Bad Advice: Hoyer Encourages Fluke To Sue Limbaugh For Defamation

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has called on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh for calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his radio show. Hoyer insists that the reprehensible comments are also actionable libel. He is half right.

There is no question that Limbaugh’s attacks on this law student are reprehensible and outrageous. Limbaugh repeated the statements in later shows and later days to show that he was not backing down — taunting his critics. Then, advertisers began to drop his show and Limbaugh suddenly had a change of heart and apologized. (Much like the nationwide tour of apology by Bill Maher over his post-9-11 comments on Politically Incorrect, the host found that there are limits even for celebrities who pride themselves on being untouchable or unrepentant). Limbaugh essentially claimed a poor choice of words . . . that he used over and over again. Limbaugh’s apology has not helped slow the exodus of sponsors.

Hoyer’s desire to see the matter in a defamation filing, however, ignores some barriers to recovery. First, Fluke is a public figure or limited public figure. She chose to appear in public and give interviews on her views and lifestyle. It was a courageous choice but a choice that triggers the standard under New York Times v. Sullivan requiring that she satisfy the higher test for defamation of either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard of the truth.

Second, there is protection in the common law for opinion. Ironically, Limbaugh can cite the late conservative columnist Robert Novak. Novak made his reputation as one of the most biased and hard-hitting columnists from the right. In Ollman v. Evans, 750 F.2d 970 (D.C. Cir. 1984), Novak was sued and a court ruled in his favor on the basis that everyone knew he was not writing as a disinterested journalist. In Ollman v. Evans, 750 F.2d 970 (D.C. Cir. 1984), he and his co-writer Rowland Evans were found:

The reasonable reader who peruses an Evans and Novak column on the editorial or Op-Ed page is fully aware that the statements found there are not “hard” news like those printed on the front page or elsewhere in the news sections of the newspaper. Readers expect that columnists will make strong statements, sometimes phrased in a polemical manner that would hardly be considered balanced or fair elsewhere in the newspaper. National Rifle Association v. Dayton Newspaper, Inc., supra, 555 F.Supp. at 1309. That proposition is inherent in the very notion of an “Op-Ed page.” Because of obvious space limitations, it is also manifest that columnists or commentators will express themselves in condensed fashion without providing what might be considered the full picture. Columnists are, after all, writing a column, not a full-length scholarly article or a book. This broad understanding of the traditional function of a column like Evans and Novak will therefore predispose the average reader to regard what is found there to be opinion.

Just as Novak was not viewed as a news reporter, Limbaugh benefits even more from the protection since his show in not intermingled with authentic news in a newspaper. He is an unabashed critic with a reputation for outrageous commentary.

Third, the mitior sensus doctrine would become an issue, though it might not prove a barrier to Fluke in this case. The doctrine requires that, when two or more interpretations of a word are possible, courts should accept the non-defamatory meaning. In Bryson v. News Am. Publs., 174 Ill. 2d 77; 672 N.E.2d 1207 (Ill. 1996), the Illinois Supreme Court considered a lawsuit over “the March 1991 edition of Seventeen magazine that referred to the plaintiff as a ‘slut’ and implied that she was an unchaste individual.” The Court applied the doctrine and noted that contemporary meaning must be considered in the use of the doctrine:

The defendants finally note that our appellate court has held that it is not defamatory per se to call a woman a slut. Roby v. Murphy, 27 Ill. App. 394 (1888). . . Roby was decided more than 100 years ago. It is evident that neither the law of defamation nor our use of language has remained stagnant for the last century. Terms that had innocuous or only nondefamatory meanings in 1888 may be considered defamatory today. See, e.g., Moricoli v. Schwartz, 46 Ill. App. 3d 481, 5 Ill. Dec. 74, 361 N.E.2d 74 (1977) (rejecting the defendant’s claim that the term “fag” should be innocently construed, because the dictionary definitions for that term included “cigarette” and “to become weary”; stating that the plaintiff “is a fag” amounted to a charge that the plaintiff was homosexual); Manale v. City of New Orleans, 673 F.2d 122 (5th Cir. 1982) (referring to the plaintiff, a fellow police officer, as “a little fruit” and “gay” falsely charged the plaintiff with homosexuality and was defamatory per se); Tonsmeire v. Tonsmeire, 281 Ala. 102, 199 So. 2d 645 (1967) (“affair” is commonly understood to mean unchastity rather than a platonic association).

At the time Roby was decided, Webster’s dictionary defined the term “slut” as “an untidy woman,” “a slattern” or “a female dog,” and stated that the term was “the same as bitch.'” Roby, 27 Ill. App. at 398. Apparently, when Roby was decided, none of the dictionary definitions of “slut” implied sexual promiscuity. Moreover, the Roby court found that, even in its “common acceptance,” the term “slut” did not amount to a charge of unchastity. Roby, 27 Ill. App. at 398.

We cannot simply assume that the term “slut” means the same thing today as it did a century ago. Many modern dictionaries include the definitions of the term “slut” cited in Roby, but add new definitions that imply sexual promiscuity. See, e.g., Webster’s New World Dictionary (2d Coll. ed. 1975) (“a sexually immoral woman”); American Heritage Dictionary 1153 (2d Coll. ed. 1985) (“[a] woman of loose morals” “prostitute”). Moreover, in the present age, the term “slut” is commonly used and understood to refer to sexual promiscuity. See Smith v. Atkins, 622 So. 2d 795 (La. App. 1993) (law professor called a female student a “slut” in class; appellate court found that term was libelous per se).

Limbaugh could argue that the use of “slut” raises the question of whether the term is used so widely in modern discourse that it is no longer taken literally. That would be difficult here in the context of the statements. (Ironically, he might fare better with “prostitute” since that is clearly opinion and he was analogizing the receipt of government funds for contraception to prostitution — something covered under opinion defenses.) Limbaugh could argue that a more innocent meaning of slut is simply someone who sleeps around — a term no longer treated as socially stigmatizing.

Finally, there is the question of free speech. While I detest the comments, Limbaugh has a right to speak on such issues. He could claim that, while unpopular, he views a woman who has an active sex life before marriage to be a slut as his personal opinion. He can even argue truth as a defense. That would come with two obvious liabilities, of course. First, he is already sinking fast in terms of sponsors. Such a legal defense would only deepen the divide. Second, he is likely to find a jury that is less than pleased with such a defense.

On balance, I believe that this is protected speech and would not be viewed as defamation. While I understand and share Hoyer’s anger over the comments, filing a torts lawsuit would not advance Fluke’s cause.

What do you think?

The House’s second-ranking Democrat said Sandra Fluke, who was swept up in a national furor when Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” because of her stance on contraceptives, needs to explore legal options against the radio host, Hoyer said. A Georgetown Law grad himself, Hoyer called Limbaugh’s comment “reprehensible.”

“I’d like to see her take him to court,” Hoyer said, according to a report in the Montgomery Advertiser. “She is not a public figure and, for that reason, she should be able to sue for slander, libel or whatever else might be involved.” See also: Rush on air: Apology was heartfelt.

Hoyer was in Selma, Ala., for the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee marking the “Bloody Sunday” events of 1965.

Fluke was thrust into the national spotlight when she wasn’t allowed to testify in front of a congressional hearing on the Obama administration’s contraception rule. She spoke before an informal Democratic hearing late last month about the need for easier access to birth control, prompting Limbaugh’s remarks.

Limbaugh on Saturday apologized for his comments, but that hasn’t done much to quell the backlash. The controversial conservative commentator has lost eight advertisers, with AOL being the latest to drop, according to the Associated Press.

Source: Politico

154 thoughts on “Bad Advice: Hoyer Encourages Fluke To Sue Limbaugh For Defamation

  1. I agree with your assessment that Ms Fluke is getting bad advise. Although the lawsuit would receive sensational news coverage. Ultimately a loss by Ms Fluke would be used by Rush as vindication and give him even more notariety. Why help him in this way?

  2. Didn’t read it all, got to go to gympa.

    Can’t agree, not even with the premises of known untruths.
    Limbaugh must instead, in order to cast such libel to such a wide audience unavailble to her reply possibilties, and widespread damage to the victim, have the burden of providing proof. That’s my opinion.

    And considering the limited space etc begs the whole question of the damage this causes. Just rumors can destroy a candidate, subvert issues, etc. Here is a full fledged nationwide, thanks to media coverage, campaignl
    Based on the nature (time, intent, etc) of the program, he goes free.
    Ridiculous. But if the law says so, then we should change the law.
    It was one thing when one newspaper started something, now the whold media stampedes after the latest crap. Shoudl he be slaughtered for that.
    Yes, for misuse of the public trust in what is delivered that way.

    No truth at all, by his own final halfway retraction on choice of words.
    Not admitting guilt nor that it was untruth he spread.

    Guess it takes a professor to not to see that. With all due respect for JT, but not necessarily the precedents used. not the development of the law now unequivocally protects the powerful——as usual.

    Sorry for splitting my verbs, it’s the swedish way. hard to stop.

  3. And the point about public, semipublic and private persons.
    Where does the borders go?
    Employment, payment of other kind, percentage of time, categorizing as general student activity. Does OWS participation make me a public figure?
    Guidance please.

  4. Don’t know about the law suit, but I will say it is good to see more advertisers are dumping Limbaugh. Guess it just took the first for the others to find the courage follow suit. Anybody know who the first company was? I’d like to buy their product or at least send a thank you note.

  5. I can’t agree. Indeed, I am of the opinion that Rush Limbaughs’ apology (sic) was taken up only upon advice of counsel, rather than a particular fear of lost sponsorship. The whole apology reads like a very specific attempt to dig himself out of a very deep legal hole. Sandra Fluke has a very strong case and he knows it.

    Defamation holds because of the specific, repeated and quite blatant misrepresentation of the testimony of Sandra Fluke. Limbaugh repeatedly asserted that Fluke testified to “having so much sex”, both as a primary cause of the cost of contraception and as a sole motivation for contraception. He, in fact, made an effort, not just to call her a slut, but to logically draw the line between her purported behavior and the word, even though her behavior is a complete fabrication on Limbaughs part and in direct contravention of her testimony. His description of her testimony is factually false in several way: A) she never testified regarding any sexual activity or made any statement linking birth control and sexual activity; B) Limbaugh, against all medical and financial evidence, attempts to deliberately conflate the cost of contraception as a function of the quantity of sexual activity, in attempt to smear her; and C) her testimony at length describes medically necessary reasons for contraception which have nothing to do with sex as well as description of the inability of specific married persons (on whose behalf she was testifying) to afford contraception, again without mention to quantity of sexual activity. Here, Limbaugh is, by proxy, accusing a married person of being a slut, which would (I don’t doubt your agreement) be equally problematic for him.

    In short, Limbaugh makes the claim that she deliberately advocated for contraception solely based upon her desire to have quantities of consequence free sex in complete disregard for her actual testimony: it is a clear misrepresentation of her testimony both in disregard for what she did say and wholesale manufacture of motives not present in her testimony. The words “slut” and “prostitute” derive from that claim and that is the basis for the very strong suit Sandra Fluke has against Limbaugh.

    I hope she sues him into oblivion and then bequeaths all the money to Planned Parenthood…

  6. Seems a pretty fair assessment to me. My only confusion is your using the word “advise” rather than “advice”. Not familiar with legalese and can see a fit, sort of, but “advice” still seems more appropriate.

  7. I think a plausible case could me made. Ms. Fluke was no public figure when the comments were made. Rep. Dan Izza, arch conservative, refused to let he testify deeming her an unqualified mere citizen. Limbaugh clearly defined his meaning in his comments when he said, “What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” Prostitution is a crime in most states raising the issue of slander per se. He then encouraged her to put her “sex tapes” on the internet. Judging by the reaction from Limbaugh’s own advertisers many in the community find his comments defamatory and not subject to dual interpretation. (“Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency.”- Cabonite CEO David Friend)Juries are pretty good at figuring out exactly what you meant and does anyone really doubt that every invective out of Limbaugh’ mouth is full of actual malice? Imagine this case before a federal jury in San Francisco with the Ninth Circuit as the appellate court and I think a little pucker might come across the orifice of the right-wing Wizard of Odd. Come on JT, this is a David vs. Goliath story I’d lov to try.

  8. The degree to which Ms. Fluke was or wasn’t a public figure is important to me, as a potential juror. I suppose that will be settled at trial, if there is one.
    Personally, I await the day when I can visit Limbaugh’s drug soaked grave to soak it a little further.

  9. Ms. Fluke should sue and give the money to one of the women’s health organizations that she works for.

  10. So, by having the audacity to appear before congress and provide testimony one gives up the rights of a private citizen and becomes a public figure? Then it is true, the law is an ass.

    I have no idea if she even wants to file suit or what the possibilities of success are but this whole process of demonizing people who dare speak against the great GOP machine has to be brought to heal. They sent the flying monkeys out to spy on and harass the family whos 12 year old son testified on SCHIP. They have spewed garbage at others for similar reasons. This is just the latest & one of the worst cases. The woman did not speak about her sex life, or even suggest she had one.

    If the law cannot stop this filth what can? Please don’t suggest human decency because as defacto head of the GOP Rush has shown he understand neither of those words individually or combined.

  11. What do you think?

    Maybe the law could be improved. She was doing a public service by giving witness testimony. Let a jury decide.

  12. I agree with Mespo that she may have success in using Rush’s own words to prove she was not a public figure before he allegedly defamed her.

  13. My opinion is the opposite of Prof. Turley’s. I’d say that “slut” is an opinion, and protected as such, but “prostitute” is a statement of fact, and therefore actionable. Did Ms. Fluke exchange sexual acts for money? No? Then she is not a prostitute (and it is clear that Mr. Limbaugh did not use the word in its metaphorical sense, as he demonstrated by his demand that she post sex tapes on the Internet) and she should sue for defamation.

  14. Given a skilled advocate, I believe Ms. Fluke would be able to prove, to the satisfaction of the majority of the jury, that she did satisfy the higher test for defamation of reckless disregard of the truth on Limbaugh’s part.

    An added plus would be all that wonderful discovery concerning Limbaugh.

    Sooner or later people like Limbaugh go too far … that’s when you jump on ’em. That is, of course, if they have anything worth taking.

  15. Huffington Post

    If she can muster the will, Sandra Fluke should pursue a lawsuit against Rush Limbaugh. The right-wing’s echo chamber has enabled them to attack personally private citizens and public figures with impunity, explaining, dissembling, trivializing, and overwhelming decent discourse.

    Pursuing a lawsuit against Limbaugh, through depositions and a trial, would expose at least part of the right-wing underworld, make more advertisers concerned about associating with him, and, most importantly, impose consequences on him for his actions in the language Limbaugh understands — money damages.

    Sandra Fluke would have a strong case against Rush Limbaugh for defamation (the general legal category that includes libel and slander). She may also have a case against Bill O’Reilly, who did not use the word “slut,” but did say that Ms. Fluke was asking the taxpayer to pay her for sex. [Incidentally, another lie — although not legally actionable by itself — is that this had anything to do with taxpayers. The issue is private insurers, not the government, providing full coverage for women’s health].

  16. “….New York Times v. Sullivan requiring that she satisfy the higher test for defamation of either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard of the truth.”

  17. Raff, mespo rcampbell….

    I wonder if ms fluke could be deemed a quasi public figure since she put herself in the spotlight… Just sayin….

  18. My test would be how much, if any, damage to Limbaugh, could be had by bringing suit, not on whether she could legally prevail. Kind of like why more banksters should be prosecuted. The deterrent effect. But I’m not exactly a legal purist. Seen too much justice for me but not so much for thee and all that..

  19. I suggest that a downright pleasant way to explore the merits of a case against Limbaugh would be to watch the movie “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. Probably many here remember that trial. I was very interested in it at the time and followed the case closely. I was amazed that the movie was as substantial as it was on the personal story and more specifically the regarding the legal story and issues at play. This current case is the bizarro universe version of that situation.

    Where Flynt printed a disclaimer on the offending ad. Limbaugh did not give notice that he would be presenting information that was not factual and that information would be crucial in forming an opinion, or accepting his opinion, of Fluke.

    Flynt made no implication that the ridicule Falwell would be subjected to by Hustler were based on a true action of Falwells. Limbaugh had to knowinging fabricate his recitation of Flukes testimony out of whole cloth as a basis for his diatribe and he presented, several times, that willful lie was fact.

    Flynts claims, while outrageous, were so outrageous that they were not believable by anyone. Limbaugh’s characterization of Fluke relies on the fabricated testimony and hinged on people not knowing how hormonal contraception works. A good case can be made that much of his audience does not know how it works nor do they know that the same medication is used for non contraceptive health problems. In fact, his conclusion relies on that lack of understanding.

    While some people knew she was an activist, as she introduced herself at the top of her testimony, her celebrity was in all likelihood opaque to the overwhelming majority of his listeners and the public at large. She was not a public person of magnitude.

    “Slut” and “Prostitute” are both pejoratives to a large segment of the population and Limbaugh’s demographic has a large number of those persons that would find persons factually labeled as such to be worthy of scorn. They are overwhelmingly conservative, over 50, white, male and making more than 50K a year.

    I think she’s got a good shot with the right lawyer.

    Even if I have it entirely wrong legally about the instant matter have another look at the movie- it’s first rate.

  20. AY

    As a non-lawyer I don’t know the answer and I defer to all those here who are, but would being a public or quasi-public figure mitigate Limbaugh’s quite obvious “…deliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth”?

  21. I think Rush to Judgment will be found liable for libel /slander for written or spoken lies. The question will be whether the sponsors of Rush To Judgment can be liable as well. I am not barking up the wrong tree here. They pay him to yell on the radio and television. His bark is their bark.

    We need to post the names of his sponsors so that we can boycott them.

  22. She may qualify as a limited-purpose public figure and there may be a retraction statute that helps Limbaugh but if “Actual Malice” can be established through the discovery process and the added icing of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” be applied then we have a lovely case for the jury. And … a very important appeal s process to follow.

    It would be expensive but I doubt she’ll have any trouble finding superb legal representation, or paying for it. I do believe a fund has already be discussed.

  23. And do not discount the suggestion that this could also be seen as another front actively pursued by those striving for female equality, in the ill advised Republican Party’s openly declared War on Women.

    There’s a lot more going on here than just Limbaugh’s and O’Reilly’s running off at the mouth.

  24. “Forget about JOBS JOBS JOBS”


    Come on, you needn’t be so obvious in your partisanship, yet so oblivious to the hypocrisy inherent in it. Your comment strongly implies that the Democrats are using this as a distraction from the real economic issues we face. When we discuss political party’s distractions from economics it seems that those you favor would prefer talking about abortion, contraception, homosexuality, higher education and a host of other peripheral subjects, rather than the economy. I know you’re smart enough to see that, so why is it so important for you to dissemble, rather than discuss? You would be better served making a logical case for your political beliefs, rather than concentrating on chimera’s and attempting to upset discussion on threads.

  25. I don’t think Ms. Fluke should sue simply because it would then be played as Rush being victimized by a “gold-digger” who had smartly planed this all along. She would therefore better serve her valuable cause by remaining above the fray. This is what is doing Rush harm.

  26. I’m with mespo.

    Plus I’d love to see Rush on the stand having to admit that what he does isn’t really news.

    It would almost be worth the trial alone just to see that.

  27. Overall point: Where is it that we as a nation have to pay for people’s screwing needs? Pay for it yourself on an “as needed” basis I say. Oh, it’s a health issue? Then we should pay for our law student’s food, no? I mean that’s only a matter of health for the student yes? Then carry that to the nth degree. I say “screw that”. Why don’t we concentrate of self sufficiency?

  28. Come on, you needn’t be so obvious in your partisanship, yet so oblivious to the hypocrisy inherent in it. Your comment strongly implies that the Democrats are using this as a distraction from the real economic issues we face.

    It is Ms. Blouise. Despite the small signs of recovery in January we are getting ready to fall hard once again. The democrats don’t want to talk about the economy. Don’t want to talk about gas prices and don’t want to talk about the real unemployment.

    Out of the blue and into the deep

  29. George Stephanopolous cracked open the door for the debate. Obama kicked it open a month later. The only thing that they did not count on was Rush’s response. He played right into their hand.

  30. What it seems like most rational folks are saying is whatever gets the most mileage toward putting the bully in his place, but also recognizing the importance of advancing the underlying issues.

    The moral high ground is all find and dandy, but in our litigious society, using legal process and the threat of remunerative damage seems to be the hallmark of calling out opponents. Of course, there’s an awful lot of good mileage being gotten going the PR route and introducing Rush’ despicable character all over again. I would guess some of that public discussion would end, particularly on the part of a plaintiff going public.

    I’m thinking, too, that garnering points by playing off a sympathetic female stereotype (not that Fluke is just that) has just a twinge of sexism that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I’m thinking too much ; )

  31. Screwing needs? Hell, Viagra has been paid for without any discussion … for years. Erectile Dysfunction … if it’s dysfunctional, amputate. How’s that for self sufficiency?

  32. DonS,
    ” … using legal process and the threat of remunerative damage seems to be the hallmark of calling out opponents.)

    I agree. Let’s go back to dueling.

  33. DonS,

    “Maybe I’m thinking too much”

    Could be.

    When someone steps is a big steamy pile of dog poop, nobody is laughing at the dog.😀

  34. Mespo,

    And I’d love to hear the tale the unwind….. I think you’d make a great advocate for ms fluke….. I think she’ll be painted as a quasi public figure… Although I disagree with what the bastard said…. I think that the districts that have jurisdiction will side with shielding him…..

    It’d be a great victory in most of the 9th circuit….

  35. Ms. Blouise you know how I feel about viagra and who should pay for it. I posted on the other thread about it. No one wanted to discuss it.

    Dems reject amendment to ban Viagra for sex offenders

    Democrats killed an amendment by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to prevent the newly created insurance exchanges from using federal money to cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for rapists, pedophiles and other sex offenders. The amendment failed 57-42


    GM Spends $17 Million Per Year on Viagra

  36. bda,

    I’m going to tell you a secret. Back in the late 60’s I told Tex that I did not approve of Employer Provided health-care as a benefit. Employers used it as a write-off and the insurance companies knew no one would be watching too closely … as did doctors and hospitals. I thought everyone should be required to buy their own insurance and equated it to car, life, house etc. If individuals are required to pay for it themselves, everybody will be paying attention to the premiums.

    Of course, nobody listened to me. Now it’s too late.

  37. Blouise,
    Put in a single payer system, then can assure you somebody will be watching the costs, damn closely. Efficiency first, the patient second.

    All folks who have cars.
    Here the price of gas is USD EIGHT PER GALLON. And seems about that in the whole of Europe.

  38. I hear ya Ms. Blouise

    Oh and it was no fluke she encouraged people to visit Media Matters while on the view.

  39. idealist707, You have small cars and fast trains. Here republicans are against expanding the rail system and mass transit.

  40. Blouise1, March 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Blouise1, March 6, 2012 at 11:22 am
    people can no longer afford the premiums….salaries are stagnant, Corporate profits are not. hen you subsidize 1 side of the equation and not the other the imbalance will manifest eventually. Insurance companies, corporations…they have all been sheilded by gov in the name of trickle down economics for so long, and the individuals that they chew up and spit out are viewed simply ‘not important enough’ to protect. The loss of practical application in our chain of reason and economic actuality has created this beast of imbalance…..and turned the Insurance industry and other Corporate entities into gigantic swollen ticks on the butt of humanity.

    ( how’s my rhetoric??? :) )—incredibly-gross

  41. Professor Turley writes that “there is protection in the common law for opinion”. The Supreme Court has said though, that the label (“opinion”) doesn’t matter. Milkovich v. Lorain, 497 US 1 (1990). In that case, the Court allowed a defamation suit to proceed, even though the assertion was contained in a signed editorial column (an “opinion” piece).

    Turley writes that the problem is that Limbaugh’s comments were made in a context (Limbaugh’s show) where we don’t expect facts. But the comments in Milkovich were also made in a clearly labeled opinion piece, yet the Court found that the comments were nonetheless actionable. The Court dissenters in that case, Brennan and Marshall, stressed that the piece was a signed editorial column, but majority said that the language, not the context, was the crucial factor.

    Here, Limbaugh’s assertion is that Fluke is a slut and a prostitute. Those words might mean that Fluke sells sex for money, but more reasonably, in context, mean that Fluke is promiscuous. Something, in other words, that can be proven false, and might be actionable, if taken literally.

    But the problem is that listeners would not understand the terms to be literal. They would understand that the conclusion (“slut”) is based only on the fact that Fluke wants to have public payment for contraception. And that (not just the fact that it comes from the Limbaugh show) is what makes this lawsuit unlikely to succeed.

  42. Woosty,

    Had to go back and check what I said when. 😉

    Exactly. Insurance companies who serviced Employer provided health care had an open field and doctors/hospital went along for the ride. As soon as insurance companies started paying for medicine (drugs), the drug companies jumped on board the gravy train.

    Employers were enjoying the write-offs. Back in the late 60’s a doctor office visit for a cold was $15 in the Cleveland area. Today that same visit is slightly under $200 and would be higher if the insurance companies hadn’t stopped paying whatever the doctor decided to charge. And drug companies …

    Insurance companies even got their way in Obama’s plan.

    Imagine what car repairs would be if Auto insurance had been a Employee provided benefit.

    Corporate entities are definitely gigantic swollen ticks on the butt of humanity.

  43. “I thought everyone should be required to buy their own insurance and equated it to car, life, house etc. If individuals are required to pay for it themselves, everybody will be paying attention to the premiums.”

    OF all the brilliant things written on this blog, this is the best one yet.

    now no one will be paying attention because everyone will be paying.

    If health care is expensive now, just wait until it is free.

  44. Bron,
    The prices for health care will not explode as much as they have without Obamacare. I have always kept an eye on my insurance premiums, but I and the rest of americans have no real control of the costs and we have watched them skyrocket. Besides, it is only free for those who cannot afford it. The rest of us will be paying premiums that are controlled in some degree by the government.

  45. Did you hear this news?

    Rush Limbaugh To Be Honored With Bust In Missouri Statehouse

    WASHINGTON — The Hall of Famous Missourians in the Missouri State Capitol is filled with the busts of famous people from the Show-Me State. There are political figures (Harry Truman, John Ashcroft), writers (Laura Ingalls Wilder), musicians (Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker) and even a game show host (Bob Barker). Right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who is currently embroiled in controversy after he called a female law student advocating for contraception coverage a “slut,” will soon be joining that esteemed group.

    On Feb. 13, Kansas City, Mo. sculptor E. Spencer Schubert posted on his blog that he was in the process of sculpting busts of Limbaugh and Dred Scott, a slave who unsuccessfully sued for freedom for himself and his family in the famous 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford, to go into the Missouri State Capitol.

  46. Fluke has a case, and whether she may win is a question for the court. As all good lawyers know, winning is not the only purpose of a law suit. By suing Limbaugh, Ms. Fluke may put a monkey on Limbaugh’s back. To get the monkey off, Mr. Limbaugh has to meet with and pay his attorneys. Mr. Limbaugh, and his employer, will have to produce documents and testimony during discovery. Mr. Limbaugh will have to sit in court during long and protracted proceedings in which every ugly statement he has ever made on the air will be repeated in front of him and recorded in the public record. Mr. Limbaugh will have to take the stand and try to justify his hate speech. Most importantly, Mr. Limbaugh will have to bleed money. If Fluke wins, then she’ll have vindication and money. If Fluke loses, she will have caused Mr. Limbaugh more pain and discomfort than anyone has so far.

  47. Female Veterans Demand Rush Limbaugh’s Show Be Pulled From American Forces Network
    By Faiz Shakir on Mar 5, 2012

    VoteVets, a coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, released a letter today from a group of female veterans calling on the American Forces Network to drop Rush Limbaugh from its programming.

    Miranda Norman (who is a Senior Advisor), Kayla Williams, and Robin Eckstein, all Iraq War Veterans, and Katherine Scheirman, former chief of medical operations in the U.S. Air Forces, released the following statement:

    “Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.”

    AFN is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, funded with taxpayer dollars, and accessible to troops serving overseas. Pentagon spokesman George Little says the military’s network will continue to air Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and is “unaware of any plans to review that decision.”

  48. Woosty,
    you got me most worked up with the beginning. The swollen ticks didn’t get me hot, but you did otherwise. Would like more.
    Guess ticks don’t do anything other than remind me of all borrelia antibiotic cures (3); and the vaccinations against the virus.. Got ’em in the yard now. Nymphs too. Shh ttt!

  49. I feel the need to console Bdaman, who has striven so valiantly to divert this conversation to irrelevant subjects.

    Alas, despite Bdaman’s best efforts at liberal-baiting, the conversation remains on the original topic: Whether or not Rush Limbaugh can be sued for his misogynistic, vile, ignorant lies about Ms. Fluke.

    Sorry, Bdaman, the preponderance of this conversation has been exchanges between intelligent adults. Despite your efforts.

  50. Bron,

    I think you missed my point.

    That was then. This is now. The greed on the part of insurance companies and their shareholders have put an end to any sanity that might have existed in the financial end of the medical field. (They claimed to crack down on doctors in order to control premium prices when, in actuality, doctors exorbitant and ever-growing fees were eating into insurance company profits. The happy partnership ceased to exist.)

    Now, government is the only answer and Obama’s plan was a step in the right direction. We need more.

    That’s what happens to a society when corporations rule. Everybody end up in the shitter … including the corporations.

  51. Blouise,

    “Don’t blame bda … I’m the one who did it via Viagra.”

    The mind boggles with possibilities…

  52. AY:

    Thanks, AY. Actually I defended a libel case to conclusion once in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. Lost it, too. The Plaintiff collected $1.00 in damages. I suspected the foreperson read Leon Uris.


    Gene H:

    I think we should make out a case for negligent comedy resulting in damages. Rush has to be a comedian since he’s certainly no political commentator.

    Seriously, maybe we should consider a pilot case alleging negligence against Clear Channel for negligently broadcasting the slander. Ms. Fluke could possibly establish negligence on the part of Clear Channel or EIB by showing that it did not act with a reasonable level of care in publishing (i.e. permitting the broadcasting) of the statement. We all know about the 3 second delay button. I’d take on that limited purpose public figures as in Gertz. Hell, even Gertz beat that.

  53. idealist7071, March 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    you do NOT want to mess w/borrelia…if you mean you have ticks in your yard? get some ducks and geese! plant TONS of mint and my all time favorite pest control; diatomaceous earth….

    brewers yeast in the pets food will help keep them unattractive to bloodsucking things….

  54. Blouise and others who use heatlh care,

    Here we pay a bit over 25-30 dollars for a doctor visit. For a child—nothing.
    The cost for a specialist visit, normally through referral or part of long term treatment, is 50 dollars. All medical costs are capped at 270 dollars a YEAR. After that it’s FREE . I can go wait for 30 minutes in the morning to get to see a doctor at the clinic. Can get time with my own within a week or 10 days.

    Drugs judged by the system as subsidizable (most prescription) have their purchase cost reduced on a sliding scale. The larger your yearly bill gets then greater the rebate. After the cap is reached then it’s free.

    My major cases (heart opn, cancer) costed peanuts for me. The insurance companies don’t make a dime. They don’t even exist, except for the one percenters who want ass-kissing (excuse me, that’s what they want).

    Bureacratic decisions don’t exist for you as a patient. The hospitals have tough goals to reach and budgets are skinny. Latest is un-medically indicated tests will not be done simply on patient request. Talk to your doctor, not your bureaucrat. Not your insurance company company either. Nor your death panel. We don’t have them

    Costs to the nation and us through taxes?

    We pay half what you do nationwise and get better care. This is true for the whole of Europe. We are healthier than you, have much much less overweight, and almost NO obesity. You can go for hours and not see a single obese person. NONE. Are we a nation of health fanatics? NO.
    Are we all taking health preparations? Very few. Are we food conscious? Yes. Are we diabetic? To a much lesser degree. Do we have heart attacks (coronaries), Ýes, mostly smokers and diabetics. Do we have throat cancers. Yep, and 85 percent are former smokers. Do we smoke much? Only young teenaged girls.

    Life style does seem to count. Do we commit suicide. Mostly the older during winter and spring. No comparative figures.
    Is it paradise? Hell no.

    Does big pharma play the system? You betcha, but they also get kicks in the butt too. My statin, atorvastatin, was taken off the list at the 10mg dosage. Why? Too big a cost. Other good ones were much cheaper.
    Do Doctors play the game. Well they get reimbursed by the system at a standard rate for the work done. Or they can stay out of the system and charge their patients what they want.

    Who controls it? Basically a two-tiered system. Central, and then specialized agencies (drugs), and the county which acts as an orderer to the hospitals, clinics etc so they can plan. Orders then are placed for the care in bulk and charged as it is done.The county has a withholding on income. So they have budgetary restraints.

    When are you going to get rid of the ticks?

    Income comparisons are important too. My impression is that 50,000 USD will get you a lot more there than it will here. .

  55. Woosty

    Thanks. It is a dangerous bummer. Seem for us it is deer and small rodents are the bearers of ticks. Have to get the yard grass clipped and the yard taken care of. That was why I got one last summer on a short visit there.

    Remember when the neighbor was away and someone came to feed her two cats, one cat came to us with her head full of 5-6 ticks. We took them away. She later adopted us.

  56. Mespo,

    That was one of the finest novels I have ever read….QB-VII….. Most harrowing as well….

  57. Off topic,
    here’s post from Ipad2’s pros and cons in the NYTimes, and my reply.

    Acid Black Boston suburbs

    As I’m reading the article and comments on my IPad, I wonder why all the negativity? I have 15 Internet connected devices in my home, IPads, desktop, laptops, net book, video game systems, etc and the one used everyday is my iPad. DT and LT dont work well in the bathroom, gym, car, train, etc. OBTW, GSA and other Federal institutions are testing IPads.
    March 6, 2012 at 7:03 a.m.

    idealist707 Stockholm

    write my question off as coming from a backward person.
    of the 15 devices, how many are for your use?
    Do you have an optical fiber access?
    Have your kids shown signs of epigenetic adaptation to the new environment like more eyes, more ears. more etc.
    Does your wife say: “not tonight honey, i’m already plugged in to my favorite (redacted).”
    March 6, 2012 at 5:27 p.m.

  58. rafflaw:

    I do too. I think when Rush doubled down and said he’d get Ms. Fluke and all the G-town female students aspirin to put between their knees teh day after his vile comments, Clear Channel should have stepped in to stop him. Sounds like a breach of the standard of care to me.

  59. mespo,

    I heard a few good attys up here mention the same thing. There is more than one way to skin a bobcat.

  60. Messpo and Rafflaw,

    There’s the ACLU. I hear you laughing. Try Soros. Or are you seeking a plaintiff?

    Shall we notify the OWS to occupy CC headquarters?
    That should be a change for OWS and CC.

  61. Sandra Fluke ‘Definitely’ Can Sue Rush Limbaugh
    By Andrew Chow, JD at
    Tue Mar 6, 2012

    Law student Sandra Fluke can “definitely” sue Rush Limbaugh for slander over the talk-show host’s ugly remarks on his radio program, legal experts say. Fluke seems to be leaving her options open.

    “I’ve certainly been told I might have a case,” Fluke, 30, told The Daily Beast on Friday, “but it’s not something I’ve made any decisions about at this point.”

    The next day, Rush Limbaugh apologized for calling Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” over the air. Liberal activists are clamoring for legal action.

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, initiated the call for Sandra Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh, according to The Daily Beast. Maloney, speaking at New York Law School, suggested firing back at Limbaugh with a civil lawsuit alleging slander.

    Slander is a type of defamation in which a hurtful statement is spoken. To win a slander lawsuit, a victim must prove someone made a false statement that was “published” to at least one other person, and that the statement caused injury.

    Public figures must also prove actual malice — that the statement was made with intentional disregard for the truth.

    In Sandra Fluke’s case, she is not a public figure, lawyers told the Philadelphia Daily News. Fluke can “definitely” prove Limbaugh made the hurtful comments and “published” them to millions of listeners, one attorney said.

    Rush’s potential defenses — such as free-speech protections and that he was just joking — may not hold up with a jury, the attorney told the Daily News.

    “His statements implied facts about somebody’s sex life, that she was promiscuous and trading sex for money,” the attorney explained. The company that syndicates Limbaugh’s radio show may also be liable for “publishing” the comments, the attorney said.

    As for Limbaugh’s apology, a judge or jury may consider it in coming up with a damage award. Sandra Fluke may be thinking about that as she considers suing Rush Limbaugh.

  62. Libel lawyer: Fluke ‘definitely’ has reason to sue Limbaugh
    March 05, 2012|By Michael Hinkelman, Daily News Staff Writer

    Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh issued a second apology today – this time on the air – to the Georgetown Law School student he called a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his show last week.

    But a prominent Philadelphia trial lawyer who’s been involved in a number of high-profile defamation cases still thinks the conservative talker is vulnerable to a defamation lawsuit.


    Max Kennerly, a lawyer with The Beasley Firm in Center City, thinks Fluke “definitely” has a defamation case against Limbaugh if she chooses to pursue it.

    Limbaugh could argue that he was simply rendering an opinion protected by the First Amendment or, alternatively, that the statements would be seen as so outlandish that nobody would believe they were true.

    But Kennerly said Limbaugh’s comments that Fluke was a “slut” and “prostitute” “embedded false statements of fact,” were thus defamatory and that a judge might allow a jury to decide the case.

    “His statements implied facts about somebody’s sex life, that she was promiscuous and trading sex for money,” Kennerly said.

    Kennerly also said that Premiere Networks, Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications which syndicates the radio show, could also be liable for “publishing” Limbaugh’s words.

  63. I don’t think anyone has yet made the following observation: Limbaugh’s libel is the equivalent of a SLAPP suit, intended to punish a person for participating as a citizen-advocate in a public forum.

  64. Alan – BINGO!!!

    The damage is already done. Like they have done so many times before they can intimidate people from coming foreword later. Look at how they went after the family of that 12 YO boy who spoke up for sCHIP or how Malikin sent the flying monkeys after some college students who spoke out against Bush. Creating fear is what they do. It was not designed to stop the last person but the NEXT person to speak against them

  65. Blouise1, March 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm


    I heard a few good attys up here mention the same thing. There is more than one way to skin a bobcat.
    WHAT does everyone on this blog have against Bobcats?????????

  66. I don’t have anything against bobcats, Woosty.

    In fact, I’m rather fond of HenMan’s bobcats.

    Even if they did try to eat my face the last time I paid him a visit.

  67. Of course he does Wootsy…… And people from Arkansas have pet opposum…..people from Texas have pet aramdillos….. And people from Michigan have pet wolverines…….

  68. Woosty,

    Well, Henman has one arm sewn on backwards after a bobcat attack and seeking services from a cross-eyed Veterinarian. 😉

    I used “more than one way to skin a bobcat” instead of “more than one way to skin a c..” out of respect for all the posters who love cats. I suppose it was disrespectful to HenMan’s imaginary bobcats … I’ll lock my doors tonight.

    I’ve never been to HenMan’s either and I bet after this, Woosty is going to be the only who gets an invitation. ;(

  69. SwM,

    Polls closed at 7:30pm … don’t usually start getting final counts until after 10pm. So far Kaptur leads in one county and Kucinich leads in another.

  70. Warning for Romney in Gallup Tracking Poll? Nate Silver

    So far, Mitt Romney is under-performing his polls in most states that have reported results so far, while Rick Santorum is over-performing his — possibly by a wide enough margin to swing Ohio, where Mr. Romney had appeared to have a slight advantage in the surveys but Mr. Santorum now leads in the vote count.

    Although the polling data generally showed improving numbers for Mr. Romney over the course of the last week, there was one exception. The Gallup national tracking poll released on Tuesday afternoon showed Mr. Romney’s numbers declining by 4 points, and Mr. Santorum gaining 2.

    Although only a portion of the Gallup poll’s interviews were conducted on Monday, that still postdates the polls that were in the field in Ohio, Georgia, and Tennessee, almost all of which closed shop on Sunday night. Exit polls from Ohio, meanwhile, suggested that while Mr. Romney performed more strongly than Mr. Santorum among voters who decided over the past week, the reverse was true among voters who made a choice just today.

    It’s possible that some of the momentum that Mr. Romney received from his big wins in Arizona and Michigan faded — as happens fairly often after a candidate gets favorable headlines for several days. A similar situation may have contributed to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s upset win in New Hampshire in 2008, which had followed Barack Obama’s win in Iowa.

  71. SwM,

    Romney is popular up North (bigger cities and thus later reporting results) and along the Ohio River. Santorum is big in the rest of the State amongst the teabaggers (smaller towns and thus faster result reporting).

  72. Kucinich says he’s not ready to concede … yet.

    Admits he is not doing well in any of the counties other than Cuyahoga. That’s as of 11:05pm on local news, live.

  73. Romney just pulled ahead by 5,000 votes with 87% reporting. 13% still out but that’s big cities where Romney is favored. So far it’s Romney at 38%, Santorum at 37%. Paul is way behind Newt.

  74. “Joe the Plumber” … yep, the real Joe the plumber looks like he’s losing on the republican side so it’ll probably be Kraus – v – Kaptur.

    It’s still only Cuyahoga county not fully reported and with 90% in, in the rest of the state and Romney ahead by 6000 … it’ll probably be Romney but it’s still 38% to 37%

  75. Bdaman, Your link regarding the Democrats failure to ban drugs for erectile disfunction to sex offenders is disingenuious. The bil also banned any abortifacnts. People here aren’t stupid enough to buy that particular bill of goods you’re trying to sell with that link.

    Aso, your heartburn with Fluke being an activist, which is how she introduced herself to the committee is just misdirection and sour grapes on your part. I infeer that you would rather have the deck stacked with a cluster of male church affiliated activists and no response or contrary argument being made. Tough, that isn’t the way it works.

    your arguments on this matter are devolving to a caracture of the typical Republican talking points. If there weren’t any female activists (or females) with a differing point of view from the Bishops then there wouldn’t be any oportunity for villification by a hater/chauvanist pig like Limbaugh- bitch had it coming- blame the victim, feel sorry for the poor chauvanist. Yea, yea, heard it all before. Have another cup of tea.

    I apologise in advance to all creatures of the porcine persuasion everywhere.

  76. [Attempted to use the ‘edit word’ function in my spell check to use another/different word and when I hit ‘enter’ to save the edit it posted the un-corrected response in its entirety to the blawg – no changes are saved until the entire doc is finished and spell check is closed. Ack! Sorry about that.]

    Bdaman, Your link regarding the Democrats failure to ban drugs for erectile dysfunction to sex offenders is disingenuious. The bill also banned any abortifacients. People here aren’t stupid enough to buy that particular bill of goods you’re trying to sell with that link.

    Also, your heartburn with Fluke being an activist, which is how she introduced herself to the committee is just misdirection and sour grapes on your part. I infer that you would rather have the deck stacked with a cluster of male church affiliated activists and no response or contrary argument being made. Tough, that isn’t the way it works.

    your arguments on this matter are devolving to a caricature of the typical Republican talking points. If there weren’t any female activists (or females) with a differing point of view from the Bishops then there wouldn’t be any opportunity for vilification by a hater/chauvinist pig like Limbaugh- bitch had it coming- blame the victim, feel sorry for the poor chauvinist. Yea, yea, heard it all before. Have another cup of tea.

    I apologise in advance to all creatures of the porcine persuasion everywhere

  77. Lotta,

    Good call out of Badm above. That ridiculous bill was an amendment introduced by Sen Coburn, (the same Dr Coburn, Rev Coburn, who brokered the odious blackmail deal for the scurrilous Sen John Ensign who as residents of the tax-evading C street house…to tiring to tell the tale of this tawdry tangent tonight … back to the amendment) with the very attractive title, just begging, daring the Dems for a yes vote; knowing that if any amendment was passed and attached to ACA the bill would have to go back to the House for another vote, thus Coburn was attempting to derail the ACA; the Dems did not take the bait even though they could see how people like Badman would spin it.

    Badman your concern for price of viagra is too little too late, America’s corporations would have been much better off if they had signed on to single payer/medicare for all sooner, instead of fighting against their own best interest. We will get there eventually.

  78. Here is a list of companies who still advertise on Rush Limbaugh shows:
    Amberson (drug to cut belly fat); Lear Capital (precious metals); Winning Our Future (Newt Gingrich promotion); Income At Home; Nova Armament (guns for ladies); John Deere (tractors et al); HotProps (foreclosed properties); NetWork Properties (foreclosed properties); U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (your tax dollars for Rush); Right Size Health (fat loss);
    United Health Care; Ackerman Monitoring Devices; Regal Gold; Merit Financial; Robert Steinberg for mesothelioma litigants; Hillsdale College (free classes on the U.S. Constitution)

    So if you dont have a fat butt, dont like Gingrich, dont need precious metals, are a woman with a gun already, already have a tractor. not a tax payer or veteran, dont need the Right size fat boy clothes, dont need a monitoring device, have enough gold in the closet, dont have mesothelioma and already took your course on the constitution…. then you can watch Rush or listen to the Rush show and not be influenced by any of the aforesaid corporations seeking to eak out a living from your wallet. I am writing my Congressman and the Dept of Veterans Affairs about their ad.

    Many advertisers loudly fled Rush these past two days.

    Advertisers who would be appropriate: Rush To Judgment House (whore house in Vegas); Catholic Church; Fat Boys Anonymous; One Flew Over The Cuckkcu Nest (newly released); Praise The Lard (book on fat boys getting into heaven); Hot Air Baloons R Us; Nestle Crunch; Liberty Mutual Health Ins. policies for fat people; Oxycotton; any condom manufacturer; Viagra; John Deere Tractors.

  79. Bdaman, Your link regarding the Democrats failure to ban drugs for erectile dysfunction to sex offenders is disingenuious. The bill also banned any abortifacients. People here aren’t stupid enough to buy that particular bill of goods you’re trying to sell with that link.

    “This amendment would ensure health care providers are not forced to participate in abortions or discriminated against because they choose not to perform abortions. The federal government should never require health care providers to violate their deeply held moral, ethical or religious beliefs or discriminate against them because they choose to exercise their consciences and not be involved with abortion. This amendment would protect health care providers from being required or coerced to perform abortions.”

    and look where we are now.

  80. CEJ,

    Coburn’s a real piece of work, he was hip-deep in the Terri Schiavo case.

    Also, during the hours leading up to the health-care reform vote:

    “At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation’s passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” he said. “That’s what they ought to pray.”

    It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn’t have the 60 they needed.”

  81. Blouise,

    An Ohio voter story:

    86-Year-Old Ohio Veteran Can’t Vote After Government-Issued ID Is Rejected At Poll
    By Travis Waldron on Mar 6, 2012

    Paul Carroll, an 86-year-old World War II veteran who has lived in the same Ohio town for four decades, was denied a chance to vote in the state’s primary contests today after a poll worker denied his form of identification, a recently-acquired photo ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The poll worker rejected the ID because it did not contain an address, as required by Ohio law.

    Carroll told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he got the ID from the VA after his driver’s license expired because he doesn’t drive anymore:

    “My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Paul Carroll, 86, who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975.

    “I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”

  82. TPMDC
    Senate Republicans Backing Off Contraception Wars
    Sahil Kapur March 7, 2012

    From one top GOP senator openly lamenting the fallout of the ongoing fight over contraception, to the author of the controversial legislation at the heart of that fight effectively conceding defeat in the upper chamber, signs mounted Tuesday that suggest Senate Republicans want to put the birth control controversy to bed.

    “You know, I think we’ve got as many votes as I think there were to get on that,” Senate GOP Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt told TPM Tuesday afternoon after a weekly Capitol briefing. “I think the House side may take some further action. That debate will go on for a long time, though I don’t know that there’s anything else to happen in the Senate in the near future.”

    The concession marks a departure for the GOP leadership, which as recently as last week insisted that Republicans were on the right side of the issue and would fight on.

  83. Rush Limbaugh and the poisoning of the GOP brand
    How the least-liked “news personality” in America became the symbol of the GOP — and just poisoned their brand
    By Steve Kornacki

    Sponsors are still bailing on Rush Limbaugh, who is apparently uninterested in expanding his very limited apology to Sandra Fluke, the woman he called a “slut” on his radio show last week. Limbaugh still seems unlikely to lose his show over this, and the controversy may even rally his core audience around him. But in the broader court of public opinion, the past week has undoubtedly served to worsen his already serious image problem.

    Just before he made his comments about Fluke last week, a Harris poll found that Limbaugh is the most disliked “current affairs personality” in the country — by far. Given a list of 26 different television and radio hosts and commentators, 46 percent of respondents picked Limbaugh as their least favorite, well ahead of second-place finisher Bill O’Reilly, who was chosen by 31 percent. On the flip side, only 9 percent cited Limbaugh as their favorite personality.

    There was a time about a decade ago, back when he nearly landed a spot on “Monday Night Football” and ended up on ESPN’s NFL pregame show, when Limbaugh seemed to be branching out and fashioning himself as his generation’s Howard Cosell, a provocative broadcaster for all occasions, adored and detested in equal numbers. But the transition to sports didn’t quite work out, and since then Limbaugh has been defined as a fundamentally political figure, one with a devoted following on the right but few fans anywhere else on the political spectrum (or among the nonpolitical masses). He is a broadly disliked public figure.

  84. Blouise to DonS at 11:06am, …”if it’s dysfunctional….amputate (and in the next posting) “…duels”

    LOL, I don’t know how I missed that yesterday but it gets my day off to an outstanding start. Occam’s Razor applied literally:-)

    [‘Cutting to the chase’ was a pretty darn good response too, Don!]

    Thank you both:-)

  85. Lotta,
    You were brilliantly rolling w/ Badman. So good will clip and paste to my archive.
    Took a nap and woke just 30 minutes ago. The vivid dream still echoing in my mind. What was it? A vision of the coming America, when the corporatists have ultimately one, re-formed the country to suit it, and the people are suitable re-molded in the functioanally and modes desired.

    Will write about it later:
    But for now: the blacks were all the same shades,, reduced to 3/4 persons with demeaning tasks, mumbling softly when questioned, bowed and quietly servile. The office environments spoke of places of constricted passage, no more than one at a time, every 10 steps equipped with a plastic barrier which could close or open lightning fast as you approached. You never knew how it would react to your approach, no green or red light.
    The cafeteria was arranged so that max groups were restricted to four, but most were for two, ie one on one. etc,etc.

    gotta eat my lunch now. you must have a night job or live in Hawaii from the hours you keep.

  86. Isn’t the social media being used to take Rush rightfully down….

    I wonder if it’s time for another cotin…….

  87. Talk about apples and oranges,sit down for this one.

    RFK Jr.: Inhofe is ‘call girl’ for Big Oil

    “Leave it to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to one-up Rush Limbaugh in the name-calling department.
    “Speaking of prostitutes, big oil’s top call girl Sen Inhofe wants to kill fuel economy backed by automakers, small biz, enviros, & consumers,” the New York-based environmentalist wrote Tuesday on Twitter.”

  88. Idealist, I have a disrupted sleep schedule; more to the point, North American commerce and lifestyles are set up bass-ackward. A night owl as it were and frequent volunteer for the first shift: 11:00PM – 07:30AM when I worked outside the home. I’ll go to sleep soon.

    You’re a stream-of-consciousness kinda guy aren’t you?

    I went to Mother Jones to find out what was in the bill in question and it discussed the morning-after pill and linked to the language on Sen. Coburn’s web site. When I went back to check it on Coburn’s website it was not there though. Maybe it was in an early draft. CEJ did good to explain the political motives for the bill.

  89. Lessons From Limbaugh
    Katha Pollitt on March 5, 2012

    Limbaugh says disgusting hate-filled things about women all the time. His fans think it’s hilarious. The media insiders think it’s naïve and boring to complain: that’s just the way Rush rolls. Slate’s Dave Weigel, for example, points out helpfully that Rush is “a private citizen who hasn’t endorsed any presidential candidate,” so it’s unfair for the “Democratic media complex” to attack him for this bit of “classic Rush, sort of.” (Apparently it’s no big deal for Rush to smear his vile viciousness all over Sandra Fluke, a private citizen.) Maybe the Republican primary debates, in which candidates compete for the titles like Most Opposed to Plan B for Rape Victims, have woken people up, because Rush’s attack on Fluke has drawn fire—a wave of outrage from feminists, liberal columnists and bloggers, including petitions to his sponsors, several of whom have pulled their ads. Even President Obama got involved, with a phone call to Fluke expressing support. Rush issued a half-hearted self-serving apology: “In the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize.” Rick Santorum, last seen blaming birth control for rising rates of single motherhood, commented on CNN, “He’s being absurd but that’s you know, an entertainer can be absurd.” Mitt Romney was no knight in shining armor either: “I’ll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used.”

    Meanwhile, the wingnut media has doubled and tripled down. Bill O’Reilly: “You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?” Pam Geller: By all accounts she is banging it five times a day. She sounds more like a prostitute to me. She must have an gyno bill to choke a horse (pun intended). Calling this whore a slut was a softball.“ Ace of Spades: “A shiftless rent-a-cooch from East Whoreville.” Jawa Report posted a photo supposedly of Fluke with a “Semen Demon” tattoo above her butt.

    What do we learn from this story besides that Limbaugh apparently believes you have to take an additional pill every time you have sex, like, um, the Viagra pills he was found with when he returned from a Dominican vacation? (The Catholic church has no problem with covering boner pills, by the way, and they are routinely covered by insurance.) We learn that there is no point even bothering to point out that many women take the pill for non-contraceptive reasons—not only will the bishops will still do their best to keep women from it, misogynists like Limbaugh won’t even notice. They don’t know anything about ladyparts—Cysts? Endometriosis? —and they don’t care. They don’t care either that almost all women use some form of birth control at some point—wives, mothers, women who may not even like sex. Even lesbians! When the topic is anything remotely connected to female sexuality, every woman is a ho, a prostitute, a slutty-slut-slut, from a teenage virgin who needs to control her acne to a tired and put-upon 40-year-old mother of five. Even the feminazis! Those slutwalkers were really on to something.

  90. I am an ac tivist for women in pain awareness, so if I testified in public that sex is sometimes an antidote to pain and sleeplesness (since it can calm and relax) I guess Limbaugh could say I was a public figure who advocates every women with pain becoming a slut.
    (In my med. mal case the doctor defendant who was a “name” got away with outright perjury, the Pa. Superior Court calling his testimony perjurious; yet no one cared, including the Pa. senate or Gov Ridge (who named and confirmed Dr. Jannetta as Pa Sec’t of Health 4 weeks after my lawyer forced me to take a settlement with which I disagreed.) People with “names” get privileges and with impunity lie and commit illegal acts (Limbaugh and his drugs) that the regular guy could never even think of doing or getting away with. (I know I have gone to this anecdote before but thght it was relevant.)

  91. Bdaman,
    You might ave more credibility if you used links from non biased sites. (For a laugh read the comments, if there is any doubt about who reads the site where the article is posted.. Oh and by the way interesting in their “analysis”
    They ignored the part of one the quote they cited where the AMA was in agreement with the authors, Fluke et al: ” the American Medical Association has declared the lack of coverage to be discrimination”

  92. if i read mr. turley correctly, anyone who is interviewed, for whatever reason, by a reporter, opens themselves up to libel, slander and defamation because, in his opinion, they’ve now become a “limited public figure”. somehow, i have my doubts that that’s what the USSC intended. i could be wrong. what mr. limbaugh actually did was make statements of fact:

    1. he stated, as fact, that ms. fluke is a slut.
    2. he stated, as fact, that ms. fluke is a prostitute.

    these are not, by any stretch of the imagination, opinions. opinions are always protected speech, knowingly false statements of fact are not. even for a public figure, making a public, knowingly false statement of fact isn’t protected completely, as mr. turley well knows.

    that mr. limbaugh is an entertainer, and his show is labeled entertainment, doesn’t give mr. limbaugh free rein to defame, slander and/or libel people, when his statements fall outside the (broad) orbit of opinion. had he prefaced his comments with “i think”, or “in my opinion”, he’d be totally in the clear, from a legal perspective anyway. not so much in the arena of public opinion.

    no, it isn’t:

    “Truth is a defense…..”

    perhaps to your friends and family, but rarely, if ever, to the general public.

  93. Thanks Elaine.
    For opening that seamy side of America. Never encountered it when I lived there. Now the internet makes any glob of spit a national comic——he thinks. And some make millions on it. It’s a wonder that Rush doesn’t need triple mike spit shields.

  94. Woosty,
    I’ve been labeled so here by some. Have no idea what it is.
    Myself, have found that my attempts to conciously controlled writing don’t merit showing—–I hear catcalls. Due to admittedly no formal or solidly based knowledge.
    But I have found over a very short period that letting it flow as it will; does best for me. It all started with an idea from a quantum scientist who found the most fruitful ideas came from associative thinking, not purposeful serial.

    Nice to run into you when and whatever.

  95. Pat Robertson has weighed in on the issue and Rush’s take on it:

    ” Robertson: You know there was a woman, the law student at Georgetown University who appeared before a congressional committee, and she said that students needed $3,000 a year for contraception and that they couldn’t afford it. As I understand, the Catholic school was supposed to pay for it. Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage, is a sin. This woman is saying ‘I’m going to be committing sin but I want you to pay for my sin.’ Now am I overstating that? Rush Limbaugh got a little bit over the top on that thing but is that what it amounted to?”

    Man, I’m glad he explained what all the controversy was about.

    via a link on Raw Story:

    There is also video.

  96. Lotta,

    Sorry for my not understanding. In what way would a spell checker help?
    Spelling? Coherentness. Brevity? ????
    Never had one. Used to be tops in spelling. Now?
    AY likes his, and the access to world news sites it gives him. For me 1000 pages of shit is still shit. Sieving out the truth is tough, however you do it.

    Yes, it works very well in terms of feeling that I express what I feel. So do we all, I presume. As for approval ratings and response, seems like my one-liners get response most often. My note on the ants’ activity level and god’s thoughts on that, got hoorahs from Gene H. and AN.

    Should tell a wordy devil like me something.

  97. Idealist,
    “Idealist707, whatever works for you. I find a good spell checker works for me though even that doesn’t help sometimes”

    A spell checker (spelling correction/editing application) may not be what you need, It’s what I need because I don’t spell well but it often doesn’t help me with faulty content due to deficiencies related to logic, knowledge etc. Haha, a self-deprecating joke but true; I spell badly.

    Regarding your sometimes stream-of-consciousness style: whatever works for you. An observation of your writing style does not imply a flaw. It was not a judgment, just an observation.

  98. woosty,
    Are you saying that I:
    1. am a verbose person in Rush’ class?
    2. am a liar in his class?
    3. am a writer of complete incoherence like Rush?
    4. would cover whatever truth there is by a pile of shit?
    5, all of the above?
    6. none of the above?
    7. ______________ ? (fill in your choice of words)

  99. Bill Maher wants you to forgive Rush
    A privileged white guy who makes sexist comments would like us to pardon a privileged white guy for doing the same
    By Mary Elizabeth Williams

    This week in rich, delicious irony: A privileged, middle-aged man known for making sexist, derogatory comments would like America to forgive a privileged, middle-aged man for making sexist, derogatory comments.

    After admitting that he does “Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh,” Bill Maher went on to tweet Tuesday, about the radio host: “he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout.” Wait, who looks bad here? My sides, they’re splitting!

    Maher, of course, is a professional provocateur, a guy who views himself as an equal opportunity fly in everyone’s ointment. But he’s also the man who recently gave a cool million dollars to Obama’s super PAC and once suggested “don’t ask, don’t tell” be overturned purely “because it will make Rush Limbaugh explode like a bag full of meat dropped from a helicopter.” As such, he no doubt felt uniquely qualified to appeal to the left’s sense of justice. And no doubt there are plenty of talking heads – the ones who erroneously keep insisting that liberals and feminists have no problem with Maher’s track record of offensive remarks – who’d go along with him.

    But as a matter of fact, lots of us were revolted when Maher called Sarah Palin a “cunt” and a “dumb twat,” and were grossed out by his ill-timed assessment of Lara Logan’s “intrepid hotness” last year. We actually don’t find sexism adorable just because someone lets Marc Maron on his show.

  100. Lotta,
    I was writing to you and vice versa. thanks for the clarification.

    As for self-deprecation, i spend too much time on that myself.
    As for style of writing, thanks for clarifying it was not a concealed put-down.
    Assuming friendship, was surprised at the Rush post which could not understand the relevance of at all.

    Myself I really admire your out of the box thinking, just as I admire Mike S’s often for me unique views, and Gene H’s logical tour-de-forces on the way to reason, etc. But for me, my associative way of putting it together is MY WAY, as Sinatra often sang.

    Going to bed. Trying to avoid sleeping pills. Have had them too long.

  101. Lotta,

    Here’s an after-thought on the Rushian style exemplified by your link.
    Here he goes: ögtcejtadmcövöcfnamwmö gqpcxugc cfjas h

    Can’t you see him doing cunnilingus on his women. He just starts the blabber motor, and they’re in heaven.

    Laughed myself, of course. Thus this repeat. That’s associative thinking.

  102. Elaine M.
    Thanks for the Maher info. Using female genitalia for deriding someone stinks, meaning slang variants.
    My experience is little—like all except The Simpsons program, which is standard fare over here.
    But the little I’ve caught on the net hasn’t been machismo or sexist, but even the political bit gives a queasy feeling.
    Thanks for placing him.
    As for the one million to Obama. I guess he wants to be assured a few golf rounds and a few photo ops to show his sponsors. Quid pro quo, I think the lawyers here call it.
    Thanks to Youtube I don’t get the ads. Just his surly humor.

    Jon Stewart, how about him? Sky high for me.

  103. Rush Limbaugh Is Really Sorry That He Had to Apologize

    Last Friday, I wrote about people who actually bother to apologize for offensive and harmful behavior. Sincere admissions of guilt deserve special attention, in part because it’s now standard for national figures to either hide from their mistakes or just go through the motions of pretending they’re sorry.

    I guess it’s obvious that I have Rush Limbaugh on the mind.

    Recently, he made himself and the political right look ridiculous by verbally abusing Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who tried to testify at a congressional hearing about the cost of birth control.

    In her statement (now posted on YouTube), Ms. Fluke drew attention to a friend who was prescribed birth control pills for a medical condition, and had to pay for the treatment out of pocket. She said nothing whatsoever about her sex life.

    But in Mr. Limbaugh’s propaganda chamber, her testimony became a declaration of sexual promiscuity. He accused her of expecting taxpayers to pay her to have sex, and suggested that she post videos of herself having sex on the Internet. He called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” and said she was “round heeled.”

    On Saturday, after several advertisers withdrew their sponsorship, Mr. Limbaugh issued a statement in which he said, “I sincerely apologize,” but really just distorted Ms. Fluke’s message in a whole new way. “I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress,” he said. “I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities.”

    Except no one is requiring Americans to pay for other people’s sex lives, and the only person talking about “personal sexual recreational activities” is Mr. Limbaugh. While he acts like a 13-year-old peering through a crack in the door of a changing room that he thinks is a strip club, the rest of us are trying to have a sensible discussion about a public health issue.

    The hypocrisy is grating. As Maureen Dowd put it in a withering column in Sunday’s Times: “Rush and Newt Gingrich can play the studs, marrying again and again until they find the perfect adoring young wife. But women pressing for health care rights are denigrated as sluts.”

  104. Went to Wootsy’sstillacat link (although hate to possbly give limbaugh one extra page view statistic.) I love what he says “They are not canceling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show” after sayting how advertisers cancelling has nothing to do with his show.
    He also says people just don’t understand how this all works but we do, and he does. They don’t want to appear connected with his show. Period.
    I guess he is hoping if you are (put your own word here) enough to watch and believe him and Fox news you will accept any distortions and lies he tells..

  105. Sandra Fluke wasn’t the only one Limbaugh was attacking
    By Bonnie J. Morris
    March 9, 2012

    Like so many others, I was appalled by Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, whose brave testimony about the need for birth control coverage led to his characterization of her as a “slut” and a “prostitute.” But I’ve watched this debacle unfold with multiple perspectives as an insider. I’m a woman, a Washingtonian and a U.S. citizen interested in maintaining that delicate separation of church and state. And I’m also a women’s studies professor. At Georgetown University.

    My home campus is George Washington University, but since 1996 I’ve taught part time at Georgetown, too: one class every semester. I teach material that includes the history of reproductive rights and U.S. feminism. How’s that received, at a Jesuit campus? Answer: In the classroom, and on my teaching evaluations, there’s no problem at all. Georgetown students are just as interested, appreciative and respectful as those in my GWU classes. I respect their views, too, of course; the level of civility in our discourse couldn’t be higher.

    On the other hand, since (A) I don’t need birth control and (B), if I did, it would be covered by my GWU benefits, I’m not affected personally by Georgetown’s policies toward its students and workers. But I am affected personally, in every nerve of my body, by Limbaugh’s name-calling.

    As a women’s studies professor, I deal every day with how words such as “slut” — and a lack of access to contraception — affect the young women I mentor. That we’re returning to this sort of mentality, akin to stoning the female non-virgins among us, with the attendant double-standard for sexually active young men, is as frightening a parallel to Taliban-style intimidation of women as anything I’ve seen in a while. We seem to be suffering historical amnesia toward all that women fought to overcome in our culture. Even as I write this, my students are wrapping up midterm essays on how until very recently the control of women’s “good reputation” — calling them immodest and unchaste — limited opportunities for girls outside the home.

    Or at least I thought it was until very recently. Are we crawling back in time? In his vitriol, Limbaugh asserted that basic health care for women amounts to paying them to have sex. That kind of rhetoric will never lead to compromise and understanding. But there is middle ground if we look for it. Even at a Jesuit school like Georgetown, the pro-life position should be flexible enough to grasp that the pill is also prescribed for serious medical conditions, including the sort of irregular bleeding and other uterine problems that can keep students (and faculty) out of class for weeks.

    But the larger point is that an attack on any young woman’s reputation feels like a personal attack on all women who are, in this bizarre historical moment, once again being forced to stand before the judgment of Great Men.

    Twenty years ago, when Anita Hill had her reputation impugned before an entirely male committee, quite a few women were sufficiently enraged to run for Congress. And many won, thanks to female constituents who said: Enough. That’s the kind of statement that needs to be made again. When one of us is bullied, all of us are bullied.

    Yeah, it’s personal.

  106. rafflaw,

    Did you see this story?

    Students Silently Protest Professor Who Defended Limbaugh, Ridiculed Fluke
    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Mar 9, 2012

    Thirty University of Rochester students held a protest Wednesday afternoon in the classroom of an economics professor who had defended Rush Limbaugh’s verbal assault on Sandra Fluke and said the Georgetown student deserved to be mocked.

    In a blog post, Professor Steven Landsburg said he essentially agreed with Limbaugh stance, writing, “Her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves [no respect] whatsoever. It deserves to only be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty.” He said he did not agree with Limbaugh’s use of the word of “slut” to describe Fluke, but said “prostitute” was mostly fair, while a “extortionist” was even better.

    The post prompted a statement of condemnation from University President Joel Seligman, who said, “I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.”

    At the beginning Landsburg’s class Wednesday afternoon, the students, formed a line between him and the class as he continued the lecture.

    Ironically, Landsburg wrote a book called More Sex Is Safer Sex.


    Here’s an excerpt from and a link to the professor’s post about Limbaugh and Fluke:

    Rush to Judgment

    Rush Limbaugh is under fire for responding in trademark fashion to the congressional testimony of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who wants you to pay for her contraception. If the rest of us are to share in the costs of Ms. Fluke’s sex life, says Rush, we should also share in the benefits, via the magic of online video. For this, Rush is accused of denying Ms. Fluke her due respect.

    But while Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.

    To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.

  107. Rush Limbaugh Scandal Proves Contagious for Talk-Radio Advertisers
    Ninety-eight major advertisers—including Ford and Geico—will no longer air spots on Premiere Networks’ ‘offensive’ programs. Insiders say the loss will rock right-wing talk radio.

    Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it.

    Because now the fallout from the “slut” slurs against Sandra Fluke is extending to the entire political shock-jock genre.

    Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”

    This is big. According to the radio-industry website, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

    Valerie Geller, an industry insider and author of Beyond Powerful Radio, confirmed the trend. “I have talked with several reps who report that they’re having conversations with their clients, who are asking not to be associated with specifically polarizing controversial hosts, particularly if those hosts are ‘mean-spirited.’ While most products and services offered on these shows have strong competitors, and enjoy purchasing the exposure that many of these shows and hosts can offer, they do not wish to be ‘tarred’ with the brush of anger, or endure customer anger, or, worse, product boycotts.”

    There are already tangible signs that the three dozen national and local advertisers that have pulled their ads from The Rush Limbaugh Show are having a financial impact.

    For example, the ads that ran on Limbaugh’s WABC show in New York on Thursday consisted primarily of public-service announcements. Among the few actual advertisements were spots from the Mitt Romney–associated super PAC Restore Our Future (featuring negative attacks on Newt), Lear Capital, and the conservative Hillsdale College. Media Matters has been monitoring national trends along the same lines. When PSAs for nonprofit organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the United Negro College Fund run in place of actual advertisements on radio, it means the show starts losing money for the local station. And make no mistake, money is the only barometer of success the industry ultimately cares about.

  108. “triggers the standard under New York Times v. Sullivan requiring that she satisfy the higher test for defamation of either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard of the truth.”

    I wouldn’t say that Limbaugh’s words were “knowing falsehood”. He had no way on knowing if they were true or false.
    His words were definitely “reckless disregard of the truth”.

    On might argue that “slut” and “prostitute” are simply common name-calling.
    However, he did repeatedly claim that the was “having so much sex that…” and talked of how her parents might feels knowing that their daughter “was having so much sex…”.
    He clearly did no investigation into what she said. I doubt that he conducted any investigation into how much sex she was having. If he were sued, then any possible defence would have to produce the investigative files that he possessed at the time of his accusations.
    His clear intention was to bully and damage her.
    If she is now a public figure, it is only his behaviour that has made her into one.
    Even if she was a public figure, the nature of his attack went way beyond any bounds of decency.

    It would be useful if she did sue him.
    He attacked her in order to suppress her speech. His highly personal and defamatory attacks exercise a chilling effect where ordinary people might hesitate to exercise their right to free speech. If people like him come to understand that they have a personal price to pay for that sort of behaviour, then the standard of discourse may improve.
    Suing him would be of public benefit.

    Claiming that he gets a free pass because of the First Amendment is to bring the Constitution into disrepute.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”

    These are noble intentions.
    Does anyone seriously believe that the intention of the First Amendment was to give Limbaugh a licence to do what he did – without any consequences?

    Any law or rule that confers rights should end with “- but don’t be a dick about it”.

    This is a case where a court should decide that Limbaugh was being a dick.

  109. “and he Limbaugh] was analogizing the receipt of government funds for contraception to prostitution — something covered under opinion defenses.)”

    But this was not factual. Sandra Fluke was testifying about a student medical plan at Georgetown that doesn’t provide contraceptive coverage due to the religious objections of the Catholic church. Georgetown students pay for this insurance themselves. Public funds are not involved and Fluke did not ask that the government pay for her contraception.

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