- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An apology

MSNBC “Morning Meeting” anchor Dylan Ratigan apologized to viewers on Monday for using fake, sexy photos of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during a previous broadcast.

During a segment that aired Friday Mr. Ratigan narrated a top 10 list of “why Americans are obsessed with Sarah Palin.” No. 9 on the list was “she’s hot.”

While he read the list, Photoshopped pictures appeared of Mrs. Palin’s face edited onto scantily-clad bodies. In one, she appeared to be wearing a red, white and blue bikini and wielding a rifle. Another showed the “governor” wearing a silky, low-cut blouse, a tight, black miniskirt and heels.

The error was caught by many conservative bloggers, including those at the conservative media tracking Web site Newsbusters.org, who demanded an apology.

They got it on Monday. “On Friday, in a very misguided attempt to have some fun in advance of Palin’s upcoming book, Going Rogue, our staff mistakenly used some clearly Photoshopped images of Ms. Palin without any acknowledgment, and on behalf of the show, I would like to say that this was completely unacceptable. We should have never used those photos in the first place,” Mr. Ratigan said. “I apologize.”

Caffeinated alcohol

The Food and Drug Administration will soon begin a review of caffeinated alcoholic beverages to determine whether the products pose any health risks and whether it’s legal to make them in the first place.

The FDA sent a letter to 30 manufacturers telling them that the agency will soon determine whether caffeinated alcohol is safe to consume and whether beverage makers can lawfully put caffeine in their alcoholic products. “To date, the FDA has only approved caffeine as an additive for use in soft drinks in concentrations of no greater than 200 parts per million,” the FDA said. “It has not approved caffeine for use in any level in alcoholic beverages.”

Anheuser-Busch and the Miller Brewing Company both released short-lived caffeinated beverages, called Tilt, Bud Extra and Sparks, but discontinued them earlier this year. Other caffeinated alcohol drinks still on the market include Smirnoff Raw Tea malt beverage and P.I.N.K. Vodka.

Court-ordered quota

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle ordered a Hammond school board to fill 40 percent of its administrative slots with blacks in a ruling related to a long-standing fight over desegregating Louisiana schools.

Judge Lemelle, appointed by President Clinton, ruled last week that the Tangipahoa Parish School Board must increase the number of black educators in their administrative ranks to satisfy 1970s desegregation rules. The U.S. Census says that just 29 percent of Tangipahoa Parish is black

The judge’s order requires that, until the 40 percent figure is reached, if the superintendent does not recommend a black applicant, written reasons must be sent to a three-person panel - the chief desegregation plan implementation officer, the director of personnel and the minority recruitment officer. That panel may interview the rejected applicant and reverse the superintendent’s recommendation.

The Tangipahoa branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People brought the case.

This is Judge Lemelles second ruling dictating whom the school board may hire. He said the school board also violated desegregation rules in January 2007 by hiring a white football coach over a black applicant, although both were equally qualified. He ordered the board to replace the white coach with the black one in order to bring “overdue compliance.”

Radio hits

The Democratic National Committee is unleashing radio ads in 32 congressional districts that went for President Obama in the 2008 election and are currently held by Republicans, pushing them to support his health care expansion plans.

“Not only did these districts vote for President Obama in 2008, they are also in dire need of comprehensive health reform,” said DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. “These members, and Republican leaders, have read this issue wrong politically. They think the political peril is in voting for reform. We’re putting these folks on notice - the political peril is in siding with big insurance companies and voting against reform.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@


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