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What Is an ‘Urban Naked Zone’?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

First the Bavarians gave the world great beer. Now this:

Munich has legalized public nudity and has also declared 6 “urban naked zones”.

The urban naked areas allow naturists to strip off and show their bums and other bits without risking arrest, the Mirror reported.

However, these nudist spots are not fenced off or hidden away.

Say what you want, but Oktoberfest just got a lot more interesting.

Germany calls its outdoor pedestrian shopping areas Fußgängerzone — literally, foot-goer-zone. Makes you wonder what they’ll call their nudity areas.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Religion, Politics & Screaming at the Internet

Sunday, April 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

screamingatcomputer

David Swindle has entered the ongoing  discussion on altruism, religion and politics here at PJLifestyle. In doing so, he’s issued a number of great questions I’ve been wrestling with over the past few weeks. Jumping back in, I’d like to address them one by one, beginning with:

Walter, Susan, Lisa, and anyone else who’d like to join the discussion: am I going too far when I say that for a good number of people “Conservatism” is a form of idolatry?

No. I’ve had a hard, sad reminder of that through some of the commentary I’ve received on a number of articles in the past few weeks. There are some wonderful, insightful people out there who I’d love to have dinner with some day. And then there’s the passionate base who has time to issue verbose rants: Contradict popular line and you can “F-off”. You know this segment of the population; they are the reason stereotypes exist. But, they also prove the point that there are people out there who worship Conservatism above all else. Ironically, they’re as abusively passionate as those “liberals” they are taught to hate.

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Crabby Old Man Jimmy Carter Is Convinced The NSA Goes Through His Emails

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

NEPAL-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY

Former president Jimmy Carter continues to be a treasure national embarrassment. The Georgia governor (how it pains me to say that) turned president has turned into the crabby old man of ex-presidents. He has now publicly admitted that he is convinced the NSA is going through his emails.

Former President Jimmy Carter told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that he has his own system to avoiding being monitored by the National Security Agency, which is under scrutiny following leaks from its former contractor Edward Snowden: “When I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I would type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it.” He added that the spy agency had abused its authority.

He also later admitted that he would be open to granting Snowden a pardon.

What does he think the NSA agents sit around doing all day?

“Hey guys, look at what Jimmy Carter ordered on Amazon! A book on killer rabbits!”

“Oh look, it’s a fundraising letter from his grandson’s futile campaign for governor of Georgia.”

“Mahmoud Abbas just forwarded him the same chain email Evo Morales sent him last week.”

And I just imagine all the world’s leaders wait by the mailbox for the next round of letters from Jimmy Carter:

Assistant: Mr. Prime Minister, you’ve just received a letter from Jimmy Carter. He wants to monitor the next election.

Prime Minister: Wait, did he actually use a typewriter to compose this?

Assistant: Yes sir, I believe so.

Prime Minister: (sighs) Well, just put it in that pile of junk mail over there.

President Carter, it’s true that the NSA’s overreach is an outrage – that’s one of the precious few things you and I can agree on. But you may have gone a little kooky to think that you’re a specific target of the agency. So, put away the Smith Corona - unless what you’re emailing about is dangerous enough to warrant the NSA’s attention. Knowing your politics, that could well be the case.

Oh, and we promise to stay out of your yard.

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Courtney Love Thinks She Has Found The Missing Malaysian Plane

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

Courtney

Technology affords us the ability to take part in the news on a minute by minute basis — sometimes to a fault. Rocker Courtney Love has turned aviation expert and breaking news journalist and revealed her thoughts on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370:

Love says she thinks she may have found the plane using the web site Tomnod to view satellite images of the search area.

Love took to her Twitter account to announce the findings.

She points to what she says is an oil slick on one of the images.

Love claims the slick is located about a mile away from Pulau Perak, the last place the plane was tracked.

Here’s her twitter post:

Courtneytweet

When a follower disputed her claim, she provided photographic evidence:

Bi6mCbxCIAAbJo7

Who knows? Courtney Love may be on to something, but only if she can get someone to do a physical search of the area.

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He’s Got the Moves Like Putin

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

According to NBC News, the Pentagon has spent $300,000 over the past 5 years to study the grooves of such creepy world leaders as Osama bin Laden and Vladimir Putin, believing that their body movements will aide in predicting their “future decisions and actions”.

 The program called the “Body Leads Project” released a 2008 report entitled “Movement, The Brain and Decision-making, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.” Pentagon researchers again studied the Russian president in 2012, Defense Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

…While the results of the research is not classified, Kirby said Friday the Pentagon has no intention of publicly releasing the two previous reports on Putin to the media.

The body movement projects are conducted under the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment which provides updated thinking and insights regarding a wide range of military and foreign policy issues.

The news comes as U.S. lawmakers are asking the Obama Administration why the Russian leader’s military movements in the Crimea came as such a surprise to the White House.

“I guess we just don’t dance to the same music,” Obama responded. He then issued an executive order requiring all State Department officials to spend their weekend partying in Russian underground clubs throughout the D.C. area.

“It’s not like they aren’t doing it already. And who could blame them? Anna Chapman was hot,” Obama remarked on the order, referencing the Russian national who was deported in 2010 for spying on the U.S. government. When asked about the potential security breaches posed by such an executive order, President Obama was quick to add, “Hey, my pen and my phone are scanned every day for the latest in spy technology. The decision making of this administration goes through me, and I go through that phone and that pen. We’re air-tight.”

In an effort to boost knowledge of Putin’s moves, the Obama Administration has also sought out Russian singer Eduard Khil, a.k.a. Mr. Trololo. Khil became famous for improvising a musical performance on live television after Soviet censors banned 3 consecutive versions of the song’s lyrics for being too pro-American.

“We’ve elected to transform our free-form performance art, meditation, and yoga, eco-friendly breakroom space into a dance studio for intelligence purposes,” one State Department official detailed on condition of anonymity. “I mean, it’s not like we’re doing it at a corporate retreat, so we won’t get in trouble for blowing taxpayer money on it like the IRS did.”

Do you have the moves like Putin? The Obama Administration wants you. The big 3 television networks are already in talks with Valerie Jarrett to produce the first ever reality talent competition Intelligence Idol to recruit new intelligence agents. Contestants would submit personal dance videos via YouTube for consideration by a panel of judges rumored to include Jennifer Lopez, Joe Biden, and at least one Drag Queen Skyping in from Kadena Air Base.

One reporter did question the cost of the Pentagon research, stating, “If you really wanted to understand Putin, couldn’t you have bought enough copies of Disinformation for the entire staff with the money you threw away on that ridiculous study?”

“Two legs good, four legs better…to dance on you with,” was the official response.

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Why the Non-Stop Punchline Shouldn’t Come as a Surprise

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Mega spoiler alert regarding the new Liam Neeson flick Non-Stop via Breitbart. Stop reading now if you’d like to be surprised when you go to the theater to see Lady Mary on the big screen.

The hero of the movie about a plane being hijacked is an observant Muslim.

Wait, it gets better.

The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.

It gets worse…

After 9/11,  this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.

And now…

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets worse…

The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

It gets worse…

The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.

Screw you, Hollywood.

Wikipedia’s summary of the film had a kinder, gentler, more bureaucratic approach to the biased plotline:

…as soldiers who were appalled by the lack of security at U.S. airports before 9/11, they hoped that framing [Neeson] as a terrorist will lead to drastically increased security.

Great. A propaganda film that uses the American military to advocate for the increased empowerment of the TSA. What next? A film featuring American soldiers deployed on the edge of the communist world spending their precious time dressing up in drag, defending  gay rights on base? (Cue musical number Springtime for Obama.)

As bizarre as it may seem, the plotline of Non Stop shouldn’t come as a surprise. Liam Neeson, the film’s star, has been contemplating converting to Islam since filming Taken 2 in Istanbul in 2012:

Movie star Liam Neeson has admitted he’s afraid to convert to Islam because of how locals in his home town would take it.

The Northern Irish actor thinks Islam “is the answer” after experiencing the Muslim call to prayer while filming Taken 2 in Istanbul.

But the 61-year-old doesn’t want to go all the way because people in Ballymena, Co Antrim, may be annoyed with his decision.

…“It wouldn’t go down very well in Ballymena.

“They would say to me, ‘You’re a Muslim? Are you a Catholic Muslim or a Protestant Muslim?’ ”

Perhaps he’ll be able to answer that question in Non Stop 2. Having edged out Son of God for top rating at the box office this weekend, it doesn’t look like the blatantly anti-American tone will disappear anytime soon, despite the lackluster ratings. Casting suggestion for the sequel: Katy Perry as the flight attendant demonstrating an appropriate use of a Muslim pendant as a non-blasphemous work-wardrobe accessory. It’d be nice to see her cover up for a change.

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The New Morality Makes Animals of Us All

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

deadbirds

First exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon in 1765, Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s ”A Girl With a Dead Canary” was designed to evoke much the same emotion as PETA member Sarah Segal’s proposed memorial to chickens who were killed in a truck accident last month in Georgia. It seems like a tacky comparison that may even be read as an insult to a well-done and even pretty (if bizarre) work of 18th century art, but the bottom line is that both pieces were created for the same purpose: To tug at viewers’ heartstrings while affirming the moral superiority of a particular cultural class.

According to British historian Simon Schama, ill-fated French King Louis XVI introduced the “cult of nature” to the throne, “replacing couches and courtisans with [the] tenderness and simplicity” of Marie Antoinette’s toy farm and the well-crafted embrace of wildlife in art. “Tears were especially prized as evidence of feeling,” Schama explains, noting that, “people wept when they saw” Greuze’s painting. “Feelings …the shallow kind were embraced by the fashionable elite.” It was the attempt of a king and class to portray themselves as perfect, superior human beings.

So it goes with the Roadkill Memorial, albeit in a much more blatantly political format. A tombstone designed to dwarf roadside memorials to mere human victims of vehicular death, the proposed memorial is intended to remind all drivers to approach all of their animal relations with reverence:

Cascada said the tombstone’s visibility would make drivers’ more wary of people and chickens alike, thereby helping to avoid unnecessary accidents and preserve the lives of chickens in transport. …But Cascada acknowledged the reality of the chickens’ final destination, making the “Go Vegan” phrase a key takeaway.

“The more people who go vegan, the fewer chickens are in this situation to begin with,” she said.

Simply stating that “meat is murder” isn’t enough anymore. For PETA, the time for mere sloganeering is over. Humans are animals, don’t you get it? You’re all slabs of meat now, and some are much more important than others.

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FCC Monitors Your News, Komrade

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
obama-brownshirts-tpc

Image from the agitprop stock at the brilliant People’s Cube.

On Thursday, Glenn Beck declared:

“Ask yourself the question: Why isn’t anyone talking about this? This is one of the most disturbing stories I have ever heard in my entire broadcast career,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “The FCC has now decided that they need to monitor the newsrooms. They need to figure out how story selection works in the newsroom.”

The renegade broadcaster’s vitriol comes in response to a Fox News story (covered by PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston) on the Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs (CIN) proposed by the FCC last May that was supposed to commence this week in Columbia, South Carolina:

 The FCC explained that it wanted information from television and radio broadcasters “to ascertain the process by which stories are selected, station priorities (for content production quality, and populations served), perceived station bias, perceived percent of news dedicated to each of the eight CIN’s and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

The FCC has identified eight CINs, or key topics that the government believes should be covered.

According to the actual FCC report, the eight CINs are:

1. emergencies and risks, both immediate and long term;
2. health and welfare, including specifically local health information as well as group
specific health information where it exists;
3. education, including the quality of local schools and choices available to parents;
4. transportation, including available alternatives, costs, and schedules;
5. economic opportunities, including job information, job training, and small business
assistance;
6. the environment, including air and water quality and access to recreation;
7. civic information, including the availability of civic institutions and opportunities to
associate with others;
8. political information, including information about candidates at all relevant levels of local governance, and about relevant public policy initiatives affecting communities and neighborhoods.

It is a story so bizarrely ridden with bureaucratic newspeak that it reads like a spoof from the pages of The People’s Cube. If only we were so lucky.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who first raised awareness of the CINs in the Wall Street Journal, warned:

The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.

This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?

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A Day in the Life of the Fest for Beatles Fans 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Beatles-themed sensory overload: That is how to describe The Fest for Beatles Fans in New York City, held from February 7-9 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. What’s it like roaming a Fest that fills four floors of a New York hotel with musicians, historians, artists, authors, yogis, meditators, the famous and well over 8,000 fans from 40-odd states and five continents? Take a look at a day in the life of The Fest.

Awesome Beatles historian Bruce Spizer and the moron at Capitol who kept turning down The Fab Four's early hits. "Harmonica-Americans don't listen to harmonica." #NYCFEST14

Beatles author and historian Bruce Spizer opened Saturday with a presentation on how the Beatles conquered America, no thanks to Dave Dexter, Jr., the Capitol Records guy who rejected hits like ”Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me” because they had “too much harmonica.”

Dear Prudence Farrow talks India, the Maharishi and TM #NYCFEST14

Dear Prudence Farrow spoke about her spiritual journey in India with the Maharishi and the Beatles before leading an introductory transcendental meditation session. The room, dubbed the Ashram for the occasion, was so packed that more chairs had to be brought in for the standing room only crowd.

The line to see Good Ol'Freda #nycfest14

Good Ol’Freda Kelly, secretary to Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, and president of the original Beatles fan club, is signing autographs! Quick, get in line!

Good Ol'Freda! #NYCFEST14

Still down to earth after all these years, Freda hates being the center of attention but enjoys being with the fans. Her grandson, a toddler, was happily drawing next to her. “Would you like Nile’s autograph?” she casually asked, to which I happily agreed. Good Ol’Freda is the Queen of Beatles Fans: regal, royal, lovely. Her documentary Good Ol’ Freda is a must-watch.

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PETA Wants A Memorial In Georgia To Honor Auto Accident Victims

Friday, February 7th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

GainesvilleChickenMemorial

Gainesville, Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta, has earned the reputation as the “Poultry Capital of the World.” Thousands of chickens make their way through Gainesville on their way to and from the processing plants throughout Northeast Georgia. With so many chickens in transit, there was bound to be an accident involving a chicken truck at some point. On January 27, a truck carrying live chickens overturned on a highway in Gainesville.

When humans die in automobile accidents, we often see makeshift memorials at the crash site. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has begun placing state-approved memorials at sites for a $100 fee at the request of family members. PETA has stepped in, petitioning GDOT for a memorial to the chickens killed in the January 27 crash.

The drivers of the chicken truck and the other vehicle involved were not seriously injured in the predawn crash on U.S. 129 near Gainesville, but “dozens” of the truck’s cargo were apparently not so fortunate, according to the local PETA member who filed the request for a “giant tombstone” to be erected in memory of the chickens.

“Although a relative of the deceased is usually required to fulfill requests for roadside memorials, I hope you will allow a concerned citizen such as me to suffice in this case,” Sarah Segal of Atlanta wrote in her application to GDOT. “These chickens, who spent their entire short lives … on a factory farm before their agonizing deaths, have no known living relatives.”

A spokeswoman for PETA has stated that the memorial will serve as “food for thought” to Gainesville’s residents and travelers in the area. Of course, with the poultry industry employing thousands of residents in the region, Gainesville is likely to view the monument as an object of ridicule and the publicity stunt that it really is. There’s no word yet on the state’s response to the request.

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Careerzillas Are Bad for Women

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

You know that article that’s been going around, about how we should stop throwing bridal showers and baby showers, and throw more parties to celebrate women when they get promotions, travel somewhere cool, or pass an educational milestone?

If you’re asking “which one?” it’s because that seems to be all the internet can talk about lately: the Non-Traditional Female Achievement Shower, or how women should be celebrated more often for all the stuff they do before getting married and starting a family.

The argument is, roughly, that women have been feted for centuries for getting married and having babies, but if we want to encourage female achievement, we should throw women Promotion Showers and New Job Parties instead. One blogger even argues she should get a party for backpacking across Asia.

This is in the name of equality (because, as you know, men have been getting special parties all along). Oh, you haven’t recently attended a party to celebrate the fact that one of your male friends completed a backpacking trip? Maybe because that’s not a thing. Okay, it is a thing, and that thing is called a “welcome home party,” and I’m only going to throw you one if I haven’t seen you in, like, five years. I’ve successfully returned from vacation many times without mourning the lack of a party to greet me.

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Obama’s Great Jewish Conspiracy That Isn’t

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
bibiobama

Typical mainstream media disinformation campaign …bet the “Joos” are behind it; their leader, Bibi, loves to be called “King”.

 Last Thursday, Seth Mandel at Commentary covered a disturbing news report featured in the Jerusalem Post:

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.

According to Israel Radio, Israeli diplomats and foreign officers have warned against this trend. According to officials based in foreign missions, the Israeli government is increasingly being viewed as fanning the flames among American Jews by encouraging them to promote the official government position while making no room for opposing viewpoints.

FrontPage Magazine, the Weekly Standard , and Breitbart were among the bigger conservative sources to pick up on the story, but that’s not surprising. The shocker is the lack of coverage on the part of left-wing Jewish-American news sources, like the Forward and Tablet Magazine. Even the non-partisan Jewish Telegraphic Agency has failed to cover the story that, as Tom Wilson at Commentary succinctly explains, has extremely plausible grounding in the scenario of current peace talks.

So much for an Israel lobby on American shores. The “Joos” who are supposedly taking orders from Israel don’t even bother to say a word to defend their dreaded Lord and Master Zion in the face of the Obama administration’s aggression. Guess they didn’t get the memo.

The one Jewish American response that hasn’t come from a conservative news source was written by a former Forward editor …and published in Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz. Commenting on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s address to the Knesset, former Forward editor and current editor of the New York Sun Seth Lipsky writes:

The American leader is sending out word that he is “disturbed” by “Jewish activism in Congress” against his administration’s entente with Iran. Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, according to Israel Radio, are even blaming Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government for encouraging Jewish leaders to criticize the White House. We haven’t had this tone since President George H.W. Bush carped about being “one lonely little guy” beset by the Israel lobby.

Obama’s message hints at the kind of double-dual-loyalty libel that Harper confronted so bluntly in articulating the basis of the policies that have made him the most pro-Israel premier outside Jerusalem. …

…What is so striking about Harper’s speech is not the ardent expressions of friendship — all recent American presidents, including Obama, have done the same. Particularly George W. Bush, who, in the well of the Knesset, spoke of the “Chosen People” and called the Jewish state “the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David.” What is striking about Harper’s speech is the willingness to confront political correctness and call the hostility to Israel for what it is.

That’s what makes Israel the “holy land”: 2 Jews with 3 opinions can still manage to agree on 1 thing: Political correctness can’t mask blatant hostility towards Israel.

If only the American Jews would get the memo. After all, my fellow politically conservative Jews and I can’t be the only ones bringing food to the “We’ve Conquered the World” after-party.

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Getting Healthy In 13 Weeks

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt
When you start thinking this would be a rest, something's got to give.

When you start thinking this would be a rest, something’s got to give.

Week 1 — Something’s Got To Give

 

As part of my “taking it easier” with my blog, over at According To Hoyt, I’ve been running ‘blasts from the past’ – i.e. posts a year or more old at least a day a week.  (For instance on Tuesday I posted Jean Pierre Squirrel, from February 2011.)

The interesting thing going through the blog is seeing how many days I curtailed posting or posted briefer or weirder because I was ill.

Now I was aware of having been in indifferent health for the last ten years or so.  It’s nothing really bad or spectacularly interesting, which is part of the issue, because if it were, I could take time off and not feel guilty.  I confess I have found myself at various occasions fantasizing about a stay in the hospital.  Which is stupid, because no one rests in the hospital.  (What I need, of course, is a stay in a remote cottage for a few days. Even if I’m writing.)  And I knew that my health got much worse in the last year.  2013 was the pits, at least since August or so.  But it is not unusual for me to spend every third week “down.” – Usually with an ear infection or a throat thingy or some kind of stomach bug.

My friends have said for years that this is because I don’t listen to my body’s signals to slow down or stop, so it has to bring me to a complete stop by making me too sick to work.

This is part of the reason Charlie Martin and I (in collaboration) are doing a series on taming the work monster.  Part of it is that I have way too much to do, and part of it is that it’s really hard to compartmentalize things when you work from home.  Eventually when we sell the house and move, we’d like to get a place where the office is a distinct area.  It was pretty much all of the attic in our last house, which meant if I came downstairs for dinner (which I did) I didn’t go up again.  But now my office is half of the bedroom (and before someone imagines me cramped in a corner, the bedroom runs the full front of the house.  We just couldn’t figure out what to do with a room that size.  We don’t sleep that much.)  This is convenient in terms of my getting up really early to work, or of my going to bed way after my husband, because I’m right there…  It’s also contributing to a 24/7 work schedule, because I can think “Oh, I should write about that” and roll out of bed, and do so.  There is no “I have to be dressed, as the sons might be roaming the house” and there isn’t (as in the other house) “the attic will be cold.”

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4 Reasons Why Our Entertainment Is Getting More and More Sex Soaked

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt
I have nothing against sex in a plotline.  I have problems with all sex and no plot, though.

I have nothing against sex in a plot. I have problems with all sex and no plot, though.

A PJM colleague, who can out herself is she so chooses, posted on Facebook about how Call the Midwife is doing well while Downton Abbey‘s ratings are going down and how this was possibly due to the fact that Call the Midwife doesn’t have plots centered on sex.

I’m the last person to write about TV shows.  I rarely watch TV (or movies); when I do, it’s usually because I’m exercising and it’s something that’s available for free on Amazon Prime.  I know my husband watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey and enjoyed it, but I figured the historical aspect of it would drive me batty, particularly as I’m right now researching that era with a view to writing a mystery series set then.

My colleague made some comment about how we seemed to be increasing the sex in our entertainment exponentially (or perhaps I just read that into her posting), and we had an exchange over what was causing the more and more sex-driven plotting in all our entertainment from TV to books.

Again, I don’t know anything about the internal process of TV and movie plotting. What I see as similarities to the fiction writing field might be completely spurious, and the result of my projection. I do see the same creep in movies and TV, though, as well as a certain amount of repetitiveness and lack of originality.

To make it clear, I don’t have anything against a sex-driven plot in its place — which is mostly, I would assume, in erotica. (Yes, there can be sex-driven literary works — Romeo and Juliet comes to mind — but usually the whole point is not getting it on.  There is a deeper exploration of the human condition.)  And I don’t have anything against sex in books.  Some books need a sex scene or two to advance the plot.

I do have an objection to sex-drive plots, when that seems to be the only thing the writer finds interesting about his characters.  And I’ve been seeing more and more of that in my fiction and — by report — in TV and movies.  I noticed this creep myself in sitcoms, back when I watched a lot of them right after 9/11. (I went through about a year; that’s all I was good for.)  Compared to the last time I’d watched a lot of sitcoms (mid ’80s), all of a sudden every joke/situation/motive was about sex or implied sex.

So what do I think is driving this creep?

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Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

rollingstone

My  colleague Walter Hudson recently ripped into the ignorance of Jesse A. Meyerson’s  Occupy-hipster treatise, “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For.” The article was published in Rolling Stone magazine, the flagship publication of Wenner Media, a privately owned company. To clarify: ”Privately held companies are not required to file financial disclosure documents with government regulators such as the SEC, so detailed financials usually are not readily available to the public.”

In other words, the publisher of the magazine that prints articles informing readers they should advocate for:

  • “Job guarantees” through the non-profit (i.e. taxpayer funded) sector
  • A “universal basic income” funded through (taxpayer-based) Social Security
  • The creation of a “simple land-value tax”
  • A taxpayer-funded “sovereign wealth fund”
  • Taxpayer-funded state-owned public banks

doesn’t need to tell you one darn thing about the amount of taxes they do (or don’t) pay. Who knows? Wenner Media might just qualify as one of Meyerson’s despised “megacorporations”. The fact that the company’s co-founder, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, is worth a cool $700 million makes you think twice, unless you’re some twentysomething hack who has a proclivity for overusing the word “blow.” Did the editors have to cut out his Beavis and Butthead-like chuckles from the text? No wonder the guy is advocating for a government-funded job watering that fern in his Williamsburg apartment (or, as he prefers to call it, “urban farming”); the only reason he managed to swing a writing gig is because he’s a glorified mouthpiece for the same yuppie political hucksters he claims to be fighting against. That’s right, Meyerson’s a Tool for the Machine. Huh-huh-huh, I said tool.

Forget the fact that the guy who thinks we have an unemployment problem because available jobs are “menial” and “boring” is also the same guy who believes putting every adult on an auto-pay system will actually improve individual well-being, stimulate the economy, and spark a cultural renaissance in “painting murals.” You can’t reason with stupid. You can only laugh at the irony of a Marxist hippie ideology being parroted in a magazine created by a Marxist hippie that has become a pathetic homage to ideas so dense and ridiculous that their owners, like Jann Wenner, long ago left them in the dustbin to pursue successful truths, like capitalism, the free market, and the ability to own private corporations.

Congratulations, kid, you’ve been duped. But at least Mr. Wenner and the 30% of Rolling Stone readers whose income exceeds $100,000 a year were kind enough to redistribute some of their money your way.

Working sure feels good, doesn’t it?

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What is the Difference Between Sociopathy and Psychopathy?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

hannibal_lecter-copy

In the previous post on the possible rise of male sociopathy here, reader Gawains Ghost says he is not sure he knows exactly what sociopathy is. He is in good company. People seem to use a number of psychological terms interchangeably and it often gets a bit confusing.

According to this article, Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us:

“suggests that the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may primarily reflect how the person using these terms views the factors contributing to the antisocial disorder.” More apt to view antisocial behavior as arising from social conflicts, sociologists typically prefer the term sociopath. Whereas, psychologists use the term psychopathy to describe a psychological disorder that is the product of a combination of psychological, biological, genetic and environmental factors (Hare 1999).

To make it a bit more confusing, psychologists use the term Antisocial Personality Disorder from the DSM-5 to describe some of the traits of the psychopath though it is important to remember that one can have APD without being a sociopath or psychopath.

This article looks decent and might help you understand more about these terms if you wish to confuse yourself even further.

******

cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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U.S. Concentration Camps on Pravda’s List of Top 10 in 2013

Monday, January 6th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

obamacamps

The Russian daily Pravdafamous for being the preferred rag of the Communist Party and “official organ of the Soviet Union from 1918-1991″, in a unique act of disinformation has attributed “concentration camps” and “secret judgments” to the United States of America:

“The U.S. has a system of control and repression that consists of secret institutions (secret judgments, concentration camps) contrary to the U.S. Constitution. None of U.S. presidents (starting with Bush) have accepted the political responsibility for the establishment and operation of the system. Snowden’s revelations destroyed the myth of the U.S. as a country of democratic values serving as a model for civilization.”

The remark, published in an article titled “Looking Back at 2013: The Top Ten Most Important Events,” illustrates the fact that the KGB acts of framing and disinformation are still alive and well in the post-Cold War era:

“Even the deep crisis of the Roman Catholic Church shows that the abscess is opened, and liberal values ​​promoted by the West have met a proper pushback in all parts of the world. Russia is entering the New Year in a greatly consolidated position, which cannot be said about the United States.”

Victories for Russia included Putin’s role in American-Syrian relations, the continuance of military-technical and oil contracts with Venezuela, and the achievement of nuclear negotiations with Iran resulting in loosened American sanctions on the radical Islamist state.

Dubbing the Boston Marathon bombing “a provocation to justify the total surveillance of NSA” Pravda also observed, “Reflections after the fact, after revelations of Snowden, make you think that either NSA operates inefficiently with all the totality of its surveillance, which proves the vulnerability of America to terrorists…”.

The word “pravda” translates to “truth” in Russian.

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The Ancient World Was Not What We Think

Saturday, December 28th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Yes, he's a monkey.  But at least he won't grow up to write awful graffiti.

Yes, he’s a monkey. But at least he won’t grow up to write awful graffiti.

As we get ready to say goodbye to another year (and I don’t know about you, but though I’m not triskaidekaphobic, I’m about ready to bid 2013 goodbye) it is important to remember that the world has been going downhill for a looooong time.

If you need proof, here are some colorful phrases from Roman graffiti (with to a link to others, less safe for work.)

Among my favorites:

4. “Oppi, emboliari, fur, furuncle.”

“Oppius, you’re a clown, a thief, and a cheap crook.”

A clarivoyant graffiti writer would have added “And two thousand years from now, in a land yet to be discovered, you could become immensely wealthy by taking public office.”

5. “Miximus in lecto. Faetor, peccavimus, hospes. Si dices: quare? Nulla matella fuit.”

“We have wet the bed. I admit, we were wrong, my host. If you ask ‘why?’ There was no chamber pot.” Found inside an inn.

So long as they had a good reason…

9. “Vatuan aediles furunculi rog.”

“The petty thieves request the election of Vatia as adele.” In ancient Pompeii, an “adele” was an elected official who supervised markets and local police, among other things.

Well, okay, so they would have understood American politics — at least in Chicago.

10. “Suspirium puellam Celadus thraex.”

“Celadus makes the girls moan.”

And you should totally believe him, because he’s not self-interested at all in posting this publicity!

So, as the new year approaches, take heart.  The world is not going to heck any faster than it was in ancient Rome, and there’s hope for humanity yet. I mean, look on the bright side — in most of the civilized world you don’t need chamberpots in hotel rooms!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Copyright: khd

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Christmas Carol Classic: Romanian Style

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Earlier this month the Jerusalem Post reported on a holiday program that aired on Romanian State television featuring a Christmas carol all about the Jews. You could make the argument that most Christmas carols — including famed favorites like Silent Night, O’Come All Ye Faithful, and Little Town of Bethlehem – are all songs about Jews, one in particular, but this ancient song promises to transcend those oldies and become an instant classic. The lyrics, translated into English, go something like this:

“The kikes, damn kikes,

Holy God would not leave the kike alive,

neither in heaven nor on earth,

only in the chimney as smoke,

this is what the kike is good for,

to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”

Reportedly the lyrics rhyme better in Romanian.

To clarify, the Romanian public broadcaster, RTV, that aired the live show issued a statement giving all the credit for the song and the performance to someone else – namely the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture. This statement led some to question exactly what constitutes traditional culture in Romania. Follow up reports indicate that “traditional culture” includes referring to Jews by the perjorative colloquial term “jidovi” when singing what are apparently 100 year old Christmas carols on live television.

Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean remarked, ”I strongly condemn any form of anti-Semitism, even more when it happens to be spread through a public media.” When asked what he thought of anti-Semitism when spread through word of mouth, he added, “Again, I’m against it – but not as much.”

From an educational standpoint, the Christmas carol brings a refined Romanian cultural understanding to the oft-touted holiday phrase, “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” One news outlet elected to report the positive side of the otherwise disturbing story, deeming the song “inclusive” of Jews in the Romanian Christmas tradition.

RTV was forced to issue an apology for airing the performance. Both the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture and the folk group that sang the song declined to comment.

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Woe Is Obama!

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Unexpectedly! Everything going wrong for the most brilliant man in the nation!

Unexpectedly! Everything going wrong for the most brilliant man in the nation!

The InvestmentWatch blog seems puzzled. They ask “Is Obama Depressed?”

The health care website is a bomb. Immigration overhaul is looking more and more like a bust. The allies are aggrieved about surveillance issues. Israel feels betrayed on Iran. The first black president didn’t even bother to go to Gettysburg, where the 150th anniversary of the most important 270-word speech ever given — the 270 words that welded the nation forever to the all-men-are-created-equal doctrine of the Declaration of Independence — would have given him a respite, and maybe a reset.

Puzzling issues indeed.  The least-engaged, most ideologically ambitious president in history messed up a lot of things and now doesn’t know what to do about it. Wasn’t this the man who in his biography said that no one ever punished him or corrected him because his grandparents thought of him as a “poor fatherless boy”? Then he got whisked into the magic-carpet-ride academia and politics reserved for those of a leftist enough bent (he looked for communist professors, after all) with an interesting personal history (for those with oikophobia, a father from a third world country is a bonus). That he also has a hereditary tan doesn’t hurt him at all in those circles, either.

BUT none of that prepared him to be effective or engaged or even to understand the real world.

Ending up in time-out at 52 for the first time in your life is not just difficult. It’s unendurable. He can’t cope with it and he will find excuses, probably excuses that make him a martyr of undeserved failure/reproach.

The fault of course lies in those who deluded themselves into seeing in this non-entity the Light Bringer: academics, political operatives and most of all what used to be the free press of the United States of America. What use is it to be free from governmental control when you will sell your ability to think for a mess of coolness?

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The Permanent Offense Brigade Objects To Norad Tracking Santa

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Or more accurately, they object to military jets escorting Santa’s Sleigh because “military=bad.”

The Chicks On The Right are on the beat for us . (Read the whole thing!)

In response to this commercial:

the left’s brigade of joyless anti-militarists are saying the following:

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said the video brings violence and militarism to a beloved tradition. Others had similar criticism. Blogs and Twitter lit up with volleys from both sides.

Josh Golin, the coalition’s associate director, reiterated his criticism in an interview with The Associated Press — but he called the brouhaha “a media-manufactured controversy.” The coalition hadn’t known about the fighter jet video until reporters called, he said. “Nobody in my organization was out there protesting,” he said.

Except the jets are Canadian and unarmed.

We suggest that the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and their allied brigade of scolds-bothered-by-other-people-having-fun take a powder, or they risk their face freezing like this:

Outraged cat is outraged!

Outraged cat is outraged!

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The EU Is Now Selling Citizenship

Sunday, December 15th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Having a fire sale.  Everything must go. Even citizenship.

Having a fire sale. Everything must go.
Even citizenship.

According to the Telegraph, the EU is selling EU citizenship by the euro.

Tiny little Malta recently announced proposals to start selling citizenship rights for €650,000 a pop. Many countries in Europe, including Britain, have similar schemes, but this one breaks new ground. In all other cases, the applicant is obliged to reside in the country for a minimum number of years before being granted a passport, and in Britain’s case, he/she is also obliged to invest in a company.

For Malta, it’s simply a case of pay the fee and get the passport. Now Malta is I’m sure a nice enough place, and no doubt there are some in the world willing to pay this stonking great price to go and live there. But essentially what’s being sold is not the right to Maltese citizenship, but to EU residency. Once in possession of a Maltese passport, you can live and work anywhere in EU.

Of course what they’re REALLY selling is the right to receive the generous EU benefits. But since the reason Malta is selling citizenships is that the high-tax-high-government-benefits model is leading to unemployment and economic collapse all over the world, people buying EU citizenship should take care.

Caveat Emptor: the citizenship you buy might not be worth the money it’s printed on.

Image courtesy of shuterstock, Copyright: Photobac

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Nazi Is the New Sexy

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

tilatequilahitler

D-List reality star Tia Tequila has re-branded herself as Hitia Tequila in a move to give Adolf Hitler the voice she feels he so rightly deserves.

Based on the celebrity’s YouTube video playlist, the decision comes after releasing a year’s worth of conspiracy theory videos, a.k.a. “Truth Vlogs,” in which the Singaporean-born American model “exposes” the Freemasons, the Bildebergers, the Illuminati, and various groups employing “mind control” techniques including “Hollywood“.

Dubbing herself “the Goddess of Love and War” Tequila posted, ““I am She, the Queen who hath come to save you from this dark world filled with NWO [New World Order] parasite invaders,” on Facebook this past Monday. The description captioned a photograph of Tequila wearing an S.S. hat and Nazi armband while posing in front of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Responding to fan criticism, Tequila clarified:

I am not going to sit here and say that I hate Jewish people because that is not the case nor is this about Jews… It is about Hitler and his side of the story that was never told since he was not the victor. However, those of you with a closed mind can think I am being anti-semite all you want because I already told you that I am not, nor will I repeat myself again.

Reports also indicate that “Tequila also refers to herself as “Hitila” in a new song she posted online on Sunday, which features the lyrics, ‘Jewluminati motherf*ckers hate me,’ and, ‘Worldwide genocide, blame it on the Jews.’”

Tequila’s “conversion” to Nazism comes 2 years after her conversion to Judaism, and one year after suffering a brain aneurysm after a drug overdose, and revealing that “…she suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, claimed her Twitter page was ‘hacked’ by her alter ego Jane, who, she described on her MySpace page as ‘crazy’ and someone who ‘always wants to kill me.’”

Jane was not available for comment at time of publication.

Tequila’s sexification of Nazism is the latest in a pop culture trend stretching back to Nazi exploitation films made popular in Italy in the 1970s. Last year’s San Diego Comic-Con welcomed Hot Nazi Chicks promoting Iron Sky, a sci-fi thriller about Nazi aliens attacking America from their home base on the dark side of the moon. There is no word yet on whether or not the Illuminati, Bildebergers, or Freemasons were responsible for the writing of the script.

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70 Years & Counting: Hitler Is Still Hot

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

The AP reports that Munich-based Constantin Film will be producing a movie based on German author Timur Vermes’s bestselling novel about the Nazi Dictator. In Er ist Wieder Da, Adolf Hitler “…awakens in modern-day Berlin and becomes the star of a TV comedy show.” No word on whether this “comedy show” will mirror the contemporary Asian game show trend of finding humor in putting fellow citizens in odd, even purportedly life-threatening situations. The film is set to be released in 2015.

Despite Hitler being a “touchy subject” for many Germans, the novel has sold over 1.3 million copies since its debut in 2012. English speakers, have no fear. A translation of the book, titled Look Who’s Back, will be released in April of next year.

In other Hitler satire news, Hitler Rants Parodies (featured above) recently celebrated five years on the web. BothVermes and Constantin Film have as much to do with the YouTube sensation as the psychotic mass murdering dictator has to do with having a laugh. One thing we can confirm: the authors of Er is Wieder Da and Hitler Rants Parodies both know how to humorously kill a conversation.

No word yet on when the satirical biopic about Soviet leader Josef Stalin (working title: Hitler Always Said I Should Laugh More) is set to hit the silver screen. According to several unconfirmed reports, the studio involved is having trouble obtaining a finished draft of the script that isn’t covered in trace amounts of polonium-210.

hitlerstalin

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