- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RUSH TO JUDGMENT

The national discourse on race continues to reel forward. In his zeal to buy the St. Louis Rams, Rush Limbaugh is now part of that dialogue, having been tackled several times by MSNBC and CNN. The networks have claimed Mr. Limbaugh said that slavery “had its merits,” though the radio host has flatly denied it. But an instant feedback loop has been created: in 24 hours, critics - from the NFL Players Association to assorted sports journalists and black leaders - have emerged, questioning Mr. Limbaugh’s fitness to be the owner of a major sports team.

Enough already, says L. Brent Bozell III, founder of the Media Research Center.

“CNN and MSNBC must immediately and publicly source when Limbaugh uttered this phrase. He has unequivocally denied it. Now it is up to the same news media that reported it as fact to prove that it was, indeed, stated,” said Mr. Bozell, noting that he has sent letters to both networks demanding they provide credible sources for the “slavery” quote.

“Either Rush Limbaugh is lying, or these networks - willfully or not - are participants in the worst form of character assassination imaginable. They can prove their innocence by documenting this accusation. If they cant, then they are 100 percent guilty of character assassination,” Mr. Bozell says.

The situation prompted Mr. Limbaugh and his staff to listen to 15 hours of audiotape, just to make sure there was not some stray utterance.

“There is not even an inkling that any words in this quote are accurate. It’s outrageous, but it’s totally predictable. It’s being repeated by people who have never listened to this program. They certainly didn’t hear it said themselves because it was never said,” Mr. Limbaugh says.

But wait. What does he really think?

“I’m colorblind. I have reached the point where everybody professes we need to go. I treat everybody equally. In the political arena, I don’t care. Male, female, black, white, gay, straight, bisexual, if you are opposed to the things I think are great for the country, I’m going to say so. I’m going to criticize you. Not because of whatever it is distinguishes you from me on a surface basis, but because of ideas,” Mr. Limbaugh says.

COMIC RELIEF

For no reason in particular, and with bad timing, we present this water-cooler joke now making the rounds inside the Beltway and beyond:

“The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity scene in the U.S. Capitol this Christmas season. This isn’t for any constitutional or religious reason. They simply have not been able to find three wise men in Washington. A search for a virgin continues. There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable.”

STRAIGHT TALK

We live in a very complicated world, indeed. Consider the angst of the formerly gay. Yes, “formerly” is the operative term. The formerly gay claim that the currently gay are discriminating against them, according to Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a California-based grass-roots group.

They are demanding that the Walt Disney Co. cover former homosexuals in company policies that forbid discrimination against employees.

“Former homosexuals who come out publicly are commonly targeted for ridicule and hate,” says Regina Griggs, director of the group, emphasizing that it seeks “tolerance and safety” in the workplace.

“It is about time Disney treated ex-gays with the respect they deserve,” agrees Bobbie Strobhar, who submitted the demand to Disney and a cited D.C. Superior Court ruling that includes ex-gays as “a protected class” who must be recognized under sexual orientation non-discrimination laws.

“Former homosexuals are true models of courage who have been vilified by gay activists,” Ms. Strobhar continues.

“Ex-gay employees are uncomfortable being open about their sexual orientation with their colleagues because they fear discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace,” Ms. Griggs adds.

WILD BLUE YONDER

Actually, it’s green yonder, and our moment to applaud the military. Hurrah for Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, which is quietly operating North America’s largest “renewable venture” with sterling results. Through a 140-acre site filled with 72,000 solar panels, the base is now supplying 28 percent of its own power - saving $83,000 a month and 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to Col. Dave Belote, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing.

“It’s really an exciting thing to be a part of,” he says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 81 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats favor the death penalty.

• 65 percent of Americans overall favor the death penalty.

• 57 percent say it is imposed fairly; 37 percent say unfairly.

• 49 percent say the death penalty is not imposed often enough.

• 24 percent say it is imposed “the right amount”; 20 percent say it is imposed too often.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,013 adults conducted Oct. 1-4.

Grumbles, mumbles, rumbles to jharper@ washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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