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The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Dear Adam Bellow,

I’d like to congratulate you on building and launching Liberty Island. You’ve assembled an extraordinary team of writers — 25 so far profiled at PJ Lifestyle – with several of them beginning to contribute blog posts and freelance articles here. I’ll call them out, these are some really great writers and fascinating people: many thanks to Pierre Comtois, Jamie Wilson, Roy M. “Griff” Griffis, Michael Sheldon, Clay Waters, David Churchill Barrow, and  David S. Bernstein. And Karina Fabian too is about to make her debut shortly with a wonderful piece that I’m scheduling for tomorrow. Updated: don’t miss “10 Excuses For Why We Don’t Get More Done (And Why They Are Excuses).”

I can’t wait to get to know more of the Liberty Island writers and continue collaborations.

I appreciated your recent manifesto, “Let Your Right Brain Run Free,” at National Review and really only took mild issue with what seemed to me your overemphasis on the novel and pooh-poohing of film’s greater power to hypnotize viewers:

What about Hollywood? Many conservatives talk about the need to get into movie production. I agree this is very important, but it requires a massive investment of capital, and more to the point, I think people on the right are over-impressed with the power of film. To hear some conservatives talk you’d think movies were the Holy Grail, the golden passkey to the collective unconscious. This gets things precisely backwards. Sure, a successful Hollywood movie can have a major impact. But as a vehicle for political ideas and moral lessons, movies are simplistic and crude compared with the novels on which many are based.

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis both produced big-budget movies that reached millions of people with what most of us would probably agree is a subtly conservative message. Yet both of these successful movie franchises ultimately pale in comparison with the impact of the books. Even at their best, movies are essentially cartoons and their effects are superficial and fleeting. Books engage the reader much more deeply, at a level of identification with the characters and plot that can instruct the soul and edify the mind. A hundred years from now, moreover, these classic books will still be read all over the world in dozens of languages when the films on which they are based are long forgotten or superseded by new forms of entertainment.

In short, conservatives should remember that mainstream popular culture is still largely driven by books. Fiction therefore is and will remain the beating heart of the new counterculture. This is not just my bias as a publisher. It is a practical reality — and a fortunate one for us, since there are hundreds if not thousands of conservative and libertarian writers out there today producing politically themed fiction. The conservative right brain has woken up from its enchanted sleep and it is thriving. Instead of banging on Hollywood’s front door, a better approach is to go in the back by publishing popular conservative fiction and then turning those books into films.

I will write novels someday. And I still enjoy reading good ones. Recently my wife pushed on me her newest obsession, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

Here's the new book my wife has been obsessed with lately.... I'm going to try reading it. Americanah, a novel about a Nigerian #woman coming to #America. She says that it has a lot to say of value on the subjects of racial identity and cultures, which I am researching for my book.

The vivid narrative is a fictionalization of the author’s life and tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to America and develops a career blogging about her discoveries among races and cultures. A wise excerpt from Page 273:

"What I've noticed being here is that many #English people are in awe of #America but also deeply resent it," Obinze said. Page 273 of #Americanah, a knock-you-on-your-ass great novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. #literature #culture #Africa #England #UnitedStates

The movie rights have, of course, been acquired, with Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt starring. I can’t wait to see it.

So real life inspires blogging, blogging inspires a novel — the highlights of which are the blog posts in it — which in turn inspires a movie. I wonder how they’ll depict blogging in the film. Maybe they’ll update it and make her a vlogger on YouTube instead? Part of my wife’s enthusiasm for the novel was because the character was also part of the online “natural hair community,” black and mixed race women who share YouTube tutorials about methods for giving up straightening their hair with destructive chemicals and switching to natural styles and products instead. From page 13:

No wonder my wife loves the hero of this book so much. She's a #naturalhair #counterculture activist too. Page 13 of #Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, a Gen-Xer from Nigeria who is an astonishing writer. Almost done with first chapter. She also writes like my wife does with long, flowing sentences and wry observations...

My wife in her art has called them a counterculture:

My interdisciplinary work concentrates on the Ebony woman, Gen-X leaning Millennials, and our hair. Social media and video-based tutorials have influenced many Millennial women to embrace natural representations of their ethnic hair. These young women have become pioneers of the Millennial Natural Hair Movement, an expanding and informed counterculture responding to painful trends that date back to the early twentieth century.

Here’s an example of a video she made depicting the kinds of tips that circulate on YouTube amongst Natural Hair vloggers (she gave it an artsier spin):

I think this is an expression of the paradigm for today — that the various mediums of novels, film, and online media are blending back and forth together and the line between fiction and non-fiction blurs more too.

Recently when April and I made our move to South LA this summer in our packing and unpacking I had the opportunity to go through the DVD collection I’d accumulated over the last 15 years and assess the titles that still had the most value to me. As we’ve discussed and you know I’ve written about, so many of the movies and filmmakers that I once loved as a nihilistic postmodern college leftist I now regard with varying levels of disdain, disgust, and embarrassment.

But these are ones that I continue to regard with affection, that I still return to, and that I think can offer inspiration for your growing team of counterculture crusaders looking to change the world with their art. Some of them I’m a little bit more critical of than I once was, but they all still have some usefulness in some capacity or another…

(Note: this is a version 1.0 of this list, future editions will incorporate newly discovered films and suggestions from readers…)

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A 13 Weeks Challenge: Say More, Write Less

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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

Dear Charlie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that sound?

- David

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Karma: Tommy Christopher Fired at Mediaite

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 - by J. Christian Adams

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More proof of Karma: Tommy Christopher has been fired at Mediaite according to the Daily Caller.

For the many who don’t know who Christopher is, he is a front line hack for the Obama administration. He is best known to me for defending Eric Holder’s indefensible dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. To Christopher, facts didn’t matter, and he told me so.

From my book Injustice:

The left seemed determined to defend the DOJ’s dismissal of the case simply as a function of defending President Obama regardless of the merits of the case. Consider an email sent to me by Tommy Christopher at the blog site Mediaite. After I testified to the Civil Rights Commission, Christopher wrote me, “Mr. Adams—Did you ever have conversations with any member of the Commission, or their staff, regarding the political implications of your complaint? If so, with whom, and what was the substance of those conversations?” Of course I had no such conversations—I was concerned about stopping voter intimidation, not the “political implications” of my complaint. I asked Christopher whether it would make any difference to him if Coates confirmed my allegations under oath. He replied, “As for Coates, without a stronger case up front, no, I don’t think his testimony is necessary.” To Tommy Christopher and his ilk, the facts of the case were irrelevant—what mattered was circling the political wagons. By September 2010, Chris Coates had concluded the DOJ was falsely describing the dismissal of the Panther case.

Coates would soon testify and corroborate my story, as I knew he would. Coates described an open noxious climate at DOJ where civil rights laws were viewed as protecting only one race and corners were cut to push that philosophy.  But as Christopher said, to Obama flunkies in the media, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was defense. And when it comes to race, Christopher gives Obama a pass, no matter how dirty the deed.

At CPAC a number of years ago, Andrew Breitbart and I were having lunch at a crawfish joint in D.C. when Christopher plopped himself down next to us. He was silent about all the nasty and dishonest stuff he threw my way defending Eric Holder and the Panther dismissal. I guess that’s just the sort of fellow he was, and Mediaite is better off without him.

*****

image via real clear politics

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7 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 I Invite You to Burgle From Me Bilbo-Style

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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

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My wife and I flew back to Indiana last week to spend Christmas with the family. We had a ball! Among the highlights was when we all went to see The Hobbit part 2 on IMAX 3-D. The whole family is pretty religious about Tolkien, the movies especially. Dad is the expert, capable of explaining the changes from book to screen while assuring us that Peter Jackson’s changes still make for an extraordinary film without messing up anything major.

Ever since I was a kid first encountering The Hobbit as a cartoon and as my Dad read it during bedtime I loved the scene of Bilbo talking with the dragon Smaug, buried amidst the endless piles of pilfered Dwarven gold. That fantasy of limitless wealth to swim in seems a recurring one from childhood. I loved how Scrooge McDuck had a money bin that he’d dive into and pass through as though it were water:

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I kind of imagine myself doing that these past few years editing PJ Lifestyle except instead of gold coins it’s the amazing writing of the PJ columnists, freelancers, and the authors in the books I’m researching. From family advice to tech news to TV and family commentaries to history/religion/ideology debates PJ Lifestyle has been accumulating a diverse range of exciting ideas and cultural challenges. Here was my attempt to organize this some last year via an ever-evolving self-improvement routine inspired by Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks program:

December 31, 2012: 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal
February 1, 2013: The Plan So I Don’t Waste the Last Year of My 20s
April 10: The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen
May 8: Every American Needs to Read Books to Understand Islam
July 6: We Must Read Tons of Books With A Clear Purpose
October 5: 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading
November 17: Half Through 13 Weeks For Radical Readers and Madman Writers, Turning Up the Heat

To give Lifestyle some degree of structure I’ve sought to organize some of the themes each week by day — when the story isn’t a timely, breaking news piece. I’ve applied this also to my daily reading plan, drawing from a different pile of books and shifting subjects to try and make fresh connections for stories to assign to PJ’s writers and work on myself. Here’s my reading plan for the next 13 weeks cycle — join us starting the week of Sunday, January 5 for week 1 — and then how they’re inspiring me to make changes in my own life.

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

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10 Beautiful Sunrises from Southern California

Sunday, December 1st, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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When I set my New Year’s Resolutions 11 months ago – 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal – #4 was:

Start Developing Some New Hobbies Beyond Internet Trolling. Something New Each Season Sounds Like a Good Goal.

I’m not sure when it began but this year I’ve really started getting into photography much more. I think the effectiveness of the iPhone camera and the ease of use of Instagram are the main culprit. It’s now just so quick to snap the image you want, crop and adjust it, throw on a caption and some categories, and send it out to the world moments after it happened.

One of my favorite things both to photograph and see of others is a great sunrise photo. I’ve gotten in the habit of trying to take them every morning when there’s something that seems worth sharing. It seems like Sunrise is usually the best time of day for me to be able to break for a few moments. Taking the photo and thinking about it tends to double as a time to slow down and meditate and mentally prepare for the day. In an ideal world I’d also take photos everyday at Noon and sunset too.

When I can’t or when the weather doesn’t bless Southern California with something worth remembering then others around the world help out.

There’s something kind of strange and comforting about seeing many images of the sun rise or set from different points around the world at the same time. It’s as though for a moment human beings can stop and though they may have nothing else in common at that moment they at least share that common uniting experience of awe at seeing the sun rise.

So I’m going to try and start sharing more of my best sunrise photos here at PJ Lifestyle. I also invite all the PJ Lifestyle and PJ columnist regulars to share their beautiful images of the sun rising, setting, or standing high at noon too. Just a photo and a sentence or paragraph or inspirational quote or something uplifting to accompany the image. If you haven’t started playing around yet with Instagram you should — it’s very easy and can be a helpful tool for blog posts.

I’m also intrigued to experiment with opening this New Media troublemaking up to PJ Lifestyle’s readers. Please send your photos to PJLifestyleSunshine@gmail.com.

I request that you include:

1. The image itself as a JPEG formatted for web. (Not super large or the raw image from your camera. 700 width across maximum.)

2. The time/date and (approximate) place it was taken.

3. A brief, positive statement or sentiment. (This can be as mundane as “I hope everyone has a great day today!”)

4. Your preferred attribution — and if you have a link to a website or twitter account or something then that’s fine to submit too.

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

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

December 1, 2013:

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I was sitting at my computer this morning editing a delightful Rhonda Robinson parenting post for tomorrow morning when I looked up and gasped at the sunrise above.

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

November 29:

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November 28:

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

Sunday, November 17th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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Back on October 5 I announced the newest season in my reader/writer variation of Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks Self Improvement regimen. My goal with this new season was to not just read more as in past seasons but now to up the pace on the writing with more regular, consistent posts connecting big books, important thinkers, and the hot stories in the daily news cycle. I’m pleased with the pieces that have emerged so far this season, which I’ll round up here for those who may have missed an installment:

  1. Tuesday, October 9 on Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0
  2. Friday, October 11 on Ion Mihai PacepaThe KGB’s War To Destroy the God of Israel
  3. Wednesday, October 16 on Prager University‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’
  4. Tuesday, October 22: Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador
  5. Wednesday, October 30 on Dennis PragerThe 21 Most Evil News Stories from October
  6. Tuesday, November 5: 4 Blogging Weapons I Stole from Vodkapundit Stephen Green
  7. Friday, November 1 on Ion Mihai PacepaThe Silver Bullet to Kill Conspiracism
  8. Tuesday November 12: 6 Ways to Change the World Glenn Reynolds-Style

Where I’m disappointed in myself is in the quantity. I wanted to get to daily blogging output this season. And I’m not there yet. Well, it’s time to get more disciplined about it. Three of the great writers I discussed in the series — Ed Driscoll, Stephen Green, and Glenn Reynolds — each model every day how to do thoughtful blog posts that get to the point. I’ll set a maximum word count of 500 for the daily post. That’ll force me to focus on finding the most interesting idea to illuminate the maze of today’s modern media madness with these books.

Reading Goals for the end of the year…

Books I want to finish and blog about in the next few weeks alongside the day’s news stories:

  1. Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption
     by Ion Mihai Pacepa (153/426)
  2. Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff (106/282)
  3. Schrodinger’s Cat by Robert Anton Wilson (vol. 2, 78/254)
  4. Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia (170/673)
  5. The Mohammed Code: Why a Desert Prophet Wants You Dead by Howard Bloom – available on SmashWords. (94/187)
  6. Getting it Right, a novel by William F. Buckley, Jr.(190/305)
  7. The Hermetic Link: From Secret Tradition to Modern Thought by Jacob Slavenburg (263/357 pages)
  8. A Trio of books about American leaders: Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency by Logan Beirne (74/322), Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Railsplitter Saved the American Dream–And How We Can Do it Again by Rich Lowry (32/240), and The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon Wood (102/246)

For more books that are on my mind right now, you can see the list of books on my “reading now” book shelf at the Freedom Academy Book Club, which you can join for free to access my book list and others. Maybe you’ll find something to get fired up about.

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*****

images courtesy shutterstock /  nexus 7

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6 Ways to Change the World Glenn Reynolds-Style

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 6 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.

From the primordial, pajamahadeen era of the blogosphere, Glenn Reynolds has been a tremendous influence on untold numbers of writers, bloggers, and New Media troublemakers. While others’ influence has waned and once-dominant voices have now lost their relevance, Glenn has grown brighter as a beacon of hopeful, future-minded light. Here are six ways to draw from his knowledge and experiences to make your own changes in yourself and your world:

1. Read Instapundit, the best news aggregation blog.

Everyone who uses Twitter or Facebook is Instapundit today. Glenn was just ahead of the curve. The format, style, and vocabulary that he developd with Instapundit is what just about every political tweeter does today whether they realize it or not. Glenn rose up through pioneering the New Media genre known as micro-blogging — the practice of doing frequent, quick updates of what’s new and consequential in the world.

The lesson of Instapundit, its rise and continued success is a recognition of the nature of today’s media and technological environment. If you want to grow the number of people who are listening to you then you have to start talking and you have to keep them engaged. Obviously everybody can’t go at the rate of posts that Glenn somehow manages. But the general principle applies for everyone interested in using New Media to do something. One should cast their line into the big black void of the web as frequently as possible. A blogger with a dozen great posts a week on a number of subjects is likely to grow a bigger following than the specialist who does a handful of excellent posts on the same subject each week. Flexibility and adaptability are vital to success in today’s New Media world.

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2. Implement an Army of Davids-style strategy in your life

This 2006 manifesto by Glenn should be regarded as a founding document of Conservatism 3.0. New Media activists should start here, and Megan Fox did at PJ Lifestyle in her ongoing series about her push to stop the Orland Park Library’s tolerance of public pornography and sexual predators. In this part here she started by quoting from Army of Davids:

Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many… Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff — and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession.

Megan is up against a library bureacracy that rather than dialogue with her would demonize her and defend the rights of men to watch hardcore pornographic films in the computer labs of public libraries. She did Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to discover that library staff had systematically been neglecting reporting crimes. Further FOIA requests revealed how library staff responded to her complaints.

3. Learn to master the op/ed column, and start by reading Glenn’s USA Today columns each week

Whatever field you’re engaged in in life, at one time or another you are going to need to fight for something you believe in. You’ll need to figure out how to persuade someone to come around to your position. In winning over your new ally you will have finite time — a limited word count. You will be in competition with distraction and perhaps even others with competing ideas.

Glenn’s weekly columns are models of how to argue effectively and persuade. Glenn is among the best models here of how to present freedom-based ideas to broader, general audiences beyond the conservative blog world. That is something I don’t hear discussed enough. I’m so sick of the standard right-wing, conservative boilerplate. With Glenn he’s always framing concepts in fresh ways that can’t be easily dismissed.

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4 Blogging Weapons I Stole from Vodkapundit Stephen Green

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

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This is Week 5 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.

Previously in this series on my favorite writers I named Ed Driscoll as the first in my trinity of blogging influences. The sophisticated humor, enlightening political-intellectual juxtapositions, clever visuals, and encyclopedic pop culture knowledge Ed brings to the web are innovations that I’ve sought to commandeer for my own new-media troublemaking.

Complementing Ed as the other editor-columnist on the breaking news beat is the Vodkapundit Stephen Green, PJM’s Denver editor. Stephen is another blogosphere veteran who really knows what he’s doing. Here are four weapons you can borrow from his armory:

1. Less is more.


Stephen excels at the short-form style of blogging, frequently doing posts that are only a few paragraphs or less in length. He does a great job of getting to the point and highlighting the most vital facts. It’s no surprise that he’s also one of PJM’s most effective Tweeters.

2. Cut deeper by stabbing with a smile!

One of the lessons that I’m always reminded of when reading Stephen’s posts is that one can get away with harsher critiques and stronger positions when they’re offset by some jokes and style.

3. Balance the blog — politics, cultural, personal, video, images, longer articles, and shorter blog posts

Of all the PJ columnists Stephen probably has the best all-around balance across subjects. I’m still largely sympathetic — even nostalgic — for the style of personal-political-cultural blogging that arose from 2000-2005. Stephen largely still operates in this mode of a blogger keeping a regular online diary with entries featuring both commentary on current events and discussions of hobbies.

4. Live-Blogging No, Drunk-Blogging Yes!

“Live-blogging” is the process of doing short blog posts about an ongoing event. Stephen takes this to the next level with the injection of well-prepared alcoholic beverages. I concur. Bloody Mary is my drink of choice:

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Proposed New Media Rule: You’re not really a blogger until you’ve blogged drunk. (Obvious exceptions granted for Mormons and other religious teetotalers.)

PJ Media Story Round Up

PJM Stories on Tuesday

Bridget Johnson: Administration Plans to Placate Millions Who Have Lost Health Insurance with Outreach Program

Jen Kuznicki: Obamacare, Baseball, and the Public Trust

Let’s assume the Washington Post is correct in its estimation that the website cost around $174 million, and could reach as high as $300 million. (Excuse me for snickering at the thought that there is some sort of spending cap on this monument to hole-digging.) In that case, the Obama administration paid out, presumably in the last three years, more than the entire career earnings of Mariano Rivera. Don’t like baseball? Shaquille O’Neal’s estimated career earnings are a little over $292 million. Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, and Steve Yzerman would have to pool all their earnings from their entire careers to fund this website that doesn’t work. (Why Brendan Shanahan? Because I like Brendan Shanahan.)

I’m not even talking net worth. I’m talking about all the money they have earned in their careers. If you consider how much money you’ve made in your lifetime, and then look at the stuff you have, you might get a little depressed. But the government doesn’t have such emotions, as unearned money is no object. They’ll just fill in the hole and start digging a new one.

Victor Davis Hanson: The Double-Dealing Middle East Is Double-Dealt

In sum, the American people think the Middle East is, well, the Middle East: support democracy and we are derided as cultural chauvinists, Western interventionists, and clueless about the nuances of Arab culture. Support the existing status quo, and we care only about oil, not the masses, and geopolitics rather than democratic reform. Stay out entirely and we have abdicated moral responsibility. Intervene and we are “nation-building” in the old colonial fashion.

It is hard for Americans to keep us with all this, much less take Middle East intellectuals seriously, given their lockstep and boring anti-Americanism. No wonder the American people seem to have become tired of this wink-and-nod con. Their exhaustion has proved a godsend to Obama, who can be naturally both weak and indecisive, and not necessarily in the short-term unpopular at home for such laxity. Again, for a variety of other reasons, he wanted to vacate the region and forget about violence against sympathetic Christians, Iraqi reformers, Afghan women, and anyone else who hoped for something better. Conniving Arab leaders and whiny intellectuals helped to give him his opening.

Paul Hsieh: Obamacare and the Wages of Spin

Before: “Death Panels” are just right-wing crazy talk.
Now: “Death Panels” are good!

In Slate, Adam Goldenberg declares, “Canada Has Death Panels — And that’s a good thing.”

Basically, when we all have to pay for one another’s health care, then patients should not be allowed to impose unlimited health costs on other taxpayers. Hence, the government has to decide who does — or does not — receive medical services. He explicitly argues that the government should “play God” with citizens’ lives. For the good of society, of course.

Stephen Kruiser: What They’ll Tell You the VA and NJ Elections Mean

Bryan Preston: Is the Obamacare Grinch About to Steal Christmas?

Bryan  Preston: VIDEO — Obama’s Lying About His Lies Now

PJM Stories on Monday

The Freedom Academy’s November Military History Challenge

Rich Baehr: Governors’ Races: One Contest and One No Contest

Stephen Green: The Week the Wheels Came off Obamacare

The pols and pundits can argue and fingerpoint until they’re blue in the — finger? — but Obamacare’s numbers paint a bleak picture of broken promises and outright lies. After a full month, nearly 40,000 people have successfully signed up for health insurance at HealthCare.gov, out of an administration goal of over seven million by the end of March. At that rate, the administration will have met its goal sometime in the autumn — of 2028.

Mind you, the goal of Obamacare was to provide coverage for some 47,000,000 uninsured Americans. So take those 15 years and multiply them by about seven. You’re gonna need a bigger calculator.

Ignored in those dreary statistics is the fact that people are being dumped out of their current coverage and onto the nonfunctional exchanges faster than the exchanges can handle them. An estimated 1,500,000 have lost their coverage, up against those newly insured 40,000. The best guess is that seven or eight million more face the same fate.

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

Jean Kaufman: The Obamacare Prediction of the Week

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

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

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

PJM Stories from Weekend

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

Charlie Martin: Obamacare vs. Arithmetic

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

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

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

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

Rick Moran: Can Cuccinelli Pull Off the Upset?

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

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

Andrew Klavan: Barack Obama’s Narrative Illusions

But in this left-wing country of the blind, even a one-eyed man can see: Obama’s political achievements, like Hillary Clinton’s political achievements, like Ben Kingsley’s role in freeing India from British rule, are all of a piece — a narrative illusion fostered on us by those who do not believe there is any truth to tell.

Klavan is really a extraordinary writer.

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page from Monday

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

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

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

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page from the Weekend

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

Andrew C. McCarthy: ‘The Great Achievements of Liberalism’ AKA ‘The Ponzi Scheme’ – A Response to Ron Radosh

A very compelling response from Andy, loaded with arguments.

Walter Hudson: Were Video Stores Better than Internet Streaming?

At some point I’m going to have to write something about the rise and fall of Blockbuster. I remember with such fondness how first videotape then video game then DVD rental stores used to be such a central part of my childhood and adolescence.

And now I can’t even remember how many years it’s been since I last used my Blockbuster card. (It might not even be in my wallet anymore!) But I do have a bit of schadenfreude — for as much as I adore Blockbuster for providing access to the cinematic world, I also hated it. On two separate occasions when I applied for jobs — once in high school and once after college — I was turned down. That was probably for the better I now realize.

Spyridon Mitsotakis: The UK Should Ignore the Mediocrities and Listen to the Pretty Lady

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Tuesday

Helen Smith: Can Yoga Cure Anxiety?

Stephen Green: Omigosh Nikon What Have You Done?

David P. Goldman: Reports of Russia’s Death Are Exaggerated

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation has fired up my interest in learning much more about Russia’s past, present, and future.

Becky Graebner: 3 Reasons Why Dating is Especially Hard in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Klavan: Peddling Trashy Books to Teens

Paula Bolyard: Dare You Not to Cry: Autistic Football Player ‘Big Mike’ Runs for a 31-Yard Touchdown

Monday

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

Encouraging.

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

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

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

Bonnie Ramthun: Battered Voter Syndrome

Weekend

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

P. David Hornik: The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, # 5: The Guardian

Walter Hudson: Of Thugs and Men

Susan L.M. Goldberg: Can’t Touch This: American Feminism’s Racial Ignorance

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

Rhonda Robinson: Don We Now Our Gay Apparel Ugly Sweaters

Sarah Hoyt: Selling Your Writing To The Public

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

I remain astounded by Megan’s new-media activism raising the alarm on an Illinois library’s sexually charged atmosphere.

Charlie Martin: 13 Weeks: The Hard Boiled Egg Theory

Jon Bishop: We Should All Be The Dude

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

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

Monday

Raymond Ibrahim: How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism

Ron Radosh: The Tea Party and Alger Hiss

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

Weekend

Rick Moran: Worrisome Security Breach at Healthcare.gov

Rick Moran: Remembering the Hungarian Uprising of 1956

J. Christian Adams: The Washington Post’s Crusade Against the Washington Redskins

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Tuesday

Two Acts of Fraud May Hand McAuliffe the Keys to Virginia

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

Obamacare Just Cost 73,000 in Maryland Their Health Insurance

Monday

Austin TV News Producer Goes Crazypants Trolling GOP Lt Gov Candidate

Guns & Ammo Editor Pens Editorial Supporting Gun Control

Photo of the Day: Sebelius Receives the Perfect Gift

I don’t think there’s going to be any kind of magical fix for the website in the coming months. This is an administration totally lost at sea, without a hope.

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

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

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

Obamacare Costs Cancer Survivor Her Healthcare Plan

 

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

Tuesday

Conservative Advocacy Groups Urging GOP to Advance Immigration Reform Bill

Haley Looking at 70 Percent Premium Increases in South Carolina

Kerry Reviving Administration Push for UN Disabilities Treaty

Monday

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

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

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

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

Weekend

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

*****

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

stephengreen-2089051541

From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Tuesday

Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day

News You Can Use

Panic in the McAuliffe Camp?

Required Reading

Aim to Misbehave

Monday

Twitter Playing Partisan Politics?

The New Containment

Lighter Than Air

Fill It to the RIM — With Fail

News You Can Use

Enough!

But It’s for Your Own Good

Required Reading

Your Daily Dose of Schadenfreude

PLEASE LOVE ME!!!

Getting It Right

Weekend

Omigosh Nikon What Have You Done?

Required Viewing

Meet KitKat

The Empire Strikes Kinkade!

Every Combat Dog Deserves His Day

****

eddriscoll-2089893401

From PJM’s San Jose Ed Driscoll

Monday and Tuesday

Quote of the Day

Great Moments in Socialist Psychobabble

Watching the Wheels Come Off Obamacare

Barbara Walters: The View Isn’t a Political Show

Weekend

Interview: Virginia Postrel on The Power of Glamour

Leftist Gets Mugged

All the News That’s Fit to Bury

 

******

Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!

18 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:

6 On Foreign Policy:

4 On Culture:

5 On History:

2 On New Media:

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

Read bullet |

Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador

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

This is Week 2 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.

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

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

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

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

1. The Greatest Juxtaposition Artist Online

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

Flip-Floppers Embrace Hip-Hoppers

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

Abandon In Place

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

2. Ed’s Graphics Are Wonderful!

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

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

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

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

4. Be Funny and Be Yourself

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

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

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

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

PJ Media Story Round Up

Monday and Tuesday Main Page PJM Stories

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Walsh: Empowering the Eloi: 10 USC § 311

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

Bryan Preston: How You and Your Family Can Escape Obamacare

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

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

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

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

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

Bridget Johnson: Obamacare Site for Spanish Speakers Has Never Worked

David P. Goldman: Jay Z’s American Fascism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Driscoll: Abandon In Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we must win.

We will win.

Victor Davis Hanson: The Democratic Disasters to Come

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Green: A Fifth of Doom

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

Ed Driscoll: Oh, That Present-Tense Culture

 America education system summed up in two sentences:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend PJM Stories

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

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

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

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

Rick Moran: Clashing Worldviews Roil the GOP

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

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

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

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

Lead PJM Stories on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Walsh: Most Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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

Bridget Johnson: Republican Winners of the Shutdown Standoff

Stephen Green: Shutdown Autopsy

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

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

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

Why, indeed.

Roger Kimball: Remembering America

Tom Blumer: Obamacare’s Useful Idiots

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

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

Claudia Rosett: Assad’s Nobel Peace Prize?

Ed Driscoll: Mystery Seventies Theater 3000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page

Monday and Tuesday

Theodore Dalrymple: Was Sir Winston Churchill Right About Exercise?

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

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

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

Charlie Martin: A Year of 13 Weeks

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

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

Wednesday – This Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

John Boot: 5 Cool Things About Escape Plan

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

Walter does such first-rate Tea Party coverage.

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

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

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

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

Robert Spencer: Child Marriage Comes to Australia

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

pjlifestyle

New at PJ Lifestyle

Monday and Tuesday

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

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

Robert Spencer: Burned Alive for $47

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

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

Rhonda Robinson: Are You Worthy of Your Sufferings?

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

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

Sunday

Charlie Martin: Depression, Suffering, and Mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday

Ed Driscoll: Barack Obama, Fabian Socialist

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

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

Stephen Green: Leave the Nikon, Take the iPhone

Sarah Hoyt: Reasons to Brave the Indie Publishing Jungle

Friday

Ed Driscoll: Two Redfords in One

C. Blake Powers: A Hollywood Dream Crushed at Normandy

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

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

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

Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin: The First Hit Is Free

Thursday

Charlie Martin: Infinity: Big and Bigger

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Green: Driving You to Distraction

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

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

Wednesday

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

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

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

Becky Graebner: The Baby Boomer and Millennial Blame Game

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

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

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

Chris Queen: Hooked on Oreos?

Stephen Green: Don’t Be Evil or Whatevs

Sarah Hoyt: Can Google Make You Sick?

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

tatlerlogo

New at PJ Tatler

Chris Salcedo: Obama is Responsible for His Own Opposition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seton Motley: Negotiating with Yourself Doesn’t Work

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

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

From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston

Tuesday

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

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

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

Yet Another MSM Journalist Officially Joins the Obama Administration

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

Monday

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

Obamacare Hotline Operator Admits to Hannity: No One Likes Obamacare

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

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

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

White House Touts Obamacare ‘Successes’ Who Aren’t

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday

Wendy Davis Consultant Matt Angle Lies About Robo-Call Group

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

Scientists Pull Meteorite from Russian Lake, Immediately Break It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bryan quoting from a friend of a friend:

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

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

This is big.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday

Surrender: House Will Take Up Senate Plan to End Standoff

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

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

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

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

Bryan does such a great job of hitting hard.

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

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

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

The Top 10 Reasons Why Obamacare Will Always Be Controversial

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

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

Tuesday

White House Links October Shutdown to Stagnant September Jobs Numbers

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

After Debt Ceiling Raised, Restoration to Begin on the Roof

Human Rights Groups Accuse Obama of Sloppy Drone Strikes

Monday

Wikipedia Stunned That Companies Pay Users to Write Favorable Articles

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

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

Unkindest Endorsement Ever? Paper Grudgingly Picks ‘Catastrophe’ Christie

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

Friday

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

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

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

Thusday

Sickening Video from Kenya Mall Attack

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

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

House Stenographer Snaps During Debt Vote, Yells About Freemasons

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

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

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

Wednesday

Booker Wins Senate Special Election in New Jersey

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

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

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

Houston Chronicle Editorial Board Says It Regrets Cruz Endorsement

*****

From PJM’s Breaking News Columnists

stephengreen-2089051541

From PJM’s Colordado Editor, Vodkapundit Stephen Green,

Tuesday

Open Is Better Than Nothing

The Game the Whole Country Can Play

Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day

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

Coming to America

Chuck Todd Rips Jay Carney a New One

Monday

A Seven of All Trades

A Worthy Cause

Blink?

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

The Onion Wins the Internet

Absolutely hilarious.

Another ObamaCare Fail

MSNBC Panel Turns on ObamaCare

It’s Not a Lie If You Believe It!

Let It Burn

By the Numbers

Windows RT Pulled

This Is the End

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

Playing Catchup Thrice

Weekend

News You Can Use

Mullahs Take a Leak

Bookmark of the Year

Winter is Laughing

Now That’s a Crossover [LINK FIXED!]

An Honest Question

This Is Why They Made an Internet

A Thousand Times No

Make Your Own Mario

Friday

Friday Night Videos

Paging Dr. Thomas Hendricks

The Future Just Got Closer

You’ve Been Had

Another Ringing ObamaCare Success

News You Can Use

Poll of the Day

This Is Why You Fail

What the Government Does With Your Data

Saudis Refuse Security Council Seat to Themselves

You Can’t Even Bribe Them Out of Power

Thursday

Bring on the Heat

The Big Blue Blues

How ObamaCare Works Perfectly

News You Can Use

New Waivers for Government Motors

Required Reading

Shut Down Theater, He Explained

The Opacity of Wall Street

Congress Self-Emasculates

You Keep Using That Word

Wednesday

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ National Security

Detroit Is in Recovery!

Leave the Nikon, Take the iPhone

In a Collectivized Nutshell

And Liberals Claim Even the Name is Racist

To Sanction or not to Sanction

Required Reading

The Most Transparent Administration in History

Repeat After Me: It’s Not a Traffic Problem

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From PJM’s San Jose Ed Driscoll

Monday and Tuesday

Beware the Cupcake Menace!

Abandon In Place

First Bum, Now Bud

Oh, the Humanity!

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

Heh, indeed.™

Socialism: If You Build It, They Will Leave

Weekend

Obamacare: The New Vietnam

Meet the New Brutalism, Same as the Old Brutalism

RIP, Legendary NFL Coach Bum Phillips

Thursday

Marker Called

ButterfieldCare

Wednesday

Mystery Seventies Theater 3000

Two Redfords in One

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

******

Closing Book Excerpt

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

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

******

Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!

16 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:

6 On Foreign Policy:

4 On Culture:

5 On History:

1 On New Media:

*****

images courtesy shuttertsock / Jeff Cameron Collingwood

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If You’re Trying to Do Two Things at Once, Pick One

Saturday, September 7th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
It makes for a very exciting way to start a book, but I could use a little less excitement in real life.

It makes for a very exciting way to start a book, but I could use a little less excitement in real life.

Organizing your Creative Life in Thirteen Weeks, Week 10

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks

Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists

Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water

Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done? 

Week Three: The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters

Week Four: How to Tame Your Subconscious

Week Five: How Separating When and Where You Do Tasks Improves Both Productivity and Quality of Work!

Week Six: Organizing your Life is Like Learning to Juggle Eggs and Chainsaws

Week Seven: 4 Tips So You Don’t Organize Yourself to Death

Week Eight: Organizing your Writing Life When Words Fail You

Week Nine: After an Upset in Your Routine Catching Up Is Hard to Do 

********

Run!

Patricia Wentworth has a novel by that title.  Exclamation mark and all.  I don’t remember if this was her first book that I bought – I do remember that that book grabbed me right from the title, and since that was also the very first word on the book, it caught me and made me read it right to the end.

Putting your character in a situation where they must do or die right off the bat will grab the reader and not let go.  At least if you have the ability to keep the pace going the rest of the book.  (Okay, Wentworth slacks off a little.  She’s more romantic suspense than suspense.)

So, does this mean that I’ve given up on organizing my creative life and taken to dispensing writing advice again?

Not exactly.  I’m here to tell you that finding myself in the position of that character in that book is a lot less fun than it is reading about it.

No, I wasn’t lost in fog outside a creepy old house.  I didn’t hear steps behind me, and someone didn’t pass me, running, while yelling “run.”  Well, not literally.  In a metaphorical sense, it came pretty close.

The good news is that I’ve finally finished revising Witchfinder and sending it off to editors, including the real one (though it will come out from a small indie press, Goldport – mostly because even though I love Baen books, I want to keep a foot on the indie thing.  It’s a new avenue, and I like exploring.)

The bad news is that I’ve still not finished Through Fire, mostly through having tried to back up and do it from a different perspective.  Don’t go there.  Just don’t.

Part of the issue with the two books was something that I’ve heard of other writers running into: you’re working on a piece, which blocks the other piece you’d like to work on.  This happens.

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Eating an Elephant

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin

eating-an-elephant

Sarah and I agreed to write two sides of the question of writing rituals, me taking the anti-ritual side. So now, I’m home from the day job, dressed in my comfy pants, in my writing corner where my computer faces a window and my cats have convenient places to sit and watch. I get the editor open (my new love in software, Ulysses III, which I’m going to review next week), arrange the windows the way I like, get a bottle of water next to me, and, as my last step, I wind my tomato timer and start it ticking at my left elbow.

I’m now prepared to write about why I think writing rituals can be harmful.

The fact is that I think every writer has rituals, and they’re not all harmful. Writing is a funny process — you sit in a room looking at an empty screen, and push words out. As I said a few days ago, for me this empty screen used to be the step at which I’d start to sweat blood. I’d write a few words or a paragraph, or even some pages, and not like them, and start over — something made easier by a computer although without the satisfying feeling of crumpling the paper into a ball and throwing it away. Eventually something would click and I’d get moving, and eventually find something I liked.

Oddly, I could write at length, with some fluency, and with some verve when I was writing something like a USENET comment, or later writing blog comments and emails. It was just when I had to sit down and write something real that I had troubles.

Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance, and identifies it as a powerful force. In his book The War of Art he sees Resistance as a shadowy force that interferes any time you try to do something challenging, whether it’s writing a book or following a diet or saving a marriage. For me, most often it’s the Critic’s Voice, a part of me that looks over my shoulder, reads what I’ve written, and sniffs “Meh.”

When Resistance is thwarted, you get into a different state, a state of flow — the words are coming and you know what you’re actually doing — sometimes you look at what you’re writing and say “Whoa, where’d that come from?”

It’s a mental state that I suspect is very much like hypnosis, a trance state. Certainly it has many of the characteristics of trance, with time compression and single-minded focus. What our rituals do for us is prepare us to enter that trance. With my Pomodoro timers — and before that, when I started drafts with a fountain pen and paper even though I would be typing later — part of the ritual for me is to tell the Critic’s Voice to sod off, because I’m just writing something quickly, it’s only a few minutes and it doesn’t have to be good anyway — in 25 minutes I’ll stop and then you can say “meh”. So I start typing, the Voice lets up, and I write.

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Eating a Mountain is Easy

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin
mmmmm nummy!

mmmmm nummy!

First you get used to eating a pebble a day.

What I mean by this is that in writing, and in a lot of other things, ritual is important – ritual and routine and establishing an habit of doing something.

Charlie and I [This is Sarah!] were talking about this in the opposite and upside down of this – how and when do you break ritual and does breaking ritual liberate creative fire, or not?

I will leave that part of the argument to my partner in crime [Waves at Charlie] but for now, I’ll discuss the uses and importance of ritual.

There is a – perhaps apocryphal — story that goes around the science fiction community.  It is attached to one particular author and it is used to explain a prolonged dry spell of his.  I’m not going to use his name because I heard this story second, third and sixteenth hand (at least) but never close enough to be sure.

However the story keeps getting told, because all of us, professional writers, identify with it and can understand it.

It is said that a young and hopeful writer turned on his lamp by the desk before he started to write.  Maybe he started out because his desk was in a dark corner, or he wrote only at night. As he started selling, he noticed that stories he wrote while the lamp was on sold, while stories he wrote while the lamp was off didn’t.  Then he realized this light bulb never seemed to burn out.  Year after year he turned on the lamp and the magic light bulb cast its light on his work as he rose up the ranks to bestseller.

Which is when he got divorced.  And his wife told him that for years she’s been replacing the light bulb every week, to make sure it was always fresh and wouldn’t burn out.

And he didn’t write for years.

This story illustrates both ritual and superstition – and their dangers.

That they are dangerous goes without saying, and I’ll let Charlie explain why.  But they are useful, too, because they are what humans use to tame the unknown, and to try to reliably harness forces they can’t quite understand.

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After an Upset in Your Routine Catching Up Is Hard to Do

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Organizing your Creative Life in 13 Weeks: Week 9

Like an upended turtle, it's not easy to get your creative life right side up after being upended.  But it can be done.

Like an upended turtle, it’s not easy to get your creative life right side up after being upended. But it can be done.

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks

Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists

Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water

Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done? 

Week Three: The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters

Week Four: How to Tame Your Subconscious

Week Five: How Separating When and Where You Do Tasks Improves Both Productivity and Quality of Work!

Week Six: Organizing your Life is Like Learning to Juggle Eggs and Chainsaws

Week Seven: 4 Tips So You Don’t Organize Yourself to Death

Week Eight: Organizing your Writing Life When Words Fail You

****

After the chaos that was last week, due to illness in what can only be called extended family – our friend is doing better, thank you – all I can say is that catching up is hard to do.

Yes, I had the techniques from combining Getting Things Done and The Pomodoro Technique.

The problem is as follows: I faced both a boatload of things not done, and the chaos of the week in which my sons returned to college, (with attendant difficulties in finding a given book, issues with parking permits, etc.) combined with this weird lassitude and inability to concentrate which I think is the aftermath of an emotional shock.

The combination made me forget to do the page proofs for a short story and the back-of-book text for the Omnibus of the first two of my shifter books Draw One In the Dark and Gentleman Takes a Chance.

Part of the reason these didn’t get done is that – because of the turmoil of the previous week – I never wrote them down on the index cards.  Mind you, I have the short story sitting right here on my desk, but I forgot to look at it.

Of course, this is because I violated one of the rules of Getting Things Done, which is that when you get an email you should either do it immediately (which would have been possible with either) or enter it in your system and note the priority on the calendar.  This was, of course, because I was what is technically known as “knocked for an emotional loop.”

Of course this is not new for either creative people nor frankly for mothers.  The world goes on, no matter what private shocks you suffer.  To the extent your private world – and both writing and motherhood can be extremely private in process if not in result – interact with other people’s commercial or personal activities, you’re going to have to learn to function when everything around you is falling apart.

It used to shock me that my mother could turn from, say, a problem with her parents’ health, to dealing with a client, and use her best business voice, and sound perfectly composed.

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5 Lessons Worth Learning at RightOnline

Sunday, August 25th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

i-know-kung-fu

Iron sharpens iron, so the saying goes. When it comes to developing your skills as an online activist, the iron can be found at RightOnline, an annual conference put on by Americans for Prosperity where advocates of liberty gather to network and learn from the greats. This year’s conference kicks off in Orlando at the end of the week. From the website:

The RightOnline Conference brings top new media, technology, and messaging experts together with hundreds of committed citizen activists to provide important leadership and grassroots training, offering tools and inspiration to more effectively impact public policy in favor of limited government and free enterprise. The agenda provides a solid program of workshops and training seminars on new media strategies and tools that can be used to mobilize and advance free market policies.

Since its first conference, RightOnline has been expanded into a broader initiative that includes state-based and local grassroots training seminars aimed at promoting and increasing citizen participation in the public policy process through the use of online tools.

Among a handful of activists sponsored by AFP to represent Minnesota at the conference, I look forward to two days of intense training and encouragement from some of the most accomplished names in alternative media. Conferences like RightOnline offer a buffet of knowledge for those willing to lap it up.

The hardest part of attending such an event is choosing which tracks to follow in the breakout sessions. Previous experience has taught me that following the track of greatest interest may not lead to as much learning as sitting in on something less familiar. So assessing which sessions will yield the highest return requires an introspective analysis of strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, here are 5 lessons worth learning at RightOnline. Be sure to let us know which sessions you’ll be attending in the comments section below.

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Organizing your Life is Like Learning to Juggle Eggs and Chainsaws

Saturday, August 10th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Don't try this at home.  Not unless you have some spare arms and legs.

Don’t try this at home. Not unless you have some spare arms and legs.

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks

Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists

Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water

Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done? 

Week Three: The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters

Week Four: How to Tame Your Subconscious

Week Five: How Separating When and Where You Do Tasks Improves Both Productivity and Quality of Work!

******

How do you juggle chainsaws?  Very carefully, of course.

No, I haven’t gone completely off my rocker and taken up another and completely different hobby/career.  In fact, part of my intent right now is figuring out how to reduce my needed tasks to the essential ones.

However, on the way there, I’ve come across the equivalent situation to when you’re just learning to juggle eggs and someone throws a chainsaw at you.  At best, it’s going to break your rhythm and concentration.  And at worst, it’s going to end up with a bunch of eggs broken, at the very worst, there will also be couple of fingers and a lot of blood on the floor.

Metaphorically, this week, while managing my creative life with Getting Things Done and The Pomodoro Technique, going along fine, working pretty well, ticking penguin by ticking penguin, I got a chainsaw thrown at me.  Worse, you could say I threw a chainsaw at myself, completely forgetting that I’m only a beginner in this time and task juggling thing.

I think I’ve broken a couple of eggs, in the sense that the first three days of the week were lost to a mire of emotional confusion, but I still have all my fingers and I’m getting ready to integrate the chainsaw in the flow – that is, I’m figuring out the difficult things that have to be done, and which will for a while disrupt my life, but which will lead to – hopefully – a much better way of working and perhaps of living.

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How Separating When and Where You Do Tasks Improves Both Productivity and Quality of Work!

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Perhaps there is a reason that every magical adventure starts with a clear separation.  You have to pass through the portal.

Perhaps there is a reason that every magical adventure starts with a clear separation. You have to pass through the portal.

Organizing Your Creative Life in 13 Weeks: Week 5

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.  

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks
Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists
Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water
Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done? 
Week Three: The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters
Week Four: How to Tame Your Subconscious

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Before you ask, no, my marriage is not in trouble and no separation is contemplated, though the lessons of this week do have to do with my marriage. In fact they have to do with our 28th anniversary, which we celebrated last weekend by going away for three days together at a hotel.

Yes, I can see all of you wrinkling your noses and getting ready to scream TMI. But it’s not. It relates to both writing and organization.

Since both of us are writers, we decided to make this – besides some time together without our kids, cats and household duties – a writing weekend.

This is something we used to do way back when, by getting a joint babysitter for our children and our best friends’ children, collecting all the kids in their house and all the writers in ours, and spending three days in concentrated writing, broken only by dinner out. In the last one of those Rebecca and Alan Lickiss and Dan and I held, we each wrote an average of twenty thousand words after revision.

So I knew that worked when you had the synergy of several writers together and working. What I didn’t know was that it could also work when it was just the two of us. It seems particularly unlikely that it would have any real effect since at this point our children are 22 and 18 and so rarely require that we stop them drawing on walls or even taking apart our electronics to see how they work. The cats are a little more trouble, particularly the one who is going through an excessively clingy phase, but surely – surely – going away and just writing isn’t that much of an improvement?

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The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

Today I am joining Charlie Martin and Sarah Hoyt in attempting a 13 Weeks Blogging Self-Improvement Program. I invite others to join me and assist in the continued development of what we should call The Charlie Martin 13 Weeks Method. (Has a nice alliterative ring to it, methinks.) Back in February Charlie laid out his approach:

By accident, however, I’d noticed a process, or pattern.

  1. Decide there’s something you want to change.
  2. Find ways to measure your progress.
  3. Decide on some small unthreatening things you can do that should affect those measures.
  4. Track the results for 13 weeks and see what happens. It helps to pick appropriate tools and techniques for that tracking, but something as simple as a Seinfeld calendar, where you just draw an X on a calendar for every day you do something can be very powerful.

So here’s my 1-2-3-4 for The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen:

1. The problem that I’d like to change is the one that Sarah identified in her PJ Lifestyle article yesterday: being buried in books for research. Over the past year I’ve tried to figure out how to organize the various subjects that I want to study in order to best make sense of them and find the connections across the disciplines. I want to read more books and do a better job of staying organized with the ideas and research that I find in them for my future writing and editing projects. I want to continue to explore connections across disciplines, reading both novels and a wide variety of nonfiction, both very serious philosophy and absurd satire.

2. I will continue to share the most interesting nuggets of my research in one daily PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf post that features an excerpt. Additional snapshots from my research will appear at my Instagram and Twitter accounts which can be followed here and here.

3. I will only create seven piles of books, one for each day, and then base each day’s reading on the titles from that pile. I won’t have to think about which books I’ll read each day. I’ll just draw from each pile. Each day will be based on 1-3 authors and 1-4 related subjects that I want to juxtapose together. This will not be a hard rule that I can only read from that day’s pile. If a book on another subject has caught my enthusiasm then I can still read it after dong the day’s necessary reading.

But I need to find at least two excerpts worth Instagramming and at least one of them should appear as a PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf selection to inspire debate and discussion. (That’s the purpose of those posts — for the regular readers who have complained, asking why I don’t take a few paragraphs to spell out my opinion of each excerpt offered. They appear because I am more interested in hearing reader feedback on them than pontificating my own ideas.) These seven piles will then flow into the six categories that I created in my original Counterculture Conservative book list from back in October. The seventh (and last) category I plan to add will be based on my list of the The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology. (This will be the basis for Friday’s  systematic exploration of evil ideas.)

4. I will create a calendar on a page of my journal broken up into 13 weeks and at the beginning of each day I will notate which page I am on in the books that I am reading associated with that day. I will photograph this calendar and blog about it each week, noting and analyzing my results on Tuesdays (the PJ Lifestyle day focused on writing, media, and technology). At the end of the 13 weeks I will see the progress I made on each author and subject. Then I will decide how to adjust each day’s reading focus, maybe taking a break from an author for a bit or adding another writer whose ideas are worth juxtaposing with the other thinkers of the day.

So what will the reading subjects be for the seven days of this “first season,” as Charlie calls it, of the The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen? I’m doubling down on the authors and subjects of previous self-improvement plans, but focusing some plans and expanding others. As always, your recommendations for additional books and authors that I need to read are sincerely appreciated. Please leave suggestions in the comments or email me.

And publishers, authors and publicists: any and all paperback/hardback books received by mail will be photographed and blogged about. (And e-books that are especially interesting may also be featured. But actual books are of course more photogenic.)

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Know Your (Copy)rights: Tips for Writers and Bloggers

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

When I was starting out as a professional writer, taking workshops or just chatting around the cafeteria table, the question was a sure sign that you had an amateur on your hands:

“But what if an editor steals my stuff?”

These same newbies were more obsessed with where and how they should type their “© by…”  line than they were with writing something steal-able.

“Copyright is automatic,” I’d sniff smugly, longing to add, “Believe me, you have nothing to worry about.”

Of course, in those days, the IBM Selectric was the most advanced “word processor” available.

Email hadn’t been born and the Internet was in diapers.

You mailed your article to your editor, maybe even couriered it — or faxed it if the publication was particularly fancy.

Today, editors (and bloggers and other writers) do steal your stuff, because it’s so easy, and because notions of right and wrong are in flux.

At the same time, thanks to the same technology that makes theft so commonplace, copyright law has become harder to understand.

If you’re a writer, however, you have to at least try.

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How To Boost Your Blog By Going ‘Under the Hood’

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle

If you’re sick of me bragging about my twelve years as a blogger, good news:

I’m now in year #13.

Pretty much everything I know about blogging, I picked up via trial and error.

I taught myself HTML Rosetta Stone-style, by peeking at other sites’ source code to see how they achieved particular effects.

I also noted the way popular sites “hat-tipped” other sites when they found something juicy there, and how they thanked other blogs that linked to them.

I still strongly recommend trial and error as a learning method, especially the “error” part: there are few things more indelible than our own embarrassing mistakes.

(Even better, learn from other people’s mistakes to avoid making your own in the first place.)

However, I’m happy to pass along a few blogging tips.

These ones take you “under the hood” to make changes your readers won’t see — but will definitely notice…

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How To Transform Knowledge Into Gold

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 - by PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf

Click to submit book suggestions for the new daily feature at PJ Lifestyle.

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‘They’re Responding to What I Wrote, Not Me.’

Saturday, November 17th, 2012 - by PJ Lifestyle Writing

via The Brand Is You – Forbes.

DON’T BE A DREAM CRUSHER!

This article is utter drivel.

Your article is b.s.

And Susannah Breslin should not be a writer.

Maybe one day you too will be a story teller as opposed to a blow hard braggart.

I’ve written about negative feedback here before: “This Is Why You’re Stupid, or How to Deal with Criticism on the Internet.”

For the most part, criticism of this sort doesn’t bother me. They’re responding to what I wrote, not me.

Plus, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve gotten used to it.

Supposedly, the web is a “conversation.”

Meanwhile, brands are obsessed with consumer “engagement” — but only so they can figure out how they can turn it into profits.

(I ought to know, I used to be a Facebook whisperer.)

I think the real reason people communicate online is because they are communicating with themselves.

It may look like a blog post, an article, a tweet, a status update, an infographic, a photograph.

But what you’re witnessing is someone engaged with, holding a conversation, communicating with themselves.

Read the whole thing here and Read Everything Susannah Breslin writes.

For links to other writers who fall into the “Read Everything They Write” category click here and also see the PJ Columnists line-up.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle:

3 Rules for Handling the Online Trolls, Bullies, and Crackpots 

The ‘Me’ in Social Media: The ONLY Online Etiquette Rule You’ll Ever Need

E-Mails to My Past Self: 5 Facts I Wish I Could Send Back in Time

5 Ways To Transform Your Life Just By Changing Your Vocabulary

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3 Turning Points in the History of Blogging

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 - by Kathy Shaidle

This year marks my 12th “blogversary.”

That’s right: Before Instapundit, before LittleGreenFootballs, even before PJ Media  — I AM.

Inspired by proto-blogs RobotWisdom and PopCultureJunkMail, and powered by the free, easy-to-use Blogger platform, I originally set up something called RelapsedCatholic (now FiveFeetOfFury) as a swipe file/staging area for my Toronto Star religion column.

(Amusingly, Blogger itself started out as just a quick and dirty way for PyraLabs staffers to discuss the company’s “real” projects.)

My Toronto Star column is long gone,  but my blog is still up. So are thousands of others.

But in those early days, I could complete my morning blog-reading rounds before finishing my first coffee.

One of those must-reads was the Drudge Report, of course. One Tuesday morning, at the top of its third column, Matt posted a tiny photo and a one-line “breaking” story: reports of a small plane hitting the World Trade Center.

“Not another Kennedy,” I tsked, remembering John Jr.’s death not long before.

Sadly, no.

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I Hate People

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 - by Pamela Weiss

Sound harsh?

Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going to be honest with yourself and those around you, you’d admit that you hate people too. With the loss of common sense, politeness, and consideration by most, how could you not? It seems that “kindness to others” has been placed on a shelf next to the good china to be taken out and “used” only on special occasions. Let’s face it, people wander through life taking care of their daily business oblivious to those around them unless of course they may somehow be affected by an encounter with another.

I can see that you don’t believe me. You are either not paying attention, which launches you right into the middle of the oblivious, or you are surrounded by a much better breed of people than I. Since I don’t know your situation, I can only share a few of my daily experiences so you don’t think I’m lying.

Often times my daily chores take me to the grocery store. Honest to goodness, I have never asked anyone to allow me to go in front of them, but somehow my time is rarely considered as valuable as the person behind me. On one particular day, I was in line in, my cart moderately full. I had been waiting my turn patiently for about ten minutes when I was approached from behind by a lady (I use that term loosely).

“‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me lady…let me go in front of you. I have only this, I’m in a hurry.”

Granted, she was polite, she did say “‘Scuse me” as she held up her item. I was annoyed. Aren’t patrons like her the reason there are lines for those with “15 items or less”? As I said, I had been waiting my turn and had other things I needed to do. Reluctantly, I allowed the woman with the one item to go in front of me. As she maneuvered past me, she looked back, waving her hand yelling, “Over here!” I turned to look in the same direction as the lady who had just moved to the front of the line, in front of me. With G-d as my witness, I was nearly knocked down by another woman barreling towards me with a grocery cart so full the wheels were about to click off.

As this woman pushed past me running over my toes, she looked over her shoulder and spat out “Watch it lady, I’m with her….” In that one quick minute, these two women accomplished a feat those who know me thought impossible: they made me speechless. I think I was in shock until after the checker began ringing their order, and then it was too late. With my jaw still hanging open ten minutes later when my order was finally being checked, I was asked if I required medical attention or perhaps a chair on which to sit since I didn’t look well.

Still don’t believe me? Okay, let’s go to the movies. If you want to see a movie without the probability of being hit in the head with flying objects, it is suggested that adults go to evening movies. It’s a great suggestion, even if you take into account that the person in front of you may be hard of hearing, and his partner may repeat the entire dialogue of the movie at the top of her lungs, don’t you think? (Yes, it really happened!) Probably less noise, chances of crying infants should be way down, flying objects should not be a worry. Huh, ya think? My girlfriend and I one day decided to take in a “chick flick” choosing an evening show. It was a seven o’clock movie; we figured that would work.

We bought our tickets, loaded up on the popcorn and drinks, and in we went to a half filled theater. Perfect.

We picked our seats and settled in for a hopefully enjoyable two hours. No sooner than the lights dimmed and the previews started, a phone rang. At first I thought it was one of those clever movie commercials reminding viewers to be polite and turn off their phones. Unfortunately, I was wrong. A person a mere four rows back answered her phone, speaking as if she were enjoying a cup of coffee at her kitchen table with a couple of friends. I’d like to report that she immediately told the caller that she was in a movie theater and she’ll return the call later, but that was not in the cards.

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3 Rules for Handling the Online Trolls, Bullies, and Crackpots

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 - by Kathy Shaidle

“Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.”

It’s arguably the most famous opening line in 20th century fiction. The predicament in which Franz Kafka’s “Joseph K.” finds himself is even more chillingly relevant today than it was in 1920.

Not only was Kafka lucky enough to have died before the Holocaust he’d intuited was on the horizon, but he missed far, far lesser scourges, like internet trolls and slanderers.

If Kafka were alive and writing on the web today, he’d have dozens of online stalkers, making fun of him for living with his parents and having really big ears.

He might even be subject to “lawfare” for his “controversial” blogging.

A while back I wrote about the particular abuse women in general — and conservative women in particular — attract on the web. The good news is that there are ways to dial down this annoying din, and these methods work for everybody.

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