Top Ten Highlights of Sarah Palin’s Trip to New York


David Letterman’s Top Ten List last night was on the Top Ten Highlights of Sarah Palin’s Trip to New York (video above). Conservative bloggers are upset.These are many of the same people who were also upset just because Barack Obama had a date night in New York.

Letterman did go a bit overboard with the slutty flight attendant line, but he is a comedian and everyone knows he is doing biting comedy. Personally I’m bothered more by the crap which comes out of Sarah Palin’s mouth when she is claiming to be serious, such as her comments noted here and here. It sounds (for other reasons) like even Senate Republicans are getting sick of her.

Update: Needless to say Letterman wasn’t scared off from making fun of Palin because of attacks from Palin and a bunch of right wingers. He had a few more Sarah Palin jokes in tonight’s monologue. He did not apologize to flight attendants who do have a legitimate complaint about being compared to Sarah Palin.

One particularly dishonest conservative blogger (who does not deserve a link) isn’t even satisfied with criticizing what a comedian really said and is now attacking Letterman based upon a distortion of what was said–claiming a joke about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was about raping a fourteen year old.

I imagine that Letterman’s attackers from the authoritarian right share Sarah Palin’s Orwellian view of the First Amendment–that it was intended to protect Sarah Palin from criticism. Their outrage would be far more tolerable if 1) they were honest about it and 2) far worse comments weren’t being made every day on conservative talk radio and on Fox but presented as serious commentary as opposed to jokes.

Update 2: In response to a request from a reader who cannot pick up the video, here are the Top Ten Highlights of Sarah Palin’s Trip to New York:

10. Visited New York landmarks she normally only sees from Alaska

9. Laughed at all the crazy-looking foreigners entering the U.N.

8. Made moose jerky on Rachael Ray

7. Keyed Tina Fey’s car

6. After a wink and a nod, ended up with a kilo of crack

5. Made coat out of New York City rat pelts

4. Sat in for Kelly Ripa. Regis couldn’t tell the difference.

3. Finally met one of those Jewish people Mel Gibson’s always talking about

2. Bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her “slutty flight attendant” look

1. Especially enjoyed not appearing on Letterman

Tuesday night Letterman said that Palin took ride in a sight seeing helicopter over New York and was shooting at rats, that Palin and Rudy Giuliani went to a Yankee’s game and sat in the far right side of the stadium, and that Palin had a tough time keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter. (I only said that his Palin jokes were creating controversy, not that they were particularly funny).

Update 3: Some right wingers are now lying about what Letterman said last night. As I added in response to a comment, this is about defending freedom of speech. Late night comedians are a prominent form of knocking the establishment, regardless of political party. Right wingers are just spreading lies about what Letterman said because they object to such freedom of expression.

Defending free speech does not mean picking and choosing which speech is allowable. Bristol Palin has been making public appearances to speak about pregnancy, including recently in New York, and Palin has made a point of parading her children in public. This makes her fair game for Letterman’s jokes. While this might not be in the greatest taste, his joke was far tamer than some of the jokes about Chelsea Clinton from the right–at a time when she was far younger.

Conservatives must realize that they have no argument here which has led them to see a need to lie about what Letterman said both Monday and Tuesday night.

Update 4: Last night the first comments I saw at other liberal blogs were actually falling for the right wing talking points. I won’t mention them here, allowing them a chance to come to their senses and get over the humiliation of being taken in this way. There are more blogs countering the right wing nonsense today. TBogg writes:

If conservatives want to spend their days and nights waging blog jihad against a late nite comedian, I say let them. It’ll keep them out of gangs and off of drugs (although in the case of mini-Godlstein, elephant tranquilizers might have a much needed calming effect  making him the exception to the rule)  and maybe we’ll have fewer murdered cops and doctors.

I think all reasonable people can agree that would be a good thing.

The Long Goodby writes:

As the whining mobs on the right feign fainting spells in outrage, the rest of us know that Letterman did Palin a favor by adding yet another notch on Palin and the Right’s endless game of Martyrdom. Rather then deal with the issues and Palin’s absurd takes on governance and relevant issues, the Right gets to deflect criticism by citing yet another incident in which poor Sarah was victimized by the media. All the while pretending that the endless jokes directed at former President Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the non-stop, deeply egregious and unfounded epitaphs directed at President Obama mean nothing. The words that come out of Palin’s own mouth are arguably more damning then Letterman’s acerbic sense of humor…

Taylor Marsh just thinks it is absurd to hear “outrage from conservatives over sexism.” The Week provides a brief  report on the controversy which includes a quotation from this post.

Update 5: David Letterman Responds To Right Wing Smears

Update 6: Sarah Palin Jokes About Willow While Rejecting Letterman Offer

Update 7: Sarah Palin Continues To Drag Daughter Through Mud For Political Gain

The Economist Interviews Richard Posner

The Economist has interviewed Richard Posner. Posner has attracted my attention (and the attention of many others) for being economically conservative out of the Chicago School but acknowledging that deregulation has gone too far and is partly responsible for the current economic crisis. Posner has also been very critical of the anti-intellectualism of the Republican Party. He sees the country moving to the left under Obama as leaving room for a more rational Republican agenda which can move back from the extreme right:

DIA: In writing about the intellectual decline of conservatism you say that the movement has “so far succeeded in shifting the centre of American politics and social thought that it can rest, for at least a little while, on its laurels.” Are you at all afraid that, while conservatives rest, Barack Obama will have shifted the centre of American politics back to the left?

Mr Posner: That may happen, but if so it will be good for conservatism! President Clinton in effect co-opted the conservative agenda; I have often referred to him as the consolidator of the Reagan revolution. His economic policies were conservative, but he also supported capital punishment and welfare reform, though obviously the control of Congress by the Republicans was a big factor in the latter. His judicial appointments were generally of moderates, and the two liberals whom he appointed to the Supreme Court were less liberal than the justices they replaced. If the current administration moves the country left, conservatives will be able to campaign from a position of responsible conservatism, rather than pushing a conservative agenda beyond reasonable bounds in order to differentiate conservatism from the centrist policies of moderate Democrats.

Posner considers Obama’s handling of the economic crisis to be a mixed bag, giving him far more credibility than conservatives who attack all aspects of Obama’s actions without being able to offer any reasonable alternatives of their own:

DIA: What do you think of the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis?

Mr Posner: A mixed bag, but given political constraints and the inherent awkwardness of a presidential transition in the midst of a crisis, probably as well as could be expected. I think we needed the Keynesian stimulus (the $787 billion in tax cuts, benefits increases, and public works), although it could have been better designed; and the stress tests, a distant cousin of FDR’s bank holiday (during which bank examiners examined the books of the banks and allowed only those adjudged solvent to reopen), apparently have assisted the major banks to obtain additional capital. Above all, Mr Obama has radiated confidence, competence, and control, and those are important qualities in a president who is trying to allay public anxieties. For those anxieties stimulate hoarding (by banks as well as by individuals), which reduces spending, which reduces production, which increases unemployment, which reduces incomes, which reduces spending further—the downward spiral that it is imperative to arrest. But the harassment of business over compensation policies, and the impending federal takeover of General Motors, are negatives: they increase the uncertainty of the business environment, which dampens the incentive to invest, and shift the balance between government and business in the management of economic activity too far in favour of the government.

Posner also refers to the opposition by conservatives to closing Guantanamo Bay and moving prisoners to federal prisons in the United States  to be an example of “idiot conservatism.”  Posner also does not go along with the conservative outrage over considering empathy in a Supreme Court nominee:

I think empathy, which means the ability to understand how other people feel, is a valid and important attribute of a judge, because his decisions affect people, often profoundly, including people who are not before the court, and he should have a sense of how they will be affected by and react to the decision, and of the motivations and circumstances that led them to act as they did in whatever dispute or incident led up to the case.

House Democrats To Unveil Health Care Proposal

Democratic Senators released a plan on Saturday, and Bloomberg reports that House Democrats will unveil a health care plan today. A few general aspects of the plan have been reported:

The plan’s public insurance program would compete with private industry, with rates paid to doctors and hospitals at a level above those charged by Medicare, said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat.

An outline of the plan also says Democrats drafting the House bill will propose new restrictions on insurers, including caps on out-of-pocket health-care expenses in policies to protect consumers from bankruptcy. The legislation also would bar insurers from excluding people based on pre-existing conditions, according to the outline, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Small, “low-wage” businesses would be exempt from the mandate that employers provide coverage, and small firms providing insurance benefits would also get a new tax credit, according to the outline.

While the House Democrats’ plan would boost Medicare payments to primary-care physicians, it will also cut payments to Medicare Advantage health plans. Details of those cuts weren’t provided.

Correction: The Senate plan actually was not released but leaked out. Politico reports the plan will officially be released today. I imagine this will give conservative bloggers a second chance to spread the misinformation they were spreading over the weekend.