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Ed Driscoll

The Return of the Primitive

History’s Second Greatest Monster

April 19th, 2014 - 7:00 pm

In “Charlie Chaplin, monster,” Roger Lewis of the UK Spectator reviews a new biography of the other world figure of the first half of the 20th century with the tiny mustache, and finds him to nearly as tyrannical in his own way:

No actual birth certificate for Charles Spencer Chaplin has ever been found. The actor himself drew a blank when he went on a rummage in Somerset House. The latest research suggests that he was born ‘in a gypsy caravan in Smethwick, near Birmingham’. But surely the truth has been staring people in the face ever since the Little Tramp first popped on the screen: Chaplin is the lost twin of Adolf Hitler.

Peter Ackroyd almost suggests as much. Both men first drew breath in April 1889. They had drunken fathers and nervous mothers. There were patterns of madness and illegitimacy in the family tree. They were short and sported an identical moustache. They had marked histrionic skills, each man ‘appealing to millions of people with an almost mesmeric magic’. They were despotic towards underlings — and Chaplin’s The Great Dictator is less political satire than back-handed homage. Hitler watched it at a private screening — twice.

Which dovetails eerily well with this 2006 observation by Ron Rosenbaum, the author of the 1998 book, Explaining Hitler:

And speaking of trivializing, there is no more trivializing, over-rated, treatment of Hitler than Chaplin’s dimwitted, laboriously unfunny Great Dictator. Yes Chaplin made some funny movies, but when he tried his hands at politics Chaplin made a movie that did nothing but help Hitler because he made him seem like an unthreatening clown just at a time, 1940, when the world needed to take Hitler’s threat seriously.Yet Chaplin’s film makes it seem like Hitler was nothing but a harmless fool (like Chaplin, same mustache and all). And he made it at a time, during the Nazi-Soviet pact, when the world most needed to mobilize against Hitler’s threat. And yet Chaplin, to his eternal shame ended the film not with a call to oppose fascism, and its murderous hatred, but rather—because he was following the shameful Hitler-friendly Soviet line at the time—ended his film with a call for all workers in the world to lay down their arms—in other words to refuse to join the fight against fascism and Hitler.

Today, the left seamlessly transmit their memes through an endless variety of media, but even in 1939 and ’40, what Rosenbaum describes above was a multimedia theme of the left while the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was in force, until Hitler violated it in 1941, much to Stalin’s shock. Chaplin in film, Dalton Trumbo in print, and Pete Seeger in song (when he wasn’t swindling obscure black South African artists out of millions in royalties.)

Within the film industry itself, Chaplin was the precursor to much of the business’s darker side: Like Stanley Kubrick, another obsessive, vertically challenged director, Chaplin’s “one unfulfilled ambition was to star in a biopic about Napoleon,” Lewis writes. And speaking of Kubrick, Lewis asks, “Did Chaplin inspire Nabokov to write Lolita? He’d have been a better Humbert Humbert than James Mason.” Which brings us to the similarities between Chaplin and his cinematic successor in the second half of the 20th century:

The girls he liked were dewy 15-year-olds — he’d wait until they were 16 before he married them, when they’d find themselves mistress of a large mansion in Beverly Hills and a body of servants, plus an obligation to the School Board of Los Angeles ‘to continue their education’. As with Woody Allen, Chaplin could help his brides with their homework — or maybe not. ‘Charlie married me and then he forgot all about me,’ was a frequent complaint cited in divorce hearings. He was always off chasing fresher meat, painting his private parts with iodine to ward off the clap. Louise Brooks was terrified to see his ‘bright red erection’ coming at her in the dark.

On that note, do I even need to add, read the whole thing?

(Found via the Brothers Judd; headline inspired by H.J. Simpson.)

The other night, after staying up too late watching an episode of Rumbole of the Bailey on the Acorn channel on my Roku set-top box, I clicked over to the Vemo channel. Acorn is devoted to classic British TV series, such as the Poirot murder mysteries, Brideshead Revisited, Edward & Mrs. Simpson, and the aforementioned Rumbole, starring veteran British actor (and occasionally scenery devouring over-actor) Leo McKern in the eponymous role. Vevo is an entirely different channel, one that also has a large YouTube presence, as a repository for rock videos old and new. At the start of the week, while listening to Sirius-XM on headphones while working, I heard Aerosmith’s “Jaded” song from 2001 for the first time in ages, and Joe Perry’s riff, which sounds inspired by Jimmy Page’s sharp-suspended fourth riff on Led Zeppelin’s “Dancin’ Days” rapidly became an earwig, playing over and over in my head.

So I thought I’d check out the video for the song, since Vevo generally does a very good job with running the videos in HD with full-range audio. And really – who doesn’t conclude a segment from a 1978 Thames Television show about an aging British barrister by saying, “Well, now that I’ve seen Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s time for some classic Aerosmith!” But I’m me, and that’s how my brain works, after years of having been badly mutated through massive Chernobyl-level  overdoses of pop culture.

While Vevo’s clips are free to watch, they’re often preceded by commercials for various products that sponsors believe would be appropriate for a rock video audience. However, in this case, the video was not preceded by a commercial, but by a public service announcement (PSA) designed to encourage young people to stop smoking.

Through the use of the most disgusting imagery possible.

The PSA began with a young man entering a convenience store and asking for a pack of cigarettes. Plunking a five dollar bill and his ID on the counter, he asks the clerk, “This enough?” Whereupon the clerk says, “Nope, there’s one more thing I need” – and proceeds to rip the customer’s front teeth out with a pair of pliers.

As James Lileks would say, pure 100 proof nightmare fuel.

Once the pliers came out, I averted my eyes until Steve and Joe and the boys began playing. I understand that not everyone realizes that excessive smoking can have injurious effects on a person’s dentition — and that Seinfeld is no longer on the air to remind them of this fact. At which point the juxtaposition was grimly hilarious, considering that Steve Tyler and Joe Perry used wear T-shirts in their rock videos describing themselves as “the Toxic Twins” – by the late 1970s and early ‘80s, before they went through maximum-strength rehab, puffs from a Marlboro 100 were by far the healthiest thing they were putting into their bodies.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intensified his criticism of armed militia members supporting rancher Cliven Bundy, calling them “domestic terrorists.”

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said Thursday at an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to the newspaper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

“Reid: Bundy backers ‘domestic terrorists,’” The Hill today.

On the Senate’s first day back since an Arizona gunman critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, Majority Leader Harry Reid urged his colleagues to join him in a more civil debate over the chamber’s upcoming legislative fights over health care, deficit reduction and the debt limit.

“There is no evidence that partisan politics played any role in this monstrous attack. Even so, we should be more civil anyway. Being more mindful of the weight of our words always helps. We have much more to gain than to lose from civility and discretion. …” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said Tuesday morning in his opening remarks on the Senate floor.

“Some may be inspired by the town halls of two Augusts ago. Others by the heated election debates. Some may be motivated by the conversation that started after Arizona. And many will seek more civility simply because it’s the right thing to do,” Reid added. “Whatever the reason, I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part.”

“Reid calls for civility in wake of Tucson,” The Politico, January 25, 2011.

“I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part.”

Feel free to begin anytime you like, champ.

Reid’s latest rhetorical meltdown (and he’s had so many of them already) is on top of Joe Biden calling the Tea Party terrorists as well in 2011, at least according to the Politico.

Of course, if they really were domestic terrorists, future Democrat presidents would be launching their political bids in their homes, they’d be getting fat book contracts and tenure at prestigious universities, Rolling Stone would be running Jim Morrison-esque cover stories, the New York Times printing up fawning profiles, and Robert Redford would be making sympathetic movies about them.

By the way though, if you’d like to say thanks to Senator Reid for his latest Profile in Rhetorical Courage, you can leave your compliments on his Facebook page

Through a Google Glass, Darkly

April 17th, 2014 - 11:52 pm

1984-not-a-users-guide

In the mid-1960s, George Plimpton signed an insurance waiver, donned an NFL helmet and uniform, went through training camp, and played a few downs of preseason football for the Detroit Lions to describe what it was like to see the world through the eyes of an NFL quarterback. In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Matt Labash plunks down $1,500 (“$1,633.12 with tax,” he adds) to be a beta tester for Google, and describe what it’s like to see the world through Google Glass, the first device since the Segway that simultaneously places its user both on the cutting edge of 21st century technology, and makes him appear as a dork ripe for satire.*

Along the way, Labash encounters several creepy moments — such as Google contacting him out of the blue, perhaps based on their examining the material he’s been compiling via his Google Glass, and then this moment inside a “hillbilly bar” in Rockville Maryland, the sort of place where where Labash can wear his “futuristic face computer into these bastions of the past and report the results:”

We order a pitcher of beer, and after two glasses of lubricant, I lunge into the crowd, taping people, telling them I’m taping them, basically being a Glasshole, just trying to get a rise.

I can’t seem to agitate anybody. One guy asks me, “Can we put it on?!!!” Another tough guy wants to know, “How do you scroll?” Others take pictures of me with their iPhones. Everybody’s so used to being Instagrammed, Tweeted, and Facebooked​—​what’s one more on the dogpile? Most of them, I’m told, work for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, just down the road. (“Montgomery County is totally being taken over by government drones,” Eddie says.)

Finally, a whiskered older gent in a blue-crab-adorned Maryland sweatshirt that reads “Don’t bother me, I’m crabby” squares up to me. It seems he’s been eavesdropping on my conversations, and I’m guessing he’s about to tell me where I can put my Glass, which is still rolling. His name is Charles Wilhelm, a retiree who used to work for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Just so he’s clear, I inform Wilhelm that I’m taping him with my face. Then, I prepare to take my medicine.

“It doesn’t matter,” he says. Huh? “Because you’ll find in this society, we’re all subject to videotaping.” But, I point out to him, I’m a private citizen, taping another private citizen for no compelling reason. Just because I can. What if he were here with his girlfriend instead of his wife, and I posted it on the Internet? “So?” he shrugs. “Really, so that’s it?” I ask him. “Yes,” he says, nonchalantly. “Why?” I ask. “Because I’m a follower of George Orwell’s 1984, and so I’m a believer in the concept of community observation.” I point out that I’m fairly certain Orwell was trying to make the opposite point, that his was a critique, not an endorsement, of a surveillance society.

“I disagree,” he replies, obstinately. “Because in my view, you would have less terrorism if you had more observation by the state.” I wave my hand at the surrounding khakis, pointing out that I’m fairly certain I’m not recording any terrorists in Hank Dietle’s. “That’s irrelevant,” huffs Wilhelm. “You can still explode a fairly good device.”

“And maybe this is it,” I say, pointing to my Glass.

“So what’s your point?” he asks. I tell him I’m just giving him a hard time. “Have a good evening, sir,” Wilhelm says brusquely, stomping off.

I trudge back to my table, defeated, relaying the conversation to Eddie, who is gobsmacked. “So he read [1984] as utopia instead of dystopia?” Seemingly, he did​. ​I give up.

That’s just a taste of Labash’s 10,000 word article; definitely port the whole thing into your cerebellum through whichever downloading technique you prefer. (Those not yet retrofitted with bioports for instant media assimilation will have to simply read the article.)

Of course, even in San Francisco, whose city government — and presumably, a pretty good chunk of the electorate who vote for them — similarly view 1984 as a how-to guide to better living through totalitarian oligarchies, Google Glasses are despised. Earlier in Labash’s article, he retells the story of the women who had her Google Glass smashed in a San Francisco punk rock bar in February — funny how people in bars don’t really like being recorded, eh? Particularly by someone who goes in shouting of “I want to get this white trash on tape!” and flipping the bird to your fellow tipplers, while wearing a Star Trek prop on her face.

In a recent post at the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher (who makes a few snarky cameos via Twitter and Instant Messenger in Labash’s article) Describes another incident involving Google Glass in happy, peaceful, tolerant San Francisco:

Sometimes a theft is just a theft. But not when the item being stolen is Google Glass, and especially not when the victim is a tech writer in San Francisco.

Kyle Russell, Business Insider:

On Friday night, I was assaulted while walking down the sidewalk in the Mission District of San Francisco.

A colleague and I had just finished covering a march in protest of a Google employee who had recently evicted several tenants after buying and moving into a home in the area…

The aforementioned colleague and I were on our way to the 16th Street BART station — I’ll note that I wasn’t using any device at the time — when a person put their hand on my face and yelled, “Glass!”

In an instant the person was sprinting away, Google Glass in hand.

I ran after, through traffic, to the corner of the opposite block. The person pivoted, shifting their weight to put all of their momentum into an overhand swing. The Google Glass smashed into the ground, and they ran in another direction.

The thief and vandal hasn’t been caught. And to young Mr. Russells’s surprise, people on Twitter haven’t been very nice about it:

Wow, if you can’t Start From Zero and reprogram basic human emotions in San Francisco, where can you reprogram them?

* I haven’t tried Google Glass yet, but I can vouch firsthand for the simultaneous bleeding edge/endorkening effect of riding a Segway, as this February 2002 blackmail photo shot inside the offices of Segway’s PR firm for a magazine article illustrates.

Pangender’s Game

April 17th, 2014 - 3:27 pm

“Adventures in Gender Neutral Bathrooms,” a recent post at the College Fix blog, is the launching pad for Roger L. Simon’s latest article at PJM, “College: The Sixty-Five Thousand Dollar Misunderstanding:”

And the cost of this misunderstanding has expanded exponentially  - to sixty-five thousand dollars!  That’s the current approximate total for room, board and tuition at many of our finest private universities for those considered “fortunate” enough to be able to pay the full amount.  For others it can be anything from ten to forty grand, still a princely amount.

And what are we parents getting for this (besides broke)?  The College Fix’s editor Nathan Harden gives us a look in a report today — “Adventures in Gender Neutral Bathrooms” — that begins:

When you really have to pee at Columbia University, there is one question that must be answered before you can go: What is my gender today?

If you are biologically male, for instance, but feel like a female, you may feel the need to use the ladies restroom. And why shouldn’t you? If the girl in the stall next to you doesn’t like to take her pants down next to a man she doesn’t know, that’s just evidence of her hetero-normative bigotry. That’s why the Obama administration ruled in 2012 that dudes who feel like ladies have a right to use the women’s bathrooms on campus, no matter how unsafe that makes the women on campus feel.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against everyone  having his, her or [question mark's] bathroom.  In fact, I read in Slate there are now fifty-six genders on Facebook and  if they each want their own baths, or to share forty-eight of them,  I say knock yourselves out. But — excuse me for being heteronormative or, worse than that, for using caps — I DON’T WANNA PAY FOR IT!!! — either via taxes or tuition.

If you missed it, the Slate article from February that Roger links to is an astounding bit of sophistry, but just when you thought it was safe to venture out of the multi-gendered bathroom, comes word from “Think” “Progress” that the very air that you breathe is — of course! — racist. (Link safe, goes to Twitchy):

A study produced by the University of Minnesota concluded that race is a determining factor in who is most affected by air pollution. Specifically, non-white people breathe air that is substantially more polluted than the air that white people breathe.

According to Julian Marshall, who led the University’s research, race outweighed income in regards to who is most affected by poor air quality. When low-income white people were compared to high-income Hispanic people, the latter group experienced higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. Altogether, people of color in the U.S. breath air with 38 percent more nitrogen dioxide in it than their white counterparts, particularly due to power plants and exhaust from vehicles.

The creator of Twitchy proffers a modest proposal:


Pro-PRC spokesman Thomas Friedman says it’s a remarkably enlightened place to live. Just be sure to pack a (gender neutral) gas mask.

In related news

Gore cited two “game changers” in recent years that will help. The first is the growing realization from even climate-change deniers that something seems to be strange with the weather. The second is the exponential growth in photovoltaic solar panels, driven largely by consumer demand for lower prices.

The “barriers” to doing something about climate change are business and political interests that profit off of fossil fuels — “dirty energy that causes dirty weather.” He compared fake science from polluters stating that humans are not to blame for the climate to tobacco companies that used to hire actors to play doctors who denied cigarettes were dangerous.

“That’s immoral, unethical and despicable,” he said of both.

Says the immoral, unethical and despicable man whose business and political interests profit off of fossil fuels.

Finally, one more from the indoctrination camps formerly known as academia: “Where’s the feminist anger at Brandeis over Ayaan Hirsi Ali?” In the eye of the hurricane, whipping it up, writes Stacy McCain.

“Is Vladimir Putin Another Adolf Hitler?”, asks Paul Johnson at Forbes. Yesterday, I wrote, “The verdict is out on that,” when I linked to the piece. Mea culpa — I wrote that before seeing this headline, from Bridget Johnson (no relation, to the best of my knowledge to the Modern Times author) at the PJ Tatler: “Chilling: East Ukraine Jews Ordered to Register with Pro-Russia Authorities.”

Bridget writes:

Israel’s Ynet News is reporting on a chilling flier given to Jews in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk, ordering them to register with the local authorities:

A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community’s Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern.

The leaflet demanded the city’s Jews supply a detailed list of all the property they own, or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportion and see their assets confiscated.

Ace of Spades was initially skeptical of the authenticity of leaflets:

Unless those distributing the leaflets think Jews Control The World and hence that any perceived threat to Ukraine’s Jewry would result in NATO storming in to repel the Russian insurgents.

Which is its own issue.

Update: I needn’t have been as skeptical as I was. They’re real.

From USAToday:

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

So Pushilin says he doesn’t agree with the order, but acknowledges his men are in fact ordering Jews to register.

Jesus wept.

And Barry and Joe took selfies:

(more…)

Conservatives in the Mist, Yet Again

April 16th, 2014 - 3:03 pm

Sally Kohn explains “What I learned as a liberal talking head on Fox News” to the Christian Science Monitor:

My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.

It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.

Which sounds almost exactly like what liberal Fox pundit Kirsten Powers said to Real Clear Politics’ Carl Cannon a couple of months ago:

Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.

“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”

“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”

As I noted back then, Kirsten Powers was living out Krauthammer’s Law:

I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.

Similarly, in response to Kohn’s article, Warner Todd Huston writes in the comments at Hot Air today:

You DO realize that there is a MAJOR admission in that op ed, right? She is essentially admitting that through most of her adult life she thought conservatives were evil… until, well into her late 30s, she finally MET SOME!

Sally Kohn lived in a liberal bubble for nearly all her life until 2 years ago she finally met some conservatives and discovered *gasp* they aren’t all like little Hitlers.

I’m glad that Kohn and Powers have granted those on the right are, as Kohn notes, “personable and kind and human. Just like me.” But why did it take working among them to make the epoch-shattering discovery* that half the country are actual flesh-and-blood humans and not The Other?

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Workers Versus Takers

April 16th, 2014 - 11:49 am

“86M Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148M Benefit Takers,” Terence P. Jeffrey writes at CNS News.com:

All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who “received benefits from one or more programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.

The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.

How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?

As more baby boomers retire, and as Obamacare comes fully online — with its expanded Medicaid rolls and federally subsidized health insurance for anyone earning less than 400 percent of the poverty level — the number of takers will inevitably expand. And the number of full-time private-sector workers might also contract.

Eventually, there will be too few carrying too many, and America will break.

Something that can’t go on forever won’t, to coin a phrase.

Two CNNs In One!

April 15th, 2014 - 5:09 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike.

“Unsettling video shows large al Qaeda meeting in Yemen,” CNN, today.

Are “right-wing” extremists more dangerous than Al-Qaeda terrorists? According to CNN’s National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, they are. In a CNN commentary posted yesterday Bergen wrote, “U.S. right wing extremists [are] more deadly than jihadists.” He also also happens to be a director for the George Soros-funded liberal New America Foundation. What a coincidence.

 Bergen claimed that “white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.” He cited a New America study which counted 34 people killed by right-wing extremist acts and just 23 people killed by Al Qaeda-linked terrorism, after 9/11. Why start there? Wouldn’t the 2,977 people killed that day by jihadists skew those findings somewhat?

The count included “hate crimes” in the tally of “political reasons.” Which is funny considering that Bergen cited the Southern Poverty Law Center in his article. The SPLC could be accused of a “hate crime” itself for inciting the shooting at the Family Research Council in 2012. Floyd Lee Corkins admitted that he targeted the conservative organization after the SLPC listed the FRC as a “hate group” for it’s “anti-gay” stance on marriage.

The study’s tally seemed suspect as well, considering that they counted domestic disputes where police officers are killed as “hate crimes” influenced by “political reasons.” For example, they included a 2009 shootout in a Pittsburgh home where Robert Poplawski  killed three police officers after his mother called the police during an argument. Later it was revealed that Poplawski had anti-Semitic views and was an alleged skinhead.

—”On Boston Bombing Anniversary, CNN Analyst Says U.S. Right-Wing Extremists Kill More Than Jihadists,” Newsbusters, today. At Big Journalism, John Nolte adds:

Bergen just happens to be a research assistant at the New America Foundation and apparently his colleagues chose to overlook cop killer Chris Dorner and the left-wing manifesto he left behind that expressed some real affection … for CNN employees.

Today, April 15, just so happens to be the one-year anniversary of Bergen using CNN’s airwaves to speculate that right-wing groups might be behind the Boston Marathon bombing. Bergen is apparently using today’s hysterical piece of selective, anti-science analysis to balm that embarrassment.

By publishing this junk, CNN is merely doing what CNN has been doing all throughout the failed Zucker-era: trolling the bottom of the barrel for attention.

“The media literally has the same storyline one year later,” Ace writes in response to the second link. “Nothing is ever learned; nothing ever changes.”

Except that the viewers have tuned out — knowing that Time-Warner-CNN-HBO is essentially accusing half their potential audience of being worse than Islamic terrorists — when they aren’t accusing them of being Islamophobes. As Ricochet’s Troy Senik has noted, “Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People.”

Biden: Boston Bombing was ‘Worth It’

April 15th, 2014 - 4:38 pm


.

And to think how close we came in 2008 to having a vice president whose phrasing and sentence choices during speeches we’d have to parse and explain and justify.

Either America’s oldest living graduate of the Vic Arpeggio Hipster Speech Academy is saying that what the survivors went through during the terrorist attack last year was worth it — losing loved ones and/or being injured themselves — as some sort of catharsis, or that it was worth it for Joe himself to benefit from hearing their statements. Either way doesn’t speak well of the man.

On the other hand, this speech, and Joe’s willingness to at least be in the same room with victims of Islamofascist terrorism puts him one up on his boss.

Exit tweet, via Twitchy:

Update (4/16/14): Welcome those clicking in from:

And the PJM homepage.

diet_koch_can_2-24-11-2

In response to self-hating Democrats discovering themselves awash in Koch Brothers money, as Thomas Lifson writes at the American Thinker, “Glenn Reynolds realized the electoral gold. He suggested (in his trademark all-caps):”

“I SUGGEST RUNNING THIRD-PARTY ATTACK ADS TO ENCOURAGE DEM VOTERS TO STAY HOME.”

As Lifson writes, “Brilliant! The ads practically write themselves:”

Mary Landrieu’s Majority Leader says the Koch Brothers are un-American. embedded by Embedded Video
Download Video . So why did Mary accept $11,000 from Koch employees? Louisiana voters deserve better.

Rick Moran points out that Democrats used this tactic to great effect in 2012, driving down GOP turnout by 3 million.

Best of all, this sort of ad can be funded by 510 c 4 organizations, as voter education. No need to advocate a specific candidate. So, potentially, the Koch Brothers could  write the checks to blanket states and districts with vulnerable Dems.

Via Truth Revolt and the Weasel Zippers, here’s the list of potential candidates to target:

koch_to_dems_4-14-14

 

Pompeii With Jet Packs

April 15th, 2014 - 11:48 am

“From the Ford Mustang to colonies on the moon: Predictions that the 1964 World’s Fair got right… and what it got very wrong,” offered up by the London Daily Mail. Though I’m not sure I agree with all of their choices for what the 1964 World’s Fair got right:

At the Bell System pavilion, engineers touted a ‘picturephone’ that allowed callers to see who they were talking to, a concept that lives on in modern-day apps such as Skype and FaceTime.

At the time, though, picture phones didn’t take off, said Lori Walters, history professor at the University of Central Florida.

She attributed that to high setup costs that made them accessible to relatively few.

And at a time when many men attended the fair in coat and tie and women in dresses, people weren’t quite ready to be seen on the phone at any hour, in their pajamas or worse.

‘We were still a little more of a formal society,’ Walters said.

Yes, just a little more.

The concept of the Picturephone eventually arrived as an option in the last decade for those who want to see the person on the other end, thanks to the Internet, Skype, and business video conferencing. But the original notion was that the Picturephone would entirely replace the phone in much the same way that television supplanted radio. (A medium, that come to think of it, is also still doing rather well.)

But what really makes these photos fascinating is that they visualize the last gasp of optimism in the overculture, arriving six months after JFK was assassinated and a year or so before LBJ believed that the government could do anything — and worse, everything — simultaneously: manned moon landings, Vietnam, Medicare, and end poverty simultaneously. When his Texas Sized rehash of the New Deal failed, and chaos reined from 1967 through 1968 and beyond, distraught liberals and the angry punitive New Left decided to take it out on the rest of us, resulting in the cynicism and doomsaying that would dominate the late ’60s and much of the 1970s. Just compare the tone of the ’64 World’s Fair and its audience of cool early Mad Men-styled men and women in the photos at the London Daily Mail with the tone of the collapsed overculture of the following decade:

(Via 5′F)

Update: Gee, this wasn’t the Kennedy-era headline I had been hoping to see repeated in 2014.

Oh, that punitive liberalism:

Under California law, the Franchise Tax Board has the “presumption of correctness,” meaning that the onus always is on Hyatt to disprove what the tax officials say. And, he argues, they keep changing their stories and their allegations, thus resulting in more years of legal expenses and disputes.

“It’s ruined my life. They keep coming up with these intensive positions, many hundreds of pages of allegations and such that we have to try and disprove decades later and it’s just very consuming,” Hyatt told me in an interview last week. “The FTB is out to get taxpayers’ money and it will go to extreme ends to get money whether it is entitled to it or not….”

The state controller’s office has yet to review the newly filed lawsuit. But former Board of Equalization member Bill Leonard, a former Republican Assemblyman, believes the state government is abusing rules designed to give taxpayers every opportunity to appeal a judgment to drag out a case against a taxpayer. The Legislature could fix the problem with a law granting a right to speedy trial on tax matters, he added.

It’s hard not to conclude that California’s tax agency is out of line as it continues to run up administrative and legal fees — not to mention risking potential multimillion-dollar liabilities — to pursue a decades-old dispute over where a taxpayer lived for six months. There’s a troubling lesson here for wannabe entrepreneurs, who might want to think carefully about their residency before they hit the big time.

Read the whole thing.

So in-between shaking down entrepreneurs and inventors, how’s California doing managing its own money?

Calpers also notes that “the economic impact of CalPERS benefits far exceed initial taxpayer contributions.” Lo, the fund claims to return $10.85 in “economic activity” for every dollar taxpayers contribute, which would make public pensions the best government stimulus of all time.

Their crude economic calculation is something to behold. The fund estimates that employer contributions account for 22% of every dollar in pension benefits, which would equate to $2.8 billion for the fiscal year 2011. Calpers then contrives a 2.39 “multiplier” from a “Social Accounting Matrix” to compute that its $12.7 billion in annual retiree payments generated $30.4 billion in economic activity and 113,664 jobs—more than a third of the state’s employment growth that year.

Note: White House economists used a multiplier of a mere 1.5 to arrive at their off-the-wall estimate that the stimulus program would create 3.7 million jobs.

Here’s a more honest accounting of Calpers’s economic “impact.” California taxpayers have sunk about $70 billion into Calpers over the last decade, which they otherwise could have spent on more productive enterprises or pursuits. For every one dollar workers contribute to their retirement, taxpayers are investing two. Local sales and property taxes have risen to pay for increasing pension payments. Public workers have also been laid off and infrastructure delayed—all of which has depressed economic growth.

Why, it’s as if Sacramento is absolutely determined to transform the formerly Golden State into the next Detroit.

Related: “Republican National Committee Marks Tax Day by Suing IRS,” Bridget Johnson writes at the PJ Tatler.

Breaking News From 1977

April 14th, 2014 - 10:50 pm

“Glow-in-the-dark roads make debut in Netherlands,” Wired magazine’s UK branch reports:

Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde  promised us the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product.

One Netherlands   news report said, ”It looks like you are driving through a fairytale,” which pretty much sums up this extraordinary project. The design studio like to bring technology and design to the real world, with practical and beautiful results.

Back in October 2012, Daan Roosegaarde, the studio’s founder and lead designer, told us: “One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave. I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”

Huh. I started imaging the HO scale slot car set in my basement from 1977:

The real-life glow-in-the-dark road certainly looks cool, in a cross between Tron and the above Tyco slot car set. But I can imagine plenty of unintended consequences with the streetlights gone from the highways:

What’s your take on this experiment? Would you want to see it replicated on a highway you regularly traverse?

Remember the good old days when politicians used to stay bought?

“Obama, Biden, Schumer, And Hillary Clinton Took Money From Koch Brothers,” the Weasel Zippers blog notes, along with this rather extensive chart:

koch_to_dems_4-14-14

“Harry Reid unavailable for comment,” the Zippers add. Instead, he’s currently experiencing his own symptoms of what George Will dubbed leftwing Tourette’s Syndrome yesterday:

Much more at Truth Revolt.com. As Moe Lane wrote a week ago when Charles Schumer got a nasty attack of Koch Derangement Syndrome, “Did you really think that people wouldn’t go looking, Chuck?”

Oh and by the way, guess who else is a Koch-funded politician….

Oh That Return of the Primitive

April 14th, 2014 - 3:38 pm

“US Airways tweets graphic photo of nude woman to customers, then apologizes,” the New York Daily News reports:

“Inappropriate” doesn’t begin to cover it.

A shockingly graphic tweet by U.S. Airways featuring a woman and an airplane has led to an investigation and red-faced apology by the airline.

A photo of a naked woman lying exposed on a bed with a toy plane between her legs was publicly shared by the airline late Monday afternoon while responding to disgruntled customers who were angry about a recent flight delay.

The extremely graphic image sent to one Twitter user came with the caption: “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up.”

Instead of a link matching that description, however, it was a link to the photo.

Twitchy of course has a round-up of reactions to US Airways’ disastrous tweet, and a blacked-out version of the photo itself. And note the airline’s gobbledygook response:

As author Kim Harrington tweets, “No matter how bad of a day at work you’re having, at least you don’t run the US Airways twitter account. That person is having a worse day.”

Update: NSFW version online at the Frisky.com. Repeat: Not. Safe. For. Work. Click at your own risk to employment and/or sanity.

eric_holder_race_card_big-6-6-12

A meme-worthy moment from George Will yesterday on Fox News Sunday, as spotted by Jeffrey Meyer of Newsbusters:

CHRIS WALLACE: We asked you for questions from the panel, for the panel, rather. And we got this on Twitter from Michael Daigeaun. Why is it that if you oppose their position and you’re white, you’re branded a racist? Both Attorney General Holder and POTUS race bait. George is that what’s going on here?

GEORGE WILL: Sure. Look, liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days. It’s just constantly saying the word racism and racist. It’s an old saying in the law; if you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have neither, pound the table. This is pounding the table. There’s a kind of intellectual poverty now. Liberalism hasn’t had a new idea since the 1960s except ObamaCare and the country doesn’t like it. Foreign policy is a shambles from Russia to Iran to Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the recovery is unprecedentedly bad. So what do you do? You say anyone criticizes us is a racist. It’s become a joke among young people. You go to a campus where this kind of political correctness reigns and some young person will say looks like it’s going to rain. The person looks and says, you’re a racist. I mean it’s so inappropriate. The constant implication of this is that I think it is becoming a national mirth.

It’s entirely possible to invert Lionel Trilling’s famous 1950 dismissal of conservatism in its exhausted pre-William F. Buckley form to describe the current dissipated state of the left, circa 2014:  the leftwing impulse and the progressive impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.

QED. (Dittos this and this.)

But Will’s noting that “liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s Syndrome these days” is a marvelous shorthand way of saying the same thing. I hope it catches on as a rejoinder, wherever leftwing Tourette’s Syndrome flares up next.

Update: “Cynical Race-Baiting Will Fail to Save the Democrats.”

Related: Heh.™

Just NBC the Giant Memory Hole!

April 14th, 2014 - 12:22 pm

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NBC CEO once donated to Rick Santorum (R-PA), who’s no fan of gay marriage. Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator wonders when this story will be breaking on MSNBC, or when the network will call for his resignation, a la Mozilla’s Brendan Eich — though I suspect that in either case, he’s not holding his breath:

So in the wake of the Mozilla/Brendan Eich kerfuffle? When push comes to shove on business executives who give money in the name of what leftist gay activists are calling homophobia? Forced to choose between a powerful liberal media insider — aka the Rick Santorum-supporting NBC/Universal Chief Executive Stephen Burke (a $2,000 contribution to Santorum’s losing Senate re-election bid) — and gays? The liberal media fell suddenly silent.

Whatever happened to MSNBC’s famously gay hosts Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts? And MSNBC reporter and Brendan Eich critic Adam Serwer? Or Media Matters and its gay leader David Brock? America Blogs gay activist John Aravosis? Or Michelangelo Signorile, the editor-at-large of Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. Or Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment? And, yes, where is Tina Fey?

Not to mention Slate, a publication whose senior tech writer Will Oremus was only this week insisting that any CEO who was an opponent of gay marriage was not fit to be a CEO. We brought to light the fact that Slate’s sister company the Kaplan Educational Foundation had a CEO who was repeatedly and deliberately on record as opposed to gay marriage. But Slate’s Oremus, like MSNBC, Media Matters and the rest has gone quieter than a church mouse in a morgue.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast.

Read the whole thing. And kudos to Dropbox, unlike Mozilla and Brandeis for sticking with Condi Rice as a boardmember, in the wake of the left’s latest hate storm.

Meet Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr.

April 13th, 2014 - 9:25 pm

“Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., Kansas Jewish Murder Suspect, Made Democrat Congressional Bid in 2006,” the American Power blog notes:

The suspect ran for office numerous times, but he started as a Democrat in 1984, running in the North Carolina gubernatorial primary. After a number of other attempts at elected office, he returned home to the Democrat/Ku Klux Klan/Party in 2006, running in the Democrat primary for Missouri’s 7th congressional district in 2006. His candidacy had the far-left hate site Daily Kos freaking out, “Racist felon running for the Dem nomination in MO-7.”

Frazier Glenn Miller is a Democrat to the core.

Glenn Reynolds adds:

NBC NEWS: KANSAS CITY SHOOTER IS FORMER DEMOCRAT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, KLANSMAN. Okay, they pushed the Democrat part down a ways in the story. Can you imagine the glee at the SPLC, though? They’ll fundraise off this for a decade.

Note this detail in the L.A. Times

Three people were shot to death Sunday at two Jewish community facilities here after a man in his 70s opened fire, authorities said. The gunman was believed to be a longtime white supremacist.

As the suspect was taken into custody nearby, he appeared to shout “Heil Hitler” as a local TV crew filmed his arrest.

In December of last year, Noah Rothman of Mediaite wrote that the Denver Post stealth edited their article on the shooter at Colorado’s Arapahoe High School to remove an observation that he was a “very opinionated socialist.” As I noted back then:

In 2012, Gabriel Malor wrote, “The media’s habitual blaming of the political right is endemic and incurable. Media figures sincerely believe the right wing is violent, so naturally assume that violent people must be right-wing. This won’t be the last time they make that mistake.”

And it wasn’t — Malor quotes himself at the bottom of a new post today, titled “The Tweetable Guide To Media Myths And Left-wing Violence,” rounding up numerous examples of the media either inventing a rightwing boogieman when a murder — particularly a gun-related murder — occurs, or as with the Denver Post, airbrushing evidence if the suspect is on the left, or both.

Earlier tonight, the Battle Swarm Blog tweeted, “So make that TWO fraternal organizations Miller shares with the late Sen. Robert Byrd.” The media will be eager to airbrush all sorts of telling connections and history out of Miller’s profile. Don’t let them get away with it.

Update: As spotted by Twitchy, Bob Owens tweets that over the course of his political career, Miller “ran as D, R, and I. He simply used running for office as a way of getting airtime for his hate,” adding, “I know everyone wants to play ‘blame that party’ with Frazier Glenn Miller, but his main political interest was spreading hate.”

Exactly. Beyond Owens’ cautions, people of all worldviews can snap; crazy isn’t isolated within one political party. And politics shouldn’t matter when someone commits a murderous act. But as Ace of Spades wrote in December of 2012 after the New York Times began politicizing the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT from the left only a few hours after castigating the pro-Constitution side of the aisle for doing the same from their worldview:

Incidentally, the gun-rights people “politicizing” this are doing so pre-emptively, because they’ve seen this play six hundred times before and they know what happens in the Second Act.

I mean, it’s not like we’re as stupid as you claim. We are able to remember things that happened more than a week ago.

This is also why we now immediately search for a gunman’s political affiliation– because we know that’s the first thing you do.

This is the cynical world the media created, in service to their Democrat allies.

Related: “The Tweetable Guide To Media Myths And Left-wing Violence.”

And After All They Did for New York City…

April 13th, 2014 - 7:26 pm

occupy_wall_street_time_magazine_parody_12-10-11

New York Court Struggles To Find Jurors Who Don’t Hate The Occupy Movement,” notes the American Glob blog, linking to the London Guardian:

It is the most important question being asked of dozens of New Yorkers lined up as potential jurors for the trial of Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist accused of assaulting a police officer: what do you think of her protest movement?

Unfortunately for those keen on the swift procession of justice, a series of Manhattan residents who presented themselves at the criminal courthouse this week declared that they strongly disagreed with it – and could not promise to be impartial about one of its members.

“I’m involved in Wall Street things. I’m on the Wall Street side, not their side,” George Yih, one of a group of prospective jurors whose names were plucked from a tombola by the clerk, said under questioning from Judge Ronald Zweibel on Wednesday. “They can protest all they want, but they can’t brainwash my mind.”

Which seems rather odd — considering that the Occupy Wall Street crowd were in many ways a continuous outdoor performance art coming attraction for the de Blasio administration — when the two groups weren’t interconnected, that is.

(Time magazine parody atop post from the earlier, funnier period of OWS’s existence.)