Thursday, 13 December 2007


Ken Berwitz

I'm not accustomed to Hollywood celebrities saying things that make sense.

But Johnny Depp's comments on the separation of his movie star and personal life is an exception to the rule.  Here they are, courtesy of the Associated Press.  I hope, for his well being, that he means them.

Johnny Depp Says He Wants Anonymity
Dec 12, 5:10 AM (ET)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - To Johnny Depp, freedom means simplicity and anonymity.

"I'm sure it will be a possibility someday again. Maybe when I get old. They get tired of you," the actor tells Esquire magazine in its January issue, available Friday. "'Didn't you used to be Johnny Depp?' That will be the clincher."

The 44-year-old star of "Sweeney Todd," which opens Christmas Day, talked with the magazine about the lessons he's learned over his two decades in Hollywood.

His friend and mentor Marlon Brando taught Depp to keep his private life private.

"That's your world and it's nobody else's business," he recalls Brando saying. "It's not anybody's entertainment."

A self-described people-watcher, Depp says he's learned to enter restaurants through the kitchen and hotels through the parking garage.

"It'll definitely make you a little weird if you're constantly being stared at," he says.

While he loves his work, Depp says he's "not a great fan of all the stuff that goes along with it."

"I don't want to be a product," he says. "Of course you want the movies to do well. But I don't want to know ... who's hot now and who's not and who's making this much dough and who's boffing this woman or that one. I want to remain ignorant of all this. I want to be totally outside and far away from all of it."


Ken Berwitz

People are always telling you their problems.  Some of them are important to you and some of them are not.  Most adults exercise a level of tact when they are confronted with a sob story they don't care about.  Kids don't.

When I was growing up, we used to have a sarcastic, disdainful way of telling people that we didn't care about their problems.  We said "My heart bleeds hot and cold running borscht".  The recipient of this comment then had no illusions about our level of concern. 

With this in mind, I would like to show you an Associated Press article which appears in today's Jerusalem Post.  See if you can guess why that childhood sarcasm came to mind when I read it:.

World Bank: Palestinians will get poorer

The World Bank on Thursday endorsed a Palestinian reform plan that requires $5.6 billion in international aid over three years, but warned that the money will not stem economic decline in the West Bank and Gaza unless Israel also eases Palestinian movement and trade.

The Palestinians will ask for the aid at a conference of donor countries next week in Paris.

The World Bank said the plan is "a process around which the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the donor community can coalesce."

However, if Israel's closures remain in place, these large sums would at best slow a "downward cycle of crisis and dependence," the report said. By contrast, a considerable easing of Israeli restrictions could help the Palestinian private sector recover and lead to double-digit economic growth, the World Bank said.

Israeli defense officials have been reluctant to remove roadblocks and barriers, first set up after the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in 2000 to keep attackers from Israel. Security officials say the Palestinian government in the West Bank is still too weak to rein in terrorists effectively.

In the development plan, the Palestinian Authority government pledges to cut government spending and reform institutions. About 70 percent of the aid would go to budget support and 30% to development projects, such as boosting tourism. The balance would gradually shift development as the Palestinian government narrows its budget deficit.

The plan predicts an annual economic growth of about 5%, provided that Israel gradually eases its restrictions on travel and trade. The Palestinian population grows by almost 4% a year, and such modest economic growth would initially have little effect on per capita income.

The World Bank said Palestinian reforms alone will not reverse economic decline. "They must be fully supported by both the large increase in aid and the relaxation of the (Israeli) closure regime ...," the bank wrote.

If donors pledge the full amount requested, but Israeli restrictions remain in place, the Palestinian economy would keep shrinking by about 2% a year, it wrote.

In the worst scenario - less than full donor support and continued Israeli restrictions - "growth will fall sharply and the already growing poverty levels will rise dramatically," the report said.

By contrast, if there is full donor support and considerable easing of movement, it will revive the private sector and "drive growth rates to even double-digit levels," the bank said.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel supports the donors' efforts. "We understand that a healthy, successful, prosperous Palestine is in the interest of the state of Israel," he said. "Living next to a failed state, a failed economy, would only be a recipe for further violence."

He said Israel has already eased some restrictions and planned to do more. However, he said, militants still pose a danger. "Our ability to move further will be a function of the Palestinian security services taking effective control," he said.

The government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has tried to rein in terrorists, focusing in recent weeks on Nablus. The Palestinian security forces say they've made progress in Nablus, and complained that continued IDF raids are interfering with their efforts.

Israeli roadblocks have been making it increasingly difficult for manufacturers to ship goods, even within the West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza are cut off from each other, and Gaza has been largely isolated since June when Hamas seized control by force, and Israel and Egypt responded by virtually halting border traffic.

Ninety-five percent of Palestinian trade is with Israel, the bank noted, but shipping goods from the West Bank has become more difficult with the building of Israel's security barrier.

Ron Pundak, head of Israel's Peres Center for Peace, said the donors should be cautious, making sure the Palestinians carry out promised reforms and that Israel eases restrictions.

"Otherwise, if you are investing in a factory or an agricultural center and the goods cannot move from one place to another, it's a waste of money," he said..

Y'know, I'll just bet that nazi Germany and fascist Italy had some really bad economic setbacks because of the allies during world war II.  And I'll bet Japan had quite a bit of difficulty with their factory and agricultural progress at about the same time.

Am I supposed to give a damn that palestinian Arabs - who allow and abet attacks on Israel every day, send suicide/homicide bombers to kill Israeli Jews in markets and restaurants and teach their children that there is no Israel and it is a glorious act to die killing Jews - don't have as good an economic infrastructure as they'd like?

Am I supposed to give a damn that Israel's attempts to protect its citizens from palestinian Arabs who do this is a problem to them?

People make a lot of the aid money the USA gives to Israel (most of which is spent in the USA and comes right back to us, by the way).  But what is far less known is that "the palestinians" in Gaza and Judea/Samaria (the west bank) get dramatically more aid than Israel does.  The USA gives it to Israel.  The world gives it to palestinian Arabs.

And how do they spend it?  Where do those untold billions of dollars go?  Into their leaders' bank accounts (think Arafat)?  For weapons to kill Jews?  For TV shows that teach their children nothing but hatred, violence and death?

I'm supposed to worry if the fact that Israel has to protect itself from this leaves them with insufficient supply routes?  Not enough agriculture or factories?

My heart bleeds hot and cold running borscht.


Ken Berwitz

Hail Al Gore.  This man is a paragon of energy conservation. 

Who but Mr. Carbon Offset himself could turn a house so inefficient that the owner obviously didn't give a damn about how much energy was used, into such a model of conservation?

Do I sound a bit sarcastic?  I would hope so, because sarcasm is what I am trying to communicate. 

Why?  Please read the following Associated Press article and see.  The first words, which I have put in bold print, should give you the answer.

By ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press Writer 28 minutes ago

Al Gore, who was criticized for high electric bills at his Tennessee mansion, has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation's most environmentally friendly.

The former vice president has installed solar panels, a rainwater-collection system and geothermal heating. He also replaced all incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs.

"Short of tearing it down and staring anew, I don't know how it could have been rated any higher," said Kim Shinn of the U.S. Green Building Council, which gave the house its second-highest rating for sustainable design.

Gore's improvements cut the home's summer electrical consumption by 11 percent compared with a year ago, according to utility records reviewed by The Associated Press. Most Nashville homes used 20 percent to 30 percent more electricity during the same period because of a record heat wave.

Shinn said Gore's renovations are impressive because his home, which is more than 80 years old, had to meet the same rigorous standards as new construction.

"One of the things that is tremendously powerful about what the Gores have done is demonstrate that you can take a home that was a dog, and absolute energy pig, and do things to correct that that," Shinn said. .

Last year, an enterprising Gore detractor managed to get his hands on Mr. Global Warming's actual energy bills.  He found that Gore's house was consuming over 20 times the energy of an average home.

Until that transcendentally embarrassing disclosure, Gore had not done a thing to make his house energy efficient.  It was just fine and dandy as it was.

So you'll pardon me if I don't join in the chorus of "man oh man, that Al Gore is a saint on earth, look what he did to conserve energy".   I'm old enough to know when someone did something not because he wanted to, but because he was embarrassed into doing it.

Or, put another way, I'm past the 3rd grade.  I assume you are too.


Ken Berwitz

Charles Krauthammer provides a nearly perfect assessment of yesterday's Republican debate, which was hosted by the (hard-left) Des Moines Register and moderated by Register's (unbelievably obnoxious and incompetent) Carolyn Washburn. 

It needs no commentary other than Mr. Krauthammer's. 

Just click on the video or, if it isn't working (that happens sometimes), click on  You won't regret it..

Video: The worst debate in western history

posted at 10:19 pm on December 12, 2007 by Allahpundit
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly

The words are Krauthammers, expressing a consensus shared by everyone from my pal Barnett to Americas Mayor. The incredible, unanswerable question of the hour: What kind of slackjawed moron would take the two most important issues of the election off the table at the start of the last pre-primary debate? If anything, she should have kept those two and jettisoned everything else.

After todays withering reviews, the moderators are bound to be working out the kinks for tomorrows turn with the Democrats. Kucinich is disqualified so the field will be leaner and meaner than the GOPs bloated Keyes-plus format. The candidates will probably be allowed to respond to each other more than they did today and Iraq may well be left on the table for discussion. Who knows? Maybe theyll even replace Nurse Ratched with someone else.

And if they do, our howls of bias! shall be shrill indeed.




Ken Berwitz

Today, former Senator George Mitchell issued his report on drug/steroid use in major league baseball.

I have not seen the report yet and therefore can't comment on it.  But two facts came out that struck me as particularly significant:

-There is a total of 60-80 names of players in the report;

-A great many players, with the apparent blessing of the player's association, refused to cooperate with Mr. Mitchell's investigation.

The first fact means that usage of these substances is far reaching.  The second fact means that the number of users Mitchell uncovered is probably a drop in the bucket compared to how many there really are.

I suppose I knew this was coming.  But until today I could pretend otherwise.

In 1919 there was a little thing called the Black Sox scandal -- a number of players on the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the world series for money. 

Eight White Sox players, presumably all the conspirators, were banned from baseball forever.  No other teams were accused of fixing games.  That ended the scandal.

But what do you do when there is a scandal that reaches across every team and every locker room?  One that so many players are doing everything they can to cover up?

This is far, far worse than the Black Sox scandal.  And it isn't going away any time soon.

I've been a baseball fan since I was 8 years old (that was 1954).  A lot has changed - strikes, outlandish salaries, players "posing" at home plate when it looks like they hit a home run (how I love it when the ball doesn't go out and the poser winds up at first base instead of second or third).  Yet through all this the intrinsic game more or less stayed the same.

But that was yesterday and this is today.  This report forces me to face the reality that it isn't true anymore.  So, with great sadness, I now have to say goodbye baseball as I knew it. 


Ken Berwitz

Will this be the time they nail al sharpton?

Hold on, that doesn't make any sense.  They have nailed al sharpton again and again.  On tax charges.  On defamation of character.  On his sleazy BS campaign for president that appeared to be nothing other than a scam to get federal matching funds to spend.  On his seeming inability to remember owing the rent on his offices or the payments on his car. 

Then there are the more serious issues.  Like the tawana brawley farce, the Crown Heights riots (many injuries, one death, property destroyed, the city in chaos), the Freddy's Fashion Mart torching (7 dead),  his long time support of racist anti-semite louis farrakhan, the tribute (he attended his funeral) to khalid muhammad who was too anti-semitic even for the farrakhan people, etc. etc. etc.

No, this can't be "the time" they nail al sharpton.  He's been nailed repeatedly over the years.  But here is what may be the latest nailing, courtesy of the New York Daily News:.

Subpoenas for Al Sharpton's aides

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 4:00 AM

Teams of federal agents swooped down on up to 10 close associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday, demanding the flamboyant clergyman's financial records since 2001.

Sharpton's former chief of staff said he was roused at his Harlem home about 6:30 a.m. by two FBI agents who handed him a subpoena to bring the records to a federal grand jury the day after Christmas.

Several employees of Sharpton's National Action Network also got wakeup subpoenas to testify before the Brooklyn panel, the rabble-rousing reverend's lawyer said.

The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds, a source familiar with the probe said.

Sharpton, although forced to return $100,000 in matching taxpayer funds after an investigation two years ago, denied any wrongdoing at the time.

The feds are also looking into allegations of tax fraud, including whether Sharpton commingled funds from his nonprofit National Action Network with several of his for-profit ventures, the source said.

Lawyer Michael Hardy shrugged off the probe, which sought a vast array of business, political and personal records, as a federal fishing expedition.

"I can't think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn't under investigation," he said.

Sharpton was not among those subpoenaed in the synchronized sweep of friends and employees.

"It was like a sting or a raid," said Carl Redding, who spent eight years as the head of Sharpton's staff. "They converged on everybody."

As many as 10 people were subpoenaed, Redding said. The court papers also sought a wide range of financial records, from invoices of expenses paid by cash to cash receipts to bad debt records from the years 2001 to 2007.

Sharpton's quixotic run for the Democratic presidential nomination has raised questions of financial impropriety - including charges that he spent campaign funds on swanky hotels.

In April 2005, Sharpton denied allegations that he failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash to the Federal Election Committee.

Sharpton's associates were summoned to testify before the grand jury on the morning after Christmas. The subpoenas additionally called for them to provide the IRS with all financial records from the campaign and a half-dozen Sharpton-related businesses.

Personal finance records from Sharpton and his wife, Kathy, were also sought by investigators.

A Sharpton spokesman said the reverend, who pleaded guilty in 1993 to a misdemeanor for failure to file a tax return, would assist with the probe.

"What I would tell you is that what the National Action Network has done, and will continue to do, is cooperate and comply," said Charlie King, a spokesman for the network.

Redding, a restaurateur, said he was surprised by the subpoena, because he left his position as Sharpton's chief of staff in 1998.

"They wouldn't tell me what the investigation was about," Redding said.  .

Now that this is in front of you, I have a few questions: 

-How is it that al sharpton, in addition to being all these things, is literally a kingmaker in the Democratic party -- and the media don't have a thing to say about it?

-How is it that he was given a twenty minute prime time speech at the last Democratic national convention -- and the media didn't attack Democrats for allowing it?

-How is it that Democratic candidates actively seek sharpton's support -- and the media says nothing about his past when they do?

-How is it that he can be supporting Hillary Clinton -- and the media do not question this association?

I'll bet you have a few questions of your own to add to mine.

If you want blatant media bias, this is as classic an example as you will ever see.  Remember, these are the same media that go after Republicans with daily lead stories and features whenever they can.  Yet not a word about this dissolute sickening excuse for a man.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

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