Thursday, 18 October 2007


Ken Berwitz

While we're on the subject of hatred, I forgot to mention that, this morning on the Today show, rachel maddow - who hosts a show on what's left of air america radio, called President Bush a psychotic.

Specifically she said that if he thinks Iran is a problem but Pakistan is no problem he is psychotic. 

Now I don't recall President Bush ever saying that, but maybe Ms. maddow doesn't require the actual statement to be made for her to tell us the President is mentally disturbed.

Matt Lauer was the questioner.  And guess what, he didn't ask her about that hateful comment...not one word.  This could mean...

...he didn't notice she said it (pretty hard to believe),

...he thinks this is acceptable commentary (not so hard to believe),

...or that he is sympathetic to her hateful rant (also not so hard to believe)

Left wingers can say hateful things like this with impugnity.  Right wingers cannot. 

Apparently, therefore, when you want to pump out hate - like pete stark and rachel maddow do - it's good to be to the left. 


Ken Berwitz

What is it with the world, including the USA these days and Condoleezza Rice in particular?  Is this their imitation of Charlie Brown with the football that Lucy pulled out from under him at the start of every season?

There is absolutely no doubt about what mahmoud abbas wants, any more than hamas.  It is the end of Israel and the creation of a state of Palestine on all Israeli land.  They may have different avenues of trying to accomplish this, but their goal is exactly the same.

I've shown this over and over again here, but it seems that, for some reason, another proof always seems to be needed. 

Here's one for you, courtesy of  The bold print is mine:

On PA TV, All of Israel to be Replaced by 'Palestine'

by Hillel Fendel

( Even as Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas declares his demand for "only" all 6,205 kilometers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, his official TV station shows a PA flag covering all of Israel.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a media watchdog group that monitors the media in the Palestinian Authority, reports on a clip broadcast by Fatah-controlled Palestinian television this week.  The clip shows a map in which Israel, in its entirety, is painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag - black, white, red and green.  The message is that the PA strives to replace all of Israel, and not just Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

A PA map that "wipes out" the Jewish State
(, Oct. '07)

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of PMW write that the broadcast of the map at this particular time renders the matter of even greater concern.  "As preparations for the American peace conference continue," they write, "the leaders of the Palestinian Authority have announced their demands for a future Palestinian state with an area of 6205 square kilometers. This would include the Gaza Strip, the West Bank [Judea and Samaria - ed.] and [eastern] Jerusalem. However, the message they have conveyed to their people for years, and continue to convey on the eve of the conference, is that 'Palestine' exists and it replaces all of Israel."

As documented by PMW for many years, the idea of turning Israel into an Arab-Palestinian state is part of a formal educational approach throughout the Palestinian Authority. "The picture painted for the Palestinian population, both verbally and visually, is of a world without Israel," PMW writes. "This uniform message of a world without Israel is repeated in school books, children's programs, crossword puzzles, video clips, formal symbols, school and street names, etc."

Street names in the PA have been changed to memorialize terrorists, for instance, and PA textbooks regularly include references to the "Israel is Palestine" canard.  For instance, a 12th-grade literature book states, Palestines war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel. [Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104

Crossword puzzles in the official PA newspaper, Al Hayat al Jadida, have included clues such as A Palestinian city - with the proper answer being, in various places, Haifa, Lod, and Ashkelon; all three, of course, are present-day Israeli cities within the pre-1967 borders.  Another clue calls Yad Vashem Holocaust Center a "Jewish Center for eternalizing the Holocaust and the lies."  Other crossword puzzle examples can be seen here..

Palestininan Arabs could not make themselves clearer about this if they took full-page ads in the New York Times and broadcast a battle plan on national TV.  But, still, we pretend we don't know.

Eventually Israel is going to have to do something about this, far more than it has done so far, or it will literally cease to exist. 

Right now, the world can at least try to peacefully facilitate what is necessary.  But that window of opportunity is running out.  At some point Israel must act, with or without the world's support.

If and when that day comes, who will the world blame?  Who will Europe blame?  Who will the UN blame?

Who will Condoleezza Rice blame?


Ken Berwitz

If you think Nancy Pelosi is the worst congressperson from the Bay Area (San Francisco/Oakland/etc.) you are wrong. 

That's pretty amazing, isn't it, given how godawful Pelosi is.  But pete stark has her beat by a mile.

Stark has threatened a fellow congressperson with physical harm, called him a "fruitcake" (that is a pejorative reference to a gay male), has made numerous hate statements about Israel, hates Bush, hates Republicans, hates religion, hates hates hates. 

Here is stark's latest hate comment.  It is a demonstration of what an embarrassment he is to the congress...and the country.  It comes in the form of a rant on the house floor (the bold print is mine).  If you have a strong enough stomach, the video can be found at :.

"Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." .

That, friends, is sheer, naked hatred.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

In a decent political climate, Democratic house members would be falling over each other to disavow, disassociate themselves from and condemn that hate comment.  But, under Nancy Pelosi (remember, I acknowledge she gives stark a run for his money) we are not in a decent political climate.

Let's see if mainstream media report this hate speech and show stark up as the embarrassment he is tonight on the network news or in tomorrow's papers. 

Do you want to take bets?


Ken Berwitz

Ok, tell me you ever heard of "Mutts and Moms" until, maybe, a day or two ago.  I dare you.

Unless you happen to live in their immediate area, you'll never convince me.

But now millions of people not only know of the existence of Mutts and Moms, maybe even the names of the women who run it, but they also know that those women are heartless scum who wrenched a dog from a loving family. 

And how do they know this?  Because Ellen DeGeneres told them. 

Oh, did I mention that Ellen DeGeneres has a personal stake in making Marina Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun, the women who run Mutts and Moms, look bad?  And a huge national audience with which to do it?

Please read the Associated Press account below (and please note that the AP tossed in a picture of their for-profit business too, just so you'd know how to hurt them financially).  The bold print is mine:


Woman Claims Threats Over DeGeneres' Dog
Oct 17, 9:12 PM (ET)

(AP) Ellen DeGeneres is shown in this, Jan. 9, 2007, file photo in Los Angeles. DeGeneres is in the...
Full Image

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ellen DeGeneres' doggie dilemma took a nasty turn Wednesday, with the operator of the animal rescue organization that took the pooch away saying she has been deluged with threatening e-mails and phone calls.

The calls got so bad that Marina Batkis said she had to close her business and stay home Wednesday, a day after DeGeneres broadcast a tearful, televised plea for the dog to be returned to her hairdresser and the woman's daughters.

"My life is being threatened. This is horrible," a tearful Batkis said outside her home.

Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun co-own Mutts and Moms, the nonprofit dog-rescue organization that gave DeGeneres and her partner, actress Portia de Rossi, the dog.

(AP) A closed pet supply and grooming store, Paw Boutique, is shown Wednesday Oct. 17, 2007 in Pasadena,...
Full Image
"They have gotten thousands of e-mails," attorney Keith Fink told the television program "Inside Edition.""Most of them are hate e-mails threatening them with lynchings, bombings of their home."

One recording "Inside Edition" played had a male voice saying, "You Nazi, scum-sucking pigs. You're gonna pay dearly for stealing this dog from those little girls."

The twisted dog tale began last month when DeGeneres and de Rossi adopted a cute, black Brussels Griffon mix terrier named Iggy. When Iggy wasn't able to get along with DeGeneres' cats, the couple gave the dog to DeGeneres' hairdresser.

That, Batkis pointed out, violated a written agreement de Rossi signed in which she agreed to return the dog to Mutts and Moms if the adoption didn't work out.

DeGeneres acknowledged she erred but said her hairdresser and her family shouldn't be punished.

"This is so insane," a calmer DeGeneres said on her talk show Wednesday. "It's just the dog needs to go to the family."

Batkis has refused to back down.

"If Ellen wants to place dogs and decide what's a good home, then she should start her own rescue group," she told "Inside Edition.""But I'm the one doing this and I know what I'm doing."

Meanwhile, the dispute has become a hot topic on news and talk shows.

"There's got to be some sort of rational compromise," ABC's Diane Sawyer said on "Good Morning America." .

I, like untold millions of people, watched Ellen DeGeneres' tearful, sobbing plea for Mutts and Moms to return the dog to the people she gave it to -- in violation of the written agreement Ms. DeGeneres had signed.

Let me say that again before I continue:  Ellen DeGeneres took the dog under specific conditions and signed a written agreement which clearly stated those conditions.  She was NOT allowed to give the dog away to anyone, only back to the rescue organization.  She violated that condition by passing the dog along to her hairdresser.

The written agreement also specifically stipulated a minimum age for children in a household that a rescued dog could go to.  The hairdresser's children are both under that minimum age.

One other thing:  Ellen DeGeneres does not do a live show.  It is taped. Thus her out-of-control crying at the beginning of the show did not have to be aired.  They could have restarted the show.  So the fact that you saw her in that state was 100% intentional on her part, not "spontaneous" at all.

And can we please remember that, in addition to being a daytime show host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres is an actor?  I loved her in Ed TV.  She knows how to make it happen acting-wise.  So you will never ever know if what you saw was sincere.

Now, what about Marina Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun, the women who run an animal rescue organization? 

I consider people like this the salt of the earth.  They perform wonderful, compassionate service to the community with, I suspect, little thanks other than an occasional lick from a surviving animal they saved and placed. 

Do Ms. Batkis and Ms. Chekroun deserve this?  What exactly did they do wrong, other than expect Ellen DeGeneres to meet the agreement she herself signed?  If two young girls bonded with the dog Ellen DeGeneres had no right to give them, whose fault is that?

Now their lives are probably ruined.  The reputation of their rescue operation is a shambles.  Who knows what will happen to their business, if it will even survive?

Will DeGeneres' syndicator provide equal time?  Will it air a few minutes of Ms. Batkis and Ms, Chekroun crying over the vicious insults and threats they've been flooded with because Ellen DeGeneres used her media power this way?

Maybe that's some footage a few of the Ellen DeGeneres faithful who sent those e-mails ought to see.

bugoy excuse me, how did you know that the family did not qualify? are you kidding? they didn't check the family if they qualify or not. I think you're related to Batkis right? (10/23/07)

Ken Berwitz Kim Thanks for your comment. But a few points should be made: 1) I had no idea (and now have only your opinion) that Ms. Batkis and Ms. Chekroun are "rightwing religious fanatics", 2) Ellen DeGeneres was the one who picked them as a source for getting a dog, so if their politics is a problem to you your problem is with Ms. DeGeneres and 3) regardless of their politics, DeGeneres signed an agreement with them, and broke it by not returning the dog to the shelter and by giving it to a family that did not qualify for placement. That has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with Ellen DeGeneres ignoring the agreement she signed. The women running Mutts and Moms certainly had no problem placing the dog with DeGeneres, who is anything but right wing. The only relevant politics here, in my opinion, is the power politics of a major celebrity putting the wood to people who are in no position to fight back. (10/19/07)

Kim funny no one mentions they are also right wing religious fanatics isn't it? anti-gay, anti-abortion, they are both well know for their far right wing stands. Maybe a closer look a the real motivation here might shed just enough light on the subject, that we would understand why hurting the dog, Ellen and 2 children is ok in their book? (10/19/07)


Ken Berwitz

Earlier today I did an R.I.P. for the great Deborah Kerr, who passed away at age 86

I am sorry to say I have two more to do.

Joey Bishop, the comedian, talk show host and "rat pack" member, died today at his home in Newport Beach, California. He was 89 years old.

And Teresa Brewer, the perky young lady with her little-girl voice and a string of hits through the 1950's, died yesterday.

In their very different ways, they made a lot of people happy for a lot of years.  May all three rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

She danced with Yul Brynner in The King And I;

She embraced Burt Lancaster on the beach in From Here To Eternity;

Now she has gone from here to eternity in real life.

R.I.P. Deborah Kerr, great actress and singer, dead at the age of 86


Ken Berwitz

Here is the latest update on how E-bay bidding is coming along on the DCC*** Smear letter, inspired by senate malaise leader harry reid, that was sent to Rush Limbaugh.

As you remember, the letter was signed by 41 Democratic senators/DCC members, and condemned Limbaugh for being unpatriotic and anti-troops - which has made reid and the DCC into national laughingstocks.

Currently, with 20 hours to go, the bidding is at, so help me, $851,100.  Maybe that's a typo on e-bay's part, but not mine, I assure you.  And it is absolutely flying upward.  I guarantee it will go far higher, probably over a million dollars.

Rush Limbaugh has pledged to match the winning bid, which means at least $1,700,200 will go to an educational fund for the families of fallen marines and law enforcement officers.

Limbaugh has challenged the DCC to match the amount too, as he is personally doing.  They have not responded.  They are apparently too busy cooking up new ways of not getting anything done legislatively to bother with a trifle like this.


***DCC is the Democratic Clown College


Ken Berwitz

Sometimes the New York Times surprises me in the positive.  It doesn't happen near often enough, but I'm glad when it does.

Last month the Times was better in covering the Hillary Clinton money scandal than most print or broadcast media.

In case you forgot due to lack of media coverage, Norman Hsu was the guy who gave millions to Democrats and $850,000 to Hillary Clinton in particular. 

The problem?  Hsu is a convicted swindler who should have been serving jail time.  It was dirty money that was illegally given.

Now anyone who honestly looks at Hillary and Bill Clinton's money sources over the years could not be surprised about this.  A mountain of dirty money has come their way from many sources - a number of which I have blogged about on this website.

What has been not so much surprising as exasperating, is the dearth of media coverage this has received.  Hillary Clinton is running for President and, by most accounts is favored to win.  If her hands are all over this much dirty money shouldn't the media be talking about it?  SCREAMING about it?

Well, here is a new money scandal....not new but newly uncovered, to be exact....that goes not only to Ms. Clinton but to every major Democratic candidate for the presidency.  Every one.

And the New York Times, to their credit, is all over it, as you can see in their article which I've posted below.  I've put a lot of it in bold print, but the truth is, every word should be read. 

You want damning?  This is damning:.

Accused Law Firm Continues Giving to Democrats

Over the years, as it became Exhibit A for critics of shareholders class action lawsuits, the law firm of Milberg Weiss often enjoyed the support of Democrats who called the suits an invaluable weapon in the universal conflict between big business and the little guy.

The Democrats, in turn, enjoyed the support of Milberg Weiss and its partners, who together have contributed more than $7 million to the partys candidates since the 1980s.

Last year, the firm was indicted on federal charges of fraud and bribery. But the political partnership has not been entirely severed. Since the indictment, 26 Democrats around the country, including four presidential candidates, have accepted $150,000 in campaign contributions from people connected to Milberg Weiss, according to state and federal campaign finance records. And some Democrats have taken public actions that potentially helped the firm or its former partners.

The recent contributors include current and former Milberg partners who had either been indicted or were widely reported to be facing potential criminal problems when they wrote their checks. One, William S. Lerach, was a fund-raiser for John Edwardss presidential campaign until his guilty plea last month. Melvyn I. Weiss, a founder of the firm, gave the maximum $4,600 to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York in June. Other firm members contributed to the presidential campaigns of Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

Milberg Weiss reaped billions of dollars in legal fees over four decades as the acknowledged king of class action lawsuits, which accused executives of misleading investors with erroneous financial statements or some other fraud. According to the indictment, the New York-based firm ran a racketeering enterprise that collected a quarter billion dollars in 250 cases in which people were paid secret kickbacks for serving as plaintiffs.

The law firm has denied the charges.

The reluctance of Democrats to shut off the cash spigot, even in the face of scandal, underscores how the pressure to raise money creates marriages of political interests that can be difficult to break up. Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, called it the natural outcome of a system where huge amounts of private contributions are raised and spent, and the political parties turn to groups with interests in government to feed the spending machine.

In the current campaign, the race for cash has led to several embarrassments for the Democrats, including the indictment of a trial lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, who was accused of using straw donors to make illegal contributions to Mr. Edwardss 2004 presidential campaign, and the arrest of Norman Hsu, a businessman accused of fraud who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mrs. Clinton.

In addition to the kickback charges in the Milberg Weiss case, federal agents have investigated accusations that the firm funneled campaign contributions through plaintiffs and expert witnesses in the 1990s, said two lawyers familiar with the inquiry. The guilty plea entered by Mr. Lerach hinted at that, but it also specified that prosecutors would not pursue campaign finance violations, in exchange for Mr. Lerachs admission that he had conspired to obstruct justice by concealing the kickbacks.

Beyond campaign contributions, Milberg Weiss became deeply ingrained in the financial firmament of the Democratic Party in other ways. Members of the firm gave $500,000 toward construction of a new Democratic National Committee headquarters, and some became partners in a private investment venture with several prominent Democrats. They included former Senator Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey, who is a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton, and Leonard Barrack, a Philadelphia trial lawyer who was once the national fund-raising chairman for the Democratic Party.

Along the way, as Milberg Weisss brass-knuckles legal strategy made it a target for Republicans advocating limits on class action suits, it usually could count on Democrats in Washington to protect its interests. After federal prosecutors indicted the firm in May 2006, four Democratic congressmen issued a joint statement, posted on Milberg Weisss Web site, accusing the Bush administration of persecuting lawyers who take on big businesses.

The statement, signed by Representatives Gary L. Ackerman, Carolyn McCarthy and Charles B. Rangel, all of New York, and Robert Wexler of Florida, contained several passages that appear to be lifted directly from a class action press kit distributed by a national trial lawyers group. All but Mr. Wexler have received campaign contributions from Milberg Weiss partners.

More recently, Mr. Edwards, a trial lawyer who became wealthy pursing personal injury cases, joined labor unions and consumer groups last May in pressing securities regulators to intervene in a lawsuit against banks brought by Mr. Lerach on behalf of Enron investors. His campaign said Mr. Edwardss actions had nothing to do with Mr. Lerach, and were consistent with the candidates longstanding defense of working people.

Still, Mr. Edwardss willingness to be seen doing anything that could benefit Mr. Lerach, and allowing him to raise money, provided fodder for critics. At the time the Edwards campaign took on Mr. Lerach as a fund-raiser, it was already widely reported that Mr. Lerach, who left Milberg Weiss in 2004, was one of the unnamed co-conspirators cited in court documents related to the firms indictment.

In all, Mr. Edwards collected about $16,000 from people connected to Milberg Weiss, including Mr. Lerach and two other former Milberg Weiss lawyers who had joined him at his new firm, Patrick J. Coughlin and Keith F. Park. Federal authorities agreed not to prosecute them as part of the plea deal with Mr. Lerach. (Mr. Lerach also raised $64,000 for Mr. Edwards from members of his new firm who were not named in the Milberg case.)

With Edwards, he has associated himself with people in his campaign that dont represent the face that even the trial lawyers want to put forward to the country, said Walter K. Olson, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group, who has written extensively on the American legal system.

Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the Edwards campaign, said that it had given Mr. Lerachs $4,600 personal contribution to charity and that should anyone else be found guilty of wrongdoing, we will donate their contributions to charity as well.

The bottom line is, the system is far from perfect, Mr. Schultz said. The influence of money in politics has gotten out of control. Thats why John Edwards has decided to play by the rules that were designed to ensure fairness in the election process by capping his campaign spending and seeking public financing.

John W. Keker, a lawyer for Mr. Lerach, declined to comment on his clients guilty plea.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said her presidential campaign did not intend to return the contribution from Mr. Weiss. A spokesman for the Obama campaign, whose Milberg Weiss contributions came from lawyers not directly involved in the kickback scandal, declined to comment.

In a statement denying the charges in the indictment, Milberg Weiss, which continues to operate, said: The indictment is unprecedented and unfair, and the firm intends to vigorously defend itself against the charges. We are confident that we will be fully vindicated.

The indictment of Milberg Weiss was a stunning turnabout for the firm, which has recovered $45 billion for clients since it was founded in 1965.

Its approach was controversial. The moment a publicly traded companys stock dropped, Milberg Weiss would enlist a shareholder as a plaintiff and rush to court with a lawsuit. Usually, the sued company would end up settling rather than risk going to trial.

Milberg Weisss supporters gave it credit for enforcing accountability in the boardroom. Critics, however, accused the firm of economic terrorism, and with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 a business-backed movement took hold to change securities laws to make it harder to bring shareholder lawsuits.

The firm found a friend in President Bill Clinton, who, a few days after being seen chatting and shaking hands with Mr. Lerach at a White House dinner in 1995, vetoed legislation that clamped down on class action suits. Congress overrode the veto, but the image remained of a close relationship between the president and Mr. Lerach, a Lincoln Bedroom guest during the Clinton presidency who donated more than $100,000 to Mr. Clintons presidential library.

Beginning in 2000, federal investigators began looking into Milberg Weisss litigation practices, particularly its uncanny ability to beat other firms in the race to be named lead counsel in large class action suits, thereby ensuring itself a larger percentage of fees. By last year, two people had pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from Milberg Weiss in return for being on call to serve as plaintiffs in more than 100 lawsuits; an expert witness used by the firm was implicated in the fraud; and two partners, Steven G. Schulman and David J. Bershad, had been indicted.

Both Mr. Schulman and Mr. Bershad have since pleaded guilty. Late last month, Mr. Lerach also pleaded guilty, leaving Mr. Weiss as the only named partner facing criminal charges.

The case has taken a toll not only on the lawyers involved, but also on the firms name plate. After Mr. Lerach left to form his own practice in San Diego, his old firm dropped his name, becoming Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman. Two resignations and guilty pleas later, it is now simply Milberg Weiss..

This is a scandal of epic proportion.  It is huge and more.

But the Today show this morning didn't do a thing on it.  No feature, no panel discussion, nothing.  They did, however, devote significant time to the month-old story of Larry Craig and whether or not he is gay.  That, apparently is far more important to NBC than whether their heroine Hillary, along with Obama and Edwards, is awash in dirty money.

Do you think they'd ignore it if someone finds dirty money going to, say, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney? 

NOTE:  I'm sorry if you read that last sentence while swallowing coffee.  Just send me the cleaning bill.


Ken Berwitz

Over a day to go, and the DCC smear letter to Rush Limbaugh has been bid up to $117,100.  Count on that number going up significantly before this is all over.

And as "Russ" has commented in my previous update, Limbaugh has pledged to personally match whatever the final bid is...which means that a minimum of $234,200 will be contributed to the fund that helps to educate fallen marines and law enforcement officers.

If the 41 DCC members made the same pledge as Rush, that amount would be $234,200.  But they didn't.

They're too busy trying to convince you that Rush Limbaugh is against the troops and they're for them.


Ken Berwitz

Brian Maloney, of, has a very, very interesting and thought-provoking take on the Randi Rhodes mugging/non-mugging earlier this week.  It includes the possibility that her fall may have been related to either alcohol or drug impairment...something I had not thought of , but which Mr. Maloney has some information about which I hadn't known. 

Here, take a look:.

Randi Rhodes Non-mugging Incident, Media Response


What's The Rest Of Randi's Story?

For three years, your Radio Equalizer has covered many bizarre twists and turns at the nation's most eccentric radio network, Air America. But the
Randi Rhodes Bumpgate affair is by far the most peculiar.

For one thing, the way the story broke has implications that are broader than merely pondering the weak state of liberal talk radio. How did the tiny blog that relayed AAR talker Jon Elliot's on- air claims of a Rhodes mugging suddenly gain credibility? Why did so many mainstream media outlets fall into this journalistic trap without first checking for suspiciously- absent facts?

Thoughts, questions and updates on where this muddled mess now stands:

First and foremost, if Randi Rhodes does have a substance abuse problem, it's time to confront the issue head-on. Rush Limbaugh did and is a better person today for having done so. While many sites today have wondered aloud whether Rhodes is an alcoholic, rumors of a drug habit have persisted for years. If that's the case, it's time to get help.

Given that, was the mugging story a weak attempt to cover up the truth? How did Air America's Jon Elliot get the story so wrong? Was he trying to help a friend / colleague? Will he take the hit merely for passing along what he was probably told to say? Think about it: how could Elliot be so far off the mark otherwise? He's already been compelled to apologize.

Was this an abortive effort to smear the right that was quickly undone after it became clear the plan was much too half- baked? Since conservative Rhodes enemies were quickly named as the likely "attackers", was this an attempt to create a new Tawana Brawley- like opportunity out of a mere accident?

While conservatives could cut the left some slack on this question, they shouldn't. Consider the timing, coming just after recent dishonest attacks against Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. It fits perfectly: bring down Rush and Bill, prop up Randi as a martyr for the cause.

Why is her attorney making statements on her behalf if this is nothing more than a simple case of stumbling on a sidewalk or bumping into a tree? Doesn't that seem inherently defensive in nature?

Why did Air America compound its PR disaster through an initially vague and evasive approach to media inquiries? It was more reminiscent of the previous managerial regime than the current one.

Interestingly, Air America's prior owners and managers watched over Rhodes much more carefully, supplying a car and driver and other personal assistants. That seemed to go away with the network's bankruptcy and subsequent purchase by billionaire Manhattan landlord Stephen L Green.

The big question, one that is buzzing around the radio industry: was this all a big stunt? Think about it: it's the first time in ages that Air America Radio has generated real publicity. Sure, it was for all the wrong reasons, but ink is ink, right? When you're this desperate, perhaps you'll do what's necessary to remain alive. But the company's muddled, seemingly- disorganized response seems to discount this theory.

Funny enough, the blog that started it all refuses to retract its initial report, instead choosing to attack your Radio Equalizer in a subsequent post:

Oh yes, and then one final shout-out -- to conservative talk radio blogger Brian Maloney who for the first time mentioned Talking Radio in his "no-spin zone." Well, Maloney didnt actually mention Talking Radio by name, but he did say that the Randi Rhodes mugging story was started by "a tiny blog whose author has been a frequent critic of [his] site."

Tiny! Whens the last time that your blog recorded over a thousand comments?

Hey buddy, here's the link you've always wanted, right here.

Finally, your Radio Equalizer took some flak for making Drudge the issue yesterday, rather than focusing on the real point: that liberals lie. Point taken.

Where does this bizarre mess go from here? It's clear there is much more to this story than a sidewalk accident, the cover-up and attempted smear campaign is the real, ongoing issue now. Something doesn't smell right.
Like Alice In Wonderland, this gets curiouser and curiouser.  I wonder if we'll ever know the truth.

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