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So much for “a day that will live in infamy” …

After a Florida supermarket chain omitted the attack on Pearl Harbor from its free 2010 calendar, and instead marked Dec. 7 as “Muslim New Year,” two Ft. Lauderdale radio hosts and their listeners fought back.

Soon after, WFTL’s Jeff Katz and Joyce Kaufman, along with numerous local veterans, complained to Publix Supermarkets, the chain issued an apology and promised to “add Pearl Harbor to next year’s calendar.”

Never doubt the influence of conservative talk radio and its engaged listeners!

Rush Limbaugh

Listener favorite Mark Steyn sat in at the “Golden EIB Microphone” Monday and Tuesday, while Rush continued to recuperate. I can’t help boasting that Steyn mentioned me on the air; he said my blog comment upon Rush’s release from hospital was the best one he’d seen – to whit: “Dittos, God!” (Audio is members only).

The left wasn’t thrilled by news that Rush had been given a clean bill of health. One blogger joked about progressives suffering from “Rush Limbaugh Derangement Disorder” and wasn’t too far off.

Low-rated liberal radio host Mike Malloy admitted, “I got my hopes up; I really did,” while Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert posted a stream of corny, tasteless jokes about Rush’s condition on Twitter.

Journalist Nile Gardiner explained to his British readers that Rush Limbaugh is “an essential voice of protest in America.”

Industry watcher Brian Maloney of Radio Equalizer offered a terrific post on the fallout from Rush’s illness. He wrote that Limbaugh is still as popular and powerful as ever:

“Who else could effectively upstage a president who was also in the Aloha State, just blocks away?” Maloney wrote. “Talk radio station group owners who’ve relied on Rush for ratings have had a rude awakening. What if Rush were to exit broadcasting altogether? The corporate suits who’ve made a killing carrying Limbaugh’s program don’t have a Plan B.”

Those “suits” and many others breathed a sigh of relief went Rush returned to the airwaves on Wednesday. He thanked listeners for their flowers, emails, calls and other expressions of encouragement and support. He also explained his ordeal in great detail – right after starting right off with a typical “El Rushbo” take on the news (FREE transcript):

“Boy, am I glad to be back,” Rush announced. “And, folks, have you noticed what happened my first day back? How many Democrats have now quit? How many Democrats? Five or six! Five or six have said, ‘No mas! No mas!’ and there will be more.”

“I did think this was the Big One,” Rush added (FREE audio).

While the show has been in the works for some time, the timing of the announcement couldn’t have been better in terms of piggyback publicity: This week, Chicago’s Second City improv group announced that their upcoming review is a little something called “Rush Limbaugh: The Musical!”

Comings and goings

While Rush Limbaugh’s health scare garnered plenty of attention last week, another radio host’s struggles received less attention. KSFO’s Melanie Morgan resigned from her nationally syndicated radio show for health reasons on Monday. She told listeners she was leaving radio “for a while” and with “a tremendous amount of sadness,” due to a “health challenge.”

She added, “I expect to lace up my skates and get goin’ again soon!”

We all wish Morgan well and look forward to hearing her voice when she’s back on the air.

In a different kind of departure, James Dobson is leaving his long-running Focus on the Family radio show next month and plans to launch a new daily 30-minute show in March.

Meanwhile, former CNN host and current United Stations Radio Networks talk star Lou Dobbs is starting a pay-only website called “Lou Dobbs’ Independent America.” Paid members will get access to podcasts, video webcasts, message boards and more.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck returned from vacation and promised a change to his show: This year, he said, “we will no longer be debating the things we already know to be true.”

Right off the bat, he got in trouble with some listeners for making fun of the “birthers” who question Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as President.

As WND’s Drew Zahn noted, “While other top radio hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Lou Dobbs, have all said unequivocally and publicly that the Obama eligibility issue is legitimate and worthy, a few – including Beck and fellow Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly – have taken the position that the issue is, in O’Reilly’s words, ‘bogus.’”

Beck was distressed, and then amused, by rumor that he’d died in a plane crash over the Christmas holidays and told a must-hear story about standing next to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., at an airport. Watch the video below:

But the week wouldn’t be complete without yet another tedious “take down” of Glenn Beck by a mainstream media columnist, this time Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:

The 45-year-old recovering alcoholic and Mormon convert has become the first true demagogue of the information age. His nightly diet of falsehoods and conspiracies on Fox, and his daily outrages on the radio, have propelled his popularity past even Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. His method is simple: He goes places where others are forbidden by conscience.

Have you noticed that all these anti-Beck articles sound exactly the same? Yet these columnists consider themselves Beck’s (and your) intellectual superiors for some reason.

Mark Levin

Mark Levin was back in fine form on Monday. At one caller’s request, Mark replayed his version of “Kumbaya,” in which he replace the original “peacenik” words with lines like “Bomb them to smithereens, my Lord!” (Levin’s audio archives are FREE access).

On Tuesday, news broke that Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.Y., would not be seeking re-election. Levin spoke to North Dakota radio host Scott Hennen for a local take on the story (FREE audio).

Levin’s March 5 appearance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has already sold out two months in advance. Given the enormous popularity of Levin’s mega-seller “Liberty & Tyranny,” that’s no surprise.

Bill Bennett

Great news for early morning radio host Bill Bennett, along with students across the country. His book “America: The Last Best Hope” is being reissued as a three-part history text and interactive website, designed for students between 8th and 12th grade. The soft-spoken, erudite Bennett hopes to “challenge the way American history is learned and taught.”

Laura Ingraham

I guess as far as liberals are concerned, one blonde conservative pundit looks like another: The Los Angeles Times embarrassed itself this week when it mixed up Ann Coulter with Laura Ingraham in a snarky, pointless blog post.

Highlights from Laura’s show this week include a discussion on the merits of spanking, a talk with a woman who battled the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy for over ten years, and a chat about that burning question: “Is Disney worth visiting?” (FREE audio)

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is always the show to tune in for serious analysis with an inside-the-Beltway perspective. This week, Hugh spoke to Bill Kristol about the sudden rash of Democrat retirements and their dismay at Obama’s poor handling of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day.

He also welcomed listener favorite, scholar Victor Davis Hanson, who offered a somber assessment of Obama’s first year as president.

Tammy Bruce

Libertarian talker Tammy Bruce appeared in the movie “2081″ last year and just announced that the film is out on DVD.

The film is an adaptation of the prophetic Kurt Vonnegut short story “Harrison Bergeron,” set in a future that sounds very much like our present, in which beautiful, talented people are handicapped and disfigured in order to spare the feelings of those less fortunate (Sounds like affirmative action!).

On the left side of the dial

Chalk up yet another failure for left wing talk radio. Something called “Rational Radio” couldn’t afford to renew its lease at KMNY and is reinventing itself as an online venture.

But on a scary note: Bangor, Maine’s WZON-FM is being transformed from a sports talk station to an all “progressive” talk lineup, under the auspices of horror author Stephen King’s broadcasting company. The thought of listening to Rachel Maddow, Montel Williams, Ron Reagan and other low-rated ranters all day must be sending chills up local listeners’ spines.

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