Christian Coalition

Dear Friend,

Fourteen years after the first settlers dedicated America to God on the sands of Cape Henry, Virginia on April 29, 1607, the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts celebrated America’s first Thanksgiving in 1621. They wanted to express their thankfulness and their appreciation to their Creator.

Most Americans see Thanksgiving Day as an expression of their faith and of their gratefulness to God for all of the blessings He has bestowed upon them and upon the United States of America.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, Psalms 100:4 tells us that we need to: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”  Let us remember this passage as we gather together with family and friends surrounded by an abundance of riches and blessings which God has given to us.

The Staff and I want to thank you for your support and we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

Roberta Combs, President and CEO
Christian Coalition of America

President Obama announced Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned, in a development that seemed abrupt yet came amid growing pressure from the White House over his handling of several international issues, Fox News has confirmed.

During a press conference at the White House, Obama said Hagel concluded it’s an “appropriate time” for him to complete his service.  

Hagel has had a rocky tenure of nearly two years in which he's struggled to break through the White House's insular foreign policy team. He stepped down under pressure amid multiple foreign policy crises, including the rise of the Islamic State group.

But in remarks at the White House, Obama praised Hagel as "an exemplary defense secretary" and steady hand for strategy and budget. Obama said he'll always be grateful that Hagel has always "given it to me straight."

The Vietnam veteran and former Republican senator took office less than two years ago, and was charged with overseeing the winding down of decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hagel, 68, also steered the military during sweeping changes involving gays and women in the military. But in recent months, the Pentagon has taken on new challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and deploying military personnel to Africa to fight Ebola.

Sources told FoxNews.com that Obama's dissatisfaction with Hagel, as well as a desire to shake up the cabinet following the devastating midterm elections, played a role in the president seeking Hagel's ouster.

This same official discounted Pentagon claims it was a mutual decision claiming President Obama has lost confidence in Hagel and that the White House had been planning to announce his exit for weeks.

“The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?"

In a swipe at the resume of Hagel, who served as U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts, the official added, “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.”

Hagel took office Feb. 27, 2013, five years after retiring from the Senate. Prior to his political career, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, worked for an investment banking firm and ran American Information Systems, a company that makes computerized voting machines. He also taught at Georgetown University after stepping down from the Senate.

President Obama meets with Chuck Hagel, then co-chairman of the president's Intelligence Advisory Board, in this 2009 file photo. (Reuters)

A senior defense official said that Hagel submitted his resignation letter to Obama Monday morning and that the president accepted it. Hagel agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, the official said.

The president is not expected to nominate a new Pentagon chief Monday, according to one official.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name ahead of Obama's official announcement.

Hagel, the only Republican on Obama’s cabinet, served as senator from Nebraska for two terms, beginning in 1996, and became a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,  a fellow Vietnam veteran who sometimes clashed with Hagel while the two served in the Senate, praised his former colleague's character and dedication.

“Secretary Chuck Hagel and I have had our differences over many years, but I have always considered him a friend, a patriot, and a dedicated public servant who has always put our country first and the needs of our men and women in uniform above his own," McCain said.

McCain said the real problems at the Pentagon are due to what he called Obama's "misguided policies." 

"... ultimately, the President needs to realize that the real source of his current failures on national security more often lie with his Administration's misguided policies and the role played by his White House in devising and implementing them," McCain said. "That is the real change we need right now.”

Recent questions about Hagel's future at the Pentagon were prompted in part by his decision to postpone a long-planned trip this month to Vietnam. At the time, officials said he needed to remain in Washington for congressional consultations, but that did not stop speculation that the White House might be looking for a replacement for the final two years of Obama's term.

Just last week, Hagel was asked about the speculation during an interview on the Charlie Rose show. He was asked whether he's concerned by the speculation.

"No. First of all, I serve at the pleasure of the president," Hagel said. "I`m immensely grateful for the opportunity I`ve had the last two years to work every day for the country and for the men and women who serve this country. I don`t get up in the morning and worry about my job. It`s not unusual by the way, to change teams at different times."

A day after re-electing Rep. Nancy Pelosi to lead them in the next Congress, House Democrats rebuffed her effort Wednesday to elect a close ally to an important committee post.

In a closed-door meeting, Democrats voted 100-90 to make New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The loser was California Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Pelosi friend whose Silicon Valley district is near San Francisco, which Pelosi represents.

The vote attracted interest because it came amid grousing over this month's elections, which saw House Democrats lose at least a dozen seats, and the job the party had done in reaching out to middle-class voters.

Though Pelosi retained her post as House minority leader without opposition, Eshoo's defeat raised questions about whether rank-and-file Democrats were in a mood to award a plum assignment to one of Pelosi's close allies.

Pallone was supported by Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democratic leader and a long-time Pelosi rival.

Pelosi had taken the unusual step for a leader of sending a letter to Democrats supporting Eshoo.

"One can make the argument that she overdid it," Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said of Pelosi's effort. He said Pallone's victory would be "very healthy for leadership" because it underscored the need for leaders to listen to lawmakers' concerns.

The Energy and Commerce panel is coveted because of its jurisdiction over high-profile issues like health, environment and communications.

The vote was conducted by secret ballot. Internal congressional contests can be buffeted by numerous factors, including regional loyalty, gender and race, personal relationships and the degree to which seniority is valued.

Many leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus voiced support for Pallone. As the seniority of black lawmakers has grown, many have increasingly viewed seniority as a crucial factor in choosing top committee jobs.

Pallone was elected to the House in 1988, Eshoo in 1992.

After the vote, Pallone and Eshoo each downplayed the impact that Democrats' attitudes about Pelosi had on their race.

Pelosi issued a statement congratulating Pallone for "a hard-fought campaign" and Eshoo for her work on technology issues.

A House Republican panel is huddling in the basement of the Capitol on Monday to decide who will wield the gavels on several committees in the next Congress.

Fox News is told the most prominent committee chairs to be decided on Monday are for the Ways and Means and Oversight committees.

For Ways and Means, Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., is retiring. Current House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the odds-on favorite to grab the Ways and Means gavel, though is facing a challenge from Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

It is notable that on Friday, the House Republican Conference voted to establish what some are now calling the “Paul Ryan Rule.” That rule would ban sitting committee chairs and the chairs of appropriations subcommittees from seeking other offices – if Ryan is selected, it would bar the former vice presidential nominee from both holding the chairmanship and running for president in 2016.  

The other big chairmanship up on Monday is for the Oversight Committee. Current House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is term-limited in that role. The main contenders are Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Mike Turner, R-Ohio; and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Chaffetz has worked hard to garner support for the role. In addition, at hearings over the recess on Ebola and the Secret Service, Issa seemingly handed off the gavel to Chaffetz to chair portions of the hearing when he left the dais.

But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wields a lot of influence on the Steering Committee, which decides these posts. And it’s possible he could draft one of his Buckeye State colleagues over Chaffetz. Both Turner and Jordan hold seniority in Congress over Chaffetz – and Turner’s district abuts Boehner’s.

WENTWORTH, N.C. - At least six North Carolina magistrates have given up their jobs rather than be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

John Kallam, who worked as a magistrate in rural Rockingham county for over a decade, is one of them.

During that time he watched the growing momentum of gay marriage closely and wondered what it might mean for him.

"I told some of my co-workers, 'if it ever gets down to that, where I'm asked to perform same-sex marriage, I'm not going to be able to do it,'" Kallam told CBN News.

That moment happened last month when a federal judge struck down North Carolina's marriage amendment. The following work day, Kallam told his supervisor he was unable to perform a gay marriage ceremony because of his personal convictions.

He offered to work the midnight shift to avoid the issue. The next day the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts in Raleigh issued a memo stating that no accommodation could be made for the religious beliefs of magistrates who oppose same-sex marriage.  

Kallam remembers how he found out.

"I showed up at 4 o'clock ready for my shift," he recalled. "There was no discussion. It was just two judges re-iterating what the administrative courts had said. This is now the law. We're here to uphold the law. Therefore you will do it."

Kallam said he felt he had no choice.

"You know Genesis 2:24 is pretty clear about marriage being instituted by God and between a man and a woman, so I couldn't in good faith do that," he said.

Kallam said he relies on the Bible not only for this decision but for the future as well. He and his wife are raising two grandchildren and had counted on the income from his job. 

"You know I'm an older person," Kallam told CBN News. "I'm not a younger person. I'm 66 years old and I know that trying to find a job when you're 66 years old is kind of hard, if not impossible. But nothing is impossible in God's eyes."

His struggle may be just the beginning as gay marriage grows and acceptance for religious liberty fades.

North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger believes the state courts can accommodate workers like Kallam. He's working on legislation that would protect religious beliefs and lead the courts to change their policy.

"There's a reasonable way to deal with this," Berger told CBN News. "I think North Carolina got off on the wrong foot in terms of trying to deal with what was admittedly a very fast-moving situation where the federal courts stepped in and in essence overruled the will of better than 60 percent of the people."

For Kallam's pastor, the situation has provided a reality check.

"I tell our congregation that if they can tell a magistrate last week that you have to perform a ceremony, what's to prevent them from telling me next week I have to do it?" Pastor Steve Griffith, with Osborne Baptist Church, explained.

Kallam's stand is also bringing hope and encouragement to his community.

"Strangers, people I didn't know who've come up and said, 'Thank you for taking a position and we appreciate you and we're praying for you,'" he said.

His pastor said he's strengthened other Christians.

"I think it does something in the heart of a believer when they see a brother in Christ stand up, and they know it cost him his job," Griffith said.

For now, Kallam plans to accept the speaking opportunities he's receiving from churches around the state. His message is simple. He says "God's Word will never fail us and His Word is truth and we need to stand on that truth." 

ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber apparently doesn't think much of the intelligence of the American people. 

A new tape has surfaced showing Gruber, once again, claiming the health care law's authors took advantage of the "stupid" American public. 

The tape, played on Fox News' "The Kelly File," showed Gruber speaking at an October 2013 event at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Referring to the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-end health plans, he said: "They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference." 

Gruber specifically was referring to the way the "Cadillac tax" was designed -- he touted their plan to, instead of taxing policy holders, tax the insurance companies that offered them. He suggested that taxing individuals would have been politically unpalatable, but taxing the companies worked because Americans didn't understand the difference. 

This is similar to remarks he made at a separate event around the same time in 2013. In a clip of that event, Gruber said the "lack of transparency" in the way the law was crafted was critical. "Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass," he said. 

After the first tape surfaced -- prompting Republican outrage -- Gruber went on MSNBC to express regret. On Tuesday, he said: "I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments." 

But after Fox News played the second tape, GOP lawmakers said it proves what they've been saying all along. 

"It confirms people's greatest fear about the government," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told Fox News on Wednesday. "Remember, it was Nancy Pelosi who said first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it. 

"We knew it was written in a way that it was really deliberately written to deceive the American people, and now people are paying the price." 

As Congress returns for a lame-duck session, on the heels of midterm elections where Republicans won control of the Senate, GOP leaders say they will try once again next year to repeal the law -- or least change its most controversial provisions. 

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., blasted Gruber on Tuesday. 

"I can't even get past the irony of that to even get to the arrogance of him calling our fellow citizens stupid," he told Fox News, referring to the administration's past transparency pledges.

Republican Dan Sullivan was declared the winner of Alaska’s Senate race early Wednesday morning, a week after voting ended, as the Associated Press said he held an insurmountable lead over one-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Mr. Sullivan's win brings the Republican majority in the next Senate to 53 seats, with one race, in Louisiana, still to be settled in a runoff.

Mr. Begich’s campaign was doomed after he failed to make up significant ground Tuesday as Alaska elections officials counted about 20,000 ballots cast by absentee voters, provisional and early voters. The Democrat cut into Mr. Sullivan’s Election Day advantage by only 238 votes in Tuesday’s count, not enough to significantly diminish his 8,100-vote lead.

The Associated Press called the race shortly before 3 a.m. Eastern Time. With about 30,000 votes still to be counted, Mr. Sullivan leads by 7,991 votes out of 244,998 cast. Mr. Begich would have to win more than 62% of the remaining uncounted votes to draw even.

Mr. Sullivan declared victory just after midnight Wednesday, Alaska time. 

“I am deeply humbled and honored to serve my fellow Alaskans in the United States Senate,” he said in a statement released by his campaign.

The Begich campaign said Wednesday morning that the incumbent wouldn't concede the election until “every Alaskan’s vote” is counted, its campaign manager Susanne Fleek-Green said. Mr. Begich hasn’t called Mr. Sullivan to concede.

The count from the absentee and provisional ballots was a disappointment to the Begich campaign, which believed that ballots counted after Election Day would trend in its direction. In 2008, Mr. Begich, a former Anchorage mayor, had trailed former GOP Sen. Ted Stevens by about 3,000 votes after Election Day but gained nearly 7,000 votes in later counting to sweep into office.

Mr. Sullivan’s victory gives Republicans at least eight more seats than they hold in the current Senate and brings the power balance next year to 53 Republicans and 46 Democrats. The last outstanding race will be determined Dec. 6, when Louisiana holds a runoff election between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and her GOP challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy.

The AP hasn’t made a call in Alaska’s governor’s race, in which independent Bill Walker leads incumbent GOP Gov. Sean Parnell by 4,004 votes, or 1.7% of the total. Mr. Walker’s campaign isn’t waiting for official results. It plans a Wednesday news conference in Anchorage to announce details of its transition team.

Ever since a ‘secret’ letter penned by U.S. President Barak Hussein Obama to the Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kahmenei, opinions on what should or should not transpire regarding the looming Iranian nuclear showdown have lit up news outlets.   The letter’s alleged purpose was to proffer a deal for the US and Iran to work against ISIS in return for a November 24 Iranian nuclear deal.  At the recent Israeli-American Council (AIC) conference in Washington, D.C., prominent Jewish leader, Sheldon Adelson, reportedly said in regards to Iran’s nuclear drive that words without action would be more costly to Israel and the US must therefore toughen its stance on Iran.  In the Jerusalem Post Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The international community faces a clear choice.  It can cave to Iranian demands in an agreement that would be dangerous for Israel and the world or it can stand firm and insist that Iran dismantle its capacity to produce nuclear weapons.”  Then there is this: “If Obama trades away Israeli and American security, that would leave a [Obama] legacy of the type Neville Chamberlain left at Munich in 1938 after the ‘peace’ he negotiated with Adolf Hitler.”  Cal Thomas reminded us of this on Fox News.Com.

With White House officials claiming a US/Iran deal might happen by November’s end, speculation about Obama’s letter has run wild.  Kerry insists ISIS was not involved yet the “Wall Street Journal” reported that clearly Obama believes Iran to be critical to his campaign against ISIS, both militarily and diplomatically.  Should we be surprised that Middle East allies were clueless about the letter, including Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates?  Allies don’t like being in the dark especially when Kahmenei tweets, “This barbaric, wolf-like and infanticidal regime of Israel, which spares no crime, has no cure but to be annihilated.”  And, “…the only means to confront a barbaric regime like Israel is arming the West Bank [of Israel].”

Might Ayatollah’s tweets be a clue as to why Ron Fournier of the National Journal, a man who is known to defend Obama, said of him, “his approach scares me?”  And why Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner says he doesn’t trust the Iranians?  Does he trust President Obama?  Why would a U.S. president, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, align himself with the likes of Kahmenei instead of Israel?  Why would he undermine his Secretary of State, John Kerry, who assured Americans that there’s no connection between U.S. and Iranian talks about nuclear arms and other Middle East issues such as ISIS? 

Allegedly, Obama penned three other letters to Ayatollah Kahmenei since 2009.   Sending letters directly to the Supreme Leader, bypassing the Iranian president, is curious.  However, Iran’s religious leader is the ultimate authority over Iran’s decisions and operations.  He is also the man who repeatedly calls for Israel’s complete destruction and regards America as the “devil incarnate.”  Is this Obama’s way of bowing to the Ayatollah as he bowed down in front of Saudi princes?  Where is his allegiance to America?  Israeli officials consistently stand firm, including possible military action, against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Why is the Obama administration mute?  Since when did America’s democratic allies become demoted to quasi-enemy status while an Islamic dictatorship appears promoted as a friend?

We with our eyes and ears we have witnessed calls for destruction of both Israel and America from Iran’s leaders.  Remember Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former president?  Do you recall his cry for the return of the Twelfth Imam during a speech in America?  He seemed to swoon with his vision of the Armageddon necessary to facilitate the return of the ‘Mahdi’ who Muslims believe is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine, or nineteen years before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. Nuclear weapons would provide the means to bring enough chaos, death and destruction to fulfill such desires.  Yet, Obama and other world leaders have their heads in the sand regarding the messianic desires of those they are trying to appease.  Do they not hear or believe the evil intentions of Iran’s leaders as they spew anti-American, anti-Semitic slogans?  Is Obama asleep?  Or…?

Clearly Iran must be stopped from possessing a nuclear bomb.  Netanyahu is right in that the international community has a clear choice to either cave to a dangerous Iranian agreement or stand firm against a nuclear Iran by whatever means necessary.  Anyone who truly loves God and who values freedom and democracy understands the correct choice; we cannot allow a nuclear Iran … period.

 

On Tuesday, November 11, we honor our nation's veterans who have served in all of America's wars.  November 11 is the day that an armistice was declared between Germany and America and its allies during World War I, the so-called "Great War."  The exact official ending of the war was the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. 
 
One year later, President Woodrow Wilson encouraged Americans to honor America's veterans by commemorating Armistice Day with parades, other public events and commemorations and urged businesses to close at 11 a.m.  Seven years later, Congress declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayers and thanksgiving. 
 
Armistice Day, honoring veterans of World War I, became a legal holiday every November 11th when Congress passed a law on May 13, 1938.  However, after World War II, there was a movement by the nation's veterans organizations to also have the name Armistice Day changed to Veterans Day to honor all American veterans no matter what war in which they fought.  On June 1, 1954, Congress officially changed the name to Veterans Day.
 
I would like to personally remember and honor my late husband, Andy Combs, who was a World War II and Korean War veteran and to thank and honor all veterans for their sacrifice in defense of our country, our freedom, and our values.  May God bless you and may God continue to bless this great country.

Respectfully,

Roberta Combs, President & CEO
Christian Coalition of America

You might have thought, after a traumatic and gut-wrenching defeat for the Democrats, that the midterms were a nightmare for Hillary Clinton.

Ah, but you don’t understand the sophisticated spin at work. The election was actually her dream come true!

Her team has convinced some reporters and pundits — or they have convinced themselves — that Hillary emerges enhanced from the wreckage.

I’m skeptical of that, but I’m also going to let you in on a secret: The midterms were probably a wash for Hillary. This whole notion that when a big shot goes out and campaigns for candidates and gets some credit for the victories and some blame for the defeats — it’s a journalistic construct. Most voters don’t care about endorsements. Alison Lundergan Grimes loses to Mitch McConnell by nearly 16 points, and Hillary was supposed to have saved her?

No one wants to say that, because it doesn’t get you clicks or ratings. So there’s a “debate”: Did the midterms help or hurt?

If I had to choose I’d lean toward hurt. But here’s what the New York Times says in a front-page story:

“The lopsided outcome and conservative tilt makes it less likely she would face an insurgent challenger from the left.” Like Hillary was losing sleep over Bernie Sanders?

“And a Republican-led Senate creates a handy foil for her to run against: Rather than the delicate task of trying to draw a stark contrast with an unpopular president in whose administration she served, her loyalists say, Mrs. Clinton can instead present herself as a pragmatic alternative to what they predict will be an obstructionist Republican Congress.

‘Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and their allies in the House’ will be ‘pushing Republican leadership hard,’ said Geoff Garin, a pollster who succeeded Mark Penn as chief strategist for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign. ‘When that happens, it will give Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee is a better platform to run.’”

An obstructionist Republican Congress? We’ll have to see. Pure spin, of course. But if you’re going to quote the spin from the left, why not include the shots from the right — such as Rand Paul saying the midterms were not only a referendum on President Obama but on Hillary?

Now it’s true that it will be easier for Hillary to run against a Republican Senate and House rather than dancing around Harry Reid. But it’s also true that as a former secretary of State, she is inextricably tied to an administration that was just repudiated at the polls, regardless of how she might try to distance herself.

Yahoo News has also been trumpeting the notion that Hillary is a 2014 winner:

“Even Tuesday's huge GOP victory shows that Republicans still have some catching up to do if they want to defeat her in 2016.

“Let’s start with the map. Sure, the GOP won a remarkable number of races Tuesday night. But how many purple states did Republicans actually pick up?

“For every Senate seat that Republicans flipped in 2014, there’s one — or more — that’s likely to flip back to the Democrats in 2016. The chances that the GOP will still control the upper chamber of Congress after 2016 are slim.

“How does this help Clinton? By giving her an added boost on an electoral playing field that already favors a Democratic presidential nominee.” 

That seems a stretch. The electoral map was always going to favor the Dems in 2016, regardless of last week’s outcome. And to take one example, instead of having friendly Democratic governors in Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin, the machinery will be controlled by Republicans.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon takes the other side:

“The 2014 election was a disaster for Hillary Clinton. Why? Let us count the ways.

“She will have to run against an energetic and motivated Republican Party. If the GOP had failed to capture the Senate, the loss would have been more than demoralizing…

“She would have claimed partial credit for saving the Senate. She would have promised to build on Democratic success. You would have been able to see her aura of inevitability for miles.

“But she has been denied. Instead she must calculate how to salvage the wreckage of 2014. She must convince Democrats that their savior is a grandmother who lives in a mansion on Massachusetts Avenue. It is her party that is shell shocked, not the GOP. Trust me: You don’t want to be in that position.”

The author of the Times piece, Amy Chozick, has reported aggressively on Hillaryland, and she did break the news that the unofficial candidate will stop her paid speeches and go on a listening tour (sound familiar?) before her announcement. Plus, the campaign headquarters will likely be in New York’s Westchester County (the better to appeal to suburban voters than, say, Manhattan).

The bottom line is that Hillary will be running for a third Democratic term. Beats me why anyone thinks that task was made easier by the party’s midterm drubbing.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.