Friday, 19 November 2010


Ken Berwitz

Last week I blogged about "Fair Game", a newly released movie about valerie plame and her husband joe wilson, starring two-time academy award winner Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

At that time I commented that even if plame and wilson had a legitimate story to tell (they don't) it was not a particularly consequential one, it occurred years ago, and nobody really cared about it anymore.

Now that the movie is in general, albeit somewhat limited, release, I thought I would give you the numbers, as they appear at

Current exposure:  386 theaters.  Domestic gross so far (after 13 days in release, only part of which it was in all theaters):  $2,183,587. 

Not very impressive.

And when you factor in the presumption that whoever still was interested in valerie plame and joe wilson would come running to see it, thus booming up the early numbers, you realize that the per-theater gross where it is being shown has nowhere to go but down.

I realize that Sean Penn is a passionately committed left wing Hollywood type.  But, as he is finding out, that passion does not necessarily translate into box office receipts. 

Maybe he can blame George Bush....


UPDATE:  Quin Hillyer has written a very interesting piece  for the Washington Times, about how dishonestly Lewis "Scooter" Libby is portrayed in Fair Game.  Here is a key excerpt.

According to the movie, Libby went to the CIA and browbeat a top counter-proliferation agent to try to force a report that some now-famous aluminum tubes were meant for nuke use. The movie Libby also, at least by inference, is hip-deep in all affairs related to the controversial "16 words" in President George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address to the effect that British intelligence had determined that Iraq had sought yellowcake uranium from Africa. Libby thus is made complicit, ultimately, for "lying" the United States into war.

Here's the truth: Nobody lied us into war. Ambassador Joe Wilson's own report had noted a 1999 "trade mission" by Iraq, to Niger, that likely was an attempt to secure yellowcake. British intelligence, independently of forged reports, had indeed concluded that Iraq actively sought yellowcake. And almost everybody involved honestly believed Iraq still had weapons of mass murder. Those believers included Valerie Plame Wilson herself.

Facts?  We don't need no steenking facts.  They get in the way of a good rant.


Ken Berwitz

This is an easy blog to put up.  When I quote Charles Krauthammer it almost always is easy, since he says it so much better than I can.

In today's column, Mr. Krauthammer is talking about John Tyner, the outraged would-be airline passenger who told the TSA pat-down pervert "don't touch my junk". 

Here is his key excerpt:.

John Tyner, cleverly armed with an iPhone to give YouTube immortality to the encounter, took exception to the TSA guard about to give him the benefit of Homeland Security's newest brainstorm - the upgraded, full-palm, up the groin, all-body pat-down. In a stroke, the young man ascended to myth, or at least the next edition of Bartlett's, warning the agent not to "touch my junk."


Not quite the 18th-century elegance of "Don't Tread on Me," but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch.


Don't touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter. Don't touch my junk, Obamacare - get out of my doctor's examining room, I'm wearing a paper-thin gown slit down the back. Don't touch my junk, Google - Street View is cool, but get off my street. Don't touch my junk, you airport security goon - my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I'm a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come?


In "Up in the Air," that ironic take on the cramped freneticism of airport life, George Clooney explains why he always follows Asians in the security line:


"They pack light, travel efficiently, and they got a thing for slip-on shoes, God love 'em."


"That's racist!"


"I'm like my mother. I stereotype. It's faster."


That riff is a crowd-pleaser because everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives - when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

Do I agree completely with every word?  No I do not.  I think that if we restrict enhanced security procedures entirely to highest-risk groups we are unfaily profiling, and we are also giving a free pass to terrorists who can somehow convince a lower-risk person to take that "package to my mother in (pick your country) for me, oh thank you so much". 

But do I agree that the predominating focus should be on highest- risk groups?  You're damn right I do.

And do I feel that we are out of our minds not to incorporate the procedures used by Israel - such as, for example, passengers being asked a series of security oriented questions by personnel who are seriously trained to "read" their responses - not just the words, but the signs of anxiety in their facial expressions, darting eyes, etc.?  Same answer:  You're damn right I do.

Put another way, imbecilic procedures such as what is being foisted on us by Napolitano & Co., which seem designed to make me feel safer?  They don't. 

And the burgeoning nationwide passenger revolt over them?  It's fine with me.


Ken Berwitz

The handwriting is on the wall.  But good.

Yesterday, during its "lame duck" session, a measure that would stop taxpayer dollars from funding NPR was defeated in the house of representatives by a vote of 239-171.  Every vote against funding was Democrat, all but three in favor of defunding was Republican.

Next year, the house will have 240-245 Republicans and 190-195 Democrats.  Obviously, that same measure will be re-introduced, and passed.

NPR's reaction? 

In an increasingly fractious media environment, public radios value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all Americans and thrives well into the future.

Yeah, right.

If NPR had any vestige of neutrality, I might be inclined to agree with that assessment.  But, in reality, NPR is a taxpayer-funded left wing enterprise which does not act as an "essential tool of democracy" any more than MSNBC, Fox, or any other media venue in which one side of the political spectrum predominates. 

Let NPR stand or fall on its own.  Leave taxpayer dollars out of the equation.  If it is as neutral as it pretends, both the left and right will contribute money to keep it going. 

If, on the other hand, only one side does so, it would be fair to assume that the contributing side feels NPR gives it the long end of the stick and the non-contributing side gets the short end.

Can you guess which is which?


Ken Berwitz

Here's a bizarre story I just read at, and, due to its short length, am posting in its entirety:

A New York 19-year-old accused of shoving a turkey breast into his pants at a grocery store told a newspaper he took a sandwich but denied stealing the breast.

Deon Williams turned down a plea deal with a six-month jail sentence for the robbery charge, claiming he was falsely accused of shoving the 12-pound Boars Head turkey breast into his pants and attempting to smuggle it out of the Fine Fare supermarket, the New York Post reported Thursday.

"I didn't do it," Williams told the Post. "OK, I stole a cold-cut sandwich because I was hungry, but I put everything (else) back."

Prosecutors allege Williams left the store with the turkey in his pants and was chased down by the butcher, who demanded he hand over the breast.

Williams allegedly placed the turkey on the ground and punched the butcher in the jaw.

A 12 pound turkey breast in his pants?  What did he tell the cashier;  that he just took an entire bottle of viagra?

I'm trying to visualize this guy running from a supermarket with 12 pounds of poultry in his pants.  Call me a pessimist, but I doubt that "running" is a realistic description.  On the hand, maybe we should give him credit for reviving the turkey trot.

In any event, he says he didn't steal the turkey breast, only a cold-cut sandwich.:  I put (the turkey breast) back".  I wonder what the market is for a turkey breast that just spent time in this guy's pants.  It seems to me it would be somewhat diminished. 

And if the price of the turkey breast is diminished, what about the body part that this large, refrigerated hunk of poultry was pushing up against.  The last time I checked, cold contracts.  Talk about evidence that won't stand up in court....

Ok, enough.  The next bad joke is yours. 

Zeke .... ... Now, THERE is a place where Enhanced Pat-Downs are necessary . .... .... Turkey in the Junk ...... ..... You can never find a TSA Pervert when you need one ..... ..... (11/19/10)


Ken Berwitz

Michael Gerson, an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, has done an excellent job of defining, explaining and taking apart our disgraceful toady Obama sock-puppet Attorney General, eric holder.

Click here to read Mr. Gerson's entire piece - you won't regret it.  But, meanwhile, here is a key excerpt:

The indefinite detention of terrorists, according to Obama, had "destroyed our credibility when it comes to the rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment." Testifying last year before Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder not only defended a New York trial for lead Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, he lectured, he taunted, he preened. Unlike others, he was not "scared" of what Mohammed would say at trial. Failure was "not an option." This case, he told a reporter, would be "the defining event of my time as attorney general."


Which it certainly has been. Under Holder's influence, American detainee policy is a botched, hypocritical, politicized mess.


The case of embassy bomber Ahmed Ghailani - the only Guantanamo Bay detainee the Obama administration has brought to trial in the United States - was intended to increase public faith in civilian prosecutions. But a terrorist hugging his lawyers in victory can't be considered a confidence builder. Days before the Ghailani verdict, the White House admitted that Mohammed, because of massive, public resistance, would not be seeing the inside of a Manhattan courtroom anytime soon. "Gitmo," one official told The Washington Post, "is going to remain open for the foreseeable future


Where do these developments leave Holder, for whom failure is not only an option but a habit? A recent profile by Wil Hylton in GQ magazine attempts to put his tenure in the best possible light - the lonely, naive man of principle undone by politics. But the portrait is unintentionally devastating. Holder clearly views the war on terrorism as a distraction. "The biggest surprise I've had in this job," he told Hylton, "is how much time the national security issues take."

Ironically, the two people most responsible for making Barack Obama and eric holder look ridiculous when it comes to national security are........Barack Obama and eric holder.

Want to know when I will feel safer?  When one or both of these two, preferably both,  start acting like the war on terrorism is real, and stop treating it like an effing video game.


Ken Berwitz

Last night Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, was interviewed on Larry King's decreasingly watched CNN show. 

When asked about the timeline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, he said, so help me:

Daddy is going to start to take the training wheels off in October -- I mean in next July, so you'd better practice riding,

This defies belief. 

-First, it is a stupidly worded comment with an insulting, demeaning tone.  What possible good does that do anyone?  How much damage does it wreak on our relationship with the Afghani people?. 

-Second, Biden can't even get the date right, which makes him sound even more ridiculous.

-Third, and most importantly......who the hell is he threatening?   If we leave Afghanistan and the Karzai government falls (as I expect that it will), the problem is not THEIRS.  It is OURS.   

If the taliban regains control, presumably in concert with al-qaeda, it damages us.  The United States.  And it damages us 100 times more than Afghanistan, which a) barely even qualifies as a viable country and b) much of which already adheres to taliban rule. 

The only objectives ever worth our fighting for in Afghanistan were to remove the taliban and shut down the al-qaeda training camps.  That is what President Bush did - with dramatically fewer troops and casualties - and it is where we are right now. 

But if we withdraw while the "government", such as it is, cannot maintain the current status, both of those objectives will almost certainly go from success to failure.  And the biggest loser will be us.

So keep up the mindless taunts, Mr. Vice President.  See how much good it will do Afghanistan or the United States.

Not for nothing do I call him Jackass Joe.  But usually, the reasons I do so are funny. 

This time I'm not laughing.

Oh, one other thing:  Will our wonderful "neutral" media, which spend their days derisively laughing at everything Sarah Palin says and does, report this disastrous motormouth comment by Biden and its potential implications?

free` Also from that report: "“You know, we could argue that there could be a stronger leader, but you deal with the hand you're dealt, as the old saying goes.” ---- Donald Rumsfeld got barbecued by the press for saying something similar to that. 'You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.' Or something close to that. Anyone think the MSM will treat it the same way??? (11/19/10)

Zeke .... .... The TaliWackers are NOT a problem to the US, having done nothing to harm US interests or people .... EXCEPT in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ..... ...... ....... ..... All the TaliWackers want is to be left in peace so they can torture, kill and maim their fellow countrymen who are not sufficiently backward and fanatic. ..... ...... Now, al Q'aida, on the other hand, feels about the same, but without the geographic restrictions .... so that nonbelievers anywhere in the world are their target. ....... ...... ..... Bush had it right ... keep the level of operations low, but sufficient to deprive al Q'aida any benefit of being there. Barry has 3 or 4 times the troop strength that Bush did. .... .... Karzai is hardly worried .... he's squirreled away his billions, and will flee as soon as the war or the politics turn against him. .... .... (11/19/10)


Ken Berwitz

This is from  Make of it what you will:

WOODSIDE, Calif. 1960s songbird Joan Baez is "resting comfortably" at an undisclosed location after falling 20 feet to the ground from a treehouse - a treehouse she purposely had built without walls because she wanted to sleep among real birds at her Woodside, Calif., home.

Maybe, at age 69,  Ms. Baez should consider listening to the birdies from her bedroom window and leaving the treehouse to her grandchildren (assuming she has any).

Because if she falls the wrong way from that height, she better be into groundhogs......

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