Monday, 09 July 2007


Ken Berwitz

I like Katie Couric.  I really do.  No joke.  If I were going to start a morning show - say, around the same time as The Today Show - I would do everything in my power to sign her up for it.  She has a terrific personality, a winning smile, is on perky overdrive and generally is about as perfect a fit for the 7:00AM - 9:00AM time slot as there is.

But as a news anchor?  Uh oh.  Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, doesn't compute.  Put her in Walter Cronkite's old chair and she goes from Katie Couric to Katie Carwreck.

Unfortunately for CBS, that's exactly what they did do, and that's exactly what happened.  The ratings fell through a trap door. 

Now a reasonably logical person might conclude that this happened because Ms. Couric is far better suited to a lighter morning format than the network news anchor desk.  But that person would be wrong.  Just ask Katie:.

Viewers weren't ready - Katie

First hint of regret for Couric as ratings plummet

 Katie Couric

Katie Couric has admitted for the first time that switching from breakfast television to the evening anchor's seat at CBS might have been a bad move.

"I have days when I'm like, 'Oh, my God, what did I do?'" said Dan Rather's $15 million-a-year successor, in a dramatically frank sign of how difficult her transition has been.

"I think one thing that I realized, looking back at it and analyzing it, is people are very unforgiving and very resistant to change," Couric told this week's New York magazine.

The public reassessment marks a huge change for America's Sweetheart, who burst on to the stodgy network news scene last year as its first solo female anchor. But as her "CBS Evening News" ratings have plunged and her bosses mull changes to the show, Couric cast herself as a survivor - so far.

"I've gone through a bit of a feeding frenzy and there's blood in the water and I've got some vulnerabilities," she said.

The magazine article reveals how Couric once took out her frustrations on a news editor by slapping his arm repeatedly while telling him not to use the word "sputum" in a story.

"I sort of slapped him around," Couric confessed. "I was aggravated, there's no question about that."

But she also detailed her frustrations with CBS' stingy news spending, after 17 years on NBC's hyper-profitable "Today" show.

"Often the first question people would ask about a story is, 'How much does it cost?' And I didn't really experience that a lot at NBC, quite frankly," she said.

Executive Producer Rick Kaplan told the Daily News he plans to bring back a more traditional evening newscast with Couric as anchor.

"Katie brought a lot of new viewers," he said. "Now we need to bring some of the previous viewers back."

Kaplan said the show tried a lot of things when Couric was hired, and that they "probably tried too many things at once."

But if she had known the nightly news show would revert to its old format, Couric said, the job "would have been less appealing to me. It would have required a lot more thought."

CBS chief Leslie Moonves promised Couric that together they would shake up the show's formulaic format. But, so far, putting Couric's morning "Today" show touch on the nightly newscast has been a bust. Couric came under intense scrutiny from the moment her deal was announced: Some CBS staffers didn't think she was serious enough for the job. Even former anchor Dan Rather piled on, saying CBS was "dumbing down" and "tarting up" the broadcast.

She drew an enviable 13.5 million viewers at first, but that fell to 5.5 million by May - and recently creeped back to a third-place 6.1 million. ABC, by contrast, draws 8 million viewers.

As execs tinkered with the failing show, they cut Couric's sitdown interviews, leaving her fighting for airtime on her own broadcast. Now, Couric conducts fewer interviews and dresses down to give her critics less fodder. Even her casual "Hi, everyone" opening was dropped for a more traditional "Hello."

But she said she remained optimistic about the future.

"I think that bugs people even more that I'm not a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown," she told the mag. "It's probably disappointing to some people. Because in the arc of the story, that's what they want to see." .

Ok!  Now we know why Katie has been an utter disaster at CBS Evening news.  The second and third reasons are that there isn't enough budget to do the news right, and that Katie is (trumpets blaring now) a woman. 

But that first one is the doozy of the bunch:  "I think one thing that I realized, looking back at it and analyzing it, is people are very unforgiving and very resistant to change". 

Yeah, baby.  It's YOUR fault, you unforgiving stick in the mud.  Why can't YOU go for something different.  Something that's, well.....more like Katie Couric thinks you should want.  It's GOT to be you. 

And if it isn't your unwillingness to tune into the new, informal, perky/smiley network news?  It must be that you are too unenlightened to accept a woman in the anchor chair. 

And  if it isn't your personal mysogyny (and shame on you for being that way!!) it must be that CBS is a cheapskate network unwilling to cough up the bucks to do it right.

I don't know, maybe it's just me.  But I think there may be a missing reason here.  Could it possibly be that Katie Couric's capabilities and style are, as noted earlier, far better suited to a lighter morning format than the network news anchor desk?  Could it be that SHE isn't right for the job, not that YOU are an unacceptable viewer?

As long as Ms. Couric can't see herself as the reason for this disaster in progress, the disaster is going to stay in progress and Katie Couric is going to stay Katie Carwreck.  

I hope for her sake that she wises up soon, before CBS wises up for her.


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday, the, the New York Times published a major article which intimated that, in 2005, the Bush administration could have taken out Zawahari, maybe even bin laden, but got cold feet and didn't do it.

The article is an absolute fraud.

Andrew McCarthy has written a genuinely devastating piece, which takes it apart so completely that if I were the Times editor who passed on this garbage I'd be ashamed to show my face in front of professional journalists ever again. 

But this is today's New York Times, so the editor may well have gotten a raise and a promotion by now.

Here is Mr. McCarthy's piece.  It is long, and for that I apologize.  But I don't want anyone thinking I left out parts that made the Times look better.  Believe me, that could not have happened: .

Living History with the New York Times
Hit job on Rumsfeld and Zawahiri inspires a welcome walk down memory lane.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

"U.S. Aborted Raid on Qaeda Chiefs in Pakistan in '05."

So blared the top
headline of Sunday's New York Times. Breathlessly, correspondent Mark Mazzetti reported that reliable intelligence had Ayman al-Zawahiri coming to a meeting in Pakistans tribal region. Special-ops forces got all geared up to take him out. Everything was in place to do just that. Then, at the eleventh hour, Donald Rumsfeld got cold feet.

Too risky, the Defense secretary is said to have decided. Too much potential for collateral damage, U.S. casualties, and a jolt to America's complex relationship with the shaky Musharaff government. So, the Times tut-tuts, the raid was aborted. And thanks to this monumental failure of nerve, the narrative concludes, al Qaeda is resurgent.

Now, hold on just a second. The Gray Ladys leitmotif for six years running can be lost on none of us: Bus--administration officials are reckless cowboys, insufficiently attentive to the human costs of warfare and clueless about the nuances of diplomacy, right?

So what's going on? Here we have Bush's Defense secretary actually factoring in the Times's top war priorities: Don't be rash, don't kill anyone, don't anger Muslims, don't upset the international community, etc. Rummy, as if the Times editorial board was calling the plays, decides discretion is the better part of valor and pulls the plug on a risky operation yet the Times ends up having a snit anyway?

What gives? Why shift gears and paint the administration as feckless and thus responsible for al Qaeda's growing strength in the Afghan/Pakistan border region?

Gee, I dont know, maybe because the Dandy of Pinch-Land, President Bill Clinton, was, in fact, feckless and thus responsible for al Qaeda's growing strength in the Afghan/Pakistan border region.

Yes, welcome back my friends to the show that never ends: The Bill & Hill Legacy Repair & Legacy-in-the Making Project, headquarters Eighth Avenue and West 40th Street, New York, New York. Today's message (and please, let's try to stay on-message): See? Bush isnt any tougher on al Qaeda than Clinton was, and surely not as tough as a smart, bold President Hillary Clinton would be. For all their bravado, these Bushies had their shot at taking al Qaeda's top leaders out, but they blinked --and all because they were fretting over collateral consequences. Just like they have the gall to criticize Bill Clinton for doing.

Thus is Sunday's story brimming with pre-9/11 overtones: Frustrated special forces getting the rug pulled out from under them just as they're about to go in for the kill; angry intel officials grousing about a perfect, blown opportunity; every grunt in the field furious that the bad guys roam free while the suits in Washington wet their pants over collateral damage and diplomatic fallout. And finally, just in case you hadn't gotten the point yet, Mazzetti makes the obvious explicit:

[The] criticism [of timidity] has echoes of the risk aversion that the officials said pervaded efforts against Al Qaeda during the Clinton administration, when missions to use American troops to capture or kill Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan were never executed because they were considered too perilous, risked killing civilians or were based on inadequate intelligence. Rather than sending in ground troops, the Clinton White House instead chose to fire cruise missiles in what became failed attempts to kill Mr. bin Laden and his deputies-- a tactic Mr. Bush criticized shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sure. Don't you see? This is exactly like what happened those times when Clinton had bin Laden right there for the taking, and choked. Bush is no different.

Except what happens if you read the facts reported in the story rather than being swept off your feet by the background music? Beneath the Times's transparent labors to manufacture a Bush parallel to Clintons timidity, there is no parallel.

Let's begin with a fairly blatant fact. Rumsfeld's action, or as the Times would have it, inaction, takes place in the context of the United States prosecuting -- drum roll -- a war. If you're keeping score, that would be the war Bush took up and Clinton didn't.

Next: We're talking here about Rumsfeld, not Bush. Mazzetti concedes that "[i]t is unclear whether President Bush was informed about the planned operation" that his defense secretary cancelled. There is no indication that Bush's message to his team has been anything other than the one the Times so enjoys belittling: "Wanted: Dead or Alive."

Now contrast President Clinton. The 9/11 Commission notes that Clinton, dragged kicking and screaming after sundry al Qaeda threats and attacks, finally authorized a covert operation to kill bin Laden if he could not be captured. After that plan came to naught, another golden opportunity arose. So what did Clinton do? He personally "crossed out the key [authorization to kill] language he had approved [earlier,] and inserted more ambiguous language." (9/11 Commission Final Report pp. 131-33) (emphasis added). Pressed to explain why on earth he would paralyze his subordinates with confusion about what they were and were not permitted to do, "President Clinton told the Commission that he had no recollection of why he rewrote the language." (Id. at 133).
Yeah, y'know, that sounds a lot like Bush.

But wait, we're just getting warmed up. Sunday's Times story is pitched as an aborted raid on al Qaeda "Chiefs" -- plural. Well, guess what? It turns out that there was no indication whatsoever that al Qaeda's chief chief, Osama bin Laden, was supposed to be anywhere near the targeted 2005 meeting. Mazzetti inserts Bin Ladens name in conjunction with Zawahiris; if you read carefully, however, you find it is only to describe Zawahiri as bin Ladens deputy, not to say al Qaedas top dog was actually going to be at this Qaeda confab. He wasnt.

But it gets better. It turns out Zawahiri may not have been there either.

Of course, youd have to wade ten paragraphs into the story to find that out. At that point, after you've read all that stuff about how the Qaeda "Chiefs" lived to fight another day because wimpy Rumsfeld couldn't find it in himself to pull the trigger, Mazzetti drops this doozy: "[Intelligence] officials acknowledge that they are not certain that Mr. Zawahri attended the 2005 meeting in North Waziristan[.]"

That's right: At this secret rendezvous where the Times intimates the Bush administration could have decapitated al Qaeda once and for all, the truth is: We can't even say, two years later, despite the supposedly great intelligence we had, whether any of al Qaeda's top leadership was actually there.

So, lets see if we have this straight: Under circumstances where the intelligence community couldnt say for certain -- and still cant say today --that we'd actually have taken out anyone of consequence, Don Rumsfeld called off an operation to which the brass had assigned so many troops it would surely have looked to the Pakistanis like we were invading their country.

Yes, you can easily see why that's Page One material.

But wait: The Times adds that even though our intel officials weren't positive Zawahiri would be at the meeting, there were "communications intercepts that tipped them off to the meeting, [so] that intelligence officials had unusually high confidence that Mr. Zawahri was there."

Ah yes, another one of those intel "slam dunks" the Times is always so understanding about when they don't quite pan out.

Except: On this point, Mazzetti is forced to acknowledge another occasion, in January 2006, when our spooks also had one of those unusually high degrees of confidence that they had placed Zawahiri at a meeting.

So, what happened then? Oops. It turns out that (a) the same supposedly gun-shy Pentagon did order a strike on the location where our intel guys were so sure they had Zawahiri cornered, and (b) our intel guys, hard as this may be to believe, were wrong the attack missed Zawahiri by at least a couple of hours. We killed lots of people, including some terrorists, but not him.

That got me to wondering: What was the Times's reaction back when that failed raid happened? Did the Gray Lady say, "To hell with diplomacy! To hell with collateral damage! Hats off to Rummy at least he gave it the old college try. At least he wasnt hand-wringing over civilian casualties and tender Pakistani sensibilities! And even if we missed Zawahiri, at least we put some jihadis on the Virgin Express!"

Um Not exactly.

The Times instead sounded well, like the Times. This is from its January 15, 2006, dispatch (
behind the Times-Select curtain):

Pakistan's government ... condemned a deadly American airstrike on a village in the northwestern tribal region, and a senior Pakistani security official said he was confident that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda and the target of the strike, had not been in the village when it was hit. ... [T]he Foreign Ministry condemned the loss of civilian lives and said it had delivered an official protest to the American ambassador in Islamabad.... Local officials in the Bajaur district, where the airstrike happened, said 18 civilians had been killed in the attack, including six children.

Now, is Sunday's Times story infuriating, disingenuous, sleight of hand, etc.? Sure it is. But forget about that. This is good! If this is where the Democrats and their house organ want to take the 2008 election, by all means let's go. And not a moment too soon. There is, after all, a history here. All the spin in the world can't alter it.

Pretending that Bush hasn't really fought this war any differently than Clinton did is about as convincing as pretending that the why-arent-we-bein--aggressive-enough tone of Sunday's Times story is representative of the Times coverage over the last six years.

Has President Bush has made a truckload of mistakes? Yup, as has every wartime president in American history. I don't think he's been wrong as often as the Times has, and I confess to being dissatisfied with the administration's basic conception of the war. But the president has fought the war and wants to keep fighting it. To the contrary, President Clinton never fought the war, and Democrats -- including Senator Clinton -- now want us to walk away from Iraq while the same al Qaeda the Times suddenly thinks Bush hasn't fought hard enough is still on the battlefield.

Why, you ask, have we not suffered a domestic terror attack in the last six years? Perhaps its because dead and imprisoned jihadists don't blow things up.

These are the facts and they will not change: There have, since 2001, been single days in Afghanistan and Iraq when our armed forces, sent into battle by President Bush, have killed and captured more terrorists than the United States government managed to neutralize during the entire Clinton presidency. Just to recap, those eight years under Commander-in-Chief Clinton saw: 

- The bombing of the World Trade Center, killing six people, in 1993; 

-A plot to bomb the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the U.N. complex, and the FBI's headquarters in New York City in 1993; 

-The Battle of Mogadishu ("Black Hawk Down"), in which 19 American servicemen were killed, in 1993; 

-A plot to bomb American airliners over the Pacific, killing one Japanese tourist in a dry run, in 1994; 

-The bombing of a U.S. military training center in Saudi Arabia, killing five Americans, in 1995; 

-The bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 members of the United States Air Force, in 1996; 

-The bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya, killing 213 people and wounding approximately 4,000, in 1998;

- The bombing of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania, killing at least twelve people and wounding approximately 85, in 1998; 

-A plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in 1999; 

-A plot to bomb the U.S.S. The Sullivans in Yemen in 2000; and

 -The bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, killing 17 members of the United States Navy, in 2000.

Bush was in the big chair for 9/11, and his response was to attack -- not with indictments and empty threats, but with the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. He hasn't gotten bin Laden and Zawahiri, but he's wiped out much of al Qaeda's senior leadership and continues to use the military to hunt down the rest. Its not all good: He hasn't been tough enough with Iran, he is unwilling to confront the role of Islamic ideology, and he has failed to rally the country by forcefully, convincingly and constantly explaining the stakes. But he has fought bravely and has not calibrated his approach in accordance with opinion polls.

Clinton, by contrast, indicted bin Laden in June 1998 and did pretty much nothing to actually apprehend or kill him thereafter while U.S. embassies and a naval destroyer were savaged, and the enemy plotted 9/11 -- exploiting the wall barring information-sharing between intelligence agents and criminal investigators that the Clinton Justice Department heightened in 1995.

Bush has instituted a policy of not countenancing terrorists. He has too often failed to hew to it, but that undoes neither the good he has done killing and capturing jihadists, nor the antiterror tone he has set. Speaking of tone, Clinton, to the contrary, complemented his failure to confront jihadists by using his pardon power to spring FALN and Weather Underground terrorists from long federal prison sentences. And as Clinton's then-adviser Dick Morris has
observed, the 16 FALN terrorists were pardoned for no better reason than to help Senate candidate Hillary Clinton with the Puerto Rican vote in New York.

Other than those few minor details, though, the Times has it absolutely right: There isn't a hair's worth of difference between the two administrations when it comes to fighting radical Islam. Go Hillary!

What happened to The Times?  When did it go from being the #1 paper to a paper full of #2?

What a comedown.


Ken Berwitz

One day gone and no response from Janet Hook  I'll keep you posted.


Ken Berwitz

Ok,I admit this is a pretty smug article.  But if you can get by the smugness, there are a lot of facts within it.  And these facts are hardly what Mr. Gore and his suck-up benefactors at NBC had in mind when they booked the Live Earth, concerts.

See for yourself:


The Enviromental Messiah Al Gore Gets Crucified: Live Earth Dies!

Al The Goracle Gore, failed 2000 Presidential candidate and former co-conspirator to Bill BJ Clinton threw a huge party for all of his Chicken Little the Sky is Falling crowd to raise awareness for Climate Change, formerly known as WEATHER.  Well, as it would turn out, Katie Couric gets better ratings then Al Gore and his traveling Cathedral of Global Warming:

NEW YORK NBCs three-hour primetime Live Earth special, which included highlights from Saturdays global concerts, failed to generate much enthusiasm in the ratings.

The estimated 2.7 million viewers was slightly under the 3 million viewers NBC has averaged on Saturday nights in the summer with repeats and the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs on what is already the least-popular night of television.

It also performed below the Live 8 concert two years ago, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research.

The three-hour concert special from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., drew a 0.9 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 the same as a typical summer Saturday after Memorial Day.

The special was also just under ABCs primetime coverage of the Live 8 concert, which occurred Independence Day weekend on July 2, 2005. Live 8 averaged 2.9 million viewers and a 1.0 rating/5 share in adults 18-49.

Ratings for the all-day, all-night telecasts on NBC Universals cable platforms, including 18 hours on Bravo and even more than that on Sundance Channel, wont be in until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, CBS and Fox split Sunday night in primetime, with CBS winning viewership while Fox won in adults 18-49 thanks to repeats of Family Guy and The Simpsons.

At least Fox had Homer Simpson to come to the rescue and pull them out of the environmental porta potty of television ratings!  Can you tell?  Im laughing my ass off as I write this little ditty.

Even the EuroGreenWeineis werent buying into the bullsh*t that Gore and his Hollyweird friends were shoveling.

From the Daily Mall in the UK:

Live Earth has been branded a foul-mouthed flop.

Organisers of the global music concert - punctuated by swearing from presenters and performers - had predicted massive viewing figures.

But BBCs live afternoon television coverage attracted an average British audience of just 900,000.

In the evening, when coverage switched from BBC2 to BBC1, the figure rose to just 2.7 million.

And the peak audience, which came when Madonna sang at Wembley, was a dismal 4.5 million. Three times as many viewers saw the Princess Diana tribute on the same channel six days before.

The BBC blamed the poor figures on Saturdays good weather and said its Wimbledon tennis coverage had drawn away afternoon viewers.

Good weather and Foul Mouths seemed to be the main reasons the Brits didnt warm up to Live Earth causing to seemingly die a cold lonely death!

It seems that the hip celebrity crowd was quite loose with their Botoxed lips and were letting the four letter words fly as much as their gas hogging private jets globe-trotting between concert venues.

The BBCs coverage, which ran for 15 hours from 12.30pm on Saturday to 4am yesterday, also sparked dozens of complaints about bad language.

The swearing started at 1.30pm when Phil Collins, the first act on in London, used the f-word while singing with his band Genesis.

Razorlight singer Johnny Borrell used the same expletive a few minutes later in one of his songs. And Chris Rock swore while introducing fellow comic Ricky Gervais, who soon followed suit.

The bad language prompted a number of angry postings on BBC messageboards.

One viewer wrote: Why did the BBC transmit this during daytime TV when many children will be watching? Why hasnt an apology been immediately forthcoming? Another said: It was disgusting behaviour. Other comments included: It was pretty bad at that time of day and There is a line to be drawn.

And the  Pice de rsistancewas the huge amount of garbage the environmentalists left behind in their wake of idiocy:

The mounds of rubbish left by the 65,000 concert-goers at Wembley further tarnished the events green credentials.

Organisers claimed most of the waste would be sorted and recycled but the Daily Mail saw little evidence of that taking place. The Alliance for Climate Protection event was organised by Al Gore, the former U.S. vice-president and environmental campaigner.

As usual, this crowd is all show and no go!  They expect us to change OUR lifestyle and want to bankrupt the world into a 6th century economy, and for what?  Something the earth has been doing naturally for millions of freaking years?  Its called weather you schmucks!  Its warm today, and guess what?????  Its going to be cool tomorrow!  Junk science is all they are trying to force feed us and coerce us to believe that they are right and that their is absofreakinglutely no way they are wrong!  Guess What?  Im not buy now, nor will I buy into this later!

Well, Im off to do my own little part in saving the planet.  Cows cause the most greenhouse gasses by farting.Im off to throw some burgers on the grill.  Were going to eat the real source of the gas, the cows! 

Once again, Al Gore can kiss my carbon laden a$$ while I dream of placing my own carbon footprint on his backside! .

See, the thing is, this was supposed to be a huge success, because the world was supposed to be at one with Mr. Gore and his orthodoxy - let's call it Gorethodoxy -  regarding global warming.

But the world wasn't.  Not at all.  In truth, once we got past the MEDIA hype, and the MEDIA assurance that everyone was in a cold sweat because of Gore's immutable truth about the planet, the PEOPLE didn't seem to care enough to tune in to Mr. Gore's zeal-a-thon.  Not even to see Madonna. or Chris Rock. 

But if you think this is going to stop media from selling global warming, you're very mistaken.  Much of the mainstream media are every bit as committed to the Gorethodoxy of global warming as they are to pushing us towards a defeat in Iraq.  And these folks are just like the insurgents... fully committed and not taking any prisoners.


Ken Berwitz

For months, I've been asking when the Democratic congressional majority intends to legislate, instead of trying to "get" every Republican they can. 

Now, based on the following excerpts from an article in today's LA Times,  I'm starting to understand where they're coming from.  You can read the entire article at,0,5823796,print.story?coll=la-home-center.  As usual the bold print is mine:.

Hearts over minds, he tells Democrats

A brain researcher says the party needs to connect with voters' emotions to win.

By Robin Abcarian
Times Staff Writer

July 9, 2007

WASHINGTON Drew Westen, a genial 48-year-old psychologist and brain researcher, was talking to a rapt liberal audience about the role of emotion in politics, how to talk back aggressively to Republicans, and why going negative is not to be feared.

It was Day 2 of the progressive "Take Back America" confab, and those who had crowded into a meeting room of the Washington Hilton were about to discover why Westen, a psychology professor at Atlanta's Emory University and former associate professor at Harvard Medical School, had quietly become the great rumpled hope of Democrats who believe their candidates should have won the last two presidential elections.

Example: When President Bush recently refused to allow Karl Rove to testify under oath about his role in the sacking of federal prosecutors, Westen said, Democrats blundered. Instead of insisting Rove testify under oath, they simply should have said (over and over), "Mr. Bush, just what is it about 'So help me God' that you find so offensive?"

Westen has spent many years training psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, and his major brush with fame before now had been the occasional commentary on National Public Radio. In the last several months, though, he has gone from a politically inclined nobody to a hot ticket, presenting his ideas to presidential campaigns, political strategists, pollsters, consultants and donors. In his work, they hope to find a grand unified theory of How Democrats Can Stop Blowing It.

In his new book, "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation," Westen, who is not affiliated with a particular candidate, lays out his argument that Democrats must connect emotionally with the American electorate and that he can teach them how.

He writes that when Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts let a Swift-boat veterans group drag his reputation through the mud (2004), when Al Gore put a nation to sleep with his talk of lockboxes and Medicare actuaries (2000), and when Michael S. Dukakis said he didn't believe in the death penalty even in the event of his wife's rape and murder (1988), Democrats were exhibiting their single worst tendency: intellectual dispassion.

That style is ballot-box poison, said Westen. "The political brain is an emotional brain," he said. "It prefers conclusions that are emotionally satisfying rather than conclusions that match the data."

When Westen and his Emory colleagues conducted brain scans during the 2004 presidential campaign, they found that partisans of either side, when presented with contradictory statements by their preferred candidates, would struggle for some seconds with feelings of discomfort, then resolve the matter in their candidates' favor.

The scans showed that to do this, they used the part of their brain that controls emotion and conflict. The area that controls reasoning was inactive "the dead zone," Westen said.

Westen writes that it doesn't make sense to argue an issue using facts and figures and to count on voters particularly the swing voters who decide national elections to make choices based on sophisticated understandings of policy differences or procedures. He says Democratic candidates must learn to do what Republicans have understood for many years they must appeal to emotions. And (talking to you, Mr. Gore) stay away from numbing statistics.

"This is the best thing I have read in 30 years," said Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the liberal American Prospect magazine, and the man most responsible for Westen's rise. "This is the book that should have been written a long time ago on why Democrats blow winnable elections. Even when public opinion is on their side, they don't know how to optimize that."

Kuttner learned of Westen last year from mutual friends while Westen was still working on his manuscript. Westen sent Kuttner a few chapters, and the magazine editor flipped. "I told him, 'Fasten your seat belt; you're going to be a rock star,' " Kuttner said.

It has been, Westen admitted, the sort of wild ride an academic like him usually only dreams about.

Kuttner organized gatherings in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Berkeley to introduce Westen to influential Democrats. The first took place in September in Washington.

Guy Molyneux, a pollster with Hart Research Associates, was there, and recalled being impressed but not bowled over. "He says a candidate should be authentic but also speak to these more emotional concerns, and I don't know if Drew fully appreciates the extent to which that advice may conflict," Molyneux said. "If your candidate is a policy wonk" like Al Gore "to some extent that's going to come through to voters."

After hearing Westen speak at Stanley Sheinbaum's Brentwood home at an American Prospect event, Democratic activists and donors Jamie McGurk (wife of former MGM honcho Chris McGurk) and Victoria Hopper (wife of actor Dennis Hopper) adopted him.

"Victoria and I took it upon ourselves to make him our mission," said McGurk, who with Hopper hosted Westen at a small gathering of influential Hollywood political activists last month at her husband's offices.

"He is dead-on just what the community needs to hear," McGurk said. "I was so frustrated with the way our party has conducted its messaging. He connects all the dots and backs it up with empirical data."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean blurbed the book. Billionaire George Soros opened his home for a book party last month.

So there it is, laid out for you as clearly as can be. 

There is no value in talking issues to you.  You are neither interested in, nor capable of, absorbing them in your little head.

No, your job is to be an idiot.  A mindless, ignorant idiot.  Your job is to base your vote on emotions alone.  If this article is to be believed, that may well be the Democratic concept of your intelligence and your intellectual capacity.

NOW I understand why they aren't leglislating!  They don't have to, because this is all about winning, not making a better country, and legislating isn't a winning activity.

How does this make you feel?  Think carefully, because your answer, multiplied by millions of other voters who should be thinking about this the same way, might well determine who is running the show in 2009 and beyond.


Ken Berwitz

Janet Hook is a writer for the Los Angeles Times.  On Saturday the Times published an article with her byline, titled "Thompson Star Dims on Abortion Issue", which leaves a clear impression that Fred Thompson acted as a pro-choice advocate 16 years ago.  If this were true, it certainly would hurt Mr. Thompson among his most conservative supporters. 

But a close reading of the article makes it clear that the charge is entirely smoke and mirrors, without any basis in fact. It is another in a very substantial series of hit pieces, devoid of substance, that have come out against Thompson in the past two weeks from reliably Democratic/liberal media. 

Hooboy are these people scared.  Why?  Who ever heard of an actor winning the presidency......?

Anyway, if you would like to read the article in its entirety (which I urge you to do), it is at,1,1816878.story

My e-mail comment to Ms. Hook is shown below:.

Ms. Hook
Your article on Fred Thompson is a shameless hit piece.
Mr. Thompson's position on abortion as a US Senator was strongly "pro-life".
You do not provide even one named source for any of your allegations that he advocated for "pro-choice" positions..  You do, however, artfully show quotes that, at a quick glance, LOOK like they support the contention Mr. Thompson was advocating that position but, in reality, do not. 
Paul Weyrich, for example, says that, if true,  it would be a political problem for Thompson.  But nowhere in your article does he actually claim Thompson said or did any such thing.   Ditto for David Carney, who says it would hurt Thompson among conservatives - but doesn't actually say it happened.
Then there is this murky "In 1991, according to several people then affiliated with the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn., he accepted an assignment from the association to lobby the White House to withdraw or relax a "gag rule" that barred abortion counseling at clinics that received federal money." --- again without any specific source.  Except for the DENIALS which is where you DO find specific sources.
Are you guys so scared of Thompson's viability as a Republican presidential candidate that you're reduced to pumping out this kind of stuff? 
One last thing:  By way of personal disclosure, I am not involved with Fred Thompson or his campaign in any way, and, while not in favor of unrestricted abortion on demand, I do support abortion rights as well as the so-called "day after" contraception techniques.  If I were voting for a Republican presidential candidate today, that candidate would emphatically be Rudy Giuliani.  .

I wrote and sent that e-mail on Sunday morning.

So far Ms. Hook has not responded, but in fairness she has had only one day, and it is possible she didn't even see the e-mail yet because it was the weekend.

I will let you know a) if she ever replies and b) if she does, what she says at that time.


Ken Berwitz

For over 15 years, rap "artists" (talk about loose use of a word) have relentlessly used the word "nigger" in their lyrics, along with "ho", "bitch" and a tidal wave of foul language that would make Richard Pryor roll over in his grave.

And for 15 years, the civil rights "leadership" (there's another loose use of a word) has had virtually nothing to say about it.  Hey. Black artists making Black money.  What's a few thousand uses of the word "nigger" among friends, anyway?

But then, a couple of very high profile incidents occurred.  One was the Michael Richards lunacy, where he screamed "nigger" several times at a few Black hecklers.  The other was Don Imus referring to the Black members of Rutgers' women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's". 

Suddenly Richards was persona non grata in show business and Imus - who had been doing material like this since Methusaleh's bar-mitzvah - was fired by CBS, who was just shocked at his invective (check who records for the various CBS record labels to get a more accurate perspective on what does and doesn't shock CBS).

Because of this, media couldn't look the other way anymore, and a number of articles and TV features started talking about how much worse the rap "artists'" lyrics were than anything Richards or Imus ever said.  So, the Civil Rights industry....I mean movement, finally had to act.

And here, courtesy of the Associated Press, is something they just did this weekend:.

NAACP symbolically burys N-word

By COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago

There was no mourning at this funeral. Hundreds of onlookers cheered Monday afternoon as the NAACP put to rest a long-standing expression of racism by holding a public burial for the N-word during its annual convention.

The ceremony included a march by delegates from across the country from downtown Detroit's Cobo Center to Hart Plaza. Along the way, two Percheron horses pulled a pine box adorned with a bouquet of fake black roses and a black ribbon printed with a derivation of the word.

The coffin is to be placed at Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery and will have a headstone.

"Today we're not just burying the N-word, we're taking it out of our spirit," said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. "We gather burying all the things that go with the N-word. We have to bury the 'pimps' and the 'hos' that go with it."

He continued: "Die N-word, and we don't want to see you 'round here no more."

The N-word has been used as a slur against blacks for more than a century. It remains a symbol of racism, but also is used by blacks when referring to other blacks, especially in comedy routines and rap and hip-hop music.

"This was the greatest child that racism ever birthed," the Rev. Otis Moss III, assistant pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, said in his eulogy.

Public discussion on the word's use increased last year following a tirade by "Seinfeld" actor Michael Richards, who used it repeatedly during a Los Angeles comedy routine and later issued a public apology.

The issue about racially insensitive remarks heated up earlier this year after talk show host Don Imus described black members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" on April 4.

NAACP National Board Chairman Julian Bond repeated the call during the opening address Sunday night for the 98th annual convention, which runs through Thursday.

"While we are happy to have sent a certain radio cowboy back to his ranch, we ought to hold ourselves to the same standard," Bond said. "If he can't refer to our women as `hos,' then we shouldn't either."

Black leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, have challenged the entertainment industry and the American public to stop using the N-word and other racial slurs.

The NAACP held a symbolic funeral in Detroit in 1944 for Jim Crow, the systematic, mostly Southern practice of discrimination against and segregation of blacks from the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction into the mid-20th century. .

Have you ever seen a bigger load of dung than this in your life?  Where were these people for OVER 15 YEARS, when Blacks were making tens and hundreds of millions of dollars by using lyrics which often had little else BUT the word nigger in them?

How can anybody take these people seriously?

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