Monday, October 04, 2010


On Saturday October, 2nd, the One Nation Rally took place in Washington D.C. at the National Mall. The rally was formed by democrats looking to rival the rally held by conservative Glenn Beck. There are no official One Nation Rally attendance numbers that have been released, and more than likely there won’t be any.

However, crowd estimates by a non-partisan satellite company said there was approximately 87,000 people in attendance at the event. The One Nation Rally organizers put the number closer to 200,000 but most people that were there probably would not agree with these totals.

The Glenn Beck Rally which was held on August 28th, by Beck’s estimates had close to 500,000 people in attendance. This number appears to obviously be inaccurate. However, from talking to people that were on hand at both rallies, the Glenn Beck Rally was a lot more crowded. We don’t even know for sure what the numbers were at either rally, and probably won’t ever find out. It is quite obvious that conservatives will say that Beck’s rally had a larger crowd, while liberals will more than likely side with the crowds at the One Nation Rally.

Does it really matter?

SLIMEBALL #2 for today! Blame it on VIAGRA!!

Ga. Federal Judge Arrested on Drug, Gun Charges
Federal judge in Georgia faces drug and firearms charges after exotic dancer tips authorities

A veteran federal judge faces drug and firearms charges after an exotic dancer at an Atlanta strip club told authorities he used cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs with her.

Senior U.S. District Judge Jack T. Camp was arrested Friday minutes after he handed an undercover law enforcement agent $160 for cocaine and Roxycodone, a narcotic pain medication, that he intended to use with the exotic dancer, authorities said in a court document released Monday. They said they also found two firearms in the front seat of his vehicle.

Camp, 67, who has presided over some high-profile cases, was released Monday on a $50,000 bond. His attorney, William Morrison, said after a brief hearing that the judge intends to plead not guilty. Morrison said Camp would probably take a leave of absence and would not preside over any more cases until the charges are resolved.

"This is really a case between Judge Camp and his wife," said Morrison. "It's not about Judge Camp being a judge. It's about him being a husband."

Camp's arrest set up an unusual domino effect in the federal courthouse. The district's federal judges all recused themselves, so Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody of Alabama was brought in to hear the case. Federal prosecutors from Washington also flew in to handle the government's arguments.

The charges against Camp were laid out in a shocking eight-page affidavit released after the emergency hearing was finished.

Camp met the confidential informant, who recently began cooperating with the FBI, at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta in early 2010 and he soon began paying her for sex and buying cocaine from her at $40 to $50 a pop, according to the records.

In June 2010, Camp followed the informant to a drug dealer in Marietta to buy Roxycodone. He was also recorded in a wiretapped telephone call on Sept. 28 talking with her about getting together over the weekend to split more pills and cocaine with her, according to the charges.

He showed up at a Publix parking lot in northeast Atlanta around 7:15 p.m. Friday to meet with the an undercover agent posing as the dealer. When the informant told her she was worried about his safety, the judge told her, "I not only have my little pistol, I've got my big pistol so, uh, we'll take care of any problems that come up," according to the affidavit.

He handed over $160 in cash to pay for the drugs around 7:35 p.m. Ten minutes later, authorities arrested the judge and seized the two guns from the front seat of his vehicle.

The judge faces four drug-related charges and one count of possessing firearms while illegally using drugs.

It's a stunning turn for Camp, a Vietnam War veteran who was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987. He is a former chief judge for the Northern District of Georgia.

Known for wearing suspenders around the courtroom, he handled hundreds of cases before taking senior status and a lesser caseload in 2008.

In 2004, he sentenced two men accused of killing DeKalb County Sheriff Derwin Brown to life in prison without parole. He also handled litigation from voting rights groups who sought to block Georgia from asking new voters to prove their identities and citizenship before casting their ballots.

The judge also handled several high-profile drug cases, including the May 2009 sentencing on prescription-related charges of the personal doctor to a professional wrestler who killed himself, his wife and their 7-year-old son.

Camp, wearing a pinstripe suit, said little during the brief hearing Monday but turned to flash a smile at his family after he walked in. He hired four defense attorneys over the weekend to represent him, and Morrison said his client was in "good spirits."

"Judge Camp's wife is an extraordinarily strong woman and she's going to stand by her husband," said Morrison. "And this is a very strong man. He's going to overcome these circumstances."

The Associated Press

SLIMEBALL! Like this is first time he's been found out!!

'Sexting' DA Quits, Says He Will Return a 'Better Person'
Calumet County, Wis., DA. Kenneth Kratz Accused of Sending Sexually Explicit Texts to Women Involved in Cases

The Wisconsin district attorney accused of "sexting" women involved in cases he was prosecuting has officially resigned from office and apologized for the "embarrassment and shame" he's brought to his family.

"It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce my resignation as Calumet County District Attorney, effective immediately," Calument County District Attorney Ken Kratz said in a letter announcing the move. "I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career."

An official with the Calumet County District Attorney's office confirmed the resignation to ABC News.

"I offer a sincere apology to my wife, son and entire family for the embarrassment and shame I have caused," Kratz said in the letter. "They remain supportive of my efforts to seek professional help, and I will be a better person as a result."

Kratz said his treatment is taking place in another state, but that he plans to return to Wisconsin and "resume [his] legal career." He also said he would return from treatment "a better person."

Kratz had initially fought pressure to resign for two weeks after the allegations of sexual harassment were first made public in September, but recently announced that he would step down before the Oct. 8 court hearing that could have forced his removal.

The first of what would become five accusations against Kratz came to light Sept. 15 when The Associated Press published several text messages from Kratz to Stephanie Van Groll, the victim in a domestic violence case Kratz was trying in the fall of 2009. Van Groll, 26, went to police after she received the texts from Kratz, messages in which he called her a "tall, young, hot nymph" and asked whether she is "the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."

DA Sends 30 Texts to Domestic Violence Victim, Others Also Claim Harassment
Kratz, 50, admitted to texting Van Groll and offered his "sincere and heartfelt apology" at a news conference days after the news broke. He also said he had already begun psychotherapy to address the "selfishness" and "arrogance" that led to him contact Van Groll.

"My behavior was inappropriate," Kratz said then. "I'm embarrassed and ashamed for the choices that I made, and the fault was mine alone."

Van Groll told state investigators that the first text message from Kratz came 10 minutes after she'd left his office in October 2009, following a meeting at which she detailed the abuse that her boyfriend had inflicted.

Over two days, 29 more messages from Kratz followed, increasing in suggestiveness and at times taking a threatening tone.

Investigators reported that Van Groll felt "afraid that if she doesn't do what he wants, Kratz will throw out her whole case."

A second woman came forward early last week to claim similar harassment, saying Kratz had offered to let her attend an autopsy. In an e-mail written to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, the woman claimed to have met Kratz online in December 2009. On a dinner date, the woman alleged, Kratz divulged to her the details of an ongoing murder investigation in which a woman was believed to have been killed by her boyfriend.

A few days later, a third woman came forward to claim she, too, had been harassed via text message by Kratz.

Maria Ruskiewicz told the AP she met Kratz in 2008 about a previous drug case. Ruskiewicz said that after she left the meeting, she received several texts from Kratz that escalated into sexual harassment.

"The reason ... I'm coming forward is he abuses his power, not only with women, but with women in certain situations who are extremely vulnerable to his authority," Ruskiewicz, 31, an Appleton, Wis., native, told The Associated Press in late September.

In the week that followed, another two women leveled similar accusations, ABC New's Wisconsin affiliate WBAY reported.

Doyle, the governor, a former district attorney and state attorney general, began proceedings to investigate the complaints, a process that could have concluded with Kratz's forcible removal.

The investigation into Kratz's alleged harassment will continue whether he is in office or not, one investigator told WBAY.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Only in America. The N R A is so PROUD! Keeping yourselfs!!

2 Killed, 5 Wounded in Gainesville Shooting Spree
Police: 2 killed, 5 wounded in Gainesville, Fla., shooting spree; suspect not at large

A gunman driving around Gainesville in a red pickup truck went on a shooting spree Monday afternoon, leaving two people dead and five others wounded, police said.

Police originally told The Gainesville Sun that the gunman was among those shot but later would only tell The Associated Press that he was no longer at large.

The gunman shot seemingly unrelated people, starting around 4 p.m., Gainesville police Cpl. Tscharna Senn said. Five people were shot within city limits, while the other two were shot in Alachua County, Senn said.

There was no immediate motive for the shootings.

"We have no idea right now, absolutely none," Senn told the Gainesville Sun. "It appears to be random."

Senn would not tell the AP whether the suspect was dead, wounded or arrested.

Gainesville Police Capt. Ed Book told the Sun earlier that the suspect had been pulled over and shot himself.

"We believe we're with the suspect and the vehicle, and there is no one out there running around," Book said earlier.

The wounded were being taken to Shands Hospital, where family members were gathering.

Gainesville, which is in the north-central part of the state, is home to the University of Florida. There was no immediate link between the school and the shooting.

The Associated Press.

"Repeal and Replace." With WHAT! How about single payers systems that work well around the world and the USA.( VA & MEDICARE)

Win or lose, Republicans to target new health-care law after November elections

"Repeal and Replace." That's what Republicans are saying about the new health-care law as they look toward the Nov. 2 midterm elections. If they win the House, and possibly the Senate, they say, among their top priorities will be to undo President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

"I am committed to doing everything that I can do . . . to prevent 'Obamacare' from being implemented," vowed House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) at a recent news conference, adding, "Now, when I say everything, I mean everything."

But even in the unlikely event that an outright repeal bill could withstand a filibuster in the Senate, there is little doubt that Obama would veto it. The odds that Republicans will win a veto-proof majority in November are generally considered slim to nil.

With a few exceptions, Republican fallback plans to target discrete provisions of the law for piecemeal elimination seem similarly doomed.

So does all this talk of rolling back the law amount to mere sloganeering?

Not necessarily. But at least during the next Congress, the true battle will probably be fought at the margins, over initiatives Republicans are planning in order to slow or disrupt the administration's preparations for 2014, when the most far-reaching provisions of the new law will begin.

Perhaps even more important for the long term, Republicans hope to hold oversight hearings aimed at laying the groundwork for a broad-based public repudiation of the law. That could give them the political momentum to overturn it if they can retake the presidency in 2012.

"If we can do it in one fell swoop, great. But if it needs to be a multi-step process, that's how we'll do it," Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee and likely chairman of that panel if the GOP takes over, said in an interview.

In the short run, Congress's power of the purse may offer Republicans some of the most promising opportunities. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that over the next 10 years, the administrative costs of implementation could run from $5 billion to $10 billion each for the Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department - costs that could require budget increases.

Republicans say they would try to deny any additional money Obama requests for implementation over the next two years, either by refusing to include it in the appropriations bill covering each agency or by tightening their overall budgets.

A related tactic would be to include language in the measures that prohibits the use of funding to implement the health-care law in general or particular aspects of it, such as the requirement that virtually everyone buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

The president and Democrats in Congress have vowed to push back. And interviews with Republican members of Congress, staff members and conservative lobbyists suggest that their opinions vary about the likelihood of their prevailing in such a showdown.

Several predicted a standoff similar to the 1995 federal government shutdown that resulted when President Bill Clinton and the majority-Republican Congress could not agree on a budget. But some said privately that they are not eager to try a repeat.

Others questioned whether it would come to that, noting that spending bills always involve horse-trading between the president and Congress.

As one Republican congressional staff member put it: "It's going to be hard for the president to veto a bill that funds his own administration. . . . He's going to have to make a difficult choice of putting his signature on something he doesn't 100 percent agree with or forfeiting everything."

Mark B. McClellan of the Brookings Institution, who ran Medicare and Medicaid under President George W. Bush, agreed. "The president may not get all that he wants in terms of implementation funding. But it may not be worth the political fight of holding up an entire appropriations bill," he said.

The impact under that scenario is difficult to predict. So far, HHS and the IRS have managed to make do with existing budgets. That's noteworthy, considering that HHS has already hired several hundred new employees, written regulations to translate the law's broad brushes into fine print and disbursed grants to help states begin establishing the state-based "exchanges," or insurance markets through which many Americans can buy coverage after 2014.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said much of the money that will be needed over the next two years will go to short-term bridge programs to help cover particular groups, such as early retirees and people with preexisting medical conditions, that would be politically difficult to de-fund. Only a small share of what will be needed from the next Congress will be for the administrative cost of implementation. So even if her agency were not fully funded by the next Congress, it could continue erecting the law's architecture.

"I've been a governor in tight budget times, and you do what you can with what you have," the former Kansas governor said at a breakfast with journalists last Thursday.

But she added that "the states, certainly, are counting on resources to set up these new marketplaces, and absent those resources, that will be difficult."

Several conservative analysts were less sanguine, noting that the law requires HHS to assess the readiness of states to run exchanges by 2013 and to be prepared to step in with a federal version in case any states are lacking.

Similarly, they said, by 2014 the Treasury Department must have a system in place for identifying the millions of Americans eligible to receive federal subsidies that the law will provide to help them buy insurance.

"I don't think you can underestimate how much needs be done by 2013, and it's very hard to do that at the last minute," McClellan said. "It could materially impact the implementation of the law if there isn't adequate funding for these activities."

Still, for all the legislative battles that might ensue, many contend that the more lasting effect of the election could be the opportunity it could give Republicans to hold hearings showcasing any downsides to the law. That could include spotlighting business owners who say they are hiring fewer workers because they cannot afford to offer the health insurance that the law mandates, or people who say their premiums skyrocketed because their insurer has been required to offer broader protections.

"If they can show the effect of the law and then tie it back to the state of the economy, I think that would be a pretty devastating one-two punch," said David Merritt, health policy adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign who is currently with the Gingrich Group, a consulting firm founded by former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

Washington Post

Angle unplugged?Sure sounds like a down-and-dirty trick! It's OK with me a fight between two simplistic wackos!

Angle unplugged
Secretly recording a United States Senate candidate?

That sure sounds like a down-and-dirty trick.

And while Sharron Angle says some mildly embarrassing things in her conversation with a tea party candidate in Nevada, I'm not sure it hurts her. Why? Because many voters will probably sympathize with her over the surreptitious taping.

Angle says, for example, "The Republicans have lost their standards, they've lost their principles. ... Really that's why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me. ... They have never really gone along with lower taxes and less government."

And why would she be full of praise for the GOP? The party establishment lined up behind her primary opponent, Sue Lowden. If anything, the leaked remarks will probably help her in the race against Harry Reid among those who are fed up with both parties.

Angle is trying to persuade candidate Scott Ashijan to drop out and support her. Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun obtained the tape of their conversation, which he has posted. Ralston writes:

"Angle expresses disdain for the national GOP, which she says she now has 'in a box' because she won the primary, which caused the DC types after her June 8 victory to still be 'moaning and groaning and weeping and gnashing teeth over Sue Lowden.' Later, she tries to persuade Ashjian to endorse her because she will have 'juice' he can tap into to get access to Sens. Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell."

Ralston's take is that Angle will now be seen as a dealmaker because she's, uh, angling for support from Ashijan, who wants her to engineer an apology from the Tea Party Express for past attacks on him.

Angle tells her rival that "you have tapped into it, the essence of America ... and the essence of America is we are tired of politics as usual. ... Only thing that's different between you and I is I guess I was pragmatic enough to know ... that third parties can't get traction. ... So I said all right, I'll work with it. Just show me what the rules are and I'll work with it...the rules are there are Democrats and I moved myself up within the Republican ranks....They have no choice, I'm the only game in town. ... There was no one more shocked than they were when I won that primary."

And there's this admission of weakness: "I need your help to defeat Harry Reid. I can't do this. ..."

Sure, it was political malpractice for Angle to take the meeting. Aren't these things usually done through intermediaries, so the candidate has deniability?

But she obviously never expected to be taped. Maybe the skulduggery causes her some short-term heartburn, but it says a whole lot more about tea party tactics.

By Howard Kurtz CNN

Too early to buy stock in TOSHIBA?

Toshiba Unveils Glasses-Free 3D TV

Don’t get too excited: Toshiba unveiled the world’s first glasses-free 3D television on Monday, but it doesn’t sound too pleasant. Viewers will have to sit within an optimal viewing zone in order for the 3D to take effect; the televisions are pretty small at 12 inches and 20 inches; and viewers are suggested to sit mere feet away from the screen. The technology is similar to that of the Nintendo 3DS. They’ll go on sale in Japan in December; there was no announcement about overseas availability.

Read it at Associated Press

Layoffs Lead to Near-Record Profits! SO WHO HAS THE SOLUTION TO CREATE JOBS? Liberals say GOV Conservatives BIZ! Who is right?

Does this at least mean big holiday bonuses for those people who still have jobs? The Wall Street Journal says that U.S. companies will soon post their sixth-highest quarterly profit ever in large part because of the money they've saved by laying off workers and cutting other costs. "Big companies are recovering from the downturn faster and more strongly than the overall economy," the Journal says. Companies on the S&P 500 posted second-quarter profits of $189 billion, up 38 percent from 2009.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal

Faking It? New Sex Study May Rat You Out

Sex Survey Finds Surprising Changes Between the Sheets in America

"When Harry Met Sally" is a movie classic, and its infamous faked orgasm scene still resonates with couples.

Now, an Indiana University survey has come along to put some confirming data on the faked orgasm phenomenon. Published today in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the survey found that 85 percent of men said their partners climaxed during the most recent sex act, while 64 percent of women reported they actually did.

"There's this massive gap between men's perception and women's reality," says Debby Herbenick, co-author of the research and associate director at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the university. "It shows a lack of communication between partners, either by women faking it, or by men not asking or noticing if their partner [climaxed]."

The survey, which drew on data from nearly 6,000 participants between the ages of 14 and 94, covered a wide range of sexual behaviors, sexual health practices and sexual perceptions, and according to the center, it was the largest nationally representative survey on sexual health ever performed.

It's worth noting, however, that the survey was sponsored by the makers of Trojan condoms, which had some influence over the design of questions, particularly those covering condom use.

"Our primary goal was to capture contemporary sexual behavior. One of the frustrating things in sexual research up to this point is that the best data is from the early 1990s, and a lot has obviously changed since then," says Herbenick.

The new research offers a glimpse of what's going on between the sheets for Americans today and provides not only a wide range of information on sexual behavior but also how these behaviors shift over time.

As for the perceptual gap regarding female orgasm, this finding confirms past research on the subject, as well as cultural perceptions, says sex expert Pepper Schwartz.

"I think its a combination of people being too embarrassed to work out an issue or too careful about shaking up the system by giving accurate feedback. Men take a lot of pride in 'giving' a woman an orgasm ... so in the beginning, faking it could be about encouragement."

The Wide World of Getting It On
Teens are doing it, octogenarians are doing it, and if this national survey shows anything, it's that everyone's getting it on in one way or another. Some of the most striking findings among the Indiana University team had to do with the prevalence of certain sexual behaviors that had not been as frequently revealed in previous data. For instance, in the new survey, it was found that men performed oral sex almost as frequently as they received it, says Michael Reece, co-author of the study and faculty member at the Kinsey Institute.

"It hasn't really been part of our cultural script for a while, this idea that men are giving oral sex close to the amount that they receive it, but it looks like that's really changing," he says.

Flying Solo
Reece also believes that the survey's masturbation data for men, which show frequent solo masturbation throughout life, should help dispel some anxieties. "It's a normalizing thing for society to realize how prevalent it is," he says.

For most men of almost all ages, the percent who had pleasured themselves in the past month hovered around 60 percent, a number that declined to about 30 percent for those over 70.

"If I've heard that once from women, I've heard it a thousand times: "Why does he have to do that? Why aren't I enough?" says Schwartz, who is a professor of sociology at the University of Washington. "I try to tell them that you can like a five-course meal, but sometimes you want a snack. Wanting to [masturbate] says nothing about the quality or sexiness of the relationship, and these stats are a great way to say, 'See, it's OK.'"

Women were slightly less likely to give themselves a hand at any given point during their lives but still masturbated in substantial numbers. Nearly half of women in their 20s had masturbated alone in the past month, and this prevalence declined slowly to 20 percent for women in their 60s.

Calling in Sexual Backup
Anal sex was another big surprise for researchers, with many more survey participants, especially those in long-term, committed relationships, incorporating this sexual practice into their bedroom lives.

"In the early 1990s, about 20 to 25 percent of people had reported ever having anal sex," Herbenick says, "but now we find as much as 40 percent, and more than that for men and women in their 20s and 30s."

On the surface this stat shows that many couples are experimenting more and widening their sexual repertoire, Schwartz says, but it also highlights the need for more public health education about this sexual practice.

"If you're interested in experimentation, sooner or later you get to the anus. It's a sexy place, but it's a dangerous place as well and can increase the risk for bacterial, viral and sexually transmitted infections when incorporated into sex."

Those in the public health sphere "can't afford to be prissy about it," says Schwartz, "because it's not everyone's favorite thing to talk about."

Changing Landscape of Sex
So what has changed in America to influence some of these shifts in sexual behavior? Researchers can only speculate for now, but Herbenick says that the Internet plays an obvious role in how Americans perceive and become educated about sex.

Easier access to pornography as well as accurate and inaccurate information on sexual practices online has blown open the discussion of sex, allowing those young and old to learn about different sexual practices and techniques, and to learn more about sexual health. What was once relegated to a gym class "facts of life" discussion is now readily available (with pictures and possibly video) online, she says.

That doesn't mean this country doesn't need better public health education about sex, experts say. More people are using condoms, for example, but they still play a part in only one in three sexual acts, and many of those remaining two acts could benefit from condom use, Reece says. There are still many lessons yet to be learned about proper safety and communication during sex.


Glenn & Keith should remember my moto during over 40 years as a broadcaster. DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR OWN BULLSHIT!

Glenn Beck Bombs in Jersey

Maybe he’s not quite the conservative pied piper he’s made out to be? Glenn Beck began his “Restoring America” tour Saturday to a crowd of just 700 at a New Jersey Six Flags. Attendees paid $50 (or $125 for VIP treatment) to see the Fox News host and other conservatives speak over six hours. This event didn’t benefit from the weeks of marketing that helped bring 100,000 people to Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall in August, and it had far less planning. The crowd didn’t come close to filling the arena, which has a capacity to hold 8,000. He’ll make many such appearances across the country until the November midterm elections.

Read it at APP

Keith Olbermann’s Eccentricities

The new issue of New York Magazine has a long piece about network news, but it's worth skipping to the bits about Keith Olbermann. Author Gabriel Sherman notes that Olbermann takes “eccentricities to extremes.” According to one story, Olbermann has instructed producers to communicate with him by leaving paper notes in a small box outside his office. According to another, he once blew up at David Shuster after he tweeted that he’d be filling in for Olbermann on Countdown because Olbermann was sick. An executive producer later told Shuster that there’s a rule against tweeting about Olbermann. He also talks trash on one of his nemeses, Dan Abrams, the former general manager of MSNBC. “Dan never really ran it,” Olbermann says. “He’s always tried to ride my coattails.” According to Sherman, Abrams wanted to rebrand MSNBC with the tagline, “MSNBC: Keepin’ It Real.”

Read it at New York Magazine

'Smallish-town girl' hits cable

Americans already know far more about Eliot Spitzer than they probably want to. But Kathleen Parker, co-host with the former New York governor in a new CNN show that debuts Monday night, is something of a mystery.

Despite Parker’s recent Pulitzer and a widely-syndicated column, the name recognition gap is sizeable enough that Parker teasingly called Spitzer out for it during a joint appearance on “Larry King Live” last week to promote their new show, “Parker Spitzer.”

“You didn’t ask him what he thought when he heard it was me,” she said to King, talking about the show’s origins. “He’d never heard of me.”

Spitzer protested, though not particularly convincingly.

But the exchange showed the extent to which Parker wears her outsider status like a badge – or, more accurately, like a string of Southern lady’s pearls. (In a recent column about having moved, for the show, from Camden, S.C., to New York, she described herself as “a smallish-town girl come to the humongous city,” who looked on the bureaucracy required for high-density living as “a fresh sort of hell.”)

And no wonder. It has been essential to her rapid rise over the past five years.

Having spent most of her life in the South, the 59-year-old Parker has honed in her columns a highly literary but folksy bluntness that works best when taking on the excesses of feminism and the coastal elites. Wrapped up in this contrarian posture are many conservative ideas — about the role of women in combat, for instance, or the dangers of federal government overreach in healthcare – that have helped brand her as a conservative.

But she has no particular coziness with Republican power structures (and in fact, as she told King, is not a registered Republican), and wrote her most famous column calling Sarah Palin “clearly out of her league” and calling for her to step down from the GOP vice presidential ticket in 2008.

That the Pulitzer Prize followed so soon afterwards was hardly a coincidence, Parker herself suggested in a call-in on “Morning Joe” the morning after her win last April. “It’s only because I’m a conservative basher that I’m now recognized after 23 years of toiling in the fields, right?”

Growing up in Winter Haven, Fla., Kathleen O’Connor was the daughter of a World War II bomber pilot who became an attorney and then, after Kathleen’s mother died when she was three, a serial husband, marrying four more times.

“I was primarily raised by him in a male environment, or a male-rich environment,” she says. “I knew how to do guy things, like shoot a gun. It was a pretty no-frills life, and my dad worried that I didn’t know enough about my feminine side.”

Politically, Parker describes a “classically liberal environment,” though her brother Jack O’Connor, who fought as a Marine in Vietnam, describes their father as “a staunch conservative.”

This difference may speak to the way these political categories have shifted over the past two generations.

“We were Kennedy Democrats. My dad was very involved in advancing civil rights for African Americans,” Parker says, adding that “the emphasis growing up was self-sufficiency, tending your own garden and small government.”
Parker’s original career plan was to become a Spanish professor, but after a stint in graduate school she started on a career as a reporter at the now-defunct Charleston Evening Post. Subsequent jobs at the Florida Times-Union, Birmingham Post-Herald and San Jose Mercury News took her all over the country. She married a photojournalist, whose last name she still retains, and had a son.

When she was young Parker describes herself as having been “very liberal,” but like many people in her generation, she says she lost this ideology with age. Though for her it happened in an instant, on Sept. 3, 1984.

“I became conservative when my first child was born,” she says. “It was just like that.”

“It was a great practical joke God played on me,” she says. “He had given me a boy. I had been a fairly doctrinaire feminist up to that point. I started seeing the world through boys’ eyes, and I didn’t like what I saw. So I started questioning a lot of the things I called truth through my college years.”

Her big break came in 1987, when she was hired by the features desk of the Orlando Sentinel and given her own column. It was called “Women,” to balance out the paper’s other column, “Men, ” but men – and gender – guided the column and eventually culminated in her 2008 book, “Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care.”

The book argues that feminism has gone too far and created a culture that is hostile to men, in which young boys have to be pumped full of Ritalin just to sit still through elementary school classes disproportionately taught by (probably feminist) women, and men find themselves ridiculed on sitcoms and discriminated against in family court.

It was Saundra Keyes, the Sentinel’s features editor at the time, who suggested Parker try column writing.

“When you put together how smart she was with how distinctive her writing voice was – it was a distinct pattern of thought as well as a distinctive writing voice – it just seemed like she should try her and at a column, and she was a real natural,” says Keyes.

And, Keyes recalls, there was nothing particularly conservative about her columns. In fact, years later, when she was the editorial page editor at the Honolulu Advertiser, she was looking for a conservative voice for the editorial page, and heard colleagues suggest Parker.

“It thought it must be a different Kathleen Parker,” Keyes says. “I would never have thought of her with that label, or, to be honest, any other label. One of the things that I’ve always admired of her work was that she’s not predictable.”

The same year she started her column, she also remarried, this time to an attorney, Woody Cleveland, who had two sons of his own and a law practice in Camden, S.C., where she relocated.

Her column was eventually syndicated and ran in 350 papers, but after her own son went off to college in 2003, she decided it was time to “turn up the heat” on her career. She got an apartment in Washington, splitting her time between there and Camden, and eventually signed on with The Washington Post Writers Group.

“I’m a reporter at heart,” she says. “I like being where the action is. I can’t help it. I put my career on simmer for all the years I was helping boys grow up, so I wanted to turn up the heart. I asked my husband if he’d have any objection to my going to Washington. My husband’s a little older than I am, and a certified grown-up and very secure in his identity. It’s not like he needed me to be there for him when he came home from work every night.”

Now Parker has joined a different kind of club entirely, and she’s clearly a bit ambivalent about it. After years of freelancing with only the most remote connections to the media institutions that sent her paychecks, she’s joined the hulking bureaucracy of CNN.

“Not only did I move from a small town in South Carolina via a relatively quiet neighborhood in Washington, I also left a solo writing operation to join CNN, an international organization with layers upon layers of human management,” she wrote in her Sept. 29th column. “Not that I'm complaining. Just sayin'.”

She got a taste of the darker side of those layers of human management a little more than a week before her show launched when Jon Klein, the CNN/U.S President who had wooed her and convinced her that co-hosting a show with a disgraced former governor was a good idea, was summarily fired in what many industry insiders initially interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the show. (Though she says CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton has assured her that this is not the case.)

On her desk in New York last weekend were two books that gave a hint of what “Parker Spitzer” will be like: a new book on the tea party by New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, and a memoir of New Orleans by Julia Reed. A voice from the Eastern establishment and a voice from the South.

This dynamic, more than a “Crossfire”-like left-right one, will likely drive the show.

“I’m a conservative centrist and Eliot is a liberal centrist,” says Parker. “Centrist is big. Extreme is small. So there’s this vast section where most of us live our lives, and I think most Americans relate to that more than to the extremes.”


YOUR VOTE COUNTS FOR NOTHING! It's time for public financing and get Corporate money out of our voteing!

Interest-group spending for midterm up fivefold from 2006;
many sources secret

Interest groups are spending five times as much on the 2010 congressional elections as they did on the last midterms, and they are more secretive than ever about where that money is coming from.

The $80 million spent so far by groups outside the Democratic and Republican parties dwarfs the $16 million spent at this point for the 2006 midterms. In that election, the vast majority of money - more than 90 percent - was disclosed along with donors' identities. This year, that figure has fallen to less than half of the total, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

The trends amount to a spending frenzy conducted largely in the shadows.

The bulk of the money is being spent by conservatives, who have swamped their Democratic-aligned competition by 7 to 1 in recent weeks. The wave of spending is made possible in part by a series of Supreme Court rulings unleashing the ability of corporations and interest groups to spend money on politics. Conservative operatives also say they are riding the support of donors upset with Democratic policies they perceive as anti-business.

"The outside group spending is primarily being driven by the political climate," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College who studies campaign finance. "Organized groups are looking at great opportunity, and therefore there's great interest to spend money to influence the election. You've got the possibility of a change in the control of Congress."

The increase in conservative spending has come both from established groups and from groups only a few months old. On the left, major labor groups such as the Service Employees International Union have also ratcheted up their expenditures compared with 2006 but are unable to keep up with groups on the right.

One of the biggest spenders nationwide is a little-known Iowa group called the American Future Fund, which has spent $7 million on behalf of Republicans in more than two dozen House and Senate races. Donors for the group's ad campaign have not been disclosed in records the group has filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The group recently entered a previously sleepy race in its home state of Iowa, announcing that it would devote up to $800,000 to campaign against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo. The campaign kicked off with a commercial alleging that Braley "supports building a mosque at Ground Zero." Braley denies supporting construction of the proposed Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site, saying it's a zoning issue for New Yorkers to decide.

The ad, part of a nationwide campaign of similar mosque-themed spots, is the brainchild of Larry McCarthy, a media strategist who gained renown for creating the racially tinged "Willie Horton" commercials against Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis in 1988.

"Folks across America should be worried about these anonymous groups that go into an election and try to buy a favorable result," said Braley spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki. "People have no idea where the money came from. It's difficult to take recourse."

Interest groups spending large amounts on the election are prohibited by law from talking to candidates about their strategy.

Ben Lange, Braley's GOP challenger, denies any connection to the American Future Fund's attacks. "We have no interaction with this group," said Cody Brown, spokesman for Lange. "We're not so much concerned with what these outside groups are doing. We want to have an honest, focused debate on the issues."

Fund officials could not be reached to comment.

Flexibility for the GOP

Heightened spending by outside groups has given the Republican Party flexibility in choosing which races to focus on. In West Virginia, the GOP recently spent $1.2 million backing businessman John Raese for the Senate seat long held by Robert C. Byrd, who died in June. The contest had been considered safe for the Democrats, whose candidate, Joe Manchin III, is the state's governor. But Manchin's poll numbers have recently slipped.

While the interest-group money has primarily helped Republicans, Democrats have proved better at raising money for the party itself and for individual candidates. Those donations must, by law, come from individuals and are limited in size. Much of the interest-group spending, by contrast, has been based on large contributions from well-heeled donors and corporations.

The Supreme Court cleared the way for unlimited spending by corporations, unions and other interest groups on election ads in its 5 to 4 decision this year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Many interest groups are organized as nonprofits, which are not required to disclose their financial backing, helping fuel the increase in secret donors.

The Post analyzed spending numbers that groups are required to report to the FEC, including spending on broadcast ads mentioning a candidate's name within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of the general election. Some expenditures - and donors - are not revealed. Many groups, for example, avoid reporting what they spend on attacks by making a subtle distinction, saying their message is focused on candidates' positions on issues instead of the election itself.

One reason Democrats have benefited less from interest-group spending may be the party's - and President Obama's - message against the role of moneyed interests in Washington. And in his 2008 campaign, Obama discouraged such independent interest groups on the left from forming.

Some Democratic groups have lowered their spending on election ads. The Internet-based advocacy group will spend roughly the same amount it did in the 2006 midterms, said Executive Director Justin Ruben, but will concentrate on organizing supporters instead of trying to compete on the airwaves.

"We can't possibly match this spending dollar for dollar," Ruben said. "Turnout is big in a midterm, and the best way to affect turnout is person-to-person contact. These groups have a few millionaires, but they can't talk to that many people."

Organized as nonprofits

Conservative groups such as Americans for Job Security and Crossroads GPS, an arm of the American Crossroads group, co-founded by former George W. Bush administration adviser Karl Rove, are organized as nonprofits and don't have to disclose who is giving them money. Some liberal groups, such as the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, are also nonprofits but raise money on a much smaller scale.

One major player this year is the 60 Plus Association, an Alexandria-based group that bills itself as the conservative alternative to the AARP seniors group. In 2008, the group reported less than $2 million in revenue, most of it from direct-mail contributions.

This year the group has spent $7 million on election-related ads, according to its FEC reports. It also funded a $9 million campaign against Obama's health-care overhaul in 2009.

The group is somewhat renowned for its take-no-prisoners approach to advertising, alleging in recent spots that multiple Democrats have "betrayed seniors." The journalistic research Web site called the ads "highly misleading" in describing the funding outlook for Medicare.

But 60 Plus spokesman Tom Kise defended the ads and said the group's rapidly expanded budget was due to widespread opposition to Democratic policies on issues affecting senior citizens.

"We've never had this kind of threat to seniors before," Kise said. "We are in unprecedented times, which calls for unprecedented measures."

In earlier years, 60 Plus received significant grants from foundations connected to Pfizer and other major drugmakers, according to AARP. Kise declined to provide details about the group's donors but said it is not taking money from the pharmaceutical industry.

Washington Post