Video of Letterman Apology and Webcam Image of Anti-Letterman Protest Rally


Here is the actual video of David Letterman’s apology to Sarah Palin and her family on last night’s show. Palin later accepted the apology. Unfortunately many Palin supporters have not accepted the apology and still plan protests against Letterman.

We also have the first pictures of the leaders of the anti-Letterman marches being held outside the Ed Sullivan Theater:

Nazi march

Update: Reuters reports on the anti-Letterman protests (emphasis mine):

Still, more than a dozen protesters held up banners outside Letterman’s Times Square studio as Tuesday’s show was being taped, but they were outnumbered by spectators and media.

Sounds like they are having trouble getting attention from anyone other than a handful of right wing kooks.

Update 2: The New York Daily News places the count at about fifty. MTV estimates three dozen. CNN says there were fifteen protesters.

Searching around the web I also found another comment worth quoting which I had missed in my earlier round ups. Kate Harding writes that Letterman and Palin are both jerks, but she felt compelled to defend Letterman (as I did) because he was the target of false accusations which went way beyond what he actually said. After summarizing what Letterman said and the distortions spread by Palin, Harding wrote:

She and her daughters do not deserve sexist attacks any more than Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem or your mom do, and she’s absolutely right that what Letterman said was out of line and indefensible. She’s absolutely right that jokes like that contribute to an oppressive culture for women and young girls. But on this rare occasion when she’s absolutely right about a couple of things, she can’t just stop there. She has to blow straight past reasonable outrage and into disingenuous, over-the-top accusations.

Earlier this week, a Palin spokesperson said in a statement, “It would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.” When Lauer asked her about that, she said, “Hey, take it however you want to take it.” OK, here’s how I take it: You’re implying that Letterman’s a pedophile. Nice. See also: calling the jokes “sexually perverted,” which they weren’t, instead of “sexist and tasteless,” which they were. So now here I am, inspired to defend Letterman from spurious attacks on his character, when I should be reinforcing the accurate attacks on his character in response to his spurious and sexist attacks on yours and your oldest daughter’s. Why do you torment me so, Sarah Palin? Letterman said unequivocally offensive things, and he deserves to be condemned for them. But now, so have you, which complicates the matter of defending you as a fellow woman. Don’t get me wrong; I will always denounce anyone who calls you a slut, or any other misogynistic slur. You don’t deserve it, and that crap hurts all women. But if someone wants to call you a liar and a loon? You’re on your own, lady.

Sarah Palin Accepts David Letterman’s Second Apology

letterman palin

Sarah Palin has accepted David Letterman’s second apology given on last night’s show:

“Of course it’s accepted on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve,” the statement read.

“Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America’s right to free speech – in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect.”

Palin is a smart politician and knows she has milked this for all it is worth. While she has excited her base with her attacks on Letterman, she is also becoming subject to jokes that if she is too dumb to understand Letterman’s joke (and believe the right wing smears that it was about Willow or about rape) then she is also too dumb to be president. It has become in Palin’s interest to end the over-reaction and faux-outrage. This also shows an improvement in Palin’s understanding of freedom of speech compared to previous comments she has made.

Palin did have a legitimate beef with regards to jokes about Bristol and sexist jokes. This controversy very well might reduce both of these in the future–from other comedians as well as Letterman.  Palin limited the victory she could have had if she had responded honestly. If she had criticized Letterman for the joke about Bristol, without repeating the nonsense that it was about Willow, and conceded that this is just one in a long string of jokes from many comedians which were wrong, her objection would have sounded even more genuine. If she approached it like that virtually everyone, left and right, would have sided with her on it. Instead, by overreacting and distorting the facts, it became another polarizing issue.

So far the right wing groups are planning to continue with their protests. That’s no surprise–they have been planning attacks on Letterman for quite a while. They just saw last week’s jokes as an opportunity to move ahead. First they tried with the “slutty flight attendant” joke but when they didn’t get anywhere with that they distorted the Bristol Palin joke. They also probably realize that Letterman is unlikely to give them any ammunition in the near future so if they want to continue to attack Letterman they have to stick with this.

The long term fall out of this will probably be minimal as, outside of the extreme right, few believe the distortions being made that Letterman  told a joke about a 14-year-old girl.  Television columnists seem to agree. Maureen Ryan wrote,   “To appear to have made an unfortunate remark about a 14-year old just seemed … not Letterman-esque. That’s not who he is.” Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Letterman’s bedrock decency has prevailed over what he must know is Palin’s bedrock opportunism in prolonging the controversy.” Danny Gallagher wrote, “If Letterman is guilty of bad taste, that also means Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Bill Maher could be charged as accessories after the fact and should all share a cell in Comedy Jail. They have all made jokes about the Palin kids and how Bristol’s big underage mistake in the sack has made her an ‘easy’ target (pun intended) for every political and athletic horn-dog who is still roasting on a spit at the concession stand of public shame. That’s why it’s called ‘late night’ television. It’s like after dark cable TV but with less appealing boobs.”

AMA Reports On Obama’s Comments At Annual Meeting

The AMA has sent out the following email to members following Barack Obama’s meeting with them yesterday. While there are bound to be disagreements between the AMA and the Obama administration on the specifics of health care reform, this email (along with the considerable support for reform by many physicians) demonstrates a change in attitude by the AMA when compared with past opposition. It is a sign of recognition that the current insurance system is seriously damaged and needs reform.

eVoice® Alert

June 15, 2009

Obama to AMA: I need your help

Learn more about the AMA’s stance on health system reform.

In an earnest appeal to the nation’s physicians earlier today, President Barack Obama pledged to work with the AMA to reform the nation’s health care system in a way that works best for doctors and patients. The president’s comments came during an address at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, which is taking place this week in Chicago.

Obama, the first U.S. president to address the House since Ronald Reagan in 1983, commended the AMA for joining with other health care stakeholders to help reduce the rate of growth in health care spending by 1.5 percent over the next decade. And he detailed ways—such as covering the uninsured, making insurance more affordable, increasing the value physicians receive from health care spending and enhancing prevention and wellness for all patients—to make that happen.

“[We need] to control the spiraling cost of health care,” Obama said during a special session of the House of Delegates that drew several standing ovations. “And to do that, we’re going to need the help of the AMA.”

Calling the $2 trillion spent annually on health care a “ticking time bomb” for the federal government and unsustainable for the nation, the president stressed the urgency of instituting comprehensive health system reform that provides coverage for all Americans.

“I will listen to you and work with you to pursue reform that works for you,” Obama said. “Together we can make health care work better for patients and doctors alike.”

View a transcript of Obama’s address to the House of Delegates.

View coverage of Obama’s speech by American Medical News.

Learn more about the Annual Meeting.

Creationists Debate Age of “Land Of The Lost”


Young earth creationism has resurfaced with a whole new meaning.

Neo-Nazis Are In The Army Now

Matt Kennard of Salon reports on how the army has lowered its standards and is allowing in more white supremacists and neo-Nazis. His article is entitled  Neo-Nazis are in the Army now. Some will also be outside the Ed Sullivan Theater on Tuesday.

Conservative Is A More Popular Word Than Liberal


The Gallup poll above (click on chart for larger view) proves what we already knew: the word conservative is more popular than liberal. This provides evidence that the conservative effort do demonize the word liberal has been effective, but proves little else.

Conservatives win on the label but lose on both the issues and in the voting booth. Numerous polls have showed that only about 20% support the Republican Party, with Republicans doing poorly among almost all democraphics. Polls based upon positions on issues have showed that a majority generally supports the liberal issue, apparently with many of these people still calling themselves conservative. This poll shows that more Democrats prefer the moderate label (40%) than liberal (38%) with 22% of Democrats calling themselves conservatives.

Based on this poll the Democrats are a center-right party. Conservatives love to claim the country is a center-right country but this would only be the case if they consider the Democrats to be representative of the center-right position. This poll doesn’t support the desire of many Republicans to brand the Democratic Party as the Democrat Socialist Party.

Many conservatives are still excited about this poll even though it means nothing as long as it only measures self-identification with labels. They have an advantage in this poll due to years of attacks on liberals from the right, but this has less impact on the young:

The pattern is strikingly different on the basis of age, and this could have important political implications in the years ahead. Whereas middle-aged and older Americans lean conservative (vs. liberal) in their politics by at least 2 to 1, adults aged 18 to 29 are just as likely to say their political views are liberal (31%) as to say they are conservative (30%).

Conservatives will have to enjoy their lead for now, as it does not look like it is going to last.