Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Ken Berwitz

So this guy goes to a proctologist.  During the examination the proctologist realizes there is something embedded in the area the examination centers on.  He grabs hold of it, tugs gently, and out comes a bouquet of flowers.  Incredulous, he says to the patient "Do you realize you have a bunch of fl....." And the patient says "Read the card!  Read the card!"

I admit the joke is not particularly tasteful, but I have to admit it came to mind after reading this also-not-very-tasteful story from Fox News:

Woman Awakens From Surgery to Find Panty-Line Tattoo

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

 A New Jersey woman has sued her orthopedic surgeon after awakening from surgery to find a temporary tattoo below her panty line.

Elizabeth Mateo, of Camden County, N.J., filed her lawsuit Tuesday saying she found "a temporary tattoo of a red rose" below her panty line the morning after her surgery for a herniated disc, her attorney, Gregg A. Shivers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"She was extremely emotionally upset by it," Shivers told the paper.

Her surgeon, Steven Kirshner, does not deny he placed a tattoo on Mateo. His lawyer, Robert Agre, told the Inquirer that the doctor has left washable marks on patients before to improve their spirits as they heal.

"What's offensive about this complaint is that it suggests something he did was intended to be prurient, and nothing could be further from the truth," Agre told the paper. "It was intended just to make the patient feel better."

Mateo is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

It looks to me like Dr. Kirshner has a thorny problem here.  But it might be even worse than we think:  if that's a long-stemmed rose it could be a felony.



Ken Berwitz

"Dammit, we have a years-long story line that George Bush is an idiot and that the country is clamoring for Democrats to take everything over and make our country great again.  We CAN'T show these numbers."

I have not seen or heard that comment from any media venue, at least not in so many words.  But, as poll after poll shows the Democratic congress with far less approval ratings than President Bush, it is hard not to conclude there are plenty of folks within the media operating on this premise. 

Here is the latest example, from Gallup.  The data are theirs.  The bold print is mine:

July 16, 2008

Congressional Approval Hits Record-Low 14%

Democrats less positive than Republicans about Congress

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Congress' job approval rating has dropped five percentage points over the past month, from 19% in June to 14% in July, making the current reading the lowest congressional job approval rating in the 34-year Gallup Poll history of asking the question. The previous low was 18%, last reached in May.

The 75% currently disapproving of Congress is just shy of the record-high 78% in March 1992.

These results, from a July 10-13 Gallup Poll, follow 18 months of dismal job approval ratings for Congress, during which approval has usually registered below 30%, and has averaged only 25%.

Still, the 14% approval rating is extraordinary. Approval of Congress has fallen below 20% only six times in the 34 years Gallup has measured it. Including the latest reading, four of those have come in the past year: in July, June, and May 2008, and in August 2007. The two additional readings were from March 1992 (in the midst of the House bank check-kiting scandal) and June 1979 (during an energy crisis that resulted in surging gas prices and long gas lines), when either 18% or 19% of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing.

The most recent decline comes almost exclusively from Democrats, whose approval of Congress fell from 23% in June to 11% in July, while independents' and Republicans' views of Congress did not change much. As a result, Republicans are now slightly more likely than Democrats to approve of the job the Democratic-controlled Congress is doing (19% vs. 11%).

The 11% of Democrats now approving of Congress is slightly lower than Gallup found in 2006, toward the end of the Republican-led 109th Congress. Democratic approval of Congress initially surged after the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House and Senate, from 16% in December 2006 to 44% in February 2007, but by August 2007 it had fallen to 21%. Democrats' approval of Congress rebounded to 37% later that year, but has since been in a nearly continuous decline.

Republicans' approval of Congress dipped at the point of transition from Republican to Democratic control after the 2006 midterm elections, from 50% in November 2006 to 31% in February 2007 -- and has continued to trend downward except for a brief spike last fall after Gen. Petraeus' testimony before Congress.

Bottom Line

Gallup's latest monthly update of public approval of Congress leads to several observations:

  1. As economic conditions in the country are worsening, Congress is taking the brunt of it. Since the start of the year, public approval of Congress has fallen from 23% to 14%, while approval of President George W. Bush has been more stable: 32% approved of the job he was doing in early January versus 31% today, with a range of just 28% to 34%.
  2. One reason for the growing congressional/Bush approval gap is that Bush benefits from a core group of Republicans nationally who continue to stick by him (67% of whom approve in the latest poll), and who, at this point, are likely to remain supportive of him through the close of his term. This contrasts with the paltry 11% of Democrats who currently approve of the job Congress is doing. By its nature, Congress may simply be less able to engender this kind of political loyalty -- it typically trails the sitting president in approval -- and thus, the current Democratic Congress lacks a reliable pool of Democratic support to keep its approval ratings afloat.
  3. Still, the Democratic Congress has received much less intra-party support for its leadership of the kind that the Republican Congress enjoyed from Republicans in 2006. The mild honeymoon the current Congress enjoyed with its own party at the start of last year quickly faded as Democrats grew upset with congressional inaction on Iraq and immigration reform.
  4. Finally, 2008 now looks an awful lot like 1979, and for some of the same reasons: mounting inflation, record-high gas prices, and a looming recession. Public approval of President Jimmy Carter in mid-July 1979 was 29%, very similar to Bush's current 31%. And approval of Congress was also comparable: 19% in June 1979 vs. 14% today.

You will be seeing a lot of polls from now until election day, complete with a lot of analyses of them.  This, however, is one that you don't need any analysis to understand.

And you certainly don't need an analysis to figure out why most media will bury it, do you?


Ken Berwitz

Years ago, HBO aired a very, very funny one-man show by Bill Cosby. Toward the end of that show he was discussing the difference between how his parents treated him and his children (their grandchildren, of course).  When he said something like  "These are not the same people who raised me.  These are old people trying to get to heaven" he brought the house down.

I think about this as I watch Barack Obama change his position 180 from where it was, because his original position has proven to be so wrong and so ignorant of reality.  The parallel line to Cosby's would be "This is not the same Barack Obama who declared the troop surge a new failure in a hopeless war.  This is a recently-renovated centrist trying to get into the White House".

Philip Klein, writing for the American Spectator, has captured this reversal beautifully.  Here is his commentary -- and be sure to link to the Washington Post editorial he references within it:

  Obama the Intransigent - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 @ 9:06:41 AM  

The Washington Post runs a devastating editorial against Obama's current position on Iraq. That's right, an editorial, not an op-ed. The editorial begins with a point that I've been meaning to make for awhile:

Barack Obama yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: "They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down." Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency. Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.

This is key. One of the leading arguments against the surge at the time, one advanced by Obama and many other war opponents, was that the reason we couldn't send more troops was that it wouldn't help, essentially, that we shouldn't be squandering more blood and treasure on a lost cause.

In October of 2006, Obama said, "Given the deteriorating situation, it is clear at this point that we cannot, through putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve, and we have to do something significant to break the pattern that we've been in right now" Last January, when President Bush announced the strategy, Obama said, "I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground." He also said, "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

Obama was completely wrong. He won't admit it. He won't alter his policy now that the facts on the ground have changed. And yesterday, he had the gall to speak from
a lectern with the slogan "Judgment to Lead."

While the Post editorial board is more sympathetic to the war than, say, the NY Times, it isn't exactly the Wall Street Journal either. The fact that they are starting to come down so hard on Obama for this is a sign that he isn't wearing well.

Do you really want to put this man in charge of the United States  military?

JIBJAB: 2008

Ken Berwitz

Remember those satirical videos from JibJab?  There were two or three of them during the 2004 election and they were hilarious.

Well, just click on the link below and see JibJab's first video for 2008:

JibJab video


Ok, I admit I have an issue with the fact that McCain is nailed appreciably more than Obama - including a Patton-like voice that is so far removed from the way he talks that it doesn't work. And I think the reference to Mr. McCain's skin cancer is tasteless and unnecessary.

That said, however, the trick is to try to put your political views aside for a minute or two.  Do that and you will laugh and laugh.


Ken Berwitz

I found this nugget at Tampa Bay Online:

Judge: Bradenton Man, 94, Entrapped In Prostitution Sting

BRADENTON - A 94-year-old man whose arrest in a prostitution sting here caused an international buzz will not be prosecuted. A judge ruled Tuesday that Frank Milio was a victim of entrapment.

Milio, who has dementia, was unable to get into a care facility while his case was pending.

The undercover Manatee County Sheriff's Office detective on the street corner that afternoon in November took 30 steps to go chat with Milio, who authorities say had honked his car horn at the woman to get her attention.

Milio, who turned 94 this month, stopped his car in a parking lot about 60 feet away from the woman, who was standing in an area where authorities regularly set up stings to nab johns. Milio did not flash his lights or say anything to lure the woman over. The woman opened his passenger side door and leaned inside.

"Do you want to party tonight?" the woman asked Milio, who replied that he wanted to think about it for another 15 to 20 minutes. The officer asked about money. She asked whether Milio wanted sex. Milio replied: "Huh?" Milio eventually offered to pay for oral sex.

Manatee County Judge George K. Brown Jr. weighed in Tuesday, tossing the misdemeanor case, in a six-page order that questions the extent to which the detective controlled the nature and direction of the sexual conversation.

"This particular 93-year-old man was encouraged and/or enticed to proceed with the police officer's direction of conversation," Brown wrote.

For Milio's attorney, Donald E. Grieco, the judge's decision vindicated an elderly man whose arrest made news across the nation and landed in the late-night monologues of David Letterman and Jay Leno. The Drudge Report picked up the Herald-Tribune's story on the case.

Milio, the attorney said, is an old man who enjoyed flirting with a pretty woman. Milio never had any intention to pay for sex.

Grieco did not blame the authorities, saying he applauds the efforts police take to combat prostitution. But the attorney criticized the state's decision to file a charge against Milio, who lives alone in Bradenton and suffers from dementia.

"I'm very disappointed how the state attorney's office handled this case," Grieco said Tuesday. The facts, he said, did not support prosecution.

In June, Grieco filed court papers challenging Milio's arrest, and Brown presided over a hearing in which a video of the sting was played on a giant screen in court.

A prosecutor, Jared M. Monahan, said in court that Milio was well aware of what he was saying and requesting. Monahan dismissed the claim that Milio was enticed to offer money for sex. Milio could have driven away at any point, he said.

The judge's order, however, says the sequence of actions and conversation by the undercover officer "carried with it a substantial risk" that Milio would commit a crime.

After Milio's arrest, prosecutors declined to file a charge against another elderly Bradenton man accused in a solicitation sting in Bradenton -- his second charge in 20 years.

That 93-year-old man promised to return several hours later with $30 to seal the deal. A prosecutor said the state was unable to prove the man intended to return.

The pending charge against Milio blocked him from getting into an assisted living facility, Grieco said. That now may change.

"I am happy for Frank and his daughter that they can finally move on with his life," Grieco said. "He deserves it. Justice was served, in the end, for Frank."

Obviously the judge had to toss this one out.  The evidence would never have stood up in court.


Ken Berwitz

Some events pull hard at more than one emotion.  The release of samir kuntar is one of them.  It is both impossibly infuriating and impossibly heartbreaking. 

First the infuriating part, courtesy of

A Hero's Welcome in Lebanon for a Child Killer

Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 8:44:09 am PDT

Israels horrifyingly bad decision to swap the remains of two Israeli soldiers for a savage child-murdering terrorist has been carried out.

And the child killer will receive a heros welcome in Lebanon.

Samir Kuntar and four other Lebanese prisoners will receive an official state welcoming when they are released by Israel.

The five men will be greeted at Beiruts airport by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and President Gen. Michel Suleiman. Later, a huge rally will be held in the capitals southern suburbs where Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah will speak, the groups Al-Manar TV has said.

French news agency AFP reported that the coastal road from the Israeli border to the southern port city of Sidon had been covered with Hizbullah decorations, and hundreds of volunteers had been hanging banners to praise Hizbullahs role in the prisoners release throughout the south of the country.

In Kuntars home in Abey, streets were decorated with banners welcoming the return of the former member of the radical Palestine Liberation Front. Samir Kuntar is the conscience of Lebanon, Palestine and the Arab nation. Abey welcomes the hero, prisoner Samir Kuntar, reads one sign.

Meanwhile, a senior Hizbullah official has said Israels approval of a prisoner swap with his group was an official admission of defeat.

Meanwhile, in Germany, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said he was encouraged by the prisoner swap and hoped that it was the first of many more.

Now the heartbreaking account of what happened, including the words of the woman whose family died at the hands of kuntar.  It comes to us via the leftwing organ Ha'artetz which, incredibly even for this sorry excuse for a newspaper, is rationalizing kuntar's release:

In 1979, Kuntar led a group of gunmen on an attack in Nahariya, during which broke into an apartment and took hostage Danny Haran, 28, and his four-year-old daughter, Einat.

"I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades," Danny's wife, Smadar, wrote three years ago in an
account in the Washington Post, describing in part how she hid from the terrorists with her other daughter, Yael, just two.

"I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

"As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

"By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her."

I am a nonviolent man.  I have never owned a gun and don't ever want to.  I am against the death penalty in all but a tiny number of cases. 

But if the fates ever gave me a gun and put me in front of this subhuman murdering creature I would pull the trigger without one second's hesitation and be thankful I had the chance to do it.

THIS is what is hailed by the UN.  THIS is supposed to be a step forward in the peace process.   The release of a child killer who is immediately haled as a hero by the people Israel is supposed to negotiate a peace with.

It makes me want to puke.

free this makes me sick also, i cant believe they did it. they should have killed those terrorists before returning them [imo]. not sure if you have seen this photo of the UN saluting the terrorists. or this one of the nazi salute how can anyone ever have peace with people like this? (07/17/08)

Buy Our Book Here!

Return to Current Blog
We're Hopelessly Partisan, is a web site which is dedicated to honest, blunt, debate on the issues of our time.

About Us

Privacy Notice: In conjunction with the ads on this site, third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your browser, or using web beacons to collect information.

At “Hopelessly Partisan” we discuss all issues, big and small. In here, nothing is sacred and nothing is out of bounds.

So settle back, preferably after laughing your way through a copy of “The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics”, and let the battle begin. In this blog, your opinion counts every bit as much as anyone else's, maybe even more.

And to show that my willingness to provide all sides of the issues is sincere, here are links to a variety of web sites, from the left, the middle (more or less) and the right. Read them and either smile in agreement or gnash your teeth in anger!!