- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

Worry-free diplomacy

Hours after President Obama warmly greeted and shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Chavez government used a photo of the brief meeting to say the United States has softened its stance toward the socialist country.

“They both drew their hands in a historic handshake after many years of tension under the Bush administration, when relations between Washington and Caracas had deteriorated,” said a statement posted on the Venezuelan government’s Web site.

Mr. Chavez also gave the president a book that slams the United States on multiple issues, which quickly became a best-seller on Amazon.com after the gift was made.

Tea parties racist?

Actress and liberal political activist Janeane Garofalo said, in all seriousness, that the hundreds of thousands of people across the nation who attended the Wednesday “tea party” protests are racists with dysfunctional brains.

“Let’s be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It’s not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about. They don’t know their history at all. It’s about hating a black man in the White House,” she said on MSNBC’s “The Countdown” with Keith Olbermann on Thursday evening.

“This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. There is no way around that,” she insisted.

Mr. Olbermann did not once try to challenge her on those assertions.

The actress went on to describe the brain size of a typical “right-winger, Republican or conservative or your average white-power activist.”

“Their synapses are misfiring … It is a neurological problem we are dealing with,” she said.

This isn’t the first time she’s offered this analysis, either. Miss Garofalo said similar things about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s brain in February in an interview with an environmental blog.

The actress went on to bash the Republican Party on MSNBC on Thursday because it had “crystallized into the white-power movement,” and also blasted Fox News, which she said has captured the “Klan demo[graphic].”

“Who else is Fox talking to? Urban older white guys and their girlfriends who suffer from Stockholm syndrome,” she said.

Ironically, Miss Garofalo is playing a role on the drama “24,” which is aired by the Fox Broadcasting Co. and is popular in conservative circles.

Bo knows books

The first puppy, barely accustomed to his new home and family, is already being profiled in a book being rushed to publication called “Commander in Leash.”

Mascot Books, a small publisher located in Northern Virginia, started planning the book months ago, leaving pages and pictures open while it waited for the breed to be chosen.

Arguing gay marriage

Former McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt delivered a lengthy speech to the Log Cabin Republicans on Friday in which he used the Republican Party’s position on abortion to justify gay marriage.

“The argument of the pro-life community acquires its moral force because it holds that the life of the unborn is not distinct in its dignity from the life of the born, and, thus, possesses a God-given right to be protected,” he said. “The same protection cannot be argued to extend to the institutional definition of marriage as exclusively the union of persons of the opposite sex.”

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at 202/636-4883 or [email protected] times.com

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