Sunday, 07 February 2010


Ken Berwitz

Here is the most likely reason that USSC Judge Samuel Alito mouthed (he probably didn't say it out loud) the words "not true" during President Obama's state of the union address.  It comes to us via an excerpt from an Associated Press article -- which the AP was nice enough to publish on Saturday, the slowest news day of the week:

WASHINGTON Still wonder exactly why Justice Samuel Alito shook his head and mouthed the words "not true" during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address? He objected to the president's saying the ruling reversed a century of law.


The president touched off a controversy when he broke with tradition and decorum, his critics said by criticizing the court's recent campaign finance decision in his speech with six justices in attendance and bound by their own tradition of not reacting to what is said. (Justice Antonin Scalia once said he no longer goes to the annual speech because the justices "sit there like bumps on a log" in an otherwise highly partisan atmosphere.)


"With all due deference to the separation of powers," Obama said, "the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections."


It seems clear from Alito's questioning when the court heard argument in the case that he was taking issue with the president's assertion that the court reversed 100 years of law, rather than with Obama's reference to foreign influence, which also has generated some legal debate.


At the September argument, Alito suggested to attorney Seth Waxman that 20 years was the appropriate time frame, encompassing two high court decisions that upheld limits on corporate spending in campaigns.


"Mr. Waxman, all of this talk about 100 years and 50 years is perplexing," Alito said then. "It sounds like the sort of sound bites that you hear on TV. The fact of the matter is that the only cases that are being, that may possibly be reconsidered, are McConnell and Austin. And they don't go back 50 years, and they don't go back 100 years."

Does Justice Alito have a point?  Was he right to react as he did when the President Obama told him and his fellow justices to their faces that they were wrong about the law, though Mr. Obama apparently did not know what he was talking about? 

Yes.  And yes.


Ken Berwitz

With a tip of my hat (if I wore one) to the late, great Jimmy Cannon, here is my latest edition of "nobody asked me, but..."

-Today is Super Bowl day.  We'll be with friends watching the event - which includes several hours before the kickoff as well as the game itself.  I do not care at all who wins because I have no particular attachment to either team (and a tenuous-at-best attachment even to New York Giants whom I have rooted for all these years), but it's a good excuse to get together. 

-I did not read "The Kite Runner", but I saw the movie yesterday.  It was tremendous - as well as heartbreaking and infuriating.  The acting was great and the location scenes in Afghanistan and Pakistan added a realism you don't often get in movies.  What a sad story, though - right down to the sort-of-"happy" ending.  I'm sorry I didn't read the book first.

-Did President Obama really make a speech in which he called Marine Corpsmen CORPSE-men instead of CORE-men? Yes he did.  I read a comment that, since he never served a day in the military, it is understandable he might not know better; but what about the speechwriter and everyone else who looked at the speech before it went up on Mr. Obama's teleprompter?  I couldn't agree more. 

-My wife watches these so-called "reality" shows" all the time.  I can't stand them.  They are so phony and so contrived that they remind me of the professional wrestling I used to watch many years ago.  Amazing how that camera just happens to be there for all the intimate private moments.... 

-Speaking of professional wrestling, please do not call it fixed.  It is not fixed.  It is fake.  A fixed sporting event is a legitimate event that has been compromised by one of the participants agreeing to "take a dive" and lose; usually for money.  By contrast, a fake sporting event has no pretense of legitimacy.  Both participants agree to orchestrate the match a certain way and agree on who will "win".

-What a great time we had last night.  We went to see our son, our beautiful daughter in law and our transcendentally great grandchildren, met up with other family members, and then ate at a restaurant in Ridgewood, NJ called "Radicchio".  It was wonderful - mostly because it's great for the family to get together, but also because the restaurant itself is just terrific.  The food was great, the service friendly and capable, we weren't rushed at all and, though the mains were a little pricey, it was a BYOB place so we saved a fortune on the liquid refreshments.  We'll be back for sure

-The mantra on the "Tea Party" convention is that it's a bunch of looney rightwing racists.  Are there racists within the movement?  I have no doubt there are.  Do they predominate or run things?  No they do not.  So what exactly is the big deal?  What large movement doesn't have unsavory types at its fringes?  Are there not racist Democrats?  Racist members?  

Here's an idea:  I would love Rachel Maddow, keith olbermann, Bob Schrum and some of the other geniuses who have been pumping out these attacks to do a sentence or two on the Congressional Black Caucus - which is overtly and specifically racist but doesn't ever seem to bother them a bit.  What hypocrites.

-As a Yankee fan I'll miss Melky Cabrera in center field.  But a) Javier Vasquez is more accomplished as a pitcher than Cabrera is as an outfielder, by plenty, and b) quality pitchers are harder to find than quality outfielders and c) the Yankees replaced Cabrera with Curtis Granderson who not only is a better player but is apparently one of the very best people in the game.  That means something in a locker room - and makes rooting for the team that much easier too.

-What a strange snowfall we had yesterday.  In our area there was about 12 - 15 inches. But as we drove north to our son and his family there was less and less snow.  By the time we got near Newark, there was no snow at all.  And my parents and my sister in Queens had virtually no snow either.

-Did Ed Schultz really comment, on Friday, that the Minnesota Vikings were in the super bowl?  I could be mistaken, but I thought I heard him say that.  Hooboy.  I wonder what Schultz would have said if Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly made such a mistake. 

In that connection one day within the past week (I don't remember which) keith olbermann viciously attacked Bill O'Reilly because, while extemporizing in front of a crowd, O'Reilly referred to a cost statistic as being in the trillions instead of billions.  It was clearly an inadvertent mistake, but olbermann called him the "worst person in the world" over it.  D'ya think he'll do that to Schultz, who apparently thinks the Vikings are playing today?  Don't bet on it.

-I read in several places that the New York Times is sitting on a major scandal that has the potential to knock David Paterson out of the Governor's race in New York.  It seems to have something to do with sex.  I have no doubt the Times wants Paterson out because Andrew Cuomo, son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, would be a far more formidable candidate in the general election. So it will be more than a little interesting to see the specifics.

-Does anyone really want to see a sex tape of John Edwards and Rielle Hunter having sex?  Not me.  I'd rather watch the Lady and the Tramp going at it.


Ken Berwitz

Does this come across as a blatant lie to you?  Because it sure does to me.

From Ed Morrissey at

Did GOP know about EunuchBombers Miranda treatment?

posted at 1:18 pm on February 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

John Brennan claims that GOP leadership in Congress had been briefed by the Obama administration about the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the decision to handle his case through the criminal justice system.  The National Security Adviser told Meet the Press that no Republican ever raised any objections to the decision made by Eric Holder during their briefings:

The two Republicans briefed on the matter immediately objected to Brennans characterization of the amount of information delivered by the White House on the EunuchBombers situation:

But Brennans comment provoked a sharp rebuke from two of the Republicans who received the briefings.

This was like a three or four minute phone call, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) told POLITICO on Sunday. Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, At no point did he ever talk to me about legal strategies.

For this guy to get out there and start saying things like this is irresponsible, Hoekstra said.

Byron York heard from Senator Kit Bond, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee:

Sen. Bond responds, saying Brennan never told him of the plan to Mirandize Abdulmutallab. Bonds entire statement:

"Brennan never told me any of plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber if he had I would have told him the administration was making a mistake. The truth is that the administration did not even consult our intelligence chiefs, as DNI Blair testified, so its absurd to try to blame Congressional leaders for this dangerous decision that gave terrorists a five week head start to cover their tracks."

It seems ridiculous to claim that Bond and Hoekstra got fully briefed on the strategy for handling Abdulmutallab when DNI Dennis Blair, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and others in the counterterrorist chain of command have already testified that they didnt get briefed on that decision until it was made. If the White House didnt consult Mueller or Blair, why would they have picked up the phone and called Bond and Hoekstra? Brennans claim that a call giving the two the outline of the attack somehow amounts to acquiescence of the point of Mirandizing a terrorist before fully interrogating him is ludicrous, and obviously self-serving. Its almost as bad as Janet Napolitanos the system worked spin on the Sunday after Christmas.

Was I there?  No I was not, so I can't say for sure.

But Brennan is telling us that two Republican congresspeople who absolutely, positively, unequivocally are against giving terrorists civil trials, magically had no problem with abdulmutallab being mirandized and going into the civil court system. 

That doesn't hold water.  Not even a sweat bead's worth.

I think Brennan is a liar.  What do you think?


Ken Berwitz

Why do we fight radical islam?  Every now and again it's good to remind ourselves of the answer. 

This story comes to us from London's Daily Telegraph:

Teenage girl buried alive in Turkey for talking to boys

A 16-year-old girl has been buried alive by her relatives in Turkey as punishment for talking to boys, police have said.

Medine Memi was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.

Her father and grandfather have since been arrested and are due to face trial over her death. Her mother was also charged but has since been released.

Police made the discovery in December after a tip-off from an informant, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on its website.

Medine had first been reported missing 40 days earlier.

The informant told the police she had been killed following a family "council" meeting.

Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter one of nine children had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex.

A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried.

"The report is blood curdling. According to our findings the girl who had no bruises on her body and no sign of narcotics or poison in her blood was alive and fully conscious when she was buried," one official involved in the case told the Times.

It also emerged that Medine had repeatedly tried to report to police that she had been beaten by her father and grandfather days before she was killed. "She tried to take refuge at the police station three times, and she was sent home three times," her mother, Immihan, said after the body was discovered in December.

Medine's father is reported as saying at the time: "She has male friends. We are uneasy about that."

Although honour killings are not infrequent in Turkey, the especially gruesome manner of Medine's death has shocked the nation.

Official figures have indicated that more than 200 such killings take place each year, accounting for around half of all murders in Turkey.

Buried alive.  Their own daughter.

For what?  For talking to boys and "having relations" (which, in this insane culture could mean nothing more than talking to boys).

Three times Medine Memi went to the police for protection and refuge from her family's beatings and three times she was sent home.  Now she has been killed in the most gruesome, torturous way imaginable. 

But the most horrible statistic?  Over 200 "honor killings" take place in Turkey every year - more than half the countries entire murder rate.  And these are only the ones they know about - I'm betting the number is far higher.

If we fight radical Islam we may win and we may lose.  But if we don't fight, we will most assuredly lose, because radical Islam will fight regardless.

And if we lose, our culture will be ended.  To be replaced by what?  A world in which teenage girls are killed by their own families for the "crime" of talking to members of the opposite sex?

That is why we fight radical Islam.

And that is why we play political games - like sanitizing the term terrorist by calling it "man-caused disaster" and sending terrorists through the civil court system instead of intensely interrogating them, then putting them before a military tribunal - at our own peril.


Ken Berwitz

From Ian Swanson, writing for

Cao will be sole GOPer to attend White House Super Bowl party

By Ian Swanson - 02/05/10 04:34 PM ET


Rep. Joseph Cao (La.), the only House Republican who voted for healthcare reform, is also the only GOPer going to the Super Bowl party at the White House.

The White House released a list of lawmakers expected to attend that included seven Democrats and Cao, the Republican who won the New Orleans seat held by Rep. Willliam Jefferson (D-La.).

Jefferson was defeated in the heavily Democratic district amid charges that he had accepted bribes. He was later convicted by a jury, but is appealing the verdict.

Cao probably represents the seat that is the Democrats best chance to pick up a seat in what looks to be a difficult election year for the party. Obama won 75 percent of the vote in Caos district in 2008.

If last years Super Bowl is an indication, Caos attendance could be good for Democrats and the New Orleans Saints, who are making their first Super Bowl appearance after a fairly miserable history in the NFL.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) attended last years Super Bowl party at Obamas new house. He rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won their sixth Super Bowl that year. A few months later, the Republican switched parties and became a Democrat.

Most of the lawmakers invited to watch the game at the White House are from the states represented in the game.


Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) and Baron Hill (D-Ind.) presumably will be rooting for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Cao is the only Louisiana lawmaker attending the White House party.

Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will also attend, according to the White House.

So will a number of cabinet members, including Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano.

What a great show of President Obama's bipartisanship!!  "most....are from the states represented in the game".  But out of 12 Republican members of the house and senate from Indiana and Louisiana, the one and only invitee is the one and only Republican who voted his way on health care --- and the one most likely to lose his seat if he doesn't switch to the Democratic party.

In other words, Barack Obama's take-no-prisoners partisanship even extends to a football party.  Does it get more petty than that?

Remember this party the next time some deluded soul tries to convince you that President Obama has extended his hand across the aisle.


Ken Berwitz

Here is a fascinating, and telling, little excerpt from a piece by Liz Blaine at

During last nights Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked those crazy conservatives for what he perceives as a right-wing conspiracy to convince Americans his shows ratings are plummeting and his popularity is fading. Of course, the origin of his latest fanaticsm is none other than the uber-liberal L.A. Times. This particular piece appears to have Olbermann bent out of shape:

Where they are, as Jeff Bercovici points out over at Daily Finance, is way behind the big boys over at Fox News, Bill OReilly and gang. In fact, Keith is so far behind Bill, he cant even make out the state of the license plate, let alone the numbers. Bercovici thinks Americans may be outgrowing Olbermanns schtick.

In the most desirable TV demographic of 25-54, which Keith will soon outgrow himself, Countdown lost 44% of its audience from the beginning of President Obamas term until this year. It could have been worse say, 45%.

Olbermann averaged 268,000 viewers last month in that sector. Thats just several thousand sets of those eyes more than Campbell Brown over on CNN. According to one count, Keith even finished in that time slot behind Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace!

Hey, Olbermann! Get a clue. If it werent for conservative bloggers watching your show to get material, youd have no viewers outside of your own mind. Exploring the small picture is fine, but two segments on this in one show? Is that really necessary?

I agree with that last paragraph.  Just as it appears that Rush Limbaugh-haters are among his most loyal listeners, so is it true, I suspect, with olbermann haters who watch Countdown.  The difference is in how many there are of each - and that difference is obviously pretty vast.

I didn't check the numbers themselves.  But they either are or are not correct, no matter who is stating them.  keith olbermann's yawping out his daily overdose of venom won't change that.

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