Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Defiant Blagojevich Fills Obama's Seat

He didn't become a tempest in a teapot by being the most well liked guy in the room. He didn't ascend to the top of the heap in a state that is almost synonymous with corruption without being corrupt. And yes, he's got a pair of large ones... and judging by his pictures, large hairy ones!

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ignored the cries for resignation, ignored the federal charges, ignored President-elect Barack Obama and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan pleas for him to step aside. Blagojevich took matters into his own hands and picked former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill Obama's seat in the US Senate.

The reaction has been swift and predictable: ill-advised and reprehensible.

~ ~ ~

Blagojevich has long maintained that he has done nothing wrong. From what is known from the federal probe, he accepted no money and had only appeared to be shaking down a number of candidates for Obama's senate seat.

The Illinois legislature took up the matter and could not come to a decision on a special election. They also never came to a decision on impeachment proceedings against the governor.

~ ~ ~

Blagojevich & Burris running for governorBurris, 71, a Democrat and African American, served Illinois from 1979 to 1992, first as state comptroller and later as attorney general. Earlier in December, he said that despite the scandal associated with the seat, he wanted the job.

Burris, a principal at Burris & Lebed Consulting in Chicago, would serve the remaining two years of Obama's Senate term. Burris previously ran and lost bids for the U.S. Senate and governor, losing the gubernatorial nomination once to Blagojevich.

Blagojevich said, "The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington, D.C. As governor, I am required to make this appointment. If I don't make this appointment, then the people of Illinois will be deprived of their appropriate voice and vote in the United States Senate."

Rep. Bobby Rush, (D-IL), who appeared at the afternoon news conference with Blagojevich and Burris, said, "There are no African-Americans in the U.S. Senate. And I don't think any U.S. senator who's sitting in the Senate right now wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy."

~ ~ ~

plez sez: this is a freakin' mess and is exactly what Obama doesn't need out of his home state as he looks to take the oath of office in 20 days!

unfortunately, the feds, the legislature, and state attorney general were derelict in their duties to bring this whole blagojevich matter to a close in a timely manner. the feds threw some *ISH* on the wall, it didn't stick, and basically left the state of illinois with an unindicted, soiled executive with at least two congressional appointments on his desk (Sen. Barack Obama's and rep. rahm emanuel's seats).

like it or not, blago was elected to run the state of illinois, he has not been convicted of any crime, and it is his duty - by law - to fill these outstanding seats. unfortunately, the real loser in this mess is roland burris! his name and reputation are forever tied to blagojevich and any action taken by him (or on his behalf) will be sullied by being associated with blago... his best bet would be to take his seat... and then call for a special election to legitimize his appointment.

but plezWorld believes this is a good move to have this open seat filled PRIOR to the 111th congress convening in january.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Chicago Sun Times article about Blago's appointment of Burris to Obama's seat.

Read the Washington Post article about Burris being appointed to Obama's seat.

Read the New York Times article about the Burris appointment to Obama's seat.

Read the article about a defiant Blago filling Obama's seat.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bloggingheads - Intellectuals in the Age of Obama

Steven Teles of Maryland and Glenn Loury of Brown University discuss the dynamics of intellectualism now that Barack Obama has been elected the first Black President of the United States.

Steven Teles is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He has taught or visited at Brandeis, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of London, Boston University, Holy Cross and Hamilton Colleges. Mr. Teles holds a B.A. from George Washington University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has taught previously at Boston, Harvard and Northwestern Universities, and the University of Michigan. Mr. Loury holds a B.A. in Mathematics (Northwestern University) and a Ph.D. in Economics (MIT). In addition to this scholarly work, Professor Loury is also a prominent social critic and public intellectual.

View the entire episode here.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: another gem gleaned from the archives of!

these guys have more letters after their names than plezWorld, but it was a delight to be in the company of such an intellectual discussion about how the "prevailing thought" will be altered with rise of Barack Obama (an intellectual, himself).

on christmas day, i had occassion to carry on a similar discussion about the impact of Obama on the Black community and Black thought and Black mores, now that there will be a Black man sitting in the white house in a few weeks. it was a post-dinner talk with one of my brothers and two male cousins. although, no clear conclusions were drawn, we did agree that the Black community has reached a point of "moral bankruptcy" and Obama can stand as an "excellent example" for what the Black community and Black family should strive to emulate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin is a Grandmother at 44

It took fours months to work its way out, but it was announced earlier today that Bristol Palin - 18 year old daughter of former Republican vice president nominee and governor of Alaska Sarah Palin - gave birth to a little boy. Keeping with the Palin naming convention, they named him Tripp. If you recall, his young uncle's name is Trig and he has another uncle named Track.

Back in September 2008, the blogosphere was abuzz with rumors that the governor's infant was in fact the son of her then 17 year old daughter, Bristol, but soon after the rumors surfaced, the Palin camp announced that her daughter was already 5 months pregnant!

plezWorld entered the fray spending countless hours in a cramped basement office in the middle of the night trying to ferret out the truth of the Palin pregnancies: here and here.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston (reportedly the baby's father) are both 18 years of age, neither has graduated from high school - Levi has dropped out of school to become an electrician and Bristol is taking GED classes for her diploma. Bristol's mother is the 44 year old governor of Alaska. Levi's mother is 42 years old and was recently arrested on felony drug charges.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: the soap opera of the wasilla hillbillies is winding to a close. i can't see how plezWorld can wring another story out of these characters... maybe it's best we just leave them in peace (if they promise to quietly live out the rest of their miserable lives in the relative obscurity of the great white north).

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Anchorage Daily News article about the addition to the Palin clan.

Read the CNN People article about the governor's grandson.

Read the New York Daily News article about the birth of the governor's grandson.

Read the Los Angeles Times article about another Palin baby.

Derrick Morgan - Who to Watch in Chik-fil-A Bowl

A December 16, 2008 post at the Georgia Tech Football Blog has highlighted the Top 10 players to watch in the early bowl games. Of course, one of the players is a Yellow Jacket!

Michael Johnson, the 6'7" defensive end on the other side of the Georgia Tech line, gets more of the spotlight, but inside the Jackets' program people rave about Derrick Morgan, a 6-4, 270-pound sophomore who might just get pre-season all-American honors going into next year. Morgan had 48 tackles and tied Johnson with a team-high seven sacks. Tech's D-line is as good as there is in college football this season and they'll face a very experienced bunch from LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on December 31.

Prior to the last regular season game, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lauded the defensive line as a whole and Morgan in particular:
While Georgia held its auditions, Tech kept getting letters of recommendation. First Team All-ACC Senior defensive tackle Vance Walker was on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Award and the Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s best interior lineman, defensive lineman or linebacker and defensive player, respectively. First Team All-ACC Senior defensive end Michael Johnson was up for the Bednarik as well as the Ted Hendricks Award. Second team All-ACC defensive tackle Darryl Richard is one of four finalists for the Ronnie Lott Trophy, given to the nation’s best defensive player.

And though he is just a sophomore, a consensus is growing around the team that [defensive end] Derrick Morgan, who leads the team with 6 1/2 sacks, might be better than all three of them before he is done.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: derrick morgan was the top defensive player coming out of pennsylvania two years ago (he enrolled at Tech in the spring to get a jump on his freshman season). he is big, strong, quick, nimble and he has a motor that won't quit. he is a beast on defense and will be joining michael johnson in the NFL in two years!

in addition to being a fifteen-year Georgia Tech Football season ticket holder, plezWorld is also the advisor of derrick's fraternity chapter (Kappa Alpha Psi) at georgia tech... in a word, i know him well! he is good people, a good student, a family man, and he is respectful. and he is an officer in the fraternity chapter!

i look for him to have a break out performance against LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl and then have a stellar junior campaign for the Yellow Jackets. next season, he will undoubtedly draw the double teams that are now being thrown at michel johnson, but he'll handle it en route to an All-ACC year.

Go Jackets! Sting 'Em!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the article about Tech's bad ass defense.

Read the article about Tech's All ACC Team members.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Barack the Magic Negro" Still Troubles the RNC

Quotes of the Day - December 28, 2008

"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
- Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, who is running for reelection.

"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president. I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."
- Former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, who, if elected, would become the first black RNC chairman.

Both men were responding to a mailing of a music CD sent out to RNC members by Chip Saltsman, who is also running for the RNC chairman post. The CD contains a Barack Obama parody made popular by Rush Limbaugh, "Barack the Magic Negro." The song, set to the tune of the 1960s pop hit "Puff the Magic Dragon," was first played on Rush Limbaugh's radio show in 2007. Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation's history of mistreatment of African-Americans.

Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.

~ ~ ~

Peter Yarrow, who co-wrote "Puff the Magic Dragon," called Saltsman's decision to distribute the parody tune "offensive," and "shocking and saddening in the extreme."

In a statement sent to CNN, Yarrow wrote, "It is almost unimaginable to me [that Saltsman] would seriously be considered for the top post of the Republican National Committee. Puff, himself, if asked, would certainly agree."

~ ~ ~

"Barack Obama The Magic Negro"

plez sez: i'm not sure who came up with the parody, but it is low class, kind of juvenile, and not very funny... i guess rush's listeners will laugh at just about anything that lampoons the opposition. limbaugh's listeners are mindless trolls!

you just have to ask yourself: "what was this yahoo, chip saltsman, thinking?" and what the HECK was he trying to prove by including this miserable parody on something that was sent out with his name on it?

didn't the republicans just take a major ass whuppin' in november? aren't they thisclose to losing the senate to a super majority of democrats? didn't "BARACK the magic negro" damn near lap john mccain in the election with popular and electoral votes? and wouldn't the republicans like to have just a few of those former red states (like virginia, north carolina, and indiana) back? in the near future!?

does plezWorld find the song offensive? NO! i have a pretty thick skin and something this stupid doesn't even move my "knee jerk reaction" needle.

but plezWorld recognizes this as the most ass-backwards act of an imbecile in quite a long time. black people voted about 95 to 96 percent for barack obama, one of the main contenders for the rnc chair is a black guy (that shufflin' grinnin' ken blackwell)... and the chipster is sending out music cd's with music that is offensive to black people!

hmmm... so much for the republican's BIG TENT!

it's been seven weeks since the election and the leadership of the republican party still hasn't figured out why they lost in a landslide!

~ ~ ~

and i have no comment about the utterance of ken blackwell ("...all of my competitors are fine people."), except i hope he wins! i really do! *smile*

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Washington Post article about RNC reaction to the Obama parody.

Read the New York Times article about "that song."

Read the article about RNC members' reactions.

Read the article about Saltsman defending his decision to send the song.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Funky Interlude - New Birth - "I Can Understand It" (1973)

Put some bass in your face. The drummer keepin' you on the one. Drop them funky horns in your ear hole.

"Do it on the good foot. Do it on the right foot. Do it on the left foot."

~ ~ ~

plez sez: this is a remix and cover of bobby womack's "I Can Understand It." at the time, this was probably the funkiest thing i'd heard other than james brown (the opening rapper sounds a lot like the godfather of soul). i love the live feel of the groove, that goddamn bass player is all up in it... and the percussion just keeps it movin'!

i just had to include bobby womack's (original) version of this song... it has more of a SOUL rather than FUNK feel. it's slower, more mellow, has fewer sharp edges, a much smaller group of instruments (i didn't hear any horns), but as in the new birth cover, the bass player is all up in it.

enjoy a "double shot" in plezWorld

~ ~ New Birth "I Can Understand It" ~ ~
The Cover & Remix

~ ~ ~

~ ~ Bobby Womack "I Can Understand It" ~ ~
The Original

Lesson over. Class Dismissed!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eartha Kitt - R.I.P.

It was reported that Eartha Kitt, 81, died in New York on December 25, where she was being treated for colon cancer. Her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, was by her side.

Her recording of the saucy Christmas song "Santa Baby" was certified gold last week.

Kitt was well known for her distinctive and sultry voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series "Batman." That role produced Kitt's recognizable sensual cat growl.

She worked in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television during her lengthy career. According to Kitt's official Web site, she was nominated for a Tony three times, a Grammy and Emmy twice.

Eartha Kitt's Biggest Hit "Santa Baby"

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman on "Batman"

~ ~ ~

plez sez: it's amazing that Eartha Kitt would pass away on Christmas Day, seeing as her biggest hit was "Santa Baby." back in the day, Ms. Kitt was known as a sultry, seductive beauty... even transcended the taboo of being the Black love interest of whitebread white batman in the mid- to late-1960's (to my knowledge, batman's only Black nemesis).

i still recall being amazed as a youngster watching the SUPER HOT Black catwoman work her magic on batman... and then being mildly upset when Kitt was replaced by lee meriweather (Kitt had replaced julie newmar).

talent like hers is rare... she'll be missed.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about the seductive actress and singer.

Read the article about Eartha Kitt's death.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Yule Log

Merry Christmas from plezWorld

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Someday at Christmas" - Stevie Wonder - 1967

Title song for the Stevie Wonder Christmas album is probably one of the most moving of all songs written for the Christmas holiday.

"Someday at Christmas" was also covered by Wonder's label mates at Motown, The Jackson 5, on their Christmas album a few years later.

Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder

~ ~ ~

plez sez: wow! this one is deep. should give all a reason to pause and think what is the reason for this season.

Merry Christmas!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cornbread Dressing in plezWorld

Cornbread Dressing Prep

Growing up, my mother always made stuffing in the turkey while cooking it for Thanksgiving. In adulthood, plezWorld has taken to making dressing since I make an awesome roasted brine turkey that is stuffed with aromatics rather than breadcrumbs.

My wife was raised on dressing and as a consequence, I spent a good portion of our marriage perfecting a cornbread dressing that is to her liking: moist, flavorful, and good without gravy. Once again, I've invaded the archives of the Food Network to get some basic direction on the type of cornbread dressing that I would ultimately create.

This old-fashioned cornbread dressing is flavorful, tender and moist. Although, slightly embellished by plezWorld, the ingredients are simple, the flavors blend well, and it's not necessary to slather your plate with gravy.

plezWorld's Cornbread Dressing

The Cornbread:
  • 2 ears of yellow corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups corn meal

  • 1 cup yogurt (vanilla or plain)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter and set aside.

Cut the corn kernels from the cob into a small bowl. Dust the kernels with salt and chipotle chile pepper. Mix well.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the corn meal, and stir to combine. Add the yogurt, water, and corn mixture. Mix well.

Add melted butter to batter. Stir all ingredients well until the batter reaches a uniform consistency.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan, and bake 30 minutes. The cornbread will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make the cornbread a day before you intend to make your dressing. Leave it out, uncovered, overnight.

~ ~ ~

The Dressing:
  • 1 9x13-inch pan of cornbread, crumbled
  • 1 bag of seasoned stuffing croutons
  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)

  • 1 cup portabello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped (2-1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 1 large red pepper, diced

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cranberry

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 leaves fresh sage, rubbed
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, rubbed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crumble the cornbread and croutons into a large mixing bowl.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Sauté the onion, celery, mushroom, and green pepper in butter over medium heat until onion is transparent. Add minced garlic and continue to saute until garlic sweats.

Combine the sautéed vegetables with the bread crumbs and mix well. Fold in sage, oregano, pecans, and cranberries. Mix well. NOTE: Up to this point, the dressing can be prepared an hour or so in advance.

When you are ready to bake the dressing, add the beaten eggs and chicken stock, and stir. Add rubbed sage and oregano, black pepper, and curry powder. Mix thoroughly.

Pour mixture into well greased large shallow pan and bake for 40 minutes. After baking for 15 minutes, stir dressing in the pan so that it cooks uniformly.

plez sez: prepare your taste buds for a blast of flavor that compliments the turkey and other fixin's.

Happy Holidays from plezWorld to your family!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Christmas Rappin'" - Kurtis Blow - 1979

This is a plezWorld re-post to get you in the Spirit.

To aid in that effort and help you work up a sweat, I've included "Christmas Rappin'" and Part 2 of "Rappin' Blow"!

"Christmas Rappin'" by Kurtis Blow

As released by Mercury Records in 1979

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house...

Hold Up! That's played out!

Don't you get me all that jive
About things you wrote before I was alive
'Cause this ain't 1823
Ain't even 1970

Now I'm the guy named Kurtis Blow
And Christmas is one thing I know
So every year, just about this time
I celebrate it with a rhyme

Gonna shake it, gonna bake it, gonna make it good
Gonna rock shock rock through your neighborhood
Gonna ring it, gonna sing it till it's understood
My rap's about to happen
Like the knee you was slappin
Or the toe you been tappin' on a hunk of wood

'Bout a red-suited dude, with a friendly attitude
And a sleigh full of goodies for the people on the block
Got a long white beard, maybe looks kind of weird
And if you ever seen him he could give a quite shock

Now people let me tell ya about last year
When the dude came flying over here
Well the hawk was out, the snow's on the ground,
Folks stayed in to party down

The beat was thumping on the block,
And I was dancing in my socks

And the drummer played at a solid pace

And a taste of the bass was in my face

And the guitar player laid down a heavy layer of the funky chunky rhythm of the disco beat

And the guy with the 88
Started to participate
And I could sure appreciate it sound so sweat

We were all in the mood so we had a little food
And a joke, and a smoke, and a little bit of wine
When I thought I heard a hoof on top of the roof
Could it be or was it me? I was feeling super fine

So I went to the attic where I thought heard the static
On a chance that the prance was somebody breaking in
But the noise on the top was a reindeer clop
Just a tricky St. Nick so I let the sucker in

He was rolly, he was poly, and not the holy moly
You got a lot of whiskers on your chinny, chin, chin
He was loud, he was proud of the hairy little crowd
On the point of the door where the skin should've been

Get's cool for a fool throwin' out a merry yule
For a day on sleigh where the cold winds blow
So the beard maybe cleared but I never have it cheered
'Cause it's warm in the storm when it's ten below

I said, "You're right it's cold tonight,
Can you stop for a drop before you go?"
He said, "Why not? If the music's hot,
And I'll chance a dance beneath the mistletoe."

So he went downstairs and forgot his cares
And he rocked the spot and danced like a pro
And every young girl tried to rock his world
But he boogie oogie oogied till he had to go

And before he went this fine old gent
Finding gifts went sift through his big red bag
In the top for the bottom he reached in and got 'em
Had toys for boys and a girl's glad rag

And the grownups got some presents too
A new TV and a stere-ooh.
A new Seville 'bout as blue as the sky
The best that money couldn't buy

'Cause money could never ever buy the feelin
The one that comes from not concealin'
The way you feel about your friends
And this is how the story ends

The dude he heads back at the pole
Up north where everything is cold
But if he were right here tonight
He'd say "Merry Christmas! And to all -- a good night!"

~~~~~ RAPPIN' BLOW, PART 2 ~~~~~

I see that its not clear,
For you good buddy so clean out your ears,
So listen very closely while I pop my game,
'Cause my names in the Hall of Fame

The K-U-R, the T-I-S,
The first is the best I must confess
The B-L-O and the W
Makes you wanna catch the boogaloo flu

Now, If your name is Annie
Get up off your fannie
If your name is Clyde,
Get off your backside
If you name is Pete,
You don't need a seat

'Cause i'm Kurtis Blow and i'm on the go
I'm rocking to the beat in stere-ery-ooh!

Now just throw your hands in the air
And wave 'em like you just don't care.
And if your ready like Freddie to rock real steady ,
Somebody say, "Oh yeah!"

Young ladies, all the ladies in the house say, "Owww"
And you don't stop, come on, come on, come on, let me see you rock.

Ah get down and stop messing around
When Kurtis Blow is in your town
I'm Kurtis Blow on the microphone
A place called Harlem was my home

I was rocking one day, it started to shake
It sound to me a-like a earthquake
I packed my bags, I said goodbye
I kissed my woman, and I started to fly

I came to Earth by a meteorite
To rock you all on the mic
So just kick off your shoes, let your fingers pop
Kurtis Blow's just about ready to rock

Now people in the back, if you're not too whack, say:
"Don't stop the body rock!"

People in the front, if you want to bump, say:
"Don't stop the body rock!"

People in the middle, if you want to wiggle, say:
"Don't stop the body rock!"

And people on the side, if you want to slide, say:
"Don't stop the body rock!"

Now a preacher or a teacher or a e-lec-tri-cian
A fighter, or a writer, or a po-li-ti-cian
The man with the key to your ignition
Kurtis Blow is competition

Young ladies, shock the house
Yes, the young ladies, shock the house

A-just throw your hands in the air
And wave them like you just don't care

If you're really, really ready to rock this house this morning
Somebody say, "Oh yeah!"

Somebody scream

Young ladies, Mercedes, all the ladies in the house say "ow"

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho-ho-ho!


plez sez: quite possibly the GREATEST christmas song ever?!? quite possibly the GREATEST dance hit ever?!? ok, it is easily the GREATEST christmas song that you can dance to!!!

it is a fact that this was the FIRST rap single ever released by a major record label! kurtis blow and his two producers took this song to Mercury Records, who signed him to a 2-single deal, under the condition that if both singles were successful, he would get an album deal. this was the first single, and it did very well. the second single was "The Breaks," and it became the first rap song to be certified as a gold record, selling over 500,000 copies. kurtis got the album deal and became the first rapper signed to a major label. his first album contained the second part of "Christmas Rappin'," the party part with was released as "Rappin' Blow, Part 2."

plezWorld was in high school and had a party at my parents' house during the christmas break. i remember that my parents' house was packed, cars were all over the front lawn, and my oldest brother hooked me up with some "punch" and one of his frat brothers played the part of the dj. this song had just been released and it was the ONLY song that we played at the party... over and over and over! it was such a JAM, that we didn't want to listen to any of the other records! those were the days when you could throw a house party with only one or two records.

it's funny, but this single (which was a 12" single) is probably still in the record player at my parents' house.

NOTE: the sugar hill gang's "rapper's delight" was released earlier in the year by sugar hill records, which was not a major label at the time.

["christmas rappin'" info courtesy of SongFacts.]

[Lyrics are courtesy of plez sez from my bank vault-type memory of 29 years ago!]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Christmas with the Jackson 5 (1970)

In 1970, the Jackson 5 (Michael, Jermaine, Marlon, Jackie, and Tito) released what has turned out to be a classic Christmas album: "Jackson 5 Christmas Album." Already riding the crest of a string of hits, the Jackson 5 hit this one out of the proverbial park with updated interpretations of some old and some new Christmas themed songs. The beauty of the album lies in its simplicity and timeless aura.

All were in their early to late teens; check out the tight harmonies of the Jackson 5. You can hear the talent of Jermaine Jackson as he is replaced on this album as lead singer by a much more confident and savvy younger brother by the name of Michael. Yeah, THAT Michael Jackson! He takes each song and applies a signature sound that can be felt to this day in his music.

I still get a laugh at how Marlon and Michael needed to have their hair picked out on the album cover! And then I remember how tough it was for my parents to keep my afro right when I was a little boy.

One should also note because they were Jehovah Witnesses, the Jackson 5 did not celebrate Christmas! All of the songs are secular in nature with no religious overtones. None mention the birth of Jesus Christ... except for a veiled reference to bringing gifts in "The Little Drummer Boy."

The album appeared at Christmas time in plezWorld in 1970 and has been a fixture in my music rotation during Holidays for almost 40 years! I can put that album on right now to the listening pleasure of my wife, the seven-year old SugarPlum, and me. That's what I call timeless!

Album Playlist
  1. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Blane/Martin) – 5:19
  2. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Coots/Gillespie) – 2:24
  3. "The Christmas Song" (Torme/Wells) – 5:11
  4. "Up on the Housetop" – 3:16
  5. "Frosty the Snowman" (Nelson/Rollins) – 2:39
  6. "The Little Drummer Boy" (Davis/Onorati/Simeone) – 3:15
  7. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Marks) – 2:32
  8. "Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year" (Sawyer/Ware) – 2:31
  9. "Give Love on Christmas Day" (Gordy/Mizell/Perren/Richards) – 2:44
  10. "Someday at Christmas" (Miller/Wells) – 2:44
  11. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (Connors) – 3:01

~ ~ ~
Enjoy a few selections that I found on YouTube:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Jackson 5

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Jackson 5

Frosty the Snowman - Jackson 5

Give Love On Christmas Day - Jackson 5

Christmas Won't Be The Same This Year - Jackson 5

Someday at Christmas - Jackson 5

Little Christmas Tree - Michael Jackson (solo)

This song is not on the "Jackson 5 Christmas Album"

~ ~ ~

plez sez: Merry Christmas, Ya'll!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, December 21, 2008

plezWorld on the Ruckus Over the Obama Inaugural Speaker

Earlier in the week, it was announced that Rick Warren, bestselling author and pastor of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Southern California, would give the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Warren is against gay marriage and he was a vocal supporter of California's Proposition 8 - a ban on gay marriage - which passed in November. He has also reportedly made some very disparaging remarks about gay men, in particular, from his position as pastor of this mega-church.

As one would suspect, gay activists have come out of the woodwork to oppose this decision by Obama to include this guy in his inauguration, much less provide the invocation! Even though, Obama has been a staunch supporter of gay rights, he does agree with Warren that the definition of marriage is a union between one man and one woman (to the surprise of many, plezWorld agrees with this definition of marriage). One talking head has written that Obama is a bigot for including this homophobic preacher in his program.

Recall during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama visited Saddleback Church and Rick Warren for what was called the Faith Forum. Each candidate was given the opportunity to provide insight on a number of issues (including gay marriage). Warren did not insert his opinion in the forum and it turned out to be one of the best "debates" that was held in 2008, even though, Obama was a bit too cerebral and thoughtful for most listeners.

~ ~ ~

In an effort to provide some balance to the dust up about Barack Obama and Rick Warren, plezWorld will provide opposing views below:

Excerpts from CNN Commentary "Respect Obama's choice of Rick Warren":

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.

I support a woman's right to choose and civil rights for gays and lesbians. And when I have flashes of intolerance, it's often an intolerance of those who seem intent on taking away the rights of others.

And unlike Warren, who is an outspoken supporter of Proposition 8 -- the divisive ballot measure that amended the California constitution to ban gay marriage -- I opposed the initiative. For many on my side of the issue, this was bigotry on full display; for me, it was bullying.

One minute, gay couples in my state had to the right to marry; the next, they didn't. The privilege was stripped away by brute force just because a slim majority had the votes to do it. That's cruel, arrogant and wrong.

But the Warren controversy doesn't have anything to do with all that. This is about a president-elect, who just came off a bruising 21-month campaign, exercising his prerogative to choose whoever he wants to deliver the blessing at his inauguration. It's about -- as President-elect Obama noted this week -- Americans learning to agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

It's about those on the left knowing how to win and how to savor victory without giving into the impulse to attack each other. And, finally, it's about recognizing that -- for those who feel like protesting Warren's appearance -- there is an ocean's worth of bigger fish to fry.

It's interesting. Many of those raising a fuss are talking about respect, demanding respect, insisting they're not given respect, etc. Well, that works both ways. If they want respect, they have to give it. They can start by respecting the wishes of the president-elect to plan his inauguration as he sees fit.

The anti-Warren protesters are looking at the big picture and insisting that the selection of the mega-church pastor is a dead giveaway that Obama isn't interested in advancing gay rights or preserving abortion rights. They say that he just used those groups to get elected and has now thrown them overboard.

That's absurd. And it's an awful lot to glean from the simple act of asking someone to deliver an invocation. Why not let Obama get sworn in and have a chance to govern before we assess whether he'll remain loyal to the base?

The tale gets more curious. Even as Obama takes fire from liberal friends on the left, Warren is taking his share of criticism from conservative supporters on the right who can't believe he is even associating with Obama, let alone appearing at his inauguration.

But what did either camp expect anyway? Those familiar with the evangelical movement in America should already know that Warren falls on the moderate portion of the spectrum. And, if gay rights activists are surprised that Obama would share the spotlight with an opponent of gay marriage, they need to do more research.

Obama himself has stated that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, a view that also happens to be shared by Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

That didn't stop many on the left from helping to elect Obama and Biden. Nor should it disqualify a certain pastor from blessing their inauguration.

Now that will be something.

Excertpts from CNN Commentary "Choosing Rick Warren was a mistake":

By Kathy Kolbert

The announcement that Pastor Rick Warren has been chosen to give the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony landed with a thud in my inbox.

Many people who know Warren as the affable mega-church pastor and best-selling author may be confused about the anger and disappointment that his selection has generated among progressive activists who worked so hard to help elect Obama. Here's my explanation; you can find plenty of other voices online.

Warren enjoys a reputation as a bridge-building moderate based on his informal style and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa.

He took grief from some of his Religious Right colleagues when he invited then-Senator Obama to his church for a conference on AIDS a couple of years ago. And, in August he hosted presidential candidates Obama and McCain at his church.

Warren has worked hard to cultivate a moderate public personality but his views are very similar to those of traditional Religious Right leaders.In an email sent before the 2004 election he wrote a Falwell-esque message proclaiming that, for Christian voters, the issues of abortion, marriage for same-sex couples, stem cell research, cloning and euthanasia were "non-negotiable." In fact, he said, they are "not even debatable because God's word is clear on these issues."

And while some Religious Right leaders were nervous that Warren would give Obama a platform to talk about poverty and the environment at the August event, Warren thrilled them by eschewing those issues entirely in order to emphasize issues like abortion and marriage that worked to McCain's advantage with the evangelical audience.

Warren also campaigned for Proposition 8, the initiative that stripped same-sex couples in California of their right under the state constitution to get legally married. But it's not just his support for Prop. 8 that is so galling to equality activists.

It's that Warren, in an interview with, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia.

And he has repeated one of the Religious Right's big lies: that somehow allowing marriage equality to stand would have threatened the freedom of preachers like him to say what they thought about homosexuality. That's not remotely true, but it's a standard tool of Religious Right leaders trying to resist the public's increasing support for equality.

In other words, Warren has been divisive and dishonest on the issues of marriage equality and religious freedom -- and on other issues important to many Obama supporters, as well.

He adamantly opposes a woman's legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

So much for the values of unity and respect, not to mention the constitutional principle of equality, on which President-elect Obama campaigned.

Why exactly is he being given the high honor of delivering the invocation at one of the most historic ceremonies in American history?

There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good. Rev. Joseph Lowery, who has been selected to give the benediction, is a lifelong advocate for justice. There are others like him, and in our increasingly diverse nation, they aren't all Christian.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances and has every right to promote his religious views. But he doesn't need or deserve a position of honor at the inauguration of a president who has given hope to so many Americans by rejecting the politics of division and emphasizing his commitment to constitutional values.

I am still excited about the tremendous changes in policy that I expect under an Obama administration. But it's the job of progressive advocates to hold public officials accountable, and to speak up even when our friends drop the ball. This decision, which will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many passionate supporters of Barack Obama, is one of those times.

Excerpts from CNN Story "Choice of Warren reflects diversity of ideas":

Mr. Obama’s forceful defense of Mr. Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” has signaled an intent to continue his campaign’s effort to woo even theologically conservative Christians. As his advisers field scores of calls from Democrats angry because Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, Mr. Obama has insisted that a range of viewpoints be expressed at the inauguration festivities next month in Washington.

“That’s part of the magic of this country, is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated,” Mr. Obama said, speaking to reporters here this week. He added, “That’s hopefully going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.”

The growing alliance of Mr. Obama and Mr. Warren — each of the two publicly refers to the other as “friend” — suggests that Mr. Obama hopes to capitalize on the signs of potential generational and political divisions within the evangelical Christian flock. For his part, Mr. Warren is increasingly being spoken of as a kind of minister to the nation, a status previously occupied by the Rev. Billy Graham.

V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, whose consecration caused a painful divide in his church because he is openly gay, said that when he heard about the selection of Mr. Warren, “it was like a slap in the face.”

Bishop Robinson had been an early public endorser of Mr. Obama’s candidacy, and said he had helped serve as a liaison between the campaign and the gay community. He said he had called officials who work for Mr. Obama to share his dismay, and been told that Mr. Obama was trying to reach out to conservatives and give everybody a seat at the table.

“I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” Bishop Robinson said, “but we’re not talking about a discussion, we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”

Excerpts from CNN Story "Choice of Warren reflects diversity of ideas":

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his pick of evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month as one of "a wide range of viewpoints that are presented."

"And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about," Obama said responding to a question at a news conference about his and Warren's differences on social issues. "That's part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."

Liberal groups and gay rights proponents had criticized the president-elect on Wednesday for choosing Warren, who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Those socially conservative stances put him at odds with many in Obama's Democratic Party, especially the party's most liberal wing.

"[It's] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now," Andrew Sullivan wrote on the Atlantic Web site Wednesday.

Obama in the news conference also defended his record on equality for gays.

"I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans," he said. "It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency."

People for the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert told CNN she is "deeply disappointed" with the choice of Warren and said the powerful platform at the inauguration should instead have been given to someone who has "consistent mainstream American values."

Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama, defended the choice of Warren, saying, "This is going to be the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history."

"The president-elect certainly disagrees with him on [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] issues," Douglass said. "But it has always been his goal to find common ground with people with whom you may disagree on some issues."

Douglass also noted that Obama and Warren agree on several issues, including advocating on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged and people who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

Obama pointed out that Warren had invited him to speak at his Saddleback Church two years ago even though Warren knew that he had views "that were entirely contrary to his."

"We're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."

Obama also pointed out that Southern Christian Leadership Conference co-founder the Rev. Joseph Lowery, "who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren on a whole host of issues," is also speaking.

Warren's support of California's Proposition 8, a measure that outlaws same-sex marriage in the state, sparked the ire of many gay rights proponents earlier this fall.

Warren, who has made it a practice not to endorse candidates or political parties, wrote in October that the issue of gay marriage is not a political issue, but instead "a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

"For 5,000 years, every culture and every religion -- not just Christianity -- has defined marriage as a contract between men and women," Warren wrote in a newsletter to his congregation. "There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population."

Warren also stirred controversy earlier this week when he told his grounds for opposing same-sex marriage lie primarily on his right of free speech.

"There were all kinds of threats that if [Proposition 8] did not pass, then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn't think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships, and that would be hate speech." In the 2008 election, Warren hosted Obama and Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, at a candidate forum held in his church.

~ ~ ~

Excerpts of the entry on Aunt Jemima's Revenge blog titled "President-Elect Obama's Pick Of Pastor Rick Warren To Give The Invocation At The Inauguration Stinks To High Heaven!":

First of all, Warren is homophobic. Second of all, he is adamantly anti-abortion. It is absolutely the wrong message for the first black President to give a major platform to a mega-church conservative evangelical who holds beliefs and ideals completely contradictory to the majority of the millions of people who elected you. The President's inaugural invocation should be a message of inclusion for all of the American people and how exactly is Warren going to accomplish that since he has a clear record of excluding others?

Third of all, his inclusion STINKS of political pandering on Obama's part and it makes me sick that Obama would use religion to score political points on his inauguration day. And since Obama threw Reverend Wright under the bus during his Presidential political campaign, how about picking a religious figure from his personal religious denomination of over twenty years to celebrate his inauguration? Could you imagine the power and symbolism of an African American woman pastor delivering the invocation?

Excerpts of the entry on BB&Gcmac's Weblog titled "Preach Preacher! Obama Chooses Right 'Man of God'":

I hear liberals are in an outrage that President elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration next month. Supposedly the most vocal resistance is coming from the gay rights movement. On the heels of the gay marriage ban in California as well as a few other states, they aren’t too keen on the idea of an evangelical Christian praying the president into office.

I have a message for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters on this one. “Stand down and pick another battle!” Its is silly and short-sighted to raise hell over this one. For one, Rick Warren isn’t being appointed to any office here. He is a minister and author. He is not going to set forth any policies that affect the gay and lesbian communities. If you do some research on him, you will find that he is one of the most forthright, honest and fair ministers in the country. Warren is no James Dobson or Pat Robertson. Billy Graham, (the traditional presidential preacher) walked away after the election became official cause he didn’t want to deal with a black man. Warren was the only minister who could pull off a presidential form the way he did. He allowed each man to speak on his faith and not offer an opinion on who he thought was “morally right.”

Does Warren believe in gay marriage? No. But everyone who does not agree with you is NOT necessarily your enemy. Faith as well as the precepts that support that faith are a personal issue and he has a right to his beliefs as you do yours. Again if you read his works and listen to his messages, you won’t find a person preaching today who is less judgmental than Mr. Warren. He’s been on the forefront of using his influence for AIDS prevention and awareness, holding an AIDS Summit at his church, with none of the slandering or gay blaming of other ministers. Who was speaking against Warren as he reached out to Obama for support of that program? People like Dobson and Robertson who are notoriously anti gay. Additionally, he is a guy who will listen and dialogue with the gay community. If one is willing to listen, you never know what could come of it.

I did a post on Rick Warren earlier this year when he was on Meet The Press with Tim Russert. In the midst of evangelical leaders vying for position to bring more of the divide and hate tactics to the campaign, Warren’s words were so bright and encouraging, I could see the glow in Russert’s face to have a minister of the gospel speak with such love and perspective. As a man who grew up in the church, loving its virtues and hating its hypocritical and judgmental ways, I felt good about Warren’s message, and even more so his presentation. This guy has it together. Of course you should fight on for what you believe in. However, Warren is the wrong target!

**As an added feature, I am posting the participants of proceedings on January 20th. You will also notice that Rev. Joseph Lowery (a pro gay rights minister) is also speaking and giving the benediction. Obama said this morning that the fact that Lowery and Warren do have some differences of opinions reflect why he chose them both as a reflection of our nation. That's a good thing. What do you think would have happened with a McCain administration?

~ ~ ~

plez sez: correct me if i'm wrong, but wasn't the entire premise of Obama's campaign that he was the best person to work with disparate and opposing views? Obama has never wavered in his support of gay rights, BUT he cannot stack his inauguration, nor his Cabinet, with folk who agree with him 100% of the time.

his selection of rick warren as the invocation speaker and joseph lowery as the benediction speaker is completely consistent with how Obama ran his campaign, how he picked his Cabinet members, and how he intends to run this country. we only move forward when we hear thoughts and opinions from all quarters. he is breaking the paradigm of right vs. left, blue vs. red, gay vs. straight, black vs. white... even though, rich warren's message isn't always one of inclusion, the message Obama sends must always be one of inclusion!

Obama is going to be the president of people who support gay marriage as well as people who think gays will burn in the fires of Hell. as he has said so many times, we must learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

gay rights advocacy groups are way off base in their protest of Obama's choice of Warren to speak at his inauguration.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about the furor about Obama's selection for speaker at the inauguration.

Read the article about what Obama calls a diversity of ideas.

Read the article by Kathy Kolbert about why picking Rick Warren was a bad choice.

Read the article by Ruben Navarrette about why we should respect Obama's choice of Warren.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Wasilla Hillbillies

One day in late August, the world was shocked out of its slumber by Sen. John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate on the 2008 presidential ticket. And NOTHING on the right side of the aisle has been the same since!

Subsequent to the day of the selection, we find this woman has the thinnest of political resumes (for some a political plus, for others of the airhead variety, a liability), the intellectual capacity of a small rodent, the tenacity of a mad dog (perhaps a pitbull with lipstick), and the pedigree that panders to the lowest common denominator of American society (i.e. trailer trash). Within days of her "unveiling" in Dayton, Ohio we find that she lives in Wasilla, Alaska (widely known as the "Crystal Meth Capital" of the Pacific Northwest), she has harassed the Public Service Commissioner into quitting while trying to get her sister's ex-husband fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper, her husband is a card carrying member of the Alaskan Independence Party, she has at least four children, she is possibly the 44-year old grandmother of an infant born of dubious circumstances (read more: here and here), she has a son being quickly whisked off to combat in Iraq, and she has a daughter who had spent the previous six months hidden from the public (presumably to have the infant that Sarah is claiming as her own), and this same 17-year old daughter is currently knocked up (okay, five months pregnant) by some hockey punk from Wasilla. And how can we forget her horrendous television interviews with Charles Gibson (ABC News) and Katie Couric (NBC News); we learned that this woman knows diddly-squat about the world we live in or the state of the current political landscape.

Soon after the Republican National Convention we learn her lovely 17-year old pregnant daughter, Bristol, is betrothed to marry the dude who knocked her up, 18-year old Levi Johnston, in December. Levi sat with Bristol and the rest of the Palin family in St. Paul, Minnesota, during Gov. Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention, and he joined the family on the stage afterwards.

By the end of the campaign, it is discovered that Palin had bolstered her personal wardrobe by accepting $150,000 in clothes for herself and her family from the Republican National Party and her favorite phrase is "Barack Obama has been pallin' around with a domestic terrorist."

~ ~ ~

Barack Obama is now the President-elect, John McCain gave a magnificent concession speech while Sarah Palin seethed in the background, she wanted to speak, too! Obama went to work on building his cabinet, McCain went on the late night television circuit to salve the hurt of another lost campaign, and Palin went back to the comforts of Wasilla, ostensibly to run her iceberg of a state.

Thursday afternoon, the squad cars' blue lights were flashing. Alaska State Troopers surround the rundown hovel on the outskirts of Wasilla, Alaska. The troopers served a warrant on the homeowner at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation." Minutes later they emerge from the residence with 42-year old Sherry L. Johnston in handcuffs. Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession; a total of six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance. The controlled substance was Oxycontin, a powerful narcotics drug - used for high levels of pain - that is only available by prescription. This was the illegal drug of choice of Rush Limbaugh.

She was arrested around noon and released on a $5,000 unsecured bond just after 2:00 p.m.

Ms. Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who is engaged to the governor's pregnant teenage daughter. Ms. Johnston is scheduled to become a grandmother over the weekend, according to the governor's father, Chuck Heath.

~ ~ ~

From Wikipedia - OxyContin:

Oxycodone is a drug subject to abuse.

The introduction of higher strength preparations in 1995 resulted in increasing patterns of abuse. Unlike Percocet, whose potential for abuse is somewhat limited by the presence of paracetamol (acetaminophen), OxyContin and other extended release preparations contain mainly oxycodone. Abusers crush the tablets to break the time-release coating and then ingest the resulting powder orally, intra-nasally, rectally, or by injection. Research has shown that the brains of adolescent mice, which were exposed to OxyContin, can sustain lifelong and permanent changes in their reward system. It is notable that the vast majority of OxyContin related deaths are attributed to ingesting substantial quantities of oxycodone in combination with another depressant of the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates and related drugs.

Illegal distribution of OxyContin occurs through pharmacy diversion, physicians, doctor shopping, faked prescriptions, and robbery.

In the United States, Oxycodone is a schedule II controlled substance, i.e. it must be given by written prescription which cannot have refills, nor can it be called in to a pharmacy by a physician. Trafficking (dealing) is punishable at first offense by not more than 20 years imprisonment. If there's a related death or serious injury, then not less than 20 years (up to life sentence) and a fine of US$1 million if an individual or US$5 million if not an individual. On second offense the penalty is of not more than 30 years imprisonment. If there's a death or serious injury, not less than a life sentence and a fine of US$2 million if an individual or US$10 million if not an individual.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: WHEW! we really dodge a bullet - BIG TIME - on november 4th. i took some heat for vilifying sarh palin (and her ilk), but stories like these about her friends and associates continue to confirm my worst fears about that woman... she was not and more than likely, never will, be ready to lead this country. her background, her lack of curiosity, and the backwoods mentality of sarah palin simply scares me.

exchange the ozarks for the wasilla mountains, swap out moonshine stills for meth labs and oxycontin tablets, and you are looking at modern day hillbillies... in the flesh! "ellie mae, rench out the washin' in the cee-ment pond, out yonder!" *spit*

the palins glorified the independence of the alaskan spirit and the lack of a moral code - that's why their 17-year old daughter got knocked up in the spring while recovering from a serious bout of mono (if you wanna believe the palins' lies). and poor levi's momma, she was just minding her own business. if sarah hadn't run for vice president, no one would've even been snoopin' around the johnston house!

this whole sarah palin episode is better suited for "jerry springer" than "meet the press."

whatever they got going up there in alaska... i hope they keep it up there, where it belongs!

and i can assure you, the hard-on that plezWorld has had for all things palin has been satiated... i think i can say with relative certainty that i won't be visiting this subject matter any time in the near future... now i'll go up and grab a six-pack out of the fridge that sits on the front porch.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Anchorage Daily News article about Sherry Johnston's arrest.

Read the Anchorage Daily News article about Johnston's OxyContin charges.

Read the Politico article about Sarah Palin's future in-laws's arrest.

Read the article about Levi Johnston's mother's arrest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bush Announces $17.4B Auto Bailout

New York Times photoOn Friday morning, President George W. Bush - yeah, the lame duck - waddled into the Roosevelt Room of the White House to announce his plans for an emergency bailout of the U.S. automakers, namely General Motors and Chrysler.

Ford Motor Company is a better financial position, so they were not included in this plan.

He intimated that under normal circumstances, he would just let the automakers file for bankruptcy, but in justification of his actions, Bush said:
These are not ordinary circumstances. In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action. The terms and conditions of the financing provided by the Treasury Department will facilitate restructuring of our domestic auto industry, prevent disorderly bankruptcies during a time of economic difficulty, and protect the taxpayer by ensuring that only financially viable firms receive financing. Additional loans may be available in February based on the availability of TARP funds.

Details of the plan are as follows:
  • General Motors and Chrysler will receive loans from the federal government in the amount of $13.4 billion ($9.4 billion to GM and $4 billion to Chrysler) this month

  • Financing will be drawn from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that was organized for the Wall Street bailout

  • The loans are designed to stabilize the two automakers through March 2009, at which time they must show they are financially viable; If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury

  • Conditions on the loans requires the companies to quickly reduce their debt by two-thirds, mostly through debt-for-equity swaps, and to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers union to cut wages and benefits so they are competitive with those of employees of foreign-based automakers working in the United States

  • Other conditions on the loans include placing limits on executive compensation and perks such as corporate jets, and requiring the automakers to adhere to fuel efficiency and emission standards and open books to government scrutiny

  • An additional $4 billion will be made available in February, based on the release of funds from TARP

Bush's announcement comes one week after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to aid the automakers that had been negotiated by the White House and Congressional Democrats, and the loan package announced by the president includes roughly the identical requirements in that bill, which had been approved by the House.

Because the bailout legislation failed in Congress, senior administration officials said that the loan package would essentially take the form of a contract between the government and the automakers. Officials said they expected those contract agreements would be signed by the end of the day.

~ ~ ~

A New York Times article about the bailout points out, under the plan, Mr. Bush essentially handed off to President-elect Barack Obama what will become one of the first, most difficult calls of his presidency: a political and economic judgment about whether G.M. and Chrysler are financially viable.

Mr. Obama and his economic team will have to make a convincing, public case that the wage cuts, plant closings and creditor agreements so change the landscape of the industry that the carmakers can turn profitable in short order.

But Mr. Obama will be under tremendous political pressure as well, because if his new team concludes that the automakers have not struck the right deals, it would mean a move to bankruptcy court, and likely widespread layoffs that would ripple far beyond the companies themselves.

Mr. Obama was elected partly with the enthusiastic support of the unions, who liked his talk of protecting jobs by renegotiating trade agreements. Now, in his first months, he will be asking them to give back gains they have negotiated over decades.

~ ~ ~

plez sez: as expected, bush squeezed the last two drops of political capital from his faded political career to provide a temporary bailout to the us automakers - his post-presidential revisionist spin team will be at the ready to re-write history to show that "the us auto industry failed under Obama's watch!"

gm and chrysler will limp into the new year with a big box of money from uncle george, with both of their plants idle until late january or mid february. and i'm not convinced that chrysler will ever open its plants under the chrysler brand in 2009.

this loan comes with few strings attached (oh, they have to sell the corporate jet that they can't afford to put back in the air. ooooh, whoopie!) and good luck with getting the UAW to offer much in the area of wage concessions, after they've fought tooth-and-nail to get the compensation and nice pension plans their workers now enjoy.

as the new york times article so deftly stated, this stinking automakers bailout turd will be sitting on BARACK OBAMA's desk when he takes over the oval office on january 20th, since george bush has essentially washed his hands of this matter by giving the automakers enough money to keep them afloat until the inauguration of Obama. bush can now go back to packing boxes for his and laura's move to dallas in a few weeks.

~ ~ ~

the federal government can't print enough money to keep the big three afloat until the end of this recession. these companies can restructure all they want, there ain't any credit available for few people who want to buy their cars! the reason for the plant shutdowns is that the inventory on hand isn't selling, so there's no need to make more cars.

okay, a show of hands: does anyone seeing this scenario of having few buyers for the glut of cars changing in the next four, eight, or twelve weeks?

...neither does plezWorld!

one of these companies - more than likely chrysler since it is so close to brink - is going to fail.

to my way of thinking, it's better to let them fail now rather than giving away untold billions of dollars that will never be recouped. this is corporate welfare (giving away money with no foreseeable way to retrieve the assets in the future) of the highest magnitude.

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the New York Times article about Bush's bailout for the auto industry.

Read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the auto bailout.

Read the article about Bush's automaker bailout plan.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Misinformer of the Year

Instead of commenting on the sleazebag that is Sean Hannity, this blog post from Media Matters accurately details all of Mr. Hannity's misdeeds for the past year.

This guy has no scruples, no balls, and lies like there's no tomorrow... so without further ado, plezWorld presents "Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Scumbag Misinformer of the Year," in its entirety:

As Media Matters for America has demonstrated time and again, Fox News' Sean Hannity has been a prolific and influential purveyor of conservative misinformation. But never has he so enthusiastically applied his talents for spreading misinformation as he did to the 2008 presidential race, focusing his energies primarily on President-elect Barack Obama. Day after day, Hannity devoted his two Fox News shows and his three-hour ABC Radio Networks program to "demonizing" the Democratic presidential candidates, starkly explaining in August: "That's my job. ... I led the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.' " Hannity's "Stop Obama Express" promoted and embellished a vast array of misleading attacks and false claims about Obama. Along the way, he uncritically adopted and promoted countless Republican talking points and played host to numerous credibility-challenged smear artists who painted Obama as a dangerous radical. When he was not going after Obama, Hannity attacked members of Obama's family, as well as Sen. Hillary Clinton and other progressives, and denied all the while that he had unfairly attacked anyone.

Hannity's attacks may have also influenced mainstream media coverage. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos appeared on Hannity's radio program on April 15, during which Hannity suggested to Stephanopoulos that he ask Obama at the Democratic presidential debate the following evening about his "association with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist from the Weather Underground." Stephanopoulos assured Hannity that he was "taking notes right now." Stephanopoulos then did ask Obama at the debate to "explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem," though he later denied that Hannity had exerted any influence on his questioning.

Because of the unending stream of falsehoods and character attacks that fueled the "Stop Obama Express," and the countless other distortions he promoted throughout 2008, Sean Hannity is Media Matters for America's Misinformer of the Year.

Among the myriad falsehoods and attacks that Hannity promoted throughout 2008, several found their way into regular rotation:

Obama will "invade" Pakistan

In an August 1, 2007, speech, Obama said of terrorists in Pakistan:

OBAMA: I understand that President [Pervez] Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

Almost immediately afterward, Hannity began attacking Obama over the comment, claiming he made a "rookie mistake" by saying "I'll invade an ally." In fact, Obama never said he would "invade" Pakistan, and Hannity's co-host Alan Colmes corrected Hannity and accurately quoted Obama. Nevertheless, Hannity repeated the accusation several times throughout 2008, even once to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had just two days earlier advocated a position on Pakistan very similar to Obama's.

"Air-raiding villages"

At an August 13, 2007, campaign stop, Obama said regarding the war in Afghanistan: "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." As Media Matters noted at the time, Obama's comments were accurate -- U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan and accounts of resulting civilian casualties were widely reported in the media and reportedly provoked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a British commander stationed there. Time and again, however, Hannity used these comments to attack and denounce Obama, even after Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged and apologized for Afghan civilian deaths caused by coalition airstrikes. Hannity has called the statement a "lie" and evidence that Obama was "the most radical and unqualified candidate"; mischaracterized Obama's remarks as an "accus[ation]" against "American troops" and praised Gov. Sarah Palin for attacking Obama over the comments; and cited Obama's remarks to question his "experience to be commander in chief."

Most liberal senator

When the National Journal announced that Barack Obama was the "most liberal" senator in 2007, according to their ranking system, Hannity was one of many conservative media figures to tout the statistic despite the facts that the National Journal considered just 99 votes in its survey and that the publication admitted that its previous surveys' methodologies had been flawed. Moreover, a separate study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that used all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, placing Obama in a tie for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator. Hannity, however, has attacked Obama as "the number one liberal -- National Journal -- in the United States Senate" and called him the "No. 1 radical liberal in the Senate" and "the most liberal senator in Washington" (Hannity's America, July 13). On the October 26 Hannity's America, Hannity listed his "top 10 reasons" not to vote for Obama, and introduced his sixth reason -- "Barack Obama is anything but mainstream" -- by saying: "Obama's position on many issues has earned him the spot as the most liberal senator in the United States."

Defense spending

In October 2007, Obama told Caucus4Priorities:

OBAMA: I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of Future Combat Systems. And I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.

At several points throughout 2008, however, Hannity mischaracterized this statement, claiming that Obama "talked about in the campaign cutting tens of millions of dollars in defense spending," when Obama clearly said he would cut wasteful spending.

Attacks on Obama's family, associations

In addition to assailing Obama, Hannity also falsely attacked Obama's wife, Michelle, and mischaracterized Obama's associations with certain controversial figures in order to make Obama appear radical or corrupt:

  • Hannity repeatedly distorted Michelle Obama's 1985 senior thesis from Princeton University, suggesting that she was asserting her own views when she wrote that "[i]t is possible that Black individuals either chose to or felt pressure to come together with other Blacks on campus because of the belief that Blacks must join in solidarity to combat a White oppressor." As the context of the quote makes clear, however, she was purporting to document attitudes among black Princeton alumni who attended the school in the '70s and not expressing her own opinions. Hannity employed this distortion at one point to ask: "Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?"

  • Hannity also frequently attempted to link Obama to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, claiming that Obama "associated" himself with Farrakhan and pointing to an award given to Farrakhan by Trumpet Newsmagazine, a publication founded by Obama's former church. What Hannity consistently failed to note in asserting this linkage, however, is that Obama issued a statement disagreeing with the award and criticizing Farrakhan, and that Obama has said he has been "a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan."

  • Hannity also repeatedly suggested that Obama was able to purchase his Chicago home at a discounted price because convicted Chicago businessman Antoin Rezko purchased an adjacent lot on the same day. As Media Matters noted, the sellers of the Obama's house reportedly told Bloomberg News that they did not cut the price of the house for Obama "because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land," and that the Obamas had made the "best offer." Nevertheless, Hannity asked on the June 5 broadcast of his radio program: "Did Obama know at the time that Rezko was saving him three hundred grand on the purchase of his home?"

GOP mouthpiece

Hannity helped to boost Republicans throughout 2008, parroting false McCain campaign talking points, touting unscientific polling to promote Sen. John McCain's debate performances, and embellishing President George W. Bush's economic record:

  • On January 3, Hannity interviewed then-Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and failed to disclose that he had reportedly helped raise money for Giuliani's campaign. The New York Daily News reported on August 19, 2007, that Hannity "introduced the Republican front-runner at a closed-door, $250-per-head fundraiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge." Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming, was quoted in the article saying, "Sean is not a journalist -- Sean is a conservative commentator."

  • On July 26, the McCain campaign released an ad claiming that Obama for "cancelled a visit with wounded troops" at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras." This claim was quickly debunked by NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who accompanied Obama on the overseas trip. Mitchell said on MSNBC on July 28: "There was never any intention -- let me be absolutely clear about this. The press was never going to go. The entourage was never going to go. There was never an intention to make this political. ... And the McCain commercial on this subject is completely wrong, factually wrong." Nonetheless, Hannity claimed on the July 29 edition of Hannity & Colmes that Obama "abandon[ed] the troop visit because the cameras weren't around -- allowed and the campaign wasn't allowed," and repeated the allegation on July 30.

  • On September 10, the McCain campaign released a web ad claiming that Obama "smear[ed]" Palin when he said at a campaign rally the previous day: "But, you know, you can -- you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig." On a September 9 McCain campaign conference call with reporters, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift (R) claimed Obama "[c]all[ed] a very prominent female governor of one of our states a 'pig.' " As Media Matters noted, Obama was actually alluding to McCain's policy platform in those comments, Swift herself later admitted not "know[ing] if it was aimed at Governor Palin," and the phrase "lipstick on a pig" is in common parlance and has been used by many political figures, including McCain. Hannity, however, insisted that Obama was "talking about Sarah Palin," even after McCain supporter Mike Huckabee told Hannity: "I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin. He didn't reference her."

  • On September 18, McCain released an ad citing The Washington Post in claiming that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines "advises" Obama "on mortgage and housing policy." Both Raines and Obama denied the allegation, and the Fact-Checker determined that the McCain ad "exaggerat[ed] wildly" in its claim about Raines' purported role with the Obama campaign. On the September 23 edition of Hannity & Colmes, however, Hannity went beyond the McCain campaign's allegation, claiming that Raines was "a chief economic adviser" to Obama. Hannity later claimed that Raines was "an economic adviser" to Obama, citing The Washington Post, even though the Fact-Checker had already called such claims "exaggerat[ed]."

  • Following the September 26 presidential debate, Hannity touted the results of a Fox News text-message poll that found that McCain won the debate, saying: "[W]e have gotten around 50,000 text votes so far. Eighty-two percent are correct: They say John McCain won." Unmentioned by Hannity was the fact that Fox News started conducting the poll while the debate was still going on. On-screen text had invited viewers to vote on "who [they] thought won" the debate as early as 9:12 p.m. ET, 10 minutes after the candidates began responding to the moderator's questions. Media Matters has documented Hannity's shifting opinions of text-message polls, depending on who the results favor.

  • On the December 8 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity claimed, "We had a good six and a half years with the economy" under Bush, adding: "We created 10 million new jobs, lower unemployment than in the last four decades' average." In fact, the United States has gained 2,866,000 net private-sector jobs between 2001, when Bush took office, and the first quarter of 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, Hannity's claim about the unemployment rate is misleading, given that Bush inherited from Clinton an employment rate that was lower than the average unemployment rate during the Bush years.

Smears of Democrats

When not promoting the "Stop Obama Express" or the "Stop Hillary Express," Hannity found time to falsely attack other prominent Democrats:

  • On the December 4 editions of Hannity & Colmes and his radio program, Hannity suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's use of a military jet was unprecedented, despite the fact that the White House and the Defense Department agreed in 2001 that military planes should be made available to the speaker of the House for national security reasons. The first speaker to use such a plane was Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

  • Hannity has repeatedly attacked Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken. Hannity baselessly accused Franken of "stealing an election" by challenging ballots that appeared to favor Franken's opponent, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, failing to note that Coleman also challenged ballots that appeared to favor Franken. Hannity also claimed that by challenging ballots, Franken was "trying to litigate his way into the Senate seat," even though Franken and Coleman had challenged roughly the same number of ballots at the time.

  • Hannity was one of many conservatives to baselessly blame "the Democrats" and the Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977 under President Jimmy Carter, for the current financial crisis, saying: "The federal government and the Democrats ... forced these banks, through the Community Reinvestment Act, to make these risky loans," adding: "The risky loans started the subprime mortgage crisis, which impacted all these financial institutions, which needed government bailouts." As Media Matters has noted, the allegation that the Community Reinvestment Act is the cause of the financial crisis has been widely discredited.

  • Following Obama's selection of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) as White House chief of staff, Hannity attacked Emanuel as "one of the hardest left-wing ... radicals," citing no evidence. Contrary to Hannity's assertion, a study using every non-unanimous vote cast in the House in 2007 to determine relative ideology placed Emanuel in a tie for the ranking of 126th most liberal Democratic congressman, while several news reports cast Emanuel as "a centrist" who has "worked at good relations with Republicans."

  • Hannity falsely accused former President Bill Clinton of "taking a shot at Senator McCain" during July 5 remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival, airing a deceptively cropped video of Clinton's comments. As the full context of Clinton's remarks made clear, however, he was not discussing McCain, but rather what former South African president -- and political prisoner -- Nelson Mandela means to him.

Conspiracy conjecture

Hannity frequently launched attacks on Obama and other progressives that were totally unsubstantiated or wildly speculative and which were often contradicted by available evidence:

  • Commenting on the State Department's admission that Obama's passport records had been repeatedly accessed without authorization by three contract workers, Hannity said on the March 20 edition of Hannity & Colmes: "Seems to me Barack Obama is looking for anything to distract from the story of Jeremiah Wright."

  • On the July 30 broadcast of his radio show, Hannity repeated the already-debunked allegation that Obama had distributed to the press a prayer he had written and left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem: "[E]verything was well orchestrated, all the timing -- you know, for example, even the release of the note that he put at the Western Wall, that was all leaked to the press, and that was a big deal as well."

  • After airing a deceptively cropped recording of Hillary Clinton commenting on the October 2 vice-presidential debate, Hannity said on the October 6 broadcast of his radio show: "I just had to play that 'cause you just know the Clintons are just -- why do I bet, and this is just a guess on my part, that Hillary and Bill go in there, and they vote for John McCain? I just know it. I really believe it."

  • On the December 9 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity disregarded the context in which the word "president-elect" appears in the criminal complaint filed against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), declaring: "The pres -- the word 'president-elect' is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling." Hannity never explained what he found "troubling" about those mentions, given that there are no allegations of wrongdoing against Obama in the document. Indeed, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which "president-elect" was used in the complaint actually mentioned any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception was an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than "appreciation."

Selective amnesia

Even though Hannity and the rest of the conservative media spent much of the 2008 election cycle falsely attacking Obama and other progressives, he stridently denied that such attacks were happening and constantly rallied to the defense of Republicans and conservatives accused of smearing Democrats and liberals.

  • On the September 8 broadcast of The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity accused Obama of an "outright falsehood," asserting that Obama said "Fox News and Republican commentators suggest that, in other words, that he is a Muslim. No one has ever suggested that." In reality, Fox News was quite infamously the home of E.D. Hill and the "terrorist fist jab," and several other Fox News personalities promoted false reports about Obama's religion, including the claim that Obama was educated in a madrassa.

  • On the August 4 broadcast of his radio program, Hannity claimed that Obama could not "point to a single instance in which ... Sean Hannity or talk radio or any other major Republican has made an issue of Obama's race." On the October 13 edition of Hannity & Colmes, he claimed that "[n]obody in the Republican Party" resorted to overtones of "race and fear" in attacking Obama. Months earlier, however, Hannity had claimed that Obama "has all the same problems with race as those before him," and asked: "Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?" As Media Matters noted, Hannity was joined by Rush Limbaugh, John Gibson, and several Republican officials and supporters in making "an issue of Obama's race" or name.

  • On the July 31 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity incredulously challenged a guest: "Can you name any prominent Republican that has brought up -- that has said that [Obama] is not patriotic, or that he's got a funny name, or that he doesn't look like those presidents on dollar bills? Do you know any prominent Republican that has said any of these things?" In fact, Hannity himself had raised questions about Obama's patriotism, as had Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), while Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed that if Obama was elected, "radical Islamists" would "be dancing in the streets because of his middle name."

  • On the August 25 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity proclaimed that he thought was "more fair to the Clintons" during the 2008 Democratic primaries. He claimed this despite the fact that in February he proudly declared himself the leader of the "Stop Hillary Express," and throughout 2007, he attacked Clinton as a socialist, suggested she was a co-conspirator in a murder cover-up, and denounced her for "hate speech" against Republicans, among other things. Less than a week after claiming he was "more fair to the Clintons," Hannity declared that "demonizing" Clinton was his "job," and acknowledged having rechristened the "Stop Hillary Express" as the "Stop Obama Express."

  • On the September 1 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity, referring to Internet rumors about Palin's daughter, said: "Is that fair that they would attack that? I mean, I don't remember Chelsea Clinton being attacked. I don't remember Al Gore's children being attacked. I thought there was a general rule that children of candidates ought to be left alone." Hannity's memory notwithstanding, Chelsea Clinton was not "left alone." McCain reportedly told a "joke" about Chelsea Clinton in 1998, saying: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." Radio host Rush Limbaugh is alleged to have referred to Chelsea Clinton early in the Clinton administration as the "White House dog."

Character assassins

Hannity, on his Fox News shows and his ABC Radio Networks program, hosted several controversial guests who attacked Obama, despite their documented credibility problems and histories of inflammatory rhetoric.

  • Andy Martin

    Self-described "Internet Powerhouse" Andy Martin's years-long crusade against Obama has taken on many forms, almost all of them completely divorced from factual accuracy. Martin has been credited as the originator, in 2004, of the false rumor that Obama is actually a Muslim. Shortly before Obama launched his presidential campaign in February 2007, Martin promoted his "CIA-style psychological profile" on Obama that "will cast more light on Barack's supple psyche and his ability to seamlessly deny objective reality." Months later, Martin baselessly attacked Obama for "lock[ing] the grandmother who actually raised him away in a closet" in "one of the cruelest and most mendacious political kidnappings this nation has ever seen." Prior to all this, Martin reportedly attacked a federal judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race," expressed "understand[ing] for how the Holocaust took place," and the Illinois Supreme Court reportedly noted that, according to his Selective Service records, Martin possessed a "moderately-severe character defect manifested by well documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character."

    Despite Martin's glaring credibility issues and history of "viciously anti-Semitic assertions," he featured prominently in the October 5 edition of Hannity's America, titled "Obama & Friends: History of Radicalism". On the program, Martin, identified as an "author & journalist," baselessly claimed that Obama's work as a community organizer was "training for a radical overthrow of the government" and that if Obama were elected president, "we're basically going to be ... in the throes of a socialist revolution, which attempts to essentially freeze out anybody who's not part of this radical ideology."

    As Media Matters noted, Fox News reportedly later "express[ed] regret for booking" Martin on Hannity's America, and Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Shine called Martin's appearance a "mistake." Hannity, however, has not yet expressed any on-air misgivings about hosting Martin. Confronted by Obama adviser Robert Gibbs, Hannity defended Martin's appearance, saying, "I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time." (Hannity, who has both embraced and rejected the "journalist" label, did not challenge any assertion or statement by Martin, nor did he mention any of Martin's anti-Semitic and racially charged statements.) Challenged again by Fox News political contributor and NPR news analyst Juan Williams about Martin's appearance, Hannity once again declined to express regret.

  • Jerome Corsi

    Jerome Corsi, co-author of the falsehood-ridden 2004 book Unfit for Command, returned to presidential politics in 2008 with The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. The book, which described as a "mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods," was widely and thoroughly discredited by Media Matters, the Obama campaign, various media outlets, and even some conservatives. Corsi, however, appeared several times on Hannity's various programs to promote the book, with no challenge from Hannity regarding the book's many falsehoods. Corsi even appeared on Hannity & Colmes on August 20, just days after it was revealed that Corsi -- who has previously made inflammatory comments about Islam, Muslims, and Catholicism -- was reportedly scheduled to promote The Obama Nation on the August 17 edition of The Political Cesspool Radio Show, a program described by its own producers as representing "a philosophy that is pro-White." Corsi had appeared on the program in the past, but did not appear on August 17.

    Since the release of The Obama Nation, Corsi has promulgated (without evidence) several conspiracy theories regarding Obama -- for example, suggesting that the true purpose of Obama's pre-election trip to Hawaii was not to visit his ailing grandmother, but to address rumors -- widely debunked -- that he had failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate.

  • Jill Stanek

    As Media Matters noted, Hannity was one of many media figures to cite anti-abortion activist and WorldNetDaily columnist Jill Stanek's criticism of Obama's opposition to certain bills amending the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 while he was in the Illinois state Senate -- without noting facts that undermine her credibility. Stanek has suggested that domestic violence is acceptable against women who have abortions; supported billboards in Tanzania that say "Faithful Condom Users" in English and Swahili next to a photo of a skeleton; and credulously cited a report that "aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies" in China. Hannity interviewed Stanek on the August 20 edition of Hannity & Colmes, during which Stanek claimed that Obama attempted to "lure" Illinois state senators into "vot[ing] to endorse infanticide." She also repeated her allegation that at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, where she worked as a nurse, "a little baby boy who had been aborted alive" was taken to a "soiled utility room to die because his parents didn't want to hold him." According to the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn, however, an Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson said that the agency conducted an investigation into Stanek's allegations about Christ Hospital and concluded that they could not be substantiated.

Exit "balance"...

In early October, it was reported that Hannity had signed a new contract with Fox News "that will keep him at the network through the next presidential election in 2012." In late November, Alan Colmes announced that he was leaving Hannity & Colmes at the end of 2008, leaving unresolved whether another liberal would be brought in to "balance" Hannity. On December 11, that question was answered:
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is losing his liberal counterpart Alan Colmes at the end of the year, will not be getting a new on-air partner. Instead, the conservative commentator will headline his own show, called simply "Hannity," beginning Jan. 12, the network announced today.

The program -- running in the same 6 p.m. Pacific time slot -- will include several segments in which three guests from across the political spectrum, dubbed the "Great American Panel," will weigh in on the topics of the day. The show will also include regular commentary and interviews by Hannity, as well as a feature called "Hate Hannity Hotline" that will highlight the critical comments he receives from listeners of his syndicated radio show.

~ fini ~

~ ~ ~

plez sez: sean hannity is a scourge to journalism and it's a wonder that more than 2 or 3 people tune in to hear his slanted drivel. after 2 minutes of his whining voice and incessant lies, my skin starts to crawl and i'm compelled to change the channel.

i don't know who's worse hannity or limbaugh!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read a few anti-Hannity blogs from the past few years that substantiate Media Matters' selection: Daily Kos, Spinsanity, The BRAD BLOG, and OpEd News.

Read the Media Matters article about Sean Hannity.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~