Good morning! Here are the top stories from this week that I think you will want to read. Topics include:
- Bible Verse of the Day - Psalm 16:8
- RIP, TV Icon Betty White
- Answering a reader about "conspiracy theories"
- Supreme Court hears Biden/OSHA vaccine mandate arguments
- America The Beautiful
- "Huckabee" Preview
- Omicron is a Christmas present
- SUMMARY --- Scott Adams on "January 6"
1. DAILY BIBLE VERSE
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
2. RIP, TV Icon Betty White:
By “Huckabee” pop culture guru Pat Reeder (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com)
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, beloved comic actress and multiple Emmy winner (five Prime Time and two Daytime) Betty White died at home on Friday of natural causes at 99. Her last tweet was a reference to her 100th birthday, which was coming up in just three weeks. Here is an obituary from Fox News…
Some tributes from other celebrities, who remember her as warm, wonderful and the consummate professional…
And one of her last statements to the media, where she shared with Fox News the secret to a long, happy life that she got from her mother.
I’m not going to attempt to recap her remarkable career because there are so many tributes to her everywhere you look this weekend. I’ll just share some of the more interesting tidbits of info that others might overlook. For instance…
Betty White probably had the longest TV career in history, a record that’s unlikely to be broken. Her first TV appearance was right out of high school, singing a song on an experimental broadcast in 1939, eight years before the birth of TV as a public entertainment medium. She was on TV before anyone even had a TV.
She put her career on hold during World War II to serve in the American Women’s Voluntary Services. She drove supply trucks to barracks in the Hollywood Hills and entertained soldiers at dances. Here’s a tribute to her from the Army, complete with a photo of Betty looking sharp in her uniform.
She was the first woman to co-host a talk show, and the first to produce and host her own talk show. She hosted a show that was live and on the air 5-1/2 hours a day, six days a week, for over four years. She was also a pioneer of integration: one of her cast members was a black dancer, and when some Southern TV stations threatened not to air the show if she didn't fire him, she refused and told them to get over it.
She received her first Emmy nomination way back in 1953 as the star of the sitcom “Life With Elizabeth.” It's since entered the public domain so you can find it online and on DVD.
While many actors are lucky to have one signature role, Betty had at least three: “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show;” the sweetly daffy Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” and cantankerous Elka Ostrovsky on “Hot In Cleveland.” She also had memorable roles on countless other shows, including “Boston Legal,” and continued creating memorable pop culture moments well into her 90s, such as her Snickers “football player” commercial and her triumphant hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” the result of a fan petition drive. I can imagine them asking her if she could handle doing live TV for ninety minutes!
The producers of “The Golden Girls” originally intended Betty for the role of Blanche, but she didn’t want to play another promiscuous party girl like Sue Ann Nivens. Meanwhile, Rue McClanahan didn’t want to play another sweet, naïve character like the one she’d played on “Maude.” So they switched roles and the rest is history.
Betty devoted much of her time to her love of animals and raising money for animal charities and zoos. She was especially delighted when Pixar asked her to voice a toy tiger named “Bitey White” in “Toy Story 4.”
Betty’s many talents also included being one of the greatest talk show and game show guests of all time. She was a wizard on “Password,” and host Allen Ludden became her third husband and the great love of her life. She never married again after his death in 1981. She said she’d already had the best, and she had faith that they would be together again someday.
RIP to the lady aptly dubbed "America's grandmother" and “The First Lady of Television.”
More Betty White Tributes:
Tributes are still appearing everywhere to beloved TV icon Betty White, who died Friday at 99. She had just taped a tribute to her fans that was to have appeared in theaters on January 17th as part of a 100th birthday celebration movie. It will still appear, but it’s being retooled as a tribute to her life and career.
Also, White’s agent denied a rumor that she died after getting a booster vaccine, saying she died of natural causes and didn’t get a recent shot, and asking people not to politicize her death. On a more positive note, the New York Post reports that the last word she said was, “Allen,” the name of her husband Allen Ludden, who died in 1981. She never remarried, saying she believed they would be together again someday. I believe that, too.
3. Answering a reader about "conspiracy theories":
This letter came in response to our commentary on Mark Elias’ 2022 election strategy of aggressively using litigation to decide who gets seated in Congress. That story is not from the realm of “conspiracy theory” but of fact, as Elias has tweeted to the world that he's planning to do this.
From Barry B:
Mike, I am an ardent fan of yours, but I am also frustrated by the lack of willingness on the part of you and others to "wander down the path of conspiracy theories." That is precisely why people like Elias get away with their conspiracies. If you were to wander down that path, the farther you went, the more filth and corruption you would find. Are you implying that there is [not] and has never been a conspiracy? If not, how is a conspiracy defined?
If people like you won't dare to look, who will?
Blessings to you and your family for the New Year!
From the Gov:
Thanks for writing, Barry. I bring up Elias precisely because I DON’T want him to get away with what he’s doing. If you think we don’t see the filth and corruption or that we meant to imply there “is not and has never been a conspiracy,” I can only surmise you're new to this newsletter. We don’t wander aimlessly, but facts often lead us down a particular road.
To call something a conspiracy theory is not to say it’s true or untrue, because some turn out to be true or very largely true and others are ridiculous hoaxes. To explain, the term “conspiracy theory” is neutral, kind of like “unidentified flying object.” A conspiracy theory hasn’t been proved, so it remains a theory. Similarly, a UFO hasn’t been identified, so it remains...unidentified. The answer in both of these situations is (pardon the pun) up in the air, until there’s proof one way or the other.
Every single so-called conspiracy theory we’ve reported on as worthy of being taken seriously has either been proven true or is currently gathering more and more evidence in its favor. For example, regarding the theory that links Hillary's campaign and certain government insiders with the “dossier” and the whole media-driven “Russia!” hoax, we eagerly look forward to every development in John Durham’s special counsel investigation and seeing it connect another dot.
On the other hand, the Russia hoax itself is an example of a conspiracy theory that did not deserve to be taken seriously. Nothing in the “dossier” was verified. Yet it obsessed most of the media and leftist bureaucrats throughout Trump’s presidency, long after the “dossier” had been debunked and Devin Nunes’ House Intelligence Committee had determined Hillary’s campaign had paid for it.
At the same time, there really is evidence to support investigation into other so-called conspiracy theories. For example, though we condemned the Capitol Hill breach from the first, we’ve made it clear that there is considerable reason to demand an investigation of the FBI’s involvement and also House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s curious refusal of National Guard troops to provide security. Merrick Garland’s “Justice” Department is too shamefully politicized to do this, but the next Republican-led Congress will no doubt open one of their own.
That can’t happen for another year –- and then only if Republicans take back the House, but at least that does seem likely. Meanwhile, Republicans in the minority --- including those Pelosi refused for her hand-picked “Special Committee” --- will have to ferret out what they can on their own, minus subpoena power. Thankfully, the fine reporting of such organizations as Revolver News will continue, and we'll keep bringing that and our commentary to you.
Another example: the stories from battleground states about coordinated election fraud constitute another conspiracy theory that must be thoroughly investigated. Over half the country has essentially no faith in the 2020 election; this cannot stand. We can’t say definitively that the election was stolen through, say, hacked machines, but there's enough question about this and other serious problems to warrant a full investigation of all the forces at play. Any time skeptics face draconian censorship or a lack of transparency regarding evidence, that’s a red flag saying, “Here’s a conspiracy theory that might very well pan out. Better dig into this!”
It’s easy to tell that the Democrats tailor their approach to facts to suit their immediate purposes, because they'll turn on a dime. For example, starting with George W. Bush’s win over Al Gore in 2000, the Democrats decided it was their patriotic duty to cry “Stolen!” and question every election they lost. That changed when Biden was declared the winner; suddenly it was “domestic terrorism” to question the outcome, even with ample reason to suspect fraud.
We do have to have some factual basis for taking conspiracy theories seriously. If we didn’t, we’d just be a right-leaning version of CNN or the DNC (same thing). You can trust us never to be like the news/opinion writers on the left who screamed “Russia Russia Russia!!” for years even after that conspiracy theory was revealed as hogwash. Look at how some reporters who spread false information about the “dossier” are STILL resisting putting out retractions.
Unless there’s been an update, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News and David Corn of Mother Jones, who wrote a book together on the “dossier” called ‘RUSSIAN ROULETTE: The Inside Story of Putin’s War On America and the Election of Donald Trump,” have failed to retract significant mistakes, specifically about an alleged “dossier” source (who really wasn’t one) named Sergei Millian. They cited Millian, who supports Trump, as the source for that unsavory made-up story about Trump in a Moscow hotel, supposedly on video with Russian prostitutes. Durham’s indictment of Igor Danchenko suggests that the real source of the so-called “pee tape” story was former Hillary campaign adviser Charles Dolan.
What these two “journalists” were doing was furthering a conspiracy theory that is untrue. And still it seems they won’t give it up, though it’s been debunked so thoroughly it doesn't even qualify as a theory. Only a hoax.
We have confidence in our sources, and I would never, for example, discuss members of the Clinton-allied Brookings Institution being involved with the creation and spread of the “dossier” unless there were ample reason to suspect this. By reason, I don’t mean the kind of proof you’d need to make an airtight case in court, but simply enough evidence to warrant digging deeper.
You know the story of the boy who cried “Wolf!” He wasn't taken seriously when it really counted, so it would defeat our purpose to be like him. But rest assured we'll continue digging carefully into so-called conspiracy theories --- the ones that pass the smell test --- just as we always have done.
For example, in case you missed the latest on Hillary over the holidays, Durham is taking aim...
4. Supreme Court hears Biden/OSHA vaccine mandate arguments:
Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court heard arguments for blocking or upholding the Biden/OSHA vaccine mandate on businesses and health care workers. The conservative Justices seemed open to the idea that states have the power to impose such mandates in a health emergency, but were skeptical that an unelected federal agency does. They seemed to think that such a sweeping and destructive edict, one that is decimating businesses at a time when they’re already struggling with worker shortages and supply chain disruptions, should at least have to come from Congress. The plaintiffs’ attorney pointed out that the Post Office is seeking a waiver from the mandate because it will make it so hard to deliver the mail, proving that not even the government can comply with its own mandate.
Possibly the most shocking part of the oral arguments, however, was not that the liberal Justices seemed open to a dictatorship of unelected federal bureaucrats (big surprise), but just how confused about the law and how filled with stunning misinformation they were.
Justice Sotomayor seemed especially clueless, admitting to not understanding the distinction between state and federal powers (Gorsuch had to explain it.)
But Sotomayor also spewed a number of false COVID claims that would get her banned from Twitter for life if she were a conservative pundit. Among them: that the vaccines prevent disease and transmission in the workplace, that Omicron is just as deadly as Delta, and that there are over 100,000 children in the hospital with severe COVID, many on ventilators (there are currently 3,342 children nationwide in hospitals who’ve tested positive for COVID, and most are incidental to the real reason they’re there.)
Even that stunning array of misinformation takes a back seat to Justice Breyer, who seemed to think that the OSHA mandate would block 100% of all new COVID cases. He also said hospitals are at near-capacity (they’re slightly above average capacity), and most jaw-dropping of all, that yesterday, there were 750 million new cases of COVID in America. He later corrected himself to 750,000, which is good, since 750 million is more than twice the entire US population, so every American would have had to get COVID twice in one day. Wow, that Omicron variant really is transmissible!
When you consider that the liberals on the court are from the same background, social circles and mindset as the liberals who came up with this policy, the odds that it’s intelligent, well-reasoned, based on facts and consistent with the law and the Constitution seem lower than Kamala Harris’ approval rating.
5. "Huckabee" Preview
Join me tonight on TBN for a news making episode of “Huckabee!” My guests include a woman who’s been making headlines on many fronts, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (yes, my show is still a free speech zone!) I’ll talk to the director of the new documentary “The Paradigm of Money” about why a handful of people are getting super-rich while the rest of us fall behind. But I also have plenty of fun in store, including laughs at the news with “In Case You Missed It” and the king of impressionists, Rich Little. I’ll top it off with a great musical performance by the best band on TV, Tre Corley and the Music City Connection.
You can catch it all at 9 EST/8 CST, on TBN. To find out how to watch TBN, from local cable and broadcast channels to streaming, visit https://www.huckabee.tv and click on “Channel Finder” on the top menu. You can stream previous episodes, highlights and online-only “Digital Exclusives,” including extended interviews, “In Case You Missed It” and “Facts of the Matter” segments, plus extra performances by our great musical and comedy guests and links to all their sites, at https://www.huckabee.tv. You can also find past shows, highlights and digital exclusives on YouTube and my Facebook page.
6. America The Beautiful
God's creation is all around us. To learn more about New River Gorge National Park, visit its website here.
7. Omicron is a Christmas present:
Dr. Robert Malone, one of the inventors of the mRNA technology used in COVID vaccines, says that if you believe in God, the Omicron variant looks like a Christmas present. He said it’s so infectious, it’s blowing right past all the vaccines, but so mild that to his count, it’s caused only 10 deaths worldwide, and is spreading natural immunity to everyone who gets it. Malone said it’s acting like the kind of vaccine scientists might design on purpose, and “This is about as good as we could possibly want right now in terms of outcomes.”
What a hopeful, positive message about a possible end to all this pandemic fear and paranoia. No wonder he was banned from Twitter.
No, I’m just being facetious. Here’s what actually got him banned from Twitter.
8. SUMMARY --- Scott Adams on "January 6":
Scott Adams, best known as the creator of the DILBERT cartoon strip but also a bestselling author, trained hypnotist and professional prognosticator who predicted (like us!) Trump would win in 2016, made some interesting points about January 6 in his Thursday podcast (Episode 1615) of “Coffee With Scott Adams.” Worth quoting at length, so we will:
“...There were a ton of people there who didn’t even know they were breaking the law because the fences were down before they got there. They were just...protesting. So if you’ve got a President who is presuming without the benefit of a trial that these people were there for insurrection, you have put the assumption of guilt on citizens from the highest office in the land. The highest office in the land, the President, just put the assumption of guilt on a bunch of people --- some of ‘em were guilty, some, some. But most of them, not so much. Most of them were trying to do what they thought was preserving democracy, by postponing the certification until some audits could get done.
“Now, of course, when the fake news reports about it, they act like the idea was that they’d just take over and change the government. No demand like that ever happened. The only demand was, ‘Can you give us a few days to audit some suspicious stuff. That is PROTECTING the republic, at least in the minds of the people there.”
Also this: “We’re giving the states the presumption of innocence when they’re not giving us an auditable election. That’s backwards. The presumption has to be that the election is corrupt if you can’t audit it. That doesn’t mean it is...[but] the government has to prove they’re not guilty. They’ve gotta open the books.”
Last but certainly not least, this: “...You are in the middle of a massive brainwashing operation. I don’t know the degree to which it is organized, but it looks organized. It looks as if the whole January 6 thing is to keep Trump out of office and to keep Trump supporters and Republicans in general demonized by keeping that story in your head. Because it creates the situation where Democrats can do anything to Republicans, ‘cause dammit, those Republicans deserve it --- look at them and their insurrections!”
9. I Just Wanted to Say:
Thank you for reading the Morning Edition.