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Atrios’ Coulter Moment
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, June 23, 2006

There's been a lot of talk lately about the depravity of pundits like Ann Coulter — much of that talk coming from prominent leftosphere pundits like Atrios...
Still, Mickey [Kaus] at least aims for respectability and presumably is generally against the concept of "murdering journalists" so it's puzzling that he's good pals with the woman [Ann Coulter] who once said:
My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.
[...] Slate endorsed, slate approved.

I think we can all agree that advocating the murder of journalists is a Very Bad Thing, and those who do it — even just to be outlandish and 'clever' — should be widely criticized. That has been a constant refrain from the leftosphere in regards to Ann Coulter, about which they are right.

Meanwhile, shortly before criticizing Ann Coulter for suggesting the murder of journalists, Atrios writes about ABC's The Note...
Though my take on The Note has always been, with apologies to Douglas Adams:

A bunch of mindless jerks who will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.
Total # of criticisms from the blogosphere: 0!

When Ann Coulter recently joked that John Murtha was the "reason soldiers invented fragging", I predicted "the silence on the Right will be deafening". I was right. Disappointed, I mentioned the story to Peter Daou, who ran with it and got quite a lot of media attention directed at the quote.

Similarly, I'm guessing Atrios' comment will elicit a collective yawn from the leftosphere. Their bombthrowers can joke about killing journalists with no repercussions at all.
 
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I’m no great fan of Atrios, but I don’t think those statements are remotely comparable.

In the first place, Atrios was quoting a very funny Douglas Adams comment from his Hitchhikers Guide Trilogy. I saw it as just that, some Adamsian humor. I would suggest reading the initial quote and para if you havent and indeed the whole trilogy.

Coulter was referring to an actual individual, who had killed hundred plus people and wished he had gone on to the NYTimes building. Atrios was referring to something that hasn’t happened, and wouldn’t happen, using a reference from a funny book. In fact, I saw the operative part of the quote as "mindless jerks". [ Their being against the wall is just incidental in Adams book as well, their being jerks is whats significant]

If Coulter said — "The NYTimes editors would be the first to be burned at the stake when the revolution comes", or soemthing like that, it would be comparable.

With all of that, I think too much attention is given to Coulter. If she didn’t get media attention, she probably wouldn’t put out quotes like this.
 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
As much as I love ya’ Jon, you need to get out a bit more. The fighting over Coulter’s words on the right has been deafening. Heck, just as a single example, go read Ace of Spades. Ace has been all over the shrill, blonde toothpick (and half of the commenters agree while the other half think she sh!ts marshmallow puffs).

Plenty of people rail against her from the right. Just because you’ve not read them doesn’t indicate differently. Sitting in a room with my fingers stuffed in my ears doesn’t mean nobody’s talking.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
And Atrios, whom I cannot abide, gets points for a valid HHGTTG reference.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
(sigh) Yes, people, I’m well aware of the Hitchikers Guide context. I’m a big fan of Adams. I’m also aware that it’s intended as a joke, and not as actual encouragement. But Atrios, et al, argue that ’it’s a joke’ is insufficient and Coulter ought not be tolerated for even joking like that.

Well, fine. Goose, gander.
As much as I love ya’ Jon, you need to get out a bit more. The fighting over Coulter’s words on the right has been deafening.
Read what I wrote more carefully. I’m well aware that much of the Right criticizes Coulter in general. I was questioning whether they would go after that Murtha quote in particular. I saw very little of it.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m lost Jon. What makes this
I can’t stand Coulter or anything she says. Yeah, she may have some valid points, but the way she says things invalidates her opionion.
not comparable to dismissing a single claim? I dismiss Michael Moore carte blanche. I don’t need to pick apart every vile statement he makes to prove it, do I?
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
not comparable to dismissing a single claim? I dismiss Michael Moore carte blanche. I don’t need to pick apart every vile statement he makes to prove it, do I?
I didn’t expect every single blogger to denounce her fragging comment. But I kinda hoped that it would get at least a little bit of specific criticism. I know a lot of righties saw it, because Hawkins emailed a link to that piece to a broad range of righty bloggers.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Frankly I can’t muster any umbrage against either comment (although the McVeigh-NYT Building comment is quite crass IMHO).

The difference between Coulter and Atrios, of course, is that Coulter doesn’t pretend to occupy some sort of moral high ground vis-a-vis her political opponents.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Jon,

I guess Atrios doesn’t bother me here because I didn’t take it seriously. He is a hyperbolic bombthrower and bombthrowers are funny when you agree with them, offensive when you don’t. It isn’t my style, but Coulter and Atrios really are not that far apart. Kos (I know Mona, he’s soooo centrist) throws out similar stuff and calls even centrist Democrats F**kheads and we know it is all just red meat for the fans. Once again, not my style. Of course doing all that isn’t really bad is it Mona? The real crime is to link, even disapprovingly, to those who use such rhetoric, actualy using such rhetoric is just fine I guess, at least if you are a liberal.

Anyway, Coulter’s fragging comment about journalists is very similar to Atrios, but she falls short with the Mcveigh thing. That wasn’t funny even if you agree with her politics. Her failing was as a humorist for exactly the reason Mona touches on above. It is very hard to find any humor in the suffering the man caused. However I didn’t find her fragging remark all that offensive, par for the course. Atrios, Kos and Coulter have made far more offensive comments that show actual malice many times. The hyperbole is a side issue.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Coulter was referring to an actual individual, who had killed hundred plus people and wished he had gone on to the NYTimes building.
Actually, I suspect that she meant she wished he had attacked the NY Times building instead of the Alfred P. Murrah Building rather than in addition to. That’s how I would have taken the comment.

I also rather strongly suspect that Ms. Coulter would have demanded McVeigh’s trial and execution even if it had been the NY Times building.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Lance claims:
but Coulter and Atrios really are not that far apart. Kos (I know Mona, he’s soooo centrist) throws out similar stuff and calls even centrist Democrats F**kheads and we know it is all just red meat for the fans. Once again, not my style. Of course doing all that isn’t really bad is it Mona? The real crime is to link, even disapprovingly, to those who use such rhetoric, actualy using such rhetoric is just fine I guess, at least if you are a liberal.
I don’t read Atrios, unless, as here, he is linked to. But I don’t observe the stars — blogospheric or otherwise — of the left employing eliminationist rhetoric against the right, or see right-wingers accuse them of it. And I am aware some on the right have disapprovingly linked to Coulter’s rantings, and have in fact posted some of those links myself.

I’m not sufficiently familiar with Atrios to know, but I’d be curious to learn the basis for your claim that he and Coulter "are not that far apart."

In the meantime, Brian Doherty over at Hit n’ Run is linking to an entertaining Hitler v. Coulter "test." (No fair reading comments first, if you plan to take the quiz, cuz correct answers are discussed.)






 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
When Ann Coulter recently joked that John Murtha was the "reason soldiers invented fragging",
I disagree somewhat. It is Max Cleland’s "accident" that makes me say "...mmmmm?"
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Lance errs:
Anyway, Coulter’s fragging comment about journalists is very similar to Atrios,
Atrios, to my knowledge, has never suggested, even in "jest," that we should kill a sitting Congressman (and vet) or Supreme Court justice. Here is Coulter in her June 21 syndicated column, and she is not talking about fragging an abstract group known as "journalists":

I dedicate this column to John Murtha, the reason soldiers invented fragging.


Funny, har, har.

 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
But I don’t observe the stars — blogospheric or otherwise — of the left employing eliminationist rhetoric against the right, or see right-wingers accuse them of it.
Then you’re not very observant.
Atrios, to my knowledge, has never suggested, even in "jest," that we should kill a sitting Congressman (and vet) or Supreme Court justice. Here is Coulter in her June 21 syndicated column, and she is not talking about fragging an abstract group known as "journalists":
I dedicate this column to John Murtha, the reason soldiers invented fragging.
As I pointed out last time this topic was raised, nowhere does Coulter suggest that Murtha should be fragged. She compares those officers who have been fragged to Murtha, suggesting a similarity in precipitating such fate.

Look at it syllogistically:
(A) It is a fact that out of all officers (call this "Set A") some have been fragged ("Subset Af").
(B) It is a fact that Murtha is an officer ("Item Am").
(C) Argument: Murtha (Item Am) belongs in Subset Af, since he treats his fellow soldiers in a manner similar to all officers in Subset Af.

 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Similarly, I’m guessing Atrios’ comment will elicit a collective yawn from the leftosphere. Their bombthrowers can joke about killing journalists with no repercussions at all.
Uh, that would be Ms Coulters main point in using the rhetoric she does. To prove the hypocritical double-standard the left uses in attacking people.

It’s either all wrong, or all ok.

Spike Lee on Heston, then NRA President, he was asked what should be done with the NRA President. He replied, "Shoot him with a .44 caliber Bulldog,"

Liberal reaction at the time - NADA
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Ummm, Mona, isn’t this post about Atrios using Douglas Adams to suggest people be executed? Funny, har, har. I didn’t find Coulter’s comment funny either (whether my recollection of its specifics was correct or not, personally I never pay her any attention) but people who dislike Murtha and have politics similar to her probably do. It isn’t my style. You however seem to like some people who use that type of rhetoric all the time. If you haven’t heard eliminationist and other offensive rhetoric from certain of the stars of the left then you haven’t been listening. I don’t have the time at the moment, but if it is really necessary and you promise me it will actually make a difference then I’ll dredge up a bunch of it for you later today. Maybe you are just unaware. However, if no matter what we pull from Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis and various others you are going to find some hair splitting way to say it is different, then let me know ahead of time.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not pretending the right is any better, but I generally don’t like the ones who are guilty of it. You won’t find me defending Coulter and I spend time with people of all ideological stripes who do not generally act like that such as QandO, Glen Reynolds, Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Brynden Nyhan, Bob Sommersby, Cafe Hayek, etc. What galls me is you have the temerity to come here and defend Kos and Atrios and slam people like Reynolds or others by twisting what they believe and distorting how they conduct themselves. Of course Kos is a master of that kind of thing, maybe that explains your affinity, or maybe as I said above, you just haven’t read enough of the man.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Lance offers:
I don’t have the time at the moment, but if it is really necessary and you promise me it will actually make a difference then I’ll dredge up a bunch of it for you later today. Maybe you are just unaware. However, if no matter what we pull from Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis and various others you are going to find some hair splitting way to say it is different, then let me know ahead of time.
Please do. And not taken their comments section, either, any more than Charles Johnson accepts being held responsible for his commenters (he emphatically does not).

And as for "no hair-splitting," do you mean such revolting apologia as this from Michael W.:
As I pointed out last time this topic was raised, nowhere does Coulter suggest that Murtha should be fragged. She compares those officers who have been fragged to Murtha, suggesting a similarity in precipitating such fate.
Anyway, you provide it, and I promise to send it all to a variety of lefty bloggers with whom I am on good terms, and see how they respond, and if defense seems in order, to inquire how they would defend the statement(s). Especially those who have made a habit of highlighitng eliminationist rhetoric and "jokes" from the right. So, go for it.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
And as for "no hair-splitting," do you mean such revolting apologia as this from Michael W.
"[R]evolting apologia", eh? Well that’s substantive argument if I’ve ever heard it.

So let me get this straight, I can read and comprehend the actual words stated by Coulter, so much so that I can then explain in clear, logical language what was said, but that is "revolting apologia".

Misunderstanding the words stated, assigning motives to the words misunderstood, and being derisively dismissive of any explanation equals ... superior morals?

Your arrogance is only surpassed by your foolishness.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Oh, and Lance, I exclude such things as this directed at me, because as I’ve said, I do not take literary references as an actual wish that I die, and didn’t even reply to that comment. Unlike when someone at that same site did suggest that I "f*ck off and die." That I linked to at several sites as an example of right-wing hate- death-talk directed at one commenter (me) by another commenter for the sin of criticizing George Bush. (But I did not, and should not, publicly hold blogger/pundit Jeff Goldstein responsible for what his commenter wrote.)
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Misunderstanding the words stated, assigning motives to the words misunderstood, and being derisively dismissive of any explanation equals ... superior morals?
Nicely done, however nonsensical.
Why is that Coulter fans always start out with, “Well, what she meant was…” and “I think the point she is making is…”? Why is that???

It seems to me that while the vast majority of people take her comments as ugly, hateful bile, there are always a few that seem to relate and try to explain it to reasonable people. And if that explanation is rejected, the Coulter emissary dismisses the rejection as being from one who just misunderstands.

Talk about arrogance and foolishness.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://

As I pointed out last time this topic was raised, nowhere does Coulter suggest that Murtha should be fragged. She compares those officers who have been fragged to Murtha, suggesting a similarity in precipitating such fate.


Indeed ? And supppose I were to say: "This article is dedicated to , the reason assasination was invented" ? Or if someone used the fragging comment about Rumsfeld ? Would you make the same rationalizations ?


Ummm, Mona, isn’t this post about Atrios using Douglas Adams to suggest people be executed?


The reading I give it is of Atrios using Douglas Adams to suggest that The Note writers are a bunch of smart-ass know-nothing jerks.

Oddly enough, Rush Limbaugh made a similar comment 2 weeks back (notthe wall thing, just suggesting that the Note writers were left wing anti-Bush types).

I personally can well see myself making the wall comment, not because of any ideological animus towards the Note (I think they’re pretty middleof the road), but because I find them snarky and too would-be-kewl. I certainly wouldn’t want to seem executed or even fired, it just means I find them irritating.


Jon J

Senator Jesse Helms “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here [NC]. He’d better have a bodyguard.”
 
Written By: Jon j
URL: http://
Senator Jesse Helms “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here [NC]. He’d better have a bodyguard.”
Interestingly, that may be more mythical than threatening. Those two sentences have survived to this day without their context:

Fiction: Senator Helms statement, "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He’d better have a bodyguard."

Truth: A Clinton reference that was run without the joke that preceded it.

Excerpt from an interview with Law and Order

When Senator Jesse Helms talked with a reporter from the Raleigh News and Observer and mentioned Bill Clinton’s unpopularity on military bases in the state, he illustrated his point with an anecdote about a Southern sheriff who had just been defeated in an election. ’He had this big fella with him, about 6 foot 7and 270 pounds," said Helms. ’Somebody asked, ’Who’s that?’ The sheriff answered. Any body who can’t get more votes than I did better have a bodyguard.’ "Helms then added: ’Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He better have a bodyguard." The News and Observer ran just the Clinton reference without the entire joke that preceded it, and the Associated Press picked up the story. Soon the media were reporting that the Secret Service was investigating Helms’ comments, and the editorial page of the New York Times called for Helms to step aside as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In context, it seems like Helms was merely employing a politician who got more — a lot more — votes than the sheriff. Inartful, no doubt, but not necessarily vicious. Take it for what it’s worth.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Talk about arrogance and foolishness.
Please, Pogue, spare me the indignation. That is, unless you can point out where I’m wrong (Mona has, apparently, conceded the point).
It seems to me that while the vast majority of people take her comments as ugly, hateful bile,...
Again, nowhere have I suggested that they weren’t. I’ve merely pointed out that she’s not advocating murder.
Indeed ? And supppose I were to say: "This article is dedicated to , the reason assasination was invented" ? Or if someone used the fragging comment about Rumsfeld ? Would you make the same rationalizations ?
Yes, I would. In fact, that’s a pretty good analogy IMHO. If someone employed your phrase, inserting "Donald Rumsfeld", would that be advocating the murder of Rumsfeld? I still don’t see how.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
MichaelW - what good is rightous indignation if you can’t "shoot the messenger."

Pretty soon, you’ll be "under the gun" to explain every little thing you say.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
I gotta go with MichaelW on this one - and he and I were the ones going round on Coulter for this very issue when Jon posted it the first time.

Nasty bomb throwing comment, yes, but I don’t think it stretches to be interpreted that she actually advocated Murtha be murdered.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Michael W. writes:
(Mona has, apparently, conceded the point).
Pffft. Mona says: res ipsa loquitur....

and offer’s some of David Niewert’s examples of extremist/eliminationist rhetroic from the right: (granted, one example here is from a comments section) or — and we all know what should be done with "bloodthirsty animals" who should be "tried for treason — these are dehumanized here.

Then there are the "hunting licenses" to kill liberals, which are a scream.

I don’t agree w/ Niewert on everything, to say the least. But he has a good track record of collecting and dissecting some of the many, gross excesses of the right. I can get more from over at Digby’s Hullabaloo, too.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Jon Henke, thanks for the context. While I still consider Helms to be a bigoted old racist, the context indicates he was not being vicious (in fact by Helms standards, he was a pussycat). Although I confess I still don’t quite get the joke, because the Sheriff’s opponents did get more votes than him.

If someone used the fragging comment about Rumsfeld, I would consider it as vicious and hateful. Even more so if the comment was about assasination. Does this mean that I think the person is actually advocating murder ? Probably not, but it would still be a pretty revolting comment.
 
Written By: Jon j
URL: http://
Pffft. Mona says: res ipsa loquitur....
Well put, Mona. Well said.

Arrogant, dismissive and devoid of any substance. Pretty much what I expected from you.
If someone used the fragging comment about Rumsfeld, I would consider it as vicious and hateful. Even more so if the comment was about assasination. Does this mean that I think the person is actually advocating murder ? Probably not, but it would still be a pretty revolting comment.
Fair enough and I think for most part we agree. Personally, I don’t find either Coulter’s or Atrios’ comment offensive. However, I can understand why someone would (frex, Jon bristles at both). My only complaint was with the motive imputed to Coulter.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Apologies for slightly off topic but I wanted to brag that I got all of the Hitler/Coulter quote correct. Sadly my clue was the style of the language, if the crap sounded elegantly worded I figured it was Hitler.

MichaelW, whoever is right or wrong I always thought it was considered to be a cheap shot to suggest that because either the person does not answer or else you dismiss their answer, one assumes that they have conceded. I believe for the person to have conceded to your argumement, some form of words such as ’I concede your point’ would be used.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Mona,

I don’t read or listen to Coulter and unsure what the appeal it except to say I find commentary like that unhelpful.

David Niewert examples are the pot calling the kettle black. Niewert is a nasty, nasty man. You should see some of the crap he has written. He is no one to point fingers.

As to Atrios, I stopped reading him a long while ago. If we were to consider that statement by itself, then I would agree that it is no big thing. However, he has a long habit of saying stuff like that. His comment section is worse than LGF (which I don’t read by the way) and that says a lot. I know you will bring up Jeff Goldstein’s blog, but Protein Wisdom is Sunday school compared to the crap you see on a regular basis on Atrios site. When one of the popular comment threads is the rape, murder fantasy of a certain asian pundit then it has gone beyond the pale (and this thread is happens often). And don’t even start to defend commentary like that!
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
MichaelW, whoever is right or wrong I always thought it was considered to be a cheap shot to suggest that because either the person does not answer or else you dismiss their answer, one assumes that they have conceded. I believe for the person to have conceded to your argumement, some form of words such as ’I concede your point’ would be used.
Thanks for your thoughts on rhetorical etiquette, Kav. When someone addresses your argument, without addressing any of the elements of that argument, the points of that argument are generally considered to have been conceded.

I wonder what you call tossing epithets such as "revolting" at one’s comments without addressing the substance of that comment?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
The reason there’s no outrage from the right directed at Coulter for her comments is that anyone with an IQ above 60 understands that her comments are humor — sarcastic, biting, tacky perhaps, but humor nonetheless. She not being literal. People who make hay out of her comments by characterizing them as her literal sentiment are being dishonest.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Henry Rollins’ "A Love Letter to Ann Coulter."

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l4fNm4QReY&mode=related&search=rollins%20coulter
 
Written By: gn
URL: http://
Henry Rollins’ "A Love Letter to Ann Coulter."

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM7MR5_v47w&search=rollins%20letter
 
Written By: gn
URL: http://
Comparing Atrios to Ann Coulter is akin to comparing a third string outfielder on a Class A minor league team to Albert Pujols or A Rod.

The main problem is not what each of them have to say. The main problem is that Ann Coulter is given a national platform on national television to spew her bile. Atrios, by contrast, occupies a tiny corner of a tiny thing called the blogosphere.

Imagine, for just one moment, that someone coming from the left had such a national platform and said similarly extreme things. He or she wouldn’t last two seconds. The right wing noise machine would go into overdrive. There would be Congressional hearings. The FCC would get involved. Hell, there would be efforts to run the particular network out of business.

The reason you don’t hear the outrage, Jon, is because Atrios isn’t on national television calling war widows harpies celebrating their victimhood. But imagine, for just one moment, that Atrios got on Good Morning America and called the families of GI’s killed in Iraq whiners and professional victims. Imagine that for just one moment, because, unlike Coulter, that could never happen.

And yet Coulter will be invited back - not only to NBC, or ABC, but to conservative love fests as well. The wingers just love her and her bile. Sick and twisted.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Capt Joe claims:
David Niewert examples are the pot calling the kettle black. Niewert is a nasty, nasty man. You should see some of the crap he has written. He is no one to point fingers.
Just what diatribes and excrescences has Niewert issued that render him a "nasty, nasty man?" But in any event, tu quoque is a logical fallacy; the man documents gross rhetorical excesses of the right.


 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Yeah Mona, but we have established the right does such things. Nobody here at least has been claiming Coulter doesn’t say some vile things. What we are all wondering with you is how you can possibly claim the stars of the left do not. That you find Atrios and kos more "centrist" or at least less offensive than a Glenn Reynolds. That s what has us mystified.

So whatever you think he documents is not the issue. Therefore Capt. Joe is not comitting a logial fallacy. Instead he is showing how even when you try and prove what isn’t in dispute you bring up an example of exactly what we are saying. Now I don’t know what Capt. Joe is driving at, but Niewert’s attempt to defend the administration from the charge of fascism while simultaneously making the case that they really are fascists bothers me a lot more than Coulter’s comments, even if she is far more vile in her presentation. I’ll get back to you on my write up later. I have to go.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
MichaelW
I wonder what you call tossing epithets such as "revolting" at one’s comments without addressing the substance of that comment?
I call it unhelpful. I would not call it a concession.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Just to be fair – I will give away free copies of Ann Coulter book "Godless", to anyone who can tell me what is a Harpie! I already have given 27 copies away and counting.
 
Written By: Sgt Parker
URL: http://

 
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