Clinton Appearing On The O’Reilly Factor

Hillary Clinton will be appearing on The O’Reilly Factor show tomorrow night. Just as Obama handled his appearance on Fox News Sunday as a regular interview, Clinton does not intend to “take on” Bill O’Reilly. Of course if she did, O’Reilly wouldn’t stand a chance. Remember what Terry Gross did to him when O’Reilly was a guest on Fresh Air?

There was a lot of criticism of Barack Obama for appearing on Fox News Sunday and Move On, which also criticized Obama, has already issued a statement criticizing Clinton:

With no plan to call out Fox’s Republican agenda, Senator Clinton’s appearance on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ does nothing more than legitimize a network that will then use that credibility to smear Democrats and progressive ideas in 2008. She’s pandering to a small audience that is not persuadable.

Right now the major priority for each candidate is attracting votes and, as much as we might like them to, neither candidate is currently concerned with taking on Fox. As long as they have a sizable audience the candidates will appear. I am happy that the Democrats refused to hold a debate on Fox but I never had any illusions that they would continue to remain off of Fox for the entire campaign.

It might have made more sense for Obama to appear with Chris Wallace, who has criticized some of the excesses at his own network, as opposed to Clinton appearing on O’Reilly’s show. Despite his usual conduct on his show O’Reilly actually did conduct some good interviews with John Kerry in the past, so it is understandable that Clinton would go. Besides, viewers with limited education who have no qualms about compromising liberal positions on social issues and civil liberties sure sound a lot like Hillary Clinton’s base.

The interview might be interesting. I’ll watch, but will also make a latte to drink while watching as an act of protest.

Obama Repudiates Wright


It probably didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Obama acted to further distance himself from Wright  today (video above) following Wright’s recent public statements.  Ben Smith has posted the following quotes from Obama’s press conference:

“I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, and that’s what this campaign has been about,” Obama said.

“I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” he said.

“The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” he said. “His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.”

“They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs,” he said.

“If Reverend Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, I may not know him as well as I thought either.”

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church,” he said. “But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism – then there are no exuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.”

“It is antithetical to my campaign. It is antithetical to what I’m about. It is not what I think America stands for,” he said.

At least it is fortunate that this is happening in April and not in October. The election is about Barack Obama and his views, not about Rev. Wright, but there is no doubt that this could be damaging to Obama’s campaign. Hopefully by distancing himself from Wright in this manner now this story will be ancient history by November.

Disney Risks New Scandal From Revealing Pictures

Disney is once again facing a potential scandal over one of their starlets posing in a revealing picture. Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) posed with a sheet covering her topless chest for Vanity Fair (above). The picture, taken by Annie Leibovitz, was not seen as a problem when taken but is now raising concern due to the young age of the audience for Hannah Montana.

It is doubtful that this single picture, which is rather tame, will have a significant effect. While they are bound to be more careful with a star which is aimed at the 6 to 14 year old audience, Disney has faced far more serious cases of their female stars having revealing pictures taken. Last September pictures of High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens with full frontal nudity wound up on line. Not to be left out, her High School Musical rival Ashley Tisdale (below) has also had a some less revealing but still not standard Disney “nipple-slip” pictures appear on line.

These cases are trivial compared to the two most prominent sleazy former Disney starlets. Former Mouseketeer Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, who has appeared in Disney movies such as the remakes of Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, have been photographed in manners which guarantee a permanent exile from the Magic Kingdom. Incidentally, Britney will be returning to How I Met Your Mother on May 12, presumably to once again be upstaged by Sarah Chalke.

Creationists vs. Western Civilization

John Derbyshire of National Review wrote this column on Expelled which is highly critical of the creationist/intelligent design movement. For example, he wrote:

When talking about the creationists to people who don’t follow these controversies closely, I have found that the hardest thing to get across is the shifty, low-cunning aspect of the whole modern creationist enterprise. Individual creationists can be very nice people, though they get nicer the further away they are from the full-time core enterprise of modern creationism at the Discovery Institute. The enterprise as a whole, however, really doesn’t smell good. You notice this when you’re around it a lot.

Derbyshire goes on to give examples, as well as recommending the Expelled Exposed website from the National Center for Science Education. Derbyshire sees this attack on evolution as an attack on our culture and Western civilization:

The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism. (A thing that cannot be said of Darwin. See Chapter X of Voyage of the Beagle.)

And yes: When our greatest achievements are blamed for our greatest moral failures, that is a blood libel against Western civilization itself. What next, Ben? Johann Sebastian Bach ran a slave-trading enterprise on the side? Kepler started the Thirty Years War? Tolstoy instigated the Kishinev Pogrom? Dante was a bag-man for the Golden Horde? Why not go smash a few windows in Chartres Cathedral, Ben? Break wind in a chamber-music concert? Splash some red paint around in the Uffizi? Which other of our civilizational achievements would you like to sneer at? What else from what Waugh called “the work of centuries” would you like to “abandon … for sentimental qualms”? You call yourself a conservative? Feugh!

For shame, Ben Stein, for shame. Stand up for your civilization, man! and all its glories. The barbarians are at the gate, as they always have been. Come man the defenses with us, leaving the liars and fools to their lies and folly.

Not surprisingly many right wingers have been attacking Derbyshire over this. He responded at The Corner:

What I am doing is, heaping well-justified abuse on the heads of people who, for “sentimental qualms” and from a position of ignorance, trash scientific method, the greatest achievement of our civilization.

And uniquely of our civilization. A mature scientific theory is as much a glory of our civilization as is a cathedral or a university; and it is uniquely of ours. Other civilizations had temples, universities, systems of government, literature, philosophy; but only we of the West came up with scientific method, and the whole world owes the innumerable fruits of that method to us.

I am a huge fan of Western civilization. Thus, when people — well-educated people, who ought to set an example for the general — sneer at and spit on these majestic creations of the human intellect, I get mad. They are taking sides with barbarism. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Ben Stein ought to be ashamed of himself. And no, I won’t sit through his wretched movie.

Derbyshire got it right in seeing that intelligent design is not an alternative science as the creationists claim. It is an attack on the scientific method, an attack on reason, and yes, an attack on Western civilization. Creationists are the ultimate reactionaries who would return us to the mindset of the dark ages. I noted this previously in this post which responds to a conservative who provided a good example of this mindset when he claimed, “We have reached the end of the Age of Science.” Fortunately there are conservatives such as Derbyshire as well as liberals who are willing to defend science and reason against the attacks from the religious right.