Tuesday, 04 August 2009


Ken Berwitz

I just saw this excellent encapsulation of the blunders and miscues President Obama has made so far, posted at www.freerepublic.com.  With a bit of editing, here it is:

And you think George W. Bush was an idiot???

-If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

-If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

-If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current on their income taxes, would you have a approved?

-If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to Cinco de Cuatro in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the fourth of May (Cuatro de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

-If George W. Bush had misspelled the word advice would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

-If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded hes a hypocrite?

-If George W. Bushs administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

-If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

-If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would expect media to make it an ongoing political issue and call it proof of his incompetence?

-If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plans holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

-If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands ofdollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

So tell me, if George Bush was an idiot, what does this make Barack Obama?  And remember, it happened in less than one half year of his administration; we've still got over 3 and a half years for him to add to the list.



Ken Berwitz

Are you thrilled that Barack Obama promised us transparent government?  If so, I suggest you read the following excerpt from today's Associated Press article:

WASHINGTON The Obama administration is refusing to quickly release government records on its "cash-for-clunkers" rebate program that would substantiate or undercut White House claims of the program's success, even as the president presses the Senate for a quick vote for $2 billion to boost car sales.


The Transportation Department said it will provide the data as soon as possible but did not specify a time frame or promise release of the data before the Senate votes whether to spend $2 billion more on the program.

Translation:  The Obama administration is taking full credit for the success of a program that it will not release information on.  So we can't see if there is any success for the administration to take credit for.

This is transparency?  In a sense I suppose it is;  the Obama administration is transparently hiding things from us.

Now, when do our wonderful "neutral" media get enough of a bellyful of this to demand the information?  Ever?


Ken Berwitz

About that caricature of Barack Obama as "The Joker", which is outraging our wonderful "neutral" media:




Did they howl with outrage when the caricature was of George Bush? .




This dark, foreboding "joker" picture was published in Vanity Fair magazine, just last year.  Do you remember any outcry about it?

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


Ken Berwitz

Several days ago I wrote about a Brian Stelter article which proclaimed that the O'Reilly-olbermann "feud" was over.

At the time, I questionned Stelter's use of the term "feud" to describe olbermann insulting O'Reilly viciously and offensively for years, while O'Reilly did not so much as mention olbermann's name. 

I also promised to keep an eye on out to see if it really was over.

Well, here, courtesy of Brad Wilmouth of www.newsbusters.org, is a pretty good indication of where things are:

Olbermann Slams NY Times Article Claiming FNC/MSNBC Truce, Attacks Racist Clown OReilly

By Brad Wilmouth (Bio | Archive)
August 4, 2009 - 00:38 ET


On Mondays Countdown show, MSNBCs Keith Olbermann disputed a claim by a New York Times article that there existsa truce between FNC and MSNBC as he accused the Timess Brian Stelter of ignoring Olbermanns denial that such a truce existed, and contended that the story was a "misinterpretation" of the Countdown hosts own pledge from June 1 to discontinue Bill OReillys inclusion in the shows regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Olbermann blamed OReilly for abortion Doctor George Tillers assassination.


During Mondays "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann awarded the third place dishonor to Stelter: "Mr. Stelter asked me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him on and off the record there was not, and I told him I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal, and I told him that not only wasn't I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses. And he printed it anyway, and I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June 1 that because Bill O'Reilly of Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, he'd become too serious to joke about...


Then, after having chastised FNC earlier in the segment for not firing Glenn Beck after Beck called President Obama a "racist," Olbermann called OReilly a "racist clown," as he decided to return OReilly to the "Worst Person" segment, and recycled an old smear of OReilly based on a controversial quote from the FNC host that was widely distorted by the media almost two years ago. Olbermann did not provide the context that OReilly was interviewing NPRs Juan Williams who is himself black, and moderately liberal about Williamss book on race relations in America, and was criticizing the media for its negative portrayal of blacks which, by OReillys own account, contrasts with reality. After reading the OReilly quote, Olbermann continued: "Bill thought there might be a human sacrifice between the salad and the entree. Racist clown. Imagine dinner chez Bill-O: Im happily surprised you havent stabbed me with the steak knife, dear."


For first place in the "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann sourced the same article that he had earlier attacked as inaccurate as the Timess Stelter quoted Rupert Murdoch as claiming that he had muzzled OReilly and other FNC hosts to avoid getting FNCs parent corporation in trouble, as the Countdown host sarcastically pretended to side with OReilly over Murdoch.


Below is a complete transcript of the "Worst Person" segment from the Monday, August 3, Countdown show on MSNBC:


KEITH OLBERMANN: First, time for Countdowns number two story, tonights "Worst Persons in the World," brought to you tonight by Fixed News, celebrating six days without having fired Glenn Beck, even after he called the President of the United States a racist, and even after they basically claimed he didn't really work for them. The bronze to Brian Stelter of the New York Times. Front page story, front page story Saturday about a, quote, "deal in which," as the headline read, "Voices from Above Silence a Cable TV Feud." Problem: Mr. Stelter asked me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him on and off the record there was not, and I told him I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal, and I told him that not only wasn't I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses.


And he printed it anyway, and I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June 1 that because Bill O'Reilly of Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, hed become too serious to joke about, and I would thus stop doing so an announcement that would obtain unless and until, of course, I felt like changing the rule again later since this is not the Constitution here, its a half-baked television newscast, and I make all the rules.


So, tonights runnerup, Bill-O the Clown. After the arrest of Professor Gates, the Frank Burns of news went back to his excursion two years ago to meet some black people. "Remember when I went up to Sylvia's and had dinner with Al Sharpton and said on my radio show, you know, Sylvias is just like any other restaurant in America, it's a nice place with nice people. I got served great. And then, the left wing turned it into I was denigrating, saying, oh, he didn't think Sylvia's was going to be nice."


Yeah, that's not what you said. Bill-O, on September 19, 2007: "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks. Primarily black patronship. It was the same. And that's really what this society is all about now. There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, M-F-er, I want more iced tea. You know, I mean, everybody was, it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense [of] people were sitting there and they were ordering and having fun, and there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."


Bill thought there might be a human sacrifice between the salad and the entree. Racist clown. Imagine dinner chez Bill-O: "Im happily surprised you havent stabbed me with the steak knife, dear."


But our winner, Rupert Murdoch. How would you like to be Roger Ailes right now or Bill OReilly or anybody else who thinks they decide what goes on even for a minute on Fox News Channel? Rupert Murdoch, according to the New York Times piece, has muzzled Bill-O, kept him from speaking his mind because, as the Times put it, what Bill-O said, quote, "could create real consequences for Fox's parent corporation."


How dare you muzzle OReilly, Mr. Murdoch? How dare you, sir? This is the essence of corporate interference in the marketplace of ideas, and it is shameful, and, "Avast ye, matie!" Solidarity, brother Bill. Free yourself from your corporate shackles. Solidarity! Rupert Murdoch, who could never get away with that here, today's "Worst Person, argh, in the World"!

Call me a hopeless pessimist, but I just don't see any indication that the so-called "feud" is over.

I also don't see any indication that it is actually a feud.  All I see is olbermann acting like an angry 6 year old who has never been disciplined in his life, other than being given some vocabulary lessons.

What a disgrace keith olbermann is to professional journalism.  I'd call him a disgrace to MSNBC as well, but I'm not sure the network is disgraced by this behavior -- which, if you think about it, is the biggest disgrace of all.


Ken Berwitz

I've already blogged about the so-called "cash for clunkers" program, and talked about its positive and negative aspects.

But here's a negative aspect I didn't discuss at that time, brought to us by Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com:

How The Government Kills Clunkers

August 3rd, 2009


You may have already seen this YouTube that has (as the kids say) gone viral on the internet:

Purportedly it shows a perfectly fine-running Volvo being disabled so as to fulfill for the governments cash clunkers program which is now called CARS.


Indeed, the governments own CARS site, www.cars.gov, even tells how it is to be done.



Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program



Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine.

1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate (SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases.

CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.

6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no longer idle.
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following:

This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil.


So taxpayer money is being used to destroy perfectly fine automobiles.


All in the name of what? The environment? These cars will end up where?


And what is the environmental impact of pouring sodium silicate (which should not be handled without goggles and gloves) into the bosom of Mother Earth?


Moreover, what about the carbon and pollution it will take to replace these disabled cars even more fuel efficient cars.


This is the stuff of bad science fiction movies about some bizarre authoritarian future. A future we seem to be living.


By the way, will we someday soon be seeing a similarly helpful government manual telling us how to euthanize geezers?


This is an obvious problem with "cash for clunkers" that I hadn't thought of. 

I don't know if the youtube video is real - that looks like an awfully good car to destroy for $4,500.  But even if it is not, how many usable vehicles will the program remove from our streets?  And how much pollution (and use of energy) will it take to destroy what is left of them and what land will be polluted to put the remains there?  Will they save any of these vehicles for spare parts on cars that have not been turned in? 

All questions worth answering, wouldn't you say?.


Ken Berwitz

Dr. David Gratzer has written a very important piece about the effect "Obamacare" might have on treating illnesses:




Last updated: 4:30 am
August 4, 2009
Posted: 2:55 am
August 4, 2009


AT his July 22 press conference, President Obama explained that under his health-care plan, doctors would be "free to provide Americans with the best care -- just not the most expensive care."

This suggests the president has been captured by a myth that is simply too clever-by-half -- the idea that American health care is a giant con, with greedy doctors and companies drowning us in expensive, pointless treatments.

As a physician, I can confirm that there often are cheap, simple treatments for various illnesses. Sometimes there is, to pick up on the president's point, a red pill that is just as good as the blue pill, but half the cost.

But human biology is complex. Not surprisingly, the most expensive diagnostic, drug or device can often also be the best.

Science hasn't gone backward; there's a reason you don't see cost-conscious drivers buying Model Ts.

Take some examples from the pharmaceutical world: a kidney cancer drug, which is both expensive and proven to extend life; a costly medication that prevents the onset of disease-related blindness; a new and life-saving breast-cancer drug; an expensive Alzheimer's drug shown to slow the deterioration of the patient's mind.

All four examples are real drugs: Sutent, Lucentis, Tyverb and Aricept. And the British single-payer health-care system has refused to cover all four medications even when prescribed by their doctors.

The denials came on the recommendation of Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE. This government-mandated panel rations care based on financial and scientific considerations.

And now, a committee modeled on NICE -- called the Independent Medicare Advisory Committee -- is a key part of the ObamaCare plan.

In a blow to the "best versus expensive" myth, NICE has frequently been forced to reverse its "evidence-based" thinking. The decisions on Sutent, Lucentis, Tyverb and Aricept were all reversed (or reopened for review) despite initial "evidence-based" decisions to reject them.

NICE changed its mind not because the independent panel was conned by greedy corporations, but because it faced public outrage and, in some cases, even lawsuits from doctors' and patients' groups, all of who knew what the "best care" was even if NICE found excuses not to pay for it.

There's waste in American health care, no question. And the president deserves credit for attacking it. But his stated goals are to control cost inflation, broaden coverage and increase competition -- all of which are achievable without the draconian big-government solutions he's proposed.

Obama holds up the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic as examples of innovation -- but neither was created by a government committee or by federal legislation. Rather, both institutions were founded and expanded because of community-based innovation and excellence. The Mayo Clinic, incidentally, joined several other top health-care institutions in a letter warning that the congressional bills would force them to close.

If he wants more Mayo Clinics, then why is Obama designing his health-care plan to centralize decisions about everything -- insurance, technology review and even care itself -- in Washington?

The president complains of perverse incentives under Medicare to offer more treatment instead of better treatment. So why is Washington focused on creating a giant new version of Medicare before it has addressed these challenges in an existing program?

Obama insists that what's needed is more insurance competition. So why is Congress focused on the complex mechanics of creating a public insurance company with his full support, when the chief barrier to national insurance competition is a set of federal and state regulations that prevents competition among existing private insurers?

There's irony here. Even as he wrongly suggests that the problem is doctors who prescribe expensive care instead of the best care, "Dr." Obama is prescribing the most expensive health-care reforms -- not the best reforms.

Dr. David Gratzer is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Does that look like the kind of health care you want?  Does it look like the kind of health care you would consider an improvement over what we currently have, warts and all?

Think about it.


Ken Berwitz

My wife and I played hooky for much of today.  We got into bathing suits, packed up the chairs and lunch, and headed for Avon by the sea "down the shore" in New Jersey.

It was glorious. Regenerative.  The water was great.  And the crowd was very large, with tons of college kids and young children. 

It was perfect.  The kind of day you'd like to bottle, and open when you want a major lift.  

It doesn't get better.


Ken Berwitz

You can't make this stuff up.

Here, via excerpts from an Associated Press article, is Joe Biden crowing about what a smashing success the "stimulus package" is so far:

WASHINGTON Vice President Joe Biden cited more positive economic data on Tuesday, using it to buttress the Obama administration's argument that its $787 billion stimulus program is doing its job and revving up the economy.


"I can tell you today, without reservation, the Recovery Act is working," Biden told reporters...


Nationwide unemployment has risen every month since the stimulus took effect in February, climbing in June to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent. The July rate, which the government will announce Friday, was expected to be even higher.


He said spending by state and local governments increased 2.4 percent from April to June, after falling the prior six months. "That links directly to the fiscal relief we have provided to the states," the vice president said of the billions in stimulus funds that went to states.


Household income grew at a yearly rate of almost 5 percent in the same period, following declines in the previous nine months. Investments by businesses also contracted less than expected, he said.


Biden attributed increased home and car sales to government incentives, such as tax credits for new home buyers and the "cash-for-clunkers" program that gives consumers up to $4,500 to trade in their gas-guzzling vehicles for more fuel-efficient ones.


"Our critics say they don't think this program is helping," he said. "It is helping. I think it would be hard to tell the young family who just bought their first home because of the tax credit or the thousands of people who just traded in gas-guzzlers for more efficient cars that this is having no impact."


Despite signs of progress, Biden cautioned that full economic recovery is still a long way off.

"Less bad is not good," he said.

I want to live in the world.Joe Biden fantasizes.  It is dramatically better than the real one.

Remember when we were told that if the "stimulus package" passed unemployment would cap at 8%, but without it we would hit 9%? 

Well, the "stimulus package" passed.  And unemployment is at 9.5% on its way to double digits.  Evidently, that is Joe Biden's idea of success.  Is it yours?

And are you really surprised that if the government subsidizes new car purchases to the tune of up to $4,500, a lot of cars will be sold?  I know I'm not. 

The less you have to pay for something, the more likely you will be to buy it.  A 5 year old would be able to explain this concept to Mr. Biden.  But he apparently thinks it is some kind of great economic revelation known only since the advent of the "stimulus package"

Put another way, suppose the government doubled its "cash for clunkers" to $9,000.  I'll bet you'd see all-time record sales.  

This isn't progress, it is elementary common sense.   

Look, I wish this was working.  I root very hard for the USA, and the failure of the "stimulus package" does nothing but hurt it. 

If things should turn around for real, I will be on the front lines crowing right along with the Vice President.  But, unlike him, I have no political stake in pretending there is success where there isn't. 

I don't like someone peeing down my leg and telling me it's raining.  And this jackassian celebration of success, where there so obviously is none, is just that.



Ken Berwitz

Remember "Columbo", the great Peter Falk character with the rumpled overcoat, who always had one or two questions to ask onthe way out - questions that were asked as if they were afterthoughts, but which made extremely important points?

Well here, from my pal New Jersey Bob, is a "Columbo moment" for President Obama: : 

Ah, sorry to bother you Mr. Obama, Sir. . .

Excuse me Mr. Obama, I mean President Obama, Sir.  Um . . I know you're busy, and important and stuff.  I mean, running the county is very important and -- ah -- I hate to bother you, Sir.  I will only take a minute. Ok, Sir?

See, I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering, Sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out.  You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.

Hey, you have a nice place here!  The wife sees houses like this on TV all the time and says, boy, she wishes she had digs like this, you know?  Is that painting real?  Really?  Wow!  I saw something like that in a museum once.

Oh, sorry Sir.  I didn't mean to get off the track.  So if you could just help me out a minute and give me some details, I will get right out of your way.  I want to close this case and maybe take the wife to  Coney Island or something.  Ever been to Coney Island Sir?  No?  I didn't think so... 

Well, listen, anyway, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up.  These things seem to either be "Not released" or "Not available."  I'm sure it's just an oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are -- I -- I have them written down here somewhere -- oh wait.  Sorry about the smears.  It was raining out.  I'll just read it to you.


Could you please help me find these things, Sir?

Occidental  College records -- Not released

2.  Columbia  College records -- Not released

3.  Columbia Thesis paper -- "Not available"

4..  Harvard  College records -- Not released

5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released
6. Medical records -- Not released

7.  Illinois  State Senate schedule -- Not available

8. Your  Illinois State Senate records -- Not available

9. Law practice client list -- Not released

10. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released

11. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released

12. Record of your baptism -- Not available

Oh and one more thing Mr. President, I can't seem to find any articles you published as editor of the Harvard Law Review, or as a Professor at the University of Chicago. Can you explain that to me, Sir? 

Oh, but hey -- listen!  I know you're busy!  If this is too much for you right now -- I mean -- tell you what.  I'll come back tomorrow.  Give you some time to get these things together, you know?  I mean, I know you're busy.  I'll just let myself out.  I'll be back tomorrow.  And the day after. . .

What's that Mr. President?  Who wants to know these things? 
We the People of the  United States of AmericaYou know, the ones that vote.

Speakign for myself, I would love to have the answers to a few of those questions.  Maybe a lot of them.  Maybe all of them.

How about you?


Ken Berwitz

Now here's a guy who won't be catting around again any time soon.

As excerpted from an Associated Press article:

Women accused in lovers' quadrangle plot

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 | 12:17 PM


A married man who planned to rendezvous with one of his handful of lovers at an eastern Wisconsin motel instead found himself bound, blindfolded and assaulted by a group of women out for revenge, according to court documents.

Four women, including his wife, eventually showed up to humiliate the man, who ended up with his penis glued to his stomach in a bizarre plot to punish him for a lover's quadrangle gone bad, according to the documents filed in Calumet County.

Sewell, Therese Ziemann, 48, of Menasha, Michelle Belliveau, 43, of Neenah, and the man's wife are charged with being party to false imprisonment, a felony. Ziemann also is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

The women's plot for revenge unfolded last Thursday at the Lakeview Motel about 30 miles southwest of Green Bay in the tiny village of Stockbridge near the scenic shores of Lake Winnebago.

Criminal complaints filed Friday allege the man agreed to be bound with "sheer sheets" and blindfolded with a pillowcase for a "rub down" by Ziemann. She instead cut off his underwear with a scissors and summoned the others to the room with a text message.

Ziemann struck the man in the face, and used Krazy Glue to attach his penis to his stomach when the other women arrived, according to the complaints. The man told investigators he also was threatened with a gun. Ziemann told investigators she didn't have a gun but may have told the victim, "Do you know how much I want to shoot you?"

He started screaming and the women rushed off fearful that he could get loose and hurt them but allegedly took his wallet, vehicle and cell phone.

Ziemann told investigators she met the man online through Craigslist, fell in love and paid for his use of a room at the motel for the past two months. She said she gave him about $3,000. Then last Wednesday, she learned from the man's wife that he was married, had other girlfriends and was "using them for money." She expected the money to be repaid, according to the documents.

During Thursday's confrontation with the man, Ziemann told investigators Sewell asked him, "Which one do you love more?" and the man's wife made a derisive remark about him being scared.

The man got free from the bed by chewing through one of his bindings, went outside and borrowed a telephone from the motel owner to call police.

Ziemann and Belliveau are sisters and Belliveau didn't do anything wrong, Sewell said Monday. "She was just there for moral support. She wasn't even dating the guy. She stood at the door the whole time and didn't participate or nothing."

Ziemann's husband answered the telephone at their home and declined comment. There was no telephone listing for Belliveau.

The man had no telephone listing in Fond du Lac.

I would think that's a lesson well learned.  And one that will be remembered every time he has to stand on his head to pee.

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