Saturday, 06 November 2010


Ken Berwitz

You can't make this stuff up.

Rachel Maddow said it:

"We are not a political operation. FOX is. We are a news operation."

The funniest part?  She said it in defense of keith olbermann.  Apparently, to Ms. Maddow, olbermann is not political, he's a news man.

This is roughly equivalent to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell announcing that they are not former NBA centers, they are midget wrestlers.


Ken Berwitz

Want a textbook explanation of why so many people hold media in such low esteem?

Maybe it will help to read the first two paragraphs of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's commentary on the midterm elections:

Well, anger certainly continues to be all the rage in the corridors of American politics. Not to mention American corridors in general. Polls taken prior to the November midterm election indicated that a surprising number of Obama voters said they were going to vote Republican this time and an equally surprising number of McCain supporters said they would be backing Democratic candidates. What that is about, God knows. The general anti-Obama rage out there is palpable. But its no more virulent than the anti-Bush sentiment that has pervaded the country for much of the past decadealthough this being America, theres an attendant hatred for Obama that has more to do with race than anything else. What makes todays fury more worrying is the fact that angry right-wing extremists tend to carry guns in disproportionate numbers to their liberal counterparts.

 A distinguished colleague of mine likens the wiggy mood of the nation to that of a hormonal teenager. What do you call an electorate that seems prone to acting out irrationally, is full of inchoate rage, and is constantly throwing fits and tantrums? You call it teenaged. Is voting for a deranged Tea Party candidate such as Christine ODonnell, who has no demonstrable talent for lawmaking, or much else, so different from shouting Whatever! and slamming the bedroom door? Is moaning that Obama doesnt emote enough or get sufficiently angry so different from screaming, You dont understand!!!


In the first paragraph we learn that Mr. Carter considers the electorate to be angry, that he has no clue why some people change which party's candidates they vote for, that a lot of the hatred against President Obama is because he is Black, that this kind of racism is a hallmark of America (the same America which elected him), and that angry right-wing extremists are armed and dangerous.

In the second paragraph we learn that we're "wiggy" (now there's an expression that puts Mr. Carter right into the mainstream of the country), like hormonal teenagers, acting irrationally with inchoate rage (another everyman's word:  FYI: it is pronounced in-CO-it and means in the earliest stages of development) and that, like teenagers, we constantly throw fits and tantrums.  We also learn that Christine O'Donnell is not just unqualified but deranged and that thinking of President Obama as aloof is equivalent to mindless screaming.

That's just the first two paragraphs.

What Mr. Carter didn't talk about was that Mr. Obama and his lopsidedly Democratic congress passed two major pieces of legislation - the "stimulus package" which has put us a trillion more dollars in debt while failing miserably, and ObamaCare, which just about every major poll shows the country does not want.  Hey, maybe that has something to do with the way we voted this past Tuesday.

Graydon Carter has done us a service.  He has shown just how far removed his ivory tower is from the real world, and just how completely out of touch he is with regular, everyday people.

I think I'll show this blog to the three teenagers who live next door.  Maybe they can get past their wiggy, inchoate rage and understand what I'm talking about.

Zeke Pardon me, but that is EXACTLY what Mr. Obama described as the reason the electorate gave him the finger. ..... Obama screaming, “You don’t understand!!!” ..... ..... ..... "Poor Communications" ..... "Voters did not understand his position" ..... blah blah blah. ...... Voters certainly understand paying off cronies to the tune of a trillion dollars. Voters certainly understand taking money from THEIR health care plans to pay for illegal aliens, upscaling Medicaid (welfare) medical coverage. (11/06/10)


Ken Berwitz

Having decisively lost her position as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (surprisingly, if you ask me) is now running for the post of minority leader.

Let's think about this.

The first question that comes to mind, is why?  Why would Ms. Pelosi, try to win a position of such secondary importance to the one she just had?  Three reasons come to mind:

-Pride/ego:  It would make her the leader of her party in the house and, to that extent, assuage the embarrassment of being blown away as speaker.

-Power:  Though minority leader is not a powerful position (ask John Boehner) it would nonetheless make her more powerful than other Democratic house members.

-The future:  If Democrats should win the house back in 2012 - keep in mind that they'll have an incumbent President running who, based on 2008 results, will draw millions more almost-monolithically-Democratic Black voters - she will be in a position to become Speaker of the House again.

When I heard that Ms. Pelosi wanted this job, my first thought was that she would never get it.  Democrats may have been out of touch with voters for the past two years, but they certainly noticed that Nancy Pelosi was a lightning rod for attacks from the Republican Party and that those attacks had considerable success.  Why give Republicans the "Pelosi issue" for two more years?

But then I read a New York Post editorial which reminded me that "...more than half of the Democratic blue dogs lost...".  This means the Democratic house contingent is not only smaller, it is further to the left.  And you don't get much further to the left than Nancy Pelosi.  So they just might vote her in.

It will be very interesting to see a) if Ms. Pelosi wins, whether she will be able to handle the subordinate status of a minority leader, or b) if Ms. Pelosi loses, whether she will be so humiliated by a second defeat right after the first, that she either sinks into obscurity or - as several "pundits" have speculated - she just resigns. 

Stay tuned....


Ken Berwitz

I am reposting this little snippet from an article at to make a self-evident point:

Susana Martinez of New Mexico will be the nations first Latina governor, Raul Labrador will be the first Latino to represent Idaho in the House, and Jaime Herrera will be the first Latina congresswoman from Washington State. In Nevada, Brian Sandoval will become that states first Hispanic governor. All are Republicans.

The point, of course, is that there are two parties in this country.  Not just one.  And both of them are perfectly willing to run and support candidates of various Latino heritages.

Let's all of us, Latino and non-Latino, remember that in 2012 and beyond. 


Ken Berwitz

This you are not going to believe.

A couple of years ago there was a very dark but very funny movie called "Anger Management" in which Jack Nicholson played an unstable, perpetually infuriated looney-tune who, somehow or other wound up giving anger management advice to others.

With that in mind, please read the following excerpt from an article at, which tells us that Vice President Joe Biden sought out tips on anger management from.........

keith olbermann.

This is not a joke post.  There's no punch line.  Read it for yourself:

(CNN) - MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, suspended indefinitely Friday for donating to Democratic candidates for office, said in an interview two days before his suspension that Vice President Joe Biden once sought his advice.

I once had a conversation with the man who is now the vice president when he was still in the Senate, who asked me for advice about how to turn anger into righteous inspiration, Olbermann said in an interview with the New York Times Magazine.

Olbermann added, He [Biden] said, I just come across like Im angry and out of control, and you seem to focus it and make it look useful and expressive.

Anger management advice from keith olbermann?  That's like getting addiction counseling from Charlie Sheen.

Not for nothing do I call him Jackass Joe.


Ken Berwitz

That title may look strange, but it is true.  Conservatives have joined the angry left in attacking MSNBC for indefinitely suspending keith olbermann from his prime-time show, because he donated money to Democratic candidates.

William Kristol of the Daily Standard is defending olbermann.  Jonah Goldberg  and Andy McCarthy of National Review are defending olbermann.  John Guardiano of the American Spectator and the Daily Caller is defending Olbermann.  And plenty more.

Why would they do that?

The main reason appears to be their belief that commentators should be free not only to express their opinions - no matter how partisan they are - but to support the candidates they prefer with monetary as well as verbal contributions.

And if that were the entire story, I would agree with them.

But it isn't.

When MSNBC trotted out keith olbermann to anchor its 100% left wing kangaroo court of a panel for Tuesday night's election coverage, it transformed him from a commentator into a newsman.  Maybe the network reasoned that, because they used olbermann in this manner, it was more important to hold him to the network's ethics rules. 

Interestingly, if that is the case, we have to at least consider the possibility that MSNBC set olbermann up - i.e. it was looking for a way to get rid of him and seized on this as an alternative to just saying that he was an embarrassing presence who hurt the network's credibility and therefore was being dumped.

Do you think that is far-fetched?  Well, don't be so sure.  Remember, subject to final government approval, Comcast is MSNBC's new owner.  It's people may have made it clear to MSNBC that olbermann is a problem and has to go before they take over.

If the other MSNBC hosts had guts - and any real affinity for keith olbermann - they would, as a unit, publicly state that they too have contributed to Democrats (which probably would be true) and force MSNBC's hand.

Or, maybe they're just hoping that olbermann is permanently gone and one of them will get the 9:00PM time slot.

Who knows?  Maybe we'll find out soon.


Ken Berwitz

In case you are wondering about the final makeup of the house of representatives:

As of this moment, Republicans have won 60 house seats, and are leading in 5 of the 9 still-contested races.

Kasie Hunt and Alex Isenstadt of have put together brief updates of these 9 races, which you can read by clicking here.

Assuming things stay as they are, the gain of 65 will put Republicans at 243 seats and Democrats at 192.


Ken Berwitz

Salim Mansur, the excellent Toronto Sun columnist, has given us a gift.  He has talked openly and honestly about the vast double standard which exists between reactions to crimes against Muslims and crimes by Muslims.

I strongly urge you to read Mr. Mansur's entire column.  Meanwhile, here are several excerpts that will give you a flavor of what he is saying:

The non-Muslim world is increasingly not surprised and unmoved by the depravity of Muslim jihadis committing outrage, one after another without end in sight, and what can only be explained, unsatisfactorily, as a pathological wish to cause pain to the living by random acts of terrorist violence.

The murderous attack on the church in central Baghdad last Sunday by Muslim terrorists, if we go with the news reports, was merely another not unusual blood-soaked event in the daily cycle of news from Muslim countries.

But if such an atrocity was not just another criminal event in a "normal" day across the Arab-Muslim world, then we should have heard of a special meeting being called at the UN, or in one of the capitals of member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to express outrage against those who killed innocent worshippers inside Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad.

We then should have heard of Muslim political and religious leaders expressing their grief over the dead and wounded there were some 120 Iraqi Christians in attendance at the Sunday evening mass when Muslim terrorists attacked the church and left 58 dead with only a dozen escaping unhurt.

Instead, we have deathly silence of the Muslim leadership as non-Muslim minorities inside the Arab-Muslim world are routinely abused, their homes and places of worship under daily duress, and their hearts filled with fear of violent death in the hands of Muslim jihadis.

The simple truth is Muslims are among the worst perpetrators of crimes against non-Muslims, and penalties based on obsolete jurisprudence of Shariah implemented in Muslim states violate the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights, to which they are signatories.

How can we explain this willingness to look the other way at such atrocities when they are committed by Muslim terrorists?

-Is it fear of reprisal?  Based on recent history there certainly is good reason to be fearful.  But let's not forget that looking the other way is one of the reasons this "branch" (if you can call it that) of Islam has become strong and pervasive enough to instill such fear;

-Is it because of a perception that Muslim governments will ignore condemnations/demands that they do something about the terrorists in their countries who perpetrate acts such as these?  Possibly.  But, ironically, that means we are giving terrorists a free pass because we believe Muslims cannot be held to the same standards as non-Muslims; that they are some kind of sub-human species (roughly the way many politicians, the vast majority of them Democrats, treat Blacks). 

Whatever the reason, this has to stop.  And fast. 

Some people may not have caught on yet, but we are in a war against radical Islam.  If we fight it, we will either win or lose the war.  If we don't fight it, we will most assuredly lose, because they will keep fighting anyway.

Time to get serious about the world as it is.


Ken Berwitz

Jill Clayburgh, the wonderfully talented stage and screen actress and committed feminist, died last night at the too-young age of 66.  The cause was chronic leukemia, which she apparently had fought for over 20 years.

Ms. Clayburgh leaves a husband, playright David Rabe, a daughter, son and stepson.  She also leaves a superior body of work that film buffs will, no doubt study for years and years to come.

It is sad when people pass away before their time.  Especially people who were so productive in their lifetimes.

May Ms. Clayburgh rest in peace.

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