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Monsters From the Deep

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Okay, this is creepy:

It came from the deep. The very, very deep. Recorded during a recent exploration of the Mariana Trench (the deepest place on the planet), the strange-looking new species has set a record for fish depth. Jeff Drazen and Patty Fryer, the University of Hawaii researchers who led the expedition, believe that this is a new species of snailfish.

But this creature, which was filmed several times at a depth of 8,143 meters, or 26,715 feet, has a different body shape from known species of snailfish, so it might be something else entirely. But one thing is for certain, the scientists told the BBC — it’s definitely not a species we’ve seen before.

“We think it is a snailfish, but it’s so weird-looking; it’s up in the air in terms of what it is,” Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen told the BBC. “It is unbelievably fragile, and when it swims, it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it. And it has a weird snout — it looks like a cartoon dog snout.”

Have a look for yourself:

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And the World’s Sexiest Woman Is… Kate

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Kate Upton, that is:

Mirror mirror on the wall, Kate Upton is the Sexiest Woman of all. So says People magazine.

The mag crowned the Sports Illustrated model, 22, with the title of “Sexiest Woman” on Thursday night during its first People Magazine Awards show in Beverly Hills. Hunky Eric Dane, no slouch in the sexy department himself, presented Upton with her award, saying, “There are a lot of reasons why Kate is sexy. Style, career, achievements, sense of humor, personality – oh and did I mention her … looks?”

Did somebody say looks?

Kate at work

Kate at work and in action

God Bless America.

Also read: 

Cameron Diaz or Kate Upton? 

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A Criminal Organization Masquerading as…

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

… a political party — Democrats, doing what they do best: suing to beggar people and profiting from it. Now with even more kickbacks! What scum:

When they met at the J. W. Marriott Hotel two blocks from the White House, Linda Singer, a former attorney general turned plaintiffs’ lawyer, approached Attorney General Gary King of New Mexico with an unusual proposition.

Ms. Singer wanted him to sue the owner of a nursing home in rural New Mexico that Mr. King had never heard of and Ms. Singer had never set foot in. She later presented him with a proposed lawsuit that did not cite any specific complaints about care. What she shared with him were numbers on staffing levels gleaned from records suggesting that residents were being mistreated there and at other facilities…

The casual nature of the exchange between the two Democrats, which was among thousands of pages of emails obtained by The New York Times, belied the enormous potential payoff for Ms. Singer’s firm if she could persuade Mr. King to hire her and use his state powers to investigate and sue, which he did.

The partnership is part of a flourishing industry that pairs plaintiffs’ lawyers with state attorneys general to sue companies, a collaboration that has set off a furious competition between trial lawyers and corporate lobbyists to influence these officials.

As the old saying goes, it’s not what’s illegal that’s the real crime — it’s what’s legal. Good for the New York Times for reporting this, even though it makes their beloved Democrats look as bad as they really are. Here’s how the scam works:

The lawsuits follow a pattern: Private lawyers, who scour the news media and public records looking for potential cases in which a state or its consumers have been harmed, approach attorneys general. The attorneys general hire the private firms to do the necessary work, with the understanding that the firms will front most of the cost of the investigation and the litigation. The firms take a fee, typically 20 percent, and the state takes the rest of any money won from the defendants…

In no place has the contingency-fee practice flourished more than in Mississippi, where lawyers hired by Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, have collected $57.5 million in fees during the last two years — three times as much as Mr. Hood has spent on running his state office during the same period.

Mr. Hood has taken in $395,000 in campaign contributions from trial law firms over the last decade, more than any other attorney general.

To be sure, it’s an equal-opportunity racket, but some players are more equal than others:

Over all, plaintiffs’ firms have donated at least $9.8 million directly to state attorneys general and political groups related to attorneys general over the last decade, according to an analysis of campaign finance data by The Times, with more than 76 percent of that money going to Democrats…

The boom in the contingency law business has been driven in part by former attorneys general like Ms. Singer who have capitalized on personal relationships with former colleagues that they have nurtured since leaving office, often at resort destination conferences where they pay to gain access…

“Farming out the police powers of the state to a private firm with a profit incentive is a very, very bad thing,” said Attorney General John Suthers of Colorado, a Republican and a former United States attorney.

Ya think? It’s a long story but well worth your time, unless you’re on your lunch hour, in which case — unless you’re a trial lawyer or a Democrat — it will make you hurl.

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Happy Ending: Vin Scully, the Ribs, and THE Ring

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all the saints: for the greatest baseball announcer in the history of the planet, a recent trip to Costco in Westlake Village, Calif., might have been a disaster, but it wasn’t:

Vin Scully can find his way into our hearts even during the gloomiest winter afternoons, as he proved again Thursday when he unwittingly starred in his own holiday movie. The Ribs That Saved Christmas.

“I feel like such a dummy,” Scully said with a laugh. “Only Scully could lose a ring while putting meat in a bag.”

Seems that the legendary Dodgers announcer, 87, enjoys his outings to Costco, but on a recent trip he lost his 1988 World Series ring while piling some packaged ribs onto his cart. You remember the 1988 World Series:

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One of the most memorable calls in baseball history, especially noteworthy for the more than one minute of announcer silence that precedes Scully’s great line, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!”

Meanwhile, back in Costco:

“I went into a panic, I assured him we’d do everything to help find the ring, Vin is like family to us,” said Rahhal, who printed out Scully’s receipt and began a painstaking retracing of Scully’s steps through the tower stacks and free food samples. Meanwhile, Vin called the Dodgers publicity sage Steve Brener, who immediately sent out a tweet informing the nation that Scully had lost the ring and asking anybody with information to call the Dodger Stadium switchboard. Then Vin and Sandi drove home while Vin continued to remind himself it was only jewelry and paled in comparison to the large and loving family that awaited his 88th holiday celebration.

“You know, maybe God heard me say that,” he said. Sure enough, while Vin was unloading the stacks of items, he heard a cry from inside the house. While emptying the ribs, Sandi found the ring at the bottom of the bag.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

 

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George Clooney to Li’l Kim: Drop Dead

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

George Clooney gets it right. Via Deadline Hollywood:

The most powerful people in Hollywood were so fearful to place themselves in the cross hairs of hackers that they all refused to sign a simple petition of support that Clooney and his agent, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, circulated to the top people in film, TV, records and other areas. Not a single person would sign. Here, Clooney discusses the petition and how it is just part of many frightening ramifications that we are all just coming to grips with.

DEADLINE: I’ve been chasing the story of the petition you were circulating for a week now. Where is it, and how were these terrorists able to isolate Sony from the herd and make them so vulnerable?

CLOONEY: Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills. Look, I can’t make an excuse for that joke, it is what it is, a terrible mistake. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. They know what they themselves have written in their emails, and they’re afraid.

Be sure to read the whole interview; this exchange is priceless:

DEADLINE: What kind of constraints will this put on storytellers that want to shine a critical light on a place like Russia, for instance, with something like a movie about the polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB officer who left and became an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin?

CLOONEY: What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway. Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies. The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect. We should be in the position right now of going on offense with this. I just talked to Amy an hour ago. She wants to put that movie out. What do I do? My partner Grant Heslov and I had the conversation with her this morning. Bryan and I had the conversation with her last night. Stick it online. Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f*cking people.

 

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FCC: Hail to the Redskins

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Washington Redskins fans can relax for now: the word “Redskins” is okay:

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday ruled the name “Redskins” is not profane or obscene. In a formal ruling, the commission rejected calls to yank the broadcast license of a radio station owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for excessively using the team’s name, which some find offensive.

George Washington University professor John Banzhaf filed a petition in September opposing the license renewal of the D.C. station, WWXX-FM.

In case you’re wondering who John Banzhaf is, take a look at his website:

Prof. John Banzhaf has been called the “Ralph Nader of the Tobacco Industry,” “One of America’s Premier Legal Activists,” “An Unsung American Hero.” “The Man Behind the Ban on Cigarette Commercials,” “the Ralph Nader of Junk Food,” “The Man Who Is Taking Fat to Court” [for using legal action to fight OBESITY], “Mr. Anti-Smoking,” “One of the Most Vocal and Effective Anti-Tobacco Attorneys,” a “Radical Feminist,” a “Man Who Lives by his Writs,” the “Father of Potty Parity,” “the Area’s Best-Known ‘Radical’ Law Professor,” ” Legal Academia’s Instigator in Chief,” One of the World’s Top “Game Theorists,” and an “Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer’s Trial Lawyer.”

He’s also been called — by his enemies — a “Legal Terrorist”,” the “Osama bin Laden of Torts,” a “Legal Bomb-Thrower,” and a “Legal Flamethrower,” and he has frequently been attacked on web sites (which are often inaccurate) [see, e.g., BanzhafWatch.com] by those who opposed his activities; clear indications, he says, that his many targets fear him and his legal actions.

The FCC bounced Banzhaf’s complaint on First Amendment grounds:

The commission cited the First Amendment, saying it does not withhold licenses based on a subjective view of what is appropriate programming. It noted that some racial or religious slurs are offensive to many, but it has previously declined “extending the bounds of profanity to reach such language given constitutional considerations.”

“Indeed, the Commission has held that ‘if there is to be free speech, it must be free for speech that we abhor and hate as well as for speech that we find tolerable and congenial,’” according to the commission. The commission rejected a number of complaints lodged by Banzhaf and noted that his petition was issued nearly three years too late to be considered.

But don’t worry: there are plenty of other folks, including the Senate Democratic Caucus, who will keep up the pressure until they get their way. Such is life in a “fundamentally transformed” America.

 

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Rubio Leads With His Chin, Gets Clocked

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

The underwhelming Florida senator, Marco Rubio, walked right into this one:

The White House on Thursday took a direct shot at Sen. Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American and Florida Republican who has emerged as the most vocal critic of the administration’s move this week to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.

A clearly prepared White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at Thursday’s daily briefing that Mr. Rubio’s own past statements on diplomatic relationships with other dictatorial regimes conflicted with his harsh remarks on re-opening ties with Havana.

“It occurs to me that it seems odd Sen. Rubio would be reluctant and, in fact, actively seeking to block the appointment of an ambassador to Cuba when earlier this year he voted to confirm the ambassador to China that the president nominated,” Mr. Earnest told reporters.

Rubio sank himself with many conservatives by joining the Gang of Eight on an abortive immigration “fix,” revealing himself to be a “Hispanic” senator first and a a Florida senator second. Now it seems like he’s a “Cuban” senator first and everything else second.

Following the announcement Wednesday that the U.S. would end its 50-year policy of isolation toward the communist island, Mr. Rubio held a press conference and blasted the president for opening travel and business ties with Cuba in light of the nation’s dismal human-rights record.

Mr. Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, also hinted he may look to block funding for an American embassy in Havana and could hold up the appointment of an ambassador.

That would be a huge mistake. The passions over Cuba have long since cooled, except among the expatriate Cuban community in Florida. Castro will soon be dead. Cuba will become neither a greater nor lesser basket case than any other country in Latin America with the exception of sterling little Costa Rica. Life will go on. And Marco Rubio will never become president.

 

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In Holland, It’s Back to Court for Geert Wilders

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Are Moroccans a “race”? To a still guilt-ridden Europe, which has decided to atone for the Holocaust by committing cultural suicide, it looks like the answer is yes:

 Dutch far-right populist lawmaker Geert Wilders is be tried for inciting racial hatred after pledging in March to ensure there were ‘fewer Moroccans’ in the Netherlands, prosecutors said Thursday. ’The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,’ prosecutors said in a statement.

‘Politicians may go far in their statements, that’s part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,’ it said, adding that no date had yet been set for the trial.

What did the conservative Dutch politician say now, you wonder?

The case centres on comments Wilders made at a March 19 rally after local elections. He asked his followers whether they wanted ‘fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’

When the crowd shouted ‘Fewer! Fewer!’ a smiling Wilders answered: ‘We’re going to organise that.’ In a later TV interview, he referred to ‘Moroccan scum’. The remark led to 6,400 legal complaints being lodged across the Netherlands, and criticism was even voiced within Wilders’s own Party for Freedom.

Remember, that in the brave new egalitarian world the Left is making, “countries” are just a legal fiction and (in this case) Dutchmen are those holding a passport issued by the Netherlands; in other words, it’s all one big bureaucracy. Meanwhile, in Sweden:

 Sweden has led the way in European immigration, and Muslim immigration in particular. Some 20 percent of Sweden’s 9.5 million people are immigrants or the children of immigrants: the highest figure in Europe. Most European states were until recently monocultural. They have trouble assimilating immigrants, especially rural Muslims who wish to keep their cultural and religious identity. Sweden has applied the noblest of ideals—shelter to the oppressed—with the narrowness of mind that can happen when you live in a small society on the quiet side of the Baltic. The state has failed to assimilate its immigrants. Ordinary Swedes, both indigenous and immigrant, have paid the social cost. In a May 2014 poll, 44 percent of respond-ents wanted the new government to reduce immigration.

Last week, the comments sections of Swedish press websites abounded in conversions from both left and right. All said the same thing: Mass immigration has dissolved Sweden’s social cohesion and overburdened the welfare system. The established parties are too cowardly or corrupt to stop the rot… If Sweden leads the way, Europe’s political future is grim: a governing class unwilling to acknowledge a systemic failure of democracy, a populist backlash against immigration and the EU superstate, and deep hostility between an aging indigenous population and a fertile immigrant one. This is bad for Sweden and bad for Europe. And a weak, introverted, and increasingly extremist Europe is bad for the United States, too.

Remember, they’re not “immigrants,” they’re invaders. Is it too late for Europe to understand the difference?

 

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No to Tony Soprano in 2016?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Make that no Chris Christie in 2016, according to a recent poll:

A majority of voters in a poll out today say they couldn’t support Gov. Chris Christie for president. The NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey shows 53 percent of registered voters saying they couldn’t back Christie, while 27 percent said they could. The poll also found Christie faring worse than other potential GOP candidates among Republican voters more than a year before the first presidential primaries.

Other duds include also-also-ran flop Mitt Romney (60 percent disapproval) and snoozemeister scion Jeb Bush (57 percent); both had higher negative numbers than Christie, but slightly higher positive numbers as well. Illustrating the delusional fantasy land in which dwells the Establishment GOP, these figures are interesting:

Christie also was in negative territory among Republican voters, with 43 percent opposing him and 40 percent supporting him. By comparison, GOP voters said they could support Romney, 63 percent to 33 percent; Bush, 55 percent to 34 percent; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 47 percent to 39 percent; and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), 47 percent to 34 percent.

When you’re losing to Huckabee and Rand Paul among the home crowd, you know you’re in trouble. But how about that Mitt stat — 63 percent said they could support the man who lost a Senate race to Ted Kennedy, a nomination race to John McCain and a presidential election to Barack Hussein Obama? Wow.

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Li’l Kim, We Hardly Knew Ye…

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

At the link, the New York Post has a clip of the death scene from the laff-riot, probably never to be shown publically, The Interview, aka the comedy bomb that destroyed a major studio:

Right on the heels of Sony’s announcement that the studio would be scrapping the Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” the film’s controversial climax has surfaced.

The scene features North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung-un (Randall Park), meeting a fiery end as a missile hits his helicopter. As the tyrant perishes from the explosion, the scene is dramatically slowed down to the sounds of Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

As for the fates of Seth Rogen and James Franco, well, that’s still T.B.D. — at least until “The Interview” hits V.O.D.

Well, that certainly could have cheesed off the sawed-off runt ruler of the Hermit Kingdom. Meanwhile, via Drudge, Roger Friedman has another theory:

One thing that Kim Jong Un may or may not have objected to in “The Interview”: after a night of debauchery, he’s seen shirtless in bed with James Franco’s also-shirtless Dave Skylark character and a bevy of beauties. In the screenwriter Dan Sterling’s 2012 original version, this is how the scene read:

INT. PRIVATE LOUNGE – DAY

Dave and Kim are in a bed naked, with the four women.

They’re all playing MORTAL KOMBAT

Right so you’re thinking, either lucky Kim, or he should be so lucky. It’s hard to say if North Korea’s fearless leader would feel the same way. Certainly, the original screenplay made it seem like quite a night had occurred. By this time, Franco’s Dave and President Kim have cried together, shared their love of puppies, and Katy Perry.

Don’t worry — it gets worse. Read on, if you dare. Who greenlighted this mess?

Meanwhile, if you thought you could have a laugh at the Norks’s expense with Team America, think again:

Forget those plans by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other theaters to run Team America: World Police in place of The Interview. The Austin-based chain says that Paramount has now decided not to offer South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 satire that focuses on Kim Jong-il, the late father of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Alamo says that the cancellation at its Dallas theater is “due to circumstances beyond our control” and says it will offer refunds to those who have already bought tickets. Cleveland’s Capitol Theater also tweeted that Team America “has been canceled by Paramount Pictures.”

 

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Studio Folds, Pulls ‘Interview’ – Norks Win, Sony ‘Saddened’

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

So there you have it:

With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview.” In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.

“Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the statement reads. “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” it continues. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

That’s telling ‘em! Sony is ”saddened,” the way you might be at the death of a puppy. And they’re “standing by” the filmmakers, although there is that little matter of canceling the movie’s Christmas  opening.

Meanwhile, in other totally unsurprising news, CNN is reporting that, how about that, North Korea really is behind the cyber attack (which as Newt Gingrich notes, the U.S. just came out on the short end of):

The U.S. government is set to name North Korea as the source of the damaging cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to CNN Justice reporter Evan Perez. Anchor Wolf Blitzer announced the news break during a broadcast of The Situation Room. A news chyron on the cable channel read: “Sources: North Korean Leaders Ordered Attack On Sony.”

Following theater chains decision not to screen the film, Sony canceled the release of the North Korea themed assassination comedy on Wednesday.

Not that the U.S. is going to do anything about it, of course. About all that’s left to do now is await the inevitable regime change in Culver City,

 

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No Truer Words: Gross Calls Himself ‘A Trusting Fool’

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas:

Alan Gross has called himself a “trusting fool” for going to Cuba in the first place… His wife, Judy Gross, has called him a humanitarian and an idealist, someone who was “probably naïve” and did not realize the risks of going to Cuba as a subcontractor for the federal government’s U.S. Agency for International Development.

Gross was arrested in 2009 while working in the Communist-run country to set up Internet access for the island’s small Jewish community, access that bypassed local restrictions and monitoring. Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government. Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Yeah, well, no wonder the Cubans thought he was a spy:

In court in Cuba, Gross called himself a “trusting fool” who never meant any harm to the Cuban government. But reports he wrote about his work showed he knew it was dangerous.

“This is very risky business in no uncertain terms,” he wrote in one report. A 2012 investigation by The Associated Press found he was using sensitive technology typically available only to governments.

Hmmm… remind us again who those Cuban prisoners are?

The three Cubans released in exchange for Gross are part of the so-called Cuban Five — a group of men who were part of the “Wasp Network” sent by Cuba’s then-President Fidel Castro to spy in South Florida. The men, who are hailed as heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S. Two of the Cuban Five were previously released after finishing their sentences.

Right.

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Team America: World Pussycat

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Looks like the Korean hackers have won:

The country’s top five theater circuits have decided not to play Sony’s The Interview, a knowledgeable source tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film. Carmike Cinemas confirmed its decision to drop the film on Tuesday. The other chains did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sony also had no immediate comment.

Hackers raised the threat level directed at the movie on Dec. 16, but Sony refused to back down from its plans to release the film on Dec. 25. Instead, in discussions with exhibitors, it told the exhibitors it was up to them whether or not they played the movie and that Sony would support whatever decision they made.

What next? Will Team America: World Police have to go back for a recut?

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UPDATE: One Texas theater has decided to substitute Team America for the now-vanished Interview. Good for them.

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Journalism: 72 Million Ways to Die

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

The suicide of American journalism, and the “objective” ideal I grew up with as a young reporter, continues apace, as I noted in this space yesterday and the IBD website mentions today:

Media Malfeasance: In less than two weeks, bombshell stories of a vicious gang rape and a millionaire teen investor were exposed as frauds that never would have made it into print but for gross negligence and liberal bias.

Over the weekend, Jessica Pressler, a “star reporter” at New York magazine, told the story of an underage teen who’d already made $72 million trading stocks on his lunch break. It was part of a series on why people should love the city. The story spread like wildfire, showing up in the New York Post, Marketwatch, the New York Daily News, Fox News and others.

Too good to check, except perfunctorily. The idea that a high school kid (bonus points for his name: Mohammed Islam) could beat the market was irresistible, given the feel-good, Narrative-framing tendencies of the magazine’s writers and editors.

Meanwhile, the University of Virginia gang rape story continues to unravel, exposing new depths of laziness, recklessness and bias at Rolling Stone.

It’s now clear that there were so many holes in “Jackie’s” rape claims that anyone who’d done the minimum of unbiased reporting would have dismissed her as not credible and moved on. But Jackie’s story supported the current liberal belief that sexual assaults are rampant on college campuses. So why doubt her?

Why indeed? There’s a reason that, back in the day, every revolution began be seizing the newspapers and radio stations. The Left understands, far more than the Right, that propaganda is everything — and if it has to kill American journalism to make its points, then so be it.

Over at Sultan Knish, Daniel Greenfield has some typically perceptive thoughts on “Life in Post-Truth America.” Well worth a read.

 

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N. Korean Hackers Threaten ’9/11′ Attacks — Does the US Government Care?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Bombs away

Bombs away

The dog in the night-time: somebody is making explicit threats against the United States of America over a silly movie but, unless I’ve missed it (other than the routine, obligatory FBI investigation) nobody in Washington seems to care. From Variety:

The Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korean comedy “The Interview,” substantially escalating the stakes surrounding the release of the movie.

“The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

One would like to think that the aces in Foggy Bottom would be all over this, sending quiet signals to North Korea that a “9/11″-style attack would be met with the strongest possible (i.e. incinerating) response, but Secretary Kerry is probably too busy trying to bring the Israelis to heel to worry about such things.

There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for “The Interview’s” depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks.

The note also threatens people who attend the premiere of “The Interview.” A New York premiere of the film is scheduled to take place Thursday at Sunshine Cinema and has already been scaled down, according to a report in the New York Post. A special screening of the film took place in Los Angeles last week without incident.

Memo to Washington: we in Hollywood will be very, very upset if the Norks nuke the Hollywood Sign.

UPDATE: According to the Daily Beast, Washington green-lighted the film’s ending:

The Daily Beast has unearthed several emails that reveal at least two U.S. government officials screened a rough cut of the Kim Jong-Un assassination comedy The Interview in late June and gave the film—including a final scene that sees the dictator’s head explode—their blessing.

The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony Entertainment CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime.

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New York Magazine to Readers: We Screwed Up

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

The ongoing collapse of mainstream journalism into a politically correct, agenda-driven sinkhole of literally unbelievable crap continues apace. The most recent sanctioned hoax, about the  stock-picking abilities of a high school kid named Mohammed Islam, turned out to be complete codswallop. At least New York magazine has issued an apology:

In the most recent edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine published a story about a Stuyvesant High School senior named Mohammed Islam, who was rumored to have made $72 million trading stocks. Islam said his net worth was in the “high eight figures.” As part of the research process, the magazine sent a fact-checker to Stuyvesant, where Islam produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account.

After the story’s publication, people questioned the $72 million figure in the headline, which was written by editors based on the rumored figure. The headline was amended. But in an interview with the New York Observer last night, Islam now says his entire story was made up. A source close to the Islam family told the Washington Post that the statements were falsified. We were duped. Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate; we take full responsibility and we should have known better. New York apologizes to our readers.

“Who was rumored to have made $72 million…” Maybe that word, “rumor,” should have been a tipoff of some sort.  Remember, if it’s too good to check — as this story was, as the Rolling Stone “rape” story obviously was — then it’s also too good to be true. Somewhere, the ghost of Clay Felker is weeping.

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Where the Wild Things Are

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

One way to help solve the problem of the so-called “lone wolf” Islamic terrorist — a misnomer, since these “wolves” are not acting alone, but in the name of Islam, rather than in concert with others — might to ban all immigration and travel to and from the countries where they originate. Fortunately, we know exactly where they are:

A recent terrorism survey (Global Terrorism Index) found that five nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, in that order) accounted for 80 percent of all terrorism related deaths in 2013 and even more in 2014. Four Islamic terrorist organizations (ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban) account for nearly 70 percent of all terrorist deaths. Many of the lesser terror groups are also Islamic.

In fact, of the top ten nations by terrorist activity (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen, Philippines and Thailand) only India and the Philippines had a significant minority of terrorist deaths that were not carried out by Moslems. In those two countries the minority terrorists were leftist rebels who had not noticed the collapse of radical socialism in 1989. Meanwhile the rapid growth in Islamic terrorism violence caused the total number of terrorist acts to increase 44 percent in 2013 over 2012.

But no, we’ll probably just bring more of them over as “refugees,” then wonder what happened when they go marching off to war against the infidel.

 

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Oh, God, Please No: Jeb Bush Is Running for President

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Well, it’s semi-official: Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” running for president:

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Like many of you, our family was blessed with the opportunity to gather together over the recent Thanksgiving holiday. Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren. We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.Best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season. I’ll be in touch soon.

Onward,

Jeb Bush

Just what America needs: three presidents in one family, and the prospect of another Bush/Clinton election. A total disgrace to the American ideal. Jeb and the rest of the clan should reconsider before he embarrasses himself further.

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Obamas ‘Looking Forward’ To 17-Day Hawaiian Vacation. We Are, Too

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

If it’s Christmas, it must be time for the Vacationer-in-Chief to head out on a largely taxpayer-funded holiday trip “home” to Hawaii. And sure enough:

The first family is returning to Hawaii for their seventh straight Christmas vacation, a 17-day break President Obama is “eagerly looking forward to.” The White House has announced that the president and his family with depart Washington on Friday and is expected to return Jan. 4.

“On Friday, the first family will depart the White House en route to Honolulu, Hawaii — a flight that I know the president himself is eagerly looking forward to,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

According to Pacific Business News, “Obama has rented a private home in Kailua on past holiday vacations, and typically spends his time working out at the nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii, playing golf, catching up with Punahou School classmates and dining out at such restaurants as Alan Wong’s Honolulu, [Morimoto] at The Modern Honolulu and Buzz’s Original Steakhouse in Kailua.”

George Washington never had it so good. And neither do you.

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Too Good to Check: Boy Genius Makes $72 Mil in the Market!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Another bogus story in what used to be the legitimate media, this one featuring a stock-picking boy wonder named Mohammed Islam at New York’s Stuyvesant High. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. Or, then again, maybe you have to in order to get a story in a newspaper or magazine these days:

It’s been a tough month for factchecking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is —to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—”not true.”

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “’high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

And now it turns out, the real number is … zero.

Journalism always gets thing wrong. Lying at the top levels of officialdom too often goes unchallenged. But never in more than forty years in this business have I seen such abject credulity on the part of reporters. Some stories, it seems, really are too good to check. But, hey, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses his reputation or worse.

The saddest quote from the New York Observer piece, debunking the New York Magazine piece:

Mohammed, you’re from Queens and you go to this elite public high school. Is this a hobby of your parents as well or would you be the first person in your family to pursue high finance? 

Mohammed Islam: In my immediate family, just me.

So what did your parents think when they’re reading that you’ve got $72 million? 

Mohammed Islam: Honestly, my dad wanted to disown me. My mom basically said she’d never talk to me. Their morals are that if I lie about it and don’t own up to it then they can no longer trust me. … They knew it was false and they basically wanted to kill me and I haven’t spoken to them since.

Nice work, New York. The original story is here.

 

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Pope Bites Dog! Maybe…

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Remember that story about Pope Francis promising some distressed moppet whose dog had just died that good bowsers go to Heaven too? Bogus. The American Interest has the details, while the increasingly untrustworthy New York Times has the correction. First, the details:

A recent controversy over whether Pope Francis said that dogs go to heaven shows how deeply the media has bought into its own narrative about the pontiff’s brand of feel-good religion. Last week many media outlets reported that Francis told a boy whose dog had died that, “one day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” He was said to have supported this statement by a reference to a passage in Bible written by St. Paul. Reaction was swift: spiritual but not religious types got the warm fuzzies, while Catholic traditionalists sighed heavily under the burden of having such a Pope.

But the whole story was completely false. Pope Francis not only never said it; he never talked to a boy with a dead dog at all… The media has fallen in love with their own creation—the softhearted, easygoing, liberal pope they’ve long been waiting for—and are willing uncritically to run a story, any story, that puts him on display.

Oh, noes! It gets worse. The Religion News Service debunks here:

Yes, a version of that quotation was uttered by a pope, but it was said decades ago by Paul VI, who died in 1978. There is no evidence that Francis repeated the words during his public audience on Nov. 26, as has been widely reported, nor was there a boy mourning his dead dog.  “There is a fundamental rule in journalism. That is double-checking, and in this case it was not done,” the Vatican’s deputy spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, told Reuters on Saturday.

But hey — the story was too good to check! Which is why a red-faced Times had to backtrack on its entire front-page story – which began with this by now-obligatory lede, “Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans” – with this instant classic of a correction:

Correction: December 12, 2014. An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’’ (Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.) An earlier version also referred incompletely to the largest animal protection group in the United States. It is the Humane Society of the United States, not just the Humane Society.

That correction is almost as embarrassing as this one (scroll all the way down. Sheesh.

 

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The Next Democrat Candidate for President? Elizabeth Warren

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Besties

Besties

Bet on it.

It’s enough to make you feel sorry for Hillary Clinton. Well, almost. Her presidential campaign of celebrity and inevitability got off to a rocky start, mostly through her own mistakes, as when she claimed they were “dead broke” when she and Bubba left the White House.

But her gaffes were mere speed bumps compared to the real threat forming now. Massachusetts firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren emerges from Washington’s budget clash as the undisputed champion of the rising left, and will almost certainly challenge Clinton for the 2016 nomination. The polls say it’s Hillary’s turn, but I’m starting to believe 2016 could be 2008 all over again, with Warren taking the nomination from her the way Barack Obama did.

Hillary Clinton is a very poor retail politician, who got her lunch eaten and her head handed to her by somebody named Barack Hussein Obama, a man of zero accomplishment who had barely registered on the national radar screen until a couple of years earlier. By contrast, Hillary has been around since Watergate and was in our faces throughout the two terms of the Clinton administration. And yet she still lost.

You just know the Democrats are going to want to keep up their “historic” electoral accomplishments, which means they must nominate a (rich, white, elitist, one-percent member of the Harvard faculty) woman. And that’s going to be Fauxcahontas, the gal from Oklahoma who sets moonbats’ heart all a-flutter with her faux populism. Writing of the recent budget battle in the Senate, Kevin Williamson notes over at NRO:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the millionaire Massachusetts class warrior who has made the vilification of Wall Street bankers her second-favorite pastime (right behind prospering on the largesse of Wall Street lawyers, the gentlemen and scholars who funded her very generously compensated position at Harvard and fill her campaign coffers) did not exactly make the issue her hill to die on, but the fight did provide her an excellent opportunity for grandstanding.

Flat-footed Hillary hasn’t got a chance. 

 

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What’s My Motivation?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
sydney islam

An invader, not an ‘immigrant’

The bodies aren’t even cold yet in Sydney and already the media is tiptoeing around the elephant in the room to discover the crazed Islamic “political refugee” from Iran’s motivation. Who cares? Everything you need to know about the shooter’s “motivation” I just listed in the first sentence. Naturally, Australia’s Muslims are already whining about a “backlash”:

Religious leaders and ordinary Australians sought to defuse communal tensions on Monday, after a siege at a Sydney cafe by a gunman who forced hostages to display an Islamic flag raised fears of a backlash against the country’s Muslim minority.

Within hours of the attack on the Lindt cafe in the centre of the city, a Muslim group reported that women wearing the hijab had been spat on and the right-wing Australian Defence League called on followers to protest at two major mosques. The protests did not materialise and little is known about the true motives of the gunman.

But in the harbourside city, home to half of Australia’s 500,000 Muslims, police moved on a man shouting anti-Islamic abuse at the scene of the ongoing siege. The man strode up to a police cordon and shouted: “Someone is going to die here because of Islam! There is no such thing as moderate Islam. Wake up and smell the coffee.”

The siege coincides with growing concerns in Australia about the dangers posed by Islamist militants, with the country’s security agency raising its national terrorism public alert to “high” in September. The same month, anti-terrorism police said they had thwarted an imminent threat to behead a random member of the public and days later, a teenager in the city of Melbourne was shot dead after attacking two anti-terrorism officers with a knife.

Vox populi, vox Dei, as the old saying goes.

 

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How to Solve Poverty: Write a Check!

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Who knew the “problem” of “income inequality” (to use a couple of current Marxist buzzwords) could be solved so easily? And here the answer was staring us in the face the whole time, at least according to Betsy Isaacson at what’s left of Newsweek, the near-dead magazine that once told us “We Are All Socialists Now“:

 In the United States—as in all of the world’s wealthier nations—ending poverty is not a matter of resources. Many economists, including Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin (and former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty) have argued that every developed nation has the financial wherewithal to eradicate poverty. In large part this is because post-industrial productivity has reached the point where to suggest a deficit in resources is laughably disingenuous. And despite the occasional political grandstanding against welfare, there is no policy, ideology or political party that is on the books as pro-starvation, pro-homelessness, pro-death or anti-dignity. Yet, poverty continues to exist…

But there may be a solution. Some might see it as radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal, are suggesting straight up cash: a guaranteed subsidy to everyone. “We’ve got to a technological level now where no one needs to work the traditional 40-hour week,” says Barbara Jacobson, chair of Unconditional Basic Income–Europe, an alliance of European citizens and organizations that advocate for such subsidies.

A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones and maybe, says Jacobson, “think about what really needs doing, what they would like to do, what they have trained to do, as opposed to simply what someone might hire them to do.”

The gist of the argument here is that we inefficiently spend just about as much money servicing the poor via existing programs, so why not just give them a check? This obscures the hidden argument beneath, which is about the meaning of work and the value of one’s labor in the marketplace. Because to Leftists, there ought not be a marketplace at all.

And here silly you thought this kind of thinking went out with the Soviet Union. Marxism is like a pestilence, a virus that refuses to die. What will it take to finally throttle it?

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How Much Does the NYT Hate America? Click Here!

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

This much:

THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe “safety net.” An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.

You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.

Not a parody! Honest to God, even the great David Kahane couldn’t make this stuff up. In the case, the author is one Mark Bittman, who gets his inner Occupy freak on with an ill-considered, bitter cri de coeur against, well against just about everything that’s cheesing him off about Amerikkka. It’s also a handy guide to every left-liberal cause du jour, a primal scream of hate against the society that continues to frustrate the Left with its stubborn moral rejection of their Marxist principles:

The progress of the last 40 years has been mostly cultural, culminating, the last couple of years, in the broad legalization of same-sex marriage. But by many other measures, especially economic, things have gotten worse, thanks to the establishment of neo-liberal principles — anti-unionism, deregulation, market fundamentalism and intensified, unconscionable greed — that began with Richard Nixon and picked up steam under Ronald Reagan. Too many are suffering now because too few were fighting then.

There follows a laundry list of moonbat fixations, which I will mercifully skip over in the interests of our collective sanity. Here’s the big peroration:

Everything affects everything. It’s all tied together, and the starting place hardly matters: A just and righteous system will have a positive impact on everything we care about, just as an unjust, exploitative system makes everything worse.

Increasingly, it seems, there’s an appetite and even unity to take on the billionaire class. Let’s recognize that if we are seeing positive change now, it’s in part because elected officials respond to pressure, and let’s remember that that pressure must be maintained no matter who is in office. Even if Bernie Sanders were to become president, the need for pressure would continue.

“True citizenship,” says Jayaraman of Berkeley — echoing Jefferson — “is people continually protesting.” Precisely.

As that great former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, wrote in her Wellesley thesis on Saul Alinsky: “There is only the fight.” I say, if they want a fight, let’s give it to them. To bad the GOP squishes in Congress aren’t on our side.

 

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Let’s Try ‘God’ for $100

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Water, water everywhere...

One small step for a guy in a Hawaiian shirt…

There’s water on comets. But not water water. A different kind of water, unlike that on earth. So where did Earth’s water come from? The Huffington Post and others want to know:

Where did the Earth get its water? For years some scientists have argued that it was brought here by water-bearing comets that smashed into our planet during its infancy. But new data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission suggest that that theory is all wet.

The data show that the chemical signature of water found on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko differs significantly from that of the water found on Earth. (Comet 67P’s water contains about three times more of the heavy hydrogen isotope deuterium than does terrestrial water.) And that has Dr. Kathrin Altwegg, the principal investigator for the Rosetta instrument that collected the data, arguing that it’s unlikely that comets brought water our way.

So what – or who – brought good old H20 to earth?

Instead of comets, Altwegg said in a written statement, it could have been asteroids. She said that while asteroids today contain limited amounts of water, that probably wasn’t the case billions of years ago, according to The Guardian.

Next question: who put the water in the asteroids? Or is it comets and asteroids all the way down?

Meanwhile back on the idiot front:

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The Stupid, It Is Strong with This One

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Doing the jobs Europeans just won't do

Doing the jobs Europeans just won’t do

Quote of the day from a man identified only as a Swedish businessman, reacting to the latest Muslim riots in Stockholm:

A local businessman remarked, “I just feel sad for the insults we get from many Arabs and Muslims in this town. We consider them Swedes; they consider us enemies. We are doing our job, we are protecting them, and we will never fail them nor look down on them, [so] why are we received with such hostility?”

Unless the term, “Swedish” means only which passport one holds, maybe you shouldn’t “consider them Swedes.” A little more background:

According to a 2007 report by the Open Society Institute, Gatestone continues, the number of Muslims in Sweden is estimated to be between 250,000 and 400,000, representing 1.8-4.4 percent of the population. Swedes in general describe a reality in which Muslim fundamentalists are out of control and even feared by the authorities, Gatestone reports.

“Police cars that approach Arab and Muslim areas are regularly attacked with rocks. At the moment, local Swedish authorities are not sure how to keep providing public services in those areas. They are even considering rolling back certain state services there. It is just too risky to operate in such a hostile environment. A few residents of the Arab-Muslim areas in Uppsala describe their neighborhoods as ‘Sharia areas where Sweden’s government is not welcome,’” a police officer said.

Another person commented: “I am not sure where we are going in this country. We feel that we have lost our country forever to Islamists.”

Just remember, though: they’re “immigrants,” not Islamists.

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Is Joe Biden Insane? Don’t Answer That

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
'If you ever touch my sister again...'

‘If you ever touch my sister again…’

Because we all know he’s as mad as a hatter, writes Olivia Nuzzi in The Daily Beast:

Vice President Joe Biden said he once chased down a bully on his bicycle, physically assaulted him, and threatened to “kill” him—all in the name of protecting the honor of his sister Valerie. Biden is, of course, famous for being a bit loose in his public remarks. But these comments, made Wednesday night in New York City, were particularly unbound.

Read the whole jaw-dropping thing — and then ask yourself whether any of this is remotely believable. Li’l Joey Biden, tough guy, smashing a kid’s head into the counter and then smart-mouthing the kid’s old man:

“His father grabbed me, and I looked at his son and said, ‘If you ever touch my sister again, I’ll come back here again and I’ll kill your son.’ Now, that was a euphemism. I thought I was really, really in trouble… My father never once raised his hand to any one of his children—never once—and I thought I was in trouble. He pulled me aside and said, ‘Joey, you shouldn’t do that, but I’m proud of you, son.’”

And this man is the vice president of the United States.

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What’s ‘Racist’ About Islam?

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
We're back

We’re back

Or about fearing what Islam can do to Western society? Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has her Ossie panties in a bunch over what’s going on in Dresden:

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned a series of anti-Muslim demonstrations centered on the eastern city of Dresden, saying via an aide on Friday that there was “no place in Germany” for hatred of Muslims or any other religious or racial group. ”In the name of the government and the chancellor I can say quite clearly that there is no place in Germany for religious hatred, no matter which religion people belong to,” said the chancellor’s spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz.

“There is no place for Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any form of xenophobia or racism,” she said of the growing Monday evening marches in Dresden under the motto PEGIDA, standing for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West”.

Here speaks the authentic voice of the Suicidal West. Like most Europeans countries, Germany has decided to breed itself out of existence and therefore needs “immigrants” in order to keep its social safety net in good working order until the last ethnic German dies. The deal is simple: the Germans will exploit the unskilled “immigrants” from Turkey and the Middle East and the “immigrants” eventually will take over the country. What could be fairer?

In the meantime, what is “racist” about opposing all the social, cultural and economic ills that an alien, historically hostile “culture” brings with it? Is the country of Beethoven, Goethe and Schiller just supposed to lie down and die quietly? Maybe not — but the country of the National Socialist German Workers Party mostly certainly is:

Public expressions of anti-immigrant sentiment are largely taboo in mainstream German politics because of the Nazis’ mass-murder of Jews and other groups in the Holocaust… but local officials say they are struggling to cope with the largest number of asylum-seekers in Europe, with net immigration at its highest levels in two decades…

The latest PEGIDA march on Monday drew up to 10,000 people and almost as many counter-demonstrators. The organizers, who began two months ago with a few hundred people, say they are not against immigrants but want to protest against Islamic extremism and the influx of asylum-seekers. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said not all the marchers are racists and they include some who are “expressing their fears about the challenges of the times.”

Can’t have that now, can we?

More:  The Stupid, It Is Strong with This One

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With ‘Cromnibus,’ the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government Strikes Back

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Ladies and gentlemen of the Right, you’ve been had. You thought you voted to stop Obama and the Democrats last month, but all you really did was make the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government angry. You poked the bear. And now the bear has crammed Cromnibus down your throats, just to prove it could. Here’s how the AP reported the “Crompomise” :

Republicans have muscled a $1.1 trillion bill financing government agencies through the House after President Barack Obama phoned Democratic lawmakers and urged them to back the measure.

The House approved the measure late Thursday by 219-206. The compromise bill keeps agencies funded through next September. Many conservatives opposed it because it did not block Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration. A large majority of House Democrats opposed it because of provisions easing some restrictions on banks and allowing higher political contributions by big donors.

Obama backed the bill and called wavering Democratic lawmakers to persuade them to help it pass. The bill must now be approved by the Democratic-run Senate.

Did you ever think it would come to this? That Weepy John Boehner, a speaker of the House who makes Denny Hastert look like Sam Rayburn, would be an ally of Barack Obama? That he couldn’t wait to hand the Democrats control of the nation’s spending priorities while they were heading out the door and into the wilderness?

Let’s face it: of course you did. Because, at root, both wings of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party are playing the same game, but with different goals. For the hapless midwesterners of the GOP, it’s about attending to process: writing bills, cutting deals, shuffling the offal through the sausage machine and then going back in triumph to their “home” districts (they’re all Washingtonians now, but have to pretend to still care about East Jesus, Ohio, to get re-elected) and feeding this crap to the folks back home.

For Obama and the Democrats, it’s about the long march through the institutions, about dismantling the structure of the Consitution by undermining it at every step. In short, it’s about “fundamental transformation.”

Which team would you rather be on?

 

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Ted Cruz for President?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

He’s the darling of the Right, the scourge of the Left and hated equally by both wings of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party. So what’s not to like? The freshman Texas senator is ramping up for what looks like a presidential campaign in 2016, and while many dismiss him as too abrasive, only a fool would count him out this early. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin is no fool:

… the way he parachuted into Washington in January 2013 and quickly became the darling of the right indicates that he must be considered a serious threat to edge out others before they even get started. More to the point, Cruz is probably ideally positioned to win early primary and caucus states and then rake in the cash that will follow those victories before he tries to best the other first-tier candidates in the contests that follow. At worst, barring a mishap, I think he should be slotted in as likely to be part of a large field’s first tier.

Is he a lock to be able to carry out that scenario? Not necessarily. There will also not be as many debates in 2016 as there were in 2012, meaning that he won’t have as many opportunities to display his bulldog style or to eviscerate opponents in public. And the later primary schedule that year will make it easier for establishment types to wait before joining the race.

But the point here is that while Cruz may be considered an outlier in the Senate chamber, he’s likely to play better on the hustings in Iowa and other early states than establishment types think. Cruz may shoot himself in the foot in the next year and find others supplanting him among Tea Partiers and the rest of the party. But any assumptions on the part of the establishment that he will crash and burn is a huge mistake. Cruz may not be president but his path to the Republican nomination is no poke dream.

(Not sure what a “poke dream” is; probably a typo for “pipe dream.”)

Were the GOP to pay attention to its base, Cruz would probably win the primaries by landslides. Unfortunately, the GOP “leadership” will do everything it can behind the scenes to make sure Cruz gets nowhere near the top of the ticket. But that’s the problem GOP-leaning conservatives have: not only do they have to beat the Democrats in the general election, they have to deal with the Establishment doing its best to throttle their candidates in the primaries. Still, don’t be surprised when Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker soar to the head of the class once the campaign gets underway in earnest. And should Cruz decide not to run, well, there’s always a gig as Senate majority leader just waiting to be wrested from Mitch McConnell.

Also read: 

Your Weekly ‘MSM Really Wants Mitt Romney to Run’ Post

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About That ‘One-in-Five’ Rape Statistic…

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

It’s not true. Not according to the Justice Department:

A new report on sexual assault released today by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officially puts to bed the bogus statistic that one in five women on college campuses are victims of sexual assault. In fact, non-students are 25 percent more likely to be victims of sexual assault than students, according to the data. And the real number of assault victims is several orders of magnitude lower than one-in-five.

The full study, which was published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division within DOJ, found that rather than one in five female college students becoming victims of sexual assault, the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5). For non-students, the rate of sexual assault is 7.6 per 1,000 people.

You can read the full report at this link.

Even more striking is that according to the BJS data, the likelihood of sexual assault has actually been trending downward across the board since 1997.

While that downward trend is obviously good news, the fact that there’s anything to measure is not. Sexual assault is an awful crime, and even one instance is too many, regardless of the trend. That’s why it’s so important for victims to report the crimes when they happen, so law enforcement authorities can find the perpetrators and hold them accountable. Perpetrators of sexual assault who are never reported are obviously far more likely to victimize even more people.

Absolutely right. Rape victims should go to the police, immediately, and the rapists put away for a very long time.

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Gun Control? Public Says No Thanks

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

According a new Pew study, American attitudes about “gun control” have done a U-turn. From the WaPo:

For the first time since Pew began asking the question two decades ago, a majority of Americans now say that gun rights are more important than gun control — a striking shift in public opinion over both the last generation and just the last few years. As recently as December 2012, in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, 51 percent of people surveyed by Pew said it was more important to control gun ownership than protect the rights of gun owners.

That consensus has since disappeared, confirming the fears of many gun-control advocates that outrage after Newtown wouldn’t last long.

The leftist attack on the Second Amendment has really backfired, and for one simple reason. Real Americans understand that your right to defend youself, your family and your property comes from God, not the state.

What’s most striking in Pew’s new data is that views have shifted more in favor of gun rights since then among nearly every demographic group, including women, blacks, city-dwellers, parents, college graduates, millennials and independents. The two groups that haven’t budged? Hispanics and liberal Democrats.

Hispanics will come around. You can read the entire Pew report here.

 

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Elections Matter, Right, Speaker Boehner?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Maybe. But to Speaker John Boehner, process matters more. If this guy isn’t primaried out of his seat in 2016, what’s the point of voting for the GOP?

UPDATE: Things are falling apart.

Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.” They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote…

If Republicans can’t surmount the impasse, they could decide to proceed with swiftly moving a short-term continuing resolution through the chamber, which the Senate could also pass before 11:59 p.m., when current funding expires. In doing so, they would be throwing away months of hard-fought negotiations between appropriators and dashing dreams of a return to regular order when the GOP takes control of all of Capitol Hill in the new year.

 

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John Yoo Demolishes the Democrats’ Partisan ‘Torture’ Report

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Gee, that's too damn bad

Gee, that’s too damn bad

No one better to do so:

The release of a Senate report on Bush-era interrogation policies could have prompted an informed, responsible debate over intelligence and the war on terror. But not the report that saw the light of day Tuesday. Because of fundamental mistakes made at its very birth, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s accounting offers a dispiriting, partisan attack on American intelligence agencies at a time when we need them more than ever.

Bizarrely, Feinstein and her staffers refused even to interview the very CIA officials who ordered and carried out the program in question. Because Republicans saw where the train was headed, they refused to participate in the review. The slanted approach to the investigation sadly colored its conclusions — which are questionable, to put it charitably.

Yoo lays out the shameless partisanship of the Democrats’ heading-out-the-door-and-into-the-electoral-wilderness poke in the eye of the Bush administration, of which John (full disclosure: we’re friends) was an important part. He’s one of the  smartest guys I know, so pay attention:

As a Justice Department lawyer who worked on the legality of the interrogation methods in 2002, I believed that the federal law prohibiting torture allowed the CIA to use interrogation methods that did not cause injury — including, in extraordinary cases, waterboarding — because of the grave threat to the nation’s security in the months after the 9/11 attacks.

I was swayed by the fact that our military used waterboarding in training thousands of its own soldiers without harm, and that the CIA would use the technique only on top Al Qaeda leaders thought to have actionable information on pending plots.

Does anybody, besides the bedwetters in the media, really care about whether a few al-Qaeda operatives were discomfited by “harsh” interrogation techniques? Tell Saul Alinsky to take his Rule No. 4 and shove it. As Mr. Dooley should have said, war ain’t beanbag.

This release marks a new low in congressional oversight of intelligence. In both the 1975 Church Committee and 1987 Iran-Contra investigations of intelligence scandals, Republicans and Democrats cooperated to conduct a thorough, fair inquiry that settled the factual record and laid the groundwork for significant reform.

A credible review in this case would have involved both political parties. It would have given CIA officials an opportunity to be heard. It would have questioned key officials under oath.

The Feinstein report did none of this. Worst, it risks undermining the ability of our intelligence agencies to protect the nation at a time when threats abroad are rising, not falling.

Not that the Democrats give a damn.

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