The Prime Minister of Israel on Barry Rubin: ‘He Will Be Sorely Missed By Everyone Whose Life He Touched’
Shared today on Barry’s Facebook page:
What can I say? The infamous, all-powerful “listicle” is a FORCE OF NATURE.
In the online eco-system just promise a list of some sort in the headline and watch the clicks come in. Everyone online with a brain in their head does it whether they’re peddling political commentary or bikini slide shows.
There’s no big secret about why list articles are so popular and effective: they provide order to the chaos. Out of the seeming infinity of ideas, these particular items have been selected and put into this particular arrangement for your debate and amusement.
My favorite lists are the ones where the items are actually ranked in some logical order. Then it creates a whole extra level of debate and discussion: which item is best or worse? How do we weigh which we want to praise? What qualities do we want more of in the world and ourselves?
In the coming months at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to begin shifting toward a weekend list article emphasis. While during the week we’ll continue to feature many quick posts and articles on the subjects of the day, the slower pace of the weekends lends themselves to the longer lists. So on weekends in addition to brand new lists, I’m going to republish our best lists from last year and also article-compilations-turned-list-posts. (For example: check out this 9-part dissection of House of Cards from Becky Graebner, published last week compiling and reformatting her articles from last year.)
Each weekend I’m going to republish five of our best and most popular lists from last year — 3 on Saturdays, 2 on Sundays, followed by an update of this post here with the newest rankings. Of the 10 that I’ve republished so far, this seems like a good place to start to get the discussion going:
50. Kyle Smith: 5 Smart Comedies You Haven’t Seen on Netflix
49. Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World
48. Paula Bolyard: 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers
47. John Boot: 5 Reasons Zach Galifianakis Is a Hack
46. Kathy Shaidle: Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: 6 Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand
45. Bonnie Ramthun: The 5 Worst Books for Your Children
44. Susan L.M. Goldberg: 5 Uncomfortable Truths HBO’s Girls Reveals About American Pop Culture Today
43. Megan Fox: 8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education
42. Chris Queen: The 10 Things You Must Do At DisneyLand
41. Walter Hudson: 5 Tips for Coming Out as a Black Conservative
In ranking these articles that my friends and colleagues have written, I’m judging them in much the same way that I’d rank movies, books, hamburgers, or any other subjectively-quantifiable work. Obviously some articles will have inherent advantages based on the subject matter — Walter’s inspiring article on being a black conservative hits a bit harder than highlighting memorable comedies on Netflix. But that’s alright. Comedies, dramas, and fantasy epics all get nominated for best picture and judged together, so too it should be with our New Media genre of choice, the Mighty Listicle.
So what do you think? Which pieces do you like? What lists would you like to see in the future? What debates about everything from culture to entertainment to war and God need to be had through the magic of the list format?
How would you change my ranking of the articles? (Feel free to copy and paste and rearrange and if there are any from last year you want to petition for now is a good time to link to them. I’ve already assembled a list of my 50 favorites but there are certainly some I’m forgetting…)
Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times today:
President Obama has taken heat recently for working around Congress whenever he thinks it necessary to, among other things, delay Obamacare mandates and trim immigration enforcement.
But the commander-in-chief on Monday boasted of how, as president, “I can do whatever I want.”
Mr. Obama made the tongue-in-cheek remark as he toured Monticello, the Charlottesville, Va., estate of Thomas Jefferson, with French President Francois Hollande. The visit is part of Mr. Hollande’s three-day stay in the U.S. this week.
The president delighted in his ability to “break the protocol” and view the Monticello grounds from a private terrace.
“That’s the good thing as a president. I can do whatever I want,” Mr. Obama said.
Richard Nixon in 1977:
At the Washington Post today, again the Obama administration breaks the law by delaying a key part of Obamacare:
The Obama administration announced Monday it would give medium-sized employers an extra year, until 2016, before they must offer health insurance to their full-time workers.
Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015.
By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans’ campaign to make political gains in this year’s midterm election.
Even the nation’s largest employers got a significant concession: They can avoid a fine by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016. Under an earlier proposal, employers with at least 50 employees would have been required to offer insurance, beginning 2015, to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more a week, along with their dependents.
At the New York Daily News: Michelle Obama advises Justin Bieber’s mom to ‘be very present in his life right now’
The mother-of-two offered some advice for the pop star’s mom, Pattie Mallette, after Bieber has been involved in a string of questionable activities.
“I would be very present in his life right now,” she continued. “I would be probably with him a good chunk of the time, just there to talk, to figure out what’s going on in his head, to figure out who’s in his life and who’s not, you know.”
She added that the 19-year-old singer, who was recently arrested on DUI charges and may face sanctions associated with the egging of his neighbor’s home, is “still a kid, he’s still growing up.”
Obama, 50, spoke out about the troubled Canadian star in light of a current petition aimed at deporting him.
Again: welcome to single mom nation. Bieber is 19 years old. Obama is 52. Neither of them ever had fathers who taught them the difference between Good and Evil.
At the Hollywood Gossip last week: Justin Bieber, Father Deemed “Extremely Abusive,” Totally High on Private Plane Ride
Sources tell NBC News that Justin and his dad were among a group of about 10 on a chartered, private plane ride for Canada to New Jersey and that father and son were “extremely abusive” to a flight attendant on board.
She actually had to take refuse in the cockpit to get away from their rude remarks and behavior.
Moreover, law enforcement officials allege that Bieber and company were smoking so much pot that the pilots had to don oxygen masks.
“The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” says the official report of the incident. “The captain also stated he needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant.”
The stewardess in question has refused to work any future flights involving Justin or Jeremy Bieber.
America’s chickens are coming home to roost.
Sunday, posted on Barry Rubin’s Facebook page:
We felt it important to tell you that Barry has been in a coma since Friday. Thank you for all the warm wishes these past few months, you have all been very thoughtful. Please keep him in your prayers. We will keep you updated.
To our great sadness, Barry passed away this morning. He was surrounded by his wife and children. Your love, support, and prayers have been greatly appreciated. There will be shiva and a funeral, details to follow soon.
I wrote about Barry’s impact on me this past August as part of a series of my most important intellectual influences:
Barry Rubin is PJ Media’s Middle East editor. For the last least three years, his Rubin Reports blog has served as the roadmap to the Middle East that I rely on the most. Written from the center of the storm in Israel, his typical columns are densely filled with facts and fascinating observations. Perhaps the crucial insight that I’ve gained from trying to keep up with Barry all these years — he tends to publish his loaded analyses very prolifically, not that I’m complaining! — is the depth of complexity to the Middle East. The game is not a chessboard between two sides, and there are rarely easy answers given that there are so many different actors on the field.
But Barry has gone out of his way, dedicated his life really, to trying to help people understand better the chaos in the Middle East. Recently he decided to GIVE AWAY 13 of his books. These titles of his are available in convenient online and downloadable PDF reading. It’s a lifetime’s worth of scholarship in the history and politics of the Middle East:
(Barry describes this as his favorite of his books that he’s written. Thus it’s the next on my to-read list for him after the one I’ve already started, below.)
The first of this haul that I’ve decided to dive into is Hating America: A History, which Barry co-wrote with his wife (a practice Ron Radosh has also engaged in and which I hope to explore with my own wife someday).
As the above list of Barry’s titles shows, he jumps all over the place in trying to understand the many different angles of the Middle East. I confess: foreign policy was what dragged me into leftist activism and then fueled my shift to conservative activism, but it was Barry’s writing above all others that turned me into a full-blown foreign policy geek. Because of him I feel like I could pick up just about any book on a Middle Eastern country, culture or an individual and be interested and excited to learn from it. For that — and for much else — I’ve thanked him privately and now I do so publicly.
Before he died Barry completed two books that are set to be published this year. From Broadside Books on April 1, Adam Bellow’s extraordinary conservative imprint at HarperCollins (publisher of Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda, Rich Lowry’s Lincoln Unbound, and Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph), comes Barry’s history of ideology in 20th century America: Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance. And from Yale University Press, out on February 25, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East.
My friend Jeff Dunetz at his blog Yid With Lid this morning wrote about how he was similarly taught and inspired by Barry:
Professor Barry Rubin, is more than one of the great intellectual defenders of Israel, he was my teacher and a friend. When we first met, it was Barry who taught me to change from being a frothing at the mouth lunatic to a thoughtful commentator. He taught me to discern the quality of information coming from the trash. In 2009 when I was leading the charge against Chas Freeman’s nomination to a key Obama National security spot, It was Barry Rubin giving me advice on future steps.
Barry was a consummate teacher. When he first took Ill, he made all of his scholarly books available for free online because he wanted people to be able to learn from him even after he was gone.
You can read Barry’s last two PJ Media posts, from January 21, here:
Imagine All the People Living in Islamist Hegemony: Why Lennon and Dylan Know All About Islamist Hegemony
Did you know Barry? Do you have any memories to share about how he or his words touched your life? Please send me an email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Gmail.com.
When I’m feeling less like a crushed tin can I’ll write about getting to know Barry over the years, how his writings changed the way I see the world, and how now that he’s gone I will continue to fight his battles for a world where Jew, Muslim, Christian, and people of all faiths live together peacefully in mutual respect and prosperity.
Updates: I’ll be linking to various reflections from colleagues. Here’s Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler.
Updated 9:33 AM PST: Here’s PJM’s co-founder and editor emeritus Roger L. Simon: Barry Rubin: Conscience of the White City
Updated 3:20 PM PST: Sent along from David Gerstman, who says his own reflections are forthcoming:
Another follow up from Gerstman:
Here’s Barry’s Facebook page from his 01/28/2013 Birthday
A year and a week ago we all thought he was out of the woods.
Updated 3:36 PST:
Ron Radosh: R.I.P.: Remembrances of My Friend Barry Rubin
Generation X has lost another of its greatest acting talents. Academy Award-winning star Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead at 46.
What makes the news even more tragic is how predictable — and preventable — it was. When my wife told me the news while we were driving home from buying groceries at Ralph’s this morning I had only one question: “Was it drugs?”
He was found with a needle in his arm.
Here’s the blog post I wrote by hand in June last year:
Hoffman left behind some of the last two decades’ most incredible screen performances. Here are my [personal and biased] picks for the ones that have made him a Hollywood legend, immortal and iconic. Counting down to his most important work:
10. 2009: The Count, leader of Pirate Radio
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.
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
Claudia Rosett: Her Ladyship Marks Holocaust without Mentioning Jews
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
New at PJ Lifestyle
Cute Animal Video: ‘Little Puppet Made of Pine, Awake. The Gift of Life is Thine.’
Book Plug Friday: Girl Genius Vs. Tor
New at PJ Tatler
Holder Confirms Obama Ready to Use Executive Order on Guns ‘in Absence of Meaningful Action’ by Congress
From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
Missed the SOTU for the birth of my first child. She arrived at 6:19 pm, ignoring the president’s propaganda speech. Baby patriot.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 29, 2014
1. I need to be a father someday.
Ben Shapiro is the newest of my friends to join the parenthood club. I’m so thrilled for him and his wife. They’re going to love that little girl so much and just create the most extraordinary human being.
For most of my life I was agnostic on the parenthood question — it was largely a reflection of an agnosticism about, well, everything. A child was such a permanent decision, a no-going-back choice in which one decided that another’s life would come before your own.
What changed? What caused the light switch to flip over from the wobbly, maybe-kids-some-day, to YES, I have a responsibility and a need to become a parent? Finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was only step one. There was another big change that had to happen:
I don’t hate myself anymore.
I think that’s what was really at the heart of not wanting to have children. People who see themselves as a broken ball of neuroses don’t want to compound their misery by spawning miniature versions of themselves who will likely be even worse than they are.
But now I know better than on January 29, 2004 when I was a postmodern progressive undergraduate writing columns praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. I know that there’s no reason to ever hate yourself because we’re all capable of transforming ourselves. We’re not hardwired or stuck with anything about ourselves. All problems have their solutions and we can become happier, more productive, better people if that is what we choose.
I want to raise sons and daughters someday who can know that from the beginning — that they are smart enough and strong enough to solve any problem they encounter themselves and they do not need to vote for some emotion-manipulating demagogue to pass a program like Obamacare so they can be free.
I wish I’d seen this classic Disney cartoon “Chicken Little” over and over again as a kid instead of ninja turtle toy commercials disguised as entertainment. I wasted so much of my 20s dealing with one fox after another:
This is Week 4, day 1 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. From the publication where a decade ago I wrote op/ed columns and movie reviews as an undergrad: Ball State students get close for cash
Ellis has had a few online conversations, but he has not gone on any dates because he said there are not a lot of Sugar Daddies looking for gay Sugar Babies.
“Being gay in the sugaring world is not a common thing because it’s usually girls who are in their 20s who find older men who just want to spoil them,” Ellis said.
Both students use SeekingArrangement.com, a website used to connect potential Sugar Babies to benefactors offering monthly lifestyle budgets ranging from less than $1,000 to more than $10,000.
The website recently released a press release announcing the top 20 fastest growing Sugar Baby schools: Indiana University is No. 18, Ball State at No. 58 and Purdue University at No. 66.
Seeking Arrangement targets college students looking to earn money to ease student debt. According to a press release, college students make up 42 percent of the website’s Sugar Baby membership.
“A lot of these college students don’t have jobs and they’re fighting to pay student loans with increases in the cost of education,” said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for the website. “And rather than graduate with a financial burden on their back before they even get a job, they could just date a Sugar Daddy on Seeking Arrangement and graduate debt free.”
One woman chooses to become a prostitute in order to support a drug addiction. That’s understandable and tragic. My favorite movie, Requiem for a Dream, is a heartbreaking story. A woman is so desperate for her fix that she abandons the man she loves and degrades herself.
But so you can avoid having to pay student loans back for a few years? You let some guy you’re not attracted to pay you to have a fake relationship with him and then rent your body to him?
It just breaks my heart that some women place so low a value on themselves.
2. Via Conservative Videos and hat tip to SLM Goldberg: Kirsten Powers: Being A Democrat ‘Was My Religion’ Before Christian Conversion
3. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: Eating Our Young
Major props to Ed Driscoll for this awesome graphic illustrating the lead story of the week:
The baby-boomer/me generation demands what its “greatest generation” parents got — or, in fact, far more, given its increased rates of longevity. The solution of more taxes and less benefits will fall on young people and the unborn, apparently on the premise that those under 18 do not vote, and those between 18 and 30 either vote less frequently than their grandparents or less knowledgeably about their own self-interest.
The Social Security pyramidal scheme is merely the tip of the ephebiphobic iceberg. Currently student indebtedness exceeds $1 trillion. Many of these loans begin compounding before graduation and are pegged at interest rates far higher than parental mortgages. The cause of this tuition bubble is also not controversial. The prices colleges charge for annual tuition, room and board have for over two decades far exceeded the annual rate of inflation.
There were four causes of such price gouging of students. None of them had anything to do with offering better education for a more competitive price for job-hungry graduates.
4. Jared Sichel at The Jewish Journal: Holocaust in North Korea
At the museum, Shin sought the horrific images from 1945 of thousands of decomposing bodies from a liberated Nazi concentration camp being dug up by a bulldozer.
The horror of that image, which he had viewed for the first time in South Korea, convinced him that he must do what he can to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners languishing today in North Korea’s four concentration camps. Shin has become, despite his desire to remain private, a public face for what is a growing movement to shed light on North Korea’s totalitarian government and its unrelenting political imprisonment of its countrymen.
The international media coverage of North Korea tends to focus on anything but the country’s humanitarian crisis. We hear about the country’s nuclear program or the budding friendship between former American basketball star Dennis Rodman and North Korea’s 31-year-old dictator Kim Jong-un, or the latter’s recent execution of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, formerly Kim’s No. 2 man.
But Shin is a living testament to the fact that attention must be paid to what is happening to a completely hidden population: Nearly seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945, North Korea’s concentration camps have now existed more than 12 times longer than the Nazi camps and twice as long as the Soviet gulag.
As lunch wound down, Shin’s translator said that they had to leave soon for another interview. So I asked him if we could discuss a light topic — God.
Shin responded that although he isn’t entirely convinced of God’s existence, he does believe he received help from above. “I believe that there was a higher being, a higher power involved with my life, for me to be where I am right now,” he said.
Like all of North Korea, Camp 14 was devoid of any religion, of anything that could challenge the Kim family’s throne.
Today, Shin attends an Evangelical church in Seoul whenever he can, and, in fact, finds solace in Moses and the story of the Exodus — a self-doubting leader who helped an enslaved people escape a tyrant.
“When I look at North Korea now,” Shin said, “It reminds me of ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.”
Read the whole thing. Jared is an extraordinary writer with a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing what he continues to do.
5. Jeremy Boreing at Truth Revolt: Gay Marriage at the Grammys: All Art is Propaganda
On the surface, it’s easy to criticize Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast for sliding from a celebration of music into a celebration of gay marriage with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s live performance of “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifa and 33 couples – gay and straight – tying the knot.
There’s no question that the sanctimonious display, complete with gospel choir, stained-glass cathedral motif and pseudo-religious rhymes was intended to propagandize Americans into further support for gay marriage by giving the appearance of universal acceptance among the glitterati while marginalizing opposition from religious conservatives by reducing their motives to “fear” and “playing God.” “Right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,” the lyric intones. The fact that the socialist mayor of New York’s former lesbian wife agrees with that assessment is of no more concern to the songwriter than the fact that the current Democratic president – and indeed all of the Democratic presidents who went before him – all saw marriage as a male/female issue until right about election time last year.
Still, to turn one’s nose up at the Grammys for letting a show meant to honor art turn into a propaganda-fest is to misrepresent art itself. The simple fact is that all art is propaganda. From the first man scrawling on the first cave wall to da Vinci to the Beatles, the purpose of the artist is always to communicate a unique perspective in the hopes of moving the audience. In fact, for most of human history (and perhaps even still…) art has been less a business and more a patronage system where the wealthy would literally pay for art that promoted their vision of the world, not the artists. It’s hard to say what Michelangelo’s personal beliefs on scripture were, but his employer’s motive of inspiring awe in the face of the divine lives on in the Sistine Chapel and the Accademia to this day. As capitalism has imprinted itself on art, the values of the artist themselves have taken a more dominant role.
The idea of neutral art is as misguided as the idea of objective journalism – it has never existed in all of human history, and it shouldn’t.
Read the whole thing. Spot on. Jeremy is someone else I should make a point to keep an eye on. This is a great piece the way he puts the Grammys in a bigger discussion about the nature of art.
6. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Hey Stupid! It’s Not About Nukes, It’s About Life and Death
There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is: an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies. The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue. Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or “dismantle” some of the components of their nuclear program? How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on…
We don’t know the answers to these questions, as the text of the agreement is secret. However, we do know that the Iranians now have six months — the sort of deadline that often slides — to reach a “final” agreement with the 5 + 1 countries.
We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril. They’ve already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will. These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren’t getting much. For us, it’s all about nukes and sanctions.
7. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: The Evil of Banality
Allan Bloom, call your office — New York intellectual life really had become an enclave of the Weimar Republic by the early 1960s; as Bloom wrote in 1986’s The Closing of the American Mind, “The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.”
8. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Hillary Wants to Get Benghazi Out of the Way
Just for the sake of history, let’s recall that Clinton could have prevented the attack but failed to do so. Her State Department turned down repeated requests for enhancing security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi. After the attack, she blamed it on a YouTube video and promised one of the parents of the victims that the U.S. government would go after and get the man who made that video. Clinton made good on that threat. The perpetrators who actually carried out the attack, however, remain at large and the Obama government has shown no interest in capturing them.
9. Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: How Americans can kill Obamacare, legalize pot: Column
Far fewer than half the number needed by March 31 have signed up. And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren’t the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurancebecause of Obamacare’s new requirements). “At most,” writes Bloomberg‘s Megan McArdle, “they’ve signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. … Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?” It looks that way.
In fact, there seem to be more uninsured than there were before Obama took office, leaving Jonah Goldberg to ask, “So what was the point of Obamacare again?”
10. Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler: Could Obamacare Become a Generational Problem for Democrats?
There are a couple of major flaws leading to fewer millennials than needed signing up. One, it’s cheaper just to pay the fine for violating the individual mandate than to buy insurance that most young people don’t need. Young single men don’t need to buy pregnancy and mammography coverage, but Obamacare mandates it, making policies more expensive. Additionally, Obamacare allows younger people to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. That slices off the 18-26 part of the 18-34 demo that needs to sign up in greater numbers.
Reading of the Day, from Ann Coulter’s Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, page 94:
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad
P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman
New at PJ Lifestyle
New at PJ Tatler
Hillary Clinton, Superhero, Icon and Example to All Women Everywhere, Hasn’t Driven a Car in Nearly 20 Years?
Sen. Ted Cruz: Obama Should Apologize to the Five Million Americans Who’ve Lost Their Healthcare Because of Obamacare
After Scott Walker’s Reforms, Government Union Having Trouble Skimming Tax Dollars to Help Democrats
From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
image courtesy shutterstock / Viktor1
This is Week 3, day 3 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. Seth Mandel at Commentary: Obama Administration to Israel: Call Off the Jews, Please
I made a point to put this story on top because it’s the most important thing I read yesterday. It’s more chilling evidence of how the conspiratorial vision of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright shaped how Barack Obama leads the country:
The latest dustup in U.S.-Israel relations is one that makes you wonder if Obama administration officials have a shred of self-awareness. The Jerusalem Post reports that the president is unhappy with the Israeli government because his consistent opposition to sanctions on Iran is not meeting with universal approval from American Jewish groups. And why does this make him upset with Israel? Because he apparently believes that such dissent must be the product of foreign influence:
A US official close to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said both men are disturbed over what is being perceived in their inner circle as “Jewish activism in Congress” that they think is being encouraged by the Israeli government, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.
The official has informed Israeli government figures that the president and secretary of state are disappointed over repeated attacks made against them by leading members of the Jewish community in the US.
The president and secretary of state would like American Jews’ foreign handlers and sponsors to please stop riling up the Jews, because those Jews then practice their voodoo on members of Congress. Now, while this is obviously a very stupid thing for the president and secretary of state to believe–conspiracy theorists love the Walt-Mearsheimer dark tales of Jewish influence, but rarely do serious or intelligent people fall for it–it is even dumber to, you know, say out loud.
This is who our president actually is. He is a man who not only believes that those criticizing him do so because the Israeli government has directed them to do so, but will say it. He genuinely believes that there is a Jewish conspiracy and that it is a more malevolent actor against him and America, than say, the Muslim Brotherhood or Vladimir Putin.
One of the few things that comforts me about this is the knowledge that America has survived having antisemitic, paranoid, lying presidents in the past…
2. Bridget Johnson here at PJM: Carney: Just Ignore Iran; We Won’t Be Releasing Text of Nuke Agreement
White House press secretary Jay Carney brushed off the Iranian foreign minister’s claims that there is no dismantling of their nuclear program in the p5+1 agreement.
Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN during an interview in Davos that “the White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments.”
“The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again,” he said. “If you find a single, a single word, that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I would take back my comment.”
Zarif urged the CNN reporter to read the agreement, but the White House won’t release the text — claiming that the P5+1 agreed there was some technical information in the document that should remain classified.
“We’ve said before that we expected the Iranian government to spin the commitments they made under the joint plan of action for their domestic political purposes,” Carney told reporters in today’s briefing.
Because Millennials wanted Obamacare and John McCain was too cowardly to talk about Rev. Wright — he actually fired campaigners who did — Iran will end up with a nuclear weapon. Political failures result in military catastrophe.
3. Peter Beinart at The Atlantic: Rand Paul Is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner
Start with Iowa. Last May, Rand Paul gave the keynote speech at the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. How did he secure this prize invitation? Because the chairman, co-chairman, and finance chairman of the Iowa Republican Party all supported his father. Rand Paul’s not the only potential 2012 candidate who will inherit a political infrastructure in the Hawkeye State. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee also have networks left over from prior runs. But their supporters don’t play as influential a role in the state GOP. “RPI no longer stands for the Republican Party of Iowa,” noted arecent article in Politico, “but for Rand Paul, Inc.”
Because the Iowa GOP will elect new leaders next spring, it’s unlikely “Paulestinians” will so thoroughly dominate the party leadership in 2016. But Craig Robinson, former political director of the Iowa GOP, says that’s actually to Rand Paul’s advantage, since it will free up some of Iowa’s most powerful Republicans to run his 2016 campaign.
If there’s one thing that could obviate all this, it’s the possibility that Paul could suffer his own candidacy-crippling scandal. He’s already gotten himself into trouble for plagiarism and employing neo-Confederates. Who knows what the media will turn up when the real vetting that greets a presidential candidate begins?
That this story is written by Peter Beinart is significant, of course. Here was Ron Radosh a few weeks ago: “How Peter Beinart Defends the Repulsive Views of the Antisemitic Jew Max Blumethal.”
Rand Paul is unfit to be president for the same reason that Obama was: having an unrepentant antisemitic conspiracy theorist as one of your core mentors means you are an evil person. And Rand Paul was campaigning for his father in 2008, invoking his father’s antisemitic mentors in 2009 during his Senate campaign, writing a book with a neo-confederate staffer in 2010, and defending him in 2013 after his fantasies of assassinating Abraham Lincoln were revealed.
What’s Jack Hunter doing now? Here’s the publication that’s decided to hire him…
4. Betsy Rothstein at the Daily Caller: Rare’s new motto: Pink is the Center
Well, today, Rare‘s newest editorial hire, Jack Hunter, who has reportedly judged wet T-shirt contests, worn a mask emblazoned with the Confederate flag and supported the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, both backed up and contradicted internal orders (depending whom you believe) by announcing Rare‘s extremely strong stance on gay marriage: They are all in and all for it.
As an aside, Hunter is listed both as Rare‘s Editor and a “contributing editor.”
“There is a civil war happening in the Republican Party over the issue of same-sex marriage,” he wrote. (A pretty strange metaphor for someone who has said repeatedly that he supports the slave-holding South’s independence.) “There are two sides—the winning side and the losing side. The winning side are those who believe the time for same sex marriage has come… The losing side are those who believe the country will somehow reverse course on this issue despite every single cultural indicator showing otherwise.”
Question: now that Rare has a gay-marriage-only editorial line will they continue to publish the antisemitic, very anti-gay marriage, paleoconservative Patrick Buchanan?
5. Ed Driscoll here at PJ Media: Why Does the Left Hate Hillary Clinton So?
Goddess worship. What more do you need?
6. Vanity Fair: Why the “Planet Hillary” New York Times Magazine Cover Is a Legitimate Dadaist Masterpiece
What a fantastic piece of art! Did you notice that all the cover lines are puns about space? “The gravitational pull of a possible campaign,” “the Chelsea quasar,” “the Friends-of-Bill black hole,” etc. Other, less rhetorical questions: why can’t planets have hair? Like, obviously planets don’t have faces and smiles, so our disbelief is already suspended. Why not just give her/it hair? She looks like Benjamin Button toward the end (beginning?) of that movie. (Full disclosure: we never saw Benjamin Button.)
Second question: why isn’t, say, “the Chelsea quasar” in the shape of Chelsea Clinton’s disembodied head? Why is Planet Hillary the only anthropomorphized astronomical entity? (“A quasar in the shape of a person? That’s stupid. But a planet in the shape of a person? Now that’s a metaphor.”)
Third question: if the boys over in graphics were going to turn Hillary into a planet, couldn’t they at least have made her an attractive rock planet? Why all the mountains and valleys to represent wrinkles? It’s an invented astral body! It’s not like the mountains and valleys correspond to actual geological properties of a real place. Also: in real life, Hillary Clinton’s eyebrows are notably well-maintained. Why the unflattering half-brows? Or are those mountain ranges framing her ocean eyes?
7. Dave Weigel at Slate: Important Hillary Clinton-as-Planet Meme
8. Ann Coulter’s New Column This Week: THE HEROISM OF WENDY DAVIS
Slater says Davis’ kids lived with Jeff Davis in Texas while she attended law school. Wendy Davis claims her girls lived with her during her first year of law school. Let’s say that’s true. Why not the other two years? And what was the matter with the University of Texas Law School?
Sorry, MSNBC, I know you want to fixate on how many months Davis spent in the trailer park and her precise age when the first divorce went through. And that would be an incredibly stupid thing for conservatives to obsess on, if they were, in fact, obsessing on it. But I’m still stuck on her leaving her kids behind while she headed off to a law school 1,500 miles away.
The reason Wendy Davis’ apocryphal story was impressive is that single mothers have to run a household, take care of kids and provide for a family all by themselves. But Wendy was neither supporting her kids, nor raising them. If someone else is taking care of your kids and paying your tuition, that’s not amazing.
I wonder what a private conversation between Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis would sound like.
9. Tony Lee at Breitbart News: CNN PLANS TO SPEND YEAR FOCUSING ON REVELATIONS IN PETER SCHWEIZER’S ‘EXTORTION’
How Democratic Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) funneled at least $294,245 in campaign cash to herself by loaning her campaign money in 1998 at a staggering 18% interest rate and then letting the loan linger unpaid for 20 years
Top-secret “price lists,” known officially as “party dues,” that include the donation totals members of Congress must raise to land top committee spots and chairmanships
How leadership PAC loopholes allow members of Congress to convert campaign cash into lavish lifestyle upgrades for themselves and their family members
Allegations that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) bagged over $200,000 in donations from executives and companies prior to holding votes on three bills of critical importance to their industries
How President Barack Obama used a political extortion tactic known as a “double milker bill” to “milk” millions in donations by pitting Obama’s friends in Hollywood against his supporters in Silicon Valley to extract cash from both
10. The Daily Mail: The real Goodfellas: FBI arrest New York mafia suspected of carrying out the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist
This is the first time any accused member of the mafia has ever faced charges in connection with the crime.
The arrests of the five men follows a discovery by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of human remains at a New York property tied to James ‘Jimmy the Gent’ Burke last summer.
Burke, the suspected mastermind of the heist, died in prison in 1996 while serving time for the murder of a drug dealer. Actor Robert De Niro played a character based on Burke in the film.
Question: which is more morally objectionable and destructive, a bunch of mobsters who steal $5 million dollars in 1978 or a President who, to take just one example, enables his campaign supporters to legally steal $535 million in government loans before declaring bankruptcy?
11. J. Christian Adams quotes from the press release: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted By Eric Holder’s DOJ
In 2012, the Election Act limited both primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 for a total of $5,000 from any individual to any one candidate. In August 2012, D’SOUZA directed other individuals with whom he was associated to make contributions to the campaign committee for a candidate for the United States Senate (the “Campaign Committee”) that totaled $20,000. D’SOUZA then reimbursed those individuals for the contributions. By directing the illegal contributions to be made, D’SOUZA also caused the Campaign Committee to falsely report to the FEC the sources and amounts of those contributions to the campaign.
* * *
D’SOUZA, 52, of San Diego, California, is charged with one count of causing $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to be made to a candidate for the United States Senate in calendar year 2012, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He also is charged with one count of causing false statements to be made to the FEC in connection with the illegal campaign contributions, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
I’m not a D’Souza defender at all. I think his critique of Obama in both his book and film were wrong-headed. Naming Obama’s anti-colonialism and his father’s ideology as the keys to understanding him is like saying that the Filet-o-Fish and McRib are the most popular menu items at McDonald’s.
And it wasn’t the first time he’s been really wrong about a major issue. Remember his horrific book about 9/11 that claimed the “cultural Left” had inspired the Jihadists to attack us over our decadent Britney Spears society? Robert Spencer took him apart in a memorable debate.
12. At Salon: 6 reasons female nudity can be powerful
6. Self-defined public female nudity is a challenge to capitalism and its uses of women as products, props, assets and distributable resources. Nothing on Earth is used to drive sales and profits and display male wealth and status like women’s, often naked and semi-naked, bodies. If you are thinking women make choices and are complicit, show contempt for other women because they are women — well, of course some of them do. That is a defining feature of misogyny. Until we have equal access to resources, and are not subject to constant predation, this is a no-brainer. In the meantime, when women refuse to sexualize themselves and use their bodies to challenge powerful interests that profit from that sexualization, the words we should use aren’t “lewd” and “obscene”; they’re “threatening” and “destabilizing.”
Women who use public nudity for social commentary, art and protest are myth-busting along many dimensions: active, not passive; strong not vulnerable; together, not isolated; public, not private; and, usually, angry, not alluring. The morality offense is misogyny, not nudity.
13. Graphic Images at the Daily Mail: Starved, tortured then throttled: The true horror of how Assad’s soldiers execute rebel prisoners is revealed in new images
More photographs showing the maimed bodies of alleged victims of ‘systematic killings’ in Syrian prisons have been released today.
The second cache of photos paints an even clearer image of the horrendous conditions and gruesome torture in government-run jails in Syria.
The images, some of the 55,000 leaked by a witness ‘tasked with recording deaths in custody’, were taken between 2011 and 2013.
14. Zombie at the PJ Tatler: Kiddie Porn Does Not Count as ‘Moral Turpitude’ to S.F. Govt.
A former high-ranking San Francisco government employee convicted of felony possession of child pornography will continue to receive his government pension because, according to city regulations, evidence of “moral turpitude” is required to revoke a pension yet viewing violent kiddie porn does not qualify as moral turpitude.
As reported here in the Tatler, Larry Brinkin, a prominent San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner and nationally known gay rights advocate, was arrested in 2012 for possessing and possibly distributing videos and images of babies being raped by adult men. Because of Brinkin’s “iconic” stature in the community as the person who pioneered “domestic partnership” laws nationwide, supporters at the time accused the police of framing him with false charges. But the evidence was so overwhelming that, after 18 months of legal wrangling, on Tuesday, January 21, Brinkin pled guilty to felony possession of child pornography, with various other more serious charges dropped as part of the plea bargain. He will serve just six months in jail and thereafter have to register as a sex offender.
On the second page of Zombie’s post he has some horrific excerpts of Brinkin’s comments about the violent videos he was sharing. Making them even more chilling is the way his racism expresses itself.
15. Daily Mail: Killer who kept six women as sex slaves in a home-made dungeon and murdered two of them is executed in China
During their incarceration he repeatedly raped them, forced them to have sex with other men for money and made them perform in pornographic web shows.
When you see a woman performing online how do you really know that she’s doing so by her own consent and that she’s 18 or older? You don’t. This is the real danger of internet pornography, far darker than the commonly discussed problem of men dropping out of relationships to retreat into a virtual realm. It’s a world where anyone can shoot a video and throw it online in minutes, perhaps not even breaking the law in the foreign country where they’re shooting.
16. Megan Fox continues her investigations here at PJ Lifestyle: In the Age of Information Orland Park Public Library Can’t Use Skype to Hear Expert on Library Porn
Kleinman has been waging this war against porn in libraries for 20 years now, largely on his own since his friend and SafeLibraries.org partner died several years ago. There is no one more well-versed in the ALA’s tactics, lies, intimidation techniques, and actual court cases involving pornography in libraries than Kleinman; refusing him the right to speak on behalf of children and parents who don’t want porn in libraries is nothing less than willful deceit of the public on behalf of the OPPL.
17. Kathy Shaidle here at PJ Lifestyle: Ted Nugent Did What?
That may explain why — until I read about it in the comments beneath Gavin’s article — I’d never heard of Ted Nugent’s relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Trying to get the truth about this felt like a game of “telephone,” with hysterical left-wing sites like The Daily Kos quoting Wikipedia quoting Spin magazine, circa 2000:
In 1978, 30-year-old Ted Nugent fell in love with 17-year-old Hawaiian lovely Pele Massa. To keep the hassle factor low, the Motor City Madman convinced the girl’s parents to sign documents that officially made Nugent Pele’s guardian. His pitch? Better a horny, rich, drug-free, right-wing bow hunter than a horny, poor, stoned high school student.
That’s the most authoritative citation I’ve found so far.
18. The Daily Mail: The 2,300-year-old torture chamber: Ancient dungeon containing a ‘bloody well and death rooms’ unearthed in Turkey
Archaeologists and the Bursa Muncipality plan to turn the dungeons and corridors into an open-air museum. Yimiz said torture tools will also be put on display, and the museum is expected to be ready by 2016.
The past is so much darker than we’re ready to accept but if we can overcome it then the future will be brighter than we can imagine.
19. Stephen Green on PJTV: Bill Gates: No More Poor Countries by 2035
A so-called “informant” for the tab says, “Kerry’s been courting the President and First Lady for some time now because she wants to play Michelle in a movie.”
The purported “insider” goes on to allege, “She’s desperate to have someone as prestigious as the Obamas as her baby’s godparents and plans on casually asking Michelle at the next fundraiser they attend together.”
It seems like someone over at Star has been watching too much “Scandal.”
For some bizarre reason, the magazine and its sister publication the National Enquirer are intent on trying to link the actress to Obama, despite how obviously ridiculous the idea is.
In any case, Gossip Cop checked in with a source close to the situation, who laughed off the outlandish story.
April 2012 at the Daily Mail:
Michelle Obama has banned actress Kerry Washington from the White House because she it ‘too flirty’ with the President, it was sensationally claimed today.
The First Lady was said to have a ‘watch list’ of women that were to be kept away from her 50-year-old husband – but it’s a story one White House official claims it totally false.
According to an article in the National Enquirer, Mrs Obama, 48, planned to keep the actress at arm’s length – despite Miss Washington’s honorary post on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
“It always comes down to my gut, my gut tells me everything I need to know.” — Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, expressing the matriarchal credo.
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?
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
Rodrigo Sermeno: Huckabee Tells RNC to Stop RINOing Each Other
Roger L. Simon: How Social Conservatives Are Saving Liberalism (Barely)
Rodrigo Sermeno: 8 Things in Washington That Could Hit Your Wallet This Year
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
New at PJ Lifestyle
New at PJ Tatler
Greg Abbott Reacts to Video Showing Battleground Texas Activists Mocking His Disability (Update: Davis Reacts)
From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
This is Week 3, 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. Andrew Klavan here at PJM: Does Her Deserve An Oscar?
But Her is not one of those movies. It’s bad. Its plot — a guy falls in love with the artificial intelligence of a new computer operating system — is an already played-out and unoriginal version of Pygmalion. (See everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to 2002′s Simone). Its characters are collections of ideas rather than actual personalities — even the wonderful Amy Adams has to struggle to make her cliched nothing of a part come to life. And, most importantly, its central performance is just brutally dull.
Without that sort of skill from its lead actor, a film like Her is just a charmless display of intellection. Which is all right for critics, I guess, if they’re not very good critics. But for humans? Pass.
Andrew, I have to admit it: your review yesterday inspired me. Recalling our occasional disagreements over movies and TV — which I still attribute mostly to our differing generational perspectives — the thinking went something like: “If Klavan hates it that much then maybe I’ll really like it!”
Last night April and I went to the ArcLight. I suggested four potential movies: Gravity 3D in IMAX, Saving Mr. Banks, Frozen, and Her. April picked Her — which really surprised me. And we both liked it — me more than her. She overall found it enjoyable — a good B-level movie worth seeing once but nothing special. I was more enthusiastic. As a singularitarian who thinks seriously about how biological and artificial intelligence will interact in the coming decades, I found it a thoughtful, well-shot fable.
And while you couldn’t relate to the main hero and his phone-based emotional life, I kind of could. It was great to go on this date with April last night; in the two weeks following our family Christmas visit we were separated while she put on a successful solo art show in the Bahamas and I hammered away at the book manuscript. So remember those scenes in Her with Theodore running around with the camera showing Samantha the world? That was me and our Siberian Husky running through the park the last few weeks, smart phone extended filming, sharing the emotional experience through a technological medium to connect with another person thousands of miles away. Where Her gets challenging is in taking the common experience we have today of using smart phones to channel our emotions and then asking the Turing Question: how do you know if the person you’re communicating with is a real person? What does it mean when you can no longer tell?
So what does it make me that Her is my best picture pick so far? Not a very good critic? Too influenced by America’s corrupt popular culture without even realizing it? Somehow less than human? You did say that humans should pass and I know that it was just a joke, but yeah, I’m a believer in Kathy Shaidle’s “nobody is ever just kidding” philosophy.
But that’s alright. I’m not offended. In my previous life as a film obsessive working at an art house movie theatre and writing weekly film reviews, the secret that came to me which I submit to you and everyone else for debate: if you don’t like a movie the first time you see it and a whole lot of other people (who are generally smart and thoughtful and whose advice you trust) do like it, then maybe you should just watch it again. Maybe you didn’t get it.
As I emailed you after your questioning review of Inside Llewyn Davis, I meant to write a blog post arguing that the Coen brothers are the primary example of this phenomenon. (They’re also my pick for your generation’s greatest filmmakers.) I didn’t like Fargo and The Big Lebowski the first times I saw them. It took a few viewings for them to unfold and for me to pick up on just how much they offer. All of the Coen brothers’ movies seem to be like that. Some — like No Country for Old Men and True Grit — hit you with their greatness immediately and obviously. But all the others just get better with each viewing. (Her‘s writer-director Spike Jonze falls into the same camp – Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Where the Wild Things Are reward repeat watching.)
And honestly, I think that’s my definition of what it takes for a movie to be great — it has to be one that gets better each time you watch it. Is that a decent definition of what makes for great art in general? A painting you can stare at and always see something new, a song that always stirs the emotions differently, a book where each visit reveals new depth?
It seems that our mutual friend, the great activist-entrepreneur-writer-troublemaker R.J. Moeller, had a similar dismissive response to the film. In answering his longer criticisms, perhaps you’ll see why I’d encourage giving Her another chance.
This is Week 3, day 1 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. Two excerpts from Glenn Reynolds’ essential new The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself, that I finished reading yesterday:
“… the fact is that the modern teenager is a modern phenomenon, and teenagers in previous eras were far more responsible — and far more integrated into society as a whole.” - page 69
During my miserable junior high and high school years I just knew in my bones that the factory-like school system was an anti-American aberration designed to create efficient drones to serve in the hive. Now Glenn’s book confirms it and lays bare the flaws at the base of this model imported from Germany during the Industrial Revolution.
A question for debate and discussion (particularly amongst my PJ Lifestyle co-conspirators): in declaring war against the false gods of pop culture polytheism and the educational establishment should we also reject the very idea of the “teenager” and the “adolescent”? For children with the aptitude to skip over the made-up, in-between period of tolerated, coddled irresponsibility, why not start treating them like genuine young adults as soon as they’re able?
On page 87 Glenn cuts to the essence of how an America 3.0-style libertarian-conservatism seeks to solve problems:
Glenn wrote the foreword to James C. Bennett’s and Michael Lotus’s manifesto America 3.0, which lays out an exciting, realistic vision for how as American culture continues toward greater decentralization citizens will be empowered to pursue multiple solutions to their communities’ problems. Glenn’s book shows how this style of thinking can be applied to higher education and K-12 — which are more interrelated problems with common origins than are often discussed. In jump-starting the education reform discussion through reading it, I’d also argue that this model of thought should be applied to other issues too. There is no single, over-arching solution to America’s cultural, domestic, and foreign policy problems. Instead there are multiple potential solutions and the answer is to enable greater freedom so that they can be tested and explored. Still haven’t read An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths?
3. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Fort Worth Star-Telegram Guts Unflattering Wendy Davis Exposé
Slater reported that the truth is far more complicated than Davis’ origins story. Davis divorced at 21, not 19. She only lived in the trailer for a few months. She was able to get her Harvard education thanks to her second husband, Jeff Davis, whom she left the day after he made the final payment on her tuition. He had cashed his 401(k) savings and taken out a loan to pay for her education.
I hope Davis continues to be held up as an icon of 3rd wave postmodern Marxist feminism. A woman who rose to media-fueled prominence defending late term abortion gained her Harvard education through abandoning her children and husband. And HE got the kids afterward, citing infidelity!
That’s what ideology does to people: it inspires them to sacrifice their family in pursuit of something they value as more important. You know, like defending a woman’s right to an abortion after 20 weeks.
4. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: The Last Generation of the West and the Thin Strand of Civilization
The universities were the great backbone of the West, from the Academy and Lyceum to medieval Pisa and Oxbridge to the great 18th- and 19th-century founding of American campuses. Not necessarily any longer. Too many are bankrupt morally, economically, politically, and culturally.
The symptoms are terrifying: one trillion dollars in student debt (many of these loans accruing at higher than average interest rates and even before students have graduated); a small Eloi class of rarefied elites who teach little and write in runes that no one can decipher; a large Morlock class of part-timers and oppressed lecturers who subsidize the fat and waste of the tenured and administrative classes; graduates who are arrogant but ignorant, nursed on –studies ideology without the liberal arts foundations to back up their zeal; and a BA/BS brand that no longer ensures better-paying jobs, if any jobs at all.
In sum, apart from the sciences and medicine, most of the university coarsens rather than enlightens American life.
The current campus is unsustainable and we are beginning to see its decline, as online courses and for-profit tech schools usurp its students. The liberal arts are not nurtured and protected for another generation in the university. Instead, their umbilical cords have become cut with the cleaver of race/class/gender no-nothingism. Again the theme: the more bloated, exploitive, and costly the university, the more it lashes out it that it is short-changed, the victim of philistine budget cuts, and the last bastion of civilized life.
Each day when I drive to work I try to look at the surrounding communities, and count how many are working and how many of the able-bodied are not. I listen to the car radio and tally up how many stories, both in their subject matter and method of presentation, seem to preserve civilization, or how many seem to tear it down. I try to assess how many drivers stay between the lines, how many weave while texting or zoom in and out of traffic at 90mph or honk and flip off drivers.
Today, as the reader can note from the tone of this apocalyptic essay, civilization seemed to be losing.
I appreciate VDH tremendously, but as I wrote in framing my review of America 3.0, I can no longer indulge in the Apocalypticism so in vogue throughout political sentiment on both Right and Left.
There are many solutions to our problems out there. There just isn’t one single absolute answer. (And in fact it’s the pursuit of the belief that there is — what Bennett and Lotus define as America 2.0 — that has largely led America to many of these problems in the first place.)
5. Barry Rubin here at PJM: Why the Arab/Muslim World Is Trapped
While we see few occasions of consciousness–and certainly few publicly expressed–from Arab and Muslim intellectuals of what is really going on, they still do take place. For example, in a December 30, 2013, interview that aired on CBC TV, Egyptian novelist Youssef Ziedan said:
We should reconsider our notions regarding the Jewish question. We are not even aware how much this affects us. [Antisemitism] has become a common trade, benefiting all our politicians. Any politician who wants to gain popularity curses Israel, but when he comes to power, he has no problem with Israel.
That’s stupidity. That’s stupidity which is connected to the ignorance of the people. We should reconsider this. Nobody looks out for our interests. We should be aware of this.
In other words, Ziedan shows keen consciousness of political movements and how leaders manipulate them.
6. At the Daily Mail: ‘You are a colossal fraud. There’s only one thing left for you to do’: How the FBI tried to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into suicide with anonymous note
Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover feared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so much he sent the civil rights leader an anonymous letter urging him to commit suicide, it has emerged.
A new book has chronicled how the FBI under Hoover classified King as ‘the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country’ and went to extreme lengths – including breaking in and bugging his home, office and hotel rooms – to destroy him and his work to bring about racial equality.
After delivering his ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ at the 1963 March on Washington, the government’s interest in the leader intensified and Hoover allocated significant resources to monitoring King’s movements and eavesdropping on his conversations, according to ‘The Burglary: the Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.’
I wonder what Hoover would think of an NSA that has the capability of delivering reports on every single computer user’s porn preferences?
7. An excerpt from Kevin D. Williamson’s Encounter Broadside, What Doomed Detroit:
Cover with Siberian Husky:
Excerpt from page 19:
Make a point to pick up this great analysis. It’s a quick read you can manage in a half hour or less and then have an understanding of the multiple factors that bled Detroit dry over decades.
8. Glenn’s USA Today column this week: Government conspiracy theories aren’t crazy
Spend a little while on Twitter or in Internet comment sections and you’ll see a significant number of people who think that the NSA may have been relaying intelligence about the Mitt Romney campaign to Obama operatives, or that Chief Justice John Roberts’ sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail.
A year ago, these kinds of comments would have been dismissable as paranoid conspiracy theory. But now, while I still don’t think they’re true, they’re no longer obviously crazy. And that’s Obama’s legacy: a government that makes paranoid conspiracy theories seem possibly sane.
What are the potential solutions to the NSA spying on all internet traffic and making backup copies of everyone’s email inboxes and g-chats? There really isn’t one, from what I can tell. Even if some law is passed saying the NSA needs to stop providing the ability to spy on your keystrokes to the 29-year-old Edward Snowden nutjobs they hire then abuses will still happen. And BTW, do you think Vladimir Putin has similar capabilities?
How about this: the genie’s out of the bottle here and there are bigger fights to have. Anytime you do something digitally, online you should just accept the fact that someone could be spying on you or could recover the data about what you did later. And then live your life accordingly. Want privacy? Write by hand in a journal or how about *gasp* on a computer or something that isn’t hooked up to the internet?
9. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: Volokh Conspiracy Takes the Boeing
“Very interesting day at The Washington Post. Left-wing Ezra Klein is out and the much-respected conservative legal blog,The Volokh Conspiracy,is in,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism.“ Already the Jeff Bezos era is becoming an interesting one.” John links to this press release from the Washington Post:
The Washington Post today announced a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog that covers law, public policy, politics, culture and other topics.
Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, founded the blog in April 2002, and it quickly became a regular destination for Supreme Court junkies, academics, and anyone interested in law and national issues. Most of the contributors are law professors, and include some of the top legal scholars in the nation.
Great for them! I’ll make a point to start featuring more of their posts in my link round-ups.
10. The Daily Mail reporting on a disturbing viral story: ‘You ruined my life’: Brave woman, 28, posts video of her phoning female teacher who ‘sexually abused her as a 12-year-old’
A 28-year-old woman has posted online a video of her confronting the female teacher who allegedly molested her as a 12-year-old girl.
The shocking clip, which was uploaded to YouTube last Friday, shows a woman who identifies herself by the name Jamie X, talking about abuse that she allegedly suffered at the hands of a teacher at Chemawa Middle School in Riverside, California.
Jamie X calls Alhambra Unified School District where she claims that her attacker is now an assistant principal. In the call, she tells the woman, whose name is not being released by MailOnline, that she did something terribly wrong.
It can sometimes be very difficult trying to find the line between internet justice and internet vengeance. Not so much in this case here. Just watch the video. The assistant principal has since resigned. See this interview of Jamie X:
Question: was this the best way to make sure that this assistant principal can no longer be in a position of power? What was the other, better solution? And as Jamie points out in the interview, she now expects others to come forward. Perhaps someone whose crimes were committed more recently so charges can be filed?
All of this speaks to Davis’ honesty and integrity. If she cannot be counted on to accurately report her own history, she’s likely to run a slipshod governorship that remains at arm’s length with the truth. Asking legitimate questions about her veracity is not a personal attack, but the vetting that political candidates should expect to undergo when they seek high office and the power that comes with it. Her reaction to the publication of this story suggests that her skin hasn’t gotten any thicker since she blamed the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for her first political defeat and sued the paper for endorsing her opponent, back in 1996.
Basically, Facebook users will lose interest in Facebook over time as their peers lose interest — if the model is correct. ”Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” write the researchers.
Are you someone who has given up Facebook recently in search of better solutions for keeping in touch with your friends and family? What are better social networking options? I’ve been upping my Twitter and Instagram usage lately.
13. Roger L. Simon: The Duranty Prize Is Back—with an Addition
On October 10, 2012, PJ Media and The New Criterion combined forces to give the first annual Walter Duranty Prize for journalistic mendacity, named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow bureau chief between 1922 and 1936. Duranty is notorious for having whitewashed Stalin’s atrocities, notably the forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians known as the Holodomor. Duranty’s cleansed reports were further responsible for encouraging Franklin Roosevelt to recognize the Soviet Union.
That last sentence there is the big, painful truth: American history for the 20th century was transformed because FDR, misled by disinformation in The New York Times, chose to recognize the Soviet Union, an evil criminal state built on torture, murder, and lies. That was when the floodgate broke down for the Marxist assault on America’s institutions.
14. Via Truth Revolt, Nick Gillespie at the Daily Beast: Ending the War on Pot is Obama’s Last Chance for a Legacy
With just three years left in office and a possible Republican landslide in the fall’s midterm elections, Obama must be in something close to panic mode. His health care plan seems like it’s imploding, his foreign policy and civil liberties record is awful, and the economy is still barely stumbling forward into an uncertain future. Enthusiastically winding down the federal war on pot would be popular with voters and, as important, wouldn’t require immediate cooperation from Congress.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells Remnick that in 2007, Obama explained, “I have no desire to be one of those presidents who are just on the list—you see their pictures lined up on the wall. … I really want to be a President who makes a difference.” But Obama’s approval ratings are mired in the low 40s, a reality he partially—and unconvincingly—attributes to racism: “There’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.” As HotAir’s Ed Morrissey notes, the existence of rump racists completely fail to explain Obama’s two electoral victories and his 60 percent-plus approval ratings at the start of his presidency. A far better explanation is simply that he’s failed to accomplish much of anything the public likes.
Would it honestly surprise anyone if President Valerie Jarrett decided to do this? It’s kind of her Hail Mary Jane last resort, isn’t it? One final big, feel good invocation of the goddess to distract people while Iran goes nuclear. Is there a more important issue in the final years of Obama’s presidency than preventing the further rise of Iran as the world’s most dangerous global terror state?
Oh yeah, making sure you can buy cheap pot at Wal-Mart. Should marijuana be legal at the federal level, thus allowing individual states to regulate as their voters see fit? Of course, but let’s be sure and call it exactly what it is should Jarrett puppet Obama onto this path: an unneeded, wholly hypocritical act designed just to distract stupid people. Bread and circuses, as VDH would say.
15. Michael Walsh here at PJM: Mitt Romney and How the West was Lost
Like my PJ colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, I too am pessimistic about the future of our country. Like many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that, during the election of 2012, the country would somehow come to its senses and evict from the White House an obviously unqualified charlatan with a threadbare act, and that we would begin the slow restoration of Foundational values to the Republic. Andy McCarthy, Roger Simon, Victor, Roger Kimball, Dr. Helen, J. Christian Adams — all wrong. And these are not stupid people; neither is Michael Barone, who also fell on his face.
Well… some of us were pretty pessimistic about Mitt “least-worst-option” Romney the whole time. What I wrote as the conclusion of my article “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology” on November 4, 2012:
Sitting here on this Sunday morning before the election, the Sun now up, reflecting back on these years scouring through dusty old Marxist books, trying to understand a president who built his career on a mountain of lies, I confess a peace with either electoral result on Tuesday. A part of me almost wishes that Obama
stealswins reelection (as I anticipate he will). The thought of him quietly retiring to a mansion in Hawaii in January to live out the rest of his life in comfort and adoration should inspire nausea. Only if Obama wins reelection do conservatives have a chance to hold him accountable for Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and all the crimes we don’t even know about yet. The man has blood on his hands and we can’t let him get away with it.
An ancient dictum popularized in recent years by the late Christopher Hitchens on the path forward, should Tuesday disappoint:
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
Do Justice and Let the Skies Fall
PJ Media Story Round Up
Nicholas Ballasy: Gates on Reid: ‘I Do Denigrate Him,’ But ‘I’ve Tried to Critically Appraise’ People in Washington
Stephen Green: Care versus Coverage
Tom Blumer: Don’t Feed Us This Mitt Again
Rodrigo Sermeno: EPA Administrator Says Coal Rules Necessary Because of ‘Devastating Impacts on the Planet’
Bethany Mandel: There Isn’t Enough Booze in the World, Dennis Rodman
New at PJ Lifestyle
Kathy Shaidle: Neil Young Doubles Down on the Crazy
Chris Queen: New Photos of Challenger Disaster Emerge
Theodore Dalrymple: Should You Vaccinate Your Children?
Becky Graebner: Is that a Geoduck or a Parsnip?
New at PJ Tatler
J. Christian Adams: Virginia Hustle: Governor Bob McDonnell Indicted
Sean Hannity Says He’s Leaving New York Following Gov. Cuomo’s Intolerant Statement Against Conservatives (Updated)
More From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
If you like this video please be sure and read the book that inspired it, Dennis Prager’s Happiness is a Serious Problem. It’s a real life-changer book that will provide some of the basic tools
And get caught up on courses you may have missed at Prager University here. Last week I blogged that their video on rent control is an effective way to “Explain the Folly of Big Government to Your Democrat Friends and Family.”
This is Week 2, day 5 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
Last year I started experimenting with Instagram. Inspired by PJM columnist Zombie I decided to create an account to A) confuse the hell out of people, B) stir up trouble, and C) explore the truth of what people believe in the world today without the baggage of my existing politically incorrect identity clouding how they addressed me.
As with Zombie, with “Thoth and Ma’at Married” people can’t even tell if I’m a man or woman — the handle includes the names of both male and female Egyptian deities of writing (and thus serves as my stealth so-con way of promoting marriage too). They likewise can’t tell at first glance what my religion, politics, or philosophy are. I use the account to engage with people all across the spectrum of cultures and ideas to try to learn more about where their values come from and how they think. On January 10, one of the atheists that I follow posted a photo in which he asked for anyone to ask him his opinion about anything. I asked which side he supported in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s the exchange that followed and the revealing admission from an atheist about where he really learned right from wrong in our pop culture-dominated world today:
So he simultaneously admits he knows nothing but expresses his preset ideological opinion that the governments are driven by money and the militaries by primitivism.
Here’s when I drop my counterculture conservative provocation, defining the evil in the issue and then seeing how he or any of his followers choose to react to the facts:
Did my provocation catch any fish? Yes, two revealing responses. The first a somewhat innocent, naive idealist, and the second doubting my facts.
One thing that I’ve learned in these exchanges over the years is to try to cut to the key points you want to make. Don’t go on and on. Just give the link and state your idea. Over-writing is a sign that you’re not confident in what you’re saying.
Here’s where I pose the question that really matters to me for my research and writing: if you’re an atheist, from where do you get your values? I then offer a number of possibilities. Usually I’ll try to throw out five or six, here just three:
Sounds like a good punk rock song title, doesn’t it? “Let Me Stab to Be Corrected.” This is a much more cordial exchange than many that I have with more hostile secularists. But then again, with this particular meme it allowed for more of a thoughtful discussion. Perhaps I should start experimenting with using “Ask My Opinion” and “Ask Anything” type images to fish for more interesting questions…
I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to remind atheists that there are multiple ways of reading the Bible is to start talking about Maimonides. See Douglas Rushkoff’s Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism for the accessible introduction that turned me on to the Rambam not just as a Jewish theologian, but as a foundational thinker of Western civilization and one of the inspirers of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and the founding of America.
And here’s where I got the kind of off-hand, not-even-thinking-about-it, honest admission that I look for when engaging in these kinds of exchanges:
It’s hard for me to pinpoint with as much precision as @isaac_of_portage just which specific pop culture properties most influenced my values and understanding of good and evil. There are just so many from Star Wars to Super Mario to the Disney canon which shaped my childhood and initial adolescence much more than the irregular church attendance in mushy Methodism.
Though, as I mentioned in the exchange, seeing Schindler’s List in seventh grade — amidst the controversy of it being broadcast uncensored, commercial-free on NBC — did psychologically scar me somehow. But it’s a way that I needed to be scarred — it was one of the big beginning-to-wake-up-to-evil moments that would take a long time to process. Throughout my life in my obsessions with movies, books, comics, and video games, I understand that I’ve been influenced both for the good and the bad. Some pop culture properties derive from the foundational stories and myths of Western civilization, others are reinventions of the primitive, pre-modern death cults which one needs to understand in order to make much sense of the first five books of the Bible. (I’ve found from years of these kinds of exchanges that many secularists misinterpret the Bible to such an extent that they end up taking the side of the Egyptians and Canaanites, not realizing just what the ancient Hebrews were rebelling against — nature worship, human sacrifice and temple prostitution.)
So when I talk about Pop Culture Polytheism, I don’t do so with complete condemnation, because it is a religion that I have practiced to one degree or another all my life and still do to a lesser, more controlled extent today. Pop culture polytheists are those who use pop culture properties as substitutes – or supplements — to religion. You can be a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, secular humanist, etc. first and a pop culture polytheist second — many people are, more should be.
When pop culture is understood as a tool for us to better understand and engage with the world then it’s useful and valuable. When it’s held up as how we should model ourselves, when the figures dancing across the screen become like the gods on Mount Olympus, then we’ve got a problem. And that’s what we have to face and confront today. Pop culture polytheism can be a wonderful thing — my wife and I bond deeply over our shared Disney and Star Trek enthusiasms — but it is only a toolbox, not a foundation upon which to build a life. So in keeping with my third New Year’s resolution…
10 Headlines from Around the Web this Week
Starting With 6 Pop Culture Polytheist Idols of the Age
This is of course something that West has inspired since posing as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone. He put out the magick spell of himself as the Messiah and others took him up on his offer.
2. Jessica Winter at Slate: Did Woody Allen Molest His Adopted Daughter 22 Years Ago?
In November,Vanity Fair published Maureen Orth’s revisitation of the Allen-Farrow scandal, including the first-ever media interview with Dylan. The interview was a bombshell: Dylan (who now uses a different name) did not waver from the story she told at age 7 about Allen molesting and sexually assaulting her in the attic of her mother’s home in Connecticut, on Aug. 4, 1992. On her side is her brother, media-star-in-the-making Ronan Farrow. After Allen received a lifetime-achievement award at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony,Ronan tweeted, “Missed the Woody Allen tribute—did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”
So what should an outside observer make of the Allen-Farrow debacle, two decades after the fact?
In his June 1993 ruling, Wilk also denied Allen any visitation rights with Dylan or his older adopted child with Farrow, 15-year-old Moses. In May 1994, in a hearing considering custody or increased visitation for Allen, the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court cited a “clear consensus” among psychiatric experts involved in the case that Allen’s “interest in Dylan was abnormally intense.”
Popular culture celebrates criminality — both on screen and off. Someday a lot of people are going to be very ashamed that they gave Allen the benefit of the doubt for all these years. I suspect that some day we’ll have a better idea of the full extent of the truth. If Allen is who his accusers claim he is then eventually more victims will emerge. And too many to be denied.
But will anybody care? They still listen to Michael Jackson songs, don’t they?
Why does Martin Scorsese have to keep remaking the same movie about violent, sex-obsessed, macho jerks over and over again?
But you should also know her as YOUR NEW FASHION IDOL AND A GODDESS WALKING AMONGST US.
5. …but also oozes goddess in this sleek, formfitting little black dress.
So is it her fashion sense that’s being worshiped or her skin color?
5. Andrew Johnson at National Review: ABC Swoons: 50 Ways to Celebrate Michelle Obama’s Birthday
In preparation for the first lady’s 50th birthday on Saturday, ABC News hasserved up a fawning list 50 ways to celebrate the occasion.
It highlights Michelle Obama’s most memorable and glamorous moments. Below, ten examples from the list, which you can read in full here:
Dance to Beyonce
Move into a massive new house with your family and invite your mother to move in too
Make the cover of Vogue
Buy a Jason Wu dress
Hang out with your friend, Oprah
There are no winners here. Anna Wintour put Lena Dunham on the cover of Vogue, and Photoshopped out all the physical imperfections that make Dunham, y’know, a human being. Meanwhile, Jezebel offered $10,000 for the untouched photos, and within “two hours of offering [the money], [they] received six allegedly unaltered images.” But not without controversy: Brooklyn Magazine perhaps put it best, or at least the most succinct, with the headline, “Jezebel Offers $10,000 For Unretouched Lena Dunham Photos from Vogue; So, F*ck You Jezebel.”
The high priorities of the leading third wave feminist publication today.
Last night The Wife and I watched the first two episodes of the new season. What struck me as very awkward during the sex scenes is that with the new short haircut and her insistence on displaying her body she honestly looks more boyish than feminine. So these supposedly heterosexual scenes end up having this creepy homoerotic undertone to them. Hannah doesn’t look or behave like a mature woman; in both instances she’s a teenage boy. I knew too many Hannahs in college. She unfortunately is a voice of a generation.
That’s really the nature of the show and of many secular millennial pop culture polytheists: today’s politically correct ideology has pushed girls to aspire to be more masculine and men to be more feminine. In a bigger expression it’s what we see in Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett making the big decisions while hapless, wimpy Barack Obama goes out to whine that his approval ratings are tanking because people just don’t like the idea of a black president.
This is Week 2, day 4 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
The Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. Here’s the full list at the Hollywood Reporter. Best picture nominees:
American Hustle - Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Captain Phillips - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
Dallas Buyers Club - Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman, Producers
Her - Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
Nebraska - Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
Philomena - Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
12 Years a Slave - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
The Wolf of Wall Street - Nominees to be determined
A few years back the Academy decided to expand the number of films they’d nominate for best picture, thus diluting the significance of the award. It used to be that only five films would be nominated and it could be a genuinely close race. In 2008 it was Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (The best of the them won, IMHO.) Then in 2009 it ballooned to ten, offering an assortment ranging from Avatar to Up to Precious and Inglourious Basterds.
It seems weird to compare a blue aliens action flick to a Pixar family comedy to a ghetto sentimentality to a high-brow grindhouse bloodbath. But I guess that’s just the nature of our postmodern film age. (Of the films nominated, fanatical Disney partisan I am, Up would’ve earned my vote.)
This year’s list is similarly all over the map and I haven’t seen any of them, though I imagine The Wife and I will catch some of when they start making their way to Netflix streaming. With her finishing up graduate school we tend to only make it to the theaters to see something that’s really big and mind-blowing. The Hobbit films in IMAX 3-D are well worth whichever arm or leg you’ll need to barter for a ticket.
But for a comedy or a drama, why bother going out to the theaters? The effect of seeing it on a decent-sized screen at home isn’t much different. And why bother trying to see all the best picture nominees before the show so you can talk about it when they’ve inflated the category to ten? That’s a lot of work!
Film is now a culturally dead medium. It’s akin to painting, ballet, classical music, drama, and the literary novel. Other, newer technologies have spawned mediums with greater power and influence amongst the masses while high-thinking elitists talk mostly to themselves about how their art is saving the world.
But kudos to Oscar for the delicious snub of Oprah Winfrey’s hateful The Butler, a disinformation project designed to make people believe America and conservatives are racist. The one good thing about having 10 best picture spots to fill? Intentionally only pick to fill nine of them and the message to the one snubbed is loud and clear. Are we done with the Oscar-bait genre yet?
Maybe now that “film” is dead individual movies can start to live more. Here’s the best picture nominee I’m going to make a point to see:
Here are 10 Interesting Stories From Around the Web on Thursday
1. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Exclusive: The Voice of Iranian Dissent
I’ve received what follows from Iran, via Banafsheh Zand, who has written at PJ Media on several occasions. As you will see, it’s an open letter from one of the bravest men of our time, Heshmat Tabarzadi, a fighter for the freedom of the Iranian people who has repeatedly put his life on the line in that worthy cause. Heshmat was one of the central figures in the Iranian student movement, and then joined the Green Movement that was cheated out of its electoral victory in 2009. Along with other Green leaders, Heshmat was subsequently arrested, convicted by a “Revolutionary Tribunal,” and locked away.
As he writes, he was recently paroled halfway through his 8-year sentence. I rather suspect that the regime hoped he would take the opportunity to flee the country, but he won’t do that. Like the Green leaders Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi, Heshmat is one of the most respected figures in contemporary Iran, and, so far at least, the regime prefers to keep them locked away rather than killing them, probably hoping they will die in prison.
Today, January 15th, they arrested him again and he is incarcerated. It behooves any one who really cares about human rights to keep his name in front of the civilized world, to condemn his imprisonment, and to call for his release so that he can publicly and freely promote his cause, in which the civilized world purports to believe.
Read The Whole Thing. While Americans are having fun debating their popular culture other people are fighting for their freedom:
My name is Heshmat Tabarzadi. I am an Iranian secular democrat human rights activist. I have been arrested several times on charges related to my activities, most recently after the green movement and the disputed election results of 2009. In October 2010, I was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted of five charges of “insulting the Leader,” “insulting the President,” “propaganda against the system,” “gathering and colluding with intent to harm the state security,” and “disturbing public order.” I had already spent seven years of my life in prison, nearly three years of it in solitary confinement for my activities as a student leader. Additionally I have spent another 4 years of my latest verdict and still have four more years remaining. I have spent part of every year of my life in prison since 1999 and while imprisoned I have been tortured on several different occasions. Meanwhile my different publications have been shut down, I have been denied the right to peaceful participation in two secular democratic and human rights organizations, and I have been prohibited from any social activities for 10 years.
2. Mediaite: Fox’s Adam Housley Slams ‘Bigoted’ and ‘Pathetic’ Racial Remarks About His Interracial Marriage
Earlier today we reported on OWN’s special interview with TV star Mowry, in which she tearfully recounted being called a “white man’s whore,” among other slurs. Speaking with TVNewser, Housley excoriated those who wish to cut down their relationship.
“The fact that in this day and age, we get attacked for our interracial relationship is beyond sad…it is pathetic,” he said. “Yes I am white. Yes she is half black. Marrying a white man does not erase her color and marrying a woman who is half black does not mean I am blinded. The problem isn’t pigmentation…the problem is backwards, bigoted thought from people who should know better.”
3. Twitchy: Louis Farrakhan’s extraterrestrial ‘Wheel’ has nothing to do with Pat Sajak … Or does it?
If you’re like the vast majority of human beings on this planet, you haven’t closely followed the preaching of minister Louis Farrakhan, former calypso music artist, extremist Islamist, black supremacist, and all around anti-Semite. Well, it’s time you caught up on all the craziness … and Twitchy is here to help!
In short, it’s all about The Wheel. No, we’re not talking about the Wheel of Fortune. That’s Pat Sajak — different minister. It’s some kind of mothership from outer space that follows Farrakhan around. At some point, when he’s good and ready, he will climb on board to fly away from planet Earth and, for good measure, maybe kill off all of our planet’s blue-eyed devils.
Moreover, I don’t care that they’re all a bunch of pussies at MSNBC, but cut the B.S. posturing when you won’t allow any non-retarded conservative on your airwaves.
5. Dana Stevens at Slate: Entry 9: Forrest Gump and the Sundance Kid snubbed by the Academy!
So I promise to return to 12 Years in our next round (and please get started without me if you like). But first, a few observations about this morning’s predawn rites: The biggest puzzle for me is why the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, a near-universal presence on top-10 lists throughout the land and certainly a far more accessible movie than their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, has been entirely shut out of the major awards (though it did get some recognition in the technical categories, including a nod for its magic-making DP, Bruno Delbonnel, for his cinematography).
6. Noah Rothman at Mediaite: A Fringe Coalition: When the Left and Right Join Forces to Discredit the Center
The network’s prime time hosts have, in fact, gone all in (so to speak) in the effort to expose Christie as a vindictive and manipulative “bully,” going so far as to repeatedly broadcast arcane and unsubstantiated theories about Christie’s motives. National Review editor Rich Lowry correctly noted that the various theories posited by MSNBC personalities designed to make Christie a toxic property“failed to meet the most basic evidentiary standard of, you know, marshaling some evidence.”
But those theories satisfy a purpose, one with bipartisan appeal, apparently: The desperate need shared by both the far-right and the far-left to smother the Christie juggernaut in its crib.
Pundits on the cable news networks often lament the lack of bipartisanship that supposedly characterized an idealized version of American history, often while failing to recognize their own roles in an era of hyper-partisan politics. But these pundits could just as easily recognize it in the emerging fringe alliance. Both of America’s political extremes apparently view centrism as an existential threat and are willing, if reluctantly, to ally in order to guarantee that theirs remain the loudest and most influential voices in the room.
I’ll keep reading Rothman, who I regard as one of the best media writers around, but I found this one to be a misfire in the narrowness with which he chose to frame the “far-right” and “far-left.” I registered my dissent with him on Twitter:
— David Swindle (@DaveSwindle) January 16, 2014
7. New Ann Coulter Column: IS CHRIS CHRISTIE LESS BELIEVABLE THAN TAWANA BRAWLEY?
Even in 1997 — a decade after Brawley’s story had been proved a hoax beyond a scintilla of a doubt — Sharpton arranged for her to give a speech to his United African Movement at a Brooklyn church.
I find it hard to believe that Al Sharpton did not know Brawley was lying about being raped by a Nazi cult on the Wappingers Falls police force.
Brawley’s boyfriend later told Newsday that she had admitted to him at the time that she cooked up the story with her mother. Is it believable that she didn’t also tell her trusted adviser Al Sharpton?
Is Al Sharpton a “far left” figure? Maybe he was when first starting out, but these days he’s within the bosom of the Democratic Party. He’s “left” and his views may be “far out” sometimes, but his views, as despicable as they are, count as within the mainstream of progressive/so-called liberal thought.
How about this for a definition: you’re not “far” anything if you choose to work through either the Democratic or Republican parties.
8. Andrew Klavan at Truth Revolt: Lena Dunham Exposes the Truth About OnScreen Nudity
I’ve been thinking a lot about Lena Dunham’s naked body. It’s a difficult job, but someone’s got to do it. Last week, TheWrap’s TV Editor Tim Molloy got yelled at because he dared to ask why Dunham was always taking her clothes off on her TV show Girls. Girls is an HBO series in which the 20-something actress daughters of famous people — including the daughters of newsman Brian Williams and playwright David Mamet — portray obnoxious, self-obsessed 20-something females trying to make it in New York. About 870,000 people watch the show every week. That’s not a lot, but I suspect most of them work in the media. Anyway, that would explain why the show gets such ecstatic reviews.
9. At Elle last month, hat tip to Kathy Shaidle: The Carrie Bradshaw Myth – What’s Wrong with ‘Sex and the City’ – ELLE
Well, guess what? I’m an editor at ELLE.com. I have a formidable pile of Miu Miu. My love life is actually pretty exciting. And with every TBS re-run or SATC marathon on the Style Network, I’m starting to realize something kind of sad: What I didn’t “get” in my younger days wasn’t the secret to Carrie’s coolness… it was that Carrie Bradshaw is an idiot. And a sucker. And—this is the part that hurts me most—a really shitty modern woman.
And I think that’s what pisses me off most about Carrie Bradshaw, what makes me angry at myself for not seeing it before: Carrie pretends to be independent and free-thinking, but at her core, she’s a totally passive woman who can’t lead an adventure or survive without knowing someone (or actually, everyone) is totally in love with her. Despite her “girls just wanna be free” party line, Carrie Bradshaw still needs a guy to make her feel complete. And to me, that’s beyond dumb. It’s kind of unforgivable.
I admire Mandy’s stand. As a 32-year-old virgin who’s happily getting married this summer, I know how challenging it can be to save sex for marriage. As a woman who works at a pregnancy resource center, I also see the damaging effects of sex outside marriage. Sex is meant to be a holistic experience that touches our minds, bodies, souls, and emotions. It’s more than just a pleasure; it’s a pleasure that comes with great responsibility.
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
Bridget Johnson: $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Easily Approved by Congress
Bryan Preston: Get Ready, NRA: Harvey Weinstein Is Coming After You with a Movie Starring Meryl Streep
Andrew C. McCarthy: KSM’s Prison Communiqués: Enemy Combatants Back To Being Criminal Defendants
Rodrigo Sermeno: Coburn to Congress: ‘The Problem Is Us’
New at PJ Lifestyle
Bryan Preston: Justin Bieber Should Be Deported
PJ Lifestyle Cute Animal Videos: The Talking Porcupine Likes Pumpkins
Helen Smith: Why Marry if You Are a Call Girl?
Becky Graebner: #WashingtonDC: Moments of Beauty Chronicled by Instagram
Kathy Shaidle: Is Canada Becoming the Proving Ground for Eco-Terrorism?
Page 19 of Frank S. Meyer’s In Defense of Freedom:
This is Week 2, day 3 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. P. David Hornik Here at PJ Lifestyle today: Tu Bishvat, Israel’s Holiday of Trees
This Wednesday evening and Thursday mark the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat (the name refers to the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat). Also known as the New Year of Trees and as Israeli Arbor Day, it’s a minor, nonbiblical holiday, its source in the Talmud. But quite a to-do is made about it in Israel.
The Talmud specified Tu Bishvat as the day on which the annual agricultural cycle begins. Considering that the holiday falls in January or, at best, February, this—the middle of winter—may seem a strange time for agricultural rebirth. It is, though, the time in the Land of Israel when—amid the cold and damp, but with sunnier intervals—you start to see the first white and pink almond blossoms.
You also see packages of dried fruits (dates, figs, apricots, pineapple) and nuts, especially almonds, everywhere. In the Diaspora, Tu Bishvat was marked by eating fruits of the Land of Israel. In the European Diaspora with its cold winters, that meant dried fruits. Now, back in the Land of Israel, they’re ubiquitous at this time of year.
I admire my Jewish friends for all the holidays in their religion and how diligent they are in celebrating them. It’s a practice that we should all keep in mind regardless of faith or lack thereof — making time to just step apart from the world for a moment and reflect on who we are where we’re going.
Because it’s a dangerous, cruel place out there. Here’s a decadent, crime-ridden collection of headlines for today. Sorry.
3. The Onion: Unemployed, Miserable Man Still Remembers Teacher Who First Made Him Fall In Love With Writing
Sheard, who has reportedly been unable to hold down any semblance of well-paid, full-time employment, constantly struggles to stay financially afloat, has thus far failed to make a living off of writing as a career, and has frequently spiraled into long periods of severe depression and unhappiness. “She introduced me to Faulkner, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Joyce, and that’s what began my lifelong love affair with the narrative form. Those authors really opened up a whole new world to me, which ultimately inspired me to devote my whole life to the craft of prose. Mrs. Merriman was the catalyst for that; I’ll never forget her.”
For some reason Glenn Reynolds’ book The New School and all those literature and philosophy and religious studies majors all across America come to mind…
4. Chris Hedges at TruthDig: The Trouble With Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics, including the New Jersey multimillionaire and hard-line Democratic boss George Norcross III. Among his other supporters are many hedge fund managers and corporate executives and some of the nation’s most retrograde billionaires, including the Koch brothers. The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge apparently in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to support the governor’s 2013 re-election is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.
Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. They have had enough of what they perceive to be Barack Obama’s softness. Christie fits the profile and he is drooling for the opportunity.
The Romney campaign, which reluctantly agreed to Christie’s incessant demands for private jets, ungainly entourages and expensive hotel rooms in return for campaign appearances by the governor in behalf of the GOP nominee, decided against selecting him as running mate because, as the authors write, Romney’s vetters were “stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record.”
Hilarious. Christie is a third-world despot and we need to “overthrow the corporate state.”
The site’s growth milestone marks an all-time monthly high for both unique visitors and page views
TheWrap is pleased to announce that it has achieved its highest traffic month in the history of the site, surpassing both industry trades Variety and Deadline.
According to comScore, TheWrap scored 3.4 million unique visitors in December 2013, besting both Deadline Hollywood (2.6 million) and Variety (2.6 million) by almost 700,000 unique visitors each.
Among the four Hollywood industry news sites, the comScore ranking places TheWrap No. 2 behind The Hollywood Reporter which earned 5.7 million unique visitors in December, according to the ranking service.
Good for them!
6. E.J. Dionne also at Truthdig: Why Chris Christie Is Conservatives’ Worst Nightmare
What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government? It is that a leader or the coterie around him will abuse the authority of the state arbitrarily to gather yet more power, punish opponents and, in the process, harm rank-and-file citizens whose well-being matters not a whit to those who are trying to enhance their control.
This, of course, is a quite precise description of what happened when Gov. Chris Christie’s aides ordered the closure of some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September. Their motivation was political payback. The result: thousands of commuters along with emergency vehicles, school buses and pretty much the entire town of Fort Lee, N.J., were thrown into gridlock.
Using public facilities for selfish ends is the very definition of corruption, which is why this scandal bothers people far outside the conservative orbit.
7. Recode: AOL Finds a Home — Off Its Books — For Patch
Patch isn’t dead, and AOL isn’t officially done with it. But Tim Armstrong’s big bet on local news has come to an end: The AOL CEO is handing over Patch to investment fund Hale Global, which will run the network of news sites.
The deal is structured as a joint venture, and AOL will hold on to a small stake. But Hale will control and operate the company, and AOL will no longer have to fund Patch’s losses, which Armstrong had promised would stop by the end of 2013 but didn’t.
Hale specializes in turnaround projects and “special situations,” and normally that would mean that many of the 900 Patch sites would be shuttered — especially since that’s what AOL said it was going to do last summer. But AOL and Hale say all of the Patches will remain open.
8. My friends Mark Tapson at Acculturated: Nymphomaniac: Artistic Courage or Humiliation?
I’ve avoided writing about Danish director Lars von Trier’s upcoming arthouse movie epic Nymphomaniac for two reasons: one, such blatant titillation is boring, and two, I didn’t want to give publicity to a film I feel certain will be a degrading experience. But the recent revelation that actor Shia LaBeouf secured his role in the movie partly because he sent pictures of his penis to the filmmakers has compelled me to comment.
If you’re not familiar with von Trier, he’s the provocateur behind such disturbing flicks as Dancer in the Dark, Antichrist, Dogville, and now the sexually explicitNymphomaniac – which, as the title suggests, isn’t exactly a Disney movie, and which is notable mostly for its unusually creepy marketing campaign consisting of posters of the actors in mid-orgasm. If you have ever found yourself wondering what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bad guy Stellan Skarsgaard looks like during sexual climax, well, now you know. As Midwestern storyteller Garrison Keillor once put it, “If it feels good, it probably doesn’t look good.”
I saw a whole lot — too many — of these “explicit sex in dramatic feature” independent and foreign films back in my film critic and art house movie days a decade ago. Most of them are really very, very boring. The only narrative films with explicit sex that seem to be able to work are comedies where the sex is for goofy shocks. Pink Flamingos and Shortbus come to mind which chuckles. “Kill everyone now!”
My conclusion: pornography and art are opposite in their purpose and effects. Art is Apollonian, pornography is Dionysian. One challenges you to rise up, to transcend your base nature; the other encourages you to dive down and wallow in your animality. The erotic — the mysterious, the transcendent — is where one gets beyond the false dualism. Erotica and pornography are not synonymous. The most erotic part of a woman’s body is her face. Example, from Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Marjorie Cameron, widow of notorious rocket scientist/occultist Jack Parsons, as the Scarlet Woman:
I’ve had Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty on the brain today in my ongoing Disney studies. Perhaps she’s another example of this persona that Camille Paglia writes about? Think it’s a coincidence that the seductive demoness’ role in the story is to break up a family for 16 years? To divide a father from his daughter? (Yes, analyzing Disney culture through Paglia’s cultural approach seems a good approach for this year…)
But really all of this is nothing new. The cultural decadence has always been with America, it’s just more in the open now. But the old dirt is creeping out too…
9. Daily Mail: Jackie Kennedy ‘had an affair with ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and so did Bobby Kennedy’, new book based on interviews with Jackie’s ‘closest confidantes’ reveals
‘I am the sexiest man alive,’ he told a Danish newspaper before his death from AIDS in 1993. ‘Just ask Lee Radziwill. Just ask Jackie Kennedy. And if you don’t believe me, ask Bobby and John-John Kennedy. Nobody can resist me. Everyone who has gone to bed with me has fallen in love with me,’ he added.
The book details the lives of playwright Tennessee Williams and two of Jackie’s closest friends, authors Truman Capote and Gore Vidal.
‘I think Rudi systematically plans to seduce every member of my family, even my son when he grows up,’ the book says Jackie confessed to Capote.
Capote was also said to be shocked to learn about Nureyev’s affair with Bobby Kennedy, whom the writer had long suspected of being a deeply closeted homosexual,’ says Globe.
An outraged Jackie only ended the relationship when she saw the dancer paying too much attention to her son, JFK Jr., writes Porter.
The truth about the Democratic Party is that it’s really just the political wing of a sex-and-death worshiping cult. Read Michael Walsh’s Encounter Broadside on the Party’s criminal history and origins if you haven’t already.
10. Daily Mail: Full-nude strip club loses license after allowing 13-year-old victim of a sex slave ring to dance on stage
The Miami strip club that lost its license in the wake of allegations that a 13-year-old sex slave had been forced to perform under the stage name Peaches has filed an injunction to get re-opened.
Miami Beach city manager Jimmy Morales suspended Club Madonna’s business permits for six months on Friday, while police investigate the circumstances around how a 13-year old girl was able to get a job dancing at the fully nude strip club.
But club owner Leroy Griffith has refused to take the decision lying down and on Tuesday went to federal court to file an injunction against the city.
That’s right. “Club Madonna.”
The three people accused of forcing the young runaway into a life of sex slavery after scooping her up off a Miami Beach street last month are Vilbert Jean, 36, Marlene San Vincente, 22, and DeWayne Ward, 18.
The trio forced her to have sex for money on at least one occasion, before forcing her to strip at Club Madonna on the South Beach Strip, according to an affidavit cited by the Miami Herald.
Slavery still exists in this world. But one day more people will recognize what evil is, where it comes from, and how we must fight to overcome it. And we will. And someday our descendants will look back and find it strange the way publications once flourished where stories of brutal crimes appeared next to cute Siberian huskies. (Apparently the Daily Mail and the Blaze are also doing husky videos, a perhaps necessary pick-me-up when confronted with the horrors of what humans will do to each other…)
A Round-Up of Today’ PJM Stories…
On the Main Page
J. Christian Adams: Washington Post Defames Andrew Breitbart
Claudia Rosett: Instructing Iran in Terrorist Etiquette
Roger Kimball: The Evils of Capitalism
Jack Dunphy: Embattled L.A. County Sheriff to Retire
Mike McDaniel: The Truth About Sandy Hook
New at PJ Lifestyle
Paula Bolyard: The Touching Asperger’s Storyline on Parenthood
Kathy Shaidle: ‘American Experience: 1964′ Not As Biased As Expected, But…
Helen Smith: Please Take Me Off Your List of Hate
Walter Hudson: Has Fox’s Gotham Already Jumped the Shark?
Chris Queen: Japan’s Epidemic Of Hikikomori
New at PJ Tatler
Stephen Kruiser: Liberal Media Continues Childlike Wishful Thinking on Obamacare Enrollment Demographics
This is Week 2, 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
Hat tip Charlie Martin
2. Richard J. Epstein at Defining Ideas: How Democrats Kill Jobs
It is just fantasy to think that the addition of any new constraint to labor markets will make matters better than they are. Efforts to make workers better off by making employers worse off will not have their desired effect. It is of course easy to take employers down a notch. But the second half of the program is far harder to implement, given that employers have incentives to minimize their losses from regulation, and will do what it takes to avert the adverse effect of new external constraints.
3. At the PJ Tatler from Roger Kimball: The Truth About Benghazi and Obama
4. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: The Fix Is In in the IRS Abuse Scandal
strongly suggestsstates plainly that the White House counsel — political appointee Kathryn Ruemmler at the time — knew about the abuse before it was known to the public. That’s because it did: The White House counsel knew of the targeting very early on.
The IRS targeted more than just groups formed to oppose the president. It went after individuals, too, including Christine O’Donnell and Catherine Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht, founder of the election integrity King Street Patriots group, has had to fend off an alphabet soup of federal executive branch agencies. Who has the power to coordinate the activities of all those agencies, and send them after someone doing something that the president, by suing states that enact voter ID, has made clear that he does not like? The power to make all those agencies jump rests in the White House. Nowhere else.
Unlike Chris Christie’s Bridgegate, which hardly anyone cares about, a majority of the American people have consistently believed that the IRS targeting was deliberate and political. Obama himself said it “outraged” him, before he fake-fired the interim IRS chief and put the fix in place by appointing one of his own political contributors, Barbara Bosserman, to “investigate” it. Now his political contributor says “Nothing to see here, move along.” His Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, calls the abuse a “fake scandal.” So much for the president’s alleged outrage.
We had a good run as a republic, but if this stands and no one responsible is punished, then the Internal Revenue Service will be a tool of partisan politics for the foreseeable future. No one who criticizes a sitting president will be safe from harassment and abuse from a federal agency that can absolutely destroy lives.
5. Via my wife, doing research into the “natural hair movement,” from a blogger calling himself “Genuine Scholar”: White Men Appreciate Natural Hair More than Black Men: A Brotha’s Response
The reality is that a lot of Black men were raised and socialized to believe that hair textures matter and that one is superior to the other. It is also very easy to point the finger at Black men and call many of us horrible individuals for not embracing natural hair, but there has to be a very strong psychological root to this lack of embracement because there are a large number of Black women who feel the exact same way that many Black men feel.
I am writing this article to say that it is fine to date whoever you feel will appreciate you, but please do not label an entire race of men as being horrible or compare us to another race when the socialization, background, and circumstances are not the same. There are Black men who are very degrading to our natural sistas and that is not acceptable. But there are a lot of brothas who are mis-educated and need someone to enlighten them. The best thing we can do is to try to help educate more brothas and sistas about natural hair and pray they “get it”. If they don’t get it after being educated, then we can leave them drowning in their world of ignorance and keep it moving forward. One thing I have learned about natural sistas is that they do not need a man’s validation to know their worth but they appreciate when a brotha removes the blinders and embrace their natural beauty.
Were you hoping that Fox’s Batman prequel TV series Gotham would be a tough crime procedural set on the mean streets of Gotham City? Or were you hoping it would be about teenaged Batman, The Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and the Penguin all hanging out together? Because it’s the latter.
Sorry, I threw up in my mouth a little there. Fox chairman Kevin Reilly crushed the dreams of many a Bat-fan at Fox’s panel during the network’s Television Critics Association press tour earlier today. “This is all of the classic Batman characters,” Reilly continued. “It follows the arc of how they all became what they were. I’ve read the script its really good. It’s going to be this operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality.”
Apparently, the plan is exactly like Smallville, in that the show will show how each character, good and bad, become the hero or villain we all know today, and Reilly says the show will end when Batman puts on the cape for the first time.
I suppose in another lifetime I might’ve been mad about something dumb like this too. But Batman is a cartoon character. It doesn’t make much difference whether he’s in comic or tragic mode, does it?
7. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Benghazi: Obama Administration Lied Before They Lied
No excerpt. just read the whole thing. Absolutely incredible.
I wonder how much of the “Innocence of Muslims” disinformation strategy was all Valerie Jarrett’s idea. Any guesses? Who do you suppose came up with this scheme? How come her name hasn’t come up that much in this scandal?
Rush Limbaugh is tired of Chris Christie’s“Bridgegate” debacle and wishes this country could have sexy political scandals like France. The radio host brought up the recent allegations that French President François Hollande has been having an affair with a younger actress before suggesting President Barack Obama do the same.
“Why can’t we have scandals like that anymore?’ Limbaugh asked. “Why can’t we have Obama running around on Michelle or something?”
Here’s an idea for a movie: the reverse of Wag the Dog. What if to distract from creeping Benghazi investigations President Jarrett instructs Obama to insert a cigar into one of the interns and stain their clothing? (Gotta stay gender-neutral in our jokes these days… Wouldn’t want anyone to accuse me of being homophobic.)
“Curiouser and Curiouser.”
I wonder how long it will be until cocaine is legal and sold at Wal-Mart. Cocaine is being increasingly normalized and accepted as marijuana becomes domesticated.
Sorry, kids, there won’t be a jailbird “Beanie Baby” after all … the billionaire creator of the cuddly plush toys just got sentenced for tax evasion … and managed to escape jail time.A judge sentenced Ty Warner to 2 years probation — despite a bid by prosecutors for a prison sentence — after the 69-year-old admitted he failed to report more than $24 mil in income between 1996 to 2008.The judge said he went easy on Warner — who’s worth a reported $2.3 BILLION –partly because of his charitable “acts of kindness, benevolence and generosity.”
After one story after another of corruption how about a laugh? Beanie babies reminds me of this hilarious Crank Yankers bit with Jimmy Kimmel imitating Karl Malone:
PJ Media Story Round Up
Bridget Johnson: Probe Finds White House Wanted to Make Sequestration as ‘Painful as Possible’ for Rural Schools
Stephen Kruisher: Media Matters Admits Chris Christie Is Superior to Barack Obama
J. Christian Adams: Sherrilyn Ifill Suggests Mumia Abu Jamal Case Like To Kill a Mockingbird
Chris Queen: Will Volkswagen Make The Beetle Cool Again?
Theodore Dalrymple: Should the Age of Buying Cigarettes Raise to 21?
Andrew Klavan: Lone Survivor Is Intense — But Read the Book!
Susan L.M. Goldberg: The Story You Shouldn’t Miss Inside Llewyn Davis
Becky Graebner: How I’ll Make a Brussels Sprouts Believer Outta You!
Bonnie Ramthun: Hooray for Marijuana Legalization in Colorado!
This is Week 2, Day 1 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. Lachlan Markay at the Free Beacon: Taxpayers Paid Nearly $175M for Penis Pumps Between 2006 and 2011 -Federal government paid more than double the retail price
“The fact that taxpayers have spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past decade on penis pumps via Medicare is obscene and insulting – even more so when you consider that this is an arena of Medicare expenditures rife with fraud and where the government doesn’t even bother to assess medical necessity,” said Ben Domenech, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute.
“This is a perfect example of what happens when government becomes the be all and end all of human existence – a system where everyone has a right to a taxpayer-funded penis pump.”
Vacuum erection systems, which are used to treat impotence, are covered by Medicare Part B under its Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program.
Medicare payments for VES have swelled in recent years. The Department of Health and Human Services paid $20.6 million for 61,589 claims in 2006. It paid $38.6 million for 103,448 claims in 2011.
That increase came despite recommendations from federal watchdogs that HHS limit payments for certain DMEPOS claims, including those made for VES.
It begins with the federal government paying for them. Then before you know it Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be calling it a tax when the federal government charges you for not buying them. Just kidding. Sort of.
2. From The Week: Everything you need to know about Japan’s population crisis
Why is Japan in trouble?
The Japanese now have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, and at the same time, one of the highest longevity rates. As a result, the population is dropping rapidly, and becoming increasingly weighted toward older people. After peaking seven years ago, at 128 million, Japan’s population has been falling — and is on a path to decline by about a million people a year. By 2060, the government estimates, there will be just 87 million people in Japan; nearly half of them will be over 65. Without a dramatic change in either the birthrate or its restrictive immigration policies, Japan simply won’t have enough workers to support its retirees, and will enter a demographic death spiral. Yet the babies aren’t coming.
The British newspaper The Observer recently caused an international stir by reporting that Japanese youth have lost interest in sex. The sensationalist conclusion was mostly based on a single statistic: a survey that found that 45 percent of women and 25 percent of men ages 16 to 24 said they were not looking to have sex.
3. My friend David Forsmark’s newspaper review of Ann Coulter’s Treason from 2003, which I read today as part of my research into the various strains of conservative thought:
While defenses of McCarthy have been published before, what makes “Treason” so provocative is Coulter’s assertion that it is legitimate to question the patriotism of mainstream political figures. After all, she says, liberals do it all the time.
When Phil Donahue says, “The real patriots are the protesters,” he is by implication questioning the intelligence and patriotism of those who don’t protest. The Dixie Chicks win praise for a thoughtless attempt to appeal to a foreign crowd, while Toby Keith and Charlie Daniels are merely knee-jerk, angry jingoists.
It’s about time someone challenged the notion that the real way to be patriotic is to express one’s hatred of America loudly.
A chapter titled “How Truman Won the Cold War During the Reagan Administration” shows how liberals went from hysterically declaiming Reagan’s insistence that America could win as a “radical departure” from other presidents to saying, after the Berlin Wall, fell that, “Reagan was just following the policies of other presidents who should get just as much credit.”
This is not just a historical point. Coulter thinks it is relevant that the same people who still say there is “no evidence” that Alger Hiss and Henry Dexter White, key aides during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, were Soviet spies also scoff at every case Ashcroft brings against domestic terror networks and see “no evidence” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
“Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America,” Coulter writes. “They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America’s self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn’t slowed them down.”
4. Allahpundit at Hot Air: Newest way to reduce teen pregnancies: Watching MTV?
I don’t know why parents didn’t trust the network responsible for “Jersey Shore” and “Catfish” to treat a subject like teen pregnancy sensitively rather than as campy reality-celebrity freak-show fun.
Strictly speaking, what the study shows is that the teen birthrate fell more steeply in areas where more teens were watching MTV. The idea that teens are being scared straight by the show “16 and Pregnant” specifically is an assumption, but a logical one. The sense I get from the NYT piece is that this is going to become a proxy for approaches to sex ed — for lefties, evidence that frankly confronting a taboo subject leads to more responsible sexual behavior, and for righties, evidence that deglamorizing sex by emphasizing its potential hardships is important in teaching kids.
5. Andrew Kirell at Mediaite: Ronan Farrow Pulls No Punches with Estranged Father Woody Allen on Golden Globes Night
Missed the Woody Allen tribute – did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) January 13, 2014
6. Abby W. Schachter At Acculturated: Is Bitcoin the New Internet?
Bitcoin has been a true boon to entrepreneurs of all stripes because it makes getting funded by folks in different places a breeze, and let’s face it a whole new currency is just cool. There’s a new venture called Coinsetter which “is a high performance lever trading platform for bitcoin” owner Jaron Lukasiewicz explains. What he means is it’s a company to let people make Wall Street-type trades in Bitcoin. A young man in Chicago has decided to open the first bitcoin ATM in the Midwest. In Palo Alto, people can use their bitcoins at Coupa Café or pay for their java with dollars. On the more nefarious end of the spectrum, bitcoin was the currency of choice for a huge drug operation that was recently busted by the feds. But on the brighter side, bitcoin entrepreneurs in New York had a holiday party this year.
The folks over at Bloomberg were so excited about the possibilities of bitcoin that they charged reporter Matt Miller with the task of living what they called the 12 days of bitcoin in an effort to show how an electronic currency could replace traditional money. Miller explained what you can buy with it. He explained how the system works.And he even had his bitcoin stolen.
Miller had fun buying pizza and plane tickets along with reporting on the ups and downs of bitcoin’s value. It fluctuates all day, every minute, every second based on thousands of discreet transactions across the globe.
7. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Whoa: Fast & Furious Was Part of a US-Drug Cartel Alliance?
Business Insider reported a bombshell this afternoon. It reports, by translating Spanish-language reporting from El Universal, that the US government has had a relationship with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel since the Clinton administration. That relationship/alliance was used to damage Mexico’s other drug cartels, but at a great price: Sinaloa alone imports about 80% of the illegal drugs that make their way to Chicago. The alleged deal allowed the cartel to import drugs virtually without fear of capture or punishment by the US government.
8. This morning I took Maura for a run at the park and finished reading the higher education portion of Glenn Reynolds’ The New School. It’s an extraordinary book that I’ll finish soon and blog about more.
Here’s an excerpt from page 31 quoting Benjamin Ginsberg on the corruption of an academic establishment that inflates the administrative bureaucracy while shifting to part-time faculty:
9. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Top Secret Benghazi Docs Prove that After Stevens et al Died, Obama and Clinton Lied
This is far more significant than the closure of a bridge. The Pentagon’s top brass knew, immediately, that the attack on the US facility in Benghazi, Libya on 9-11-2012 was a terrorist attack, and not a demonstration gotten out of hand. Fox’s James Rosen has obtained transcripts of top secret testimony on the attack.
10. Here’s an excerpt from page 48 of Eric Nelson’s The Hebrew Republic, my reading from yesterday while running at the park with Maura, inspiring a new habit, I think…
This book explains how a rediscovery of the Torah — and Maimonides’ interpretation of it — by Protestants during the Reformation and the Renaissance influenced the development of classical liberal political theory during the Enlightenment:
“To acknowledge God’s kingship is to be free; those who rebel against it necessarily enslave themselves to an idol.”
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories
Bridget Johnson: Obama Tells Congress to ‘Give Peace a Chance’ After Setting Jan. 20 Iran Deal Implementation
Stephen Green: Washington’s Addiction to Uncle Ben’s Funny Money™
David Steinberg: ‘TELEPHONIC SIGNATURE’? As of Jan. 1, Obamacare Forces States to Accept Applications ‘Signed’ by Voice
Victor Davis Hanson: The Rural Way
Roger Kimball: Meanwhile, Back in the Fatherland . . .
New at PJ Lifestyle
Stephen Green: In Defense of the Juggalos
Chris Queen: Hillary’s Hit List
Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death
Paula Bolyard: Republicans Are Still Clueless About Technology
Bethany Mandel: Why You Should Shield Your Children From Social Media
This is Week 1, day 5 of my New 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media I encounter each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com.
1. The Daily Mail: Tweet a lot? Then you’re probably SELF-OBSESSED: Narcissists use Twitter the most because they crave approval
We all know someone who tweets about the minute details of their life every 10 minutes and now new research suggests that are displaying narcissistic tendencies.
U.S. researchers claim narcissists tweet more often than others and crave followers on Twitter to meet their need for approval.
They also found that narcissists update their Facebook status more regularly and vain adults prefer to post content on Facebook, rather than Twitter.
However, they did find that narcissism was linked to Facebook activity among adults, suggesting that narcissists on the social network are more likely to be of Generation X or baby boomers than Millennials.
They believe this could be because Millennials partly grew up using Facebook to communicate with others, just as previous generations used a phone.
However, older people who have gained access to the tool need more reason to post a status update and narcissism is one of the reasons to do so.
For my generation it’s normal to be a narcissist. If you do not worship God, then one of the closest idols at hand is oneself.
2. Epoch Times: ‘Hand of God’ Image Captured by Space Telescope
The new “hand of God” image shows a nebula that is 17,000 light-years away. It’s powered by a dead, spinning star called PSR B1509-58.
“The dead star, called a pulsar, is the leftover core of a star that exploded in a supernova,” NASA says. “The pulsar is only about 19 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter but packs a big punch: it is spinning around nearly seven times every second, spewing particles into material that was upheaved during the star’s violent death. These particles are interacting with magnetic fields around the ejected material, causing it to glow with X-rays. The result is a cloud that, in previous images, looked like an open hand.”
A mystery of the shape is whether the pulsar’s particles are interacting in a way that makes it look like a hand, or if it is actually shaped like a hand.
“We don’t know if the hand shape is an optical illusion,” said Hongjun An of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in a statement. “With NuSTAR, the hand looks more like a fist, which is giving us some clues.”
The rise in liberal identification has been accompanied by a decline in moderate identification. At 34% in 2013, it is the lowest Gallup has measured, and down nine points since 1992. Moderates had been the largest ideological group throughout the 1990s, and competed with conservatives for the top spot during the 2000s. Since 2009, conservatives have consistently been the largest U.S. ideological group.
The percentage of conservatives has always far exceeded the percentage of liberals, by as much as 22 points in 1996. With more Americans identifying as liberals in recent years, and conservative identification holding steady, the conservative advantage of 15 points ties the 2007 and 2008 gaps as the smallest.
The more millennials get out of college and learn how the real world works the more their brainwashing will wear off when they start to realize they’ve been had.
4. The Atlantic: Where Life Has Meaning: Poor, Religious Countries
“Instead of relying on religion to give life meaning, people in wealthy societies today try to create their own meaning via their identity and self-knowledge,” the study reads. It then quotes Roy F. Baumeister’s book Meanings of Life, saying, “creating the meaning of your own life sounds very nice as an ideal, but in reality it may be impossible.” Maybe that’s what the proliferation of happiness literature, as well as the study of happiness is, at least in part: an attempt to create the meaning of our own lives.
5. Roger L. Simon here at PJM: “Who Needs Ayn Rand? America Has Already Gone John Galt“
Currently a record 91.8 million Americans are no longer looking for work. That’s almost one and a half times the entire population of France.
Although I admit to libertarian tendencies, I don’t think any of us can celebrate because of this. It’s an economic disaster that should be blowing even Chris Christie off the front pages.
In fact, it’s much worse than that. It’s a human emotional disaster.
6. Bridget Johnson at the PJ Tatler:‘Full-Blown Heroin Crisis’: Vermont Governor Says Drug Surge Deadlier Than Cars or Guns
“What started as an OxyContin and prescription drug addiction problem in this state has now grown into a full-blown heroin crisis,” Peter Shumlin said of the 770 percent increase in opiate treatment in his home state since 2000.
The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy has also reported the number of deaths involving heroin jumped 45 percent between 1999 and 2010.
7. At Fink or Swim, a positive conclusion to the Caleb Jacoby disappearing story: Three Things On the Lost and Found Teen and One Thing on the Parsha
Just like so many of you, I was distraught over the last few days as we hoped and prayed that Caleb Jacoby be found safe and unharmed. Thankfully, Caleb was returned to his family unscathed, at least physically. It shouldn’t matter, but because of my personal relationship with Caleb’s father (I spent some time with Caleb too) and my very close friendship with Caleb’s aunt, I felt very connected to this saga. Learning that he was found brought me to tears, in public, and I was so relieved that the most difficult part of the ordeal seemed to be over.
After suffering through a few days of agony, let’s not spoil the euphoric reunion with innuendo and speculation. More than a few people have offered their armchair psychological analysis and others have demanded a full report to the public. One person even asked me if the public has a right to hear the story because they prayed and volunteered their time in the search. I find this abhorrent. It’s not just nosy, it’s disrespectful. And I think it’s a symptom of a very base desire. One that we ought to reign in as best we can. It’s no secret. We love gossip. We love juicy details and nuggets of inside information. My father used to say that the idol of the late 20th century was the Fox, as in 20th Century Fox. We loved television and movies. But now we love gossip even more. Our idols are Perez Hilton and TMZ. We just need to know. And when we don’t know, we just throw out wild guesses. People might try to disguise their curiosity in moral terms or altruistic intentions. But really, it’s just plain gossip.
Of all the Torah portions, Beshalach is the most intense roller coaster ride of a parsha. We escape Egypt to safety, the Egyptians pursue us and we are trapped by the sea, the sea opens for us and we march forward, the Egyptians follow us and we can only assume they will catch us, the water crashes behind us and drowns the Egyptians thereby saving us, we sing a song of thanks, then we are thirsty, we are given water, then we are hungry, we are fed, then we want meat, we are given meat, we are given the gift of Shabbos, it is violated immediately, we were thirsty again, God gives Moses a secret well, Moses sins and is punished, then we are attacked by Amalek in a microcosm of the entire sedra, we can’t seem to stave them off, Moses lifts his hands and we start to win, then Moses gets tired and we start to lose, Joshua and Chur support Moses so he can lift his hands and we are able to defeat Amalek. Safety and danger. Safety and danger. Safety and danger. Safety and danger. Safety and danger. Time and again. Beshalach is a roller coaster ride and this week was also a roller coaster ride.
Hat tip to Bethany Mandel. Emphasis added by me.
8. From PJM writer Lauren Weiner, following up on the Walt Disney coverage at her blog, recalls Maurice Rapf, a Communist Disney animator who disputed the disinformation against his old boss, He’s Been Streep Slapped:
“Was he at all a Fascist sympathizer or anti-Semite?” Rapf is asked in an oral history.
“I never felt he was. He knew I was Jewish, too. But I don’t think he was an anti-Semite. I think he was a decent enough guy who was very conservative, and it got worse as time went on and as he got richer. When I worked for him, the Disney studio was not very [financially] solid. . . . Then, of course, the strike hurt him a lot, and that made him more reactionary because he felt the strike was Communist-inspired. He did believe that. His brother [Roy] must have convinced him, and he had a lawyer, Gunther Lessing, who was a leading anti-Communist ‘authority.’ So he was being fed all this stuff by his brother and his lawyer. On the other hand, he knew I was a Red, and he liked me and other Reds.”
9. I started two books today, the first, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
“As Leo Strauss observed, the Founders combined the great traditions of Athens and Jerusalem, of reason and revelation.”
10. A video very much worth watching at the Right Scoop, SIMPLY DANA: Dana Loesch explains how she became a conservative on her new show on The Blaze TV
Dana explains that the two catalysts of her transformation from Democrat feminist goth chick into pop culture conservative hellraiser were the birth of her son and 9/11. Best wishes to her with the new show!
But North Korea — a country of more than 24 million, with an estimated 300,000 Christians — remained the most dangerous country worldwide for Christians for the 12th consecutive year, followed by Somalia, Syria and Iraq.
“Like others in that country, Christians have to survive under one of the most oppressive regimes in contemporary times,” according to a release on the report issued Wednesday. “They have to deal with corrupt officials, bad policies, natural disasters, diseases and hunger. On top of that, they must hide their decision to follow Christ. Being caught with a Bible is grounds for execution or a life-long political prison sentence. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians live in concentration camps, prisons and prison-like circumstances under the regime of leader Kim Jong-Un.”
12. National Journal: How Millennials Have Already Reshaped Politics
Cultural affinity still provides a political edge for Democrats (millennials gave Obama two-thirds of their votes in 2008 and three-fifths in 2012). But to cement that loyalty, the party “has to make the economy work for more people,” says Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a Democratic group that studies the generation.
The larger issue transcends political advantage. Neither party is displaying sufficient urgency about a generational economic crisis that for too many young people will cascade through their lives with lower wages and diminished opportunities. The political system’s response to the millennials’ economic distress must be something more than, as a modern Marie Antoinette might put it, to let them smoke pot.
I know it’s morbid to say this but what’s going to happen at some point — it’s just an inevitability — is that America will be hit again. And it will probably be much worse than 9/11. And then it will produce a whole new generation of hawkish ex-Democrats who grudgingly shift to the Right.
13. The second book I eagerly started today, Glenn Reynolds’s just-released The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself,
Did you know that America’s educational institutions both in K-12 and academia are German imports? While the new system was great for churning out factory workers, it was not needed for a nation that was literate from the start:
I’ll have much more to say about Glenn’s book when I finish it. Among the experiences responsible for my shift from left to right was a year and a half working as a debt collector for federally insured student loans. I’ve seen the dysfunction in the system close up and it’s pretty horrifying. I’d regularly see people with accounts who hadn’t made payments in years, just keeping their loans in forbearance or deferment while they ballooned in size with the capitalized interest. Not a pretty sight. But more on that in future posts.
Best wishes to everyone for the weekend!
At PJ Lifestyle Today…
Charlie Martin and Sarah Hoyt: Book Plug Friday: Creativity and Creation
Stephen Green: Is This the Funniest Movie Since 1988′s A Fish Called Wanda?
Kathy Shaidle: Patti Smith: The Paula Deen of Punk?
James Jay Carafano: The Anti-Hero Rides Back into Washington
Chris Queen: Debunking the Disney Disinformation
At PJ Media…
Bridget Johnson: Lawmakers to Holder: ‘Inconsistencies’ in Reports of Swartz Prosecution ‘Require Serious Responses’
Jean Kaufman: You Only Thought You Wanted to Keep Your Hospital
Bridget Johnson: One-Third of House Dems Join GOP on Bill to Require HHS to Tell Public About Obamacare Breaches
This is Week 1, day 4 of my New 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media I encounter each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com.
According to Variety, Streep was presenting fellow actress Emma Thompson with the organization’s Best Actress award for her portrayal as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in the film “Saving Mr. Banks.” Along the way, Streep called Thompson “a beautiful artist” and “practically a saint.” And then she turned her attention to Disney, played in “Banks” by Tom Hanks.
Disney’s reputation has long been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism, but Streep focused most of her attention on Disney’s treatment of women, calling the legendary impresario a “gender bigot” and quoting longtime Disney animator Ward Kimball, who said his boss “didn’t trust women or cats.”
Streep also accused Disney of supporting “an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group,” believed to be a reference to the Motion Picture Alliance, and quoted a letter purportedly written by Disney’s company to an aspiring female animator which read, in part “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”
Late Wednesday night, the Walt Disney Family Museum fired back at the actress via their Twitter account, suggesting that Streep needed to get her facts straight.
As usual, the attempts to defend Walt Disney from the Marxist disinformation that has dogged him since the early 1940s are inadequate. Nobody has yet to explain coherently how and why these rumors emerged in the first place. I’ve been piecing together the story the past few months in my research through the different Disney biographies and offer a few highlights at the end of today’s link round-up. I’m not finished with my research yet — there are still several more books I need to finish reading — but it doesn’t take long to find the names of the ones responsible.
2. From the Korea Herald, via the Epoch Times: Koreans become more conservative
Progressives are often associated with being doves in South Korea’s North Korea policies while conservatives are associated with taking strong national defense postures against the Stalinist regime.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs survey was conducted between January and June of 2013, as North Korea was escalating tensions by conducting a rocket launch in December 2012 and a nuclear test in February 2013. Kim Jong-un then unprecedentedly closed the inter-Korean Gaeseong Industrial Complex in April 2013.
“Our society itself has become increasingly conservative,” said Bae Jong-chan, chief director at Research and Research, an opinion survey company.
3. Today at PJ Lifestyle from Charlie Martin, exploring a theme I wrote about in September 2012 in a more optimistic way than I did: Is Phone Sex a Sign of Conscious Thought?
Her carries it on a little further, when the main character falls in love with the personality that serves as the front end for a new operating system. They eventually consummate their love in what is supposed to be a rather steamy, and apparently mutually satisfying, episode of what’s a whole new meaning of “phone sex.” (I say “supposed to be” because I haven’t seen the movie yet; in any case, this isn’t a review of the movie.)
So here’s a question for you: when Samantha, the operating system’s personality, has an orgasm, is it real or is she faking it?
4. Hat tip to Charlie’s piece for reminding me of this David Gelernter essay in Commentary that I mostly disagree with but that still has some worthwhile points and is admirable in stylistic dazzle, as is to be expected from the author: The Closing of the Scientific Mind
The Kurzweil Cult.
The voice most strongly associated with what I’ve termed roboticism is that of Ray Kurzweil, a leading technologist and inventor. The Kurzweil Cult teaches that, given the strong and ever-increasing pace of technological progress and change, a fateful crossover point is approaching. He calls this point the “singularity.” After the year 2045 (mark your calendars!), machine intelligence will dominate human intelligence to the extent that men will no longer understand machines any more than potato chips understand mathematical topology. Men will already have begun an orgy of machinification—implanting chips in their bodies and brains, and fine-tuning their own and their children’s genetic material. Kurzweil believes in “transhumanism,” the merging of men and machines. He believes human immortality is just around the corner. He works for Google.
Whether he knows it or not, Kurzweil believes in and longs for the death of mankind. Because if things work out as he predicts, there will still be life on Earth, but no human life. To predict that a man who lives forever and is built mainly of semiconductors is still a man is like predicting that a man with stainless steel skin, a small nuclear reactor for a stomach, and an IQ of 10,000 would still be a man. In fact we have no idea what he would be.
5. Openculture.com: An Introduction to the Political Philosophy of Isaiah Berlin Through His Free Writings & Audio Lectures
Berlin was enormously prolific, in print as well as in recorded media, and we have access to several of his lectures online. One radio lecture series, Freedom and its Betrayal, examined six thinkers Berlin identified as “anti-liberal.” Perhaps foremost among these was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his lecture on Rousseau above (continued here in Parts 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6), Berlin elaborates on his important distinction between types of liberty, a theme he returned to again and again, most famously in a lecture, eventually published as a 57-page pamphlet, called “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Berlin adapted much of the ideas in these lectures from his Political Ideas in the Romantic Age—written between 1950 and 1952 and published posthumously—a text that Berlin called his “torso.”
6. Book reading from this morning, Ann Coulter’s Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism:
“It is a fact that hundreds of agents of this blood-soaked ideology became top advisors to Democratic presidents, worked on the Manhattan Project, infiltrated every segment of the United States government.” – page 34
7. Noah Rothman at Mediatite: Dershowitz: Christie Should ‘Lawyer Up,’ Prepare for Criminal Prosecution over Bridgegate
Lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz appeared on CNN on Thursday where he insisted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could be held criminally liable for the death of a 91-year-old woman who passed away after being caught in traffic resulting from the closure of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013. Dershowitz said that prosecutors could hold Christie liable for “willful negligence” and recommended that he be prosecuted in New York because of the governor’s “history of taking revenge.”
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin noted that Dershowtiz has already recommended that Christie “lawyer up” and prepare to face criminal prosecution over his involvement in the bridge closure. His argument centers on the death of a 91-year-old woman, but he also said that many others may have suffered as a result of the New Jersey government’s actions.
“Clearly the people who originated the traffic jams and approved them are guilty and probably guilty of crimes,” Dershowitz asserted. “Their actions led directly to very significant harms, particularly if they can demonstrate that the woman died as a result of the traffic jam.”
8. The Algemeiner: Actress Meryl Streep Blasts Walt Disney as Anti-Semitic; ZOA Condemns Actress Emma Thompson
Ironically, Streep’s nine-minute speech was to honor the actress who portrayed ‘Mary Poppins’ creator P.L. Travers in The Walt Disney Company’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ Emma Thompson, who the Zionist Organization of America denounced on Thursday for her letter in the Guardian advocating for a boycott of Israel’s Habima Theater troupe, which is to perform later this year at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, in London.
9. Noah Rothman again at Mediaite: Press Agonizes over ‘Culture’ of Christie’s Admin After Dismissing ‘Culture’ of Obama’s White House
Follow the most fair-minded media critic online at twitter here: @NoahCRothman He’s one of the best non-ideological writers analyzing politics and the media.
It is perhaps a leap to believe that Ms. Streep intentionally set out to trash Walt Disney in a publicized speech with the implicit intention of harming Ms. Thompson’s Oscar hopes and thus raising her own chances of securing a nomination, with the side effect of boosting The Weinstein Company’s August: Osage County‘s box office as it expands this weekend. But Oscar season is one rife with politics and skulduggery, one where how a film is perceived morally is as important as how its perceived critically. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio aren’t working overtime to convince everyone that Paramount’s The Wolf of Wall Street is not an endorsement of Mr. Jordan Belfort for fun. And those unheroic allegations about the real Captain Phillips didn’t materialize out of thin air, much to Sony’s chagrin.
Streep’s news-making reiteration of Walt Disney’s long-alleged sins, in a speech intended to honor Emma Thompson, helps Streep while hurting Thompson. It would no different than Viola Davis giving a toast of Meryl Streep in January 2012 where she scathingly criticized the conservative politics of Margaret Thatcher. Ms. Streep’s Oscar chances and August: Osage County‘s box office prospects are now improved while Ms. Thompson’s Oscar hopes and thus Saving Mr. Banks‘s box office prospects (doing well with $60m domestic thus far but with much to gain from Oscar traction) are harmed.
Yes, that rationale makes enough sense. But who was actually behind the smears of Walt Disney that Streep is recycling in her campaign for another Oscar? And why do these rumors persist so long after Disney’s death? Who is to blame? In my New Year’s Resolutions list last week I announced my intent to finish researching it this year:
Disney himself was convinced Communists were behind the smears of him. Page 170 of Bob Thomas’s Walt Disney: An American Original excerpts a 1941 statement he made to a newspaper columnist about the lies printed against him at the time which still haunt him even today half a century after his death.
Last year I read these two Disney biographies that promote the closet-Nazi smear:
I suspect this passage from page 211 of Leonard Mosley’s Disney’s World of being Soviet disinformation. It offers unsourced allegations and a fake sounding quote also without source. The way the smears of Disney appear match a number of the patterns that Ion Mihai Pacepa described in his book Disinformation about how the KGB sought to frame iconic figures after their deaths. Smearing of Pope Pius, Lyndon Baines Johnson (for JFK’s death), and Nicolae Ceausescu’s political enemies mirror the attacks on Disney.
“[Arthur] Babbitt evolved into a leftist intellectual given to a preachy style of speechmaking that many found grating.” – Steven Watts, page 217 of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life. This animator was Walt Disney’s arch-nemesis who led the strike against the studio. He hated Disney his whole life after the bitter strike at the studio. In Marc Eliot’s Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince he is the source of the claim that Disney attended Nazi meetings. He was telling that as late as 1990, when Eliot conducted the interview. So for 25 years after Disney’s death he was smearing his old capitalist boss.
The animators who led the strike against Disney were influenced by “the leftist culture of the Popular Front in California” according to page 207 of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life:
A few years ago a novel that depicts Disney in his final days as a racist, antisemite, and sexually deranged narcissist was released. I read it recently and in addition to the attacks on Disney as a bigot it also recycles Babbitt’s whining about his boss not really deserving as much credit as he got and not being a real artist:
It has been recently turned into an opera — thus matching the technique used to smear Pope Pius with The Deputy play: aim at the high-brow intelligentsia and then just let the smear filter down to the masses.
What is it about Disney and his films that has driven Communists, progressives, and the elite of today’s Hollywood so mad for so long? I have my ideas about how Disney embodied the traits of Americanism in action more boldly and visibly than any other entrepreneur or entertainer in the 20th century. But there are still more books to read before coming to any conclusions.
Among the next titles on my list is what’s regarded as a more measured — but still Marxist — anti-Disney critique focused more specifically on what culture his films, TV shows, and theme parks actually promoted. So in the coming weeks and months I’ll hope to dive into The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney…
See At PJ Media:
Andrew C. McCarthy: Will Contrite Christie Save Combative Christie?
J. Christian Adams: NAACP Lawyer: ‘Absolutely My Honor to Represent Mumia Abu Jamal’
Bryan Preston: MUST-SEE VIDEO: Meet Scott Turner, the Former NFL Defensive Back Who Tackles Today’s Entitlement Mentality
Bridget Johnson: Christie Rolls Some Heads, Says He’s ‘Heartbroken’ by ‘Betrayal’ of Staff in Bridge Scandal
Bridget Johnson: CNN Host Grills Wasserman Schultz About Thinking Christie’s Hiding Something While Obama Always Claims to Be in the Dark
Mike McNally: Gangster Whose Shooting by Police Sparked London Riots Was Lawfully Killed, Jury Rules
And Also At PJ Lifestyle Today:
Bonnie Ramthun: The Slacker Manifesto
PJ Lifestyle Cute Animals: What Ivan The Cat Used to Do When I Needed to Get My Work Done
Kathy Shaidle: The Once-Unimaginable Occurs: David Bowie Turns 67
Chris Queen: Disney’s Tasty, Controversial Turkey Legs
Susan L.M. Goldberg: Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth
Becky Graebner: Your Feel-Good Youtube Video for Thursday
PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: A Michigan Polar Vortex Sunrise Courtesy of Dave Forsmark
This is Week 1, day 3 of my New 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media I encounter each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com.
1. From Veruca at Everlasting GOP Stoppers, a progressive blog, as shared by the Being Liberal Facebook page,: THIS Is What “Living” On Minimum Wage Looks Like
The post is meant to advocate for a higher minimum wage and who did they pick? Un-notated explicitly in the post is that this minimum wage earner’s paycheck is being garnished for child support. This is a man working on minimum wage and just over half of what he makes is going to his kids. He’s the one progressives want to hold up to make us feel sorry for minimum wage earners?
Unasked questions: how much money does this guy get from the government in assistance? Food stamps? How much does he make in off-the-books business transactions for cash?
What’s the real problem going on here? The fact that the law does not require businesses to pay people more per hour than they are capable of creating in value? Or that some men choose to abandon their children, forcing the government to garnish their checks to support them?
2. At the Daily Mail: ‘Serious and quiet’ teenage son of Boston Globe columnist goes missing
3. J. Christian Adams, cross-posted here at PJ Lifestyle: How the DOJ’s Radical Race-Based School Discipline Policies Will Outlast the Obama Era
Today the Drudge Report covers the Justice Department’s racialist attack on school discipline policies. The DOJ policy is based on the idea that school discipline policies are racially discriminatory because black students comprise a greater percentage of students disciplined than their percentage in the general population. Call it exceeding the bad-behavior quota.
That this four-year-old federal policy exists wasn’t news. I covered it in my 2011 book Injustice. What is newsworthy is how these radical racialist education policies will outlast the Obama administration, and Republicans are ill-equipped to reverse it even if they win the White House.
As I wrote in Injustice:
The DOJ’s reasoning goes like this: if minorities face school discipline at rates greater than their overall percentage in the population, then the school is engaging in racial discrimination. As Civil Rights chief Tom Perez explained, “Black boys account for 9 percent of the nation’s student population, but comprise 24 percent of students suspended out of school and 30 percent of students expelled.” This preposterous racial bean-counting is an affront to the very concept of individual responsibility.
4.Ben Shapiro at Breitbart: CHRISTIE SCANDAL EXPLODES: ‘TIME FOR SOME TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN FORT LEE’
According to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, a senior staffer for Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) sent an email to a Port Authority official that seems to direct the official to jack up traffic in an area run by a Christie political opponent.
In September, two of three local access lanes from Fort Lee were closed on the George Washington Bridge, stymying commuters from the city. The mayor of Fort Lee had refused to endorse Christie’s re-election effort. For two months, the Port Authority was silent on why the lanes were closed.
This is the straw that breaks the camels back for Christie. There shouldn’t have been any more talk of him in 2016 at this point but any that remained should be shut up by this. New Jersey political thugs are only moderately wimpier than Chicago’s breed.
5. Politico: The HuffPo-ization of the Right
Even as the movement begins to cohere, it’s not all neighborliness and camaraderie. Over the course of numerous conversations, I heard the Daily Caller called “kind of a three-ring circus” and the Free Beacon, “a vanity site about Israel.” Breitbart and the Blaze get sniffed at as unserious.
Still, nearly all the conservatives I talked to said the new range of right-wing outlets is a good thing. “The only thing that I think is hurtful to the movement is if you didn’t have that kind of variety,” Domenech of the Federalist told me. During the Bush era, he said, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina showed that partisan media’s failure to question its own leadership can lead to a collective lurch into the political wilderness. The remedy is an array of sites playing complementary roles—a “weaponized” hit piece here, a clicky slideshow there, anti-Obama video snippets nearly everywhere.
They don’t mention us. I suppose that means we’re not HuffPo enough to fit the narrative.
6. Ben Shapiro’s op/ed column this week: Why Socialism Is on the Rise
It took capitalism half a century to come back from the Great Depression. It’s taken socialism half that time to come back from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In New York City, avowed socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared that his goal is to take “dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities” — the gap between rich and poor. In Seattle, newly elected socialist city Councilmember Kshama Sawant addressed supporters, explaining, “I wear the badge of socialist with honor.” To great acclaim from the left, columnist Jesse Myerson of Rolling Stone put out a column telling millennials that they ought to fight for government-guaranteed employment, a universal basic income, collectivization of private property, nationalization of private assets and public banks.
The newly flowering buds of Marxism no longer reside on the fringes. Not when the president of the United States has declared fighting income inequality his chief task as commander in chief. Not when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that America faces “no greater challenge” than income disparity. Not when MSNBC, The New York Times and the amalgamated pro-Obama media outlets have all declared their mission for 2014 a campaign against rich people.
So what is the moral case for capitalism? It lies in recognition that socialism isn’t a great idea gone wrong — it’s an evil philosophy in action. It isn’t driven by altruism; it’s driven by greed and jealousy. Socialism states that you owe me something simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-forced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a product or service you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is more moral than forced redistribution. Socialism violates at least three of the Ten Commandments: It turns government into God, it legalizes thievery and it elevates covetousness. Discussions of income inequality, after all, aren’t about prosperity but about petty spite. Why should you care how much money I make, so long as you are happy?
7. Glenn Reynolds Interview At National Review about new book: The School of the Instapundit
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: So what’s the cocktail-party answer to what “the new school” is?
GLENN REYNOLDS: Both higher and K–12 education in America are based on models imported from 19th-century Germany. In 21st-century America, those models are woefully out of date.
LOPEZ: How is education like the newspaper business?
REYNOLDS: A decade or more ago, I used to have conversations with journalists who reflected that their industry’s business model was collapsing, but who somewhat sheepishly hoped the collapse wouldn’t come until they reached retirement age. Now I have the same kind of conversation with academics.
LOPEZ: How should higher ed “sacrifice for the common good”?
REYNOLDS: Back in the 1930s, economist John Hicks said that the best monopoly profit is “a comfortable life.” The quasi-monopolies that have been set up by unionized teachers in K–12 and the tenured professoriate in higher education have given the guild members a comfortable life, but at great expense to students and families. If you favor redistribution from the well-off to the less-well-off, then academics’ lives should probably become less comfortable in exchange for cheaper and more responsive educational models.
LOPEZ: Would you abolish the concept of teenagers if you could?
REYNOLDS: People think that teenagers act the way they do because of biology, but the teenager is mostly a modern social invention. We turned young adults into teenagers by taking away anything productive for them to do. A century or more ago, they were important parts of a family’s economic picture. Now they’re consumers, not producers. In pre-modern times, they were around mostly adults, and tended to try to act in ways that earned respect from those adults. Now they’re herded together with other teens, and tend to try to act in ways that other teens respect, ways that are usually a lot less constructive.
I cannot wait for my copy to arrive!
8. Jonah Goldberg’s column for the week at National Review: Millennial Communists
The relevance of the Soviets’ effort to provide every goody imaginable isn’t to suggest they came up with the idea; it’s to demonstrate that when such ideas are put into practice and allowed to run their course, they fail — and often crush both kinds of freedom in the process.
Regardless, the failure of Communism didn’t put the debate to rest because the debate is eternal. Like those summer fireflies, it is a permanent fixture of the human condition, particularly among the affluent and fashionably rebellious young who are always eager to explain why this time is different.
9. Betsy Woodruff at National Review: Marijuana Group Rips into Cuomo’s Medical-Marijuana Plan
And Cuomo’s plan, per MPP, won’t do that. Instead, MPP expects the program — which reports indicate will let some hospitals give marijuana they receive from the federal government (or, if that doesn’t work, confiscated marijuana) to some patients — to be “unworkable and problematic.” They give a host of reasons for this. Among them: Hospitals, which are federally regulated, usually don’t want to break federal law (and marijuana is still federally illegal). Also, the program would actually cost the state money, instead of generating tax revenue. And the bureaucratic hoops patients and hospitals would have to jump through to get medical marijuana from the federal government are nigh insurmountable.
Something I hope to eventually write on more at length: I think that California’s model of medicinal marijuana is a better approach for easing a state culturally into a way of regulating the drug better than the full blown legalization of Colorado. As more states strive to figure out how to deal with this issue the fight that will count will be a cultural one. Is marijuana going to be just a party drug, a different kind of alcohol? Just another vice? Or are its medicinal qualities yet unknown and untapped? Just what is being regulated here? Defining marijuana as just a way to get high misses the plant’s potential.
10. Cinema Blend, Hat Tip to SLM Goldberg: Disneyland’s Long Rumored Tomorrowland Remodel Will Be Influenced By Star Wars Episode VII
Operating a theme park is quite a challenge. Guests have their favorite rides and love certain things about how the park looks now, but at the same time, change is exactly what convinces a whole host of other people to come back. These proposed updates would cost fans Autopia and the current version of AstroOrbitor, but if it means introducing a slew of new rides, I’m a big thumbs up on that. Progress has to be made at some point. Despite losing some great rides, I think we can all agree it’s better Disneyland doesn’t look exactly as it did when it first opened back in July of ’55. Besides, Tomorrowland looks like a dated mess anyway.
If the remodeling does away with Autopia then I say good riddance! Lousy ride that should have been phased out in the 1970s!
11. Walter Hudson here at PJ Lifestyle: 6 Lies Millennials Must Reject
Outrageous though it may seem to suggest, the American economy better resembles fascism than capitalism, with actors constrained by ever more intrusive controls. Like all words, capitalism does not mean whatever an author wants it to mean. It requires the condition of liberty, a condition unseen in American jurisprudence and made incrementally more elusive which each “progressive” reform. We cannot blame capitalism when no such thing exists in practice.
12. A newspaper write-up about my wife’s art exhibition in the Bahamas: ’Picky Head’ To Provoke Conversation Of Black Hair And Identity
APRIL BEY’s Hair has always been used by people to place her in a comfortable race category.
Her mother is white and her father is black. When growing up in the Bahamas, April was told and in some cases bullied into chemically altering her hair to conform to a euro centric notions of beauty while masking her blackness.
After educating herself by doing comprehensive research into black hair and identity, she decided to put together an exhibition provocatively titled “Picky Head”. It brings together a number of observations and features from her research. The exhibition is set for 5.30pm, Friday at the Liquid Courage Gallery, featuring 8 to 9 pieces of her work.
“The ironic part of this is that black women are the highest consumers of hair relaxer and to blend in with them you must straighten your hair to appear white. This seemed like the protocol to me until about the age of 23. It flabbergasts me that I spent over 17 years of my life having no idea what my natural hair looked or felt like because I chemically destroyed it to blend in with the black women I lived, worked and went to school with. Even more disturbing was that I wasn’t alone,” April told Tribune Entertainment.
I’m very proud of her.
13. Two excerpts from Jews, God and History, by Max I. Dimont, from page 140 and 142:
Perhaps these might be of use to my friend Rhonda Robinson who has been blogging on the similarities and differences in Judaism and Christianity for many months now.
“He became to Jesus what the Talmud became to the Torah – a commentary and a way of Life.” — Dimont on the Apostle Paul:
“The schism between Jew and Christian was total.” — Dimont after explaining the theological changes Paul made to transform Christianity from a Jewish sect into a global religion made up mostly of converted Pagans:
14. An excerpt from page 267 of Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae, the chapter discussing Goethe, and the seeds of Decadence in Romanticism, and their origins in Paganism:
15. Think Progress: What ‘Anchorman 2′ And Will Ferrell’s Career Tell Us About Masculinity And Feminism
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to director Adam McKay’s 2004 smash and cultural touchstone Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, is by no means a good movie. The film, which follows titular news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) from San Diego to the big time in New York and the rise of cable news is too eager to repeat comedic beats from its predecessor, and is hampered by confused character motivations and a long diversion involving a not-so-tame shark. But what Anchorman 2 does do is solidify the most significant theme of Will Ferrell’s career: the ways in which masculine ideals harm men even as they help them, and the desperate need for a feminist movement that helps men figure out what they actually want out of life.
Gee if it wasn’t for a feminist movement and the progressive comedy stylings of Will Ferrell then what would men know to do with their lives?
Meanwhile recall the first story linked in this round-up wherein the check used to advocate for a raise in the minimum wage was of a father getting his paycheck garnished to pay child support.
How much more could so-called liberal feminists do to improve the world if instead of devoting their energies to analyzing dumb comedies and supporting male politicians who will give them free birth control, they instead stopped tolerating the millions of men who abandon the children they create and the women who chose to get involved with them in the first place?
See Also At PJ Lifestyle Today:
PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: A Rainbow at Sunset in Michigan
PJ Lifestyle Cute Animal Videos: 4 Videos of Maura the Siberian Husky Inaugurates a New Feature
Becky Graebner: I Had a Bad Day, So I Decided to Roast Something
PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: Sunrise on Lake St. Clair, Just Outside Detroit
And At PJ Media:
Tom Blumer: A Chaos-Driven Path to Single Payer?
Abraham H. Miller: The Palestinians and Terrorism in Europe, Redux
Bryan Preston: Agonizing with Frank Luntz
Ed Driscoll: Time Magazine Swings Both Ways
Bridget Johnson: Who Is Kenneth Bae, the Longest-Held U.S. Prisoner in North Korea?
This is Week 1, 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 Esquire, a profile of counterculture filmmaker Kenneth Anger, “Where the Bodies Are Buried”
In 1946, Parsons and Cameron practiced a magic ritual known as the “Babalon Working” to conceive a “moonchild” as the Thelemic “messiah”.
The “scribe” for this ceremony was a man Parsons had met only a few months earlier, but who – so Parsons told Crowley – displayed distinctly promising occult possibilities. He was a science-fiction writer named L Ron Hubbard. The Babalon Working failed: Cameron did not conceive. Hubbard ran off with Parsons’ former mistress, a substantial amount of Parsons’ money and a yacht both men owned in a business arrangement.
The official Scientology version of Hubbard’s occult activities is he was working undercover to expose and destroy a “black magic cult”. But Hubbard, Anger says, was “a pathological liar, you can’t believe anything he said”. What Hubbard took from meeting Parsons, Anger says, was the blueprint of a hermetic brotherhood in which the acquisition of one layer of knowledge leads to the next. “The difference is, Scientology makes everybody pay. Hubbard told Parsons that inventing a religion was a good way to make money. But Scientology is a cult. The whole thing is what I call a racket.”
In 1952, Parsons was killed when fulminate of mercury exploded in his home laboratory. “There are various theories about whether he was responsible, or someone else did it,” Anger says. “Howard Hughes wanted Jack to go and work for him but Jack refused. And Howard Hughes was the kind of man you didn’t say no to, or if you did, there would be consequences.”
Following Parsons’ death, Anger lived with Cameron for two years, intensifying his study of Crowleyian magick. Anger describes his beliefs as “paganism” which, he says, “is just an appreciation of nature. It has nothing to do with so-called ‘black magic’”. For many years he has been a member of the OTO, but is reticent about his own “magickal” practices: the OTO, he points out, is after all a secret society. He is not, he says, “doing magic circles all the time, although I have done it on occasion”. But he follows Crowley’s practice of “Liber Resh”, a ritual meditation for greeting the sunrise. He affects a cheery wave: “Hello sun!”
2. At Epoch Times: “Eight Treasures Tea: An Elixir From Ancient China”
Of all the herbal tonics in China, none is as well known as the medicinal tea called the “Eight Treasures Tea” (Ba Bao Cha), the base of which was created during the Tang dynasty. However, it wasn’t until Li changed some of the ingredients and added a few more, that it really became one of the most traditional tonics in Chinese history.
“Eight Treasures” is popular in part because of its many health benefits. It is known as an elixir in China because it helps improve blood circulation, raise energy levels, boost the immune system, clear lightheadedness, aid liver function and breathing, help remove dark under-eye circles, hydrate dry skin, fight fatigue, and can help women maintain a regular menstrual cycle.
There are many different varieties of “Eight Treasures” with different recipes made in different dynasties and depending on the availability of ingredients. The more common ingredients according to Li are:
Green tea Jasmine green tea brings out a more floral flavor.
Dried chrysanthemum flowers: 1–2 tablespoons
Goji berries: 4–6 berries
Dried Chinese red dates: 2 fruits
Dried Dragon Eye (Longan): 2 pieces
Licorice root: 1–2 pieces
American Ginseng: 1–2 roots
Dried fruit: You can use 1–4 pieces of apples, oranges, or raisins depending on size.
3. At the New York Post: “Spitzer caught sucking Lis Smith’s toes in topless hot tub romp”
Sleazy Eliot Spitzer turned a resort hot tub into a steamy love cauldron over the weekend — kissing and sucking the toes of his topless mistress, Lis Smith, in front of families with children, mortified witnesses told The Post.
The still-married former Love Gov and Smith, Mayor de Blasio’s ex-mouthpiece, were spied frolicking near the family pool at around 4 p.m. Sunday at the Half Moon family resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
“It was gross,” said a hotel witness, who was vacationing with her family. “She had her top off.”
The disgraced Spitzer — infamous for wearing his signature black knee socks while having sex with hookers — appears to have a bit of a foot fetish as well, according to onlookers.
4. Via Vodkapundit, At the Daily Mail: “Why was Tutankhamun mummified with an eternal erection? Study reveals religious reason”
The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb almost a century ago threw up some serious questions and mysteries surrounding the young pharoah’s burial.
Among the most bizarre rituals found in the tomb was that the king’s penis was embalmed at a 90-degree angle – the only mummy to have ever been found with this feature.
Egyptologists from the American University in Cairo have now claimed that this may have been carried out on purpose to make the king appear like Osiris, the god of the underworld, in an attempt to frighten religious revolutionaries.
5. Bridget Johnson at the PJ Tatler: “Taliban Commander Sends 10-Year-Old Sister Out to Suicide Bomb”
Think terrorists have reached the lowest of the low? Meet 10-year-old Spozhmai from Helmand province. On Sunday night, her kin strapped a bomb on her and sent her on a mission.
6. Claudia Rosett here at PJM: “Dennis Rodman In the Court of Kim Jong Un”
Self-appointed basketball envoy Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea, bringing with him a group of fellow former NBA stars to entertain North Korea’s young tyrant Kim Jong Un with an exhibition game on Kim’s birthday, this Wednesday. This is Rodman’s fourth visit to North Korea, where, having sampled some of the luxuries of young Kim’s lifestyle, Rodman has pronounced the totalitarian state to be “not that bad” and decided that Kim is his “friend for life.” It’s all part of what Rodman describes as his personal effort to “help the world.”
The real question about Rodman’s visits to North Korea is not why Rodman chooses to go there, but why the U.S. government continues to allow it. Rodman may believe he’s just going to hang with his buddy Kim, and make the world a better place. But it is quite likely that to Kim and his circle of the North Korean elite (at least those he has not yet ordered to be executed), Rodman’s visits look like a gift of tribute from America. There is precedent for this. Recall the basketball signed by former NBA star Michael Jordan, which former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright brought with her to Pyongyang in 2000 as a gift to Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il — also a basketball enthusiast. Albright was hoping to get a deal putting an end to North Korea’s missile habit. She got no deal. But Kim Jong Il did get the signed basketball, which North Korea’s government keeps on prominent display in its Hall of Trophies.
7. At the Daily Mail: “Happy birthday Michelle from all of US! Taxpayers foot the bill for First Lady’s extended Hawaiian vacation… so she can celebrate her 50th in Oprah’s Maui home”
When President Barack Obama suggested that his wife should spend extra time in paradise as an early birthday present, he was committing U.S. citizens to pay for the gift, whose costs will likely spiral into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The White House conceded on Monday that the federal treasury will foot the bill to fly First Lady Michelle Obama back to Washington, D.C. on a separate government aircraft after she finishes her extended vacation at the palatial 12-bedroom Hawaii home of talk show legend Oprah Winfrey.
Dedicated vehicles, Secret Service costs, and security sweeps of the Winfrey estate on Maui will add considerably to the total tab.
A Fox News Channel reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday to clarify who would get the bill for Mrs. Obama’s travel, and the spinner landed on taxpayers.
8. Stomach-churning crime story of the day from the Daily Mail which seems to be the place to look on the web to see sadistic criminal cruelty displayed on a daily basis: “Purple Heart marine who served in Afghanistan gets two life sentences for sexually abusing his two children from birth – with their mothers’ approval”
The former Marine convicted of sexually abusing his two children will spend the rest of his life behind bars, after receiving two life sentences in Florida court today.
U.S. District Judge Roy B Dalton Jr. called what 26-year-old Jonathan Adleta did to his children ‘heinous’, saying he is reposible for ‘the destruction and scarring of his own children’.
During the trial it was revealed that Adleta started planning to abuse his children before they were born, telling his pregnant girlfriend Sarah Adleta, 29, that he would only marry her if she allowed him to have ‘daddy-daughter sex’ with their child.
I suppose it’s necessary to remember what is really going on in the world.
9. More evil reported At the Daily Mail: “I don’t give a rat’s a** what you think!’: Dennis Rodman has a meltdown during an interview about his latest North Korean trip and implies that imprisoned American Kenneth Bae ‘deserves to be in jail’”
‘The marshal is actually trying to change this country in a great way,’ Rodman said of Kim, using the leader’s official title. ‘I think that people thought that this was a joke, and Dennis Rodman is just doing this because fame and fortune.’ Instead, he said, he sees the game as a ‘birthday present’ for Kim and his country.
‘Just to even have us here, it’s an awesome feeling. I want these guys here to show the world, and speak about North Korea in a great light,’ he said. ‘I hope people will have a different view about North Korea.’
NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement Monday night.
‘The NBA is not involved with Mr Rodman’s North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture without the approval of the U.S. State Department,’ Stern said.
‘Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them.’
Rodman is the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011.
10. More on a different, more traditional kind of cult at the Daily Mail: “Man who thinks he’s Jesus… along with hundreds of young women who follow him across the world”
Most of the disciples who live at his church – mostly women – have followed Inri for decades, the eldest, Abevere, 86, has been following him for 32 years.
His youngest disciple is now 24 years old and first met Inri when she was just a two years old.
11. Confirmation from Your Tango: “It’s Science: Americans Watched The Most Porn In 2013″
If the United States takes the number one spot in the world that obviously means we’re home to the individual state that’s all about consuming porn the most at one time. Any guesses as to the winner? Well, before you get your brain in a tizzy, I’ll tell you: Mississippi.
At an average 11 minutes, 47 seconds of porn-watching sessions in 2013, Mississippi is number one in the planet! The duration is even up one minute, three seconds from last year!
12. Via WTF Magazine, as shared by my friend Ash on Facebook:
Too bad the human centipede movie didn’t take this as its premise instead…
Did Charlie Sheen say “I do” yet again?
That’s what the unpredictable star claimed via Twitter over the weekend, posting a message that implied that he tied the knot with his ex-porn star girlfriend, Brett Rossi. But now the actor is insisting that he was just joking around, in typical Sheen fashion.
14. From Your Tango: “23 Signs You’re Obsessed With ‘Downton Abbey’”
5. You regularly quote Mrs. SassyPants herself, the Dowager Countess, on Facebook and IRL.
It’s kind of strange juxtaposing the way both prim and proper turn-of-the-century culture is popular alongside the mainstreaming of internet porn culture.
15. At the Mary Sue: “In an Alternate Star Trek Universe, Worf Works on Wall Street”
I’m not looking forward to having to watch The Wolf of Wall Street, which I’m sure I’ll have to force myself to do eventually when I’m writing something about Scorsese’s movies… The idea of Worf just running through the film whacking at all the corrupt criminals with his Bat’leth sounds more entertaining to me.
16. Betsy Rothstein at the Daily Caller: “Is Rare really just a wolf in sheep’s clothing?“
Content Editor Matt Cover‘s last day at Rare was last week. He went to the Alexandria, Va. office for the final time on Friday. He’s one of four editors who have parted ways with the Cox Media Group-owned news outlet since its inception in April. Once billed as red meat for conservative readers, those who’ve worked there have experienced editorial policies that are anything but right-leaning.
“I left because I didn’t like the direction Rare was headed or the disrespectful way staff was treated,” said Anneke Green, Rare‘s former opinion editor who quit in August. “We have enough conservative outlets — we don’t need to support a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And at the end of the day, instead of appealing to actual conservatives, it seemed the Cox people were more interested in Rare redefining conservatism to what they want it to be than reporting on what it is. I’m going on the record now only because I was so positive on the record when Rare launched and I’m disappointed such a great opportunity was squandered.”
I remember when Rare launched. Since then I’ve dropped by periodically out of loyalty to some of the people editing/writing there but it hasn’t made much of a positive or negative impression either way. They just seem to be another center-right news aggregation site that doesn’t distinguish themselves in any way. I checked twice today to try to find a link worthwhile to include from them in this round-up and came up empty handed. Oh wait, here’s something, apparently Rare chooses to publish the hatemonger Pat Buchanan, recently named by P. David Hornik as the sixth worst purveyor of antisemitism in America.
17. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: “Intelligent Populism vs. Mindless Progressivism”
Moreover by 1995, the huge expansion of the U.S. economy, globalization, and sweeping breakthroughs in technology radically transformed the prior idea of “poverty,” as I had remembered it in 1960 (we of the rural middle class a half-century ago all used the privy farm toilet when outdoors around the house, and shared a party phone line with eight other families). Today’s poor struggle with drugs, crime, shattered families, and malaise, but not outdoor privies, the lack of air conditioning and heating, dusty dirt roads, or a denial of access to a phone or TV. Deprivation now is almost defined as the absence of a free electronic tablet at school.
Urban riots do not break out over bread, but more likely about the nth model of Air Jordan sneakers. When I go to a local Quest lab for a blood draw, the waiting room is full of poor who suffer terribly from diabetes and kidney failure brought about by carbohydrate- and sugar-driven obesity, not malnourishment. Too many calories are the scourge of America. There are no stormings of the local Wal-Mart to spread beans and rice around; occasional flash mobbing of electronics stores nationwide is prompted by desire for smart phones and pads.
18. From Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler, “Former SecDef Robert Gates Unloads on Obama”
In his forthcoming book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the difficult relationship that he had with President Obama, Vice President Biden and many of the administration’s other top advisers. Gates kept a calm public demeanor while serving, as a Republican, so high up in a Democrat administration. But behind the scenes, he writes that he felt like he was “at war” with the rest of the administration.
He writes: “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the  surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”
That’s monstrous. Yet Gates goes on to describe Clinton in the glowing terms typical of a Washington insider.
19. An excerpt from page 154 of volume 2, The Trick Top Hat, of Robert Anton Wilson’s satirical quantum physics sci-fi mysticism novel The Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy:
20. Finally, from me today: “Welcome to Single Mom Nation: In 2014 Acknowledge the Matriarchs Who Really Run America”
The realization that I came to in 2013 – one that others on the Right seem to be coming to as well – is that actually the person making most of the domestic policy, campaign strategy, and — most horrifying of all – foreign policy decisions is his “senior adviser” Valerie Jarrett. Now we know that actually Jarrett was the one with the political savvy who was grooming Obama all along so that she could use him to implement her agenda. Obama is just her mask.
I don’t think President Jarrett really cares to the degree that Obamacare succeeds or fails. If it’s helping any poor people, if it’s doing any amount of redistributing of wealth at all, then it’s a success in the Alinsky playbook. Anything she can do to stick it to the rich racists who don’t deserve to be wealthy the better. And years from now when Obamacare is really collapsing in flames and the Democrats are the ones leading the call for its repeal it won’t be her name on it. She’ll have moved on to the next million dollar Alinskyite, Soros Corporatist-Marxist hustle to rob from the rich, give to her preferred poor, and pocket some for herself.
See Also At PJ Lifestyle today:
PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: A Collision of Gray and Yellow As the Sun Sets Over the Chuska Mountains in New Mexico
Barry Rubin: Ideology: A Specter Haunting the World
Paula Bolyard: Survivors of the Blizzard of ’78 Mock the ‘Arctic Vortex’
Chris Queen: Girl Freezes Her Tongue to a Flagpole
Charlie Martin: 5 Surprises Coming in 2014 That Shouldn’t Be
Stephen Green: Texas Man Kills Bigfoot
PJ Lifestyle Sunshine: Sunrise in Michigan
And At PJ Media:
Richard Fernandez: The Ostrich of Pennsylvania Avenue
Bridget Johnson: Rodman Has CNN Meltdown Over His ‘Love’ for Kim Jong-un, Declares U.S. Hostage Must Be Guilty
Roger L. Simon: Confessions of an Oscar Voter
Bryan Preston: ‘Republicans Could Win It All This Year’
Bridget Johnson: Coptic Christmas Marked by First Visit from Egyptian Leader to Cathedral Since Nasser
Last year I had a shift in my ideological interpretation of the political and cultural worlds. A theory for your consideration:
The First Lady was talking about healthy foods as part of her ongoing Let’s Move! initiative and made the slip when she was discussing how the demands of raising a family can leave little time for nutritious cooking.
‘Believe me, as a busy single mother,’ Obama said, before quickly correcting herself, ‘Or I shouldn’t say single – as a busy mother.’
Her remarks came the same day that the President was criticized for remarking that California’s Kamala Harris is the ‘best looking attorney general’ in the country.
Barack Obama in December of 2013, taking a “selfie” at Nelson Mandela’s memorial with the Prime Minister of Denmark, much to the annoyance of his wife:
— AFP Photo Department (@AFPphoto) December 10, 2013
The President’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in 2009 describing their relationship to The New York Times:
“We have kind of a mind meld,” Jarrett told me about Obama. “And chances are, what he wants to do is what I’d want to do.”
Valerie Jarrett speaking to a lay Episcopal gathering on September 21 2011:
We have to give people a livelihood so that they can provide for their families. And its a vision, I think his is a moral vision, it’s a vision based very deeply in values. And taking care of the least of these, and making sure that we are creating a country that is a country for everybody not just for the very very wealthy. We are working hard to lift people up out of poverty and give them a better life, and a footing, and that’s what government is suppose to do.
Eleanor Clift wrote about Jarrett’s history as a single mother and her relationship with Michelle Obama in 2010:
After First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made work-and-family balance one of her priorities both personally and professionally, Jarrett is a favorite ambassador to the many women’s groups that dot the nation’s capital, and indeed the country. Settling into a comfortable chair on a riser at a reception sponsored by the International Women’s Forum, Jarrett revealed that as a single mother, she felt like “I was holding on by my finger tips,” even though she had an enviable support system with her parents living just blocks away in Chicago. Her father took her daughter to school every day from kindergarten through high school, an admission that drew nods of amazement from the crowd of women.
In 1991, when her daughter was 5, Jarrett was pulling long hours working for Mayor Richard Daley. She hired a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson who had just become engaged to Barack Obama. A friendship was born along with a political partnership as Jarrett, a few years older and very savvy in the ways of Chicago, ushered the couple into the city’s power structure. Jarrett and Obama had a lot in common, each having spent part of their formative years living abroad. Jarrett was born in Iran, where her father was a doctor. She attended an elite boarding school in New England before getting a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a law degree from University of Michigan. Whip smart and seemingly fearless, she has been called Obama’s “north star,” keeping his political trajectory on course and staying close to the family in the White House.
Her daughter is 24 now and well on her way, but Jarrett hasn’t forgotten those days, and how hard it can be to raise children even when you have a family to back you up.
Andrew Stiles at National Review in November of 2013, in perhaps the best portrait of Jarrett yet written at article length:
Jarrett’s critics have no dearth of examples. She has been variously described by her critics within the Obama administration as the “Night Stalker,” on account of her general ruthlessness, as well as her tendency to follow the president into the White House residence after hours; “She Who Must Not Be Challenged”; and Obama’s “Rasputin.” Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who clashed often with Jarrett, likened her and senior aide Peter Rouse to Saddam Hussein’s maniacal sons, Uday and Qusay.
Over the past several years, a clearer picture of Jarrett’s role has emerged thanks to the plethora of books and articles published about the inner workings of the Obama White House. She is equal parts fangirl and enforcer, inspiring fear and envy in her (many) detractors, a true believer who was in on the ground floor of the Obama Cult and will be the last to leave.
Jarrett’s personal friendship with the president and first lady dates back more than two decades, before the couple was married, and before Barack Obama launched his political career in Chicago. The president has said he views her “like a sibling” and trusts her “completely.” As result, she enjoys “unlimited, almost mystical access” to the president, write Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, and is known as “The Keeper of the Essence,” the “defender, protector, and avenger” of all things Obama.
I spent much of the past few years reading books and editing articles that sought to explain who Barack Obama really was and what he believed and thus what he was trying to do with this country we love. I read the books he read when he was in his 20s, studied the mentors who taught him, and tried to make some sense of his life experience. But for what? I was wasting my time. We all were.
“What wouldst thou know, my queen?”
This is Week 1 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 Wall Street Journal: “Book Review: ‘Friendship’ by A.C. Grayling: In the era of Facebook and ‘the friend zone,’ are we forgetting the value of a true boon companion?”
Aristotle, Mr. Grayling notes, recognized a wider range of relationships. In the “Nicomachean Ethics,” he describes three kinds of friendships: those founded on mutual utility, those founded on pleasure and those founded on virtue. Churchill’s friendship with King George VI, with whom he had little in common, developed out of working toward a mutually beneficial goal. Conversely, Nick Carraway’s friendship with Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel is all women, gin and cars.
It’s no surprise that friendships founded on shared virtue are of the highest order for Aristotle. Such friends, he writes, “resemble each other in excellence” and care for each other because of “what the other is.” One requirement of being a virtuous friend is a proper respect for oneself. Aristotle famously stated that a friend is “another self.” But in order for someone to love his other self properly—”wish what is good” for someone else—he must first wish what is good for ourselves. Only then can he love others rightly.
Hat tip to my friend of all three sorts: AH.
2. Ben Shapiro Starts his afternoon show on Mondays-Friday from 3-6 PM PST on KTTH. Listen Here. Read a profile of him here:
Now, Shapiro is bringing his unique rhetorical voice to Seattle. Today, his weekday afternoon show debuts on KTTH. Though only 29, Shapiro has been working in national conservative media since age 17, when he began writing a syndicated column. He has earned a reputation as a fair, intellectually curious social and fiscal conservative.
He’s looking forward to working in Seattle, especially, for its thoughtfulness.
“It’s a thinking market,” he says. “I like being in areas that tend to be more left leaning because I like the debate.”
3. Jeff Dunetz at Truth Revolt Today: “Is Rachel Maddow Running MSNBC?“
Eliana Johnson’s article “Rachel’s Show” in Monday’s National Review Onlinecontends that Rachel Maddow has become the behind-the-scenes power at MSNBC. Johnson cites multiple insider sources who insist that Maddow, rather than Phil Griffin, is the true source of editorial direction at MSNBC, holding “considerable sway over personnel decisions.” In fact, one source even points to Maddow as the reason both Bashir and Baldwin were released.
4. A Quote of the Day from the Dennis Prager Show Today
5. The new trailer for Netflix’s House of Cards via Mediaite:
Whoever at Netflix is behind the rollout of House of Cards’ second season apparently has the same sinister sense of humor as the blackhearted show.
The new episodes were already set to drop on Valentine’s Day, which means couples less enthused by schmaltzy restaurant packages than coordinated murder can order takeout. Now some genius chucked the trailer into the ether on the same day Congress came back into session. If you were about to tweet about how evil those fatcats in Washington are, Netflix is here to remind you it could always be worse.
6. Also at Mediaite: “Rachel Maddow Calls National Review Profile ‘Categorically False’”
In an official statement, MSNBC said:
“The NRO story is absurd and full of inaccuracies from beginning to end. To start, Rachel has absolutely no role in network management decisions. Writing her show every night is more than enough work. She gladly leaves talent management to her bosses. We’re disappointed that the National Review would run a story with more anonymous, uninformed sources than you’d ever find on the gossip pages.”
7. This morning’s reading, Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist? page 208: “The earliest Arab rulers appear to have been adherents of Hagarism, a monotheistic religion centered around Abraham and Ishmael.”
And page 215, ”… there is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.”
8. Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: “Consider alternative schooling“:
Public schools were designed to be rigid. Back in the 19th century, whenMassachusetts Board of Education Secretary Horace Mann toured Europe looking for models of public education to import to America, the one he chose came from Prussia. Inflexibility and uniformity were Prussian specialties, and when Mann brought Prussian-style education to America, those characteristics were seen not as a bug but as a feature.
School was practice for working in the factory. Thus, the traditional public school: like a factory, it runs by the bell. Like machines in a factory, desks and students are lined up in orderly rows. When shifts (classes) change, the bell rings again, and students go on to the next class. And within each class, the subjects are the same, the assignments are the same, and the examinations are the same, regardless of the characteristics of individual students.
This had its advantages back during the Industrial Revolution, an assembly-line era where uniformity was more important than anything else, when Henry Ford was happy to sell you a car in any color you wanted, so long as it was black. But this is the 21st century, and now times have changed. You can buy a thousand different kinds of shampoo, so why should your kid have only one kind of education?
9. Salacious story of the day from the Daily Mail: “Meth addict mom, 30, ‘raped three of her children and charged adults to watch before nine-year-old son escaped and turned her in to police’“
A brave nine-year-old boy has given a graphic and detailed statement to Oklahoma police about his mother, who allegedly sexually and physically abused her three other children repeatedly as her friends paid to watch.
Authorities in Beckham county were alerted to the accusations against Natalie Lynn Webb, 30, in August after a Department of Human Services investigator spoke to the eldest child and reported that Webb was ‘selling sex’ with her kids to other adults.
According to the police affidavit – obtained by The Huffington Post and almost completely based on an interview with the nine-year-old – the victims were an eight-year-old boy and his two three-year-old sisters.
10. At the Daily Mail: “‘Jihad Jane’ gets reduced 10-year prison sentence for terror plot to kill artist after telling judge she was once obsessed with militant Islam“
LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, told the judge she once had thought about jihad from morning to night, saying she was ‘in a trance.’ ‘I don’t want to be into jihad no more,’ she said.
She was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus five years of supervised release.
See Also At PJ Lifestyle today:
Susan L.M. Goldberg: U.S. Concentration Camps on Pravda’s List of Top 10 in 2013
Bonnie Ramthun: My Nomination for Worst Dad of 2014
Rhonda Robinson: The Existential Vacuum: Birth Canal of the Knockout Game?
Bridget Johnson: NFL Playoffs Wildcard Open Thread: Cold Bowl Doesn’t Ice the Niners
And At PJ Media today:
Bryan Preston: Ta-Nehisi Coates Brands MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry ‘America’s Foremost Public Intellectual’
Barry Rubin: The Middle East, at the Beginning of 2014
Roger L. Simon: Gore and Kerry: The Perils of Presidential Losers (updated)
Ed Driscoll: Interview: Glenn Reynolds onThe New School
Stephen Green: A Tale of Two Rollouts
Andrew Klavan: The Left’s Cultural Jenga
Check Out the Previous Steps in My Self-Improvement Series:
December 31, 2012: 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal
February 1, 2013: The Plan So I Don’t Waste the Last Year of My 20s
April 10: The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen
May 8: Every American Needs to Read Books to Understand Islam
July 6: We Must Read Tons of Books With A Clear Purpose
October 5: 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading
November 17: Half Through 13 Weeks For Radical Readers and Madman Writers, Turning Up the Heat
January 1, 2014: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 I Invite You to Burgle From Me Bilbo-Style
And Don’t miss how Charlie, Sarah, and Rhonda are staring their 13 Week regimens this year:
Charlie Martin: 13 Weeks: New Year, New Season, New Experiments
Sarah Hoyt: Selling Your Writing in 13 Weeks, Week 13: Bringing It All Together
Rhonda Robinson: 13 Weeks: Finding My Way Back To Creativity, And The Heart of My Daughter
I have decided to accept my limitations. With the nature of my editorial work across the PJM network of sites and the unpredictability of the usual day with The Wife in her final year of graduate school it has proven difficult to stick to a daily reading/writing regimen. Some days the editorial load is heavier than others unexpectedly, other days where I intend an even reading/writing split one or the other might end up predominating. If I’m in a research groove, finding new connections across books and finally beginning to grasp difficult concepts then I’m going to run with it. Likewise when the writing muse bestows her blessings you don’t tell her to shut up.
There’s a factor in all this scheduling and productivity planning work that often gets overlooked: moods. So much of being a creative person is about learning to channel one’s emotions into art, writing, and communicating. We have to learn to recognize what state of mind we’re in at any given time and then take advantage of it. Reading, writing, editing, and publishing are all four different processes. And I’ve found that circumstances and subjective moods lend themselves to each task differently. The state of mind one needs to edit an article is not the same as for writing or for researching.
One thing I’m going to try and do more this year is focus on each individually. Helping me do that will be a closer focus on using the handwritten journal as a catalyst to organize the day and facilitate more writing. Here are 10 ways that I’m going to do it, in the style that I’m going to explore this year — creating combinations of photographs, blogging, and embedded video juxtapositions.