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Ed Driscoll

The New Puritans

Their Source was the New York Times

March 22nd, 2015 - 9:42 am

Shot:

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped 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. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

* * * * * * *

The confusion is telling, though. It shows that while keeping college-level discussions “safe” may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?

* * * * * * *

But why are students so eager to self-infantilize? Their parents should probably share the blame. Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, wrote on Slate last month that although universities cosset students more than they used to, that’s what they have to do, because today’s undergraduates are more puerile than their predecessors. “Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity,” he wrote. But “if college students are children, then they should be protected like children.”

“In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas,” Judith Shulevitz, the New York Times, yesterday.

Chaser:

Today is a red-letter day for the New York Times. For the first time, the paper has reported in its news section that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright once uttered the phrase “God damn America.” Wright’s comments were widely reported and widely discussed beginning with an ABC News report six months ago. Barack Obama even had to give a much-publicized speech because of those words, and others. But the newspaper of record has never seen fit to publish Wright’s quote in its news pages. Until today.

If my search of the Nexis database is correct, Wright’s quote first appeared in the Times in a column by Bill Kristol on March 17.  It was mentioned again in a column by Maureen Dowd on March 23.  It appeared in an editorial on April 26.  It appeared in a column by the public editor on May 4, and also in an article in the Week in Review section on that same day.

But never in the front section of the paper. Until now. As with the April 26 editorial, today’s mention of “God damn America” is in the context of reporting on attack ads targeting Obama. But still, it’s there, on page one, for the first time.

Byron York, then with National Review, September 24th, 2008.

Related: News you can use:

More: And speaking of creating safe zones for their readers, at least until it’s too late:

Guess Who’s Coming for Cappuccino

March 19th, 2015 - 2:04 pm

I don’t know about you, but whenever I purchase a $8.00 cup of coffee, I want to be hectored about race by a tattooed and facially pierced 20-something barrista (read: store clerk) who is $50,000 in debt from obtaining his master’s degree in postmodernist anti-colonialist deconstructionist poetry. In other words, a skull full of mush, as Professor Kingsfield would say.

“Starbucks hit by ‘cascade of negativity’ after ordering staff to talk racism with customers: Vice President forced off Twitter as angry public turns on ‘patronizing’ project,” the London Daily Mail reports:

The campaign was the brainchild of Howard Schultz, 61, the company’s boss, who has a track record of speaking out about contentious topics, from gay marriage to gun control.His decision came in response to the escalating racial tension that emerged when grand juries failed to indict white police officers involved in the killings of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, 43, in Staten Island, New York.

Last year, Schultz travelled to Starbucks branches in the cities most affected by racial tension, including Los Angeles, St Louis, Chicago, New York, Oakland and Seattle.

Mr Schulz met about 2,000 Starbucks staff on the tour, and made contact with the rest of his 200,000 employees – 40 per cent of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds – via a video address.

‘It’s an emotional issue,’ he said. ‘But it is so vitally important to the country.’

Gleichschaltung, baby!  On the other hand, perhaps this is an opportunity for Starbucks’ customers to speak truth to beverage makers. Because reminding young baristas that shoplifting followed by assaulting convenience store clerks followed by trying to grab a policeman’s gun is an emotional issue that deserves greater discussion. As does reminding them selling pirate cigarettes is also rarely a good idea. Another option would be to ask for a cup that doesn’t have “Race Together” on it, or asking for a Sharpie and crossing the slogan out in front of the barista, telling him that I’m for better race relations — who isn’t?! — but just because I’m giving you my money, I’m not giving you the right to hector me. Asking the clerk that beyond handing out pre-printed racialist cups what he’s doing to increase his own tolerance for diversity — including opinions he doesn’t want to hear — would also be fun.

Even a far left columnist at NBC, the home of race-obsessed Jim Crow TV, thinks that Starbucks attempting to “start a dialogue” about racial “awareness” is a pretty dumb idea:

People tend to get nasty, when all they want is a cup of Columbian roast, and you give them your take on Ferguson.

Just saying.

I pictured the only black or Hispanic baristas I have seen in a Starbucks, handing someone change and saying, “you know black lives matter, right?” and then holding their hands up in the air.

The baristas, as pleasant as they may be, can’t write a name accurately on a cup to save their lives. I have been Andrew, Annette, Austin and Audrey. Maybe, Starbucks should start a spelling campaign first, before a race conversation campaign. I might be more receptive to the information if you don’t call me Audrey.

Trust and believe that if I come in at 7am to get some caffeine to keep me motivated and civilized, it is not going to go well if a perky little girl says, “Hey, Audrey did you know that racism is oppressive?” Or maybe they are going to tell ole Audrey here that Martin Luther King, Jr. worked hard to make sure I could buy my $5.55 morning latte at any coffee shop in America.

As Jay Nordlinger of NRO has noted in several posts and articles over the years since Mr. Obama came to power, the number of politics-free “safe zones” is continually shrinking in America. With Starbucks’ ham-handed attempt to make their coffee racist (for racialism is ultimately a form of racism), the circle is that much smaller.

And as for Starbucks management getting off Twitter — well, you asked for a “dialogue,” and you got it. Sorry if it wasn’t you had in mind, but a dialogue implies a two-way street. Perhaps you’ll learn something by this experience.

Ultimately, Morgan Freeman, before he suffered a massive case of Tea Party Derangement Syndrome, had the best suggestion for improving race relations in America:

Any time the left wants to start, feel free.

On the flip-side, listening to classic rock on FM can be a riot in the Bay Area, if only for the commercials. It’s always fun to hear a “go green” PSA hectoring the listener to scale back his lifestyle, followed by an ad for a detox center, followed by a song from the 1970s performed by a drug and booze-addled band that toured in a private jet and raced (and crashed) Ferraris while their fleets of tractor-trailers filled with 50,000 watts of lighting and amplification drove between giant concrete hockey arenas.

But then, the same thing is true of the world of journalism, which still profess fealty to the boozy visages of Lou Grant, Mencken, and the hard-drinking boys in the newsroom of Ben Hecht’s The Front Page, but as James Lileks wrote a decade ago, “My God, if I pulled a bottle of scotch out of my desk and screwed a cigar in my mug they’d take me to a conference room for an intervention.”

The Left is Slowly Devouring Itself

January 31st, 2015 - 12:55 pm

If you’ve ever wondered “What the Hell Does ‘Politically Correct’ Mean?” and would like to hear the Marxist origins of the phrase, and how it mutated into one of the catchphrases of the 1990s until today, Jesse Walker has you covered at Reason. Everyone on the right knows what it’s like to argue with someone whose been infected by the PC virus, a “word fetish,” as novelist John C. Wright dubs it, in pungent terms. “What the Leftist does in debate is utter his idiot word fetishes and slogans with the sneering hauteur of a card player displaying his trump card, or a chessmaster a checkmate,” Wright notes. “And when his nonsense does not win the debate, or even address the debate, he realized you are the OTHER, and he blames you, and insults your character, your intelligence, your education, your moral stature, your maturity, et cetera”:

When you do not return the handshake, he knows you to be the dread and dreaded OTHER, those peoples of whom he has heard but dim rumor, the non-Leftists who use that horrible thing called reason, a lamp that he hates as dearly as Gollum hates the sun.

Leftists always resort to this shift because it is the only arrow in their quiver. They do not have any reasoning to give. If they could reason, they would not be Leftists.

The Leftist must attack you. Your very existence is an affront to him, proof positive that his worldview is wrong. He has nothing to say to support his position, and he cannot shut up.

Certainly we’re seeing that played out on a national scale this month, with the crude Vietnam-era attacks from Michael Moore, Seth Rogen, Howard Dean, Bill Maher and others on the far left on Chris Kyle’s legacy due to the blockbuster success of American Sniper. These double as thinly-veiled (often not-so-thinly veiled) slurs on the rest of Red State America as well, of course, with “soft America” seething at the resurgence of “hard America,” to use Michael Barone’s phraseology from his 2004 book. How angry is soft America these days? As John Nolte noted last night at Big Hollywood, the Onion’s otherwise often enjoyable A.V. Club film and TV Website took a nasty shot this week at the owner of a small restaurant chain in Michigan who symbolically “banned” Michael Moore and Seth Rogen after their submoronic anti-American remarks. “And how does the AV Club respond to this symbolic but righteous protest? By using no fewer than 7 paragraphs to relentlessly mock the Little Guy and his business,” Nolte writes, “the saddest piece of starf**king I’ve ever come across”:

Is anyone else old enough to remember when speaking truth to and defying power was the in-thing?

When the American Left reveals who they are really for and against, it is chilling.

Know your place and shut your mouth, little man.

In one post, The AV Club revealed itself to be nothing more than a bunch of elite snobbish frat boy starf**kers at the ready to protect the wealthy and powerful against … some guy in Michigan.

Palace Guarding: The New Edgy.

However, as the PC virus spreads and metastasizes, it’s begun to devour those who carry the disease within them as well. Or as Charles Cooke writes at NRO, “The Left Realizes Too Late that Political Correctness Is a Virus, and now it’s eating their movement from within”:

Once upon a time, “political correctness” was little more than a benign left-wing version of old-church-lady tut-tutting. Today, by contrast, the designation is used to describe what has become a sprawling, unhinged, and invariably unfalsifiable conspiracy theory that can be used to dismiss anybody who violates this morning’s edition of the progressive catechism. “Gosh,” one can almost hear DeBoer and Chait asking themselves, “have we unleashed a brigade of poorly educated, parodically self-indulgent, and chronically illiberal morons into our movement, the better to destroy it from within? And, if we have, will we ever be able to rid ourselves of them?”

The answer to the latter question, one suspects, may well be “No,” for as Hollywood has taught us repeatedly over the years, it does not pay to unleash unpredictable viruses into the ecosystem — even if one gains temporarily by doing so. And make no mistake, “political correctness” is a virus — a nasty, cynical, destructive sickness that is akin in both theory and in practice to the sort of irritating malware that pushes endless streams of nonsensical dialogue windows onto your grandmother’s computer and prevents her from e-mailing her friends.

This efforts by the left to remove all who are “not of the body” as they say on Star Trek have been going on for a while — recall the intramural struggles in 2006 when the Kos Kidz tossed earnest liberal Joe Lieberman from the Democrat Party, and the equally nasty scrum in 2007 and 2008 in which the Obama supporters accused everyone of racism — starting with Hillary and Bill Clinton and their supporters. But as John Madden used to say whenever a long-struggling NFL team temporarily thrilled its fan base and finally made it to the Super Bowl, “winning is the best deodorant.” Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 papered over a lot of the cracks in the century-old coalition of self-described “Progressives.”

But once Obama revealed himself to be the tyro politician that all of his critics from Bill and Hillary on the left to John McCain and Sarah Palin on the right warned that he was in 2008, and once it was obvious that Socialist Utopia wasn’t going to be immediately reached, the left resumed its slow crack-up. 2011 saw the rise of Occupy Wall Street, which was largely a far left versus center left battle. As Cooke notes in his article, this week saw Jonathan Chait of New York magazine finally noticing that the PC movement has gotten out of hand, when it began to devour him, and he’s been as loyal a foot soldier in the attack on the rest of America as can be imagined.

As James Antle of the Daily Caller writes regarding Chait’s dilemma, “Political correctness is to empathy, mutual respect and human decency as Marxism is to compassion. Both transform noble impulses into joyless acts of ideological coercion.”

And speaking of Marx, how crazy has today’s left gotten? Take it away Jonah Goldberg, whose latest G-File is titled “China Syndrome Liberalism”:

I am kind of excited, or at least entertained, by the spectacle of watching the Left eat itself. It’s like a terrible virus escaped from a lab at Brown University and is now spreading across the country, island hopping from campus to campus and beyond (I don’t merely mix metaphors, I put them in a salad spinner). My buddy James Lileks writes about how left-wing students at Berkeley (sort of redundant, I know) are starting to turn on Marx, not because of his potted theories of the dialectic, his crude reductionism of man to homo economicus, or even the fact that he set the foundation for turning the 20th century into an abattoir. No, Marx is bad because he’s just another dead white guy. The students write in the school paper:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

First let me interject by noting that the moment anyone says to you “We are calling for an occupation of syllabi,” you can put your headphones back on and finish watching the latest episode of Gotham, because nothing that follows will be worth your time.

Anyway, they go on to gripe that Marx worked from the assumption that there are — or were — differences between men and women. The madman! The professor’s statement in defense of Marx, that “women give birth while men do not,” was enough to make some students flee the room, no doubt in search of a gender-neutral fainting couch. (“Don’t look at me! I’m all man” — The Couch).

This is like watching Godzilla stomp across Tokyo and your only complaint is he’s not wearing pants.

This is followed in Jonah’s G-File by the story of Mount Holyoke College cancelling their showing of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues” because “it is demeaning to ‘women’ who have penises,” as National Review on Dead Tree (accurately) deadpans. Meanwhile Reason spots even more campus PC madness as, “CUNY Tells Profs Not to Say ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ Because That’s Offensive and Illegal-ish (It’s Not).”

Or as Jonah adds:

[W]hen you think about it, the really funny part is that we’re still hearing how we conservatives need to get control of our nutjobs and extremists before average Americans will take us seriously. I’ll tell you what: “What.” I’ll also tell you that the typical Joe on the street will find gun rights and the Tenth Amendment reasonable and mainstream long before he gets his head around the idea that The Vagina Monologues is sexist because it lacks wangs in the cast — and I don’t mean Asians.

Heh.

Recently, Robert Tracinski asked at the Federalist, “Have We Already Reached Peak Leftism?” Certainly its efforts to consume itself are one sign of that, as is the recent implosion of the New Republic and the Andrew Sullivan’s self-imposed timeout announcement this week. And somewhat related to all of the above, there’s an understandable level of exhaustion among several of the left’s key components after having to defend the Obama administration’s insanities over the past six years (seven or eight actually, counting the time that Democrat operatives with bylines like Sullivan began to actively cheerlead for him.)

As Tracinski concludes:

What I mean to suggest is not that reversion to the mean is inevitable, but that this is an opportunity. The Left’s very strength, its nearly exclusive control of key cultural institutions, is also a weakness. Holding the line on a 95 percent groupthink in academia and the arts might end up being a lot harder than disrupting the leftist orthodoxy.

That disruption can happen only if a lot of people put forth a lot of effort to make it happen. But we have a powerful factor on our side: reversion to the mean.

I hope he’s right, but I fear the left’s century-long efforts bunkering deep into the media, academia and (of course) bureaucracies from the federal down to local governments throughout America means that it will be quite sometime before it’s even temporarily morning in America again, to coin a phrase.

The Abolition of Private Life

January 22nd, 2015 - 12:01 pm

As Kevin D. Williamson writes on this year’s current crop of nihilistic protestors, “They’re coming for your Denver omelet.” And your highway, and your business:

Sensible people would tell these pathetic bullies to mind their own business, but minding your business — and Google’s business — is literally Jesse Jackson’s business. (Literally, Mr. Vice President.) It’s what he does and how he eats. And it’s the Left’s best growth industry: Build nothing, create nothing, nurture nothing, and then shut down I-93 until you get your way, whether that means money in pocket, which is what the Castro protesters and Jesse Jackson are after, or whether that simply means luxuriating in the addictive pleasure of moral preening, which is what idiot white college kids in New York are after. The latter requires an audience, thus the Occupy a Denver Omelet movement.

What’s hilarious is that the protesters themselves are getting a lesson in why private life matters. When an enterprising WBZ-TV reporter, Ken MacLeod, started tracking down the Boston protesters who shut down the freeway and found them at their homes — often their parents’ homes, mansions in Brookline — he was accused of “harassment,” told “I need you to leave our property immediately,” etc. Which is to say, the protesters, having inserted themselves into public affairs, wished to enjoy the courtesy that they refused to extend to those who hadn’t inserted themselves into public affairs. When it comes to dopey Trustafarians, there’s more that’s tangled than their hair.

Speaking of protests and food, as Ace’s co-blogger Drew McCoy tweets, “awful but necessary,” linking to this Denver Eater (a spinoff publication of far left Vox.com, alas) article titled “Cake Shop Faces Legal Action For Refusing to Make Anti LGBT Cake:”

The man came in and began ordering a cake. After he found an image of a Bible-shaped cake to his liking, he showed the bakery employees the message he wanted displayed on the cake, the gist of which is hateful toward the gay community. Uncomfortable with the incident, owner Marjorie Silva offered to make the Bible-shaped cake and sell to the customer a decorating bag so he can complete whatever message he wanted himself. He immediately threatened legal action and left. He returned twice and had to be “excused” by the owner’s brother the last time. The man filed a discrimination complaint Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

In a nation of over 300 million people that doesn’t lack for bakeries, in a simpler time, one would simply shop for the baker who would be happy to print whatever message the customer wants. Who wants to buy a custom-made product obviously made under duress? Especially food — who’d want to risk eating a cake made in protest after it was complete? But if one group is legally forced to create products against their wishes, it’s understandable that they’d want to use the left’s Saul Alinsky-inspired tactics for a little pushback. After all, as Ol’ Saul said nearly half a century ago, “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Evidently he didn’t realize how quickly the far left would emerge as the default bourgeois class in many parts of America, and conversely, religious conservatives the radical fringe position, at least as far as the law is concerned. Speaking of which, there are still more cakes waiting to be baked in the bakery wars:

 

Just print up a Charlie Hebdo cover, ask for it on the cake, and tell ‘em your having a “Stand With Charlie” party. Though you might want to rent a P.O. box first so as not to give out your home address…

Which brings us back to the conclusion of Kevin D. Williamson’s article:

During the Civil Rights Movement — the real one, not the ersatz one led today by Jesse Jackson et al. — politics did genuinely intersect with brunch. On one side of the issue were people who argued that the social situation of African Americans at the time was so dire and so oppressive that invasive federal action was necessary. On the other side were well-intentioned conservatives such as Barry Goldwater and any number of writers for this magazine, who argued that if the reach of Washington were extended into every mom-and-pop diner in the country, it would constitute a step toward the abolition of private life, that the natural and inevitable extension of the principle at work would ensure that rather than being treated as private property, businesses reclassified as “public accommodations” would be treated more like public property, that the greasy snout of politics eventually would stick itself into every last precinct of what had been considered the sphere of privacy beyond the public sector.

As it turns out, both sides were right.

Or to put it another way, as one approaches peak socialism, increasingly, “The only person who is still a private individual..is somebody who is asleep,” to coin a phrase.

CNN, Where Time Stands Still

January 21st, 2015 - 12:29 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

When Fox News started out, it got a generally skeptical and unfriendly reception from the journalistic establishment. Even reporters, who generally view any news media organization as a good thing (not to mention a potential source of employment), were largely disapproving. But no one greeted Fox News with more pure vitriol than CNN founder Ted Turner.

“I look forward to crushing Rupert Murdoch like a bug,” Turner told the press. He compared Murdoch to Hitler, which would make Roger Ailes a reincarnation of Goebbels, and followed up with an explanation, quoted by the Los Angeles Times [in October of 1996]: “The late Führer, the first thing he did, like all dictators, was take over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically, that is what Rupert Murdoch does with his media.  .  .  .” The Nazi analogy was too much for the Anti-Defamation League, which rebuked Turner for trivializing the Holocaust. Turner apologized, but that didn’t prevent him from likening Murdoch to “the late Führer” a year later; or, in 2005, comparing the success of Fox News to the rise of Hitler.

— From Roger Ailes: Off Camera, by Zev Chafets.

Flash-forward to this week: “CNN’s Zakaria Takes Shot at Murdoch, ‘Quasi-Fascist’ Fox Hosts,” Mediaite’s Josh Feldman reports.

Both of which seem like pretty odd complaints, both from Turner, who after leaving the network he founded has gone on to praise North Korea, and from Zakaria, who in-between dodging plagiarism allegations, has complained on CNN that the American people have too much freedom and too little regulation.

Related: “Washington Post Catches CNN Red-Handed Reporting On Muslim ‘No-Go Zones.’”

And from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, “Sure, Take Out Your Frustrations And Anxiety On Fox, They Won’t Behead You: Paris mayor threatens to sue Fox for insulting Paris and injuring its honor (with ‘no-go zones’).”

It was pretty much a given that it wouldn’t be very long at all before the French would revert to form and quickly begin to lose the goodwill of the American people after the horror of the Islamofascist attack on Charlie Hebdo. Or as Glenn adds, “Funny, I could have sworn that there were a lot of people marching for free speech in Paris recently.”

We’re quickly discovering how many of them were simply engaging in pantomime.

Update: “Je Suis Fox News?” asks Ricochet’s John Gabriel:

Fox News’ jealous critics and the Parisian mayor should re-read their week-old paroxysms of support for an unbridled press. Because free speech doesn’t work if you’re only allowed to offend religious figures but not secular ones.

Heh, indeed.™

Nice catch by Scott Whitlock of NewsBusters:

In the wake of the massacre of journalists in France by Muslim terrorists, NBC has made an editorial decision to not show the cover of the new Charlie Hebdo cover featuring Muhammad, deeming it too offensive for viewers.

This is quite a contrast to the way the network promoted The Da Vinci Code in 2006. The movie (and Dan Brown book it was based on) insisted that Jesus Christ was not divine and had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene. Many Christians considered that offensive.

On Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell explained to her audience the decision to refrain from showing the Charlie Hebdo cover: “All of the networks of the NBC News group have made the decision, editorial decision, not to show it because we don’t publish things that are as provocative as Charlie Hebdo is.”

“Provocative” being code for “stuff that could our journalists killed.” Responding to similarly Orwellian code from the New York Times editor Dean Baquet over his  similar decision this month to censor news, just take this quote from Allahpundit this past week and substitute Catholics for Jews:

If Jews want the Times to take their feelings seriously, they can prove the depth of their injury by grabbing some AK-47s and machine-gunning a group of cartoonists. This moron is actually providing an incentive to overreact to blasphemy. Which is probably the closest he’ll come to acknowledging the real calculus in all this: To the extent that Times editors have more to fear from angry Muslims than they do from angry Jews, yes, it’s quite true that cartoons that offend each group don’t parallel each other.

As Glenn Reynolds warned a decade ago during the first round of Islamic terrorism inspired by European cartoons, “I’m sorry, but the lesson here is that if you want to be listened to, you should blow things up. That’s a very bad incentive structure, but it’s the one the allegedly responsible parties have created.”

And speaking of NBC and censoring images, “[Charlie] Hebdo Editor to Chuck Todd: When You Blur Our Cover, ‘You Blur out Democracy,’” as spotted by Mediaite:

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Charlie Hebdo’s new editor-in-chief Gerard Briard Sunday morning what he made of the decision of many American news outlets, including NBC News, to blur the cover of this week’s issue, which featured a caricature of the Islamic prophet Muhammed. Briard basically told Western media to grow a pair.

“Écoutez, we cannot blame newspapers that already suffer much difficulty in getting published and distributed in totalitarian regimes for not publishing a cartoon that could get them at best jail, at worst death,” he said.

“On the other hand, I’m quite critical of newspapers published in democratic countries,” he continued. “This cartoon…is a symbol of freedom of religion, democracy, and secularism. It is this symbol that these newspapers refuse to publish.”

“When they refuse to publish this cartoon, when they blur it out, when they decline to publish it, they blur out democracy, secularism, freedom of religion, and they insult the citizenship.”

But blurring out democracy and insulting America’s citizens is what MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times does, a “Progressive” journalistic tradition that’s as old as Mencken and just as shopworn. It’s their raison d’être, as the French would say. Why would they start viewing any of these as bad things now?

Allahpundit-esque exit quote: “An unintended side effect of Paris is the revealing, or perhaps I should say reminder, that the left really has a hard time with this whole ‘free speech’ thing. Right alongside grand and glorious declarations of the absolute right of free speech are inserted codicils that, if followed strictly logically, simply negate all of their olympian sentiments.”

TNR morphed from a fairly sensible center-left publication to a clone of Salon and Slate so quickly, I hardly even noticed. But the Website, revamped under the new ownership of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has noticed that during the Christmas holidays, things really are brighter, and they’re vexed by this notion. Terribly vexed:

Two years ago, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy reported that of the eight types of outdoor lighting it studied in 2010—”building exterior, airfield, billboard, railway, stadium, traffic signals, parking and roadway”—over 178 million individual lamps were in use, up from 73 million in 2002. The Astronomical Observatory at Florida Atlantic University has also done extensive research on nighttime lighting. It found that in 2012, more than 35 billion kilowatts per hour (KWh) were used in “estimated wasted outdoor lighting”—considered to be “lights that are on where not needed or where no one is around to use them, on when they are not needed, or are directed upwards where no one can use them”—and it cost consumers $3.4 billion.

It’s possible to estimate the cost of holiday lighting on an individual level—a handful of websites provide calculators. But to get an idea of energy usage and cost increases between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we’ll have to wait until NASA releases data on the 2014 holiday season, at which point it’s likely that universities and government agencies, not NASA, will study the implications.

As Twitter user Scott Welch writes in his reply to Virginia Postrel’s link to TNR’s article, you know what else uses plenty of energy, lights, and air conditioning? The server farms that Facebook and TNR run on. I look forward to the folks at TNR running a “study” on how much electricity, lighting and freon is consumed during that process.

Ordinarily, this is the time where I insert my usual rejoinder to what Virginia aptly calls leftwing environmental puritanism and call on TNR that if they want to walk the walk, they really need to set an example for the rest of us and close up shop first, if they perceive that “global warming / cooling climate change / climate chaos” is so dire that the rest of us need to turn off our Christmas lights and transform America into the second coming of North Korea at night.

Fortunately though in this case, TNR is for once far ahead of the curve:


Faster please — do it for Gaia’s sake, fellas.

Related: “David Brooks Calls New Republic Owner Chris Hughes ‘Callow And Incompetent,’” the HuffPo notes. I’m not at all sure if Brooks meant that as an insult or not, given his prior track record with callow and incompetent members of the far left.

daily_news_cosby_fixer_11-23-14-1

“EXCLUSIVE: Ex-NBC employee Frank Scotti claims Bill Cosby paid off women, invited young models to dressing room as he stood guard,” the New York Daily News reports:

Back when Bill Cosby was the king of network television, veteran NBC employee Frank Scotti served as the royal fixer.

When Cosby invited young models into his Brooklyn dressing room, the megastar’s pal stood watch outside the door. When the married Cosby sought a Queens apartment for another pretty face, Scotti arranged the deal.

And when the man behind Fat Albert needed cash disbursed to his flock of single female friends — hey, hey, hey — Scotti became the conduit for payments of up to $2,000 a month.

“He had everybody fooled,” said Scotti in an exclusive interview with the Daily News. “Nobody suspected.”

Scotti came forward last week with his insider’s look at Cosby’s womanizing ways during the magical 1984-92 run of “The Cosby Show.”

The 90-year-old Scotti said he decided to speak as the drumbeat of sexual abuse allegations against Cosby, 77, grew steadily louder. “I felt sorry for the women,” he told The News.

Along with the multiple women coming forward with allegations, is Scotti lying? Presumably the left-leaning Daily News wouldn’t run the story unless the paper and its lawyers believed him. But in any case, NBC certainly has ample prior examples of enabling their performers’ dysfunctional behavior to help keep a hit show humming along.

As Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad wrote in their 1986 book, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, while the late John Belushi was the most legendary substance abuser of the original cast of SNL, the performer most affected by drug use according to the authors was Garrett Morris. And certainly, his onstage performances in his last season on the show often seemed near-catatonic, as he appeared to lean heavily on his cue cards to remember even the simplest of lines. According to Hill and Weingrad, “Garrett free-based cocaine, meaning he mixed it with ether and heated it to filter out the impurities, then smoked it in its purest, strongest form,” and insiders at NBC, including Morris’ own fixer at the network, were certainly aware of drug use of some sort by Morris:

As much cocaine as John Belushi used, within Saturday Night Garrett’s habits were seen as more dangerous, because Belushi seemed so much stronger than Garrett. “Belushi,” one of the writers said, “was howling against the elements. Garrett sort of just slipped away in his sleep.” In the end, of course, that judgment proved to be incorrect, but at the time most would have expected Garrett to succumb long before John.

What to do about Garrett occupied a good deal of conversation on the 17th floor. That he wasn’t taken off the show or forced to get some sort of treatment struck many as utterly irresponsible. The countervailing opinion was that taking him off the show would have only completed his collapse. No one could convince Garrett he needed help; he always insisted he was fine. But obviously he wasn’t fine, and many blamed Lorne for not dealing with it. “A lot of people felt Lorne ignored the problem,” one of the featured players said. “A lot of people thought, ‘Lorne’s got to do something about this.’ It seemed that week after week Garrett was in bad emotional shape. Nobody knew what to do.”

Garrett’s problems were also ignored by NBC, and not because no one in the network was aware of them. To the contrary, one NBC executive, a vice president, frequently gave Garrett the money to buy his cocaine. Garrett would come to this executive for advances on his salary. He always said he had some different project in the works that he needed it for, but the executive was well aware of what Garrett was doing with the money. The advances were usually $1,000, but once, when the show was ending for the season and Garrett needed enough to tide him over the summer, he was advanced $10,000. The executive says that Garrett thought of him as a sort of friendly banker, and that as a result he and Garrett always got along extremely well. Eventually the advances were stopped.

In more recent years, NBC has long ignored Alec Baldwin’s homophobic slurs and violent encounters with photographers, as long as they could build shows around him. (Unlike the heyday of the original SNL and Cosby Show, ratings be damned, curiously enough). And today, as the New York Times strongly implied last week, NBC looks the other way at Al Sharpton’s multiple tax abuses.

When the MSM, those Democrat operatives with bylines, as Glenn Reynolds memorably dubbed them, ignores corruption in the Obama administration, remember that they have a lengthy history of ignoring and in some cases enabling corruption and malfeasance in-house as well. Anything as long as the show goes on.

QED.

Today’s edition of Ed Driscoll.com is brought to you by the word “Man-spreading.” Or as Rich Cromwell writes at the Federalist, “The Rabid Equality Crowd Finally Outright Admits They Hate Testicles:”

They’re not called the family jewels because they are ordinary. They’re not referred to as stones because they’re impervious to injury. No, they are both extraordinary and surprisingly fragile. So, sorry notsorry if we give them some breathing room when we sit, if we don’t smash them betwixt our legs on public transit. But as the horizon of “male privilege” is constantly expanding, giving the old wedding tackle ample space is now a crime against humanity.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced on Monday that a new campaign addressing courtesy on public transportation will come into effect by January. One of the targeted behaviors is ‘man-spreading’ — the act of spreading one’s legs so far apart that other passengers are forced to squish their own together.

Or, if you prefer a more nuanced description, one of the most infuriating and outright ridiculous display of male privilege and machismo in existence today. As Mic’s Derrick Clifton succinctly put it, ‘Hey, bro, you’re not that well-endowed.’

Maybe. You don’t know.

Granted, I don’t use public transit. I luxuriate in a nicely padded captain’s chair without panhandlers and formidable smells. If I lived in a dense urban area, I would likely take advantage of the added reading time that public transit offers. For now, though, I don’t have that option, so I crank the tunes and spread my legs far and wide. But as a member in good standing of the patriarchy, I have to stand up for my brethren who live in constant fear of oppression.

Not the least of which being this fellow, who’s rather well-known for capping off his eight years in office by man-spreading on the cover of a well-known men’s magazine:

bill_clinton_esquire_11-21-14-1

Stacy McCain describes the sort of person who’s a Socialist Justice Warrior obsessed with ending “man-spreading” as being one of the “Nowhere People:”

It’s important to remember that, although these people exist in real life — that is to say, there are actual human beings running those batshit crazy troll accounts — they are as altogether artificial in their politics as they are in their online personas. They themselves have never done a goddamned thing for “social justice.” They simply enjoy mouthing these slogans about “oppression” and “patriarchy,” etc., because posing as Our Moral Superiors is an emotional compensation for their own obscurity and worthlessness.

They are the Nowhere People — rootless, without loyalty to family, community or religious tradition, and thus “free” to create for themselves imagined identities and idiosyncratic belief systems. Although they usually think of themselves as unique individuals, they are really sheep in a herd, predictable and therefore ultimately boring. Any politics, as long as it’s not conservative politics; any religion as long as it’s not Christian religion; any sexuality as long as it’s not normal sexuality. One notices that the Nowhere People are seldom husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Idle narcissism is incompatible with the dutiful commitments of marriage and motherhood.

Related:


Hey, those six figure salaries that college professors earn for classes on lesbian deconstructionist poetry aren’t going to pay for themselves, you know.

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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Vile from New York

September 30th, 2014 - 8:07 pm

Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist deserves an enormous amount of credit — and hazard pay — for watching the vile season debut of Saturday Night Live, so you didn’t have to:

Oh for crying out loud. If you can’t make fun of this president, you should hang up your hat and go work for Everybody Loves Raymond or something. The degree of difficulty is high? Really? I mean, Sarah Palin manages it so it can’t be that hard, right?

Sheesh. As Kyle Smith wrote:

The charter Choom Ganger, confessed eater of dog and snorter of coke. The doofus who thinks the language spoken by Austrians is “Austrian,” that you pronounce the p in “corpsman” and that ATMs are the reason why job growth is sluggish. The egomaniac who gave the queen of England an iPod loaded with his own speeches and said he was better at everything than the people who work for him. The empty suit with so little real-world knowledge that he referred to his brief stint working for an ordinary profit-seeking company as time “behind enemy lines.” The phony who tells everyone he’s from Chicago, though he didn’t live there until his 20s, and lets you know that he’s talking to people he believes to be stupid by droppin’ his g’s. The world-saving Kal-El from a distant solar system who told us he’d heal the planet and cause the oceans to stop rising. The guy who shared a middle name with one of the most hated dictators on earth. Nope, nothing there to mock. No way to get a grip on this polished, oiled obsidian.

My husband and I looked at each other with confusion and disgust as the Weekend Update crowd told President Obama to cheer up and that things would get better. There were lines like, “Benghazi used to be a huge deal, now it’s just John McCain’s safe word,” and suggestions that he go on the road with the real first family, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Jost said that Bush had wrecked the economy, bombed every country with sand and that all he had to do was paint one ok picture of a dog to get back in the country’s good graces. Ha ha! All so funny and fresh!

Back in 2010, Michael J. Lewis of Commentary explored how the original Saturday Night transformed itself during its first three seasons from the politically-laced leftwing comedy of George Carlin (who hosted SNL’s very first show in October of 1975) to the much more apolitical and lighter gags of frequent host Steve Martin. As Lewis noted, this was also the transformation of the 1970s pop culture from the Watergate era and the left’s dark obsession with Nixon to the goofy apolitical, party-hearty disco Star Wars years of 1977 and ’78. This was also the era in which Robin Williams broke through to national success as a comedian, and his first album, Reality, What a Concept is remarkably politics-free. (Even his William F. Buckley impersonation on the album was pretty benign.)

A similar trend happened to the regular cast of Saturday Night Live itself, as Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Jimmy Carter was much sweeter and protective of Jimmy Carter’s reputation than his recurring savage Nixon impersonations or Chevy Chase’s impersonations of Gerald Ford as a clumsy, vacuous bumbler. (Not to mention the show’s admitted — and successful — efforts to demonize Ford via his press secretary, who naively volunteered to guest on the show’s first season.) By protecting Carter, Saturday Night Live accidentally allowed itself to flourish as a much more apolitical show than its first season, and Aykroyd, Belushi and Bill Murray all became superstars, as did Steve Martin during his regular guest appearances on the show, and while he never appeared on SNL during its breakthrough first five seasons, so did Williams.

But at least Jimmy Carter had his doofus brother Billy, Miss Lillian, and the family’s assortment of southern stereotypes for comedians to at least mildly goof on. In contrast, Obama has been treated with the most delicate and gossamer of kid gloves, but thanks to PC and the left’s overall descent into nagging humorless puritanical scolds, I don’t see any successors to Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Aykroyd, Belushi or Murray on the horizon anytime soon.

(Headline inspired by former Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales’ 1980 polemic against the disastrous first post-Lorne Michaels season of SNL.)

“Watch: Megyn Kelly Matches Up Obama UN Speech Rhetoric with Bush in 2001,” via Breitbart.tv, which notes that “Kelly played a clip that compared the tenor of President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations earlier in the day to then-President George W. Bush, who addressed the same body from the same spot shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks:”
(more…)

Gray Lady Suffers Malaise

September 15th, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Elizabeth Scalia, aka “The Anchoress,” describes Roger Cohen’s piece in the New York Times titled “The Great Unraveling” as “an exquisitely-written dose of reality.” Regarding America in the age of Obama, Cohen describes it in Dickensian terms; “It was a time of weakness”:

The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

Elizabeth responds, “It is, finally, perhaps a time of dawning realization that the centers are not holding; old orders are in extremis; new orders are in capricious adolescence”:

The troubles briefly enumerated in this sobering op-ed are only the most obvious issues. They are the pebble tossed into the pond, rippling outward in ever-widening circles — expanding to include a unique “time” of global crisis: governments failing at every level, everywhere; churches are divided, their freedoms challenged; citizens are distracted, dissatisfied and distrustful, their election mechanisms in doubt; schools are losing sight of the primary mission of education; families are deconstructed and the whole concept ripe for dissolution; respect for human dignity is doled out in qualified measures; there is a lack of privacy; a lack of time to think, to process and to incarnate; a lack of silence.

It sounds terribly, terribly depressing, yes. Who wants to read that? Who wants to think about that?

Sadly, this is essential reading; this is essential thinking.

Fair enough, but consider the source — over the past 12 years, the New York Times, when not going on benders on the evils of golf courses and air conditioning, and publishing outright fabulism, has, more recently, published pieces calling for the end of the US Constitution, and mocking the “fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity” of its presidential candidates — only, upon further review, to discover that these extreme worldviews are Catholicism, Lutheranism and Mormonism, bedrock religions of America’s history.  Its leading journalists have publicly called the citizens of the American midwest “The dance of the low-sloping foreheads” and filed William S. Burroughs-style stories of openly experimenting with drugs. And of course, in 2008, it went all-in to champion a man who was clearly not ready to be president, to the point of actively burying potentially damaging stories about him and refusing to run op-eds from his opponent.

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Tina Brown Could Not Be Reached for Comment

August 25th, 2014 - 3:33 pm

“Daily Beast Slams ‘Benedict Arnold’ Burger King for Planned ‘Inversion’” via a merger with the Canadian Tim Hortons chain, Ken Shepherd writes at Newsbusters:

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson put it, but a lack of it may be the last refuge of corporate executives who have run out of ideas on how to improve their business,” groused Daily Beast global finance editor Daniel Gross in the open of his 9-paragraph screed “Burger King Plots Canadian Invasion to Save His Faltering Kingdom.” “It’s one thing for a fairly anonymous company that sells pumps or valves or industrial products to other businesses to renounce its citizenship for the sake of saving a few bucks on taxes. It’s quite another when you’re an iconic American consumer-facing company that relies on fickle consumers for a large share of its business,” Gross fumed.

Gosh. Wait’ll Gross discovers that the Daily Beast, the Website he writes for, was founded by a woman who left her country of origin in search of better business opportunities, and presumably, lower taxation, eventually becoming a citizen of her newly adopted homeland. How can he work for a corporation born of such scoundrelly* origins?

* Yes, it’s a word, according to cads and bounders and scalawags at the Oxford dictionary.

Update (8/26/14): “This is Awkward:” Warren Buffett, “who President Barack Obama has lauded and named a signature proposal after, is helping finance a deal that would allow Burger King Worldwide Inc. to reincorporate in Canada and potentially reduce its U.S. tax bill through a so-called inversion, the Journal reported late Monday.”

No word yet on how former President Obama will question his supporter’s distinct lack of patriotism.

Funny How This Keeps Happening to CNN

August 8th, 2014 - 11:36 am

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Our crew explored Tehran and Isfahan, eating some spectacularly delicious and sophisticated food. We were welcomed with open arms at every restaurant we visited. (The proprietors of our hotel in downtown Tehran must have found out from our visas that it was my producer’s birthday, because they invited us all down to the office, where they surprised us with a cake.) It was at one of these long lunches where I met The Washington Post’s correspondent, Jason Rezaian, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. They were well-known and liked in Tehran and were referred by mutual friends who knew that experienced English-speakers — with a unique perspective from straddling both worlds — would be helpful to our production.

A few weeks later, they were mysteriously arrested and detained. Based on what they told me, I cannot possibly understand why.

—”These people I interviewed in Iran clearly loved the country. So why did it put them in jail?”, Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” series, in the Washington Post on Tuesday, (found via our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit and bon vivant, Steve Green.)

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990′s one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government’s ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.

Working for a foreign news organization provided Iraqi citizens no protection. The secret police terrorized Iraqis working for international press services who were courageous enough to try to provide accurate reporting. Some vanished, never to be heard from again. Others disappeared and then surfaced later with whispered tales of being hauled off and tortured in unimaginable ways. Obviously, other news organizations were in the same bind we were when it came to reporting on their own workers.

We also had to worry that our reporting might endanger Iraqis not on our payroll. I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting. After all, secret police thugs brutalized even senior officials of the Information Ministry, just to keep them in line (one such official has long been missing all his fingernails).

“The News We Kept To Ourselves,” then-CNN president Eason Jordan’s mea culpa in the New York Times for his network serving as shills for Saddam Hussein for well over a decade, April 11, 2003.

But CNN will continue to back kleptocratic totalitarians, religious fundamentalist headchoppers, and radical chic terrorists — it’s in the very lifeblood of the channel’s corporate history.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“Let’s Give Up on the Constitution”

—Headline at the New York Times, December 30th, 2012.

“Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?”

—Headline at the New York Times, today.

And note the photo choice for the Times’ story. Is that a subliminal crosshair above Rand Paul’s forehead? Coming the same day that the Daily Beast (formerly Newsweek) put Sen. Paul in a red bull’s eye?

nyt_rand_paul_crosshairs_8-7-14-1

Click to enlarge. Note possible crosshairs in image.

Coincidence…?

Yes, of course. But considering the Times wasted 800 words in September of 2000 maniacally looking for imagined “DemoRats,” in GOP video freeze-frames, and destroyed Sarah Palin in 2011 over their fever swamp elimination rhetoric fantasies for using run-of-the-mill, bipartisan-approved political targeting clip art, they should be on particularly high alert for even accidentally using similar tactics themselves.

Besides — the ghost of Saul Alinksy and his Rules #4 and #5 requires us to point these things out. (And it’s not the first time since 2011 the Gray Lady has employed eliminationist imagery against conservatives.)

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“It’s not pretty, even if your credentials are impeccable,” Neo-Neocon writes:

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Neo adds, “It’s fortunate for Dr. Christy that burning at the stake has gone out of style.” But paradoxically amongst carbon-obsessed warmists, book-burning is making a rapid comeback, at least at San Jose State:

At speaking of the academic left believing that books have evil talismanic powers, Aaron Clarey spots a hilariously overblown reaction from a librarian who came across my February interview with Aaron on his then-new book Bachelor Pad Economics.

A hundred years ago, a central tenet of the left was “epater la bourgeoisie” — or shock the middle class. Apparently, they didn’t consider that their ideology would become so sclerotic and brittle that it would eventually transform them into a remarkably vapour-prone class of the bourgeois in constant search of the fainting couch. But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts once said, you can only be avant-garde for so long before you come garde.

How Not to Promote Immigration Reform

July 15th, 2014 - 3:15 pm

“This CNN story makes it sound like Jose Antonio Vargas worked very hard to get arrested. Which I guess makes sense,” Mollie Hemingway tweeted earlier today. Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary adds that Vargas isn’t helping his cause:

Today, America’s most prominent illegal immigrant arrived at the border between Mexico and the United States to demonstrate his solidarity with the tens of thousands of people streaming into the country without permission. But the stunt by which former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas got himself arrested did more to undermine support for immigration reform than to foster sympathy for the illegals.

Vargas became a national figure three years ago when the former Washington Post reporter outed himself in the New York Times as an illegal immigrant. Vargas came to the United States at 12 from the Philippines to live with his grandparents who were naturalized citizens. But he was brought here by a “coyote” without a legal visa and spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents. After graduating college he consulted an immigration lawyer who told him his only path to citizenship was to return to his home country, wait ten years and then apply to come back with permission. On the cusp of a successful career he refused and continued lying even as he was part of a Post team that won a Pulitzer. Eventually, he tired of the deceit as he continued to rise in mainstream journalism and decided to put himself forward as a symbol of the plight of the so-called “dreamers”—people who were brought to the country illegally as kids and who went on to make a contribution to society.

“Spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents.” Vargas will never make it as a leftwing journalist with those sorts of tactics.

Oh wait — let me check with Dan Rather, Matt Yglesias, and Touré on that last supposition and get back to you.

And I better run it past the president, and academia, just to make certain.

Privilege Checked

July 15th, 2014 - 10:34 am

America’s most visible illegal alien detained, Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air, sadly using an exquisitely PC term in his first sentence:

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and activist who favors of immigration reform, is also a proud undocumented immigrant. Born in the Philippines but raised in the United States from the age of 12, Vargas worked and lived in America for years where he advocated through his reporting the reformation of American immigration laws.

Last week, Vargas penned a report from Texas for Politico Magazine chronicling the plight of a person in his position – a man without documentation on the frontlines of an immigration crisis. He recently produced a pro-reform documentary entitled Documented, which is set to air on CNN. It is not unfair to say that Vargas may be the most successful and well-known illegal immigrant in the United States. Indeed, that is a status and a reputation that Vargas has cultivated through his prolific and exemplary work after he revealed his illegal status in 2011.

On Monday, armed with only his Filipino passport and a copy of the United States Constitution, he was detained by immigration authorities in a Texas airport and taken to a border patrol station for processing.

The enforcement of American immigration law immediately sent the left into fits of rage.

Of course — what doesn’t send the left into fits of rage these days? Particularly when, as Noah writes, Vargas’ privilege was finally checked.

Vargas is employing a variation on a tactic that put Michael Moore on the map with his first film, Roger & Me. Just as Moore had an on-camera interview in the can with then-GM CEO Roger Smith, but couldn’t show it, lest it ruin the theme of his documentary, there’s little doubt that working through channels, Vargas could easily obtain legal American citizenship — but chooses not to do so, in order to flaunt his victim status, so desirable amongst his fellow leftists these days. (QED.)

Rothman writes that “It is true that Vargas is far more American than he is Filipino.” It will be interesting to see if he’ll decide to now make the former status official, or continue to wallow in self-imposed victimhood as the world’s most documented “undocumented” immigrant.