- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Best books

Conservative authors wrote half of the top 10 books dominating the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list this week.

Michelle Malkin’s “Culture of Corruption” is No. 1, Mark R. Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny” is third, Ronald Kessler’s “In the President’s Secret Service” is fourth, “Catastrophe” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann is fifth, and Bill O’Reilly’s “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” is No. 7.

Two of those books are longtime fixtures on the list. Mr. Levin’s tome has been there for 21 weeks, and Mr. O’Reilly’s autobiography has been on the list for a whopping 42 weeks.

When asked what he thought of the high number of conservative books on the best-seller list, Mr. O’Reilly told The Washington Times, “Mine isn’t a political book, so it doesn’t fall into that category. … But there’s correlation to the high ratings that Fox News gets on television, and there is much more interest in the public affairs arena by people who are worried about the country.

“They are being driven to Fox News and other agencies that report skeptically,” he said. “If you don’t like Obama, there’s a big market for that. And the left-wingers don’t have anything to write about,” he said. “What are they going to write about?”

A book by Fox News personality Glenn Beck is also doing well. His “Common Sense” is No. 1 the Times’ paperback nonfiction list.

Browsing Craigslist

A popular online job-posting Web site is littered with listings from liberal nonprofit groups looking for people to help gin up grass-roots support for their progressive agendas.

Many conservative groups fighting the Democrats’ proposed health care plans have been accused of “astroturfing,” a name given to advocacy groups who use their resources to create the appearance of a grass-roots movement, although many liberal efforts that do just that have escaped that charge.

A search of Craigslist.org’s Washington nonprofit job listings, however, finds that many liberal organizations are willing to pay people to help them organize, even in the dog days of summer.

Several well-known progressive groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have posted listings there this month. One Sierra Club listing says “CAMPAIGN JOBS: Support Obama’s clean energy agenda! $335-$535/week.” Another, posted by the Fund for the Public Interest, which works with other groups like the Human Rights Campaign and U.S. PIRG, says, “Support Obama-Reform Health Care***Earn $9-$14/HR.” “Paid Union Organizer Training” is the title of another seeking apprentices to join the Service Employees International Union’s 3-5 month organizing school, called WAVE.

Facebooking Palin

One of the White House’s biggest labor allies has started running ads against former Alaska Gov. and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on her favorite social networking site.

Since stepping down as governor, Mrs. Palin has often used Facebook to publish fiery political commentary, pushing the term “death panels” into popular vernacular with a posting earlier this month. Her Facebook entries catch attention quickly on the site, where more than 800,000 people identify themselves as Palin supporters.

Americans United for Change, a liberal labor group, began putting ads targeting Mrs. Palin on Facebook on Monday. Those who click the ad, with her photo on it, are directed to fill out an online petition asking the former governor to “please stop lying about ‘death panels.’ ”

Jeremy Funk, press secretary for the group, told The Washington Times that messages collected from the ad would be forwarded to Mrs. Palin’s political action committee next week.

The group also has created a video message that accompanies the petition that criticizes Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and Glenn Beck of Fox News.

PTSD compensation

While the debate over health care reform consumes most of Washington, the Department of Veterans Affairs is doing what it can to make it easier for veterans to get compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Noncombat veterans are required to get their claim adjudicators to corroborate PTSD-triggering events they encountered related to hostile activity in order to get payments. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki wants to eliminate that requirement as long as a VA psychiatrist or psychologist can confirm that stressful experience causing PTSD.

As federal rules require, Veterans Affairs will seek comment about the rule change for the next 60 days. The final rule will go into effect after all comments are considered.

No regrets

“I heard there was a lot of flak. But I wouldn’t change anything. I just know a lot of people were in the room, and they were all laughing, so I think there’s a little hypocrisy there - people covering their [posteriors].”

- Stand-up comic Wanda Sykes, in an interview with Metro Weekly, discussing why she has no regrets about calling conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh a “terrorist” while headlining the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner earlier this year.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.

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