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Ed Driscoll

The Hobbling Effects of Giant Leaps

October 31st, 2014 - 5:50 pm

“On Oct. 4, the world marked the anniversaries of two very different space milestones. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. And in 2004, SpaceShipOne won the $10 million Ansari X Prize by becoming the first privately-built vehicle to fly to space twice within two weeks,” Douglas Messier writes at Parabolic

The Apollo program has been followed by more than 40 years in which no humans have ventured beyond Earth orbit. A decade has passed since the winning of the Ansari X Prize without a single private suborbital space flight. Why has following up these two achievements proven to be so difficult?

It turns out that reaching a goal by a deadline isn’t enough; it matters how you get there. Fast and dirty doesn’t necessarily result in solid, sustainable programs. What works well in a sprint can be a liability in a marathon. And the conquest of space is humanity’s ultimate marathon.

The X Prize Foundation built rules into the competition designed to produce sustainability in that the spacecraft had to be reusable and fly twice within two weeks. Yet, there was no requirement for the winning design to have a fully reusable engine, which is the most important element if you want routine, affordable access to space.

The prize route also takes a lot of time. It took eight years for Rutan to win the Ansari X Prize; Scaled Composites has spent another decade trying to commercialize the technology. Eighteen years is an enormous amount of time. Would it have been better to devote all that time, energy and money to directly attacking the problems that make space travel so expensive?

Although the Ansari X Prize had 26 competitors, no other team came close to winning. Instead of the prize resulting in multiple suborbital tourism vehicles competing with each other, there was just one company that received much of the money that would be invested in the nascent industry. All without knowing whether the approach would be viable.

That wouldn’t have mattered as much if Scaled and Virgin Galactic had been able to quickly follow up on SpaceShipOne’s success with a safe, reliable vehicle of some type. They would have been able to prove the viability of the new industry. And a lot more money would have flowed into companies with other suborbital designs.

But, that was not to be. Flush with success and not knowing what he didn’t know, Rutan bet the future on a poor propulsion system that he never took the time to fully test, much less understand. His failure to grasp the nature of technology he selected cost three men their lives.

Read the whole thing. And then note the date and time stamp on Messier’s article.

(H/T: IP)

As Jay Cost noted today, Obama, our now semi-retired president, has worked very hard to alienate both parties in Congress; at the Washington Post, Erik Wemple writes that he’s similarly frozen out C-SPAN:

As reported in Sharyl Attkisson’s new book, “Stonewalled,” C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama in the Oval Office on Aug. 12, 2010. In that session, Lamb asked Obama what he’d changed in the Oval Office. The president responded, in part: “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.” Lamb’s session with the president was part of a documentary on the White House that C-SPAN was planning for a later date.

Notwithstanding the decision to “hold off last year,” the Oval Office got a new look just days after the president’s Aug. 12 chat with Lamb. On Aug. 31, The Post published a story on the makeover. Concerned that C-SPAN would publish the interview with Obama in the wake of the news in The Post, White House officials contacted C-SPAN to “make sure” that the network didn’t release the Obama remarks until weeks later, when the full documentary was ready, Attkisson writes.

C-SPAN defines its mission as a “public service,” a calling at odds with taking orders from the White House. It dropped its Obama-Oval Office footage on Aug. 31. According to Attkisson’s book, Josh Earnest, then deputy press secretary, threatened to “withhold future access” from C-SPAN.

That was four years ago. What has happened since then? “I will say that we’ve not been able to get interviews with the president, vice president or the first lady as well,” says Mortman. And what about lesser-ranking White House officials? “No results at the lower levels,” says Mortman, noting that the White House generally cites scheduling issues in rejecting interview requests. Several C-SPAN programs feature interviews — “Washington Journal,” “Newsmakers,” “Communicators,” “In Depth” and “Q&A” — though the network would commonly invite White House officials for “stand-alone” sessions, according to Mortman.

Longtime readers of the blog know I don’t believe in “objectivity” as the MSM defines it; it’s a self-serving vestigial term they’ve held over from the early days of mass media when there were only three TV networks, wire services, and one or two newspapers per big city. But C-SPAN is about as close as it gets to an objective TV channel in the 21st century, and a DC institution. For Obama and his handlers to freeze out that channel is yet another reminder of the insular Castro-esque bubble they wish to reside in.

Related: Peter Wehner on “Obama’s Extraordinary Damage to His Party.” No wonder Mr. Obama’s Democrat predecessor in the White House dubbed him an amateur.

The Revolution Devours Itself

October 31st, 2014 - 3:00 pm

“How the Far Left Hijacked a Cat-Calling Debate And Started to Eat Itself,” Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO on the viral video that became a Rorschach Test for both sides of the aisle:

Aura Bogado is a woman who could find devastating racial implications in the instruction manual for an electric screwdriver. But, quite by accident, she may here have hit upon a kernel of truth. “What does it mean for an org to create a video,” Bogado asks, “that casts men of color as main perpetrators of catcalling with the aim to criminalize them?” What, indeed. Over at the Federalist, Robert Tracinski records that the video’s backers are not solely interested in raising awareness. “According to Hollaback’s mission statement,” Tracinski writes,

the group is interested in modifying the law to punish offenders (and raising significant First Amendment concerns). Because comments such as those documented in their latest video, they explain, are the ‘most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against.’” Note that the activity they are describing as “violence” is speech. First Amendment concerns, indeed.

The case for a robust — almost impregnable — protection of freedom of speech stands on its own and applies to all people. It is as tyrannical an act to prosecute a rich man for his utterances as it is to target a poor one. Nevertheless, should Hollaback get its way and provoke the passage of an anti-cat-calling law, it would likely be the poor who would bear the brunt of its force. Such rules would be enforced capriciously, and those without power would find themselves hauled into court more than those with connections. As has been demonstrated by the new anti–“rape culture” rules that are sweeping the nation’s college campuses, there is always a price to illiberalism, and that price is often paid by a downtrodden and less powerful group. As kindly as possible, I would recommend that if anybody believes that the problem of unwanted male attention warrants the infringement of the First Amendment, they should re-examine their priorities.

And that, rather nicely, illustrates the problem here: that a piece that was intended to illustrate a singular issue has been hijacked by zealots and presented as being indicative of so much more besides. The law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds joked this week that, through the right lens, the video could be regarded as “a racist production about white women not wanting attention from black and Latino men.” Alternatively, given the “low status” of many of those featured, he considered that we could regard the catcalls as “a way of striking back at privilege.” Indeed we could. There are a million possibilities. But, in interest of simplicity, and with the ever-beneficial Occam’s Razor in our hands, we might take the spot’s message for what it is: a reminder not to shout at women while they make their way to work. Bravo.

Well, yes. Read Cooke’s article for a profile of the dark prism the American left views the country in. Including their fellow leftists — as no one involved emerged unscathed in the left’s collective freakout over the video. That includes both the videomaker, and the cat-callers, urban men of various ethnicities of a mostly lower socioeconomic strata, who, as someone noted on twitter, are all exceedingly likely Democrats themselves. As videomaker and blogger Ladd Ehlinger Jr. tweeted when hapless PR agent Justine Sacco found her reputation destroyed by her fellow leftists (just in time for Christmas) over a single ill-conceived tweet, “Just because you’re in the mob one day, don’t think it protects you from the mob the next day.” Even, in this case, if you attempt to highlight the mob’s perceived shortcomings.

But for comparison’s sake to the actual subject of the video, let’s flash back to David Gelernter’s beautifully-written 1995 City Journal article on Manhattan in 1939:

Nineteen thirty-nine lived in an ” ought” culture. We inhabit more of a “want” culture, a desire-not-obligation culture. One of the most obvious and important consequences of the slow death between 1939 and today of American civic religion—the coherent, deeply held set of shared beliefs and ideas that bound Americans into one community—is the sweeping aside of its oughts.

The ought culture made itself felt in many ways. For example: 1939′s daily experience was assembled to a far greater extent than ours out of countless small rituals—pieces of formulaic behavior that you enacted not because you feel like it, necessarily, but because it was expected of you. Because it is the proper thing, and you ought to do it.

A middle-class dinner or even breakfast of the 1930s might involve an entire family seated at table with the males in ties and the maid scurrying about. The ritual of each child’s planting a breakfast kiss on seated mamma’s cheek was sufficiently well known to have been included in movie scenes not evidently intended to be farcical. Hats have rules: a gentleman of course removes his when speaking to a lady on the street, removes it when a lady enters an elevator (unless the elevator is inside an office building or a store); replaces it when he steps off into the corridor. He lifts his hat as a gesture of politeness to strangers and lifts it more emphatically when he performs an outdoor informal (versus an indoor ceremonial) bow.

Nineteen thirty-nine’s polite conversation is scripted and therefore ritualized to a much greater extent than ours is. “Under all possible circumstances, the reply to an introduction is ‘How do you do?’” (“The taboo of taboos is ‘Pleased to meet you.’”) When the need arises, one says “I beg your pardon”—never, ever, “Pardon me,” which is a barbarism. It goes without saying that first names are to be used only under the proper, restricted circumstances (never among strangers), and that “sir,” “madam,” or “miss” is an appropriate form of address.

The rituals governing a gentleman’s behavior toward ladies are the best developed of all. A gentleman in a private home stands as long as any lady is on her feet. A gentleman is always introduced or presented to a lady, never the other way round, even if “he is an old gentleman of great distinction and the lady a mere slip of a girl.”

I do not want to convey the impression that my principal source for these intelligences, Emily Post’s 1937 Etiquette, is a prissy book. Not at all. It is breezy, amusing, and wry (wry being a favorite thirties flavor). Nonetheless, rules are rules.

All this etiquette hardly made late-thirties New York a flawlessly civilized place. During his thirties building campaign, Robert Moses installed playgrounds around the edges of Central Park. At first they were charming, with the standard swings and slides, but also sandboxes, crawling tunnels, and striped, turreted “guardhouses.” They were fenced only with hedges. But dogs spoiled the sandboxes, drunks slept in the tunnels, perverts spied from the guardhouses, and in the end the playgrounds lost all their special toys and were barricaded with lockable chain-link fences. It is a story worth remembering when nostalgia threatens to get out of hand. In preparation for the World’s Fair and the mass of tourists it would draw, New York City’s police, cabdrivers, and subway workers got special courses in politeness—suggesting that proper behavior was valued but hardly to be taken for granted.

Manners didn’t matter only to the rich, though. Visiting New York from London in 1938, Cecil Beaton notes that “the general rules of behavior are rigidly adhered to, and Mrs. Post’s book on etiquette is as strictly interpreted in Gotham as the Koran in Mecca. Competitions are held whereat children from all parts of New York vie with each other to become the politest child in Manhattan, and demonstrate their courtesy before judges.” On one occasion, the winner was a 13-year-old girl from the Lower East Side.

Courtesy wasn’t only decorative, either. It was a terse and pregnant form of communication. A small gesture might speak volumes. At a Lower East Side relief station, Mayor La Guardia dropped in unannounced. He was enraged by the lackadaisical bureaucrats he found. A supervisor wandered over to see what the fuss was, and mistook the visitor for another out-of-work troublemaker. The mayor knocked the hat off his head: “Take off your hat when you speak to a citizen.” After supervising an on-the-spot reorganization, the mayor stomped off; on his way out, he pointed to the man with the knocked-off hat, declaring: “There’s another S. of a B. who has no job.”

For the twin purposes of a very good thing (fighting back against racism) and a rather less unalloyed goal (freeing up sexual mores), after World War II, the left has worked very hard to demolish all of these rules. But when your motto is “let’s change the world!”, don’t be surprised if the world you create isn’t a better one than the one you destroy.*

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The End of the Age of Obama

October 31st, 2014 - 1:04 pm

“Sure, the president has another two years in office, but he is now the lamest of lame ducks. He is soon to face a House majority that is one of the most Republican since the 1920s, and a Senate, we hope, about to be taken over by a Republican majority. But more than this, he seems to have no friends, and few allies, on Capitol Hill,” Jay Cost writes in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard:

One fact of politics that the president never fully grasped is that Congress, not the White House, is the center of our political system. Sure, the president lives in a fancy house, enjoys a full-time chef, and has “Hail to the Chief” played when he enters a room. But Congress is—as Stanford’s Morris Fiorina once put it—“the keystone of the Washington establishment.” The Framers gave pride of place to Congress, making it Article I of the Constitution, and were so worried about its potential power they divided it into two. Ideally, the modern president can use his prestige and acumen to lead Congress, but Obama has fallen far from that ideal. He has treated Congress in a supercilious manner, burned his bridges with Republican leaders, and alienated even Democrats.

Couple that with his misunderstanding of the role of the presidency, along with his MSNBC-level (or Jonathan Chait-level) hatred of anyone with an (R) after his or her name and his Harvard faculty lounge-level loathing of America in general, and it’s easy to see how his administration was doomed to fail. (As indeed, those of us who didn’t drink the Kool-Aid warned in late 2008 and 2009.)

As Jonah Goldberg notes in his latest G-File (emailed today, posted online at NRO tomorrow), the efforts by Obama’s operatives with bylines to explain his failures away were initially fun to watch, but the schadenfreude overload is rapidly becoming painful:

Other explanations are similar in their desire to place blame elsewhere. The fault lies not in Obama, but in ourselves. Let’s come back to this in a moment because I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. “Gosh, isn’t it about time Jonah quoted East German Communist playwright Bertolt Brecht?”

In Die Lösung Brecht famously quipped that if the people lose faith in the government it would be better if the government dissolved the people and elected another.

For progressives it’s always five minutes to Brecht-O-Clock. What I mean is this desire to fix the people, not the government always seems to be lurking behind liberalism. It was there when Woodrow Wilson said the first job of an educator is to make your children as unlike you as possible. It was there when Obama explained in 2008 that Hillary Clinton’s Pennsylvania primary supporters weren’t ready to vote for him because they were too busy clinging to their sky god and boom sticks. It’s the central theme of Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? It was whispering in John Podesta’s ear when he said the American political system “sucks.” It is at the heart of the Voxy “explanatory journalism” craze, which holds that if you call proselytizing “explaining” it will help the rubes come to their senses. It runs riot in the mainstream media and their sovereign contempt for these stupid, stupid, Americans and their parochial “unscientific” concerns about an organ-liquefying disease (even as the MSM caters to those concerns for the ratings they deliver). It runs like an underground river through the White House’s national-security policies, as they constantly downplay the dangers Islamic terrorism (“ Let’s just call it ‘work place violence’!”) for fear of rousing the fearsome beast of public opinion on the side of the war on terror. It’s why the White House doesn’t want Congress to get involved in a deal with Iran, because Congress might actually listen to the people. It’s why the New York Times laments the “bumpkinification of the midterms.”

When he was planning to buy the Washington Post, I wonder if Jeff Bezos googled around to spot Ezra Klein in 2012 trying to wildly spin the notion that Jimmy Carter’s infamous “Malaise” speech, which admitted the intellectual bankruptcy of Great Society-style liberals (like Carter himself)  was wildly popular at the time. If so, it’s easy to understand why he didn’t want to throw ten million down the intellectual sinkhole of

The efforts to Vox-splain the Obama era will be loads of fun to watch in the coming years as well. (And possibly quite successful: see also, left’s rehabilitation of the Wilson administration, a civil rights disaster so bad, even sympathetic leftists knew it at the time, and the economic nightmare of the FDR era.)


Early reports are that one pilot died and the other sustained major injuries, in this breaking story. “Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed after it had an “in-flight anomaly” during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson,” the L.A. Times reported a half hour ago:

A statement from Virgin Galactic said its partner Scaled Composites conducted the test flight Friday, during which a “serious anomaly” led to the “loss of the vehicle.”

This was the company’s first rocket-powered test flight in nine months. In January, SpaceShipTwo reached 71,000 feet – its highest altitude so far.

Virgin Galactic has conducted testing for the spacecraft in the Mojave Desert at Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture in May announced an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight.

Ace of Spades writes:

Just updated: the rocket exploded upon ignition. The way the rocket glider works is this: It is ferried up to high altitude (around 50,000 feet) by a plane called “White Knight.” White Knight brings the glider up, drops it, and then the glider ignites its own rockets to make it to orbit.

Apparently the rockets exploded upon ignition.

I can’t wait ’til Shep starts lecturing us about not panicking.

Thinking back to the Right Stuff era of the Air Force, N.A.C.A. and NASA from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, as depicted in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and Charles Murray’s Apollo, could the testing of the early X-planes and NASA’s first rockets have occurred in today’s massively over-saturated media era? And today’s efforts to develop private manned commercial spaceflight also have to deal with an MSM (and likely federal and in the case of California at least state governments) that are on some level inherently distrustful of their efforts.

Update: “Following today’s deadly Virgin Galactic spaceship crash, CNN invited former Washington Post reporter Joël Glenn Brenner to discuss what happened. The shaken-up Brenner did not hold back her anger:”


Filed under: The Final Frontier

Politico Violates Godwin Law

October 30th, 2014 - 5:36 pm




I’ll say this much for them: you have to hand it to Politico for making it competitive in a race to the bottom with the Haaretz cartoonist depicting Netanyahu flying a blue and white passenger plane labeled ISRAEL into the WTC for the most offensive cartoon published on the same day. Heckuva job, boys — take two copies of Triumph of the Will out of petty cash.

(Via Twitchy.)

Update: From the Department of Distinct Lack of Self-Awareness:


“Mary Landrieu, taking the low road to defeat, doesn’t think much of the voters in her state. She tells Chuck Todd that Obama and her are unpopular because voters are unfriendly to African-Americans and women.” *

Add Landrieu’s Louisiana cri de coeur to our laundry list from yesterday. As we mentioned, the New Republic believes that Martha Coakley is having a difficult go of it because voters in Massachusetts(!) are sexist.  The Huffington Post blamed Obama’s difficulties in the 2008 Pennsylvania primary on racist white male voters — racist white Democrat male voters who supported Hillary in that primary. And Wendy Davis doesn’t think of Texas gun owners or the state’s voter ID laws.

As Ricochet’s Troy Senik has noted, “Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People.”

* Those Louisiana voters are so racist, just look at the pasty white cracker they elected twice to be their governor.

Update: Bobby Jindal tweets, “Senator Landrieu’s comments are remarkably divisive. She appears to be living in a different century.”

It’s always 1963 for Möbius Loop-trapped “Progressives,” despite Bull Connor being on the Democratic National Committee.


“It was certainly not my intention to insult or upset anyone,” [cartoonist Amos Biderman] told Haaretz on Thursday. “I wasn’t sufficiently aware of the great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans.”

“Haaretz stands by its explosive Bibi cartoon,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

He’s Got My Vote

October 30th, 2014 - 2:11 pm


Heh, indeed.™ (Via Twitchy.)

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

October 30th, 2014 - 1:59 pm

“Al-Jazeera America Ratings In The Tank,” David Brody writes at CBN News, with a big swatch of an excerpt on the beleaguered Qatar-owned channel’s notorious ratings woes from the left-leaning showbiz Website The Wrap. See if you can spot the howler here:

After buying Current TV in early 2013, and debuting over the summer that year, Al Jazeera has lost almost half of Current TV’s audience.

Current TV’s run with progressive news programming lasted from December, 2011 to August, 2013. In that timespan, the network ran programs like “The Young Turks,” “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm,” “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” and “Joy Behar: Say Anything.”  Upon being bought by Al Jazeera, Current was in 60 million American homes.

Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view and no opinion program in favor of hard news and in-depth reporting. It hired veteran news anchors and reporters from previous networks, including former NBC News anchor John Seigenthaler; former CNN anchors Tony Harris and Ali Velshi; former CNN correspondent Joi Chen; former MSNBC anchor David Shuster; former NBC News White House Correspondent Mike Viqueira, former PBS journalist Ray Suarez, and several other veteran TV news personalities.

“Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view” — Really? No political point of view? No bias whatsoever? No take on America and the Middle East? No opinion on Israel? Are we sure the guys in the studio even know how to tie their shoes? I’m not sure whether to raise an eyebrow Spock-style, or type a James Taranto-esque “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” in response, but hey, whatever gets you through the night if you truly believe that about a Qatar-owned TV network.

Exit question: “But Soledad O’Brien, How Can You Take Money From A Patron of Islamists?”

“Mary Burke Was Fired By Her Own Family for Slumping Sales, Management Incompetence, and an Abrasive, #Bossy Style; Now Claims She Wasn’t Fired, It’s Just That Her Job and Paycheck Were Restructured Out of Existence,” Ace of Spades writes, on Burke’s disastrous tenure at Trek Bicycle Corporation:

“Her performance in Europe was not good”” [Tom Albers, Trek’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer] says. “We were losing a lot of money for us at the time. I don’t remember the amount, but it was considered significant based on where we were [as a company] at that particular point in time.”

“And also, we were encountering personnel/people problems over there. The people were threatening to leave the company. Many of them were.”

Primarily, Albers contends, because of the managerial style of their supervisor, Mary Burke.

“Her way of managing was kind of a ‘her way or the highway’ kind of approach to things,” Albers explains, adding that her subordinates “felt that she wouldn’t listen to them and was just imposing things on them that didn’t make sense.”

“Gee, I wonder how she wound up being a Democrat politician,” Ace deadpans. Read the whole thing.

At Hot Air, Guy Benson embeds a scan of today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, where the scandal made the top of the front page, but Burke’s party operatives with bylines wrote the headline as “Conservative ex-Execs say Burke Forced Out of Trek.” (Italics mine.) Nice touch — take two copies of Hillary’s memoirs out of petty cash, fellas.

Also on the front page of today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Scott Walker gains 7-point lead in new poll.

Exit quotes:



Much more here.

“Exclusive–Rand Paul: Stephanopoulos ‘Originated’ War on Women Attack, Scott Brown Right to Have Concerns,” Matthew Boyle writes at Big Government:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that former Sen. Scott Brown is right to have concerns over ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos being the debate moderator on Thursday night.

“I don’t think this would be the first time his [Stephanopoulos’] impartiality has been questioned,” Paul said in a phone interview. “If you go back to the previous presidential debates, many people have brought up that the whole questioning about birth control was originated as a campaign theme by Stephanopoulos and there’s questions about whether that was done in coordination with Democrats.

“It’s always hard to have someone be perceived as an objective arbiter on a debate if they spent most of their life as a partisan.”

On Wednesday morning, Brown said he had “concerns” over Stephanopoulos being the debate moderator in the wake of a report from Breitbart News that a top campaign adviser to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has longtime ties to the former Bill Clinton campaign official and White House adviser.

That appearance from Brown on Fox News came before a second report from Breitbart News that shows Stephanopoulos was actually sent as Clinton’s emissary to accept Shaheen’s and other Democratic women’s endorsement of his re-election campaign in 1996. Stephanopoulos then served as a “senior adviser” to the president. The exchange is on video, captured by C-SPAN at the time.

And note that as of October of 2012, in “eight out of the last nine general election presidential debates (every one since he joined ABC News in 1997), Stephanopoulos has gone on his network’s airwaves to claim victory for the Democratic candidate, all in the guise of offering impartial analysis,” the Media Research Center reported.

Yet another reminder that a GOP candidate for national office not only has to rhetorically best his opponent, but overcome both the MSM, and in many cases, the margin of voter fraud, to take office. I hope Scott Brown is prepared to debate both Jeanne Shaheen, and her party operative with a byline, who’s serving as the “moderator” tonight.

The Religion That Dare Not Be Named

October 30th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

“Child sexual exploitation has become a ‘social norm’ within some areas of Greater Manchester, according to the author of a report ordered after the Rochdale grooming case,” the BBC reports:

It said girls in uniform were regularly stopped by men outside schools.

Inquiry chairwoman Ann Coffey MP said the “prevailing public attitude” blamed children, leading to 1,000 convictions from 13,000 cases over six years.

Home Secretary Theresa May has described the report as “alarming”.

Ms Coffey has called for exploitation to be “declared a public health priority”.

In her report – Real Voices – Ms Coffey said explicit music videos, sexting and selfies could be “fuelling the increased sexualisation of children”.

‘Children are children’

The “normalisation of quasi-pornographic images… has given rise to new social norms and changed expectations of sexual entitlement,” she said.

“We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.”

Huh. Typing CTRL-F and “Muslim” or CTRL-F and “Islam” returns zero finds on the BBC article. Not even CTRl-F “Asian” brings up that popular British PC euphemism within the actual article. Perhaps my Internet browser is broken. Either that, or from the BBC’s perspective, children aren’t the only group that the BBC feels need protecting.

Not that the BBC is any great shakes when it comes to protecting kids; as one of Glenn Reynolds’ commenters notes, “when it comes to sexual abuse with minors the BBC have serious problems of acknowledgment period. So many at the hands of those in their own organization.” Or as Mark Steyn wrote back in July, ““Notwithstanding two years of headlines re Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and others, not everyone at the Beeb in my day was a paedophile — or at least I don’t think so,” in his profile of Australian-born UK folk singer Rolf Harris, who was found guilty in June “of 12 counts of indecent assault on young girls in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties,” Steyn wrote.

Talk About Burying the Lede

October 29th, 2014 - 7:13 pm


Teachers unions have their panties in a bunch over the new issue of Time magazine, the Daily Caller reports:

The feud between unionized teachers and Time magazine is continuing, with the country’s second-largest teachers union planning a demonstration outside the publication’s New York City headquarters on Thursday afternoon.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which has about 1.5 million members, launched a petition effort against Time last week over a cover reading “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher. Some tech millionaires may have found a way to change that.”

The cover was paired with a lead story focused on efforts by education reformers, funded by wealthy businessmen, to weaken teacher tenure and otherwise make it easier to fire inept educators. The AFT claims the cover “cast[s] teachers as ‘rotten apples’ needing to be smashed by Silicon Valley millionaires with no experience in education.” The petition, which demands that Time apologize, has collected some 90,000 signatures already and may soon pass 100,000.

To send its message home, AFT president Randi Weingarten will be leading a protest on Thursday afternoon at Time’s headquarters. Accompanied by Michael Mulgrew, the head of New York City’s teachers union, and a collection of other teachers and parents, Weingarten will be dropping off tens of thousands of petitions at TIME’s Midtown office at 3 p.m.

In an effort to shame the news magazine, AFT has also been organizing a collective social media protest using the hashtag #TIMEtoApologize, which will be promoted at the same time Weingarten’s multitude delivers the petitions.

Talk about burying the lede. Isn’t the real news here that seemingly for the first time since Republican founder Henry Luce permanently left the Time-Life building in 1967, Time magazine — until recently a subsidiary of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO — has (a) actually committed journalism and (b) wrote damaging news about a key constituency of the left? Presumably though, the shrieking freakout response from the teachers unions will be enough to cause Time into going another half century resuming their role as de facto Democrat operatives with bylines.

Obama’s Frat-House Statecraft

October 29th, 2014 - 4:19 pm

“The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran ‘chickens–t’ was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Seth Mandel writes at Commentary:

But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in the Wall Street Journal.

* * * * * * * * *

The Obama administration, then, has been carrying out its preferred policy: aligning with Iran in the Middle East. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising, since the administration has more or less telegraphed its pitches. Obama has also long been a doormat for the world’s tyrants, so adding Iran to the list that already includes states like Russia and Turkey adds a certain cohesiveness to White House policy.

Obama’s infamous and towering ignorance of world affairs, especially in the Middle East, has always made this latest faceplant somewhat predictable. The Looney-Tunes outburst at Netanyahu was not, but it teaches us two important things about Obama.

First, those who wanted to support Obama but had no real case for him in 2008 went with the idea that he had a “presidential temperament.” Those folks now look quite foolish–though that’s nothing new. Obama has a temperament ill suited for any activity not readily found on frat row.

Which also neatly describes his speechwriters and his cabinet members as well:

Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, but he frequently gets out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered to the White House.

Aides to Mr. Kerry reject that portrait, saying he dials into White House meetings from the road and is heavily involved in the policy process. A long memo he wrote on the Islamic State, they said, has become the administration’s playbook for combating the group.

Yeah, that’s working out swimmingly. As far as Kerry as an astronaut, I just can’t see it myself:


Related: “In retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.” Hey, America rejected having grown-ups at the helm in both 2008 and 2012. What did they think was going to happen as a result?


The leftwing New Republic on sexist Massachusetts leftists:

Finally, there’s the nasty matter of sexism. Historically, Massachusetts doesn’t like female candidates. And, for all the plaudits showered on the Commonwealth’s voters for overcoming their seeming misogyny by sending Elizabeth Warren to the Senate two years ago, the fact is that Warren is a political superstar. We’ll know Massachusetts has reached true gender equality when its female hacks stand as good a chance as its male ones.

Not to be confused with Democrats in Pennsylvania, who in 2008 were declared racist by their fellow leftists at the Huffington Post:

But now there are two and we’re facing Pennsylvania and whom are we kidding? This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

And don’t get would-be Texas Governor Wendy Davis started on those rubes in her home state:

Jon Stewart tossed the softest of softballs at her. He played up anti-voter ID propaganda as if it’s fact, but hey, he had his clown nose on when he was telling that lie.

The trained audience booed at the mere mention of Greg Abbott’s name. Unluckily for Davis, none of them actually get to vote in Texas.*

Davis mocks the state that she wants to make her its governor at the end of this clip. Stewart notes that a college ID is not a valid form of ID for voting, but a gun permit is.

Davis laughs. “Welcome to Texas!” she fires back in scorn.

And that should be that for the Texas election. Wendy Davis really has just been on an MSNBC audition tour all this time.

As Ricochet’s Troy Senik has noted, “Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People.”

Think of the New Republic quote at the start of this post as a coming attractions teaser, and get ready for two years — possibly followed by four to eight years! — of leftists who spent the last six years telling you’re racist for not supporting Barack Obama telling you you’re sexist for not supporting Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren.

Very likely the same leftists. Forward!

Related: Michelle Malkin on “Up in Flames: The spectacular self-immolation of the Wendy R. Davis gubernatorial campaign.”

‘The NARAL Cory Gardner Ad, in Full’

October 29th, 2014 - 1:21 pm

“Forget the Wendy Davis wheelchair ad. NARAL, an extreme pro-abortion group, just nominated its own entry for worst campaign ad of 2014,” the Federalist notes:

The new NARAL ad in Colorado suggests that Cory Gardner wants to ban condoms. Not just the pill, but condoms. Because nothing says “I want to ban birth control” like wanting to make birth control…available over-the-counter without a prescription.

According to NARAL, wanting to make birth control over-the-counter is the same as banning it, and that will cause condoms, which are also available over-the-counter, to disappear entirely from stores. Or something.

* * * * * * * * *

In all seriousness, congratulations to NARAL for airing what might be the dumbest ad of 2014. According to the Real Clear Politics poll average in Colorado, Gardner leads Democratic Sen. Mark Udall by 3 percentage points.

At the NRO Corner, Charles C. W. Cooke has an exclusive Iowahawk-style satiric transcript of the extended rough cut version of the ad; the following is merely a small sample:

With Colorado’s airwaves packed in the final days of the state’s Senate race, NARAL had to cut down its last-ditch anti-Cory Gardner advertisement for length. The full version, as obtained by National Review:

Woman: Did you try Whole Foods?

Man: Of course.

Woman: Grocery store?

Man: Sold out.

Woman: Farmer’s market?

Man: Come on.

Woman: So everyone’s sold out of ramen noodles? How did this happen?

Man: With that personhood decree, Cory Gardner banned anything that could hurt an unborn child. And now, we’re starving. Alcohol was just the start. Raw meat? Cory banned it. Seafood? Gone. No more pâté, fruit, Caesar dressing, sushi . . .

Woman: That one hurts the most.

Man: . . . eggs, Tiramisu, coffee. After food stamps were abolished. I had to eat those old Pell Grant applications just to stay alive. Sometimes I envy Barack Obama. At least they feed him on Elba.

So Colorado leftists fear that Gardner will turn Colorado into a cross between California and New York! Rocky Mountain hipsters — who presumably have lurking within them the deep-seated nanny state urge to “ban everything and then ban it again” that manifests itself once they become elected officials should love the guy — or at least the fantasy hologram they’ve built of him.

“Ben Shapiro exposes the truth behind the media-created myth of Gentle Giant Michael Brown, the unarmed teen gunned down in cold blood by a white racist cop for the crime of walking while black. Except that every part of that story is a lie,” Breitbart TV notes.

Haven’t we seen this playbook in action before from the media-industrial-Obama complex? Why, yes we have:

And yes, all of the above would be described by those who’ve manufactured the myths of Brown and Martin as “Hate Facts,” to borrow from Greg Gutfeld’s brilliant description of the MSM’s Orwellian overculture.

What Could Go Wrong?

October 29th, 2014 - 12:38 pm

“PBS To Bring Pages Of The Atlantic To TV,” Betsy Rothstein writes at the Daily Caller:

Everyone is “thrilled” and “excited.”

“We’re excited to see our stories brought to broadcast, and honored to be working with the NewsHour to make it happen,” says James Bennet, The Atlantic’s President and Editor-in-Chief. “No one in the business cares more about journalistic integrity and depth.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with The Atlantic, leaders in thought-provoking journalism. We share a commitment to finding fascinating stories about our world and giving them the time and the space to tell them well, on air, online and in print,” says Sara Just, Executive Producer of PBS NewsHour, who has just joined the program in this capacity.

The shows write themselves, don’t they? Will PBS and the Atlantic team up to go spelunking in Sarah Palin’s uterus one last time? Will Charlie Rose and Jeffrey Goldberg co-host a broadcast to egg each other on to describe which is man is more clueless about Barack Obama’s foreign policy and worldview? Who will host the show which explores how “unexpectedly” Venezuela went down the tubes under socialist Hugo Chavez? In any case, the boilerplate PBS fundraiser should certainly make for much more interesting viewer when combined with a half-hour star-studded plug for Scientology.

PBS and the Atlantic — it’s a match made in PC purgatory.


“The NYT has had enough of you bumpkins deciding elections,” Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air on Mark Leibovitch’s “Bumpkinification of the Midterm Elections,” which, as we mentioned yesterday, reveals far more about the worldview of the author and his publication than the GOP candidates such as Joni Ernst and Mike McFadden that he profiles. As Jazz writes:

Leon Wolf, writing at Redstate, has a fairly effective takedown of these attacks, identifying the fact that what these elite culture warriors truly hate more than anything else is having to live on a patch of land which is attached to the flyover states where the annoying, unwashed masses reside. But more to the point, it should be noted that these campaign messages are effective for a reason, and it’s not a negative one. These “bumpkins” which Leibovitch so casually dismisses as being unworthy of participating in a modern democracy are, in fact, representative of a large swath of the nation. There are still people who actually live in farm country and maintain the values he so cheerily derides. There are people working in factories and mills – at least those few who can still find jobs – and get up every day worrying about problems which probably seem quaint, if not fictional, to those who spend their lives living in Manhattan, D.C. or Hollywood.

If Joni Ernst does pull this off and win on Tuesday, the commentariat may have learned a valuable lesson. Advertisements featuring people working on farms, castrating hogs, emptying trash cans or nailing shingles on the roofs of homes actually do work, and not because the viewers are stupid bumpkins. It’s because real people would prefer to be represented in Congress by someone who understands and can relate to their own lives.

Sorry, not holding my breath on that one, Jazz. As somebody said on Twitter the other day, Republicans are Charlie Brown, Democrats are Lucy; and they’re not going to stop pulling back the football at the last second no matter how much it alienates everyone else. The coastal elite Democrats’  hatred of flyover country is a cultural divide that transcends political parties and goes back decades — just ask Lyndon Johnson.