Tag Archives: Tommy Christopher

The Politician And the Movie Star

Michael D. Shear at NYT:

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a potential 2012 presidential candidate, has been getting lots of press recently for his comments on radio shows. The latest? This week, as first reported by Politico, he went after Hollywood star Natalie Portman.

“People see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts, ‘we’re not married but we’re having these children and they’re doing just fine,’” Huckabee told conservative radio host Michael Medved Monday. “I think it gives a distorted image. It’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of- wedlock children.”

Katrina Trinko at The Corner:

In framing the question to Huckabee, Medved had noted that Portman had said during her acceptance speech that she wanted to thank the father of her child for giving her “the most wonderful gift,” and argued that Portman’s message was “problematic.”

“I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses,” Huckabee said. “Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.”

“You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock,” he continued. “Sixty-one percent of Hispanic kids — across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.”

Laura Donovan at Daily Caller:

During Portman’s Oscar acceptance speech Sunday, she thanked Millepied, saying he gave her “the most important role” of her life.

Medved responded that Millepied “didn’t give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring!”

People Magazine reported at the end of last year that Portman and Millepied were engaged. Us Weekly revealed Portman’s engagement ring photos at the beginning of this year. They’re currently still engaged.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Here’s one humble suggestion. Maybe there would be fewer out-of-wedlock pregnancies if there were more sex education, including abstinence and safer sex. Even Bristol knows that.

Also, stop calling it “wedlock.” Sounds like something you get from stepping on a rusty nail.

Steve Benen:

But in the larger context, hearing about Huckabee’s criticism reinforces the notion that we really are stuck in the 1990s. After all, are there any substantive differences between what Huckabee said yesterday about Natalie Portman and what Dan Quayle said about Murphy Brown in 1992? Other than the fact that Brown was a fictional character, the remarks are remarkably similar.

Indeed, I feel like this keeps coming up. What do we see on the political landscape? Republicans are talking about shutting down the government and impeaching the president; Newt Gingrich is talking about running for president; a Democratic president saw his party get slammed in the midterms; the right wants a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution; conservatives are falsely labeling a moderate health care reform plan “socialized medicine”; and some national GOP leaders are preoccupied with Hollywood and out-of-wedlock births.

Andrew Sullivan:

The general point about the importance of two parents and marriage for children in poverty is well taken. But using Portman as an object of scorn? A woman who is in a loving relationship, is engaged to be married, and who publicly called her impending motherhood “the most important role of my life”?

She seems an unlikely culture war target. And a hopelessly tone-deaf one. Huckabee seems unready to me, or unwilling, to enter the race. And if he doesn’t, we all know what that means …

Robert Stacy McCain:

BTW, in case you didn’t notice, Mike Huckabee badmouthed Natalie Portman. Dude. How stupid is that?

Everybody loves Princess Amidala. Luke Skywalker’s mom, for crying out loud! And why would a conservative trash a woman who just called motherhood “the most important role of my life“?

Oh, wait. I forgot.

Mike Huckabee isn’t a conservative. Just ask Ann Coulter.

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Filed under Families, Movies, Political Figures

Laughter Is Sometimes Not The Best Medicine

Blake Aued at Athens Banner-Herald:

At Rep. Paul Broun’s town hall meeting on Tuesday, the Athens congressman asked who had driven the farthest to be there and let the winner ask the first question.

We couldn’t hear the question in the back of the packed Oglethorpe County Commission chamber, but whatever it was, it got a big laugh. According to an outraged commenter on the article, the question was, when is someone going to shoot Obama?

I’ve asked Team Broun whether that was indeed the question and haven’t gotten an answer. The commenter accurately described the questioner and the circumstances, and no one has disputed his account.

Update: Broun’s press secretary, Jessica Morris, confirmed that the question was indeed, who is going to shoot Obama? “Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on,” she said.

Here was Broun’s response:

The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

He then segued into Republicans’ budget proposal.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

During President Obama’s January State of the Union address, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA 10) became the closest thing to a “You lie!” moment, tweeting during the address “Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism.” Broun became embroiled in another controversy when, at a Tuesday town hall meeting, he was asked “who is going to shoot Obama?” and responded with stunning nonchalance

Ryan J. Reilly at TPM:

Witnesses tell TPM that Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) laughed when an elderly man at his town hall meeting this week asked “Who’s gonna shoot Obama?”

Mark Farmer of Winterville, Georgia went to the meeting on Tuesday to ask a question about Social Security reform, and said in an e-mail to TPM he was “shocked by the first question and disgusted by the audience response.”

“I was gravely disappointed in the response of a U.S. Congressman who also laughed and then made no effort to correct the questioner on what constitutes proper behavior or to in any way distance himself from such hate filled language,” Farmer wrote.

Reporter Blake Aued, who was at the town hall and originally reported on the incident confirmed to TPM that Broun was “chuckling a little bit.”

Greg Sargent:

However, one group who took this seriously is the Secret Service. According to Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, the situation has been looked into.

“We’re aware of the incident and the appropriate steps were taken,” Donovan told me. “At this point it’s a closed matter.”

A law enforcement source confirmed that the Secret Service interviewed the constituent and determined that he or she was an “elderly person” who now regrets making a bad joke.

“In this case this was poor taste,” the source says. “The person realized that.”

Now there’s the small matter of whether Broun regrets not condemning the comment. My understanding is more will be forthcoming from his office on this soon, so stay tuned.

UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.: In a new statement Rep Paul Broun appears to admit he should have condemned his constituent:

Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities.

I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements — made in sincerity or jest — that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.

Steve Benen:

I certainly give Broun credit for the condemnation. I hope it’s sincere.

But at the risk of sounding picky, I have a couple of follow-up questions. First, when Broun argued he “chose not to dignify” the question, why do local media accounts have him offering a response?

Second, if Broun believes such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated, why did it take him three days to issue a denunciation? Is it just a coincidence that the congressman felt compelled to condemn the assassination “joke” after the media started covering it?

Ann Althouse:

If the crowd was so big, and it was a planned event, where’s the digital video? Don’t tell me the crowd was too noisy for anyone to record it AND that the crowd heard it.

Now, as is widely known, it’s a serious federal crime to threaten the life of the president, which makes it less likely that the words are as reported in the pseudo-quote. It also makes it less likely that a person of the left was trying to make trouble for Broun (a theory I see some righties are propounding). If it was said, it was said by someone who was both malevolent and stupid. Why would a whole crowd of people give a big laugh when they found themselves in the presence of someone malevolent and stupid?

Flashback to spitgate. I say, as I said then: Produce the video.

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Filed under Political Figures

Not Every Explosive Tape Contains Mel Gibson Melting Down

Andrew Breitbart at Big Government:

We are in possession of a video from in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.

Ed Morrissey:

Actually, if Sherrod had a different ending for this story, it could have been a good tale of redemption. She almost grasps this by initially noting that poverty is the real issue, which should be the moral of the anecdote. Instead of having acted on this realization — and perhaps mindful of the audience — Sherrod then backtracks and says that it’s really an issue of race after all. It certainly was for Sherrod, who admits that “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do.” Notice that the audience doesn’t exactly rise as one to scold Sherrod for her racism, but instead murmurs approvingly of using race to determine outcomes for government programs, which is of course the point that Andrew wanted to make.

Andrew has a second video, which is more relevant to the out-of-control expansion of the federal government than race. Sherrod in the same speech beseeches her audience to get work in the USDA and the federal government in general, because “when was the last time you heard about layoffs” for government workers? If Sherrod is any example, it’s been too long.

Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s:

We interrupt this “Tea Partiers are so incredibly racially biased” broadcast for the following update:

Days after the NAACP clashed with Tea Party members over allegations of racism, a video has surfaced showing an Agriculture Department official regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy — video that now has forced the official to resign.

The video posted at BigGovernment that started it all is here if you haven’t seen/heard it yet.

Breitbart claims more video is on the way.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled “Tea Partiers are so incredibly racially biased” broadcast.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

As it’s being presented, the clip is utterly indefensible, and the NAACP was quick to denounce Sherrod:

We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.

Her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story that she ultimately realized her mistake, as well as the common predicament of working people of all races, she gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man.

The clip that’s being promoted is obviously cut from a larger context, and while this is often the dishonest refuge of radio shock jocks, in this case, it makes a real difference. Here’s what Sherrod told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife.

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

Sherrod said the farmer, Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga., has since died.

It doesn’t seem that Ben Jealous or Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are aware that Sherrod wasn’t working at USDA when this occurred, or that she did, in fact, help the farmer in question. That changes everything about this story, including the reaction of the crowd. The entire point of the story is that her actions were indefensible.

If what Sherrod says is true, this is not a story about grudgingly admitting that even white folks need help, but rather, a powerful, redemptive cautionary tale against discrimination of any kind. Both the AJC and Mediaite are working to locate a full video or transcript of the event.

This incident is being posed as the right’s answer to the NAACP resolution against “racist elements” in the Tea Party. This story also comes at a time when the New Black Panther Party has been thrust into the spotlight by Fox News (with predictable results), and debate rages over an Arizona immigration law that many say encourages racial profiling.

This is precisely the danger of ideologically-driven “journalism.” It is one thing to have a point of view that informs your analysis of facts, but quite abother when that point of view causes you to alter them.

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo:

The 82-year-old wife of the white Georgia farmer who was supposedly discriminated against some quarter century ago by the black USDA official forced to resign this week — if the video released by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and re-run by Fox is to be believed — is now confirming that in fact Shirley Sherrod saved her and her husband’s farm from bankruptcy and is a “friend for life.”

CNN also spoke with the farmer’s wife and with Sherrod. Rachel Slajda has more.

Kevin Drum:

In a second video, BigGovernment.com says “Ms. Sherrod confirms every Tea Partier’s worst nightmare.” Although this is ostensibly a reference to a joke she made about no one ever getting fired from a government job, that’s not really every tea partier’s worst nightmare, is it? On the other hand, a vindictive black government bureaucrat deciding to screw you over because you’re white? Yeah, I’d say that qualifies.

This is just appallingly ugly, and the White House’s cowardly response is pretty ugly too. This is shaping up to be a long, gruesome summer, boys and girls.


One of the under reported stories of the 90s was just how much Starr’s merry band of lawyers totally fucked over relatively lowly White House staffers in the Great Clinton Cock Hunt. That was largely through subpoenas and lawyer bills, but lacking subpoena power the Right has now turned to a credulous news media and the power of selectively edited video to go after random government officials.

Apparently Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart rule Tom Vilsack’s world. Heckuva job.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:

Andrew Breitbart: the heir to Joseph McCarthy, destroying people’s reputations and jobs based on deliberately distorted allegations, while the rest of the right wing blogs cheer. Disgusting. This is what has become of the right wing blogosphere — it’s now a debased tool that serves only to circulate partisan conspiracy theories and hit pieces.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 8:33:55 am:

Note that LGF reader “teh mantis” posted a comment last night at around 6:00 pm that made exactly these points about Breitbart’s deceptive video, in this post.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 9:00:01 am:

It’s disturbing that the USDA immediately caved in to cover their asses, and got Sherrod to resign without even hearing her side of the story; but also expected. That’s what government bureaucrats do. And they didn’t want the USDA to become the next ACORN.

But it’s even more disturbing that the NAACP also immediately caved in and denounced this woman, in a misguided attempt to be “fair.” The NAACP is supposed to defend people like this. They were played by a con man, and an innocent person paid the price.

UPDATE: Rachel Slajda at TPM

The Anchoress at First Things

Caleb Howe at Redstate


Tom Blumer at The Washington Examiner

David Frum at The Week

Erick Erickson at Redstate

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect

UPDATE #2: Dan Riehl at Human Events

Noah Millman at The American Scene

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Victorino Manus at The Weekly Standard

Andy Barr at Politico

UPDATE #3: More Johnson at Powerline

Jonathan Chait at TNR

Bill Scher and Conor Friedersdorf at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #4: Eric Alterman at The Nation

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Legal Insurrection

Ed Morrissey

UPDATE #5: Ben Dimiero and Eric Hananoki at Media Matters

UPDATE #6: Bridget Johnson at The Hill

UPDATE #7: Kate Pickert at Swampland at Time


Filed under Political Figures, Politics, Race

There She Is, Miss Conservative…

John Hawkins at Right Wing News:

The 20 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media (2010 Edition)

One of the most popular articles at RWN last year was, The 15 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media. So, when you have a big hit, what could make more sense than  doing a sequel?

This time around, we had a new distinguished panel of judges. Besides myself, they included,

1) Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit.

2) Jonah Goldberg from National Review.

3) Andrew Malcolm from the LA Times’ Top of the Ticket.

4) Dan Gainor from Newsbusters (Among other places).

5) Van Helsing from Moonbattery.

6) Alfonzo Rachel from PJTV.

7) James Joyner from Outside The Beltway.


8) Blackfive.

The judges voted on over 50 contestants. After dropping the low score for each woman, the highest remaining scores made the list. Here are the women that made the final cut.

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:

Yes, I was a judge of the Hottest Conservative Women in New Media “contest.” My shame spiral is bottomless.

Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner:

Snark and Boobs? The things you learn … I suspect you didn’t enlist an AEI intern for this assignment, but covered it yourself.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Today marks exactly one year since my firing by Politics Daily’s Melinda Henneberger over Playboy’s list of “Top 10 Women I’d Like to Hate F***,” (I wrote an article denouncing it, and Henneberger deleted the story, then deleted me) which is what made me realize that ranking conservative hotties must be a seasonal thing. This year finds a much milder fleshfest, judged by a panel of doughy bloggers for the website Right Wing News. I’m going to have a problem with any list that includes Elizabeth “Media Lizzy” Blackney at any rank other than #1. I have several with this one.

Now, I’m not one of those people who think it’s never acceptable to notice that a beautiful woman is beautiful, and I understand the lure of easy linkbaiting (hence the headline). But there are ways, and there are ways.

In the modern media landscape, sex appeal is certainly a relevant factor to consider. What Right Wing News’ 20 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media misses out on is that it’s not the only factor.

Their list consists of just that, a list and a photograph. No biographical info, no descriptions of their accomplishments, or critiques of their work. Just a picture and a link. There’s nothing there that would make anyone want to read anything these women write. Lest you doubt the level of the pig factor here, there’s this from one of the judges, James Joyner:

I would note that it would be useful to break the contest down into age brackets, as it’s a bit silly to have 20-somethings pitted against 50-somethings.

Maybe they ought to bring in a livestock scale, too, and break it down into weight classes.

My perspective on this list is influenced by the fact that I know a lot of the women on it. Aside from the fact that if I went up to Mary Katherine Ham and said “You’re hot!” she’d probably punch me in the arm, it’s just not an adequate measure of her worth as a human being. Sure, she has a beautiful smile that lights up a room, but she also pounds the pavement with an old-timey reporter’s notebook, noticing things that escape me.

And what about Michelle Malkin? You mean to tell me that a panel of 8 right-wing bloggers couldn’t crank out a paragraph about Michelle Malkin?

Which brings me to Lizzy. Like everyone on this list, I couldn’t disagree more with her politics, nor she with mine. However, she’s been a loyal friend and fan since before anyone had ever heard of me. She’s a Gold Star Wife, widowed at the age of 25, and mother of a now-14 year-old daughter. Much to my shock, she and I share many common views on parenting.

When I got into trouble for denouncing that Playboy article, Lizzy risked, and ultimately lost, a very beneficial relationship with AOL in order to do the right thing, not just out of loyalty to me, but to her own closely-held values.  While we don’t get to gab nearly often enough on her radio show, she’s always in my heart.

I don’t expect a link-baiting top 20 list to be able to take the full measure of Lizzy, or Tabitha Hale, who does huge work for Freedomworks, or Lori Ziganto, whose tweets will make you laugh out loud. But this list doesn’t even try.

Jonathan Chait at TNR:

This pretty much seems to be the conservative view on women in the movement. They are welcomed in and valued for their ideas, provided they are first deemed suitably attractive by a panel of men.

Certainly this would explain the apparently widespread conservative belief that liberal women hate Sarah Palin because they envy her looks and happiness. It’s basically the gender analogue of the right-wing belief that progressive taxation is rooted in envy of the rich.

Henry Farrell:

It seems to me a wee bit unfair that all them healthy heterosexual Republican gals (and, for that matter, the five or six Log Cabin Republicans who have stuck it out despite all) can’t get in on the fun. So let me propose an alternative competition to find the Hottest Conservative Man In The New Media. And by one of those funny coincidences, the eight finalists for this much coveted award are the members of the “distinguished panel of judges” that Right Wing News has chosen to adjudicate which of the laydeez is the smokingest.1 Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Glenn Reynolds

Jonah Goldberg

Andrew Malcolm

Dan Gainor

‘Van Helsing’ from Moonbattery (artist’s depiction)

Alfonzo Rachel

James Joyner (who is actually a good bloke imo who really ought to have known better)

And remember! You can only pick one.

David Graham at Newsweek:

It’s hard to know where to start here. The whole thing feels pretty gross, but a little casual objectification in search of clicks is fine, right? No harm, no foul? (Goldberg tries to play it both ways, saying that his “shame spiral is bottomless.”)

Well, no. It’s great that there’s such a vibrant female presence in the conservative commentariat—Coulter and Malkin in particular have a stature that’s equaled only by the likes of Rush Limbaugh—but by any sensible standard, it’s clear-cut sexism: women trying to compete on the same intellectual playing field as the men being ranked for how sexy they look in their online profile, not how scathingly they dissect Obamacare.

But let’s say you don’t buy the idea that this is objectification. Come on, you say, anyone who calls her blog Snark and Boobs knows she’s trading on sex appeal. And it’s possible for men to both value a woman’s political criticism and find her attractive. (It’s also important to note that RWN also published a list of the 15 hottest new media guys on the right last year.)

But the right walks a narrow line when it comes to ogling women. In conservative circles, it’s more acceptable for women to be praised for both their brains and their beauty. But if that praise turns to criticism, looks becomes off limits, and critics are condemned (rightly so) for sexism. (See: those staunch defenders of women who railed against NEWSWEEK’s cover image of Sarah Palin in running shorts; they’re silent on the top-20 list.)

Lori Ziganto:

Listen, Newsweek. Most women like being complimented. Here’s an estrogen-insider secret for you; when a woman asks you if her arse looks fat, it is because she knows it does not. She just wants to hear you say it.  She knows she looks good; she’s already run the outfit by three girlfriends and her sister. She wants to be told she’s purty. And being told she is pretty doesn’t somehow magically remove her cerebral cortex (except maybe in Janeane Garofalo’s case. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened there).

Secondly, If any of your distinguished journalists had bothered to simply ask me, I would have told you what the name meant. No, it is not “trading in sex appeal.” It is meant in good humor. You see, we conservative women like our girl parts and will even poke fun at them from time to time. Good thing I didn’t name it my other thought, Boobsandsammiches, huh? Your heads would have exploded. Oh well, better luck next time!

I’ll speak only for myself because, unlike you, I don’t speak out of my arse – which doesn’t look fat, by the way, even if that offends your sanctimonious sensibilities – for others. I’m not trading in sex appeal. I’m a mother who home schools her daughter. I am a bookworm, a nerd, a person who cares deeply about the state of our country and the world, and someone who is quite content staying home.

I blog at several sites, most of which are comprised of mainly men, and I didn’t “trade on sex appeal” to get there, nor do I bring sammiches. (Although I would, if asked. Cooking doesn’t demean me either. I’m good at it and also enjoy the ego stroke of being told so). I’m also a woman who will not apologize for, nor feel demeaned by, the fact that she can, at age 39, wear a bikini to the pool and look darn good in it.

The problem is, you don’t truly think that is possible. How could a woman look feminine, yet still be accomplished? Worse, a mother! That’s crazy talk! You made that perfectly clear with the oh-so-respectful cover that you ran (shown above) on Sarah Palin. A Governor. With more executive experience than our current President and Vice President combined (and it sure shows now, doesn’t it?) To you, none of that mattered; She can’t possibly have a brain. She’s a beauty queen and all!

Y’all never stopped writing in your slam books, did you? Still smarting from the sting of being shot down for prom? It’s time to grow up. Learn these lessons first: Women are beautiful and successful. Women are feminine and accomplished. Women can look good and spout political opinion with the best of them. Women are not children and can handle being told that they are attractive and not feel diminished by it.

Melissa Clouthier:

Priorities people! Today is the day when we focus, laser-like, on the hottest conservative men for 2010. Unlike last year, the judges this year are out and proud and gorgeous in their own right. Wow, what fabulous, beautiful, accomplished and smart women. I was chief judge and jury, so any gray areas were mine to figure out. If you’re mad, get mad at me.


Now, to get to it. What were the criterion? Hot, hot and more hot. I can tell you that the women did vote based on whether they liked someone or not. They couldn’t help it. Hot + Jerk = Lower score.  But they all liked/disliked different folks, so there you go.

We sifted through 75 men and there were more we could have considered.  Each woman judged the guy on a simple 1 to 10 scale (10 being I’m-passing-out-delirious) and then we did it on straight percentage (so the guys who got a “2″ because of the jerk factor, that was factored in).  If that doesn’t sound fair, welcome to this thing called life. The fact is, women are wired differently than men and personality skews our judgment. Also, when there is a tie, we went with the face over the body. The ladies on Twitter made that decision. And so some guys tied in pure score and again, we chose the face because that’s what happens (or can happen) in life. There are no ties in baseball or something.

Tabitha Hale at Redstate:

John Hawkins of RightWingNews.com released his 20 Hottest Women in New Media last week. As these lists always do, it’s brought about a fresh round of controversy – both from those whose crush was left off the list, as well as those who are righteously indignant about the objectification of the women on the list. The objectification of men seems to not be an issue… Who knows, maybe Newsweek will rage about us making poor Jeff Emanuel take his shirt off for the 20 Hottest Conservative Men list. Or something.

Is it shallow? Yeah. So what? Here’s the thing: every woman on the Right Wing News list is fighting the good fight, and we’re confident in our work. We’ve all contributed substantially to the conservative cause. Some are more establishment, and some more grassroots. Some are more well known than others, and some are new to the field. The list of accomplishments varies… all are contributors with their own strengths and credentials.

The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait got his knickers in a twist about it, stating that conservative women are “welcomed in and valued for their ideas, provided they are first deemed suitably attractive by a panel of men.” What he ignores is that we’ve ALREADY been welcomed. Women like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter have decades of work behind them. SE Cupp and Laura Ingraham are both published best selling authors. All of the women there have established themselves and are in demand among conservative circles.

His comment is obviously a jab that extends beyond John’s Top 20… all I have to say is look at the response the grassroots has had to Sarah Palin. To Michele Bachmann during the health care fight. Gov. Brewer on immigration in Arizona. Some of the top fighters on the Right are women, and time and again they’ve displayed the cajones that our men couldn’t seem to find.

The idea that a woman could see her name on a list of that nature and do nothing but take it as a compliment and move on just seems to make their heads explode.


And if there’s a woman out there who says she doesn’t like being told she’s pretty, she’s lying. When it’s not done, you know, by creepy old men leaning out their car window offering you a ride or something.

Melissa Clouthier facilitated the obligatory response to the list: LibertyPundits.net’s Top 20 Hottest Conservative Men. Four of the nine female judges were on the RightWingNews list – and the rest easily could have been.

I have yet to hear, well, anyone decry the objectification of these fine men. Newsweek, we even put aside our white supremacist overtones and added a couple non-white faces! It’s a fine collection, if I do say so myself.

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Filed under Conservative Movement, Feminism, New Media

Weigelgate… Bigotgate… Let Us All Tweet Our Name For The Gate

Matt Lewis at Politics Daily:

Perhaps Weigel will turn out two decades from now to have been prescient, but “bigot” is awfully strong language for a person who is making the case for tolerance – and this comment simply reinforced a longstanding view among social conservatives that The Washington Post and most of the rest of the mainstream media are not only implacably opposed to their policy agenda, but personally hostile to them as well.

(Disclosure: I like Dave Weigel. I’ve had him on my podcast several times. He has written about me in the past, and I have found him accurate and fair. So it gives me no joy to write about this.)

But opposition to gay marriage is hardly a fringe movement. A majority of Americans tell pollsters they are opposed to it, a number that, if you take him at face value, includes President Obama. Presumably Weigel would also count as “bigots” the 70 percent of African-Americans who backed Proposition 8 in California.

Conservatives, whom Weigel is paid to cover, were understandably irate. Penny Nance, chief executive of Concerned Women for America (CWA) told me, “If (Weigel) ever tweeted that African-Americans are bigots on this issue he would no longer be employed by The Washington Post. His own arrogance disqualifies him as a serious journalist assigned to covering conservatives . . . for The Washington Post to assign him to cover Concerned Women for America is like assigning a weasel to watch the hen house.”

Dan Gainor, a vice president at the Media Research Center, told me, “This is how the Post covers the conservative movement: Find someone who doesn’t even understand the traditional values that made our nation great and then assign him to report on the right. Throw in the fact that Weigel loves to bash conservatives and he’s the ideal Postie. At the same time, the paper hired a hard-core lefty in Ezra Klein to advocate for the left. It’s a ridiculous double standard. The Post should be both embarrassed and ashamed.”

When I confronted Weigel about his Tweet, he initially responded by Tweeting: “Unpleasant words are so much worse than watching 54% of your peers nullify your marriage,” a comment that struck me as the response of an activist more than a journalist. When I asked him of the ethics of such a Tweet being sent out by a reporter tasked with covering conservatives, he responded by explaining: “I like (and largely agree with) pro-lifers. But I do not understand or respect the motivation of anti-gay marriage campaigners.”

Robert Stacy McCain:

Weigel proclaims that he will “happily entertain arguments for the contrary,” but why should he? In the manner of all bien-pensants, he believes he is not merely right but good, and therefore that those who disagree with him are not merely mistaken, but evil.

As I have said of others, Weigel’s basic problem is that he is young. The young generally know only what they have been taught, and teaching nowadays is a profession increasingly monopolized by those who subscribe to dogmatic notions of egalitarianism, the established faith of academic today. Dissenters are as rare as witches in 17th-century Salem (whereas witches are now quite plentiful on campus, as Larry Summers could attest), and we need not marvel that few dare speak heresy.

According to the egalitarian view, inequality is always synonymous with injustice. From such a perspective, those who insist that homosexual relations should be treated differently than marriage — an institution ancient and universal, held by Judeo-Christian tradition to be a holy covenant in accordance with divine commandment – are benighted, prejudiced and, as Weigel says, “bigoted.”

Weigel long worked for the libertarian journal Reason. Despite my own profound libertarian tendencies (being an admirer of the Austrian economists Mises and Hayek), I’ve often found myself at odds with those Reasonoids who see same-sex marriage as a libertarian issue when the arguments for it are in fact egalitarian.

Ben Domenech at New Ledger:

Unlike his colleague Ezra Klein, Weigel is being asked by the Post to do shoe leather journalism, not just opinion and analysis — but unless this view will result in him not getting calls back from people he’s writing about, I see no reason why his expression of his personal opinion on those who oppose same sex marriage should spark any reaction other than “well, that’s what a lot of people in the media think.” (Frankly, Klein’s view that Joe Lieberman’s opposition to the health care bill would result in the deaths of thousands is a far more jarring comment. But that’s beside the point.)

I don’t know Weigel and I have never met him, but as far as I know he doesn’t represent himself as a conservative, just as someone who primarily writes about them. He first contacted me several years ago while doing a story for Campaigns & Elections in just that arena, wrote a bit for the libertarian Reason, and then moved to smart lefty journal The Washington Independent, funded in part by the Gill Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. So why would anyone assume that Weigel, after working for places funded by same sex marriage activists like Tim Gill, would have any difference of opinion on the matter than the rest of his colleagues?

Sure, conservatives might have hoped for more balanced coverage after Weigel professed his eagerness to write fairly about the Tea Party movement, and responded to those on the right who doubted his approach by saying “I’m going to work hard on changing your mind about this.” But I don’t know why anyone would assume that’s more than just polite pleasantries (delivered with Weigel’s typically sarcastic tone). He’s covering the right with the traditional “conservatives in the mist” approach, and nothing I’ve seen that he’s written thus far would indicate he has a more unique perspective to offer.

David Weigel:

Over the weekend, I got an e-mail from one of the organizations that campaign against gay marriage. The tone was boastful and celebratory about the push for a same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota. It irritated me enough that I tweeted: “I can empathize with everyone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. In 20 years no one will admit they were part of that.”

That comment offended some people, so I want to do two things. First, I apologize for calling same-sex-marriage opponents “bigots.” I was specifically referring to people who spend their working hours opposing gay marriage, not just people who vote to ban it. But those people aren’t bigots, either.
Second, let me explain what it meant. I’m a bystander in the same-sex marriage debate — I haven’t given to any cause on either side. But in 2006 I did vote against a Virginia same-sex marriage amendment, which passed. I didn’t, and don’t, think social issues should be subjected to votes like that. I don’t support much direct democracy in general — this is a republic, and we shouldn’t throw these kinds of decisions to the electorate at large.

But why was I willing to be so disrespectful to one group of activists? Unlike with most activists, I don’t really see the direct impact on their lives, or on the lives of the people who agree with them, of the cause they oppose. Antitax protesters are threatened by higher taxes. Anti-health-care-bill protesters fear their coverage will get worse. Anti-meat-eating protesters believe animals are being murdered and the environment is being made worse.

Even the birther movement has always made a kind of sense — oust Obama from office, and you get a chance to reverse what damage you think he’s done to your country.

But who’s threatened by legal same-sex marriage? Whose life is made worse? If there was science suggesting that children raised by same-sex parents are worse off than children raised by traditional families, that would be one thing, but I haven’t seen it. We’ve watched legal same-sex marriage in several European countries and several states, and it hasn’t ushered in some decline in the quality of life, or marriage, for those who don’t participate in it.

That’s what I don’t understand. That’s my bias, for now. I’ll happily entertain arguments for the contrary.

Ben Smith at Politico:

The Washington Post has juiced up its political coverage recently with a handful of new hires, including people I’ve long enjoyed reading, like Dave Weigel and Jason Horowitz, and a couple of smart young reporters for its PostPolitics page.

But it’s also made the decision to give much of its political space* to talented, reportorial, and openly left-leaning bloggers — Greg Sargent, Ezra Klein, and Weigel.

All news organizations are pretty much flying blind at the moment, and there’s been a great deal of erosion of traditional journalistic neutrality from both sides. But many organizations try to hew fairly clearly to the old aspiration of objectivity. I try in this space to stay on the neutral side of the line between sensibility and opinion.

The alternative, long promoted by advocacy journalists on left and right, is transparency: Everybody has a bias, the argument goes, so just be open about it. That’s how Weigel — who worked for a libertarian magazine, then a left-leaning web outfit — dealt with a flap roiling the conservative blogosphere, one that erupted after he tweeted about “anti-gay marriage bigots.”

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

I asked Weigel if he found the accusation of being biased against bias ironic.

I really do regret saying “bigots.” I like to follow a policy of calling people what they want to be called — or at least don’t object to being called. This is why you don’t see me call people “teabaggers.” I’m a Methodist, and I am friends with plenty of people who disagree with me on this issue, and understand how it’s not really comparable to, say, anti-black racism. Many opponents of gay marriage take that stance because they believe that gays are misled, and they can lead another lifestyle. I disagree, but believing so is not “bigoted.”

I like what he had to say about calling people what they want to be called. “Teabagger” outlived its usefulness a long time ago. It was funny and edgy for about 5 minutes, but now, like most name-calling, it’s just an obstacle to understanding.

As for whether the gay marriage opponents whom Weigel describes are “bigoted,” I suppose you could argue that the element of hatred isn’t there, and amend that to “ignorant.”

In any case, I hope there’s no movement to oust Weigel from WaPo. His reporting on the conservative movement is far more useful to the right than a raft of cheerleading blogs. He’s in a position to offer fair, tough-love analysis to the GOP that they won’t get somewhere else. Besides, better the devil you know. Would conservatives like Matt Lewis prefer someone like Markos Moulitsas to cover them?

More Smith at Politico:

The once-cautious Washington Post has begun to invest heavily in the liberal blogosphere, transforming its online presence – through a combination of accident and design – into a competitor of the Huffington Post and TalkingPointsMemo as much as the New York Times.

The Post’s foray into the new media world received some unfavorable attention last weekend when its latest hire, Dave Weigel, who covers conservatives, referred to gay marriage foes as “bigots.” But the resulting controversy brought into relief a larger shift: The Post now hosts three of the strongest liberal blogs on the Internet, and draws a disproportionate share of its traffic and buzz from them, a significant change for a traditional newspaper that has struggled to remake itself.

Besides Weigel, who came from the liberal Washington Independent, the Post also has Ezra Klein, hired last May from the American Prospect to bring his brand of deliberately wonky policy writing to its website; and Greg Sargent, who the paper said Tuesday will soon move to the Post itself after coming from TPM to run a political blog for the Post-owned website, WhoRunsGov.com, as well as two editors recently hired from the Huffington Post to handle online aggregation and strategy.

The quote from me in Ben Smith’s article is from a longer argument I made in our interview: Analytical reportage has traditionally been the province of magazines. It’s the stock-in-trade of the Atlantic, the New Republic, the Economist, the American Prospect, the Washington Monthly, and Reason, just to name a few. And if you want to play six degrees, I interned at the Washington Monthly and worked at the American Prospect; Greg worked at New York magazine and moved to Talking Points Memo, which was started by a former American Prospect editor; and Dave got his start at Reason and The Economist, both of which are right-of-center magazines.

All of those magazines write reported, analytical (and opinionated) articles for a sophisticated audience. But because their publishing cycles are slow, they’ve not traditionally been major players in the day-to-day conversation. But now you’ve got people who trained at those magazines and adopted their sensibilities writing at internet speed, which is to say, faster than the daily cycle. And that’s working, I think. At the very least, it’s working with elite audiences.

But it’s not, as Smith suggests, a story of ideology (though Tucker Carlson and David Frum might tell you that conservative publications place less emphasis on reporting and that accounts for why liberals and libertarians have gotten the first of these jobs), or even corporate strategy. Small magazines adopted blogs early because they were desperate for an entryway into daily reporting. Newspapers, for obvious reasons, were less concerned. But as newspapers got more concerned, they’ve hired the bloggers trained at small magazines because those bloggers report and write in a way that traditional media organizations recognize.

The media isn’t so much changing as repackaging, and my guess is that five or 10 years from now, there will be a lot of bloggers doing analytical reporting and everyone will agree that that was just a natural process of adaptation to a faster medium with a more elite readership and no space constraints. Those who’re inclined to more structuralist explanations will says that as the flow of information sped up and opinions multiplied there was more demand for reported, analytical content that helped people make sense of it all.

The first wave of these folks came from small magazines that have a more opinionated bent, but the second wave will come from inside newspapers and online publications that play it a bit straighter. But it won’t be, and isn’t now, a story of ideology. It’s a story of technological change, and the way in which new markets first get served by marginal players and then get swallowed up by established institutions.

James Joyner:

People forget that the business of journalism is business.  Hiring respectable bloggers with very high traffic levels — which was certainly the case with Klein — is just bowing to reality.  Especially when one considers that the Washington Post is losing money by the truckload, showing “an operating loss of $163.5 million in 2009, compared to an operating loss of $192.7 million in 2008″ and only manages to stay in business — if you want to call it that — thanks to the huge subsidy provided by Kaplan Testing.

Ultimately, this is just a further consolidation of the Power Laws model that Clay Shirky was propounding just as I was launching OTB.   The highest traffic bloggers are getting scooped up by the mainstream media or other big entities and further consolidating their power.   And, for reasons Ezra explains, that mostly means left-of-center bloggers are going to be hired, because they’re much more apt to write in a style which makes the major media companies comfortable.

Bill Scher and Peter Suderman at Bloggingheads

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Filed under Gay Marriage, Mainstream, New Media

What Happened In The French Quarter?

Gateway Pundit:

The governor’s office said Monday that Allee Bautsch suffered a broken leg and her boyfriend suffered a concussion and fractured nose and jaw in the alleged incident. (KSLA)

A Republican activist and her boyfriend were savagely beaten in New Orleans on Friday for wearing Sarah Palin pins.

Free Republic reported:

Allee Bautsch, chief campaign fundraiser for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and her boyfriend Joe Brown, were savagely beaten Friday night in New Orleans after leaving a Republican party fundraising dinner by a group of thugs who reportedly targeted the couple because they were wearing Sarah Palin pins.

Bautch’s leg was broken and Brown incurred a broken jaw and nose as well as a concussion.

The Hayride reports that a source who visited Bautsch at the hospital the day after the attack says they were told the couple was attacked for wearing Palin buttons:

Two people at the Brennan’s event have now confirmed that the protest had largely broken up by the time it ended, but we also understand from someone who visited Allee Bautsch in the hospital Saturday morning that she and Brown were followed and attacked expressly because they had Palin pins on (she heard one of the attackers say “Let’s get them, they have Palin pins on” – so the attack WAS politically motivated as its victims understood it. It was not a mugging, it was not an argument gone wrong and it was not a bar fight.

The story of a Republican and her boyfriend being viciously attacked for wearing Palin buttons has yet to make national headlines, unlike say, unfounded rumors of nasty words being said by Tea Party protesters.

Related… Anarchists took to the streets in New Orleans on Friday to protest the SRLC, marching to the Hilton Hotel, where a banner was hanging from the roof which said “We won’t pay for their crisis. Become the crisis!” —- The march then headed to Brennan’s Restaurant, where a $10,000 a plate SRLC dinner was in progress.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin sent us the following statement:

Friday night, the Governor’s campaign fundraiser, Allee Bautsch, and her boyfriend were involved in an altercation in the French Quarter with a group of people.

While there were protestors around at that time, we are not aware of any evidence that the individuals involved in the altercation were protestors.

Allee’s leg was badly broken in the incident, she has had surgery, and she is facing a recovery time of two to three months. Her boyfriend had a concussion, and also a fractured nose and jaw. They are both expected to fully recover.

NOPD is investigating the incident and we are refraining from further comment to allow them to fully investigate and ensure justice is done. Our prayers are with Allee. She is a strong person and we are sure she will make a speedy recovery.

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be enough information available to draw any conclusion, other than that Ms. Bautsch and her boyfriend deserve to be in the thoughts and prayers of all decent people, and their attackers deserve swift justice.

Michelle Malkin:

I’m getting bombarded with angry e-mails about the terrible assault on Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign fundraising chief, Allee Bautsch, and her boyfriend in the French Quarter of New Orleans over the weekend.

A sample of the messages pouring in this afternoon:

“Why haven’t you reported on it?!”

“Left Wing Media Causing Violence Against GOP Official & Boyfriend Savagely Beaten For Wearing Palin Pins!!”

“Why is Fox news not reporting on this?…Where’s Michele (sic) Malkin and Ann Coulter?”

“…you should be shouting from the rooftops about this assault on Palin supporters in New Orleans that is not even mentioned by LSM”

Don’t lose your heads, people.

This much is clear: Bautsch and her boyfriend were seriously beaten and injured after leaving a fund-raising event held during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune said they were involved in an alteraction with a “group of people” on Friday night.

Louisiana blog The Hayride has tracked all the developments since the incident took place and notes that the SRLC had attracted large groups of anarchists and other liberal grievance-mongers to protest the GOP gathering.

Now, there’s a frenzy of rumors lighting up Twitter, my e-mail, and blogs alleging that the young pair were attacked because they were wearing Palin pins.

That is an allegation.

It is not a fact.

Allah Pundit and Ed Morrissey:

My first thought was of that infamous hoax just before the 2008 election when a campaign worker in Pittsburgh claimed an Obama supporter had carved a “B” in her cheek. My second thought was of Air America breathlessly reporting a few years ago that Randi Rhodes had been attacked while walking her dog, which turned out to be a case of Rhodes, um, falling down outside a pub. What happened to Bautsch and her guy is no hoax — one of them has a broken leg, the other had a concussion and fractures to the nose and jaw — but whether there was politics involved or whether it was an old-fashioned New Orleans brawl remains to be seen. Jindal’s spokesman said last night there’s no evidence that any lefty protesters were involved and just a few minutes ago he e-mailed MM to report that the detail about the Palin buttons is simply wrong: Neither Bautsch nor her boyfriend were wearing one. (The Hayride, which was pushing the political angle heavily yesterday and has now updated its post to reflect the new info, sounds more circumspect today.) Mediaite has picked up the story and the Times-Picayune already has at least one item up about it, so I assume this mystery will be solved sooner rather than later. Updates to come. Exit question: If it turns out there was a political element to the beating, can we blame the NYT op-ed page for fostering a “climate of hate” against conservatives? (Exit answer: Yes!)

Update (Ed): It sounds as if this is less a hoax than just a failure to get facts verified, which is still a big problem.  One has to remember that New Orleans is still a pretty tough city with a high rate of violent crime among American cities, and the law-enforcement resources were already being taxed by the French Quarter Festival last weekend.  It doesn’t take politics to beget violence.

On Saturday night (the night after the assault on Ms. Bautsch), another blogger and I walked back to the Holiday Inn Superdome where we both were staying from Morton’s Restaurant.  At about 9:20 pm or so (maybe a bit earlier), we came up on a massive roadblock and saw two people down on the street, one in a gurney, and police and ambulances all over the place.  It looked like a bad traffic accident at first blush to us.  I found out only after getting back to the hospital that it was a shooting that had wounded seven people, mostly passers-by.  Had the other blogger and myself come through 15 minutes earlier, we could have been hit.  If that had happened and two conservative bloggers got shot in New Orleans during the SRLC conference, many people could have jumped to the conclusion that it would have been political, when in fact the shooting resulted from a personal conflict from earlier in the year.

We’ve all jumped to conclusions, and even blogged on that basis on occasion.  Allahpundit’s correct in keeping an open mind as to motive in this case, too — but he’s waiting for the corroboration and the evidence, which is absolutely the right thing to do.

Alex Pareene at Gawker:

The blogger spreading the “liberals and anarchists did this” line now admits that the couple weren’t wearing Palin pins. And, furthermore, “Bautsch and Brown remained at Brennan’s after the fundraiser was over and by the time they left there wasn’t much of a protest going on….” But: this is still pretty clearly the work of anarchists, he is pretty sure, because… well just because. Anarchists! MSM! And so on.

We wish physical harm on no one, and deplore violence in all its forms, but lord knows the people of New Orleans do have their reasons to be angry with Republicans. Still—all the anarchists we’ve known were much more inclined to destroy property than jaws. This looks quite a bit more like a mugging or a drunken brawl than the elusive Liberal Act of Political Violence that the right-wingers are desperately praying for.

The Hayride:

OK, here we go. FINALLY, the New Orleans Police have put out a statement:

New Orleans police are asking for assistance finding suspects who participated in a French Quarter fight on Friday that led to the injury of a campaign aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal, as well as her boyfriend.

The news release issued by New Orleans police Tuesday evening does not identify Allee Baustch or her boyfriend, but notes that the 25-year-old female victim and the 28-year-old male victim were attacked in the 600 block of St. Louis Street after leaving an event at a restaurant in the 400 block of Royal Street.

Jindal’s office acknowledged on Monday that Bautsch, his chief campaign fundraiser, was recovering from a broken leg after an altercation with a group of people in the Quarter on Friday night. Bautsch was attacked after a fundraiser for the Louisiana Republican Party at Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street, the governor’s office said.

The 600 block of St. Louis Street, which is where the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel and Louisiana Supreme Court are located, is less than two blocks from Brennan’s.

New Orleans police say that the incident began about 11:45 p.m. when a group of three to five men made “derogatory comments” to Bautsch and her boyfriend. When the man described as the male victim “turned toward” the group of men, at least one of the men struck him repeatedly. The woman “fell to the ground and screamed,” the news release said.

Police released a description of one suspect, saying he was in his 20s, looked “dirty,” and wore his hair in an auburn-colored ponytail. The man was 6 feet, 1 inch tall with a thin build, police said. He wore a light-colored T-shirt and dark pants.

Officers in the area responded and requested EMS assistance. The woman used her purse as a pillow while waiting for help. Once she was in the ambulance, the woman realized her purse was missing, the release said.

She had her purse after the attack, so that’s not a mugging.

UPDATE: Jim Hoft at Big Government

Michelle Malkin

Allah Pundit

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Dan Riehl And The Post Heard ‘Round The Sphere

Dan Riehl:

I’m not sure I quite understand this, given that cost is so important as a burden to taxpayers when it comes to health care. If Democrats want so badly to abort babies because of it, why are we bothering with someone who has a broken neck and back at 69? It sounds to me like she’s pretty well used up and has probably been living off the taxpayers for plenty of years to begin with. Aren’t we at least going to get a vote on it?

Sen. Reid’s daughter Lana Reid Barringer, 48, who was driving the mini-van, and his wife, Landra G. Reid, 69, a passenger, were both injured. Landra suffered a broken back and a broken neck in the crash; Barringer suffered minor injuries, Sen. Reid’s office said Thursday.

I realize her crook of a husband and his pals in Congress have excluded themselves from the mess they’re going to compel everyone else to join, but we’re still paying the bills, are we not? I don’t see that she’s worth it at this point, frankly. I can’t recall her ever doing anything for me.

Media Matters links to him

Riehl responds to Media Matters:

Well, that didn’t take long for Media Mutters to link. I wish I knew those babies way back when. I’d have taken a coat hanger to them! I guess that’s more their style. Still, they front for the bastards that will allow our loved ones to die at 69, or 70 because it costs too much to save, or care for them.

These people have no principles. They have no right to take exception to my post. You can not advocate killing children to save money while allowing severely injured 69 year-old people to live. The actuarial argument actually benefits the young. Unless, of course, they figure it will be mostly poor black and hispanics, so what the hell!!

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Read the whole thing on an empty stomach, if you must. What takes the cake, though, is that when Media Matters gives him the attention he so desperately wants, he has the stones to feign outrage. Just say “Thank you.”

Before any of you even start, please spare me the “satire” excuse. This isn’t about the logical merits of Riehle’s metaphor, although even by that standard, his post is a miserable failure. It is about gratuitous cruelty, in service to the almighty hitcount. His title entreaty veers dangerously close to incitement, as well. We’ll all cross our fingers that none of that hospital’s staff reads Riehle’s blog.

In fact, I hate to even give the guy traffic, but I do hope that if you decide to check it out, you let him know what you think. I also hope that the bookers at news organizations keep this in mind next time they’re mulling a Riehle guest spot.

The point here is not to vilify conservatives. In all of these situations, the vast majority of people on each side react with decency. Obviously, though, there is some reward for those who exploit tragedy to score snarky points, or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Riehle, for example, wears Media Matters’ denunciation like a badge of honor. The message that humanity doesn’t stop at the imaginary border between left and right needs to be delivered to these people by someone they care about.

Alan Colmes

Dan Riehl responds to Colmes linking to him:

Alan Colmes doesn’t say too much in linking me, that’s usually a good idea in his case. The more he says, or writes, the dumber he always looks. But then, who but a moron would play Left-wing knock down, stand-up doll on Fox with Hannity for years. Did I look stupid enough for you tonight, Sean? Tell me, huh? Did I? Did I, huh? I’ll do my special stupid act for the Chirstmas show if you want! feh

He even writes it out without the slightest clue as to how offensive it is to many Americans, political, or not. The poor, the under-privileged in America struggle along, often de-motivated by whatever crumbs Colmes and his Progressive brethern might toss them as scraps. And now, they want to stalk their wombs with well written, seemingly compassionate hand-out literature to encourage and convince them to let Colmes and his crew rip the babies out of their wombs in the name of the deficit – and I’m the vile one?

Cheer up, Alan, you won’t have to indulge me forever. When you die, you’ll get to rot in Hell listening to the souls of a millionbabies cry and your only accomplishment will have been to drive government spending down in that area, so you can squander it somewhere else. You should feel proud, chump!

Colmes responds:

I apparently have gotten under Dan Riehl’s skin.  Amazingly, I’ve done it, according to Riehl, without saying too much.  But if all I did is basically link him without saying much, as he claims, to quote Robert Young in those old Sanka commercials, “Why so tense?”


If I am such an ineffectual moron, why would someone of such intellectual and satiric heft as Mr. Riehl even bother with me?

The Republican Heretic:

So for those on the far left, who are surely as outraged over this as they were that Rush Limbaugh didn’t die in that Hawaii hospital, I’ll explain what Mr. Reihl is getting at.

Riehl, you see, is pro-life (That’s “anti-choice oppressor of women” in Newspeak). He does not want the government to use his taxpayer money to pay for abortions, which Obamacare will do. Democrats want Obamacare to pay for abortions because paying for an abortion is cheaper than paying for the health care for a live birth and the continuing life of the new person after. You see, it saves money.

Riehl is making the point like this: if abortion is good because it saves health care dollars, then why are we paying for back and neck surgery on a 69-year-old woman, who will have to go through years of physical therapy? Because since Harry Ried is a Senator, his health care is covered by taxpayer money also. You follow?

Does Dan Riehl really want Harry Reid’s wife to be euthanized? I surely hope not, and I doubt it. But the shock of the statement makes a point of the absurdity of the Democratic position. It also reminds us that in places like the UK, that have socialized medicine, the elderly are often denied health care because they aren’t worth the cost to the system.

Tabitha Hale:

Clearly, this is satire. Dan’s a snarky bastard, and he is ruthless about the truth – both qualities I sincerely appreciate. The language of the post is meant to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the left, and highlight the callousness of Democratic leadership in light of Stupak’s statements. The attitude that life is an obstacle for their proposed health care program is nauseating at best, and rightly pissed a lot of people off this week.

The thing is, this isn’t a new attitude. This has been Democratic attitude for a long time – it’s become life vs. their health care takeover. Pregnancies and new people are an inconvenience when you’ve decided it’s your duty to control all of them. Remember last year when Pelosi said that birth control was the best economic stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Dan pointed out the hypocrisy of their stance, and the nasty motivation behind it… so effectively that he’s being torched by anyone and everyone. Apparently the “vile” nature of the post hit home for some…

Well done, Dan.

Matt Sussman at Technorati:

The liberal blogahedron has revolted against Riehl’s Friday afternoon post suggesting they euthanize Harry Reid’s injured wife. In response, Media Matters, Alan Colmes, and others have hounded Riehl. Others have taken to his defense. Some of his commenters accept it as brilliant satire, while the liberal riposte notes how satire should be funny and/or poignant. Fight, fight, fight!

If I squint carefully, I can see how in a macabre way how right-wing readers might enjoy this type of writing, especially if they believe that the current health care proposals will lead to euthanasia of senior citizens. And I’m all for creative elucidations, but when the tastelessness outweighs the substance, it’s generally a wise idea to pass on the post. Having said that, I’m very surprised at how much attention this teeny tiny little post has received. C’mon, it’s the weekend. Spread the good vibrations, man!

More Colmes:

Okay, Matt, but let me first point out the pattern of despicable statements made by conservatives who suddenly decide they’re Lenny Bruce the minute they get pushback from more sensible citizens. When Riehl asked if Dan Sparkman, the census worker who committed suicide, was a child predator, was that satire too?  Or is only sometimes that Riehl is a hilarious humorist?Maybe it’s the Palin standard. When Rush Limbaugh uses the word “retard” it’s “satire“, but when Rahm Emanuel does it, he deserves to be fired. When Russell Wiseman, the mayor of Arlington, TX, was found emailing that President Obama purposely scheduled a speech to conflict with a Charlie Brown Christmas special, the mayor claimed it was “a poor attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor amongst friends,” before he was forced to apologize. And let’s not forget Luciane Goldberg’s “satire” of Barack Obama’s “2009 inaugural ball as imagined by Clinton staffers”, a photo of black African’s carrying spears.  And just today, we posted about North Carolina State Representative Bill Current’s excuse that he couldn’t attend a women’s history celebration because “I have promised to be at the organizational meeting of the ‘White male’ history society.” Current said he was just trying to be funny.

It’s time that conservatives who are not otherwise known for brilliant comedic observations stop making pathetic attempts to be something they’re not, and do what they do best: trying to stop every progressive advance their political adversaries are promoting to rescue this country from the deplorable shape they left it in when they were in power.

James Joyner:

Now, aside from it being poor form to try to score cheap political points off the suffering of politicians’ families — Lara Reid isn’t the Senate Majority leader — the argument doesn’t even make sense on its face.  While I oppose the current health care reform plan, Reid and company are trying to extend care, not limit it.   For that matter, while I’m passionately against abortion in all but the most extreme cases, who’s arguing that it should be performed more often so that we can save money?  Certainly, not any Democrats I know.

Ah:  Dan links to another post, titled “Stupak: Dem Leadership Wants More Children Aborted To Cut Costs.” The substance:

What are Democratic leaders saying?“If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,”Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

I don’t know Bart Stupak well enough to dismiss this as a damnable lie.  So, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe someone who is technically a “Democratic leader” said something remotely like that.  Or that he honestly misunderstood someone as saying that.  Regardless, it’s a ridiculous distraction from the real debate: It’s not a significant reason why Democrats support either health care reform or abortion.

In an update, Dan links to a post by Rob Port titled, “Rep. Stupak: Pro-Choice Democrats Say Abortion Funding Needed To Keep Too Many Kids From Being Born” which in turn links to an older post titled “Pelosi: Free Condoms And Food Stamps Better For Economy Than Tax Cuts.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family-planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family-planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those—one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Condoms reduce births and so do abortions.  So, since Pelosi supports giving out free condoms to reduce births, she obviously wants to encourage more abortions!  To save money!  QED.

Surely, we can argue against the Democrats based on their actual policy goals and/or the implications of their actual policy proposals?

Dan Riehl responds to Joyner:

Best take your shoes off before wondering over to James Joyner’s blog to read him weighing in on my should we euthanize Reid’s wife post – wouldn’t want to chance any mud on the white carpet over there. It’s not a straw man argument as Joyner would allege, not if one has been paying attention throughout the entire health care reform debate. But HCR is the real slippery slope, a fact James conveniently ignores. His response is classic milquetoast, which about sums James up on most issues of the day. Don’t check yourhealth care at the door, he may try and bore you to death. The irony is reading straw man coming from someone made of paper mache.

Charles Johnson at LGF:

The excuse will be that it’s “satire,” of course, and I suppose you could argue that it is. Rotten, mean-spirited “satire” that lays bare Riehl’s shriveled soul. What a disgusting creep.


And of course, he’s getting a lot of “atta boy!” comments from the other basement-dwelling throwbacks at his site.

Anyone still wondering why I want nothing to do with the right wing blogosphere any more?

Riehl responds:

He’s full of crap. The liberal Chuckie always was finally got over his irrational fear of brown people, aka Muslims in his case, hiding underneath his bed to go back to being what he always was – a liberal/progressive. What a weak, weak mind, now with an even weaker home blog. Poor lil’ Chuckie, now just the lizard man, plucked out of obscurity from time to time for amusement, more than anything.

How sad.

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Suffer The Little Children And The Billionaire Golfers

Steve Benen:

As regular readers know, I’ve made no mention of Tiger Woods on this blog. I don’t care about golf; I don’t care about golfers’ private lives; I don’t care about any aspect of this “story” at any level.

But I was taken aback when I saw that Fox News’ Brit Hume, reflecting on Woods’ career on the air this morning, talked about whether the golfer may return to his chosen profession.

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” Hume said. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Hume was not, as the video shows, kidding.

It’s hard to even know where to start with something like this. How many high-profile Christians have had damaging sex scandals of late? Why is Buddhism deemed inadequate for those with family problems? Why is a senior political analyst for a so-called “news” network proselytizing, on the air, during one of the network’s “news” programs?

John Cole:

Apparently Fox News is no longer content being the voice of the GOP, and has decided to become the voice of Christianity, as well

Jamison Foser at Media Matters:

If this wasn’t Fox News, I’d take “Tomorrow, 2 pm” in the when-will-Hume-apologize pool.  But it is Fox, so “the Fifth of Never” seems like a safer choice.

Robert Farley:

I wonder; are there any examples of prominent Christians engaging in adultery? Any at all?

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

On its face, Hume’s remarks do seem to suggest that Christianity is superior to Buddhism, and the idea that someone should abandon their own faith for yours does reek of arrogance. Those who are offended by Hume’s remarks aren’t out in left field somewhere. As I asked Adam Baldwin, whose Twitter feed first alerted me to the clip, “Would you applaud if someone advised John Ensign or Mark Sanford to ditch Christianity?”

I don’t know Baldwin well enough to know how he would respond, but I’d lay good money that even casual Christians would be offended by such a proposition. It’s one thing to extoll the virtues of your own faith, but quite another to denigrate someone else’s.

If you look at the context of Hume’s remarks, it seems that he views religion as a menu comparison. Sure, Buddhism’s great for achieving inner peace, but Christianity’s got that redemption thing to fall back on. Hume’s advice doesn’t hinge on the relative truth of either religion, but rather the services it can offer a horndog golfer.

What I find comical about Hume’s entreaty is the notion that Buddhism is the problem, and not Tiger’s flawed humanity. If Tiger had been practicing Buddhism, he wouldn’t have wanted all that sex in the first place.

UPDATE: Ta-Nehisi Coates

UPDATE #2: Peter Wehner at NRO

Ramesh Ponnuru at Washington Post

Jonathan Chait at TNR

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Filed under Mainstream, New Media, Religion, Sports

Banksta, Banksta

Andrew Ross Sorkin at NYT:

President Obama didn’t exactly look thrilled as he stared at the Polycom speakerphone in front of him. “Well, I appreciate you guys calling in,” he began the meeting at the White House with Wall Street’s top brass on Monday.

He was, of course, referring to the three conspicuously absent attendees who were being piped in by telephone: Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup.

Their excuse? “Inclement weather,” according to the White House. More precisely, fog delayed flights into Reagan National Airport. (In the “no good deed goes unpunished” category, the absent bankers were at least self-aware enough to try to fly commercial.)

That awkward moment on speakerphone in the White House, for better or worse, spoke volumes about how the balance of power between Wall Street and Washington has shifted again, back in Wall Street’s favor.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Metaphor — you’re doing it wrong.

One of the big stories today involves President Obama’s Monday meeting with bailed-out Wall Street executives that included a conference call with three of them. The Huffington Post is running the giant headline “BANKERS PUT OBAMA ON HOLD”, with a picture of the President holding a phone.

So, not only did 3 of these guys not even show up, they actually had the brass to say “Can you hold a sec, Barry? We gotta take this?” Not exactly.

The headline is pegged to this New York Times column, entitled “Putting Obama on Hold, in a Hint of Who’s Boss.” The column starts out describing the conference call, but there’s nothing about putting the President on hold. A lazy or casual reader could easily get that impression, but it didn’t happen.

Such is the nature of headline-writing, I suppose, but isn’t it a good idea to put a little bit of distance between your metaphor and your actual subject matter? If you were writing a story about an insolvent racing team, you wouldn’t headline it “Racing Team Goes Off Track, Crashes and Burns,” would you?

There’s no real need to oversell the story, anyway. It takes a special kind of person to treat the President of the United States the way you would the fry station at your local McDonald’s.

Frank James at NPR:

It does seem like if you run one of the nation’s biggest banks, you should be able to figure out how to get the 205 miles as the crow flies from New York to the nation’s capital to meet with the president of the U.S. They literally phoned it in.

It’s hard to believe that if the three of them had been competing against each other to acquire a coveted bank that they would have let fog get in the way of completing the mission.

So they probably didn’t try as hard as they could’ve since few people ever really go out of their way to face the music. Or for a photo op, if they’re the not the ones benefiting from same.

If nothing else, maybe their failure to get to Washington will make them more understanding the next time one of their senior executives can’t make it to an important meeting with a client because of weather and the business goes elsewhere. But I kind of doubt it.

In terns of the balance of power shifting to Wall Street from Washington, was there ever any doubt that was going to happen? Tom Wolfe didn’t call these guys masters of the universe for nothing.

Jessica Pressler at New York Magazine:

Lloyd Blankfein wasn’t physically present at today’s meeting in Washington, but Obama did his best to remind the Goldman Sachs CEO who his boss was: that is, God. In his remarks after the meeting, the president paraphrased a passage from the Bible’s Gospel of Luke, “Parable of the Rich Landowner,” which Bethany Maclean also quoted in her recent Vanity Fair piece. “From those who have been given much, much will be demanded.” “America’s banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry,” Obama said. “Now that they’re back on their feet we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy.”

Mary Kane at Washington Independent:

President Obama’s attempts to shame top bankers on Monday did little to make anyone think lending will suddenly flow freely and financial institutions will quit lobbying to undermine regulatory reform. And the fact that three of the nation’s top bankers literally phoned it in from New York because of early morning fog in Washington only heightened the sense that Wall Street isn’t too worried about being pushed around by Washington. As Andrew Ross Sorkin pointed out in The New York Times, Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup, could have taken a flight the night before – or even the train — if they really had felt it was important to meet with the president of the United States, who had asked them to come.

The meeting was always just going to be political theater. Wall Street bankers were supposed to play their part on the public stage in Washington, and submit to a scolding from the president about bonuses and the need to start lending more to help get the economy moving.

But inevitably public perception will issue its harsh ruling, and it goes something like this: If the meeting were really that important to Mr. Blankfein, Mr. Mack and Mr. Parsons, they would have found a way to get there.

Well, they didn’t. But it’s time to move on.

Carol Platt Liebau at Townhall:

President Obama has had this to say about the bankers whom he terms “fat cats”:

The way I see it, having recovered with the help of the American government and the American taxpayers, our banks now have a greater obligation to the goal of a wider recovery, a more stable system, and more broadly shared prosperity.

In other words, presumably, bankers should be taking lower salaries and paying higher taxes.  But if the criterion for such sacrifice is accepting the “help of the American government and the American taxpayers,” how does the President justify the explosion of six-figure salaries in the federal government, where almost 1 in 5 civil servants now make more than $100,000 per year — before bonuses and overtime?

After all, the “fat cat” bankers are actually contributing more to the economy than federal workers are . . . in terms of spending, employment and taxpaying.  And unlike federal employees, they are not essentially guaranteed jobs for life with plenty of vacation days.

One wonders what else President Obama would have to say if it were the “fat cat” bankers — rather than federal employees — who owe $3 billion in taxes?  Is he going to save some of his indignation for them, or is it directed exclusively at America’s productive classes?

UPDATE: Simon Johnson at TNR

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Filed under Economics, Political Figures, The Crisis