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.
My wife and I flew back to Indiana last week to spend Christmas with the family. We had a ball! Among the highlights was when we all went to see The Hobbit part 2 on IMAX 3-D. The whole family is pretty religious about Tolkien, the movies especially. Dad is the expert, capable of explaining the changes from book to screen while assuring us that Peter Jackson’s changes still make for an extraordinary film without messing up anything major.
Ever since I was a kid first encountering The Hobbit as a cartoon and as my Dad read it during bedtime I loved the scene of Bilbo talking with the dragon Smaug, buried amidst the endless piles of pilfered Dwarven gold. That fantasy of limitless wealth to swim in seems a recurring one from childhood. I loved how Scrooge McDuck had a money bin that he’d dive into and pass through as though it were water:
I kind of imagine myself doing that these past few years editing PJ Lifestyle except instead of gold coins it’s the amazing writing of the PJ columnists, freelancers, and the authors in the books I’m researching. From family advice to tech news to TV and family commentaries to history/religion/ideology debates PJ Lifestyle has been accumulating a diverse range of exciting ideas and cultural challenges. Here was my attempt to organize this some last year via an ever-evolving self-improvement routine inspired by Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks program:
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
To give Lifestyle some degree of structure I’ve sought to organize some of the themes each week by day — when the story isn’t a timely, breaking news piece. I’ve applied this also to my daily reading plan, drawing from a different pile of books and shifting subjects to try and make fresh connections for stories to assign to PJ’s writers and work on myself. Here’s my reading plan for the next 13 weeks cycle — join us starting the week of Sunday, January 5 for week 1 — and then how they’re inspiring me to make changes in my own life.
I suppose I should have anticipated reactions such as these to my list of the 10 best conservative columnists of 2013 yesterday:
Charles Krauthammer ?
This column alone should catapult him to #1 in terms of “valuable pieces on the chessboard.”
— Diane Vespa (@jnjsmom) December 27, 2013
I tried to preempt this criticism with my second ground rule:
- I’m likewise being strict with the “conservative” title – other various right-of-center ideologies (neoconservatism, libertarianism, Christian theocrats, and paleo-con conspiracists) warrant their own lists.
But apparently some object to the idea that there are distinct ideologies within the conservative movement. Here’s “New MarcH” in the comments:
David – Bravo for opening a discussion of intellectual trends in on the Right. Still, I have some issues as well as some thoughts for further discussion regarding your use of the term, “neoconservative”.
Ben Shapiro but no Krauthammer? You had to twist yourself into a pretzel not to mention Krauthammer.
Also, why the cheers for the NYT not including the “neoconservative” William Kristol but then whooping it up for the less well known Frank Gaffney? Gaffney began as a protégé of Scoop Jackson and Richard Perle. How he is less of a “neo-con” than Kristol (BTW, I have a high opinion of Jackson, Perle, Kristol and Gaffney)?
If you want a deeper topic, consider this: what is the current significance of the term “neoconservative (‘new conservative’)”? As you know, the term was coined in the 70s to describe former FDR/JFK Democratic party intellectuals who were dismayed by the leftward shift of the Democratic party and the failure of its defense, social and economic policies. These folks formed a big part of the brain trust of the Reagan campaign and White House. Neo-Conservatism is often caricatured (not entirely unfairly but ultimately incorrectly) as a movement of New York Jewish intellectuals, but its leaders and founders included Jack Kemp, William Bennett, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Gilder, Charles Murray, etc., and, of course, Ronald Reagan.
But what does it mean today? William Kristol may be a lot of things but he took in Reaganite conservatism with his tinker toys so he can’t be accurately described as a “new”-conservative.
During the Iraq war the Left brilliantly grabbed the word and morped it to suggest ‘”chicken-hawk” Jew or Jewish dupe who wants to trick the US into fighting a war for Israel and make money off oil, etc’. Some on the Right were not uncomfortable with grabbing this twisted use of the word and “demagogue-ing” it to try to create a post Reagan isolationist conservative movement. Pat Buchanan was an early adopter of this strategy and it was always funny to watch this Vietnam War avoider suggest others were “chicken hawks”.
So David, is the term you used “neoconservative” relevant to contemporary political analysis? I would say not. It is out of date and serves mostly as a slur word for the Left.
I very strongly disagree. And so did Irving Kristol, the founder of neoconservatism, who in August 2003 defined some of the basic assumptions and tendencies of what he characterized as a “persuasion” rather than an outright movement. There are a number of differences between conservatives operating in the William F. Buckley Jr./Ronald Reagan tradition and neoconservatives operating in the Irving Kristol/George W. Bush tradition. Here are three, and I’ll use Kristol’s own words to explain it.
This is Week 12 of Season 3 in my 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines. This Top 10 list is the series’ climax for this year, a project I’ve been planning since first asking the question December 5, 2012.
What is the future of conservatism? Which voices should define the priorities of the movement in the coming decades? Who are its most skilled proponents today? How should the movement evolve to face the threats most endangering America?
This list is my effort to advocate for both my favorite writers contributing to answering these questions and the ideas they champion.
5 quick ground rules first:
- I’m being strict with the “columnist” title – no bloggers, journalists, or feature writers. A “columnist” is one who writes a 700-1400+ word polemical article on a regular basis for an established publication or syndication.
- I’m likewise being strict with the “conservative” title – other various right-of-center ideologies (neoconservatism, libertarianism, Christian theocrats, and paleo-con conspiracists) warrant their own lists. (Which perhaps they might get next year as I continue mapping out today’s most important ideological advocates in the contests of politics, ideas, and culture…)
[UPDATE: Confused why some of your favorites aren't on this list? See: 3 Basic Differences Between Conservatism and Neoconservatism]
- In selecting these individuals, I am including them and the ideas they champion in what I’m calling Conservatism 3.0. This isn’t just a stand-alone list, it’s part of the bigger, ongoing project of my attempt to encourage ideological debate and dialogue. The columnists on this list each write books too and I’m adding their titles to my reading lists at the Freedom Academy Book Club. In next year’s installment of my “radical reading regimen” I’ll blog through their titles too.
- I’m excluding writers that I edit. All of PJM’s columnists and freelancers have been going on a separate list of my favorite writers, which I’ve been accumulating over the last six months and you can read on the last page of this post. And as an extra mention I have to go out of my way to recommend Instapundit Glenn Reynolds’s USA Today columns too. Blogging isn’t the only medium that Glenn’s mastered.
- I’m including excerpts from some of my favorite columns. Fair warning: this article today is over 13,000 words, highlighting some of the year’s best op/eds. (UPDATE: And apparently that means it’s too big for the view-as-single-page or print-this-post feature to work. I’m sorry. I assure you that was not intentional.) It’s really more of a free online e-book — a late Christmas present to all the readers, writers, activists, and patriots who have inspired and encouraged me in my own journey across the political spectrum…
10. Ross Douthat
Back in 2009 the New York Times editorial page made the very rare great decision. They replaced corporatist neoconservative baby boomer William Kristol (born December 23, 1952) with cultural conservative millennial-leaning Gen-Xer Ross Douthat (born November 28, 1979.)
Gone was the D.C.-insider establishment man, symbolic of — and in some ways a contributor to — the Republican Party’s and conservatism’s failures todays, and in was a sunny National Review writer with a film critic background and religious interests to reinvent center-right arguments with a fresh, optimistic voice. A few highlights from this year, on Reza Aslan’s Jesus recycling, the celebration of tribal criminality in Breaking Bad, and lessons for the JFK cult:
August 3, “Return of the Jesus Wars“:
The fact that Aslan’s take on Jesus is not original doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. But it has the same problem that bedevils most of his competitors in the “real Jesus” industry. In the quest to make Jesus more comprehensible, it makes Christianity’s origins more mysterious.
Part of the lure of the New Testament is the complexity of its central character — the mix of gentleness and zeal, strident moralism and extraordinary compassion, the down-to-earth and the supernatural.
Most “real Jesus” efforts, though, assume that these complexities are accretions, to be whittled away to reach the historical core. Thus instead of a Jesus who contains multitudes, we get Jesus the nationalist or Jesus the apocalyptic prophet or Jesus the sage or Jesus the philosopher and so on down the list.
There’s enough gospel material to make any of these portraits credible. But they also tend to be rather, well, boring, and to raise the question of how a pedestrian figure — one zealot among many, one mystic in a Mediterranean full of them — inspired a global faith.
October 1, “Walter White’s Dream”:
The allure for Team Walt is not ultimately the pull of nihilism, or the harmless thrill of rooting for asupervillain. It’s the pull of an alternative moral code, neither liberal nor Judeo-Christian, with an internal logic all its own. As James Bowman wrote in The New Atlantis, embracing Walt doesn’t requiring embracing “individual savagery” and a world without moral rules. It just requires a return to “old rules” — to “the tribal, family-oriented society and the honor culture that actually did precede the Enlightenment’s commitment to universal values.”
Those rules seem cruel by the lights of both cosmopolitanism and Christianity, but they are not irrational or necessarily false. Their Darwinian logic is clear enough, and where the show takes place — in the shadow of cancer, the shadow of death — the kindlier alternatives can seem softheaded, pointless, naïve.
Nor can this tribal morality be refuted in a laboratory. Indeed, by making Walt a chemistry genius, the show offers an implicit rebuke to the persistent modern conceit that a scientific worldview logically implies liberalism, humanism and a widening circle of concern. On “Breaking Bad,” that worldview just makes Walt a better kingpin, and the beautiful equations of chemistry are deployed to addict, poison, decompose.
November 23, “Puddleglum and the Savage“:
What exhausts skeptics of the Kennedy cult, both its elegiac and paranoid forms, is the way it makes a saint out of a reckless adulterer, a Camelot out of a sordid political operation, a world-historical figure out of a president whose fate was tragic but whose record was not terribly impressive.
But in many ways the impulses driving the Kennedy nostalgists are the same ones animating Lewis’s Puddleglum and Huxley’s Savage — the desire for grace and beauty, for icons and heroes, for a high-stakes dimension to human affairs that a consumerist, materialist civilization can flatten and exclude.
And one can believe J.F.K. is a poor vessel for these desires, and presidential politics the wrong place to satisfy them, without wishing they would disappear.
“It is a serious thing,” Lewis wrote, describing the implications of his religious worldview, “to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship.”
It is obviously a serious mistake, from this perspective, to deify someone prematurely or naively, as too many of Kennedy’s admirers have done.
”To deify someone prematurely or naively…” – in continuing on this list, picking writers, activists, and thinkers who have influenced my thinking for years, I want to emphasize that this is not a list of conservative heroes. These are not the gods of right-wing writing circa 2013, but rather something more mundane: a chessboard. Both in specific arguments and in tactics they each simply model the methods for how to do battle.
Douthat is a knight. His approach of leading with deeper discussions of religion and culture then eschewing cliche ideological talking points is a great way to begin the discussion with skeptical or even hostile non-conservative friends and family. As the dialogue gets deeper into specifics — as you make progress in provoking others to rattle their chains in Plato’s cage by taking politically incorrect ideas seriously — it’s time to get focused on the facts about the nature of the enemies who most threaten our ability to have these free debates about God and life. I suspect that over the coming years more will make the journey from Left to Right as I and many other post-9/11 conservatives did: through recognizing the nature of the jihad declared against us and then responding in the same way that previous generations vanquished Nazism and fascism.
Just received this morning from a reader via email:
Amid all the problems of the world in India and elsewhere:
Just in time for the holidays, Honda has a new ad trivializing rape for its commercial gain.
In the cartoon, two men are depicted lowers a restrained man, who takes the place of a angel to top a tree. One of two workers says, ‘we might have to twist him on.’
This is not only tasteless but entertains a culture of rape. Even the most radical feminist should stand against this, as women suffer disproportionately from acceptance of this culture.
Please help take a stand up against this by taking the lead and cover the story.
I am sure your viewers would applaud taking a stand against this.
What do you think? Should one “take a stand” against Honda’s PG-13 rated double entendre type joke in an effort to reduce rape?
1. Imagine a country today where more than one third of the men admit to rape….
Researchers found that more than three in four men said they had perpetrated violence against women.
Nearly nine in 10 men believe that a woman should obey her husband – and almost six in 10 women also agreed with the statement.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. Last year a survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that 28% of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl.
A new MRC study in Gauteng, the country’s wealthiest province, found that 37.4% of men admitted having committed a rape, while 25.3% of women said they had been raped.
2. Imagine a world today that celebrates when this country’s most famous leader dies at the age of 95, and the president equates him with Abraham Lincoln and America’s founding fathers….
“Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement, a movement that at its start had little prospect for success,” Obama said. “Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice.”
Obama commented that Mandela was imprisoned from the time John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were the leaders of the United States and Soviet Union until the end of the Cold War.
“Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would—like Abraham Lincoln—hold his country together when it threatened to break apart,” Obama said. “And like America’s founding fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations—a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.”
3. Imagine that the movement founded by William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan is somehow today led by men like Newt Gingrich who sing the same adulations, putting South Africa’s leader at the same level with George Washington:
“Everybody says they love freedom,” said an incredulous Gingrich, comparing Mandela to America’s founding fathers during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He said the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary deserved acclaim from “everybody who is proud of the farmers at Lexington and Concord who stood up to the British army, everybody who is grateful to George Washington for eight years in the field fighting the British Empire.”
After Mandela died Thursday, Gingrich posted a statement that lauded him as “one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime.”
This is how the Chicago Tribune describes Nelson Mandela in its obituary:
Nelson Mandela, who guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy and became an international icon of peace and reconciliation, died Thursday at age 95.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela emerged determined to use his prestige and charisma to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war.
“The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come,” Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.”
President Barack Obama hailed Mandela as a leader who left his country with a legacy of freedom and peace with the world.
He formally left public life in June 2004 before his 86th birthday, telling his adoring countrymen: “Don’t call me. I’ll call you”. But he remained one of the world’s most revered public figures, combining celebrity sparkle with an unwavering message of freedom, respect and human rights.
Do we honor the dead by denying who they really were and what they actually believed? I’m sorry to say that I realized Mandela had died when noticing that Kathy Shaidle’s July article — “Raining on the Nelson Mandela Parade” – had all of a sudden received a surge of readers. Here are some of the facts she mentions that you’re not likely to read about today:
That “armed wing” carried out terror attacks at shopping centers, movie theaters and other civilian targets, not just “establishment” ones like courts and banks.
These attacks blew many innocent whites and blacks to bits.
(Note: some of these crime scene photos are disturbing.)
And when Mandela was arrested, the authorities claimed to have uncovered “210,000 hand grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminium powder and 1 ton of black powder.”
Governments around the world, such as the ones in the U.S. and Great Britain, placed the ANC on their terror lists, along with the PLO, the IRA and the FLQ.
So when the Left adopted the destruction of apartheid as its new fashionable cause in the late 1980s, the organizer of that “Free Nelson Mandela” concert, Tony Hollingsworth, knew he needed to “personalize” the cause, and give that particular person a big makeover, pronto.
Hollingsworth now admits that the all-star extravaganza “had everything to do with ridding Mandela of his terrorist tag and ensuring his release. (…) Mandela and the movement should be seen as something positive, confident, something you would like to be in your living room with.”
Mandela danced out of prison less than two years after the concert.
Oh, and not long after that, he was filmed singing an ANC song about killing white people:
Read the whole thing and decide for yourself how history should remember this man.
The image above is an example of one of the most popular — and least analyzed forms of political expression today that barely existed a few years ago but today subtly shapes perceptions among low-information voters.
With Facebook, now so-called “memes” — combinations of text and images usually with a pop culture reference or snark to grab attention and no author or source — now shape political and cultural attitudes among the ignorant. This one was promoted on Facebook by the “Being Liberal” Facebook page which has 899,376 likes. (Encouragement: “Being Conservative” has 2.75 million likes. “Being a Socialist” has 12,636. Or make that 12,637. I just liked the page.)
As Susan L.M. Goldberg wrote about on Sunday in her continued discussion of Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation, the ideology that asserts that Jesus of Nazareth was actually a socialist and the proper practice of Christianity requires the support of Marxist regimes is called Liberation Theology and it was cooked up in a KGB disinformation lab as a tool for duping people into embracing Marxism.
As I continue my studies into the history of Marxism and the ideology’s pernicious effect on past, present, and future, I’m going to try and do more to show how these messages have been downgraded into the low-brow, cultural realm by highlighting more of this propaganda and identifying its roots. So I’ve decided to fill my Facebook feed with even more progressive junk than it already has. Here are the half dozen Facebook meme outposts I’ve just subscribed to for starters:
I really laughed out loud. Yes, by all means, let’s have some generational cultural warfare. Tea Party Millennials and Conservative Gen-Xers vs Boomer Liberals and Silent Generation Socialists.
Where else should I watch? See some blending of pop culture and Marxism that I should keep an eye on? Send me examples of memes and stories at:
When I set my New Year’s Resolutions 11 months ago – 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal – #4 was:
Start Developing Some New Hobbies Beyond Internet Trolling. Something New Each Season Sounds Like a Good Goal.
I’m not sure when it began but this year I’ve really started getting into photography much more. I think the effectiveness of the iPhone camera and the ease of use of Instagram are the main culprit. It’s now just so quick to snap the image you want, crop and adjust it, throw on a caption and some categories, and send it out to the world moments after it happened.
One of my favorite things both to photograph and see of others is a great sunrise photo. I’ve gotten in the habit of trying to take them every morning when there’s something that seems worth sharing. It seems like Sunrise is usually the best time of day for me to be able to break for a few moments. Taking the photo and thinking about it tends to double as a time to slow down and meditate and mentally prepare for the day. In an ideal world I’d also take photos everyday at Noon and sunset too.
When I can’t or when the weather doesn’t bless Southern California with something worth remembering then others around the world help out.
There’s something kind of strange and comforting about seeing many images of the sun rise or set from different points around the world at the same time. It’s as though for a moment human beings can stop and though they may have nothing else in common at that moment they at least share that common uniting experience of awe at seeing the sun rise.
So I’m going to try and start sharing more of my best sunrise photos here at PJ Lifestyle. I also invite all the PJ Lifestyle and PJ columnist regulars to share their beautiful images of the sun rising, setting, or standing high at noon too. Just a photo and a sentence or paragraph or inspirational quote or something uplifting to accompany the image. If you haven’t started playing around yet with Instagram you should — it’s very easy and can be a helpful tool for blog posts.
I’m also intrigued to experiment with opening this New Media troublemaking up to PJ Lifestyle’s readers. Please send your photos to PJLifestyleSunshine@gmail.com.
I request that you include:
1. The image itself as a JPEG formatted for web. (Not super large or the raw image from your camera. 700 width across maximum.)
2. The time/date and (approximate) place it was taken.
3. A brief, positive statement or sentiment. (This can be as mundane as “I hope everyone has a great day today!”)
4. Your preferred attribution — and if you have a link to a website or twitter account or something then that’s fine to submit too.
Here are my 10 favorites from this month, the first three (one up top and two below) are from this morning:
December 1, 2013:
I was sitting at my computer this morning editing a delightful Rhonda Robinson parenting post for tomorrow morning when I looked up and gasped at the sunrise above.
Just spending a few minutes each morning focusing on beautiful images like this makes all the difference in the world.
Newsbusters does some of the best work online in finding objectionable examples of media bias. This exchange from a radio interview Kanye West gave last week is an important discovery for those wanting to understand one of the most popular entertainers today:
KANYE WEST: We don’t got it like that. When I tell you only seven black billionaires, look at marginalization, and we feel like we happy because me and Rick Ross got it made, or I got a spread outside, a couple of us, or they put a black president.
Man, let me tell you something about George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money. People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing. That’s because he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people.
You know we don’t know nobody that got a nice house. You know we don’t know nobody with paper like that we can go to when we down. You know they can just put us back or put us in a corporation. You know we ain’t in situation. Can you guarantee that your daughter can get a job at this radio station? But if you own this radio station, you could guarantee that. That’s what I’m talking about.
Given that Newsbusters is such a great resource and there are some wonderful people working there, it breaks my heart when they fall prey to my primary grievance with movement conservatism today: an inability to recognize antisemitism, call it by name, and make fighting it a primary priority.
After highlighting this exchange, what is Newsbusters’ associate editor Noel Sheppard’s response? To rebut the charges about Obama’s money connections, point out that George W. Bush’ net worth is a third of West’s and crack a joke at the end.
Perhaps there is another, more important point to emphasize?
In the 1998 survey, blacks (34%) are nearly four times as likely as whites (9%) to fall into the most anti-Semitic category.
Among those blacks without any college education, 43% fall into the most anti-Semitic group. This number drops to 27% among African-Americans with some college experience, and stands at 18% among blacks with a four-year college degree.
This is Week 8 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
Check out National Review today for a host of pieces in memory of William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of the world-changing conservative publication that would play a pivotal role in defeating the Soviet Union for the first time. Yes, unfortunately we do have to beat them again, but it’s nothing Americans can’t handle, especially with the inspiration of Buckley and the dozens of writers he nurtured throughout his long career. Here are some highlights but read all three pieces in full:
James Panero: ‘Call Me Bill’
“There is never a good time for a busy man to take a vacation,” Bill once said. “And since there is never a good time, he might as well take it whenever we wants.” But Bill never vacationed, even on vacation. He never took weekends off, most likely because his greatest fear was boredom.
So Bill gave himself the assignment of writing a book each year during his stay in Gstaad.
David Brooks said that “for all of Buckley’s contributions to conservative ideas, his most striking contribution is to the conservative personality. He made being conservative attractive and even glamorous.”
Neal B Freeman: WFB, Mentor
The first lesson: There is no such thing as a fulltime job.
For Bill Buckley, the work day, the work week, and the work year were all infinitely expandable. He had a prodigious capacity for work. You have all heard the remarkable datum that Bill published 55 books over the course of his career. What is even more remarkable is that every one of those books was written while he was fully engaged in some other project.
Yogi Berra would no doubt say it more memorably than I, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you work hard every single day for 60 years.
If our conservative enterprise was to be a truly national force, in Bill’s view, we couldn’t be a platoon of second-raters, a pick-up team of part-timers. If we wanted to pull off something big, we needed good people, and lots of them.
My sense was that, until that night, Bill had always thought of himself as a protégé — as the beneficiary of guidance from his mentors, people like John Chamberlain and Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham and Frank Meyer. But at about that time — he was then in his early 40s — Bill took stock of his fledgling movement and accepted the most important role of his career. He became a mentor — and for the rest of his life dedicated much of his time to identifying and inspiring wave after wave of promising young conservatives.
NRO Symposium: Missing WFB
When I think of William F. Buckley, I often think of his friend Ronald Reagan and of a vital characteristic they shared.
One of Reagan’s greatest assets was his sense of humor. It helped to keep his rhetorical fusillades from coming across as shrill and overly combative. By the deft use of wit and amusing anecdotes, he could simultaneously soften his tone and sharpen his message. It was said of him that he “could get a standing ovation in a graveyard.”
I’ve had WFB on the mind quite a bit lately too. I’ve just finished his novel Getting It Right which I’ve been savoring a bit at a time over the past six months or so. The story is set in the early 1960s and the assassination of of John F. Kennedy takes place in the book as the lives of two fictional lovers — one working for the John Birch Society and the other Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Collective — intersect with the personalities and ideological battles that forged the conservative movement during the rise of Barry Goldwater. (And now the whole Kennedy Assassination story looks a bit different given Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s extraordinary revelations about Oswald’s knowledge of spy codes and the KGB Operation Dragon project disseminating conspiracy theories blaming the CIA and LBJ.)
The book is an excellent introduction to a number of important personalities and concepts that defined the conservative movement. It was because of the ideological battles on the Right in the 1960s that the foreign policy battles of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 could happen.
I’ll be blogging about Getting it Right more in the coming weeks along with other WFB and conservative titles as I continue attempting to sort the wheat from the chaff in arguing for which figures and books should be carried on to the next generation of activists fighting to defend American freedom. (Join the Freedom Academy Book Club — free — to see the titles on my reading-now shelf.)
Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!
21 of My Favorite Writers And Thinkers…
This is Week 7 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
Midway through this third 13 Weeks writing season now, I’ll restate the objective of this series. I’m trying to organize a collection of the best writers and thinkers today and their most useful ideas. Inspired by James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus’s book America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, I’m now describing this new ideological approach as Conservatism 3.0.
Now I move on to a much-procrastinated part of this project: the determination of the Top 10 Conservative Columnists (a list apart from the PJ columnists I edit who I’ve been writing about first since August). Exhibit A for Ann Coulter as the most skilled polemicist of her generation is her new book, collecting her best columns of the last decade, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3-Especially a Republican. (See Susan L.M. Goldberg’s writings on it here, here, and here. I’ll have more blogging on my favorite parts soon.)
Inspired by this compilation, I’ve decided to get caught up on the rest of Coulter’s books:
- 2013: Never Trust a Liberal Over 3-Especially a Republican
- 2012: Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama
- 2011: Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
- 2009: Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America
- 2007: If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans
- 2006: Godless: The Church of Liberalism
- 2004: How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter
- 2003: Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
- 2002: Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right
- 1998: High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton
At some point I’ll finish a top 10 list of ideas every Conservative 3.0 activist should steal from Coulter. But for now, I’ll lead with the #1 reason why her columns and books hit harder than any other columnist today:
Ann Coulter is not a conservative columnist who happens to be a Christian and a lawyer. She is a Christian trained and practiced as a lawyer who uses a conservative column to expose evil by name. Conservatism is a means to an end: the defeat of all criminal cultures — from street thugs to Islamists to Democrat Marxist liars — who live in rebellion against Western civilization.
Back on October 5 I announced the newest season in my reader/writer variation of Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks Self Improvement regimen. My goal with this new season was to not just read more as in past seasons but now to up the pace on the writing with more regular, consistent posts connecting big books, important thinkers, and the hot stories in the daily news cycle. I’m pleased with the pieces that have emerged so far this season, which I’ll round up here for those who may have missed an installment:
- Tuesday, October 9 on Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0
- Friday, October 11 on Ion Mihai Pacepa: The KGB’s War To Destroy the God of Israel
- Wednesday, October 16 on Prager University: ‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’
- Tuesday, October 22: Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador
- Wednesday, October 30 on Dennis Prager: The 21 Most Evil News Stories from October
- Tuesday, November 5: 4 Blogging Weapons I Stole from Vodkapundit Stephen Green
- Friday, November 1 on Ion Mihai Pacepa: The Silver Bullet to Kill Conspiracism
- Tuesday November 12: 6 Ways to Change the World Glenn Reynolds-Style
Where I’m disappointed in myself is in the quantity. I wanted to get to daily blogging output this season. And I’m not there yet. Well, it’s time to get more disciplined about it. Three of the great writers I discussed in the series — Ed Driscoll, Stephen Green, and Glenn Reynolds — each model every day how to do thoughtful blog posts that get to the point. I’ll set a maximum word count of 500 for the daily post. That’ll force me to focus on finding the most interesting idea to illuminate the maze of today’s modern media madness with these books.
Reading Goals for the end of the year…
Books I want to finish and blog about in the next few weeks alongside the day’s news stories:
- Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption
by Ion Mihai Pacepa (153/426)
- Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff (106/282)
- Schrodinger’s Cat by Robert Anton Wilson (vol. 2, 78/254)
- Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia (170/673)
- The Mohammed Code: Why a Desert Prophet Wants You Dead by Howard Bloom – available on SmashWords. (94/187)
- Getting it Right, a novel by William F. Buckley, Jr.(190/305)
- The Hermetic Link: From Secret Tradition to Modern Thought by Jacob Slavenburg (263/357 pages)
- A Trio of books about American leaders: Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency by Logan Beirne (74/322), Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Railsplitter Saved the American Dream–And How We Can Do it Again by Rich Lowry (32/240), and The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon Wood (102/246)
For more books that are on my mind right now, you can see the list of books on my “reading now” book shelf at the Freedom Academy Book Club, which you can join for free to access my book list and others. Maybe you’ll find something to get fired up about.
images courtesy shutterstock / nexus 7
This is Week 6 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
From the primordial, pajamahadeen era of the blogosphere, Glenn Reynolds has been a tremendous influence on untold numbers of writers, bloggers, and New Media troublemakers. While others’ influence has waned and once-dominant voices have now lost their relevance, Glenn has grown brighter as a beacon of hopeful, future-minded light. Here are six ways to draw from his knowledge and experiences to make your own changes in yourself and your world:
1. Read Instapundit, the best news aggregation blog.
Everyone who uses Twitter or Facebook is Instapundit today. Glenn was just ahead of the curve. The format, style, and vocabulary that he developd with Instapundit is what just about every political tweeter does today whether they realize it or not. Glenn rose up through pioneering the New Media genre known as micro-blogging — the practice of doing frequent, quick updates of what’s new and consequential in the world.
The lesson of Instapundit, its rise and continued success is a recognition of the nature of today’s media and technological environment. If you want to grow the number of people who are listening to you then you have to start talking and you have to keep them engaged. Obviously everybody can’t go at the rate of posts that Glenn somehow manages. But the general principle applies for everyone interested in using New Media to do something. One should cast their line into the big black void of the web as frequently as possible. A blogger with a dozen great posts a week on a number of subjects is likely to grow a bigger following than the specialist who does a handful of excellent posts on the same subject each week. Flexibility and adaptability are vital to success in today’s New Media world.
2. Implement an Army of Davids-style strategy in your life
This 2006 manifesto by Glenn should be regarded as a founding document of Conservatism 3.0. New Media activists should start here, and Megan Fox did at PJ Lifestyle in her ongoing series about her push to stop the Orland Park Library’s tolerance of public pornography and sexual predators. In this part here she started by quoting from Army of Davids:
Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many… Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff — and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession.
Megan is up against a library bureacracy that rather than dialogue with her would demonize her and defend the rights of men to watch hardcore pornographic films in the computer labs of public libraries. She did Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to discover that library staff had systematically been neglecting reporting crimes. Further FOIA requests revealed how library staff responded to her complaints.
- VIDEO: Mother Confronts Library Board about Porn-Filled Library Lab and Its Librarian Defenders
- Librarian Logic: I Hate Censorship So I Censored You on Facebook
- Staff Response to Sex Crime Reported at Orland Park Public Library: ‘He Doesn’t Mean Anything’
- After Woman Reports Public Masturbation, Library Staff Moves Her to Different Computer
- Full Exposure and Public Masturbation? Librarian Warns Don’t Do That Again
- Teen Touches Himself In Front of a Child and Library Director Does Nothing
- Child Porn Accessed At Orland Park Public Library, Staff Doesn’t Believe Witnesses
- Anyone Can Do This Stuff. Professionals Need Not Apply
- Orland Park Public Library’s ‘Freedom Plaza’ Is Not So Free
- Orland Park Public Library’s Spokesperson Admits to Report of Child Porn
- Orland Park Public Library Board Member Admits to Porn Problem in Internal Email…
- Public Library Director Emails Police to Have Me Investigated for Writing a Song about the 2nd Amendment
3. Learn to master the op/ed column, and start by reading Glenn’s USA Today columns each week
Whatever field you’re engaged in in life, at one time or another you are going to need to fight for something you believe in. You’ll need to figure out how to persuade someone to come around to your position. In winning over your new ally you will have finite time — a limited word count. You will be in competition with distraction and perhaps even others with competing ideas.
Glenn’s weekly columns are models of how to argue effectively and persuade. Glenn is among the best models here of how to present freedom-based ideas to broader, general audiences beyond the conservative blog world. That is something I don’t hear discussed enough. I’m so sick of the standard right-wing, conservative boilerplate. With Glenn he’s always framing concepts in fresh ways that can’t be easily dismissed.
See the previous installments in this ongoing discussion about American values, Left vs. Right, Biblical morality, and New Media activism:
By Michael Lumish on October 13: Politics Vs Theology: Beginning A Debate With David Swindle. “Why we should not frame political issues as a matter of Good versus Evil.”
By David Swindle on October 20: Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish. “Why I don’t care much about Left vs. Right anymore. And four more points of disagreement.”
By Michael Lumish on October 27: Debating America’s Ideological Origins: Part III in Lumish Vs Swindle. “A disagreement about the founding fathers and classical liberalism.”
By David Swindle on November 3: What To Do When Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Communicate: Part IV of Lumish Vs Swindle. ”Set the straw men on fire.”
By Michael Lumish today, November 10: Why I am Disgusted and Horrified. “We have a President who embraces the Muslim Brotherhood. Part V in Lumish Vs Swindle.”
This dialogue appears to be moving in an unexpected but very welcome direction: you recognizing the errors of your positions and coming to adopt mine instead. Here you agree with me that we need to speak more broadly beyond just our own cultural communities:
My intention, you should know, was never to speak strictly to Jewish people and I very much regret giving you that impression.
And in your encouraging conclusion you state clearly your opposition to both the party and ideology to which you’ve dedicated your life:
What I want, and I hope that you will help me, is simply to alert other American liberals that we need not be enslaved to the Democratic Party and the Progressive-Left movement and that if we wish to promote social justice then we must oppose political Islam.
Where you don’t seem to go far enough yet is in acknowledging what “social justice” actually is and from where it emerged. Among the reasons why you’re so doomed in your efforts to push so-called liberals and activist Democrats to fight for “social justice” in the Muslim world is that the value you are trumpeting is not essential to either ideology or party. “Social justice” is a Jewish concept — tikkun olam, which translated from Hebrew means “to heal the world.” This is not an inherently political idea and its perversion and secularization is mostly a recent development. One can — and should — pursue the biblical concept of healing the world apart from political engagement.
But our political activism can still be motivated by our religious values and we can still use a party to do God’s work. I explained how in the previous installments of this dialogue. I believe the most important thing God wants us to do on this earth is what he called Moses to do — liberate enslaved people. And that’s been the Republican Party’s charge since its founding. Politics is just a means to an end. The ballot box is a hammer to smash chains. My favorite all-American motto, again, and its biblical depiction:
This is Week 5 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
Previously in this series on my favorite writers I named Ed Driscoll as the first in my trinity of blogging influences. The sophisticated humor, enlightening political-intellectual juxtapositions, clever visuals, and encyclopedic pop culture knowledge Ed brings to the web are innovations that I’ve sought to commandeer for my own new-media troublemaking.
Complementing Ed as the other editor-columnist on the breaking news beat is the Vodkapundit Stephen Green, PJM’s Denver editor. Stephen is another blogosphere veteran who really knows what he’s doing. Here are four weapons you can borrow from his armory:
1. Less is more.
So the guy who couldn’t get past Romney’s veep vetting in ’12 is the guy Romney says can save GOP in ’16? Did I miss something?
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) November 3, 2013
Stephen excels at the short-form style of blogging, frequently doing posts that are only a few paragraphs or less in length. He does a great job of getting to the point and highlighting the most vital facts. It’s no surprise that he’s also one of PJM’s most effective Tweeters.
2. Cut deeper by stabbing with a smile!
In all fairness, Rob Ford did pledge to get crack off the streets of Toronto.
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) November 5, 2013
One of the lessons that I’m always reminded of when reading Stephen’s posts is that one can get away with harsher critiques and stronger positions when they’re offset by some jokes and style.
3. Balance the blog — politics, cultural, personal, video, images, longer articles, and shorter blog posts
Of all the PJ columnists Stephen probably has the best all-around balance across subjects. I’m still largely sympathetic — even nostalgic — for the style of personal-political-cultural blogging that arose from 2000-2005. Stephen largely still operates in this mode of a blogger keeping a regular online diary with entries featuring both commentary on current events and discussions of hobbies.
4. Live-Blogging No, Drunk-Blogging Yes!
“Live-blogging” is the process of doing short blog posts about an ongoing event. Stephen takes this to the next level with the injection of well-prepared alcoholic beverages. I concur. Bloody Mary is my drink of choice:
Proposed New Media Rule: You’re not really a blogger until you’ve blogged drunk. (Obvious exceptions granted for Mormons and other religious teetotalers.)
PJ Media Story Round Up
PJM Stories on Tuesday
Bridget Johnson: Administration Plans to Placate Millions Who Have Lost Health Insurance with Outreach Program
Jen Kuznicki: Obamacare, Baseball, and the Public Trust
Let’s assume the Washington Post is correct in its estimation that the website cost around $174 million, and could reach as high as $300 million. (Excuse me for snickering at the thought that there is some sort of spending cap on this monument to hole-digging.) In that case, the Obama administration paid out, presumably in the last three years, more than the entire career earnings of Mariano Rivera. Don’t like baseball? Shaquille O’Neal’s estimated career earnings are a little over $292 million. Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, and Steve Yzerman would have to pool all their earnings from their entire careers to fund this website that doesn’t work. (Why Brendan Shanahan? Because I like Brendan Shanahan.)
I’m not even talking net worth. I’m talking about all the money they have earned in their careers. If you consider how much money you’ve made in your lifetime, and then look at the stuff you have, you might get a little depressed. But the government doesn’t have such emotions, as unearned money is no object. They’ll just fill in the hole and start digging a new one.
Victor Davis Hanson: The Double-Dealing Middle East Is Double-Dealt
In sum, the American people think the Middle East is, well, the Middle East: support democracy and we are derided as cultural chauvinists, Western interventionists, and clueless about the nuances of Arab culture. Support the existing status quo, and we care only about oil, not the masses, and geopolitics rather than democratic reform. Stay out entirely and we have abdicated moral responsibility. Intervene and we are “nation-building” in the old colonial fashion.
It is hard for Americans to keep us with all this, much less take Middle East intellectuals seriously, given their lockstep and boring anti-Americanism. No wonder the American people seem to have become tired of this wink-and-nod con. Their exhaustion has proved a godsend to Obama, who can be naturally both weak and indecisive, and not necessarily in the short-term unpopular at home for such laxity. Again, for a variety of other reasons, he wanted to vacate the region and forget about violence against sympathetic Christians, Iraqi reformers, Afghan women, and anyone else who hoped for something better. Conniving Arab leaders and whiny intellectuals helped to give him his opening.
Paul Hsieh: Obamacare and the Wages of Spin
Before: “Death Panels” are just right-wing crazy talk.
Now: “Death Panels” are good!
In Slate, Adam Goldenberg declares, “Canada Has Death Panels — And that’s a good thing.”
Basically, when we all have to pay for one another’s health care, then patients should not be allowed to impose unlimited health costs on other taxpayers. Hence, the government has to decide who does — or does not — receive medical services. He explicitly argues that the government should “play God” with citizens’ lives. For the good of society, of course.
Stephen Kruiser: What They’ll Tell You the VA and NJ Elections Mean
Bryan Preston: Is the Obamacare Grinch About to Steal Christmas?
Bryan Preston: VIDEO — Obama’s Lying About His Lies Now
PJM Stories on Monday
Rich Baehr: Governors’ Races: One Contest and One No Contest
Stephen Green: The Week the Wheels Came off Obamacare
The pols and pundits can argue and fingerpoint until they’re blue in the — finger? — but Obamacare’s numbers paint a bleak picture of broken promises and outright lies. After a full month, nearly 40,000 people have successfully signed up for health insurance at HealthCare.gov, out of an administration goal of over seven million by the end of March. At that rate, the administration will have met its goal sometime in the autumn — of 2028.
Mind you, the goal of Obamacare was to provide coverage for some 47,000,000 uninsured Americans. So take those 15 years and multiply them by about seven. You’re gonna need a bigger calculator.
Ignored in those dreary statistics is the fact that people are being dumped out of their current coverage and onto the nonfunctional exchanges faster than the exchanges can handle them. An estimated 1,500,000 have lost their coverage, up against those newly insured 40,000. The best guess is that seven or eight million more face the same fate.
Jean Kaufman: The Obamacare Prediction of the Week
Ed Driscoll: Interview: Virginia Postrel on The Power of Glamour
PJM Stories from Weekend
David P. Goldman: National Security and Economic Growth: A New Plan
Charlie Martin: Obamacare vs. Arithmetic
Rodrigo Sermeno: Cato Argues for Reducing U.S. Nuclear Capability to Subs Only
Roger Kimball: ‘Racism, Inc.’ Comes to Football
Rick Moran: Can Cuccinelli Pull Off the Upset?
Andrew Klavan: Barack Obama’s Narrative Illusions
But in this left-wing country of the blind, even a one-eyed man can see: Obama’s political achievements, like Hillary Clinton’s political achievements, like Ben Kingsley’s role in freeing India from British rule, are all of a piece — a narrative illusion fostered on us by those who do not believe there is any truth to tell.
Klavan is really a extraordinary writer.
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page from Monday
Robert Spencer: ‘Stone Cold’ Yousef al-Khattab and His Children
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page from the Weekend
Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World
Andrew C. McCarthy: ‘The Great Achievements of Liberalism’ AKA ‘The Ponzi Scheme’ – A Response to Ron Radosh
A very compelling response from Andy, loaded with arguments.
Walter Hudson: Were Video Stores Better than Internet Streaming?
At some point I’m going to have to write something about the rise and fall of Blockbuster. I remember with such fondness how first videotape then video game then DVD rental stores used to be such a central part of my childhood and adolescence.
And now I can’t even remember how many years it’s been since I last used my Blockbuster card. (It might not even be in my wallet anymore!) But I do have a bit of schadenfreude — for as much as I adore Blockbuster for providing access to the cinematic world, I also hated it. On two separate occasions when I applied for jobs — once in high school and once after college — I was turned down. That was probably for the better I now realize.
Spyridon Mitsotakis: The UK Should Ignore the Mediocrities and Listen to the Pretty Lady
New at PJ Lifestyle
Helen Smith: Can Yoga Cure Anxiety?
Stephen Green: Omigosh Nikon What Have You Done?
David P. Goldman: Reports of Russia’s Death Are Exaggerated
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation has fired up my interest in learning much more about Russia’s past, present, and future.
Becky Graebner: 3 Reasons Why Dating is Especially Hard in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Klavan: Peddling Trashy Books to Teens
Paula Bolyard: Dare You Not to Cry: Autistic Football Player ‘Big Mike’ Runs for a 31-Yard Touchdown
Robert Spencer: ‘Stone Cold’ Yousef al-Khattab and His Children
Bonnie Ramthun: Battered Voter Syndrome
P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, # 5: The Guardian
Walter Hudson: Of Thugs and Men
Susan L.M. Goldberg: Can’t Touch This: American Feminism’s Racial Ignorance
Rhonda Robinson: Don We Now Our
Gay Apparel Ugly Sweaters
Sarah Hoyt: Selling Your Writing To The Public
I remain astounded by Megan’s new-media activism raising the alarm on an Illinois library’s sexually charged atmosphere.
Charlie Martin: 13 Weeks: The Hard Boiled Egg Theory
Jon Bishop: We Should All Be The Dude
New at PJ Tatler
Raymond Ibrahim: How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism
Ron Radosh: The Tea Party and Alger Hiss
Rick Moran: Worrisome Security Breach at Healthcare.gov
Rick Moran: Remembering the Hungarian Uprising of 1956
J. Christian Adams: The Washington Post’s Crusade Against the Washington Redskins
Raymond Ibrahim: The Kidnapping and Plundering of Christian Copts
I don’t think there’s going to be any kind of magical fix for the website in the coming months. This is an administration totally lost at sea, without a hope.
From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists
Monday and Tuesday
Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!
18 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:
6 On Foreign Policy:
- Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen
- Tuesday, August 6 on Andrew C. McCarthy: Muslim Brotherhood Operatives Have Infiltrated America’s Political and Cultural Institutions to Conquer Us from Within
- Wednesday, August 7 on Barry Rubin: First We Define Anti-Americanism, Then We Crush It Again Even Harder
- Thursday, August 8 on Claudia Rosett: The United Nations is a Corrupt Failure That Does Not Unite Nations
- Friday, August 9 on David P. Goldman: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism
- Tuesday, August 13 on Victor Davis Hanson: The Price We Pay for Our Ignorance of Military History Is Dead Americans
4 On Culture:
- Wednesday, August 14: 3 Weapons to Win the Culture War Courtesy of Roger Kimball
- Monday, August 19: How to End the Fake Fight Between Social Conservatives and Libertarians With Andrew Klavan’s Wonderful Writing
- Wednesday, August 21: Michael Walsh Names the Founder of the Criminal Organization Destroying America for Two Centuries…
- Sunday, August 24: The Most Valuable Writing Advice Roger L. Simon Gave Me…
5 On History:
- Tuesday, August 27: Ron Radosh: The Most Valuable Historian Exposing Marxism’s Long War Against America
- Thursday, September 5 on Ion Mihai Pacepa: How the Soviets Seeded Antisemitism Around the World and the Price We Pay with Syria Today
- Wednesday, September 11 on James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus and their essential book America 3.0: On 9/11 and Benghazi’s Anniversary, We End Conservative Pessimism and Right-Wing Apocalypticism
- Tuesday, October 9 on Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0
2 On New Media:
- Wednesday, October 16 on Prager University: ‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’
- Tuesday, October 22: Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador
1 On Talk Radio (beginning a ranking of the best hosts working today)
- Wednesday, October 30 on Dennis Prager: The 21 Most Evil News Stories from October