Thursday, 24 January 2008


Ken Berwitz

"This is Candy Tistadt, Dean Tistadt's wife. This message is for Dave Kori. How dare you call us at home?!

If you've got a problem with going to school, you do not call somebody's house and complain about it.

My husband was up at 4 o'clock this morning, trying to decide the best thing to do, to send you to school, on a day when the weather man is calling for one thing and another thing happens.

You don't begin to know what you are talking about, and don't you ever call here again!

My husband has been at the office since 6:30 this morning, so don't you even suggest that he purposely didn't answer his phone.

He is out almost every single night of the week at meetings for snotty-nosed little brats, and he may not have called you but it is not because he's home because it snowed.

Get over it kid, and go to school. Get an education, that's what you're there for."

That was Ms. Candy Tistadt, wife of Fairfax,Virginia school administrator Dean Tistadt, reacting to a call to the couple's private home.  It came from a high school student who wanted an explanation of why he had to go to school - after all there were three inches of snow on the ground.

After the student -- devraj "dave" kori -- received this call, he decided it would be a fun idea to put it up on youtube.  If you want to hear Ms. Tistadt's voice, just click on  You will hear her comments, complete with krybaby kori's inclusion of a series of sarcastic graphics which were meant to ridicule both Mr. and Ms. Tistadt.

I have read several accounts of this incident.  From them, I conclude that media think a) this is funny more than serious, b) that "dave" kori is somehow the aggrieved party and c) that Ms. Tistadt and her husband should be objects of ridicule.

I don't.

One of the articles I read was in the Washington Post.  It prompted me to write a comment about the incident.  Here is what I wrote:

I could not agree with Ms. Tistadt more. If I were the one responding to this smug, obnoxious little weenie I would have said a lot worse.

How dare he call a private residence to whine that he was expected to go to school in THREE INCHES OF SNOW, (which krybaby kori evidently considers the blizzard of '08.)

If little davey is that distraught over having to go out in snow so high that (gasp!) it might actually cover most of his shoe, the place to complain about it is the school or its administrative offices. Not someone's private home.

I've read several articles about this incident today. And only one or two mention that - because this hoplessly immature crybaby's wiwoo sensibiwities were so offended that he put the response on youtube - the Tistadt's have now received numbers of obscene calls and physical threats.

Did little davey think about that? Did he consider the consequences of his childish revenge? Or isn't a near 4.0 GPA high enough for him to have figured it out?

Lucky for krybaby kori that they don't give GPA credit for maturity. He'd be lucky to get into the local nursery school.

Posted by: Ken Berwitz | January 24, 2008 10:04 AM

I'm perfectly willing to entertain anyone else's opinion about this.  But don't call my private home or you'll hear something along the lines of what I would have said if I were Ms. Tistadt. 

And if you're going to put me on, please get the name of my blog right. 


Ken Berwitz

If you think you know the answer to that question you probably are wrong.  Media have indicated it is "getting ugly" or "contentious" or words of that nature.  But, in reality it is far worse than that.

Here, courtesy of, is a list of links to stories showing you just how low this campaign is sinking (and don't doubt for a moment that it can and will get lower).  The links should also indicate to you just how hard the feelings are going to be for supporters of the losing candidate after this is decided (maybe on February 5th and maybe not):

Obama accused of 'hit job' in toxic White House race... 

 Clinton Ad Heightens Unity Fears... 


 VIDEO: Liberal Radio Host Schultz: Bill is Lying...

 Hillary Defends...

 Michelle: 'They will say anything'...


Obviously this is far too much material to post individually.  But I urge you to click on each link and read at least enough to get a sense of where this campaign gone and, concomitantly, how hard the feelings are guaranteed to be after it is over.

Pay particular attention to the comments at the end of the "Michelle:  'They will say anything'.... link.  Then multiply it by a millions of voters.  Then I know you'll understand.


Ken Berwitz

Remember, during the debate, when Hillary Clinton claimed that Barack Obama voted "present" on votes concerning abortion and sexual assaults, the implication being that he wasn't even reliable/strong/committed/you fill in your own adjective/ enough to take a stand against these core "women's issues"?

Well Christopher Wills has done some due dilligence regarding Mr. Obama's votes on those two issues.   And - surprise, surprise - Hillary Clinton's attack doesn't hold any water, not one drop.

Here is his article, from

Fact Check: Obama's 'Present' Votes
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Barack Obama's rivals in the Democratic presidential race contend he sometimes voted "present" on tough issues rather than take a firm stand.

"In the Illinois state Senate, Senator Obama voted 130 times 'present.' That's not yes, that's not no. That's maybe," Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a debate Monday.

Obama responds that Clinton is cherry-picking a handful of votes from a long legislative career and then distorting them.

THE SPIN: Obama portrays himself as someone voters can trust to tell the truth and skip the usual political games. Clinton and John Edwards are using his "present" votes to offer a different picture _ one of Obama ducking tough issues or refusing to support common-sense legislation.

THE FACTS: Obama acknowledges that over nearly eight years in the Illinois Senate, he voted "present" 129 times. That was out of roughly 4,000 votes he cast, so those "presents" amounted to about one of every 31 votes in his legislative career.

Illinois legislators often vote "present" and for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes blocs of lawmakers do it as a protest in some dispute over rules and procedures. Obama was often joined in his "present" votes by 10 or 20 other senators.

In other cases, lawmakers do it to signal objections to the details of a measure that they support in principle. They also use "present" votes as strategic moves to defeat legislation or, of course, simply to avoid taking a firm position.

Clinton highlights several of Obama's "present" votes that she considers questionable.

Several involve abortion _ a ban on certain late-pregnancy abortions, a requirement that a minor's parents be notified and restrictions on a type of abortion where the fetus sometimes survives for short periods.

"A woman's right to choose ... demands a leader who will stand up and protect it," said one Clinton campaign mailer.

But the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council says Obama's "present" votes were actually part of a careful strategy to prevent those restrictions from passing.

President Pam Sutherland said the group feared several senators were going to vote "yes" on the legislation because of attacks from Republicans over their past opposition. Sutherland says she approached Obama and convinced him to vote "present" so that the wavering senators would do the same. For their purposes, a "present" was as good as an outright "no" because it kept the bills from reaching the majority needed to pass.

Clinton also points out that Obama was the lone "present" vote on legislation allowing the victims of rape and other sex crimes to have their court records sealed. Obama explains now that he had questions about its constitutionality, although the law has never been struck down by the courts.

Neither the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault nor the House sponsor of the legislation faults Obama for his vote. Former state representative Lauren Beth Gash, who supports Obama for president, said she ultimately disagreed with his constitutional concerns but that Obama raised legitimate questions and was acting on principle.

Obama also voted "present" on legislation making it easier to send juveniles to adult court. He said in debate that he felt the measure violated an agreement, reached after an overhaul of the juvenile justice system a year earlier, to wait on further changes until the new system had been reviewed.

But he did not explain why he wasn't simply voting "no." .

It continues to astonish me that anyone in his or her right mind would believe a word that either Clinton says. 

How many lies does this bottom-dwelling, unscrupulous matched set have to tell before some people catch on?


Ken Berwitz

This just in, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer!!!

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his "transitioning" tomorrow.

"I want to continue to serve in Congress," he said..

Omigod, this could change everything.

It all depends on whether that bloc of 75 or so voters decides to go with Obama or Clinton.  Watch them battle for it!!


Ken Berwitz

Here is a fascinating teaser from CBS' "60 Minutes" website.  See what you think about it:

Interrogator: Invasion Surprised Saddam

Tells 60 Minutes Former Dictator Bragged About Eluding Capture

Jan. 24, 2008

CBS) Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture.

Piro, in his first television interview, relays this and other revelations to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley this Sunday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Piro spent almost seven months debriefing Saddam in a plan based on winning his confidence by convincing him that Piro was an important envoy who answered to President Bush. This and being Saddam's sole provider of items like writing materials and toiletries made the toppled Iraqi president open up to Piro, a Lebanese-American and one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic. "He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bushs intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack," says Piro. "He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack." "He didn't believe the U.S. would invade?" asks Pelley, "No, not initially," answers Piro.

Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. "And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war," Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isnt convinced that the insurgency was Saddam's plan. "Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency," says Piro.

Saddam still wouldn't admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, "For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq," he tells Pelley. He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. "Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there," says Piro. "He wanted to pursue all of WMDto reconstitute his entire WMD program." This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.

Saddam bragged that he changed his routine and security to elude capture. "What he wanted to really illustrate ishow he was able to outsmart us," says Piro. "He told me he changedthe way he traveled. He got rid of his normal vehicles. He got rid of the protective detail that he traveled with, really just to change his signature."

It took nine months to finally capture Saddam, but U.S. calculations on where he might be early on turned out to be accurate. Saddam was at Dora Farms early in the war when the known presidential site was targeted with tons of bombs and many missiles. "He said it in a kind of a bragging fashion that he was there, but that we missed him. He wasn't bothered by the fact that he was there," Piro tells Pelley

Does it make any sense to you that, in order to prevent Iran from invading, Saddam would fake the wmd's that insured WE would invade?  Does it make any sense to you that he would continue the pretense even after we massed our troops and materiel to depose him?

To tell you the truth I have a lot of problems believing this.  And I also have a lot of problems believing he didn't have the wmd's. 

I find it a lot easier to believe that, for the half year that the UN did its usual diddly-squat nothing, saddam either hid or exported the wmd's he had.   

But regardless of whether he had them, or he just did everything in his power to convince the world he had them, what this does indicate is that there were damn good reasons to believe he had them.  Thus there were damn good reasons for us to invade the country and remove him from power.

Bush lied, people died?  That's the greatest lie of all.


Ken Berwitz

Here's an extremely interesting column by Larry Elder on the difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to open-mindedness towards each other.  I don't know about the science involved, but the points Mr. Elder makes are excellent. 

See what you think:

Open-Minded Liberals?
By Larry Elder
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walter Cronkite, when asked whether he agreed that liberals dominated the major news media, told me, "Yes -- if by liberal you mean open-minded."

Are liberals more "open-minded" than conservatives?

To find out, a biennial survey conducted by the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies uses a scale from 0 to 100 -- 0 meaning shoot-the-person-on-sight hatred, and 100 meaning find-a-place-for-him-on-Mount-Rushmore adoration. The 2004 survey then asked 1,200 adults to define themselves politically.

Using this 0-to-100 scale, the survey asked those who described themselves as "conservative" or "extremely conservative" to rate "liberals." Average score -- 39. "Liberals" and "extreme liberals" gave "conservatives" a similar score -- 38.

But the survey then asked respondents to apply the scale to specific people. How did "extreme conservatives," in 1998, rate then-President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore? "Extreme conservatives" gave them both an average reading of 45. Twenty-eight percent gave Clinton a 0, with 10 percent giving that score to Gore.

How did "extreme liberals" rate President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in 2004? That group gave Bush and Cheney an average temperature of 15 and 16, respectively. Sixty percent of these extreme liberals gave Messrs. Bush and Cheney a 0. In other words, six out of ten Americans on the far left found that no evil, heinous person in the world could be worthy of more hatred than Bush and Cheney. For a little perspective, the then-alive Saddam Hussein received an average score of 8 from all Americans.

Dick Morris, a former aide to Bill Clinton, described how Clinton berated his 1996 Republican opponent, former Sen. Bob Dole. President Clinton said, "Bob Dole is not a nice man. Bob Dole is evil. The things he wants to do to children are evil. The things he wants to do to poor people and old people and sick people are evil. Let's get that straight."

After Republicans took control of the House in the mid-'90s, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., compared the newly conservative-controlled House to "the Duma and the Reichstag." Dingell referred to the legislature set up by Czar Nicholas II of Russia and the parliament of the German Weimar Republic that brought Hitler to power.

Comparing Republicans to Nazis remains a favorite pastime of some Democrats. Billionaire Democratic contributor George Soros said the Bush White House displays the "supremacist ideology of Nazi Germany," and that the administration uses rhetoric that echoes his childhood in occupied Hungary. "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,'" Soros said, "it reminds me of the Germans."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean characterized the contest between Democrats and Republicans as "a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

Last week at my local barbershop, the barber working at the chair next to mine, and his customer, discovered that I voted for George W. Bush. Shocked! Shocked! The customer stammered, "Why?"

Not particularly interested in a political discussion, I said something about keeping the country safe, opposition to big government, and support for low taxes.

"But how, how can you support somebody who pulled off 9/11?"

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"I believe 9/11 was an inside job."

"You mean Bush murdered 3,000 people on American soil?" I asked.

"He did it to get black people."

"Most of those killed in 9/11 were white," I said.

"They were in the way."

"Explain to me why people like Bush and Cheney run for public office in order to commit murder."

"Because that's what they do."

"For what reason? To get rich?" I asked. "They already were."

I then learned that somebody intentionally ruptured a levee in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina; that Bush simply serves as a puppet for others; and that "they" wish to "destroy" the little people in the middle class.

Finally, I sighed and simply asked, "How do you function day by day?"

"What do you mean?"

"How do you get up in the morning thinking that somebody in Washington, D.C., wants to murder you?"

I started to ask him where he places Bush on that thermometer, but I think I already knew. So I switched the conversation to the NFL playoffs.

Bottom line: Conservatives consider liberals well-intentioned, but misguided. Liberals consider conservatives not only wrong, but really, really bad people. .

Does this agree with your experience?  Do you find that hardline liberals are far more intolerant of conservatives than hardline conservatives are of liberals?   Is this how the intolerance is expressed in your world?

Like I said, Mr. Elder has written an extremely interesting column.


Ken Berwitz

Here is the latest example of just how sickening the Clintons are as they find themselves subjected to a serious challenge.  This one comes to us from The Washington Post:

Some in Party Bristle At Clintons' Attacks
Anti-Obama Ad Heightens Unity Fears
By Alec MacGillis and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 24, 2008; A01

DILLON, S.C., Jan. 23 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign aired a new radio ad here Wednesday that repeated a discredited charge against Sen. Barack Obama, in what some Democrats said is part of an increasing pattern of hardball politics by her and former president Bill Clinton.

The ad takes one line from an Obama interview -- "The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years" -- and juxtaposes it with GOP policies that Obama has never advocated.

"Really?" a voice-over says. "Aren't those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we're in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street. Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama's talking about?"

The Clinton campaign argued that it was simply quoting Obama. But in the original context, Obama was describing the dominance of Republican ideas in the 1980s and 1990s, without saying he supported them, and asserting that those ideas are of no use today.

The ad marked the escalation of a bitter fight between the two Democratic front-runners that has taken on a new dimension because of the involvement of Bill Clinton, the titular leader of the party. While his wife campaigns elsewhere, the former president has been making daily appearances in South Carolina in anticipation of the state's Democratic primary on Saturday, and he has adopted the role of attacking his wife's opponent the way a vice presidential candidate traditionally does in a general election.

Responding to the negative ad, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, accused the Clintons of using the "politics of deception," and he compared the former president to the late Lee Atwater, a Republican operative from South Carolina who was known for his tough tactics.

In response, Bill Clinton said Harpootlian's comments were a distraction, and he accused the Obama campaign of funneling smears through the media.

"They are feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover. This is what you live for," he told CNN reporter Jessica Yellin, who asked him for a response to Harpootlian at an appearance in South Carolina. "They just spin you up on this and you happily go along," Clinton said. As aides steered him away, he scolded: "Shame on you."

In Washington, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who endorsed Obama last week, castigated the former president for what he called his "glib cheap shots" at Obama, saying both sides should settle down but placing the blame predominantly on Clinton.

"That's beneath the dignity of a former president," Leahy told reporters, adding: "He is not helping anyone, and certainly not helping the Democratic Party."

That concern was also voiced by some neutral Democrats, who said that the former president's aggressive role, along with the couple's harsh approach recently, threatens to divide the party in the general election.

A few prominent Democrats, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), have spoken to the former president about the force of his Obama critiques. There is some fear within the party that if Obama becomes the nominee, he could emerge personally battered and politically compromised. And there is concern that a Clinton victory could come at a cost -- particularly a loss of black voters, who could blame her for Obama's defeat and stay home in November.

"I'm not underestimating that this could be divisive, but I think both camps know how important this is, that it doesn't go beyond repair," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), the most vulnerable Democrat up for reelection next year, who is unaligned.

"Our party has to remain united -- that's the most important thing for November," she said. "The bottom line is, all this could cause a rift, but I hope it doesn't."

Earlier this week, the Obama team began a new effort to deal with what it says has been a string of misleading or untrue attacks from the Clintons over the past three weeks. His campaign has begun pushing back harder, trying to puncture the allegations more quickly -- a risky approach, because it involves questioning the credibility of the Democratic Party's most prominent figures of the past two decades, but one that Obama strategists believe they can no longer avoid.

Among the allegations against Obama are that his opposition to the war in Iraq is overstated, that he is weak on abortion rights, that his links to a nuclear energy company undermine his opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada and that he supports a trillion-dollar tax increase on "hardworking Americans" because he is open to raising the limit on salary taxed for Social Security.

Harpootlian, a prominent voice in South Carolina politics and a onetime Clinton supporter, said the Clintons' recent tactics have been "all about deceit."

"This is harmful to the party, it's harmful to the state. And I understand they want to win, but this is about -- should be about -- a competition of ideas, not who can pull the hammer harder," he said.

For some rank-and-file Democrats, the tack against Obama is prompting a reevaluation of Clinton and her husband. Bill Clinton gained enormous popularity among Democrats in the 1990s partly because of his ability to achieve tactical triumphs over Republicans. Now, watching the use of rough-edged tactics against a fellow Democrat, some of those who supported him then are having second thoughts.

"They're obvious distortions," said Ralph Byrd, a retired electrical engineer in Greenville, S.C., who voted for Clinton in 1992 and 1996. "We've had enough spin in the White House the last eight years, and we don't need any more. It's deliberate distortion that we don't need."

The Clinton campaign has countered that Obama has shaded the record at times. He regularly makes fun of Clinton for saying in a recent debate that she was glad that a 2001 bankruptcy reform bill that she voted for did not pass, though what she was trying to say was that she regretted her vote.

More often, such assertions from Obama come in discussions of his own rsum or proposals, not in attacks on his rivals. He says his health-care plan offers "universal" coverage, though many experts agree that it would leave millions out, at least in the initial years, because it does not include a personal insurance mandate. And he has played down his past support for a single-payer health-care system, even though the record reflects statements in favor of such an approach.

So far, it is the Clinton rhetoric that has caused queasiness, although elected officials said they are hopeful that it will eventually cool down. "Some statements that were said could be worded differently," Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), who has not endorsed a candidate in the primary, said of the Clintons. But in general, he said, "it's a competitive campaign, good for the Democratic Party and good for our country."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, who represents the big Feb. 5 primary prize of California, called the campaign "very rough, very tough" and added: "It's a fight to the finish."

"People want authenticity -- they're getting authenticity here," said Boxer, who is neutral in the race. "But I don't see it as a long-term problem. People want to see if you're thrown a punch, how you are going to react. Can you stand up? Do you wither under criticism? Now, I do think it's better for us as a party if we all stick to a debate on the issue. But I think the candidates know that." .

Another four, maybe eight, more years of this?  I would rather swim in nuclear waste.


UPDATE:  The Clinton flying, campaign staff has pulled their phony lying ad.  Here are the specifics:

Clinton Pulls Negative S.C. Ad

By Anne E. Kornblut
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Under fire for airing misleading attacks on Sen. Barack Obama, the Clinton campaign has pulled a radio ad that quoted the Illinois senator calling Republicans "the party of ideas" and suggesting he thought those ideas superior to Democratic ones. But the Obama campaign has already counter-punched, launching a new radio spot saying Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will "say anything" to get elected.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately explain why it had pulled its radio spot, which had triggered a furious response from the Obama campaign and touched off a wave of criticism from Democrats who said the Clinton campaign has grown excessively aggressive in recent days. The Obama ad was no less fierce. It reminded voters that Clinton had voted to authorize the war in Iraq, saying she "voted for George Bush's war," and accused her of making "false attacks" on Obama.

"Hillary Clinton: She'll say anything and change nothing," the ad says

What next?  Who knows, with the Clintons there is no bottom.

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