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Dave Swindle

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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7 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 I Invite You to Burgle From Me Bilbo-Style

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I am now going to announce my 2014 #radical #book reading plan, in preparation of my new year's resolutions post coming shortly today.

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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:

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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.

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I tend to hate Game of Thrones for the way it blends cruel violence with soft-core porn and romanticizes sex slavery but this meme is tolerable, I suppose, given its parenting subtext.

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3 Basic Differences Between Conservatism and Neoconservatism

Friday, December 27th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-obama-the-oblivious/2013/12/12/67acc91c-6363-11e3-a373-0f9f2d1c2b61_story.html

On Twitter:

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.

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The 10 Best Conservative Columnists of 2013

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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…

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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”:

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The knights on the conservative chessboard are writers, editors, bloggers, and activists capable of moving in creative and versatile directions.

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.

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Next: 2 Voices for a hawkish foreign policy.

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Does New Honda Commercial Promote ‘a Culture of Rape’?

Monday, December 16th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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?

Or are there pieces of media that inspire much more crime and chaos than holiday car commercials? Like the Koran, perhaps?

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Imagine a Country Today Where More Than One Third of Men Admit to Rape…

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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1. Imagine a country today where more than one third of the men admit to rape….

More than one in three South African men questioned in a survey admitted to rape, the latest evidence in the country of a violent culture of patriarchy.

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.”

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Communist Icon Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.

Unwavering?

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:

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Read the whole thing and decide for yourself how history should remember this man.

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Our Christmas Heroes Are All Actually Socialists

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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:

Liberal And Proud Of It

Americans Against the Tea Party

Conservatives Are Destroying Our Future

Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens Against Republicans & The Tea Party

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.

Occupy Wall St.

Americans Against The Republican Party

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:

PopCulturalMarxism[@]gmail.com

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10 Beautiful Sunrises from Southern California

Sunday, December 1st, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.

You can also send images to me on Twitter and Instagram. Just tweet them at me or tag me on Instagram and I’ll see them.

Here are my 10 favorites from this month, the first three (one up top and two below) are from this morning:

December 1, 2013:

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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.

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Just spending a few minutes each morning focusing on beautiful images like this makes all the difference in the world.

November 29:

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November 28:

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Why Kanye West Is an Antisemite

Friday, November 29th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.

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William F. Buckley Jr.’s Birthday

Sunday, November 24th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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.

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The top book I just finished reading and will blog about more soon. I’m a third into Ann Coulter’s extraordinary polemic and just starting Gregg L. Frazer’s fascinating book defining the founders’ variety of religious beliefs as “theistic rationalism.” And of course Bennett and Lotus’s America 3.0, one of my favorites of the year, is always hovering in the background…

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

GEORGE NASH
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.)

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21 of My Favorite Writers And Thinkers…

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The Most Important Reason Why Ann Coulter Is the Best Conservative Columnist

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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 ComeI’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:

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An Ann Coulter collection, well-guarded. I’ve already read Demonic, which is still my pick for Coulter’s best book. I’m 99 pages into Godless; Guilty, Treason, and Mugged are the next three in line.

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. 

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Half Through 13 Weeks For Radical Readers and Madman Writers, Turning Up the Heat

Sunday, November 17th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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:

  1. Tuesday, October 9 on Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0
  2. Friday, October 11 on Ion Mihai PacepaThe KGB’s War To Destroy the God of Israel
  3. Wednesday, October 16 on Prager University‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’
  4. Tuesday, October 22: Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador
  5. Wednesday, October 30 on Dennis PragerThe 21 Most Evil News Stories from October
  6. Tuesday, November 5: 4 Blogging Weapons I Stole from Vodkapundit Stephen Green
  7. Friday, November 1 on Ion Mihai PacepaThe Silver Bullet to Kill Conspiracism
  8. 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:

  1. Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption
     by Ion Mihai Pacepa (153/426)
  2. Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff (106/282)
  3. Schrodinger’s Cat by Robert Anton Wilson (vol. 2, 78/254)
  4. Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia (170/673)
  5. The Mohammed Code: Why a Desert Prophet Wants You Dead by Howard Bloom – available on SmashWords. (94/187)
  6. Getting it Right, a novel by William F. Buckley, Jr.(190/305)
  7. The Hermetic Link: From Secret Tradition to Modern Thought by Jacob Slavenburg (263/357 pages)
  8. 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.

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images courtesy shutterstock /  nexus 7

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6 Ways to Change the World Glenn Reynolds-Style

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.

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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.

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.

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So What’s Your Problem? Why Aren’t You a Republican Yet?

Sunday, November 10th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.” 

Dear Michael,

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:

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4 Blogging Weapons I Stole from Vodkapundit Stephen Green

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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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.


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!

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:

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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

The Freedom Academy’s November Military History Challenge

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.

Bridget Johnson: Romney: Christie ‘Could Easily Become Our Nominee and Save Our Party’

Jean Kaufman: The Obamacare Prediction of the Week

Bill Straub: Post-Shutdown, GOP Finds New Fight Against Obama’s Nominees

Ed Driscoll: Interview: Virginia Postrel on The Power of Glamour

Rick Moran: New York Times: Your Insurance Policy Was Cancelled for Your Own Good

PJM Stories from Weekend

David P. Goldman: National Security and Economic Growth: A New Plan

Charlie Martin: Obamacare vs. Arithmetic

Claudia Rosett: Putin’s Nuclear Attack Drill a Sign of the New World Order Taking Shape in 2013

Rodrigo Sermeno: Cato Argues for Reducing U.S. Nuclear Capability to Subs Only

Lawrence Kohn: Soviet-Russian Continuity Reminds Us There Are Two Superpowers

Roger Kimball: ‘Racism, Inc.’ Comes to Football

Rick Moran: Can Cuccinelli Pull Off the Upset?

Bill Straub: Holder, Cops Clash on DOJ’s Decision to Ease Pot Enforcement

Ron Radosh: Why Are My Supermarket Workers Threatening to Strike? A Surprising Answer!

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

Paula Bolyard: At Least We Don’t Have Marauding Hippos in the Streets of America

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, #6: The Jobbik Party

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

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New at PJ Lifestyle

Tuesday

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

Monday

Chris Queen: Disney Plans To Phase Out Star Wars And Marvel-Themed Slot Machines

Encouraging.

Paula Bolyard: The Most Important Candidates You Probably Won’t Vote For on Tuesday

Robert Spencer: ‘Stone Cold’ Yousef al-Khattab and His Children

Rhonda Robinson: If You Were Lost In The Abyss Of Your Own Soul, Would It Be A Happy Place?

Bonnie Ramthun: Battered Voter Syndrome

Weekend

Chris Queen: Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania,Part 6: Unfailing Love

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

Me: What To Do When Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Communicate: Part IV of Lumish Vs Swindle

Rhonda Robinson: Don We Now Our Gay Apparel Ugly Sweaters

Sarah Hoyt: Selling Your Writing To The Public

Megan Fox: Anyone Can Do This Stuff. Professionals Need Not Apply

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

Paula Bolyard: Could The Federal Government ‘Force-Place’ Health Insurance on the Uninsured?

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New at PJ Tatler

Monday

Raymond Ibrahim: How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism

Ron Radosh: The Tea Party and Alger Hiss

Raymond Ibrahim: Syria: Islamic Rebels Slaughter and Behead Christians, Steal Ancient Christ Icon

Weekend

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

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Tuesday

Two Acts of Fraud May Hand McAuliffe the Keys to Virginia

VIDEOS — Obama Losing His Grip on the One Cable Network He Could Always Count On

Obamacare Just Cost 73,000 in Maryland Their Health Insurance

Monday

Austin TV News Producer Goes Crazypants Trolling GOP Lt Gov Candidate

Guns & Ammo Editor Pens Editorial Supporting Gun Control

Photo of the Day: Sebelius Receives the Perfect Gift

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.

WH Spox Carney Mocks Concerns Over Obamacare Phone Enrollees, Then Admits that They’re Lying Again

Victims or Perpetrators? How Democrats are Waging Guerilla War Against Popular Voter ID Laws

Feinstein’s New Spin: We Meant to Say, You Could Keep Your Healthcare — Until We Passed Obamacare

Obamacare Costs Cancer Survivor Her Healthcare Plan

 

From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson

Tuesday

Conservative Advocacy Groups Urging GOP to Advance Immigration Reform Bill

Haley Looking at 70 Percent Premium Increases in South Carolina

Kerry Reviving Administration Push for UN Disabilities Treaty

Monday

Feinstein Shies Away from Armed TSA ‘Because TSA Is Up Close and Personal’

Holder Appears to be Backing Away from Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman

Honor Flights: World War II Vets Keep Streaming Through D.C.

Obama Stumps for McAuliffe, Says Cuccinelli Part of ‘Extreme Faction’ of GOP

Weekend

D.C. Dem: TSA Death Shows Sequestration Bad for All ‘Unarmed Front-Line Federal Employees’

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From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Tuesday

Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day

News You Can Use

Panic in the McAuliffe Camp?

Required Reading

Aim to Misbehave

Monday

Twitter Playing Partisan Politics?

The New Containment

Lighter Than Air

Fill It to the RIM — With Fail

News You Can Use

Enough!

But It’s for Your Own Good

Required Reading

Your Daily Dose of Schadenfreude

PLEASE LOVE ME!!!

Getting It Right

Weekend

Omigosh Nikon What Have You Done?

Required Viewing

Meet KitKat

The Empire Strikes Kinkade!

Every Combat Dog Deserves His Day

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From PJM’s San Jose Ed Driscoll

Monday and Tuesday

Quote of the Day

Great Moments in Socialist Psychobabble

Watching the Wheels Come Off Obamacare

Barbara Walters: The View Isn’t a Political Show

Weekend

Interview: Virginia Postrel on The Power of Glamour

Leftist Gets Mugged

All the News That’s Fit to Bury

 

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Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!

18 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:

6 On Foreign Policy:

4 On Culture:

5 On History:

2 On New Media:

1 On Talk Radio (beginning a ranking of the best hosts working today)

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The Freedom Academy’s November Military History Challenge

Monday, November 4th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

The Freedom Academy Book Club is all about rediscovering freedom and liberty one book at a time. The goal is to provide a number of tools to help you find that next great book– recommendations from our literary panel, member reviews and rankings, author interviews, and now we introduce another new feature. We’re going to begin a month-long, extended focus on a new book. History buffs, it’s time to get ready for the Military History Challenge.

The Freedom Academy’s Director Victor Davis Hanson has created a quiz to challenge your knowledge on one of his favorite topics with questions drawn from his new book The Savior Generals. Victor has prepared four sets of quiz questions–a new one for each week–along with discussion questions. There are two ways to engage in this challenge:

1. Each week answer the multiple choice questions and participate in the discussions. See the scoreboard with the ongoing rankings here:

generalsscoreboard

 

2. A second dimension to this challenge is that you have the opportunity to assemble a team. Use the “Knowledge Share” button at the bottom of every quiz to encourage others to register and participate. The more people register through you the better your “referral results.”

Warning: You will notice that this first week of questions is not too difficult. The following weeks will be much more challenging. For those who count points — which you don’t have to — we allocate 10 points for each question in week one, 20 for week two, 30 for week three, and 50 for week four.

However, week four has seven questions, for a total of 350 points, which can swing the results. That’s because in this final week more than just your knowledge of military history will be tested. To conclude the month you will be challenged to be an intelligence analyst delving into the enemy’s mind to better understand their motivations.

So now it’s time to get ready for battle

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What To Do When Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Communicate: Part IV of Lumish Vs Swindle

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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See the previous installments in this ongoing discussion about American values, Left vs. Right, Biblical morality, and New Media activism:

Part 1, 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.”

Part 2, 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.”

Part 3, 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.”

Dear Michael,

I appreciate your continued enthusiasm for this debate. I’m enjoying it too and hope we can continue. But I admit that I’m starting to worry about how fruitful our discussion can be. That this dialogue even began and that it now continues is primarily due to you following a common progressive bad habit: rather than engage with conservative arguments and ideas on their own terms, you evade them by distorting the point, rewriting the concept in different words to transform the meaning. You battle straw man arguments. You do this over and over again, as virtually all progressives I ever dialogue with do also.

I would certainly like to continue a great public exchange with you, but if anything worthwhile is to grow from these talks first I’m going to have to fertilize the ground with the ashes of the straw men versions of my ideas you set after in your rebuttal. I’ll give you two examples.

1. Well Duh. Of course Classical Liberalism has more influences than just the Bible.

Your previous piece began with your supposedly more complete understanding of America’s founding ideology. You quoted the sentence from me that you took issue with, then rewrote it to change its meaning, and then proceeded to lecture to your straw man about the numerous influences on the founding fathers. I wrote, and you quoted me,

the founders’ philosophy of classical liberalism that forms the foundation of our government is just the political expression of Biblical values.

But rather than make issue with this statement, you instead dissent from an absurd claim that I did not make:

 I must disagree that the founders’ philosophy of classical liberalism derives just from the Bible.

It is obvious that the philosophy of classical liberalism had a number of influences and the founders drew from sources beyond just the Bible. You summarize a number of them (though not all) and I hope you don’t think me so ignorant as to be unaware of them.

Perhaps the meaning of what I wrote can become more apparent if I reverse its formulation: one who believes in Biblical values expresses them through defending classical liberal governments and public policies.

There is a very important relationship between the Bible and the revolutionary, John Lockean liberalism that took root in the the minds of a colonial population steeped in what David Gelertner describes in his book Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion as “Old Testament Christianity.” That you name Locke in the same company as Rousseau and Voltaire suggests to me that you do not understand the difference between the French secular Enlightenment tradition (that led to the French Revolution’s Guillotines) and the British monotheist tradition (that led to our American freedom.)

The difference between the two competing Enlightenment ideologies is most apparent in how each responds to the Judeo-Christian value system…

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The Silver Bullet to Kill Conspiracism

Friday, November 1st, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

*Language Warning*

This is Week 4 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.

Just because someone embraces a conspiracy theory it does not mean they are by nature a paranoid conspiracist across the board. I think veteran Republican political operative Roger Stone falls into this category. Normally he writes about men’s fashion and what a horrible person Eliot Spitzer is — subjects I very much appreciate. I also share his enthusiasm for the spirit — if not the policies and morals of — Richard Nixon. It’s tremendously badass that Stone got Nixon’s face tattooed on his back. I think if I ever had a Hangover-style escapade in Las Vegas and woke up with a tattoo it would be something comparable. Though I’d want Nixon’s immortal quote, the most badass ever uttered by a President, accompanying it:

So does that statement also apply to the vice President too?

Stone has a new book out this month with a surprising subject that he wrote about today at PJ Lifestyle: his thesis that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was orchestrated by Lyndon Johnson and the CIA.

I decided to publish Stone’s review comparing the new Kennedy movie with his LBJ-centric theory in order to provide a third perspective, the one I’ve come to embrace, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s.

How can we tell who was really behind Kennedy’s assassination? Maybe we should look at who was doing the most work to blame Johnson, the CIA, and right-wing American nationalists while obscuring Lee Harvey Oswald’s and Jack Ruby’s Communist connections.

I’ll just let Pacepa and his co-author Professor Ronald Rychlak tell the rest of the story. For the convenience of others in rebutting this Communist conspiracy theory, I’ve decided to make the excerpts a single image. Feel free to share these valuable, hidden facts and do read Disinformation to learn much, much more that will transform how you understand history, culture, and politics:PacepaJFK

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See my previous link-round up from this week, of stories outside PJM: The 21 Most Evil News Stories from October

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PJ Media Story Round Up

PJM Stories Thursday and Friday

Roger L. Simon: God, Lies, and Obama

Which bounces us back to the first factor — that religiously based moral code. Moral codes are almost all religiously based, even to agnostics, and Obama is not immune to this. These codes are imbued in early childhood, by the family and environment.

I suspect that Obama’s core belief — his key religious value, if you will — is an American form of taqiyya — the Muslim dictate that it is permissible to lie to non-believers for the preservation of Islam. He believes in left-wing taqiyya. (Ironically,taqiyya is largely Shiite and Obama wishes to negotiate with Shiite Iran, masters of the lie.)

Now I do not think for a second that Obama is a Muslim any more than I think he is a Christian. He is a typical postmodern agnostic who only goes to church — and then rarely — for political purposes. But he grew up in the Islamic world in the midst of the psychological climate of taqiyya, with preservation of the group taking precedence over even the hint of democracy. And that climate harmonized completely with his other influences — anti-imperialism augmented by Alinksyite methods, themselves anti-democratic.

He never had a moral basis for honesty. Lying, from the Choom Gang through Reverend Wright and beyond, was his lifestyle. And he had the consolation that he was lying for a better good. No one ever told him otherwise. If that goes on for long enough, you lose contact with truth. It becomes almost a non-existent phenomenon, an irrelevancy.

David Solway: Only a God Can Save Us Now

Rodrigo Sermeno: Changes in Security Clearance System Coming After Navy Yard Shooting, Snowden

Bill Straub: Budget Talks Open: Sequestration Likely to Go, Entitlement Reform Faces Uphill Climb

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa: Lenin, Stalin, Ceausescu, Obama: How Marxist Leaders Conceal Their Pasts

No, glasnost is not a misprint or a typo. During the years I was at the top of the KGB community, glasnost was the code name for an ultra-secret intelligence tool of the KGB’s ultra-secret black “science” of dezinformatsiya. Its task was to transform the country into a monument to its leader, and to portray that leader as god himself.

Every glasnost I have ever known had the overriding task of concealing a ruler’s past by giving him a new political identity. Stalin’s glasnost concealed his horrific assassination of some 24 million people by portraying him as an earthly god, with his icon prominently displayed all around the country. Khrushchev’s glasnost was aimed at building a peaceful international façade for the man who shifted the KGB’s political assassinations over to the West. That was proved by the West German Supreme Court in October 1962, during the public trial of Bogdan Stashinsky, a KGB officer who had been decorated by Khrushchev himself for having assassinated Soviet enemies living in the West.[vii] Gorbachev, who had been a KGB informant when he was studying at Moscow State University,[viii] tasked his glasnost to lead attention away from his KGB past by portraying him as a magician who displayed a flirtatious “Miss KGB” to Western correspondents and pledged to transform the Soviet Union into a “Marxist society of free people.”[ix]

In 2008, when Senator Obama was running for president, his tax policies and voting records showed him as “the hardest-left candidate ever nominated for president of the United States.”[x] Remember? Running as a socialist, however, meant sailing in uncharted waters, and the senator decided to conceal his socialist image by presenting himself as a contemporary Reagan.[xi] After he was elected, President Obama further portrayed himself either as a present-day Lincoln[xii] or a new Teddy Roosevelt.[xiii]

Bridget Johnson: Paul Resolution Demands to Know Why NSA Spied on Pope Francis

Bryan Preston: The Emmanuel Goldstein-ing of Ted Cruz

Jack Dunphy: A Cop’s Worst Nightmare

More links on the next page…

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Debate: Death to the New Deal! Screw Social Security!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

Dear Ron,

I thought it fitting to select Halloween as the day for a brief entry into the debate about whether conservatives should surrender and just accept the permanence of the Democrats’ unconstitutional welfare state. I have three points for your consideration.

1. The Welfare State Is a Zombie and It Can Be Killed.

My position is straightforward: I’m with Andy 100% and believe that conservatives must work over the coming decades to disassemble the federal government’s unconstitutional welfare state. This is an entirely reasonable, achievable goal. See James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0 for the blueprint. They call the shrinking of the federal government and rebalancing of powers between the states “the big haircut.” See my review from a few weeks ago: On 9/11 and Benghazi’s Anniversary, We End Conservative Pessimism and Right-Wing Apocalypticism

2. My Generation Is Never Going to See a Damn Dime of the Social Security that’s Being Unwillingly Extracted From Us By Force of Imprisonment.

What kind of technology will America have come the 2020s, 2030s, 2040s? I tend to embrace the Ray Kurzweil model that predicts such things as artificial intelligence smarter than man in 2028. It won’t be until the 2050s when the first millennials are ready for where Social Security is set at today. Who is going to genuinely claim that Social Security will still be needed with the technology of decades from now making everything in the economy infinitely cheaper and lifespan expanding?

3. Charles Krauthammer Is Not All That Well-Known Outside of our Political Bubble and Amongst Those Who Don’t Watch Fox News.

Plenty of your commenters jumped on you for this one and I’ll pile on too:

Dr. Krauthammer is, as I am certain all PJM readers know, America’s most well-known and highly regarded spokesman for conservatism.

These days just about the only conservative media spokesman (who wasn’t a major politician at some point) that the non-politically obsessed can name is Rush Limbaugh. And maybe Ann Coulter too thanks to all her Today show type appearances where she says the right things to provoke the postmodern progressives.

But you’re half-right. Krauthammer is America’s most well-known and highly regarded spokesman, but it’s not of just overall “conservatism,” a role held for decades by William F. Buckley, Jr.

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The 21 Most Evil News Stories from October

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 4 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every weekday I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.

When it all comes down to it, my reason for regarding Dennis Prager as the best talk radio host, one of the must-read syndicated columnists, and his Prager University as essential: the focus on articulating good vs evil.

In the newest Prager University video, Prager explains why rational and irrational are not synonymous for good and evil. Often times the “rational” act is the immoral one. Is it rational to cheat on a big test if you know you won’t get caught and it’ll be the difference between getting into college or not? Weighing the potential of punishment for being discovered– a slap on the wrist — versus the reward of going to a school that will open up career doors?

It’s rational to try to avoid pain and suffering. So in a godless world without objective morality, why is it wrong to murder an unwanted, disabled baby?

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Secular philosophy professor Peter Singer on infanticide for disabled children.

We need this continual dialogue about the nature of good and evil. Only once we recognize evil can we make defeating it our primary priority.

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I won’t include PJM stories in this round-up. If I was, though, then I’d link Megan Fox’s exposes of the tolerance of sexual predators at the Orland Park Library.

If there are other stories that I missed — and I certainly am forgetting plenty — please leave them in the comments, and if there is anything that really jumps out then I’ll revise the list.

21. Entertainment Weekly: Eminem’s homophobic ‘Rap God’ lyrics: Still getting away with it?

What’s everyone talking about? Mainly about the following lines from “Rap God”:

Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.

And:

Even though I walk in the church and burst in a ball of flames / Only Hall of Fame I be inducted in is the alcohol of fame / On the wall of shame / You fags think it’s all a game ’til I walk a flock of flames

Those lyrical nuggets come about midway through the song. Earlier, in the first verse, Em raps:

I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half / Only realized it was ironic I was signed to Aftermath after the fact

So, Eminem’s still using homophobic slurs to insult his rap foes and competitors. He’s been getting in trouble for his harsh homophobic imagery for more than a decade now, and it seems not much will change this fall whenMMLP2 drops.

The more homophobic, hateful artists are celebrated and accepted in popular culture, the more teenagers and idiots will feel justified in committing acts of violence against gay people, gay teenagers, and children who are insufficiently masculine or feminine.

20. The Daily Mail: Fashion’s King of Sleaze: The squalid truth about the photographer venerated by A-list stars and behind Miley Cyrus’s X-rated makeover

In one of the sets, Richardson persuades the once squeaky-clean singer to perform a sordid-looking sex act on an ice cream cone.

In another, he talks Cyrus, who is still too young to buy a drink legally in her native U.S., into holding an empty beer can suggestively in front of her groin while sticking her tongue out.

More images from the late-night photo-shoot show the former Disney queen smoking what appears to be a joint of cannabis, standing topless in a pair of see-through tights, and pulling a tiny red leotard upwards, so that it exposes most of her crotch.

Those are just the pictures which can be described in a family newspaper.

I suppose here is a good spot to respond to my friend Susan L.M. Goldberg, who began a debate about pornography recently: A Biblical Feminist’s Take on Porn:

So, when it comes to drawing lines regarding porn and porn-related behaviors, the first question anyone needs to ask themselves is: What do you define as pornography and, more importantly, why?

The common definition of pornography involves “obscene writings, drawings, photographs or the like”.  ”Obscene” is defined as “offensive to morality or decency; causing uncontrolled sexual desire.” Biblically speaking, there is no direct commandment proclaiming pornography evil. Yet, there are several commandments regarding acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviors. And, in relation to writings, drawings and photographs, God prohibits us from making graven images to worship.

Part of the reason why we need a real, working definition of pornography is because the wide range of materials often labeled pornographic is so broad and has such very different effects on the mostly men — but also women — who consume it. Some feminists like to define porn as essentially “anything that gives a man an erection.” Does Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition count as pornography? Does Playboy? Are all nude depictions of the female form morally equal? I think porn can be defined more simply by going to the original definition from 1843, courtesy of the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus,” from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos ”(one) depicting prostitutes,” fromporne ”prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”), related to pernanai ”to sell,” from PIE root *per- (5) “to traffic in, to sell” (see price (n.)) + graphein ”to write” (see -graphy). A brothel in ancient Greek was a porneion.

Among my theses is that there is a big difference between pornography and erotica. It can be summarized very simply: pornography depicts the pimp/prostitute model of sexuality, erotica depicts an erotic sexuality. Prostitute sexuality is in which the woman is indeed treated as an object. Erotic sexuality is mutually pleasurable, an equalizing act. In pornography, it’s all about just the man’s perspective. The erotic depicts men and women equally. Pornography is what men watch alone because most women would find it revolting; erotica can serve a legitimate purpose for couples, fostering intimacy and providing sexual inspiration and instruction.

These two forms of media each program a man’s nature differently, pornography teaching him to focus on himself and his most primitive instincts, erotica motivating him to learn how to become a proficient husband who can satisfy his wife. The disturbing cultural development in today’s MTV soft porn performed by Miley Cyrus — she is in no way erotic — is in further mainstreaming the sexualizing of immature girls instead of mature women. Among modern pornography’s most disturbing aspects is the recruitment of 18-year-old girls who don’t know any better and then dressing them up to look even younger.

What happens to the men who choose to spend hours a day — for years on end — worshiping the bodies of teenage girls?

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An Honest Answer: Darren Aronofsky Should Direct Everything

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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Stephen Green asks the question and I give the answer: Darren Aronofsky, director of the upcoming $125 million biblical epic Noah, has been my favorite director since I was a senior in high school more than a decade ago. All of his films are awesome and anyone who disagrees with me on this is wrong. They have just not learned how to engage intellectually with the layers of meaning embedded in Aronofsky’s films. His five movies are each stand-outs in their genres:

1998′s low-budget, sci-fi thriller Pi is smart, artsy, and visually unique. It’s hard to think of more intelligent, creative science fiction films in the last 15 years.

2000′s unrated, ultra-depressing drug drama Requiem for a Dream remains my favorite film of all time, one I saw four times while it was in theaters. I have never experienced a film that delivers as intense of an emotional experience than Requiem. It is perfection in all realms across editing, music, acting, writing, and cinematography. The best drug film, the best movie about addiction, and really the scariest, best horror movie of all time too.

2006′s deeply under-appreciated sci-fi fantasy epic The Fountain is overwhelmingly beautiful, the opposite of Requiem. It’s Aronofsky’s 2001 except with soul. I could have this move on repeat all day.

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Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 - by Dave Swindle
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How I start to see myself when thinking about the writers and bloggers who have most influenced me. But isn’t this just the way all bloggers are by the nature of the medium? We’re Frankenstein monsters assembled from pieces all over today’s cultural graveyard…

This is Week 2 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.

In the previous installment of this ongoing series I announced the next category of my favorite writers who I was going to introduce: my nine biggest New Media influences amongst nine of my PJ colleagues, both editors and columnists. Over the next few weeks I hope to explain why I appreciate the work of Ed Driscoll, Stephen Green, Glenn Reynolds, Helen Smith, J. Christian Adams, Richard Fernandez, Bryan Preston, Bridget Johnson, and the ever-mysterious Zombie.

I’m hoping to write about them in roughly that order. The first three are my main blogging influences who have most influenced my own approach to the medium. The remaining six are individuals doing very different but extraordinary things with the tools of New Media. I’ll explain why they’re on my #ReadEverythingTheyWrite list and why they should be on yours too.

First on the list is Ed Driscoll, PJM’s San Jose-based editor and prolific blogger-columnist. Foremost in the way Ed has influenced me is in his important work in founding PJ Lifestyle and launching it. And it was such a wonderful surprise when in spring of 2012 Ed offered to let me take over as PJ Lifestyle’s editor so he could focus on other PJ projects.

But Ed has provided many more influences. Here are four areas where I’ve borrowed from him and that I would encourage other New Media troublemakers to do as well…

1. The Greatest Juxtaposition Artist Online

What Ed does better than anyone else is artfully juxtapose excerpts from a variety of sources. Often times more than 75% of the words in an Ed post will be excerpts from elsewhere. And these pieces work so well. Ed’s versatility is in connecting the dots, often times going and comparing today’s news articles with stories from years past or from books. A few recent examples:

Flip-Floppers Embrace Hip-Hoppers

Time-Warner-CNN-HBO Spokesman: Conservatives Hate America

Abandon In Place

Sometimes when I look and see the old, “legacy” media continue its collapse I genuinely do think of we bloggers and New Media troublemakers as some kind of pirates or adventurers, hacking our way through a dying civilization. Ed with his precise cuts across media old and new has been carving his own path for years and it’s time others start to learn the methods he’s developed.

2. Ed’s Graphics Are Wonderful!

See a nice collection with commentary here: The Ed Gallery. I make images every now and then but don’t have Ed’s artistry.

3. Celebrate and Cherish Pop Culture (While You Chop It Apart, Of Course)

I take very seriously Ed’s commentaries and recommendations on culture, media, and their influence on politics. (This list of books was an influence.) There are very few other writers with a comparable breadth of both off-beat pop culture oddities and the ins-and-outs of the ideological wars of today’s political world. One who comes to mind is another writer who I’ll feature down the line in this series and who I know Ed appreciates too: Kathy Shaidle. They each come at the political-cultural nexus through similar Gen-Xer 70s centric modes, though with very different rhetorical weapons. (Kathy a Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! style kick, while Ed sneaks up with a Vulcan nerve pinch.)

Make a point to check out Ed’s Freedom Academy Book Club recommendations here.

4. Be Funny and Be Yourself

Ed is really funny. His writing has a kind of quirky, sly, high brow, winking fun to it.

From getting to work with Ed and spending time with him in the real world on occasion it seems like his blog really is genuinely an expression of his own style and personality.

There’s not many people online who are really able to do that and who can go across the whole spectrum of arts, culture, media, politics and also with wonderful personal pieces like this one. But Ed’s managed it for awhile now with his blog he’s created a perpetually, engaging, insightful New Media creation. I only hope that in the coming years more people can come to appreciate his unique take on culture, media, and politics.

[*Ed's also great hosting his web show!]

PJ Media Story Round Up

Monday and Tuesday Main Page PJM Stories

Andrew C. McCarthy: Jeb Bush Joins the Cruz Bashers — Suggests Surrender as ‘Common Ground’

The press fawns over Democrats who demagogue conservatives as “terrorists” and “hostage-takers,” and over Beltway Republicans who deride conservatives as “wacko-birds” and “tea party hobbits.” Obviously, political strife in modern America has nothing to do with a lack of civility. It owes, instead, to the lack of common ground – notthe inability to explore common ground but the non-existence of common ground.

We are not arguing here about the speed-limit on interstate highways or whether the ashy storm-petrel bird rates Endangered Species Act protection. With Obamacare, statists are trying, as President Obama has put it, to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Conservatives, by contrast, want to conserve the United States as constitutionally founded, which means preserving the individual and economic liberties that statists are effacing. There is no meaningful common ground between these polar opposites.

The statist side is enthusiastically championed by Democrats, and the conservative side by Republicans, albeit more reluctantly. Like the Democratic party, the GOP is run by Washington-oriented politicians and, thus, is more enamored of Washington-centered fiats than is the conservative base whose support Republicans need in order to be politically viable. In the vogue of establishment Republicans, Jeb Bush ostensibly directs his “Can’t we all just get along?” preachments at the Republican-Democrat divide. Clearly, though, as an all-but-formally-announced contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nod, he is more vexed by the widening disconnect between Republicans and conservatives.

I’ve already included McCarthy on the list of major foreign policy influences for Conservatism 3.0 but it’s worth keeping in mind too that he’s also very effective on domestic policy and ideological combat.

Michael Walsh: Empowering the Eloi: 10 USC § 311

A phenomenal piece about why everyone able-bodied and of sound mind needs to own a gun and know how to use it.

Bryan Preston: How You and Your Family Can Escape Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act runs more than 2,600 pages and now hundreds of thousands of regulations. No one knows every single provision that is in the law, which Congress did not even bother to read before passing it. Among its most controversial provisions is the mandate forcing Americans to purchase health insurance or face fines from the IRS. Those fines can even take the form of wage garnishment. Americans who fail to comply and pay the fine can end up in jail.

There is, though, a provision buried in Obamacare that provides a way out of having to comply with the individual mandate.Pages 107 and 128 of Obamacare stipulate that members of “healthcare sharing ministries” are exempt from the individual mandate.

Healthcare sharing ministries are non-profit entities created to allow Christians to pay into a fund and then tap that fund when they need to pay medical expenses. So there’s one catch — you have to be meet the healthcare sharing group’s membership requirements to join, and as ministries they maintain that you must be a Christian regularly attending church before you can become a member.

The Editors: Will HealthCare.gov Be Fixed in Time to Save Obamacare?

Absolutely not. Obama is totally screwed. It turns out that in the long debate about whether Obama was malevolent or incompetent both sides were right but the latter is about to win out as Obamacare sinks like a lead weight to the bottom of the sea. Even if Obama and co. really do want to Cloward and Piven the crap out of the American people they’re too pathetic to do it. All these people know is perpetual campaigning. They’ve never run a business or implement anything comparable to a bureaucracy like Obamacare.

Bridget Johnson: Obamacare Site for Spanish Speakers Has Never Worked

David P. Goldman: Jay Z’s American Fascism

An extraordinary analysis of popular culture, economics, culture, politics, and religion. See my entry in this series for Goldman: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism

Roger L. Simon: Rand Paul’s New Constitutional Amendment Should Be a Litmus Test for Who Stays in Congress

Roger hasn’t convinced me yet that this approach will be an effective strategy. And I’m pre-disposed to stand against anything Rand Paul does which may assist him in his efforts to continue duping Tea Partiers and conservatives to believe he isn’t a carbon copy of his palling-around-with-Holocaust-deniers poppy.

Bridget Johnson: New Alexander Bill to Require Weekly Obamacare Status Updates on Enrollment, Problems

Bryan Preston: Jon Stewart Rips Obamacare Rollout: Democrats Can’t ‘Spin This Turd’

Rodrigo Sermeno: Sticker Shock: Obamacare Increases Premiums in 42 States

Ed Driscoll: Abandon In Place

In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman wrote:

What Orwell feared were those that would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us too much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would beoame a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As he remarked in Brave New World Revisited  the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”.

Michael Ledeen: What Explains the Intensity of the Attacks on Cruz and Lee?

There is one possible line of productive attack:  use the powers of the states to experiment with different kinds of solutions.  Several states have stayed out of the Obamacare fiasco.  Perhaps they will work out methods for better health care programs.  The current mess provides hope, and there are state leaders who seem to get it.

At the same time, we need an all-out war against corruption, from NSA to IRS to Homeland Security to HHS.  And corrupt leaders, whether elected or appointed, should be driven from office.

It’s a big fight, at home and abroad, and calls for civility (of the sort Jeb Bush and Karl Rove keep muttering) are entirely out of place.  We need a raucous, no-holds-barred debate to clarify the tough, painful and risky policies we must embrace–and be ready to change over and over again when we discover their shortcomings–if we’re going to win.

And we must win.

We will win.

Victor Davis Hanson: The Democratic Disasters to Come

Roger L. Simon: Relax, GOP — Obamacare Will Defund Itself

With only a small penalty for abstaining, the numbers for signing up not only don’t add up — they’re absurd. Here’s one of the supposedly attractive deals: “One option available only to people under 30 is a so-called catastrophic policy that kicks in after a $6,350 annual deductible. In Monroe County, you can buy that policy on the New York State of Health exchange for as low as $131 a month for single coverage.”

Over fifteen hundred a year for a sixty-three hundred plus deductible? What healthy thirty year old would waste his or her money?

Who invented this plan? Certainly not Obama or Pelosi, neither of whom was paying close attention, I would bet. (Pelosi admitted she wasn’t. All Obama wanted was something to put his name next to, something that sounded vaguely “progressive.”)

Bridget Johnson: McCain on Shutdown: ‘All of Those Involved in It Went on a Fool’s Errand’

Stephen Green: A Fifth of Doom

Michel Gurfienkel: Exodus: Migration of Jews Out of France Begins

Ed Driscoll: Oh, That Present-Tense Culture

 America education system summed up in two sentences:

Questioner: What was Auschwitz?
American College Student: I don’t know.

As part of her effort to promote her new Holocaust-themed novel 94 Maidens, Philadelphia-area TV personality Rhonda Fink-Whitman dropped in on the campuses of Penn State and Philadelphia’s Temple University, and asked the local college kids what they knew about the Holocaust and World War II. And based on the answers she received, as typed up by the Blogosphere’s Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, the answer is: not much.

Questioner: What was the Holocaust?
American College Student: Um…I’m on the spot.

Questioner: Which country was Adolf Hitler the leader of?
American College Student: I think it’s Amsterdam?

Questioner: What was Auschwitz?
American College Student: I don’t know.

Questioner: What were the Nuremburg Trials?
American College Student: I don’t know.

Questioner: How many Jews were killed?
American College Student: Hundreds of thousands.

In other words: the Holocaust Deniers have conquered America’s higher educations.

Weekend PJM Stories

Claudia Rosett: Who Should Replace the Saudis at the UN Security Council?

Having won a seat for the first time on the United Nations Security Council, Saudi Arabia turned around a day later and rejected it, citing the Council’s double standards and failure to uphold international peace, justice and security.

As UN moments go, this is a classic — if only for its sheer absurdity. It is precisely because of the UN’s double standards that a country such as Saudi Arabia can win a seat on the Security Council in the first place — with 176 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly voting yes. As as friend of mine puts it, the Saudi move smacks of Groucho Marx’s joke that he would never join any club that would accept him as a member.

Obviously, the real problem is not a sudden Saudi aversion to UN double standards per se. If it were, Saudi Arabia would not still be running for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, in General Assembly elections to be held Nov. 12. As far as I’m aware, the Saudis — who with no evident concern about hypocrisy have served previously on the Human Rights Council  – have not dropped their bid to reclaim a seat.

Rick Moran: Clashing Worldviews Roil the GOP

Rick Moran: Is the White House Now Thinking the ‘Unthinkable’ about Obamacare?

Tom Blumer: The L.A. Times’ Fiscal Fantasies

It’s quite obvious that the vast majority of Bush 43′s presidency was marked by modest growth in public debt as a percentage of GDP, and that things did not begin to get out of hand until the first full budget year after the Democratic Party took control of the House and Senate. Absolutely all of Barack Obama’s presidency has seen catastrophic growth in that percentage.

There is almost certainly no end in sight in debt-to-GDP growth, despite Lauter’s contention, presented as if factual, that “the debt will tick down slowly to around 71% of GDP in 2018.”

Lead PJM Stories on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

J. Christian Adams: Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Toxic Race Tour at Cornell University

These are not just nutty notions, they are dangerous notions. They attempt to undo and unravel the meaning of words. They defy the truth. Treating people without regard to race is deconstructed to mean racism. Oceania has always been at war with East Asia, except when it wasn’t.

Beware: these nutty and dangerous notions aren’t confined to places like Cornell or  Crenshaw’s classroom in Los Angeles. They are en vogue among growing numbers of lawyers and those who hold power.

Ed Driscoll: ‘What Do America’s College Students Want? They Want to Be Oppressed’

PJTV’s InstaVision: Golf, Writing and the Bhagavad Gita: The Legend of Steven Pressfield

Michael Walsh: Most Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Janine Turner: Ted Cruz – The Paul Revere of American Medical Care

Bridget Johnson: Republican Winners of the Shutdown Standoff

Stephen Green: Shutdown Autopsy

It’s true that the president acted unseemly in his sour victory speech Thursday morning, but he’s always had a knack for saying outrageous things in moderate tones — and he’ll get away with it this time, too. Obama had his soothing tone and his shutdown theater, and by that time the GOP had… what, exactly?

If there’s a fourth question, it’s the one Republicans ought to be asking themselves right now.

“Why do we keep playing to Obama’s strengths?”

Why, indeed.

Roger Kimball: Remembering America

Tom Blumer: Obamacare’s Useful Idiots

PJTV’s Trifecta: Disaster! Embarrassing! Prominent Liberals Turn on Obamacare 

Bryan Preston: Great News: Hundreds of Thousands of ‘Non-Essential’ Government Bureaucrats Are Back on the Job!

Claudia Rosett: Assad’s Nobel Peace Prize?

Ed Driscoll: Mystery Seventies Theater 3000

Bryan Preston: Surrender: House Will Take Up Senate Plan to End Standoff

Patrick Poole: Jim Wallis Preaches ‘God Wants Socialism,’ Earns $200K-Plus Per Year

Bridget Johnson: Houston Chronicle Editorial Board Says It Regrets Cruz Endorsement

Bryan Preston: The Top 10 Reasons Why Obamacare Will Always Be Controversial

Andrew C. McCarthy: In New Jersey Senate Race, Lonegan Fights the Odds … without Help from the GOP

Bryan Preston: The Hellspawn of Demon Pass, or Why We Are Where We Are

High-risk pools aren’t perfect. Neither is imposing mandates. States were working out their own solutions. But they couldn’t work out some solutions, such as allowing insurance plans to be sold across state lines. They needed federal laws passed to allow that. Studies have found, and it makes economic sense, that allowing more competition by allowing plans to be sold across state lines would bring insurance prices down, making it more affordable, without government mandates or price controls. Those healthy young Americans who had the right not to buy insurance before Obamacare might even find it affordable enough to buy it, just in case they needed it.

In 1993, then First Lady Hillary Clinton devised a national plan similar to Obamacare. After many secretive meetings and a heated political debate, HillaryCare died in Congress. The American people still didn’t trust government to impose a single national health care system that would work.

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Monday and Tuesday

Theodore Dalrymple: Was Sir Winston Churchill Right About Exercise?

Me: Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing A Debate With Michael Lumish

Chris Queen: Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 4: The Unfaithful Lover

Chris continues with his Smashing Pumpkins series much better than I would have. One of the joys of being an editor: don’t have time to write the story you want yourself? Just assign it to one of your friends who can do it better than you.

Charlie Martin: A Year of 13 Weeks

Having edited every single one of Charlie’s 13 Weeks post I’m so thrilled to see him reach one year in with his experiment and to see such fantastic results. The 13 Weeks Method works — hence why Rhonda, Sarah, and I have adopted it to our own self-improvement pursuits.

Paula Bolyard: Ohio House Republicans Prepared to Sue Kasich to Stop Medicaid-Expansion Power Grab

Wednesday – This Weekend

Andrew Klavan: This Is The End: What Movie Would Jesus Watch?

This movie is hilarious and morally encouraging. Make a point to see it.

Walter Hudson: After Shutdown, Be Careful Whom You Call a Hypocrite

Paula Bolyard: Must Dr. Jekyll Eliminate Mr. Hyde in the GOP?

Kathy Shaidle: ‘Comedy Gives Back’ Proves People Can Make a Difference — But Not the Way They Expected

John Boot: 5 Cool Things About Escape Plan

Walter Hudson: Does the Tea Party Just Want to Watch the World Burn?

Walter does such first-rate Tea Party coverage.

Paul Cooper: What the International Gendercide Crisis Must Teach America About Abortion

Just as Walter keeps PJ Lifestyle abreast of the Tea Party perspective, I’m glad to have Paul Cooper back to bring the Pro-Life worldview. He’s really influenced me on these issues of the past few years.

Kathy Shaidle: Keep Cat Stevens Out of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Builder Bob: How to Build a Picture Frame in 9 Easy Steps

Robert Spencer: Child Marriage Comes to Australia

Sarah Hoyt: Waiter, There’s a Government in My Beer!

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Monday and Tuesday

Paula Bolyard: Shhh! Don’t Tell the President and Mrs. Obama This Awesomeness Exists

Theodore Dalrymple: Should Doctors Relax the ‘Dead Donor Rule’ to Increase Organ Transplants?

Robert Spencer: Burned Alive for $47

Paula Bolyard: Does Homeschooling Reduce Opportunities for Women in the Workplace?

Megan Fox: 5 Dating Rules for Single Moms That Could Save Your Child’s Life

Rhonda Robinson: Are You Worthy of Your Sufferings?

Rhonda’s new series exploring Victor Frankl is off to a great start.

Susan L.M. Goldberg: My 5 Favorite Ann Coulter Columns

Sunday

Charlie Martin: Depression, Suffering, and Mindfulness

Paula Bolyard: Will the Tolerance Agenda Destroy Christian Higher Education?

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, # 7: The Golden Dawn Party

David is on such a roll with this new antisemitism series.

Susan L.M. Goldberg: The 2 Mitzvot That Can Restore Unity on the Right

Susan jumps in on the spiritual/theological/political dialogue that I’m having with Walter Hudson and Michael Lumish.

Walter Hudson: To Know God, We Must First Confess Not Knowing Much

Saturday

Ed Driscoll: Barack Obama, Fabian Socialist

Rhonda Robinson: Is the Star of Bethlehem a Myth or Actual Astrological Event?

C. Blake Powers: Bunkers, Trenches, and Calvados, Oh My!

Stephen Green: Leave the Nikon, Take the iPhone

Sarah Hoyt: Reasons to Brave the Indie Publishing Jungle

Friday

Ed Driscoll: Two Redfords in One

C. Blake Powers: A Hollywood Dream Crushed at Normandy

Stephen Green: Not Coming Soon Enough to a Theater Near You

I’m not sure why I’m not as excited about the newest DiCaprio/Scorsese movie. Maybe because one can only remake Goodfellas so many times?

Chris Queen: Want a Quiet Island Getaway? Try Tristan da Cunha, World’s Most Remote Inhabited Island

Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin: The First Hit Is Free

Thursday

Charlie Martin: Infinity: Big and Bigger

Chris Queen: The Scariest Part of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

It’s great to have Chris back — this is such a funny, entertaining report of the odd things he saw one night on his recent Disney World trip.

Builder Bob: How To Hang Pegboard To Finally Get Your Garage Organized

Ed Driscoll: Johnny Carson, Bing Crosby, and the Birth of the Cool-Warmth

Becky Graebner: 4 Safety Systems Steering us Closer to Autonomous Cars

Stephen Green: Driving You to Distraction

Megan Fox: What to Do When Caught On Camera Doing Embarrassing Things? Claim Rape!

We’re living in a strange, matriarchal age when a co-ed is willing to have a frat boy pleasure her in full view of the public, film it, encourage him while he goes to work, and then later try to claim she was raped.

Wednesday

Helen Smith: The Soul Mate Myth: There is No One

Bryan Preston: Facebook’s Ad Algorithm Is A Poopy Head

Ed Driscoll: ‘Society Will Develop a New Kind of Servitude…’ — Alexis De Tocqueville

Becky Graebner: The Baby Boomer and Millennial Blame Game

I dissent: it’s mostly the boomers’ fault but the Silent generation has poured a lot of gasoline on the fire too.

Glenn Reynolds: 68% of Americans Believe Degrees Aren’t Worth the Money

I have a habit of ranting nowadays to all who will listen that instead of getting a degree 18-year-olds should start a business.

Chris Queen: Hooked on Oreos?

Stephen Green: Don’t Be Evil or Whatevs

Sarah Hoyt: Can Google Make You Sick?

At some point I really do need to unplug from both Google and Facebook…

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

Chris Salcedo: Obama is Responsible for His Own Opposition

Resident Obama consistently calls for civility from his detractor. Hypocrisy doesn’t come close to describing Obama’s hollow calls for a softer tone. Obama and extreme liberals who now run his government and party have partaken in the most un-civil discourse in modern American politics. Conservatives and Tea Party members have been called, “hostage takers,” “people with bombs strapped to their chests,” “arsonists,” “terrorists,” “extremists,” “racists,” and “anarchists,” all because we disagree with liberal extremism. Obama called those who believe as I do, “enemies.” Proving he has no sense of fairness, not to mention shame, Obama insists he be treated with kid gloves after he’s drawn a response from those he just beat-up.

Stephen Kruiser: Baby Steps: Media Matters Upgrades IRS Targeting From ‘Manufactured Scandal’ To ‘Controversy’

Stephen Kruiser: Going Full Creepy: Oregon Wants To Track And Tax Drivers Per Mile

Chris Salcedo: The Last Time I Could Say, ‘Obama Is Right’

Stephen Kruiser: Show This to Your Lib Friends: ‘The Psychology Of Barack Obama’

Matt Vespa: So, When Is Chris Christie Switching Parties?

Stephen Kruiser: IBD Lists ‘Anecdotal’ Obamacare Jobs/Hours Cuts

J. Christian Adams: James O’Keefe Sues Main Justice for Defamation

Stephen Kruiser: Onion Open Thread: Bloomberg ‘Takes Care’ Of Homeless In NYC

Seton Motley: Negotiating with Yourself Doesn’t Work

Stephen Kruiser: Pro Tip: Don’t Be The Cop That Gets Caught In The Prostitution Sting

Stephen Kruiser: More ‘Anecdotal’ Evidence: Another CEO Says Obamacare Is A Job Killer

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Tuesday

Colorado Ad Tells Bros ‘Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills.’ Tap Into Someone Else’s Money…

California Woman Liked Her Health Insurance, But Obamacare Won’t Let Her Keep It

Liberal Hates Obamacare Now, But Still Won’t Admit that Ted Cruz Was Right

Yet Another MSM Journalist Officially Joins the Obama Administration

Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson Attacks the Tea Party with a Burning Cross

Monday

Wendy Davis Set to Pick Up More DC Cash for Her Texas Governor Run

Obamacare Hotline Operator Admits to Hannity: No One Likes Obamacare

Poll: White House Blames ‘Volume,’ But Majority Believe Healthcare.gov’s Problems Hint at Broader Obamacare Problems

Culinary Union Thugs Insult Vegas Tourists, Call Woman Dying of Cancer a ‘B*tch’

VIDEO — Woman Realizes Obama is Using Her to Sell Unsound Product, Escapes as Fast as She Can

White House Touts Obamacare ‘Successes’ Who Aren’t

First Look: Team Dewhurst Releases ‘Texas Takes the Cake’ Video to Showcase Lone Star Dominance

Arsenal’s ‘Playstation’ Goal One of the Best Sports Moments of the Decade

VIDEO — President Barack Obama Delivers Convincing Obamacare Defense to a Skeptical Nation

‘Tech Surge’? Consumer Reports Says ‘Stay Away from Healthcare.gov For At Least Another Month’

CBS: Obamacare’s Problems Threaten ‘Credibility Death Spiral’ for Obama

Saturday

VIDEO Montage: Kathleen Sebelius’ Many Assured Assurances that the Obamacare Exchanges were ‘On Track’ to Launch on October 1

Bizarre: Battleground Texas (@BGTX) Is ‘Ovary Sad’

Friday

CBS’ Norah O’Donnell: Obama was the ‘Adult in the Room’ During the Shutdown Standoff

White House Email: Hey, Look, Five People Have Signed Up for Obamacare!

In Case You Were Wondering, Ted Cruz Didn’t Go to Washington to Make Friends

Grand Theft Nation: Red States, Younger Americans See Highest Rate Hikes from Obamacare.

Cornyn Slams Obama’s ‘Crony’ Nomination for Homeland Security

USA Today: Obama’s Crowning Achievement Needs a ‘Total Overhaul’

Former Obama Official Scolds America: ‘Back Off’ Opposing Obamacare, Forget Reagan or People May Die!

Pelosi Admits Obamacare Website Needs Fixing, But Remains Delusional About Obamacare Itself

Thursday

Wendy Davis Consultant Matt Angle Lies About Robo-Call Group

I’ve realized now that I find just Wendy Davis’s name alone stomach-turning. She’s made herself synonymous with third trimester abortion and revealed reminded the practice to be among the central rites of today’s neo-ancient Canaanite modern Democratic Party.

Scientists Pull Meteorite from Russian Lake, Immediately Break It

Attkisson: Deadly Mexican Drug Cartel Shootout Linked to US ‘Grenade-Walking’ Scandal

VIDEO — How Did HealthCare.gov Get Botched? The White House Doesn’t Know and Doesn’t Care

Battleground Texas Obamabots Rip Ted Cruz For Doing the Same Thing Barack Obama Once Did

NBC News: ‘If the ObamaCare website were a patient, it would probably be in intensive care by now.’

Obama: ‘When We Disagree, We Don’t Have To Suggest that the Other Side Doesn’t Love this Country.’ But Calling them Terrorists is Cool.

VIDEO — Obama Includes Attack on Bloggers, Talk Radio and the First Amendment in His Shutdown Touchdown Dance

Chuck DeVore: GOP May Have ‘Lost’ the Shutdown Battle, But Can Still Win the War to Repeal Obamacare

Bryan quoting from a friend of a friend:

The compromise bill ending the shutdown only funds the government until January 15, 2014 and only gives enough room on the debt limit until February 7, 2014.

This is not the full year’s budget Pres. Obama and Sen. Reid wanted. And, it is not the full trillion dollars in new debt authority.

This is big.

What is means is that Americans get to kick the tires on ObamaCare and its nearly-impossible to sign up for exchanges for another three months before the federal government funding fight may be refought – if Sen. Cruz and like-minded allies chose to do so.

The Houston Chronicle Missed the Entire Point of Ted Cruz’s Election to the Senate

Great News: Hundreds of Thousands of ‘Non-Essential’ Government Bureaucrats Are Back on the Job!

There do remain a couple of outstanding issues. We’re still on track to spend enough to land us in bankruptcy. The National Park Service unmasked itself as a brownshirted outfit that was a little too happy to lock old people in hotels and barrycade parking spots on the GW Parkway at their liege’s whim. Who knew that under those stiff-brimmed hats lurked the snarling face of raw statism? Like the IRS, the NPS needs to be cleaned out.

And Obamacare is a horrendous mess. It’s actually in full-blown crisis, though much of its crisis is a product of design. Sebelius needs to be fired, but that was true for her lawbreaking and for the abortifacient mandate. Now it’s just more true, because she’s a hacktastic flop who is such a failure that she can’t even properly manage failure.

Barack Obama has Picked Four Big Fights in 2013. How Has He Done?

Wednesday

Surrender: House Will Take Up Senate Plan to End Standoff

So how do you beat them? In the Republicans’ case, the divisions within their ranks didn’t help. “Wacko bird” didn’t help. Peter King spending more time assaulting Republicans than Democrats didn’t help. It also didn’t help to rant “you support Obamacare!” if you didn’t happen to agree with the strategy to stop Obamacare. A divided force will just about always lose to a unified force. The Republicans failed to divide the Democrats, while they went into the fight divided themselves.

‘Obamacare is here. Get used to it’ and Other Stupid Things Democrats Say

If we really took the president’s and Robinson’s logic to its full extent, the laws as they existed at the moment the United States was founded would still all remain the law of the land forever. All of them. Only landowners could vote. No female suffrage. And once a law was passed, it could not be repealed or changed in any way whatsoever until the end of time. Is that what Robinson wants, or is he just being dishonest?

With all due respect to the president and his man at the Post, their “Obamacare is here so get used to it!” command is idiotic. I mean, really, truly and deeply and profoundly idiotic. It’s unworthy of a president and doesn’t belong in serious, adult conversation.

Bryan does such a great job of hitting hard.

Mexican TV Announcer Goes on Epic PRO-AMERICA Rant After the US Saves Mexico’s World Cup Hopes

Budget Deal Not Even Done, Obama Whips Out Immigration ‘Reform’ Next

VIDEO — National Park Service Director Admits White House Was Involved in Closing Memorials

The Top 10 Reasons Why Obamacare Will Always Be Controversial

The Hellspawn of Demon Pass, or Why We Are Where We Are

From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson

Tuesday

White House Links October Shutdown to Stagnant September Jobs Numbers

Carney: Why’s There So Much ‘Fascination’ with Blaming Someone for Bad Obamacare Site?

After Debt Ceiling Raised, Restoration to Begin on the Roof

Human Rights Groups Accuse Obama of Sloppy Drone Strikes

Monday

Wikipedia Stunned That Companies Pay Users to Write Favorable Articles

GOPs Warns Constituents About Obamacare Site While Questioning Taxpayer Fix-It Tab

McCain on Shutdown: ‘All of Those Involved in It Went on a Fool’s Errand’

Unkindest Endorsement Ever? Paper Grudgingly Picks ‘Catastrophe’ Christie

McConnell Vows to Hold the Line Against Another Shutdown, Says It’s ‘Not Conservative Policy’

Friday

Hagel Loses His Press Secretary a Week After His No. 2 Resigns

Florida Congressman C.W. Bill Young Dies Days After Announcing 2014 Retirement

Russia-Backed Expulsion of U.S. from Kyrgyz Base Moves Critical Support Point to Romania

Thusday

Sickening Video from Kenya Mall Attack

Steve King: Shutdown Worth It for Drawing Out ‘Good, Strong’ Conservatives

Budget, Bacon and Eggs: GOP, Dems Start Negotiating Process Over Cozy Breakfast

House Stenographer Snaps During Debt Vote, Yells About Freemasons

A longtime House stenographer was pulled off the House floor last night during the debt-deal vote after walking to the dais the president uses for State of the Union speeches and yelling about Freemasons.

Todd Zwillich of Public Radio International captured the full audio of the woman, included at the end of the C-SPAN video clip.

“Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand,” the stenographer, identified as Dianne Reidy, yelled into the microphone. “He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked — don’t touch me — He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.”

Wednesday

Booker Wins Senate Special Election in New Jersey

Boehner: ‘The House Has Fought with Everything It Has’

House Conservative: Boehner Emerging from Shutdown ‘a Hundred Percent Stronger’

Hagel Apologizes for Medal of Honor Recipient’s Mysterious Missing Paperwork

Houston Chronicle Editorial Board Says It Regrets Cruz Endorsement

*****

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Tuesday

Open Is Better Than Nothing

The Game the Whole Country Can Play

Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day

As a citizen, it’s somewhat difficult to get in compliance with the law, when the agency in charge of enforcing it doesn’t necessarily know what parts of the law it will be told to enforce, or which parts might be safely ignored. It’s even more difficult to stay in compliance when those goalposts, once shifted, might be shifted again just because a web site started working better. Or perhaps worse.

Coming to America

Chuck Todd Rips Jay Carney a New One

Monday

A Seven of All Trades

A Worthy Cause

Blink?

Delaying the individual mandate is only evil when Republicans want to do it.

The Onion Wins the Internet

Absolutely hilarious.

Another ObamaCare Fail

MSNBC Panel Turns on ObamaCare

It’s Not a Lie If You Believe It!

Let It Burn

By the Numbers

Windows RT Pulled

This Is the End

Is There a Spanish Idiom for “Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar?”

Playing Catchup Thrice

Weekend

News You Can Use

Mullahs Take a Leak

Bookmark of the Year

Winter is Laughing

Now That’s a Crossover [LINK FIXED!]

An Honest Question

This Is Why They Made an Internet

A Thousand Times No

Make Your Own Mario

Friday

Friday Night Videos

Paging Dr. Thomas Hendricks

The Future Just Got Closer

You’ve Been Had

Another Ringing ObamaCare Success

News You Can Use

Poll of the Day

This Is Why You Fail

What the Government Does With Your Data

Saudis Refuse Security Council Seat to Themselves

You Can’t Even Bribe Them Out of Power

Thursday

Bring on the Heat

The Big Blue Blues

How ObamaCare Works Perfectly

News You Can Use

New Waivers for Government Motors

Required Reading

Shut Down Theater, He Explained

The Opacity of Wall Street

Congress Self-Emasculates

You Keep Using That Word

Wednesday

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ National Security

Detroit Is in Recovery!

Leave the Nikon, Take the iPhone

In a Collectivized Nutshell

And Liberals Claim Even the Name is Racist

To Sanction or not to Sanction

Required Reading

The Most Transparent Administration in History

Repeat After Me: It’s Not a Traffic Problem

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From PJM’s San Jose Ed Driscoll

Monday and Tuesday

Beware the Cupcake Menace!

Abandon In Place

First Bum, Now Bud

Oh, the Humanity!

As ad man (and Mad Men series advisor) Jerry Della Femina wrote over 40 years ago in his classic book on advertising,From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches from the Advertising War, “There is a great deal of advertising that’s better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster. There have been cases where the product had to come up to the advertising but when the product fails to do that, the advertiser will eventually run into a lot of trouble.” Or to quote a commenter at Hot Air, “You owe Ron Popeil an apology. At least he delivered the goods.”

Heh, indeed.™

Socialism: If You Build It, They Will Leave

Weekend

Obamacare: The New Vietnam

Meet the New Brutalism, Same as the Old Brutalism

RIP, Legendary NFL Coach Bum Phillips

Thursday

Marker Called

ButterfieldCare

Wednesday

Mystery Seventies Theater 3000

Two Redfords in One

‘Why Does Organizing For Action Hate the Mentally Challenged?’

******

Closing Book Excerpt

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“The state is an organ or apparatus of force to be used by one class against another.” -Vladimir Lenin, 1917′s Will the Bosheviks Retain State Power? As quoted on page 77 of Paul Johnson’s extraordinary Enemies of Society.

Stay tuned for link recommendations from around the web in the next installment of this series. I think I’m going to start alternating between PJM round-ups and around-the-web round-ups…

******

Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!

16 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:

6 On Foreign Policy:

4 On Culture:

5 On History:

1 On New Media:

*****

images courtesy shuttertsock / Jeff Cameron Collingwood

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Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish

Sunday, October 20th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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My position: with Judeo-Christian values as one’s base then all of the world’s religions become de-fanged and their practices and ideas of potential value can be utilized in conjunction with traditional Jewish and Christian religious practices. For those of a more secular lifestyle, the founders’ philosophy of classical liberalism that forms the foundation of our government is just the political expression of Biblical values.

This is my response — part 2 — of a debate with my friend Mike Lumish about political ideology, the Left-Right contest, Biblical values, and the battle of Good vs Evil. Read his thoughtful Part I here.

Dear Mike,

I’d like to thank you so much for accepting my challenge for us to engage on these issues in a public forum. You’re someone whose work I continue to appreciate and who has earned my respect even though we hold some strong disagreements.

That’s the realization I came to after reading your opening to this debate. It turns out that our differences are much deeper than I initially anticipated. This is all the better — hopefully by the end of our discussion we’ll have both moved closer to at, the very least, perhaps not agreeing but understanding each other better.

I think we have five substantive disagreements in my critique of your writer/blogger/activist approach. I’m going to frame each as a question, quote you, summarize our disagreement, and then explain my position.

1. Whom should pro-Israel and counter-Jihad activists try to reach?

Quoting now from your response, as each block quote will be:

I am a member of that list despite the fact that I am not a political conservative.

Not long ago David offered his criticism of my concerns. In a nutshell, David took me to task for encouraging my fellow liberals to understand that the rise of political Islam is dangerous to women and to gay people and to Jewish people and to all non-Muslims throughout the Middle East, if not the Islamic world, more generally.

[DS: the following is a quotation of me of from our listserv debate. By "old family" I mean the family I grew up in who do not share my politics but who still love and support me. My new family is the one I'm in now -- and my wife and our Siberian Husky Maura are too independent-minded to align with any political ideology.]

“It would be as if I decided that my primary goal in life was just to convert the postmodern secularist progressive pop culture polytheists of my friends and old family into conservatives.”

Just why he makes this strange claim is beyond me.

My critique of you first began as a tactical one: you have stated that your primary mission as an activist in life is to bring the messages of counter-Jihad and pro-Israel policies to your fellow liberal and progressive Jews.

Our disagreement: I believe it’s important to try and reach all human beings across the planet with the broad spectrum of arguments and ideas commonly understood as center-right, conservative-libertarian, Tea Party, classical liberal, the American/British Enlightenment, and especially Judeo-Christian and Biblical. With my new media activism I hope to influence 100% of the population, and not just the United States. According to US Demographics, in 2007 Jews made up 1.7% of the population. The percentage you are targeting — those who are politically engaged and progressive — couldn’t make up more than a fourth or a third of that.

I guess my initial critique of you was somewhat inaccurate. I thought that by now, after all these years of Obama you would have finally moved out of the hybrid, trying-to-pick-and-choose-what-you-want-from-both-sides position. I’m too familiar with this ideological middle ground, as I passed through it too. So you can better understand why I have grown disillusioned with framing activism in secular ideological terms (Left vs Right) I’ll describe my journey across the political spectrum over the last decade, which in some ways is similar to others who have shifted.

    • Start leftist/progressive (generally disillusioned with the Democratic Party or sitting at the Al Sharpton/Dennis Kucinich children’s table while the quasi-grown ups run the party) and naively believing some combination of: a belief in socialim, government regulation, dovish foreign policy, the United Nations, and above all else, the malevolence of conservatives who are the primary enemy of all progress and whose ideas are responsible for both unnecessary casualties of war all over the world and the health-related deaths of hard-working Americans who can’t afford health insurance because of greedy corporations. We should primarily stop terrorism by just extending an olive branch to the Muslim world and admitting our century’s worth of American, capitalist, globalist imperialism. And we should stop supporting Israel since they’re the ones most responsible for all the problems in the Middle East since they’re just too extreme with the Palestinians. And single-payer healthcare is the Holy Grail. I had a position comparable to this from 2003, freshman year of college, through about the end of 2007. Before going to college my political views were poorly defined and just the general, squishy baby boomer Clintonian liberalism of my parents.
    • Gradually drift to the nebulous territory between progressive “liberal” and centrist “liberal” who is at least sane enough to try and implement their goals through the Democratic Party. (I always put the term in quotes when used in this context because I regard it as having been hijacked in order to deceive do-gooders.) Here one recognizes that full-blown socialism couldn’t work in America and that we really do have to fight terrorists but that we have to do it better than the nuts on the Right who are “racist against Muslims.” The difference between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the more centrist, Third Way, New Democrats of the 1990s has largely disappeared now. But it still existed some back in 2008 when I attached the “centrist liberal” label. I swam in these ideological seas and ended up voting for Obama because A) Andrew Sullivan convinced me he was a genuine centrist compromiser who was boing to end the baby boomer culture war, and B) I thought Sarah Palin was an idiot and “Christianist” radical who was just picked solely because she was an attractive woman. Mike, if you’re still calling yourself a progressive it sounds like you’re in territory similar to this.
    • To the naive No Labels centrists (David Frum) — those still resisting becoming conservatives and instead pursuing a utopian solution of ending political conflicts through checking the “extremists” supposedly on both sides who they ignorantly believe are morally equivalent. They especially delight in attacking Tea Partiers and all variety of “extremist” conservatives more than their Marxist Nation editor friends who praise their work. I wobbled around in this territory during 2009 (the year I started editing full time), stumbling out into the next category by the beginning of 2010. Slightly to the Right of this contingent is the wimpy Right that wants progressive friendship and approval (Joe Scarborough, David Brooks, John McCain above all others), and basically anyone that had anything substantive to do with the Bush administration and is still defending its entire agenda.
    • A Libertarian-conservative Tea Partier – Usually Tea Party/libertarian in economics and hawkish and pro-Israel, but still a “social liberal” indifferent to abortion, largely secular, and not really caring how coarsened mainstream culture has become. I was inspired into a Tea Party position — as many Americans were — by the horrific push for Obamacare. I was here for about 20 months and still retain Tea Party sympathies.
    • Finally onto Reaganite conservative policies across the board, including social conservatism, which usually coincides with a conversion to serious Judaism, Christianity, or in my oddball case what I’ve described as Judeo-Christian Hermeticism. With the job switch to PJM in Fall 2011 came the opportunity to hit the reset button on how I organized my life. The realization came that I needed to return to a more diligent religious practice to be better equipped in the future when there were other life challenges like necessary job changes. See my piece in response to Walter Hudson, expressing my disagreement with Evangelical Christian theology and explaining the difference between individual Bible-based theologies, and universal Judeo-Christian values that can — and should — be embraced by peoples of all faiths. As I’ve returned to religious life, gradually much of my social “liberalism” has collapsed further. I’m pro-life and support the overturn of Roe v. Wade, not that I expect that alone to make much of a difference in the number of abortions that take place each year. This is more of a cultural battle to confront the truth about how unplanned pregnancies actually happen and the myriad of better options than abortion. But the most major shift that happened to me personally as my views changed is what David P. Goldman explains in the macro-context in How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too). People who do not believe in God do not reproduce. What’s the point? The birthrates remain highest among seriously Jewish and Christian communities. Thus I’ve finally come to know for certain that I need to be a father someday and I must raise as many children as possible. It may be a dozen years or more before The Wife and I are ready but how long isn’t important — children being biologically ours is not a priority. So the war between Left and Right, Secular and Believer is thus much deeper than just economic and foreign policies. It goes to the structure and purpose of the family. (See James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0 to see the evidence that the nuclear family is the central engine that powered the triumph of the United States.) The cultural conflicts are between two different sets of morals. One that values creating nurturing families of strong individuals. The other that believes that “it takes a village.” (When Hillary said that it takes a village was she also talking about the number of other women she would permit her husband to enjoy in what’s really starting to become clear to everyone as an open marriage?) To secular liberals and even many libertarians these issues of values and character are irrelevant. (And even to so-called conservatives too who supported Newt Gingrich.) So what if the first family and the most influential couple in the Democratic Party are just in a career marriage? As long as they’re “doing their job” then their personal lives are their own. No. Are you going to be OK if that’s your daughter that Bill or Hillary picks as their next plaything?

So yes, bottom line: it doesn’t have to take long to make these various shifts. It just depends on what experiences one has, how certain political and cultural stories impact you, and which thinkers and books cross your path that inspire you to see the world in whole new ways. But I wrote an article last summer explaining why we can’t really provoke people to shift from one category to another. Trying to convert people from one stage to another is just impractical on so many levels: 7 Reasons Why The Right Should Not Seek to Convert The Left. The first item on that list basically summarizes my position: “7. There are More Than Enough Apolitical People Out There Whose Minds Remain Unconquered by the Left.”

So Mike, while I remain mystified that you still regard yourself as in any way progressive/”liberal,” we’ll address this in more substance in a moment in the context of your other arguments. There are still a number of steps along the journey that you have yet to confront. And I hope you do, though perhaps you won’t. Often times whether we do or not is largely outside our hands. Life has to give us each a kick in the ass to wake up and do the right thing.

While my quarrel with you now that I understand your position better is slightly different, the meat of it is still the same. I remain passionately engaged in Counter-Jihad and Pro-Israel new media activism — more so than when we first crossed paths in 2010. Earlier this month I argued that Robert Spencer-style Counter-Jihad should form the basis of the next evolution into a Conservatism 3.0 that overcomes the errors of the naive corporatist baby-boomer professional conservatives.

But if I sought only to try to persuade those who came from the secular, culture-obsessed “liberal” ideology as me then I would be dramatically limiting the amount of potential readers I had to just one small slice of progressives. I don’t think you got this point:

The fact of the matter is that the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East is of the foremost geo-political significance since the demise of the Soviet Union.  The rise of the Brotherhood and political Islam, despite Morsi’s defeat in Egypt, is something that we must discuss and address and oppose. Much of my writings center upon the fact that my fellow liberals absolutely refuse to even discuss this issue and it is an issue that is greatly in need of discussion.

David suggests that, in contrast to my work, his “writing and editing activism is aimed at EVERYONE, not just one small group.”

I fail to see how the progressive-left, as a political movement, represents “one small group.”  It doesn’t. David is a good man, but he is simply wrong. The progressive-left is a huge political movement that dominates politics and political discourse throughout Europe and the United States and I, in fact, am a member of that political inclination.

I suppose if you decided to focus on ALL progressives and leftists, that would be somewhat of an improvement over what you’re doing now, though for the 7 reasons listed in that previous piece, I wouldn’t condone it. My point was that you direct your activism at members of the group that you previously identified with, a smaller, particular niche of the Left — center-Left Jews. How many people are there actually in the country who identify that way? Sure, the Democratic Party and so-called “liberalism”  are more dominant among many people who identify as Jewish. But that doesn’t mean that most of such Jews really care about either their politics or their religion all that much.

The activist core of engaged progressive/left Jews who you seek to reach with your writings are actually small in number — just as, in the sentence you quoted, I emphasized that me choosing to exclusively focus on the postmodern, pop culture-obsessed community I came out of would similarly be a waste of time, if only on the numbers alone. To build a large enough political/cultural coalition to actually elect effective leaders to make things happen in the real world we have to reach out much more broadly than just our own neighborhoods.

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‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 2 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 interesting headlines at PJM and across the web.

In the previous weeks I’ve discussed 15 of my favorite writers and major intellectual influences in foreign policy, culture, and history. (At the bottom of each of these posts they’re all listed with links to their entries.) I’ll continue to add more authors to these sections but today I’m beginning another two categories of writers who I regard as core influences. Today’s entry and future ones in the coming weeks will feature writers who have most influenced my approach to New Media. I’ll continue to mostly focus first on PJM columnists and editors before moving on to other writers throughout history and today’s media.

The media innovators I’ll discuss are both blogosphere pioneers and those who have taken the medium to the next level to accomplish extraordinary things: Glenn Reynolds, J. Christian Adams, Ed Driscoll, Stephen Green, Richard Fernandez, Bryan Preston, Bridget Johnson, and Helen Smith. (Given the volume of posts — most of them on timely subjects — that they do, I’m also now going to begin to include links to all of Ed’s and Stephen’s posts in these rounds-ups alongside Bryan’s and Bridget’s. I’ll also be cross-posting more of their posts along with some of Glenn’s more Lifestyle-oriented Instapundit posts.)

The second category I’m planning to begin in the coming weeks is my list of top 20 conservative columnists. (Ann Coulter will be the first discussed; she remains #1 on the list, with her new book more than securing her position.)

But first, leading this section of New Media influences is not just a single individual but an institution: Prager University.

“Give us five minutes, we’ll give you a semester.”

I’ll soon get to writing about Dennis Prager and his ideas’ role in Conservatism 3.0. (Click here for my extended review of his recent book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.) He’ll be high on the top 20 columnists list.

But Prager University should be regarded as an entity unto itself. Prager’s spirit is infused into all the organization’s releases, but a number of others work very hard to inject the magic that makes the project so extraordinary. It’s indeed a team effort and a shining example of how to adapt what makes Prager’s radio show so effective into a medium that we can pass off to friends and family who wouldn’t be caught dead listening to talk radio.

Prager University releases multiple videos each month, 5-minute courses featuring some of the world’s most respected authors, professors, and thinkers. Each video is both factual and analyzes the world through a moral point of view. Subjects range from history to religion to philosophy and gender relations. These aren’t just videos to inform, they’re to persuade. Prager University’s is the only series of online videos that I’m aware of that has any chance whatsoever of winning over those wobbling on the edge of shifting from Left to Right, from secular to religious, from Democrat to Republican. Each video is a concentrated dosage of the best arguments for the Judeo-Christian value system, Americanism, and the interpretations of history and the present day that flow from them.

For a broader sample of what I’m talking about, see some of these potentially life-changing videos. Eleven of my favorites in religion and pro-Israel truth-telling are in these two previous posts:

6 Reasons Why Rational Thinkers Choose to Believe in God

A Black South African Proves Beyond Doubt That Israel Is Not an Apartheid State

Seriously — I know of no better presentation of American values than what Prager U puts out consistently. Their formula really needs to be imitated by every conservative, pro-American organization. They’re a light illuminating the path amidst the fog of media war.

prager university

I think it’s very appropriate that Prager University’s logo is a lighthouse. One of the most consistent themes in Prager University’s videos — an extension of one of Dennis’s core values — is the one in this week’s video that I quoted in the headline: we have to fight both our own human nature and nature itself.

Goodness does not come from the natural world. Without a higher power of some sort — whose nature we can debate about endlessly in theology discussions like the one from this weekend — then we too are just beasts.1374351_10101485832167428_1105374955_nshutterstock_51424156

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and this Weekend

Jonathan Spyer: Despite Nobel Prize, Full Removal of Syria’s Chemical Weapons Unlikely

Bill Straub: House Compromise Effort Slips; Senate Rushes Toward Deal

Bridget Johnson: GOP Congressman: Defund-Obamacare Caucus Not Conservative Because Conservatives ‘Know How to Count’

PJ Editors: Hot Topic: Should the NFL’s Washington Redskins Change Their Name?

Richard Fernandez: Under Obamacare, Unions Demand to Be More Equal Than Others

Victor Davis Hanson: Reading Among the Ruins

Bridget Johnson: White House Still Calls Just Minor Tweaks to Obamacare Demanding ‘Ransom’

Bryan Preston: ‘Sons of the Flag’ Burn Foundation Plans Historic Skydive to Raise Money for Burn Research

Jack Dunphy: Who Let the ‘Racist’ Police Dogs Out?

Ron Radosh: NBC Pitches Softballs to Bomb-Throwing Former Terrorist Bill Ayers

Charlie Martin: I Told You So (Obamacare Edition)

Roger L. Simon: ObamaCare Best Advertisement for Libertarianism Ever

Government sources report as few as 51,000 completed applications for ObamaCare in the first week. At least seven million must sign up for the program to stay afloat financially.

This, after months of preparation, for a website that cost approximately 100 million dollars. Apple CEO Tim Cook would be out on his derriere faster than you could say Kathleen Sebelius for anything resembling such ineptitude. (Apple, for the record, sold nine million of its new iPhone 5S in the first three days.)

And the ObamaCare website is the least of it. The actual implementation will be worse as premiums and coverage ricochet all over the lot and look to continue doing so.

Only government could be this bad. Well not only government, but almost always government.

In truth, especially in a big country like ours, the more the government controls healthcare, the worse that care is — and, ironically, the less democratic, the more discriminatory, it becomes. Where there are bureaucrats, there is favoritism. And the greater the bureaucracy the greater this favoritism and the more difficult to unmask, the more entrenched it is.

Rodrigo Sermeno: Step Aside, NSA: What are Private Companies Gathering About You, Then Sharing?

Ed Driscoll: Interview: Humberto Fontova on the MSM’s Love for Fidel Castro

Allen West: The Next Generation

Why must we stand up for the future? We currently are the first generation of Americans that will leave less for subsequent generations than we inherited. Reversing this tragedy is our challenge. Today, I am committing myself even more to taking this message across the U.S., in person and via media — an Allen West liberty and freedom road show of sorts is on its way. I intend to answer the call to arms for my republic.

Mike McDaniel: Jose Guerena Vindicated: Widow Receives $3.4M Settlement from Arizona Police

Bryan Preston: PHOTOS: Veterans Overrun the Barrycades, Liberate the Memorials in Washington!

Zombie: ‘Consider Reducing Your Income by Working Less’ to Get Obamacare Subsidy, says SF Chronicle

Tom Blumer: Obamacare: Mind-Boggling Incompetence

Michael Ledeen: Evil Lives: The Erich Priebke Story

Rick Moran: Chinese Want to ‘De-Americanize’ the World

Bryan Preston: About that NBC/WSJ Poll that Killed Republicans on the Shutdown…

Roger Kimball: Is Ted Cruz Wrecking the GOP?

Janice Flamengo: Tommy Robinson Exits the Field

David Solway: Living in the Age of Contradiction

Bridget Johnson: Deadliest Catch Captain Tells Congress He Can’t Fish Because of Shutdown

 

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Over the Weekend and This Week

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

Bookworm: The Surprising Reason Americans Are Vulnerable to Moral Relativism

Paula Bolyard: Waiter, There’s a Government in My Beer!

Kathy Shaidle: Mark Steyn’s Muslim Nemesis Sues Another Free Speech Champion

Paula Bolyard: Juan Williams Suggests Buying Off Republicans with Campaign Donations to End Stalemate

Paula Bolyard: Veterans Cemeteries: You May Have to Keep Grandpa on Ice if the Shutdown Continues

Susan L.M. Goldberg: Queen Ann Advises Republicans: Always Listen to Mother

Andrew Klavan: What’s Wrong with Joel Osteen?

Theodore Dalrymple: When Doctors Decide Your Disease Doesn’t Actually Exist

Paula Bolyard: Despite Tea Party Opposition, Kasich Will Bypass Ohio Legislature to Expand Medicaid

The Weekend

Kathy Shaidle: Chicago’s Patriotic New Single Sounds Like a South Park Parody

Paula Bolyard: Ohio Insurance Director on Obamacare Glitches: ‘This Is What We Expected’

Walter Hudson: Why Christians, Jews, and Everyone Else Better Take an Interest in Heaven and Hell

Andrew Klavan: The Mystery of Elizabeth Smart

Joshua Sharf: No Good Excuses Exist for the Failure of Obamacare’s Expensive Website

John Boot: 4 Reasons Why Captain Phillips Is One of the Year’s Best Thrillers…

 

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday

Tuesday

Megan Fox: Ty Doohen, Another Victim of Single Motherhood: Fatherless and Beaten to Death

Theodore Dalrymple: Was Sir Winston Churchill Right About Exercise?

Anna Vu Tapson: 4 Kitchen Items That Will Get You Ready For Holiday Cooking

Becky Graebner: A Classy Tequila Experience (Yes, It Does Exist)

Monday

Paula Bolyard: Should Colleges Have Parent-Teacher Conferences?

Paul Cooper: What International Gendercide Can Teach America About Abortion

Robert Spencer: Child Marriage Comes to Australia

Sarah Hoyt: A Bullet to the Head Could Not Dissuade her From Learning

Sunday

Michael Lumish: Politics Vs Theology: Beginning A Debate With David Swindle

Charlie Martin: What to Do When ‘Just Sitting’ Isn’t Enough?

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, #8: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Susan L.M. Goldberg: Biblical Feminism and the Dirty Male Myth

Rhonda Robinson: Could You Find The Meaning Of Life Through The Stench Of Death?

Me: Why the Weight of Heaven Crushed My Christianity

Walter Hudson: Religion Ought to Be Divisive

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New at PJ Tatler

Stephen Kruiser: More Dry Ice ‘Suspicious Package’ Action At LAX

Charlie Martin: I Told You So (Obamacare Edition)

Stephen Kruiser: Salon Poses A Question Every One Of Its Writers Should Ask Themselves Daily

Eileen J. O’Connor: Americans Begin to Meet the Unaffordable Care Act

Stephen Kruiser: Shocked Face: Hillary To Officially Endorse McAuliffe, Vince Foster Unavailable For Comment

Raymond Ibrahim: This Week in History: The Battle of Tours

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

So, Who’s On the Hook for all that Food that Welfare Users Stole in Louisiana?

Hot Mom Tries to Inspire Others to Lose Weight, Runs Into Whiners and Haters, Whips Out Awesome Non-Apology Apology

Texas Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Thinks Obama Should be Impeached. Media: SHOCKED!

Another Criminal Found Among the Obamacare ‘Navigators.’ This One is an Illegal Alien.

Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher Talks to His Mom, Believes Obama is His God and Republicans Control His Health

Too many Americans depend on the government for some basic things. It would help the nation in the long run if we reduced that dependence and the mentality that fosters it. As that would not help the Democrats, though, expect it to happen right after never.

Texas Democrat Chairman Calls Veterans ‘Ugly’ in Vicious Attack on Sen. Ted Cruz

Sorry MSNBC, But Fox’s Megyn Kelly Really Is Crushing You

‘Sons of the Flag’ Burn Foundation Plans Historic Skydive to Raise Money for Burn Research

GOP House to Offer New Shutdown Compromise for Obama, Democrats to Summarily Reject

It’s Hard to Blame Cory Booker. Would YOU Want to Live In Newark?

JournoList’s Ezra Klein: Yeah, the Obamacare Site is a Disaster

VIDEO — CNN’s Candy Crowley Tries to Recruit Sen. Rand Paul to the Democrat Party

Why Is Venezuela Detaining Five American Oil Workers?

Our Government is Hopelessly Corrupt, Dangerously Stupid, Or Both

Former Obama Spokesman Gibbs: Obamacare Rollout has been ‘Excruciatingly Embarrassing’

Sheila Jackson Lee Has a Remedy for the Government Shutdown: Martial Law

Shelves in Two Lousiana Walmarts Cleared When Welfare Recipients Thought They Were Getting Free Food

Facebook’s Ad Algorithm Is A Poopy Head

Colorado’s Dem Governor to Anti-Gun Groups: Can You Stay Out of the Recall This Time?

NBC’s Bob Costas Bravely Tells Football Fans that the Redskins Name is a ‘Slur’

PHOTOS: Veterans Overrun the Barrycades, Liberate the Memorials in Washington!

Nate Silver: None of This Shutdown Noise Will Matter Much Next Year

From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson

GOP Congressman: Defund-Obamacare Caucus Not Conservative Because Conservatives ‘Know How to Count’

White House Still Calls Just Minor Tweaks to Obamacare Demanding ‘Ransom’

‘Most Vulnerable’ Dem Gushes About His Bipartisanship in Shutdown Deal

House Republican: ‘It Shouldn’t Be Very Difficult to Reconcile’ Latest Offer with Senate

Eid Murbarak from President Obama

Hearing of the Week: Joint Venture to Demand Answers on ‘Arbitrary and Unnecessary’ Park Closures

Happy Columbus Day from President Obama

House Conservative as Deals Swirl: ‘We Have to Focus on Obamacare’

Manchin: Hope of Bipartisan Deal Not ‘Shot Completely or Killed’ by Dem Leaders

Reid: Republicans Responsible for the National Debt

White House: Merchant Marine Academy Canceling Classes Because of Shutdown

Pentagon: Congress is No Longer Keeping Us from Paying Dead Soldiers’ Families!

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Wednesday

In a Collectivized Nutshell

Most families will face higher — in many cases, much higher — out-of-pocket expenses. Wealthier people opting for the Gold or Platinum plans will have lower out-of-pocket expenses, and since they won’t be getting any subsidies, why not? So we have a situation where the middle class pays more, while the rich (or politically connected) get better and cheaper service.

And Liberals Claim Even the Name is Racist

To Sanction or not to Sanction

Required Reading

The Most Transparent Administration in History

Repeat After Me: It’s Not a Traffic Problem

Got Gavel?

Bask in the Schadenfreude

Tuesday

Blue State Blues

The Horror Stories Just Keep Coming

In It to Win It or Not

I’ve Run Out of Cute or Clever ObamaCare Headlines

The Law of Nothing But Unintended Consequences

Worst. Law. Ever.

Of course, it was never about health care; it was always about power. And ObamaCare does more than perhaps any law in American history to concentrate power in Washington. I’m trying to think of a worse example, but I’m coming up blank. The establishment of a peacetime draft by FDR, maybe? At least that was a “temporary” national security measure.

More Violent Rhetoric from the Left

Fill it to the RIM — With Fail

Another ObamaCare Mystery

Required Viewing

Driving You to Distraction

Monday

You Keep Using That Word

Another Solution is Alcohol

When Black Friday Comes…

Don’t Be Evil or Whatevs

Are We Exporting Food Inflation?

It’s Every Old Man for Themselves

Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket

Who’s Minding the Nukes?

Stop Driving Your Food

Weekend

Trolling TED

News You Can Use

Tom Clancy Drool-Fest

Not Coming Soon Enough to a Theater Near You

You Can’t Go Home Again

Sound Judgement

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From PJM’s San Jose editor Ed Driscoll

Tuesday

A Hayekian Teaching Moment

That’s what Steve Hayward is calling “The Obamacare Rollout Debacle” today at Forbes:

The debacle of the rollout of Obamacare is yet another moment for re-learning the fundamental truth about how little we know about what we think we can control.

That last phrase comes from F.A. Hayek, of course.  Hayek died in 1992, on the cusp of the World Wide Web and the explosion of the Internet, which has transformed our economy and our individual lives profoundly.  In one of his last interviews with Forbes magazine shortly before his death, Hayek was asked whether the rapid advances in technology and computing power made economic management—planning and regulation—more feasible.  Hayek was emphatic that no matter how big and how fast our computing power got, it did not change the fundamental defect of all centralized economic control: the problem is not simply mastering or processing a large amount of raw data.  Information and circumstances change too quickly.  More fundamentally, the data necessary for centralized decision-making is not available at all.

The Louisiana Heist

Quote of the Day

Monsters from the Libs

You Can’t Make an Omelet Without Frying a Few Eggheads

What Could Go Right?

Monday

Julia Has Become an Unperson

From Bauhaus to Ozzy’s House

Somebody Set Ayers Up the Bomb

Speaking from the well-heeled confines of the University of Chicago’s International House on Wednesday, Bill Ayers said he was “amazed” to see himself on TV “cast as some kind of public enemy” with close ties to Barack Obama during one of the 2008 election’s biggest controversies.

At the event meant to promote his new book Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident, Ayers slammed the “opportunistic media” and the “eager campaign staffs of the right, the middle, and even the moderate left” for resurrecting the Weather Underground, a radical far-left group Ayers co-founded which bombed government property and banks throughout the 1970s.

“Bernadine and I had hosted the initial fundraiser for Obama and uncharacteristically donated a little money to his campaign,” said Ayers, reading an excerpt. “We lived a few blocks apart and sat on a couple nonprofit boards together. So what? Who could have predicted it would blow up like this?”

— “Bill Ayers: Didn’t think Obama connection ‘would blow up like this,’” the College Fix, today.

Weatherman hagiographer Robert Redford could not be reached for comment, but John Nolte of Big Journalism could, after Ayers was invited to appear on NBC today:

Monday, after MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” spent about two hours blasting the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz as bubbled, dangerous, and stupid — in other words, a typical Monday on “Morning Joe” — the show hosted Bill Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist. To no one’s surprise, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Time’s Mark Halperin treated the co-founder of the Weather Underground and friend of Barack Obama with extraordinary deference as he hawked a new book.

Pat Dollard is succinct: “After Accusing Tea Party Of Terrorist Bombing, MSNBC Invites Bill Ayers On To Plug His Book.”

Quote of the Day

‘When Black Friday Comes…’

New Civility Watch

Birth of the Cool-Warmth

News You Can Use

How Badly Does NBC’s Bob Costas Hate the Dallas Cowboys?

This Weekend

Interview: Humberto Fontova on the MSM’s Love for Fidel Castro

Juicebox Mafioso Whacked

Photo of the Day

China Looks to Make After America a Reality

Veterans March on White House

Barack Obama, Fabian Socialist

Quote of the Day

The Obama Backfire

KIA Kabuki

 

******

15 Interesting Stories Around the Web This Week

Found on Facebook:

1. Shock Mansion: The First Flying Car is Finally Here!

At Mediaite:

2. Andrew Kirell: Ann Coulter Talks to Mediaite About Issuing a ‘Fatwa’ for Conservatives, and Why She Mostly Watches MSNBC

Did you stop watching cable news after the election?

There was a six-month period where I didn’t read or listen to anything. About that time, I was going through my mother’s collection of Ann Coulter clippings — the largest in the northeastern United States, I should add — and there was a Time magazine write-up from 2004 after the midterm election. It was like a mirror image of after 2012 election. There was a big smiling picture of me, with a caption like “I’m a winner!” And then there was Michael Moore, sad, “I’m a loser.”

It made me remember how incumbents tend to win. Obama did worse than any incumbent in the last 100 years, according to the Brookings Institution. We probably feel the same way the Democrats did after they lost in 2004. Time to buck up.

Left of Center News and Opinion Sources:

At Talking Points Memo:

3. Bill Moyers: Let’s Call The Shutdown What It Is: Secession By Another Means

When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn down the place, sink the ship.

At The Nation:

4. Citizen Marx

Marx’s dying looks different in A Nineteenth-Century Life, slower and still attuned to the world around him. From Algiers, he goes to Monte Carlo, where he eyes the well-dressed women and ridicules the intricately absurd systems the gamblers use to try to beat the house—another moment passed over by previous biographers, although they had the same letters available to them. For those who see Marx as a contemporary, the end of his life may be the hardest part to write or even to imagine. It contradicts our preconceptions. The bad weather might almost kill him, and so might his cheap tobacco, but dying isn’t something that Karl Marx is supposed to do.

Right of Center News and Opinion Sources:

At Truth Revolt:

5. Brother of Crown Heights Riot Victim Slams Sharpton Advertisers

Now Yankel’s brother, Norman, says that advertisers, MSNBC, and President Obama should be ashamed to be associated with Sharpton. “Any person who does anything to legitimize Al Sharpton is doing a gross disservice to their own integrity, and in terms of Al Sharpton the individual, the greatest concern is they’re legitimizing a fraud and charlatan,” Rosenbaum said from Melbourne, Australia. He added, “He has never apologized, he has never offered any sincere remorse for the atrocious things he has done by way of terrible racist behavior and lies, for inciting racial events. Anybody who takes a look at that person and wants to spend advertising dollars on him should take a hard look at their moral stance in terms of their position in business, in commerce, and in the community.”

That Al Sharpton remains a respected member of the Democratic Party and the progressive movement tells you everything you need to know about the level of moral bankruptcy in each.

At National Review:

6. Andrew C. McCarthy: Funding Jihadists while Denying Military Benefits

And, you’ll be pleased to know, supporting the Syrian “rebels” is a high enough priority that it’s not part of the 17 percent of the federal government affected by the “shutdown.” America’s enemies are still receiving taxpayer-funded weapons, so that they can fight America’s other enemies, the Assad regime, to what Washington hopes will be a resounding victory. Er . . . check that — to what the administration hopes will be . . . a tie. The administration also let slip this week that it is arming our preferred jihadists so they can grind to a stalemate with Russia’s preferred jihadists — after all, we wouldn’t want to upset Iran’s ruling jihadists after they’ve just finally deigned to take, yes, a phone call from our pleading president after blowing him off in New York.

So support for the Syrian jihad remains unaffected by the shutdown, just like the Capitol Hill gym and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” website. Obama did manage, however, to cut off death benefits for the families of American troops killed fighting for our country. Or at least our conniving Alinsky-in-chief thought he’d succeeded in cutting off the military death benefits — along with forcible closures of war-hero cemeteries, national monuments, private homes, and the ocean.

It turned out he’d miscalculated.

President I Will Not Negotiate ended up negotiating, and then quietly paying bereaved military families, because he discovered, to his astonishment, that the public would hold him, not Republicans, responsible for this unspeakable breach of faith. He’d thought he had that covered. After all, as the Republican establishment repeatedly tells us, Obama’s media always blame the GOP — thus making it “delusional” for the GOP to stand up and fight about anything.

If I told you years ago that Obama would rather deny military death benefits than stop funding al-Qaeda you would have called me a crazy conspiracist.

At Breitbart News:

7. Sex-Selection Abortion Now an Option in Britain

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, issued a statement regarding reasons why authorities decided not to prosecute two abortionists caught in an undercover sting agreeing to sex selection abortions.

CPS decided it would not be in “the public interest” to prosecute the doctors. Guidance issued by the British Medical Association (BMA) advised physicians “there may be circumstances in which termination of pregnancy on grounds of fetal sex would be lawful.”

“It is normally unethical to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of fetal sex alone,” the guidance stated. “The pregnant woman’s views about the effect of the sex of the fetus on her situation and on her existing children should nevertheless be carefully considered.”

Starmer said that guidance for doctors should be updated amid widespread concern over practices in abortion clinics that do not appear to be illegal.

“The law does not, in terms, expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions,” Starmer said. “Rather it prohibits any abortion carried out without two medical practitioners having formed a view, in good faith, that the health risks of continuing with a pregnancy outweigh those of termination.”

“If Nothing is True then Everything is Permitted.” — Hassan i Sabbah

At Twitchy:

8. ‘Monumental stupidity’: David Frum says monuments must have guards to remain open

op·por·tun·ism

  [op-er-too-niz-uhm, -tyoo-]  Show IPA

noun

1.

the policy or practice, as in politics, business, or one’s personalaffairs, of adapting actions, decisions, etc., to expediency oreffectiveness regardless of the sacrifice of ethical principles.

2.

action or judgment in accordance with this policy.
Origin: 
1865–70;  < Italian opportunismo,  equivalent to opportun ( o ) (< Latinopportūnus;  see opportune) + -ismo -ism

Related forms

op·por·tun·ist, noun

At the Daily Caller:

9. Jeff Poor: Mediaite’s Christopher asks dumbest question in history of White House press briefings [VIDEO]

Reminder: Tommy Christopher is not his real name. It’s not a coincidence that he’s Mediaite’s most obnoxious, narcissistic, dishonest contributor and he doesn’t have to write under his own name. There are only a handful of pseudonymous bloggers whose work I respect. The difference between them and Christopher is that they’re upfront about writing under a byline other than their real name.

And always keep an eye on Jeff Poor – he’s one of the Daily Caller’s best.

Your Daily Dose of Postmodern Pop Culture Polytheism News and Opinion [Celebrity Gossip, Entertainment and Other Nonsense]:

At Buzzfeed:

10. 24 Badass Halloween Costumes To Empower Little Girls

r2d2daughter

The Star Wars enthusiasm has slowly dripped out of me until now little remains. I think the future of the franchise will come through embracing what it actually is: a giant commercial to sell merchandise. This is alright once you recognize and accept it.

Some day I hope I’ll have a little girl who I can help make a cute costume. But I like this matching set better:

PlEVHAO

At TMZ.Com:

11. DMX Spitting Bible Verses On the Street 

Note the way TMZ had to frame it — “spitting” Bible verses.

At Ain’t It Cool News:

12. Harry Knowles: 38th,39th&40th PICKS & PEEKS Columns: Vincent Price, Zombies, 3D Wizard of Oz & LITTLE MERMAID & Betty Boop & IRON MAN!

I’m not the pop culture polytheist I used to be but I still enjoy checking in with film nerd’s geek godfather Harry Knowles. His round-ups of recent DVD and Blu-Ray releases remain useful and entertaining. Here are a few from his most recent column that I thought worthy of comment:

worldwarz

The Wife and I got this from Netflix last week and watched over the weekend. She had read the novel and liked it quite a bit. (And we’d had the fun experience of meeting the novel’s author Max Brooks at a party a few months ago. He’s friends with one of her art friends and was quirky and entertaining.)

According to April the movie departs pretty heavily from the book. We found it watchable and entertaining enough but nothing special. 28 Days Later remains the best zombie movie of all time IMHO.

halloween

If 28 Days Later is the best zombie horror movie then is the original Halloween the best slasher movie? Admittedly its not a difficult world to rise to the top of, but still — there’s a reason why John Carpenter more or less started the genre with this one. The original is much scarier and easier to take seriously than the imitators.

wizardofoz

Best family film of all time? We meant to catch the new 3-D release in theaters but with April chugging along through her final year — the third — of grad school we don’t have the time or energy to make it out to the theater. The Netflix Blu-Rays and streaming queue suffice.

littlemermaid

At some point I’m going to get around to ranking all the films in the Disney animated canon. For reasons that I’ll articulate at another time, I regard The Little Mermaid as among the most overrated Disney films. It’s not the most overrated — that prize goes to The Lion King — but Ariel just is not as compelling a heroine as Belle and other Disney princesses. She’s a girl so dumb that she was willing to become mute so she could marry a man. I’ll take the bookworm Belle any day.

51fsG8JOaKL

I agree with Andrew Klavan — a funny, delightful laugh-fest with some good values from some of the most talented comedians making movies today.

exorcist

And now you’re all set for Halloween — 28 Days Later, Halloween, and The Exorcist — the three best horror films in their genres? One could throw in The Silence of the Lambs for top of the serial killer genre. Any others that I’m forgetting?

Closing Book Excerpt

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“The Roman decadence has never been matched in scale…” – Camille Paglia page 131 of Sexual Personae

 

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shutterstock images courtesy / Linda Bucklin

What Books Does PJ Lifestyle Editor David Swindle Recommend for 2013? Click here to see his picks at the Freedom Academy Book Club

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