Monday, 20 April 2009


Ken Berwitz

Did we lose the war in Iraq two years ago? 

You'd never know it by the condition Iraq is in now.  There is a democratically elected government, businesses are thriving, oil is flowing, refugees are streaming back, al qaeda has been decimated, the mahdi army has been decimated and almost the entire country is peaceful.

But two years ago the senate majority leader and (in my opinion) finalist for the jimmy carter malaise award of 2007, hapless harry reid, told us that he believed the war was lost.

You can hear him say it by clicking here.  Follow along with the transcript below:

HARRY REID:  "I believe, myself, that the Secretary of State (knows), Secretary of Defense (knows), and you have to make your own decisions as to what the President knows, that this war is lost.

Hapless harry is still the Senator from Nevada and the Senate Majority Leader.  But there are fears that he may have trouble winning re-election next year.  The reasons extend well beyond his ignorant and/or politically inspired doom and gloom about Iraq, but it surely is a contributing factor. 

As it should be.


Ken Berwitz

This fascinating tidbit comes to us from

Abraham Lincoln was Born a Muslim, Says Film Maker

ATLANTA, April 20 /PRNewswire/ --

Barack Hussein Obama is not alone. The 16th President of The United States, Abraham Lincoln, was born a Muslim, says Faruq Masudi, producer and director of the new Islamic movie, Quran Contemporary Connections.

In a casting coup, Abraham Lincoln shares equal footage with luminaries of Islamic history like Saladin, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and the former President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed. What do they have in common?

Everybody is born a Muslim? Wow!

I can't wait to tell my mother.  It will give her so much to talk to her friends about at the kiddush after shabbos services.

Personally, I aways thought Lincoln was Jewish.  I mean, his name was Abraham, and he was shot in the Temple.  That's got to count for something....

jade rofl...this is just to funny...we are all born muslims...muslims believe in female slavery and ole abe freed black women as well as black men so i guess he really wasn't a mulsim after all........and what an arrogant statement (04/21/09)

free` From the article>> "abolishing organized slavery". Who is this guy trying to fool? Some islamic countries still practice slavery. Lets just rewrite all history and current reality. (04/20/09)


Ken Berwitz

No commentary from me on this one.  It does just fine on its own:

Paul Ibrahim

April 20, 2009

In Obamas America, I Am a Terrorist After All

I am an Arab male in my 20s. If I dont fit the profile of your average terrorist, Im not quite sure who does. Yet thanks to a culture of political correctness and the likes of the ACLU, I had it unreasonably easier than most after 9/11. Until, that is, the Obama Administration decided that my conservatism makes me a potential terrorist.

Rewind to the aftermath of 9/11. Not only were Obama-types making it difficult for airport security to even consider my background, but oftentimes made it so anyone but me was selected for extra screening. On many occasions I waltzed through security only to look behind me to see a little old black lady, or an elderly white man, pulled out for an additional search in an obvious exhibition of political correctness in a world where were supposedly trying to save lives.

My college experience was no different. I was automatically assumed to be a member of an imagined community of oppressed minorities, invited to diversity events that offered me special resources (because white people apparently come with such resources), and welcomed with open arms by members of an administration that cared more about the level of melanin in my skin than about my intellectual capacity.

Then they discovered I was a conservative. The rainbows, unicorns and Kumbayas abruptly vanished. Professors made plain their distaste for non-liberal views in the classroom. Minority groups were shocked that a fellow minority would speak out against their racially segregated dorms. In utter irony, even the vice provost for diversity personally attacked me in print for my calls for color-blindness you see, if the world became successfully color-blind, he would have no job.

In short, college liberals claimed the high moral ground by refusing to discriminate against me for being Arab, but then proudly discriminated against me for being a conservative. And now we are seeing the same from the liberal cohorts that form the Obama Administration.

Through Janet Napolitanos Homeland Security Department, the Obama Administration has released a threat assessment report warning, with virtually zero data or substance, that right-wing extremism could translate into terrorist action as more Americans start opposing illegal immigration, abortion and expanded social programs, while favoring gun rights, traditional marriage and more state and local government. In other words, if youre conservative, you might be a terrorist.

The report warns that extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues, such as the economic downturn. And no, the report is not referring to the Obama campaign and administration.

When has the Bush Administration ever released an overly generalized, unsubstantiated report warning about the terrorist potential of those who support liberal causes? Would any administration dare address Obamas 20-year spiritual home, which, during my recent visit there, I found to embrace severely troubling signs of racial supremacy and angry self-victimization?

Never. Yet as we are seeing today, we might have to worry more about the left than about the right. After stirring up waves of fury about the recipients of AIG bonuses (which the Democrats specifically allowed), some Democrats fought to release the names of the same employees who were already receiving death threats.

Supporters of gay marriage in California, many of whom have sought to harass and intimidate political opponents, have published an online map pinpointing the homes of those who donated even as little as $50 to the pro-traditional marriage Proposition 8. Wonder why.

After Arizona State refrained from giving Obama an honorary degree with his upcoming commencement speech, his supporters responded with death threats.

Colorado police are currently dealing with threats of bomb attacks if illegal immigrants arent released from jail (maybe they were victims of law enforcement officials who are terrorizing families, as Obama maintains).

And, of course, anyone with a brain understands that the neo-Nazis warned about in the administrations report are better classified under socialist threats, as would have been the case with Hitlers National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis).

Yet the administration decided to go after conservatives.

Having miscalculated the reaction to her political report (which was not-so-coincidentally released days before the Tax Day tea parties), Napolitano is now going on a partial, mild apology tour over the section in her report attacking veterans for being potential terrorists with violent capabilities never mind that they had just come back from fighting terrorists. But her problem wont go away that easily. The Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit against Napolitano for encouraging law enforcement to target and harass conservatives for their political beliefs.

Obama has dropped the term enemy combatants for enemy combatants (preferring, perhaps, undocumented adversaries). He believes he can find moderate Taliban to reach out to, an idea the Taliban themselves mocked as illogical. His Homeland Security staff is focused on demonizing conservatives while at least 20 Somali-Americans have gradually vanished in Minneapolis, one of whom has committed a suicide bombing in Somalia.

Where are the Obama-bots priorities? They fought to have me overlooked by airport security even though I fit the profile of the 19 people who killed 3,000 Americans, but now believe I might be a terrorist because I am part of a movement that turned out hundreds of thousands of average, peaceful, hard-working Americans at nearly one thousand tea parties with zero serious disruptions or incidents? And all because I dare to disagree with the One?

Looks like Obama is delivering the change he promised. In his America, I am a terrorist after all.


free` Excellent. (04/20/09)

jade excellent and mind boggling (04/20/09)


Ken Berwitz


Cheney Calls For More CIA Reports To Be Declassified
Mon Apr 20 2009 16:20:53 ET

In a two part interview airing tonight and tomorrow night on FOX News Channels Hannity (9-10PM ET), former Vice President Dick Cheney shared his thoughts on the CIA memos that were recently declassified and also revealed his request to the CIA to declassify additional memos that confirm the success of the Bush administrations interrogation tactics:


One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort. And there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified.

I formally asked that they be declassified now. I haven't announced this up until now, I haven't talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.

And I've now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions.


Nice of the Obama administration -- in the spirit of open government of course -- to declassify the actions we took, but not what information we got out of it and how many lives it may have saved.

As former Vice President Cheney points out, he never asked for any of this to be made public before.  But now that half the story is out there, the other half deserves to be seen as well.

In other words, does "transparency" in the Obama administration end at the partisan waters' edge?  (HINT:  the fact that this information was not declassified at the same time as the seemingly damning memos, probably has given us the answer already.)

jade cheney????!!!!! omg do you really believe a single word uttered by this this this @$#@@....we can't trust anything that he has declassified and besides we have no way of knowing if the same information could have been obtained without becoming one of the terrorist (04/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

John Lott is a scholar, a gun expert and someone who has written extensively about how legally carried guns can make us all safer.

Here is his latest piece, written for Fox Forum which takes on ABC News 20/20's "experiment" with an armed university student, during a shooting.  To say that this is fascinating and informative would be to grossly understate:

FOX Forum

JOHN LOTT: ABCs Shameful 20/20′ Experiment

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Gun control advocates look desperate. Last Friday night, on April 10, ABC aired a heavily promoted, hour long 20/20″ special called If I Only Had a Gun. It is ABCs equivalent of NBCs infamous exploding gas tanks in General Motors pickups where NBC rigged the truck to explode. With legislation in Texas and Missouri advancing to eliminate gun-free zones at universities, perhaps this response isnt surprising.

The show started and ended by claiming that allowing potential victims to carry guns would not help keep  them safe - not even with hundreds of hours of practice firing guns.

No mention was made of the actual multiple victim public shootings stopped by people with concealed handguns nor did they describe who actually carried out such shootings. Instead, ABC presented a rigged experiment where one student in a classroom had a gun. But sometimes even the best editors cant hide everything the camera sees.

The experiment was set up to make the student fail. It did not resemble a real-world shooting. The same scenario is shown three times, but in each case the student with the gun is seated in the same seat - the center seat in the front row. The attacker is not only a top-notch shooter - a firearms expert who teaches firearms tactics and strategy to police - but also obviously knows precisely where the student with the gun is sitting.

Each time the experiment is run, the attacker first fires two shots at the teacher in the front of the class and then turns his gun directly on the very student with the gun. The attacker wastes no time trying to gun down any of the unarmed students. Thus, very unrealistically, between the very first shot setting the armed student on notice and the shots at the armed student, there is at most 2 seconds. The armed student is allowed virtually no time to react and, unsurprisingly, fails under the same circumstances that would have led even experienced police officers to fare poorly.

But in the real world, a typical shooter is not a top-notch firearms expert and has no clue about whether or not anyone might be armed and, if so, where they are seated. If you have 50 people - a pretty typical college classroom - and he is unknown to the attacker, the armed student is given a tremendous advantage. Actually, if the experiment run by 20/20″ seriously demonstrated anything, it highlighted the problem of  relying on uniformed police or security guards for safety: the killer instantly knows whom to shoot first.

Yet, in the ABC experiment, the purposefully disadvantaged students are not just identified and facing (within less than 2 seconds) an attacker whose gun is already drawn. They are also forced to wear unfamiliar gloves, a helmet, and a holster. This only adds to the difficulties the students face in handling their guns.

Given this set-up the second student, Danielle, performed admirably well. She shot the firearms expert in his left leg near the groin. If real bullets had been used, that might well have disabled the attacker and cut short his shooting spree.

Nevertheless, even terrible shooters can often be quite effective. Despite all of ABCs references to the Columbine attack, the network never mention the armed guard at the school. He had an unusually poor target shooting record - indeed it is reported that he couldnt even hit a target. Yet, his bravery still saved many lives because his poorly aimed shots forced the two killers to engage in gunfire with him. This slowed down their killing spree and gave many students a chance to escape the building. The guard was only forced to retreat and leave the school himself because of the homemade grenades that the Columbine murderers had.

The Columbine murderers strongly and actively opposed passage of Colorados right-to-carry law, particularly the part that would have allowed concealed handguns being legally carried on school campuses. What goes unnoticed is that the Columbine attack took place the very day that the state legislature scheduled final passage of the concealed handgun law.

Time after time the attackers in these multiple victim public shootings consciously avoid areas where people might be able to defend themselves. In the attack on the Jewish community center in Los Angeles in which five people were wounded, the attacker had apparently scouted three of the West Coasts most prominent Jewish institutionsthe Museum of Tolerance, the Skirball Cultural Center and the University of Judaismbut found security too tight.

In the real world, even having a gun and pointing it at an attacker has often convinced the attacker to stop shooting and surrender. Examples include high schools in Pearl, Mississippi and Edinboro, Pennsylvania, as well as the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. Street attacks in Memphis to Detroit ended this way, too, without any more shots fired.

Even if the cases dont get much attention, gun permit holders stop these multiple victim attacks on a regular basis. Ironically, just this past Saturday, the day after ABCs broadcast, a permit holder in Columbia, Texas stopped a mass robbery by fatally shooting the criminal. Some Web sites have started collecting these and other defensive gun use cases (e.g., see here, here, and here).

ABCS 20/20″ exaggerates the danger of accidentally hitting a friend when confronting an attacker. The show cites as an example is a man who mistook his wife for an intruder. Obviously that case is a tragedy, but those cases are exceedingly rare. But why didnt they present a single multiple victim attack as an example? Simple, because it has not happened.

ABC pushes the notion that gun show regulations, rather than arming potential victims, can stop these attacks. But very few criminals get their guns from gun shows: a U.S. Justice Department survey of 18,000 state prison inmates showed that less than one percent (0.7%) of prisoners had obtained their gun from a gun show. Even adding flea markets and gun shows together raises the number to just 1.7 percent. There is not a single academic study showing that regulating private individuals selling their own guns the so-called gun show loophole reduces any type of violent crime. What the regulations have accomplished is cutting the number of gun shows by 25 percent.

The show ends with this claim:

If you are wondering where are all the studies about the effectiveness of guns used by ordinary Americans for self-defense, well keep searching, we could not find one reliable study and the ones we found were contradictory.

Yet, contradictory is an overstatement. There have been 26 peer-reviewed studies published by criminologists and economists in academic journals and university presses. Most of these studies find large drops in crime. Some find no change, but not a single one shows an increase in crime.

You would think that if gun control worked as well as ABC implies, there wouldnt be these multiple victim public shootings in those European countries with gun laws much stricter than those being publicly discussed in the United States or by ABC. Yet, multiple victim public shootings are quite common in Europe. In just the last few days, there have been a shooting at a college in Greece and in a crowded caf in Rotterdam. Of course, the worst K-12 public school shootings are in Europe.

Given the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent annually in the United States for police officers on campus and other programs, one would hope that this relatively inexpensive alternative, where people are willing to bear the costs themselves to protect others, would be taken more seriously.

ABC never mentions a simple fact: all multiple victim public shootings with more than 3 people killed have occurred where permitted concealed handguns are prohibited. Rather than studying what actually happens during these shootings, ABC conjured up rigged experiments aimed at convincing Americans that guns are ineffective. Unfortunately, ABCs advice, rather than making victims safe, makes things safer for attackers.

John Lott is a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland and the author of More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, second edition, 2000) and The Bias Against Guns (Regnery, 2003). Much of the discussion here is based on both books. John Lotts past pieces for FOX News can be found here and here.

How's does that stack up as food for thought?  Pretty well, wouldn't you say?

Think about it.


Ken Berwitz

In case you are wondering what is going on at "Durban II", the second UN conference that supposedly addresses racism and other forms of intolerance (this one held in Geneva, Switzerland) are excerpts about the first day from a story at CNN's web site.  Please pay special attention to the quote I've put in bold print:

(CNN) -- The opening of a United Nations conference in Switzerland on anti-racism was marred by chaotic scenes Monday as protests and a walkout by delegates disrupted a controversial address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, left, greets Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following his arrival in Switzerland.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, left, greets Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following his arrival in Switzerland.

The presence of the Iranian leader at the conference had already prompted Israel to withdraw its ambassador from Switzerland, while several countries including the United States are also boycotting the gathering.

Dozens of delegates walked out of the chamber as Ahmadinejad accused Israel and the West of making "an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering ... in order to establish a totally racist government." Video Watch delegates make their exit

He said Zionism, the Jewish national movement, "personifies racism," and accused Zionists of wielding economic and political resources to silence opponents. He also blasted the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Ambassador Ilan Elgar home to protest a meeting between the Swiss president and Ahmadinejad, Israel's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The meeting of a president of a democratic country with a notorious Holocaust denier such as the Iranian president, who has openly declared his intention of wiping Israel off the map, is not in keeping with the values represented by Switzerland," the ministry said.

Ahmadinejad has said that the Holocaust is a myth, and Iran hosted a conference in 2006 questioning the Holocaust, in which about 6 million Jews were killed.

The United States, among others, is refusing to send envoys to the Durban Review Conference.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Sunday that she regrets -- and is "shocked" by -- the United States' decision to boycott.

"I am shocked and deeply disappointed by the United States' decision not to attend a conference that aims to combat racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and other forms of intolerance worldwide," High Commissioner Navi Pillay said in a written statement.

"A handful of states have permitted one or two issues to dominate their approach to this issue, allowing them to outweigh the concerns of numerous groups of people that suffer racism and similar forms of intolerance... These are truly global issues, and it is essential that they are discussed at a global level, however sensitive and difficult they may be," she said.

The language reaffirms the Durban Declaration and Programme of Actions from the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, which the United States has said it won't support.

Obama said the United States hopes to partner with other countries "to actually reduce discrimination around the globe, but this (conference) wasn't an opportunity to do it."

Australia, Canada, Germany and Italy, among others, are also boycotting the conference. Poland announced Monday it too would pull out of the conference.

Netanyahu on Monday praised the countries that refused to attend: "I congratulate the nations that boycotted the show of hate."

That quote from the "High Commissioner" Naive, Navi Pillay, is an excellent insight for anyone who wonders about the overall mindset of today's UN and/or what makes sense to this thoroughly moribund organization. 

It may also explain her title, since any Commissioner who actually believes this crap is probably high on something.

One other point:  Ms. Pillay is from South Africa.  South Africa borders Zimbabwe - one of the most racist hellholes on Earth.

Zimbabwe is where White farmers, largely responsible for the relative prosperity of the country, were thrown off the land by strongman robert mugabe and replaced with his cronies -- who then promptly ran those farms into the ground.  Now Black Zimbabweans are literally starving in the streets.

How much attention is this conference paying to Zimbabwe?  How much is attention is this conference paying to the dozens and dozens of other overtly racist, hate-based governing systems throughout the world?  How much attention is this conference paying to the institutionalized intolerance of countries now ruled by shari'a law (Somalia being the most recent)? 

Answer that question and know what a grotesquery Durban II really is.

free` I see she wasn't happy with the US not being there, did she write any letters to the other countries that didn't attend? Most likely she didn't. My point is that who the US see's and what events the US supports matters, that is why obama meeting with hugo and iran and cuba etc. has consequences. Like it or not when the USA meets with or attends a conference it elevates the stature of those people or events. I hope obama wakes up to that reality soon. (04/20/09)

Robert As a Canadian I feel disgraced by my governement's action in walking out of the conference like a grumpy shoolchild. Why should we allow and defend free speech, except when someone dares criticize Israel or the Jews? (04/21/09)

jade yeah don't let the whites back in...the country is obviously so much better off without them...i mean why do people need food and houses...gee what CAN the whites be thinking to be so racist (04/21/09)

Ighbal Why is anyone taking this very small man seriously? His country is being run by dictatorial religious thugs. Towel-heads with very large inferiority complexes. He's a disgrace to even look at. (04/20/09)

Ken Berwitz Robert - As a Canadian, you should be proud of that walkout. Canada (and the others) did not leave because Israel was being attacked. Canada (and the others) left because the racism and intolerance that is rife around the world was being ignored, in favor of the attacks on Israel. For the record, compared to most countries of the world - including every one of its Arab neighbors - Israel is a paradigm of inclusion and tolerance (04/21/09)

Patrice To the author of this blatantly pro-racist article, Mr Ken, I wish to say that it is good that he mentions the case of Zimbawe. Mr Ken seems to advocate the return of the whites there to continue their ruthless explotation of the land and its resources. Thank you Ken for revealing your real stuff. (04/21/09)

Ken Berwitz Patrice - I agree that the White-owned farms were, at one point in the past, created by taking land from the indigenous people there. But, that said, here is a list of the issues you are ignoring: 1) where did those indigenous people get the land in the first place? Who did they conquer or slaughter? If there is one recurring fact in history it is that land belongs to whoever can take it and defend it. 2) If the issue were strictly White exploitation, mugabe could have imposed a tax structure or a requirement that some percentage of farm profits go back to the state as redress for the land having been taken. Instead he just removed the farmers and replaced them with his cronies and sycophants, who had no idea how to run commercial farms. By so doing, he destroyed them. 3) There are Whites and Blacks in Zimbabwe. How many of these farms were handed to Whites? The answer, I am pretty certain, is none. You don't cure racism by creating more of it. 4) Most importantly by far, those farms were feeding Zimbabweans and creating an export market for the country. Now they are doing neither. I hope for your sake that you don't consider this a good result. Finally, if it makes you feel good to call me a racist for chronicling what is actually happening in Zimbabwe and noting that the UN couldn't care less about it, enjoy yourself. But know that you are 100% wrong. (04/21/09)

jade so who is there? all the non democratic countries? (04/20/09)

jade "As a Canadian I feel disgraced by my governement's action in walking out of the conference like a grumpy shoolchild. Why should we allow and defend free speech, except when someone dares criticize Israel or the Jews? " yes robert, cause we all know that if someone from the west had gotten up there and ranted and raved about the tyrannical, bigoted, barbaric regime of iran no one would have walked out….right? (04/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

Can embryonic stem cells be used to prevent macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness? 

The answer may well be yes.  Sarah-Kate Templeton of The London Times explains:

April 19, 2009

Blind to be cured with stem cells

BRITISH scientists have developed the worlds first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years time.

The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.

This week Pfizer, the worlds largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.

The treatment will tackle age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness. It affects more than 500,000 Britons and the number is forecast to increase significantly as people live longer. The disease involves the loss of eye cells.

Tom Bremridge, chief executive of the Macular Disease Society, said: This is a huge step forward for patients. We are extremely pleased that the big guns have become involved, because, once this treatment is validated, it will be made available to a huge volume of patients.

Embryonic stem cells have the ability to develop into all types of body tissue. Their use is controversial, however, because it involves the destruction of human embryos.

Laboratory trials completed by the British team have demonstrated that stem cells can prevent blindness in rats with a similar disease to AMD. They have also successfully tested elements of the technology in pigs.

The team is led by Professor Pete Coffey, director of the London Project to Cure Blindness, working alongside Lyndon da Cruz, a surgeon at Moorfields.

Coffey said the treatment would take less than an hour, so it really could be considered as an outpatient procedure. We are trying to get it out as a common therapy.

He welcomed Pfizers agreement to manufacture the membranes, saying: This is a major development because of the size of the partner. We need a big pharmaceutical company to scale it up.

We have nearly 14m people within Europe with AMD. This will ensure that the therapy gets through to clinical trials in a safe and effective manner.

Professor Peng Khaw, director of the Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, added: This shows that stem cell therapy is coming of age. It offers great hope for many sufferers around the world who cannot be treated with conventional treatment. He added: All my patients say to me is, When will this stem cell treatment be ready? I want it now.

Pfizers role would be crucial in bringing production of the membranes to an industrial level.

The team is applying for regulatory approval for trials from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Human Tissue Authority and the gene therapy advisory committee.

The clinical trial, due within two years, is expected to be the second in the world to use embryonic stem cells on humans. The first, on patients with spinal cord injuries, will start this year in America.

At this stage we do not - repeat:  do not - know if the therapy will work as well as the scientists hope, or even if it will work at all.  Nor do we know whether it is necessary to increase the pool of already-existing embryonic stem cell lines to accomplish it.

Regardless, it would be wonderful if a great many people can be cured of blindness. 

Let's wait and see how this plays out. 

jade keeping my fingers crossed that this will work.... (04/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I showed you Mark Karlin's angry, offensive, personal-insult appeal for money to fund his web site (

Today I will show you how they do it at the left wing web site


 The April Fundraiser Day Fifteen.

An ugly truth: Our financial situation is dire and our fundraiser is going poorly.

During our quarterly fundraisers, we generally need to take in about $1,000 a day for about ten days in order to keep afloat for the next three months. Have a look at the chart on the right: after two weeks' effort, we've yet to raise half what we need. As of right now paying next month's bills will be a struggle.

If we were part of the Right Wing Noise Machine, billionaires would make sure we were a well-funded operation. Because we're on the left, we toil in near-poverty and have to beg our readers for handouts.

Today's donations: $0.00 $25.00 $160.00 No really, only FOUR PEOPLE have donated today! Can you help?

We limp into our April fundraiser, nearly broke and in bad need of donations. $5.00, $1.00, anything you can spare. Click here and please give what you can. Thank you!


Fascinating.  I'm sure the ten right wing web sites I list are all funded by billionaires.  Yeah, right. 

I cannot understand why people on the left do this.  If the people at need money to continue the web site (even the name of which is a personal insult directed at President Bush), why not just point out the need for funding and stash the bile? 

Besides - not that they don't already know it - there are a whole bunch of left wing billionaires/near billionaires to draw from.  They include George Soros, Herbert and Marion Sandler, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Steven Cohen and others.  If all it takes is a billionaire's $$$ to "make sure we are a well-funded organization", then doesn't have a worry in the world

The tacit inference that all billionaires are right wingers is ridiculous.  It is gratuitously fraudulent.  They know better, but can't resist attacking anyway.

That said, however, if anyone who reads this blog wants to contribute to the web site, I've certainly provided the information needed to do so.  Truth is only served when all sides are heard - even if some of them are extreme and offensive

Ken Berwitz Jack Reynolds - You're right. I'm wrong. I've changed what I wrote accordingly, and written a mea culpa as a separate blog. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. (04/21/09)

Ken Berwitz Matt Taibbi has been at virtually the entire time it has existed (he seems to have joined it within the first month). When I referred to the site as his, I did not mean that Taibbi actually owns it. I meant it in the same context as saying "I'll be near your building today" to a friend who rents an apartment there. Sorry for any confusion. (04/21/09)

Jack Reynolds I'm still confused. If Taibbi doesn't own Smirking Chimp and didn't personally write that appeal for donations, what do you mean by "Taibbi's way of doing it"? (04/21/09)

Jack Reynolds Who owns I thought Taibbi was just a blogger there. (04/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

Noel Sheppard of offers his take on a former "newsperson", currently a university professor, giving us all a lesson in how to demonstrate bias most effectively.  Unfortunately for the "newsperson"/professor, Frank Sesno, he is not trying to do it at the time.

Here, see for yourself:

Sesno Bashes Fox's Tea Party Coverage, Defends Olbermann and Roesgen

In today's You've Got To Be Kidding Me moment, former CNN personality Frank Sesno scolded Fox News for its coverage of last week's Tea Parties while defending the disgraceful behavior of Keith Olbermann and Susan Roesgen.

This from a man who is now a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," this was Sesno's opinion of the Tea Party involvement of Fox News's Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck (file photo):

StoryIt's fine from a First Amendment point of view. They've got that right. It's not fine from a journalistic point of view...Because that's not our job. Our job is not to use our podium and our platform and our television camera to tell people what they should be thinking and doing. Our job should be to tell them what's happening out there and then they decide what to do.

Yet, moments later when host Howard Kurtz played a clip of Susan Roesgen's deplorable behavior at the Chicago Tea Party, Sesno responded:

She was debating him, which is a problem. On the other hand -- and I've been there, OK? You're on live television, you have somebody who's throwing, you know, firebombs at the camera, and you cannot just let that go unchallenged.

Words like "fascist" are very serious words. And your responsibility as a journalist, it seems to me, to be out there, is to challenge that and draw that person out. It doesn't mean getting into a debating contest with him. And maybe she stepped over the line with that, but that's an important thing to call people out on.

Hmmm. So, the responsibility of a CNN "journalist" is to challenge and call people out for their opinions. BUT, a Fox News "journalist" should not use his or her podium, platform, and television camera to tell people what they should be thinking and doing.

Got that?

But there's more, for when Kurtz brought up Janeane Garofalo's disgusting rant on MSNBC's "Countdown" Thursday, he asked Sesno if host Keith Olbermann should have called out Garofalo for her comments. Readers are encouraged to brace themselves for Sesno's next hypocrisy:

Should be challenged. I mean, again -- but it depends what the show is. All right? I mean, Keith Olbermann is Keith Olbermann. I mean, he's going to approach this the way he should.

Amazing. So Roesgen was right to challenge and draw out folks at the Chicago Tea Party, but Olbermann gets a pass with Garofalo because he's Olbermann.

Meanwhile, Beck and Hannity clearly overstepped journalistic boundaries.

Thanks for straightening that out for us, Professor.

And that concludes today's lesson on media and public affairs.

Any questions?

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

jade our news media has become more partisan than our government...would be hilarious if it were not so scary (04/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

There has to be a web site - maybe even NBC's - that will provide the transcript of Newt Gingrich on the Today show this morning, talking about President Obama's performance with foreign leaders.

I don't want to tease you with my remembrance of what he said, because that would not do it justice. 

Look, I can't say I'm the biggest fan of Mr. Gingrich, and I hope he isn't serious about a presidential run in 2012.  He is far too vulnerable on several political issues, as well as his personal life. 

But, this morning, Gingrich's comments were so on-target that I want you to see/hear them verbatim.  He was utterly brilliant.

When I can get his segment, whether in print, on or somewhere else, I'll post it immediately.


UPDATE:  You can see/hear Gingrich's Today segment (which is very short, about 3 1/2 minutes) by doing the following:

1) Click on

2) scroll down just a short distance and you will see a picture of Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera, with the words "Watch The Show".  Click on it

2) Watch the commercial Today inflicts on you (ok, I agree they have to pay the rent) - after which a vertical series of icons will show up on the left side of your screen

3) Scroll down to Gingrich and click on the icon.  (since he was on early in the show, he is far down the list -- but you'll find him)  

Voila.  You have it.

free` Thank you for that Ken, I am a big fan of Newt's and I would have never seen that if it weren't for you posting it. What you say about him having personal problems that would affect his run for POTUS is true, too bad he doesn't have a D after his name, then it wouldn't matter. (04/20/09)

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