Jame Hamsher’s 15 minutes of shame

Little Green Footballs has posted the photo of Senator Joe Lieberman in blackface that was originally posted at the Huffington Post by popular uber-lefty hate-Bush blogger Jane Hamsher. As you’ll see once you click on the link to the HuffPo piece, the doctored photo is now gone.


Michelle Malkin has up two posts up explaining what Jane Hamsher is all about. Here’s a hint.

What I want to know is:

Where’s the condemnation????????????

Update: Malkin’s still on the case, and dissects Hamsher’s response to rightie outrage over the doctored pic of Lieberman. Ha.

Thurs AM Update I: Tom Maguire notes that this story has now been picked up by the bigs in media: the WaPo and the NYT. More via the NY Sun.

I wonder if this will be the Lamont campaign’s Wellstone memorial-turned-political rally moment?

Thurs AM Update II: Leon Wolf at Red State is on the same page I am and asks “When will Glenn Greenwald condemn Jane Hamsher?” ;)

Introducing Chip, Jr.

(Note: Please make sure to read all the way to the end of this post to get the ‘punchline’ – Thanks ;) )

He arrived today, just before lunchtime. The one I’d been waiting for.

When he first came into my office, I was momentarily taken aback. I had expected him to make his trip to the office sometime late this afternoon. I would learn later that he was so eager to meet me, that he couldn’t wait another day.

It didn’t take long for me to get over my initial shock, but once I did, we stared at each other intently for what seemed like forever. We didn’t say much … barely had the time for introductions, as I was slammed midmorning with things to do, and he was busy getting acclimated to the surroundings. But that didn’t stop us from sizing each other up every chance we got.

I’d steal a glance when the opportunity presented itself, as would he. What I liked most about him from the start was how strong he appeared on the outside. He had a rough exterior, but on the inside I knew he was more gentle and smooth than his appearance let on.

My heart was racing. I eagerly looked forward to 5 o’clock, because I couldn’t wait to get in the car with him. I was also well aware that the night ahead was full of promise.

5 o’clock rolled around. Finally.

My mind whirled. ‘Once we get in the car, what will I say?’ I asked myself :-ss He must have caught on to my nervousness, because not soon after we made it to the car, he announced that he would be sitting in the back seat for the ride home. He’s a rather stout fellow, and figured he’d be more comfortable in the back than scrunched up in the front seat of my car. ‘We’ll have plenty of time to hold hands later on,’ he assured me. I was somewhat disappointed, but didn’t want to appear disagreeable, so I refrained from protesting. I knew he was right. I couldn’t very well focus on him and the road as well (unlike SOME people).

On the ride home, not much was said – and my mind continued to whirl. ‘Will he like my home?’ ‘How will he react when we go upstairs?’

I drove it home in record time. Before I got out of the car, I took a deep breath. Chip, who appeared calm, cool and collected, once again seemed aware of my unspoken fears. The look he gave me said it all: ‘Relax. Everything’s going to work out just fine.’

With that in mind, we proceeded to the front door. It was like we couldn’t get inside the house fast enough. Breathlessly, we skipped over what would have been a mini-tour of the downstairs and headed upstairs immediately. We didn’t want to wait a moment longer.

Once we made it upstairs, Chip reminded me that before we could get serious, I had to retrieve from his predecessor some things that belonged to me. Dang. He was right again.

So we won’t be getting serious tonight. Probably for the best, considering how worn out we both are from the emotions of the day, and the anticipation of the days – and hopefully years to come. We’ll be getting much better acquainted this weekend, once I’ve the time to obtain my belongings from the one before.

Chip’s shy, but I did manage to snag a picture of him while he wasn’t looking. So, everyone, meet Chip, Jr.:

Chip, Jr.

Here’s Chip’s predecessor, Chip Sr.:

Chip, Sr.

As you can see from the above pic, Chip Sr. is exhausted to the point now where he has to lay on his side. Years of heavy-duty activity between the two of us has made him that way. We’ve discussed this, and I’ve expressed my remorse, but he always shrugs off my apologies by telling me simply, “I was born for this.”

One more Chip who always gets it right.

Sr. grumbled at first sight of Chip Jr. this evening and puffed out his chest a bit in defiance – but Chip Jr. assured him that he, being in peak physical condition, would take excellent care of me day and night. I also made sure that Chip Sr. knew that tonight would not be our last night together – that we’d have two more evenings of laughs and hands-on activity before we said our goodbyes. That seemed to put him at ease.

Chip Jr. is now resting, while Chip Sr. and I have started reminiscing about days gone by, savoring the memories. And reluctantly, he’s giving me those items that belong to me which have been in his possession for so long.

Here’s to you, Chip Sr. And to Chip Jr., I’ll be counting the hours til the weekend …

Who gave Michael Decker $50K to switch parties?

Last week, I blogged about former Phoenix Suns superstar Charles Barkley’s declaration that he was considering a 2010 run for governor of Alabama.

What I focused on in particular about Mr. Barkley’s announcement was the fact that he said that if he were to run, he would do so as a Democrat as he was ‘no longer’ a Republican – because Republicans, he said, have “lost their minds.” I used his statement as a springboard to a discussion about the real reasons people switch parties. I wrote, in part:

I don’t know what issues he has with the Republican party that were so bad he decided to part company with them, but I do believe that there is more at play here than just him being disgusted with Republicans. As someone who herself switched parties back in the early-to-mid 90s, I can speak with experience when I say that when you switch from Democrat to Republican or vice versa, you don’t do it because you’ve had it with your party: you do it because your beliefs have changed radically, or just enough to make you feel like you have more in common philosophy-wise with one party over the other.

Today, however, I realized that I overlooked another reason why people sometimes switch parties. This reason, as you’ll soon see, is a far less honorable one than simply switching Michael Decker - photo courtesy of News 14 Carolina parties because your beliefs have changed. Sometimes, just sometimes, people – in particular – politicians, change parties not because they start viewing issues differently, but because of the perks associated with such a switch. Such is the case with one Michael Decker, former NC state representative and former Republican – who switched parties after accepting a $50,000 bribe to do so in exchange for supporting a specific candidate for Speaker of the House. Via WRAL:

RALEIGH, N.C. — A former ally of House Speaker Jim Black pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to accept $50,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for switching his party affiliation and supporting a specific candidate for speaker in 2003.

Former Rep. Michael Decker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to extort money from people who weren’t identified by prosecutors in court. In exchange, Decker supported a particular candidate for speaker, prosecutors said.

Decker, of Forsyth County, switched from Republican to Democrat before the 2003 session. The only Democratic candidate for speaker was Black, and Decker’s support of Black helped the Mecklenburg County Democrat remain co-speaker in a narrowly divided House chamber.

Black, however, wasn’t mentioned by prosecutors during the hearing or in a document that detailed the charges.

Black’s name might not have been mentioned by prosecutors during the hearing, but speculation is swirling that Black is the unnamed man in question (the one who was not identified in court papers). Don Carrington, executive editor at the Carolina Journal, is all over this story:

Hints as to the possible identity of the unnamed legislator came in comments by Decker’s lawyer outside the federal courthouse on Tuesday and in a recent news story in the Winston-Salem Journal. Attorney David B. Freedman acknowledged to reporters that the deal had been made in Salisbury, and the March 2006 news story described a 2002 meeting between Decker and Black at a Salisbury pancake house.


According to court documents, after the results of the November 2002 general election left the House with 61 Republican members and 59 Democratic members, Decker, a Republican, solicited and agreed to accept $50,000 and other gifts in return for switching parties and supporting a particular candidate for speaker of the House.

In January 2003 Decker publicly announced he had changed his registration to Democrat. Later in 2003, Decker accepted an envelope containing about $38,000 in checks and $12,000 in cash in return for switching parties and supporting a particular candidate. While the candidate was not specifically mentioned in court documents, that candidate was Jim Black.


Decker declined to speak with reporters as he left the court building and proceeded to his car alone. Freedman did linger for a few moments to answer questions. He would not say with whom Decker met to set up the deal, but acknowledged Decker initiated the idea. He also acknowledged that the deal was put together at a meeting in Salisbury.

A March 26, 2006 Winston-Salem Journal story reported that in late 2002 Black drove from his hometown of Matthews to the IHOP restaurant in Salisbury and met with Decker to solicit Decker’s vote for speaker.

While it might almost 100 degrees in some parts of NC right now, it’s even hotter for House Speaker Jim Black, and his attorney issued a statement late Tuesday in response to speculation that he was Mr. $50K (again via WRAL):

“Many witnesses are able to testify that Decker decided all on his own to vote for Dr. Black as Speaker in 2003 because Decker’s party insulted him and Decker despised his party’s leaders.”

Bell continued, saying:

“Speaker Black neither gave, promised nor offered Decker anything for his vote. After Decker told the Speaker he intended to vote for him, the Speaker offered to help Decker raise funds for what was sure to be a tough re-election campaign, just as he would have done for any member of his caucus. If Decker is telling the government anything other than this, he is not telling the truth.”

L.O.L. Mr. Bell, it would appear, is a master of lawyer double-speak.

Here’s a rundown on Black’s other troubles:

Black’s attorneys were in Wake County court Tuesday attempting to reverse a state Board of Elections ruling that found Black’s campaign had accepted $6,800 in unlawful contributions from his fellow optometrists. The judge hearing the arguments did not issue an immediate ruling in the case.

For the past several years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh has focused on investigating public corruption. Many of the people who have testified before a federal grand jury in the past several months have ties to Black, who has said repeatedly he is not a target of a federal investigation.

Last fall, subpoenas sent to Black’s office sought information about contact he and his staff may have had with 28 different groups, many connected to the video poker industry and the newly created state lottery, along with Decker and one of Black’s former political aides.

In May, federal prosecutors indicted a former North Carolina lottery commissioner, accusing him of failing to disclose as required payments he received for work performed for a lottery contractor. Black had appointed Kevin Geddings to the commission, but said he knew nothing about his ties to the contractor.

Shady goings-on in our state government are so bad that even the very liberal NYTimes virtual reprint Charlotte Distorter – er, Observer, has written a harshly criticial editorial about them:

The speaker has maintained he did nothing illegal. He has not been charged. Even so, as we said in March, we believe Speaker Black wrongly manipulated the system to stay in power, punishing enemies and rewarding allies. We urge Jim Black to step down as speaker and let the House rebuild its credibility and leadership.

Mr. Decker voluntarily pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy charge involving extortion, mail fraud and money laundering — a clear sign he is cooperating in the investigation. He said he “accepted an envelope containing about $38,000 in checks … and $12,000 in cash” plus a legislative job (later filled by his son) in return for switching parties. Prosecutors also said Mr. Decker agreed to keep his campaign account open after losing the 2004 election “in case there was a need to run some money through it.” In early 2005 he received $4,000 “and converted it to his use.”

The picture federal authorities drew was clear: Democrats in the House paid Mr. Decker to change parties and keep Democrats in power, and after Mr. Decker lost his seat two years later they still tried to help him. That conspiracy might still remain a secret had not federal and state authorities launched investigations about possible links between campaign contributions and legislative action in the House.

Decker’s going to be singing soon (if he’s not already). It’s looking like the summer is about to get a lot hotter for House Speaker Jim Black.

Read more via Jeff Taylor at the Meck Deck.

Update: PCD in the comments section made me think of a good idea: If you want to discuss corrupt politicians from your own state in addition to the ones I’ve posted about in this post, please do! The more who know, the better.


Haditha: Initial review finds that Marines deliberately shot civilians

Not much time to comment on this story at the moment, but it just came across the wires and I wanted to post it for readers to discuss:

WASHINGTON – Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

The decision on whether to press criminal charges against four Marines ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines’ parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

I’ll try to post updates and other blog commentary as I get the time to.

Brace yourselves for the celebrations we’re sure to see from that hate-Bush/anti-war wing of the Democratic party.

More: Allah speculates.


Michael Medved on Mel Gibson’s arrest

A few readers yesterday disagreed with my reaction to the story of Mel Gibson’s arrest and the anti-Semitic comments he made during the arrest.

Michael Medved today has written a piece that I think we can all find some common ground on, in particular:

4. At a time of surging Jew-hatred around the world, Gibson’s drunken, after-midnight remarks to arresting officers on a lonely stretch of Malibu highway represent a less serious threat to the Jewish people than the very public anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments by numerous celebrities, academics, UN officials and politicians. In April of 1996, for instance, the Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando declared on Larry King Live: “Hollywood is run by Jews, owned by Jews, and they should have greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering. Because they have exploited….We’ve seen everything but we never saw the Kike.” The Anti-Defamation League criticized Brando, of course, but never suggested that he should be ostracized and boycotted, as they recently demanded in Gibson’s case. Meanwhile, Gibson had already attempted a public apology for his loathesome private remarks, declaring that “I acted like a person who was completely out of control when I was arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable.I am deeply ashamed of everything I said.” Compare this contrition to the unapologetic, and ceaselessly repeated attacks on Israel by another controversial Hollywood director, Michael Moore, who declared in Liverpool (quoted in the New York Times, June 26, 2004) that the embattled Jewish state represented one of the modern world’s centers of evil: “It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton.” Ironically, Michael Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel (brother of a Democratic Congressman from Illinois), is one of the entertainment industry figures leading the charge to demand that the show biz establishment blacklist Gibson.

That’s a point I made in more general terms on yesterday’s Allman and Smash show: Yes, the issue of Gibson’s comments needed to be discussed, but what should really be cause for alarm are statements that have the potential to undermine Israel’s very existence that come from people who are in positions of influence (like UN officials, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Jimmy Carter and Ed Peck, Islamic scholars, etc).

5. The “Mad Mel” Moment in Malibu may change the way we perceive the dark hatred that lurks within Gibson’s heart but it alters nothing about the images and messages he put on screen in “The Passion of the Christ.” It’s still the same movie, frame for frame, line for Aramaic-and-Latin line, that it was before his tirade and arrest. The tens of millions of people who felt overpowered and inspired and uplifted by a remarkable piece of cinema need not now apologize because they responded in good faith to the work of a deeply flawed, bigoted filmmaker. Mel Gibson’s personal disgrace makes me feel pity for his family but it does nothing to force my reconsideration of my critical admiration of his movie. At the time of its release, I argued vehemently against hysterical charges (many of them emanating from people who hadn’t even seen the film) that “The Passion” represented some vicious, anti-Semitic screed, and I also decried dire predictions (“He’ll have blood on his hands,” thundered one commentator in The New Republic) that the movie would inspire anti-Jewish incidents around the world. I tell the story of my high profile involvement in this dispute in my recent book RIGHT TURNS (everyone should read it!), and in the aftermath of Mel’s meltdown and arrest I wouldn’t change a word of it. The fact remains that all the predictions of pogroms in Pittsburgh proved preposterous: while earning some 1 billion dollars in movie theatres and on DVD, “The Passion” inspired no anti-Semitic incidents anywhere in the world. In fact, several surveys of audience attitudes showed that anti-Jewish sentiments actually decreased when movie-goers saw the film. The worst part of this latest controversy is that Gibson’s revolting statements give people like Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League a juicy, retroactive excuse to say “I told you so” — long after the benign and warm-hearted worldwide reaction to the movie had utterly undermined all the smug denunciations claiming that this wildly popular entertainment would foment implacable hate.

6. Once again, the most visible leaders of the Jewish community are in the process of horribly mishandling this latest incident with their indignant denunciations of Gibson’s initial attempts to apologize, and their profoundly ill-considered calls for ostracism and banishment of one of today’s most influential and successful filmmakers. After Gibson’s comments on the incident (which included the abject line “I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry”) Abe Foxman of the ADL officiallly categorized this apology as “unremorseful and insufficient.” Aside from obvious questions about who appointed Foxman as the ultimate judge of Gibson’s damnation and possible redemption, doesn’t it seem patently unfair to describe a statement that includes the words “I disgraced myself” as “unremorseful.”? Even worse, Foxman concludes the official ADL statement with the words: “We would hope that Hollywood now would realize the bigot in their midst and that they will distance themselves from the anti-Semite.” Super-agent Ari Emanuel calls even more unequivocally for a new industry blacklist that focuses, for now, on Mel Gibson alone: “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line.” The most ill-considered aspect of such calls for “distancing” and “shunning” is that they stand no chance of eliminating Gibson’s ability to make movies (he has enough money to pay for his projects himself for the rest of his life, just as he did with “The Passion of the Christ”) or destroying his influence on popular culture. Like it or not, Mel Gibson will not simply disappear (though he might well take some time off for rehab) and the Jewish community will hardly benefit by isolating him as a permanent enemy and encouraging him in the far more open expression of anti-Semitic attitudes. Does Ari Emanuel believe it would somehow help the Jewish cause if his client, Michael Moore, could now welcome a new colleague –Mel Gibson — as a participant in the poisonously anti-Israel rallies, conferences and demonstrations that Mr. Moore regularly addresses? Those who believe that Gibson’s anti-Semitism couldn’t get any worse simply lack imagination. Public amplification of the bigotry that Mel revealed privately in Malibu might well spoil his popularity in the United States, but imagine how it could boost his already considerable following in Europe, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union– not to mention the Islamic world!

Read it all.