You can’t blame McCain because “it’s kind of like running against God.” – MSNBC

“I want to stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a ‘Rev. Wright free zone’ today – so, no questions about Rev. Wright.” (internal applause) – John Roberts, CNN

I recently had a conversation with a friend whose opinion I value and trust. When I told him nobody had bothered to pick up any of the nearly a dozen bush_golfingstories now out there about Obama’s science czar, he told me, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who believes there’s a vast (media) conspiracy.” I explained that it’s not a conspiracy– as NYT’s Walter Cronkite obit confirms, it’s too much to ask even to get an editor to communicate with his writer to correct 9 errors, much less a top-down coordination of all mainstream outlets. No, instead, I simply point to a disparity in media coverage. Whenever I get the rhetorical, “you’re not one of those, are you?” question, my response is basically, let’s look at the evidence. Is there anything, even anecdotal, to suggest parity in the treatment of liberals and conservatives in the mainstream media?

Here’s a few examples that spring to mind.

1) President Obama played full rounds of golf at least 11 times in his first 6 months in office, and once it warmed up he really went into overdrive, playing on April 26, May 16, May 25, May 31, June 7, June 9, June 14, and June 21.

How did the media take this? After the June 7 outing, WaPo ran a story called “Just the Sport for a Leader Most Driven.” What a hilarious pun.

“What’s the deal? Why golf?” Post staff writer Richard Leiby wrote. “The attraction seems to be simple. It’s a great escape; the game demands such attention that nothing else matters. It’s time spent with friends, an unhurried afternoon in loose clothing (shorts seem to be Obama’s preference).”

“To some, Obama’s frequent outings reflect a cool self-confidence.”

Leiby even quoted a sports psychologist who admired Obama’s ability to play golf in the face of such grim news around the world.

In 2002, Mike Allen (of the same publication) ran a story including the Bush quote, “Now watch this drive,” later made infamous by Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 (2003). W was lambasted by the press for golfing about half as often as Obama, and ultimately gave up playing regularly on August 19, 2003, when he had to take a call on the course from Condoleezza Rice telling him their top UN man in Iraq had been killed.

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in an interview with Politico and Yahoo News on May 13, 2008. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

“I was playing golf–I think I was in central Texas–and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, ‘It’s just not worth it anymore to do.’”

WaPo once again hammered Bush, quoting Presidential historian Robert Dallek, who said Bush’s decision “speaks to his shallowness.”

Damned if he did and damned if he didn’t: “That’s his idea of sacrifice, to give up golf?” Dallek retorted.

Bush Senior was also reported as being indifferent and callous to troops being deployed to the Gulf when he hit the links in Kennebunkport, ME.

So, to recap, Obama playing golf during wartime, and what is by his own calculation the worst economy since the Great Depression, is a “simple escape” and reflects a “cool self-confidence,” while Bush playing golf during war time (and intermittently during one of the shortest recessions on record), reflects his “shallowness” and is, in the words of stand-up comedian Keith Olbermann, “unforgivable.” The war in Iraq is “not about you and your damned golf game,” Olbermann intoned in his best Foghorn Leghorn impression. Not a conspiracy, just a disparity.

Meanwhile, Bush visited with about 550 military families in private, placing top staffers at their disposal after they’d lost loved ones. The most famous instance was the Krisoff family, who spent nearly an hour with the President before Karl Rove personally had an age requirement waived so that Mr. Krissoff would be able to serve in Iraq as a Navy medic in honor of his dead son. President Obama has met, as far as his published schedule shows, with 0 military families off camera.

2) Here’s the lede of the New York Times‘ obituary for Robert Novak:

“Robert D. Novak, the pugnacious political columnist and cable television fixture whose scoops reached across five decades and whose nickname, ‘the prince of darkness,’ was invoked with renewed fervor in 2003 when, acting on a tip, he revealed the name of a CIA officer, setting the stage for a criminal investigation, died Tuesday morning at his home in northwest Washington. He was 78.”

The run-on sentence, I assume, was accomodated so as to be able to jam the Plame affair into the first sentence of the story. This would be like George Stephanopoulos dying and running an obituary that read, “George Stephanopoulos, the failed first press flak for President Clinton, was found dead in his home at 78.”

3) Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin topped the charts for a whopping 12 weeks this year, then spent six weeks at number 2. It’s on track to sell a million copies, rare for political books, as nonfiction sells slower than fiction. That makes it the hottest nonfiction book of the year, and has spent more time at the top of the charts than any book in years. But Levin has never been invited to talk about it by CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, or CNN. Despite the fact that the NYT has had it on its top 10 bestseller list for 21 weeks, it has not reviewed it – nor has USA Today, The Washington Post, The LA Times, The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune…you get the point. The Philadelphia Inquirer didn’t review it either, but ran a small piece in the back of the A section on the book’s success, as Levin went to school in Manayunk.

By contrast, Elizabeth Edwards’ Resilience, which supplanted Levin for just one week before plummeting down the charts and doing about 20% of her last book’s sales, enjoyed reviews from the Tribune, EW, The LA Times, USA Today, etc. She also appeard on Today, The View, and several other network news and entertainment programs.

Someone who suggests this is evidence of bias might elicit a reaction like the one David Frum gave Levin when he called into his radio show to let him know he sounded “like someone who is walking up Broadway and shouting at passing cars.”

Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption is now in its fourth week of release and has topped the list all four weeks. Not holding my breath on reviews.

4) In case you’ve forgotten one of the most undisputable facts of our generation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wants to remind you that George W. Bush is a retard:

…Each of the past five presidents — including southern Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — also welcomed NASCAR champions to the White House. But here was an African-American Democrat from Chicago, which as NASCAR hotbeds go, is not exactly Talladega, checking out Mr. Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet.

Mr. Obama is a confessed ESPN junkie, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he knew a little about NASCAR. Still, he used the word “spiffy” to describe Mr. Johnson’s car. It was disconcerting, like watching George W. Bush play chess.

5) Buried in a religion story on page B-2 of the Washington Post on Saturday (the least-read day of the week) was the surprising claim that Gallup’s May Q poll measured 51% of respondents self-identifying as pro-life versus 42% self-identifying as pro-choice, for the first time in the history of legal abortion. This, it would seem to me, is not a Metro but front page news. It also does not belong as a “blog” story on religion, as no corresponding increase in religiosity has been measured, but instead a decrease. If anything it would be a youth story, as they are consistently polling as more pr0-life. The blurb measured a scant 1.25 inches in height. No other major publication has run the results.

6) People started getting more concerned about the text of the health care bill when they discovered it included incentives for the elderly to discuss a living will with their doctor instead of, oh, I don’t know, a lawyer. Chris Matthews’ explanation for the protesters? Besides that they’re part of an Astroturf campaign (it’s impossible people could like their current health care, despite the 70% who say they do in polling), he had this gem to share:

“Are you telling me that these guys were created by this new president? That the people we’re watching on television with their guns and their attitudes about the republic weren’t around before January 20th?! … Okay I think, I think some of the people are upset because we have a black president.” (FLASHBACK: “What more do you want before you vote for a black guy, America? Huh? What more do you want?”)

Matthews offered no shred of evidence that the protesters, who include African Americans, were part of the minority of voters who admitted to voting against Obama because of his color.

In fact, here is MSNBC again. Contessa Brewer, who delivers dayside news, is by all means not a commentator and has no demonstrable political stake, but had this to say when reporting on the health care protests: “There are questions as to whether this has racial overtones to it. I mean, here you have a man of color in the Presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists or to their legs.”

The African American brought in to analyze this adds: “It sounds simplistic when you put it that way.” (Snort) “But it is real, that there is tremendous anger in this country about government, about the way government seems to be taking over the country. Anger about a black person being president, just several upheavals in the country over the last ten years since– from 9/11 to the economic tsunami, to the black man becoming president. You know, we see these hate groups rising up, and this is definitely part of that.”

Did you catch that? For all the whiteys out there, Obama’s election is the new 9/11.

“I’m not going to be surprised if we see somebody get a chance and take a chance to really try to hurt him. You know, and I mean, it’s up to the secret service to make sure that it doesn’t actually become history.”

Their example of white men with guns strapped to their legs? This black man with a gun:


Of course, they didn’t air the raw photo. They went with an ultra-cropped version that obscured the man’s race.

I’m actually not blaming Brewer for this, because if you’ll check out this hilarious clip, you’ll see she’s a major pro. But she still believes the crazy-tenuous idea that health care protesters are racist, without a shred of evidence. I’ll give her her the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn’t look at the B-roll, but someone still cut the raw footage to shreds in an effort to match the prompter script. Commentary and opinion journalism are fine, but this is willful doctoring of facts.

Even alleged Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker got on the racial bandwagon. A long-time Palin basher, Parker explained that the problem was stupid Southerners, despite significant protests in New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, etc.

“One word, Chris — one word. ‘Confederacy.’ I mean, you know, the South is very — I live there, OK? I want to make that clear, too, because I’m not bashing Southerners,” Parker said.

In her recent column she wrote: “Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing, but Southerners weaned on Harper Lee heard the dog whistle.”

First of all, does Palin shrewdly and willfully play on racial fear and male lust or is she too ignorant and tone deaf to even understand her own allure? We have to pick one here. Today, Parker is going with the latter.

“You don’t position a white woman and a black male and pretend like there’s nothing happening there. There’s a deep history. That’s why I mentioned Harper Lee in there.”

Gov. David Paterson, not one to miss a racial greivance party, announced that racism was of course the cause of his own political pickle, suggesting people get “nervous” when they see “too many highly successful minorities.” He then added, “The next victim on the list — and you see it coming — is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than try to reform a health-care system . . . only because he’s trying to make change.” He’s using the word “change,” but nobody is swooning! Racism! (Paterson is currently 20 Points behind Andrew Cuomo in a hypothetical match-up…among Black voters).

So, to recap, Palin’s “death panels” comment, which came way after the start of unrest at town halls, was a “dog whistle” heard only by Southern racists who have flooded these meetings to protest HR 3200 because Obama is black? Yeah, I guess that’s the most plausible argument.

7) Speaking of the secret service’s duty to protect the President, they’re doing an especially good job for Barack Obama.

After a protester in Maryland held up a “death to Obama” sign on 8/12, he was detained by the Secret Service for questioning. The woman who hung Obama in effigy on Halloween last year got aggressive media coverage and then also received a visit from the men with the earpieces.

After just 7 months in office, searching for Obama death threats on Nexis among major publications provides 520 hits, versus 999 for Bush in 8 years. Threats on Obama’s life are on track to be reported 6,000-7,000 times over his Presidency. Some of this is undoubtedly due to an increase in reported death threats for Obama, which did rise 400%. In a logical circle though, much of this increase is due to Secret Service obtaining information through the media. Even if we treat the 400% number as a raw increase in threats, however, we still see nearly double the amount of coverage. It’s not a conspiracy, just a disparity.

While the media has exhaustively covered real and imagined threats on Obama’s life, it often did not do the same for President Bush. While a single Maryland man at a rally has now consituted the “fringe right” and gone through Secret Service questioning (as he well should), scads of would-be Bush killers were never covered and never questioned. While Bush of course saw many threateners investigated, no one at a protest was ever investigated or reported upon. Here’s a collection of the un-newsorthy:

But the best uninvestigated Bush death threat would have to be from no less than John Kerry. He told Bill Maher that he took his wife on a trip to Vermont for their anniversary, and Maher asked why he didn’t got to New Hampshire and “kill two birds with one stone.” Kerry’s response? “Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and killed the real bird with a stone.” Huh? Probably misspeech, but still snort-worthy.

8 ) Man with “Abort Obama” sign has his stuff confiscated and is questioned by Oklahoma City police, which makes news on CNN and the networks. “Abort Sarah Palin” bumper stickers and “Abort Palin” graffiti in Seattle elicity no media response.

9) Polling is often manipulated or partially reported. When the NYT and CBS jointly commissioned a poll on health care, they reported that 72% of respondents supported creating a “government-sponsored health insurance company to compete alongside private insurers.” They then ran a front-page above-the-fold story titled “In Poll, Wide Support For Government Run Health” based on the results. Forget the gaping chasm between the wording of the question and the implications of the phrase “government run health.”

Just one problem. When I read the full report from the commissioned pollster, buried in the methodology was the tiny caveat that 48% of respondents voted for Obama, versus 25% who voted for McCain. That would translate into a 66-34 win for Obama had those numbers been the votes in the 2008 election.

When I asked Kellyanne Conway, president of thepollingcompany, whether the poll was representative, she said, “Was the vote 66-34? You tell me.” Conway, the winner of the 2004 Crystal Ball Award for predicting the outcome of the Kerry-Bush election within 0.1%, called the poll “a conclusion in search of evidence.”

Even within the Obamaniac-skewing poll, a much more modest 51% said the system needed fundamental changes versus 52% in January 1994, when a health care overhaul was roundly defeated. When the question becomes whether the system needs to be completely rebuilt, 34 percent say yes in the NYT/CBS poll, versus 38 percent in 1994. And 77% say they’re at least somewhat satisfied with their current coverage. But these numbers did not appear. “We’re exactly where we were in 1994,” Conway told me.

The inflated 72% number that made the headline, according to her, was a result of weighting. “Their original result was more in line (with other non-partisan polling for party identification) but they weighted those numbers,” she said.

To get the other side of the story, I spoke to Janet Elder, editor for news surveys and election analysis at NYT, who said they don’t weigh their results for party identification, instead taking a random sample and then adjusting it to census information.

I called Scott Rasmussen, who was hesitant to make much of a statement on the record, but said he had “no idea what their weighting process was.”

After calling Conway back, she told me, “Look, I understand how they justify this stuff in their own news room.”

When I asked her more specifically about the paltry Conservative representation, she said, “Show me the other polls that are that low. If you look at the way Scott (Rasmussen) reports things, they’re very different from The New York Times. The Census is taken every 10 years, so what are they looking at? The 2000 Census?”

“Almost nobody ever takes them to task for this, because they are CBS and the New York Times,” Conway added. “It is true that more Americans are identifying themselves as Independents, but everyone is doing polling; no one (else) is getting these numbers,” Conway said.

Last week, a Gallup poll found that the majority of people in all 50 states now identify themselves as conservatives, with the smallest majorities in traditionally liberal Massachusetts and Hawaii.

“Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system,” the Times article began, “and (they) are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers.”

When I asked Conway more recently about the health care debate, she said Americans like words like “change” and “reform,” but “they then discover you can’t define those.” When faced with their own coverage changing, “They discover their reform is not someone else’s reform.

Rasmussen agreed. “CBS, like everybody else, found that most people are satisfied with their health-care coverage,” he said. “But they have qualms about the overall system. And that is the biggest single obstacle to reform: people do not want to change their own coverage.”

This poll was cited as evidence of American support byy Jacob Hacker  architect of the public option, in multiple pieces of Congressional testimony considered in drafting HR 3200, as well as cited by several Members.

10) ABC also recently showed an uncanny ability to find the bright side of any polly. Forced to report on the 29-point drop in approval of a public option that Obama has suffered, Kate Snow finished her package with this:

It’s not all bad news for the President. We didn’t find an overwhelming majority against health care reform. Instead, if you look at the glass half full point of view, the country is basically split. About half of Americans still favor reform, and about half still favor a public option.

That’s her assessment of the 45-50 approve/disapprove of the public option midway through its cratering in polls.

11a) Finally, there’s the “What? I Must Have Missed That” stance often taken by the media. The other day, Today’s Matt Lauer covered Ted Kennedy’s call for a change in the law so that the Governor could replace him quickly. Their supposed hard news anchor Ann Curry lauded Kennedy for thinking about the future of his country and Massachusetts when he has “so much else on his mind.”

They must have missed the part where this is a political calculation upon which health care reform and other issues could hinge. Kennedy’s letter is a reversal of the change John Kerry requested, which kept Republican Governmor Mitt Romney from appointing a Republican replacement for him had he won the presidency. It might be unprincipled, but it’s damn poignant.

11b) Here’s WaPo quoting Obama at his speech before the American Medical Association:

In his speech, Obama said, “Let me also address an illegitimate concern that’s being put forward by those who are claiming that a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. . . . When you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.”

What’s in the ellipsis? Obama says, “I’ll be honest; there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well.”

What? They must have missed that. The NY and LA Times similarly cut the quote. The best part is, after we researched this, the Daily Kos of all site became outraged by the media’s failure to plug single payer, and gave us “kudos.”

This is jut the things that come to the top of my head and represent just a month or so of news. So, what should the depth and breadth of my suspension of disbelief be, exactly?

Why is a beef with FOX News so mainstream and a beef with anyone else just the ravings of a lunatic? When faced with these claims, as Contessa Brewer once said herself, cut the mic:

Hill's Schoolgirl Look

Hill's Schoolgirl Look

“Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.” – The North Korean Foreign Ministry in a written statement. That is to say, premeditated. Proofread. The opposite of impromptu misspeech. (Hopefully they mean some hypothetical schoolgirl and not 60s coke-bottle glasses schoolgirl.)

“He’s never commented about profitability in a public setting! This is historic! We’ve never once had to think like this.” – Conde Nast employees squawking to the New York Observer after publisher Chuck Townsend told them they’d actually have to make money now.

“Our first day back was Wednesday and it was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a seventeen-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean.” – Katherine Heigl complains about a long day on Grey’s Anatomy, a day that producers painstakingly rearranged (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars) to accommodate her movie promotion schedule. I hate to use the D-word, but she really is a female version of a hustler.

“And getting up here I say it is the best road trip in America soaring through nature’s finest show. Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun. And then the extremes. In the winter time it’s the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn’t it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs? And then in the summertime such extreme summertime about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter than just some months ago, than just some months from now, with fireweed blooming along the frost heaves and merciless rivers that are rushing and carving and reminding us that here, Mother Nature wins. It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.” – Former Gov. Sarah Palin’s farewell speech, exemplary of her daily struggle with the english language.


“(Barack and the kids) will pull weeds, whether they like it or not.”

New York ran a quick piece in June jokingly deriding Michelle Obama for her “overachieving” organic vegetable garden, which she planted in hopes of teaching Americans more about nutrition. That month, the garden yielded 73 pounds of lettuce and 12 pounds of peas, with the lettuce total now up to an improbable 153 pounds. It also produces collards, chards, herbs, and berries.

For the first time in her adult life, I think Michelle Obama can be proud of her vegetable garden.

But I’d take it a step further than merely “overachieving” and say there’s something vaguely sinister afoot on the East Lawn. This looks more like a labor camp than the White House. Who are these people, tiny enslaved Americorps “volunteers?” Children she lured through the side gate with the promise of abundant kale? I mean, 153 pounds? What, is she fertilizing the garden with these kids?

According to the pool report, the kids were indeed working their little fingers to the bone to serve Michelle her arugula:

While one group of children worked in the kitchen (see first report) others were outside preparing salad and decorating cup cakes with raspberries and blueberries (apparently an alternative to frosting.)


"This is tastier than paint chips, huh kids?"

And as for using them for fertilizer, I was wrong. Actually, it turns out it’s fertilized with lead! On July 11, the White House had to admit the soil contains 93 parts per million of lead as opposed to the 10-5o ppm cited as a safe level for children. (FLASHBACK: “This doesn’t help my kids.”)

Lead truly becomes a serious danger at around 300 ppm.

Apparently, the delicious mineral is courtesy of “sewer sludge” from a nearby water treatment plant, which Clinton-era staff used to fertilize the grounds. Using waste water as fertilizer is legal in the US, but not for use in areas where crops are being grown for consumption.

White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass admits the garden is not “certified organic,” but a spokesman for the First Lady says the family intends to continue eating it and feeding it to foreign dignitaries.

I guess that means we can add Michelle Obama to the list with Hillary Clinton as one more person with a stronger foreign policy stance than the POTUS.

The other reason to keep the garden around is it deflects attention from the FLOTUS’s true evil-deeds.

The President seems to be gearing up to relocate the health care policy debate to the White House, where Michelle, David Axelrod, and Valerie Jarett have his ear on a daily basis. Coincidentally, Michelle helped create the disgraceful, and apparently borderline illegal, Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago. And Jarett assisted in hiring Axelrod to whitewash the patient dumping program and sell it to the public. This is similar to what the UK’s National Health Service does– that is, “educate patients” on the difference between primary and emergency care, and “increase self-treatment.” Self-treatment?

The result? UCMC sent Dontae Adams home last August after a pit bull attacked him, ripping off part of his hip and most of his upper lip. But, hell, Barack’s own grandmother can’t get a hand with her hip, so Dontae Adams was barking up the wrong tree. His mother had to take him on an hour-long bus ride across town, where he immediately had reconstructive surgery to “preserve his speech.” Yet when UCMC had discovered they were on Medicaid, it was determined all Dontae would need was morphine and antibiotics.

Surgeons were upset the FLOTUS and the rest of the hospital board implemented the changes without consulting them, and staff called the move “an attempt to ensure that the hospital retains only affluent patients with insurance.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, UCMC ranks at the bottom for free care despite reaping “10s of millions of dollars in tax benefits for its promise to treat the uninsured.”

This is a lot like when we first heard the Blagojevich tapes, and realized Patty’s mouth put Rod’s to shame. Michelle is just as cynical and corrupt as the rest.

gardenMichelle’s other major misdeed has been her alleged involvement in Gerald Walpin’s firing as Americorps Inspector General. After it was decided that the volunteer corps would be the FLOTUS pet project, it seems Michelle settled on moving her Chief of Staff into the role of Americorps/CNCS senior advisor. But first, Walpin had to go– he’d uncovered the organization’s waste, fraud, and abuse, having spent duplicate money, violated grant rules, cheated on background checks, and seen La Raza waste its funds. Not only did Pres. Obama fire him though, he ignored his responsibility to provide Congress with a non-political reason for doing so. Instead, he gave three reasons at three different times, never referring again to the others.

Michelle is now selecting the nominee for Americorps CEO, and the press will inevitably give him only cursory examination.

And if any unbecoming news does break, she can get back out for a photo-op in the garden , where she does all her heavy labor in full wrap cardigans and tights, because she’s going for authenticity here. (This from the woman who complained to a group of blue collar housewives about the perils of being a millionaire and having to pay for tennis and piano lessons.)

This woman is what Hillary Clinton would be if HRC were born and bred in Chicago Gangland, but she can just decorate cupcakes with organic berries and then take the girls to J. Crew for some summer cardigans, and we can forget all about this silly politics she deigned to get involved in.

I hope there’s room to bury secrets and lies next to the thyme and arugula.

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” – Margaret Sanger

I’m going to post a couple things out of order because I haven’t put anything on in a while…

Proud Brooklyn Jew and incidental Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (quite a title, no?) freely told the New York Times Sunday Magazine that

Wishing She Were At Camp Che-Na-Wah

Wishing She Were At Camp Che-Na-Wah

she thought Roe v. Wade was originally decided with the understanding that global overpopulation needed to be sorted out. Therefore, she figured some sort of legal apparatus would be set up to allow abortion funding through Medicaid — that way, we could just get rid of the populations that wear their pants around their knees and aren’t good enough to do any cool shit like camping in the Castkills or getting Mitzvah’d.

The full insanity:

Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth, and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the Court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Oops! A mere 7 years later, when Harris v McRae saw the Supreme Court uphold the Hyde Amendment (which disallows Medicaid funding for abortions), Ginsburg decided maybe Roe wasn’t about pulling what Margaret Sanger called “human weeds” after all.

The Times reporter of course was neither taken aback by this nor feeling compelled to ask a follow-up question. Instead, she shared some of her own views on the accessibility of abortions with a hilariously leading question, allowing Ginsburg to chime in: not to worry, women will soon be popping the morning-after pill with abandon.  FULL TRANSCRIPT.

Ginsburg is already on the record many times over as thinking that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment is a better way to justify abortion than a 4th Amendment right to privacy incorporated through Due Process. A woman, she says, cannot be viewed as a fully adult and equal citizen in the eyes of the law if she is treated like a child, deprived over the choice of what to do with her pregnancy regardless of the stage.

In fact, she thinks Roe stymied a progressive march toward unlimited abortion rights by codifying some legal abortions and prematurely inciting the rage of social conservatives.

It reminds me of a question Justice Rehnquist asked her when she was arguing before the Supreme Court in Duren v Missouri: “You won’t settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?”

Here’s the piece I wrote about it.

After Drudge posted it in the dreaded Red Ink, it got so many clicks it crashed our site, and Hannity did a segment on it that evening, generously saying, “That’s certainly a pro-abortion argument that I have not heard in a while.”

Jonah Goldberg also is filing an editorial about it to appear in tomorrow’s Los Angeles Times and he confirms my suspicion that these kinds of feelings have only been bubbling under the surface. Citing the opinion of Oliver Wendell Holmes on sterilizing “imbeciles,” Goldberg looks at Buck v Bell, which held that sterilizing lower-class women was constitutional. Goldberg writes:

In recent years, openly discussing the notion of eugenic aspects of abortion has become taboo. But as Ginsburg’s comments suggest, the taboo hasn’t eliminated the idea; it’s merely sent it underground.

Ginsburg is a native a Midwood, just north of the Belt Parkway and Sheepshead Bay, an area that was once heavily Jewish and also kvelling over having produced notable Jew like Gil Hodges, Chuck Schumer, Arthur Miller, and Woodie Allen. Her cocamamie,  fercockt thoughts on Roe came in the 1970’s, just as Midwood saw an onslaught of immigrants from places like Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana, Turkey, and Korea, to name a few. Presumably because it’s easily accessible via the now-horrid B trains from Midtown, it changed the complexion of the neighborhood.

This story is bigger than just this, though. It seems to me that under the mistaken impression that flagrant liberalism is sweeping the nation thanks to D’Ohbama, people of this persuasion are openly admitting what they’ve often been too shrewd to in the past. I wrote a story the other week about the UN Population Fund– despite being an organization that claims it is “using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty,” it really deals in euphemisms about abortion. Funding for it is being restored through USAID this year despite the fact that they cooperate with Chinese authorities who coerce women into abortions.

And in March, my favorite, Hillary Clinton, made the breathtakingly stupid comment that she was “in awe” of Margaret Sanger upon being presented Planned Parenthood’s prestigious Margaret Sanger Award. (FLASHBACK: Undercover Caller Asks to Earmark Donation to Abort a Black Baby; Employee Laughs, Says “Understandable”).

Melanne Verveer, recently installed as the State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues, will further use diplomacy and our tax dollars to advance this philosophy.

“I’m a cooperator.” – Sen. Chuck Schumer

schumerThat was the headline I had written for this story from last week. My editor had a slightly different idea, thankfully. But when I went into the briefing on healthcare reform, attended by Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, and Patty Murray, I found myself bemused. Now, say what you will about Reid, but he has a discerning stare that can intimidate, so I was a bit frozen in my tracks to start, but managed to get the first question in.

I asked whether, after the murder of George Tiller, Reid saw any role for Congress in encouraging people to enter that field of late term reproductive care. He deflected, but Murray took the opportunity to talk about the title she’d inserted in committee to ensure physicians of all fields would be available in proportion to newfound demand under a public plan.

When she mentioned that the Education, Health, Labor and Pensions committee expected to go to markup by this week, some of the reporters wondered at how quickly they would go from not knowing what the health plan would look like, to marking up a draft bill. But Murray assured everyone they’d spent “literally hours” on the proposal. Heartening and reassuring, to be sure. I spend literally hours watching reality television every week but you don’t see me helming the federal transition to digital tv.

Schumer then suggested he could get together with Kent Conrad to come up with a co-op alternative to the public option to try to get Republicans on board with health reform, saying, “We have lots of co-ops in this country. My apartment in New York, in Brooklyn, is a co-op. I’m a cooperator.” Let’s see how well he really cooperates with Republicans on health care this summer.

By the way, doesn’t he look spectacular in soft light?

“Obviously you feel like you have something of value to say.”

Liz Claman, who spent years at CNBC in the shadow of Maria Bartiromo, has moved to FOX Business Network and keeps proving that she has perhaps the Clamanbest Rolodex in the media (besides, maybe, Hardball’s Querry Robinson). Several times now, she’s managed to assemble Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Charlie Munger for exclusive interviews all together, which nobody’s ever done. She regularly gets exclusives with Google’s Eric Schmidt, and got her hands on one of only two tell-all manuscripts on Bear Stearns’ collapse, when every outlet was dying to get its hands on it. This thing was hotter than that fourth Twilight book where they rip the girl apart to get the vampire baby out.  And she interviewed Twitter creator Biz Stone before anyone knew what it was, or suspected the US State Department would be propping it up as Iranian citizens updated the world on their botched election.

Her sister’s life was also, according to legend, the basis for Aaron Spelling’s cornerstone brand, Beverly Hills 90210. Yet she was still kind enough to talk to me extensively for a story in my college newspaper, giving Colgate students advice on the troubled job market and differentiating yourself in an interview.

Well, now she’s somehow snagged an exclusive with Elliot Spitzer, and god only knows how she convinced him to go on with her, but as soon as he sits down, she stuffs him with a heaping spoonful of “How Could You Have Thought This Was a Good Idea?” The regret is immediate, as she starts in on him with

There are people looking at you and saying, wow, this guy made a massive mistake. And the schadenfreude in New York, on Wall Street, when you went down. The “gee, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!” There were people cheering this on when you went down. And I think it strikes people, well, it strikes me as almost a very Reverend Jimmy Swaggart moment. I mean, the guy who gets up on the soap box and says “Don’t commit adultery,” and then he commits adultery. The very people you went after, you engaged in that very behavior.

Mind you, this is before Spitzer has uttered a single word, and he’s sat down thinking he’d be talking about the financial crisis. “What we are here to talk about, Liz, is Wall Street.” And boy, does he. Claman doesn’t care if he ever talks to her again, she lets him off the hook for nothing. She accuses him of extorting Merrill Lynch into a billion dollar settlement with the state of New York, contributing to AIG’s downfall by getting Hank Greenberg fired, and not doing Tim Geithner’s job for him.
After he finishes defending his job as Attorney General in detail, this freaking awesome exchange happens. Way to throw him the curveball, Liz:

SPITZER: Back then, confronting Wall Street was considered political heresy. When we went to other elected officials to ask for their support, they said no.

CLAMAN: In retrospect, what would you do differently?

SPITZER: With respect to those cases?

CLAMAN (throwing her hands up): With respect to all that’s happened– with the prostitution!

SPITZER: Wait, let’s put that aside a second and–

CLAMAN: No, don’t put that aside, because I’m telling you, people aren’t ready to put it aside.

This woman was on the subject like The Sandlot dog on a home run ball.


Next was the hilariously frank:

Well, this is a little unbelievable. Elliot Sptizer after this horrendous fall from grace. And here you are back out again, ready to speak to entrepreneurs. Why are you doing this?

Spitzer went on to explain that he was invited because he was knowledgeable on business after having tussled with Wall Street as Attorney General and Governor, and having criticized the Fed and SEC on subprime loans, complaining firms were trading those derivatives illegally. He’d been known as the Sherriff of Wall Street. Claman’s response?

I think you might agree you have a credibility problem, on, forget moral authority, on any authority. There are people that are saying, why should I be listening to this guy?

Spitzer takes one last shot at deflection a few minutes later, saying the entrepreneurial groups thought he had something of value to say because he’d lived through the root of the financial crisis and knew people like Geithner and Summers well. Claman goes in for another fakeout, suggesting they could talk about the financial meltdown, and then, ohh, never mind:

Well, let’s talk about the financial crisis — and then we’ll get to corruption, because there’s people who might be watching and saying “THIS guy’s talking about corruption? He was corrupt!” You know, we’ll talk about all of this, of course.

Despite all that, Spitzer came off as remarkably knowledgeable, for a philandering lawyer, on financial minutiae like credit default swaps beyond just that they’re level 3 crazy frozen solid assets.

The full bloodbath in two parts is here and here.

And here’s me and the hardballer at that New York Stock Exchange.

fox biz block party

“Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people. Hollywood is a Washington for the simpleminded.” -John McCain, 2003

Bravo TV network, home to The Real Housewives of New York, Orange County, Atlanta and New Jersey, has announced it will add another locale to the franchise, tapping Washington, D.C. and attempting to dispense with the uglies in favor of the simpleminded. Or, in the words of Bravo EVP Frances Berwick:

We’re tapping personalities who are among Washington D.C.’s influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders. The people who rub elbows with the most
prominent people in the country and easily move in the city’s diverse political and social circles.

In other words, vapid gold-diggers and black widows, the kind who party at Lake Havasu while their husbands lie on their deathbeds riddled with cancer (Gretch, Orange County Season 3).

But producers may have trouble finding anyone with higher regard for herself than Kelly Killoren Bensimon, whose ego engulfs whole warehouse clubs, sucking up all the air in the room and suffocating Brooklyn partygoers; or a woman more clueless about her flagrantly gay husband than Alex McCord, who named her children Francois and Johan (no shit):


Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson points out that Bravo has its work cut out. While Obama may have made D.C. “hap’ning” again,

Have they paid Washington a visit? The best-dressed aide on Capitol Hill would horrify the lowest grip at Universal Studios. There are no cultural connoisseurs.

Carlson must be forgetting Michelle Obama, whose multiple-cardigan, mix-n-match cat lady chic is winning rave reviews overseas. Appropriately, this kind of reminds me of the Kennedy crazies at Grey Gardens:


But more to the point, I would settle for being on The Real Housewives of DC, that’s what I’m saying here. It’s certainly slumming it compared to Real World: DC, and I’ll still stop at nothing to get into that hot tub. But, the Housewives offer an opportunity. Each season, the young, loose housewife does something the rest of the wives find absolutely detestable. This means she goes well beyond getting into a tiff over Restylane in the middle of serving dinner at a home for cancer patients. No, this housewife hooks up with an underage gentleman. For example, the original season saw Gretchen woo Tamra’s young son, Ryan. Here she is just before the pounce, but just after half a box of pinot grigio:


This is my mark. This is my mission, albeit slightly ambitious. I think Gretchen would still look great in a Macy’s pantsuit a la Hillary. Especially if she keeps doing that with the fork.