- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MSNBC's lewd brew

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has relished using a sexually vulgar variation of the phrase “tea bag” to disparage those supporting taxpayer “Tea Party” protests on her prime-time show.

Ms. Maddow has taped two segments with Air America's Ana Marie Cox, who made her bones penning the often-lewd blog Wonkette before becoming a White House reporter, making fun of the protesters in this manner over the last week. In both segments, the first of which was 13 minutes long, the ladies endlessly mocked the tea parties, in what Ms. Maddow called “a double entendre palooza.”

MSNBC said this was fair because Ms. Maddow and Ms. Cox were merely playing on words the protesters were using themselves. MSNBC spokesman Alana Russo noted that Ms. Maddow used clips of activists talking to Fox News and made references Facebook groups and Twitter accounts being used by the protesters.

Many conservatives were angered by the segment's bathroom humor, while others merely shrugged it off as par for the course among progressive personalities like Ms. Maddow.

“From the gist of the comments I could tell it was something sexual,” said Kathleen McKinley of the blog RightWingSparkle. “So I Googled it. It's one of those things where you can't unread what have you read. It is disgusting. I can see getting these kind of perverted remarks from the trolls on blogs, but Rachel Maddow is a prominent TV personality on MSNBC.”

RedState's Erick Erikson took the other tack: “I'm not offended by it. I expect it. They have responded to popular sentiment across the country by acting like kids on a playground.”

Blaming the captain

Some liberal bloggers are telling readers that Capt. Richard Phillips, who turned himself over to Somali pirates to spare his crew, is not a hero and that the pirates acted rationally against the Maersk Alabama.

Johann Hari, a columnist for the London Independent, sided with the pirates by writing for the Huffington Post that “everyone” knows that the pirates are “ordinary fisherman” victimized by those who have overfished their waters and are reasonably supported in their missions for ransom money by the local populations.

Likewise, a blogger who goes by the handle of KLS at Daily Kos wrote the pirates would have held the Alabama “harmlessly” but for Capt. Phillips actions, which according to the writer were “in error - if not grandstand.” [sic]

Obama faith pick

Religious conservatives are fuming over President Obama's decision to tap Harry Knox to the Advisory Council of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Mr. Knox, a former director of religion and faith activities at the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign, has described Catholic groups who supported California's Proposition 8 as “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression” and the Pope Benedict XVI a “discredited leader.”

Several Republicans are demanding Mr. Obama withdraw the nomination.

“The president's recent appointment to his advisory council makes a mockery of the religious beliefs of countless Americans,” said Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Getting into NYT

“The best kind of letter is relatively short (under 150 words), clearly written, strongly opinionated and direct. It doesn't contain personal invective aimed at the writer or subject of an article. And it's well-written. I'll be honest: Because of the nature of our readers, letter writers who defend Republican, conservative or right-wing positions on many topics have a higher shot at being published.”

-Andrew Rosenthal, editorial-page editor of the New York Times, explaining in a discussion with readers how letters to the editor are chosen for publication

Romney antes up

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is still campaigning against the Democratic agenda.

The 2008 Republican presidential-primary candidate spoke to the media in a conference call arranged by the Workforce Fairness Institute on Monday to ramp up opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, although the act has seemed to lose momentum since it recently lost support from Sens. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, and Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat.

Mr. Romney said the GOP must remain vigilant because, “The money behind this bill is enormous and the obligation which certain Democratic members of the Democratic establishment [have to unions] are such you have to be worried this bill will find a way to get passed.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at 202/636-4883 or acarpenter@washingtontimes.com

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