- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2009

Strange bedfellows

An unlikely group is calling for Britain to remove conservative talk-radio host Michael Savage from its banned-persons list.

The Council for American-Islamic Relations is a member of the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition, a campaign that has urged advertisers to stop running commercials on the “Savage Nation” radio program because of the host’s remarks about Islam.

The group has vehemently opposed what it regards as Mr. Savage’s “hate speech” toward Muslims, which includes suggestions to “take your religion and shove it” in an unprintable metaphor, “they need deportation,” and that “the Koran is a document of slavery and chattel.” The group was so insistent, Sam’s Club and Sprint quit running advertisements on “Savage Nation” as a result of pressure from the coalition.

While CAIR remains committed to nixing Mr. Savage’s advertisers, it does think Britain’s ban is out of line.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, “Even though we have challenged Michael Savage’s hate speech and even ran an advertising campaign against his show, we still do not back this ban from Britain based on principle, not based on the man himself.”

“We believe freedom of speech is a two-way street …,” he said.

The United Kingdom has barred 101 people from entering the country to date. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told the BBC that Mr. Savage was banned because “this is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country.”

Mr. Savage was among 16 named people (plus six unnamed) added to that list last week.

Weekly wingnuts

CNN has created a new weekly feature with the intent to ridicule the so-called “wingnuts” on both sides of the political aisle.

(Corrected paragraph:) Frequent CNN guest John Avlon will be naming two persons, a conservative and a liberal, Wingnuts of the Week.

“It builds on a simple premise - the far-right and the far-left are equally insane,” Mr. Avlon wrote on CNN.com. “What’s a Wingnut? It’s someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of American politics - the professional partisans and the unhinged activists - the folks who always try to divide rather than unite. In our polarized two-party system, they have disproportionate influence and too often define the terms of debate. With this segment, I’m going to try and take that power back.”

Mr. Avlon’s first inductees were Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Georgia Democrat.

Sadness sells

Elizabeth Edwards’ raw autobiography is a hit.

Her 224-page tome, “Resilience,” is now 11th on Amazon.com’s best-sellers list. It reveals her innermost emotions after learning of the adulterous affair committed by her husband, former Democratic vice-presidential nominee and presidential-primary hopeful John Edwards.

Mrs. Edwards has had no shortage of heartache in her life. She lost her oldest son, Wade, in a fatal car accident in 1996 and was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. “Resilience” is her second memoir. Her first, “Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers,” was published in 2006.

Mrs. Edwards’ latest book tour has been complemented with chat sessions on “Oprah,” ABC’s “The View” and CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

Touche

“There’s not much room for differing interpretations of what [Wanda] Sykes said. She called [Rush] Limbaugh a terrorist and a traitor, suggested that he be tortured and wished him dead … And [President] Obama laughing when someone wishes Limbaugh dead? Hard to take from the man who promised a new era of civility and elevated debate in Washington.”

—Toby Harnden, U.S. editor for the London Daily Telegraph, criticizing Mr. Obama over the White House Correspondents’ dinner.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] times.com.

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