. They will fight
to the death," Bednarek told Reuters and another news agency.
"There have been houses that were used by al
Qaeda as safe houses ... their entire structures rigged with massive
Baquba is the capital of Diyala province. The
region has long been an al Qaeda hotbed, but attacks against U.S. and Iraqi
forces have soared here since a four-month-old U.S.-led security crackdown in
Baghdad and operations elsewhere prompted many al Qaeda militants and other
gunmen to seek sanctuary in Diyala.
The campaign is part of a broader
offensive involving tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers pushing on with
simultaneous operations in Baghdad, and to the south and west of the
Tough fighting is expected over the next 45-60
days, U.S. military officials have said, sketching a rough timeline for the
Bednarek said U.S. forces were making some
grisly discoveries as they scoured Baquba.
He said residents led soldiers to a house in
the western part of the city that appeared to have been used to hold, torment
and kill hostages. Soldiers destroyed it.
"When you walk into a room and you see blood
trails, you see saws, you see drills, knives, in addition to weapons, that is
not normal," Bednarek said.
U.S. military commanders have said the
combined operations were taking advantage of the completion of a build-up of
American forces in Iraq to 156,000 soldiers.
President George W. Bush has sent 28,000 extra
troops mainly to Baghdad to help curb sectarian bloodshed and buy time for
Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to reach a political accommodation with
disaffected minority Sunni Arabs, who are locked in a cycle of violence with
majority Shi'ite Muslims.
U.S. casualties have been light so far, given
the scope of the offensive in Diyala, with one soldier killed, although in
Baghdad roadside bombs are exacting a heavy toll.
Bednarek said the fight against al Qaeda in
Diyala also involved local Sunni Arabs who opposed the United States but who
wanted to end al Qaeda domination of their communities.
He said this included fighters from the 1920
Revolution Brigade, a large Sunni Arab insurgent group that has fallen out with
al Qaeda over its indiscriminate killing of civilians.
His forces were only providing logistical
support, he said.
American military commanders have increasingly
begun arming and equipping Sunni Arab tribes to fight al Qaeda under a model
first used in volatile western Anbar province. .
This is another consequence of our troop surge. A very good, very
It also speaks to the fact that al qaeda are in Iraq and that they are part
of the global terrorism which john edwards and other Democratic candidates have
told you is nothing more than a "bumper sticker".
Is it just me, or has this bunch become very quiet as the surge enables us to
do things we were previously unable to do, and put the global terrorists and
other murdering scum in Iraq on the run?
Don't worry, though. In any war there are bound to be bad days.
And when there are, I guarantee you'll hear from reid, pelosi-ricardo and the
GUEST EDITORIAL: INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
I have blogged this week about the dramatically low poll ratings for the
Democratic congress, poll ratings which much of the mainstream media have been
kind enough to bury so that the sheepl...er, voters won't ever see how bad they
are and how much higher President Bush is by comparison
Ok, that's expected. It is de rigeuer for USA mainstream media and no
surprise at all. Happily, though, some media are not willing to play lets-pretend
and deny their readers such information.
With this in mind, here is today's editorial from Investor's Business Daily
(IBD). It provides a fascinating walk through some of the possible reasons that Democratic
fortunes have fallen through a trap door so quickly: .
Voters Showing Buyer's Remorse
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
| Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:30 PM PT
Congress: Like the
victim of a slick used car salesman tricked into buying a lemon, Americans wish
they could return the Democratic Congress their votes bought: Confidence in
Congress has hit an all-time low of 14%.
Gallup just announced its annual survey of
public confidence in an array of institutions in American life. Our brave men
and women in uniform, naturally, were tops: Confidence in the military is at
69%. Small business, the chief jobs creator in our country, came in second at
Banks garnered only 41%; the Supreme Court,
public schools and the medical system were all in the 30s in the confidence
President Bush got 25%, down from 33% last
year. But TV news, newspapers, the criminal justice system, labor unions, big
business, and HMOs all scored lower than our commander in chief.
At rock bottom of the 16 entities polled was
the freshly elected, Democratic-controlled Congress. Its dismal 14% confidence
rating is the lowest since Gallup began these annual surveys in 1973, and down
significantly from the 19% the Republican Congress scored with the public in a
"throw the bums out" mood last year.
It really should be no shock:
Corruption. The Democrats'
leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, D-Nev., made $1.1 million in 2001 selling Las
Vegas land he didn't own.
In a deal engineered by a former casino lawyer
buddy of Reid's linked to bribery and organized crime investigations, Reid
skirted Senate ethics rules by failing to report the complex real estate
A 2002 sweetheart deal on 60 acres of Arizona
desert involving a Las Vegas lubricants dealer could leave Reid with a cool
profit ranging "from $50,000 to $290,000," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Reid soon introduced legislation making it harder for oil firms to get out of
contracts with lubricant dealers.
Then there is Senate Rules Committee
Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California, who may have bent a few rules by
steering over a billion dollars' worth of defense contracts to companies
controlled by her husband.
How about Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., just
indicted on bribery charges after the FBI found $90,000 in cash in his freezer?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi judged Jefferson unfit to sit on the House Ways and Means
panel then placed him on the Homeland Security Committee instead. Think of the
consequences of a terrorist finding someone willing to take a bribe for
Retreat. Senate Majority Leader
Reid has never missed a chance to declare the Iraq War "lost." Speaker Pelosi
has been trying to engineer a pullout for years even trying in vain to make
cut-and-run king John Murtha her House majority leader.
Their latest push for surrender was to write
to President Bush that "the escalation has failed to produce the intended
results" even though the new surge strategy under Gen. David Petraeus has not
yet been fully implemented.
Inability to govern. For all
the lofty, left-leaning ideals Pelosi talked about during last year's campaign,
the House of Representatives has reverted to the same old boys' network it was
during the decades of its previous control by Democrats.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman
John Dingell of Michigan first elected to his seat in 1955 recently let
Pelosi know who's the boss, bucking her on fuel efficiency
The Senate, meanwhile, unable to get much of
anything past President Bush's veto, has degenerated into little more than a
political attack machine. A meaningless "no confidence" resolution on Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales more suited to European parliaments took precedence
over things Democrats claim to care about, such as energy
Reid and Pelosi have little to be cheery
about. That is, unless Gallup adds some group to its survey trial lawyers? IRS
auditors? repo men? that might rank lower in popularity than
In honesty, I doubt that respondents polled by Gallup are this tuned in to
the specific examples of corruption and dishonesty detailed by IBD. But I
am reasonably certain that they have a strong general sense about
Democrats' lofty criticisms of Republicans and pious promises to do better
turning out to be a hot steamy load.
Few things turn off voters more than being convinced to vote out one party,
only to find out the other party is worse. Maybe this explains the
unprecedentedly low poll numbers for Democrats.
What do you think?