Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Ken Berwitz

chutz⋅pa [khoot-spuh, hoot-]

1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2. audacity; nerve.

Want to see a classic example of chutzpah? 

All you have to do is read the first sentence of an article I just found at (I'm sure it is in countless other places as well):

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Hamas would accept an immediate weeklong cease-fire if it is accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk said.

Israel is handing hamas it's collective backside on a silver platter.  It has killed a number of hamas' most senior terrorists, severely damaged its smuggling tunnels, blown up or captured enormous amounts of its arms and blown apart what almost certainly is a large percentage of its rocket launchers.  

But instead of agreeing to stop attacking Israel every day - which is all Israel wants and what would have prevented the entire military action in the first place - hamas tells Israel it will agree to a one-week cease fire, but Israel has to completely withdraw its forces (so what's left of hamas' "leadership" can come out of hiding and try to regroup.)  

hamas caused this mess.  hamas is losing every imaginable way.....and after doing so, hamas is demanding that Israel give them what, in effect, would be a military victory by default.

That's chutzpah, folks.  You'll never see it more plainly.

Oh, one last thing:  Ironically (to say the least), though chutzpah is now in common english usage, it is originally a yiddish word.

free` I am afraid Israel will agree to this. I hope they don't but i fear they will. (01/14/09)


Ken Berwitz

Does Al Gore drink coffee?  A LOT of coffee?  And does he drink it before making speeches about global warming?

This occurred to me after reading the following article, which comes to us from Naomi Kresge, writing for

Seven Cups of Coffee a Day May Lead to Hallucinations (Update1)

By Naomi Kresge

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Consuming the caffeine in seven cups of instant coffee a day may leave you more likely to see, hear and smell things that arent there, U.K. researchers said.

People who drink at least 330 milligrams of the stimulant a day were three times as likely to have hallucinations as those who consumed less than 10 milligrams a day, Durham University researchers found in a study of 219 college students published today in Personality and Individual Differences.

The study, the first to link caffeine and hallucinations, explored the relationship between high caffeine consumption and an increased release of cortisol, a stress hormone believed to contribute to delusions, lead researcher Simon Jones said. It forms the first step toward examining nutrition as a factor in the occurrence of hallucinations, he said.

Given the link between food and mood, and particularly between caffeine and the bodys response to stress, it seems sensible to examine what a nutritional perspective might add, Jones said in a statement.

It may also be that people under stress and more susceptible to hallucinations are also more likely to consume high levels of caffeine, Jones said in an interview. Caffeine is also contained in tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and some foods.

There would be no real reason for me to stop drinking tea, said Jones. I dont see a reason to change a moderate intake.


The amount of caffeine linked to hallucinations in the study would also be equivalent to about seven 8-ounce cups of brewed black tea or about 3 1/2 8-ounce cups of brewed black coffee, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site. One 16-ounce Starbucks Corp. drip coffee also has 330 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Starbucks Web site.

Starbucks spokeswoman Tara Darrow declined to comment in an email, saying the Seattle-based company was aware of the research but hadnt been able to review how it was conducted.

The U.K. researchers used surveys to assess daily caffeine intake and past experience with hallucinations. Cigarette smokers, known to be more sensitive to caffeine, werent allowed to participate, and volunteers stress levels and proneness to hallucinatory experiences were taken into account.

Nine of the 22 people in the highest-caffeine group reported hearing disembodied voices, compared with three of the 22 people in the lowest-caffeine group, Jones said. Participants also reported seeing things that werent there and sensing the presence of dead people.

Ok, I admit the study is garbage.  A couple of hundred people within what almost certainly is a very limited age range (college students), with a large subsegment (smokers) eliminated, is not real research to me.  But it's sort of fun to read.  And I know that I (and I'm betting you) will be referencing its findings to needle coffee drinkers we know.

By the way, if I remember correctly, tea and Coca-Cola have even more caffeine than coffee.  Maybe Gore is OD'ing on a combination of all three.


Ken Berwitz

It's time for another round of GUESS THAT POLITICAL PARTY!!

Here is a story about the mayor of a medium-sized city, located south of Milwaukee.  He is charged with child pornography and solicitation of a minor.

Read it through.  Every word.  Then.....GUESS THAT POLITICAL PARTY!!

Racine, Wis., Mayor Arrested On Child Porn Charge

Gary Becker, 51, Held On $165,000 Bond

RACINE, Wis. (AP) ―

This article was reported by CBS2Chicago and written by the Associated Press.  Do you see any mention of party affiliation for Gary Becker?

No you do not.

Now the big question:  Do you have any doubt at all that he is a Democrat?

Of course you don't.  Democrats are the ones who get a free ride on party affiliation.  Not Republicans.  That is the ongoing policy of our wonderful "neutral" media.

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

mj loehrer Gotta hand it to you. The first thing that hit me after reading the article about the mayor on was that there was no mention of political affiliation. It took a long time to find it but I finally did thanks to you (01/14/09)

bin WHO?

Ken Berwitz

To the great glee of many on the left, osama bin laden was not caught during George Bush's years as President.  And, for all the bluster about this "faulure", I very seriously doubt that bin laden will be caught during Barack Obama's presidency as well -- in no small part because I have a hunch he died years ago.

In fact, the only indication that bin laden could be alive these days is that, a couple of times a year, we hear a tape purporting to be of him, which exhorts Muslims to fight and kill and die for someone or something.

Here is what "bin laden" (or the Arab version of Rich Little) says on the latest one, via excerpts from an Associated Press article:

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.

Bin Laden spoke in an audiotape posted Wednesday on Islamic militant Web sites where al-Qaida usually issues its messages. It was his first tape since May and came nearly three weeks after Israel started its campaign against Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.

The al-Qaida leader also vowed that the terror network would open "new fronts" against the United States and its allies beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. He said President-elect Barack Obama has received a "heavy inheritance" from George W. Bushtwo wars and "the collapse of the economy," which he said will render the United States unable to sustain a long fight against the mujahedeen, or holy warriors.

"There is only one strong way to bring the return of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and that is jihad in the path of God," bin Laden said in the 22-minute audiotape, referring to the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. "The duty is to urge people to jihad and to enlist the youth into jihad brigades."

"Islamic nation, you are capable of defeating the Zionist entity with your popular capabilities and your great hidden strengthwithout the support of (Arab) leaders and despite the fact that most of (the leaders) stand in the barracks of the Crusader-Zionist alliance," bin Laden said.

The tape, entitled "a call for jihad to stop the aggression on Gaza," was played over a still picture of bin Laden and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, one of Islam's holiest sites. But there were no English subtitles and flashy production graphics that usually accompany such messages.

That suggested the message had been hastily put together and issued to best exploit anger in the region over the Gaza offensive, which Palestinian medical officials say has killed more than 940 Palestinians, half of them civilians. Israel said the offensive aims to halt rocket fire from Gaza against Israeli towns.

Bin Laden accused Arab leaders of "avoiding their responsibility" to liberate Palestine.

"If you are not convinced to fight, then open the way to those who are convinced," he said.

The al-Qaida leader also said the world economic crisis was a sign that the United States' power was falling apart.

"The Islamic nation's jihad is one of the main causes of these destructive results for our enemies," he claimed.

Pointing to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, bin Laden said al-Qaida was prepared to fight "for seven more years, and seven more after that, then seven more."

"We are on the way to opening new fronts," he said, urging Muslims to "join hands with the mujahedeen to continue the jihad against the enemy, to continue bleeding them on these two fronts and on the others that are open to you."

"The question is, can America continue the war against us for several more decades? The reports and signs show us otherwise," he said. He said Bush had left his successor "with a heavy inheritance," forcing Obama to choose between withdrawing from the wars or continuing.

"If he withdraws from the war, it is a military defeat. If he continues, he drowns in economic crisis," bin Laden said.

It was the first time bin Laden have spoken of Obama, though he did not mention him by name. Bin Laden's top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri has previously spoken against Obama, warning Muslims he will not bring major change in U.S. policies.

How's that for relevancy?  Assuming this actually is bin laden, after 7 years of hiding who knows where, his great message is that Arab leaders are Israel's pals and complicitors. 

That should be quite a revelation for Israel.......

But here's some real news.  If bin laden is alive, the reason he has become a laughable anachronism is that someone invaded Afghanistan, blew away its bin laden-loving government and destroyed his training camps.  This caused him to run for his sorry life and hide in a cave. 

Then, that same someone invaded Iraq, got rid of the mass murdering butcher saddam hussein.  Then he absolutely decimated bin laden's al-qaeda forces, when they streamed in thinking Iraqis would stand with them against that someone. This caused the creation of a free Iraq with democratic elections, a military increasingly able to keep it that way, and a population that seems to like being free more and more every day - enough so that it would not stand with al qaeda, or moqtada al-sadr's "mahdi army" either.

Now who could that someone be?


Ken Berwitz

First things first:  let me assure you that Camille Paglia's politics are still primarily left wing.  If I didn't do that, you'd probably have to pinch yourself several times while reading her remarkable commentary about Dick Cavett, Sarah Palin and Katie Couric which I've excerpted from her latest column at

The column is comprised of letters from readers and her responses to them.  Here is one of its letters, and Ms. Paglia's response to it:

Dick Cavett is someone whose column I almost always enjoy very much. But I agree that he put down Sarah Palin's use of language for no good reason. The example he cited (she was discussing Darfur and what Alaska had done in view of events there) was an almost perfect example of coherent thought on her part if you recognize that a longish sentence includes a parenthetical aside.

Here is the bit he cites in his column: "My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska's investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars."

Here is my own very minor rework of her sentence (rework in italics): "My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue (as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there where we see the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent), the relevance was Alaska's investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars."

When she spoke, the sense of what she meant was clear, and a minor edit makes the sentence good enough for a print medium.

No doubt she can be attacked in several areas on substance, but it is interesting and strange that instead people engage in elitist attacks on her for being a hunter or for the way she talks. In point of fact, she is a very able communicator, as time will bear out, I am sure, and yet the number of people on the left who recognize her political gifts is very small.

Cavett will come back and entertain me again soon, I am sure, but this is one case where he's just lost his objectivity and comes off sounding like a prig.

Blaine Walgren

Excellent analysis! You have cut the entire ground out from beneath Dick Cavett's lofty claim of grammatical superiority to Sarah Palin by exposing his inability to sense a simple parenthesis in a spoken passage. I laughed heartily at your e-mail, for which I am most appreciative.

As I have repeatedly said in this column, I have never had the slightest problem in understanding Sarah Palin's meaning at any time. On the contrary, I have positively enjoyed her fresh, natural, rapid delivery with its syncopated stops and slides -- a fabulous example of which was the way (in her recent interview with John Ziegler) that she used a soft, swooping satiric undertone to zing Katie Couric's dippy narcissism and to assert her own outrage as a "mama grizzly" at libels against her family.

Ideology-driven attacks on Palin became clotted liberal clichs within 24 hours of her introduction as John McCain's running mate. What a bunch of tittering lemmings the urban elite have become in this country. From Couric's vicious manipulations of video clips to Cavett's bourgeois platitudes, the preemptive strike on Palin as a potential presidential candidate has grossly misfired. Whatever legitimate objections may be raised to Palin on political grounds (explored, for example, by David Talbot in Salon) have been lost in the amoral overkill that has defamed a self-made woman of concrete achievement in the public realm.

And let me take this opportunity to say that of all the innumerable print and broadcast journalists who have interviewed me in the U.S. and abroad since I arrived on the scene nearly 20 years ago, Katie Couric was definitively the stupidest. As a guest on NBC's "Today" show during my 1992 book tour, I was astounded by Couric's small, humorless, agenda-ridden mind, still registered in that pinched, tinny monotone that makes me rush across the room to change stations whenever her banal mini-editorials blare out at 5 p.m. on the CBS radio network. And of course I would never spoil my dinner by tuning into Couric's TV evening news show. That sallow, wizened, drum-tight, cosmetic mummification look is not an appetite enhancer outside of Manhattan or L.A. There's many a moose in Alaska with greater charm and pizazz.

I would think it redundant to mention that Camille Paglia is not trapped by ideology. 

Ms. Paglia calls 'em as she sees 'em -- which is why she is such a pleasure to read.


Ken Berwitz

The Drudge Report is running an article about Sean Hannity's new Alan Colmes-less show, and how well it has started in the ratings (it generated more viewership than Larry King and Rachel Maddow combined).

For what I would think to be obvious reasons, I make nothing of the first-day ratings for any show.  There is no way to gauge how many people are there out of curiosity and will be gone almost immediately afterwards.  One look at katie carwreck's first few days as the anchor of CBS News, and where her ratings went afterwards, is a great example of what I'm talking about.

Hannity aside, however, Drudge's link brings us to a very complete list-out of neilsen ratings for the cable networks, from morning to night.  And I thought you might be interested in seeing them. 

Here they are:

Cable News Ratings for Monday, January 12

Posted on 13 January 2009 by Bill Gorman

Live + Same Day Cable News Daily Ratings for January 12, 2009

P2+ Total Day
FNC 1,217,000 viewers
CNN 633,000 viewers
MSNBC 482,000 viewers
CNBC 265,000 viewers
HLN 372,000 viewers

P2+ Prime Time
FNC 2,562,000 viewers
CNN967,000 viewers
MSNBC 1,283,000 viewers
CNBC 246,000 viewers
HLN 900,000 viewers

25-54 Total Day
FNC 286,000 viewers
CNN 190,000 viewers
MSNBC 187,000 viewers
CNBC 81,000 viewers
HLN- 180,000 viewers

25-54 Prime Time
FNC 598,000 viewers
CNN 300,000 viewers
MSNBC 459,000 viewers
CNBC 114,000 viewers
HLN 387,000 viewers

35-64 Total Day
FNC 542,000 viewers
CNN 288,000 viewers
MSNBC 255,000 viewers
CNBC 146,000 viewers
HLN- 228,000 viewers

35-64 Prime Time
FNC 1,060,000 viewers
CNN 427,000 viewers
MSNBC 687,000 viewers
CNBC 155,000 viewers
HLN 524,000 viewers

Morning programs (6:00AM-9:00AM) P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
FOX & Friends 967,000 viewers (301,000) (566,000)
American Morning492,000 viewers (206,000) (324,000)
Morning Joe-320,000 viewers (113,000) (171,000)
Squawk Box-199,000 viewers (69,000) (111,000)
Morning Express w/ Meade- 308,000 viewers (167,000) (219,000)

6PM - P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Special Report w/Bret Baier 1,593,000 viewers (350,000) (650,000)
Situation Room909,000 viewers (214,000) (316,000)
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 613,000 viewers (236,000) (347,000)
Mad Money242,000 viewers (69,000) (123,000)
Prime News414,000 viewers (178,000) (246,000)

7PM - P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Fox Report w/Shepard Smith 1,813,000 viewers (474,000) (874,000)
Lou Dobbs Tonight 963,000 viewers (266,000) (358,000)
Hardball w/Chris Matthews 919,000 viewers (302,000) (440,000)
**CNBC Reports (7PM-9PM) 259,000 viewers (70,000) (147,000)
Issues 627,000 viewers (286,000) (388,000)

8PM - P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
The OReilly Factor 3,121,000 viewers (703,000) (1,293,000)
Campbell Brown954,000 viewers (258,000) (354,000)
Countdown w/Keith Olbermann 1,475,000 viewers (514,000) (743,000)
Nancy Grace 1,439,000 viewers (583,000) (808,000)

9 PM - P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Hannity2,835,000 viewers (703,000) (1,155,000)
Larry King Live934,000 viewers (319,000) (468,000)
Rachel Maddow Show 1,341,000 viewers (441,000) (723,000)
Saving GM: Inside Crisis 293,000 viewers (167,000) (183,000)
Lou Dobbs- 597,000 viewers (247,000) (339,000)

10 PM P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
On the Record w/Greta1,688,000 viewers (388,000) (692,000)
Anderson Cooper 3601,013,000 viewers (321,000) (458,000)
Countdown w/Keith Olbermann 1,033,000 viewers (421,000) (594,000)
On the Money211,000 viewers (116,000) (148,000)
Nancy Grace 712,000 viewers (351,000) (456,000)

11 PM P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
The OReilly Factor 1,513,000 viewers (501,000) (819,000)
Anderson Cooper 360 662,000 viewers (242,000) (363,000)
Rachel Maddow Show 599,000 viewers (302,000) (381,000)
Mad Money200,000 viewers (119,000) (150,000)
Showbiz Tonight 503,000 viewers (292,000) (343,000)

P2+ = viewers over the age of 2

(25-54) = Adults 25-54 viewing

(35-64) = Adults 35-64 viewing

Prime Time = 8-11pm

LIVE+SD: The number that watched a program either while it was broadcast OR watched via DVR on the same day [through 3AM the next day] the program was broadcast. For more information see Numbers 101.

Scratch = when a shows audience fails to meet minimum Nielsen reporting levels. For more information go here.

Nielsen Cable Network Coverage Estimates (as of March, 2008)

CNN/HLN: 96.93 million HHs
CNBC:        95.13 million HHs
FNC:           94.55 million HHs
MSNBC:      91.59 million HHs

As you can see, Fox dominates the cable news networks.  Not just during prime time, but all the time.  And, after something like 6 years of hype, keith olbermann still generates less than half the audience of the man he hates, Bill O'Reilly.

I'll leave it to you to analyze the rest of these data to your heart's content.


Ken Berwitz

Steve Gilbert of doesn't need any help from me on this one, I'll let him tell it solo.  My only contribution will be to remind you that the economy is in far worse shape today than it was four years ago:

BBC: Bush Inaugural Too Expensive

January 14th, 2009

From the 20 January, 2005 edition of the (admittedly biased, but always frugal) BBC News:

No expense spared at inauguration

By Kevin Anderson

With an estimated price tag of $40m, the three-day celebration that is President Bushs second inauguration will be the most expensive ever.

The lavish dinners, parties and fireworks began on Tuesday and will continue through his swearing-in on Thursday, followed by a parade and nine official inaugural balls.

The cost will be paid by individual and corporate donations, while the city of Washington is being asked to pay for an estimated $17m in security costs.

Some have criticised the expense, questioning the propriety of a flashy celebration as US troops are dying in Iraq and South Asia still recovers from last months deadly tsunami.

The overt criticism of an inauguration is unusual, but a Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans would prefer a smaller, more subdued event

While numerous, the number of balls is five shy of the record 14 balls held for Bill Clinton on the night of his second inauguration in 1997

But with the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the ongoing war in Iraq, some think the expensive inaugural is an inappropriate, ostentatious display.

"Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted - if not cancelled - in wartime," New York Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner said in a letter to President Bush.

He noted the money could be used to buy 690 Humvees and pay for a $290 bonus for each soldier serving in Iraq.

And city officials in Washington are complaining that for the first time the city and not the US government is being asked to foot the bill for the security operations

Bill Clintons first inauguration cost $30m, which was comparable to the inaugural costs of George HW Bush in 1989. His second inauguration cost $23.6m.

But a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that two-thirds of Americans think inaugural festivities should be scaled back. That includes half of those who voted for President Bush and 80% of John Kerrys supporters

Here is the (obviously objective) question from the aforementioned WP/ABC News poll:

Officials say Bushs inauguration ceremonies next week will cost about 40 million dollars, nearly all of it coming from private donations. Some people say that because the country is at war, it would be better to have a smaller and more subdued inauguration. Others favor continuing the country?s tradition of large inaugural celebrations. Which of these views comes closer to your own?

Better to have smaller, more subdued inauguration

Continue tradition of large inaugural celebrations

DK/No opinion

Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by telephone January 12 - 16, 2005 among 1,007 randomly selected adults nationwide. Margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus three percentage points. Fieldwork by TNS of Horsham, PA.

Mind you, Mr. Bushs inaugural cost less than a third of what Mr. Obamas will.

And where are all of the polls today, asking whether Americans think inaugural festivities should be scaled back?




Ken Berwitz

Hillary Clinton should not be confirmed as Secretary of State.  The reason is that there is massive conflict of interest between Ms. Clinton and the patrons/donors/special interest groups who have given millions of dollars to her husband. 

Here are the particulars, via excerpts of an article from the AP, via Fox News Channel.  The bold print is mine:

Clinton Rejects Calls to Reveal More Details About Husband's Donors

Hillary Clinton says she will not be influenced by contributors to her husband's foundation as secretary of state. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for secretary of state, rejected calls Tuesday for more details about donors to her husband's foundation, saying she has revealed enough to avoid even the hint of conflicts. An Associated Press review found that Clinton stepped in at least a half-dozen times on issues involving businesses and others who later gave to the charity

Clinton said as secretary of state she will not be influenced to act on behalf of her husband's contributors, which include foreign governments. 

"It will not be in the atmosphere," Clinton said. 

Richard Lugar of Indiana was among GOP senators on the Foreign Relations Committee pressing for full transparency about contributors to the William J. Clinton Foundation and one of its main projects, the Clinton Global Initiative. 

Under an agreement with Obama, Bill Clinton recently released the names of donors to his foundation, a nonprofit that has raised at least $492 million -- including millions from Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments -- to fund his library in Arkansas and charitable efforts worldwide on such issues as AIDS, poverty and climate change. He pledged to release similar information annually. The donor list doesn't provide exact amounts, background on donors such as their employers, or the dates of donations. 

Lugar, the committee's top Republican, urged Hillary Clinton to immediately disclose donations of $50,000 or more; alert ethics officials when any gift of that size is pledged or given by a foreign entity, whether an overseas government, individual or business; and reveal the year a donation was made and the amount, or at least the range, of a donor's giving in that year. 

Revealing pledges is particularly important, Lugar said: "So if we're going to have an argument it happens right then, and therefore if it's not a good idea, that it's stopped and the compromise for the State Department, for foreign policy, for you is prevented as rapidly as possible, within days rather than in months or in years." 

Clinton noted that under the agreement, foreign government pledges will be submitted to the State Department for review. She said it was unprecedented for a former president to agree to the disclosure her husband has, and that she was confident the current arrangement would avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest. 

"I don't know who will be giving money. That will not influence," Clinton said. "When the disclosure occurs, obviously it will be after the fact, so it would be hard to make an argument that it influenced anybody because we didn't know about it." 

The AP reported Tuesday that Clinton intervened at least six times in government issues directly affecting companies and others that later contributed to her husband's foundation. The AP obtained three pieces of the correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act. 

This is the same Hillary Clinton who lied her way through the presidential campaign last year.  The one who told us about her dangerous landing in Tuzla, Bosnia that - as video of the landing proved - was 100% safe and unthreatening. 

She is the same Hillary Clinton who took full credit for her book, "It Takes a Village...", which, in fact, was mostly written by Barbara Feinman.  Until being embarrassed into doing so, she didn't even bother to acknowledge Ms. Feinman, let alone credit her for writing most of the book that went out under the Clinton name..

Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Let's say it plain:  Ms.Clinton is a serial liar, who will say anything about anything to get what she wants. 

If you believe that her senatorial actions on behalf of big-time donors were not informed by the tons of $$$ streaming into hubby Bill's "charity", you are hopelessly naive.

Hillary Clinton has no business being the Secretary of State.  If this were a Republican with that history, not one Democrat would vote for her.  But watch them all vote her in after the for-show hearing this week. 

And then watch New York's Governor-by-accident, David Paterson, replace her, y'know, with, y'know, the birthright lady, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.  Y'know?


Ken Berwitz

Remember Mohammed Said al-Sahaf? 

I didn't think so.

Ok, do you remember the name we gave him when he was a spokesperson for saddam hussein:  Baghdad Bob?  Ahhh, now you remember, right?

Do you remember the time he did a TV report that saddam's glorious Iraqi army was successfully repelling US US tanks literally rolled by in the background?  Remember how we laughed at how ridiculous he was?

Well, Baghdad Bob has a hamas counterpart, named Azzam Tamimi. I'll call him Gaza Gus.  

The following video is Gaza Gus piling on a hot steamy load to a group of hamas fans in London.  Listen to them lap it up like cats lap up cream (if you have trouble clicking on the video, click here instead):

hamas is intact and undented??????

You have to hand it to Gaza Gus.  He definitely gives Baghdad Bob a run for his money.  He's not anywhere near as funny.  But he makes up for it by dramatically elevating his ridiculous level.


Ken Berwitz

The UN is angrily condemning, and protestors around the world are angrily marching against, Israelis trying to finally stop hamas, the terrorist group next door, from daily attacks on its civilians. 

While they're busy with that, I thought you might like to see what's been happening in Zimbabwe - the place they absolutely do not give a damn about.

Here is the latest news, from Reuters:

Zimbabwe cholera deaths climbs past 2,000

Nelson Banya, Reuters  Published: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Zimbabwean men rest in a cholera rehydration tent. Dec. 11, 2008, on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe.Justine Gerardy, AFP, Getty ImagesTwo Zimbabwean men rest in a cholera rehydration tent. Dec. 11, 2008, on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

HARARE -- Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people and almost 40,000 have contracted the normally preventable disease, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

The epidemic is adding to the humanitarian crisis in the country, where President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are deadlocked over a power-sharing deal and the veteran leader is resisting Western calls to step down.

An update dated Jan. 12 showed 2,024 people had been killed by cholera from 39,806 cases.

The waterborne disease, which causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration, has spread to all of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces because of the collapse of health and sanitation systems. The WHO said 89% of the country's 62 districts are affected.

Zimbabwe's government has warned that the epidemic could get worse in the rainy season which peaks in January or February and ends in late March. Floods, which can affect Zimbabwe's low-lying areas, may increase the spread of the disease.

Cholera has also spread to Zimbabwe's neighbours with at least 13 deaths and 1,419 cases recorded in South Africa.

Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia have also reported cholera cases.

U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights called on Zimbabwe's government to hand over control of its health services, water supply, sanitation and disease surveillance to a United Nations-designated agency to try and ease the crisis.

The group said the UN Security Council should enact a resolution referring Zimbabwe's crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring countries as the crisis at home bites, in search of jobs and better living conditions, and, more recently, medical treatment.

On Tuesday, an immigration spokeswoman said Zambia had deported 190 Zimbabwean illegal immigrants found sheltering at the country's largest bus terminus in the capital Lusaka, fearing the spread of cholera.

"They came in as mere visitors but then started conducting business without valid papers. We had to act to stop the spread of cholera," spokeswoman Mulako Mbangweta told Reuters.

An entire country is being decimated by its head of state.  People are dying everywhere.  Two thousand (probably a very conservative estimate) by cholera alone, and countless others by starvation or sickness for which there is no medicine and no doctors or nurses to administer it.

So what does the UN do?  It looks the other way and waits, hopefully, for Israel to act against people who are specifically committed to its obliteration and the death of its Jews.  THAT'S something worth getting excited over.

 And those caring souls over at the African Union?  Two headlines should tell you everything you need to know. The first is from VOA radio at the end of June, after mugabe fixed the election so he would not lose, and while people were dying in the streets, just as they are today - the ones not already dead of cholera, that is:

African Union Summit Welcomes Mugabe, Shuns Zimbabwe Crisis

But here is another headline, this one from the Middle East News', December 30 article, when Israel had just started its action against hamas:

African Union lambasts Israel over Gaza attacks

The people dying are their fellow Africans.  And they could not care less.  Hail to robert mugabe!!  The west is appalled by him so he must be a hero.

Leave him alone to live in resplendent luxury with his favored inside people/protectors, while everyone else either dies, is in danger of dying or wishes for death over the life mugabe has doomed them to.

Did I say mugabe has doomed them?  I apologize and retract.  They are doomed because of mugabe - AND the UN - AND the African Union. 

The tragic reality is that these people are in a competition with ku klux klanners from the early 1900's, to see who cares less about Black African human beings.


Ken Berwitz

I've always liked actor Ron Silver's self-description as a "September 12th liberal". 

His meaning, of course, is that while still politically liberal, his position regarding national security and the war against terrorism changed significantly after we were attacked.  I like it because it is a triumph of common sense over ideology. 

Unfortunately, there are also "September 10th liberals".  And, having just reread a column by Andrew McCarthy from last June, I am reminded that Barack Obama may be one of them.

Read the column and see why.  The bold print is mine:

Obamas America Is September 10th America
His latest remarks betray an alarming ignorance.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

This is June 2008. That means it marks the ten-year anniversary of Osama bin Ladens indictment.

He was first charged by my old office, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York, in June 1998. That was before the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (hundreds killed), before the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (17 U.S. members of the U.S. Navy killed), and before 9/11 (nearly 3000 Americans killed). So its fair to ask: How is that strategy of prosecuting him in the criminal-justice system working out?

Thats a question Sen. John McCain ought to be putting to Sen. Barack Obama every day.

Sen. Obama, the Democrats presumptive nominee, made some
astounding statements yesterday which provided his views on confronting the most urgent challenge facing the American people that of radical Islam.

Taking aim at the Bush approach of regarding our terrorist enemies as, well, enemies, rather than criminal defendants clothed in all the rights and privileges of those American citizens whom these enemies pledge to kill, Obama asserted:

What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.

So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.

This is a remarkably ignorant account of the American experience with jihadism. In point of fact, while the government managed to prosecute many people responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing, many also escaped prosecution because of the limits on civilian criminal prosecution. Some who contributed to the attack, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, continued to operate freely because they were beyond the systems capacity to apprehend. Abdul Rahman Yasin was released prematurely because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him he fled to Iraq, where he was harbored for a decade (and has never been apprehended).

But lets assume incorrectly, for arguments sake, that everyone was brought to justice in that case. What about Khobar Towers, Sen. Obama? After Iran and Hezbollah, perhaps with al-Qaedas assistance, killed 19 members of the United States Air Force, the Clinton administration responded with a criminal investigation. The result? No arrests in fact, no indictment was even filed until 2001.

After the embassy bombings, the aforementioned bin Laden was indicted along with his top henchman Ayman al-Zawahiri and nearly two dozen others. Exactly six of those men have been prosecuted as a result. And of those, the top-ranking al-Qaeda figure, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, has never been tried for the embassy bombings. When we gave him all the glorious privileges of the American Constitution, he used his access to free legal help as an opportunity to attempt a kidnapping escape from custody in the course of which he maimed a prison guard by stabbing him in the eye before being subdued.

Then, of course, there was the October 2000 attack on the Cole in Aden harbor. No arrests, no indictment until well after the 9/11 attacks. The indictment has now been on the books for years as our Yemeni allies have pretended to pursue the al-Qaeda perpetrators who, of course, have been permitted to escape from confinement. There is no prospect of an American prosecution because of the justice systems painfully obvious limitations. Those terrorists are free to plot more American deaths, unless, of course, our military or intelligence operatives get them first.

And thats the point isnt it? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been under indictment by the Justice Department even longer than bin Laden. He was first charged in 1996, in connection with the so-called Bojinka plot to blow up American airliners as they flew over the Pacific (one Japanese tourist killed during a dry run). The plot was also found to include plans to assassinate President Clinton and Pope John Paul II.

So what happened? Because criminal prosecution is incapable of dealing with the likes of KSM a highly insulated foreign jihadist operating from terror safe havens sprinkled across the globe he remained free to plot murder and mayhem for years, finally masterminding 9/11.

KSM was apprehended only after the Bush administration changed strategy and started regarding terrorists as what they are: wartime enemies, rather than in possession of Obamas suggested criminal defendants status.

The fact is that we used the criminal justice system as our principal enforcement approach, the approach Obama intends to reinstate, for eight years from the bombing of the World Trade Center until the shocking destruction of that complex on 9/11. During that timeframe, while the enemy was growing stronger and attacking more audaciously, we managed to prosecute successfully less than three dozen terrorists (29 to be precise). And with a handful of exceptions, they were the lowest ranking of players.

When an elitist lawyer like Obama claims the criminal-justice system works against terrorists, he means it satisfies his top concern: due process. And on that score, hes quite right: Weve shown we can conduct trials that are fair to the terrorists. After all, we give them lawyers paid for by the taxpayers whom they are trying to kill, mounds of our intelligence in discovery, and years upon years of pretrial proceedings, trials, appeals, and habeas corpus.

As a national-security strategy, however, and as a means of carrying our governments first responsibility to protect the American people, heavy reliance on criminal justice is an abysmal failure.

A successful counterterrorism strategy makes criminal prosecution a subordinate part of a much broader governmental response. Most of what is needed never happens in a courtroom. It happens in military operations against terrorist strongholds; intelligence operations in which jihadists get assassinated without trial; intelligence collections in which we cozy up to despicable informants since only they can tell us what we need to know; and aggressive treasury actions to trace terror funds.

That is how you stop the homeland from being attacked, which is what we have done for the last seven years. And it is that from which Obama wants to move away.

Obama would bring us back to September 10th America. And September 10th is sure to be followed by September 11th .

What a chilling ending.  "...September 10th is sure to be followed by September 11th."

The election is over and, in a number of meaningful ways, Mr. Obama seems to be demonstrating at least some capacity for ignoring the red-meat rhetoric he used to excite his hard left base. 

With that in mind, we can at least hope that his September 10th mindset is now political history.  The safety of our country depends on it.


Ken Berwitz

Ricardo Montalban died today of natural causes, at the age of 88. 

Mr. Montalban was the the quintessential suave "latin lover" of many movies in the 1940's and early 50's.  But he is probably best remembered for playing Mr. Roarke in the hit TV series, "Fantasy Island". 

Personally, I remember him just as well for the Chrysler commercials he did prior to the "Fantasy Island" era, in which he talked about the Chrysler Cordoba's "rich corinthian leather" (I never much cared for Chrysler products, but he made the Cordoba sound great).  I also loved his role as the bad guy in the first "Naked Gun" movie.

Beyond his long, successful career, Mr. Montalban appears to have been a very fine gentleman as well.  He certainly had a stable marriage; it lasted for 63 years until his wife's death in 2007.  And he was very active in various social programs.  One of his most important contributions was founding "Nosotros", which helps Spanish-speaking people to break into the entertainment industry and ultimately succeed. 

Show business has precious few people of this quality.  Ricardo Montalban will be greatly missed.

May he rest in peace.

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