March 7th, 2009

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CNBC Jon Stewart Response: "Bizarrely Obsessed" With Santelli

CNBC Jon Stewart Response: "Bizarrely Obsessed" With Santelli

Over at Dealbreaker, Bess Levin's got an on-the-record response from CNBC on the way Jon Stewart's been doing them like garbage bags -- that is, taking them out on a daily basis -- and she's filed it under "worst comeback of all time." I got Bess' back on that one. Basically, CNBC says that Santelli opted out of going on the "Daily Show" because he felt Stewart was "bizarrely obsessed" with him. You know, in the way that he kept trying to "book" him by "calling" him "repeatedly." Yeah, okay. There's also some stuff about how Santelli's "Grecian good looks" came into play here.

Anyway, aside from that response being an exceedingly lame one, let's note the timing. CNBC could have responded quickly to the "Daily Show" by issuing a response yesterday. But this way, they don't have to face the immediate wrath of Stewart and his writers. Pure guts, this CNBC, eh?

CNBC: "It's not my fault you're like, in love with me, or something!" [Dealbreaker]

Hillary Clinton: Eliminating Persecution of Gays is a 'Pillar of our Foreign Policy'

 

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said she simply "had" to take a question from a man wearing an "I Love Hillary" tee at a Q&A session at the European Parliament in Brussels earlier today. And what did this young man want to know? What, exactly, her boss (that would be President Obama) planned to do for gay men and women around the world. Hint: Clinton received a standing ovation at the end of her speech.

Responded Clinton: "Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. In particular, persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something we take very seriously."

A perfect answer, according to the Financial Times' Brussels Blog: "Clinton’s performance was brilliantly executed in that she pitched her message at exactly the level the European audience wanted. They wanted to hear an American talk like a European, and that’s what they got."

As a brief reminder, Clinton:

• Voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which failed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 49-48.
• Supports the repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provision, which her husband enacted as president
• Supports civil unions for gay men and women, to encompass "full equality of benefits [with] nothing left out," but not full gay marriage
• Supports an employee non-discrimination measure that includes sexual orientation

EDIT: Here's video


 

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Saudi men arrested for seeking female writer's autograph

(CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's religious police detained two male novelists for questioning last week after they attempted to get the autograph of a female writer at a book fair in Riyadh, according to local media reports.

According to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan, Abdu Khal and Abdullah Thabet approached female writer Halima Muzfar when they were stopped by police.

Both novelists, who were held for questioning but not charged with a crime, are demanding an apology from the conservative Muslim kingdom's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The commission, feared by many Saudis, is made up of several thousand religious policemen charged with, among other things, enforcement of dress codes, mandatory observance of prayer times and segregation of the sexes.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling in public.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz announced in February a major Cabinet reshuffling in which many hardline conservatives, including the head of the commission, were dismissed and replaced with younger, more moderate members.

The new appointments represented the largest shakeup since King Abdullah took power in 2005, and were welcomed in Saudi Arabia as progressive moves on the part of the king, who is seen by many as a reformer.

One of the writers, Khal, told Al-Watan that he doesn't believe the new leadership endorses actions like those of the commission members who detained him.

"It seems that the relationship between the committee and the intellectuals is based on animosity and hostility and perhaps that is shown from the fashion in which they treated us," he said.

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The Adoption Agency With the Discriminatory Non-Discrimination Policy
 

gayadoption

If an adoption agency doesn't ban gay couples from adopting children, but instead only gives straight couples preference ahead of gay couples, is that really discrimination? Well, if grass is green and Clay Aiken plays for our team …

Then yes, of course it's discrimination.

Butler County Children Services in Ohio says its policy isn't discriminatory, and is just based on research. "Data-wise," says director Michael Fox, "and there's tons of it, kids do better in families when there is a traditional married couple."

The new policy doesn't mean the agency won't use single parents or same-sex couples, Fox said. In fact, he said, the agency usually gives preference to unmarried Butler County foster parents over out-of-county residents, and gives preference to whoever has been taking care of a child in adoption proceedings.

"Without exception, the best interest of the child trumps," Fox said.

And in at least one instance, the Children Services unit did grant two gay dads adoption rights. Michael and Andrew are the proud parents of 2-year-old Grace because Fox's agency approved their upgrade from foster to adoptive parents. Even still, Michael is incensed.

But Michael said he takes it personally, and says it is discrimination. "We will not be contacted until every other avenue has been exhausted," he said.

Michael said he and his partner became foster and adoptive parents two years ago and have had one foster child in addition to their adopted daughter. But despite complaining about children needing foster parents, the agency hasn't placed a child there since September 2007, he said.

[Middletown Journal]
[Queerty]

I'd be curious to see this research myself.
 

K8.

Your Daily 'Duh'

Official: Tsvangirai believes fatal crash was deliberate

 

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's prime minister believes the truck driver that struck his car, killing his wife, deliberately drove toward them, his party told CNN.

Morgan Tsvangirai left hospital Saturday, a day after his wife, Susan, was killed in the accident, officials said.

The couple, who were married in 1978, have six children.

The crash, on a two-lane highway between Tsvangirai's hometown Buhera and the capital Harare, comes only weeks after the start of a power-sharing agreement between Tsvangirai and his political rival, President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai's political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said Friday that it was too early to tell whether the crash was anything other than an accident.

But on Saturday, MDC members told CNN that Tsvangirai thought the crash was deliberate.

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, speaking during a tearful press conference, said Tsvangirai should have had better security.

"If there had been a police escort maybe what happened yesterday could have not have happened," Biti said.

"(A) Police escort would have warned oncoming vehicles of a VIP arriving. I think authorities must understand the omission.

"We hope that this omission will be rectified, that the prime minister must be given the protection that ought to be accorded to a prime minister."

Biti said the MDC would launch its own investigation.
 

Analysts say the crash will raise suspicions of foul play. One former U.S. diplomat called for an outside investigation, saying it was not the first time one of Mugabe's political foes had been killed or injured in a car crash.

Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, took office last month under a power-sharing deal with Mugabe following a contentious election.

The MDC reached the agreement with Mugabe in September after months of angry dispute that included violence. More than 200 deaths, mainly opposition supporters, were reported leading up to and after the election.

"I'm skeptical about any motor vehicle accident in Zimbabwe involving an opposition figure," said Tom McDonald, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1997-2001. "President Mugabe has a history of strange car accidents when someone lo and behold dies -- it's sort of his M.O. of how they get rid of people they don't like." 

McDonald cited the car crash deaths of Defense Minister Moven Mahachi in 2001, Employment Minister Border Gezi in 1999 and Elliot Manyika, a government minister and former regional governor, last year.

"So, when I hear that Tsvangirai was in an accident it gives me pause," McDonald said.

Now an attorney with the Washington law firm Baker Hostetler, he urged a full independent investigation.

However, he added that traffic accidents were common in Zimbabwe. The highway Tsvangirai was traveling on was only two lanes and tractor-trailers were common, McDonald said. Vehicles in the country were often in bad shape and drivers inexperienced.

"It's certainly plausible that this was just one of those tragic things," he said. (harhar)




www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/03/07/zimbabwe.tsvangirai.wife.accident/index.html

:( 


 

Robert K

Mugabe hosts lavish party despite national crisis

CHINHOYI, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was celebrating his 85th birthday with a lavish all-day party Saturday despite the fact that the country is gripped by an economic and health crisis.

President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, attend a cake-cutting ceremony for his birthday Saturday.

President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, attend a cake-cutting ceremony for his birthday Saturday.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said it raised at least $250,000 to hold the party in Mugabe's hometown of Chinhoyi, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) outside of the capital, Harare.

Critics of the president say the country is desperate for that amount of money to be spent instead on its citizens, who are suffering from a cholera outbreak, food shortages, and spiraling hyperinflation. On Friday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited a hospital's closed intensive care unit that he said needed $30,000 to resume operating.

During the celebrations, Mugabe announced that his controversial land reform would not be reversed. The program is designed to have white-owned farms given to blacks, and there have been violent seizures of such farms since the program began in 2000.

He emphasized that the country's "indigenization program" -- which forces all major foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe to have at least 51 percent black ownership -- will be carried out. It began last year and hasn't been implemented yet.

Mugabe's birthday falls on February 21 but his party loyalists postponed the celebrations as they were raising money for the event.

"I think it is going to be a great day for the legend and icon whose birthday we are celebrating today here," said Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, one of the fund-raisers for the birthday. "The country might be having problems, but we need to have a day to honor the sacrifices the president has made for this country."

Zhuwawo said about 100 beasts would be slaughtered for the birthday bash. 

Mugabe also invited schoolchildren from around the country to attend the party, being held at Chinhoyi University.

The farming town of Chinhoyi is usually quiet, but Saturday's event has changed everything. Cars with Mugabe's supporters could be seen hooting and some ZANU-PF supporters sang Mugabe's praises.

A banner in Chinhoyi read, "Age ain't nothing but a number."

Mugabe invited Tsvangirai, his new partner in a power-sharing government, but a Tsvangirai spokesman said the opposition party leader turned it down. He said it is political party function, with most of the attendees being ZANU-PF elite. As the prime minister, Tsvangirai is not obligated to attend, the spokesman said.

The spokesman would not acknowledge whether Tsvangirai had initially agreed to attend, but it was widely reported in Zimbabwean media that he had agreed to do so.

"Mr. Tsvangirai has other commitments, as far as I know," said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.


Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was visiting cholera patients at a hospital in Harare.

Tsvangirai last year said Mugabe's birthday party was "a gathering of the satisfied few." But at that point, he and the president were preparing to face off in a hotly contested presidential election.

As Saturday's celebrations began in a carnival atmosphere, just less than a kilometer (0.62 miles) away stood a deserted Chinhoyi government hospital -- a reflection of the country's dire health situation. A few nurses are attending to patients.

"There are no medicines. These patients have no option but to come here, but there is nothing we can do," said one nurse at the hospital.

On Friday Tsvangirai visited Harare Hospital, one of the country's biggest, and said its intensive care unit will need $30,000 in order to start operating again after a funding shortage.

Once a darling of Zimbabwe, Mugabe is blamed for driving the country into a meltdown.

A cholera epidemic that broke out in August has since hit every corner of the country, killing 3,731 people and infecting nearly 80,000, according to the World Health Organization, which quoted Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health.

The preventable disease has spread through Zimbabwe's 10 provinces through lack of access to clean water, faulty sewage systems, and uncollected refuse, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which released a report this month on the outbreak.

The problems, MSF said, are "clear symptoms of the breakdown in infrastructure resulting from Zimbabwe's political and economic meltdown."

On Sunday, Tsvangirai appealed to the international community to help Zimbabwe's crippled economy, saying it would take $5 billion to stabilize the country.

The cholera outbreak has worsened Zimbabwe's economic crisis. Failed government policies and an acute food shortage because of years of poor agricultural production and widespread corruption have ravaged the currency of Zimbabwe, which has the world's highest inflation rate.

 

www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/02/28/zimbabwe.mugabe.birthday.party/index.html
 
live post on inauguration day 01/09

PLUTO DECLARED PLANET ONCE MORE, GOVERNMENT PWNS SCIENCE!

The government of Illinois, an an obvious attempt to distract America from Blagojevich’s hair, has declared that Pluto is a planet.

RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that as Pluto passes overhead through Illinois’ night skies, that it be reestablished with full planetary status, and that March 13, 2009 be declared “Pluto Day” in the State of Illinois in honor of the date its discovery was announced in 1930.

Thank heavens — so to speak — Pluto doesn’t pass over any other states. That could propagate a Constitutional crisis.

So what would drive the government of a state to go out of its way to do such a ridiculous thing?

WHEREAS, Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, was born on a farm near the Illinois community of Streator

Oh, right, misplaced local pride. They obviously didn’t planet that way. They should have nixed the whole idea.

But OK then, surely they wouldn’t say anything else that brazenly dumb in the resolution, right?

WHEREAS, Dr. Tombaugh is so far the only Illinoisan and only American to ever discover a planet; and

Uh, Illinois legislators. Psssst! Americans have discovered hundreds of planets.

Their confusion is obvious; they thought they were doling out justice, but they got confused because Pluto is just ice.

That’s OK though, Illinois congresscritters. I’m sure there’s nothing else for you to do with all your spare time. But y’know, I hear those pesky Hoosiers next door want to make π equal to 3! Hurry! You can still beat them to it!

astronomy sauce is out of this world
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Button gaffe embarrasses Clinton

Russian media have been poking fun at the US secretary of state over a translation error on a gift she presented to her Russian counterpart.

Hillary Clinton gave Sergei Lavrov a mock "reset" button, symbolising US hopes to mend frayed ties with Moscow.

But he said the word the Americans chose, "peregruzka", meant "overloaded" or "overcharged", rather than "reset".

Daily newspaper Kommersant declared on its front page: "Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton push the wrong button."

Relations between Washington and Moscow have cooled in recent years over Russia's role in the war in Georgia, US support for the entry of Georgia and Ukraine to Nato, and the planned US missile shield based in central Europe.

'Was it right?'

Efforts to heal the rift got off to an awkward start on Friday as the two sides met in Geneva, when Mrs Clinton presented Foreign Minister Lavrov with a green box tied in green ribbon.


“ You got it wrong ”

Sergei Lavrov
Russian foreign minister

As reporters watched, the US secretary of state assured her Russian opposite number her staff had "worked hard" to ensure it was accurate.

"Was it right?" she inquired with a smile.

"You got it wrong," Mr Lavrov responded, also smiling, before pointing out the mistake.

Despite the embarrassment, the two made light of the moment in front of the cameras and pushed the button together to signify a shared hope for better relations.

At a joint news conference after two hours of talks, both joked about the error.

"We reached an agreement on how 'reset' is spelled in both Russian and English - we have no differences between us any more," Mr Lavrov said through an interpreter.

Mrs Clinton put it this way: "The minister corrected our word choice. But in a way, the word that was on the button turns out to be also true.

"We are resetting, and because we are resetting, the minister and I have an 'overload' of work."

The gift was a light-hearted reference to US Vice-President Joe Biden's recent remark that the new US administration wanted to reset ties with Russia after years of friction.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7930047.stm

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Jack Cafferty's infatuation with Michelle Obama continues, nobody is surprised.

Does Michelle Obama Have a Future in Politics?





Earlier this week I wrote this in my column on CNN.com: “First lady Michelle Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It’s like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows.”
Does Michelle Obama have a future in politics?

Mrs. Obama has avoided the appearance of getting involved in policy.

The First Lady recognizes the White House is “the people’s house”, inviting ordinary people, kids, you name it to visit. The nation’s first African-American first lady is also making the rounds among federal agencies — sometimes thousands of government employees line up to see her. She has visited schools in the district and yesterday she went to a soup kitchen.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that a recent poll shows Michelle Obama has the highest initial favorable rating of first ladies going back to Nancy Reagan.

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Here’s my question to you: Does Michelle Obama have a future in politics if she wants one?

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What do you think, ontd_p?

Britain and the US will forever be biffles because we speak the same language





When President Obama removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, the message was clear – the relationship with Britain is no longer as special as it used to be.

But then Gordon Brown addressed the US Congress and was given 19 standing ovations.

And, unlike the last British Prime Minister to get that, he didn’t even have to give them custody of our armed forces.

What red-blooded Brit could fail to feel proud of Gordon Brown as he so gloriously cracked America?

It made Obama’s coolness – “He’s just not that into you,” sniffed one commentator - almost irrelevant.

But Britain’s relationship with the US goes way beyond the chumminess of the current President and Prime Minister.

We have ties of history, culture and – not least – language. These things count. The lack of a common language is why the EU will ultimately fail. “People think it is fatuous to talk about sharing a common language,” said one diplomat recently. “But it can make a hell of a difference when you are negotiating at the UN or Nato or the IMF. There’s just a level of understanding that you don’t have with others.”

It also matters, somewhere deep in our collective memory, that Britain and America have been allies for hundreds of years while we have fought bitter wars with almost everyone else.

The liberation of Europe in 1945 would have been impossible without the blood sacrifice of America. And if we ever get out of the black hole we are in today, it will be because we are allies still. Gordon Brown’s speech reminded us that the special relationship still exists – and always will – for as long as both nations cherish freedom, democracy and Led Zeppelin.

Obama is not going to suddenly fall in love with the UK. He is the son of a black African father born in colonial Kenya and it does not seem to matter that he hardly knew his dad.

He carries the wounds and resentment of someone who has experienced colonialism, and its implicit racism.

If Obama’s relationship with Brown is not quite the love fest that Blair had with Clinton and Bush – and would have had with Pol Pot were Pot the American President – then that is just fine.

It was embarrassing to see Blair licking the cowboy boots of whoever was in the Oval Office. It was obscene the way he put this country’s armed forces at the beck and call of a half-wit President.

It is a national disgrace that the Labour Party, Parliament and British people were conned into the Iraq war because the liar Blair wanted to suck up to the States. Sticking your head up someone’s bottom does not constitute a special relationship.

If Obama and Brown have a cooler bond then that will be healthier for both countries. Brown is no one’s poodle.

The irony is that he has always been more genuinely pro-American than Blair.

Brown has a real love for America whereas Blair – with his speeches in French, freebie villas in Tuscany and threats to take Britain to the heart of Europe – always leaned towards our continental cousins. So it was right that Brown was the first European leader to address Obama’s America.

Who else could it be? That scary German lady? That strutting little Frenchman, trying to impress the ladies with his stamp collection?

For too long Blair’s Britain trailed around like the playground weed trying to ingratiate itself with the school bully.

It was pathetic. Now it’s over.

The relationship between Brown and Obama will be built on mutual interests, common goals and a shared history.

Obama may never learn to love Britain but he will learn that America has no better friend in the world.

Gordon Brown deserved that rapturous reception. He spoke with a clear-eyed love of America.

But he wasn’t afraid to tell them some hard facts. Brown showed bravery just bringing up the thorny subject of free trade and you might have noticed that they didn’t clap that bit.

Protectionism would be the ruin of the free world, Brown insisted, and Obama has already revealed a dangerous taste for it. American jobs for American workers, Gordon?

How could they even think of such a thing?



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Tonya Harding Slams Barack Obama: "He Has To Bring Me Up?!"

During an interview with HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Tonya Harding verbally slams Barack Obama for using her name to get across a few points.
At one event in 2007 Obama said:
"Folks said there's no way Obama has a chance unless he goes and kneecaps the person ahead of us, does a Tonya Harding," Obama joked, referring to the female skating champion who conspired to harm a competitor during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

"We decided that's not the kind of campaign we wanted to run," he said.


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♪ Under pressure ♪

Specter has ‘strong incentive’ to leave the Republican Party.



With former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who currently heads the right-wing Club for Growth, announcing that he will challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) in a primary battle for his Senate seat in 2010, The Hill is reporting that Specter now has a “strong incentive to abandon his party this year.

Specter barely beat Toomey in 2004 and 2010 looks to be a much tougher fight:
Pennsylvania political experts say that Specter would likely face a more difficult challenge in 2010 because the Republican primary electorate in Pennsylvania has become more conservative.

“I think he has a lot of problems,” said Terry Madonna, a professor of political science at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. “I think this is the test of lifetime.”

Madonna estimated that between 150,000 to 200,000 centrist Republicans switched registration to the Democratic Party in the 2008 election cycle, leaving the remaining GOP electorate more conservative.
If Specter were to lose to Toomey in the primary, he would not be able to run as an independent under Pennsylvania election law.

Source

Downside: this keeps an actual Pennsylvania Democrat from running.
Upside: More GOP drama! More! MORE!
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NYTimes: The Little Mr. Conservative

08convservative_600
SITTING in the back seat of his mother’s van as she drives through Atlanta suburbs, Jonathan Krohn is about to sign off with a conservative radio talk show host in Florida. In the 40 minutes he’s been on the air, with the help of his mother’s cellphone, this hyper-articulate Georgia eighth grader has attacked the stimulus bill, identified leaders he thinks will salvage the Republican Party’s image, and assessed the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The show’s host chuckles and asks whether President Obama has called Jonathan “a little fascist.”

“The president hasn’t come after me yet,” Jonathan says chummily, “but we’ve had other people come after me!”

“Jonathan!” his mother hisses from the driver’s seat.

The interview concluded, Jonathan wistfully handed his mother her cellphone. His parents still won’t let him have one, even though he turned 14 last Sunday, right after he became an instant news media darling and the conservative movement’s underage graybeard at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

The annual convention brings in the movement’s grand old lions, like Rush Limbaugh, as well as cubs to rally 8,500 of the faithful, who were shaken by the election of Barack Obama. Jonathan, a slight, home-schooled only child whose teeth are in braces, is so passionate about his beliefs that he spent his summer writing “Define Conservatism,” an 86-page book outlining what he says are its core values. In January, he contacted CPAC organizers, asking to speak there.

With some skepticism, they gave him a spot on a Friday panel of grassroots activists. But Jonathan, an experienced child actor, rocked the house with a three-minute speech, which was remarkable not so much for what he said, but his electrifying delivery. The speech was part pep talk, part book promotion. By Saturday morning, an archdeacon of the movement was saying, “I’m Bill Bennett: I used to work for Ronald Reagan and now I’m a colleague of Jonathan Krohn’s!”

As video of the speech coursed through the Internet, radio talk show hosts and television reporters at the conference sought him eagerly.

In less than a week, Jonathan appeared on “Fox and Friends” and CNN, and broadcast network anchors requested interviews. He has lost count of the number of radio shows he has spoken on. Though his family has received hate mail, accusing them of brainwashing their son, a Jonathan Krohn fan club has sprung up on Facebook. High honors: Jon Stewart has already poked fun at him.

And the invitations have only snowballed since the family returned to their modest house in a subdivision here.

Why just that morning, his mother, Marla Krohn, marveled, a staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor asked for a meeting with Jonathan. In her gentle drawl, Mrs. Krohn said cautiously, “I’m not sure I’m a supporter of his.”

“Neither am I,” Jonathan piped in.

“But I’m a voter,” Mrs. Krohn reminded him firmly.

Jonathan retorted, “Now that I’m a political pundit, I have the ability to influence people. I have to think about it!”

But first, his mother reminded him, he had some homework to finish.

He’s an unusual kid with an unusual background. Jonathan’s parents, Doug, a computer systems integrator, and Marla, a sales representative and former actress who teaches drama and speech to middle-school students, have been home-schooling their bright, curious son since the sixth grade. On Fridays, Jonathan joins 10 middle-school students at the Classical School in Woodstock, where classes are taught from a Christian perspective, for five hours of study, including Latin. They have two 10-minute recesses for tag, said Jonathan’s teacher, Stephen P. Gilchrist. Lunch is eaten at their desks while they work.

“Other children his age are not quite sure how to take him,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “Jonathan is so intense, so verbal and a strong personality. But as they get to know him, they respect him for what he is. And he is tons of fun.”

Jonathan’s father oversees his math; he studies Arabic with a tutor.

“Before I got into politics,” Jonathan said as he sat with his parents in the study of their home, “I wanted to be a missionary to people in the Middle East. I thought it would be better to speak with them in their own language.” The family are active members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, Ga.

That was several careers ago. But he is sticking with Arabic, because, “it’s important to talk with our allies in their language.”

Although the Krohns are conservative, they say Jonathan’s passion for politics is largely his. “Politics bore me,” his mother said flatly. “I’ve learned a lot from Jonathan about the candidates I’ve voted for.” Doug Krohn said he listened to talk radio, but with his Iowa-born soft-sell manner, he’s hardly the pontificating firebrand his son is.

Jonathan said he became a political enthusiast at 8, after hearing about a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations. “I thought, ‘Who goes to work saying, ‘I’m going to filibuster today?’ ” he said.

Mr. Krohn, looking bleary-eyed by recent events, muttered, “And now he can filibuster with the best of them.”

Jonathan would wake up at 6 a.m. to listen to Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show and became riveted by politics and American history. Soon, Mr. Bennett, whom Jonathan now describes as, “my mentor and very good friend,” was taking Jonathan’s calls.

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source: NYTimes
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Limbaugh's Audience Size? It's Largely Up in the Air

Limbaugh's Audience Size? It's Largely Up in the Air

How many people actually listen to Rush Limbaugh, the radio talk titan White House officials have spent the past week characterizing as "the head of the Republican Party"?

According to what Limbaugh delights in calling "the drive-by media," the number varies wildly. Is it 30 million (Pat Buchanan on MSNBC), 20 million (Time magazine, ABC News), 19 million (Fox News), 14 million (CNN), or "14.2 million to about 25 million" (The Washington Post)?

Answer: Maybe.
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Steele pushes back; rivals gripe

Steele pushes back; rivals gripe

With Republican criticism of Michael Steele intensifying following his dust-up earlier this week with Rush Limbaugh, the new Republican National Committee chairman’s high command is moving to rebut claims that he’s not up to leading the party.


The RNC announced Thursday that it would transfer $1 million apiece to the cash-hungry National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee—contributions that could buy Steele good will among party operatives and GOP members of Congress.
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Republican Greg Ball Finds Dead Goat With Note Attached Outside His Home

A state assemblyman said he found a dead goat outside his suburban New York home and believes it represents a death threat against him. Republican Greg Ball said Friday he has been battling corruption in Putnam County and believes the threat comes from "entrenched interests" he would not name. State Police Sgt. Ted Daley says the incident is under investigation. He would not comment on any threat.

Ball said he found the goat Wednesday night with a sign around the animal's neck that said "Viva MS-13," designating a gang made up largely of Central American immigrants. Ball is a vocal opponent of illegal immigration but said he doubts MS-13 is the source.

Ball has expressed interest in running for Congress.

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