Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Ken Berwitz

This just came in our email.  It is signed by John Kerry.

Try to think of a clich Democrats invoke against Republicans that is not used here:


Dear (NAME),

This is our wake-up call. Polls in Massachusetts are tightening, and one even shows a dead heat in the fight to keep Ted Kennedy's seat in the hands of a Democrat who will fight and vote for jobs, health care, clean energy, and mainstream values.

The far right has launched a massive online fundraising effort, and Brown's allies are blanketing Massachusetts with anonymously funded, shadowy attack ads by outside groups. Sound familiar?

It's time to stand with Martha Coakley. Your donation now could make the difference. Election Day is in one week. Can you step up?

Click here to donate $5 or more to the DSCC today. The special election is only a week away, and we need to raise $225,000 to fight the attacks, organize the grassroots and get each and every Democrat to the polls. Your donation now will make a difference!

The DSCC hit its $100,000 goal, but the right-wing attack dogs are spending that and more on ads against Martha. You and I both know that these negative campaigns can work.

That's why we need to raise $225,000 to help Martha fight back. Martha's vote is critical to getting health care and the rest of President Obama's agenda passed. If we lose this seat, we also lose our ability to stop Republican filibusters.

The next five days will decide the fate of Ted Kennedy's seat. Do we elect Martha Coakley - who will fight for jobs, our families and our communities as my Massachusetts colleague and the state's first woman senator, or Republican Scott Brown, whose allies in the right wing dream of holding a "tea party" in Kennedy country?

Click here to donate $5 or more to the DSCC today. The special election is only a week away, and we need to raise $225,000 to fight the attacks, organize the grassroots and get each and every Democrat to the polls. Your donation now will make a difference!

Ads are running, phones are ringing, and volunteers are knocking on doors. Now is the time to push harder. We can't leave anything to chance. Too much is at stake.


Sen. John Kerry

P.S. Getting out the vote is essential. We need your help to raise $225,000 to fight the ugly attacks, organize the grassroots and get each and every Democrat to the polls. The time to make a difference is today!

Paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, dscc.org,
and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Yes, they are worried.  Yes, they are getting desperate.


Ken Berwitz

This demonstration of school-recess-quality "humor" comes to us from Joy Behar and Lizz Winsted, via Tim Graham of www.newsbusters.org:

Joy Behar's Sex Chat on HLN: 'Sean Hannity Has Never Truly Satisfied a Woman'


By Tim Graham (Bio | Archive)
January 12, 2010 - 07:07 ET


Air Americas website is loving Joy Behars show on CNN Headline News. Last Wednesday, Joy took a whack at conservative talker Sean Hannity as she introduced discussion on whether women have a "G-spot" of sexual satisfaction. Her pre-cooked joke was that since the G-spot may not exist, and Sean Hannity thinks global warming doesnt exist, "Sean Hannity has never truly satisified a woman."


Is this really the kind of territory Joy Behar wants to be traveling on? "Sex symbol" is not a term that applies to her. Most people also would have wanted to be spared from her joking her frequent guest Dr. Mehmet Oz can play doctor with her: "Let Dr. Oz find it on me and then we'll see."


Heres how she introduced a jokey discussion about female sexuality with leftist comedy writer Lizz Winstead and Naomi Wolf, who were told is working on "a cultural history of the vagina" after her last book of crazy talk on the "fascist shift" under President Bush:


BEHAR: Something`s been bugging me ever since I read that a study in England reported there is no such thing is the G-spot. For all of you neophytes out there the G-spot is the place that supposedly gives women true sexual satisfaction. I always thought that was Bloomingdale`s, but whatever.


I haven`t seen mine since 1968, right after the Democratic convention. At this point, I`m thinking of putting it on the side of a milk carton, ok. But then earlier this week on my show, Dr. Oz, the fabulous doctor who I love, he said that the British study is wrong and that there definitely is a G-spot. Now, what`s a girl to do?


So is there or isn`t there a G-spot? It`s like global warming in a way, isn`t it, the icecaps are sliding into Alabama but there are people like Sean Hannity who say there`s no such thing as global warming. So putting two and two together, here`s what I come up with.


Sean Hannity has never truly satisfied a woman.


Okay, so what`s going on? Does G mark the spot or what?


She really sounds like the Fred Armisen Saturday Night Live impression at that point.


It wouldnt truly be the Joy Behar show without some Catholic-bashing in it. Winstead explained that she knows where her G-spot is because of her guilt-ridden Catholic upbringing. The question was whether the guests would use a female version of Viagra:


BEHAR: Oh, you`re such a braggart. She's got a G-spot, she doesn`t need Viagra.


WINSTEAD: You know what? Heres the deal. When you`re brought up Catholic --


BEHAR: Yeah.


WINSTEAD: And you`re so terrified of having sex, because you`re going to go to Hell, you find all sorts of spots by yourself. And regardless of whether Carrie Prejean says it`s not sex --


BEHAR: Thats true.


WINSTEAD: -- You do a lot of pre-, uh, finding.


Air America has video. People who do not love Joy Behar are truly mystified at the raucous laughter that's constantly unfolding on this segment. Do they hire laughers for the set? Or do you have to be an Air America fan to find the humor?

Hooboy!  One knee-slapper after the next.....

The sad part is that, just as there are people who go to comedy clubs and convulse with laughter any time a performer uses the F word, regardless of whether his/her joke is funny, so are there people who laugh at humorless ideologues like Joy Behar and Lizz Winsted.

All that was missing were a few gems of humor and wisdom from the world's angriest "comedian", janeane garofalo.  But, though I almost never watch the Behar show, I'm pretty sure garofalo has either been there before or will be soon.

In the immortal word (not words, she just needed one) of my grandmother, the wonderful, beautiful and very much missed Anna Tetenbaum...."Feh".


Ken Berwitz

Senate aspirant Martha Coakley and former President, the late Gerald Ford, don't have a lot in common.  But Ed Morrissey, writing for www.hotair.com, thinks he has uncovered a bit of common ground (the bold print is mine):

Coakley says no more terrorists in Afghanistan

posted at 10:12 am on January 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
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Jim Hoft caught this odd statement from Martha Coakley in last nights debate, a moment that went mainly unnoticed before now.  While most of the post-debate attention has focused on Scott Browns Reaganesque moment in declaring that the Senate seat doesnt belong to the Kennedy family or the Democrats but to all Massachusetts voters, Coakley had a Gerald Ford-esque moment on the war in Afghanistan.  She declared Afghanistan to be terrorist-free and wants the troops to come home now:

I think we have done what we are going to be able to do in Afghanistan. I think that we should plan an exit strategy. Yes. Im not sure there is a way to succeed. If the goal was and the mission in Afghanistan was to go in because we believed that the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists. We supported that. I supported that. Theyre gone. Theyre not there anymore.

The timing on this was rather poor, considering the deaths of eight CIA officers in Afghanistan just ten days ago at the hands of a suicide bomber. Jim clips together the suicide bombers valedictory message made just prior to his attack to underscore the point. The terrorists are definitely still in Afghanistan, both foreign and domestic, and capable of carrying out attacks.

Now, one could make an argument that our presence in Afghanistan provokes terrorist attacks such as the one that killed the eight CIA officers less than two weeks ago. Id disagree with that we werent in Afghanistan until after al-Qaeda firmly established itself there, with the blessing and the bidirectional support of the Taliban government but its still an arguable point. Coakley didnt make that argument, however, but instead insisted in quasi-Orwellian fashion that there are no terrorists left in a nation that just had a terrorist attack.

In the 1976 presidential campaign, Gerald Ford lost whatever chance he had for victory by asserting that Poland wasnt under the direction of the Soviet Union, making him look detached from reality and throwing the election to Jimmy Carter. Hopefully, the voters of Massachusetts will make the same determination about Coakley in the aftermath of this debate and send someone much wiser than Carter or Coakley to Washington.

What a remarkable comment that was.  No terrorists in Afghanistan? 

Maybe Ms. Coakley can get word to Barack Obama who has, so far, committed two troop surges to Afghanistan in order to fight these nonexistent terrorists.  Evidently she has far better military intelligence than the President.

Martha Coakley may not want to take the advice of someone who is rooting for the other guy - but if it were me, I would immediately issue a statement that the comment about there being no terrorists in Afghanistan was a case of clumsy wording and not an actual belief.   It's not good;  but as options go, it is the best of a rum lot. 

I'll monitor the Coakley for senate site and see if she makes any statement about this.


UPDATE:  Having done some reading about last night's debate, the single most quoted line appears to be Scott Brown's response to moderator David Gergen. 

Gergen, the supposedly neutral moderator, made an absurd claim that health care reform was going to happen now or maybe not for many years.  And then - as if this opinion were fact -  he asked if Brown was comfortable to "...sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat and [say] I'm going to be the person who's going to block (health care legislation) for another 15 years." 

Brown's response? 

"Well, with all due respect it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat."
Game.  Set.  Match.


Ken Berwitz

Does scott roeder, the admitted murderer of Dr. George Tiller, have a right to present his defense? 

You would think there is no issue about this, wouldn't you?  Me too.  But read the following excerpt from an Associated Press article, and find out how wrong we are:

WICHITA, Kan. A Kansas judge's decision to allow a confessed killer to argue that he believes the slaying of one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers was a justified act aimed at saving unborn children has upended what most expected to be an open-and-shut first-degree murder case.


Prosecutors have challenged the ruling that allows Scott Roeder to tell a jury that the fatal shooting of Wichita doctor George Tiller was voluntary manslaughter. A Tuesday hearing is scheduled to allow Roeder's defense attorneys to respond.


Some abortion opponents were pleasantly stunned and eager to watch Roeder plead his case. Tiller's colleagues and abortion rights advocates were outraged and feared the court's actions give a more than tacit approval to further acts of violence.


"This judge has basically announced a death sentence for all of us who help women," said Dr. Warren Hern of Boulder, Colo., a longtime friend of Tiller who also performs late-term abortions. "That is the effect of the ruling."


The facts of the case are not in dispute: On a balmy Sunday morning, Roeder got up from a pew at Wichita's Reformation Lutheran Church at the start of services and walked to the foyer, where Tiller and a fellow usher were chatting. Wordlessly, he pressed the barrel of a .22-caliber handgun to Tiller's forehead and pulled the trigger.


Prosecutors charged Roeder with first-degree murder. The 51-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., later admitted to reporters and in a court filing that he killed Tiller. The prosecution stands ready with more than 250 prospective witnesses to prove it.


But what had been expected to be a simple trial was altered Friday when Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert decided he would allow Roeder to build a defense case calling for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter because Roeder sincerely believed the May 31 slaying would save unborn children.


Kansas law defines voluntary manslaughter as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." A conviction could bring a prison sentence closer to five years, instead of a life term for first-degree murder.


Prosecutors argued Monday that such a defense should not be considered because there is no evidence Tiller posed an imminent threat at the time of the killing.


"The State encourages this Court to not be the first to enable a defendant to justify premeditated murder because of an emotionally charged political belief," the prosecution wrote.

Personally, I think there is no doubt that scott roeder is a murdering lunatic and belongs behind bars for the rest of his life.

That does not, however, mean I think he is not entitled to defend himself in court. 

And anyone who thinks the fact that a judge will allow his defense is a "death sentence for all of us who help women" (Dr. Hern's terminology, not mine) is full of crap.

Look, I am not anti-abortion.  I believe in all contraception including the so-called "day after" pill.  I believe that - until there is a beating heart and brain activity - there is no child and a woman should have the right to do whatever she wants with her body.  I also accept the premise of abortion at any time during a pregnancy if the woman's life is at risk.

But what does this have to do with whether a defendant can present his case? 

If scott roeder's claims are unacceptable, as I fully expect they will be, a jury will find him guilty and the judge will sentence him. 

It's called the justice system.  We either have one or we don't.  And, vile and unbalanced though he may be, that is as true for scott roeder as it is for anyone else.

WisOldMan "No beating heart, no life" ? Isn't that lofty of you, Ken. At least you didn't call the fetus a "zygot". Given that, and your mention that the fellow that killed the doctor is some kind of "lunatic", is there no mention of the fellow performing the abortion being a "lunatic", because you've determined he's not actually ending life, because you're pro-abortion ? If not, would you mind answering a simple question: if not at conception, when does life begin ? Thanks. (01/13/10)


Ken Berwitz

Martha Coakley in last night's debate:

I think we have done what we are going to be able to do in Afghanistan. I think that we should plan an exit strategy. Yes. Im not sure there is a way to succeed. If the goal was and the mission in Afghanistan was to go in because we believed that the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists. We supported that. I supported that. Theyre gone. Theyre not there anymore.

Excerpted from an article at Reuters today:

DELARAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) Hundreds of U.S. Marines were engaged in a second day of fighting on Monday with Taliban insurgents as they tried to clear a militant stronghold in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, U.S. officials said.


Thirteen insurgents were killed in the early hours of Monday when the Marines called in a Hellfire missile strike from an unmanned Predator drone, U.S. Marine Major Dale Highberger, second in command of the operation, said.

Citizens of Massachusetts:  Elect Scott Brown your senator.  Please.


Ken Berwitz

I just watched about two minutes of an NBC local show called "LX New York".

In it I caught a segment in which people are stopped on the street, shown an old picture of someone who became a celebrity, given a clue and asked who it is.  That sounds pretty innocuous, doesn't it?

Well it isn't.  The name of this segment - which apparently is done every week - is... 

"Who dat". 

I'm not kidding, nor am I misspelling it.  That's the name.

Where I come from (and where you come from too, I'll bet) "Who dat" is what a stereotyped Black character would say in an old movie.  It is meant to show the Black character in a laughably inferior way. 

It is racist and disgraceful. 

What were they thinking when they named this segment?  Were they thinking at all?

I will write them and ask, maybe demand, that they change it.


UPDATE:  I wrote to lx New York about this, as a comment on its web site.  That was yesterday (Tuesday).  I have yet to be contacted by them.  If I don't hear for a couple of days I may try calling.

I can't describe how offended I am by the use of this term. 


Ken Berwitz

That title you just read?  It is not meant to be cutesy.  It is, in fact, a literal description of what is going on between the US Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration.

Excerpted from an article at www.thehill.com:

U.S. Chamber warns of 'double-dip' recession because of Dem policies

By Ian Swanson - 01/12/10 09:44 AM ET

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue warned the U.S. faces a double-dip recession because of the taxes and regulations under consideration by the Democratic Congress and President Barack Obama.

Congress, the administration and states must recognize that our weak economy simply could not sustain all the new taxes, regulations and mandates now under consideration. Its a sure-fire recipe for a double-dip recession, or worse, Donohue said in a speech providing the Chamber's outlook for 2010.

 Donohue said the lawmakers should not let former President George W. Bush's tax cuts expire at the end of year and lambasted Democratic efforts on healthcare and financial regulatory reform as well as climate change.

If the tax cuts are allowed to expire, we will likely end up with even bigger deficits and greater economic misery, Donohue said.

Many tax lobbyists expect Congress to extend the cuts for people with lower tax rates, but to allow higher rates to be reimposed on those in the top bracket.

He also faulted Obama and Democratic lawmakers for not doing more to create jobs.

Donohue criticized a separate tax on banks floated by the administration on Monday, and said that the rationale for any tax increases would be increased spending, not lowering huge budget deficits exacerbated by the recession.

We are talking about a massive tax increase in a very weak economy a tax increase whose clearly intended purpose is not to reduce the deficit, but to pay for more spending, he said.

He also promised the Chamber would be more involved in the 2010 midterm election than it has been in any other before, and will hold accountable lawmakers who vote against the group's priorities.

Donohues speech follows a year in which the nations leading business lobbying group consistently butted heads with the Democratic White House, particularly on Obamas keystone issues of healthcare and climate change.

Hard to believe, but true. 

Maybe it's just my personal naivete, but I never thought of the US Chamber of Commerce as an adversarial group;  certainly not to this extent.

Then again, the fact that unemployment moved from 8% up to 10% after the implementation of President Obama's so-called "stimulus package", coupled with Obama & Co's brilliant idea to pass a second such package (as if this succeeded), certainly could have moved the C of C in this direction.

Who can blame them?


Ken Berwitz

John Hawkins, writing for www.townhall.com, has put together his "top 10" list of quotes from Barack Obama. 

Here they are:

When Barack Obama was on the campaign trail, he promised Americans hope, change, and unity. Whatever else may be said about the man, you at least have to give him credit for delivering on all counts.

After all, as the year has progressed, more and more Americans have united against his agenda. As for the change, well, just look at the unemployment rate, the economy, and the national debt. We've seen quite a bit of change in those areas under Obama's watch.

Then of course, there's the prevalence of the word "hope" when people talk about our President. "Gosh, I really hope he knows what he's doing. I hope Obama's weakness doesn't encourage the terrorists. I hope we can undo all the damage Obama is doing to the country right now. I hope our children will forgive us one day for electing this guy."

So, since we're in the midst of such a historic presidency, it behooves us to actually catalogue some of the more notable utterances of our esteemed President in 2009. Enjoy!

10) No, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something. -- Barack Obama


9) I mean, if you think about -- if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the Post Office that's always having problems. -- Barack Obama makes the case for socialized medicine in a rather odd fashion


8) Before a crowd of troops holding cameras and cell phones, the president joked, "you guys make a pretty good photo op." -- Political Punch


7) I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. -- Barack Obama distorts America's history in Egypt


6) I won. -- Barack Obama to Republicans in Congress who were trying to discuss the stimulus plan with him


5) NBC: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed can you understand why it is offensive to some for this terrorist to get all the legal privileges of any American citizen?


Obama: I don't think it will be offensive at all when when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.


4) Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. And now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility -- what's at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.


But taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. -- Barack Obama announces the "common security of the world" of the world is at stake in Afghanistan and then sets a timeline for withdrawal a sentence later.


3) Oprah: What grade would you give yourself, for this year?

Obama: Um, good solid B+


...Oprah: So B+, what could you have done better?

Obama: Well B+ because of the things that are undone. Health care is not yet signed. If I get health care passed we tip into A minus.

2) But I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don't mind cleaning up after them, but don't do a lot of talking. -- Barack Obama


1) The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. . . . What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in their country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and thats just a fact. -- Barack Obama on the arrest of his friend, Henry Louis Gates.


Are these your "favorites"?  Do you have others?

Somehow I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a banner year for Obama quotes too.  We'll see......


Ken Berwitz

There is a fight going on for a senate seat.  Not just any senate seat, but the 60th senate seat - the one that gives President Obama's party what amounts to complete dominance over Republicans - not to mention that it was occupied for 47 years by Democratic icon and major Obama supporter Ted Kennedy.  And, as an extra added attraction, the seat is from the bluer-than-blue state of Massachusetts.

So how is it possible that President Obama is not going there to campaign for Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate?

From Charles Hurt of the New York Post:

Bam won't risk Mass. Dem boost


Last Updated: 5:20 AM, January 12, 2010

Posted: 3:08 AM, January 12, 2010


WASHINGTON -- President Obama has no plans to lay his political capital on the line and travel to Massachusetts to campaign for the Democratic hopeful running to fill the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, the White House announced yesterday.


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs didn't elaborate beyond saying Obama doesn't intend to appear with state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat who's been heavily favored to win, but lately appears vulnerable.


Democrats were stunned last week when a poll released by Public Policy Polling showed Coakley behind Republican State Sen. Scott Brown, 47 percent to 48 percent.


Obama's decision to stay out of the contest sparked speculation that he won't campaign in the state because of fears his slipping popularity would do Coakley more harm than good, or because of a reluctance to dabble in politics so soon after the attempted terror attack in Detroit.


But Obama did send out a solicitation to his e-mail list.


"The outcome of this race couldn't be more important," he wrote. " . . . I need every ally possible in the Senate."

Hurt lays out two possible reasons for President Obama's no-show:  That he is averse to looking political after the Christmas bombing attempt and/or that he might have a negative impact on Ms. Coakley's race against Republican Scott Brown. 

Let's eliminate the first of them right away.  The Christmas bombing was three weeks ago and is off the front pages.  That isn't inhibiting President Obama from doing anything - as proven by his email solicitation. 

No, what makes sense is that President Obama believes his presence would have a net negative effect upon the Coakley candidacy - i.e. however much he would rally Democrats, he would rally Republicans even more.

If true, it means that in just one year as President, Barack Obama sees himself as a damaging factor in one of the most Democratic states in the country.  That is breathtaking.

You also have to think this has a lot to do with the way Virginia and New Jersey turned out in November.  Both states had Democratic governors, Obama campaigned in both, and Republicans won in both.  That couldn't have done much for Mr. Obama's belief that an appearance by him would do the Democratic candidate any good.  And it couldn't have done much for his famously large ego either. 

So better for Mr. Obama to stay in DC this week than trek up to snowy Massachusetts and help out Ms. Coakley.  He might lose a senate seat, but at least he'll know he won't look bad on January 19th.


Ken Berwitz

The hypocrisy is so blatant, the stench so great, that CBS news could not take it any more.

From Noel Sheppard at www.newsbusters.org:

CBS Exposes Congress Wasting Money At UN Climate Summit


By Noel Sheppard

January 11, 2010 - 23:11 ET


It must really be cold outside, for the CBS "Evening News" Monday actually did a segment exposing how members of Congress wasted a huge amount of money at the United Nations' climate summit in Copenhagen last month.


Even more surprising, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson pointed fingers at prominent Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), and Charles Rangel (N.Y.).

 Readers are encouraged to strap themselves in tightly, for this report coming from the global warming-obsessed media seems as likely as freezing temperatures in Miami (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript): 

SHARYL ATTKISSON: Few would argue with the U.S. having a presence at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. But wait until you hear what we found about how many in Congress got all-expense paid trips to Denmark on your dime.

Our cameras spotted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the summit. She called the shots on who got to go. That's House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and there's the embattled Chairman of the Tax Committee Charles Rangel. [...]

ATTKISSON: They were joined by 17 colleagues: Democrats Waxman, Miller, Markey, Gordon, Levin, Blumenauer, DeGette, Inslee, Ryan, Butterfield, Cleaver, and Giffords. And Republicans Barton, Upton, Moore Capito, Sullivan, Blackburn and Sensenbrenner.

And that's not the half of it. But finding out more was a bit like trying to get the keys to Ft. Knox. Many referred us to Speaker Pelosi who wouldn't agree to an interview. Her office told us, "It will comply with disclosure requirements" but wouldn't give us cost estimates or even tell us where they all stayed.

Senator Inhofe is one of the few who provided us any detail. He attended the summit on his own for just a few hours, to give an "opposing view."

SENATOR JIM INHOFE, (R-OKLAHOMA): They're going because it's the biggest party of the year. The worst thing that happened there is they ran out of caviar."

ATTKISSON : Our investigation found that the congressional delegation was so large, it needed three military jets: two 737's and a Gulfstream Five -- up to 64 passengers -- traveling in luxurious comfort.

Along with those who flew commercial, we counted at least 101 Congress-related attendees. All for a summit that failed to deliver a global climate deal.

As a perk, some took spouses, since they could snag an open seat on a military jet or share a room at no extra cost to taxpayers. That's Congresswoman Giffords holding her husband's had. Moore Capito and her husband. Markey took his wife wearing red, as did Sensenbrenner. Congressman Barton -- a climate change skeptic -- even brought along his daughter.

Until required filings are made in the coming weeks, we can only figure bits and pieces of the cost to you.

- Three military jets at $9,900 an hour - that's $168,000 just for flight time.

-Dozens flew commercial at up to $2,000 each. More than 300 hotel nights booked - the bulk at Copenhagen's five-star Marriott.

-Meals add tens of thousands more.

Watchdog Steve Ellis wasn't against a U.S. presence. But he considering the deficit...

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Every penny counts. Congress should be shaking the couch cushions looking for change, rather than spending cash for everybody to go to Copenhagen.

ATKISSON: Nobody we asked would defend the super-sized Congressional presence on camera. One Democrat said it showed the world the U.S. is serious about climate change.

And all those attendees who went to the summit rather than hooking up by teleconference? They produced enough climate-stunting carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Which means even if Congress didn't get a global agreement, they left an indelible footprint all the same.

Wow! Somebody pinch me. 

So what does this tell us?  It tells us that:

-Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel, two of the most notorious spenders of our tax money, continue undaunted.  No surprise

-There are Republicans who are just as happy to spend our tax money as Democrats.  No surprise.

-A ton of money was spent, a ton of pollution was created and nothing was accomplished.  No surprise.

-When President Obama hailed this non-binding agreement to a non-specific "ideal", he was full of beans.  No surprise.

-The only actual surprise here is that, unless there is a transcription error, Sharyl Attkisson cannot count to 19 (add up the "17" Republicans and Democrats, see for yourself).

Pathetically, this is just a case of business as usual for our congressional hypocrites.


Ken Berwitz

Here is the latest installment of "what we lose if we lose Israel".  It is excerpted from David Brooks' column in today's New York Times:

Tel Aviv has become one of the worlds foremost entrepreneurial hot spots. Israel has more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other nation on earth, by far. It leads the world in civilian research-and-development spending per capita. It ranks second behind the U.S. in the number of companies listed on the Nasdaq. Israel, with seven million people, attracts as much venture capital as France and Germany combined.

As Dan Senor and Saul Singer write in Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israels Economic Miracle, Israel now has a classic innovation cluster, a place where tech obsessives work in close proximity and feed off each others ideas.

Because of the strength of the economy, Israel has weathered the global recession reasonably well. The government did not have to bail out its banks or set off an explosion in short-term spending. Instead, it used the crisis to solidify the economys long-term future by investing in research and development and infrastructure, raising some consumption taxes, promising to cut other taxes in the medium to long term. Analysts at Barclays write that Israel is the strongest recovery story in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Israels technological success is the fruition of the Zionist dream. The country was not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world.

This shift in the Israeli identity has long-term implications. Netanyahu preaches the optimistic view: that Israel will become the Hong Kong of the Middle East, with economic benefits spilling over into the Arab world. And, in fact, there are strands of evidence to support that view in places like the West Bank and Jordan.

But its more likely that Israels economic leap forward will widen the gap between it and its neighbors. All the countries in the region talk about encouraging innovation. Some oil-rich states spend billions trying to build science centers. But places like Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv are created by a confluence of cultural forces, not money. The surrounding nations do not have the tradition of free intellectual exchange and technical creativity.

For example, between 1980 and 2000, Egyptians registered 77 patents in the U.S. Saudis registered 171. Israelis registered 7,652.

What a magnificent, miraculous triumph for Israel!  What a boon to the rest of the world!

Yet, despite all this amazingly positive information, there is sad news as well.

The sad news is that Israel's Arab neighbors - especially Palestinian Arabs - are  every bit as capable of creating their own technological spheres as Israel is.  But so much of the intelligence, talent and industriousness available there is lost to hatred, violence and a superseding desire to vaporize Israel that none has emerged.

I've said it many times, and it bears repeating now.  If neighboring Arabs would stop trying to kill Israelis and start trying to learn from them, both sides would be 1000% better off.

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