Bloggers on Katherine Harris' latest gaffe.

Bloggers on Katherine Harris' latest gaffe.

Bloggers on Katherine Harris' latest gaffe.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 30 2006 5:11 PM

Not a Prayer

Bloggers go to town on Rep. Katherine Harris' comment that the church-state wall is a "lie." They also see a YouTube whistle-blower at Lockheed Martin as a harbinger of future institutional exposure and laugh it up about Kyra Phillips' on-air trip to the ladies' room on CNN.

Not a prayer: According to Florida Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, whose Senate campaign lies by most estimates somewhere between imperiled and amusing, the separation of church and state in the United States is "a lie we have been told," and Jefferson and Madison got it "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers." Moreover, to elect non-Christians is to "legislate sin," something a handful of Miami constituents don't take too kindly to hearing. Neither do bloggers.

Advertisement

Lefty Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report has a long memory for Harris' dip into the metaphysical: "In March, for example, Harris told a radical TV preacher that she had studied under Francis Schaeffer, who is best known for calling on Christian activists to demand 'biblical morality' in government affairs. … Around the same time … the would-be senator took on spiritual adviser Dale Burroughs, founder of the Biblical Heritage Institute in Bradenton, as her closest confidante. … And who can forget Harris' interest in 'celestial drops'? … Harris not only believed [the] mystically-blessed water could treat citrus canker, she used her office to repeatedly pressure state officials to work with 'celestial drop' advocates."

Conservative Christian Daniel Larson at Eunomia defends Harris in light of her venue: "First of all, she was speaking to a Christian audience, so telling them to elect Christians ought to be about as controversial as telling any group to elect one of their own. Had she put this in the weasel language of 'values' and electing someone who will represent your 'values,' all would have been well."

Harris was quick to amend her statements, which cited her Jewish campaign manager, her pro-Israel voting record, and her outspokenness about this last point. But D.C. gossip site Wonkette abridges the apology thusly: "So, to sum up, electing Christians is still urgent and key, but you're allowed to have a couple Jews working for you (and we're totally cool with that country they have)."

At Pinpricks and Pummelings, the blog of the bipartisan politicalmavens.com, Conservative Jew Jeff Ballabon says the damage control was worse than the original sin: "What she should've done is just stuck to her guns, admit she meant 'believers,' including Jews, talk about her admiration for the values of Florida's Orthodox Jewish communities … and say that she'd be thrilled to support any Jewish candidates that show up who are pro-life and anti-gay marriage. Besides Eric Cantor, there aren't any in the entire U.S. Which is why she said 'Christians' in the first place."

Advertisement

Others in cyberspace see this latest gaffe as just the last installment in a campaign that is already irretrievably fubar: "If Harris thinks that God picks our leaders, she's going to take her crushing defeat pretty hard," says liberal Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise.

Read more about Harris' church-and-state talk.

Viral insider: Michael De Kort, 41, was fired from his job as a Lockheed Martin engineer after posting a video on YouTube in which he claimed the company incompetently redesigned a fleet of Coast Guard patrol boats. According to De Kort, the ship's weatherproofing and scanning limits in its security cameras are accidents waiting to happen, yet the corporate higher-ups wouldn't listen to him. Going guerrilla with the uploaded home movie was his last line of defense, but bloggers wonder, is it ours?

Dave Ralis "won't venture a guess as to the veracity of his highly technical claims," but adds, "it wouldn't be the first time the Pentagon has turned a blind eye to a whistle-blower rather than risk funding for a defense program or even worse, a Congressional investigation."

Advertisement

Ben Werdmuller at The Internet is (People) heralds this new tactic in media democratization: "I can see this becoming ever more important as we start inching closer to … a new U.S. presidential election. The question is—given the dubious truthfulness of some videos online and the propensity of the medium to be used for viral marketing—how many of these messages will we be able to trust?"

Chris McKinney, a labor and employment attorney at TheHR Lawyer's Blog sees ramifications that extend beyond the political level: "It is absolutely not an exaggeration to say that now everyone (and every employee) as a printing press and a television station that can literally reach tens of thousands or even millions of people. In the hands of a disgruntled (justifiably or not) employee, this media power is undoubtedly going to cause public relations nightmares for companies of all sizes. The moral of the story: Handle workplace issues as if the whole world is watching because... they just might be."

Also, The Business Ethics Blog has a pretty thorough explanation of corporate whistle-blowing and its consequences.

Read more about De Kort.

Apres moi, le deluge: CNN anchor Kyra Phillips took a bathroom break—with her microphone still on—during the network's coverage of President Bush's Katrina memorial speech in New Orleans Tuesday. (Watch the video.) Some girl-talk with a colleague was caught on tape, including Phillips' remark that her sister-in-law is a "control-freak." This one's too easy.

If you ask gossip site Jossip, "It's not that a CNN producer forgot to turn off Kyra Phillips' mic. ... It's that it went on for so long without anyone switching it the fuck off."

"Hopefully, for her sake, she'll be able to make amends to her sister-in-law in time for the holidays," offers Lisa Timmons of A Socialite's Life. "Otherwise, she's in for a hell of a Thanksgiving."

Read more about Phillips' potty mouth.