Monday, 23 November 2009


Ken Berwitz

From London's Daily Mail, we have this:

Sugardrop tomato that's sweeter than a peach

  • By Sean Poulter
    Last updated at 11:30 PM on 23rd November 2009

Tomatoes are hailed as a superfood, packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants that can help prevent cancer.

Unfortunately, such arguments fail to persuade fussy children to eat them.

But a sweet version of the fruit could overcome their objections.

Growers is Spain have produced the sugardrop tomato, which they say is as sweet as peach.

It is the result of two years of cross-breeding involving 3,000 varieties, on behalf of Tesco.

It is hoped parents will be able to encourage their children to eat the tomatoes as readily as they might some grapes or a peach.

And while being as tasty as these fruits, the sugardrops, which are similar in size to a cherry tomato, will be even better for them. Just a handful will provide around 50 per cent of a child's recommended daily dose of vitamin C.

Tomatoes are also the richest source of lycopene. The potent anti-oxidant, which gives tomatoes their deep red colour --neutralises free radicals, which cause cell damage and play a part in triggering cancer.

Tesco's Ashleigh McWilliams said: 'As tomatoes are so healthy we're hoping that the added sweetness of the sugardrop will also appeal to children who might otherwise turn their noses up at them.'

To produce the new variety, growers found tomatoes with already high sugar levels --known as the brix level - and cross-pollinated them.

The sugardrop growers have managed to achieve sugar levels of nine to 13 brix. A standard peach has a nine brix level.

Highlighting the sugardrop's 'superfood' properties should help boost their popularity. The description has led to a 305 per cent increase in the sale of blueberries in the past 12 months, a study has revealed.

But the benefits come at a premium - a 280g punnet of sugardrops will cost 1.50, around four times the price of standard salad tomatoes.

Is it just me, or does that not sound very appealing?

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I like tomatoes that taste like tomatoes.  If I want something as sweet as a peach, I'll get a peach.

And if children need a tomato to be sweet as a peach before they'll eat it, then get regular cherry tomatoes, and dust them with confectioner's sugar.  They'll taste just as bizarre as the sugardrops, and you can pocket the other 300%.


Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I wrote that the Sunday New York Times did not have a word about the global warming emails which were hacked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit in Norwich, England:

-emails which indicate that there are lots and lots of data debunking the claims made by Al Gore and his disciples;

-emails which indicate that there has been a concerted (and obviously quite successful) effort to shut skeptics up - even skeptics with the credentials that make them just as expert as the believers..

But, while I am right about the Sunday paper, it turns out that the Saturday Times had an article about the emails. 

Here is the Times' entire article (the bold print is mine):

Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute


Published: November 20, 2009


Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change.


The e-mail messages, attributed to prominent American and British climate researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments in some cases derisive about specific people known for their skeptical views. Drafts of scientific papers and a photo collage that portrays climate skeptics on an ice floe were also among the hacked data, some of which dates back 13 years.


In one e-mail exchange, a scientist writes of using a statistical trick in a chart illustrating a recent sharp warming trend. In another, a scientist refers to climate skeptics as idiots.


Some skeptics asserted Friday that the correspondence revealed an effort to withhold scientific information. This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud, said Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist who has long faulted evidence pointing to human-driven warming and is criticized in the documents.


Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics camp and worried that any stray comment or data glitch could be turned against them.


The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.


In several e-mail exchanges, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and other scientists discuss gaps in understanding of recent variations in temperature. Skeptic Web sites pointed out one line in particular: The fact is that we cant account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we cant, Dr. Trenberth wrote.


The cache of e-mail messages also includes references to journalists, including this reporter, and queries from journalists related to articles they were reporting.


Officials at the University of East Anglia confirmed in a statement on Friday that files had been stolen from a university server and that the police had been brought in to investigate the breach. They added, however, that they could not confirm that all the material circulating on the Internet was authentic.


But several scientists and others contacted by The New York Times confirmed that they were the authors or recipients of specific e-mail messages included in the file. The revelations are bound to inflame the public debate as hundreds of negotiators prepare to negotiate an international climate accord at meetings in Copenhagen next month, and at least one scientist speculated that the timing was not coincidental.


Dr. Trenberth said Friday that he was appalled at the release of the e-mail messages.


But he added that he thought the revelations might backfire against climate skeptics. He said that he thought that the messages showed the integrity of scientists. Still, some of the comments might lend themselves to being interpreted as sinister.


In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing climate patterns over the last two millenniums, Phil Jones, a longtime climate researcher at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, said he had used a trick employed by another scientist, Michael Mann, to hide the decline in temperatures.


Dr. Mann, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, confirmed in an interview that the e-mail message was real. He said the choice of words by his colleague was poor but noted that scientists often used the word trick to refer to a good way to solve a problem, and not something secret.


At issue were sets of data, both employed in two studies. One data set showed long-term temperature effects on tree rings; the other, thermometer readings for the past 100 years.


Through the last century, tree rings and thermometers show a consistent rise in temperature until 1960, when some tree rings, for unknown reasons, no longer show that rise, while the thermometers continue to do so until the present.


Dr. Mann explained that the reliability of the tree-ring data was called into question, so they were no longer used to track temperature fluctuations. But he said dropping the use of the tree rings was never something that was hidden, and had been in the scientific literature for more than a decade. It sounds incriminating, but when you look at what youre talking about, theres nothing there, Dr. Mann said.


In addition, other independent but indirect measurements of temperature fluctuations in the studies broadly agreed with the thermometer data showing rising temperatures.


Dr. Jones, writing in an e-mail message, declined to be interviewed.


Stephen McIntyre, a blogger who on his Web site,, has for years been challenging data used to chart climate patterns, and who came in for heated criticism in some e-mail messages, called the revelations quite breathtaking.


But several scientists whose names appear in the e-mail messages said they merely revealed that scientists were human, and did nothing to undercut the body of research on global warming. Science doesnt work because were all nice, said Gavin A. Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA whose e-mail exchanges with colleagues over a variety of climate studies were in the cache. Newton may have been an ass, but the theory of gravity still works.


He said the breach at the University of East Anglia was discovered after hackers who had gained access to the correspondence sought Tuesday to hack into a different server supporting, a blog unrelated to NASA that he runs with several other scientists pressing the case that global warming is true.


The intruders sought to create a mock blog post there and to upload the full batch of files from Britain. That effort was thwarted, Dr. Schmidt said, and scientists immediately notified colleagues at the University of East Anglias Climatic Research Unit. The first posts that revealed details from the files appeared Thursday at The Air Vent, a Web site devoted to skeptics arguments.


At first, said Dr. Michaels, the climatologist who has faulted some of the science of the global warming consensus, his instinct was to ignore the correspondence as just the way scientists talk.


But on Friday, he said that after reading more deeply, he felt that some exchanges reflected an effort to block the release of data for independent review.


He said some messages mused about discrediting him by challenging the veracity of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin by claiming he knew his research was wrong. This shows these are people willing to bend rules and go after other peoples reputations in very serious ways, he said.


Spencer R. Weart, a physicist and historian who is charting the course of research on global warming, said the hacked material would serve as great material for historians.

There you go.

I suppose it can be argued that the New York Times, as a matter of policy, would give minimal coverage to hacked/stolen information.  But that doesn't fly.  Remember the Pentagon Papers?  How about the intelligence information about our war in Iraq - the publication of which may a) have damaged the war effort and b) accordingly, may have caused the injuries and death of some number of our men and women in uniform?  No problem at all to the Times.  First page news for both.  And not just for one slow news day.

See, when the Times wants  you to know the material in secret documents, it makes damn sure you see it.  When it doesn't?  Well, how about the Environment section in Saturday's edition?

So, yes, the Times did publish this article on Saturday.  And, yes, the Times did not publish a word about it on Sunday.  Or today.  But, however minimally and grudgingly, it did publish something. 

So a rousing partial apology is in order.  And this is it.


NOTE:  The original version of this blog mistakenly stated that the Times article was in Saturday's edition.  It was in Friday's.  Sorry about that.


FURTHER NOTE:  In the immortal words of Fiorello LaGuardia, when I make a mistake it's a beaut.

I have managed to mangle this twice.  But the Times did publish an article about the email hacking on page 1 of its Saturday edition.  The partial apology, however, is still in order because there was nothing on Sunday or Monday.  They put it in there one time and promptly tried to make it die by neglect.

God I hope I don't have to put another "I screwed up" note here.


Ken Berwitz

My sister just sent me this article, from Israel National News:

New Wound Dressing Mimics Skin, Dissolves When Finished
by Hillel Fende

( A revolutionary, dissolvable wound dressing developed at Tel
Aviv University
could help reduce deaths caused by burn-related infections. reports that currently, 70% of those with severe burns die
from related infections. Prof. Meital Zilberman of Tel Aviv University's
Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed a new wound dressing that
is filled with antibiotics and other healing agents, and that dissolves when
the wound is healed.

The dressing is based on fibers that Prof. Zilberman engineered. A study
published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research shows that the new
dressing can eradicate infection-causing bacteria after only two days.

"We've developed the first wound dressing that both releases antibiotic
drugs and biodegrades in a controlled manner," Prof. Zilberman said. "It
solves current mechanical and physical limitations in wound-dressing
techniques, and gives physicians a new and more effective platform for
treating burns and bedsores."

The ScienceDaily report explains that Prof. Zilberman designed the dressing
to mimic skin and the way it protects the body.  "Wound dressings must
maintain a certain level of moisture while acting as a shield," she
explained. "Like skin, they must also enable fluids from the wound to leave
the infected tissue at a certain rate. It can't be too fast or too slow. If
too fast, the wound will dry out and it won't heal properly. If too slow,
there's a real risk of increased contamination."

The dressing thus combines positive mechanical and physical properties with
what medical researchers call "a desired release profile of antibiotics."

Prof. Zilberman is now starting the early stages of clinical trials on
animal models. So far, her wound dressing has passed physical and mechanical
tests in vitro and in bacterial inhibition tests in the laboratory. She is
also seeking a strategic partner to co-develop the research and take it to
the commercial stage.

Well, so what?  What's the big deal?  Israel's neighbors have research facilities that develop innovations like this all the time.

Don't they?


Ken Berwitz

Remember Aesop's fable about the story about the shepherd boy decided to amuse himself by crying "wolf!"?  Twice the townspeople came running and twice they found out he had fooled them.  Then, when he really did see a wolf and cried out, the townspeople ignored him and he lost his flock of sheep. 

The fable makes a very important point -- and its last line is well worth remembering:.

"Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!"

With this in mind, I call your attention to Heather Ellis, the young Black woman who cut in front of people at a WalMart in Kennett, Missouri, and then cried "racism" when she was rebuked by the people behind her. 

You may have heard/read about this story in mainstream media.  And if you did, you probably "know" it was a racial incident.

But was it?

Before you answer, read the following article, which comes to us from Christopher Orlet, of  The bold print is mine:

The Girl Who Cried Racism

Kennett, Missouri, is best known these days as the hometown of pop rock diva Sheryl Crow. Sheryl Crow and now Heather Ellis. The latter is no rock star, but she is a bona fide celebrity (or one famous for being famous). Ellis, 24, the celebrated Wal-Mart line-cutter, earned her 15-minutes of celebrity when she accused a Wal-Mart shopper, cashier, assistant store manager, security guard, and Kennett police officers of racism. By the second day of the trial -- which ended last Friday in a plea bargain -- it was clear from mainstream media coverage that pretty much the whole town of Kennett was racist.

The facts were these: Ellis, then a college student, was in line at the local Wal-Mart, when she decided her lane was moving too slowly. She then joined her cousin in a faster moving lane, cutting in front of a line of waiting customers. The customer she cut directly in front of, Teresa Kinder, objected, especially when Ellis repeatedly shoved Kinder's merchandise back down the conveyer belt. The assistant store manager and a security guard arrived and asked Ellis to leave. When she refused, police were called. Ellis was later placed under arrest, and charged with disturbing the peace, trespassing, resisting arrest, and felony assault of police officers.

Not surprisingly, there are two very different versions of what happened. Ellis and her aunt say she was pushed by Ms. Kinder and called racial slurs. They say police roughed her up, tore her jacket, and told her to "go back to the ghetto." Police, store management and witnesses, meanwhile, say that Ellis was belligerent, and that she kicked officer Albert Fisher in the shin and hit Sgt. Joe Stewart in the mouth, splitting his lip. Whatever the truth, it is obvious that a minor instance of rude behavior and bad manners escalated into a felony assault on a peace officer.

The mainstream media was quick to indict Kennett as a racist community. An ABC News headline read: "Heather Ellis Could Face Prison Time After Cutting the Line at Walmart." Not for assaulting police officers, mind you, but for "cutting the line." CNN's Randi Kaye went after the entire town of Kennett, accusing it of being "a community known for racial tension." CNN showed more bias when it suggestively referred to Kennett's "predominantly white police department." (In fact, Kennett has two minority cops, which accurately reflects the percentage of minorities in the town.) Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Christian Leadership Conference noted that the town's police have been accused of racial profiling minority drivers, a charge that has been leveled, one time or another, at just about every American city and town with minorities.

Needless to say, racial tensions exploded after Ellis made her accusations. White supremacist groups began slithering into town to spread their hateful propaganda, while big name minority activists flew in from New York and Washington DC, to further heighten tensions. Ms. Ellis's father, a local Baptist preacher, called the trial a "big, racial discrimination cover-up," which seems an odd comment since trials are supposed to promote justice, not cover up the truth. (Perhaps the state judicial system is racist too?) Ellis and her various coalitions and supporters quickly hired the top criminal lawyers in St. Louis: Scott Rosenblum and T.J. Hunsaker. When asked by reporters to comment on the charge of racism, Rosenblum would say only: "I'm not going to go there."

The fact that Rosenblum and Hunsaker had to settle for a plea bargain suggests Ellis didn't have a prayer in beating the assault charge, regardless of the extenuating circumstances. In the end, Ellis was convicted of the lesser charges of resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. The plea bargain stipulates she must attend two hours of anger management class.

"MANNERS ARE OF MORE importance than laws," wrote Edmund Burke. "Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend." But good manners are today considered pass, a quaint and spurious remnant of our dark past. So many of today's young people simply do not care how their rude or anti-social behavior affects others. It is almost like no one else exists but himself or herself. I experience this form of anti-social behavior on a daily basis, whether it is the young hoodlums in the street outside my window playing loud and obscene music at 3 a.m. or young people talking loudly and obscenely on their cell phones during a movie. And you can see where they get it. I have attended theater productions where adults bring their toddlers and allow them to chat endlessly throughout the performance, no doubt finding this behavior "cute."

If our young are not taught good manners, they are well-schooled in resentment studies, during which they learn the various benefits of victimhood and the importance of political correctness. Good manners will never get anyone 15 minutes of fame, but bad manners and crying racism is almost guaranteed to buy you fifteen minutes and then some.

The tragedy is that by rushing to Ellis's defense, by excusing her actions, and by concocting blanket racism charges against an entire community, the "various coalitions" and civil rights groups have done great damage to the laudable goal of combating racial prejudice.

Perhaps now that the rock star has returned home to Louisiana, the Ellis-and-mainstream-media-created racial tensions will cool and Kennett, Missouri, can get back to being what it was: a normal southern town trying to deal with serious economic problems.

That next to last paragraph?  No truer words have ever been spoken. 

The great tragedy of this story has nothing to do with Heather Ellis personally. 

The great tragedy is that racism does exist and remains pervasive in this country.  Decent human beings should be vigilant against it in any way they can.  But those efforts will be futile if people use the accusation of racism as a blanket panacea for everything they do and everything that happens to them.  Eventually, it is trivialized to the point of not having any meaning.

Want an exact parallel?  How about the people who cry "racism" whenever someone criticizes Barack Obama?  Guess what:  Mr. Obama has done things wrong.  A lot of them.  And attacking him for his deficiencies and mistakes does not - repeat not - have to be based on the melanin content of his skin.

Heather?  Meet Barack.



Ken Berwitz

From the interestingly-named web site,

Aww: 'Going Rouge' Authors Now Whining About Unfair Treatment

A bunch of far left cranks try to cash in on Sarah Palin's runaway success and the publishers of Palin's book fight back. So what do these twits do?

Whine like little babies. I guess they expected a free payday by piggybacking on her name.

A parody of Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue: An American Life" has been causing huge confusion -- forcing Palin's publishers HarperCollins to take out ads to direct buyers to the official version.

The rival book, "Going Rouge: An American Nightmare," was released on the same day as Palin's memoir and features an almost identical cover.

Colin Robinson, co-publisher of the book, compiled by Nation magazine staffers Betsy Reed and Richard Kim, told Page Six: "We have been contacted by numerous media outlets across the country asking for interviews with Sarah Palin, or companies offering security for her while on tour.

"One Web site not only thought we were Ms. Palin's publishers but called the book 'Going Rough.'

"We've noticed that someone, presumably HarperCollins, has been buying ads on Google redirecting people looking for 'Going Rouge' to 'Going Rogue,' which seems very unsporting of them."


Aww, the poor babies. It's very unsporting of them!

Unlike, say, printing an nearly identical book in order to score an quick payday.


FYI:  Going Rogue: An American Life is the #1 best selling book at and, based on demand, they are in the process of running 2,500,000 copies (that's not a typo).

Going Rouge: An American Nightmare, the idiot's-delight knockoff?  Try and even find it.

Nice going, guys.  Great idea.  Did you also buy Enron stock in 2001?


Ken Berwitz

Are you wondering why most of the press has been so conspicuously eager to move past Barack Obama's 8-day trip to Asia?

Well, allow me to de-wonderify you (how's that for a neologism;  i.e. a non-word you can figure out the meaning to?).

It was because Mr. Obama's trip was an unmitigated failure in just about every way.

John Hinderaker is one of the countless media people (very much including Obama supporters) who are saying as much.  But I'll use his commentary because it is so short and to the point:

"Everyone Wants Respect, But Hardly Anyone Is Willing to Pay for It"

  Share Post   Print

November 23, 2009 Posted by John at 7:40 AM

In an article titled "Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage," Der Spiegel sums up President Obama's Asian trip as a complete failure:

Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. ...

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik.

President Obama took office wanting to distinguish himself from President Bush. That was foolish and arrogant. Now, as Der Spiegel concludes, he is trying desperately to distinguish himself from Jimmy Carter.

Unhappily, the one and only success of this trip is that it gave President Obama 8 more days to dither and not make a decision about Afghanistan.   



Ken Berwitz

To say that Norah O'Donnell hates Sarah Palin is a little like saying that mahmoud ahmadinejad hates Israel.  You don't need to work very hard to find the hatred.

Here, from John Zeigler (not my favorite guy, by the way, but he has this one down cold) is just how overtly Ms. O'Donnell's hatred of Ms. Palin manifests itself into her "news reporting" (after you read this, you'll understand the need to put that description in quotation marks):

Why Is Norah O'Donnell Still Employed by NBC News?


Why Is Norah ODonnell Still Employed by NBC News?


If there was an All-Star roster of news media members who have been willing to go the lowest and get the dirtiest in their brazen and transparent attempt to destroy Sarah Palin, NBCs Norah ODonnell, along with numerous of her NBC colleagues, would certainly make the first team. My question (which I have asked her twice on live TV)  is: How in the world does she still have a job at one of the most powerful alleged news organizations in the country, and if she isnt fired for bias, then is such an event even possible?


This query is especially relevant given her shameful performance while covering a Palin book signing in Michigan where she went out of her way to embarrass a teenage girl who was just there to see the political superstar up close and personal (For the record, while some have tried to compare the two, my interviewing of Obama voters on election day was fundamentally different from what O'Donnell did, if only because I am not an alleged "news" reporter and they were backed up with scientific data.)


Even a cursory look at ODonnells remarkably horrid track record when covering Palin, brings into grave question whether NBC was not committing Media Malpractice by even allowing ODonnell to cover the book event. At this point a restraining order keeping ODonnell away from Palin all together might be very well in order.


Think I am totally kidding? Lets just consider what ODonnell has done in 2009, a year in which Sarah Palin has run for absolutely nothing. 


n      In January, ODonnell interviews me about the excerpts of my Sarah Palin interview I released that week as a preview of my documentary on the media coverage of the 2008 election. ODonnell basically lies to me live on the air about what Palins people said about the release of the excerpts in an obvious attempt to create problems between Palin and me. Thankfully, largely  thanks to Palin calling me at home two days later, it doesnt work.


n      Later that month, ODonnell states on the air that Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist, which, of course, she never did. ODonnell never corrects herself and Palin apparently decides it isnt worth suing her for defamation.


n      In February, ODonnell somehow gets the privilege of deciding which Palin clips from the unreleased portion of my interview with her will be shown on the Today Show just before my live interview with Matt Lauer. She goes to extraordinary lengths to make Palin seem whiny and boring, neither of which are remotely accurate descriptions of her in the interview (to this day I am completely convinced that ODonnell never even bothered to watch the whole interview). A few hours later I do a live interview with ODonnell in which I twice call for her firing and she comically tries to ignore me. 


n      In June, I am booked on MSNBC to discuss the Palin/Letterman flap because Palins first response came on my radio show. Much to my surprise, I am told that Norah ODonnell will be doing the interview. About thirty seconds before air I am suddenly told by an MSNBC producer that ODonnell will not be doing the interview, but instead, thanks to nonexistent breaking news that happened twenty hours earlier, it will be conducted by Contessa Brewer. Hilarity ensues.   


n      In July, according to Palins book, immediately upon hearing the news of Palins resignation, ODonnell is the to first jump on the completely false story that she will be indicted by the federal government. No indictment was ever even remotely under consideration.


n      Later that month, ODonnell takes a rather energetic role in a bizarre MSNBC panel on Palins sex appeal.   


And these are just the episodes of which I am personally aware. I am quite sure there are more. I am equally certain that they should have stopped long ago. The evidence is overwhelming that at least when it comes to Sarah Palin, Norah ODonnell is not remotely an objective  news person. If NBC wants to still claim to be a news organization (already a very open question) Norah ODonnell should finally be fired and NBC

That's pretty pathetic, isn't it?

But, then again, this is NBC/MSNBC.  So maybe this degree of Palin Derangement Syndrome is just middle-of-the-road.

Then they wonder why people call them biased........


Ken Berwitz

Why stop at just one innovation.  Here's another:  an Israeli  "fire escape system", like none you have ever seen before. I guarantee it:




Did you watch the video?

Well, so what.  What's the big deal?  Israel's neighbors have engineering sectors which develop innovations like this all the time.

Don't they?

Ken Berwitz free - I'm very glad you were helped. Now, imagine how many more innovations Israel could be providing if one-third of its budget did not have to go to national defense. Then imagine how many its neighbors could provide if they spent more money on innovations to benefit humanity and less on the things that cause Israel's national defense budget to be that high. Pretty sad, wouldn't you say? (11/23/09)

free` Here is another one and it really hits home with me. i have had several neck operations but the bones in my neck won't grow together [fuse] so i am in severe pain all the time and can barely take care of myself. Israeli breakthrough in bone repair. (11/23/09)


Ken Berwitz

From the twitter page of CBS reporter Mark Knoller:

Some weekend Obama #s: He played golf saturday: his 25th round in office. And made no public or press appearances Sunday: his 16th such day.

Remember when media used to dilligently count how many days President Bush spent at his Crawford, Texas ranch (and how they called his stays there "vacations", even when, in truth, he was working from the ranch instead of the White House)?

Well, other than Mr. Knoller, how many media venues are counting the number of golf outings President Obama has had since taking office?  How often have you seen this mentioned?

Did you know that, in his first 10 months as President, Mr. Obama has played more golf than Mr. Bush played in his first three years as President?

Of course, there is no good reason not to play lots and lots of golf.  After all, it has been just three months of dithering since General McChrystal recommended (begged for) more troops in Afghanistan - certainly no need to spend the time thinking, or meeting about that.  Heck, it's only the war effort and the safety and well being of our troops. 

How can that compare in importance to a round of golf, anyway?


Ken Berwitz

From USA Today:

Gibbs: No Obama Afghanistan decision this week


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed today that President Obama will not be making an Afghanistan announcement before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Next week? Who knows?

Gibbs said he can answer that question "when the president tells me what's likely ... I would simply say that it's not going to happen this week, obviously."

Tonight's national security meeting is dedicated to answering some of the questions Obama raised a couple of weeks ago, Gibbs said, including the potential U.S. exit strategy from Afghanistan.

"A decent part of it is not just how we get people there, but what's the strategy for getting them out, " Gibbs said.

This is Obama's ninth national security meeting on an Afghanistan strategy -- and Gibbs said no more are scheduled.

"This is a complicated decision," Obama said.

Play another round of golf, Mr. President.  It's far more important, and it gives you something to do while our troops twist in the wind.

Zeke ... Dang ! ! The REAL question NOW is : ... ... What do we do NEXT. The next step is clearly (a) manufacture additional armaments (vehicles, radios, helicopters, weapons, etc) and train troops for Afghan people and terrain or (b) place tail between legs and GTFO. ... ... ... If, after New Year's or Easter, Obama finally decides what to do, at least he will have the forces to deploy to either increase troop levels or else to relieve our chicken-hearted rear-guard abandonment. (11/24/09)

free` What is it with dems and exit strategies??? (11/23/09)


Ken Berwitz

From Michelle Malkin - and without comment from me, since a) Ms. Malkin doesn't need my help and b) once you read her piece, you'll be too sickened to keep reading anyway:

Gitmo detainees will use trials as platform to bash America

By Michelle Malkin    November 22, 2009 10:13 PM


One of the Gitmo defendants lawyers confirms the obvious: The civilian trials for 9/11-linked enemy combatants are nothing more than a grand excuse to use our legal system to bash America and spread the jihadi virus on the world stage.


The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday. Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but would explain what happened and why they did it.


The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain their assessment of American foreign policy, Fenstermaker said.


Their assessment is negative, he said.


Bleeding-heart Barack Obama and interest-conflicted Eric Holder are all too happy to serve as executive directors for the 9/11 show trials.


Hey, why not turn them into a Broadway play while youre at it, White House?


Just a reminder of what Obama wrote about the 9/11 jihadists eight days after the attack left 3,000 innocent men, women, and children dead on American soil:


We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.


My response last year:


As for Obamas continued delusion about the climate of poverty and ignorance that supposedly breeds Muslim terrorists, can American politicians ever rid themselves of this unreality-based trope? This belief is part and parcel of the same idiocy that lead the State Department to embrace spa days for Muslims to build bridges with the Arab world and President Bush to open up our aviation schools to more Saudi students to improve understanding. John McCain also alluded to education-as-cure for Islamic terrorism at the L.A. World Affairs Council in March, when he declared that In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs. Just what we need: more student visas for the jihadi-infested nation that sent us the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers.


Author and National Review Online blogger Mark Steyns sharp rejoinder to McCain then applies to Obama now:


Theres plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme extremists are those whove been most exposed to the west and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.


Ayman al-Zawahiri didnt need more education or wealth to steer him away from Islamic imperialism and working toward a worldwide caliphate. He has a medical degree. So does former Hamas biggie Abdel Rantissi. Seven upper-middle-class jihadi doctors were implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings. Suspected al Qaeda scientist Affia Siddiqui, still wanted by the FBI for questioning, is a Pakistani who studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.


And as Ive reported before and must reiterate again for the hard of hearing in Washington, lowering academic standards at American colleges helped al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed further the jihadi cause. In the early 1980s, he enrolled at tiny Chowan College in Murfreesburo, N.C., which had dropped its English requirements to attractahemwealthy Middle Easterners. At Chowan, Mohammed bonded with other Arab Muslim foreign students known as The Mullahs for their religious zeal. Mohammed then transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering along with 30 other Muslims. Mohammed applied his Western learning to oversee the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot (six Americans dead), the U.S.S. Cole attack (17 American soldiers dead), and the September 11 attacks (3,000 dead). He has also been linked to the 1998 African-embassy bombings (212 dead, including 12 Americans), the plot to kill the pope, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and the Bali nightclub bomb blast that killed nearly 200 tourists, including two more Americans.


Perhaps bleeding-heart Obama thinks a masters degree in social work would have convinced poverty-stricken, helpless, ignorant, despairing Mohammed to change his mind?

Zeke ... The lawyer for that al Q'aeda dude says that the trials will accomplish nothing, and that the US should let the terrorists go free. ... ... ... I agree. ... ... The guards should open the gates of Gitmo, smile and say to each, "Have a nice day" as they walk out. ... ... ... Mr. Castro has a half mile deep belt of land mines surrounding Gitmo. (11/23/09)


Ken Berwitz

For the poll lovers in the house, here are the latest data from Rasmussen:

Health Care Reform

Support for Health Care Plan Falls to New Low


Monday, November 23, 2009


Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Thats the lowest level of support measured for the plan in nearly two dozen tracking polls conducted since June.


The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% now oppose the plan.

Half the survey was conducted before the Senate voted late Saturday to begin debate on its version of the legislation. Support for the plan was slightly lower in the half of the survey conducted after the Senate vote.


Prior to this, support for the plan had never fallen below 41%. Last week, support for the plan was at 47%. Two weeks ago, the effort was supported by 45% of voters.


Intensity remains stronger among those who oppose the push to change the nations health care system: 21% Strongly Favor the plan while 43% are Strongly Opposed

Hello, Mary?  Are you listening, Blanche?  How about you, Ben, down in Florida.  And numbers of others:  how will you be voting on this monstrosity?  Or, put another way, how badly do you want to lose your senate seats?

I guess we'll find out, won't we?

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