A love-hate thing

In the annual USA Today-Gallup poll released 26 December, the following were named as the men and women most admired by Americans:


President George W. Bush – 10 percent
Former President Bill Clinton – 8 percent
Former Vice President Al Gore – 6 percent
Senator Barack Obama – 5 percent


Senator Hillary Clinton – 18 percent
TV host Oprah Winfrey – 16 percent
First lady Laura Bush – 3 percent
Actress Angelina Jolie – 3 percent

So, let’s get this straight: the most-hated man in America, presumably, President Bush, making his 7th appearance atop the list, and the most hated woman in the country, former first lady and New York State Senator Clinton, topping the list for the 12th time, are also the most admired.

Tell me this is not a “house divided.”

More poll results.


War on Christmas?

Settling in after Christmas dinner, one could relax by talking with friends and family, reading Luke Chapter 2, listening to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” or enjoying yet another airing of “A Christmas Story” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

So, on the holiest of days for Christians around the world, what were Fox News viewers treated to?

An “O’Reilly Factor” marathon.

Like those old contests to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar, wonder how many times Bill mentioned “the war on Christmas” and his book “Culture Warrior” in his blatant attempts to fool his viewers, fortify his ratings and fatten his own coffers?


'The Christmas Tree Regiment'

During WWII, Japanese-American citizens began to be moved from internment to relocation centers, entered the U.S. work force and just as quickly were fired when angry townspeople demanded it of employers.

“At the same time the number of Japanese-Americans serving in the U.S. Army continued to grow, reaching 33,000.

“‘I’ve never had more wholehearted, serious-minded cooperation from Army troops,’ Lt. Col. Faron Turner said of the all-Japanese 100th Infantry Battalion, which fought with great distinction in Italy and France.

“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which also fought in Italy and France, was known as ‘The Christmas Tree Regiment,’ because it became the most decorated unit in the entire Army.

“In seven major campaigns, the combined 100th and 442nd suffered 9.486 casualties and won 18,143 medals for valor, including almost 10,000 Purple Hearts.

“In addition, almost 16,000 Nisei served in military intelligence in the Pacific, translating captured documents.

“At Topaz, Manzanar, Poston, Heart Mountain and other relocation camps, the parents of fallen heroes accepted the extraordinary honors on behalf of their sons. The color guard turned out as the medals of the dead were pinned on their mothers’ blouses

“The familiar sadness of the ceremony was multiplied by its setting: a tawdry, tarpapered barrack surrounded by strips of barbed wire, which denied the parents of the honored soldiers the very freedom for which their sons had died.”

- Doris Kearns Goodwin, “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the Home Front in WWII.”


In this season of faith, love and hope, let our prayer ever be,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14


Crunch time!

Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, if you are interested in the presidential campaign, I highly recommend you spend the 10 minutes to read this assessment of the field and the conclusions drawn by the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s statewide newspaper. After you have read the conclusions, I am certain you will want to share this with others.

We are all ready to take a holiday break, but in just two days after we ring in the new year, the important Iowa Caucuses will yield winners in both parties and will catapult each winner to the forefront of their party’s run for the White House.

For that reason, the following analyses and endorsements by Iowa’s leading newspaper cannot be underestimated:

The Register's caucus endorsements: McCain, Clinton

THE DES MOINES REGISTER • December 15, 2007

The Des Moines Register’s editorial board has endorsed Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

The Register, Iowa’s statewide newspaper, calls McCain and Clinton the candidates it believes are most competent and ready to lead.


Democratic endorsement editorial: Why Clinton


A deep, talented field in the Democratic caucus race offers both good and difficult choices.

No fewer than three candidates would, by their very identity, usher the nation to the doorstep of history. Should the party offer the nation the chance to choose its first woman president? Or its first black president? Or its first Latino president?

Or should the party place its trust in two senators, Joe Biden or Chris Dodd, who have served their nation with distinction for more than 30 years each? Or should it heed John Edwards’ clarion call to restore opportunity for all Americans?

Beyond their personal appeal, the candidates have outlined ambitious policy proposals on health care, education and rural policy. Yet these proposals do little to help separate the field. Their plans are similar, reflecting a growing consensus in the party about how to approach priority issues.

The choice, then, comes down to preparedness: Who is best prepared to confront the enormous challenges the nation faces — from ending the Iraq war to shoring up America’s middle class to confronting global climate change?

The job requires a president who not only understands the changes needed to move the country forward but also possesses the discipline and skill to navigate the reality of the resistant Washington power structure to get things done.

That candidate is New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

From working for children’s rights as a young lawyer, to meeting with leaders around the world as first lady, to emerging as an effective legislator in her service as a senator, every stage of her life has prepared her for the presidency.

That readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president. When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it’s hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead.

Edwards was our pick for the 2004 nomination. But this is a different race, with different candidates. We too seldom saw the “positive, optimistic” campaign we found appealing in 2004. His harsh anti-corporate rhetoric would make it difficult to work with the business community to forge change.

Unfortunately, for many Americans, perceptions of Clinton, now 60, remain stuck in a 1990s time warp. She’s regarded as the one who fumbled health-care reform as a key policy adviser to her husband, President Bill Clinton, or as a driving force in the bitter standoff between the “Clinton machine” and the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Her record in the Senate belies those images. Today, she’s widely praised for working across the aisle with Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham and other Republicans.

Determination to succeed and learning from her mistakes have been hallmarks of Clinton’s life. She grew up in Park Ridge, Ill., graduated from Wellesley College and earned a law degree from Yale. As first lady in Arkansas, she was both strategist and idealist, borne out by her commitment to children and families. As the nation’s first lady, she in essence spent eight years as a diplomat, traveling to more than 80 countries and advocating for human rights.

In the Senate, she has earned a reputation as a workhorse who does not seek the limelight. She honed knowledge of defense on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has proactively served rural and urban New York and worked in the national interest, strengthening the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Clinton is tough. Tested by rough politics and personal trials, she’s demonstrated strength, resolve and resilience.

Can she inspire the nation? Clinton is still criticized in some quarters as being too guarded and calculating. (As president, when she makes a mistake, she should just say so.)

Indeed, Obama, her chief rival, inspired our imaginations. But it was Clinton who inspired our confidence. Each time we met, she impressed us with her knowledge and her competence.

The times demand results. We believe as president she’ll do what she’s always done in her life: Throw herself into the job and work hard. We believe Hillary Rodham Clinton can do great things for our country.


Republican endorsement editorial: Why McCain


The leading candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president present an intriguing mix of priorities, personalities and life stories.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani inspired the city and nation with his confident leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister from Arkansas, charms with homespun humor. Mitt Romney, the multimillionaire investment adviser from Massachusetts, exudes executive discipline. As governors, both worked across the party divide to improve education and health care in their states.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee brings an actor’s ease to his no-nonsense calls for a return to fiscal discipline.

Yet, for all their accomplishments on smaller stages, none can offer the tested leadership, in matters foreign and domestic, of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. McCain is most ready to lead America in a complex and dangerous world and to rebuild trust at home and abroad by inspiring confidence in his leadership.

In an era of instant celebrity, we sometimes forget the real heroes in our midst. The defining chapter of McCain’s life came 40 years ago as a naval aviator, when he was shot down over Vietnam. The crash broke both arms and a leg. When first seeing him, a fellow prisoner recalls thinking he wouldn’t live the night. He was beaten and kept in solitary confinement, held 5 years. He could have talked. He did not. Son of a prominent Navy admiral, he could have gained early release. He refused.

The one-time playboy emerged from prison a changed, more serious man. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and the Senate in 1986, he has built an unconventional political career by taking stands based on principle, not party dogma, and frequently pursuing bipartisanship.

His first term was touched by scandal when the Senate rebuked him for meeting with savings-and-loan regulators on behalf of campaign donor Charles Keating Jr., who was later imprisoned. That ordeal steered him into championing government transparency and battling alongside Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold for the campaign-finance-reform bill that bears their names.

Time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the face of opposition from other elected leaders and the public. He has criticized crop and ethanol subsidies during two presidential campaigns in Iowa. He bucked his party and president by opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. A year ago, in the face of growing criticism, he staunchly supported President Bush’s decision to increase troop strength in Iraq.

In this campaign, he continues to support comprehensive immigration reform — while watching his poll standings plunge. Some other Republican candidates refuse to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat caused by human activity. McCain has worked on the issue for seven years and sponsored bills to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

McCain would enter the White House with deep knowledge of national-security and foreign-policy issues. He knows war, something we believe would make him reluctant to start one. He’s also a fierce defender of civil liberties. As a survivor of torture, he has stood resolutely against it. He pledges to start rebuilding America’s image abroad by closing the Guantanamo prison and beginning judicial proceedings for detainees.

McCain has his flaws, too, of course. He can be hot-tempered, a trait that’s not helpful in conducting diplomacy. At 71, his age is a concern. The editorial board disagrees with him on a host of issues, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. McCain foresees a “long, hard and difficult” deployment of troops in Iraq. The Register’s board has called for withdrawal as soon as it’s safely possible.

But with McCain, Americans would know what they’re getting. He doesn’t parse words. And on tough calls, he usually lands on the side of goodness — of compassion for illegal immigrants, of concern for the environment for future generations.

The force of John McCain’s moral authority could go a long way toward restoring Americans’ trust in government and inspiring new generations to believe in the goodness and greatness of America.


“With dissension at home and distrust abroad, as American troops continue to fight wars on two fronts, the times call for two essential qualities in the next American president,” the Register’s editorial board concluded. “Those qualities became the paramount considerations in making endorsements for the Democratic and Republican nominees in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

“The times call for competence. Americans want their government to work again.

“The times call for readiness to lead. Americans want their country to do great things again. They’ll regain trust in their government when they see a president make that happen.”

Register editorial page editor Carol Hunter said the six editorial board members who participated in the endorsement process disregarded the candidates’ standing in Iowa or national polls.

“We believe our job as an editorial board is to arrive at the candidate in each party we think would be the best president, whether a person is leading the polls or garnering 1 percent support,” Hunter wrote in a column that accompanied the editorials. “It’s not to predict a winner.”

This year’s endorsements come less than three weeks before the caucuses, set for Jan. 3. The caucuses, held five days before the New Hampshire primaries, start the nation’s 2008 presidential election process.

The Register’s editorial board members who participated in the endorsement process were: Laura Hollingsworth, publisher; Carolyn Washburn, editor; Carol Hunter, editorial page editor; Linda Lantor Fandel, deputy editorial page editor; Rox Laird, editorial writer; and Andie Dominick, editorial writer.

SOURCE: Des Moines Register


Black eye

Currently listening to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in WWII."

On 20 June 1943, while the U.S. waged war on two fronts, a race riot broke out in Detroit, Michigan, leaving many blacks and whites dead or injured.

Ms. Goodwin reports: On 22 June 1943, the Jackson (Miss.) Daily News declared:

"It is blood on your hands, Mrs. Roosevelt. You have been personally proclaiming and practicing social equality at the White House and whereever you go, Mrs. Roosevelt. What followed is now history."

So, Detroit had the race riot, Eleanor got blamed, and Jackson, Miss., got the black eye.

What followed is now history.


14th rock from the sun

Paraphrasing, but not much:

Last night, from the no-spin zone on whatever planet Bill O’Reilly exists, an EXPERT was brought on to defend waterboarding and torture. This, of course, was a nice RED HERRING to avoid discussing the matter of DESTROYING EVIDENCE.

The EXPERT claimed waterboarding had stopped a number of ATTACKS on the United States which saved THOUSAND OF LIVES.

O’Reilly then hammered his guests, drowning out REASON by constantly asking, “If you knew your GRANDMOTHER was going to be KILLED, wouldn’t you endorse waterboarding?”

Are you scared yet? Well, this journalist can’t think of anything scarier than the fact that “The O’Reilly Factor” is the No. 1 show on cable news networks.

And, that’s the memo.


Begala pegs Bush

Democratic strategist Paul Begala just on with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) said President Bush is polling lower than several forms of venereal disease. I love a man who speaks his mind. Jack Cafferty and I almost fell out of our chairs!


Wrong numbers

A couple of months ago I gave up a toll-free number I’d had for 11 years. Last night my sister called to tell me she had accidentally punched the old number on her speed dial, and it’s now a phone-sex line. We got a good laugh out the thought that someone who hasn’t called in a while might think I’d figured out a get-rich-quick scheme!

Speaking of wrong numbers, CNN reports:

“Harried homeowners seeking mortgage relief from a new Bush administration hotline Thursday had to contend with a bit of temporary misdirection from the president himself.

“As he announced his plan to ease the mortgage crisis for consumers, Bush accidentally gave out the wrong phone number for the new ‘Hope Now Hotline’ set up by his administration.”

He gave it out TWICE.

The number – 1-800-995-HOPE – belongs to Freedom Christian Academy in Texas, a purveyor of home schooling materials.

Any chance some of those materials are the education software Ignite!, produced by Bush’s brother, Neil’s company?


I See My Dreams today: “Girdles and coffee”



Do you hear Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Huckabee, Mr. McCain and so forth?

No. You hear Senator Obama, former Senator Edwards, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Huckabee, Senator McCain.

So, why “Mrs. Clinton”?

She is Senator Clinton.

Let’s all raise hell about the treatment of women in Muslim countries, but sexism – personal or insinuated – is not-so-subtle here in our own country.


I See My Dreams today: “The poop on Lou Dobbs”


Confederacy of Dunces

A C-SPAN tidbit: George W. Bush currently is reading John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces.”

I read Toole’s novel this summer and imagine Bush is getting a real eye-opener about pre-Katrina New Orleans.

May I suggest a real-life “Confederacy of Dunces:”

“What percent of Republicans in the key caucus and primary states like President Bush? I think Democrats listening right now to Hardball will be shocked – 55 percent of Republicans in New Hampshire think Bush is doing a swell job. That’s 55 percent, New Hampshire. 72 percent of Republicans, more of them, in South Carolina think, well, they give him a thumbs up. And - are you ready? – 80 percent, four out of five Republicans in Iowa, are still solidly on the Bush bandwagon – 80, that’s the percent of Iowa Republicans who think the man in the White House is still peachy keen.”
- Chris Matthews, “Hardball,” MSNBC, 4 December 2007, transcribed from videotape.

See my related post on “I See My Dreams:” LINK


One happy Imus fan

Don Imus returned to the air with apologetic remarks, then added, "Other than that, not much has changed. Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, Hillary Clinton is still Satan, I'm back on the radio and the coffee’s still good at B. J.’s house.”

OK, I added that last part, but it’s true!

Like the night my “Friends” exited the apartment door or finally tossing my favorite old houseshoes, the absence of Imus and his crew in the morning was unsettling.

I had grown accustomed to the craggy-faced curmudgeon and stepped right back into the comfortable morning routine.

I once heard David Letterman say he liked “Beavis and Butthead” because “they’re consistent.” And both Imus and his fans know that is crucial to the new show’s success.

The I-man promised the show his fans came to love “is not going to change,” a remark which drew loud applause from yesterday’s live audience.

RFD-TV, which will simulcast Imus’ WABC-AM show, says 30 million viewers will tune in. The channel hopes to add “20 million urban viewers.”

RFD, for you city slickers, stands for the postal designation, “rural free delivery.”

A friend who gets the channel via satellite told me the program is being bleeped. Well, they ain’t gonna add urban viewers that way.

I buzzed the blogosphere to get reaction to the broadcast, and that hasn’t changed, either – you love Imus or you hate him.

I ran across a blog by a Jewish woman who was complaining about “that bastard Imus” and his new black female sidekick, Karith Foster, a Texas gal educated at Missouri’s exclusive Stephens College and Oxford University in England.

The Jewish woman was raising hell because Foster had joked on her Web site, “I'm really a Jewish girl from Long Island trapped in this body, which technically makes me a JAAP - Jewish African-American Princess."

Sometimes you’re just damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And sometimes, you just want to scream, “SHUT UP!”


Read the Associate Press coverage of the first show: LINK

Listen to Imus “streaming live” at WABC-AM, 6 to 9 ET weekday mornings. Go HERE and click on "Listen Live."

TODAY'S QUOTE: In discussing the issue of illegal immigration with Imus, GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee said, "We should get down on our knees every night and thank God we live in a country people are trying to break into and not trying to break out of."


Welome back, I-man!

Listen to Don Imus, beginning Monday, 6 to 10 a.m. ET, on WABC-AM, New York, ABC radio affiliates, RFD-TV simulcast and STREAMING LIVE on your computer at: "Listen Live"

And, with apologies to Elton John, a message for Joe Scarborough:

Goodbye, “Morning Joke!” Your sarcasm burned out long before your program ever did.


Is this your America?

If you will allow me the “audacity of hope,” it is my hope that every voting-age American who did not watch the GOP debate last night will sit down and give it full attention when it re-airs on CNN Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Watch it, then remind yourself: one of these men might be the next president of the United States.

While the candidates themselves had no control over the questions, and CNN and YouTube vetted them, they were posed by Americans via YouTube video.

It is apparent that, contrary to what I had thought, “God, gays and guns” are still main concerns of those who will vote Republican.

So prevalent was the issue of “illegal immigration,” I found myself thinking of Charlton Heston, staring down at the Statue of Liberty protruding from the sand, and screaming, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!”

Other questions were primarily about God (“Do you read and believe the Holy Bible?” and “What would Jesus do?”), gays, the 2nd Amendment and guns, abortion, torture and 9/11 and the Islamic Jihadist threat to America.

They were about a mindset.

The loudest booing came when Ron Paul attempted to explain jihadists hate us because of our policies toward the Middle East for the last several decades, and when Rudy Giuliani dared to suggest some gun ownership must be regulated.

The one question on Iraq – shouldn’t the U.S. establish permanent bases and remain there indefinitely to protect the region? – created a verbal tap dance onstage.

At times, Ron Paul seemed the only voice of reason, then he had to go and say we have to get government out of our lives, while pointing out the necessity of things only a federal government can do – such as “rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.”

As one post-debate panelist said, “What you didn’t hear was the name George Bush. They are trying to distance themselves from him, yet, with the exception of Ron Paul, they agree with him on almost every issue.”

These issues did not come up: education, health care, energy, global warming, the economy, Iran.

During the post-debate coverage a group of “undecided Republicans” remained undecided, could not pick a debate winner and expressed interest in one overriding criterion: who can beat Hillary Clinton.

I don’t have a problem with that, as I support the one person I believe can defeat this less-than-illustrious field – and restore this nation’s soul.

Watch Saturday night. If you are conservative and Republican or liberal and Democrat, ask yourself if what you see represents your own ideals, your own hope for your country.

This might just be the most important two hours you will spend before Election 2008.

Watch it like your future depends on it.


Rove-colored glasses

Presidential adviser. GOP guru. “Bush’s Brain.” “Turd Blossom.” A liar by any other name is still a liar.

Karl Rove, in a weekend interview with Charlie Rose, said, “Congress pushed Bush into war with Iraq prematurely.”

That’s right. That’s what he said. Would I lie?

For the best documented evidence that this is an outright lie, read the excellent coverage by Paul Abrams of The Huffington Post (LINK) and the Think Progress blog, which has excerpts from the interview as well as Congressional and Bush quotes from 2002 which refute Rove’s claims (LINK).

Next post: Hannity’s insanity

Hannity's insanity

God, don’t you get tired of wingnuts spouting propaganda that flies in the face of facts?

Hop over to my other blog, “I See My Dreams,” and read today’s post, “An inconvenient distinction,” inspired by Sean Hannity’s insanity: LINK


Whole Lott-a shakin' goin' on

Sen. Jack S. Phogbound is the archetypical Southern senator, telling the people of Dogpatch USA, “Yore gover-ment is spending $1 million just to blow yore homes off the face of the Earth, so show yore ap-pre-shee-A-shun!”

Like Al Capp’s senator in “Li’l Abner,” Southern senators are so appreciated by their constituents that they become ensconced on Capitol Hill for years and even decades.

So, when news broke on MSNBC yesterday morning at 6:13 ET of Sen. Trent Lott’s impending resignation, this former Mississippian almost fell out of her chair.

Contact with a number of Mississippians (and former Mississippians) throughout the day revealed that the resignation rocked the Republican Richter scale (don’t you love alliteration?).

One astute email friend – a retired Mississippi judge – theorizes that this is a move to make way for U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, who recently announced his own retirement and “is the heir apparent” to Lott’s Senate seat. The judge tells me Pickering, son of Judge Charles Pickering, “is a good man who will be a good senator.”

Henry Barbour, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s son, was Chip Pickering’s campaign manager, so I would bet with the judge’s theory.

I once told a friend who wants nothing to do with such news, “No drama has ever been written that is as exciting as politics.” I meant it!

Next post: G’day for Aussies

G'day for Aussies

Over the holiday weekend the news was permeated by the shopping frenzy, the on-going Natalee Holloway case in Aruba and the other Peterson suspected of killing his wife. There has been little coverage of very significant political developments in the land down under.

In the land of vast Rupert Murdoch newspaper holdings.

The Progress Report, Center for American Progress, 26 November 2007, features an informative analysis of Austraiia’s elections: LINK. It begins thusly:

“This weekend, Australians went to the polls and delivered an emphatic victory for Labor leader Kevin Rudd, while handing the party of conservative Bush ally John Howard its ‘worst election defeat in its 63-year history.’

“Howard ‘suffered the additional ignominy of losing his own constituency seat’ in addition to the prime minister's seat, the first time since 1929 that an Australian prime minister has been voted out of parliament.

“Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat who made combating global warming, strengthening workers' rights and redeploying from Iraq key priorities in his campaign, ‘swings Australia toward the political left after almost 12 years of conservative rule.’

“The incoming prime minister has wasted no time implementing his new vision for Australia. Yesterday, he convened a meeting with government officials to discuss the mechanics of signing onto the Kyoto pact on global warming, and he announced that he will attend a UN climate change conference in Bali next month.

“Rudd soon plans to begin negotiations with the Bush administration over the withdrawal of Australia's 500 troops from Iraq.”

The new leader had these words for his fellow Aussies, “Today Australia looks to the future. Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward."


Hillary's 'biggest fear'

My faithful readers know I have endorsed the presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton from the day she announced. It’s not a gender thing, although I do confess my blood curdles over claims that “she wouldn’t be anywhere without Bill.”

I believe she is the most capable and most qualifed to lead our nation in these troubling times. While first lady, she visited with 82 foreign heads of state – presidents and prime ministers, princes and kings – and she never flinched at standing up for the rights of women and children in countries where such rights are limited.

Equally important to me is the fact that she can win this election. To bet on any other Democratic candidate to retake the White House is a risky wager. Far too risky, in my opinion, to take the chance.

There is an even more compelling reason to support Hillary Clinton: look at those who are trying to bring her down. Ask yourself “why?” The far-right is scared to death of another Clinton White House, and that makes Hillary my new best friend.

So, in this and future posts on DemWit, we will take a look at right-wing mouthpieces who will stop at nothing to stop her. Today, we’ll start with Rush Limbaugh.

On 19 November, Rush’s radio program was simulcast with Martha MacCallum’s “Live Desk” on Fox News (LINK).

While a great deal of the program consisted of Rush and Martha ga-gaing over the “new technology” which allowed this miracle of the airways (Imus simulcast for years, you twits!), the bulk of it fed Rush’s gargantuan ego. At one point, MacCallum says his is “a talent borrowed from God.”

Let’s fast forward to the subject of Hillary Clinton:

MacCallum begins the segment, “You said that you are Hillary Clinton's biggest fear. Why are you her biggest fear, Rush?”

“Well,” Rush replies with laughter, “I've got bull's-eyes on both sides of me. I think I'm the one that stands in the way of her ability - because of my audience reach, because of the loyalty and the size of my audience.”

That claim is easily negated. No devoted “Dittohead” would dream of voting for any Democrat.

“Mrs. Clinton (she has an official title, Rush, it’s Senator) is right now trying to get away with saying nothing specific about anything, because she wants to hide her true agenda, which is as close to socialism as the country will have ever been, if she gets her way, and she's trying to do the exact opposite. So anybody who's telling the truth about her and trying to warn people about what her candidacy and presidency represents, you become a target.

“And, since the Republicans haven't chosen a nominee yet - and, by the way, the Clintons don't just try to defeat people they consider their opponents; they try to ruin them. They try to destroy them, in terms of their credibility and so forth.

“There have been a couple - I'm drawing a blank - but there have been a couple of instances just recently. I don't think for a minute that the Harry Reid smear letter - she signed it.”

MacCallum nods agreememt, “Right.”

Rush continues, “That was an episode that was designed to impact negatively my ability to do business, using the force and the power of the federal government. These things are - nothing is coincidence with the Clintons.”

Two questions: From these quotes, is it clear to you, dear reader, WHY Rush is, as he claims, Hillary’s biggest fear? And, does he tell the radio/TV simulcast audience WHY they should not vote for Hillary Clinton? Aside from the propaganda technique conjuring “socialism,” the quotes, just like the entire program, were all about Limbaugh.

There is a singular distinction between Rush's “reach” and Senator Clinton's clout: it’s called “class” – some folks couldn’t even procure it with a doctor’s prescription.

RECOMMENDED: “Why Hillary’s Experience as First Lady Matters,” dailykos.com, 22 November 2007: LINK



I have a collection, from my newspaper days, of bad headlines and unfortunate front pages.

When new Mississippi Governor Bill Waller decided to hold inaugural balls for both his staff of “Colonels” and the general public, the Jackson (Miss.) Daily News ran a banner headline across its front page: “Governor has two balls.”

The Hattiesburg (Miss.) American ran this jewel: “Iran to lose trade; Shah to lose spleen.”

Imagine the horror this one produced, “Governor arrives just in time as 100,000 lose lives.” The 100,000 were chickens as tornadoes destroyed rural chicken houses.

In what might have been my most embarrassing newsroom moment, I put together a half page of photos of starving Ethiopian children, which had to be pulled - on deadline - when I discovered the ad beneath it was for a Mexican restaurant and exclaimed, “Step right up, hombres, all you can eat for $5.95.”

My University of Southern Mississippi political science prof, Ed Wheat, had a framed front page on his office wall, which he liked to point to as “the day I stopped reading newspapers.” As a dual major in journalism and political science I should have been offended, but I had to agree with him. The Halloween edition featured a photo of a skeleton surrounded by news stories of murder and mayhem.

But, my all-time favorite was a 1974 front page featuring a full-color, beautifully feathered wild turkey. The headline flanking the photo to the right: “Turkey invades Greece.”

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! And to all: count your blessings!

Next post: ‘What Happened’

'What Happened'

By now, if you have any interest in U.S. politics, you’ve heard the explosive quotes from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s upcoming book, “What Happened.”

At the root of these revelations, published by Public Affairs, is the Bush White House attempt to CYA its bogus claims for invading Iraq - going so far as to contribute to the outing of a CIA covert operative.

We do not know how far McClellan will go in telling us “what happened,” but the publisher’s blurb on amazon.copum is as intriguing as the released quotes:

"In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, Washington's bitter partisanship and two hotly contested presidential campaigns.

“He gives readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and into the personalities, strengths and liabilities of his top aides.

"Finally, McClellan looks to the future, exploring the lessons this presidency offers the American people as we prepare to elect a new leader."

ARTICLE: “Scott McClellan in Upcoming Book Admits Wrongdoing in Clearing Rove and Libby in CIA Leak Case,” Editor & Publisher, 20 November 2007: LINK


The Fox News template

Recommended article: “The changing face(s) of Israeli TV news,” by columnist Caley Ben-David, The Jerusalem Post, 16 November 2007: LINK

Israeli cable TV outlet HOT last week dropped CNN International and is now broadcasting Fox News.

Ben-David writes:

“Fox is no substitute for CNN, not by a long shot. I'm not talking about Fox's conservative bent, which at least allows for a more diverse range of views than one usually gets on MSM (Main-Stream Media, if you didn't know). That's especially welcome when it comes to its coverage of Israel, which is certainly more sympathetic (or "fair and balanced," depending on your perspective) than CNN or the BBC.

“Unfortunately, however, its reporting from Israel - or, for that matter, anywhere else outside the US - is decidedly skimpy compared to those genuinely global media outlets.

“Fox is actually not an international news channel at all, but an on-air version of an American tabloid - the broadcast equivalent of Rupert Murdoch's racy, breathless, editorially right-wing paper, The New York Post, where coverage of the latest missing-attractive-white-woman-in-peril case gets more air time than the crisis in Pakistan.

“At other times, though, Fox resembles nothing so much as the fulfillment of the prophetic vision of television news presented in the classic 1976 black comedy, Network, with that film's deranged anchorman, Howard ("I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!") Beale, the "mad prophet of the airwaves," incarnated in living form as Fox host Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor.

“This sometimes can be fun to watch, sometimes not, but I certainly dread to see the Fox formula used as a general template for the future of television news.”


Novak's at it again

Read Robert Novak’s Saturday column, “Hillary vs. Obama:” LINK

Chris Matthews, on this a.m.’s “Morning Joke” (MSNBC), first had to ask what this was all about, then blamed the Clinton camp.

Matthews said Novak’s Saturday column is his “item column” and is rarely picked up by newspapers. The assumption is: Novak didn’t feel this report was that important. Or, maybe, just maybe, Novak wanted it to lead the news early on a Monday morning.

After months on end of ripping Novak during his reports on the Valerie Plame Wilson case, suddenly Matthews is declaring Novak one of the country’s greatest journalists. Matthews has been on a non-stop, ad hominem campaign against Hillary, and facts haven’t gotten in his way yet.

Next post: Sex, lies and audio tapes

Sex, lies and audio tapes

During a recent TV interview, Rudy Giuliani stated he had not had contact with recently indicted Bernard Kerik in six months or a year.

This about the man who was his NYC police commissioner, good friend and business partner and recommendation which led George W. Bush to nominate Kerik to head Homeland Security.

"We have not communicated in months, at all, at all," Kerik said in a recent interview. "When the last time is, I could not even tell you."

I don’t buy it.

Now, comes Giuliani’s reaction to the $100 millinon lawsuit filed by former HarperCollins publisher Judith Regan against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Lots of spin surrounding the lawsuit, trying to frame it as “sour grapes,” but Regan claims a News Corp executive asked her to lie to federal investigators about her former lover Kerik to protect Giuliani’s run for the presidency.

She also claims she has proof in the form of audio tapes.

News Corp owns Fox News, where two other close Giuliani friends – Roger Ailes and Sean Hannity – hold court. FNC clearly is pushing Giuliani as the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination.

So, what does Rudy have to say about the lawsuit?

“I don’t respond to the story at all. I don’t know anything about it. Sounds like a gossip column kind of story, rather than a real story. The last thing a presidential candidate needs to do is respond to a gossip column story.”

Well, Rudy, it was real enough to make the front page of every newspaper in the country.

That Rudy hasn’t had any contact with Kerik in a year and had no prior knowledge of Regan’s charges is hardly plausible. And, his responses are hardly “plausible deniability,” if you remember that term from Watergate days.

How ‘bout “non-denial denial?”

As the 2008 presidential race started – the day after Election Day 2006 – I liked Rudy Giuliani. I knew the good and the bad of his own past and was willing to accept him as a capable leader.

Now, I hear my mother’s early lesson about protecting my reputation and “birds of a feather.”

Rudy, don’t lie to the American public. We’ve had enough of that.




Kerik was indicted Nov. 9 on 16 counts of conspiracy, corruption and tax evasion, including mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to the IRS and lying to the federal government during his vetting for Homeland Security chief. His associates have begun a legal defense fund to help him save his multi-million dollar Franklin Lakes mansion, his Middle East consulting firm and his butt. Kerik has pleaded “not guilty.”


"There were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik," Giuliani said in an AP interview. "But, if I have the same degree of success and failure as president of the United States, this country will be in great shape."


No sitting or former NYC mayor has achieved higher office since John T. Hoffman, who was mayor from 1866 to 1868, became governor in 1869.


Then again, no woman or African-American has achieved the highest office in the land. Now, all three are leading in their respective parties.

Listen. Do you hear Dylan singing “The times they are a’changin’ ”?


The xenophobic genie

With the Religious Right all over the place in supporting GOP hopefuls, have you noticed the issues of “God, gays and guns” have been swept under the campaign carpet?

There’s a new “hot-button” issue to exploit:

Rachel Maddow, Air America talk show host on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (LINK), 14 November 2007, on the issue of illegal immigrants:

MADDOW: I will just say that five years ago there was not heat on this issue, not because this issue was any different, but because there was no strategy to uncork this xenophobic bottle and let this genie out and let it drive Republican politics. You can uncork this bottle whenever you want, and Americans will run with it every time.

Sheer DRUDGE-ry

Right-wing bloggers take their cue from the Atwater-Segretti-Rove College of Dirty Tricks. If they can’t stand on their own merits, they can always just LIE about the opposition.

Case in point:

During Jack Cafferty’s segment of CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer (LINK) Tuesday, 13 November, he pointed out to Blitzer:

“I was clicking on The Drudge Report, and there you are, big as life, in the middle of the Drudge Report this afternoon, with a headline suggesting that the Hillary Clinton campaign is trying to intimidate you before you moderate this big debate in Las Vegas. What’s up with that?”

This exchange ensued:

BLITZER: Not true. No one has pressured me. No one has threatened me. No one is trying to intimidate me.

CAFFERTY: They'd better not. I'll come down there.

BLITZER: No one has even called me to try to pressure me or anything like that.

CAFFERTY: Where does a silly thing like that come from?

BLITZER: I don't know. You know, I try to suspect that maybe some rival campaigns are trying to create a little mischief, try to get her embarrassed a little bit getting into the debate Thursday night, but I have no idea where it's coming from. I have no idea who generated this story, but I can tell you I have not felt any pressure whatsoever.

CAFFERTY: What about Drudge just rushing this thing right onto the Web site without knowing if it's true or not?

BLITZER: Well, that's another story.

CAFFERTY: Well, that's - we may get into that at some point.

BLITZER: Maybe we will.

CONCLUSION: One of the first rules of good journalism is: when accusations are made, you always give the other fellow a chance to reply. Apparently, Mr. Drudge, preferred to attack the Clinton camp instead.