Wednesday, 09 February 2011


Ken Berwitz

I have watched Cenk Uygar just a couple of times since he took over (at least for now) MSNBC's 6:00PM time slot.  So far, he comes across as a poor man's substitute for keith olbermann:  100% of the bile, with far less clever phrasing and a only a small fraction of olbermann's penchant for pretentious, contrived, polysyllabic words.

Here is a sample of what Mr. Uygar has to say about his goal at MSNBC, courtesy of Mark Joyella's blog at

The newest member of MSNBCs evening lineup, Cenk Uygur, has lobbed a verbal shot at cable news titan Fox News, telling AlterNets Don Hazen his ultimate goal is defeating Fox. Uygur, who currently hosts the 6 p.m. hour in MSNBCs post-Olbermann lineup, says I hope (defeat Fox) through pointing out their hypocrisy, propaganda and general foolishness. But I also plan to beat them in the ratings and make them fear me

So how is Uygar doing in his quest to defeat Fox by insulting it into submission?  Here are the latest data, from

As of yesterday:

-In key 25-54 year age group, Fox's Brett Baier more than triples Cenk Uygar's viewership, 431,000 to 142.000.  ;

-In total, the numbers are even worse.  Baier has 2,166,000 to Uygar's 577,000.

The moral of this story is that Uygar's barroom-loudmouth-quality insults are not defeating Fox.  Heck, in the 25-54 age group they aren't even defeating CNN's Wolf Blitzer (who has 186,000 viewers to Uygar's 142,000).

In this word, there are visionaries and there are delusionaries.  Visionaries see real things that others cannot, and sometimes soar ahead.  Delusionaries see things that don't exist, and usually stay down at the bottom of the heap.

For alll his braggadocio, Cenk Uygar - so far - is solidly in delusionary territory. 

We'll keep watching to see if Uygar's viewership starts moving in the direction of his ego (i.e. up, up and away into the ionosphere).  Personally, I doubt that it will.


Ken Berwitz

From Laura Donovan's article at the

A little more than a month after being shot in the head at a Congress on Your Corner event in Tucson, Ariz., Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has acquired the ability to speak again.

When breakfast was given to Giffords at her Houston hospital room Monday, she requested toast instead of what was delivered to her. Monday marked the first publicly reported instance of Giffords speaking in the aftermath of the shooting rampage that left six dead and many injured, reports Politico.

 Shes doing remarkably well, John Holcomb, a trauma surgeon, said last month. We have noticed daily improvements in her neurological condition, Holcomb said. Were very pleased with that and, in terms of recovery for brain issues, this is really at lightning speed.

What great news!!

I assume all readers join me in wishing Ms. Giffords a fast, perfect recovery. 


Ken Berwitz

How is the public reacting to the way President Obama has handled the budget deficit?

Well, here are Gallup's data from April, 2009 to the present.  See if you notice a trend:


2009-2011 Trend: President Barack Obama's Approval Rating on the Federal Budget Deficit

Keep in mind, please, that Gallup's first wave of interviewing was conducted two months after the Obama administration's so-called "stimulus package" was supposed to stop unemployment in its tracks, create millions and millions of new jobs, and cause the economy to rebound.

Assuming these data are accurate, I assume you don't need me to tell you that the public isn't buying what Obama & Co. are selling.

From a patriotic standpoint, I would hope that Mr. Obama has the capacity - and the humility - to acknowledge his mistakes and change policies ASAP, so things might be better.  But I have little confidence that this is going to happen.

From a purely political standpoint, if I were a Republican I would be hoping, praying, even begging, for Mr. Obama to keep doing exactly what he is doing, right up to election day 2012. 

Zeke .... .... .... Nah --- High Speed Rail will make The One into a national hero ..... Just like his Global Warming Policy is so successful .... (Record January Snowfall in Metro NYC) ..... .... and his Afghanistan Policy ..... and his Iran Policy ..... .... and his Energy Policy ..... and his Border Policy .... and his Recession Policy (perhaps soon to become his Depression Policy) ..... and his China Policy ..... and his North Korea Policy ...... and his Jobs Policy (millions of new jobs --- all in China) ..... .... and his Immigration Policy (sue Arizona) ..... (02/09/11)


Ken Berwitz

I have written about this several times already, but if ever there were something that bears repeating and reinforcement, this is it.

Excerpted from Jeff Jacoby's excellent (as usual) column in today's Boston Globe:

 "Liberty and justice for all" does not require empowering even those who seek to do away with liberty and justice.

This is why the question of the Muslim Brotherhood -- officially banned in Egypt, but nevertheless the country's largest opposition group -- is so crucial.

The Brotherhood is the world's most influential Islamist organization, and Islamism -- the radical ideology that seeks the submission of all people to Islamic law -- is perhaps the most virulent antidemocratic force in the world today. In Daniel Pipes's phrase, "it is an Islamic-flavored version of totalitarianism." Like other totalitarian cadres, Islamists despise democratic pluralism and liberty in principle. But they are quite ready to make use of elections and campaigns as tactical stepping-stones to power.

As with Adolf Hitler in 1933 or the Czechsolovak communists in 1946, Islamists may run for office and hold themselves out as democrats; but once power is in their grasp, they do not voluntarily relinquish it. Just months after Hamas, a self-described "wing of the Muslim Brotherhood," won a majority of seats in the Palestinian elections in 2006, it violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. More than 30 years after Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran promising representative democracy, the Islamist dictatorship he built instead remains entrenched.

If Egypt is to have any hope of a transition to a genuine constitutional democracy, the Muslim Brotherhood must not be treated as a legitimate democratic partner. For more than 80 years, it has been a fervent exponent of Islamic, not secular, rule; of clerical, not popular, sovereignty. Its credo could hardly be more explicit, or more antidemocratic: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

In 2008, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader publicly called for raising young "mujaheddin" -- holy warriors -- "who love to die as much as others love to live and who can perform their duty towards their God, themselves and homeland." This week, senior Brotherhood figure Kamal al-Halbavi said his wish for Egypt is "a good government like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is very brave."

Democracy is flexible, but even in the best of circumstances it is incompatible with religious totalitarianism. What the Muslim Brotherhood seeks is the very antithesis of democratic pluralism and a free civil society. Egypt's friends must not hesitate to say so, clearly and emphatically.

 Exactly right.

You cannot further democracy by handing a seat at the table to people who do not want it, will not abide by it and will use it only as a stepping-stone to imposing their will on the entire populace --which defines the Muslim brotherhood just about perfectly.

Are you listening, Mr. Obama?


Ken Berwitz

This one is for the people - and there still appear to be a good many of them - who believe in Global Warming and/or Climate Change.

-When temperatures were up they sneered out that we were in the midst of "Global Warming", and hoped for grants to study it.

-When large parts of the world were experiencing record cold, they sneered out that we were in the midst of "Climate Change", and hoped for grants to study it.

The two constants?  Sneering, and hoping for grants.

With that in mind, please read the following letter that was sent to the House of Representatives just yesterday:

February 8, 2011

To The Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate:

In reply to The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change

On 28 January 2011, eighteen scientists sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to "take a fresh look at climate change." Their intent, apparently, was to disparage the views of scientists who disagree with their contention that continued business-as-usual increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the burning of coal, gas, and oil will lead to a host of cataclysmic climate-related problems.

We, the undersigned, totally disagree with them and would like to take this opportunity to briefly state our side of the story.

The eighteen climate alarmists (as we refer to them, not derogatorily, but simply because they view themselves as "sounding the alarm" about so many things climatic) state that the people of the world "need to prepare for massive flooding from the extreme storms of the sort being experienced with increasing frequency," as well as the "direct health impacts from heat waves" and "climate-sensitive infectious diseases," among a number of other devastating phenomena. And they say that "no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet's climate," which is understood to mean their view of what is happening to Earth's climate.

To these statements, however, we take great exception. It is the eighteen climate alarmists who appear to be unaware of "what is happening to our planet's climate," as well as the vast amount of research that has produced that knowledge.

For example, a lengthy review of their claims and others that climate alarmists frequently make can be found on the Web site of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (see That report offers a point-by-point rebuttal of all of the claims of the "group of eighteen," citing in every case peer-reviewed scientific research on the actual effects of climate change during the past several decades.

If the "group of eighteen" pleads ignorance of this information due to its very recent posting, then we call their attention to an even larger and more comprehensive report published in 2009, Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). That document has been posted for more than a year in its entirety at

These are just two recent compilations of scientific research among many we could cite. Do the 678 scientific studies referenced in the CO2 Science document, or the thousands of studies cited in the NIPCC report, provide real-world evidence (as opposed to theoretical climate model predictions) for global warming-induced increases in the worldwide number and severity of floods? No. In the global number and severity of droughts? No. In the number and severity of hurricanes and other storms? No.
Do they provide any real-world evidence of Earth's seas inundating coastal lowlands around the globe? No. Increased human mortality? No. Plant and animal extinctions? No. Declining vegetative productivity? No. More frequent and deadly coral bleaching? No. Marine life dissolving away in acidified oceans? No.

Quite to the contrary, in fact, these reports provide extensive empirical evidence that these things are not happening. And in many of these areas, the referenced papers report finding just the opposite response to global warming, i.e., biosphere-friendly effects of rising temperatures and rising CO2 levels.

In light of the profusion of actual observations of the workings of the real world showing little or no negative effects of the modest warming of the second half of the twentieth century, and indeed growing evidence of positive effects, we find it incomprehensible that the eighteen climate alarmists could suggest something so far removed from the truth as their claim that no research results have produced any evidence that challenges their view of what is happening to Earth's climate and weather.

But don't take our word for it. Read the two reports yourselves. And then make up your own minds about the matter. Don't be intimidated by false claims of "scientific consensus" or "overwhelming proof." These are not scientific arguments and they are simply not true.

Like the eighteen climate alarmists, we urge you to take a fresh look at climate change. We believe you will find that it is not the horrendous environmental threat they and others have made it out to be, and that they have consistently exaggerated the negative effects of global warming on the U.S. economy, national security, and public health, when such effects may well be small to negligible.

 The letter is signed and endorsed by 67 dissenters, almost all of them noted, accredited scientists (click here to see the letter with its endorsees/signees).


There is an old saying in politics:  "Follow the money". 


That is 100% as applicable to scientists touting chicken-little scenarios of doom, gloom and disaster, with outstretched hands waiting for big, juicy grant checks they will use to provide more of the same.


Be skeptical.

Zeke ..... ..... Just read an article that the movement of the Earth's magnetic pole is producing huge effects on climate. .... .... The magnetic pole, which in New Jersey is 15 degress west of True North is moving towards Russia at 40 miles a year. ..... ..... Another factor is Wobble - the Earth wobbles on its axis. .... hmmm AGW ? ? ? Anthropogenic Global Wobbling - - - we must spend trillions to end Break Dancing, which causes Global Wobbling. .... Dance the Waltz, Save the Earth ......... (02/09/11)


Ken Berwitz

Why are some elected officials so impossibly stupid?

Rep. Christopher Lee, (R-NY) has summarily resigned from the House of Representatives after being exposed (literally) as a guy sending shirtless pictures of himself to a woman on and posturing as a 39 year old  "divorced lobbyist" who is a "fit fun classy guy".

FYI, the divorced classy guy, who - incredibly - was using his real name and picture, is actually a 46 year old married man with a child. 

The first line of defense was a claim by one of Lee's aides that he was hacked.  Ok, fair enough; in this day and age that is certainly plausible.

But his sudden resignation tells a very different story.  You don't run away like that if you're the victim instead of the perp.

I don't know which part of this story is worse:  the horror show Lee has inflicted on his wife and child, or the thought that someone with his judgment would have been voting on federal legislation.

If you want to see the pictures and some of his emails, the very aptly-named web site has them.  Just click here.

Hey, it isn't often you get to see an ex-congressperson naked from the waist up - and, apparently, empty from the neck up.

Ken Berwitz The gawker is generally a left wing site (though it occasionally goes after Democrats as well). I have no idea what don't ask/don't tell has to do with Lee's action. And while, overall, I agree that Democrats get away with a lot more than Republicans, let's not forget David Vitter and John Ensign, both of whom are still US senators. It's not 100% - 0% (02/09/11)

free` Can you tell me what this paragraph has to do with this story? --- "Yesterday, we reached out to Rep. Lee, whose support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and vote to reject federal abortion funding..." ---- That is from the gawker article. Is gawker a leftwing site? (02/09/11)

free` Also, why is it that R's always resign when caught or accused of something distasteful/illegal and D's won't resign even if convicted of a crime? (02/09/11)

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