Monday, 05 May 2008


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged that al sharpton's attempt to shut down New York City had fizzled out.  I also wrote a lot of other material about sharpton in that blog.

In fact, the day sharpton is trying to shut the city down is Wednesday.  I regret my error and regret the analysis that it fizzled out, which of course could not be correct since the effort has not taken place yet. 

However, other than the date of the intended shut-down and its success level, I fully stand by every other thing I wrote in that blog.  Here it is again, but revised to take correct chronology into account:


Wednesday is the day al sharpton is going to try and shut down New York City.  

You may recall sharpton's fury over the Sean Bell verdict, in which a judge ruled that the police did not act improperly when they shot Bell dead and injured his two companions during Bell's bachelor party. 

Here is a pretty decent description of what happened, which I've excerpted from  (a site you always double check before believing anything you read there, which I did):

Sean Bell was an electrician by trade and in between jobs when the shooting occurred.  Bell had been arrested three times, twice for drug dealing and once for a firearms possession.  In all cases, he was released on his own recognizance.  The New York Daily News reported that, according to unnamed law enforcement sources, Bell sold crack cocaine twice to a confidential police informant in August of 2006.

Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, who were also shot in the incident, had been arrested nine and three times, respectively, each having been arrested at least once for illegal firearm possession.  Benefield was subsequently arrested during a gambling raid in Harlem after attending the funeral of James Brown, and again on September 25, 2007 for hitting a woman with whom he had a child. The latter arrest resulted in his pleading guilty on October 12, 2007 to a lesser charge, and accepting a conditional discharge along with counseling.

The night of the shooting, Bell was holding his bachelor party at Club Kalua in the Jamaica section of Queens, a venue that was being investigated by seven undercover police detectives, as a result of accusations that the owners of the club had been fostering prostitution.

The New York Post reported that, according to an unnamed undercover officer, Guzman had an argument inside the club with a woman and threatened to get a gun. One of Bell's friends was heard to say "yo, get my gun and kill that dumb white bitch" as they left the scene. Fearing a shooting may occur, the detective followed the men to their car while alerting his backup team, prompting the team to confront Bell and his companions before they could leave the scene.  The undercover officer ordered Bell to raise his hands after getting in his car. Instead, Bell accelerated the car and hit an unmarked police minivan.[  A toxicology report reportedly showed that he was legally intoxicated at the time of the shooting. An attorney for the Bell family said in response to the report, "No matter what his blood-alcohol level was, he's a victim."

Other accounts of the incident conflict with that of the undercover officers. According to Guzman and lawyer Michael Hardy, the detectives never identified themselves while they approached the vehicle with drawn weapons.  Another source also told New York Daily News that the officers failed to warn Bell before opening fire and started firing immediately upon leaving their vehicles.

After the shooting, sharpton was on it in two seconds flat; just like sharpton has been on so many other high profile racial cases that he could use to make a, seek justice for aggrieved parties..

Once the decision was rendered, sharpton declared that he would shut New York City down over it.  And, as mentioned above, Wednesday will be the day.  Protesters are going to mobilize at a number of different points around the city, march, disrupt, and generally try to stop The Big Apple in its tracks.

When sharpton announced his intentions, I kept wondering what this routine was supposed to accomplish - other than getting his face in the paper and maybe intimidating jurors if there is a subsequent civil suit (i.e. another chance to make some do re mi).  Who exactly was he protesting?  New York City didn't find the officers not guilty, a judge did. 

I hope (but, sadly, do not expect) that sharpton's shut-down effort is so preposterous that even people who might support him in other situations won't bring themselves to be a part of this one.

Simply stated, this circus makes sharpton look ridiculous (a state of being he has a great deal of familiarity with).  I wonder if it makes him look so ridiculous that Democratic candidates will be a bit less likely to seek out his endorsement during the election campaign this year. 

Hey, the Democratic party might be so embarrassed by sharpton's clownishness that they'll only give him 15 minutes of prime time during their convention instead of the 20 minutes they gave him in 2004.


Ken Berwitz

Here's a telling little tidbit from the London Daily News, about how close Barack Obama is to blowing up.  And who is the source of this potentially damaging information?  Why, the lovely Ms. Michelle Obama, that's who:

Michelle Obama: Barack has hit boiling point

Barack Obama is struggling to contain his anger and frustration over the constant barrage of questions about his character and judgment, his wife has revealed.

Michelle Obama told her audience that her husband was 'sick of the battle against Clinton'

Michelle Obama lifted the lid on the irritation felt by the leading Democrat candidate for the White House at the way anti-American outbursts by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have dogged his campaign.

He is said to be itching to turn all his fire on John McCain, the Republican candidate, who is benefiting most from Mr Obama's protracted tussle with Hillary Clinton.

Mrs Obama told a rally in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday that only her husband's desire to change US politics had helped him to control his feelings: "Barack is always thinking three steps ahead what do we need to do to make change."

Her husband was thinking "I can't let my ego, my anger, my frustration get in the way of the ultimate goal," she said.

"Barack has been characterised as many things that have nothing to do with who he is."

Senator Obama has known the Rev Wright for more than 20 years, but he was forced to end their friendship last week over repeated claims by his pastor that America was to blame for the 9/11 attacks and for spreading the Aids virus.

New polls show the affair may have derailed Mr Obama's chances of sealing a double win in Tuesday's North Carolina and Indiana primary elections, which might have ended Mrs Clinton's hopes.

Instead, in just a week, Mrs Clinton has reversed a narrow Obama lead in Indiana and is closing fast in North Carolina, where Mr Obama had hoped for a convincing win.

A poll on Saturday found 58 per cent of voters believe his de-nunciation of the Rev Wright was merely an act of political expediency.

The Rasmussen survey found 56 per cent of voters thought it likely that Obama shares some of his pastor's anti-American views.

A senior Democrat strategist privy to Obama's campaign said: "He's sick of the battle against Clinton. He wants to get stuck into McCain. His people have had to remind him that this thing isn't over yet and he needs to focus and put her away."

In a press conference on Friday, Mr Obama conceded: "We've had a rough couple of weeks, I won't deny that. I don't think what happened with Rev Wright was helpful."

While Mr Obama retains an almost unassailable three-figure lead in pledged delegates from the round of primary elections, he still needs a strong showing on Tuesday, when the two largest states remaining in the Democratic contest vote, in order to slow Mrs Clinton's momentum and with it her claims that she is emerging at the 11th hour as the stronger candidate.

He needs to split the remaining half-dozen states that have yet to vote with the former First Lady, and to win the backing of at least a third of the remaining 300 undeclared super-delegates to secure the nomination.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, his chief strategist David Axelrod said the trickle of super-delegate endorsements would grow this week.

He said Mr Obama had garnered the support of 100 more super-delegates since early February, and added: "You're going to see a lot more of that soon."

Mr Axelrod said Mr Obama had been using games of basketball to let off steam. He said the Wright affair had undoubtedly had some impact on voters, but claimed his candidate was ready for the fight ahead.

"He has enjoyed the chance to shoot a little ball. I think we're in a good groove," he said. And in a dig at Mrs Clinton and her husband Bill, he said: "We knew from the start of this race that we were taking on the most formidable machine in Democratic politics.

"It's in full display right now. She's tenacious and she can multiply her reach because her husband is working just as hard as either of the candidates."

In contrast with the Clintons, Mrs Obama said: "We were taught that you don't rip your opponents to pieces, you don't leave them on the roadside."

Voters and super-delegates canvassed by The Sunday Telegraph at campaign events in North Carolina agreed that the Rev Wright controversy would damage Mr Obama's chances on Tuesday.

Jerry Meek, the Democratic state party chairman, said: "It will have an impact. Voters are talking about it. Senator Obama has addressed the issue very forcefully but he's been thrown off message for a week."

Kevin Johnson, 36, a white pastor from Boone, said: "Obama is getting an increasingly bad press over the Rev Wright thing. I never make political remarks from the pulpit. It's just not appropriate."

Jon Violette, 49, who works in advertising, described Mr Obama's problem as a "godsend" for Mrs Clinton. He said: "People are getting to know him. Hillary has the momentum."

Jay West, 55, an Obama supporter from Raleigh, but who grew up in Ipswich, said: "People who were looking for an excuse not to vote for him have now got their excuse."

Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Mrs Clinton, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We are surging. This is a big test for Obama. Super-delegates are looking at how the candidates are performing."

Yet Mr Obama is still drawing enthusiastic crowds. His supporters made far more noise than Mrs Clinton's as they both addressed the dinner in Raleigh.

James Pickens is typical of those who have been inspired by the black senator from Illinois. A reformed crack cocaine dealer, he is now peddling Obama T-shirts.

Mr Pickens, 50, has served three prison terms totalling 13 years, but vowed to change his ways after hearing Mr Obama speak.

He said: "I never voted for a president before. He's for change, which is something I need in my life. Until recently I was selling drugs, and now I'm selling T-shirts."

Last night Mr Obama appeared on course to win the Guam caucuses, a welcome boost but it will have little impact on the overall standings.


If Mr. Obama gets the Democratic nomination for President (which, though still in doubt, is likely to happen), will his wife's comments be used against him?

I would think it virtually certain that they will be, every time John McCain's temper is brought up as an issue.

Being President is a lot tougher and a lot more pressurized than being a candidate, because people actually expect you to DO something, not just talk about it.  Thus it is a situation Barack Obama has very little familiarity with. 

Will the need to match actions to words bring Mr. Obama over the edge?  No one knows for sure.  But if he is elected President we'll sure find out, won't we?


Ken Berwitz

Thank you Mark Steyn!!

I love it when someone says what I believe, but says it far better than I can.  Then all I have to do is copy it, put several of the most incisive passages in bold print, and I'm finished right there.

Mr. Steyn has done every thinking person a major service by writing this superb piece on the Obamas.  And since each paragraph seems better than the the one which preceded it, there is no need to put any segments in bold print.  It's a lazy man's dream come true. 

No excerpts here - I refuse to deny you even one word:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mark Steyn: To Obama, 'we' means 'me'

Syndicated columnist

Four score and seven years ago No, wait, my mistake. Two score and seven or eight days ago, Barack Obama gave the greatest speech since the Gettysburg Address, or FDR's First Inaugural, or JFK's religion speech, or (if, like Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books, you find those comparisons drearily obvious) Lincoln's Cooper Union speech of 1860.

And, of course, the senator's speech does share one quality with Cooper Union, Gettysburg, the FDR Inaugural, Henry V at Agincourt, Socrates' Apology, etc.: It's history. He said, apropos the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that "I could no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother." But last week Obama did disown him. So, great-speech-wise, it's a bit like Churchill promising to fight them on the beaches and never surrender, and then surrendering a month and a half later, and on a beach he decided not to fight on.

It was never a great speech. It was a simulacrum of a great speech written to flatter gullible pundits into hailing it as the real deal. It should be "required reading in classrooms," said Bob Herbert in the New York Times; it was "extraordinary" and "rhetorical magic," said Joe Klein in Time which gets closer to the truth: As with most "magic," it was merely a trick of redirection.

Obama appeared to have made Jeremiah Wright vanish into thin air, but it turned out he was just under the heavily draped table waiting to pop up again. The speech was designed to take a very specific problem the fact that Barack Obama, the Great Uniter, had sat in the pews of a neo-segregationist huckster for 20 years and generalize it into some grand meditation on race in America. Sen. Obama looked America in the face and said: Who ya gonna believe? My "rhetorical magic" or your lyin' eyes?

That's an easy choice for the swooning bobbysoxers of the media. With less impressionable types, such as voters, Sen. Obama is having a tougher time. The Philly speech is emblematic of his most pressing problem: the gap indeed, full-sized canyon that's opening up between the rhetorical magic and the reality. That's the difference between a simulacrum and a genuinely great speech. The gaseous platitudes of hope and change and unity no longer seem to fit the choices of Obama's adult life. Oddly enough, the shrewdest appraisal of the senator's speechifying "magic" came from Jeremiah Wright himself. "He's a politician," said the reverend. "He says what he has to say as a politician. He does what politicians do."

The notion that the Amazing Obama might be just another politician doing what politicians do seems to have affronted the senator more than any of the stuff about America being no different from al-Qaida and the government inventing AIDS to kill black people. In his belated "disowning" of Wright, Obama said, "What I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I'm about knows that that I am about trying to bridge gaps and that I see the the commonality in all people."

Funny how tinny and generic the sonorous uplift rings when it's suddenly juxtaposed against something real and messy and human. As he chugged on, the senator couldn't find his groove and couldn't prevent himself from returning to pick at the same old bone: "If what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally, and then he questions whether or not you believe it in front of the National Press Club, then that's enough. That's that's a show of disrespect to me."

And we can't have that, can we?

In a shrewd analysis of Obama's peculiarly petty objections to the Rev. Wright, Scott Johnson of the Powerline Web site remarked on the senator's "adolescent grandiosity." There's always been a whiff of that. When he tells his doting fans, "We are the change we've been waiting for," he means, of course, he is the change we've been waiting for.

"Do you personally feel that the reverend betrayed your husband?" asked Meredith Vieira on "The Today Show."

"You know what I think, Meredith?" replied Michelle Obama. "We've got to move forward. You know, this conversation doesn't help my kids."

Hang on. "My" kids? You're supposed to say "It's about the future of all our children," not "It's about the future of my children" whose parents happen to have a base salary of half a million bucks a year. But even this bungled clich nicely captures the campaign's self-absorption: Talking about Obama's pastor is a distraction from talking about Obama's kids.

By the way, the best response to Michelle's "this conversation doesn't help my kids" would be: "But entrusting their religious upbringing to Jeremiah Wright does?" Ah, but, happily, Meredith Vieira isn't that kind of interviewer.

Mrs. O is becoming a challenge for satirists. My radio pal Hugh Hewitt played a clip on his show of the putative first lady identifying the real problem facing America:

"Like many young people coming out of college, with their MA's and BA's and PhD's and MPh's coming out so mired in debt that they have to forego the careers of their dreams, see, because when you're mired in debt, you can't afford to be a teacher or a nurse or social worker, or a pastor of a church, or to run a small nonprofit organization, or to do research for a small community group, or to be a community organizer because the salaries that you'll earn in those jobs won't cover the cost of the degree that it took to get the job."

I'm not sure why Michelle would stick "pastor of a church" in that list of downscale occupations: Her pastor drives a Mercedes and lives in a gated community. But, insofar as I understand Mrs. O, she feels that many Harvard and Princeton graduates have to give up their life's dream of being a minimum-wage "community organizer" (whatever that is) and are forced to become corporate lawyers, investment bankers and multinational CEOs just to pay off their college loans. I'm sure the waitresses and checkout clerks nodded sympathetically.

Michelle Obama is a bizarre mix of condescension and grievance like Teresa Heinz Kerry with a chip on her shoulder. But the common thread to her rhetoric is its antipathy to what she calls "corporate America." Perhaps for his next Gettysburg Address the senator will be saying, "I could no more disown my wife than I could disown my own pastor. Oh, wait ."

Whatever one thinks of Sens. Clinton and McCain, they're as familiar as any public figures can be. Obama, on the other hand, is running explicitly on a transcendent "magic." It doesn't help when the cute girl in spangled tights keeps whining about how awful everything is, and the guy you sawed in half sticks himself together and starts rampaging around the stage. The magician has lost control of the show.

Wow.  How breathtakingly insightful, and 100% on target.  How I wish I could get every Obama supporter to read Mr. Steyn's analysis and THINK about it, instead of just drooling over the Wonder Of His Greatness.

When people don't want to know, nothing will inform them.  That, sadly, is the basis for much of Barack and Michelle Obama's current popularity.  And this column (gasp!) would be much too informative, wouldn't it?


Ken Berwitz

When I went to sleep last night I had heard that 351 people died in the cyclone which struck Myanmar (formerly Burma) this past weekend.  It occurred to me that there was no way at all to pinpoint the death toll to the person, and that it inevitably would go higher.

I didn't begin to realize how much higher, though.

As of now the government estimates as many as 10,000 dead, maybe more.  Here are a few of the awful specifics (all of which are subject to change as the days go on, that frequently happens with stories like this):

 YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) -- The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone is more than 10,000 people, Myanmar's Foreign Ministry office said.

People in Yangon queue for drinking water.

Diplomats were summoned to a government briefing Monday as the reclusive southeast Asian country's ruling military junta issued a rare appeal for international assistance in the face of an escalating humanitarian crisis.

A state of emergency was declared across much of the country following the 10-hour storm that left swathes of destruction in its wake.

The staggering death toll would make the cyclone the deadliest natural disaster to hit Myanmar in recent history, according to figures compiled by a United Nations-funded disaster database.

The government of neighboring Thailand said Myanmar's leaders had already requested food, medical supplies and construction equipment, AP reported. The first plane-load of supplies was due to arrive Tuesday, a Thai spokesman said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life and the destruction suffered by the people of Myanmar" and pledged to mobilize international aid and assistance as needed.

A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team is on stand-by to assist the government in responding to humanitarian needs if required, the statement said.

Scenes of the destruction showed extensive flooding, boats on their sides in Yangon harbor, roofs ripped off buildings, uprooted trees and downed power lines after cyclone Nargis battered the Irrawaddy delta with 150 mile (241 km) an hour winds throughout Friday night and Saturday morning, dumping 20 inches of rain. Video Watch how the cyclone crippled Yangon

"After about noon, the sky cleared and everybody came out and were just stunned," said Shari Villarosa, U.S. Charge D' Affaires in Yangon. "People on my compound who had been there for about 15 years say they had not seen anything like this here, ever."

Residents of Yangon trudged through knee-deep swirling brown waters Monday as the delta city remained mostly without electricity and phone connections. Video Watch the cyclone hammer Yangon

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar has issued a "disaster declaration" in the country and authorized the release of $250,000 for cyclone relief efforts, Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Monday.

A disaster relief team is standing by, Casey said, but the Myanmar government had not given permission for the team to enter the country.

Hakan Tongkul, with the United Nation's World Food Programme, said residents in Yangon needed urgent assistance. "This has pushed people to the edge. All that they have has been blown away."

Michael Annear, regional disaster manger for the Red Cross, said the group was helping provide safe drinking water.

Relief agencies met at the United Nations' Bangkok headquarters Monday to coordinate their response to the disaster. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it had released 200,000 Swiss Francs (about $190,000) to help with the aftermath.

A state of emergency was declared Sunday across five regions: the city of Yangon, Irrawaddy, Pegu and the states of Karen and Mon. All flights to Yangon, the former capital, were canceled.

"Most Burmese with whom we've been in touch report they lost their roofs, although so far everyone we have been able to contact reports that they and their families are safe," said a Yangon-based diplomat who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Most telephone and cell phone service was down in Yangon, a city of about 6.5 million people, according to a CNN correspondent there

Earlier Monday, an editor for an independent Myanmar newspaper based in Thailand told CNN that people in the Southeast Asian nation were angry over the response to the disaster by the ruling military junta.

"People are very angry with the slow response coming from the military government," said Aung Zaw of Irrawaddy news magazine.Video Listen to Irrawaddy journalist discuss the situation in Myanmar

Khin Maung Win, a spokesman for the Democratic Voice of Burma -- a broadcast media group run by opposition expatriates -- said the whole of the delta region had been affected and entire villages had disappeared.

Pictures from inside the country showed a cyclone-ravaged region with tin huts crushed under trees. Bicyclists navigated around large branches that littered the deserted roads.

A man with his pant legs rolled up waded through knee-deep water and strained to clear massive limbs that were blocking the entrance to a house.

"The cleanup is beginning, but this will take a long time," the diplomat said. "The damage around town is intense." Photo See photos of the destruction


My heart goes out to the dead and to their families.  All decent human beings should feel this way.

And I want to thank the United States in advance for being at the forefront of feeding and sheltering survivors, the way we always are.

I hope that, this time around, a few more countries do more than make promises of aid they don't keep, while attacking the USA for not doing enough no matter how much we do.

Ken Brian ---- I disagree completely. FEMA was the third responder. The first responder was the city of New Orleans - Mayor ray nagin did nothing other than hole up in a luxury hotel and complain about everyone else (remember that picture of all the school busses drowning in water - the busses that could have evacuated people before Katrina struck?). The second responder was the state - Governor kathleen blanco's contribution was to go on TV, cry, and ask people to pray. She lost her job because of it. The third responder was FEMA which, by contrast, evacuated virtually the entire city in less than two weeks without any meaningful help from the first two. Given the circumstances it was saddled with, I consider FEMA's work to have been just short of miraculous. (05/05/08)

Brian Lawner Isn't ironic that Laura Bush is criticizing the Myanmar government for not doing enough for its people after the recent cyclone tragedy. Where was her criticism when her husband and FEMA failed to act when Katrina hit the Gulf coast. Politicizing this tragedy and blaming the military government is beyond belief. Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones (05/05/08)


Ken Berwitz

This is a story I wish I could avoid.  But I've talked about Patrick Swayze's pancreatic cancer in previous blogs and feel I should provide an update.

For that reason I am posting this terribly depressing but informative piece on Mr. Swayze from yesterday's London Dail Mail:

Patrick Swayze looks grey and gaunt as battle against cancer takes its toll

Last updated at 17:15pm on 4th May 2008

Desperately ill actor Patrick Swayze looked just a shadow of his former self as he went shopping this week.

The 55-year-old, who is battling cancer, appeared grey and gaunt and even a pair of sunglasses could not hide the ravages of the disease and months of treatment.

Swayze, the star of Ghost and Dirty Dancing has vowed to live as normal a life as possible and was pictured defiantly going to the shops near his ranch on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Scroll down for more...

patrick swayze may 2008

A gaunt Patrick Swayze defiantly tries to live a normal life despite his frail appearance

But reports suggest he is preparing for the end, apparently transferring his property worth millions to his wife of 32 years, Lisa Niemi.

A source said: "Patrick told Lisa, 'I will always love you, and can't imagine how my life would have been without you'. It was very touching, and it's part of his final farewell to his wife as the end draws closer."

Patrick, battling pancreatic cancer, has had emergency surgery - the cancer had spread and part of his stomach was removed.

Scroll down for more...

patrick swayze may 2008

A shell of his former self, Swayze has made a will

His friend told a Sunday newspaper: "Patrick told his family he's not giving up, but he wanted to make sure everything like the will was in place in the event that his health began to fail quickly and he didn't have time to take care of things."

Patrick's Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Grey, 48 told The People: "I wish him all my love, and I have great faith that he is a fighter."

swayze dirty dancing

In his prime: Swayze in Dirty Dancing with co-star Jennifer Grey

I have never read a bad story about Patrick Swayze.  From all accounts he appears to be a genuinely good person with a happy, stable marriage.  The kind you don't find every day among Hollywood types.

Realistically, I don't see very much to be optimistic about in this article.  But you never know about these things.  I certainly hope Mr. Swayze can somehow beat the odds and regain his health. 

Let's hope that this is one time the good guy wins.

daryl my mother died of this terrible disease and there is only one good thing about it. it is fast. i also hope he casn beat the odds but if not i hope that he is not sufering (05/07/08)


Ken Berwitz

The more things change the more things stay the same.

Here, courtesy of a short excerpt from the Wall Street Journal, is a little more of Barack Obama's "change you can believe in":

Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign.

It's an unusual stance for a presidential candidate. Policy makers have largely treated monitoring of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as a legal matter left to the Justice Department since an independent review board was set up in 1992 to eliminate mob influence in the union.

Now there's some "change you can believe in"....provided you believe that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Does that look like a new kind of politcs to you?  Or does it look (and smell) exactly the way the oldest of old politics does?

There you have it folks.  Change we can believe in, from a Chicago Democratic machine politician.  Really, would you have expected anything more?


Ken Berwitz

I assume you have an IQ above 57.  Therefore I assume you know Barack Obama was lying to your face when he told you that all william ayers was to him was a guy in the neighborhood. 

Here, courtesy of, is a terrific set of commentaries on ayers and his equally disgusting wife bernarndine dohrn. 

I know I've put material like this up in previous blogs.  But this is so complete I feel it should be here as a stand-alone:

Obama's Employer Desecrated Flag

Mon, May 5, 2008 at 8:31:14 am PDT

Heres a photo of former Weather Underground terrorist (and friend of Barack Obama) William Ayers in 2001 (when Obama was much older than 8), proudly stepping on a United States flag. The full article on Ayers deeply held radical ideas is here: No Regrets.

(Hat tip: LGF readers.)

More blog reactions:
Marathon Pundit: Bill Ayers stepping on a US flag in 2001
BackyardConservative: Wright Wrong Again
Michelle Malkin - Flag desecration of the day: Bill Ayers stomps on Old Glory
Hot Air - Ayers and the Old Glory Boogie
The Campaign Spot: Hey, Wasnt Everybody Stepping on American Flags Back in 2001?


Ken Berwitz

For the past several days I (and probably you) have been bombarded with conspiracy theories that Deborah Palfrey, the "D.C. Madame", did not commit suicide, but was killed - probably by Republicans (I'm surprised none of them came out and said Bush did it personally). 

Well here is a reality check from CNN, which hardly could be called Republican partisans:

(CNN) -- Convicted "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey railed against what she called a "modern-day lynching" in notes to her mother and sister before hanging herself at her mother's Florida home, police disclosed Monday.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey wrote in suicide notes to her mother and sister that her conviction had ruined her.

Police in Tarpon Springs, Florida, released Palfrey's suicide notes Monday, along with autopsy results confirming her cause of death as a suicide. Her mother and sister confirmed the notes' authenticity, police said.

"I cannot live the next 6 to 8 years behind bars for what you and I have both come to regard as this 'modern-day lynching' only to come out of prison in my late 50s a broken, penniless and very much alone woman," she wrote.

The front of the note was marked "Do not revive (DNR). Do not feed under any circumstance."

Palfrey, 52, was convicted of money laundering, racketeering and mail fraud in April. She had been staying at her mother's Tarpon Springs home while awaiting sentencing in July and told ABC News last year she would never return to prison after serving time in the 1990s for other prostitution-related charges.

"You must comprehend there was no way out, I.E. 'exit strategy,' for me other than the one I have chosen here," Palfrey wrote in the note to her sister.

Is that clear enough?  I would think so....unless you're owned and operated by the crowd, in which case you probably are busy trying to connect Palfrey's sister to George Bush, Rush Limbaugh and the Fox network.

Ken Melanie -- I agree with you that there's no reason to criminalize prostitution (I don't even like the word). I don't know of any possession we own more definitively than our own bodies and if a woman, for whatever her reasons, can find a market for selling the use of her body it is no one's business but hers.  But I want it regulated, with prostitutes (female and male both) required to have mandatory health regimens for their protection and the protection of their customers. Personally I consider this an awful thing to do and would never want my daughter/sister/wife to engage in it. That said, however, what right do I have to project my personal morality to anyone else? (05/05/08)

Melanie I haven't heard or read a thing about a conspiracy theory - only that she committed suicide. I think the whole situation stinks. I don't approve of what she did but I understand how she felt. It's too brad someone couldn't have given her a shot of bravery. And even worse that we waste our limited tax dollars on prosecuting this kind of stuff. Is Eliot Spitzer being prosecuted? Or so many other criminals in the government? She's right - just like Martha Stewart - men with double standards go after women like these. It disgusts me. (05/05/08)


Ken Berwitz

If you believe the political polls, Al Franken's apparent lack of interest in paying his taxes is not sitting very well with Minnesotans.

Here is an article I found on the web site for KSTP, Channel 5, Minneapolis, which explains it all:

Election day is exactly six months from Sunday and Minnesotas U.S. Senate race will be one of the most closely watched in the nation.

DFL candidate Al Franken jumpstarted his campaign with a rally the day before Republican Norm Coleman officially announced his reelection bid. Since then, headlines have not been kind to Franken. First, a $25,000 fine for not paying workers compensation insurance in New York. Then he revealed he is paying $70,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest to 17 states.

In the latest SurveyUSA poll about Franken's tax troubles, 500 people were polled.

Of those people, 59 percent said the recent troubles made them less likely to support Franken and 31 percent said it made no difference.

When asked whether Franken should withdraw from the race, 51 percent said he should withdraw while 38 said he should stay in the race.

Franken's campaign officials did not agree with the SurveyUSA polls, saying the question about his income tax situation should have made it clear that Franken says he overpaid taxes in his home states of Minnesota and New York. He also says he may have underpaid taxes in 17 states.

According to a separate SurveyUSA poll, Coleman now leads Franken by 10 points -- the same margin Coleman had in March. But since the last poll, Coleman has solidified his base with 99 percent of Republicans saying they support him. Thats up seven points.

Franken has support from 67 percent of Democrats, which is down eight points.

The SurveyUSA poll also showed a growth in support for another DFL candidate -- Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. He trails Coleman by 19 points, which is 10 points closer than in the previous poll.

These are poll data, so who knows if they are accurate and who knows if they will change in the near future.  But looking at them today, the news is hardly good for Mr. Franken.

When half the electorate think you should drop out altogether, you ain't exactly overwhelming them with positive karma.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering (I know I was, until I checked), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor, author and, based on his positions, a left wing partisan, who is challenging Franken for the Democratic nomination.  I don't know that being as hard-left as Nelson-Pallmeyer is will ingratiate him to Minnesotans in general, but in a Democratic primary it probably does him a lot of good.  So Al better watch out because he hase to win the primary before he can win the election.

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