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The Survivor Class, Then and Now

March 26th, 2015 - 12:32 pm

“The average of soldiers in the Allied divisions poised to cross the Channel” and storm the beaches on D-Day “was 25,” according to this book.

Flash-forward 70 years — to what Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner ironically calls “The survivor class.” What happens when they graduate from the brutal front lines of college and enter the workforce?

In another recent example, New York Times opinion writer Judith Shulevitz described a special “safe space” at Brown University, a room with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.”

Why is such infantilization of grown college students necessary? Because the students couldn’t handle hearing the opinions of writer Wendy McElroy, who was speaking on campus and criticizing the concept of “rape culture.” (McElroy’s views are not that far off from those of feminist former judge Nancy Gertner, I might add.)

The problem here is that these students are so unable to handle other views or adversity that they must be babied, whether that means mandatory hand-shaking or drawing with crayons.

* * * * * * *

This Survivor Class will be bringing their special brand of anxiety and demands into the workplace. One might joke that those likely outraged by things reasonable people would find mundane are also those most likely to major in Women’s Studies, but one cannot assume.

But first the Survivor Class will have prepare themselves for their job interviews. In 1953, British novelist L.P. Hartley wrote “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” But even he had no idea how radically a culture could transform itself in just a few decades. Trigger warning; James Lileks spots a highly problematic “Pathé doc on the means by which oily beatniks were scrubbed down and converted into civilized women again” from 1963. “Amusing comment on the YouTube page: ‘We’re the beatniks looked down upon?’ It’s as if people think that ‘counterculture’” was admired and revered in its time. No:”

This video would be considered a hate crime in today’s culture on both sides of the Atlantic. (Or perhaps not; after all, the Guardian is deeply concerned that “straight women who wear less-than-feminine clothing are ‘appropriating’ lesbian culture and making it too hard for lesbians to tell who the other lesbians are.”) Though given that in her formative state the girl in the video looks a bit like she’s auditing classes in the Chrissie Hynde school of grooming, it brings to mind this great headline found at Kathy Shaidle’s blog: ‘Punk Scientists Discover Fourth Chord.’

Serious question though: The TV series Mad Men gave us a look (albeit one that was flawed and often inaccurate) at what goes through the minds of 1960s Madison Avenue ad executives. American Sniper took us inside the mind of a crack 21st soldier. Between trigger warnings, privilege checking, jazz hands, uptwinkles, the Bletchley Park-level detections of racism, sexism, gender-ism, -ism, -ism, -ism everywhere, and a hundred other densely packed layers of carbonized horsesh*t, is there a book that takes us inside the worldview of contemporary college students and how they acquired their bizarre and often self-destructive worldview?

Update: And to bring this post full-circle:

“As its long downward ratings spiral accelerates, MSNBC is facing another problem that has plagued the news network for years: cleaning up after a highly incendiary comment by its on-air talent,” Eddie Scarry of the Washington Examiner notes:

The Lean Forward network’s rapid response Wednesday to an attack on country music by Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux suggests MSNBC would like to dial back some of the full-bore leftism that has consistently failed to find an audience.

During an appearance on the talk show “Now,” Lemieux reacted to a statement by presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who recently said his appreciation for country grew after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Nothing says ‘Let’s go kill some Muslims’ like country music,” said Lemieux, who was sitting on the MSNBC panel as a guest.

In a change from previous incidents, which saw MSNBC respond only after furious reactions from other media, guest host Ari Melber, substituting for Alex Wagner, frowned at Lemieux and quickly defended the popular musical genre. Shortly afterward, Melber disavowed Lemieux’s comment on behalf of the network.

“A few minutes ago on this program, a guest made a comment about country music that was not appropriate,” Melber said on the air, “and we want to be clear this network does not condone it.”

That’s nice. Why should we believe you?

Entirely unrelated: “Chris Hayes Scores Worst Ratings In Decade, Still Beats CNN” — it’s a Red Queen’s Race to the bottom.

As Always, Life Imitates Arthur C. Clarke

March 25th, 2015 - 7:29 pm

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“DAWN OF THE DIGITAL ACTOR — STUDIOS SCAN BODIES,” the headline atop the Drudge Report screamed this morning, linking to this Hollywood Reporter article on Fast & Furious 7, and the filmmakers’ efforts to digitally replace star Paul Walker, who died (in grimly ironic fashion, alas) in a sports car accident midway during the production of the film:

No actor is indispensable. That is the blunt lesson from the fact that Universal Pictures was able to complete its April 3 tentpole, Furious 7, following star Paul Walker’s death in a November 2013 car accident about halfway through the shoot. Beyond saying that brothers Cody and Caleb stood in for Walker and that director James Wan culled footage of Walker from the earlier films, Universal declines to discuss which tricks were employed to breathe life into Walker’s character. But sources say Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital was asked to complete the sensitive and arduous task of reanimating Walker for Furious 7, and its cutting-edge work points toward a future where most actors can be re-created seam­lessly if needed. (The company declined to com­ment on its specific contributions.)

Read on in the Hollywood Reporter for additional examples of Hollywood reanimating deceased actors. One man who wouldn’t be at all surprised at these techniques is the late Arthur C. Clarke, as we’ll explore right after the digital page break.

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Ride the Left-Wing ISIS Mobius Loop!

March 25th, 2015 - 6:20 pm

“My ISIS is the police,” Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers said during a hearing on Friday, Ashe Schow reports at the Washington Examiner. Chambers “added that if he carried a weapon, he’d use it on a cop:”

“I wouldn’t go to Syria, I wouldn’t go to Iraq, I wouldn’t go to Afghanistan, I wouldn’t go to Yemen, I wouldn’t go to Tunisia, I wouldn’t go to Lebanon, I wouldn’t go to Jordan, I would do it right here,” he added. “Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily.”

Nebraska Watchdog recorded the lawmaker’s statements and uploaded the audio to their website.

Chambers wasn’t done ranting at that point. He added that if he carried a firearm, he would shoot a cop.

“If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn’t be against you, it wouldn’t be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police,” Chambers said. “And if I carried a gun I’d want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do.”

But to the dean of Cornell, ISIS are lovable pussycats whom he’d welcome on campus, the New York Post reports:

This guy is either the dumbest Ivy League bigwig ever or politically correct to a fault — for welcoming offers to bring ISIS and Hamas to Cornell University.

A video sting operation shows Cornell’s assistant dean for students, Joseph Scaffido, agreeing to everything suggested by an undercover muckraker posing as a Moroccan student.

Scaffido casually endorses inviting an ISIS “freedom fighter’’ to conduct a “training camp” for students at the upstate Ithaca campus — bizarrely likening the activity to a sports camp.

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

Click over for O’Keefe’s video, although the sadly at this point, the underlying story isn’t all surprising; to paraphrase William F. Buckley, recall the stories of God and Taliban man at Yale, summarized in 2006 by Linda Chavez at Townhall:

I thought I’d lost the ability to be shocked by anything that happened on an American university campus — that is until I read the New York Times magazine this weekend.

In an article entitled, simply, “The Freshman,” author Chip Brown describes a charming tale of a young man come to study at one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the country. He might more aptly have titled his piece “God, Country, and Yale.” Only in this telling, God is the vengeful Allah of Islamist fanatics, and the country to which this student once pledged his allegiance is the Taliban’s Afghanistan, for the first-year Yalie profiled is none other than the former “ambassador-at-large” of the Taliban regime, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi.

Yes, Yale has decided to welcome into its fold a man whose previous visit to the New Haven, Conn., campus in March 2001 was as an official apologist for the misogynistic government that had just blown up the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant 1,500-year-old statues long considered among the most important ancient sculptures in the world.

This might be just another tale of multiculturalism run amok on campus were it not for the 3,000 dead Americans buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and the more than 200 Americans who died fighting to liberate Afghanistan from Rahmatullah’s former paymasters. As it is, this story raises serious questions not just about what’s happening on America’s campuses but whether the student visa program that gave us Mohammed Atta and his murderous accomplices continues to pose threats to American security.

Mark Steyn ran into a spot of bother from the Australian equivalent of Media Matters in 2005 for writing that “With hindsight, the defining encounter of the age was not between Mohammed Atta’s jet and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but that between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant a year earlier,” but Mark was certainly onto something. “Bryant is an official with the US Department of Agriculture in Florida, and the late Atta had gone to see her about getting a $US650,000 government loan to convert a plane into the world’s largest crop-duster. A novel idea:”

The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn’t get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant’s throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington – the White House, the Pentagon et al – and asked: “How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?”

Fortunately, Bryant’s been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. “I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from,” she recalled. “I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could.”

15 years later, as the clueless multiculti-meets-PC-meets-elitist-bureaucracy mindset that drives such encounters continues to roll on, Bryant is, alas, far from alone.

The Woody and Bill Show

March 25th, 2015 - 12:20 pm

In “The Cosby Mysteries” at Commentary, TV producer and Ricochet.com frontman Rob Long, whose show business debut involved being a producer on the other big NBC Thursday night comedy series, has a fun review of Mark Whitaker’s hagiographic profile of Bill Cosby, which apparently went to the printers just as numerous allegations concerning its subject were beginning to hit the fan. Rob begins his review by placing himself in the hot tub of a zillionare fellow TV producer, and proceeds from there:

The reason we were in the hot tub in the first place was that we had all gone for a chilly swim in the Pacific Ocean just steps away from the bleached-wood deck that abutted the sprawling mansion the man owned. And the reason he owned that multimillion dollar piece of real estate was that his method for getting very rich running television comedies was foolproof.

Except for this: The trick to making a lot of money in television comedy is, first, your show has to be a hit. Nothing pays quite as well as a hit comedy. And the trick to comedy, as everyone knows, is timing.

For most of his astonishingly successful half-century in show business, Bill Cosby was in the right place at the right time. He emerged onto the comedy scene in the early 1960s, when the audience taste in comedy was moving from the tuxedo’ed nightclub comic to the storytelling style Cosby pioneered. By the middle of the decade, when American television audiences were eager for racially integrated casts, he co-starred with Robert Culp in a hit action-adventure show, I Spy. In the 1970s, he reaped a financial bonanza as one of the most sought-after commercial pitchmen in the country. And, in 1984, The Cosby Show premiered on the last-place television network, NBC, to ratings so celestial that they actually saved the network from collapse. In comedy, in business, in the culture, Bill Cosby was a master of timing.

Not so lucky, though, is his official biographer, Mark Whitaker, whose Cosby: His Life and Times was published last autumn directly into the teeth of the more than 30 rape accusations that have dogged the 77-year-old comedian. The book is a tedious and mostly slavish rehash of the ups and downs of Cosby’s amazing and trailblazing career in show business. We get snapshots of his early life, his teachers, his first halting experiments with stand-up comedy. We get endlessly detailed—and eye-glazingly boring—anecdotes about his early television series. We are told stories, pointlessly, about which hotel he and Culp, his I Spy co-star, decamped to in Tokyo during a trip to Japan. We are told stories about ponderous lectures he gave to his friends, his imperial (though always civilized) interactions with the writers and producers of his hit television shows, his struggles with fatherhood, his devotion to his wife.

When the sticky issue of Cosby’s infidelity forces its way into the narrative, it’s always cast in the past tense. He and his wife, Camille, are forever “working harder on their marriage.” They are said to have “moved on.” Cosby is described many times as “cutting back on his womanizing ways.” When he is accused, publicly, of fathering a child out of wedlock, his wife says: “All personal negative issues between Bill and me were resolved years ago. We are a united couple.”

In other words, Whitaker’s book manages to make sex and infidelity uninteresting, which is in its way quite an accomplishment—especially because in the wake of allegations that Cosby drugged and then raped more than two dozen women since the late 1960s, it’s fair to say that sex and infidelity are very big parts of Cosby’s Life and Times.

It’s impossible to know whether Whittaker’s humorless and respectful biography would hold any interest at all were it not for the reader’s own constant interpolation of the rape allegations, of which more seem to emerge every day. From the moment I started reading the book until a few days later when I reached the final page, at least two more women had announced to the press that Cosby had lured them to a private space—usually with the offer of career help or acting lessons—drugged them senseless, and then raped them.

The timing of Whittaker’s book reminds me very much of the timing of Eric Lax’s hagiography of Woody Allen, which was debuted in 1991; and to help promote the tome, a lengthy excerpt was featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine section, along with a photo of Woody and Mia on the cover. The combined effect seemed to confirm Woody and Mia’s status as the King and Queen of Manhattan glitterati. But note the excerpt’s lede:

“It’s no accomplishment to have or raise kids,” Woody Allen often used to say. “Any fool can do it.”

Shortly thereafter, the words Soon-Yi became just as big of a household name. Much more on Woody making the headlines (via Mariel Hemingway) after the page break.

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Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion

March 25th, 2015 - 11:36 am

“American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion for allegedly walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, Bergdahl’s attorney told ABC News today,” Yahoo reports:

President Obama called it a “good day” when Bergdahl was freed, but critics, including some high-ranking Republicans, loudly denounced the deal, likening it to negotiating with terrorists. Also, lawmakers complained that Congress had not been consulted about the exchange, as they said the law requires.

After Bergdahl’s dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.

As we noted back at the time, the MSM performed quite a hatchet job on Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers when they came forward with details of his alleged desertion, reverting to Vietnam-era smear-the-troops form. In the Washington Examiner, Byron York wrote that all of these leftwing attacks could have been avoided, if the Obama White House had simply been straight with the American public for once:

So why did the White House send National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the Sunday shows to claim that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction”?

It wasn’t necessary. Rice, speaking for the White House, could have said something to the effect that “Bowe Bergdahl is a troubled young man who made a terrible mistake. Nevertheless, he is an American soldier, and the United States wants him back. The president had a difficult decision to make in balancing the release of the Taliban detainees with this country’s longstanding policy of not leaving U.S. forces behind in a war zone, no matter the circumstances.”

That would not have quieted the controversy over the Taliban trade; critics would still maintain it was a terrible precedent and will increase the danger to America and its allies around the world. And it would not have quieted the controversy over the administration’s decision not to inform Congress about the Taliban release, as specifically required by law. Lawmakers — including some in the president’s party — would still complain about that.

But it would have denied the administration’s critics a devastatingly effective argument. First, President Obama himself appeared with Bergdahl’s parents in rare Saturday remarks in the White House Rose Garden. And then Rice — who had been asked specifically about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance — said, “He served the United States with honor and distinction.”

In another Sunday appearance, on CNN, Rice suggested Bergdahl had been “captured … on the battlefield” — a claim backed up by none of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers with him the night he disappeared. The military fully investigated the Bergdahl case in the months after he disappeared in 2009. The investigation reportedly concluded that he had willfully abandoned his post.

And today’s news appears to very strongly confirm those allegations.

By the way, at the risk of playing the “I question the timing” game, the right shouldn’t let the reappearance of Bergdahl in the headlines allow them to take their eyes off of more current news at the intersection of the Obama White House and the Middle East, specifically, the collapse of Yemen and the looming horrific “deal” with Iran.

Update: As Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, “The deeper point of the Bergdahl swap, as Sean Davis reminds us, was to create a pretext for starting to empty Gitmo:”

Anyway, exit question: What are the odds that Obama will pardon Bergdahl? Seems hard to believe he’d take even more heat over this fiasco by letting him go free after he’s been credibly accused by so many soldiers not only of deserting but of indirectly costing several troops their lives during the ensuing search. But then, we already know that O’s in the “WGAF” phase of his presidency; letting Bergdahl go will anger people, but he can spin it with some nonsense about how poor Bowe’s suffered enough, how it’s time to move on, etc. Which, for the White House, it is. The sooner they can put this clusterfark behind them and move on to the next clusterfark, the better.

And with an administration insane enough to “negotiate” with Iran, there will be loads more of those to come.

Insta-Power, Baby!

March 25th, 2015 - 11:00 am

Who’s Number One atop Newsmax’s list of Top 50 Conservative Blogs? PJM’s own Instapundit:

1. Instapundit — University of Tennessee law professor and hawkish libertarian Glenn Reynolds’ nearly decade-and-a-half-old powerhouse often causes “Instalanches” of Web traffic to sites to which it links articles. Reynolds posts relentlessly and the brevity and wryness of his often all-caps comments are famous, like a recent link to a Popular Mechanics report on Iran exploding a fake U.S. aircraft carrier to flex its muscles during nuclear talks. Blogged Reynolds, “WHY DON’T WE ONE-UP THEM BY BLOWING UP A REAL IRANIAN NUCLEAR RESEARCH FACILITY?”

And to think, I knew him when.

Ron Fournier’s Racialist Rhetoric

March 25th, 2015 - 10:54 am

“Ron Fournier is a columnist for National Journal and a cable news mainstay who served as the Associated Press’ Washington bureau chief for years. In his new opinion-based role, he’s worked to carve out a niche as a ‘pox on both houses’ purveyor of common sense, a detector of BS, a practitioner of intellectual honesty, and Chief of the Civility Police,” Guy Benson writes at Townhall. Except when he’s not. “The Civility Police have an uneven concept of justice, it seems. Or perhaps Fournier simply has a soft spot for vicious insults that reference segregation:”

Would Fournier have thrown up his hands and recommended that opponents of, say, the Fugitive Slave Act abandon their convictions? Fournier didn’t take kindly to such questions, berating his inquisitors for “comparing” Obamacare to an issue like slavery. That’s not what they were doing, of course. They were proving the point that not all laws must be automatically accepted and embraced once they’ve been passed. Obamacare happens to be a law that has never enjoyed the consent of the governed, has violated almost every core pledge made in its marketing campaign, and that continues to harm far more people than it’s helped.  When Sean Davis, a writer for The Federalist, jumped into the discussion with a provocatively-worded rebuttal, an exasperated Fournier went straight for the jugular:

See tweet at top of post. As Benson writes:

Davis, a thirty-something conservative who was born long after this country’s worst racial days, has never breathed a word remotely in support of the rank immorality of racial segregation.  But because he’s on the Right, and segregation is (note the present tense) the Right’s “gig” (never mind the Democrats’ sordid racial history), clubbing Davis with this conversation-ending slander was apparently fair game in Fournier’s mind.

It’s certainly not the first time Ron’s dropped the mask and played the race card.

And note that the day after Fournier dropped his race bomb, a much younger National Journal contributor smeared a scientist as a de facto Holocaust denier and wallowed in a nasty case of Koch Derangement Syndrome. Obviously the newbies there know they can get away with rhetorical murder based on the low behavior of the old pros there, but they’re both disgusting outbursts from representatives of a publication that went all in on the new civility bandwagon in 2011.

Update: Of course, Fournier is far from the only racialist working on the MSM:

 

The Orwellian Obama Presidency

March 25th, 2015 - 12:00 am

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“There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view,” Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal:

His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.

He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.

He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working.

To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.

He’s certainly met his match and come full circle with Iran — or to paraphrase Mr. Obama’s solipsistic campaign slogan, we are the obfuscators we have been waiting for:

“Obama Scores as Exotic Who Says Nothing,”  Froma Harrop, Real Clear Politics, the December 26, 2006.

“In Nuclear Talks, Iran Seeks to Avoid Specifics,” the New York Times, today.

And speaking of turning things upside down, all of the above is why “Cotton’s Iran Letter Turns Tables on Obama,” Salena Zito writes this week in Real Clear Politics:

If you think the White House wasn’t set back, consider the coordinated appearances by its surrogates and liberal elites on all media platforms, using words like “unprecedented,” “outrageous” and — best of all — “treasonous.”

As they say in the South, a hit dog hollers.

The genius of Cotton is that he met Obama in his own arena, with his own tactic.

He did not say there would be no deal with Iran. He did, however, plainly lay out a U.S. civics lesson in five short paragraphs: Any nuclear agreement with Obama that isn’t approved by Congress can be revoked “with the stroke of a pen” by the next president or changed by Congress itself.

Cheeky move? Probably.

It’s also probably not the last time we will hear from this Army vet of the Iraq war and Harvard-educated scholar, who sees a dangerous world in front of him and believes part of his job is to keep America not only secure but less vulnerable.

I remember when we used to have a president who thought that was his job as well. But nevermind what George W. Bush must think about Obama; right now, I’ll bet Jimmy Carter is watching Obama attempt to negotiate an arms deal with Iran and shaking his head in bewilderment.

“Let’s talk. Let’s chat. The conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don’t you think?”

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a trailblazing campaign for the White House on Saturday, a former first lady turned political powerhouse intent on becoming the first female president. “I’m in, and I’m in to win,” she said.

In a videotaped message posted on her Web site, Clinton said she was eager to start a dialogue with voters about challenges she hoped to tackle as president — affordable health care, deficit reduction and bringing the “right” end to the Iraq war.

“I’m not just starting a campaign, though, I’m beginning a conversation with you, with America,” she said. “Let’s talk. Let’s chat. The conversation in Washington has been just a little one-sided lately, don’t you think?”

—AP report on launch of Hillary’s first presidential bid, January 21st, 2007.

In a speech in front of a crowd full of journalists at Syracuse University on Monday, Hillary Clinton declared that she had a new hairstyle and would have a new, open relationship with the press along with it — and then didn’t take questions afterwards.

“With a room full of political reporters, I thought to myself, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’” Clinton joked, apparently considering the press busting her for illegal e-mail practices that may have put national security at risk to be something to joke about.

“But I am all about new beginnings,” she added. “A new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new e-mail account. Why not a new relationship with the press? So here it goes: No more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do for me?”

“Hillary Doesn’t Take Questions After Speech Promising Open Relationship with Press,”  Katherine Timpf, NRO, today.

Vote different, to coin a phrase; imagine a candidate who isn’t an Orwellian cypher:

Update: Naturally, Hillary’s stenographers gave her a standing-O (for Orwell) after she refused to answer their questions.

Quotes of the Day

March 24th, 2015 - 5:01 pm

Shot:

 

Chaser:

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Click to enlarge.

Hangover:

(H/T: Ed Morrissey.)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. In the wake of the January 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and over a dozen others, which the MSM immediately and erroneously blamed on Sarah Palin’s clip art, the MSM rushed in lockstep to condemn violent rhetoric, and demanded that both politicians and the media censor themselves. One contributor to the left-leaning publication National Journal insisted that violent rhetoric should be treated in the same fashion “that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums:”

National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wants to raise the bar on decorum to an entirely new level. On Thursday’s MSNBC airing of “Hardball,” Hirsh told host Chris Matthews certain “gun” terms should be stricken from political discourse…His proposal? Make such language inappropriate in the same racial slurs are inappropriate.

“That’s the kind of language I think we got to have a hard think about now,” Hirsh said. “Do we really want to continue to use that kind of language at these levels? Or, should there be kind of a social sanction, not a legal one, but a moral sanction in the way that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums. Stop using that kind of language, those kinds of metaphors.”

Certainly, many would view comparing someone to a Holocaust denier a slur that’s in the same league with violent, eliminationist rhetoric. Which makes this passage in a new National Journal article written by a young socialist justice warrior posing as a journalist highly problematic, in a piece titled “Scientists Tell Smithsonian to Ditch Koch Money.” (Link safe, goes to Twitchy):

The push arrives amid revelations that Smithsonian scientist and climate-denier Wei-Hock Soon raked in roughly $1.2 million dollars from the fossil-fuel industry while failing to disclose a conflict of interest. One of the founders of Soon’s research was the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Does Mr. Soon deny that the climate exists? Now that would be news! In the interim, we await the layers and layers of editors and fact checkers at National Journal to condemn the use of a metaphor freighted with such a violent subtext. But we won’t hold our breath:

Related: “Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming.”

Since the MSM long ago exited the profession of journalism in order to be Democrat operatives with bylines, are there any topics still left in which the MSM wishes to be fair and balanced (to coin a slogan) when discussing?

Answering the Important Questions

March 24th, 2015 - 3:04 pm

Who’s that hot ad girl?

“It’s like Snopes.com. But for the hot girls in commercials!”, Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard writes. “Incredibly problematic, of course. That should go without saying,” he adds. “But also, kind of awesome.”

You might want to research those opinions yourself, in depth.

Is ISIS ‘The Fourth Reich?’

March 24th, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Writing in the London Daily Mail, V.S. Naipaul dubs ISIS “The Fourth Reich.” At Corner, David Pryce-Jones responds:

Born in Trinidad, British by adoption, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, he is just about the only person with the authority to compare the twin totalitarianisms of Islamic State and Nazi Germany. Travels in Muslim countries have given him a lot of experience. His essential quality as a writer, I would say, is the insistence that the world is to be understood only through reason and the use of the mind.

The Islamic State, the self-defined new caliphate, exemplifies mindlessness. Its dedication to the general mass-murder of “Shias, Jews, Christians, Copts, Yazidis and anyone it can” is pure Nazism. Other similar characteristics include a belief in racial superiority; and pride in anti-democratic and anti-Semitic bigotry. Hitler’s Germans constructed a false past, and Islamists have the conviction that their history is so unique and important that the history of other people counts for nothing. These ignoramuses are destroying ancient cities and archaeological sites like Nimrud and Hatra. As Naipaul puts it, we all lose “everything that arises from the human impulse to beauty.” Decolonization gave rise to the idea that every advance in civilization is to be condemned as “colonial.” Barbarism, in this perspective, is confused with independence and freedom.

I’m not sure how apt the comparison is — “Without the loudspeaker, we would never have conquered Germany,” Hitler said in 1938, admitting that the Nazis viewed Germany as an essentially foreign nation to be occupied and conquered. But one with a rich cultural heritage and superior technological base for their conquerors to exploit and build upon, with the first nascent television network, and by the waning days of WWII, the first viable jet air craft and suborbital rockets, alongside the boxcars full of human beings being shipped to the gas chamber. ISIS will exploit foreign-developed technology as long as it keeps working, on the way back to a stone age culture the envy of Earth Hour enthusiasts throughout the world. Or as Kathy Shaidle wrote at the start of the month:

Because as wiser men than I have noted since 9/11, at least Germany and Japan were highly advanced civilizations. Some might say too cultivated for their own good (or make that “the good of the rest of us”), making a crashing, bloody regression toward the (other kind of) “mean” nigh on inevitable.

So after we bombed the crap out of them (although not enough in Germany’s case to suit me), at least some survivors retained memories of their culture’s rational past, all the better to reconstruct or even surpass it. (With an infusion of American billions, that is.)

Today’s Muslim belligerents either have no such past, or are busily trying to eradicate any trace of it. When we bother destroying their strongholds, who can even tell? You can’t bomb people back to the Stone Age if they never left. And in any case, this time we reinstituted the Marshall Plan before we half wiped them out—a fatally ass-backwards move.

Of course, to build on David Gelernter’s article today in First Choice (and Naipaul as well), there’s another connection between ISIS and the Nazis:

The totalitarian tyrannies of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Stalinist Russia had something crucial and telling in common. Amazingly, many of us don’t see it. All three were officially pagan regimes. The cult of the fuehrer (and the separate SS-cult), Shinto emperor-worship and the Stalin personality cult depended on the suppression of more sophisticated religions—in the first and third cases, Christianity.

Historians have too often misread the Nazis, who did not hate Christians but did hate Christianity. They saw it as a form of weakness, as a Jew-concocted poison that had helped ruin Germany. Historians have mostly failed to write about the importance of state paganism under the Nazis—both fuehrer-and-homeland worship (complete with scriptures and liturgy) in the schools and everyday life, and the special ceremonial of the SS, which had its own chapels and marriage ceremonies. Hatred of Christianity fed hatred of the Jews. Nor have we given the credit they deserve to the Christian heroes and martyrs of the anti-Nazi cause, not just Niemoller and Bonhoeffer and a few well-known others but the whole membership of the small yet robust German confessing church, and other nameless Protestants and Catholics who would not be reduced to animals.

Did German Christians rise en masse? No. But death-defying bravery is a trait not many of us have. Historians owe us a deeper, truer account of the nature of Nazism than most have provided. Nazi Jew-hatred swept the best-educated country in Europe because (many say) centuries of Christian anti-Semitism had paved the way. But Nazi denunciation of Christianity as weak Jewish nonsense also paved the way. Germans had been more restive under Christianity than any other major European people. Which paving counted more? Historians should be trying to answer that important question.

We must understand (not ignore!) Nazi hatred of Christianity so we can understand Germany, the moral character of the war in Europe, and the similarities between the three most bestial regimes in human history.

And as with the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union, (and their current “Progressive” descendents in both Europe and America), ISIS is none too fond of Christianity either.

Smart power, smart president. “Obama Calls Afghan President Ghani by the Name of His Corrupt Predecessor,” as spotted by Brendan Bordelon at the Corner:

[Obama] noted the need to keep soldiers and advisers in the Central Asian nation “in part, so that President Karzai — who has taken on the mantle of commander-in-chief in a way that we have not seen in the past from an Afghan president — can do a serious review.”

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who served for almost a decade before stepping down in September 2014, was plagued by corruption scandals and often served as a thorn in the side of American security forces in the country.

No wonder Obama displays a vestigial sympathy towards him.

And speaking of smart power, “Arab states are watching in horror as the U.S. increasingly openly switches sides from supporting them to supporting their (and our) worst enemy in the region,” Iran.

It will be cold comfort indeed if a man who ran for the presidency in 2008 under the guise of restoring America’s status with our foreign allies ends up with only one “ally” left — this one:

As Mark Steyn wrote last month:

I’m growing rather weary of the cheap comparisons of Obama with Neville Chamberlain. The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country. That’s why, after his eviction from Downing Street, Churchill kept him on in his ministry as Lord President of the Council, and indeed made Chamberlain part of the five-man war cabinet and had him chair it during his frequent absences. When he died of cancer in October 1940, Churchill wept over his coffin.

So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

On the other hand, get a load of this crazy, jingoistic radical: “Imagine a president who stands up and says we will defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will call it by its name.”

Wow, that’s some wild-eyed pie-in-the-sky stuff right there. You may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

“A jetliner operated by Lufthansa’s Germanwings plunged from the sky and crashed Tuesday in a remote area of the Alps in southern France — and all 150 people aboard the Barcelona-to-Duesseldorf flight were believed dead,” the New York Post reports:

Flight 9525 took off from Barcelona at 9:55 a.m. local time and crashed roughly an hour later in a rugged region of snowpacked peaks and rough terrain, said French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

Photos show a scene of shocking devastation, with the jet’s fuselage smashed into smithereens and smoking debris scattered across a mountainside as rescuers search the area.

Gilbert Sauvan, of the local council, said the largest piece of debris was the size of a car.

“The plane is disintegrated,” he told Les Echos newspaper.

Christophe Castaner, the mayor of nearby Forcalquier, told France Info that “One of the black boxes has been found,” but the cause of the crash remained a mystery, as the pilots did not issue a distress call.

CNN will likely be switching into obsessive coverage over this story for the next several days; at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw asks, “Why are we so fascinated with plane crashes?”

We lose far more people to other travel related problems all of the time. Globally speaking, there are an average of 1.3 million people killed in automobile accidents each year, or nearly 3,300 per day. In the United States alone we average slightly more than one hundred car crash deaths every single day… two thirds as many as are presumed lost in this latest airline catastrophe. And yet we don’t feel that same type of fear when we get into our cars as we do when the engines ramp up on the tarmac and our plane begins to accelerate toward takeoff.

I think it’s just something hardwired into our biological circuitry. There’s something uniquely terrifying about hurtling through the air 35K feet above Mother Earth. It’s an unnatural condition, and one which we never manage to entirely ignore because we are landlocked creatures by nature. I still recall an only half joking comment my father made in the weeks before I left for Navy boot camp on this subject. He was an Army man and had little use for the other branches. When asked, he said that you could have a choice of riding in a Jeep, on a ship or in a plane. “If my Jeep breaks down,” he said, “I can get out and walk.”

That’s probably the root of it right there. We know in a logical sense that our car might be in a fatal accident. But we also know that if we survive the initial crash, there’s a fair chance that we might get out and walk or crawl away from the danger. When the plane goes into a dive from five miles up there are no such comforting thoughts in our minds.

Not to mention, after 9/11, our first thought is — what caused the crash? As for that, watch this space.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Elsewhere at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, “On behalf of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to HBO,” Kevin D. Williamson quips at NRO on “Utopia’s Jailers:”

HBO has a series called Togetherness, a comedy about foundering middle-aged hipsters in Los Angeles, which has turned its attention to the issue of charter schools, and the writers have committed the unforgivable cultural sin of being not entirely hostile to the prospect. The ritual denunciations are under way.

Joshua Liebner, who lives in Eagle Rock, the Los Angeles neighborhood in which the show is set, is among those shouting “J’accuse!” in HBO’s direction, abominating the “white privilege and entitlement and, yes, racism and classism” that surely must be motivating charter-school families who have the audacity to go about “defining what constitutes ‘good’ for them,” and acting on it, as though they were in charge of their own lives and responsible for their own children. “Charter-school dogma has made it to the Big Time,” Liebner complains.

* * * * * *

“Let’s ban private schools,” Gawker cheerily suggests. Writing in that esteemed journal, John Cook argues that “there’s a simple solution to the public-schools crisis.” If people make choices that complicate the Left’s agenda, then ban those choices: “Make Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama’s children go to public schools,” Cook writes. “From a purely strategic and practical standpoint, it would be much easier to resolve the schools crisis if the futures of America’s wealthiest and most powerful children were at stake.”

The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives.

Homeschooling? That’s basically a crime against humanity so far as our so-called liberal friends are concerned.

And while Gawker wants to ban private schools, Salon wants to ban both privately-owned news media and an independent film system, and the New Republic Christmas tree lights. (No, really.)

By the way, as Williamson writes, “The Democrats haven’t got that Pink Floyd song quite right — in their version, the chorus goes: ‘You don’t need no education.’”

Of course, like the president, it’s lyricist’s chief obsession is banning Israel.

Me? When it comes to education, I’d just like to ban serial liars.

Related: “I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back…The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.”

Chop off your hands, you say?


This request, is of course, highly problematic, not to mention likely racist:

“Victory! Headline News Is No Longer a Cable News Channel,” declares John Nolte of Big Journalism, the Website created by the late Andrew Breitbart and our own Michael Walsh:

For years, for 10 to 12 hours a day, I’ve monitored Headline News (HLN). Over time, again without really noticing, I’ve monitored it less and less. Now I don’t monitor it all because we’ve won — HLN is no longer a cable news channel.

What brought this victory to my attention was “Forensic Files,” a reality crime show I’ve been in love with for more than a decade. Since it’s been a while, I decided to watch the series again, and set my DVR accordingly. In less than three days, by Monday afternoon, I had nearly 60 half-hour episodes — all reruns of a show that went off the air in 2011, all recorded from Headline News (HLN).

Whoa, hey, what’s going on here?

Years ago, in half-hour blocks, HLN relentlessly drove and repeated its mother ship’s propaganda. No more. Headline News identifies itself today as a “national television network that focuses on the must-see, must-share stories of the day.”

With MSNBC and CNN, the ratings just couldn’t sustain yet-another left-wing, 24/7 cable news network covering all the same stories in all the same way. So *poof* HLN is gone, toast, over and done; and now it’s just another reality show channel with around 225,000 to 275,000 total viewers and the bare minimum of 100,000 demo viewers.

To understand how radical a shift this is, it helps to go back to the mid-to-late 1980s, when cable TV news came in only two flavors: CNN and Headline News. You went to Headline News for the AM news radio-style half-hour coverage of current events, and CNN for the “in-depth” (read: liberal talking points) coverage. Back then, Headline News prided itself on being the home of Lynne Russell, the first woman to anchor a news show on cable TV. These days, Russell is sounding the alarm over what has happened to her old home base:

Well, that audience has wondered that as well; that’s why they’ve tuned out. As Nolte writes, “One CNN cable news network down, one to go.”

Fake magazines created as background props for Ridley Scott’s epochal 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner, set in 2019:


Real magazine available on newsstands in 2015:


So how far behind are Pris, Zora, and Rachel?