Monday, 18 January 2010


Ken Berwitz

Why do I think it's over?  Because we just got an email from J.B. Poersch that didn't insult Scott Brown:


It's just hours until voting starts in Massachusetts, and Democrats are fully engaged. But passion only matters if people get to the polls. It's not too late to make the winning difference in this race.

Donate $5 or more now to the DSCC. Martha Coakley needs our help to get Democrats to the polls!

This is the last, best chance we have to turn out the vote. Let's win this thing.

J.B. Poersch

I read that as "enough, there's just no point anymore".

Tomorrow night we'll know for sure.

Zeke ... ... .... .... Right after I posted the last comment, Lou Dobbs mentioned Michelle Malkin's article today. .... She wrote about vote fraud. ... ... .... .... She has a link to the Governeur Times which discusses how electronic voting machines are subject to manipulation. ... ... .... .... (01/19/10)

Zeke ... .... .... All the polls mention it depends on the turnout ... .... .... We don't know if SEIU, ACORN, Ward Heelers, etc are packing the voting booths with illegals, duplicate voters and dead people. ... .... .... And there is the issue of COUNTING the votes, which is how Al Franken got elected senator in Minnesota. (01/19/10)

steve schneider every poll has brown ahead, including a daily kos poll. this should be a slam dunk. yet i have this feeling of anxiety as this is mass. and the dems will not go quietly. i expect shenanigans and the repub. will somehow get blamed for whatever mess occurs. steve (01/19/10)

Zeke ... ... ... Bill J. Clinton has been campaigning for Maatha in Mass. ... ... ... Please be cognizant of Mr. Clinton's track record of support Dimocrat candidates ... ... ... Frankly, I can't recall even ONE candidate that Mr. Clinton's efforts resulted in their election. (01/19/10)

Ken Berwitz Steve - Funny you should mention.....I am blogging about that even as I read your comment. It will be up in a few minutes. (01/19/10)


Ken Berwitz

I am a big supporter of the concept of unions.  I believe that it is the only way a working man can possibly have any leverage, just any chance at a fair shake, when dealing with large employers.

I applaud the fact that so many unions provide that benefit with honesty and integrity (as I regret that many others do not).

But since my goal is an even playing field, I am angered when a President gives things away to unions as the current one does, thus making unions the exploiters and non-union people the ones who do not get a fair shake.

Today's Washington Times has an excellent editorial on this subject.  Here it is:

EDITORIAL: Obama's $59 billion giveaway to unions

Repeatedly throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama promised that health care negotiations would be carried on C-SPAN precisely to prevent these types of special-interest favors. There is no logical public policy justification for why union workers should be exempt from paying the 40 percent tax on individual health insurance plans that cost $8,900 or more until 2018 when everyone else with the same insurance must pay the tax. Non-unionized American workers, who pay higher insurance simply because of existing health problems - or because they live in high-cost places such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami - are not going to be so fortunate.

It is unconscionable that $59 billion will be extracted from taxpayers and others to subsidize labor unions. The Obama administration and Congress are now planning on taking $15 billion more from hospitals and $10 billion more from pharmaceutical makers to cover part of this fortune. But there is no reason hospital and drug costs should go up to subsidize unions.

This transfer of wealth to unions has become part of a pattern. Over the last year, the unions have been given a long string of massive wealth transfers. Take the government forcing GM and Chrysler bondholders to forfeit their legal right to be the lead creditors so that auto unions could get large shareholdings in both companies through bankruptcy. Similarly, the stimulus package placed all sorts of restrictions on how the money could be spent, requiring that much of the spending go only to unionized workers.

In 2008, one of Mr. Obama's most highly used campaign TV ads relentlessly attacked Republican candidate John McCain's proposal to tax health insurance benefits provided by companies to employees. It was an unfair attack. Mr. McCain's proposed elimination of employer deductibility for health insurance was merely being replaced with individual tax credits. Mr. Obama's taxes aren't offset by any such credits.

Mr. Obama is struggling with record-low approval ratings. The president should understand that legislation shouldn't get passed simply because lawmakers and some interest groups can be purchased with billions in taxpayer funds. If the president has to pay that much to buy critical votes, his policies don't have the genuine support of the people. Eventually, Democrats will pay a price for that.


And if congressional Democrats don't start acting more responsibly, by not going along with President Obama's payoffs to unions in exchange for their money and support?  The last part of this editorial might not just be a paragraph: it might also be an epitaph.


Ken Berwitz

I dare you to find something more depraved than this.  It was brought to my attention by my friend and business colleague Ann, and comes to us courtesy of

Cory Doctorow

POSTED AT 2:16 AM January 18, 2010

Cruise ship docks at private beach in Haiti for barbeque and water sports

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' ship Independence of the Seas went ahead with its scheduled stop at a fenced-in private Haitian beach surrounded by armed guards, leaving its passengers to "cut loose" on the beach, just a few kilometers from one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the region's history. The ship's owners justified it as a humanitarian call, because the ship also delivered 40 palettes of relief supplies while its passengers frolicked on zip-lines and ate barbeque within the 12-foot-high fence's perimeter:

The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to "cut loose" with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk. Safety is guaranteed by armed guards at the gate.

The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was "sickened".

"I just can't see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water," one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

"It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving," said another. "I can't imagine having to choke down a burger there now.''

I don't tell my readers what to do.  But if you want to drop royal carribean a line and tell them what you think of their happy feed-your-face shindig on an island that was just decimated, with possibly 100,000 or more dead already and countless others dying for lack of food or water, please be my guest.


Ken Berwitz

As regular readers know, my pal West Coast Russ often sends me funny material which I put up at this blog.

But today he has sent me a youtube recording that is genuinely scary.  I don't mean horror-movie scary, I mean real-life scary.

Please watch the following video:


If this doesn't scare you, maybe you're one of the thugs on this video.

But, on the assumption that you aren't, I hope you're scared plenty.

What are we, as a nation, going to do about what is happening in places like this?  And when?

free` I have seen this video a few times now, every time I see it I get madder and madder. I cant believe they would let these muslim scum assault them like that. It is time for people to fight back, when someone assaults you, you have the right to defend yourself. If people would start fighting back and kick a few asses, attacks like this wouldn't be happening. (01/18/10)


Ken Berwitz

A verbatim quote from Chris Matthews, who spends lonely evenings hosting "Hardball" on MSNBC:

You know in the old daysif the Democrats faced this kind of a disaster in the works, youd go back to your ones, the people you were sure are going to vote Democrat, and youd make sure they got to the polling place, Matthews told NBCs Chuck Todd on Fridays Hardball.


Youd get them lunch, youd get them a car. Youd make sure they got there, and in some cases youd be buying people to get them, he continued. But I hear talking to somebody today there arent people up there in Massachusetts like that anymore

Is it just me, or does it seems to you that Matthews is lamenting the fact that Democrats are less able to buy elections?

Point of order:  NBC/Universal chief Jeff Zucker, the guy who keeps Chris Matthews on MSNBC, is the same guy who moved Leno to 10PM and Conan O'Brien into the Tonight show slot.

That certainly explains a lot.....


Ken Berwitz

Republican Scott Brown may well win tomorrow's senate election.  If this happens, Brown will replace health care champion Ted Kennedy, by running against the health care he championed.

Think about that:  a Republican winning in Massachusetts by campaigning against nationalized health care!!  That seems nothing short of surreal. 

But if you think Massachusetts is the only place where this misbegotten legislation is going down the tubes, consider Nebraska.

Senator Ben Nelson voted for ObamaCare after being given a huge bribe for his state - i.e. it would not have to pay out the additional Medicare money; other states would pay for Nebraska instead.

You would certainly think such a deal would make the already-popular Nelson a major hero, wouldn't you?

Well, read these excerpts from an article in today's Omaha World-Herald (which I saw at and you just might rethink that hero designation:

Rating drops below 50% for Nelson

By Robynn Tysver

The battle over health care legislation has taken its toll on U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson's political well-being, despite the Democrat's efforts to sell Nebraskans on his vote.

Nelson, who once enjoyed some of the highest job performance marks in the U.S. Senate, has now seen his approval rating dip below 50 percent in Nebraska, according to The World-Herald Poll.

Nelson said the poll results come as no surprise, especially since Nebraskans have been bombarded with millions of dollars in misleading advertisements.


I believe that, over time, as the special interest ads subside, Nebraskans will understand the bill I support will improve their health care, because it ends the denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, it reduces spiraling costs and it provides new access to coverage for 220,000 Nebraskans without health care today, Nelson said in a written statement.

In the survey, Nelson's job approval rating was 42 percent and his disapproval rating was 48 percent. By comparison, Republican Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who voted against the bill, had a 63 percent job-approval rating.

Nelson has been under fire since he supplied the 60th vote to win approval for President Barack Obama's principal domestic policy initiative in the Senate. He was called a sellout at a political rally.

Critics say a controversial provision dubbed the Cornhusker kickback, which would save Nebraska on Medicaid costs was inserted in the bill to win Nelson's vote.

Nelson on Friday asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to scratch Nebraska's exemption and instead extend the Medicaid provision to all states.

There you have it.  Nelson's numbers have dropped through a trap door, while Mike Johanns, who voted against ObamaCare, has approval ratings well over 60%.

And now, incredibly, Senator Nelson is trying to give back that bribe because of how badly it is hurting him.  That's how negative Nebraskans are about ObamaCare --- they don't want it even if it's being paid for by someone else.

What do you think this tells other Democratic politicians about how their support of ObamaCare might play in November?

And what do you think this tells the Republicans who will run against them?


Ken Berwitz

I feel a little like Charlie Brown with the football.

Just yesterday, having been sent an email from J.B. Poersch which attacked Scott Brown as the candidate of the "tea-party movement", I gave Democrats the benefit of the doubt and speculated that this heralded an end to their use of the vile, sexually explicit "teabagger" insult. 

I was wrong.

This was just sent to us, and is signed by John Kerry:


Dear (NAME),


This is go-time: less than 24 hours until polls open in Massachusetts to elect Ted Kennedy's successor. I've been moving all over the state, and on the ground, we can feel the tremendous commitment of Massachusetts Democrats who are working overtime to elect Martha Coakley.

But let's not kid ourselves: We also see how revved up the tea baggers are at the thought of hijacking health care reform and every chance we have at making progress in Washington.

Bottom line: This race is a jump-ball. It all depends on turnout now. And it's not too late to make a difference.

Click here to donate $5 or more to the DSCC. Martha Coakley needs our help to get each and every Democrat to the polls tomorrow. Stand strong with Martha!

Shady right-wing organizations and out of state conservatives have descended upon the state in droves. They don't represent Massachusetts values, but their enthusiasm - and cold, hard cash - could be enough to tip this election. That's why a big grassroots effort tomorrow is so important.

It all depends on turnout now. And it's not too late to make a difference.

Click here to donate $5 or more to the DSCC. Martha Coakley needs our help to get each and every Democrat to the polls tomorrow. Stand strong with Martha!

Don't let the tea baggers win this one. Too much is at stake.


Sen. John Kerry

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

I think my big mistake was forgetting that John Kerry is involved here. 


When it comes to low-down, underhanded politics there are few in his league.  It is one of the only things he does really well (try and find a major piece of legislation he has sponsored through to passage in his 30 years in the senate!).


And I still wait in vain for our wonderful "neutral" media to condemn the use of this term, as Democrats relentlessly use it on Scott Brown (among numerous other Republicans). 


Would these same media react if Republicans called Martha Coakley a "fellatio Democrat"?  D'ya think?


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


Ken Berwitz

Here's the kind of story you don't see every day.

It comes to us from London's Daily Mail:

Cancer-stricken Easy Rider star Dennis Hopper files for divorce from his deathbed

By Richard Simpson

The actor Dennis Hopper has filed for divorce from his fifth wife on his deathbed, according to U.S. reports.

The 73-year-old star of Easy Rider, Rebel Without A Cause and Apocalypse Now has prostate cancer. He is said to have less than a month to live after the disease spread to his bones.

In his final days, Hopper has separated from his wife and is understood to be trying to cap the amount she will receive from his will.

Hopper and Victoria Duffy, 41, have been married for nearly 14 years and have a daughter, Galen, who will turn seven in March.

In court papers Hopper lists the date of separation as last Tuesday and offers to pay his wife support.

He is also requesting joint legal and physical custody of Galen.

Reports say Hopper is trying to prevent his wife from contesting his will, which apparently leaves her only a quarter of his estate.

Miss Duffy is understood to be furious after discovering that her inheritance would be exactly what she had agreed to under the couple's prenuptial agreement and no more - despite the relatively long duration of their marriage. A friend of the couple said: 'It's truly a tragedy, and sadly it's all about the money and who inherits what.'

Hopper also hopes the move will force Miss Duffy to move from the Venice Beach compound where he and two of his grown-up children and their families live.

Born to be wild: Dennis Hopper (left) with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson in 1969's counter-culture classic Easy Rider, which he also co-wrote and directed

One U.S. report claimed Miss Duffy had 'barricaded herself in' at the California home while Hopper was in hospital. The actor announced in October that he had cancer, which is believed to have been diagnosed in 2002.

In recent days his condition is said to have deteriorated considerably.

His marriage to Miss Duffy lasted longer than any of his others, which include an eight-day marriage to Michelle Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas in 1970. She was his second wife.

Hopper has been a star in Hollywood-for more than 50 years. He appeared alongside James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause and Giant in 1955 and 1956 and also appeared in classics such as Cool Hand Luke and True Grit.

He was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the classic 1969 road movie Easy Rider, and for acting in Hoosiers, which was released in 1986. In later years, he also gained recognition as an artist.

I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Hopper's apparently terminal illness.  And even sorrier that his marriage might end this way-- meaning both that he will die prematurely and that he will try to dispatch his wife before it happens.

Think of her settlement as a pre-nup, and a post-nope.



Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from Michelle Malkin's latest column:

On Sunday night, Public Policy Polling (swing state specialists) released the latest stunning numbers in the Massachusetts Senate race. Martha Antoinette Coakley is hemorrhaging independents and the enthusiasm gap is widening as the Bay State heads into the January 19 special election.

Reports PPP:


Over the last week Brown has continued his dominance with independents and increased his ability to win over Obama voters as Coakleys favorability numbers have declined into negative territory.


-Brown is up 64-32 with independents and is winning 20% of the vote from people who supported Barack Obama in 2008 while Coakley is getting just 4% of the McCain vote.


-Browns voters continue to be much more enthusiastic than Coakleys. 80% of his say theyre very excited about voting Tuesday while only 60% of hers express that sentiment. But the likely electorate now reports having voted for Barack Obama by 19 points, up from 16 a week ago, and a much smaller drop from his 26 point victory in the state than was seen in Virginia.


-Those planning to turn out continue to be skeptical of the Democratic health care plan, saying they oppose it by a 48/40 margin.


-Coakleys favorability dropped from 50% to 44% after a week filled with perceived missteps. Browns negatives went up a lot but his positives only actually went from 57% to 56%, an indication that attacks against him may have been most effective with voters already planning to support Coakley but ambivalent toward Brown.


-56% of voters in the state think Brown has made a strong case for why he should be elected while just 41% say the same of Coakley. Even among Coakleys supporters only 73% think shes made the argument for herself, while 94% of Browns supporters think he has.


Those missteps arent merely perceived. Theyre quite real, piling up, and epitomize the entitled, elitist mindset of Coakley and her party. As Boston Red Sox great Curt Schilling put it at a rally Sunday after endorsing Brown, Coakleys clueless jab at him is another sign of her aloofness, and just the fact that shes very out of touch, I think, with the people.


The Lefts tired, old Blame Bush bromides arent cutting it. Whos Martha Coakley kidding? Her supporters accuse Brown an Army National Guardsman from a middle-class-upbringing who has campaigned across the state in his truck of being a Bush crony candidate while Coakley parties with Washington lobbyists and the Kennedy clan (at least one of whom reportedly cant even get her name right).


Shes the proven voice of fatcats and corruptocrats.


Hes uniting Tea Party activists, rank-and-file union members, GOP party faithful, and independents.

She nails it, doesn't she?


Ken Berwitz

This week marks a year since the inauguration of  Barack Obama, our first Black President.

In case you're wondering how Black people have made out under Obama, here's your answer, courtesy of the following excerpts from a Washington Post article:

U.S. unemployment rate for blacks projected to hit 25-year high


 By V. Dion Haynes

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 15, 2010


Unemployment for African Americans is projected to reach a 25-year high this year, according to a study released Thursday by an economic think tank, with the national rate soaring to 17.2 percent and the rates in five states exceeding 20 percent.


Blacks as well as Latinos were far behind whites in employment levels even when the economy was booming. But throughout the recession, the unemployment rate has grown much faster for African Americans and Latinos than for whites, according to the study by the Economic Policy Institute. Moreover, the unemployment gap between men and women has reached a record high -- with men far outpacing women in joblessness.


The national trend is playing out in the Washington area, even though jobless levels are lower here.


In the District, researchers say, the unemployment rate during the third quarter of this year is expected to reach 6.1 percent for whites and 18.9 percent for blacks. Unemployment in Maryland is forecast to reach 6.1 percent for whites and 11.3 percent for blacks. And in Virginia, 6.3 percent of whites are projected to be out of work, compared with 13 percent of blacks.


The rate for Latinos in Maryland is expected to reach 7.6 percent. Researchers did not include data on Hispanics in the District and Virginia because the samples were too small.


Blacks, Hispanics and men have suffered the most mainly because they have been disproportionately employed in sectors hardest hit in the recession -- manufacturing and construction. For instance, the unemployment rate for blacks is expected to reach 27 percent in Michigan, which has been shedding auto industry jobs. Other states with jobless rates above 20 percent for blacks are Alabama, Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina.


The rate for Hispanics is projected to reach 22.2 percent in Nevada, which has experienced a dramatic slowdown in construction.


The results demonstrate that the Obama administration needs to do more to target groups with high unemployment rates, experts say. The Congressional Black Caucus wants the government to create training programs and jobs in low-income communities with the highest unemployment rates.


"It's like triage in an emergency room -- you take care of people who need the most help first and you help the others later," said Kai Filion, research analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. He said that the economic losses could result in a 50 percent poverty rate for black children, up from 34 percent in 2008.


Not very pretty, is it?

Will President Obama be blaming George Bush for this - as he has blamed the former President for virtually all of his other failures?

Don't be surprised if he does. 

To hear Mr. Obama tell it, he has been a terrific President (B+, maybe A-).  The fact that unemployment jumped up to double digits?  The lack of any foreign policy successes?  The Olympics fiasco?  The climate change debacle?  The fact that candidates he stumps for have a nasty habit of losing (keep your eye on Massachusetts tomorrow and see if it continues)?  That's all Bush's fault, you see.

Remember when President Bush was skewered by the press because they couldn't get him to say he made mistakes?

Keep waiting for them to do the same with President Obama.  It's coming...about a week after they start growing palm trees in Antarctica.


Ken Berwitz

Did you know that former President Bush is a magician?

Out of office for a year and not at all involved in the Massachusetts senate race, he is the man who is unfairly bringing down Democratic candidate Martha Coakley.

Naaahhh, it can't be.  Can Democrats, who have tried to blame Bush for just about everything else over the past year, actually be blaming him for Coakley's drop in the polls too???

Well, read Felicia Sonmez's piece in the National Journal and see for yourself:

After Obama Rally, Dems Pin Blame On Bush

January 17, 2010 6:16 PM |

By Felicia Sonmez

As audience members streamed out of Pres. Obama's rally on behalf of AG Martha Coakley (D) here tonight, the consensus was that the fault for Coakley's now-floundering MA SEN bid lies with one person -- George W. Bush.

"People are upset because there's so many problems," Rosemary Kverek, 70, a retired Charleston schoolteacher said as tonight's rally wrapped up. "But the problems came from the previous administration. So we're blaming poor Obama, who's working 36 hours a day ... to solve these problems that he inherited."


Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), speaking with a gaggle of reporters after the event, said that while state Sen. Scott Brown (R) offers voters a quick fix, in reality, the problems created by "George Bush and his cronies" are not so easily solved.


"If you think there's magic out there and things can be turned around overnight, then you would vote for someone who could promise you that, like Scott Brown," Kennedy said. "If you don't, if you know that it takes eight years for George Bush and his cronies to put our country into this hole ... then you know we have a lot of digging to do, but some work needs to be done and this president's in the process of doing it and we need to get Marcia Coakley to help him to do that."


(Curiously, Kennedy mentioned Coakley repeatedly during his remarks to reporters, each time referring to her as "Marcia," not "Martha.")


More Kennedy: "One thing the Democrats have done wrong? We haven't kept the focus on this disaster on the Republicans who brought it upon us. We've tried too hard to do that right thing, and that's to fix it, as opposed to spend more of our time and energy pointing the finger at who got us [here] in the first place."


Blaming their problems on Bush does carry a risk for Dems, however -- with their sights so firmly focused on the past, Brown's campaign has managed to wrest the "change" mantle from them.


Meanwhile, even as Kennedy took on both Bush and Brown head-on, some attendees were more muted in their criticism of Brown.


"I mean, he is handsome," Christine DiPitro, 61, of Malden, said of Brown.


"He does appeal to the regular guy with his truck, but that's about all."

What next?  Hey, in 1937 FDR tried unsuccessfully to pack the Supreme Court by increasing its size and adding justices favorable to his policies.  It didn't fly.  Maybe they can try to blame Bush for that too. 

Oh, one other thing.  To Ted Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy:  it's MARTHA, not MARCIA.  Call me old-fashioned, but when you are trying to get people to vote for a candidate, I consider it good form to at least know the candidate's name.

Zeke .... .... .... B+ ?? Dang, if it weren't for George Bush, Obama would be TEACHING the course .... or maybe just handing out PhD's to all the freshmen in the class .... .... to stimulate the school. .... .... Barry says he gets an A- when Health Care passes ... .... .... The country is in real trouble when he tries for an A+. ... .... .... .... .... (01/18/10)

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