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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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34 Tools of the Trade For New Media Troublemakers

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I am going to try hard to do a product review post each weekday. #ipad #writing goals #newmediatroublemaker

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is version 2 of an ongoing list of the best books and products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions of this list with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos…

7 Writing and Media Tools

1. Reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t commandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain. It serves as background for many book photos.

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone for taking and uploading photos.

7. Instagram for sharing images quickly.

2 New Books I’m Enjoying Reading Now That I’ll Be Writing More About Soon:

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

8What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

9. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

3 Of My Favorite New Books I’m Going to Reread and Write More About Soon:

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

10. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

Was Islam manufactured just to unify the Arab empire? Politically incorrect questions... #history #religion #war #god #empire #secular

11. Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation 

12. Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist?

12 Library Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

13. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

14. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

15. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

16. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

17. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

18. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

19. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

11 books on culture, #art, #poetry personality cults, hate, racism, and #Paganism ancient and modern. Picked up as holds from the library Friday afternoon.

20. Break, Blow Burn by Camille Paglia

21. In Search of Bill Clinton by John Gartner

22. Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield

23. Antisemitism and the American Far Left

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

24. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

3. Music and Talk Radio Recommendations While Troublemaking:

What are the 5 best #disney animated films? I am counting down my picks. I have concluded that #Fantasia is the greatest film Disney ever made. Why? I will explain in a future article...

25. Fantasia on Blu Ray

I’ve gotten in the habit of just having it on in the background some days while working…

26. Oceania by the Smashing Pumpkins, which Chris Queen blogged through track by track last year, is still my favorite go-to album when I need to focus and work.

27. Songza for classical music while working and something more energetic while running the Siberian.

28. Early Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 6 AM-9 AM PST on Am 870 – The Morning Answer with Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss, and Brian Whitman

29. Late Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 9 AM- Noon, The Dennis Prager Show

30. Late Afternoon Talk Radio Recommendation: 3-6 PM The Ben Shapiro Show on KTTH 770

Siberian Husky Supplies

A spoiled #siberianhusky #maura and her defeated #yoda #starwars toy this morning after a good run.

31. Yoda plush

3 Food Picks Today:

A late lunch: 2 cups of tea, #peanuts, #roastbeef, #salami #broccoli #banana #pitachips #pear #stringcheese

32. From the platter of my Trader Joe’s lunch today my perpetual favorite remains their pita chips. I’ll attempt more interesting selections in future photos.

33. 2 cups of Trader Joe’s English Breakfast tea.

34. Underrated Girl Scout cookies: lemon flavored Savannah Smiles.

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Maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

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25 of My Favorite PJ Lifestyle ‘Listicles’ of 2013

Sunday, March 9th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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See the introduction to this new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle here: What Are the Top 50 PJ Lifestyle ‘Listicles’ of 2013? Cast Your Votes!

Each weekend I’m going to republish five of our best and most popular lists from last year — 3 on Saturdays, 2 on Sundays, followed by an update of this post with the newest rankings. Please let me know which lists you like and which subjects you want to see more of at PJ Lifestyle.

 

50. Kyle Smith: 5 Smart Comedies You Haven’t Seen on Netflix

49. Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World

48. Paula Bolyard: 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers

47. Kyle Smith: The 6 Most Disgusting Horror Movies On Netflix Streaming That No Sane Person Should Ever Watch

46. Charlie Martin: 4 Weight Loss Myths Exposed

45. John Boot: 5 Reasons Zach Galifianakis Is a Hack

44. Megan Fox: 9 Reasons to Abandon the Corporate Gym for a Family Gym

43. John Boot: 4 Ways Star Trek: Into Darkness Shills for Surrender in the War on Terror 

42. Walter Hudson: 6 Ways Activists Sabotage Their Cause

41. Becky Graebner: 4 Reasons Americans Don’t Care About Cars Anymore

40. Megan Fox: 9 Secrets to Keep Your Daughter From Becoming a Slut

39. Walter Hudson: 7 Ways to Reboot Star Trek With a New TV Show

38. Kathy Shaidle: Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: 6 Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand

37. Bonnie Ramthun: The 5 Worst Books for Your Children

36. Paula Bolyard: 5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey

35. J. Christian Adams: 7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

34. Kathy Shaidle: Do These 3 Things To Own Your Name on Google’s First Page

33. Rhonda Robinson: 3 Principles of a Biblical Diet

32. Paula Bolyard: How 10 Troubling Homework Assignments Reveal the Truth About Common Core

31. Susan L.M. Goldberg: 5 Uncomfortable Truths HBO’s Girls Reveals About American Pop Culture Today

30. Megan Fox: 8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

29. Kathy Shaidle: The 8 Most Overrated Musicians

28. Chris Queen: The 10 Things You Must Do At DisneyLand

27. Susan L.M. Goldberg: Admiring Ann: 5 Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives

26. Walter Hudson: 5 Tips for Coming Out as a Black Conservative

….

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18 Books and Products I Recommend For Other New Media Troublemakers

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I'm going to start photographing more products to blog about. Please get in touch if you are interested in a review. Everything - books, tech, food, practical products.

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is the start of an ongoing list of the best products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions of this list with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos…

Beginning a new morning #reading routine with #siberianhusky #maura

Writing and Media Tools

1. Reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t comandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone

Recommended Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

7. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

8. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

9. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

10. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

11. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

12. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

13. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

14. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

15. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

16What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

17. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

Siberian Husky Supplies

Today #maura #siberianhusky got groomed and a new blue harness arrived in the mail. She's now tired after our evening run and has assumed her post guarding our patio and monitoring the comings and goings in her neighborhood. Yes, her #Yoda #StarWars doll with a crushed skull in shot.

18. Yoda plush

Food:

Am I the only one who has a fondness for sour fruit? #citrusjunky

Trader Joe’s is current source of photographed foods. Their minneolas didn’t blow me away — as their fruit rarely does — perhaps these on Amazon would be better?

Or maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

Beginning a new series of product reviews. #siberianhusky #maura co-starring.

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How Conservatives Can Conquer Hollywood

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Dear Roger,

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with two points from you piece last week, “How Conservatives Can Take Back (Some of) Hollywood for Oscar Time.” First, let’s take a look at where you place the goal posts for conservatives to aim:

But as you run your personal boycott of Hollywood, remember this. Almost everyone else you know — be it family, friends, business associates and, most especially, your children — is not. They are consuming Hollywood entertainment in mammoth gulps. And politics, as the late Andrew Breitbart said repeatedly (and he was far from the only one), is downstream of culture.

You give up Hollywood and you give up the country. Game over. And as we all know, it’s almost over already. Want that? Well, if you do, you can skip the rest of this article.

So… for those of you that are left… now more than ever is the time for conservatives and libertarians to take back at least some of the entertainment industry. Someone recently told me that Hollywood is like one of those football blowouts with a score of 90 for the liberals and 10 for the conservatives. We have to try to make it at least 70-30 (still a blowout, but there’s a glimmer of hope).

70-30? Come on. Settling for a pittance of the country’s entertainment industry is akin to aiming for a passing grade. Conservatives should proclaim bolder objectives with their efforts to enter the entertainment industry: to become billionaires and dominate the entire field through redefining it.

I’ve been studying and blogging on Walt Disney with Chris Queen here at PJ Lifestyle for over a year now to try to understand the secrets of his success. What did Disney do to make his name synonymous with a new art form? He innovated — a principle you as the co-founder of PJM know well. For Disney, his path — which is worth recounting visually since we can easily thanks to YouTube — made the first big splash with synched-sound cartoons in 1928:

Then Flowers and Trees, the first technicolor cartoon, in 1932:

Then Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animated film, in 1937:

And after World War II then leaping to television and theme parks simultaneously, using one to support the other, with the Disneyland TV show in 1954:

Nowadays Disney’s TV and theme park divisions make much more money than the studio films. (BTW, from David P. Goldman, commenting on my Facebook: “Factoid: The market value of Disney Corp is larger than that of the whole Ukrainian stock exchange. So much for Marxists vs. Disney.”)

Conservatives should be looking to the future and to new mediums of entertainment. Humans are not going to amuse themselves by sitting around staring at screens forever. I still believe in the Breitbartian idea that the battle for the culture is more important than the fight over political ideology. Where I’ve changed is in realizing that there’s actually a force more important and powerful to affect and control. Culture is driven by technology. Movable type came before the Gutenberg Bible. Edison’s film camera came before Hollywood. The techniques of animation had to be discovered by Disney and his animators through years of experimenting with Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse shorts before Snow White could be achieved.

So yeah, politics is downstream of culture. But technology has the power to carve the shape of the river itself.

And conservatives are even more behind when it comes to applying technology to winning elections. J. Christian Adams in the symposium last week spells out how now targeting the broad, mainstream culture isn’t even necessary for winning elections when it’s cheaper to churn out the base rather than work to persuade the undecideds:

Modern elections are all about energy. Energy wins. Period.

The left has developed an election data tool called Catalist. The GOP has no functioning counterpart.  This database allows leftist groups, the DNC, and the Obama campaign to activate the far left base in ways that were never before possible.

How do they do it?  They collect massive amounts of data about everybody.  What you read, what car you drive, what you said in a poll, everything. A consortium of leftist users pump data in, and a consortium of left-wing customers extract data.

The data about Democrat voters allow institutions to flip a switch and ensure a massive base vote.

So what does this have to do with Ted Cruz?

Democrats have realized that modern elections are won or lost by mobilizing the base, period.  Remember the treasured independent middle? Bah. Romney won them overwhelmingly but still lost the election.

The left swamped Romney using Catalist. Romney’s counterpart base mobilizer, “Orca,” crashed and burned on election day – literally. While Romney was spending one dollar to win one vote in the middle, Obama (using Catalist data) was spending a dime to get one vote in the base.

So the Romney campaign was doubly damned. They were outgunned technologically. But what were they shot with from all angles? Unrelenting images of Mitt the heartless corporate businessman, a symbol of the decadent 1%, lapped up by cultures and generations raised on the image of the evil executive. As I wrote about in the summer of 2012, “Why This Election Year America Is Carmela Soprano,” today people no longer know how to recognize good and evil in their leaders or entertainment. When Americans celebrate crooks at the movies they’ll surely vote them into office too.

How to counter this? What sorts of stories can get people to understand that evil actually often appears harmless or even noble to try to deceive you? With films of military tough guys fighting wars in lands most Americans can’t even locate on a map? I have another idea, and Sunday night’s Best Picture winner victory speech inspired me.

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20 Of the Best PJ Lifestyle Lists From 2013

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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See last week’s introduction to this new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle here: What Are the Top 50 PJ Lifestyle ‘Listicles’ of 2013? Cast Your Votes!

Each weekend I’m going to republish five of our best and most popular lists from last year — 3 on Saturdays, 2 on Sundays, followed by an update of this post with the newest rankings. Please let me know which lists you like and which subjects you want to see more of at PJ Lifestyle.

 

50. Kyle Smith: 5 Smart Comedies You Haven’t Seen on Netflix

49. Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World

48. Paula Bolyard: 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers

47. John Boot: 5 Reasons Zach Galifianakis Is a Hack

46. Megan Fox: 9 Reasons to Abandon the Corporate Gym for a Family Gym

45. John Boot: 4 Ways Star Trek: Into Darkness Shills for Surrender in the War on Terror 

44. Becky Graebner: 4 Reasons Americans Don’t Care About Cars Anymore

43. Walter Hudson: 7 Ways to Reboot Star Trek With a New TV Show

42. Kathy Shaidle: Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: 6 Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand

41. Bonnie Ramthun: The 5 Worst Books for Your Children

40. Paula Bolyard: 5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey

39. J. Christian Adams: 7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

38. Rhonda Robinson: 3 Principles of a Biblical Diet

37. Paula Bolyard: How 10 Troubling Homework Assignments Reveal the Truth About Common Core

36. Susan L.M. Goldberg: 5 Uncomfortable Truths HBO’s Girls Reveals About American Pop Culture Today

35. Megan Fox: 8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

34. Kathy Shaidle: The 8 Most Overrated Musicians

33. Chris Queen: The 10 Things You Must Do At DisneyLand

32. Susan L.M. Goldberg: Admiring Ann: 5 Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives

31. Walter Hudson: 5 Tips for Coming Out as a Black Conservative

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7 Photos of a Siberian Husky vs. a Giant Tribble

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

When I agreed to sample the Sumo Gigantor, I didn’t realize just what would arrive in a matter of days.

I’d hoped it might suffice as a nice, new beanbag for Maura, our Siberian Husky, and could go in the corner of my office at home.

But when the Gigantor arrived squeezed into a huge box and we emptied it out and put on the fur cover, the majesty of the product revealed itself: the whole family, all three of us, could fit on it together.

Now the Gigantor rests in the living room, having replaced the love seat in our sofa set, which has migrated to the office, kind of finally tying the room together, as The Dude would say.

The Wife has been on a huge Star Trek kick for a while now, thus we have christened the new furniture family member “the Tribble.” And April now monopolizes it with Muara when she’s home. It has become a cozy nest while she works on her master’s thesis.

The #siberianhusky #maura considers The Giant Tribble that has invaded our living room. A review coming soon of #Sumo Gigantor...

#siberianhusky #maura happy with new living room fixture.

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It took a little coaxing at first but Maura the Siberian Husky does now like to come up on the Tribble. Here we are together:

Maura and me sitting on the Tribble. #siberianhusky #maura

I find it to be wonderful during my early mornings. I get up at 4 a.m. and it’s a comfortable spot to read while I do my morning stretching and ease into the work day. (That’s before surrendering once The Wife wakes a few hours later.)

I’ve decided that for future photos of books and other products the gigantor will provide a great backdrop:

Beginning a new morning #reading routine with #siberianhusky #maura

We plan to get more gigantors when it comes time to expand the living room in the future. These are superior to sofas; they’re much more versatile for lying, sitting, or snuggling with a Siberian Husky.

The Tribble is huge.

Order your Gigantor here; they come in a variety of colors and covers.

The Tribble and the #siberianhusky #maura

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Do you have a product that you would like to see featured or reviewed at PJ Lifestyle? Contact me at DaveSwindlePJM@Gmail.com

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A 13 Weeks Challenge: Say More, Write Less

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

My new weekday morning writing plan. Inspired by friends... #writing #blogging #newmedia #pomodorotimer #organization

Dear Charlie,

I find it fascinating the way we all seemed to suddenly crash with our ambitious writing plans at about the same time. Is there just some invisible wave, a disturbance in the force to kind of throw off a whole bunch of PJ Lifestyle writers, myself included? It seems like the past few weeks we’ve all gotten sick or had life events of some kind throwing off our blogging routines.

Is this almost a seasonal occurrence perhaps? We’ll figure it out someday. You’ll probably come up with some way to run the data and pick up on some pattern.

[In my case, looking back now, I realize that my consistent, daily blogging stopped on February 3, when learning about Barry Rubin's death. That explains it more than I would've liked.]

But in the mean time, how about we hit the reset button? Now’s the time to start transitioning in the direction that I emailed you and the other PJ Lifestyle regulars about earlier this month: more and shorter posts.

I came to PJ Media almost three years ago with the hope of learning as much as I could from Roger L. Simon. One lesson that he taught and that I’m still pushing to focus on: Do not overwrite. It is a sign that we are not confident in what we are saying when we feel the need to explain excessively.

Make the point in as few words as possible. Roger the Oscar-nominated screenwriter informed the style of Roger the new media editor.

So I’m going to try and do more short posts and I’ll be doing so with the methods you’ve explored in your 13 weeks and organizational series with Sarah Hoyt:

  • Morning Pages – I’ll do free writing in my Moleskine journal each morning
  • Pomodoro timer – I’ll give it 25 minutes in the morning, after my morning reading and running, but before I start the day’s PJM editing.

To these tools I’ll add four New Media practices:

  • InstaGram – photographs of book excerpts
  • InstaGram – handwritten posts
  • Twitter – Current news stories that I tweet about are the seeds of blog posts
  • YouTube – Music, video, lectures – to illustrate and augment posts. Blogs work when they juxtapose image, text, and video.

I’m going to start trying to do at least a post a day, drawing from something in my morning writing pages. Everyday I’ll dive into the editing day with a strong idea in concept and then will be able to quickly assemble a short, juxtaposed blog post from my various media piles, hopefully using a timely story as a hook. Just one or two pages, 100, 200 words – 600 max. Blog posts are best when they’re like jabs in a boxing match.

And I’ve already gone too long. Damn it.

Charlie, you’ve been such a leader and inspiration at PJ Lifestyle. How about jumping in on this style too when you’re ready? All the subjects you’ve been doing so well – health, science, Buddhism, pop culture and book publishing, and feel free to explore more – just aim to up the quantity of posts and decrease the word counts in them. (Sarah, you’re invited too when you’re done finishing up your big writing projects.)

So here’s my new 13 Weeks challenge, for myself and others: during the week we aim to up the quantity of posts, with an emphasis on current stories in culture. Monday-Friday I’m going to aim for at least one post (under 600 words and no more than 2 pages) making one point well. Longer pieces can be saved for our new list-focused weekends and written at a more leisurely pace later.

How’s that sound?

- David

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15 Culture Lists You Don’t Want To Miss

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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See last week’s introduction to this new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle here: What Are the Top 50 PJ Lifestyle ‘Listicles’ of 2013? Cast Your Votes!

Each weekend I’m going to republish five of our best and most popular lists from last year — 3 on Saturdays, 2 on Sundays, followed by an update of this post with the newest rankings. Please let me know which lists you like and which subjects you want to see more of at PJ Lifestyle.

 

50. Kyle Smith: 5 Smart Comedies You Haven’t Seen on Netflix

49. Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World

48. Paula Bolyard: 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers

47. John Boot: 5 Reasons Zach Galifianakis Is a Hack

46. John Boot: 4 Ways Star Trek: Into Darkness Shills for Surrender in the War on Terror 

45. Walter Hudson: 7 Ways to Reboot Star Trek With a New TV Show

44. Kathy Shaidle: Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: 6 Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand

43. Bonnie Ramthun: The 5 Worst Books for Your Children

42. Paula Bolyard: 5 Covert Conservative Lessons in Downton Abbey

41. J. Christian Adams: 7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

40. Susan L.M. Goldberg: 5 Uncomfortable Truths HBO’s Girls Reveals About American Pop Culture Today

39. Megan Fox: 8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

38. Chris Queen: The 10 Things You Must Do At DisneyLand

37. Susan L.M. Goldberg: Admiring Ann: 5 Coulterisms for Counterculture Conservatives

36. Walter Hudson: 5 Tips for Coming Out as a Black Conservative

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Why Peggy Noonan Is Dead Right In Diagnosing House of Cards‘ Decadence

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

A great Peggy Noonan blog post today hits the mark, “Our Decadent Elites“:  

Watching Season 2 of “House of Cards.” Not to be a scold or humorless, but do Washington politicians understand how they make themselves look when they embrace the show and become part of its promotion by spouting its famous lines? Congressmen only work three days a week. Each shot must have taken two hours or so—the setup, the crew, the rehearsal, the learning the line. How do they have time for that? Why do they think it’s good for them? “House of Cards” very famously does nothing to enhance Washington’s reputation. It reinforces the idea that the capital has no room for clean people. The earnest, the diligent, the idealistic, they have no place there. Why would powerful members of Congress align themselves with this message? Why do they become part of it? I guess they think they’re showing they’re in on the joke and hip to the culture. I guess they think they’re impressing people with their surprising groovelocity. Or maybe they’re just stupid. But it’s all vaguely decadent, no? Or maybe not vaguely. America sees Washington as the capital of vacant, empty souls, chattering among the pillars. Suggesting this perception is valid is helpful in what way?

Read the whole thing. April and I are six episodes in to the second season and I’ve grown bored with it. Real life is so much more interesting. Some of my tweets in protest:   

“Decadent” really is the correct word to describe the show and what it symbolizes: the cultural twilight of Baby Boomer Liberalism.

Last year I began analyzing Camille Paglia’s books and cultural criticism. More than 20 years ago she predicted what we’re seeing now. Here’s an excerpt from page 3 of Sexual Personae:

“Romanticism always turns into decadence. Nature is a hard taskmaster. It is the hammer and the anvil, crushing individuality. Perfect freedom would be to die by earth, air, water, and fire.”

Where sexual liberation is demanded will sexual cruelty inevitably follow?Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia, pg 3.

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The Prime Minister of Israel on Barry Rubin: ‘He Will Be Sorely Missed By Everyone Whose Life He Touched’

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Shared today on Barry’s Facebook page:

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What Are the Top 50 PJ Lifestyle ‘Listicles’ of 2013? Cast Your Votes!

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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What can I say? The infamous, all-powerful “listicle” is a FORCE OF NATURE.

In the online eco-system just promise a list of some sort in the headline and watch the clicks come in. Everyone online with a brain in their head does it whether they’re peddling political commentary or bikini slide shows.

There’s no big secret about why list articles are so popular and effective: they provide order to the chaos. Out of the seeming infinity of ideas, these particular items have been selected and put into this particular arrangement for your debate and amusement.

My favorite lists are the ones where the items are actually ranked in some logical order. Then it creates a whole extra level of debate and discussion: which item is best or worse? How do we weigh which we want to praise? What qualities do we want more of in the world and ourselves?

In the coming months at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to begin shifting toward a weekend list article emphasis. While during the week we’ll continue to feature many quick posts and articles on the subjects of the day, the slower pace of the weekends lends themselves to the longer lists. So on weekends in addition to brand new lists, I’m going to republish our best lists from last year and also article-compilations-turned-list-posts. (For example: check out this 9-part dissection of House of Cards from Becky Graebner, published last week compiling and reformatting her articles from last year.)

Each weekend I’m going to republish five of our best and most popular lists from last year — 3 on Saturdays, 2 on Sundays, followed by an update of this post here with the newest rankings. Of the 10 that I’ve republished so far, this seems like a good place to start to get the discussion going:

 

50. Kyle Smith: 5 Smart Comedies You Haven’t Seen on Netflix

49. Becky Graebner: 4 Ways Being a Sorority Girl Prepared Me for the Real World

48. Paula Bolyard: 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers

47. John Boot: 5 Reasons Zach Galifianakis Is a Hack

46. Kathy Shaidle: Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: 6 Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand

45. Bonnie Ramthun: The 5 Worst Books for Your Children

44. Susan L.M. Goldberg: 5 Uncomfortable Truths HBO’s Girls Reveals About American Pop Culture Today

43. Megan Fox: 8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

42. Chris Queen: The 10 Things You Must Do At DisneyLand

41. Walter Hudson: 5 Tips for Coming Out as a Black Conservative

 

In ranking these articles that my friends and colleagues have written, I’m judging them in much the same way that I’d rank movies, books, hamburgers, or any other subjectively-quantifiable work. Obviously some articles will have inherent advantages based on the subject matter — Walter’s inspiring article on being a black conservative hits a bit harder than highlighting memorable comedies on Netflix. But that’s alright. Comedies, dramas, and fantasy epics all get nominated for best picture and judged together, so too it should be with our New Media genre of choice, the Mighty Listicle.

So what do you think? Which pieces do you like? What lists would you like to see in the future? What debates about everything from culture to entertainment to war and God need to be had through the magic of the list format?

How would you change my ranking of the articles? (Feel free to copy and paste and rearrange and if there are any from last year you want to petition for now is a good time to link to them. I’ve already assembled a list of my 50 favorites but there are certainly some I’m forgetting…)

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Our Bieber President Barack Obama: ‘I Can Do Whatever I Want’

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

 justin-bieber-president-obama-2011

Ben Wolfgang at the Washington Times today:

President Obama has taken heat recently for working around Congress whenever he thinks it necessary to, among other things, delay Obamacare mandates and trim immigration enforcement.

But the commander-in-chief on Monday boasted of how, as president, “I can do whatever I want.”

Mr. Obama made the tongue-in-cheek remark as he toured Monticello, the Charlottesville, Va., estate of Thomas Jefferson, with French President Francois Hollande. The visit is part of Mr. Hollande’s three-day stay in the U.S. this week.

The president delighted in his ability to “break the protocol” and view the Monticello grounds from a private terrace.

“That’s the good thing as a president. I can do whatever I want,” Mr. Obama said.

Richard Nixon in 1977:

At the Washington Post today, again the Obama administration breaks the law by delaying a key part of Obamacare:

The Obama administration announced Monday it would give medium-sized employers an extra year, until 2016, before they must offer health insurance to their full-time workers.

Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015.

By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans’ campaign to make political gains in this year’s midterm election.

Even the nation’s largest employers got a significant concession: They can avoid a fine by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016. Under an earlier proposal, employers with at least 50 employees would have been required to offer insurance, beginning 2015, to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more a week, along with their dependents.

At the New York Daily NewsMichelle Obama advises Justin Bieber’s mom to ‘be very present in his life right now’

The mother-of-two offered some advice for the pop star’s mom, Pattie Mallette, after Bieber has been involved in a string of questionable activities.

“I would be very present in his life right now,” she continued. “I would be probably with him a good chunk of the time, just there to talk, to figure out what’s going on in his head, to figure out who’s in his life and who’s not, you know.”

She added that the 19-year-old singer, who was recently arrested on DUI charges and may face sanctions associated with the egging of his neighbor’s home, is “still a kid, he’s still growing up.”

Obama, 50, spoke out about the troubled Canadian star in light of a current petition aimed at deporting him.

Again: welcome to single mom nation. Bieber is 19 years old. Obama is 52. Neither of them ever had fathers who taught them the difference between Good and Evil.

At the Hollywood Gossip last week: Justin Bieber, Father Deemed “Extremely Abusive,” Totally High on Private Plane Ride 

Sources tell NBC News that Justin and his dad were among a group of about 10 on a chartered, private plane ride for Canada to New Jersey and that father and son were “extremely abusive” to a flight attendant on board.

She actually had to take refuse in the cockpit to get away from their rude remarks and behavior.

Moreover, law enforcement officials allege that Bieber and company were smoking so much pot that the pilots had to don oxygen masks.

“The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” says the official report of the incident. “The captain also stated he needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant.”

The stewardess in question has refused to work any future flights involving Justin or Jeremy Bieber.

America’s chickens are coming home to roost.

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RIP Barry Rubin: You Changed My Life and Your Ideas Will Change the World

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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Sunday, posted on Barry Rubin’s Facebook page:

Friends,
We felt it important to tell you that Barry has been in a coma since Friday. Thank you for all the warm wishes these past few months, you have all been very thoughtful. Please keep him in your prayers. We will keep you updated.

This morning:

Friends,
To our great sadness, Barry passed away this morning. He was surrounded by his wife and children. Your love, support, and prayers have been greatly appreciated. There will be shiva and a funeral, details to follow soon.

I wrote about Barry’s impact on me this past August as part of a series of my most important intellectual influences:

Barry Rubin is PJ Media’s Middle East editor. For the last least three years, his Rubin Reports blog has served as the roadmap to the Middle East that I rely on the most. Written from the center of the storm in Israel, his typical columns are densely filled with facts and fascinating observations. Perhaps the crucial insight that I’ve gained from trying to keep up with Barry all these years — he tends to publish his loaded analyses very prolifically, not that I’m complaining! — is the depth of complexity to the Middle East. The game is not a chessboard between two sides, and there are rarely easy answers given that there are so many different actors on the field.

But Barry has gone out of his way, dedicated his life really, to trying to help people understand better the chaos in the Middle East. Recently he decided to GIVE AWAY 13 of his books. These titles of his are available in convenient online and downloadable PDF reading. It’s a lifetime’s worth of scholarship in the history and politics of the Middle East:

The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict

Assimilation and Its Discontents

Cauldron of Turmoil

Children of Dolhinov: Our Ancestors and Ourselves

Islamic Fundamentalism in Egyptian Politics

Istanbul Intrigues

The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East

Modern Dictators: Third World Coupmakers, Strongmen, and Populist Tyrants

Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran

Secrets of State: The State Department and the Struggle Over U.S. Foreign Policy

The Truth About Syria

Tragedy of the Middle East

(Barry describes this as his favorite of his books that he’s written. Thus it’s the next on my to-read list for him after the one I’ve already started, below.)

Hating America: A History

The first of this haul that I’ve decided to dive into is Hating America: A Historywhich Barry co-wrote with his wife (a practice Ron Radosh has also engaged in and which I hope to explore with my own wife someday).

As the above list of Barry’s titles shows, he jumps all over the place in trying to understand the many different angles of the Middle East. I confess: foreign policy was what dragged me into leftist activism and then fueled my shift to conservative activism, but it was Barry’s writing above all others that turned me into a full-blown foreign policy geek. Because of him I feel like I could pick up just about any book on a Middle Eastern country, culture or an individual and be interested and excited to learn from it. For that — and for much else — I’ve thanked him privately and now I do so publicly.

Before he died Barry completed two books that are set to be published this year. From Broadside Books on April 1, Adam Bellow’s extraordinary conservative imprint at HarperCollins (publisher of Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda, Rich Lowry’s Lincoln Unbound, and Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph), comes Barry’s history of ideology in 20th century America: Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural DominanceAnd from Yale University Press, out on February 25, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East.

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My friend Jeff Dunetz at his blog Yid With Lid this morning wrote about how he was similarly taught and inspired by Barry:

Professor Barry Rubin, is more than one of the great intellectual defenders of Israel, he was my teacher and a friend. When we first met,  it was Barry who taught me to change from being a frothing at the mouth lunatic to a thoughtful commentator. He taught me to discern the quality of information coming from the trash.  In 2009 when I was leading the charge against Chas Freeman’s nomination to a key Obama National security spot, It was Barry Rubin giving me advice on future steps.

Barry was a consummate teacher.  When he first took Ill, he made all of his scholarly books available for free online because he wanted people to be able to learn from him even after he was gone.

You can read Barry’s last two PJ Media posts, from January 21, here:

Why the Arab/Muslim World Is Trapped

Imagine All the People Living in Islamist Hegemony: Why Lennon and Dylan Know All About Islamist Hegemony

Did you know Barry? Do you have any memories to share about how he or his words touched your life? Please send me an email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Gmail.com.

When I’m feeling less like a crushed tin can I’ll write about getting to know Barry over the years, how his writings changed the way I see the world, and how now that he’s gone I will continue to fight his battles for a world where Jew, Muslim, Christian, and people of all faiths live together peacefully in mutual respect and prosperity.

Updates: I’ll be linking to various reflections from colleagues. Here’s Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler.

Updated 9:33 AM PST: Here’s PJM’s co-founder and editor emeritus Roger L. Simon: Barry Rubin: Conscience of the White City

Updated 12:11 PM PST: A really wonderful piece from Lee Smith at Tablet, hat tip to Yair RosenbergLearning from Barry Rubin, A Lifelong Teacher

Updated 3:20 PM PST: Sent along from David Gerstman, who says his own reflections are forthcoming:

Meryl Yourish
Elder of Ziyon
Israelly Cool (and follow the link to the Gettysburg story)
Phillip Smyth

Another follow up from Gerstman:

Dave,

Here’s Barry’s Facebook page from his 01/28/2013 Birthday

https://www.facebook.com/barry.rubin.75/posts/10151373324469801?stream_ref=10

A year and a week ago we all thought he was out of the woods.

Bookworm Room

Rick Moran at American Thinker

Updated 3:36 PST:

Ron Radosh: R.I.P.: Remembrances of My Friend Barry Rubin

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s 10 Immortal Film Performances

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Generation X has lost another of its greatest acting talents. Academy Award-winning star Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead at 46.

What makes the news even more tragic is how predictable — and preventable — it was. When my wife told me the news while we were driving home from buying groceries at Ralph’s this morning I had only one question: “Was it drugs?”

He was found with a needle in his arm.

Here’s the blog post I wrote by hand in June last year:

Hoffman left behind some of the last two decades’ most incredible screen performances. Here are my [personal and biased] picks for the ones that have made him a Hollywood legend, immortal and iconic. Counting down to his most important work:

10. 2009: The Count, leader of Pirate Radio

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Michelle Obama ♡ Kerry Washington

Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 4, day 2 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. At The Daily Mail: ‘I love Kerry Washington, she’s amazing’: Michelle Obama admits to binge-watching Scandal during her last vacation

Ms Obama’s revealtion comes more than a year after the National Enquirer reported that the First Lady had banned Ms Washington from the White House because she was ‘too flirty’ with the President.

The First Lady was said to have had a ‘watch list’ of women that were to be kept away from her husband, including Ms Washington – despite her honorary post on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

A White House official told MailOnline that the story is ’100 per cent false,’ adding that Ms Washington is a keen Democrat and campaigned for Obama in the 2008 president race.

I previously blogged about Scandal and its connections to today’s political culture on January 24, Who Wants Barack Obama As Her Baby’s Godfather?, in response to a gossip story claiming that Washington sought the president to be her child’s spiritual guide:

Last week my wife April and I finished watching the first two seasons of Scandal on Netflix streaming. It’s a show popular among Washington D.C.’s progressives, kind of an Obama-era fantasy West Wing only since they already have their dream president in office this time around it’s a wimpy, corrupt, center-right Republican president. (Added bonus: among the main villains is a married and gay chief of staff who does most of the President’s dirty work.)

The show is a celebration of political amorality and conspiracy theory culture. In it Washington plays a scandal fixer who runs an elite firm of dedicated super-lawyers while she maintains an affair with the president. Throughout the seasons both she and the President and his henchmen commit crimes that should put them away in jail for life. There are no heroes — both “sides” are equally corrupt and criminal. In future PJ Lifestyle pieces I’ll begin exploring some of the themes in the show, explaining how it promotes nihilism, postmodernism, and conspiracism with entertaining plots and badass characters. It’s truly a show of the Obama era, perfectly in synch with what I’ve begun describing as Single Mom Nation. Perhaps some PJ Lifestyle contributors would like to join me in dissecting another dark show poisoning American culture?

President Obama is also notably a fan of the similarly themed, everyone-in-Washington-D.C.-is-evil-and-corrupt political drama House of Cards, whose second season starts this month on February 14.

The Obamas being such vocal fans of television shows celebrating amoral politicians and the women who pretend to love them wouldn’t be so troublesome if the president weren’t so connected to what should be career-ending scandals of his own in Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of politial opponents, and the Big Lies of Obamacare. The media has largely dismissed all of these stories — that they would have impeached Republican presidents over — as just racist conservative fearmongering thanks to the real-life Oliva Popes doing their magic behind the scenes and in the media. (Yes, I am talking about people like Valerie Jarrett, who is a real life version of the wheeler-dealer, reality-twisting character Washington plays on the show. Except in real life she’s more like the president’s mommy rather than his lover and also wields the federal government power of Scandal’s chief-of-staff antagonist Cyrus Beene.)

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Jarrett and Obama

?

Does anyone doubt that the reason why the Obamas love these shows so much is because the characters fantasize about how they’d like to be similarly ruthless themselves?

At the start of a meeting with tech industry CEOs on NSA surveillance, Obama quipped “I’m just wondering if [Netflix CEO Reed Hastings] brought advance copies of House of Cards,” according to a pool video camera in the room.

As the CEOs laughed and joked that Obama should make a cameo appearance in the series, the president continued to praise the series, which revolves around a power-hungry House Majority Whip played by actor Kevin Spacey.

“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in his first public remarks on the show. “It’s true. It’s like Kevin Spacey, man this guy’s getting a lot of stuff done.”

And don’t forget that Obama has admitted to fantasizing about the suicidal criminal Democrat played by Warren Beatty in Bulworth.

It’s hard to just laugh off the cumulative effective of stories like these when you have news like this:

2.Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Report: Malik Obama, the President’s Brother, Funds Hamas

On Tuesday we noted that Malik Obama is President Barack Obama’s half-brother, but the two are very close. Malik Obama was best man at the future president’s wedding, and has visited the White House during the Obama years. We also reported that Malik Obama posted a photograph of himself on the Barack H. Obama Foundation website in which he is wearing a scarf emblazoned with calls for Muslims to destroy Israel.

Wearing a scarf is by no means the full extent of evidence that Malik Obama is anti Israel and supports its destruction. According to anti-terrorism activist Walid Shoebat, Malik Obama raises money through an Islamic charity organization, and uses that money to support Hamas.

Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the United States Department of State, and has been since 1997. Hamas’ original foundational charter explicitly called for Israel’s destruction. Hamas continues to insist that it will make no agreements that recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas officials were quoted in Arabic-language media last fall saying that “no usurper has any right to a speck of dust” of the territory that Hamas believes belongs to Palestine, which includes all of present-day Israel.

Along with being president of the IRS tax-exempt Barack H. Obama Foundation, which the IRS’ Lois Lerner fast-tracked to tax-exempt status and illegally back-dated so the foundation and Mr. Obama could avoid legal trouble, Malik Obama is executive secretary of the Islamic Da’wa Organization. That organization collects funds and sends them directly to designated terrorists organization Hamas. The funding goes toward attacks and “martyrdom operations” — suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are out to lunch on the stealth jihad and collaborating on further suicidal policies, as ably highlighted by Ann Coulter’s column this week.

3. Ann Coulter: GOP Crafts Plan to Wreck the Country, Lose Voters

According the 2012 National Asian American Survey, as well as a Kaiser Foundation poll, only 40 percent of the general public holds a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 42 percent unfavorable. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Asians have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 18 percent an unfavorable one. Even Koreans support Obamacare by 57 percent to 17 percent.

Overall, 69 percent of immigrants like Obamacare, according to a 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study.

That same survey showed that only 35 percent of native-born Americans support affirmative action, compared to 58 percent of immigrants, including — amazingly — 64 percent of Asians (suggesting they may not be as smart as everyone thinks).

See Leslie Loftis and Walter Hudson in response to this column this week at PJ Lifestyle:

4. Roger L. Simon: A Modest Proposal for Immigration Reform

So here’s my simple — call it simple-minded, if you want — solution, my modest proposal.  Illegal immigrants, assuming they have lived here for a decent period of time and have not committed a felony, can have amnesty, but they can NEVER be allowed to vote.  They can do anything else that is legal, but if they want to vote — or run for office or practice law in our country, as just happened in California — they must return home and go through the normal immigrant application process, however long that may take until they have citizenship.

This is a humane solution that does not make a complete mockery of the rule of law (only a partial one).  You can live a satisfactory life without voting.  Many who have the right to vote don’t bother anyway.  (In 2012, only 57.5% of eligible voters voted in the presidential election.  Many fewer voted in other contests.)  It’s up to the individual illegal immigrant here:  He or she can enjoy the privileges of U.S. citizenship without voting or go home and wait in line.

This takes political motivations off the table in immigration policy and allows it to be about the lives of the people themselves, not the advancement of politicians and their parties.  If our Democratic friends mean what they say about their “compassion,” they should have no objection. If they do, they simply expose themselves as political opportunists with no real interest in the welfare of what they euphemistically choose to call “undocumented workers,” only in creating a voting bloc.

I think it’s a great idea. Walter Hudson’s arguments are also very thoughtful.

5. Bridget Johnson Here at PJM: Intel Chairman: White House Must ‘Strongly Confront’ Russia Over Apparent Violation of Nuclear Treaty

Do you have Bridget on your #ReadEverythingTheyWrite list yet? Are you following her on Twitter? She consistently reports on the most important of stories that all too often do not get the attention their subjects warrant. Here are two.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Russia’s apparent violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces  Treaty could thrust relations with the former Soviet Union back toward the Cold War era.

The New York Times cited anonymous U.S. officials as saying Russia has been testing medium-range nuclear missiles since 2008. Washington has reportedly brought up the issue with Russia several times and is now taking its concerns over compliance to NATO.

“News reports indicating Russia is in violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty are deeply troubling. The signing of that treaty in 1987 by President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev, marked an historic turning point in the Cold War, and stood as the pillar of our post-Cold War relations with Russia,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

“Over the past year I have met with intelligence and policy officials to assess the intelligence surrounding the apparent Russian violation, and to urge the Administration to strongly confront the Russians and to keep our Allies informed. Russia has been pursuing a troubling and aggressive ramp up of military and intelligence capabilities in recent years,” Rogers continued. “The apparent violation of this treaty would put our allies at risk and be a major step backward in our post-Cold War relations.”

6. Bridget Johnson Here at PJM : Iran Could Have Enough Fuel for Four Bombs by July Under Administration’s Deal

WASHINGTON — President Obama heartily defended his nuclear deal with Iran at the State of the Union, vowing to veto a sizable bipartisan movement in Congress to keep sanctions pressure on the Islamic Republic.

“For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” Obama said, getting not as much applause as he may have hoped from the joint session.

The morning before he took the dais, though, a congressional panel heard that Iran has fully retained its ability to build a nuclear bomb that could be cranked out in as little as two months under the terms of the much-touted P5+1 agreement.

Gregory Jones, senior researcher of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade that the Obama administration has engaged in “mischaracterization of the deal’s benefits and the denial of the deal’s great flaw.”

“President Obama has said that the deal has ‘cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,’” Jones said. “This is not true. Before the current nuclear deal, Iran could produce the highly enriched uranium — HEU — for a nuclear weapon in just six weeks. Over the next six months, the joint plan of action will increase this interval only slightly to eight weeks.”

7. AP, Hat tip AH: US prosecutors seek execution of marathon suspect

Seventeen of 30 charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

The 20-year-old Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty.

8. Brandon McGinley at Acculturated: How Gawker Promotes Rape Culture

In college, I thought rape culture was just another scary phrase made up by feminists further to guilt and to demonize men.  And then I found out a friend had been raped.  And then I heard about more people who had been victimized by thoughtless sexual boundary-crossing.  And then I realized that what I had already identified as a culture of male sexual entitlement was essentially the same thing that feminists call rape culture.

Now, there is a danger in defining a concept like rape culture so broadly that it collapses into meaninglessness.  Men taking up too much space on the subway is not rape culture.  But the purposeful transgressing of perceived sexual boundaries?  You bet.

This is especially true when we consider the muted reaction to Cook’s outburst.  No mainstream condemnation.  No even mild tut-tutting from anyone but a few conservative commentators.  No realization that this was a pristine example of a trend that was all the rage only a week ago: the dangers of being a woman writer on the Internet.

9. Religion News Service: Can atheists be spiritual? Sam Harris reignites long-running debate

Sam Harris, author of books like The End of Faith and one of the so-called “Four Horsemen of New Atheism,” has just announced his next book—ressurecting a long-running debate among atheists.

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, set to be published in September, will explore nonreligious spirituality. In 2012 Harris wrote that his goal for this book was “to write a ‘spiritual’ book for smart, skeptical people — dealing with issues like the illusion of the self, the efficacy of practices like meditation, the cultivation of positive mental states, etc.”

With Waking Up‘s impending publication, many in the atheist community will debate whether it makes sense for atheists to use the word spirituality. But this isn’t the first time this question has come up in recent years.

10. Hat tip SLM Goldberg, at The Forward‘SermonSlam’ Teeters on Edge Between Earnest and Cool -Trendy Jewish Spoken Word Hits Brooklyn Synagogue

Twenty-five-year-old Yaelle Frohlich’s winning performance — a religious take on Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” — told the story of a woman who wakes up one morning with the words “Holy to God” emblazoned on her forehead.

 

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories

Bridget Johnson: White House Faced with Increasingly Likely Prospect that Assad Will Violate Deal

Make Employer-Based Insurance Taxable? Surprisingly, the Right Solution

Positive Environmental Report Means Admin Would Need Other Rationale to Kill Keystone

School Testers Earn an F

Claudia Rosett: Her Ladyship Marks Holocaust without Mentioning Jews

Port Authority Official Says Christie Knew About the Lane Closings

Alexander, Scott Unveil Bills to Redirect Funds into School Choice

PJTV’s Trifecta on ‘Executive Lawlessness: Obama’s Weapons of Political Intimidation’ (Video)

VIDEO: What Constitutes Reasonable Definitions of Lawlessness, Dictatorship, and Tyranny?

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Where Does the Left vs. Right Fight Come From?

Obama’s Great Jewish Conspiracy That Isn’t

Strength vs. Endurance: Why You Are Wasting Your Time in the Gym

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Saturday

8 Ways to Fight Morning Sickness

The 12 Best San Fernando Valley Sunrises From January 2014

Friday

In the Role of Lex Luthor… Jesse Eisenberg?

Feathered Friday: If You’ve Never Met a Kakariki, You Should

Cute Animal Video: ‘Little Puppet Made of Pine, Awake. The Gift of Life is Thine.’

Book Plug Friday: Girl Genius Vs. Tor

Music for My Dad’s Guitar

Where Does the Left vs. Right Fight Come From?

The Enemy in the Classroom

2 Mysterious Shots of the Sunrise in the San Fernando Valley This Morning

Thursday

A Florida Sunset For Your Birthday

Boycott, Divestment & ScarJo: Pop Culture Questions #BDS

Why Would Someone in Colorado Keep Buying Weed Illegally?

Disney Parks From The Air Over The Years

How Not to Turn Into The Shining This Winter

Obama Plays SOTU Lip Service to Equality

Wednesday

How Could Google Become More Evil?

Dallas Buyers Club Could’ve Used More Hollywood

Forget LBJ’s ‘Daisy’ Ad. Watch Goldwater’s Campaign FilmChoice

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

Academic Poison: Professor Says Bin Laden Was A ‘Freedom Fighter’ In Required Textbook

Why on Earth Is Jeb Bush Still ‘Undecided’ on a 2016 Run?

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Coburn, King Want to Sack NFL’s Tax Exemption

New Evidence that Should End the Race-Based Epistemic Closure of the Progressive Mind

If a Man Used the Word that Wendy Davis Used, Wendy Davis Would Probably Sue Him

Obama’s High School Pot Dealer Murdered Over ‘Flatulence’

Is This the Most Offensive Line in Obama’s State of the Union Address?

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

Priebus Urges GOPs to Stay Off MSNBC Until Network President Apologies for Tweet

Holder Confirms Obama Ready to Use Executive Order on Guns ‘in Absence of Meaningful Action’ by Congress

N.Y. Congressman Tells Capitol Reporter ‘I’ll Break You in Half’

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

stephengreen-2089051541

From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

That’s a Feature Not a Bug

Another Big Lenovo Deal

Neanderthal Style

Sign “O” the Times

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

Another Body Blow for Nintendo

Who Do You Fear?

More Wargaming the Senate

Required Viewing

More News You Can Use

The Taper Tapers

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

Excuses, Excuses

Drunkblogging the State of the Union

eddriscoll-2089893401

From PJM’s San Jose Editor Ed Driscoll

Two Atlantics in One!

The Mini-Holodomor, Sacramento-Style

The Dangerous Men of New York Politics

Arrivederci, American Dream

It Takes a Potemkin Village

Quote of the Day

The Lie that Hangs over the State of the Union

Andrea Mitchell: Iran Really Dug the US Until W.

Just NBC the Hack Work

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5 Realizations Upon Turning 30 Today

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

 

1. I need to be a father someday.

Ben Shapiro is the newest of my friends to join the parenthood club. I’m so thrilled for him and his wife. They’re going to love that little girl so much and just create the most extraordinary human being.

For most of my life I was agnostic on the parenthood question — it was largely a reflection of an agnosticism about, well, everything. A child was such a permanent decision, a no-going-back choice in which one decided that another’s life would come before your own.

What changed? What caused the light switch to flip over from the wobbly, maybe-kids-some-day, to YES, I have a responsibility and a need to become a parent? Finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was only step one. There was another big change that had to happen:

I don’t hate myself anymore.

I think that’s what was really at the heart of not wanting to have children. People who see themselves as a broken ball of neuroses don’t want to compound their misery by spawning miniature versions of themselves who will likely be even worse than they are.

But now I know better than on January 29, 2004 when I was a postmodern progressive undergraduate writing columns praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. I know that there’s no reason to ever hate yourself because we’re all capable of transforming ourselves. We’re not hardwired or stuck with anything about ourselves. All problems have their solutions and we can become happier, more productive, better people if that is what we choose.

I want to raise sons and daughters someday who can know that from the beginning — that they are smart enough and strong enough to solve any problem they encounter themselves and they do not need to vote for some emotion-manipulating demagogue to pass a program like Obamacare so they can be free.

I wish I’d seen this classic Disney cartoon “Chicken Little” over and over again as a kid instead of ninja turtle toy commercials disguised as entertainment. I wasted so much of my 20s dealing with one fox after another:

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‘Sugaring’: The Sad Way Some Students Use Sex to Escape Debt at My Alma Mater

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 4, day 1 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. From the publication where a decade ago I wrote op/ed columns and movie reviews as an undergrad: Ball State students get close for cash

Ellis has had a few online conversations, but he has not gone on any dates because he said there are not a lot of Sugar Daddies looking for gay Sugar Babies.

“Being gay in the sugaring world is not a common thing because it’s usually girls who are in their 20s who find older men who just want to spoil them,” Ellis said.

Both students use SeekingArrangement.com, a website used to connect potential Sugar Babies to benefactors offering monthly lifestyle budgets ranging from less than $1,000 to more than $10,000.

The website recently released a press release announcing the top 20 fastest growing Sugar Baby schools: Indiana University is No. 18, Ball State at No. 58 and Purdue University at No. 66.

Seeking Arrangement targets college students looking to earn money to ease student debt. According to a press release, college students make up 42 percent of the website’s Sugar Baby membership.

“A lot of these college students don’t have jobs and they’re fighting to pay student loans with increases in the cost of education,” said Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for the website. “And rather than graduate with a financial burden on their back before they even get a job, they could just date a Sugar Daddy on Seeking Arrangement and graduate debt free.”

One woman chooses to become a prostitute in order to support a drug addiction. That’s understandable and tragic. My favorite movie, Requiem for a Dreamis a heartbreaking story. A woman is so desperate for her fix that she abandons the man she loves and degrades herself.

But so you can avoid having to pay student loans back for a few years? You let some guy you’re not attracted to pay you to have a fake relationship with him and then rent your body to him?

It just breaks my heart that some women place so low a value on themselves.

2. Via Conservative Videos and hat tip to SLM Goldberg: Kirsten Powers: Being A Democrat ‘Was My Religion’ Before Christian Conversion

3. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: Eating Our Young

Major props to Ed Driscoll for this awesome graphic illustrating the lead story of the week:

The baby-boomer/me generation demands what its “greatest generation” parents got — or, in fact, far more, given its increased rates of longevity. The solution of more taxes and less benefits will fall on young people and the unborn, apparently on the premise that those under 18 do not vote, and those between 18 and 30 either vote less frequently than their grandparents or less knowledgeably about their own self-interest.

The Social Security pyramidal scheme is merely the tip of the ephebiphobic iceberg. Currently student indebtedness exceeds $1 trillion. Many of these loans begin compounding before graduation and are pegged at interest rates far higher than parental mortgages. The cause of this tuition bubble is also not controversial. The prices colleges charge for annual tuition, room and board have for over two decades far exceeded the annual rate of inflation.

There were four causes of such price gouging of students. None of them had anything to do with offering better education for a more competitive price for job-hungry graduates.

 4. Jared Sichel at The Jewish Journal: Holocaust in North Korea

At the museum, Shin sought the horrific images from 1945 of thousands of decomposing bodies from a liberated Nazi concentration camp being dug up by a bulldozer.

The horror of that image, which he had viewed for the first time in South Korea, convinced him that he must do what he can to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners languishing today in North Korea’s four concentration camps. Shin has become, despite his desire to remain private, a public face for what is a growing movement to shed light on North Korea’s totalitarian government and its unrelenting political imprisonment of its countrymen.

The international media coverage of North Korea tends to focus on anything but the country’s humanitarian crisis. We hear about the country’s nuclear program or the budding friendship between former American basketball star Dennis Rodman and North Korea’s 31-year-old dictator Kim Jong-un, or the latter’s recent execution of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, formerly Kim’s No. 2 man.

But Shin is a living testament to the fact that attention must be paid to what is happening to a completely hidden population: Nearly seven decades after the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on Jan. 27, 1945, North Korea’s concentration camps have now existed more than 12 times longer than the Nazi camps and twice as long as the Soviet gulag.

…..

As lunch wound down, Shin’s translator said that they had to leave soon for another interview. So I asked him if we could discuss a light topic — God.

Shin responded that although he isn’t entirely convinced of God’s existence, he does believe he received help from above. “I believe that there was a higher being, a higher power involved with my life, for me to be where I am right now,” he said.

Like all of North Korea, Camp 14 was devoid of any religion, of anything that could challenge the Kim family’s throne.

Today, Shin attends an Evangelical church in Seoul whenever he can, and, in fact, finds solace in Moses and the story of the Exodus — a self-doubting leader who helped an enslaved people escape a tyrant.

“When I look at North Korea now,” Shin said, “It reminds me of ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs.”

Read the whole thing. Jared is an extraordinary writer with a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing what he continues to do.

5. Jeremy Boreing at Truth Revolt: Gay Marriage at the Grammys: All Art is Propaganda

On the surface, it’s easy to criticize Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast for sliding from a celebration of music into a celebration of gay marriage with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s live performance of  “Same Love,” featuring Mary Lambert, Madonna, Queen Latifa and 33 couples – gay and straight – tying the knot.

There’s no question that the sanctimonious display, complete with gospel choir, stained-glass cathedral motif and pseudo-religious rhymes was intended to propagandize Americans into further support for gay marriage by giving the appearance of universal acceptance among the glitterati while marginalizing opposition from religious conservatives by reducing their motives to “fear” and “playing God.” “Right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,” the lyric intones. The fact that the socialist mayor of New York’s former lesbian wife agrees with that assessment is of no more concern to the songwriter than the fact that the current Democratic president – and indeed all of the Democratic presidents who went before him – all saw marriage as a male/female issue until right about election time last year.

Still, to turn one’s nose up at the Grammys for letting a show meant to honor art turn into a propaganda-fest is to misrepresent art itself. The simple fact is that all art is propaganda.  From the first man scrawling on the first cave wall to da Vinci to the Beatles, the purpose of the artist is always to communicate a unique perspective in the hopes of moving the audience.  In fact, for most of human history (and perhaps even still…) art has been less a business and more a patronage system where the wealthy would literally pay for art that promoted their vision of the world, not the artists. It’s hard to say what Michelangelo’s personal beliefs on scripture were, but his employer’s motive of inspiring awe in the face of the divine lives on in the Sistine Chapel and the Accademia to this day. As capitalism has imprinted itself on art, the values of the artist themselves have taken a more dominant role.

The idea of neutral art is as misguided as the idea of objective journalism – it has never existed in all of human history, and it shouldn’t.

Read the whole thing. Spot on. Jeremy is someone else I should make a point to keep an eye on. This is a great piece the way he puts the Grammys in a bigger discussion about the nature of art.

6. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Hey Stupid! It’s Not About Nukes, It’s About Life and Death

There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is:  an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies.  The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue.  Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or “dismantle” some of the components of their nuclear program?  How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on…

We don’t know the answers to these questions, as the text of the agreement is secret.  However, we do know that the Iranians now have six months — the sort of deadline that often slides — to reach a “final” agreement with the 5 + 1 countries.

We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril.  They’ve already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will.  These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren’t getting much.  For us, it’s all about nukes and sanctions.

7. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: The Evil of Banality

Allan Bloom, call your office — New York intellectual life really had become an enclave of the Weimar Republic by the early 1960s; as Bloom wrote in 1986’s The Closing of the American Mind, “The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.”

8. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Hillary Wants to Get Benghazi Out of the Way

Just for the sake of history, let’s recall that Clinton could have prevented the attack but failed to do so. Her State Department turned down repeated requests for enhancing security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi. After the attack, she blamed it on a YouTube video and promised one of the parents of the victims that the U.S. government would go after and get the man who made that video. Clinton made good on that threat. The perpetrators who actually carried out the attack, however, remain at large and the Obama government has shown no interest in capturing them.

9. Glenn Reynolds at USA TodayHow Americans can kill Obamacare, legalize pot: Column

Far fewer than half the number needed by March 31 have signed up. And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren’t the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurancebecause of Obamacare’s new requirements). “At most,” writes Bloomberg‘s Megan McArdle, “they’ve signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. … Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?” It looks that way.

In fact, there seem to be more uninsured than there were before Obama took office, leaving Jonah Goldberg to ask, “So what was the point of Obamacare again?”

10. Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler: Could Obamacare Become a Generational Problem for Democrats?

There are a couple of major flaws leading to fewer millennials than needed signing up. One, it’s cheaper just to pay the fine for violating the individual mandate than to buy insurance that most young people don’t need. Young single men don’t need to buy pregnancy and mammography coverage, but Obamacare mandates it, making policies more expensive. Additionally, Obamacare allows younger people to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. That slices off the 18-26 part of the 18-34 demo that needs to sign up in greater numbers.

Reading of the Day, from Ann Coulter’s Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obamapage 94:

BAD IDEAS MEAN MORE MURDER. (Or: Why I am not a #Democrat or #progressive anymore.) excerpt from page 94 of #AnnCoulter book Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the 70s to #obama

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories

Time for South Carolina Chief Justice Jean Toal to Retire

State of the Union Guests Range from Obama’s DREAMers to Benghazi Dad

Is the Prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza Politically Motivated?

What Do the Oscar Nominations Tell Us?

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Robert Spencer: The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad

Chris Queen: Are Obama’s Economic Policy Failures Part of a Strategy?

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman

 

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

2 New England Sunsets

Legislating 10 Hours of Pre-Wedding Marriage Education?

Edward Snowden the Movie?

Are Obama’s Economic Policy Failures Part of a Strategy?

Hillsdale Professor Dr. Terrence Moore: Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls

Feminism: A Rich White Girl’s Game

A Siberian Husky Frolics At Laguna Beach

The High Heel Cliche

VIDEO: What is the Least Free Place in America?

The 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Post-Partum Recovery

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

How to Track Your Workmonster

The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad

The Religion of Beatlemania Still Going Strong

The Ten Worst U.S. Purveyors of Antisemitism, #3: Thomas Friedman

You’re Not As Happy As You Think You Are

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Idaho Firm that Beat EPA in Court Now Targeted by the Army Corps of Engineers?

VIDEO: Obama’s Nominee to be Ambassador to China Admits that He Is No Expert on China

Karzai Blames US for Recent Terror Attacks in Afghanistan

A ‘Pattern of Abuse’ — PJ’s J. Christian Adams on Fox’s The Kelly File

You Won’t Believe the Reasons that This Colorado Man Continues to Buy Marijuana Illegally

Hillary Clinton, Superhero, Icon and Example to All Women Everywhere, Hasn’t Driven a Car in Nearly 20 Years?

Sen. Ted Cruz: Obama Should Apologize to the Five Million Americans Who’ve Lost Their Healthcare Because of Obamacare

Smith & Wesson Says No to Microstamping, Pulls Out of California

Google Buys DeepMind, Aquiring More Potential to Be Evil

In Case You Were Wondering, Yes, the Republicans are Dumb Enough to Wreck Their 2014 Advantage

After Scott Walker’s Reforms, Government Union Having Trouble Skimming Tax Dollars to Help Democrats

19 Senate Democrats Join Fight to Force Hobby Lobby to Pay for Abortifacient Drugs

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

Pick the Official GOP SOTU Response, the Official Tea Party One, the Unofficial Tea Party One

Rubio Holds POTUS-Style Meetings with Heads of State on Weeklong Asia Trip

Schumer Bill Would Offer Tracking Devices to Caregivers of Those with Autism

AR-15s Become the Campaign Accessory of 2014

Washington Learned About Potential Suicide Bombers on the Loose from Media Reports

Senate Dems Filing Brief at Supreme Court Against Hobby Lobby’s Position

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Why China Builds Carriers

As Seen on Twitter

Hickenlooper Lies

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

News You Can Use

NSA Has an App for That

Did We Just Become a Third World Country?

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day [PM Edition]

Required Reading

The Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Indian Subcontinent

An Open Letter

Hello Iran, Goodbye Syria

A ‘Do-Nothing Congress’? That’s a Compliment!

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From PJM’s San Jose Editor, Ed Driscoll

Pete Seeger’s Totalitarian Trifecta

What Could Go Wrong?

Abuse Their Illusions

Obama: Promises Made, Promises Kept

25 Years After the Fact, MSM Finally Condemns Al Gore’s Kristallnacht NY Times Op-Ed

Almond Killjoy

Republicans Ate Their Wheaties This Morning

Today it's time to break free. #sunrise in #socal

*****

image courtesy shutterstock / Viktor1

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Who Wants Barack Obama As Her Baby’s Godfather?

Friday, January 24th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 3, day 3 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. Seth Mandel at CommentaryObama Administration to Israel: Call Off the Jews, Please

I made a point to put this story on top because it’s the most important thing I read yesterday. It’s more chilling evidence of how the conspiratorial vision of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright shaped how Barack Obama leads the country:

The latest dustup in U.S.-Israel relations is one that makes you wonder if Obama administration officials have a shred of self-awareness. The Jerusalem Post reports that the president is unhappy with the Israeli government because his consistent opposition to sanctions on Iran is not meeting with universal approval from American Jewish groups. And why does this make him upset with Israel? Because he apparently believes that such dissent must be the product of foreign influence:

A US official close to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry said both men are disturbed over what is being perceived in their inner circle as “Jewish activism in Congress” that they think is being encouraged by the Israeli government, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

The official has informed Israeli government figures that the president and secretary of state are disappointed over repeated attacks made against them by leading members of the Jewish community in the US.

The president and secretary of state would like American Jews’ foreign handlers and sponsors to please stop riling up the Jews, because those Jews then practice their voodoo on members of Congress. Now, while this is obviously a very stupid thing for the president and secretary of state to believe–conspiracy theorists love the Walt-Mearsheimer dark tales of Jewish influence, but rarely do serious or intelligent people fall for it–it is even dumber to, you know, say out loud.

This is who our president actually is. He is a man who not only believes that those criticizing him do so because the Israeli government has directed them to do so, but will say it. He genuinely believes that there is a Jewish conspiracy and that it is a more malevolent actor against him and America, than say, the Muslim Brotherhood or Vladimir Putin.

One of the few things that comforts me about this is the knowledge that America has survived having antisemitic, paranoid, lying presidents in the past…

2. Bridget Johnson here at PJM: Carney: Just Ignore Iran; We Won’t Be Releasing Text of Nuke Agreement

White House press secretary Jay Carney brushed off the Iranian foreign minister’s claims that there is no dismantling of their nuclear program in the p5+1 agreement.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN during an interview in Davos that “the White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments.”

“The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again,” he said. “If you find a single, a single word, that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I would take back my comment.”

Zarif urged the CNN reporter to read the agreement, but the White House won’t release the text — claiming that the P5+1 agreed there was some technical information in the document that should remain classified.

“We’ve said before that we expected the Iranian government to spin the commitments they made under the joint plan of action for their domestic political purposes,” Carney told reporters in today’s briefing.

Because Millennials wanted Obamacare and John McCain was too cowardly to talk about Rev. Wright —  he actually fired campaigners who did — Iran will end up with a nuclear weapon. Political failures result in military catastrophe.

3. Peter Beinart at The AtlanticRand Paul Is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner

Start with Iowa. Last May, Rand Paul gave the keynote speech at the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. How did he secure this prize invitation? Because the chairman, co-chairman, and finance chairman of the Iowa Republican Party all supported his father. Rand Paul’s not the only potential 2012 candidate who will inherit a political infrastructure in the Hawkeye State. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee also have networks left over from prior runs. But their supporters don’t play as influential a role in the state GOP. “RPI no longer stands for the Republican Party of Iowa,” noted arecent article in Politico, “but for Rand Paul, Inc.”

Because the Iowa GOP will elect new leaders next spring, it’s unlikely “Paulestinians” will so thoroughly dominate the party leadership in 2016. But Craig Robinson, former political director of the Iowa GOP, says that’s actually to Rand Paul’s advantage, since it will free up some of Iowa’s most powerful Republicans to run his 2016 campaign.

If there’s one thing that could obviate all this, it’s the possibility that Paul could suffer his own candidacy-crippling scandal. He’s already gotten himself into trouble for plagiarism and employing neo-Confederates. Who knows what the media will turn up when the real vetting that greets a presidential candidate begins?

That this story is written by Peter Beinart is significant, of course. Here was Ron Radosh a few weeks ago: “How Peter Beinart Defends the Repulsive Views of the Antisemitic Jew Max Blumethal.”

Rand Paul is unfit to be president for the same reason that Obama was: having an unrepentant antisemitic conspiracy theorist as one of  your core mentors means you are an evil person. And Rand Paul was campaigning for his father in 2008, invoking his father’s antisemitic mentors in 2009 during his Senate campaign, writing a book with a neo-confederate staffer in 2010, and defending him in 2013 after his fantasies of assassinating Abraham Lincoln were revealed.

What’s Jack Hunter doing now? Here’s the publication that’s decided to hire him…

4. Betsy Rothstein at the Daily Caller: Rare’s new motto: Pink is the Center

Well, today, Rare‘s newest editorial hire, Jack Hunter, who has reportedly judged wet T-shirt contests, worn a mask emblazoned with the Confederate flag and supported the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, both backed up and contradicted internal orders (depending whom you believe) by announcing Rare‘s extremely strong stance on gay marriage: They are all in and all for it.

As an aside, Hunter is listed both as Rare‘s Editor and a “contributing editor.”

“There is a civil war happening in the Republican Party over the issue of same-sex marriage,” he wrote. (A pretty strange metaphor for someone who has said repeatedly that he supports the slave-holding South’s independence.) “There are two sides—the winning side and the losing side. The winning side are those who believe the time for same sex marriage has come… The losing side are those who believe the country will somehow reverse course on this issue despite every single cultural indicator showing otherwise.”

Question: now that Rare has a gay-marriage-only editorial line will they continue to publish the antisemitic, very anti-gay marriage, paleoconservative Patrick Buchanan?

5. Ed Driscoll here at PJ Media: Why Does the Left Hate Hillary Clinton So?

Goddess worship. What more do you need?

6. Vanity Fair: Why the “Planet Hillary” New York Times Magazine Cover Is a Legitimate Dadaist Masterpiece

What a fantastic piece of art! Did you notice that all the cover lines are puns about space? “The gravitational pull of a possible campaign,” “the Chelsea quasar,” “the Friends-of-Bill black hole,” etc. Other, less rhetorical questions: why can’t planets have hair? Like, obviously planets don’t have faces and smiles, so our disbelief is already suspended. Why not just give her/it hair? She looks like Benjamin Button toward the end (beginning?) of that movie. (Full disclosure: we never saw Benjamin Button.)

Second question: why isn’t, say, “the Chelsea quasar” in the shape of Chelsea Clinton’s disembodied head? Why is Planet Hillary the only anthropomorphized astronomical entity? (“A quasar in the shape of a person? That’s stupid. But a planet in the shape of a person? Now that’s a metaphor.”)

Third question: if the boys over in graphics were going to turn Hillary into a planet, couldn’t they at least have made her an attractive rock planet? Why all the mountains and valleys to represent wrinkles? It’s an invented astral body! It’s not like the mountains and valleys correspond to actual geological properties of a real place. Also: in real life, Hillary Clinton’s eyebrows are notably well-maintained. Why the unflattering half-brows? Or are those mountain ranges framing her ocean eyes?

7. Dave Weigel at Slate: Important Hillary Clinton-as-Planet Meme

moonhillary

8. Ann Coulter’s New Column This Week: THE HEROISM OF WENDY DAVIS

Slater says Davis’ kids lived with Jeff Davis in Texas while she attended law school. Wendy Davis claims her girls lived with her during her first year of law school. Let’s say that’s true. Why not the other two years? And what was the matter with the University of Texas Law School?

Sorry, MSNBC, I know you want to fixate on how many months Davis spent in the trailer park and her precise age when the first divorce went through. And that would be an incredibly stupid thing for conservatives to obsess on, if they were, in fact, obsessing on it. But I’m still stuck on her leaving her kids behind while she headed off to a law school 1,500 miles away.

The reason Wendy Davis’ apocryphal story was impressive is that single mothers have to run a household, take care of kids and provide for a family all by themselves. But Wendy was neither supporting her kids, nor raising them. If someone else is taking care of your kids and paying your tuition, that’s not amazing.

I wonder what a private conversation between Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis would sound like.

9. Tony Lee at Breitbart News: CNN PLANS TO SPEND YEAR FOCUSING ON REVELATIONS IN PETER SCHWEIZER’S ‘EXTORTION’

Schweizer, as Breitbart News has extensively reported, detailed some of the ways in which politicians legally extract wealth from Americans in his best-selling book Extortion. He revealed:

  • How Democratic Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) funneled at least $294,245 in campaign cash to herself by loaning her campaign money in 1998 at a staggering 18% interest rate and then letting the loan linger unpaid for 20 years

  • Top-secret “price lists,” known officially as “party dues,” that include the donation totals members of Congress must raise to land top committee spots and chairmanships

  • How leadership PAC loopholes allow members of Congress to convert campaign cash into lavish lifestyle upgrades for themselves and their family members

  • Allegations that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) bagged over $200,000 in donations from executives and companies prior to holding votes on three bills of critical importance to their industries

  • How President Barack Obama used a political extortion tactic known as a “double milker bill” to “milk” millions in donations by pitting Obama’s friends in Hollywood against his supporters in Silicon Valley to extract cash from both

10. The Daily Mail: The real Goodfellas: FBI arrest New York mafia suspected of carrying out the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist

This is the first time any accused member of the mafia has ever faced charges in connection with the crime.

The arrests of the five men follows a discovery by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of human remains at a New York property tied to James ‘Jimmy the Gent’ Burke last summer.

Burke, the suspected mastermind of the heist, died in prison in 1996 while serving time for the murder of a drug dealer. Actor Robert De Niro played a character based on Burke in the film.

Question: which is more morally objectionable and destructive, a bunch of mobsters who steal $5 million dollars in 1978 or a President who, to take just one example, enables his campaign supporters to legally steal $535 million in government loans before declaring bankruptcy?

11. J. Christian Adams quotes from the press release: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted By Eric Holder’s DOJ

In 2012, the Election Act limited both primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 for a total of $5,000 from any individual to any one candidate. In August 2012, D’SOUZA directed other individuals with whom he was associated to make contributions to the campaign committee for a candidate for the United States Senate (the “Campaign Committee”) that totaled $20,000. D’SOUZA then reimbursed those individuals for the contributions. By directing the illegal contributions to be made, D’SOUZA also caused the Campaign Committee to falsely report to the FEC the sources and amounts of those contributions to the campaign.

* * *

D’SOUZA, 52, of San Diego, California, is charged with one count of causing $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to be made to a candidate for the United States Senate in calendar year 2012, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He also is charged with one count of causing false statements to be made to the FEC in connection with the illegal campaign contributions, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

I’m not a D’Souza defender at all. I think his critique of Obama in both his book and film were wrong-headed. Naming Obama’s anti-colonialism and his father’s ideology as the keys to understanding him is like saying that the Filet-o-Fish and McRib are the most popular menu items at McDonald’s.

And it wasn’t the first time he’s been really wrong about a major issue. Remember his horrific book about 9/11 that claimed the “cultural Left” had inspired the Jihadists to attack us over our decadent Britney Spears society? Robert Spencer took him apart in a memorable debate.

12. At Salon: 6 reasons female nudity can be powerful

6. Self-defined public female nudity is a challenge to capitalism and its uses of women as products, props, assets and distributable resources. Nothing on Earth is used to drive sales and profits and display male wealth and status like women’s, often naked and semi-naked, bodies.  If you are thinking women make choices and are complicit, show contempt for other women because they are women — well, of course some of them do. That is a defining feature of misogyny. Until we have equal access to resources, and are not subject to constant predation, this is a no-brainer. In the meantime, when women refuse to sexualize themselves and use their bodies to challenge powerful interests that profit from that sexualization, the words we should use aren’t  “lewd” and “obscene”; they’re “threatening” and “destabilizing.”

Women who use public nudity for social commentary, art and protest are myth-busting along many dimensions: active, not passive; strong not vulnerable; together, not isolated; public, not private; and, usually, angry, not alluring.  The morality offense is misogyny, not nudity.

13. Graphic Images at the Daily Mail: Starved, tortured then throttled: The true horror of how Assad’s soldiers execute rebel prisoners is revealed in new images

More photographs showing the maimed bodies of alleged victims of ‘systematic killings’ in Syrian prisons have been released today.

The second cache of photos paints an even clearer image of the horrendous conditions and gruesome torture in government-run jails in Syria.

The images, some of the 55,000 leaked by a witness ‘tasked with recording deaths in custody’, were taken between 2011 and 2013.

14. Zombie at the PJ Tatler: Kiddie Porn Does Not Count as ‘Moral Turpitude’ to S.F. Govt.

A former high-ranking San Francisco government employee convicted of felony possession of child pornography will continue to receive his government pension because, according to city regulations, evidence of “moral turpitude” is required to revoke a pension yet viewing violent kiddie porn does not qualify as moral turpitude.

As reported here in the Tatler, Larry Brinkin, a prominent San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner and nationally known gay rights advocate, was arrested in 2012 for possessing and possibly distributing videos and images of babies being raped by adult men. Because of Brinkin’s “iconic” stature in the community as the person who pioneered “domestic partnership” laws nationwide, supporters at the time accused the police of framing him with false charges. But the evidence was so overwhelming that, after 18 months of legal wrangling, on Tuesday, January 21, Brinkin pled guilty to felony possession of child pornography, with various other more serious charges dropped as part of the plea bargain. He will serve just six months in jail and thereafter have to register as a sex offender.

On the second page of Zombie’s post he has some horrific excerpts of Brinkin’s comments about the violent videos he was sharing. Making them even more chilling is the way his racism expresses itself.

15. Daily Mail: Killer who kept six women as sex slaves in a home-made dungeon and murdered two of them is executed in China

During their incarceration he repeatedly raped them, forced them to have sex with other men for money and made them perform in pornographic web shows.

When you see a woman performing online how do you really know that she’s doing so by her own consent and that she’s 18 or older? You don’t. This is the real danger of internet pornography, far darker than the commonly discussed problem of men dropping out of relationships to retreat into a virtual realm. It’s a world where anyone can shoot a video and throw it online in minutes, perhaps not even breaking the law in the foreign country where they’re shooting.

16. Megan Fox continues her investigations here at PJ Lifestyle: In the Age of Information Orland Park Public Library Can’t Use Skype to Hear Expert on Library Porn

Kleinman has been waging this war against porn in libraries for 20 years now, largely on his own since his friend and SafeLibraries.org partner died several years ago. There is no one more well-versed in the ALA’s tactics, lies, intimidation techniques, and actual court cases involving pornography in libraries than Kleinman; refusing him the right to speak on behalf of children and parents who don’t want porn in libraries is nothing less than willful deceit of the public on behalf of the OPPL.

17. Kathy Shaidle here at PJ Lifestyle: Ted Nugent Did What?

That may explain why — until I read about it in the comments beneath Gavin’s article — I’d never heard of Ted Nugent’s relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

Trying to get the truth about this felt like a game of “telephone,” with hysterical left-wing sites like The Daily Kos quoting Wikipedia quoting Spin magazine, circa 2000:

In 1978, 30-year-old Ted Nugent fell in love with 17-year-old Hawaiian lovely Pele Massa. To keep the hassle factor low, the Motor City Madman convinced the girl’s parents to sign documents that officially made Nugent Pele’s guardian. His pitch? Better a horny, rich, drug-free, right-wing bow hunter than a horny, poor, stoned high school student.

That’s the most authoritative citation I’ve found so far.

18. The Daily Mail: The 2,300-year-old torture chamber: Ancient dungeon containing a ‘bloody well and death rooms’ unearthed in Turkey

Archaeologists and the Bursa Muncipality plan to turn the dungeons and corridors into an open-air museum. Yimiz said torture tools will also be put on display, and the museum is expected to be ready by 2016.

The past is so much darker than we’re ready to accept but if we can overcome it then the future will be brighter than we can imagine.

19. Stephen Green on PJTV: Bill Gates: No More Poor Countries by 2035

20. Gossip Cop: Kerry Washington Asked President Obama To Be Baby’s Godfather, Claims Report

A so-called “informant” for the tab says, “Kerry’s been courting the President and First Lady for some time now because she wants to play Michelle in a movie.”

The purported “insider” goes on to allege, “She’s desperate to have someone as prestigious as the Obamas as her baby’s godparents and plans on casually asking Michelle at the next fundraiser they attend together.”

Hmm.

It seems like someone over at Star has been watching too much “Scandal.”

For some bizarre reason, the magazine and its sister publication the National Enquirer are intent on trying to link the actress to Obama, despite how obviously ridiculous the idea is.

In any case, Gossip Cop checked in with a source close to the situation, who laughed off the outlandish story.

April 2012 at the Daily Mail:

Michelle Obama has banned actress Kerry Washington from the White House because she it ‘too flirty’ with the President, it was sensationally claimed today.

The First Lady was said to have a ‘watch list’ of women that were to be kept away from her 50-year-old husband – but it’s a story one White House official claims it totally false.

According to an article in the National Enquirer, Mrs Obama, 48, planned to keep the actress at arm’s length – despite Miss Washington’s honorary post on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

“It always comes down to my gut, my gut tells me everything I need to know.” — Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, expressing the matriarchal credo.

Last week my wife April and I finished watching the first two seasons of Scandal on Netflix streaming. It’s a show popular among Washington D.C.’s progressives, kind of an Obama-era fantasy West Wing only since they already have their dream president in office this time around it’s a wimpy, corrupt, center-right Republican president. (Added bonus: among the main villains is a married and gay chief of staff who does most of the President’s dirty work.)

The show is a celebration of political amorality and conspiracy theory culture. In it Washington plays a scandal fixer who runs an elite firm of dedicated super-lawyers while she maintains an affair with the president. Throughout the seasons both she and the President and his henchmen commit crimes that should put them away in jail for life. There are no heroes — both “sides” are equally corrupt and criminal. In future PJ Lifestyle pieces I’ll begin exploring some of the themes in the show, explaining how it promotes nihilism, postmodernism, and conspiracism with entertaining plots and badass characters. It’s truly a show of the Obama era, perfectly in synch with what I’ve begun describing as Single Mom Nation. Perhaps some PJ Lifestyle contributors would like to join me in dissecting another dark show poisoning American culture?

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories

Rodrigo Sermeno: Huckabee Tells RNC to Stop RINOing Each Other

Roger L. Simon: How Social Conservatives Are Saving Liberalism (Barely)

Rodrigo Sermeno: 8 Things in Washington That Could Hit Your Wallet This Year

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

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New at PJ Lifestyle

Shooting Through the Tall Grasses Into the Sea at Sunset Beach

A Cover Story

Can Nintendo Survive?

Repurposing a Plethora of Parsley

10 Reasons Why Camille Paglia is the Champion of the Feminist Right

We Shouldn’t Fear a Robotic Future

A Baseball Mom’s Take on Richard Sherman’s NFL Postgame Rant

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New at PJ Tatler

Finally, GOP Begins to Focus on School Choice

BREAKING: Shocking Police Brutality in Ukraine; Riots Spreading to Major Cities

Pope Francis: Internet A Gift From God

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Who Is Battleground Texas’ Lisa Wortham?

Greg Abbott Reacts to Video Showing Battleground Texas Activists Mocking His Disability (Update: Davis Reacts)

Rebuttal to Another ‘Why Won’t the Social Conservatives Just Shut Up?’ Post

Change: Moody’s Downgrades Insurance Companies, Because Obamacare

Liberal Sally Kohn Asks a Stupid Question

IRS Goes After Right-Leaning Group in Hollywood

Look At What Wendy Davis Leaves Out of Her Website

Bloomberg News: Americans’ Love Of Guns Makes It Really Hard to Vote

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

Administration’s Envoy to Muslims Leaving for Harvard

Dem Encourages Obama Action on Minimum Wage to ‘Energize the Base’ for Elections

Iran: Nope, We Never Said We’d ‘Dismantle’ Our Nuclear Program

Subway Partnering with Michelle Obama, Agrees to Make Kids’ Meals Like School Lunches

Ukraine Sends Chilling Text Messages to Anti-Government Demonstrators

Obama Establishes Task Force on Sexual Assault, Says Fathers Should Teach Sons Respect for Women

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Fill it to the RIM — with Nokia?

How About Some Good Health News for a Change?

Stealth Libertarianism?

Cuomo Vs O’Keefe

Those Bastards — They Killed Kicking!

Remember The Facebook?

Required Reading

Texas Cleared for Execution of Mexican National

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

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From PJM’s San Jose Editor Ed Driscoll

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Could Not Be Reached For Comment

Obamacare Advisor Departing White House for the Proverbial ‘Health and Family Reasons’

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Ever Try Re-Watching a Movie That You Didn’t Like?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 3, day 2 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. Andrew Klavan here at PJM: Does Her Deserve An Oscar?

But Her is not one of those movies. It’s bad. Its plot — a guy falls in love with the artificial intelligence of a new computer operating system — is an already played-out and unoriginal version of Pygmalion. (See everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to 2002′s Simone). Its characters are collections of ideas rather than actual personalities — even the wonderful Amy Adams has to struggle to make her cliched nothing of a part come to life. And, most importantly, its central performance is just brutally dull.

Without that sort of skill from its lead actor, a film like Her is just a charmless display of intellection. Which is all right for critics, I guess, if they’re not very good critics. But for humans? Pass.

Andrew, I have to admit it: your review yesterday inspired me. Recalling our occasional disagreements over movies and TV — which I still attribute mostly to our differing generational perspectives — the thinking went something like: “If Klavan hates it that much then maybe I’ll really like it!”

Last night April and I went to the ArcLight. I suggested four potential movies: Gravity 3D in IMAXSaving Mr. Banks, Frozen, and Her. April picked Her — which really surprised me. And we both liked it — me more than her. She overall found it enjoyable — a good B-level movie worth seeing once but nothing special. I was more enthusiastic. As a singularitarian who thinks seriously about how biological and artificial intelligence will interact in the coming decades, I found it a thoughtful, well-shot fable.

And while you couldn’t relate to the main hero and his phone-based emotional life, I kind of could. It was great to go on this date with April last night; in the two weeks following our family Christmas visit we were separated while she put on a successful solo art show in the Bahamas and I hammered away at the book manuscript. So remember those scenes in Her with Theodore running around with the camera showing Samantha the world? That was me and our Siberian Husky running through the park the last few weeks, smart phone extended filming, sharing the emotional experience through a technological medium to connect with another person thousands of miles away. Where Her gets challenging is in taking the common experience we have today of using smart phones to channel our emotions and then asking the Turing Question: how do you know if the person you’re communicating with is a real person? What does it mean when you can no longer tell?

So what does it make me that Her is my best picture pick so far? Not a very good critic? Too influenced by America’s corrupt popular culture without even realizing it? Somehow less than human? You did say that humans should pass and I know that it was just a joke, but yeah, I’m a believer in Kathy Shaidle’s “nobody is ever just kidding” philosophy.

But that’s alright. I’m not offended. In my previous life as a film obsessive working at an art house movie theatre and writing weekly film reviews, the secret that came to me which I submit to you and everyone else for debate: if you don’t like a movie the first time you see it and a whole lot of other people (who are generally smart and thoughtful and whose advice you trust) do like it, then maybe you should just watch it again. Maybe you didn’t get it.

As I emailed you after your questioning review of Inside Llewyn Davis, I meant to write a blog post arguing that the Coen brothers are the primary example of this phenomenon. (They’re also my pick for your generation’s greatest filmmakers.) I didn’t like Fargo and The Big Lebowski the first times I saw them. It took a few viewings for them to unfold and for me to pick up on just how much they offer. All of the Coen brothers’ movies seem to be like that. Some — like No Country for Old Men and True Grit — hit you with their greatness immediately and obviously. But all the others just get better with each viewing. (Her‘s writer-director Spike Jonze falls into the same camp – Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Where the Wild Things Are reward repeat watching.)

And honestly, I think that’s my definition of what it takes for a movie to be great — it has to be one that gets better  each time you watch it. Is that a decent definition of what makes for great art in general? A painting you can stare at and always see something new, a song that always stirs the emotions differently, a book where each visit reveals new depth?

It seems that our mutual friend, the great activist-entrepreneur-writer-troublemaker R.J. Moeller, had a similar dismissive response to the film. In answering his longer criticisms, perhaps you’ll see why I’d encourage giving Her another chance.

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‘Perhaps It Makes More Sense to Speak of Solutions, Rather Than A Solution.’

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

This is Week 3, day 1 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. Two excerpts from Glenn Reynolds’ essential new The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itselfthat I finished reading yesterday:

“… the fact is that the modern teenager is a modern phenomenon, and teenagers in previous eras were far more responsible — and far more integrated into society as a whole.” - page 69

"... the fact is that the modern #teenager is a modern phenomenon, and teenagers in previous eras were far more responsible -- and far more integrated into society as a whole." - Glenn Reynolds, page 69 of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American #Education From Itself, a phenomenal new book from one of my major intellectual and new media influences. #ReadEverythingTheyWriteWriter

During my miserable junior high and high school years I just knew in my bones that the factory-like school system was an anti-American aberration designed to create efficient drones to serve in the hive. Now Glenn’s book confirms it and lays bare the flaws at the base of this model imported from Germany during the Industrial Revolution.

A question for debate and discussion (particularly amongst my PJ Lifestyle co-conspirators): in declaring war against the false gods of pop culture polytheism and the educational establishment should we also reject the very idea of the “teenager” and the “adolescent”? For children with the aptitude to skip over the made-up, in-between period of tolerated, coddled irresponsibility, why not start treating them like genuine young adults as soon as they’re able?

On page 87 Glenn cuts to the essence of how an America 3.0-style libertarian-conservatism seeks to solve problems:

"... perhaps it makes more sense to speak of solutions, rather than a solution." - Glenn Reynolds, page 87 of The New School articulating the essence of America 3.0 problem-solving. One size fits all is dead. #education #freedom #readeverythingtheywritewriters

Glenn wrote the foreword to James C. Bennett’s and Michael Lotus’s manifesto America 3.0which lays out an exciting, realistic vision for how as American culture continues toward greater decentralization citizens will be empowered to pursue multiple solutions to their communities’ problems. Glenn’s book shows how this style of thinking can be applied to higher education and K-12 — which are more interrelated problems with common origins than are often discussed. In jump-starting the education reform discussion through reading it, I’d also argue that this model of thought should be applied to other issues too. There is no single, over-arching solution to America’s cultural, domestic, and foreign policy problems. Instead there are multiple potential solutions and the answer is to enable greater freedom so that they can be tested and explored. Still haven’t read An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths?

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2. At PJTV: Glenn Reynolds Reveals the Future of U.S. Education to Michelle Fields (Video)

3. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler: Fort Worth Star-Telegram Guts Unflattering Wendy Davis Exposé

Slater reported that the truth is far more complicated than Davis’ origins story. Davis divorced at 21, not 19. She only lived in the trailer for a few months. She was able to get her Harvard education thanks to her second husband, Jeff Davis, whom she left the day after he made the final payment on her tuition. He had cashed his 401(k) savings and taken out a loan to pay for her education.

I hope Davis continues to be held up as an icon of 3rd wave postmodern Marxist feminism. A woman who rose to media-fueled prominence defending late term abortion gained her Harvard education through abandoning her children and husband. And HE got the kids afterward, citing infidelity!

That’s what ideology does to people: it inspires them to sacrifice their family in pursuit of something they value as more important. You know, like defending a woman’s right to an abortion after 20 weeks.

4. Victor Davis Hanson here at PJM: The Last Generation of the West and the Thin Strand of Civilization

The universities were the great backbone of the West, from the Academy and Lyceum to medieval Pisa and Oxbridge to the great 18th- and 19th-century founding of American campuses. Not necessarily any longer. Too many are bankrupt morally, economically, politically, and culturally.

The symptoms are terrifying: one trillion dollars in student debt (many of these loans accruing at higher than average interest rates and even before students have graduated); a small Eloi class of rarefied elites who teach little and write in runes that no one can decipher;  a large Morlock class of part-timers and oppressed lecturers who subsidize the fat and waste of the tenured and administrative classes; graduates who are arrogant but ignorant, nursed on –studies ideology without the liberal arts foundations to back up their zeal; and a BA/BS brand that no longer ensures better-paying jobs, if any jobs at all.

In sum, apart from the sciences and medicine, most of the university coarsens rather than enlightens American life.

The current campus is unsustainable and we are beginning to see its decline, as online courses and for-profit tech schools usurp its students. The liberal arts are not nurtured and protected for another generation in the university. Instead, their umbilical cords have become cut with the cleaver of race/class/gender no-nothingism. Again the theme: the more bloated, exploitive, and costly the university, the more it lashes out it that it is short-changed, the victim of philistine budget cuts, and the last bastion of civilized life.

Each day when I drive to work I try to look at the surrounding communities, and count how many are working and how many of the able-bodied are not. I listen to the car radio and tally up how many stories, both in their subject matter and method of presentation, seem to preserve civilization, or how many seem to tear it down. I try to assess how many drivers stay between the lines, how many weave while texting or zoom in and out of traffic at 90mph or honk and flip off drivers.

Today, as the reader can note from the tone of this apocalyptic essay, civilization seemed to be losing.

I appreciate VDH tremendously, but as I wrote in framing my review of America 3.0, I can no longer indulge in the Apocalypticism so in vogue throughout political sentiment on both Right and Left.

There are many solutions to our problems out there. There just isn’t one single absolute answer. (And in fact it’s the pursuit of the belief that there is — what Bennett and Lotus define as America 2.0 — that has largely led America to many of these problems in the first place.)

5. Barry Rubin here at PJM: Why the Arab/Muslim World Is Trapped

While we see few occasions of consciousness–and certainly few publicly expressed–from Arab and Muslim intellectuals of what is really going on, they still do take place. For example, in a December 30, 2013, interview that aired on CBC TV, Egyptian novelist Youssef Ziedan said:

We should reconsider our notions regarding the Jewish question. We are not even aware how much this affects us. [Antisemitism] has become a common trade, benefiting all our politicians. Any politician who wants to gain popularity curses Israel, but when he comes to power, he has no problem with Israel.

That’s stupidity. That’s stupidity which is connected to the ignorance of the people. We should reconsider this. Nobody looks out for our interests. We should be aware of this.

In other words, Ziedan shows keen consciousness of political movements and how leaders manipulate them.

6. At the Daily Mail: ‘You are a colossal fraud. There’s only one thing left for you to do’: How the FBI tried to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into suicide with anonymous note

Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover feared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so much he sent the civil rights leader an anonymous letter urging him to commit suicide, it has emerged.

A new book has chronicled how the FBI under Hoover classified King as ‘the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country’ and went to extreme lengths – including breaking in and bugging his home, office and hotel rooms – to destroy him and his work to bring about racial equality.

After delivering his ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ at the 1963 March on Washington, the government’s interest in the leader intensified and Hoover allocated significant resources to monitoring King’s movements and eavesdropping on his conversations, according to ‘The Burglary: the Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.’

I wonder what Hoover would think of an NSA that has the capability of delivering reports on every single computer user’s porn preferences?

7. An excerpt from Kevin D. Williamson’s Encounter Broadside, What Doomed Detroit:

Cover with Siberian Husky:

I just finished this great 34 page broadside pamphlet about what destructive, racist ideologies doomed Detroit and what economic policies accelerated the bankruptcy of a once prosperous American city. Explains the facts well. #history #marxism

Excerpt from page 19:

"The model of government at the federal, state, and local level that emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s was built on a defective foundation: the belief that the postwar economic boom would last forever." - Kevin D Williamson, page 19 of What Doomed #Detroit an Encounter Broadside on #history #economics #racism and #ideology

Make a point to pick up this great analysis. It’s a quick read you can manage in a half hour or less and then have an understanding of the multiple factors that bled Detroit dry over decades.

8. Glenn’s USA Today column this week: Government conspiracy theories aren’t crazy

Spend a little while on Twitter or in Internet comment sections and you’ll see a significant number of people who think that the NSA may have been relaying intelligence about the Mitt Romney campaign to Obama operatives, or that Chief Justice John Roberts’ sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail.

A year ago, these kinds of comments would have been dismissable as paranoid conspiracy theory. But now, while I still don’t think they’re true, they’re no longer obviously crazy. And that’s Obama’s legacy: a government that makes paranoid conspiracy theories seem possibly sane.

What are the potential solutions to the NSA spying on all internet traffic and making backup copies of everyone’s email inboxes and g-chats? There really isn’t one, from what I can tell. Even if some law is passed saying the NSA needs to stop providing the ability to spy on your keystrokes to the 29-year-old Edward Snowden nutjobs they hire then abuses will still happen. And BTW, do you think Vladimir Putin has similar capabilities?

How about this: the genie’s out of the bottle here and there are bigger fights to have. Anytime you do something digitally, online you should just accept the fact that someone could be spying on you or could recover the data about what you did later. And then live your life accordingly. Want privacy? Write by hand in a journal or how about *gasp* on a computer or something that isn’t hooked up to the internet?

9. Ed Driscoll here at PJM: Volokh Conspiracy Takes the Boeing

“Very interesting day at The Washington Post. Left-wing Ezra Klein is out and the much-respected conservative legal blog,The Volokh Conspiracy,is in,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism. Already the Jeff Bezos era is becoming an interesting one.”  John links to this press release from the Washington Post

The Washington Post today announced a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog that covers law, public policy, politics, culture and other topics.

Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, founded the blog in April 2002, and it quickly became a regular destination for Supreme Court junkies, academics, and anyone interested in law and national issues.  Most of the contributors are law professors, and include some of the top legal scholars in the nation.

Great for them! I’ll make a point to start featuring more of their posts in my link round-ups.

10. The Daily Mail reporting on a disturbing viral story: ‘You ruined my life’: Brave woman, 28, posts video of her phoning female teacher who ‘sexually abused her as a 12-year-old’

A 28-year-old woman has posted online a video of her confronting the female teacher who allegedly molested her as a 12-year-old girl.

The shocking clip, which was uploaded to YouTube last Friday, shows a woman who identifies herself by the name Jamie X, talking about abuse that she allegedly suffered at the hands of a teacher at Chemawa Middle School in Riverside, California. 

Jamie X calls Alhambra Unified School District where she claims that her attacker is now an assistant principal. In the call, she tells the woman, whose name is not being released by MailOnline, that she did something terribly wrong.

It can sometimes be very difficult trying to find the line between internet justice and internet vengeance. Not so much in this case here. Just watch the video. The assistant principal has since resigned. See this interview of Jamie X:

Question: was this the best way to make sure that this assistant principal can no longer be in a position of power? What was the other, better solution? And as Jamie points out in the interview, she now expects others to come forward. Perhaps someone whose crimes were committed more recently so charges can be filed?

11. Bryan Preston: Has Wendy Davis’ Charmed Run for Governor Started to Implode? (Update: Meltdown)

All of this speaks to Davis’ honesty and integrity. If she cannot be counted on to accurately report her own history, she’s likely to run a slipshod governorship that remains at arm’s length with the truth. Asking legitimate questions about her veracity is not a personal attack, but the vetting that political candidates should expect to undergo when they seek high office and the power that comes with it. Her reaction to the publication of this story suggests that her skin hasn’t gotten any thicker since she blamed the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for her first political defeat and sued the paper for endorsing her opponent, back in 1996.

12. Time: Facebook Is About to Lose 80% of Its Users, Study Says

Basically, Facebook users will lose interest in Facebook over time as their peers lose interest — if the model is correct. ”Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” write the researchers.

Are you someone who has given up Facebook recently in search of better solutions for keeping in touch with your friends and family? What are better social networking options? I’ve been upping my Twitter and Instagram usage lately.

13. Roger L. Simon: The Duranty Prize Is Back—with an Addition

On October  10, 2012, PJ Media and The New Criterion combined forces to give the first annual Walter Duranty Prize for journalistic mendacity, named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow bureau chief between 1922 and 1936. Duranty is notorious for having whitewashed Stalin’s atrocities, notably the forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians known as the Holodomor. Duranty’s cleansed reports were further responsible for encouraging Franklin Roosevelt to recognize the Soviet Union.

That last sentence there is the big, painful truth: American history for the 20th century was transformed because FDR, misled by disinformation in The New York Times, chose to recognize the Soviet Union, an evil criminal state built on torture, murder, and lies. That was when the floodgate broke down for the Marxist assault on America’s institutions.

14. Via Truth Revolt, Nick Gillespie at the Daily Beast: Ending the War on Pot is Obama’s Last Chance for a Legacy

With just three years left in office and a possible Republican landslide in the fall’s midterm elections, Obama must be in something close to panic mode. His health care plan seems like it’s imploding, his foreign policy and civil liberties record is awful, and the economy is still barely stumbling forward into an uncertain future. Enthusiastically winding down the federal war on pot would be popular with voters and, as important, wouldn’t require immediate cooperation from Congress.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells Remnick that in 2007, Obama explained, “I have no desire to be one of those presidents who are just on the list—you see their pictures lined up on the wall. … I really want to be a President who makes a difference.” But Obama’s approval ratings are mired in the low 40s, a reality he partially—and unconvincingly—attributes to racism: “There’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.” As HotAir’s Ed Morrissey notes, the existence of rump racists completely fail to explain Obama’s two electoral victories and his 60 percent-plus approval ratings at the start of his presidency. A far better explanation is simply that he’s failed to accomplish much of anything the public likes.

Would it honestly surprise anyone if President Valerie Jarrett decided to do this? It’s kind of her Hail Mary Jane last resort, isn’t it? One final big, feel good invocation of the goddess to distract people while Iran goes nuclear. Is there a more important issue in the final years of Obama’s presidency than preventing the further rise of Iran as the world’s most dangerous global terror state?

Oh yeah, making sure you can buy cheap pot at Wal-Mart. Should marijuana be legal at the federal level, thus allowing individual states to regulate as their voters see fit? Of course, but let’s be sure and call it exactly what it is should Jarrett puppet Obama onto this path: an unneeded, wholly hypocritical act designed just to distract stupid people. Bread and circuses, as VDH would say.

15. Michael Walsh here at PJM: Mitt Romney and How the West was Lost

Like my PJ colleague, Victor Davis Hanson, I too am pessimistic about the future of our country. Like many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that, during the election of 2012, the country would somehow come to its senses and evict from the White House an obviously unqualified charlatan with a threadbare act, and that we would begin the slow restoration of Foundational values to the Republic. Andy McCarthy, Roger Simon, Victor, Roger Kimball, Dr. Helen, J. Christian Adams — all wrong. And these are not stupid people; neither is Michael Barone, who also fell on his face.

Well… some of us were pretty pessimistic about Mitt “least-worst-option” Romney the whole time. What I wrote as the conclusion of my article “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology” on November 4, 2012:

Sitting here on this Sunday morning before the election, the Sun now up, reflecting back on these years scouring through dusty old Marxist books, trying to understand a president who built his career on a mountain of lies, I confess a peace with either electoral result on Tuesday. A part of me almost wishes that Obama steals wins reelection (as I anticipate he will). The thought of him quietly retiring to a mansion in Hawaii in January to live out the rest of his life in comfort and adoration should inspire nausea. Only if Obama wins reelection do conservatives have a chance to hold him accountable for Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and all the crimes we don’t even know about yet. The man has blood on his hands and we can’t let him get away with it.

An ancient dictum popularized in recent years by the late Christopher Hitchens on the path forward, should Tuesday disappoint:

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

Do Justice and Let the Skies Fall 

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PJ Media Story Round Up

Nicholas Ballasy: Gates on Reid: ‘I Do Denigrate Him,’ But ‘I’ve Tried to Critically Appraise’ People in Washington

Stephen Green: Care versus Coverage

Tom Blumer: Don’t Feed Us This Mitt Again

Rodrigo Sermeno: EPA Administrator Says Coal Rules Necessary Because of ‘Devastating Impacts on the Planet’

Rick Moran: The Most Expensive, the Most Corrupt, and the Most Dangerous Olympics in History

Bethany Mandel: There Isn’t Enough Booze in the World, Dennis Rodman

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Kathy Shaidle: Neil Young Doubles Down on the Crazy

Chris Queen: New Photos of Challenger Disaster Emerge

Theodore Dalrymple: Should You Vaccinate Your Children?

Barry Rubin: Why Lennon and Dylan Know All About Islamist Hegemony

Me: ‘Our Happiness Affects Others Profoundly. That’s Why Happiness is a Moral Obligation.’

Becky Graebner: Is that a Geoduck or a Parsnip?

These 3 Photos Fail to Do Justice For This Morning’s Southern California Sunrise

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New at PJ Tatler

J. Christian Adams: Virginia Hustle: Governor Bob McDonnell Indicted

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Sean Hannity Says He’s Leaving New York Following Gov. Cuomo’s Intolerant Statement Against Conservatives (Updated)

Democrats, Media Keep Revealing Their Totalitarian Tendencies

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

Mullen: Washington ‘Doing Handstands’ as If Grave Problem of National Debt ‘Has Gone Away’

Co-Chair of Russia Caucus Would Have ‘Trepidation’ About Travel to Sochi

More From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

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From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Juan Williams: Concern Troll

Required Reading

Smells Like Wii-U

Rocky Mountain High High

To Hell in a Heavily Armed Handbasket

“A Record Year For Killing Christians”

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

News You Can Use

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From PJM’s San Jose Editor Ed Driscoll

The Politico is Betting on Ezra

It’s Anthony Burgess’s World, We’re Just Living In It

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‘Our Happiness Affects Others Profoundly. That’s Why Happiness is a Moral Obligation.’

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

If you like this video please be sure and read the book that inspired it, Dennis Prager’s Happiness is a Serious Problem. It’s a real life-changer book that will provide some of the basic tools

And get caught up on courses you may have missed at Prager University here. Last week I blogged that their video on rent control is an effective way to “Explain the Folly of Big Government to Your Democrat Friends and Family.”

Click to visit Prager University.

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What Is Pop Culture Polytheism?

Monday, January 20th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 2, day 5 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

Last year I started experimenting with Instagram. Inspired by PJM columnist Zombie I decided to create an account to A) confuse the hell out of people, B) stir up trouble, and C) explore the truth of what people believe in the world today without the baggage of my existing politically incorrect identity clouding how they addressed me.

As with Zombie, with “Thoth and Ma’at Married” people can’t even tell if I’m a man or woman — the handle includes the names of both male and female Egyptian deities of writing (and thus serves as my stealth so-con way of promoting marriage too). They likewise can’t tell at first glance what my religion, politics, or philosophy are. I use the account to engage with people all across the spectrum of cultures and ideas to try to learn more about where their values come from and how they think. On January 10, one of the atheists that I follow posted a photo in which he asked for anyone to ask him his opinion about anything. I asked which side he supported in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s the exchange that followed and the revealing admission from an atheist about where he really learned right from wrong in our pop culture-dominated world today:

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So he simultaneously admits he knows nothing but expresses his preset ideological opinion that the governments are driven by money and the militaries by primitivism.

Here’s when I drop my counterculture conservative provocation, defining the evil in the issue and then seeing how he or any of his followers choose to react to the facts:

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Did my provocation catch any fish? Yes, two revealing responses. The first a somewhat innocent, naive idealist, and the second doubting my facts.

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One thing that I’ve learned in these exchanges over the years is to try to cut to the key points you want to make. Don’t go on and on. Just give the link and state your idea. Over-writing is a sign that you’re not confident in what you’re saying.

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Here’s where I pose the question that really matters to me for my research and writing: if you’re an atheist, from where do you get your values? I then offer a number of possibilities. Usually I’ll try to throw out five or six, here just three:

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Sounds like a good punk rock song title, doesn’t it? “Let Me Stab to Be Corrected.” This is a much more cordial exchange than many that I have with more hostile secularists. But then again, with this particular meme it allowed for more of a thoughtful discussion. Perhaps I should start experimenting with using “Ask My Opinion” and “Ask Anything” type images to fish for more interesting questions…

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I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to remind atheists that there are multiple ways of reading the Bible is to start talking about Maimonides. See Douglas Rushkoff’s Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism for the accessible introduction that turned me on to the Rambam not just as a Jewish theologian, but as a foundational thinker of Western civilization and one of the inspirers of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and the founding of America.

And here’s where I got the kind of off-hand, not-even-thinking-about-it, honest admission that I look for when engaging in these kinds of exchanges:

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It’s hard for me to pinpoint with as much precision as @isaac_of_portage just which specific pop culture properties most influenced my values and understanding of good and evil. There are just so many from Star Wars to Super Mario to the Disney canon which shaped my childhood and initial adolescence much more than the irregular church attendance in mushy Methodism.

Though, as I mentioned in the exchange, seeing Schindler’s List in seventh grade — amidst the controversy of it being broadcast uncensored, commercial-free on NBC — did psychologically scar me somehow. But it’s a way that I needed to be scarred — it was one of the big beginning-to-wake-up-to-evil moments that would take a long time to process. Throughout my life in my obsessions with movies, books, comics, and video games, I understand that I’ve been influenced both for the good and the bad. Some pop culture properties derive from the foundational stories and myths of Western civilization, others are reinventions of the primitive, pre-modern death cults which one needs to understand in order to make much sense of the first five books of the Bible. (I’ve found from years of these kinds of exchanges that many secularists misinterpret the Bible to such an extent that they end up taking the side of the Egyptians and Canaanites, not realizing just what the ancient Hebrews were rebelling against — nature worship, human sacrifice and temple prostitution.)

So when I talk about Pop Culture Polytheism, I don’t do so with complete condemnation, because it is a religion that I have practiced to one degree or another all my life and still do to a lesser, more controlled extent today. Pop culture polytheists are those who use pop culture properties as substitutes – or supplements — to religion. You can be a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, secular humanist, etc. first and a pop culture polytheist second — many people are, more should be.

When pop culture is understood as a tool for us to better understand and engage with the world then it’s useful and valuable. When it’s held up as how we should model ourselves, when the figures dancing across the screen become like the gods on Mount Olympus, then we’ve got a problem. And that’s what we have to face and confront today. Pop culture polytheism can be a wonderful thing — my wife and I bond deeply over our shared Disney and Star Trek enthusiasms — but it is only a toolbox, not a foundation upon which to build a life. So in keeping with my third New Year’s resolution…

10 Headlines from Around the Web this Week

Starting With 6 Pop Culture Polytheist Idols of the Age

1.Mediaite: The Church of ‘Yeezianity’ Is a New Religion That Worships Kanye West

This is of course something that West has inspired since posing as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone. He put out the magick spell of himself as the Messiah and others took him up on his offer.

2. Jessica Winter at Slate: Did Woody Allen Molest His Adopted Daughter 22 Years Ago?

In November,Vanity Fair published Maureen Orth’s revisitation of the Allen-Farrow scandal, including the first-ever media interview with Dylan. The interview was a bombshell: Dylan (who now uses a different name) did not waver from the story she told at age 7 about Allen molesting and sexually assaulting her in the attic of her mother’s home in Connecticut, on Aug. 4, 1992. On her side is her brother, media-star-in-the-making Ronan Farrow. After Allen received a lifetime-achievement award at last Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony,Ronan tweeted, “Missed the Woody Allen tribute—did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?”

So what should an outside observer make of the Allen-Farrow debacle, two decades after the fact?

….

In his June 1993 ruling, Wilk also denied Allen any visitation rights with Dylan or his older adopted child with Farrow, 15-year-old Moses. In May 1994, in a hearing considering custody or increased visitation for Allen, the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court cited a “clear consensus” among psychiatric experts involved in the case that Allen’s “interest in Dylan was abnormally intense.”

Popular culture celebrates criminality — both on screen and off. Someday a lot of people are going to be very ashamed that they gave Allen the benefit of the doubt for all these years. I suspect that some day we’ll have a better idea of the full extent of the truth. If Allen is who his accusers claim he is then eventually more victims will emerge. And too many to be denied.

But will anybody care? They still listen to Michael Jackson songs, don’t they?

3. Uproxx: If The Posters For This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Movies Were Honest

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Why does Martin Scorsese have to keep remaking the same movie about violent, sex-obsessed, macho jerks over and over again?

4. Buzzfeed: Why “12 Years A Slave” Star Lupita Nyong’o Should Be Your New Fashion Idol

But you should also know her as YOUR NEW FASHION IDOL AND A GODDESS WALKING AMONGST US.

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5. …but also oozes goddess in this sleek, formfitting little black dress.

….

13. And don’t let the white man’s lighting fool you, HER SKIN IS A FLAWLESS BLANKET OF FLAWLESS.

BOW. DOWN.

So is it her fashion sense that’s being worshiped or her skin color?

5. Andrew Johnson at National ReviewABC Swoons: 50 Ways to Celebrate Michelle Obama’s Birthday

In preparation for the first lady’s 50th birthday on Saturday, ABC News hasserved up a fawning list 50 ways to celebrate the occasion.

It highlights Michelle Obama’s most memorable and glamorous moments. Below, ten examples from the list, which you can read in full here:

Dance to Beyonce

Move into a massive new house with your family and invite your mother to move in too

Make the cover of Vogue

Buy a Jason Wu dress

Hang out with your friend, Oprah

Same question.

6. Uproxx: 10 Better Ways Of Spending The $10,000 Jezebel Paid For Untouched Lena Dunham Photos

There are no winners here. Anna Wintour put Lena Dunham on the cover of Vogue, and Photoshopped out all the physical imperfections that make Dunham, y’know, a human being. Meanwhile, Jezebel offered $10,000 for the untouched photos, and within “two hours of offering [the money], [they] received six allegedly unaltered images.” But not without controversy: Brooklyn Magazine perhaps put it best, or at least the most succinct, with the headline, “Jezebel Offers $10,000 For Unretouched Lena Dunham Photos from Vogue; So, F*ck You Jezebel.”

The high priorities of the leading third wave feminist publication today.

Last night The Wife and I watched the first two episodes of the new season. What struck me as very awkward during the sex scenes is that with the new short haircut and her insistence on displaying her body she honestly looks more boyish than feminine. So these supposedly heterosexual scenes end up having this creepy homoerotic undertone to them. Hannah doesn’t look or behave like a mature woman; in both instances she’s a teenage boy. I knew too many Hannahs in college. She unfortunately is a voice of a generation.

That’s really the nature of the show and of many secular millennial pop culture polytheists: today’s politically correct ideology has pushed girls to aspire to be more masculine and men to be more feminine. In a bigger expression it’s what we see in Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett making the big decisions while hapless, wimpy Barack Obama goes out to whine that his approval ratings are tanking because people just don’t like the idea of a black president.

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Why This Year’s Oscar Nominations Confirm Film Is Now a Culturally Dead Medium

Friday, January 17th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

marseilles-death

This is Week 2, day 4 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

The Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. Here’s the full list at the Hollywood Reporter. Best picture nominees:

American Hustle - Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Captain Phillips - Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
Dallas Buyers Club - Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman, Producers
Her - Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
Nebraska - Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
Philomena - Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
12 Years a Slave - Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
The Wolf of Wall Street - Nominees to be determined

A few years back the Academy decided to expand the number of films they’d nominate for best picture, thus diluting the significance of the award. It used to be that only five films would be nominated and it could be a genuinely close race. In 2008 it was Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (The best of the them won, IMHO.) Then in 2009 it ballooned to ten, offering an assortment ranging from Avatar to Up to Precious and Inglourious Basterds.

It seems weird to compare a blue aliens action flick to a Pixar family comedy to a ghetto sentimentality to a high-brow grindhouse bloodbath. But I guess that’s just the nature of our postmodern film age. (Of the films nominated, fanatical Disney partisan I am, Up would’ve earned my vote.)

This year’s list is similarly all over the map and I haven’t seen any of them, though I imagine The Wife and I will catch some of when they start making their way to Netflix streaming. With her finishing up graduate school we tend to only make it to the theaters to see something that’s really big and mind-blowing. The Hobbit films in IMAX 3-D are well worth whichever arm or leg you’ll need to barter for a ticket.

But for a comedy or a drama, why bother going out to the theaters? The effect of seeing it on a decent-sized screen at home isn’t much different. And why bother trying to see all the best picture nominees before the show so you can talk about it when they’ve inflated the category to ten? That’s a lot of work!

Film is now a culturally dead medium. It’s akin to painting, ballet, classical music, drama, and the literary novel. Other, newer technologies have spawned mediums with greater power and influence amongst the masses while high-thinking elitists talk mostly to themselves about how their art is saving the world.

But kudos to Oscar for the delicious snub of Oprah Winfrey’s hateful The Butler, a disinformation project designed to make people believe America and conservatives are racist. The one good thing about having 10 best picture spots to fill? Intentionally only pick to fill nine of them and the message to the one snubbed is loud and clear. Are we done with the Oscar-bait genre yet?

Maybe now that “film” is dead individual movies can start to live more. Here’s the best picture nominee I’m going to make a point to see:

Here are 10 Interesting Stories From Around the Web on Thursday

1. Michael Ledeen here at PJM: Exclusive: The Voice of Iranian Dissent

I’ve received what follows from Iran, via Banafsheh Zand, who has written at PJ Media on several occasions.  As you will see, it’s an open letter from one of the bravest men of our time, Heshmat Tabarzadi, a fighter for the freedom of the Iranian people who has repeatedly put his life on the line in that worthy cause.  Heshmat was one of the central figures in the Iranian student movement, and then joined the Green Movement that was cheated out of its electoral victory in 2009.  Along with other Green leaders, Heshmat was subsequently arrested, convicted by a “Revolutionary Tribunal,” and locked away.

As he writes, he was recently paroled halfway through his 8-year sentence.  I rather suspect that the regime hoped he would take the opportunity to flee the country, but he won’t do that.  Like the Green leaders Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi, Heshmat is one of the most respected figures in contemporary Iran, and, so far at least, the regime prefers to keep them locked away rather than killing them, probably hoping they will die in prison.

Today, January 15th, they arrested him again and he is incarcerated.  It behooves any one who really cares about human rights to keep his name in front of the civilized world, to condemn his imprisonment, and to call for his release so that he can publicly and freely promote his cause, in which the civilized world purports to believe.

Read The Whole Thing. While Americans are having fun debating their popular culture other people are fighting for their freedom:

My name is Heshmat Tabarzadi. I am an Iranian secular democrat human rights activist. I have been arrested several times on charges related to my activities, most recently after the green movement and the disputed election results of 2009. In October 2010, I was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted of five charges of “insulting the Leader,” “insulting the President,” “propaganda against the system,” “gathering and colluding with intent to harm the state security,” and “disturbing public order.” I had already spent seven years of my life in prison, nearly three years of it in solitary confinement for my activities as a student leader. Additionally I have spent another 4 years of my latest verdict and still have four more years remaining. I have spent part of every year of my life in prison since 1999 and while imprisoned I have been tortured on several different occasions. Meanwhile my different publications have been shut down, I have been denied the right to peaceful participation in two secular democratic and human rights organizations, and I have been prohibited from any social activities for 10 years.

2. Mediaite: Fox’s Adam Housley Slams ‘Bigoted’ and ‘Pathetic’ Racial Remarks About His Interracial Marriage

Earlier today we reported on OWN’s special interview with TV star Mowry, in which she tearfully recounted being called a “white man’s whore,” among other slurs. Speaking with TVNewser, Housley excoriated those who wish to cut down their relationship.

“The fact that in this day and age, we get attacked for our interracial relationship is beyond sad…it is pathetic,” he said. “Yes I am white. Yes she is half black. Marrying a white man does not erase her color and marrying a woman who is half black does not mean I am blinded. The problem isn’t pigmentation…the problem is backwards, bigoted thought from people who should know better.”

3. Twitchy: Louis Farrakhan’s extraterrestrial ‘Wheel’ has nothing to do with Pat Sajak … Or does it?

If you’re like the vast majority of human beings on this planet, you haven’t closely followed the preaching of minister Louis Farrakhan, former calypso music artist, extremist Islamist, black supremacist, and all around anti-Semite. Well, it’s time you caught up on all the craziness … and Twitchy is here to help!

In short, it’s all about The Wheel. No, we’re not talking about the Wheel of Fortune. That’s Pat Sajak — different minister. It’s some kind of mothership from outer space that follows Farrakhan around. At some point, when he’s good and ready, he will climb on board to fly away from planet Earth and, for good measure, maybe kill off all of our planet’s blue-eyed devils.

4. Newsbusters: Ann Coulter Challenges Ed Schultz: ‘Invite Me on Your Show, You Lying P–sy’

Moreover, I don’t care that they’re all a bunch of pussies at MSNBC, but cut the B.S. posturing when you won’t allow any non-retarded conservative on your airwaves.

5. Dana Stevens at Slate: Entry 9: Forrest Gump and the Sundance Kid snubbed by the Academy!

So I promise to return to 12 Years in our next round (and please get started without me if you like). But first, a few observations about this morning’s predawn rites: The biggest puzzle for me is why the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, a near-universal presence on top-10 lists throughout the land and certainly a far more accessible movie than their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, has been entirely shut out of the major awards (though it did get some recognition in the technical categories, including a nod for its magic-making DP, Bruno Delbonnel, for his cinematography).

6. Noah Rothman at Mediaite: A Fringe Coalition: When the Left and Right Join Forces to Discredit the Center

The network’s prime time hosts have, in fact, gone all in (so to speak) in the effort to expose Christie as a vindictive and manipulative “bully,” going so far as to repeatedly broadcast arcane and unsubstantiated theories about Christie’s motives. National Review editor Rich Lowry correctly noted that the various theories posited by MSNBC personalities designed to make Christie a toxic property“failed to meet the most basic evidentiary standard of, you know, marshaling some evidence.”

But those theories satisfy a purpose, one with bipartisan appeal, apparently: The desperate need shared by both the far-right and the far-left to smother the Christie juggernaut in its crib.

Pundits on the cable news networks often lament the lack of bipartisanship that supposedly characterized an idealized version of American history, often while failing to recognize their own roles in an era of hyper-partisan politics. But these pundits could just as easily recognize it in the emerging fringe alliance. Both of America’s political extremes apparently view centrism as an existential threat and are willing, if reluctantly, to ally in order to guarantee that theirs remain the loudest and most influential voices in the room.

I’ll keep reading Rothman, who I regard as one of the best media writers around, but I found this one to be a misfire in the narrowness with which he chose to frame the “far-right” and “far-left.” I registered my dissent with him on Twitter:

 

7. New Ann Coulter Column: IS CHRIS CHRISTIE LESS BELIEVABLE THAN TAWANA BRAWLEY?

Even in 1997 — a decade after Brawley’s story had been proved a hoax beyond a scintilla of a doubt — Sharpton arranged for her to give a speech to his United African Movement at a Brooklyn church.

I find it hard to believe that Al Sharpton did not know Brawley was lying about being raped by a Nazi cult on the Wappingers Falls police force.

Brawley’s boyfriend later told Newsday that she had admitted to him at the time that she cooked up the story with her mother. Is it believable that she didn’t also tell her trusted adviser Al Sharpton?

Is Al Sharpton a “far left” figure? Maybe he was when first starting out, but these days he’s within the bosom of the Democratic Party. He’s “left” and his views may be “far out” sometimes, but his views, as despicable as they are, count as within the mainstream of progressive/so-called liberal thought.

How about this for a definition: you’re not “far” anything if you choose to work through either the Democratic or Republican parties.

8. Andrew Klavan at Truth Revolt: Lena Dunham Exposes the Truth About OnScreen Nudity

I’ve been thinking a lot about Lena Dunham’s naked body.  It’s a difficult job, but someone’s got to do it.  Last week, TheWrap’s TV Editor Tim Molloy got yelled at because he dared to ask why Dunham was always taking her clothes off on her TV show Girls.  Girls is an HBO series in which the 20-something actress daughters of famous people — including the daughters of newsman Brian Williams and playwright David Mamet — portray obnoxious, self-obsessed 20-something females trying to make it in New York.  About 870,000 people watch the show every week.  That’s not a lot, but I suspect most of them work in the media.  Anyway, that would explain why the show gets such ecstatic reviews.

9. At Elle last month, hat tip to Kathy ShaidleThe Carrie Bradshaw Myth – What’s Wrong with ‘Sex and the City’ – ELLE

Well, guess what? I’m an editor at ELLE.com. I have a formidable pile of Miu Miu. My love life is actually pretty exciting. And with every TBS re-run or SATC marathon on the Style Network, I’m starting to realize something kind of sad: What I didn’t “get” in my younger days wasn’t the secret to Carrie’s coolness… it was that Carrie Bradshaw is an idiot. And a sucker. And—this is the part that hurts me most—a really shitty modern woman.

And I think that’s what pisses me off most about Carrie Bradshaw, what makes me angry at myself for not seeing it before: Carrie pretends to be independent and free-thinking, but at her core, she’s a totally passive woman who can’t lead an adventure or survive without knowing someone (or actually, everyone) is totally in love with her. Despite her “girls just wanna be free” party line, Carrie Bradshaw still needs a guy to make her feel complete. And to me, that’s beyond dumb. It’s kind of unforgivable.

10. Life News: 29-Year-Old Woman’s Beautiful Answer to “Why are You STILL a Virgin?”

I admire Mandy’s stand. As a 32-year-old virgin who’s happily getting married this summer, I know how challenging it can be to save sex for marriage. As a woman who works at a pregnancy resource center, I also see the damaging effects of sex outside marriage. Sex is meant to be a holistic experience that touches our minds, bodies, souls, and emotions. It’s more than just a pleasure; it’s a pleasure that comes with great responsibility.

PJ Media Story Round Up

Lead PJM Stories

Bridget Johnson: $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Easily Approved by Congress

Bryan Preston: Get Ready, NRA: Harvey Weinstein Is Coming After You with a Movie Starring Meryl Streep

Bridget Johnson: Colorado Congressman Finds Obamacare Cancellation Number Higher Than Reported

Andrew C. McCarthy: KSM’s Prison Communiqués: Enemy Combatants Back To Being Criminal Defendants

Bridget Johnson: Ellison: Tea Party Has ‘Destroyed the Republican Party and Use It Only in Name’

Rodrigo Sermeno: Coburn to Congress: ‘The Problem Is Us’

Bill Straub: Agencies Sobering Up Travel Spending After Conference Parties

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Bryan Preston: Justin Bieber Should Be Deported

PJ Lifestyle Cute Animal Videos: The Talking Porcupine Likes Pumpkins

Helen Smith: Why Marry if You Are a Call Girl?

Becky Graebner: #WashingtonDC: Moments of Beauty Chronicled by Instagram

Kathy Shaidle: Is Canada Becoming the Proving Ground for Eco-Terrorism?

Daily Reading

Page 19 of Frank S. Meyer’s In Defense of Freedom:

Frank S. Meyer's critique of scientism starts In Defense of #Freedom Excerpt from page 19 on the shortcomings of political science and other soft sciences that imitate the hard sciences. #politicalscience #politics #conservatism

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Why We Need To Celebrate More Holidays

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

This is Week 2, day 3 of my new 13 Weeks Radical Reading Experiment. I keep a daily journal of the most interesting media that crosses my path each day. See or create something I should check out? Email me at DaveSwindlePJM@gmail.com

1. P. David Hornik Here at PJ Lifestyle today: Tu Bishvat, Israel’s Holiday of Trees

This Wednesday evening and Thursday mark the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat (the name refers to the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat). Also known as the New Year of Trees and as Israeli Arbor Day, it’s a minor, nonbiblical holiday, its source in the Talmud. But quite a to-do is made about it in Israel.

The Talmud specified Tu Bishvat as the day on which the annual agricultural cycle begins. Considering that the holiday falls in January or, at best, February, this—the middle of winter—may seem a strange time for agricultural rebirth. It is, though, the time in the Land of Israel when—amid the cold and damp, but with sunnier intervals—you start to see the first white and pink almond blossoms.

You also see packages of dried fruits (dates, figs, apricots, pineapple) and nuts, especially almonds, everywhere. In the Diaspora, Tu Bishvat was marked by eating fruits of the Land of Israel. In the European Diaspora with its cold winters, that meant dried fruits. Now, back in the Land of Israel, they’re ubiquitous at this time of year.

I admire my Jewish friends for all the holidays in their religion and how diligent they are in celebrating them. It’s a practice that we should all keep in mind regardless of faith or lack thereof — making time to just step apart from the world for a moment and reflect on who we are where we’re going.

Because it’s a dangerous, cruel place out there.  Here’s a decadent, crime-ridden collection of headlines for today. Sorry.

2. Daily Mail: Women who sleep around at university are ‘more likely to become depressed’

3. The Onion: Unemployed, Miserable Man Still Remembers Teacher Who First Made Him Fall In Love With Writing

Sheard, who has reportedly been unable to hold down any semblance of well-paid, full-time employment, constantly struggles to stay financially afloat, has thus far failed to make a living off of writing as a career, and has frequently spiraled into long periods of severe depression and unhappiness. “She introduced me to Faulkner, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Joyce, and that’s what began my lifelong love affair with the narrative form. Those authors really opened up a whole new world to me, which ultimately inspired me to devote my whole life to the craft of prose. Mrs. Merriman was the catalyst for that; I’ll never forget her.”

For some reason Glenn Reynolds’ book The New School and all those literature and philosophy and religious studies majors all across America come to mind…

4. Chris Hedges at TruthDig: The Trouble With Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics, including the New Jersey multimillionaire and hard-line Democratic boss George Norcross III. Among his other supporters are many hedge fund managers and corporate executives and some of the nation’s most retrograde billionaires, including the Koch brothers. The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge apparently in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to support the governor’s 2013 re-election is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.

Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. They have had enough of what they perceive to be Barack Obama’s softness. Christie fits the profile and he is drooling for the opportunity.

The Romney campaign, which reluctantly agreed to Christie’s incessant demands for private jets, ungainly entourages and expensive hotel rooms in return for campaign appearances by the governor in behalf of the GOP nominee, decided against selecting him as running mate because, as the authors write, Romney’s vetters were “stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record.”

Hilarious. Christie is a third-world despot and we need to “overthrow the corporate state.”

5. TheWrap Beats Deadline Hollywood and Variety’s Web Traffic in December

The site’s growth milestone marks an all-time monthly high for both unique visitors and page views

TheWrap is pleased to announce that it has achieved its highest traffic month in the history of the site, surpassing both industry trades Variety and Deadline.

According to comScore, TheWrap scored 3.4 million unique visitors in December 2013, besting both Deadline Hollywood (2.6 million) and Variety (2.6 million) by almost 700,000 unique visitors each.

Among the four Hollywood industry news sites, the comScore ranking places TheWrap No. 2 behind The Hollywood Reporter which earned 5.7 million unique visitors in December, according to the ranking service.

Good for them!

6. E.J. Dionne also at Truthdig: Why Chris Christie Is Conservatives’ Worst Nightmare

What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government? It is that a leader or the coterie around him will abuse the authority of the state arbitrarily to gather yet more power, punish opponents and, in the process, harm rank-and-file citizens whose well-being matters not a whit to those who are trying to enhance their control.

This, of course, is a quite precise description of what happened when Gov. Chris Christie’s aides ordered the closure of some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September. Their motivation was political payback. The result: thousands of commuters along with emergency vehicles, school buses and pretty much the entire town of Fort Lee, N.J., were thrown into gridlock.

Using public facilities for selfish ends is the very definition of corruption, which is why this scandal bothers people far outside the conservative orbit.

7. Recode: AOL Finds a Home — Off Its Books — For Patch

Patch isn’t dead, and AOL isn’t officially done with it. But Tim Armstrong’s big bet on local news has come to an end: The AOL CEO is handing over Patch to investment fund Hale Global, which will run the network of news sites.

The deal is structured as a joint venture, and AOL will hold on to a small stake. But Hale will control and operate the company, and AOL will no longer have to fund Patch’s losses, which Armstrong had promised would stop by the end of 2013 but didn’t.

Hale specializes in turnaround projects and “special situations,” and normally that would mean that many of the 900 Patch sites would be shuttered — especially since that’s what AOL said it was going to do last summer. But AOL and Hale say all of the Patches will remain open.

Then what?

FAIL.

8. My friends Mark Tapson at Acculturated: Nymphomaniac: Artistic Courage or Humiliation?

I’ve avoided writing about Danish director Lars von Trier’s upcoming arthouse movie epic Nymphomaniac for two reasons: one, such blatant titillation is boring, and two, I didn’t want to give publicity to a film I feel certain will be a degrading experience. But the recent revelation that actor Shia LaBeouf secured his role in the movie partly because he sent pictures of his penis to the filmmakers has compelled me to comment.

If you’re not familiar with von Trier, he’s the provocateur behind such disturbing flicks as Dancer in the DarkAntichristDogville, and now the sexually explicitNymphomaniac – which, as the title suggests, isn’t exactly a Disney movie, and which is notable mostly for its unusually creepy marketing campaign consisting of posters of the actors in mid-orgasm. If you have ever found yourself wondering what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo bad guy Stellan Skarsgaard looks like during sexual climax, well, now you know. As Midwestern storyteller Garrison Keillor once put it, “If it feels good, it probably doesn’t look good.”

I saw a whole lot — too many — of these “explicit sex in dramatic feature” independent and foreign films back in my film critic and art house movie days a decade ago. Most of them are really very, very boring. The only narrative films with explicit sex that seem to be able to work are comedies where the sex is for goofy shocks. Pink Flamingos and Shortbus come to mind which chuckles. “Kill everyone now!”

My conclusion: pornography and art are opposite in their purpose and effects. Art is Apollonian, pornography is Dionysian. One challenges you to rise up, to transcend your base nature; the other encourages you to dive down and wallow in your animality. The erotic — the mysterious, the transcendent — is where one gets beyond the false dualism. Erotica and pornography are not synonymous. The most erotic part of a woman’s body is her face. Example, from Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Marjorie Cameron, widow of notorious rocket scientist/occultist Jack Parsons, as the Scarlet Woman:

"She is what you call a powerful woman." - #KennethAnger commenting on self-proclaimed witch Marjorie Cameron, widow of legendary occultist and rocket scientist and naive fool Jack Parsons... #magick #occult #scarlet #babalon #scarletwoman #goddess #pagan #hermetic #thelema #aleistercrowley

I’ve had Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty on the brain today in my ongoing Disney studies. Perhaps she’s another example of this persona that Camille Paglia writes about? Think it’s a coincidence that the seductive demoness’ role in the story is to break up a family for 16 years? To divide a father from his daughter? (Yes, analyzing Disney culture through Paglia’s cultural approach seems a good approach for this year…)

Why be evil? Because it's so much fun! #disney #sleepingbeauty

But really all of this is nothing new. The cultural decadence has always been with America, it’s just more in the open now. But the old dirt is creeping out too…

9. Daily Mail: Jackie Kennedy ‘had an affair with ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and so did Bobby Kennedy’, new book based on interviews with Jackie’s ‘closest confidantes’ reveals

‘I am the sexiest man alive,’ he told a Danish newspaper before his death from AIDS in 1993. ‘Just ask Lee Radziwill. Just ask Jackie Kennedy. And if you don’t believe me, ask Bobby and John-John Kennedy. Nobody can resist me. Everyone who has gone to bed with me has fallen in love with me,’ he added.

The book details the lives of playwright Tennessee Williams and two of Jackie’s closest friends, authors Truman Capote and Gore Vidal.

‘I think Rudi systematically plans to seduce every member of my family, even my son when he grows up,’ the book says Jackie confessed to Capote. 

Capote was also said to be shocked to learn about Nureyev’s affair with Bobby Kennedy, whom the writer had long suspected of being a deeply closeted homosexual,’ says Globe.

An outraged Jackie only ended the relationship when she saw the dancer paying too much attention to her son, JFK Jr., writes Porter.

The truth about the Democratic Party is that it’s really just the political wing of a sex-and-death worshiping cult. Read Michael Walsh’s Encounter Broadside on the Party’s criminal history and origins if you haven’t already.

10. Daily Mail: Full-nude strip club loses license after allowing 13-year-old victim of a sex slave ring to dance on stage

The Miami strip club that lost its license in the wake of allegations that a 13-year-old sex slave had been forced to perform under the stage name Peaches has filed an injunction to get re-opened.

Miami Beach city manager Jimmy Morales suspended Club Madonna’s business permits for six months on Friday, while police investigate the circumstances around how a 13-year old girl was able to get a job dancing at the fully nude strip club.

But club owner Leroy Griffith has refused to take the decision lying down and on Tuesday went to federal court to file an injunction against the city.

That’s right. “Club Madonna.”

The three people accused of forcing the young runaway into a life of sex slavery after scooping her up off a Miami Beach street last month are Vilbert Jean, 36, Marlene San Vincente, 22, and DeWayne Ward, 18.

The trio forced her to have sex for money on at least one occasion, before forcing her to strip at Club Madonna on the South Beach Strip, according to an affidavit cited by the Miami Herald.

Slavery still exists in this world. But one day more people will recognize what evil is, where it comes from, and how we must fight to overcome it. And we will. And someday our descendants will look back and find it strange the way publications once flourished where stories of brutal crimes appeared next to cute Siberian huskies. (Apparently the Daily Mail and the Blaze are also doing husky videos, a perhaps necessary pick-me-up when confronted with the horrors of what humans will do to each other…)

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A Round-Up of Today’ PJM Stories…

On the Main Page

Ron Radosh: The Meaning of Putin’s Expulsion of Journalist David Satter

J. Christian Adams: Washington Post Defames Andrew Breitbart

Claudia Rosett: Instructing Iran in Terrorist Etiquette

Roger Kimball: The Evils of Capitalism

Jack Dunphy: Embattled L.A. County Sheriff to Retire

Mike McDaniel: The Truth About Sandy Hook

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Paula Bolyard: The Touching Asperger’s Storyline on Parenthood

Kathy Shaidle: ‘American Experience: 1964′ Not As Biased As Expected, But…

Sarah Hoyt: 4 Reasons Why Our Entertainment Is Getting More and More Sex Soaked

Helen Smith: Please Take Me Off Your List of Hate

Walter Hudson: Has Fox’s Gotham Already Jumped the Shark?

Sarah Hoyt: 4 Reasons Why Our Entertainment Is Getting More and More Sex Soaked

Chris Queen: Japan’s Epidemic Of Hikikomori

Paula Bolyard: Is Harvard Law Using Ted Cruz to Pander to Conspiracy Theorists?

Another Beautiful North Georgia Sunrise

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

Stephen Kruiser: Liberal Media Continues Childlike Wishful Thinking on Obamacare Enrollment Demographics

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Bipartisan Senate Report: Benghazi Attack Was ‘Preventable’

‘Stop Right There!’ — California School Tells First Grader to Stop Talking About the Bible

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

Lieberman: Benghazi ‘Obviously a Terrorist Attack by Any Definition of Terrorism’

stephengreen-2089051541

From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Chrysler Debuts New 200 Sedan

There Was an Old Space Station that Swallowed a Fly

Spudnik

Fly the Nosey Skies

The Only Recession-Proof Industry

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From PJM’s San Jose Ed Driscoll

John Kerry Flashes His Radical Chic Freak Flag

And Thus, the American Experiment Concludes

Change: US No Longer One of the Top Ten Most Economically Free Countries

Soylent Green Liberals

To Be Fair, This Would Explain Quite a Bit

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