A moment’s reflection is all that should be necessary to convince anybody that our passions are not necessarily engaged by public controversies in proportion to the numerical or statistical importance of the question in hand. The debate over euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) is deeply impassioned everywhere; but not even the most enthusiastic advocate of euthanasia supposes – at least not yet supposes – that the question will ever affect other than a very tiny percentage of people.
The fact is that man is an animal that quarrels over symbols, and euthanasia is as much a matter of symbolic as of practical importance. How else are we to explain the fact, cited in an article in a recent edition of The Lancet about the new Belgian law extending the benefits of euthanasia to children, that there have been dozens of bills before the Belgian parliament desiring either to extend or to limit the scope of the current euthanasia legislation?
Reading the article and the articles to which it was linked, I came across two statements, one startling and the other importantly revealing. The starting fact was the following:
Recent studies have shown that the proportion of deaths that are the result of euthanasia or PAS in Oregon, USA as a whole, and The Netherlands, are 0.09%, 0.4%, and 3.4%, respectively.
Assuming this to be no misprint, why should the rate of physician assisted suicide be more than four times higher in the United States as a whole than in Oregon, which is one of only four states (with a total of only 5 percent of the US population between them) to permit it? Is it under-reported in Oregon? Is it carried out surreptitiously and illegally elsewhere? Are all the figures so inexact as to be virtually bogus? And if they are bogus, what does that tell us about the whole matter?
Another question is why there should be nearly forty times as many deaths by euthanasia and PAS as there are in Oregon. Is unbearable end-of-life suffering forty times more frequent in Amsterdam than in Portland? This is prima facie most unlikely. The pattern of disease in most western countries in very similar, and both in Oregon and the Netherlands cancer is by far the most common cause of requests for easeful death. Is there something sinister in the disparity?
That’s by Emily Dickinson, the wonderful 19th-century American poet who churned out almost two thousand poems in almost total obscurity, too shy to publish more than a handful of them during her lifetime.
“Heavenly Father” is a retort, couched in acid irony, and also a plaint. We are not supposed to be anything much—dust, iniquity. Creating us was a momentary lapse, a glitch. The father is not presumed to be proud of what he has wrought.
And yet, if the creations are that flawed, why blame them for their failings? It seems like a double insult—to be fashioned as something iniquitous, then also held accountable for it. Dickinson raised here a profound question about moral responsibility and the relationship of the creator to his imperfect handiwork.
The poetess died at 55 in 1886, and “Heavenly Father” is considered one of her later poems. That means she wrote it about a hundred years before the publication in 1975 of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life, the first major, groundbreaking book on near-death experiences. At that time, thanks to advances in resuscitation medicine in the 1960s, there was a sudden surge in the numbers of people—ordinary people, not mystics or spiritualists—saying they had had a direct experience of the deity. They gave descriptions of a being more logical, or reasonable, than the one Dickinson had accosted.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 - by Theodore Dalrymple
When I was young enough still to consider myself rational, I was irritated by patients who tried any remedy in desperation to save themselves from their fatal disease. I have long since mellowed and when an acquaintance of mine with glioblastoma, a rapidly fatal brain tumor, decided recently to go to India to try Ayurvedic medicine, all I could do was wish him luck – sincerely so. After all, the scientific medicine — which he would continue to take while there — offered him little enough hope, a few months at most. (This case, incidentally, illustrates an important point: alternativemedicine, so called, is not generally alternative, it is additional.)
Two trials of a very expensive monoclonal antibody, bevacizumab, in glioblastoma, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, make disappointing or even dismal reading. This antibody is directed at vascular endothelial growth factor that promotes the growth of new blood vessels; glioblastoma is a tumor particularly rich in new blood vessels, and so it was hoped that by preventing them from forming, tumor growth would either be prevented or at least slowed. Early results were promising but as has so often been the way in the history of medicine, early promise is not fulfillment of promise.
In one trial, for example, 637 patients with this terrible tumor were randomized to conventional treatment plus placebo and conventional treatment plus bevacizumab. Although the latter had a slightly longer period free of progression of the tumor, their overall length of survival was not increased, and indeed they suffered so many more side effects that the overall quality of their lives was worse. The patients taking bevacizumab survived on average 15.7 months; those taking placebo survived 16.1 months. The authors of the paper end:
In conclusion, we did not observe an overall survival advantage first-line use of bevacizumab in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Furthermore, higher rates of neurocognitive decline, increased symptom severity, and decline in health-related quality of life were found over time among patients who were treated with bevacizumab.
This makes rather odd the concluding words of an editorial that accompanies the trials in the Journal:
Finally, it is worth noting that despite its limitations, bevacizumab remains the single most important therapeutic agent for glioblastoma since temozolemide. Ongoing and future trials will better define how and when it should be used in this population of patients for whom so few treatment options currently exist.
Clearly the viewpoint of the oncological researcher is not that of the sufferer of the disease: he is looking far into the future, while the poor patient (all the poorer if he has to pay for his drugs) is thinking rather less far ahead.
MR. DRISCOLL: Aaron, I believe that both of your recent books rather infamously reference “the Smith and Wesson Retirement Plan.” Most of us would rather not, to quote Pete Townshend, “fire the pistol at the wrong end of the race.” While recommending much about Bachelor Pad Economics, in a post at PJ Media earlier this month, Dr. Helen Smith, who helped champion your books, took strong offense at your suggestion. Could you elaborate on your reasoning?
MR. CLAREY: Well, the reasoning is economic. And it is secular. I won’t deny that. So people who are religious or even traditional, they obviously would be against that. And I take no umbrage and no offense to it.
But from a purely economic point of view, and even a humanitarian point of view, there are some times where you’re terminally ill — pick your poison: cancer, a brain tumor, whatever. And you’re not coming back, you are going to die, and the remaining two weeks, three months, whatever your life, are going to be absolutely in pain and misery.
I think it’s wise or humane or ‑‑ what’s the word I’m looking for ‑‑ compassionate to, you know, somehow kill yourself, not necessarily with a Smith & Wesson, but some kind of euthanasia. And it not only puts you out of your misery, but it also saves a ton of money. I mean, I forget what the statistics are, but a plurality of your health expenses are incurred in the last six months of life.
So you want to talk about, you know, saving your family the grief of watching you just decay and, whatever, mentally, physically, what have you, or be in pain; not to mention save the finances for a future generation. It’s not for everybody. I’m not saying you have to do it, I’m just saying it is an option.
So it seems that Aaron is just advocating along with Obama that healthcare is expensive and it’s best to just die once you reach a certain age especially. Aaron advocates a gun or other means and Obama advocates a pill or pain killer, rather than investing in life saving treatments. I get that people suffer when they are older (and sometimes younger) but killing yourself for economic reasons is not a good solution in my book. My great aunt was 90 when she asked doctors to do bypass surgery. None would until she found a younger doctor who gave her the gift of four more years of a very good life. Her story is an inspiration to me.
And what about enjoying the decline? By using up government-run healthcare as we age, wouldn’t we be doing our part?
“And now I know that every single day, the best and the worst, only lasts for twenty-four hours.” — Tricia Lott Williford
Two days before Christmas in 2010, amid the festive pictures of family Christmas celebrations, cookie recipes, and excited discussions about plans for the holidays, some terrible, heart-sickening news began to spread through my network of Facebook friends and acquaintances:
Stunned by some news. Please pray for a friend and her young family. The husband and father was unexpectedly taken to heaven for Christmas.
Pray for Tricia Williford as her husband went to heaven this morning. They have two little boys, Tucker and Tyler. What a sad day this is.
Three years later, I have fresh tears in my eyes as I re-read those words and I think about the shattering of lives, dreams, and families in that one terrible moment. How does a family survive such a profound tragedy? Can those shattered pieces be fused back together again? What does that really look like? I mean, in real life, starting with how you get out of bed the next day and how in the world you explain to two little boys that their daddy has died?
Tricia Lott Williford, a writer and editor — and a fabulous storyteller — had a blog at the time of her husband’s unexpected death at age thirty-five. Her bio explains, “On the day of her husband’s death, an unknown someone posted a link to her blog on Twitter with the words, ‘Please pray for this woman. Her husband died this morning.’ Overnight, her blog went viral and her community of readers grew exponentially.” Tricia continued with her long-established discipline of writing every day and shared her story, in all its brutal transparency, with friends and strangers around the world. Her story has now been turned into a book, And Life Comes Back: A Wife’s Story of Love, Loss, and Hope Reclaimed, released February 18th.
Out-of-body experiences, tunnels, bright lights, deceased relatives, a being of light—and life reviews. These are the most commonly reported elements of near-death experiences. They have been reported now for decades from all over the world, across cultures and religions. Of all of them, the life review may be the most difficult to imagine and “otherworldly.” Out-of-body experiences, encounters with dead people, mystical experiences of a deity—all these have long been on record outside of NDEs as well. The tunnel experience seems to have been represented in a painting by the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch over five hundred years ago. Life reviews, however, may be the most “exotic” compared to our familiar modes of perception. Dutch cardiologist and NDE researcher Pim van Lommel quotes this life-review account of one of his patients:
All of my life up till the present seemed to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic, three-dimensional review, and each event seemed to be accompanied by a consciousness of good or evil or with an insight into cause or effect. Not only did I perceive everything from my own viewpoint, but I also knew the thoughts of everyone involved in the event, as if I had their thoughts within me. This meant that I perceived not only what I had done or thought, but even in what way it had influenced others, as if I saw things with all-seeing eyes…. Looking back, I cannot say how long this life review…lasted, it may have been long, for every subject came up, but at the same time it seemed just a fraction of a second, because I perceived it all at the same moment. Time and distance seemed not to exist….
This is only one account, but anyone who has delved even modestly into the NDE literature as I have knows there are numerous other, remarkably similar ones.
Independent.co.uk: “Extreme loneliness worse for health than obesity and can lead to an early grave, scientists say”:
Feeling extreme loneliness on a long-term basis can be worse than obesity in terms of increasing the potentially lethal health risks that lead to premature death, scientists said.
Chronic loneliness has been shown to increase the chances of an early grave by 14 per cent, which is as bad as being overweight and almost as bad as poverty in undermining a person’s long-term wellbeing, a study has found.
As more people live longer, they are spending a bigger part of their lives feeling lonely. This is having a significant impact on their physical as well as mental health, the researchers found.
Loneliness is also becoming more common as people live alone or become isolated from relatives and friends, especially in retirement.
Research has shown that at any given time between 20 and 40 per cent of older adults feel lonely….
Maybe if our culture didn’t treat older people like pariahs and worship youth, older adults might feel less lonely. Worshiping youth makes young people feel like they should be having a good time and if they are not, their feelings of loneliness and isolation increase. Treating people with humanity regardless of age would be a good start.
Among the nine lines of evidence that Long reviews: People who were blind from birth experience clear vision during NDEs and accurately report things they saw, usually in the operating room but sometimes even outside of it. NDEs sometimes occur during general anesthesia “when no form of consciousness should be taking place.” Virtually all people encountered during NDEs are deceased, usually relatives; skeptics who insist NDEs are a dream or hallucination-like event cannot explain why, unlike in dreams or hallucinations, that should be the case. NDEs often change people’s lives permanently, leading to enhanced spirituality or religiosity; in Long’s survey, 95 percent said subsequent to their NDEs that they were “definitely real” and 5 percent “probably real.”
And NDEs show remarkably similar features all over the world, transcending religious and cultural backgrounds. One of those constantly reported features is the encounter with the deity. Strongly religious people usually perceive the deity (and sometimes other mythological beings) in terms of their own religion; but people of little or no religion also have the encounter and speak more generally of a “being of light.”
Most dramatically of all, the phrase “unconditional love” occurs repeatedly in these descriptions. The deity is reported to be what we would call nonjudgmental; entirely accepting; and a source of overwhelming love. Yes, the news is rather good.
A Russian NDEr named Victor reported: “The light was extraordinary. In it were love and peace. I was completely enveloped by love and I felt totally secure.” Miller notes that “the descriptions of [the light’s] personality and abilities and effects are remarkably similar.” Moody called the encounter “the most incredible common element” of NDEs and affirmed that “not one person has expressed any doubt whatsoever that it was a being, a being of light.”
The being of light is always singular; there is only one, never multiple beings. Van Lommel wrote: “This encounter is always accompanied by an overwhelming sense of unconditional love and acceptance.” The light knows and cares about the NDEr’s whole life and personal choices, and is always experienced as just, not capricious or errant.
To all that must be added the numerous reports of people in NDEs accurately recalling specific conversations and events that occurred—in and sometimes out of their operating rooms—while they had no brain function. Parnia recounts one case where a new doctor, dealing with a patient in a prolonged cardiac arrest, ate the patient’s lunch. After recovery, the patient described to the doctor a detailed NDE, and finished with: “And you ate my lunch!”
No, the skeptics may not like it, but doctors and their staff are hearing more and more accounts from revived patients like this one, told by a patient to a nurse in Parnia’s AWARE study:
His journey commenced by travelling through a tunnel towards a very strong light, which didn’t dazzle him or hurt his eyes. Interestingly, he said that there were other people in the tunnel, whom he did not recognize. When he emerged he described a very beautiful crystal city and I quote “I have seen nothing more beautiful.” He said there was a river that ran through. There were many people, without faces, who were washing in the waters….
What’s going on? Some scientists are suggesting, Parnia notes, that “human consciousness or the soul may in fact be an irreducible scientific entity in its own right, similar to many of the concepts in physics, such as mass and gravity, which are also irreducible entities.” If so, then consciousness is not just an epiphenomenon of the brain; it has an independent existence and could survive death. The exhaustive, multiauthored book Irreducible Mind, well-known in the field of mind-brain studies, argues just such positions based on abundant evidence.
image illustrations courtesy shutterstock / Bruce Rolff /
Sam Parnia is one of the world’s leading experts on death—on how people can medically be brought back from the dead, and on what happens to the mind, or soul, or consciousness, after people die.
Of UK origin, Parnia works these days as assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He is also directing the joint American-Canadian-British AWARE study, which he calls “the world’s largest ever study of mind and brain during cardiac arrest.” And he is the author, most recently (with Josh Young), of Erasing Death, an up-to-date exploration of both of Parnia’s areas of expertise—resuscitation from death, and death itself.
About half of this book focuses on resuscitation science—which, since the 1960s, has been able to bring people back from states of clinical death. What Parnia has to say is interesting and informative, though it is not the reason I got hold of the book; I’m more interested in what could be called the mystical angle.
Basically, in Parnia’s telling, resuscitation science is both making unprecedented advances and not doing that well. Thanks to the new technique of cooling the body of a clinically dead person, cell deterioration in the body can be slowed down, and people can be resuscitated for ever-longer periods after death has occurred. On the other hand, survival rates—the percentages of people who are actually brought back to life—are still low and have not improved since the 1960s. “It’s really amazing,” Parnia says, “but absolutely true.”
What’s needed, Parnia contends, is for the resuscitation field to be much better organized, standardized, and coordinated. At this point, the quality of resuscitation care you get at a hospital—or whether you even get it—is pot luck. Parnia thinks the situation can be drastically improved, which would not only mean bringing a lot more people back to life, but restoring a lot more of them intact instead of in vegetative or brain-damaged states.
The IRS has served notice that the estate of Michael Jackson severely understated worth and income and is demanding $700 million in back taxes and penalties.
Documents have been filed with the U.S. Tax Court that alleges that the executor’s for Jackson said his net worth at the time of his death was $7 million while the IRS has assessed the worth at $1.125 billion. (…)
A good portion of the difference was attributed to the value of Jackson’s likeness which the estate valued at $2,105 and the IRS says was worth $434.264 million. In addition, the estate said that Jackson’s portion of the ownership of both his songs and those of the Beatles was worth nothing.
In a separate, in-depth article examining the Beatles’ fortunes fifty years on, David Fiorenza, a Villanova University economics professor who specializes in art and entertainment, said that the Fab Four’s “financial impact today is bigger than any other artist, living or deceased.”
So those Jackson family shenanigans are funny in a “can’t you believe it?” way, but the fact is, celebrity estates are serious business.
Shirley Temple Black, who as a dimpled, precocious and determined little girl in the 1930s sang and tap-danced her way to a height of Hollywood stardom and worldwide fame that no other child has reached, died on Monday night at her home in Woodside, Calif. She was 85.
Her publicist, Cheryl Kagan, confirmed her death.
Mrs. Black returned to the spotlight in the 1960s in the surprising new role of diplomat, but in the popular imagination she would always be America’s darling of the Depression years, when in 23 motion pictures her sparkling personality and sunny optimism lifted spirits and made her famous. From 1935 to 1939 she was the most popular movie star in America, with Clark Gable a distant second. She received more mail than Greta Garbo and was photographed more often than President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After bringing up her three children, she returned to the public eye in politics as Shirley Temple Black. A close friend of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (with whom she co-starred in That Hagen Girl, 1947), she became active in the Republican party in California, where, in 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for the US House of Representatives, voicing her support for the Vietnam war. She became US ambassador to Ghana (1974-76) and White House chief of protocol (1976-77), during Gerald Ford‘s presidency; foreign affairs officer with the state department under Reagan; and ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989-92) under George HW Bush.
Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams
I heard the awful news today from Hans von Spakovsky that our friend Ray Hartwell died. The news was the latest in a series of awful losses – Andrew Breitbart, Chip Gerdas and Barry Rubin.
A few years ago, Ray was deep in his position at a major law firm when he approached me and Hans von Spakovsky and asked how he could do more. He wanted to write. He wanted to preserve and protect the country that he loved. He wanted to act. He had done his time in the Navy, but wanted to do more.
Ray wrote for PJ Media and the American Spectator. He wrote this spectacular piece about my litigation in Guam for the Washington Times. He had keen insights into the strategic importance of the island that I did not know before I filed the case.
There is nothing that grates me more than someone emailing me or commenting on an article of mine by saying: “Someone should….” It grates me because I knew people like Ray Hartwell. Ray didn’t wait for someone else to do it. He didn’t suggest someone else write an article or someone else say this or that. He wrote it. He said it — all the while working for a top-shelf D.C. law firm.
That raises another point. D.C. is a town where lots of folks are in very comfortable positions. There are lots of D.C. lawyers who don’t want to rock any boats, don’t want to take any stands and don’t want to ”jeopardize their careers. ”
Ray proved you could act to preserve and protect this country while not jeopardizing a career. In the end, Ray knew what was more important than any career anyhow. He loved this nation. He loved liberty. And he wasn’t afraid to defend it.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in March of 2013. It is being republished as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists of 2013. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…
Planned Parenthood certainly blusters a lot about helping women in need, but the truth is they make an awful lot of money off the grisly business of abortions. Their most recent annual report shows nearly $1 billion in assets and $997 million in revenues distributed to their local affiliates, plus another $177 million in revenues to the national office. By conservative estimates, abortions constitute 37% of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. Fair enough, I suppose, but isn’t it a little disturbing to think they have a business model (and a profit motive) that requires getting women onto the abortion tables with their feet in the stirrups?
With all the vitriol surrounding the abortion debate, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that every day mothers with unplanned pregnancies make life-altering decisions about their unborn babies. While politicians and activists battle over the legislative issues, compassionate counselors at non-profit pregnancy resource centers (and their donors) quietly make a monumental difference in the lives of mothers, fathers, and babies every hour of every day across the United States. They literally save the lives of babies.
We felt it important to tell you that Barry has been in a coma since Friday. Thank you for all the warm wishes these past few months, you have all been very thoughtful. Please keep him in your prayers. We will keep you updated.
To our great sadness, Barry passed away this morning. He was surrounded by his wife and children. Your love, support, and prayers have been greatly appreciated. There will be shiva and a funeral, details to follow soon.
I wrote about Barry’s impact on me this past August as part of a series of my most important intellectual influences:
Barry Rubin is PJ Media’s Middle East editor. For the last least three years, his Rubin Reports blog has served as the roadmap to the Middle East that I rely on the most. Written from the center of the storm in Israel, his typical columns are densely filled with facts and fascinating observations. Perhaps the crucial insight that I’ve gained from trying to keep up with Barry all these years — he tends to publish his loaded analyses very prolifically, not that I’m complaining! — is the depth of complexity to the Middle East. The game is not a chessboard between two sides, and there are rarely easy answers given that there are so many different actors on the field.
But Barry has gone out of his way, dedicated his life really, to trying to help people understand better the chaos in the Middle East. Recently he decided to GIVE AWAY 13 of his books. These titles of his are available in convenient online and downloadable PDF reading. It’s a lifetime’s worth of scholarship in the history and politics of the Middle East:
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.
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:
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.
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?”
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:
The ship was impounded for unpaid debts and her tow line broke in stormy seas when she was being towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped. She’s been drifting ever since, populated by rats who are now turning into cannibals in order to survive. Unless, of course, the rats have learned how to fish, and then we’ve got a whole new invasion problem when the luxury cruise liner smashes into the coast of Britain.
But how could a 300 foot cruise liner be lost? Wouldn’t she be spotted at sea by planes or other ocean vessels? That’s the spooky part, not the ghost ship or the rats. In a world that seems to be smaller every day, with cell phones everywhere and cameras in every city, with the NSA tracking our e-mails and the IRS targeting individual citizens because of their political views, losing a 300 foot cruise ship seems impossible.
Turns out our planet is not that small, and our oceans are immense. The Lyubox Orlova is not the only ghost ship that sails our seas. There are many mysterious stories of drifting ships with no one on board, from today’s ghostly cruise liner all the way back to the discovery of the Mary Celeste in 1872. The Mary Celeste was a sailing ship found in the Atlantic, completely unharmed, stocked with food and water, with the table laid for supper, and not a soul left on board. Not a single member of the crew was ever found.
Bram Stoker took the stories of abandoned ships drifting at sea and wove them into his classic novel Dracula, first published in 1897. Yet another reason to wonder what exactly is on board the Lyubox Orlova as she drifts silently towards Great Britain…
I find it comforting to think that our world is still in many ways a wild and dangerous place. Our seas hold mysteries that we cannot solve. Our technology is no match for the vast stretches of our oceans. Let’s hear it for the Lyubox Orlova, who broke her towline on the way to the junk yard and now sails the ocean with her crew of rats, unchained, her location unknown. I hope she is never found.
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…
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.
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?
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…
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?
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?
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 quotingSpin 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.
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.
A so-called “informant” for the tab says, “Kerry’s been courting the President and First Lady for some time now because she wants to play Michelle in a movie.”
The purported “insider” goes on to allege, “She’s desperate to have someone as prestigious as the Obamas as her baby’s godparents and plans on casually asking Michelle at the next fundraiser they attend together.”
It seems like someone over at Star has been watching too much “Scandal.”
For some bizarre reason, the magazine and its sister publication the National Enquirer are intent on trying to link the actress to Obama, despite how obviously ridiculous the idea is.
In any case, Gossip Cop checked in with a source close to the situation, who laughed off the outlandish story.
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?
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
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
Well, guess what? I’m an editor at ELLE.com. I have a formidable pile of Miu Miu. My love life is actually pretty exciting. And with every TBS re-run or SATC marathon on the Style Network, I’m starting to realize something kind of sad: What I didn’t “get” in my younger days wasn’t the secret to Carrie’s coolness… it was that Carrie Bradshaw is an idiot. And a sucker. And—this is the part that hurts me most—a really shitty modern woman.
And I think that’s what pisses me off most about Carrie Bradshaw, what makes me angry at myself for not seeing it before: Carrie pretends to be independent and free-thinking, but at her core, she’s a totally passive woman who can’t lead an adventure or survive without knowing someone (or actually, everyone) is totally in love with her. Despite her “girls just wanna be free” party line, Carrie Bradshaw still needs a guy to make her feel complete. And to me, that’s beyond dumb. It’s kind of unforgivable.
I admire Mandy’s stand. As a 32-year-old virgin who’s happily getting married this summer, I know how challenging it can be to save sex for marriage. As a woman who works at a pregnancy resource center, I also see the damaging effects of sex outside marriage. Sex is meant to be a holistic experience that touches our minds, bodies, souls, and emotions. It’s more than just a pleasure; it’s a pleasure that comes with great responsibility.
Woke up today 2rpt Aerial Sharon has died. As young teen I did media interview @ Dallas protest against Sharon over Sabra & Shatila. #Killer
Leftist cartoonist Carlos Latuff drew a cartoon of Sharon walking down a stairway into hell, weighed down by leg iron balls labeled “Sabra,” “Shatila,” “Qibya,” and “Jenin,” while a righteous figure clad all in white except for a Palestinian flag over his chest looked on.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 - by Michel Gurfinkiel
Nelson Mandela will stay in history on two accounts. He will be remembered for acceding to his country’s presidency after more than thirty years in jail, including 27 years uninterrupted imprisonment in Robben Island, Pollsmoor, and other places. It happens quite often, of course, that rebels, dissidents, or political prisoners turn into heads of state. One of the most captivating episodes of the Bible is the sudden promotion of Joseph, the Hebrew lad, from slavery and the dungeon to the vice-royalty of Egypt.
In the 20th century, such evil figures as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Ahmed Ben Bella, and Ruhollah Khomeini became dictators after a few years in exile or jail. There was also the more palatable ascent of Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya from British jail to a quasi-monarchic position, or the truly admirable cases of Lech Walesa of Poland and Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia, who started as dissidents and ended as democratic presidents. However, no leader to be, neither in the Holy Writ nor in recorded history, stayed nearly so long in jail — or confinement — as Mandela.
Mandela will also be remembered for behaving, once in power and in spite of his prior ordeal, with utmost moderation and as a champion of national reconciliation. This had to do, in many ways, with his character and mindset. A Xhosa tribal prince, and a Fort Hare finely educated lawyer, he never subscribed in his early years to utopian or totalitarian revolutionary views — be it black or third-world nationalism or Marxism — but merely demanded the implementation of human and civic rights, as defined by the successive Anglo-Saxon, Western and international bills and declarations. When, as the leader of ANC, the black South African party, he eventually resorted to armed rebellion and terrorism in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he rationalized it as a legitimate option against an illegitimate apartheid regime, and looked for political and logistic support everywhere, including in Haile Selassie’s staunchly pro-Western Ethiopia.
Indeed, he finally made an alliance with Communism: he secretly joined the South African Communist party; he knew that his closest underground advisor, Joe Slovo, a white South African, was a Soviet agent; he organized the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (UwS), along Maoist and Castrist lines; and ANC itself became, once he was jailed and under Slovo’s supervision, a Communist front. But Mandela was not entirely happy with that and, while jailed at Robben Island, markedly disagreed on many issues with other Marxist-minded inmates like Govan Mbeki and Harry Gwala. He was clearly relieved to hear about the dislocation and fall of the Soviet Union and Communism in the late 1980s, precisely at the moment he entered final discussions with the white government for a transition to a multiracial regime.
Who can measure the courage it took him in the late ’70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world?
I think “turmoil and confusion” is a polite liberal euphemism for “Muslim terrorists were hijacking planes, ruining the Olympicsand killing tons of people back in the day,” but what do I know?
Anyhow, Robert Spencer has detailed Steven’s sinister post-conversion views and actions here and here, including his call for the murder of Salman Rushdie and his support for the Ayatollah Khomeini.
There isn’t a lot I can say about musicians wearing swastikas, however, since it was also a very short-lived early punk fad, one adopted even by some Jews in the “movement” as an easy, naive shock tactic.
Speaking of shock tactics, dare I hope that the very Jewish (and lippy) Gene Simmons of KISSwill smack down his radical Muslim “classmate” on live TV?
Or maybe, just maybe, Stevens will use his acceptance speech to conduct a little proselytizing, and some brave individual will boo, or stand up and turn his or her back to the stage?
Now THAT would be show of real courage — and honor the rebel spirit of rock and roll.
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?