Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Ken Berwitz

The durable, pleasing singer Al Martino died today at the age of 82.  No cause of death was given, but it clearly was untimely in nature:  according to Philadelphia radio host Jerry Blavat, who dined with Al and Judy Martino (his wife of 40 years) on Monday, he seemed just fine at that time. 

Al Martino was what Frank Sinatra liked to call himself:  "A saloon singer".  But one with an easy-going style that made listening to him a genuine pleasure.

His biggest commercial hits were in the 1950's;  among them, "Spanish Eyes" and "Here in my Heart".  But I think Mr. Martino will be most remembered as Johnny Fontane, Don Vito Corleone's godson, who needed that big Hollywood role to get back on top, and got it via a dead horse's head in the bed of the movie mogul who didn't want to give it to him.  You may also remember that, in the wedding scene at the beginning of the movie, he sang "I Have But One Heart" to the delighted screams of the teenage girl guests.

From all accounts, Al Martino was a good guy.  And obviously he was a true entertainment professional.  May he rest in peace.


Ken Berwitz

From the Alabama web site,

Update: State Democratic party names dead man to Mobile County committee

By Sean Reilly

October 13, 2009, 2:02PM


In assembling a new committee of Mobile County Democrats, the state Democratic party included one person who died last year, his widow and other party members confirmed this morning. Reynolds Smith, Jr., of the Eight Mile community, passed away in November at age 83, according to a Press-Register obituary at the time.

In an interview this afternoon, Jim Spearman, the state party's executive director, attributed the snafu to outdated records. The party had gotten Smith's name from a 2006 list of candidates for the county committee, he said, and then used a state voter list to verify that he was still an active voter. The list, which Spearman said dated from around last November, did not reflect that Smith had died. Spearman said he will write Smith's family to explain what happened.

Smith is one of more than 60 people listed on the new interim Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee announced by  state party Chairman Joe Turnham in a Monday news release, after he disbanded the previous committee.

But one of those people, long-time Democrat Ed Kahalley, Sr. of Mobile, said this morning that he had not agreed to join the new panel and had no intention of serving.  Turnham is "part of the problem, not the solution," Kahalley said.

The state party's decision to name the interim committee provoked a lawsuit today from members of the previous panel, but Mobile County Circuit Judge Rick Stout this afternoon rejected their bid for a temporary restraining order. "What happens in the party stays in the party," Stout said. "This seems to be an internal dispute in the Democratic Party."

Helluva vetting process.  I wonder if Turnham claimed to have carefully interviewed and evaluated the committee nominees beforehand.  If so, maybe he should have asked if they were dead or alive.  A non-answer to that question would probably not have boded well.

The, er, plot thickens.


Ken Berwitz

Now that you've seen the comments by keith olbermann about Michelle Malkin's piece on Charisse Carney-Nunes, I thought maybe you would like to see the piece itself (I'm having trouble putting up the graphics.  To see them, click here):

Here it is.  Every word:

Mmm mmm mmm: New details about the Dear Leader song video; Update: School responds

By Michelle Malkin    September 24, 2009 09:04 AM

Scroll for updates

In case you were wondering which school taught kids that Barack Hussein Obama mmm mmm mmm rap that I posted yesterday afternoon, here are some new details.


The video was originally posted in June 2009 here by YouTube user brandnuwords. Update: She has now removed the video sometime this morning. Here is the screenshot:


Brandnuwords is the YouTube account of Charisse Carney-Nunes. More on her in a moment.


YouTube user alteredbeat re-posted the video on September 6 here.


Alteredbeat e-mailed Carney-Nunes to inquire about the location of the school. She told him it was a school in South Jersey.


This screenshot from the video


matches up with this picture of the auditorium at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington Township, NJ:


I have e-mailed the principal of the school with the following questions:


Did Ms. Carney-Nunes have permission to videotape the performance?


Were parents notified that their children would be participating in this activity prior to the lesson?


Was Ms. Carney-Nunes invited to the school to teach the children the song and about her book, I am Barack Obama?

Was the principal aware of this event and taping?


Back to Charisse Carney-Nunes. Via ModernConservative, Carney-Nunes is senior vice president of The Jamestown Project, the award-winning author of the childrens books, I Am Barack Obama (2009), and according to her biography, a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was a schoolmate of President Obama. I have e-mailed Carney-Nunes for comment as well.


The Obama school song video that she taped shows her book featured on an easel next to the children hailing Dear Leader. She promotes her book as a tool that allows children to see themselves through the inspirational story of President Obama growing up as an ordinary child asking, Who will change the world? Ultimately, he realizes that he will.


She has spread this creepy cult message to schoolchildren across the country.


Coming to a classroom near you?




We already know what the response will be to critics of this elementary school agitprop: Raaaaaacist!

Did you read it?  Every word of it?  Good.

Now, tell me what it said about Charisse Carney-Nunes that set keith olbermann off on his lunatic-asylum-quality rant.  The one and only thing Ms. Malkin said was that Ms. Carney-Nunes was offering a "creepy cult message to schoolchildren across the country" with her children's story about how wonderful Barack Obama is and how he will change the world. 

Personally I agree with Ms. Malkin.  That kind of hero worship/adoration has no place in children's stories in a classroom.  If you want your elementary school child to be taught that Barack Obama is some kind of saint on earth, buy the book and read it to your child at home.

And even if I disagreed with Ms. Malkin, what has she done except express an opinion?  Nothing, that's what.

But for daring to express that opinion, olbermann gets in front of a camera and says....

By nighttime, Malkin and the lunatic fringe had decided Carney-Nunez was responsible for the song and whichever plot their fevered little paranoid minds saw behind it. She received death threats and hate-filled voice mails all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.

This is a sick, disturbed man who needs help.  And MSNBC is a sick network for airing his show.


Ken Berwitz

I guarantee that this one will leave you slack-jawed. 

It comes to us from KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon.  The utter idiocy is from the management of the Oaks Apartments.  The bold print is from me:

Apartment residents told to take down U.S. flags

by Melica Johnson KATU News and Staff

Originally printed at

ALBANY, Ore. - At the Oaks Apartments in Albany, the management can fly their own flag advertising one and two bedroom apartments - but residents have been told they can't fly any flags at all.


Jim Clausen flies the American flag from the back of his motorcycle. He has a son in the military heading back to Iraq, and the flag - he said - is his way of showing support.


"This flag stands for all those people," said Clausen, an Oaks Apartment resident. "It stands for the people that can no longer stand - who died in wars. That's why I fly this flag."


But to Oaks Apartment management, Clausen said, the American flag symbolizes problems.


He was told to remove the red, white and blue from both of his rides, or face eviction.


"It floored me," he said. "I can't believe she was saying what she was saying."


Even long-time residents like Sharron White, who has flown a flag on her car for eight years, has been told to take it down.


White said management told her that "someone might get offended."


"I just said to her 'They'll just have to get over it,'" White said.


Resident we talked to who had been approached to take down their flags all told us the same thing: that management told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.


Attempts to find out for ourselves why management would ban flags were unsuccessful. KATU wanted to talk to management at Oaks Apartments, but no one has returned our calls. The woman we were told had made the decision said she was "not going to answer any questions."


The mother of one soldier fighting in Iraq put up a poster in her son's apartment window when she learned of the ban. Her son's roommate said he'll risk eviction to make sure it stays.
Another Oaks Apartment resident, Judith Sherer, doesn't have a car. Instead she carries an American flag around the complex to protest the ban, and wonders if the flag pin she wears is next to be "singled out."


"If I put it on and I walk outside, what's going to happen?" Sherer muses. "Am I going to be confronted by a manager about this?"


We're told the ban includes sports flags and even flag stickers on cars.

I can understand if an apartment complex bans flags (regardless of what their meaning is) hanging, say, from the windows of individual units.  Enough of those and it looks like a frat row or a sporting event instead of a residence.

But banning flags on cars or motorcycles or anywhere else?   And specifically banning the flag of the country we live in on the grounds that it is somehow offensive?

If the person who made this idiotic decision thinks our flag is so offensive, she ain't that far from the northern border.  Maybe it would be worth the trip.  Then she could see how she makes out banning Canadian flags in Canada.

I hope everyone in the complex starts putting up American flags.  Not that someone like this likely to learn anything from it, but wouldn't it be satisfying?


Ken Berwitz

"Captain" Lou Albano died today at the age of 76

If you are a wrestling fan, that name is certainly known to you.  Mr. Albano wrestled under several different titles ("Captain" being the final, and most long-lasting of them) for many years, and "managed" various wrestlers as well.

He also had a strange, improbable relationship with pop singer Cyndi Lauper that involved both music and wrestling.

In a bizarre, fake sport that has always lent itself to colorful, offbeat characters,  Lou Albano was one of the most colorful and offbeat of them all. 

May he wrestle in peace.


Ken Berwitz

One more blog on this subject (but I have a feeling there will be more, as the fallout from olbermann's slurs against Malkin continues).

Let's look at Ms. Malkin's piece from just this past Monday, in which she shows us how what she actually said was mangled, contorted, distorted and spit out by the Washington Post:

Michelle Malkin 


WaPo Page A1 breaking news: Conservatives are horrible ogres, Part 99,999

By Michelle Malkin    October 12, 2009 09:22 AM


The Sunday edition of the Washington Post featured a massive, front-page article by Ann Gerhart decrying the incivility of conservatives. The nations political discourse seems sour, angry, even dangerous, Gerhart frets.

The introduction of the article spotlighted an e-mail from yours truly to Obama-philic author and Jamestown Project member Charisse Carney-Nunes.


Does the e-mail contain incivil rhetoric, profanity, or threats?




My message contained.questions:


Late last month, Charisse Carney-Nunes fired up the computer at her home in Northeast Washington to check her e-mail. Her brain already was on morning drive time: breakfast for the kids, her days work at a government agency. She glanced down at her screen, then froze.


Ms. Carney-Nunes, began the e-mail from Michelle Malkin, a best-selling and often inflammatory conservative writer with a heavily trafficked Web site. I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June. I have a few quick questions. Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, I am Barack Obama at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?


Carney-Nunes looked at the time stamp 6:47 a.m. and closed the file without replying. She knew Malkin had driven criticism of President Obamas back-to-school speech, streamed nationwide, as an attempt to indoctrinate students. Now Malkin was asking about a YouTube video of New Jersey public school children singing and enthusiastically chanting about Obama from a Black History Month presentation.



Here was the full message I sent:


Ms. Carney-Nunes,

I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June.


I have a few quick questions.


Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, I am Barack Obama at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?


Thanks for your time.


I had also e-mailed the principal of the Burlington Township elementary school that hosted Carney-Nunes and prominently featured her I Am Barack Obama book at the school assembly where the kids sang. The principal did not respond. Neither did Carney-Nunes.


Instead of replying to me, Carney-Nunes ran to the Washington Post a month later to complain about angry e-mails she received in response to the now-infamous Mmm, Mmm, Mmm Obama praise video.


The Post dutifully extrapolated from the incident to invoke Rev. Charles Edward Coughlin, smear the Tea Party movement as racist, and deride conservative ideologues [who] are the millionaire kings and queens of cable and radio ratings and book sales (see Sweetness and Light for the screen cap).


The Post erroneously asserted that the video was erroneously linked to Carney-Nunes:


There was nothing erroneous about the link. The video was uploaded on the YouTube channel of Carney-Nunes. She now blames it on an associate in the Post article:


Carney-Nunes said an associate of hers videotaped the childrens performance and later uploaded it, along with video and photos from other of her readings, to Carney-Nuness YouTube account.


The Post sympathetically quoted Carney-Nunes as she pondered:


How can I talk to those people? she said. These are people who persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he isnt a citizen of this country. You tell me: Where is the beginning of that conversation?


Carney-Nunes isnt interested in talking to me. And she isnt interested in talking to you. She is interested in promoting the cult of Obama in elementary schools and helping kids find that inner Obama without anyone criticizing her.


Its a telling sign of the Posts ideological agenda and its insufficient tuned-in-ness (to borrow the NYTimes phrase) that the paper doesnt think parental concerns about left-wing radicalism in the schools are Page A1-newsworthy but that the complaints of a social justice proselytizer are.

Is this BS "story" the source for olbermann's off-the-end-of-the-world rant about Ms. Malkin? 

You have to wonder.


Ken Berwitz

These links are all on right now:

Storms menace CA...
Heavy snow expected in PA...
Chicago record breaking cold continues...
Montana records fall...
FORECASTS BLOWN: '09 Atlantic hurricane season quietest in decade...

Now:  do you assume out-of-hand that global warming is a reality?  If so, why?  Because Al Gore told you?  Or because of how warm the weather is?  Or based on the word of people who predicted the hurricane season? 

Just asking............

Zeke ..... It IS a RECORD HURRICANE season. One of the QUIETEST seasons in memory. ...... And the record LOW temps PROVE that Global Warming is Real ..... Sooner or later, it will stop getting cold, and begin getting warm .... Maybe after the next Ice Age. .... (10/15/09)


Ken Berwitz

For anyone who thinks racism and/or homophobia are things of the past, here is an ugly little story from the Chicago Sun-Times.  The bold print is mine:

Geneva High School teacher accused of anti-gay remark

GENEVA | Gay high school student wants him fired


October 13, 2009


A Geneva High School teacher is being accused of making anti-gay and racist comments in his classroom.

Dave Burk, who teaches consumer education, is accused of making the comments by his students during an Oct. 5 lecture on tax money involving the National Endowment for the Arts.

"How would you feel about your tax dollars going to pay some black fag in New York to take pictures of other black fags?" Burk allegedly asked, according to student Jordan Hunter.

Burk's attorney, D.J. Tegeler, said Monday he was not personally aware of the terms Burk used to his classes, but that Burk apologizes for any offense.

"Mr. Burk is cooperating fully with both the principal, the dean of students and the school board," Tegeler said. "Mr. Burk's biggest problem is he does not want to intentionally offend anybody and if he did, he apologizes."

Tegeler said Burk will abide by any punishment the district picks. "We have no intention of fighting anything," Tegeler said.

Hunter, who reported Burk to the administration, wants Burk fired.

"If he wants to talk about a poor place to put our tax dollars, I think his salary is a poor place to put our tax dollars," said Hunter, who is gay.

Hunter said several other students have contacted him, saying Burk repeated the same phrase in all his classes. "He's free to feel any way he wants, but [with him] being in a position of influence like that over children, I don't think he should be using that position to make statements like that," said Hunter, 17, of Geneva.

School board member Matt Henry said Hunter's allegations might come up during tonight's board meeting, but the board's plan is to leave the issue to Craig Collins, the assistant superintendent for personnel services, who could not be reached for comment.

"We heard about it, and pretty much it's a personnel issue," Henry said. "I understand [Collins] and the principal handled it."

Board member Mark Grosso said he thinks it will be discussed officially in the closed session of the meeting.

 Did Dave Burk say this? 

It is true that the only source for his comments is Jordan Hunter.  But do you see any denial by Burk?  Me neither.

If Burk's only defense is that he didn't mean to offend anyone and that he will abide by any punishment he might receive, that would seem to me prima facie evidence that he said exactly what Hunter claims.

One of two things is true:  Either Dave Burk is a racist/homophobe, or he is not but is so incredibly obtuse that he doesn't realize his comments fit both categories. 

Which of these two would make you at all comfortable with him continuing to teach children?


Ken Berwitz

From Brad Wilmouth at, we get a taste of keith olbermann - the same keith olbermann who attacks others for incivility:

Olbermann: Without Fascistic Hatred, Malkin Is Just a Mashed-Up Bag of Meat with Lipstick

By Brad Wilmouth (Bio | Archive)
October 13, 2009 - 21:53 ET


On Tuesdays Countdown show, MSNBCs Keith Olbermann spewed bile at conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, accusing her of possessing "fascistic hatred," and comparing her to a "mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." During his shows regular "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann attacked Malkin for her role in bringing attention to the recent controversy over school children in New Jersey singing a song about President Obama.


Blaming the conservative commentator for death threats made against a woman who posted video of the children singing, Malkin was crudely slammed by Olbermann: "She received death threats and hate-filled voice mails all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."


Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, October 13, Countdown show on MSNBC:


KEITH OLBRMANN: Runner up, Michelle Malkin. ... When this Obama song stupidity broke in New Jersey last month with elementary school kids there singing about the President, author Shariz Carney Nunez says she got an email from Malkin reading:


I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young Elementary School in June. I have a few quick questions. Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an. educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, "I Am Barack Obama," at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well acquainted are you with the President?


That was at 6:47 in the morning. By nighttime, Malkin and the lunatic fringe had decided Carney-Nunez was responsible for the song and whichever plot their fevered little paranoid minds saw behind it. She received death threats and hate-filled voice mails all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it. Ms. Carney-Nunez had nothing to do with the song. By the way, the fringe is out protesting at the school again scaring the kids. You know, exactly the way that psychotic pastor protests at military funerals.

Thanks for the civility lesson, keith.

And congratulations to MSNBC for continuing to air such an obviously disturbed, sick, hate-filled "man".  How proud you must be of material like this.

(Anon) "Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." I would bet the same can be said about olberman on friday nights. (10/14/09)


Ken Berwitz

Here is a report of racism that (other than possibly local sources) mainstream media have not touched. 

From David A. Love, writing for (the bold print is mine):

Hypocrisy reigns for critics of the first non-black Miss Hampton U

Hampton University senior Nikole Churchill was crowned Miss Hampton University on Friday. She was the first non-black to win the title. (Joi Louviere, October 9, 2009)

The crowning of Nikole Churchill as the first non-black Miss Hampton University has caused a ruckus at the historically-black college and throughout the African-American community. Hampton alumni, bloggers, and callers into black radio talk shows are upset that Churchill, 22, was selected to fill a representative role for a traditionally black institution.

As a student at Hampton, Churchill was certainly eligible to compete and ultimately win the award. Any objections to her crowning that are based on her skin color are nothing less than hypocritical.

Churchill, who is from Hawaii, was selected to be Miss Hampton University from among 10 contestants. In addition to receiving a $1,500 scholarship, she will serve as the school's homecoming queen and will compete in the 2010 Miss Virginia pageant.

Churchill's mother is of Italian ancestry, and her father is from Guam. In a letter to President Obama - a fellow Hawaiian - the nursing major said that many Hampton students do not accept her crowning, and have made negative comments about her.

"It would be much easier to say that possibly some were not accepting of the news because I wasn't the most qualified contestant; however, the true reason for the disapproval was because of the color of my skin. I am not African-American," she told the president. "Despite the unfortunate beliefs that some are saying I should not have won, I am desperately trying to focus on those who believe in me and support me and my goal to represent this beautiful, multicultural campus the very best way that I can."

Churchill later apologized to the Hampton University community for writing the letter.

No apology was necessary; black folks should be able to relate to Ms. Churchill's situation. The black experience in America has been one of exclusion, of society questioning our abilities and qualifications. The troubling legacy of racial exclusion by white universities is why historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were founded in the first place.

When black students first integrated into the public schools and colleges, they were greeted with insults and death threats, and were ostracized until graduation day. Even today, people of color are still scrutinized. They are the object of suspicion at school and, in the workplace, their credentials and capabilities are questioned. America's first black president won a fair election, despite race-baiting from his political opponents. Yet an entire segment of the population believes he is unqualified, illegitimate and unfit to serve.

Dr. Martin Luther King talked about the drum major instinct, which he described as "a need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first." Sadly, the oppressed internalize their own oppression from time to time. In the past, this resulted in "paper bag tests" for admission to exclusive African-American organizations, or the denial of so-called "lower-class" black people. Then there were the lighter-skinned blacks who were able to pass for white and occasionally abandoned their darker family members for a full-fledged life in mainstream society.

Yet, the black community has always had a tradition of bringing in others and claiming them as their own. African-Americans, as longstanding victims of discrimination, are in a special position to show tolerance and inclusion. We can't afford to do any less. Anyone who gets upset over Churchill's victory has not learned the lessons of history.

It is fitting that Churchill has invited President Obama to come to Hampton to speak about diversity. Hopefully he will accept the offer, and allow a constructive dialogue to take root.

I could have lived without the comments that Barack Obama was race-baited by his opponents (I thought the election was remarkably free of race-baiting -- certainly, Mr. Obama's opponent, John McCain, never did any such thing).

But, that aside, Mr. Love has this exactly right.  It is no less racism for Black people to reject Whites on the basis of color than it is for White people to reject Blacks. 

Using the "logic" of those who do reject Ms. Churchill based on her skin tone, do they also feel that no Black woman should ever represent any state in the Miss America pageant, because no state is majority-Black?  Or that no Black woman should ever be the homecoming queen for a majority-White university? 

Somehow I doubt many of them do. 

It will be a happy day when racism of all kinds is rejected by everyone.  Sadly, however, that day is not here.  Not by a long shot.

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