Monday, 15 September 2008


Ken Berwitz

A few days ago Pamela Anderson scintillated us all with her brilliant comment about Sarah Palin that "I can't stand her.  She can suck it".

This time it's that pillar of values, Lindsay Lohan. 

Here is her wit and wisdom which, I am sure, will be of great informational value to you:

Lindsay Lohan Lashes Out at Sarah Palin

September 14 2008
Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan isn't happy with Republican vice presidential candidate John McCain's choice of running mate, Sarah Palin.

"I really cannot bite my tongue anymore when it comes to Sarah Palin," the actress, 22, wrote on her MySpace blog Sunday.

"I couldn't be more supportive of a woman in office, but let's face it, it comes down to the person, and their beliefs, male or female," Lohan said.

"I would have liked to have remained impartial, however I am afraid that the 'lipstick on a pig' comments will overshadow the issues and the fact that I believe Barack Obama is the best choice, in this election, for president," she added.

Although Lohan said she feels "it's necessary for me to clarify that I am not against Sarah Palin as a mother or woman", the star believes that Palin -- the Incumbent Governor of Alaska -- isn't ready to run the country.

She said, "I find it quite interesting that a woman who now is running to be second in command of the United States, only 4 years ago had aspirations to be a television anchor, which is probably all she is qualified to be.

"Oh, and... Hint Hint Pali Pal - Don't pose for anymore tabloid covers, you're not a celebrity, you're running for office to represent our, your, my COUNTRY!"

Lohan -- who is rumored to be in a relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson -- also referenced Palin's views on homosexuality.

"Is it a sin to be gay?" Lohan asked. "Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock?

"Is our country so divided that the Republicans best hope is a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?"

In conclusion, Lohan cited an Associated Press story reporting that Palin's church advocates a conference about prayer curing homosexuality. Wrote Lohan: "Palin's Desire to "save and convert the gays" - really??"

Ronson also chimed in.

"Vote for obama!" Ronson wrote. "Mainly because if she gets elected my green card probably won't get renewed!!!"

Well,  that about wraps it up.  Why even hold the election when Pamela Anderson AND Lindsay Lohan are in agreement that Barack Obama should be President?

After all, Ms. Lohan, who is 22 years old, has been a Hollywood star for years.....when she isn't involved in countless car accidents and at least three stints in rehab that we know about.  That certainly qualifies her as an expert in politics, doesn't it?

I wonder how many votes Barack Obama loses because of her support?  Maybe not many....after all, the only people who would be affected by Ms. Lohan's commentary are the ones who care what Ms. Lohan says. 


Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama trying to KEEP our troops in Iraq rather than bring them home?  That sounds completely ridiculous.  But when you read Amir Taheri's column in today's New York Post, suddenly it doesn't seem far-fetched at all. 

Here, see for yourself.  The bold print is mine:

Obama Tried To Stall Iraq Withdrawal

September 15, 2008

By Amir Taheri

NY POST - While campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate.

While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet.

Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.

By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June.

Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law.

 Thus, the 2010 deadline fixed by Obama is a meaningless concept, thrown in as a sop to his anti-war base.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration have a more flexible timetable in mind.

According to Zebari, the envisaged time span is two or three years - departure in 2011 or 2012. That would let Iraq hold its next general election, the third since liberation, and resolve a number of domestic political issues.

Even then, the dates mentioned are only "notional," making the timing and the cadence of withdrawal conditional on realities on the ground as appreciated by both sides.

Iraqi leaders are divided over the US election. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (whose party is a member of the Socialist International) sees Obama as "a man of the Left" - who, once elected, might change his opposition to Iraq's liberation. Indeed, say Talabani's advisers, a President Obama might be tempted to appropriate the victory that America has already won in Iraq by claiming that his intervention transformed failure into success.

Maliki's advisers have persuaded him that Obama will win - but the prime minister worries about the senator's "political debt to the anti-war lobby" - which is determined to transform Iraq into a disaster to prove that toppling Saddam Hussein was "the biggest strategic blunder in US history."

Other prominent Iraqi leaders, such as Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani, believe that Sen. John McCain would show "a more realistic approach to Iraqi issues."

Obama has given Iraqis the impression that he doesn't want Iraq to appear anything like a success, let alone a victory, for America. The reason? He fears that the perception of US victory there might revive the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emptive" war - that is, removing a threat before it strikes at America.

Despite some usual equivocations on the subject, Obama rejects pre-emption as a legitimate form of self -defense. To be credible, his foreign-policy philosophy requires Iraq to be seen as a failure, a disaster, a quagmire, a pig with lipstick or any of the other apocalyptic adjectives used by the American defeat industry in the past five years.

Yet Iraq is doing much better than its friends hoped and its enemies feared. The UN mandate will be extended in December, and we may yet get an agreement on the status of forces before President Bush leaves the White House in January.

Does this pass the smell test?  I can't say I know for sure one way or the other.  But Mr. Taheri quotes specific sources who can certainly deny they said what he claims.  Let's see if they do.

And if they don't, let's see how much of the Obamamaniacal mainstream media bother to tell you about it.

free If this story is true, Obama should be in a lot of trouble. This is treason and the DoJ should investigate it [but i am sure they wont]. (09/15/08)


Ken Berwitz

This, I think, is example number 23,834.  I may be off by one or two.

It is from the Washington Post.  That is particularly sad because, despite the Post's lengthy record of bias in favor of Democrats, it is more likely than other similarly biased media venues to publish both sides of the story once in a while.

Here is what one of its most ardent Barack Obama enthusiasts, Ann Kornblut, has written on his behalf this weekend.  It comes to us courtesy of Paul Mirengoff, writing for

The Washington Post serves up another baseless anti-McCain talking point

The Washington Post, in a report by the hopelessly biased Anne Kornblut, accuses John McCain of "not always [being] forthcoming with the public on the subject [of Iraq]." Specifically, Kornblut suggests that McCain was not forthcoming in his public assessment of the situation in Iraq during and after his visit to Iraq in April 2007.

During that visit, as readers may recall, he toured a market in Baghdad while being by protected U.S. soldiers. After the tour, he declared: "Things are getting better in Iraq and I am pleased with the progress that has been made."

When he returned to Washington, McCain met with Secretary of State Rice. According to Bob Woodward's new book, McCain complained to Rice that "we may be about to lose the second war in my lifetime." He proceeded to sharply criticize the State Department's effort in Iraq. After this meeting, McCain told reporters:

We're just getting the third of five brigades over to Baghdad. We are achieving some small successes already in the strategy being employed by General Petraeus and General Odierno.

There is, of course, no inconsistency between what Woodward says McCain told Rice and what he said thereafter. His statements to Rice reflected his view of the job the State Department was doing. His statement to the press reflected his view of our military effort. Moreover, his praise was quite limited; he characterized the military successes as "small."

Nor is the statement McCain had made earlier, after visiting the market, problematic. He said he was pleased with our progress (presumably military progress). He did not say that the danger of losing the war had passed. Moreover, it is not clear from Kornblut's report whether he had even assessed the State Department's efforts at this point in his trip.

At some point in his trip, McCain concluded that the personnel the State Department had sent to Iraq were too few and too junior. This view became the conventional wisdom and eventually was the subject of congressional hearings. Indeed, senior personnel at State famously balked at the prospect of being sent to Iraq. In warning Rice about this problem, McCain was performing another service to his country.

McCain could have gone public with his complaint about State, but the better course was probably to call the problem to Rice's attention and give her a chance to fix it. In any event, McCain was not misleading the American public when he noted the "small" military successes we had achieved as of April 2007.

It's also worth noting that throughout 2007, McCain sharply differentiated between the growing military success in Iraq and the political situation there. I heard him draw this contrast in more than half a dozen blogger calls in the second half of last year. McCain made it clear that he was disappointed by the lack of political progress in Iraq.

In sum, there is no merit to Kornblut's suggestion that McCain withheld or sugar-coated his assessment of the political situation in Iraq. It is Kornblut who is being less than forthcoming here.

JOHN adds: Kornblut is a joke. She was last seen making a fool of herself by ignorantly slandering Sarah Palin in a front-page article that the Post tried to amend, but was too late to delete. If she isn't being paid by the Obama campaign, she should be. Why the Post pays her, I can't imagine.

Articles like this - biased opinion posing as news - and writers like Ann Kornblut are why so much of the public has so little faith in our media today. 

How many times do these people shoot themselves in the foot before they notice how much it hurts them?


Ken Berwitz

About the McCain claim that Barack Obama supported legislation that would give sex education to kindergartners:

A couple of days ago, via, I showed readers the actual wording of the sex education bill that Barack Obama supported -- wording that, to me, pretty clearly supported McCain's contention.

Now the McCain camp has put out a comprehensive defense of its claim.  It's a bit long (sorry about that) but I am putting it up so that you can see their evidence and decide for yourself if Mr. Obama approved sex education to kindergartners.  Here it is:

Memo: Barack Obama And Sex Education

TO: Interested Parties
RE: Barack Obama And Sex Education
DATE: September 13, 2008

In recent days, questions have arisen concerning Barack Obama's support for sex education for Kindergarteners. This is a true statement that the Obama campaign has never disputed. Not only did Barack Obama vote for a sex education bill in the Illinois State Legislature, but four years later, he said again that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners. This is a record that establishes his clear support for expanding sex education to Kindergarteners.

Please find the facts below:

  • In the Illinois State Legislature, Barack Obama voted for legislation to alter Illinois' Sex Education standards to include instruction in any grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The legislation passed Barack Obama's Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee that he chaired. As the Chicago Daily Herald stated, "the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education."

  • Despite the Obama campaign's claims, this bill was intended to provide children as young as Kindergarten with sex education. According to the legislation itself, "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." This legislation stated expressly that children in grade 12 were to be education about sexually transmitted diseases.

  • In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners as long as it was "age-appropriate." Thus on two separate occasions we have Barack Obama supporting the expansion of sex education to Kindergarteners.

  • Defending Barack Obama's statement, the Obama campaign cited far-reaching SIECUS curriculum as the model. The SIECUS curriculum goes far beyond appropriate touching. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) supports a comprehensive approach to sex education, beginning as early as ages 5-8. For Level 1 sex education (ages 5 through 8), the guidelines include much more than appropriate touching. The curriculum includes lines that are not appropriate for us to state here but please see the link to the guidelines here: This is the model provided by the Obama campaign and no one else.


Last Year, Barack Obama Said He Supported "Age-Appropriate" Sex Education For Kindergarteners

"ABC News' Teddy Davis And Lindsey Ellerson Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Told Planned Parenthood ... That Sex Education For Kindergarteners, As Long As It Is 'Age-Appropriate,' Is 'The Right Thing To Do.'" ("Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama," ABC News' "Political Radar" Blog,, Accessed 7/19/07)

  • The Obama Campaign Tells First Read: "You Can Teach A Kid About What's Appropriate And Not Appropriate To Protect Them From Predators Out There." ("Obama And Sex Ed For Kids," NBC News' "First Read,", Accessed 7/19/07)

Defending Their Candidate's Comments, The Obama Campaign Issued Document Citing Sex-Education Curriculum For Kindergarteners From The SIECUS And Oregon Department Of Education. "In addition, he issued a document showing that the Oregon Department of Education has guidelines for sex education for children in grades K-3 (which includes understanding the difference between a good touch and a bad touch), and that the Sexuality Information And Education Council of the United States [SIECUS] has curriculum for those in kindergarten." ("Obama And Sex Ed For Kids," NBC News' "First Read,", Accessed 7/19/07)

  • SEICUS Supports A Comprehensive Approach To Sexual Education, Beginning As Early As Ages 5 8. "For each topic, the Guidelines present developmental messages appropriate for four separate age levels which reflect stages of development. The levels are: Level 1: middle childhood, ages 5 through 8; early elementary school Level 2: preadolescence, ages 9 through 12; later elementary school Level 3: early adolescence, ages 12 through 15; middle school/junior high school Level 4: adolescences, ages 15 through 18; high school " ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 17, 2004)

  • Level 1 Sex Education Is Intended To Be Taught To Children Of Ages 5 Through 8. ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 24, 2004)

According To SEICUS, Level 1 Sex Education Includes:

  • "Both Boys And Girls Have Body Parts That Feel Good When Touched." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 25, 2004)

  • "A Boy/Man Has Nipples, A Penis, A Scrotum, And Testicles." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 25, 2004)

  • "A Girl/Woman Has Breasts, Nipples, A Vulva, A Clitoris, A Vagina, A Uterus, And Ovaries." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 25, 2004)

  • "Some Sexual Or Reproductive Organs, Such As Penises And Vulvas, Are External Or On The Outside Of The Body While Others, Such As Ovaries And Testicles, Are Internal Or Inside The Body." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 25, 2004)

  • "Some People Are Homosexual, Which Means They Can Be Attracted To And Fall In Love With Someone Of The Same Gender." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Vaginal Intercourse When A Penis Is Placed Inside A Vagina Is The Most Common Way For A Sperm And Egg To Join." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 26, 2004)

  • "Two People Of The Same Gender Can Live In Loving, Lifetime Committed Relationships." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 39, 2004)

  • "Homosexual Men And Women Are Also Known As Gay Men And Lesbians." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Making Fun Of People By Calling Them Gay ... Is Disrespectful And Hurtful." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 29, 2004)

  • "Touching And Rubbing One's Own Genitals To Feel Good Is Called Masturbation." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 51, 2004)

  • "Some Boys And Girls Masturbate And Others Do Not." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 52, 2004)

  • "Masturbation Should Be Done In A Private Place." ("Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education," The Sexuality Information And Education Council Of The United States,, p. 52, 2004)

In The Illinois State Legislature, Barack Obama Approved Legislation To Alter Illinois' Sex Education Standards To Include Instruction In Any Grade From Kindergarten Through 12th:

"Before His Election To The U.S. Senate, Obama Was A State Senator And Chairman Of A Committee That Approved Legislation That Would Have Altered Illinois' Sex Education Standards To Include Instruction In Any Grade From Kindergarten Through 12th, Rather Than Grades 6-12." (Jim Davenport, "Romney Tries To Build SC Support With Appeal To Conservatives," The Associated Press, 7/19/07)

In Committee, Barack Obama Voted In Favor Of Legislation (S.B. 99) That Would Amend Requirements For Sex Education Classes. "Amends the School Code and the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act. Changes and adds criteria that sex education classes and comprehensive health education programs must satisfy." (S.B. 99: Illinois Senate Health And Human Services Committee, Passed, 7-4-0, 3/6/03, Obama Voted Yea)

  • The Full Text Of S.B. 99 Included Changes That Would Offer Sex Education To Children Beginning In Kindergarten. "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." (S.B. 99: Illinois Senate Health And Human Services Committee, Passed, 7-4-0, 3/6/03, Obama Voted Yea)

Chicago Daily Herald: "At one point, the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education. Obama was chairman of the Senate committee that voted along party lines to move along the measure, which ultimately went nowhere." (Eric Krol, "Obama Clarifies Sex Ed Views At Benedictiine," Chicago Daily Herald, 10/6/04)

There it is, folks.  You make the call.


Ken Berwitz

Now that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have gone bust, it occurs to me that you might be wondering who they were counting on in congress - i.e. who they were contributing the most money to.

With this in mind, here are the three biggest recipients of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac contributions over the past ten years.  See if any of them are familiar to you:

All Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

Name Office State Party Grand Total Total from
Total from
Dodd, Christopher S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900


Obama, Barack


S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000

Hmmmmm.  Are we seeing this correctly?  Are all three of the top money-getters Democrats who ran for the presidency?  Does this short list include both the previous and current nominee? 

But let's not be unfair to Chris Dodd and John Kerry.  They were in the senate all 10 of those years.  By contrast, Barack Obama has been there for less than four.  

Let's give him a break and call it four full years.

If you want to even the playing field by estimating how much Barack Obama would have been shtupped by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the full 10 years, just multiply his haul of $126,349  by 2.5.  That brings it to $315, 872 -- which would not only be #1, but would be more than double anyone else.

Now I think I know what Mr. Obama means when he says "change we can believe in".  Because $315,872 is one helluva lot of change. 

P.S.  John McCain is also on the list.  He is #62, and received a grand total of $21,550. over the 10 year period -- about 7% of what Obama would have gotten.


Ken Berwitz

Unless you are deeply interested in photography it is unlikely you know the name jill greenberg. 

Lucky you.

jill greenberg is a professional photographer.  Part of her work involves free-lancing for magazines. 

The Atlantic hired greenberg to photograph John McCain for the cover of its October issue, because it had a major article about Mr. McCain by writer Jeff Goldberg. 

And photograph him she did.  greenberg presented The Atlantic with an acceptable photograph of John McCain which was used on its cover.  But during the shoot she intentionally took extremely unflattering pictures of McCain and doctored others to make him look as bad/eerie/unpleasant/ridiculous/scary as possible.  Then she put those pictures up on her web site and bragged about her "accomplishment".

The Atlantic, it seems clear, had no foreknowledge that greenberg would behave in this utterly disgusting way.  But it is appalled and infuriated by the facts that 1) this was done during a shoot they asked and paid for, therefore 2) there might be an association between The Atlantic and what greenberg did.  They are 100% correct.

Here is what Jeff Goldberg has to say about it.  Try to find a word you'd disagree with:

About that McCain Photo

14 Sep 2008 04:49 pm

Like others at the Atlantic, I was appalled to read about the actions of Jill Greenberg, the freelance photographer who took the cover portrait that illustrates my article about John McCain. Greenberg doctored photographs of McCain she took during her Atlantic-arranged shoot, which took place last month in Las Vegas. She has posted these doctored photographs on her website, which you can go find yourself, if you must. Suffice it to say that her "art" is juvenile, and on occasion repulsive. This is not the issue, of course; the issue is that she betrayed this magazine, and disgraced her profession. Here is a partial account, from the New York Post, of what she did, and of the Atlantic's reaction to what she did:

"Greenberg also crowed that she had tricked McCain into standing over a strobe light placed on the floor - turning the septuagenarian's face into a horror show of shadows.

Asking McCain to 'please come over here' for a final shot, Greenberg pretended to be using a standard modeling light.

The resulting photos depict McCain as devilish, with bulging brows and washed-out skin.

'He had no idea he was being lit from below," Greenberg said, adding that none of his entourage picked up on the light switch either. 'I guess they're not very sophisticated,' she said.

The Atlantic opted not to use the distorted McCain shot on its cover, selecting instead a more straightforward portrait. 'We stand by the picture we are running on our cover," said Atlantic editor James Bennet. 'We feel it's a respectful portrait. We hope we'll be judged by that picture.'

But Bennet was appalled by Greenberg saying she tried to portray McCain in an unflattering way.

'We feel totally blind-sided,' he said. 'Her behavior is outrageous. Incredibly unprofessional.'

Greenberg later decided to use some of the images she was assigned to take to make a political statement.

Her Web site now features a series of Photoshopped pics of McCain in some highly unflattering poses - including one that has a monkey squirting dung onto the Republican candidate's head. Another one reads 'I am a bloodthirsty warmongerer,' with McCain retouched to have needle-sharp shark teeth and a vicious grin, while licking blood-smeared lips."

I don't know Greenberg (I count this as a blessing) and I can add nothing to what James Bennet told the Post except to say that Greenberg is quite obviously an indecent person who should not be working in magazine journalism. Every so often, journalists become deranged at the sight of certain candidates, and lose their bearings. Why, this has even happened in the case of John McCain once or twice. What I find truly astonishing is the blithe way in which she has tried to hurt this magazine.

Now:  have you read about this in your newspaper today?  Have you seen a report about it on the network news? 

And - here's the key question - do you think you would have read about it in your newspaper or seen a report about it on the network news if this had been done to Barack Obama?

Usually I end blogs like this with the line "But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased".  This time I won't, because it seems to me jill greenberg IS a pig who would be proud of that bias.

And media should be ashamed of themselves for showing such blatant bias.  They should be, but (other than The Atlantic which has a specific stake in the incident) I doubt that they are.  


Ken Berwitz

Al Franken is a smart guy.  A graduate of Harvard University.  As a comedian and writer he had a very strong run at Saturday Night Live for years and made a lot of money. 

Eventually things started fading for Franken.  His time at SNL ended.  He wrote and starred in a movie featuring one of his characters (Stuart Smalley) and it bombed terribly. 

Eventually Franken wound up being a talk show host - a very expensive one - with the Air America network (such as it was).  

What happened there - specifically the way Air America met his huge money demands - appears to be truly disgusting.  And, I am happy to tell you, it is coming back to haunt him as he runs for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Norm Coleman. 

Brian Maloney of has covered this better than anyone.  Here is his summary of what is happening:

Republican Party Of Minnesota Calls Franken To Divulge His Role In Air America And Boys And Girls Club Scandal

St. Paul- At a State Capitol press conference today, Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey called on Al Franken to provide more detailed answers to his role in the cover-up involving nearly $900,000 that was stolen from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club by Frankens Air America company.

Al Franken did nothing to help return nearly $900,000 to the New York Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club while his employer, Air America, continued to use the money to possibly pay Frankens salary and benefits, said Carey. At a time when Frankens temper tantrums and bad behavior could have been put to good use by publicly demanding and threatening to expose his employers role in this massive fraud, Franken remained silent. But, while he negotiated for a multi-million contract, he was well aware that his nearly bankrupt Air America employer had stolen money from the Boys and Girls Club and he did nothing and said nothing to get the money returned.

In 2004, Air America, through a series of financial irregularities, and under the leadership of Frankens former CEO, took an unauthorized loan of $875,000 from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club to pay for operating costs, possibly including operating costs at the struggling radio network.

Franken, who repeatedly denied any role in the scandal, finally was forced to admit on-air that his company did indeed take the money, and that it was likely being used to cover the stations operating costs.

At the time, Franken was also negotiating a huge salary increase, while Air America was continuing to delay returning the money to the Boys and Girls Club. And, Franken, who was caught misrepresenting when he was aware of the scandal, never called on the station, or the management of the company to return the money.

According to Chair Carey, while Franken may not have been involved in taking the money in the beginning, his lack of effort to get the money returned raises questions about what his role was after the fact.

Al Franken said his company had no legal obligation to pay back the money they stole. So, while kids, senior citizens, and thousands of people who were looking for services from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club werent getting them, Al Franken remained silent and never once called for an audit, or an investigation or any type of oversight in the matter. Why did Franken stay quiet? Was he afraid of jeopardizing his contract negotiations? Or, was it because he didnt want to raise any suspicions about how deeply involved he was in the stations financial situation? He needs to answer these questions.

Chair Carey also raised questions about Frankens signature on a document that clearly showed that Air America owed money to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

Franken claims he never saw the list of creditors that were owed money by Air America when it filed bankruptcy, and therefore, couldnt have known that Air America still owed $875,000 back to the Boys and Girls Club.

Isnt it ironic that once again Al Franken has a sudden loss of memory when it comes to financial irregularities with a company and business that he is involved in. He didnt know he was supposed to pay taxes he didnt know he was supposed to pay workers compensation premiums and he claims he didnt know Air America stole money from poor kids. Theres a pattern here, and its one that has dogged Al Franken for years.

The Minnesota GOP has nailed it: Franken towed the party line for a bunch of crooks, all so that his bloated paychecks would continue to arrive.

That's an important distinction, as his defenders have sometimes tried to blur this issue, accusing critics of claiming he participated in the theft itself.

Even if one didn't take part in the heist, or drive the getaway car, taking a share of the loot is still a crime. While Franken may have escaped punishment in New York City, Minnesota voters may yet have something to say about it.

Al Franken took that money knowing how it was expropriated from the Gloria Wise Foundation (which, for the record, was no innocent participant either).  How could he do it? 

Where was his integrity then?  Where is it now? 

Go Norm Go.


Ken Berwitz

Here is the lead editorial of today's New York Times.   It demands that charles rangel, the increasingly bizarre, irrational (and thoroughly corrupt) congressman from New York, step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee

When the NY Times demands that a Democrat step down, you can bet that the person in question has done everything he/she is accused of and probably a lot more. 

Here is the editorial in its entirety:

Chairman Rangel

Published: September 14, 2008

Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that Representative Charles Rangel step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated.

This recommendation does not come easily, considering the New York Democrats four decades of service in Congress. But Mr. Rangel himself has felt obliged to request three separate House ethics inquiries of his behavior. While denying serious improprieties, Mr. Rangel concedes that he has not lived up to the higher standard expected of members of Congress.

His latest admission is that as chief of Congresss tax-writing committee, he was irresponsible in failing to disclose $75,000 in rental income and pay federal and state taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic.

His temporary yielding of the gavel is an urgent necessity for a Democratic Congress elected two years ago on promises of an ethical housecleaning. The villa dealings only add momentum to the investigations of two earlier controversies Mr. Rangels favored treatment in occupying four rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan, and his improper use of official letterheads to solicit support from charities and corporations for an academic center to memorialize his career in public service.

Mr. Rangel has hurt his case with clumsy, combative pleas of ignorance of the facts and law involving his Dominican villa. We do make errors, even though we consider ourselves experts in terms of tax policy for the nation, said the lawmaker, who has three decades experience on Ways and Means.

His excuse of cultural and language barriers with Dominican officials was, simply, offensive. Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, theyd start speaking Spanish, complained Mr. Rangel.

At the least, the disclosures betray that gross sense of entitlement that regularly befalls politicians. At the Dominican villa, which the congressman said he came upon 20 years ago during an overseas trip with Speaker Tip ONeill, Mr. Rangel eventually saw his 10.5 percent mortgage interest payments waived when the developer favored him as a Pioneer early investor.

The powerful congressman has enjoyed his rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem improperly using one as a campaign office at about half market value. This is a $30,000-a-year boon, and the ethics committee must decide whether it amounts to a gift from a politically savvy landlord that would violate House rules. The panel must also weigh how badly Mr. Rangel violated official letterhead restrictions.

As a new Congress approaches with a thick docket of fiscal and tax measures, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must see that no cloud hangs over Ways and Means while the chairman is under investigation. The Democratic majority arrived last year promising to drain the swamp of corruption epitomized by the previous Republican majoritys quid-pro-quo dealings with Jack Abramoff, the now-imprisoned superlobbyist.

Committee posts are not bestowed by voters. They are partisan privileges granted by leaders in Congress, and Ms. Pelosi must not cut slack for an ally. If Mr. Rangel refuses a temporary hiatus from his chairmanship, Ms. Pelosi should remove him permanently.

Remarkably, even in demanding that rangel step down the Times sugar-coats much of what he has done. 

Take the rent-stabilized apartments as an example. The Times reports that rangel improperly used one of them for campaign purposes and did so at half the market value.  What the Times doesn't tell you is that he has four rent stabilized apartments, all of which can only be legally used as a primary residence.  That means, at minimum, three of those apartments must inherently be illegal.  And if rangel's primary residence is elsewhere (which I'm sure it is), all four are illegal.

Ironically, charles rangel won his congressional seat from a major icon among Black citizens, Adam Clayton Powell, after Powell became so corrupt that the voters were willing to rid themselves of him (a genuine tragedy given his sterling record of civil rights achievements beforehand).  How sad it is that rangel's career is playing out the same way.

Just one other (admittedly immodest) point:  this blog has been detailing the increasingly looney, dissolute adventures of Rangel for over a year now.  It's nice to see the Times catching up a bit.


Ken Berwitz

As most readers know, Charles Rangel appears to be swimming in a sea of corruption and dishonest dealings  -- including what appears to be some pretty clear tax evasion.

How ironic.  Rangel is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.  That committee writes tax law.

It has become so bad, and so embarrassing, that even the New York Times, long a supporter of Rangel, editorialized today that he should step down.  The Times didn't demand that Rangel resign, but I have to believe that it would be relieved if Rangel did just that.  

So why is Nancy Pelosi refusing to press Rangel to resign? 

First off, here are the specifics via an excerpt from CBS news. 

More Errors For Rep. Rangel; Hires New Account

Financial Paper's Problems Prompts Hiring Of Forensic Accounting Expert

NEW YORK (CBS) ― A new set of potential problems in Rep. Charles Rangel's financial papers has prompted the tax-writing lawmaker to decide to hire a forensic accounting expert to try to unravel the mess.

Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is already the subject of ethics committee investigations on several fronts, including unreported income and unpaid taxes on his beach house in the Dominican Republic.

Despite Republican calls for Rangel to be stripped of his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS 2 HD it is not going to happen.

What an opportunity for the New York Times to, just this once, show that it still has some vestige of fair reporting.  Rangel is a disgrace and has been for years.  The Times has stated he should step down as Ways and Means chair.  He refuses to do so.  And the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will not do a thing about it.

That should be cause for a firestorm of outrage.  

The Times can, if it cares to do so, go on a crusade and publish a list of the dealings Rangel has a part of, including his apparent involvement in the Harlem Urban Development Corporation scandal, which the Times wrote about in 1997 (you can read the article by clicking here), his four rent-controlled apartments that he could not own legally, the taxes he didn't pay on the property he rented out in the Dominican Republic, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.

And maybe, in the course of exposing how filthy-dirty Rangel is, the Times might also demand an explanation of why Nancy Pelosi will not do a thing about it.

Why is Pelosi stonewalling?

I have a few thoughts on her reasons but I'm not going to put them up here.  I'll leave you to think about why a powerful Black NY politician would be protected during this Presidential campaign.  See if you can come up with something.


Ken Berwitz

"If we're going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily":  Barack Obama, today, on Good Morning America

You might want to remember this the next time you hear about a verbal gaffe from Sarah Palin.

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