Friday, 21 August 2009


Ken Berwitz

A couple of days ago I noted that the nut-job who was comparing Obamacare to naziism at Barney Frank's town hall meeting (who Frank, correctly, gave the business to) was Sheila Leavitt.

I retract that.  The person doing that apparently was a different nut-job. 

Today, I received these rather unpleasant comments from someone using the screen name "Sheila Leavitt" (though writing about her in the third person).  The bold print is mine, not hers:

sheila leavitt Sheila Leavitt and the person carrying the Hitler/Obama poster are two different people, as you would know if you did even a minimum amount of research. Sheila Leavitt asked a question of Congressman Frank, but she was a couple of questioners before the loony whom Frank, rightly enough, compared to a kitchen table. Leavitt, who is indeed a physician (she never claimed to be practicing, licensed, a spokesman for the medical profession, or qualified to do brain surgery, just the possessor of a medical degree, which she is) asked Frank about whether the proposed bill included support for the training of more primary care physicians. She also asked why the democrats weren't out in front of this right-wing smear campaign against health care reform. Leavitt said nothing about Nazis, which I'm sure you will see if you do a little rudimentary research (both Leavitt and the Nazi-spewing looney were wearing black sundresses, similar although not identical, and appeared in the same edited video clip, one of the many which is widely available on the internet). I am sure you will not print this, as I am sure that the truth is not your real objective here, but I will be checking back. Sorry if this does not support your agenda of smearing the Democrats by outing "fake doctors" and planted questions. Smarten up. (08/21/09)


sheila leavitt Addendum: If you do check your "facts" and realize how silly you look, I hope that, rather than merely deleting your post, you will write a full retraction of this nonsense and disseminate it widely. Leavitt made no attempt to hide her identity, and was, naturally, fully aware of her online persona. You may well call her a nutty liberal vegetarian home schooling greasecar-driving leftie, but she is not a fake doctor and no one ever planted her anywhere (maybe you were confused because of the vegetarian thing). Probably a lot of politicians working for passage of Obama's bill, which she supports as long as it contains a strong public option, wish she's stayed home. But Leavitt is very serious about the need for real health care reform, reform designed to deliver excellent health care to all our citizens, as is done in enlightened and civilized countries around the world. In many polls (you can check this) about 60% of all U.S. physicians support some form of nationalized health insurance. This percentage is much higher among those providing primary care. (08/21/09)

Ok.  First off, I've checked around and the "sheila leavitt" commenter appears to be correct.  The actual Sheila Leavitt  is not the one who compared Obama's health care proposals to naziism. 

In my own defense, there were good reasons to think she was the one - i.e. several different web sites saying so, one of which I referenced in my blog.  And they had at least one pretty good reason too:  even the commenter admits the women wore similar clothing. 

But that doesn't change the fact that I was wrong.  So I retract what I said about Sheila Leavitt and apologize for my error.

(By the way, in case the "sheila leavitt' commenter thinks she finessed me into what I just wrote, let me assure her of something regular readers already know:  this is not the first retraction I've made here, and I'm sure it won't be the last.  When someone shows me I'm wrong I say so.)

Regarding the commenter's charge that I won't print what she said and I'm not interested in the truth, I would think that's a bit hard to justify at the moment.

Nor did I "out" a fake doctor nor did I plant questions.  I live in New Jersey and wasn't within 250 miles of that meeting.  Sorry, sheila, try harder.

As far as the real Sheila Leavitt is concerned, frankly it wouldn't be hard to believe she'd say or do anything.  There are many sources for the description of Leavitt, but I'm picking Gateway Pundit's blog because of his updates (but not because of his last paragraph, which is far too general in its attack on Democrats for my taste):

Sheila Leavitt is not a real life doctor-- but she does play one at town hall meetings...
When she's not filling up her car with grease.

Buck's Right found another phony protest doctor.

Im having trouble finding evidence that an ObamaCare supporter who spoke at Barney Franks town hall meeting last night, identified by the Associated Press and other media outlets as a Newton, MA doctor, actually is a doctor.

Heres what the Associated Press had to say.

Others at Tuesdays meeting were more supportive of reform.

Dr. Sheila Leavitt, a physician from Newton, said she hoped for changes that would support primary care physicians who arent paid as much as specialists. She said some of the rowdy critics at Tuesdays meeting appeared to be using the same talking points as those who showed up at similar meetings around the country.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of Leavitt sted Levitt in last graf.)

The only references to Sheila Leavitt as a medical doctor I can find on Google (besides references to last nights town hall) are self-references; where she identifies herself that way. I could find no listing for a medical office belonging to Sheila Leavitt. Physicians generally have offices where they practice medicine.

As far as I can tell, she is not listed as a licensed Physician at the Massachusetts State Medical Board web site. Several Leavitts are doctors in Massachusetts, but none are named Sheila. Just for kicks I tried the Associated Press original misspelling of the name, Levitt, and also found no Sheila as a licensed doctor.


Kate at Small Dead Animals found this:




Sheila Leavitt, who owns the protest car, shown here has been noticed by Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald who wrote:

You could call Sheila Leavitt a nutty, annoying, unrelenting Newton leftie who home-schools the kids and raises chickens to share eggs with neighbors, not to eat. She is, of course, a vegetarian.

I see her as one of those rare people who puts their convictions on parade, then faces uneasy consequences. Like the beefy, mad, middle-aged guy who followed her around the Esplanade yesterday, before dawn, tearing down her "Impeach Bush'' posters as fast as she put them up. Or the trucker she said rear-ended her at a Mass Pike toll booth, sending her head into the steering wheel of her '88 Toyota Corolla with bumper stickers saying ``War is barbaric'' and ``Support our troops . . . Draft Jenna and Barbara,'' as in Bush.

How much easier, really, discretion? Or just waving the flag and sticking your popular ``Support the Troops'' yellow ribbon on the rear window.

No one's going to rear-end you for that.

Well, you should've seen Sheila Leavitt's in-your-face Toyota yesterday as this 54-year-old trained physician and mother of four in sundress and flip-flops did her ``one-person protest parade'' through the Back Bay and South End.

Kate adds: The only thing I can't find is evidence of a practice.

More... The Boston Globe reported in 2007 that Leavitt filters cooking oil in her basement to fuel her Volkswagen Beetle.
-- A Sheila Leavitt protested Condi Rice in 2006.
-- Sheila Leavitt is the founder of, an expired domain.

--Any help on the Sheila Leavitt's background is appreciated.

More... Granny adds:

Massachusetts licenses every last danged thing. If you want to fix your neighbors porch you need a $150 license to do so.

If the medical licensing board website does not list her as having a medical license, then she is NOT practicing medicine in the state of Massachusetts.

Still More... Kate adds this in the comments:

I just called the AP in Massachusetts, told them there were questions being raised about Sheila Leavitt, and they're going to look into it.

I suggested they try Google.

That's in case they have trouble.

UPDATE: She's a realtor.
At least that's what she says here.
...But, then again, she probably doesn't have a realtor's license either.

UPDATE 2: A commenter who claims to be "The Son" confirms that she never practiced medicine.

UPDATE 3: It figures. Granny found evidence that Sheila's real estate license is expired, too.

UPDATE 4: Search-Engine found this adn has more photos:

There is a Sheila Leavitt and Andrew Lichtman who own a single family home in Newton, MA:

UPDATE 5: From BullMooseGal--

Whoever the lady is, she doesn't and hasn't published in any reputable journal in the last thirty years ( That wasn't so unusual thirty or even fifteen years ago for doctors, but over the last fifteen years, medical professionals have increasingly been expected to contribute to research, so apparently raising her kids (honorable enough) and protesting (laughably) are her professions.

UPDATE 6: Rush Limbaugh added--

What is it with these Democrats and their attraction to fake doctors? Well, the answer is very simple. Everything they are doing is fake; everything is a head fake; everything is deceit; everything is fraud. They have to send the union thugs out to try to intimidate the people who are showing up out of genuine passion. It's so great because they've got all this power, and now they're just showing everybody who they are, what they are, and people are seeing it. And when Obama loses that commodity that he had, the trust, you don't get that back. When people start doubting you, and you are The Messiah, and you lose your messianic status, I don't know how you get it back.

Gateway Pundit

Bottom line?  I mixed up two nut-jobs. 

Sorry about that.

Sheila Leavitt, M.D. Please enter my last comment under your post, on the main page, not as a link, the way you've pasted all that other "information," Sheila Leavitt, M.D., Newton, MA (08/21/09)

Ken Berwitz See, this is where the nut-job description comes in. I've reposted your comments as a separate blog, agreed I was wrong, and retracted and apologized in a separate, underlined paragraph so that it doesn't get lost in the middle of the blog. And your reaction is to pitch a hissy-fit. Sorry, but if you want more you're not getting any. That said, I wonder how quickly YOU are to admit when YOU'RE wrong - as you were about my "agenda". So far, I would say the prospects are not very promising. (08/21/09)

Sheila Leavitt, M.D. Yeah, Mr. Partisan Blogger, you've done a very good job of showing how disinformation on the web is spread and amplified and perpetrated. Thanks for re-stating what I already acknowledged in my previous post: Sheila Leavitt has a fairly extensive internet presence as a leftie loudmouth who drove a ratty old car and raises chickens and was against the war, and not afraid to say so publicly, etc. etc. Ho, i might say, hum. Neither this information, nor Rush Limbaugh's seal of approval on the "fake M.D." label, make her a liar about her M.D. degree, nor a plant doing the bidding of anyone but her own unrelenting self. She is a citizen, an educated citizen with no claim to an active medical practice, but 4 years of medical school, an M.D. degree, a completed internship, a license (on record in the State of N.Y., although not currently active) to practice medicine, a couple of years in practice, and a year of residency at a fine Boston hospital, which she interrupted to raise a family. This makes her a fake---what? One of her questions at the Dartmouth town hall meeting was about support in the health care reform bill for training more primary care doctors. What a very radical idea! A second question was critical (critical!) of the Democratic leadership and of Obama for not getting out ahead of the right wing, anti-reform, insurance industry financed, Harry and Louise, Swift-boat-flavored smear machine. I mean, where were those guys to let you run this debate??? Oh, I forgot. They were trying to hammer out a compromise bill that would somehow provide health care for all and keep the Republicans from trying to kill it. But that, as we know, was impossible from the get-go, because Republicans have no interest in providing health care for those who can't afford it, not if that means cutting into the obscene profits of the health insurance industry or angering their hard-core base, with its totally hardened "I've-Got-Mine-Jack" attitudes and their hatred for the current occupant of the White House. Further soul- and mind searching on your part are in order, Mr. Partisan. My opinion. (08/21/09)

Sheila Leavitt, M.D. Ken, Ken, Ken: You've re-pasted all that blogosphere libel about me not being a "real" doctor, disinformation that is being used in a further attempt to smear Obama's health care reform attempts by accusing them of using "fake M.D. plants" at their town meetings. You don't appear to have the integrity to do your own independent fact-checking. Whining about the fact that "several different websites" gave you bad information, and then re-posting more bad information, just doesn't look that smart, frankly, Ken. Put this exchange out there where others can read it, and judge for themselves, if you really believe what you are saying. And you don't have the guts to put my rebuttal on your main post page, just sticking it out here in "comments". (08/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

As we have chronicled over the past several weeks, President Obama's performance in national polls has taken a major pummeling.  This is true in in major poll after major poll (Rasmussen, Gallup, Quinnipiac, Pew, NBC all have him at 51% approval or lower).

Now Zogby has checked in with its latest data.  Here it is:

Released: August 21, 2009

Zogby Interactive Poll: Obama's Job Approval Sinks to Record Low 45%


UTICA, New York - President Barack Obama's job approval rating has sunk to a record low of just 45%, the latest Zogby Interactive poll shows. Fifty-one percent of likely voters now say they disapprove of the President's job performance.


"None of these numbers looks counter-intuitive to me. Gallup, NBC, and Pew all have Obama at record lows. Rasmussen also shows low approval. Things are volatile out there and news travels fast. There is a lot of anxiety over healthcare," said Zogby International President and CEO John Zogby. "The President let it get away from him and voters are scared right now. They are experiencing sacrifice overload and feel more threatened than empowered. The President is being forced to play defense and he is much better when he is in possession of the ball. But do not underestimate Obama. Last August he was toast."


The Zogby Interactive survey of 2,530 likely voters nationwide was conducted Aug. 18-20, 2009, and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points.


Zogby International also uses a four-point scale of job performance. Using that measure, this latest survey finds 16% rate his job performance as excellent and 27% as good. Another 11% gave him a fair rating while 45% said his job performance is poor. Both scales show a significant drop from a Zogby International telephone poll conducted July 31-Aug. 4, which showed 53% approving of Obama's job performance, and 38% disapproving. At that time, 51% rated his job performance as excellent or good and 48% rated it as fair or poor. Zogby's last survey showed an improvement over a Zogby Interactive survey conducted July 21-24. Then, 48% approved and 49% disapproved. In that same poll, on the four-point scale, 47% gave Obama excellent or good grades, and 53% chose fair or poor.


While this latest poll shows Democrats continue to overwhelmingly approve of Obama's job performance (84%), just 6% of Republicans say the same. Most independents (59%) now disapprove of the job the President is doing.


"He has lost support among political independents, that's the biggest change from our last survey. He is also starting to lose support he had picked up among investors and frequent Wal-Mart shoppers -- who both are on the conservative side but where Obama had been making gains," Zogby said. "Remember, Zogby polling has generally been ahead of the curve during the past three administrations."


For a complete methodological statement on this survey, please visit:


Is this what Mr. Obama meant when he said that everybody in Washington is "all wee-wee'ed up" right now?  

Maybe it was different in the various places where Barack Obama grew up, but where I come from "wee-wee" is a child's way of describing urine.  If that is what Mr. Obama meant to convey, he is amazingly arrogant, amazingly condescending.....and amazingly deep in denial. 

This isn't "wee-wee", it is voters realizing that they do not like what he and his administration and his congressional majority are doing.  And the correct response is better performance, not childish insults.


Ken Berwitz

I just read a piece by Eric Alterman at  You can read it by clicking on the link I've supplied, but here is the beginning........with some comments of mine added in blue:

On Friday of last week, I received the following email from Maxim Lott, a reporter from

Hi Eric, I am writing an article for on how the NBC Universal store sells 29 different items about Barack Obamafrom a shirt that says yes we did to fridge magnets, to his booksbut no items from, say, McCain/Palin or Bush. Some conservatives are saying this indicates that NBC has a left-wing bias. Since you're the author of What Liberal Media? I would love to get your take on this. Does this indicate anything? Unfortunately my deadline is 1 p.m. today. Sorry for the short notice, and hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

Well, I try to be a nice guy, and so even though it was a Friday in August, and (as I later learned), both Media Matters and FAIR refused to respond, I gave it my best shot and answered:

I think it indicates that NBC thinks it can make money from selling Obama items but not from McCain or Bush items. I think this is a sound judgment. Don't you?  Thats his best shot?  A total of 31 words saying Obama would be a bigger seller than.than who?  Lott didnt say McCain/Palin or Bush explicitly, he used them as examples of people other than Obama who had a different political perspective.  Thats what the word say is meant to convey as Alterman of course knows.  Further, using Altermans logic, why do retail stores put items other than the best seller on their shelves?  They all do, so maybe they know something he doesnt.

I mean the guy did win the election and all, is the president, and NBC is in New York City where pretty much everybody voted for Obama, etc., but Mr. Lott continued to wonder if perhaps there wasnt more to it. He wrote back: NBC may be in New York City, but a) not everyone in NYC voted for Obama and b) the NBC store is a tourist destination where people come from all over the country and all over the world.  I suggest Mr. Alterman might benefit by watching maybe 10 minutes of the next Today Show, reading some of the signs people hold up in NBC Plaza to see where they come from, and then considering the fact that this is the same plaza where the NBC store is located.  That might be very instructive.  And that, of course, is before we discuss the fact that NBC is supposedly a politically neutral venue.

Thanks. I'll be sure to include your point in the article. Conservatives I talk with say that even if it's true that it's a purely business decision and NBC sells only Obama items because those sell bestaren't they likely to take the same attitude for on-air reports? More positive coverage of Obama, if that's what sells? Would be interested in your response to that.

Here, Ill admit, Mr. Lott got me thinking. I suppose I should have realized that a conspiracy must lie beneath the sales of the tchotka-stocking decision-making establishment at the NBC gift shop, but alas I did not. Now that he raised it, I felt Mr. Lott deserved a more complete reply. I wrote back: A minor point, but I pronounce that tchotchke.  Ive never heard it pronounced the way Alterman spelled it.  Lets be nice and call it a typo.

I think it an almost comically stupid question. Do these conservatives think that the person making the decision of what items to sell in the NBC gift shops is the person giving orders about how to slant the politics of NBC news? What about the choice of beverage sales in the cafeteria? Is that a conspiracy to send people to Obama's death panels? Do they, like Obama, hate white people? Really, this would be funny except that FOX pretends to be a real news network....   Ok, theres the real Eric Alterman.  Snide, obnoxious and arrogant.  I wonder if it ever occurred to him that Lott meant his question from the opposite position i.e. that the people producing the on-air reports are driving what is sold in the gift shops?  Lott certainly doesnt say what Altermans rant suggests, does he?  And where did the attacks relating to death panels and racism come from?  Evidently in the world of Alterman if youve seen one right wing conspiracy youve seen em all.

Give Mr. Lott credit. His piece is entirely fair to my point of view. And he found two sources without obvious right-wing affiliations to gin up the conspiracy angle: DePaul University journalism professor Bruce Evensen said, The [NBC] site seems like a campaign stop for those following their messiah...The appearance that NBC isn't reporting the news with fairness, balance and impartialitybut is instead cheerleadingis apparent, he said.  Gee.  After all this, Alterman has to admit that Lott wrote a fair piece.  Ok, if thats so then why was that bucket-load of bile we just discussed necessary?

With great trepidation (after all, I'm probably just one false move away from being attacked on death panels and racism too) I have a slight suggestion for the NBC store, that Eric Alterman might find logical.

Since the NBC store can only find a reason to sell tchotchkes that celebrate someone from one of the two major political parties, and since NBC presumably wants people to seriously believe it is politically neutral........maybe the store shouldn't sell tchotchkes that celebrate anyone from either of the parties.  Maybe, it being the NBC Store and all, it should just sell NBC stuff.

Heeeyyyy.  That idea is so crazy that it just might work..


Ken Berwitz

After 9/11 President Bush said to the countries of the world that they were either with us or against us.  Tough, threatening words. 

Shortly thereafter, Libya's dictator, moammar qaddafi, who was a leading supporter and instigator of worldwide terrorism, very publicly ended his nuclear program.  Clearly, he feared what President Bush would do about it.

On July 9th of this year, during one of his world tours in which he apologized for the United States to some of the worst scum of the earth, as if we owed them an apology, President Obama met with moammar qaddafi and shook his hand.  Clearly, this was a very different way of interacting with qaddafi.  Even though Bush reestablished relations with Libya in 2006, he didn't fantasize some klind of warm, friendly relationship with its dictator.

On August 20th, the Scottish government, in its inexcusable idiocy, released convicted terrorist abdelbaset al megrahi.  megrahi was the one and only man convicted of taking down Pan Am flight 103 near the town of Lockerbie in 1988, and killing 270 people - most of them American and a great many of them young students. 

The rationale for al megrahis release was that he is dying of prostate cancer (a condition many people survive and live long lives afterwards).  This was supposed to show "compassion" (to a terrorist and mass murderer).

The Obama administration - this is a month after that friendly handshake - strongly urged qaddafi to immediately put al megrahi under house arrest once he got back to Libya.  Instead, qaddafi sent his personal plane to pick up al megrahi and bring him back to Libya, where qaddafi had a wildly cheering celebration waiting for him at the airport.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from these events.

Sadly, the most important, which involves how the scum of the world react when a President of the United States apologizes for our actions, and then cozies up to them, may remain unlearned. 

See how our wonderful "neutral" media cover this angle of the al megrahi story.  If it is barely covered, or not covered at all, you will be shown a major reason why President Obama can ignore the lesson in front of his eyes and continue behaving exactly the same way.


UPDATE:  I was just speaking with my son, Scott, and he encapsulated the point about qaddafi and his kindred scum beautifully:  "They don't care about what you say, they care about what you might do to them". 

I don't think it can be said better than that.

Zeke Ken -- It does disturb me that my immediate reaction to MSM stories is to look for where they are slanting the story and concealing relevant facts. ... sigh '... The expectation is that they are reporting propaganda. (08/21/09)

Ken Berwitz Helluva question, zeke. (08/21/09)

Zeke Exactly WHO determined that this terrorist's prostate cancer was an end of life situation ? In many (not all) cases, it is so slow growing that nothing is done, and the patient goes on to die from old age (other causes). ... This is a younger guy, so perhaps some treatment is indicated ... had he gotten any ? Which doctors diagnosed and treated his condition ? .... Or does his release have anything to do with Great Britain being selected to exploit Lybia's oil reserves, which are the largest in North Africa and mostly underdeveloped. (08/21/09)



Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about MSNBC showing some heavily edited footage of a man carrying a weapon at an Obama rally, after which its "on-air talent" used it as the basis for decrying racism in the US, with one of its commentators assuring us that this kind of racism could result in a serious attempt on President Obama. 

The problem?  The man carrying that weapon was Black.  They edited out every angle which showed it, and left only the footage with a holstered gun on a man wearing pants and a shirt - no visible skin.

I agreed with "allahpundit" of, one of the sites that exposed this fraud, that MSNBC's story was straight down the sinkhole of dishonesty.

Well, allahpundit has a follow-up on the story.  Here is an excerpt:

MSNBC on race-baiting gun segment: Um, we were speaking generally

posted at 4:10 pm on August 20, 2009 by Allahpundit
Er, yes. That was precisely the problem. So lame that it barely qualifies as spin:

Following the shot of the African American man focusing specifically on the gun, MSNBC host Contessa Brewer said that you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists or to their legs.

[B]y raising the racial issue in this context, bloggers claimed that MSNBC was purposely misleading viewers by not showing that at least one African-American man has also carried a gun to an event.

An MSNBC spokesperson responded to POLITICO: Contessa was speaking generally and not about that specific person with the automatic weapon.

Indeed she was, even though the presence at the rally of that specific person which was withheld from MSNBC viewers undercut her general thesis that the gun display was motivated by racial paranoia rather than libertarian principle.

This is really just an extreme version of the media forgetting to mention whos really responsible for those Obama/Hitler signs at town halls. The sin in that case is one of omission in order to further the Republican mob narrative; in this case, they went a step further and actually trimmed the video to support their race-war storyline.

And the best defense MSNBC can offer for it is a Larger Truth/fake-but-accurate non-answer. Its one thing when the media doesnt report things that should be reported, but when theyre actually doctoring facts to better tailor them to their ideological agenda? I dont know where we go from here.

Liars.  Frauds.  And their hero, keith olbermann, calls FOX "fixed news"?  When does he do a segment on, they pay him, don't they?  Ok, never mind.


free` "TV listings: The Prime-Time TV grid in Thursday's Calendar section mistakenly listed MTV's "Jackass" show on the MSNBC cable schedule at 7 and 10 p.m. where instead MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" should have been listed." (08/21/09)

Ken Berwitz free - THANK YOU!!! That is going up on the blog immediately (or as soon as I stop laughing - with full attribution to you, of course. (08/21/09)


Ken Berwitz

Commenter "free" has just pointed out an error correction in today's L.A. Times that I am still laughing about.  He found here.

You decide if it really was an error or the paper was right the first time:

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Countdown" = "Jackass"

From the LA Times corrections page:

Andrew Malcolm reported on the LA Times' mixup:

"TV listings: The Prime-Time TV grid in Thursday's Calendar section mistakenly listed MTV's "Jackass" show on the MSNBC cable schedule at 7 and 10 p.m. where instead MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" should have been listed."


Even a broken clock is right twice a day.


Gateway Pundit

Who knows?  Maybe next week they'll list an Obama press conference as "So You Think You Can Dance"

free` I knew you were going to like that one. :) (08/21/09)

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