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Liz Sidoti

Liz Sidoti

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By JAMES TARANTOHer name was Neda, but to the thugs who rule her country, she counts for nada, London's Guardian reports:The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.�.�.�.The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.�.�.�.The government is also accusing protesters of killing Soltan, describing her as a martyr of the Basij militia.

Javan, a pro-government newspaper, has gone so far as to blame the recently expelled BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, of hiring "thugs" to shoot her so he could make a documentary film.President Obama alluded to Neda's martyrdom in his Tuesday press conference: "We've experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets." For three decades, tens of millions of Iranians have experienced the rule of the thugs who committed that atrocity--yet Obama came to office eager to negotiate with said thugs.By now he ought to know better.

As Fox News reports:Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on President Obama on Thursday not to interfere in Iranian affairs after the U.S.

president said he was "appalled and outraged" by post-election violence, a news agency reported."Mr.

Obama made a mistake to say those things .�.�.

our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously (former U.S.

President George W.) Bush used to say," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying."Do you want to speak (with Iran) with this tone? If that is your stance then what is left to talk about," said Ahmadinejad.

"I hope you avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian nation is informed of it."C'mon, Mr.

President.

Are you just going to stand there while this lowlife compares you to George W.

Bush? Granted, he may just be retaliating for your comment last week that he and Mir Hossein Mousavi are indistinguishable.

But it's not as if you compared Ahmadinejad to George W.

Bush!As we argued on Tuesday, President Obama could do a great service simply by giving a speech outlining the Iranian regime's history of contempt for international norms.

In doing so, the president would go beyond merely reacting to criticism, as he does in actions like this, reported by the New York Times:On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had authorized diplomatic posts earlier this month to invite Iranians to their Independence Day parties, sent out a cable rescinding the invitations."Unfortunately, circumstances have changed, and participation by Iranian diplomats would not be appropriate in light of the unjust actions that the president and I have condemned," she said.

Embassies that had already invited Iranian diplomats were instructed to disinvite them.It is not clear this will be much of a snub to the Iranians.

The State Department spokesman, Ian C.

Kelly, said he was not aware of a single diplomat who had R.S.V.P.'d, anywhere in the world.To illustrate the power of this gesture, we'll do the same thing.

Now hear this, Mohammad Khazaee: You are not welcome at our house on the Fourth of July.

We don't care if you're extraordinary and plenipotentiary.

As long as you represent this regime, we shan't socialize with you.

Call us if you decide to defect.Are you worried, Ayatollah Khameini? We didn't think so.

Of course, we're just a humble columnist.

Obama is the leader of the free world, plus he's really cool and has the moral authority of 30 men--or 32 if you count George W.

Bush.

If he showed some leadership, it could make a real difference.

Sanford and Hon We'd been meaning to learn more about Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, because some of our conservative Republican friends had enthusiastically touted him as a potential presidential candidate.

Such a campaign seems unlikely to materialize now.

After all, how do you solve a problem like Maria? But of course like everyone else, we've come to know much more about Sanford than we ever expected to.One thing we've learned makes us glad he will never be president.

While his record on fiscal policy sounds quite impressive, on foreign policy he is quite an outlier, as The American Conservative describes in a March profile:He was one of only two Republicans to vote against the 1998 resolution to make regime change in Iraq the official policy of the United States.

He says that it was a "protest vote" in which he tried to reassert the legislature's war-declaring powers.

When asked about the invasion of Iraq, he extends his critique beyond the constitutional niceties.

"I don't believe in preemptive war," he says flatly.

"For us to hold the moral high ground in the world, our default position must be defensive."Actually, nine Republicans, not two, voted against the Iraq Liberation Act.

The total vote was 360-38, so this was an overwhelming bipartisan consensus.

Sanford left Congress in 2001, so he did not vote on the 2002 authorization to use military force, but one suspects he would have voted "no."To be sure, new presidents, forced to deal with the realities of the world, almost never live up to their foreign-policy campaign promises.

Still, we'd rather not have someone in the White House with isolationist instincts.In what is generally a sympathetic profile, AmCon describes one very strange incident in Sanford's past:During Sanford's first gubernatorial campaign in 2002, an 8-year-old African-American girl wandered onto a Sanford family property on Lady's Island and drowned.

A source close to the governor said she fell into a "retaining pond." Her family's lawyer, Manning Smith, called it a "pit." Other sources claim that Sanford, who owned a hydraulic excavator at the time, digs holes on his property to unwind.According to a source involved in the settlement, the governor's insurance company paid the girl's family "around $300,000." During Sanford's second run, after rumors began to circulate, local newspapers and the AP looked into the incident, but haven't reported it.

South Carolina politicos speculate that if Sanford's national profile increases, The State [a daily newspaper in Columbia, S.C.] will finally run its story.

There had been no official comment until Sanford's spokesman, Joel Sawyer, told TAC, "This was a tragic accident, and Governor Sanford did everything he could to do right by the family involved." He declined to elaborate.This does not appear to be a case of moral turpitude, but the combination of what seems to have been deadly negligence with what definitely was high weirdness--he digs holes to unwind?--would have been impossible for the media to ignore in a presidential campaign.The Birds, the Bees and the Journalists The Mark Sanford scandal is prompting some of America's finest journalists to ask some of the world's silliest questions.

A dispatch by the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti carries the title "Analysis: Why Do Politicians Cheat?" Her answer, essentially, is because they are bad people:There's also a clue in the kind of people drawn to politics.These are men who love themselves deeply, need to be recognized and relish approval.

These are men who adore getting praise and who often are surrounded by swarms of sycophants.

These are men who, in some cases, need to exercise power and sometimes can become drunk from it.

These are men who think the rules don't apply to them and who think they're untouchable.As leaders, these are also the type of men who are likely to break promises, manipulate and cut corners.

They probably are big risk-takers.

And they're prone to thinking of themselves first.This is news reporting? It's nothing but a collection of disparaging stereotypes.

Sexist stereotypes, no less! Sidoti promises to tell us about "the kind of people" drawn to politics, but apparently all of them are men.Which brings us to Steven Waldman's question over at Beliefnet.com: "Why Don't Women Politicians Have Affairs?" He is not making a recommendation but seeking an explanation, and he puts forward no fewer than five theories, the first of which is this:For men, sex and power are very connected.

On a caveman, evolutionary level, a key perk of being powerful is having sexual bounty.

For women, sex isn't about power.

It's about (I'll let my women readers fill in the blank) _________.We hate to show off our command of the blindingly obvious, but we are going to give the real answers to these questions."Why Do Politicians Cheat?" For the sex."Why Don't Women Politicians Have Affairs?" This one is a little more complicated, but only a little.

Waldman gets it half right with his first theory, but is led astray by a blinkered chivalry.

As they say in Argentina, it takes two to tango.

If, as Waldman imagines, women are dainty creatures for whom "sex isn't about power," how exactly is the "caveman" supposed to acquire his "sexual bounty"?The real answer is that successful politicians, who usually are middle-aged or older, tend to have the qualities that make men superficially attractive to women (status and power) but to lack those that make women superficially attractive to men (youth and beauty).Now for a genuine mystery: Why does Waldman use a plural noun instead of an adjective when referring to female politicians and readers but not male ones? Was She in Argentina? "Granholm Says S.C.

Governor's Actions Concern Her"--headline, Associated Press, June�25 Homer Nods Jim Ryun ran a four-minute mile in 1964; we misspelled his name in an item yesterday (since corrected).And a clarification for the reader who was confused by this item: Italy's official currency is the euro, not the potato chip.

Was She Even Born Yet? "German Jews Horrified by Britney Holocaust Role"--headline, Der Spiegel, June�24 Help! I've Fallen Into a Turkey Pit, and Now It's Shaking! "Feud Shaking Turkey Pits Erdogan Against Dogan Newspaper Baron"--headline, Bloomberg, June�24 Half Cow, Half Fish "U.S.

Beef Flounders at Local Stores"--headline, JoongAng Daily (South Korea), June�24The French Have More Discipline, but Wallabies Have the Element of Surprise"Wallabies, French Eye Rugby Breakdown Supremacy"--headline, Agence France-Presse, June�25"Opium-Eating Wallabies Get High, Make Crop Circles"--headline, Agence France-Presse, June�25 On Second Thought, We Want a Belly Itcher "Pitcher Plant Doubles as Toilet for Tree Shrews"--headline, MSNBC.com, June�23 It's Always in the Last Place You Look "Woman's Skeleton Found at Bottom of Prehistoric Well"--headline, FoxNews.com, June�24 Someone Set Up Us the Bomb "Iran Bans Election Protest Footballers"--headline, Guardian (London), June�23Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control"Analysts Say Home Loans Will Soon Be Hard to Get With Bad Credit"--headline, KSL-TV/FM/AM Web site (Salt Lake City), June�23"Buzz Aldrin Takes One Small Step for Rap Music With Snoop Dogg to Mark 40th Anniversary of Moonwalk"--headline, Daily Mail (London), June�25"Bankers Shunning Lobster Lunches Means 'Crisis' for Island"--headline, Bloomberg, June�24"Gulls' Vicious Attack on Whales"--headline, BBC Web site, June�24"Physics Discussion Ends in Skateboard Attack"--headline, San Francisco Chronicle, June�25"Man-Eating Pythons Headed to Georgia?"--headline, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June�24"Oscars Doubling Best-Picture Nominees to 10"--headline, Associated Press, June�24 Breaking News From 1924 "Russian Communists Turn to Stalin to Fight Crisis"--headline, Reuters, June�24News You Can Use"Get Smarter"--headline, The Atlantic, July/August issue"Pour That Beer in a Glass, Folks"--headline, Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.), June�25"7 Reasons Why Breast Implants as a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Are a Bad Idea"--headline, Houston Chronicle Web site, June�24Bottom Stories of the Day"Monkey Urinates on Zambian President"--headline, Agence France-Presse, June�24"Rosie O'Donnell to Host Satellite Radio Show"--headline, Associated Press, June�25"US Triumph Over Spain Helps Image of Soccer"--headline, USA Today Web site, June�24 Comedy Is Not Pretty The Boston Herald reports on the latest comic stylings of John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat and known forceful advocate for a child-porn criminal, who by the way served in Vietnam:The Bay State senator was telling a group of business and civic leaders in town at his invitation about the "bizarre" tale of how South Carolina Gov.

Mark Sanford had "disappeared for four days" and claimed to be hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but no one was really certain of his whereabouts."Too bad," Kerry said, "if a governor had to go missing it couldn't have been the governor of Alaska.

You know, Sarah Palin."Of course, the Herald's report doesn't quite do justice to Kerry's mastery of timing, but you can just imagine the scene: He dramatically pauses after "the governor of Alaska," and audience members start scratching their heads.

Alaska, they think.

Who's the governor of Alaska? Then Kerry delivers the payoff:"You know, Sarah Palin."If the ensuing laughs were less than cathartic, it only proves that liberals are humorless.But wait.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the governor is missing: "Palin is on her way to an undisclosed 'overseas' location to visit deployed Alaska National Guard troops." Our guess is she's really going to Cambodia for a Christmas party.You know, like John Kerry.

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(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today.

Thanks to Mark Van Der Molen, Michael Segal, Joe Jackson, Joe Perez, Aaron Spetner, Gary Catt, Ethel Fenig, Evan Slatis, Clifton Chadwick, Eli Bear, Bob Sanchez, George Persico, Thomas Kavaler, Sandi Drake, John Williamson, David Bilardello, George Geddes, Vincent Fitzpatrick, Michael Ellard, John Nernoff, Bruce Goldman, Irwin Kraus, Robert Godwin, Sue Ostrenga, Christian Hoopes, Chris Green, Kyle Kyllan, David Overend, Ray Hull, Thomas Kovach, Walter Taylor, Christopher Bellotti, Jon Wolter, Jeff Stephens, Bill Wander, Ray Girouard, Ross Firestone, Nathan James, John Snowden, Mark Davies, Terry Holmes, Scott Burton, Paul Seubert, Terry Quinn and Monty Krieger.

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