Mike Bates

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In this age of political correctness, using appropriate language can be challenging, even for those with the best PC intentions.  So it was last week at the New York Times, which clarified an earlier article (h/t Regret the Error) :

There's just something about Sarah.  A morsel, any morsel, about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that can possibly be used to belittle her is rabidly devoured by many in the mainstream media.  On his CNN Newsroom segment today, anchor Rick Sanchez highlighted Palin's difficulty in keeping Joe Biden's name straight.  Four different times, he played the same video from 2008's vice presidential debate in which she referred to him as "O'Biden."  Sanchez played part of an interview with McCain campaign staffer Steve Schmidt, who described Palin's error as "a verbal tic" that could prove "devastating beyond words." Then:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: How did you get around it?

SCHMIDT: Multiple people, and I wasn't one of them, all said at the same time, just say, "Can I call you Joe?" Which she did.


It was business as usual at CNN yesterday.  On The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer reported:

North Dakota's Democratic senator, Byron Dorgan, just announced he won't run for reelection to the U.S. Senate in November. The surprise announcement could give Republicans a chance to pick up a Senate seat in that red state. Dorgan was first elected to the Senate back in 1992 after serving a dozen years in the House. The moderate Democrat says he wants to pursue other interests.

Hours later on her program, Campbell Brown announced:

On the political front, a big blow to Democrats' hopes of keeping control of the Senate. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan announced today he won't run for reelection this year, a big surprise here. Dorgan was expected to easily win a fourth term, so a boost for Republicans there.

Is Dorgan a moderate, as Blitzer described him?  Interest group ratings compiled by Project Vote Smart show:

A 100 percent rating for 2008 from NARAL Pro-Choice America
A 90 percent rating for 2008 from Americans for Democratic Action
A 100 percent rating for 2008 from the AFL-CIO
A grade of A from the National Education Association for 2007-2008
A 100 percent rating for 2007-2008 from the American Civil Liberties Union
An 8 percent rating for 2008 from the American Conservative Union
A grade of D for 2008 from the National Taxpayers Union

In a Politico interview yesterday, CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien provided some insight into herself.  No, not in the part where she admits to cursing "all the time."  It was her response to another question:

If you were the president of the United States for enough time to make only one executive decision, what would it be?

Improve public schools.

None of that preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States for Soledad.  Or faithfully executing the laws.  Or protecting our country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Or serving as Commander in Chief.

In her Washington Post column today, Sally Quinn frets that White House security breaches divert attention from Barack Obama's accomplishments.  In "Time for accountability at the White House," she writes:

Obama has had some real successes this fall. He did a masterful job of bringing together incredibly disparate positions to craft a strategy for Afghanistan. He put himself on the line and will probably come up with a reasonable health-care plan. He left Copenhagen with at least promises of cooperation from other world powers regarding climate change. But he is not getting credit that he deserves because he is being ill served by those around him who will not step up as needed and take the fall for him.

Real successes, heh?  Obama's dithering on Afghanistan justifiably earned him criticism both here and abroad, where England's defense minister and others voiced their concerns.  It's impossible to know if Obama's health-care plan, cobbled in backroom deals, is reasonable because so many specifics are still obscure.  One thing we do know is negotiations weren't, as promised by Obama, aired on C-SPAN.  Moreover, Obama failed to go over it line by line with members of Congress, another promise made and broken.  Only in the mainstream media could Obama getting "at least promises of cooperation from other world powers regarding climate change" count as a success.

On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Rick Sanchez briefly updated his audience on Rush Limbaugh's medical condition.  He completed his comments with "We wish him well."  Sanchez's good wishes didn't square with the Twitter messages that crawled at the bottom of the screen for his entire program.

Here is a sampling of the tweets he aired:

rush is an excuse for people to be vicariously racist. I have nothing good to say about him except "gotta love karma"  

Rick can we get some answers on if rush's insur. will pay for his hospital stay if it is found out drugs were a part of this

I don't like to wish bad luck on people, but a 2010 without Rush's mouth going off would be fine with me

under yr new health plan Rush may pay higher premiums cuz of weight. Time to hit the treadmill and lose the weight Rush

May rush be worked on by a liberal democrat, feminist doctor who is pro gun control :)

Numerous police visits to his home, reported gunshots and screaming, attempted burglaries, loud arguments, reported assaults, whispers about having sex with young men.  North Carolina state senator R.C. Soles certainly leads an interesting life.  Soles is the Democratic caucus chairman in the Senate, but you wouldn't know that by reading today's dispatch from the Associated Press. 

"No re-election bid for NC pol who shot intruder" begins:

North Carolina's longest-serving state senator won't seek re-election next year as he faces possible criminal charges over a shooting at his home in August.

Sen. R.C. Soles said in a statement Wednesday he won't seek a 22nd consecutive term. He was first elected to the General Assembly in 1968, more than four decades ago.

On CNN's American Morning today, anchor John Roberts talked with correspondent Jim Acosta about "the politics" of terrorism.  Part of the exchange:

ACOSTA: There is plenty punting going on in Washington, John. Hearings on the Detroit scare are planned for early next month, and the top Republican on that committee has already said there should have been a big red flag next to the suspect's name, and there are plenty of other issues, such as Guantanamo. Republicans are saying the president should shelve his plan to close Guantanamo at this point, John.

ROBERTS: So, shelve Guantanamo, but, at the same time, the president is trying to get some of his key appointments filled. They're being held up. And some of the key appointments that are still vacant are ones that are absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining security at our airports and on our jetliners.

ACOSTA: That's right. Those men and women at the airport wearing the blue shirts that say TSA, they don't have a full-time, permanent boss at this point. The temporary head of the TSA is a holdover from the Bush administration and, right now, the - the current appointee from the Obama administration to take the head of the TSA, a man by the name of Erroll Southers, he is still waiting to - to get his appointment confirmed. He is currently the assistant chief for the LAX Police Department, the Los Angeles International Airport out there in California, and his duties are head of Intelligence and Homeland Security. But, at this point, that nomination is on hold by Jim DeMint, the very conservative Senator from South Carolina. He's opposed to unionizing - fully unionizing the TSA, something that Southers apparently wants to do.

On CNN Newsroom today, anchor Rick Sanchez talked about terrorism with Octavia Nasr, CNN senior editor for Arab Affairs:

SANCHEZ: And good, good, good, good, good, good. You see, this is a point that I'm trying to make, Octavia.

The terrorists weren't in Iraq. We know that now. There was really a small band of them along with the mujahedeen which became al Qaeda in Afghanistan, as we know. But we have known for 10 years now that these really bad terrorists, the guys we really should have been going after a long time ago, are in Yemen. We knew that a long time ago.

The assertion that Iraq was terrorist-free prior to our intervention has become an article of faith for liberals like alleged journalist Sanchez.  Yet it conflicts with evidence, including evidence many liberals once found compelling.  The Clinton State Department, for example, reported on Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999.  Among its findings:

Iraq continued to plan and sponsor international terrorism in 1999. Although Baghdad focused
primarily on the anti-regime opposition both at home and abroad, it continued to provide
safehaven and support to various terrorist groups. . .

Former president Jimmy Carter is doing one terrific job.  So reports the Associated Press today in its "Carter finds happiness in foreign missions."  According to the article:

Since leaving the White House, he's logged millions of miles and visited dozens of countries on missions to wipe out diseases, mediate conflicts, advocate for human rights and monitor elections. He's built a legacy that few, if any, American ex-presidents can match.

Writer Greg Bluestein found a few observers to comment on the wonders of Mr. Jimmy:

Walter Mondale, his vice president, says that Carter took the political heat up front "so we could all be better off." Andrew Young, Carter's ambassador to the United Nations, says it might take a few more decades for historians to realize the impact of Carter's term in office.

"It took 100 years to understand Jefferson. It took 100 years for people outside the North to understand Lincoln. And it's got to take at least 50 years to understand Carter," says Young.

And Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University history professor who has written a book about Carter, says Carter's presidency may be more fondly remembered overseas than at home.

"Pick the country - they view him as one of the most successful presidents," said Brinkley. "He has helped America's image around the world because he's been able to make everyone trust him. And he earns that trust because he's honest"

How does someone qualify for description as an "eminent politician" by the New York Times?  Being very, very liberal seems to help.

Today on its Web site, the newspaper reports "Percy Sutton, Eminent Politician, Dies at 89."  Mr. Sutton maintained a long list of liberal bona fides.  In a book last year he was quoted:

"I like the fact that my family was a family of protesters. I like the fact that some of them were Communists."

He also spoke of his satisfaction of "being in jail with Stokely Carmichael and other revolutionaries."  In the December 14, 1972 issue of Jet Magazine (page 32), Sutton acknowledged it would be nice to be mayor, but "I don't think that New Yorkers are ready for a person with my liberal views and for someone with the color of my skin."

On CNN's American Morning today, anchor Carol Costello advanced a theory on who's responsible for the Let's Make a Deal environment permeating the Senate as it stumbles to completion of a health care bill.  Here is part of her exchange with CNN political analyst and GOP strategist Ed Rollins:

COSTELLO: Might (the) Republicans blame in part themselves for this, because none of them were going to vote? Didn't they sort of force Senator Reid's hand in making some of these sweetheart deals?

ROLLINS: Senator Reid could have made a sweetheart deal with the Republicans months ago. They could have knocked down walls and let insurance companies deal across state lines. There are a lot of things that Republicans...

COSTELLO: But the public option is out --

Yes, if only those intransigent Senate Republicans has been more accommodating, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, expanded Medicare coverage to “individuals exposed to environmental health hazards recognized as a public health emergency in a declaration issued by the federal government on June 17," and other special considerations wouldn't have been necessary.

Anchoring CNN Tonight, correspondent Erica Hill reported the findings of a new poll:

While Democrats and the president may be cheering the bill's passage, a majority of Americans still oppose the Senate plan. According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56 percent say they are against the measure. Now that's a slight shift actually in favor of the plan from a weeks ago. When as you can see opposition was as high as 61 percent, 42 percent support the plan, that number also up at six points.

And when asked for the effect the health care bill would have on their own family, 34 percent of respondents thought it would change things for the better, 37 percent thought it would make things worst. While 39 percent said it would have no effect. And when you figure the sampling error, almost works out to even across the board.

The responses to the second question total 110 percent, an unlikely result.  Unless, of course, the poll were taken in Chicago by federally funded ACORN operatives.  That doesn't appear to be the case.  The actual poll question (#23) and results:

On its Web site, GQ Magazine asks the burning question, "Has the Capital Gotten Cooler Under Obama?"  The magazine says yes and no.  But when it comes to Barack Obama and Co., you'll be relieved to know that the answer is a resounding YES!!  In a slide show, we learn that Obama is "our best-dressed prez since JFK. When he goes tieless, Ahmadinejad should take notice."  On Obama in jeans, "the loose fit seems presidential."  

Also lookin' good to GQ is Joe Biden: "The veep has terrific style. He deftly mixes colors and patterns with his shirts and ties, and his superb Hickey Freeman suits fit impeccably."  Senator John Kerry (D-MA) "looks best when dressing like the patrician he is. Super 180s suits and Hermès ties—senators ought to look senatorial."  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is "groovier than his usual banker attire would suggest. . .  He goes for cool detail, like green ties on Saint Paddy's. And he has a thing for Panama hats."  Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) has "a sharp eye for detail and a suave color sense."

Representative John Conyers (D-MI) is a "clotheshorse" who is "a lifetime sartorial achiever."  Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) "can match sartorial splendor with Sean Combs and purples with Prince. . . "  We're told of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY): "The dapper former roommate of Jon Stewart could almost pass for European."  And who wouldn't want to pass for European?  When it comes to speechwriter Jon Favreau, "Obama's golden boy of letters epitomizes style's new wave in D.C."

The Obama Administration isn't the only government-funded entity campaigning against Fox News.  "NPR reporter pressured over Fox role" headlines an article by Josh Gerstein on Politico's Web site.  It begins:

Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.

According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.

At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.

And they say a woman scorned can be merciless.  Eric Burns once served as the host of Fox News Watch.  It's reasonable to assume he won't be working there again any time soon.  In a December 2 Huffington Post article, "If I Still Worked at Fox News...," he describes it as "the right-wing partial-news-but-mostly-opinion network."

A great deal of his bile, however, is directed at Glenn Beck:

Actually, Beck is a problem of taste as well as ethics. He laughs and cries; he pouts and giggles; he makes funny faces and grins like a cartoon character; he makes earnest faces yet insists he is a clown; he cavorts like a victim of St. Vitus's Dance. His means of communicating are, in other words, so wide-ranging as to suggest derangement as much as versatility.

He is Huey Long without the political office.

He is Father Coughlin without the dour expression.

He is John Birch without the Society.

On CNN Saturday Morning News today, anchors Betty Nguyen and T.J. Holmes reported on a U.S. senator who nominated his girlfriend to serve as a federal prosecutor earlier this year:

HOLMES: Well, it is something -a player, a name that a lot of people normally might not know a whole lot about, from a state that most people don't know a whole lot about. He's been important in the health care debate.

NGUYEN: That is true.

HOLMES: Senator Max Baucus, out of Montana, he is a key player on a Senate committee that has been putting together some health care legislation. News coming out that he actually nominated his current girlfriend for a U.S. attorney position, while the two were involved. They are both divorced here. So that is not an issue and not accused of breaking up each other marriages.

NGUYEN: Yes, there was no affair or anything like that at all.

HOLMES: Nothing like that.

On August 28, CNN Newsroom anchor Rick Sanchez shared disturbing information with his viewers:

A CNN source with very close to the U.S. Secret Service confirmed to me today that threats on the life of the president of the United States have now risen by as much as 400 percent since his inauguration, 400 percent death threats against Barack Obama -- quote -- "in this environment" go far beyond anything the Secret Service has seen with any other president.

This "confirmed" information, of course, was eagerly picked up by sites like Daily Kos and Racism Review.

On September 16, Sanchez started backing off from his earlier statement in this exchange with the always objective CNN political analyst Roland Martin:

On yesterday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips shifted to "Bad Boys" mode:

Lenders, lenders -- what you gonna do when they come for you? Call it an early Christmas present for people on the edge of losing their homes. The Obama administration cracking down on mortgage companies.

We'll tell you about it.

After the break:

PHILLIPS: Well, from your health (ph) to your home, the foreclosure crisis shows no signs of letting up, so the Obama administration is trying to fight back.

"Unemployed, Underemployed Look to Jobs Summit for Help" is posted on ABC News's Web site today.  Authored by senior Washington correspondent John Cochran, the piece is notable in that nothing in it supports the headline.  Cochran writes:

Boosting confidence is at the top of President Obama's list at the Jobs Summit he is scheduled to host on Thursday. The invitation list includes business leaders, mayors, academics, and experts from the green jobs sector.

They will consider many proposals to boost the economy including:

More stimulus money for construction projects;

rewards for firms that hire more workers;

more steps to ease credit;

extending unemployment benefits through 2010.