Michelle Obama ♡ Kerry Washington
News of the first lady falling for ABC's Scandal over the holiday season leads this round-up of 10 intriguing stories from January's final days.
February 1, 2014 - 8:00 am
This is Week 4, day 2 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com
1. At The Daily Mail: ‘I love Kerry Washington, she’s amazing’: Michelle Obama admits to binge-watching Scandal during her last vacation
Ms Obama’s revealtion comes more than a year after the National Enquirer reported that the First Lady had banned Ms Washington from the White House because she was ‘too flirty’ with the President.
The First Lady was said to have had a ‘watch list’ of women that were to be kept away from her husband, including Ms Washington – despite her honorary post on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
A White House official told MailOnline that the story is ’100 per cent false,’ adding that Ms Washington is a keen Democrat and campaigned for Obama in the 2008 president race.
I previously blogged about Scandal and its connections to today’s political culture on January 24, Who Wants Barack Obama As Her Baby’s Godfather?, in response to a gossip story claiming that Washington sought the president to be her child’s spiritual guide:
Last week my wife April and I finished watching the first two seasons of Scandal on Netflix streaming. It’s a show popular among Washington D.C.’s progressives, kind of an Obama-era fantasy West Wing only since they already have their dream president in office this time around it’s a wimpy, corrupt, center-right Republican president. (Added bonus: among the main villains is a married and gay chief of staff who does most of the President’s dirty work.)
The show is a celebration of political amorality and conspiracy theory culture. In it Washington plays a scandal fixer who runs an elite firm of dedicated super-lawyers while she maintains an affair with the president. Throughout the seasons both she and the President and his henchmen commit crimes that should put them away in jail for life. There are no heroes — both “sides” are equally corrupt and criminal. In future PJ Lifestyle pieces I’ll begin exploring some of the themes in the show, explaining how it promotes nihilism, postmodernism, and conspiracism with entertaining plots and badass characters. It’s truly a show of the Obama era, perfectly in synch with what I’ve begun describing as Single Mom Nation. Perhaps some PJ Lifestyle contributors would like to join me in dissecting another dark show poisoning American culture?
President Obama is also notably a fan of the similarly themed, everyone-in-Washington-D.C.-is-evil-and-corrupt political drama House of Cards, whose second season starts this month on February 14.
The Obamas being such vocal fans of television shows celebrating amoral politicians and the women who pretend to love them wouldn’t be so troublesome if the president weren’t so connected to what should be career-ending scandals of his own in Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of politial opponents, and the Big Lies of Obamacare. The media has largely dismissed all of these stories — that they would have impeached Republican presidents over — as just racist conservative fearmongering thanks to the real-life Oliva Popes doing their magic behind the scenes and in the media. (Yes, I am talking about people like Valerie Jarrett, who is a real life version of the wheeler-dealer, reality-twisting character Washington plays on the show. Except in real life she’s more like the president’s mommy rather than his lover and also wields the federal government power of Scandal’s chief-of-staff antagonist Cyrus Beene.)
Does anyone doubt that the reason why the Obamas love these shows so much is because the characters fantasize about how they’d like to be similarly ruthless themselves?
At the start of a meeting with tech industry CEOs on NSA surveillance, Obama quipped “I’m just wondering if [Netflix CEO Reed Hastings] brought advance copies of House of Cards,” according to a pool video camera in the room.
As the CEOs laughed and joked that Obama should make a cameo appearance in the series, the president continued to praise the series, which revolves around a power-hungry House Majority Whip played by actor Kevin Spacey.
“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in his first public remarks on the show. “It’s true. It’s like Kevin Spacey, man this guy’s getting a lot of stuff done.”
And don’t forget that Obama has admitted to fantasizing about the suicidal criminal Democrat played by Warren Beatty in Bulworth.
It’s hard to just laugh off the cumulative effective of stories like these when you have news like this:
2.Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Report: Malik Obama, the President’s Brother, Funds Hamas
On Tuesday we noted that Malik Obama is President Barack Obama’s half-brother, but the two are very close. Malik Obama was best man at the future president’s wedding, and has visited the White House during the Obama years. We also reported that Malik Obama posted a photograph of himself on the Barack H. Obama Foundation website in which he is wearing a scarf emblazoned with calls for Muslims to destroy Israel.
Wearing a scarf is by no means the full extent of evidence that Malik Obama is anti Israel and supports its destruction. According to anti-terrorism activist Walid Shoebat, Malik Obama raises money through an Islamic charity organization, and uses that money to support Hamas.
Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the United States Department of State, and has been since 1997. Hamas’ original foundational charter explicitly called for Israel’s destruction. Hamas continues to insist that it will make no agreements that recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas officials were quoted in Arabic-language media last fall saying that “no usurper has any right to a speck of dust” of the territory that Hamas believes belongs to Palestine, which includes all of present-day Israel.
Along with being president of the IRS tax-exempt Barack H. Obama Foundation, which the IRS’ Lois Lerner fast-tracked to tax-exempt status and illegally back-dated so the foundation and Mr. Obama could avoid legal trouble, Malik Obama is executive secretary of the Islamic Da’wa Organization. That organization collects funds and sends them directly to designated terrorists organization Hamas. The funding goes toward attacks and “martyrdom operations” — suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are out to lunch on the stealth jihad and collaborating on further suicidal policies, as ably highlighted by Ann Coulter’s column this week.
3. Ann Coulter: GOP Crafts Plan to Wreck the Country, Lose Voters
According the 2012 National Asian American Survey, as well as a Kaiser Foundation poll, only 40 percent of the general public holds a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 42 percent unfavorable. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Asians have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 18 percent an unfavorable one. Even Koreans support Obamacare by 57 percent to 17 percent.
Overall, 69 percent of immigrants like Obamacare, according to a 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.
That same survey showed that only 35 percent of native-born Americans support affirmative action, compared to 58 percent of immigrants, including — amazingly — 64 percent of Asians (suggesting they may not be as smart as everyone thinks).
See Leslie Loftis and Walter Hudson in response to this column this week at PJ Lifestyle:
- This Week’s Ann Coulter Column: How to Use Immigrants as Pawns
- Death or Exile: Will Immigration Reform End the GOP?
4. Roger L. Simon: A Modest Proposal for Immigration Reform
So here’s my simple — call it simple-minded, if you want — solution, my modest proposal. Illegal immigrants, assuming they have lived here for a decent period of time and have not committed a felony, can have amnesty, but they can NEVER be allowed to vote. They can do anything else that is legal, but if they want to vote — or run for office or practice law in our country, as just happened in California — they must return home and go through the normal immigrant application process, however long that may take until they have citizenship.
This is a humane solution that does not make a complete mockery of the rule of law (only a partial one). You can live a satisfactory life without voting. Many who have the right to vote don’t bother anyway. (In 2012, only 57.5% of eligible voters voted in the presidential election. Many fewer voted in other contests.) It’s up to the individual illegal immigrant here: He or she can enjoy the privileges of U.S. citizenship without voting or go home and wait in line.
This takes political motivations off the table in immigration policy and allows it to be about the lives of the people themselves, not the advancement of politicians and their parties. If our Democratic friends mean what they say about their “compassion,” they should have no objection. If they do, they simply expose themselves as political opportunists with no real interest in the welfare of what they euphemistically choose to call “undocumented workers,” only in creating a voting bloc.
I think it’s a great idea. Walter Hudson’s arguments are also very thoughtful.
5. Bridget Johnson Here at PJM: Intel Chairman: White House Must ‘Strongly Confront’ Russia Over Apparent Violation of Nuclear Treaty
Do you have Bridget on your #ReadEverythingTheyWrite list yet? Are you following her on Twitter? She consistently reports on the most important of stories that all too often do not get the attention their subjects warrant. Here are two.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Russia’s apparent violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty could thrust relations with the former Soviet Union back toward the Cold War era.
The New York Times cited anonymous U.S. officials as saying Russia has been testing medium-range nuclear missiles since 2008. Washington has reportedly brought up the issue with Russia several times and is now taking its concerns over compliance to NATO.
“News reports indicating Russia is in violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty are deeply troubling. The signing of that treaty in 1987 by President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev, marked an historic turning point in the Cold War, and stood as the pillar of our post-Cold War relations with Russia,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).
“Over the past year I have met with intelligence and policy officials to assess the intelligence surrounding the apparent Russian violation, and to urge the Administration to strongly confront the Russians and to keep our Allies informed. Russia has been pursuing a troubling and aggressive ramp up of military and intelligence capabilities in recent years,” Rogers continued. “The apparent violation of this treaty would put our allies at risk and be a major step backward in our post-Cold War relations.”
6. Bridget Johnson Here at PJM : Iran Could Have Enough Fuel for Four Bombs by July Under Administration’s Deal
WASHINGTON — President Obama heartily defended his nuclear deal with Iran at the State of the Union, vowing to veto a sizable bipartisan movement in Congress to keep sanctions pressure on the Islamic Republic.
“For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” Obama said, getting not as much applause as he may have hoped from the joint session.
The morning before he took the dais, though, a congressional panel heard that Iran has fully retained its ability to build a nuclear bomb that could be cranked out in as little as two months under the terms of the much-touted P5+1 agreement.
Gregory Jones, senior researcher of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade that the Obama administration has engaged in “mischaracterization of the deal’s benefits and the denial of the deal’s great flaw.”
“President Obama has said that the deal has ‘cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,’” Jones said. “This is not true. Before the current nuclear deal, Iran could produce the highly enriched uranium — HEU — for a nuclear weapon in just six weeks. Over the next six months, the joint plan of action will increase this interval only slightly to eight weeks.”
7. AP, Hat tip AH: US prosecutors seek execution of marathon suspect
Seventeen of 30 charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.
The 20-year-old Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty.
8. Brandon McGinley at Acculturated: How Gawker Promotes Rape Culture
In college, I thought rape culture was just another scary phrase made up by feminists further to guilt and to demonize men. And then I found out a friend had been raped. And then I heard about more people who had been victimized by thoughtless sexual boundary-crossing. And then I realized that what I had already identified as a culture of male sexual entitlement was essentially the same thing that feminists call rape culture.
Now, there is a danger in defining a concept like rape culture so broadly that it collapses into meaninglessness. Men taking up too much space on the subway is not rape culture. But the purposeful transgressing of perceived sexual boundaries? You bet.
This is especially true when we consider the muted reaction to Cook’s outburst. No mainstream condemnation. No even mild tut-tutting from anyone but a few conservative commentators. No realization that this was a pristine example of a trend that was all the rage only a week ago: the dangers of being a woman writer on the Internet.
9. Religion News Service: Can atheists be spiritual? Sam Harris reignites long-running debate
Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, set to be published in September, will explore nonreligious spirituality. In 2012 Harris wrote that his goal for this book was “to write a ‘spiritual’ book for smart, skeptical people — dealing with issues like the illusion of the self, the efficacy of practices like meditation, the cultivation of positive mental states, etc.”
With Waking Up‘s impending publication, many in the atheist community will debate whether it makes sense for atheists to use the word spirituality. But this isn’t the first time this question has come up in recent years.
10. Hat tip SLM Goldberg, at The Forward: ‘SermonSlam’ Teeters on Edge Between Earnest and Cool -Trendy Jewish Spoken Word Hits Brooklyn Synagogue
Twenty-five-year-old Yaelle Frohlich’s winning performance — a religious take on Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” — told the story of a woman who wakes up one morning with the words “Holy to God” emblazoned on her forehead.
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