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5 Reasons Why Cracked‘s Parody of Walt Disney Is Nothing Like the Truth

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Chris Queen

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I enjoy good satire that really makes a point. The problem with satire is that, for it to be truly good and genuinely funny, the satire must find its basis in truth. Satire that isn’t based in facts doesn’t work and is generally unfunny.

I’ll give you a recent example: over at the humor site Cracked, a recent video by some guy named Michael Swaim presented a fictional TED talk by Walt Disney. The title of the post was “Why Walt Disney Is Nothing Like You Think He Was,” of course guaranteed to generate buzz.

In the video, an actor — Swaim, maybe? — dressed like a used car salesman and, not even trying to imitate Walt’s Missouri twang, spouts off the usual suspects of Disney disinformation. I didn’t embed the YouTube clip here, because it’s not safe for work or kids and because it’s six minutes of your life you’ll never get back. But I will highlight and refute five of the worst smears in the video.

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Is Rachmaninoff the Favorite Composer for Pianists?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

A Comment from Thursday last week in response to “‘Battle of the Huns’ – The Best by Liszt?”

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Here are the previous recordings included so far in this feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Antonio Vivaldi

 

10 Recommended by Charlie Martin

Franz Liszt

Rimsky-Korsakov

Modest Mussorgsky

Borodin

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The Secret Reason for American Sniper‘s Breakout Success

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

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American Sniper isn’t just a huge box office success. It’s in a category of its own. It’s set to be (at least) one of the three highest-grossing films released in 2014 (it opened on Christmas Day on four screens, before going nationwide on Jan. 16). It’s the only one that will make last year’s top 15 that isn’t a fantasy or a comedy. It’s on track to become perhaps the second highest-grossing R-rated film of all time and the second highest-grossing film about a real person. Number one in both those categories is The Passion of the Christ, meaning a Navy SEAL is giving Jesus a run for his money.

When comedian Seth Rogen in a tweet said American Sniper reminded him of a Nazi propaganda film, he showcased how utterly out of touch Hollywood is about the military. Not only did this thought occur to Rogen, which tells you a lot, but he actually thought it was innocuous enough to publish on Twitter. Instead it seems likely to cost him millions of ticket sales because Rogen, never previously identified as particularly anti-American, is now as popular in military-loving communities as he is in North Korea.

American Sniper is a hit for several reasons: It’s a great movie, with a riveting set of TV commercials. The audience-survey firm CinemaScore says it is getting a rare A+ rating from viewers. Clint Eastwood’s name on the marquee also means something — but Eastwood’s movies have never made huge amounts of money. His biggest-ever hit, Gran Torino, earned $148 million in North America. American Sniper will nearly double that.

What American Sniper has going for it is that it’s unabashedly patriotic and pro-military. That matters, because the military is by far the most beloved institution in American life.

I can hear Hollywood, the land where saying U.S. troops remind you of Nazis isn’t even considered controversial,  spitting out its arugula-and-endive salad at that. That can’t be. Can it?

For nearly half a century, American culture has been a story of gradual destruction of trust in everything. Banks, in a June Gallup survey, had a 26 percent trust rating. The presidency was at 29 percent. Newspaper journalists were at 22, with Internet and TV news lagging behind even that. Congress? Seven percent.

Confidence in the military, though, was at 74 percent. After decades of anti-military and antiwar propaganda from Hollywood, that’s astonishing. The only other institutions that commanded majority support were small business (62 percent) and the police (53). The trend is consistent: The military’s approval rating hasn’t dipped below 60 percent since 1988.

The American public is saying something very simple: We love our military. Give us more films that show our troops as heroes, and we’ll turn up for them.

Some liberal Hollywood types have been scratching their heads and saying, “Wait a minute, though. American Sniper is a very downbeat film. Its central figure is shown being tormented by survivor’s guilt and PTSD. It isn’t ‘rah-rah.’  So why do those rubes in the heartland love it so much?”

This is sheer projection, because it’s liberal sophisticates who have an amazingly simplistic, indeed kindergarten-level, view of war: Killing is wrong, so we should loathe all troops on an equal basis, regardless of whether they’re fighting for, say, the Fuehrer or liberal democracy. “The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer,” ran the headline of an especially infantile piece in The Guardian, by American liberal Lindy West.

Was Chris Kyle supposed to be full of love as he shot to death cowards who disguised themselves as civilians as they planted deadly remote-controlled booby traps, or hurled grenades at Americans attempting to build a democracy? Was he supposed to feel benevolent toward jihadis trying to establish a medieval theocracy in which women would be stoned to death for adultery, and even belonging to the wrong sect of Islam would be a crime punishable by  death?

The patriots who are lining up to buy tickets to American Sniper are aware that war takes an enormous toll and can be agonizing even to those without visible wounds. That’s precisely the appeal of the film: By showing the price our troops pay to fight for our values, it reminds us just how much respect we owe them.

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Deflated: the Statistically Impossible Patriots Fumble Record

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by J. Christian Adams

Patriots partisans are deflating the deflation controversy by arguing that their impermissible deflation of the footballs wasn’t what allowed them to beat an overmatched Colts team.  Perhaps. But a new statistical analysis reveals that if it weren’t for deflation of the footballs, the Patriots might not have even been playing a series of home playoff games as the top seed.  Careful analytics reveal that suddenly in 2007, a strange and statistically impossible phenomena began to occur at Patriots games. (fumbles, fumbles lost, and more).

Sharp Football Analysis has a statistical analysis that backs up the conclusions of football legends Fran Tarkenton and Jerome Bettis: the Patriots’ success over the last decade is due in some (or large) part to cheating.  This is bad news for the NFL and for fans of every team that has been on the losing end of Patriot schemes, particularly the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were denied multiple trips to the Super Bowl by the Patriots in AFC Championship games during the height of the first Patriot videotape cheating scandal.

Sharp Football Analysis analysis looked at the rate of fumbles by the Patriots offense over the last decade.  The analysis had a number of shocking conclusions.  First, the Patriots fumble only at a rate of once every 187 offensive snaps.  As Sharp’s puts it, this is literally off the charts.  It is a statistical outlier right from a statistics textbook.

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Sharp Football Analysis:

One can CLEARLY SEE the Patriots, visually, are off the chart. There is no other team even close to being near to their rate of 187 offensive plays (passes+rushes+sacks) per fumble. The league average is 105 plays/fumble. Most teams are within 21 plays of that number.

The odds of such a statistical distribution were calculated at one in 16,233.  That’s a comma, not a decimal.  Sixteen thousand two hundred and thirty three to one.

Patriots partisans might crow — well, what good does deflating a football do?  Simple.  It creates angles on a football that didn’t exist when playing by the rules and allows a runner, passer, center, and, most importantly, a quarterback to better grip the ball.  With the avoidance of turnovers being so central to winning football, a deflated football helps you win.

But it gets worse for Brady and the Patriots.  Sharp Football Analysis was able to trace the emergence of this phenomena to a bright-line date: 2007.  Starting in 2007, the Patriots suddenly began to hold onto the football at a statistical rate likely to occur 1 time in 16,233.  A rational person might conclude this is the moment when someone on the Patriots cooked up the scheme to illegally deflate the ball:

As you can see, the Patriots won their Super Bowls having a below average rate of fumbles lost given today’s average of 105 plays/game. But in 2007, something happened to propel them to a much better rate (you’ll remember, that just so happened to be the same year they went 16-0 in the regular season). But even looking at these numbers, its clear how insane the 187 number is: they are almost running 100 MORE plays without a single fumble as compared to the 2002-2006 period when they won 2 of their 3 Super Bowls.

To further illustrate how these numbers are astonishing, the below graphics lay out clearly how far off the Patriots are from the rest of the league. Its evident to the eye how far removed they are from the norm. Whether we look at a histogram laying it out, where the Patriots and their 187 plays/fumble is far from the “bell shaped curve”:

When you consider that the Patriots play in cold, messy weather much of the season, having an advantage that visiting teams do not have creates even further separation from the rest of the NFL on game day in New England. The Pats have performed like a domed team in the worst of conditions.

sSharp Football Analysis answers the inevitable Patriots partisans:

Could the Patriots be so good that they just defy the numbers? As my friend theorized: Perhaps they’ve invented a revolutionary in-house way to protect the ball, or perhaps they’ve intentionally stocked their skill positions with players who don’t have a propensity to fumble. Or perhaps still, they call plays which intentionally result in a lower percentage of fumbles. Or maybe its just that they play with deflated footballs on offense. … But regardless of what, specifically, is causing these numbers, the fact remains: this is an extremely abnormal occurrence and is NOT simply random fluctuation.

Unlike Barry Bonds and other baseball cheaters, Brady and Bill Belichick are certain to wind up in the Hall of Fame someday.  But they’ll never be able to escape from the data that will follow them there.

[Update: in response to the comment below -- each team in the NFL uses their own chosen balls while on offense.  Sometimes these balls even have the logo of the team on them.  Thus, the advantage would NOT flow both ways.]

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6 Great Sun Shots from Galveston, Texas

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Sunshine

In response to yesterday’s invitation for Southern Sunrise shots:

Bonus:

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Since December of 2013 PJ Lifestyle has been collecting sunrise and sunset photos from contributors, readers, and Instagram. Now we’re going to begin an effort to organize the ongoing collection. Revised goals:

1. Collect a sunrise from every state in the union. Completed July 25, 2014 but you can still send in your great photos to be featured.

2. Collect a sunset from as many countries around the world as possible.

3. After getting all 50 states’ sunrises then switch to collecting their sunsets and begin the global sunrises collection.

Updated April 2014: 4. The extraordinary submissions of Mark Baird have inspired a new collection of photographs devoted specifically to our nation’s capital. We’re going to try and organize fantastic sunrise and sunset photos from all the different monuments and scenic views.

Updated August 2014: 5. We’re going to now try and start combining sunrise and pet photos, leading with images and video taken by PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle featuring Maura the Siberian Husky on her morning runs. Any pet/sunrise/sunset photos will be especially appreciated.

Updated August 30, 2014: 6. With the introduction of Hyperlapse, hat tip to Vodkapundit, we begin a new chapter of sped-up video sunrises from around the world. Please send in links to yours or leave the URLs of your favorites in the comments.

Updated January 23, 2015: 7. Yesterday we launched PJ Lifestyle Sunshine 2.0. This feature will group together various sunrises collected here and ask for your feedback about your favorites.

The Completed United States Sunrise Collection

Alabama

Great Colors In the Alabama Sky At Sunrise in Cullman

Alaska

The Sun Rises Over a Town in the Alaskan Mountains

Arizona

A Very Cool Sunrise in Arizona This Morning…

An Encouraging Sunrise While Driving in Arizona

Arkansas

3 Invigorating Sunrise Shots From the Shores of the Arkansas River

‘My 10 year old took this in Arkansas just northeast of Memphis, TN overlooking a field.’

California

94 California Sunrises and Sunsets from 2014 (And the First 3 of 2015…)

2 Videos & 2 Photos: Today’s Sunrise In Inglewood Was the Best in Months

3 Inglewood Sunrise Photos From the Last Few Weeks

Sunrise Today Reflecting on Big Bear Lake

A Bright Sunrise Over San Francisco Bay

Another Superb Sunrise Over Silicon Valley

The Sun Rises Over the Fog In Silicon Valley

A Huge, Colorful Sunrise over San Francisco

A Good Morning Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

The Sunrise Illuminates The Path By the Beach In Cambria, California

The Last Socal Sunrise of 2013

3 California Sunrises – San Diego – Santa Cruz – San Francisco

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

Beverly Hills: A California Sunrise in Memory of Shirley Temple

A Subtle Sunrise From The San Fernando Valley This Morning

A Colorful Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

A Golden Sunrise From the San Fernando Valley

Today’s San Fernando Valley Sunrise

3 Shots of the San Fernando Valley Sunrise This Morning

The Sun Rises Over San Diego’s Working Waterfront

Colorado

Stunning Shots of Sunlight Escape the Clouds In Roxborough Park

A Purple, Pink, and Gold Colorado Sunrise

Which of These 3 Colorado Sunrises Is the Best?

Garden of the Gods at Dawn

Colorado Sunrise Vodkapundit Style

An Orange Sunrise from Boulder, CO

Connecticut

Sunrise Over the Snow in New England

A Connecticut Church’s Stained Glass Sunrise

Delaware

A Delaware Sunrise That Looks Like Heaven

Florida

Great Colors in this Sunrise Over NYC Shot From Jersey City

An Instagram Video of Today’s Sunrise Over Miami

What Could Be Better Than Kayaking At Sunrise?

A Bold, Blood Red Sunrise Reflecting On Lake Maitland in Florida

3 Fantastic Photos of Yesterday Morning’s Florida Sunrise Courtesy of Myra Adams

The Sun Rises Over the Sea In Florida

A Heavenly Sunset in Cedar Key, Florida

Sunrise at a Damaged Honeymoon Cottage in Cedar Key, Florida

3 Florida Beach Sunrises

Florida Sunset With 3 Dogs (All Sunsets Are Better With Dogs)

Don’t Miss This Breathtaking Sunrise Shot From a Kayak On Lake Minnehaha

Georgia

The Sun Rising Over Atlanta From 10,000 Feet

Many Colors Over The Sky In Yesterday’s Sunrise Over Atlanta, Georgia

How the Sun Starts the Day in Covington, GA

Another Beautiful North Georgia Sunrise

Hawaii

Sunrise Dances Across The Clouds in Maui

Clouds at Sunset in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Idaho

Great Colors In the Sky Over Idaho at Sunrise

Beautiful Clouds As the Sun Rises In the Idaho Hills

Sunrise On the Farm in Buhl, Idaho

Illinois

Sunrise From the 57th Floor in Chicago

Chicago: 7 Sunrises to Start Your Sunday

Indiana

An Indiana Cornfield Sunrise In the Rearview Mirror

The Sunrise Today In Downtown Indianapolis

Iowa

A Bright Red and Orange Iowa Sunrise

Kansas

An Artsy Kansas Sunrise

Kentucky

An Inspiring Sunrise Over the Ohio River Shot From the Kentucky Side

Kentucky: A Great-Looking Truck on the Farm at Sunrise

Louisiana

A Peaceful Purple Louisiana Sunrise over the Superdome

Maine

2 New England Sunsets

Maryland

A Superb Sunrise Canoeing on the Monocacy River in Maryland

Massachusetts

4 Sunrise Shots at the Light Houses in Gloucester, MA

Colors Reflected on Rocky Winthrop Beach in Boston at Sunrise

A Powerful Pink Sunrise From Framingham, MA

Michigan

Detroit Ice Fishing Sunrise

An Ice Fishing Sunrise From North of Detroit to Start Your Weekend

Sunrise on Lake St. Clair, Just Outside Detroit

Minnesota

Michigan Vs. Minnesota: Which Sunrise Is Better?

A Calming Sunrise Over Wolf Lake in Minnesota

Mississippi

An Overwhelming Sunrise on the Mississippi River

Missouri

This Missouri Sunrise On the Plains Is a Gorgeous Photograph

Montana

Sunrise from the Rooftop in Billings, Montana

Nebraska

A Truly Triumphant Sunrise From Nebraska

Nevada

A Hopeful Sunrise In the Nevada Desert

New Hampshire

This New Hampshire Sunrise Is One of the Most Beautiful In The Collection

2 Sunrise Shots From the Thanksgiving Day Snow Storm of 2014 (New Hampshire)

3 Superb Sunrise Shots From Don Sucher

A New Hampshire Sunrise Shot Through The ‘Glass Wall’

New Jersey

A Great Smile of a Sunrise On the Jersey Shore

New Mexico

Which State Has the Superior Sunrises? 2 From New Mexico Vs 2 From Colorado

A Hopeful Sunrise in New Mexico

New York

A Bright, Colorful New York Sunrise

North Carolina

A Sunrise to Start The Day at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

A Peaceful Sunrise Video at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina

North Dakota

These 2 North Dakota Sunrise Photos Are Some of the Most Breathtaking We’ve Ever Received…

A Wide Open North Dakota Sunrise on the Farm

Ohio

It’s 3 Below In Newark, Ohio And The Sun Shoots Up Like a Shining Column of Light

‘Flying at 6500′ Msl Over Zanesville, OH in My Cessna 182 Heading South’

What a 17 Degree Ohio Sunset Looks Like

4 Great Sunrises Today: Ohio Vs New Jersey Vs North Carolina Vs Florida

Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Driving Sunrise

Canada Vs Oklahoma Vs Tunisia: Which Sunrise Is Your Favorite Today?

A Wonderful Blue & Orange Sunrise Creeps Over the Oklahoma Grasses

Oregon

Which of These 2 Oregon Sunrises Is More Beautiful?

A Beautifully Composed Portland Oregon Sunrise Photograph

Oregon Vs. Oklahoma: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Pennsylvania

2 Gettysburg Battlefield Sunrises

Rhode Island

A Colorful Rhode Island Sunrise

South Carolina

5 Instagram Sunrises From Around the World

Sunrise: Myrtle Beach or Miami Beach?

South Dakota

Golden Skies Over South Dakota at Sunrise

Tennessee

Cows At a Colorful Sunrise in Tennessee

Texas

Which of These 4 Texas Sunrise Photos From This Morning Is Your Favorite?

An Optimistic Sunrise Over Dallas

Sunrise From Galveston Island, Texas

West Texas Instagram Video: The Birds Flying at Sunrise

Utah

These 2 Bright Utah Sunrises Are Inspirational

A Utah Camping Sunrise

Vermont

Golden Dancing Clouds in this Tranquil Vermont Sunrise

Virginia

Sunrise Over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

Charlottesville, VA: When the Morning Sun Gets Under the Clouds and Lights Them Up

Washington and West Virginia

West Virginia Vs Washington: Which Sunrise Do You Like More?

Wisconsin

3 Artsy Sunrise Photos From Milwaukee

Wyoming

Wake Up in Wyoming And Start Today With this Bright, Beautiful Sunrise

The Beginning of the Sunrise in Wyoming

Mars (which we might as well go ahead and start counting as an American state now)

What Does a Sunrise Look Like on Mars?

The International Sunset Collection

1. Australia:

The Sun Sets in Sydney, Australia

2. Brazil:

The Sun Sets at a South American Achipelago

2 Very Different Brazilian Sunsets

3. Canada:

6 Sunrises to Start the Last Week of January

4. Cayman Islands:

An Insta-Sunset From the Cayman Islands

5. Chile:

Fire Dances In the Skies As the Sun Sets in the Chilean Mountains

6. Costa Rica:

3 Bright Sunsets From Costa Rica

7. England, 8. France, and 9. Denmark:

3 European Sunrises

10. Finland

Brazil Vs Finland Vs Chile: Which of These Sunsets is Your Favorite?

11. Italy:

An Italian Sunset in Miramare, Trieste

12. Germany:

A Red Sunset in the Woods of Hagen, Germany

This Bright Orange German Sunset Is Like the Conclusion of an Epic Quest

13. Greece:

A Soothing Sunset On the Greek Island of Oia

14. Malaysia:

Sunsets On 3 Continents

15. Maldives:

Tropical Paradise: A Sunset in Maldives

16. Mexico:

Gray Crashes into Gold in This Striking Mexico City Sunset

17. Mozambique:

5 Golden Sunsets From Africa

Orange and Blue in the Mozambique Skies: The Sun Sets Over Nacala

An Absolutely Amazing, Haunting, Spiritual Sunset From Mozambique

2 More Magical Mozambique Sunsets And a Bonus Sunrise

18. Philippines:

A Panglao Island Sunset

19. Russia:

6 Sunrises from Australia to Paris to Russia to America…

20. Sweden:

6 Sunsets to End the Week

21. Thailand:

2 Thailand Sunsets

Sunset on the Quiet Side of Phuket, Thailand, April 2014

22. Trinidad:

A Trinidad Sunset Bursts Through Gray Clouds

23. South Africa:

A Waterfront Sunset in South Africa

24. Scotland:

An Astounding Scottish Sunset on the Isle of Mull

25. Serbia:

Purple and Gold in the Skies Over Serbia

26. Spain:

A ‘Naughty Sun’ Tries to Sneak Down the Chimney In Catalonia

27. Wales:

A Beautiful Burst of Sunset at Broughton Bay Yesterday in South Wales

28. Israel:

A Superb Sunset From Susan In Israel

29. Iraq:

2 ‘Not The Most Spectacular’ Sunset Shots From Iraq

An Iraqi Sunset From Camp Danger…

Starting the International Sunrise Collection:

1. Formentera

A Great Sunrise Video From the Island of Formentera

2. Australia

Blue & Orange Colorado Sunrise Vs. Pink Australia Skies

Sunrise on a Rocky Australian Coastline

3. Canada

Running Through a Canadian Carrot Field at Sunrise

4. Italy

An Italian Sunrise Over the Sea In Calabria

A Sicilian Sunrise at the Beach

5. Argentina

A Superb Sunrise From Patagonia, Argentina

6. Thailand

Mist At Dawn in Thailand

7. Indonesia

Yellow Skies at Sunrise on Bromo Mountain in Indonesia

A Peaceful Glowing Sunrise in the Mountains of Indonesia

A Cool Sunrise Shot in Indonesia

Starting The United States Sunset Collection:

1. Arizona

The Sun Sets Over the Grand Canyon

A Sharpshooter Sends in 2 Great Sunset Shots From Arizona

2. Florida

Florida: A Pink Sunset At Passagrille Beach

‘Probably My Favorite Two Sunset Shots I’ve Ever Taken…’

3. Montana

A Majestic Purple Montana Sunset

4. Massachusetts

A Bright Sunset over Laurel Lake in Berkshire County, Massachusetts

5. Washington

The First in a Fantastic Series of Seattle Sunrise and Sunset Shots

‘I Felt as Though I Was Inside a Jewel Box.’

‘Sunset, the Olympics and Low-Lying Fog over Elliott Bay’

6. California

5 Beautiful Playa Del Rey Beach Sunset Shots From Tuesday Night

The Washington D.C. Collection So Far:

27 Sunrises:

5 Sunsets:

The Dogs at Sunrise Collection So Far:

The Hyperlapse Sunrise/Sunset Collection

Sunrises:

International:

United States:

Sunsets

International

United States

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Exposing Feminism’s Patriarchy Myth on Campus

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Arthur Chu wrote a wandering epithet over at Salon on “bitter nerd” Scott Aaronson’s rant against feminism. Aaronson’s complaints as detailed in Chu’s piece are far from new. As a graduate teaching assistant I had many male students (rather nerdy types) walk out of film theory classes declaring they were “horrible people” and “secret rapists” because they were born male. In the wake of the campus rape lies of 2014, who can blame these guys for believing feminism is conducting its own War Against Men:

This is not a debate about gender roles. It is not about economics or the esoterica of hateful radicals in an ivory tower. This is a war, an ideological campaign to smear all men as moral monsters. It is not a war against “patriarchy” or some imagined evil rich guy. This is a war on men as such – of all races and social classes. It is a war against your brothers, sons, fathers, friends and relatives. And right now, the bad guys and girls are winning.

“…[H]ow could [Aaronson] be targeted by books written by second-wave feminists when he was a toddler?” Chu asks incredulously. Camille Paglia answers Chu in her book Vamps and Tramps, and most recently in her Time magazine piece on the overblown campus rape epidemic. Second-wave feminists believe themselves to be superior human beings through a pseudo-science that negates biology, psychology and religion in favor of a sterile view of the world as a grand social order which must be maintained and controlled through Marxist politics. To put it rather simply, the second wave threw out biology and psychology and mocked God, making a target of every man like Scott who reads feminist literature only to walk away convinced that he’s an inherent rapist because he was born male. As Paglia explains:

The horrors and atrocities of history have been edited out of primary and secondary education except where they can be blamed on racism, sexism, and imperialism — toxins embedded in oppressive outside structures that must be smashed and remade. But the real problem resides in human nature, which religion as well as great art sees as eternally torn by a war between the forces of darkness and light.

Paglia details that Marxist feminists “…simplistically project outward onto a mythical ‘patriarchy’ their own inner conflicts and moral ambiguities.” Men have no such external myth on which to blame what Chu calls “internal demons” which is why for men these moral struggles are easily chalked off as “slippery things.” Chu writes

I do know that what could help women… is to find the guys who are doing bad things to her and stop those guys from doing that. That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them.

This absurdity is an outgrowth of the second wave’s politicization of male rape. Female rape, highly eroticized in the ’70s, was legitimized by the feminist movement as sexual fantasy only to become an illicit crime when acted out by a male counterpart. Paglia notes, “…the illicit is always highly charged,” which is why the issue of campus rape has become the most highly charged issue of feminism today. This also explains why rape has become the source for such incredible moral ambiguity and why men, the mythical figures onto which the moral ambiguities of the female sex are projected, are increasingly blamed for women’s bad sexual decision-making.

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The story of Molly Morris and Corey Mock is nothing new to the campus rape scene. Having met on Tinder, a social media app designed to fulfill hook-up scenarios, Mock pursued classmate Morris, who played hard to get until agreeing to a breakfast date. Morris took Mock up on his invitation to a party, but wound up not arriving until 2 a.m., only to find a bunch of male wrestlers with few female faces in the crowd. Partaking in plenty of booze, Morris implies she was drugged and woke up the next day naked in bed with Mock. She decided not to go to the police because “she was not emotionally ready to enter a criminal justice system that would scrutinize her life and choices.”

Her’s is a pathetic excuse that permits the consequences of her bad decision-making to be projected onto the mythical patriarchy represented by Mock and the criminal justice system. When Morris finally did approach their university’s administration Mock was found innocent, then guilty, then granted a stay and finally expelled from the school in what amounted to a politically motivated public relations debacle. Mock’s side of the story is only given by his father via the comment field at the end. He explicitly details his son’s sexual encounter to make it clear that it was, indeed, consensual. After explaining what happened to his son, he concludes, “Morally and ethically I want to say, don’t have sex until you get married. We all know that would be naive.”

Would it? The reality is that abstinence has become the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid being falsely accused of sexual assault. That reality check highlights the long-forgotten intrinsic value of abstinence culture. The moralists who promoted that antiquated agenda understood that the allure of sexuality and the power of sex needed to be contextualized through marriage so societal order could be maintained. When society rejected marriage culture, it implicitly accepted the second-wave feminist alternative. Hence, every man is a rapist and every woman a victim.

Paglia argues that “rape will not be understood until we revive the old concept of the barbaric, the uncivilized.” Likewise, the problem of campus rape – that is, second-wave feminism’s grotesque predilection for falsely accusing male sex partners of assault in an attempt to soothe their own wounded pride and troubled souls – will not cease until moral order, built on a solid biological and psychological understanding of the individual and an acceptance of moral responsibility on the part of both parties, is restored.

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‘Manspreading’: A Portent of Things to Come

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Janice Fiamengo

Waiting in line at Tim Horton’s a few days ago, I noticed that the man in front of me was standing with his legs wide apart, astride the aisle. I nudged my husband, David: “He’ll be getting a fine for manspreading if he’s not careful,” I whispered.

“Maybe they’ll let him off with a warning for a first offense,” David whispered back, “especially if he agrees to take re-education training.” We looked around and noticed quite a few men standing incorrectly, taking up more than their fair share of space, declaring their manly anatomy too recklessly, and failing to manifest an appropriate shame at having been born male in the West.

Okay, tickets are not actually being issued for manspreading. Not yet. But feminists have certainly vociferated about the practice as if it were nothing short of criminal: “The fact is that most of the perpetrators taking up too much space in public with their bodies are men,” asserted feminist activist Davis Carr, who has expressed her contempt for men on Twitter. “It’s hard to accept that something you do so naturally can cause other people harm.” In response to the “harm” experienced by “survivors” like Carr, manspreading has become an advertising target in cities across North America, particularly in New York, where “Dude … Stop the Spread” posters have been put up by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ostensibly focused on men’s habit of sitting with their knees apart, pushing into other passengers’ seating area, the anti-manspreading movement is only the most recent in a spate of public service campaigns (the “Don’t Be That Guy” anti-rape poster blitz perhaps the most outrageous) to demonize (white) men by focusing on male attitudes and behaviors as social problems requiring censure.

The manspreading campaign, which has apparently cost New Yorkers more than $76,000, has already received well-deserved ridicule by such anti-feminist luminaries as PJM’s own feisty Dr. Helen Smith (“And don’t give me the crap about the patriarchy. If you shame men in this way, you are a nasty sexist who deserves contempt”), the indefatigable Cathy Young (“The anti-spread campaign has little to do with etiquette. It’s part of a recent surge in a noxious form of feminism”), and Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente (“A new scourge stalks the land”). These writers, along with many witty bloggers and journalists (hats off to Katherine Timpf for best satirical survey of the feminist position) have ably pinpointed the Freudian triviality of feminist ire. But the fact that the cause has been taken up so seriously by transit authorities in New York City and Seattle tells us something about our present cultural moment.

It is inconceivable that any other identifiable group would be singled out in such a humiliating fashion for public correction. Obese people whose thighs spill past their seat boundaries? Women with large packages piled on adjoining seats or in aisles? Mothers neglectful of their children, who squirm, howl, and disturb other passengers unreproved while their mega-strollers block exit doorways? All these are relatively common transit inconveniences that most of us accept with equanimity. Reasonable people would find it churlish and unnecessarily divisive to mobilize against them.

When it comes to maleness, however, the big guns always come out, and seemingly with broad public support. Our feminist-compliant authorities see men as fair game to be “lessoned.” No foible or incorrect action—whether it be catcalling, telling rude jokes, hanging a girlie calendar, proffering unwanted compliments, or even kissing a workmate on the cheek—escapes the ever-expanding net of the compliance enforcers. One of my gloomy predictions for 2015 is that the move to discipline and re-educate boys and men will proceed ever more vigorously and punitively.

Expect to see many more campaigns in which feminist activists, local police, academic administrators, politicians, government bureaucrats, journalists, and community leaders form partnerships to quell unruly male behavior. Boys and young men at public school and college will be made to attend an increasing number of anti-sexual assault classes, violence-prevention programs, “affirmative consent” seminars, and “Check Your Privilege” workshops. We will see many more poster crusades telling (white, heterosexual) men what they are and are not allowed to say, do, and think (see for example, Make Your Move, ostensibly targeting sexual violence generally but focused exclusively on the supposed violence of white heterosexual men—and now being enthusiastically embraced by the same police who had sanctioned the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, also targeting white men exclusively).

We will see an increasing number of man-blaming organizations dedicating to re-educating men away from violence. We will undoubtedly witness more parades of wounded female accusers—some of them stepping forward 25 years after the fact!—claiming abuse by media celebrities; and news commentators will weigh in on the problem of sexual predation as if the charges were already proven. Our newspapers will fill with yet more reports about the epidemic of women harassed in the workplace (43% according to a recent report—but look at the innocuous behavior defined as “harassment”).

Every university across North America will enact “affirmative consent” policies, effectively criminalizing a vast swath of non-coercive sexual activity defined after the fact as non-consensual. Young men at these institutions will attend performances of the Vagina Monologues, where they will see female sexuality celebrated and masculine sexuality demonized. They will sit through dozens or even hundreds of classes in which women’s achievements and experiences are portrayed as worthy of sympathy and admiration while men’s are mocked or dismissed (I know—I live in the belly of the beast). In a multitude of ways, they will be made to feel secondary, superfluous, offensive in mind and body, always in danger of a social or even criminal mis-step for which constant apology and vigilant self-monitoring are required.

It’s not the end of men just yet, but it is surely the end of the unselfconscious masculinity of young men, who are increasingly under siege by a society determined to make them uncomfortable in their own skins, guilty, apprehensive of wrong-doing, convinced that they are to blame for the world’s ills. Many feminists will applaud such a result (shame on them) as necessary for positive social transformation, but the deliberate emasculation of men is certain to have repercussions (already seen in everything from social withdrawal to self-slaughter) far more serious than matters of subway etiquette.

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Which of These 4 Southern Sunrise Shots Is Your Favorite? Can You Do Better?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Sunshine 2.0

Click here for the PJ Lifestyle Sunshine archive featuring: a complete collection of sunrises from every state in the US, sunrises from 29 countries, 32 sunrises and sunsets in Washington D.C., and a growing collection of Sunrise Hyperlapse videos.

Here are some highlights today that we’d like to get your opinion on. Which ones are your favorites and why?

1. March 24, 2014, Dallas Texas:

2. January 15, 2014, North Georgia:

From PJ Lifestyle regular Chris Queen, who remarked accurately “I couldn’t let God’s handiwork go uncaptured, so I stopped in the middle of the road to take this shot.”

3. September 27, 2014: ‘My 10 year old took this in Arkansas just northeast of Memphis, TN overlooking a field.’

4. May 1, 2014: A Bold, Blood Red Sunrise Reflecting On Lake Maitland in Florida

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Are Brown People Capable of Evil?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 - by Tom Weiss

american-sniper-bradley-cooper

Illustrating the point I made in these pages three weeks ago — that movies with conservative or libertarian themes did amazingly well at the box office in 2014 - American Sniper has made over $110 million this month, shattering January box office records, and is well on its way to becoming Clint Eastwood’s most successful movie.

For many on the left, this cannot stand. So while positive reviews pour in and moviegoers sell out theaters all across the country, criticism of the film — and the Iraq War — is growing.

Steve Pond, at TheWrap, writes “multiple Academy members told TheWrap that they had been passing around a recent article by Dennis Jett in The New Republic that attacks the film for making a hero out of [Chris] Kyle.” One Academy member was quoted as saying that Kyle “seems like he may be a sociopath” before admitting that “he had not yet seen the film.”

That didn’t stop The New Republic, which published Jett’s hit piece on the film before he’d seen it as well, basing the review on the film’s trailer and the book upon which it was based. If you’ve read that book, Jett writes, then you know that, “[Kyle’s] bravado left no room for doubt.  For him, the enemy are savages and despicably evil. His only regret is that he didn’t kill more.”

Lindy West at The Guardian struck a similar chord, writing that Kyle “bare minimum, was a racist who took pleasure in dehumanising and killing brown people.” It is unclear whether or not West saw the film before publishing the piece, which is more about the film’s backstory.

Alex Horton, also writing for The Guardian and a veteran of the Iraq War, did see the film and gets to the heart of Kyle’s guilt, “not the guilt of taking lives, but the agony of not saving enough. It’s a vital part of countless veterans that civilians must understand.”

Chris Kyle is confirmed to have killed 160 people, and he claimed to have killed 255. In a 2012 interview with Time he appeared to confirm the fears of Jett and West, saying

I’m not over there looking at these people as people.  I’m not wondering if he has a family.  I’m just trying to keep my guys safe.

These three sentences perfectly capture the controversy surrounding the film and the moral ambiguity surrounding the Iraq War itself.

Chris Kyle killed a lot of brown people. Liberals will focus on this fact almost to the exclusion of all others. It doesn’t matter what those brown people were doing, or would have done. America invaded Iraq under false pretenses and it follows, in Jett’s analysis, that every “excess” death in Iraq can be laid at the feet of not only George W. Bush, but every single American.

Seven-hundred-ninety-six of those “excess” deaths occurred on August 14, 2007, near Mosul, Iraq, in what is second only to 9/11 as the deadliest terrorist attack in history. Four near-simultaneous suicide car bombs, targeting the Yazidi community in Kahtaniya and Jazeera, “crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened.”

I would characterize this as “despicably evil.” I can think of few things more evil than slaughtering innocent men, women, and children, but liberals like Jett must find a way to rationalize evil to place the blame on the American people. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, according to the theory, then this wouldn’t have happened. The American invaders, therefore, are responsible for creating this evil.

But are we? The same Yazidi community targeted in 2007 was persecuted and massacred again by ISIS just last year.  America famously left Iraq in 2011, but the killing hasn’t stopped.

I lived in a small outpost in central Baghdad for months during the surge in 2007 — we were attacked only once by harassing small-arms fire. The gas station less than a mile away from our outpost was blown up by a car bomb that summer, killing scores of innocent civilians. The murderers didn’t target my team, they targeted innocent civilians.  Am I responsible for that massacre?

There is an insidiously racist strain in much of the commentary surrounding American Sniper and the Iraq War.  Calling Chris Kyle a racist because he killed a lot of brown people dehumanizes the people he killed. They weren’t marionettes forced to dance by the hand of American foreign policy.  The people who ordered the suicide attacks which killed nearly 800 Yazidi in 2007 were living, breathing sentient human beings making their own decisions.

They were brown people capable of and enthusiastic about murdering hundreds of people.

That sentence may strike many on the Left as irredeemably racist, but it is precisely the opposite. All humans are capable of evil. White people in the U.S. military are capable of evil, former SSG Robert Bales being just one example.  Evil is not the defining characteristic of white military members, and it is not the defining characteristic of brown Iraqis.

Chris Kyle had to clearly delineate between good and evil. In the film’s opening sequence he is confronted with a woman and a young boy moving toward a group of Marines with a grenade. That woman was not in a military uniform and was not carrying arms openly, unlawful under the Geneva Convention. She was hoping that her gender — and the fact that she was with a child — would prevent decent American troops from identifying her as a threat before she could kill a few of them.

In Kyle’s judgment she was “already dead,” the only question was how many soldiers she would take with her. His answer? Zero.

Many of the people we fought in Iraq wouldn’t bother with this type of moral calculation. Sunni suicide bombers and Shiite death squads did quite the opposite of Kyle, killing as many innocent men, women and children they could.

When we find evil in our military ranks — like we did at Abu Ghraib — we punish those responsible. We can argue about whether the right people were punished, or whether they were punished severely enough, but compare that process to the Al Qaeda or ISIS process to prosecute members of their organizations who kill innocent civilians.

Except you can’t. Killing a massive number of innocent civilians is their preferred tactic. That’s evil.

Murdering someone because of their religion is evil.  Murdering someone for a cartoon they published is evil.  Murdering someone because of their sexual orientation is evil. Are any of these things made less evil when they are perpetrated by brown people?

No. And to suggest as much is racist and dehumanizing.

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Learn These Secrets on How to Survive Aggressive People

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Helen Smith

From the description:

Whether an aggressor is a seasoned predator or an irate individual, hostility is almost always preceded by warning signs–if we know what to look for. Surviving Aggressive People dissects the psychology of aggression. It exposes the subtle cues of impending violence and offers timeless methods for transforming a potential disaster into a peaceful victory. Using time-tested methods for conflict management and crisis intervention, this book offers persuasion and peacemaking skills that historically have been reserved for law enforcement, psychologists, and other professionals working the front lines of emotionally charged situations. In today’s world, these skills are a must for everyone. Newly updated, with a special appendix for healthcare workers, the enduring knowledge in Surviving Aggressive People can help deter hostility before it spins out of control. It might even save your life.

The book has some good advice that I have used myself on occasion. For example, the golden rule of violence prevention is “an adversary is less dangerous when he perceives you as similar to himself.” Smith gives some tips on how to reduce this “psychological distance”: Use humor, and employ politeness as a preemptive strike. When I used to see clients for disability claims, some would be angry and distrustful when they walked through the door. I stocked the fridge with Pepsi, Mountain Dew and other drinks that people seemed to like and when someone got upset, I would say, “Would you like a Pepsi or Mountain Dew? Then we can talk about your concerns.” It made people feel welcome and as if they were in a safe environment. I guess the caffeine wasn’t always the best idea but “would you like bottled water or caffeine-free herbal tea?” didn’t have the same ring to it and sounded haughty.

Anyway, you get the idea. The book is full of these helpful hints that may help you to reduce your chance of being a victim of violence and provides a framework for how to avoid it. I recommend the sections for healthcare workers on how to respond to neuro-behavioral aggression. It is surprising how few of them get training on how to respond when a patient gets aggressive. This book will help.

******
Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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The Progressive Oscars: This Year’s Nominees, Re-Written for Social Justice

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Spencer Klavan

*****

Well folks, it’s Oscar season — or would be, if anybody cared. The nominees for the year came out last week, presumably after the traditional kerfuffle among academy members over which soporific art film to shower with unctuous praise this year. Basically it’s like, whatever.

But where there’s an irrelevant non-issue, you can always count on the forces of online progressivism to fabricate a meaningless scandal. You know, just in case anyone was thinking about paying attention to the ceaseless parade of actual injustice that is the actual news. Currently, outraged progressives are valiantly complaining that the Academy is honoring too many white males. It’s the whitest oscars since 1998! Al Sharpton is calling an “emergency meeting!” In fact, of the nominees for best actor, one hundred percent are men! Facts.

Naturally, we at PJ Media take these issues very seriously. So I’ve taken it upon myself to rewrite this year’s best picture nominees to make them more politically correct. I know, I know — it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. And let’s face it, I’m the most virtuous person I know. Plus luckily I haven’t seen most of these movies, which makes it easier.

So without further ado, I bring you: The Progressive Oscars! Here are three of the nominees, rewritten for a better tomorrow.

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Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Mark Ellis

****

If, in 2002, your television viewing habits were dominated by Fox News, The Osbournes, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you may have missed out on the highlight of Adam Carolla’s early television career. He left Comedy Central’s The Man Show in 2003.

Similarly, if you scrupulously avoid any relationship advice from Dr. Drew Pinsky as if it were a visit to the Ebola Bridal Shoppe, you missed another post-millennial Carolla enterprise. Carolla left Loveline in 2005.

There’s been a slew of Carolla projects in the interim, but if you’re like millions of baby boomers whose mental image of the word “podcast” conjures primarily a plaster replica of the seed pods from 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you may have lost all track of Carolla, and rediscovered him as a guest on the O‘Reilly Factor.

While you’ve been passively forgetting, patently ignoring, or ardently following Adam Carolla, he’s been working full time, outside of what passes for the usual show business gestalt. Like Charlton Heston, Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammar, and Wayne Newton before him, Carolla has made his conservative/libertarian values known. Only this time, unlike with those illustrious examples, the conservative is outside of so-called mainstream culture.

If there is such a thing as a conservative counterculture, I think you have to put Carolla on the ground floor. Bear in mind though—Carolla says he’s not really all that conservative; it’s just that the culture has driven him rightward.

Whether delivering irresistible cuties bouncing on trampolines, dispensing relationship advice Doctor Laura would scarcely have approved of, or the tearing off an improperly installed roof, the comedian, author, radio personality and #1 national podcaster always brought the fun.

Carolla hilariously worked his take on Eros into the Loveline script. The Man Show was like a frat house micro-burst around feminism’s ankles.

Lately, if you work in construction, you don’t want Carolla’s Catch a Contractor crew rolling up on your job site. Carolla’s home improvement sting operation on Spike TV has just been renewed for a third season.

When one contractor cornered says to Carolla, “You’re a standup comedian, right?” Carolla responds, saying, “No joke I ever told is as funny as the work you performed here.”

Carolla’s atheism is something that places him outside preconceptions about how conservatives’ reckon humankind’s place in the universe. Unfairly or not, we associate the right more with established belief systems, traditional religion, and the left more with secularism—within a larger context of the atheistic state.

Carolla’s, or anyone’s, atheism, strikes a discordant note with a statistical majority of the conservative base demographic. Thou shalt not judge is the guiding principal, but for true believers, atheism alone will put Carolla in a counterculture.

Also to be accepted is his pro-choice (while being assailed as a misogynist), pro-same-sex marriage (while being decried as a homophobe), and pro-marijuana legalization positions in the bargain.

At the entertainment website My Damn Channel, Carolla responds to criticisms about remarks he made on race that some characterize as racially insensitive.

What about this conservative counterculture? Alice Cooper has got to be some kind of emeritus standard bearer. Greg Gutfeld, Vince Vaughn, and Kid Rock?

Writer P.J. O‘Rourke has a hand in this. If you aren’t worried about coming across as pompous, a case can be made for making Dennis Miller the honorary godfather.

And who doesn’t love Wayne Newton?

Will the term “counterculture conservative” someday be remembered like “Tea Party?” the lexicon of a movement assimilated, like the Tea Party itself?

In the culture war, that might be progress.

Or will the conservative counterculture remain its own thing, and perhaps someday be sent-up in a counter-culturally conservative version of The Monkees?

Whatever happens, performers like Adam Carolla will provide the reality check, but one possibility cannot be ignored: Carolla may reject the whole idea, and someday spew forth with a rant and drill it a new one.

******

See more of PJ Lifestyle’s coverage celebrating Adam Carolla over the past few years, led by Kathy Shaidle:

This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:

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Eve Ensler Defends Her Vagina

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by David Marcus

This year Mount Holyoke college, an all-women’s school in Massachusetts has cancelled its annual production of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues. The once controversial work, which in 20 years has become a staple of the American theater canon, is accused of being trans exclusive. That is to say that the play’s focus on the vagina is somehow insulting to trans women who were born without one. According to Campus Reform, the show’s producers cancelled it because they have grown “increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Ensler wrote a response in Time magazine this week refuting the allegations that her work is anti-trans. She points out that trans actors have preformed the work for years and that the piece is in no way suggesting that only women with vaginas are women. The response is far too generous to her accusers. These overzealous censors at Holyoke are engaged in a dangerous game here, and one that ultimately hurts women.

The Vagina Monologues is one of the best-respected, most-produced and most widely known works of feminist playwriting in our culture’s history. Almost every female actor you have ever heard of has performed the piece at some point. And for a generation of female playwrights the piece was a green light to tell the story of female experiences without cringing at the nasty bits. Thirty years ago it was some conservatives who found Ensler’s focus on the vagina to be offensive. Today it is progressive, so-called feminists who think the vagina must not be spoken of so as not to offend or demean women with penises.

Last year I wrote a piece for the The Federalist arguing that conflating the work of trans-women playwrights with the work of women born as women would result in less opportunity and diminished respect for the latter. In a response in the Transadvocate, a leading trans magazine, Marie Bright accused me of being a white, cis, male writer who is a transphobe. Bright wrote “The view that somehow desiring including trans* perspectives is an inherent invalidation of the female identity and a slide down a slippery slope to excluding women’s voices has zero basis in reality.”

Well, here’s some basis in reality. If arguably the most seminal play by a woman about women can be silenced for its supposed transphobic transgressions then so can any play by any woman born a woman. That’s not good for women, it’s not good for men, it’s not good for art and it has to stop.

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Chris Kyle’s Righteous Indignation

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

propaganda sniper

Commentators, both on the political Left and within libertarian circles, have been wringing hands over the tremendous commercial success of Clint Eastwood’s Chris Kyle bio-pic American Sniper. From The Wrap:

Over the weekend, multiple Academy members told TheWrap that they had been passing around a recent article by Dennis Jett in The New Republic that attacks the film for making a hero out of Kyle, who said: “The enemy are savages and despicably evil,” and his “only regret is that I didn’t kill more.” Kyle made the statements in his best-selling book, “American Sniper,” on which the film is based…

…Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.”

“He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.

And Michael Moore, an Oscar voter and former Academy governor from the Documentary Branch, tweeted on Sunday, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Moore has since walked back his comments, if only just a bit. The Interview star Seth Rogen came under scrutiny for comparing American Sniper to a Nazi propaganda film only to also walk his comments back. In these and many other lower-profile cases, the common denominator is a moral equivalence between America and forces like Nazi Germany, the Taliban, or ISIS.

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3 Piano Favorites By Liszt

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

A Comment from Thursday last week in response to “‘Battle of the Huns’ – The Best by Liszt?”

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 5.54.31 AM

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Antonio Vivaldi

10 Recommended by Charlie Martin

Franz Liszt

Rimsky-Korsakov

Modest Mussorgsky

Borodin

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Chinese Wife Chops Off Cheating Husband’s Manhood… Twice!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Stephen Green

shutterstock_241643506

I don’t know how to introduce this story, other than with the most profound regret and a woefully insufficient “You know you aren’t supposed to do that, right?” So without further ado:

In a bizarre, but true illustration of that edict, a jealous wife in China, 30-year-old Feng Lung, reported chopped her husband’s penis off with a pair of sharp scissors, not once, but twice, in order to teach him a lesson for his infidelity.

Having found out her husband was cheating on her, the woman sliced off his penis, which was reattached successfully by surgeons in Shangqiu in central China’s Henan province. When she saw her husband had sent a raunchy email to his mistress once again, she severed his member a second time.

Lung is now facing jail after being arrested for causing grievous bodily harm to her husband, 32-year-old, Fan Lung.

The Mirror reports that surgeons were able to reattach the penis, but when the jealous wife found the email on her phone, she reportedly sneaked into his hospital room and cut it off again before throwing it out of a window.

The second cut is the deepest.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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What if Red Dawn Happened, But It Was Islamic Terrorists Instead of Communists?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Frank J. Fleming

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Now, I’ll just get this out of the way: I know some of you are going to say, “Hey, Liberty Island is also publishing your first novel, Superego, so you might just be saying this to help yourself.” Well, I don’t have time for your insane conspiracy theories. Why don’t you go back to disproving the moon landing. Besides, you know you can trust me. Remember that time in 2008 when I said I thought Barack Obama might not be that great of a president? I was mainly right about that. I never lead you wrong.

Anyway, The Big Bang is about an alternate history where Islamic extremists actually take over the U.S. after 9/11. As you might imagine, we end up with a lot more problems than which cartoons we’re allowed to publish. Now, you might wonder how in the world those idiots could accomplish taking over our country, but the title of the book gives you a bit of a clue to that. Not to reveal too much, but a lot goes wrong, worldwide, all at once.

The story jumps between a number of characters at different points in time — before, during, and after the titular tragedy. I was absolutely riveted trying to find out more about what had happened and thinking about how we really would react in such a situation (it made me very thankful that our country is awash in guns).

A number of the main characters are real people. I was a little unsure how that would play out, but Griffis fleshed them out very well and didn’t turn them into caricatures. All the details in the book are really well done, and Griffis makes the devastation and invasion frighteningly real.

I’ll definitely read the next book, as it’s pretty obvious from the ending that this is the first part of a series (it’s also obvious because the subtitle of the book is “Lonesome George Chronicles Book 1″ — sort of like how you knew there’d be another war when they named the first one World War I). The Big Bang is a thrilling story, and I highly recommend it. With such a great start, I’m really excited to see what other books Liberty Island publishes… whether or not they were written by me.

******

Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:

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What Are The 5 Most Destructive Myths About Capitalism?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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5 Must-See TV Shows for Skipping the State of the Union

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

Consider the president’s track record. He’s told us that Libya was a triumph, al Qaeda was dead, the war in Iraq was over, the war in Afghanistan was won, relations with Russia have been reset and China is our friend. Given those credentials, it’s fair to conclude that Mr. Obama has about as much to tell us about foreign affairs as the Syfy channel has to say about science.

So where can you find some truly educational television tonight? Here’s some alternative programming that can teach us some important lessons about how to keep America safe.

5. Marco Polo

The Netflix series tells the story of famed adventurer at the court of Kublai Khan. Bloodthirsty, ruthless, cunning barbarian at heart? Yes. Presidential material? No. On the other hand, the great Khan was a strategist who understood the wisdom of China’s greatest military philosopher,

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer. … If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Compared to a White House that even seems to struggle at parsing friend and foe, this entertainment is refreshing fare.

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American Sniper and the Billion Dollars That Hollywood Leaves on the Table Each Year

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Is it any wonder that American Sniper has dominated the box office? From the Associated Press:

Clint Eastwood’s R-rated Iraq War drama … opened in January like a superhero movie in July, taking in a record $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. four-day weekend.

The film’s unprecedented success obliterated forecasts and set numerous box-office records. It easily surpassed “Avatar” to become the biggest January weekend ever.

Of course it has. This is a film that gives American audiences what they want. PJM’s David Forsmark swoons:

American Sniper lives up to its title. This is an intensely American film. Everything about Chris Kyle’s background, from hunting with his father, to the little country church, to wanting to be a cowboy, is not just Texas, it’s America.

When America gets what America wants, studios make $100 million in four days.

So why don’t more studios make these kinds of films? Why do we instead get inundated with cynical anti-American garbage with anti-heroes espousing an anti-philosophy?

We need not look far for our answer. From The Wrap:

Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.”

“He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.

And Michael Moore, an Oscar voter and former Academy governor from the Documentary Branch, tweeted on Sunday, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Money may be a store of value, but it’s not the standard. For those holding the reins in Hollywood, the social acceptance of their community can often be a higher value than record profits.

We don’t see more films like American Sniper for the same reason we don’t see more G-rated family films. Movies you can take your kids to earn money hand over fist, for obvious reasons. Conversely, R-rated films have a built-in market limitation which translates to a smaller box office take. That’s why Fox’s forthcoming Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds as a filthy-mouthed mercenary from the X-Men universe is aiming for a PG-13 rating. Gotta get those kids in the seats.

Even so, we see far more R-rated exploitation fare and self-indulgent art house films which critique American culture than we see films like American Sniper. That’s because the former earn kudos from the industry, a currency nearly as good as cash in Hollywood.

Indeed, how many times have you heard it said of a star that he is doing that summer blockbuster to earn a check so he can afford to make an “important” film later? Such importance is not measured by commercial success, but by the accolades of fellow liberal artists.

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‘Deflate-Gate’: New England Patriots Accused of Letting the Air Out of the Ball

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Rick Moran

It’s playoff time for the NFL, which means the New England Patriots will be accused of some sort of conspiracy to cheat the other team out of victory.

It shouldn’t surprise us that the accusations get more bizarre every year. The Patriots are such consistent winners, and their mercurial coach, Bill Belichick, such a football genius, that for some, the only explanation for their consistent excellence is that they play fast and loose with the rules.

Except, there is a basis for people’s mistrust of the Patriots. They’ve been caught cheating in the past. The NFL determined that from 2002-2007, the Patriots illegally videotaped their opponents’ hand signals sent in from the sidelines. Belichick was slapped with a $500,000 personal fine, the team lost a first round draft pick, and the team fine was $250,000.

Nowadays, teams relay signals via a headset in the quarterback’s helmet. But in the early part of the 2000s, if you could minutely study your opponents’ signals and match them up with the play that was called, you would have an enormous advantage in your division when you played that opponent a second time.

Belichick has taken Vince Lombardi’s famous adage, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” to a level never before seen in pro football. So in the aftermath of the Patriots’ 45-7 clobbering of Indianapolis on Sunday, the natural reaction of the Colts was to accuse Belichick of pulling a fast one — specifically, deflating the game balls so that they would be easier to grip and throw in the raw, rainy conditions under which the game was played.

It’s possible. Home-team employees have possession of the game balls, although the refs are supposed to make sure that the balls are regulation and ready for play before the game. And if the Patriots tried to pull any hanky-panky with the balls, why was Brady so brilliant and his counterpart on the Colts, Andrew Luck, who used the same balls, so pathetic? Theoretically, the deflated balls should have benefited both teams.

But the NFL is looking into it anyway:

The NFL has confirmed it is looking into charges the New England Patriots cheated Sunday night when they clinched a trip to the Super Bowl Sunday night by using deflated footballs, a charge star quarterback Tom Brady dismissed as “ridiculous.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the probe Monday, following the AFC championship game, in which the Patriots demolished the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7. The charge was first made Sunday night, when an Indianapolis reporter that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether pigskins were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.

Brady, in his Monday morning appearance on the New England radio station WEEI, called the report, “ridiculous.”

“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” Brady said. “That’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”

The story first broke when Bob Kravitz, of WTHR in Indiana, reported it.

“The NFL is investigating the possibility,” Bob Kravitz, of WTHR, tweeted, adding that, “at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it.”

There are times when the accusations of cheating against the Patriots reach the level of the sublimely ridiculous. In the aftermath of the Patriots’ playoff victory over the Baltimore Colts last week, they were accused of running plays from “deceptive” formations that were so cleverly disguised, they fooled the officials.

Listen to Coach John Harbaugh’s idiotic bellyaching about the “deception” involved in the formations:

Harbaugh said that his defense wasn’t given enough time to figure out who the eligible and ineligible players were after New England’s players reported into the game.

“Because what they were doing was they would announce the eligible player and Tom [Brady] would take it to the line right away and snap the ball before [we] even figured out who was lined up where,” Harbaugh said. “And that was the deception part of it. It was clearly deception.”

While the formation was within the rules, some questioned whether it was within the spirit of the rules and fair competition. Either way, the NFL deemed the play legal.

Perhaps Harbaugh wants to ban the fake handoff. After all, it’s just not fair that the defensive linemen are fooled into thinking someone else has the ball. It’s “deception,” right?

Sheesh.

The Patriots may not be “America’s Team” and probably never will be. Belichick is a notorious grouch with the press and while Tom Brady married a super model and has always conducted himself with class and dignity, the organization has not been without its off-field controversies.

I’m sure it hardly matters to the players. They, and Belichick, only want to be known as “Super Bowl champions.”

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Study: Gay Mormon Men Divorce Straight Mormon Women

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Stephen Green

DIVORCE

Who’d a thunk it:

The LDS couples profiled on TLC’s “My Husband Is Not Gay” may find these statistics sobering: Marriages like theirs — same-sex attracted husbands and straight wives — are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than others.

That finding and others come from a newly released in-depth survey of 1,612 self-selected LGBT/same-sex attracted Mormons and former Mormons, thought by researchers to be the largest study ever conducted with this population.

Rather than tapping a random sample, John Dehlin, a doctoral student at Utah State University, and Bill Bradshaw, a retired Brigham Young University professor, with help from Renee Galliher, also of USU, solicited responses via various websites, including pro-Mormon outlets such as North Star International and those more critical such as Dehlin’s own “Mormon Stories” podcast.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess this study would apply to couples of other religions, too.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Do Our Laws Protect Criminals?

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Alex Shelby
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William Mattson

This New Year’s Eve a South Carolina man returned to a party at his parent’s house and overheard a struggle inside the master bedroom. He kicked down the door to discover his girlfriend being raped by his uncle, William Mattson (52). The image above depicts the pounding the nephew unleashed on his uncle as a result. And when Mattson tried to tell police that the sex was consensual, the nephew attacked him again in front of police officers.

Mattson’s nephew wasn’t technically in danger – his girlfriend was – so would Mattson win a lawsuit if he took his nephew to court for attacking him without justification? There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the notion of “criminal rights.” Perhaps the most famous anecdote involves an intruder burglarizing your house, injuring himself in the process, and then suing you in court. Like most rumors, there is truth and fiction in many of these criminal-rights anecdotes.

Retaliation against a criminal almost always boils down to “self-defense.” According to the law, you are entitled to defend yourself and your property as long as you do not use excessive and/or unreasonable force. In Michigan, in November of 2007, Scott Zielinski sued the store he tried to rob after the owner and some employees chased him out onto the street, caught him, and proceeded to beat him half to death. He was seeking $125,000, but the case was dismissed when the judge required that Zielinski post a $10,000 bond first. He was unable to afford this, otherwise the case might have had credence. However, in England in 2008, a burglar, Daniel McCormick, was actually awarded the equivalent of $250,000 after an angry homeowner scared him off his property and then proceeded to run him down in his BMW and break both of his legs. The rule here is to be weary when self-defense turns into vengeance. Mattson’s nephew’s actions were considered self-defense because he was acting on behalf of the victim, essentially defending her safety.

But the ambiguity doesn’t end at self-defense – there’s still the notion of negligence. An incident in 1982 in California, Bodine vs Enterprise, is likely where this annoying concept of “criminal compensation” originated. Nineteen-year-old Ricky Bodine was on the roof of the Enterprise High School gymnasium, but according to legal documentation it’s unclear what his motive was. Some say he was stealing a flood light, while his friends say he was “redirecting” a light because they were playing basketball — but either way he was trespassing. Bodine took a misstep while on the roof and plunged through a skylight, thus falling to the gymnasium floor and turning himself into a paraplegic. His family tried to sue the school to compensate for the negligent conditions on the roof: the fragile skylight was actually painted black, making it virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the rooftop.

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James Alesi

A similar incident occurred in 2011 when New York Senator James Alesi, while house-hunting, entered an unoccupied home that was under construction to get a self-guided tour of the inside. Alesi had to climb a ladder to exit the basement, fell off the ladder, and broke his leg. After filing a personal injury claim against the construction company, word of this case got out and Alesi became a laughingstock. Shortly thereafter a moment of clarity descended upon him and he decided to drop the lawsuit.

There is an apparent contradiction in our laws regarding property protection. In the eyes of the law, defense of yourself and defense of your property are considered the same thing (e.g. you are justified to use force to protect both). But the law also states that life has a greater value than property (e.g. execution is excessive in response to petty theft). Where this contradiction finds its resolution is in a troublesome aspect that few would consider: booby traps.

Booby traps can be dangerous legal territory to tread upon because the homeowner’s imminent safety and the concept of “excessive force” are both in question. A relatively famous case took place back in 1971 in Iowa when Edward Briney set up a trap in the bedroom of an unoccupied farmhouse on his property, which had been looted several times despite the “no trespassing” signs. Five days after the trap was set, Marvin Katko trespassed to “collect” some old bottles and jars that Briney considered antiques, and sprung the trap: a 20-gauge shotgun aimed leg high. The trap worked and Katko had to be hospitalized. He was eventually awarded $30,000 after the court ruled that a shotgun booby trap is excessive force on an unoccupied property.

In 1997, a more recent version of this occurred in Illinois when Larry Harris (37) broke into a tavern where a booby trap awaited him. While climbing through the window, Harris placed his hand on an electrified bar and was electrocuted to death. Harris’ family sued the tavern’s owner over a wrongful-death claim.

Before you dismantle that spring-loaded AK-47 above your porch, let’s establish some perspective on some of these lawsuits. The average wrongful death settlement in America is around $1 million, and Harris’ family received $75,000 (8% of the average). The average personal injury settlement for a paraplegic is around $13 million, and Bodine received $260,000 (5% of the average, scaled against inflation). Criminals appear to receive less than a tenth of the financial sympathy a jury would afford a law-abiding citizen. Another thing to keep in mind is that the financial victories listed in this article represent some of the best examples we have of excessive force and negligence when addressing criminal rights. Most of the lawsuits you hear about involving robbers who sue homeowners because they got shot are laughed out of court.

If our laws do protect criminals, to some degree, are stricter laws the answer if we want to reduce crime in America?

Some countries with very low crimes rates, like Japan and Singapore, boast firm law enforcement procedures. While some countries with higher crime rates, like Cuba and North Korea, also have strict law enforcement practices. And some of the most lenient nations on crime, like Sweden and Canada, actually have some of the lowest crime rates. The statistics may not yield a definitive answer, but in the meantime I hope the reduced compensation (5 -8% of the average settlement) has the attorneys thinking twice before they choose to represent a criminal in civil court.

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Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)

Monday, January 19th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

thinkfasthippie

As last week’s epically embarrassing “James Taylor” fiasco demonstrated, the Western establishment acts like the Sixties never ended.

But as I’ve been insisting for some time, in many respects, that “Sixties” never really happened.

All that “peace and love,” “soixant-huitard” stuff comprised but a slender slice of the 1960s, and much of that was bogus, a cynical scam that ruined millions of lives.

“OK,” some of you have said in the comments, “but at least that decade had a hell of a soundtrack!”

Yeah, about that…

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